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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Goodness, God, What are you up to?

Do you celebrate God’s goodness?
God’s goodness doesn’t look like I wanted thought it would.

Like you, I’ve had several commissionings from God.
He called me to be his own.
Hurrah!
He called me to be a wife.

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah.
He called me to be a mom.

Hip Hip Hurrah!
He called me into the workforce.

Hurrah!

Even when faced with obstacles and obstinance,
I embraced those callings with alacrity and joy.

Trust rock

Now… 

I KNOW God has called me to a ministry of writing and speaking.

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Blindsided to See Clearly

I’m guest posting at Katie M. Reid today.
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Have you ever been blindsided by life?
From out of nowhere, you’re hit with bad news and in an instant it all changes.

  • The marriage is over.
  • The child’s addicted.
  • The job ends.
  • The car’s wrecked.
  • The money’s gone.
  • The diagnosis is pronounced.

And all you can wail is WHY?

I get it. It happened to me, too. I expected that since life went pretty well for me as a WILD CHILD, it would continue to go well for me as a CHURCH GIRL.

See, I didn’t reconcile my differences with Jesus until I was in my 30’s so I had plenty of time to test the boundaries of the law, my moral compass and whatever gods there were. As a Club Dancer, then a Playboy Bunny, I was offered everything a girl could want…in exchange for what every boy wants. I had money, cars and adoration.

Every kind of indulgence was available to me.

When the One True God led me out of that life and into one with Him, I naturally assumed that things would only get better. Wouldn’t you?

And, they did. For a while.

Read more at Katie M. Reid’s blog.

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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