How To Change “Good Enough” To Spectacular

So many women coast along on good enough
when 
spectacular is well within reach. 

What change would it take for you to stretch into a better life?

 

My boy, Eli is the son of a college football star and the
grandson of a Golden Gloves Boxing Champion.
(I jokingly say he gets his brains from my side and his brawn from his dad’s.)

By the time he was in middle school, he was already tall and bulky.
In a moment of inspired bravado, he issued an arm wrestling challenge
to all contenders sitting with him at lunch.

He unceremoniously flattened all comers.

This caused quite a stir.
Sweet Little Maddie heard the commotion and came over to spectate.
“I’ll try,” said Sweet Little Maddie.
“No way,” said Eli, “I can’t arm wrestle a girl.”
The crowd jeered, “Afraid of being beaten by a girl?”
“No,” said Eli indignantly, “I just don’t want to hurt her.”
Maddie stood there, waiting her turn, smiling sweetly.
The crowd’s jeers continued until there was no getting around it.
Madeline sat down opposite Eli.
Their hands clasped.
The referee counted to three.
For just a moment their limbs were locked in the starting position.
And then …
Sweet Madeline pressed Eli’s fist to the tabletop.

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What Does Mother’s Day Stir Up For You?


Do I say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” or is
“I’m sorry this day is on the calendar,” more appropriate?

Time has mitigated the intense pain of my mom’s death
but Mother’s Day is a sharp reminder of her earthly departure.
I miss her touch, her laugh, the smell of her perfume and
the way her hands enhanced every conversation. 

She never cooked or gardened or scrap-booked,
but she taught me how to solve problems,
contend for big dreams, and be kind to others.

She was my lifeline when I was discouraged and
my anchor when I was successful. 

She held me close when I was small and
she let me go when I was grown.

Now that she is gone, the very presence of her absence
is a constant reminder of how much I miss my mom.

Everywhere you turn, there are reminders of Mother’s Day.

Maybe your family makes a big production out of Mother’s Day.
There will be cards and chocolates and bouquets.
Your day will be full of people swapping stories, laughing and hugging. 

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Old Memories and New Legacies

What do you do with old memories? 
Turn them into new legacies!

I have outlived my mom by 27 days.
I don’t mean my mom died 27 days ago.
I mean she died when she was 61 years, 5 months and 16 days old.
I have eclipsed her life span.

In thinking about her,
remembering all the accomplishments she achieved
and all the people she served so well in her tenure as an educator,
one of the questions rattling around my brain is
how will I be remembered?

I know, I know,
61 is hardly considered old anymore.

However, I have more years BEHIND me than AHEAD of me.
Now more than ever, I want to make them count.

Time is whizzing by.

It seems like just yesterday that I was chasing children,
frantically trying to get places on time.
I was consumed with feeding, watering, and caring for other people.

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Do You Wonder If God Sees You?

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you?
Do you think he led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you?

Whenever I launch a new series of talks, a service, or book, I have a moment or two when it feels like I might have misread the signals God sent. That I am all alone and forgotten. That I will die in the wilderness.

Then God shows up in some extravagant way to reassure me that I am not forgotten at all.

When Almida said she had a present for me, I was giddy with excitement.

Almida is an interesting woman. Her wisdom, life experiences and prayers have been my life line for decades. Russian by birth, she escaped the Nazis by walking across Europe only to live in a refuge camp for months before getting a sponsor in the US. She made a living as a tailor until she married an entrepreneur who made a boatload of money as a building developer. Her husband, Willy, died at 41 in a plane crash leaving her devastated. Her grief was compounded when Willy’s business partner bankrupted the business, essentially depleting her resources and retirement.

She’s adjusted to life’s exciting twists and unpleasant turns by trusting God with an unwavering faith.

Almida is now 86, and resides in an assisted living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and was never a big believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

A piece of advice?
A photo of us?
A prayer? 

“What do you mean, you have a present for me, Almida?” I asked.

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Ringing in the New Year with a Dance Party!

There is nothing like a dance party ring in the New Year!
 
When you are feeling frumpy, discouraged or just old,
you need a dance party!

 
An event planner I worked with last year informed me
that I should plan to join the dance party they host as part of their retreat every year.
“A dance party?” I asked her.
“Oh yes, it’s a big part of every retreat.
The women love it!” she said cheerfully.
“To go with the Royalty theme this year,
we’ll have a ball.
Bring something with sparkles on it!”
 
The more I thought about it,
the more it sounded like fun …
if I didn’t have a heart attack!
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Simple and Addictive Holiday Recipes From My Kitchen To Yours

Girls, I have kept these holiday recipes secret for decades,
but they are just too good not to share.

These recipes for easy pumpkin pie and super simple fudge
are easy to make and taste like they took hours.
When I say the candied nuts are addictive, I’m not joking!
So good!

From my kitchen to yours,
just in time for Christmas dinners, parties and last minute gifts,
Merry Christmas!

Best Ever Pumpkin Pie 

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Do You Speak The Language Of Kindness Fluently?

 

There are many languages in the world.
English, Cantonese, and Arabic to name just a few.
Also, there is the language of Love,
the language of Patience,
and the language of Thankfulness. 

This weekend 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.

There is another language we must practice.
It’s kindness.

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My (Practically) World Famous Apple Pie Recipe

Do you harvest or can or preserve food?
I’m up to my eyeballs in apples this week.

I’ve spent hours and hours
peeling, coring, slicing, saucing, & freezing …

I have
apple sauce,
apple pies,
apple crisp,
and
apple cobbler
ready to go!

As I’m sure I’ve told you,
I’m practically famous
(at Mr. 4-Ever’s deer camp)
for my delicious apple desserts.

So, by popular demand,
I’m sharing my best applesauce and apple pie recipes.

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Why You Need To Pray Persistently

 You can learn how to pray persistently from children.

If you have kids,
or have spent any time with kids
you know they ask for stuff and they ask a lot!
Their persistence yields many yeses.

 I’ve got two kids but one was much more persistent than the other.

He’d ask.”Can I have it?”
(whatever “it” was he couldn’t live without)
“No,” I’d tell him.

He’d wait about a minute and ask,
“Can I have it now?”
“No!” I’d answer.

He’d wait about ten minutes and ask again,
“How ’bout now? Can I have it now?”

He’d keep this up for days or even weeks
if it was something he really wanted.

Honestly, he got a lot more stuff than his brother did,
because he was so pleasantly persistent.

Today, that kid is a mighty pray-er.
He goes after prayers like he used to go after
a new toy
or driver’s license
or raise in his allowance.

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Your Questions, God’s Answers

Have you ever been desperate to hear God’s voice? 

Has daily life ever felt so demanding you weren’t sure what to do next? Has your phone rung in the middle of the night with unexpected news about a loved one? Has the diagnosis from the doctor brought a sense of fear or unrest? Have you wanted an answer from God, but didn’t know where to turn?

I’ve been there.  When my son was arrested for a serious crime after I’d tried to be the best mother I could be, I felt alone. Angry. Hurt. Fearful. Disappointed in God. Those feelings intensified following his conviction and sentencing. 

Here’s what I began to learn.  I needed to give myself time to grieve my losses.  Maybe you’ve been there, too. I discovered it’s okay with God to cry out my pain and hurt.  Our tears matter to Him.

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