Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Colossians 3:17

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Every Friday following Thanksgiving, my mom and I set out shopping. We don't usually end up buying much, and would never wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get the best deals out there, but we do enjoy the thrill of Black Friday.

Today is no different.

What do you do on the day after Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Say What?

Slogan shirts, hat, and sweatshirts are very popular. People have a need for others to know how they stand on issues, what appeals to them, and in some cases, the food that they prefer. I am not that concerned with making sure that every human being that I come in contact with, knows that "I [heart] NY," or want to shout to those around me, "Careful or you'll end up in my book." (That is actually true, but not public knowledge). More appropriately would be, "Watch it our I'll blog/Tweet about you." Consider yourself warned.

Although I have only purchased one slogan shirt in my mid-life, as a teenager, my drawers would have been stuffed with slogan shirts. My only slogan shirt has a picture of a rock and a ruler. The rock is saying, "you rule" and the ruler is saying, "you rock." I like to be encouraging.

One of my son's favorite shirts states, "Save the Humans" with a big picture of a blue whale. He also loves his, "Future Rock Star" shirt, although, after trying the clarinet for exactly one school year has deemed playing an instrument "not his gift."

My daughter had so many shirts that I really cannot even remember one. Okay, maybe one. She is partial to her "Crazy like a fox" slogan shirt which is exactly opposite of her personality. She would never be considered for the "Craziest People" photo in her high school yearbook. Crazy to her is painting her fingernails black - watch out.

While I enjoy reading people's t-shirts, and have chuckled now and again at certain slogans, I have only one rule: You are never allowed to wear a slogan t-shirt with a slogan hat, there is simply too much to read. I'm impatient like that. Plus, having to read that much information on a person's body would teeter on staring like a stalker, and a stalker, I am not.

What is the best slogan t-shirt that you have seen?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven."

Matthew 6:1 (NLT)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Temperature Control

In the morning I am so cold when I drive my kids to school that I want to scream. The heater finally kicks into gear about half way there and then, everyone is yelling at me because the car feels stuffy. I should just tell them to walk, in the cold, and leave the temperature regulation to me.

When I say cold, I am referring to a person who was born and raised in southern California and has very little tolerance for the cold, however, my house was 65 degrees this morning, that is cold.

By lunch time, I am turning on the air conditioner in my car to cool it down. I am typically wearing a sweater and pants because of the temperature when I left my house.

My office still remains cold so I bring a blanket, but then when I leave to office to go home, the air conditioner in my car is turned off, and the heater is turned on again.

Does anyone else have temperature control issues with the current season, or is it just me?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Not Guilty as Charged

I hate guilt, whether I am guilty or not, I hate it.

This time I was guilty, sort of.

My 13 year old stopped me in the kitchen the other day and told me that he wishes that I would document his life more. I tried to consider what he meant by that comment without actually engaging him. I didn't want to feel any more guilt that was already settling in my brain. My defense mechinisms were red hot.

I assumed that he meant that because I do not own a working camera, I haven't taken many pictures. I have left the past three years of photo capturing to my mother, and she has done a fantastic job of documenting. He failed to remember that fact.

I have saved every reasonably important paper and art work piece that he has brought home from school dating back to preschool when he was only five years old. He failed to remember that fact.

I have every Tustin News article which talked about his team winning some competition and in addition, have every team photo, class picture, and report card from the past 13 years. He failed to remember that fact.

I have been blogging for the past three years, documenting his, and the other kids' victories, defeats, and injuries. He failed to remember that fact. He needs to visit the web.

I Twitter and Facebook about what I am doing, in addition to things he has done, and have even done a few videos on YouTube for which he was a part. He failed to remember that fact. He needs to friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter-@lvujnov.

I wrote a book called Spilt Milk-Devotions for Moms which is clearly devoted to stories about my family for which he is part. He failed to remember that fact. He needs to read my book.

I have calendars from years past which are littered with things that he has said which have made me laugh and, in addition, have his baby calender labeled with all of his "firsts." He failed to remember that fact.

I rebuke guilt. If my son wants pictures, he can buy me a camera, either that, or go visit my mom's house. She has plenty.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God is Never in a Hurry

Lately I’ve been having trouble waiting.

Although, in the past I have been known to rate high on the impatient scale, I have been desperately trying to be more patient not only in my daily life with family, friends, and bad drivers, but also in my spiritual life.

As I contemplate my present circumstances, and what the future holds for our family, I get easily frustrated with the praying and waiting, praying and waiting some more, praying and waiting even more. Constantly, I remind myself that God’s timing is perfect, and I have no business hurrying Him along, as if that were even remotely possible.

The other day, as I was thinking about what I am doing, what I want to do, what I have been doing, and what I would like to be doing, it occurred to me that my plans do not seem to be moving along as quickly as I had hoped. I have my own agenda, and my own plans that I desire to be inside of God’s will for my life, it just seems that my plans are on hold right now, and well, that God isn’t moving fast enough.

Before I reached the destination to which I was driving, I asked God to speak to me. I drove in silence for a while and kept thinking mundane thoughts regarding homework projects that needed supplies, and where kids needed to go after school instead of truly being silent so that I could absorb exactly what God was trying to each me. I then turned on the radio which was tuned to a station which broadcasts pastor’s messages.

“God is never in a hurry” came blasting through my speaker like a gigantic head thump. I laughed as I told God, “Ok, I get it.” I remembered again that when I rush my plans instead of waiting for His timing, I miss out on intentional planning orchestrated entirely by God, which is much better than my plans orchestrated by me.

Lately I’ve been having trouble waiting, but I’m learning to get over it.

God’s timing is always perfect.

What plans are you trying to rush?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Skill Sharpening

From a very young age I have always enjoyed drawing. I would draw the dog as he slept, cartoons from the newspaper, and glasses half filled with iced tea which sat on the dinner table.

Doodling was the perfect time passer in class and otherwise. I would decorate letters to friends with block lettering, and sketches of puppies, horses, or animated replicas of the faces of friends.

In junior high I had the privilege of enrolling in yearbook staff class. Although my pre algebra grade continued to slip, academic probation wasn't an option. They needed my skills, my drawing skills.

When I ran for junior class president in high school, I painstakingly created posters of famous cartoon characters who supported my vote. I lost the race, but had the best looking posters by far.

In junior college I took all the beginning art classes that were necessary and continued to do well enough. I had my own art table and stool, complete with a bright lamp to help with close up detail, and enough money spent on art supplies to pay for a years registration and text books.

I then majored in art at the state college level. I failed my watercolor class, and squeaked by with a D in illustration. Art history bored me, and sculpting was messy. Gone were the hay days of thinking that I had skill. It was just a matter of graduating at that point, and then trying to figure out my next option for a career. Between waiting tables and running around the sorority/fraternity race, I wasn't practicing my skill and soon enough, my skill level deteriorated.

Thankfully, I graduated, and then decided to become a fifth grade teacher.

I don't draw much anymore. I'm out of practice. I cannot even doodle correctly, which goes to show you that when you don't practice something, you become worse at the skill instead of becoming better.

Writing is now my thing. I try and write every day. The more that I write, and read great writing, the more my writing improves. Practicing daily is key to improvement in any skill. And, when I'm sitting in meeting and begin to doodle, I get depressed.

Five years of art education, and I can't even draw a bear. However, I can write a great story about a bear, that is, if I happened to know one.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Galatians 6:9

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Heat is On

I turned on the heater today for the first time in a very long time. Not only did it smell bad, but my husband made fun of me for turning it on and not being able to hang out in the 65 degree house without help from the heater.

Since I had on a sweat shirt and sweat pants already, I figured that igniting the heater was a must. My children should not have to pull their arms into their sleeves to warm up or don jackets with hoods while playing inside.

That's my thought.

Today is is supposed to be 80 degrees, but it is not 80 yet.

The heater is on and my son told me that it feels like Christmas.

I'm not quite ready for Christmas, but the heater does feel nice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Consider it Pure Joy?

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2

I have a difficult time swallowing this one. After I read this scripture with great enthusiasm, I than consider the circumstance I am currently experiencing and things don’t seem so joyful. The verse gets easily forgotten as I move toward a more palatable scripture, “Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.” Proverbs 3:29. No harm plotting here, unless you count the fact that I wait for my neighbor to take out her trash so that I can relive our bursting trash receptacle via her nearly empty trash can.

Joy is an interesting emotion. Although I would consider myself someone who has joy in their life most often, I know how easily my joy can be stolen. Ultimately my joy is fickle and often connected to my circumstances. However, as a Christ follower, my joy should never coincide with circumstances and should be ever present because God loves me, my sins are forgiven, and I am going to spend eternity in Heaven. That alone is a platform on which joy should stand continuously. I don’t always get that part right.

Our pastor told us about 5 ways that our joy gets zapped: undernourished spirit, unbalanced schedule, unused talent, unconfessed sin, and unresolved conflict. Any of these, at any moment can take away our joy. In addition, several of these happening at the same time are a blueprint for despair. When I avoid these my joy is more visible.

I trust in the truth that God knows the end from the beginning, and if I can focus on that, and the fact that he wants the very best for His children, the least I can do is find joy in midst of my situations.

Chances are, as I work toward trusting Christ more, being content, and avoiding the joy zappers when they attempt to set up camp in my life, the joy will follow.

The Bible tells me so.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Running Reds

"Sixty percent of fatal intersection crashes are caused by yellow and red light runners T-boning left turners and green light jump starters." ( I knew the rate had to be high since I am a witness to red light runners and stop sign sliders all the time. I am amazed at the amount of people who turn right on a red without stopping, or those who cut off my jog because the are turning left on an arrow which has already turned red. There are never any police offers around to catch the law breakers.

I assume that people are in such a hurry that they have deemed themselves in charge of when they can go through an intersection and not some glaring signal. Admittedly, I have pushed through an orange light; however, after reading some staggering statistics, I am going to follow the law more closely.

I rarely witness drivers making a complete stop at a stop sign either. There used to be a joke in my husbands family that S-T-O-P stood for "softly tap on pedal" and last time I had to endure eight hours in traffic school someone asked how long you had to stop at a stop sign. The teacher simply stated, "You have to make a complete stop." Folks in my town, roll through stop signs and I am always aghast by those who barely slow down. As if the stop sign is so inconvenient.

It is no wonder why there were over 43,000 fatalities in the US from car crashes last year and that car crashes are the number one killer among teens, not drugs, car collisions. Yikes! At the moment, my almost sixteen year old daughter has no desire to drive. Although it is a bit inconvenient for me, I'm in no hurry for her to drive either. She told me that she doesn't feel confident yet. It is no wonder, with all the crazy drivers.

Just recently, I began to slow down while approaching a red light, as it turned green I sped up until I saw a car running a red, left hand turn signal which caused me to stop. This happened twice in one week.

I'm not perfect. I had my fair share of red light running, mostly accidental of course. We all need to slow down and not be in such a hurry that we have to run red lights, unless of course, it is three in the morning and there are no cars for miles, then you have my permission to go through the red.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Down With High School

My daughter decided that she no longer wants to attend high school. She also told me that she gets sick to her stomach every time she steps onto the campus. She doesn't want to go to a different high school, she wants to go to no high school. No high school that has sports, ASB, dances, and any other regular high school events.

This decision didn't not happen over night. We have been battling with the options for a year. When she has a great day or week, the thoughts of leaving get shoved to the side. When kids make fun of her, she has trouble finding someone to have lunch with, and teachers do not instruct her so that she understands, she wants to leave, and by leave I don't mean drop out.

My daughter prefers to do high school online, two days a week with 3 days of independent work at home, or through an independent study program. Anything other than what she is currently doing. To me, it is odd.

I loved high school. I made the most of high school. I was the president of the ski club, even though we only went skiing once, at night, I ran track, I had a boyfriend, I had friends, I even tried out for song leading and failed. I went to football games and dances, and got average grades. To me, high school was fun.

My girl gets ridiculed for being compassionate and deciding to go to Africa to minister to the kids there. She gets made fun of when she cannot concentrate due to the chatter around her and wants to be moved closer to the front of the class. She boldly wears clothing with scripture verses and makes no excuses for her faith and love for God, but some teenagers think that is weird.

She loves high school group at church, but school, is a different story.

Kids are mean. I get that. People are mean. Hurt people, hurt people. We cannot run away from people. I get that too. However, if this is the one thing that she wants to do, should I not consider her feelings? "Why would you make me do something that makes me miserable?" she questions. Hard to answer that one.

We are weighing our options. We are praying. We are deciding what should be done.

Please tell me I'm not the only person with a teenager who doesn't do high school well.

I dropped her off this morning with resignation and a heavy heart. I have been praying for her all day long. I hope she has a decent day. I hope that she can hang in until we decide on the next step. She is such a great kid.

"If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you." 1Peter 4:14

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it."

John 14:13-14

Friday, November 6, 2009

How May I Serve You?

Today I helped a couple celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Forty years. I really didn't know them very well, I mainly went for the cake. It was chocolate with strawberry mousse filling. Although the slice I was give was meager in my opinion, I suffered through it. When I starred at the reaming slices that were sitting without being eaten, no one got the hint that I needed another slice, so I left. I was too embarrassed to grab another slice while holding an empty plate in my hand, but if someone offered, I would have told them I that I would save it for later, and then gone back to my desk to scoff it down.

I really love cake, and this was expensive cake, from a bakery.

Forty years of marriage. I thought 18 was a lot. I suppose it is, compared to 3.

Obviously these two people are best friends. They get each other. They tease each other, and they love each other. They serve at our church because they love the Lord and share the passion for helping other people. That's awesome. The are full-time volunteers. Crazy.

My husband and I used to serve in high school ministry together, for 12 years. I miss serving with him. There is a special bond that takes place when you are able to do volunteer work with your husband and family while helping God's people.

We were created to serve others. When we are not serving others, we miss out the opportunity to be blessed by God. However, any mother knows, that if you have preschoolers or school age children, you are serving them all of the time, and that is where God needs you most to serve, within your family.

My husband and I need to start serving again. We need to set an example to our children, that serving in Biblical. Our family needs to be serving together.

That is something I need to put on my to-do list:

Go serve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Imperfect Friends

God uses imperfect people. That is good to know. I’m one of those.

I don’t like hanging out with people who appear to be flawless. Although I am acutely aware that Jesus was the only perfect person on Earth, some people that I encounter, shelter themselves and don’t ever share their imperfections or past mistakes. This translates into a perception that my character flaws are unique. I then feel uncomfortable about opening up about myself. Keeping up guards and masking mistakes kills friendships.

Recently I had a conversation with my friend Anny. Our seventh grade boys are on the same flag football team at school and we found ourselves gravitating toward each other, and generating great conversation during the games as opposed to [insert guilty look and shoulder shrug here] watching our boys play football.

Although I had known Anny for a few years, I have never had the opportunity to sit down with her and talk about where we had come from, and what we had been doing, prior to ensuring that book reports get completed and packing lunches with a nutritionally apt variety.

As I shared about the demise of my first marriage, pulling away from the grip of God, and floating from boyfriend to boyfriend hoping to find my marital match, my way, Anny listened, without judgment. In addition, instead of nodding through my story and then turning to watch the game, Anny shared with me some of her past hurts and imperfections. This was refreshing.

The next week I looked for Anny and was excited to hang out with her. I anticipated chatting again and sharing while attempting to watch seventh grade flag football. I shrugged off the fact that twice my mother came by and said, “Shouldn’t you be watching your son play football?” I replied with, “I like talking and, I am great at multi-tasking.”

Anny and I grew to be closer friends because she and I were both willing to share, comment, suggest, and listen to each other. This is how friendships grow deeper. I appreciate Anny more now because I can identify with her.

Rick Warren says “It’s only as we become open about our lives that we experience authentic fellowship. The Bible says, ‘If we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other . . . If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves’ 1 John 1:7–8.

Next week my son has another football game, one of his last for the season. I’m going to miss my time with Anny. Perhaps our boys will try out for the next sport together, basketball. If not, we will have to just have a great conversation over lunch like normal friends.

That would be great, too.

“Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed” James 5:16 MSG.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Let's be Honest

I try not to text while I am driving, but sometimes it just happens.

I love to listen to Christian radio with preaching, on my way to work. I need a lot of help. What can I say?

My son's feet smell repulsive, but I never tell him. I just light candles in his room and tell him the aroma therapy is great help for homework.

I just gave my middle mister a haircut and he is telling everyone that I used to cut hair for a living. I don't correct him.

I don't like to listen to Christmas music until one week before Christmas.

Thanksgiving dinner is not my favorite.

I'm not a fan of chocolate cake.

I pull down decorations from any given holiday, the night of the holiday.

I used to be a chronic interrupter. I'm getting better. I'm still not great.

Spiders, worms, crickets, and any other insect variety, besides cockroaches, don't bother/scare me.

Organizing is one of my favorite things to do. I have passed on this gene to my six year old boy.

I have not pasted a photo in any book in ten years, and rarely take pictures of my children now. That's bad.

I do to much for my kids.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Return of the Pony

Within 24 hours the ponytail returned. We visited the salon on Friday. My daughter kept looking in the mirror at her short hairstyle that was also highlighted with shades of brown in order to bring back some of her natural color, and said over and over again how much she loved her hair. She said it so many times that the stylist was a bit smug, waiting for the confetti and balloons to drop from the ceiling and the "Stylist of the Year" sash to be placed across her chest.

Previous to the salon visit, she was so bothered by her long bangs and lack of volume and luster throughout her hair that she squeezed the back section of it into an inch long ponytail and clipped back the sides with significant amounts of bobby pins. Knowing that she was longing for a look that made her feel confident, I purchased headbands for her and commented on how cute she looked while trying on different styles of hats.

All the while I wondered why in the world she requested such a short hair style if she was going to wear a ponytail every day. Recommending that she grow out her hair in order to accommodate the ponytail came with such disgust you would have thought that I suggested she shave her head and tattoo "Bald is beautiful" across her scalp.

After exiting the salon, I was confident that the ponytail days were gone. Her hair was cut in a way that lent itself to easy coiffing by a fifteen year old. My husband and I relentlessly told her how adorable her hair looked, and how pretty she was when it was down and styled. Her friends lavished on the complements as well, and her aunt told her that she was beautiful at least a half dozen times.

This morning she exited her bathroom, with a half inch long ponytail and scraps of short hair pasted down to her head with bobby pins. I couldn't believe my eyes. The money I had just spent on a cute cut and color was all for nothing. Instead of ignoring the ponytail and taking her to school, I said, "I cannot believe you put your hair in a ponytail. Next time you want a haircut and color you can use your own money," This comment didn't go over very well.

She insisted that her failed attempts to blow dry her hair into placement which suited her, resulted in a ponytail. My lack of sympathy and understanding was evident. There were heavy sighs the entire drive to school as she continued to tell me that between the mousse and blow dry, something went awry.

As I considered my frustration and the battle that I was choosing to fight I thought to myself, "It's just hair, right?" I prayed this morning that God would empower me to bite my tongue and her to have the ability to style her hair so that she loves it without having to shove it into a ponytail.

She is finding her identity. I have to constantly remind myself of that, and the fact that she isn't sneaking out at night to be with boys, and well, shaving her head and tatooing "Bald is beautiful" across her scalp.

Things could be worse, much worse.

Let the tongue biting begin.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Thoughts

"You are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water."

Psalm 63:1