There’s a happy cow somewhere

There are many different things in the world that bother me~ just like they do you. Injustice, poverty, and cruelty quickly come to mind. That said, I am unable to watch heart-wrenching 60 second spots (that seem like 5 minutes) about abused animals. I have to turn my head away while watching religious programming on Mission trips where the children are so emaciated that their bones appear to be covered by nothing more than skin. I balk when I see postings on Facebook about dogs being euthanized or, worse yet, pictures of those about to be euthanized. My hypersensitivity may not always be recognizable to some but, believe me, it’s there.

There IS a difference in how I react, though, compared to what I used to do. What I used to do was turn off the tv and try all kinds of imagery to replace what I had just seen. I didn’t actually monetarily support those raising money to fight the injustice because then I would have to see these images in my mailbox every month. Way too hard.

I began to feel pretty ashamed of looking away because I was too wimpy to learn. I began to feel convicted to educate myself despite my lack of wanting to.

Last week, I made a decision to try very hard to adhere to a vegan lifestyle. Now, please understand, I’m not judging ANYONE who doesn’t “get it” or even judging those who “get it” and disagree with it. Nor am I asking you to not judge me. I can live with judgments or disagreements.

When I avoided meat, I thought vegans were nuts (no pun intended). I couldn’t get why eating eggs hurt a chicken or why pouring milk on my cereal was a problem for cows. I just wasn’t educated because I didn’t really want to read literature about it or, God forbid, view a video that would show me what I couldn’t emotionally stomach. Finally, I did find an article that educated me and did so without knocking me over the head with horrific still pictures or footage. For that, I am grateful. If you’re interested, I’ll send you a great link.

I’m not going to eradicate factory farms single-handedly or replenish the ocean but I’m proud to not be contributing to the opposite actions any longer. I am also grateful that I get to choose.  I am grateful that you get to choose, too.

Pay Attention

A doctor I know recently told a teenager who was texting during her office visit that if she didn’t care enough about her health to give the appointment her full attention, why should he? Embarrassed, she put the phone away but I’m sure she had a lot to say to her friends when the appointment was over. The audacity to give someone your full attention! But really? Texting while a doctor is examining you?

There are days…lots of them, in fact…when I just loath Smart Phones. I don’t want someone to be able to reach me 24 hours a day. I don’t want to feel like my day is going to be wrecked if I accidentally leave my phone at home while I go elsewhere. Despite my feelings, I tote that obnoxious pink-covered iPhone everywhere. How can I go to the grocery with out it~ someone may decide they need me to pick something up while I’m there! How can I go out to dinner without it~ my adult kids may need me!

Here’s a scenario that happens all of the time while I’m out. I see a couple who are supposed to be with each other but they’re so deeply involved in a text conversation or reading the meaningless status posts of acquaintances that they aren’t even acknowledging they’re together. Sad. And, yes, I’m sure people have looked at me and had the same observation. Sad.

Math is not my forte’. Having said that, I can add small numbers relatively easily. My husband and I have (at most) 3 hours together every evening. Why would I want to spend those precious few hours texting or being mindless on Facebook? What has happened to people in 2012? I feel like we’re completely void of the ability to remain focused and engaged with real people. This can’t be good for marriages, in particular. Here’s a link to an article about what’s happening right before our eyes and it’s stop-dead-in-your-tracks serious.
http://www.wnd.com/2012/02/smart-phones-and-social-media-destructive/

Look, everyone complains about being busy but maybe the “busyness” could be spent more constructively. People in truly happy relationships don’t have more time in the day to spend paying attention to each other, they just make more OF their time.

So here it is. I’m caving in and getting a home phone number that only my kids and our parents will have access to..for important calls only. It’s worth the $30 a month just so I can turn off my stinking cell phone when I get home from work and forget about it until the next day.

Can you tell I’m just a little over the tether that has me bound to the outside world? Okay, off my soapbox and off to find a cave to live in…..

Blessings,
Amy 

A Spark

Escalation of an argument into a full blown door slammer. You can see it coming a mile away and yet, like a locomotive unable to stop, it happens. One word too many was said or one word too few.

“Sorry” “Thanks” “Okay”

Maybe 3 words too few.

And these arguments usually begin because someone is tired or frustrated by a situation and the other person doesn’t realize it or maybe even care. Either way, there’s a spark and then, instead of being diffused, something flammable is thrown on it. A look,  an unkind word, or a selfish remark. In an instant, the spark is given life and grows into a little fire.

Now water can still douse this little fire but if careful consideration isn’t made, the fire grows. Argument becomes door slammer. Everyone is disappointed and everyone is upset…and everyone is adamant that they are right. And no one wins.

I hate those arguments. Despise them. I have sat in my bedroom many times contemplating the moment the flames ignited and wishing it weren’t so. Wishing that the words could be taken back and kindness would replace ambivalence…but wishing doesn’t make it so. And 700 compliments can be erased with just one careless comment.

This therapist I know once said that underneath all anger is hurt and I know that it sounds simplistic and I’m probably the last human being on earth to have realized it, but that’s the truth. How many door slammers have happened in your life that were a direct result of being hurt…and angry?

Diffuse the sparks and extinguish the tiny little flames with the people in your life. If you’re hurt, say so. Maybe they have no idea how they’ve hurt you! And then find a way to move on.

My wisdom isn’t always put into action, friends…but I do know what I’m talking about.

Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

James 1:19,20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 

Ephesians 4:26-27 In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Praying tonight that I send the devil packing.
Blessings,
Amy 

 

 

Joyful in all Times

There was a time, not so long ago, that I played a game of Hide and Seek with certain truths. I would seek truths and then hide from them in an emotional, draining game I played alone. The truths were barely concealed but I spent an extraordinary number of hours trying to tear away the veil that covered them. In retrospect, the hours were wasted. I could see through the veil enough to recognize the truths but I didn’t really want to look too closely. I also don’t think God was quite ready to reveal things to me just yet.

When God brought me through that situation and the truths were exposed~ as they always are, eventually~ I felt unsteady but thankful for His protection. There was a spirit of thanksgiving that I no longer had to keep clawing at the shrouded truth and challenging myself to get closer with each attempt~ but not so close that I could no longer deny the truth. What an exercise in futility. It was, in a single word, exhausting. Been there?

God is good. He knows our hearts and He knows our deepest needs, limitations, and strengths.  He only took me as far as I was able and then, in due time,  when He knew my faith was stronger than my own understanding, the clouds were lifted.  My faith was stronger than I had thought and I didn’t just lean into it; I collapsed into it.

Lately, my faith has waned. It’s still there, certainly, but I haven’t needed to call on it. When life is without too many hiccups, I stand on my own and forget to lean OR collapse into Christ. I forget how much I need Him.  The thing about God is this: He will permit us to do that for a time and then we will be reminded why He is to be first at all times. In good times and in bad. I was reminded this week and every book I picked up, every sermon I listened to, every whisper the Holy Spirit gifted to me was full of the same lesson. God is first and God wants His best for me. HE wants His best for ME… but to have His best, I need to redirect my thoughts and prayers so they are in alignment with His perfect will for me.
I spent some much needed time alone with these thoughts over the weekend and it was a good place to be. My faith was restored and refreshed and the hiccups of the last week are just that and nothing more. Simply stated, there is so much about my life that brings me happiness. But when it doesn’t;  when there are inevitable trials, challenges, heartbreaks and sorrows…there must always be joy.   

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13

 

 Be blessed,
Amy

Remember When

My, how things change.
Change is dependable and constant; it’s going to happen. Sometimes, we create our own changes and sometimes events out of our control change us.

Here’s a change on the small scale of importance. My husband is a bonafide country music fan and he didn’t even see it coming. I’m a new country fan, having only listened since 2003. At that time, I had grown bored by pop music and I despise rap music, so in a particularly melancholy mood, I scanned the airwaves and landed on “Remember When” by Alan Jackson. I sat in my office and literally cried…okay, partly because the song has lyrics that rip a woman’s heart out and partly because I was ripe for a good sob. I surprised myself by leaving the station on until I began to recognize songs and artists.
My husband, on the other hand, was not a fan. It wasn’t until I bought 6 tickets for a big country concert in 2006, in a desperate attempt to force family fun on my distracted and disconnected family, that he began to appreciate country music for what it is.
To me, it’s a genre that is passionately patriotic and fun loving. Listen to a country station for an hour and you’re going to hear God referenced in at least a song or two. It’s just about living life and working hard. Country music, for me, prompted me to think of life in its simplest form at a time when life was complicated and messy. The change was good and completely unexpected. 

Fast forward a half dozen years and going to see Kenny Chesney is a favorite event of the summer for both myself and my husband. Isn’t life funny that way? Who you were years ago isn’t necessarily who you are today. What you enjoyed at one time may seem irrelevant or frivolous or selfish.
Friends and acquaintances from years ago may not even be people you now keep in touch with. Kids grow up and move out. Family members pass away. Our jobs change, our food preferences, our cars, our hearts. What you thought you were never capable of may be something you fall prey to. Change can be sneaky.

So as I’m looking at pictures from the concert last weekend and seeing how my life has changed in the last 30 years, in the last 15, in the last 5…I’m retrospective.
My, how things change. Life is just funny…in a heartbreaking, bittersweet, country-song kind of way.

 

Blessings!
Amy