Why worship?

I’ve spent the past several days posting worship songs, and I didn’t explain why. I just told you “music speaks to me. I leaned on music when my heart was shattered.”

Music is more than a coping mechanism when we’re broken. Music is a form of worship when everything comes crashing down. I will tell you, I did not and often do not feel like worshipping God much of the time in light of Cora’s death. And yet. I was led time and again, through encouragement by old friends, scripture, and countless other sources, to put my energy into worshipping God.

When Husbandman and I have experienced has been very, very difficult. So difficult that I know that I could not have gone through it without my faith. And the examples I have in my Bible are of people reminding themselves in hardship to worship God. After Job lost everything, his livestock, all of his kids, he said:

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:20-21

Job worshiped God. Job did not go before God and say “You took this from me. You did this to me. You slighted me. You’ve hurt me.” Job recognized that his world didn’t revolve around himself. He realized that his world revolved around God, and that’s where he kept his focus.

That’s been my goal: to focus on God and to thank Him for His goodness. That’s what worship is. It reminds us who God is. It keeps us focused on Him, and when we’re focused on Him, our pain is lessened. I still hurt. I still fight anxiety and worry about “why”, “how”, and “what next”. But when I worship God, I remember His goodness. I remind my heart of His goodness. And in the light of His goodness, I remember to cast my cares on Him. He doesn’t answer all of my questions with “yes”, “no”, or “this is why I allowed this to happen”. He answers my questions with “I am here”. And He is enough. May He be enough for you. May you recognize that He is sufficient for you in whatever situation you find yourself.

Throughout the month of October, I’m writing a series titled “Hopeful Grief” with a fabulous group of writers, doing the Write31Days challenge. To catch up, or see new posts, click here. Interested in last year’s Write31Days posts? Click here. Know someone that this series may touch? Share as you see fit. 

You can also sign up to receive notifications when I post something new, using the link to the right. If you’d like, you can sign up for extras too, such as exclusive newsletters and personal updates, by using the “Click Here” button to the right. Want even more? Connect with me on social media. 

The Reformed Misunderstood-Super-Special-Unicorn-Introverts Club

I’m an introvert. But I’m not a Misunderstood-Super-Special-Unicorn because I’m an introvert.

Last year, there were so many blog posts about “how to take care of an introvert”, “what is an introvert”, and “what makes an introvert special”. They got on my nerves, even though I saw truth in the posts, because the posts glorified introversion to the detriment of extroverts.

What is an introvert? Introverts recharge alone. Extroverts recharge with other people. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you hate people. It means that being with people takes your energy instead of renewing it.

I like extroverts. I’m married to an extrovert. Extroverts make my life better because they’re way more fun than I am. They help stretch me as a person because their perspective is so different than mine. Sometimes, the extroverts in my life don’t really get where I’m coming from, but, let’s face it, I don’t get them either.

The Bible doesn’t say anything (to my knowledge) about how introverts just need the world to understand them better. The Bible does, however, talk about people being differently-gifted and how they should use those gifts to honor God (1 Cor. 12). No gift is more “special” than another, and God uses them all. So, introverts, it’s time to turn in that introvert gold-star.

Most of these posts are focused on how other people can care for an introvert. “Make them a pillow fort and leave them alone” works sometimes, but the focus of the posts make it seem like introverts aren’t responsible for self-care. News-flash world: I’m an introvert, and if I need some alone time, I need to ask for it. If Husband-Man (one of the world’s biggest extroverts ever) needs to go out and be around humans, it’s his job to initiate that interaction.

2015.02.01 Introverts

So how does an introvert take care of themselves without being self-indulgent?

  1. When you need alone time, take it. When your friend calls and asks you to hang out , if all of your “social-time” budget (IE, you’re full of people) has been maxed out, it’s okay to say “no” and ask to schedule for a different time. Side-note: Don’t flake on your commitments all the time. Hold true to your word and time commitments if you can.
  2. Use your alone time for good. Don’t spend it all in self-indulgent pursuits. Instead, focus on growing your relationship with God. I’m not saying don’t read for fun or have hobbies, but don’t spend all of your alone time on things that don’t have eternal ramifications.
  3. Get out of your own head. It’s really easy for me to think about what’s going on in my life, and to fixate on the negative. Then begins the downward spiral of self perpetuating sadness. The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 5:10), and wallowing in self pity doesn’t fit that bill. Think about what’s going on in your life, and keep going. God is good even when you get caught up in your own head. God is good when things don’t look like they’re going your way (Romans 10:18-30).
  4. Get the heck out of the house. Make friends with some extroverts and go somewhere and do something out of the norm. Remember that part in the Bible that says to not neglect meeting together with other Christians (Heb. 10:25)? Introverts are not exempt. Get out there and be friends with people.
  5. Don’t hate on extroverts. They’re just as important as you are, and your life would be crazy boring without them.

Who wants to form a Reformed Misunderstood-Super-Special-Unicorn-Introverts Club? I’ll be there. Even though it involves being around other people. Because that’s actually really good for me.

Date

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

I enjoy dates so much. I enjoy spending time with Husband-Man, but our definition of a “date” has changes over the first few years of our marriage.

Our first date was not fun. He’d been my boyfriend for three months (and had been out on the middle of the woods for 2.99 of those months working for a camp), and finally took me out to the local pizza place after our summer jobs were over. He was so uncomfortable. He wouldn’t talk, didn’t start any conversations, and was so awkward. He told me later that it was because he had never been on a date before, and it made him nervous. Part 2 of our date included hunting for crawdads in the creek behind our college’s soccer field, and he relaxed and turned back into himself when the dress shirt came off and he was back in his sandals playing in the mud.

Our dates now usually involve us eating something that requires minimal amount of  work, cuddling on the couch watching a movie, and him falling asleep on me while I talk to him during the movie.

I waited and waited for our first date because I had placed it on a pedestal, but in truth, dates now are about making our work and obligations wait, and focusing on each other.

And it’s wonderful.

Day 25

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

 

If you imbibe in caffeine, namely coffee, you will know what I’m talking about. When you wake up, you want to hold something warm. You don’t hide when your coffee maker makes sputtering noises as it draws the cool water into the heating element. You look forward to the nutty smell that comes from the coffee pot as your cup is filled up by the dark liquid. And you savor the warm, bitter flavor as you drink it slowly, watching the sun come up.

And you will know why I ask Husband-Man some mornings to wait to talk to me until I make it half way through my cup.

Do you sometimes as your loved ones to wait while you drink something hot in the morning?

Wait-Series Image

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. 

a Tribute to my First Car

The love that people have for their first car is palpable. People give their cars names, almost die in them multiple times, and experience countless milestones in them.

My first car was no different. I’ve written about my first car on this blog more than once, and there’s no hiding how much I loved him. His name was the Brave Little Toaster, and I owned him from the age of sixteen to last week. I was born just a month before he rolled off the line in Georgetown, KY in February 1989. (If you’re curious about when and where your car was made, you can use a free online VIN checker to see.)

Tribute to First Car

I came to own him because my uncle had to move, and he had been sitting in my uncle’s field waiting to get fixed up and driven back and forth to work. But, when my uncle moved, he didn’t have space to keep a project car. So, he called Daddy, and brought him over on a flatbed trailer. I was so excited when he pulled up with this little, red car. I remembered my cousins driving him, and felt like a complete grown-up.

He didn’t really run at first. Daddy spent hours working his magic on the car, and I “helped,” which meant keeping Daddy company in the basement and getting on his nerves for asking too many questions and distracting him while he was concentrating on the car. I learned how to change a tire. I learned many small lessons in car owning. I learned how expensive parts were. I made friends with the guys at the auto parts shop, and for years after, when they saw me come in with one of Daddy’s handwritten lists of part numbers, they’d ask “[w]hat’d you break on that little Corolla now?” The car had been out in the heat so long that the headliner had come attached from the roof. (A headliner is the nice upholstered piece attached to the roof of your car. The BLT’s sagged so far that you couldn’t see out the back window with the rear view mirror. We got it replaced.)

Somewhere in there, he earned the name “The Brave Little Toaster” or “BLT” for short. His maroon color reminded me of the children’s cartoon by the same name, and his heater was HOT. He didn’t have a conditional air conditioner, but had a “4-60” according to Daddy, which means four windows down going sixty miles an hour. He also ran when he shouldn’t have. There were mice living in the car for the first year I owned it. I think he released more than one mouse into the basement of my parent’s house in his first year as mine (sorry, family). He smelled like wet dog and gasoline. Every time you turned on the blower, pieces of leaves came out of the vents. And you smelled like wet dog for the entire day. (Daddy took the dash apart and we vacuumed the leaves out of the vents. More than once. It was gross.) My friends (and their parents) usually preferred that we took their cars when we went somewhere together.

The BLT was my buddy. We went to work together, and we went to school together. Towards the end of my high school career, he took me to countless college visits. I remember pulling up to a big, fancy, expensive college in him, and seeing countless sports cars in the parking lot. We didn’t fit in, and I was okay with that.

Eventually, we settled on Berea College. But, the BLT wasn’t allowed to go to college with me for the first two years (no cars for first and second years), so Daddy took care of him for me and drove him so that he didn’t quit working.

My third year of college, I met a cute boy who I eventually wanted to take home to meet my parents. The BLT took us. I drove, and the cute boy slept almost all the way there because he was so nervous. The BLT took us on dates, and eventually took the cute boy back up to Mom and Dad’s so that he could talk to Daddy about marrying me. Then the BLT took us to the nearest city to look at shiny rings, and he took us to the waterfall where the cute boy became my fiancé.

He took us to our wedding, and then our honeymoon. We almost died on the way there because of a huge downpour, weak headlights, and no streetlights. It rained so hard, the paint my twin had used to label the car as “Just Married” was washed off.

My little car took me to my first real job interview. To doctor’s appointments when my gallbladder quit working. He took Husband-Man to classes and internships. He was a major part of our lives.

But, the BLT wasn’t safe to drive everywhere. He was rusty. If someone hit him, and I mean even just a little bit, he would have crumbled. He worked well when we had him. But, Husband-Man and I drive more now that we’re both gainfully employed. We need to be able to drive long distances, especially on the interstate. The BLT was banned from the interstate. The big trucks didn’t see him well enough, and I don’t think he would have done enough damage to them if they’d hit him for the truckers to notice him too much.

The BLT had an exhaust leak too. Into the cabin of the car. In summer time, that wasn’t such a big deal because you had to drive him with the windows down anyway because it was so hot. But, with cold weather coming in the next few months, we knew that we couldn’t keep driving him safely with the windows down. And, when I got a job in another town, we knew that the BLT needed replaced.

And we found another car. A beautiful 2013 Corolla. Great gas mileage, and even better safety ratings. And we started looking for a new home for the BLT. And we found one, much sooner than we expected. That’s not my story to tell, but it’s a perfect fit. How it all worked out was an answer to our prayers and to other’s.

I have a million memories in that car, and it makes me happy that his career isn’t quite over yet.

I know that we all have “first car” stories, and I wanted to invite you all to share yours in my first Link Up. (Please? I love car stories)

I so look forward to reading your stories. I think our first car stories also wind up being how we came of age.

Have a lovely day, friends!

Cover Letter (an honest Cover Letter)

Although my years of cover letter writing experience are few, I have an extensive amount of training and I have read several. And by several, I mean… hundreds. I have edited those letters for friend, family, and colleagues, and I have screened them for filling positions.

Not so long ago, I spent a long time writing several cover letters. And I began to wonder what would happen if someone (I considered turning that “someone” into me) were to submit a cover letter like this.

Dear Hiring Manager:

Although there is a good chance that you will not read this letter, I have spent a great deal of time agonizing over its contents. I have tailored my language to match your job posting, although it was vague. I have also extensively researched your company, and have done my best to figure out if I could spend the majority of my waking hours following your mission. After all of my research, I’m still interested in the position, and I would like to be honest in my cover letter.

Although I don’t meet every one of your expectations, I meet most of them. I do not know how to use all of the software that is specific to your company, but I have spent a decent amount of time around computers. What I lack in experience, I make up for in a willingness to learn. I know that I don’t have ten years of professional experience, but I do have two degrees, and I have a wide range of skills. Paul told Timothy to not let people look down on him because of his age. I hope you agree with him. It’s not culturally acceptable to state this outright, but I am quite intelligent and pick up new concepts quickly. I am honest to the point of being blunt, and I’m not particularly exciting. But, my Momma and Daddy taught me to work hard, and I haven’t forgotten that lesson.

The position for which you are hiring sounds like something I would do well at. I may not look the best on paper, but I promise I’d give it everything that I could. I know that every candidate that a company chooses to hire is a risk. I am a risk worth taking.

Please, be willing to take a chance on me.

Please.

Sincerely,

Candidate

 

Cover letter-editted

Even though it’s tongue in cheek, this is what a cover letter needs to say. Except… in a more finessed manner. What’s your best cover letter story?

If you’d like actual help with a cover letter, see this post

Clean

Remember when I confessed that I’m a ritualistic person? Well, about that. When I get stressed out, I have rituals. I work out. I write. I clean my house. I clean my house a LOT. I’m a person that’s environmentally sensitive. I am comfortable when my office space is neat and clean. I feel better when my house is clean and my bed is made. I feel stressed when my house is dirty. I feel uncomfortable and unable to relax when I can see dust and clutter.

And I married a man whose standard of “clean” is much lower than my own. And his future offspring will most likely be messier than he is. 

“Clean” to Husband-Man means that it doesn’t crunch when you step on it. You hand doesn’t stick to it when you touch it. It doesn’t stink. “Clean” to me means it shines. You could eat off of it. There is no physical defect that is caused by dirt. Who is “right” about clean? We both are. But, I don’t usually remember that. I don’t remember that Husband-Man’s “clean” is just as correct as mine.

It irks me. It irks me so to see a vacuumed floor that still has some piece of paper or dirt on it. So how do I handle this? Not well, I’m afraid. Not usually. Usually, I fuss at Husband-Man. I point out what he missed.

Not a proud thing for me. I fuss at him because he doesn’t do things my way. I could tell you why I’m so particular, but it doesn’t matter. There are a few things that aren’t negotiable, because I’m a sufferer of a dust allergy, my bedroom has to be my version of “clean”. But the rest of my house? Unless I plan on laying face-down in the carpet for a while, it doesn’t matter as much. So, why do I fuss at him? Because I want to be in charge. And usually, he’s very graceful. And then later, I remember what I did in my frustration and apologize to him. When I’m all stressed out, he’ll help me clean. But when the dirt in the house is causing me stress, he reminds me that my compulsive version of “clean” isn’t always true.

Don’t even get me started on our first year of marriage argument about what a “hand towel” was versus a “dish towel”. We don’t really talk about it. We’ve settled for just calling them a “towel”. IMG_0591

Our versions of “right” are all practice. What are we practicing for? The rest of our lives. Buying another car. Raising children. Buying a house. You know, everything. What does the Bible say about what is “right”? In Mark 12, the Bible says:

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

How important is a “clean” house or a “dish towel” in light of the gospel or loving my neighbor? My neighbor is Husband-Man. And my actual neighbors. And everyone else. So, “clean”? Not very important. Just a bit of perspective for your (my) day.

Jump

I know that I’ve been doing some serious writing on here recently, but I thought today I might attempt to make you giggle.

Husband-Man is a champion sleeper. He can sleep on boats, planes, cars, you name it. He also falls  asleep quickly. So quickly that in our almost three years of marriage, I have gotten used to being the last one to fall asleep every night. He is also not a night person. He starts to move in slow motion after 10:00 PM,  and at 11:00 PM, he’s sleepy enough that I ask him to tell me all of his secrets (he doesn’t ever have any).

One night, about two and a half months ago, Husband-Man and I were getting ready to sleep, and were playing with our respective electronic devices. I needed a drink of water, and went down to the kitchen to get myself a glass. I brought it back upstairs with me, and found Husband-Man fast asleep in bed. After one minute. He was out cold.

Confession time: I like to pull pranks on people. And Husband-Man was a prime target. He gets a really funny expression on his face when he’s startled awake. So, as any good wife would do, I decided to scare him. I jumped on him, and was very satisfied with the momentary look of terror on his face. I wish I had taken a picture of it. What was less than satisfying was the pain I felt in my right wrist upon landing in the bed. I sprained my wrist.

I’m planning on sharing more about the recovery process in the next few days, but it has involved x-rays, MRIs, and physical therapy. I try to focus this blog on finding and sharing the deeper meaning of what’s going on in every day life, but sometimes, I can’t find a deep meaning in it. I just have to trust that God has orchestrated things according to a plan that I can’t see.

And, I have a sneaking suspicion that He’s had a good laugh at how I injured myself just like my physical therapist has. Have a good Tuesday, everyone!

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