Xtreme Worship

I am not a fan of sports… but I AM a fan of yelling.  This seems to be a requirement for watching sports.  Except for golf… maybe?

Even though I like yelling, I can’t think of anything I’d rather NOT be doing than watching sports… unless they are Xtreme.  Like you might die as a result.  Like hiking Mt. Everest or kayaking down the cru-zaziest rapids.  I can engage in watching these stories of survival.  Someone testing their limits.  Like Bear Grylls.  Someone giving their allrisking their lives for what they love.

Since I am not a fan of sports, I have decided to create a new sport that I love.

It’s called Xtreme Worship.

It’s dirty.  It’s messy.  You will get sweaty.  It’s not always pretty.  You might look foolish while doing it.  2 Samuel 6:16.  You will be misunderstood.  You might lose some friends.  It requires risk.  Holding Nothing Back, baby.

Every Sunday, I get to play Xtreme Worship.  

And even during the week, I get to play Xtreme Worship with P.A. and our wee Babs, when we have family dance parties in our living room.  This is seriously my favorite sport.

In this sport, you are asked to risk your life.  Even unto death.  You are called to lose your life for Someone.  Jesus.  (Matthew 10:39).  This is Xtreme Worship.

Unlike basketball, baseball or any other sport (even hiking to Mt. Everest), the end is not a trophy, an accolade, or even a pat on the back. Everyone who participates, everyone who fully gives their lives to Xtreme Worship wins.  You win a relationship with Jesus.  A relationship that results in a New Life, a Changed Heart, True Love, Unexplainable Peace, and Unquenchable Joy.

Xtreme Worship is a difficult sport.  It’s not for the weary, the weak or the faint of heart.  It requires strength, endurance, and patience.  Practice does not make perfect.  You will give your heart and experience brokenness, pain, go thru trials, and share in sufferings.  But count it as JOY b/c the prize is JESUS, baby!  (James 1:2 and Philippians 3:12-16)

And He is worth it.  Jesus is worthy of all my Xtreme Worship.

embrace the suckiness

Sometimes life can really suck. And there are levels of suckiness. And we all have varying levels of tolerance for the suckiness that enters our lives.

Embrace the suckiness.

This is an anonymous quote (by one our friends).  Sometimes life sucks for a day or two, or a week, or a month or even years… but there are ways we can embrace it.  And grow from it.

Now we are going to explore 3 levels of suckiness and how to embrace them.

Level 1. an Annoyance.  You have a Ginormous zit on your eyebrow line (at least that’s what I’ve got going on the last few days) or it’s cloudy outside and you’re a sunshine kind of gal (or guy) or you had a terrible day at work/school… or your $4 mocha was accidentally thrown away.

Embracing Level 1. Cover up your zit with tons of make-up.  Or let it shine.  Deal with the clouds. Or don’t live in central Ohio.  Get over the bad day, tomorrow will be better.  Buy another mocha.

Level 2.  A strain.  A health strain.  Your kids are sick, up all night puking, so you are cranky b/c you didn’t get any sleep.  Or you are sick and need to work.  Or you AND your kids are sick (this is a level 2.5)  Or there is a strain on your marriage or a friendship.  Or you are having difficulty with your job.  Or a financial strain.

Embracing Level 2.  This can be tricky – one of my examples below.

Level 3.  A loss.  Personally.  Financially.  Relationally.  A loss of trust.  Or loss of a loved one.

Embracing Level 3.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5  This is difficult, and is not always easy to do.  Trust in the Lord gives way to surrender and produces an attitude of thankfulness, which leads to an unexplainable peace and joy, despite circumstances.

Then there are those days I just forget the make-up, pull my hair back, put on my stretchy pants and consume large amounts of coffee to get thru and embrace the suckiness.

Today was one of those days.  It was a level 2.  Selah was up all night puking.  Which meant I was up all night cleaning.  She puked every hour.  I slept a little on the floor at the end of her bed in btwn cleanings.  As I laid on the floor, I kept thinking of funny sayings in the book “Stuff Christians Like” by Jonathan Acuff (a must read btw).  I was embracing the suckiness with laughter.  When I was washing the 6 extra loads of puke laundry, I embraced the suckiness, thankful for our washing machine.  Selah slept most of the day.  She had a fever and was worn out from being up all night.  I was thankful for the extra time I had to cuddle with her, and hold her close.

                                                         Then she woke up and had a little bit of water.  And went back to sleep on the floor.  Her brother and sister played around her as she laid in the middle of the living room.  I was thankful she was able to rest, even with her sibs running in circles around her.

                                                                                               Later she moved into the kitchen and had a few bites of cracker.  I was cooking dinner by this time.  She laid down on the kitchen floor to be near me.  I was thankful to be near her.

This morning, she had her 2-year-old check up previously scheduled – coincidence – so we went to see the Dr.  From the moment we entered the office, she was crying the entire time, “I want daaaaadddddyyyyyy!” and raising the suckiness to a level 2.3.  Then I started crying in the Pediatric lobby while the receptionist stared at me from behind the glass with sympathy… or disgust, I couldn’t tell as tears welled up in my own eyes.  Eventually I embraced the suckiness, thankful that Selah wasn’t throwing up anymore…

After we got back home, I let her have some milk.  Bad idea.  How can I deny my baby milk?  A few minutes later, the chunks started flying again.  Salem comments, “It looks like shaving cream!”  Great observation.  I was thinking cottage cheese.  He’s a bright boy.  Meanwhile, Soleil turns queezy and hides to avoid all physical and visual contact.

Thankfully, today I wasn’t sick.  I’ve been there, done that.  Those days when momma PLUS kids are sick, I try to embrace that suckiness level 2.5.  Being sick and taking care of my wee Babs is difficult really sucks.  But I can embrace it…eventually.  If I’m sick, I’m thinking Yes!  I’m gonna lose a quick 5 lbs!  and sure it will come back, but for a few days I get to enjoy being 5 lbs lighter.

We’ve had many opportunities to embrace the suckiness.  On all levels.  Annoyances, Strains and Losses.  Of friendships.  Being a laid off of work.  A miscarriage.  And in time I will share those stories and how we embraced them.  And how we have grown.

How will you embrace the suckiness?

36 minutes

What can you do with 36 minutes?

Watch a t.v. show… run an errand… eat at meal… have sex… (but please, only if you’re married.)

There are a countless number of things you can do with 36 minutes.  We are given 1,440 minutes in a day.  With this time, there are things we need to do.  We need to work.  We need to accomplish tasks.  We need to eat.  We need to sleep.  (Ecclesiastes 3).

This time is a gift.  Through freedom in Christ, we are not be bound by time, but we are called and challenged to use it wisely.

Can you change your life in 36 minutes?   Yes.  I believe you can.

In 36 minutes, I can waste a lot of time.  I can walk around my house in circles, deciding what I need to be doing, and end up doing nothing.  I can stress out about the nothing that I did when I should have been doing something.  I can look at the pile of clothes that needs to be put away and see the dishes stacking up and stare at the mop that is rarely used.  I can zone out for 36 minutes and then snap out of it thinking, “Where has all my time gone?

Or… I can change my life.

I want to wisely use ALL of the 1,440 minutes given to me today!

In 36 minutes, I can run 3 miles.  6 days a week, most weeks, I run – or walk fast on days I don’t feel like running 3 miles.  Now, it’s not like I wake up every morning thinking “Yea!  I get to spend 36 minutes with my treadmill today!”.  Though the days when the weather is nice and I have the time to run outside, I do say “Yea, I ♥ Running!”  And it takes me less than 36 minutes to run 3 miles outside.  “Yea, more minutes in my day!”  Still most days, I’m with my treadmill.  And it takes discipline.  I know if I invest 36 minutes a day exercising, I will feel better, and ultimately focus less on myself and more on others because I feel good about my health.

But my 36 minutes isn’t only an investment for the outside.  

I can invest my 36 minutes on my soul.  I can pray while I am running.  It’s genius, really.  Multi-tasking.  God has given us the gift of a relationship with Him.  I can spend time talking with Him in prayer while I am running.  Sure, I will probably be a little more winded and out of breath if I’m talking/praying while running – but He understands.  He knows my heart.  Better than I do.  (Ezekiel 36:26).

And my 36 minutes is not all about me.  

In 36 minutes, I can spend time with those I love and those I am called to love.  I can spend quality time with P.A. and our wee Babs.  I can love the person in front of me, as Christ would do. I can spend my 36 minutes focused on someone else’s life.  This is a life-changing investment.

In 36 minutes, I can read the Bible.  This is daily discipline.  It is not always easy.  Spending time with God and learning and studying and meditating on His Word is a life-changing investment.  36 minutes in the Bible will always CHANGE MY LIFE.

Time is a God-given gift.  Every 36 minutes we have is a gift.  

How will you invest 36 minutes today?

lunch box

I let our wee Babs eat of the floor.  It’s all about the 5-10 second rule.  P.A. is cool with it, especially if I’ve just mopped (which is rare).  But if I haven’t mopped in several weeks months, I lean more toward the 5 seconds.  We don’t have a dog to clean up the mess our floor embraces after the 5-10 seconds.  P.A. usually sweeps up the after dinner crumbs.  And I unusually mop.  Speaking of mopping – which I rarely like to speak of –  if your kids eat oatmeal and half of it lands on the floor like at my house, it’s much easier to clean up if you let it set for a few hours…or even days.  This way it hardens.  MUCH easier to clean.  And that advice was free.

Our fam loves to eat.  However, we don’t care to eat just anything.  we are food snobs.  and coffee snobs.  I’ve mentioned this before in a previous chronicle -“Poop and Panera”.  What we eat is important to us.  We prefer to eat…naturally.  C’mon, shouldn’t ALL food be natural?!?  But it’s not.  We have to read labels.  Carefully.  If our food does have a label, we like to be able to read all of the ingredients.  Sometimes there are exceptions.  Cheeze-its.  They are mostly natural. And addictive.

Then there is the dilemma of the lunch box.  What goes in our 7 year old’s lunch box is important.  Thankfully, our wee Babs have embraced our fam’s natural way of eating.  A peanut butter and honey sandwich, an apple, and a salad or green pepper, with water to drink – this is what Soleil has everyday in her lunch box.  Salem eats his “normal lunch” everyday – a peanut butter and apricot jelly sandwich, lettuce with lemon, and chips n salsa.  Selah normally eats a mix of the above.  It’s not all health food though, they do eat the free donuts at church.  Believe me, we like sugar, chocolate, butter and bread.  Naturally.

So every morning, I pack Soleil’s lunch box with pride.  Knowing she’s a kid who likes eating green pepper.  Now our 2-year-old wants a packed lunch everyday.  Even though she’s not going anywhere.  She wants to go to school so badly like her big sibs.  Waiting to go to school in 3.5 years is going to be difficult for her to reconcile.  But she will have to deal.

We’re proud of our wee Babs for making good food choices on a daily basis, and even at birthday parties.  They have cake boundaries.  And sucker boundaries.

Sooo…. What’s in your lunch box today?

timewasters

I have one word for you.

Netflix.

Have you ever heard of it?  It entered our lives some 10 months ago.  And I’m so glad it did.  I’ve never wasted so much time in my 30 some years of life, since I met Netflix.

I’ve always been proud of my television boundaries.  We don’t have cable.  I am a fan of The Amazing Race and random PBS documentaries, but I usually don’t get caught up into too many t.v. shows.  I was faithful to The Office until Steve Carell left.  But I don’t get sidetracked by Oprah (or the like), I hate watching sports and the news is just depressing… I did spend a few years on Alias & then on LOST (which turned out to be a WOT – waste of time – after seeing the cheesy endings).  Thanks JJ Abrams.  I had higher expectations.

Then I met Netflix.

It changed my time-wasting capabilities and caused them to increase exponentially.

I now know more about the Tweto family surviving storms on “Flying Wild Alaska”, and Paul Watson stewarding the Sea Shepherd to save whales from the Japanese whalers on “Whale Wars, and how to become a loser prospector like the Hoffman crew that never finds gold on “Gold Rush Alaska”, than I ever thought I could.

I know too much.  I’ve wasted too much time.

But God can redeem my time.

The truth is I loved watching those shows.  I got sucked in when I thought I never would.  The reality of the Tweto’s, the Hoffman’s and the Sea Shepherd crew was so intriguing to me.  Until I was bored.  I was bored with watching the Tweto’s fly in in-climate weather, and the Sea Shepherd crew throw stink bombs onto the deck of the Japanese whaling ships, and the Hoffman’s dig 1,000 feet into the earth to find merely a fleck of gold.

I was bored.  I rarely use those 3 words, but I was.  I needed something new.  I always have something to do, or something I need to be doing.  I lead a busy life.  It was time for me to stop wasting it.

I needed new boundaries.  With Netflix.

So in the evenings, when P.A. and I normally settle into our spots on the couch to chill out after the wee Babs are in bed, I began something different for “my time”.  I played my guitar.  I listened to a sermon online.  I read my Bible.  I called a friend.  I called my parents.  I wrote in my journal. I started blogging.  P.A. and I would have “home dates” and spend time talking and hanging out, and sometimes watch a movie.  I didn’t mop.  I didn’t vacuum.  I didn’t pay bills.  I was allowing God to redeem my time.

I want to learn everyday.  I want to grow everyday.  I want to spend my time well.  With God, I always can.  His Word is never boring.  It is always new.  When I am spending time in the Bible, I am always learning something.  When I am focused on Jesus, I am growing.  When I am with God, it is never a WOT.

Spending time with God compels me to be a better wife, a more attentive mom, a more caring friend.  My precious time with God redeems every part of my life and with every person I spend time with.

I’m sure I will find something else to waste my time on in the next 30 some years of my life and I may look back and say I wasted time on x.y.z.

But I will never look back and regret the redeeming time I spend with my amazing God!

What are your time-wasters?  What would you rather be doing?  Allow God to redeem your time… He always does.