Jan 142010
 


“Sometimes heaven is just a different pair of glasses.” Anne Lamott


In religious circles there is a lot of talk about the afterlife, about heaven and hell. This is certainly important to discuss, but when I read scripture, what slaps me in the face is that Jesus (and Buddha and every other spiritual teacher) focuses on the present more than the future. He teaches often about how we turn our earthly existence into heaven or hell based on our choices and perspective, here, today, right now.

Some people understand the “kingdom of God” as a place for “believers” and “the kingdom of hell” as a place for “non-believers.” Maybe. But I also think that those boundaries can’t be hard and fast. Because I believe till the cows come home. But I still find myself, quite often actually, feeling jealous and afraid and suspicious and isolated and angry and hopeless. Which feels a little hellish. And other times I feel loving and fearless and hopeful and connected and generous, which feels quite heavenly. So it seems to me that the kingdom of God and the kingdom of hell might also be places I shift between throughout my day, depending upon my attitude, where my heart is, how I’m looking at the world and at other people. And which kingdom I’m currently in depends on whether I’ve got my Jesus glasses on or not.

When I’m wearing my Jesus glasses, I see other people how Jesus sees them. Through my Jesus glasses, it becomes crystal clear that every person is my equal, and so confidence and humility come easy. Through my Jesus glasses, I see, laid out in front of me, ridiculous abundance. Through my Jesus glasses, I see that there is enough, that I am enough, and so is everyone else. When I don’t feel these things, I try to catch myself and find my glasses. Here at Momastery we like to call these Jesus glasses perspectacles. Because here at Momastery we are very, very cheesy and obsessed with puns. Also we like to use words that include everybody, not just Christians.

I used to be very suspicious of other women. I felt it was my duty to prove myself to other women. To defend my imaginary superiority. To hide my imaginary inferiority. I felt like I could never let my guard down, never relax. This was before I found my perspectacles. Now, mostly, instead of perceiving other women as competition, I put on my glasses and I see each woman God places on my path as a gift, an invitation, a resource, sent to teach me something I don’t yet know. Sent to help me heal in a specific way that only she can. Even when it becomes clear that the relationship is not going to work out, that we will have to part ways, she is still a gift because I am learning how to part ways with another child of God lovingly and gracefully. And so I get to practice taking care of myself and others. And I am able to relax. To stop grabbing and hiding. To understand that God sends exactly who we need, 100 percent of the time. This shift took a long time to happen. And it’s semi-permanent. My Jesus glasses still fall off. But now I know that when I find myself tightening up, feeling smaller and scared and defensive, all I have to do is find my glasses, put them on, and the world and other people will look blindingly beautiful again. And I will be able to breathe and be still in the understanding that the world is on my side.

God has sent me hundreds of invitations over the past few months, in the form of the Monkees. He invited one Monkee to the center stage of my heart recently, to help me learn how to look at my own health and body through perspectacles. I have never been an expert at that, but I think I might be finally learning. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from Erin, that I want to share her with you. Erin has been working her Monkee bottom off for you. She has spent countless hours writing to us about wellness and creating a Monkee cookbook full of recipes that are so simple even I can make them. They are idiot (Glennon) proof. And of course, she’s decided to love us without ulterior motive. She doesn’t want to make any money… she’s making the “wellness books” for free. She is our volunteer Dr. Oz. And what she has to say could be powerful for us, because when a Monkee decides to love others by combining hard work with her specific gift, wellit can cause revolutions, people. IF the receiver’s hearts are open.

Erin will talk to us tomorrow about our feelings about our own bodies. Let’s, once again, get our perspectacles on and see Erin as an invitation to become a little more whole, a little better healed.

I love you Monkees. Have I told you that recently?


Jan 132010
 


So sorry I’m late this morning. My little man, Chase, got sick at midnight and has been sick every twenty minutes since. I’ve never seen a little one with a virus this strong. After six hours of snuggling him while he cried and shook, I said helplessly, “Honey is there anything at all I can do for you?” And he said weakly, “Maybe you could pray?”

It breaks my heart when my children are sick, but I know that there is something special about it too. Sickness slows everybody down and encourages all of us to circle the wagons and focus on each other. When my children are sick it brings out the best in me, because I feel so desperately needed. I’m the only one they want, and I like that. I just love them so incredibly much when they’re sick. I want to hold them all day.

And I was thinking, just now, that maybe that’s how God feels about my little Lymie self right now. I know Chase is going to get better, and God knows I’m going to get better. So we’re all just going to use this time now to focus on each other, snuggle together on the couch, and wait for little miracles.

Chase reminded me this morning that we are never helpless. We can always help those we love through prayer. So today Monkees, I pray that you find some quiet today, some silence, some stillness.

Here’s why. Take a minute with this. I think in it is the key to a joyful, peaceful life.


“The fruit of silence is prayer,

The fruit of prayer is faith,

The fruit of faith is love,

The fruit of love is service,

The fruit of service is peace.” – Mother Teresa


And apparently the fruit of mommy’s cooking is brutal illness.

As always, I remain hopeful.

P.S. Kristin’s friend Erin is in Haiti, visiting her adopted son, Geoff. Since it’s all just unspeakable, let’s all please pray for Erin and Geoff and all of the parents and children who already had so little, and now have less. There but for the grace of God go we.


Jan 122010
 


Monkees.

I have much to report.

As you know, yesterday Tisha and I went to Wegmans and spent lots of hours in the healthy food sections. Not healthy like Baked Cheetos instead of Doritos or People instead of Us . . . REAL healthy food. I’ve never BEEN in these aisles before. Of course, it took me a long while to find any food because I kept watching the Healthy Aisle People. The Healthy Aisle People are relaxed. Even the ones with kids. And they’re pretty. Also serious. They concentrate. A lot of label reading going on. So I tried to look relaxed and pretty and concentrate on the labels, too. And since I really wanted to fit in, every once in a while I called out “GREEN HOUSE EFFECT” or “PETA” or “OREGON” because I figured these were things Healthy Aisle People cared about. Based on their reactions, I think the Healthy Aisle People might prefer quiet. I’ll try that next time.

It took us two hours, but we found everything that Monkee Erin ordered us to buy, except for something called “agave nectar.” I kept sending Tisha for it, but I kept finding her in the wine section. And when I asked her what she was doing there, she would say “I really think agave nectar is a type of wine.” I didn’t think so because I doubted that Erin would suggest I start boozing it up again to get healthy. That was a little too good to be true. So that part was confusing.

Eventually, though, we made it home with all of our crunchy goodies. We decided I would start my organic cooking career by trying to make an “Acorn Squash” recipe that Erin sent.

(Tomorrow I will tell you about how Erin and I ended up in this beautiful mess together. One month ago, we didn’t know each other. Today we correspond ten times a day. She is helping me. Mostly, I email her and say AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH and she emails back and says calm down. Lots of variations of this interaction. You won’t believe the story of Erin and me. When we encounter a mountain, God always sends the help we’ll need to climb it.)

Anyway, after we decided on the acorn squash, Tisha LEFT, employing some sort of Sink or Swim strategy. And it was just me and the squash. I was scared, but determined. I didn’t want to let Erin down. We were going to have organic spaghetti and meatballs and stuffed bread and acorn squash for dinner if I died trying. Luckily, Monkee Aprile had already sent the sauce and meatballs and stuffed bread home with Chase. Because the Melton family’s well being is a community effort. But I still had to make the PASTA AND SQUASH. Scary.

I told Chase to pray and tied a Monkee around my waist for spiritual support. Then I pulled out a POT that Tisha gave me and started pouring water. Here I am, DOING HARD THINGS. I was told later that it’s not really necessary to stir water to make it boil, but I felt stupid just standing there staring at it. Stirring is fun and fancy, so that’s what I did.


Then I CUT the squash, put it in a casserole dish that I never returned to Diane, and put it in the oven. And then, after a little while, I took it back out and put butter and jelly on it. At first I was going to put peanut butter and jelly on it, but Craig said maybe I should reread the directions. That was a close call. After the butter and jelly spreading, I put the squash back in the oven. And I waited for the timer to beep. I asked Craig to take pictures while I was cooking, but when I reviewed the pictures I had ten variations of this shot.


Thank you, Husband. Anyway, the timer did eventually beep, and that made me very terrified.

But when I opened the oven . . .very, very slowly to see what was going on in there…look what I saw! LOOK MONKEES!! A FESTIVUS MIRACLE!!!!!!



Five minutes after that picture was taken, I served my sweet little family Aprile’s amazing organic spaghetti and stuffed bread, and MY delicious acorn squash. They were mildly surprised at my success.






I was just tired.



Remember when NASA sent a monkey to the moon in the space shuttle to see if it was possible for regular humans to be successful at the mission? Yesterday was sort of like that.

And folks, the Monkee has landed. The verdict is in. We can do hard things. I think it actually might be possible for me to learn how to feed myself and my family REAL food. The food God meant for us to eat to make our bodies, minds, and spirits work right.

Today: BLACK BEAN HUMMUS AND MEXICAN PIZZA. There’s no stopping me. I’m fearless. Take THAT stupid Lyme.

Note: I’m actually not fearless. I’ve got plenty of fear about this dumb disease. But I’m working while I fear. And I’m whistling while I work. And this is helping.

What hard thing can we help you conquer today?

Love you,
G


P.S. Please note that anonymous at 8:18 had to put down a dog she’s loved for 17 years last night. Let’s stop for a moment and send her a virtual squeeze. We love you, brave Monkee. Thanks for sharing your heart.