when God is not your genie

Let me just start out this post by saying, he is never your genie.

He is never my genie, either.  But I think the worlds closest way to explaining answered prayers comes in the form of a genie.  It’s like getting something awesome we didn’t deserve.

Philippians 4:6 says

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

No where in the bible does it say NOT to ask for maxi dresses.  So try to keep that in mind while reading the rest of this post.

I am a firm believer in God being less like this serious dude who works in only BIG important things, and more like my dad, who cared about both the BIG important things, and the little tiny unimportant things.

I fortunately grew up with a super great dad.  Sometimes he was there to comfort me, and pray with me when I woke up scared early in the morning from a nightmare (BIG things to a little kid).  Other times we just drove to the hardware store together in his cruddy old el camino (I still stand by those being super cool, when can those make a comeback?) and spit sunflower seeds out the window.  Which I was equally cruddy at, and it usually looked something like a sneeze and less of a targeted spit.  My dad never once yelled at me for getting slobber all over his car.  He’s so nice, and now my kids spit things and he’s still nice.  Love you dad!

I remember one year on my 13th birthday, I asked for “fancy bathroom stuff”.  I’ve ALWAYS had a MAJOR over-fascination with shampoo, bubble baths, lotions, perfume ect.

Anyway, this birthday I was getting a special ring (a promise ring) and a few other small gifts. My dad really wanted to pick out something special himself (besides a ring), and he was REALLY proud of the gift he brought home for me to open.  I was anticipating a fancy shampoo, or bath salts (I was HUGE into bath salts, did I mention that?).

I begin to open a beautiful tiny gift bag with baby pink and white stripes and pink tissue paper. I peer inside with excited 13 year old eyes only to find…

an industrial finger nail scrub brush.

If this doesn’t explain the difference between men’s interpretations of our words, and our thoughts as girls/women when we say them, I don’t know what does.

I had to muster up some enthusiasm.  As I entered into a world I now call, “stating my expectations” with all men, I also was extremely grateful that he had tried SO hard.  Mom didn’t (obviously) even help him.  I loved him for it, and I’ll never forget it.  Every time I see a finger nail scrub brush I think of my sweet dad trying to fulfill all of my birthday wishes of “fancy bathroom stuff”.  He tried so hard to give me what I wanted, but kinda missed what I was going for.

So God is not like that.  He pretty much knows spot on, and usually better then what we think we want.  And, if we ASK him, he sometimes even gives us what we ask of him, or better.

I grew up believing that nothing was too small or unimportant to ask of God.  So I did, on a regular basis.  I needed some extra cash to attend a DC Talk concert, I’d pray for a few babysitting jobs.  I wanted a sweet parking spot, I’d ask and sometimes he’d make one for me.

Some might chalk this up to the universe, positive thinking, willing it into being – whatever.  I’ve tried to will stuff into being and it never works for me.  (post on public restrooms coming soon regarding, “willing things into being”).

I think there’s more to it then just those human attempts.

Sometimes real life is in the little unimportant details.  Sometimes we learn to trust God in the small details, so that when we need him in the BIG moments, we are sure to know he will be there.

The other day, I did some laundry.  Somewhere in the mix, my red faded cutoff-sleeve shirt from Target that stated on the washing label, “color will fade with washing” escaped my mind, and I threw it in along with all of my other clothes, failing to acknowledge that if this fades with washing, the that fade goes onto other pieces of clothing, as a red color bonus.  How exciting for me.

My black and white striped maxi (it’s a long dress) was in there.  And it now shares similar colors to my continually fading red cutoff sleeve shirt.  Bummer.

I was super sad.  Seeing as how a fancy outfit in my life now consists of a maxi dress, this was kinda devastating to my little fashion world.  Let it be known that most days I wear sweat-pant shorts and a t-shirt when I know I don’t have to leave the house.  So a maxi dress is really jazzing it up.

So I said a prayer, in my laundry room to Jesus, and it went something like this, “Lord I super ruined my last fitting maxi dress (I shrunk the other one (on trend: laundry disasters) and my other one requires a belt, which I can’t be bothered with).  Please somehow give me a replacement.”

I said this in full faith, because 1. It is SUPER impossible for me to find awesome fitting maxi dresses because I am so tall (where do these girls find them??), 2. I looked ALL summer for ONE, and although I tried on plenty, I found NONE. 3. I have zero time to shop for myself, like not the time it requires to search and destroy for something like this.

So this was really a prayer of faith, and sadness, asking my dad (God) to fix my mistake.

And he did.

At Whole Foods of all places.

I found three.  And they were very reasonable priced for such a thing as maxi dresses.  I bought them thinking, what are the chances that ONE of these will fit perfectly?  I held my breath as my kids watched me try out my “princess dresses”.

Each one fit.

PERFECTLY.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3

God is never a genie, but he does sometimes answer the prayers of our heart, however small and absurd they may seem.  And occasionally he will bless you with more then what you’ve asked.  I think because he loves us, and knows that sometimes we are ridiculous but loves us anyway.

So, wishes need not apply – I’ve got better than a genie, I’ve got a God who loves me and doesn’t mind when I spit sunflower seeds on his car or ruin things in the laundry.

Thanks for reading.

Treat Yo’ Self

Once I went to a day spa, it even included a lunch.  I felt like I was finally living the life I was meant for – destiny and my body had collided.  The luxurious robe, the peaceful spa music and calming scented candles flickering specks of light, illuminating only the path necessary to get around, the insanely cold water that has no ice (ice cubes are like stop and go traffic in your mouth) and the crisp salad,  – all of it – YES.  Two hours and probably $300 dollars later, I was tossed back into reality like a hungover drunk, pushed out of the day spa trying to squint at the sun.  As my feet sauntered through the exit, my face red from a facial, still under the strong influence of Enya and minted cucumber water, I said to myself, “I WILL do this again.”  I’m pretty sure the bible says not to make vows, so let’s call it a strong promise to myself.

And here I find myself, five years later, NOT at the day spa.

But, fear not, I am still living my destiny.  It just happens to NOT be at the day spa 24 hours a day… or ever, actually.

Since I do not like to break promises to myself, I have instituted day spa at home. This usually doesn’t involve a massage or even a robe, just “treating myself”.  LIke, “Treat Yo Self”.  Often times, treating myself means eating lunch without ten-thousand interruptions, and perhaps even drinking a delicious beverage (non-alcoholic of course, I save the heavy drinking for when the husband gets home, that way someone always sober to drive the kids to the hospital if the wrestling gets out of hand.  *I am absolutely kidding, no one in our home ever does any heavy drinking, we can barely finish half a bottle of wine – I DO not ever encourage being drunk, the bible is totes against it, and when your trashed, you aren’t much use to God for his work, so I strive to always be available to what he’s up to, drinking wine or otherwise.)

So, today my day spa included a crisp taco salad, an arnold palmer, and some Hillsong United.  De-lightful.

photo 1 (1)

Here’s my salad.  I made these a few days ago (the recipe makes four), and since the salsa had been prepped the beans rinsed, and olive can open, it only took a moment to chop up romaine and crumble some chips, the rest was already done for me = Day spa style.
photo 2

I really like this cookbook, Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.  The page before has a Sushi Roll Edamame Salad recipe that is crazy good.  Anyway, it’s vegan of course, but more importantly, it’s fairly quick and delicious.  People are always asking me “What do you eat?” when I say I cook and eat mostly vegan, so I like to give good cookbook references when I can.  I usually reply with,  “brown rice, whole wheat breads and pastas, and lots of veggies – and chocolate, and trader joe’s baked bbq chips, and doughnuts…” It’s a convincing life choice sell 😉

photo 4

Here’s my table for ONE.

photo 5

But not really, because THIS was going on.  They are making a “bounce house” by putting all the downstairs guest bedroom pillows in the port-o-crib and then jumping and falling onto it from the couch, hence my “hospital driver” reference.  It’s mostly safe.

photo 2

Grocery carts + kitchen = indy 500 according to my son.  He does laps around me while I try and cook, and concentrate.  I must say though, he’s very considerate, when I have the fridge open or am in his path, he yells, “RED LIGHT” and waits.  It’s loud and sweet at the same time.

photo 3

This girl is just hanging out while her brother preps the bounce house for her and her baby doll.
photo 2And now he’s vacuuming.

He said he wanted to vacuum for me because he didn’t want there to be a mess.  This vacuum actually works btw, unfortunately it is also loud, so after a few minuets, I decided he had done a wonderful job and it was time to put it away.

So, how is this a day spa?  I’ve decided that day spa is a sense of mind.  And, it’s not too often that I think to remember to be kind to myself, and give myself a break.  I am usually so tired of helping everyone else that by the time I get a chance to do something nice for myself, I say, “Egh, whatever, I eat pb&j like the kids again for the fourteenth time this week and then go clean something”.

Moms.  I think God is not only speaking to just me on this.  I LITERALLY felt him lead me to make a nice salad, and a tasty beverage and do something I love, which in this case was to write.  I love writing. I love sharing what I am learning, because I find that in sharing, I learn that I am not so alone as I think.  This refreshes me.  Yet, it still took the bending of my own will, to follow his lead and just REST.  I had to go against my feelings of wanting to get more done and do what he asked me to do.  It was a step of faith.

I think moms are some of the worst offenders of the whole resting concept.  We feel guilty, we feel there’s still so much to do, we feel, we feel, we feel.  God’s word says.  It says to REST, to take a Sabbath.  God took a day off by example when he made the heavens and the earth.  I am still learning how to incorporate the Sabbath mentality into parenthood, and right now, it’s mostly just moments of a Sabbath spread out over the week.  Any mother knows that the day you get all the kids in the car and take them to church doesn’t really feel like the Sabbath.  So how do we do it?

We are not meant to work on empty.  I think I forget that sometimes, and it’s not till I do something restful, that I remember again why it is so important.  So we make it a priority, and we give ourselves grace.  We pray and we tell the Lord that we are terrible at resting when he calls us to do it and we ask him to lead us.  He totally will.  He’s leading me and you all know how much that work that must be!  And, we remember that he loves us, and that laundry will still be there after we rest, and that’s oaky too.

So, go on and “Treat Yo Self!”

As always, thanks so much for reading.

when the wheels fall off

So I wrote half of this a few weeks ago, but I was concerned I was too grouchy to post it, so I finished it today… hopefully on a happier note.

Somewhere along Thursday of last week, the wheels fell off my fast.  I noticed on Friday when I was a grouch-monster, but I tried to ignore the signs: lack of peace, general unhappiness in the back of my mind, mild agitation at anything, not feeling connected to God… whenever I start praying things like, “Aggghhh, LORD help me!  I can’t BELIEVE I have to deal with THIS.”  – Precious isn’t it?  So sweet.  Those are the signs.

I think it started when I looked at my old to-do list from the week prior and realized NONE OF THE TO-DO’s HAD BEEN DONE.

Somewhere inside me, a part of me died.  The type A part, the controlling part.  The part of my person that likes to check things off of lists because it makes me feel so very happy and worthy inside.   A voice in my head said, “how could you let this happen?”   And I attempted to revive it.

Here is what I look like when I begin operating from my to-do list self:

cruella-deville

She’s gorgeous right?  F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.

If there was a lineup of Disney characters, I’m pretty sure my kids would pick that one.  YAY, I want HER for my mommy!

Sad, that part of myself feels most worthy when I’ve accomplished something that I think is important, not what God thinks is important.

Not most worthy when I take the time to let my kid dottle in the car, then the garage then in the hallway asking a million questions all the way to the sink, where I really wanted her five hours ago so we could wash the germs off our hands from preschool!  We can’t all die of the Spanish Influenza here!  A mother’s gotta have priorities.  I saw that episode of Downton Abbey, that stuff was REAL.

My kids care nothing of germs.

They put stuff in their mouths like it’s meant to be there.  I’ve seen them on more then one occasion either lick, or rub the bottoms of their shoes on the cheeks of their faces like it’s a soft velveteen rabbit.

Do you know the reaction I had to this?!?

RARRRRRRRRR!

Megalosaurus_dinosaur
Megalosaurus style.

Sometimes I think God allows germs because mother’s need to relax, and realize that we are not actually the boss of this world.  One more than one occasion, I’ve asked him, “Why do you give kids the ability to have hands to touch things and then put them in their mouth, until they can be responsible humans?”  One of my children used to smear poop, as in THEIR OWN POOP all across the Pottery Barn White slats of their crib.  I asked God why he allowed this, but it wasn’t a nice asking, so perhaps that’s why he never answered that one.

I care too much about germs.  I’m pretty sure it’s something God is going to have to give me grace in someday and teach me how to just live and trust him and walk in is gentle sprit (that christianese sentence made me cringe a little inside).  But germs are like Satan’s arrows at my heart.  I will kill germs.  Like ALL of them.  In my mind germs = (in no specific order) hospitalization, death, the Spanish Influenza, guilt over not getting every single vaccine ever because I thought there were too many/ maybe they are dangerous, the flu in my house where all my kids are sick and so am I and nothing gets checked off my to-do list… there it is again. Germs in my house = me not accomplishing what I want to accomplish, my greatest fear apparently.  And there I am again.

And yet, we all did get sick, a few weeks later – and guess what?  It was totally fine.  I didn’t get everything checked off my to-do list, however in the process, I got to do a lot of other really cool, and more meaningful things.  I watched each of my kids get a fever (102.9 of course) and have family pray for them and send video texts of encouragement.  I watched my own son begin to use the phrase, “I pray for you”.  He now tells me that he prays for me, his daddy, and his sisters with Jesus in his sleep.

Other positives that came out of having germs in my house:

We don’t typically watch tv, only an occasional Netflix of Micky Mouse Clubhouse or a Veggie Tale.  That being said, when my kids are so sick that they just stand and stare at me in the kitchen over playing with toys, I don’t feel like I’m robbing them of their childhood by putting on an extra movie or two.  My older daughter was in movie heaven.  I GOT SO MUCH DONE!

photo1

My son had a raspy voice for three days and sounded adorable when he said, “mom, I love you so much!”

photo2Because the other two were sick first, the oldest girl and I got some much needed one-on-one time to eat sandwiches and face time daddy (normally face-timing anyone results in a conflict over who’s face gets the time;-)

photo3This little miss only wanted to be held and cuddled and snuggled and hold her blankee, so I got to wear her again while I cooked dinner and did chores.  It was fun mommy bonding time pretending she was little again – to which I say, Yes, she is still little and MY baby, although she attends the walker-toddler class on Saturday night church, a detail I prefer to overlook.

photo4And even when sick, this girl is still the most smiley kid I know.  She inspires me for my own future sick days “just be like her” I say to myself.

photo5Since I was now getting sick, I figured I could give her kisses again:)

photo 2This one spent an entire three days not talking.  Instead of raspy voice, she preferred to whisper and say, “I can’t talk”.  Normally, this girl has quite an opinion about things, but these three days, she simply looked at me and nodded, “yes mom”.  It was really nice to have complete and instant cooperation.  And all the mom’s of 3 year old’s said, “AMEN!”

photoAnd, even though they were sick, we still took them to the cement slides so they could at least get out of the house.  We figured germs wouldn’t transfer to the concrete so bad since our hands were on the sacks.

All in all, I actually liked our sick days, and got way more done then I ever would have dreamed. I was even bored at one point.  I haven’t been bored in over three years.  That just doesn’t happen people.

So, what do I know?  That there are little wonderful presents to be had, even in the company of germs.

Thanks for reading.