12.30.2008

Why baristas everywhere love me and a few other items of business

I’m not a fan of business meetings at all.

Not in the least.

They make me bored and crazy unless food is involved. In which case, I’ll eat too much because that’s what I do when I’m bored and crazy.

But alas today I have some business to discuss so I hereby call this meeting to order. If you were here in person you would be delighted to see some of my favorite snacks in the center of the table.

Frosted Mini-wheats. Baked Doritos. My friend Missy’s monster cookies. Diet Coke or Pepsi- whichever was on sale at the time of purchase. Starbucks. Trident Splash Strawberry Lime Gum.

Just call me gourmet.

So, here’s the stuff I want to discuss…

1. I’ll be doing some give aways this year and still have some spots open for those of you who have products you’d like to feature. I’m all about supporting women who have businesses that help support their families or their love of Starbucks. My favs are Etsy products!

So, if you have some sort of product that you sell and you’d like to be featured in one of my give aways, write to me at Holly @ Proverbs31.org (no spaces) . Be sure to include details about what you’d give away and a link for me to review your product if possible.

Each item needs to have a retail value of at least $35. I’ll fill in my spots for the next several months and e-mail those of you who fit the posts I’m looking to do with a give away.

Fun. Fun.

2. Renee and I are supposed to be working on an article where we are being interviewed by you. So, if you have a question or two you’d like to post, that would be ever so helpful. Otherwise I’ll simply spend the whole article talking about my ever embarrassing, long, high-maintenance Starbucks drink that I love and bore everyone to tears.

Post your questions in today’s comments— please. Pretty Please. With sugar on the top. Thank you. Have a nice day.

3. Just in case you have nothing to do today except try a new drink from Starbucks, here is the drink I affectionately call “Heaven’s sake, why don’t you just get back here and make it yourself.”

Grande
Fat-Free
Sugar-Free
7 pump
single shot
vanilla latte
no foam
extra hot

I then get very neurotic and feel the need to explain it further:

That means fat-free milk.

The seven pumps are of the sugar free vanilla.

I only want a single shot of espresso because really someone who has the nerve to order this drink surely doesn’t need any more caffeine than just a single shot- wouldn’t you agree.

Yeah, I really don’t like foam when I’m paying $4 for a cup o’ joe. Please o’ please fill it all the way to the top.

And the extra hot doesn’t mean like scalding the skin off my tongue. That bothers me terribly all the live long day when that happens. Just like a few extra degrees of warmth. Just enough so I can still see a little stream coming out the little sippy hole when I get out to my car.

Which is where I am headed when you finish this drink— my car— I know that makes you very happy that I am in fact going to leave soon.

The end.

12.29.2008

Pinches and Grace

I wanted to pinch the two girls sitting on the front row of our Christmas Eve service. Pinch them I tell you. But they were five rows ahead of me and my arm couldn’t quite reach.

Since I couldn’t physically get their attention, I prepared my “look.” You know the one that says a thousand corrective statements with just a cross expression and a raised eyebrow? Yes, that one.

The minute one of them stole a glance in my direction, they were gonna know exactly how I felt about their wiggling and obvious lack of attention during the service.

Oh and I might should mention, these two girls belonged to me. Well, at least one of them did. The other was my daughter’s friend who sometimes goes to church with us.

I don’t think anyone else really noticed them. They weren’t being disruptive to other people. But they weren’t acting the way I wanted them to. I wanted them sitting up straight, drinking in the message, and taking pages of notes.

Thank you very much. Have a nice day.

Suddenly, an annoying little thought started to tug at the corners of my mind. “You want your children to act perfectly because it makes you look good. Let that go. They don’t need to be sitting up straight furiously taking notes to hear God’s message. This is a beautiful time for grace.”

Ouch.

I don’t much like the Holy Spirit speaking the kind of truth to me that hurts. I was in the mood to pinch somebody. Two somebodies. Give grace? Now?

It wasn’t what I wanted but it’s exactly what I needed to do in that moment.

Soon my daughter’s friend peered back to look at me. Despite my feelings, I made the choice to smile, wink, and give her a little wave.

Then this wiggly, usually not very affectionate, middle schooler got out of her seat. She walked down the aisle, five rows back, and made her way to me. She threw her arms around me and gave me a hug that preached a thousand sermons right then and there.

Indeed, grace was exactly what was needed in that moment.

And that’s what makes this parenting thing so stinkin’ hard.

There are really no textbook answers.

It’s such a moment by moment balancing act between loving, shepherding, disciplining, extending grace, molding, modeling, loving some more and a maybe having to give a few pinches along the way too.

Only God can prepare me with the wisdom and discernment necessary for each and every parenting moment. So I must stay close to Him- ask Him- rely on Him-cry out to Him- and make Him the basis for my parenting.

My goal should never be to raise kids that make me look good. (Oh but how my flesh craves this!) My goal should be to raise kids who love God and spend their lives making His goodness known in their corner of the world.

Blessings to you as you ever so delicately search for that balance between pinches and grace as well.

12.27.2008

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

I have an issue of having romantic notions of things more lofty than what they can possibly deliver.

Take Christmas Eve morning for example. Dan and Holly were making Graham cracker fluff in their kitchen- together.

Did you catch that together part?

Granted Dan was doing most of the whipping and stirring and double broiling and folding and recipe following— but Holly was right there with him.

I want that! Oh yes ma’am, a romantic notion was born.

I suddenly wanted my husband and I to stand in the kitchen and make graham cracker fluff- together.

Then I wanted us to cheerfully take the kids with us and get swallowed up in the massive crowds of last minute, impatient shoppers- together.

Then I wanted us to go do a family Christmas Eve service project- together.

After that we’d go to the dinner we’d been invited to where we’d sing Christmas carols on key- together.

Finally we’d come home, tuck the kids into bed and settle down to watch a movie I’d rented called “A Christmas Cottage.” A movie every squirrel hunter loves to watch with his wife about a man named Thomas Kinkade. You know… the artist that makes light come alive in every painting. We’d do this while snuggling and reflecting on all things swell- together.

All those togetherness thoughts of how our day should be just swept over me and made me feel like I was starring in my own version of a Hallmark movie. One where Karen Carpenter is in the background singing, “Why do birds suddenly appear…every time… you are near? Dun, dun, dee- dun, dun, dee do- close to you.”

Sweet.

Everything was just like I’d hoped it would be until my Mr. got up and started getting ready for work.

Hunh?

I’d had several hours of early morning visions of sugar plum togetherness dancing in my head and he’s putting on his Chick-fil-A tie and heading out to encourage people to eat more chicken?

Skooos me?

Then we may or may not have had a little Christmas Eve brawl. Complete with the same ol’ blah, blah blah, who is more selfish than who talk. We call these growth opportunities in our home.

Ahem.

I was grumpy. He was grumpy. We were just one big ‘ol grumpy mess.

Eventually, some compromises were made. He did some chicken flipping while the kids and I braved the crowds of oh-so-happy-probably-had-their-own-growth-opportunity-at-home-this-morning-fellow shoppers.

I had to kill the whole standing in the kitchen making Graham cracker fluff with Karen Carpenter singing in the background- notion. He had to take off work earlier than he wanted and kill a few meetings he’d planned.

And somehow we still made “together” happen.

I think this is my Christmas message this year—Making together happen despite the messy imperfections.

Our pastor recently challenged us with this thought: Is the birth of Christ to you a story or a message?

I loved this question and all the introspection it invited me to do. A story is something that has a beginning, climax, and an end. You walk away feeling inspired for the moment but all too soon tuck that inspiration away and wait for the next story to come along.

A message is something entirely different. A message carries with it a nugget of truth that strikes a chord in your heart so deeply you’re compelled to change. Long after the details of the message fades, its affect on you lingers in the best kind of way.

So this year, Christ’s birth was no longer just a beautiful, traditional story. Suddenly it has become the catalyst that prompts my soul to find a message- wrapped among the swaddling clothes lying in a manger. A personal, prayerful, soul-rattling message for me.

This year it’s to see, look for, discover, embrace and appreciate the beautiful imperfection I call life.

There is beauty in every imperfect aspect of my life, if only I’ll make the choice to see it.

So, we may never make graham cracker fluff together on Christmas morning.

And he’d rather (have needles jammed into his finger nails) not watch a movie about Thomas Kinkade’s illuminating paintings.

And he’s going to return all those hip and happenin’ clothes from Old Navy I bought him in favor of camouflage flannel shirts and cargo pants he found at the Costco. The Costco that sells food y’all.

I love him all the same.

I really love him.

I love this beautiful imperfection we call life.

Our life.

Together.