I did it my way

My kids are home today. The ice storm has shut down the city, forcing schools to close, my husband to work from home, and my bloodpressure to raise ever so slightly. We can’t be closed today! – I have to get ready for Nashville. I have laundry to do, floors to mop, clothes to pack. I need to have today to myself – I don’t have time… and so the whining goes.

Frank Sinatra knew what he was saying when he sang “My Way.” I love that song. Mainly because it’s probably the story of my life. Not that I have control issues mind you, I just like to get my way.

And my way is presently in Nashville Tennessee and I need to go get it. 😉

Several months ago several of my internet girlfriends and I decided to drive to Nashville for Chonda Pierce’s new video taping on January 29. We made these plans long before we knew what the weather was going to be. Sure enough ice and snow has hit many of us. But that isn’t stopping any of us.

What is it that makes this trip so special to all of us? We are Chonda’s National Turbo Team. We help hostess and promote her concerts when she is in our town. Most of us know each other through email and we have helped, encouraged, and prayed with eachother over the years. This is the first time, most of us will be in the same room together and we are excited.

All of us are involved as Turbos because we love Chonda and want to be a source of encouragement and help for her. She is not only a great commedian, she also has a wonderful message. Helping get the word out about her shows, is the least we can do.

This is going to be a fun week. I just need to get past the ice and snow.

I have several things to blog about when I return. Next week things will calm down again and I can get back to the business of writing. Today, I can get down to the business of being mom and knowing that things will work out if I can just remember to breathe and trust God with the details.

To be or not to be ADD, that is the question

I had my one month med check with my primary doctor today. She upped my dosage to 36mg, but she’s still not convinced that I’m ADD. And you know, neither am I at the moment.

I’m high energy – yes
I forget things – oh yeah
I get bored easily – yep

But ADD?

Edited on 3/3/09 – After being on Concert for 2 1/2 months, I do concede that I am indeed ADD. The change is astounding.

She thinks the pediatrician is wrong, but since I’m tolerating the meds so far we’ll go two months on the new dose. If that doesn’t help… then she thinks her original assessment is correct. I do not have ADD, I have WWS.

Wonder Woman Syndrome

She also thinks I’ve allowed someone to define my personality type as a defect of character.

I have two assignments – well three actually.
1. Get a composition notebook to keep my do lists and notes in
2. Start setting up a scheduled routine (Flylady is good)
3. Find TWO chores that I am no longer willing to do and PERMANENTLY delegate them.

I asked if she’d write a script for that third assignment.

“See honey, doctor’s orders. She said you have to do laundry from now on.”

This should be a fun month.

Memory Verse for January 15, 2009

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Most of you know that I took a memory verse challenge for 2009. On the first and 15th of the month, I check in on a blog and leave my memory verse – with the promise that I will write in on my spiral index cards and memorize or at least meditate on that particular verse.

I had a harder time finding a verse this week. And then this one jumped out at me, so here we are. Another strong and courageous verse – gotta love it. And considering my fun with Pauline yesterday – this is one of the answers to her fears.

Pauline might have been born scared, but she lives free in Christ – which is really the message I’m working on building around her.

Be blessed

Back to Silliness – Born Scared

Everyone has an alter ego of some kind. If you don’t, don’t tell me. I do and her name is Pauline. Pauline travels the landscape of my mind – and the MOKA states when asked, bringing her E-Pistol friends Timidity and Fear. Pauline likes to tell people that she hails from the remote town of Rattle Snake Gulch NY. She’s really from Bridgeport – the town next door, but that is such a boring name. I mean it’s in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t any ports and the only bridge they have is the bridge to Rattlesnake Gulch. So like Oklahoman’s who tell people they are really from Texas, Pauline hails just a little down the road and a lot left of center some days.

Most kids got sent to their rooms when they misbehaved. Pauline was sent outside to play in the creek.

You might say that Pauline was Born Scared.

This is her song.

Born scared, of the things that surround me
My brain just astounds me
With the things that it believes

So scared that whenever the wind blows
I picture tornados
And hide under my bed!

Born scared, of all snakes in the water
Of pastors and lawyers
And all circus clowns!

Born scared of mice, rats and spiders
Of white castle blue sliders
and monsters under my bed!

Born scared of the people around me
They’re laughing and pointing
And I have no place to hide.

Born scared, of the things that surround me
My brain just astounds me
With lies that it believes.

(Copyright, Deana O’Hara January 13, 2009 – this blog may not be reproduced without written permission of the author.)

For what exactly am I sorry?

True apologies are as rare as genuine forgiveness in the world today and yet the paradox for that is the over use of the word “Sorry.” At the risk of sounding discompassionate for a moment, I believe the term “sorry” is seriously over used and is a mask for hidden messages. The word “sorry” has very little do to with regret or repentance and a lot to do with relational manipulation. The word “sorry” has become dishonest.

I’m sorry it’s raining. ( I didn’t cause the rain, but I’ll apologize anyway because it upsets you when it rains and I don’t want you to be in a bad mood.)

I’m sorry it snowed. (ditto)

I’m sorry you had a bad day. (I’m sorry your bad day is now overflowing into mine.)

I’m sorry you don’t like dinner. (after spending all day cooking)

I’m sorry, didn’t see you. (When being crashed into by someone trying to walk past you.)

I’m sorry I don’t agree with you. – (Even though the other person’s opinion is racist or anti-christian.)

I’m sorry I didn’t vote for your guy. – (I’m not sorry I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton)

I’m sorry you don’t like my dress. (I’m sorry because your opinion matters and now I’m feeling insecure.)

I’m sorry I’m breathing your air.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Quit apologizing already.

“Oh! Sorry!”

I know that it’s the polite thing to say – if you mean it. Sorry means regret as in “I’m really sorry I forgot to take your shirt to the cleaners today.” And we are supposed to teach our children how to apologize and how to forgive. And frankly, yes, the world needs more of that. Unfortunately though, “sorry” – has become so over used that it is a dishonest word in today’s world. It’s full of hidden meanings. None of which, in today’s climate communicate true repentance or desire to change. It’s simply used as a manipulative word to bring peace to the relationship.

Case in point – if someone bumps into you while walking past, don’t you say “sorry” as if to convey you regret being in their way. Were you in their way? Probably not and the secret meaning to “sorry” becomes “wow, I’m sorry you aren’t watching where you are going.” If someone holds a differing political opinion than I do, do I really feel regret? Yes and no. I may be regretting that my friend is too stupid to vote, but I don’t regret not sharing their views. Okay that one was a little on the extreme edge here, but do you see what I mean?

As women we are taught to apologize just to keep the peace. What we’re really doing is apologizing to avoid making other people feel uncomfortable which is both arrogant and selfish. I don’t have the power to make anyone take offense that’s their choice, and I don’t want someone upset with me because then I choose to feel insecure in the relationship.

Let’s face it, a lot of us want to be liked, so we apologize for our strengths. We apologize for our opinions, we apologize for our boundaries, we apologize for being alive and taking up space on planet earth, just to keep the peace.

Am I speaking to anyone? Or is it just me?

One of my mentors taught me years ago to weigh the cost of “sorry.” She told me to really think about it before I said it. Sorry is a word of regret and repentance. I need to neither regret nor repent of having strengths, tastes, or opinions that differ from others. I need not regret nor repent of being born either.

Sorry is a word to be used when my actions have a negative impact on another human being. It’s a word of power and strength. It’s a word of compassion when used properly. But we don’t use it properly. We water it down, and build weak bridges with it to keep ourselves from feeling uncomfortable. And we tend to over use it with people we hold in higher esteem than ourselves.

“I’m sorry” is not a patch to smooth over someone else’s feelings or a mask to hide my own. It’s a word of healing and like any good medicine, it becomes toxic to the body and soul of our relationships if over used.

No Forgiveness Offered or Needed

I am a bit impulsive.

My friends who know me, are laughing right now I’m sure. “A Bit Impulsive Deana? You?” Okay maybe a lot impulsive with a strong dose of opinionated thrown in for good measure. The truth is, I love intelligent debate and conversations. I especially love it if I am discussing topics with people who know more than I do regarding a specific topic. Unless it’s about politics, then I am so far out of my league that I sink quickly into my own quicksand of stupidity. But anything else, is pure joy.

I’m from New York originally and back home we are passionate in our communication styles, with hand motions, body gestures and yes raised voices. We aren’t angry just excited. I’m learning how to modulate that for this part of the country, but I don’t always succeed. Some conversations are just too exciting for me. Especially if I’m learning something in the process.

I had a conversation with someone a while back regarding his theological views on liturgical worship. His stand is a rather strong one, falling to the right of middle straight to Roman Catholic High Mass. Mine, being part of a mission start, falls to the other side of the spectrum with contemporary worship and open liturgy. I met someone whose passionate communication style truly exceeds my own, and he’s a brainiac to boot (brilliant doesn’t even touch it) – it did not take me long to realize I was out of my league in this discussion, and I erroneously concluded that I had offended him by debating his stand and offered my apologies and asked for his forgiveness.

Why? because that is what I was taught to do.

His response astounded me. I don’t remember it verbatum but a very close paraphrase went like this – “You were simply offering your views for sake of discussion, there was no sin committed therefore no forgiveness is needed or offered.Peace.”


That was a first.

I’m going to have to chew on that one a little longer.

Introducing “Nit” and “Wit”

What is it about a fence, or a gate, or a door that drives dogs crazy? No matter how much room I give them to play in – they want more. Well, more really isn’t the right word, my dogs want THAT space to play in and explore and not THIS space that I’ve created for them.

Never mind that THIS space is ¾ of the back yard or that THAT space is only ¼ in size. Never mind that their spot is free from home renovation items, broken wood, poisonous plants and what not. Never mind that THAT space has a gate that doesn’t shut properly or that we live next door to a church and if they ran out, they could get run over. None of that matters to my dogs, all they know is OVER THERE looks a lot more fun and exciting than OVER HERE.

We even put in a doggie door on our back porch so that they could come and go as they please to their wonderful side of the yard. They can run, they can play, they can lay in the sun even if they want to. I put latches on the main porch doors so that the dogs couldn’t push them open and go out.

You can tell from this photo that my first attempt at latching the doors was not very effective. It did actually work on my Collie for a while.

Sheba loves to test boundaries and I’m convinced she is either ADD or a teenager. Every day she would test the doors to see if they were still shut. She would go around the back porch, lightly nudge at openings and when one finally nudged (the doggie door) she knew that was her exit. Slight resistance was all I needed to keep their boundaries safe. My other dog, the border collie, needed no such testing. He knew where his door was, and it was the only one he tried.

My locks and limits worked for a year. The meter man could come and go and the dogs would run to their side of the yard – through the doggie door and bark at the fence. The meter man was safe. I wish I could say the same for the plumber. Joe Plumber looks like (I’m not kidding) Larry the Cable guy. Apparently my dogs, don’t like Larry. Instead of running out to their side, my dogs hit the door instead. One harsh jump and not only did my latch break – so did “Larry’s” water. Yeah – that can ruin a day.

Knowing now that my boundary lines have failed, I installed a stronger lock. I was proud of myself. There was no way the dogs were going to be able to get through THIS puppy.

I was wrong – this morning I went outside and found this. I have a feeling new screening won’t be sufficient. It is back to the hardware store to find lattice work or something to NAIL to the bottom of my door.

You know, it’s really a good thing that I am smarter than my dogs. I mean when was the last time I wasted my days nudging doors to see if they were open yet, testing whether or not no still means no. And testing to see if the Narrow Gate is still the only way. I would never break through boundary lines to chase down people who don’t look right. I’m a pretty smart gal. Give me ¾ of the choicest yard to play in, safe from harms way and I wouldn’t dream of standing at the fence, wishing I could be on the other side.

Yeah, right.

Called by the Gospel and Encouraged by God.

Most of you have read my previous blog “These Are the Days of Neurosis” and I just wanted to share the coolest thing with you. Well, it’s cool to me anyway.

Several people I know have been sharing this new year about fear and questioning, about encouragement and whatnot. A lot of us have been inventorying 2008, the blessings, the failures, the mistakes, all of it. And several have shared about a knowing need to return to the basics of faith. The simple things really that give us our foundation for encouragement and strength. Daily prayer time, memorizing scripture and whatever else. Not just just one or two people mind you – but like a dozen of people I know have shared this with me over the past week.

I’m excited really to know that I am not the only one who is easily distracted, who tires of projects before they are completed, who steps out and tries something new and meets fear first and answered prayer second. A friend of mine talked about fearless courage as her goal for this year and I thought that was cool – I’m not there – but I’m trying.

I finished the forms that freaked me out and will be mailing them today. In my morning prayers and devotional time I looked for passages on being called and being encouraged, and I found this.

God’s promises are true for all of us – for me and for you. Look at his promises in
2 Thessalonians 2:13-17

We are:

* loved “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers, loved by the Lord,

* Chosenbecause from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
* Called – “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In knowing that. Knowing that we are loved, chosen and called, how can we not stand firm in what we’ve been taught.

* Encouraged and strengthenedSo then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

In another blog, I read and was reminded that God’s mercies renew each morning, and not just on New Years Day.

It’s a new morning, fear said it’s prayers and is encouraged. You and I get to stand firm and hold on. God will take care of the rest. He is our encouragement, he is our strength.

To Him be the Glory.

Angels Among us

A former member of our church and youth group lost control of his SUV this weekend. *John crashed through a fence and into the bedroom of a brick home in Tulsa. He is presently in the hospital fighting for his life.

Our pastor has a close relationship with this young man and wanted to relay the rest of the story. Pastor went and visited the house Mark crashed into. The back bedroom where the SUV landed was the bedroom of three young girls. Laying in the debris and on top of the bed is a boulder too large for any man to lift. From the looks of the room there were no survivors – and yet there were three. Not one of those girls were injured even though they were in bed at the time of the accident.

Pastor asked the couple how that happened, and this was their story.

Dad heard the squealing breaks and the crashing noises heading toward the house. He ran back to get his daughters only to find out that they weren’t there. He yelled into the hall to his wife “Where are the girls!”

“What are you taking about?” She replied. “You just handed them to me.” And sure enough, there they were standing behind her.

A split second later, John’s SUV came crashing through that bedroom and the boulder landed on the girls’ bed.

In the seconds before the accident a man handed those babies to their mother. They asked Pastor who he thought it was. (This family doesn’t believe in God or angels) – he gave them the only possible answer – Jesus Christ Himself.

It may have been Christ, or it may have been an angel. It doesn’t matter – the fact remains – someone handed those babies to their mother – and now Mom and Dad, believe in something bigger than themselves.

I’m not surprised.

He’s like that you know.

God I mean.

*The name of the actual driver has been changed for the writing this story. The real young man is presently in a coma and is fighting for his life. We may never know what caused his accident.

updated 1/5/09 – he is out of his coma with no apparent brain damage. he does need multiple surgeries though to fix facial features and other issues. Please continue to pray for him. Thanks.

These are the Days of Neurosis.

I have a New Year’s confession to make. My resolution for “faith not fear in 2009” expired on January 3 at 8:00 pm Tulsa Time. A personal neurotic fit quickly followed.

I will spare you the details – it was a simple questionaire that put me over the edge really – nothing more nothing less. A stupid piece of paper that had me stumped.

Today I taught my first Sunday School of the new year, and was happy to see women came back. – I took a full year off and wasn’t sure if they would, honestly. But they did, and it went well.

Pastor is doing a sermon series this month on Trust. Today was about leaning not unto my own understanding, but rather trusting God, with everything – for his ways are not my ways. And I can either take him at His word, or not. My choice. – Trust should be a verb he said – it’s shown through action and do my actions show that I trust God? sure they do, right up until I fall into the deep end of the pool without my floaties.

Earlier this evening, I sat down with my Bible in hand, and it occurred to me that I’ve been reading it for everything else – preparing messages, researching topics, etc. But I had not once since ThanksGiving I’m guessing – sat down and just read for me. I was in the middle of talking to God about the events of the last few days, my dreams for the future and my present frustrations. I was also telling him that “maybe I shouldn’t do thus and such, I mean it’s a big step and I’m probably just running ahead of myself again. Lord I need your wisdom.”

I was planning on going to psalms. Psalms are easy to find – open your Bible to the middle and go left. The binding on my home bible is busted and so it falls open rather easily. When I looked down to see where my hand had fallen, my eyes fell on the highlighted passage.

(Isaiah 41:9-10) – “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’: I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you: I will up hold you with my righteous right hand.”

The only question he had for me tonight was “Are you going to believe my promises from your brokenness and think they apply to someone else, and not you, or are you going to believe ME?”