Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Last 10 Years

I don’t know about you, but I love the Holderness family. Their videos are so funny and right on point with life.  Their humor gives me the laugh I need as a pick me up for my day.

Their video released just before Christmas (which I can't find now, so if you find it, let me know) was about the ten year review from 2010 to 2020. As I watched their video I began to cry not just because of the progression of their family but because when I thought about what that 10 years meant for me I realized how much reality had changed, transformed really.

January 2010 I was a woman living a reality different than where I stand today.  Kevin and I got married in 2005 and I stepped right into the step-mom role.  I love those bonus daughters of mine (though it wasn't even close to easy in those first few years), but I desperately wanted my own kids.  We tried but I was the woman who had been waiting 5 years to have a baby. I had been calling out to God wondering if I would ever have children on my own.  It was a dream I had no control over and was left with a decision to trust God and promise to love him even if I never had children of my own.

But here I stand 10 years out with two beautiful babies of my own. My son is almost 9 and my daughter is almost 5 and I couldn’t be happier with the role of mom, and having gone through such a hard time and having the children in the first place makes motherhood all the more precious.  I see the hand of God not only in the timing, but in how he has changed my heart in the motherhood process.  I can tell you while life isn't always perfect, I am truly happy! I have joy with my family in the midst of bad days and that joy prevails because it comes in contentment and gratitude to God.

Life is funny, we hit hard times and we move past them.  We are changed for going through them, but when you look back on life, sometimes you can begin to ask yourself, "Did that even happen?"  Of course it did, but the events of my life seem like these stories that are part of me and some are horrors and some utter delights and yet they aren't my reality, today.  Sometimes I feel like I've already lived several lives.

I can’t even imagine what the next ten years will hold, except in 10 years from now I will be the mother of a high school senior and an eighth grader and that is completely crazy to me. I’ll also be 51 so let’s not talk about that!

Let's end by talking about you, not me.  Where are you?  Have you come out of something horrible or are you in the midst of something you'd rather be done with?  Remember time is slow in the moments but fast in the years.  How can you bring more joy into the next 10 years?  Surrender what you can't control and be proactive where you do have choices.  Don't let life pass you by.

This year I want to be more proactive in writing my story and publishing a book (a first of many, if you know me, you know I have all the words).  What about you?  Tell me.  Tell me your journey, tell me your goals, I'm listening!  Also, Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Why Being in Your 40's in 2019 is Amazing?!

Let's be honest, aging isn't always the greatest.  I mean I have wrinkles and saggage (I just made up that word, but you know what it means) in areas that weren't even a thought in my twenties.

I've also worked with teenagers for 20 years and while its fun and rewarding, it can easily make you feel even older.  The vocabulary, styles and humor are constantly changing so just when you think you are tracking, something changes again and you are once again reminded that YOU ARE OLD!

You can all but feel like an idiot when the latest social media outlet or popular device updates and now that program you use every day is unknowable and you have to relearn it, and once again you feel dumb or old, when you know you are neither one of those things.

Your 40's aren't old!!!! They are enough experience to have learned from some mistakes and able to walk in wise directions and you still have half or more of your life left!  That is something to celebrate.  Technology advances and constant changes mean, if you are in your 40's you've seen more change than the generation above you and you've be able to adapt to an ever-changing world coming on your heels.

Ellen Degeneres, on her show, Ellen, has done a few segments highlighting the Baby Boomer/Millennial gap.  Let me tell you it has been HILARIOUS!  Take a minute to watch them, then come back and finish reading, because not only did it make me laugh, it gave me a thought that answers the question in the title of this post.

The first one I saw from about a month ago, introduced old technology or items we used pre-technology and challenged a millennial to use them. Then Ellen did it again in this episode.

Weren't those great?! I am not a Baby Boomer.  As someone who is born in 1978, I am Generation X, sometimes called Xennial, as a micro generation for someone in between the Generation X and Millenial.  So I don't fit either of the generations highlighted in Ellen's show segment, but as I watched the video, my first thought was, every Millennial (1980 - 1995) and even Gen Z (1996-2009) should watch this and more importantly do this challenge with some older technology so that they come to understand that older people aren't stupid, its just not what they know.

Because if you watch the videos above the high school and college student look like idiots and its because they don't know what they are doing, its not because they are actual idiots.  In fact, both demonstrate with personal facts about themselves, that they are in fact, smart.

So what does all this have to do with 40 year olds being awesome? I will tell you.  I alluded to this in the beginning, but we are the best lifeline to both generations.  We remember what it was like to use a rotary phone and be tethered to a phone cord as we talked with friends on the phone.  We remember life before caller id and before voice mail.  We lived before the internet or cell phones were a thing and that means we understand how to tell time on an analogue clock and how to read a map.  We knew what is was like to get up to turn the tv channel as a kid and make sure you were there to watch that show you loved because it wasn't getting taped, but we also have migrated with the times.  We've gone from cassette tapes to CD's to MP3 players to smart phones with streaming services and digital downloads.  We had a myspace account and know what "You've Got Mail" is talking about.  You may not have a Snapchat account, but you know what it is.  We are the timeline and that is beautiful!

We are the past and the future in one and I think that might make us the smartest people on the planet :).  When this world has you feeling old, just remember you know how to do so many things and you are up to continue on the learning journey.  We will have fun as we get most of the jokes along the way too!  Happy Wednesday! Christmas is next week, so I will be sharing back on here in two weeks.  Enjoy your Christmas and if you don't have a lot of people to celebrate with, look out for others in the same boat and make it more fun for all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Point of Church

Church.  Do you go? Statistics say most people don't anymore.  I have gone pretty much my whole life.  Some churches I've attended had pews, others had chairs and some even met in homes.  The building or the traditions really aren't the point.  Some people get stuck thinking those small details are crucial and they usually end up watching as their church become a sinking ship in a sea of  what once was.

What is the point of church?  Do we need to do it in a certain order? Do we need to all be together or kids in one room and adults in another?  Do we pass an offering plate or allow people to support the church via online website?  Do we sing a certain type of song or sing a certain number of songs?

The point of church has nothing to do with any of those questions, in fact when we say church, in truth, we aren't even talking about a building.

The Christian church is in fact, God's people.  Those who have chosen to accept Jesus as their Savior and work together as a body of believers.  We are the church.  I hear people all the time say something and either precede it or finish it with "I probably shouldn't say this in church," as we stand talking in the building we call "our church."  Obviously, its okay to still call the building church, but its important we know that we are the church.  Our bodies are temples for God's dwelling so the question should be about what we should do with our lives no matter where we are.

The point of church is really connection, worship of God and growing in Him.  That comes through songs and a message, but it also comes in a Bible study or small group setting.

This is an important distinction as we seek to make our "churches" places people in 2019 (soon to be 2020) will attend.

When we hold to tradition more than content, we are failing ourselves and those around us.  The content is what is important.

I recently had a discussion with a few different people on kids in church.  Many older than me feel kids need to be sitting in church with their parents during the service, and quite frankly, if a parent feels that way about their child, then I am not going to disagree.  That is their right as the parent, but I actually have a different perspective.  I want my kids to fall in love with Jesus.  I want them to learn about him, but also connect with him.  My relationship with him is not theirs' so to expect them just to carbon copy my experience is not only ill-informed, its naive.  For my kids to continue going to church, they don't need to see how I do it, and watch me sing along with worship songs or take notes, during a sermon.  They will see my faith every other day in real life.  That is what makes the impact.  I want them to learn as little kids on their level and build on that, so when its time to be in a church service next to me or in their own church as adults, they have the foundation to build on and can be seeking to grow on their own because it matters to them.

I have a relationship with God because I learned the basics, studied the Bible on my own and because I talk to God as an active part of my life.  I talk to God throughout the day and that was because I learned to as a kid.

I don't want my kids to get good at sitting in a pew (or row of chairs), but I want them to be good at going to God and knowing who he is and who he made them to be.

We do need each other and that is why church is so important.  We need to be solid on the foundations of Bible knowledge, and we need to be acting like the body of Christ, all working together as we each do our part, but how that is accomplished on a Sunday morning, really is more about the people gathering than it is about tradition.

We live in a different world than the one I grew up in, and we need to do things differently to reach and care for those around us.

If you go to church, why do you go?  Have you ever asked, "what is the point," in connection with the aspects of your worship service?  Are there things that have become more important to you  than the point?  If you don't go, and you consider yourself a Christian, do you know why you don't go?  It is important that we go deeper and ask the questions.  We need to understand the patterns of our daily living and choices.   Only then can we grow.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Feeling Full

Often after Thanksgiving we start the jokes about adjusting our belt buckles because we are so full from our glutinous meal.  Well here it is the middle of the week after Thanksgiving and I feel full after the glutinous, materialistic shopping spree.

Do you ever wonder if our priorities are a mess?! I am right now the person standing in the glass house throwing stones, my friend, because over the past (almost) week, I dropped some serious coin on my crazy long Christmas list.

I know there are good things involved, giving is always good and buying gifts for others isn't so focused on me (though I did purchase a few small things for myself along the way), but the push to buy-buy-buy, and the over abundance of ads and emails of discounts (and yes, I added to this with my oil sales) can begin to feel overwhelming.

The question would be, just because its the norm and what we all do, does it mean its okay?  Because have you heard of the Colosseum in Rome? Looking back at history, you wonder, "what were they thinking?"  But it was the norm so I'm sure few questioned it.

We have people everywhere starving and we are fighting over sales and ravenously putting things in our virtual and literal carts at feverish speed to grab the deal so we can give the gifts to all and keep the commercial giants in business.  We've sacrificed our Thanksgiving holiday for extra time to get more stuff and you just have to ask, if I took a step back, would this look ridiculous?  I think so.

My kids have enough.  It doesn't mean they don't want more and it doesn't mean that I don't love giving them what they want because it gives me joy, but really I worry that all I am doing is feeding the materialistic monster.

Again, let me stay, I'm standing here in my glass house, throwing rocks, but I guess I'm pausing to look at the rock and question, "why I'm standing in this glass house?"  I'm not gonna lie, I love Black Friday.  I hate that stores open on Thanksgiving, but I was there this year and years past, so if I say anything against it, I'm hypocrite party of one, over here.

We aren't changing the status quo tomorrow or even next Christmas, but maybe we have a discussion about this within our families and discuss ways we can change the climate of culture a bit?  What step can we take?  Sure we have Give Back Tuesday, but doesn't that just seem like a way to sound like the pre-Black Friday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday incessant deals weren't terrible.  Its like, "Hey, we have Give Back Tuesday, so we aren't that bad!"

What if we sat down with our kids in September and said something like:

This is our Christmas budget this year, how much should we each sacrifice to give to something that matters to us?  Who can we help?  What is important to this family?

What giving traditions should we bake into the season, not just one day of, "whoops, I spent too much here's some money to appease my guilt!"  I mean really give throughout the season.

I'm not here with some tips, just asking the question so you can have the discussion. Thanksgiving meals are still beyond our ability to eat them and yet we still keep making them, but I know some that had a Keto Thanksgiving this year, and tailored their dinner table to their diet, so considering the cost of the calories does come into play.  Let's take this step with Christmas gifts!

The real thing at stake is your soul.  I find myself having to take a step back and examine the real meaning of the celebration.  Hint:Its not to see how many presents I can stuff under the tree to show off my deal conquest.

What do you think?