Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Sad. Burdened. Confusion. Love. Frustrated. Helplessness. Overwhelmed. Haunted.

These are all feelings I have had when I think of the poor. When I stop my “Woe is me” attitude and look around me to see those who are less fortunate, I find myself in a state of panic. The kind of panic that keeps your hands and feet from moving, but your brain is spinning.

I am one person. One person who is too busy. Too busy with my own family. Too busy with work. Too busy with my own interests. And to top it off, too busy taking care of stuff that really doesn’t need me to take care of it.

But, I’m reading a book. It’s called One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow by Scot McKnight. And, for the 1st time, I finally feel a focus. I’m not even halfway through and it’s taking me @ a week to read each chapter. Let me re-phrase. I read a chapter and then marinate on it for a week before I feel like I can take on more. It makes me think. It doesn’t let me just gloss over the words on the page and move on.

The premise is that we, as Christians, are doing lots of things, but not necessarily the things that Jesus came to do. I’ve read all of the Gospels. But I’m starting to read them again, with the thought in mind of “What did Jesus mean when He said, ‘Follow me?” I’m amazed. And I’m not sure why I am. I know He came to “seek and save the lost.” But in Luke 4:16-21, it clearly shows us there was more to it than just dying for our sins. As if that wasn’t enough.

I’ve always thought it was. I mean, just the fact that He gave up heaven to come and be abused by man so that I can be with Him for eternity is enough in my finite mind. But that wasn’t the only reason He came. I could go on and on here, but I’ll stop—Scot says it so much better in his book.

I’ve said it before, but it haunts me when I look at the kids at my daughters’ school. There are so many who are living at the poverty level. Truly poor. It’s hard. I try to keep busy when I enter the school so that it doesn’t assault me with the helplessness of “I’m one person—what can I do???” I’m not even a very nice person and many of those kiddos drive me crazy.

But these are who Jesus came to free. These are who Jesus came to proclaim good news to. If I’m to truly follow Him, what does that mean for me? Is he calling me to my neighborhood instead of the orphans in Rwanda? Or is He calling me to both?

I’m still not sure what this means. What I know is that He has put something inside of me that tries to get out every few years or so. Something that I ignore with the reality of my own circumstances. Something that moves me for a time, but eventually settles back down.

And I don’t want that to be the case anymore.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Royal Traditions

Every family has their traditions. I’ve said it before, but I L-O-V-E traditions. I’m a creature of habit and I have this picture perfect idea of my girls sitting with their own kiddos talking about what a great childhood they had and how their mom created such fun, intentional traditions for them.

Then I wake up from that dream and come back to the reality that is my life.

My girls are not as big on traditions as I am. While I think it’s cool to have pancakes every Saturday morning, they prefer to run out and get donuts every so often. While I want to have the “What was the best/worst part of your day?” discussion every night at dinner, they “just don’t feel like talking about it right now!”

We have had one tradition that has stuck with us. Most Sunday nights, we eat our dinner in front of the TV. and watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Often, we have to watch America’s Funniest Home Videos (which I really just plain despise) since it’s on right before.

The girls have always loved this. They will take showers early, help clean the kitchen, make us pause it so they can run to the bathroom, etc.—all so they can watch it.

Last week, I was dismayed when they had no desire to watch it. None. Zilcho. Nada. They preferred to jump on the trampoline and didn’t even ask to rewind it when they came inside.

So I struggled. Do I insist on them keeping a tradition that they don’t care about—all so I could feel good about giving them consistency? Do I pretend that we never had a Sunday night tradition and move on?

As I was struggling in my mind with this, a commercial came on, telling me that Extreme Home Makeover was moving to Friday nights. What??? I guess the decision was taken out of my hands.

I hope that I would have chosen to be with my girls rather than insist on a tradition they had grown out of, but I can’t say I would have. Part of the hardest part of parenting for me is staying relevant, but yet consistent. And not trying to do things the way I think they SHOULD be (I’m really good at putting everything in a box and tying it up neatly—until you see how much tape it took to get it to look that way—and you can’t unwrap it because there’s so much of that darn tape).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I've been feeling restless lately. I can't really pinpoint it to one thing, but as I was doing my narcissistic-self-analyzation last week, some things popped out at me.

#1—I always feel this way after a busy season. It’s the same story as Elijah and the prophets of Baal—he had done such a great thing with God’s power, but after it was over, he went and slept in a mountain for 40 days. Part of me wonders if he was depressed. I mean, I know about being tired, but to sleep for that long…I think he was experiencing that let-down after something big happens in ministry. That thing that is close to, if not completely—just plain ol’ depression.

#2—When I look at the reality of what needs to be maintained, I get this way. It’s one thing to start something, but it’s a whole ‘nother animal when you have to carry it out. It’s that consistency thing that always gets to me. I read a quote last week that I loved from Andy Stanley that went something like this: “Vision will make your capacity seem small. That’s when God can go to work on you.” I don’t know about you, but somedays, just the thought of all the stuff that God needs to “do a work on” in me makes me exhausted, which leads to restlessness as I try to figure out another plan.

#3—No matter how often I experience it, it’s always hard for me to distinguish between holy discontent and just plain discontent. Am I restless because God is calling me to something else, or am I restless because I don’t want to allow Him to do the work in me He needs to do? Is He calling me to rest in Him during this time and I’m struggling against it because I’m a creature of this society who hates being still? Or does He want me to give this away and open my eyes to other things around me?

No great words of wisdom—I’ll just keep yielding my thoughts and actions to the Spirit as He makes them known to me. But one day, I hope that God allows me to look back on this time and see it in the bigger scheme of things—from His point of view.

Until then, I remain obedient.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rainy Days are meant for…

...Snuggling up in bed with a good book
...Moving really slowly
...Taking a break from the ordinary
...Curling up in a big comfy chair watching tv
...Snuggies (although I don’t know this from personal experience—YET)
...James Taylor, Aliison Krauss and Norah Jones
...Open windows
...Being lazy
...Soft voices
...Sweats and sweatshirts
...Soup and grilled cheese

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's a Balancing Act

I believe in efficiency. When I come home from the grocery store, I load up as many bags as possible in my hands so that I have to make fewer trips. So many that I usually have to go sideways through the door and tilt just right to make sure none of them snag and break open.

It started out as a challenge to myself—how many things could I hold without dropping them? Then, it just became a way of life—especially when I lived in an apartment that had a flight of steps to get to the kitchen. I’ve learned how to protect the bag with the eggs in it when it’s surrounded by 4 others and how to keep the bread from getting smooshed in the midst of the big pile of bags that gets dropped as soon as I get inside the door.

I don’t just do it with groceries. I tend to take a lot of “stuff” with me wherever I go and am usually loaded down when I arrive anywhere. People see me coming and wonder where my shopping cart is—it’s pretty bad.

And many times, I drop something. Usually, it’s my favorite cup-with-a-straw-that-doesn’t-sweat or some other item that I love and am too cheap to replace when the lid gets chipped from one of its many crashes to the concrete. As I’m balancing, I know in my head that I’m dangerously close to tipping, but the need to try to get it all done in one fatal swoop overpowers the common sense part of my brain.

I do this same thing with intangible things, too. I keep loading up things because I can. Quantity not quality, becomes my motto.

As I look at Jesus’ life, I wonder how much He juggled? There were times He spoke to thousands. There were other times when He just had the 12 around him—or even just 3. Somehow, everything in my being screams out that Jesus didn’t lump everything together—just to get it done. He treated each person as an individual, each task as the only one for that moment (imagine the craziness that surrounded the water to wine incident—can’t you just imagine Him calmly telling them what to do?).

I don’t wear a WWJD bracelet or anything, but some days I wonder how Jesus would carry His groceries in from the car if He lived today?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Beiber Village

I finally watched “Never Say Never” tonight. The girls weren’t really into him when the movie came out, so we didn’t ever go to the theatre (unlike my 13 year old niece who saw it several times there). I’ve tried to rent it a few times for family movie night and Brian has adamantly refused. Him being gone tonight gave us the perfect opportunity to have a girl’s movie night.

I don’t know a lot about Justin or his family. In fact, my knowledge is pretty limited to the few times I’ve heard him interviewed on the radio and watching his movie. I’ve heard he is a Christian. I knew he started singing in church. I saw him pray with his team before he went on-stage. My instinct says he’s a good kid and the kind of guy I would love to have serve as a volunteer alongside me.

Watching the movie, the thing that stood out the most to me was the incredible team he has around him who are all looking out for him. His family isn’t the picture perfect one, but there is no doubt that he is well loved. His managers, voice coach, even bodyguard all seem to not only want him to succeed, but want to protect him as well.

As a mom, I realize that it’s not always easy to surround your children with people who want the best for them. I can only imagine that is so much harder as the mom of a superstar and I have a huge amount of respect for Justin’s mom. I have trouble trying to decide whether to talk to my girls’ teachers and principal.

I don’t know that my girls will ever be superstars. Some days, I just hope they don’t grow up to be criminals (okay—I’m kidding…kinda). But I do know that I want them surrounded by people who believe in them, love them and want the best for them. I want people who keep them grounded (like his grandma who made him clean his room) and make them look good (like the managers who hand out tickets to unsuspecting girls). I want a Beiber village surrounding them.

Lord, make my home a greenhouse. One in which my girls grow and flourish, but not so protected that they wilt when they get outside it. Surround them with people who will stand for truth and not allow them to take shortcuts. Give them open hearts to listen to good advice and discernment to know when to ignore the bad advice. Make them leaders worth following and keep them ethically and morally pure.

And, ditto on the above prayer for Justin.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What’s Wrong with Being Bossy?

I saw a quote the other day that has become my favorite:

“If you’d just do what I tell you, I wouldn’t have to be so bossy!”

Of course, it was written by a 4 year old, but I still love it. Maybe that’s because I’m bossy. I always have been. I can blame it on being the oldest and having leadership tendencies, but the truth is, even without those things, I would probably still think I needed to tell everyone what to do.

So, I know all the downsides to being bossy. I’ve had some hard lessons to learn. And—just in case I didn’t learn them myself—I am now re-learning them with my girls. We are all pretty bossy. And I know it’s not a trait that is celebrated, but I was once told a weakness was just a mis-used strength.

I think that’s the case with bossiness.

The world is full of people willing to follow. People who don’t want to take responsibility for their actions and want someone else to make decisions for them. Some of them are even bossy people—as I’ve found out with my own kiddos. But, I would rather they were occasionally bossy rather than always look to others to boss them.

While I don’t necessarily pray that my girls will be bossy, I do pray that they will be leaders. And I hope that I step into leadership when it’s required. While leadership is not synonymous with bossiness, a bossy person can be a great leader—if someone is willing to help re-direct them and to model for them how to get people to do things without feeling like you are bossing them.

In the Royal house, none of us girls has quite figured out that balance between the two yet. But we’re trying. And we are not giving up. And I pray every day that I raise up leaders who lead well—in their o-so-different ways.

And I pray that for myself, too. I just need more people to pray it so that it sticks for me. :)