Ordinarily Extraordinary » Faith, Art, Photography.....Life

“Clara sometimes asks me if I dream. Of course I dream I tell her. Everybody dreams. But what do you dream about she’ll ask. Same thing everybody dreams about I tell her. I dream about where I’m going. She’ll answer that, “but you’re not going anywhere, you’re just wandering about.” That’s not true. Not anymore. I have a new destination. My journey is the same as yours. The same as anyone’s. It’s taken me so many years. So many lifetimes. But at last I know where I’m going. Where I’ve always been going. Home. The long way around.” – Doctor Who

There are days where I feel like I’m wandering. Days where my focus can’t lift itself from the ground beneath me. Frustrated with any number of situations trying to steal my joy. Isn’t that life for all of us?

It’s easy to simply wander about. And there are some days where we need to slow down and breathe. But we can not remain in a state of just aimless wandering.

It takes intention to not only shift our focus upward, but to maintain it there. Daily intention to look up.

Daily titlting the mind. Refocusing our thoughts on home. Not the home here under our feet or where we lay our heads for sleep. Daily displacing the efforts of our flesh to make room for our spirit to steady on the perspective that can shift everything. Eternal perspective.

In the episode from Dr. Who above the good doctor realizes a fact so significant that it shifts his perspective drastically. He realizes he is no longer just the last of his kind wandering aimlessly about trying to save the world. He now has a goal. He may get there the long way around, but he now knows where he is going.


How difficult is it for us to do the same. Because this long way around can be discouraging. We may still be wanderers but we no longer wander without purpose.

If we can keep our perspective on the eternal our purpose shifts. It shifts toward home.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about excellence versus perfection.

Have you ever had such a good experience that you walked away incredibly impressed with the business, company or organization?

We all walk away from these types of experiences for the better.

Excellence is a great goal to strive towards.

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,” – Colossians 3:23

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might;” – Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Not long ago I was buying a few groceries in my favorite grocery store. One of the items I buy regularly was no longer on the shelf. It wasn’t simply out of stock. There was no longer a shelf label or place for it. One of the reasons I love this store is their attention to excellence and customer service. There is almost always an employee on every other aisle that will ask you if you need any help. The employee that happened to be on this aisle was the manager. I asked him about it and was informed they had changed some products the previous week and he offered to check the marked-down table up front for the item. When he couldn’t find it, he offered to order it for me. Now I’m not sure if they will be able to order it again or if the company is no longer making it, but this store went out of the way to help me.

Was it perfect? No. They did not have the product I wanted and may not be able to get it again.

Did the store strive for excellence in their interaction with me the customer? Absolutely.

There is a fine line between excellence and perfection. One that all too often becomes blurred.

There is a difference in striving for excellence and expecting perfection.

I’m a recovering perfectionist. It’s easy for me to slip into that mindset of wanting things to be perfect. I’ve learned over the years how stifling perfectionism can be though. I am constantly reminding myself to give grace when things do not go perfectly. I constantly remind myself that doing things to the best of my ability and with excellence does not equal perfection. And that’s okay. It’s not something I always do well, but I am trying and giving myself grace when I fail.

Striving for excellence is a good thing. As leaders we should encourage excellence in all we and our teams do. But expecting, even demanding, perfection slams the door on grace. It stifles growth.

Demanding perfection cultivates fear. It ignores the truth that we are all imperfect creatures, and it creates a hopelessness that what we are doing is futile. We must encourage those we lead and help them discover their potential with grace while aiming for excellence.

If you are somewhat local to me check out my next Essential Oils class! If you’ve been talking to another member of the Extraordinary Essentials team they will get the credit for you coming! Door Prizes & a free Make & Take! Bring a friend & get an extra entry for the door prizes! For more info see graphic below or check out the event FB page.

This is the tension I live in these days. This is my view. It was startling when he was old enough and tall enough to sit in the front passenger seat beside me. And then when his voice seemed to change overnight. But this is catch-your-breath, oh-when-did-he-get-old-enough, hold-me-Jesus, kind of a place.

Where did my spunky, smiley-faced, strawberry blond headed boy go? The spunk is still there and the strawberry blond has turned into a wonderful shade of auburn. The smile still makes its way out even amidst the teenage-ness.

This is the tension where I sit these days.
Thinking of how nice it will be, when the coach decides practice should go an hour later than he told parents and I sit waiting thinking of all I could have accomplished, and he can drive himself home, but knowing I’ll miss those afternoon conversations. How he laughs when telling me something goofy one of his friends did or how he made a great play in practice.
Terrified that he will be on the road, without one of us in the passenger seat telling him to slow down or not turn so sharp or a thousand other instructions, while thinking how nice it will be not to have to deal with morning school traffic or dropping everything to take him to the batting cages or something he and his friends planned at the last minute because he is not a planner. God made me a planner. Then he gave me a child who is not and laughed.
So yes this is the tension in which I sit these days. With him in my usual place as we move from one of his activities to the next.” And while some days I have to catch my breath from getting him one place to the next I try to stop myself from complaining. In eight short months he will be driving on his own.
Yes, this is where I sit these days. It’s one of those tensions you realize it’s best to embrace because you know you don’t want to miss it. 

I think God sits up in heaven laughing at us sometimes. Especially when it comes to us and our children.

I mean God gave us this amazingly talented kid. Seriously. He has skills when it comes to sketching and drawing. I draw stick figures fairly well. So while I may not have amazing artistic talent if you know me you know it’s not inconceivable that my child is artistic in some way. It was very obvious even from toddlerhood he was artistic.
So we’re moving along through his childhood and while parenting is never easy, parenting the artistic child part made sense to me.
We never pushed him to play sports. I always thought that should be up to him. He did go play golf with his daddy, and did several kids golf clinics & some tennis lessons. A few days in the summer or one night a week. Easy peasy.
But spend 5 nights a week at the ball park? No thanks. I’m a firm believer in not over scheduling a child and just letting them be…well…a child.
And then a funny thing happened. He hit junior high and decided he wanted to play more sports. More team sports.
So we started with golf in 7th grade. No problem. Drop him off at the course after school. Pick him up at dark. Play a couple of tournaments in the spring. Great coach we really like. I’m good with this.
Then the next year he decides he wants to play basketball too. Umm…well. Okay. It’s not too bad. It’s indoors. Coach who believes in being punctual with ending practice. There is a fair consistency to the schedule. My brain that needs advance notice so I can plan is good with this. Games are almost always on the same nights each week. I think I can handle this.
The next year he decides to run cross country. No problem. The coach was one of his math teachers and she has been one of his favorite teachers. Plus she’s a mom of boys. There are only 4 or 5 meets. Run your heart out kiddo. Run like the wind.
Then our second year of basketball under our belt. I’m not earning sports mom of the year but I’m not getting a big fat F in it either. I’d give myself a solid B.
And the kiddo is a decent athlete and basketball player. He keeps at it and improves every week.
But then, my friends, God decided he needed some comedic relief from this dismal world of ours. I’ve never been accused being funny. Trust me. But God is obviously finding great humor in what is about to happen.
The kiddo decides he wants to play baseball.
A game that not two years ago he said was the most boring game ever.
A game that is played outdoors.
A game whose high school season begins in February. Do you know how cold it can get in February? Yes I know. I live in the south, but we still get our fair share of cold winters down here. And have I mentioned how cold natured I am? I mean I get cold in the shade in the summer.
I was absolutely clueless what all he would need for baseball. Sure I knew a bat and a glove and cleats. (Now they call them spikes. Growing up my softball playing sister had cleats. She didn’t even know what spikes were so I didn’t feel too bad about not knowing that one.)
I had to ask another mom. Thankfully I like his cross county coach also and knew I could ask her.
Do you know how much paraphernalia you need for baseball? Practice pants and shirts and socks. Unless you want to wash clothes every night then sure they can practice in their game clothes!
Let’s not forget a helmet and a bag and a belt and batting gloves and compression shorts and some crazy padded thing to wear on the wrist.
I was in over my head people. Way way over my head. Like deep end of the pool exhausted after treading water for way too long. (Have I ever mentioned I’m not a good swimmer.) My sister’s child was supposed to play ball. Mine was supposed to be perfectly content painting and drawing and playing the piano and reading.
You know. Like me.
Yeah. That’s God up in heaven laughing at me. Go ahead. You can laugh too. It’s okay. I won’t get upset.
Turns out most practices never end at the time the parents are told. (The basketball coach spoiled me.) Every day’s practice schedule may be different and it may change at the very last moment. And have I mentioned they played in the rain? And the kid ended up with pneumonia? And do you know how hard it is to get red dirt stains out of those pants?
There is no consistent game schedule either. And turns out not all coach’s are good at planning or communicating.
The planner side of my personality struggled people. Almost went over the edge kind of struggle.
Jesus come quickly.
But some things you just do for your child no matter the inconvenience to your need for advance planning and respect of ending on time.
My awesome kiddo thrives in a group. Teenagers can be negative creatures, but in a team setting he becomes an encourager. He’s a team player never grasping for all the glory, but doing what’s best for the team not himself. There were times he was the first base coach during the games and I loved hearing him cheer on the players batting. Even though he had never played before and missed a couple of weeks of the season due to sickness and a family emergency, he still improved. I’m so proud of how he keeps trying and doesn’t give up.
The season is over now and he’s still picking up his glove and ball to play catch with his daddy and wanting to improve. I’m thankful for time to rest and a normal art lesson schedule for him again, but I know he will keep on with baseball, practicing and improving until the season begins again next year.
  • Lisa notes - April 13, 2015 - 12:18 pm

    Oh, this makes me smile, Amy. I would be much worse at all this, trust me. God knew to not test me with boys or even with sports-loving girls. Once we graduated from Upward basketball, it was mainly ballet classes for Jenna and horse lessons for Morgan, not very tough. ha. Feeling for you, my friend. You’re a wonderful mama of a boy! 🙂ReplyCancel