January 23, 2016

Blessings to you on this glorious snowy day! There’s nothing like a big snow to make my heart go flippity-flappity, skippity-skappity, doodadiddly dooooo! Yes, my heart sings in nonsensical happiness, which annoys the spellchecker on this high tech contraption I’m writing on, resulting in a slightly sinister laughing fit coming over me. I so enjoy arguing with these smart aleck machines that apparently think they know more than the writer to whom they MUST YIELD eventually, or out they shall go into a snowbank! (Note to my technological concierge, Mr. Chris–I would never actually throw this wondrous machine into a snowbank. I just like to threaten it into submission so it knows who’s BOSS!)

Obviously my brain is in relaxed mode during this weekend of enforced snowcation, so I’m going to let it go wherever it wants for this first Doodle of the new year. Won’t that be fun? Yessssssssss, it will! So make sure you’re wearing your cuddliest warm woolies, perhaps drinking a nice hot drink while indulging in a bit of chocolate or cookies or both (remember that scales do not calibrate correctly on snow days, so don’t go near them), and buckle up your cyberseatbelts, cause you don’t want to get blown into a snowbank of uncontrollable joy unprepared!

First on the non-agenda for our travels today shall be the annual announcement of my One Word for the year. I’m so glad my ladies’ Sunday School class started doing this one word thing a few years ago, based on the book, *My One Word* by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. This idea works so much better than a list of New Year’s resolutions for several reasons:

1. God chooses the word–really, He does. I’m not sure how, but He does if you give Him the time to reveal it to you.
2. God does what He wants to do in your life with that word, instead of your own personal self trying to keep resolutions.
3. One word is a lot easier to focus on than a whole list of resolutions.
4. It helps to have a group of friends who keep you thinking about your word all year long and asking “how’s that word working for you, (insert your name here)?

So let me tell you how my word came to me this year. I didn’t have much time to think about it during the holidays since for two weeks we were traveling and enjoying familial felicity. (I’m reading a very long novel written in the mid-18th century right now, so excuse my random dribbles of somewhat archaic language. It makes me giggle.)
Anyway, my mind was a blank, and even though I am no longer attending my ladies class since I am teaching third and fourth graders in Sunday school (bless ’em!), I KNEW they would be after me about a word. A master list of all of our words and verses for the year is printed up so we can all be on the lookout for each other’s words in devotions and other random places. I’m not too great at keeping up with any words but my own, but some of these ladies are like bloodhounds on a scent. They cannot be thwarted from finding all twenty or more words everywhere they go! It’s a little scary at times, but I guess God has gifted some with an extra sensitive nose for other people’s words. Hmmm.

Anyhow, it was about the middle of January, and though I had told God He was going to have to just give me my word this year because I didn’t have it in me to angst it out as in years past and I no longer had Eujane to help me in my struggles with it, I had nothing on the radar. Then one of my lady friends (Heather!) came up to me at the beginning of a church service and asked me if I had a word yet. I told her not yet, but I was working on it (kind of). The next thing I knew, one of the Praise Team members was talking about the topic of the sermon, discouragement, and put up on the big screen Philippians 4:8 just like this:

*Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble,
whatever is right,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable–
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy–
think about such things.*

I stared at that and started giggling right there in church. If I had been at home I’m sure I would have succumbed to a full blown hysterical laughing fit, but I do try to maintain an aura of Bapodist decorum in church. That’s the verse I quoted in my October Doodle as we were awaiting the news of my brother-in-law’s passing. And right then in that church service, all those whatevers grabbed me by the throat and screamed, “Debbie, is there a more appropriate word to follow on the heels of last year’s word, PLANS, than WHATEVER?” Nope, not really. Any plans I may have had last year were swallowed up by God’s higher plans, so this year I’m going for the whole loosey goosey word tamale of WHATEVER! Not that this is a foreign word in my vocabulary, but I get the feeling I may be learning to say that word with less of a teenaged rolling of the eyes “Whaaateeever!” and more of a submissive “whatever you want, Lord.” This will be a challenge, but at least my word rolls off my tongue several times a day with no forethought, making me chortle, so I won’t be forgetting about it as I go about my business. God definitely has a sense of humor!

Next let’s take a look at what I like to call Empty Nest Syndrome. Actually I don’t like to call it that, but that’s what it is. And guess what? I looked up “empty nest” to find a picture of an empty nest, in case none of you has every seen one, and Empty Nest Syndrome is a real psychological thing that can take 18 months to two years to get over! It’s most prominent in women, because as the article said, they generally spend an average of 20 years raising children and consider that their most important role in life. How about 30 years, if you count getting them all out of college and out on their own? I guess I should give myself at least two and a half years to compensate for the extra ten years of having daughters at home. So that’s encouraging. I’m not as goofy as I thought! I’m just a mom with an empty house. Sounds like a major adjustment to me!

And for your picture, I want you to use your imagination. Think of a sweet little bird’s nest with cute baby birds squawking for food and money and clothes and back rubs. They’re hopping about making their mom and dad crazy. There’s lots of laughter and angst and homework and deep thoughts and screaming and whimpering and dancing. The nest is messy and overflowing with birdishness. Then suddenly one little birdie flys the coop, then the second, then the third. The nest is still messy for quite some time, but very quiet. Then it is neat and quiet. This is not normal. This is when the syndrome hits Mama bird in the head and over the edge she flops, barely hanging on by her little bird claws. ThankfullyDaddy bird eventually wonders where she has gone and looks over the edge of the nest and says, “What are you doing hanging upside down by your claws? It’s supper time!” Thank goodness for Daddy bird and his sensible ways. Mama bird gets her ab workout pulling herself up from the precipice and life goes on.

I enjoy some melodrama now and then, how about you?

That’s all for this month. I must get back to enjoying the lazy part of snowcation!