SLUDGE—Part One

 

We moved into a house pre-filled with sludge, sludge from past residents- no telling how far back. But, we’ve also added our own layer of sludge. It builds up in the crevices of the shower tile, toilet seat edges, and window sills. It hides under the fridge and creeps out from beneath the dishwasher and oven, trying to one day merge together to take over the kitchen.

I sweep and mop and dust and I clean the counters. But, the sludge still remains despite the fact I cleaned the house. Because, in reality all I was doing was giving the house a superficial spit shine, making it look pretty on the outside, never touching the deeper sludge hiding in the tile grout and under appliances.

Why?

Why miss the gunk lying in the shadows?

                Because, it is simply easier to ignore what most others, and quite often me, rarely ever notice.

                Until the one day the sludge forces itself to be seen!

As it creeps out calling my name,

“Christina notice me.

Pick at me.

Yell at me

Curse me to the wind!”

Calling me until I get down on hands and knees to scrub and dig, flaking old layer after layer out of its hiding spot.  But, to no avail, the sludge remains.  Always.  So, I give in and up and walk away tired of the dig, tired of the deep clean. I’d rather spit shine, I’d rather fall back to the ease of the sweep-mop-clean routine.

 

NEXT, SLUDGE: PART TWO…..

 

Advertisements

Hurt for Good

Often times we are asked, “What can you do with your spiritual gifts and talents?” But what if we asked ourselves the opposite….

What can I do with my downfalls? How can I use the struggles in my life to benefit someone else?

We all have a cross to carry, it is inevitable. We all have our junk…but why not use the junk for good instead of burying it, crying about it, cursing it or medicating it?

How might life be different, if instead of crying, “Why me”, I cried, “Use my hurts Lord!”

 

Christina

Flee from Sexual Immorality

 

Christina says…

 

My sons and I go to a Bible study every week. Each week all participants learn about the same topics and scripture. Though the learned concepts are the same, the children’s classes are working at an appropriate level for their grades, while the adult classes are diving in a bit deeper.

 

This has been great all year, a coming together for the three of us to learn the same topics and enter into a weekly discussion. Pretty cool, right? Learning biblical truths with my kiddos, loving that.

 

Until this week…these are the verses we were working on.

 

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 New International Version (NIV)

18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

I do not have an issue talking or writing about sex, um…sex blogger here. But, I do have an issue with my 9 year old discussing sex. His question to me, when studying this week was, “Mom, what is sexual immorality?” which made me stop and really have to think about how to answer him.

It would have been really easy to tell him WHY sexual immorality is wrong, or a sin, or why it is destructive… but that was not his question. He first needed to know what it meant to be sexually immoral.

 

How do I go about explaining sex to a 9 year old who has yet to even experience puberty? For all he knows Mommy and Daddy have a streak of kisses we keep track of on our bathroom mirror.

He has known the names of the body parts since he was a toddler; we were never ones to call genitals by nicknames. Naming the body parts is not the problem. So, I am perplexed…me the sex blogger…perplexed on how to define the act of sex to a 9 year old boy so he can then understand how sexual immorality differs from other kinds of sin.

I think before I overwhelm my child with the ins and outs (oh, just got that, HA!) of sex, I should start with the ups and downs of puberty. I definitely do not want to hide sex from my children, but I also am sure that there is a time and place to discuss sex. And I am pretty sure 9 is too early.

This question of understanding how sexual immorality differs from other sins should have been a question for the junior high and high school group in our Bible study…am I being too restrictive here? Am I out of line with my thinking? I think not…

To put it into more context, my younger son (age 7) had the same area of scripture to discuss in his class. The actual scripture was not addressed and instead of the concept of sex being brought up, the questions in their book revolved around God knowing you before you were born and how to treat your body. So, at least there is that…no 7 year olds discussing sex… phew.

Why Stop Tonight

I want sex and food to be non-issues.

Sometimes sex is a dredge, pulling back layers of a time long ago and more so forgotten. Sometimes food and drink are the clods of dirt shallowly filling in the scraped earth of my memory.

Were sex and food always connected for me? Were food and drink my subconscious Band-Aid, one I rarely realized I was affixing?

I want sex and food to be non-issues.

Sex tickles

Drink calms

Food covers

Flip it around; repeated, reversed, reordered. Were they always there in varying order, during, before and now after the streak?

If food covers and drink calms, what needs to be uncovered and spun out of control? What do the ticklish times point to, deep beneath the fun of the streak, beneath just sex, beneath married intimacy?

I’m on a diet that’s ending, and a streak that just did—both full of restrictions of a past well hid.

No, not that food, no matter how good.

No, not that position, no matter how good.

No, not that taste, no matter how good.

No, not that feeling, no matter how good.

 

Restrictions placed on me by a book by a man I chose to believe.

Restrictions placed on me by a step man I chose to believe.

Restrictions placed on me by me, because I choose to conceal, not see.

 

The who that was taken and left me to be the who that is now, confused and wanting to see…

In the wake of the end, the streak marked 1158 because of the nights we fought ‘till late,

We’ve blown quite past, no stopping in sight,

“Why”, I ask, “Why stop tonight”?

 

 

Christina

Dog’s Simplicities, Husband’s Intricacies

 

We have two great dogs; one a mix of Catahoula Leopard and Rhodesian Ridgeback, the other a German Shepherd.  The Shepard adopted me about five years ago, he is my baby. But no matter how much I love him though, he does have some irritating particulars about him. Somewhat like my husband, to a degree. The dog is always underfoot and constantly follows me around the house. I mean there is only so much space to walk down the tiny hallway to our small bathroom, me and the 115 pound dog, both, just cannot fit. But, this last week, with my husband home for the holidays, I got to thinking about the dog and my husband in a different way. I started seeing the little things the dog and the husband do that bug me as less of an irritation and more of a sweetness of their personalities.

So here is my dog to husband conversion, enjoy!

Dog says…

“Me too, Boss.”

Husband says…

“I know you are in charge, pretty lady, but can I come too?”

 

Dog says…

“Pet me”  

Husband says…

“Touch me so I know you know I’m here. Touch means love to me.”

 

Dog says…

“Wait, wait, where ya going? Oooh, I’ll go too best buddy!”       

  Husband says…

“I just want to be with you. Don’t’ you want to be with me?”

 

Dog says…

“Yep, I am going to sit here, riiiight on your foot.”        

Husband says…

“Oh you smell good and I like it when you fall on me. I like touching you, you feel nice.”See ‘Pet Me’ answer.

 

 Dog says…

“Oh! We’re going on a walk!! Yessss!

 Wait, no—no, not the leash! I hate the leash!”     

Husband says…

“I want to go with you but don’t rope me in, yank me around, and lead me. Let’s be in this together, I feel better when we are side by side.”

 

Dog says…

“Feed me twice a day or I’ll drink too

much and barf on your floor.”  

  Husband says…

  “Take care of me.”

 

Dog says…

“Let me bark are everyone who walks by our house.”    

Husband says…

  “I’ll take care of you.”

 

Dog says…

“I know you like cats, but they scare me.”      

Husband says…

“Just because something makes sense to you or makes you happy, please don’t assume I feel the same way.”

 

Dog says…

“I love a good butt sniff,

especially after rooting up old poo in the yard.”   

  Husband says…

“Just because something makes sense to me or makes me happy, I won’t assume you feel the same way.”

 

Dog says…

“Car ride to the beach? I’m sorry if I barf in the car again.

I really love the beach though.”      

Husband says…

“I may complain or put up a fight, but once we get through the hard parts we’re going to have so much fun!”

Happy New Year and New You! Here’s to 2017!!!

Lots of love, 

Christina, Nathaniel, Buddy the Shepherd and Harley the Catahoula/Ridgeback

Your Opinion Matters

Nathaniel and I are working on turning the blog into a book….here are some chapter concepts we are working on.

We would love your feedback.

Which topics resonate with you the most…and if you would not mind, why?

Thanks!!!

In no real order,

  1. Closeness and intimacy must be worked on, not left alone.
  2. Marriage and couple first, THEN the kids.
  3. God first always!
  4. Sex is icing.
  5. Sex releases built up frustration, anger and leads to clearer thinking.
  6. Do for each other not for yourself….and in turn you will have helped yourself.
  7. Dig a little deeper to find your well. When you know yourself you can truly know another and then be connected with that person.
  8. Sex is easy, intimacy is hard.
  9. He says YES, she says MAYBE.
  10. Porn addiction and childhood abuse.
  11. Low self-esteem and other body issues.
  12. Lies we heard and once (or still) believed: sex is bad, marriage is too hard, the kids trump the couple, couples get divorced anyway…why try? Porn is unforgivable and childhood abuse ruined me.
  13. Rising above sex and marriage lies, putting God first in a real, tangible way.

The Broken Way

Earlier this season I reviewed a book by Ann Voskamp called, The Broken Way. It is a great book! Well…. as hoped for, she has written a Bible study and produced a corresponding  DVD. She breaks up her book into six sessions. Each with an eye-catching, heart-string pulling title.

“How Do We Live This One Broken Life?”

“Living Cruciform”

“Learning to Receive”

” Real Koinonia”

“Embracing Inconvenience”

“Who We Serve”

I just love titles….they say so much in so few words. And these few words really do encompass her chapters, which are full! Each chapter in the Bible study is complete with weekly session, poignant stories, a note sheet that goes with the DVD, tons of in depth questions and scripture. Each chapter ends with a prayer and an “In Between Session” section. I love the In Between Session sections, they are a time for personal reflection after the group DVD sessions. There is so much packed into this Bible study…right up my alley! And I am sure you will love it too.

The DVD is beautifully presented and Ann’s voice is very soothing and peaceful. She weaves personal stories throughout the DVD keeping the viewer engaged and wanting to know the end of the story. A true mark of a storyteller.

This workbook set walks participants through those times when life leaves us feeling broken and empty. The study lends a hand in keeping us accountable while we take baby steps through the storms of life.

My extra copy has already been given out, but please don’t let this great Bible study set pass you by!