Be Prepared Like First Responders

Where were you on 9/11/19?

Did you see all the replays and death counts and photos of heroes? I used more than my share of tissues crying over lost lives and shattered dreams.

First responders run toward danger and smoke when everyone else is running out. I know this cuz my kid’s a firefighter in a big city.

He is aware of the danger but executes his job courageously having been thoroughly trained for every conceivable contingency.

Even the photos you see of fallen heroes are part of their training. Eli called me the day his was taken.

He said, “Mom, I had my death picture taken today.”
“What? Your what?!?” I asked, not believing what I’d just heard.
“My death picture. That’s what the guys call it.  We have our picture taken in front of the flag wearing our dress uniform. If we die in the line of duty, that’s the picture they put on my casket and use in the media.”
“Oh.”

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5 Benefits Of A Hated Season

There are seasons for everything.

Some are lovely, others are brutal and hated. There are seasons you’re sure you can’t endure much less survive and yet, when they pass, you are stronger and wiser and your faith is bigger than it could have ever been without the season you just braved.

You may be facing a challenge right now.

What you want to hear is that everything will be okay, but I can’t promise that. What I can promise is that in the midst of this mess, God will be closer than you ever thought possible. In fact, when this thing you hate is resolved, what will remain is a connection and trust in God so deep and complete that as your heart heals, you will miss the closeness, and the need, of it.

This week marks 19 years since my Adventure Boy husband Craig took a routine flight that landed me in a hated season because he never arrived at his destination.

A search ensued that lasted for weeks. It was all-consuming. Not just for me, it imprisoned my children, my extended family, and all my friends. Life as we knew it just stopped.

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Please Don’t Let This Be Our New Normal!

The dreadful call

I answered the phone, expecting to hear a cheerful hello, but instead, I heard, “Mom, I hurt my back. I can’t move.”  Ever the skeptic of my kids antics, I asked, “What were you doing?” I waited to hear that he’d tried to bench press a refrigerator or push start a semi-truck. “I was putting on my sock and something just popped. I don’t know what to do. Can you come over?”

Music to a mama’s ear. He still needs me.

“Of course I can. I’ll be right there.”

Jake’s frame was so out of whack, he drags one foot behind him, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, wincing with every jostle. He grits his teeth in pain as he inches his way to doctor and chiropractor appointments. He swallows pain relievers and I gently stuff ice packs under him. The pain will not yield.

Waiting without answers

Days turn into weeks and there is no relief. The doctor prescribes narcotic pain killers and orders an MRI. He is put on disability at his work.

We pray.
We ask everyone we know to pray.
We wait.
We pray and we wait.

“God, don’t let this be our new normal!” I cry out in fear. “Heal him!”

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9 Ways to Ease The Agony of Grief

When the heart breaks.

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, leaves a vacant chair at your table, and changes your life forever. My experience being widowed twice in four years gives me the expertise to say you can easy the agony of someone’s grief.

9 ways to ease the agony of grief. 

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.

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Crazy Big Prayers

The bad news is … 

From my home office, I could hear the racket. Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical. At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance and trying to walk out of the basement again but I quickly discovered my central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

This is all kinds of bad news! It was 90 degrees outside and there was a lot more summer on the calendar. I shut it down and called the repair man to look at it. His assessment?
“Call the sale office. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 22 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, “I’d guess close to $3000.00.”

Bad news = Big prayers

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When Good Intentions Fail

What a week!

We met up with both boys and our daughter-in-love for a week of camp. (Not camping, our “cabin” had indoor plumbing) We all sat around talking and eating and playing games. There were many campfires, lots of shooting guns, and some pitiful fishing adventures.

After a full week of revelry, an 11-hour drive home, and more pitstops at Micky D’s than I care to admit, we arrived home late at night. Exhausted, I dumped buckets of tie-dye projects and a ton of damp, sand-filled, smoky clothes in the house and went to bed.

The next day, I was up before dawn to speak at a conference. After two packed days of speaking, I returned home only to face piles of fermenting laundry, the science projects in the fridge, and the 10,000 emails in my inbox.

Lord, have mercy!

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What Is That Stink?

No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

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Sin is Delicious

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sin is delicious. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.

Just this past weekend I almost dug brownies out of the garbage can. The willpower I had to toss them in the trash at 6pm was completely gone at 10:30pm and I wanted those brownies in the worst way. Who cares that I’d have to rummage through the garbage can outside with a flashlight? So what if I had to scrape a few coffee grounds off of them? I thought, Tomorrow, I’ll resume my “eating plan”, but tonight, I’m bingeing on brownies! If Mr. 4-Ever hadn’t caught me in the act, I’m sure I would have written this blog with fingers covered in gooey chocolate.

I never meant for this to happen. 

I work with so many women who get caught up in things they never dreamed would hook them.

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Your Legacy Starts Now

What will you be known for?

Do you spend any time pondering your legacy? How will people remember you? What stories will be told about you? How will you be described when you leave your current church, or workplace or neighborhood or this life?

We all want to be remembered well. Unfortunately, in an effort to create a great legacy, we can get into trouble by trying to do everything, and end up burned out and overwhelmed or feel so hopeless that we do nothing!

Lord have mercy! How do you find balance and direction?

What does God require?

Medical professionals use the term “potentiate”. It means to augment or accelerate the efficacy of a drug. So, when two drugs are taken together, the secondary drug augments or accelerates the effectiveness of the first one.

God commands us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30-31) and to love others as Jesus loves us (John 13:34).

Our legacy is built by loving God and loving His people using our gifts, talents and life experiences to demonstrate God’s love to others.

In other words, we are to potentiate God’s love to others.

What did God put in you to potentiate his love to the world?

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Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Ever been scared? So scared and there’s nothing you can do about the situation? 

I was just there and it wasn’t any fun, but I learned it’s never as hopeless as it seems and there is always something you can do about it.

Dave, who never gets sick, got violently ill. Pretty scary for a gal who’s already buried 2 husbands. He had a fever, chills, muscle aches, light-headedness and stabbing pains through his mid-section. Right away, I was ready to call an ambulance, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

Men!

Of course, I fretted and feared. But then I realized that while circumstances were out of my control, they weren’t out of God’s. I started banging on the gates of heaven for relief, and for healing, and I called in reinforcements to pray with me in agreement.

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