I Want My Mommy!

You ever have one of those days when you
just aren’t firing on all cylinders?

For the record,
I have no idea what a cylinder is,
but the expression means you need a tune-up.
It means you’re sputtering and stalling out.

Yesterday,
I was walking across the kitchen,
got tangled up in my own feet,
tripped and 
went sprawling.

Sprawling, I tell you.

Splat!
Smack!
Ouch!

I looked like Wiley Coyote at the bottom of the ravine
in a Road Runner cartoon –
minus the puff of dust.

After I checked to see if I was paralyzed
(I wasn’t)
or if I had any broken bones,
(there were none)
I decided the best course of action was to
sit on the cold tile floor and howl.

I’m sure it was the shock of being upended,
but I carried on like a toddler.

I cried and I cried.
I want my mommy!

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Marriage Advice From The Family Pet

Have you ever been in a season of marriage
when you thought it was doomed?

I have!

Thirty years ago,
when I was married to Hot & Hunky,
we had a season early on when I didn’t think he traveled enough!
I didn’t like him and he didn’t care for me too much either.
We were in the land of contempt on the road to divorce. 

Out of frustration and soliciting sympathy for my situation,
I confessed our mess to my friend,
who invited me to her church
to hear a speaker talk about marriage.

I thought,
What the heck, I’ve got nothing to lose. 

The speaker told her story about not feeling any love toward her husband.
Romance,
pleasant communication,
demonstrations of love,
affections of all types,
were distant memories.

That sounded very familiar…

Out of desperation to save her marriage,
she climbed into her prayer closet and
 asked God to flood her heart with love
for her hubby.

“And you know what?” she drawled.
“God did just that.
My heart filled to overflowing with a
love and desire
for my husband.”

She went on to tell how even after
1000 years of marriage
she never lost that feeling for him again.

Ugh, I thought,
Good for you, Mrs. Butterflies and fairy dust.
You aren’t married to my guy.

That would never work at my house.
And whatever a prayer closet is,
I don’t have one.

Funny thing about miracles.
They cling to your heart. 

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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Funeral

Have you had one of those days when
you just couldn’t get your ducks in a row?

 

 You need to get resourceful on those challenging days!

Last week, I was powering through my day
as usual.

(I have 2 speeds …
Zoom and Comatose.)

Mr. 4-Ever and I needed to be at a funeral by 4:00pm
and I was behind.
There was zero time to redo my perfect messy bun hairdo,
so I looked frantically for bottom options
 that wouldn’t disturb the delicate balance that was on top of my head.

I squeezed into a pencil skirt from the back of my closet,
took a quick look in the full-length mirror, 
 and shrugged.
Tight, but it would have to do.

I grabbed my purse and jumped in the car
waiting for me in the driveway with the motor running.

As Mr. 4-Ever exited the driveway,
I realize the skirt I’ve chosen is
ALL WRONG!

It looked fine when I was standing,
but when I sat down,
it hiked up and stretched tightly around my legs.

Great choice for date night, but not for a funeral.

Don’t panic, I think to myself,
as long as I don’t sit down at the visitation,
I should be ok.

I’ll just mingle…a lot!

But then, a beam of sunlight hit my knees.
Girlfriend, it looked like a porcupine was sitting in my lap!

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Kids Do the Darnedest Things

Kids Do the Darnedest Things

 Mr. 4-Ever was out of town so
I was alone watching the tornado’s swirling formations on the weather channel

when sirens started blaring their warning.
Outside, the sky was greenish gray and there wasn’t a wisp of wind.
Almost simultaneously, a text notification beeped on my cell phone.

A tornado warning had been issued and my house was in its path.

Suddenly, the back door banged open and
Eli, my firefighter son, burst in calling loudly,

“Mom!
Mom!
Where are you?”

“I’m in the office, Eli.
What are you doing here?”

“Mom, I heard the warning on my scanner and
I came over to be with you in case you were scared.”

Before I could even get the
Aww, that’s so sweet of you
out of my mouth, he started issuing directives. 

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Divinely Designed: Sooty to Smashing

Some would say the beautiful ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel is
divinely designed.

The frescos painted by Michelangelo tell the sweeping story of Bible,
from God’s creation to Christ’s ascension.

(A fresco is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling,
so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.) 

Moms, before there were permanent magic markers
to “beautify” your walls,
there were frescos.

In the centuries since its completion in 1512,
the magnificent images in the poorly lit chapel were illuminated by millions of candles
which eventually layered the ceiling with soot and smoke
until the frescos were a shadow of their original splendor.

A 14 year restoration process began in 1980.

Standing on scaffolding nine stories above the floor,  
experts painstakingly restored
 the 6,135-square-foot ceiling of frescos
to its original glory.

Look at the difference!

(before)

(after)
(Wikipedia photographs)

God created me to be a reflection of who he is,
but years of worshiping false gods, even being my own god,
layered soot and sin on me so thick my original design was unrecognizable. 

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You Are Not Alone

This blog was originally featured at (in)courage.  

Saturday mornings are easy at our house.

Seconds on the clock don’t count against us like they do
Monday through Friday as we scurry to school, work, and church.
Children linger in pajamas,
breakfast is eaten in random shifts, and
I putz in the kitchen while my husband sleeps through the
soft singsong of children’s television in the next room.

On this particularly beautiful Indian summer day,
when the weather betrays the calendar with 70-degree temps and sunshine,
we are beckoned outdoors for a last romp without the hindrance of heavy coats.
The trikes and pedal cars will race up and down the driveway on this last hurrah
before exchanging places with sleds and snowboards in the loft of the garage.

As my little boys search for shoes and wooden swords —
standard issue for adventures if you’re 7 and 4 —
I go to invite my husband into our activities.

This man, this husband of mine, makes my world work.
He opens my doors, my jars, and my eyes to possibilities I never imagined.
He works two jobs so I can stay home with littles.
He encourages my writing and he supports my dream of being a Christian speaker one day.
He fixes everything I break, brings home flowers for no reason, and eats everything I put in front of him.
He dances with me in the kitchen, and he plays on the floor with our children.
When he wraps me up in his strong arms and kisses me deeply,
I know that forever is not long enough to be married to this man.
He makes me feel safe and loved and secure.

Finding my husband asleep on the couch,
I lean toward him to whisper him awake.
There is no response.

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God Is With You In The Waiting

I immediately recognized the number on the caller ID.

It was my 27 year old son, Jake.
Since neither of us are “morning” people,
I knew the 8:00 a.m. call wasn’t to chat.

“Mom, I hurt my back. I can’t move.” 

This boy, this man-child of mine is so strong,
and so smart,
he thinks he’s invincible.

“What were you doing?” I ask,
waiting to hear that he’d tried to bench press a refrigerator or
push start a semi-truck.

“I was putting on my sock and something just popped.
I don’t know what to do.
Can you come over?”

Music to a mama’s ear.
He needs me.
He still needs me.

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9 Ways You Can Help A Grieving Heart

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of
killings in our country and around the world.

Regardless of who you are or where you come from,
when someone you love dies,
it blows a hole in your heart,
and
changes your life forever.

My experience being widowed twice in four years
gives me the courage to say
you can make a difference in the process of grief.

 Here are 9 ways to help mitigate the agony when
tragedy strikes close to home.

 

1.
Look for the person who is grieving.

 

Smile at them.  
Talk with her or him.
Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say,
or you feel uneasy.
Push through the feeling of awkwardness,
they need you.

Here’s advice from the American Cancer Society about that.

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving.
Many people do not know what to say or do.
Here are suggestions to use as a guide.

Acknowledge the situation.
Example: “I heard that your_____ died.”
Use the word “died”.
That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.

Express your concern.
Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”

Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings.
Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.

Offer your support.
Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”

2.
Pray for them often and tell them that you are.

Ask them how they need God to show up in their life.
Do they need provision? 
How about wisdom for parenting? 
What about all the decisions they have to make?

I assure you they need prayer for the grace to deal with
people who will undoubtedly say inappropriate things!

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Moments, Miracles and Surprise Endings

Blog-Hop-Button-300x300

 Last week I was part of the Speak Up Conference
Mowhere hundreds of speakers and writers converged at the
Prince Center in Grand Rapids, MI to
learn, grow and network.

I was privileged to have the main stage one morning.
Here is the summary of the powerful message God gave me!

Do you ever have MOMENTS?

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents?
How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided?
Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair?
Imagine your reaction to discovering that your car has been towed!

Would you have a MOMENT?

I dare say,
Delays, Disappointments and Doubts
trigger many MOMENTS.

In John 11,
Mary and Martha are having a moment because their brother is deathly ill.
They send word to Jesus.

They don’t tell him what to do,
They tell him what’s going on – like you would in a prayer …

and then they wait 
for him to tell them what to do.

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Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners

It’s Independence Day weekend,
when we celebrate the freedom we enjoy every day.

Most of us will spend time with family or friends –
on the boat, on the deck, at the parade …
at least that’s my plan.

It’s the freedom I have that makes me want to
share a great book with you this week!

My friend, Carol Kent
has just released a new devotional for families of prisoners.

If you don’t know Carol’s story about her son Jason’s incarceration,
check it out here.

This collection of 90 devotionals is called
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners.

Each devotional starts with an inspirational quote you can hang onto,
followed by a personal story that addresses the
challenges families face when someone they love is incarcerated.
The devotionals conclude with words of wisdom and/or encouragement and
wrap everything up with a summary of selected scriptures that
anyone can understand.

The stories are heartfelt and heart-breaking.
I have to believe this book will be a comfort and encouragement
if you have a family member in prison.

Even though my story does not include a family member in prison,
I found
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
to be compassionate and honest.
There’s a part of me that is so thankful this isn’t my story, but
after reading
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners,
I’m better equipped to minister to and support these hurting families.

I admire Carol for her willingness to continue to carry on the conversation
about her family’s ongoing trial for the benefit of others with
fewer resources and little support.

Maybe you don’t have a family member in prison,
but maybe you know someone who does.

Share
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
with them.

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