Monthly Archives: July 2012

Retreat?

So why does a pastoral family need a retreat anyway? They have all these perks and benefits already, right?
Now that I’m done laughing, I’ll tell you what a blessing the first meeting was – great praise and worship music with the pastoral leader for our area of Texas getting in on the musicianship himself. What followed was a power packed affirmation of pastoral families being exactly that – families. I was strengthened, encouraged and refreshed.
My next blog will be after I get back from this retreat, but in the mean time, I want to share this one thought. Retreat doesn’t always mean you are giving up. It is also a strategic maneuver to fall back to strengthen and prepare for another battle.
Have you sounded a retreat lately? Have you planned a day to get away from those things that distract you and be refreshed, encouraged and strengthened? If a day is not possible, what about a couple of hours? Go ahead, fall back and be strengthened for your next task.

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Filed under Family, Spiritual Disciplines, Spirituality

Sweating Like a Pig

The moment I walked in the door I realized I had a decision to make. I could suffer in the heat and get what I came after, or turn around and run away! The little building last night was full of other people coming to look at books, just as I had. The heat was already unbearable and I saw someone in charge turn off the ceiling fan. I guess they figured they might as well make us suffer as much as possible.
But there he sat, the beads of sweat forming on his face in no way hindering his smile or willingness to talk to whoever came by with a book to be signed. We talked about his books and I decided to purchase both of the ones Mr. Ed Dickerson had there last night. Then I came back to the line around him and let him scribble his encouraging note and signature in his books.
Later that night, I recounted the experience to my oldest. I was heading for the shower (pity me here, five people and only one bathroom) and told him I was taking over the bathroom for a while because I had been sweating like a pig.
“Actually, pigs don’t sweat.”
Faster than your leg pops up after the doctor tests your reflexes was my son’s response. I had to laugh and chase him around the kitchen for a moment, making him laugh as well. Michael is one of those special people who find it enjoyable to sit down and read a book on random facts and cherish each one as if it were a favorite picture of a childhood friend. So if he spouts off some random fact, I believe him.
It did make me stop and wonder, why do we say the words we say and do we really know what they mean or if they are even accurate? “Eating like a bird,” is another favorite saying for people who barely eat anything, maybe only picking at their food. But the phrase is inaccurate as most birds consume large quantities of food in proportion to their body size.
I know what is going to happen now. Every time I read one of Ed Dickerson’s books, I’ll think of Michael’s spewing forth of random facts he has digested over the years, but I’ll also think of how important it is to make sure we watch what i say. I’ll think about how important it is to mean what I say and make sure the words I”m using are an accurate portrayal of the point I’m trying to get across.
Especially when communicating with those you love, your spouse and your children, extended family and close friends; take the time to choose your words carefully, for you are sharing your soul – a form of intimacy with those you love.

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Mommy’s Listening to Music

Everyone has their own list of greatest accomplishments of their life. Mine includes getting two toddlers to hum/sing movements from Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin. This of course was much to the chagrin of my husband who feels that Russian music is so dark and heavy. Ah, sweet victory!
To say I love music would be an understatement. I just wish I was much better at performing it on more instruments. I’ve played several instruments in high school, college and even community band, but there are so many more to play! I’ve even enjoyed arranging a couple of choral pieces to be sung at church. Music soothes my soul.
You would think then, that my family would respect my love for music and not try to talk over it when I’m in the zone. However, this was not to be until the Flag Page. My husband and I present marriage seminars for Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage and part of that includes the Flag Page. It is a great tool for understanding what is so right about you and how to help others see how to better communicate with you. Likewise, you see what is right about your spouse and how to better communicate with them. I happen to be from fun and control countries according to my flag page. I have to remember to change my language and intensity when speaking with my oldest son who is solidly from peace and perfect countries.
As we spent one Saturday afternoon at a state park reviewing each others flag pages and delving a little deeper into them, each one of us had to pick one of our five flag boxes and explain what it meant to us. Of course one of my boxes was musical! I selected the description of meaning and explained that music had great meaning in my life and often times it is how I relate best to God/worship (think contemporary/inspirational here not heavenly metal). A light bulb came on. The kids realized that mommy enjoyed listening to music and it was a special moment for her!
People still talk over the music sometimes, but it’s okay now, because when I really need alone time with music, the kids can tell and give me space. More importantly, they’ve begun to join me in appreciating musical meanderings. We agree on Beethoven and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, but somehow I haven’t gotten them to fully appreciate my progressive jazz fav, Flim and the BB’s yet. Still working on them.
The children and I still enjoy our Russian music and my husband still tolerates it. The latest the kids are humming? Rachmaninoff’s Prelude #5.
instruments than my clarinet (curreit

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The Discipline of Celebration

I was enjoying (yes, that is an accurate statement) a book on the values of Spiritual Disciplines when I turned the page and saw a chart – a table showing the various disciplines and which well known Christian author dealing with disciplines dared to tackle that particular one. I found it very interesting that in his book, “The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God,” Dallas Willard lists Celebration as a classic discipline. Willard also noted that two of the three other authors he was charting also dealt with the discipline of Celebration in their writings.
At first glance, those words can seem incongruous. The discipline of Celebration? Children are actually some of the best instructors in this particular area. Don’t forget their birthday. Don’t forget Christmas. Don’t forget the swimming party at their friend’s house. These things are much too important to vanish from your grey matter.
When my child brings home a good report card and I don’t celebrate it, it is as if his efforts weren’t good enough. Likewise, my kids see right through me when I pretend to celebrate something mediocre or even sub-par in an effort to keep from hurting their feelings. They know very well there is a time and a reason to celebrate.
When you have one of those “God moments,” where everything goes perfect and you can almost see His signature on the day, practice the discipline of Celebration. It’s a way to stay connected.

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Relevance and Compromise Make Strange Bedfellows

Newsflash: after you unplugged yourself 30 years ago and went to live in your version of Utopia, the electricians came and rewired the place. Now all things electrical that must be plugged in require a three prong gizmo.
Your dilemma: Curse modern electrical safety mechanisms and start a group of ungrounded rebels or admit you’ve joined the dark side and live to abhor yourself.
Wait a minute! Since when did staying relevant in any issue in life equate to compromise? If you were plugged into the system before, why not be plugged in now, just getting a little three prong gizmo or adapter of some sort to make sure you fit in again?
I have a 16 year old that keeps me from being a “hoakie” old person and I have two children ten and under that keep me running fast and furious for all of their little programs and adventures. If I don’t stay relevant, I miss out on the connection with my kids. There are things my kids do and love that most certainly aren’t my favorite, but it is no compromise, it is staying relevant to who they are and the world they live in.
Let’s face it – my kids will never know what it was like to fly before the TSA. All of the hassle with travel and paying for your bags is what they are used to. For me to insist that they have a paradigm shift to the way things were when I was “coming of age” is ludicrous. It would make them incompatible with the world they live and move in today.
So what’s my point? If your paradigm of years ago isn’t going to help your kids today, it might not help you much either. Bigotry used to be really popular in my grandparents’ day. Thank God its not as accepted as it once was. Thank God for newer (and better) ways of thinking. Never compromise, but stay relevant, otherwise you might as well not even bother reaching for the plug.

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