Tuesday, January 20

Culture Shock 74

My husband and I were commenting the other day that we have been unable to find good bread in Mississippi.

Well, it looks like they finally did something about that!  They shipped in bread from California!

(Shopping at Kroger. Not sure if this is really made in California, but it made my taste buds tingle for some San Fransisco sour dough and salami! Yumm!)

Culture Shock 73

I didn't think I could have another weather shock out here! But this is one that took me awhile to pinpoint and be able to say out loud.

In California, the coldest part of the night is about 2 in the morning. After that, the temperature starts to go up. The hottest part if the afternoon is between 3-4. You will get a sunburn at this time.

Mississippi is closer to the equator. I'm sure that makes some difference. That and the gulf of Mexico. I've been up with the dogs at 2 in the morning and had the air not be too chilly.  But at 5:30 a.m. Oh my, is it quite a bit lower in temperature. My husband and I are in a debate on the hottest part of the day here. The humidity makes it difficult to pinpoint.

Culture Shock 72

It's always hard to find your place in a new situation. New school. New job. New town. New friends to make. New things to learn. It can be quite an adventure.

I have often changed circles in my life. I mean that I haven't had the same group of friends since kindergarten. I changed schools in 5th grade; then again in 7th; then of course for high school. Went away for college. Took a year off of real life to be a missionary. Worked for a bank. Substitute taught for a couple years. Moved quite a bit when I first got married.

Anyway, I say all of that to point out that I have not grown up with the same group of friends. I've known some people for a long time. I've had and still have friends that transcend all those life changes. But only a few.

And even if you've seen all the "small town" movies, there is nothing like experiencing it; nothing that could have prepared me for it. It's even hard to put into words. If you've seen the "small town" movies, I'm here to tell you, "Yes. It is like that." Everyone knows everything about you.

I'm still new, so I don't know all of the "old" family names and money, or the tragedies or marriage unions that have taken place over the years. The culture shock for me is sitting around a table, chatting with new friends, when the conversation topic goes on to someone I don't know. No big deal there, but that everyone knows this person or at least their cousin gets me thinking about the small town aspect.

You can never be anonymous in a small town. You won't be forgotten. It's hard to make a mistake and go unnoticed. But if your family needs help, it's there. Give and take. I'm sure it is annoying to have everyone know your business. And I do know the feeling of trying to grow up and change but having people not see the new you, only wanting to remember your mistakes.

It's difficult to stay in the conversation at that round table when you don't know everyone in town. I try to follow who is related to who but I really just want to get to know you, the one at the table, the one next to me; not Joe Smith who left town 5 years ago and has a new baby. I understand that is interesting news to some at the table, but it is hard to stay involved in the conversation when you don't know who is being talked about.

Saturday, January 17

Spiritual Gifts

As a child, I had a nickname among my mother's sisters. "I dunno," was commonly heard out of my mouth, so my aunts started calling me that. I felt like I would get in trouble for an honest answer. So, at nine years old, I began to answer "I dunno" before I even heard the question.

The honest answer was often, "I know," or "I knew that." But at nine years old, I learned that you can't say that to an adult. They think you are being sassy, defiant, or just plain rude.

We, as adults, often forget that children will spend most of THEIR lives as adults. It seems like childhood is unimportant or a nuisance to us. We forget that children have character traits that will benefit them as adults and they can often be belittled for things that an adult would be praised for. I'm talking from experience!

I got in trouble in 5th grade for being bossy. I grew up to be an amazing boss, if I do say so myself!  I got in trouble for reading too much. I grew up to help children that struggled with letters learn how to read. I got in trouble for not having my assignments done on time. Yeah, nothing there!

I got in trouble for saying, "I knew you were gonna say that." Turns out that 20 years later,  I am realizing that THAT was discernment. I have learned over the last 10 years that THAT is my spiritual gift. It's not something I can turn on or off, so don't come bombard me with questions, please! Because I have stifled it for so many years,  I am just now learning how to use it for HIS Glory.

I have actually asked God for this gift, but I have also asked him to take it away. I don't yet fully realize what he wants me to do with it. I have heard the truth of situations that others can't see or hear and I have done nothing, so I don't feel worthy to carry this burden. Other times, I have known the hurt a friend is gonna share before they even know they are gonna share it.  I have learned that there is healing in saying things aloud, so I don't interrupt, but I don't act shocked when the news comes out either.

I have no blame here for adults treating me like the child I was. They were not Christians and might still not understand. This is a reminder to me to look at my own children in a new light as I help train then for adulthood; to help them find the gift(s) that God has given them and learn to use them for HIS Glory!

So, when some one asks me how I know what I know, or why I think what I think, sometimes it's because the Holly Spirit told me. Sure, I can back it up with a weeks worth of research, or scrutinize over someones life to find reasons. Typically, I know because I know. I know because my God has given me a gift to discern the truth of the spirit of things: people, articles, situations, feelings. This is why I stutter and hesitate to explain the whys of my own feelings. People don't like the answer, "I know," or "I already knew that." People want solid, provable answers. I don't have that. I have the Holy Spirit and he will be proven. Be patient and you will see.

This article here is a wonderful description of the gift of discernment.

1Cor 12:7-10 (NKJ) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, ...to another discerning of spirits...

Thursday, January 15

Culture Shock 71

I'm missing Monarch Butterfly Migration Season in California.

I am so glad we had the opportunity to visit Monterey a few years ago. We used the pictures from that trip to make a shadow box when Nick was in 2nd grade.

Missing home...

I think the season we are in currently in Mississippi is, "Grow a beard because it's that cold!"

Tuesday, January 6

Culture Shock 70

I want to take the time right now to remind folks from Mississippi where I came from.

Beaches and mountains. Hollywood. Home to the California redwoods,  the tallest living organisms in the world.  The place where fortune cookies were invented. The lowest and highest points in the United States: Death Valley at 282 ft below sea level and Mt. Whitney at 14,491 ft above. The 2nd best view in the world of the earths surface is at Mt. Diablo. Home to the Golden Gate Bridge, California is the most populous state, famous for the Gold Rush of '49 and Los Angeles traffic.

I say all of that to point to a busy state full of people trying to get their hands on the latest trends, whether that be fashion or technology.

I keep thinking that there can't be much more to shock me here in Mississippi; that I've seen it all or heard it all. But here we go again!

I've had the opportunity to work with some other homeshooled youth besides my own. I had a hard time realizing that these very smart kids were not aware of the potential to use youtube as a learning resource; the internet was not their first thought for reseach; "google it" was a new term for them.

So I've introduced these sweet and modest southern boys to a whole new world of learning. Maybe this old-fashioned southern state needed some California mixed in.

Friday, January 2

Culture Shock 68

I've spent the last 9 months paying close attention to how this southern state of Mississippi is different than the west coast of California.  From weather to manners to driving and animals, there are uncountable things that make these states unique.

Not all things are shockers or even need adjusting to. Some surprises have been a sweet relief in their difference while other things make me long for cold oceans and earthquake weather!

As a new year approaches, I decided to join the masses in stating a resolution:
I resolve to embrace my new home, to wonder at the simple, carefree life that God has brought me to; to not be shocked, but  thankful, for the differences that make my new home a place that my boys will settle into.

Culture Shock 68 is that I have changed; for good or bad is yet to be determined! My feet have grown to love the land. My hands have grown to need the soil. My heart has grown to want these southern folk next to me as I learn to live all over again.

California, you will always be my home! I will always dream of cooling off on the beach; of sled rides in the snow ; of mountain hikes; of controlled frizzy hair! I miss picnics on Mt. Diablo with my husband and impromptu drives to Stinson Beach with the Platts. I miss Lake Tahoe trips and San Diego fireworks.

But I am learning that my heart can survive being split in two. Two beautiful boys to love. Two beautiful homes to live in my heart.

Mississippi,  thank you for welcoming, for embracing, this camo-free California girl and her family.

Culture Shock 69

Green season.

No. Not the Packers. Not the Oakland A's. Not sports at all. The trees! The grass! The little hills out here in southern Mississippi! They stay green!  For more than a week!

I lived in the foothills of Mt. Diablo for many years. It was always a beautiful sight to see the golden rolling hills turn green. It would seem to be an overnight transition.  A spring or summer rain the day before would prompt the grass buds to sprout a gorgeous green across the horizon. Then, before you could blink, the green would disappear into the sunset, turning the hills into a wavy golden sea against the dropping sun.

I've been told that it has been fairly dry here in Mississippi as of late; that the green isn't "as green" as it usually is. To these California eyes, it is like the Emerald City! Brown is not mixed in or even thought of until early fall. It is a wet green, shining droplets in the sun, not unlike my golden hills back home, just a different color of gold! And it lasts and lasts and lasts!