Don’t Settle For Less Than God’s Best!

Just gotta have it! 

Mr. 4-Ever and I were driving home from an event on a hot and sunny day. We’d been on the road for hours and I just had to have a break … and a chocolate malt. A jumbo cup of thick, chocolatey deliciousness.

I tried to talk myself out of it but the hankering would not go away.

“What do you think about taking a little break to stretch and maybe have some ice cream?” I asked Mr. 4-Ever. Golden Arches appeared on the horizon of the next exit.

Mind you, McDonald’s will do, but I had something a little different in mind. I wanted hand scooped ice-cream and malt powder mixed whirled together with whole milk.

Divine coincidence.

By divine coincidence, there was an ice cream stand right across from McDonalds.
“Can we go there instead?” I asked Mr. 4-Ever excitedly. He was already in McDonald’s mode: drive-through quick, inexpensive and satisfactory. Already in the turning lane, he said, “No, let’s just stick with McDonald’s.” “Ok,” I drooped, “I have to use the ladies room anyway. I’ll go in and get the shake.”

At the counter, I saw a big “OUT OF ORDER” sign on the machine that oozes ice cream. I was practically giddy as I asked, “Is your milk shake machine working?” “No, I’m so sorry, ma’am. It’s broken. May I get you something else?” “No thank you,” I giggled with delight.

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4 Ways to Overcome Adversity

Overcoming adversity

I grew up in a little town that boasted a large playground. Don’t picture colorful plastic structures with safety rails and seat belts.

The 14’ slide was a narrow piece of metal pitched at a (nearly) 90 degree angle. The swing set shuddered and lifted off the ground as we built momentum.

The teeter-totter was so long and high that if you were on it with a mean kid, you could get launched into next week or dumped on your keister so hard it knocked the wind out of you.

Monkey Bar Moments

And we had metal monkey bars. The kind with two ladders and a crossbar. Conquering those monkey bars was a rite of passage. When you could make it all the way across without falling or stopping, it meant you were a big kid.

At first, I couldn’t even reach the cross bar from the ladder’s top rung. Eventually, though, I got myself up and with practice, traversed from end to end without assistance or plummeting to the asphalt below.

My life is still full of monkey bar moments. I reach for dreams and goals seemingly too big and lofty to attain. I fall and fail at relationships and employment opportunities. Howl and cry over busted ministry ventures and weight loss flops. Yet, I press in and press on with my Creator to build the muscle, find the confidence, acquire the skill sets and obtain the wisdom to meet the challenges and make the changes.

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Who’s The Boss?

Storm Alert!

A couple years ago, Mr. 4-Ever was out of town and I was home 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.

I hurriedly began collecting the things I can’t live without when the kitchen door burst open. Eli, my firefighter son, called loudly, “Mom! Mom! Where are you?” “I’m in the office, Eli. What are you doing here?” “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 barking directives.

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How Do You Peel A Boiled Egg?

Do you miss the mark of perfection? 

I tease my friend Dee about her PPS – Pre Party Syndrome. She obsesses over every detail, but her parties are awesome and everyone wants to be invited to them because her home is beautiful, her food is delicious, her games are fun and her hospitality is over the top. Occasionally, she allows guests to contribute which is how I ended up with the assignment to bring my specialty – deviled eggs.

On the day of the party, 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 cut my own hair.

A Big Decision

I looked at those pitiful eggs and had a decision to make. Take ugly eggs to the party or take nothing. Everything in me wanted to trash the eggs and start over, but there was no time! The voice in my head chided, You can’t take those! They look awful! They are not worthy of a Dee party. She will be offended if you take them. No one will eat them anyway. Maybe you should stay home if that’s the best you can do!

Why is it so easy to let a little thing like ugly eggs undermine my value and make me believe my community will reject me – not my eggs, but me!?

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Crisis Prayer Request

In the Crazy tree? 

The crazy tree is the one you climb when life is out of control. When people you love don’t behave properly, or money is way short, or you discover a secret that you wish you hadn’t.

You know, I’m a big advocate of doing life in a community where your BFF can see you climbing the crazy tree from her kitchen window and holler at you to come down and have coffee with her instead.

But, sometimes, you’re too quick, too sneaky and you get past her. POOF! You’re in the crazy tree alone and scared and the self-talking is all negative. It’s bad and you don’t know how to get down. When that happens, you have to do perform CPR on yourself. 

Crisis. Prayer. Request.

When you have no one to climb up for you, you have to call on God to come down to you with a Crisis Prayer Request. You need Heaven to invade Earth. You need a spotlight of God’s faithfulness and love to permeate your crazy circumstances so you can release the crazy and climb out of that tree.

In moments of crazy or fear or worry or calamity, when the enemy is whispering to give up, YOU NEED HEAVEN TO INVADE EARTH.

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Does God Allow More Than You Can Handle?

Has anyone told you that God won’t give you more than you can handle?

I’ve heard it plenty! There was a time when I believed it. Then I buried 2 husbands and my mama in four years. God definitely allowed more than I could handle!

I’m sure you can relate! Haven’t there been seasons when the kids were little and you got no sleep and thought you were losing your mind? When someone you loved was addicted or abusive and you feared for your sanity and safety? Hasn’t there been a time of lack, sickness, or upheaval in your life that you thought would crush you?

Of course there has. That’s when God does his best work. It is in the times of upheaval that we run to him for the healing, rescue, answers, resolution or miracle that is way beyond our own control or ability.

If we could manage to manage everything in our lives on our own, why in the world would we need God?

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Are You A Hottie?

Magic of menopause.

If you have entered the magic season of life called menopause, you are likely to be a hottie. Oh, I know, we all used to wish we were hotties, with hour glass figures and smooth skin, but never in all my years did I imagine how hot I would be in my “golden years”.

Last week, Dave innocently asked me why we still had flannel sheets on the bed and I told him it’s cuz he’s married to a hottie.

If you’re a hottie, too, listen up. You need flannel sheets in the summer.

You need flannel sheets because they are so absorbent.

When your body flashes nuclear, a glistening moisture (also known as sweat in more unrefined circles) forms on my body and I need the absorbency of flannel to sop it up.

You need the flannel sheets for their warmth. 

After the glistening moisture appears, the evaporation process begins, and I am suddenly cold in 85 degree heat. You need flannel sheets to keep you warm.

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Celebrating Good Fathers

It’s Father’s Day 

I hope you have a man in your life worthy of celebrating. A father who loves and protects you. A husband who partners with you in life and ministry. A spiritual leader who guides you with wisdom.

I hope your day is full of BBQs and fire pit conversations. I hope you laugh about silly stories and old memories. If that’s true for you, celebrate that man well today. Buy the coffee cup that says #1 Dad and spend time together.

The ugly truth is that many women do not have a good father figure in their life.

Broken homes lead to broken hearts,
and broken hearts lead to broken lives.

As the Father that God longs to be to you, what is his response to your brokenness?

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Out Of Control

There is a lot in life we cannot control.

I never in a million years would have anticipated the pandemic that shuttered our country this spring. Church services cancelled. Travel halted. Department stores, beauty salons and restaurants closed.  Small businesses and independent contractors (like me) without incomes for months on end.

There is a lot in life we cannot control. We can’t control who our family is or what choices our kids make or guarantee the security of our job. We can’t control if we get sick, when our car breaks down, or if it will rain on our parade.

What we can control.

What we can control is how we respond to shifts and challenges. In Philippines 4:19, Paul writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the SECRET of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

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Listening is Loving

Funny, not funny

A man in the back row of the church comes forward for prayer. The pastor asks him what he wants. “I need prayer about my hearing,” says the man. The pastor prays passionately over the fella, then asks loudly, “How’s your hearing now?” The man replies, “My hearing isn’t till next Thursday!”

It’s funny until it’s YOU feeling misunderstood and unheard. Poor communication is compounded by poor listening skills.

Are you a good listener?

Are you a good listener or do you jump to conclusions, fill in the pauses, and hijack conversations? Can you keep your focus on the speaker while they talk? Are you in the habit of asking clarifying questions? Do you wait patiently if someone needs time to formulate a thought or find a word?

Before you answer, think about how to listen to your hubz, and your kids, your mom, and the lady next door who saves all her words for you, because she doesn’t get out much.

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