Monday, February 24, 2014

Lessons from the airport (and how girls need to put on clothes)

My first time on an airplane was in 1982 as a scared twelve year old. The flight lasted a whopping 30 minutes from Atlanta to Birmingham. My grandmother passed away unexpected while I was at a cheerleading camp, and my coach put me on a plane. I don’t recall a lot about that experience except the feeling of unabated fright!

Fast forward thirty two years and my flying experiences have increased greatly. Across the United States and around the world…what an adventure this life has been. Smooth flights, terrifying flights and everything in between. Along the way I have learned that the airport is the perfect place to observe life and to make applications that are far-reaching.

1. People tend to see the world from a self-centered viewpoint. Walking through a crowd without even glancing up from a screen. Looking others in the eye while practically yelling on a headset. Sitting in a waiting area with over 200 other people and never speaking a word…at all.
2. It is easy to avoid others and have no contact. Newspapers. Magazines. Work projects. Computers. Telephones. It’s like self-service lines at Walmart - you can walk in, get everything you need for the week, check yourself out and never even talk to another human being.
3. Modesty is as unique as marriages that have lasted for 50 years. Even in colder climates. And, leggings/tights/hose are NOT pants.
4. People are busy. Too busy.
5. Gratefulness is just as outdated and unheard of as modesty in airports. The airline agents, vendors and personnel see the very worst of people. And most of them can’t do a thing about it.

I am always reminded that there is more to life than busy-ness, electronics, and myself when I’m in an airport. Just yesterday, I had a lovely conversation with Ann Brown from Michigan. She had just finished taking her son to visit Liberty University. Ann is a believer and has 5 kids too…it was clearly appointed by God for us to meet and encourage one another. I am beyond thankful that God allowed me to meet her. I could have just as easily missed it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Airing of Praises (to offset the venting post)

Clearly, the extended time spent in my house this past week reached a pinnacle with one of my last posts. I was irritated and well, needed to vent. The airing of the grievances was completed and published. Whew. Now, that’s over, and the weather is returning to normal for the south. That means no snow and sunshine. It’s why God placed us in the south. Thank you Lord.

My kids have encouraged me to air some compliments and praise to offset the negative. So, here goes…

1. My greatest respect goes out to people who are honest about their struggles and the tough stuff they deal with on a daily basis. Families who have friends who know their weaknesses and hold them accountable are highly esteemed in my book!
2. Full attention…I am sending love out to the people who stay OFF their electronic devices and pay 100% attention to others in their presence. I have recently seen several tables full of people who never even looked up from their phones or computers to talk to people (often, their families) at the same table. I need to work on this one myself!
3. People who workout on a regular basis are often seen as over the top. It’s called dedication, and I admire it. Taking time out of your day to honor the Lord with your body is hard…but it is good.
4. Props to people who can laugh at themselves on a regular basis. I live with Zeke Turner, so it’s pretty easy to hear belly laughs around here often. The English language turns out to be a source of much confusion (e.g. super and supper), and it keeps us on our toes.
5. Servants….I can’t say enough about how much I admire and cherish people with serving lives. They serve every week and don’t draw attention to themselves or what they do. They just do it because it’s what God called them to do. And, they do not have to advertise their obedience. From parking teams to greeters to teachers to waitresses….hats off to all of you.
6. Couples who have been married 25 years or more and seek to teach/mentor/guide younger couples in Christ! Marriages are falling apart all around us all…it is a travesty. Personally, JT and I struggled through our 7th and 13th years of marriage (the entire 365 days of each one)…thank God for couples who encouraged, loved and supported us during those times. Being married for a while is one thing…helping others to get there is something special!
7. Encouragers! Woo-hoo, this is my favorite! I have friends who are just the most awesome encouragers…meaning, they ENCOURAGE…not drawing attention to themselves but pointing me to Christ with every single word. We all need friends like that! I need to work on this one!
8. Sign language interpreters. Over the past three months, my kids have been enthralled with watching our friend Kim interpret for the deaf community in our church. Honestly, even if I didn’t hear the songs or sermon, I would KNOW the glory of Christ and would see His grace on display just by watching her. It’s been beautiful beyond measure…I don’t even have words.
9. A clean house. I am sure I am not alone, but the idea of a clean house just thrills my soul. My dream comes true once every two weeks for approximately 2 hours. Then, it gets messed up again. I have learned to enjoy those two hours and to appreciate the chaos it quickly becomes thereafter.

Now, what just thrills you?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love, True Love

Valentine’s Day is a beautiful holiday to celebrate love. While we were out and about on February 14th, we saw young couples holding hands, the exchange of beautiful gifts, flowers and candy everywhere and people in LOOOOOOVE. It was a sight to see.

Then, there were couples fighting, irritated and disappointed faces, arms crossed in anger, and people who were obviously not feeling the special occasion. The young woman walking by herself arguing with her boyfriend on the phone, a middle aged woman shouting at the cashier because her husband bought the wrong size and the man picking up a last minute gift like a whipped puppy. It was a sight to see.

And then there was the Turner tribe. All of us. Five in one van. Two in another. Five were at home and two were 20 miles away. We make a last minute decision to meet for dinner. You know, on the BUSIEST night of the year, when everyone has a reservation. Except us.

We find a place where the wait wasn’t too long and squeezed into a booth meant for five, maybe. The kids were thoughtful enough to let JT and I sit next to each other. That’s as romantic as it got. Cause we have five kids who all wanted to tell us something. At the same time. And we listened. It was a sight to see.

Then, we ventured into the mall and bought some overpriced ice cream. Cause it was Valentine’s Day. We didn’t get to sit next to each other again but at least made eye contact with the three littles between us.

As we walked everyone to the exit, we saw the ultimate cap on the night. It was raining, and we had no umbrellas. So, the two of us trekked out to two different cars and picked up the kids at the door. It was a sight to see.

After driving home we barked out the nightly orders - brush your teeth, change your clothes, put on headgear, brush your teeth again (for real this time), go to the bathroom, wash your hands, now dry your hands, hugs and kisses. Good night.

And so romantic, don’t you think. The day when everyone on the planet declares LOVE for something or someone. We eat with all our kids and do the mundane. AND THAT’S WHAT TRUE LOVE LOOKS LIKE. Not a gift or a special dinner. Just two people who have loved each other and been committed to one another for almost 24 years. No candy has helped us solve an argument. No gift has erased our regrets. No card has wiped away the tears of sadness or joy. Only the source of love, God Himself, has allowed us to get to this point. He has sustained us and shown us what true love is. He has taught, guided, corrected and loved us so that we can love one another.

Praise God for every day. An opportunity to live the mundane in such a way that only He gets all the glory.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Airing of Grievances (a little late, I know)

If you remember Seinfeld, you will remember the holiday known as Festivus. It is a "holiday for the rest of us." It always made me laugh because people took it seriously. Maybe they did that just to avoid another day of work or to have something to celebrate. Either way, it became a family joke for us. Every year, our family talks about the airing of grievances. And, since it's important not to allow the sun to go down on your anger, it seems to fit the Biblical mandate.

Obviously, I'm late in airing my grievances with the world. I've been sick, my friends, so please forgive me. Not to delay any longer, here they are (in no particular order but just as they come to mind):

1. I respect and admire James Spann, our local meteorologist guru, as much as anyone else. But, the people who ask him for specifics about their personal schedules, in light of the weather, just get on my nerves. For example, Mildred writes, "James, I am planning to get my hair done at The Beautify Yourself Salon on Highway 78 in Dora tomorrow at 9:30 am. It will take exactly 2 hours if Leanne has not scheduled any other clients (which she has only done twice...and I did not tip her either time) during my time slot. Will I have any issues getting home?" Can we just agree to stay off the roads during any type of weather emergency and not bother James with our personal agendas? And getting your hair done or buying groceries or going to school are NOT emergencies. Blood, babies, broken bones, burning houses...those are emergencies.

2. Driving down the road with your blinker on. It just gets on my last nerve. Please stop.

3. Hashtags. #fortheloveofallthatisgoodandholypleasestopjuststoprightnownoreallystop.

4. Selfies. I totally understand the desire to document life. But, if life is ONLY about you, there are some bigger issues to deal with. Look back through your Facebook photos. If the majority of them are of you BY YOURSELF (even if you are single or a teenager or for goodness sake, married), please take some photos of nature or buildings or traffic. Something else. Even if you are not self-centered, you appear to be.

5. Grammar. EVEN IF YOU ARE TEXTING, please use verbs. They never killed anyone. To be verbs are handy and short and take two seconds to insert. Use them, please.

6. And along the same lines and in the spirit of generosity, I have another grammar request. There are words that do NOT require doubling the final consonant before adding the suffix. Here's the THREE-part rule. (a) Does the word end in a single consonant? (b) Is the single consonant preceded by a single short vowel? AND THE ONE THAT IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED (c) Is the last syllable accented? If the answer to all three questions is "yes," then please double that final consonant (running, shopping, stepped). If the answer to any of the questions is "no," then do not double that final consonant (canceling, worshiping, traveling). See how easy that is?

7. Extremes are outdated and not effective. I see this in visiting my dad who resides in the Bibb County Correctional Facility every eight weeks. If one visitor breaks a rule (someone tried to sneak bacon in the prison inside a ziploc bag in their sock), then the rule is automatically changed to apply to everyone. So now we all take off our socks and shoes every time we visit. There are numerous examples including no bathroom breaks allowed, undergarments are checked, etc.) that come as a direct result of an extreme swinging of the pendulum. We are often guilty of this in our families and churches. If something happens that was not anticipated or hurts us or does not result in our expected outcomes, then we swing in the opposite direction and enforce a new rule. Balance, people. Balance.

8. Servers at restaurants. This is not a grievance about servers but about our behavior as customers. While I don't impose this behavior on others, I do see the benefit for our children. When a server comes to our table, everyone is required to stop doing whatever they are doing and pay attention. Eye contact. Full attention. No coloring, talking, staring out the window...actually talk to the server and give him/her our respect. It teaches our children that every person is important, and dismissing others is not acceptable. Plus, we do not want the butler/maid "you are here to serve me" mentality.

Well, that's it. My airing of the grievances. Plus, we are "rained" in at the moment (I'm truly hoping for some snow) and it's the best I could do. Do you have any grievances to air? If so, let me hear 'em!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life is Grand (and other lies....)

A few pics of real life. You know, the ones you don't want to post or print or hang up in your house.

Let’s face it. My life is glamorous. And God-honoring. And just plain good. Isn’t yours?

No? Well, let’s be honest together. Neither is mine! Now, you can breathe a sigh of relief and know that that’s the truth for every single person IN THE UNIVERSE.

For the past three weeks, I have been down with mono. The kissing disease. Seriously. Laugh and get it out of your system. It started with headaches and worked its way into my bones. Cause if bones can be tired, mine are. My eyelashes are tired. My toenails are tired. I am exhausted.

The first week of sickness, I only left our room out of stir-craziness. My family quarantined me, and I was brought every single meal. It sounds heavenly, right? It was not because I felt like I was going to suffocate in between naps. I was not productive at all. I could barely hold my head up.

I was able to go to church this past weekend and prayed to the Lord that I wouldn’t snore during the service. By the time we got home, I was pooped. For the rest of the day. It is annoying. And I am NOT a good sick person. Never have been. I never finish all of my medicine (I really hope Doug and LaShane don’t read this). I refuse to take medicine unless it’s a matter of life and death. I do not think mono qualifies or most other illnesses. But, I digress.

However, I am not above taking medicine or herbs or oils either. And I’ve done them all this time around. Cause I’m sick of being sick. And why? Because I feel helpless and unproductive and lazy and bored and weary and you get the picture. I’m restless and dissatisfied and irritable and angry and rambling.

Why does rest not come easy when it’s time to rest? Why does it take an illness to make me rest more? Am I that hard-headed. Yep.

Working on contentment, people. It’s a long work in progress. Please pray that I would seek after Him and use my time recouping wisely. Because so far, I’ve failed at that. And that my friend, is as honest as it gets.