Seeing God’s Best In Every Situation

 

I try to see God’s best in every situation,
but when I walked into
the lobby of our hotel … 

I just knew this stay
was going to be an adventure. 

Mr. 4-Ever often gets us great hotels at low prices,
but every once in a while
we miss out on the
Swanky Suites
and end up at
Bob’s Sleep Palace.

Such was the case this trip.

Every surface in sight was filthy.
The smell of antiseptic cleaner in the lobby
warned of impending germs…
Or bugs …
Or worse.

Our room smelled like an ashtray.
A bare wire lay exposed in one of the outlets.
The drains in the sink and tub weren’t just slow,
they became standing basins of yucky water.

The handle to the hot water faucet came off in Mr. 4-Ever’s hand!

The worst part?   

We’d booked through “Hotel Roulette”
(a non-refundable online service)
and were stuck.

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Three Word Sentences That Change Your Life

Three word sentences
can change your life.

If you heard …
Congratulations, you’re hired!
or You are pregnant!
or You’re cancer free!
it would dramatically change your life,
wouldn’t it?

We have the option to change lives
with our own
three word sentences.

Several years ago,
Mr. 4-Ever and I joined
a dinner party group.

At first,
we just got together to
eat and play games.
We talked about the weather
or the game
or our kid’s latest escapades.

It’s grown into a safe haven,
a place to share new recipes
as well as
life’s triumphs and challenges.

It’s so special,
we don’t post pictures on Facebook
or tweet about our time together.
It would feel like a breach of privacy.

This little group of five couples
has become holy space.

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Kicking Idols to the Curb

It’s an hour past
the first chirp of my alarm and
I’m still hiding under my covers.

I don’t want to face the day.

I don’t want to hear Jillian Michaels bark at me from the DVD
because I’m bloated from a late night Mexican food binge.

I dread the looming project deadline and
piles of laundry and
sink full of dirty dishes.

I don’t want to face today because
I have too much to manage and not enough …

Not enough
patience for a tough conference call later today.

Not enough
energy to attack my endless to do list.

Not enough
money for this month’s bills.

So I hide under my covers and keep hitting the snooze button
as I beg God to
help me,
fix me,
save me,
stretch my time and money …
to be my God today.

Do you do that?

Hide …
Hoping the the rapture is today,
or someone drops off a time warp machine,
or that a money tree pops up on the porch.

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Overcoming … with Gratitude

Recently, Eli, who is my youngest,
posted a photo on Facebook and
taught me a lesson about
overcoming (fill in the blank)
with gratitude.

 

In the photo, he was wearing a plaid flannel shirt.
A shirt that once belonged to his dad …
a mighty man who died 20 years ago.

Eli posted:
I came across (my dad’s) old shirt and had to try it on.
I was surprised to see that I still barely fit into it.
So many years have passed and
I still felt like a toddler trying on my dad’s clothes.
He was such a big man and part of me hoped
I would fill it out after all this time.

But then it dawned on me
that I was meant to be my own man
and make my own path.

As I put the shirt away to find again another day,
I thought about how lucky I was
to be in such a wonderful place in my life
with so many loving supportive people around me.

I miss you Dad and
I am so thankful to be from your bloodline
but I am so joyful that my life played out the way it has.

He closed with,
“I’ll see you on the other side some day.”

(Eli “helping” his dad, Jay, (Hot & Hunky) with a plumbing project. – 1996)

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 And just like that,
I was in a puddle.

Grief is like that.

It comes when it comes and
there is no predicting when it will
turn your life inside out
and upside down.

Grief can knock you down,
but it doesn’t have to knock you out.

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30 Day Challenge

Instead of making
New Year’s resolutions this year,
I’m going to take 30 Day Challenges instead.

Girlfriend, I’ll be honest,
I run out of rockets fast.

Setting goals for an entire year overwhelms me.
But 
I can
manage,
tolerate or
endure
almost anything …
if I know it’s only for 30 days.

Can’t you?

Some goals are just too big.

How successful do you think you’d be if you tried to:

Lose all the weight you’ve gained since you were 13?
Not very!
Could you stop eating chocolate for 30 days?
Sure!

Think you will read the entire Bible in a year?
Probably not!
Could you read a chapter every day for 30 days?
No doubt!

Want to get out of debt this year?
That would be great, but ambitious.
Could you put an extra 10% of your paycheck toward debt for 30 days?
Oh yeah!

Going to be more productive this year?
Giving up all your vices like Netflix or Facebook or Candy Crush?
Tough to go cold turkey on your favorite time wasters!
Think you could c
ut back to 20 minutes a day for 30 days?
No problem!

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The Present of Presence

 

Our holiday season got off to a rough start,
starting with Thanksgiving.

I planned to serve Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30. 
At noon, the turkey wasn’t close to cooked.

I’d calculated the cooking time,
the resting time,
the carving time,
so that everything would be hot and ready at the same time.

Tick.
Tick.
Tick.

An hour went by and still that bird was not done!

Mashed potatoes and stuffing,
sweet potatoes and green been casserole
waited impatiently in warming ovens until 3:30
when that bird finally surrendered enough
breast meat to give each person a sliver.

Arrgh!

Girls, it was the ugliest looking plate of food
I’ve ever served on Thanksgiving.
Tasty, but ugly.

Interestingly, holding dinner hostage gave us
all time to really catch up,
watch the Lions win,
play some board games with the littles
and some even took a short nap.

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The Secret to Being Thankful is Focus

The secret to
being thankful
is focus.

When I learned to drive motorcycles,
I discovered very quickly that
where you look is
where you go!

Through the curves,
around the obstacles
or
into the ditch!

In this season of busyness and frivolity,
it’s easy to lose your focus.

If you’re anything like me,
you start to focus on what everyone else is
doing,
decorating,
devouring,
or delighting in.

Comparisons take up the space
in my mind and heart that
God is supposed to inhabit.

Instead of being thankful for what I have,
I focus on what
SHE has,
or what SHE does,
or what SHE gets
or how SHE looks.

I compare home decorating skills,
culinary prowess,
the number of Christmas cards received,
the extravagance of gifts,
and the size of her dress.

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Thankfulness in Action

Today I am thinking of things
I am specifically thankful for.

What’s on your list?

I have the usual stuff …
health,
home,
hubz,
happy children. 

But also electric lights and curling irons,
hot and cold running water on demand,
appliances that ease and expedite my life. 
For moms and dads and cars that start. 
For air conditioning and forced air heat. 


I’m thankful that I live in America.
I can vote,
continue my education,
and go to stores or movies
without much fear of being
blown up,
hijacked or
sold into slavery.

My life has not been without tragedy.


As a woman who has suffered loss,
I will tell you it’s the kindness of friends and strangers alike
that helped me make it through long seasons of sorrow.

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Trusting God with Big Changes

I don’t love change.

Anyone else with me?

In my quiet time this morning,
I realized I was sitting on 20 year old couches,
looking at walls painted 20 years ago,
dressed in pjs and robe that were,
yes, you guessed it,
about 20 years old.

Girls, change challenges me!

I barely like change even when it’s my idea!

But,
keeping things the same
is no safeguard from pain.

Things break and wear out.
Children grow up and move away.
Friends die or move on.
Opportunities evolve and disintegrate.

Change is necessary.
Change is good.
Change is inevitable.

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Flourishing In Life Requires Living In Community

There was a time when girls learned how to
 flourish in life from other women
in their community.

Women in the family.
Women in the neighborhood.
Women at church.

Side by side or hand in hand,
wisdom and advice
was dispensed and practiced.

I learned to peel hard boiled eggs,
mend a torn shirt,
and walk in high heels
from the women who loved and nurtured me.

I learned to dress with style,
listen to a boring story with an engaging smile on my face,
and host a party
from watching the women in my neighborhood.

I learned to study the Bible
pray with expectancy, and
treat my husband with love and respect
under the tutelage of the women at my church.

Living in community is important!

Even though women tend to be relational,
we are losing our connectivity
due to the demands on our time
and
the abundance of virtual relationships.

We hide behind busyness and
pretend that “liking” a Facebook post
is the same as personal engagement.

It’s not!

 

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