Blog #23 – It’s About Time…

November 11, 2011

I have been working on a new blog post for…a while.

I’ve had these ideas, and I’ve been trying to put them into words so that I can make my “GRAND COME BACK” to the blogging world…but I keep getting distracted.

That seems to be a common theme in my life.  Big plans.  GREAT big plans…and then something else comes along to steal my attention, and I forget my original intent. (read: twitter, facebook, PINTEREST)

In the meantime, I’ve been reading some of my favorite blogs.  As it turns out, 3 of my favorite bloggers are all in Ecuador this week with a company called Compassion International.  I’ve read about Sophie’s jungle fears, Melanie’s wardrobe anxiety, and Kelly’s overall excitement for the trip.

And I just can’t keep reading these stories, and seeing the pictures, and NOT do something.

So I am the newest sponsor of a child named Eric.  He is 5 years old, and we share the same birthday.

I’ve told myself for a while that I would sponsor a child when I got my finances in order; when I finally got a certain bill paid, or any number of other excuses, until today.

Today I read a blog from one of the Compassion bloggers.  She was meeting her sponsored child and hearing the story of the child’s life.  She heard about how the child and family had waited for so long for someone to be their sponsor, and how it had changed their lives.  Through her blog post she described that regret she felt in that moment of waiting so long to sponsor this child.

Y’all.  I work with kids all the time at church.  I can tell you from experience that 5-year-old boys do NOT like to wait.  And if I had seen a child walk through the doors of our church in the same conditions as little Eric I would have dropped EVERYTHING to help him.  What was I waiting for?

No more waiting for Eric.

I have to admit I was a bit hesitant.  Frankly, my finances aren’t in the BEST shape.

But neither is Eric.

I went to the website and looked at different pictures.  I had to stop as I admitted to myself that I was looking for the one that “jumped out at me” as though there would be a picture of a child holding up a sign saying, “Don’t worry – I promise to fit into your budget”.

I saw a link you can click to search children by birthday or gender or country…so I typed in my birthday.  As it was searching I told myself that if there was a kid on there with my birthday I would REALLY CONSIDER IT.

There were 7.   Eric had been waiting for over 6 months.

I clicked the button before I could talk myself out of it.

Best decision I’ve made all day.

And y’all – I even bought the last Harry Potter movie today!

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Happy Birthday Tyler

February 17, 2011

So let’s just skip over the fact that I haven’t posted anything in months, shall we?  Great!

Why the sudden blog post?  This is a pretty good week in our family – we have two birthdays right in a row, and I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to tell you about it.

My cousin Tyler turned 12 today.  I almost missed his birthday completely…but I promise I remembered!

 Can you even believe it?  Where has the time gone? 

 I still remember meeting you for the first time, Tyler.

Since it is a three and a half hour drive between our house and yours we weren’t able to be there when you were born.  It was several weeks later before we were able to make the trip and when we got there you were asleep!

We walked in the door and were immediately shushed because you were lying on a pallet on the floor in the den.  We dropped our bags (gently) in the middle of the doorway and tiptoed over to see you for the first time.  You were SO little and we instantly fell in love with you.  In fact, we loved you so much that after being in the car for almost 4 hours we sat right down around your blanket and just watched you sleep.  Nobody said anything – we just watched you breathe and smiled back and forth at each other, waiting for you to wake up.

Eventually we decided that it would be a LITTLE OVERWHELMING if you woke up and saw four strangers starring at you…so we moved to the other room and listened intently as your mom gave us all the details of your short life.

The next day we took the opportunity to watch you as your mom and sister did a little shopping.  She said that your tummy had been hurting lately and warned us that you might be a little fussy.  We didn’t mind – we were so excited to spend time with you.

It was a quiet day.  We passed you back and forth and tried to convince you that each of us would be your favorite when you were old enough to know us better.  You just looked at us like we were crazy.  After a while it was my turn.  I turned on the TV and the two of us curled up in Mamaw’s recliner.  You sat with me for a really long time without fussing once.  I was so proud, assuming of course that I WOULD be your favorite since you seemed to like me so much.

During one of the commercial breaks you started squirming a little so I decided to shift you to my other arm and see if you liked that better.

Tyler. 

I.  Was.  Wrong.

I was NOT your favorite.  You were not content because I was holding you lovingly in my arms.  You were happy because your tummy wasn’t hurting anymore.  And you started squirming because your diaper was full.

And Tyler, when I say that you had a full diaper, I mean that it was so full that it was OVER-FLOWING. 

It took 4 people to change that diaper, my friend.  Mamaw took you from me, holding you at arms’ length into the other room to change the actual diaper.  Uncle Charles went to look for something to clean the recliner and Aunt Debbie went to get me a towel.  After I got most of it off of me I went and got your dirty clothes from Mamaw and threw them, along with my own clothes, into the wash.  Then I quickly jumped in the shower.

It was a good thing that you were so cute!

This is the before…(please excuse my ridiculous hair!)

And we’ll call this the After.  Please note that we are both in different outfits!

We’ve come a long way, buddy.  The next several times that I got to see you we still curled up on the nearest couch or chair and read books, watched TV, or took walks around the house and porch. 

As you got older you started to develop a great sense of humor.  You’re always entertaining us with your own homemade jokes – and it is just as much a delight to see you now, as it was then.

But this post was not written just to tell a funny story.  Tyler, I want you to know that I am very proud of you.  I am so excited that you’re doing well.  It’s been a crazy year, and you have had a positive attitude through everything.  You are a very impressive young man.   You are a good brother and a good cousin.  I always look forward to traveling to De Queen and seeing you.

And I am SOOOO glad you’ve started learning to play the saxophone.  I hope that you have as much fun with that instrument as I did…

I love you, Tyler.  Happy Birthday!

Blog #21 – Random Thoughts

August 16, 2010

A few thoughts:

–I would love to find a CHEAP(ish), comfortable, ergonomically-correct office desk chair.  I sit all day long.  And it would just be nice.  Any suggestions?

–Filing can be done in a number of ways.  My favorite is alphabetical order, then color-coded if you need further categories.  Although, I enjoy the colors more. ( I file a LOT of things) 

–I felt as though I would be good at arranging some fake flowers that I bought at JoAnn’s.  Turns out, I’m not.  I guess floral arrangement is just not my talent.

–In college my roommate and I could eat those soft sugar cookies with the bright icing on them by the case.  Now they just taste powdery and make me kinda sick.

–If I could make a living out of coordinating weddings, taking pictures of flowers and babies, and writing I would do it.  I’m not sure if there is a job title for that…Floral/Baby Photography Coordinating Writer Specialist?

–Do you remember the time when a stopwatch could bring you untold minutes of joy?  Did you know that there is one on your iPhone?  A coworker’s son found mine the other day.  It took him 52.6 seconds to walk around our entire office.  26.3 seconds while speed-walking (I suspect there may have been some running involved).

–I’m about to get pretty busy…I will be teaching Children’s Choir (for the 4th year) and starting this weekend, Sunday School (4th grade).  I’m not sure how I feel about all of this yet.  I may be overwhelmed…I’ll keep you posted.

–So You Think You Can Dance just ended, and I’m not sure what to do now.  I really enjoyed this season…and I didn’t really how invested I was until the finale when I kept hoping that there would be “just one more dance!”  And, excuse me judges, why wasn’t The Prom dance in the finale?  Come on!  Give the people what they want!

–Work is super busy and very crazy.  I am NOT a fan of this new arrangement.

–We have started recording re-runs of “A Different World” on DVR…I can not get enough of Whitley Gilbert-Wayne.  I’m ready to reach the series finale so we can start over from the beginning.  Every time she opens her mouth I want to call Roommate and yell out, “Dwayne! I don’t speak Japanese!”

–I hope to soon put together a continuous string of words instead of choppy thoughts for you all.

The End.

Blog #20 – Meet Karis

July 24, 2010

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine gave birth to her third daughter.  She was 7 pounds, 3 ounces, and 18 and a half inches long…and she is perfect!

Before she was born, they asked if I would come over and take pictures of all three girls.  I was so excited, and spent untold amounts of time looking at cute baby portraits online for ideas.  Here are the results.  Meet Karis Leigh…

At the hospital:

She was so alert!

One week later:

And last, but not least, my favorite…

Blog #19 – Summer Break

July 15, 2010

How was your summer?

I know that it’s only mid-July, and some of the best summer activities are yet to come for most people…but my summer break is officially over. 

Since I work at a company that revolves around the school year, I’ve had the last 2 months off.  At first I was very excited about my “summer break” and made lots of plans for my time away from the office.  Once I realized that it would be 2 months off without pay I began referring to it as my “summer bummer”…

I assumed that I would update my blog more often with all my free time, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to take a break from all the sleeping and the resting to do something as productive as type out the words, “Today, I woke up and watched TV.”

Now that I’m back at work everyone has been asking the same questions – How was your break?  Did you do anything fun?  Are you excited to be back?  So here’s a quick list:

–I was the Music Rotation Leader for Vacation Bible School at our church.  Like the rest of the world we used the “Saddle Ridge Ranch” curriculum and covered every inch of wall space or flat surface with bandanas, western gear, or hay.  I really enjoy VBS so I had lots of fun.  Of course, my favorite song was “Tumbleweed” and I often find myself humming it under my breath without even realizing what I’m singing until I get to the chorus.

–I went to Celebrate Freedom 2010.  Every year, for the Fourth of July, the Christian radio station in the area hosts a big outdoor concert.  And when I say big I mean that it is officially the largest free outdoor concert in the United States….or something to that effect.  I was pretty excited, and I certainly don’t regret the decision to go…but it is HIGHLY unlikely that I will ever go again. 

Don’t get me wrong – the music was good, the people were friendly; we danced and sang and celebrated the freedom of our country and religion…but it was so stinkin’ hot!!!  And I’m not sure if there is a Christian artist out there who could prompt me to load up my folding chair, umbrella, one permissible bottle of water, and slather up with sunscreen ever again.  The way I see it – I live in a popular area; an area in which most musicians stop during their tours.  So I will gladly pay the price of admission to watch them sing in an air conditioned area.

–I played the most intense game of water polo.  The same day as Celebrate Freedom, my Sunday school class met to hang out and swim (please notice that I did NOT stay all day at the outdoor concert in the dead-heat of summer, but quickly retreated to the nearest pool).  We are a competitive bunch, and the first time the game was mentioned it was also ignored.  But by the second or third mention we gave in and picked teams.  To put it nicely the game was called on account of friendship.  In other words – we quit before anyone officially won…because we decided our friendship was more important that who scored 10 points first.  And if we had kept going, we wouldn’t have been friends.

On that same note – I hereby do solemnly swear to NEVER play water polo again, for as long as I can help it.

–I re-painted my room.  I still live with my parents, and have been saving up money to move out for the past few years.  And even though I’m hoping that I will have a place of my own in the near future, the place that I currently reside needed an update, lest my sanity move out before I have a chance to find it a suitable place to live.  I am still in the process of moving things back into my room and arranging them.  I’m hoping to get it completed this weekend.  Pictures will follow.

 That’s what I did this summer.  I still have Children’s Camp to look forward to – but it’s not for another couple of weeks.  So until then, I will be at work.  And to answer that last question – No, I’m not thrilled to be back…as is evident with the multiple times I hit the snooze button each morning.  But I welcome a new paycheck with open arms!

Blog #18 – I am a SUPER FAN of the Jonas Brothers

May 11, 2010

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “You’re 26 years old…and you listen to the Jonas Brothers?”

I would like to submit the following for review:

In conclusion…they’re pretty.

Aside from the fact that these guys are very attractive – they are very talented. 

As a part-time job, I work at our local theatre and a few years ago the Jonas Brothers were scheduled to come through on two separate nights.  I enjoy the Disney-based groups, and assumed that it would be, at the very least, a well produced show.

I don’t remember the first couple of songs because I was busy getting people to the right seats, and “gently reminding” girls that they couldn’t stand in the aisle or jump on stage.  When I finally sat down and listened I understood why everyone was screaming.  Of course, I was temporarily lifted from my trance when Nick Jonas decided to jump from the stage into the aisle and my section went from controlled chaos to borderline anarchy.  Bodyguards came out of nowhere and snatched him out of the crowd and all but threw him back on stage….meanwhile I dealt with a frantic mother who couldn’t find her daughter in all the confusion and who could only describe her as having a ponytail.  (Yeah, THAT was helpful – because in this sold out theatre that holds 6,300 people, your daughter is the only girl with a ponytail!)

We found her quickly (she had gone back to the wrong seat when she returned from her personal quest to meet Nick) and I sat back down to listen.  These guys were so fun to watch.  They were playing their own instruments, dancing around the stage and singing their hearts out.  And the lyrics were pretty funny (Song: That’s Just the Way We Roll).  I went home and downloaded a few of the songs that I could remember.  They came again a few days later and when I went home that night I downloaded the rest.

Quality is ageless, friends.

But what is it about the Jonas Brothers that makes girls go absolutely crazy?  Why do they create Beatle-mania type hysteria everywhere they go?

If I had to guess, I would say that it has more to do with integrity than looks or music, at least for me.  It may sound cheesy, but in my opinion, when you buy a Jonas Brothers album, you’re buying more than music.  You purchase an incredible work ethic and an incomparable dedication to passion.  It’s really just a bonus that it’s all wrapped up in catchy tunes and piercing dark eyes! 

So the better question is – why wouldn’t you go crazy about them?

Did I lose you during that last paragraph?  It was arguably a little deeper than you expected.  I understand.  I didn’t reach that conclusion overnight.  It was only after listening through the album a few times and doing a little research online to see if they had other songs, that I came across the unending wealth of information about these New Jersey based brothers.  I watched the videos on YouTube, saw the interviews, and read the articles – all the typical fan stuff.  There is just something about knowing background information that is appealing to me.  I like their music, but I like knowing that they are good people just as well. 

The thing that I was worried about, as a fan, was the idea that they would soon fade into the background of musical history with other young pop stars before them.  Let’s face it…they’re young – whose to say they’ll be “in style” three months from now?  The difference with these guys is their staying power – I think they take music too seriously to let a little thing like “fads” stand in their way.  The Jonas Brothers make good decisions when it comes to their music; their moves are very calculated.  Anytime there is a lull between albums they are busy presenting new things – concerts, half-time shows, talk shows, movies, television series, solo albums – it’s what has kept me a dedicated fan the past few years.

I’ve been lucky enough to go to a few concerts since the initial intrigue, and I must say – bravo gentlemen.  It’s fun to watch people do the things that they love. 

I almost had a chance to meet Nick once…and by almost I mean that he came to the theatre for another show one night and sat in the one of the suites as I ushered people at the bottom level and tried to make eye-contact.  I tried to convince my boss to let me go up and meet him, but I was denied.  I’m pretty sure he thought that I would be one of those crazy fans that bursts into tears and becomes incoherent at the thought of being in the same room with one of the Jonas brothers. 

I’m not a crazy fan though.  I recognize that the likely-hood of meeting one of the Jonas Brothers and he instantly falling madly in love with me is slim at best.  And since one is married, another is in a relationship, and the third is too young for that scenario to be legal, I’m okay with that.  My goal that night was merely to shake his hand and tell him that I really liked his music and was looking forward to the next concert.  I mean, he nearly got me trampled by a herd of pre-teen girls…we can at least be friends, right? 

Today I bought tickets for their next concert tour….so on July 27th I’ll be in Dallas…singing along to all the songs and looking for another chance to shake their hands and say, well done.

Blog #17 – I enjoy music.

May 1, 2010

I guess saying that I enjoy music is about as original as saying that I also enjoy sunshine and cupcakes…but I do – I really enjoy music.

(And sunshine and cupcakes)

There has never been a time in my life that I was not actively a part of some sort of music group or project, starting with children’s choir growing up at church.  I tried my hand at piano lessons…twice.  The second time around I was just about to start high school, and there was simply no time in my schedule.  Rest assured though, my musical career was not on hold – I played the alto saxophone in the school band.  So what I lacked in piano, I more than made up for with rehearsals, sectionals, marching practice, football games, and a competition every Saturday during October for 4 long years.  I was also in my church youth choir which was, by far, my favorite musical group.

I went to college with the foolish dream of majoring in music.  At OBU however, a degree in music is often considered a 5 year plan…and I knew that I didn’t have the dedication or stamina.  I simply enjoyed singing, so I joined the choir for two years.  I was also part of a ragamuffin college ensemble at the church I was attending.  Our hearts were in the right place…it is a shame that our voices didn’t follow.

Now I sing in the adult choir at my church, and a new ensemble.  I also teach the children’s choir.  Teaching kids is the hardest type of music that I have ever experienced.  Children don’t often choose to come to choir…so it is a struggle when they don’t seem as excited about it as I am.  We manage though – they sing hymns with me, and I turn on Dive by Steven Curtis Chapman and we pretend to jump in the fake ocean that we create with big shiny pieces of fabric.  A good time is had by all.

There are so many types of music that I like, and each genre for different reasons.  I tend to go through phases of obsession with different artists or styles…but there are a few that have made their way to the top of the iPod playlists more than once.

All Time Favorites

Sara Groves – This singer/songwriter was probably my first musical inspiration.  I still remember hearing some of her songs for the first time and thinking – “That’s EXACTLY how I feel!”  I think she’s a writer at heart, and a musician by trade.  Her music is very poignant while at the same time being very easy to listen to; good for all moods.

Personal Fave: Hello Lord and Painting Pictures of Egypt (Album: Conversations)

Bethany Dillon – Her music is wonderful, but I truly fell in love with her when I went online and saw the descriptions behind the songs.  I like knowing the behind-the-scenes reasoning about why a musician writes or creates they way that they do.  I have used a number of Bethany’s songs as devotional topics. 

Personal Fave: Beautiful (Self-Titled Album) and My Love Hasn’t Grown Cold (Album: Imagination)

Dave Barnes – I was introduced to Dave Barnes in college…quite literally.  He came and sang at an outing that I went on with my social club to Austin, TX.  His music is so great, but he won me (and everyone else in the room) over with his humor and charm.  His music has a very romantic feel.  There are also several songs that just have a down-home, country swing to it on his albums as well – but without making me feel like I should be driving a tractor…which I appreciate).

Personal Fave: Sticks and Stones (Album: Three, Then Four)

Andy Davis/Matt Wertz – I also heard these two in college.  Our Campus Activities Board arranged for them to come to OBU for a concert.  I almost didn’t go, but my friends convinced me, and I am forever grateful.  These guys, along with Dave Barnes, make up the soundtrack of my college experience.  Not necessarily the content of the songs, but the memories of hearing them live, laughing at the stories that went with them, and then listening to them in the car on the way to Little Rock at the top of my lungs with my friends.

Personal Fave: Andy – Magic (Album: Thinks of Her); Matt – Naturally (Album: Everything in Between)

Jonas Brothers – Friends.  Words cannot express.  But they will try…tomorrow.  Tune in. 

Mika – I don’t think as many people know about Mika as should.  He’s a quirky European artist – a friend made me listen to some of his songs when she got back from a trip overseas, and they are just so fun.  The music is very catchy, and on iTunes, there is a video that you can download when you purchase the album that documented a mega-concert he did in Paris…it made me want to hop on the next plane and see him in concert somewhere. 

Personal Fave:  Blame It on the Girls (Album: The Boy Who Knew Too Much)

Newest Favorites:

Demi Lovato – I am shame-faced to say that I did not jump on the Kelly Clarkson bandwagon the first time it rolled around.  I mean, I like her…but I’ve never been a super-fan like others.  Miss Lovato, on the other hand, is kind of like a Kelly Clarkson 2.0.  She’s so talented, and her songs are really fun. 

Personal Fave: Every Time You Lie (Album: Here We Go Again) 

Needtobreathe – I should probably make up a whole new category for this group.  That category would probably be called Why-Didn’t-Anybody-Tell-Me-About-Them-Earlier, or I-Haven’t-Stopped-Listening-To-Their-Album-Since-I-Bought-It.  I absolutely adore their music.  It is fantastic!  Their newest album, The Outsiders has a bluesy/country/rock sound.

Personal Fave: Girl Named Tennessee (Album: The Outsiders)

Singles: (The category for the artists who I download one hit at a time)

Beyonce

Jason Gray

Sara Bareilles

Adelle

Stevie Wonder

Carrie Underwood

Colbie Caillat

Jon McLaughlin

Jordin Sparks

Kris Allen

Michael Buble

Natalie Grant

Blog #16 – My 26th birthday.

April 28, 2010

I turned 26 today.

To answer your question….yes, it feels exactly the same as 25…but with cake! (Although to be honest, I choose to make cake-eating a year-round event)

In honor of these 26 years, I would like to share a list of 26 things about myself that you may, or may not know about me…and you may or may not care…

1. I enjoy music.

2. I’m a SUPER-FAN of the Jonas Brothers

3. I like going to concerts….mostly.

4. I REALLY like watching movies and television shows.

5. Series that I own on DVD – Harry Potter movies, Friends, The Office.

6. I’m scared of dogs. (And I find cats a little creepy)

7. I’m becoming a big fan of salad.

8. I’m allergic to metal….

9. ….but I really like jewelry.

10. I still live with my parents.

11. I graduated from Ouachita Baptist University.

12. I majored in Mass Communications and minored in Christian Ministries.

13. While I was in college I was in a social club (sorority) called EEE.

14. I like to decorate….and then re-decorate.

15. I teach children’s choir at church.

16. I also lead a high school girl’s Bible study.

17. I have a great (kinda big) family.

18. I have a younger brother who is in college.

19. I do not know what I want to be when I grow up.

20. Or maybe I do, and I’m just not sure if I’m capable of achieving it yet…jury’s still out.

21. I really enjoy taking pictures.

22. My favorite hobby is scrapbooking.

23. I like my church.

24. I have really good friends!

25. I’m a touch sarcastic.

26. I’m gonna have a good 26th year!

Chances are good that if you’re reading this that you knew a few, if not all of these already. Over the next couple of weeks I think I’ll try to elaborate on these.  So come back tomorrow, and the next day, won’t you?  Same Bat time, same Bat channel.

Blog #15 – An Apologetic Tribute

April 17, 2010

My most sincere apologies…it has been quite some time since the last post.

I would love to tell you that I’ve been incredibly busy, and haven’t had the slightest of time to even consider slowing down enough to string together words for this site…but I was raised on sarcasm, not lying.

So let me summarize.  Since last we met…

Last week my dad sprained his ankle.  Now let me go ahead and set the record straight…

It has been getting warmer outside, and because the temperature has not yet hit 100 degrees we have been enjoying some time with our windows open.  One morning, after I got to work I realized that I had left my window open, and called to let my dad know so he could close it before he left.  That was a Monday.  On Wednesday, after I had already had a whole day to remember (successfully) to close my window, he went into my room to double check the status of my window.  In the process of doing so, he tripped over a shoe and sprained his ankle.  My mother called from the hospital to tell me this story.

Some of you reading this would like to place the blame on my messy room, and certainly it would have been better if things were tidy.  But before we begin throwing stones, I would like to present the facts:

Fact #1 – I successfully remembered to close my window on Tuesday, a complete 48 hours from the original mistake.

Fact #2 – My window can be seen from my door.  The blinds were not down completely, so he could have simply looked at the reflection to decipher the position of the window.

Fact #3 – He did not turn the lights on, but walked blindly into a room that he knew was not at its best.

Conclusion:  Not my fault.

(Before you begin thinking that I have no heart, please note that I have lots of sympathy for him once I actually saw his foot for the first time last night.  It looks as though his foot was in a fight…and lost.  It is black and blue and purple, and his toes look like they could fall off.  He’s a trooper!)

Unfortunately, in the all of the ankle-related chaos we regrettably forgot something very important.  April 9th was my cousin’s birthday.  We generally send his card two days before so that it arrives on his actual birthday…and that was the day of the ill-fated fall.

In an effort to redeem myself, I present to you a tribute to my cousin….A.

This is one awesome guy. I really look forward to seeing him everytime we get to see my dad’s side of the family.  We have a lot in common – we both like singing, and art, and photography.  In fact, for the past couple of Christmases he has given me some hand-made art – like this life-size portrait of me…

When I’m visiting my family I like to take lots of pictures, and A usually comes with me and stands in as a model… 

…which is fantastic since he’s such a good lookin’ kid!

He’s also incredibly smart.  This is a picture from Christmas when he was showing me his amazing, brand-new reading skills. 

He’s also a good swimmer/slider/diving board jumper.

But the thing that I love the most about A is that it is just fun to spend time with him.  He’s always up for running silly errands, even if he’s just gotten out of the pool…

…or coming over to hang out….even if that just means sitting together…

…because it will of course lead to a great conversation…

Happy (super-late) Birthday Buddy – I love you!

Blog #14 – Dripping Wet

March 29, 2010

I find myself often walking the fine line between self-sufficiency and completely drowning.

Have you ever been there?

I am a list maker by heart.  Anytime I can check something off a list, it is a success.  It doesn’t even have to be a big list…or an actual, physical list. 

Wake up – check.

Shower – check.

Hair fixed – check.

Dressed – check.

It doesn’t take much to make me feel accomplished.  And being a list maker really works in my favor because my entire job is based on my ability to check things off a list.  Literally, all day long I look at a giant spread-sheet; a list of things to do. 

It really only feeds the addiction.

Generally speaking, I am on top of things.  I take pride in reaching my goal each week, each day. 

On Monday mornings that task is daunting.  I literally brace myself as I drive in to work.  I take a deep breath every morning as I unlock the front door and step inside to face the day.  I open up files, get things situated on my desk and mentally calculate what has to be done first, what should take the longest, and what can wait until the end of the day…you know, when the “important things” are done. 

I’m a machine.

Since we have had a shift in responsibilities and that list has gotten longer I am especially pleased with myself when I am able to accomplish my tasks without asking for help.  It makes me feel like I deserve the paycheck I get every other week.  Every penny is a little check mark.

But today I realized that my self sufficiency may be flawed. 

See, the list is my responsibility.  I take it seriously.  Everybody is busy, and nobody has free time in our office.  There was a moment when I finally glanced at the clock on my screen today and faced a harsh reality.  It was 3:00 in the afternoon, and there was no possible way I would be able to finish things.

So I buckled down.  I shut out the distractions, zoned in on the timeline and turned everything up a notch.  I vaguely remember people coming in and out of my office.  I was in a fog by the time I left…without finishing.

I got in my car and immediately turned off the radio. 

No noise.

I just wanted to drive in silence after the chaos that I had been facing.  I started mentally reviewing how I would remedy things tomorrow, making a new checklist of the things that I needed to do, and putting them in order of importance.

By the time I hit I-20 my mind went blank.  My brain gave up and started shutting down.  I was on auto-pilot, and made it home safely.  I had already made my checklist for the things I wanted to accomplish so when I got home I sat down with my computer and went to work.

I opened iTunes and began scrolling through the songs that I’ve collected recently.  I wanted to start looking for some new songs that might work for our new monthly Sunday night worship service at church, Mosaic.  The next service will be at the end of April, but I have had a “vision” in my head since I was first asked if I would be interested in helping with music.

There are several songs that have been stuck in my head recently and they all have a water theme.  They use the image of different bodies of water to depict the vast love of God, or the way that Jesus’ love washes us clean, or the calm that comes after we trust Him.  I listened to the melodies, looked up lyrics and tried to piece together a nice order of songs to present to the others that lead music during the service.

In the process of making a brand new list I made a fantastic mistake.  I really listened.

I heard the lyrics and felt the notes and understood what the messages of the songs were saying.  

I am drowning.

Self-sufficiency is the biggest lie.  If my “self” was truly sufficient then there would have been no need for a cross, or a savior.  If I could do it myself then I wouldn’t need to be washed clean.  I am far from sufficient. 

I need the God that created the water…every drop.  I need the God that washes away my offenses.  I need the God that quiets the uncontrolled storms on my life, and turns them into the tranquil rocking motion that brings me peace.  I need the God that recognizes my inefficiencies before I do; while I’m still running around with my to-do list.

I need to learn when to ask for help.  Before I start drowning.

Songs:

Let the Waters Rise by MIKESCHAIR

I Have a River by Billy and Cindy Foote

Washed by the Water by Needtobreathe

I Need Thee by Jadon Lavik