Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Relationships Are Messy

Feeling troubled about a close relationship a friend told me, "Relationships are messy. Life is messy. If you talk to anyone long enough you find things going on under the surface - everyone is struggling with something on some level."

The more I ponder on that thought the less compelled I feel to judge others. I am messy. My hurts, my anxieties, my path . . . it's been messy. I'm broken in places that I try to hide and run from. A glass house.

But when I accept that yes, I am messy with my own issues - grace appears. It is the balm for that messiness - margin - room - to love other people's emotional messes. Grace endears those messes to me and I love people better. Relationships are messy - the other option is to have none.

Monday, November 24, 2008

All That And A Bag Of Chips

I'm at that age where I realize I'm not all that. A group of teens brush by me at the shopping mall giggling and sharing secrets and it's oh so obvious that I'm now "old".

I dance in the kitchen and my children lovingly roll their eyes and ask me to stop - my moves aren't so cool anymore I guess.

But one thing growing "old" is teaching me - take care of your body! Friends around me (old like me) are now having their prostates checked and their knees going out. Complaints of too much hair on my girlfriend's faces and no more hair on my male friend's heads - signs all around me.

This holiday season I'm giving myself some new gifts. I'm running a 5K on Thanksgiving morning and I'm not having those extra helpings of pie and ice-cream. AND I just signed on with a fitness trainer to run a marathon in 2009. I'm giving myself the gift of health this year.

Health is that one thing that makes everything else so enjoyable. Without it, everything is miserable.

So, this year my goal is to be "all that" MINUS the bag of chips. How about you? Why not give yourself (and the ones you love) the gift of health?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Secret to Juggling

I listened to one of the most amazing professional speakers last night - Dan Clark. He was brilliant, entertaining and profound - what's more, he was personable and approachable. It was wonderful. Perhaps one of the most impactful presentations of my career honestly.

One of the things Dan said in his presentation hit me more on a personal level. As a mother of five children I often feel like I'm juggling errands for my kids, juggling meals for the family, and juggling so and so's this or that . . . always juggling. Dan shared an insight from an evening he spent with one of the world's greatest jugglers. He asked the juggler what was the secret? How do you juggle all of those things at once?

The answer? "You only juggle one at a time."

One at at time? What do you mean? You've got ten tennis balls looping in the air and you say "one at a time"? That makes no sense.

To which the juggler explained - you can only hold one ball in your hand at a time and the let it go. It is now set in motion.

It made me think of those quick interactions with my children. Busy with a million things I don't see the power in those incremental one-on-ones and often quickly toss and grab the next thing. If I realized the power of those few minutes in my hands would I put more in motion than just a mother's checklist of "do you have this" "did you finish that"? The vision of the juggler now has changed my mothering.

Yes, while there still are ten tennis balls in the air, the time in my hand may change the motion of the universe . . . one child at a time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sit Still For This One

"The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares."~Henri Nouwen

Some days there is nothing that can be changed about circumstances. Some days there is no new goal that can be chosen, no new strategy to implement, no new hope to be breathed into a situation. Some days it just is what it is . . . hard.

On those days there is no substitute for a friend that just listens. A friend that sits right there with you, pats your knee, and says, "I'm here for you". Too often we rush to the latest Dr. Phil book for advice - when perhaps just being still with a friend in trouble is the best help of all.

Be still with someone who needs you today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Give Me New Eyes

Sitting in the waiting area today I met a woman whose husband had undergone serious eye surgery recently. Having been diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, he was actually given "donor eyes". To be completely accurate, he was given specific parts of the eye (both left and right) from someone who had passed away. The woman told me how he was transitioning through the surgery and that one of the eyes was not accepting the transplant well. Her husband was still having trouble seeing properly through that eye.

It was an interesting conversation that made me think about God. Our vision is so limited, His is eternal. Our perspective may be skewed by our upbringing, our hurts, and our past. Our depth, color, focus - all of these things can be off for years and we may not even realize it. God is completely focused, pure, and true at all times. He is sovereign. Oh to have His eyes. What would we change immediately if we could see the world through the eyes of the Almighty?

I want you to hear something. It's really quite cool so go with me. C'mon - trust me. It's one of my new favorite songs. It might quickly become your new favorite too.

Click here and take a minute -

All I know is that I can't get the tune out of my head, nor the message out of my heart. God, give me your eyes today -

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Shopping My Destiny

I just started reading "Your Destiny Switch". With my husband battling stage 4 cancer we have relocated to a temporary home (which is such a blessing!), have budgeted beyond TIGHT for a year now, and downsized to the bare minimum. Sadly, I see some of my dreaming has also downsized. Many of you are feeling the same tightening of the belt with our nation's economy.

This book drew me in as I wonder how much of what we're experiencing can we actually change? How much power do I have in the situation? Only a few chapters into it I am already consumed with excitement about the possibilities!

This morning I spent some time on classifieds - just window shopping. Oh, I don't have the money for anything today, but WOW! Look at the possibilities! The process made me giddy where for some time it would have made me deflated. I CAN plan for an exciting turnaround in my life - and I can expect GREAT things to happen! S0 can you!

While I may not be able to change certain variables (like cancer) I can change the level of hope and excitement I bring to the game. I can choose who I want to be and how I want that to be manifested.

I encourage you to give yourself a gift BEFORE the holidays - BEFORE the New Year - and let it positively affect your aim at your own destiny!!!!!

I'm shopping for a totally new exciting destiny - one of my choosing - are you?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Driving In Reverse

Recently I found myself looking through our family photo albums. A picture caught my attention - one of the kids and I in a waterfight a year and a half ago. It took my breath away. That day was magical - and I knew it even then. We were totally consumed in enjoyment of each other, our silly family bond and the thrill of being doused with the chilly water from the hose. It was pure delight - spontaneous, silly, and exciting. We could never have imagined on that day the challenges that would barrage our family in the following 18 months. And would we have wanted to know? I don't think so.

Each morning I wake up and spend my first hour in front of the fireplace with my hot coffee and my Bible - asking God to give me the faith and courage that our current circumstances demand - husband addressing cancer issues, financial concerns, teens growing into adulthood . . . I ask for the wisdom to walk the walk. That hour is essential to my day. When I miss it, I lose my
courage, my vision and my perspective.

"Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse." - Philip Yancey

Had we known as a family on that day in March what was coming in the next 18 months perhaps we would have stayed inside frightened, sad, and grieving for our upcoming losses. Had we known about those losses, we may have stayed inside and packed boxes, done the "right" things - the "serious" things, put our house in order and said goodbyes. I'm glad we didn't know honestly - because we did the perfect thing that day. We played and laughed and dreamt in faith - in joy - and it was absolutely the right thing. It was perfect.

Last night I drove past the most horrific car accident I have ever personally witnessed. The wreckage made me physically feel like I was going to throw up. I knew the people in the cars could not have survived. My prayer at that moment was that they had lived perfect days too. That they had lived with their hearts open in faith - Live your life believing - and choosing - and "faithing" - and trust that God will make sense of it in reverse. Promise.