Monday, November 16, 2015

Pinky Toe

I had a hard time sleeping the other night. Wasn't worried about a child, a bill, or a boyfriend. Instead, I had the smallest blister on the outside of that poor, neglected pinky toe. 

This tiny, seemingly insignificant thing throbbed like a three year old crying two aisles over in Walmart --so annoying. I could have gotten up for a bandaid or some Tylenol, but that would have required getting out of my very comfy bed.

The next morning it was fine, but I was like, DANG. One little thing threw me off almost all night.

You may be wondering about now why you should care.
Here's the point: the body of Christ has many parts, and when one of those parts is down, the rest of the body needs to get its butt out of bed and go get some spiritual Tylenol. 

That would have been an easy fix for me the other night, but I was too comfortable and didn't care enough to get up and help this poor little toe feel better.

How am I using my time, talents, and treasure to be spiritual Tylenol? How am I helping a friend that desperately needs encouragement? How am I helping someone truly in need? And just like my arm could not get up by itself to get some Tylenol, the whole body of Christ has got to work together to help that pinky toe out!
1 Corinthians 12:26-27 says this:  If one part (of the body) suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 
Do you know of a situation today that needs some spiritual Tylenol?  Use what God gave you to be a help.  Look for ways to encourage other people in their walk with Christ.  Or just their walk in life.  Do something hard today that is out of your comfort zone.
Does your toe hurt? If it does, or next time it does, let that be a reminder to be some spiritual Tylenol to someone who needs just one person to be a help.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Absolute Last Thing Anyone Wants To Do

On the list of things I like to do:   (In no particular order) Eat pizza.  Take beach vacations. Spend time with all of my children.

On the "Not So Much" list:  Discuss my emotions, which leads me to today's blog post.

In conversation with the BFWKYBWYNI (Best Friend Who Kicks Your Butt When You Need It), I realized that these down and out emotions I have been having recently are pretty much legit. In the last year:
my dad died,
my youngest moved to her dad's,
my work underwent a major restructuring and reduction in force (and since I shuffle the papers in HR, dealt somehow with each one),
my relationship with an amazing man ended in a very non-fairytale way, and
my parents' home of thirty-eight years is on the market. 

So my BFWK....(you know)  said a normal person would be having a difficult time with all these changes.

So rather than taking out my emotions on a half-gallon of organic mint chip ice cream I know happens to currently live in my freezer, here's what I'm going to do:  Show some love.

I'm going to write some personal notes to people that I love and adore to express my thankfulness for what they do for me.
I'm going to take someone to lunch this week as a total surprise for him (or her).
I'm going to pray more extensively for my kids this week in the ways I already know about and ask them how I can specifically pray for them as we move forward.
I'm going to put a birthday hat on my dad's urn and celebrate his day by doing the things he would have liked, probably by grilling out a big steak and watching this obscure movie called Remo Williams. 

The list will likely grow this week, but basically I want to celebrate all the amazing ways God has blessed my life.  I'm so fortunate and I never want to forget that, despite the things that don't go the way I want them to.  PLUS, "all the feels" seem to circle back around to me, and I feel better and happier.

So I say all this as a preamble to an action step for you:  How can you step out of the things that are not going your way and celebrate the ways you are so blessed?  Take the time today to show some love to someone that could use a dose.  I think you'll see how it comes back to you, usually doubled.

And you just may find that this is the first thing you want to do. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Four Places You Will Not Find Fat People

Supersize Me.  Fast Food Nation.

Alternately, the Whole 30.  Paleo.  Atkins.  Weight Watchers.  Trim Healthy Mama (THM).  Advocare. Mayo Clinic Diet.  Marie Osmond and NutriSystem.  Over one million results from a Google search of juicing.

All these address people who, by all means and measures, are probably clinically obese.  As a person who has heart disease on both sides of my family tree, I am concerned with how I eat and getting exercise. 

But without resorting to easy, popular topics like body shaming, the Kardashians, or celebrity cellulite, can we talk, people?  I ran across this on facebook and I literally laughed out loud. 

So with respect for skinny and fat people alike, I humbly submit my list of place you will NOT find fat people.  Besides places that are cold and you need body fat to survive.  (Just sayin'.)
1.Abercrombie and Fitch
Just don't even start me.  Stores that openly discourage non-size 2-8 from shopping in their stores have some serious, elitist insecurity issues.
2. Pinterest clothing pins
I am shocked and amazed at the lack of even normal weight people on Pinterest. And thigh gap?  Make it more like thigh great divide.  The word you're looking for?  Unnatural.  I like normal people and skinny people, but let's put more women in social media that don't look like they've starved themselves for the last two years.  Or better yet, let's just stop airbrushing ourselves into perfection and accept that people are flawed.  #crazytalk
3. Ads for products of a personal nature.
Where are the girls eating whole bags of chips during their PMS? I know you girls are out there.  And the commercials with girls in white bathing suits?  Talk about unreasonable expectations.  It even makes me chuckle a little. Bahahahaha.
4. Catalogs/sale flyers for clothing stores. 
Sure, clothes generally look great on stick figures. And you will occasionally see a size 14 "plus size model" in a flyer. A size 14 is closer to average, but where is the true representation of the 100 million women who wear size 14 or greater?

Here's my take on it all:  Be healthy.  Eat healthy food.  Move (more than off the couch to get food).  Love yourself for who you are, not what you look like.  Find your identity in Jesus Christ, who, by the way, says you are beautifully and wonderfully made. 

You're welcome.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Three Reasons to Celebrate My Birthday


That's how I'm responding to birthday wishes this year.  Hashtags get some attention, and it's a fun way to say a lot in a few characters.  But there's an agenda behind it.

This year ends with me gaining some wisdom and a few battle scars that make my heart remember where I've been.  But another year begins, and I am more excited about this next year than I ever have been before.  Thus, three reasons why I'm uber excited about this next year (besides getting birthday cake).

1.  I'm becoming aware of my need:
Just like how I can hear my children call my name in a busy store, I realize my need to discern God's voice  and follow in obedience. I can hear a bunch of different kids say Mom, but I know when it's my child saying it. Likewise, I want to know what God says in His word to us, the Bible, so that I recognize the stirring of my heart when God moves in that still, small way.

2. I'm (trying) to move when God says move: 
God has given me big dreams, including one so big it can only be done by God intervening in space, time, and motion. 

But I have become convicted to do what God says do. I know my talents and how they can be used and I can dream big! I'm using Proverbs 16:3 as my verse with this: Commit your work to the Lord,and your plans will be established. 
Plus, who says that doing this giant thing is not the very reason God created me the way he did? 

3. I'm not alone:
One of my biggest fears as a single mom is being alone. Not like, ooh, scared of the dark alone, but having to do life by myself. 
And add to it I am super extroverted and need to be around people for energy. 
But God showed me through a very near brush with what would have been a terrible car accident that I am never alone and He is always with me. Making that leap to trusting God to be with me has been huge, and I have to work on it everyday. 

But these are my reasons to be SUPER EXCITED this next year. What lessons are you taking with you into your next trip around the sun?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guest Blogger Haley Hancock

I am blessed to have amazing young adult children and their friends are equally amazing.  I invited our friend Haley to share her latest blog post because I just love it.  So please welcome..... Haley Hancock!  
There are so many things in life that can cause you to become blind to the faithfulness of Christ in your every day life. A common one for a lot of children and families is divorce. I recently experienced this in my own life and honestly there where times when I wondered if it would ever end. There were many nights spent in prayer that God would somehow save my family. All I wanted was for my family to go back to the way it had been. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? 
A lot of times we get so caught up in our own wants and what we think we need that we decide they’re better than whatever God wants for us. We turn our prayers into Christmas lists instead of asking for God’s will to be done in our circumstances. I had a friend tell me about how she had begun prayer journaling, and in the midst of the separation of my family I decided to start a prayer journal of my own. One of the first lines of my prayer was, “why has my life turned out like this?” Reading back on that over a month later, I can clearly see just how focused I was on myself. 
During the hard times, and even normal times, it’s easy to pray for God to make our wants His wants, when His own word says that once we dwell on Him, just the opposite happens. We then begin to want His wants for us instead of our own. 
As the prayer went on, I watched my spirit change before my own eyes. My heart of brokenness quickly changed into a heart of thanksgiving. When I sat down to write that day I never would’ve guessed I’d be writing for 3 solid hours. God quickly grabbed hold of my heart and revealed to me just how faithful He’d been and just how jaded I had become. I was focusing on how much the situation hurt me, rather than how much God was restoring me. My prayer is 4 pages long, and halfway through page one it turned into a giant thank-you note that lists each and every person who God put in my life to walk with me. 
I’m not writing this because I think I have it all together, because I’m nowhere near having anything together. I don’t even know where half my socks are. I just want to encourage you to look for God’s faithfulness in whatever you may be going through. I can promise you won’t be looking long at all before things start popping up. When you see them, write them down. Then read back on them when it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Even when it feels like your world is falling apart, God’s got little, old you in the palm of His giant, loving hand. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Footsteps, revised

You've probably heard of the poem, Footprints, where a person recounts his walk with Christ as footprints in the sand. He learns that when he thought he was alone, it's then that Christ carried him, leaving just one set of footprints. 

Great poem, but it leaves my ADD mind wondering how big God's feet are!.

I am spending a few glorious days with all of my children at Daytona Beach, which is an annual family trip. As they have gotten older, our activities and schedules have changed, leaving me now with a wonderful opportunity to take an early morning walk on the beach, while my college age children sleep in. 

Yesterday I llaced up my shoes and took off, ready for a walk with a beautiful view. I walked a mile one way and turned around to come back.

What I didn't expect to see was today's life lesson painted on a broad canvas   in front of me. 

I could see where my shoes had left their footprints on my trip out, but had inadvertently crossed over another random set of footprints, meeting at just one place before swerving off to a parallel yet far away path. 

I thought about how my life is like that. I have this great close moment with God and then kind of take off, still doing what God leads me to do but with a safe distance from being really and truly close to Him. 

What do I fear? That being really and truly close to God will put me somewhere uncomfortable and hard. Which actually, now that I think about it, is exactly where I want to be -- in God's plan for me. But I get all clenchy and bunched up worrying that I won't like it. 

But God has not given us a sense of fear-- but rather, power, love, and a sound mind. 

This morning, I went on another walk. This time, Instead of my lone footprints I saw a bunch of footprints, all going the same way. So maybe there's someone like me, on my same path -- learning and growing in Jesus. We all share a lot of the same fears and the same issues. By joining together as the body of Christ, we can encourage and walk with each other along the way. want to go for a walk?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Two Reasons Why I Don't Blog More and Two Reasons Why You Don't Get More Done

I pretty much love my blog.  I love to write and I have a million ideas.  So why aren't there more?  Here's why:
1)  I am too hard on my ideas.
Have  you ever had an original thought and said to yourself, "Eh, that's not such a great idea," and then forgot about it?  I am the worst about writing stuff down, so if I have an idea that I think will be the next Nobel prize winner for greatest blog post, I am soooo writing it down.  But that same idea has to go through a whole bunch of negative thoughts before it makes it to the Nobel prize list.

2)  I'm basically kind of lazy.  
And I may be talking about some other people out there, but especially ME.  If I get on the computer, I have to check my facebook and wow, look at this sweet video about a paralyzed puppy or people sitting in a ball pit having meaningful conversation, which by the way is time well spent.
So it's easy to get distracted and not be focused.

3)I want to tell God what He will and will not use to reach people. 
God has given me blogs that I got in front of and in all my mortal wisdom told God with my actions (I.e., not publishing ) that he couldn't possibly use a word He gave me to reach anyone. Stupid. I am learning to get out of the way already.

4. The Tyranny of the Urgent
This might be you! One thing that time-management people will tell you is to make a list and work through it, not letting minor incidents take priority over your whole day.  

Well, anyone that has had three children under 5 at one time will tell you, as I will, that sometimes things come up and they just have to be taken care of immediately, usually dealing with poop.

But now those three are now three children under 22, but I still take care of the urgent and the immediate first, which doesn't leave a lot of time for blogging, unless I have an amazing idea. (None of which involve poop.)

So today, you get a blog post.  I just got an idea for next week's, so next week you get a post too.  

Hey, by the way, thanks for reading.  I really appreciate all you readers.  Would you leave a comment with the name of your city?  I see that I have readership in India, China, Russia, Germany, and of course the US.  Leave me a funny comment and my next blog may be about you!

Friday, May 1, 2015

How to Turn a Chicken into a Chicken Quesadilla Without Even Trying - A Successfully Single blog post

Okay.  First things first, I'm a realist.  

There is a slim to none chance I am cooking every night, especially when my friends down at Publix are cooking rotisserie chickens ANYWAY.  I will go hunt and gather one for myself.  

But most fortunately, this post is not about my cooking.

This post is about a statement that makes me internally roll my eyes, or feel like I need to.  I smile/cringe when I hear a very well-meaning person say to a single person, "If you just stop looking, the right person will come along."  

Mike drop. And exit stage left.

If I walked into Publix and gazed lovingly at the rotisserie chickens just cookin ' away and said to the deli guy, "you know, if those chickens wait long enough, they will turn into chicken quesadillas all by themselves," he would probably shuffle off pretty quickly and wonder if I need medication. 

So why do people assume that if I, or any single person, wait long enough, I will magically meet the right person to marry?

I get that these people know of someone that AT THE VERY MOMENT SHE STOPPED LOOKING, she met Mr. I'm Right Some of the Time. And now they are married and currently looking for a house with a white picket fence. 

But you know what actually happens? When a single person decides to stop putting her life on hold and move on to maybe a ministry or some kind of school or even piano lessons, she becomes more of herself (or he, himself). Then she meets people with similar interests and she may become that person with that INSTANT (not) change in marital status. But she may not. 

But here's the thing-- she becomes one of those content people. She's happy with her life and wouldn't mind meeting Mr. I'm Actually A Pretty Great Guy but Take Vacation Time for the Draft, but it's no longer her primary focus.  Her focus shifts to things greater than herself and how she can be part of those things. 

Maybe some weekends are not soooo noble, but the weekends spent Netflixing with half a gallon of ice cream become fewer and fewer.  She's got too much to do...

... Which is really why rotisserie chickens exist. Who has time to cook every night when you can make your own chicken quesadilla?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Waffle Fries Bring Clarity


If you have ever emoted those words within a short period of time, then you can relate to how I felt the other day.  I had a morning where I was a failure as a mom, forgot to do something fairly low on the importance scale at work, and then had a friend do something that left me a little disgusted and disappointed.

It was a Wednesday, and in my small world Wednesday is the day to eat lunch at Chick-fil-a.  So Amazing Friend and I did like we normally did, and as I sat down with my #1 meal, I felt some emotional stability ebbing from my paper carton of waffle fries.

Waffle fries are there for you.  They are always waffle-y, warm, and dipped in Chick-fil-a sauce, are a little bit of heaven.  But today, there was more.

I realized that some things are always the same, like waffle fries. But some things are always in flux, on the move, and susceptible to change.  Am I really the worst mother ever?  No.  Did my job depend on this small forgottance?  (an event where you forget something...use it, see if it sticks...) No.  Are people just people-y, not perfect, and subject to mistakes?  Yes.

So in that moment, I had clarity in life and it was all over some waffle fries.

I highly recommend the next time you are questioning life, keep in mind that what is today is not what will always be.  Mothers of small children, they WILL grow up.  Mothers of teens, they WILL grow up.  Work projects will come and go.  The seasons of life are not forever.

So enjoy.  Enjoy your children, your work (whatever it may be, and whether it's in an office or a home), and enjoy your friends, because we're all imperfect and one day that friend may not be in your life or just not as in the forefront of your life as you would like.

And  while you're at it,.eat some waffle fries.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Ever felt frustrated by the perfect lives people live on Facebook?

Ever left Facebook because people are so fake?

Ever taken the same picture 24 times to get it just perfect?

Then you, my friend, need a big dose of #ForRealFriday.

I have a group of dear, sweet, very close friends and we share the gritty details of our lives in a secret group on Facebook.  Not to be exclusive, but TRUST ME, not everyone will want to know the gory, tear-stained, raw details of our ordinary, overwhelming lives.  But one friend started the idea of #ForRealFriday after reading an article about the same thing.

So here's the deal:  Take a picture that's not staged, filtered, edited, or re-taken 24 times to get it just right.  Maybe it's your kid having a meltdown.  Or you without makeup (I know, uncomfortable.)  Or what your house looks like when you're not expecting company.

The temptation is this:  be perfect.  be cute.  be monogrammed.  be pretty.  be caffeinated.

The reality is this:  comparison kills.  comparison frustrates.  comparison robs contentment of joy.

So do this: Be Real.

Whether it's an Insta, or a tweet, or a status that shows what you really deal with, someone out there will appreciate knowing that she (or he) is not the only one.

So get out there.  And be real.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

No Charger Needed

Sometimes I charge my phone by hooking it up to my computer.

Whenever I do, I get this message on my phone:
And of course, I always touch TRUST because this is the computer I use everyday at work and there are a gazillion security things that keep it "clean."

What if people we met came with the same kind of banner?  Maybe with a notification that read something like, "This is a person you can trust," or "You need to walk away NOW because you cannot trust this person."

Trusting people is easy for some, not so much for others.  I think it depends on how your life has gone up until this point.  If you're fortunate, you have been surrounded by a healthy family unit and reliable friends.  But I don't know of anyone who has not put his trust in a person and been horribly let down at least once.   It's just a casualty of life.

So how do you know who you can trust?  Which people do you put your faith in and count on?  The answer is kind of a non-answer:  TIME.  It takes time to know who you can and can't trust, and unfortunately, even then you might get let down.

But here's the good thing:  Time is the answer to a lot of other trust issues.  Spending time with someone shows off his or her good points, but also shines a light into the dark corners so that the not-so-pretty can be exposed.  Once exposed, you can decide if the not-so-pretty is a thing to work through or if it is something from which you are protecting yourself by way of healthy boundaries.

Psalm 18:28 says, "For it is you (God) who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness."  God will reveal to you the wisdom you need in every situation.  He tells us that we can ask for wisdom and get it -- Proverbs 2:6 promises "For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding," and of course James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him."

Trust. Time, Wisdom.  Can't use a lightning cord or a mini-USB to get these, but the charge lasts forever.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Learned 2 Things at Chipotle Tonight

"Keep your body parts on that side of the glass." 

That sign at Chipotle always makes me laugh a little. I always think about a kidney or a lung trying to migrate across the almighty glass. 

But beyond keeping my body on the right side of the glass, I learned two things tonight. Yes, Chipotle is good for a life lesson, or two, in this case.

I waited in line and when it was my turn, I said the first two most appropriate things, which was "steak bowl." The Chipotle girl very politely said, "it's going to be a few minutes for steak." And it was actually just a few minutes. 

So Lesson 1: tell the truth and be accurate. Whether it's a steak bowl or why you're going to be late, be truthful and be accurate. If you are 5 minutes away, say "Im 5 minutes away." If you're 30 minutes away, don't say "I'm almost there." 

Even for someone like me, who is a terrible liar, I can say, "I'm almost there." Because it's a little true. Compared to being in Minnesota, I am relatively almost there. But put me on the other end of "I'm almost there" and I get all self-righteous about the wrongness of relative truth. 

Lesson #2: take time to slow down and listen. 

Yes, Mr. Chipotle, there is a difference between "sour cream" and "sour cream and guac on the side," But when you are on the food side of the glass, not only is there a break in the space/time continuum, but it's The Fast and The Furious meets Food Service. 

So my apparently faulty sentence structure resulted in the sour cream being in the wrong place. Mr.Chipotle was quick to point out I had said sour cream, to which I responded, yes, sour cream and guac ON THE SIDE. 

But since one of my life mantras is "live and learn," this is what I take away from this experience: am I quick to respond to the first thing I hear, or do I listen to a whole thought before I respond? 

Being a parent to teens, this is a key idea. Listening is huge, and listening to everything. It's so easy to go knee-jerk reaction, but to think about what was said and what it means for your teen or young adult is harder. 

I can tell you how I have failed at this, and I can remember some moments I shone. I can also predict I will shine and fail again. But knowing I need to listen is the hugest part of something huge. 

It's been a pretty big night. I think it's time for some guac. On the side.