Monthly Archives: July 2013

Listen

Standard

Yesterday my oldest came home from the store with an impulse buy.

“Listen to this, Mom.  It doesn’t plug in OR need batteries.”

egg cell speaker

Small.  Effective.  Portable.

“It looks just like an ear.”

It always amazes me when nature shows up in retail.

Sometimes I am way more fascinated by a manufactured version of creation when I purchase it with my own dollars than I am with the very same thing I have been walking around with from birth.

Now some might say that my amplifying song hole works overtime.  I would not disagree.

But today I thank God for my Listening Devices–both of them.  May I use them more today than I did yesterday.

Pinterest Inspirational Version

Standard

Thought I had posted this already. After yesterday it’s better.

Take the Automatic 7

My close personal friend Jon Acuff (who is a dude) has invented a Pinterest board entitled PIV.

It has things like this on it:

hatersgonnahate

Yesterday in the Start Experiment, our task was to “ignore the haters.”  I wasn’t sure I had one.

Until I did.  At 7:09 am.

That hater was HARD to ignore.

That hater thought I had done them wrong.

And in that person’s perspective I had.

It was difficult to correct by ignoring, but it was empowering to not be sucked into battle or manipulation.

As the day went on, I spoke to  others who were experts at ignoring their haters…many of whom were in their own families.

By day’s end, I had a thought.  What if I am someone else’s hater?  Intentionally or not?

I made a “joking” comment to someone earlier in the day.  I may be someone’s hater.

I said something that wasn’t uplifting, but pointed out an obvious…

View original post 142 more words

Staying Engaged

Standard

I was prompted to pray for a marriage today.

On my way home from church I had to make a stop at a store that I don’t typically go to.

Thinking about the personal prayer prompt I had been given earlier, my mind wandered as I walked into the store.

I specifically remember stepping away from the heat through the automatic-open doors and into the cool A/C as I considered several people I know who are experiencing challenges of all sorts.  I also thought of several engaged couples I know and the unique stress of those months for the brides and grooms-to-be.

A bored helpful employee asked me immediately upon entry if I needed help.  “Nope,” I said.  “I know exactly what I’m looking for.”

As I grabbed my items and went to the front to check out, a distressed woman spoke up from behind me directly to the cashier.  She worriedly held a cell phone to her left ear, conversation halted.

Has anyone turned in a ring?

The compassionate cashier replied, “No ma’am…but I will call my manager.”

While the manager was summoned, and unfortunately affirmed that no ring had been turned in, the distressed lady murmured dejectedly to no one in particular, “It’s not the kind of ring that someone would turn in.”

My optimism kicked in and I found myself saying, “You never know.” And to make further conversation with her, ” Was it loose on your hand?”

Distressed Lady nodded.  Phone still at ear.  “It was less than 20 minutes ago.”

She left the store and I shook my head, making small talk with the cashier.  “I couldn’t bring myself to ask if it was a diamond…poor thing.”

The cashier sympathized too.  “I should probably not be wearing my ring at work.  It could easily fall off into a customer’s bag.”

As I walked back outside the automatic doors, I felt that lady’s pain.  I prayed to the God Who Sees.  “Lord, you can see everything.  If it’s possible, please allow me to help this lady find her ring.”  My inner dialogue went like this:

Where did she even go?

Man this pavement is sparkly.

I guess I’ll take the crosswalk instead of walking right to my car in case that’s what she did too.

Did she maybe cut through the mulch?

I wonder what kind of ring it is…what did she say?  A ring that someone probably wouldn’t turn in…

So is it maybe an engagement ring?

Wow…I never knew asphalt could be so glittery.

If she’s still here and I make it back to my car, how much longer should I stay to help her look?

Is she even still here?

About 10 steps away from the front of my car, in the wide open space between parking rows it materialized at my feet.

3-stone-engagement-ring

I knelt down grinning, knowing full well OF COURSE God would help me find it.  Why wouldn’t He?  Here.  It.  Is.

He sees.  He knows.  He cares. 

The lesson I had just taught to the elementary kids at church that morning was about Paul explaining to the people in Athens who their “unknown God” is.

When I arrived here the other day,

I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across.

And then I found one inscribed, “to the god nobody knows.

I’m here to introduce you to this God

so you can worship intelligently,

and know who you’re dealing with.

The lesson concluded with the encouragement that each of us can tell people what we know about God–some will listen and some will not.

I picked up the gorgeous three-stone ring, placed it on the first knuckle of my index finger and held it high over my head so that she could see me wherever she was in the parking lot, if she was still there at all.

“Ma’am?”  I called looking right and left, hand held high, pointing skyward.  I didn’t see her anywhere.

“YES?!”  She yelled from a crouched position between two cars down the row a ways from mine.

“Is this it?”  I knew it was.  Without a doubt.

“SHUT IT!”  She hollered as she raced over to me.  It was almost too good to be true.

For almost half an hour her wounded spirit had searched against all odds, dwelling in the frustrated hope that it could be found and that until/unless it was, life as usual couldn’t continue.  She was frozen in panic.  Time and her heart stood frosty still, though simultaneously ticking away.   Then, in the moment hope became reality I noticed the last dregs of her uncensored doubt fully register and then get tossed away.  She was only steps away from her renewed treasure.

I could hardly contain my joy at this divinely orchestrated reunion.

She hugged me repeatedly.

Relief was everywhere.

Distress was nowhere.

Unrestrained joy was imminent.

My words gushed into her shoulder as she embraced me a second time.  “I prayed!”  For the benefit of us both–and whoever it was that was still on the frantic cell phone call I repeated as she thanked me with a look of pure gratitude and borderline disbelief,  “I just want you to know that I prayed that God would help me find it!  And He did!”

She put it back on and I asked to see it.  I hadn’t really looked at it except to pick it up off the ground.  It was back where it belonged on her left hand where I could admire it and wish her a hearty “Congratulations!”

I’m not only amazed at the God Who Sees helping me to see too, but also that I can count on Him to answer my prayer(s) for the people I had in mind as I walked into Walgreens.  And for all the engaged people.  And for all the married people.  For us all to find our treasure and STAY ENGAGED.

May we ask for help when we need it.

May we tirelessly search for the treasure found only outside ourselves in others.

May we bravely share the treasure found only inside ourselves with others.

May we boldly and often pray to the GOD WHO SEES.

May we have the strength to accept when someone unexpected comes alongside to bring us out of distress.

And may we all stay engaged–with our Others and with our God.

What do you need to see today?  Who can you ask to help you?  Who can you help?

The Fun was Enough

Standard

We had a family event yesterday at my church called Mess Fest.

Mess Fest colors

My husband and oldest daughter were in the band.

Mess Fest band

My younger daughter and son along with their friends were among the many helpers who ran game stations.

Mess Fest Sam Alden Beth

 

Mess Fest Bo

We wanted to make a mess and have fun in community.

Mess Fest 1

Check.

I looked up verses and wrote some educational thoughts to share on stage about the Bible, about church, about Festivals…

because, you know, I’M A WRITER now.

Mess Fest hubby

But the fun was enough.

Sometimes the fun is enough.  Isn’t that awesome?

How do you have fun?

Sing a Song

Standard

You know you want to jam to my crazy awesome START playlist:

Any Dream Will Do–Donny Osmond

“Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

The world and I, we are still waiting, still hesitating, any dream will do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_4hes62J1o

Treasure — Bruno Mars

You’re my golden star.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OoDaW2Yt-s

One Day More — Les Miserables

Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2GyhIxYsrM

Good Morning — Mandisa

Mownin’ Lil’ Miss Sunshine!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1ovNZTpVcU

Right Now — Van Halen

Right now is harder than it looks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCcLNmOpN3A

Come On In — Oak Ridge Boys

When I get tired and a little lonely, the world’s turned it’s cold back on me,

When I’m about to swear that I ain’t got a friend left to my name,

Instead of sinkin’ a little lower, I start makin’ tracks on over

To a place where the sun shines day & night & where I know I’ll hear ya say:

Come on in, baby take your coat off, come on in, baby take a load off,

Come on in baby shake the blues off, I’m gonna love that frown away…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uu_Et1YSPQg

Photo credit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8tQkKAR82o

If you sing a song today you will make a better way

yeah yeah yeah yeah

yeah yeah yeah.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFLC8XzO6Yg

There are so many more…what’s in your top 10 for motivational tunes?

I must know.

How to Write Like a Child

Standard

Today I stumbled on some cute kid notes on the Huffington Post and got fresh inspiration for writing:

what is love

Emma K. reminds me to just be me.

suckItup

Stress happens.  Don’t let it interrupt the day.

spy rules

Great rules for spies–and humans.  Especially fond of #7, #9, and #10

redsolocup

Way to include necessary details, kid.  Paint that word picture!

i will NOT

 Don’t ever let anyone, ANYONE tell you what to do.

freeloader

Frankie & I, we write for the craft.  Not for the stacks.

And for those times I’m feeling low, and dark, and that I have nothing to say,

I will remember this simple encouragement…

shine ass bright

What Friends Do

Standard

A fellow START experiment blogger inspired me to be a better leader through his thought-provoking references to the wisdom that is Napoleon Dynamite.
Since Movie Quotes are my Love Language, I am compelled to offer my own deep cinematic ponderances on friendship with the assistance of my fictional gal pals Shelby, M’Lynn, Truvy, Annelle, Clairee and Ouiser from none other than the Chick Flick Grand Supreme: Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias1

Annelle: Am I interuptin’ something?
Truvy: Naw, I’m just screamin’ at my husband. I can do that anytime.

steel magnolias 8
Husbands are awesome. Husbands are strong and capable and wise.

But husbands are not girlfriends.

A good girlfriend will redirect us when we are screaming at or about our husbands.

steel Magnolias 3
Shelby: My colors are “blush” and “bashful.”
M’Lynn: Her colors are “pink” and “pink.”
Shelby: My colors are “blush” and “bashful.” One shade is much deeper than the other.
M’Lynn: How precious is this weddin’ gonna get, I ask you?

steel magnolias 4
We are not our mothers.

Our daughters are not us.

Good friends help us appreciate our mothers and our daughters and focus on their better qualities.

Truvy: I think there’s a story there…maybe she’s got a past.
Clairee: She cain’t be more’n 18. She hasn’t had time to have a past.
Truvy: Aw, come on, Clairee. This is the 80s. If you can achieve puberty, you can achieve a past.

We all have a past.

Our friends have a past.

Not everyone gets to know ours, and we may never know theirs,

but let’s be brave when it’s time to share honestly with a trustworthy friend.

Also let’s be graceful enough to hear theirs without flinching.

We may help each other heal.

Ouiser Boudreaux: You guessed it. I am having an affair with a Mercedes Benz.

Steel Magnolias 5

Our friends can see things that we don’t care to see. 

It is wise to accept input graciously without becoming defensive.
Truvy: God don’t care where you go to church, long as you show up.

steel magnolias church
It is often surprising when unexpected friends show up (also when expected friends don’t show up)

inside our own church,

outside our church,

and outside our entire sphere of belief . 

There will be people who show up to help us, inspire us, and walk with us through trouble.

Truvy: There is no such thing as natural beauty.
Annelle: (repeats) There is no such thing as natural beauty.
Truvy: You remember that. Or we’re all out of a job.

steel magnolias 6

We actually DO know that there IS such a thing as natural beauty. 

It’s just that it doesn’t negate what we have to offer. 

This is salesmanship at its finest.

We serve a purpose on this earth.

We may think our services aren’t needed when we look around, but others do need our expertise.

We need their support.

We will both be better together.
**What Annelle and Truvy possibly don’t know is that they are providing so much more than outer beauty services in their shop. They provide community, acceptance, concern and celebration–things everyone needs. The up-do’s, the waxings and the manicures are just gravy**
M’Lynn: I just want to hit something. I want to hit it hard. I want to hit it and make it feel as bad as I do.
Clairee: HERE! HIT OUISER! KNOCK’R LIGHTS OUT! WE’LL SELL T-SHIRTS SAYING ‘I HIT OUISER BEUDREAUX!’”

steel magnolias 7
Friendship hurts.

There is no place so lonely as hurting all alone.

It is so unnecessary, but so common.

There is value in hurting together.  Laughter follows.

Truvy: I haven’t left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was 14.
Clairee: You were brought up right.

Steel Magnolias 2

That, my friends,  is wisdom straight from the MIV—Magnolias Insightful Version: Train up your cellulite in the way that it should hide, and when it is old, it shall not flab out from it. Good friends can be counted on to listen to you brag a little and agree with your positive choices.
Shelby: My dream is to sit on the front porch, covered in grandchildren sayin’ things like, “NO.” and “STOP THAT.”
Steel Magnolias Shelby

Our vision for the future shapes our difficult choices today.
What is your favorite quote from this movie? Will you share a thought on friendship?

Pinterest Inspirational Version

Standard

My close personal friend Jon Acuff (who is a dude) has invented a Pinterest board entitled PIV.

It has things like this on it:

hatersgonnahate

Yesterday in the Start Experiment, our task was to “ignore the haters.”  I wasn’t sure I had one.

Until I did.  At 7:09 am.

That hater was HARD to ignore.

That hater thought I had done them wrong.

And in that person’s perspective I had.

It was difficult to correct by ignoring, but it was empowering to not be sucked into battle or manipulation.

As the day went on, I spoke to  others who were experts at ignoring their haters…many of whom were in their own families.

By day’s end, I had a thought.  What if I am someone else’s hater?  Intentionally or not?

I made a “joking” comment to someone earlier in the day.  I may be someone’s hater.

I said something that wasn’t uplifting, but pointed out an obvious flaw in a non-constructive way.  I may be someone’s hater.

I got frustrated with the person who was frustrated with me.  I may be someone’s hater.

I don’t want to be anyone’s hater.

So the only antidote I could think of was to encourage.  Sincerely and from the heart.

I thought about what I wished my hater had said to me instead of the yuck.

I listened to what other people’s haters had said to them and had stuck.

And I said the opposite to people.  It was fun.  I could put that energy of “fixing” to use in a completely different direction rather than the downward spiral brought on by the hater.  Like a wind-up toy that just gets picked up and pointed in a different direction.

Maybe “ignoring” can be inspiration to act in a different direction.  How did you ignore YOUR hater?

Failure To Yield

Standard

Day 9 assignment: I must state and move on from a failure.

The problem is not that there are problems. 

The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.  ~Theodore Rubin

I am optimistic by nature.  I like to be flexible and turn unexpected events into fun detours filled with meeting new best friends or acquiring crazy stories.  So it is not easy for me to think of “failures” as such.

Also?  I tend to love me some denial.  True story.

So when my mind attempts to define a failure, I hear my MI pastor’s voice saying “Failure isn’t final!”  Yippee!

I hear my teacher mom saying “This grade isn’t an accurate representation of what you can do.” To which I rebelliously reply in the privacy of my own head, “I know…I wanted to do other things instead.”

I hear, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”   Yes.  Yes I do.  But…but….but…

When I think of interviews that didn’t result in a job, conversations that didn’t result in repentance, or road trips where I didn’t arrive in a timely fashion because of a pesky speeding ticket, I am quick to rearrange the truth, cover it with FAITH or a funny story, and believe that it all worked out for the best.

This may be my ultimate failure.  Failure to slow down.  Failure to listen.  Failure to yield.

It’s a self-centered existence, really.  Failure to yield.  As much as I love gaining sweet sweet energy from being surrounded by others, it is me who often fails to be influenced by them.

Just for today, I will put my failure to yield behind me.  I will yield.

yield

What about you, my friend & fearless reader?  Do you have a fear you would be brave enough to share?  One you’d like to leave behind?  Lay it on me!

Roxanne–you don’t have to sit on the red bike

Standard

Two of my four teens are gearing up for Summer Jam, our church camp for middle-schoolers and high-schoolers at Watermarks in a few weeks.  Driving around town this weekend, listening classic rock, we heard the song Roxanne and my 15 year old told me about a game they always do at camp:  Everytime you hear the word “Roxanne” you eat a full-size marshmallow, and every time you hear “put on the red light” you take a drink of soda.  Awesome.

I thought that would be a fabulous game for our families to play at Mess Fest next weekend, if not for the troubling lyrics regarding walking the streets for money (which may sound very intriguing to a kid) and also the thing about selling your body to the night (which will not go over well with the parents and also the pastor).

So Sting has been kind enough to allow me to modify his lyrics for our live band His Heart Liaison to sing to a crowd of elementary and preschool students.

Roxanne.

You don’t have to sit on the red bike.

Those days are over, you don’t have to ride that Big Wheel like a tyke.

Big Wheel Girl

Roxanne.

You should always wear a helmet tonight.

Ride the streets your own way.

You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right.

Roxanne.

You don’t have to sit on the red bike.

Roxanne.

You don’t have to sit on the red bike.

Roxanne/sit on the red bike/Roxanne/sit on the red bike/Roxanne/sit on the red bike…

I’ve loved you since I knew ya.

I wouldn’t talk down to ya.

I have to tell you just how I feel,

I don’t care your bike is for a boy.

I know your mind is made up.

So come on tell me whazzup.

I told you once I won’t tell you again, get a Segway.

segway