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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

Pet Peeves. I’ve come to the realization that pet peeves are just subtle forms of complaining but acceptable because we all have them (plural). Many of us could make a list: Top 10 Pet Peeves (and still have plenty left over for a second or third list).

There are those who specialize in grammar, harping on “their/they’re/there” and “accept/except” and “lay/lie” and of course, “you’re/your.” These people have become more vocal as texting and social media posting have become the norm. At least once a day I see a post on my timeline bemoaning the lack of proper grammar on Facebook. Personally, I won’t repost any cute meme if it contains a misspelled word…I’m guilty of being a Grammar Czar.

Maybe you have issues with technology…more specifically, those of us who are trying to keep up with technology. Do you do an eye-roll when encountering one of us old people trying to learn a smartphone? Yes you do…admit it. Do you sigh in exasperation when you text and text and text, with no response…not even a “k”? Or maybe you deplore the overuse of emojis.

I have a tech pet peeve list: GPS that takes me to the wrong address, iPhone batteries that don’t hold a charge (Thank you, Apple), and computers that (fill in the blank). Enough already – that list could get long real fast.Pet_Peeve_Toilet_paper

Then we have those whose pet peeves surround their idea of acceptable behavior, always willing to judge others on bad parenting, disobedient children, too fast/too slow drivers, tardiness and loud public conversations on cell phones, etc… For every behavior, we have someone who doesn’t like it.

Let’s admit it. Pet peeves, especially those that surround someone else and their behavior, is judging. You are assuming you are right, in whatever opinion you have, and the other person is wrong. We would all agree that none of us are perfect (especially when it’s us), but we still want everyone else to be our definition of perfect.

In the morning I grouse about slow drivers on the interstate and on the way home, I complain about the fast drivers speeding by me. Thank God for the “edit” button on Facebook postings because I have typed so many grammatical errors, I could fill an English textbook.

In an ongoing attempt to make better choices, I’ve been working on my decision to complain, instead of expressing gratitude. I proclaimed a “no complaining day” this past week. It was mildly successful – mostly because I posted a “no whining zone” sign on my desk and posted about it to keep myself accountable. But every day? It’s hard. So, once again, I’m making the choice to give people (myself included) some grace. To show love, instead of judgment. To offer a smile, instead of a frown, when I see something I may not agree with. I’m not going to compromise my convictions…but they are MY convictions and as long as no one is being hurt, I can live with a little public cell phone conversation.

P.S. Scripture shows a history of complainers who got what they deserved…some major heat and a few extra years in the wilderness.

“Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the Lord burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.” Numbers 11:1

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.” Psalm 45:1-2

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I was pretty stuck when thinking about what to blog about today. Most of the day I was nursing a bad attitude. I was irritated about almost everything, spinning anything to my “Poor me” perspective.

Then…I received a very nice surprise. My favorite (and only) sister walked into my office. She had come to town unannounced to get some freelance work done and suddenly, my gloomy, rainy, crappy day got a ray of sunshine. 

Isn’t it cool how God knows what we need when we need it? Many of you will call it a coincidence that my sister just happened to surprise me on a day when I was feeling blue but I’m not one who puts much stock in coincidences. I believe God cares about me, and desires to send “suddenlies” into my life. I believe God wants to show me His love, His grace and His favor in the everyday circumstances of life, even to orchestrating surprises to lift my spirits. 

My beautiful sister surprised me with her visit today, but she didn’t surprise God. He knew how blessed I would be to see her face, feel her hug and of course, listen to our laughter together. And now I have some together time to look forward to. No more gloomy day – now all I feel is warm and cozy. 

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Do you remember The Who’s song “Who Are You?” I’m old enough to know it from the initial release in 1978 (high school graduation year) but I sing it more because it was the opening theme song for the “CSI” TV series. Of course, I only know the opening lines: Who are you? Who, who, who, who?…repeat indefinitely. You are now singing it in your head, aren’t you? You’re welcome.

But this could also be my theme song every day…or at least a question I should ask myself frequently. Who are you, Kris…who, who, who, who?

Who are you when:

  • you stub your toe in the dark
  • that crazy driver cuts you off on the interstate
  • someone unfriends you on Facebook
  • you bomb that job interview
  • there are 20 people in the only open Wal-Mart checkout lane
  • a mole wreaks havoc through your lawn
  • an “overdraft” notice arrives
  • your identity information is hacked
  • ugly rumors about your pastor reach your ears
  • your husband watches TV while you clean the house
  • the church committee didn’t ask for your help
  • your favorite (fill in the blank) comes up missing
  • a deer sideswipes your car
  • you get caught by the red light cameras
  • you miss a deadline
  • the scale shows five pounds more than yesterday
  • the dishwasher floods the kitchen

We don’t need more examples…pretty sure you get my drift.

Who I am is what’s on the inside that comes out during times of stress, or disappointment, or rejection, or pain, or normal living of your everyday life. Although I love being on the mountain top, I become the real “me” in the valleys of life. And sometimes, I don’t like what comes out of me. Sometimes I see the ugliness of gossip, shame, condemnation, rejection, self-hate, and impatience.

However, I want to welcome these wake up calls. Because if I don’t see the yuck inside occasionally, I won’t ever be able to clean my house. If I don’t recognize the nastiness inside, I’ll keep going along, thinking I’m just fine, so fine.

Don and I had a wonderful mentor who told us often:

“CharacteCB063014r is what happens when someone tips over your coffee cup.”

Who are you? I hope you find out today.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.Psalm 139:23-24

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Don & Kris – night before wedding, 9/25/1987

 

 

Cheesy, sappy blog post warning. If you can’t handle mushy stuff, just pass on reading any further. My 30-day gratitude chart asks me to write about the family member I’m most grateful for. Easy peasy. I love all my family, but when it comes to choosing one I’m most thankful to have in my life, I must write about my husband, my best friend.

We met a little over 30 years ago, when he began as a new staff pastor at my home church. We had mutual friends who wanted to welcome Don into the community, so my roommate invited him and this other pastoral couple over for spaghetti. He made me nervous. He had a dry sense of humor and a quick wit. He was so smart and I was attracted to him immediately. But I was kind of shy (I know, I know – most of you don’t believe me) and he was sooo much older and wiser than any other guy I had dated. Embarrassing detail: I spilled red wax on his yellow sweater when I blew out the candles. Mortifying. As he left the building, following dinner, he threw a snowball back into the doorway…got me right in the face. Yup – it was love.

Don_Kris_goofing_offWe dated three months, got engaged in May, and married in September. Sounds like a perfect romance, right? Not so much. Though we loved each other very much, we came up against a few people who objected to our relationship. The tough time we endured caused us to draw closer to God and to one another. We had a few very wise and trusted people who offered us safe friendships and our wedding on September 26, 1987, was a beautiful autumn afternoon, filled with friends and family.

Since that time, our life together has been filled with amazing adventures, trials and happiness beyond description. As happens in all relationships, we’ve gone through ups and downs, but we’ve always determined to communicate and love each other, no matter what. We’ve taught together, laughed together and cried together. Family_picnic_McCulloughWe have parented two wonderful boys who’ve made us so proud. Don is a dad who loves fiercely; his boys and I are everything to him – and we never doubted it.

Throughout the years, Don has been faithful in his pursuit of God; faithful in relationships with his accountability partners, his friends and with me. For the last year, we’ve been “empty-nesting” and I think doing a very fine job. We enjoy each other so much and there isn’t anyone I would rather spend my time with. He encourages me and my crazy plans. He allows me to be myself…and prods me to be all he knows I can be. He prays for me and with me. He spoils me.

Kris_Don_Neb_Ia_line_Sep_2016

Don & Kris–straddling the Nebraska/Iowa state line over the Missouri River

Every weeknight he has dinner ready for me when I get home from work. Yes, he is a great cook too. He is a man of God who desperately desires for the Holy Spirit to use him to grow the Kingdom of God. He is his own worst critic, so I take my job of encourager very seriously. 

I asked him this morning, if he knew then what he knows now, would he still marry me? Of course, he said yes. But honestly, neither one of us had any idea that we could love each other more now than we did then. Trials and struggles can tear couples apart or push them together – we’ve always chosen to push through together. Don, I thank God every day for putting you into my life! Here’s to 30 more years.

Wedding_family_May_2016

David & Tristen’s wedding – May 14, 2016

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attributes_of_godMy “30 Days of Gratitude” list has me contemplating the attributes of the God today. Imagine having to pick one attribute that I’m most thankful for. That’s like picking my favorite candy bar or my favorite child. Impossible. God is omniscient, omnipotent, immutable, holy, sovereign, infinite, transcendent, self-sufficient, wise, faithful…and so much more. For the sake of needing to blog today, I’ll pick one attribute of God that touches my heart the most…the mercy of God.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and sin…” Exodus 34:6-7a

Have you ever watched your children misbehave and you knew you should discipline them so they won’t disobey again, but instead of giving them what they deserve, you hug them, snuggle them, and tell them how much you love them. That is mercy. Showing kindness and compassion, instead of judgment.

“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

God continually shows mercy to those who love Him. He also shows mercy to those who don’t know Him at all. As our world continues to taunt Him, to reject His Son, to flaunt sin and lawlessness, God shows mercy…over and over and over.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Romans 2:4-5

I am so thankful for God’s mercy to me. He did not give me what I deserve but instead shows me His love and grace and mercy…day after day. I am so grateful.

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Kris_aging_gracefully

As much as we fight and complain, all of us want to get older. Because the alternative is obvious and no one really wants that road. But the path of aging is fraught with potholes and deer crossings and railroad tracks. Some places are well-paved, four-lane highways and others are one curve away from a two-lane dirt track made by migrating yaks. Aging isn’t pretty. But it is necessary and that means it’s my attitude that’ll make the difference between facing it with dignity and grace or petulance and irritability. We’ve all known those cantankerous old people…and I don’t want to be one.

I’ve never been too worried about getting older. My hair began it’s elegant slide toward silver back in my mid-30s. I was too cheap (and lazy) to purchase stock in Clairol so I’ve been au naturale for quite some time. And I’m perfectly fine about it. Oh, once in a while I’d make a joke about being the only gray-haired mother with preschoolers, but in reality, I am comfortable in my skin (or hair, as the case may be). (Side note: I’ve noticed the recent trend of young women coloring their hair gray – I wonder if that makes them cool or me cool?) I’ve been blessed with good health and with my recent weight loss and healthy life style changes, I’m looking forward to many more years to love and live. But I am on the back side  of my 50s and my body has given me a few signs that it’s not as young and agile as it once was. I’ve recently had to start taking a medication just because I’m now an “older woman.” Pretty much hate that.

So what’s necessary to age gracefully without succumbing to society’s marketing of youthfulness forever? First – admit it. Second – accept it. Third – Get past it.

Admit it – say this after me – “Yes, I’m getting older. Yes, my body is changing. No, I don’t have to look 15 (or 25, or 35 or even 45 for some of us) anymore. I am beautiful, inside and out, just as I am.”

Accept it – ok, we can talk the talk, but can we walk it out? Accepting the reality of our aging means acting it out in all we do. No more putting ourselves down as “the old lady” in the group (hey – I’m preaching to myself here). Take advantage of the wisdom that comes from living life. Feel free to buy clothes you like wearing and add some color. Everyone looks better in color. And remember, beauty comes from the inside so work on that inner beauty thing. It’s way more valuable than any lift, tuck or injection.

cartwheel

Lastly, get past it. No more fixating on our age. It’s really just a number. “You’re only as young as you feel.” Nope – because somedays I feel 80 and somedays I feel 16…and that’s when I do something stupid. Like a cartwheel. More accurately, you are only as young as you determine in your heart you are. So, if you’d like to attend a concert with all 20-somethings, go for it. (I do it all the time – with the intention to never embarrass my children in attendance.) If you want to go rock climbing and have the ability, do it. If you want to learn a language, take a cooking class, run a 5k, get a dog, change your hair color, join a gym, buy a motorcycle, teach a class, write a book, volunteer at a homeless shelter, get a job, travel the world…go for it!

God has given us a number of days – He has a purpose for you and me. I want to live in such a way that God’s purpose is being fulfilled everyday. I don’t want to be one of those old ladies who look like they suck on lemons every morning. I want to embrace children and the elderly. I want to smile at strangers. I want to give love out of the abundance that Christ has put in my heart. As my husband often says, “I want to be saltier salt and brighter light.” It’s my choice and I choose to have a wise heart and youthful spirit, even while my body ages, gracefully.

 

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spic_and_span

This beautiful day gives me energy to take on some spring cleaning. After a long winter, I love to open up the windows, let in the beautiful sunshine and fresh air and get rid of the mustiness of a closed up house. Time to turn off the furnace – though in Iowa I know that’s a day-by-day, sometimes hour-to-hour, decision. There are three specific areas I try to take care of during my spring cleaning efforts.

(1)    Closets.

I don’t know how it happens, but my closets fill up with lots of junk over the winter. Sweaters, coats and boots take up more room than tank tops and sandals. My hall closet seems to bulge with the accumulation of hats, mittens, scarfs, and sweatshirts along with items no one knew what else to do with except shove it in and quickly shut the door. For you old radio show aficionados, it’s like Fibber McGee’s closet. So I like to go through each item, determine whether it’s worth keeping, and if not, it goes to Goodwill or the trash. We took 3 large trash bags today and I’ll have more as the spring progresses

(2)    Corners.

Our home does not have an abundance of natural light so we rely on lamps for most of our illumination during the winter. As a result, we don’t always take time to examine closely the corners of our rooms. When spring’s light shines in, those cobwebs show up big! Time for a little broom action to rid us of those little creepy-crawly homes.

(3)    Windows.

My least favorite area to clean but probably the one that needs it the most is my windows. We have a nature trail and cement manufacturer behind our house so I could clean my windows one day and they’d be just as dirty the next. So I don’t. I just get overwhelmed with the enormity of the task and don’t do anything at all. Guess what? My windows are filthy, especially the back ones. I finally tackle the project in the spring and of course, it’s amazing what a little soap, water and elbow grease can accomplish. The hardest part is getting started. 

'It must be Spring. I can't see out the window.'

‘It must be Spring. I can’t see out the window.’

I need to do spring cleaning in my spiritual house too. I don’t know about you, but I allow the dullness and routine of life to keep me from the regular maintenance we all need to do on our hearts. So how do the three cleaning areas in my house translate spiritually?

(1)    We all have junky attitudes that accumulate if we aren’t diligent about keeping our spiritual closets clean. Where God intends us to “store” our spiritual gifts and talents, we sometimes keep our unforgiveness, greed, selfishness and pride. We hide it away from prying eyes, but it’s still there. Now is a great opportunity to clean out those closets of your “old” self and fill it with God’s blessings of grace and favor.

(2)    I don’t think I’m the only one who needs to closely examine the corners of my heart. Old habits tend to grow and spread without the illumination of God’s love. Time to take the broom of God’s Word and sweep away the webs of deceit and lies. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you what needs to be cleaned up. He’s just waiting to be the “merry maid” in your cleaning adventure!

(3)    Finally, the windows of my soul need regular maintenance. The dust and dirt adhere so strongly if I don’t scrub them clean on a regular basis. It’s no fun. Who wants to see just how dirty you get throughout a season of life? But it needs to be done and not just once. We need to work out our salvation or do what’s necessary to keep ourselves saved. That means keeping those windows clean by continually being washed by God’s Word, praying (even when you don’t feel like it), forgiving those who’ve hurt you, serving those in need and allowing the bright light of God’s love to shine out from those beautiful windows.

So tackle that spring cleaning soon – both physically and spiritually. What a great way to begin a new season – uncluttered, clean and shiny!

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