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

Jul 18, 2014

The Son I Wasn't Promised...

  Twenty one years ago today I lived in a cabin in the big woods. Summer would mean open windows that brought songs of birds singing sweet to my soul.
Fish to lure from the lake, that repeated the clouds passing overhead. 
Beauty to my eyes. 
A canoe and boat that would take you to the other side, where toads and frogs would hide in mud, ducking under water as you passed by. 
At night the fire flies would take wing and light up the warm air, but not enough to miss the glorious night sky of July.
This is where we brought the baby boy, the one that only held blue eyes for a day, quickly turning liquid chocolate. The boy I was not promised or even dreamed about if I am truthful.

None of us are promised a blue or pink baby, a family, a life planned by us. Some of us are given this opportunity to grow a baby and then grow them up. I do not understand why I was given this joy while others cry out and pray for years... I don't know... why are some prayers answered, as we desire and ask, while others seem to go unanswered?
I am still learning... these prayers are not ignored. 
God has not walked away. He has not left us. Remember Job? God never explained why He did what He did. He redeemed him in the end. He never left him and He never leaves us.

I am reading Christine Caine's book Undaunted. She reminds me not to fear in this life of unknowns. I am not in control and that is good. The struggle of faith and fear will stake its claim, never doubt who rules the fear... the father of lies and darkness. 
Mathew 28:19-20 reminds us, "Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." 
Not sometimes... but ALWAYS. Christ's words to you and me. 
Boom!
Matthew 14:22-33 - Peter in the boat is a great visual reminder to us of how God reacts to us.
Peter stepped out walking on water to Jesus. Then a BIG wave rolls up... Okay now I'm gonna doubt you Lord. Surely you can help me in the calm but when it gets really stormy I'm gonna take my eyes off of YOU and trust in me.... what?! 
Peter was deceived by fear.
That's pretty much what happened.
And he goes down...
But not quite...
Jesus reaches down and catches Peter immediately.... not after he's near drowned, but immediately!
Don't miss that! 
Jesus says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?

I think back to my ultrasound with this boy. The technician moving the wand over my belly, holding it too long in a certain area. 
Placenta previa she stated... the hubs immediately thinking back to that six week OB rotation and the difference between placenta previa and placenta abruptia.  
This child I had not dreamed of two years before... now I hold dear to my heart. "Please Lord, protect this baby."
I had not dreamed of him because I was a single mom of a darling baby girl. 
A widow at twenty eight. 
A time that fear and doubt tried for a stronghold in my life... daily. 
God would prevail in my sorry faith... He would call to me, "Daughter of little faith, why do you doubt? I am with you always." 

So this boy I did not have the guts to dream of... he arrived and changed our family.
He melded us, softened us in rough places. A sister and brother of such sweetness... our family became a rich canvas I would feast my eyes on daily, always noticing something different, new, humbling me.
I am left in awe and gratitude to God for His mercy and grace on me. Though there will always be suffering among our joy, we must remember to look up, away from ourselves, our situation and draw on TRUTH. 
God may not explain or heal us as we ask, but His ways are better than our ways. 
He is good no matter what or where we find ourselves today.

Today my son turns twenty one. 
I have had the privilege to be his mama. To encourage, challenge and push him. To listen to his hopes and dreams... his fears and concerns. 
I am thankful that we never quit on one another. 
I am ever grateful today, as I am each morning, for another day to celebrate being a child of the Kingdom of God. To know the peace of God, even amidst life's storms.  
Especially amidst the storms.

These few short years we get to raise these babies... a fleeting moment. Even if you are home with four or five. Breathe deeply and pray. Pray for wisdom, contentment and courage.
You are brave mamas (and pops)... so we celebrate families today. 
Whatever you look like. Big or small or somewhere in the middle. The book nerd, the goof ball, the wanna be athlete, the kid who succeeds easily. 
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world... and we are all those little children. 

 Happy Birthday my sweet Daniel.




Jul 16, 2014

And All The People Said, "Amen!!"




This has been the song on my heart this week. 
The people God is bringing into my life, women who love Jesus and seek to serve others. 
The blessings to numerous to count... I have to say Amen. 
God you are good... thank you for loving me so much, no matter how many times I forget You and turn away.

Give thanks to the Lord, for His love never ends... and all the people said AMEN.

 Preach it Matt Maher

Jul 14, 2014

Good Monday Morning From Miss Colbie Caillat




                  When you start to doubt how beautiful you are... Listen to Colbie and smile.
    Dance too!

You are beautiful just the way you are. 
                                  


Jul 1, 2014

The Desire Of My Soul...



  John Ortberg quotes Kent Dunnington in John's book, Soul Keeping.

"We are limited in every way but one: we have unlimited desire." 

"We always want more: more time, more wisdom, more beauty, more funny YouTube videos ~ this is the soul crying out.
We all commit idolatry everyday. 
It is the sin of the soul meeting its needs with anything that distances it from God."
J. Ortberg

I don't have to search deeply to find my unlimited desires.
Most of them circle around my comfort and pleasure.
My soul must crave my Maker... to be healthy and engaged.
Then He will give me the desires of my heart, because they will be pleasing to Him and good for me.

 "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."
Psalm 20:4

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Psalm 37:4


Jun 20, 2014

When You Are In A Hurry, Just BE...

                    Back Fence by David Rickert 2011

I was in a hurry. The goal was to get back home as quickly as possible.

It was going to be another day of painting, let's call it day number sixteen.. Not sixteen in a row, but sixteen days I've held a paintbrush in my hand.
Yes, I paint. I love color and then I don't love color. I love color and then...
I've been fired from painting by my husband and friends. I rehire myself, often.

One weekend when living in Champaign, I was finishing up a new color in our master bedroom. It was similar to Pepto Bismol, but not as nice.
The phone rang. It was our neighbor, our literal next door neighbor. He was upstairs in his bedroom looking down into our room and was calling to ask if I was going to make Roberto sleep in that room?
Yes, we were close. 
In fairness to him, the drapes were down, windows wide open and about 800 watts of light flooding into that sweet love nest.

The hubs, ever accommodating said it was fine. A year later it was a soft butter yellow... with possibly a tinge of pepto underneath.
None of this having anything to do with the brush in hand today or these weeks that seem to stretch into an eternal, whirling Spirograph of paint. I dream of paint at night. 
This job is a picket fence, painted a gloss black.
Yes, it's a beauty and seems to loom larger each morning. It's gone from an urban lot to the back forty.

So... I planned on leaving the house before the sun became a blazing ball of fire. Yes, I know it is a blazing ball of fire, but it doesn't always feel like one.
Unless you live in the south, which means its 93 degrees by 8:15am. The dogs are picking up their paws on the deck. Hot, hot, hot... it's like dancing puppies. I should YouTube them... I know, mean. 

I made my way to purchase paint can number six and seven. I know I should have bought the industrial size. I don't live in the past. My eyes only look forward. Each day is a new day to screw up.. that's my motto.

I bought my paint.
I was in a rush. My kids and hubs will tell you I am always in a rush when shopping.
I dislike the process of shopping. The driving to and back. The picking out, purchasing. It's wasted hours of my life...
I could be painting something.

I decided to stop at Kroger. Not Ghetto Kroger but kind of ghetto Kroger.
We have both in our neighborhood.
The first time I shopped at ghetto Kroger I stole a case of beer. No lie. Flat out stole it... but not on purpose, so it wasn't really flat out.
I just like the sound of it.
I paid for everything else, but the beer was under the cart.. forgotten. Some would say hidden.
When I got outside and realized it I started laughing, a lot.
I took it home and told the kids mom had street cred and don't mess with her. 

This trip, no thieving hopefully.
I needed a few things. Fruit, veggies, chicken. Hubs is coming in tomorrow night and we'll be grilling.

I was in the bread area. I love to look at bread. I love to smell bread. I love to touch bread. I love crusty breads, rye breads, hearty breads.
It's easy not to buy bread at Kroger because of these facts, but I still look.

As I walked over to the stand of bread I heard a voice, singing. A soft, pretty voice. I smiled. It immediately made me happy and I forgot I was in a hurry.
I followed the voice around the corner and saw a small, blonde haired girl singing as she dusted the shelving.
She stopped when she saw me, embarrassed.
I said, "Don't stop. Your voice is beautiful." She smiled big and said, "I love to sing gospel music."
She continued to dust and began singing a little louder, her smile a bit wider.

I forgot about my hurry, my painting plans and remembered my prayer each morning.
"Lord, let me encourage those you bring my way today."

Maybe I encouraged her, she certainly brightened my day.
She reminded me of the lies we believe. Whoever accomplishes the most, makes the most money, climbs the highest ladder, runs the fastest, the farthest, has the most friends, likes, whatever, wins.
Wins what?!
Nothing that truly matters.

This young woman will never graduate college or climb the ladder of success.
Her genetic make up has decided that...
however...
she has already achieved success. She loves gospel music and her smile makes others smile.
She wins.
We mostly lose.

I pride myself in the truth of what really matters, people and relationships. The daily dance of encouraging and loving others wherever I find myself. Yet, the idea that I pride myself in it, is proof of my failure.

I'm still mostly in a hurry, annoyed at other drivers (the south is so annoying). Just drive people, like you have somewhere to be.
I miss the mark most days, missing opportunity to just be.

Be available.
Be supportive.
Be quiet.
Be hospitable.
Be kind.
Be loyal.
Be generous.
Be loving.
Be joyful.
Be there.

I'll be looking for my new friend the next time I'm in Kroger. I think I could learn a lot from her in the art of being there and being joyful.
Thank you sweet blonde headed girl.
You are beautiful.





Jun 13, 2014

Your Blessing Indeed Today...

 

 Lord, this morning I ask Your blessing indeed. 
As Jabez cried out to you in 1 Chronicles, "Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territories. Let Your hand be upon me that You would keep me from harm so that I would be free from trouble and pain."

God, today may your face overshadow mine, that I would see a hint of Your glory.
A hint of Your glory shines so brightly that all I see is You.
Bless me through the twists and turns of this day. 
The joys and sorrows...
may I remember that
 You are a God of purpose. 
A God of mercy. 
My Rock and my Redeemer.
My Companion on the mountaintop as well as the ravine.
You are my mighty Warrior, yet gentle with me as a newborn lamb.
You are my Great Physician...
 the Lover of my soul.

My hope lies in You.
No one else can take Your place.
Only You can take my burdened heart, my broken places, my fears, 
my loss... and pour Your Holy Spirit into them,
into me.
Fill me with Your Spirit today Lord.
Fill me till I overflow
with You.
May the joy of You, my salvation
be evident to those you bring alongside me today.

Surely You are Good, Gracious, never ending in Love.

Thank you merciful God for Your blessing indeed today.
 


 

Jun 9, 2014

Just For Today... Believe



Just for today...
Believe in the ONE who made you.
Believe you are worthy, beautiful, and loved
because HE created you.
Believe you are here for a 
bigger purpose
than you believed yesterday...
HIS purpose.
Just for today... believe this.

Tomorrow when you wake
HE will be there
reminding you of this truth.
 
 

May 30, 2014

The Mystery Of God


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When we leave the mystery out
of the spiritual...
we are left with religion.
 
God is not a religion.
He is our mysterious, beautiful Creator.
 
 

May 27, 2014

Thirsty...


"As a deer thirsts for streams of water, so I thirst for You, God."
Psalm 42:1

This is my desire. 
To seek Your face each morning. To find You, waiting for me. 
To know You are there, not hiding in the shadows, but waiting patiently... for your daughter. 
To look up to You, hold out my hands and be picked up by my God, my Father... who adores me and has a plan for my life.

And so it is with you, my friend. 

If you are thirsting for water today, make sure you find the Living Water. 
He is waiting and He is more than enough to satisfy your thirst.

He is worthy to be praised. 

May 8, 2014

A Good Son.... Mother's Day Thoughts.


  Most days Molly the Weim and I take our morning walk.  
 There is a meadow where I let her run free. 
She romps and rolls in the white spring flowers chasing imaginary friends, reminding me of the puppy she once was, ten years ago this week. She digs her nose deep into the dirt and smells of her new home. 
Her eyes follow the paths of birds and squirrels she is yet to meet. I follow her down the hill as she finds her way to the stream that runs in the springtime.
Always relieved when I come around a bend to see we are alone, no other dogs. 
We skip rush hour of early morning and late afternoon.
 It's easier this way, even though our community is full of friendly dogs and owners. Molly the Weim is a strong German female, who feels the need to protect her mama no matter the need. Sigh.

Yesterday we followed the tree line and hill to our left and made our way down to the lake where the park opens up in full spectacular view. 
It's a lovely picture where on a summer Saturday people are fishing, music playing and children laughing. 
Yesterday it was quiet, except for the mower I heard on the high meadow.

There is a large covered pavilion, offering a respite of shade from the Tennessee summer sun.
I spotted a man sitting at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion. As we came closer I could see his back was to me. Molly the weim spotted him too. She was off, ignoring my calls and concerns for both their well beings. 
No doubt she was imagining the treats he would throw her way.
 It was nearing lunch though she doesn't do lunch and shouldn't be aware. 
She is a Weim with the belly of a Lab.

I continued to call her, she continued to ignore me.
When I got closer I saw the man was working on a weed whacker. His coworker was on the sunny side of the hill trimming grass to steep for a mower to cut.

He was a big man, red hair and beard, hard to tell how old as he looked like he had worked hard every day of his life. Perhaps in his sixties. 
I noticed blood had dried dark the length of his arm, running in two directions. It had been a fair amount. 
He payed no mind to it as he offered a friendly hello and complimented Molly on her beauty.
I asked if his arm was okay. He nodded yes, just a typical days work.

He easily chatted with me as he worked the screwdriver into the greasy weed whacker.  His talk was southern through and through, perhaps from Tennessee, maybe right here in East Nashville.

I've found this often in the people and businesses in my part of town.
 Many were born here, attended school here and never left. They share stories of homes on my street, owned by an aunt or cousin, sold for a pittance a few years ago.
Things may change but people here hold deep to their ways and memories of their community. 
I respect East Nashville and what it has been to the generations before me. I hope it can be held close and preserved as things will no doubt continue to change. 
Not an easy task.

I mentioned how lovely the day. He reminded me the real heat would be here soon so enjoy this day.
I said it must be hard work on hot days. He said he was hoping to retire one of these days, and hoped he could still walk. 
I looked at his arm, and wondered about his legs. 
No doubt this job was difficult for him. Outside work takes its toll on a body over the years.

Perhaps his own health reminded him of his mama.
He told me his mama had suffered a serious stroke in the last 11 years of her life. He said it was a bad one and left her in a bad way.
 He cared for her in her home.
He said he got the idea to build her a bunny pen in the yard one day.
He bought white bunnies that she could watch from the window...

I turned away for a minute. 
There was something in my eyes.

 He said he hoped it gave her some pleasure. 
His mama is gone now.

I told him he was a good son.
He said, "Thank you dearie" in the kindest of ways.
Whatever was in my eyes was back. 

When people share moments of their life with me, my mind creates pictures. I see this man building rabbit huts, holding the soft white bunny in his massive arms. Could his mama reach out, touching or just watch from a far off place?
 
 I wished him a pleasant day and he said, "You have a good day too dear."

I walked away thinking of how beautiful, painful this life is. 
This short mingling of life left me puddle eyed, sad and joyful all mushed together.
I am reminded how we are changed when we meet another God created person. 
This southern man, so far removed from anything I know left me humbled by his words and actions. 
His gentleness to me, my dog, and his mama....

You were a good son, sir.

Happy Mother's Day mamas.
Hug your babies, no matter how big or small.


 

May 6, 2014

Still Thinking About My Disney Inspired Life...

I'm Still thinking about this post....
The meaning of our lives.
Where do you find it?



A blog went viral recently... a man writing of not (really) loving his wife the day he married her.
 He goes by PopChassid, calls himself a Jew, trying to make the world a better place. 
Yes, we need more of you.

My favorite line was penned at the end.
He came to realize that love is not an emotion or a noun, but a verb.
He shared what he fears most of us do, in this short life we have been given.
He said we are,
  "Living Disney movies in our minds, and tragedies in our lives."

Straight up one of the best lines I have ever read.

 I thought of Donald Miller's talk recently at a University. 
 He talked of the life we choose to live.
If we are to have a life worthy of something more than our sheer entertainment and fun, there will be suffering, conflict, stress.

Through suffering our character changes. 

The tough stuff in life changes us, builds us, grows our roots deeper.
We are not born with mature character. 
Look at a child, their desire for their own way. A temper tantrum, a cry fest, self absorbed little ones, not giving a care to a mamas need for rest.
As the child grows, a parent's role is to guide them, directing them in ways that build character.

The same with our Heavenly Father.
 He did not create us for the fun factor.
We are not here to be entertained.
 He guides us in wisdom... His.
If we accept it...

The problem is we would rather be in a Disney movie, believing every scene where boy gets girl. Life will be sweet... end of story.
We are entitled... so when life goes off kilter, someone gets sick, or heaven forbid... fat, the promotion passes us by, we don't get the big house... we call foul.
 Sometimes we quit on our co-star in the movie.

Some of us remain the small child wanting his own way, many years removed from diapers and bottles.
We haven't matured.
We haven't learned the hard lessons.
Perhaps our parents are at fault.
They never let us fail.
They saved us, every time.
Ugly.
Character does not grow there.

What gives our life meaning?
Is it a job that makes a difference?
Helping another human being achieve their goals?
Looking back at our journey, seeing the hand of God weave through our days?
Is it gratitude for all that we have, a healthy mind, body, friends, family?
We 
must 
have 
meaning...
or
 Donald quoted Viktor Frankl...
 "When man cannot find meaning he distracts himself with pleasure."

Pleasure is lovely and has a healthy place in our lives.
It's when we give ourselves over to it...
the pursuit of pleasure... instead of God
that we go off track.

We buy into the Disney movie, and our lives become a tragedy.

 The days may be long... but the years are short.
Don't live a tragedy or an animated movie.
Live the life you were created for.
One full of meaning and gratitude.

What gives your life meaning?






May 2, 2014

23... A Psalm Of You and Me.

Happy Birthday Dad.

 I'm reading through the Psalms...
 If there was ever a Psalm of me... and you, it would have to be Psalm 23.
 I, me, my...

"The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need." vs1
One my and two I's in the first sentence.
It gets better with each line.

Just what I needed this morning when I woke, thinking of my dad's birthday, though he celebrates in heaven.
Yay for him, sad for us on days like today.

Thinking of a gal on Instagram. Her name is Joy. Though we have not met, I pray for her. She is young, married and her husband is sick, really sick.
This brings deep emotion for me. Memories of hard days, fear, sadness. 
She is there, waking in the morning, tired from a night where the darkness tries to overtake her heart.
She must trust moment by moment.
It is a breathing in, breathing out, lifting those breathes up to the Giver of life.
He knows.

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. 
Your rod and staff protect and comfort me." vs 4

Psalm 23 promises a Shepherd of details.... who knows our needs, provides rest, safety, comfort. Blessing, anointing, unfailing love and strength are part of the deal. In the end we live in the house of the Lord... forever. 
Did you get that last part?

"Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."
It's real, not a fairy tale.
There will be an end to our earthly lives, the joy, the pain... and we will spend eternity with GOD.  
If we have accepted His gift of life. 
That is where dad celebrates his birthday today.

The God of details. 
Life is proof...
The melodies of the birds each morning. The flowers, foods, colors of the sky and fields we witness.
A witness of Himself, His power.
Gifts from Him... and reminders that 
God cares... about our details.

He is with us in our pain, our joy, every moment.
Maybe you are celebrating today or praying for answers.
If you are where my friend Joy is today...
hold on to the truths of Psalm 23.
It's your Psalm.
It's all about you.

"My cup overflows with blessing." vs 5

Life can be hard, crushing some days... don't quit, but don't do it all alone.
Allow Him to overflow in your life today. He is able and because of that.. so are YOU.





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.
Sad.
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...
LOVE.
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? 
No. 
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.
Right?

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. 
Right?

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.
No?

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 
God.

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!