Sunday, March 30, 2014

This Week's Lessons

I've been secretly frustrated lately.  I've been feeling left out.  Overlooked.  Forgotten.  It's been happening with friends, family, and even at church.  I recently said to my husband, "We could move to a different country and I don't think it would affect anyone."

What may have started with other people's words and actions turned into a problem in my heart.

This past week was my kids' Spring Break.  Jared was gone on a business trip for the first half of the week, but then he was able to take the rest of the week off of work.  We were able to have some great family time, and we got to see all four of our parents at various times this week.

Last week as I was wrestling with my feelings, I just wanted to talk to my grandma who passed away a couple years ago.  No one could substitute, and I don't have access to her at the moment.

When we visited Jared's dad over Spring Break, I had the chance to sit and talk with Jared's grandma.  I got some of that matriarchal wisdom I was craving.  She reminded me of what I do have.  I know that I have literally the world's most amazing husband, and I'm so incredibly grateful for our three kids.  But I have a tendency to think, "Ok, my marriage is great and my kids are doing well, so I'll focus on what needs my attention or needs fixing."  Jared's grandma simultaneously reassured me that my tendency is natural and understandable, and she also helped me to see why I needed to shift my focus.  Only a grandma can correct you in such a gentle way. :)

Later that night Jared's dad showed me the book his church small group is studying, What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren.  As I flipped through the book, God directed my attention to a section near the end of the book.  He put a label on the part I've played in my recent struggles:  Envy.

Yuck!  I don't want to have envy in my heart!  I usually have no trouble rejoicing with people around me, so I didn't see this coming.  But of course, God was right.  He helped me to see that I was envious of time other friends spend together while I crave more connection with women.  I was envious of other people being recognized for what they do at church while I was repeatedly passed over for jobs I volunteered to do.  I was envious of other people's close-knit families (or at least how I perceive them to be) while I have been longing for deeper relationships with family members.

Rick Warren had several helpful things to say about envy:
  • It's foolish to compare myself to others because I'm incomparable!  So is everyone else.  God made each of us to be unique.
  • Comparing always leads to one of two negative reactions:  pride or envy.  You can always find someone you think you're better than, and you will be prideful. On the other hand, you will always find people that you think are doing better than you, and you will become envious and discouraged.
  • One reason we sometimes find it hard to "rejoice with those who rejoice" is because we fear that there is only a limited supply of God's goodness and grace, so if others get a bigger slice of cake, then I may not get as much.  But God's grace is boundless.  Ephesians 3:8 speaks of "the unending, boundless, fathomless, incalculable, and exhaustless riches of Christ." 
  • When you find yourself beginning to envy someone else, instead of wishing you had their job or talent or boyfriend or children or whatever, remind yourself that "God has given me some unique gifts they don't have, and besides that, I don't know the downside of being them."
  • The point above is just like what Lysa TerKeurst taught me to remind myself when I feel jealous:  "I'm not equipped to handle her good, and I'm not equipped to handle her bad."
  • One of the signs that envy has entered my heart is when I start feeling, "It's not fair!  It's not fair that I don't have what they have!"  Anytime we accuse God of unfairness, we are actually doubting his goodness.  Envy is the symptom, but doubting God is the disease.
  • Anytime you envy others, you are doubting that God knows what's best for you.  You question his love, his justice, and even his wisdom.  
Warren goes on to say that anytime you start to rant about God's unfairness to you, remind yourself of these facts:
  1. Everything I have is an undeserved gift from God.  I wouldn't even exist if it weren't for God's grace.  The next breath of air I take is a gift from God.
  2. I don't know what God knows and I can't see what God sees, so I should trust him.
  3. Life on earth is unfair because of sin, not because of God.  Our rebellion against God has broken everything on the planet.  This isn't heaven, where everything works perfectly.  Nothing works perfectly here.
  4. God sent Jesus to save us from the judgment day when he will balance the books, right all wrongs, and administer justice.
  5. It was not fair for Jesus to die in my place for my sins.  But he did.
Several of those points were reiterated for me this morning through my pastor's sermon.  He spoke about a completely different topic, but God wove some of the same Bible verses into the sermon that He used to speak to me last week.

One of the many books I'm reading right now (I currently have what I call "book ADD") is A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.  I read a little this afternoon, and of course God used that time to speak to me as well.

Here are a few highlights from my reading today:
  • How do we know if we are hearing the voice of condemnation that comes from the accuser, or the voice of conviction that comes from God?  Condemnation sweeps across our thoughts with generalized statements such as, You're such a failure, You're so hypocritical, or You can never be counted on.  The Holy Spirit's conviction will be specific.  (My thoughts have been more along the lines of the generalized negative condemning statements.  God showed me my specific sin of envy.)
  • We have to accept that we are going to disappoint people, especially if we are seeking to please God.
  • Every time you fail to be the woman God calls you to be, or the woman you expect yourself to be, let God remind you of the progress you've made.  Even though you may not be quite who you want to be, you are not who you used to be!
  • Comparison is one of woman's worst enemies.
  • We compare how we feel inadequate on the inside with someone who looks like they have it all together on the outside.
  • God never intended for us to compete with each other.  We are different parts of one body.
  • I have been guilty of thinking God wasn't fair or didn't love me as much because He didn't give me the talents I admired in others.
This is not the first time God has told me to stop comparing myself to other people.  It's one of those repeated lessons that I honestly wonder if I'll ever learn.  Right now I have a lot of questions about what God has next for me, how God wants to use me, what I have to offer, where my unique spot is, etc.  These questions are designed to lead me back to God, and I get myself into trouble when I try to answer them by my own reason and logic.  Or when I get so stuck searching for answers rather than simply trusting God to lead me in His timing.

One other thing God made me realize after I wrote all this is that I tend to envy certain parts of each person around me, as if I'm shopping ala cart from each life around me so I can build what I perceive to be the perfect combination for my life.  How unlike me to want to make something perfect. ;)  However, each person's circumstances are a package deal.  I can't take one good thing from each example I see and ignore the bad that comes along with what they've been given.  No matter how much I want to.

I know this post is long and probably not nearly as meaningful for any of you as it was for me.  I wasn't going to write it but decided to go ahead for my own sake.  I needed a place to process what I'm learning.

I'll have a more light-hearted post for you as soon as I get a chance to edit some pictures of a fun activity I did with the kids last week.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Handyman or the Wizard of Oz

Have you ever felt like God tapped you on the head and a thought suddenly appeared in there?  Sometimes I get a sudden good idea or realization "out of nowhere," and I know it was God who spoke it to me.  It happened to me last night.

I get the opportunity to pray for many people.  People in my Sunday school class share prayer requests, women in my Bible study share prayer requests, and friends ask for prayer.  Sometimes I can sit down and have dedicated time to pray for all of these requests.  More often I simply pray for people in my life as they come to mind or as I'm doing mundane daily tasks.

Last night I was in bed and remembered someone I wanted to pray for.  That reminded me of another prayer request.  And soon I was checking off my mental list of prayer requests.

Then I got the Godly pat on the head.  I had a mental image of myself walking around my house with a handyman following me, pen and notepad in his hand.  I was dryly naming tasks I wanted him to perform.  "This trim is loose, so please nail that back in.  See if you can fix that part of the floor.  Let me know if you have an idea for this area here."

That's how I was treating God in my prayer time.  I was just making sure all the items on my list were on His list as well.

I haven't always treated God like a handyman.  I've spent quite a bit of time at the other extreme, where I approached God with fear and no real personal connection.  This time think of Dorothy, the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tinman approaching the wizard in The Wizard of Oz.  My dad always loved the scene where the lion got so scared of the Great and Powerful Oz that he ran and jumped through the window.  I've known a lot of people who barely approach God and end up running in the other direction out of fear of what He will say.

Last year God really helped me to see him as a personal God who is present with me in every moment.  What an amazing revelation.  Last night I realized that I need to keep the balance of remembering that God is great and powerful.  I can and should be very comfortable talking to him, but He doesn't deserve to have me list jobs for him to do while I barely glance at Him.

The Bible is very helpful in giving us a more full and balanced view of God.
"Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." Psalm 147:5
"For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'" Isaiah41:13
"The LORD your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17
"There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place."  Deuteronomy 1:31
"I am the LORD, the God of all mankindIs anything too hard for me?"  Jeremiah 32:27
"Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earthHe will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathomHe gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  Isaiah 40:28-31
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands."  Isaiah 49:15-16a
God is not my handyman, and He is not the Wizard of Oz.  He is the creator of the entire universe, and He also knows the number of hairs on my head (the brown ones and the gray ones!).  I will never fully understand Him as long as I'm still on this earth, but I'm so glad he continually helps me to focus in on the vision of who He truly is.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Overwhelmed by God

When was the last time you were overwhelmed by God?  If you can't recall very easily, it's time.

I can surely tell you that Monday night was the last time I was just knocked down by how incredible my God is.

Monday was the final session of a 6-week Bible study I've attended.  We studied The Law of Love by Beth Moore.  It's a short study of the book of Deuteronomy.  I know what you're thinking, and YES I truly fell in love with God through studying Deuteronomy.

This was my first time doing a Beth Moore study.  I've always heard that her studies have insane amounts of homework, but this study just had one article to read each week.  We watched Beth's video together as a group each Monday night and then read the article on our own throughout the week.  After participating in this study, I want to do more Beth Moore Bible studies for sure!  I was drawn in by her passion and dedication to God's Word.

She is the kind of teacher that I want to be for my Sunday school class.  Of course I don't want to be her.  I'd have to lose another 50 lbs. and acquire a cute southern accent.  But who she is in her arena is who I want to be in my little sphere of influence.  I feel the same passion that she expresses.  I don't ever want to be on a stage speaking to the sizes of crowds she addresses.  And, Lord, please hear me say that I don't ever want to be on a video and have people document exactly what this mess you call "hair" looked like.  But, oh, I want to sit with my people in my little room at church and watch God open their eyes to see him and their ears to hear him.

Every Monday night I've come home and told Jared all about our video and lesson for that night.  My mouth could hardly keep up with the words spilling out of me!  This week when I came home and sat with him to discuss my evening, I just kept crying through my retelling of the lesson.

In fact, I had goosebumps, a lump in my throat, or actual tears on my face for the entire video during this last session.  When the video concluded and we sat as a group to discuss the last lesson, I could hardly keep myself seated on that couch!

I'm telling you:  this stuff is GOOD!  My God is GOOD!  Rekindling a passion and thirst for His Word that is greater than I've felt in years is GOOD!

God started speaking to me through this study before it even started.  Each week he placed little lovenotes for me all throughout the video and lesson.  And I'm not even talking about the actual lesson yet.  I'm talking about moments where he practically appeared in the corner of the screen to wink at me and remind me that HE was the one speaking.

For example, during the first video, Beth was going to reference Habakkuk 2:2.  I tensed as soon as she mentioned the book of Habakkuk.  I have a history with Habakkuk.  She then said something like, "This verse isn't part of our study, but I just feel like the Lord wants me to read verse 3 for you as well."  She went on to read Habakkuk 2:3 and to say that was for a specific woman to whom God wanted to speak.

That is the verse with which I have a history.  That verse is the verse God gave me when I desperately longed with all my heart to have a daughter.  He gave me this verse one month before I got pregnant with Nora:
For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.  Habakkuk 2:3
The italicized portion is what God specifically spoke to me.  I still get choked up just typing those words!

That Habakkuk moment on that first night of the Beth Moore study was just the first of oh so many moments where God left his fingerprints to let me know that he was working and speaking.  It was incredible.

I want to tell you everything I learned through this study.  I want to share all of the specific things God said to me.  I want to sit down with you and not be able to catch my breath because I can't talk fast enough to say it all.  In fact, stop by my house and we'll have that conversation.

I guess what I want to type here today is that I want you to experience God in just as fresh a way as I have.  I have been a Christian for over 21 years, and it had all become a little too familiar, too routine.  My world pretty much consists of my home and my church.  Church can become like a job.  I show up on time, do the work I'm supposed to do, interact with the people there, even get frustrated with my "coworkers."  I attend Sunday morning service, teach Sunday school, attend Wednesday night service (currently our Wednesdays have been dedicated to a marriage class at church), and attend at least one Bible study per week in someone's home.  I read lessons I'm going to be teaching and lessons someone has taught me.  I read books for my own devotions.

But I needed a fresh word from God.

And I got it.

And the dull droning through the motions isn't near enough anymore now that I remember what it's like to truly spend time with God.  I pray that I won't ever get back into a rut of doing what I'm supposed to for the sake of being a good Christian.  I pray that my words would be truth and life to the people I influence. And I pray that God would touch you in a way that you know exactly what I'm talking about.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Things I Wanted To Tell You

I keep a (super cute) notepad on the side of my fridge so I can jot down ideas I have for blog posts.  There are many ideas I never quite get around to writing.  For example, I still haven't written up my favorite moving tips, and we've been in our new house for six months.

For today I thought I'd just clump a few of these ideas together so I can cross off multiple ideas from my list without writing individual blog posts for each one.  I'm guessing every now and then we'll have one of these "catch up" days where I tell you a few random things.

Date With Griffin

One Saturday while Griffin had basketball, the other two kids got to attend a fun birthday party at Monkey Joe's (loud, chaotic place with lots of jumpy inflatables).  This was right after Griffin started doing well at basketball, and I was super nervous about how he would do.

He didn't throw a fit about not being able to go to the party, and he did an awesome job at basketball.  So, I took him on a date after basketball.

He chose to go to Sonic for our date, and I obliged.  We parked at Sonic and kept the car running since we were in negative temperatures at the time.  He came up and sat in the passenger seat while we ate.  I even let him order a big ice cream treat for dessert.  We ate and talked and watched a bunch of birds in a nearby field.

He finished off about 1/4 of his giant shake!

We had lots of fun with the "I Spy" toy that came in his kid's meal.

It was so much fun!  Griffin still occasionally talks proudly about our date.  We'll definitely have to do more dates in the future.


Every morning I drive the kids to school.  We park on the street, and I walk the boys up to the front door of the school.  I hug and kiss them, watch them walk in, and Nora and I walk back to the car.

Well, we hit a sad but inevitable milestone about a month ago.

We walked to the school door like usual.  I hugged Griffin and he gave me a kiss.  Then I hugged Nolan just as he spotted a kid from his class approaching.  Next would be when I would kiss him.

Nolan hesitated.

I could read him.  I saw the whole thing unfolding, and I knew what was happening.  For the first time, he didn't want to kiss me in front of his peers.

I'm not gonna lie:  it stung.

But I also know that independence grows in these tiny steps.  If I ever want Nolan to be a healthy, independent adult (and somewhere down deep I do), then I have to let him pull away in tiny increments.

He still hugs and kisses me if there are no other kids around.  If there are kids nearby, our kiss is fast or maybe I just kiss his cheek or forehead.  He knows I love him, and I know he loves me.  That's enough for both of us.

Quinoa Pizza Bites

We officially tried quinoa.  And I have to say--we liked it!

I made this recipe for Quinoa Pizza Bites from Fit For Success.

I doubled the recipe and omitted the onion.  I used my 1.5 tablespoon scoop to put the quinoa mixture into my mini muffin tin, and it made 28 quinoa bites.

I made these for dinner, and my kids even loved them!  Everyone except Griffin dipped them in pizza sauce.  We'll be having these again!

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Another new recipe we tried recently is Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats from SkinnyTaste.

Jared and I loved them, Nolan liked them, and the other two kids weren't fans.  Can't win 'em all.

The Book Thief

Over Christmas break, I read The Book Thief.  It was SO good!  I highly recommend this book.

Do yourself a favor and read the book before you see the movie.  Trust me.  I think the movie will be good, but I just don't think there's any way a movie can do this book justice.

The book is extremely unique in its writing style.  It is narrated by Death and tells the story of a little girl living in Nazi Germany.  I normally don't like historical novels, but this one certainly won me over.  The character of Death is dynamic and unexpected.  I was intrigued by his views on war.  Here's a little excerpt from the book:
In all honesty (and I know I'm complaining excessively now), I was still getting over Stalin, in Russia.  The so-called second revolution--the murder of his own people.
Then came Hitler.
They say that war is death's best friend, but I must offer you a different point of view on that one.  To me, war is like the new boss who expects the impossible.  He stands over your shoulder repeating one thing, incessantly:  "Get it done, get it done."  So you work harder.  you get the job done.  The boss, however, does not thank you.  He asks for more.
The book is actually about a little girl named Liesel, and I guarantee you will be drawn into her story.

I rented The Book Thief through the library on my Kindle, so I got to read it for free.  It was a bit lengthy but so so soooo worth it.  I connected with the characters in the book, I wanted to keep reading the stories, and I fell in love with the actual writing.

I highly recommend reading this book!


We're not exactly caught up, but I think that's good for now. :)


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Your Mama Loves You

I'm a very affectionate person.  I like to smother shower my kids with physical affection and loving words. 

This became a source of pain when Griffin was little and refused physical affection.  I praise God all the time for the progress Griffin has made.  He now accepts my affection and even initiates it with me fairly often. 

There's still a difference between Griffin and my other two children.  The other two will say, "Mom, can we snuggle?"  They seem to crave physical affection and affirming loving words more than Griffin does.

I remember one therapist telling me that Griffin just may not need as much affection as other kids (or me).  She suggested that he already feels secure and loved and doesn't need it affirmed as much.  That explanation was much more comforting than how my mind was tempted to interpret Griffin's more distant nature.

About a month or two ago, Griffin pretty much stopped saying "I love you."  I have no explanation for it.  In our family we tell each other "I love you" every single time we part ways, go to bed, and lots of times just because. 

Lately when I tell Griffin I love him, he just doesn't respond.  Occasionally he'll say, "Thank you."  Or if I'm leaving and tell him I love him, he just says, "Bye."

So I've been working on letting Griffin be Griffin.  I don't take it personally.  We love each other deeply, and I'm not going to require him to say it.

Every night before I go to bed, I make my way into each sleeping child's room.  I fix their blankets, snuggle them briefly, and smooch them.  It may seem weird to some people, but these are literally some of my favorite moments each day.  This is when I marvel at how little and big they are, appreciate how soft they are, and selfishly sneak in a little more snuggle time from them.

I whisper things in their ears, imagining my affirming words being woven into their dreams.  You are beautiful.  I adore you.  You are such a good kid.  I have special things I say to each child.

One thing I often whisper to each kid is, "Your mama loves you."  It's true.  And it's a message I want them to carry always.  When the world tells them all sorts of lies, I want their minds to have that message irreversibly seared into them.

A few nights ago when I was making my nightly rounds, I was snuggling a balled up bundle named Griffin.  I whispered into his sleeping ear, "Your mama loves you."

That precious boy, who appeared to be completely asleep, spoke to me without opening his eyes.  He whispered back, "Your Griffy loves you."

Oh, those words filled up my love tank!  That'll last me awhile. 

These kids keep me on my toes, and they make me appreciate every wonderful thing about them!


Saturday, March 1, 2014


Do you ever wonder if you're weird?

Or maybe it seems that everyone else around you is weird?

Oh, come on, I can't be the only one.

This is a lesson I've been working on learning for literally years now:  how to be completely content with being different than people around me.

I've analyzed this a lot.  Why does it bother me so much when people make different choices than I do, parent differently than I do, allow/disallow different things than I do?

I think the answer lies in how I interpret different choices.  When someone makes a choice different than mine, I've always interpreted that as, "I considered your choice but had good reason for not choosing it."  That led me to feel as though I was missing something or had made the wrong choice.

This might actually apply in some cases.  For example, Mom A might allow her children to play a certain video game while Mom B forbids that game.  It's quite possible that Mom A doesn't realize how violent the game actually is because she hasn't checked it out herself.  What I've learned lately is that it's also quite plausible that Moms A & B just have differing views on tolerable video games for their kids.  Mom B probably can't be convinced that they're making equally acceptable choices though when she feels that her standards are set correctly.

Then there are issues such as foods and drinks.  I was at a church breakfast several months ago when a volunteer asked us what drinks we would like.  Nora asked me what kind of milk they had because we have several kinds in our home refrigerator (skim for Jared, 2% for kids, lactose-free for me, etc.).  Another mom at the table loudly told me that she never ever allows her children to have chocolate milk.  Ever.  I mentally prayed and begged Nora not to mention that my kids drink chocolate milk every single day. 

I left that breakfast feeling bad about myself as a mom.  All because an outspoken mom felt I should raise my kids according to her standards.  Sometimes I interpret other people's comments this way ("You should do as I do") when in reality they aren't implying that at all.  But I can tell you that in this particular case, this particular mom does think her choices are the only correct ones.

Somehow food has become a popular category for these little skirmishes where two people have different standards.  Some only eat organic, some don't eat meat, some consume artificial sweeteners to lower calories, and some never consume artificial sweeteners.  Some eat a low-calorie diet, some eat a low-fat diet, some eat a low-carb diet, and some eat a low-budget diet.  We all have our opinions on what is acceptable to eat, and I'm pretty sure you'll never find another person who has the EXACT same diet and guidelines that you do. 

My diet has changed so much over the years.  I had strict standards when I was losing weight.  Then I had to make changes to account for becoming lactose intolerant and discovering various trigger foods for my Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  I used artificial sweeteners to cut out calories while losing weight.  Then I cut out artificial sweeteners when my body wouldn't digest them.  I relaxed my diet when I reached the stage of maintaining my weight.  Then I gained a little when we went on vacation and then moved and then had the holiday season.  My diet changed again so I could lose the extra weight.

I can't expect other people to make the exact same food choices that I do.  I can't expect other people to boycott onions just because they hurt my belly more than any other food on the planet.  Do any of you agree with me that olives are hands-down the most disgusting food there is? 

Of course food is just one tiny area where we might disagree.  Parenting has to be the most heated category for disagreements.  I've made my choices on things like breastfeeding, how to get babies to sleep on their own, potty training, discipline, etc.  I have a lot of choices left to make. 

It is EXHAUSTING to constantly compare my own choices with those of everyone around me.  There is value is seeing what other people choose, and especially why they make their choices, so I can make an informed decision.  But I've often take it too far, losing my own perspective as I consider other people's. 

All of these rambling thoughts came to the forefront recently when we met a family at school.  Both of my boys have grown fond of a boy in Nolan's class, and that boy's mom invited us over for a playdate.  I was so excited.  She seemed so nice, and I knew her son got along well with my boys.  Plus I was ecstatic that she asked me to come along so I could get to know them better.

Our visit to their house was a constant reminder that people around me are not clones of me.  She offered my kids organic fruit pops for an after-school snack.  I was super happy with that healthy snack choice, but I knew that my kids often eat things like Goldfish or Pringles for their after-school snack.  She characterized herself as a "free spirited mom" who doesn't impose many rules on her kids.  I think we could all agree that I fall more in the "overbearing" category as a mom.  The toughest part of our visit was when I tried to explain Griffin to her.  She had never heard of Asperger's, and when I said it's a form of autism, she either hasn't heard of autism or doesn't believe in it.  She wasn't clear.

I would normally think we're just not compatible with this family.  However, our kids really enjoy each other.  So we reciprocated the invitation and had them over to our house yesterday.  After a little mental processing on my part, I decided just to be me.  I still wanted my kids to behave and share and use manners.  I still cleaned my house.  I spent too much time trying to decide what to serve for an after-school snack.  But I made no apologies about who we are.  I didn't try to cover up the ways in which we're different. 

This was a big step for me.

The overall message is:  This is us.  We don't drink alcohol, we don't cuss, we are super involved at church, we buys foods that are on sale, we let our kids eat candy and drink chocolate milk, our house is a completely different style than yours, we love each other like crazy, we tend to raise our voices, I am fiercely protective of my children, my kids are far from perfect, I have a horrible memory, and I tend to say awkward things when I'm nervous.  But if you want to be friends, I'm in.

I'm learning to accept that sometimes I'm weird.  And sometimes I'm super normal and the other guy is weird.

I never want to get to the point of being close-minded, assuming that I'm always right.  But my focus had to shift.  I am moving from changing what other people think I should change to seeking God's guidance and changing what He asks me to change.  That's the key to finding the balance between "I need to change everything about myself" and "I don't need to change one thing about myself."

I'm re-reading the book Jesus Calling this year, and this is what the devotion for yesterday said:
Stop judging and evaluating yourself, for this is not your role.  Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people.  This produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes, a mixture of both.  I lead each of My children along a path that is uniquely tailor-made for him or her.  Comparing is not only wrong; it is meaningless.
      Don't look for affirmation in the wrong places:  your own evaluations, or those of other people.  The only source of real affirmation is My unconditional Love.  Many believers perceive Me as an unpleasable Judge, angrily searching out their faults and failures.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  I died for your sins, so that I might clothe you in My garments of salvation.  This is how I see you: radiant in My robe of righteousness.  When I discipline you, it is never in anger or disgust; it is to prepare you for face-to-Face fellowship with Me throughout all eternity.  Immerse yourself in My loving Presence.  Be receptive to My affirmation, which flows continually from the throne of grace.
Seems like a perfect message for me on the day when I hosted the which-one-of-us-is-weird family.

So I'm working on this, and making progress (I think).

Here's to being weird and loving it!