Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wondering...

I'm around. Really I've been here off and on...just sort of thinking and wondering really what it is I should share here at my blog.
I had a great time the past few days. Last Friday was the "Fallen Heroes Golf Tournament" at Grand Haven Golf Club, where Chip works...and his boss and family have been in town to be apart of this event. This event was a result of lots of hard work, a commitment and passion of Dan Rooney's (the boss/owner of the Club) who has a 'connection' with the families of those affected by death/injuries as a result of their military service- because he flies f-16's and has done two tours in Iraq...with a possible third one coming up later this summer. To see how many people got involved and supported his cause was really an amazing thing. From the President of the PGA, to local and national media coverage, to people feeling called to step up and make pledges to this foundation was really a neat thing. The event raised nearly $40,000 dollars...which goes into funds to given as scholarships to children/family members of those killed/permanently disabled in military service. Such a great cause...and support for this foundation and cause continues to grow. It was an honor and privilege for Chip {and me in a small way} to be a part of such an effort. It really brings it home to be involved firsthand with those who have sacrificed for our sake's, so much in life. Even giving their lives.
We also enjoyed an afternoon at the beach of Lake Michigan...where we just kicked-back and relaxed as a family with friends too...and I didn't even bring a camera...which Chip and the kids were thrilled to learn! =) It was fun for me to see how much progress and growth Wyndham has made in a year's time. Last year she had such an aversion to the texture of the beach sand, and she couldn't walk in it because of it's uneven nature and demand on her for balance and stability. This year, she crawled in the sand, played off the blanket more than on it...and even tried to chase the seagulls, as she watched Ava run and play. I was so happy for her. It helps to justify all the hours and trips to and from therapy- 3 days a week, that she attends...and I often struggle with sending her there. I sometimes just want her to sit back and be a kid like her siblings...just have fun. But seeing her changes and her strength and her great strides totally reaffirmed to me that all her therapy is paying off. Even if it's a demand in my life and not always the thing I want to do; I am seeing that it is worth it in the long run.
I have also been doing lots of thinking and meditating on purpose and meaning and what exactly is the best use of my time and energy...in regards to setting priorities according to what I feel God calling me to do with my life. It's a tough one. One I don't think has a simple cut and dried answer. I think it is something that constantly changes in life too, depending on all sorts of factors...like time/place/abilities/opportunities. I just know that my heart has a growing desire to do more than it seems I am doing most of the time. I feel sometimes that my circumstances 'hold me back' (being a stay-at-home mom of 4 isn't exactly the ideal circumstance to reach out and do much for others as far as volunteering for organizations and such), and yet I realize that my kids ARE important and I AM doing a lot and have a huge opportunity in their lives to help nuture them and guide their growth in life too. It's just an internal, personal struggle to know if I am doing what I am called to do in life right now...or is there more I should be striving to do.
That's been my thoughts and it's a tough call. I don't have easy answers, and I keep seeking opportunities and trying to be quiet and listen to what I feel led to do. But sometimes the 'waiting game' is difficult to play. I'll be honest with you. Some of you may not even have a clue what I am talking about...but it's very real to me. I feel strongly that God gives us blessings and gifts and talents in life- not just for us to have a happy life and to live comfortable...but so that we can share these gifts and blessings with others! That's basically what Jesus did with His life on earth...He lived in order to share His life with others. Still, I know that he was a carpentar and that he had tasks and chores to do and had times in his life where He wasn't performing miracles and going great things...and that was still a part of God's plan for His life on earth.
So it is, that I am trying to strike balance and find the place where I feel I am being used if that is what I can be/do, and still have energy and be to my family and self all that God has for me right here- right now.
I wrote a short response in a post on my design team message board that fits with what I am saying here. It goes back to my 'personal enrichment challenge' that I made to myself back in January this year. Here is a portion of that-
"I have been praying about living as a sacrifice-specifially- this year. Sort of as my personal enrichment challenge instead of a New Year's resoution. God keeps convicting me. And challenging me. And I am feeling like I just don't measure up!Your post makes me step back and see- that yes, God can use us even when we don't know it- in ways we may never know. BUT, I still feel like I need to do more. Give more. I listened to a message about 'being Jesus' to children specifically the other night. And it hit me. I haven't had to 'touch someone dirty' or 'love someone unlovely' or even step outside my comfort zone in a long time. That's sad. Sad that I haven't been living 'hard enough'. Sad that I am 'happy' being comfortable. Sad that I live a sheltered life, when people all over the world are living with pain and hurt. Just wanted to know that this post has 'convicted me' and made me want to step it up and do something more for someone that needs Jesus in their life too.I'd love prayer for me as I seek to follow my heart and God's leading in this way. And cI hallenge others here to do the same. Love someone who needs it. Not because it's easy or because they are lovely. But simply because He loved US all so much."
Truly, I need prayers and would love for some of you to offer your own words to me as to how you strike that balance in life- that of living life in your own little world....and yet finding ways to 'step outside of it' to do more for others. I've mentioned I'm no Mother Theresa. But I do know that I have so much...that others sacrifice so much...and that I should be doing more. As in Schindler's List. You can give and do and be so much to others...and yet in your heart you know you could be doing more.
THAT is what I am wondering {and praying} about right now. Deep thoughts, I suppose...but thoughts that could have lifelong impacts- for me & others.
{If you want to offer some insights outside of the comments here, feel free to email me at nitty.grittyjody@yahoo.com } Thanks!

8 comments:

Beth said...

I hope you find the answer to your prayers but please don't underestimate the impact of your simple blog posts in terms of spreading joy and helping other find God. "Let's see what Jody has to say," I say to myself quite often, as I struggle with feeling grateful in life or having a good attitude. And, you never disappoint! You say sometimes that you feel like you just say the same things over and over, but you always find a way to make it different and these are important messages you have! So, thank you and please keep on blogging, no matter what you do!

humblepie said...

I know how you feel: to ask yourself daily, "Am I doing enough?" and to answer yourself, "No, I could do so much more!" Please know that you are doing RIGHT NOW, what God wants you to do. He has planted the seed of wondering, wondering where/how you can do more, and it needs time to grow. You are being poised for even further greatness for Him. Meanwhile, you are helping develop four little humans--what an awe-filled task! Not to mention the countless lives you touch each day through this lil' ol' blog. Please don't think for one second that you have to have Bono's media tour to be successfully charitable.

On the flip side, I currently have a full-time, highly demanding job and no children--you'd think I'd have all the time & the connections in the world to bloom with philanthropic goodness. Au contrare. Dogged & tired in a way that doesn't come with those sweet little, hugs & kisses. I keep thinking I need to be home with kids to get big, good stuff done! ;)

I have an idea for us: maybe we can do more good Jesus-like stuff as a means of family traditions. Say, for birthdays, you arrange and take the kids to the local nursing home (if you think it's okay) to cheer up some folks. Or the kids plant a flower garden solely to take to sick neighbors. Maybe stuff like that? Work it in to your life. Replace what you feel as synthetic with something authentic, no?

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that you have inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and to not live in fear but to live by faith. One day I ran into your blog and I was reading your past birthday blog, I read the story of your little angle in heaven and let me tell you…I congratulate you on your strength and faith. You have made me open my eyes and to enjoy life with my family more. I am a mother of two precious girls (3 and 2 years old), my husband and I work full time and by the time we pick up the kids and get home it is about 7:30p.m. and rush to cook dinner, take them a bath, make lunches for the next day, prepare the backpacks for the sitter and off to bed. I am trying not be so stressed out and to enjoy my time with my kids and my husband. I just want to say thank you for showing me your courage, strength, and faith.


Jennifer De Los Santos
Houston, TX

Claire said...

I agree with Beth! Definitely don't underestimate the sense of community and friendship you offer to all those in the 'blogosphere'. Sometimes all someone need is a calm, rational voice in the midst of the daily madness to get them back on track. Often you are that calm, rational voice for me!

But I definitely think its good that you are still asking 'what more can I do?' because its when we get complacent that we fail to fulfil our potential. I don't think there's anything wrong with striving for excellence and trying to do more, and be more.

At work we call it 'continuous improvement' but outside of paid work I refer to it as 'finding myself'.

Thanks for your thoughts on sacrifice - it's not something I had specifically thought of before. Through reading your blog it has brought the topic into my mind, and I've found (without even realising) that I'm introducing more sacrifice into my life. Its amazing how big the effect can be on someone else when I make a relatively small sacrifice.

stephanie said...

this is where we are so alike, and I too, struggle with the same things, and girl, if anyone has faith, it is you...and you need to rely on it right now...that you are doing what you are here to do...I would suggest reading the book by my Pastor, Rick Warren, "The Purpose Driven Life"...anwers alot of what you are thiking...me, being on the outside looking in on you, you are making a difference to more than just one person with your ramblings...just one thing you might say, insignificant to one, can totally strike another person and remind them that we all have the struggles, the troubles, the questioning of ourselves...doubt, sadness, etc...and then the good stuff...again the insignificant stuff to one, and the things that remind people of thier own happiness...now I am rambling....from here Nitty Gritty...you are doing a dog gone good job in all of the things we need to be reminded of...that is my very first quote, and I made sure to put it in the mag..."The things you already know, just forgot to remember" thanks for helping me, and trillions others, to remember...and friend, the struggles are all part of the journey...you know that, I just am here as a friend to remind you!
keep doin what you are doin...it is making a difference to many many people! love ya!

auntieanne said...

Oh Jody,
You've hit the nail on the head for me today. Stumbling is right...I stumbled across your blog as I routinely read Donna D's daily, saw the t-shirt ads ( as she is coming to my LSS next month and thought I should get a t-shirt ordered)...then saw your cute picture with the camera bags...and delved a little further because I saw your haircut and needed a picture of what I want for my new "color and cut" tomorrow afternoon. YEAH! How's that for shallow? Talk about stumbling across or just truly fate and God's will. I wake up most days struggling with the exact same issue, balancing my hectic life with my 3 beautiful boys, my loving husband, part-time jobs as a Registered Nurse and a teacher and every other little job at my local scrapbook store. Yet, where does God and peace and social awareness all fit into this insane schedule. I too am waiting for that gentle nudge from God to tell me..."hey, you need to do this...or that...and it will all be good for you and your family." I don't know if it will come or maybe the tap came and I missed it. Needless to say, I think alot of us moms that are doing all we can keep asking "shouldn't I be doing more? I want to get this right! I want to leave the world a better place than I found it" We have tough jobs and no one is probably ever going to say thanks. But I tell myself that's okay...I'm trying to be better. But what really hit home with me is your comments on helping and touching the not loving and not beautiful people. That is a real gift for those that do that. I'm a nurse...and I struggle so hard with that. I don't always feel like the most caring person when it comes to patients that aren't, well, "lovely." Okay, sorry for the ridiculously long comment...You are not alone and your voice and story alone are inspiring to me.

Jill B said...

I heard Shirley Dobson from Focus on the Family once say that she thought mothers of young children should realize their ministry at that time is to their families first. That once the kids left home we'd have plenty of time to serve in the community at large.
With a 10, 7 and 3 year old I focus a lot of my "spare"time on things that will benefit my kids; I host a bible study for moms from the school, run the Brownie troop and help with the girls softball team, organize a blood drive in honor of a friends child who died on cancer last year etc. I figure that this way I can become friends with the kids parents and make sure I'm sharing my faith in a day to day contact. Lifestyle evangelism and faith walking.
It sounds like you are doing more than your fair share and that this blog is serving as a ministry too.
Jill from Omaha

Jenny said...

You do inspire many others through your blog. I know you may not feel like it sometimes because it is something you would probably do anyway, but lots of people get inspired and want to do better because of you!

That being said, there is plenty to do even though you have some of the most adorable children in the world. I am sure you can think of a neighbor or friend that maybe doesn't have their grandchildren nearby that would love some buttercream and hugs from those cute kids!

I am sure you "do more" everyday, you just don't get to see the results of that work.

Think of the little things you can do, not the HUGE ones like putting on a golf tournament on your own. Think of going to support the golf tournament. Oh wait, you did that! Those children that receive those scholarships will write thank you notes to the foundation, but those won't always be passed on to those who supported it and donated/raised the money.
See? It's the nitty. gritty. that counts :)