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faith

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Today is my final post on my “Bad Attitude” series.  It’s been several days since I posted Part 3 and there are a few reasons for that.  It was REALLY hard to be so transparent about the methods I used to pull myself out of a moody pit.  And you know what?  It wasn’t so much because I doubted whether the methods were effective or legitimate ~ because for me they truly have been ~ but I was surprised and alarmed by the accusing voices inside my Christian head drilling me on why I didn’t dig further into God’s Word during my season of despair, or why I didn’t recite relevant Scripture, or why I didn’t kneel and pray upon consciousness in the morning instead of choosing to do the things I did. Which, by the way you guys, are all such powerful, life-changing spiritual disciplines which deserve volumes of…

Dear friend, I am so glad you are here reading this post today! I have so many things bubbling over in my heart to share that I pray will resonate and inspire you.  As we journey this path of life together, isn’t it often easier to share the happy things, the good days, the successes?  But what do we do in those hard times when we feel punched in the gut, when our grief threatens to choke us, when the fear of tomorrow dawning more difficult than today effectively robs us of the energy we desperately need to function at our best? Which is the pace I found myself last November as we prepared to embark on our family cruise (read Part 1 here and Part 2 here).  Two specific thought patterns alerted me to the depravity of my condition; however, I was not yet physically, spiritually, and emotionally prepared…

(If you missed Part 1 of this series, click here to catch up and join me back here to continue reading.) My mom was the queen of a cheerful attitude.  From earliest memories my siblings and I were expected to choose a good attitude regardless of our circumstances or feelings.  As I grew into adulthood, this discipline of choosing one’s attitude wove itself indelibly into my value system as well.  In fact, a few years ago I transferred one of my favorite quotes onto an index card to keep near my Bible study chair as a reminder: Mood cannot be prayed away.  It must be battled head on. From the moment you rise in the morning your brain will talk to you. Don’t let it!  You determine what you will think, and then let your feelings follow that decision. ~ Ravi Zacharias   So given this upbringing and personal conviction about…

“I have absolutely nothing to offer, ” I complained to my husband as we sat side-by-side on the small transport bus.  “What could I possibly offer to anyone this week?  I have no inspiration, no wisdom, no joy.  I have nothing to offer.  Not to anyone.” I stared hopelessly out the bus window as I  took in Houston’s grievous poverty, recent hurricane devastation, and miles of never-ending freeways.  My family had rented a private bus to transport our group of 24 (grandparents, siblings, and cousins ranging from ages 2 to 17) from our Houston hotel to the Royal Caribbean cruise ship port in Galveston.  We were about to embark on a much-anticipated family reunion in celebration of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  This group of 24 was my tribe.  My people.  They were the ones who loved me regardless, who knew me when, who wanted the very best for me.…

In April, I walked away from this blog, purged my overflowing paint room, and figuratively set my creative self aside until further notice.  I encouraged myself with thoughts like: “This is the answer.  Finally God is speaking clearly through circumstances.  Today, at this moment, I know what I am NOT supposed to do.  Stop the waffling, cease the analyzing, simply march. Onward, ho.” So I renewed my teaching credentials, clicked ‘yes’ to numerous substitute jobs in middle and high school classrooms, and marveled daily that they permitted this 40-something nobody into public classrooms with vibrant young people rehearsing for orchestra concerts, molding clay on potter’s wheels, analyzing “A Street Car Named Desire,” and chewing erasers through intense Calculus finals. It has been 16 years, people.  16 years since I’ve managed a high school classroom, stood in front of little beauty queens with perfect eyebrows, chatted with athletes shuffling their weary…

Sunday after church, we are sitting over spaghetti discussing the highs and lows of our weekend.  It takes longer when given more than one day to process, but we are in no hurry.  Sunday afternoon looms large. Popular “high” answers include a visiting nephew, a successful wrestling tournament, a new driver’s license.  The unity of celebratory events does not escape me as these moments are, ultimately, the ties that bind.  String them together and they are beaded cords of days, months, years which we will one day perceive from a distance with a piercing combination of loss and joy, this dichotomy one of the most powerful emotions of the human heart. And then the “lows:” Tales of worn-out brake pads, leaving a loved one at the airport, too much homework before Monday. It is in these precious, unhurried moments of quiet listening and reflection that it dawns on me: Today,…

Okay, I’ll admit it.  When I originally committed to getting my house in order in Sixteen Days, I truly believed I would be done by Labor Day.Please don’t laugh.Have you ever experienced one of those seasons in which it felt like each circumstance and event was strategically lined up for the sole purpose of challenging your personal resolve and commitment?  In spite of best-laid plans, sky-high inspirations, and truckloads of work ethic, so many things came flying your way that you finally had to throw up your hands in the air, take a gulpy deep breath, and do the one thing that is ultimately.so.very.difficult.Surrender?The thing is, in the midst of surgeries, septic issues, broken garage doors, red-eye flights, bladder infections, a very sick dad, and a deeply-loved family member working her way through her own life-altering decision, one Scripture verse keeps running through my head over and over again.We can…

Fearless is not a word I would use to describe myself.Careful.  Orderly.  Responsible. Thoughtful.Good.These adjectives are more accurate.I tend to analyze situations before jumping in.  I wait and pray and ponder, questioning extensively if said activity lines up with my values, my priorities, my written goals, my faith.Does the activity I’m about to choose fit the mold for who I am supposed to be?  For who others expect I should be?For who the Bible says I should be?I weigh my time and commitments on whether or not I’m pleasing God and my husband, or whether I’m sacrificing what I believe is one of my highest callings: motherhood.  (Actually, I’ve discovered that I have clung so tightly to my role as mother ~ have taken it so seriously, in fact ~ that I risk saying no to many good yesses for fear I’ll fall short in this area.  God and I…

When we’re young, we strive to reach an ideal we’ve carried in our minds, an ideal which is a compilation of movie scenes, books we’ve read, families we’ve observed, truths we’ve learned, bits of life we’ve lived.We may not be able to accurately define this ideal early on, but its power propels us forward.  As we progress through schooling and relationships, jobs and big purchases, travels and recreation, it dances just out of reach beyond our fingertips ~ always there, yet never quite in focus ~ never quite attainable.Its drive is so very strong it carries us through excruciating tests, long hours on the job, heartache, moments of reprieve, and more striving.  It influences the clothes we purchase, the houses we buy, the activities we pursue, the way we parent your children, the way we spend money.  It drives our values, our choices, and our motivations.It inspires us.  It gives…

I just returned from a morning run and somehow wanted to capture the beauty, the peace, the inspiration His great outdoors can bring.  Such a gorgeous fall day~!Words from a poem I couldn’t quite recall kept playing through my mind as I prepared for this week….this season….this Monday morning:”….The best is yet to be…”I did a quick search and was delighted to discover, and recall, this phrase is from a poem by Robert Browning, one of my favorite poets, call “Rabbi Ben Ezra.”  A faith-filled declaration of God’s design for the life of man which inspires a new perspective on youth and aging.  Here are a few lines from the first stanza~ Grow old along with me!The best is yet to be,The last of life, for which the first was made:Our times are in His hand… If you need a dose of good literature and an ode to aging gracefully…