Friday, June 29, 2012

A Day in Forth Worth With a Pit Stop in Georgia


Tuesday night we met a dear friend of mine for dinner. I’ve known her since I was just a young girl and started babysitting her and her sister. So cool to meet up with her and her sweet kiddos. We laughed, ate, and let the kids catch a quick swim in our motel pool before we had to hug goodbye. A visit that went by so quickly.

Wednesday we decided to drive around Allen a little bit and I think we saw the biggest high school we’ve ever seen. Their football field alone looked like a college field! We were all “wowed.” We then drove to Forth Worth to go to the Stockyards. What a drive that was! Our GPS was struggling a little bit with all the freeway changes and as she made a last minute change that we couldn’t keep up with, lest we get creamed by other cars – we ended up at the airport. HA HA So we had go to through a toll booth and do a u-turn and end up back onto the freeway to which we were still a little confused as to where to go. So the GPS gave us a choice of going the fastest or shortest way to Forth Worth. There was only 2 minutes difference in the time and we wanted to try and get there by 11:30 to see the cowboys and steer come down the street on a cattle drive.  Well, we chose the shortest route since it would get us off the confusing freeway. Big mistake.  It took us through all these lights and major construction and traffic. We should have arrived in Forth Worth around 11 but instead got there at exactly 11:30 and with fried nerves from all the “mess” we had to drive through.

My husband dropped us off and I took off running down the street as I saw the cattle turn the corner and wanted to get them on video. I had no idea how long it would last, how big it was or anything. My girls were laughing at me later saying they’d never seen me run so fast! Needless to say, I got them on video – but it wasn’t a huge ordeal like I thought it might be. Maybe 20-50 cattle? It was over in the span of about 5 minutes.   But it made for a good story.

So we decided to go eat lunch at Freebirds nearby and then come back to shop. We fell in love with Freebirds on our previous road trip. It was still delicious and I’m so glad I got the small burrito this time!


Then we went back to the Stockyards for a “shopportunity.” What stunned me was that after a couple hours roaming through the shops, when we left not one of us had purchased anything! Wow.

Before heading back to our motel in Dallas, we decided to also go to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s the only place outside of DC that prints our money and they gave free tours. I felt so lost as you can’t bring any cameras, cell phones, etc inside! It was very interesting.  You go through a little museum at your own pace and then a self-guided tour where you can watch the actual printing of the money. The workers there were super friendly and many of them would look up at you, smile and wave. I liked that.

I also really enjoyed talking to the woman who pieces back together damaged money. She only comes to that facility occasionally but happened to be there on our visit. I didn’t even know that you could send your torn or damaged money away to be fixed and reimbursed!

By the time we were done, it was 5pm. Yikes. Not a good time to have to make the hour and a half trip back to Allen. We tried to take a route that took us outside Dallas as much as possible, but we still hit major, major traffic. Seems to be a theme for us this trip so far! Huge kudos to my husband for keeping us alive and dealing with that mess as well as dealing with me as I cringed, yelped in fear, and generally gripped my car door in terror. I don’t see how people drive in that. NOT FUN.

We made it back (alive) to our motel. Grabbed some In N Out food for us, Chick Fil A for our girls (the best of both worlds!) and took it up to our room to crash, eat, pull all our gear together and get ready for our early start in the morning.

So now it’s Thursday and we are making another really long journey to Georgia to briefly see some more dear friends.  I got up at 3 and I’m either going to be a zombie later or giggling uncontrollably from lack of sleep. HA HA

Tomorrow will mark 1 week since we’ve been gone. And so much more to see and do.


~~~~~~   


Yesterday was a loooong day. We left Dallas at 5am so as to avoid bad traffic. We drove until about 8pm when we arrived in Georgia for a quick hello and visit with some friends that have become more like family.  We were treated to homemade ice cream and crammed as much visiting in as we could. About midnight, I headed to bed. 

With some photo shoots together, a haircut , and a last lunch together, we were again off on the road.

Traffic seems to be our theme for this road trip and I sure wish we could change that! We once again had awful, awful traffic as we drove around Atlanta. It lasted from about 3 – 4:30 before we were finally able to get some speed going. Ugg!!

Tonight, we spend it in North Carolina. Are we staying long? No! This is a road trip after all – we spend a great deal of our time on the road! 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trying To Find Your Identity?

Well, while I am criss crossing the country with my family - I happen to have a post over on "Keeping It Personal's" Blog today.  It's about how we seem to try to find our identity outside of the four walls of our homes.

Won't you stop by and take a minute to read it? Let me know if you identify.  And keep our family in your prayers as we continue to do a lot of driving each day! Thank you so much.

http://keepingitpersonal.com/2012/06/find-your-identity

~ Dionna

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Traffic, Food, and Bats


Yesterday we left San Cruces, NM and headed for Texas. That has to be one of the longest, most desolate drives I think I’ve ever been on. And I’ve been on some barren drives before! Hour after hour of nothing but brush and high winds beating on your vehicle here and there. Yuck.

We went through El Paso and the girls were very excited to look across the street and see Mexico. It was amazing to me how easily you could tell that it was Mexico. Such a definitive line between cultures. I wonder what they think as they live each day and look across into America????

Anyways, we made it into Austin early evening. It was a lot greener than I thought it would be. Trees everywhere and we all found it really pretty. My allergies started acting up almost right away though, which I found a little crazy.  And the freeway traffic. OH, THE FREEWAY TRAFFIC! Bumper, to bumper, to bumper, for miles. Luckily our side was a little bit better so we moved a tad easier but the other side was horrible. And we ran into that a few times plus have heard it’s very common. What a nightmare to have to live and drive in day after day! That’s too bad. It really takes away from the amenities of Austin, in my opinion.

So we found our motel, got gassed up, and went to the Original Chuy’s for dinner. And it did not disappoint. We all raved about it. In fact, my husband proclaimed it to have the best enchilada he’d ever had! I got chicken soft tacos which were also very, very good and my girls shared a “Big as Yo Face” burrito.  They are hard to please, but also loved it. Our waiter was great as well, which always adds to a fun dining experience. And the place had such charm. Yes, we are all now fans.

We then hustled out of there to get to the Congress Bridge by dusk to see the bat phenomenon. I guess every night at dusk over 1 million bats fly out from under the bridge to go feed for the night. They are supposed to fly out in huge masses and look like just a black mass going out into the sky. Sounds amazing huh? Well, to our disappointment, for whatever reasons, the bats did not perform as usual on this night. A few came out here and there and then finally some were coming out when it was almost dark but no mass quantities like usual. I heard some people talking (and there were A LOT of people there watching, just like us) and I guess there are rare instances where the bats don’t come out. Yay. We caught them on an off night. It was a bummer but still interesting.

Today (it’s Tuesday right?) we drove around Round Rock a little bit and Pflugerville. We found Austin traffic to be just as bad at 9:30 am on the freeway so we skedaddled out of there even though we thought it so pretty.  We grabbed a HUGE Round Rock Donut and shared it and then headed to Waco for lunch and to go through the Dr. Pepper factory. (I’m a pepper – wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?)


The Dr. Pepper factory was okay. Not fantastic, but interesting. Waco….well, Waco was an adventure. From detours in scary neighborhoods to an “almost” car accident – we were ready to leave. (We were driving and a car didn’t stop at his stop sign and as we both screeched were within mere inches from colliding.) So scary!

We’ve arrived outside of Dallas now and are meeting with a dear friend of mine and her family this evening. We actually arrived a little early so have almost an hour of down time. We are relishing it for the moment.

We’ve had several close calls in the car – please continue to pray for us as we drive and for God’s hand and protection over our family.

Thank you so much.

~ Dionna

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Arizona


One of the hardest things to do on a big road trip like this is to keep track of what day it is. So maybe if I have to keep writing about it, that will help me remember – you think?

Saturday night we arrived in Phoenix. We had just enough time to check into our motel, unload, freshen up and then drive into Tempe to meet an old high school friend of Eliseo’s.  Our drive went quicker than we thought it would so we drove into downtown a bit and just looked out our windows.  After that, we went ahead into Organ Stop Pizza.

It was jam-packed. I could barely find a table and finally found one that was being cleaned off and even then, another guy came and sat down at part of it so we had to scrunch.  I felt bad that the volume of the organ was so loud that Eliseo and his old buddy had to speak at elevated volumes as they tried to catch up on the years.  But the girls were having a great time. They’d never seen or heard an organ before and the atmosphere was great.  I think my favorite was hearing “Play That Funky Music” played on the organ. Who knew an organ could sound so cool? HA HA  The pizza was also really good as my one daughter can testify (she ate 6 pieces!)

Sunday morning we woke up, packed up and headed out into town for a while. We made some observations – like how Arizona has little grass, how we loved the store parking lots encased with tons of palm trees, and how the houses have tile roofs.

We headed to El Charro for an early lunch on a recommendation from my aunt. As we got closer we saw smoke. As we got even closer we realized there were two spots of smoke. One looked to be a tanker of some sort on fire and the other was a stack of hay. Two fires a block apart. Crazy.

Very full from a Mexican lunch – we departed Phoenix for Tucson where we roamed briefly and then decided instead of staying the night there to move on to New Mexico and save ourselves a few hours from our drive on Monday.


We are still in the very early part of our trip and so not doing as many activities yet.

Next stop: Texas.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Chasing The Sun


We left Friday afternoon on our cross country trek to the East and back home again.  An adventure that holds many stories, experiences, photos, and memories to be had.

We left Boise and made a pit stop at Shoshone Falls – a site we had never been to. It was very pretty.

I took over the driving after the waterfall so that my husband could eat his dinner. We’d brought sandwiches with us and since I could eat while he was driving, I took over for a while. I did not know that my driving time would be so eventful or I probably would have hesitated to say yes.  HA HA

First of all, there was a semi that was in front of me that started to drift over the center lane and then suddenly jerk his truck back. I was so scared to pass him! I had to hit my brakes twice as he did this but then revved it and got by him. As I was breathing a sigh of relief, my husband continued to watch the truck drift and jerk a few more times in our rear view mirror.

A ways up the road, I saw a brown flash out of the corner of my eye cross the other side of traffic into the median. I thought maybe it was a rabbit since it was so quick. And I thought it would stop in the median grass area – but no – it kept going right into the freeway in front of me. I had to hit my breaks again and slow down as a coyote ran into the road in front of me and then quickly turned back around into the median grass area. If my husband hadn’t seen what it was a second before and told me to slow down, and if the coyote hadn’t quickly made a u-turn; we would have hit it.

My nerves were a little fried at this point and I was ready to give up the wheel for the day between the coyote, the semi, and high winds. So we pull over and my husband takes over. In this time, the semi passes us and we have to once again catch up and pass him as he continues to drift and jerk back. I don’t know if he was tired or what – but I was so glad when we finally got way ahead of him!

The rest of our afternoon was pretty uneventful. We spent the night in Utah and I will say that it seems like the whole state of Utah is under construction. The freeways and even our motel was all torn up and being redone.

We did take a little walk around our motel and discovered a cute little burger/shake shop that the local college kids were congregating to. It had some live little band playing outside. The girls shared a smoothie and we all got some battered fries to share. May I say they were delicious??

Today we headed into Arizona. A lot of high winds again blowing through the canyons but the sunshine is out and I’m LOVING it. We’ve barely had a good start to  summer in Boise and I’ve been ready for summer weather for weeks now! As I type this, our car temp says 105. Oh yes, I think summer weather is very abundant in Arizona!

Heading Out On the Road

(Picture from 2010)


For those of you who have followed me or my blog for any length of time - you know that our family has gone on a couple of really big road trips. Well, we are blessed to say we are going on another one! Probably our 3rd and final really big road trip as my girls are getting to the age where sports, driving, and possible jobs enter the picture in the summer time. (You thought I was going to say they didn't want to go anymore, didn't you?)  I am thrilled to say that my girls LOVE to go on our road trips. We all have so much fun together and make lots of memories. That's not to say we are perfect and don't get irritable with each other from time to time - we are human, after all! :)

In July of 2008, we were able to visit Graceland, Arches National Park, Memphis, Nashville, Kentucky, St Louis (and the great arch!), Chicago, The Mall of America, Navy Pier, American Girl Cafe, Yellowstone National Park, and Mt. Rushmore - among many.

You can read about our first road trip at these links:

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2008_07_01_archive.html

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2008/08/adventure-continues.html

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2008/08/admiring-view.html


In June of 2010 we hit the road again. We went to Georgia, New Orleans (had a swamp ride!),  the Grand Canyon, Arkansas, Loveless Cafe in Nashville, the Smoky Mountains (where we got to feed a baby grizzly) Atlanta, (CNN, World of Coke and original Chick Fil A), Houston and San Antonio, and Mesa Verde cliff dwellings outside of Cortez, CO.

Yes - we cover a lot of miles! Those trip recaps are here:

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html


Now, we are excited to hit the road again. This time we will be seeking out the territory that we have never quite reached - the East.  We plan to go through Arizona and Texas quickly, then Georgia and on up through North and South Carolina to DC, New York, Boston, Niagara Falls, etc. A lot of terrain to cover!

I will do my best, as I always do to post pictures and updates as I can along the way. I know some of ya'll really enjoy that.  And as always, I covet your prayers for safety as we drive, that we don't lose anything or have anything stolen, etc and maintain good health. We'd like to wrap up this last big road trip with sweet smiles on our faces!

I can still read your comments while I'm away, so let me know you're reading okay?

Love and hugs to you all. See you in three weeks!

~ Dionna


PS - A HUGE thanks to Thomas for housesitting for us and taking care of our kitties while we are gone. We appreciate you!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Never Settle




I want to teach my kids so many things. I want to teach them how to forgive themselves when they’ve messed up and how to have compassion for others. I want to teach them what it’s like to serve the Lord and the amazing feeling that goes along with it. I want to teach them lots of things and I’m sure I’ll teach them a few things that I’d rather not have passed along.

One thing I want to teach my kids is to “never settle.” Because we settle so much in life.

We settle for mediocrity when we could have amazing.

We settle for “what is and has always been” when we could have “new and exciting.”

We settle for being what someone else has told us we are.

Without even realizing it (or maybe WITH realizing it), we settle. Fear grips us from reaching out to change where we currently are. We’re afraid of what “could be” because we think it “shouldn’t be or “probably won’t be” and where would that leave our bruised and scarred hearts?

I want to teach my kids to think outside of the box. To learn that those in charge of you don’t always know what is best for you. To take your every dream, wish, concern, and hurt to the Lord in prayer and let HIM show you what is and what is not to be. We let human voices into our heads too often and let them penetrate too deeply.

If I can teach my kids not to settle for what the rest of the world throws their hands up over…I think I will have given them something that will carry them through so many storms and challenges in life. If I can only get the point across to them that settling isn’t a sign of being content and obedient; but one of abandon and loss…I will have helped give them a valuable tool for fighting for who God created them to be.

The world wants us to settle. It wants us to give up the fight and give in to the pressures, temptations, labels, and demands all around us. It wants us to settle for materialism, the myth that money buys happiness, that “I” come first, image means everything, size matters, and so much more.

I don’t care if my children learn how to cook. It would be nice, but it’s not life altering. I’m not too concerned with whether or not they get a college degree, or if they like the same activities and things I do. I am however, concerned about their morals, values, and character.

I AM concerned with how deep their roots will be and how strong their armor will be once they go out into the world on their own.

May I teach them now. May I arm them, now.  And may they never – ever – settle.

Monday, June 18, 2012

We've Lost Our Purpose As a Nation




There was a day and time when our nation had purpose. It was us against the world. We held values dear to our hearts and we fought for what was right.

I didn’t live in that time. But I wish I had. I wish I’d lived when men had valor and they respected women. When our nation was promoted and rooted in Christian values.  When neighbor stood with neighbor.

Now, instead of it being us against the world – it’s us against each other.  We fight for everything we think is against our own views and standards.

There is a saying – “a divided house falls.” And that is what is happening to our great country. Instead of standing together, we pick each other apart.

We blame everyone but ourselves. But it is “ourselves” who have done this thing. We’ve lost our purpose. We’ve lost our vision. We’ve lost our values, ethics, and moral code of conduct.

We’ve lost our patriotism.

Before anything will change, we must take a hard look at ourselves and our greed. We must be ready to sacrifice social gain for the common good. We must be willing to put our families first and once again, bow to God.

It’s the only way.

I for one, believe in my country. I believe in its people. Our people just need to remember how to believe in themselves again. Believe in what our great country once stood for. Believe in what is GOOD.

Lest we continue to run aimlessly and irrevocably lost and destroying one another from within.

It’s up to us. It’s up to ….you.

One person does matter. One person does make a difference.  Look back in history at all the “one” men who mattered and made a difference. Yes, the stakes may be high. But isn’t liberty, justice, and freedom for all worth it? 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Perfect





God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.  2 Samuel 22:33


Just what is “perfect?” When we hear that God makes our way perfect, what kind of images come up in your mind? Do you envision that perfect house, job, spouse? Do you envision perfect health and all the hassles and inconveniences of life melting away?

I don’t think that is what God meant when He said “perfect.”

I think God often views things as “perfect” in my life that I would otherwise label as hard, painful, or uncomfortable.  I think the very things that mold me and make me into who He knows I can be, are the very things that are “perfect” for my life. It is those things that grow me as a believer and stretch me far beyond what I ever would have attempted in my own human power and vision.

Yes, I think some things I will never appreciate until I see them in hindsight or even possibly, not until I am in heaven. It is those very things that can change and transform my heart, protect me from choosing evil and diving into temptations that God may have placed in my life on purpose because He loves me so very much.

I don’t always see my life going down the path that I would have chosen for myself. Some of it is my own doing; but some of it is God’s. He is pulling and prodding me in a different direction so that He can make my way “perfect.”

It is one thing to ask God to show His strength and power on our behalf – something that we might do fairly often. It is another thing altogether to submit to His perfect plans for our lives if they entail suffering, heartache, disappointment, and frustration. But just because they COULD entail those things – doesn’t mean that they WILL entail those things. God loves us more than we can imagine. He often plants desires, gifts, and dreams in our heart so that He can use them for His kingdom. Let Him pull you where those passions carry you and allow Him to flourish and nurture them in your life.

Everyone’s life has its ups and downs. Its blessings, joys, hurts and trials. But you can guarantee, that through them all, there is great purpose and intention in each moment of them. For God is making your way perfect. He isn’t capable of anything less.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Does Your Child Value Being Honest?




Is honesty a priority with your kids? Do they value being honest?

These questions came to my mind one day when I was speaking to one of my kids about a situation at school. They kind of “fudged” the truth in order to get out of something. I didn’t want to beat them over the head with “you know you should do this" kind of a talk, because all I would get in return is, “I know, mom!”  But I DID want to remind them of the importance of honesty. So I told them that I wanted them to prioritize honesty in their life.

And I left it at that.

Maybe, I left it at that verbally – in that moment. But I didn’t leave it at that in my heart and mind. It showed me that just because you are raising “Christian kids” and have a “Christian home,” it doesn’t mean they aren’t tempted to be dishonest. They may not even look at it as dishonesty. They may look at it as getting out of something or avoiding something they don’t want to do, or even just wanting to belong.

But they should feel their conscience and their heart being pricked every time they lie. And even small “lies” are still lies.

So, I ask you as a fellow parent again – do you know if your child values honesty?  I know mine value a lot of things. And I know they love the Lord. But I’m going to be more intentional about paying attention to the detail of honesty in their lives. I’ve always emphasized and prioritized honesty with me and in our home – but I still need to watch them and see how they are tempted to whittle away, deceive, or omit things (all of which is equal to lying.)

Kids are kids. They are navigating the waters of life. They are learning how to deal with peer pressure and they are learning how to set their own boundaries in life (which is tough!) But you just can’t replace honesty and integrity. It will carry you so far in life and it will protect you many times over again. Not to mention, it says a lot about who you are as a person, who you believe in, and who you represent.

A little concession here and there so easily lead to bigger ones!

Talk to your kids about honesty. At the very least, look for opportunities in conversation to remind them to prioritize and value it in their lives.

I know I plan to.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Using God




How often do we “use” God? 

I’m willing to bet that it’s more often than we think.

How often do we throw a spiritual verse up on our facebook wall or a divinely inspired (and very Holy) quote – just in order to get more followers or “likes?”

Be honest now.

How often do we write a blog post that is very spiritual in order to get more comments?

How often do we say, “I believe God called me to do…..(such and such?)” or tell others that God is leading us in a certain direction?

Often, what we stamp as “God-approved” is merely “me” approved. It’s really about my passion, my ambition, and my direction.

Sure, sometimes God allows us to go certain ways. He even may be able to use us once we get there. But how often do we consult Him before we head out in the direction we intend to go in? And how long do we wait to hear His answer?

I think we use God. We use His name for our own purposes. Selfishly. Naively, maybe. But still – we use it for our own gain.

I don’t want to head a certain way and THEN ask God to bless it. No, I want Him to be the driver at the wheel. That’s hard when my heart wants something so badly. It’s hard to be patient and it’s certainly hard to even consider that He may have something different in mind for me.

But I tell you, I’d much rather be in God’s will somewhere that I didn’t think of, than be out of it in the spot I chose for myself. Hindsight is too painful and full of too many regrets when I ignore or fail to consult God with my plans and visions.

I want to speak of God out of love. When I throw a verse or a quote on twitter, my blog, or facebook – I don’t want there to be ulterior motives behind it. I simply want it to come from a heart that loves the Lord. One that wants others to see what I see and learn what I learn.

There is a fine line to sharing and using God for my own fame and purposes or sharing God’s Word with others out of love.

I pray my heart will always lead me to prioritize what my motivation is and how I speak of the Lord. I pray that I never “stamp” God’s name on something just because it’s something that I’m so passionate about.

If I say, “God called me here” – let it truly be so. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

But, I Was There Too!



So many times. So many times in life we are not mentioned. We are overlooked.

It may be at that fabulous Christian concert or event – the one where pictures were taken and you weren’t in any of them. It may be the big trip getaway and somehow you aren’t included in any of the stories or memories.

I think of others who were somewhere “big” and not mentioned or included.

How about those who watched Jesus carry His cross or be crucified?  What about the people who witnessed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo in the fiery furnace? Their version of events was never told – never asked.  How about all those people who ate on just a few loaves of bread and fish? So many.

You see, there are lots of events where only the opinion and voice of a few is recorded. For whatever reasons, they are the ones chosen to be spotlighted in photos and videos. And yet, others were there, too. 

We can feel left out. Ignored. Unimportant for not being focused on or remembered. But when we think about it, those thoughts are really more about our own self-importance than they are about sharing the news that we have inside of us. They are more about our own wounded pride than they are about remembering a special moment in time.

No one can ever take away from you what you have experienced or felt. It’s not possible to always showcase everyone. It’s not that you or I are unimportant. It’s simply that it wasn’t our time to give weight to the moment. And just because we weren’t chosen to give weight to the moment – doesn’t mean that the moment didn’t have weight! It did. It does. And it can continue to impact our lives and fuel us in our future.

Just because that woman in the Bible wasn’t asked what she thought or what she experienced while watching Jesus carry His cross, doesn’t mean that her thoughts aren’t important. In fact, they might be super important to someone who God has personally placed in her life.  He knows she was there. He had her there at that exact moment and time for a reason. For an impact. And only HE knows what that will be.

So whether or not we are focused on after a big event or occasion in our lives, we can still know that we are blessed and chosen to be put there to experience it in the first place. And we can remember that we are one of a few that were elected to be in that moment of time.

Your presence is important. As are your thoughts. Know that God wants to use them in His way at His timing for His platform.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What's Done Is Done




How many of us live in the past? We may think we don’t, but our minds often waft back there re-living moments of time. Whether it’s a moment that brought us great happiness, or a moment that caused intense hurt and grief; we sit there in our hearts and minds – often carrying those moments every day with us.

We can’t go back. What’s done is done.

Read that again.

We can’t go back. What’s done IS DONE.

It happened. Whether we liked it or not – whether we planned for it or not.

So, we need to get over it.

Certain things are very hard to get over. I understand. I still have certain moments in time that I’m struggling and fighting to get over. I don’t want them to live on in me forever. I don’t want them to win. But it’s a hard battle. I know.

I’m reminded that I’m not destined to live out that moment forever. I’m not destined to BE that person forever. I have choices. I have today.

I can change.

I can start right now – today – being the person I want to be. Even if the moment I carry with me was a happy one, it’s still not healthy to live only in that moment. There is so much life around me – today – that needs my attention!

Life is going to have so many curves in it. So many different things will be thrown at us. So many “moments” where we will wonder how we ever found ourselves in them. How did we get to be so lucky? Or how did we get to be so unlucky? Regardless…. We need to move on and not let ONE moment, define us forever.

Life is a chain. Many moments linked together. They add depth, feeling, and insight. If we stop at one link, we’ll never complete the chain. Or we’ll break it all together.

I want to be a complete person. A healthy person.  I don’t want to live in one moment…..but rather partake in zillions of them. In order to do that, I need to learn to let some things go. Let part of ME go.  And be ready to embrace the new me that God is slowly crafting and molding each and every day – experience by experience.


Monday, June 4, 2012

That's What Love Does



Ever since my kids were little, I’ve told them something when they were in trouble. After we’d talk about things or something they’d been dishonest about or hidden from me was revealed, I would say, “There is nothing you could ever do that would make me not love you.”  I think they just needed to hear that.

We all make mistakes. We all fail to use wise judgment at times and let life get the better of us.  For me, I wanted my kids to know that even though I may be upset, irritated, or have to discipline them – that my love is solid and sure. I want them to know they can count on that and have that reassurance in their life.

I’m reminded that God feels the same way towards me.

Some days I feel like, “How could I have made such a colossal mistake?” Or, “Will I ever get the hang of this thing and rise above the challenge?” When I’m really feeling blue or low; I can doubt God’s feelings for me. I can think that I’ve lost favor with Him or that He might be restless with me because it’s taking me so long to conquer or “get” a certain lesson in life.

Not so.

I know that at those times, I’m only listening to the whispers of satan. God instead, has told me through His Word that He loves me. That as His child, there is nothing I could do that would make Him not love me. He knows I need that security and reassurance….just like my children.

We all mess up and make mistakes. We try to hide things out of our regret or shame. But just as we won’t stop loving our children even though they may need to be disciplined, God will not stop loving us – even though we too, may need discipline in our lives.

We can count on the fact that He will still be there for us regardless of our mistakes and mess-ups.

That’s what love does.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Tenderhearted?


Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32





I was reading this verse the other day. It’s a very familiar one to me and probably to many of you. We’ve heard it countless times and can even recite it back from memory.

We know we are to be kind to others and forgive them. I’ve even heard many of us (including myself) at times tell someone else, “I’ve forgiven them, but I can’t forget.” Which is probably an accurate statement.  And I do believe at times that we need to hold up boundaries and barriers in our life once we know that someone else is capable or likely to threaten or hurt us or our loved ones.

But there’s a big word in this verse that I think many of us gloss over. It’s the word “tenderhearted.”  God tells us we are to be tenderhearted to others. Yes, even those who need our forgiveness on a matter.

So we may have “forgiven” them and think we are being civil to them, but are we tenderhearted to them? Being civil is easy. It’s an outward expression. We can put on an “act” to do the right thing. But being tenderhearted is a much tougher issue. It’s an inward expression. It means we have to soften our heart’s feelings and view regarding someone who has possibly hurt us deeply.

I think a lot of us have missed the mark when it comes to being tenderhearted.

My heart is tendered when I think of how my Lord can still feel tenderhearted towards me after I am so prideful at times. After I grumble, complain, and do that sinful thing – sometimes intentionally. I am humbled that God is tenderhearted towards me knowing all of my flaws and inner thoughts. Yet, He is.  And all He is asking is that I offer that same courtesy to someone else who is just as flawed.

Tenderhearted.

Can you get to that place within you where you can offer it to that person who has hurt or wronged you? That’s what He’s asking of us….

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