Starting On My Knees

(Originally posted in 2003)

The other day I woke up to the sound of my radio alarm: discouraging news and singing cowboys. I don’t care much for that kind of music and I don’t like depressing news. Both get me shutting the alarm off quick.

I walked out of my bedroom and as I neared the top of the stairs, I could hear music coming from my daughter’s room. I listened to the CD she had playing, and as I could clearly decipher the words, it confirmed the theory formulating in my head: it was rather loud. I asked myself, how can you listen to that much noise in the morning? I would have gone in there and demanded she turn it down except that, besides the fact that everyone else was up and awake, I liked the song she was listening to.

It did, however, make me think about how mornings begin for many people. NOISY! We wake to the sounds of high-pitched beeps and screeches from our alarms or to the tunes of musicians who more than likely should have put their guitars to rest long ago. Then, reluctantly, we pull ourselves out of bed and begin our day.

We sit in cars, wait at stop lights, fiddle with radio stations searching for just the song, listen to the clamor of our minds rattle back and forth as to all the things we need to remember to do, people to call, places to go and the list endlessly goes, on and on.

When we get to work, if it isn’t high powered machinery that fills our ears and empty crevices of our brains, it’s the rattle of computer keys, the cries of children or adults, the needs of customers, and ultimately, our own thoughts of what we’re going to fix for dinner, what we need at the store, or whose turn is it to pick up the kids.

As I took a moment to listen to the song coming from my daughter’s room, I wondered how little we actually fill our mornings with quietness. How little we fill our mornings with the whispers of God. It made me wonder if God spoke to me in this morning, here and now, would I hear him through the clatter of all the other noise?

There are days I know that I definitely miss the mark. And I find that those days are usually the messiest. There is little peace, no direction, much confusion, lots of frustration. Those days readily take me to my knees in a cry for help and forgiveness.

Do we stop to listen to the voice of God? Do we stop and enjoy His overwhelming tenderness towards us as we seek His heart? Do we let the early morning alarm go off and allow the voices of others to blare over what God has to say to us in that day? Do we make time for the morning paper, but no time for His word?

It is my prayer that I do make the time, by making it a priority to be with the one who waits for me to draw near to His heart and feast on His unfailing love. Unless I do, I will walk through the day in my own strength and land where I have landed so often before – on my face.

Though the hard way, I have learned, I would much rather start the day on my knees.

Prying Off the Lid to My Bucket List

20130415-205218.jpgI’ve been trying to get organized. That can mean something different to each person. Such as getting your ‘affairs’ in order.  Making a new (‘life’)plan.  Cutting stress.  Starting a new habit (or two) or breaking an old one.  Cutting clutter.  Going through ‘stuff’.  Methodizing ‘things’.  Putting things in ‘order’.  Making a ‘power productivity program’.  Designating time.  FREEDOM.  Spring cleaning.  Reducing stress.  Setting goals.  Cleaning out.  Sorting junk.

I’m sure you could come up with more.  For me, it’s been a bit of spring cleaning (trying to get a head start so I can finish before I must call it Fall cleaning), setting some goals, sorting through, cleaning out, putting things in order (or at least I’m trying).

Another thing I’m doing is trying to fill and empty my bucket, or box.  I have a little box covered rather primitively and given to me by a very special lady and it became (and still is) my ‘bucket’ box.  It holds ideas of things to do, to make, to write.  I am good at filling it.  I slack off on opening the lid to actually doing what I put in there.

In his book, Unfair and Unbalance: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky, by Patrick M. Carlisle, Carlisle makes the statement that, “a Great Man, in his querulous twilight years, who doesn’t want to go gently into that blacky black night, [will] cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge, and pry the lid off his bucket list!”  I don’t wish to be querulous now or in my ‘twilight’ years, but I am ready to cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge and pry the lid back on by bucket box.  Perhaps live a little more – or a lot.

I think when you have a chronic or a terminal illness (or intimately know or live with someone who does), you tend to look at life differently. It becomes more valuable as you realize in one way or another, your time is limited.  Limited by days or mobility, functionality or abilities.  You tend to see things in a new light and what was once not, now becomes a possibility.

For me, to make things more possible, involves being more organized and de-cluttering my ‘life’.  That means all materially, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ‘stuff’

I guess you could say I owe this awakening to my daughter.

She and her husband came up for Christmas this past December and one evening (in front of her husband, no less) said to me, “Mom, you’ve really got a lot of stuff – a lot of clutter – laying around (yes, she used that word).  You’ve really started becoming a pack rat.”  The shameless boldness to speak to her mother with such truth.

The actual truth is – I think I’ve always been a pack rat.  I’ve just organized (or hidden) it well.  So – she doesn’t know it but, her comment lit a fire under me.  January 1st, I made a decision to get organized AND clean out (two different things).  I think what has happened is, I started cleaning out (de-cluttering) and the organization started happening.  When the organization began coming back (I was once super organized), I began to feel less stress and ‘free’. I began thinking of setting goals and designating time anew.  I began thinking about what to take out of my bucket box and doing something about those ideas, whether they be something to make, do, or to visit.

When I began to think of goals, designating time naturally came into play.

Yesterday I heard a woman say, “I realized that I have spent more time thinking about food than thinking about God.”  Shouldn’t that be the other way around (and she was getting to that)?

She may have said it, but the statement echoed in my ears.  I realized that I have spent more time thinking about food, contemplating the thought of food, worrying about food, obsessing about food, dreaming about food, considering what food I will eat, envisioning that food… well, you get the idea.  I am not obsessive, really (about food), but I do spend too much time thinking about it and not enough time giving thought and priority to things of much more importance ~ like God.

And that needs to change.  And that is one of my goals.

So, as my life becomes and continues to be reordered, reprioritized, reorganized, I am hoping to get it to look like this:

~God first in deed, speech, and thought.  What does that look like for me?

He comes first in my attention and affection.  If He truly is the most important, He will get the best of both ~ quantity and quality of time and love.  If that is working well, all the other areas of my life seem  to work  well, no matter the circumstance.

Everyone is a child of God and deserves to be treated as such.  There are no exceptions.  What does that look like?  Forgiveness.  Unconditonal love.  Random acts of kindness.  Phone calls/notes to friends and family.  If they matter, it should be obvious.  I have a responsibility to love like Jesus.  If I truly love Him and follow Him, I’ll act like Him and others won’t ever have to question if I love them or if they matter.  My words, my thoughts, and my actions will reflect this.

~De-clutter.  What does that look like for me?

Thoughts change as the old goes out.  Whether materially, emotionally, mentally, physically.

I believe this stems from the desire to put God back in His right place in my life: first place.  When I give  Him priority in all things, I easily see what needs to go.  Are there material things that you hold on to that are a reminder of hurt?  Emotional memories that keep you from experiencing true freedom and joy?  Maybe it’s time to de-clutter the inner closets of our lives, too.

~Open the bucket box and take out. Don’t just put in.

I love new dieas.  Something new to try.   Going somewhere new.  Sometimes – often – however, I get so distracted with new ideas that they stay just that – ideas.  I want to begin to take these ideas out and do something with them, even if it’s to throw them away.  For example, what am I going to do with a note that says, “3 clothespins and yellow paper with Josh”?  (A note I quickly jotted to remind myself of a craft to do with my son when he was five.  What do I do with 3 clothespins, yellow paper, and a five year old who is now 29?!?)

What was that quote?

I am ready to “cut loose, …dance on the razor’s edge and pry the lid back on my bucket ‘box’.”

Are you?
getting my ‘affairs’ in order. Making a new (‘life’) plan. Cutting stress out of my life. Starting a new habit (or two) or breaking an old one. Cutting clutter. Going through ‘stuff’. Methodizing ‘things’. Putting things in ‘order’. Making a ‘power productivity program’. Designating time. FREEDOM. Spring cleaning. Reducing more stress. Setting goals. Cleaning out. Sorting junk.

I’m sure you could come up with more. For me, it’s been a bit lIke spring cleaning (trying to get a head start so I can finish before I have to call it Fall cleaning), setting some goals, sorting through, cleaning out, putting things in order.

Another thing I’m doing is trying to fill and empty my bucket, or box. I have a little box, covered rather primitively and given to me by a very special lady who hid a packet of soup in it when once I thanked her for the delicious meal she made for her sister and I when we visited her a few days in Seattle. She mailed me the box with a new packet of the delicious soup she had made. I loved the box and was elated to find out the soup was a mix so I could make it! The box became (and still is) my ‘bucket’ box. It holds ideas of things to do, to make, to write. I am good at filling it. I slack off on opening the lid to actually doing what I put in there.

In his book, Unfair and Unbalance: The Lunatic Magniloquence of Henry E. Panky, Patrick M. Carlisle makes the statement that, “a Great Man, in his querulous twilight years, who doesn’t want to go gently into that blacky black night, [will] cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge, and pry the lid off his bucket list!” I don’t wish to be querulous now or in my ‘twilight’ years, but I am ready to cut loose, dance on the razor’s edge and pry the lid back off by bucket box. Perhaps live a little more – or a lot.

I think when you have a chronic or a terminal illness (or intimately know or live with someone who does), you tend to look at life differently. It becomes more valuable as you realize in one way or another, your time is limited. Limited by days or mobility, functionality or abilities. You tend to see things in a new light and what was once was not, now becomes a possibility.

For me, to make things more possible, involves being more organized and de-cluttering my ‘life’. That is all materially, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

I guess you could say I owe this enlightenment to my daughter.

She and her husband came up for Christmas this past December and one evening (in front of her husband, no less) said to me, “Mom, you’ve really got a lot of stuff – a lot of clutter (yes, she used that word) – laying around . You’ve really started becoming a pack rat.” The shameless boldness to speak to her mother with such truth.

The actual truth is – I think I’ve always been a pack rat. I’ve just organized (or hidden) it well. So – she doesn’t know it but, her comment lit a fire under me. January 1st, I made a decision to get organized AND clean out (two different things). I think what has happened is, I started cleaning out (de-cluttering) and the organization started happening. When the organization began coming back (I was once super organized), I began to feel less stressed and ‘free’. I began thinking of setting goals and designating time anew. I began thinking about what to take out of my bucket box and doing something about those ideas, whether they be something to make, do, visit, etc…

When I began to think of goals, designating time naturally came into play.

Yesterday I heard a woman say, “I realized that I have spent more time thinking about food than thinking about God.” Shouldn’t that be the other way around (and she was getting to that)?

She may have said it, but the statement echoed in my ears. I realized that I have spent more time thinking about food, contemplating the thought of food, worrying about food, obsessing about food, dreaming about food, considering what food I will eat, envisioning that food… well, you get the idea. I am not obsessive, really, about food, but I do spend too much time thinking about it and not enough time giving thought and priority to things of much more importance ~ like God.

And that needs to change. And that is one of my goals.

So, as my life becomes and continues to be reordered, reprioritized, reorganized, I am hoping to get it to look like this:

~God first in deed, speech, and thought. What does that look like for me?

God first means – He comes first in my attention and affection. If He truly is the most important, He will get the best of both ~ quantity and quality of time and love. If that is working well, all the other areas of my life seem to work well, no matter the circumstance.

God first means – Everyone is a child of God and deserves to be treated as such. There are no exceptions. What does that look like? Forgiveness. Unconditonal love. Random acts of kindness. Phone calls/notes to friends and family. If they matter, it should be obvious. I have a responsibility to love like Jesus. If I truly love Him and follow Him, I’ll act like Him and others won’t ever have to question if I love them or if they matter. My words, my thoughts, and my actions will reflect this.

~De-cluttered. What does that look like for me?

Thoughts change as the old goes out. Whether materially, emotionally, mentally, physically.

I believe this stems from the desire to put God back in His right place in my life: first place. When I give Him priority in all things, I easily see what needs to go. Are there material things that you hold on to that are a reminder of hurt? Emotional memories that keep you from experiencing true freedom and joy? Maybe it’s time to de-clutter the inner closets of our lives, too.

~Open the bucket box and take out.

I love new dieas. Something new to try. Going somewhere new. Sometimes – often – however, I get so distracted with new ideas that they stay just that – ideas. I want to begin to take these ideas out and do something with them, even if it’s to throw them away. After all, what am I going to do with a note that says, “3 clothespins and yellow paper with Josh”? (A note I quickly jotted to remind of a craft to do with him when he was five. What do I do with 3 clothespins, yellow paper, and a five year old?)

What was that quote? I am ready to “cut loose, …dance on the razor’s edge and pry the lid back off my bucket ‘box’.” I’ll cut loose starting with dispensing of that yellow piece of paper that I can’t remember what 3 clothespins and yellow paper were for.

Writing for His glory –
sherri