>My Inner Warrior

>Ladies, I have, this day, discovered a fierce warrior lurking inside of me. Yet again, I put off my grocery trip until there was simply nothing but condiments and moldy fruit in my refrigerator. Fearing the possibility of what could be facing me at the local supercenter, I carefully mapped out my meal plan, made my list, loaded up the kids and headed out to Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon. There really is nothing on earth that is quite like it. Jostling and crashing, empty shelves and packed aisles – the living, breathing definition of insanity. My kids (who usually get to look at toys with Daddy, but Daddy is out of town today) picked at each other and dragged their feet around every corner in a shameful manner. There were a few times that I cut through several lanes of traffic, kind of hoping to scare them into staying close by and being quiet. It didn’t help much, though. I switched strategy mid-store and decided upon the pull-the-cart-into-the-middle-of-the-aisle-crossing-guard-style approach until my ducklings had safely crossed each and every street. By the time I stood in line and paid and got to the car, I felt that collapse was imminent. But, as I drove home, an emboldened sensibility began to sneak up on me. By the time pulled into my driveway, I really was proud of having survived this – I could certainly tackle the rest of the day if I could handle that!
So…..I made a real dinner. Artichokes and everything (yeah – my kids love them!). My daughter suggested candlelight since we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. Feeling a little giddy, I agreed.
They both wound up getting bathed and showered – Zing! I made homemade cookies for dessert – Zap! I even tackled the three loads of laundry that had been moved from my bed to my desk to my bed to my desk to my bed to the kitchen table (thinking this might make it seem more urgent) – Zow!
By the time the kids were in bed, I decided that, after the day’s successes, I simply had to pull myself together for one last battle. Armed with the Scrubbing Bubbles and a brand new rag, I screamed out, “Yaaaaaaaarrrgh!” and charged into my shower! Most of you may not understand the pure risk involved in this maneuver. My shower, girls, hasn’t been scrubbed in a time akin to the gestation period of a pachyderm. It’s just nasty. There was serious danger of my being overpowered by Slimy Fingers of Living Grime (which might be a good name for a rock band – or at least an album).
Maybe it was the way my hair sticks up by this time of day, maybe it was some wild glint in my eye – whatever. I scared it into submission. Not only did I clean the shower, I cleaned all the pieces of the bathroom. At once. A feat not often accomplished in my home.
And so, I retire with a cup of jasmine tea. That’s enough for one day. I wouldn’t want anyone getting any ideas of what I could really accomplish if I just put my mind to it!
DAILY BLISS: Honestly – jasmine tea.
<3 Christy

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>Becky’s thoughts…

>Have you ever had one of those moments where things suddenly begin to make sense? Sort of like a realization washes over you that God has been at work, through things that seem to have no connection, all to accomplish one purpose in your life. I’ve been having those moments lately. As I’m getting ready for the first Woman on the Edge event, I’m spending a lot of time looking back over my journey to begin piecing together the message God wants to say through Woman on the Edge, and I’m realizing… OOOOOOHH!! THIS is what He’s been teaching me!!!!

Suddenly, it all makes sense. The journey through some painful times, the daring call to New Orleans, the facing of some unlovely things about myself, the depression I’ve dealt with, and even the joyful moments have all been teaching me truths that fit the Woman on the Edge message. I’ve watched in awe as material for this conference flows out of email conversations, discussions, and thoughts I’ve journaled over the past year. I had no idea I was working on conference material, but here it is!! My jaw is dropping as God brings just the right women to the team and how He has ordered their lives with just the right experiences and truths as well.

Yet again, I marvel at God’s incredible ability to orchestrate my life into something wonderful… in SPITE of me.

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>Hmmmm….

>Well, whatever train of thought I was on last night derailed before I could get to the point of what I was going to say, so I will let yesterday’s post stand as-is!
I have been pondering, lately, the sense of emotional weariness that plagues me now and again. I had concluded some time ago that I was one of the few women I knew who battled constantly to keep her heart intact. Eventually, I started to wonder what was wrong with me that I never could bring myself to lop off big parts of my self in order to just get through the time at hand. Everywhere we go, everything we do – from the time we are small – threatens to shred little bits of our hearts as women. I have seen this so often. Women shut down their dreams, kill little bits of themselves, just to deal with the hurts and disappointments that life brings.
So, I ran across a scripture that really encouraged me yesterday. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Then I thought about how I have always interpreted that verse. It seems that I have always thought it meant to lock away my heart – to keep it somewhere safe so that no one ever hurt it. But that conflicts with my need to have an impact on the world around me. I don’t think anything is completely true and effective unless it comes from the heart. But nothing can come from the heart if it’s shut away from the world.
But it doesn’t say “lock your heart away.” I got this picture of myself standing around a fortress – in some kind of medieval battle armor! Ha! Not very feminine, I guess. But I think that’s more along the lines of what the scripture teaches. My heart must be what it is. It can’t function unless it’s open to the air. It has doors and the walls have tops – that is to say, there are points of entry and exit into my heart. But I must guard it. I have to discern whether something that approaches is safe to let in. And sometimes, I can’t know, but I have to be ready to fight. I have to watch what comes out, too. Make sure that what I unleash on the rest of the world is beneficial.
Why? Because it’s the wellspring of life! Isn’t that the ultimate definition of the feminine? Isn’t that one of the most beautiful ways that women reflect their Creator? We bring life into this world. I don’t just mean babies, either. I mean Life, Beauty, Good Things. But only if we have a well-trained guard standing at the post.
DAILY BLISS:
An hour all by myself in the craft store! Wheee!

<3 Christy

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>Furthering the Feminine Cause

>GRRRLL! I am laughing out LOUD at your post! I enjoyed our conversation this morning too. And I think you are very funny with your homemade mayo. Even I, the domestic goddess extraordinaire, have had my fair share of kitchen flops! Last year, to celebrate the Chronicles of Narnia, I decided I was going to make homemade Turkish delight for all my friends, and wrap it in little white boxes with green ribbons (reference the book if you’d like to check for accuracy :)). And I was NOT about to make any of those recipes that called for gelatin. That was cheating. I was going to make the sugar-syrup, from-scratch, Turkish-grandma kind of delight. So, funds being short, I bought a cheap candy thermometer. Honey, for two weeks straight, my kitchen was awash in sticky syrups and flavorings. I made batch after batch of boiled syrup, dribbling tiny bits of it into ice water to check the hard ball vs. soft ball stage. No lie – I went through probably two dozen pounds of sugar. I only got one batch really right. Everyone got a very tiny, pathetic box of Turkish Delight which probably cost, when you factor in all the failures, more than a fancy imported box ever would have!
I guess, though, my point is that kitchen stuff and homemaking stuff is fun for me. It’s how I express myself. But that isn’t the definition of the feminine by any stretch. You alluded to that at the end of your post, B. Some very feminine women like to go rock climbing or are engineers. I think it has less to do with our tasks and more to do with our approach to our tasks. I think feminine women are alluring (if you don’t like that word, insert “inviting”), warm, open and emotionally connected with themselves and the world around them. They long to be desired. They are irresistlbe because they know who they are and they are comfortable with themselves. Now, that’s just a short list, but…..it’s a start.
Hmmm. Now, my brain has just drawn a blank. Maybe I should get on to bed and continue this tomorrow……
DAILY BLISS:
Warm, soaking tropical rain with no thunder or lightning. ALL DAY! Woohoo! And building a fort out of sheets and a table with my kids.

<3 Christy

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>Femininity Fluke?

>Christy and I had an enlightening discussion this morning about femininity. We chatted about how many women squelch their femininity in order to prove themselves equal to the men around them. We talked about how an assertive woman sans femininity comes across aggressive and intimidating. I was truly inspired, seeing as how that assertive woman who often leaves her femininity at home is none other than yours truly.

So, in the spirit of celebrating my femininity, and because I ran out of the store bought kind, I attempted to make homemade mayonnaise. Let me warn you that those who tout “easy” mayonnaise making are LIARS! Before attempting homemade mayonnaise, one really needs to have a degree in chemistry!! I carefully followed the directions, and nearly burned up the motor in my very feminine stand mixer, but only came up with oil and egg yolk syrup. Nasty.

Frustrated, yet determined, I continued my quest. Since funds are low, and I’m scraping the bottom of my pantry as it is, I couldn’t let myself lose this battle and waste what I had! Ugh! I did a search on google: “How to thicken homemade mayonnaise” which turned up some interesting information, along with the sad realization that I would have to count as loss the two egg yolks and cup of olive oil I had already sacrificed to my stand mixer. I began a second batch, this time using my whisk to blend the ingredients. I beat and I beat and I beat those yolks and then began to incorporate the oil, DROP by DROP, still beating all the time. This batch turned out better. It was thickening up nicely, but my arm was about to FALL OFF!! Plus the ingredients I was mixing were starting to trigger my gag reflex. At this point, I’m feeling anything but feminine.

Suddenly, the phone rang, interrupting my feminine celebration gone awry. I heard my husband’s voice on the other end, and he, hearing the flustered banging of my whisk, gallantly offered to bring home a jar of mayo from the store on his lunch break. So as my knight in shining armor rode in on his steed to rescue me with a jar of Hellmann’s, I began to think. Maybe femininity isn’t something I’ve lost in the layers of my assertive, driven personality. Maybe it’s always there, and maybe it’s more than high heels and nail polish. Maybe I’m more feminine than I thought! So I thankfully grabbed the jar of mayo from my man and sent him off with a kiss. Perhaps I’ve celebrated my femininity in spite of myself!!

Regardless, friends, I’ve found an appreciation for some things storebought. Knowing firsthand where the “Hell” comes from in Hellmann’s, I’ll forever be grateful for that jar with the blue lid… and for the man who buys it and brings it home to his very feminine woman!!!

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>Becky’s Katrina Reflections

>I’m watching roses being tossed into the 17th street canal here in my city. Each rose represents a life lost in the Lakeview area of New Orleans…my old neighborhood. Today marks one year since Hurricane Katrina hit our area. I’ll never forget watching as Katrina was forecasted. When our local station’s meteorologist began to relay the news that Katrina was headed our way, she began to cry. I remember thinking how odd it was for a weather forecaster to get that emotional over the weather. That chilling moment was a foreshadowing of many tears to come.

I cried a lot those first few weeks, and have cried many more times over the past year. Here we are a year later, and some days the tears are far from over. But you know what? Hope always rises to the top of the puddle of tears. Even on those days when the tears seem like an ocean, Hope’s ship is still sailing, and guess who her Captain is? He’s the Only One who has seen my deepest sorrow and most regrettable mistakes, but still welcomes me freely. He’s the One whose arms I’ve run to with my sorrows time and again, and the One whose held me through storms before. So when Jesus reaches over the side of His ship of hope to catch me and pull me in, I welcome His embrace, I hold onto Him with everything I am, and I cherish those moments because it’s then He’s holding me closest.

Thank God for the ocean of tears, thank God for Katrina, and thank God for the chance she gave me to crawl up in His lap, with nowhere else to go, and see His face in a wonderful way.

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>Paths and Fogs

>A few weeks ago, I posted something about my journey. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was something about feeling like the security of the known isn’t really safe for me anymore. I just can’t stay and I have to move forward. I have no idea what’s ahead, but I have come to this place, this edge of my reality, where I have to choose to sit down, or to keep going, and if I keep going, which path will I take? I’ve been sitting here for quite some time now, and this is where the conversation Becky and I had about the wishing fog comes in. It seems to roll in on you when you’re sitting still. I have told myself that I was making choices, but I was really allowing that fog of wishing to swirl around my head and keep me satisfied in my spot, busy with all of the questions that float around there. But, like a brave little soldier, I decided at some point to just start walking. I don’t know when I’ll be able to see what’s ahead, but I had to start walking in some direction or another.
In that spirit, I have grabbed for a few books that I’ve been meaning to read…and one that was recommended to me by some very reliable sources was The Barbarian Way, by Erwin McManus. It’s what fell into my hands first, so I devoured it, cover to cover, in less than two days. If you haven’t read it, I hope this will still make sense to you…..
It’s so encouraging to have words that define my identity! It’s so nice to know there are other people out there who think like I do and feel like I do and don’t-fit-in like I do! But as I reached the end of the book, the following paragraph really seemed relevant to me, in light of the conversations Becky and I have been having, so I’m going to share it with you. He is talking about the Israelites and their journey out of Egypt: “It is no different for us. As it was for them, freedom is not a return to Paradise Lost (it’s not safe back there anymore), but to a promised land that we must win. Like Israel, who longed for Egypt (this would be the wishing fog right here) because the journey was more difficult than the people expected, we must be aware of the temptation to return to the captivity from which we were freed. There is but one path to freedom. There is no easy road made available. We cannot claim to know Christ and to honor Him if we refuse the path He calls us to follow.” Parenthetical statements added by me….of course.
I think that we have many crossroads in our lifetimes, but this has been a particularly difficult one for me. Maybe it’s just my age. Maybe it’s the many milestones and big changes that have occurred in my life this year. I don’t know, really, what it is. But I know I have been standing there, just waiting, wishing, resting – whatever. I know where I’m headed, and I know Who will be with me, but it has really been more difficult than I expected.

<3 Christy

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>Little Boys

>All of you moms out there know what it’s like to suddenly get a view of your children that reveals how much they’ve grown, don’t you? I got one of those moments today. There’s this perfect moment when the sun starts to set around dinner time at my house. It spreads itself out all gold and warm across the westerly rooms of my house. My son, who is 9, asked me for a backrub (he’s sore from his heavy bookbag!) and he laid on my bed, and as I rubbed his sweet young skin, the sunlight gently crept across my bed and landed on his little man shoulders. This all happened in a matter of five minutes – the “changing of the light” is fleeting, which is part of why it’s so special.
All of a sudden, looking at the back of his head, I remembered what he was like when he was two and when he was five and even last year. My heart just broke. I remember how his little body used to curl up next to mine on a regular basis. How I knew what his skin felt like and took it for granted. How I even sometimes just wished for a moment with nobody touching me. He gave me a big hug before we got up. The light was just passing. It struck me that he is almost the same size as I am now.
I’m young, and he still has much growing to do, but I think I’m starting to get it. I have begun to understand that bittersweet separation between a mom and her boy. And though my heart broke, I’m not entirely sure that it didn’t mainly burst out of pride for who he is becoming and the matchless joy of holding him close to me one more time.
So, the changing of the light is fleeting, but so is my little boy. And I don’t get to have another chance to catch it tomorrow, you know?
DAILY BLISS:
I love taking baths! I mean – I really love taking baths. I have taken to bathing in coconut milk – I just love how it makes my skin feel. Now, I usually add a little rum extract for a nicely scented bath, but today, on recommendation from none other than Becky, I added almond extract instead. It smelled like a macaroon! And when I stepped out, I almost felt like I was a warm, toasted coconut cookie. Yum!

<3 Christy

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>August 23

>Thanks for the props on the wishing fog, B. I don’t know which one of us put it together, but it was definitely born in a painful conversation. I suppose I haven’t addressed my end of it in this format either. Maybe I will tomorrow. My brain has pretty much decided it can’t take any more for now and has zoned out. But I did want to post the joy that found me in this day….
At any rate, what came out of your pen, so to speak, is so inspired! I prefer that kind of thing to the rhymes anyway!
DAILY BLISS:
I got flowers from my DH today. I never remember these things, but he called me today to remind me that, 14 years ago, on this date, he first laid eyes on me. I don’t get flowers often, but when I do, it’s really special. But not half as special as the fact that he remembers that kind of thing.

<3 Christy

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>Forward…

>Haven’t posted in a while… Frankly I have been a little on the grouchy side with my life. Not that I don’t love my life, I’ve just had a disappointment over the last couple of weeks that had me feeling disenchanted. Normally when it comes to poetry, I’m a rhyme girl all the way, but last night I had a three hour intro to computers class where my mind had some time to wander. My pen came flying to my hand and during the droning about drop down menus, and I scribbled this little quip in response to my feelings of late.

The heat of passion collides with reality’s chill
Settling over my heart in a wishing fog
A mist of unrealized potential and unmet expectations
Swirls about me, slowing my pace.

My pulse throbs painfully, beating out my heartache
Will I perish in this cloudy spot?
My hand grasps tightly to my Companion.
He ushers me along the only way out of this desperate fog,
Slowly,
Gingerly,
Steadily,
Forward.

This is the conclusion I’ve come to. In the pits of life, I’m left alone. Except for Christ. He alone remains when all others fall away. He hasn’t necessarily called me to a comfortable life. His call is to a life lived in abandon to Him. This means when that “wishing fog” comes down, making me pine for what I don’t have and grieve deep hurts and disappointments, and clouding my view of reality, I have only one option. That option is to hold to Christ and keep moving ahead, knowing that eventually we will reach the other side of the fog and I will once again be able to see the view along our journey. I have to wonder how much time I may have wasted in similar fogs because I gave in to the despair and just sat down instead of clinging to Jesus and continuing to move forward, even if the steps are slow and painful.

I’ve decided that forward is the only way to go. And I’ll not wait for the wishing to go away before I begin to move again. Christ and I will move ahead, at first in the midst of the wishing fog, but eventually it will clear, and I’ll be happy for the ground we covered.

Thanks to Christy for some deep and painful conversations where our term “wishing fog” was born.

Ever Forward,
Becky

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