Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When you say Nothing at all

Life is busy.  Most of us have too much on our plate and we find ourselves doing the bare minimum to get by.  And we miss out. 

We make lots of excuses as to why we are busy and why we can't stop doing anything right now, but will in the future.  Some of those excuses are valid.

The other day, I found myself face-to-face with a friend who had a big tragedy last year.  Life-changing big.  And during the aftermath, I never said anything.  Oh, I think I commented on facebook a couple of times about how sorry I was, but I never reached out personally. 

And I had some (in my opinion) valid reasons.  She was overwhelmed with wishes from others, I would wait until it had been a month and then reach out--you know, when the reality of her loss had set in.  Also, I couldn't think  of words.  I didn't want to be trite "Sorry for your loss.  I'm praying for you" just didn't seem like enough.  I wanted words that would touch her and comfort her (when in reality, MY words could never do that, but if I'd have allowed Him to use me, the Holy Spirit could have). 

I still believe my heart was in the right place.  But I also believe I missed the boat on being a friend.  I got caught up in the "me" portion of it and failed to just be there for her. 

The older I get and the more years pass beneath my belt, I am struck by the power of words.  The simple, "I love you."  The "You are special."  Even just "You crossed my mind today and I prayed __________ for you." 

What holds us back?  In my case, I really believe it's a lack of margin.  I want to say something, but I want to say the right thing, so I wait and then I get busy and don't take the time to just sit and think through it. 

I've been  more inconsistent than ever with my blog.  Partly because I don't want to share everything that's going on in my head.  Partly because I think people don't read it based on the lack of comments I get and I don't want to clog up everyone's newsfeed.  Partly because of my insecurities of getting the pity comments because people feel bad nobody else has commented. 

Crazy, huh? 

Maybe it's the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart (I choose to think it is), but I have been hit with the urgency to slow down and take time to speak the words I'm thinking to people.  It's easy to do for a day, but my challenge is to continue to do it when I'm racing kids to activities or trying to finish emails after a long day of meetings. 

And here's the other part I know.  God prompts us constantly.  It's that voice that says, "Hmmm...that article he posted made me really think."  or "That was a great family conversation we had because of that comment she made."  Or even, "I haven't talked to __________ in a while, I wonder what she is up to?"

So, I am committing to stepping out to not just listen, but to follow through with action.  To write the note, make the call, send the message, leave the voicemail. 

Anyone else with me?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Nothing is Impossible...Right???

Many of us have watched “Facing the Giants.”  We know the tag line in the movie, “With God, nothing is impossible.”  We probably believe it to a certain level.

But then there are those times when we doubt.  When we aren’t sure God thinks it’s important. Or that He even notices us struggling in the valley, trying to get to the base of the mountain to climb it.  Or that we want our impossible thing for the “right” reason.

Every year, I have to evaluate my faith during our Christmas pack for Lovepacs.  It’s usually a few weeks out when I start to feel the panic taking over.  When I start to give in to those whispers that say, “Yes, I know He CAN, but WILL He provide?”  It comes after an “easy” season of Thanksgiving when the donations pour in. And after we step out in faith to commit to more schools.

I’m in that place right now.  That place where fear keeps me up at night, wakes me in the morning and invades my thoughts throughout the day.  Have you ever felt that feeling?  Yours is probably not about Lovepacs.  It may be about your kids or your marriage or your job. 

What I have found is that Satan loves fear.  He likes for us to live in it.  And he often throws it at us—just like he did Elijah—after a mountaintop experience.  And, even though I try to pray, these thoughts commandeer my prayers and I find myself more stressed afterward than before.  And I imagine him doing his stupid little happy dance.

So, for me, I am claiming Scripture today.  Over and over, I will repeat it in my head, out loud, as I’m driving, as I’m showering, as I’m typing. 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:19 NIV)

And as I pray it and say it, I am emphasizing the ALL.  And imagining my house to have 41 FULL boxes like in the picture above.  And me and God doing OUR happy dance.  Will you join me and do the same?


Monday, November 17, 2014

Clothe Yourself

By the title, you might think I'm gonna rant about the skimpiness of what people wear.  Nope. 

This morning, the verse in my Bible study was this:

"Therefore, as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with
compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness,
and patience."
Colossians 3:12

I've seen this verse many times, but the word picture stopped me in my tracks today. 

I envisioned a closet and all sorts of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts--and don't get me started on the amount of shoes and other accessories I envisioned...  All for me.  All chosen and waiting just for me--no sharing with my daughters allowed.

For those of you who are moms, do you remember when your child started wanting to choose her own clothes?  Do you remember telling her that you bought those  red-stripped leggings to go with a cute red top--not the hot pink one with stripes she thought she needed to wear that day?  Do you remember how you let her wear it anyway.  And then made sure your own clothes matched so people didn't think you were colorblind? 

I can just picture God furnishing our closet with all of these clothes: compassion, kindness, gentleness, humility, patience.  But, we like to shop for ourselves,  and sometimes anger, jealousy, bitterness, pride, unforgiveness and impatience make their way in amongst the others.

So we pull out mis-matched clothes and try to wear them.  But like a navy shoe with a pair of black pants, it just doesn't work.  They don't go together.  But, like us with our children, God doesn't force us to wear His stuff.  He puts them in there for us.  And makes sure they are clean  and ready to wear.  But we have to put them on.  He gives us that choice. 

This made me think twice about the way I got dressed this morning.  And because I am not just loved, but DEARLY  loved, I counted my blessings to have those items available for me to wear from such a compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient God.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dear Coach

We have been blessed to have some amazing coaches in our daughters' lives.  People that spoken into my girls in a way that I couldn’t.  I’ve also heard the horror stories of coaches who have damaged kids by their words and actions. Here’s what I want to say to coaches everywhere:
Dear Coach-
Thank you for the time you put into our daughter
…for believing in her and helping her to see what she is capable of
…for pushing her through her fear
…for your patience when she still doesn’t do the move you know she should do
…for building her up with your words
…for just plain smiling at and laughing with her 
Thank you for understanding that she’s just a kid
…and we need to work together to protect her body from injury
…and she’s gonna have days where she just doesn’t want to put forth the effort
…and that her needing down time doesn’t mean she doesn’t still love the sport
…and that by trying other sports, it may strengthen the love she has for the one you coach
…and making playing your sport fun—not just competitive
…and that the values you are instilling in her on the field will help her throughout the rest of her life
Thank you for putting up with us parents
…and know that while we act like we can coach better, we know we really can’t
…and know that we are committed—even during those times we have to choose family over sports
… and dealing with me yelling at her to “Take the shot” when you’ve coached her to play as a teammate and not a ball-hog
…and know we love that you are a “2nd voice” in our daughter’s life
…and know that we support you—even when our daughter is mad she didn’t get to play as much as she thought she should have

Parents of crazy hormone-imbalanced girls

Things that Bring me JOY

We are a month away from November when all the gratitude posts start and I have mixed emotions about them.  I love that we take the time to look for things to be grateful for—I mean, really—is it that hard to find 1 thing a day when we’ve been given so much?

It also makes me roll my eyes and makes me want to make a sarcastic list—kind of like this one: http://aroyaltradition.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-non-sappy-thanksgiving.html.  And I laugh at my cousin who posts that she’s thankful for vodka (after all—she does have 6 kids!).

BUT….I also have random thoughts on days about things I love that I should probably share.  Things that encourage me and may also encourage someone else.  You know—those things that make you smile or give you an extra skip in your step, or even bring on a few tears because of the depth of emotion they make you feel.

So, here’s my list…

·         Ellie Holcomb’s cd“As sure as the Sun.” I first heard “Broken Beautiful (#3) on the radio and wrote it off as one of those “too happy kind of songs.”  And then I listened to the words---------------and they reached me in a dark season.  As I’ve moved out of that season, I find that the words to all of the other songs on this cd, speak to me almost as deeply.  Maybe because they are all taken from Scripture and talk about the beautiful way God loves us and rescues us and just speak TRUTH.

·         My animals.  I know this borders on the “roll your eyes” line, but if you know me, you also know I’ve never really considered myself an animal lover.  But y’all, I find myself getting offended when people talk about how dirty chickens are.  They obviously don’t know mine!  And how do you not love 2 big yellow labs who always love any attention you give them? I feel a sense of peace when I’m sitting in the backyard , petting them (yes, chickens DO like to be petted) and my heart overflows with gratefulness.

·         Nights at home.  I’m a doer.  I like to stay busy and absolutely love getting involved in a new cause.  But, those nights when we can just eat dinner as a family and watch TV or sit by the fire pit in the backyard?  Those fill my soul in a deep way that I need, but don’t realize how desperate I was for them until I have them. 

·         Amazing women leaders.  God has used women in my life in a big way.  Which is kinda ironic considering the fact that I haven’t seen my mom since I was 14.  He has surrounded me with women who lead and LOVE in so many different ways—some out front, some alongside, and some from behind. Because of the internet, I’m even able to learn from those who live in California and Tennessee and Austin.  Women are amazing and watching them step out in faith and owning who they are in Christ makes me feel like I'm gonna burst!

·         Having my daughter’s friends over for dinner.  Yeah, yeah, yeah--I know I should put out an effort every night to cook a good meal for my family.  The reality is that if I do it 2-3 times a week, its success in my book (the other nights are why God gives us leftovers and sandwiches and frozen pizza).  On Wednesdays, one of Hope’s friends comes over after volleyball practice and I take them to church.  The dynamic of having someone else at our dinner table reminds me of the gift of hospitality God has put inside me.  This will sound goofy, but it makes me giddy to plan what we are having and to buy the lemonade she likes and acknowledge to her when she says you bought it for me, didn’t you (in an off-side joking manner) that YES!  I did buy it specifically for her.  The other element is that I get a front row seat to watching my daughters interact with their friends.  I just love it!

·         Fridays.  Yep.  I love Fridays.  I love the thought that I have time all alone.  I’ve always thought I’m an extrovert.  And part of me is—I get lots of energy from being around people.  But I also love that time when nobody else is in the house except me and Spot the turtle.  I can turn my music up full blast.  Or not at all.  I can read or clean or text or play cookie jam on my phone. I can write cheesy blog posts.  Or dream about what I would say if I were a fabulous blogger.

BY no means is this list exhaustive.  And you probably noticed I left out the obvious ones—Jesus, my family, the Bible.  Of course those things bring me joy more than anything I’ve listed above.  But they border on the sappy and I just can't do them justice in one little blog post.  They each deserve their own book.

What things bring you joy?  I want to hear about those weird things—not the obvious ones…

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lovepacs-Aubrey…Are you crazy???

Yep, that’s what I’ve been saying to myself the last few months.  And I thought I had talked myself out of jumping into anything new.  I have enough on my plate.  My daughters play too many sports right now.  My husband works too many hours.  My job is all over the place.  And I need time to play with chickens and collect their eggs…

But, when you have opportunities put smack-dab in front of your face, you have 3 choices:

·         Ignore them and always know you were disobedient to the Holy Spirit

·         Dip your toe in and do it halfway

·         Jump in with all that you have

My response the last year has been #2.  Kinda mention Lovepacs to people.  Talk about how great it would be to do it in Aubrey.  Plan to call our school counselor. 

But God is not always a God of logic.  He’s a God of faith. 

So I’ve moved from # 2 to #3 and I’m scared to death.

What if it totally flops?  What if nobody donates food?  What if I can’t find volunteers to help pack and deliver these?  What if the community doesn’t accept it because I’m still new here?

But, then, I step back and realize this is NOT ABOUT ME!!!  My job is to be obedient to what God is calling me to do and trust Him for the results.  Sound familiar?  I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before because I am constantly battling it!!!

Sooo, if you live in or around Aubrey and you want to help feed kids over long holiday breaks, I’d love to have you jump in with me and my family.  We have already talked to one school counselor and potentially have 30 kids who need food over Thanksgiving break.  I’m still scared to contact any other counselors yet—you can pray for courage for me.

For more information on what Lovepacs does, go to www.lovepacs.org.  It’s an amazing organization that started 4 years ago in a little community and has spread to feed thousands of kids.  To join in with Aubrey specifically, like the facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lovepacsaubrey/

Lovepacs exists to be an expression of God's love by engaging our communities to serve children in need. 

"At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality."        ---2 Corinthians 8:14

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chicken-Butt Eggs

We love our chickens.  I know this may sound crazy, but they have as much personality as our dogs.  And now, we are starting to reap the rewards of having them: EGGS!!! 

The other day, Caroline and I were playing with the chickens and collecting eggs.  As we were walking back into the house, I asked her if she wanted me to make her some scrambled eggs.  She had this very hesitant look on her face and asked if I was going to use the eggs we had just collected.  I told her, "Yes," and she made that face kids make when you try to make them eat broccoli.

Here's how the rest of the exchange went:
Me: "What's wrong? You realize these eggs are not fertilized so we are not eating baby chickens, right?"
Caroline: "Yes, but it's just weird to me to eat these.  They came from our chickens' butts!"
Me: "You realize ALL eggs come from chickens' butts, right?  Even the ones in the stores. 
Caroline: "Yeah, but we don't KNOW the other chickens."
Me: "Yes, but isn't it better that we know where ours come from and know how good our chickens are?"
Caroline: "Yes, but the ones in the store have all the extra added stuff in them."
Me: "And that is exactly why these taste so good and are better for us--they don't have all the extra preservatives and stuff in them and we know what our chickens have been eating."
Caroline: "Well, it's still just weird."
Me: "Maybe a little, but I'm hungry."

And the circle of life goes on and on...