I live my life in the margins.

When I first heard about living life in the margins, it was part of sermon series at my church.

It was years ago, but it continues to be the single most talked about series my husband and I have ever sat through.  We’ve had conversations with other adults where a couple has made a major change in life and provided a single word explanation.

Margin. [Read more…]

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Lessons from a List – Goals make me angry?

The alternate title for today’s post is “Why I’m angry about the doorknobs, my closet doors, and how I should have handled it more like Thanksgiving Dinner.”

(It’s a wee bit long.  I realized I could write about this topic for a whole month and still have something to say.   This deserves to be a chapter in a big book or something.)

It was a simple goal.  In the span of all the chaos that comes with a remodel, I didn’t think it was unrealistic.  I just wanted one single room that I could walk into, close the door, and escape the remodel. [Read more…]

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Lessons from a List – Anger leads to thankfulness

I made a list of the little low level angry stuff in my life.

It was two pages of small nagging angries, the stuff that feels so normal that it no longer even registers as angry.

I found a handful of things I could fix immediately.  It felt GOOD to cross those off.

I found a much longer list of stuff that was totally under my control. I realized I was angry at the results of my own poor choices.

What’s left? [Read more…]

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Lessons from a List – (Angry) weeds

Weeds?  I’m angry about weeds?

The Bible talks about the law of the harvest.  You reap what you sow.  If you sow corn seeds, you harvest more corn.  If you plant stinging nettle, you get more stinging nettle.

This is true even if you didn’t plan on planting stinging nettle.

Stinging nettle is a weed.  Specifically, a weed that injects irritants when touched.    

Apparently, I’ve been planting a LOT of stinging nettle without meaning to.

My list of low level angries is full of the stuff.  My list is full of stuff that injects irritation in my life when I touch it (or see it).

angry weeds

Remember? I made a list Sunday of all the little things I was angry about.  Nothing big.  Most of it was so… NORMAL that it didn’t even register as anger any longer.

Yesterday, I started crossing off the easy stuff.  The low hanging fruit.  Feeling in control and crossing stuff off my list felt really good.

Next on my list are all the irritating weeds.  My list is full of stinging nettles and I planted every one of them.

My toe nail polish is chipped and ugly.

My son has a bad habit that annoys me.

I feel like a failure because the laundry isn’t put away.

I’m irritated today over a bad choice I made earlier.  I don’t like the results of my own decisions.

Realizing that stung.

A lot.

sow in peace

Look at my (angry) weeds.

I’m the one who chose to get hot pink polish in August.  I’m the one who hasn’t chosen to use polish remover or get another pedicure since then.  So why on earth am I angry about it?

I’m the one who let my son’s habit start over a year ago.  I chose to ignore it because I didn’t want the confrontation.  I’ve been making the same choice every day.  What right do I have to be angry over this?

I’m the one who chose to play Candy Crush instead of folding socks.  Again.  Why on earth am I angry about laundry?

I’m angry with myself.

All those little things I let slide kind of add up.  The decision to spend five blissful minutes crushing candy isn’t a bad one.  But making that same choice six times a day for the past year… well… maybe there’s a better way to spend my time.

The toe nail polish thing?  Every time I see my feet it’s this nagging reminder that I didn’t get it all done today.  I keep putting it off because my husband put the polish remover on the top shelf and I can’t reach it.  So I look at my toes, feel less than sexy about my feet, feel defeated, and feel slightly mad at my husband.  Clearly the whole thing is his fault for putting the polish remover where I can’t reach it.

And so on.

Over and over.

So many inventive little ways to be angry at myself.  So many little pebbles of anger.

harvest a crop of love

This could take some time.

I could get discouraged, but I chose not to.

If a farmer sows a crop of nettles by mistake, he can’t pull all the seeds out of the ground.  When he sows wheat, it takes time for the new seeds to grow and fruit.   See Matthew 13:23-30.  I’m paraphrasing.

In my own backyard, it has taken several seasons for a weed patch to slowly give way to the grass.  The battle has been slow.  We pull the weeds and nurture the grass on an almost continual basis.   I’ve noticed that even if we slack off, it’s not like starting from scratch.  In those places where the grass is firmly rooted, the weeds are slow to grow.  We keep most of the progress we’ve made.

I have a lot of nettles planted.  I can see several seasons of pulling weeds while I nurture the grass.

If I want to stop harvesting weeds, I have to stop planting them.

the Lord gives strength to his people

I have a challenge for you:

Your turn: Get the list of little angries that you made earlier.  If you haven’t made one yet, set the timer for three minutes and get all those little annoyances down on paper.

Grab a blue highlighter (or put a big H mark) next to all the items on your list that are your harvest.

Do NOT beat yourself up.  You didn’t plant weeds on purpose.

Look at how much of your list that represents.

Right here, right where the weeds are.  There are seeds of peace.

little list of angries

How are you doing?  How much of your list is now covered in highlighter?  

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Lessons from a list – First (angry) things first

I made a list of all the little things that I was angry about.

It was all the little stuff, the things that are so normal that I don’t even think of it as anger any more.

What am I angry about?

It was a powerful question.  I’m not even sure I liked the answer.  I felt ugly.  And petty.  And small.

I struggled.

[Read more…]

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What is there to be angry about anyway?

It’s a big question. “What am I angry about?”

For over a week, I walked around with this big question nagging at the back of my brain. I did my best to ignore it.

I tried to pretend that it was a different question. I focused on writing down my thoughts in my yelling journal every time my anger spilled over and became observable. I started including all the times I was yelling with my actions and thoughts – not just the times I yelled where other people could hear it.

But honestly, this is a different kind of question. [Read more…]

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The art of the mommy time out

Taking a mommy time out has saved my mommy mojo more times than I care to admit.

You know how you send your kids to their rooms (or a naughty step, or the corner, or a thinking chair) to think about what they’ve done? In my house, we called it time out.

When my oldest was about three, my husband and I were having a spirited discussion. I must have raised my voice (shocking, but true). My son put his hands on his hips and shook his finger at me and said [Read more…]

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There is no angry way to say “bubbles”

There is no angry way to say bubbles.

Just try it. The minute I saw it on Pinterest I had to try it.

(Hey Pinterest visitors… stick around.  I’ve got some other posts you’d love.  Honest.)

I felt ridiculous. [Read more…]

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Is it ever ok to yell?

I yelled last night.

I woke up about 3am and realized I hadn’t written it down in my yelling journal. Somewhere around 5am, I decided to turn insomnia into #5club. I got up and began to write. [Read more…]

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But I’m NOT an angry woman!

I don’t think of myself as an angry woman.

(If you want to, you can picture me screaming that at the top of my lungs with both hands on my hips.  At some point in my life, I’m certain I have done exactly that.  It might have been last month… in prayer… I sometimes do stuff like that.)

I never have. [Read more…]

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