Category Archives: Uncategorized

Flashback Friday 7

Standard
Flashback Friday 7

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Flashback Friday.  I’ve recently met several deadlines and enjoyed a few big events, and now find myself in a bit of blissful reprieve for a few short weeks before we jump into the holiday season. So I thought I’d take some time to schedule some Flashback Friday posts.

Today’s post is the very first column I ever wrote.  I showed it to my editor, Sue Hite, at the Chester County Independent and asked for feedback. I thought it was funny, encouraging, and meaningful, but what would Sue think? I sweated it out until she told me to run it on the Obits/Religion page as the first installment of my own weekly column.

Reading it back today, I still think it’s funny, encouraging, and meaningful. I wrote this the year I turned 30. Twenty years later, I’m balancing on the brink of celebrating the half century mark of my life on this planet.

Guess what…

I’m still making the same mistakes.

I think I’m making them a lot less often, and with a lot more grace and style, though.  But  those wayward Israelites still annoy me.

Not My Virtue

Patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine. Of course, life has written a daily lesson plan directed at teaching me, but I don’t have the patience to learn.

Last year I decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover, however, I lost patience with those thick-skulled Israelites. Moses must have been sure he was leading a group of toddlers. He had to be exhausted after a day of repeating,

“I told you not to build a golden calf!”

“No, you can’t have chocolate chip cookies, you’ll just have to be satisfied with manna from heaven!”

or “No, we can’t go back to Egypt. They want to kill you!”

“And so do I,” he must have whispered under his breath. His ears probably were burning from 40 years of hearing, “Moses, are we there yet?”

I became so disgusted with God’s chosen people. They just never got it. They made the same mistakes over and over. God punished them, and they did it again. They were brought out of slavery, famine, and the slaughtering of their children. Instead of praising God for His mercies, they turned their backs to him. Rather than publishing the first edition of 101 Ways to Serve Manna, they threw up their hands and said, “We can’t stand another day of freedom and free food falling from the sky, we’re going back!”

The Israelites had their every need provided, but they had no patience for the inconveniences they faced along the way.

Of course, I had to go and have an epiphany – bright, flashing lights and arrows pointing to my head. If the story of my life is ever written, years from now someone may read it and exclaim, “The moron! She kept making the same mistakes.”

The Lord has allowed me enormous blessings, but I stumble over the small stuff and scream in impatient tantrums. I’m still not a virtuous woman in the area of patience, but now instead of shouting, “I can’t take it anymore,” I pray, “Lord, let me learn from the Israelites.”

Flashback Friday 4

Standard
Flashback Friday 4

Tomorrow is Halloween, and that means lots of kids, big and small, will be dressing up and going out trick or treating. Many of those kiddos will be dressed as their hero – superheroes, historical heroes, musical heroes, pop culture heroes, sports heroes – up and down neighborhood streets, mall hallways, and haunted house stairs, hero look-a-likes will be out in droves.

Thinking about all of these little hero worshippers converging on houses begging for candy made me think of this column from the late 1990s for this week’s Flashback Friday. After you read it, please share in the comments who your hero is.

Everybody Needs a Hero

“The Greatest American Hero.” “My heroes have always been cowboys.” The “Rocky” trilogy. Television, music, and movies.

Abraham Lincoln, General Patton, Jimmy Stewart, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Superman.

Heroes.

The world is enamored with greatness. We all seem to be searching for our ideal person – for someone to “look up to,” to pattern ourselves after. But have you ever noticed that most heroes are dead or imaginary? Is that because dead and imaginary heroes are less likely to disappoint us? Of course, as soon as some long-lost diary is discovered or the last living person who knew hero so-and-so contacts “20/20” with some juicy gossip, the dead heroes lose their high standing.

We all want our heroes to be courageous, personable, wise, witty, honest, and faithful. Of course, money and good looks sure don’t hurt. But most people, at some point, fall, and when they do, those who admire them are left in turmoil.

There was a couple in the church I grew up in who helped with our youth group. I thought they were the perfect couple and “idolized” them as such. When I was 15, they divorced, and I was devastated. I remember crying until my head ached, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose. My dad hugged me and pointed out that this is what happens when we put people on a pedestal that should be reserved for Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the perfect hero. After all, he is perfect. He is an example to all of us of how to live our physical and spiritual lives. He is a comfort to us. He is a protector and the savior. He is not dead or imaginary. The greatest investigative reporters will never find anything to tarnish his name.

Everyone needs a hero, and Jesus is the only one who will not disappoint us.

He is my hero.

How about you, who’s your hero?

Best Laid Plans

Standard

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Robert Burns

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15

Obviously I am not the only one who watches my good intentions flit on the wind like wishes blown from a dandelion.

Perhaps it’s perfectionism breeding inactivity again. Or maybe it’s just laziness. Whatever it is, it’s an excuse. I’m full of those -things I tell myself are legitimate reasons for not accomplishing my goals. Sometimes it isn’t enough just to be inactive and not complete a goal. Sometimes I have to go out of my way to actually sabotage myself and set myself back. I am especially good at sabotaging my weight loss goals, but that’s a different blog post.

Today I’m writing about my best laid plans for this blog already going awry. I started at the beginning of vacation when hope and excitement were high. My intention was to use my trip to really kick off the blog and write my way through a solo adventure in Ireland. I started strong, three posts in and then the excuses started.

I was tired after driving on the wrong side of the car on the wrong side of the road where I didn’t know what was around each corner.

I didn’t have very good wifi.

My brain was too full from the excitement of the day to write clearly.

Really?

I wasn’t too tired after driving to watch American reruns on Irish TV. I had good enough wifi in one bed and breakfast that I watched a movie on Netflix. My brain was really full, but from that wealth of thought I wrote several blogs in my head while hiking around the Emerald Isle. I even took a few minutes after breakfast one morning to write four pages of bullet pointed lists of topics to write about. How hard would it have been to type one up while NCIS played in the background and upload it when I had a good wifi signal?

I am a creature of habit and even though I want to do things differently, I allow myself to do the things I hate like Paul wrote about in Romans 7. I start off strong, then wane when I’m tired and let the old habits reach out and pull me back into inactivity. The key is making sure the paralysis doesn’t become permanent.

So the plans go awry. Make a new plan.

So I do evil today and watch reruns instead of posting on my blog or getting in a good workout or flossing my teeth or dusting the living room. Do good tomorrow.

There’s nothing wrong with having good intentions. There’s nothing wrong with our plans going awry. It’s only wrong when we give up, when we stop trying, when our intentions are no longer good and we no longer make plans.

“Tomorrow’s another day.” Scarlett O’Hara

“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” Conrad Hilton

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

An Imperfect Start

Standard
An Imperfect Start

I’m a perfectionist. Sometimes this is a good thing. When I’m cleaning house or completing a project at work, it’s good to have an eye for detail and do my best.

Sometimes it’s a bad thing. When I’m so concerned about doing something perfectly that I don’t even try to do it, that’s a paralyzingly bad thing.

Take this blog for example. I’ve been wanting to do this for several years. I used to write a regular column for the Chester County Independent and loved that creative outlet. I’ve missed it. So I thought, why not do something similar with a blog? But I put it off because I didn’t have the perfect title, or the perfect layout, or the perfect organization, or the perfect whatever the hell I thought needed to be perfect.

So I finally thought of a blog name. It was available and I was excited. I bought the domain and found an online class on how to use Photoshop Elements to create a beautiful blog and signed up. Then I got busy. And maybe a little scared. Scared that I wouldn’t have time to devote to a regular blog, that no one would read it anyway, that I wouldn’t be able to make it as visually appealing as some of the other blogs I’ve seen, that it wouldn’t be as cool or clever as my friend’s blog, that it wouldn’t be perfect.

My kids aren’t hung up on perfection or even the perception of or the drive for perfection. They just do what they want, when they want, and how they want. They try new things, they fail, they succeed, they have adventures! They are who they are and they accept that.

As a new empty-nester, I’ve been redefining what’s important and just how perfect everything really needs to be. I’ve started working out and eating better. I’ve completely dejunked and deep cleaned my house and turned my daughter’s bedroom into a comfortable guest room.

Now I’m waiting in an airport to leave for the trip of a lifetime. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and I’m wanting to get back into writing. So what could be better than going to an immersive writing retreat in Ireland? I’m not sure, so I’m doing it!

I’ve had a long layover, so I thought I’d finally get started on this blog. Guess what! I waited too long for perfection and the perfect blog title I’d come up with has been taken. Someone who doesn’t even use capitalization or punctuation is using the title I thought would perfectly define what I was writing about and the message I hoped to share with my readers. Every variation I could think of has been used. Every synonym and alliteration is already in the blogosphere. I spent three hours plugging in ideas and seeing the red box stating this title has already been used.

Then I thought about talking to my 19-year old daughter about taking a spontaneous, solo trip to a foreign country. Leaning over and smoothing her waist-length hair into a ponytail, she flipped her head back up, twisted her hair into a bun and pinned it to the top of her head.

“You just do you, Mama,” she said as she looked me in the eye. “You’re perfect enough.”