Road Trip Lessons

For two years in a row, we’ve taken road trips for our vacations, each two weeks long. On our first trip, we went to Washington DC & our second trip is to the West Coast, ala Oregon & California. My husband, the penultimate saint, has done the bulk of the driving for both trips, so maybe I provide some comic relief & moral support. But think about it in terms of family bonding, since there’s no wifi nor DVD player in the car. Mostly, we’re doing pretty well & our three teenagers can say they’ve driven across America.
For me, I think that life is a long road trip, a journey with God with unexpected twists, ups, downs, sometimes tiring & sometimes joyful.
So here are a few thoughts about my road trip with God & maybe they’ll have some tread in your life:

  • Focusing in the car is important , but don’t neglect to look out the windows bc God has a big world around us!
  • Listen & don’t just watch – listen in the car but also listen in your heart as God has some amazing whispers & company to keep with you!
  • Traveling companions are helpful because you see & experience things in different ways than just by yourself.
  • Keep going. Life has struggles, dark times, hot seasons, smelly moments & glorious discoveries.

The Proper ID

“Do you have your ID?” It’s that sinking feeling you get before you begin to frantically recall where you left your driver’s license, or other such identification. This has happened to me more times than I care to remember & I’m hopeful that someday these panic moments will teach me to pay attention & prepare better.

I’m thankful that being a daughter of God doesn’t require a proper identification card. Instead, my behavior reflects my identity according to Romans 8:14. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” Let’s be certain to consistently follow the Holy Spirit so our identity & character don’t leave room for any speculation.

When I’m Overwhelmed

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, stretched too thin & as Bilbo said, “Too much bread & not enough butter.” Its true that I often do this to myself, attempting to squeeze in too much, yet again. But there are also times when I’m running to catch up to the busy lives of three teenagers & a thoroughly magnificent husband, to say nothing of my own workload. Today is one of those days. From the time I woke up, it’s like I can’t keep up with everything I need to do.

Do you ever feel this way? So what to do?
Here’s some real time lessons:

  • Do what’s immediately in front of you
  • Keep a running list of stuff you need to do – this can help you to stop worrying about something falling through the cracks
  • Solicit help – I just asked someone to give me grace on a deadline & they graciously agreed
  • Be careful with your attitude – when we’re in hyper busy mode it’s easy to get snappy & curt, only making everything worse
  • Pray – nothing is more helpful than requesting divine input & intervention

Lots of Oooooops!!

This morning seems to be fraught with “oooooops!” and not just a few. Some of these mishaps are relatively minor, but when they stack up, things can get “challenging.” I’m hoping that the entirety of this day isn’t a string of consecutive mishaps. But even if this day goes from “oooops to oooops”, rather than “glory to glory”, I’m deciding to go with trusting God more than dwelling in the frustration.

When I write this, it sounds good, but the individual decisions to walk out this mindset is where the rubber hits the road. And this is where the step by step reliance on the Holy Spirit moves into execution mode more than speculation & ethereal platitudes.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but feel free to join me in making these decisions to trust God throughout your day today!

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

Driving Vacation


We are in the middle of our annual family vacation & this year, we’re driving round trip from Denver to Washington, D.C. So far, we’ve stopped along the way to hang out with family & friends, enjoying some wonderful time to catch up & reconnect. 
Driving is an interesting experience for me because I usually fly & endeavor to make my travel time as short as possible. This kind of travel is a dramatically slower form of getting from point A to B, so it’s an altogether different experience. 

Seems to me that our journey with God has different speeds. We can go through seasons when it seems like we’re moving super fast & making speedy progress. Then there are times when things are going so slowly that it hardly seems like we’re moving at all. Maybe God is more about the fellowship with us along the journey rather than the speed at which we reach our destinations. 

No Line

Yesterday, I did my weekly grocery shopping. I usually avoid the Sunday shopping gauntlet because of the lines & lengthened time it takes to accomplish this task. I was of course not surprised to find the check out lines totally overflowing, so I shiftedinto 

patient mode & decided to chill out for the wait. Being impatient only makes the line longer & the wait more unpleasant. If you’re like me, you probably do lots of stuff to avoid lines, but here could be some helpful thoughts on this topic:

  • A line is a place of demarcation & can represent a change of mind & behavior – the proverbial “line in the sand”
  • Waiting in a line is a good discipline for developing patience, something we all need
  • A line helps me appreciate incremental progress rather than monstrous leaps 

Heavenly Help is always good for line management ,)

hot topic: divine dad

Cc30D_EXIAAVuyc

I totally love this picture.  I love looking at everyone’s reactions and of course, I most love seeing this dad shoot his arm out to protect his son from the flying bat about to smash into his son’s head.  Of course the photographer who captured this did an amazing job, but the real hero in the picture is the kid’s dad.  As I read the back story on this picture, I learned that the kid had his head down & was texting his mom when the baseball player accidently lost his grip on the bat & let it fly out of his hands.  While everyone else ducked away, the kid’s dad instinctually protected his son.

This picture makes me think about Good Friday, which is just around the corner.  Good Friday is when God the Father sent His only begotten Son to take on the punishment and death that was due to each of us because of the sinful nature passed along to us from Adam’s disobedience to us from Eden.  Jesus stepped into our place, received our punishment and redeemed us so we can live a resurrected life with Him.  And this resurrected life happens in us because of the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Help!

Goodbye

  

I’m not a grief fan, but alas I get to feel this old familiar emotion because our neighbor family whom we deeply love is moving today. It’s a great sadness for my whole family because our families are intricately connected: all of my kids with their kids, my husband totally appreciates his friendship with their dad & their mom & I are soul sisters. We can be in the same room & don’t have to say anything to know the vibe for each other. I seriously hate grief & loss. What really stinks is that there’s no way around grief except through it. 
If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a friend who moved, or a lost friendship these are all difficult grief situations & there’s not a person on the planet who gets a free pass from experiencing grief. Maybe grief is part of what it means to love from the heart. 

Jesus knew grief from His earthly existence – a man familiar with our sorrows, griefs & sufferings. While I love to celebrate the triumphant & risen King, it seems that my affection for & connection with Jesus deepens when I appreciate that He has walked the grief path before & is walking through grief with us in our various human experiences, even today. 

Smoke & Mirrors

I recently read about how Jacob tricked his dad & brother to get Esau’s birthright & blessing – definitely shifty for sure. Whenever I read how Jacob’s mom put him up to being deceptive with his dad about getting his dad’s blessing, it makes me twitch because of the smoke & mirrors manipulation scheming. I find it positively revolting that Jacob & his mom would be so deceptive with their family, conniving, tricking & undermining trust. It’s repulsive to me because their actions totally sabotaged any trust & ultimately intimacy / connection they may have had with their family – maybe this trust never existed in the first place.

Nevertheless, for me an important take away is that when people are shifty & deceptive, there’s no real or grounded connection with them. Ultimately, it’s all just smoke & mirrors.

hot topic: Bahama plane crash kills Dr Myles Munroe

I just learned about the tragic plane accident and death of Dr Myles Munroe, his wife and seven other people who were killed on this plane.  My condolences and prayers go out to these families for this awful loss!  Dr Munroe was a really amazing man who had very profound wisdom and insights into many areas with practical living as well as fantastic help with leadership.  He was a graduate of ORU and was a regal ambassador on many levels (business, politics, faith, leadership, etc) and was a prolific communicator of amazing depths into the Bible.

Let’s be sure to pray not only for his family but also for his church and the communities that are so massively impacted through this awful loss.

hot topic: Father’s Day

This weekend in America, we celebrate Father’s Day.  It’s a day when we honor our fathers & express our appreciation for their sacrifices & input in our lives.  Not everyone, however, grew up with warm fuzzies for their dads & there are many people who don’t like their dads & many who don’t even know who their dads are or were.  So sometimes, we’re conflicted with the premise of honoring our dads & acknowleding the reality of who they are or are not.  Holidays like Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc when we’re around our family, can be a little tricky.  So perhaps these ideas can be helpful:

  • honoring our parents is important based on the Ten Commandments;  even if you have parents who are dishonorable, choosing to honor them is the high road & ultimately a more healthy decision than dishonor (an internal decision versus an external achievement)
  • all humans are flawed, full stop
  • remember that ultimately God is your Heavenly Father & that you’re fearfully & wonderfully made in the image of your Heavenly Father
  • Help:  holidays that have tricky family navigation challenges for us will often cause us to pray and ask God for help – which is always good;  doing life without God’s Help isn’t good 🙂

happy Father’s Day!

hot topic: I want your opinion :)

Greetings & happy mid-week to you!  I’m working on a message about family & really want your input.  Please answer this question (I’m not “grading” any answers & I’m not looking to judge or critique your feedback – I just want your wisdom,  thoughts & insights):

???What is a functional family???

Thank you!!!!

Praise Report!!

Last month, my son randomly got a metal splinter in his finger & we’ve had some difficulties trying to get it out. After he tried & I tried, we prayed & gave the dr a chance & the only result was that his finger became infected 🙁
During our 2nd visit to the dr, she did an xray & we discovered that he still had some of the splinter in his finger. After lots of medical advice, we decided that we had to get rid of the infection as our first priority.
Long story short, my son got the splinter out last night & here’s the picture we took of it!! Prayer works!!

20131219-132816.jpg

“SHOOT THE BALL!!!”

I went to my daughters basketball game & embarrassed myself pretty well. Thankfully, my daughter isn’t stressed out & she enjoyed getting to play & have some fun with her team, which is great. In the meantime, I need help. I need to get some help on how to enjoy her games without getting so massively competitive. Of course I want to attend her games & of course I don’t want to be that freak parent who can’t control themselves. So I’m working with God in this new area. I’m asking for God to give me help, self-control, discipline, strength & grace.
Lets always be open to exploring new opportunities to trust & lean into God.
She has another game tomorrow night, so I’ll keep you posted ,)

my dad died a year ago

Tomorrow will mark the 1 year anniversary of my dad’s death & it’s been an interesting journey over the last year with some good & some not so good stuff.  While I have no intention to ignore the “not so good stuff,” I think you’ll find it more helpful & interesting to read of some of the “good stuff” today (maybe I’ll do the “not so good stuff” in a subsequent blog):

  • about 2 months ago I had a really vivid dream about my dad & it was extremely comforting.  I dreamt that my dad was hugging me like he did when he was alive & really healthy – super strong & caring
  • people have been exceptionally kind, caring, patient and generous with words, time and support
  • I find that God the Father seems more real to me now
  • I have grown more dependent on God for more things in broader areas of my life – good for an independent soul ,)

 

 

Hello from Cambodia

!We just finished around 24 hours of travel, plus or minus so I’m a little hazy around the edges 🙂
We are here for a week, combining our church mission trip & some Saving Moses work I need to do with our nightcare efforts, so this will be a really cool trip! My family is with me, so that’s a HUGE bonus!
Here are some helpful travel trips when you going for long hours &/or multiple time zones:
*drink lots of water – airplanes can be very dehydrating
*be flexible – dont expect things to be like they are at home
*stay positive – nothing ruins a trip faster than complaining
*look for opportunities to meet new people & be a blessing, within the framework of your travel host / sched

Be sure to check back with me lots this week as I’m planning to do lots of updates with our Saving Moses work!

to make you smile

Happy day to you!  I’ve been back from South Sudan for a week, so I’m happily sleeping through the night, I enjoyed immensely the time with my family last week, with the 4th of July holiday break and I’m happy to say that my digestion is doing well, after having experienced some interesting adventures.  So that’s all really good because on Sun, we fly to Cambodia for 1.5 weeks 🙂

I also want to give you some encouragement today & hopefully make you smile a bit.  Here are few attempts at these goals:

  • seeing the good that’s happening around us is often a choice of focus
  • sometimes we go through good seasons & sometimes we go through some not so good seasons – the good news is that we keep going ,)
  • drink lots of water – it keeps you healthy, chirpy & perky ,)
  • thankfully, God’s still in charge, no matter what’s happening around us
  • what do you call a rabbit with fleas?  Bugs bunny 😀

happy belated Father’s Day

I had the honor to speak in our church for Father’s Day & although it was difficult (my 1st Father’s Day without my dad), I’m thinking that God always has good stuff in mind for us, even in challenging situations.  Yesterday, I talked about how Abraham was a man of faith & miracles – a father to us in our faith.  I also threw in a few stories about my dad with his faith & life.

Here’s a fun story:  one time my family took a Christmas vacation to Europe, using a book called, “Europe on $10 a Day”, endeavoring to do the tour thing on a tight budget.  During that vacation, we visited Italy & I quickly learned that Italy is a bastion to all things beautiful, high style and fashion.  This became uber obvious through my dad who had a unique sense of fashion that could be considered “counter-culture”.  He had this bright yellow jumpsuit that he wore with white tube socks and black shoes as he walked through the streets of Florence, Rome and Venice.  The best part of these strolls was to watch the Italians get whiplash in their necks as their heads spun to fully take in my dad’s fashion bravado.  Even though my dad wasn’t in step with Italian fashion, he sported his yellow jumpsuit with dignity & poise, showing me that being a strong individual isn’t only important in fashion, but moreso in faith.  So be encouraged to be strong in your faith and weak in your doubts 🙂