Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I love Kansas!

    I've been living through the Rockies again these past couple of weeks.  Last week, was fabulous!  I've been doing this workout (I wish I could get paid for this:  but totally check our Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred), and honestly in 8 workouts I lost over 2.5 inches from my hips!  I've been feeling good and doing well, and then for no real reason, the road hit a valley.  And the whole tape of negative thoughts and "you're a loser" emerged again.  I even skipped text study, which is one of my most favorite times to gather with friends, and bemoaned (ie. whined like a four-year-old) the misery of my existence.  Today, however, I'm heading back into hill country, and Kansas got me there.
    I absolutely love my husband.  Even on those days when I don't want to live with myself, he will stop whatever he's doing and hold me tight.  He doesn't give me advice (although he did tell me eating a whole frosted cookie would not make me feel better), he doesn't tell me to snap out of it and tell me about those who have real problems, he simply listens, and wipes my tears and tells me he loves me.  I totally sound like a sappy Hallmark commercial, but that is virutally word for word what happened yesterday.  There is absolultey no one in this entire world who is as perfect for me as he is.  Steve--I love you more than pickles!  Thank you for being as sure and as steady as Kansas, and for loving me even when I don't deserve it.
   Now to you, my dear friends, if you've made it through all that, you deserve a prize!  Here it is.  An Invitation to my BIRTHDAY PARTY.  I know no details except that it will be held on Friday, March 25th in the evening.  Kansas is making all the plans (with help from some of his friends!)!  I do know it will NOT be in a church basement, that kids are NOT invited (there will be childcare provided at our house, however), you have to dress up!, and good food and copious amounts of liquid will be served!  And the guest list is open to anyone who happens to be walking by.  If you happen not to have a present, don't worry--there will be some availabe for purchase at the door!  Although this is for my birthday, it is also a way for me (and Steve) to show our thanks and gratitude and awe for the wonderful friends who travel with us through the varied topography of our lives (dear God, how cheezy does that sound!).  Anyway, mark your calendars!  And I'll see you on the 25th!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

To Birthday or Not To Birthday...

     You all know when I began this journey 300 some odd days ago, the plan was to be at my goal weight for my birthday.  I was going to have a big party to celebrate and congratulate myself on a really great year.  But, you all also know that I'm not to said fact, it' been a pretty crappy couple of's the dilemma:  do I still have my party?  Now, the self-defeating part of me says that I really don't deserve a big party; I didn't do what I set out to accomplish (ie. failed) and couldn't celebrate anyway.  Now...another (much quieter) part of me says that's ridiculous, and to have the party anyway.  Then there's the other part (the third half of me), says that maybe I should wait and use a party as an incentive and have a "meet my goal weight party instead."  But then that fourth part says if I have a 'meet my goal weight party' I won't get any presents!  So, what am I supposed to do?  All these parts make sense to me at different times of the, dear friends, what party would you come to?  I don't want to make a decision and will do the will of the people :) 

Post Number One for today...check back later for number two.

Here's my sermon before I preach it, so I suppose eye-rolling could happen tomorrow.  But, for now here it goes.  I'm also going to be dorky and give everyone a little bag that will have some salt and a candle in it.  Hopefully they'll keep it in their pockets to remind themselves of who they are!

Okay—fill in the blank. God said “let there be light and there was ¬¬¬¬______." God said “let us make humankind in our own image and ¬¬______ was created.” Jesus said, “I say to you little girl rise up” and the little girl did what? Jesus commands “take up your mat and walk” and the man takes up his mat and what? Good…so if we use Scripture as our guide, God speaks and things happen. The Word of God actually does what it says…God says merely a word and humans are created, trees fill the landscape, dead people rise, the world changes.

And today, what word does Jesus speak to all his disciples—to all those who follow him. “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.” Not you ought to be more like salt; not if you served more people and did more nice things you would be light. But, simply, definitively, unequivocally, You are salt; You are light. God speaks, and the world changes. God speaks and you are exactly what God says you are.

God does not want you worrying about what you are not—about the gifts you do not have. God doesn’t want you to change who you—to become something you are not. But, simply to live as the lighted, salty ones that you are. And actually when you dig a little deeper into this metaphor you begin to realize how truly remarkable these seemingly ordinary things are.

We tend to take light for granted—I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever been in pure darkness—that oppressive darkness where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. I’ve heard that exploring the depths of caves is like that. The further underground you go, the more the darkness swallows up any sense of direction—you’re unable to make out the shapes of the people around you, the walls close in until you become alone in the deepness, in the darkness. Until someone strikes one small match… slowly you begin to see and the worlds takes form again. One small match breaks brings the darkness to an end. One light. You are light.

And salt—eat popcorn without that stuff or make a batch of cookies without it and you realize how those tiny little crystals make the whole world better. I even put it on my carrots—a wonderful trait I inherited from my mama. But, you know what else salt does—I love this part. In Jesus’ day, in the middle of the small dwelling places was kind a kitchen-type thing. There was this stove and next to the stove, a dung heap—literally the waste of their animals piled high in the kitchen. And salt was used to cover this mess so that it would burn. The pile of dung in the kitchen became the fuel for their fire which cooked the food that they ate. And none of this would be possible without the salt. Salt changes the horrible stuff to quite useful stuff—makes your food taste better. You are salt.

You are salt. You are light. Can you imagine living as such? Can you imagine yourself sitting at your desk or in your living room or waiting for the doctor—you know those feelings—boredom or frustration, inadequacy or sadness, apprehension or pain—and somehow you remember that God’s word actually does what God says. And you are light. You presence breaks through the darkness; your life adds flavor to the world. Your simply being who you were created to be, turns dung piles into fuel, and bland popcorn into a feast. I wonder if remembering that might make you see the world a little differently; might make you see your neighbor a little differently. Might make you use the gifts that you’ve been given to change the world.

One of the blogs that I follow has issued a challenge—for us to spend the next week paying attention to where we live into our saltiness and lightedness—for us to remember who we are and to name it. I know it’s much easier to see where other people are salty and lighty—to lift up the wonders of each other. And I want to hear those stories too. But, pay attention this week to where you let your light shine and your salt season. Pay attention to where you illuminated the darkness and where you make some carrots (or a dung pile) taste a whole lot better.

And before you start to get all humble on me—remember that you didn’t light your own candle—you didn’t season your own salt. They ignited through the waters that soaked you in your baptism. Remember God’s Word again—you are my child…the whole speaking and creating and world changing world. Well when God spoke, you were showered with blessings—with love, with grace, with wholeness—with light and sprinkled with a bit of salt.

So, go into the world salty, lighted ones. Go into the world and be who you were spoken to be. God said it—it makes it so…So, Go into the world and season it with wild abandon.