Renewed and Reborn

(c)2013 Donnalee Blankenship

(c)2013 Donnalee BlankenshipWhen I wake up in the morning I want to feel hungry for life.  Desire is what drives me.  When I go to sleep, I feel I have experienced a small death, so that I can wake up in the morning renewed and reborn.  — Jean-Louis Barrault

Tired of Doing Good

Looking back over the last few years, it seems like many of my problems stem from trying to help somebody else.  I hear the whisper of the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” No appreciation.  No immediate reward.  Today, my whole day has been consumed by doing for other people when I feel the need /obligation to focus more on me and mine.  This “no good deed” saying is so prevalent, I sometimes fight saying it several times a day, especially today.

But it is not God’s attitude, He encourages that I should:

7[] not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

As I was at wits end, my phone rang and it was one of my best friends.  He had a client that did not have a place to stay for the night and wanted to see if I had any ideas.  Convicted by my selfish attitude through the day, I invited him to stay with us.  He apparently had not eaten well or had the comforts of home recently.  Somewhat resentingly, we served him the largest portion and I pulled out all the things we had been hoarding for a special occasion.  As our guest enjoyed himself, God did a work in me and I ended up having a blessed evening.

Recommitment for tomorrow: Wake up Do good Repeat.

©2014 Brandon L. Blankenship (Source excluded) Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham


As to quote:  This famous quip was first quoted in print by Luce’s social secretary Letitia Baldrige in Roman Candle (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1956), 129: “When I would entreat her to engage in resolving a specific case, she replied, ‘No good deed goes unpunished, Tish, remember that.'” Oscar Wilde, Billy Wilder, and Andrew W. Mellon have also been cited as sources, but without written evidence.

As to scripture, Scripture taken from Galatians in the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation may terminate this permission at any time.

Image snippet from www.

Sticks and Stones: Tell a Girl She’s Beautiful

sticks stones

Tell a girl she is beautiful, she will believe it for a moment. Tell a girl she is ugly, she will believe it for a lifetime.  –Anonymous

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

Something mysterious happens in those pre-teen years.  Somewhere between 10 and 14 the whole world turns upside down.  I remember thinking that no one understood me, everyone else was cool, and I was all alone.  Not true, but that’s how I felt.  Don’t most kids go through that?  Everything was so  d e e p  and depressing.  My journals from those days are doom and gloom all the way.  What made it that way?  Why are the middle school years often so dark for so many?

I remember in 7th grade, I had achieved safety patrol status and was stationed on bus patrol with a boy that I thought was quirky and cute.  He was the class clown and well loved by most.  I thought this might be a great opportunity to move up in status and MAYBE I would be someone that he would discover that he liked.  He clowned around as usual and we seemed to get along ok, although nothing earth shattering and romantic ever developed.  But one day I overheard his friends teasing him about spending all that time with me and that he must “love” me and we should be “going together” (the term for becoming boyfriend/girlfriend back in the day).  As he bowed up to defend himself from the teasing, and not knowing (I hope) that I was anywhere nearby, he let out a litany of insults and derogatory comments about me and how he could never–would never ever like someone like me.  This doesn’t even begin to cover all he said, but to give you an idea:

THAT girl?  She has anti-boobs!  Why is she even wearing a bra?  She’s a “crater-chest” (a very sensitive subject to a flat chested, buxom hopeful).  She’s a total dork and will NEVER have a boyfriend.  If she does, she’ll have to wear a bag over her head, ‘cause she us u-g-l-y.  She’ll probably die a spinster, unloved and alone.

….and on and on.

I was broken hearted.  Not because he would never be my boyfriend, but because he crushed my spirit.  He and his friends were the people that I desperately wanted to like me.  He spoke to all the fears that I already had–hating my gangly flat chested body, thinking I was ugly, feeling alone and unloved, wanting a boyfriend like my other friends but not having one.  He and his friends laughed at my expense.  I was the joke.  Do you ever recover from that?  Shortly thereafter, he began talking to me using those phrases.  Putting me down whether his friends were around or not.

Looking back, I see that he was trying to build himself up from an attack by his friends.  After all, aren’t class clowns usually the kids that are hiding a deep hurt or loneliness themselves?   I don’t think I ever completely recovered.  When I have doubts about the way I look, even now his words come back to confirm that I’m not good enough.  When I’m feeling a little lonely, his friends laughing at me echos in my mind..

I’ve moved on.  I know I am loved and I finally grew into a real bra size.  (God does answer prayer.)  My self worth is not set by others.  I am a precious child of God and he gave his one and only son for me.  I am a child of the King and I am loved. Life did not turn out as they predicted. I have an amazing husband who thinks I’m pretty hot and a beautiful daughter with whom I have a great relationship.  I feel blessed, and know that I am.

So I’m looking at my 13 year old daughter and wondering where she is on that topsy turvy scale?  How alone and uncool does she really feel?  Who is the thorn in her side at school?  What words have they said that will remain with her forever?  What is she experiencing now that will impact how she faces life?  And what in the world can I do to help?

We talk often and deliberately work to keep the communication lines open.  She’s in a great school and has great friends.  I already see that her 13 year old life is not like mine was, but she is still a middle schooler.  She still has strong emotions and deep, deep feelings.  I pray that I will not hurt her with my words and that whatever she is going through, she seeks the grace of God to overcome.

I’ll take sticks and stones any day over words.  And I will tell her that she is beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

Superwoman or Superfailure?

I am not good at too many things, but then again, I am good at things others are not.  And, I’m really terrible at things others seem to do effortlessly.

For example, I often hear my friends talk about their meal plans.  What?!  Am I supposed to plan meals?  I am doing well if I get a meal on the table.  Not because I’m so busy, but because I can’t seem to figure out how to plan meals.  The concept seems simple enough.  I write down things we like to eat on the meal calendar.  I make a grocery list and grab a few coupons and feeling proud of myself, head to the store.  That’s where it starts to fall apart.

In the beginning it goes well.  I grab a few items on my list and confidently check them off.  Then I hit a snag and the store either will not have what I am looking for or I just can’t find it.  Standing near the cookie isle, fretting over how to change my plan, I notice that Oreo’s are on sale.  Well, I should add a dessert to the menu plan and after all, they are on sale.  So hurrying to get out of that tempting row, I see that Cheez-Its are on sale, too. We’re out of those.  Gotta grab a few. The guilt is getting stronger.  I only have a few things I need for my plan.  I’ve got just as many things in my buggy that are not in my plan.  Now I just want out of here.  I rationalize that I can grab a pizza and make sandwiches another two nights.  We can do a Yo-Yo night (Your On Your Own) and then I’ll just make another grocery trip later in the week.  Whew!  Now for checkout. Of course we need a price check and my coupons are expired.  I’ve spent more than I wanted even with sale items.  I’m weak. Unorganized. Devoid of will power.  I tuck my tail and head home.

Almost home I get the dreaded call.  Hubby is on his way with a work/client buddy and needs me to throw something together for supper an hour early.  YIKES!  This is when my super powers kick in.  With only moments before they arrive, I screech in the driveway, throw the pseudo-groceries in the fridge and start making the hamburger patties for “Spontaneous Man” to grill.  I start passing around jobs.  Kid1, “Straighten the pillows in the den and stack those newspapers and magazines.”  Kid2, “Grab some Windex and a toilet brush and take care of the guest bathroom.”  Kid3, “Set the table and start handing me things from the pantry.”  Just as the last pillow is plumped and the last paper towel hits the trash, the door opens.  “Hi honey, we’re home!”

potterCatching my breath from my earlier failure and chaotic rush, I try to see what this stranger “sees” while in my home.  It’s not so bad.  Maybe even interesting.  We are serving food from our garden on platters I made in my pottery class.  In sight of our meal is a large scale painting I worked on a few times we had a family painting night.  Draped over the chair is a shawl I knitted. He takes interest in our pallet projects and our homemade pickles and jams. After dinner the girls slip from the table without interrupting and clean the kitchen.  A parenting dream.  We enjoyed learning about our guest’s life and adventures and hopefully made him feel welcome and comfortable. Jelly in hand on his way out the door, he said he felt “right at home” and I wondered what he would have thought if he had arrived earlier.

As I work on editing a video and putting together a brochure before bed, I think that maybe I can give the meal planning another try.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  I was certainly a total failure at the meal planning, but I pulled a meal together in a pinch and everyone enjoyed themselves.  Eating this Oreo before climbing in the bed, I realize I need to work on that will power thing, too.