I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for January, 2011

Encouragement is the key!!

Projects like this are so much fun when you start them. Then, as you continue to work, you find your enthusiasm flagging. If you could just find someone to come along side and share the enthusiasm – and maybe some of the work! – it’s much easier to keep going.

I’ve already mentioned that my whole family has gotten on the MHC bandwagon – my kids are planning gifts for the extended family or helping with my projects or both, son is planning to do some wooburning projects to create unique gifts, and hubby is planning to make me a trestle table for my dining room as my Christmas gift (yay me!). That in and of itself was enough. Then my sister got bit by the “It’s-more-fun-to-do-it-myself” bug. Just spent some time on the phone with her chatting over our various planned projects, checking out websites together and generally getting each other all excited over this whole thing again!

It’s amazing how much more enthusiasitic I am when there are others around me ready to give me an “attagirl!”. It’s no fun to be creative alone!

So close!

I tried a couple of different ways of starting the assembly process with the totes. All eight handles have the ends attached at least, and three of them also have the bottoms on. My eldest daughter insists on finishing up the side pieces. She needed the blue yarn that I was using for all the other pieces and I’m waiting to hear from Hobby Lobby about some metallic cord I have a raincheck for. Once I get that, she can finish the sides then it’s a simple matter of assembly and I will have 8 gifts made for Christmas. I’m adding some store bought items to the gift (coloring book and crayons type items) and those I will pick up closer to Christmas. I’ll post a picture of complete one as soon as I can. This is one gift I can share because none of my sisters’ children read Aunt Moj’s blog!!!

That brings the gift total to –

3 cross-stitch items waiting for frames
8 gifts for niece/nephews and others
Not a bad start for January!!

“And life is worth the living, just because He lives.” (From the song “Because He Lives” written by Bill and Gloria Gaither).

After singing this song in church this morning, I was motivated to share some thoughts. I feel like I have known the words to “Because He Lives” forever. As a kid, I didn’t understand the fascination that some adults seemed to have with that song. I mean, it was a nice song. Made you feel pretty good. Sounded nice from a musical standpoint. There’s a verse about a newborn baby which is sweet. But I just didn’t get why some adults got all weepy over the darn thing!

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become one of those teary-eyed adults. I get it. For anyone who has ever hit a rough patch, the words of the chorus can be a lifeline.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.

Because He lives, all fear is gone.

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living

Just because He lives.

(Can you tell which phrases hold meaning for me?!) The song that I used to think of as “nice” has become one that I cannot get through without becoming at least a tiny bit emotional. I can’t speak for others, but the emotion, for me, comes from two sources. First of all, there is the thought that his existence gives my life meaning and I need nothing other than that – “And life is worth the living just because he lives.”

But the “all fear is gone” is another one that brings tears to my eyes. Those tears are a little less happy because I know that I can sometimes hold on to my fear. I surrender to an enemy that should not have any power over me.

That phrase hit me extra hard this morning. When you have kids, you spend their childhood trying to teach them everything they need to know, the tween years discouraging them from trying to grow up too fast, the teen years just trying to find a way to communicate with them and then you watch them step toward adulthood. I’m living in that last phase. My eldest is 19 and number two child graduates this year. I occasionally suffer from a debilitating fear that I’ve left something out; that somewhere along the line, I forgot a crucial lesson and that my neglect will drive them to make bad choices. In reality, my kids are going to screw up. Every child does. They are going to make some decisions I don’t agree with and some that are downright wrong. Part of my brain knows that I cannot do anything to protect my children from ever making a wrong choice. But there is a part of my brain that shouts the sane part down. That part of my brain lives in fear of my children’s mistakes and it’s a selfish fear. I wish I could say that I fear for my children, that one of their wrong choices will have lasting consequences. The truth is, I fear that people with think that I’m a bad mom, that I failed to give my children the necessary skills and truths to live better lives. Talk about selfish!!

But the fear is unnecessary!! I don’t have to fear because Jesus lives and he loves my children more than I ever possibly could. He will work to draw them deeper into relationship with him and all I can do is be faithful to communicate to them what he calls me to communicate to them. Now if I can just remember that truth and live in it!!!

Three steps forward, two steps back!!!
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. After all, the picture shows that I am already moving into the assembly phase of this whole project. But I definitely got a little frustrated with myself when I had to tear out some stitches, re-stitch some things . . . frustrating, needless to say. The good news is, it’s only the end of January and all of the re-stitching repairs have been done and I am still ahead of the game!

Reflections and questions

This post won’t be particularly uplifting. I’d apologize, except I believe moments of introspection and reflection can be particularly cathartic and can bring healing if we let them. At least that’s what I’ve heard. =)

Remember the childhood saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me”? What a load of crap! Words sometimes make the best missiles and they leave scars that no one else will ever see. The tough part is, you can get to the point where the pain has lessened and you think have moved on. Then something happens – an event occurs, something is said, a disagreement happens – and those words come screaming back at you out of your memory with all their original pain.

How does one really move on? How do we really remove the power of those “labels” so that they fall away ineffective? That’s the tough part. Those names only hurt because we let them. The cutting remarks others make, the labels they try to place on us would have no power over us if we simply refused to own those labels or remarks.

I’m reminded of a Max Lucado book, You Are Special, in which the Wemick’s, a “race” of puppets, go around giving the beautiful, talented members of their society gold stars. The less attractive, clumsy, graceless Wemick’s get plain gray dots. One day the main character, a rather unremarkable character named Punchinello, meets a girl Wemick named Lucia who has neither gold stars nor grey dots. Truth be told, she’s beautiful and graceful so she should be covered in gold stars but she has nothing! The other Wemick’s try to give her gold stars but they fall right off. Punchinello asks Lucia why the stars don’t stick and she tells him that he needs to talk to Eli to understand. Eli is the creator of the Wemick’s and Punchinello, though a little frightened, goes to chat with him. As Punchinello leaves, Eli says, “You are special because I made you and I don’t make mistakes.” Punchinello thinks to himself, ‘I think he really means it’ and the illustration shows one small gray dot dropping to the ground. Is it really that simple? We just choose to believe “other” than the labels that people try to saddle us with? I wish I could figure it out!

Brainstorm!!!

I can’t show pictures of the finished gifts I’m working on, but what about you? Do you have gifts or craft projects that you’ve completed that you would like to share? E-mail me a picture at moj8668@gmail.com with a brief description of the project or the instructions for making it. I’m always looking for new craft ideas and I’d love to share yours on my blog!

Watched the Social Network tonight. Good movie. And I don’t mean that in the “I was really entertained and laughed alot” way. The whole movie tests the fields of ethics and choices and it’s a very interesting piece to watch.

I don’t know how much truth there is to all of the events – after all, movie writers tend to “tweak” certain plot points to make certain people more interesting or create completely fictitious events just because they are good cinema. But at one point tonight I asked myself, if he had it to do all over again, would Mark Zuckerberg change anything about the way he went about creating Facebook?

SPOILER ALERT

The whole movie begins with a rather unpleasant break-up between Mark and his girlfriend, Erica. Mark is excessively socially awkward and his behavior borders on heartless and rude. On top of that, he’s obsessing over these exclusive clubs that are present on the Harvard campus and it’s very obvious that he desperately wants to be invited to join one. As a result of getting dumped, Mark gets drunk and posts some really horrid comments about Erica on his blog. Then he creates a website that, within the course of two hours, alienates most of the female population at Harvard (where Zuckerberg is a student) and crashes the Harvard server. The site allowed people to compare two Harvard co-eds side by side and choose the prettiest one. He got the pictures by hacking into the resident student photo galleries of the dorms on campus. Again, a big no-no.

Most of the story is told in a series of flashbacks. Mark is being sued by his (former)best friend who helped him co-found Facebook (before a series of events and other influences ran said friend out of the company) and is facing a second suit from three members of an exclusive Harvard club who claim that the idea for Facebook was really theirs since they had asked Zuckerberg to create a sort of dating website that would be exclusive to the Harvard student body. As one of the characters calls it “match.com for Harvard students.” It’s not really much of a surprise when his lawyers advise him to settle. And what is Mark doing when he finds out that settling is in his best interest? He is on Facebook where he proceeds to send a friend request to Erica. Remember her? The ex-girlfriend from the opening scene? As the ends of the various threads of the story are shown on the screen, we find that he did indeed settle in both lawsuits and that he is the youngest billionaire in the world. What is Zuckerberg doing the whole time these details are flashing on the screen? He’s refreshing the computer, waiting to see if Erica accepts his friend request.

At the end of the movie, he has lost his best friend and completely alienated his ex-girlfriend and really has no one that he seems particularly close to. He’s trying to make amends to Erica although it seems that the attempt will be fruitless. He’s worth billions and he doesn’t seem to care. And there’s a part of me that wonders if Facebook came about simply because one ridiculously gifted, socially awkward college student just wanted a place where he could belong without others deciding whether or not to let him through the door! 500 million Facebook members later, I hope he finally feels like he belongs.

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