Does Striving For Perfection Drive You Bananas?

Going Bananas

Early in our marriage, Mr. 4-Ever made the mistake of mentioning how much he enjoyed another woman’s banana bread. Not to be outdone, I took it upon myself to make his life complete by creating my own perfect loaf of banana bread. I tried a dozen recipes, but none of them turned out well.

We ate a lot of really mediocre banana bread and threw an obscene amount of banana bread in the trash. No matter what I did, I could not get the bread to come out right.

I cried. I whined. I obsessed.

Finally, Dave told me that his appetite for banana bread had waned. He said as nicely as he could that my insane pursuit of perfecting banana bread was done and I needed to quit wasting my time and our money. 

Perfection steals your joy and your time!

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Do You Need To Say Yes to Less?

Almost everyone I know is busy and stressed. We are working harder than ever before and it’s taking it’s toll. God did not intend for us to live in a state of constant commotion.

How do you get your life and schedule back? Say yes to less. 

You ever eat at one of those swanky fondue restaurants? Mr. 4-Ever and I got to try one a while back. A $50.00 gift card had been tucked into a thank you card to us and thought we’d won the lottery. What a treat!

First, a bowl of melted cheese and a tray of bread cubes and small pieces of fruit was delivered along with those long pronged forks. We gobbled it all up. It was so good, I could have been done right then.

A salad bursting with flavor appeared next. You have to eat the greens to offset the barrel of cheese you just ate, right?

A pot of hot seasoned oil and a tray of raw meat and seafood followed the salad. One tiny bit at a time, we got full, but we didn’t stop because the bites were so small, we could easily fit one more tidbit in. And it was all SO GOOD! And we might never have this opportunity again!

When I was sure I could not eat one more thing …THERE WAS DESSERT!

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How Do You Measure Up To Perfection?

Do you miss the mark of perfection? 

I tease my friend Dee about her PPS – Pre Party Syndrome. She obsesses over every detail, but her parties are awesome and everyone wants to be invited to them because her home is beautiful, her food is delicious, her games are fun and her hospitality is over the top. Occasionally, she allows guests to contribute which is how I ended up with the assignment to bring my specialty – deviled eggs.

On the day of the party, my boiled eggs did not want cooperate with me. The shells stuck to the egg white like they’d been super-glued. Big hunks of egg came off with the shells leaving me with the ugliest looking things I’d seen since I tried to cut my own hair.

A Big Decision

I looked at those pitiful eggs and had a decision to make. Take ugly eggs to the party or take nothing. Everything in me wanted to trash the eggs and start over, but there was no time! The voice in my head chided, You can’t take those! They look awful! They are not worthy of a Dee party. She will be offended if you take them. No one will eat them anywat. Maybe you should stay home if that’s the best you can do!

Why is it so easy to let a little thing like ugly eggs undermine my value and make me believe my community will reject me – not my eggs, but me!?

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What Confession Is Good for Your Soul?

Sin is sneaky!

My son, Eli and I were at the Krispy Kreme drive-though, coupon in hand. We were moments away from warm, frosted donuts, but something was wrong with the coupon I was trying to use. I wanted chocolate frosted but the coupon was for glazed. I put up quite a fuss to get my donuts at a discount and succeeded.

Pulling away victorious, donuts in hand, my boy looked at me and said, “Mom, you were really mean to that lady.”

OUCH!  I sure was.

“Son, you are so right. Will you forgive me for talking to her like that?”
“Sure, mama, … can I have a donut?”

As he ate his circle of deliciousness, I silently asked God to forgive me for modeling behavior I would never tolerate from the young man next to me.  I thought that was done, but Holy Spirit laid his hand on my heart, prompting me to return and apologize to the girl at the Krispy Kreme.

With the store already disappearing in my rear view mirror and using the traffic zipping by at breakneck speeds, I justified why I couldn’t go back.

Holy Spirit wasn’t having any of it. For three days, He kept the pressure on till I couldn’t stand it anymore.

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3 Steps To Contentment

Do you ever have what my friend Lauren calls a MOMENT?

You know what I mean? Everything is just “fine” and then something hits you sideways and you have a MOMENT. Maybe you had a Facebook moment when you saw that you weren’t included in a party or conversation or outing. Maybe you had a home improvement moment as you watched all the options HGTV had to offer. Maybe you had a Pinterest moment when you tried your best to recreate the image on your computer screen and it was an unrecognizable failure.

Maybe it was your car, your house, your kids, your boss, your husband, your scale, or your mirror … and you just had a MOMENT! The MOMENT dissolved your contentment.

My most recent moment. 

My MOMENT came at the Tax Guy’s office. As he looked over all my documents, his mouth tightened into a disapproving grimace. “Robyn, I know this God thing is important to you, but I have to tell you that at your age, you should be thinking about your future. You need to get a real job.”

Ugh.

I explained how faithful God continues to be and even though the numbers may not show it, I am experiencing his peace and pleasure as I partner with him to proclaim Jesus’ name and teach the Bible from coast to coast.

Don’t let this happen to you!

As I left his office, my Contentment asked my Confidence for a date and they took off for parts unknown. The evil twins, Discouragement and Dissatisfaction, moved in to take their place.

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Good or Bad – Your Habits Yield Powerful Results

Good or bad, habits yield powerful results when practiced.

When my boys were teenagers, they turned into eating machines. My baking dishes and freezer meal containers got bigger and bigger.

One night, I opened the refrigerator to take out the prepped meal for that evening, and I could see that a large scoop of the casserole was missing. I smoothed the contents to fill in the divot, popped it in the oven and waited. Sure enough, the guilty party asked, “Is this the same stuff that was in the fridge earlier?”
“Yes it is, Son. Why do you ask?”
“It tastes different,” he said.
“That’s because it’s cooked now!” I snarked back at him.

To protect them from salmonella poisoning and to preserve enough food to feed the entire family at mealtime, I started putting NO-NO post-it stickies on anything in the refrigerator that was off limits.

Uncooked food …
NO-NO!

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Take the V-Day Challenge!

Valentine’s Day is upon us. What does it bring up for you?

Florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, and card companies want your man to declare his love with big bouquets, diamond baubles, and fancy boxes of deliciousness accompanied by a $12.99 greeting card.

Good grief!!!

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite holiday. For many years, I had no man to shower me with gifts. Now, I have a man who thinks practically, not romantically. He is thoughtful and kind, but he is not a flowers and chocolates kind of guy.

At our house, V-Day is Validation Day.

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Trusting God When Life Is Hard

Where do you turn when life is hard? What do you do when you pray and don’t get the answer you need? How do you find the courage to trust God in the worst of situations? 

It was the worst day of Catherine’s life. Her daughter was stillborn. Can you imagine? Ugh, the emptiness, the sorrow. Going home with a full diaper bag and an empty baby seat. Dealing with the hormones and milk filled breasts all the while avoiding a nursery filled with stuffed toys and rocking chairs.

In her grief Catherine was angry and instead of relying on God or leaning into him, she turned her back on him, convinced that God had deserted her and was cruel in a way she could not fathom. 

She became depressed and found sleep elusive so she drank at night to try to help her sleep and slept all day because she was tired and hungover.

She stopped going to church because it hurt too much to see pregnant women and young children. It took almost 6 months before she could even look to heaven. But when she let go of the offense she had against God and asked for his forgiveness and restoration, he flooded her brokenness with peace.

That’s when the healing finally began. She said, “It took a long time and I still don’t understand why it happened, but after I surrendered my anger to Jesus, my faith became and continues to grow stronger. I can trust that God has a plan, even if I don’t understand it.”

We’ve all been there haven’t we? Wondering how we’ll make it through this hardship or that trauma?

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The Enemy of Hope is Discouragement

The enemy of your soul has no shortage of ways to create havoc in your life.  Fear, calamity, doubt, shame, illness, lies … the list goes on. But his most powerful weapon is discouragement.

Last week I was passed over for a big speaking job that I really wanted. I thought I had a good shot at it. I was qualified and available. My fee range was well within their honorarium budget. It was easy driving distance to the venue. I had a great rapport with the event planner. But, I didn’t get the gig. Someone else will be speaking there next year.

Ugh. The disappointment.

For the rest of the day, I was down in the dumps. I couldn’t engage with other potential clients via phone or email. Who would hire me? was the recording playing in my head. I even had writer’s block. But then, who would read my stuff anyway? I thought to myself. I tried to cheer up, but the discouragement was overwhelming. Does that kind of discouragement ever fall on you? 

I’m confident that discouragement is our enemy’s favorite tactic to disable us.

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Do You Take Time To Rest?

Everything I read about a living a balanced life stresses the importance of taking time to rest. 

Really?
Rest?
The thought of rest stresses me out!

I’m too busy to REST!

I have a family to take care of, kids to shuttle, pets to clean up after, a house to run, meals to plan, groceries to buy, food to prepare, laundry to wash-dry-fold-iron and put away.  I have a full time job, meetings to attend, cars to maintain, books to read, a blog to write and a sidewalk to shovel.

Sound familiar? I’m sure it does. We women run from one thing to the next with nary a moment to spare. Who has time to rest?

The fact is that you need to rest as much as you need to breathe.

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