Sometimes Life Is Hard

tearsSometimes life is just hard. My heart has been full of sadness for some of my friends and family lately. I cannot tell you how many of them have been going through crisis mode.  The loss of a family member, the loss of a job, the loss of a child, the heartbreak of a broken marriage, the pain of broken confidences, a diagnosis of cancer, and the list goes on.  Each one of them are precious individuals who are reeling from their hurt and pain. I wish I could fix it for them. But I can’t. Continue reading

Being Enough

Sometimes I struggle in life with the futility of being enough.  I want to stop being “ordinary” and do something special with my life. You may know what I mean. I think if I am just a better person, or if I work just a little harder, or if I do just a little more, or if I am just a little smarter–I can be loved more, recognized more, rewarded more, respected more . . . and, you get the picture.  In all honesty, that kind of thinking is futile and leads to discouragement and disappointment.  Because I am searching for significance in the wrong things and the wrong people.

That’s why I love God’s grace. Continue reading

Sick and Tired of It!

I am tired of it.  Utterly, dismayingly, (that’s my big word for the day), totally sick and tired of it.  I can’t tell you how many times in the last few days I have seen posts from both my conservative and liberal friends attacking each other and accusing each other in totally inappropriate and misleading ways.

Take today for instance.  I read a facebook post about Carrie Underwood standing up for her baby as a person and how the liberal media criticized her for it. The article went on to say “liberals” are even willing to have children under the age of 5 killed because their brains have not fully formed consciousness.  Really, people?  Quit using scare tactics and mistruth and twisted statements to further your agenda.

The fact of the matter is that Carrie Underwood had a very nice conversation with Jimmy Fallon about singing to her baby.  It wasn’t even remotely about “defending right to life.” It was just a conversation about singing to her baby. One of the statements made in another article was an accusation that someone referred to it as “her unborn baby” instead of a life.  REALLY?  Do you know how many times I referred to my child as “the baby” when I was pregnant?  It didn’t in any way diminish my child’s life.

I confess, there are times I post articles that are about issues that get to me. Such as government research on farm animals in Nebraska, or Illinois’ new law giving schools access to social media passwords if they feel it is warranted.  But at least I checked Snopes first or verify it from other sources, before posting it.  And yes, I realize Snopes isn’t always the most reliable source, but I have found it to be generally helpful.

I guess my biggest concern is that as Christians we need to be loving, kind and respectful to others, even those we disagree with.  Yes, there are people out there doing wrong (some of them may even be us.)  And yes, I do believe that there is some mainstream media bias against Christians.  But what do you think Jesus’ response would be? I don’t see him getting on a political bandwagon to make his points. And, somehow I don’t see him going on Facebook and posting about all the big, bad people out there.  Instead I envision him loving on them and sitting down to meals with them, and listening to them. (Oh wait, I think he DID do that.)

What about you? How will you respond to people you disagree with? Will you treat them with love or disdain? Will you be honest with your concerns or blow things way out of proportion to make a point? Al I ask is that you think before you post.

Matthew 5:43-48–“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV)

http://qpolitical.com/carrie-underwood-reveals-secrets-jimmy-fallon-making-liberals-furious/

http://tellmenow.com/2014/12/liberals-livid-after-carrie-underwood-says-this-about-faith/

Leaving a Legacy

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at our annual ladies’ tea and talked about leaving a legacy.  This was actually prompted by the recent death of my mother and knowing what a wonderful legacy she has left. She has touched more lives than anyone can possibly know and the ripple effect will continue on for generations.  As I thought about this, I also thought about how my life is being lived and what kind of legacy I am leaving for my family and friends.

Here are some of my conclusions on leaving a legacy. Shannon Adler said, “Carve you name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” We want to leave a positive legacy. But how do we get there? Here are some areas we need to think about.

Continue reading

Goodbye . . . for now

100_4237A few years ago for Mother’s Day, I wrote the following blog post about my mom.  Today my heart is aching and my emotions are raw, as I prepare to say my final goodbye.  Her death has left our entire family devastated.  My mom was a unique, one-of-kind woman. and it is hard to even comprehend the impact she has had on multiple lives.  It would take an entire book to share the kind of life she lived, the kind of example she set, and the kind of love that she showed. She was a mentor to many, an extraordinary friend, and an awesome mom. Continue reading

Safe Haven Friendships

As a women’s ministry leader I have been reminded over and over again that people want true authenticity from their leaders. However, in reality, that is much easier said than done.   While many women are social and friendships are important to them, it is rare to have those true “safe haven” friendships. You know the ones—the ones where you can truly be yourself, with all your flaws, all your doubts, all your hurts and all your disappointments. Those friendships are few and far in between.

I consider myself extremely blessed because last weekend I was able to spend time with two of my safe haven friends. They are women I trust implicitly with my secrets, my hurts, and my dreams. They don’t judge me. Continue reading

A New Perspective

Last weekend I rode the Ducks in Branson, Missouri. For those of you who are familiar with Branson, the Duck Tour is one of the most popular tourist attractions there. It is fun, and a treat to hear the Captains of the amphibious vehicles as they guide you on the tour.

As we took in the area around Branson, we drove up up Bear Mountain. Partially up the mountain there is a rock clearing with old military vehicles. While driving through the site a narrative plays, explaining which war the vehicle was used in and the primary role of each of the vehicles. We saw tanks, Jeeps, and a various assortment of vehicles.

ambulanceI have been on the Duck tour before, but this time it took on a special significance to me and I saw it from a new perspective. That was because my brother-in-law, Steve, is a Vietnam veteran, and he and my sister were with me on the tour. Steve was a medic in Vietnam and served mostly on the front line with the ground troops. They generally used helicopters to evacuate wounded soldiers, but as we approached the ambulance, he noted it was the type of ambulance they used in other areas. Continue reading

Four Letter Words that Ruin Our Lives

Growing up, I was always aware of the “four-letter” words that I should never say.  And for the most part, I didn’t.  In high school, I let the occasional word fly just because some of my friends did. As a Christian I became convicted that curse words really did not belong in my vocabulary. However, I have learned through time that there are some four letter words other than curse words that can ruin our lives.  Here is a list of four letter words that can have a negative impact on our lives. Continue reading

The Words That Made a Difference

golden apleMany of us can identify defining moments in our lives, that may be seemingly insignificant to others, but mean a lot to us.  I was a senior in high school when my choir teacher had each of us stand and sing a verse–solo.  I sat listening as each class member sang, dreadfully anticipating my turn. Finally, the teacher nodded toward me and I slowly stood and straightened my shoulders. My clenched palms were sweaty and my heart was beating rapidly. My stomach was churning as I opened my mouth and let the first notes roll forth. My nervousness was reflected in my breathy, quavering voice.

As I was singing, I heard it. Giggling. Coming from the second row. From the group of girls who could REALLY sing (one of them was Miss Teen USA and her talent was singing). My face flaming red, I finished my verse and then quickly sat down, mortified and embarrassed. I knew I would never sing in public again. Continue reading

Memorial Day

6,782. The number of military casualties during operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command.  http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. For many it just means a three-day weekend full of picnics, swimming, and fun.  For those in retail it means, hard work as the stores capitalize on big sales.  But for those who understand the true meaning of “memorial,’ this day honors those who have sacrificed their lives in service for their country.

They are men and women who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place by protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. They sometimes fight in wars they don’t understand and don’t want. They endure great hardships, both mental and physical. The cost is high and these warriors frequently return with wounds that we can’t see and live with nightmares born from the horrors of war. Sometimes they return in flag-drapped caskets, signifying the ultimate sacrifice. The ones we remember on Memorial Day. Continue reading