Tag Archives: relationships

Getting Fit Fridays {vol. 3}–300, or Hold Me Up

Why 300?

No, I don’t weight 300 pounds.

This is my 300th post.

I have posted sometimes erratically over the last six years, so really that isn’t very many posts considering how long I have had this blog, but, hey, it’s a milestone nonetheless. So, there you go!

Moving on.

So, what have I learned this week, people?

Well, today is the first of the month, which means weigh in and measure. I am down 5.2 pounds, which is skewed a little because I weighed in the afternoon the first time and before noon this time, which makes a difference, but still in the negative either way. I’m taking it. I am also down 1.5” in my thigh, 1” in my waist, and 1/2” in my arms. What? Can anyone say “Bye Bye Bingo Wings and Booty??”

I am also stepping up the food journaling. Keeping track. Measuring many things, like cereal and milk. It makes a big difference when you pay attention to what and how much you are putting in your mouth! What’s the rule? NO MORE MINDLESS RECREATIONAL EATING! Say it with me!

Planking!

Yes, that is actually me in the picture, planking. A full 15 seconds, thankyaverramuch! Arms and legs and abs all a-quiver, but I am doing it, y’all! And the ladies I am doing this with? They are AwesomeSAUCE! They are all so amazing and inspiring and working so hard right alongside me.

Relationships. This is an awesome, and truly unexpected, bonus of the journey I am currently taking.

I am loving the physical benefits I am beginning to see, but I am also meeting some incredible ladies. Ladies who encourage me and inspire me like you wouldn’t believe.

Isn’t this what God designed us for? Relationships? Relationship with Him, first and foremost. But also relationships with others. After all, in the end, that is all we have. The only legacy we have is our relationships and the love we have poured into them. I feel so blessed by getting to know them.

Watching some of these women work so incredibly hard and knowing some of the personal stories about where they have come from, makes me want to work even harder. I am so proud to be in their company.

Don’t you find that we need people to come alongside us to encourage us when we feel weary or discouraged? Don’t you find that you can endure something just a bit longer when you have those people by your side and you don’t feel so alone? We need them. To fellowship with and to help celebrate our accomplishments. And to hold us up. And we need to hold them up.

I am reminded of Moses, that great, yet reluctant, leader of the Israelites. When the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, Moses told Joshua to choose some men to fight and while they were fighting, Moses said he would stand at the top of the hill and hold the staff of God in his hand. Well, they were fighting for a long time and don’t you know that Moses got tired? And when the staff was raised the Israelites were winning, and when his arm got tired and that staff dropped, the Amalekites would have the advantage. Well, it is a good thing he had his buddies Aaron and Hur by his side.

Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. ~Exodus 17:12-13 NLT

There are times in life when you get tired and you need people to help you. So that while you are holding on to God (the staff) with all your might, they can also hold on to you and literally hold your arms up during the battle, so that you can come out victorious in the end.

Sometimes we need to be the people doing the holding up of the arms. Note that Moses did not have to ask Moses and Hur to come help him. They instinctively knew. They knew that without their help, God’s work could not be accomplished through Moses.

So, I hope to be able to help hold others up, and to allow others to hold me up as well. The combination of me holding on to God and my friends holding on to me and holding me up is destined for victory.

How about you? Who is holding your arms up? And whose arms are you holding?

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Filed under Getting Fit Fridays, Health and wellness

Love Thy Neighbor?

The mystery has deepened…in more ways than one.

My next door neighbors, who I have written about on a few occasions, have been mysteriously absent recently. We are not especially close, though not intentionally distant. We just don’t talk, or see each other outside the house very often or have very much in common, really. We are busy. We aren’t Facebook friends. We are, what I call, “Hey” neighbors. We wave and say hey on the rare occasion that we actually do happen to see each other.

It is easy to notice when they are gone, because their gaggle of adorable boys is conspicuously missing from our yards—ours and theirs.

I had noticed their absence a couple of weeks ago and did not think a whole lot of it. I figured maybe they were on a vacation; it is summer after all, y’all. But it did make me go, “hmm” because they rarely take vacations.

And then I promptly moved on with my day.

After a few days, they were back—with a trailer that had some little-boy-looking furniture on it, though it was hard to tell whether said furniture was coming or going. And I did not ask. The same day, their third youngest boy stopped his bike in front of our mailbox and said to us as we were headed out to see Madagascar 3 (cute movie, by the way), “We are moving tomorrow.”

What? Um, okay. See ya later.

We took it with a grain of salt, of course, as the news was brought forth by a 5 year old who has been known to say in the past “we are moving”, which really meant “we are going to Virginia to visit our aunt for a week.”

The next day, Emma said she saw one of the older boys loading a suitcase into the back of the car where there were also some boxes. Hmm. Maybe they really are moving, after all?

Fast forward a few days, and the neighbors are, in fact, gone from the house, though it doesn’t appear that they are totally gone, as there are still potted plants out front and playthings scattered in the backyard.

I headed out to a ladies’ book club a couple of nights later, to which I had been invited by a fellow homeschooling mom slash new friend. It was a small group of ladies, the majority of whom I had never met and so the typical questions ensued. Where do you live? Where do you go to church? How old are your kids?

It came up in the convo that a couple of the gals at this gathering attend a particular local church—where my neighbor happens to be the associate pastor. I shared that their associate pastor is my next door neighbor. They proceeded to make the “isn’t it just too bad about…” face. When they saw my obvious confusion, I was told that my neighbor’s mother had passed away very recently.

Heavy sigh.

Their absence was starting to make sense now. And then I felt terrible for them—and for not knowing.

But that still left the “we’re moving tomorrow” mystery.

In response to that, the ladies told me that my neighbors were had moved in with the now widowed father who lived in a nearby town.  Which explained why there weren’t totally moved out.

Oooooh.

And ouch.

I had a sudden guilt-and-shame attack for saying a few days previously, “Well, if they are, in fact, moving, I sure do hope they make sure to take their cats with them so they will stop scratching up my car and using my flower bed as their litter box!”

Yikes! The woman who professes to making friends with the lamp post can’t reach out to her neighbor and grow a relationship there? I can chat it up in line at the Piggly Wiggly or when I am at jury duty, but I don’t know that my very next door neighbor’s mother has just died? Why didn’t I know this? Jesus would have known if He had been living next door.

Am I really not so friendly after all? Am I afraid to go deeper in relationships? If so, what is up with that? And what is my behavior teaching my kids? What do I know about love, anyway?

Clearly, I have a lot to learn.

I know the world does not revolve around me and my family, but sometimes it would seem I don’t always live my life that way.

I have a lot to learn about love and selflessness and relationships.

I hope and pray that I can catch the neighbors if and when they come back to collect some more of their belongings, so that I can have the opportunity to share my condolences and offer to help them in some way. And to show them the love they deserve.

Perhaps a little life application of that Love Thy Neighbor thing is fitting. And that, my friends, is not so much of a mystery.

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~Matthew 22:34-40

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Filed under Faith, Lessons, The 'Hood

Made to Love

Sometimes I wish I lived on one of those communes. Not the creepy David Koresh kind. No, not one of the cult-y ones where they isolate themselves from the world and hoard up big guns and lots of ammo and have bizarre sex things going on. Or is that a compound? Whichever. Doesn’t matter, really. Just trust that there will be no Kool-Aid at my commune slash compound.

My commune is one of those happy hippy ones where everyone gets along and loves to just hang out and spend time together. The women don’t have to shave their legs and the men don’t have to shave their faces. There is no weird stuff—only people who love God and love each other and take care of each other, who work together and raise their families and then take care of the older, wiser ones when they need it.  (Yeah, I know I joked about the communes in my last post—don’t give me a hard time.)

But, seriously, I think about these things.

I would have all the awesome people I have ever loved live there.  We would live near a grocery store because I am not all about growing stuff.  Sadly, I was born without a green thumb. Can it still be a commune if you don’t grow stuff? But wait, among those people I love is my precious mother-in-law and my grandma who are both quite green thumb-ish, so perhaps we could grow food on our commune after all.

Of course, my parents would live next door.  Along with my grandmas and my brothers and their wives and all my nieces and nephews.  Hubby’s mama would live on the other side.  All along the gravel road, (cause you know communes don’t have paved roads, honey) would be all of Hubby’s sisters and their families. 

Then, there are the people who have touched my life in some way who would have to live there too.  My friend who I’ve known since I was 9 years old and who is still my friend.  My bff from high school—who is still my bff today—and her family. All those awesome kids from camp back in the 80s.  The adults, besides my parents, who have helped mold me: the folks who ministered at those camps, my 4th grade teacher (Mrs. Wells, are you still out there somewhere??), my 6th grade teacher (NOT the evil math teacher, but the other one). College roomies, you’re there too. All those special people I met and loved growing up.

Oh, and all those precious friends we’ve met over the last 22 years as Hubby and I have trekked all over the country would have to be there too—especially my sweet Moncure friend who I talk to every day, and my precious Bible study friend from Winston-Salem, who is my prayer warrior. My Iowa friends and my Texas friends. My North Carolina peeps and my South Carolina peeps. You, yes, you—you know who you are.  Yes, all of you will be there too.

Then I could see my people all. the. time. And we could just hang. I see us sitting around in our loungers swapping stories and really getting to know each other on a whole new level.  Maybe there is a campfire where we could all sit around, join hands and sing Kum Ba Yah, I don’t know. I haven’t quite got it all figured out yet, but I’m working on it.

I think a lot about this, now, as life seems to become increasingly complicated, and time seems to be whizzing by me at the speed of light. I feel washed over by the tidal wave of busy-ness and it just seems like I am missing some really important stuff. Sometimes I just want it all to STOP. To find some way to simplify this life and break it down to what is really important.

All you really have in this life, all that is of any true and lasting value, is the relationships you create with people.

Relationship. That is what God created us for in the first place, you know. He didn’t create us to see how much money we could make or how successful we could be. How stressed out we could be or how in debt we would be or how much stuff we could accumulate.  OH! How the stuff does bog us down!

He created us for relationship. Fellowship. To love. To love Him and to love others.

Here is where my LCD kicks in. I love me some TobyMac. Did I say love? I mean, really love. One of my favorite TM songs is Made to Love.  (I won’t review here for you the lyrics in their entirety—as I’ve been known to do—you’ve got internet access, look it up. Better yet, give it a listen.)

Here is what the chorus says:

I was made to love you
I was made to find you
I was made just for you
Made to adore you
I was made to love
And be loved by you
You were here before me
You were waiting on me
And you said you’d keep me
Never would you leave me I was made to love
and be loved by you

We were made to love. And be loved. It is that simple, y’all.

I just find that I am really hungry for that lately. Hungry for those relationships and to just spend time—that isn’t rushed or limited—with those precious folks. I find myself trying to figure out HOW we can make it happen. How we can simplify and pare down the trappings of this life and get down to the nitty gritty of what is really real and true.

That, my friends, is not so simple.

But, I think about it. And wish for it. And pray for it.

Just so you know, my (imaginary) commune is not a gated community. It is not any kind of exclusive club. All are welcome. In fact, the more, the better, as far as I’m concerned. 

“Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love.” ~Henri J. M. Nouwen

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Filed under Day to Day, Family, Friends