Thursday, March 12, 2015

traveling and acting like a pinterest boss

While I won't bore you with the many details of our travels to Hawaii, I will say this: we were there. It was warm.  

Really everything else is frosting on the cake.  Seriously.  When it is THAT cold for THIS long..  you just need to get away and get warm for a few weeks.  I stayed with a friend and helped her out.  I spent every free minute on the deck of their lovely home, just enjoying the weather and taking in the view.  Really.. I am so low maintenance.  And then my sweetheart arrived. 

Things started getting.. 

O.K. you get the picture.

And then there was this. I am completely mesmerized by the ocean.

I confess.  I am too afraid to get in, but I can embrace it to some degree.  The "surf" of Lake Superior did not train me in for the high and rough seas of the North Shore of O'ahu.    But the allure of it!!!

I did "accidentally" get a little wet.

O.K. I was completely drenched, but that is only because I lost a bet with a wave.  The wave told me it was only going so far, but it went about 15 feet farther than expected.

It started innocently enough.  I said, "HEY... wouldn't it be cool if..."  famous last words.
"I'll do this plank, and you get the wave in the backdrop.."

You know.. pilates on the beach.. sort of thing.  Just like something you would see on pinterest.

 In a word, "NAILED IT!!"

OR.. not.  I'll spare you the last 10 pictures.  Half of them are ridiculous and the other half are being sold to an irreputable magazine. O.K. not really. 
But  never mind.

I didn't steal anyone's luggage--so I may get to go somewhere else if I can keep up this trend. 
Of course, buying myself an obnoxiously bright orange suitcase may or may not have had something to do with this most recent success.  I'll let you decide.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Coping in a fear-driven society

We seem to like to relate to our inner-drama queen when comes to being American.  If our world seems perfect, it's just because disaster is looming.  The disaster can range from everything to 5 extra pounds gained to potentially contracting the flu to more serious threats like will ISIS attack me.. in the comfort of my own home? or should I worry about ebola?

One of my workout friends told me of a problem she was having.  She has a friend who lives in a fear-driven state of mind and tries her best to rev up everyone around her to get excited about her latest "fear" findings.

This is a real problem.  First of all, the media is not helping calm us down.  Oh no.  They operate on rating spikes, and there's nothing quite like the latest epidemic to spur us all on google and other forms of (non-peaceful) solutions.

So, what do I do?  And how do I cope?

Let me just tell you that at one point I was not an excellent product of peaceful trust during imagined trials.

That's right.  You read that correctly.  Fear is just trying to cope with an imagined trial.  When something has "the potential" to be horrible, but it isn't actually horrible or even bad yet, it isn't really a trial.  It's an imagined trial.

And yet, when I looked at my actual track record of how I dealt with "real" trials, I was scoring an A+.  Actually, God was scoring an A+.  I was just riding his success wave and enjoying the peace that comes with it.

And if I were to be really honest an examine this even further, I almost thrived under an actual trial more than I did under a non-trial because at least I knew what danger I was supposed to be dealing with.

So, the times when God had designed for me to rest from actual trials only lasted as long as my brain could come up with a new trial to invent.  And then I rode the wave of fear until it struck again.

This is/ was a pathetic existence to say the least.  No wonder I had depression issues!!  Do you know how exhausting it is to be craving actual trials all the time?

And I can't even blame the media for this craziness.  This was all pre-high speed internet, social networking, and cable.  I was just a bonafide fraidy cat.

Oh, I'm sorry.  We have names for it now.  Anxiety.


It's all a prison.  And I was and am done with it.

Jumping out of the prison.

Quite honestly, depending on how far you are buried with fear, you may or may not need professional help.  I remember a godly woman who was in her 70's at the time, telling me a story of surviving some difficult times on the mission field.  Her brain could not recover from the difficulties that she had experienced and she would frequently wake up from a sleep and find herself trying to escape out a window. She said, "Go to your doctor, and do what he recommends" if something like this happens to you.

If your anxiety levels are completely taking over your life, you too, may benefit from the advice of this old missionary woman.

Aside from that, there are many ways to change your thinking about things in general.  I've watched emotionally healthy people deal with the ins and outs of life, and have learned some things from their examples.

The first thing about changing your mindset about fears is to find something human and funny about the trial itself.  It has occurred to me that fear and laughter can not co-exist, so often times, taking the fear to an extremely funny conclusion is a coping mechanism that often works for me.

My mother lives in a brain that makes things funny naturally.  The older I get, the more I get like my mother.  I think you can see from the various stories I've told you before that funny and fun are a big part of my life.  Perhaps, God used this to help me recover from unreasonable fears?

Let me give you an example.

What if my house burned down? (fear)
Well.. I guess I'd be sitting on a pile of sticks in the middle of a corn field.. (funny image)

What if I fail my college classes? (fear)
I guess I'll go to beauty school, then. (strange image of me in rollers getting my nails done)

What if none of my kids ever get married? (fear)
I guess I'll be surrounded by wealthy single people for children (picture of all of us on a yacht acting like millionaires)

and so on..  You get the picture.  It really isn't an answer to any of the fears, it is a coping mechanism that relates to the fear.  Perhaps you have a funny coping mechanism that works for you? (share in the comments)

Using humor is just one way to deal with fears.  Some people use logic, therapy sessions, journaling, and many other good methods.  But there is one method that solely belongs to people who know God.  It's so simple that it's laughable.  It's called faith in God's Sovereign power method.  (I just made that up.. pretty good, eh?)

Seriously.  This is how it works.

A person said this to me: "Aren't you afraid of your husband traveling all of the time?  Are you worried about Ebola? or ISIS?"

And this is my response: No.  I'm not afraid of my husband traveling.  If I thought he was out of the will of God, I would be concerned.  But I'm not concerned.  When it is his time to depart from this Earth, he will go.  He could be as safe as a baby in his mother's arms on the road.  And when it is his time to go, I have complete confidence that this also will be a God-ordained thing also.  There will be very little I could do on either end to extend his life or to prevent his death.  So, I am trusting in my good and gracious God, and I am at peace..

My dear husband has been to France, Hawaii, Qatar, and Finland already this year.  In two weeks, he leaves for Brazil.  I am not interested in living in a constant state of fear.  I demand that my soul come to a place of peace and rest.  And I give the credit for that peace as well as the ability to get there all to God--a  loving, Sovereign God who has carried me through many things in this short 46 years of living.  All praise and glory goes to Him!

And may God help you deal with your own set of fears!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Real life--better than fiction

 Even I wish I could be a bug on my own ceiling.  A very small bug with a replay camera--just like they do in the football games.  And we can say "What just happened???" again and again.

Like last night.

It was a busy day and I hadn't had a chance to even talk to my husband about the daily stuff.  And all I really wanted to do was tell him how much I liked his sermon that day and how it impacted my life. Straight-forward enough, eh?

So, we're both getting ready for bed. In order to make room for him in the bathroom, I decided to floss my teeth outside of the bathroom.  Actually, I was lying on the bed, flossing my teeth.  It's a crazy habit that I've passed down to my daughter.  We brush and/ or floss our teeth while doing a number of other things.  Standing there, watching myself in the mirror seems strange to me.  But I digress..

So, I managed to get the words out.. "Hey.. about that sermon.."  And he is hanging up some clothes in his closet.. not facing me at the time..

And my mouth just opened wide enough to get the floss to the back teeth. And from the depths of my soul.. erupts this large, earth-shattering belch. I think the noise of it reverberated across the room and back.  He turned quickly to see what the noise was.

But it was too late.  My face was buried in the pillow, laughing hysterically.  And when I tried to catch my breath to explain what was happening, the look on his face (of complete exasperation) sent me into peals of laughter so much so that there was noise heard from the south end as well.

I think I saw him exit into the bathroom.  And I just continued my hysterics for the next four or five minutes.

When my husband arrived back in the room, I was able to catch my breath and reminded him that it was cold and I needed to be cuddled.  I'm sure, at this point, he was doing the mathematical equations to asses the risk factor of such a proposition.  But he was too tired and too kind to not warm me up.

That my friends is love, pure agape love.

And after all that-- who needs a sermon.  Some of us--just live it out.