Pay it Forward

So my heart’s been acting a little cranky lately. It’s not a spiritual issue –more like the forty-year warranty on my body is about to expire and the valves need some fixing. I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out at the Happy Heart Center waiting, waiting and waiting for my busy but awesome cardiologist Dr. Gandhi to take more tests.

Kolby accompanies me on these journeys and even though it’s a pain the behind to hang out in a waiting room and atrophy, my two year-old keeps it real. We sing silly songs, read magazines called “Great Circulation” and play on mommy’s iPhone. We have long conversations about doggies, and William (her best friend) and Mickey Mouse.

A few weeks ago we sat near an older couple who watched the two of us and chuckled at my busy toddler. They told me about their grandchildren and we swapped stories about living in Newport Heights (my old neighborhood) and writing and life.

No one mentioned why we were there. It’s never good news at the cardiologist or the oncologist but it just might just be one of the more genuine places to meet people. Everyone there is a bit frayed around the edges. Masks are let down. Sadness and hope and resolve swirl around like air freshener.

I found out they owned a clothing company for little girls called “Girlfriends” and the lovely lady –Anita asked me what size Kolby wore. She also asked for my card to check out my blog and said she might send us a treat.

I wished them the best and off we went to wait some more.

On the day before Mother’s Day, a big box arrived in the mail and I tore into it. I pulled out one beautiful dress after another for my little girl.

And I was blown away at this couple’s generosity. We didn’t talk about God or illness or anything sad that day –because it was the unspoken and obvious, we just laughed and gloried in the life and vibrancy of a small child.

And maybe that was our simple gift to them.

Thank you Anita and Jerry for your random act of kindness and paying it forward! You made my Mother’s day very special ♥

What can you do today to bless a stranger?

Goldilocks and the Three Outfits

It was the second day of school when my fair maiden Faith scurried down the stairs and into the kitchen. The baby was parked on my feet, double fisted with sippy cups of juice and milk, whining to watch Yo Gabba Gabba. I danced around her little body, trying not to step on her while packing lunches and making breakfast.

A blur of dark golden hair and an extensive length of thigh whizzed past me.  “Stop and turn around.” I demanded.

Faith looked at me like a deer in the headlights, feigning wide-eyed innocence. “What mom?”

“No way are you wearing that outfit.” I stated firmly. “Did you really think I would let you out of the house in that?”

Faith turned and looked sheepish, then flounced away in her skimpy, spaghetti strapped polka-dot sundress. As she turned to stomp up the stairs, I caught a glimpse of her pink panties.

(I could just see the mom’s at school gossiping, “Yep, that’s the pastor’s daughter, the one over there in the hootchie outfit.”)

‘But mom, its soooooo hot outside,” she whined from her room.

“You’ll be cold in that outfit” I shouted up to her.

A few minutes later, as I poured a (much needed) strong cup of coffee, in she traipsed again, now wearing her most prized and overpriced jeans with a grey cowl necked sweater. I put the cup down and looked at her in bemusement. “Faith, it was over a hundred degrees yesterday. Don’t you think you might be a little too hot?” I suggested.

She shook her head and looked in the mirror admiring her outfit. “I’ll be fine, mom.”

“Try again,” I said, shaking my head in exasperation.

She gave me thewhatever” look combined with a loud sigh and rolling of the eyes, then ran up the stairs once again.

Somewhere between little girl and all grown up...

As I heard her feet clomp down the stairs for the third time, I got a wee bit apprehensive. I could feel a headache coming on from all the drama and my son hadn’t even appeared yet with his rapper crap, (I mean the cool gear) he tries to pull off so nonchalantly.

But then Faith appeared and a wave of relief washed over me. She had on denim shorts (that actually covered her bum) and a pink diaphanous blouse that was a light cotton but still modest.

All of a sudden the Three Bears came to mind. It had been her favorite fairy tale as a munchkin.

“You look just right Goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold, you are just right- sweetheart.”

And my fair maiden smiled and everything was the way it should be for at least five minutes (until my son came down wearing a sombrero the size of an inner-tube).

I really wish my kids wore uniforms.

 

Conversations with my Pastor (Husband)

Man and woman in swimsuits, ca. 1910; she is e...

Image via Wikipedia

My last post sparked some great conversations. One dialogue was with my pastor (husband). He made a few points I wanted to address:

  • As leaders we are held to a higher standard.  To whom much is given much is expected. And the same swimwear (a two-piece) I wore as a volunteer in highschool ministry may not be the appropriate attire in my new position. Clearly, I am slow to adjusting to my new paradigm as a pastor’s wife.  (But if you knew where I came from, you might already be scratching your head at the colossal shift in my behavior)
  • My idea of cute and my husband’s  idea of modest are not the same.  Here we go back to the middle ground again, but we have discussed spending some real money on a bathing suit that represents both our values.  Cha-Ching!
  • When expectations are assumed, but not discussed it can lead to disappointment on both sides.  And when your wife is a writer sometimes her thoughts leak out into the internet cloud, (subconsciously of course) but I see your point dear!
  • While my desire is to honor my husband and protect all men from lust, I still have the desire to be pretty.  And therein lies the catch-22.

Joshua Harris, in sex is not the problem (lust is), states, “The way you dress can either help or hinder the men around you who are trying to resist lust.” So, if my idea of pretty is a hindrance, then I may need to reevaluate what pretty means.  Maybe pretty can include modesty. But maybe it doesn’t have to include a t-shirt and board shorts either (so soggy and uncomfortable)!

Harris also suggests that men play a part in this responsibility to resist temptation.  Men are not exempt from the solution.  And I don’t want to ever take this too lightly.  I want to affirm and acknowledge just how difficult it is. 

Breasts and belly buttons are not evil.  Dressing to tempt and lure is.  There is no shame in being voluptuous and it doesn’t make a woman less spiritual or unclean. And if you see a sister who is in sin, have the conversation with her instead of snubbing her or talking behind her back.  I’m just saying…

The truth is I struggle with this.  It’s not a black or white issue and I don’t want to justify or fall within legalistic rule making.  Ultimately, modesty and lust are a matter of the heart. 

God knows we will get discouraged, on both sides of the matter.  He encourages us to not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not lose heart.(Gal 6:9)  So, I’ll just be over here sowing some seed and eating some humble pie.

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

My husband bought me a very special swimsuit for our honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean-one very hot yellow polka dot bikini.  It has cute little strings that tie on my hips and I feel like a sassy and mischievous gal when I squeeze into it.  Now, I am not claiming to be a supermodel, but my husband clearly expressed his approval with a large goofy smile whenever I dug those polka-dots out of the drawer. 

That is, until we started a church and all of a sudden he became very concerned with covering up his wife’s bodacious bosom and abdominals.  Apparently pastor’s wives should wear modest and conservative (translation-old lady) tank suits.  But, what’s a girl to do when her mammary offering turns even the ugly tank into a sexy piece of spandex?

The truth is I don’t have a modest bod!  I am, shall we say…curvy.  Every summer we hit the bathing suit store and my husband hopes I will find an appropriate suit to hide my bosum and every year he leaves frustrated.  At this point, I am relegated to a t-shirt for all church events, because the ta ta’s have gone underground.  Apparently, I am somehow less spiritual in my wanton state of voluptuousness. (Heeee)

If I have painted a picture of immodesty, I have been misleading.  In general, my dress is very conservative and unassuming.  My daily wardrobe is professional and streamlined.  I don’t want my clothes to ever distract from the message, but I also conversely, don’t feel a need to hide my body as something to be ashamed of. 

Modesty is a confusing road to navigate to begin with.  I want to be fashionable and express myself with clothes.  But, I also understand the premise of not tempting men (deeply visual creatures), who apparently have a nerve that runs from their eyes to their loins.  But when the same men who tell me to cover up walk around with their shirts off at the pool it seems like a serious double standard.  At the very least, let me wear the tank suit without a burka.

Not so long ago, I remember a day when the folks in high school ministry used to call my husband a Ken-doll because his body looked like a sculpted piece of art.  And I don’t recall him hiding those luscious biceps to protect the eyes of women behind a t-shirt (Praise the Lord)).  To his benefit, he does wear one now at church baptisms and pool events, so I can’t argue that he asks me to do something he is not willing to do. 

As a pastor’s wife, I want to be above reproach, but as a woman I also want to have the freedom to wear a bikini when the congregant’s eyes aren’t boring a hole into my choice of swimwear.  So for now, I will compromise with tanks and a t-shirt for all church events near water, and I’ll let the bikini out of the drawer for vacations alone with my honey (hubba hubba).

This is where I think the church has ambiguity and difficulty encapsulating the problem of lust, modesty and male/female interaction.  Is the answer to pornography shrouding women?  Do our daughters need to be dressed like the Amish for our boys to not treat them like sexual objects?  Is there some sort of middle ground regarding modesty for women and personal responsibility for men? 

Maybe someday we can move beyond the superficial and allow a modest two piece bathing suit on a woman to not cause a stir.  Because isn’t it all just a fig leaf to God?

Cold Feet

cold feet

Image by MayaEvening via Flickr

 

My feet are cold. Bone cold. 

Will work for socks cold!

It’s one of those days where I have been warm, truly warm, for only a few minutes.  At the end of my run this morning, I started to break a sweat, despite the chilly 38 degree temp and maybe, just maybe my feet thawed.

Then in the shower, I defrosted momentarily, but upon exiting, returned to afore-mentioned frozen status.

It’s my own fault.  My favorite socks were dirty so I went without. 

Decided to stink up my loafers and go foot commando.

I thought I would be so bold and cheeky in my sockless state, a brazen message to the world that I can handle adversity. 

But I was wrong.  I am a whiner.  A sniveler. 

A fair-haired Popsicle whiling away the day dreaming of a roaring fire, a cuppa tea, an enthralling read, and oh yes…

 deliciously, decadently, toasty warm toes.

 

 

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