Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Poop is the Word of the Year

Last night I told Brian that I wanted us to be intentional this year and come up with a "word of the year" over the next few weeks that we can use next year.  I braced myself for the "why?" and "That's strange--why just focus on 1 thing?" replies that I thought would come. 

Instead, he said, "Poop.  That's our word for the year.  It's something we're all good at." 

I guess he has a point...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Unexpected Friends in Unexpected Places

Do you ever think you'll find friends in places you don't and don't think you will find friends in places you do?  When we moved to Aubrey, I thought it would be easy to make friends.  I mean, I meet new people in my job every week.  I even ENJOY meeting new people.  Moving to a new city was going to be a I thought.
It wasn't that people were unfriendly.  They were just busy.  And already had friends.  And didn't realize they were leaving me out.  I'm sure I have done the same thing thousands of times.

One Sunday, I was working in Carrollton when I saw a student with an Aubrey shirt.  After pretty-much accosting him and peppering him with questions, ("Do you live in Aubrey?" "What grade are you in?"  "Do you know my daughter Hope?" "Do you always go to church here?"  Where in Aubrey do you live?") I met his mom.  And the craziest part of this?  They used to live in the same city I did and moved to Aubrey the same month I did.  And knew many of the same people I do.

So we became facebook friends--Bonnie--the mom, not the 6th grader.  And that was about it for a year. Until Lovepacs-Aubrey started.  And once again, I was reminded that when you serve alongside someone, you are setting yourself up to find a kindred spirit.  Someone whose heart bleeds for the same thing yours does.  Someone who sees that same heart in you and locks arms with you to tackle a task.  And if you're REALLY lucky, you might have kids the same age who become great friends and husbands who like each other. 

And the next thing you know, they are feeding you dinner and taking your kids home and saving you a seat at the football game.

Here's my point...I think most of us want more friends or want to go deeper with the friends we have.   The best way I know to do this is to pick a project to do together that serves others.  Something that gets you outside of yourself and what you think YOU need.  Something that reminds you the world is bigger than you.  Something that gives you a sense of accomplishment when it's done and gives you an opportunity to hug your friend close.

A Secret Women of all ages Share

I ran across this blog today: How to find a circle of mentors and started to just share it, but felt like I wanted to add something to it.  It has some great advice.  And sounds really simple.  But here's what I know...

We are insecure.  It feels weird asking someone to mentor you.  It feels even weirder to ask someone if YOU can mentor THEM.  I speak from personal experience.  I've asked people in the past to mentor me who have said both yes and no--and even worse, nothing at all.  Some have turned our really great and others have flopped.  It's made me extra-sensitive to ask again.  I mean, shouldn't all this just come naturally?  Shouldn't I just "click" with someone and the mentoring happens without me having to put myself out there to ask?

Sometimes it does. But not always... 

But here's what I also know: sometimes easy isn't best.  Sometimes you have to be willing to be vulnerable to set the stage for the relationship--to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone. 

And another thing:  I loved in this post where she talked about our expectations.  Many times we think we need the perfect mom to mentor us in our parenting, the top exec to mentor us in our work, the friend with the cleanest house to mentor us in how to get it all done each day.  And in holding on to those expectations, we miss the person in front of us who might be the best for us, but is far from perfect.

Are you stuck in that place of wanting to ask--either to be mentored or to mentor--and scared to move forward?  I'd love to hear why you think you haven't taken that step yet. 

Are you in a mentoring relationship right now?  What's the best and worst thing about it?  How did you find your mentor/mentee? 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Just Because I don't Say it doesn't mean it isn't True

My girls have gotten older.  This means they have friends on facebook.  And access to the world wide web.  And can see things I post.  I can't tell you how many times it took for them to get angry with me for posting "unapproved pics" before I finally wised up and stopped.

Parenting is hard.  Just because I don't post the hard stuff, doesn't mean things are a piece of cake.  Just the other morning, I found myself having an ugly cry about how I messed up and how clueless I was on what to do. 

I fail.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I yell.  I ignore.  I speak sarcastically...way more fluently than I should.  I don't always believe the best.  I push too hard.  I focus on what needs to be corrected instead of what's being done well.   And yes, I even roll my eyes...a lot (wish I could say my girls got that character trait from their dad).

I read a post a few years ago from a middle school mom that basically said the same thing, but much more eloquently.  If I could find it, I'd post it instead of mine.  But I can't, and I felt this urgency to post SOMETHING to let other mamas know they are not alone. 

I hear it whispered or talked about in a private place--while they furtively look over their shoulders to make sure others aren't listening.  They feel the same way I do.  Not wanting to give up, but not sure what steps to take.  Mamas who believe in Jesus and mamas who don't.  Mamas who search the Bible and Christian blog posts and mamas who look to the leading psychologists.  And mamas who do all of the above at different stages--grasping for an answer.

I wish I had one for them and for me.  I wish God would speak to me in very clear voice and tell me "Hey, before you say that thought in your head, here's what you need to know is going on in your daughter's head right now."  or "Ummm...Angel, patience comes from me and you haven't talked to me at all today.  How do you think you are going to cope with a moody tween without it?" or even better, "Angel, this is EXACTLY how you need to handle this"--down to the steps doled out to me in recipe form (Make sure your room temp is at 72.  Rub your daughter's back.  Try not to stir too quickly or she will become whipped instead of blended).

Alas, it doesn't really work that way.  (Ok--who still uses the word "Alas" when they talk?  I started to take it out, but it sounds right here and makes me sound like a deep thinking kind of blogger so it's staying in). 

Anywhoooo, for now, I will continue to be vague and not post the hard stuff that would embarrass my family.  I will keep posting the chicken blogs, the pics of the things my family does that I'm proud of, the goofy thoughts that come into my head that need to find an audience who will appreciate them more than hormonal teenagers, the #itsaroyallife hashtag.  Because those things are real, too.  As real as the hard times.  And sometimes, we just need to grasp onto and celebrate the times when things are going well because, there's enough other times to keep us down.

Writing Again

Do you ever have those days when you question your passions?  When you wonder if you are doing something just because you are good at it, or just because it's familiar--therefore, easy--for you?  If you really love it or just think you love it because you don't know what else to try? If that stirring inside you is just discontent or the spirit telling you to move?

Brian and I got into a discussion today when he asked me if I thought I would always be in kids ministry.  I never thought I would.  I always thought I would move into a more missional role.  Which is funny in it's own right, as kids ministry is the most missional of all!  And then Frisco opened and I thought I had found my spot that I would stay in for a while.  And I may.  It's not like I feel like I'm being called to something else at this point. 

But, in the midst of the conversation, he reminded me of how much I used to love to write.  Which, honestly, I had forgotten.  I'm not sure if that love is even there any more.  But it once was.  And it really did bring me joy.

So for the next few weeks, I'm going to try an experiment to write a little bit every day.  Some may turn into posts.  Others may just be portions of a post (I have 3 different drafts right now).  And others may end up in the delete file. 

I've done this before and have not been able to be consistent, so we will see if it works.  I already missed a day yesterday, but I'm trying to forget that and just move forward with what I have now. 

We'll see how it goes.  I'm praying that in the next few weeks I will figure out if I want to get more serious about my writing again or just continue to post one liners on facebook. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sad, but Glad...Reflections on Pal

There are just some people who are larger than life--no matter how humble they are.  They just can't help the fact that people look to them for advice, for wisdom, for direction, for encouragement.

Pal/Granddaddy/Dr. Wade was one of those people. Those of us still on earth are grieving the loss of him right now.  Some from a ministry standpoint--he was such a mighty influence in the missions world, others from a shepherd standpoint--he was their pastor for over 40 years, and others from a personal standpoint--they lost their dad/grandfather/friend.

It's a strange feeling to be so sad and yet so glad at the same time. 

As I think of the moment he passed, I have no doubt Grandmamma was giddy with joy at seeing him again and Uncle Bill was standing right behind her waiting for his turn to hug him tight.  I know there is no marriage in heaven, but I'm willing to bet Grandmamma has been guarding a plot right next to her mansion--holding it for him (she probably has a 2 liter bottle of diet coke ready, as well).  I can also imagine all his  friends lined up, waiting to greet him--even Lee Williams--who just got there himself.

As I think about Pal's legacy, I can't help but think that I am one of millions who was personally touched.  The love I have for missions and serving, was planted in me in a young age--as well as the love for the Church.  I remember how well he took care of our missionaries and that sticks with me now as I serve in my role at a church.  And his love for Truth has been firmly embedded in me--I know to turn to the Bible--to see what God says--when I have questions. 

Even those who didn't believe the same as him, couldn't help but respect his passion for reaching those who don't know Jesus.  He's one of those people that you kinda hope you are not in line after at the Bema Seat of Christ, because it means you will be waiting a loooonnnnng time for your turn.

So family and church, I am grieving alongside you right now, but I can't help but smile--even through the tears--as I KNOW he's home now.  I remember many sermons where he talked about his funeral and told us not to cry for him--he was confident he would be in heaven with Jesus and would be ready when God was.  This past year without Grandmamma has made him desire to be HOME even more deeply.

And, for those of you who will be at his funeral, just a word of caution--DO NOT say he looks natural. He has threatened many times to sit up and smack you on the head if you do that. HE IS NOT THERE!  That body is not natural.  He's in heaven, sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to Bill and Bill sing "A Robe and a Crown"--probably making Grandmamma do Karen's part.

"His master replied, "Well done, good and faithful servant...Come and share your master's happiness."  --Matthew 5:21

"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  --Jim Elliot

Monday, April 20, 2015

What I learned from Pulling Weeds

I am not a gardener.  As much as  I love fresh veggies and pretty flowers, I have the blackest thumb around.  Seriously, I've killed ivy and all the other non-killable plants.

Needless to say, I'm not usually allowed to plant anything.  Since I don't plant, I don't usually take care of the plants either.  I really think they smell me and die so I stay far away. 

But when you have a big backyard, even without a garden, you have weeds.  And the weeds we have growing by our septic sprinklers are bigger-than-Texas weeds.  We planted trees last year that are smaller than some of the weeds--I'm not even joking.

So, Friday night, Brian mentioned that the weeds need to be pulled so we can mow.  (Y'all, they are so big, the riding mower won't go over them!)   He showed me how to use the pick to dig them up so it didn't leave as big a hole as the shovel.  No worries--I can do this.

Saturday morning, I got out there and about killed myself.  There are 2 patches of them and I made it through the 1st (easier) patch.  I got about halfway through the other-which, let me just say, made me feel like I was in an episode of Swamp People it was so mushy!  Lots of ibuprofen and sore back and shoulders later, here is what I learned:

  • If you don't get the whole root, you will deal with the same weed again
  • It's easy to ignore the little weeds to attack the big ones, but they are just as dangerous
  • Some weeds take digging from all 4 sides before they come loose and then you still may need to tug to get them out
  • There is no way around tasting some dirt if you are truly committed
  • When you know you've missed the root, it's easier to pull your tool out and start over in the right spot rather than try to muscle through
  • It's gonna take more than a water hose to clean off all the dirt/mud
  • You've got to stop every once in a while and look up and get perspective; otherwise, it will feel like you are getting nothing accomplished
  •  The ground will probably not look pretty when you are done
  • When your daughter makes you pancakes (esp. after a hard parenting bout the night before), you need to stop and take a break
  • Hearing someone else cheer you on and tell you how good it is looking, will give you energy when you think you want to quit
  • If you wear athletic shorts, make sure they are long enough that you don't moon the passing cars when you lean over (cuz you will be leaning over a LOT)
Anything you would add to the list?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ice Days are Bittersweet

I cheered just as loudly as my girls when we got the word last night that school was cancelled today due to the ice.  I had been secretly hoping it would be when I went to the store earlier in the day and bought stuff for my daughters to bake--just in case.

But, as I woke this morning, I couldn't help but think of the 60 kids that Lovepacs helps to feed in Aubrey.  And I began to worry.  Their parents probably weren't able to go to the store and buy chocolate chips and butter.  They may not have extra food at home--just in case there's no school.  They were probably depending on school today so they could have breakfast and lunch.

I don't want to suck the joy out of an unexpected holiday, but my heart is heavy every time I think of them at home without enough food.  Would you join me in praying for them?  Since we don't know who they are, I just picture my daughters' faces as I pray.    I'm praying for full bellies and warm beds and most of all, for them to feel loved and known and not forgotten.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Unnoticed and Forgotten

Do you ever feel unnoticed?  Like what you do, doesn't matter.  That you are invisible unless someone (usually a child in your house) needs something right away?  I call it the George Bailey/Its a Wonderful Life syndrome and I find myself suffering from it more than I like to admit.

I'm gonna be really honest in this post--not that I'm not usually "real," but there are things I say in a joking manner that are truly things that I struggle with...things that hit me in my core.

I can tell you that if you struggle with this, then you haven't embraced your identity in Christ.  And I would be right, but for those of us who have head knowledge and not heart knowledge, this may just further frustrate you.  Why is it so hard to believe the TRUTH that God says about us?  My only answer is 1 Peter 5:8:  
Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. 

I know that sounds like a "church" answer, but friends, if Satan can get ahold of our minds and distort our perception of our identity, then he wins.  At least for now.  He is pacing back and forth, just waiting for an opening on which to pounce. 

I don't know what you are dealing with right now.  Maybe it's a husband who doesn't look at you any more.  Maybe its a child who never notices the small touches you put in her lunchbox each day.  Maybe it's a friend whom you love, but always have to be the one to call/email/text first.  A boss who doesn't realize all the time you spent on that project he just pushed aside.

Here's what I DO know--reading Scripture helps.  I don't memorize as well as I used to, but even just having a go-to list of verses when I'm feeling low, changes me.  It's not always immediate, but sometimes it takes TRUTH a while to sink in through the many layers of lies and defensiveness that have been built in us--many of which we've contributed to since we were young children.

Here are some of my go-to verses:

I am not forgotten:
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord,
who has compassion on you."
Isaiah 54:10

God wants me to cry to Him:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

God is on my side:
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

I am not alone:
"Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. 
If I say, 'surely darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will bot be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you."
Psalm 139:7-12

"The Lord replied, 'My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Exodus 33:14

I am seen:
"Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

He can turn my worry/anxiety into peace:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-8

When I feel unworthy:
"...being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might
so that you may have great endurance and patience,
and giving joyful thanks toe the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light."
Colossians 1:11-12

When I feel stuck in a rut:
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 
See, I am doing a new thing! 
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
Isaiah 43:18-19a

What verses speak to you when you are feeling small, unworthy, unlovable, or just forgotten?


How to spot a Seasoned Soccer Mom

  • You have granola bars, water bottles, Gatorade, and other assorted snacks in your car--not for your athlete, but for yourself...when you find yourself sitting in the car at soccer practice
  • You know where the closest restroom and parking lot is at every field you play on
  • You never leave home without a blanket, chair, jacket and extra water bottle
  • You've stopped "checking in" at the fields on Facebook bc it would blow up your friends' newsfeed by the number of times you are there
  • You always have a book with you but you seldom read it because you're too busy watching your athlete...or talking to other parents
  • You and your daughter have mastered the art of eating in the car
  • You know someone on almost every team you play and refer to other coaches in the same way you do your neighbors down the street
  • The "saved locations" part of your weather app is full of the cities in which your daughter plays soccer

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?