Category: Boys & Marriage – 31 Days 2017

La Gringa Fails

When you live in a foreign land while learning a new language, you’re bound to have some fails along the way.

My first few months here, I was shopping in local Walmart and needed help to find Advil.  So I asked, “Dónde está las drogas para mujeres?” (Where are the drugs for women?)  With a blank stare, she replied, “Advil??”  “Ah, sí, Advil.

Less than two weeks later, I returned looking for Coca-Cola.  “Donde esta la coca?” (Where’s the cocaine?).  “Coca-Cola?” she asked.  “Ah, sí, Coca Cola.”

Pretty sure I’m giving the wrong impression here.  #findanewplacetoshop

Who Do You See?

Cindy & Chris wedding

We are our own worst critics.  Condemning, shaming, comparing.

More often than not, we see where we fall short and not in the spiritual sense but rather in comparison to those around us.

  • Fit in a smaller size.
  • Make every meal from scratch.
  • Take up a hobby or four.
  • Get more involved in activities.
  • Earn more.
  • Buy more.

So why then do we preach His love but choose not to believe it?

Isaiah 62:5 states “…as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

He delights in us.  Takes pleasure in us.

We’ve heard it a thousand times–it’s not our accomplishments or what we have.  But what does it take for that to sink in?

Be still.  Rejoice.  The Creator sees you.

And is pleased.

Photo by Jeremy Yates

Laugh

Cindy & Chris wedding

Life is heavy.  It’s also fleeting.

How quickly we can forget the things that once brought us joy.  It seems to be second nature to find something wrong with someone or something around you.

Rather than things appreciated, we lambaste our spouse with a laundry list of to-dos or complaints as they walk in the door.

Charlie Chaplin reminds us that “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Ironically, as I write this, I’m scowling at my four drenched dogs traipsing through the kitchen while my son throws things from his high chair.  I drop a toy by accident and he starts laughing.

What would life look like if we, as adults, viewed life through a child’s eyes?  We’d stress less, laugh more.

What is one thing that makes you laugh today?   I tried something new.  Playing the harmonica.  A good laugh for all.

Photo by Jeremy Yates

Skip the Instructions

Haughey_BAM_204.jpg

There is no manual that comes with parenting.  That said, my son, I will fail you.  I came into parenting with preconceived notions, as I do in many situations, and I realize I don’t have a clue.  But I do know I must learn to study you.

What I’ve learned so far:

  • Play in puddles.
  • Jump on the trampoline daily.
  • Love dogs.
  • Enjoy books.
  • Share a common interest.
  • Explore everything.
  • Have no fear.
  • Experiment doing things yourself.
  • Voice your opinion.
  • Slow down and swing twice a day.
  • Laugh so hard until you don’t remember why you started.

Photo by Betsy Markwald   www.betsymarkwaldphotography.com

Fraud

alone

Webster defines fraud as “an act of deceiving or misrepresenting” or “a person who is not what he or she pretends to be.”

I came across this term twice in one day by two different authors–Sheryl Sandberg and Brene Brown.  I never really gave the term a second thought until now.

When I speak in Spanish, people assume I’m fluent.  Fraud.

When I write each day and hit “Publish,” what do I hear?  Fraud.

When I talk with a friend who is struggling in marriage…Fraud.

When I brainstorm creative ideas and how to improve the world around me…Fraud.

When I voice my opinion…Fraud.

When I consider using my talent in a new way…Fraud.

When I discipline my son…Fraud.

How do we battle the onslaught of this particular lie?  Remember who you are.  So much of our energy is spent trying to prove something or worrying what others will think.  Remember where the lie comes from so you can fight it with truth.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].”    John 10:10 (AMP)

My Next Fix

next fix

I’m a “next thing” junkie.  Always looking forward to the next trip, the next activity, the next social event, the next fix.  When I don’t have it, well, I’m bored.

When I moved to a new country, sure, that was one long “next thing.”  But the high wore off when I realized how limited I was without language, work, friends or family.  I was frustrated every time I wanted to do something and couldn’t communicate my desire or find where I wanted to go.  So I found myself alone and bored a lot.

Oswald Chambers says “A true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening.”

This season has been teaching me just that.  I have to work at cutting myself off from “the next thing.”  I am learning to stop hunting the extraordinary and stop fighting the ordinary.

So yes, my days may be spent on hold with customer service or hours waiting at the vet.  Definitely nothing extraordinary.  But I’m seeing what’s in front of me as I begin to recover.  There are people around me who are in the ordinary, and alone too.

Who are we in the ordinary moments?

This Is The Day

iamgrateful

Many mornings throughout my childhood, I was awakened to blinding sunlight as my mom sang “This is the Day”.  In response, I would groan, hide under the covers and wonder where she got that annoying joy from each morning.

Now, as an adult and a mom, I realize it’s a choice.  More importantly, it’s a discipline.  In my experience, it’s much easier to vent in search for sympathy rather than to think about my words or attitude.

King David in Psalm 34 declares:

I will extol the Lord at all times;
    his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
    let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
    let us exalt his name together.

We see David practice this discipline throughout his writings in Psalms.  What would it look like if praise was always on our lips?

He goes on to to invite the afflicted to join him.  What?  I’d like to think I am one to practice praise and thanksgiving.  In reality, I’m more prone to do so when or if things are going well, rather than in the midst of affliction.

When I complain, I’m inviting others into my misery.  I’m rarely considering how I can invite them to praise.

Author, Greg Ogden, states, “If we see praise only as giving God compliments, then we miss the everyday nature of praise.  Enjoyment spontaneously overflows in praise.  We go to an enjoyable movie and speak its praises.  When my wife and I take a Sunday-afternoon drive on a spectacular day, we keep saying to each other, ‘Look at that.’ Praise not only expresses our joy, it completes it.”

As for me and my house, we will praise the Lord.  May we be complete in Him.