At Least I’m Warm…

I just completed a feat that made me give myself a little pat on the back.  This girl spent two weeks in archery season and two weeks in rifle season trudging through the woods and up a ladder and into a stand waiting for a big buck.  Through wind and sleet and snow (no hail), I sat and froze my bippy.

Somewhere in there, I decided that it’s not surprising that I love this hobby.  I am the same girl that made and loved tree forts, spent every afternoon in the woods after school, and loves to stockpile food.  I also love and respect firearms and the shooting of them.  🙂 And after getting my deer last year, I was hooked.  I look at the whole thing with ultimate respect — the giving of life so my family can eat.  And I thoroughly enjoy the process of waiting and watching Deer TV — the slowest show you’ll ever watch in your life.

hunting pic 2

I love how the experience changes me.  It begins each day with a wardrobe change from work clothes into hurriedly changed warm-weather gear, my backpack, my rifle, and it transforms me into one who sits still.  One who sets her phone down and breathes.  One who has chapped hands and face and hat hair.  One who returns breathless each night with stories of sunsets and deer and maybe a squirrel who jumped into my stand with me or a woodpecker who knocked at my door and scared the willies out of me.  It might involve stories of pee-pee pants as I learned that my new device which allows girls to urinate on the go does not work unless one completely drops her pants.  Quit laughing.  I had to sit in said pee-pee pants for over and hour so as not to disturb the deer.  This is how tough I am.

It reminded me of the famous family story that gets told and quoted time and again at our house.  We were on a family trip and we were at a restaurant and it was a location that should have been warm so when our clothes were inadequate to keep us warm, I had a shivery baby.  I think she was about five and so so cold.  We were at a Japanese steakhouse so we were at a table with strangers — all of us facing each other.  My little one managed to spill an entire bowl of hot soup in her lap.  I say, with all gentleness, that at that age, this particular little one may have typically had a rather strong and dramatic reaction to soup in the lap.  This time, with everyone looking on, she surprised us all by simply saying, “Well.  At least I’m warm!”

That phrase gets repeated over and over around here when things seem dire and we choose to look at the bright side.

With two days left in hunting season, our meat freezer died.  Sadly, it had died a couple days before we realized it and by the time we noticed, we had already lost a lot of meat — specifically, almost an entire deer, almost an entire grass-fed cow, almost a whole pig that we had purchased, 5 chickens and more.

Needless to say, with Christmas coming, having just finished 6 birthdays, and with a pretty neat tax bill due, the timing — and the basement — stunk.  “Well, we have two days left to get a deer!  So let’s get a deer!” we said.

No deer.  Yeah.

We had prayed and we had asked and no deer.  So many collective hours freezing and waiting and watching over the course of 2 months, and nothing.  We left our stands the last night and met at the geese and duck and chicken coops to do chores and fist bumped each other — proud of how hard we’d tried.  Determined to put a good face on things.  And with the most thankful of hearts for all we have.

Friends, we don’t have a happy ending yet.  Usually, this is the part where I tell you something neat like I hit a deer on the way home from work and look at that!  Provision!! Or how one just walked up to my door and died and woohoo!  Meat for everyone!  God has done those type of things for us before.  Checks in the mail at the very moment we needed it.  Business deals that go through when things felt really dire.

This time, the miracle is that we have joy anyway.  Even when things are frustrating and we can’t see the ending for the curves in the way, we firmly believe God has something just beyond our sight-line that is waiting to come into our view and finish the story in the way only He can.  He has proven Himself more times than I could possibly count.  Our family is healthy and happy and together and we have warm homes and will have a beautiful Christmas.  Things are not dire.  They are just inconvenient.  We are 100% choosing to be thankful for everything and excited to see what is in store.  We aren’t even allowing ourselves to complain or worry.  Just not gonna do it.

Because, sometimes, the soup (or maybe the pee-pee) just spills all over your clothes.  But at least you’re warm.


My Strange Addiction

This is not a topic I relish discussing.  There are just some things I don’t necessarily want to dredge up publicly, but I also long to find that common thread — that chord that will resonate between us.  We are, after all, all in this thing together.  And it’s possible that someone else wrestles in their mind and spirit in the same way I do.  I keep waiting to grow up ’cause I’m pretty sure once I do, it will be such a relief to have matured past all of this stuff, but here I am.  Waiting.

Guys, I have this ugly girl who lives in my head and tries to whisper ugly words to me all day.  Before you think I need to be evaluated, I will explain.  Negative self-talk.  Ugly words that tell me that I’m no good.  Ugly words that try to leak out about other people — even people I love.  Just plain ugly thoughts.  My fascination with learning about how our minds work that I acquired from my alma mater, Google University, tells me some of how I acquired this from my childhood.  I like having the explanation, but that does nothing to fix it.  And frankly, I hate the excuse.  Everyone has hurts.  Every single one of us had folks shape us negatively.  At some point, we need to do something about it to head toward healing and not just live in that place of pain.

Okay, I’m going to back up a few steps to tell you how I got here and then I’m going to challenge you in a way that I’m not sure any of us can handle so hang in there with me.

My last post was about losing our dog, Lily.  To sum it up, she was a severe allergy dog who lived with a green cone on her head, a sweatshirt, and even sometimes an ace bandage wrapped around any other bare skin to prevent her from scratching it open.  These things weren’t put on her all at once.  One by one, we tried medicines, lotions, treatments, and then we found the best balance of all of these and then had to try to control her little mind and scratching feet.  At some point, she became addicted to scratching.  She couldn’t even resist.  So, we added a cone.  And then a shirt.  And then the bandage when we couldn’t supervise her.  It took a couple visitors stopping by to stare at our dog in pity for us to see through a different lens that our dog was suffering.  It had become normal to us.  A 24 hour watch on a miserable dog buried in fabric and plastic and medication became normal to us.  We needed to do something — even if it absolutely broke our hearts.

However it happened to me, I recently realized I wear my own cone of shame.

I found a bin of pictures in my garage that had never been unpacked from our move.  Amazingly, it was a treasure trove of family history items that I had been given that were brand new to me.  I found a box of newspaper clippings clipped by my grandfather, and pictures of his mother and brothers.  I found pictures of my parents from their youth.  They felt like windows to the past.  As I looked at pictures of my mother, I realized there were two of about a thousand in which she looked genuinely happy.  As I looked at pictures of myself I said awful things.  Most of what I said was ugly and in my own head.  A couple things I let slip out of my mouth in front of my children.  They were appalled.  And I hadn’t even said things that were that ugly on my Nasty Scale.  My son and daughters told me they never wanted to hear those things come out of my mouth again.  They said to be nice to their momma.  Whoops!

I don’t want to be that.  I don’t want to sound like that.  I didn’t allow myself to do that when they were little — I was more aware of my example.  Something about grown kids can sometimes let one let their guard down and forget we are still parenting and have responsibility.

I have a most beautiful friend who teaches me much.  I think she has grown up, and I don’t mean the couple decades she has on me.  She is what I want to be like.  She is real and she shares her heart struggles with me.  We share a similar background so she gets me.  She also challenges me to be better because she is constantly turning her heart over to her God and willing to let Him mold her.  It is a thing of beauty to me.  And such an example.  In one of our lovely phone conversations, she told me how she has allowed Him to help her throw off negativity that she said had snowballed.  She has replaced it with reveling in all the good things, and guess what?  She said that has snowballed in her! She reminded me to  continue to be thankful always — to meditate on truth and His goodness.  She encouraged me to let Him change out the old tapes that play lies in my head for new tapes of love from my heavenly Daddy.

It was like looking in a mirror and seeing a green cone on my head that I had attached and allowed to become my normal — definitely not my prettiest look, but apparently one I just forgot to notice after awhile.  When I saw it, it kinda felt like that moment in the shoe store when you see the new shoes against your old ones and cannot believe you walked around like that in public.  Or when you have guests coming and all of a sudden you see filth in your house that makes you feel like an episode of Hoarders.

This *strange addiction* of mine has to stop.

Once upon a time, I issued a challenge to you, my readers.  Over several months, I found a way to stop complaining for 30 days.  It took me way too long to break that pattern of my mouth and heart.

Today, I begin again with a bit of a spin.  I am putting on a bracelet.  I am going to fill my mind and heart with remembering truth and meditating on His love for me.  I will not complain.  I will not be negative about myself or anything else.  When it leaks out and I fail, I will change my bracelet to my opposite arm.  My goal is to keep my bracelet consistently on one arm for 30 days.

Friends, I want to reflect love.  I want to take my green cone off and break some rotten and self-destructive habits.  I want to be an example to my family, to my grandkids.  I want to just shine.  Maybe that’s how I will finally become a grown-up.  :o)

Will you join me?  Will you consider becoming aware of how we sound?  Will you take a look in the mirror with me and see if you see a cone of shame?

I want my collection of pictures that my great-great grandkids find in a bin in their garage to reflect JOY!  I want them to marvel at how this woman named Alison lived her life fully despite whatever her story may have been.

If you’re in.  Say so.  Comment here.  Please, help me share this idea and let’s be women (and men) who throw off our shame and step forward into victory.  Tell me the promises and truths to which you will hold tightly as you wear your bracelet.  Let’s join hands and do this together. Show me your bracelets!


And oh, as you run, what hindered love will only become part of your story. (click for song)

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, my Strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Graham Cooke article — “There is a reason why the Father tells us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Because every action has a starting place. Every strong emotion has a beginning.  All transformation originates in renewed thinking (Romans 12:2). How we think about ourselves dominates our behavior (Proverbs 23:7) and sets our agenda in life towards other people.”

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well…Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139

“Happiness is a form of courage.” — George Holbrook Jackson




image credit