Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Manly Soap

Manly Soap

I did it! I bought a new bedspread for my bedroom!  I know that might not seem like much of a feat to some but for some reason, it is giving me reason to celebrate.  Why has it been so hard to make a decision on a simple bedspread?  Could it possibly be because everything is so West Elm-y and taupe - and my house isn’t?  Could it be that I keep hearing the college kids making fun of all of us moms for having jewel tone bedspreads and being way behind the times? Is it because when you do a search on Bed, Bath and Beyond for “bedspreads” you get 1600 plus choices?  Who can possibly narrow that down?  Six. Teen. Hundred.  (Mostly taupe!)

Why is this so hard?  Could it possibly be because a man and a woman share said bedroom?  I think so.

When we were engaged I remember having dinner with friends that were also engaged and they were, like us, in the process of picking out the colors and patterns for their home.  The man had one request - None of those swirly, flower things.
            Swirly flower things?
                    You mean paisleys?
                        Exactly. They aren’t manly. No paisleys.

There you have it.  The master bedroom has to accommodate his and her tastes.  I’ve struggled because what catches my eye would not be in my husband’s top five.  What he would prefer, I would not.  So we try to strike a balance.  Not too feminine and not too masculine. 

I’ve been in master bedrooms that make me wonder if the husband is even allowed in the room.  And if he is allowed, does he even want to be in it.  So much lace and ruffles…

I have had friends tell me that their man doesn’t care.  Oh, really? Did you ask him? And was his answer just a shrug? Or did he claim his undying affection for dainty doilies? My guess is, he just shrugged and that was interpreted as his undying affection for dainty doilies. 

I find, more and more, that women are trying to make their husbands to be just like them.  We often forget that God created men very differently.  They aren’t just big, burly versions of us.  They are wired differently. 

A few years back, we invited some family friends to spend the weekend boating with us.  We have three girls and they have three girls…and a boy.  After a long day of boating, everyone was trying to get showered before dinner. The boy went in to shower.

His mom and I were sitting in the living room when the 11-year-old boy came out of the room, stood in front of his mom and with a quivering, but steady, voice said, “I.NEED.AXE.SOAP!”


“Axe soap! I need Axe soap!”

“What in the world is Axe soap?” his mother asked. She was perplexed.  Her son was on the verge of tears over soap?  What in the world?

The boy tried not to cry – or yell – as he said with clinched fists, “Axe soap? Manly soap!”

We tried hard not to laugh and assured the pre-pubescent man child that we would find him some manly soap.  His poor mom had no idea what Axe soap was but she agreed to get him some.

Poor young man.  He had spent two full days with six girls and even had to don a purple and pale yellow life jacket because that’s all we had.  The breaking point was the sweet-pea scented bath gel!  It put him over the top.  He may have to hang out with girls, wear a girly life jacket but he sure wasn’t going to smell like a girl!

Sometimes, I think we women try to make our husbands fit into our molds.  Our feminine molds.  We don’t appreciate the differences in men and women.  We often are at odds with the opposite sex because we don’t accept that they are, well…the opposite sex.

I’ve had girlfriends mad at their husbands because they didn’t act like their girlfriends.  Duh!  He isn’t your girlfriend. He’s your man. And he’s wired very differently

In the Bible, men and women are addressed separately. That is because we function differently.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Men can cook. My husband is living proof of that. (Thank the good Lord.) And I can use an electric saw and a drill better than a lot of men. 

I’m talking about our rock bottom needs.  Men need to be respected. And women need to be loved. 

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Eph. 5:22-25 Msg.

I hope my new comforter arrives soon.  The one without the lace. Without the ruffles. Without the manly stripes or camo.

Am I alone? Or do you struggle with the man/woman differences? Do you treat your man like a man – or your girlfriend? Let me hear from you. 
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Turn Off the Lights!

I have a friend that has a lovely, inviting, comfortable home.  Every time I am there, she has a lamp or two turned on ~ even in the middle of the day!  The lamps help create a cozy and calm atmosphere that makes me feel cozy and calm. 

I have lamps.  I prefer lamps at night instead of the overhead lights.  And since I love the way the lamp burning at my friend’s house makes me feel, yesterday I decided to turn one of my lamps on in the middle of the day.  It gave off the same warm glow as that of my friend’s. 

But it made me nervous.  I tried to overcome my nervousness.  I tried to ignore the uneasy feeling I felt and just keep doing the dishes.  But I couldn’t!  Right before I started to hyperventilate, I reached over and clicked off all 40 watts of the lamp!

Whew!  All was right with the world again!

What in the world is wrong with me, you ask?  Nothing!  Well, at least, not much!

I was a young girl in the 70’s when there was an “energy shortage” – whatever that is.  My Dad was always harping “TURN THE LIGHTS OFF!”  My three siblings and I were forever TURNING THE LIGHTS OFF!

We would be in the car, late for church and my Dad would say, “Who left the lights on?”

Really, Dad?  We are in the car and you can tell that there is a light on in the basement?  He really could.  Or maybe he was just playing the odds.  The odds were that with four kids, someone left a light on!

Now, before you think I was an abused child and start dialing Child Protective Services, let me stop you.  I didn’t start to hyperventilate because my Dad was cruel or punitive with his electricity policeman behavior.  He was just being a responsible father leading a family of six (10 if you include the dogs, gerbils and Guinea pigs.)  He was doing his job to be a good provider. (Okay, maybe he was a bit on the Type A side too!)

But, many years later, as I tried to relax about the lamp burning in the middle of the day, I heard my father’s voice in my head asking, “Who left the light on?”

I also hear his voice remind me to read my Bible, fellowship with other believers, tithe, and love the Lord.  (Oh, yeah, and eat my peas!)

It made me think about what things I am saying to my kids today that they will hear years later.  Will they only hear

“Hang up your towels!”
“Make your bed!”
“Don’t talk to your sister that way!”
“Go to bed!”
“Stop crying!”
“Get your elbows off of the table!’ 

Or, will they remember to call their grandparents when they are too old to hear?

Will they honor their father and mother?

Will they stop for the turtle in the middle of the road?

Will they find joy even in adversity?

Will they send an encouraging note to a troubled friend?

Will they have hope?

But most importantly, will they remember that I taught them to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, their mind and their soul?

What are you saying to your kids, your spouse, your mother, your father, your neighbor, or your friends that they will remember years to come?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

Now, turn off the light, go eat your peas, and read your Bible!

Tell me in the comments what voices you want those around you to remember.  Do you have voices you need to forget?

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Helping Others Shave Their Legs

Helping Others Shave Their Legs

I spent a lot of summers with my grandparents when I was growing up.  I remember my grandmother telling me that she no longer had to shave her legs or armpits! As a thirteen year old who had hair that seemed to grow night and day, I was amazed.

What do you mean?

She explained that when you get old (now I know she was referring to menopause), your hair doesn’t grow like it does when you are going through puberty.  Awesome!  I couldn’t wait for that day.

I thought God was pretty smart to make our hair stop growing when our eyesight started to dim.  Brilliant!

I remember in my 20’s being in exercise class and the instructor saying, “Come on, girls!  Let’s make that leg hair grow!”  What? Why?  I guess when you sweat it makes your hair sprout out more.  So, in essence, she was encouraging us to work out harder.  Whatever!

I was waiting for the day when I wouldn’t have to be bothered with the task of shaving my legs and armpits.  That would be one advantage of aging.

But my eyesight got old before my leg hair quit growing.  I would think I shaved off all of the stubble
            then get dressed,
                        get somewhere,
                                    sit down,
                                                cross my legs with my glasses on and then
…oops! I missed a spot – or two!  Gross.

So I had a great idea!  I got in the shower with my reading glasses!  (I swore to myself that I would never tell anyone that.)  For those of you that don’t wear glasses – yet – what you need to know is that when there is a lot of heat and humidity like there is in Texas – or in your shower – glasses fog!  Duh!  I quickly pulled them off of may face and looked around to make sure no one saw my stupid stunt  - even though no one was in the bathroom. 

I have now concocted a shaving system that works - for the most part.  It’s sort of a combination of shaving by memory and braille.

When it comes to shaving, my vision is flawed and clouded.  You know, when it comes to life, my vision is often flawed and clouded.  Sometimes life fogs my perspective. Sometimes I need a new set of eyes on a situation.  

When that happens, I need to put on the lenses of a friend or family member.  Sometimes I need to go outside my “circle” and have them get up close and personal and see if they can see the stubble  ~ because sometimes my friends and family have poor eyesight too. 

Are you willing to let someone get up close and personal to examine you for stubble?  We need to have trusted people in our lives that can see what we often cannot see. 

Do you have those people in your life?  Do you rely on them?

Plans fall for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed. ~ Prov. 15:22

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advise. ~Prov. 13: 10

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advise. ~ Prov. 12:13

And we always need to seek the Lord for counsel.  He is the great counselor.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. ~ Psalm 32:8

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~ Prov. 3:5,6

It’s getting late.  I had better get in the shower  - sans reading glasses!

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School

Back to School

It’s back to school time!  So many Mamas are sending their babies off to kindergarten or high school or college!  So many Mamas (and, yes, Daddies) have emotions creeping up and gushing out.

Well, I live in a college town so “back to school” has a different meaning to the residents of my city.  The census for my town says the population is about 176,000.  We are a quiet city without traffic delays and clogged highways.  Wait, we don’t have highways in my city!

But we are a college town – a major university town, I should say.  The student body is about 50,000, so when the college students flock back to town, the residents’ lives change.  Our restaurants are full. Our Wal-Mart and Target shelves are empty. 

I’m not complaining because I was one of those students – many years ago.

I came to this same college town located in the center of Texas from Boise, Idaho.  I didn’t know a soul. Not a soul. And unlike many Texans that grew up attending football games and touring the campus on game weekends, I had only visited the campus one time!

My mom and my aunt drove me to school.  We unloaded my two suitcases
and some groceries at the apartment I would share with a girl I met one time.

Then they said goodbye.  They just got in the car and drove off!  

They drove off!

What were they thinking?

This was way back in the dinosaur days – you know, before iPhones to amuse ourselves with texts, snapchats, Facebook, e-mail or the internet.  Just me and a quiet apartment. 

I was stranded at an apartment ten blocks from campus. No bike. No car. No TV. No one.

No. One.

My roommate wouldn’t show up until the next afternoon.  Hmm…What to do?

I decided to walk to campus and check things out.  I did not realize it was so far – it didn’t seem far by car.

It didn’t take me long to learn an important lesson ~ you don’t walk further than the end of your driveway to get your mail or put out the trash in August in Texas!  Just when I thought I couldn’t take another step, a university bus pulled up next to me and stopped.  The doors opened.

“You heading to campus?” the driver called to me.

“Yes,” I replied cautiously.

“Well, get in.  I’ll take you.”

I could feel the air-conditioning pouring out of the bus.  I pulled my over-heated self up the steps and plopped down on the first seat.  The doors shut and off we went.

In the opposite direction from campus! And we kept going!

“Oh, no!” I thought.  “This isn’t good.  I’m the only one on this bus with this stranger going further away from campus.  Maybe I’m being kidnapped!”  I started to look toward the back door.  Maybe I could get away through that door.

Then we turned.  We turned towards campus.  Whew!  We picked up other students - ones that had enough sense to wait for the bus in the shade.

I eventually made it back to my apartment and somehow entertained myself that evening. I slept well until…

Until in the middle of the night, a train blew its horn as it passed.  I sat straight up in bed.

What is that? 

I had no idea there were train tracks several yards away when I laid my head down that night. I thought the Russians were invading! (For you youngsters ~ this was during the cold war and we lived in fear that the Russians would someday attack America.) I don’t know why I thought we would be warned of an attack by train horns!

Once my foggy brain figured out the noise was a train whistle and not an alarm of imminent danger, I fell back to sleep ~ to the sounds of the clickety-clack of the train.

Welcome to college!

I’ve thought about that day a lot.  What were my parents thinking?

They dropped me off in a town where I knew no one – with no transportation  - and left me.  Two thousand miles away from home.

What were they thinking?

I’d like to think it wasn’t just that they were so happy to have me out of the house. (Don’t say a word, Dad!) J

I’d like to think they trusted me and believed they had done their job well.

And they did.  And they had.  They gave me the tools to succeed.

Yes, they provided for my physical needs growing up.  Yes, they made sure I had a good education – even if they had to hire a math tutor in elementary school.

But, most importantly, they showed me what it meant to love and trust Jesus. They trained me in the way I should go.

Yes, I knew my ABC’s and algebra and, apparently, I even had the skills to escape a school bus if I was kidnapped.

But my Jesus education is the education that has sustained me.  My faith has buoyed me in the low times and calmed me even in the high times.

So, moms and dads and grandmoms and granddads, as you prepare to send your kids off to school for another year, make sure they know the anchor for their soul – the hope of Jesus.  That is more important than fancy new shoes, the coolest spirals or a new backpack.  Those things are important, but not the most important.

And trust that they will be okay! Though you will miss them – whether it’s just during the school day or for a whole semester – they will be okay.  Keep praying for them.  Never stop praying for them but trust that they will be okay.

He will never leave them or forsake them.  Deut. 31:8

He will comfort and love them.  Isaiah 66:13

He will calm their fears and cause their worry to subside.  Philippians 4:6,7

We have this hope as an anchor

for the soul, firm and secure. Heb 6:19

Are you having a hard time as your "babies" head off to school?  Tell me about it in the comments.  I will be praying for you!

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