Our Independence Day Story: Part 2

So after our coil supplier cancelled the agreed upon consignment program without our knowledge and called several invoices due now, Adam made a phone call and asked what was going on. He wanted all the facts on the table. (To recap part 1 click here!)

Basically he was told we owed them too much money and things weren’t being paid off fast enough and they don’t trust us anymore. By the end of the conversation, we learned not only are the full invoices due, the whole past balance is also due. Now.

Sell what you have to and get us up to current was the gist of the conversation.

Adam tried reason and logic. He recapped how we had done everything they had asked us to do. When they changed the pay-off plan, we agreed, never trying to get out of paying off the entire balance. And our account was current according to the agreed upon arrangement.

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What Scares Me about being Vulnerable

Have you ever woken your kids up by turning on the light in their room?

It’s kinda funny isn’t it?!

They immediately make a face and pull the covers over their head moaning, “MOM, turn the light offfff!!”

That’s what I thought of yesterday at church when the Pastor spoke on accountability. He said being in an accountable relationship means being honest, vulnerable, available and teachable.

It caused me to reflect. The times I’ve been most vulnerable and honest are also the times I have been most wounded by those I called my friends. As I look back at those times, that “rejection” has caused me to temper how vulnerable and honest I am.

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The Unexpected Journey

We have been on strange and unexpected church journey for almost 10 years now. We’ve experienced church in so many forms with so many different kinds of people ranging from home church to Church of Christ to Assembly, to Non-Denominational. Honestly my heart has forgotten what it feels like to be in a church home.

Regardless of what it looks like on the outside, on the inside Adam and I have done our best to follow where Jesus is going. For us, following Him requires movement. And sometimes it looks like we’re wishy washy and wandering, trying to find something perfect, but in reality we are just following where Jesus leads us.

Looking back, I see God has taught me something through this unexpected journey…

I am an achiever. Put a goal in front of me and I can’t sleep until I crush it! A couple of years ago someone introduced me to the Enneagram. It has helped me accept my personality and understand the warning signs of when I’m over doing it and moving into an unhealthy range. Mostly it’s shown me God’s amazing grace – for it’s only by that grace I am a whole person today!

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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.

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2 Situations You Should Never Apologize For

Last week I wrote a story about my husband apologizing to our son. Apologies are good and as the story shared, help restore relationships. But I started thinking, that sometimes we apologize for things we shouldn’t.

On Easter weekend, my husband and I rented a cabin in the woods, just the two of us. One morning we walked the trails nearby and passed a family hiking the opposite way. As we got closer we overheard the mom say to her daughter, “Only say you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong and really need to apologize for it. You don’t have to say I’m sorry to everything.”

Then, seconds later as our paths literally crossed she said to us, “Oh I’m sorry, let us scoot out of your way.”  Adam and I chuckled. I wonder where the little girl learned to say I’m sorry so often!

It’s easier to say I’m sorry when you accidentally bump into someone in a crowded store than it is when you’ve done something hurtful and need to apologize to restore the relationship. But at the same time, parenting and relationships are hard, and we often, like the mom said apologize for the wrong things.

So in honor of those who make too many apologies (me included!), here are 2 situations we should never apologize for.

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How Do We Unite?

Last night I had a crazy, awful dream that my oldest son Caleb died in my arms. He had been sick and while I was holding him he breathed his last. In agony I wept and wailed aloud, asking Jesus to restore him to life. “Please, Lord, please bring Caleb back to life.”

When I opened my eyes, I saw Caleb’s eyes open and roll around the room as if totally confused about where he was. He was alive!

I’ve pondered this dream all morning long. While I was doing my morning chores the song titled Forever by Kari Jobe played on my phone. The words struck a chord within me and caused my spirit to worship. The words say, “The ground began to shake, the stone was rolled away, His perfect love could not be overcome. Oh death, where is your sting? Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated!! Forever He is glorified. Forever He is lifted High. Forever He is risen, He is alive….He is alive!!”

That’s when it hit me. That is the message of the gospel. My dream is what Jesus has done for us – for me. I was dead. My ugliness and sin separated me from God, but when I called out to Him, He saved me. He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He drew me out of murky waters and restored me back to life.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Marriage Thriving Through the Holidays

Christmas cards line my window sill, familiar carols jingle from the radio, lights twinkle through the windows, darkened from the night sky, and hot chocolate spills on the couch as the kids cuddle close. It’s Christmas time! This season ushers in plenty of warm, cozy feelings, but also spreads a blanket of anxiety. We rush from church activity to school activity and store to store shopping for bargains at the biggest sale of the year. We search for the perfect gift for the perfect party. Pinterest floods our inbox with magnificent, museum quality, must-have decorations that leave us feeling less-than if we don’t download and make them right now. With all this pressure it’s easy to lose the holiday cheer. By the end of December, our relationships with those we love most feel the strain.

How do we navigate the holidays and keep our marriage thriving?

 

  1. Keep Family Margins 20150821_131052

When I was in school, I remember my English teacher stressing the importance of writing within the margins. She took points off the paper if I wrote beyond either red line. She said staying within the margins made the paper neater and easier to read.

Staying within the margin is important in life too. It can make life neater and easier to handle. Margins give us room to breathe. We can freely fill in the lines with enjoyable activities, but leave room in the margins to breathe.

Let’s face it: So many activities appeal to us during the holidays. We feel like we must do them all, but we can’t. We can pick a few favorites and do them joyfully, and then gracefully say no to the others and take some time to rest, relax and read a book. There’s no reason to rush so hard that it takes you till February to recover.

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What Makes You Valuable?

My Papa has been my whole world since I can remember. When I was 4 he took me down to the creek and showed me how to skip rocks. When I couldn’t exactly skip them, we resorted to just throwing them in the water under the bridge.

When I was learning how to ride a bike, he ran beside me.

When I was learning how to drive a car he took me to the steepest hill at Holly Lake, put on the parking brake and told me to let out the clutch slowly. Then he rolled his eyes when the car died.

He took me fishing down at the dock.

He took me skiing on spring break.

He played volleyball with me when it was volleyball season.

He ran with me during cross country season.

I watched him build a house for three years, then five years later sell it and move to a house two blocks down and re-model it.

There’s never been a task too hard, an order too tall or a request of mine un-granted. He was never too busy, too broke or too tired to be with me.

And I’m a better woman because of it.

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How We Can Act Like the Body

If you’ve done any running you know there’s a lot of techniques out there. Get the right shoes, have the right form, relax your arms, that sort of thing.

I try to run regularly. Sometimes I pay attention to these things and sometimes I don’t. This particular day I did. I noticed toward the end of my route that I used my arms more than usual. Pumping them back and forth in sync with the rhythm of my body propelled me along faster without tiring out as quickly as in previous days.

I immediately thought of the body of Christ. When the arm swings in unison with the legs running, in time with the heart beating, the breath going in and out of the lungs, the feet pounding the surface at just the right time and angle – the body is working smoothly and effectively.

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4 Ways We Can Have Unity in our Diversity

If you mix all the colors of the rainbow together, you get brown.

Ephesians 4 talks of “Unity in the body of Christ”. It says things like “ walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace… (verse 1-3)”

This unity of the Spirit implies we allow each color to shine its designated, unique hue while working together as one body. We also have the beautiful imagery of Believers being the body of Christ. Some of us are maybe more thick skinned than others and therefore are a perfect heel, some bend really well and act as an elbow. We each have our part, yet bend and strain as needed to keep the whole body healthy. When the right side of your should hurts, the other side also begins to because it’s been overcompensating for the right side. Without the smallest member, our body and the Body of Christ can’t function properly. So how do we work together while letting each part/each color be unique? In other words, that’s easy to say and write about; it’s much harder to live. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just some examples that have come to my mind:

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