Live Loved Even When You Feel Left Out

 

The conversation turned awkward with the realization
that I hadn’t been included in the festivities
my friends were reminiscing about.

Not included.

 

Smiling faces beamed in the Facebook photos
of a wedding I wasn’t invited to.

Not invited.

 

The note read,
Your uncle died last month.
I’m so sorry,
we just forgot to let you know …

Not remembered.

 

What do you do when
you feel left out?

 

A variety of options pop into my head.

Hide.

Curl up in the fetal position and
suck my proverbial thumb till the hurt goes away …
till the next time or the next trigger reminds me
I’m not enough.

Pretend.

Post my own fun pictures,
Talk about my recent exploits.
Put on my happy face and say it doesn’t matter.
But it does, doesn’t it?

Retaliate.

Blast a nasty text or post with tags galore,
but that never goes well.
Even if I get some temporary relief or satisfaction,
inevitably,
a harsh response only causes more hurt
and often bigger regret.

Run.

I can run away, but I can rarely outrun the hurt.

Instead of running away … 

Read More

As Featured in Leading Hearts Magazine!

This month I’m featured in the
#REALCHURCHladies section of
Leading Hearts Magazine!

 

All my life I’ve been mesmerized by female aerialists,
athletes who perform graceful dances of
balance, strength and flexibility on the trapeze, ropes, or rings. 

Audiences gasp in awe and applaud with delight
as we watch lithe women spin and soar
dangerously high above the ground.

Fear prevents most of us
from ever attempting the elements
of an aerialist’s routine.

We appreciate them,
but are happy to sit in the bleachers
and admire from a distance.

Consider the practice hours that an aerialist spends
developing her natural talent.

She has to work with trainers and technicians,
nutritionalists and a safety net.
It takes a whole lot of support people for an aerialist to perform her act.

The Body of Christ is
supposed to cooperate like that.

Throughout the Bible,
God directs us to be willing to teach, assist and support
those who are
weak,
suffering,
lost,
uneducated,
widowed or orphaned.

We get lost in the how to.
What does it look like to teach, assist and support?

Read More

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?

Read More

Do You Know My Friend, Chonda?

Oh.
My.
Goodness!

Do you know my new friend, Chonda Pierce?

I have to introduce you to her. 

Last week I was a big event in Nashville where she was performing.
From my seat in the second row,
I was captivated.

I laughed,

I cried,

I related.

Chonda Pierce is a Christian comedienne.
She’s no stranger to misery
but chooses to share her life
in a way that helps all of us
get through ours.

Watch this clip,
but I warn you …
get the tissues out.

You’ll probably be
snorting and sobbing
right along with me.

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!

Read More

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. 

Read More

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. 

Read More

Divinely Designed: Sooty to Smashing

Some would say the beautiful ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel is
divinely designed.

The frescos painted by Michelangelo tell the sweeping story of Bible,
from God’s creation to Christ’s ascension.

(A fresco is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling,
so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.) 

Moms, before there were permanent magic markers
to “beautify” your walls,
there were frescos.

In the centuries since its completion in 1512,
the magnificent images in the poorly lit chapel were illuminated by millions of candles
which eventually layered the ceiling with soot and smoke
until the frescos were a shadow of their original splendor.

A 14 year restoration process began in 1980.

Standing on scaffolding nine stories above the floor,  
experts painstakingly restored
 the 6,135-square-foot ceiling of frescos
to its original glory.

Look at the difference!

(before)

(after)
(Wikipedia photographs)

God created me to be a reflection of who he is,
but years of worshiping false gods, even being my own god,
layered soot and sin on me so thick my original design was unrecognizable. 

Read More

Training for Team Jesus

Are you staying up late to watch the Olympics? 

Have you picked your favorite athletes?
Do you stand in front of your television screaming,
“Go! Go! Go!”
“You can do it!”
 “Don’t give up!”

I do.
I cheer.
I jump up and down.
I applaud.

When Team USA wins, it feels like I win.

You can learn a lot by watching the Olympics.

1.

You can learn about
Overcoming Obstacles.

Every single athlete has a story of overcoming obstacles.
Painful injuries.
Intimidating adversaries.
Not enough money for training or equipment.
Loneliness, separation, living apart from family while training.

Can you relate?

Read More

9 Ways You Can Help A Grieving Heart

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of
killings in our country and around the world.

Regardless of who you are or where you come from,
when someone you love dies,
it blows a hole in your heart,
and
changes your life forever.

My experience being widowed twice in four years
gives me the courage to say
you can make a difference in the process of grief.

 Here are 9 ways to help mitigate the agony when
tragedy strikes close to home.

 

1.
Look for the person who is grieving.

 

Smile at them.  
Talk with her or him.
Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say,
or you feel uneasy.
Push through the feeling of awkwardness,
they need you.

Here’s advice from the American Cancer Society about that.

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving.
Many people do not know what to say or do.
Here are suggestions to use as a guide.

Acknowledge the situation.
Example: “I heard that your_____ died.”
Use the word “died”.
That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.

Express your concern.
Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”

Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings.
Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.

Offer your support.
Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”

2.
Pray for them often and tell them that you are.

Ask them how they need God to show up in their life.
Do they need provision? 
How about wisdom for parenting? 
What about all the decisions they have to make?

I assure you they need prayer for the grace to deal with
people who will undoubtedly say inappropriate things!

Read More