The Unexpected Change of Plans

Recently we had an unexpected change of plans.

And they were BIG plans to me. I’d call them anchor plans of the day, what we planned other things around.

Then, 20 minutes before the expected start time, someone called and cancelled due to events totally out of their control.

And I can’t lie… I was bummed. Frustrated. Even a touch mad.

My thoughts sounded like, Are you serious? Do they know we planned our whole day around this?! Don’t they care? I wish I known this yesterday!

It was all about me!

In reality this other party was probably feeling the same. Their plans had also been interrupted. And they were torn with how to handle it. But I didn’t look at it from that angle.

I tried to sound understanding on the phone and say it was OK and we’d happily reschedule! But I also tried to leave one note of my true feelings in my voice, hoping they get the drift I wasn’t real happy about it.

Continue reading

The Unprepared Host

Have you ever noticed it’s not always what people say that makes an impact but what they don’t say? Some may call it reading between the lines, but often what’s not spoken can give perspective and context to what is spoken.

Jesus is a Master at this…

Last Sunday morning I read John 6, which is such a familiar passage to me I almost skipped over it all together. It’s one the kids have dressed up and reenacted with picnic baskets, red tablecloths, furry beanie babies and colorful plastic food. It’s the story of Jesus feeding the 5 thousand.

Scripture tells me that the words contained in Genesis through Revelation are living words. They are inspired words from God. If they weren’t, they’d be like a book on the bookshelf – a story I’ve already read and don’t really want to read again because I know what’s going to happen next. But the Bible isn’t like that to me. It’s like a fresh water stream. Each time I read, I see a new perspective, a new detail and it’s fresh information again!

That’s what happened to me with this “children’s” story. All of a sudden I didn’t just see the characters interacting with one another and the lines I almost have memorized. I saw Jesus interacting with people He cared about. Friends. This was an intentional time with those men and it was intentionally recorded for me to read.

Continue reading

Marble Sized Troubles

For 3 nights in a row I couldn’t get to sleep. I tossed. I turned. Kicked off the covers. Looked at the clock.

Finally I decided to get up and quietly saunter into our office area, without disturbing my able to sleep husband.

I sat in my new favorite chair, opened my Bible and prayed. “Lord. Here I am. Speak.”

I turned to one of my favorites books when I don’t know what else to read – the Psalms. Starting in chapter 9 I read “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders, I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High…”

Instantly and gently it’s like the Lord sat next to me and reminded me how I praise Him through writing. Writing my journey through the ups and downs of life is how I process what God’s teaching me and praise all He’s done. And I haven’t really been doing it.

So here I am.

Continue reading

Making Time for Special Things

One of my goals this year is to do things that are special. And by special I mean those things that when I do them, time stops. I can’t tell if 5 minutes or 5 hours have gone by.

When I make these special things a priority, I feel an increased capacity to deal with the daily problems. Whether it’s figuring out how to diagram direct objects or explaining how to reduce fractions, somehow I have more to give than when I chased getting all the things done and pushed off doing my special thing until the work was done.

I often think of the verse in Hebrews that says, ”…He [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 10:12) When Jesus finished his work, He sat down. I try to emulate that and not sit down till I’m finished. The problem is, I’m never finished. There are always more dishes to wash – or unload, more clothes to wash – or fold – or put away – or what’s that called – iron?! There’s always more I think I need to do.

Finding time to do special things feels like a reward I need to earn and so it gets pushed back to tomorrow, and tomorrow and next Wednesday, and when I can do a better job, be more organized, not have so much going on, when the kids aren’t toddlers, or teenagers, when I’m not tired, when I don’t have to wash my hair…

Continue reading

Confessions from a Closet Adrenaline Junkie

I have a confession to make: I am a closet adrenaline junkie.

What I mean is, I’m not the jump-out-of-a-perfectly-good-airplane, bungee jumping, parasailing, Evel Knievel, live-life-on-the-edge kind of person. Those are obvious adrenaline junkies.

My addiction to adrenaline is a little more subtle. It shows up in how fast I can get something done and do it perfectly, without forgetting something like a key ingredient.

One of my favorite games to play (and ironically my kid’s least favorite to play against me) is a cup stacking game.

It has a deck of cards and 5 different colored cups – red, yellow, green, blue, black.

Each card has a different design pattern.

So to play, you turn over a card and everyone stacks their cups in corresponding order to match the card. The first person to do it hits the bell and if the order is correct, wins the round.

 

I don’t love a lot of games, but oh my goodness, I love this game! The volume and chaos it produces in our house is equivalent to a spoons game. I’ll let you picture that for a minute.

Recently, I’ve realized that this game describes most of my days. Subconsciously, when I wake up, I flip over a card. My goal by the end of the day is to stack all the “cups” or to-do’s of my day to match the picture in my head – as fast as possible. And when I do, I proudly ring the bell, hoping everyone sees my feat and congratulates me with cheers and high fives.

The rest of this story is over at the East Texas Mom’s Blog….I hope you’ll click over and finish reading!

Mack Trucks, Minivans and Rear-View Mirrors

Driving home one day I came to the light about 2 miles from my house. As I sat there waiting to turn right I stared into the back of an 18 wheeler. Expecting to see the reflection of my homely, tan minivan in the somewhat warped metal, you can imagine my surprise when instead, I saw a massive yellow Mack truck. I sorta gasped and mumbled, Whoa, where did that come from? When did my minivan turn into a big yellow truck? 

I almost caused traffic to pile up as I ignored the light for a minute and glanced in the rear-view mirror to see if the Mack truck was a figment of my imagination or actually behind me. In this instance I wasn’t seeing things. There was a yellow Mack truck towering behind me, hogging all the mirror space of the truck in front of me.

It was like I had looked in my bathroom mirror and instead of seeing my petite 5’2” frame, I saw this 6’7” body-builder-muscle-woman who could scoop up the couch with one hand.

Uh-huh, I may be a simple minivan but I’ve got a Mack truck behind me. Don’t be messing with me!

Continue reading

When Will This Get Easier?

I woke up this morning to the words It’s not supposed to be easy running through my head. It made me think of the P90X guy saying in the arm circle warm up…“We’re going to be here awhile. It’s going to burn. It’s supposed to.

Life this side of Heaven: We’re here for an appointed time. It’s going to burn. It’s supposed to.

I know this, but somehow the creep happens. The comfort creep. I grow weary of fighting the same battles over and over again, so I start hunting for the cruise control button to make life easier.

But I forget ease and comfort are not the goal here. Life takes tenacity, endurance, perseverance. All those words you hear in cross country training and insinuate it’s going to be hard!

Continue reading

A Piece of Cake!

A few months ago I made a cake for a friend who turned 40. I had in mind this beautiful, elegant, tall, black fondant cake with the number 40 placed on top.

Simple and beautiful, just like my friend.

Image result for 40th birthday cake

This was what I had in mind, except substitute black icing for the blue.

Black icing is a pain to make because it takes so much food coloring and even then has a purple hue to it. So I thought fondant would be easier and solve both of those problems.

Now, I haven’t used fondant much. My biggest undertaking would be this cake I made for my daughter’s 10th birthday party.

No automatic alt text available.

Notice the whole cake is not covered with fondant. Only the duct tape is fondant.

Nevertheless, I barreled ahead full steam. I bought 3 packages of fondant and set to work baking the cakes. Cake #1 was from my Betty Crocker cookbook called Best Chocolate Cake, and cake #2 was a vanilla flavor called Best Party Cake Ever from my Family Fun cookbook. Only the best for my friend!

Continue reading

Why Formulas Don’t Work

Back in October life hit an unexpected bump which changed the trajectory of my plans for the fall. After a week in Kenya and then 10 days later speaking at the Hutto Bible Ladies Retreat, I was hoping for some peace and quiet and old fashion R-E-S-T. The kind where you zone out with a couple seasons of a Netflix show.

But apparently God had other plans.

The day I unpacked my suitcase from the retreat, Adam packed his. For the next two months, he had to work away from home for three to four days a week.

Not exactly snuggling on the couch watching Netflix together.

Since I couldn’t control the circumstances around me, this need for something to go as I planned bubbled up inside me. All of a sudden, I needed to sew something, paint something or rearrange something in my house to funnel the energy bouncing around within me and not take it out on the people around me.

So I bought some fabric.

Continue reading

Why Must I Drop My Leaves?

As the leaves fall in layers outside my window, crunch beneath my shoes and swirl behind the cars, it reminds me summer is over and winter is coming. This little season we call fall prepares the way for holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It ushers in chilly mornings, darker evenings and pumpkin spice smells in the kitchen.

I’ve often said that if I was a deciduous tree in fall, I would be the one to look around and say, “You know what, I’ve decided I’m keeping my leaves this year! I mean these are my favorite set! What’s the point of dropping my leaves now just to get them back again in a few months? Winter isn’t too bad here, can’t I just keep them?!”

What’s going to happen to me?

I’m probably going to freeze to death because if trees don’t drop their leaves in fall, they’ll die in winter from lack of food. Winter is not the time for nourishing extra things like leaves.

Continue reading