Thursday, August 26, 2010

Transformation

When I was under 20, I soooooo desperately wanted to be older. Man! Just the thought of that makes me want to go back in time and slap myself silly. I look at my children and grandchildren and see their flawless, beautiful skin without all of the wrinkles and age spots. Of course, if they're sitting too close to me, I can't see them all that well and have to scoot back a bit and let these middle-aged eyes adjust, but I KNOW their skin is beautiful because I've seen it before. They move gracefully without groaning when they stand up. They eat without worrying about coronary artery disease, widening hips, or expanding waistlines. Their hair is thick and luxurious, not fine and see-through. They can hear a whisper across the room without saying, "What? What did you say? Did you say something to me?" And THEIR ads on Facebook aren't about denture creams, retirement homes, and colonscopy discounts.

But that's always been me. When I was younger, I wanted to be older. Now that I'm older, I'd love to be younger again. I'm just hoping that when I'm dead, I'll be content with that. But I'm not going to be talking about that topic today (my dying) but instead, I'm going to be focusing more on being content. That's not particularly one of my favorite topics. I've discovered that I kind of like griping and complaining. Unfortunately, I can ALWAYS find something to gripe and complain about. The trick has been to make it a little humorous so everyone around me is laughing and enjoying my rants and raves. I've also discovered that when you present something that is ugly and unacceptable as humorous, it's much more widely accepted.

Whether I accept aging or not doesn't really matter. I'm doing it whether I like it or not ... unless I die, but that again is a topic I'm not talking about today. I have to admit it -- I'm getting older. I don't think I want to say I'm old. That makes me think of soured milk or the Crypt Keeper. I'm just aging. Sounds semi-acceptable, and excruciatingly true.

But with age comes wisdom. Yes, it's true. I actually have collected a little bit of wisdom in my 40+ ... okay, I'll admit it ... my 50 years. Sigh. I've learned that
  • When my dad told me that money didn't grow on trees, it was actually true. I can't tell you how many times I've prayed for a money tree, and science has yet to find that particular species. Sad to say, but it's not out there.
  • Water, regardless of what I thought, wasn't free when it came out of the faucet -- you had to pay for it. And now we actually pay for water in bottles? What next?! Paying for air? Oh yeah, we already do that, too! Oxygen bars, canned air for computers ...
  • All of the "I'm sorry"s in the world don't take back hateful, angry words. Sometimes it's better to lose the fight and to keep your mouth shut.
  • Just because I'm organized and I think things through in an orderly and logical fashion, doesn't mean I'm always right. And even if the person I'm disagreeing with isn't orderly, logical, or even anywhere close to it ... well, it doesn't make them automatically wrong. Even as I'm typing this, it doesn't make sense to me. I just know it's true because I've learned it along the way.
  • Boys really DO think differently than we girls do. They don't outgrow it. They just become men who continue to think differently.
  • What we look like on the outside isn't what God sees. He sees the heart and the intent. He looks deep within to our thoughts. That's maybe the scariest thing to me, because the deeper I go, I think the uglier I get. Amazingly enough though, He loves me through and through ...as deep as He can go.
  • Friends come and go. Money comes and goes. Jobs come and go. Family is the closest thing to permanence that we have on this earth. We need to treasure it and nurture it.
  • Just because I don't like something that is happening, doesn't make it not happen. God doesn't sit on His throne and worry if I'm going to like what He does in my life. He just asks me to trust and go along on the roller coaster of life with Him. His eyes, unlike mine, haven't gotten weaker. He still sees the big picture and knows what's ahead.
  • No matter where I go or what I do, I take God with me. He has promised to never leave me or forsake me and I've lived in a way where I've seen that to be true. I tried to run from Him for years, and He'd remind me of His presence in the most inopportune moments. I hated it at the time, but it's like my eternal security blanket now.
So, yeah, I guess my thought today is that I'm very obviously older. My mirror tells me that everyday. I have a son or two that does the same thing. I've learned through years of pain and experiences, and honestly, I don't think I could have learned it any other way. I'd like to think that when God looks at me, He doesn't see the spider veins and blubbery tummy, but instead He sees someone who deep inside is transforming more and more into a likeness of Him. The transformation process isn't quick ... or fun. But, it IS a transformation. I AM learning. And God is definitely patient to teach me things from the daily and mundane to the deep and spiritual.

So, in the next 20 or 30 years, when I'm reading this blog while wearing my dentures and hearing aids, I'll probably say I want to come back and knock myself silly with my cane. Or maybe, just maybe, I'll just smile and realize that the transformation is still continuing, God is still teaching, and I am still learning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cool? I Think Not ...

Okay, I realize it. I am not cool. I used to think I was ... but no longer. There was a time years ago when I dressed cool ... talked cool ... looked cool ... and was just plain cool. Now? Well, not so much.

When I was younger, we all wore these skin-tight blue jeans. So tight, in fact, that I had to lay down on the bed to zip them up. I even had a friend who kept a pair of pliers by her bed to grab on to her zipper so she could zip her pants up. Yep, we were cool. Gorgeous and cool in our skin-tight jeans. We'd slither and slink through school or the clubs, knowing that we were absolutely amazing and everyone else wanted to be us. We had the "cool" look: skinny, dressed in jeans that looked like they were painted on, silky shirts, high heels, and big hair. Shoot forward to the present. If I were put into skin-tight jeans now, I'd look like a sausage wrapped in bread wrapped in another piece of bread wrapped in Saran Wrap. Not pleasant. Now I live in elastic waisted athletic shorts (the roomier, the better), baggie t-shirts, messy hair, and flip-flops (that we used to call thongs, by the way.) Definitely not cool.

Back in my cool days, I'd stay up all night long, wearing my skin-tight jeans dancing the night away in my Candy heels. We danced The Hustle or mimicked the dances off of Saturday Night Fever, mouthing all of the words along with Barry Gibbs. Now, I'm yawning at 9:00 ... and darn proud of myself if I make it to 11:00 without falling asleep on the couch. The most embarrassing part about being uncool and having to go to bed early is that when I DO stay up late, I wind up getting the sleepy sillies. I'll laugh at the most ridiculous things, and it's not just a polite little laugh, but a snorty, bellowing guffaw. Then, usually I wind up in hysterics, alternating between snorting, crying, hiccuping, and shrieking. My family usually hides from me when I'm in this state of mind and just encourages me to go to bed. Yep, not cool at all.

There was a time when the way I spoke would let people know I was up-to-date and obviously cool. I knew all of the latest slang and when to use it in the most appropriate way. And, I understood what everyone else was saying, too. I also vaguely remember laughing at people over 30 who said "neato" and "keen" or "groovy". I have learned that cool language, once again, is not the case for me anymore. It's not cool to tell people that you're "fixing to" go to the store. If you say a boat was "tumped over" or someone's shirt is "tucked out", you get some mighty strange looks. You don't roll up a "winda", you don't use a "yella" crayon, and you definitely don't eat "bowled aigs" (boiled eggs, for those of you that need an interpreter). You don't call people "cutie patooties", you don't laugh when someone "toots", and you don't mention your "bottom" or your "tummy". To me, bad is really bad ... phat is just plain stupid ... and hot is another one of those danged hot flashes. My language, according to my family, has seemed to evolve over the years to a mixture of backwoods hillbilly refugee and old fogie (another old person term, by the way).

Nope, I'm not cool anymore. Strangely enough, it's really fine. My four-year-old grandbaby thinks I'm hilarious and incredibly awesome and pretty and all kinds of wonderful adjectives. Cool is really seriously overrated ... unless, of course, you ARE experiencing one of those ridiculous hot flashes and then it's really awesome!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Conversations

There have been a lot of interesting conversations in my house this last week. Conversations like:
* what heaven will be like
* why the best "diets" are constantly changing (low-fat, low-carb) but they're ALL usually low-taste
* why God created ticks
* how the biggest tear-jerker movie of all time is "The Notebook"
* we're an hystically funny family -- to us, at least!
* what purpose do colors serve (other than just being pretty)
* who is better looking on So You Think You Can Dance -- Neal or Legacy
* why when we're so sleepy do we get giggly and silly
* why some people have knuckle-toes and some people have toes that look like link sausages
* how come the guy who built our house cut such corners and put everything in so sloppily
* why people say you "turn" 50 ... like the milk "turns" sour. Ugh! There's got to be a better term!
* in all of the places in the world to live, we live in Oklahoma - where there are tornadoes, ice storms, outrageous heat and humidity, hail the size of melons, and earthquakes
* wouldn't it be nice to be one of those people who look pretty when they cry instead of being spotted, swollen, and snotty
* how people and their animals have some of the same characteristics

But my favorite conversation of the week by far has got to be the one regarding God's grace. We've talked about how as man we struggle to believe in God and what He says. We get angry, we pout, we fight, and sometimes we might even to choose to walk away. Even then God doesn't turn away or reject us. He continues to go with us wherever we choose to take Him. It doesn't matter if our choice is a good one or a bad one; He goes with us. It doesn't matter if we're being loveable and honoring Him, or running as far away in the other direction as we can go; He loves us just the same. We will have to experience some discipline and consequences as a result of our choices, but it doesn't change how God feels about us. God welcomes our questioning. He wants to be with us in the struggle. He wants us. Period.

Talking about God's grace and love always brings me back to my favorite verse in Scripture: Hosea 6:6 (The Living Bible)
"I don't want your offerings; I want your love.
I don't want your sacrifices; I want you to know Me."


This verse just really brings God in to a clearer picture for me. He loves me. He wants to know me. And He's constantly showering His inexplicable grace upon His people. Honestly, this is one conversation that doesn't make sense to me. I don't understand the "why's" of His love and grace. I just know it's real. God's grace makes me want to know even more about Him ... makes me not want for there to be any barriers between us ... makes me want to trust Him and have faith even when I don't understand. There's a lot I DON'T understand (that was another conversation of the week, by the way!), but God does. And, it's okay. It really is -- because I know He's in control and He operates out of His glory and love. I might not know it all ... but I know enough to realize that I'm going to follow Him. There's no other place I'd rather be!!