Saturday, June 28, 2008

Embracing Brokeness

Today I broke a bowl and sat down to put it back together. The idea for this "therapy" came from a challenge I read to do this and see what God might say to you through it. I knew as I read it that God wanted me to do this. At the time, I didn't have anything to break, nor the time sit and listen. This afternoon, for $8.00, I got 3 hours with my Father, some much needed downtime, and an original piece of art.

Just taking the bowl and throwing it onto the pavement in a light rain was a release of the stress and frustration from the past few weeks. Once I was back inside putting it together, I began to doubt any purpose in the exercise. I was about half-way through putting it back together when I began to see the lessons in it...

1. Even though I will have a bowl when I am done, it will still have pieces missing, chips and gaps. Some things that it used to be able to do it won't be able to do again - Painful experiences, broken dreams, and the consequences of sin change us.

2. Sometimes the pieces do not fit back together perfectly. But I want them to and find it frustrating when they don't. I want it to look perfect again.

3. In the process of gluing back together other places might get chipped.

4. I may not figure out where all the pieces go, but God never leaves one out without a reason. He knows where every piece came from and where it goes.

The top part of my bowl broke into larger pieces with fewer chipped and crumbled pieces, while the bottom was more shattered.

5. Sometime the more visible parts of our lives don't look so bad on the outside, but down at the bottom, there can be a shattered life with many gaps and lots of glue. Some times we have to look deep inside to see this part in ourselves and others.

6. God is big enough to bridge the gaps, even the big gaping ones! I don't have to worry about making it all fit or trying to cover it up.

7. Putting something back together takes time and purposefulness. You can't just put glue on everything and leave it in pile. Well, you can but all you'll end up with is a petrified pile of brokenness. I don't want to be this kind of person. God wants to re-shape my brokenness back into something beautiful.

Now, I have a piece of "workmanship" to daily remind me that I am God's own work of art.
I'm learning to love my new bowl - brokenness and all.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Today I worked my last official Friday. I will be embarking on the phenomenon of a four day/ 10 hr work week. We celebrated in the office with hot dogs on the grill and all the sides to go with it. I'm not sure what I am going to do with my free Fridays. Most likely I will end up spending money and driving around more than I would have working 5 days. And I'll love every minute of it! No more TGIF's for me.

My brain is fried from work (in fact I have more of it sitting in front of me waiting to be finished before Monday) So I'm using this time to try and refocus a bit...... it's hard though as the TV is on and the air conditioner is running and I keep zoning out. But What Not to Wear is doing an update episode and I can't seem to turn it off. Speaking of TV, my show of the moment is So You Think You Can Dance. It makes me smile and feel happy. Certain dances just affect me in some way, like a great song or quote. This week it was a hip-hop routine about a work-a-holic done to the song Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. Just thinking about it makes me smile even now. **smile**

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Camp Photos

Here are some of the photos I took at camp. No I did not do the ropes course (I'm afraid of heights)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Camp this year was a whole different experience from last year and unfortunately it wasn't for the better. I don't even know how to really explain it. There were many good parts. The kids and I had fun together most of the time. The game that they enjoyed the most was called Fork over the Chocolate. At one table you sat and rolled dice. If you got a six on either one, you ran to another table and began cutting a giant bar of chocolate with a plastic knife and fork. If you managed to cut a piece off you could eat it. But you couldn't touch the chocolate with your hands at all. While whoever was at the chocolate was trying to eat it, the other kids were still trying to get a six. Once someone got a six you took over on the candy and sent the other person back to roll again. And once the candy bar was gone, I gave a few extra pieces to the kids who didn't eat very much during the game. The other big hit was the water fight with noodle squirters. It wasn't so much that the kids enjoyed dousing each other, they all ganged up on me (in my clothes) and then the camp staff who happened to be around.

One thing about being in the woods is that there are an abundance of bugs. The misquitoes were huge and poor Emma is allergic, so after the first day her ankles were swollen and I had to keep puttng hydrocortizone on them so she wouldn't itch. The bugs also provided quite a bit of entertainment in the form of catapillars. I don't know how many we found, but they were played with and passed around. Two even got names. The first was Tickles and the second was Sticky.

I should tell you about the kids I had. Emma and Natalie (the twins), Jackson and Abby (older siblings of the twins), Nathan and Madeline, and Luke.

Emma and Natalie are not identical twins. The first night Madeline says to her mom, "I know they say they're twins, but I don't believe them. They don't even look alike." But my favorite was overhearing Madeline on the playground on afternoon while all the kids were playing house. I was sitting on the tire swing just watching and I heard Emma say, "Mom, I am going to the tire swing and Tia's going to push me." Madeline responds, "Tia is your great-grandmother." OUCH! I don't get to just be grandma, I have to be great-grams! I guess I really am getting old.

What wasn't so fun about it, was literally not having any breaks from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. I didn't get to participate in a single thing outside of what I did with the kids. In four days, I managed to take one 10 min shower. It really wasn't anyone's fault, there just needed to be more than one person taking care of all the kids. Plus were were confined to just the camp for the whole time. Not really a good set-up. For those of you with kids, you can relate to having to go thru a buffet line and get your food and your childs. Have you ever tried taking 4 or 5 thru? And have a line of hungry teenager behind you that have no patience or consideration. By Friday night, I was completely fried. That's when I was ready to walk away and cry. Instead, I talked to one of the parents and we figured out how she could take some of the kids over to the beach on Sat after lunch, leaving me with just the twin girls. Then, God completely blessed me. Lila took the twins and entertained them for about 45 mins and I got to just sit and relax. Ahhhhhhh. After that I felt completely refreshed and the twins and I had a really good day together.

There were some ugly moments and I did get angry about some things. I don't want to be a complainer or harbor any bitterness so I'm making a conscious decision to let it go. I do need to speak my peace about a few things and this is a good place to do it. If I decide to go to camp next year, I will not agree to watch the leaders children. Because of the responsiblilty they have to the campers all day long, I don't think they should have their families with them. They have no opportunity to spend time with them and the kids don't really understand why they can't be with mom and dad when they are right there. Secondly, if someone is taking care of your kids for 14 hour days, 4 days in a row and it's free to you, the least you can do is say thank you. That might be what upset me the most. Of the three families whose children I had, the two I had the least were so thankful and appreciative.

I want to end this post on a good note. In spite of a melt down evening where the twins decided they never wanted to see me ever again (i didn't take it personally, I was probably feeling just about the same at that point) the next morning on the playground, Natalie called my name and came running over to tell me something very important. "Tia, I love you so much. Give me a big hug." That right there makes everything else worth it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Honey, I'm Home...

I survived camp, barely... It was insane. One day I was ready to just sit down and cry. But now I am back in my own space, my nice QUIET space. And I am exhausted. It's a good thing I already took tomorrow off work because there is no way I'm getting up early tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will write about some of the better moments at camp and post some photos of the kids I chased around the last few days. Might even throw in some of the not so better moments.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How to learn new words

I love crossword puzzles, but not the really hard ones like in the newspapers. Just medium hard ones, where I can figure out most of the them, but not all of them. Recently I came across the word 'pismire' as a clue. I didn't know what the word meant, but I liked the way it sounded and couldn't stop repeating it in my head, rolling the word around on my tongue. Pismire. Eventually, I learned that it means 'ant.' Maybe I like the word 'cause it almost sounds like a swear word, but really isn't. And with work being stressful lately and highly frustrating, it was a good word.

Remember the show Ally McBeal and how her shrink Tracey Ullman told her to get a life theme song? I believe in doing that. Certain songs just seem to reflect the exact point you are in in life, or how you feel. (Mine change often) Well maybe we can have "theme words" too and right now mine is pismire.

Maybe the next puzzle will have a more uplifting word.

I've finally crumbled

Well, here it is. The first official post of my very own blog. After spending months following a blog (or two), I decided to be brave like others and share my thoughts with the world. Hopefully, someone will find them useful, funny, or encouraging.

Tomorrow I am leaving to go to summer camp. To work at summer camp taking care of 7 children all on my own while the other adults deal with the teen campers. (Even though it's a lot of work, I still think I get the better end of the deal) When I return next week, I'm sure I'll have some good stories.

Until then...