Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Content

So what?

This is the question I ask myself as I prepare to teach and speak to a room full of 7th and 8th grade girls every Sunday morning.  Another question is, "Why should I care?"  or more importantly, "Why should middle school girls care about what I have to say?"  I tend to be a little (or a lot) ADD, so as I prepare to teach, I want everything to be interesting and compelling and something to care about.

I follow a blog written by a guy I think is pretty astute, Jon Acuff.  If you are not reading his funny blog, Stuff Christians Like, then  you are missing out.  But he also writes a leadership blog and the current series is on social platforms, or as I like to irreverently refer to the whole idea because I am kind of a rebel that will eventually conform, "social platformin'." His point today was that you have to have content, the "what" of the who-what-why-where-when model of journalism.

So  I asked myself, what is this whole blog thing about? What is my content in this blog?  If I had to put it into six words, give or take ten words, I would say that this whole crazy "Flying Pants" blog thing is just to encourage people to greatness.  I want people to see that their stuff is like other people's stuff and that they can make it through and come out on the other side a little bit closer to the Holy Father that made us and loves us.

So when I write about my road rage, or having a run-in with a guy's girlfriend, or how I get lost in cities not Jacksonville, FL, or how Kate Gosselin should not go to Alaska in heels, it is my humble attempt to be transparent and show people that we really are the same, despite being shorter or taller or richer or older or stupider (is that a word?) or smarter.  God made us in His image to glorify Him, and if you ever get any encouragement to be closer to God because of something you read on the Pants, then to God be the glory.

So go out and have Dunkin' Donuts, which I have previously disavowed because of the crazy people that drive in there.  I won't look.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Oh Summertime, how I love thee

I have to think that summer is my favorite time of year.  Of course, living in the Sunshine State (aka Mosquito state)  like I do, it is easy to come across a sunny day between May and October.  You're never too far from the beach in the state of Florida, and it's a likely chance that some body of water is nearby.  It's not considered abnormal to wear a beach coverup inside a fast-food, or in the case of Christian Chicken, a quick-service restaurant.  I also like that there are certain rules that we Floridians are just, well, exempt from. 
Aren't these cute?  Love.

Like, white shoes are really a year-round choice, depending on what the weather is.  I mean, really -- if it is 80 degrees at Christmas, it's hard to NOT take a picture of yourself by the pool in a Santa hat. So wearing white shoes is really not a hard stretch of the ol' imagination.  Likewise, I know that it gets cold after Labor Day in some places, but everyone in Florida knows that September is just when hurricanes are starting to get active and it won't get cold (i.e., 60 degrees) until November, maybe.

And then there's socks.  If there was a more out-of-place fashion choice in Florida, I DON'T want to know what it is.  (Let me pause for all the athletes to talk about how they're so necessary for sports.  Additional pause.) I mean, why do you think that the consummate "funny Florida tourist" costume includes white socks and sandals?  They're just so wrong.  I believe it is a state-of Florida constitutional right to not wear socks.  Now, if my feet are legitmately cold, then I would wear them.  If I chose to. 
WRONG shoe fashion choice anywhere you are.

State beverage of Florida
Kudos to the 7-11 people for coming out with a low-cal slurpee.  All you other slurpee/Icee/etc. people need to follow suit and get with the program.  What is better on a really hot day than a drink that is actually ice?  Yum.  Just in case you wondered, I like to mix banana and blue.  It's a taste celebration.

Another rule for everyone north of Florida that we don't follow is snow days.  We DO have "weather days" which can cover any of the following: a foot of rain that floods the streets OR wind/tornados OR actual hurricanes.  I mean, all it really takes is one downed tree across a major traffic artery and it's all over.  No one's going anywhere (without a lot of traffic.)   



Ahh, summer.  No shoes, no shirt, no problems.  Give me a bathing suit and a pair of flip flops and I'm golden.  Dawn patrols, days at the beach, floating around the pool with some friends and some food on the grill.  There's really not anything much better.  And when it is 4000 degrees, or feels like it, all it takes to feel better is to remember it will be 70 degrees in January.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm not a cool mom

Okay.  I like to think that I actually AM a relatively cool mom, as moms go.  I can't remember a time when I have been so completely embarrassing to my children that news of my weirdness went viral.  But I have to tell you that I am now officially inclined to bust out a tear or two or three.

I don't know where or how it started, but one day I just realized that I am a big boohooey mess.  In fact, I no longer listen to country songs that describe any kind of loss, regardless of its dog/truck/red solo cup story.  Nor do I watch "there are starving children around the world and if you were a decent human being you would help"  infomercials.  I hear about a tearful homecoming of one of our country's proud and brave military and it is ALLLLL over--break out the barrel of Kleenex. 

So what in the world  happened that made me such a weepy woman?  All I can attribute it to is a "tenderized heart." 

Not too long ago I was witness to a friend's walk of faith, and seeing God's goodness just made love so real to me-- love that puts on shoes and walks around caring about people. 

Because I had just been witness to seeing God work in such a huge way, I prayed that a hurt in my life would be productive and benefit another believer some day down the road.  But because I tend to pray big, I prayed, "God, if I am going to hurt, I want to hurt in such a huge way that you can use it in a huge way."  (Note:  I do not advise praying in this manner unless you realllllllly super mean it.)  Some days my heart has been so heavy that I just don't know what to do.  All I can do is pray, because so many of my situations are not under my control and far out of my grasp.  I can say without reservation that my heart has hurt more in the last 4 months it ever has. 

But there's an up side to all of this --

God has moved. Because I have moved closer to Him, sought Him out in fervent prayer, and have had to cry through a lot of stuff that I don't really want to deal with, I have seen Him so evidently move that I can only step back and know in my heart and mind that God has worked.  My dad is miraculously mostly healed; I have peace over a school decision that I was certain was the wrong one; I am comforted by a sweet couple that has gone not just out of their way, but CRAZY out of their lives to minister to me. 

So now as I consider my prayer to hurt so much that I could minister to those that hurt, God used it to open up my life to be ministered to.  This makes me think that these fake faces and fake realities that people, in general, put up and hide behind are not of God, but of Satan.  When Adam and Eve had eaten of the apple, they hid in the garden so that God couldn't find them.  But God knew exactly where they were in his omnipotent power and knowledge.  When we put up what we think is a wall between us and God, because of hurt, or unmet expectations, or anger and bitterness, it's like that old adage about walls -- you are protecting what's on the inside, but you are also keeping something on the outside!  In this case, keeping God on the outside is never good and wrecks our relationship with Him.  But He knows exactly where you are and exactly what your hurt is. Go big and let it out!

Can I pray for you?
Jesus, you are truly exactly what we need.  Please open our eyes to how much you love us and how much you really do care.  As you break down our walls, help us to be open to hurting and open to your love.  Please provide friends to care for us and to walk with us.  We seek  your holiness as the answer, and please draw us to you.
In your blessed and holy, righteous name, Amen.