Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feeling At Home

Maybe it’s just because I love design & pretty things…..but I love to see other people’s homes.  (so I’ve included a few photos of ours)  I love to see how other’s decorate.  The colors they use.  The treasures they find at estate sales or in their own attics.  (does anyone have an attic anymore?)

I love to see the detailsThe things that bring them joy.  (not that ‘things’ should bring us joy)  But if we are going to live, we may as well be happy looking at a few things that our heart delights in.

Your home should be THE place!
The place that you feel comfort. 
The place you want to come home to. 
The place that you want to be at the end of the day.

We don’t live in a mansion & we don’t have expensive heirlooms but I sit in our home, in different rooms & I LOVE the life that is lived here.  I love that the walls are covered with pictures of moments that we have found joy in.  Music plays in the background usually.  Candles flicker.  And peace ‘generally’ reigns.  And sometimes it’s not even just when we are all sleeping!

Even with 3 kids playing & crying & fighting.  There is still peace.  It sounds funny to say.  But there is a big difference between noise & peace.   Holy Spirit peace.  That peace that fills each room even when noise is heavy & loud. 

I do love beauty.  And it doesn’t cost much.  
You can have a beautiful home & not spend a fortune. 
 I’ve done it, so I know!

  It’s so good to be surrounded with ‘pretty’!  I hope that everyone feels AT HOME in their house & that beauty covers every wall, permeates every room & that loves resides over all! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Joy In Christmas

I love the sights & sounds of Christmas.
The bright lights on the trees.
The candlelight. 

I love to hear the bells jingling around the Clydesdales as they carry families down lit up streets.  Loved ones snuggled together under a huge blanket, taking in the delights of the season.
To listen to songs of love for Jesus.  The ‘Hallejuiah’s’  & the praises to the One that came into this world to save it.  He came for me!  And he came for YOU!  Seriously.  Like I’m even worthy of that?!?  YES….I am….You are….so, so, so worthy!!

I love the smell of the cold air.  The wood burning fireplaces that permeate the crisp nights.

I love the peace I feel. 
The calm that settles on my heart & on the world for just a little while.  I wish the peace of Christmas could radiate the entire year! 
In the craziness of shopping & cooking & parties & traveling, a peace still resides.

I admit, I feel overwhelmed at times too.  By the things that fill the calendar.  The over-committing I do because I want to be a part of everything.

I make lists & more lists.    Lists of…..
…things to do.
…gifts to buy.
…things to bake.
…Loved ones to send cards to.
…Parties to attend.

I love to give gifts.  To wrap them, in love, for the person I am giving them to.  And for each one I wrap, I pray.  For God to bless this person that I love with mercy & grace & good health & the peace of His love to fall on their hearts forever & ever.

My husband asked the other day what I wanted. 

I want this world to experience the JOY.  The abundant joy that God brings.  Not just on one day.  Not just in one Christmas Eve service.  But every day.  I want the world to celebrate His love, His birth, His death & resurrection, His love….every single second of every single day.  That’s what I want this Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Burying the dead

Dreams are a big deal to me.

Not the pie-in-the-sky ones but the dreams that deliver a message to me when my soul is at rest or even when it’s not.

Not that those ‘other’ dreams aren’t great.  I’m all for dreaming about a home on the beach in Maui or in traveling around the world.  Or what winning the lottery would bring.

After all, dreams are what move us forward.  They keep us progressing.  Looking beyond the here & now to what we could have.  What we want to have.  They give us a vision & help us remain focused on something beautiful that we can hope for.

But the dreams I am writing of are those that keep me focused on heart & soul things.  The ones that, when I close my eyes, give me a specific message as to where my heart is at that time & place or sometimes it’s a message for someone else

If I was writing a book, I could fill every page with things that God has shown me over the past decade.  I don’t remember all my dreams but the ones from Him…..the ones that He sends to me with a message of warning or love or prayer…those stay with me.  (and I’m fairly certain that it isn’t just coincidence)

Few occasions have allowed me to move beyond my own platitudinous.  I have remained in the shallows where it was safer.  More comfortable.  There is less risk of drowning when you only put your feet in.

So I’ve jumped in a few times.  With faith as my life preserver.  I have given others a message.  His words, my tongue.  I would rather drown in someone’s criticism than be disobedient to the One that rules the universe!

Some people may think I am nuts.  Especially the one that didn’t even know me.  I left a message on his voicemail a few years ago.  It makes me laugh to this day just thinking about what he thought when he came to work & got my message about what God had shown me in a dream.  His message for this man that I felt I needed to share.  And the only reason I called him was because the following day after my dream, he was in the check-out line at the grocery store.  (AGAIN, probably NOT a coincidence!!)

My own husband thinks I’m nuts sometimes but he has learned to just go with it.  Because he has seen the Works that God has done.  The messages I have brought to some.  The dreams that have warned me of upcoming storms in my life or in someone else’s.

Last night I had a dream that has stuck with me.  I’ll spare all the details of it but the message to me & maybe to you who reads it (because it’s not coincidence that you are) is that we are serving a dead body.

Jesus instructs us in Luke 17:37 that ‘where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather’.

Vultures feed on the sick & the wounded.  They will wait for other animals to kill & they will come to steal. 

The question remains:  What are we serving? 

Extramarital affairs?
Credit card debt?
Abusive relationships?

What is it that is leaving us lifeless & numb?  What is consuming us that is stealing all of the good & wonderful things that are lying ahead?  God promised us an ABUNDANT life!  What are we allowing into our lives that is taking away from that? 

What we think provides us freedom at times only pulls it’s grip tighter to the chains that keep our souls from True Life! 

We would not allow a thief in our house to take what is precious to us.  Why would we allow an enemy to steal things of value?  But we do.  When we give heart to the things of this world that don’t provide fruit to our soul, that’s exactly what happens. 

Time with our children is snatched up by long hours at work.  Time spent building a solid relationship with your spouse is replaced with being consumed with hours on the internet.  We become insensitive to abundant life all around us when we give in to the temptations of alcohol & drugs. 

We serve other things. 
We 'LOVE' other things. 
A thief waits around the corner every day.
It knows our weaknesses.  

So today, bury the dead. 

Recognize what it is that is that you need to abandon.  Pray for God to show you what is being taken from you.  And delight in the LIFE that will abound.  Invite grace & beauty in & be the only thing that consumes you from now on!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being Hope-FULL

I took this photo in my front yard a few weeks ago. 
As the last leaves were falling to the ground & my favorite season comes to a close, it reaffirmed that I need to HOPE in all things, through ALL things….even when winter approaches & bitter cold creeps through the door of my own heart, I need to focus on the things to come & place my hope in Him!

I hope for so many things. 
We all do. 

We hope….
That we make it to work on time.
Get the promotion we have been wanting.
That we don’t get in an accident on the way home.

We hope that our kids are healthy.  Our marriages stable.  Our bank accounts abundant.

I have hoped for second chances.  And I have hoped that I would have a few more seconds.  To say what needed to be said.  To right, wrongs.  To mend hurts. 

I have hoped for things that didn’t mean anything & for a lot of things that have meant everything.

Hope has been shattered at times.  I have had dreams not come true.  I have prayed prayers that didn’t seem to make it quite as far as they needed to go.  They made it, but the One hearing them knew much better than I, what was on the other side.

I have hoped for more money.  More time.  More house.  More shoes.  Less pain.  Less weight.  Less burden. 

I have placed my hope in people.  In paychecks.  In popularity.

I have lost hope.  With a single diagnosis, hope was nowhere to be found. 
With the words ‘there is nothing more we can do’, hope became scarce & the promise of ‘Till death do us part’ rang all too loud in my disbelieving ears.

No matter what the season, what circumstances lay their hefty weight on my shoulders, I will remain full.  Of HOPE!  In Him.  Who gives ALL things.  Abundant blessings in every single thing.  Every storm.  Every bitter cold moment in life.  He is the Hope that needs to fill my heart & YOURS! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Morning Blessing

The day has barely begun. 
The sun hasn’t even had time to warm the skies.
 I hear the rustling of the comforter & then feel a small hand lay across my neck.  She wants snuggle time & to feel comfort for just a little while before her brothers wake up & take the attention solely away from her.

It is our time. 

It is peaceful & reflective.
And my heart begins to miss her already.

She is there.  I can feel her breath on my face.  I feel her tiny hand in mine.  But my heart becomes sad & I begin to miss these times.

They will come and they will go.

There will be friends that will take her time away from mine.  Things that will fill her life with importance other than having quiet time with me.  There will be school & homework & dance lessons.  Play dates & boyfriends.

Her hands won’t be so tiny some day.  They will not fit so gently into mine.  I will not get the blessing of cuddling with her & feeling her soft breathe on my cheeks. 

We are late getting going, as usual.  But for today, it doesn’t matter.  We are where we need to be.  Enjoying love & comfort.  I don’t want to be anywhere else & neither does she. 

I will not rush through this time.  I will cherish every second that I have with her in this moment. 

She isn’t even aware of my sadness.  Of my missing her already.  She is there to enjoy the moment & feel what her heart came for.  Pure, unconditional love.  And that’s exactly what I will give her.

Monday, October 11, 2010


To stretch is to ‘draw out to the full breadth’….’to exert to the utmost’.

There are times in my life that I really feel like I am stretched beyond my own capacity.  That the things asked of me are…

Too much.
Too difficult. 
Too demanding.

Over the past couple of years, there have been times where I have gone beyond my own comfort.  I knew in my heart that it would be easier to walk away than to confront issues, people, my past.  But if I didn’t dig my feet in, then I wouldn’t GROW.

So I stayed.

Feet planted.

It took awhile.  I shuffled my feet around.  Made some designs in the dirt.  Procrastinated because I didn’t really want to do it.  But in the end, my feet were rooted.  I couldn’t go anywhere. 

I have bared some things.  I have walked uncomfortable paths.  I’ve gotten muddy.

But in the stretching, also came refining. 

If I walked the path only as far as the first bump or pothole or in some cases loss of friendship or pride then I would never complete the real journey & would only be denying myself.

Stretching stinks.
It hurts & it’s uncomfortable. 
Painful at times. 
Life & circumstances tug & pull.

It is WAY easier to throw your hands up & walk away sometimes because you just don’t want to deal with a conversation or issue.  A difficult person or circumstance.

I realize that when I need to plant my feet….when I need to root my feet down & grow…as painful as it sometimes can be, that the Only thing I need to be sure to do is root them in the promises of God.  

He will stretch me.  He will tug.  He will pull.  He loves me.  He needs me to grow. 

What good is a flower if it is not given the opportunity to push it’s way through, to withstand some darkness, to be pulled up from the dirt because it can’t live without the light.  His light.  It’s not always an easy journey but when it blooms, in it’s season, it is the most magnificent gift.

I am stretched right now.  In my parenting.  In my marriage.  In my leadership role.  In my finances.  I am pulled to the point of exhaustion.  And I am….not….comfortable.  But I am planting my feet.  I will conquer it all by grace….and I will grow.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wanna Be Friends?

Playgrounds teach me a lot about life & about the perspective I have on it.

Summer allows for a lot of lessons then since we’ve been to the park countless times.

With pebbles crunching loudly under her pink tennis shoes, she runs to my daughter without hesitation.  No fear of rejection.  Not caring what the answer will be….she asks ‘Wanna Be Friends?’ 

And off they went.  Laughter filling the air as soft clouds roll over head.  They swing & slide.  Pretend & play.  And a friendship is made.

Each one of them offers the other happiness in that moment.  In that place & time, their hearts are full. 

There is no worry of popularity or socioeconomic status.  They are blind to skin color and religion.  They don’t even ask if the other drives a Barbie jeep or an Escalade with 2 seats.  It doesn’t matter.

All they hope for is an afternoon filled with building castles in the sand & someone to catch them at the bottom of the slide.  They share juice boxes & goldfish crackers & when it’s time to go, they wave goodbye…with smiles that span from ear to ear.  They have showcased a sweetness that settles on my heart in a way that my much older soul has not felt for a while.

I have been hurt before by a lot of friends for a lot of different reasons.  And in that hurt, those protective walls go up to make a barrier around my heart.  Friendships become more complex & it shouldn’t be that way.

It should be as easy as just reaching out & asking the question….and then letting the afternoon take you somewhere magical.  Where it may not be castles in the sand that we build but a lifelong friendship that fills up our souls.  And when we fall & get hurt, when we need someone to catch us at the bottom of the slide…we know they will be there.  Even if we don’t talk on the phone every day or see each other but a few times a year because life & work & kids….happen in the meantime.

I have good friends now.  My heart is in a different place.  And at the end of each day now, I also smile ear to ear when I think of how blessed I am for the friends that I talk to on a daily basis & also for those that I see once in a blue moon.  When our KIDS are sharing juice boxes & goldfish on the playground as we catch up after way too long of not seeing one another.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Around The Corner

Today, I turned a corner.
The corner that shouts out ‘come to the other side…..we can’t wait to have you’.
I’m entering a new DECADE.
Another 10 down & who knows how many to go!

It’s always  these ‘monumentals’ that make you look back.
On life.
On love.
On things you can’t take back.
On dreams wished for & lost.
On the things you did right.
And the ones you did wrong.

Do I regret anything?
Would I change anything?
What has been good?
What would I like to forget about?

I haven’t traveled the world.  I haven’t sailed any seas or written a book or won a Nobel Peace Prize.  There are no plaques on my wall.  No trophies on a mantle.

But it’s been good!  It’s been really good!

I’ve learned so much.
I’ve loved a ton of people.
I’ve laughed myself silly…..alot!
I’ve shared good times with good friends in good places.
And I’ve shed buckets of tears.

I have celebrated BIG things!
And….I have mourned BIG things!

I have been blessed to watch people enter in to my world.
And….I have also held them when they have left my world.

I have made more friends than enemies.
I have made mistakes & bad decisions.
I have sought & fought forgiveness & learned that my heart is much better off loosing THIS battle!

I have eaten a lot of really good ice cream.
And drank lots of really good wine.
I have completed 4 half-marathons.
And ran some races that weren’t so much feet to pavement but heart to head.   Those races are much harder to train for!

I have kissed lots of frogs.  And been lucky enough to find a few princes.

I have loved on lots of children but NONE have moved my heart SO much then loving the 3 that sleep under my roof every night.  The 3 that I get to pray with & tuck into bed.  The ones that wrap their arms around my neck so tight every day.  The ones I get to teach & watch grow.  The 3 that I am blessed to laugh with & love on.  They are to me like….sprinkles on my favorite ice cream cone. 

I could live my life enjoying just the scoop of yummy chocolate ice cream melting down that sugar cone….but then you add the sprinkles….and it’s so much more amazing!!  It becomes something so much more….extraordinary!  And it’s delicious!

I have seen beauty with my eyes. 
Heard it with my ears. 
And felt it with my heart.

I have been so many things to so many people & hopefully made their world a little happier.   Their hearts a little lighter.  Their perspectives a little better.

I have experienced times that didn’t make me proud of who I was.
And I have done things that I was…so…very…proud…of!

Is turning 40 going to be hard on me?
No Way!

Now comes the good part.

I don’t need to worry about who my friends are or about ‘fitting in’.
I don’t need to lose sleep over things like boyfriends & college finals.  (atleast not my own!)
There is no more question about what I want to be when I grow up or what I want to do with my life…..because I am right where I want to be…..NOW!

Sure there are new things to ponder.

Hip replacement.
Crows feet.
Gray hair.
A shiny Cadillac that is on the horizon.  (but I have to get rid of the minivan first)
Getting shorter.
Where to buy a better bra since it’s ‘only down hill from here’.
Arthritis & joint pain.

But it’s gonna be good!

I will try to not worry so much but feel so much more.
I will appreciate the life God has blessed me with.
I will laugh & love & live so much more vividly (thanks to some good bifocals)

Turning this corner is good.
My stride is hearty but my gait is not so swift that I miss the goodness that surrounds me. 

 I won’t look back with anything but thankfulness for the roads I have traveled so far.  I only look forward to the restoration that this new decade will bring to this sweet, young soul!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's in your hand?

I have to say, there have been many times in my life where I have asked myself ‘What do I have to offer’?  ‘What’s so special about me’?  It’s not like I was created for anything  special.  Like in a moving-mountains-walk-on-water kind of way.  Or was I??

Do you think Moses ever thought he would change the world? 

When he was 17, was he running around getting into all sorts of trouble?  Did he have a crush on a girl that he didn’t think liked him back?  When he was 35, did he still ask himself ‘What am I going to do with my life’?  He was probably pretty ‘ordinary’.  Just a guy.  Trying to survive in the world.  Not thinking he was ‘special’.

He walked with his staff to help him navigate the rough terrain.  And what began as ordinary ended up changing a nation.  What he held in his hand that he thought was nothing more than a stick was used for God’s kingdom.  I bet he was surprised!  And if you know the story, he was even scared at one point.

God has created all of us to help fulfill His purpose.  Some of us may be unaware that the common & simple in our lives, those things that we think are ordinary, may be the thing that sets us apart.  It may be that you know what it is but fear has made us run from it.  Moses ran too.  But he knew God has a plan.  So he picked up the staff again.

What has God placed in your hand?

It may be something as simple as loving your kids with your entire heart.
It may be as ordinary as writing or cooking or gardening or listening or administration.  It could be leadership or marketing.  Teaching or singing.  It could be missions.  It could be abundant finances or an abundant heart.

What is in your hand?
What has God set you apart to do for His purpose?
If we know our gift & seek Him first, He will take your simple & make it extraordinary.  He will take what appears to be insignificant to us & transform it for His divine power.

The Bible tells us that ordinary men will do miracles in the last days.  Maybe I really was meant to move mountains.  Moses never thought he could get water from a rock.  And I’m sure he was shocked when the Red Sea parted when he raised that walking stick! 

We all have something miraculous in the palm of our hand!
What has God put in yours?


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I was in the 7th grade.

We had just moved to Southern California.  It had already been our 4th move since I had started school. 
I hated moving!

 I hated the first couple of weeks of school.
I can still remember feeling that huge pit in my stomach before I even got out of bed. 
Wondering if anyone would want to be friends. 
Trying to make friends with the ‘right’ people.  Worrying about what I would wear so I fit in.  I wanted to be liked.  Who doesn’t? 

And, I made some great friends. 
But….Not a single one of them had my same lunch period!  Not one.  So I dreaded that space.  The space in between being comfortable & feeling completely lost.  That void where sadness & awkwardness collided.  That 45-minutes of wanting to crawl into a hole and stay there until the bell rang.

So I did what I had to do. 
I made other 'friends'. 
They had lunch when I had lunch. 
And, they ate it…..behind the school. 
Because they didn't fit in either. 
A few were extremely overweight.  A few had bad acne.  None of them wore the right clothes or knew the right people AND…..None of them had friends outside of this little group that ate their spaghetti & meatballs together every Monday thru Friday.

I didn't talk to them outside of that time & place.  We didn't go to the beach on the weekends.  We didn't have sleepovers.  That was left for my REAL friends.  The ones that I really wanted as my friends.  Because they were pretty & rich & popular. 

I don't even like telling this story because it makes me feel horrible.  For many reasons.  I pray that my children or for that matter, ANY children ever have to feel the way I felt.  That they never have to experience that awkward space.  It makes me sad that we live in a world where the emphasis is still placed on who’s who & who is wearing what.  Who is friends with who & who’s parents make more money. 

But it’s up to us to teach our children different values.  To teach them to be kind & respectful no matter who they interact with.  Whether at the popular table or in the back of the school sitting with their backs against the wall with the ‘other’ kids.  

I couldn’t even tell you who those kids were.  But I wish I could go back & do things differently.  They were so accepting of me & I was so undeserving of it. 

I guess the lesson in it is to realize that God is that accepting
He knows our hearts & our hurts.  He knows we are not perfect & far from it.  He is just as accepting & we are so undeserving of it.  He knows we will come & sit with Him for a while when no one is looking & then run off when the bell rings & we are on to something more intriguing.   We will brush Him off at times when there are more ‘acceptable’ things to do but love Him how we should.  But He is still there when we return.  He is waiting for us.  Always accepting.  Never judging.  So happy to have us and  always willing to love us…..even when we feel we are unlovable.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Miss Independent

She doesn’t need me as much anymore.

She can brush her teeth & pick out her own clothes.
She can clean up her own room.
She can entertain herself at times.
She will head out on the back porch & water the flowers just because she wants to.
She is growing up faster than I want her too.
Her body fills up most of her bed now.
Her legs are longer.
The blanket that once tucked around her whole body now barely covers her torso.

She will stand at the front door & want to play outside with the other kids.
And without a care in the world, she will play with her friends & pretend she doesn’t see me when it’s time to leave.

She is getting too heavy to carry but I will do it as long as I can.
And the times when she cuddles up in my lap so I can rock her are becoming more few & far between….but when that request comes in, I will drop everything for that moment.

But as moments pass that will not come again, there are new things that stir in my heart.

I get to play more games with her.
Watch her learn & explore.
I get to walk beside her & hold her hand as we just enjoy a summer evening.
I get to talk with her & explain things.
Why we thank God for the moon.
Why mommy kangaroos have pouches.
Why we are kind to people even when they aren’t that way to us sometimes.
I get to teach her things now that I couldn’t before.

I get to dance with her at night to her favorite songs.
I get the joy of watching her help me put her brothers to sleep because they want a hug & a kiss from their big sister.
I get the prayer time, double hug, one kiss & an Eskimo because I’m at the right place at the right time….and you bet that will be a habit that will be hard to break at some point too!!
She wipes my kisses off so I give her more.  And she will wipe them off again.  And I give her more.  And she giggles.  And then I blow kisses in the sky so they fall on her as she sleeps.  She says she sees them  & that they all fell but she will never really know that they will always be there…..ALWAYS!!

I don’t want to look back on a time that I wished away too quickly. 
I want to take all of it in so that there is never a regret that I missed something.  I want to appreciate the daily blessings & not let them pass by without acknowledgment.  Life is too short to get through it in such a hurry that we lose track of the really important things. 

I can always run off and get another corporate job & make lots of money & drive a better car but if it takes away from my Eskimo kisses & sitting on the porch with her watching the birds fly overhead then I’ve missed the whole point of why God places me here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going in circles

Last weekend our leadership team for MOPS went to the mountains for a retreat.  In the process of team building, one of the exercises was a maze.  We were lead to the maze, eyes closed & told to keep our eyes closed for the entire exercise. 

It was silent. 
Each of us trying to find our way out. 
To the exit. 
Moving through the maze with only the help of a rope, which we held on to. 
The only questions we were allowed to ask were ‘Is this the exit’?....and ‘May I have help’?

Time passed & I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my own leading.  Against my will, I finally asked for help.  As soon as the words were uttered, our instructor told me to open my eyes. 

I wasn’t getting anywhere because I was walking in circles.  The ‘maze’ was a circle.  Ropes anchored to trees.  Testing our will & perseverance.  There was no exit.  No way out.  Until….we asked for help.

It wasn’t a team building exercise but more of an illustration of what we do with our own lives when we think we can manage on our own.  When we think we are in control.  Left to our own devices, we walk in circles.  Eyes closed to what we really need to focus on. 

It made me realize that I need to live with my eyes & heart wide open to Him.  To allow Him to take over & lead me where He will have me.  I’ve walked in circles a lot in my life.  Pride has hindered my voice.  Prior failures & disappointment have stifled my ‘need’ for help. 

Had I asked at the beginning of the journey, for help, my eyes would have been open & path made clear.  We can’t change our lives, until we change how we think.  If I think I can get through this life on my own, I will be walking in circles forever.  If I rely on Jesus to lead me, I will have a much more pleasant road. 

It’s not to say that there won’t be rocks in my way, holes that I have to step over or even fall in to but my heart will be in a much more peaceful place. 

Every one of us found it easier to ask where the exit was BEFORE we asked for help.  Another illustration of what we do in this life.  Isn’t it easier to ask God for an exit?  To remove us from what we’ve gotten ourselves into?  To plead for mercy from the mistakes we’ve made by thinking we could do things ourselves?

I’m tired from walking in circles. 
And I’ve come to realize that it’s much harder to walk around with my eyes closed.
So I’m going to open them to Him.
I will seek His help for ALL that I need.
Before I stand on my own two feet in the morning, I will stand on His promise. 
I will ask Him for help so I don’t need to ask Him for an exit later.
And instead of my eyes only seeing darkness, they will see Holy….because they will be focused on Him.