Wednesday, November 20, 2013


"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I love the color pink!

I love Christmas time!

I love the KU Jayhawks!

I love my husband!

I love each of my three kids for the amazing individuals that they are!

I love Jesus.

But love is not just a word or a list of things we enjoy, desire or believe in.  Love is an action.

Love is a verb.  It is patient, kind, selfless...

Love requires doing.  It is not passive.  it is not stagnate.  It is not easy.

I love the color pink.  I wear it, a lot.  And people are able to see by my actions that I love the color pink.

I love Christmas time.  So I embrace it and I celebrate it.  I am already playing Christmas music, I will decorate this weekend.  Christmas time is not always an easy time, it takes a lot of work, and is often frustrating.  I get over scheduled and stressed out.  I run out of time, money and patience.  But I still love it.  And because I love Christmas, and more importantly what it represents, I do these things, like decorating, buying gifts, and listening to Christmas music.  And you can tell by my actions that I love Christmas.

I love the Jayhawks.  I schedule in the time to watch their games, I cheer them on.  This often means sacrificing something else I want to do, or taking time away from something I could be doing.  But I love the Jayhawks, so I give them my time, I follow their season, wear their colors.  You can tell by my actions that I love the Jayhawks

I love my husband.  He is everything I ever hoped for in a husband and then some.  But loving him requires action on my part.  It  requires sacrifice, selflessness, and at times submission (one of my least favorite words). It requires patience, and not keeping a record of who last unloaded the dishwasher, folded the laundry or made dinner.  It means setting aside my anger, giving him the benefit of the doubt, and being kind to him, even when my feelings are hurt.  Loving him requires me to trust that he loves me too and will do all that he can to support and protect our family.  It means setting aside my to do list to help him with his.  It means setting aside my desires and listening to his.  It means letting go of control sometimes and letting him make the decision.   And hopefully, people can tell by my actions that I love my husband.

I love each of my three children.  Not just because they are my children but because I really, really like who they are, and who they are becoming.  But this love requires action.  For me, it required me giving up my career so I could be the mom they needed me to be.   It requires more patience than I have in my own selfish human form. It requires holding my temper when they push my buttons and speaking to them kindly.  It requires that I keep no record of the wrong they do, but actively forgive them each and every time.  People can see by my actions that I love my children.

I love Jesus.  But this love must be more than words.  It needs to be an action.  People should be able to see by my actions that I love Jesus.  The question is can they?  Am I patient and  kind?  Am I one who doesn't envy or boast, who isn't proud?  Am I selfless, slow to anger, do I hate evil and rejoice in truth?  Because this is what love looks like.  

"Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue…" (because that isn't really love at all) "but with actions and in truth" 1 John 3:18.  Because love is an action.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Holidays

Thanksgiving is next week!

The holidays are officially upon us.  

And I couldn't be more excited.  

Yes fall is my favorite time of the year, but that just might be because it is the pre-party, so to speak, for the holidays.  

And yes, I am fully aware there are 2 separate holidays, and Thanksgiving no longer gets it's due, but I just cannot contain my excitement for Christmas this year!  My kids roll their eyes and are a smidge too vocal when they see Christmas decorations out in stores before thanksgiving.  But I love it!  Especially this year! 

I just can't wait to get out my Christmas decorations. To turn on my christmas music.  And It's not because I have my Christmas shopping done early, I don't even know what I am going to get most people.  It has nothing to do with the gifts, or honestly even the decorations.  But for some reason I have this overwhelming excitement for this season this year.  I can't even put into words exactly what I am excited for, I just am. 

It reminds me of the excitement I had when I was waiting for my first child.  I wasn't so naive that I thought it would be as awesome and wonderful as I was hoping it would be.  I knew the birth would be hard.  I knew there would be sleepless nights, and sacrifice, and that sometimes, many times, the reality of parenthood would fall far short of my expectations.  But that didn't stop me from being excited beyond words to meet my child. 

I think, for me, Christmas is very similar.  Once again I find myself anticipating a birth, one that took place over 2000 years ago, but still my excitement is the result of an infant child.  
Once again, I know the reality of Christmas day often falls far below my expectations, but that doesn't keep me from being excited beyond words for it!

Just like the birth of each of my children was a celebration of family, our growing family, christmas is a celebration of that same family, and our bigger families.  Our extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Our church family.  Our family of friends and neighbors.  Yes Christmas comes with an overwhelming list of parties, cookies, and commitments, but behind each one of those commitments is a "family" of people who love you and are loved by you.  That is something worth celebrating.  

This holiday season, instead of rolling your eyes, complaining about your list, or stressing out about getting it all in, embrace it.  Embrace the chaos, it's only for a season.  Enjoy the expectation of it all and let yourself get excited.  Just like the birth of a child, we eagerly look forward to the birth of our savior, that is something to be excited about. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Foolish and the Wise

"The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools."
Ecclesiastes 9:17

Let's face it, we all know people who are wise and we all know people who are foolish.

We also, at one point or another, will all listen to, take advise from, follow, or "heed" the words of others.  

The question is, whose words are we heeding?  Who is it that we are listening to?  Are they wise or are they foolish?

There are a lot of voices we get to choose from in this day and age.  Television, radio, social media, news media, ALL have a LOT of opinions that they willing and eager to share.  

Opinions about how to live, what to think and who to vote for.  Opinions about who is right and what is wrong.  Opinions about what your priorities should be and how you should spend your time, energy and money.  Opinions about how to be a good spouse, a loving parent, and a decent citizen.

Some of the voices and words around us are quiet and gentle, but most more like shouts.  They are loud, decisive, judgmental and harsh.

This morning I found myself in the 9th and 10th chapters of Ecclesiastes, a book some believe was written by the ever wise King Solomon.  And although we don't know definitively whether or not he wrote the book, the author (whomever he was) had a lot to say about the foolish and the wise, especially in chapter 10.  

"…a little folly outweighs wisdom" (it takes just a little folly, one act of foolishness to outweigh, counteract, or cancel out the wise choices we have made)

"…the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is" (do you really need me to explain that one?)

"…fools are put in many high positions" (just because someone is in a position of authority or on television or radio, does NOT make them wise.  Sometimes it is just the opposite!)

"…words from a wise man's mouth are gracious, but a fool is consumed by his own lips" (there is a humbleness in the wise that you will not find in the foolish.  And likewise there is a pride in the foolish that you will not find in the wise.)

In this day and age, in our culture and in our society, MANY of the voices we hear are the "shouts of a ruler of fools", and the truly wise words, the quiet ones, get lost in these shouts.  

But it is the quiet words of the wise, the ones we too often miss that we need to heed.  Those are the words we should be listening to, that is the advice we need to follow.  

So where do we turn to hear these quiet words of the wise?  Today I found some in the 9th and 10th chapters of Ecclesiastes.  But you can find them in any of the 66 books in the Bible.  Take a look, the words are quiet, they don't yell or shout, you have to want to hear them, but wiser words you will never find.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Preschoolers, Middle Schoolers and the Elderly

In September of 1999 I found myself in a preschool room for the first time since I myself was a preschooler.  I was completing a required rotation before I would receive my master's degree that December.  

As I walked into the preschool room filled with children with special needs and a handful of typically developing peer models,  I remember thinking, "How hard could this be?"

Then one of those typically developing peer models walked up to me and said, "I can spin in circles until I throw up!  Wanna see?"

Um…no… I did NOT want to see.  

Clearly this was going to be more difficult than I thought.

Though my intention throughout graduate school had been to work with adult rehabilitation patients in a hospital setting, I quickly fell in love with these beautiful little preschoolers and spent the next 5 years working with them, right up until the point I had my own preschoolers. 

I spent a total of 10 years with preschoolers, teaching others and raising my own.  I can't tell you how many people through the years have told me that it is an age they could never work with, but I happen to love them!

I still get my preschool fix every wednesday when I help with the preschool choir at church. I have an absolute blast with these little balls of love!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at a retirement center and then a few days after that at an assisted living center.  This too is an age group many people through the years have told me they could never work with.  But I loved my time with them.  I loved sitting with them, hearing their stories, where they come from and the things they have done!  I loved sharing with them the things I have learned and encouraging them to keep on growing.  I had a blast with these older balls of love!

A week after speaking at the assisted living center I found myself speaking to the middle school kids at church.  (apparently when you are in seminary you get all the speaking engagements no one else wants!)  Yet another group that I have heard people say over and over again they could NEVER work with!  I have to be honest here, this group kind of intimidates me too.  

But here is what I have learned…from preschoolers…middle schoolers… and the elderly.  I am thinking if it is true for these 3 very different groups, it must be true for just about everyone.

They just want to matter.

It made no difference if the person I was with was a preschooler, a young teen, or elderly.  They just wanted me to look them in the eye, listen to what they had to say, and smile at them.  They wanted to know I cared about them, about what they were thinking and that I enjoyed being with them.  

It is a fact of the human condition that we desire to be loved, listened to and enjoyed, regardless of our age.  The next time God is tugging at you to serve in some way and you find yourself saying, well, that's not really the age group for me, I challenge you to reconsider.  Regardless of the age group, all they really need is for you too look them in the eye, listen to what they have to say, and enjoy being with them. 

That is all any of us need.

Friday, November 8, 2013



Is there anyone of us who at one time or another has not felt the pain of being left out.


There are some people who can brush off the pain pretty easy.  Who embrace the idea of being a loner and are proud to be different.

Then there are those of us, most of us, I think, who feel the pain of being left out, unaccepted, and it crushes them.

I used to be in the latter category.  I grew up in a tiny little town, really too little to have an "in" crowd and an "out" crowd, yet more often than I would have liked, I still found myself feeling like I somehow ended up on the outside of cool.  

I have grown up since then, I could argue I am much more mature now.  But somehow these feelings of inadequacy, of being unaccepted still linger.  And though I am able to logically walk through the emotions and talk myself out of them, I would be lying if I said I never felt them.

The Bible tells us that it is going to happen, that it SHOULD happen.  We should be different enough that we get left out of some things.  I tell myself this over and over again, and I TRULY believe it, but that doesn't always stop that first stab of pain when I, or my children, are left out of something.  

My kids aren't growing up in a small town.  They live in the city, in a big school in a big school district.  There are clearly "in" crowds and "out" crowds.  I can honestly and sincerely tell you, I could care less if my children are in the "in" crowd.  I desire for them to be in the "nice" crowd, (if there is such a thing) but I could care less about "popularity".  But I do want them to be accepted.  I don't want them to feel left out, to feel like they don't measure up, or that they are unwanted in any way.  

The thing is, they will.  At some point in their life they will feel like they don't fit in, they will feel unaccepted.

And they should.  

And I need to let them.  

That is really, REALLY hard for this momma.

But I desire nothing more than for them to be children of God, for them to embrace Romans 12:2  "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…"

The patterns of this world, the patterns we are so desperate to fit into, have never been what God desired for us.  Not 2000 years ago and not today.  I want my children to be transformed, for their minds to be renewed, to be set on Christ, not the patterns of this world.  That means they WILL be left out of some things.  And I have to be okay with that!  And not pass my own feelings of inadequacy on to them!

There are only 2 places in this world my children will ever be FULLY accepted -  here in their home, in the arms of their earthly mother and father;  and second,  in the eyes of their Heavenly Father!  THIS is where they will find acceptance.  THIS is where I want their identity to rest.  

God, Erik and I will love them for who they are, no matter what.  We will love the amazing things they do, and we will love them through their mistakes.  We will love them when they are silly, goofy, ridiculous, say odd things, do odd things.  We will never leave them out, call them uncool, or plan a party with out them.  We will celebrate them in their successes - big or small, and cry with them in their disappointments.  We will never leave them or forsake them.

THIS is acceptance.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Psalm 131

I have confessed before that I sometimes struggle with the Psalms. 

I deeply desire to fully recognize their beauty, to get carried away in them.  But sometimes it is hard for me to relate.

I don't have a lot of enemies (I hope).  But the one I do have (Satan), he's pretty awful.  

I don't spend much time hiding out in caves, although some days stuck at my desk might feel like that!

Today I read a few of the Psalms and I must say Psalm 131 spoke to my heart, this is one I could fully relate to.  Here is my modern day version of Psalm 131

"My heart is not proud, O Lord 
my eyes are not haughty"

(how could they be when my house looks like this… utter chaos)

"I do not concern myself with great matters 
or things too wonderful for me"

(no, I don't even read the paper any more…who has the time?
this is our Sunday paper…still outside…today is Wednesday!)

"But I have stilled and quieted my soul"

(I have stopped!  Taken a break from the Chaos, 
and found a place of quiet)

"like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me"

Like a child with her mother 
I have found comfort and contentment
deep in my soul

"O Israel. put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore."
Psalm 131

Monday, November 4, 2013


Patience may be a virtue, but it has never been one of my virtues.  

I have a hard time waiting...waiting at a traffic light, waiting for my kids to be ready to leave the house, waiting for a special event can be excruciatingly painful for me.  So can waiting for God sometimes.

There have been times in my life when I been forced to  point out to my creator just how patient I have been (in case he missed it!).  A not-so-gentle encouragement for him to move on from the lesson in patience to something more fulfilling (in my eyes!).  Now THAT is patience.  

I had the opportunity to recently to write a guest blog for a Christian Women's Blog.  It posts today and is all about my battle with patience.  I would love for you to check it out!

Here is the link!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Convicted (Haggai 1:6)

I am diligently making my way through reading the entire Bible in a year. Something I have never done before and something I will not do again while I am in seminary.  There is only so much reading a girl can do!

But I have to admit, over and over again I have been moved, inspired, convicted and taught by passages of the Bible I probably would not have read had I not taken on this challenge. 

Today I found myself in the book of Haggai.  A book, I admit, I have not read often before.  But today, it spoke to me with a power I will not soon forget. 

Haggai 1:6 "You have planted much, but harvested little.  You eat, but never have enough.  You drink, but never have your fill.  You put on clothes, but are not warm.  You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."

Umm, ouch.  

That hit a little to close to home.

"You have planted much but harvested little..."  Yeah, that's probably me.  This is something that God has really been working on in me lately.  Where is your fruit?  I keep asking myself.  Am I making a difference?  I am investing in people who need to be invested in or am I investing in people who are already rich?  Am I helping to bring in the harvest or preaching to the choir?  Am I doing God's work or my own?  Somehow I don't think I am going to like my answers to some of these questions.

"You eat, but never have enough...."  I don't know what it means to go hungry.  Even in Haiti, we Americans had far more to eat than the orphans (don't get me wrong, they were fed well, but the BEST they had to offer, was saved for the Americans).  What does that tell you about our culture?  About what other countries think of and know about us?

 I am rarely thirsty, and have let's be honest, I have way too many clothes (you won't get me to repeat that).  I have more than I need, too much!  I am fat (metaphorically) , over hydrated and have more clothes than I can wear in a month.  

"You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."  My husband has been blessed with a well paying job.   Please don't think I am being prideful.  We have had our share of hard times.  He has been laid off twice, once for 15 months straight, and the other time when I was staying at home with the kids and we had no other source of income.  We know what it is like to count every single penny (and end up a few short at the end).  We have had savings, lost our savings, and had to start saving again.  But that is not the current season of our life.  Lately, I swear my purse has a hole in it and the money is just falling out.  But that is a sign that I am not being intentional with it.  I am not being a good steward with what God has provided.  And that needs to change.

Today I read a passage I had only read one, maybe two, other times in my life.  And I am so thankful I did.  I am newly convicted of where I am in life, and where God wants me to be.