Fat Old Mom's Wit and Wisdom (as inspired by God)

Come here to read the humorous spiritual rantings of a Fat Old Mom who thinks she has something to say.

Location: Hennepin, Illinois, United States

I am a happy, healthy Christian Mom of 2 (or 3 depending on how you look at it). I love animals, helping others and serving God in whatever capacity He calls me to do so. Fat Old Moms was a term born of a desire to define this season of my life. My girlfriends and I go on an annual 'Fat Old Moms' weekend where we leave our husbands and children and explore ourselves and return to 'chick' status for a couple of days. We seek Christian influence in each other, but also allow ourselves to BE ourselves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


My favorite flowers have always been lillies. It is one of the reasons I named my daughter what I did and why I had them tattooed around my ankle. I'm not sure why. They just always seemed wild and graceful and colorful. They came in many varieties and you could find simplistic elegance in a Calla Lily or a more 'country essence' in a Tiger Lily. They are at home in a ditch along a country road, in the water, or in the sheltered environment of a flower pot. They have amazing adaptability. They are abundant in a multitude of climates. I appreciate such qualities in people, so maybe that's why I've always liked them so much.

Even their first names are interesting and exciting and descriptive...DAYlily, TIGERlily, CALLAlily, WATERlily, CANNAlily, ASIATIClily, ORIENTALlily, TRUMPETlily......their names are indicative of who they are and where they come from or like to be. In contrast, I passed a sunflower field....

When I first reflected on the sunflowers, I thought...HMMM....all the same. I like variety. I can't think of anything they are called but...sunflowers. I really don't think they come in anything but varying shades of the same color. I was unimpressed. but as I rode past the tall stalks, I saw a variety...of birds! Sunflowers are a source of nutritious joy to cardinals, goldfinches, indigo buntings, doves and purple finches. As they flocked to the field and were frightened by my presence, they created dramatic splashes of color against the autumn sky. Bursts of blue and gold and gray and rosy red were expelled from between their large open faces. This thrilled me and opened my mind to the possibility of sunflowers.

As I read about them on the internet, it told of how they are named SUN flowers because during the course of the day- they continue to seek the sun. As the sun rises, the heads of the flowers face east and follow it almost perceptibly across the sky until it sets in the west. They are committed to the seeking of the source of life. They know what will help them grow and become strong, and they seek it with a single-minded purpose. If you want to know where the sun is, look at the direction the flower is facing.

In their similarity, we see that they all share a large, open, inviting face of seed and life, and it is haloed by a cheery spray of golden petals. It's stalks are strong and tall and reach high to proclaim it's place in the world. In full sun , you see the pride of it's purpose. Throughout the winter, after it's peak and growth are over, it continues to nourish life with it's abundant seed source. It provides hope to those birds who struggle through the cold, winter months.

The sunflower may not be the most beautiful, or the most delicate of all flowers, but it is a good example of how we should live our Christian lives...one heart, one mind, and with pride and purpose. We should follow the Son and be faithful to His presence. We should reach toward Him and shine in a reflection of the color of life that He has given us. When people are seeking the Son, they should need only to look at where we are facing and they will find Him. We should provide encouragement to those who need us in the coldest days of their lives. We should all become SONflowers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I had a friend who recently asked for input from people about what it takes to be a good friend. In my response to her, I hadn't realized that I actually possessed so much information. Whether or not it is actually sound advice- I don't know, but I have a pretty good track record of keeping friendships alive and healthy (although some have gotten sick and died along the way!)
I have been BLESSED beyond belief with
many people who I consider to be good friends. They have tolerated me for years and I believe part of the key to the success of our relationships is THEIR patience. Steph is the feather in my cap of friendships. We have been BEST friends for 27 years and have never even exchanged harsh words. We have weathered every imaginable storm and come out with our sails held high. We have seen each other through parental divorce, childhood dysfunction, teenage anxiety, death, marital strifes, childbirth and every other milestone in life. I have learned much from her example, and have developed a confidence in my ability to be more likeable (okay- there are individuals who would debate you at length on this subject!!).
After a lengthy answer to Carol's questions, I realized that I could have been much more concise in my advice (this wasn't a deliberate attempt at poetry!) I could have carved it all down to one word...GIVE.
Every pregnant paragraph of wisdom could have taken down to one little sentence- all beginning with the word GIVE.
*GIVE of yourself. Allow people to see you for who you are. How can someone truly like you (or dislike you) unless they know who you are? Friends are determined by the ones who like you 'in spite'.... When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, they will be more likely to allow themselves to be more vulnerable too. That will put you on a level playing field and leave less room for being judgemental.
*GIVE the benefit of the doubt. Never assume that people are doing things out of malice. There is usually a good explanation for everyone's actions. It could be lame...but it may be their rationale. Even when you want to roll your eyes and scream, understand that we all look at the world from a different angle.
*GIVE grace. When a friend does do something that may be hurtful, remember that you have probably hurt them too at some point. Realize that you probably didn't mean to- and neither did they.
*GIVE them what they need. Every person is different, and so is every friendship. I have some friends who need constant love and support. I have some who understand that my life is busy, and if I don't contact them every day- that is alright. I have some that need my humor, and some that need my ear. I have some that need my honesty and some that need my time. If the Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you- I say you should apply the Silver Rule to friendships..."Do unto others as they NEED you to do unto them."
Unfortunately, I also have a few friends who need a large dose of tolerance (this is where you apply the Golden part!)- but I think God brings those people into our circle to give us an example of how NOT to behave. When I feel a friendship slipping, I look at my more difficult friends and wonder if I am exhibiting characteristics that I would not appreciate. They help keep me grounded in reality and humble about my own abilities to be the kind of friend that I should be.
*GIVE honesty. Even when it may not be what they want to hear, they will respect you for having the guts to say it....hopefully. You have to be honest with yourself also, and willing to TAKE honesty from them. And of course, always be kind...this is something I continue to work on. My brutal honesty has always been my downfall, and in order to truly keep people from wanting to punch me in the face while I dole out my advice, I have had to learn to be a little more ....delicate. (I'm sure I have provided that 'bad example' I spoke of earlier to many over the years!)
I write all of this with the assumption that my friends have been honest with me. If you want their input, feel free to contact them and find out what kind of friend I really am. If you find out I'm not the pillar of love and acceptance I perceive myself to be, please let me know so I can rip up my notes and go back to the drawing board. Oh yeah- and humility...still working on that one!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One Day Closer to Jesus

The inspiration for this text comes from a variety of sources on this day. Today is the day they lay my dear neighbor to rest. He was in his 80's and will be missed by many. I was also remembering my friend who was younger than I who died awhile back. The precipitating reason for this train of thought was the reminder I got yesterday on my 39th birthday.

My 11 year old started my day by leaving me the sweetest homemade card. I found it on my desk at 6 AM when I awoke. Not much (short of a smack to the head) will wake you up like these words..."Dear Mom- I just want you to know that being one year older is not too bad, because the older you are, the faster you die, and the faster you die, the faster you get to see Jesus." Now I can't argue with the sincerity of the logic, but the concept was hard to wrap my head around.
My mother tried to make me feel better by explaining that this is just one of the blessings of raising children in a Christian household. They understand the joy of meeting Jesus face to face. My 6 year old declared that when he grew up he wanted to be dead so he could be with Jesus. OUCH! Mom's don't like to hear that, but I DID like to hear that he was confident that he WOULD and that he was actually looking forward to it.
I decided to turn my uncertainty about the matter into a positive, and made my theme for the day, "ONE DAY CLOSER TO JESUS''. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all live our lives with that phrase as our theme? So often we get wrapped up in 'the end' and forget that it actually is our earthly goal.
I have always admired people who don't fear death. I have always found inspiration in visiting the terminally ill who embrace it. I have tried to remember this strength and courage when talking to those left behind, for we know that is who the grief belongs to. The person fortunate enough to meet Jesus face to face is smiling. It is us who are crying. In our humanness, we forget the glory. We wallow in our sorrow and when we can finally come through to the other side of our frailty, it is THEN that we can see the blessing for what it really is and declare.....One day closer to Jesus!!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Wisdom of Bambi

Disney has such insight! Bambi has always been one of my favorites, but until recently, I never saw the big "GOD'' message written all over it!

One of the best scenes (and the one to invoke the most emotion from ME), is the one where Bambi's mother introduces him to the meadow for the first time. She approaches cautiously, sniffing and testing the wind. She knows she needs to go there, but also is aware of the dangers.

In the meadow, we see the sweet, nourishing grass. There is wide open space for running. There are other deer in the meadow. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and Bambi wants to be there. Bambi NEEDS to be there. The meadow, for me, represents God's love. There are so many great and wonderful things to be found in that light. They are things I cannot do without in my life. I NEED to be fed. I NEED companionship with others of my kind (Christians). I NEED to exercise my faith in a space worthy of stretching my legs. I NEED the happiness and fulfillment I can find only in Christ.

As I run toward the meadow, I also have to realize there are dangers there. As a Christian, when I am wallowing in the light and grace of God, I will be more vulnerable to the attack of the hunter (Satan). I will be more visible. My actions can be observed more easily and closely. Eyes I cannot see will watch me. I cannot be unaware of these dangers and must guard myself against them. This is why Bambi's mother spent so much time researching the situation before entering. It is why she watched, and sniffed and used all of her senses.

Sometimes, even when we are careful, we cannot see all that will be there to prey on us. Like Bambi's mother, we are wounded as we run from our attackers. With each attack, we become more and more aware of what it takes to survive in the meadow. We are more able and capable to hand down that knowledge to those who would follow us. We use our experiences- both good and bad- to educate others who want to enter the meadow. In her death, she was teaching Bambi life lessons.

So find yourself a Bambi and impart on him the wisdom of your walks in the woods and your excursions into the meadow. Don't be afraid to find purpose in your wisdom and experience.

Hunger vs. Starvation

Well- I'm back. In reading some of my friend's blogs, I realized that I have been gone for far too long. So here is the latest, God -inspired revelation.

It all started this morning on the way to church. Once again, I hadn't prepared a Children's Message and I was operating on the faith that God would provide one. One mile from the church, I was still without inspiration, but I had a whiny son in the back seat who was complaining that he was hungry. I am not a breakfast eater, so I have tried to encourage my kids to take care of breakfast on their own. As one who possesses an eating disorder (or OVER eating disorder), I try to avoid food preparation whenever possible. I liken it to being an alcoholic bartender (buy the food, prepare the food, smell the food, clean up the food, but for Heaven's sake- don't EAT the food!).

SO- when Sawyer started complaining that he was hungry- I had no sympathy. He has been told time and time again to get up, get dressed, get breakfast, brush his teeth...you know the drill! He's almost seven. He's capable! How hard is a Pop Tart anyway! At the peak of the noise, I exclaimed, "NO ONE EVER DIED OF HUNGER!" This woke up my mental hamster and he started running on his little 'idea wheel' and I explored the differences between hunger and starvation, since I realize that you CAN actually starve to death.

Hunger is an emptiness. It is the lack of fulfillment. Physically, it can be satisfied with food. If we ignore hunger for too long, it can lead to starvation, but I stand by my original statement that no one ever died of hunger.

Hunger creates a desire to seek. It leads us to search and to find the things that we need. It puts us on alert so that we can meet the criteria for life.

Starvation, on the other hand, is the result of not satisfying our hunger. If we go long enough without food, without fulfillment, a part of us will die (or all of us, in the physical sense!)

Relate all of this to our spiritual self. When I am away from church and my church family and influence, I become hungry. I crave the companionship of fellow believers. I desire to be near them and influenced by them and feel a dissatisfaction. As with physical hunger, I feel 'out of sorts' when I'm spiritually hunger. As my Godly blood sugar drops, my world just doesn't seem right. I need to eat, be filled by the Spirit.

If I stay away too long, I feel like I may starve to death. My spirit begins to die.
As with physical hunger, we must put the right things in to truly satisfy our needs. If we fill ourselves with 'junk', it only creates a short term satisfaction and does not truly meet our needs. Sugar and sweets, though mentally satisfying, will not nourish us physically in the way that our body needs, just as the mere company of fellow Christians won't feed us spiritually if we do not spend our time appropriately.

So I challenge you to feed yourself today. Seek nourishment of your body and soul in a way that is pleasing to God. May you use 'hunger' to encourage you to seek and may it never lead to starvation.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


I've finally been diagnosed. My affliction is Pantsititus. I've never been able to put a name to this horrible disease until now. I have been plagued with physical symptoms since I was a teen. I find that I drool excessively when I encounter every day scents...such as Cinnabons and grilled steaks. I get annoying red creases from jeans that cut into my flab around my midsection. My heart palpitates every time I pass a full length mirror. (This has caused me to have to hang all of my mirrors at head height.) I make frequent trips to the bathroom. It causes a secondary emotional condition called "Fat Girl Syndrome" that is marked by an innumerable amount of delusions and misconceptions.

It's been debilitating. I can't wear certain types of clothing (such as swimsuits) or fabrics....spandex and lycra have become my worst enemies. I make concessions in my every day life to accomodate this crippling ailment. I avoid staircases and seek elevators and escalators because of achy joints.

My Pansititus has gone into remission on occasion. There were a few months in 1991 where my symptoms all but subsided and I was able to live my life in a normal fashion. Telltale paranoia about complete strangers laughing and pointing all but disappeared. In the fall of 2004 I thought I was cured all together. I never experienced the creases or the drooling for a period of months. My sagging self esteem returned and I enjoyed normal pleasures such as sitting in a chair with my legs tucked under my chin. I could cross my legs when sitting down since they weren't so swollen as to hinder that flexibility. When I passed a full length mirror, I didn't scream in horror....I actually sought them out on occasion to admire my symptom-free body.

Oh- the scars were still there.....emotionally and physically. You could see the red lines of stretch marks on my skin and I still got a little teary every time I watched Shallow Hal, but they were the tears akin to those of a recovering alcoholic who has just recieved their 1 year chip.

When the disease returns (as it inevidibly does), I attempt to make it less noticable by tanning my disfigured shape. It's like a pork chop on the grill...much more attractive when it is golden brown. Thing is, it's still a pork chop with all the fat and calories of the lily white one that was tossed over charcoal just a few minutes before! (But it DOES look more appetizing!)

I know the technology is out there to beat this disease....to send it into remission forever. I know all the 'drugs' to take to make the symptoms subside, but I also know, that as with so many other diseases, there is only one sure fire cure - prayer. During my times of remission, I know that I had leaned on the Lord for power and He willingly gave it to me. I know He wants me to be cured and happy and symptom free. All I need to do is ask and then follow.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Dangers of Exercise

I always laugh when people ask me if I run. (Some are actually looking right at me and can't come to a logical answer to that question!) Now, I run errands, and I run out of patience, but to say I physically move my legs quickly up and down, propelling my body in a forward motion....no- can't say that I do. I could probably work up a dash if a small child was in imminent danger of being hit by a speedy automobile, but short of impending death, not much would motivate me to run.

First of all, my body is not built for it. I don't have long, lanky legs. The adjectives to describe them would veer more to the side of short, fat and stumpy. Its not that with a little effort they couldn't become leaner, but lithe and willowy could never enter the picture. Lanky...graceful....NAW!!!

I also am a little top heavy. I'm afraid the Laws of Inertia might prove fatal if I got all of this bulk going at once and then was forced to halt rapidly. I just don't think I could make it all stop. It would be like the lead time a locomotive would need to stop for a bovine blocking the tracks. There's going to be a mess!!!

My top heavy tendencies would require a bra with the technology that would be capable of say...stopping a rocketship midflight. I know this from a near fatal experience I once had in an aerobics class. I was happily (okay- not so happily) doing jumping jacks, when I was accosted by some sort of wild criminal who was holding a knife to my throat. I got no demands for money (where would I be keeping it in the horrible exercise outfit I was wearing?), so I couldn't imagine what this thief might want. It was then that I realized that the underwire in my bra had cut loose and worked it's pointy way up to my neck. It's a lucky thing my terror froze me, because one more jumping jack and I could have experienced a fatal stabbing to the corotoid artery. Looking back on it all, I shutter to think how my obituary would have read. "MEMORIALS MAY BE DIRECTED TO PLAYTEX RESEARCH FOUNDATION''

Despite my reluctance to exercise, and the fact that it can sometimes be dangerous for me, I know that I need to do it. It is the same with exercising our faith. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it's embarrassing to be vulnerable and put on the leotard of God and go traipsing off to Jazzercise . Sometimes we fall off the Step Aerobics stool and twist our ankles. When we try too hard, we may encounter a little pain, so we need to do the 'B' version of the exercise. (You know- the one that the perky, firm instructor demonstrates so that the fat girls can keep up with Suzy Showoff). That's okay though, because the effort makes the difference. As long as we keep trying, progress will be made and our faith muscles will increase. Slowly, but surely we can bulk ourselves up to Arnold size and stand victorious over the fat and flab of a weak faith.

The Best Fruit

I love getting inspirational e-mails, and since I am a girl, many of them have to do with encouraging us girl-like creatures. One of the most favorite ones I have ever gotten draws a parallel between women being apples and men being monkeys (or some other sort of climbing creature).

Anyway- it explains that women are apples and that the best fruit is at the top of the tree. Men (or monkeys, if you want to explore MY spin on it!) are afraid to climb that high for the best fruit for fear that they will fall or get hurt, so the big shiny apples at the top of the tree think they are not worth climbing for. In the meantime, the ravenous monkeys are chomping down the easy apples that are wormy and have fallen to the ground because, well, they're easy.

The little analogy concludes with the inspiration that women should realize their worth, and not worry about the lazy monkeys on the ground, but wait patiently for a bold, strong monkey to clamor to the top of the tree and pick her. It is the monkey that shows effort, ability and grace that she wants.

I wish I would have heard this little fable when I was younger. Despite the fact that my mom told me a thousand times to stay away from lazy, worthless monkeys, I found myself throwing myself to the ground because I wanted to be picked. I got wormy, and rotten and a little mushy on my underside, but lazy monkeys don't care. They'll eat whatever is offered, as long as they don't have to work too hard for it.

In trying to tie this analogy to something Biblical or inspirational, I struggled with somehow getting those rotten apples back up to their rightful standing at the top of the tree. I know my life reflects the fact that it is possible, but I couldn't quite make it all work within the monkey/apple context....until I thought of GRACE.

Grace is an unexplained gift from God that we don't deserve. With GRACE, anything is possible, so I don't have to wrack my little brain trying to figure out how to put wormy apples at the top of the tree in full splendor. God can do that in the blink of an eye, without much effort. He allows me to tell this ridiculous story, and end it the way it needs to be ended...because with Him, all things are possible.

So if you're a mush-bottomed apple, grab onto Grace and visualize yourself at the top of the tree, full and plump and shiny...and wait. Wait for that handsome monkey who is rooting around at the bottom of the tree to come to his senses and realize that the sweetest, best fruit is at the top. Swing in the breeze for awhile. Reflect the light of the Son and get those monkey's attention!

And if you're a monkey, stop eating rotten fruit and grab a branch. When you get to the top- savor the apple you pick and appreciate it for all the nutrition and sweetness it will bring to your life...and don't let go!

Feel No Pain

I recently was listening to a broadcast about a little girl who had the inability to feel pain. My first impression was that it would be wonderful to be free from the burden of being hurt, but as the story continued, it described the fact that this little girl would touch hot things and burn herself. She would break bones without realizing it. She chewed on the inside of her cheeks until she had huge sores. She suffered all the physical trauma, but was unaware that she was doing it. Her parents had to be on a vigil 24/7/365 because she simply did not know what things were dangerous and could lead to fatal mistakes. She was bandaged and scarred.

On the flip side of this ailment, without a sense of touch, she also couldn't feel the softness of rabbit fur, or the pleasure of her mother's kiss. She didn't feel the deep pile of carpet beneath her feet or the warm saltiness of the ocean on the beach. She couldn't feel a whisper of wind on her cheek as the warm sun beat down on her face. She missed out on the good feelings too.

In looking back over my life, I realized that many times I had gotten to the point where I wouldn't allow myself to feel the pain anymore. I put up walls. Blocked myself out emotionally from those who would hurt me, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was still getting hurt, and engaging in hurtful behaviors, I just didn't realize the consequences- even though I still suffered them on some level.

In doing so, I also missed out on love. I skipped over affection in search of safety. I toughened my skin, my heart and my mind until NOTHING could penetrate, but being bulletproof also meant loneliness. Being impenetrable was impossible, but I thought I was protected.

Once God entered my life, and offered me HIS full body armor, I realized I didn't need my own anymore. He provided me with all of the protection I needed. Slowly, I began to feel again. It's not to say that I don't still experience pain, but when I do, God is right there with a band-aid, the Bactine and a magic kiss that makes all the pain go away. The beauty of this situation is that now am flooded generously with laughter and smiles and warm, fuzzy feelings, so even the worst of boo-boos don't seem to hurt as much.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Proof of Life

As a recovering PIG (Princess In Garbage), I have often tried to rationalize the messiness of my surroundings. My excuses have ranged from a lack of technical knowledge, "I don't know how to run that contraption!" , to the psychological defense, "My Mommy never taught me HOW to clean." to sheer laziness, "I don't feel like it." to business "I'm working 90 hours a week and don't have time!" to finger pointing, "The house would be clean if it weren't for those darn kids!". No matter what the reason, the result was the same.

I don't have dust bunnies. I have dust camels. They lumber menacingly across the floor, gallumping with their huge, growing masses on their backs. Dust snakes leap from the ceiling fan blades when it is turned on after being stationary for a while. My laundry has actually sprouted legs and tried to climb into the washing machine, begging someone to pull the knob and start the water. Dishes have grown their own life forms and have needed to be disposed of. I'm not bragging- although the accomplishment of such filth takes time and lack of effort- I'm just stating some sad facts.

Like I said- I am recovering. There are a few misguided individuals who have actually complimented me on the cleanliness of my home now. I'm doing much better, but it's kind of like the former fat girl that still has that extra 10 lbs around her middle, even though she used to tip the scales. I'm not ever quite sure if I believe them when they say it, and I always wonder how bad it actually WAS.

As a human, we can rationalize anything and my rationalization for the filth is this...at least you know there was a life lived in my house. My mess is proof of life. As I trip over Rescue Heroes and curse the Legos, I know there was a 6 year old, dear to my heart, who occupied that floor. When I see the pile of bills on my desk, I know that I have had the finances to pay those bills and the blessing to live in a land of abundance. The dust on my shelves means I was too busy running my 11 year old to all of her activities and providing her with a wealth of experiences to take with her in life. The mountain of laundry is proof that I've been clothed. The dishes mean I've been fed.

I know I owe this all to God. I know I can look upon my mess and count my blessings. I know that 'All I have needed, His hand hath provided.' OUCH...did we really NEED that Matchbox car???

Poopy Pants

If you are a parent, you have had the joy (or sorrow) of living through potty training. As a daycare provider, I have endured this ritual not only with my own children, but with countless others as well. My son, who is now six, took longer than his sister to accomplish the task of bladder and bowel control, but did do it within the prescribed amount of time so it wasn't necessary to seek professional help. He was very proud of himself once he was a 'big boy'.

Imagine my .... shock ... one day when I was outside doing yard work, when I heard his voice coming from the front stoop. I turned to find my 3 year old in full splendor. There he stood, pants around his ankles, mess down his legs and a huge wad of poopy toilet paper clutched in his hand. His face told me that he was not pleased about his current condition either. He loudly declared (for all the neighborhood to hear), "Mom, I know I'm a big boy and I don't poop in my pants anymore, but I just did!"

His heart was broken. I knew he must have had one of those fast moving attacks that caught him and his new skill of control off guard, but in his eyes, he had failed. He had let me down. He had let himself down. Of course, being 3, he was unaware that the public declaration and display should have heightened his shame.

As I went to rescue him from his prison of poop, I was puzzled as to how he made it past his father, who was sitting right on the couch and must have witnessed his pants- shackled ankles and smelly journey to the front door. I coaxed him back inside, and said to John, "Um- your son is having....issues." This has become our unofficial family term for diarrhea....ISSUES. We no longer have fast-running poop (as earlier declared by a daycare client), but we have ISSUES. Sawyer, in all of his wide eyed innocence looked skyward at his father and said, "Daddy, I'm having issues."

How often have I felt like this with God? Even though I know about sin and how to avoid it, there are still days when I'm blindsided by temptation and I fall. I fail. I disappoint God. I disappoint myself. I make a mess of things and cry out to God to help me clean it up. I stand at His feet, look toward heaven and say, "Daddy, I'm having issues." He does the same thing for me that John did for Sawyer. He delicately picks me up. He carries me to the bathroom and washes all my issues down the drain....never to be heard from again! Then He wraps me in a big, cozy towel, holds me tight and loves me just the same.

The Joy of Reading

I have recently rediscovered the joy of reading. As a child, I read voraciously. I devoured books a dozen at a time and was always the winner in my class for the number of pages, or number of books read for the year. And it was always a landslide. My favorite books were long and detailed and gave accurate mental images of the landscape and characters. I was not deterred by the fact there were no pictures, and the more words, the better. I could conjur up images and create alternate realities by entering the worlds my books provided for me.

And then I grew up and reality struck...When my college days dawned, I had textbooks to read. After college, there was work. Darn the dollar and the need for it to survive. Once motherhood hit, I didn't read anything more descriptive that the back of a cereal box or the instructions for some noisy toy that needed parts and batteries. As the years progressed, I did graduate to some 'Sam I Am' and 'Dick and Jane', but that's about as far as I got.

So for the past 11 years, it has been my unwritten goal to get 1...yes 1...entire book read every year. I usually accomplish this task on vacation. I pick one book that might interest me, and I cling to it during my 'down time' and try to soak in as much knowledge as I can. I don't read for pleasure any more. I read with aggression. I want to better myself- so one year I read a self help book. I want to be smarter, so one year the book had to do with mental challenges. No longer do I allow myself the luxury of escaping into literature. Now I use it as a tool, but I don't like the hard edges!

No longer is reading an experience of cuddling up on the couch with a cozy blanket. It is a goal. Something to be overcome. It's a mark on a chart of progress. There are no soft edges to it. It is a duty...an obligation. I didn't like my new attitude about reading. Life sucked the fun out of it (isn't life like that with a LOT of things?)

When I felt God calling me to write, I sought the wise counsel of other writers. One suggested I read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It is sort of an instruction manual for writers. The odd thing is, this man hardly knew me, but felt I would appreciate her. Less than a week later, another man who hardly knew me suggested the very same book and had a copy to loan me.

Now if you go ahead and pick up an Anne Lamott book, and know me even the foggiest bit, you will know why I love her writing so much. I still haven't figured out why the men who suggested her like her. They are both men of the cloth, and she can be a bit....gritty. She is real. She is honest. She tells it like it is and doesn't pull any punches....and she has a very weird sense of humor! She also uses a tad bit of foul language (but I have not conquered that demon within myself quite yet- so I guess I am a bit forgiving with that aspect of her writing.)

Not only have I read one book- but I've actually finished two, and in less time than a calendar year! And I did it in a comfy blanket , cat at my feet, warm lighting, in the corner of my couch, after the kids had gone to bed and I enjoyed myself!!! I was inspired to rush to my computer and Google her and then explore e-bay in an attempt to OWN her. I want to make notes in the margins and absorb every word at my leisure.

So often in my faith journey, I find it difficult to sit and quiet myself enough to read the REALLY Good Book. I know it is full of drama and suspense and romance and mystery, but I often put other things first. I struggle with my inability to read words that I know will encourage and uplift me. Those words will challenge me to be a better person and instruct me in the ways I should go, but I can rely on them for hope, entertainment and most of all...enjoyment. I think we just need to train ourselves to enjoy reading again. God has some really good material!