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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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?

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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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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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Turning Tomorrow into Today

Tomorrow.
What a lovely word.
Full of promise and opportunity.

I live in an old farm house with closets the size of your refrigerator.
Consequently, I only have room for in-season clothes.
Off-season clothing hibernates in the basement. 
Last weekend, I switched out the winter layers for summer outfits. 

And I discovered a problem!

My capris and skirts and shorts were TIGHT!

The obvious solution is to shed a few pounds so that
my summer clothes will fit comfortably again.

How hard can it be? 

Then I remember we have company coming for dinner and
it would be rude to serve them rabbit food and no dessert.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The next day I remember I’m invited to an Open House
and there will all kinds of delicacies I’ll want to sample in large quantities.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The same thing happens with 
my book writing and 
my house cleaning and
my thank you notes and
my reading list and
my Bible study and 
my … 
Well, you get the idea.

Maybe you do the same thing.

Tomorrow …
I’ll start my diet.

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God’s Surprising Solutions to Prayer

From my home office, I could hear the racket.

Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical.
At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance
and trying to walk out of the basement again.
I quickly discovered the central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

Oh no!

It was 90 degrees outside and summer was just getting started.
I shut it off and called the repair man to look at it.
 

His assessment?

“Call a salesman. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 20 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, 
“I’d guess close to $3000.00.”

I nearly fainted and not from the heat!

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Small Beginnings Lead to Big Victories!

 

Yesterday, the bathrooms had to be scrubbed.
Tomorrow is laundry day so tomorrow night is dedicated to ironing.
Mr. 4-Ever wants to eat again today,
which means grocery shopping and more cooking.

Just to be clear,
this is not how I prefer to spend my days.

I want to pray, study, and worship God.
I want to teach Bible study to women who love and/or need Jesus.
I want to write great talks to deliver to women desperate for Good News.
I want to create captivating books for women to read
so they can be inspired and energized and reengage with God.

But here I am …
cooking, cleaning, and ironing.

Doing the ordinary stuff.
Doing the boring stuff.
Doing the familiar stuff.

There’s a little verse in Zechariah 4:10 that says,
“Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,
to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

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