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I’ve learned a secret about goal-setting. I’ve learned that goal setting is not just about developing a list of systematic, time-driven accomplishments. Goal setting is not about pride, striving, or playing the comparison game. Goal setting is about personal growth.  It is the acknowledgement that we possess something of value – something worth offering this world – and that we are no longer content with being a lesser version of the person we were designed to be. Goal-setting is less about the accomplishment of goals and more about the internal transformation that occurs in the process. Take this faux brick backsplash, for instance. I set a goal in July to find a temporary solution for our kitchen backsplash that would : replace the southwestern-inspired travertine (beautiful but not our style) serve us well for a year or so until we tackled a more intensive remodel, and not involve Fireman’s assistance…

Last October, three friends and I organized a mini, 3-session book club to read and discuss the book Pursue the Intentional Life by Jean Fleming.  The book is a meditative discussion of finishing well while intentionally embracing today’s opportunities for personal growth and gratefulness.  As you can imagine, the book’s topics fostered deep conversation among our middle-aged selves concerning how we see our lives at this stage, how each of our expectations has measured up to reality, and what self-discipline approaches we can instill to ensure we develop wisely in both character and stature ~ to grow intentionally closer to the elder women God designed us to be. It was, in many ways, a life-changing book.  But I have a small confession.  My biggest takeaway from these 3 mini-book club sessions was not about starting a gratefulness journal, nor was it about more effective Biblical note-taking during my devotional time. …

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,…

Do you ever have one of those projects brewing around in your mind for like….EVER….and you know it won’t take long to complete but you just keep putting it off because so many other things dominate your time? Well, I finally did it. And just in time for Holy Week, too, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the greatest Hope we have in this world:  A resurrected Savior who loves us, longs to be in relationship with us, and extends unconditional grace each and every day of our lives. Using 650 pt, Monotype Corsiva font, I painted an old scrap of wood with these life-changing words from a song written by Gloria Gaither in the mid-1960’s: Because He Lives    God sent His Son, they called Him Jesus, He came to love, heal, and forgive; He lived and died to buy my pardon, An empty grave is there…

I set two home project goals for spring break.  One, I wanted to install some wainscoting at the bottom of our stairway.  Two, I wanted to make some rustic shelves for a trouble-wall in our living room. I am happy to report we accomplished both in spite of a stomach virus, numerous youth group activities, two birthday parties, and feeding upwards of ten kids in this house most days.  No wonder I was relieved when school began again! I know it’s a little thing, this space at the bottom of our stairs. But every single time we go downstairs, which is several times a day because this is where we come and go to the garage, we pass this space. And every single time family comes to visit, do you think they come to the pretty front door to enter?  Of course not.  They come in this side…