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.

Read More

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.

Read more 

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!

 

Read More

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 … 

Read More

Does your past try to hijack your future?

I’m delighted to be posting at Elisa Morgan’s Really blog this week…

 

 

Time Traveler

I came face-to-face with my past this morning. 

In an effort to purge items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore,
or to be perfectly honest,
didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame anymore,
I stumbled across two of my deceased husband’s favorite shirts.

 I stopped cold.

 For years and years these shirts lay folded,
waiting to be put in rotation again.
Even more than a photograph or nostalgic song on the radio,
the sight and feel of them took me right back to a time
when we were young and bulletproof. 

I kept them because they reminded me of my Hot & Hunky Huzb
who died in his sleep of a heart attack at the age of 39.
I kept them because I thought one of my boys,
who were 7 and 4 at the time of his passing,
might grow into them and I would see them repurposed – resurrected.  

I held onto them because a part of me couldn’t let go of that time when all was well.

 Does that happen to you?

You’re cruising through
your day,
or your desk,
or your drawers
and you unexpectedly tumble back in time?

For me (this time) it was a great memory.
But other times, I’ve stumbled into my dark past.

Read more ….

 

As Featured in Leading Hearts Magazine!

This month I’m featured in the
#REALCHURCHladies section of
Leading Hearts Magazine!

 

All my life I’ve been mesmerized by female aerialists,
athletes who perform graceful dances of
balance, strength and flexibility on the trapeze, ropes, or rings. 

Audiences gasp in awe and applaud with delight
as we watch lithe women spin and soar
dangerously high above the ground.

Fear prevents most of us
from ever attempting the elements
of an aerialist’s routine.

We appreciate them,
but are happy to sit in the bleachers
and admire from a distance.

Consider the practice hours that an aerialist spends
developing her natural talent.

She has to work with trainers and technicians,
nutritionalists and a safety net.
It takes a whole lot of support people for an aerialist to perform her act.

The Body of Christ is
supposed to cooperate like that.

Throughout the Bible,
God directs us to be willing to teach, assist and support
those who are
weak,
suffering,
lost,
uneducated,
widowed or orphaned.

We get lost in the how to.
What does it look like to teach, assist and support?

Read More

Letting Go of Regrets!

I don’t dread birthdays.

In fact,
I celebrate with zealous enthusiasm.

And not for just one day.
I need a season to collect birthday greetings,
eat at all my favorite places,
and spend time with all my favorite people.

This year it was no exception just because
I TURNED 60!

I met with girlfriends for
lunch,
dinner and
coffee
for week before and a week after the actual date.
I had a party.
I got a slew of gift cards
and flowers and
even one of a kind watch with my mom’s picture on it.

 

After the party and the celebrations are a distant memory,
here’s what I know about me at any age.

I want to live without regrets.
Don’t you?

Read More
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