Be careful about buying stuff or accepting stuff. I suggest this because I am becoming gray haired, and there’s no place else to put all these things I’ve acquired over the years. Don’t buy me any stuff, please. Alot of the stuff I have, I bought. A lot I didn’t. Either way, it takes up space and because what I haven’t already thrown away has memories attached, I keep it.
I have old stuff. Like the little pink ceramic cradle my dad gave my mom when I was born, in the last century. I have congratulatory stuff, like the courtesy trophy I won for being nice to bus drivers and cafeteria ladies in high school. I have pictures of relatives who were born in the century before the one I was born in. I have boxes full of stuff I wrote here and there. I have the black velvet dress with the oriental writing that Bake brought me when he served in the Navy in Vietnam. I have phony flowers and a phony otter statue that commemorates my first novel. I have more jewelry than one woman could wear in a lifetime. I have hurricane lanterns just in case the lights go out, which they haven’t in a real long time. I have trinkets kids gave me when I was a teacher. I have pillows I saved for company, left from the ones I gave away to immigrants. I have an inukshuk we brought home from our trip to Alaska, and you probably don’t even know or care what that is. My hutch is overflowing with china, crystal glasses, blown glass and tea cups. I even have the ashes of a dog I loved in a box with her picture on it.
Some stuff I’ve thrown away. Like my wedding dress, yellowed with age. I think I threw away about forty tons of old clothes and shoes. I threw away my tennis racquet since I can’t run on phony knees, and the shoe skates I bought with my first babysitting money, for the same reason. I’ve thrown away great loads of writing I thought was so good at the time. I’ve donated a whole library full of books. And that’s only counting my stuff. If I get started on Bake’s, this will be a tome instead of a blog. (Boxes and boxes of cds, just sayin’)
Now you may wonder why I even bring this up. Well, there’s the dusting and washing. But that’s not the lion’s part. One of these days I’m headed for heaven. After that, I can envision our Laura, holding up my Helen Keller/Annie Sullvian hands figure to the tune of “What in the …. is this?” I can see our John toss my little angel from Chewy into the dumpster without a thought. I can watch Maryann hoard fishing poles and delve into the myriad of journals in my study looking for the gold that I’m not sure is there.
Gosh, maybe stuff’s not that bad. Maybe that exercise will be good for my progeny, or at least a lesson in not procuring stuff.
I’m studying Exodus. Moses was a reluctant spokesman for God to the pharoah of Egypt. I suspect he may have started out as a people pleaser, as opposed to a God pleaser. I have been called a people pleaser, by others and by my inner voice, Weezer, who is a … bitch.
I have this issue. Here it is. God created us to need each other, to be relational. We need to give and receive love. So when does that become people pleasing?
First, I looked up what a people pleaser does. This is adapted from Psychology Today.
we disobey what God says, or our own moral code, to please a person
we never evaluate the availability of our time or inclination before we say yes
we’re unable to manage our health because we’re overcommitted to others
we make all the plans
we do all this because we live in anxiety from early relationships, and that causes fear of failure or rejection
So, I hit that list on all five points. Great, what do I do? Hebrews 11:27 says this about Moses: “By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him Who is invisible.” He kept checking in with God, again and again and again. And as he did, he became a God pleaser instead of a people pleaser.
So I made a longer list of how I can do this in practicality. Here you go:
Put time with God early in my day
Track my food
Exercise before I start my “to do” list
Speak up for myself, and remember, the outcome of speaking up is not the issue
Attend events less frequently and use the time to recharge
Identify one responsibility I can cancel to gain free time for myself
Teach people how to behave toward me by rejecting behavior I don’t want
Say no to something small
Express my opinion and learn from people who disagree
So there you go. Next is, practice, practice, practice. And tell your Weezer to shut the hell up.
As we come to Veteran’s Day next week, I’m thinking of those who sacrifice for the United States. I’m not a veteran. But I know some. My husband, Vietnam; my dad, WWII. Neither speak/spoke of war unless pressed. My Air Force grandsons will be veterans, one day.
I even wrote a book about the experience of a veteran, at his request, when he could see his end was near. My father-in-law, who spent most of WWII as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, rarely had anything to say about his time in the Army. Only the radiation burn on his cheek told us he’d been near Hiroshima and Nagasaki when we dropped the bombs on them. We knew he had shrapnel in his spine and wore compression stockings to help the pain in his legs that resulted from having them frozen. That about covered it as far as he was concerned, even for his own children.
But as he talked with the staff at the veteran’s hospital he visited more frequently as he aged, they pressed him to write his story. He did me the great honor of helping him bring it to light. He called it Triumphs and Tragedies, Corregidor and Its Aftermath. It’s available on Amazon, Arthur B. Baker and J. Carlile Baker authors. Please buy the one you get from me. I can’t believe some others are asking over $100 a copy because it’s out of print. I’ll be happy to send you one for the $10 he initially asked. Dad has gone on to live with Jesus, but he showed me what a hero looks like and does before he left. And I am blessed.
The title may seem to allude to teenagers and steamed up windows, but nope.
This one is about taking the back seat. The older I grow, the more I notice I’m taking a back seat to my children and grandchildren. It’s become their day. At first, that kind of bothered me. I like to be in the middle of the action, you see.
However, if the last shall be first … back seat, see? But more to the point, in the back seat I can serve in a million ways. A. I have more time, what with not paying attention to the road so much; B. I’ve been down this road, so I can point out the potholes as well as the scenic vistas; C. I can refuse to backseat drive; D. I can snitch snacks from the sack on the floor (say what?); E. I can play with the kids who are also relegated to the backseat, and throw in a little tutorial storytelling; F. I can climb up on the rear window ledge with the dog, sing about the moon, and watch the rising and falling electrical lines like I used to when I was a kid; (Some would say my singing isn’t serving, I’m okay with that.) G. I can make cool stuff back here, like mysteries and mittens; H. I can fix stuff that broke, like headless dolls or zippers that don’t zip. I could go on, but I think the joy is already showing. There’s plenty of action in the back seat. (Get your head out of the gutter.)