Saturday, August 31, 2013

Remind Me


Something happened yesterday.

And I wanted to pass it along.

I was reminded.

It actually started earlier in the week, now that I think about it.

This simple message of remind me.

We hosted our first home group meeting at our house in Greenwood.

Me & Scott.

For married couples.

In listening to the DVD teaching provided through our church,

the simple message of "remember where you've been"

first caught my attention.

Remember where you've been.

And your faith has a chance to grow.

Because you can see what you overcame.

And the faithfulness of God.

Skip forward.

To yesterday.

We're getting ready for our annual audit at work.

For me,

that meant catching up on some paperwork.

It was a Friday afternoon and very quiet upstairs where my office is located.

I did what I sometimes do.

After the office has cleared out and people go home.

I listened to music.

This time.

It was country music.

The first one I pulled up?

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

"Remind Me."

You probably know it.

Which led to another favorite.

By Martina McBride.

"I'm goina love you through it."

It's a video tribute to women who have survived cancer.

Very empowering.

And I relate to it completely,

I survived cancer myself.

As did my mom.    And my dad.

After replaying it a second time.

while shuffling papers across my desk,

it began it sink into my spirit.

I've been a bit overwhelmed lately.

I blogged about "impossible tasks" earlier this week.

But my eyes began to open.

And I had a pretty dramatic realization.

Sharing it with Scott at the end of our day,

It went sort of like this:

"You know what?
I have survived cancer!
come on!
I've raised two children.
I've run a million dollar agency for 24 years!
and traveled to Africa four times;
what the heck am I afraid of!?
but more than anything "I" am,
It's about who Jesus is.
And as a follower of Him,
I have the promise of the holy spirit in me.
Which gives me power I don't have on my own.
And I can overcome & succeed in all this stuff
That's been piling onto my plate and into my life!"

And likely,

because of the prayers of my husband and those close to me.

Who knew I was feeling the burden of things piling on.

I got my wings back!   so to speak.

I was reminded.

That through Christ.

I can do all things.

And that He can use country music.

And my past.

To gently.

remind me.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Impossible Tasks

I was reminded today by a friend.

That a few months ago, I made the statement.

"I'm ready for some new challenges in my life."

I said that.

I was in a relatively peaceful.

Downright content season of life.

And I said that.


A lot can change in a short period of time.

I've been feeling a little like this turtle.

Climbing out of my tranquil swim in the pond.

And trying to maneuver straight up the side of a rock!

One by one.

Some pretty big challenges have come my way.

You know.

Typical stuff.

BIG projects at work.

Taking steps to buy a hundred year old house in Due West.

Talking to a contractor about a renovation budget.

Imagining actually moving out of a house I've lived in for twenty years.

College tuition due this week.

Leaving for Kenya in four weeks.

You know.


You have your stuff too.

Probably more demanding than mine.


I got up this morning.

Feeling a little overwhelmed.

You ever feel that way?


As women, we feel that way......often.

I'm up a little after 5.

Stop by and pour myself a cup of coffee in the kitchen.

My family of cats and dogs usually watch from outside for the first glimpse
of a light inside the house.

But, they can wait.

I need a word.


I walk into my living room.

Settle down into my chair.

The house is dark and quiet.

I pick up my bible.

I'm reading in Mark right now.

This morning -- it's Chapter 6.

The feeding of the 5,000.

And from my study notes for this passage in Mark:

"How do you respond
when you're given an impossible task?

A situation that seems impossible with human resources,
is simply an opportunity for God.

The disciples did everything they could by gathering the available food
and organizing the people into groups.

Then, in answer to prayer,


When facing a seemingly impossible task,
do what you can & ask God to do the rest.

He may see fit to make the impossible happen."

I can't help it.

I love the fact that God reaches into my day.

Into my specific set of circumstances.

And gives me a word.

That's relevant.


And true.

"do what you can and ask God to do the rest"

And my list of impossible tasks.

Just became a bit more manageable.

"simply an opportunity for God."

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Great Expectations & Family Vacations

We all have them.

Great expectations.

For family vacations.

We had one of those recently.

Great expectations surrounded our recent family trip out to Oregon.

To see my oldest daughter, Kate & her husband, Josh.

They're spending this year and next as traveling physical therapists.

We hadn't seen them since March.

Here's my photo of them in our driveway just before they began their adventure.

Four long months ago.

There was a lot of anticipation about our trip on both sides.

Just as anxious as we were to see them.

They were looking forward to seeing us.

To show us that part of the country.    

And reconnect after months apart.

We looked forward to our reunion with them.

We anticipated the trip for weeks.

And weeks.

And when anticipation grows.

So do expectations.

It's a good thing.

We can't see too far down the road.

In life.

And in trips.

This face developed before we ever got on the plane in Charlotte.

That would be Taylor.

My youngest.

Artsy.       Witty.        Bright.        Articulate.      Taylor.

I first suspected this face was associated with leaving her boyfriend behind.

Not a shocking surprise.

We persevered.

And got on the plane in Charlotte.

Non-stop to Portland.

And this slightly unhappy face.

Turned into a wretchedly sick face.

Throwing up in one of those airline bags......sick.



Three times.

Multiple times.

And the tone for our family vacation was being set.

And we didn't even know it.


The die was being cast.

Have you ever had one of those vacations?

Long awaited.


Talked about.

Planned for.

Costly vacations.


This would be one of those.

Kate described Oregon's weather.

As always being like a "warm fall day."

Cool temperatures.

No humidity.

Wonderful weather.

All the while.

It was music to our ears.

We were leaving Greenwood.



Summertime Greenwood.

And our expectations for cooler weather were high.


A funny thing happened.

Our expectations for cooler weather.

Went the way of our sick child.

Oregon had a very unusual weather phenomenon.

The very week we arrived.

Record high temperatures.

As in..........102 degrees.

And we sweltered.

Expecting cooler weather.

We packed jackets.

Long pants.

Long sleeve shirts.

And we got.........are you kidding me?!?

Record setting high temperatures.

Of course we did!?!


I know what you're thinking.

So what if Taylor spent the first 48 hours in a continual barfing state?

So what if it was incredibly HOT?

So what if you spent the better part of a day.

In the emergency room of a local hospital?

As a very dehydrated and weak Taylor was hooked up to an IV.

Getting needed fluids into her body.

For a non-descript "viral" bug.

And to be fair.

In full disclosure.

I brought along my own contributions to the trip.


Just a couple of days before heading out on the trip.

I did my first walk through of the old house in Due West.

The one that's occupied much of my attention.

Then and now.

And too much time was spent on the trip.

Talking about the pro's & con's of this house.


That was my contribution.

And Kate's expectation of completely focused mom time was a bit dampened.


Not such a good thing I brought along.


You still got to see Kate & Josh, right??


Yes, we did.

We LOVED seeing them.


We explained before coming out.

They were what we really wanted to see.

That was our expectation.

But, my adventuresome, traveling  daughter & son-in-law.

Their expectation was showing us the state.

Of Oregon. case you didn't know.

Oregon is a very.......BIG.......state.

And over the course of our seven days in Oregon.

We drove over 1,000 miles.

Yes, we did.

From the most unique city of Portland.

To the Pacific coast.

To the mountains.

To the high desert.

It was absolutely beautiful.

All of it.

And at the same time.

It was a lot of time in the car.

Josh's........two door.......Jeep.

The kind of car that requires you to climb in and out.

Up and over seats.

Multiple times a day.

I felt all of my 54 years at the end of that 1,000 miles.

Did I mention the air conditioner didn't work that well?

And nearly all of those 1,000 miles were spent.

Riding with windows rolled down.

Wind tunnel effect.

No point in trying to control your hair.

In the record heat.

I can laugh about it now.

Sick child.

Hospital visit.

Record heat.

Many, many miles of driving.

Without air conditioning.

Great expectations.

Family Vacation.


I know.

We got to see our kids.

It was definitely worth all know.

All the expectations.

In the mist of high expectations and family vacations,

you sometimes get bogged down in the things that don't go as planned.

Some time and distance is often required.

To really look back and appreciate the fact.

That the wonderful moments were there along too.

And lesson learned.

I'm all about learning a lesson.

Go with the flow.

Be flexible!   (to coin a phrase from my Kenya trips with NewSpring)

And keep reasonable expectations.

Above all else.

Really appreciate and hang on to time with your family.

The good.

The not so good.

The unexpected.

And the memorable.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

My Balancing Act

I've been learning a profound lesson lately.

And those kind of lessons can be hard.

For me.

I've been learning about how I define balance.

You see,

I really like having balance in my life.

In times of change.


Even great challenge.

I always felt that if I balanced key things in my life.

My physical.

With my spiritual.

And emotional.

I could maneuver well through whatever life threw at me.

Your balancing list will look different from mine.

Mine looked like this.

Spend time with Jesus.
Read my bible & pray every day.
Make time for my husband and my family.
Walk 3-4 times a week.
Go to the gym twice a week.
Keep the agency running smoothly at work.
Eat healthy.
Keep my house clean & my laundry processed.
Get plenty of sleep.
Blog or work on my mosaics.
Serve at church.
Be intentional about time with my friends.

If I kept my balance.

If I kept my list balanced.

That was a good thing.

But, if I didn't keep it all balanced,

If I didn't keep everything on my list balanced......


You see where I'm headed.

That's really kind of messed up.

And it was inevitable.

That my way of looking at balance would eventually end up in the ditch.

For me,

it was just usual life stuff.

Challenge and transition at work.

My oldest getting married and moving to the other side of the country.

My nineteen year old moving back home and commuting to school.

Thinking about selling our house.

Missing a few weeks of exercise and the gym.

Doing an illegal u-turn on a busy road and wrecking my car.

And before I knew it,

My balance seemed to be lost.



Truth be told.

And here comes my lesson learning.

"I" am not the source of my balance.

"My" ability to keep all my plates spinning is terribly inadequate.

Things happen.

Things will always happen.

I don't keep my balance by doing a specific list of things.

I keep my balance by allowing Him to lead my life.

All the areas of my life.

The relational.

The physical.

My work.

Any change that's made in where I live.

My health.

My workouts.

The lives of my children.

All of it.

Trying to maintain balance has been exhausting for me.

And I've only recently even realized just how tired I am.


Thankful for a hard lesson.

I am learning.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand."

Psalm 37:23-24.