Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's Just Clothing!

I like a nice shirt just like the next guy.  And I must admit, I am kinda label conscious, but I feel a little guilty buying a shirt that costs as much as a new TV.   Most of my shirts are gifts from thoughtful and generous family and friends, (so I get the lessened guilt of someone else buying it for me).   I do like to wear the ones with a horse, rider and a mallet, they seem to make clothes that look nice and last a few chukkers.

My kids have started Whale hunting a lot lately.  Fortunately for their Summer job budget, most of their successful hunts have been at the thrift store or on sale somewhere in a discount setting where they harpooned a slightly older Whale, culling the pod.  A little survival of the fittest in the clothing biome.

Why do we like labels so much? Does it help us feel like we belong to a certain group? Does it help us identify with those around us?  Does it help us feel better about ourselves?

I don't know for certain the answer to these questions, but felt like I had to ask them.  My sociology background tells me we all want to feel like we fit in somewhere. We all want to belong to a desirable group and sometimes a uniform can help; even if the uniform is just a certain clothing label. From my experience though the labels don't generate the kind of connection we are all desperate for. The clothes don't make a man, I guess, or a friend.

The desire for a label says, "I want to be liked, included, or connected to you".  Or perhaps, "I want to be envied by you, because I am in the 'cool', 'in', or 'hip' group."

Jesus knows our bent.  He knows our desire for connection...our need for inclusion... our need for an identity.  He addressed it in His longest recorded sermon:

Jesus says, in Matthew 6:25-33 (Message version) "If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 27 "Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 28 All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. 30 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 31 What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. 32 People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Jesus says in Matthew 6:30 (NIV) that our view of clothing can be a faith issue... He says,"If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?"  If we obsess about wearing the "right" clothes, it could be pointing to our need for trusting Him more.

His labels are not worn on the chest of the shirt, but a little deeper inside, on the heart, And they are not an expression taken off and put into the laundry, but worn all the time.  We are loved by the King! We belong to Jesus! We are a part of the body of Christ!  

Don't worry about fabric so much, it's just clothing, just temporal.  But rejoice in His grace and love, His forever connection and acceptance.  God sent His Son to wear one of these earth suits, so He could save us and identify with us and model true connection. 

Next time you are in the closet wondering what to wear, thank God for the way He clothes us. We can identify with Him by the way we treat others, it is more endearing than sharing a clothing label. We can be thankful for His provision for us. Put your Jesus on. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

So Long Sweet Sammie!


Last week we said goodbye to Anita's Aunt Sammie.   She was always the life of the party. If there wasn't a party she made one. This beautiful, strong, confident woman was caring and proactive and generous.  She was lovingly called "the Little General" by the family.  She always knew what to do and what was needed. She was always headed toward the goal.  These traits made this former school teacher a successful Real Estate agent too.  They called her Selling Sammie.

She was like the Proverbs 31 Realtor ...Proverbs 31:16  "She considers a property and (sells) it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard."  I want to suggest the vineyard she invested in was her family and friends. Her three wonderful kids are bearing fruit of their own now because of her investment.  They are blessed and blessing others.  Her legacy of strength, confidence and generosity continues. Sammie now has sons-in-law and grand-kids, step children and grand-children, nieces and nephews, cousins, sisters and brothers, and she has invested in them all. Each of them have been mothered, and nurtured, and blessed by Sweet Sammie in many ways. She claims many as her own and they consider her a second Mom.

I heard it said, if you want to be a blessing to someone, you must make the sacrifice.  Sammie was always sacrificing to help someone else. She would do without so those she loved could have more.

The whole family, like Sammie, enjoys a good party. Which is why her funeral was a CELEBRATION!  As my son says, Aunt Sammie knew how to put the FUN in FUNeral.  At the funeral home and church there were picture books filled with memories, lots of friends, decorations, lots of family and food...even a butterfly release on the beach in her memory. Her kids and husband remembered her well.

She fought valiantly for six years against a horrendous cancer.  She fought to watch her grand kids grow up. She fought against cancer personally and along side her family for Susan G. Komen. She offered herself and her energy like never before (even though those things are much more precious when fighting cancer). Her husband Tom was the picture of the phrases, "in sickness and in health" and "til death do us part." He was strong for her and with her on the days she struggled to go on.  She has won the battle, she is now cancer free because of Jesus.

We are saddened by her loss, but inspired by her life. She is enjoying her Savior and her Mom, Dad, Sister Kay, niece Mickey and others who have gone before. Those of us left behind for a while will live differently, hopefully better, more generously having known her.

Friday, May 9, 2014


House full of:
Bottles, bottle warmers, diapers, diaper geni
Toys, bouncer seat, story books, fruit gummies
Pack n Play, strollers, cribs, changing table
Riding toys, action figures/dolls, puppies, uncrustables
Purple dinosaurs, Pokemon, Sesame Street, Toy Story
Tricycles, Legos, dirt, bandaids
Soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, footballs
Dance shoes, pom poms, uniforms, hair bows 
Swimsuits, tennis raquets, bats, batons
Friends, siblings, relatives, teammates
Bibles, worksheets, spelling words, math tables
Exuberation, heartbreak, table talk, encouragement
Cleats, tennis shoes,Sperrys, Polo
Trampolines, bicycles, airguns, slingshots
Video games, video games, video games, video games
Car keys, textbooks, laundry, girlfriends/boyfriends
Prom attire, friends, hormones, image
College boards, campus visits, acceptance, freshman
Happy tears, sad tears, proud moments, restarts
Big decisions, jobs, gray hair, Aspercream

Prayers, Supplications, Intercessions, Praises!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where Did the Time Go?

My oldest daughter is about to finish high school and join her brother in the ranks of college students. Last night my all grown up girl won an award for citizenship, was honored as a candidate for Miss EHS and gave a speech as the VP of her class. It seems like yesterday when she was a little toddler full of smiles, stepping in the paint bucket, babbling and chasing big brother in the back yard with a Barbie jeep.  At some point she grew up. Did she ever! She was like a grown up Miss America last night. She inspired and entertained us with her short encouraging speech and graciously and sincerely applauded the Mr and Miss EHS winners (2 wonderful students who are very deserving). She turns 18 today, old enough to smoke (hope she doesn't) and vote (hope she does), but not yet considered an adult in some ways (thank goodness).  Tomorrow she goes to prom. Wow, we were just doing the American Girl doll thing, learning to do backhandsprings, and watching Disney Princesses and Barney non-stop. 
But really isn't this is what it is all about?... growing up our children and launching them to make their own impact on this crazy world. Now is when we have to let go and hope that we have given them all they need to thrive in on this challenging planet. The bad parent anxieties haunt me: Did I teach her the right things? Did I give her some life skills to survive in the hostile world? Did I encourage her faith? Did I give her enough without overindulging her? It is her challenge now. Yes, I always want to be there for her when she needs something, but I want her to learn the skills to do things on her own. That means I have to learn the next part of parenting... parenting an adult (or almost adult).  Lord give me grace and wisdom!

My prayers are that in all my short comings, Christ will be her all in all, her daily Salvation, her Sustainer, Teacher, her Protector. 

Good job daughter! I love you, you're a winner, do your best! You will be just fine! Live, Grow, Keep your Faith, Change the World for Good.  Pray for your Daddy!