Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Questions

I swiped this from Mocha with Linda. I thought it would be fun for today.

1. Are you cooking Christmas dinner? How many will be round your table this year? What are we having?

I am cooking. I have been in charge of Christmas for about eleven years now, I think. I volunteer, though. I love hosting for my family.
This year there will be probably eight, possibly ten. My parents and my mom's sister and brother-in-law come each year. We may have an additional aunt and uncle from my dad's side.

I don't make the same thing every year. Sometimes turkey or a roast. One year we had sandwiches and everyone loved it! This year I'm doing ham with au gratin potatoes and a big colorful salad. Mom's bringing rolls and my aunt is bringing pies.

2. What is one must-have Christmas cookie in your house?

Nothing really. I gave up feeling the need to bake. I haven't even bought any this year. I've been bringing home truffles instead.

3. Santa likes a glass of milk with his cookies. Do you? What kind of milk is on tap at your house-skim? almond? soy? full fat (Gasp!)

I've only recently begun to like milk. I still don't drink it often because I don't think about it unless I'm eating a cookie or a PBJ. We use 2% lactose-free milk. I also try to make sure it's a brand that doesn't use hormones in their cows.
We also get a carton or two of eggnog. That's kinda milk, right?

4. Time magazine recently named their 'Person of the Year' for 2011. This is the person the editors believe had the greatest impact, for better or worse, in the past year. This year they chose 'The Protester'. Your thoughts? Who would you name Person of the Year for 2011?

Protesters have definitely dominated the news this year. From Egypt, Libya, England to the US. They certainly did have a great impact on our world this year -- for better or worse. If that's the criteria, then I guess I would agree.

But for sheer heroism I would say the Fukushima Workers who stayed and tried to prevent greater disaster in Japan.

5. December 21st is National Flashlight Day... when was the last time you needed a flashlight and did you know right where to find one?

I suppose it was during the summer when our power went out. I have a lot of candles though and managed to get some lit. All of our flashlights are in need of batteries.

6. Candy canes...yum or yuck?

I like a candy cane at Christmas. I only want one. I'm not crazy about peppermint, but I like eating the candy cane. I'll eat more if they are a different flavor, but I like the tradition of having a peppermint one. Someone gave me some of those little bitty ones. I'll have one of those.

7. What Christmas carol lyric means the most to you?

This always varies, but this year I really love:

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Whatever your heart holds this year, remember who holds your heart. Because Christ came we don't walk alone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Cost

Mary was a good girl. I imagine she came from a religious home. They followed the law of God.

Joseph was a good boy. A follower of God's law, well respected.

God messed all that up.

God came in and completely ruined Mary's reputation. She was an unmarried pregnant girl. Absolute disgrace.

He ruined Joseph's testimony. Joseph's girl was pregnant and by choosing not to stone her he as much as admitted that the child was his. Appalling.

You know that the whole, "God did it" story didn't go over very well. I mean, really. Come on, now, God? God made you pregnant? Uh huh, and Caesar Augustus is giving my tax money back for a Hanukkah gift.

I read something the other day that made me think, hey, if Joseph and Mary were of the line of David why didn't they stay with relatives in Bethlehem? 

Why indeed. They were a scandal.

Because they weren't just law followers, they were God followers.

God doesn't really care if we look good. He doesn't care as much about our reputation as we do. He wants us to follow him. That's it.

The Christmas story is a sweet little tale when we retell it 2000 years later. It's easy for us to think they reacted differently than we would. That all was merry and bright. But they were human. They lived in a difficult, judgmental world.
Back then, the story was full of tears. Full of pain.

It cost a lot for Christ to come to us. The incarnation was a sacrifice from beginning to end.

But even then, even in the midst of rejection, confusion, and a damaged testimony Mary said:

 “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
 and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me."

What about us? What about when it starts looking like it might cost something to follow God? Are we willing to trade the good for the best? Am I?

Thank God Mary was.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What do you Expect?

Merry and bright
Perfect cutout cookies
Goodwill toward men
Well thought-out gifts
Family harmony
Beautifully decorated packages
Well-appreciated feast
Joyful and triumphant
Laughing, appreciative children

The best time of the year

This is what we expect from Christmas. Is it any wonder we are usually disappointed? Is it any wonder that we can't seem to capture that elusive Christmas Spirit? Whatever that is?

People tend to depression and stress during the holidays. We don't feel whatever it is we're supposed to feel but we assume everyone else does. So we get depressed.

Perhaps we should look at Christmas as a gift. We don't know what the day or the season holds. Maybe it will delight us. Maybe it will be socks. But, to use my favorite phrase, it is what it is.

Instead of wanting Christmas to conform to our expectations, perhaps we need to drop the expectations and accept whatever the season brings.

I've found that as I've tried to do this, I feel more of the Christmas Spirit than I had for a long time. It's not a thing that can be grasped. It almost seems to come to those who aren't looking for it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Better Thing

Most of us have heard the story of Mary and Martha. If you haven't you can read it here: Luke 10:38-42.

The story is about Martha getting upset with Mary because Mary is listening to Jesus instead of helping Martha in the kitchen. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better thing.

Many people who have the gift of serving are hurt by this story. We need servers. It's a true blessing to be a server.

I don't think Jesus was saying that there is anything wrong with fixing a meal for your guests. The Bible tells us to be hospitable and food is a big part of that. I don't think he was saying that listening is better than serving. We need both.

Here's the thing, it says that Martha was distracted by all her preparations. And Jesus said to her, "You are worried about so many things."

This is how I picture it: Mary and Martha prepared a nice meal. Jesus arrived and Mary went out to sit with him. Martha was busy folding the napkins into swans, cutting the radishes into roses, and tucking garnish around the fish.

I always pictured myself as Mary because I'm not a super busy, bustling kind of person. I always prefer sitting. But when I realized what Jesus was saying to Martha I understood that too often I am she.

When I had people over, I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted things to be pretty. I went to a lot of extra work just to impress people. I was worried about a lot of things. I felt anxious, irritable and unappreciated. Mostly, I worried about what people thought of me.

There is nothing wrong with hospitality. There is nothing wrong with making things pretty. But what is the reason?

I found that most of my preparations weren't about blessing; they were about impressing.

My company probably would have felt more relaxed if I were in the living room with them rather than banging around in the kitchen. I don't think they were extra blessed by my extra efforts to impress.

I suspect that may be what was going on with Martha, too. If all the extra things you do are for the right reasons and bring you joy, by all means, do them. But if they stress you out. If they make you feel pressured and worried, choose the better thing.

And while sitting at the feet of Jesus is always the better thing, maybe it wasn't just because He was Jesus--son of God-- but because he was simply a person.

Maybe, sitting with your guests and enjoying their presence is a better thing than hanging in the kitchen putting all the unnecessary touches on things.

It's easy to be distracted and worried about many things this time of year. Let's try to remember what really matters.

The better thing is relationship.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I love Brennan Manning. I've never met him. But I'd hoped that someday I would. I hoped that one day I would hear him speak.
I've read only a couple of his books. And every day I read a selection of Reflections for Ragamuffins.
He talks of Love. His words have done more to show me the unfaltering love of God than anything I've read, apart from Scripture.
He talks of Grace. Grace to accept ourselves as imperfect. Grace to accept ourselves as we are, where we are, just as God does.

Our pastor knows Brennan Manning. He told us that he and an associate pastor travelled to visit with him a few days ago. Mr. Manning is now in an assisted living home. The alcoholism of his past had unalterable affects on his body. It's caught up with him and now he struggles with dementia and blindness.
My heart broke to hear this news. I'd imagined him out there still preaching and teaching and writing.

Pastor said that after they had visited a while Mr. Manning leaned forward and said, "Can I ask you a question?" The pastors moved closer, eager to hear what thought provoking question this man of wisdom would present...

"Can you guys leave now?"He asked.

As the pastor told this story, he laughed. We laughed. Brennan Manning was tired. He was honest.
Our pastor said to us, "That's grace. Grace is being what you are, not what you think you should be."

Grace is being who you are, not who you think you should be.
Grace is having the decorations you have, not the ones you think you should have.
Grace is baking the cookies you bake (or don't), not the ones you think you should bake.
Grace is having the parties you throw (or don't), not the parties you think you should throw....

Grace is freedom. Grace is honesty. Grace is the whole purpose for God coming down as a baby in the first place.

This Christmas, embrace grace. Just be, and forget whatever it is you think should be.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Feet - a partial repost

Not everyone will have a Merry Christmas.
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4

Photo from

When one of my kids asked why I had a picture of a foot on my blog, I said, "Because it's Christmas and Jesus got feet." 
He traded feet like bronze for feet of flesh. Pudgy little feet with ten little piggies. 
He stubbed his toes. He stepped on splinters and stickers and rocks. 

Nails were pounded into those feet.

I know that during the thirty-three years He wore those feet, he experienced grief and loss. Jesus knows our pain. We are never alone in our suffering.

If this Christmas is a difficult one for you, cling to the deeper truth of the Holiday. Jesus put on flesh, suffered and died.
God came down to walk with us. He walks with us still. 

Forget the bells and tinsel, the egg nog and cookies and cling to the one who has walked where you walk. He hasn't just been in your shoes; He's been in your feet.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the Waiting

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Photo by Godric Godricson

Advent. A time of eager and joyful expectation. Right?

But not then. Not for them.

They were weary. Living under the ungodly, oppressive government of Rome and the greedy, bloodthirsty rule of the Tetrarchs, they were over-taxed, over-burdened, abused, and frightened.

Religion was no help. If anything, the merciless legalism of the times made things worse.

And they’d been waiting a long time.

Waiting for an end to their suffering.

They’d heard of a deliverer, but where was He? Where was this promised Messiah? Where was God?

I’ve heard that Mary was the most common name for girls at the time. We do see several in the Gospels, so it could be true.

The name means Bitter.

Weary of waiting. Desperately waiting. Waiting for release from the bitterness of life. It seems they’d lost hope.

We’ve all been there. When one wait ends, another begins.

Life is waiting.

We wait for a son to return home to those he’s turned his back on.
For a loved one to know the Lord.
For a friend to be healed.
A child or spouse to come home from war.
A job—financial security.
A restored relationship.
A healed marriage.
For someone to abandon an addiction.
An e-mail from an agent.
Confirmation that we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.

Always waiting and we are weary. We are desperate. Desperate for hope. For God to step in and show Himself.

Two thousand years ago God took on strands of DNA and became a tiny human in the womb of a girl named Bitter.

And His name was Emmanuel. God with us.

God stepped into the weary desperation.

He didn’t remove their suffering. Rome still ruled. The religious leaders were still unforgiving. Life was still hard.

He didn’t come to relieve their suffering. He came to walk with them in the midst of it.

We need not grow weary in the waiting because He’s here. We’re not waiting for Him to show up. He’s already here—inside us.

And those things we want, those things we watch for, they are good things, but the best thing, the best thing is God With Us.

I’ve looked back into my waiting and seen where God has been. Right there in the moments when it seems I’d lost hope. If God offered to answer all my prayers, solve all my problems right now, I wouldn’t do it if it meant losing those glimpses of His love.

Look deeply into your waiting and see Him. See where He’s been and how He’s touched you. Together let’s remember, no matter how discouraging or bitter life gets, let’s remember Emmanuel.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


We haven't put up any decorations yet.
I'm enjoy this quiet time of waiting.
The past few years, we've decorated the weekend following Thanksgiving. One holiday bumped against our anniversary then bumped against the next holiday.
And I wondered why I couldn't get excited about Christmas.

I figured out that I missed looking forward to it. With such a cramped schedule, when was I supposed to fit that in?

This year, I'm savoring the anticipation. That's my favorite part of most things. The eager expecting.

I'm starting to feel excited about it. The giddy eagerness I used to have.

Turns out all I need in order to get some Christmas spirit is a little breathing room.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's okay to be imperfect.

One year I decided to make a pecan pie. I followed the recipe exactly, except when it came time to take it out, it was still jiggly. So I put it back in and baked it some more. It took a long time, but finally that pie was cooked through and no longer jiggled. Turns out, it's supposed to jiggle, I guess. I couldn't even get a knife into it. We banged it on the counter just to see if we could break off a piece.
We couldn't.

The holidays are a lot more enjoyable when we realize they aren't going to be perfect and we can laugh at ourselves.

Got any laughs you want to share?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Five Minute Friday meme. Todays prompt is Grow.

My mom had a garden when I was growing up. I didn't like helping. But I was fascinated to see things grow.
I remember the bean seed I planted in a cup in school. How I could see it grow from both ends. It's like magic that all that green, all that plant, even new beans, all contained in that tiny shell.
When my kids were born, they were tiny. I mean, in hindsight. At the time they seemed like normal babies. They were normal babies, but they were so small. My daughter is now as tall as I am. My son is but a head shorter than me.
How does that happen? How does food and water make stuff appear where it wasn't before? Growth is weird. It is mysterious. Something from nothing, really. It is a daily act of mini-creation. There was nothing, now there's something. The finger just a bit longer. The shoes just a bit tighter.
And on the inside.
Growth. Something where there used to be nothing. I have confidence I didn't have even a decade ago. I have courage and strength and so much that used to not be there. Faith. Deeper faith.
But all this growth hurt. Well, a lot of it did.

Time's up. But I'm just getting started...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Wanna Be...

I know people who have always wanted to be one thing. From the time they were little, they had one passion. To be a pilot, a writer, a nurse, whatever. That's not me.
Through my life I've wanted to be many things. Often at the same time. Even now, there are several things that I'd love to do.
Here's a list of my lifetime aspirations.

Wonder Woman
Rodeo Queen
Airline attendant - I filled out some kind of interest form. Got a phone call. He asked me all about how I looked. How tall I was, how much I weighed, what color eyes I had. Then he said I would be fine and told me what to do next. But I was only mildly interested, so I let it drop.
Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Midwife
R.N. - this is the one I got a degree in, planning to become one of the above, but then I changed my mind about advancing.
Nurse for INH in Alaska
Lactation consultant
Owner of a B&B for pregnant and new moms
Wound specialist
Teacher of kids with autism

And so... I am a writer.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful I'm Me

I'm very good at picking on myself. I spend a lot of time digging around and poking at my own insecurities. My insufficiencies and inadequacies are constantly circling through my head.

I say this to make it clear that I'm not the kind of person who dwells on how wonderful I am. I'm too busy beating myself up for not being perfect.

So I found it strange last night, as I lay on the verge of sleep, when prayers of thanksgiving started going through my mind. "Thank you that you made me to be such a lover of God. Thank you that you put in me a desire for you that I can't remember ever being without. Thank you for giving me a sense of humor. Thank you for making me empathetic. Thank you for giving me a unique way of seeing things..." I didn't even feel like the thoughts were coming from me.

But this morning as I was thinking it over, I realized that we really should be thankful for who God made us to be. It's His work. Not ours. It feels like boasting or being conceited, but it's not. Not if we realize that we are what we are only because of His creative skill and His grace.

I think to focus on the negative, on the things we dislike about ourselves, does Him a disservice. Where is the glory in that? How does He receive glory from us beating ourselves up?

This is a new thought for me. I'd love to hear yours.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I saw this prompt style meme on Michelle Pendergrass' blog and thought I'd give it a try. The rules are to write for five minutes, then stop. No editing, no over-thinking. Just write. Here goes!
Five Minute Friday
The prompt is Remember:

I remember when I used to play outside on summer evenings. Hiding amongst the shrubs and trees. Hoping not to be found, yet hoping I would be.
I remember when the entire neighborhood was our hiding and seeking place. Cars, trees, the park. We hid, we sought.
I remember hiding notes and secret things in the curtain rod of my room. The little end cap was removable and I thought it the most sneaky thing ever that I had discovered that and I kept my secrets there.
I remember hiding my thoughts in diaries. Thoughts too personal and precious for the world to know. I read them now and laugh. The deep secrets of a twelve year old girl with some serious boy-craziness.
I remember hiding who I was. Hiding my self-doubt and insecurity. Or did I hide it? I was so shy, perhaps everyone could easily see how uncertain I was.
What am I hiding now? I try to be open and authentic, but I wonder if secrets are still lurking in there somewhere.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Funeral for a Writer

I recently joined the funeral ministry at our church. Yesterday was the first funeral I attended in this position.

It was for a woman who had lived nearly ninety years. She seemed to have had a good life.

I didn't know her. But I learned that we had a common bond. She was a writer. Not anyone that we've heard of. Her book won't be at the library. But that's not what it means to be a writer.

Her family found large sketchbooks filled with handwritten records of the family, events, life stories. She wrote a book with all this information and had it published somehow in a hardback version.

A treasure for her family.

The pastor at the funeral said, "She looked for the story." As we writers tend to do. Even as I sat there listening, I was finding a story.

On the program from her husband's funeral, she had taken notes. In the margin she had written a description of the young soldier who presented to her the flag from her husband's casket. In the time of her deepest grief, she wrote.

Writers are people who write.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Sometimes I just need a big ol lungful of mountain air.
Today we headed west of Denver to see if we could find some Aspens.
I could have driven for hours, but those with me were being so patient that I had my hubby turn off at the first Open Space sign I saw. I didn't want to push it.

The park had lots of power lines. The sound of traffic on the highway was too loud. But...

There were Aspens. There was sweet mountain air by the lungful. There was everything I needed. I came down the trail with a big grin and a lighter heart.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


"But at my back I always hear Time's winged chariot hurrying near."
- Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)
Time Flies.
Time's up.
What time is it?
Too much time on my hands.
Time to go.
In no time.
Time is short.
Give me a little time.
Take all the time you need.
How much time do we have?
Never on time.
Time stood still.
Where has the time gone?

Time to think about time. Our culture is fixated on it.

Personally, I don't have a very good relationship with time. I would just as soon live in a culture that didn't keep track.

Time constricts me. But I bet if we were honest we would all agree. Why do we look at clocks so often otherwise?

Here's my thought: we weren't designed to live in time. 
I believe we were made to be timeless. To be eternal. We were created to live outside of time like God does.

But we messed up. So now we have a limit to our time. We are cursed to die. Every minute counts now. They are numbered.

We are constantly aware of this. We are limited and our time on earth is limited. But I think we also know something else, we aren't supposed to be limited.

That is God's voice in us. We are created to live eternally.
We can, of course. He has shown us how. But even those of us who have that assurance of eternal life, we still feel hounded by time.

It just isn't the way things are supposed to be.

(This is an edited repost)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Things About Summer

I'm not much for complaining...
Well, ok. I love to complain. But I'm trying to kick the habit.
Summer is my least favorite month. I have low tolerance for heat and I don't feel well most of the summer. But I've worked hard this summer to complain less about it.
So instead, I want to list some of the things that I appreciate about summer.

~ Greenness everywhere
~ Leaves
~ Shady places
~ Peaches
~ Watermelon
~ The smell of fresh cut grass
~ Thunderstorms, as long as they aren't too close or too scary
~ Cool evenings and nights
~ Foot freedom
~ Fewer obligations
~ Flowers
~ Hummy birds
~ Butterflies

Monday, July 11, 2011

Don't Broadcast What You Believe

A friend of mine was putting on makeup for a special occasion.  
"I'm so bad at this. I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to makeup."
She made comments of this type a couple of times, so...
I believed her.

When I saw her with weird smudges of gloppy eyeshadow, I thought I should help her.
I offered. She backed away, "No, wait, it has to dry and then I blend it."

Truth is, she is perfectly capable of applying makeup. She is as competent as anyone with the blush and the eyeshadow--with the whole works.

But she believed she wasn't. She broadcast that belief, and since I didn't know any better, I believed her. I even acted on that belief.

When we announce things about ourselves, we'd better keep this in mind: people will believe us. We want to be sure that what we are saying is the truth. That's a hard thing to do. It's hard to discern the false beliefs we hold about ourselves.

"I'm a terrible writer."
"I can't cook."
"I'm too fat."
"Nobody likes me."
"I don't know what I'm doing."

We all do it. We all announce our insecurities at times. But perhaps we need to learn how to word them as truths?
"I don't feel confident applying makeup."
"I doubt my abilities as a writer/cook/whatever."
"I feel like I'm too fat."

I think it's bad enough that I believe some of the things I do about myself. Do I really want other people to believe them, too?

Friday, July 8, 2011

mindful eating
I've been reading a book called Real Food has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat.  
The book's focus is just paying attention to what we eat.

Most meals involve mindlessly stuffing some kind of food into our faces until our stomachs groan, letting us know we've had enough. Am I right?

The book tells us to think about what we're going to eat. Choose something that is a real food. Not processed or refined.

Then look at it. Smell it. And taste it. Really taste it. Think about the flavors. Are there overtones?

How does the food feel? Is there any resistance to the chew? Is it crispy? Chewy? Smooth?

Then after chewing well, swallow fully. Then load the fork and start over.

Savor. Think. Involve the senses.

The premise of the book is that if we eat this way, we'll lose weight. When we eat whatever is at hand, shoving it in without experiencing it, we aren't satisfied. So we find something else to shove in. Then something else.

If we eat mindfully, then our brain takes part, memory is stimulated, emotion engages, and we are satisfied.

Makes sense to me. But I'm finding it hard to change. I've decided I want to begin with one mindful meal per week. Hopefully I can do more, and in time I know I will, but I run on autopilot now and it's hard to break that pattern.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

things I'll do in my 40s that I wouldn't have done in my 20s

~ Volunteer to be in a skit
~ Speak to a group
~ Write a novel
~ Drink a glass of wine
~ Lead a Bible Study
~ Feel comfortable with a group of women, even if they are prettier, better-dressed, and have it all together
~ Confront someone, like the guy at the deli who was going to slice my meat without washing his hands--even though he'd just been mopping
~ Raise my hands in church
~ Attend a different denomination than I'm used to
~ Wear a hat
~ Fast
~ Talk to a counselor

I see a theme. Freedom. Freedom in Christ. Freedom to be myself.
It's a work in progress.
What about you? Whatever decade you're in, how have you changed?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

i love me

photo from
For several years now I've prayed that God would show me His heart. I've asked Him to cause me to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
I know that God is answering that prayer. I love other people far more than my natural tendencies would account for. I can see a big change, especially over the last few years.

But this occurred to me the other day: if I'm going to love what God loves, I'm going to have to be crazy, head over heals in love with myself.

We have such a hard time with that, don't we? Even the idea of loving ourselves sounds conceited, arrogant, self-centered.

We also find it difficult because we don't really believe how much He loves us. Or maybe we believe in our heads, but we don't really believe it.

Sure, He loves me. He loves everybody. We can accept that.

But it goes much deeper. He rejoices over me with singing.
He sings songs about me! He absolutely adores me.

He absolutely adores you. Head over heals!

So, if I'm going to love what God loves, if I want to know His heart, I'm going to have to love me. I pray that He'll show me how.

Friday, July 1, 2011

getting fat

I haven't been svelte for some time. One might be correct in saying that I've only been that way for about six months during my mid-twenties.

Fortunately, I don't really aspire to svelteness. But I do aspire to be something a little less...squishy.

I have Chronic Epstein Barr Virus which causes fatigue that is sometimes debilitating. Exercise at the wrong time can make it worse and put me out of commission for days.
And a year and a half ago I injured my back which put me on the couch for several months. Going to the bathroom and up the stairs to bed was the most I could do. Sitting very still and eating potato chips occupied my time.
So I gained weight.
Not tons, but more than I needed because I needed none.

So now I'm thinking that I'd like to do something about it.
I'd like to hear from any of you who have any kind of physical trouble that gets in the way of exercising. What do you do? Have you found ways to work around it?
I'd like to hear from anyone who has lost weight by changing their lifestyle.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


photo from
I love mysteries.
I like reading mystery stories. I like watching mysteries on television and movies. Trying to decipher the clues to figure out who done it.

But more than that, I love real life mysteries. Not murders, so much, but mysterious things.

Crop circles. I am fascinated by crop circles. See, I don't believe that they are all man made. There are too many unexplained factors in real crop circles. And I love that!
I love that we don't know everything. We think we do. We get pretty arrogant about it. Reminds me of the guys who arrested Galileo because he believed the sun was the center of the solar system.
They thought they had it all figured out. Thought they knew so much. Thought they were the center of everything.
Just like us.
Maybe someday, in a few centuries they'll be laughing at the foolish things we believe. They may have a very sensible scientific explanation for crop circles that makes us look idiotic for not seeing it.

But for now, they are mysteries.

But not to everyone.
That's why I love mysteries so much. Because they remind me that there is Someone who knows all about them. God knows what's behind crop circles and the like. He's not mystified by animal mutilations, black holes, or women. He knows. He is the center of everything, not us, and He keeps allowing things to remind us of this. For those of us with eyes to see and the humility to accept, anyway.

That's the theme of the novel I'm writing. There are things we may never know and we have to learn to be okay with that. We have to trust in the One who does know.
It's okay for God to have secrets.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

whimsical wednesday - crop circles

I've decided to try to blog each day to a theme. Wednesdays will be whimsy.

Today I want to share some of my favorite crop circles.

Many crop circles are fractals and many use Fibonacci numbers.

Regardless of whether these are created by man or by something more mysterious, you can't deny that they are beautiful. And whimsical.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the will of God

Photo from
I have spent many hours in my life praying and doubting in turmoil and angst about what God wants me to DO.
Because it matters to me. I want to do His will. I want to be where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do, how He wants me to do it.
I'm a believer that God has specifics in mind for us. That He has a "best" for me.
I want the best.
So I've wrestled a lot with trying to find it.

But then I got this little picture in my head:
A father takes his daughter for a walk through a deep and tangled wood. "Stay close, follow me," he says. Then he runs and hides.


God wants us to know His will. He's not hiding from us. He's not making it obscure as some kind of test.
"Let's just see how badly she wants this."

No. We want to be in His will. He wants us to be in His will. Could it be any simpler?

Yet, it's complicated. But I don't think the complications come from Him.
The devil would love for us to be far out of God's will, so I'm sure he tries to confuse things, but our hearts are in the right place and he can't do anything about that.
I think the biggest complication comes from our own flesh. Our doubts. Our insecurities. "Surely God wouldn't ask me to do that. Doesn't He know my limitations?"

The thought I've had before is that I don't doubt God's ability to reveal His will, but I doubt my ability to see it.
Maybe there's some truth to that. Maybe not. Maybe if we just keep walking, with our eyes on Him, we'll find ourselves in His will. We see a door, we take it. We hear a suggestion, we heed it. Keep walking.
If we approach the wrong door, He'll close it. He won't chide us. "I can't believe she thought I wanted her to do that!" He knows our hearts are for Him and He will see that we end up where we need to be.
That I have no turmoil or angst about.
Or better yet, what if we just hop on his back? Let Him do the walking? We just hang on for the ride?

Still, I know I'll go through it again. I know I haven't got the "keep walking" or the piggy back ride down. But maybe I'm getting closer?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

it ain't easy being a dad
I don't know what it's like to be a father, obviously. But fathers and fathering are on my mind today.

Seems like dads get the bum rush on this day set aside to honor them. "Dads should step up." "We love our dads but they really could do better." That kind of thing. Have you noticed?

I think that dads are great. Not all of them, but not all moms are great either and we tend to overlook that fact on Mother's Day. Why can't we over look the rotten dads on Father's Day? Why can't we just praise the dads who are doing the hard work and being the best fathers they can?

Moms have maternal instinct, making it natural for us to do what we do. It drives us to nurture and listen and participate in our children's lives.

Ever heard of paternal instinct? I guess it exists, but I think it takes the form of providing and protecting. Dad's are wired to love their families, but they show it differently. They love us by taking care of us from a distance.

That's why I think that every dad who makes an effort to engage on a relational level deserves special thanks. Every dad who spends time with his kids, who listens to them, who shares with them, deserves honor.

Being that kind of dad may not come naturally. Maybe it involves intention. Maybe it involves choosing.

Maybe I'm wrong (I don't mind if some of you guys want to correct me). I'm just thinking about how our dad's dads were compared with dads of today.

Either way, I think being a dad is hard work. Seems like we keep raising the bar. Demanding more of them before they qualify as a "good" dad.

I think we should get rid of the double standard: every mom is fabulous and no dad measures up. On Facebook and Twitter this morning I've seen it. Men admonishing other men to be better dads. Women saying thank you, but tagging on the request for more.

Why can't we just say thank you?

Thank you, dad, for going beyond, for being a part of our lives.
Thank you, hubby, for being intentional about spending time with our kids.
Thank you, all you dads. The world needs you. Thank you for what you do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

passive-reactive, or why i don't make a plan

Michael Hyatt, the Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has a plan. He regularly sits down with his wife and they plan out their lives. He even has an e-book called Creating Your Personal Life Plan to show you how to do it yourself. And he's giving it away. Free. Go check it out. I'll wait.

I think it's wonderful--for him. And maybe for you.

But for me? It sounds like torture. Then prison. Then maybe a ball and chain. But that's just me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing it. It obviously works for him. The man is productive. He's accomplishing things.

What I am saying is that it takes all types and I'm not that type.

I'm not really that interested in climbing ladders. I don't look back on my day and measure my productivity. I'm really more about being than I am about doing. My focus is on relationships and being available. I go with the flow. Where ever the wind blows.

In college a friend asked if I was more active or passive. I didn't understand at the time, but now I know that I am definitely passive. For sure. No question.

Being active, goal oriented, productive, and driven is highly valued in our culture. Ambition rules!

But that's not me. And you know what? I'm ok with that. Because I'm ok with being me.

I guess you would say I'm reactive rather than proactive. But I prefer the word responsive.

Things happen; I respond.

I have no idea of where I'll be in five years. I have some things I'd like to accomplish by then and I work toward that, but I'm flexible. I don't even know where I'll be in six months.

Michael is prayerful about his life plan. God is involved.

I am prayerful about my responses. I am prayerful about my dreams. I think we have the same end, but different ways of travelling there. He's a jet, I'm a balloon.
He goes where God tells him to, and so do I.

It takes all types.
Maybe he and I are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Perhaps there are many other types in between.

What about you. Are you a planner? Are you a responder? Are you ambitious and driven? Do you go where the wind takes you? Or are you a combination? Tell me about you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

scents of the season

The temperatures have finally risen here in Colorado. Summer seems to be upon us. It's not my favorite time of year, though. I'm not very tolerant of heat and sun and sweating and such.

But summer is...Summer! There are some wonderful things to be said for it. No school. No icy roads. A feeling of freedom.

But some of my favorite things are the scents.

Freshly mowed grass.
Sliced melon.
Cool cucumbers.
Sweaty little kids.
Iced tea.
Hot cotton.
Rain laden pines.

I have to make an effort to enjoy summer rather than simply surviving it. One of the things I can do is sit back, close my eyes and take a deep breath.

What scents speak summer to you?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

rapture day

In case you haven't heard, the world is supposed to end today.

I believe in the rapture. I believe that some day Christ will come and take his bride (the church, believers, Christians) out of this world. But I believe that it cannot be predicted. The Bible says that no one knows the day. I take that to mean that no one knows the day.

I think we can know the season, but that's a different post.

So, no, I don't believe the rapture is going to take place today.

There have been a lot of tongue-in-cheek questions about how we should spend our last hours. What should we accomplish and what should we ignore if the world is ending? What are our priorities?

I don't think I'd change anything. My future is secure in Christ. I'm ready. I'm eager. The idea of Christ coming fills me with expectation and joy, not fear.

Not to say that my life is perfectly prioritized. But I'm not sure a last minute shuffle would accomplish anything.

The thing is, he could come tomorrow. He could come next week. It really could be any time. Any time. We should always be looking, waiting, and ready.

But it's not about when he comes. Most of us will meet him in death, anyway, instead of the rapture. It is about the fact that we will each stand before him, one way or another. That is certain. That can't be avoided. What will that moment look like for you?

Even so, Lord Jesus, come.
The Spirit and the Bride say 'come'.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

he got it

photo via
Last night at Good Friday service my thoughts were captured by the thief on the cross.

What kind of faith does it take to say to a dying man, "Hey, when you get your kingdom, remember me."

He's dying.

What kingdom?

What can a dead man do for you?

The disciples were still confused. They were still looking for some kind of earthly coup.

But this guy--this convict--he got it.

I have the feeling that this thief may have been picking pockets at the sermon on the mount. I think he was familiar with Jesus and His teachings. He knew Who He was. And not just Who, because the disciples knew that much. This guy knew that the Kingdom was not of this world. He knew that death wasn't enough to stop this King.

He got it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

no ordinary death

When a man dies, hearts break. Life is shaken. It is cataclysmic for those who love him.

When the man--God--who holds all things together breathed his last it was no ordinary death. 

Matthew 27: 51-52 says, "...and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

This was a cosmic event.
When Christ died, the earth shuddered and Death was disturbed.

How could the people who witnessed the blackened sky, the shattered rocks, and dead people walking out of tombs still believe that Jesus was an ordinary man?

it's all about the love

Photo via morguefile. com
I've heard it said that the word "maundy" comes from the latin "mandatum novum" which means new commandment.
So Maundy Thursday means New Commandment Thursday. (Yes, I know today is Friday, but I'm still thinking about yesterday.)

His new commandment? "Love one another as I have loved you."

Today I was reading John's account of Christ's final hours. After partaking of the Passover meal, Jesus had a lot to say to his disciples. We tend to save the most important things until last, don't we? And Jesus did the same.

Jesus repeated his new commandment at least three times over the course of the evening.

He also gave an object lesson involving grape vines. He told us that we should abide in him. That we should abide in his love. Then he tells us how to abide in him: by keeping his commandments. Then he once again gives his commandment, "Love one another as I have loved you."

To abide in Christ requires that we love each other. Not just a little, but the way Christ loves us.

Not an easy thing to do. Really, it's beyond us. I think that's why in the same discourse Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit, sent to help us. We need the Spirit's help in order to keep Jesus' commandments. In order to love like he does and abide in him.

I don't know how well I've kept his commandments. There are some people that are easy to love. But others...
I want to learn. I want to love. I want to obey and abide.
It's all about the love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Lent is almost over!

The past couple of years I've given up Facebook for lent, which isn't a bad idea considering how much time I spend on there. But it didn't really do anything for me spiritually.

This year I gave up food. Not all food, but nearly all good food. At least in my taste-buds' opinion.
It's been tough.
But there is some kind of connection between food and the soul. When we deprive the body of something it wants, the soul gets stronger. When we ignore the cries of the flesh, we are better able to hear the wooing of the Spirit.

This has been a tough (almost) forty days. But it's been wonderful, too. It's not gone the way I expected. I didn't experience sweetness and pats on the head. God has gotten down to business. And so have I. It's been hard work. And painful. But so good.

So, with mixed emotions I look forward to eating a cheeseburger next week. I'm happy to be getting my food choices back. But a little sad to leave this season.
Still, life is made of seasons. Fasting and feasting and I'm sure that I will find God in the feasting of Easter as much as I have in the fasting of Lent.

Do you practice Lent? If so, how? And if not, have you considered it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

they say be careful what you ask for

I hate lies.
Despise deception.
I want to know what I can believe--whom I can trust.

So, I asked God to break the power of deception in my family. It's not that we have an unusual penchant for untruths. We aren't a bunch of liars or anything--no more than most people. But I felt compelled to pray that God would remove from each of us the ability to deceive.

Guess what?

He started with me.

I don't lie much. Not outright. I pride myself on my honesty. I make a real effort.

Pride is so often misplaced.

Even though I'm not an outright liar, for the most part, I am quite the deceiver, it turns out. And the person I am deceiving? Me.

God has taken this opportunity to strip away the ability to deceive myself. It's frightening. It's disgusting. I can't believe the things I've been hiding.

It's wonderful. It's liberating! The truth always is.

Friday, February 11, 2011

His pleasure

I recently watched Chariots of Fire for the second time. The first time I watched it was in the 1980's and I couldn't follow the story. I couldn't keep all of the characters straight. But this time I managed just fine and really enjoyed the film.

Lately, I've been questioning why I write.

In the movie the two main characters run for different reasons. Both run to win, but one wants to win to prove something and to prove himself. The other wants to win for the glory of God.

In the film Eric Liddel is talking to his sister about why he runs. He says, "God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run, I feel His pleasure."

This got me thinking...when do I feel God's pleasure?

I feel it when I worship Him. I feel it when I listen to a friend who is hurting. When I empathize--weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. When I love well. When I encourage someone.

All of those things seem to be more about who I am than what I do. I don't know that I feel His pleasure when I write. Of course that doesn't mean He isn't pleased. Perhaps I'm just not paying attention.

When do you feel His pleasure?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

i feel old

I'm going to be forty-five soon. I've done a lot of thinking about age lately.
I developed a back problem over a year ago. Over that year I've done things like look at canes online, contemplate the use of the little cart at the grocery store, and choose clothes based on their ability to hide my orthopedic device.
Then one day, the chiropractor told me that I needed more supportive shoes. What? Should I get those weird taupe colored orthopedic shoes? Maybe get some support stockings while I'm at it?

Here are some other things that make me feel old:

~ There are people who were born after I became an adult who are now adults themselves.

~ I have friends who are grandmas.

~ There are doctors younger than I am.

~Kids I used to babysit have kids.

~ I won't even go into the litany of physical decay.

~ I remember records, eight-tracks, and transistor radios.

~ I remember Elvis.

~ I remember when computers were mythical things that filled entire rooms in far off places.

~ I need my children's help to use my Itunes.

~ My phone is smarter than I am.

~ Young women call me sweetie and hon.

~Young men don't look at me. Old men do.

For a while, I considered giving in. I decided I would embrace my dotage, get those support hose, and spend my time reminiscing about the good old days. But you know what? I'm only forty-four. It's possible that I could live that many years more. I may be only half way done.

Fifty years ago forty-four was old. But in this century it's not. I'm not willing to spend half my life being old and decrepit.
There's not a lot more I can do about the decrepit part. I'm working on getting my back healed, but apart from that I can sure do something about my atitude.

My body may be a little out of control, but I can control my thoughts.
I'm gonna stop feeling old.

Any suggestions? What makes a person feel young? What makes a person seem young?

Monday, January 10, 2011

middle school middle agers

I was never popular. I had friends, but that was about it.

Now though, I kinda feel popular. I feel liked and that's really a nice feeling. It makes me want to pull a Sally Fields--"You like me! You really like me!"

I am blessed to have many friendships on many different levels.
Everything from Facebook friends I've never met to close Bosom Friends.
I'm one of those people who has several very close friends. Some people prefer one or two but I'll take as many as I can get. Each one is my best friend and each one is loved as if they were the only one.

I'm a relational person and I love all of these relationships.  But there's a dark side.

Apparently you can take the girl out of Middle School, but you can't take Middle School out of the girl.

I told my friend about a coffee shop I like, so she went to check it out--with another friend. They didn't think I would be able to go, so they didn't even ask. I was hurt and a little angry.

Another time a friend and I met to write, but didn't invite friend number three. So number three was horribly hurt, and little angry.

This friend talks to that friend more than me. That friend had lunch with this friend.
I have a monthly movie-watching date with one friend and other friends are jealous...

I never had to deal with this before.

I didn't know it would be so hard at this age. I had imagined that by midlife we would all be secure and mature and past all this.
But we all want to be liked. We all want to be the favorite. We all want to know that our friendships are sound and firm.

I am working on feeling secure. Letting go. Learning to not feel threatened when my friends have other friendships.

It seems silly to me that I struggle with this, but I know that I am not the only one. It's nice to have yet one more area where we relate. We all go through so many of the same things.
And learning how to handle friendships is a blessing. I wouldn't trade the lessons or the friends for anything in the world.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

i don't know how to swim

photo from
When I was trying to learn to float, the teenaged instructor would put her hands under my back while she encouraged me to relax.
I'd say, "Don't let go."
She'd say, "I won't. Relax. Tip your chin up."
"Don't let go."
"I won't. Tuck in your tummy."
"Don't let go."
"I won't."
"I promise. I won't let go."
Then, when I had my posture just right, my chin up, tummy tucked and was sufficiently relaxed for the water to buoy me up, she let go.
Immediately all my muscles tensed and I sunk.

From then on, I don't care how many times they told me they wouldn't let go, I don't care how many promises they made, I couldn't relax. I couldn't trust them. Even if it was a different girl, or my mother, or my husband. My abdominal muscles alway had that slightly tensed feeling. I was ready. On guard. I still can't float.

The other day I asked God to give me a word, a theme, for this year. A lot of people do that, and I like the idea. I've done it before, although, I have to admit that I usually forget what the word is by December.
This time I heard "Trust." But don't I already know how to trust? Then I heard it again and my stomach muscles did that thing. They tightened up. "But why, Lord? Why would I need to trust? What do you have planned, exactly?" Then I realized that I live my life with those tightened abs. Well, not tight in the way I'd like them to be, but tensed, ready. 
I live life in an attitude of not trusting. 
I thought I was trusting. Especially I thought I was trusting God.
I do believe. I have faith. I think I have strong faith, but what I've realized is that faith and trust are not the same. Trust is faith lived out.
So, I'm hoping this year I'll learn how to let those muscles relax. I'm hoping I'll put my faith into action and let go. 
I'm even thinking it might be time for me to take swimming lessons again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

checkin up on my check up

Last January I posted about my plans for the year. I mentioned a scarf I was making. Guess what? That scarf still isn't finished. It's still imperfect, though. In fact, when I pick it up and try to work on it I seem to not remember exactly what to do. So it gets more imperfect the more I work on it.
I think I'm not a knitter. It's very tedious. Some people apparently like that. It relaxes them. Not me. I think I'll just buy my scarves and socks and stuff already made.

My plan last year was to embrace imperfection and take risks. I don't remember many risks I took. I did speak for my Writers' Guild. That felt risky, but the reality is that it's a very safe place. I could have fallen on my face and they would have embraced me.
I sorta tend to forget my plans for the year, so I can't say that I was very proactive in the embracing imperfection thing, but I do feel more comfortable with it. I'm still a perfectionist, and perhaps always will be, but I feel a little less pressure. I've found some grace to bestow on myself.

How did you do last year?