relationships

When Nothing Changes and Nothing Stays the Same

There are some people in my family who have been wearing certain clothing items for a long, L-O-N-G, time.  These clothes are allegedly, ahem, “broken in” and so comfy that they just a can’t seem to get rid of them or not wear them.

Are you like this?

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I’m not.

I can’t fill the Goodwill bag fast enough.  My motto is if you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re not ever going to wear it again.  Get rid of it.  But that’s me. I like to make room for change.  I like to see what else I can find.  -Continue Reading

Love People Friday

Love People Clothing

Love People Clothing

I decided that today is Love People Friday.

Every day is a good day for working on love but Friday is even more important than most.  It’s the official start to the weekend. The weekend goes better when Friday is good!

My sister, Jodi, has a small business where she crafts unique pieces of clothing and sells them in local boutiques. It’s been a nice little business for some time but recently she has been inspired to move beyond creating something women like to own into creating something women will want to wear.  Her business, Love People Clothing has always promoted an inspired look but now she wants to promote an inspired life.  So she created a t-shirt line that goes by the name Love People.

Her goal is to inspire others to really examine the heart of what loving others is about and living that out in day to day life. The t-shirts are just a small reminder to wear love like you would wear a piece of clothing. To her love is not about the grand gestures but the small, loving words or actions that impact one.  Impressing thousands is easy and temporary, loving just one isn’t necessarily easy but it creates the most lasting effect.

So back to Love People Friday.

Friday is the day when most of us experience a shift in the work/school week.  Schedules are not as structured and we spend more time with our family and friends.  All the more reason why Friday matters the most when it comes to all things LOVE.

If I’m being honest, weekends around my house haven’t always been full of love.  Where I can coast most of the week on my own terms, I now have to collaborate with others on activities, needs or meals.  And then there is the issue of who gets in the shower first or who has the remote control?  I’ve been known to loose all good graces before on a Sunday afternoon. I need to be reminded to wear love.

That’s why I’ve dubbed Friday, Love People Friday.  It’s a reminder that I have to put on love before we all get together.  I have to decide ahead of time that I’m choosing love instead self-centeredness.  I choose to see my husband as he is and not as I expect him to be. I choose to flesh out patience, in whatever means necessary, when tempers rise and energy is low.  Letting naps happen. I choose to wait my turn and give grace when we are struggling; to speak truth or stop unhealthy habits as best I can for the sake of love. Eating a meal together instead of all at different times. Giving extra hugs and kisses and whisper soft words of love. Saying “thank you” and “please”. Playing a game. Reminding one another why you love “us”. Choosing to walk around the mall with your child, just because they need some time.

I know I won’t always do it well but I commit to giving it a try.

So here’s to Love People Friday.  Decide now to love those in your life this weekend.  You’ll be spending a little more time with them after all.  Wearing love on Friday could determine how well the rest of the weekend goes.

Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  ~Colossians 3:14

#wearlove

How To Break A Crockpot

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So I broke my crockpot last night.

You heard right.

I broke my crockpot.  You know the cooking appliance that you throw ingredients in and leave it to cook all day.  You pretty much can’t mess it up….yea.  Somehow I found a way to ruin mine.

I wanted to try something new.  I tried a recipe for home made bread in the crockpot.  It sounded easy so I gave it a go.

Now I probably should have realized it was a bad idea when the instructions stated to place the inner liner of the crockpot in the oven at a high temperature for over an hour.  The actual heating element of the crockpot….the part that makes it a crockpot...wasn’t actually going to be used.

Hmmmm.

So I followed the instructions as written (something that I don’t normally do but I was hoping to prove to my family that I could follow a recipe).  I heated up the oven.  Put the crock pot with all the ingredients in and…poof….after some time out came my experiment.

It didn’t work.

This is nothing new for me, or my family.  I’m used to things not working in the kitchen.  I began cleaning my mess.  I noticed something wrong with my crockpot, there was a sticky cloudy coating on the inside.  I scrubbed and scrubbed.  It wouldn’t come clean.  Then I realized…it wasn’t a stuck on mess…the glaze had come off… grrrrrrr.

Now I’m not sure but I don’t think I can use a crockpot in this condition.  The glaze seals the pot so it’s safe to use…but it has to be used properly. (I think they remind people to use appliances properly for a reason.  Lesson learned.)  Apparently putting the crockpot in the oven at a high temperature falls outside meaning of “used properly”.

Sharing my failed bread making attempt with my husband, he blurted out, “If you wanted a loaf of bread why didn’t you just get in the car and go get one instead of trying a new recipe and ruining the crockpot?”

“It wasn’t the bread I wanted. I wanted to try something new.”  I responded.

We both found each other to be funny.  He looked at the entire endeavor one way and I the other. The bread was the desired result but we assumed two different goals.  Mr. Practical was about securing a loaf of bread. Miss Inginuity was about experimenting with creativity and innovation.

Isn’t that like relationships? They are formed by two people with different mental, emotional and relational DNA. When two people assume the wrong things about one another, crockpots get ruined. Many disagreeable moments happen because we fight over how to fight.  We misunderstand one another.  We are familiar with one another but we don’t know one another.

One loaf of bread.  Two ways to get it.

How many arguments happen because we only relate one way – our way.  How many fights ignite because we react instead of respond, or we posture ourselves to be the right one instead of listening or asking questions to better understand?   Just because we are in a relationship doesn’t mean we know how to relate.  Just because we are in a marriage doesn’t mean we know how to be married. We are siblings but struggle to feel like family.  We c0-exist with other workers and fail to collaborate. Friends wonder how to be good at friendship.

The point is, relationships don’t always get used properly.

I didn’t realize that crockpots in a high temperature oven for a long time is a bad idea. I was unaware of how to properly use it.  I didn’t think I needed to read the owners manual.  In the same way we don’t realize we need to go to school on relationships. Having a relationship isn’t the same as being in a relationship.  Friendship isn’t automatic when you are friends.

Who knew we need to learn to be a learner of those we live with and love?

Who knew crockpots could be ruined?

Who knew relating to others requires learning how?

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  ~ I John 3:18

Marriage in the Thick-Of-Things

I’ve been married to this guy for a long time.

John and Randi

I can honestly say that we now have the friendship that I thought we were having years ago. We weren’t. The friendship we have now came from stepping into the thick-of-things.

Our friendship is filled with moments of great connection and misfire. It’s real and we both like it.

After the early years of marriage are over some of us get in the thick-of-things. Our true selves are featured and the scent of decay begins to waft. Something is dying. I know this is not true for every marriage, but it’s been pretty accurate in describing mine. I didn’t recognize the smell of decay at first. Disappointment is a misleading symptom. But the stench was decay.

Something must die. Our pride, our selfishness, our ignorance….

  • Control
  • Impatience
  • Anger
  • Pretending
  • Addictions
  • Resentment
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Wrong perceptions
  • Laziness
  • Fear
  • Unwillingness to grow, accept, learn and communicate

Many of these things had to die in my marriage in order to find the friend I married.

This is where love becomes true. The thick-of-things is like a dense and dangerous forest. Ugliness gets exposed and we have to stop being shocked by this. Both people have to be willing to go in order to survive.

Forest

A word of encouragement for the weary soul who feels like they are losing the relationship battle.

LEARN. Learn is just a cool word that means: be willing and teachable.

  1. Be a student of God.
  2. Be a student of yourself.
  3. Be a student of your spouse.

When we smell decay, when we realize that this isn’t the marriage we envisioned, we become raw. Vulnerability is the kneading board of learning.

I don’t want to sound over simplistic. Issues are real, misunderstood and exhausting. Problems can be dangerous to body and soul. Some marriages end because there just doesn’t seem to be any other way.   In the thick-of-things every exit looks appealing. Going through is much harder than going around.

Also, I don’t want to pretend that if you do A-B-C everything will be great.

My marriage is not settled completely, but we’ve entered the thick-of-things enough times to know that it didn’t kill us. We discovered we could be a better us and by default, a better me.

Arm yourself with Godly people to pray and listen, counselors to help unravel, and the Holy Spirit to guide and keep you through it all. Prepare to change.  You do have to change. You don’t find yourself at the edge of the thick-of-things for no reason.  Something wasn’t working.

So let some thing’s die. I pray it’s not your marriage. I pray your find the friendship you thought you had from the start.

Leaking People

I just finished watching the most hilarious video of a kid who had his wisdom teeth removed.  For some reason he responded in a humorous way to the anesthesia that was used.  He was hysterical.  You’ve probably seen a similar video floating around the internet in recent years.  Several times he stopped his random ranting to say “Mom, my eyes are leaking!  Why are my eyes leaking?”  He was crying about everything and in his interpretation he thought he was leaking.

People leak in all kinds of ways.  Tears are only one way.  In fact, I would even go so far as to say that people leak all the time.  They leak just about everywhere they go.

Now before you go thinking I’m being crass let me assure you I’m not, well maybe just a little bit.

Leaking people are those who have a leak in their internal plumbing system and cant keep it from spilling out onto anybody near by.  Just like a leaking pipe drips on the nearest surface, a leaking individual drips on the nearest person. Things that are best dealt with “inside the pipe” now are flowing “outside the pipe” and the result is that everyone gets wet.

I think you understand this better than you’d admit.

Let’s be honest, we all deal with the person in the store who is irritable and intrusive.  They are irate at being inconvenienced and don’t hesitate to take it out on the nearest sales clerk.  We’ve seen this.  (Maybe we’ve been that leaky person?)  How about the co-worker who is deeply defensive and having a conversation with them turns into some sort of competition where they have to be declared the winner of the most recent dialog.  There are those in our lives who make family gatherings or parties, well, let’s say…like a game.  You try to avoid them because everything topic of conversation or issue of the moment revolves around them or keeping them happy.  This is just a sampling of leaky people.

In life we are all on our own journey to…wherever it is we think we want to go.  What do we do when someone else’s journey intersects with our own and they leak all over us?  How do we handle it when other people who spill out unresolved relational, physical, emotional or spiritual issues all over us?  I know you know what I’m talking about now.

Surely, you’ve said a time or two, “I can’t stand that person.” or “I just want to get away from him.” or “I seriously couldn’t take another moment with her, she is exhausting.”  Other peoples’ leaks keep us from having peaceful homes, job environments, neighborhoods, churches, social gatherings and schools. Leaky people tend to get us all worked up reveal our own plumbing issues.

Here’s the most important thing to remember when dealing with a leaky person:   You leak too.

We are all leaky pipes in the plumbing of society.  You may be more aware of your leak and are diligently trying fix your plumbing, but you too have done your share of leaking.

Here’s the second thing to remember when dealing with a leaky person:     Try to leak something good on them.

We all have a choice of how we respond when faced with leaky people. What will your attitude be?  Find the most radical way to leak something good on others who don’t seem to deserve it.  It might surprise you.

Making eye contact with one who is constantly invasive.  Listening completely to discern the real complaint of a negative person and seek to resolve to underlying issue instead of avoiding them.  Telling someone the truth, candid and beneficial honesty, to a destructive soul who wreaks havoc can be the most good they’ve received in a long time. Doing a kind deed in an unexpected way for the most un-admired person. Face conflict with humility and gentleness when dealing with a demanding personality instead of hiding, especially when the overall good of others is at stake.  Pray for reckless and self seeker in quiet and unknown ways.  You get the idea.

Find radical ways to leak something good. Remember, you leak too.

 

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all the wrongs. ~ Proverbs 10:12

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