Do You Expect Good Things From God?

 

Do you expect good things from God
or do you settle for the mundane
when God offers the miraculous?

 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.

Finally, I asked Mr. 4-Ever
to be on the lookout for ice cream.

At the next exit,
we followed the signs to McDonald’s.

Mind you, McDonald’s will do,
but I had something a little different in mind.

I wanted hand scooped ice-cream
and lots of malt powder mixed
with whole milk – blended together till
it was a cold, smooth concoction
fresh from the whir of a malt maker.

Just as we saw the golden arches,
I spied an ice cream stand
on the other side of the road.

“Can we go there instead?”
I asked Mr. 4-Ever excitedly.

He was already in McDonald’s mode,
drive-through quick,
inexpensive and satisfactory.

“No, let’s just stick with McDonald’s,”
was his disappointing reply.

“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 milk shakes.
I was practically giddy as I asked,
“Is your milk shake machine working?”

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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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This Is Why I Need Advent

Meet my friend Lauren Befus,
a wife, a mom of 4 littles, a writer, a pastor’s wife
and a lover of Jesus.

If your holiday to-do list has you shuddering with dread,
Lauren’s guest post about Advent is just what
you need to take a time out and reconsider
the reason for this season.

The season of Advent means there is something on the horizon the likes of which we have never seen before … What is possible is to not see it, to miss it, to turn just as it brushes past you. And you begin to grasp what it was you missed, like Moses in the cleft of the rock, watching God’s back fade in the distance. So stay. Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait. Behold. Wonder. There will be time enough for running. For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.”

– Jan Richardson, Author/Artist

“Sit. Linger. Tarry. Ponder. Wait.” Jan Richardson cannot be serious. Has she lost her mind?

Christmas is less than one month away – 25 sleeps to be exact. And looking out over my “horizon,” I just see WORK… a whole lot of work (and some fun) and then more work!! I see gift spreadsheets. I see piles of Amazon boxes. I see bins of decorations. I see my dwindling bank account balance. I see long lines at Meijer. I see rolls of wrapping paper. I see tired, overstimulated kids. I see parties – school parties, work parties, friend parties, family parties. I see party prepping. I see party inviting. I see church service planning. I see WORK (and let’s just add for good measure that I also see some stress and pressure and fatigue and worry).

And this, my friends, is why I love Advent.
This is why I need Advent.

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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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 … 

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Does your past try to hijack your future?

I’m delighted to be posting at Elisa Morgan’s Really blog this week…

 

 

Time Traveler

I came face-to-face with my past this morning. 

In an effort to purge items in my closet that didn’t fit my style anymore,
or to be perfectly honest,
didn’t fit my mature, more generously padded frame anymore,
I stumbled across two of my deceased husband’s favorite shirts.

 I stopped cold.

 For years and years these shirts lay folded,
waiting to be put in rotation again.
Even more than a photograph or nostalgic song on the radio,
the sight and feel of them took me right back to a time
when we were young and bulletproof. 

I kept them because they reminded me of my Hot & Hunky Huzb
who died in his sleep of a heart attack at the age of 39.
I kept them because I thought one of my boys,
who were 7 and 4 at the time of his passing,
might grow into them and I would see them repurposed – resurrected.  

I held onto them because a part of me couldn’t let go of that time when all was well.

 Does that happen to you?

You’re cruising through
your day,
or your desk,
or your drawers
and you unexpectedly tumble back in time?

For me (this time) it was a great memory.
But other times, I’ve stumbled into my dark past.

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?

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