Monthly Archives: May 2013

Between the Rains


Finishing up a 7 week study of James this week with a peek at rain as an example of  faithfulness.  Usually I think of rain as something to persevere through instead of benefit from or look forward to.  It was very intriguing to consider rain as the blessing, and a sunny, dry, clear sky day as the meantime.

Reading through this lesson, I realize many beloved friends, family and myself are in a type of drought–circumstantial, not spiritual.  Some are financial; some are relational; some are physical;  some are emotional.  We are all, in a sense, between the rains as we remember more pleasant, refreshing times that may have happened long ago and we wonder when and if the next one will ever come.

While we wait for our next rain, we can take a lesson from the plants.  Too much water is just as detrimental as not enough.  In time and in season, the next rain will come.  Every crop is different, every yield is different.  The world keeps turning, and we keep doing our invisible, essential work as we wait patiently for the next rain.  It will come.  It has to.  This is faith.

We can accept not just the process of growth, but the beauty of that process.  It is purposeful and intentional.  Nothing is wasted.  No part of the process can be skipped, minimized or rushed through.  The process itself is beautiful and productive–even before the harvest.

And through it all, God is faithful.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters…See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm…” 


To The Happy Couple


I went to your wedding last night and had a wonderful time with lots of friends and your beaming family.  I wrote a nice happy sentiment in the card with your gift, but there wasn’t enough room for this to-do list for a long & happy marriage.  You better begin right away, though some of the items will take some time:

1)  Wake up smiling next to each other.

2)  Stare at your left hand with shock and awe.

3)  Get irritated on your honeymoon.

4)  Gawk over your wedding photos together.

5)  Accidentally say something rude about one of your in-laws.

6)  Spend a holiday differently than your family of origin ever did before.

7)  Neglect to pay a bill on time.

8)  Get a new job.

9)  Lose a great job.

10)  Meet someone for the first time who you are now related to.

11)  Watch your spouse hold a baby and give each other “the look.”

12)  Move

13)  Remodel

14)  Clean Out the Garage

15) Accidentally throw out something that was important.

16)  Sing together.

17)  Go to a high school reunion where you don’t know anyone.

18)  Go to a family reunion where you don’t know most of the people.

19)  Find the perfect gift and keep it a secret for more than a week.

20)  Get mad.  Make up.

21)  Get sad.  Make up.

22)  Get make-up.

23)  Make a purchase that doesn’t go over well.

24)  Make a decision alone.

25)  Take a road trip.

26)  Get a speeding ticket.

27)  Hang out with newly married friends that you both like to spend time with.

28)  Arrive somewhere late—smiling.

29)  Do something exactly like the other one’s parents would have done it.

30)  Tell each other “thank you.”

31)  Tell each other “good job.”

32)  Tell each other “I’m sorry.”

33)  Tell each other “We’ll get through this.”

34)  Tell each other “You are the greatest.”

35)  Watch something you don’t like but your spouse loves.

36)  Make a combination Netflix queue.

37)  Institute a weekly date night.

38)  Forget to go on a date for several years.

39)  Tell each other “I forgive you.”

40)  Tell each other “I’m so proud of you!”

41)  Ask each other “What do you think I should do?”

42)  Ask each other “What can I do to make this better?”

43)  Listen

44)  Refer to each other with kindness.

45)  Pray for one another constantly.

46)  Surprise one another—in private.

47)  Remember the good times.

48)  Avoid mentioning previously forgiven mistakes when angry.

49)  Make your own list of things you love about each other by your first anniversary.

50)  Refer to the list often.

My One Word


My girlfriends and I choose a word to carry with us through a calendar year.  2012 was very turbulent for me so I chose the word “PEACE” and clung to it tightly.  It served me well.

Prince of Peace

reign in me

all I need

Prince of Peace

This year I chose the word “FOCUS.”


As a creative, spontaneous, impulsive, sanguine personality, I am often confronted with my tendency to lose things, forget important details, and behave in an unintentional way in my desire to connect with others.  I knew I could benefit from some focus.

At first glance, I thought this word would inspire me to become more organized—in thoughts, in my surroundings, in decision-making.  Focusing has immediately helped me to prioritize (vaguely) slow down (somewhat) and be on time (occasionally) but I have had some surprising elements of this word unfold as well.

A few months into 2013, I had a GREAT IDEA!  I had the strong impulse to CALL THE PERSON RIGHT NOW and offload the idea onto his brain and connect the dots, thereby allowing myself to move on.  I realized that this person was unavailable which put me in a quandary.  “What if I forget between now (when I want to share the idea) and when he becomes available to chat (when he can hear the idea)?”  This was such a dilemma that troubled me greatly until I remembered my word.  FOCUS.  Focus on the idea.  Focus on the calendar.  Connect the dots in my own brain between the passion I feel at a new thought and the refinement process of sharing, developing, preparation, and execution.  I knew I needed to write my thoughts down somewhere.  Somewhere that makes sense and somewhere I will easily find it later.  I felt the gentle coaching of the Spirit as I obeyed.  I felt God telling me to not be troubled or fearful that the idea will be gone like a dream, but to be strong and brave and to allow Him to help me practice FOCUS and bring the idea about in the proper time.  As it turns out focus is a lot more than being organized.

“A person’s focusing system, called accommodation, allows a person to see clearly, particularly up close…the ability to quickly shift focus when looking from near to far, such as when looking from the desk to the board is part of this skill.”  ~Children’s Vision Coalition


*selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things

*rendering in clear outline or sharp detail by adjusting one’s vision

*making adjustments to produce a clear, distinct, well-defined image

*directing toward a particular point or purpose

 *A center of interest or activity.


So let’s keep focused on that goal,

those of us who want everything God has for us.

If any of you have something else in mind,

something less than total commitment,

God will clear your blurred vision—

you’ll see it yet!

Philippians 3:15 (Message)

Younger daughter Mother’s Day Blessing


Your name comes from your Aunt Laura Elisabeth and your great-grandmother Laura Marie Dansby Tudor “Mimi.”  Almost a year ago, our family friend Popsie described Mimi as a “granite lighthouse safely directing her family to safe harbors.”  And he also described Aunt Laura as one of “the best parents any child could hope to have.”  I want to honor you with a Mother’s Day blessing.

I am so proud of who you have become.  You are sweet, social, kind and caring.  In fact, you remind me of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales and also Mother Teresa.  These two beautiful caring ladies left the world just as you were coming into it 15 years ago.  Lady Diana was lovely and loved by multitudes, just as you are.  Mother Teresa gave up everything she loved in order to serve others.

The verse that I want to read to you that reminds me of who God made you to be is Psalm 139:13

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother Carole’s womb. (you knitted Beth together in her mother Shannon’s womb).  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, (I praise you because Beth is fearfully and wonderfully made).

My dream for you in the next year of your life is to find success and balance in high school, in all your relationships, and in activities that inspire you.

I want to give you a gift today that reminds you who you are—not only my daughter and dad’s daughter, but a daughter of the King and a royal princess.

When you look at it, I want you to always remember what I believe to be true about who you are:  You are strong.  You are influential.  You hold unlimited power.

I love you and I am proud of you.

Mom   5/12/13

Beth Mom Shamrock

Blessing my Daughters on Mother’s Day



My oldest daughter, your name comes from the powerful family name of my father, his 3 brothers and his musical marine dad “Pops” who made music wherever he went.  Your middle name is a version of the names of both your grandmothers who are both dedicated, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.  From this legacy, it is my honor and priviledge to be a witness of the person you have become. You are a powerful artist, who is so very dedicated, motivated and bravely willing to express your gifts and talents.

You remind me of Orianthi Panagaris as you fill up the sky with music and also the artist Georgia O’Keefe as beauty flies from everything you touch to decorate the world around you.  I am impressed as I watch you improve lives with your unique creations.

The verse that I want to read to you that reminds me of who God made you to be is

Ephesians 2:10

For you are God’s handiwork,

created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for you to do.

My dream for you in the next year of your life is to soak up wisdom and appreciation for and from the world around you, and to enter adulthood with confidence.

I want to give you this necklace that represents your hard work, dedication and also the fun and pain that is necessary to honor your creative process.

When you look at it I want you to always remember what I believe to be true about who you are.

You are God’s masterpiece.  You are created to create.

I love you & I am proud of you.

Mom  5/12/13

Whitney profile May 2013

Orange Breakout #2 Craig Jutila “Viruses, Riots & Velcro”


This whole breakout topic and analogy was ironic and hilarious as Craig described himself as a germophobe who wipes down his hotel rooms.  He said he was like the TV character “Monk” but not QUITE as bad.  He spoke of quarantining twins when one got sick–realizing that if they caught the other’s virus quickly, it would be 3 days of sickness, instead of 7 days where one gets well THEN the other gets sick.

VIRUS = the VISION we want to spread.  Needs a host with excitement, energy and passion for the clear unanimous vision.  A host that is contagious!

Once a virus finds a host cell it has to reproduce itself.  In leaders, we have to replicate vision, mission, values, goals and approach.  We do this by getting close enough to infect others with the vision. The R “nought” refers to the equation for each person that is infected, how many other people they are likely to infect.  The larger the “r nought” factor,  the more powerful the spread of the virus.  We want to develop volunteers that infect the most amount of people.  To produce viral volunteers you want an epidemic of energy, excitement and passion for the area in which you want others to serve.

RIOTS:  The most important person in a “riot” is the 3rd person.  The first person is the pioneer.  The 2nd person is irrelevant (humor)–just a follower.  The 3rd person ushers everyone else and the 4th-8 millionth = masses.  So in leadership, we need that first person with the vision, they need a follower, and the 3rd one is the tipping point.

The First Person: Visionary

The Second Person: Verifies

The Third Person: Validates

The Fourth – Five Hundredth Person: Viral

Other Examples of The 3rd Person: Crossing The Street

A bunch of people at a crosswalk with a ‘don’t walk’ signal. If one or two people go, it does not mean everybody else will go. But once the third person goes, the masses will follow and jaywalk together.

Foreigner Standing Ovation

When the first person starts clapping, it might be a little awkward. But once a third party stands and joins the mini-movement, it proves that applause is indeed acceptable and the rest of the audience will follow.


Discovered by Swiss engineer George de Mestral in 1948 from burrs in his sock.  He was irritated by the burrs and it rubbed him the wrong way.  Instead of staying irritated, he studied it and asked, “How could this be useful?”

Through great discouragement can come great discovery.

In 1990 the White House staff coined the word “velcrosis” because people swarmed

around the President or “stuck” to him whenever he made public appearances.

Astronauts have a patch of VELCRO inside their helmet so they can scratch their nose.

Ask yourself:

Am I contagious with our vision?

Who is the 3rd person who will be the tipping point in our ministry?

Who can I thank for sticking with me?

The enemy is behind our work attempting to wipe it down with Clorox, remove every trace and shut down our contagious work for the Kingdom.  Be strategically contagious!

5 Orange Strategies — Reggie Joiner Breakout


Have you ever seen someone put a thought into a visual so exciting and alarming that you couldn’t wrap your head around the implications for, let’s say, 3 years?  I first saw Reggie Joiner and his Orange idea at the Promiseland Conference at Willow Creek several years ago.  Red=Heart of the family, Yellow=Light of Christ.  Put them together and get ORANGE.  What in the world does THAT look like in real life?  Kids in main service?  Parents on the floor at VBS? 


I got to hear from Reggie himself at my first breakout of the 2013 Orange Conference & here’s what he said:

Two combined influences accomplish more than two influences.

An orange leader definition:

ORANGE is a design strategy that combines family with faith community to demonstrate the message of God’s story in order to influence the next generation.

1)  THINK TRIBES–Be  INTENTIONAL about partnering and remaining simple and aligned.  Keep the end in mind and ask: “What do we want our children to become?” 

2)  THINK MESSAGE–amplify truth

Will 25 year old Luke fully appreciate 50 year old Reggie’s Barry Manilow collection?  Maybe he just needs to hear the WHOLE THING to appreciate it.  We need to look at how we are communicating the truth.  As leaders, what do we want our “one thing” we are remembered for teaching to be?

3)  THINK COMMUNITY  How are we connecting relationships?  Can we be more effective in discipling?  Can our mission be to recruit adults to be consistent in a child/teen’s life throughout?Measure:  What % of our people are connected in groups?  How much time spent in groups?

4)  THINK FAMILY  No one has more potential to influence than the family.  Church gets 40 hours a year–for regular attenders vs 3000 hours a year for family.  The average parent wants to do a better job as a parent!  Connect SG leaders to parents.

5)  THINK INFLUENCE  We must hand off the keys to mobilize next generation to ministry.


“Discipleship” to a teen is more effectively caught/taught when they provide service than through the disciplines of prayer, Bible study, teaching, small groups, etc.



Orange Conference Gallery


The interactive gallery behind the stage at the Orange Conference was an oasis of reflection, away from all the noise and busyness.

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936 marbles mark the number of weeks (hours) that a ministry leader will have in a child’s life from birth to high school graduation.

Or the weeks that a parent has.

Pretty sobering and somewhat alarming, but the visual effectively cemented the fact that our time matters.

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With each tick of the clock, tear of the page, turn of the calendar, our marbles slowly diminish.

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“The days are slow, but the years are fast.”

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Stories matter.  Tribes matter.  Words matter.  Fun matters.  Love matters most.

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With each age and stage come new needs, skills and demands.  Parents and ministry leaders are partners for each precious life.

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What we say–one word–can impact a life for the better.

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Even when we think they aren’t listening, they are.  Even when we think they aren’t watching, they certainly are.

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Love over time is what matters MOST.  Our love for them, and God’s love for us.

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Who is in your tribe?  What do you hope to accomplish with the time you have left?

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I was shaken to the core and didn’t need the Legacy App to tell me that I had “7 marbles” left until graduation.

I determined to make each one count.