Seven Life Lessons from Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, I return to the world of blogging with a list of life lessons I’ve learned from my amazing mom. Here they are, off the top of my head, in no particular order.

1. People are more important than things

2. Don’t put your purse on the ground at the movie theater

3. You will spend the rest of your life with a boy; have fun with your girl friends now

4. To live is Christ, to die is gain

and this (earth) is not my home

5. If something (no matter how small) makes you happy, do/eat/wear it 

(and it’s ok to eat cake for breakfast)

6. You are always loved and accepted and wanted

7. Choose a lifepath that you love, regardless of how much money, prestige, stability, or “success” it brings you. What matters is that you find joy and satisfaction in the work for which you were created.

Moms are really smart. 

Mom (blue dress) and kids on her birthday 2 years ago. I love that woman!

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Peace & Life is Hard

7.4.11

Here I am God.

Distracted, desirous, almost desperate.

Full of swirling yet mild thoughts and emotions and words.

PEACE

Speak peace to my soul

Let me be quiet
before You.

You, who dwells in me;

You, in whom I have life.

(I try to live for You, but I fail daily)

Let me have You—

May I know the God who ushers light into the darkness of my soul.

7.8.11

Life is hard.

Things fall apart
things break
things get lost

people break,
and their relationships fall apart.

and it always requires more time or more money than one is apt to give.

 

One day though, all this brokenness will be gone.

I can’t imagine life in which 
all things are new,
and all things stay new,
even that which is very old. 

What would you have me do in the meantime?

I will love others and
I will pursue peace.

I will rejoice in hope
persevere in trials and
be devoted to prayer.

I will do justly
love mercy and
walk humbly with my God.

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Wind and Sun: June 2011 Prayers

6.20.11

Quiet house.

Strong and noisy wind outside,
finally sitting still.

Here I am.
Meet me here God.

I will abide in You, and You in me .

What does it look like to abide?
A willingness [of the soul] to rest & listen,
and the determination to obey
(because those who abide in Your love obey all your commandments).

 You alone

are

God.

6.27.11

Sunny morning.

Feeling slightly sick.

Just read some journal entries from a year ago and feeling overwhelmed at my sinfulness, especially my pride and selfishness. I noticed some it then, but I wasn’t repulsed by it as Jenny was, or as I am becoming now.
At least I hope I am becoming now.

God help me!

Teach me to be humble and gentle and compassionate.

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To Pose: a spectacular confusion

I’m bad at pausing. I know how to push those parallel lines, and have no problem doing so when I’m too tired or stressed or sick of working, but I break down once I’m there.

Having come through one summer semester of nursing school, I find myself  more stressed by my pause, or rest, than by my work at school.

I want my pausing to be meaningful. I want to feel something big in it. Maybe I want the accomplishment I feel after finishing a project or taking a test, or maybe I just want to feel warm and fuzzy inside. Probably I want to feel accomplished in my warmth and fuzziness.

Mostly I just end up laying on my bed too exhausted to think about anything else, knowing that I should probably rise up to do something restful like read a leisure book or watch a movie or bake some cookies. But that’s too much work, and it stresses me out.

So what did I do?

I pulled out a beautiful old book rarely handled due to the risk it might fall apart between my fingers. Its title is “Origins: The Encyclopedia of Words” and on a brittle yellow page that smells like the libraries of my childhood it told me all about the origins of the word “pause”. Coming from both Latin (“to break”) and Greek (“to cause to stop” or “to cease”), its roots took a turn in late Latin to give us words like ponere (“to put or place”) and poser (“to rest”), eventually leading us through Old English and French to the derivative “pose”.

And then the etymological dictionary gave me this sentence:

The [compounds] of ‘to pose’ can very easily cause a quite spectacular confusion: the simplest, most logical treatment is to deal with all of them…

Yes! I am quite spectacularly confused. How do I pause? Certainly not by laying on my back staring at the ceiling fan. But let’s consider the compounds of “to pose,” words like position and posture and compose.

When a dancer pauses, it is not to flop on the floor in fatigue and apathy. Rather it is intentional, beautifully composed and an integral part of the dance. A dancer does not just pause, he poses.

And at the core of any dance lesson is a series of positions that gives us the basis for the rest of the dance. A ballet dancer must know and understand first position before attempting any other movement or step. Positions give the dancer a place from whence to start, and a place to go. They are a kind of pause.

Yoga also knows how to pose. “You should do the asanas with vigor,” B.K.S. Iyengar tells us, “and at the same time be relaxed and composed.” Sounds like dance.

With further exploration this semester, I hope that pausing will not present such spectacular confusion in my life. Two things I know so far: pausing is a learned skill. It takes dedication and work, though of a different kind. And secondly, it is essential to life, inciting us to live spectacularly in one moment while establishing the footing for us to advance.

When the asana is correct there is a lightness, a freedom. Freedom comes when every part of the body is active. Let us be free in whatever posture we are doing. Let us be full in whatever we do.  -B.K.S. Iyengar

How do you pause?

Quotes from Origins: A short etymological dictionary of modern English by Eric Partridge. New York: Macmillan,  1958.  And Yoga: The Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006.
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June Thoughts

6.12.11

Let love be without hypocrisy.

Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,

rejoicing in hope,

persevering in tribulation,

devoted to prayer,

contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Romans 12: 9-13

 

 

Most of my other entries from the beginning of June provided the material for the Wants series of last year, the origin of which is described in Wants, the initial reaction in Wants 2, and the final response in Wants 3.

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Hope, Energy, a Confession

5.23.11

God, here I am this morning,
to spend time with you alone.
Let me be filled by you.
In You I find
—mercy and kindness and acceptance.
In You I find
—security and protection and peace.
In You I find
—direction and truth.

In You I hope.

For in hope we have been saved,

but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see,

with perseverance we

wait

eagerly for it.

(Romans 8:24-25)

“For amazement had seized him…and Jesus said “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”

(Teach me to respond to You in reverence and humility and obedience)

“they left everything and followed Him.”

Dear God,

Sometimes I need a reminder that I’ve left everything and followed you.

5.24.11

Much to do today

And I’m ready to get it done!

But first, I come to You.

In quietness and humility

But also with energy.

I come to listen, and to delight in Your presence.

Give me strength for today
and discernment to know the things
that really matter.
My life is not about me,
but about You, lived by Your grace,
all for Your glory.

So here I am God.

This sin is so dumb!!! That’s why I’m writing so small. Yesterday, I read through prayer requests in [a friend’s] email. There were personal ones for [a friend] and ones for [the group]. “Pray for [another friend] to have wisdom [for her future]” was there, and in my head I was slightly jealous that [another friend] was getting so much attention! My attitude was “that’s not fair! what about me? I still don’t know what to do….”
Dear God, I’m recording this 1) to acknowledge my sinfulness and ask for forgiveness and 2) because I believe You will continue to transform my heart and mind and one day I will look back and praise you for conquering this sin.
Dear Lord, I pray for [another friend]—you’ve prepared a place for her and I pray you’d richly bless her and give her peace and wisdom as she decides. Thank you for placing her in my life and for blessing and teaching me through her.

Amen.

For the background behind this post, see the page Some Prayers.

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I am listening

5.12.11

Oh God,
not great today.
Restless heart of various worries,
Why so anxious?

Be my peace today,

let my heart rest

in you.

Be near, Oh God,

be near.

My mind wanders: with distraction, in weariness, in longing.

Take my hand, my mind
guide me in what is right
give me something big
to live for, to follow.

You are big,

you are a solid rock.

I follow you. Let me delight in you.

Luke 4: 22, 32

In Nazareth… “they were saying ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?’”

In Capernaum… “they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.”

Jesus, in what ways do I not give you the honor that is Yours? You are the Son of God– all power and authority belong to you. And yet I do not live my life according to this truth. Let me attribute to you what is yours. The glory of your church, of your people, is not from earthly accomplishments or connections. The glory and authority of your church come from you. Give me a right view of your church, of the people I interact with daily.

Amen.

5.21.11

Holy God,

I’ve been enjoying your creation

—the sunset, rain, fireflies,

But the brokenness of humanity is heavy on my mind

Ground me in truth this morning as I read your word.

May Your truth flood my mind and Your love anchor my soul.

O Lord, my strength and my stronghold,
And my refuge in the day of distress,
To You the nations will come
From the ends of the earth and say,
“Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood,
Futility and things of no profit.”
 Can man make gods for himself?
Yet they are not gods!
Jeremiah 16:19-20

“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength,
And whose heart turns away from the Lord.
For he will be like a bush in the desert
And will not see when prosperity comes…”
Jeremiah 17:5-6

(my) God,

In what does my heart trust?
I don’t want to be the bush in the desert—
but rather the tree planted by streams of water.
This world stresses me out, but in You my leaves stay green.

I am listening God.

If there is a specific calling for my life this next year, I am ready to obey.

But I am ready to obey You regardless—
please continue to direct me in truth.
I am completely lost without it and
stumble around in the darkness.

I pray for the people in my life.

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