Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Door Mats

How many times have you said, "You can't let people walk all over you"? Or have you heard someone caution you "Don't let your self become a door mat"?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. And it isn't really all that fun. You see our pastor spoke on being Great in God's Kingdom. What does that look like? Like being a slave. Choosing to be that person who does with out expecting thanks, pay, reciprocation of any sort. Laying down your life. Dying to self. Saying no to me, so I can say yes to God.

You know, kind of like Christ.

This sounds lovely and admirable, until you try to apply it to your self.

Do I want to be the slave in my house? Yes. Absolutely.....

I mean, so long as someone notices my excellent slaveness and my unbelievable humility.


It got me thinking, not only am I not to consider my self a well paid servant, but rather a potentially-taken-advantage-of slave; I should really think of myself as a door mat.

Use me. Walk on me. Give me your dirt and garbage. Let me be in a place where I'm sure to be ignored, overlooked, and beat up by the elements.

Now we are talking. I can get some Real Martyr Mileage out of that.

Oh, look at me. Laying here being used. I'm so slave-ish. sigh. It is hard being this self-sacrificing.

But consider that attitude? I've instantly removed any usefulness in the doormat. What if you walked up to a literal house, with a literal door mat that said on it:

Well, okay. I suppose you are welcome to come in. I was going to do something else, but whatever.


Sure, you can wipe your muddy boots on me. I'll just lay here and be dirty. Don't mind me (sigh)

Do you see what I mean? What we want to see on that mat is "Welcome" or "Come in to our home" or "Friends Gather Here" or any of those lovely, truly welcoming messages that speaks to the heart of the guest.

Which leads me to ask, what message am I sending out to my kids? To my husband? To my parents and inlaws? To my small group at church? To the people I serve with in music? To my neighbours?

Am I willingly, joyfully, honestly thrilled to serve? Or am I letting them know just how much they are putting me out with this favour but I'm going to bravely do it anyway just to show them the Love of Christ? Yuck. May the Lord forgive me for tainting the world's perception of His love like that.

I want to be the kind of person who really doesn't care for her own needs or desires. I used to always say with my husband that if all I care about are his needs then it frees him up to only care about mine. Then we both walk away feeling the joy of serving and the joy of being served. Not even sure that is totally the right motivation any more but it is sure better than the Pharisaical Trumpet Blowing I like to do some days (see Matt. 6:2).

I'm pretty sure that if I get this right, if we as Christians who love people get this right, then the world will never be the same. All eyes will turn to Christ. We must decrease; He must increase. (John 3:30).

Lord give me the heart and the attitude and the humility to say "I am an unworthy slave; I have only done that which I ought to have done" (Luke 17:7-10), and really mean it. Show me how to love what you love, and hate what you hate so that this all comes much easier. Show me the work You are doing in those around me and give me the courage to join in. Let me be like a door mat. Prone before You is always a good place to start anyway.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wow-ful "Women" Wednesdays

Note the Quotation marks...

So our house is for sale. Yahoo! And in a means of self-promotion I wanted to post this catchy little video all about our great house and what is so special about it and why you might want to buy it.

Plus the song mentions a wow-ful woman. Mother is pretty remarkable in here.

If this song doesn't stick in your head all day, you weren't listening. And if it doesn't make you smile, then maybe you weren't around in the 80's. Love.love.love this song.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

My last two evenings have been spent with some people I adore driving to the armpit of Ontario (or was that the....nevermind) to do some Vocal Artistry. It was likely the most profitable 7 hours I have spent since labour with my last baby.

I learned several things that will stick with me forever:

First: holding your tongue with a J-cloth feels really gross.

Second: I cannot give a massage and sing at the same time.

Third: There are 640 crayons in a 640 pack of crayons.

Fourth: Broccoli soup should never be that thick.

Fifth: I should never be allowed to sit between Kate and Tim ever.

But seriously, the training was excellent. In fact, our instructor was so good that after 7 hours of his techniques being taught, and after hearing him name-drop Rachael Lampa several times, I can now sing like this Wow-ful Woman. She is amazing! And now I am too! Just wait until you hear that my range has increased to match hers. It is simply astounding what I can do now! Who knew that by relaxing my laryngeal tension I could gain 2 octaves and look good in shiny pants like Rachael Lampa!


All kidding aside, it was time extremely well-spent and I am more blown away than ever by the brilliance of God to create such an incredible instrument as the human voice. Now in Tim Carson's words, I need to get on to the vocal treadmill and get busy. Time for some serious workouts so I can be a good steward of the mite the Lord has given me. And if you ever get a chance to use his products, or see Tim Carson in person, please do. It will open your eyes to a whole new level of communicating through song.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bonne Fete, ma soeur!

Today is my sister's birthday.

I was thinking about how much fun we used to have pretending we knew how to speak french. We'd be walking down the mall together and there would be a "don't you want to sign up for a Sears Card?" person approaching us, and Jacq would look at me and said "Et maintenant, nous commencons parler on francais". We figured if we were speaking french, or even kind of french, to each other that they would leave us alone.

We also tried to have "All French Days" at home, where we would try to only speak french all day. The problem with this was that I knew a lot of verbs that she didn't know, and neither of us had a great accent. So trying to understand each other's quirks took some getting used to.

But in the midst of all this, we fell in love with Edith Piaf. Particularly this song. (by the way, I should say that despite taking French into University, I still credit Mme. Piaf and "Michelle, ma Belle" by the Beatles as the bulk of my language studies".

The funny memory I have of this song is when my sister decided that Edith must be anorexic because of a line in the song that Jacq thought said "I have eaten nothing". I still smile thinking of that.

So without further ado, Happy Birthday Sis. Je Ne Regrette Rien.

Non Je Ne Regrette RienNon, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Ni Le Bien Qu`on M`a Fait, Ni Le Mal
Tout Ca M`est Bien Egal
Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
C`est Paye, Balaye, Oublie, Je Me Fous Du Passe

Avec Mes Souvenirs J`ai Allume Le Feu
Mes Shagrins, Mes Plaisirs,
Je N`ai Plus Besoin D`eux
Balaye Les Amours Avec Leurs Tremolos
Balaye Pour Toujours
Je Reparas A Zero (This is the anorexia line: she thought it said "Je repas a Zero"... as in "I had zero meals". Love that.)

Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Ni Le Bien Qu`on M`a Fait, Ni Le Mal
Tout Ca M`est Bien Egal
Non, Rien De Rien, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien
Car Ma Vie, Car Me Joies
Aujourd`hui Ca Commence Avec Toi

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Remains of the Day

I have a lovely friend. Actually, I have several, but right now I am thinking of one in particular. I don't want to embarrass her by naming her here, but I do want to share something wise she once said (and it wasn't the only wise thing she said. She is rather remarkable that way). And if someone picks up on who she is by my vague and general descriptions, well, so be it.

This friend was giving a bit of her testimony at church when she said the line that has made me think for a long time. She said, "I often worried that when I was done all this that there would be nothing left of me. Maybe this is all I am."

She was referring to her being a hepthathelete and then retiring from competing.(Don't worry: I have lots of friends who have competed in the Olympics...I'm sure no one has any clue of whom I'm speaking.) She wondered if all she was, who she was, was that girl who competed. (I do hope I am not entirely twisting her meaning: it has been almost two years since she spoke to us.)

Funny that: Haven't you had the same wonder? Is this all I am? Who am I in the first place? Am I only a homeschooling mom of 7? And if so, what happens when they all move out? Do I just fade away into nothingness? Do I become that dear old, godly, praying woman that people have thought was "really old" for decades but still hasn't died?

I simply love being home with my kids. It is my first and only choice. Don't get me wrong: I am not wishing for a way out. This is a highly fulfilling position, paid or not!

These questions aren't coming out of discontent, I don't believe. I wonder if there is the ability to be fulfilled in more than one arena. I am wondering about what else there is to me, to us. How else does the Lord intend to use me through my family? Evangelism in our house can simply mean leaving the house, or going to Wal-Mart (heaven forbid) and having someone notice "something different" about us.

Plus the Lord has been gracious to allow me to serve in our church in a musical way. I am thrilled to do that as well.

I just want to know I'm not missing something. I don't want to merely survive these years and then "really serve the Lord" when my husband retires. And I also don't want my kids to think that being a mom is years and years of hard work and drudgery and then sometime when your kids are grown up and fully self-supporting you can get on to real life.

This is real life. I love this life. What I want to know is, when Christ said he wanted to give us live to the full, life abundant, what does that look like? Am I making the most of my days? Am I being a wise steward of my time and abilities?

Fuel for thought anyway, even if it does end with more questions than answers.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Oh I hate when I haven't blogged for a whole week and I have two Wow-ful videos back to back. Must.post.more.often

Good, so now that I have had my daily dose of blog guilt let me intro the video.

This isn't really the song I would have wanted to post by this spectacular woman. I really wanted to post Good Mother, but haven't yet found a version of it I like. (do you know who sings that title? So exciting!)

However, I'm sure you've felt like this some days. That you want to find someplace where no one knows you. There is definitely a "run-away gene" deeply rooted in me. When I was in University, I was making some fairly lousy life-choices. I was not being who I wanted to be and who I knew I could be/ought to be. So I had this dream that it would just be easier to save up my Tim Horton's tip money and fly out to BC. Why BC? Because I'd never been there, and no one knew me, and I could just try again.

Well, praise the Lord I didn't go (saving Timmy's tip money I still wouldn't have been able to afford a ticket today!), and praise the Lord that no matter where I go, He knows me. And that every morning His mercies are new. And that every fraction of time, He can make me a new creation.

So, while I now know that I don't have to run away from my life, I do still love this song, and this woman's voice, and the thrill of the thought of just going for a great road trip.

Jann Arden--Where No One Knows Me.