Friday, October 28, 2011

I hate my hair!

My hair has been falling out by the handfuls for months.  It did the same thing after the births of my older daughters too, resulting in giant bare spots on each temple.  When my oldest was about 6 months old, I had to part my painfully thin hair in the middle and pull it around to a low ponytail, just to sparsely cover my skull.  I’ve been fortunate, this time around that, while my hair is still falling out at the same high rate, the regrowth started much sooner.  Instead of completely bald spots, the lean places have a carpet of wacky fringe that goes whichever way my cowlicks dictate.  I’m torn each morning between spending hours at the mirror attempting to stylishly mask my hairlessness, or just surrendering, putting in a headband and ponytail, and wearing my shirt inside out to distract people from looking at my hair.

I wish this battle were something new, but it’s really not.  I have hated my hair for as long as I’ve been aware of fashion.  I spent my fourth grade year figuring out the pattern of a girl named Beth’s French braids; I hoped I could duplicate her look, but it took four years of attending school with bizarre, tangled messes on my head before I finally got it down.  When big hair came into fashion, I couldn’t afford the volume of hairspray it required to make bangs as thin and fine as mine stand up and be teased.  I had to skip the late eighties and go straight to grunge.

So here I am, all grown up, and still hating everything about my hair.  It’s a blah color.  It has no real body or texture.  Frankly, I resent every moment of my life that I’ve spent in the chair at a salon, or at the mirror with a curling iron and hairdryer.  I was born to “wash and go,” and that fantasy remains out of reach for me.  But now you know why I dress the way I do…probably explains a lot.

Don't depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. 1 Peter 3:3

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why is simplicity so complicated?

Over a year and a half ago, my husband and I were trying to catch our breath.  He felt the financial pressure of being the primary breadwinner.  I felt the frantic race of keeping up with church activities, dance, and housekeeping.  Those feelings were all compounded by our ambitious volunteering with the Parks and Rec.  Not wanting to play favorites, when Dad volunteered to coach our older girl’s basketball team, Mom volunteered to coach the younger’s.  Have your chuckle at the idea I could potentially coach a sports team and let’s move on…

I picked up a devotional book on simplicity and we decided to complete the six-week course during Lent.  It turned out that it wasn’t so simple.  It took six months to finish the book and the process of assessing our lifestyle, our gifts, the things from which we take the greatest joy and satisfaction, and our hopes for contributing to, rather than exploiting, the world in which we live.  It might have been safer to cruise right through the book in six weeks.  Our pursuit of simplicity found us having a third child and putting our house on the market.

You’ve probably heard that it’s a buyer’s market out there.  It is.  We had hoped that we could pursue simplicity without actually catching it, I guess, because our decision to downsize was supposed to be dependent on God sending us a buyer for our current house.  Maybe it was the sleep deprivation from the new baby, maybe it was confidence in the marketability of our current home, but I honestly believe it was more along the lines of Providence.  We are closing this morning on that little brick house my husband’s been eyeing for the last five years; it’s set on a beautiful, wooded pasture just 2 miles from our current house.  It met all our criteria and then some.  The kids won’t even change schools, and we can raise chickens, have up to 3 livestock, and have all the room in the world for a giant garden.
It's already cuter than this - with a brand new, black roof.
I believe we’re following the calling of the Holy Spirit.  I believe we went through this process thoughtfully.  Still, it has been surprising to both of us how complicated this whole simplicity thing is.   Somehow while it seems like it should be the easiest thing ever to simplify, it is actually fraught with risk.  It’s taken a lot of courage and we’re just going to continue to rely on one another and listen for the still, small voice of God to show us the way.

I don’t know when we’ll be moved.  I don’t know how much stuff we’re going to have to unburden ourselves from.  I don’t know who is going to buy our old house.  But I know we’re headed where we’re supposed to be.  And I’m excited for the journey.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.  OK, I’d take a buyer…anyone?

Are any of you wise or sensible? Then show it by living right and by being humble and wise in everything you do. James 3:13

Friday, October 14, 2011

I just go go go

My high school friends hated to ride with me, because I charged every stop sign.  Not to the point of throwing anyone into the dash, but I wouldn’t let off the gas until I had just enough time to make the stop.  Why waste precious seconds coasting?  I avert my eyes when an elderly person cuts me off in a doorway or grocery store aisle to avoid signaling animosity where there is only impatience.  I’m not mad they’re slow, or resentful that I have to wait for them; I just wasn’t prepared to break my stride so abruptly and am ready to resume my mission as soon as they clear the path.

My husband calls me antsy.  It drives me nuts to wait behind someone in the self checkout who can’t figure out the scale.  I could lose my mind watching someone run an internet search using inefficient search terms.  Don’t get me started on sitting through church meetings.

I don’t tailgate or nag, but it’s only because I know how impatient I am.  I know that it isn’t fair to the others around me, who need a little more time to get through the doorway, decide what they want to order, or realize it’s their turn at the four way stop.  I have a certain practiced calm that is often a required antidote to my natural impatience; I stand back, breathe deeply, and say a prayer of thanksgiving that God has given so many delightful things to do each day that I literally want to race from one to the next; that God’s blessed me with the physical health and quick thinking that make it possible to get my half dozen items and get back out of Walmart in less than ten minutes; that someone stepped in front of me this very instant to remind me to slow down and savor where I am and what I’m doing.

I hear people marvel sometimes that I’m able to keep up with so many demands.  My driven nature does allow me to keep up a full plate and I’m grateful for that.  But sometimes I know that comes at the cost of making other people feel they’re just a speedbump on my race.  It takes deliberate, intentional action for me to reorient my attitude from action and accomplishment toward relationship and connection.  Sometimes I need to sacrifice efficiency to leave enough space for humanity, to hear someone’s story, to show someone love; to leave room for Christ to shine.

Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Ephesians 4:2

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm a pizza addict

It has pickles, mustard, onion, and bacon on it, and I can never stop after just two pieces.  As likely as it is to add inches to my middle, Bacon Cheeseburger pizza, I would argue, is still a healthy choice.  It satisfies my pizza cravings, and my fast food cravings, with a single meal.  When have you ever found such an efficient junk food?

If only Bacon Cheeseburger pizza actually were enough to satisfy my pizza cravings, though.  I love pizza.  You’re right, we all love pizza.  Let me clarify, I love pizza.  I would gladly eat pizza once a day, every day, for the duration of my life.  If such an occasion arose, I could certainly add an extra lunch or dinner to that when necessary.  My husband hordes pizza coupons to shelter our family from the financial burden of my addiction. 

I often find myself doing pizza math when we start discussing dinner options.  While he’s thinking: steak, chicken, or fish?  I’m trying to make sure we didn’t eat pizza in the last 24 hours, before I mention that I’d like to have pizza again.

In addition to my newest favorite, the Bacon Cheeseburger pizza, I’ve long been a fan of the Supreme.  Hawaiian is also delicious.  Barbeque – yum.  Steak or green olive – yes please.  Originally not on my list, I’ve even come around to find myself enjoying Taco pizza.  It is, however, the one pizza I do not enjoy cold the next day.

Oh, yes.  Cold pizza.  If you don’t order a big enough pizza to dine on cold leftovers the next day, you didn’t order a big enough pizza.

Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD. 2 Kings 4:44