Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random procrastination.

It is Saturday. So far I have finished slicing and drying 29 of the 30 mangoes I bought last week. Played half of a Go Fish game. And played "Do you have a match? No I do not." That last game was created by my 4-year old. And just in case you didn't know, the only game more torturous than Chutes and Ladders is a game created by a child under the age of 10. But I'm a good mommy (sometimes) and so I endured. For about 10 minutes.

Sometimes I think about how much I look forward to playing games with Karis that are slightly mind stimulating. But I know that all too soon I will miss the days of Queen Frostine and Granma Nut. Just like I miss the days of sleep deprivation because it meant I got to hold a chubby baby on a daily basis. And I miss the days of cleaning up tupperwar. And then the days of Baby Einstein and The Donut Man. And then the days of...well, you get the point. 

There are phone calls to make, laundry to do and work to be done at "the other" house yet here I sit, posting on my blog.

So I must find something, anything to write about today.


Oh, I know.

We got to hold a baby skunk! Really...he was so cute.

That really is a baby skunk. My friend found him abandoned on the side of the road (dying?) and cared for him for the weekend 'til an animal rescue opened up on Monday. They took him to raise and release back into the wild. I learned quite a bit about skunks. Like, they actually make great pets if you invest enough time when they're little to train them.

Ok....what now....

Oh. Yeah. We got out countertops installed (is that not one word? There is a red squiggly line underneath it but I really feel it should be one word and so leave it I shall). We ended up going with solid surface since we got a great deal through a company that a friend used to work for. I am oh-so-excited!

The finished product (though the kitchen still needs painting).

So you have to check out one of my new favorite pictures. At some point I am going to enlarge this one and frame it!

My pyro child.

Alright, so it's been about 15 minutes of procrastination and I can't handle it anymore. I must get something done! And I keep hearing a little voice say "let's play Candy Land....let's play Chutes and Ladders".....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This world is broken. And I want to fix it.

I went to the grocery store yesterday and it broke my heart. This isn't the first time it has happened but for some reason it really hit me this time. Enough to where I aimlessly walked up and down a few aisles because I didn't want to be caught crying in a grocery store.

It began when I pulled up into the parking lot. I must admit that my emotions are a bit out of control these days as the ongoing unsettled-ness begins to wear on me and as summer activities pick up I begin to feel...well, unsettled. And I am so NOT a multi-tasker so the small, daily decisions overwhelm me.

Anyway, back to pulling into the parking lot. As I pulled my swagger wagon into a parking space I saw an elderly man walk out of the grocery store. It wasn't just that he walked slow and hunched over but something in my heart told me that he was in need. In need of what? I don't really know. It was obvious that driving to town and getting groceries was probably a daunting task for him. And by the appearance of his clothes and vehicle I concluded that he probably has financial challenges as well. I sat there with an overwhelming desire to want to help him but not knowing how. What could I do, anyway? I sat in my van, watched him and prayed. "Lord, if there is something I should do, please make that clear." He slowly loaded his groceries into his car, pushed his cart to the side and then slid his cane in before entering himself. I still didn't know what I should/could do. I entered the store and began to pray for him.

What should have taken me 3 minutes to pick up the 2 items I needed took me about 15. I couldn't stop thinking about him. Until I made my way to the register and noticed what I thought to be about a 5 month old baby sitting in a cart in front of me. A baby that was rather unkept and dirty. That probably sounds judgmental. I realize that sometimes kids get dirty and the fact that they aren't picture-perfect in the store doesn't reveal much about parenting (some of the best parents I know don't give a flying zucchini if their kid's hair is fixed, their shoes are on the right feet, etc). However, when a baby that can't even crawl is dirty it makes me wonder. And that is when my mind began to wander from the elderly man to the baby. And then to the baby's parents.

Before we went to Brazil 6 years ago I was miserable here in TN. I felt like I had nothing to offer and I couldn't wait to get out and begin a new adventure. I was bored, lonely and insecure. And if for no other reason I am thankful for the Brazil adventure because there were issues in my life that needed dealing with. Issues that I didn't even realize were there! One, and probably THE main issue was the fact that I was living a completely self-absorbed life. The average onlooker probably wouldn't have seen it that way (I did what I had to  in order to look like a good Christian) but my heart was very self-centered. And living a self-centered life is incredibly dissatisfying.

This is beginning to sound like a confession. Just trying to give some perspective :-)

So after living in a 2nd world country (sometimes 3rd world, depending on where you are)  and seeing what I considered to be a much greater need I thought that finding a ministry here would be difficult. Wrong. I can safely say that I am overwhelmed at the need I see around me. And that here, smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt. Whatever blinders were set before my eyes pre-Brazil days have been removed (at least partially...I am sure as I grow and mature and become more involved I will be more aware of the needs around me). And I am dumbfounded. I see the danger of being spread too thin if I try to fill every need I see.

But this world is broken. And I want to fix it.

I want the man at the grocery store to have whatever physical help he needs to perform necessary tasks. I want there to be somebody in his life that brings a smile to his face. I want him to know Jesus and find that no matter how challenging his life on earth is, that he still has eternity to look forward to and enjoy.

I want the baby in the grocery cart to grow up in the security of a stable family. I want him to have a daily bath. And not because keeping all the dirt off is important but because he will know that he has two parents who love him enough to take care of his physical needs. And I want him to grow up in an environment where it is easy for him to accept Christ's love because he receives it through his mom and dad every day.

I want the single mom who has 5 kids by 5 different men to somehow be able to understand that Christ's love for her is so beyond the non-love she has received her entire life that she can stop trying to find it through the scum bags that father her children. I want her to be surrounded and loved by the church. I want her heart healed and I want her to be able to exemplify that healing to her children who have already experienced much of the pain she had to deal with as a child.

And as burdened as I am for these people I am just as concerned about something else.

May I step up onto a soap box?

Why of course I can...this is my blog and step up I shall :-)

I am concerned and disheartened that so many believers around me seem unconcerned for these people. Why? Why is it SO normal for a young family to spend hours and hours every week transporting their children to and from extracurricular activities but finding a few hours to spend with a hurting family seems out of the question? How can believing young adults spend 99% of their free time playing video games, going to movies and hanging out with their friends and think nothing of it? How can empty-nesters justify spending a majority of their free time playing golf, quilting, gardening, etc, and limit their serving to helping in the nursery every few months? How can we completely ignore the elderly in our lives, pushing that responsibility onto average paid workers who either can't get another job or are settling for an average-low paid job because they actually care?

Our country is broken and I want to fix it.

It isn't true that everybody is the way I described above. It just seems to be the norm. But maybe the burden I feel is clouding my vision. Because I HAVE come into contact with some believers who are genuinely concerned for the hurting people around them. And they are making that effort to step out and help the hurting.

It is now mid-morning and I am feeling inclined to step off my soap box.

And if you're still reading this, thank you. Thank you for letting me vent and thank you for being gracious. Because it really is silly that I have the nerve to step up on a soap box and point out what I think others aren't doing when I myself have spent the past 30 years of doing the same. And because I am at risk for becoming as desensitized to the hurt around me as I was before we lived in Brazil. And because I have other sin/heart-issues thatI need to give over to the Spirit.

At this point I see the hurt but I don't know what to do.

At this point I know that people are broken and only Jesus can fix them.