Say Yes to Less!

You ever eat at one of those swanky fondue restaurants?

Mr. 4-Ever and I got to try one recently.
What a treat!

The hostess led us through a labyrinth of cubbies and cozy booths to our own intimate table.

First, a bowl of melted cheese was placed on the hot plate in the center of our table.
A tray with a variety of bread cubes and small pieces of fruit was delivered
along with those long pronged forks.

Yum.

A salad bursting with flavor appeared next.
You have to eat the greens to offset the barrel of cheese you just ate, right?

Next a pot of hot seasoned oil replaced the empty bowl of melted cheese and
a tray of raw meat and seafood was placed on the table.

One tiny bit at a time, we got full, but we didn’t stop
because the bites were so small, 

we could easily fit one more tidbit in.
And it was all SO GOOD!

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Letting Go Of Perfection … Again

Blog perfectionism

There is something about holidays that brings out my crazy.

Our church has a gathering after the Easter services to greet guests and visit with other members.  We all bring a plate or two of hors d’oeuvres to share and I always bring my
(practically famous in my small church)
deviled eggs. 

However, as fate would have it, my boiled eggs did not want cooperate with me.  The shells stuck to the egg white like they’d been super-glued. Big hunks of egg came off with the shells leaving me with the ugliest looking things I’d seen since I tried to cut my own hair.

I looked at those pitiful eggs and had a decision to make.
Take ugly eggs to church or take nothing.

The voice in my head chided
You can’t take those!
They look awful!
No one will eat them.
They aren’t worth taking.
Maybe you should stay home if that’s the best you can do.

I have learned to recognize the
lies my enemy uses to try to defeat me.

I put on the armor of God because

This. Is. War. 

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Weary Of Rules and Ready For Easter

Easter Sunday is near!
Hallelujah!

Part of me is relieved that Lent is nearly over so
I can resume the consumption of chocolate and binge watch television.

You would think after 46 days the cravings would be gone,
but they taunt me.

I have repeatedly whispered,
“God, I want to long for you like I long for chocolate and Netflix.”

The glorious discipline of Lent has brought me closer to God and
has transformed some of my strongholds into mere indulgences.

I have experienced God in powerful ways over the past 40-plus days.

But Lent isn’t about just overcoming
temptations or even establishing new patterns.

It’s to prepare me for Easter.

To put me in the place where I anticipate the celebration of an an empty tomb.
To synchronize my trust and faith with the RESURRECTION of Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection has to be more than get-out-of-hell insurance.

Jesus’ resurrection has to be the assurance that
all the things wrong in my life and in yours
can be resurrected.

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There Are Seasons For Everything

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There are seasons for everything.

That can be good news if you’re in the midst of a nasty one.

But what if you like where you are?

It is my experience that changes are not always welcome.

When my boy completed his training as a fire fighter in Charleston, S.C.,
he called to tell me about the details of his graduation ceremony.
He was ecstatic.
It made the fact that he lived 1000 miles away
almost worth it to know
we’d finally be celebrating his dream of becoming a firefighter.

“Mom,” he said excitedly, “The Chief will there to present my diploma personally. 
She’ll shake my hand and give me my official badge. 
I’m even allowed to ask someone to walk on the stage with me!
It’s supposed to be a person of importance. 
A person who has helped me achieve my goal of becoming a firefighter.”

I waited for it.

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3 Remedies To Keep Your Contentment

Do you ever have what my friend Lauren calls a MOMENT?

You know what I mean?

Everything is just “fine” and then you get triggered.
Something hits you sideways and you have a MOMENT.

Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that
you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing.

Maybe you had a home improvement moment
as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer.

Maybe you had a Pinterest moment when you
tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen
and it was an unrecognizable failure.

Frustrated Woman Looking In Oven With Disappointed Expression

Maybe you had a travel moment when you had high expectations of
Swanky Suites but ended up at Bob’s Sleep Palace?

Maybe it was
your car, or
your house, or
your kids, or
your boss, or
your husband, or
your scale, or
your mirror …
and you just had a MOMENT!

The MOMENT dissolved your contentment.

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Turn Your NO-NO Into Yes Please.

 I never understood women who said, “I can’t keep food in the house!” Until … my boys were teenagers and they turned into eating machines.

(They inherited that from their father’s side.)
In high school, they were both in weight training and they were hungry all the time.

My baking dishes and freezer meal containers got bigger and bigger.

One night when I opened the refrigerator to take out that evening’s meal, I could see that a large scoop of the casserole was missing.
I smoothed the contents to fill in the divot, popped it in the oven and waited.
Sure enough, the guilty party asked, “Is this the same stuff that was in the frig earlier?”
“Yes it is, Son. Why do you ask?”
“It tastes different,” he said.
“That’s because it’s cooked now!”
He looked at me sheepishly.

“Sorry, I was hungry.”

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What Do You Do When You Lose Out?

business woman holding a poster with a painted face on it instead of a face, the concept of duplicity in business

I just found out that I lost out!

 I missed out on a big speaking job that I really wanted. 
I thought I had a good shot at it. 
I was qualified and available.
My fee range was well within their honorarium budget.
 It was easy driving distance to the venue.
I had a great rapport with the event planner. 
But, I didn’t get the gig.
Someone else will be speaking there next year.

Ugh.
The disappointment.

For the rest of the day, I was down in the dumps.
I didn’t engage with other potential clients via phone or email.
Who would hire me? was the recording playing in my head.
I even had writer’s block.
But then, who would read my stuff anyway? I thought to myself.
I tried to cheer up, but I just couldn’t seem to rally.

Does that ever happen to you?

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Are Distractions Keeping You From God?

It’s Lent.

The 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
(46 for the truly committed who don’t take Sundays off.)
Time to connect with God in a personal way and
consider what Christ’s gift of salvation really means.

I know, I know, Lent is largely a practice of liturgical denominations.

But!
What if we each took this Lenten season to
personally 
engage with God
asking for more of his presence?

That’s what I did.

Out of quiet desperation to hear from God
more often and more clearly,
I declared my Lenten season would be television free.

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This is BIG, Girlfriend.

I love television.
I spend hours and hours with television.
We’re tight and breaking up with it was not an easy decision.

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Better Than Chocolate for V-Day

V is for

V could stand for many things. 

It could stand for Victory.
The Superbowl winners are still celebrating as they get their rings and bank accounts resized.
Presidential candidates are ramping up for the contest of their lives in November and all the news is about who is victorious in primaries and caucuses.

V could stand for Valentines. 

Florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, and card companies want your man to declare his love
with big bouquets, diamond baubles, and fancy boxes of deliciousness
accompanied by an $8.99 greeting card.

How about making V stand for Validate?

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When Compassion Turns to Competition

I admit it. I’m a grocery shopping snob expert.

After decades of feeding family and friends, several temporary live-ins, and many welcome (but often) unexpected guests, I can assure you that I am an expert grocery shopper. 

I’ve planned more meals than I can count, written thousands of lists, and taken zillions of trips to the store.  Since I lean more toward OCD utilitarian work than decorative, I never make one of anything I cook.  The pots are bigger, but it’s really not any harder to make two, three, or (dare I tell you), six times the recipe. This insanity method gives me the liberty to compassionately offer hospitality spontaneously and provide emergency meals generously. 

plates and food

Like any good WORK, it’s easy to slip into feeling good about the work instead of experiencing the pleasure of
Who It Is I Serve.

It is at the grocery store that my compassion quickly morphed into competition. 

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