Monday, January 30, 2012

Finally, An Answer

Several months ago, I wrote a post that offended some apparently. It was about how I don't always understand the way poor people think. It was not intended to be judgmental -- as I explained in a later post, I genuinely realized that there's something in this mindset I don't understand and I want to understand it.

And last week, an FB friend posted an article that helped tremendously. (Lots of offensive language in there, I'll warn you.) THIS is what I needed to hear. THIS makes so many things so clear. I knew there had to be a logic behind the action and I wanted to understand. And here it is.

Like why sudden windfalls of money disappear rather than being put into savings for a rainy day. "When you live in poverty, you're used to your bank account revolving very tightly around a balance of zero," he says. "That's the life you've gotten used to. It's normal for you. . . When a windfall check is dropped into your lap, you don't know how to handle it. . . it isn't a greed thing. It's a panic thing. 'We have to spend this before it disappears.'" Now, I can understand that. That's very much akin to how I think about oreos.

Or the thought process he describes behind purchasing things at a higher price than necessary. "That six-pack of toilet paper is only three bucks. But there's a sale on the 12-pack for only two dollars more? F[orget] that. That's an extra two bucks I'll need before the week is done." I can imagine thinking that way. "You skip over the great 2-for-1 deal on laundry detergent because you're not out of laundry detergent yet. . . then you have to take whatever price the store gives you that day, because you can't wash your clothes otherwise." I GET this. I don't think this way about purchases, but I probably think this way about other things in my life.

We're not all that different. We all have our areas of irrationality . . . of lack of discipline . . . of stupid habitual thinking. After all, it all boils down to our thinking. Our behavior is a result of how we think about something -- usually how we habitually think about something. And our thoughts are a result of our belief systems -- our deep, down, don't-even-realize-it belief systems. And our belief systems may or may not be based in reality. That's true of all of us. We all have areas of our lives where we are not in touch with reality. Some of us is surfaces in our checking account . . . some of us in our cookie jar and on our bathroom scale.

But the key is changing the thought processes and belief systems. And we begin by understanding them.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Modern Idolatry

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Commandment number one. Sounds simple enough. Yet, recent readings of mine have reminded me that anything that stands in the way between me and God is an idol -- another god I'm putting before him. Now, I've knocked down many idols in my 43 years of life, but I'm not so arrogant as to believe others haven't risen in their place. So, what is my current idol of choice?


I like my life comfortable. I want my house the right temperature -- and my car. I want food that's easy to cook and eat and very satisfying to the taste buds. I want my big smooshy sofa with piles of afghans in the winter. I wrote on FB a while back how much I love hot showers, and a mission-minded friend commented back, "Well you won't want to go to Haiti then!" And he's right -- a lack of warm bathing water could very well be enough to keep me away. I know the thought of the hassle of living with a mass of teenagers has kept me from chaperoning on youth mission trips from the church.

But it's not even just physical comfort that an issue for me. I know I should invite these people over to our house for dinner sometime . . . make some social gesture to open a door for a genuine relationship . . . but, you know, they're not necessarily our kind of people -- I don't know what we'd talk about -- I might then feel an obligation to accept invitations from them that I wouldn't enjoy -- they might bring up awkward topics I don't know how to address -- it would be, you know, uncomfortable.

Yep, comfort and ease -- those are my idols. The things that stand in the way between me and God today. I only mention this because I'm certain I'm not alone in America in this day and age. So, what do we do about this? I read scripture about sharing in Christ's suffering and I get nervous. I could pray for God to bring suffering into my life so I can share in his suffering, but really that would be stupid . . . because God knows my heart and knows that would be a bunch of BS. It would also be scary.

So, short of choosing to sell all I own and live with the lepers in Calcutta, I'm not sure how to wean myself from this idol. Suggestions are welcome.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Sweater

After I put my pjs on at night, I cover my thin top with a big cream-colored knit sweater that has my maiden name written in permanent black ink inside the collar. The reason it's big on me is because it used to be my father's favorite sweater, and the reason our name is written in it is because my mother was afraid it would get lost in his Alzheimer's ward of the nursing home.

I would think the sweater was made by someone for Dad, but it's got a tag in it, barely hanging on by a couple threads. Size S. Dad was tall, but thin. It has a couple permanent stains on it, and a few non-permanent ones at the moment because it needs washing. I always hesitate to wash it because it long ago lost its washing instructions tag, and I hate to ruin it. But, heck -- it was washed in the Alzheimer's ward laundry I assume over and over and still survives, so it must be laundry-durable.

For some reason, I associate this sweater with ice cream and the bright light over the kitchen table. That's my main memory of my father wearing this sweater. Sunday night, after church, at the kitchen table. No other lights on in the house except the TV -- probably Masterpiece Theater, or whatever the network movie of the week is. Big bowl of popcorn on the table and Mom scooping ice cream for everyone with a large spoon. Probably vanilla, because it's so versatile. I can put my Hershey's chocolate syrup all over it, and Dad can fill his tall, green glass with it and pour strawberry soda over the top to make an ice cream soda. Long-handled spoon moving up and down to smoosh the ice cream in with the soda. Every Sunday night.

He would sit in his cream-colored knit sweater buttoned up with the three brown buttons in front (I rarely button it) with his arms folded so his hands were tucked underneath them. Dad's hands and feet were always cold. Just like mine. I wonder if his nose and ears got cold at night before he went to sleep, too.

And I wonder if Dad would be as amused as I am at the idea of my wearing his cream-colored knit sweater every night.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Slavery and Security

Carmen, my predecessor in the Sunnybrook drama ministry, left me a huge tub of scripts that they've used in the past. Reading through a few this weekend, I came across one called "The Prisoner". A man who's been in prison for 14 years is suddenly granted release by the governor. His sister is called to pick him up, but as he waits for her to arrive, he grows more and more reluctant with the idea of leaving. Prison is comfortable, predictable, easy . . . it's what he knows. His sister tries to get him excited again about all he can do now that he's free, but it just doesn't sound as tempting to him as the security of his prison cell.

Reminded me of the movie "The Shawshank Redemption." And of the slaves in the South who stayed with their masters after they were freed.

I've always been a bit troubled by the scriptures which talk about our having once been a slave to sin, but now being freed from that. Because I still often feel like a slave to sin -- at least, to certain sins. Surely I'm not alone in this, in having certain pet vices that I continually return to for comfort and security. I know they don't fill the needs in my life . . . I know they stand in the way of what I truly want and what God wants for me . . . but they're familiar, safe, easy . . . I have had a hard time understanding how I am free from those sins when they pull at me so strongly.

This skit helps. I am free. I can open the cell door and walk out anytime I want to. Nothing is forcing me to live this way. Yet I choose to do so. I am unpracticed in free living. It feels awkward and shaky. Amazing, isn't it, how we can prefer the familiarity of slavery, even with its hardships and limitations, to the challenge of freedom?

I'm guessing that if I look closely, I will find application for this principle in many walks of life. Oh, for the courage to truly be free . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen . . the HEADLINERS!

I don't think I'd heard of show choirs until about the last few years we lived in New Jersey. And that was before the Glee craze hit. I'm not even sure where I first heard of them, because I don't think the high school in Voorhees had one, and I know I never saw one perform. But I remember thinking two things upon my introduction to the concept: 1) that sounds kind of cheesy, and 2) I would have loved that in high school.

Fast forward to last night, when my eldest, her boyfriend and I went to the show choir preview night at their high school. Friends outside of Siouxland will have a hard time believing this, and maybe even really getting it, but show choir is KING at East High School in Sioux City. They rocked show choir before show choir was cool.

East High has three different show choirs -- a beginner's/freshman girls' group, a mid-level mixed group and then . . . the Headliners. Wow. The Headliners are one of the best show choirs in the country. In a contest last year for a show choir to win a spot on the TV show "Glee", East High's Headliners was one of the final three groups voted on nation-wide. They are seriously good. But I'd only seen them perform once before, briefly at a one-day show choir camp my youngest attended. I didn't really get this thing until -- wow -- last night.

In fact, I'd kind of wondered at the sanity of this enterprise the more I heard about it. For these kids, life seems to be "eat, sleep, show choir". They practice all the time. I've heard often about their six-hour long choreography rehearsals. They pay mucho bucks for the privilege of participating in the program, with costume costs on top of that. They travel around for competitions all over the place. I mean, this is like a full-time job. I've been grateful more that once that my eldest didn't decide to try out, just because of the time involved. One would have to be a little crazy to subject their child to that, I thought.

Until last night. Wow. The Headliners, people! Their singing was solid and full-sounding -- the music selections were hip and interesting -- the choreography was fantastic -- and the execution was clean and sharp. It was really an awesome thing to watch. It still may be crazy to subject one's child to such a high-pressure schedule, but I have to admit . . . it will be a cool thing for those kids to be able to say one day, "Yep, I was in one of the top show choirs in the country. We rocked." It would be worth the headaches and hassle for a year or two of that experience.

But I'm still not pushing my girls to audition. We can just enjoy the preview nights once a year. And say, "Wow".

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Land in my Blood

As I've remarked before, I'm a reasonably intelligent, certainly well-educated woman. Yet, I can still be pretty slow at times.

A couple weeks ago, after dropping my daughter off at school in the morning, I noticed that the moon was still visible. A full moon, huge, low on the horizon in the west, right in front of my face every time the car turned that direction. It was positively mesmerizing. I mentioned it to hubby when I got home, and he said, "Well, sun's about to rise in the east . . . full moon to the west . . . that makes sense."

This morning, the moon was visible again on my drive back home, but this time in the south and this time just kind of a sliver. But I remembered my husband's previous comment, and suddenly the wheels started churning. Full moon in the west . . . sun rising in the east . . . moon reflects the sunlight . . . sliver moon in the south . . . sun shines on only one side . . . whoa!!

Yes, I'm 43 years old and I just figured out the whole moon cycle business. Don't judge me. I just don't ponder this stuff very much. I have little need to. I'm very much an indoor gal.

Not that I want to be that. Sometimes I wish I'd been born a farmgirl. I'd like to be more in touch with nature and the land and the seasons and so forth. Somehow it feels like I'm lacking something in my psyche when I struggle with even keeping a houseplant alive.

I wonder if it's too late to change that? I wonder if I could learn, in my ripe old middle-age, to keep a vegetable garden, recognize the constellations, identify various types of grasses, and predict the weather by looking at the clouds. I can already feel a tornado coming -- I think that comes with growing up in Kansas, even in the city.

I come from a long line of farmers. The land is in my blood, eh? I should be able to do this, right?

But wait -- this would require spending time outside. Never mind.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How Great A Debt

Who has given God so much that He needs to pay it back? Romans 11:35

I came across this verse during devotions last week, and it has been percolating in my spirit ever since. The rendering in my devotion book was "Who has first given to him . . ." Echoes of 1 John: "We love because he first loved us."

He did the loving first. He did the giving first. Before we even had a physical existence, he gave us a world, perfectly situated and suited for our sustenance and pleasure. Before we knew him, he gave us families, homes, friends, all we needed to grow and thrive. Before we submitted to his Lordship, he gave his son for our sins. And he would have given all of this even if we'd rejected him completely -- which many people do. Because he loves us wholly, completely, unconditionally whether we love him back or not.

Who can out-love God? Who can out-give Him? How can we ever get to a point where we think God owes us something? "I've been such a good wife . . . you owe me a loving, attentive husband." "I've been such a good parent . . . you owe me a well-behaved child." I've been such a faithful Christian . . . you owe me an easy life." Such an attitude can only come from a complete lack of understanding of where we are without God. Such an attitude can only come from a misconception that we have what we have because of our own knowledge, skill and effort. Even the knowledge . . . even the skill . . . even the energy for the effort . . . are gifts from God.

And again, he gave us all this first. Before we loved him. Before we even knew him. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. Because he IS Love. And such love inspires from us . . . attitude? Cheekiness? "You owe me . . . !" Oh, the shame.

As I've said before, the most together people I've known, the most godly and loving, are those with the deepest understanding of who they are and who God is. May I grow in that understanding every day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Power and Progress

Well. An FB friend forwarded me an anti-conservative article, wanting my opinion on it. I started reading it and had to put it aside because it made me angry. With my sleep experiment ongoing, I'm finding I need to be cautious about taking on such subjects -- I don't have the discernment and patience to discuss them in a reasonable way. But I re-read this morning and can at least make some general observations.

It's a very brainy article (that means it uses a lot of big words and purports to address a lot of big ideas), and I would probably need to read it a few times to digest it all. But the main thesis seems to be that conservatism is always a movement in reaction to progress, an attempt to keep things just as they are, and specifically, to keep the powerful in their positions of power. "For that is what conservatism is," the author tells us, "a meditation on, and theoretical rendition of, the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back." He references a lot of reactions to historical events, such as the French Revolution, and quotes a lot of people from long past (the guy's a poli-sci professor -- one would expect no less). Clearly, I don't know history enough to argue his perspective there.

But I will argue his implication that today's conservatives are simply the latest incarnation of the old cranky, power-drunk curmudgeon he's referencing.

He says conservatives are all about keeping power structures in place, and keeping those who should be submitting to those powers in their place . . . yet the role models for today's conservatives are the founding fathers, the people who orchestrated probably the most successful and influential revolution against a power structure ever.

He says that conservatives are all about the elite being the only ones capable of running a society . . . yet the frustration I hear from conservatives about the present administration's policies is that they give an elite few in government too much power over the lives of Americans. If the author were correct, why would they not cheer these policies and simply try to get themselves into office to hold all that power?

He says that conservatives just want to go back to "the good old days" and resist any change that comes along, preferring "the familiar to the unknown . . . the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible," etc. etc. Yet, the arguments I hear conservatives give to liberal policies point to instances where such policies have been tried and they have failed. Liberal policies are not untried -- they have been tried and found wanting.

And I'd like to point out as well that just because something is new doesn't necessarily mean it is progress. A good number of homeschoolers set up their schooling on very old educational theory and practice -- not because it's old, but because it works. Sometimes we can progress ourselves right out of effectiveness.

Well! That was a very calm and cogent discussion of the issues, yes? Gotta pat myself on the back for that one. Definitely have to get these sleep issues settled before the Republican primaries are over and the political ugliness really begins.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Tween-Age World of Disney

I saw something somewhere yesterday about the top five cable channels watched in 2011. Any guesses what they are? The USA Network was number one. I never watch it. TNT was on the list, too -- another one I never watch. ESPN is not a surprise. The History Channel is -- apparently it's rise has to do with its venturing into reality shows like "Pawn Stars". And rounding out the top five . . . the Disney Channel.

So, how many of you watch the Disney Channel? If you have kids, you probably do. Well, let me rephrase that: if you have kids and don't homeschool, you probably do. An awful lot of homeschool families I know (and a few rare public school families) have resisted the pull of modern tween culture and kept such twiddle out of their family room. We did not resist enough.

For those of you who do not have the Disney channel blaring in your home on a daily basis, let me fill you in on a few interesting facts about modern tween-age culture and the efforts to tap into it.

Most of the shows on the Disney channel aimed toward the older child and tween are about characters who are performers. Hannah Montana was a pop star; Austin and Ally are a songwriting/singing duo; So Random evolved from a show about five kid performers in a sketch comedy show; Shake It Up is about dancers on a TV show; Jessie is a wannabe actress working as a nanny; ANT Farm's main character is a musical prodigy. (The same is true of Nickelodeon, for the record.) It's no wonder kids idolize the entertainment industry.

Disney Channel stars all seem to be "triple-threats" -- that is, they can all dance, sing, AND act. Even if they don't show all three talents on their own respective shows, Disney still finds ways to show them off. I've stopped being surprised when a music video comes on with an otherwise non-musical-seeming Disney star singing a song from a recent Disney compilation CD.

And these kids seemed to be owned by Disney for their tenure there. They do shows, CDs, tours, guest appearances at theme parks, guest star spots in stage shows . . . I think I heard they even live together in some kind of compound. A good gig when you get it, I'm sure, but I can see why it would feel stifling after a while.

Another interesting fact: the Disney channel does not show advertisement from anyone else. Every commercial you see on the Disney channel is for a Disney show, movie, or product. That gives you an idea of just how much money this conglomeration makes.

Which brings up a point I've considered lately. All these Occupiers and other such folks lately who are protesting the amounts of money made by rich business executives in the country . . . have they checked out the salaries of entertainers? Movie stars? Professional athletes? Those people make FAR more money than the average business executive. Nobody finds that objectionable. Hmmmm.

Yeah, I just had to make it political, didn't I? ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012


My sister gave me a book for Christmas that I just finished last night: Unstuff: Making Room in your Life for What Really Matters, by Haylay and Michael DiMarco. Great book. Recommended to all. I think I'm going to read it through again right away.

The authors mentioned a challenge they gave to themselves -- get rid of 10 items a day for . . . I think it was a month. I started thinking through all the crap we have in our house and thought, we could each of us get rid of 10 items a week for a year probably. (I say a week because doing it every day would add the stress to my life of figuring out what to do with all of that stuff. Having to figure that out only once a week is not that bad.)

"Unstuffing" sounds wonderful to me. I often feel much too stuffed in my house. Not that the house looks "stuffed". I mean, on a good day, you wouldn't walk in and think we're hoarders or anything. But we have so many things -- books, toys, kitchen tools, other tools, videos, games, etc. etc. -- that we store away, just in case, that we never use. And for some reason, they weigh on me. Just the fact that they are there and we don't use them. I have the urge to use them or get the heck rid of them.

But as my husband said last night, I'm much more motivated to get rid of them if I know that, wherever they're going to, they're going to be used and needed and appreciated. If they're just going to go stuff someone else's house, that's stupid.

The DiMarcos talk about being a conductor of things rather than a collector of things. They quote somebody as saying that our excess is the debt we owe to those who are in need. These are concepts I need to percolate on and let them really sink in, so I feel more energized to do the work to unstuff our lives.

Of course, then there's the matter of convicting the rest of the family in the same way . . .

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sleeping . . . Naturally

My dog has been having trouble with his hind legs; they just don't work quite right somehow. This makes for an entertaining walking gait. I don't know if you've noticed, but four-legged animals instinctively know to have their left front leg forward with the right hind leg forward, and vice versa, to keep their balance. Tagger has lost this instinct. It's as if he's having to think about which leg to move when, and when you think too much about something that should come naturally to you, you just can't do it at all anymore.

I can relate. These days, I'm trying to remember how to fall asleep.

For those of you who haven't been following my sleep saga, you can hit the "sleep" tag to the right and get caught up. For the rest of you, my latest venture is going cold turkey on my sleep meds. My idea, with my sleep doctor's blessing.

We had kind of gotten to the point, Dr. Summers and I, where there simply was nothing left to try but more meds . . . different meds . . . change the timing of meds . . . and I'm sick of meds. I've been sedating myself to sleep at night on a regular basis for four or five years -- on a semi-regular basis for another nearly ten years before that. I've started to think that the meds were doing as much harm to my sleep/wake cycle as good, if not more.

So, I'm gettin' clean and sober. The first twenty-four hours were awful. Since then, though, I've slept off and on during the night, and surprisingly, I haven't been too terribly tired or cranky during the day.

Here's the thing: I discovered that falling asleep is a challenging task. I mean, you can't will yourself to sleep, like you can will yourself to exercise or put down the cupcake. Sleep just happens. It's a letting go of consciousness -- and it's very difficult to consciously let go of consciousness. Once you're conscious of what you're doing . . . well, you get the idea.

So, I have to figure out what I'm doing that keeps sleep from coming. And I'm getting there, I think. I've stopped using the computer or TV for the hour and a half or so before bed. I do some reading, some praying, memorize some scripture . . . and then listen to some calm music when I get in bed.

But the trick is a mental one. If I TRY to empty my mind and let go of consciousness, it doesn't happen. I'm concentrating on not concentrating on anything, and it doesn't work. I have to have something to think about . . . but it has to be something that doesn't engage my brain too much. (The first night, I started thinking about my spring play for the homeschoolers and ended up writing several scenes in my mind for the next few hours. A productive use of my time, I suppose, but not at all conducive to sleep.)

It's a tricky thing, this letting go of consciousness. But it's something that should come naturally, without thought, like the dog balancing himself on four legs. Heavens, how we mess ourselves up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"Le-e-et's CAUCUS!"

Thus saith the gentleman sitting in the folding chair behind me in the church gym when the minute hand hit seven o'clock. The woman beside him (his wife, I presume) said, "Yup. Let's get 'er done."

About six people scooted in the door in the couple minutes after seven before they shut the doors to anyone else. They missed the chance to complete the media survey at the front door, which I only mention because the survey was referred to in the news all evening and I kept saying, "I remember that question . . . yeah, I remember that question . . . " But they headed to the back of the room to show their photo ID, pick up a ballot, sign the petition to get Steve King running for Congress again this year, and then found their own folding chair (if they could) on the appropriate side of the gym -- district 20 or district 21.

A very-Iowa-looking gentleman started us off with the Pledge of Allegiance, and the pastor of the church we were meeting in led us all in an invocational prayer asking for wisdom in the decision we were about to make. Our first duty was to elect a permanent chairman for the meeting (the previously mentioned gentleman apparently being the temporary chair, though I'm not sure how he got the job). Gentleman offered himself as a nomination, quite humbly I'll add, and asked for other nominations. Silence. "Anyone?" More silence -- and a few chuckles. "Well, I guess it's a landslide then." Laughter. "You're doin' great, Tom!" -- from behind me. So gentleman is named Tom. Good to know.

Tom apparently had twisted his wife's arm to be the temporary secretary for the meeting and put her name in for nomination for permanent secretary. And again, Tom's wife won by a landslide. :) Tom informed us that the "Lincoln bag" would be going around if anyone wanted to make a donation to the county party to support the election of Republicans in the county. And then we got down to real business.

He went through the names of the candidates on the ballot one by one and asked if anyone would like to speak for five minutes on that candidate's behalf. If more than one person wanted to speak (which only happened in the case of Ron Paul), they were supposed to work it out between them who would do the speaking . . . but essentially, it ended up being the first one to get to the mic. Surprisingly, nobody at our caucus wanted to speak on Bachmann's behalf. Or Huntsman's, but I expected that. (Woman-behind-me said, "He doesn't like us.")

These speakers were, again, very Iowa. They ranged from the woman who started by telling us she would not give us a canned speech, and then proceeded to get out her index cards with stats and quotes . . . to the unprepared but passionate mom who stood up in support of her candidate because no one else was doing it. One kid reminded me Michael Baumann from NJ, except he was wearing a suit. Level of eloquency varied, but clearly no one was a professional speaker. They simply spoke from the heart, for better or worse.

And then we voted. Very simple -- borrow a pen from your neighbor if you don't have one, check a box, pass it to the center aisle. Nothing too secretive about it. I could've seen my neighbor's vote if I wanted to.

On a personal note, I came in leaning toward one candidate but willing to be swayed toward a couple others. I wasn't swayed. Hubby said he didn't know who he was going to vote for until he looked at the ballot with pen in hand, ready to mark, and decided this one was the one who was most closely aligned with his own beliefs. I imagine our last-minute choices were not unusual.

Then, while they counted the ballots, we had district business to do. Many people left, of course, but for those that remained, we elected representatives to go to a couple of different county convention-type things. I say "elected" . . . basically, somebody in the room volunteered somebody else in the room until they had the number of people necessary and then we all said "Aye". It took a while, just because some arms had to be twisted, I think, to get enough "volunteers". I wouldn't have minded going if I'd known we were going to be around. Our eldest was there with us, quite bored at this point (actually, she was looking through her contacts on her phone for people to nominate). We kept telling her, this will be something to tell people about someday. She said, yeah, I know -- but right now, it's boring.

When all arms available for twisting were twisted off, Tom returned to the mic with the results: Romney 115, Santorum 46, Gingerich 34, Perry 27, Paul 6, Bachmann 4. Surprisingly lopsided, I thought. Especially when I heard later that Santorum won our county. But Romney was my man tonight, so I was content.

At 8:01, Tom entertained a motion that we adjourn and we all said "Aye" while we gathered up our stuff. And done is what we got 'er.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hazy Vision and Shifting Sand

It's January 2nd. I haven't blogged since December 23rd. Kind of been out of the mental loop. But I'm back, and it's January 2nd, so it's time for my annual personal vision-casting post.

However, I'm having a hard time finding a vision for this year. I really don't know what's coming. With Hubby looking for a job, everything's in limbo. Limbo's a difficult place for an obsessive planner like me.

OK . . . a moment of self-revelation . . . I have, in the past, been an obsessive planner. It's part of my nature. God has given me many gifts, but spontaneity is not one of them. I don't like surprises, I don't like feeling unprepared, and I don't like "going with the flow". But life tends to be a go-with-the-flow kind of affair. You can't plan for everything (hubby's job situation being a case in point), so I have become much better over the years at taking things as they come and living with uncertainty. This is good. Always nice to recognize growth in myself.

But I still don't like limbo. It's like walking on shifting sand. In my head, I know there's solid rock under there, but instincts still react to appearances. And the future appears hazy, at the moment.

Nevertheless, we are who we are no matter where we are or what we're doing, so I can still cast a vision for 2012. When New Year's Day 2013 rolls around, my hope is that Hubby has a job that fulfills him, that uses his gifts well, that fits God's purpose for his life. I hope that my girls have friends and activities that give them joy and growth opportunities. I hope that I will be accomplishing God's purpose for my life, whether here in Siouxland or somewhere else. And I hope we all have grown closer to each other and closer to God.

And I hope I'm sleeping well.

Oh! And to toot my own horn for a moment . . . I met my goal this year of consistently wearing a size 10 again! Yay for me! Always nice to recognize growth in myself.