Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Awkward Date

For this week's Throwback Thursday I give you this jewel from June 2011.

Me & my man. It all started on an awkward date...

A few days ago we took a family trip to the Zoo. There were these two young adults on what appeared to be a first date. It was a bit painful to watch really. Got me thinking about awkward dates I have been on. Without further ado, pulling from real life experiences, I give you "How To...Have An Awkward Date."

1. Say something really stupid & then get made fun of. This was the first real date that I had been on with this particular person. We were driving along & came upon a railroad track. He then told me a story he saw in the news about a train that crashed the day before spreading out toxic materials that it was carrying. They had to evacuate the town. Then he said, "Yeah, apparently 'toxic' means something really bad. Like they hurt you or something. Its really not good." I thought he was kidding & told him to stop acting like an idiot...come to find out he really didn't know that toxic was bad. No clue. The next 15 minutes were awkward as he drove me home...

2. Take your date to a shady club. Okay, I'll admit. This one was Jady. We weren't 'dating' at the time, but he took me out to dinner in Salado for my birthday. Knowing that I really like spontaneous guys, he decided to be spontaneous & throw in a trip to Austin after dinner. Where he is from there is a place called 'The Roxy' that is a really cool venue to hang out at. He figured that The Roxy in Austin would be the same. Except it wasn't. It was a really shady dance club in the middle of 6th Street in Austin. It was the trashiest place. We tried to hang out a bit since we had to pay a cover charge to get in, but after about 2 songs of x-rated dancing from the other patrons we quickly exited. Walking back to the car, he didn't notice I moved to his other side, and thought I had gotten lost in the crowd. Franticly he starts screaming "Liz!!!! Liz!!!" But, really I was standing next to him. A-W-K-W-A-R-D. But, he was cute so I gave him another shot. :)

3. Stop to buy toiletries on the way to take your date home. I went with a Kappa Sig to his rush dance at Baylor. It was just rough all around. He laughed nervously the entire night & didn't dance once. This alone is awkward when it is a dance. I was DYING to end the evening. Finally, he decided to leave and take me home. But first we had to stop at the grocery store because he needed to buy more dandruff shampoo. ( I promise, I am not kidding ) After I helped him decide which shampoo would be the best fit for his dandruff problem he took me home. A really big waste of a cute dress.

4. Run Away...Really Fast. I was on a date at Olive Garden with a guy who had just become a firefighter. It was his very first time on call, & he hadn't ever fought a fire yet. Halfway through dinner the beeper went of. This guy jumped straight from his chair (nearly knocking the table over) and ran full speed away from the table, out the door and drove like a madman to the fire station. I was left sitting alone in Olive Garden with a half knocked over table, no money to pay for the meal & if my memory serves me ride home. Awkward.

5. Make your date give a sermon at a retirement home. So I really like seniors. Not the "class of 2011" kind, the AARP kind. This guy found out about that and decided to take me on a date to a retirement home. He called ahead and said that he was taking me out and wanted to surprise me with a trip there to hang out with some of the residence. In his mind that meant, you know, play bingo & eat cookies. Well, there was a miscommunication somehow. We walk in and they had gathered the seniors into the chapel. For a 45 minute chapel service by the two of us. Again, I am not kidding. Rows of wheel chairs & a microphone for me. So we sang a few songs. ( I do not sing. We had no music. We just sang what we remembered off the top of my head) I spoke for about 20 minutes on who-knows-what, and then we did Q&A. I can't tell you how comical and painful this was. My poor date felt TERRIBLE. I mean he just made this  blonde freshman do an impromptu church service for the elderly.

Those are some of my awkward moments on dates. Pretty bad, huh? Please, please, please...I would love to hear yours!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Promise & The Problem

Sometimes it seems as if a every promise has a dark side. The overwhelming joy of things to come soon gets replaced by a storm rolling in. I get so quickly discouraged when there is any opposition to what God has spoken.

For a while I believed that if God promised something it was Him giving me a heads up that it was all about to hit the fan. "I will be with you" really means "Its about to get real bad. So dark you'll think you were abandoned so remember that I'm still there when all hell breaks loose". I dreaded the promises.

What I have learned is that God's promises aren't the balance to a curse. They are His goodness tucking me into peace. That no matter what happens, He has the last word. John 16 lays it out pretty clear that we are gonna have some troubles in this life. 

His promises anchor us so that life doesn't whip us around, but we walk confidently and without distraction through any storm that comes. 

My heart doesn't crave safety, although my logic does. Deep down I long for an adventure of the ages. An epic battle with a nail bitting rescue at the end. Every promise comes with a battle. Every miracle starts with a trial. 

This week has reminded me that I have to stop dreading the problem and start dreaming of the miracle.  

He who promised has been, will be, and IS faithful. No matter how stormy it looks.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ciao Baby

It is about that time. The time in the summer where I get busy, busy. 

Lark & Bloom will be taking a break this week to allow me time to work on other writing projects. 

Since this means I am missing Father's Day, here is a shout out to my dad. He is amazing. Really, read about him & you will see.

If you just miss me too much, follow me on twitter. @larkandbloom.

See you ladies & gents next week. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Throwback Thursday - God Doesn't Triage

Triage: the sorting through victims to determine the level of priority for treatment

We are all familiar with it. You go to the waiting room in the ER and they take your vital signs. 'Oh, you aren't on the complete verge of death. You can wait nine hours while we handle the really wounded people.'

Naturally I want the doctors to save those whose lives are at stake before they set my broken bone. But, sadly I transfer this mindset onto how God handles me. 

I have been thinking about Africa today. This is nothing new since I am adopting two kids from Uganda. But, today was a bit different. I thought of how dire the situations are for so many in that continent. Ravaged by disease, war, corruption, many things. My natural reaction is to feel embarrassed that I think I have trials in my life. What is my small need compared to famine? So I wipe my tears and sit in the corner waiting until the important issues have been dealt with. Except, I hurt too...

I found balance and rest in this thought: God doesn't triage.

He doesn't look at the widow in Nigeria and then look at me and say "Oh, Elizabeth sit over there. You can wait." 

No person is more valuable than another to God. He doesn't compare life stories and then respond to the most emotionally compelling one. God doesn't triage because He doesn't have to. He is more than capable of taking care of each of us.

He isn't limited in time, resources or emotional capacity. Each of us get the same treatment whether we come to him with a scrapped knee or a life threatening infection. God is just as concerned with healing my pain as He is yours. 

He is a Great Physician and in His presence none of us have to wait in line.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Words To Live By

Source: Pinterest

Life would be better if I did these three things more. 

Be Silly.

Be Honest.

Be Kind.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Youth Camp & A To-Do List

Pool time with the kids at camp
 My husband is a speaker  at youth camp & we brought the whole family along. It's been fun - lots of swimming, eating beige food, and feeling very old. I swear I was just 13 myself and trying to decide exactly how high my tube socks should be to qualify as 'cool'. These kids have been blessed to be the ankle sock generation & know nothing of the agony of getting tube socks scrunched correctly. 

However, it is incredible to see God raising up a fresh generation of passionate people. I'm sure I'll be posting on that in a few days.

Until then...I saw this hilarious list making the rounds on Facebook & thought I would share it here. No clue who the author is, but I think you will enjoy:

To Do List
  1. Make vanilla pudding. Put in mayo jar. Eat in public.
  2. Hire two private investigators. Get them to follow each other.
  3. Wear shirt that says "Life." Hand out lemons on street corner.
  4. Get into a crowded elevator and say " I bet you are all wondering why I gathered you here today."
  5. Major in philosophy. Ask people WHY they would like fries with that.
  6. Run into a store, ask what year it is. When someone answers, yell "It worked!" and run out cheering.
  7. Become a doctor. Change last name to Acula.
  8. Change name to Simon. Speak in third person.
  9. Buy a parrot. Teach the parrot to say "Help! I've been turned into a parrot."
  10. Follow joggers around in your car blasting "Eye of the Tiger" for encouragement.
Personally #4 is my favorite. What else should we add to this list???

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Stronger or Half Dead

Source: Pinterest

We all know this phrase: "That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger"

Here is my version: "That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger...or leaves you half dead". 

It is great when things work like the first phrase. You are faced with a painful and seemingly impossible circumstance. You go through something that takes all but the last drops of your strength and life from you. Once you get to the other side the life grows back stronger, deeper, and full of confidence. 

Great story. But sometimes it doesn't work like that. Sometimes situations and trials leave us laying on our backs staring blankly into the sky. There is no way we could ever survive that again. It hurt too much. Part of our heart died. Hope left and numbness set it. We survive,  but only to limp along half dead.

 Each of us have our battles. Maybe you thought you had your eating disorder under control and then all the old thoughts started to come back. You felt so betrayed and then your marriage fell apart. You work two jobs to get food into your families mouths...just to go hungry again next month. You allow yourself to want a spouse ...just to be passed over again. Sometimes you survive but barely. Sure God is good and all that, but you aren't going to go through that again. You can't handle it.

So, instead of getting stronger, we live half dead. Smile on cue and say the right things about how God is good. Some people feel it so bad they do wish the situation had killed them.

There have been situations in my life where Jady and I have literally laid on the floor and cried to God because it felt so impossible. The need was too great and my strength was too small.

So, what makes the difference between getting stronger or walking half-dead? When we cling to the truth that the cross is enough, we get stronger.

What Jesus did on the cross is enough to meet us in our place of need. Our personal mistakes, the pain caused by another, wandering hopelessly waiting for more pain to hit...Jesus breaks in there. He died to bring breakthrough. Not just eternal life. But life abundantly. In that place that seems like a time-bomb inside waiting to go off. He comes and brings life to half dead places.

Sometimes its things that happened years ago, we just shut off and figured the pain of feeling nothing is better than the pain of feeling another blow. When you find yourself walking around anxiously trying to avoid anything that could crack the your fragile heart, risk on the cross again. Risk on Jesus. Grieve disappointment with Him. He can handle it. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, remember? We weren't made to walk around half dead. So dream again. Get stronger. Risk on God. It is always worth it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is Ugliness Next To Godliness?

Old pulleys. Great design.

I read a great post yesterday called Why Design? . It got my wheels turning. So often we think that to be humble means we can't be exceptional. Would it be prideful to spend time on the visual aspects of who we are? Is ugliness next to godliness?

Nope. God is big, bold & creates beautiful things. He didn't only focus on function when He created the earth. He made it extraordinary, inspiring & unexpected. 

So lets put away our assumptions that humility is a quality that can be seen. It is an internal attitutde, not an external image. Some people act flashy to impress others & some people act boring to impress others. There is balance in the middle. 

Celebrate how God made you. Ladies, feel free to wear red lipstick. Gents, wear clothes that fit.

Pop over & read Why Design? for yourself.

Happy Designing! 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Confessions on Whisper-Yelling & God.

Sure, I look nice. Truth be told, I am a recovering whisper-yeller. You know what whisper-yelling is, right? When you want to yell, but don't because you know it would be inappropriate. So instead you whisper but with all the intensity & frustration of a yell.

There are lots of scenarios where the whisper-yell comes into play. Telling your kids to sit down in the shopping cart, asking the receptionist in a quiet waiting room why your doctor is running an hour late, or perhaps reminding your co-worker that they are past the project deadline.

Last night a particular child woke me up at 1:00 am because they needed my help rearranging their stuffed animals next to them in bed. Are you kidding me? The same child asked for music about 30 min later.  Sad to admit, there were a few whisper-yells.

Walking back to bed afterwards I thought about how I do that with God too. I get really mad & frustrated so I pray-yell to God. Really, I think He would prefer it if I was just straight up honest. God doesn't need me to mask what is going on internally. He already knows I'm a mess. I'm not saying I should yell at God, but an honest conversation with Him is what my heart needs the most.

I'm thankful God doesn't whisper-yell. He doesn't say things through a forced smile. God doesn't say nice words due to obligation & He doesn't say them with an underlying emotion of irritation.

He is truly kind. Every word He says is deliberately sincere.

" I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
              -Jeremiah 31:3

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We Are Gonna Get Old Together

Some people take relationships for granted. Not me. I love you guys. Now that we have met , I think we are going to be friends for a long time. You were there when I was fired , when I gave up on being famous , and when I did the crazy thing. 

Wish I could give you all a high-5 and tell you how swell it is that you read the stuff I write. Thanks for being a Lark & Bloomer. I love when you email me & tell me what is going on in your neck of the woods. This is a great relationship we have. The kind that goes the distance, you know? I think we're gonna grow old together. What do you think?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Have We Met?

I don't know if we've met. Looking at my stats it appears we have not. I'm in Texas and you are from places like India, France, Russia & Indonesia to name a few. I'd love to chat with each of you face to face, but this will have to do for now. Here is what you should know if we are going to be friends.

1. One thing you should know is that I may not look the same when you see me next.  I get bored with my hair very easily. OR maybe I am a spy. You pick

Here I am with the current red. The husband stays the same though.

2. I really love Subway sandwiches. They are truly a delight to me.

3. In my mind there is something fundamentally wrong with buying groceries from non-grocery stores. Purchasing oranges at the same place I can buy tires is just unnatural. Sorry Walmart.

4. I am a type A/ Bohemian hybrid.  You will find me trying to figure out a plan for how to run an AIDS clinic while swaying to Frank Sinatra with my hair up in an Italian scarf. It can really throw people off...

5. I am NOT laid back. People think I am because I am low-maintenance and pretty even keeled. I don't like 'chillin'. I like going. I always want to go somewhere new and do something new. No thank you to summer break.

6. It took me 2 years to learn how to cook a baked potato.  Literally 2 years. I will save you all the time and toil that I spent. Put the potato in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. Now you can use your two years to do something else.

7. When I was little I created a plan to convince my parents that we could, in fact, have monkeys as pets. I figured what they needed to eat, the cost, sketched a diagram of the monkey , planned out their vaccinations...They didn't go for it though. My parents are not quite as visionary as I am.

8. When I type, I hear my voice saying the words out loud. Kinda like Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.  I'd like to think that I don't smirk and smile thoughtfully into the distance like she did while typing, but it is very possible that I do.

9. I am very old fashioned. Surprise! I use a pen and paper. I think handwriting is an important art. I will also physically dial the phone numbers of people instead of just clicking on them in my contacts. It bothers me that people don't actually know each other's phone numbers anymore.

10. I think I would really enjoy gardening if it didn't involve dirt and bending over so much. But, I do love gardens. Particularly wild English gardens. Could sit in them for days. But, if left up to me I would never do any work in them.

See, wasn't that nice. NOW we are friends. Honestly though, I wish I could sit and chat with each one of you. Hear your stories and learn about where you are from. AND if you are one of those people from Finland, Kenya , Chile or wherever, please let me know who you are. I'd love to hear about you! Have a great weekend everyone!