Now that I have a daughter, I listen to music differently. I have become painfully aware of the messages that songs give regarding women, love & relationships.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you manage to shop places that don’t ever play pop music, you’ve probably heard this smash hit single by the latest British invasion, One Direction.
I was flipping through the radio channels the first time I heard it. Being a child of the 90′s, there’s still a special place in my heart for boy bands, so I got to bopping along with it. I was actually enjoying the song right up until the last line of the chorus.
Baby you light up my world like nobody else,
The way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed,
But when you smile at the ground it ain’t hard to tell,
You don’t know,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,
If only you saw what I can see,
You’ll understand why I want you so desperately,
Right now I’m looking at you and I can’t believe,
You don’t know,
You don’t know you’re beautiful,
That’s what makes you beautiful
I changed the channel then. You are telling me, my daughter, & every girl listening that being ashamed of the way she looks is beautiful.
Oh, hell, no.
We don’t need any help in that department, thankyouverymuch. Shame is constant companion of most women. Especially when it comes to our looks. In no way, shape, or form will this type of message be tolerated here.
Any guy who wants to tell my daughter that shame is beautiful will have a strong, confident mama bear to deal with. Not to mention whatever her father has to say about it.
No. Shame is not beautiful, dear daughter.
But you are. Oh, are you ever.
I tried to let myself off the hook for this project by telling myself that I need the time to prepare for NaNoWriMo which is fast approaching, like a giant freight train.
But I’ve been reading this book called Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture.* In it he talks about spiritual disciplines that introverts can implement to help balance the extroversion of our culture with our need for solitude. One such discipline is that of the Examen.
This passage in particular flipped on a few light bulbs for me:
What I like about this exercise is that it allows for the internal processing that introverts require. As I have come to embrace my introversion, I have learned that my brain will process my day one way or another. If I do not do it before bed, then I will often lie awake while my brain races through the day or else my subconscious will attempt to do the work—with strange results—while I sleep. The examen gives a concrete, compact structure to my processing.
After I read that, I felt strongly impressed that I should begin this practice. It’s something that will take discipline, accountability, & consistency to turn into a habit. They say that a habit requires 30 days to develop. Which just so happens to line up with this 31 day challenge.
God can be so dang persistent sometimes.
So I’ll be sharing my examen reflections here nightly. Well, the parts appropriate for public consumption anyway. This is a personal discipline. :D
Linking up with the nester, who started this whole crazy idea & a movement in the process.
*Affiliate link, which might treat me to a latte or something.
Not quite done yet, but very, very close.
We have way more CDs than Jesse figured. Fortunately, it was just under what would fit into the monster case he bought. Which means we got rid of all of those cases. Two shelves of media consolidated into two monster cases that fit into our TV cabinet.
Here’s where we’re at now:
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been reading “Organized Simplicity” & have particularly fallen in love with Tsh’s definition of simple living. Her definition is “living holistically in alignment with your family’s purpose”.
Obviously, before you can start living in alignment with your family’s purpose, you need to define what your family is all about.
Jesse & I, from the beginning, have held Isaiah 61 as our family’s passage of Scripture:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called mighty oaks,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.
But while this provides excellent direction, it can be difficult apply to day-to-day decisions such as, “should I say yes or no to a particular event” or “should we keep this DVD over that one”?
So we have distilled the essence of what our family is about into a purpose statement & values we hold important.
In our family, we honor God by pursuing our passions. We value community, generosity, good health, life-long learning, beauty, & excellence in music.
As we’re sorting through the boxes in the living room, we’re using this statement as a driving force to decide what we allow to take up residence in our home.
If you haven’t tried this, I highly recommend it. If you have, what is your family’s purpose?
You know how beer goggles make people look more attractive? (Well, kind of… see the Mythbusters about that.) Anyway, I have something similar when it comes to clutter.
Call them my Clutter Blinders.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s conscious or subconscious, but I simply cannot see clutter. (Up to a point, more on that in a bit.)
I can walk around the house thinking oh, it’s not that bad while my husband gets more & more irritated.
At some point, I realize actually, it is that bad. Usually it’s right after AJ has tried to put dustbunny #7 into her mouth. Or after I can’t set a glass of water down because there are 5 other glasses sitting in the same spot. Or after I can’t make coffee because my french press is buried at the bottom of a sink full of dishes that have been there for goodness knows how long. And omigosh what is that smell?
Then I go on an angry cleaning spree & wear myself out in one room.
Hubby & I are working through a couple of courses/systems to help get it under control, but I have to first learn to see the room as it actually is. Not as my blinders would have it.
How about you? Do you see clutter & it bugs you? Or are you like me? Blissfully unaware that the house is coming down around your ears?
I come from, and circulate in, a decidedly Protestant culture. As such, the statement above has garnered me some strange looks recently.
A few years ago, I began injecting some of the liturgical calendar into the rhythm of my journey. Mostly Lent & Advent. But even then, they were partial & not very intentional.
The period leading up to Christmas was rather dark for me this year. I didn’t participate in Advent at all, because I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas.
Then, this little song showed up on my Christmas Pandora station. It helped center me again on the true reason for Christmas. Once Christmas arrived, I was much better able to participate in the gift that is Christmas. I have enjoyed savoring the lengthened liturgical Christmas. During a normal year, Christmas is the highlight of my winter. But once the day itself is over, I find myself looking forward to the months of grey drizzle with dread. *
This year however, I feel like I’ve already come through the darkest part of the night, and, even though it’s still going to be months of grey, it’s lighter than it has been. I know, as the Bloggess so eloquently stated that the fight continues, I have more hope than I have had for some time.
And so, on this day of Epiphany, I pray that you would be encouraged and blessed by these poems & readings that have touched me this Christmas.
The Epiphany reading from Isaiah:
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.
Isaiah 60:1-6 ESV
If you could see
the journey whole
you might never
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.
Read the rest over at The Painted Prayer Book
And a poem that was sent to my by a dear friend who has been dealing with grief as well this Christmas:
Christmas is for Healing
Weep over your city for Christmas (Luke 19:41-42)
and see if your tears will heal it!
Loving you, of course
I am not at all interested in how much money
you are spending on Christmas gifts this year
but rather, in how much blood, sweat, and tears
you are shedding
to make Christ a vital part of your life
for you and I will never be able to erase the
fact that He came;
to touch lives – to break bread
to heal hurt – to forgive sins
to wash feet – to calm seas
to walk on water – to give us His spirit
and to care immensely
Yes, to care enough
to be born in our Bethlehem
to live in our land, and weep over our cities,
and die and rise again.
So now it’s Christmas
and I am not sure what part of you is crippled
or just where you need to feel His saving power
but with everything in me
I believe that CHRISTMAS IS FOR HEALING
and He came to heal.
So if you can trust Him enough to
walk out on the waters of getting involved
of washing feet and anointing people,
of breaking bread and working miracles,
I am almost sure His saving presence
will touch those blind and crippled parts of your life
and Christmas will come to you.
More than anything else
I want to give you Christmas this year
But it is always an offer you know
You can’t take it if you like
But I can’t really give it like a wrapped up package
It is deeper than that,
holier than that, better, stronger
and more personal.
Christmas is more challenging
Than a wrapped up package.
It is an offer
It is a mystery
It is a birth
It is Christmas and
God can never be born enough…
~Taken from Seasons of Your Heart by Macrina Widerkehr, OSB
May the light of the Spirit shine upon you this Epiphany day. When darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; may the LORD arise upon you, and his glory be seen upon you.
(*) Affiliate links to Amazon used for the Relient K song download.
One of the questions I get a lot about AJ has started kind of bothering me. That question is “Is she a good baby?”
I used to say “Yes.” Now I say, “She’s a pretty easy baby.”
Because, really, what does “good” mean in the context of a baby or a kid for that matter?
Is there some kind of checklist for “good”? It’s such a nebulous word with different meanings for every one.
She’s a sweet baby, generally happy. Does that mean that if the next one is colicky, than he/she is a “bad” baby?
She’s sleeps like a champ, takes long naps (as long as you stick to her routine). But if the next one decides to wake up every 3 hours until he/she is 2, does that make them a “bad” baby?
Babies have a job. That job is to learn about the world around them and to grow.
So she eats. She sleeps. She is learning rapidly.
So yeah. She’s a good baby.
So is everyone elses. Whether or not they’re sleeping through the night.