We interrupt your regularly scheduled reading...

...for some random information. I was tagged by the lovely Lylah to post 7 things about myself, some random, some weird (are the weird things not random?). Since I haven't been around here long, nearly everything about me fits into "random" or "weird," so I thought it would be a good way to get a little better acquainted.

  1. I was born in Michigan and lived there until I was 8.
  2. Since we left Michigan, I've lived in every state on the west coast (unless you count Alaska or Hawaii as "West Coast." In that case, this fact would be invalid).
  3. Growing up, I was the shy, smart one and my sister was the cute, funny one. I think she grew up to be smarter than me, but at least I'm not so shy any more.
  4. DH and I were married 1 month shy of the date we met 5 years previous. (Yes we dated that whole time. Well, except for the two days we were broken up before he proposed. And yes, we both agree now that 5 years is too long to date unless you meet when you're a teenager.)
  5. We waited 8 1/2 years to start a family (until DS was finished with seminary). We have two boys, Bug and Boo, ages 5 and 2 1/2.
  6. I'm a SAHM/WAHM (my work is intermittent), but prior to this my resume included: telemarketer (selling photography sessions for a Little League fundraiser), housewares and office products retail sales, summer camp worker, TV news production, Kirby (vacuum) sales, software QA supervisor, card catalog filer (when there was still such a thing as a card catalog), Fraud and Security supervisor, corporate recruiter and HR Director.
  7. My new favorite place to blog is Panera. They've only been around here for about a month. I love to come for an iced tea (and maybe a cookie...or if I'm hungry a Strawberry Poppyseed Salad) and hang out here making the most of the free WiFi.

So, I'll post the rest of the rules for the tagging:

  1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
  4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

I don't want to tag anyone who doesn't want to be tagged (or who may have already been tagged but I missed it), so I'm going to alter the rules just a little. If you'd like to participate and share some random info on your blog, leave me a comment saying to check out your 7 random facts and then link back here on your blog. I'll add a link to yours to this post.

I Got Nuthin!

Have you ever had one of those days that just seems off kilter from beginning to end? This is one of those days for me. As much as I hoped that there'd be a point of creativity or calm, it's just not happening. The day isn't over yet, but I know I just don't have it in me to do the kind of post I really want to do.

I have three or four thoughts half-started, but posting any of them today would just seem fake to me because it's not where I'm really at. So this is my apology for not having anything new. I don't want to be one of those bloggers you forget about because the same post is up for days and days on end, and I hope that tomorrow (or the next day) will be a better day.

But for today, I got nuthin.

Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

This is kind of going to date me a bit, but some of my earliest memories include watching “Hee Haw” at my grandparents place on Saturday nights. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I actually still know all the words to some of their regular songs, this one included:

Gloom, despair and agony on me
Deep dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair and agony on me.

It was a lead in to a set of jokes about just how bad life can get. Of course, there wasn’t anything really bad and that was part of what’s funny.

When Hubs and I were dating and I was going through some difficult times, I looked forward to seeing him so I could “unload.” I’m a venter. I don’t really want anyone to fix things for me, I just need to get it out. In fact, there’s nothing more annoying than telling a story where all you really want is a “oh no!” or “That stinks!” but what you get is a bunch of “maybe you could try…” or “Have you ever thought of…?” He learned pretty quickly that I didn’t want a Mr. Fix it, but he still wasn’t one to just let me dump my emotional garbage on his proverbial front lawn. Instead, He started asking “So what’s good about it?”

The first time he asked it really threw me and I did NOT appreciate it. Honestly, there were some of those circumstances where I just could not find anything good about it.

And besides, I didn’t want to.

I just wanted to unload.

But he kept asking. So finally, as a matter of defense, I started looking ahead to have an answer to the inevitable question. Surprisingly, after a while, it changed my outlook. I started planning my “what was good about it” even while I planned my daily complaint. It was good to have a new perspective.

What Hubs did right was he didn't try to tell me what was "good" about it; he let me see it for myself.

It’s rapidly becoming a pet peeve of mine when I’m explaining something that I just wish was different and having someone tell me “well it could be worse, you could…(fill in the blank with their "more bad" scenario of the day).”

Yes, it’s true; it could pretty much always be worse. But oddly enough, pointing out to me that someone else’s circumstances are worse than mine doesn’t really change the fact that in that moment I’m bummed about my own circumstances. And I think part of what bothers me is it’s often the other person explaining that their circumstances are worse--a kind of reverse one-up manship. (One-down-manship?) There’s a subtle but VERY important difference in helping someone find a silver lining for themselves and telling them what they should see as a silver lining.

Which kind of person are you? Are you the “gloom and doom’er” whose clouds are lined with lead instead of silver? Or are you a “little Mary sunshine” who goes around blowing away everyone’s clouds (even the ones that might have brought much needed rain or shade)? Are you the type that sees the rain for what it is and can listen to someone else's downpour without judgment? Which kind of person do you most appreciate or maybe most need in your life? How do you maintain a sense of optimism even in the midst of dark circumstances?

"Mommy has blue eyes?"



I wait to hear if the exclamation is followed by a cry to determine if I need to investigate or not.


Boo threw a Lego’s bin and hit Bug in the back. I understand "boys will be boys" and that means being physical and wrestling and general destruction, but so far I still draw a line at hurting a brother who has done nothing to you. (And most of the time there's a line at hurting a brother who HAS done something to you.) But I digress...

Boo is one of those kids who's hard to figure out just what kind of punishment will really make an impact. When he sees me coming after he's done something he knows he shouldn't, he often takes off running (and laughing like a maniac). Sometimes I'm inspired with the perfect "punishment fits the crime" technique, but the default is always a timeout. So I sat him on the chair and when the timer went off, got down to look eye-to-eye at him.

“Boo, do you know why you got a timeout?”

He’s looking everywhere but at me. I take his face in my hands, “Look at me please. Do you know why you got a timeout?”

He grins slyly, tilts his chin down and looks out the top of his eyes, past his looong lashes that will be the envy of lots of little girls.

“Mommy has blue eyes?”

I don't know whether to laugh, explain that "Mommy has green eyes," or tremble in fear for the future that I face with this one when the little dude (at 2 1/2) is already trying to charm his way out of sticky situations!

Sweet Dreams

Last week, Renee Swope (P31 Ministries) asked her bloggie friends if there's ever been a time they've had to lay down a dream. Here is a link to her post; my response to her question (and some of the details of my journey as a writer) is the first on the "comments" page. As I've looked back, I've seen that nearly every dream He's given me had to be given back at some point before it could be all He intended (some of those specifics will probably be revealed here over time).

As the week has continued, the idea of where our dreams come from and how they become something God can use has continued to rattle around in my mind. I'm reminded that sometimes we have to lay down even a dream He's given us in order for Him to give it back to us the way He's planned all along. Exodus 3 and 4 where God tells Moses to throw down his rod speaks to me of this. What was just a stick in Moses' hand became a powerful tool of the Lord when he surrendered it to God and He transformed it. I think God wants to do that for each of us.

But where do those dreams come from to begin with? Following is something I wrote on the subject some time ago:

1 Kings 3 tells the story of Solomon and how the Lord appeared to him in a dream, asking him essentially "What do you want me to give you?" Solomon asked for discernment to judge between good and evil so he could adequately judge God's people. 
  • Then God said to him: "Because you have asked this thing...see I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor..." Then Solomon awoke; and indeed it had been a dream."
Have you ever noticed that in that drowsy haze between being asleep and being awake, your deepest thoughts seem to drift to the surface? In the first blush of a new relationship, thoughts of the beloved; in difficult times, your most disturbing troubles; when faced with a new challenge, anxious anticipation.

When unencumbered by the conscious mind that often suppresses our most intense feelings, our subconscious mind lets loose what is hidden in our hearts. As the transition between wakefulness and sleep passes into dreaming, these thoughts often become a mini-drama--color, sound, and motion coming together behind our closed eyes to express our most heart-felt longings and concerns.

I often wish I could attach a recorder of some sort to these thoughts. In that twilight fog, many brilliant lines have been composed, many problems solved, and countless plans devised, only to evaporate with the morning light.

In spite of what we hear to the contrary, in general we can't control our dreams. While they may be based on what has been on our minds or in our hearts, the outcome is not usually something we can manipulate in our sleep.

Have you ever had a dream where someone made you mad or hurt your feelings, and you woke up carrying that feeling around with you? That's an indication to me that while we may provide our subconscious with the subject matter, our dreams can have a life of their own, sometimes expressing what we have buried deep inside.

This is why I am so impressed that Solomon asked for wisdom and discernment when God was there offering to fulfill any desire. 

What would you ask for if God offered you anything you desired? Would you ask for long life or riches or protection for those you love? Would you ask for wisdom or a deeper relationship with Him? When your wakeful mind isn't alert to tell you what you should ask for, would your unconscious heart ask for something that would please God?

Psalm 37, a psalm of David tells us that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Some people have said that this means that if we are seeking the Lord first, our desires will conform to His. 

I like to think that it actually means that God places the desires there to begin with with. It's not just that He will grant them, like a genie giving us our "three wishes."

But either way, at the center of having a heart like Solomon's, a heart that seeks Godly wisdom even in sleep, is seeking first after God. And as Matthew 6:33 tells us, as we do seek him, "all these things shall be added to you." Just like Solomon, God promises you and me that seeking after Him with our whole heart will open the doors of His grace to us.

Dream Cookies

These are light, crisp cookies that are easy to prepare--and the recipe requires no eggs. Serve these when you need a reminder that God wants to give us the desires of our heart--we just need to seek him wholeheartedly.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, soft but not melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp orange or almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
blanched almonds--halves or slivers

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
In medium bowl, sift together flour and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture until well blended and smooth.

If dough is too sticky or soft to handle, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour, or until dough is firm.

Form dough into 1-inch balls, about 1/2 tablespoon of batter each. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, leaving room for cookies to spread.

Press almond half (or sliver) into top of each ball, flattening it slightly. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Almond cookie photo courtesy Land O Lakes. 
Devotion and recipe originally published in Tea and Inspiration, copyright 1995, Mary Pielenz Hampton, all rights reserved.

Musical History

Note: The blogosphere gets kind of quiet on weekends, so I've started "Speak up Weekends." If you aren't posting on your own blog, and can't find much to read on the others you frequent, stop by here. You're invited to drop by over the course of the weekend to peruse the topic of the week, ponder your thoughts on the subject and pontificate in a reply if you're so inclined.

While I've wandered the WorldWideWeb this week, I've come across a couple of blogs that used the words from old hymns to reinforce their message. I really liked being reminded of some of those classics that I haven't heard in years.

I count myself as very fortunate to have been raised as probably the last generation who had Sunday services filled with more hymns than "choruses" (remember when that was the term for "praise songs?"). As I entered junior high and high school, our youth groups were singing "Jesus Music," but in church that was largely reserved for Sunday evening services and special events.

The transition from mostly hymns to mostly not has been slow and subtle. And as a member of a generation whose music of choice runs more to Rock than Rachmaninov, I haven't objected to the switch.

On occasion though, I am reminded of the amazing depth of some of those ancient pieces and miss the poetry, imagery and adoration that is lacking when I join the congregation in singing "I'm no hero, no superman, I'm just a man in your eyes." (Ok, no offense to the composer of that little ditty or any worship leader who puts it in the lineup, but there are just so many things about that one line that strike me wrong).

Regardless of what is on the playlist at my church on a Sunday morning, I am glad to have the foundation of countless songs that reside deep in my soul and surface when I'm most in need of expressing a thought or feeling that I can't put into words of my own. So many times as God is communicating a truth to me through His word I find there's already a song in my heart that reinforces it. I love reading (singing) through the Psalms and discovering that I know more scripture than I even realize because I learned so much of it through song.

So all of this got me thinking: how do I give that to my own children? The church is going to keep moving down the contemporary path, and there's some value to that. But there is so much history and faith and passion and (dare I say it?) theology in that thick, dusty book that has been removed from the back of most church pews. (Do most churches even still have pews?!) I don't want to lose all of that in a sort of musical revisionist history.

This is where you come in. Do you have an affection for hymns at all? How are you introducing your own children to the wealth that exists in them? Or do you see them fading away into the memories of an ancient generation like so many of our family stories and thus our history and heritage? Any suggestions? I'll be thinking about it too, and will add what I come up with to the comments.

PS--I wanted to add a link to a blog post that I think has one of the best descriptions of the generational differences in worship. He's specifically talking about the distinctions between "Gen-X" and the "Millenials." It might make you see your own church's corporate worship time differently. Where do you see yourself?

Monkey with a Marble

This is a bug house. It's meant for young explorers to place their backyard prey into without suffocating them like our generation did when we simply put the bugs into a glass jar with some bits of grass and a couple holes poked in the lid.

This week I discovered a new use for it. Actually, 2 year old Boo discovered it. It can also function as toddler trap.

For some reason, he thought it looked like a good place to stick a rubber soccer ball. All was well until he wanted to get the ball out. In an unplanned version of the "monkey with marble can't get his hand out of the jar" experiment, Boo learned that the hand that goes in the bug keeper empty can't get back out when it's holding on to something.

I entered into the scenario when I heard one of those screeches usually reserved for an episode of sibling rivalry. I came around the corner to serve as referee and found Boo with his hand in the bug hut, stomping his feet and shaking it. I got him to stop flinging it around long enough to see the problem; his hand fit through the opening just fine, but with the rubber ball in his grip, he couldn't get it back out.

I got him calmed down and convinced him to let the ball drop. When he did, I could have pulled the insect habitat off his hand quite easily, but he shoved it back in because he didn't want to leave the ball behind. I had to talk him into dropping the ball again so we could get his hand out. As soon as I pulled the bug-house off, he started the foot stomping, shrieking again because he still wanted the ball. I don't think even a second elapsed before I tipped up the arthropod abode and the ball dropped out the opening into his outstretched palm. Mission accomplished; fit over.

In an instant I saw the parallel to my own relationship with God. I know that I have a tendency to hold tightly onto things that I prize. Relationships, jobs, financial matters, writing opportunities...so many things He's given me that I want to squeeze tightly lest it somehow escape or be taken away.

Years ago my mom taught me to picture my prized "possession" in my hand and to try to see myself opening my closed fingers to allow whatever I'm gripping to be held lightly on my open palm; surrendering it to the Lord to take or leave as He chooses.

After seeing Boo stuck in the bug house though, I have a better picture of how it really plays out. It's not about me holding my precious object on my open palm and lifting it up to the Lord as though it rests in my hand. What I really need to do is unclench my fist, actually drop the object of my affection, and let Him release it to me as He sees fit. Sometimes the very act of supporting it myself is what prevents Him from being able to let me have it!

Are you ever the "monkey with a marble?" Is there anything you need to drop completely so God is free to release it to you?

Afterthought--I think when I the kids are done with the bug house, I might appropriate it for myself and use it to keep reminders of the things I'm trying to turn over to Him. I'll write the things on slips of paper, put them inside and shut the door, remembering that trying to take them back out will only hinder me from letting God give me what He wants me to have, when and how He wants me to have it. (If you need a bug house of your own, they're on sale about now at places like Target!)

Endless Possibilities

Do you remember those "Magic Eye" pictures? The ones where you'd kind of squint and let your eyes go blurry and you'd see an image hidden within the picture.

That's kind of how I look at "the Virtuous Woman" of Proverbs 31. Hidden in the picture of this role model of efficiency and accomplishment is another image that doesn't get discussed as often.

The thing that initially made me give this woman a second look was that she had "servant girls." She had household help! I like that idea. (Someday...) Beyond that though, she was a woman who made the most of her time and found activities in which she excelled.

She's the type of woman that a mother wants her son to marry—respected by the community, praised by her family, industrious, wise, resourceful, enterprising. And while we might resent if someone else holds us up to that seemingly impossible standard (and the implication that we're not really okay the way we are), we still make our own efforts to become just such a woman.

Let's face it; we want to be more attractive, more fit, more interesting, more accomplished. We buy magazines and books by the armload to try to "improve" ourselves. We stand in the checkout line with our basket full of good intentions, deciding whether this week we will take home instructions for "Foolproof Chocolate Cheesecake," "A Romantic Bedroom Makeover in a Weekend," or "10 Easy Steps to a Whole New You."

For many years, before marriage was even a faint possibility for me, I found myself frustrated by what I perceived to be a limited number of options for Christian women. It seemed like most of the descriptions of women in the Bible were about being a wife and mother. I was neither. What was I supposed to do with the gifts and abilities that God gave me? And was I ever going to actually be happy in a life of "cooking, cleaning and babysitting" as I unflatteringly referred to it?

Those feelings of limitation were transformed the first time I realized that Proverbs 31 is not a checklist of accomplishments or a yardstick by which to measure my own achievements. It is a portrayal of the endless possibilities of a woman's life; a poetic description of a life of creativity and career, caring and commitment. Here was a passage that spelled out what my heart had always known—life wouldn't begin on my wedding day or end the day my last child left home. Instead, married or unmarried, I have a lifetime to learn and grow and become the woman God created me to be.

I am so not a "woman of excellence" in many ways. I don't particularly like to shop or cook; I heartily dislike the "E" word (exercise) and didn't marry until I was in my 30's.

So what do I find exciting about Proverbs 31? The possibilities.

I am excited and challenged by the idea that there's more to life as a Christian woman (and homemaker!) than that old cooking, cleaning and babysitting. And as much as I may have to learn, I am encouraged to know I've got time to work on it. In the same way we're allowed a lifetime to become Christ-like, we have all the time in the world to become creative, caring, committed women.

Is there something in your heart that you've longed to pursue, but you've been afraid it didn't fit the picture of a Godly woman? As you read Proverbs 31, take another look at your life and find a new way of viewing the endless possibilities God has given you.

"...of this one thing I am certain, He who began a good work in you will perfect it."
Phil 1:6

Recipe: Afghans
The name of this cookie reminds me of the woman of Proverbs 31 who "makes coverings for her bed." If you "squint and make your eyes go blurry," this chocolate version of the traditional lace cookie looks like crochet. Serve Afghans as a reminder of the endless possbilities God gives to women.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, soft but not melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1'/3 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment or grease generously.

In a medium bowl, use electric mixer on medium speed to beat butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla until well blended. In a small bowl, stir together flour, unsweetened cocoa and salt. Add to butter-sugar mixture and beat until smooth. Gently stir in oatmeal.

Drop batter by level teaspoonfuls three inches apart onto prepared sheets (cookies will spread). Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake five or six minutes or until edges begin to firm.

Let cookies cool briefly on sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes approx. 36 cookies.

Photo from Fine Cooking. Recipe originally published in Coffee, Cookies and Inspiration, 1999, Mary Pielenz Hampton. All rights reserved.

Drive-through etiquette

You never really know what your kids are picking up until you hear it come out in their play. To help ward off some of the SBS (Summer Boredom Syndrome) I broke out a "Drive Thru Restaurant" that I picked up on last year's end of summer clearance.

It took a while for them to get down to business as Bug and Boo both wanted to be the cook. They arranged and rearranged their table and chairs and gathered up the play food and dishes. Finally, Boo got on the little jeep and "drove" up to the take-out window where Bug served him very efficiently.

I loved hearing him sound so professional and courteous, "Thank YOU sir. And have a NICE day!" I was a little surprised because the reality is that we don't get that kind of service very often, but it makes me happy that for the moment at least, that's the way he sees it.

And while I do hope he'll follow through on the promise that he shows for being an architect or engineer (or train driver as he insists is his career ambition), I'd be proud if he flipped burgers or sold cell phones (will we still use cell phones in 2025?) with that same attitude.

So, as Bug might say, "Thanks for stopping by. Please come again!"


Happy Independence Day!

What was your 4th of July like when you were growing up? For a lot of years, ours wasn’t anything too terribly special. Maybe a trip to a lake or park for a picnic. A few “safe and Sane” fireworks at home in the cul de sac.

After we moved to California’s central coast, our longest-running tradition became the church picnic. Even though the church was right across the street from a park, we always reserved space at another park that was equipped to host the entertainment for the day-- the High School vs the "old guys" softball game, little kids three-legged races, the church-wide water balloon toss. It was fun to have all ages at the same thing at the same time rather than segregated by age and stage like we usually were at church.

The other advantage was it was the only place that offered enough picnic tables to hold the abundant potluck buffet that was the centerpiece of the gathering (isn’t food always the centerpiece?) I'm a tad picky about my food (ok, that’s sort of a massive understatement). If it's supposed to be hot, I want it really hot, so I'm not fond of lasagna and hot-dishes an hour out of the oven. I won’t eat ANYthing with mayo or mustard so that leaves out all salads (potato, pasta, etc) with unidentifiable dressings, and most sandwiches since I can never really be sure what’s spread on that bread. I’m not a fan of onions or olives…can you see how that would create problems at the typical church potluck? (Funny that I have memories of all the stuff I wouldn’t/couldn’t eat!)

But I have memories of what I did eat too. Someone always brought a bucket of KFC (Original Recipe--you know, those eleven herbs and spices) and there were enough jello dishes and fruit salads to fill the rest of my plate.

Mostly though, I came for dessert. I wouldn’t care if I only got the skin off a thigh in the KFC bucket if I had a good shot at the dessert table. Specifically, Mrs. Katekaru's fresh blackberry cobbler. Made with berries from their yard (blackberries don't grow wild in California the same way they do in the northwest, so it was a special treat). I could usually count on some brownies and chocolate cupcakes with white frosting (with colored sugar or sprinkles) to round out my meal. And yes, I was over 18 for most of those picnics. I can’t help it if my food tastes were stunted when I was 5 or 6!

(And to all of you who’ll be a this year’s picnic feasting on tri-tip and emptying the coolers on Todd—beware Todd, it’s tradition—wish we could see you, but we’ll be at our new church picnic. The tradition continues, just a little different.)

My most memorable fourth was unlike any of the others though. It was fourteen years ago (yes, 14!) and it was our first morning to wake as a married couple. We planned the rest of our honeymoon together, but Hubs planned that second night as a surprise for me. We packed up the car the day after our wedding and headed north, up the coast, to San Francisco. He surprised me with reservations at the historic Fairmont Hotel.

The room we were originally assigned didn't quite measure up to our expectations, so we got moved from the tiny (smoky smelling) "Garden Suite" (that looked out onto some kind of alley) to a "Business Suite." I guess it was called that because it was set up with a fax machine and desk, but our extra $10 got us a two-room suite that was bigger than many New York apartments. Two full baths, a beautiful king bedroom, and a spacious comfortable living room. The windows looked out over the Bay and included a view of the fireworks over Alcatraz. Best fireworks display ever! And the most romantic surprise I’d ever had. Maybe we'll have the opportunity to repeat history for our 15th anniversary next year!

What are your favorite memories/traditions? What did you do for the holiday?


"Easy-going" isn't so easy!

Have you ever been surprised at other people’s assessments of your kids? Teachers, their friend’s parents, people who interact with your children when you’re not there.

People are always saying Boo is so sweet; he’s so easy going, etc. It usually surprises me because at home, “easy going?” Not so much.

He’s the one who reacts with great intensity—literally jumping for joy over something going his way, and throwing himself on the floor and wailing loudly when it doesn’t.

At the park not long ago I was talking with another parent about Bug’s calm demeanor. The dad remarked that Hubs and I “are both so easy-going….” It was a good thing I hadn’t just taken a swig of my water because I might have spewed it all over him in surprise. I hate that I couldn’t just take that comment in stride.

Hubs IS easy going.

I want to be.

I try to be.

But I know with my kids, I am so often NOT easy-going.

I think I used to be. I kind of had to be. Growing up, outbursts of any kind—happy, angry, sad, frustrated, whatever—were really just not allowed. If one slipped out, it was made very clear that it would not be tolerated. Sometimes with just a look, sometimes with a corresponding (and much more intense) outburst.

After a few years on my own though, when there was no one to stifle me any longer, I learned to express myself. Actually, it probably started about the time I met Hubs; the first person I felt really safe with. I didn’t feel limited anymore to sobs or screams muffled by my pillow, but graduated to all-out “expression” that left little question where I was coming from.

But you know what? (Aside from a few lousy drivers I encounter and only within the confines of my car) I don’t yell at people outside my house. I don’t flounce around in a bad mood. I don’t tell people who call at inconvenient times to “leave me alone!” (Although it is easier to ignore the phone than my kids when I'm "indisposed.")

Such behavior is pretty much reserved for home. For the people I love the most. For those who probably deserve it the least.

Recently when I picked up Boo from his Sunday school class the teacher told me again how sweet and cooperative and compliant (compliant!) he was. I responded, “I just wish he’d bring that home sometimes.”

The words were barely out of my mouth when my own hypocrisy hit me right in the face. As much as I wish Boo would “bring home” his easy going personality, I have a feeling my whole family wishes the same about me!

Colossians 3:12
"And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."

I'll keep working on it!

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