Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day

A rough post from the Blessed ~8~ Chaos blog.  Check it out.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Party of 8

Well, in true Megan-form, it has been four months since I've posted anything.  However, the past few months have been nothing if not extraordinary, so before I go on posting about my deep, philosophical pondering, I will give a quick rundown to fill you in on some of the awesome happenings in my house.  

I will skip all pretense of a carefully crafted  narrative and get right to the point:  we have a crap-load of people living in our house.  About a month ago, our house sprouted from a modest census reporting of three, including Johnni, to a whoppin' eight!  Jorma and I, Johnni, our friends Kasey and Elven, and their three awesome kids... not to mention, we still have two rather large, excitable Labradors.  Nevertheless, our new household is not only bursting with people, but also with life, laughter, and lots of prayer.  Who would have thought that such a crazy idea could turn into one of God's biggest blessings in my life.  Never underestimate what the power of your name, mispronounced, shouted in joy upon your arrival home from the mouth of an adorable child; man, I love coming home!  All the little hugs, sticky fingers, messes, laughs, and tears are part of what makes our household a place where we don't just wait for life to take place:  life HAPPENS in our house.

The story of our combined families will be documented and shared through our new blog, Blessed ~8~ Chaos, where Kasey and I (the moms of the house) will share our journeys, trials, recipes, and whatnot.  For me, I will keep posting here as I normally do--sporadically and with no particular theme.  Please continue praying for me and for the journey my life is taking.  I am doing my best to continually recognize God's hand and blessings in my life.  He is ultimately the one in control and the one who knows the method to my madness.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Well hello, 2011!  January is a month of beginnings, I guess.  This year I was adamant that I didn't want to make any resolutions--too easy to break them!  However, I was completely convicted when Timmy, our pastor, started talking about resolutions and how we can and should be filled with resolve towards becoming the people God wants us to be.  On Sunday, I felt like God was really speaking to me about the kind of person I could be--who he wants me to be.

I began reflecting on my previous resolutions:  "lose weight," "be good about sending out birthday cards," etc.  And I am reminded of my almost monthly resolutions to "get into the Word more," and to "eat better."  I came to the realization that I am completely unresolved towards being resolute!  I am completely undisciplined in so many areas of my life.  Instead of looking at my relationship with God and my relationship with myself as wonderful opportunities, I tend look at them like they are chores, which makes me feel like I should try to find ways out of committing time to them.  However, I've devised a plan...

For the month of January, I have decided to instill a "home-day" for myself.  Every Wednesday--check the date, it's the first Wednesday now--will be a day where I stay home, fast, spend time with the Lord, and do any of the house-work/online-work I need to get done.  Now, you're probably saying, "this doesn't sound like a joy-filled time... fasting?  How is that not a chore?"  Well, I have decided to find joy in my decision to fast from many of the things that fill my life--for one day a week.  It isn't something imposed by anyone or anything else; it's simply my choice.  My prayer through this experiment in commitment and discipline is that I might find joy in the things that are good for me, my body, and my soul. 

So much of my life is committed to serving idols:  food, money, pleasure.  At times I feel like all my efforts and focus are towards building the temporary things that make me temporarily happy.  Food is a quick fix when I need to deal with feelings, need a pick-me-up, or am bored.  Instead, I could be looking to God for the fulfillment I can only find in Him, or I could be investing in worthwhile relationships, or--eek--addressing the feelings that make me want to find satisfaction in a big bowl of ice cream.  Money is so seductive in its appeal:  as a young person, I need to save for my future, make smart investments, and work-work-work!  However, all of the security and enjoyment money can buy is only temporary.  So, while planning ahead and making wise choices with God's gifts is important, I can't let that motivation fuel my existence.  There has to be a balance, and I don't want to miss any more opportunities to bless those around me.  And lastly, pleasure... really all of the things I've already discussed are tied into pleasure, and I don't think pleasure is a bad thing.  God created it for a reason.  However, much of the credit for the pleasure I have is misplaced:  thank you hard work, husband, natural abilities.  No, thank YOU, LORD, for your unending grace to bless someone like me with the life I have.   

Thursday, September 30, 2010

spouse arrest

So, this morning my husband woke up screaming--well, man-yelling is actually a better term--in pain.  We've all had that stiff, painful "crick-in-the-neck," and he was pretty sure that's all he was having; however, the pain was so severe he couldn't move his arm or change positions.  After lots of coercing, he got into the shower to let the hot water try and relax some of the pain.  After our valiant combination of ibuprofen, heat, and massaging--all to no avail--we decided it was time to call up the dreaded MDs.  My hubby hates going to the doctor, so it's always a last resort.  Upon speaking with the doctor and getting prodded in his already aching neck, the pain got too strong and he passed out. He also now knows the startling smell of Ammonia smelling-salts, an experience he never wants again.  It took awhile to bring him back to lucidity, and currently he's fine, home, and resting.

It doesn't take much of a medical scare to show me how much I love my husband.   Throughout the morning I was blessed with peace, able to really analyze the situation and understand the cause for the pain and side-effects.  It was all I could do to ward of the temptation to think about worst case scenarios.  However, when my husband was in the hospital room--a place he hates and is completely uncomfortable--nothing else was important at the moment:  not the meeting I was supposed to be at, not the appointments I had later in the day, not any of the things I wish I had, nothing...  complete arrest of my senses.  Maybe it all sounds a little dramatic, but it takes a lot to take out a big guy like my husband, and he was the most important thing to me at that moment.

I wonder what it would be like if I was like that more often?  How much more honoring could I be to my husband if I was more concerned with his needs than the thousands of things littering my brain on a daily basis.  How hard would it be to put down my work when he gets home and give him a big hug, grab him a beer, and ask him about his day?  How much would I really miss if I switched off "Keeping up with the Kardashians" (my guilty pleasure) and just talked to the hubs?  Or switched to the football game?  I should not wait for emergencies to put aside the countless worries in my life in honor of my husband.  That's something I can do on a daily basis, in small ways, to show him how much I care; not only would it make him feel more like the amazing man I see him as, but I think it would also help me organize my priorities.  And he is SO worthy of that kind of attention and love.  What an eye-opener!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

black and white

When did things stop being black and white?  I've had a few deep, albeit unsolicited, fears since getting married in 2006.  1)  That my husband would die, leaving me alone (the ultimate) and 2) That I would be unable to have children.  I recently reminisced with the hubby about my "crazy-at-the-time" worrying; and honestly, it was crazy at the time to worry about things I have no control over, but try telling me that.  Recently I've been reflecting on these fears and the amount of time I spend worrying about unlikely, uncontrollable outcomes.  How am I being at all productive, and how much time have I wasted fretting?

In the past year, I've tried desperately to hang onto the moment--to live in the "now" rather than worrying about what might come next week/month/year.  Sometimes I slip back and forth between being staying in the game and getting lost in the muck of worry, planning, and uncertainty.  My prayer tonight isn't for those things I want, though I pray for those often, but my hope is that God would grant me with a presence in daily life so I can live within the time at hand instead of worrying or grieving over things I have no control over.  I hope that I can stop seeing things as one extreme or another, that I can enjoy the daily little things:  my loving husband, my precious friends, the beauty God surrounds us with constantly.

Life is not black and white.  If something bad happens, even those things I fear most,  God will see me through; I know it wouldn't be the end of the road, and I know that just because things don't happen in accordance to my plans, it doesn't mean God doesn't have different--and more wonderful--plans than I have for myself. 


Generally, not much really bothers me, but there are a two things that definitely put a bee in my bonnet--and I REALLY hate bees.  I wasn't sure whether or not one post would be enough to address all my feelings, but I'm gonna take a whack at it.  While this little jaunt looks into the idea of aging in the American culture, the other side to my concern is the issue of self-deprecation as commonplace in the female rhetoric.  That will have to wait for later.  I guess I should preface this article with a little self-disclosure.  While I believe all people are capable of great things, I am not what most people would consider a feminist.  I have what mainstream culture would label conservative views when it comes to women in society.  So, my heart in addressing these issues is not to pump up the feminist bravado or in any way try to place blame on the guys... actually, women can do a lot on their own to not let themselves fall into the pattern.

Aging.  While this issue does not only affect women, it is women I hear constantly lamenting their aging bodies.  Among many things our culture has decided to place no value on, age is prevalent, and I don't know if we can count the emergence of "Cougars" as a step in the right direction.  I'm all for staying healthy and staying on top of our fashion game, but it breaks my heart when someone who's fifty feels the need to look like they did in high school.  Our society places so much importance on appearance, we forget about the wisdom and experience a fifty-year-old woman has attained in her fifty years.  In our culture, to grow old is to become senile, useless, and inhuman.  Instead of looking forward to the later years in life, we constantly battle the signs of aging, trying to convince our bodies, and ourselves, we aren't as old as we actually are.  When it comes down to it, there's no stopping time; our bodies will age, we will get older, and everyone will eventually die.  Why spend so much time, effort, and concern on fighting something that's inevitable.  I wish, instead of placing so much value on women who look twenty years younger than they are, our culture placed value on women you used their experience to help others, better their community, or teach their children.

Ultimately, what we leave behind in our corpse will all rot away, but what we leave behind through our interactions with others will be our true legacy.  I would much rather be remembered by the way I treated people and the difference I made in the lives of others than for my ability to ward of aging for a few years.

I will also choose to value the older generation in my life.  In a culture that mocks the elderly for their driving, memory, and laughable mannerisms, I will choose to honor the lessons shared with me be the people who have had much more experience living than I have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

leonard's overalls

My grandfather, Leonard, is a lot to live up to.  Doing remodeling or painting generally leads me to, at some point, slip on these well-loved overalls that once belonged to the MAN himself.  Looking back now on my relationship with him over the years, I find myself wondering if he would have liked me as an adult.  People say I'm a lot like him, but people say a lot of things.  I often wonder what he would say or what he would think about who I am and what I'm doing with my life, but he's been gone since 2000, and there's really no way to know.  Regardless, slipping on these overalls--several sizes too large for me--and adding to the years of shop work splattering the fronts, working on projects always helps me remember how much he affected my life during the 14 years I knew him--how much he continues to affect my life through the lessons he taught me.

"I'm lazy; I do things right the first time so I don't have to go back and do it again."  

Oh Grandpa...  This was generally what he would say any time I was told to do a chore as a child.  Obviously, I was resistant, and, at the time, this saying just made me mad.  I knew it wasn't right to be lazy; I also knew I did NOT want to do whatever it was my mother or grandmother had told me to do, so I was generally left confused.  However, this trait, this affinity for proficiency and excellence, now seems to be one of my most prominent characteristics.  I'm not saying I always perform or create to excellent standards, but I am passionate about bringing out the best in myself and others, and I always want to do this efficiently.  Sometimes I jokingly tell my husband that I just want to control other peoples' lives, but he not-so-gently corrects me that's not the case (self-deprecating humor:  something I learned from several women in my life, and something I will address later).  My husband, God bless him, points out where I recognize where people could make themselves better, and that I'm generally amped to help others reach their potential.  I guess that's the teacher in me--Leonard.

While Leonard's saying doesn't always describe my intentions towards doing the dishes, weeding my flower bed, or general housework, as an adult I can see how this sentiment is also a description of how I operate with people.  Around our house, we say "we never half-ass anything," and we work hard in our relationships and at our jobs; that's something Grandpa would be proud of.  

"I'm just lookin' at the dollies."

As a child, I thought Grandpa sitting on the park bench "looking at the dollies" was hilarious.  Now that I'm older, and despite the face I'm oh-so-educated and understand the objectification of women should never be funny, I still find it endearing.  We often called my Grandma, his wife, a saint because she was able to tolerate is ever-slightly-crude humor, and his love of women.  Now, when I say "love of women," I do not mean he had a weakness when it came to "wandering".  He loved my Grandma so much--and with such openness--I cannot believe he would have ever wanted to be with anyone else.  However, he loved to laugh, flirt, and tease with women--and men, too, actually.  He would intelligently craft little jokes here and there, generally making others laugh or blush, and my grandmother would smile--as always--and cluck "Oh, Leonard."

Analyzing this memory leaves me with a muddled idea of how his habit of "watching the dollies" really affects who I am, but it's a strong memory.  Even while I can see this might have been seen as one of his flaws, I believe it to be somewhat of a ruse, a big nothing said for a reaction.  What I am more and more amazed with now is the confidence and grace with which my grandmother laughed with him.  They were both so confident in one another, and so trusting; my grandmother always smiled and giggled, always found him funny, and he loved to make her laugh. I hope I can "get" my husband as much as she always seemed to "get" Leonard.

"Dazzle them with your speed."

These are the last words my grandfather spoke to me before he died.  Not on his death bed or anything; no, he had come to watch me play basketball, and for some reason he had to leave before the end of the game.  As he walked out of the gym, he rounded the baseline where we were lining up to shoot a foul shot.  As he passed me, positioned at the bottom of the key, he whispered, "dazzle them with your speed."  Now, in all honesty, I thought he was making fun of me, but that's what can be gleaned from a 14-year-old's understanding in her lack of self confidence.  When I asked my dad, my coach, about what he might of meant, my dad told me I was fast--not fast like I could beat someone down the court, but I was fast in my first three steps.  Later, as I began to strengthen my game, I realized what he'd been talking about, and I realized that his last words to me had been those of a coach, an educator... grandpa.