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.

Read More

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)

4CBE274E-178E-4359-823D-6788B74927E5

A84341AA-0E19-45B0-8D71-D0BE52BDC110

 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.

Read More

Wonder & Joy For All Seasons

Can I confess that
when the calendar rolls over
to December 26th,
a sweet relief falls on me?

There is no more pressure to
send one more card or
shop for one more present or
bake one more cookie or
attend one more holiday gathering.

It is finished.
I’m grateful and I’m relieved.

Christmas comes with its
own set of stressors.

For some,
this Christmas has been a season of dread.
The death of a loved one has left
empty spaces at tables and in hearts so vacuous
that facing the cheerfulness of the holiday
was nearly impossible.

Christmas 2016 is past.
December 26th comes
with a deep sigh of relief.

For others, Christmas evoked
unexpected emotions.

Empty nesters slept in on Christmas Day,
missing the pre-dawn promptings from
children eager to open presents under the tree.

Read More

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?

Read More

I Want My Mommy!

You ever have one of those days when you
just aren’t firing on all cylinders?

For the record,
I have no idea what a cylinder is,
but the expression means you need a tune-up.
It means you’re sputtering and stalling out.

Yesterday,
I was walking across the kitchen,
got tangled up in my own feet,
tripped and 
went sprawling.

Sprawling, I tell you.

Splat!
Smack!
Ouch!

I looked like Wiley Coyote at the bottom of the ravine
in a Road Runner cartoon –
minus the puff of dust.

After I checked to see if I was paralyzed
(I wasn’t)
or if I had any broken bones,
(there were none)
I decided the best course of action was to
sit on the cold tile floor and howl.

I’m sure it was the shock of being upended,
but I carried on like a toddler.

I cried and I cried.
I want my mommy!

Read More

You Are Not Alone

This blog was originally featured at (in)courage.  

Saturday mornings are easy at our house.

Seconds on the clock don’t count against us like they do
Monday through Friday as we scurry to school, work, and church.
Children linger in pajamas,
breakfast is eaten in random shifts, and
I putz in the kitchen while my husband sleeps through the
soft singsong of children’s television in the next room.

On this particularly beautiful Indian summer day,
when the weather betrays the calendar with 70-degree temps and sunshine,
we are beckoned outdoors for a last romp without the hindrance of heavy coats.
The trikes and pedal cars will race up and down the driveway on this last hurrah
before exchanging places with sleds and snowboards in the loft of the garage.

As my little boys search for shoes and wooden swords —
standard issue for adventures if you’re 7 and 4 —
I go to invite my husband into our activities.

This man, this husband of mine, makes my world work.
He opens my doors, my jars, and my eyes to possibilities I never imagined.
He works two jobs so I can stay home with littles.
He encourages my writing and he supports my dream of being a Christian speaker one day.
He fixes everything I break, brings home flowers for no reason, and eats everything I put in front of him.
He dances with me in the kitchen, and he plays on the floor with our children.
When he wraps me up in his strong arms and kisses me deeply,
I know that forever is not long enough to be married to this man.
He makes me feel safe and loved and secure.

Finding my husband asleep on the couch,
I lean toward him to whisper him awake.
There is no response.

Read More

9 Ways You Can Help A Grieving Heart

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,
and
changes your life forever.

My experience being widowed twice in four years
gives me the courage to say
you can make a difference in the process of grief.

 Here are 9 ways to help mitigate the agony when
tragedy strikes close to home.

 

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.

Here’s advice from the American Cancer Society about that.

It is common to feel awkward when trying to comfort someone who is grieving.
Many people do not know what to say or do.
Here are suggestions to use as a guide.

Acknowledge the situation.
Example: “I heard that your_____ died.”
Use the word “died”.
That will show that you are more open to talk about how the person really feels.

Express your concern.
Example: “I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you.”

Be genuine in your communication and don’t hide your feelings.
Example: “I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.

Offer your support.
Example: “Tell me what I can do for you.”

2.
Pray for them often and tell them that you are.

Ask them how they need God to show up in their life.
Do they need provision? 
How about wisdom for parenting? 
What about all the decisions they have to make?

I assure you they need prayer for the grace to deal with
people who will undoubtedly say inappropriate things!

Read More

Moments, Miracles and Surprise Endings

Blog-Hop-Button-300x300

 Last week I was part of the Speak Up Conference
Mowhere hundreds of speakers and writers converged at the
Prince Center in Grand Rapids, MI to
learn, grow and network.

I was privileged to have the main stage one morning.
Here is the summary of the powerful message God gave me!

Do you ever have MOMENTS?

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 your reaction to discovering that your car has been towed!

Would you have a MOMENT?

I dare say,
Delays, Disappointments and Doubts
trigger many MOMENTS.

In John 11,
Mary and Martha are having a moment because their brother is deathly ill.
They send word to Jesus.

They don’t tell him what to do,
They tell him what’s going on – like you would in a prayer …

and then they wait 
for him to tell them what to do.

Read More

When A Playboy Bunny Met God

My blog post this week is featured in Shattered Magazine.

 

Being a Playboy Bunny wasn’t something I aspired to. I didn’t grow up with a burning desire to be walking porn. It happened the way most sinful things happen. Gradually. Insidiously.

Don’t get me wrong; I chose it. I wasn’t destitute or forced into it. I had a great home life. Though not spiritual, my family was responsible and moral. I had the benefit of an excellent education. I was smart and pretty, but I chose to toss brains aside because beauty was easier.

The Perfect Job

I saw the ad for Playboy bunnies when I was looking for work after my first year of college:

“Great pay! No experience required. Apply in person.”

That certainly sounded more interesting than working a tedious clerical job or doing backbreaking factory work. My professional résumé may have been unimpressive, but since the Bunny job was based almost entirely on appearance, my face and figure were the only credentials I needed. I made the cut and started the job a week later.  

Read the rest of the article in 

Shattered Magazine