Friday, January 8, 2016

"Have Courage, and Be Kind"

Ya'll.


Oh, my word.

It's been almost a month!

I know you've missed me. 

Ok, I know my mom missed me.

I sure missed writing!

It seemed that when I had a free second over the past three weeks I needed to fill it with something productive like pouring a glass of my dad's homemade boiled custard, or stirring up another batch of fudge to consume all by myself, or doze by the fire. Important stuff, people! Who has time to sit and write a blog post, for heaven's sake? Those Christmas tree cookies aren't going to eat themselves!

So I just did that for a few weeks and now my jeans are tight so at least I have something to show for it.

During this week in which the children have been back in school (where they belong!) I have been like a little clutter fairy, throwing away crap, and sorting crap, and finding places for all the new crap, and cleaning crap, and in general doing all the crap I ignored for three weeks. 

By the way, every time I say "crap" I have to put a quarter in the ice-cream jar, so let's keep this little paragraph between us, mmmkay? Good.

I wonder how much I'd have to put in the ice-cream jar for the word I said when I sliced my finger open on a can of black beans a minute ago? $10, at least. And I may keep on saying it because now I have a giant bandaid on my finger, and it's causing me to type like a drunkard and backspace every third letter. I'm probably up to $20 by now.

Somewhere in the middle of all that jean-tightening a new year has begun. Although in reality we operate on semesters (teachers 4-ever, yo!) and the new year started last August. But still, with everyone else talking about their goals and resolutions and all, I thought it appropriate to reflect for a minute or two.

What will this little family be like at the end of 2016? What do we want to improve on, change, drop altogether? 

The list is long, dear readers. We are hopelessly bad at putting away laundry. No one goes to their drawers to look for clean clothes. They are in a pile on the floor in Mommy's room. Preston accused me of hiding his underwear and I was all if I'm going to hide something it darn sure isn't going to be your underwear, they are just in the drawer. He was confused, and I had to make him a map to the exact location of the drawer. He'd never needed to go there before.

I also yell. A lot. I'm a yeller. 

"WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES? WHY ON EARTH DID YOU TAKE THEM OFF WHEN YOU WERE LOOKING FOR BUZZARD EGGS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BRUSHPILE THAT IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FARM?"

"WHY ARE YOU OUT OF BED AND TALKING TO ME THROUGH THE BATHROOM DOOR WHERE I AM TRYING TO RELAX IN MY BUBBLE BATH WITH THE HOMEMADE BATH BOMBS YOU MADE ME THAT ARE MAKING MY SKIN TURN RED AND FALL OFF?"

"WHY AREN'T YOU ON YOUR WAY HOME YET SO YOU CAN TAKE OVER THIS MATH HOMEWORK I DO NOT HAVE THE SKILLS TO HELP OUR 9 YEAR OLD WITH?"

Lots of yelling. I should probably tone that down a bit.

Also I could lose the baby weight. But the baby is only five so, you know, I just had her. 

So there are so many things.

But this is it for the Brookses:

Have courage, and be kind.

If you have girls you know that line is from the best movie ever made, Disney's live-action version of Cinderella. I wrote about it back when it came out. (But darned if I can find that blog to link to. This makes blog post #60something! Nuts. Who knew I had so much to say? Ok, everyone. Haven't stopped talking since birth. Shut your pie hole, Brothers.)

So listen up, three daughters of mine:

That lines sums up what the Christian life should look like, I think. 

To be like Jesus, which is Who we are all being made more like everyday, we will have to have courage. 

Where we place our courage is what counts. 

Are you courageous because you are thin?

You are popular?

You made the team?

Because your bank account is at a level you feel comfortable with?

Your husband never looks at another woman?

You have received lots of positive reinforcement at your job and you know you ain't going anywhere?

All of those things are good.

But not what counts.

And definitely not what lasts.

Your courage needs to be in the fact that you were created in the image of God. You are in His likeness! You, no matter how shattered or messed up or addicted or sick or hopeless you feel, reflect GOD!

So get ok with that. Ask Him to help you get ok with it. Ask Him to plant deep in your heart your worth in His eyes. He will. 

And then, when you have that deep-seeded knowledge of how ahhhmazing you are to God, you will have the courage to be kind. 

You will be able to stand up for the abused one.

You will ask the awkward kid to join your club. 

(Sidebar - What is with the elementary playground clubs? "The Onion Factory Club" in which you pluck wild onions and display them on rocks makes you smell exactly like you work in an onion factory. And "The Dirt Diggers Club" is ruining every pair of socks in creation. How about the "We Sit Quietly and Memorize the Entire Bible Club?" That sounds clean and quiet and like you will be entertained until, say, your 65th birthday.)

You will be able to rejoice with your friend who makes the squad.

You will be able to be the best teacher, preacher, doctor, banker, coach, mother, fireman, zookeeper, or nurse because you know Who put you there, in that place, for the sole purpose of glorifying Him.

You will be able to invite the unlovely into your home on the loveliest of holidays.

You will be able to say "no" in order to be kind to yourself and your family.

You will not let others use you as a doormat because you will understand that that isn't kind to the One Who spent so much time knitting you together and Whose image you reflect.

You will be able to travel to foreign lands to teach in schools with no books or paper.

You will be able to give your money because you know Who gave it to you in the first place.

You will be able to give your life...because you know Who gave it to you in the first place.

You will be able to spread the Gospel starting from the earliest age imaginable by being kind

Preston and I have always used the word "kind" instead of "nice" when discussing all the pitfalls of childhood. "Kind" has connotations "nice" doesn't.

And we are constantly saying, "All you can do is be kind. Be as kind as you can be. Being kind shows Jesus. The Lord will work it out."

This sign has hung over the side door, the one we go in and out of and slam shut and bang open 300 times a day, since we moved into this house. 



This year, I am adding the courage part. Those seem to go hand in hand. 

Grace for the New Year and the Chocolate Bar I ate 5 hours after I pledged to eat healthily,
Martha


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