Monday, July 30, 2007

What if ... we stopped trying to control the direction our lives.

With Randee's last post about how God is our pot watcher, I wanted to continue on with this theme and share with you a little snippet from a book called "The Grand Weaver, How God Shapes us through the events of our Lives" by Ravi Zacharias.

I just began reading it over the weekend and I am only on the second chapter titled "Your Disappointments Matter" but it already has me pondering so much. A section of the chapter was talking about beginning to walk in our faith and how faith is where we believe that God is in control and has formed us for a purpose. If we do not walk in faith we will find ourselves floundering and living without purpose.

The part that really got me pondering things was where he brought up the story of Noah in Genesis 6:9-22 and how "The Bible supplies every detail of the ark: how high, how wide, what kind of wood - the comprehensive blueprint. Yet two details are conspicuously absent: no sail and no rudder. Imagine preparing to float on water for that many days with nothing to control the direction of the ship!"

What if... we could stop trying to control the direction of our lives and just trust God as Noah did?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What If...The Watched Pot Never Boils?

The watched pot never boils.

That's how the saying goes, right? You put the pot on the stove filled with cool water. You watch. Nothing happens. You watch a little longer. Still...nothing. You step away from the stove (for just a moment) only to hear your smoke detector piercing through your ears. Apparently, while you were away, the pot did boil. It boiled over. And, you never even seen it. For, as they say...the watched pot never boils.

Or...does it?

Almost a year ago, I launched a project after a decade in germination. Since then, I have watched. Daily checking the "stats". How many visitors? How many members? How many posts? Always watching...waiting for the boil.

I went in knowing the "typicals". Be prepared for 3 years of lean time. 3 years of preparation. 3 years of the learning curve. You name it. The "magic" number seemed to be 3. If the pot hasn't boiled in 3 years...move on to Plan B.

But, just because I recognize the "typicals", I am also totally aware that I am the daughter of an "a-typical" God. Does the number 3 have any significance to Him? I doubt it. So, in my heart, I anticipate His workings. I anticipate His participation. And...sometimes (on my more bold days) I anticipate His miracles.

Interestingly, my life went through a bit of transition a few months ago. I was no long able (or compelled) to "watch the pot" so I asked God to by the "official watcher". And, He has.

A powerful thing happens when God is the watcher. The pot boils! is my unsolicited 3 part advice for the day:

1. Stop watching the pot.

2. Ask God to be your "official" pot watcher.

3. Carry on with the work before you and wait.

The watched pot DOES boil.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What if ... I began to enjoy meal planning?

My last post I talked about staying on task with my meal planning. So far so good. We've had some good meals the past week, my kids have enjoyed helping and I have to say the help has been nice and it was very nice not to wonder what we are having for dinner.

Since Anne shared a wonderful meal planning resource website it reminded me of another website I came across some time ago that I had meant to go back to but you know how that goes sometimes.

Well I made a point to check it out finally and I have to say it is a great free resource website that helps with meal planning. The website is called Meals Matter and you can plan weekly meals, search for recipes that are in their database or add your own, create your shopping lists with a click of a button from the recipes you plan to prepare and create your own cookbook online that can be viewed by others if you like and lots of other great information.

What if ... I actually began to enjoy meal planning? I think it is very possible with these simple online tools and after 10 years I could finally be able to turn over a new leaf and eliminate this one major stress in my life making us all happier in our family.

Friday, July 20, 2007

What if..We Embraced Transition?

Recently, I have had the opportunity to help quite a few men and women who are contemplating leaving the corporate life they have known for 25+ years to start their ‘second phase’ of life. Whether you are age 55+ or thirty-something, “redirection” can be defined as looking for changes to improve or enhance your personal, professional and/or spiritual life.

Transition (or commonly known as change) can be a smooth or rough ride, depending on how it is approached. If, for example, you are terminated from your job without warning or preparation, your transition to another job might be rougher than someone who has quit to take another job elsewhere.

Transition can be seen as a threat or as an opportunity. What I have seen over the years as a life and business coach is that what might start out as a threat, winds up becoming a wonderful opportunity.


1. Remember that your job or career DOES NOT define who you are: it only defines WHAT you do.

2. Take the time to discover your values, your passions and how you are wired. These items are foundational in making future decisions about your life direction. Seek outside resources like coaches, classes or conferences that can help you.

3. Make sure you are not living life inside a box. Do you have a network of contacts outside your place of employment, or home? Does your network include personal and professional contacts? These contacts can serve as a great resource if and when you want to explore something outside of your current situation.

4. Keep a running tally of your strengths and talents. Be willing to look outside your industry to see how you can creatively transfer your talents to other markets.

5. Pray about where your life is and if you think a different direction is where you are being led. Be willing to be patient until you feel you have an answer.

Live Out Loud Ladies!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What If...Deliberate Acts Of Kindness Became A Habit?

I think I shall dedicate this week to Deliberate Acts Of Kindness.

Tomorrow, I will wake up and give thanks to the Lord for the wonderful kindness He has given to me over my lifetime. This is how I will start my day.

Then, I will make an intentional plan. I will plan a deliberate act of kindness to very specific individuals. I think I will make a choice to specifically target those who have NOT been kind to me recently.

Would anyone like to join me?

I really need to step outside some pain inflicted. Today, I became completely aware that, although unkindness has been shown to me, so much kindness has also been shown. Isn't it interesting how easy it is to "obsess" over the kindness taken when so much kindness has been given?

What if...deliberate acts of kindness became a habit?

Monday, July 16, 2007

What if...I could stay on task this week.

I don't know about you but as a mom I find myself easily getting distracted from my daily tasks. I start my day out with great expectations to get lots done and so I start to tackle my first project of the day. Soon my kids interrupt and need my attention for one reason or another so I stop what I am doing and help them but then very often something else gets my attention which also keeps me from my task at hand.

I have never been very good with cooking and taking time to be creative with food all my life but since getting married now over 10 years ago, this has been something I have tried more times then I can even count to get better at preparing dinners for my family but it is still just as much a struggle today as it was ten years ago. Everything else seems to take priority and distract me from my goal to have good dinners prepared for my family every night and not just having the same old meals that we all are tired of.

I will be going grocery shopping today for the next two weeks of dinner meals that I have planned out. Hopefully I can keep it up and make it a habit to do every two weeks and take the time out necessary (and stay on task) to plan and prepare what we will be eating two weeks in advance rather then at the last minute like I do too often where I either find that we don't have all the ingredients and need to make a last minute trip to the store or we just eat out.

Can any of you relate?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What only saw your child once or twice a year?

My daughter Kelly (see photo above!) came home to Michigan this week to visit from her home in Ft. Lauderdale. The last time I saw my daughter was at Christmas; needless to say I had a hard time letting go when I grabbed and hugged her as she walked through the door at the airport terminal. Hopefully that also helps explain the lateness of this post, and myriad emails I've sent asking people to understand a delay in my work schedule this week on freelance endeavors. My baby girl is home, and everything else has taken a back seat to spending time with her.

When our children are little we don't often think of the fact that we are raising them to be adults and self-sufficient enough to make their way in the world. Sometimes we don't take into consideration that their world will end up being so far away from our own! I'm so grateful for how communication has evolved through the years. When I was a teenager, there was that corded phone that we would drag as far as we could into closets, or around a corner in order to have a private conversation. Long distance calls were mostly out of the question though; too expensive. The plus side was that everyone became good letter writers, and there are beautifully handwritten letters to lovingly store away. Still, though, I'm so grateful for the relatively inexpensive cell phones that let me talk to my daughter most days, and email that can travel through space in just a moment's time. Frequent communication certainly helps us feel closer.

But there's nothing like being together in person, having conversations face to face, and the joy of wrapping a loved one in your arms. So until next Wednesday, I'm a little bit absent from my online world of friends. But I am so totally present right now in my life with my daughter. Wishing you all a warm hug from a child today; your own or a treasured borrowed one!

Monday, July 9, 2007

What if ... we could be a fruit?

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I am learning how to have more fun in my life so lets have a little fun here as I myself need to have a lot more fun in my life and not be so serious always.

If you could be any fruit, an apple, peach, pear, plum, watermelon, honeydew, cantelope, banana, pineapple, rasberries, strawberries, blueberries etc., what would you want to be and why?

My initial thought was I would want to be an apple so I would always be the apple of God's eye but I don't really care much for the taste of most sweet apples as I prefer the sour apples but wouldn't want to be thought of as one of those sour apples.

With summer here, two of my most favorite fruits to eat are rasberries and watermelon. I have fond memories of picking rasberries every summer as a child in our back yard but I think If I were to pick one it would be a watermelon since they are so filling and also help quench your thirst on hot summer days.

What would you want to be?

Friday, July 6, 2007

What if..We Paid Attention to Our Needs?

I just went through three weeks of insomnia. There was nothing stressful or spiritually upsetting in my life. My body just decided it was going to be stubborn and not function properly. (For any of you who have had bouts of sleep deprivation, you know how frustrating this is!!)
A little proactive investigating on my part led me to a homeopathic doctor who was able to pinpoint a specific hormone that was completely depleted, which was causing my insomnia. I was ever so grateful to learn that there was something actually wrong and I wasn't crazy!!
During my three weeks of non-existence, it forced me to focus on God for help and wisdom to get to the bottom of what was wrong. There are some lessons I have had to learn through this and wanted to share those with you.

1. Don't ignore your body. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women today. Why? Because they ignore the signs. Women are known to focus on everyone and everything else EXCEPT themselves.

2. Keep in mind that your body, mind and spirit (physical,mental and spiritual) must be in balance in order for you to function optimally for God. If one area is off balance, the others are affected as well. Take action to get yourself back in balance.

3. Rest. Recognize when your body, mind or spirit is weary and force yourself to rest. If you don't, you'll be miserable and everyone else will know how miserable you are too!!

Live Out Loud Ladies!!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

What If...I loved Him the way I love him?

We sent our children off to their grandmother's until Sunday. Ah, 5 days alone with my husband.

Grammy picked up the kids on Tuesday at 11:00. My husband came home to kiss them goodbye and decided to spend the afternoon alone with me. We went to lunch and came home for an afternoon nap. It was wonderful.

I awoke about 3:00 PM in time to make it to work at 4:00. As I worked, I was thinking of our wonderful afternoon. Then a floral deliveryman came into the showroom with a bouquet of beautiful, long-stemmed roses.

"Are you Randee?", he asked.

I opened the card to find the note: You're too good to be true. I can't take my eyes off of you. I blushed. It was an good afternoon.

My husband is an easy man to love. He personifies the strength that I so desperately admire. He is a man of truth choosing never to allow things to simmer but get them out in the open immediately. This can be unsettling to some but for me it's quite refreshing. Something that I've always admired him for. He lives in the present. He is full of gratitude and appreciation. He is hilariously funny.

He is easy to love.

Lately, I have been contemplating God as Lover. I've been pondering just how much energy and effort I put into "loving" my husband. I wondered...

What if I loved my Lover like I love my lover?

How would that look? Feel?

If God established marriage as the ultimate "love" relationship, then why NOT begin seeing my God as my Lover?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What if...I honor the independence declaration of 1863?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thomas Jefferson

I thought it would be easy to create a post in honor of Independence Day, to speak of honor, sacrifice, courage and freedom. But as I searched through articles and quotes pertaining to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our subsequent celebrations of the event, I kept being brought back to the fact that not all of us were free. In actuality it took almost 90 more years until Americans of color were granted independence.

Words from a speech by Frederick Douglass on an Independence Day in 1841 reminded me of this:
"The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn."

As an American, today I honor and recognize the founding fathers who sacrified and fought for an independent and self-governing nation. Today, also as an American, I feel called to recognize another declaration of independence, one that finally gave African-Americans reason to rejoice and celebrate.

"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy, do hereby declare that on the first day of January, eighteen-sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any state then in rebellion against the United States, shall then become and be forever free.

...And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

...And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God."

A proclamation by the President of the United States, 1 January 1863

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What if…forgiveness were all we had to offer?

Norka wrote this post but is having technical difficulty posting.


Recently we invited our entire congregation to read “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust” by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It is the memoir of a college girl who survived the Rwandan genocide – the internal conflict between the Hutus and the Tutsis in 1994.

Immaculee survived huddled in a small bathroom with seven other women for 91 days. If the trauma of that experience were not enough, Immaculee heard the killers chanting her name. They had already massacred her family and they knew that she was alive.

Machetes in hand and blood-thirsty they vowed to wipe all Tutsis from the face of the earth. Believing that they could, the killers went on a rampage throughout the country butchering any Tutsi or Tutsi supporter. It is estimated that close to a million people were murdered. Undoubtedly, the forces of evil were working overtime.

Ironically, all this occurred while the world stood by watching - clueless. If you’ve seen the movie: Hotel Rwanda you know exactly what I mean. That movie is another real-life depiction of the same genocide Immaculee survived.

To survive Immaculee retrieved into herself and held on to her faith. She used the memorization of Bible texts and prayer to keep her emotionally and psychologically sane – during the whole ordeal.
In spite of this there were times when she was overpowered with doubt and fear. She states in her book: “I realized that my battle to survive this war would have to be fought inside of me. Everything strong and good in me – my faith, hope, and courage – was vulnerable to the dark energy. If I lost my faith, I knew I wouldn’t be able to survive. I could rely on God to help me fight.”

But Immaculee’s survival is, to me, not even the greatest triumph of this amazing story. After the war Immaculee goes the extra mile and confronts the suspected killers of her family. They indeed confess all the gruesome details. Then Immaculee does something totally mind-boggling: she forgives them – to their faces. When asked why she would do such a thing, she states: “Forgiveness is all I have to offer”

Perhaps very few of us would ever experience even a quarter of what Immaculee went through in our full lifetimes. But we’ve all been hurt by people, and we all struggle with forgiveness. What if forgiveness where our only choice – the only thing we would choose to offer?

To watch video clips & read more about Immaculee click below:

4 Real Women International - First Annual "Survivors" Awards Benefit Gala (January 2008)

Monday, July 2, 2007

What if ... we lived every day in the moment?

Our lives are too often spent thinking about our past and what we could have done differently or it is spent thinking about our future and what we want our life to look like rather then living in the moment.

I have spent many a years in the past but luckily I have learned to not dwell on my mistakes any more but chalk it up to a valuable learning experiences.

What I have yet to learn though is not worry about what tomorrow will look like. Too many of my days and my thoughts are focused on tomorrow rather then fully appreciate and enjoy each moment as it comes.

A great reminder of this is Matthew 6:34:

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it's own."

Let us learn to live in the moment so we do not miss out on the blessings each day with our families and friends nor miss those divine appointments that come our way because we will be living in the present.