Thursday, October 30, 2008

Broken Down Shack

While on my roadtrip to California with my oldest daughter we began reading a novel - The Shack. We'd heard amazing things about this book - how spiritual it was, how deep it took the reader, and how transforming its storyline. People's comments pushed us to buy the paperback to pass the hours over the boring miles of Nevada desert.

We'd gotten almost all the way through the book by the time we pulled in to our driveway back home. Only the last 100 pages left or so. Already the story had been gripping, tragic, reflective and bittersweet. We determined to read the end separately as time permitted - both getting back to our busy routines.

Well, I need to tell you that I'm not even finished and I've sobbed uncontrollably. I won't tell you the story but just this . . . each of us have places so wounded in our hearts that we think no one can go. Each of us have broken down shacks in our past where awful unthinkable things have happened and those regrets, those losses, those memories haunt us.

The Shack reminds us in so many ways that God is big enough to shine light even in those dark places - and bring beauty and order even among the chaos. If you're struggling right now to see God in the pain of your life - read it and soak it in. You'll be surprised, lifted, and changed for the good.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Out Of It -

I'd been feeling "out of sorts" with my life the last four weeks so I decided to take a road trip with my daughter to sunny California. Part business but part play - I figured I needed a break to clear my head. Funny what's happened.

I haven't been able to connect with many of the clients I needed to here in California. Odd turns of events have put us in the wrong places at the wrong times and we've criss-crossed. Then in a tragic turn, I lost my phone which is my lifeline to my business and pretty much any data for the trip. Again - an odd turn creating more frustration.

My daughter - the wise one - said, "Mom, maybe you're just supposed to chill on this trip. Maybe it's not supposed to be business at all. Maybe you're just supposed to have fun?" Hmm.
Since then I've been more relaxed - soaking up my family members and realizing it's been a long time since I connected here. After a tough last year I realized I haven't really shared much with my family here. And so I see much of the real disconnect in my life - that lost feeling - is really just homesickness.

Today we're going to the beach - which I love. Ahh, to be at the beach. Reminds me who I am and puts things right in my heart. Sometimes where you're "out of it" you just need to get "back into it" and heal the homesickness.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grease Is Cheap

A friend of mine, Zane, is the author of a book called "Grease Is Cheap". I'm anxious to read the book as he shared with me the concept. You see, Zane grew up on a farm. They had lots of heavy duty equipment to work the property, and Zane was responsible for the upkeep. His dad would remind him to stay on top of things as repairs were costly, maintenance was not. "Grease is cheap," he would tell Zane.

Today Zane shares with others the concept that its the small maintenance that helps us avoid costly damage down the road. Corporations, organizations and church groups now reap the wisdom Zane learned from his father. Good words for all of us in today's times. Daily habits - physical/emotional/spiritual, inspired incremental investments, relationship steps and investments - all cheap grease - but definately priceless as time passes.

In another direction, things like being polite at the grocery store, making small talk at the post office, or being kind on the freeway - these things are not only cheap, they are FREE - yet, we often deny ourselves and others the "grease" that would make the day sweeter - just because.

I'm going to challenge you today to put a little "grease" out there - some of the FREE kindness and politeness that would truly make things go smoother for the people you meet. For that person who passes you in the hallway, or that individual at the gym who probably doesn't NEED your hello, or that co-worker than may not deserve your encouragement . . . offer it anyway.

And let me know at the end of the day if that cheap grease made YOUR day go smoother as well.

Thanks Zane - you inspire us!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Moments Of Sheer Joy

Our family has had a pretty tough year. A terrible auto accident and then my husband diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Wow. A lot to digest for a family with five children. So many changes taking place in everything familiar. At times it has been so heavy.

Then there are moments like today. The weather was just perfect - the colors on the hills are changing with fall. No breeze, but just the right temperature to be outside. We headed to the park and played a little tennis (really the drill was one or two lobs and then running to retrieve the ball hit over the fence), and run around on the tanned bark and swings.

Somehow it was magical. Just a moment where it was only joy. Nothing else.

Thank God for moments like that when the pressures fade, the fear is breathable, and the blessings bubble up to the surface. Moments like that make the tough ones do-able.

When was your last moment like that?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Getting Past Neon "Yeh, but's"

I worked with a coaching client this week and during the course of our session I was reminded of the power in our self-talk. What we say to ourselves about our value and our worthiness has more impact then the facts of our lifetime accomplishments.

Constant "Yeh, but's" blindside us and flash almost in neon - a loud denial of the value of our existence - AND a huge roadblock to ever feeling fulfilled. If there was a flashing neon sign blocking your life today - what would it say? "Failure" "Fake" even "Loser"?

What if you, in your mind's eye, could give that neon sign over to God - allowing God to heal that roadblock so you could move on? How fast could you move on down the road to success if you just give that over to the one who oversees the galaxy?

If you're on a detour or waiting for the road construction to ease up - perhaps you have more control than you think - if you're just willing to give those neon "Yeh, but" roadblocks over to God.