Archive for April, 2010

The Eye’s Have It

I have long eyelashes! For real! Not the kind in a box that look like two halves of a spider and require a steady hand, lots of glue, and carry the possibility of falling off, but real, as in my own, eyelashes. Being a blond, I have spent a lifetime (well, not my whole life, but from about age fifteen) layering on Maybelline mascara (very black, for maximum coverage). I can’t begin to tell you how many layers of mascara are required to get my eyes perky and ready for the day, but I will say I’ve been known to have to prop my arm up to finish the job. J Surely, some of you can relate to this. Don’t tell me I’m fighting the eyelash demons alone. So, here’s the good news. If you’ve been watching the beauty ads you know that sometime last year a new product hit the market that promised long, luxurious eyelashes. Not since contact lenses replaced my brown, horn-rimmed glasses have my eyes felt such promise. This invention could be in the “dream come true” category for “hard to solve beauty dilemmas.”

Surely, you’ve seen the ads. The absolutely beautiful Brooke Shields bats her perfectly groomed eyelashes right into the camera. I tried to listen to my head when it told me she was still sporting a perfect pair of false eyelashes, but my heart kept saying it’s worth a try. It seems my daughter was tempted by the ads as well and purchased the tiny bottle before I had the opportunity. Yes! I told myself. A guinea pig for the experiment! I was like a mad scientist, rubbing my hands together in eager anticipation of the outcome. After all, as much as I would love a new, improved set of eyelashes, I am practical to the core and was willing to wait a few weeks to see how it worked on someone else. Deep down, I knew that at the first sight of a hair longer than a quarter of an inch, I would get my own bottle! My daughter, the avid reader, read the instructions carefully, and then set about following the plan. However, this was at Christmas and soon, I was too busy to think about it.

After the first of the year, the mad scientist in me returned and I found myself staring at her eyes for the promised growth. After a full inspection, I stated the product must be another beauty gimmick as I couldn’t tell any difference. She nonchalantly explained that it made her eyes itch, so she quit using it after about two weeks. What! She let a little itch stop the wheels of eyelash progress. My daughter was clearly NOT ready for the promised Betty Davis eyes.

The door had just been opened! Eyelash heaven was in my future and at no cost to me. I told her I would take her little bottle off her hands and give it a try. The instructions had long been thrown away so I turned to Google for my questions and answers. Here are the instructions: apply nightly to the base of the eyelashes. Look for results in eight to ten weeks. Simple enough. I was already in the habit of washing my face, applying night cream, and brushing my teeth at night, I would just add this to the list. Now I’m going to make a long story a little shorter. After eight weeks I saw NOTHING! I started whining and complaining and Googling the product for answers. Then, I decided to continue on and be patient. And guess what, after TWELVE weeks, when I applied my morning mascara, my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the fruits of my labor come through in such a big way. Just as promised, my eyelashes looked like Brooke Shields’—it was uncanny. I could be her eyelash sister! J

I was on the receiving end of proof that consistent behavior can get desired results. Wow, what a lesson to be learned here and it’s not about eyelashes. IT’S ABOUT LIFE! Every one of us wants to be successful in the long term. I don’t mean financial success, but this can happen as well. All of us want a good life, complete with loving family members, a church family that supports us, a job that we feel benefits the world, outside activities that enrich our life journey. We want to leave a legacy and be remembered well. And in the end, we want to spend eternity in Heaven. But, sometimes we’re not willing to the right things, consistently, that will assure the results we are striving for. Sometimes the journey gets too hard, or itchy, and we want to stop before the desired result is reached. Sometimes, we think it’s just taking too long and it’s not worth it, so we give in to our own desire to take one thing off our work load. Sometimes, we just don’t trust God’s word when He says, if you do THIS, I will do THAT.

 

There is a Biblical principle that says “Be obedient to your master for a long period of time” which is just like my eyelash instructions that said, “Apply EVERY night.” If you follow the instructions, you will see results beyond your expectations. While the word obedient isn’t the “coolest” word of our day, it is the word that is capable of giving you and me a life of freedom and hope. At the end of your life, your legacy can say, “Through God’s grace and blessings, I did what I was told for a long period of time and here are the results—a family who loves God, friends who know I am there for them, a church family that was blessed by my services to them, and a community who knew what I stood for.”

 

I know the eyelash journey was just for fun. There are so many life issues I face every day that challenge me to stay strong, stay focused, stay connected, stay, stay, stay in God’s word. And I know, without a doubt, God will hold up His end of the deal, if I do just that.

 

Join me in my journey to be obedient to God’s word today and every day.

 

Hugs, Chrys

  

The Applause Is For You


Last night I attended the opening of Seussical the Musical. As much as I love musicals, I don’t always make it to the local children’s theater. But, last night was different. Three of my little grandchildren have starring roles in this spring’s production! Yes, that’s right. They are three beautiful fish. Brightly colored, glittered faced, silver-shoed fish! Okay, it’s true confession time–they don’t have lead roles, those roles went to the older kids. The Cat in the Hat, the people from WhoVille, and Horton the elephant are all teenagers who can SING (I’m talking Broadway baby), but our two seven year olds and one eight year old didn’t disappoint the director. They put all they had into their fish-roles (ha-sounds a little like sushi).

My daughter and I have taken turns for over a month making sure our little actors were at practice, gathering up the necessary parts for fish costumes, coaching from the sidelines with words like “smile” and “don’t scratch on stage,” and recording the moments on video and still photos. As for the kids—they have loved every minute of it. Here’s another true confession, the play could go on if our three little fish didn’t show up. In fact, this coming Saturday it will, as the kids all have other things to go to that afternoon. But, there will be a hole on the right side of the stage where three adorable little fish should stand.

Last night was family and friends night. You can imagine the laughter and applause as those people who love these children the most watched them perform. I wish I could have been behind the stage, peeking out, so I could see the faces of each mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister and friend as they observed what they believed to be a “perfect performance” out of their shining star. What love filled that room! The curtain call was amazing. Everyone was standing, the clapping was nearly deafening, and smiles were bigger than the one of the tricky Cheshire Cat in Alice’s adventures.

Anytime I am in an event such as this I can’t help but think of the first verse in Hebrews 12. Of course, to know why that verse was written you have to go back to Hebrews 11. If you haven’t read Hebrews 11 in a while, take time this week to do that. Anyway, Hebrews 11 is the curtain call of the cast of characters in the play of life titled, “God’s Most Faithful Followers.” It’s a curtain call EXTRAVAGANZA! Great men and women like Abraham, Joseph, Sarah, Noah, and Moses are named because each of them has a starring role in this life-changing play. Each one was given a part to play and each one performed it as God called him or her to do. Then the first verse I love in chapter 12 is this:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”

I LOVE IT! You see we all have starring roles in this play of life. There no insignificant roles! In life, if you don’t show up—YOU ARE MISSED! And here’s the great part—we have an audience of the great men and women recorded in the Bible cheering us on. Their faces are glowing with love and joy as they watch us carry on the job they began many years ago. As they watch us faithfully take up our “mom cross” each day and help with homework, drive carpools, kiss bruises, say prayers, watch ballgames, hold hands, nurse, nurture, and nourish the children God has place in our care. YOU are in a starring role and YOU have a host of heavenly cheerleaders smiling down on you today.

Enjoy this day! It will never come again. Take comfort that no matter what the day brings, you are loved and being held up by the greats that have gone on before you.

Hugs, Chrys

Head First

It always seems that we go from winter to summer in one quick week! The flowers are blooming, the grass is green, and the swimming pool is ready to fulfill its job of making kids happy and healthy for another summer. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the million times I will hear, “Two Mama, watch this!” but, ready or not, the time is here! In fact, the kids swam over the weekend and in spite of their blue lips, they had a great time.

Every season we start the year off with diving lessons. The first few “watch me’s” are of leftover skills from the previous summer, then my little swimmers realize they are ready for some new tricks. The begging begins for me to teach them how to dive. The water is too cold for me in the spring and I refuse get in cold water (wisdom comes with old age) so I have a great excuse to join the ranks of most aging coaches and teach by telling instead of doing. It’s true at one time I could perform a dive that might rate a 3 ½ or a 4 by a teenager’s standards, but now I’m happy to impress a group of freezing seven to ten year olds with my wisdom alone (yeah, right!).

The dive of choice right now is a back dive. They have all pretty much mastered a front dive, but a back dive is still challenging. So, my expertise is needed. I start by having the kids put their toes right on the edge of the board and then just bend backwards. At this point, I hold them by the waist until their little bodies are almost bend in half (oh, to be young again) and then I drop them in the water. The purpose for this is to let them experience the feeling of going off something backwards, even if it is in slow motion. They have to learn to trust what their body is doing. Then I give them a little lecture about successful diving (I’m so impressive, don’t you think?). I tell them there is a secret to diving and here it is. You have to FOLLOW YOUR HEAD and your head has to do the right thing. That’s it. The secret to a successful dive is to let your head be the leader. Pretty simple, isn’t it? But, it’s true. Whatever your head does, your body will have to do. It’s only logical. Your head can’t go one way and your body another. The proof of this being true is in a dive that’s gone wrong. The dreaded belly flop or back buster is a result of your body following your head doing the wrong thing. The mechanics of that happening is this, the diver’s head is going in the right direction, doing the right thing, then panic sets in and their head tries to go another direction thinking it had made a mistake, the body follows and “ouch.” The result is not pleasant—it usually involves some red blotches on the body. Had the diver just let his head guide his body in the correct direction, and trusted that his head was doing the right thing, everything would have been fine.

Recently as I was giving the kids one of these lectures when I suddenly realized how true this philosophy is in our Christian walk. Think about Paul’s words in Ephesians when he wrote about Christ being the head of the church. He said, “God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” If Christ is our head, then it makes sense that if we follow him, our lives will be a lot smoother. The belly flops and back busters of life will be kept to a minimum and we’ll score a big 10 on the heavenly scorecards. But there is more. Later on in Ephesians 5, we’re told to be imitators of Christ. Eventually, the kids begin to beg me to show them a dive. I’m sure part of it is to see if I can really do it, but mostly it’s because imitation is a great way to learn to do something correctly. For now, I just tell them I’ll do it when it gets warmer (maybe they’ll forget). The principle, however, is the correct one. We all learn better when we SEE what we have to do. The scriptures are full of examples of Godly living. We can actually SEE the actions of Christ by reading about His life and His plan for our life.

Once we understand that Christ is our head and by following Him our lives will be better, then we should strive look to His perfect example to show us how to perform or behave. Every dive that is executed with the head first still isn’t a perfect dive, but it’s closer. But when we follow Christ, God’s hand is on our back guiding our every step and helping us reach perfection in Him. There will be no perfection outside of Him, but in Him—a perfect 10—everytime. And, guess what, you can yell, “Watch this” to God a million times a day and He’ll look—every single time.

Have a great week, looking to the Lord for wisdom, guidance, peace, patience, or anything else you need this week.

Hugs, Chrys

Be Care-full

Last week was not my normal whirlwind, that’s for sure, but it was a whirlwind. My husband had surgery on Wednesday and as I write this blog on Sunday night, we are still in the hospital. I have spent the last five days as a caregiver. The person who spoons the ice, pushes the IV cart, holds the Dop Kit, opens the tiny pre-packaged Jell-O, straightens shoes, pillows and sheets and makes sure nothing inappropriate shows when the patient goes for a walk. While I would rather be pretty much anywhere else than here, I am happy to take care of my husband.

As hard as the job of caregiver is, it’s harder to be the care-receiver. Every day men and women, normally strong members of our busy society, find themselves at the mercy of a caregiver. My dad was a man who spent a lifetime caring for others. He was the one in the 1950′s and 60′s, when it was a safer time, who would pick up a hitchhiker, take them home, and then give them money for food. He often handed money to a single mom or widow at church. He rarely missed an opportunity to make someone else’s day brighter. But after a stroke a few years ago, he spent eighteen months depending on others to care for him. While we were so grateful for everyone who cared for him, it was extremely hard to watch our six foot three, athletic dad struggle to stand up or feed himself.

There is no doubt being in the hospital is one of the most vulnerable experiences anyone can go through. It’s a time of complete dependence on other people and, mostly, people you do not know–nurses who change shifts just as you get to know them and doctors who come in and out so quickly they almost cause a breeze. Out of curiosity, I looked up the root word for hospital and found it came from the Latin word hospes (host) which is the same word we get hotel and hostel from. While a hospital does provide a place to spend the night, it is hardly in the same category as a hotel, a place we’ve all come to equate with relaxation and vacation. A more appropriate root word for hospital might be humbling, because it truly is humbling to let others take care of you.

As humans we seem to have an innate desire to want to take care of ourselves and it goes against our goal for complete independence to have someone care for us. Growing up we long for the day when we’ll be “on our own” when we don’t have to depend on our parents, when we are independent. But how does this thinking line up with God’s plan for our lives? Could our desire for independence hinder our desire to let God take care of us? As I watched my dad a few years ago and then again my husband this week, I see more clearly what it means to a give someone the opportunity to care for you. In our “human” world we only “allow” others to take care of us when we absolutely cannot take care of ourselves. But, here’s the deal. We are never truly able to take care of ourselves and why would we want to when God offers to take care of us. Philippians 4:18 tells us, “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.”
It is so comforting to know that we have a Father who is ready to spoon ice, push our IV cart, straighten our shoes and anything else we need every day of our lives. Unlike us human caregivers, He never falls asleep in the chair, never sighs when we ask Him to cover our feet one more time, never tries to look away when the view is unpleasant. He rejoices when we allow Him to take care of us. It’s the job He loves the most.

So, today, let Him take care of YOU! I call it being care-full! Full of God’s loving care.

Have a great week.

Hugs, Chrys