Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today I Sing Hallelujah

Today I sing Hallelujah.  I will sing all day long in my heart and with my voice.  I will celebrate the love of God and His grace.  I will celebrate the work of His loving hand that this week saved us for perpetual pain.  I will celebrate all that is good in the world.  I will celebrate to promise of spring and new life.

Today I sing Hallelujah despite Lent.   On Sundays in Lent I will sing Hallelujah and thank God for allowing me another week of life.  Lenten Sundays are not part of Lent according to one priest which allows for baptisms to occur.  I will use this reprieve from Lent to sing Hallelujah.

Today I sing Hallelujah.   I will sing because I must sing or I will cry.  Tears have not washed away the pain.  Singing Hallelujah will. Singing Hallelujah will focus my heart and soul on the future and let the past slip away.  Singing Hallelujah will heal my soul.

Today I sing Hallelujah all day.  Tomorrow I will not.  Tomorrow Lent returns and I will sing somber hymns of reflection.  I will sing everyday and await next Sunday when I can once again sing Hallelujah.  And so I shall continue until I can sing He is Risen on Easter morning.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Challenges on the First Day of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  This year I am trying to observe Lent more closely than normal.  Yesterday I wrote about my decision to give up parts of social media.  I will not click on any links that are frivolous.  I waste too much time and get sucked into mindless hype on the internet.

I hate it.  I hate that moment when I realize I just lost an hour or even just ten minutes of my life on drivel.  I hate that I spent time and energy on so called information that adds nothing to my life.  No new knowledge of any importance and often is just gossip.

We all need mindless distractions now and then.  Our brains need to be allowed to wander and process information.  I just want to be mindful of how and when I do this.  I call it "brain candy", a treat for my brain allowing it to not be serious for a while.  Instead of wasting time on the internet, I would rather sort my beads or read romances.  Neither one takes much brain power and they relax me.

Today, I was successful at avoiding the tempting links.  Only a few gave me pause.  I really wanted to find out what the article had to say about the Harry Potter books.  I did click on a few news articles but stayed away from the fluff.  When Dr. Chris Stringer tweets an article about hominid fossils, I want to know what it says.  I think I will make a list of the links that seriously tempt me.  After Easter, I will look them up if they still sound interesting.

A more serious challenge involved lunch, the Women's Lenten Luncheon.   I almost didn't go.  The frigid weather and snowy roads would be a reasonable excuse.  I don't like going places by myself when I know people there.  I would rather walk into a room full of strangers than a room filled with acquaintances and "friends".  What if I can't find a welcoming face?

A good friend was meeting me there.  So, I went.  I only panicked for a few minutes while I scanned the room filled with women.  She was there and had saved a spot for me.  Panic attack averted...until the speaker began.

 The speaker recently began an inclusive Gentle Worship program in our town.  She explained her background, seminary and a child with autism.   In listening to her story, I realized just how different our approaches to our sons' disabilities were.  I have been reflecting on these differences all afernoon.

I cannot yet put all of these thoughts into coherent sentences.

Basically, there are two ways to view a disability like autism.  Change the world or change the child.  I would love to change the world but I can't.  I can and did work to improve my child's behavior so that he could be in the world as much as possible.

One of the examples the speaker mentioned included a reference to her son's need for sameness, sitting in the same pew at church every week.  Change and transitions are extraordinarily hard for people with autism.  I saw this as a challenge.  I forced change in my son's life.  If I saw a routine becoming fixed, I forced a change.  Brush his teeth before his bath instead of after.  I rearranged furnture.  I tried to not be too predicatable.  Variation with a routine or same yet different became my moto.

Life is not consistent.  It is unpredictable.  Changes need to be tolerated.  We worked on this everyday until....we didn't need to anymore.

Like I said, my thoughts are still a jumble.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Beautiful Blue Beaded Memory Wire Bracelet

Check out this item in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Preparing for Easter & Limiting Social Media

Every year people talk about abstaining from certain things during Lent.  As a teenager, I abstained from chewing gum.  Thirty years later, I still remember that year.  More recently I have tried to abstain from drinking Pepsi.  I usually make it a couple weeks and then cave.  Since I have already significantly decreased my Pepsi consumption from 2 cans a day to 1 every week or two, I needed to find a more meaningful sacrifice for Lent.

Last year, my son's girlfriend gave up Facebook during Lent.  She actually did it.  Never once did she log on to her Facebook account from Ash Wednesday to Easter.  Twitter, Instagram and whatever other programs are popular were not off limits.  I decided to try something similar this year with major adjustments.

I would love to totally unplug for Lent.  No Internet.  No Facebook.  No Twitter.  No surfing the web.  Think about all the time I would have! Yes, I have spent too much time on social media.  I have been trying to remember life before the Internet.  What did I do before I spent my time sitting at a computer?

Alas, I cannot forsake social media and the Internet for the 40 days of Lent.  I am trying to build a business and Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are part of my marketing plan (as written by my marketing analyst, Gabriel Payne).  I need to stay current.  Follow trends and build excitement for my products. (I'm paying attention to your advice Gabe!).

Instead, I vow that I will NOT follow links to frivolous pages:

  • No "20 things you didn't know about..."
  • No "You wouldn't believe what happened when..."
  • No "Which ___ are you?"
  • No links about decorating the house.
  • No links about household hints.
  • Definitely no links about celebrities!
I will follow links that appear to be newsworthy or educational.  

Each time before I click, I will ask myself if this is worth my time.  Is this useful to my life?  Will this help me become a better person?  Will this help me serve God? 

This is my Lenten promise.  I will not waste time on the junk of social media.  I will not fall into the traps that are laid by others in hopes of grabbing my attention.  I will focus.  I will prepare my heart and soul for God.