Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Because it's a Dream

I have dreams.  Lots of them. 

Some of them goals.  Things I am actively striving for. 

The steps may appear small, but this day (week/year)'s outcome is far more than it was a year ago. 

 And those are just my personal dreams and goals.  They are meant for later.  After the work I am doing now. 

And that work right now, quite honestly, means everything to me. 

They are not "ideas" I hope to build on for later. 

They are what my heart beats for right now.

Yesterday, I came face-to-face with what my work could lead to.  Deep down, it was emotional for me, it was something I just wanted to stop, and it included some hard conversations that I just did not want to have.

But the day happened.  So did some conversations.  And I realized, as hard as this is, it is something that I should be proud of.

Took the Wildcat on a college visit. 

The college is great.  It is the perfect fit for a university in the specific area and the things he is looking for in a college.

He wants to be in the political arena.  This college is in the same city as our state's capital.

He wants to incorporate actual class time and experience at the same place.  He gets that even in the first semester at this college.

So let's say he changes his mind in the first year.  So what...everyone does.  This college curriculum is set up for students to figure this out sooner rather than later.  

But let's say he doesn't.  Not only does he know what he thinks he knows....he actually knows more.

I'm gonna go with the idea that everything he has learned in every step of his life is leading him to this step in choosing a college major.  Without coercion, he wants to make a difference in the political arena. 

I've seen him.  I've seen what he does and what he loves.  I can make that observation better than anyone.

I've toured the college with him.

I experienced the sale's pitch.

And I followed up with questions.

So here we are with a goal.

On our ride home from the college we spoke of every good,every bright, every bad, every ugly thing.  

And we decided.  From here on out...on every college visit, we are aware of all that we like about this college.  Every other place will probably be held up to the plumb line set yesterday.  That is okay. 

We decided...that every scholarship application was no longer just a blind stab in the dark.  This was the goal the Wildcat is shooting for. 

That goal does have a dollar amount attached to it now.  That is okay.  Maybe that is better. 

But the goal involves even more than that. 

It involves a commitment.  Something we have talked about many times before now.  But now the end of "the now"(which is not the end...just a transition) has a name as well.

It's something I try hard to instill with all of my kids, but somehow it means more when you are in high school.

The speech goes something like this: 

So hey....where do you want to be a couple of years from now?  Or four?  
Here?  There?   In the capital building?  Married?  Thinking about getting married? 
All of that is great.  I see you there too.  
I can't control what you do.  
I used to.
I used to monitor every TV show you watched.  
I used to have to sign off on your homework every single night.
I used to show up in your classroom to volunteer and it was never seen as anything but 'ok.'
But you are  17. (or 15, 13, 11)
You pretty much do what you want to do (not completely, specially the youngers...but I only say that publicly because I know you are a good kid...)

So here's my advice:

Where do you see yourself?  

Two years?  Four Years?  even Ten Years?

Picture it.  All.  
 Not just professional, but personal, too.  

It's all probably a big dream.  
But now is the time to take steps towards those dreams.

I can't always tell you how to get there.

But I can tell you this:  

Take every choice to heart today.
When you are faced with a decision or choice,
Weigh it against your goals and dreams.
Is it a choice that could hinder any of that? 
Could that choice prohibit your goals/dreams?
Could it make any explanation awkward later in life? 
Then make your choice based on that.

Your dreams are big. 
So is your faith.
And so is my faith in both.
Make your decisions today based on your goals for tomorrow.  
Don't hope that you never have regrets...
Plan on not having them. 

God is who He says He is and can make good out of anything.
But you are smart and responsible and a leader.
That is your giftedness.
You are expected to use your giftedness.

And who am I?
Just mama...

So now we have a goal.  A place.  And a price.  
I'm trusting 
and doing everything I can to help make that dream come true.  

Because that is what mama does.  
...taking my responsibility seriously
in encouraging you in yours.
Your mama loves you
every step of the way. 


Saturday, April 19, 2014

The In-Between

Yesterday was Good Friday.

A handful of years ago, I wrote about my take on Good Friday....and what's so good about it anyway.  Feel free to check that out HERE...

Tomorrow is Easter.

Today is the "in between."

I hate in between.

In between represents waiting.

In between means not knowing.

When someone says "I'm 'in between' jobs," it means they don't have one.  They used to.  And they hope to again.  They are waiting.  In between.

When someone says "I'm 'in between' a rock and a hard place," they are feeling stuck.  Trying to make a decision between two things; neither of which sound hopeful.

I am in an "in between" stage in life.  Not a rock-and-a-hard-place sort of thing.  And not an 'in between something I used to have and something I hope to.

Just in-between.

Kids are growing up.  They still need me as their mama.  Present and accounted for.  But not in the same way they needed me 5, 10 and 17 years ago.

And not the same way they will need me in another 5, 10 and 17 years.

I'm in an 'in between' state with my relationship.  Not married, but not just dating.  Not a bad thing, by any means...just 'in-between.'

I learned that I'm sort of 'in between' when it comes to my professional writing status.  I have the experience and bylines.  But not the degree.  I'm taking steps towards the latter while continuing with the former.  Not a bad place.  But still...in between.

Personally, I have hope for all of the areas that I am 'in between' in. 

And I am reminded of that today....the Saturday in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Last night I watched the "Passion of the Christ" with Brian and his daughter.  It was horrific.  It brought to life the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.

There was nothing pastel or spring-like or warm and fuzzy about Mel Gibson's depiction.

It was a visual reminder of the evil that exists and the evil that Jesus took on.  For me.

I've seen this movie before.  And I've taken away different messages from it before.

But this time I was struck by something way different.


What must Mary have thought as she watched her son tortured?  Surely, as a mama, she thought she would never recover. 
What did the disciples think while they watched the one they followed die.
Surely everything they thought was going to happen didn't play out they way they envisioned...during the last 12 hours of Jesus' life.
Surely Peter, who denied Jesus 3 times when all of this was going on, was distraught and not sure if he could ever recover.  

Surely anyone who was there, who had witnessed Jesus say "it is finished," and then die, questioned whether or not there was any hope beyond that.

Especially the day after.

The day in between.  The day of darkness.  The day of no hope. 

The day in between what you have seen and what you don't yet know.

Fortunately,  the end of the story is so way far out there, way far better, and way far witnessed and true.

Jesus did conquer death.  And He did it the way it was prophesied.  As the temple that was rebuilt after being destroyed 3 days before.

I could elaborate on that.  Show scripture. Act spiritual.   Pretend that I understand way more than I do. 

Maybe another time.

Right now it is Saturday.

The day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

For me as a christian, I can say I understand and believe the end of the story.  That's why we can call Good Friday, Good Friday.

For today....I understand the Saturday.

The in-between.

The part where everything looks dark, nothing is certain, and hope is something that just might have died a day ago.

I'll bet that others can relate to this in their own lives.

All I can say is that I know the end of the story.

I don't know how it will look here on earth.  I don't even know what we are having for Easter dinner tomorrow.

But I know that in the end of the "Easter Story," after Jesus is seen and he tells others in Mark 16:7 "but go, tell the disciples and tell Peter...."

Jesus wanted Peter to come.  To know.  That even though Peter denied Jesus, as was predicted, there is still hope.  Jesus is alive. And Peter is loved.  And wanted.  And not forgotten.  And specifically asked for.

I makes the whole "in between" thing okay for me.

Not 'cause I have all the answers.  And not because I want to answer for anyone else but myself.  And not because my answer is the same as yours, because you are a follower of Christ. 

But because Christ is who He said he was.  He did what He said He would do.  And He did and accomplished what was prophesied.  (journalist tend to look for facts over feelings)

There was an 'in between.'

And there is now.

I know where my "in between" is.....

and I know it won't be the same for you.

But no doubt you are in one.

And here is my *asterisk on this blogpost.....Do you have hope for whatever your tomorrows hold?

I'm here to tell you that it doesn't matter if you make tents (Peter), pump gas, give massages, write best-sellers.....

....whether you can see it today or not....

....there is a purpose, even in the in-betweens.

Monday, April 14, 2014

There's an App for That

Whatever question you have, need for information, entertainment or just because...there is undoubtedly an App for that.

Need to know the calorie count of your supper tonight?  There's an app for that.

Want to know what's trending in the news?  There's an app for that.

Want to play a game while waiting in the car in between events at a track meet?  There's an app for that.

Want to keep track of all of the places you've pooped?  It's true; there's an app for that.  *please see footnote for how I know this to be true. *please and thank you.

These days, there is an app for everything. 

I kind of hate this. And I kind of love it. 

When I was a kid, computer class was a 1 semester, optional class.  When we wrote our papers on the computer, the screen was full of "<" and ">" and other coding things and the words of the actual paper felt secondary to the grade if we didn't get all the code for it to print off just right. 

Typing class was also a 1 semester class.  We used typewriters that were plugged in to outlets.  Some of the fancier ones gave us the ability to see on a one-line screen what we had typed in before it would actually type out the line; thus eliminating the need for white-out and typing over it if need be. 

Oh, how vintage.

Things are so way different now.  As I look back and look at the now, it sort of feels like "little house on the prairie" compared to the virtual world I am raising my kids in.

I hate it.  And I love it.

I hate it because we no longer have to walk to the library, spend time browsing the shelves together and pick up our books and magazines that we think look interesting. 

Because there is an app for all of that.

I hate it because I can get the news before I get my actual newspaper, and that was how I relaxed with my coffee before the day started.

I hate it because the dinner time that I knew growing up with actually revolved around food at a table with everyone in the family.  For good or for bad, we connected there.  In person.
Did you know there's an app for that?

Hate that.

But on the other side of the coin, I love it.

I know my kids are involved in school, sports and other worthy things.  They are proud of it and so am I.  I can't always be at everything they are involved in.  But fortunately, there's an app for that.

Living in a divorced situation, I have never underestimated the power of text/photos/snapchat to keep in touch while the kids are with their dad.  I love that app.  I'm sure that works both ways.

When my teenagers send me snapchats of the fun they are having....love it.

When they send me messages of the not-so-fun-stuff....I don't love it, but I love being privy to what's going on.

In all honesty, they are able to keep in touch with me in far more ways than I was with my own parents.

For good or for bad....that connection...I love it.  Especially when it comes to family devotions. 

Long gone are the days when I was able to have "family devotions" the way my parents did; at the dinning table and after dinner.  These days the kids are all over the place and so am I trying to keep up with them. 

But I still try to feed them the way my parents did me...physically and spiritually. 

We may not always be together over a casserole and a scripture verse. 

But I can pack a lunch bag with both.

And when that doesn't work, I can share a link.  An app I share with the kids.  To send a message, read a verse or a quote that goes with the turkey and cheese sandwich I packed for them. 

Turkey and cheese...how vintage!

But it is where we are.  Physically. 

Spiritually, we share an app.  The bible app.  Yes, there is an app for that. 

The devotional time I grew up with would never work today.  That is not where we are at.  But I can catch up and I can meet my kids in the exact place they are at. 

With the messages that are timeless. 

What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

So there is nothing new under the sun.  But the ways of communicating that are.....

Love it or Hate it.  
One of my favorite phrases goes like this...."if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."  

But I draw the line at the "places I've pooped" app.   

It's funny.  But I draw the line. 

* I learned about the aforementioned app from my 17-year-old son who has a goal of adding as many nationally recognized places "he's pooped" to his app.  He assures me that his goal will end once he graduates college because then he wouldn't think it a "mature thing" to add that to his resume.  Clearly he has goals to change the world we live in.  And document it.  
oh my.