Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Secret Identity

Do y'all (over the age of...mmm...thirty-eight or so) remember that show? My Secret Identity? I'm pretty sure it was too cheesy for even Netflix to pick up.

Moving on....

The past couple of weeks (or months, I don't really know) I've been described as a few things, sometimes by other people, sometimes it's the voice in my head.
I've read it in blogs, heard it on the news shows,
that if I believe one way, I must be _____.

We've all got labels, wanted and not.
There are titles we wear proudly, and others we just wear.
Cause they might be true.
Some of them we wear because we just can't seem to shake 'em.

They can be adjectives to describe our God-given personality,
the darkest parts of us, or the stuff in-between.
You know: the good, the bad, the ugly.

If we hear them long enough,
they could become the totality of who we believe we are.
The sum of us.

Homeschool Mom
Type A (winking at my friend*)
Goodie Two Shoes
Super conservative
Not a Christian (It's an election year)
Bad A** (actually, I said that one. Ha!)
Sinner (Nobody can out-sin me.)
Evangelical Conservative
Contradictory (If nothing else, this.)
Too much
Too little
Over the top
High strung
A hot mess

Oh, there's more. No doubt.

Some of these are spot on.
The rest have probably been spot-on at one point or another.

Of all those labels and adjectives, there's the one that I have the most difficulty remembering:

I am free.


If you are reading this, and you call Jesus "Lord",
you are free.
You are free from the box that someone wants you to fit in.
You are free from the past.

Easy to say.

I am free from condemnation.
By God's grace that can only be described as scandalous,
I am free from my sin.
I am free from others' sins against me.
I am free of labels.
I am free to change my mind.
I am free to repent, to change direction.
I am free to serve.
I am free to love.
I am free to give.

So are you. We are free.

We are free to belong to the One who made us and
loves me even though He knew we would reject Him.

We are free. We are free because Jesus of Nazareth set us free.

Yes. It's cheesy.
But, the pic is mine so no one will get mad at me.

Free indeed.

You don't even have to keep it a secret.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The F Word.

Photo Cred: My Spouse. 
While watching a movie, I heard a word that caused me to cringe and look at my girls. You know. I wanted to see if they'd heard the word.
They did.
And they know how I feel about it.

"What did he say?", I asked.
"Nothing.", the Little Sister responded.
"What did he say?"
"The F word."
"What was it? Why won't you say it?" I was grinning. I knew she wouldn't say it.
She struggles with it a little bit.
If I'm honest, I do, too. I struggle with the thought of it paralyzing my girls.
But, we pray against it.

The quote?
"Fear will be your enemy."
-Pabble in Disney's Frozen.

The F word: Fear.
Fear, specifically being frozen by it,  is a major theme of that movie.

I don't know if "fear will be your enemy" but it is certainly of your enemy.
Fear is also a major theme of many of our lives.
I see too many people living in fear and they don't even know it.

Honestly, we don't have to look far to find something to fear:

The ocean
Driving in the rain
Driving on the interstate

Then there are those social fears, the ones on another level:

Missing out
Our kids getting hurt
Not measuring up
What other people think
Not being enough
Our kids failing
Our kids hating us

I'm pretty sure I have a fear of my kids having a fear.
Is there a name for that? I want to feel justified in this one, though?
Is that allowed?

Here's why I'm justified:
Fear is contagious.
Parents, we can pass that junk right on to our kids.
We have to get that.
We can pass our fear of snakes on to our kids.
We can pass our fear of dogs on to our kids.
We can pass fear of embarrassment on to our kids.

If we aren't guarding against it, we can leave an eye color, a few quirks, and a heritage of fear.

Listen. For a while, I had this thing about horses. I could reason through it, it hadn't reached the irrational point, but I was so super nervous around horses. I just knew I was going to be kicked. I'd not had an episode that I know of or anything like that. I just had this fear I was going to get kicked square in the ribs by a horse. So, ya know what I did? I put my girls in horse lessons. I had to sit in the car for the grooming & care part of the lesson, because Meghan would get right up in a horse's private business. Wrecked my nerves. I couldn't be in the barn with my child nose to business-end of that 1500 pound animal. I had to sit in the car. One time, I happened to be in the barn while a horse was on the cross-ties and reared back and came down full-force on Maddy's 7 year-old foot, then kicked her instructor in the head. No joke.
After knowing Maddy and teacher were okay, I told them,
"I have to go now or I'm going to snatch my kids out of here and never come back."
And, for whatever reason, that was the end of it.
Victory in Jesus.
I've since been nose to business-end of a horse and been just fine-- after a shower. Because gross. We've gone on many rides as a family and I'm totally good. Win.

<<Side story that is so true and indicative of my exponential crazy level: When my girls were little, I wouldn't let them watch Veggie Tales: Where's God When I'm Scared?. I swear to Cher. They had never been afraid of the dark?! I didn't want them to get it in their heads that was even a thing! End of crazy-but-true story.>>

That being said, where other people would never have a second thought about their kids on a horse, I've never had a second thought about my kids and the water. I die a little when I see "big kids"- whatever that even means- wearing flotation devices in the pool. Or when I hear people talk to a child under 36 inches about not going to the "deep end". Good grief! At that size, it's all the deep end! I don't think a thing about my girls on the paddle boards or scuba diving or snorkeling. Meghan got to see her first shark on her check out dive when she finished her scuba certification! It was the coolest!

This week, we made a major decision to allow Meghan to come back to homeschooling after beginning the year at a local (wonderful) Christian high school. She had enough school to know that home's cool. Heh. She was succeeding in all the ways, academically and otherwise. She lettered in Varsity Swim. Still, she was able to recognize how efficient she could be at home, leaving her free to pursue her interests. Once she made the final decision, she was steadfast. She owned it, telling her little friends, some of her teachers and administration. She never wavered. Fearless. And, I don't fear for her future. God's got her back more than I do. And His is the power in her. She's gonna be alright. She's gonna be more than alright. Victorious.

If fear is allowed to grow, we could live defeated.

We would still be loved and cherished.

Loved and cherished and defeated.
Loved and cherished and paralyzed.
Loved and cherished and frozen.

Let's not do that.

I'm going for 
loved and cherished and victorious.

Another Spouse photo.

**This is an updated post.**

Thursday, October 1, 2015

En Vogue and Homecoming Proposals

It's Homecoming Season for high schools and colleges across America.

I loved Homecoming as a high schooler. I think I went to one dance with a group of friends and then all the rest were with Spouse and our crew. I don't remember a whole lot about them. I imagine there was plenty of En Vogue and Snap! and, Lord help us, Billy Ray Cyrus to burn a calorie or seven we didn't need to burn.
Go ahead, take a dance break. Free your mind. The rest will follow.
Also, I know every single word to that song and don't remember it being so racial! Ha!

Anyway, I've always loved homecoming and dances.
After Meghan was born, Spouse & I took our first date night to chaperone the 8th grade dance at the school I had been working as a substitute teacher. That crew still remains to be my favorite graduating class and to this day I am distraught I can't find the video of all of them singing "Something Like That". (Their 10 Year Reunion is this weekend and I'm dying.)
In 2008, while working for a non-profit focused on promoting healthy lifestyles for teens by delaying sexual activity, my super friend and I chaperoned the high school homecoming dance and ended up being invited by 25+ students to go to dinner with them and take photos.
Is this the cutest bunch you have ever even seen?
Look here. I'm not saying we were celebrities or anything,
but our cheeks hurt from all the paparazzi. I kid.

Yes. We did this. Truly. You have to know that to pull this off,
we had a fantastic relationship with the school
and the students and were welcomed.
It was truly the favor of the Lord.

Just for fun, I had to include these.
These two couples are married now. Good gracious.

All that to say that I have always loved the HoCo Season.

Until my child is now in high school and there is
homecoming and dresses (she doesn't love dresses)
and hair (she wears her hair down or pony only)
and plans (um, who's in charge here)
and boys (and a dad, let's not forget).

But, that's not what gives me pause for Homecoming.
She's going with a good friend and she'll rock a cutesy dress.
I'll have someone else do her hair and she won't argue and she will love it.

I've seen this trend building for the last few years and it makes me concerned for our young men! Listen. There are so many areas in which I support raising the standard for young men.
We need to see more young men with a strong work ethic, ambition, and integrity.
Yes, let's raise the standard! (Moms of girls, who's with me?!)

This, though, just makes me nervous for these boys!
I blame the Pinterest.

Who's smellin' what I'm steppin' in?

It's the Homecoming Proposals

Granted, some of these are just so cute. Whoever did the first maybe 1,000 of these personalized proposals were probably thoughtful, romantic little pioneers and I want to hear all the cool stories! Of course, these aren't just limited to Homecoming, so let's hear them.

But, beyond that, I'd like some thoughtful dialogue about it because here's what I see:

A product of the "text generation". 
Is this further reducing the amount of real voice to voice communication for young people?
There is something to be said for the actual nerves and sick stomach that come with looking
 someone in her eyes and using words from your mouth
and asking her for a date or a seat or help with homework problem 13.

More pressure.
As if that's not enough pressure, this could add to it.
It takes so much for a guy to ask a girl out. They are risking a hard blow to the gut.
For these guys to have to get artsy and creative and make a sign for social media's sake is just too much. People will know you are friends (recommended) or dating because you will show up at the dance together. There will be pictures then. Does it all have to be a dadgum production?

The moms are doing it for them. 
I know this is true at least some times. The moms are doing the Googling ideas and buying poster board and stencils and candy and bears. Now, I love it when a young man goes to his mom for help with sort of thing. It's sweet. It shows he knows he's out of his pay grade and he needs an expert. Sure, go help him gather supplies. I'm talking about the helicopter mom who's orchestrating the whole thing and driving the Sharpies. He needs to drive the Sharpies, Mom. Or at the very least enlist a good artsy friend to help him out.

Y'all, we haven't even gotten into the Homecoming Mums in Texas.
That was an education. Hashtag Texas Forever.

I know Anne Shirley wasn't talking about Homecoming when she said,
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
but this is just fun.
It just doesn't have to be so much everything to be fun.