Making progress & shoulder recovery

Progress is something we all seem keen to experience. We all like to get better, do better & make progress – super appealing. But sometimes the tricky part with progress is the pace – slow progress can be maddening & fast progress can be scary. But I choose to celebrate progress regardless of the pace 🙂

So my shoulder is making progress compared to when it was dislocated a few months ago & compared to the surgery on it two weeks ago. Is it the speedy progress where I can start swimming & playing basketball now?  Not quite but with some physical therapy & a few months work, I should be better than where I started even before I dislocated my shoulder. 
Sometimes we have to go back before we can make progress 🙂

hot topic: ovaries and lynching

This morning, I read about Angelina Jolie’s medical update related to her ovaries and cancer.  Given the history of cancer in her family, she seems to have made a well-informed decision.  Kudos that she lives in a country with such sophisticated technology, medical facilities and modern thinking about women all combining to give her the power to be in a position to make such a choice.

In contrast, I’ve been following a situation in Afghanistan where a woman challenged an imam about his sales of amulets and how she was subsequently attacked, beaten, stamped on, run over by a car, killed and her body burned.  There has been a large outcry in Afghanistan against such brutality against women and we’ll see if anything substantial changes for women in this country in the future, based on last week’s atrocities.

I find it interesting, as a woman, to live in a world at this time, with such extreme contrasts:  a woman freely discussing what might be considered private body parts and a woman being treated worse than an animal for standing up for her convictions.  Women have always played an interesting role throughout history and in the Bible, but no one has ever treated women with more dignity, grace and poise than Jesus.  Check out my Jesus’ Chicks book for some really cool insights and opportunities to know Jesus more intimately 🙂

Getting Cozy with Help

  

 

 I don’t like asking for help, not at all. I’m very independent & entirely appreciate doing things in my own, full stop. So, if you’re like me, or know someone that specializes in being independent, this blog might be enlightening, maybe.

Last week, I had surgery on my shoulder to repair some damage from a stupid snowboarding accident. Since the surgery, I’m confronted with some choices: 
*I can ask my daughter to help me or I can be clothing impaired, at best ,) 
*I can ask for help with cooking or we can all eat microwave popcorn, kind of
*I can get some help with the pain or be cranky & unsocial
* I can get used to asking for help or just grit my teeth for a season & hope that no one obliterated in the meantime
All this to say that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper. So for me, when I’m independent minded, I find myself resisting Who the Holy Spirit is in my life: the Original Help 🙂

Are You Waiting?

I’m better at waiting than in the past. I say this as I sit here, during a several day pause, recovering from some shoulder surgery – waiting. Waiting for my body to go through the wonderfully God-created healing process that includes waiting. So if you find yourself in a holding pattern, or waiting, here are a few tips that might be helpful:

*life has seasons of ebb & flow, activity & pause, by Divine design
*there are really good lessons & outcomes that can be found & experienced in those waiting seasons
*relationships often grow deeper in the waiting seasons for the simple reason of being present – there’s good value in being present, especially with God!
*waiting immunizes us from the hurry up society & culture that can unknowingly affect our values & priorities 
*waiting with grace & poise takes practice – be patient with yourself as you grow & mature
*waiting shouldn’t be used to justify lazy – these are entirely different topics

beep

Back in the dark ages when I was in high school, we had this film kind of thing in my US history class where the teacher would put on a cassette tape with a microfiche slide show & when the tape beeped, he’d advance the microfiche to the next slide.  Being the very intelligent & cheeky students that we were, we quickly learned that our teacher had a slight hearing impediment & we could fake the “beep” and he’d advance the film to the next slide, thereby finishing the pictures before the tape was done explaining what we were supposed to be looking at.  Needless to say, this was heaps of fun for us & quite flustering for him – oh the joys of being mischevious 🙂

Sometimes I think I try to do the same thing with God – beeping to move the lesson forward at a more rapid pace, so we can get finished with the lesson & move onto something more pleasant.  Beep.

Let’s trust that God’s timing, God’s lessons and God’s pacing are all working together good things in our hearts, for God’s glory & our maturity – smile 🙂

Hard but not Impossible

Kind of impossible: a few years ago I was trying to make my husband a banana cream pie (my first attempt) & instead of toasting meringue (which my husband hates), I topped it with homemade whipped cream & then I tried to toast the whipped cream. Suffice it to say that we had banana cream soup & not pie. I learned from this adventure that it’s impossible to toast whipped cream without some scientific intervention. 

Just because something is hard or difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Indeed, in my relationship with Jesus, I’m learning that most of what He asks from me always seems to meander through both areas of difficult & impossible, thereby forcing me to grow in trusting Jesus more than trying to do what He says in my own strength or wisdom  
With Jesus, things can be difficult be never impossible, except maybe for toasting whipped cream ,)

Hot Topic: this is important

Hey friends!  I just published a book that I think is honestly the best thing I’ve ever written!  My new book is called Jesus Chicks and it’s really brief but extremely insightful.  In my new book, I take one chapter per chick to talk about the women with whom Jesus interacted – Martha, Mary, His mom, the Canaanite woman, etc.  What I love about this book is my discoveries about how relational Jesus is with us, as I show with His interactions with each of these ladies.

I’d strongly encourage you to get a few copies to share with your friends and even book clubs / Bible study groups since there are also discussion & consideration questions at the end of each chapter.  You can also get it as an ebook as well!  🙂

Click Here to purchase the book

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hot topic: get ready!

It seems like I spend a massive amount of energy, focus & time for Christmas:  food, parties, gifts, cleaning, prep, wrapping, cooking, concerts, etc all squeezed into 2-3 weeks of seemingly frenzied activities.  By the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to sing Handel Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus, kind of 🙂

Having come through another Christmas season, on the other side, I find myself in recovery mode:  less food, less activities, no wrapping, less cooking & lots of delightful cold, snow, quiet & still.  But in my own way, I’m also in prep mode because I’m praying for 2015 and continuing to listen and be attentive with what God has for the upcoming year.  We are on the cusp of turning the page on 2014 to begin a new chapter for 2015.  Let’s not enter 2015 as a leftover, wrung out rag from 2014.  Let’s seize the time, space and pause to not only nourish our souls but also to prepare us for the adventures that God has for us in 2015 🙂

Some prep ideas:

  • make a list of gratitudes from 2014 – reflecting on God’s amazing work & presence in your life over 2014
  • consider some places, situations, experiences that need some active forgiveness work (shortcomings, failures, idols, disobedience, etc)
  • take some time to maybe take a walk & listen to God – not only for what God has in store for 2015, but more importantly to be together
  • ask for the Holy Spirit to help you know the Helper better in 2015 than you have known in 2014 🙂

Happy New Year prep! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

the other side

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when we celebrate lots of things & in lots of ways.  We lavishly spend time, money, people interactions, parties, etc and revel in the celebrations of the season, opulence and abundance.  Then there’s the day after, today, when we might be groggy, overstuffed and possibly fatigued.  On this day, I find my heart longing to recover a sense of balance, desiring some still and quiet, centering into what’s really important, the One Thing that Jesus spoke about with Martha at her dinner party in Luke 10:42.  Sometimes it helps us regain our core when we sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, waiting, listening, watching and paying attention to Who is the most Essential in our lives, Jesus 🙂

#selah

Jesus, take the wheel

For some of us, being in control is kind of important. HA!!!! Who are we kidding?!?!!! Seriously?!?? Many of us have control issues & if you’re exempt from this challenge, then there’s a good chance that you know a few “control” impaired people. Here are some indications that you might have a little bit of a struggle with the control topic:
*if you’re not in charge, you don’t participate
*your idea of teamwork is when everyone does what you tell them to do
*obsessive is only a frame of mind & not a possible reality (this is called denial)
*meticulous is your best friend
*you struggle when someone doesn’t get it “right”
*sometimes “excellence” is a euphemism for control, sometimes

Let’s let Jesus take the wheel & be in charge. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, even though it may feel uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with imperfection – it’s called practice. And there’s nothing wrong with letting Jesus be Lord of our daily living 🙂
Jesus take the wheel!

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Jesus wept

My son & I were talking this morning about being sensitive to people and their needs.  In our discussion, I was reminded of the story when Jesus came to Martha and Mary after their brother Lazarus had died, landing in possibly one of the darkest moments of their lives.  If you remember, Martha & Mary had sent to Jesus before Lazarus died, asking Him to come & heal their sick brother.  Despite receiving this information, Jesus waited where he was and purposely came to Martha & Mary after their brother died.  Jesus’ delay was extremely disappointing to Martha & Mary (“If You had been here, he would not have died”).  Nevertheless, Jesus had a really insightful conversation with Martha about resurrection & if you have some moments, I’d encourage you to read John 11 to look into that chat between the two of them.

After talking with Martha, Jesus connected with Mary who was a virtual basket case from her grief, disappointment, anxiety and loss.  Jesus listened, watched, observed everyone’s grief and didn’t reply with a cliche’ quick fix answer – “Oh he’s in a better place now,” nor did Jesus try to change the subject, distract everyone with a miracle,  discuss theology with the attending religious leaders, or do the All Knowing God answer.  After taking everything in, Jesus wept.  When you read to the end of John 11, we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead so there’s a really unexpected and extremely happy ending to the whole story – but Jesus didn’t raise Lazarus from the dead before He experienced the grief through which everyone was going with the death of Lazarus.

Jesus wept.

Daily & Divine

You & I have lots of responsibilities & things we have to do. Every day we have the “must do” stuff & even the daily mundane. Sometimes my days don’t seem very divine & yet when I’m attentive, I can see & sense God’s presence. When I ask God to help me in my daily living, I begin to be more aware of God & I see God doing stuff & catch glimmers of God’s influence.
Daily + Divine = Incarnation 🙂

hot topic: being practical

As I write, my kids are doing an amazing job of cleaning the house.  We divided up the responsibilities onto various checklists (laundry checklist, kitchen checklist, living / family room checklist, etc) & consequently, no one is thoroughly overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done.  Furthermore, each of my kids brings their unique personalities to their jobs so it’s fun to watch them jump in & invest some “sweat equity” to our quality of living 🙂

It’s my responsibility to oversee & quality check against the checklists they’re using to ensure that everything is done well & thoroughly.  In some ways, this all reminds me of how God puts us together to bring the Kingdom of God into our daily reality.  Some essentail ingredients include:

  • teamwork: the lone ranger paradigm doesn’t generally fit into kingdom thinking
  • focus:  when my kids are distracted, they’re less effective & everthing takes longer; staying focused on God helps us to be more productive
  • oversight & integration:  God never leaves us to our own devices & efforts to see God’s kingdom realized
  • mutually beneficial:  a clean kitchen, clothes, bathroom and living areas are in everyone’s best interest & God’s kingdom is no different 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!

shiny clean

It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean.  Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage.  Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc).  After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump 🙂

Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships.  Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean 🙂

just keep going

“I’m resigning.”  I had someone tell me this last year and it was a really big deal to me because this person was doing lots of great stuff for Saving Moses.  When this person quit, I became really discouraged.  It was difficult because I already had a pretty hefty workload & now with this person resigning, I didn’t have anyone available to step into this position.  How would I get all of this work done?  I found myself kind of flailing and floundering, but over the course of a few weeks it became evident that I’d have to just be patient, pray & trust God to fill in this massively important gap.  And in the meantime, I gave myself to do the best I could with this gap.

Sometimes, I can get myself really wound up & uptight.  But over the course of the last year, God has been teaching me many things, including the valuable lesson of trusting God and not leaning on my own efforts.  Keep going my friend, one day at a time and even one step at a time 🙂

Feel free to share this with your friends & family who might be discouraged 🙂

making mistakes

Yesterday, I made the mistake of posting a poem that I thought Dr Maya Angelou wrote. I received lots of helpful & gracious feedback so I edited my post at the bottom to acknowledge my mistake. I left the poem, nevertheless, because I think it’s a really good poem & I found it to be very encouraging, no matter who wrote it.
But the topic of mistakes is a tricky topic. We all make mistakes, pretty close to everyday. We make mistakes as we drive, when we cook, saying things we shouldn’t, not speaking up when we should, work / school mistakes, . . . . . So here’s some that help me when I make mistakes (feel free to chime in with your own ideas as well):

**be quick to admit a mistake & apologize
**try to make new mistakes & not the same ones ,)
**the only person with no mistakes is Jesus
**mistakes often have more lessons than successes
**be quick to forgive mistakes even if the person doesn’t ask forgiveness
**if pencils are mistakes, grace is the eraser
**let your mistakes be more constructive than destructive

Whoops can be whoopee! ,)

Shake It Up Baby, Twist & Shout!

Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂

Processing

When I was in high school, I had a photography class where we learned how to process film, back in the “dark ages.” I learned about chemicals, processing time, dark rooms, film, etc. It was a really cool experience to shoot a picture & then go through the process to make a print that I could show everyone – particularly if the picture was really cool. The outcome had the potential to far outweigh the process.
The same is true for us with patience, faithfulness, trusting God, maturity, faith, genuine love & all things that pertain the God. The process can get a little harrowing & tricky, but the outcomes are completely divine 🙂

the shortest distance

We’ve all heard the geometry postulate that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  With this premise, it’s logical to think about the things that we want & make a direct beeline toward these desires.  For example, if I want to serve a salad for dinner, I need lettuce, so I go to the grocery store to get the lettuce so I can make the salad.  Done.

It seems to me that having a close walk with God is an interesting adventure that doesn’t always seem to follow the same “straight line” thinking.  It seems to me that  being close to God is a daily journey that takes some unexpected twists and turns.  Growing close to God isn’t always a straight line journey – so let’s be open to how God leads us to be closer & closer to God day by day.

Doesn’t meet expectations

We’ve all had experiences where we have disappointed someone’s expectations & let someone down. Sometimes we may feel this way about God – that God isn’t measuring up to what we expected or desire. But I’ve been reading about Martha, Mary & Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 & there have been some really helpful things I’ve noticed. If you get a chance, please read this chapter & in the meantime, here are a few things to consider:
*Martha & Mary wanted healing but Jesus was into resurrection. Perhaps we should consider that God has something way more than what we are desiring
*gap management – there was a fair amount of time between Lazarus being sick & Jesus raising him from the dead. In this gap, the relationship Martha & Mary had with Jesus took some very significant quantum leaps!
* Martha & Mary came out of this experience with more faith in Jesus & Jesus came out of this with more glory; may our lives grow & faith & giving glory to Jesus!
*perhaps God would like to exchange some of our murky human thinking for glorious divine illumination 🙂