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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Letting Go of Regrets!

I don’t dread birthdays.

In fact,
I celebrate with zealous enthusiasm.

And not for just one day.
I need a season to collect birthday greetings,
eat at all my favorite places,
and spend time with all my favorite people.

This year it was no exception just because
I TURNED 60!

I met with girlfriends for
lunch,
dinner and
coffee
for week before and a week after the actual date.
I had a party.
I got a slew of gift cards
and flowers and
even one of a kind watch with my mom’s picture on it.

 

After the party and the celebrations are a distant memory,
here’s what I know about me at any age.

I want to live without regrets.
Don’t you?

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Kids Do the Darnedest Things

Kids Do the Darnedest Things

 Mr. 4-Ever was out of town so
I was alone watching the tornado’s swirling formations on the weather channel

when sirens started blaring their warning.
Outside, the sky was greenish gray and there wasn’t a wisp of wind.
Almost simultaneously, a text notification beeped on my cell phone.

A tornado warning had been issued and my house was in its path.

Suddenly, the back door banged open and
Eli, my firefighter son, burst in calling loudly,

“Mom!
Mom!
Where are you?”

“I’m in the office, Eli.
What are you doing here?”

“Mom, I heard the warning on my scanner and
I came over to be with you in case you were scared.”

Before I could even get the
Aww, that’s so sweet of you
out of my mouth, he started issuing directives. 

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Divinely Designed: Sooty to Smashing

Some would say the beautiful ceiling
of the Sistine Chapel is
divinely designed.

The frescos painted by Michelangelo tell the sweeping story of Bible,
from God’s creation to Christ’s ascension.

(A fresco is a painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling,
so that the colors penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries.) 

Moms, before there were permanent magic markers
to “beautify” your walls,
there were frescos.

In the centuries since its completion in 1512,
the magnificent images in the poorly lit chapel were illuminated by millions of candles
which eventually layered the ceiling with soot and smoke
until the frescos were a shadow of their original splendor.

A 14 year restoration process began in 1980.

Standing on scaffolding nine stories above the floor,  
experts painstakingly restored
 the 6,135-square-foot ceiling of frescos
to its original glory.

Look at the difference!

(before)

(after)
(Wikipedia photographs)

God created me to be a reflection of who he is,
but years of worshiping false gods, even being my own god,
layered soot and sin on me so thick my original design was unrecognizable. 

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Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners

It’s Independence Day weekend,
when we celebrate the freedom we enjoy every day.

Most of us will spend time with family or friends –
on the boat, on the deck, at the parade …
at least that’s my plan.

It’s the freedom I have that makes me want to
share a great book with you this week!

My friend, Carol Kent
has just released a new devotional for families of prisoners.

If you don’t know Carol’s story about her son Jason’s incarceration,
check it out here.

This collection of 90 devotionals is called
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners.

Each devotional starts with an inspirational quote you can hang onto,
followed by a personal story that addresses the
challenges families face when someone they love is incarcerated.
The devotionals conclude with words of wisdom and/or encouragement and
wrap everything up with a summary of selected scriptures that
anyone can understand.

The stories are heartfelt and heart-breaking.
I have to believe this book will be a comfort and encouragement
if you have a family member in prison.

Even though my story does not include a family member in prison,
I found
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
to be compassionate and honest.
There’s a part of me that is so thankful this isn’t my story, but
after reading
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners,
I’m better equipped to minister to and support these hurting families.

I admire Carol for her willingness to continue to carry on the conversation
about her family’s ongoing trial for the benefit of others with
fewer resources and little support.

Maybe you don’t have a family member in prison,
but maybe you know someone who does.

Share
Waiting Together, Hope and Healing for Families of Prisoners
with them.

Turning Tomorrow into Today

Tomorrow.
What a lovely word.
Full of promise and opportunity.

I live in an old farm house with closets the size of your refrigerator.
Consequently, I only have room for in-season clothes.
Off-season clothing hibernates in the basement. 
Last weekend, I switched out the winter layers for summer outfits. 

And I discovered a problem!

My capris and skirts and shorts were TIGHT!

The obvious solution is to shed a few pounds so that
my summer clothes will fit comfortably again.

How hard can it be? 

Then I remember we have company coming for dinner and
it would be rude to serve them rabbit food and no dessert.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The next day I remember I’m invited to an Open House
and there will all kinds of delicacies I’ll want to sample in large quantities.

I’ll start my weight modification plan … tomorrow.

The same thing happens with 
my book writing and 
my house cleaning and
my thank you notes and
my reading list and
my Bible study and 
my … 
Well, you get the idea.

Maybe you do the same thing.

Tomorrow …
I’ll start my diet.

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God’s Surprising Solutions to Prayer

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.
I quickly discovered the central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

Oh no!

It was 90 degrees outside and summer was just getting started.
I shut it off and called the repair man to look at it.
 

His assessment?

“Call a salesman. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 20 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.”

I nearly fainted and not from the heat!

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