Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"Good" Can Be "Great" If You Appreciate It Enough

“Good” versus “great.” I was thinking about those two things this morning. I was thinking about our expectations in life – on situations, on people, on ourselves. How those expectations can ruin things sometimes.

Sometimes we have something “good” in our life. (Or someone.) We have a good relationship, a good job, a good workout – you fill in the blank. But for whatever reason, we aren’t satisfied. It’s not “good enough.” We have to chase after “great.”

Our “good” friendship – isn’t “good” enough. We need to be the “best” friend, or have “closer” talks.

Our “good” job – isn’t “good” enough. We need to be noticed more. We need to be compensated better. Promoted.

Our “good” workout – isn’t “good” enough. We should have walked longer, run harder.


Why isn’t “good,” “good enough?”

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day. – Genesis 1:31

God created the world. He created us. And when He had completed each job, He said it was “good.” Not “great”…. But “good.” “Good” was “good enough.”

I think we overlook the fact that “good” is really good! In our quest for “more” or “better” – we suck the life out of the “good” that we had. I’ve seen it happen time and time again where someone looks back on what they had and realize how good it truly was. Yet they wrecked it with their quest for better.

If we have a “good” relationship with someone, that “goodness” is really something great. For many people don’t even have “good.” They long for good relationships with their relatives, their friends, their workmates. If we have anything “good” in our lives – we need to realize just how great that truly is.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be our best. We should always try to be the best friend, worker, parent, child, person, – that we can be. But in that “bestness,” that we seek to be, that simply means loving and working with all the integrity, love, and character that we have. We have to be so careful in not realizing that what we already have is a gift. “Good” is a gift. A blessing. So it’s not “great.” But it’s “good.” And “good” can be really, really great if you appreciate it enough.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sometimes You Don't Need a Plan

I’m a planner, married to a spontaneous man. It’s made for some exciting years. Ha ha – But, seriously, I don’t always do well with issues in life that feel out of control. Whether that’s as a wife or a mama, or just an individual, I like to come up with ways to handle it. Even better, I like to know how I will handle things BEFORE they come up.

But “life” doesn’t always obey MY rules.

Life likes to throw me curve balls. It comes up with scenarios that I couldn’t possibly have dreamt about. Life is smart. Life is always changing. And life is a challenge.

I saw a quote on Facebook recently that said, “You don’t always need a plan.  Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.” (

And I thought – “This is SOO true!”  Because there are things in my life that I stress and fret over. I try to come up with ways in which to handle them, when in reality, there may be no perfect solution.  Sometimes I don’t need to come up with a plan. I just need to trust God as I put it all in His hands.

If only I could dictate how my life would go. If only I could funnel and channel things down the paths I think they should go in. But I can’t. And I shouldn’t. I know that I wouldn’t learn or grow if I managed everything into comfortable zones for myself. I know that sometimes the best lessons are learned in the hardest battles.

Do I REALLY trust my God? When I kneel and pray so earnestly that it feels like my heart will bleed…. Do I trust Him to do the right thing with that? Do I trust Him to lead me and guide me in wisdom, discernment, and to give me peace as He does? Because if I do, then there is no need for a game plan. The only plan I need, is to pray, listen for Him to speak to me in return, and obey.

I may try to come up with my own plan of attack to things in life – but sometimes there IS no plan of attack. There is simply faith.  And as I apply the faith that I claim in my heart, I can sit back and watch God work. And feel deeply loved.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"What Could She Possibly Understand About Pain And Struggle?"

I’m not sure what others think about me as they read the words I write. I try to be transparent in the lessons I’m learning in life. I try to be authentic about my own shortcomings. I am very, very far from being a perfect person.

I try to be positive. And in that ‘gleaning’ of something good out of a lesson or life, I often wonder what others think of me as they read the words I write. If others might think I could never possibly understand what it’s like to live life in their shoes. To hurt. To be frustrated. To struggle.

It’s not that I live a charmed life. I live a real one. But I choose to see the blessings God has given me in that life. Not because I think I get more blessings than someone else – but because I’ve seen and felt times where there WAS pain, hardship, and struggle. So the blessings are very apparent to me – very coveted.

If you find yourself questioning and thinking that maybe I think I walk a better path in life than you, that I never have hardships, or could never love, understand, or care about someone who constantly deals with issues – let me change your opinion.  For I HAVE hurt. And I HAVE struggled. I still do.

I have dealt with death and loss. Cancer. Suicide. Plane crashes. Heart attacks. These have been a part of my life.

I have struggled. As a stepmom. As a wife. As a friend. I have let people down. I have said things I regret. I have been immature. I have hurt my children’s feelings, and they have hurt mine. I have hurt my husband’s feelings, and he has hurt mine. I’m human.

I have dealt with health issues. I don’t need to rattle off every thing I’ve been dealt with – but just a few are heart irregularities, kidney stones, reflux, anxiety, bursitis, bad posture, teeth issues. No one is perfect. I know what it feels like to be frustrated.

I have been on food stamps.  I’ve only had $20 at the end of a payday. I’ve lost money and I’ve wasted money. I know what it’s like to not have enough, and to have more than you need.

I’ve been misunderstood. Judged. Ignored. Laughed at. Talked about.

Yet, God is faithful. He’s walked through everything with me. My mistakes. My mess-ups. My challenges. And He HAS blessed me. I live a blessed life. Some things I’ve overcome, some things… I still struggle with.

So, I may not know EXACTLY what you are feeling and going through – but I do know what it feels like to hurt, to be sad, to feel lost, and to be discouraged and frustrated. But I also know what it feels like to walk over to the other side of those things. To see victory. Praise. Blessing.

And that perspective humbles me. It shapes me. It touches me.

Please don’t ever think that I live a charmed life with no obstacles or hurdles to overcome. No one lives that kind of life. NO ONE.

I may choose to look at the positive, the bright side… the blessings. But that’s only because I know what it feels like to feel the hurt and pain. And I’m thankful to not always sit in those moments. To sit in new ones – redeemed ones.

We are all in this walk of life together. TOGETHER.

Know that you are never alone.

And that you are loved. In whatever season you find yourself in.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

What If You Knew This Moment Might Never Come Again?

If you knew it would be the last time you’d cradle your child as they fell asleep in your arms… how much longer would you hold them?

If you knew, that it would be the last time you’d see that dear older man’s smile… would you stay in his company just a bit longer?

If you knew that you’d never again be that size 3 after you have kids… would you enjoy your waist a little more and relax a lot more often?

What if you knew?

What if you knew that you’d never again get to cuddle with your sweet cat, because they would get hit by a car?

What if you knew that your finances would change and this would be the last time you and your husband would get to enjoy a fine steak dinner?

What if you knew?

Moments are brief. So many only come once.

Some people in your life will only ever get to hug you one time. Some moments of laughter will only be shared once. Same as moments of grief.

Just once.

Other moments come occasionally, but special moments change them forever. That ONE Christmas, that ONE hospital visit, that ONE ‘goodbye.’

Moments lost forever.

How would we change how we live if we knew a moment would never come again? If we knew we’d never have another chance to hug, kiss, or touch someone dear? Would we speak kinder if we knew our words only had one chance to stay forever with another soul?

Would we be less rushed, if we knew it would be the last night our kids would ever confide their hearts’ to us? Or let us tuck them in? Or even hold their hand?

Life goes by so quickly. So fast.

We have choices. Every day. Every minute. To truly live and love and soak in those around us as much as we possibly can without wasting the time that ticks by; escaping our notice, so often.

We will often be caught unaware and by surprise at the “last moments” with someone in life. We will often miss those treasured minutes that we took for granted – like rocking our baby, combing our child’s hair, and more.

We can’t go back, but we can carry them with us while trying to remember that each day is a gift. Each moment with someone – a precious present.

If we knew this moment would never come again, would we make a different choice? Say a different word? Be a different person?

What if?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It's Ok to Fail. That's How You Grow.

I can be very hard on myself when I mess up or make mistakes. I know I’m not perfect, but it can be hard for me to swallow embarrassment or moments that I call “failures.”

I try to do my best. My best at being a mom. A wife. And a woman. I try to keep my home in order, so struggle when someone runs out of underwear and I’m behind on laundry. I try to be involved in my kids’ lives, so feel disappointed when they don’t want me there or I can’t be there.

Moms – can you relate?

But I’m learning. I’m learning that trying to be ALL to everyone is futile. It’s frazzling.

No one is perfect. Certainly not me. Not those celebrity moms who are back to their pre-baby weight a week after birth. No one.

It’s good to hold ourselves to certain standards. But some standards are too far out of reach. It’s impossible to go through life and not fail at some point.  If we can allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes from time to time, and fail at things along the way – oh – how liberating!

We will gain so much more out of our journeys by learning to ask for help occasionally, and giving ourselves that freedom to not be perfect, than we will ever gain by stressing ourselves out trying to be something or someone we’re not.

Our families’ will be able to enjoy our presence more, as well as relax more. We will be happier as we learn to laugh at the missteps, and grow and become better from the learned lessons.

Failure may seem like a bad word. But it can be a stepping-stone to better things in our lives if we aren’t so afraid of it.

That’s how you grow.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Putting Some Action Into Loving Others

We do not need new methods, better advertising, finer churches. We need
women with hands soiled in the tasks of life,knees callused with
prayer, bodies worn with burdens, eyes swollen with tears.

- Mildred Bangs Wynkoop

I found this quote going through some of my old newsletters recently and it spoke to my heart in a new way. I guess I’m a deep thinker at this point in life. (Who am I kidding, I’ve always been a deep thinker!) But with one daughter being a senior in high school and the other a sophomore, I’m looking at the life we’ve had, the life we have, and the one that is coming.

Life is changing quickly.

Living in Texas for just over a year, I also see things from a different perspective at this point in life. I see what I want for my life and for my family, and I see what is needed; what is missing.

It all revolves around relationships. People.

We need people and people need us.

My kids don’t just need superficial friends at school to laugh with – although that is welcomed and nice for them to have. They need friends who will wipe their tears when they are hurting, friends who will encourage them and invest in their dreams, and friends who are good examples.

My husband and I need the same thing. Although at times we do have material needs, it is the emotional needs that we crave. Those needs that can be helped with friendships that invest into who we are as people. And we need to be able to offer that to others, as well.

People need someone to help them rebuild that broken fence instead of just saying, “I’m sorry.” They need someone to bring them over a meal when they’ve just had surgery, instead of just sending a card. Words are valued and they are welcomed and needed. But we need to soil our hands a bit – get them dirty and put some action into loving others.

We need to get on our knees and truly pray for one another. Carry each other’s burdens, rejoice – as well as cry – TOGETHER.

There are all sorts of new ways of doing things in this life. Exciting ways. The advancements we are making are mind-boggling. They are fun. But nothing can replace a hug, a handshake, or arms and legs getting in the thick of things and working hard to help someone else.

We are SO much better together. We are so much HAPPIER together!  Let’s help one another a bit more. Love one another A LOT more – and put some action into loving each other.

Monday, April 6, 2015

So You're Thinking Of Leaving The Church....

I’ve been hearing it more and more. People, saying they are leaving the church.

“The church isn’t a building. The church is the people,” I hear. And yes, that is true. And I understand that many people have been hurt by church denominations and those who occupy its’ walls.

But there is a danger in this new philosophy crossing so many hearts and minds. There is a danger in this mentality that we can simply “worship” online or on our own. That danger is in lack of Christian community.

While it’s true that we can listen to sermons on our ipods, television screens, or study the pages of the Bible for ourselves – we cannot and will never be able to, replicate a body of people who can encourage, minister, and support us. That is, unless we attend Church.

It is dangerous to go life solo or alone. It’s too easy to lock yourself away when you’re hurting or going through a huge challenge in life. The easier it gets to separate yourself from others, the longer it lasts.

I, like most others, don’t want church to become a ritual in my life that I do simply by habit. I want it to be meaningful and long lasting in my heart. But I also don’t want to wipe away its influence on my life altogether, leaving myself vulnerable to Satan’s attacks on my life.  Without the love and encouragement of my Christian brothers and sisters, I don’t know how I would find the strength, hope, and peace that I need, to go through certain things in life.

I need others. And they need me.

So if you’re reevaluating your place and presence in church – I say, do so. Evaluate how much time you spend volunteering or giving yourself over to church activities and functions. Evaluate the morals and values of the place you are attending. But don’t write church off altogether.

It’s important. It’s needed in our lives. And it’s life giving.

We need an army in this battle of life. If we abandon the church, we are abandoning the army that God has placed here to help support us and back us up.

God’s people may be far from perfect. They may hurt and wound us at times. But they are all we have. Hold on to them.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I Fought Hard For You

Most rewarding things in life don’t come easy.  They take a lot of hard work, many tears, and time spent in deep prayer. On your knees.

Especially when it comes to your kids.

Being a parent is a tough job. And it’s tougher as the years go by in this society with its technological advances. Things are being thrown in our kids’ faces that we didn’t even have a thought of until we were in our 20’s. And we can’t just sit and whine about it. We can’t just lay blame. We have to deal with the realities of the world we live in. The world our kids’ live in!

Raising our children to be adults full of honor, integrity, compassion, generosity, and wisdom will take great intentionality on our part. There will be days where we will feel like every painstaking moment is worth naught. We will feel like the world has won on many occasions.

But those are only battles.  If we faithfully love them, follow the Lord’s leading, and continue to pray and believe in our children, we will win the war.

Love does the hard stuff. It doesn’t always say ‘yes.’ It isn’t always a friend. No. Sometimes it cringes while it says ‘no,’ fearing a revolt. Love does what is right for a child, even when it temporarily dents your child’s feelings for you.

I want my children to know that so great was my love for them that I fought for them. I fought HARD. I fought in prayer. I fought in word and deed. I fought in faith. I FOUGHT! I don’t want to just say, “This is too hard! It’s their life.” And let them go. No. I want them to know I fought for their future. I fought for their morals. I fought for their happiness, and I fought for their faith.

I’d want to know someone loved me enough to fight for me. Even if it meant protecting me from myself, and my own lack of good judgment, selfish wishes, or na├»ve choices.

Yes, being a parent is full of hard turns and painful changes. We are faced with choices that are tough. We don’t always know the right answer, even though we’re the parent. But we can trust in one thing. Our love. That love that will guide us, as we take any and every step possible to fight for the future of our children. To fight for their honor, purity, integrity, and values.

Don’t give up mom and dad. Hang in there. Your child is SO worth it.

Keep fighting for them until they are strong enough to fight for themselves.