Wednesday, May 21, 2014

To Share or Not To Share: Part 1

Do you read more than one blog? If so, you've probably noticed that there are many different kinds of bloggers. There are some who only blog about one thing for the purpose of sharing information. Topics can range from food, DIY projects, their family, IT stuff (yes, there are IT blogs), and you-name-it. Then there are others who use their blog as an internet journal. These bloggers allow their online journal to be accessible for others to read whether they're documenting a vacation they're taking or just day-to-day joys and struggles.

Some fellow blogger friends and I have been extolled for our transparency in sharing personal struggles on our blogs.

But, I have a confession to make to you dear readers.... I don't share everything with you.

When I worked as a personal trainer, I worked with a woman who shared way too much information about herself. I felt bad for her. Other ladies would actually roll their eyes when she'd start talking because she was just TMI all of the time. Sitting on the floor with my 8lb dumbbells, I looked at her and realized that because she lacked discretion, she had lost the respect of her peers and therefore her influence... Not to mention, no one wanted to be around her. And, let me be clear, it wasn't just because of what she was sharing about herself... It was because she was all mouth and no ears. No one likes to be around someone who only talks and never listens.

Now, do I have my tongue completely under control? No. I've had my Jennifer Lawrence moments where I've mentally buried my head in my hands and asked, "Did I really just say that?"


Honesty and transparency and openness are all wonderful things... In the right place at the right time with the right people. JLaw has admitted herself that the red carpet is not the appropriate place to discuss some of the things she ends up talking about.

So, let's take a cue from our favorite Hollywood starlet's mistakes and be honest and transparent and open where it's appropriate, when it's safe, and with people who actually care.

Do not be honest and transparent and open when it is not appropriate, in an environment that is primed for an argument, and with people who can erase you from their life without more than a second's thought by clicking the "unfollow" button.

Why? Because they might "unfriend" you? No, because sharing in that kind of environment has the great potential to set us up for disappointment, bad advice, or false affirmation.

If we are functioning on affirmation that is based solely on the number of "likes" we get or comments that agree with us or tell us how pretty we are or how cool our tomato plant is, we're gonna be in a heap of trouble if our internet goes out or our smart phone breaks.

I listened to a sermon this morning by Steven Furtick called The Problem with Pinterest(The Hope of Glory Part 4), and it basically sums the whole problem the majority of our culture is facing in regards to comparison through social media.



As I was listening, I kept thinking about this balance. Transparency vs Discretion.

So what is the first step to finding the balance? I think we start by really considering where we're getting our affirmation from.

Why is finding the balance important? Join me later this week as we delve into that question. : )


"There's an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Friday, May 16, 2014

Goodness

It's been a pretty amazing week to say the least...

It started on Sunday when we spent the whole day honoring my beautiful mom, Janet, on Mother's Day... We worshipped together as a family at PCC, stared in awe at sea creatures at the GA Aquarium, and sipped decadent coffee drinks at Peachtree's Cafe Intermezzo on the way home...




On Tuesday, we celebrated Paul and the accomplishment "the experts" said he'd never achieve... Not only did this severely dyslexic young man go to college, he finished and graduated (with a finance degree). Afterwards our family enjoyed delicious Southern food on my parents' back deck while Paul opened thoughtful graduation gifts (including a handmade quilt my 95 year old great-grandmother made for him). Grandpa Wayne beating us grown-children in bocce ball was definitely icing on the cake - we were all so glad that he and Grammy Jo were able to make it out to celebrate Paul's achievement.



When I made it back to Little Rock Wednesday evening, I got to celebrate my husband's accomplishment... He had finished finals that morning which thus concluded our second year of law school... Just one more to go... And, I couldn't be more proud of him.



"The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." Psalm 33:5b

Isn't that true? Sure, there are hard things and difficult times. But when we stop and take the time to recognize (and celebrate!) all of the good, there is no room left to dwell on the rest.

Praise the Lord for all of the goodness He bestows on us. We are so grateful.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Finals and Food

David's first day of finals are today. And, like many wives of graduate-school-attending-husbands, I struggle with how I can actually be helpful during this time of the semester. Because, in all honesty, reading week and finals week are beasts that no person should have to take on alone...

It's taken me two years, but last week during reading week, I realized that I could be most helpful by just being supportive

What do I mean by "supportive"? Well, I can support David by actively listening when he gets home, actually doing things he asked me to do during the day, limiting distractions and giving him my full attention (no phone, no laptop, no iPad) during the evenings when we're both home spending time together (even if we're just watching tv), and I can remember that our life does not solely revolve around what's going on with me - he's got a lot going on with him. (So this is the kind of support we should be showing our husbands every day, right? Not just when things are a little more stressful. But, when things are a little more stressful, being the right kind of supportive is so important. Can I get a, "Yep, I know what you mean!"?) 

When you've got a spouse in a stressful program like law school, just keeping food in the house and the laundry basket mostly empty is actually supportive. I've talked with several doctors who've told me, "Man! If I had just had someone who'd done my laundry while I was in med school, THAT would have been amazing!" 

I've already got a pretty good handle on our laundry situation, but food prep doesn't take as high a priority with me when I myself also have a busy schedule. 

During reading week, I wanted to prepare some heartier meals for David to enjoy when he got home from studying all day (that still followed our dietary guidelines of course).

I think all of those years of listening to my teachers before standardized testing really left an impression on me... "Feed them before they come to school! Send snacks!" There's a lot to be said about eating right come test day (and in our case, preparing for test days)...

So, our menu for the week's dinners consisted of grilled barbecue chicken, bun-less hotdogs, a gorgeously loaded salad, and one night I even attempted to make a skinny version of bang bang shrimp, which David liked but said, "Next time we should make the un-healthy version." ; )

In my planning ahead, I knew Thursday night would be the night where I'd have the most amount of time to make dinner, so I wanted to make something a little more interesting.


Both were relatively inexpensive to make, really didn't take much time to prepare, and they were incredibly filling.

(I thought about taking a picture of the lettuce wraps, 
but then I decided I would just eat them instead!)

When David got home last night, I'm sure the house smelled horribly of cooked cabbage. But, even so, as we sat and munched on spring rolls and crafted our lettuce wraps, the stress of his day and upcoming day seemed to slowly melt off. I asked few questions while we ate, just letting him decompress with siracha and soy sauce. 

Being supportive encompasses so many aspects of a person's situation, and we often underestimate the support that comes with a home cooked meal and some quiet time.

To all of you who have been praying for us during this chapter of our lives, we thank you and appreciate you. We're almost 2/3 of the way there. : )

To any other spouses of intense-graduate-program students, how do you show support to your spouse during reading/finals week? Or, when you or your spouse were in such a program, was there one thing your spouse did for you that really made you feel "supported"? I'd love to hear your experiences. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wind Chimes

We were in this outdoor / garden / farming store buying Sperry dog food over the weekend, and this really beautiful wind chime caught my eye. It had stars on it which reminded me of Texas. 

David laughed as I climbed and squeezed over and between boxes of who-knows-what to get to the guarded display of wind chimes.

When I saw how inexpensively priced it was AND that it was made in America, I lifted it off of it's display and somehow managed to climb back over and through the boxes with it to rejoin David and head for the weed killer before checking out.  

When we got home, we first hung the wind chimes on the front porch, but it just didn't look right there. So, we moved it to the back deck which is directly behind my office.


Now, when the wind blows, I get to hear it through the windows.

It's so peaceful... Like birds in the trees... Not the mean ones who caw, but the sweet ones who sing.

I wish there was a way we could hang up our Guatemalan hammock in the backyard, so I could lay there and take a nap and drift to sleep to the songs of sweet birds and wind chimes...

This little red barn house has been our home for over two years now. But, it is unlikely that in another two years we'll still be living at this address. There's a part of me that would like to stay here simply because it's just become so comfortable. But, I remember that right now it's just me and David... and Sperry... and the two business... and the law school books... So, functionally speaking, I'll need to rent out office space when children come along if we don't move into a differently structured home. 

I consider the remodel our homeowners are about to undertake in our kitchen, and I cringe at the thought of more than two people working in that tiny space so close to my home office with hammers and drills and other power tools.

The kitchen as we know it will change. The home will change. How I function on a daily basis through this remodel will change... Point: This current state of residential "comfort" is temporary.

That old song my mom sang to us as kids plays in my head... 

"This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, 
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore. 

Oh Lord, You know, I have no friend like you,
If heaven's not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door, 
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

Even before that tornado recently demolished so many homes in our neighboring towns, God's been reminding me that this home, this physical red house we live in, and earth itself, isn't really our home.

The things I like about our temporary home are just snippets of the glory that exists in the home we'll spend eternity in. 

Having a home that we feel safe and comfortable in right now is not something to feel guilty about, but, God is reminding me that we can't get too comfortable. We should expect for things to change. And, an unwillingness to move might deprive us the opportunity to live somewhere better - better for us, better for our future children, better for others, better for His glory. 

The wind blows through the wind chimes, and they play their soft song... 

I hum along and take comfort in God's sovereignty instead of the walls surrounding me.