Lost for Words

Once I attended a Beth Moore Bible study at a local church.  In one of the videos, Mrs. Moore talked about feeling detached from God for a period of time.  She described the lost feeling she was carrying in her heart.  She talked about how she mourned for not feeling God close.  She explained that she just wanted that close feeling back again.

Just last week, Mark and I went window shopping at Mardel’s.  Don’t you just love looking around in that store?  I could and did spend hours in there touching every single item…….  Anyways, I caught myself thinking:

I miss spending time here.  I miss looking at my next Christian book to read.  I even miss looking for my next blog giveaway.

Then it hit me.  I, like Beth Moore, miss the closeness I once held with Jesus. I stood there lost for words.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I haven’t fallen away from Jesus.  I just don’t have the same vigor I once had.

Being the over analyzer that I am…… it can be a burden sometimes……. I started asking myself the million dollar question:  WHY? What has changed? Then, I started making a list:

  1.  Do I still believe?
  2.  Is it my home church?
  3.  Is it because I work now?
  4.  Has God cut me off?
  5.  Am I doing something wrong?
  6.  Have my priorities shifted?
  7.  Am I crazy?

The last question is debatable.  It can be said that I am a weee bit on the nuts side. But when I think about it……. At one time I wore the title “Jesus Freak” proudly.  Hmmm…..  What has happened to me?  I know God is still there.  He hasn’t cut me off.  I mean there are verses in the scripture that say He will never leave me. (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 13:5)  Am I doing something wrong?  I don’t think I am living in the wrong.  I am still active to a point– Ahem.  To. A. Point.  That might give me some insight.  When I was a stay at home mom, I had time to study, read, participate in a dozen Bible studies, and to blog.  During the school year, my time is taken up by the classroom and all the work that goes into teaching.  It is tough. But what is my excuse for the summer?

Well, let’s see.  I am writing curricular maps, learning Google classroom, reading literature to teach (I have read 3 novels just this week), taking an online course for Arkansas History, attending workshops, and so much more.  See teachers really don’t have a summer vacation.  We are educating ourselves so we can educate our students.  Days of summer fun are really limited.  I will put away my soap box.

Nothing on my list jumps out.  I can justify every single question.

But are they just excuses?

Are my justifications validating or should I see a bigger picture  here?  I mean, when we started going to church many years ago, I was working full time plus having small kids.  And my heart was burning up for Jesus.

Have my priorities changed that much?  I must ponder on this some more.

Do I study His word?  Not really.

Am I praying?  Not really

Am I focused on God’s path for me? Not really

I think I have found my next blog challenge.

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November What??

Some people call it “No Shave” November.

Some people call it “No Heat” November.

Sardis United Methodist Church has declared it……. “Not Negative” November.

November, What?????

You heard me “Not Negative” November.  So how is this going to work?  Simple.  Our goal is to live Philippians 4:8-9.

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Okay, Regina, what are you planning to do??

  1.  Lift up instead of tearing down.  It is my goal–and this is going to be tough–to say words to and about people that speak life.  And trust me…. there are some people in this world that really get on my everlasting nerve.  We all have those people that just drive us nuts.  Well, instead of being negative, I am going to remind myself they, too, are God’s children.  I am going to pray for my heart to soften and to understand why they do the things they do that just make me want to run down the street screaming like a mad woman.  I will speak positive statements about them, to them, and on their behalf.

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths; but only what is useful for building up, as there is a need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians 4:29

2.  My words are to be useful.  Okay.  Hmmmm.  This is really going to be hard….. especially at lunch.  Teachers’ Lounge.  All you teachers out there…… you know what I am saying or NOT saying.  I am guilty of complaining about things that do not make sense.  It is a wonder that my lunch ever gets digested from all the belly aching that I do.  And it isn’t just in the teachers’ lounge.  I complain about housework, homework, church…… every one just needs to listen to me cause I have all the answers.

Ahem…… I have words and no actions.  I rarely have anything nice to say. Rarely do I try  to find true solutions to what is going on around me.  When was the last time my words were actually useful?  When did they create a positive change?  Maybe if I shut up for just a few moments…….. actually stop being a part of the problem and start being a part of the solution…. my actions will follow and create change.

This is truly going to be a tough challenge.  But I am eager to see the change in my heart this little project brings.  So, my friends, are you ready to accept this challenge?  I promise it won’t be a fun ride.  But, I would love the company on this roller coaster…… at least the support you can give me.  You know the saying….. kill them with kindness….. let’s just hope this kindess doesn’t kill me!!  I am just joking….. no really, I am….. honest.

And remember to look for God in all the little places…… even in the little positive comments I will soon be making!!

Don’t be a Fool

My 7 year old self was stubborn.  Completely.  Some say I came about it honestly.  Looking at all sides of my family……. this could really be a true statement.  Hmmmm……

So, at all of 7….. I was angry.  So angry at the little girl across the street.  She promised to come over and play.  She didn’t.  I was mad.  My little brother broke my toy and to be speak frankly….. my panties were in a wad.

Mad doesn’t begin to express how I felt that day.  I was so mad….. I was going to end it all.  I took a deep breath and held it.

I’ll show them……

I will turn purple like they do in cartoons and then it will be all over for me.  I will go streaking across the room like a deflating balloon.

Yep.  I’ll show them……

So today…… two students got into a tiff.  It began like three classes before the blow up.  One holding a grudge.  The other ready to pop the other’s balloon.

I went into referee mode sending each to the corner of the ring.  Slowly as tempers cooled, I brought them back together.  I gently pointed out the oopsies and guided them into a truce, a hand shake and an apology.

Then, I thought about my 7 year old self.  Sigh.  I completely get the holding a grudge and then unleashing on some innocent bystander.  In fits of rage, I am not so pretty.  Who am I kidding???  I am a snotty mess because this gal can’t get MAD without crying.  Ugh!  So frustrating.  I want to yell and scream, yet all  I can do is sniffle and blow into tissues.  But let’s go with the tougher Regina that can argue/battle like Whacko  Wonder Woman.

Does getting worked up and angry really worth it?  Does it truly get the results you really are wanting?  Why is it that we want to yell and scream to get our angry point across?  Are we that self indulgent that we need to be heard over every sound in the room? Blood pressures go up.  Relationships get strained.  Trust can be severed.  Love can be lost.

Is it really a smart thing to do?  My student earned detention over holding a grudge then exploding.  Detention may not be the adult consequences but there are some very hurtful things that can happen.  Declining health.  Divorce.  Cutting ties with family members or children.  Distrust.  A cold heart.

But of course the Psalmist said it best in Psalms 20:3

It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

Hmmmm… I gotta remember that when this fool is feeling the urge to blow someone’s hair back….. with my tear-filled hankie!!

Y’all look for God in the little things in life.  He’s there.

Insult, Today; Compliment, Tomorrow

Living transparent can be a great burden.

When I started this blog back in 2009, I made it my goal to live transparently.  Simple concept……  I have nothing to hide.  It is like living in a fish bowl.  Everyone can see my life stories.  They will be able to read my ups and downs.  They will be able to connect with me on the most human level.

Now, living under a microscope paves the way for many people……. family, friends, and complete strangers ….. to criticize, to scrutinize and even to insult me.  For years, I carried what they said to heart.  Even though, in my mind, I had typed nothing wrong.

Recently…. well, let’s be honest….. one day last week, Mark and I drove into the city to work.  Our conversation was simple…… weather, church, and yes, my blog.  It had been freeing last week to blog again.  It felt good.  It felt right.  It was liberating.

Then, that old familiar argument I used to hear in my head came in crystal clear…….

You shouldn’t talk about such things.

You make your family sound like you live in squander.

You are painting a picture of you being so righteous when in truth you aren’t.

Oh and my favorite…….. There you go again with another crazy idea that will cause your family financial woes.

The torture list goes on for decades.   I used to lay awake at night arguing like a TV lawyer with each and every person who ever made a judgmental call or left a hurtful comment or straight up in my face wagged a finger of disgust.  Hours of tossing and turning left me worn out and well…….  at times, I was glad I had opened the bakery and left the blogging business.

And last week, I was up arguing again but this time was the what-ifers I was defending against.  I mean it had been a week and my mind was soaring with thoughts about what if so and so starts insulting me.

I can state my opinion on MY blog.  My opinion.  My ideas to prove that living a thrifty lifestyle is a good one to have……  My crazy stunts…… My weird ways of explaining how things work in my emotional bad self.  

If you don’t like it…… don’t read my blog.  If someone you know makes a comment about it….. simply say, “I don’t read her stuff.”  

I had it all worked out in my mind.  Every last one of those what-if scenarios.

Exhausted.  And already ready to give up the blog again…… I watched a little YouTube video of the gal who plays Amy on Big Bang Theory.  Her words intrigued me.  They got me so….. I don’t know…… back on track.  I guess that would be the best way to describe it.

Her words that echoed…….

Their insults are compliments waiting for to be discovered by me.

Whoa.  Hold the horses right here……  Am I understanding this correctly?  Insults that pop up today will be compliments later on?  Intriguing isn’t it.  Why, that just puts a whole ‘nother spin on things!

I think it was just a little tidbit that God wanted me to hear.  Maybe He is just preparing me for the firing squad.  Or perhaps, I need to take those negative comments and make them into accomplishments worth complimenting upon.

Hmmm….. Love it when I find God in the little things in life!

Just a Tea Bag

Five years ago, I decided to give up my addiction–Soda.  Yep, cold turkey.  And it cost me three days of complete and utter pain–sick, aches and pains, fever, and the world spinning.  I thought I was dying.  But ever since then I haven’t had a soda.

I drink tea instead.  Just one cup a day.  Ahem….. I am supposed to drink one a week but I tell ya I just need that little happy in the morning to get me going.  Yep, I drink hot tea.  Not coffee–tea.  If my mom was alive today she would die of shock!  I never drank anything growing up except water and cherry Kool-aide.  I would gag at the sight of tea.  Guess my taste buds have grown a little culture.

And I don’t just drink any old tea….. Nope….. it is what I call my Happy Tea.  It is so good!!  I love it with a bit of honey or monk fruit.  YUM!

 

happy-tea

And on each tea bag tag there is a happy little quote.  Sometimes they make me giggle how silly they sound.  And then times like today make me stop and think about it…….

img_3253 Oh dear, I should have thought to do a little manicuring before taking this picture…. Oh well, life goes on…….

Live Light, travel light, spread the light, be the light…..

So, Live Light…… Well, this totally fits with what I have been experiencing this past week.  I am lighting my load.  I have made a commitment to try to live a burden free life and attitude.  I mean in Psalms 22 God states……

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;

I am doing just that.  I am handing over every burden I pick up during the day.  Jesus clearly states that His yoke is easy and the burden is light.  Matthew 11:30.  So, I am taking God up on His offer to take care of the worries and burdens I have shouldered.

Let’s see Travel Light…..  I know there is the literal sense of actually traveling and not taking 10 suitcases…… but I think this can also apply to the whole “No Worries” policy.  I mean think about it.  It is a heavy load to carry when you are worrying about things that happened yesterday, today and what may happen tomorrow.  I am learning that once I pray over a situation, God is big enough to handle it without my help.  I have asked for His assistance or perhaps I continually pray over a situation–then my part is done.  All things are possible with God in control.  I mean really…… why create more worry or burdens for

 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Oh man…. Spread the Light.  That is a good one.  I know you gotta be thinking the same thing as I am right now……

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:15-16

Do I really need to explain this?  It is like the “Domino Effect”–I do a good deed and live by example.  Others will do the same.  Kinda like “Monkey See, Monkey Do”  but in a spread the love kind of way.

And lastly….. Be the Light.

Can’t be any simpler than that–Jesus was the light.  He has passed the torch to me and now I am the light. God’s word is the lamp for my feet in this dark dark world.  I have to take it in every day in order to recharge my light battery.  I am the light……. sigh……Good stuff, God.  Good stuff.

So, in a nutshell….. live light, travel light, spread the light…… be the light.  Ya’ll just look for God in the little things in this life…… who knew a simple tea bag tag could move me……