Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sunday Sermon: Pirate attacks and practical truths

When one is running ninety-to-nothin' with one's hair on fire, one does not stop to blog.

Such has been my life lately.

St. Michael's been tiling the kitchen counters; I've been painting cabinets, cleaning out cabinets and drawers, and also trying to get back in the groove at the local intermediate school . . . Going to meetings. Buying new books. Going to meetings. Unpacking old books. Going to meetings. Unpacking files and miscellaneous papers. Going to more meetings. Rearranging classroom desks, tables, and chairs. Going to even more meetings. Creating lesson plans. And then finally flinging open the door to Room 105, The Land of Muz (where I am Queen), to greet my new babies!

Don't tell anyone I said this (I always say I hate kids), but few things are more exciting to me than starting a new school year and watching a brand new crop of sixth-graders invade the halls of the intermediate school. (And my kids this year are absolutely adorable!)

Still, it's tough. Juggling the first few weeks of school while finishing up a kitchen remodel (even a relatively minor one) . . . preparing for and teaching a weekend Bible study . . . planning and writing material for the upcoming St. Michael's Wife and the Texas Two-Step class . . . and just trying to do life in general -- whew! (And I know that I'm not by any stretch the Lone Ranger. Lots' of you can identify; in fact, most women are big-time jugglers just because of we ARE women, and that's what we do.)

Anyway, I realized when I looked at my last blog entry on dealing with difficult people that I really should have included some of the practical steps that went along with that particular "Sunday Sermon." So, bloggin' sistas, here they are . . . just in case ya need 'em. (And I'm gettin' back in the groove, so I will be back to bloggin' more often -- even if nobody else reads a word of it!)

Practical Truths to Hang Onto

When Dealing With Difficult People

Official Visual Aid: Often difficult people come in the form of family members. A big brother who thinks he is a pirate with a magic marker sword would qualify.

Callie, the Pirate Victim. (A difficult person might also be a mom who takes your picture when you've been attacked by a pirate AND are having a bad hair day.)

Okay, now . . . once again,

Practical Truths to Hang Onto

When Dealing With Difficult People

  • Understand that love is not a feeling. It is a conscious choice and action. The warm fuzzy feeling that accompanies liking someone may never come. And yet, we can choose -- without the warm fuzzy feelings -- to act in someone else's best interest. That's what love does.
  • Recognize that while it is a fact that someone has certain feelings (even we, ourselves), feelings, in and of themselves, are not facts. Therefore, learn to walk in truth, to walk by faith, according to the facts. For example, I may feel stung by a friend's careless comment, but more than likely, if I think about the fact of the situation, I have to admit that my friend would never intentionally hurt me. She simply wasn't thinking when she spoke. I then have a choice to make: I can 1) react out of my hurt and either become sullen and withdrawn or lash out and possibly say something I shouldn't say either; or 2) I can forgive my friend -- after all, I, too, have been known to say a few dumb things, myself -- and move on. To nurse an unintentional slight doesn't do me or my sista-friend any good.
  • Dealing with difficult people in a Christ-like way is not always easy. In fact, in our humanness, it’s downright impossible! So recognize from the start that you must allow God to work through you, supernaturally. As an act of your will, give the relationship to Him, trusting Him to work all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). And for the record, you do realize what that good is, don't you? If we read on to Romans 8:29, we see that God's definition of good is whatever contributes to making us look more like His Son. (Yeah, I know, my definition of good doesn't always match up with His, either.)
  • Never “hit the streets” without your bullet-proof vest. In other words, just as a police officer's job is to "keep the peace, to serve and to protect," she knows that no everyone is going to appreciate her mission. Therefore, she doesn't go to the streets unprotected or without the necessary weapon. And neither should we! We need to cover our concerns and challenges in prayer, and we need to be armed with every spiritual weapon at our disposal (Ephesians 6:10-18). To enter what could be a battlefield in any other way, is to step out naked and unarmed. Not a pretty sight! And not very safe either. So, don't let fear keep you from loving someone the way God has called you to, but love intelligently and “preparedly,” not foolishly and blindly.
  • Try gentle confrontation, but be prepared to accept the things you cannot change and to change the things you can -- yourself and your own attitude. (Ouch!)

  • Abandon your expectations. Often, difficult people are not able to give you what you want or need from them. Ever.

“Some people are unable or unwilling to change

the way they deal with you. Peace comes when

we truly accept that our actions or words cannot

change difficult people” (Clair Bradshaw).

  • Realize that, often, the difficulties these people cause actually have nothing to do with you, anyway, but have more to do with themselves.
  • Give your pain a voice. Find a godly sounding board, and let the pain out. Listen to wise counsel.

  • Look past the anger, and examine your deeper emotions. What is it about this person that affects you the way he or she does?

  • Pray for a willing heart -- willing to overlook, willing to forgive, willing to heal, willing to love.

Grins and blessings until next time!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sunday Sermon: "Dealing With Difficult People"

Someone once said, “Being in ministry is great . . . if only I didn’t have to deal with people!” (Sounds pretty close to my own, “I love teaching -- it’s the darn kids that drive me crazy!”)

I get that, and I bet you do, too.

Some people are just harder to deal with, aren’t they? And even those folks we normally find charming often have idiosyncrasies that just plain get on our last nerves at times. (Believe it or not, even I’ve been known to drive a few, select people crazy!)

Then again, there are those people who, because of their own lack of social skills, tact, or sensitivity, are constantly stepping on our “feelers,” much like a blind person might stumble over and onto our toes. And once in a blue moon, we even run across someone who actually seems to downright relish stomping on us.

What to do?

Well, one thing’s for sure, we can’t do what comes naturally, which would probably be to send some stomping, stepping, bumping, and bruising right back at the offending party.

How come not?

‘Cause Jesus didn’t call us to be natural people. He called us to love -- and not just love any ol’ way, but to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (He said it was the second most important commandment!) . . . and to love as He loves . . . (now there’s a doozy.)

How in the world -- literally -- do we do that? Certainly not on our own, I can tell you that. (Been there, tried that, big fat flop!) That’s why we have to continue to walk in the Spirit, by the Spirit. (And stuck in this fleshly body for the present time, even that’s pretty tough on most days.)

Still, I’m gonna keep at it. I’ve found that I’m so much better off trying to walk in-step with Him -- even when I fall short -- than when I don’t try at all, like when I run off on my own, or just as problematic, when I sit on the floor and pout, refusing to move at all.

Grinnin' and a'walkin',


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who knew?

Who knew those old beige (or harvest gold) plastic Rubbermaid turntable thingies could be so cute spray painted red! Especially with a backdrop of red and white striped wallpaper! (Just a tiny peak into the current kitchen caper . . .

St. Michael spent most of the afternoon taking out our 45+ years-old sink while I touched up some paint spots around the kitchen. And the tile is going down on the counters RIGHT NOW! It's going to be gorgeous! (Much better than my paint job on the cabinets, but as Nester says, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO BE BEAUTIFUL!)

I'll post more pics in the next day or two when I can find my camera cord that hooks up to my laptop which is in the pile of kitchen stuff somewhere!

Grinnin' like a fool!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pink Saturday . . . early!

Do you have any idea what happens when you put two small children in the same room to take a nap and somewhere in that room there is a tube of toothpaste and two tubes of Loreal's Sea Fleur lipstick?

I do.

And it ain't pretty.

Do not ask me how my grandson came up with the combination, all I know is that he did, and he and his sister were both none the better for it.

But they did smell minty fresh.

Trying hard to grin . . .

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Start Shoppin' for Those Dancin' Shoes!

Well, let's face it. My bloggin' has been pretty sucky lately or just downright non-existent.


There's a reason.

(Now, admittedly, I'm great at comin' up with excuses for just about anything, but this one here is a for-real-genuINE-honest-to-goodness REASON! And some of you are gonna like it! I DO!)

My heart just hasn't been into my bloggin' lately. It's been other places . . . wanderin' around, stoppin' to look here and there, and sometimes just sittin' and thinkin'. I mean I haven't even been lurkin' much either, so that'll tell you somethin' for sure! ('Cause Lord knows I love to window-shop as much -- or more -- than the next gal.) I've just been in a state. Not a bad state, at all, just a wanderin'-around-stoppin'-to-look-here-and-there-and-sometimes-just-sittin'-and-thinkin'-state as far as bloggin' goes.

Then, God bless the Nester. She goes and asks, "Why Do You Blog?" And it was just the question I needed to ask myself (or reask myself). A few weeks ago, even before the Nester nudge, I shared some thoughts regarding my own whys and the new direction I hope to take with this humble little blog. (If you are new to this site, PLEASE go back and read that, as it explains TONS!) Since then, other than to post a few odds and ends (just so I'd remember how to), I really haven't been too inspired.

Until NOW!

After much prayer (which is on-going) and many meetings of the minds (between my colleague in this caper and me), I am finally ready to start getting ready (did ya get that?) to TEXAS TWO-STEP!

OKAY, what I mean by that is that my pard'ner in this adventure, Lora D., and I are gearing up for the official start up of St. Michael's Wife and the TEXAS TWO-STEP as part of our local congregation's women's ministry's fall program. (Gosh, that's a lot of apostrophes! Did ya get all that?!). So, though the thought of going public with all this both excites me (!) AND scares me silly (!), it is time to begin blogging about where we're going with this!

(Thus the new LOOK and the title extension of this little blog!)

Plus, it's time for me to get really REAL about my own need for TWO-STEPPIN' . . .

"Hi. I'm Pamm. And I'm a S-L-O-B."

This is what I would sound like at the appropriate twelve-step program.

So, while I love decorating and love the idea of organizing and cleaning AND love reading all blogs related to those topics, I'm personally only batting 330. here, ladies. And while that would make me a star at any major-league ball park, at home . . . well, it puts me in the bottom of the minors. (I mean really, really, REALLY low.)

This means that if I'm gonna be real with other women who also struggle at home, then I need to be real here on this blog, as well . . . I need to let it all hang out . . . for the sake of ministry. (Hey, it may be ugly and messy, but at least it sounds spirrrrritual.)

Because that's my why. My why of why I'm going to be blogging. I want my blog to be one of the tools that we struggling Suzy Homemakers can use to figure our way out of the messes we've created (or simply allowed to spawn in the dark while we were off doing more fun stuff) at home. I want this blog to play a part in healing our homes. And if it means that I need to show a few gaping wounds of my own, then well, to heck with posting only the pretty pictures.

Don't panic! I won't let this cute little blog turn into a blood-and-guts, gory slasher blog. There'll be lots of beautimous inspiring After pics, for sure; it's just that I'll have to get a little braver about posting honest, for-real Before shots, too. (Not my usual cleaned-up, sanitized, staged version of a Before shot.)

And as a show of good faith, I'm posting what my kitchen looks like right now, this very minute. Yeah, I'm obviously in the middle of painting my kitchen cabinets, but still, most people's countertops still don't look like this when they're right in the middle of a re-do project, do they? (But then, again, that's the whole point: We strugglers don't tend to do things like most folks. We just jump in and let the cereal spill where it may! And who knows, maybe people will think the crumbs in our paint finish is simply a new faux paint treatment!)

Okay, here we go . . . this is where I am sitting
right now. (The breakfast room acting as my
office. Note the small clear space on the right
side of the table . . . St. Michael's current spot --
literally -- for drinking coffee and reading the
morning paper. And who knew that painter's
tape could hold your place in your Bible so well?)

As I turn my head to the right, while I'm typing
away at my laptop, this is what Cusina Casa St. Michael
looks like right now . . . (the doors and drawers
are stacked on the dining room table).

My old Tupperware measuring cup was perfect
for mixing up the TSP needed to degrease and
degloss the cabinets before I started painting.

Ya think I should clean out and organize these
cabinets before I put the doors back on?

Believe it or not, I was able to get to St. Michael's
bagels and the toaster oven this morning!

Even hard-working painters have to eat, right?

And, never fear, I WILL be posting the After pics for sure! (And I told Lora D., "I'm sure I'll have this all finished and cleaned up in time to lead other women in conquering their clutter!")

In fact, I'll be posting not only my own progress, but the victories of other Two-Steppers, too! And this will be the spot for all kinds of helpful hints and principals for Two-Steppin' as we move into the start of the actual "class" (as well as insights we gain from the book of Nehemiah as we compare the rebuilding of Jerusalem's wall to the rebuilding and healing of our homes).

Speaking of which . . .

If you're in the Houston Area,
consider joining us as
we begin the dance this
September 15.
We'll meet each Tuesday evening
from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM,
at Houston's University Baptist Church,
and during the week, we'll stay in touch
through this blog AND Facebook (to come!).

Grins and blessings!