Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What was retroactive?

Several years ago I ran across some articles by a man who had spent his childhood in an orphanage. Richard's stories were heartwrenching; full of abuse, neglect and torment. I wrote and told him how sorry I was for all that he had suffered growing up, and we exchanged email back and forth. Although he was about 70 years old he told me how long it took for him to learn how to love people, and how disasterous his first and second marriages were. He was happily married for a third time, but said that his wife didn't understand one ritual that he had kept through the years.

Every Christmas he would buy his young boy self a Christmas present. Through counseling Richard had had to travel back and heal the young boy who had been so hurt and abandoned, and a part of the healing he held on to was buying and wrapping a new toy every Christmas for six-year-old "Richie"; something he'd never had growing up. From our exchange of letters I came to know that one thing that Richard had so strongly wished for was a mother who loved and cherished him.

I told him that I wished I could go back in time and be his mother for him. I said how I wished that little Richie would have come through the door after school to a real home, and that I would be there waiting with a smile, a hug, and a warm plate of cookies, anxious to hear all about his day. I told him if I'd been his mother I would have read him stories at bedtime, sung lullabies, tucked him snugly under the blankets, and said a prayer with him. And then I would have kissed him good night and told him I loved him.

Richard wrote back and said that he knew I would have done those things, he knew that I would have been that kind of mother for him. I hope in some small way that I was another little piece of his journey to healing such a broken childhood. I think for a moment together we both rewrote the past and filled it with love.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What If...We Made The "W" List?

Just a quick post today. I received this email a few days ago by my dear friend and lady of the Pink Collar Club, Carolyn Townes of Spirit Women. Thought I'd share it with you. Take a look!

Hey Blogging Divas!

Just wanted to give you the heads up. To make a long story short:

Toby Bloomberg of
Diva Marketing (the Oprah of the blogosphere) posted about the W Magical List -- which started as a list of the top 150 women bloggers. It has circulated around the blogosphere, with women adding their own blogs to it. I saw it on at least a dozen blogs.

Toby posted that some diva should create a wiki to house the list so that all could assess and add their blogs. Well, guess who took her up on it? AND, I added you gals to the amazing line-up, along with myself.

So, just wanted to let you know, in case you get this amazing influx of traffic! The wiki is There are close to 200 blogs listed, all written by women. We rock!

So as they say in blogland, I memed you guys. If you want to reach out, check out
Toby's blog post, and make a comment. Who knows where it will lead!?

Stay passionate my sistahs!

It's nice to be noticed, isn't it? The What If...? Women blog made the "W" Magical List !

Monday, August 27, 2007

What if ... we learned to take things in stride?

This topic has been posted about by myself and others from different angles but it is always good to be reminded of things several times and to look at it from different perspectives. So I ask:

What if ... we learned to take things in stride?

So often I want to rush things or get to the end result of something and in my rushed state or possible frenzy, I lose the enjoyment of what I am doing. Often I think we are fooled into believing we are going to miss out on something if we don't hurry and get to our destination. The reality is though that we miss out on the blessings that are in the process of things. The end result is usually just that, the end. Then we move on to something else and begin the cycle again rushing to reach the next destination or goal of ours.

We may think to take things in stride is to go slow but I looked up the word stride and the dictionary says to stride is to walk or run with long regular steps. After pondering this I realize that to take things in stride is not necessarily to take our time or take things as they come, but to take regular and consistent steps towards our destination whether it be a walking or running pace that is most suitable to our own character.

Who do you tend to be more like in the Aesop Fable "The Tortoise and the Hare"?
These fables really can teach us some valuable lessons now can't they?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What Nichole Nordeman

My thanks to Shalene (Proverbs 31 Wannabe) for posting this on her blog. How could I not add a song called "What If" here?!

Friday, August 24, 2007

What if...We Could See the Unseen?

One of my mentors from several years ago recently re-entered my life. It was neat how we were reunited, and we quickly set up a time to meet and give each other updates on what is happening personally and professionally.

What I thought was going to be just a simple catching up with one another, has turned into a collaboration on a future project that will meet a passion and expertise we share for helping leaders. She has also taken my book and workbook to some colleagues for exposure and potentially teaching my work at her organization. I am amazed at life’s surprises when we don’t try to plan them!

Could I have seen this coming? Probably not. Even if I had an “agenda,” I still don’t believe it could have turned out better than it has and I truly believe my mentor would have been turned off to any collaborating projects.


1. Loosen the grip of a tight agenda when you are meeting with an individual or have a certain situation. It could leave room for unexpected positive outcomes.

2. Practice “being” on a daily basis. If all you do every day is produce, you’ll miss the unseen blessings. If you don’t know what “being” looks like, observe the person in your life who seems less stressed and more positive than others.

3. Have a faith in something other than yourself and your capabilities that will free you up to see a fresh, new perspective on your life and how to make a true, lasting impact in the lives of others.

Hebrews 11:1-"Faith is being sure of what you hope for in the evidence of things unseen."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What dad said so much, so quickly?

Just a little mid-week item that will hopefully make you all smile as it did me! (I'm amazed by all the gifts God has given his children.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What If...We Gave The "EGR"?

I spent a long day at work. I had just returned from a 4 day trip to Chicago with my husband. It was wonderful. We left the kids with my mom and had an "adult" trip in the heart of the city. Formal events, parties, a wedding...a beautiful time.

And then I returned...

My inbox was full, as well as, my voicemail. I spent the bulk of the morning returning communications followed by an afternoon at the showroom followed by an evening at our new building at church...painting.

I was tired. Dead tired.

There are many opinions flying when designing a new church. I was in charge of the overall design and was grateful for the many helping hands in getting the job done. I said...many opinions. Who knew that a particular paint color would cause so much concern? (Obviously those who have done this before---this is new for me!)

So, I answered the questions the best I could. Addressed concerns, encouraged the workers, picked up a paintbrush. I dug right in. (And, I was so tired.)

In the middle of a "discussion", my good friend came up and hugged me from behind and whispered something in my ear.

She said: EGR.

What does that mean? I asked.

Extra Grace Required. She replied.

I nodded appreciatively and hugged her. What a blessing this friend is and what words of wisdom she spoke in her acronym!

It worked. Immediately, I felt a gentleness that come from her words; that came from Christ. I began to ponder the grace shown to me---both in the past and the present. By others but especially by Christ.

What If...We Gave The EGR?

Today, Tomorrow. Forever.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What if ... we allowed everyone to dance to their own tune?

With Randee's last post about "teaching them to dance" and knowing what a beautiful thing that can be literally I found myself pondering it more figuratively in regards to home schooling my children.

I have been planning out the new school year and decided to do things differently this year by allowing my children to learn about the things they are interested in. For our curriculum to be more interest-led then teacher-led as we all have different skills, talents, interests and passions.

This year my kids have actively been involved in the planning of this new years curriculum and I have to say just with this one change of focus it has made a ton of difference. My kids are much more excited about this new year then they had been in the past two years since they will be learning things that are of interest to them. Making it much more fun and enjoyable for them to learn and do the basics of reading, writing and math.

What if ... we allowed everyone to dance to their own tune?

The pressure to perform as others do would definitely be lifted from us.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What If...I taught them to dance?

This morning I received a phone call from a colleague from long ago. (For those of you who don't know, I am a retired ballroom dancer.) Alfie and I go back 17 years. Wow, I can't believe it even as I write it!

I was a 19 year old kid who walked into the studio with all pomp and fluff. I knew nothing about ballroom dance but I was practically born in a traditional dance studio. I was on a get the audition and a place in this dance company.

The studio was bustling; dancers everwhere rehearsing, teaching, coaching. It was magnificent! My eye turned to the main ballroom and there he was...the most beautiful male dancer I had ever laid eyes on...Alfie. Grace and strength exuded. I was mesmorized.

I got the audition (and ultimately a place in the company) but very rarely was Alfie to be my trainer. He was far too booked to have time for the likes of a "trainee" like myself. But...when I did get him, it was incredible. His knowledge was unsurmountable. His quiet South African accent soothed my soul. There was (is) something about Alfie.

Alfie left the company a year after I began my ballroom dance career. But, years later, he and I would reunite and work together for a time. Once again, years have passed and today he called me with a prosition:

"Randee, I have highly recommended you to an organization that educates children with behavioral, developmental, and learning disabilities. Last year, I spent every Friday morning with these wonderful students through a grant. The grant was not renewed so I made other commitments for my Friday mornings. I got a call from the school. A wealthy woman is funding the program for this school year. Are you interested in teaching these students? It was a wonderful experience for me. I want you to know that you are the only one I recommended."

He gave me the contact information of the woman in charge and I called her. We had a lovely discussion and set an appointment to meet next Friday. I explained that I was home-schooling my oldest child this year and she welcomed him to join in the instruction. As the matter of fact, the students are his age!

What If...I taught them to dance? These students are (supposedly) entering life with the strikes against them. But I know from experience how often it is individuals like these that impact my life so greatly. I also know how "beauty" in whatever form touches the soul. I don't know what will happen in the interview but something tells me...

Teach them to dance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What If...we said one right thing


Last Saturday I finally met Bob Smith at the car repair shop where he works as service manager. His parents were related through marriage to my stepdad, and I'd met his folks, had a couple of delightful conversations with his mother Libby when she was still alive, but I'd never met any of their three kids.

As a surprise gift my dad decided to see if it was worth fixing my son's old car. It has almost 230,000 miles on it, so we certainly weren't sure about that! But he decided to invest the five hundred dollars and see if we could keep my son's wheels on the road a little longer. So he called Bob.

So I stood there at the service counter with my son while Bob, a man close to my age in his 50s, dressed in dark blue overalls, busied himself with our paper work. I waited while he looked over the invoice and explained everything that had been fixed on the '95 Dodge Neon. There was a slight pause before he started to ring up the total, and I decided to use that pause.

"I just want you to know," I said, "that I really liked your mother so much." Bob's business countenance changed. In a split second his face transformed into one of delight, and registered pure joy. "She was so wonderful," he said. "As time goes on there aren't that many people who remember my mother, and it's so nice to hear someone say something about her."

My father died when I was 17-years-old and occasionally through the years I've had people stop and tell me a story about him. The last time was several years ago, and it was a remarkable story of my dad standing up for two young teenagers. I know from my own experience what a gift it can be to hear about a loved one, especially when they've been gone a long time, and you don't have that many friends who knew them. I knew before I went to get my son's car that day that I would mention this great lady to her son if the opportunity presented itself. I'm so glad it did. I know my words to him were a gift, and the gift to me was seeing the love that flooded this man's face as soon as I spoke of his beloved mother.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What If...I Un-Schooled My Child?

Well, my friends, this possibility is becoming a reality very soon. In the next couple of weeks, I will send my younger children off to school and keep my older child, Tristan, at home with me. Why?

I always dreamed of educating my children in a more focused way. In the back of my mind, I would ponder...if I home-school each of my children through their middle school years (7th and 8th grade) then I would have really focused one-on-one time with my children are 2 1/2 years apart.

The time has crept up on me. My son will be entering 7th grade this year and the time has come. For the last year, my husband and I have discussed it thoroughly. At first, we didn't include Tristan in the conversation. But, at the beginning of the summer we began discussing educational options with him. Much to our surprise, Tristan is really excited about this new chapter in his life. Thus, a home-schooling mom, I will soon become.

As I look at this "picture" of our life for the next year, I see something quite unique from society's norm. You see, I am really interested in "un-schooling" Tristan. No doubt, he will learn. As the matter of fact, I'm kind of taking the easy route. I've enrolled him in an online academy. But, what I am really excited about is teaching Tristan very specific "life skills". Everything from cooking to praying, cleaning to Biblical study, what it means to be a man (dare I?) to what it means to be a woman.

I've even been contemplating a "ceremony" of sorts for his 13th birthday. A rite of passage, so to speak, into manhood. (What do I know about manhood, right? Well, I know a few good men who will help me out!)

So...once again, I am entering new territory. Keep us in your prayers. I'm anticipating a great year...full of surprises. I'll keep you posted on our progress, no doubt!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What If...I left a prayer here this Sunday night

A friend of mine edited a book of prayers, and the sample prayer on really touched my heart, so I thought I'd share it here:

Lord of the excluded,
Open my ears to those I would prefer not to hear,
Open my life to those I would prefer not to know,
Open my heart to those I would prefer not to love,
And so open my eyes to see
Where I exclude You.

-Iona Abbey Prayer

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What If...We Face The Giants?

My son had his football draft on Monday and Tuesday of this week. The heat index in Kansas City was over 100 degrees yet boys from all over the area gathered for this two-day draft with the hope of getting on the team they desired. Some did. Some didn't.

Sports are a big deal in my house...especially football. To prepare for the "big draft" we gathered for family night to watch the film everyone has been telling us that we must see: Face The Giants. Now, it's my turn to spread the word. Even if you are not a football fan, you must see this film!

Face The Giants is about a small high-school football team on a big losing streak. The townfolk are gathering together in conspiracy to have the coach removed. Coach digs deep into his faith in God. He prays and feels compelled to create a purpose for his team based on giving God the glory.

"Whether we win or lose, we praise God."

Ultimately this losing team ends up at the state championship "Facing The Giants". (I won't spoil the ending. Watch the movie!)

My son is 12 years old but he's a small of the smallest in his class. To watch him on the field, he truly exemplied this idea of facing the giants. Some of these boys were huge! And, there is Tristan, at least a head shorter if not more. But he is fast. Speedy Gonzalez fast! Race after race, drill after drill...there he was in the top 2 or 3.

My husband and I stood on the sidelines in amazement. Our little guys was not only facing the giants but winning. His focus, his determination, his desire put him over the edge. (Of course, it helps that God has gifted him in athletics.)

Before we left for the draft, with the movie clearly in our minds, we said to Tristan...Whether you win or lose, you praise God, okay?

Everyday we have an opportunity to Face The Giant. We either move forward boldly under the covering of our Heavenly Father or retreat in the defeat of the Enemy. Today, I reaffirm this position of victory. Today, I face my giants! How about you?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What If...I waited for God's nudge?

Day 94 of 365: My Heart is on Fire

Several months ago, a young man from church showed up at my door with a $10 gift card to one of our local gas stations. I was so touched, and yet a bit perplexed, because I knew that I didn't need the card nearly as much as someone else might. So I thanked him profusely, and put the card in my car console, and just waited. Until yesterday. Below is an email I sent to Brian, the earth angel who appeared at my door that day:

"Dear Brian,

Do you remember a few months ago when you stopped over because you felt God wanted you to stop and give me a gasoline gift card for $10? I was so touched by your gesture and by your heart for God and others.

I wasn't sure why God led you to me. I knew at the time that I wasn't in desperate need of the gift. However, I trusted that God had a purpose for it, as you trusted when you brought it to me.
Today I was walking out of work with one of my co-workers from another department, who was carrying a bottle of laundry detergent. She mentioned it was a gift, and when I questioned her about the unusual present, Pam told me that this has been a really hard week for her financially. She's a single parent with two young children and was out of money. She borrowed $20 to pay for her daughter's prescription medication, and then a friend of hers at work today insisted on taking her to lunch and to Target to buy laundry soap, which she also needed. Immediately I tried to give her some money, but she turned me down (as most of us would). And then I said, "Oh, I know! I have a gas gift card in my car that a friend from church brought me awhile ago. I knew that God had someone in mind for it, and it must be you!" Pam was so thrilled and so grateful. Taking that gas card, which didn't cost me anything, didn't embarrass her, and yet it was exactly what she needed right now to get through until payday.

As for me, I got to experience the joy of being the middle man between you and this single mother in need, and the joy of feeling such a connection with God by sharing his love with another.

So thank you. Your gift was so much more than a $10 gift card. I will treasure the memory.

With his amazing love,


Monday, August 6, 2007

What if ... we stopped trying to cram so much into our lives?

I bring this question up because I see not only in my own life how I tend to try to cram more things into my days then I can possibly do but just how that seems to be the norm almost everywhere you go especially when it comes to kids and learning.

My kids just finished up two weeks of swimming lessons and they were excited to start them considering they just learned how to swim this past 4th of July. After the first day, they were no longer excited about their lessons and were very happy for them to be over. In only two weeks of lessons they really were pushed to learn how to float on their backs and stomachs, do the front and back crawls, tread in water over their head, retrieve rings from the bottom of the deep end, dive in the deep end off the side of the pool and jump off the diving board and the last two days were testing on all this. Wow, I definitely didn't expect beginning lessons to teach so much in such a short time. Needless to say, I too am happy the lessons are over.

I completely believe we need to challenge ourselves and our kids but I think a lot of things are done out of fear that we are not keeping up with others or with what is expected of us so we push ourselves more then we need to or should and then lose the joy of doing what we're doing.

What if ... we stopped trying to cram so much into our lives? I think if we did, we would enjoy the things that we do instead of it being a drudgery because we will begin to appreciate the whole process of what we are doing seeing that as more important rather then just focusing on the end result.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

What if....Girls Understood the Meaning of Respect?

Today, my youngest daughter Hannah, was at a neighborhood daycamp. When I came to pick her up, she was hanging out with three other girls. One girl in particular, seemed to be the 'ring leader' who lead the taunting towards Hannah because of a water bottle incident that seemed to be taken care of by one of the camp leaders earlier. When these girls told me the story of what happened, I had Hannah apologize to the ring leader for what she did. The 'ring leader' wouldn't accept her apology and was whispering things to one of the other girls. I went on to say that it would be a better time for everyone if they all tried to get along, instead of bullying each other.

Hannah and I walked away and I said to her "Hannah, you don't have to hang out with girls who aren't nice to you." Courtney, the 'ring leader' heard me and actually gave me some lip about what I said. I think she thought she could get away with talking back to me (although I wasn't addressing her), because as I walked back to these three girls, Courtney scurried away behind a tree. I casually addressed all three girls and asked if they'd enjoy being bullied. No one answered. I left saying that more effort should go into getting along, rather than being mean.

As we drove away, I asked more details from Hannah about the water bottle incident. She told me that Courtney called her stupid. I quickly turned the car around and drove back to the camp. By that point, all the camp leaders were around the girls and Courtney was hiding away. One of the camp leaders asked if there was a problem and I said there was. I let them know of the name calling (I guess Courtney is a bit of a trouble maker) and said name calling is unacceptable. The camp leader let me know what she had Hannah do to rectify the water bottle incident and I told them I had her apologize to Courtney.

I walked away with my blood boiling from a 5 year-old girl! She showed how she doesn't respect authority figures and feels obliged to bully other kids. I'm amazed at how early these girls are learning to bully others. All I could do was pray that Courtney would have a positive environment to teach her what love and respect for self and others could really do.

What If...You Killed The Cow?

A good friend recently related the following anecdote:

There was once a very wise old man who traveled rural communities sharing his knowledge with the villagers. After listening to one of the old man's many lectures a young man, impressed by his wisdom, begged to join him on his travels. The old man agreed for the young man to become his disciple.

On one occasion after walking for hours they stopped at a humble cottage and begged for some water. A gentleman in shabby clothes invited them to rest in the shade of his humble home. He then told his wife to serve the travelers water from their well, some bread, and cheese. As they sat and ate, what in their opinion was some of the best tasting bread in miles, the visitors observed signs of abject poverty. The place was sparsely furnished and the man's children and wife were dressed in tattered clothing. The wise man asked the father how he managed to provide for his family. To which the father replied that they had one single cow that was their salvation. The cow provided milk from which they made cheese to have with some bread. The cow also helped in the plowing of a small potato and wheat plot they had in their backyard. On sacks hanging from the cows back they transported their little harvest to the market. The father remarked, "We owe our lives to our cow."

The wise man listened and after both he and his disciple were rested they went on their way.
That evening as they settled in a nearby inn, the young disciple commented his concerns for the future of the poor family. He pointed out with passion the inequality and injustice prevalent in this world. Why did good people have to suffer and work so hard for paltry survival, while others who were not as deserving reveled in wealth and surplus?

Instead of a reply the old man, gave his disciple a chilling command. Go back to that family's field and kill the cow! The young disciple stunned, questioned the wisdom of his order. The wise man repeated his charge without any signs of remorse, "Go and kill the cow now!" Not one to disobey, the disciple went back to the family's field, led the cow away from his shed and pushed her down a precipice. His deed done, he went back to the inn. Yet, he felt guilt over his actions and after a year he decided to part ways with the old man.

Six years later, the young man was passing through the village where he had committed that evil deed, and he decided to go in search of the family. There was now a huge beautiful house on the same spot where the cottage had stood. It was surrounded by a beautiful courtyard. He saw what seemed like delivery trucks coming in and out of the grounds. He went up to the gate and after ringing the bell was greeted by a servant. He explained that he was looking for the original owners of the place who had lived there about six years ago. The young servant assured him that the owners of the land still lived there and invited him inside the home to have a seat in the beautiful lobby. A few minutes later a well-dressed gentleman walked up to him, immediately recognized and greeted him cheerfully.

The disciple could not contain his curiosity and queried as to what had turned their fortune around. The man confessed that the day after their visit, they found their cow dead at the bottom of a nearby cliff. Not having any other immediate means for sustenance, he and his family were forced to create an alternate way to survive. They decided to start baking and selling bread. First, the children delivered the goods on foot from house to house. Soon, they were filling such large orders that required the purchasing of trucks. The death of the cow had signified the beginning of new life.
Perhaps in your own life you have been holding on to a person, circumstance, job or situation that you believe you would never be able to live without or get over. But what if that is exactly what is stifling your God-given creativity, and your opportunities to live a life of abundance? Is it time to kill the cow?

Written by Norka Blackman-Richards of 4 Real Women International

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What If...We Turned Love Inside Out?

A friend of mine approached me awhile ago with a vision he had for site that would let people know about God's immense and amazing Love for all of humankind. This became a "What if..." discussion of its own. What if we could try and communicate the message of God's Perfect Love? What would that look like? Where would we start? How do we convey to people who may never have experienced it, that those who feel God's love deep in their spirits spill that love out into the world.

Recently through our partnership this message of love has turned into a web site endeavor: Jim is a writer, so this vision and the writing come from him. I am a designer, so the web site and graphics are my domain. God first "introduced" the two of us on the Internet a year or two ago. I thought it was amazing enough when Jim ended up flying to Michigan to speak at my church and share stories from his book "Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God". But here I was being amazed again by Jim approaching me with this vision for sharing Love and asking me to be a part of it.

I have been so admiring of so many of you women here who have online ministries and do so much to reach other to others. I am feeling blessed indeed to have a part in a ministry that I pray will reach out to those in need of the message that there is a God who loves them beyond anything they could wildly imagine.