Thursday, November 17, 2011

There has to be More

Somewhere above California, I'm contemplative. There has to be more. I'm 15 pages from the end of Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts and 100 pages into Craig Groeschel's Wierd, and I know there's more. More to giving. More to enjoying. More to changing...impacting...really making a difference. There's more than what I'm doing now...more than what we're doing now. I have to come grow up. God's calling, "Higher, higher...come up higher." But sometimes to do that, we have to go lower. We have to go back to where we detoured in the first place. To move forward, sometimes we have to go back...get perspective. Back to the roots. Back to what you knew back when. Back to what was working; where'd we go wrong? Back to simple....simple. Back to quiet.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just a List

I have nothing to offer today except a list...a simple list of thanksgiving...and a prayer that it's enough.

121. Boys' laughter in nighttime baths
122. Time away...almost too much
123. A girls' shopping's fun to just be a girl again
124. His quiet guidance
125. Smiles on faces I haven't seen in awhile
126. He's saying Momma...and I think he knows that's me!
127. Giggles on playgrounds
128. Childhood memories
129. Funny pictures from shower-curtained bathroom stalls
130. New adventures

Monday, October 31, 2011


A friend shared with me her struggle to overcome emotional eating. “And so... it’s a continuum that goes from an unconscious negative to a conscious negative to a conscious positive to an unconscious positive.” But God showed me that this continuum didn't only apply to unhealthy eating habits.

Unconscious negative
Conscious negative
Conscious positive
Unconscious positive

Tonight, I went to Wal-Mart, and I was in a hurry...a lethal combination. It was after 6—past time for the boys’ dinner—but we were having stew, and we were out of saltines. And so I wouldn’t have to face Wal-Mart with two 17-month-olds in tow, I decided to grab a couple finishing touches to their Halloween costumes, too…but I only had 15 minutes to race the massive circuit and make it back home.

Needless-to-say, I was there for all of 5 minutes before my annoyance level reached maximum. There were people…with tons of kids...EVERYWHERE!! I dodged toddlers, mentally screamed advice as I raced by frazzled parents, and squeaked shoes…barely missing the failing-to-yield basket racing from the frozen vegetable aisle. “I have the right of way,” I grumbled under my breath, giving the driver my best Paddington Bear stare.

And then…there she was. An elderly woman…a very elderly woman…conferring with her middle-aged daughter…in the middle of my way. I stopped…patiently waiting, telling myself to calm down. Her daughter was turning down the next aisle; mom was sure to follow, I reasoned. But no. She stayed…stopped…in the middle of my aisle.

I suddenly became aware of my horrible attitude. My unconscious negative was shoved to the forefront of my attention and forcefully became a conscious negative. So…I changed it to a conscious positive…took a deep breath…forced a smile…and (thankfully) by the time that sweet little lady turned to see me…I was the epitome of patience.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I’m old and slow. Just pretty tired these days.” I responded with nothing but grace, assured her that she was just fine and thanked her for letting me pass. I may have even bid her good evening as I rushed by…on my way to find my saltines.

30 minutes later I finally escaped the eve-of-Halloween frenzy and drove home wondering how I was going to explain my delay to my husband and hoping he’d started feeding the boys without me. As I turned the final corner to my street, I saw again that little old lady and her daughter. I saw them confer. I saw the daughter disappear around the corner. And I saw me stopped behind her. And I was ashamed.

In my head, I asked for a do-over. In my head, as she turned to apologize for holding me up, I smiled sincerely…not forcefully. I was genuine when I said, “You are perfectly fine. Take your time. Is that your daughter with you?” I asked. “You know, I have great memories of going to the store with my mom and her mom, my granny, when I was little. I no longer have my mom,” I explained. I stopped, reflectively. “I so hope your daughter understands what a gift this is…to have you to shop along side, to confer with, to wait for her while she grabs something down that aisle. I hope she cherishes you, and I hope she knows how blessed she is.” I even gave that sweet little stranger a hug, as I drove by, calmly strolling to the cracker aisle.

In my do-over, my conscious positive was an unconscious positive. I was a person I was proud of. I cherished time, and I made someone feel cherished. In my do-over, I grew closer to God rather than take a few steps back. And as I pulled into my drive, I prayed.

Father, I know I have no do-overs here. Help me to be genuine…to be sincere…everywhere I go. Help me to continually look for opportunities to help others see You. Help me to be others-focused…always. And in all ways, show me how You would have me change the world. Show me how to bring Heaven down to earth…to be Your light in the dark. And Father, help my conscious positives to become unconscious. Guide me so that my choices bring me and those around me closer to you.   

Friends, as we travel together along the continuum, may our unconscious and conscious negatives transform to positives. May our positives become so much a force of habit that before we know it, we’re all treating others with unconscious positives, and may we never desire the need for do-overs. 

101. Friends who love my boys
102. Friends who love me
103. Friends who make the effort to visit
104. They slept until 9?!?
105. Family who sews
106. Homemade Halloween costumes
107. Family whose company I cherish
108. Prospective business endeavors
109. Upcoming vacations
110. If God be for me…
111. Some days remind me that fall should be here soon.
112. The end of another marching band season
113. Seeing my children through the eyes of someone else
114. Salem signed “please” for the first time!!!
115. Elijah singed “milk, please” for the first time!!!
116. New teaching
117. Reminders of old teachings
118. Growth, growth, growth
119. I was invited…
120. Friends’ enthusiasm

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What Comes First

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him,
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:31-32

Abide in His word.


And you shall know the truth.


Action precedes belief.

First we do, then we understand.

In Exodus (19 and 24), when Moses presents the Torah…God’s holy word…His mandates (as well as His blessings)…to the Israelites, their immediate response…over and over again… “We will do everything the Lord has said.”

They didn’t ask “Why?”

They didn’t ask, “What’s in it for us?”

They didn’t set around discussing it or take a vote.

They accepted and obeyed. Why? Because they understood the principle…the very principle Jesus taught the Jews thousands of years later. It’s only through our actions that we gain knowledge and understanding.We will never understand he motive behind God's instruction until we begin to walk it out.

We know, however, that He is a good God and that everything He asks of us is for our benefit. It's not our job to question; it's our responsibility to act.

First we do what He tells us to do. Then we understand why.

First we do; then we understand.

Action always precedes belief.