Sunday, September 30, 2007

What If...I Accepted The Sacrifice?

I knew it was coming.

My husband has always said that the only thing that would take him back to California to live is the declining health of his parents. You see, he loves Missouri but he loves his parents more. And rightly so.

Over a week ago, my sweet mother-in-law had a stroke leaving the left side of her body completely paralyzed. The doctors recommend a nursing home with 24 hour care. Yet, my husband is building wheelchair ramps preparing for a return home that may or may not happen. He's hopeful and He knows the Great Physician could completely heal his mother is He chooses.

Will is doing his part and waiting for God's answer. We all are.

So when he called today to check in on the kids and me, I wasn't surprised when he told me of a conversation that he and his sister had a few nights ago about the possibility of our moving to California. He didn't specifically ask of me anything. He simply relayed their conversation.

I stayed quiet and listened.

When we hung up, I went face first on my bed and prayed with a lot of tears. I prayed for wisdom and understanding. I prayed for a sacrificial heart. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for peace.

But, most of all, this is my prayer:

Thy Will Be Done

How easy it is to boldly claim our allegiance to sacrificial living until the time when God presents the sacrifice to be given. Then it becomes the real deal, doesn't it?

I don't know where God is leading my family and me. I do know that He will reveal His perfect will in His timing. And when He does, my hope and prayer is that I will be sensitive to hearing and obedient to following.

Thy Will Be Done

Friday, September 28, 2007

What if..We Recognized the Timing of Opportunities?

“Mom, I know who I want to marry and have babies with when I grow up.” Hannah said.

I paused for a moment of shock as my youngest daughter (who is only six years old) began to pour her heart out about her future plans.
Then, in a calm voice I said “Oh yeah, who is the lucky boy?”

She got a huge smile on her face and mentioned a boy in her class. As the conversation progressed, she talked of being a mom to six kids. I couldn’t believe the next words that came out of my mouth.

“Hannah, do you know where babies come from?” I said hesitantly.

Without blinking an eye, she said “From God.”

“Well, yes, children are a great blessing from God. But it takes a mommy and a daddy to make a baby.” Oh no. I was in trouble!

With a puzzled look on Hannah’s face she says, “What do you mean?”

At that moment, I knew I needed to smoothly transition out of the birds- and-the-bees conversation because her mindset is still too young to comprehend the concepts. Had Hannah been a few years older, it would have been a wonderful, natural conversation. I told Hannah that I would explain in a few years what it meant for a mom and dad to make a baby.

Yikes! I was caught in a moment that I would have loved to have taken advantage of a captive audience, but knew I needed to wait until a more opportune time. For one of the few times in my life, an opportunity came too early and now I have to wait.

Often times, we can think of ‘missed opportunities’ as something that happened that will not return. I would like to help expand that thinking and reframe missed opportunities as “misplaced moments.” The timing may be off, but the opportunity could return at a later time.


1. Go with your gut. Pay attention to what your gut is telling you to do or not do in a situation. For some, that ‘gut’ represents a nudging from God.

2. Resist the urge to go with an agenda to direct a conversation to end a certain way. At that point, it is no longer an opportunity.

3. Obviously, evaluating powerful conversations depends on whether you will see someone again. Opportunities with people in your daily life will almost always resurface at a later time. A one-time business meeting may not present other opportunities if you have not built a connection in that first meeting.

4. Learning to ‘be’ in the moment rather than ‘do’ will almost always lead to other opportunities. You can’t force an opportunity to happen.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

What If...we unpacked fear?

My Turn Love Inside Out partner Jim posted this on our blog today, and I wanted to share it with you all here:

"last night a few of us fleshed out rick’s thought that fear is often the result of misplaced dependency, which are ways we seek identity, purpose, love, identity, acceptance, life, worth, security, meaning, value, happiness outside ourselves in external things as opposed to depending upon the life of Christ within.

we fear failure because we have a misplaced dependency upon “success” for value and worth.we fear rejection because we have a misplaced dependency upon other’s opinions of us for acceptance.

we fear financial loss because we have a misplaced dependency upon money for security.we fear abandonment because we have a misplaced dependency upon significant others for love.

we fear God because we have a misplaced dependency upon a false God who measures his favor and blessing in our life against our performance.

we fear aging or physical setbacks because we have a misplaced dependency on our physical appearance for worth and acceptance.

we fear honesty because we have a misplaced dependency on an image of having it all together for a sense of identity.

we fear being a nobody because we have a misplaced dependency upon being a somebody for a sense of purpose and meaning and value.

we fear…Christ says, “I AM the bread of Life.” in other words, Christ’s Life which dwells within us, is the Bread that fills and maintains our need and desire for identity, purpose, love, identity, acceptance, life, worth, security, meaning, value, happiness, etc…we seek all of this outside ourselves, and yet it is fully available in every moment inside of us through the life of Christ - “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” so, we walk in dependency upon the Bread of Christ within us."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What If...The Little People Prayed?

Okay so maybe you're not the huge football fan that I am. I can understand that. But maybe you would change your mind after you witnessed what I witnessed tonight. It was a moment of joyful weeping. A moment of a mother's pride. A moment of a surprise blessing.

My 12 year old son is playing football in a highly competitive league. You may remember the bit of trepidation I've had in my little man facing his giants. (He's small...perhaps the smallest in the league.)But that's what he does. Week after week...he faces his giants. And he has no fear!

Play after play, I watched him tackle his opponents. If he wasn't the main tackler, he was in the pile amongst the others. Fearless he tackles. It's instinctive for him. Very little thought. Just movement. And tonight he shined! I heard the fans in the stands. Who is that #21? What a player! My heart swelled. There he was doing his thing.

After the game the team, coaches, and parents huddled together to share in the victory. Each of the coaches stepped up with their kudos. Over and over again, Tristan's name was mentioned.

"Look at our rookie, Tristan!"

"Tristan, you saved this game, son."

"For a little guy, you've got it, boy!"

Followed by the greatest post-game honor: THE BREAKDOWN

"Tristan, break us down tonight." He proudly stepped up and his teammates huddled. And he begins his chant.

Tristan: Who are we?

Team: Panthers!

Tristan: What do we do?

Team: Win!

Tristan: Who are we?

Team: Panthers!

Tristan: What do we do?

Team: Win! Win! Win!

As the huddled broke up, my son walked toward me beaming. I ran up and hugged him tightly full of words of encouragement and praise. (Yes, the proud mother speaking!) He looked at me intensely and said: Mom, I prayed tonight before the game and during the game and God heard me. Did you see what I did tonight? God really listened to me tonight! He answered my prayer.

My eyes welled us with tears. Son, you are just about the neatest kid I know. Of course, God listens to you. You are his main dude. I bet He is looking down on you right now with a big smile on His face...just for you!

My team prayed, too, Mom. Right before the game.

Shocked, I asked...Really?

Yep. We always pray before the game. The coaches say...Take a knee and let's pray.

Ladies, I want you to know something. My children are submerged in the "world" just as yours probably are. Though they have a foundation in a Christian home, they also have their fair share of seeing the other side. But it never ceases to amaze me how often God places them in hands of fellow Christians. Be it teachers in public school or coaches in the community. Right now, I am so grateful to God for orchestrating such an influence in these places.

But what I am most grateful for today is that the little people prayed.

And...God answered in the affirmative!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What if... We Gave Up Performing?

The other day, I read an article about a former Olympiad whom spent many of her young years training to be a gymnast. The training did pay off as she won a gold medal in one of her events. Her disappointment, however, came when she didn’t place in any medal position in the other gymnastic events.

Reading that article reminded me of a book I read over the summer called “Dancing Solo” by Tim Green. The book talks about how to break the ‘performance trap’ that comes too easily for many, where performance seems to define who you are. Like the gymnast, you might relate to how winning one gold medal wasn’t good enough-she wanted more. In her quest for more, she overworked herself, and performed her way out of any other medals.

Do you ever feel like you’re ‘chasing the wind’ only to realize that once you attain that goal, it’s never good enough and you press on for more? This gymnast did. The result is a 20-something woman who has given up her career as a gymnast and is trying to decide which direction her life is heading. Her performance defined who she was from a very early age. Life is not just about ‘doing’-it’s learning how to enjoy the ‘being.’


1. Be honest with yourself and evaluate if you depend on performance for recognition and self-esteem. If so, ask yourself if it’s bringing you all the happiness and contentment you need personally and professionally.

2. Being performance-driven is an ingrained mindset. If you are committed to change this, realize you can’t break the performance trap overnight. (I know-performance-driven people want change and results yesterday!)

3. Realize that complete self-sufficiency is what drives performance. (i.e.‘I’ll make things happen,” “My goals will get me where I need to go” etc.) It’s like running at 110% 24/7 with no break! This obviously starts to wear you down after many years. Consider having faith in something other than yourself and your abilities to bring definition, peace and balance to your life.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

What If...We Looked For The Blessing?

We got the call last Friday.

My mother-in-law had a stroke. As the days progressed, the prognosis seemed to go from bad to worse. She is paralyzed on the entire left side of her body. She can't chew or swallow which means she can't eat. That leads to a plethora of invasive procedures to ensure she is getting the proper nutrition to sustain life.

It's been an emotional few days.

But, something interesting (something glorious) is happening. My husband, seeking our Father in this tragedy, is witnessing to his family---in words and example. We had a discussion the other night that I would like to share with you.

Randee: Honey, I'm so sorry that you will be going to California without me. I wish I could be with you. I really do but regardless of the outcome you have an opportunity...perhaps, the most important opportunity that you will ever face.

Will: I know. (He spoke quietly with tears in his eyes.)

Randee: It's the right time. When facing a stroke and paralysis, your mom will be facing her mortality. She will be seeking answers that only God can provide. Make it your mission to show her Jesus on this trip. It's crucial. Nothing is more important than her spiritual health...especially now. (Now, I am crying, too.)

Will: And, my family, too. I have this overwhelming urge for my family to "know". Ken has been giving me scriptures to draw from. I plan to be with my mom in the hospital and read her the Bible.

Randee: Honey, take her the prayers that are coming in by email. I'll print them off. Let her know that people from all over the world are praying for her. That God is hearing these prayers.

Will: Yes. I will.

That evening, Will called his mom. He asked her how she was feeling and she replied: I am feeling pain in my left side. Now, normally we would be concerned about pain, right? Except for this: If she is paralyzed then she shouldn't be "feeling" anything.

Sisters, I don't know what God is doing in the life of my family or what the outcome will be for my mother-in-law but I do know this...there are blessings everywhere...if only we look for them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What If...even a cup of coffee made a difference?


My pastor sent out an email yesterday and said that on one of our Connections cards someone had written that they really enjoyed our service last Sunday and plan on returning. On another section on the card people are asked how we may pray for them. This is what had been written: “I am searching for something to fill the hole in my soul, the hole in my life. I have begun to believe that it could be religion and Jesus that I need. Pray to help me continue my search and find him.” The rest of my post here is from Lee's email. I hope it encourages us in all the small (or big) things we do in Christ's name:

"When I read this today, I pumped my fist in the air and let out a big “YESSSSSS”! (The people in the coffee shop where this happened must have thought I was nuts.)

If that doesn’t excite you, then please check for a pulse.

Where else do we get to be a part of something eternal?

How many of us thought this past weekend when we handed out coffee, when we taught a child, when we sacrificed time on a Saturday up on a ladder running speaker cable, when we introduced ourself to someone we didn’t know at a Worship Gathering…did we think we would have the privilege of showing Jesus to a guest named Brian?

Yet over and over we get the privilege of doing just that. I want to thank you for your ministry for Christ. I want to urge you to pray for Brian’s spiritual journey. Pray that he will see and respond to Jesus with us.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What If...I led a quiet life?

There is a man in my church who is a man of quiet strength. He is the calm amidst the storm. I find myself watching him curiously. I wonder about him. Is it is personality? Is this how God created him? Or, is it the manifestation of Christ Himself; a display of the quiet power of our Savior?

This scripture comes to mind:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

Paul is asking 3 things:

1. Lead a quiet life.

2. Mind your own business.

3. Work with your hands.

He continues with the outcome of following such things:

1. To win the respect of outsiders.

2. To not be dependent upon anyone.

One of the tell-tell signs that I am abiding in Christ is a quiet spirit, thus a quiet life. I have moments of this stillness; moments when the evidence of Christ in my life is visible. But, I also have moments of noise; more than I'd like to admit unfortunately.

Something that I have noticed in my own life is that in the middle of a crisis, I seek a quiet spirit. It's almost as if God reveals Himself to me most clearly during these times. Often, during those times of no conflict, when all seems to be plugging along without glitch, that I feel a "disconnect" of sorts.

I'm feeling a bit quiet today. A "crisis" has entered our lives. As I draw near to God, I find myself praying for this same quiet spirit during all moments. I find myself asking Him to work on my heart---to make it my ambition to lead a quiet life...always.

"Be still and know that I am God."

Yes, Father. Yes.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What if...Short-Term Delays=Long-Term Relief?


The above title is the sign I see everywhere during summer months with road construction. I guess you don’t fully experience the Metropolitan life unless you can add at least 30 minutes to your morning or evening commute!

Obviously, this sign can also serve as a life application. Short-term delays could look like losing a job, challenges with teenagers, taking a career detour, having a health scare, etc. All of these kinds of scenarios could be a ripple or a huge wave in your waters of life, but most often are temporary. It is an opportunity to use these delays as learning experiences that could help change a life perspective about yourself, God, and others. Interruptions (delays) aren’t always predictable, but each one can give you the life skills (relief) to effectively handle when rough waters hit.


1. Ask yourself if there are currently any ‘delays’ in your life.
2. If there are, will you look at it as a threat or opportunity?
3. Is there a need to gather some patience while you experience this delay?
4. What have past ‘delays’ taught you about yourself, God, and others?

Live Out Loud Ladies!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What if ... we were intentional about spreading Hope to the World today.

With today being a day of remembrance of the worst tragedy in American, I wanted to spread the word about a great book that launched today as a way to give hope to the World.

The book is titled 3:16 The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado

I just received this book in the mail today and I am excited to read it and do the 40-days of devotionals that is included. A great book to sit down with and read with a cup of tea.

View the video on the book from YouTube:

What if...we had bookmarks instead of cookies?

Oh goodness. I've been visiting all these lovely tea party blogs, and they have photos of real teas, with beautiful china and exquisite finger sandwiches, cookies, scones and all sorts of delectable treats. Honestly, if you stopped over at my house right now I might be able to offer you a bottle of Propel and some Cheez-Its. Soooo...since I'm unable to offer the same kind of hospitality on our blog as some of you incredible women are doing, I've made a printable treat instead. I have a layout of these tea bookmarks here for you. I hope they bring a small bit of enjoyment on a quiet Autumn afternoon, when you have time to sit with a cup of tea, a good book and a cozy blanket in your lap.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What If...we keep the kettle on

I find it a necessitea to express myself through creativitea. My hopes and prayers your visit here brings a touch of serenitea. (Or even a touch of hilaritea.)

What if ... we made relationships a priority?

Often we can get so caught up in the busyness of our lives that we don't regularly take time out for things that matter most to us and that is our relationships whether it be our personal relationship with God, our husbands, children, relatives, old friends or even to make a new friend.

I know I too easily can get caught up in all the busyness of life which is why I think this Virtual Tea Party put on by Make Mine Pink blog is a great way to reconnect with our online friends as well as even make a new one. This week has already started out crazy for me with home schooling but I will make it a point to get on over to the Tea Party.

I look forward to making some new friends and maybe even seeing some old online friends I haven't spoken to lately.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

What If...someone stops by for tea?

Well, it was no surprise that our lovely Randee of the Pink Collar Club was intrigued by the Make Mine Pink blog. I didn't have a photo of an actual tea party so I decided to revise one of my ecards from my MyLifeSeeds site to use as a welcome for any visitors that may stop by. If you peruse the MMP blog, you'll see that this tea party is going on all week, so any tea-related postings would be welcome, along with cookies and petit fours. Also, there are many wonderful women participating in this - you'll find their links on the MMP blog. All of them are keeping their porch lights on and the tea kettles on the stove, so please stop by for a spot of tea and a bit of relaxation. I seem to be the most adept at posting graphics and photos, so please don't mind me if I hopefully have the time to pop in and sprinkle our blog with a tea picture or two this week. I promise not to make a habit of stepping on people's posts!
Meanwhile, milk? lemon? honey? Please help yourself to a sugar cookie while you're here.

Friday, September 7, 2007

What If...someone had a blog tea party?

The Make Mine Pink bloggers are throwing a virtual tea party on Monday, September 10. They are inviting all the women entrepreneurs who are part of Make Mine Pink to participate, and anyone else who wishes to join them. What a sweet idea, isn't it? This is what they had to say:
"Join in on the fun and host a virtual tea party too. We will be visiting all the Make Mine Pink blogs and yours too if you decide to host your own party.You will see beautiful and unique tables set for tea; many will have a special theme.Will you join us and post a photo of your Tea Party on your very own blog? Post a comment on Make Mine Pink’s Blog and we will include you on the list. So expect many visitors and please have cookies ready."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

What If...You Really Believed What He Says?

I got an email from my good Canadian friend, Karla, that I thought I'd share with you. (I modified it to apply to women.)

She Says, He Says

She Says: It's impossible.
He Says: All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

She Says: I'm too tired.
He Says: I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

She Says: Nobody loves me.
He Says: I love you. (John 3:16)

She Says: I can't go on.
He Says: My grace is sufficient. (II Corinthians 12:9)

She Says: I can't figure things out.
He Says: I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

She Says: I can't do it.
He Says: You can do all things. (Philippians 4:13)

She Says: I'm not able.
He Says: I am able. (II Corinthians 9:8)

She Says: It's not worth it.
He Says: It will be worth it. (Romans 8:28)

She Says: I can't forgive myself.
He Says: I forgive you. (Romans 8:1)

She Says: I can't manage.
He Says: I will supply all your needs. (Philippians 4:19)

She Says: I'm afraid.
He Says: I have not given you a spirit of fear. (II Timothy 1:7)

She Says: I'm always worried and frustrated.
He Says: Cast all your cares on me. (I Peter 5:7)

She Says: I'm not smart enough.
He Says: I give you wisdom. (I Corinthians 1:30)

She Says: I feel all alone.
He Says: I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)

What If...You Really Believed What He Says?

Challenge: Silence the "she says" and speak the "He says" once and for all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What If...I added one more powerful video?

This brought me to tears. It made me think of how easy it is in this world to forget that we are God's children, and filled with his love. What grace there is in having our beloved Father always there waiting...even when we spend so much in the forgetting. Randee, this performance also reminded me of things you've told me about your church, Patchwork Creative Arts Ministry.

What If...Wednesday brings a quenching video?

Rob, a pastor from Florida I know online, posted this video clip entitled, "What I Did This Summer". Rob also had this note: "The one guy with dreds (Dusty) was someone I've known since he was a little kid. Used to curse the ground Christians stood on. God captures hearts like butterflies." I just smiled all the way through watching this, and thought it might bless you too.

(Music in the video from Five O'Clock People)

Monday, September 3, 2007

What If...You Just Breathe?

There is a beautiful song with these words...Just Breathe. I sing it as I write. Do you know the song I'm referring to? (I have a most difficult time placing songs with the singers.)

Well, that's what I am doing...just breathing. After a extremely busy summer, I have taken the liberty to...just breathe. Girls, I am bubbling over with excitement and a real sense of accomplishment. As one project after another comes to a close, (or rather a beginning) my plate is left empty. I've licked it clean and I am full.

Now, don't get me wrong. There were time when I had stomach cramps from eating too much. For putting into my body (*soul*) too much junk. I suppose the truth is that God would direct my steps and I would trail off the narrow path. Only for Him to redirect and me to begin wandering again. I am sure of this: If God didn't direct and redirect my path often, I would be off in la-la land.

But, today, I just want to celebrate. The hard work paid off. God blessed...again and again.

September marks the one year anniversary of the Pink Collar Club and as Charles Dickens says..."It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." How true that statement is. This past year has been chock full of blessings and chock full of challenges. But I am still the grace of God alone.

Will you celebrate with me? Remember...we are to rejoice with those rejoicing and mourn with those mourning. (I am blessed to have so many fellow mourners but the rejoicers...that's what I seek today!)

Rejoice, Sisters, rejoice!

For this is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice and be glad in it!