Slug.

Y’all, this is no lie. Little man and I woke up very late this morning, and I was convinced we wouldn’t make it to church. I washed my hair, and had 10 minutes to get us out the door. He’d already crawled back in bed. There was 0 motivation, and I firmly believe I was subconsciously sabotaging myself. I even sent a text to my mom saying we’d not make it.

It actually started last night.

I didn’t feel like it…last night.

Who does that?

These are the mornings, I find, I have the most to gain from going. So, we went!

You’ll notice I did not say anything about drying my hair. I went to church…with my hair wet. You know what? It was a fantastic message. It set the tone for my whole week. I was the crazy, wet haired, singing/clapping lady sitting in front of people I’d never seen before (and, yes, I talked to them, too). Luckily, none of it was new to Jesus.

Satan is the accuser. He’s there to destroy and cause confusion. He’s also a discourager. Some days it takes honest effort to put myself in the car and go. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. I get out of it what I put into it, no doubt, but I’ll not get anything at all if I am unwilling to move.

I have an amazing church family that loves (tolerates?) me and hugs me, wet hair and all. Also, I enjoy the feeling of overcoming that discouragement.

And, now, my boys have no idea what they’re in for, as we will be spending the night as a family. Not in separate rooms. Not on our individual devices.

Pray for them, though. I’ve offered to cook.

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Sometimes…

Sometimes I think of really cool things to write about during the day. I hear someone say something, or hear a lyric that really inspires me. Then, when I sit down at my computer at 12:30am… I can’t remember what they were. So, I sort of bang my head against the keyboard, and surrender to hoping it comes back to me.

Now is a sometime.

Sociology in a Box (or not)

I get asked a lot about my major (sociology). I had someone a little while ago scoff when I told them what I was studying, and tell me there was no money in it. This person owns a rather successful vehicle sales lot, which made the entire conversation a little ironic.

It’s hard, sometimes, to put Sociology in a defined box if someone has never heard of it. I tend to relate it to psychology (for the sake of simplicity) but, while they go hand-in-hand in many areas, they’re not really the same thing.

There is a micro (individual) and macro (population) level to it all. Generally, Sociologists study “society and social behavior by examining the groups, cultures, organizations, social institutions, and processes that people develop.” I lean towards wanting to study more on the micro level.

Why do you tend to sit in the same seat every Sunday? Where does that feeling of ownership come from? Is that an American tendency, or do we see that in other parts of the world? How does the attitude of young people affect older people around them? Why, when walking through aisles at Walmart, do we look at the ground as our eyes meet someone else’s eyes? The micro perspective says people give meaning to objects then base their actions on these meanings, and studies face-to-face interactions with others. Is reality created “out there?” Or do we create it as we act and interact with others?

On the macro level, you get questions like:

How does this rake I’m buying at Walmart affect people in Asia? Why do we see so many things that say “Made in China” and so fewer that say “Made in India” (and, moreover, “Made in the USA”)? Who are the key players of globalization? Is it a good thing? Is it a mixed bag? How do world policies affect my local community? What will happen to local farms, and how do my neighbors cows affect someone across the country? How do gender and income affect a population’s well being? It’s a more widespread study of “how culture and social organizations change or are preserved” (social processes).

It’s estimated (by the US Dept. of Labor), on average, people with Masters degrees in sociology can make $72,000/year (depending on the job, area, experience, education, etc). I do plan to pursue a degree beyond my Bachelors. The fields are also predicted to grow at an above average rate of 15%. However, none of that was my real consideration when selecting this major. Most people with a Bachelor’s in Sociology land in fields like social services, education or public policy.

I hope to have illustrated why saying “there’s no money in it” is such an odd comment. Sociology isn’t about money; it’s about people. It’s also widely adapted to just about any career from politics, law…actually… you should look at the list yourself (http://sociology.nd.edu/undergraduate-program/careers-for-sociology-majors/).

Obviously, I could write a book about it but I doubt anyone even read this far.

Mostly, I like sociology because it encourages questions. Anyone who has been around me for 10 minutes knows I never, ever run out of questions. 🙂

Wow!

Considering all the craziness we’ve faced this year already, I’m a little excited about the following news.

I just checked my final grades and, very unexpectedly, found I had THREE As and 1 B!!! This was my first semester after a 7 year hiatus, having promised myself I’d return to school someday.  The class I missed by 4 literal points (not average points, a literal 4 points) saw fit to give me an A. I had a lot of outside communication with this instructor regarding nutrition and other questions, and also teamed them up with another department to hopefully begin teaching their courses congruently. It will be VERY beneficial to both departments, and I look forward to hearing about how that works for them.

Additionally, I received an e-mail today from my Sociology instructor inviting me to participate in the National Academic Conference in July. There are only 2 students being chosen to go with their costs covered, and my instructor said she wanted me to be one of them. I am so overwhelmed, as this will be devoted to the topic of community development and agriculture.

Per their website:

The Community Development Society has a history of encouraging community transformation through creativity and imagination. The CDS conference provides an excellent environment for community developers to share experiences, research, and strategies through a vast array of events including preconference workshops, panel sessions, keynote speakers, mobile learning workshops, poster sessions, networking receptions and presentations. Elements of creative expression will be infused throughout the 2015 CDS conference to highlight the conference theme.

Whether or not it works out, I’m so overwhelmed and grateful to have been considered. I do hope to attend, and am looking forward to the Fall semester!

Barn Wood Bird Barn (say it 5 times fast!)

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When my LEO isn’t LEO-ing, he’s usually doing neat things like this. Just wanted to take a moment to brag. The wood came from an extremely old barn.

Also, check out my mother’s day Hibiscus! He’s awfully handy.

My Reins, Your Horse.

Reading over the comments on a local news thread regarding the shrinking of Christianity (or, in their words, “the tradition”), and am struck again by those echoing the sentiments of others with “This is why I left church” or “This is why I don’t go to church.” So often when these discussions come up, they cite hypocrites, imperfect people, fake people and even mean people.

What I don’t read from these same folks is anything similar to “I *am* the church, and I am also broken” or even “This is what I’m doing to pursue Christ, beyond what I see others doing.” Nothing really about how people are showing the love of Jesus to others and continuing to pursue a relationship with Him, beyond the constrains of a third party’s religious perception. “The Church” is not some objective entity. You can’t diffuse blame to some ambiguous heap of bricks (hoping those inside are buried with it) and wash your hands of it. You just can’t, because 1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

The posts I see claim folks abandoned ship, gave up and now justify *their* lack of faith/action (because they go hand in hand) with what they see in, or have experienced with, others.

Am I alone in feeling like this is…well…lazy? Un-ruffle your feathers. I am calling out my former self as much as I am anyone else. For years,I wanted to blame my stunted growth on someone other than me (“Every time I go, it’s a sales pitch. No one wants to talk to those of us who are already Christians”). Could it be something else? One theory I read stated, “…they’ve sat for years wanting to be entertained. They have NOT in any way bought into the mission of the church. They have remained consumers and have NOT become Kingdom producers, sharing in the ministry and allowing God to use them. So, yup, they’ve gotten VERY bored.” I don’t know. Maybe. I’d say it’s also likely they got their feelings hurt at some point, and threw in the towel.

It’s so much easier to be scarred and ambivalent, than it is to reconstruct what one perceives as broken. Whether we admit it or not, there is complacency found in believing one’s self to be helpless, or a victim…or a helpless victim. “The problem is too big, so why not devote my time elsewhere? This is Goliath, and I’m certainly no David.”

We left *a* church because of our honest belief that what we were fed no longer lined up with the word of God, that the message wasn’t fueled by the love of Christ and that there was another place for us. I didn’t retaliate when I was lied about, I didn’t yell back in public when I was confronted by said leadership with hate and aggression in a restaurant (though, I calmly corrected his sentiment) and I certainly don’t entertain passive aggressive Facebook posts about “silly reasons to leave a church” because **I don’t believe in shaming folks into staying where God doesn’t want them.** Period.

I did, and do, pray for that same church.

Most people have no idea why we left at all. My feeling is that our conviction let us know our season had ended there, and it was time to move on. My season is not your season.

What I do know, is I didn’t just throw up my hands and say, “Well, I guess since that wasn’t for me, I’ll just sit here and circle my thumbs until Jesus gets back. Surely, He’ll understand.” Matthew 25:14-30 tells me that’s probably not the case. We didn’t wait until we had a red carpet rolled out that lead to a certain church’s front door. We actively sought our place, and (by grace) we found it.

If you’re one of these people, let me tell you- I understand your heartbreak. I get it. Hurt, abandonment and doubt are devastating. Job said, “If I go to the east, [God] is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” (Job 23:8-9) He also said, “But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) You are not forgotten and you are priceless (“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7). Please, whatever you do, don’t let your bad experiences or perception of others’ shortcomings be what guides your relationship with Christ. You have so many talents, and are capable of being the positive influence you wish to see in the church. Please don’t shortchange the world by keeping that to yourself. It’s not about laying bricks; it’s about laying a foundation of encouragement, hope and redemption.

To All the Moms Who Fall Short of Proverbs 31 (Just Like Me)

I’m not a patient mother.

It’s funny to me that I originally thought I’d be an education major (before, of course, being a mom). I joke at church about my being the last person they should choose to work with children, as I simply don’t connect with kids the way I think I should sometimes as a mom, and as a female. According to my husband, I’m the “mean mom” (I’m the

I’m not really a domestic individual. I’ve messed up laundry many times (the new washer might as well be a Rubik’s Cube), put things in the dishwasher that should never have went in there (and still have to ask where the detergent goes), burnt more things on the stove than I can count (spaghetti noodles should come with a flammable warning) and still confuse the carpet cleaner with the vacuum (they look alike!!). My LEO is trained in all the first responder goodness, so he’s the default one sought by C for a bandaid. I’m more of the “you’re not even bleeding, you’re fine!” type.

I hear my friends tell each other about how some days they just want to hide, rather than face the chaos of mom-ness. Sometimes, admittedly, I do. I’m blessed to have a husband who picks up my slack without complaining. I’m not bragging about my shortcomings; I’m not even defending them.

God, however, has an abundant sense of humor; In that somehow, among my many messes and mess ups, He saw fit to bless me with the sweetest little boy I’ve ever known. I’m not your stereotypical kind of homemaker, so He knew C would have to be satisfied with a limited culinary offering, a simple wardrobe (sometimes meaning a last minute dirty t-shirt that he probably wore last week but found hidden under the bed) and an interest in music, where both our souls find the most peace. I’m often times the rule enforcer (hence the “mean mom” title) and, occasionally, I’m told I’m not his best friend.

However, I have being a mother bear down to an art, because I love him with everything I have (God bless the first teacher/girlfriend/bully who tests it). I will wrestle like daddy, shoot with the boys and teach him to play guitar if he wants to learn. We will never run short of adventures, I’ll never tire of hearing him sing (though I might tell him to wait until after we’ve left the dinner table) and I’ll always be his biggest fan. I treasure every gray-hair-growing, sigh-inducing minute.Most importantly, I have prayed for him to be a warrior for Christ since before he was born, and I will help ensure he knows Jesus. He’ll never have anyone on his side quite like his mama.

I’m not June Cleaver, but he’s mine and, if the wildflower bouquets I get to put in shot glass “vases” regularly are any indication- he’s pretty OK with that.11180140_10100862855028919_743404043_n

If you, too, fall short of the P31 mother-type: you’re not alone. God knows our hearts and our love for our children, even when we burn dinner and wash the red towels with the white t-shirts.  He didn’t call us to be perfect moms. I’m just thankful to be called. 

Love you, boo boo. Thanks for making this day special for me. -mama

Without Masks

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Psalm 82:3-4

psalm8234Last night, I decided I was going to start the 30 Day Husband Encouragement Challenge.  After reading the first challenge, I sat down and went over a few solid LE related Bible verses. I really struggled over which one to choose, but wrote out (on a very fancy torn out scrap piece of notebook paper, mind you) the following:

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. – Psalm 82:3-4”

I stuck it in the pocket of his uniform where he keeps his small notebook, but honestly wasn’t sure he’d find it at all today. I half expected it to end up in the wash! A few minutes ago, he messaged me the following:

“I just found your note in my pocket. I liked it. I wish I would have found it earlier, because I just got done with a child abuse interview.”

I had no idea what to say, so I just replied that I love him.

I think, sometimes, with all that’s going on in the world, we forget that there are still the “everyday” victims and struggles. The ones that aren’t televised; the ones no one will probably ever hear of (outside of those in the victim’s immediate circle and those involved in the related judicial processes), but that weigh very heavily on our LEOs. I didn’t register when I picked up this “encouragement challenge” that I would be encouraging not only my husband, but the man who will hold people’s whole world in his hands for a brief moment in time. It’s a much bigger picture than I, admittedly, first understood!

If you’re interested, the link to the challenge is here:
https://www.reviveourhearts.com/…/30-day-husband-encourage…/

And here is a page with 10 great LE related Bible verses:
http://www.winyourbadge.com/law-enforcement-bible-verses/