Sunday, July 31, 2011

Other People Are Part of Our Memories

On the 4th of July this year we sat outside a stadium watching fireworks. There were tons of people with chairs and blankets. Every time a firework would go off, someone’s car alarm would also go off. It got to the point that we would all expect to hear the alarm after the deep, resonating ‘boom.’ People started to laugh – including me, until at one point I thought, “Why don’t they just leave their car unlocked since it’s so obviously close to them?” Regardless, overall, it was a funny experience. One that my kids and I will probably always recall when speaking of Fourth of July Fireworks.

I also remember one night with my husband when we were dating. We wanted some alone time on a bench by the water and just at that time, a man and woman decided to take up residence near us. They seemed to stay forever and a vase was exchanged as a gift.  They are forever a part of my memory of that evening.

At an amusement park ride, I was the only one in our family willing to go on a particular ride with my daughter. We waited a really long time and when it was our turn to get on, I had to sprint over and lay my flip flops down. Upon my return, my seat next to my daughter had been taken by a woman unwilling to move. So my daughter and I had to ride – separately. I will always remember that woman.

Lots of people are part of our memories. People we don’t know. Strangers. When you interact in life, you can’t limit your memories simply to those you know and love. We engage with everyone around us. The people sitting at the table near us in a restaurant, or on a plane. We remember people who go on tours with us or those who sit near us in church. There are those who serve with us on jury duty or simply those we meet at concert. Wherever it is, certain situations and instances make someone else a part of our memories…forever.

So if someone else is a part of my memories – I am also a part of someone else’s. The question is, am I a good part or a bad part? Am I like the woman who refused to give up my seat or am I someone who helped in an emergency or scary situation? Am I someone who was loving and kind, or someone who was a jerk? I would hope that I am a good, tender part of someone else’s memory.

We may not always know each other’s names. We may not know a life story  - but we do know how someone behaved and acted in regards to us or in regards to a situation/circumstance that we shared.

We can make every effort to be a good part of someone’s life history. To be a part of a memory that makes them smile or one that they cherish. They can say, “remember that lady….? And I can know that I impacted someone’s memory forever in a positive way.

We do rub off on each other. We do make a lasting impact. Even with strangers.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Live Like Royalty

When you watch a movie that portrays a prince or princess – there are certain dreams and “wishes” that can come out of your heart. I “wish” I had all that money and power; I wish I was “royalty”; or “I dream someday of having someone think I’m that beautiful.” Those are just a few.

When I watch a movie with a prince or a princess, I often feel different things. I believe that I AM a princess, you see. I always have. Most other people just don’t view me as one.

I believe that once I became God’s child, I became a princess. His princess. I believe that I am royalty. Sound far-fetched? It’s not. For my heavenly Father is the most powerful, most-feared, and highest king of them all.  And I am His. He loves me.

I am threatened because of Him. I have to fight in fierce battles and become tough like a warrior; because I belong to Him and there are those who hate Him.  There are also those who want to protect me because they know I am His child and heir to His kingdom.

There are so many others out there who – just like me – are prince and princesses. The thing is, most of them don’t view themselves that way nor do they live like they are royalty. If only they did. I think their whole lives could be re-shaped with a new vision of how highly esteemed God holds them and how valued they truly are!

Sure, there are times that I forget who I am. But on the whole, I try to remember who I represent. I try to clothe myself with things that are indicative of my position. I try to carry myself with honor and integrity and I try to serve those whom God has placed in my kingdom. Sometimes I feel like I stand out and I’ll never fit in. Other times, I’m thankful for the power and protection that my position holds.

If you are a child of God, you are a prince or a princess. You have great responsibility that is placed on your shoulders and great resources that you can tap into. You are valued, cherished, and adored. You are also positioned to be in harm’s way simply because of the position you hold in His court; so you need to be informed and aware. You need to know who your enemies are and whom you can trust.

Do you live like you are the King’s child? Do you believe that you are? If not, maybe it’s high-time that you start embracing your heritage and calling. For it’s the most important one you could ever embrace.

You have a legacy to leave and a heritage to claim. Will you take your role and position seriously?

You are HIS. Start acting like it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm 40!

So on my 40th birthday – here are 40 things about me. All are either delights of my heart, blessings, or dreams. Because today I’m celebrating the life of “me”…..

1. I was born on 7-27-71 at 1:27 in the afternoon. Look at all those 7’s! God knew I’d need help as I’m not good in remembering numbers. 

2. I thrive on Sunshine. I love the warmth on my face. Sun rays through a cloud always remind me of God. Anything that has to do with sunshine makes my attitude bright, my heart light, and my face smile. (I long to live in a warmer climate someday!)

3. I’ve been to some fantastic places on earth. Paris, Belgium, Jamaica, Panama, and Guatemala.

4.  I never wanted to go to college. I knew what I wanted out of life. And I’ve never regretted it.

5.  I LOVE dark chocolate.

6.  The only award I’ve ever won was a ribbon in Junior High for being “most inspirational” on our volleyball team. I still have it.

7. I had a Southern accent as a child. Seriously. I lost it when I had my tonsils out at the age of 5. Ask my mom. And when visiting the South a year ago, I started talking Southern again. (Need I remind you, I was born in Oregon?)

8.  I love chicken noodle soup. And a huge, huge salad. And pizza. And Mexican Food. And French fries. I adore French fries.

9.  My first car was a Chevy 7-10 pickup. And I still miss it.

10.  I love head massages. I’ve thought about paying my hairdresser extra when she gives me one, so it can last a little bit longer.

11. I cry deeply and I love and celebrate deeply. I love that about myself.

12.  I don’t really like high heels. They hurt. But I loooove boots. (How come I hardly have any?)

13.  I have secret wishes & dreams that I will never tell anyone. Because I want them to come true naturally and authentically.

14.  I can raise my right eyebrow. It’s the only fun thing I can do.  No nostril flaring or ear wiggling for me!

15.  I love thunderstorms. Warm thunderstorms.

16.  I would love to touch something on earth that Jesus touched when He was here.

17.  I was 2nd runner up for Miss Pear Blossom Parade Queen when I was 5. I got to ride on a float in the parade, but was squished the whole time by the little boy next to me who wouldn’t move over. I think I won because I skipped out on stage.

18.  My nails and toes are always painted. Always.

19.  I’m extremely sentimental. I still have a stuffed animal from childhood that I just can’t get rid of yet. I keep trying only to put it back.

20. I fed a StingRay at Sea World and touched a dolphin. I also fed a monkey in Panama.  And I’ve touched a grizzly cub.

21.  I adore steak. Well-done. But I hardly treat myself to it.

22.  I don’t normally do housework in the evenings. I’m not sure why.

23.  I really want to work with a humanitarian organization someday. Just so I can love on people. And write about it.

24.  I love Western and Indian things.

25.  I would love to be able to ride horses someday. Maybe just be a friend of someone who has them?? 

26.  I can write an article in 10 minutes flat if the words are truly tumbling out of me in earnest. Those are the articles I believe are God-breathed through me.

27.  When I’m out and about and have something I need to remember, I turn my ring around backwards. That helps remind me until I can get home and write it down or do it.

28. I have expensive taste. But no one really knows because I’m very frugal and don’t often allow myself to partake. Maybe that’s why I don’t have steak that often.

29.  I played softball (1 yr) volleyball, basketball, was a cheerleader and on dance team. My favorite was always volleyball. I also sang a couple of solos as a young girl.

30.  I once burned my eye with the curling iron. I also once got a piece of dust in my eye that worked its way up under my eyelid and scratched my eye. And the only reason that gets added to the “blessings & delights” list is that I am SO thankful God healed my eyesight. Twice.

31.  One of my favorite necklaces is a wood one that my husband brought back for me from Ukraine. The other would be a flattened antique spoon my mom bought me one year for my birthday after I saw it at a Saturday market.

32.  I can be very stubborn. I think at times, that’s a good thing.

33.  I hated history growing up. Now I love it. I especially love to place my hand on something that I know someone ages ago touched.

34.  Giving birth to two girls. Two of the BEST days of my life.

35.  I’m very honest. If you ask me how I like your hair, outfit – whatever and I don’t like it; I stumble to say something nice that is honest while not lying.

36.   Someday I want to stay in a 5 star hotel.

37.  I want to witness a miracle from God. First – hand. One that has no explanation. And gives me chills.

38.  I’m thankful for my warrior. My knight in shining armor. I always wanted someone to fight for me. And he did.

39.  My dream is to be a syndicated columnist and a steady paying writer where I’m free to talk about my faith.

40. I’m thankful, delighted, and blessed to be alive. To know my story is still being written and that I’m excited to turn each page. I feel better in my skin and more confident with who I am each year. And yet I’m so thankful that God isn’t finished with me yet…..

Monday, July 25, 2011

Celebrating Myself

I'm celebrating myself this week.

You see, I turn 40 on Wednesday. 4-0. The big one. I can hardly believe it. I still feel so young!

This isn't about me as a mom, me as a wife, a daughter, sister, aunt, or neice. No - this is just about me. Dionna. The person. The individual.

So, I've decided to celebrate myself this week. If you knew me, you'd know that I don't often allow myself to be totally pampered. I'm practical. Concerned about finances. Always looking at the big picture. I often focus on my flaws instead of my attributes. My weaknesses instead of my strengths. What I should have said, instead of what I did say. I'm pretty hard on myself - expecting a lot. Always trying to improve.

But I've decided that because I'm facing a milestone in my life - I'm going to start it out right. I'm going to focus on the good, the blessings, and the special gifts that God has created within me. I'm going to treat myself to some luxury. I get to go to a Spa this week! I've always wanted to do that. I'm so looking forward to the massage, pedicure, and manicure! Time - for - me.

I'm going to celebrate my life. Where I've been and where I'm going. 

I ran the below article in my June "Emphasis On Moms" newsletter and wanted to share it with my blog readers for it resonated with many women.

We are blessed. Each year that we turn another year older is a blessing. For we are alive. And God still has plans for us. So let's celebrate life! OUR life.

~ Dionna

I’m Turning 40

Why is it that men seem to age so much more gracefully than women? An older man who takes good care of himself looks dashing, debonair, and handsome. A woman struggles with looking too young or “made up.” And things are much more apparent on a woman that they are sagging and drooping!

It’s so unfair.

I will be 40 this summer. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I always promised myself that I would never be a woman who would hide her age. Ask me, I’ll tell you how old I am. But then this last Winter my daughter told me I was “old.” And “ouch” – that hurt.

I don’t feel old. Not always, anyways. I feel young for the most part. I enjoy wii “Just Dance” and love to find a cool top in the juniors department. Yet I do not have the physique for skinny jeans anymore and would look simply ridiculous wearing other young and hip styles.

I’m in transition.

My mind feels young yet at times, my heart feels like an old soul. I’ve been through “stuff.” Good stuff, bad stuff – hard stuff – fun stuff. I feel excited for life and am ready for new opportunities and adventures to come my way, but I tire easier and if I don’t stretch my joints regularly, I really feel it.

Age. It’s a curse and a blessing at the same time. It’s something you can’t fight so you might as well go with the flow as gracefully and graciously as you can! That’s my motto anyways.

I read someone’s blog once, (and I do apologize that I can’t remember whose it was) who had a beautiful article about how they were going to “twirl” into their 50’s. I LOVED it. That’s what I plan to do into my 40’s. Twirl.

I plan to smell the flowers more, laugh deeper, embrace the new that God brings my way, love, and live. I plan to slow down when I can and run with abandon when I can. I want to take care of myself – the best- that – I – can.

None of us is promised tomorrow. I can dream of my tomorrows and plan for them the best I know how, but they are not promised to me. They are a gift each morning when I open them up.  And I don’t want to waste them.

I don’t want to stress too much over things I have no control over. I don’t want to get worked up over things that are going to happen despite my attitude and feelings regarding them. I want to pick my battles and wage my wars with wisdom – and –integrity.

I will no longer be considered a “young” mom. But a middle-aged woman. How that happened while I just blinked, I’ll never know. But it’s not as if God didn’t warn me. “Life is but a vapor,” He promised.

I plan on enjoying this vapor of mine. I plan on redefining vitality as I age. With elegance, class, and hopefully, love and life.

So I’ll be 40. Okay. It’s a rite of passage. One I plan on owning with a smile.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Want To See a Miracle

I want to see a miracle. Up close. First hand. Not the healing-kind (although those miracles are so amazing too.) No, I want to see the kind of miracle that is supernatural in that it cannot be explained away as a medical test that “they” must have gotten wrong or medicine that “must “have done the job.

I want to see a miracle.  A miracle that sends chills up my spine and down my arms. A miracle that can only be from my God.

I hear stories of how people witness things first-hand. Things like people that came to help them in an emergency and then suddenly disappeared. Or God striking an enemy down in front of them. How much would you tremble in fear and adoration at those?

Can you imagine being Daniel in the Bible and witnessing God close the lions’ mouths? Can you imagine seeing the Red Sea part in front of you just at the moment when you thought you were doomed and your enemies were going to overtake you? How about Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednigo? They stood in a fire, people, and were not burned! They were not burned.

I just think it would be so amazing to see a miracle. To witness it and to know that God moved on my behalf or on the behalf of someone I loved so dearly. It would be so gripping, humbling, and make me feel so loved to know that He chose to show His hand in an obvious way – to know that HE KNOWS I will see – I will feel it – and I will clearly (without doubt) see His glory moving and acting.

Wow. Can you imagine?

Life changing.

Yes, I want to see a miracle. I want to see a piece of my God. Not just believe in Him as I do every day..but to catch a glimpse. Just a glimpse! A real glimpse. From my earthly spot.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sassy Kids

There are certain things that I have championed as a mom in my family. They are just certain issues that I feel strongly about. One of those is sassy or harsh language. I don’t like it, I don’t believe it should have a place inside our home, and I won’t tolerate it very well.

I believe (and I’ve told my children) that we should treat one another better than those outside our home. We should speak kinder and treat one another better than our friends. With children, as they relate to one another as siblings, that can sometimes seem like a tough job for them to do. They irritate one another and get on each other’s nerves. I realize that will happen…but they still can talk nicely.

For example, one day one daughter spoke harshly with the other one about something she’d promised to do and hadn’t done. That resulted in the other sister stomping into her bedroom and retorting in an equally unkind way. Then I continued to hear harsh talk bantering back and forth between them. I’d had it and went in there and made them each rephrase what they’d said. Of course, they were angry at first, but we worked through it together. I told them that you can get the same point across in a kind, gentle manner than you can in an unkind, harsh manner.

You can say, “What did you promise me about doing this? You haven’t done it!” In an angry tone. Or you can say, “Would you please do this?” in a nice one. Big difference.

I’m equally vigilant about what my children watch on television. I don’t let them watch shows that have sassy kids. I don’t like brothers and sisters ragging on each other or kids acting like their parents are stupid. My kids get enough of that by being around other kids and going to school! Even as much as I try to set the tone in our home, the sassy nature of society trickles in.

I don’t want to raise “entitled” children. Whether they are right or not, I don’t want harsh or prideful attitudes coming from their heart or mouths. It can be tough at times, but we’re working on it.  Sometimes I even have to tell them they get no more social functions with their friends until they start treating one another and our family better!

I want our home to be a safe haven from the rest of the world. Heaven knows, we’ll get enough sass, harshness, and coldness from the world outside our doors. I don’t want it to reside inside our home as well.

I believe I have good kids with sweet, kind hearts. They sometimes just let their feelings take them away a little bit. But our tongues can do more damage than we realize. Lasting damage. And if I can help it, I’m going to help them tame the beast of the mouth as much as they possibly can because I know they truly love one another. 

They won’t like themselves any better if they unleash the darkness that sometimes enters the heart. But they WILL like themselves better, and grow stronger as sisters if they can learn that sweetness – not – bitterness – is always the true winner in life.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Does Knowledge Really Mean Power?

I used to stand by the saying, “Knowledge is power.” I felt strongly about it, actually, I believed in being informed. I believed in telling my children things about how to protect themselves in certain situations and to be safety-conscious – I shared certain news stories with them.

In a way and in that context, I think I was right. But I’m learning that there are other areas in life where knowledge does not bring power. In fact, it can bring stress.

For example, I am one of those kinds of people that if I’m feeling unwell or having a medical issue, I can research and look things up and diagnose myself with 20 different things. I can worry about myself, stress, and stew over what I might have and what COULD happen. If I’d simply NOT look things up, listen to my body and go to the doctor when I know I should – then so many times unnecessary worries would not have happened. I’d have my answers and my peace of mind.

I watch the news a lot. Sometimes it just plain stresses me out. Knowing what crimes are committed and where – I think I’d live happier not knowing some of that stuff. That kind of knowledge isn’t always needed in my life. Yes, I want to know things to be safety-conscious, but there’s a fine line and balance that is needed in my life so that I don’t go to extremes and get to be a “worry-wart” or panic at every little thing.

Certain things in life are going to happen to us whether we want them to or not. Certain kinds of knowledge does indeed arm us and help us rise to a point where we can adequately protect or navigate certain things in life. Other kinds of knowledge simply scares. It creates fear and it hinders us. Sometimes we’d be better off not knowing it.

So I don’t live by the blatant “Knowledge is power” statement anymore. There are so many things and times where I think I would have felt more empowered had I NOT known something. Had I NOT stressed and stewed and grown concerned over something. Had I simply lived and trusted and believed in my God along the way.

We can create bubbles of worry where there need be none. We can get too intense, too protective and too jumpy over things. Sometimes we just need to be patient. Wait. Pray. And relax.  I’ve found that more often than not, my God-given instincts tell me when I need to take action. I listen to them and they are a good friend. But anything else that I listen to – information that “could” happen, things that “might” be going on, etc – those things need to be sifted for worthwhile info and then I need to throw the rest of the thoughts and info away lest they run away with my heart and mind in needless uproar.

The only thing that always brings me power in my life choices is God. He is the only One who truly always gives me peace of heart and mind. Anything else is just temporary and sporadic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God Can Handle It

Do you ask God your big questions? Do you feel comfortable to let Him know when you are angry with Him? Are you able to say, “God – I’m sorry, but I’m having doubts.”

Those are very real and very big issues that can tear us away from the One who loves us the most. Yet the thing is, He can handle anything we throw at Him. He can handle our anger, our sorrow, our doubts, our mistakes – all of it.

When my kids are angry at me, I’ll admit, it’s not fun. I wish that they would understand where I’m coming from and see that sometimes what I’ve done is necessary for their deeper growth and development. It comes because I love them – regardless of whether or not they are happy with me at the moment.

The same I believe to be true about God. He sees the BIG picture. He knows the end results of our lives. So His choices for our life and what He allows to happen in it may not always make sense to us or we may feel like He is being distant, when in reality it is a part of His bigger plan for us.

I’m learning that the more I can be honest with God, the more I hear Him reveal Himself to me. If I can tell Him I’m angry or that I have doubts, often within a very short span of time – He will address those very subjects to me in a very tender, loving way that ministers to my heart. He never throws it back in my face. He never shames me for my feelings. Never.  I think He values the time I spend with Him even if my heart is grappling and struggling with things.

God can handle whatever we bring to the table. His shoulders are big enough for our tears. He is strong enough to handle our anger and He is tender enough to understand our doubts. So whatever it is that you’re going through, that thing that you’re trying to hide? Bring it out into the open and lay it before Him. I promise you – He can handle it and He will address it in a very personal way.

God wants us to feel His love. He wants us to trust Him. Take the chance now, to trust Him with those very deep and gnawing issues in your heart. He’ll not only help you work through them – but He’ll be faithful to you in the process.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Children Home For the Summer

“I’m bored.”  So many parents hear these words when children are home from school on vacation.  I even hear a lot of parents start to panic before school gets out wondering, “How will I keep them occupied?”

So I’m just wondering….when did we conclude that it’s up to us to keep our children occupied? 

I hear, “There’s nothing to do” once in awhile just like other parents do. But I don’t panic too much about it because I believe that it’s good for my children to have nothing to do sometimes. It’s good for my kids to have “down time” and not always have something on the agenda. They need to learn to slow down their lives just like adults do. They need to learn how to be creative, just like adults do. And they need to learn how to use their time wisely.

I like to plan fun outings or have friends over every once in awhile. I like to see the sparkle in my kids’ eyes when they are surprised or delighted by something we are going to do. But I also love to see how they decide to clean and organize their room when they are left idle, or how they pick up a book and spend the afternoon reading. I love how I pass by a room and see my kids playing a game…together of all things!

I love summertime.
I love having my children home with me. Yes, I get less done. Yes, I’m interrupted more. But I’m also reminded how valuable it is for our relationship to do things together. How I need to teach them how to cook more, or how to handle certain responsibilities. I’m reminded how one day they won’t seek out my attention or possibly even my company. So it’s good for me – as well as them.

Summer is not something to be dreaded. Our children aren’t the enemy nor do they need every moment of every day planned out for them. Let them groan a little. Let them lie around a little, then watch them get motivated as they seek out to entertain themselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guatemala 2011

I'm so excited to finally share our Guatemala trip video with you! My hubby worked hard to put it all together. It's always so fun to see everything come together to final product.

This is the video we showed our church this weekend. And although it highlights our time in Guatemala, it still doesn't show everything we did. It doesn't include the climb on Volcano Pacaya or the shopping, Ziplining we did....for we wanted to focus on what the trip was really about - our time with the kids and people of Guatemala.

My heart was stolen especially by the children in Guatemala. So loving, outgoing, and warm! I encourage anyone who has never been on a short-term mission trip to go on one. I've never heard one person say they wouldn't want to do it again or that they regretted it. On the contrary, most everyone is jumping at the chance to go on the field again! (As am I.)

Anyways - enjoy the video and may God work in your heart as you catch a glimpse of what instant love is like. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Living Defeated

Why is it that we live so defeated all of the time?

“Why try.”

“It probably won’t happen anyways.”

“I’m not good enough.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

Negative self-talk.

How about –

“You are worth it.”

 “Play like a champion.” (As seen on Scott William’s blog

“Aim for better than good.” (Zig Ziglar)

“The first step to higher ground is believing we’re allowed to go there.” (Holley Girth)

Positive self-talk. Motivating. Life-breathing.

Somehow, we all too often fall back to the self-defeating talk. The talk that strangles our dreams, our passions, our soul. We just can’t seem to believe we CAN.

I’m here to tell you, YOU CAN.  Stop living defeated. Dream the impossible dream.  Love the process. And stop shooting yourself in the foot. For sometimes all it takes, is for us to be willing to try.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Who Says?

There is a song by Miley Cyrus called “Who Said.” I love the optimism that radiates in that song because it signifies – to me – the optimism of teens.  In the song, Miley talks about people telling her she can’t be something or go somewhere in life to which she replies, “Who says?”

I’ve heard it said many times that teens think they can conquer the world. I’ve seen it for myself. Often times we can worry because they don’t take a parent’s warnings seriously, but instead think that no harm will come to them. They love life and they are ready to embrace it, try new things, and conquer.

It’s the positive side of this attitude that I want to take a look at because I think it’s something worth pausing at. I think the outlook and optimism that teens have is contagious if you are around them long enough and I think that it’s sad that most adults seem to have lost that “I can do it” kind of mentality.  We don’t need to be rebellious to be adventurous.  We don’t have to take careless risks but instead just live with a “I’m going to soak it all in” kind of countenance.

So many of us want to teach our teens. And there IS so much to teach them. But they have valuable things to teach us as well – we just need to be more open-minded and willing to listen.

Life is meant to be lived. We are not here to live as safely as possible until we die. We need to go out and do all the things that we dreamt of doing when we were younger. Find things worth your time and money to do, learn new things, laugh more often, don’t take things so seriously, and meet new friends.

I don’t care if you are 72 or 34.  You are still alive. Your life is not over yet. There is a reason you exist. So start living and finding out why you are here. Enjoy your days, reach out for new opportunities and discover what it is that God might have in mind for you. You’ll never do that sitting at home all the time.

Who says you can’t go back to college? Who says you can’t take up guitar? Who says you can’t pursue that dream? I say you can.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dressing For Missions

One thing I notice of missions groups is that we often “dress down.” Of course when we go on the field, we often have construction work to do or one project or another. It’s understandable that a t-shirt and jeans are what is necessary.

For the remainder of the trip, however, how do we dress? We don’t want to appear “rich” when we are ministering to those who don’t have much. But we don’t want to appear “slovenly” either. And it can be very easy to bring along your worst or oldest clothes lest they get ruined in another rugged country.

However, I’m tempted to think that we should take great care in how we look and dress. We are representatives of the Lord. Who would want to consider becoming a believer when the people who come to share God with us are sloppy, plain, and unbecoming?

I do believe we need to be culturally relevant. We need to not be “outdated.” We can be modern without being inappropriate. We can dress nice, without looking wealthy. We can take time to do our hair, put some makeup on, and look cute in jeans and a t-shirt instead of throwing something on, slinging our hair back in a pony, and wearing tattered shoes.

We represent God.

It’s a fine balance. To look nice and current without being too fashionable and flaunty. But I think it can be done as we seek to attract people to the Lord. And the first thing that attracts is how we look and our personalities. Once we accomplish that “draw,” we can get to the deeper truths.