An honest reflection of me- in fragments. Imperfect- Grace Covered. Balance. Mom. Wife.
Nurse. Homeschool Teacher. Christ follower first. Second changes. Thankful.

Mean Girls and the Business of Mankind

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Girls are mean
I can say that because I am one
And because it's true

"You'll never know"
That's what she said to my girl, when C asked - "what's your name?"
I could tell you how genuine and kind and sympathetic and big-hearted my girl is...I know I'm biased
But she is all those things
I listened quietly as she processed from the back seat,
"At first I thought she was kidding Mom, but she never did tell me her name...and I think she was serious"
Then she cried 
And I did too
Because she's mine and 
Girls. Are.  Mean.

What if when I woke up today, and tomorrow and every day I had only one objective
One thing to cross of my to-do list
One thing to get right
Love my neighbor as myself
And what if even that snotty, little, "you'll never know" girl is considered my neighbor
Love her like I love my own little girl?  Like I love myself?
Could I check it off?

Could the business of mankind be my every day?
What if one thing
Could be THE thing?
What if we cared about each other the same amount as we care about ourselves?
The man pushing his cart walking up the block, the cashier at the grocery store, 
The barista, the bank teller, the co-worker, the friend, 
The Mom, the sister, the Father, the brother, the husband, the wife, the child, 
The next door neighbor, the student, the teacher, the coach, the player,  
The father-less, the home-less, the well-to-do, 
The hard to get along with, the undeserving, the one who doesn't treat you like you deserve?
The every man, woman and child of mankind 
"Business! cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.  The dealings of my trade but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"..."Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down..." -- "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens
So I wonder
I wonder if I'm being the neighbor I need to be?
I wonder what my everyday would look like if I made it about this one thing?
And, I wonder what the world would look like?
If my eyes didn't look down?
If they met yours, and saw the need, the hurt, the fun, the happiness, the humanity
And what if I teach her to do the same?
What if we made mankind the business of our everyday?
What if everyone was a neighbor - A neighbor who loved?

...serve one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself" 
- Galatians 5:13b-14

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The Christmas Letter Cop-out

Friday, December 12, 2014

You know what I'm really good at?
Decorating and baking and hosting and gifting and going 
AND getting overwhelmed and selfish and irritable and lost in the middle of all the traditions
Last October God gave me a message
"Un-Clutter your Christmas"
And then he asked me to share I have (twice)
Want to hear it? Or share it with your Church group?  Or book club? Shoot me an email!

I'm also working on applying it!
Step Twelve - quit stressing about stamps and signatures, write an e-Christmas letter without guilt
Step Thirteen - have the kids contribute their own updates

Gunn Kid updates:
I am E.  I like building with legos, playing video games, playing basketball, hanging out with friends, and playing guitar.  I am 9 years old.  I have been playing the guitar for one year and my favorite song to play right now is Hark the Herald Angels Sing (because it's Christmas time).  We have had a good homeschool year, it has gone a lot smoother than last year.  I enjoy doing Advent as a family it is a fun counting down the days until Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

My name is CGG.  I am 7 years old.  I like playing with my stuffed animals, and hanging out with friends.  I love my cat Ellie because she is fluffy and cute, I love dogs too but Dad won't let us get one.  My favorite restaurant is Chipotle and I love to bake cookies with Mom.  Ethan is nine and he's the best brother in the world.  I do theatre and will be in the musical Cinderella in February.  I have had a good year of school, it is has gone a lot smoother than last year.  Merry Christmas!

They also included our ages as well as lists of their friends names and school subjects, but I thought I'd edit that out.
So homeschool...
The consensus among the students is it's a lot smoother than last year.  
Funny they used the same language
And I agree, year two has provided us with a sense of our new normal and a schedule that's manageable.  While everyday is different and being both Mom and teacher has it's challenges I wouldn't trade the time I get to spend with them each day for anything.

As for the J and I ten years later he still holds my hand
Love changes but it's never boring or tiring and it's amazing how it grows with us
Still a feeling but also an action
Stronger and deeper when we choose to be faithful in all the little things

God is REAL 
Jesus came
He's coming again 
The Holy Spirit guides 
And we hope you will experience these truths in your everyday
Our life is simple but overflowing
And we're thankful

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The 7 Things I hate [most] about my neighbors

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mr Rogers was the BEST!
Snappy cardigans, slippers, puppets, imagination and manners
Who wouldn't love to be his neighbor?

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood
A beautiful day for a neighbor
But when we stepped into our little house with the red door no one asked us if we would be theirs
Our only welcome, the incessant barking of our next door neighbors pet
Who ten years later still barks at us

I hadn't given any thought to what kind of neighbor I wanted, or to what kind I would be
But the longer I'm here, the more I realize
Being a neighbor is hard
And I'm not sure how good of one I am

Here's what I hate most about my neighbors...

1. I hate that her husband left

2. I hate that his leaving left her empty and angry

3. I hate that I can hear her cry and yell

4. I hate that her son is growing up without a dad and stuck with a Mom who's emotionally overdrawn and running on empty

5. I hate that it's easier to take over baked goods and dinner than to sit and talk

6. I hate that I can't fix her broken life

7. I hate that I have baked more than I've listened

If baking was a love language everyone understood - I speak it
Someone dies, and my first thought is I think I'll make cookies
Some one's sick, remedy = cookies
People are coming over - I can make chocolate chippers in 16 min
My neighbor is sad and angry and empty and I don't know what to do...cookies
But cookies don't fix divorce or anger or empty
Thing is I know who does
But I'm realizing while a life lived consistently within grace beside someone may show them you've found something different to build your life on, without words it doesn't offer them anything more than empty calories
Jesus repaired my broken relationship
He has given me peace, and the opportunity to be content
He listens to me, intercedes for me, holds me up and fills me up

So the next time I bake her cookies - I'll be praying over the flour, and for the opportunity to listen and speak about who my life is built on because cookies without Jesus don't fix broken
But I think cookies with Jesus might turn me into the kind of neighbor I want to be
The kind of neighbor He wants me to be
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Bad Attitude Christmas

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Santa came, he wears a brown suit and drives a UPS truck
Sounds of popping bubble wrap is the percussion to our daily song
And our room looks like Amazon vomited smiles all over it
It's Christmas time and I love everything about it
I love that it pairs well with baking, and cinnamon everything
I love the smells, the lights, the music
I love how people seem like they care a little bit more about people 
And I love the excuse to get caught up in the little things, like cutting snow flakes, and sticky fingers and sipping hot chocolate 
Making time to remember and to make memories
Today we cut down our tree
But the memory of how I felt on the inside looks something like this...

Aren't we pretty?

Oh don't worry there were about 17 other photos of us trying not to look irritated as well as a 24 second slow-motion video of us smiling - taken by our exceptionally sour (except for when he was trying to be funny) nine year old.
He didn't like the tree
EVERY tree he liked was still in the growing stage not marked for sale, or it was 18 ft tall 
Everything was taking to long, and yet he complained there wasn't enough time
He thought today was going to be "different" 
Well, SO DID I
And I just kept thinking how he was missing it
And ruining it for me...
Because I LOVE this stuff
And you only get Christmas once a year
So we took our compromise tree home 
And settled on this...
"Buddy, we're disappointed that you chose to see what was lacking instead of what we got to share.  We wish you would tell us what's going on inside of your brain.  We love that we had today and no matter how today went, we love you.  We love you because you're ours.  And there's no good you can do to make us love you more, nor could any bad attitude, rebellion, or failure ever make us love you less." 

And as we read our Advent verse that told us of the coming of Christ it sank in deep
He loves me
Patient, Powerful Creator, God loves me
Not because I'm kind, or good, or worth it
And in spite of me being short tempered, selfish, stubborn and broken
He loves me because I'm His
And He came because I needed Him
No good I can do to make Him love me more
No bad attitude or rebellion or failure could ever make Him love me less
Because I am Him - He loves me
And He loves you too
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