Three Word Sentences That Change Your Life

Three word sentences
can change your life.

If you heard …
Congratulations, you’re hired!
or You are pregnant!
or You’re cancer free!
it would dramatically change your life,
wouldn’t it?

We have the option to change lives
with our own
three word sentences.

Several years ago,
Mr. 4-Ever and I joined
a dinner party group.

At first,
we just got together to
eat and play games.
We talked about the weather
or the game
or our kid’s latest escapades.

It’s grown into a safe haven,
a place to share new recipes
as well as
life’s triumphs and challenges.

It’s so special,
we don’t post pictures on Facebook
or tweet about our time together.
It would feel like a breach of privacy.

This little group of five couples
has become holy space.

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Reset, Restart, Refocus

 

If you made a New Year’s resolution,
or a 30 day declaration,
are you on track or
or missing the mark?

 

 

I’m faltering,
but Heaven help me,
I want to get back on track.

Once you fail,
the temptation is powerful to chuck the
exercise program,
writing project,
savings plan,
home renovation
or diet
to the curb in utter defeat.

It’s hard to overcome
the voice in your head that says …
You’ll never win.
Nothing will change.
This will never work.
Give up!

Take heart, Dear Friend.

I hear those same recordings my head,
but we don’t have to cave.

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Kicking Idols to the Curb

It’s an hour past
the first chirp of my alarm and
I’m still hiding under my covers.

I don’t want to face the day.

I don’t want to hear Jillian Michaels bark at me from the DVD
because I’m bloated from a late night Mexican food binge.

I dread the looming project deadline and
piles of laundry and
sink full of dirty dishes.

I don’t want to face today because
I have too much to manage and not enough …

Not enough
patience for a tough conference call later today.

Not enough
energy to attack my endless to do list.

Not enough
money for this month’s bills.

So I hide under my covers and keep hitting the snooze button
as I beg God to
help me,
fix me,
save me,
stretch my time and money …
to be my God today.

Do you do that?

Hide …
Hoping the the rapture is today,
or someone drops off a time warp machine,
or that a money tree pops up on the porch.

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Overcoming … with Gratitude

Recently, Eli, who is my youngest,
posted a photo on Facebook and
taught me a lesson about
overcoming (fill in the blank)
with gratitude.

 

In the photo, he was wearing a plaid flannel shirt.
A shirt that once belonged to his dad …
a mighty man who died 20 years ago.

Eli posted:
I came across (my dad’s) old shirt and had to try it on.
I was surprised to see that I still barely fit into it.
So many years have passed and
I still felt like a toddler trying on my dad’s clothes.
He was such a big man and part of me hoped
I would fill it out after all this time.

But then it dawned on me
that I was meant to be my own man
and make my own path.

As I put the shirt away to find again another day,
I thought about how lucky I was
to be in such a wonderful place in my life
with so many loving supportive people around me.

I miss you Dad and
I am so thankful to be from your bloodline
but I am so joyful that my life played out the way it has.

He closed with,
“I’ll see you on the other side some day.”

(Eli “helping” his dad, Jay, (Hot & Hunky) with a plumbing project. – 1996)

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 And just like that,
I was in a puddle.

Grief is like that.

It comes when it comes and
there is no predicting when it will
turn your life inside out
and upside down.

Grief can knock you down,
but it doesn’t have to knock you out.

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30 Day Challenge

Instead of making
New Year’s resolutions this year,
I’m going to take 30 Day Challenges instead.

Girlfriend, I’ll be honest,
I run out of rockets fast.

Setting goals for an entire year overwhelms me.
But 
I can
manage,
tolerate or
endure
almost anything …
if I know it’s only for 30 days.

Can’t you?

Some goals are just too big.

How successful do you think you’d be if you tried to:

Lose all the weight you’ve gained since you were 13?
Not very!
Could you stop eating chocolate for 30 days?
Sure!

Think you will read the entire Bible in a year?
Probably not!
Could you read a chapter every day for 30 days?
No doubt!

Want to get out of debt this year?
That would be great, but ambitious.
Could you put an extra 10% of your paycheck toward debt for 30 days?
Oh yeah!

Going to be more productive this year?
Giving up all your vices like Netflix or Facebook or Candy Crush?
Tough to go cold turkey on your favorite time wasters!
Think you could c
ut back to 20 minutes a day for 30 days?
No problem!

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Wonder & Joy For All Seasons

Can I confess that
when the calendar rolls over
to December 26th,
a sweet relief falls on me?

There is no more pressure to
send one more card or
shop for one more present or
bake one more cookie or
attend one more holiday gathering.

It is finished.
I’m grateful and I’m relieved.

Christmas comes with its
own set of stressors.

For some,
this Christmas has been a season of dread.
The death of a loved one has left
empty spaces at tables and in hearts so vacuous
that facing the cheerfulness of the holiday
was nearly impossible.

Christmas 2016 is past.
December 26th comes
with a deep sigh of relief.

For others, Christmas evoked
unexpected emotions.

Empty nesters slept in on Christmas Day,
missing the pre-dawn promptings from
children eager to open presents under the tree.

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This Is Why I Need Advent

Meet my friend Lauren Befus,
a wife, a mom of 4 littles, a writer, a pastor’s wife
and a lover of Jesus.

If your holiday to-do list has you shuddering with dread,
Lauren’s guest post about Advent is just what
you need to take a time out and reconsider
the reason for this season.

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before … What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s back fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.”

– Jan Richardson, Author/Artist

“Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait.” Jan Richardson cannot be serious. Has she lost her mind?

Christmas is less than one month away – 25 sleeps to be exact. And looking out over my “horizon,” I just see WORK… a whole lot of work (and some fun) and then more work!! I see gift spreadsheets. I see piles of Amazon boxes. I see bins of decorations. I see my dwindling bank account balance. I see long lines at Meijer. I see rolls of wrapping paper. I see tired, overstimulated kids. I see parties – school parties, work parties, friend parties, family parties. I see party prepping. I see party inviting. I see church service planning. I see WORK (and let’s just add for good measure that I also see some stress and pressure and fatigue and worry).

And this, my friends, is why I love Advent.
This is why I need Advent.

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Trusting God with Big Changes

I don’t love change.

Anyone else with me?

In my quiet time this morning,
I realized I was sitting on 20 year old couches,
looking at walls painted 20 years ago,
dressed in pjs and robe that were,
yes, you guessed it,
about 20 years old.

Girls, change challenges me!

I barely like change even when it’s my idea!

But,
keeping things the same
is no safeguard from pain.

Things break and wear out.
Children grow up and move away.
Friends die or move on.
Opportunities evolve and disintegrate.

Change is necessary.
Change is good.
Change is inevitable.

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Flourishing In Life Requires Living In Community

There was a time when girls learned how to
 flourish in life from other women
in their community.

Women in the family.
Women in the neighborhood.
Women at church.

Side by side or hand in hand,
wisdom and advice
was dispensed and practiced.

I learned to peel hard boiled eggs,
mend a torn shirt,
and walk in high heels
from the women who loved and nurtured me.

I learned to dress with style,
listen to a boring story with an engaging smile on my face,
and host a party
from watching the women in my neighborhood.

I learned to study the Bible
pray with expectancy, and
treat my husband with love and respect
under the tutelage of the women at my church.

Living in community is important!

Even though women tend to be relational,
we are losing our connectivity
due to the demands on our time
and
the abundance of virtual relationships.

We hide behind busyness and
pretend that “liking” a Facebook post
is the same as personal engagement.

It’s not!

 

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Live Loved Even When You Feel Left Out

 

The conversation turned awkward with the realization
that I hadn’t been included in the festivities
my friends were reminiscing about.

Not included.

 

Smiling faces beamed in the Facebook photos
of a wedding I wasn’t invited to.

Not invited.

 

The note read,
Your uncle died last month.
I’m so sorry,
we just forgot to let you know …

Not remembered.

 

What do you do when
you feel left out?

 

A variety of options pop into my head.

Hide.

Curl up in the fetal position and
suck my proverbial thumb till the hurt goes away …
till the next time or the next trigger reminds me
I’m not enough.

Pretend.

Post my own fun pictures,
Talk about my recent exploits.
Put on my happy face and say it doesn’t matter.
But it does, doesn’t it?

Retaliate.

Blast a nasty text or post with tags galore,
but that never goes well.
Even if I get some temporary relief or satisfaction,
inevitably,
a harsh response only causes more hurt
and often bigger regret.

Run.

I can run away, but I can rarely outrun the hurt.

Instead of running away … 

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