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Entries in All Random All the Time (50)

Sunday
Jul212013

What I'm not

I am not a "smokin' hot wife" of a famous pastor.

BUT

I have been married to the same, wonderful man for 26 years who tells me I'm beautiful when I take my bike helmet off, and have "helmet head."

I am not a super mom managing homeschooling, organic gardening, weaving my own cloth, and finding a way to teach the Westminster Catechism in the middle of my canning and preserving.

BUT

I have three healthy children who all wanted to come home for the weekend to celebrate a birthday.

I am not a seminary graduate who speaks to audiences of thousands at conferences and to whom people turn with their theological questions.

BUT

I am privileged to teach a small group of women each week, and learn more from them than they are likely learning from me.

I am not a professional writer or journalist.

BUT

I have notebooks filled with my own words that may mean something to a child or a grandchild someday.

I am not a scholar.

BUT

I am a life-long learner, and I'm fortunate to have the predicament of not enough book shelf space.

I am not well-known by the masses.

BUT

I am known by the Creator of the universe, and bought by the blood of Christ; adopted, redeemed, set apart, and on the way to glory. I have been brought into the light from the darkness.

I am a stranger and an alien.

And that should be where I find my identity.

Some boast in fame and fortune, but I will boast in the name of the Lord.

Wednesday
Jul102013

My husband is right about fashion, after all

My husband loves to say "Fashion is bunk." This usually follows his penchant for wearing red socks and sandals. Over the twenty-six years we've been married, he's repeated that to me many times when I have had moments of fashion angst.

Leaving the world of corporate finance was a relief for me. While I don't object to wearing business attire, I prefer casual clothing. Now that I am in my late forties, finding comfortable clothing is getting hard. My grandmother used to wear muumuus a lot. I thought they were rather dowdy, and I could not understand why she wore them. I understand why now. Quite simply, for a woman strugglng with hot flashes, they're very cool and comfortable. I have one. I don't wear it out in public for fear of scaring small children.

This past spring, I set out to find comfortable dresses to wear in the hot, humid months. It was not an easy search. Now, I did not look at stores like American Eagle or Hollister, which targets the young and underfed. I looked at places like Eddie Bauer, Lands' End, and L.L. Bean.

This is my complaint to the fashion designers everywhere:

First, older women have hot flashes. That means we need breathable fabrics. All of the menopause experts say to wear loose fitting, breathable clothes. Sorry, polyester is a no-no. And so is rayon. Yes, they hang well, but they feel like they're suffocating you when it's 35 Celsius with 80% humidity. Please: cotton. It's a natural fabric. And please, less knitted fabric. It doesn't hang as loosely as woven cotton or cotton/linen blends.

Second, length. I am sorry, even when I was a size 5, I did not wear dresses like this:

Yes, there was a day when I certainly could have worn this, but I didn't, and that's because when a woman sits down in a short dress like this, she has the ability to provide people with a view to her undergarments. No, thank you. Even in stores for older women, I still see many skirts and dresses as short as this and sales women will try to get me to buy them.

The problem isn't that there aren't any alternatives; the problem is that they are more like this:

Now, these dresses have the advantage of being made of cotton and other natural fabrics, and the colour is lovely, but that isn't what I want to wear. 

The trouble is to find clothes that are pleasing to the eye, comfortable, and age appropriate. 

I'm sorry, I won't wear what a twenty year old is wearing. I was twenty; I'm not now. No, I don't want to wear something where my bust is falling out, or my bra straps are used as an accessory. They are called "undergarments" for a reason.

There is also the sizing issue. Most dresses are made for women who have no curves. My husband tells me he likes my curves. To find a dress correctly proportioned is difficult. Most of them are made for skinny women with no breasts to speak of. They may look good on the emaciated model, but again, I'm over 45, and I'm not a size 0; thankfully, I never was.  Also, heat is an issue. Wearing a tight dress is not conducive to bodily comfort.

Fashion is bunk, after all. It's clearly aimed at a very minor segment of the buying population, and for women like me, over thirty, and under 65, our choices are limited, even in tried and true places like Eddie Bauer, Lands' End, and L.L. Bean. I got a Lands' End catalogue today, and the models get younger and skinnier every year. Not only is the fashion biased toward the thin, it's biased toward the younger woman. What should the rest of us do? 

I want to look pretty for my husband. I like to wear soft, flowing dresses, made from pretty, feminine fabrics. I'm beginning to think that the only place I will find them is within the bolts of fabric at my local fabric store. I may be resurrecting my sewing machine. I'm hoping this fashion bias has not carried over to the pattern companies as well.  If that's the case, I may be scouring the internet for vintage clothing.

Monday
May202013

Churning without butter

I admit that I churn quite a bit. I often have a hard time letting things go. That can be good, but it can be bad. I long to be more like my husband who knows when to stop and let things go.

Over the past number of weeks, I've had more than one occasion when I've thought to myself, "I'm done with social media." I've seen things (and probably said things) that remind me how easily it is to abuse a good thing. And yes, I do think social media can be a good thing. We're the problem when it gets abused. If human beings weren't misusing social media, they'd be misusing something else.

I've written about twenty posts which have made their way into the garbage, and they're in the trash because I felt like my honesty would just be a bad idea. So I wrote them, enjoyed the catharsis, and then dumped them. Note to self: I need to do that more.

My thoughts have been mostly on the way women pile on other women for the choices they make. My daughter has a name for a certain kind of friendship.  She calls it the "I like you if you're like me" kind of friendship. Yes, we all tend to gather around common things, but sometimes, we can be so narrow. I knew a family once who wouldn't let their kids play with other kids who weren't "Growing Kids" children, i.e. their parents subscribed to Gary Ezzo's parenting methods. This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. I don't want to be like that.

I think we confuse being strident with being convicted. I've seen a lot of strident lately. I've seen a lot of folks who come at others with an attitude that says, "I cannot possibly be wrong." I don't begrudge anyone his certainty if he feels he's come to those conclusions with thought and consideration, but sometimes, being too unwilling to consider being wrong means we're simply not teachable.

Over the past few weeks, I've been reminded also that people flock to division and argument. People gravitate to those kind of articles. The articles that simply explain a theological truth often get read far less, and in reality, it's those kinds of articles we should be feasting more upon because understanding theology helps us understand other things.

I've seen people bully others. I've seen people cling tenaciously to having the last word. I've seen people defend their arrogance by saying they're just promoting truth. I like the word "winsome." I think truth is much better wrapped in winsome than arrogance. We all hear people get snitty if you mention "tone" of words, and comments like "tone police" come up. Yes, dialogue in the public square should be allowed, but there are some people out there who can't seem to come across as anything other than condescending and negatively sarcastic. And just for the record? "Well, duh!" is one of those phrases that really can't be spun in any other way than condescending.

Another reason I've been churning is because I know I've been arrogant, strident, and unteachable, and I'm cringing for every time that someone else thought that about me. I've been blogging since 2004; that's a lot of time to be arrogant online; never mind the times I've been arrogant face to face.

My husband is not an arrogant man. He's very cautious and careful. He doesn't get riled in an argument. He doesn't cling to the feeling of being right or vindicated. He's willing to let someone have the last word. He's willing to be wrong. He knows how to demonstrate if he's right and someone else may be mistaken; but he's decent about it.

He churns a lot less than I do. There has to be a connection.

Someone on my Twitter feed this past week re-tweeted this comment by Joe Thorn:

I am genuinely grieved over the arrogant, loveless, and needlessly divisive social media blasts from xians against xians.

I had to stop and ask myself am I guilty of "social media blasts."  I was thinking that social media blasts are meant to garner attention. To what are we drawing attention? Truth or just ourselves?

Edification, that's the name of the game. And that's what I need to seek to do. I'm sure it would involve a lot less churning.

Wednesday
Feb062013

Jaded, cynical, or cranky

I am, likely,  all of the above.

I don't watch a lot of professional sports.  I don't watch much television period, but if I'm going to watch sports, I enjoy hockey, basketball, and tennis.  I have never cared for football, and I think I've only ever watched one game. Something is wrong when really fat guys get paid for being professional athletes. I don't begrudge anyone for enjoying their favourite sports.  Lots of people I know hate hockey, and that's just fine with me.

It isn't the sports so much as the "professional" aspect of it that I'm not impressed with.  When men making millions of dollars for the sole privilege of chasing a puck around the ice can go on "strike,"  there is something wrong.  Seems to me those men and women who fought for the right to strike would laugh at some of the millionaries who go on strike today.  They're not exactly striking for their personal safety.

Athletes who get exalted only to be deposed because of gambling, drug use, promiscuity, or whatever scandals come along the way simply reveal how easily we will idolize anything as long as it looks important or does something we can't do. Hey, I love watching Roger Federer play tennis, but I'm not going to make any assumptions about his morality; why do I care?  He's entertaining me, not being my shrink or advisor. In these days of social media, we falsely think we "know" someone because we follow him on twitter and know when he's eating a bean burrito.

The fuss over what happened at the Superbowl (which I did not watch) seemed to me one of those, "Ho hum" moments.  Superbowl; advertisers; men watching; Beyonce.  What did we think would happen?  It's not like they asked Mary Poppins to be the half time show. Yes, Beyonce is objectifying women; yes, it's promoting distorted sexuality, setting a bad example, and all that stuff.  Why are we surprised?  When the most memorable things about a sports event are the commercials, I think we know what the priority is, and I don't think it's sportsmanship.

I don't expect anything from secular culture that it cannot deliver.  We are not living in a Christian society.  It's post-Christian, so why are we surprised when a woman gets up in front of millions of people to offer what she's selling:  herself?  Isn't that how Beyonce makes her living?  What did people expect?  Not only did she get to disgust thousands of people watching; she also got to promote herself even more.  Is that not the business she is in?

The Superbowl and the commercial venture that professional sports has become feeds the journalists, gives people something to talk about at the water cooler or on social media.  But I'm not kidding myself; it's really not about the love of the game anymore.  If you want the love of the game, I suggest you watch high school sports, or even a buch of 10 year old boys play soccer.  That's the love of the game.

Thursday
Jan172013

When fearfully and wonderfully made is hard to feel

I did not sleep well last night.  Between alternating moments of hot and cold (oh the joys of midlife!) and hearing songs in my head, I had a hard time.  I don't know why, and I don't know if anyone else has this happen, but when I struggle with insomina, I hear songs.  Sometimes, they're good songs; sometimes, they're the drivel I heard on the car radio earlier.  Thankfully, last night featured Andrew Peterson's song "Come Back Soon."

I woke up very grumpy.  Two cups of coffee didn't do it for me, and as I faced a day of details and an errand later today which I'd rather not do, I was in no mood for my regular bible reading time, so I decided to postpone it and read something else.  I can't read my bible and pray when I'm grumpy.  After reading a few blogs and the news, I was ready.

I thought about Psalm 139, and the line that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (v.14).  I thought to myself that it's a lot easier to feel that way when one is young and productive.  After having given birth to children and nursing them, I felt fearfully and wonderfully made.  When I could chase toddlers, I felt that way again. I'm going to be 48 years old in a few weeks; sometimes, it's hard to feel fearfully and wonderfully made.

But of course, I am thankful for the good health I have, and I stopped feeling sorry for myself.  I may not feel like I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, but Scripture tells me I am, and as a creation of God, I can be confident that He knows me; He knows every detail.  He knows that I woke up feeling tired.  He knows I am discouraged at having insomnia night after night, and having to randomly remove my cardigan throughout the day because I feel like I'm being incincerated from the inside out (note to younger women:  plan ahead for light layers!). He knows that there are days when for no particular reason I just feel like I want to either scream or cry. 

I won't complain because these are issues that are minor, and certainly not life threatening.  I am not, like many women my age, suffering from breast cancer, heart disease, stroke or mental illness.  I can walk, drive my car, and care for my home.  My concerns are such minor things.

This is a reminder that our physical selves are not insignificant, and that we battle them daily.  Whether the battle is with a serious disease, or something minor like the female struggles of the late forties, it is a reminder of the reality that these fleeting physical bodies can control us so easily.  These sin-tainted bodies can control us physically and mentally.

Thanks be to God that He can over rule such things.  Thanks be to God that I can read the words that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  And thanks be to God that I can be reminded that my feelings will lie to me, but His word is truth.