Mojo, Party of One, Your Table Is Ready

October-I love ya, but you’ve got to slow down. I love staying busy but this is over the top. Maybe it’s because we have our Disney trip soon, but right now I am struggling with the juggling. Work, kids’ activities, family stuff-I love it all, but it seriously cuts into my blogging. Yeah, yeah, it’s a lame excuse but it’s true. (Kinda like “my dog ate my homework” only this time, the dog did). And if I’m being completely honest, I have been uninspired lately (for lots of reasons). Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to keep a blog fresh, inspiring, and REAL. I want that so badly but wanting it doesn’t make it so. And recent disappointments have left me questioning my writing abilities. I think my mojo up and left me. And I don’t like it. I want my mojo back.

Enter Stage Left: our Sunday School lesson. We were discussing suffering and how we should learn to welcome suffering because of what it can do for our faith. On a day where I was pretty low, this was not what I wanted to hear. Seriously, who wants to say, “Pile it on! I can take it!”? And then my friend, Gerry starts talking about how we all want to be more than mediocre, and I about lose it in class. Because I had been asking God the same question a few hours earlier. Wow-it’s something to be caught offguard in a moment where you really feel God speaking. (No need for the Veggie Tales Jonah to come out and say, “This is a message from the Lord.”) After class, I thanked Gerry for the lesson and told hom how desperately I needed to hear it. Know what he said? He had trouble coming up with a lesson for that day and it literally was Saturday night when he stumbled on this one. Chill bumps, seriously.

Stage Right was my devotional the next night: “Trust me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them. Relax…when you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help.” -Sarah Young, Jesus Calling. Then I started to connect the dots. I need to get out of my own way and let God be in charge. Not just in words but for real. So I left my pity party for one and didn’t look back. Sometimes it’s not so easy. I’m not saying it will work for every occasion. But with these two subtle hints, He got my attention. And that’s all I needed.

Post Script: After writing this post, I happened upon one by my friend, Ami that was perfect timing for me to read. Click here to see what I’m talking about. Ami has several blogs and I highly recommend them to you. Of course, she is a fellow Disney nut, so that makes her tops in my book! But beyond that, Ami has a distinct voice and wonderful writing style-so go check my Disney girlfriend out!!!

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You ARE Special-regardless of Klout

I hopefully won’t offend with my post, but I don’t understand what’s the big deal about Klout. In its own words, Klout says it “measures influence online. When you create content or engage, you impact others. Klout analyzes that impact to find your Klout Score, influential topics, and your influencers.” Sounds good, right? Don’t we all strive to “make a difference”? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want people to read my blog and get something out of it.

So when I’m on Twitter, occasionally a Tweet will pop up saying that Friend #1 gave Friend #2 Klout in a particular subject. It seems to be a metric to measure how successful you are in your online endeavors. And for some, it provides useful information on how influential they are in social media. Maybe my disdain/skepticism says more about where I am in the blogosphere. And I’m fine with that.

I guess I’m drawing too many parallels between Klout and this wonderful children’s book that my son loves entitled You Are Special by Max Lucado. The story focuses on the loveable but imperfect Punchinello and a society of wooden people (Wemmicks) focused on giving one another stars or dots. Finally, Punchinello meets the woodcarver, Eli, who reminds Punchinello that he is special and it doesn’t matter what the Wemmicks think. In other words, stars and dots don’t mean a thing.

Which brings me back to Klout. Looks strangely like the Wemmicks giving stars, huh? Maybe I’ve been reading too many kids books lately and you can dismiss my ruminations based solely on that. And for those that make their living on social media, I get it. But I’m OK with trying to live a Klout-free life. And it feels pretty special all the same.

Get Your Snoopy Dance On

So I saw this Facebook challenge over the weekend: “Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on FB until Monday, Dec. 6th. Join the fight against child abuse and copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same!” So, what would/did you post–honestly? Surely your mind went to some favorite cartoon, whether you choose to admit it or not. (Begrudgingly, I should have put a smurf up there but that brings back all sorts of horrific memories from 4th grade when Papa Smurf was thrown into a mud puddle by a mean boy and stayed for weeks until he could be retrieved. OK, I’ve said too much). And while there are numerous Disney characters that I loved growing up, my cartoon had to be Snoopy. In full on Snoopy dance. Cause that’s how I roll. I see the Snoopy dance as the quintessential expression of unbridled joy, excitement and fun. There are even some friends of mine who share my Snoopy affinity. Just sayin’ 😉

Many things this holiday season put me in Snoopy dance mode: decorating the house, trimming the tree, hot cocoa and s’mores, caroling, and, oh yeah, our trip to Disney World this week. Christmas spirit is ON at the Boswell house. But just as important is teaching my kids to give back, help others less fortunate, and focus on the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Better said, put Christ in Christmas. So we donate to Operation Christmas Child, buy gifts for our sponsored Angel Tree child (which the kids LOVED), and serve at the Carpenter’s Table, our local food pantry (check it out at  www.thecarpenterstable.org) But is it enough? I struggle with the push and pull of Christmas: of wanting to give thoughtful, generous gifts to my family and friends but worrying about how my focus on that shifts me from what I should be celebrating: the miracle of the Messiah’s birth. Shopping for gifts, you can easily get sucked into the vortex of the commercial-driven madness, the quest for the ever elusive “perfect” gift. It’s a conundrum, to be sure. So I’ve decided that it’s all about BALANCE. To joyfully give and teach my kiddos the same. To meditate and pray. To share time with loved ones. And anything that can point me to the manger, to Bethlehem, to Jesus. Now THAT deserves a Snoopy dance!

So what do YOU do to for Christmas to maintain balance? I’d love to hear from you–

Sherry

On a Zip Line and a Prayer

Taylor’s fourth grade class traveled to Camp Thunderbird on Monday for a field trip. One of the many things I love about being a SAHM is that I can usually go along on school outings and have a front row seat to what my kids are doing that day. So when I heard they would also be doing a high ropes course and zip line, I thought, “That sounds cool. I can do that!” Yet when we arrived at the zip line tower, all I could think of was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Sure, I’ve managed to ride that several times without incident (aside from my stomach ending up in my throat), but the wooden platform with winding staircase loomed large ahead. I had to keep my cool because Taylor and I would be “zipping” side by side and I didn’t want to make her nervous. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I would attempt it although I did reconsider after putting on the harness. Seriously, it felt so snug and confining like a combination of a corset and chastity belt. (Not that I would know).

So, as we climbed the stairs, helmets and harnesses on, I felt at ease. Hooked up to safety line? Check. Equipment properly on? Check. Sit down to prepare for zipping? And that’s when the helpless feeling descended. Because as you sit down, gravity kicks in and starts pulling you forward. I felt poised to fly right off the platform like some baby bird that is NOT ready to fly that gets pushed from the nest. Suddenly, a voice (our guide) reminded me that he had me and I wasn’t going anywhere until I was ready. We counted down…and leaned forward… and let go. And we were airborne! Flying, soaring, hurtling, spinning— it was AMAZING. Liberating. So effortless to just glide back down to the ground.

And then I couldn’t help but see the similarities in zip lining and trusting God. He has me. All the time. I am secure, held safe, not going anywhere without Him. He has a plan for where I am going. I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11:  “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Believe me, nothing is more reassuring when on a zip line than to know that God’s plans are not to harm you but give you a future! Still, the harder practice is to just trust Him and let go. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5. For me that is the hardest part–letting go and getting out of my own way. Thinking I have all the answers and relying too much on myself. Especially in our society that inundates us with self-help gurus and celebrates self-made millionaires. Where you are defined not by who you are, but by what you do for a living. (If I had a dollar for every “what do you do” question… I digress.) Trusting in God more than in your own abilities is countercultural and just plain weird. But I want to be weird (does having the “be weird” Dave Ramsey sticker count?).

I’ll close by recommending a website-please check out www.lifewithoutlimbs.org. An amazing man from Australia with an awe-inspiring message. And yes, a man born with no arms or legs. Who also had to rely on the promise of Jeremiah 29:11 that God had big plans for his life. When asked about whether he blamed God about his condition, Nick Vujicic says, “I struggled with it for many years. But, through Scriptures like John 9 and Jeremiah 29:11-14 where it talks about a hope and a future, and seeking God with all your heart, I knew that I needed to refocus my attitude toward praise concerning what I did have and to realize God did in fact have a divine plan, hope and future for my life that was good, regardless of my circumstances.” After hearing the enormous faith of a limbless man, it really puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?

Just writing this is an act of faith for me-just like my leap forward off a zip line tower. So, if you have been inspired by anything here, please take time to post a comment on my blog. I could use your voice of reassurance as I’m spiraling out here in the Internet. You can even share your  “zip line” moment that reminded you to trust and let go. I’d love to hear from you.

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