January 25, 2012

The "D" Word

I vividly remember the days when I would sit on the bottom step of our staircase and watch out the front windows of our house waiting for the boys to come home from school.  I remember the sound of little boy voices competing with each other in the telling of their day.  I remember fixing them a snack and sitting at our table with one on either side of me as I helped with daily homework.

I remember the look on their faces as they would fill me in on who said the "S" word on the bus and my utter horror at the thought of some snotty nosed kid stealing the innocence of my boys.

I then remember them whispering to me the dreaded "S" word.

Mom, he said STUPID.

One boy would sit in awe of the tenaciousness of his brother as he actually dared to use the bad word while I would release a huge sigh of relief knowing innocence remained intact for one more day.

Then came the day when the "S" word really meant the "S" word.  And all the other words that are described by the one poor letter of the alphabet that never did anything to anyone.   The day when I started getting a grunt in response to questions about their day.  The day when fixing a snack meant opening a bag of chips and eating the whole thing.  The day when I just wasn't smart enough to help with homework anymore.  

In my world there are words that are bad just because of everything they mean....or I just get grossed out by the sound of it.  One word I despise?  

Ugh....I'm getting sweaty palms just thinking about typing it.


That is just an awful word with ZERO positive connotations to it.  ZERO.  Yes, I have gotten used to being inundated with the word when people find out I don't like it but you will never, ever, ever, ever in a gazillion years EVER hear me use that word.  It will from here on out be known as the "M" word.

The other word?


Don't go rolling your eyes.  I'm just telling it like it is.  

Lately, I have been In. A. Mood.

Can I get a witness, Scot?


Oh, that's right.  He is running every errand known to man to try and stay out of my way.  A mood people, and it ain't been pretty so I'm feeling the need to unload.  Aren't you excited?

Being disciplined is something I have struggled with my entire life. 

I do happen to have a sister who got all the discipline genes I'm lacking plus a thousand more.  You just can't talk that girl out of being good.  She eats healthy every single day.....not just on Monday.  She exercises whether rain or shine and not a day goes by that she doesn't spend good, quality time with God. I am in complete awe of her.  

I can't even manage to be disciplined with things like allowance.  I think I owe Garrett about $924 at this point.

OH!!  I am proud to say that I am disciplined with which direction I like the toilet paper to roll.  Oh!  And I'm also disciplined in putting chapstick on before bed.  Does that count?  Is it more of an addiction?  For the sake of argument, we're going with discipline.

I struggle the most with food.  It's just the truth.  It's not my only struggle, but it's the biggest one.

I am the worst at having just one or two cookies and then finishing off the whole batch so it won't be there to tempt me tomorrow.  Or messing up at 8:42 in the morning and totally splurging the rest of the day because it was already a lost cause.  Or being determined to start eating right on Tuesday but waiting until that next Monday because who starts a diet in the middle of the week?

I'm not making light of this because many of you know my struggles in the past have been real.  And in all my attempts at keeping that part of my life  (a struggle with the "P" word)* a secret, God has asked me on more than one occasion to share because it was Him that saved me.

But Oreos are still being made and popcorn still begs for a handful of M and Ms and rainy days are still made for curling up under a fuzzy blanket doing nothing.  

And discipline still eludes me.  I waste an afternoon away on the computer reading about women who lead super amazing disciplined lives when closets need to be cleaned out, I choose a good TV show about disciplined people over exercise, and I won't even mention what dinner looks like half the time at our house. 

That's it.

I don't have any magic ending to this post where I tell you that I all of a sudden got a large dose of discipline and dropped 20 pounds in a week and every closet is now organized by color.  I'm just telling you that again today I asked for forgiveness for my lack of discipline and I am tired of apologizing for the same thing over and over.  

No big theological answer and I have no idea how you say "Discipline" in Greek or Hebrew, I just know I struggle with it.

Maybe I'm just sitting here hoping I'm not the only one.

Now I must go bake some brownies for a thing at church tomorrow and no, the irony of that is not lost on me.  

Nice, warm, somewhere between raw batter and dry, brownies.  

I told you I won't ever say that word!!

*At the rate I'm going, not one letter in the alphabet is going to be safe from me.  "E"......you're next on my list!

January 17, 2012

We Need To Talk

Scot and I had a much needed lunch date before Christmas.  The lunch started with his all time favorite four words...

We Need To Talk

He swears those four words cause dread in every man.  I think he's over exaggerating. There's nothing better than a good in depth conversation where we share our thoughts and feelings....where hours slip by unnoticed because you are so absorbed in the conversation.

According to Scot, having his fingernails pulled out one by one would be more fun.


Anyways, we were at lunch and I informed him that I thought we needed to buy a house in Houston.  We then needed to rent out said house to a friend of mine and then I would feel more rooted and could stay there when I went home and could have all my stuff that is in storage delivered to the house and unpacked and then I could get my Fall and Christmas decorations and bring them back to Singapore with me.

He looked at me for a solid moment before he said....

So let me get this straight.
You want your Fall and Christmas decorations here in Singapore
and your solution to that problem is to BUY A HOUSE??

Ok, so it made much more sense in my head.  It is all kinds of fun being married to me.

You can maybe understand why he was slightly afraid that we'd go to Cambodia and I'd give away everything we have and come home with four extra kids.  

I react.  It's just what I do.

I had promised him that I wouldn't make any commitments and would limit my knee jerk reactions until after he and I had a chance to make some decisions together.

Although it was hard at times, I did a very good job of asking loads of questions, doing a lot of listening, and just absorbing all our time in Cambodia had to offer. 

Because we aren't just talking Christmas decorations here.  

We're talking about the lives of children.  Children who have had much of their childhood stolen from them and in some instances, their innocence.  We're talking about young adults that are investing every moment of every day into some boys in the hopes that they can give them a future.  We're talking about an opportunity to invest in a ministry where every single dollar counts for something. 

These kids and these ministries deserve nothing less than a very purposeful and thought-out reaction with a whole lot of prayer driving the decision.  Throwing a few hundred dollars their way to ease my guilt or discomfort over their situation?

They flat out deserve better than that.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with acting on impulse in a situation where help is needed.  I have a problem with acting on impulse, feeling better about the situation, and returning back to life as normal without some attempt to be an ongoing part of the solution.

In the course of planning for this trip, being on the trip, and after the trip, many people have been incredibly supportive and encouraging.  We've heard over and over how amazing we are to have gone on the trip.

I don't want to discount those words at all because I know they were said so sweetly.

It's just that I don't think we are all that amazing.  

James 1:27 says this:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself
from being polluted by the world.

I can only speak for myself when I say that I fight constantly to not be "polluted by the world".  Entitlement, discontentment, and blurring many lines are what I battle with.  

I really don't want to leave those words written there, but it's truth.

Our time in Cambodia was nothing more than practicing obedience to what we as Christians have been told to do.  There are many, many people that do exceedingly more than we do at a much greater sacrifice and those people are who I consider to be amazing.  Not us.  

I think my time in Cambodia was an opportunity to get rid of some pollution in my life.  And I have to be honest, it was so much easier to breathe.

Because some of you have asked, I am providing information on the Boy's Center for you below.  

The facts:

The Boy's Center (officially called Punlok Thmey which is Khmer for New Growth) needs $4500 a month to keep its doors open and meet some of their goals.  They have only been open since September 2011.

They are supported 100% through individual donations and right now they are receiving $700 a month.  They fall under International Outreach Ministries and all donations are tax deductable.

They had a fundraiser walk-a-thon last year called Traffick Jam that raised enough support to keep their doors open.  They would like to get to a point where Traffick Jam money is used for things like buying more computers or improvements on the Center.

The ladies that are running the center have raised their own support in the states and the Cambodian employees currently make around $150 a month.  The goal is to raise that amount closer to $200.

Their goals are to be able to provide lunch for the boys that walk through the doors and that would cost $75 a week to feed close to 100 kids.

They would also like to become a safety shelter that is open all night for boys who find themselves in dangerous situations and need somewhere to go.

Every single red cent donated goes directly to them and what they are doing.  You can read more about it and donate here.  

If you have any other questions, you can contact me at keri@me.com.  

My hope is that we can go back to Cambodia in May before we head home for the summer.  I just don't want to live my life without frequent doses of these four amazing people and a whole lot of awesome kiddos.

And if you ever want to go with me?

Well then, We Need To Talk!

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