Saturday, January 30, 2010

To All The Losers

I’m a loser. At least I feel like one sometimes.

I failed my first drivers test. Yep. I’m putting it out there. I remember I just cried and cried.

I never went to my prom. Nope. Never even got asked!

I had to take speech therapy as a child for slurring my ‘s’s. Still struggle with that sometimes.

I don’t have a best friend.

No one ever threw me a baby shower for my second child!

Why am I laying this all out there? Because I’m tired of posers. I’m tired of people acting like they have it all together thus making others feel inferior. NO ONE has it all together! No one!

I am a walking-talking flawed woman. And you know what? I’ve come to love myself. I have come to embrace my failures, my flaws, my missteps. I haven’t always enjoyed them and certainly wouldn’t repeat some of them – but they make up “me.” And I am a unique, one-of-a-kind person.

I’ve learned to love me. God loves me – why shouldn’t I love me? My husband knows all of these things and he loves me too. Imperfections and all.

I’ve learned that success doesn’t make you more loveable. It only makes you more successful.

I want to challenge you to bare your flaws and your failures. It can be very freeing. Yes, some people will label you a “loser.” Others will breathe a sigh of relief , and come clean about their own “low” moments in life.

Why do we expect to have it all together all of the time? Only Jesus is perfect. And if I hadn’t gone through what I went through in life sometimes, I might have failed to learn compassion, diligence, perseverance, or faith. I might not have learned to lean on the Lord. Oh what I would have missed out on!

So I may be a “loser” in some people’s book, but I’m really a winner because it’s only when I am brought low that God can truly raise me up.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In The Heat of the Moment

I recently watched “Brace For Impact: the Chesley Sullenberger Story.” It was a television special on the landing of the US Airways jet in the Hudson River. I have been fascinated by this story ever since it happened for several reasons.

1. Maybe because I’m sensitive to all “flying” stories. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up with two uncles who flew small planes – one who had his wings freeze up and he crashed and perished when I was in 5th grade. Or if it’s because of 9/11.

2. Maybe it’s because I’m always fascinated by honorable, humble men and women. Men and women who show great courage and integrity in the heat of the moment; such as Chesley Sullenberger. Either way, I have been an admirer of his ever since.

I was struck by how many of Chesley’s passengers felt endeared to him after the successful river landing. Of course, I would be too if faced with my impending death and knowing that someone else’s choices and decisions saved my life. Who wouldn’t be? But it reminded me how much more we need to be thankful for the choices and decisions made all the time by our pilots and co-pilots when we fly on an aircraft.

I love it when I’m getting off of a flight and I see the captain standing next to the door as I deplane. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see the faces and listen to the personalities of those you just safely carried across the skies. I think we often forget the weight that rests on their shoulders. They carry our lives in their hands. And I’m always so thankful to arrive somewhere safely. In fact, I’ve made it a habit to say “thank you” when I see the captain up front as I get off of the plane. I want him to know that I appreciate and value the fact that I’m standing there in one piece and that I can go on with my life and agenda as I’d planned…. All because of him.

I guess when you go through tragedy as I have, you learn not to take for granted little things. I know that with every breath I breathe, I’m blessed. I understand that it can all be taken away in a second.

We need more heroes like Chesley Sullenberger. We need people who “get it.” People like him who are appreciative of the attention and thankful for it, yet take it in stride never letting it define who they are because they were already defined before the rest of the world discovered them.

There is a saying – “Does the man define the moment or the moment define the man?” I think the man defines the moment for it is what is inside a person that gives them the conviction and motivation to handle the moment in the way that they do. Let more of us become this kind of a person that the world cannot sway…but who instead sways the world.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Have You Done These Things?

The rules are make the item bold on your blog if you've done it. For me, it showed me that I’ve lived an adventurous life. Been able to experience a lot of different things. It also reminds me that there is so much IN life to experience. Are you enjoying your life to the fullest? Maybe some of these things aren’t important to you – as they aren’t to me. But I’m sure there are some things on this list that could inspire you. Some can be done with young children and some can be things to strive towards. Each one, adding to your life and adding to who you are as a person.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disney World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (I’m not sure if this means WHILE you’re at sea or watched one OVER the sea? – I’ve watched one on the beach OVER the sea)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (No, but I’ve pet one!)
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant (I bought a transient outside one a meal once)
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Nuts. I was halfway up)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (well, a ministry)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (okay – but in my defense, it was a checking account error)
68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (only once and it was because I stepped on it in a park)
100. Read an entire book in one day
101. Been to Alaska
102. Milked a goat
103. Been bitten by a snake
104. Been inside a cave

Feel free to print this list on your own blog and let me know if you do. I'd like to see your list. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hooked On Praise

I was listening to a Christian radio broadcast one day on my I-pod and they were talking about the dangers of relying on praise from others. They mentioned how it became addictive. As I was listening, certain Hollywood celebrities ran through my mind and how they seem to lose touch with us “regular folk.” They end up sort of living life in a bubble – thriving and depending on praise and adoration. They’ve gotten it so much; they don’t know how to live life without it. I think it’s one of the reasons that some of them simply fall apart when their life on camera comes to an end. When they are left with simply themselves – they don’t know how to come to terms with that. They can’t get a grip.

We are the same way. Sure, it feels good when people talk good about you and lift you up. But we need to be careful that we don’t attach our whole self esteem and identity with that.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer. Most girls do. Why, do you think? Is maybe one draw of being a big singer or movie star the fact that everyone seems to love you? We all want to be loved and cherished. But we also need to learn to love and cherish ourselves in a positive, healthy way so that when the crowds (or friends) fade away, that we still have solid roots to stand on.

In Proverbs 31:30 God says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is greatly to be praised.”

The beauty and the charm that comes with great praise is fleeting. It won’t always be there. Someone won’t think we’re great or they will criticize us or hurt our feelings. And instead of doing things for our own pure motivation – out of a love for life and the gifts God has given us, we can end up doing things simply out of a need for approval. That’s never healthy!

Compliments are good. We all need encouragement and support. We all need to feel like we’re on the right track and we need affirmation at times. But when we come to rely on praise and focus on it so much that we don’t know who we are or what we are doing without it, then it’s time to reevaluate our priorities and our intent.

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

None of us deserve to be put on a pedestal. So if you’ve been placed there, or even aspire to be there – it just might be time to climb down and leave that role for the Lord. He’s the only one who deserves our unending praise and credit. And He’s the only one who probably helped you get yours.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Would Be So Much More Fun If There Wasn't Housework

I really don’t like housework. Never have. Not as a child and not as an adult. I hate cleaning toilets and procrastinate dusting. I don’t like to clean sinks or showers. The monotony of doing laundry and putting away dishes from the dishwasher gets to me.

But I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a stay at home mom. If my days could simply be spent helping my girls’ with their homework, doing their hair, playing games or reading with them – I would savor every moment. I could spend extra time doing only fun things like writing, reading, taking walks, or going shopping (assuming the money is provided.)

If only.

I feel like the gusts of a storm might blow down on me for even uttering the fact that I hate housework. Yet there it is in all of my honesty.

The thing I learned about life is that sometimes the most rewarding things come in doing the very things you hate doing. And that a lot of times the sour things in life co-exist right along with the sweet. I guess maybe it’s God’s way of keeping us humble and clinging to Him. It would be far too easy to exist on our own will-power and strength otherwise! We’d simply claim everything as being to our credit instead of His!

I may not enjoy picking up things around the house but I do it because I’m so thankful I have a family. I could be living alone. I don’t relish the thought of cooking dinner every night but I do it because it makes me feel good to feed my family. I like that they come to me for that nourishment. I’m blessed beyond measure to have a home and to be able to take care of my children and raise them within that home. I’m so lucky to have a husband who loves me and wants to be with me. It’s these very things that put a smile on my face and love in my heart when it comes time to do the mundane.

I love having fun. But life isn’t just about the fun. And you often can’t learn the same lessons in the “fun” that you can in the “I’d rather not” moments.

So – I may not like housework, but in a strange way I’m thankful for it. It teaches me to be selfless, patient, persevering, caring, thoughtful, and giving. It teaches me the value in hard work.

If something as small as washing a favorite pair of jeans for someone in my family makes them happy and somehow show them that I love them, then I guess the fun can wait. For awhile…..

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Heart's Motivation

“Sometimes you just have to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

My sister told me that recently. I’d attempted to undertake something that I wasn’t quite sure I was equipped for. I was beginning to think maybe I was in over my head but knew in my heart that my motivation was right. I’d seen a need and no one else was filling it – so I plunged in.

My heart often leads me like that. I don’t mean it leads me into situations where I feel like I’m in over my head – usually I’m discerning about that. But it leads me to feel quickly intuitive and compassionate when I feel there is neglect, injustice, or simply where love is needed. I’m okay with that. In fact, I like that about myself most of the time.

But this time….this time I was feeling like I jumped in with both feet and had no idea what I was doing. I began to feel like maybe it wasn’t my place to be doing what I was about to do. Until my sister told me, “sometimes you just have to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” That was all I needed to hear. That was all the reminder my heart needed. You see, it doesn’t really matter if something we undertake comes off perfectly or is as beautiful as we dreamed it would be. It doesn’t matter that we may not be experienced or have the gift to normally do something. What matters is that we saw a hole – a vacant spot that needed to be filled and we allowed God to work in us and use us to fill that hole. That’s what matters.

So my shoulders can relax a bit more. I can breathe in and out somewhat easier and just do my best. I can let the beauty of the moment replace the beauty, praise, or glory that I might have tried to acquire for myself in the accomplishment.

All I really want to be is God’s servant. I want to let Him work through me. If I achieve that goal then I am fulfilled. No matter what the physical outcome is – I just want to be His hands and feet. Maybe I should let my heart convict me and jump in more often when He prompts it. For untold adventures and blessings may rest there if I do.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't Forget About Haiti

My mind and heart are still very much on and with Haiti right now. I still have not heard if my sponsored child through Compassion International is okay. However, I am optimistic. She lives in an area that was not hit as hard so I have great hope that her and her family made it through the initial earthquake okay. However, I am now hearing that it is very hard for many areas to have access to food and water. A lot of outlying areas got their supplies from Port-Au-Prince. So that is starting to concern me.

So many people will return to life as normal. It's natural, I guess. I've already found it harder to find Haiti coverage on the news when I want to watch during the day. I guess it's because the time for discovering people alive is dwindling. The media will soon leave altogether and hop onto the next "hot" story. But the people of Haiti have a long road of recovery ahead of them. A LONG ROAD.

So today, I just didn't feel like entering another blog post on some other subject. I just wanted to remind people to focus on the men, women, and children of Haiti in their prayers. Make a note to give some more $ when your next payday comes around for the money coming in will dwindle quickly when the media coverage does...but the intense need will not.

I am following two blogs of some Americans in Haiti that you might be interested in. One is of a missionary family here. The other is of two sisters from Pittsburg who have been running an orphanage. You can find that one here. They have run out of water to feed the babies.

May our hearts continue to be touched, softened, and moved to action for our brothers and sisters in Haiti - not just today, next week, or next month - but for the long haul.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When Words Seem Worthless

People go through some tough, tough stuff. Whether it’s the news of cancer, a sudden, tragic death, a horrible miscarriage, infidelity, a house fire…. The list can go on and on. God promised us that we would go through trouble here on earth – and we do.

We each know how it feels to hurt deeply. I don’t think there is anyone alive who hasn’t felt wounded to the core at one point or another. Most of us knew what we needed in the midst of all of that pain – support. Yet, when it’s not us going through the heartache, but a friend or family member; sometimes it seems like we are just at a loss of what to do. We don’t seem to be able to know how to convey the empathy our heart’s feel at the hurt they are going through. And I think it’s because we try and make it too complicated. We think or wish there was something we could DO when oftentimes, there isn’t. There is nothing we can do to fix someone’s broken heart. But we CAN love them. And that may be the most important gift during a time of crisis that we can give someone else.

It may seem like our words are so worthless or trivial. “I’m sorry” seems like so little compared to the depths of someone’s aching heart at times. But “I’m sorry” goes so much farther than we think and words aren’t worthless in the least.

I know that in the times when I’ve been going through tough things, words have meant everything to me. The “I’m sorries,”, the “I care” or the “I’m praying for you” helped me feel less alone. They made me feel like what I was going through mattered and counted for something. I felt validated and nurtured in a strange way by the words and support of others. It doesn’t matter how it comes. It can come in the form of a card, a phone message, or a hug and face-to-face contact. The point is THAT IT COMES.

We can’t give someone back his or her child. We can’t give them back the trust they had in their spouse, or their health. But we can wrap them in our love and prayers. We can be there for them whether they look for us to be there or not.

You are an important gift. Your time, your words, and your love are unique to only you. No one can deliver love, compassion, and understanding quite the way that you can so don’t sit back and wait for someone else to step forward. YOU are needed. Step forward and be there for someone today – whether or not you feel like your words are worthless.

I guarantee you… they are not.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heartache For Haiti

As many of you know, the people of Haiti suffered a 7.0 earthquake last night. I know a lot of people have been keeping them in their thoughts, praying for them, etc and for that I am so thankful. I love to see the outpouring of compassion when our fellow man goes through a catastophe such as they have. For at any time, it could be any one of us in need. The thing is... this isn't an isolated incident for them. They have gone through several hurricanes, rioting, and hunger. This earthquake will do more than shake their homes - it will shake them.

My heart is very personally invested in Haiti. I have sponsored a sweet little girl there for probably close to 7 years now. And right now, I am concerned about her well-being for although she didn't live in Port-Au-Prince, she lived in Le Cayes and I believe her area also was damaged.

Let me give you a glimpse into how she lives on a normal day-to-day basis WITHOUT adding in a hurricane.

Homes where she lives are typically made out of mud/earth/clay/adobe. Roofs are normally out of tin or corrugated iron. Her floor? Usually dirt.

Their average family monthly income is $22. Yes. You read that right. $22.

They have it tough. I mean geez. Many of us spend over $22 to take our families out to dinner. These people have to make that last for their whole family for a month! And with the economy the way it has been? We don't even know the meaning of the word "tough."

With all my heart, I pray that she is okay. There is a good chance that she is. But even if she is physically okay - I can only imagine how terrified she must have been. Maybe she knows others who have been hurt, injured, or even killed. I've already received letters from her talking about hurricanes and wondering if I too had to go through them?

Please, please join with me in praying for the people of Haiti. They need us now more than ever. And if you can, please donate to help in their aid. Right now it is essential that they have water as it is very hot over there. Donate to a reputable organization like the Red Cross, Samaritans Purse, Doctors Without Borders, Compassion International, etc and be careful about who and how you donate to make sure it's legitimate and will indeed go to Haiti.

I found some information here: that has some direct information for you of who to contact and how to donate.

This isn't just a news story. These are people. They hurt when they bleed, they ache when they are hungry, they laugh, giggle, have dreams, get frustrated, pray to the same God we do, and are each unique, special human beings. I think sometimes we forget that. We forget that their is a mother just like us wishing she could clothe her child or feed them more. There is a father wishing he could find work to support his family or put a roof over their heads. They feel just like us. And right now - they need us.

They need you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Am a Flawed Person

The Internet is a crazy and yet strange thing. I love it. I love the people I’ve gotten to know and the ways that those people have inspired and enriched my life. I love the ideas they’ve given me. But the Internet also can sometimes lead people to epitomize or idolize others. I mean, it can be easy to start adoring someone who has all these great decorating ideas or really Godly posts. We can (maybe misleadingly) put people on pedestals that they shouldn’t be on.

I’m not saying that some of these people aren’t really great people. They possibly are. But they are still people.

I think we forget that these people whom we greatly look up to can make mistakes or mess up. So when they do, we are either both totally devastated and crushed, or we rake them over the coals for what we’ve interpreted as human flaw or error. But who put us in the place of judge and jury?

We are blessed. We are blessed to live in this day and age. We can talk to our favorite authors via their blogs online or banter back and forth with elementary school friends on facebook. Sometimes it gives us an amazing ability to personally know someone that we would otherwise have not been able to. But sometimes it gives us a false comfort in being able to say things or criticize someone because we don’t have to confront them face to face. We get comfortable behind our computer screen.

It’s good to be reminded that these people you’ve come to follow online – they are just people. They yell at their kids sometimes, ignore their spouse when they shouldn’t, slob all over themselves while eating, or are rude to the supermarket clerk. They are people – human – flawed people.

I am a human – flawed person. I would never want to misrepresent myself to people. I try to be really honest when I write. But I make mistakes constantly. My kids think I’m “Uncool” at times just like the next parent. I stick my foot in my mouth, I get embarrassed, and I have to apologize. I’m just walking through life learning as I go – like you.

I think we all need to be careful about placing people so high up that they can never measure up to the altitude we’ve put them in. Does that make sense? Yes, those of us who choose to live more public lives by writing or being online do need to try and maintain a good reputation, have integrity, and carry ourselves with some class. But we also still need grace and mercy for we aren’t “superhuman. “ We’re just human.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Do You Believe?

For the first time ever, I got the courage to watch the “Lord of the Rings” series. I’ve stayed away from it up until now because the small segments I saw before greatly disturbed me. My heart is very sensitive to dark things and evil….things this movie greatly portrays. But because I heard the movie had Christian parallels – I finally decided to give it a try.

Near the end of the second movie, the battle against evil seems overwhelming. It wants to destroy man. Frodo (the main character) questions why they continue on – what their purpose is. His best friend (and the person who has been making sure he stays safe) says something that we should all resonate with. He says that they go on even when it seems as if it’s a losing battle because “there is good that’s worth fighting for.”

There is good that is worth fighting for.

We live in a world that sometimes seems as if it’s going in the wrong direction. It gets darker, more twisted and perverse. What once was seen as bad is sometimes now construed as good or okay. It’s allowed – it’s tolerated – it’s endorsed. Do we turn our heads because the battle seems overwhelmingly against us? Do we remain silent because one voice won’t matter? Do we compromise our beliefs, our values – to save face?


Do we decide that there is good that is worth fighting for?

I made my decision – my choice. I’ve decided to fight. I’ve decided that there is good to be found and it’s worth fighting for. I’ve decided that I won’t simply turn a blind eye or stay out of the fight. I’ve decided that I will go on even if it seems like no one is listening or that the odds are against me. Because I believe. I believe in God – in who He was – who He is and in what He stands for. I believe. And I will fight for Him and with Him as long as I have breath.

There IS good that is worth fighting for.

I feel far more alive and free when I’m fighting with a small contingent of God’s army against the rest of the tides of the world than I ever would just giving up, giving in, and growing apathetic. You can too. You can join me. You just need to believe.


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