Raging imperfection. That’s Real Life.

Today was a snow day. It was not a “day off” for me — I still had phone calls to make, emails to read and answer, and charting to finish. And then other minutia that I never get around to for work, until I have free time. And I did shovel the driveway and the front walk (and my arms will hurt tomorrow, I’m sure.)

But I had a huge list of things I wanted to do around the house, and none of them got done. Zero. No laundry. No real baking or cooking (a favorite snow day activity). No reading. No writing projects. (There’s a quite a few.) No clean-up in my study, which is a disaster area, after doing the tax prep. UGH.

It reminded me that so much of blogging and social media is about perfection, or lack thereof. A whole crew of comedians make their money by showing typos and embarrassing photos of other people. There’s even a show about “FAILS” which rewards someone who fails the least with $10,000.

So here’s some random photos from my day. And if you feel a little behind-the-curve on life, take heart. We’re all in this together. It’s just that we don’t put it up on Pinterest. Or blog about it. (Oh… wait…)

Not started – that baby will be in college before my gift is done.

Not put into boxes until Lent. Still in a pile of boxes in my living room.

 

Not vacuumed. Christmas gifts are put away (hallelujah). But the room is still cluttered.

 

See? This imperfect human is doing a fine job. OK… adequate. I didn’t burn dinner, and no one was hit by a runaway snow blower! (It was close, though.) I held a cat, watched the snow fall outside my window and even shot a few pictures with my “real” camera! (I’ll upload those eventually.)

My plea to you: Give yourself space. And grace. And tackle a little something tomorrow, once you dig out the car and feed the cat and make coffee and figure out if you have clean clothes for work and… (you get the picture!)

The 63rd Day

It’s the 63rd Day of Christmas. I counted.

I’ve changed vestments from Advent to Ordinary time to Lent.

I’ve had the flu, traveled to a conference, and worked too many hours, and have been so tired that One More Chore wasn’t gonna happen. The Christmas tree stayed up.

Then February came. It was time to watch The Olympics as any dedicated couch potato would do, and lead the Ash Wednesday service. And a family member had minor surgery.

But that was not enough! I procrastinated on tax preparation (that’s almost done) and ignored the vacuuming until the dust bunnies picketed me. I have several sewing projects piled high. To keep my mind sharp, I am reading three books at once. My ability to find things to do except for that one task I MUST do is legendary.

How do I know this? It’s simply that, finally, on the 63rd Day of Christmas, we took down the tree. I think that to celebrate my birthday in June, we’ll put the boxes away.

I just wanted to let you that besides making procrastination an art form, I’m a real human being who loves Jesus and hates certain chores.

As you were.

Of Toilets and Taxes

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This is how I feel about housecleaning… and taxes.

I knew my job list for today when I went to bed last night. I wasn’t excited then, and I wasn’t as the day went on. It was a simple list:

  1. Clean the house (most of it) in preparation for a bunch of Johnnies coming for a few nights next weekend
  2. Do an estimate of the taxes and start that blasted FAFSA

I’ll admit it. My attitude sucks when it comes to doing these tasks. I reflected on why that might be. It’s not just that they are time-consuming and never seem to be finished (though that is a large part of it.) And I also recalled last November, when I tried to focus daily on 30 days of Thanksgiving, and had remarked on my tendency to whine.

So, I tried to turn it around… Why is it a good thing that I have to clean my house? 

  1. I have a place to live
  2. I have the energy to clean
  3. I have indoor plumbing (!)
  4. I have cats who leave tokens of their love everywhere (cat hair; not headless mice!)
  5. I have clothes to wear and food to eat

IMG_0731Now then. What’s so good about taxes? And FAFSA? This was a little harder.

  1. I have an income
  2. I have a high enough income that I have to pay taxes
  3. I have a child who is a good student and doing well in college
  4. After 9 years, I almost understand FAFSA

At the end of the day, the floors got a once-over, the kitchen had an initial cleaning, and the bathrooms are not as disgusting. I will never be an accountant or run a housecleaning business. But I am grateful for the many, many good things that these two chores represent.

Blessed be.

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.)

I Thess. 5:16-18 The Voice

Little foxes

The day started with a sense that it was not going to be my day. SQUISH!  Yes, I stepped in a fresh pile of cat hork… and had to change my socks… and wash my feet…

EWWWW! Really, cat?

I cleaned up some of the mess and left the rest to dry. Not to worry, I was ready to leave on time and headed to the car. I was looking forward to going to church. Except… the battery was dead and my trusty, rusty Pilot would not start. Not even with the battery charger.

RATS.

I had two choices. I could sit and whine and grumble. Or, I could spend the morning in relative quiet with 2 cats, my Bible and some music and be thankful for a warm home and some lovely amenities.

I confess I started off grumbly. Reverend Chaplain Cranky Pants had to have a little pity party, and then get over it.

I mean, really. I wasn’t out on the highway. I had three or four electronic devices at my disposal, plus two cats and a warm afghan. And the last cup of coffee from the pot… and I realized what my problem really was.

Catch the foxes for us,
        those little foxes that menace the vineyards,
    For our vineyards are so vulnerable when they are in full bloom.
Song of Solomon 2:15 The Voice

My problem is called INGRATITUDE. It’s a picky, little, conniving thief of Contentment. It creates an issue when there isn’t one. It’s the kind of sin that creeps in and robs us of joy and the ability to see alternatives or options. My “little foxes” colored my perception of my health, safety and well-being.

I stopped and changed my attitude. Played my piano. Colored a labyrinth. Made plans for my Lenten discipline, a coloring template from Praying in Color. Prayed for my family and my patients. Held a purring cat.

This evening, (after we got the car started… fingers crossed for tomorrow!), I saw this lovely sunset.

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And even more striking was the reflection of the sky in the snow melt at the bottom of our driveway:

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Maybe that’s all I need to remember… to reflect back to the heavens the faithfulness of God. Even when I don’t feel like it. ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it.

1 Praise the Eternal!
All of you who call yourselves the children of the Eternal, come and praise His name. Lift Him high to the high place in your hearts.
2 At this moment, and for all the moments yet to come,
may the Eternal’s name ascend in the hearts of His people.
3 At every time and in every place—
from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets—
may the name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people.
4 The Eternal is seated high above every nation.
His glory fills the skies.
Psalm 113:1-4, The Voice

Thanks be to God!

Who Does Jesus Look Like?

I was running a little late for my overnight shift at the hospital. Running more than a little late, actually. I put my stride into “overdrive,” adjusted my backpack and tried to weave a little faster between the other commuters on the sidewalk.

Then I heard her singing,

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“Jesus, he looks a lot like me.
Oh brother…
Jesus, he looks a lot like me.
Oh sister…”

And I changed my focus from the stoplight (could I make it? 12 seconds left on the crosswalk timer!) to the woman singing.

She was in a wheelchair. She was wrapped in a couple of blankets. The cold wind whipped the blankets and she clutched them closer, adjusting one over her head. She had a small bucket on the ground in front of her chair with a sign propped up on it. And the sign said, “I just want to buy some dinner.” She was sitting in front of a grocery store, hoping to get enough to buy something from the “hot entrees” bar.

I slowed down and stopped. I reached for my lunch bag, opened it and said, “What would you like? I don’t have any cash.”

She looked in my bag, saw a salad, a bottle of water and among other things, 3 strawberries, big, red and luscious. (I splurged. They aren’t in season yet.)

“Them berries?”

I put them in her hand, and asked, “Anything else? Some yogurt? A sandwich?”

“No, honey,” she said, “that’s close enough to perfect for me.”

I closed my lunch bag, gently touched her shoulder and said, “Blessings.” And started to scurry on my way.

And I heard…

“Jesus… he looks a lot like you.
Oh, sister…”

And I cried all the way to my office. Because I know in my heart of hearts, the person who looks back at me in the mirror is not always acting or living with the purest of motives. But every now and then, Jesus shows up and reminds me that I can grow and change. And that we all can do just the littlest of things and look “a lot” like Jesus.

I thought about my Jesus friend all evening. As I talked to patients. As I walked with a nurse to her shift in the ICU. As I listened to a coworker talk about her miscarriage. As I skimmed a few posts on Facebook and prayed for a friend. As I prayed for people I love.

And I came to the realization that it’s true.
“Jesus… he looks a lot like you.
Oh, brother…
Jesus… he looks a lot like you.
Oh, sister…”

It’s your turn… Take a look in the mirror – see that family resemblance?

Thanks be to God.