Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Saga of Perfectionism

I’m learning that love trumps my idealistic expectations.  Being perfect is a myth.  God continues to chip away at this antagonist and He’s using Renie to do it. 

We turned Renie’s expansive kitchen into a salon the afternoon we decided to color each other’s hair.  The teen daughter got into the act and set up all her nail supplies on the kitchen table with choices of bright colors and designs.

I am going to market this!
I wondered how to section Renie’s long curly locks and asked:  “Renie, how am I going to color your roots?”  She hunted in drawers until she found two clothespins to suffice.  Funny thing is, they worked! 

I relaxed when her daughter soaked my hands in warm sudsy water and I closed my eyes.  I should have kept them closed.  Renie especially should have kept hers closed when her grown up baby girl knocked over the polish remover spilling Acetone all over the table.   I sigh and think to myself: “I’m glad we’re doing this in her kitchen and not mine!”

Someday I’m going to make it big.  I will spend my time in salons being pampered by licensed professionals where classy music plays softly in the background and they serve you glass goblets filled with water and sliced lemons atop.  I’ll have lots of money and leave big tips.   For now, though, I have some lessons to learn here in Hicksville.

Until that day

I remind myself that I’m affirmed, supported and validated just as I am.   Thanks to Jesus I don’t have to strive for perfection.  I can laugh at myself.  And I can laugh at life!

Mistakes and messes…I can adjust.  I’m getting there slowly.  Very slowly.  Oh, so slowly.

Going on a Date
We dressed to go out on the town and I fanned my fingers showing the cute guy my bright nails with the classy doodads.  He said:  “You are going to take all that off, right?”   Why did he say that to me, his chic date?

Better yet, why did I remove it all?

Maybe a little perfectionism is still okay

How are you at rolling with the punches?  Does it disturb you when things get out of control?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Venomous Intruder

It’s the middle of rattlesnake season here on the ranch.  The local news anchor confirmed it.  I’ve seen two already.   While driving along our dirt road yesterday, I mistook a virulent enemy for a branch. I backed up the car, looked again and noticed the branch shifted revealing a rattle at its end.

At one of our road association meetings in the barn, Shelby stood up and shouted, “BOB!” to my next door neighbor.  He’s our vice president and the one all eyes were on as he gave a presentation in the middle of the room.  I sensed fear in the way she yelled his name.  I learned after the meeting that Shelby called out to him like that because she saw a rattler slither in the barn door where she and I sat.  Bob yielded to the interruption and quietly dispatched the enemy.  Ten minutes later, this tough guy was back to center stage falling right back in step with the business at hand.  Bob is my new best friend.

In the Corner of the Garage…

Last week a neighbor family left on vacation.  We agreed to care for their chickens, dogs and pigs.  Just before we arrived for our instructions, we learned that in the corner of their garage, sat a coiled rattler.   The dad showed us a photo of it on his cell after he cut the snake’s head off with a shovel.  On the way home, I remember saying to the cute cowboy, “You feed the chickens and the dogs when we go there.  I’ll stay in the truck and prayRemember, we’re a team!”  He smiled and came back with “The snakes would be more afraid of you.”  

In the popular movie, War Room, the praying Christian mentor teaches her disciple and us, the viewers, the importance of praying with strategy.  She cared little about the specific details of life's daily tensions which, in this case, unfolds a riveting story to watch on the big screen.  However, the teacher was more concerned explaining the deeper truth of how the enemy of our souls invades our lives to steal, kill and to destroy.   She taught us to spend time with God, to listen, receive strategy and pray with faith to the only One who can save us from the deadly intruder.

 Has anyone rattled you lately, snakes or otherwise? 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Summer Touches of Grace

Summer may be behind us now, but the memories are fresh and the lessons they taught me rest deep within my soul.

Do grown daughters with busy lives of their own crave mother-daughter time?  I am so glad mine do!  Summer afforded me several one-on-one occasions with each of them.

I forgot what a pretty city Tucson is although my oldest daughter didn’t enjoy the heat as much as me.  The resort’s pool made up for any discomfort!

My youngest daughter is a power prayer warrior.  We strolled along the Coronado Beach at sunset praying for our family and friends.  I cherish times like these, just her and me….and God. 

I am lavishly fulfilled when I think of the summer days with the daughter of my heart.  Thank you, friends, for your concern for Angie.  She made it through her surgery but complications sent her back to the hospital weeks later.    Chronic pain restricts this compassionate, people-loving gal, confining her to her home. 

The lesson I learned from her is to tell people when I need help and let them know when I’m fragile.  Angie’s vulnerability revealed just how many friends love her and serve her through prayer.  I choked up when one guy shared a memory that describes her perfectly.  On a school class trip over 20 years ago, Angie left the cool crowd to spend time with a guy with a troubled soul.  She helped him shop for new stylish clothes giving him a total GQ makeover as he put it.  He wrote that he will never forget the day that she made him feel part of the in-crowd and how it truly hurts him to see her suffer like this.    As I read dozens of sentiments, I realize that our lives impact others and every day we choose what that impact will be.

By the end of summer, my back needed adjustment so I visited my “body magician,” my favorite doctor and friend, Dan.  We prayed for him at the first of the year, remember?  He’s back in business, every melanoma tumor gone, and he is praising Jesus for what he describes as “miraculous!”  Friends, he was not a believer before this trial.  Please hear my heart full of gratitude for your prayers and kind words...and God’s amazing grace.

I sat next to Brian in church today, the guy we’ve been praying for and rejoicing with because God healed him of liver cancer.  Second report came back same as the first, cancer free!  I told his wife that he’s never looked more handsome.  She replied:  "Or younger."

What are the highlights of your summer?  Anything you want to share as we do life together?  Are you, like me, ready for a new season…hoodies, soups and all things pumpkin?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Trapping the Right Enemy

The ugly fly swatter and the hanging fly tape is now gone from my kitchen.  I found a prettier way to trap those pesky insects.

The clue that summer is winding down is when I’m inundated with flies here in the country where there are as many horses as people.  However, when people enter in through my back door, I no longer have to whisk them in real fast so the enemy can’t get in.  The kids helped me solve my problem a new way; they bought me a pretty plant.

The Venus Fly Trap will trap any bug that wanders into its clutches.

Here’s How it Works
The plant has little hairs around the perimeter of its mouth that snap shut when it’s stimulated by some insect nearby.  It’s not fussy about its menu; it will trap a bee, wasp, fly or beetle.  The plant’s fluid dissolves and digests the captured insects.  We’ve been watering it with distilled water or rainwater devoid of minerals to harm it.

I have not seen an annoying fly in my home…anywhere.  This pleasant plant trap works! 

The Bad Trap
There is a trap, however, that I want to stay far away from, the trap of offense.

Jesus said in Luke 17:1:  “It is impossible that offenses will not come, but woe unto the one through whom they come!”  Like me, you’ve probably learned that when Jesus says “woe” you need to be alert!

The word “offend” comes from a Greek word, SkandalonIt means “trap to which bait is attached.”  As in the enemy of our souls trying to bait us with offense so that we’ll fall into his traps where he can swallow us up and steal our victory.

…And then we look and feel miserable…because we’re offended and hurt.

Jesus tells us that offenses will come, but we can be victorious so that we are not devoured by the enemy’s trap. 

It’s funny how you write a message like this and umpteen offenses come out of nowhere to trap you.  I don’t want to bite that apple, become bitter and friendless and too unhappy to be around.  Plus it doesn’t make a woman look pretty or a man look handsome when they're offended.

That’s your beauty tip today from Pile of Smiles.