Friday, August 24, 2012

Lyme's Lesson [1] Grace

In March 2009, we started the long journey of finding a cause
and cure for my dad's memory loss.
Three years later we march on fighting Lyme's Disease and
learning more about ourselves and God every day.
Here's number one of seven bits of knowledge we've picked up along the way:

Sometimes grace is grin and bear it -not ballerina beautiful.

For as long as I can remember I've been a tripping-over-myself-kind-of-girl.
It could never be blamed on long legs or growth spurts, it was due to my lack of grace.
Never would I make it as a ballerina. Never.

Then I go to church and there's this grace thing again. I immediately assume I lack it.
Little did I know, grace isn't always pointy-toed, tutu-clad beauty.
The grace I've met has been a God-given miracle.
It's the ability to stop whining and keep trucking.
It's holding tight to that last sliver of hope because you've learned to fight.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."
-2 Timothy 1:6

I know God's grace is upon us, but it does not place us in a protective bubble.
We are not unscathed. 
There's beautiful bumps and bruises that remind me of the battle we've, so far, endured.
I believe He made us to take major impact, to bend without breaking, 
to rise up and fight when pressed down upon.

My goal is not just to fight the good fight but to do so until I have nothing left in me to expend.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says,
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
His grace covers and protects the wounds that mangle my flesh.
My angry words and ungrateful heart revolt against His plan, yet He keeps me roped in.
While I want to scream and shout and run away singing, 
"Run, run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the Amber Whoa-Man!" 

He provides grace. He also provides opportunity to grow, to stretch, to change.
Without added pressure, diamonds are not formed. The same goes for us.
Without added pressure, we cannot be a gleaming God-diamond in the rough.
We will just sit a deposit of invaluable minerals longing for more. 
But, He provides grace. 
In the little penny-on-the-ground ways, and in Statue-of-Liberty monumental sorts.
My point is trials will come, you will be stretched and pressed, 
just know, 
His grace is enough. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bad at Blog and Beach for Dog

I've been trying to reign in exactly what I want my blog to be.
I am so talented at so many things I've really had a tough time.
(insert snarky sarcasm detector blaring and blinking red here)

Speaking of blogging...
I believe every body is good at something.
I also believe every body is not good at something.
To take that one step further,
No body is good at everything.
The one thing I'm not good at:
fashion blogging.
Holy Hautelook, I love looking at girls that dress nice.
And are put together.
And wear heels with no abandon.
However, you will not catch me doing so.
Why? -you ask.
Let's see.

1. The only trend I am consistent at rocking is running clothes.

2. I've got short legs and a long torso...
This means most clothes don't fit in the way they were meant.
(i.e. not all pants were made to be cuffed, but all of mine are)

3. I own two pairs of heels.
And one pair is so untouched its dust bunnies have dust bunnies.
(did you know those things mate just as rapidly as cottontails? true story.)

4. You have to take "cool" pictures of your outfits in "cool" places.
Two problems here:
a. I don't do autotimer.
I know, practice, practice, practice, but no, I don't.
b. In expending on point (a.) I need a photographer.
I married a computer engineer.
He's really good at engineering computers...
Not pictures.
(this is also ironic because it's 110 degrees at a water park,
not "cool" weather, but a "cool" place
and still un"cool" clothes)

5. I'm awkward.
You read that right.
(I mean who isn't awkward with a floppy fish-out-of-water
but really, I'm always that odd)
6. I have a really cute dog whose wrinkly face never goes out of style.
So, I opt to exploit her good looks and charm rather than
attempt to pull myself together.

P.S. Speaking of dog.
We took her to dog beach.
Talk about a HORRIFYING experience.
Homegirl HATED the water.
Like HATE.

Please note the arched back to keep her torso as far away from the ocean as possible.
Oh, and we got her up to her chest then she wouldn't walk.
Yes, HATE.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gracefully Deficient

I struggle with grace.
Not the trip and fall, skinned knees, achy wrists kind of grace...
(Although I've sported scraped knees for years)
The ungrudgingly loving, forgiving kind of grace.
The kind of grace that is so characteristic of Him.

You hurt my feelings,
betray me,
insult my family,
question my marriage and relationships,
and you face the silent treatment.
Or, in extra-special cases,
you face the kill-'em-with-kindness treatment
that is built on a foundation of bitterness and pure anger.
I believe you can't kill with kindness
if your heart of hearts just wants to kill.
And turns out, God addresses bitter roots in Hebrews: 
"See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; 
that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, 
and by it many become defiled." 
-Hebrews 12:15

But there's another side to this...
I don't grant myself grace.
I'm just as hard on me as I am on all of "you".

Check this: 
I miss one day of the new bible study I've started 
and I'm ready to give up on myself.
Misstep one way on my diet and BOOM 
I'm sure my thighs are expanding at an exponential rate.
How many times have I put my foot in my mouth?
Hundreds... And I can probably recall more than half of them.
Because I beat myself up for the misspoken words.
Because I can't stand the way everyone else seems so together
and I'm just falling short over and over again.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, 
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Through him we have also obtained access by faith 
into this grace in which we stand, 
and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
-Romans 5:1-2

The part that's the hardest, I know it's not true.
I know everyone is struggling, 
isn't measuring up where they want to,
isn't making the impression they intended.
But I've let the devil get a big enough foothold to convince me otherwise.
He's told me that I'm wrong while they're all right.

This is my first admission documented for all to see.
I'm thinking I'll end this best with a little prayer.... 

I pray that I see other's how you see them.
But more than that,
I pray I see your perfect creation in me, 
your fingerprints in my every action,
your hand molding me inside and out. 
I pray I can focus on all of the beauty,
the greatness,
the glory that surrounds me
in order to bring my focus back to you.
In your name,

Do you struggle understanding the vastness of His grace? 
Or His love? Or His strength?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Post for Which There is No Appropriate Title

I'm going to start this post and sound like every other
complaining, writer's block suffering blog writer.

I'll end it without being unoriginal (ish).

Consider yourself warned
(and promised).
Stick with me?

It's been 36 days since I've typed a single word for Mr. Thomas and Me.
36 days of bipolar blog feelings.
I'd think about Mr. T & Me and long for something, anything to write,
but would come up with three words.
"I've got nothing."

Then I'd think about my break and love the lack of pressure to write
but would come up with three words.
"I miss writing."

I don't know who pays attention here.
Who reads my words and feels annoyed, challenged, tickled, bored....
But I do know the numbers.
How they seemed small. Insignificant.
I wrote to feel important to someone, anyone, and everyone.

(Don't get me wrong I get plenty of attention at home;
but I long[ed] to be one of those big, cool, sought-after bloggers)

I felt immense pressure to show off my food, my home, my life, my dog.
To be crafty, original, snarky, fun.
And from the pressure grew frustration.
With my imperfections, my tired self, my not-enough-hours-in-a-day schedule.
So I quit cold turkey.
Told myself to get it together.
Figure it out.
Set my priorities straight.

I took some time to hang out with my husband.
To read some books.
To watch the Olympics.
To relax about the schedule, the series, the snapshots.
And to learn more about my God.
Yes, just Him and I.
Hanging out, sharing stories, all the fun, over a cup of joe kind of stuff.

And then, last night, 35 days later, it clicked.
I'm writing for Him.
He gave me this love for words, written, verbal, the like.
My hands were made for pen and paper...
Or keys and screen.
So, I write.
No pressure.
Just for His glory and my enjoyment.

I write because He's got something.
More than something.
And to be honest, so often, I'm boring and I've got nothing.
He's going to spice up my life.
(Colors of the world... Every boy and every girl... Please get the song reference)
And I promise to share it
Whether it's consistent or not.

You want to hang around... Sweet. I'd love it.
Not your cup of tea?
 I'll miss you.
(really, really)

But this place is for His words to come out of my not-so-politically-correct mouth.
I promise not to beat you over the head with a bible.
In fact, I just want to share my take on things.
And I'm still cooking, so food will abound.
And, come on, what's Amber without a splash of sarcasm.

How about a picture for the road?
An angry turtle ready to coast in the pond...
But forced to stay in a tub.

How about two?
My new bangs.
I know, lame picture, but I feel edgy for once in my life.
Yes, I need to get out of the house more often.

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