Anyone else?

Disclaimer: I’m well aware of the fact that most of my readers are women. If you are a man, you might want to skip this post. Consider yourself warned.

Today I ran into Walgreen’s before coming to work. I picked up a couple of needed items and headed to the checkout stand. When I looked down and saw the sum total of my purchases, I wanted to laugh. Any other day I would’ve laughed. Today all I could manage was a grimace. Here is a list of my purchases:

  • Midol (at least the Walgreen’s equivalent)
  • A box of tampons
  • Three bags of chocolate

This wasn’t the first time I’ve left a store with this assortment of items. There’s usually a coke thrown in, but Walgreen’s was out of cold ones. I’ve even opened the Midol and taken it right in front of the cashier before . I don’t know how I lived before I found Midol.

Oh how far I’ve come from that fourteen-year-old girl who could barely manage to walk down the aisle of feminine hygiene products. These days, I figure it’s in everyone’s best interest to know that this is *the day* that I might just bite your head off. It’s not that I’m grouchy. I just don’t want anyone to look at me, talk to me, or touch me.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

So what about you? Anyone else ever purchased a similar combination of products? Made a run to the store specifically for Midol or chocolate? Oh — and in case you haven’t read it, check out what Beth Moore has to say about PMS:

Since some of you Sistas brought up the subject of PMS (after all, we are sistas and if sistas have anything at all, it’s hormones), I feel compelled to tell you what I told a group recently. If you want to live those fretful days of evil principalities with any measure of victory, if, when the day of evil comes, you indeed want to stand, you have to get in your head that PMS means Please More Spirit! Need a reference? OK, how about John 3:34 – “for God gives the Spirit without limit”? (It’s a good thing.) Need another? Luke 11:13 – “how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

You know how furious we get when one of our loved ones makes the merest suggestion that maybe we’re a little hormonal? Like those times when waking up to an open bag of Fritos on the coffee table and a water ring left from a sweating glass of soda seem perfectly legitimate grounds for divorce? If, while we’re denying the remotest chance we could have PMS, we start looking for the nearest thing we could throw at them, we might want to see these words flashing in red florescent lights across the marque of our minds: Please More Spirit! Please More Spirit!

This morning Keith drew my attention to a darling 12 year old girl at church with that look on her face and said, “I hope her parents are really keeping an eye on her. She really seems sullen.” “Honey,” I said, “All 12 year old girls are sullen. They are a hormone waiting to wreak havoc.” How could he have forgotten? Between his three women – Amanda, Melissa, and me – his skin was in jeopardy the greater part of any given month. But don’t think he wasn’t the kind to invite trouble. He’d say stuff like, “I’m so sorry, Baby. That zit really looks like it hurts.” Where’s me a lamp?? Good thing we have God. That’s all I’m saying. And good thing for THEM we have God. Next time around, remember two very important things:

1. Pray “Please More Spirit!”

2. Take Your Midol.

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In my previous life . .

I was a baby-toting, hands-on Mama. There’s not much about my life today that conveys that message, but I still absolutely adore babies. Even after having five of my own, I never reached the point of being ready to move past the baby stage of life. I got to see a brand new baby today. That was great.

For those of you who don’t get to see babies very often, I thought I’d share these with you.

Enjoy!!

There’s more where that came from . . .

We’ve had some interesting guesses about the speaker in the interview, ranging from Nelson Mandela to Anne Lamott. Here’s a little bit more where this person speaks of their public persona — remember, this is an internationally known person — and their relationship with their father.

Occasionally, he would ask a real question, meaning I had to give him a real answer. It was always about my belief in God: “There’s one thing I envy of you. I don’t envy anything else,” he said to me one time. But think about it: I was singing, doing all the things he would’ve loved to have done, had a creative life. He said, “You do seem to have a relationship with God.” And I said: “Didn’t you ever have one?” He said: “No.” And I said: “But you have been a Catholic for most of your life.” — “Yeah, lots of people are Catholic. It was a one-way conversation . . .You seem to hear something back from the silence!” I said: “That’s true, I do.” And he said: “How do you feel it?” I said: “I hear it in some sort of instinctive way, I feel a response to a prayer, or I feel led in a direction. Or if I’m studying the Scriptures, they become alive in an odd way, and they make sense to the moment I’m in, they’re no longer a historical document.” He was mind-blown by this.

So . . . did he find you pious?

I wish I could live the life of someone you could describe as pious. I couldn’t preach because I couldn’t practice. It’s plain to see I’m not a good advertisement for God. Artists are selfish people.

I chose to share this portion because I think it articulates the living nature of our communication with God so well. I’m sure that every week our churches are filled with people who faithfully go through the motions but never hear from God in the way described above. I don’t think there are easy answers for why this is true.

This portion also speaks so clearly to grace as an integral part of our relationship with God. That last paragraph: “I wish I could live the life of someone you could describe as pious. I couldn’t preach because I couldn’t practice. It’s plain to see to see I’m not a good advertisement for God.”

Do you ever feel that way? I know I do. I cherish my relationship with God and don’t doubt his love for me or his forgiveness of my sin, but there are many, many days where “I’m not a good advertisement for God.”

So are you ready for me to end the suspense?

My friend Deb was right. All of this was taken from an extensive interview with Bono, the lead singer of U2. If you’d like to read the rest, you can find it here.

Surprised?

And now for something completely different . . .


I’m going to post an excerpt from an interview with very well know international figure. I will not tell you who said these words and am *very* interested in who you guess to be the interviewee. This book was published about three years ago, so it’s possible that you’ve read it or heard it quoted, but I am struck by the truthfulness of these thoughts and wanted to share them with you. I’ll post the interview questions/statements in bold and the responses will be in a normal font.

As I told you, I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

I haven’t heard you talk about that.

I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.

You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics — in physical laws — every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “As you sow, so will you reap” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

I’d be interested to hear that.

That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep ****. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says, Look you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled . . .It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

I’ll stop there. There’s a lot more where that came from, but that’s enough to get you thinking on a Friday.

So who do you think said this? If you know because you’ve read it or heard it, please do not blurt it out. I’m really interested in hearing the guesses.

Hitchapedia? Wikihiker’s Guide?

Just a little more proof from Mr. Adams that we have indeed entered the age of the Guide:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a very unevenly edited book and contains many passages that simply seemed to its editors like a good idea at the time.

Case in point? Wikipedia contains a very well-laid out — almost scholarly –article on the use of the umlaut among heavy metal musicians. I haven’t looked at the history of the article, don’t know who started it, or how many times it’s been edited, but I’m guessing that it got started by a metalhead to whom it just seemed like a good idea at the time. I can just hear the conversation . . .

Yo, dude. We can write whatever we want to in this thing.

Shaw! Really? We should like hijack it and do something totally useless.

Thus was born what ultimately became a seemingly well-researched and informed article found in Wikipedia. How many of us need to know about the origins and uses of the heavy metal umlaut every day? How many of us care?

On the other hand, how many of us use towels every day? If you don’t, please don’t tell me because I’d prefer to keep thinking that a shower is a daily part of your life. Did you know there’s a wikipedia entry for towels? Check it out! You can now learn all about types of towels, alternative uses for towels and — oh my! — you can even see a reference to our beloved Hitchhiker’s Guide. Thanks to my friend Marla who pointed that tidbit out to me.

See — the Guide is invading Wikipedia. It may be in the infant stages, but trust me — Wikipedia will morph into the Wikihiker’s Guide and it will continue to grow and bloom until it eventually becomes the full-fledged Hitchhiker’s Guide.

As long as Zaphod Beeblebrox doesn’t become president I guess we’ll be OK. However, given the circus that’s already developing with next year’s election, I won’t be surprised if we wake up in November and learn that somehow he’s been elected.

Revelation

I’ve not done well fulfilling my Spring Reading Thing list. Oh, I’ve been reading, but the titles have been selections for the Young Adult Resources class I’m taking this summer. Some of the books have been very good, others are just — meh — there. And not what I’d recommend to young adults by any means.

Today I started reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you’ve not read it, you should. Well, slight revision. If you enjoy droll British humor and you’ve not read it, then you should. It inspired a movie version in 2005 that my family and I have watched and laughed at many, many times.

Yet I digress. I had a revelation today — nay, I say an epiphany. Douglas Adams wrote Hitchhiker in 1979. I do believe the man had prophetic skills. In describing the guide he used these words:

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

First, it is slightly cheaper; and second, it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

What could Adams be describing other than Wikipedia? How did he know of its existence 25 years before its wikibirth? Stay with me on this. We all know Wikipedia has “many omissions and. . .much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate”. Yet for the everyday Joe, Wikipedia has replaced its print bound predecessors. It’s flawed, we know it and we love it. We love it because it’s “slightly cheaper,” (read: free) and though it lacks the words DON’T PANIC written across the front page, it does communicate the idea that together, we can figure things out and that is a very calming and reassuring idea.

Want to know more? Check here to see what Wikipedia has to say about Hitchhiker and then go here to learn more about its prophetic creator, Douglas Adams.

So long and thanks for all the fish. And don’t forget your towel. You never know what you might run into out there.

Birth Days

Today my youngest son turns eight. At this time eight years ago I was working hard to bring him into the world. A sleepless night, a lot of walking, a midwife pouring warm water over my tired, hardworking pregnant belly . . .

sidenote: only my oldest was born in typical american hospital style. i was blessed/spoiled/stubborn enough to have my other four babies at home with a nurse midwife in attendance. talk about empowerment. talk about quality care. why have i been so blessed?

Remembering birth days is remembering a blurry string of emotions. Excitement, impatience, fear, frustration, determination, exhaustion, TRIUMPH! How does this happen? How does this little person come from me? How does such overwhelming toil and concern turn so quickly to overflowing joy?

In the blink of an eye . . .

Does God experience this when someone experiences spiritual birth? Does he recall all the effort it took to bring them to this place? Does he go through those same stages of excitement, impatience, frustration, and finally — TRIUMPH! And the overwhelming joy and love . . . we know he feels that. We know he IS that.

The old testament drips with God’s motherlike love for us. He speaks to Israel as if she were his child/bride/lover/wife all rolled into one. The all-consuming nature of God’s relationship with us can be frightening at times; there isn’t a human relationship that comes close to the intensity and intimacy he desires.

Birth and rebirth. Pain and joy.

God is indeed very, very good.

Can you hear it?

Listen — can you hear it? Somewhere, people are lifting their voices and hands in praise of our God. Hearts are being lifted from their daily burdens and turned toward him.

Praise God.

Praise God.

Praise God.

Back to the real world

Does anyone remember Amy Grant’s song Mountain Top? Here are a few of the words:

I like to sing and I like to pray
Worship the Lord most every way
I go to the temple and I just want to stay
To hide from the hustle of the world and its ways

Oh, I like to be on a mountain top
Fellowshipping with our Lord
And I like to be on a mountain top
‘Cause I long to feel my spirit soar
But I’ve got to come down from the mountain top
To the people in the valley below
Or they’ll never know
That they can go
To the mountain of the Lord.

That’s a hard thing to do, isn’t it? Wouldn’t we all love to live in a place where we’re connected to and in harmony with the Lord on an ongoing basis? I know I would.

One thing I miss the most about my SAHM days was my ability to spend so much time in study and prayer. Don’t misunderstand me — I still communicate with God regularly, but I don’t feel that I commune with him as often as I did in those days. If I wanted to stay up until 2:00 in thought and prayer, then so be it. If I wanted to crank up the praise music in the house, then so be it.

I miss those days. I’m a wiped out puppy by 10:00 PM and although my co-workers put up with my frequent, loud laughter I’m not sure how well it would go over to have Steven Curtis Chapman or Third Day blasting through Brackett. 🙂

So how do you other fulltime workers manage this? How do you find a mountain top? Is it possible to reach a mountain top when your time is pulled in so many different directions?

I’m searching for answers here . . . help me out, OK?

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