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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Do You Need A Digital Detox?

How much screen time do you use? 

A notification came up on my phone today and apparently my smart phone has been keeping track of how much time we spend together. I couldn’t believe the number of hours it tallied! It was nearly the equivalent of a full-time job!

Whaaat? Stupid phone! That can’t be right, can it?

But then, I started doing the math. A quick check of Facebook in the morning. A YouTube video or podcast while I get ready for work, as I meal prep and when I do the dishes. A bit of scrolling social media here and there. My digital crossword puzzles and Solitaire games at night to relax – and it all adds up! Combine that phone screen time with my Netflix and NFL addiction and boom – I am spending more time with my screens than I am with my husband.

Is it time for a digital detox?

According to Courtney Carver, we spend an average of five hours a day with our devices. Dr. Sylvia Hart Frijd said that the constant use of our phones is rewiring our brains. What we call multi-tasking is actually training us to be distracted and making it harder for us to stay on task with thoughts and projects.

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Are You A Blame Shifter or Peace Maker?

Two Speeds

As usual, I was in a rush. I seem to have 2 speeds: asleep and hurry.

I was late getting home, and in my flurry to get out of the garage and into the house, I shoved open my car door with too much enthusiasm and it clunked into the lawn mower with a thud. 

Dang it! That’s gonna leave a mark,” I hissed.  Sure enough, I was horrified to find a looooong, angry, black mark scarring the car door. DOUBLE CRUD! How am I going to explain this to Mr. 4-Ever?  

I have already wrecked this car twice. Every time I say to my man, “Honey, I need to talk to you,” he jokingly responds, “Robyn, did you wreck the car again?”

Shifting the blame. 

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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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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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The Secret That Changes Lives

 

When Sylvia and I started working the same shift, I liked her right away. She was smart and confident and full of life. She had good ideas to make the work flow better and it was fun to be in her cubicle space.

At lunch, I often read my Bible or worked on a Bible study. Sylvia had no interest in God, but she was intrigued with me. “How can you go through so many hard things and not be angry at God?” she asked when I told her I was working at the office because my husband had died at 39 leaving me to take care for our two kids by myself.

As we learned more about each other, I realized Sylvia’s performance at work was exemplary but her personal life was messy. Her weekends were parties and binging and hooking up.

When she first started to tell me about her raucous weekends, she anticipated being judged, shamed, and lectured. But instead, I showed Jesus’ love to her.

Sharing the secret

As she accepted my acceptance of her, she stopped trying to shock me and began to confide in me, asking for advice. It was the open door to talk to her about Jesus.

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My Finest Recipe

The recipe everyone wants. 

Last week, I made the best balsamic Brussel sprouts … ever!  They were so good, everyone at the potluck wanted the recipe. (That didn’t surprise me, cuz I got the recipe at a different potluck.)

Though the recipe was simple, the dish was not easy to make. It took planning, timing, prepping and double-checking the instructions to make sure it would turn out well. But it was worth it to see it consumed with glee and share the goodness with others.

We readily share recipes for lasagna, banana bread and glazed Brussel sprouts, but what’s the recipe for a life that works?

The recipe for disaster.

I tried all sorts of things before Jesus.

  • Drugs.
  • Men.
  • Food.
  • Shopping.
  • Will-power.

Nothing worked till I surrendered my life to Jesus and found a woman to disciple me. Louise recognized how quickly a girl like me, who knew little about God and nothing about the Bible, could get discouraged or misled, so she took me on like a project and never made me feel like one. She provided a safe space for me to ask questions I was too embarrassed to ask in class.

  • How do I talk to God?
  • Where do I start reading the Bible?
  • Is there forgiveness for my past?
  • How can I let go of the pits and patterns that keep me stuck?
  • Where do I find peace in the midst of cruddy circumstances?
  • How do I know if God is leading me or if it’s my own idea?

Louise discipled me from starting out to standing firm. Could you do that?

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Exciting News Flash!

What’s overflowing in you?

I set up the coffee pot, hit start and walked away. Just like I’ve done everyday for the past umpteen years. When I returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, I heard the hiss of the overflowing liquid hit the hot plate and the drip, splat, splash of coffee flowing off the counter and onto the floor. Arrgh!

Since my coffee carafe is metal, I hadn’t noticed it was already half-full of coffee from the night before. I’d brewed a new pot on top of the cold pot – ruining both pots!

I had a mess to clean up and no coffee!

As I fussed and mopped and grumbled and wiped, God whispered in my ear. “There’s no room for me to pour my fresh stuff in YOU if you’re already full of yourself.”

Can you say ouch?

It had been a while since I had spent any time in prayer. My Bible lay dust-covered on the bed stand. I couldn’t remember the last time I paid attention in church or spent time in community with women who loved the Lord and studied the Bible together.

That lack of connection was showing up my behavior and demeanor. I was often irritable or discouraged.

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