Sunday, June 14, 2009

When I'm 94.

I recently happened upon this darling picture of my Great Grandma

(who we fondly called, “Grandma Great”) that has been making my heart smile all week.

She was 94 when this picture was taken.

Please note the giant sun hat, the dainty white pearls, and her tender little smirk.

I will have you know if by any chance I live to be 94 years old, I fully intend to look exactly like this.

By the way, Grandma Great had a robust version of “Onward Christian Soldiers,” played at her funeral. It was brilliant.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Posture of My Pursuit.

God so gently and tenderly revealed to me today why I so often find myself spiritually sore.
The truth is I won't stay down.
I humble myself in adoration and love before my King, longing to serve Him and His people.
Then, the next thing I know, I have popped up again, out of that attitude of humility.

In Philippians 2:7, it describes my Saviour who,
“...Set aside the privileges of deity (though He totally could have claimed them) and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.” (Italics mine:)

I am amazed that not only did God choose to humble Himself for me, but also that He chose to STAY humbled.
It's the Bent-Down Gospel at its best!
He became a servant and stayed a servant because He knew it pleased the Father.

I am weary of the repetitive spiritual squats that I frequently feel it necessary to do.
I go from humility
to selfishness
to humility
to entitlement
to humility
to plenty of other postures that in no way please God.

In these days I feel called to purposefully adore the Lord better.
This knowingly will involve staying face down before Him.
And so, friends, I am prayerfully down for the count.
Humbled in the Presence of the Almighty.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Confessions of a Manual Laborer.

Over the past month and a half I have had the rare “privilege” of getting an up close and personal look at the life of a builder and/or manual laborer. While finishing my darling cottage I turned into a sort of apprentice to the trades of tiling, painting, furniture staining and countless other odd jobs. To be honest, it hasn't always been pretty and has included a plethora of wounds, mishaps, and even late night work by candlelight. Through the 8 hour days exerting myself in ways I have never experienced, I have come to make some observations regarding the life of a builder. Take them for what they are, the confessions and random thoughts of an outsider looking in on a world previously unknown.

  • Manual Labor. Does anyone else notice that the word “MAN” is in the very title? Now I am a rather hard working and independent woman, if I don't say so myself, but I realize now that the reference to “Man” in the title of this sort of work should have at least served as a warning to me. This kind of work is stinkin' hard and ordinarily used to help the men (or women in this case) doing the work feel a sense of masculinity and affirm their strength and gender. Had I stopped to recognize that this is a purpose within manual labor, I perhaps would have a) Given myself some grace and b) Perhaps let someone else help.

  • A Lesson on Glove Wearing. Perhaps, like me, you may someday find yourself in the position of working with materials that are known to be harmful to your skin and include a mild, yet present warning on the back of the packaging recommending that you wear gloves. My advice on this one is that you WEAR GLOVES. Do not think to yourself, “Well, Tyler (insert any name here) never needs to wear gloves and he was actually a builder, HA why should I?” or “Warnings, shwarnings, how can I possibly work with such exact perfection were I to wear the said dorky looking and sweat-producing gloves?” Blame me. I failed to wear gloves while grouting my shower and thought the whole day I merely cut my finger which thus began the stinging. I WAS WRONG. The chemicals in fact ate the tips of four of my fingers off , boring holes into them that became like open sores that legitimately hurt like none other and didn't heal for weeks. When in doubt, heed the warnings.

  • Man Hands. This topic spirals off of the “Wear Gloves” advisory. Again, I should have stopped to think that partaking in MANual labor would naturally replace my dear, sweet, dainty little hands with MAN HANDS. What are “man hands” you ask? They are defined as hands that mysteriously peal in random places, have cuts, sores, and bruises who's origins are unidentifiable, nails often broken off and you better believe have paint, dirt, concrete, and various other materials forever embedded in every nook and cranny. My lovely hands are still recovering from their month-long thrashing and so again I say, if you can, wear gloves.

  • Fun Tools. Yep, I'll admit it. I actually pride myself on now being able to peruse the aisles of Builder's World fully aware of the names and uses of the plethora of tools and materials. From chuck keys to trowels, and fascia board to galvanized pipes, I have grown in familiarity and now see why men like their power tools. They're fun. But the real question is, have you ever used a chalk line? For those of you who don't know, a chalk line is a little magical tool that places a straight chalk line (thus the name) in brilliant violet across any surface with precision and ease. The perfectionist within was mesmerized by it again and again. I totally want one for my birthday.

  • R-E-S-P-ECT. In a nutshell, my month and a half chained to my cottage working early mornings to late, late nights has given me a deep sense of respect for those individuals who do manual labor for a living. It is hard work. This may seem obvious but working with nasty materials, dangerous power tools, toxic fumes, sweat dripping, consistently covered in something, day in and day out, is not all it's cracked up to be. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to physically invest and work hard to complete my little cottage, learn so many random skills and prove to myself that MANual labor is not just for men. However, I am relieved to be DONE. Amen, hallelujah!