Behold, the time is short. Be not entangled in the things of the world, for they are temporary.
Your heavenly Father knows your needs and he will supply them.
Miss anything else, but don't miss my voice.
Other voices may introduce disharmony, but my voice will always bring peace to your heart and clarity to your thinking.
Come Away My Beloved - Frances J. Roberts

Apr 15, 2014

And There's This...

Two devotionals this morning pointed me to Colossians. 
Both provide purpose and direction, showing the power of God.
 If I miss this it's because of my desire to please myself, ignoring the words of my Father. 
My choice.
 My freedom to choose.
My God...
how great You are.

1:17 reads, "He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together."

3:17 reads, "Everything you do or say should be done to obey Jesus your Lord."

What will I do with these eternal, perfect words today?
What will you do?

Apr 14, 2014

Easter is Always On Sunday...

                                                                  For six weeks I have packed boxes,
sorted through family memories... wondered at moments if I would survive the ensuing days and weeks.
Emotions rose at times that made me doubt myself, my motives, my choices.
Boxes were unpacked, homes set up, new opportunities and relationships thought of... by a heart in search of community. 

This weekend our new normal began and
I am abundantly grateful.
 I see God's providence through this challenge and journey.
Providence - The protective care of God.

I recognize the grace and mercy God shows His children, undeserved and many times accepted as luck, deserved, or simply ignored.
Last week I witnessed things that remind me of our lack of gratitude, our sin, our foolishness.
We are all guilty of it. 
Raising my hand.

I had a conversation with a stranger, which quickly went to a Christian denomination and why they are "mostly fake, no good phonies."
 I was speechless.
These phonies are some of my best friends.

I am not of this denomination and I disagree with this person's view.
What I heard was ignorance, passed down from his father to him, and now to his son.
Three generations of family whose ears will take this in, process it and choose to accept or not.
Where will it end?

Later that day...
 in Target buying a rug for our sweet little apartment.
I pictured the hubs and I sitting on our covered deck, rug under foot, talking over our day, sun setting in the Kansas sky.
You can't really do this after May 1st because your body will explode due to that same Kansas sun.
But... I had a picture in my mind and it was good. 
In reality we will be inside, shades drawn, watching Modern Family re-runs.

What I witnessed...
Walking down the aisle I heard a woman's voice calling someone stupid.
It was loud and the word sounded ugly.
My first thought, she was calling her child stupid. 
I am not sure why, but it had that sound... a mom, annoyed, reacting in a bad way.
 I came around the corner and spotted her.
A very pregnant woman on her phone.
She continued her dialogue, loud and oblivious to those around her.
"They should not have been allowed to have a girl!"
 I will not quote the words she spewed, sharing her thoughts on the woman's sexuality.
 I was stunned.
I drove home.

I came up behind a car driving slowly.
I passed the car and looked over.
It was a woman, about 30.
Bent over the steering wheel, holding her phone out, screaming... her face red with anger.
  Ugh, this made me sad.
Who was on the other end, her husband, a child, or maybe Comcast... where this would be totally acceptable conduct.

The next day I went to another Target in town.
Don't judge. I needed another rug.

 As I walked to the register the young man looked at me and said,
"Is tomorrow Easter?!"
I said, "No, tomorrow is Tuesday"
He said," Yes, but is it Easter?"
I said, "No, It's Tuesday. Easter is a Christian holiday that is always on a Sunday."
He seemed to come back from wherever he had been and said, "Right, I know that. I go to church."
We laughed and I said, "Okay, good."
It was a strange moment.

It made me wonder...
How have we become so out of touch with our Creator?
We have exchanged God for the foolishness of ourselves.
We are hateful, angry, full of condemnation for one another...
and sometimes we forget to celebrate Jesus death and resurrection... and does it really matter?
Maybe it's just another celebration... of ourselves.
There is a better way to live.
In Christ.

"And what does the Lord require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

These people I write of... I may not share their beliefs or words, yet I am prideful, arrogant, selfish. I raise my hand in guilt.
I am them.

 I go back to God's providence.  His protective care of my life.
His love for me...
I hold myself accountable to His word. 
I desire to live as He taught me, as He showed me.
This week I am reminded of the gift He gave by sending His one and only Son....
for me, for you, for all.

The protective care of God is available every moment of our lives.
No matter the struggle we face.
He faced the ultimate struggle and gave Himself up, for us.
Enjoy that freedom and share it.

 If we practiced love, mercy, justice and humbleness...
Who knows.

Happy Easter.... It's Sunday.

Apr 9, 2014

Have You Seen Him?

"Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing.
Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God's grace. 

But, once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. 
Other things will not have the appeal they did before."
Oswald Chambers

Questions I ask myself...

Am I a fan or a follower?
What do I worship?
Who do I follow?
Have I seen Jesus?

How about you?


Mar 26, 2014

Will I Remain A Dreamer Or Become A Decison Maker?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

  I've been silent on my blog for a month. 
I imagine if you ask those around me they would tell you I've been far from silent. 
More like a vocal, physical tornado. 
Moving does that to me.
Three weeks ago we moved and there were moments I wondered what we had done. 
What had possessed us to live in two places, the hubs working in one, and setting up house in another... state that is.
My state of mind was at times questionable.

Why did we do this you ask? Simple, yet hard, complicated and confusing to many.
We love our kids and felt called to make a home nearer to them... without the fly over, helicopter part.
They are after all, grown up people who do not need day to day interaction from mommy and daddy.
So far this has been a success. 
We have been blessed and hopefully been a blessing to them and others who have walked through our doors.

Still, it has been exhausting and not without cost, financially but also emotionally and physically. 
Even spiritually.
It has made me sit back, sometimes losing sleep asking myself hard questions.
Why are we doing this? 
Is it right? Is it of God and what will we make of it? 
Will we find a Godly purpose in this move?
Will we be a pleasing aroma to Him?
Important questions.

I said that we moved to be closer to our kids. But there is more.
There is a call on our lives, each of us.... but we must pursue it, purposefully. 
To seek the things of God. 
That is my call...
and what that looks like changes depending on the season of my life.
The same is true for you.

On Sunday, I listened to Pete at Cross Point Church talk about the five phases of faith. 
A dream. A decision. A delay. A difficulty. Deliverance.
I get these. I've thought on these, experienced these and I understand the reality that out of ten dreamers, only one may become a decision maker. 
Pete shared a truth I needed to be reminded of. 

So here in our new home, new community, new opportunities, I am reminded.... of this truth about dreamers.
Will I be a dreamer, contemplating but never acting... or will I go after the things of God? 

 Case in point. Last week I had... a vision. Okay, it wasn't a vision like old testament vision. But it was a moment that I heard from God. He showed me a picture, it included small groups of women, in my home. It looked like a retreat, a time to stretch, grow, build and encourage leaders.
My heart soared.
I texted my husband.
I wanted accountability in this and I needed to share this gem from God.
It was you God, right?

Fast forward a week. A friend came to visit. We went to church. She heard the same message from Pete. We went to lunch. She said, "Dale you need to have retreats at your home....." she went on with a few ideas. 
I looked at her, stunned. 
This was a moment of confirmation.
This is something I look for when asking is this from God.
If I can see this line up with scripture then I am probably on to something from Him.
Still I wait.
No need to rush. 
This is in it's infancy. It needs to grow, develop, in order to sustain life and flourish.
I have no idea what this will look like but I trust God does.

 I learned through our last move to wait, to be quiet before Him. 
 I would rather be still before God, than move without His guidance. 
God has a plan and it is good. Always. 
He is not ususally in a hurry, unlike me.
 He showed up in Wichita with a few key people who blessed me and sustained me through the quiet, sometimes surprisingly lonely days.

God removed me from everything and everyone I did life with, leaving me feeling vulnerable, unsure of my next move.
He continued to grow deep roots, though sometimes I felt toppled over by the winds of change.
I doubted whether my roots were strong enough, deep enough to sustain me. 
I was humbled by not being known. 
Think about it. 
We all want to be known... by someone.
I saw truths about myself and asked myself the question....
"Who do you want to be and what do you want to be known for?"
"God... I want to be known as your daughter and I want people to see You, through me. I want to be grace to others."

Pete said something I remind myself repeatedly..."God cares more about my character than my comfort."
To go after the things of God I will become uncomfortable.
                                                                   There is simply no getting around this truth.
So here I am.
Will I be a dreamer or a decison maker?
Will I wait on Him for the next move or go before Him?
Oh Lord, direct my path and may I glorify You.

To be continued....

How about you?
What's your vision?
Share it with me and trust Him to direct.
It will be a great ride.
But remember to go from dreaming to deciding.



Feb 26, 2014

You Rock...


 I read the message on my iPad.
"Dale, Hope you are doing well! This may be completely random but I just wanted to send you a message and let you know that I have been reading your blog. 
I have been a blog reader for years now and between the fashion and photography, yours is one of my absolute favorites. I am so thankful for women like you who are willing to take time and share your thoughts and passions online. 
You have always inspired me since High School and I just wanted to let you know that you still do. Some of my fondest memories in High School were learning from you and alongside you about Jesus. Thanks for your intentionality and your transparency, Jesus shines right through you. Love, Emily
Wow. My eyes started raining.

Last night as I pulled into my driveway my beautiful friend swooped in behind me. Twenty four, planning her wedding, sure to look like a Vogue bride. Gorgeous and more importantly, she's as real as the Kansas sun. We had a glass of wine, talked about the magazine she creates, writing, wedding plans, faith and marriage. Two hours flew by and I felt my heart smiling.

Today I opened the door to my beautiful Egyptian friend, just twenty. Her smile lit up as she shared,
"I had to say goodbye to you." I assured her I'm not going anywhere yet, or permanently.
This young woman shared words with me...." Sometimes people come into your life for a little while, but they make big impacts... I hear your voice in my head... things you have said to me in the past.... I wish we had met earlier.
Wow. My eyes are raining.

These ladies are gems...
These three moments, three women... made me smile.
They reminded me of my purpose, my passion.
Sometimes I forget. Sometimes I doubt.... what I know deep down to be true.
My passion is encouraging the next generation... life, faith, and the heartache and joy that dances alongside.

I am reminded that our words have power. To build up or destroy.
I remember kind words that have encouraged me. I also remember words that seemed like daggers to my soul, making me doubt myself.
If I have had the tiniest positive influence on these ladies, then my cup runs over.
These women are going to change the world.
They are brave and honest women of character.

There is nothing special about me.
This is not even about me.
It's all about you, them, others.

We all have opportunities to engage.
When you feel urged to share a kind word, an encouragement, do it.
We must share words that build up.
We must.
Because... We Rock Ladies.

Feb 7, 2014

Buck The Norm... Life thoughts Of A Rebel

Buck the norm. Those who know me, know I'm not normal or follow the norm.
I have been accused of being a rebel. I've been accused of not having traditions. If by tradition you mean putting the Christmas tree in the same spot, eating the same foods in the same order, then no, I'm anything but traditional.
If by tradition you mean, sharing customs or beliefs from one generation to the next then I'm your girl. I am traditional in things that count. Where hearts are molded and dreams are born.
I am traditional in the belief that my marriage, my family are to be protected at all costs. 

When I was young I liked fast cars, faster motorcycles and the men who rode them. In truth I wanted to be the one in front, the driver. I got my license in my 30's, the hubs brought the kids to watch mom do figure eights and pass her test. I took the week long course with another Doc the hubs worked with. Weird? No, it was awesome and 105 degrees in full leather.

When I was 18 I bought my first car. A hot rod. It came with a 350 engine, white leather bucket seats. When guys pulled up next to me at a red light they expected another dude. Some were surprised, some pleased. I was not beyond racing someone down a city street at 1 am. I do not support this behavior in any way, shape or form. It was stupid, dangerous and completely exhilarating.
I've matured since then. A little.

I've worked retail, non-profit, mixed in with volunteer work. My favorite job will always be one that is surrounded by people. When I was young I waited tables. I worked three different restaurants at the same time. The work was hard, exhausting and invigorating. You meet 30 new people every day, and go home with wads of cash in your pocket. Hey, if you can do that and keep your clothes on... winning right there my friend. Some of the best fun I've ever had.
I am not above doing this again, as I love meeting new people... and taking their money.

I've taken a few personality tests over the years. It's an unwritten rule in our house, not by me. By my boss of a daughter. I remember the first one I took. She had nothing to do with this one, but every one since.
The hubs was part of a leadership board for N.Y. State Young Physicians. We were in Washington at a conference and took a test for physicians and spouses. It was a mouth dropping, eye opener for us. We started to see why we reacted the way we did to one another. We each had have strong personalities and now had some tools, so as not to not kill one another.
Since that weekend we give Washington, D.C. all the credit for our marriage. Can you say that?

This man I married got what he asked for when he said he wanted a strong woman as a partner. Everything becomes a competition with us. A game of backgammon or cards quickly becomes competitive where the winner taunts the loser... cards are thrown, verbal attacks regarding one's character are spewed like daggers. I jest... sort of.

The week before we married I took his Jeep and traded it in for pickup truck. Didn't even ask him. I have to admit it surprises me now. I was Bad A*#.
It made perfect sense at the time. We had two identical Jeeps. We needed a truck. I made the deal. He very calmly, through gritted teeth told me to please, never, ever do that again. I told him he was going to love his new truck.

Back to personality tests...
A few years ago I took a test by Gary Smalley. This was a requirement of my job. I remember Carolyn, one of my bosses laughing as she already knew how I would score.
Turns out I'm a Lion, which means, bold, adventurous, confident, strong willed.
I'm also an Otter which means, promoter, enthusiastic, positive, verbal, spontaneous, fun loving.
Those are the positive characteristics for which there are also negatives.
I will spare you those as I am sure they do not apply.
In the end I will boldly, maybe forcefully take you to the party where we will dance on the tables all night. I will, however protect you till the end if we are attacked while on those tables.

Side note, the test is worth taking, even if Gary is a bit weird. You can find it online. I shared a speaking engagement with him a few years ago and I remember he wore a track suit. This was a group of professional men and women in suits, so he got the suit part correct. It was humorous. Hey, if you are Gary Smalley, why follow the norm?! Wear your track suit with pride.

Back to norms...
I remember one summer evening when our children were small. We had finished dinner and I went outside to mow the lawn. The hubs kindly began cleaning up the kitchen. One of our neighbor boys came in the door and asked hubs why he was washing dishes and I was mowing. Hubs looked at him and said, "Why not?'
He gave this young one words to think on.
What does a relationship look like between a man and woman, husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend? Can you really find it in a book or dictionary?
My husband wished he was mowing too, but he showed grace to his wife.

I have learned not to ask my husband to paint a room, or hang a picture. I don't have that much time left and I'd like to stay married.
If I want to move furniture I wait for him to leave the house. First thing he would do is find a tape measure. Where is the adventure in that?
I have moved up and down stairs, across the house, inside/out, whole rooms of furniture. Big furniture. Got the scars to prove it, mainly on the walls.

More norms...
I have struggled with women's ministry over the years. More on this another time. Don't hate. Don't judge. It's not women I struggle with. It's the design, the fluff. I don't do fluff well.
Thankfully, this is changing. I see young, strong women searching for their purpose. Marriage and motherhood may be part of the picture, but certainly will not be all of it.
For some, it will not be any of it. 

Will they find a place without being mom? I hope so. They deserve that.

I'm thankful to be a mom.
I wish we had a few more kids. Really.
I also love the freedom of adult children. I'm independent like a long haul trucker and yet there is nothing better than laying my head on the pillow next to my husband every night possible.
Yet, he and I are always together... even when hands not holding.

I think of what possibly made me different, not quite comfortable always in the norm. 
I remember my grandmother's kitchen. How many times did I walk in to find another hard luck story at her table, a mouth to feed, a hitchhiker picked up and given a bed to sleep in.
The woman was Florence Nightingale with a sense of humor, a silly streak and a quick smile.

My mother was not June Cleaver growing up. Well maybe she was. The woman can cook. Looking back she was the WOMAN in that commercial.... she could bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.
No lie.
She was a V.P. for a small furniture company, working from Ohio to New York. She worked hard, built a company and took me with her on occasion.
I watched her. She wasn't the norm.
I remember her company gave her a fancy Cadillac and she let me drive it to school one day. She taught me women did not all look the same and that was okay.

Some of you are jumping up and down... "Hey, me neither. Buck the norm. That's me!"
I see you.
The ones with babies who never thought they would go that route.
You are professionals.
Now you are fighting for those children that someone else gave breathe to... but you mold, build and grow.
The ones holding down the house and job while the husband works a few states away.
The ones who signed up for Italy and landed in Holland. You find the beauty through the pain... every day.
I see you making a beautiful life and community right where you are.
You are changing the world you know.

The ones who have enough children to make people ask questions. Those children that don't look like you, share your skin...  but wow, I see your heart shining out of them. It's beautiful to watch.
The ones who invite everyone into their homes, no matter. No test to pass before the door opens wide.
The ones who have done life with me, in neighborhoods, student ministry and leadership groups where we lay it out on the table, all of it. The ugly and beautiful.
The ones finding their way, asking questions, making others uncomfortable.
Unwilling to settle.
You aren't the norm. Thank you.

Truth is, we are all finding our way. The important thing is to build your community with people who will be transparent with you. Invest in those people.
Who do you gravitate towards? Is it the slightly quirky girl? Encourage it, build it.
Whoever it is, don't let it slip away.
I have learned much from who I did life with for almost twenty years. I'm rebuilding now, and yet trying not to let go of these people. Why should I? I want to take them with me into the next chapter.

The next chapter will not look normal to most. Soon the hubs and I will travel to see each other, spending weeks together and weeks apart. We hold hands, whether together or apart. My heart is always his.
We will build new community closer to our adult kids. Family is forever... just don't move in with them. 

We pray over this decision, not taking it lightly. It must please God to be good.

I hope our community looks like a long weathered table in our backyard, where on summer nights a neighborhood of characters will gather and celebrate life. Everyone is invited. Just don't bring normal.

Feb 4, 2014

Don't drink the juice young ones... I Believe In You.

 Pitbull, Ke$ha 'Timber' Lyric Video(Photo : YouTube)

 Yesterday I watched Juan Pablo act on physical desire, willingly, then turn it around and make the girl cry.
He took and then took back, unfair and cruel. He seems like a nice guy, but this was wrong. 
He shamed a girl for offering him something, that I believe he ultimately took, because his base desire wanted it.
Later he told her he was embarrassed because his daughter would see this. 
In reality, his daughter will see much worse.
 Her dad acted on what he wanted at the moment and then shamed the woman and blamed her. 
Do I respect the girl for her actions? 
But she is fighting for the ultimate victory and she believes sex is the answer. 
After all, it's worked for thousands of years. Why not now?

The other Juan wants Nurse Nicky... she represents the good mom for his little girl. The age old dilemma of man.
 He wants the sexy vixen and also the good mama. 
I watched as the other girls continue to vie for his attention, doubting their worth, even wondering why they are there.
 Ultimately they are fighting for the attention of one male.
The prize. 
Exactly as God created us to be.

Last week I watched the Grammys. The woman who sends a confusing message to women today.  She did this with her husband. It was a team effort.
The couple that has opportunity to show women their true value, but instead continue to profit from sex. 
Those of us in healthy marriages recognize true intimacy is probably best left off the table... and stage for all to watch and hear.
All I am saying is.... Don't sell marriage as a bleeped out thrill.
Just as God created marriage. 

I watched 
The girl I just bought a ticket for, seemingly singing about satanic worship. 
Yay. Just as God...
You get it.
I prefer her when she Roars.

Last night I read the blog of a favorite author, sharing why he doesn't go to church anymore... at least on a regular basis. 
He doesn't get anything out of it, he says.
He worships through his work.

The comments to his post are long and heartfelt. 
Most encourage him to look deeper, to see how we need one other, to come together to worship, not looking for what we get out of it. 
He takes the comments as assaults and shame. 
I do not see that.
There are long lasting benefits of communal worship.
Without it we become polarized, without accountability, community. We lack growth.
God calls us to community.

I am reading a book about being a feminist as a Christian women. The author, deeply committed to Christ.
Her words are meaningful, laced with grace.
No anger, only searching for the things of God. 
I think of my husband's words regarding Christ and women.
He reminds me...
 Jesus came, bringing a respect and love for women that was shocking and confusing to the time. 
He saw the value in Mary sitting at his feet, learning among men. 
This was never done.
 He did not tell her to go with Martha into the kitchen. 
He said,"Mary has chosen better." 
Jesus, the Son of God... His words.
Does He value His daughters. Oh yes. 
No worries dear women, He sees us as more precious than rubies and gold. 

It was a woman that first witnessed Christ raised from the dead. 
She announced it to the world.
Here is our clue to our value ladies.

 These are some of the authors, singers, entertainers that seek the attention of twenty somethings. And what do these young ones think of the latest Coca Cola commercial, politics, human trafficking in Super Bowl proportions...
and how does twitter really make you feel?
It's exhausting, come on.  
And all those  # # #.
 It may only be 140 characters, but those ocean size articles hiding inside.

  There are lists of 13, 25 and 40 things to do, say, believe... before the age of, before you marry, instead of marrying, start dating, or stop dating.

Your life is like an Olympic juggling event...
 Visually exhausting, making an observer dizzy.
It's hard to watch.
Harder to participate in, I imagine.

But here is the thing.... twenty year old ladies (and up). 
I believe in you.
I trust you.
I respect you.

Guys too.
Listen up.

Continue to make your lists, read your books, your blogs, sing the songs of performers who have lost touch with reality and truth.
Have the discussions
Watch the reality many live. 
 Just don't drink the juice.
The juice that says it's all okay.
It's not.

Keep questioning. Keep asking. Keep searching. 
If you have a faith that runs deep to your soul, you will survive. 
You will come out shining as gold.
Seek the Truth instead of accepting another s beliefs.

When I was your age, some of us did not ask the questions. 
We lived for the moment, no matter consequences.
Those that survived, myself included... had the faith of a mustard seed.
That is a faith that runs deep... just not mature. 
It held fast, though it was small.
It survived the ravishes of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

It survived because God is faithful, not because I am good. 
It survived in spite of me.
It survived because God had more for me to do.
It survived because He wanted to use my voice, 
in grace, not judgement...
 because I had been there. Everywhere. 

He wants the same for you.
He will mold you to Him, through Drunk In Love, Dark Horse, and Timber.

He will show you true love is not women competing for Juan,
but more often looks like...
 nothing you would expect or have imagined.
It will not look like Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers... sorry.

It will look like beauty, and garbage, feel like pain and glory. 
Many days you will shake your head. 
Some days in overwhelming gratitude, others in disbelief of your mates ideas, ideals and stupidity.
Guess what?
They will feel the same way about you.
But at the end of the day it's okay. True love is funny like that.
You learn to laugh... especially in the mirror.

Whatever the path before you....
educations, professions, relationships,
hold on to that mustard seed of faith.
Don't make that decision, believe that thought.... until you hear from 

And then.... take those beliefs, that are rooted in real Truth and share them.
Be women and men who respect, honor and value one another.
Put God first. 
It's that simple.
Ask Him to show you the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I believe in you.

Now you can holler TIMBER!

Jan 6, 2014

397 Reasons Why I Do Not want My Daughter On The Bachelor

Film Still

                                                            I lied. 
But, you knew that.
I don't have 397 reasons, why I would not want my daughter on the Bachelor. If forced, I could give you that many reasons, if I spent time thinking about it. 
That's just it. It's not worth my time.

Sure Juan Pablo is darling, the little I have seen of him.
I'm not a fan of the show but when I am with my daughter and her friends I have been known to join in the fray...
and fray it quickly becomes. 

My reasons.
 I'll give you a few.

Beautiful daughter...
Don't be someone's entertainment, unless it's on your terms.

You will not look like the person you truly are. 
Repeat that... repeatedly.

Recognize that you deserve to be pursued by a man. 
Not a boy, a man who knows who he is, and the value of a good woman.

Don't compete with other women for a guy.  
Read above.

This will not end well. 
Watch all previous seasons if you do not believe me.
Okay, except season One. 

That is all I would say to her.
She probably has 398 reasons to never be on the show. 
She does not need her mama to tell her the above truths. 
She knows her value.

Yet we say it's simply entertainment.
 Perhaps, but I think at the end of the day, the season... damaged people emerge from the smoke and mirrors.
I wonder how many stumble out saying, "Wow, that was fun."

Even those who went in strictly for notoriety, fame, a challenge.
Fun quickly escalates into not so fun, because that is the goal of the show.
Not love... but we already knew that.

We are wired for intimacy and relationship.
Not games.
Yet, this is where we have ended up.

At some point I hope we become bored of watching peoples make believe lives and go back to building real ones.


Jan 1, 2014

WORD... Freedom.

                                     "Freedom is just another word for ‘nothing left to lose’" – Janis Joplin
                                   A favorite song growing up was Janice Joplin's, Me and Bobby Mcgee.
 "Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose, and nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free"...  
My rebel heart sang those words, wanting freedom more than anything else.
 I was a child of the seventies and the sixties had left a wide swath of destruction, I mean freedom, for us bell bottomed, farrah haired young ones trying to figure it out.
I desired freedom from anyone and anything that might control me. 
I played God like a well worn yo-yo.
 My terms, my rules, my way. 
I had nothin' left to lose...

And then one day... I realized that God is freedom.
Freedom from my empty desires, 
to please, be good enough, kind enough....
to DO enough.

This was big. It still is... Freedom has power to do that.
To last, change lives. So...
My word for 2014 is Freedom.

God says to us,
Stop trying so hard. I give you freedom. You will never be good enough, kind enough or Do enough.
But it's okay. I don't want that from you.
I want you to love me... because I first loved you.
That's it.
No hoops to jump through.
No tests to pass... or fail.
I am enough.
I am God, and I love you.
Will you choose freedom this year, in me?

I still love me some Bobby Mcgee, but now I get it.
I have nothin' left to lose...
because I can't lose with Christ.

That word will see me through 2014...
because I got nothin' left to lose. 
He's got me in the palm of His hand.

Do you have a word for this year?
Tell me.


Dec 17, 2013

One Thing Counts

Tuesday thoughts from my favorite newspaper editor...

"Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings.
Only one thing endures forever and that is character."
Horace Greeley

and character is what you do when no one is looking.

Dec 13, 2013

Hope... A Year Later

A year ago the hubs and I sat in a Princeton, N.J. restaurant waiting for the in laws. They were late which was funny because we had flown across the country the night before to see them for the day. They had an hour drive and they were an hour late. 
Funny maybe, but it was the last thing funny about that day.

We had a nice lunch when they arrived. They have lived in N.J. their whole lives and somehow they are still mystified and surprised by the traffic.

We shopped and found ourselves at a library where we were killing time before heading to see Killing Lincoln.  Then we saw a television with people starting to gather. Murmurs, shrieks, cries... the catching of breath when you see horror. 

We watched the panic and grief, trying to understand what had occurred.
You cannot understand madness.

This morning, a year later I am in my kitchen, preparing for a party for my husband's staff. A Christmas party where we will laugh, enjoy and celebrate this season of joy and hope.

The television is on. I watch an interview with two families who lost children and the daughter who lost her mom, in this nightmare a year ago. This young woman married this year, her mom absent. I imagine the joy and sadness mixed throughout her wedding day. This daughter, so lovely and still needing her mama.

The question was asked how these people were doing, a year later.
If there is a stupider question, I can't think what it might be.

A year. 
It's like a day to these people.
Think of a loss that was life changing to you.
Could it be yesterday?
You remember the detail.
Where you were. 
What you were doing. 
How life changed that day.

The day my brother died. 
I was six.
Do the math... it was a long time ago.

I can tell you details of that afternoon. The telephone ringing in my classroom. Meeting my older brother in the hall. The look on my principal's face.
My mother's words to me. What I said to her.
Being terrified to go to bed that night.
Watching my mom try on a black dress that a friend brought.
My grandfather's tears.

I remember the loss of other young lives in my community. 
Feeling sad for their siblings my age. Knowing the pain and yet not knowing what to say.
To this day I remember. 
We are changed by these moments of time. When time stops.

These moments... like snow globes, but without the snow and magic. We look inside, shake it and watch the pieces fall. Families come apart.
Life will never be the same.
The death of a brother, then a mate... too young to say goodbye, a dad... laughing, tennis playing one day....  weeks later, gone.

These children who have lost brothers and sisters. Parents who have buried babies. I cry with them, keeping my lips silent as there are no words to calm grief this big. 
God must intervene if we are to breathe again.

My husband and I share a perspective of life that perhaps comes with age and experience.
We believe deeply that there is a bigger picture to keep in mind, the goal of our faith.  Not sweating the small stuff. We always hope.
You would be amazed at what we can make really, really small.

For me... I lost early. I lost again, it tried to kill me. God intervened. 
I got it. For good. Never have I forgotten what matters.

For the hubs... he chose a profession where he has seen the results of people hurting one another. His job, to piece them back together. 
He has spoken to parents who lost their daughter on her way home from college. The agony, grief and choices in those moments.
He has shared diagnoses with people that bring tears and cut dreams short.
God intervenes and we find hope.

These parents and children are forever changed. The pain they will wear forever, the choice will be how it adorns them.
They will choose. It may be anger, bitterness, forever grief. This choice is understandable. Who would tell them they should feel different? Not me.

Yet, I believe and hope most of them, will move into something healthier. They will reach out, advocate, give back, encourage and bless others... through their pain. That is what we do when God intervenes and heals His people.

We do not forget.
Perhaps it will always feel like yesterday...
but when God intervenes we find hope.



Dec 5, 2013

What's In Your Bucket List Of Books?

We make bucket lists. Some silly, crazy awesome, others serious things we want to accomplish before we... die. 
Some of us might think of it as, before we truly live. 

The hope of the Christian is eternal life with God. 
Words that hold more meaning than all the bucket lists in the world.... to overflowing and beyond.
Think infinity times infinity.

Recently I saw a bucket list of books.
Books that you should read before you die.
The list was filled with classics and well known authors.
 I made note of some, others did not excite me. 
I get lost sometimes, struggling for the words to come to life in my mind.

As I read through the list I looked for the one book. Not the oldest book in the world, but the one that holds the most Truth.
The book, the scroll that began with Moses penning those first five books. called the Torah. 

The Bible. 
The first book printed thanks to Johannes Gutenberg. The number one best seller of all time. 
But does that equal number one most read book?

My husband tells the story of his days at Rutgers. 
An English Literature class. 
The professor asked the five hundred students in the lecture hall how many had read the Bible, old or new testament. 
Five people raised their hands. 
My husband was not one of them.
The Professor asked how many had read the Bible cover to cover. 
One hand went up. 

The professor admonished his audience, for ignoring the most famous book in our history. 
The book that has molded western civilization.
As our country was formed the source most cited by our founding fathers was the Bible. 

And yet, this class of readers, intellectuals, sponges, had not bothered to discern the mystery this book held.

The professor was not a Christian. He was not evangelizing or proselytizing. 
He was simply pointing out the obvious.

We seek best sellers, love stories, witty humor... pages that cause our fingers to cramp from holding as we hungrily digest the words.

Yet we forget the beautiful love story, thriller, poetry, ever written... inspired by the Creator of the World.
 Did you know you can read pages in the Bible where it is God's voice, Jesus words?

That is mystery... this love story written to us.

Oh man, do not doubt the wisdom of God. 
Do not be the folly described in His word.

Read Corinthians chapter One... It is a wake up call to man's wisdom, which is full of pride, sin and deceit. 

Read Proverbs 1:7, "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline."

It is not fear in the sense of being scared. It is being in awe, wonder, amazement of who He is.

If you have a bucket list of books, I hope it is filled with wisdom.
I hope you have saved room at the top for the one book that will remind you, we really don't need that bucket list.
We have eternity with the God who created us. 
His bucket list is eternal. 
To infinity and beyond.