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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Are You A Rest Resister?

Everything I read about a balanced life
stresses the importance of rest.

Really?
Rest?
Just the thought of rest stresses me out!

I’m too busy to REST!

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Depending on the season, I have a family to take care of, kids to shuttle, pets to clean up after, a house to run, meals to plan, groceries to buy, food to prepare, laundry to wash, dry, fold, iron and put away.  I have a full time job, meetings to attend, cars to maintain, books to read, a blog to write and a sidewalk to shovel.

I don’t have time to rest!

Sound familiar?

I’m sure it does.
The fact is, that you need to rest as much as you need to breathe.

Truth be told,
REST IS WORK FOR ME!

I come from a long line of over achieving women who made multitasking an art form.
Rest isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
When I think about rest, something inside me seizes up.
Somewhere in my conditioning, I started to equate rest with laziness, weakness, and wasted time.

So untrue.

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Potato Body and New Year’s Resolutions

I attended a wedding recently, and when I saw the pictures of myself on Facebook, I was floored!

Mercy! What has happened to me?

It wasn’t my mother staring back at me, it was my GRANDMA! 
It wasn’t my face that grabbed my attention, but my body shape made me gasp in horror!

My hourglass figure has turned into a potato!

A nice big thick potato.

Ms. Potato Head

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A Recovering Perfectionist’s Christmas

As a recovering perfectionist, can I tell you that
this time of year really
tests my tizzy triggers.

I want to do everything perfectly,
meet everyone’s needs,
satisfy everyone’s wish list
and be of good cheer as I do it.

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That’s not what happened this year.

Did I get the gifts purchased, elegantly wrapped and mailed on time?
No, I sent checks – but they were hand written if that counts for anything.  
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One Person Can Make A Difference!

It’s Christmas time again, and the movies that bring tears of joy, hold you in suspense, and usher in a season of hope are being rented and shown nearly around the clock.  Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, Elf, Jingle All The Way, and Polar Express are all great choices, but my favorite is Christmas with the Kranks, based the the novel Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. 

Watch this to find out why…

I’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas movie and why.

Scripture Refresher:  So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

Prayer: God, remind me to be a person who makes a difference in the lives of those around me. Let me show kindness, exhibit your love and demonstrate to the world that I am yours. Amen  

 

Great Memories From Unrealized Expectations

Deer hunting season means I get 42 hours all to myself.

Being a deer hunting widow means there will be no one in my house asking for food, beverages, clean socks or a back rub.  There will be no one who needs advice, an extra $20.00 or a ride anywhere.  There will be no one playing the piano badly, tracking a trail of mud through my kitchen, or falling off the jungle gym requiring a trip to ER.

It will be bliss.

Deer hunting season is when Mr. 4-Ever takes the boys north to commune with nature and other like-minded men.  They will eat bacon at every meal, sit around a fire sharpening knives to throw at trees and not change their undies for two whole uncivilized days.  

Dave at deer camp with TylerI was giddy with anticipation for their adventure and my staycation.  

I went to the video store and pre-selected the chick flicks I would rent the second Mr. 4-Ever’s truck disappeared from view.   

I squirreled away deli treats and expensive cheeses, hiding them in the recesses of the frig where no one would find them.  I bought sparkling flavored water and good chocolate which I kept hidden in the trunk of my car until the magic moment.

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What Do You Do If Your Proverbial House Is On Fire?

“Mom, I had my death picture taken today,” says my son over the phone.
“What? Your what?!?”

“My death picture. That’s what the guys call it.  We have our picture taken in front of the flag wearing our dress uniform.  If we die in the line of duty, that’s the picture they put on my casket and in the newspaper.”

“Oh,” is all I can say.

Eli’s a firefighter.

Eli in turnout gearHe’s been thoroughly trained on a course filled with obstacles designed to prepare (or purge) recruits who desire to fight fires.  To remind them of the perilous nature of the job, many of the obstacles are named for fallen firefighters. The Bob Lee Wall is a six foot high cement wall.  Bob Lee couldn’t scale a similar obstruction, was trapped in a fire and died. The Denver Drill is named for an downed firefighter who perished next to a window because his team couldn’t get him out of the fire from their position outside the building.  The Comrade Course is a series of cement tubes, 3 feet in diameter.  Recruits have to wriggle through them in a hundred pounds of turnout gear, secure a “victim” and drag them back through the tubes to safety.

It’s serious training because lives depend on it.

I hope and pray I never have to use Eli’s death picture.
But I know that fire and smoke try to kill my son on every call.

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My Elijah Moment

It has been quite a season for me!  My first book, The Widow Wore Pink launched.  I had lots of speaking engagements and God gave me inspired, transformative messages to share.  I prayed and laughed and cried with women in cities all over the midwest.

It was wonderful.

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Have you had a season like that, busy but beautiful?  

God has moved or whispered or you have had a break through.
You are sure he must love you more than most.

Right after Elijah has one of the biggest God-moments in the Bible, we find him hiding in a cave, fearing for his life (see 1 Kings 19:1-9).

What?

Don’t judge. That happens to me.
A lot.
I have an encounter with God at an event.
I experience God’s presence and pleasure in worship.
I pray with a woman and she is set free!
I have a conversation with an event planner that’s a perfect fit for my talks.
My hair turned out perfectly.  (remember, don’t judge)
Life is so good!

Then I get slammed.  

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