RSS Feed

Tag Archives: lovelife

Celebrate!

yay

We were driving through some winding back roads in Indiana, listening to a local radio station early in the morning. This was last month, on a 1,000 mile drive to move our daughter to college, and we were just starting the second day of the journey. The radio host pointed to several areas of national and international news that were less than uplifting, and then announced it was time for a weekly segment they do called Good News Wednesday, encouraging their listeners to text or call in and share any bit of good news they had, from tiny to tremendous.

Within minutes, listeners were announcing big news like pregnancies and new houses, and tiny things like getting to work on time and looking forward to date night. What struck me was that so many were willing to participate; people want to share their good news, but often don’t know how or with whom they can. Also, as each proclamation was made, one of the announcers said something supportive in response. Every single time. And there were a lot! I felt so inspired after hearing the many ideas to celebrate, as well as the encouraging words of that radio station staff.

I was instantly reminded of a small group we were in about ten years ago. A newer couple sheepishly announced the husband had received a big promotion and we all cheered their good fortune, and thanked God for His provision when we prayed that night. The couple looked bewildered and then confessed they had been afraid to say anything, because they felt they had never experienced friendships who truly wanted the best for them.

So we resort to calling in to strangers to share our good news.

Y’all, we can do better. I want to be a person you call to brag on your child when they make the team or get into that college, when you see something wonderfully new in your spouse you didn’t see before, or when you get that crazy, pie-in-the-sky promotion. I want to cheer you on when you’re pregnant or not pregnant (somebody knows who I’m talking to), or your air conditioner finally gets repaired, or your prodigal child comes home. The truth is, when I hear great news about others it gives me an endorphin rush, or at least, it should. If I feel jealousy or resentment, that is on me, and I need to address it, trying to understand why I would feel anything but support for this person and then I need to get over it.

We are called to encourage one another, to love one another, to serve one another and to consider others more highly than ourselves. Let’s start this practice by cheering each other on every opportunity we have, not the fake stuff either, let’s desire the best for each other and celebrate like crazy when somebody gets it! So, I’m wondering…..what thing can we celebrate, big or small, for you today?

Advertisements

US Virgin Islands

I woke up this morning in a pre-set temperature room and went downstairs to a pot of coffee made minutes prior to rising. I turned on the news and got instantly updated on how Hurricane Irma is making her way through Florida and being downgraded as she goes. I am so thankful our friends all over the Sunshine state are safe and sound, many are going to have hours without power and days of cleaning up, but it could have been so much worse.

Except it was so much worse in parts of our country. The US Virgin Islands were hit in the very way that the media has been warning us about; St. John and St. Thomas are completely devastated with no power on the islands and no way to get to them by air. These tourist destinations are demolished with no resources. Now the problem is safety from downed power lines and fallen trees and looting.

So what can I do, as I sit with my laptop battery fully powered even though it’s plugged in, and plenty of food for lunch and dinner for today and days beyond? I can share. I’ve got a close friend whose brother lives in St. John and he is on the Board for the Salvation Army for the Virgin Islands, and is part of the coordinated effort between the Red Cross and Salvation Army. He assures us that money donated to http://vi.salvationarmy.org/virginislands/ will go directly to the aid of these islands. We have made a donation, honestly without even sacrificing a bit of the safety and security I feel in my home this morning. Can you do the same?

I am open to hearing of, and responding to, more ideas of how we can help these desperate people. Please read the accompanying article, it explains the current situation so well. And please, join me in prayer for the people of USVI.

http://vi.salvationarmy.org/virginislands/

http://mashable.com/2017/09/10/hurricane-irma-us-virgin-islands/#nsNyUQdHkaqu

 

Be Expectant

 

pedestrians-400811_960_720I was meeting a friend at Starbucks this morning. I got there first, but assumed she was waiting inside so as I entered the coffee shop I searched the room for a familiar face. I was met with two smiles from different sides of the room, and found myself returning the silent greetings, which felt pretty great, and it occurred to me that I often enter a room without expecting to recognize anyone, no scanning the room, no eye contact. I know people who grew up in this town and fully expect to see someone they know every time they leave the house, so it’s like a mystery each time; who will I see today? My second grade teacher? An old boyfriend?

I have moved many times over the years, and usually assume that I will not know a soul when I go to the grocery store or even be recognized as a regular customer at the dry cleaners, it just doesn’t happen. Every now and then someone will recognize me and it throws me for a second. I don’t want to make too big of a deal of this, but when you have lived in as many cities as I have, you don’t take a familiar face for granted, and the fact that someone would take the time to acknowledge me is like handing me a gift, because there have been times in life when I could go many days without making much of a connection.

So back to this morning. I walked in and looked up, fully expecting to see my friend and connected, however briefly, with two new humans and it changed the way that I felt. It was a simple reminder that perhaps I need to look up and expect to see someone in each and every room I walk into.

How Can I Help?

Powerful four words to ask right now, in light of the flooding in Houston. I am tempted to wait and watch and see what is needed over time, and who is responding and how. But I am setting that desire to do what is best aside, and I’m going to just do something today. Anything. I’m going to share a link at the end of this post with organizations we can give to today to help our neighbors. I plan to donate to the Texas Diaper Bank because I cannot imagine the stress of needing diapers when you are displaced.

About ten years ago my family’s home was hit by a tornado, our house was marked as Uninhabitable for several months, and we received less damage than most. Many lessons were learned during this time, but one of the most profound was that our community cared. Within just a few days, we were invited into a church to take whatever was needed for our family; sheets, towels, toothpaste and ibuprophen were among the items we walked away with that morning. But more than the physical needs, we left that building knowing that our community wouldn’t let us fall. A few days later a local organization invited us to their warehouse to take whatever clothes we needed for the upcoming winter season. Humbled and grateful, we accepted coats for our three children from the very organization we had been giving to for years.

Another lesson? Wherever you are headed at the time of a crisis, you will arrive sooner than expected. We watched many marriages fail within 24 months of the storm hitting our homes. If your marriage is suffering and a big storm comes from no where, it is going to be easier to walk away than ever before. If you are considering bankruptcy and that storm hits, the decision will probably feel more like a necessity. The contrast is true as well, if your marriage is strong when a storm comes, you lean on each other in ways you never needed to before and you walk out of it more resilient than ever. And if you are living within a financial margin and that tornado comes, you can handle it and just about anything that comes your way in the future.

Know this, a storm will come. I don’t believe any of us are immune. The best thing we can do for ourselves is prepare, be strong in whatever ways we deem necessary, and the best thing we can do for others is respond with prayer or resources or donations. Let’s show our neighbors that we care about them. If you make a donation, please mention it in the comments and tell us why you chose the organization you did.

Here’s the link: https://www.sbnation.com/2017/8/27/16211866/how-to-help-houston-after-hurricane-harvey

I’m a Fan

soccer

Our son was playing in his last soccer game of the season, which meant the last sports tournament of his high school career. We have watched this kid run, catch, throw and kick from the sidelines for at least ten solid years, and this was the final time. It occurred to me that when our kids are performing in the school years, we have permission to cheer and gloat, to whistle and yell and support them in any way possible. Then, this dies down dramatically as they age.

There are those few who continue playing a sport in college and beyond, but the vast majority settle in to quieter pursuits and the onlookers stop cheering. Think about how rarely you genuinely cheer someone on from the sidelines after they leave high school. For me, this needs to change. I want to keep encouraging and clapping loudly, standing in awe when they do something crazy great and high five the others who witnessed it with me. I want to continue to be my kid’s biggest fan, even as he hangs up his cleats and turns in his gear.

Here’s to the Moms and Dads who sit on the sidelines and watch their child’s every move for a season. May that season be a lifetime.

 

Dinner Plans

 

supper

Recently I read an article about a way to improve communication that seems so simple but is really profound. The next time you are sharing a table with several people, agree to not break off into smaller sub-groups. You don’t need to make a proclamation about it, just see if you can steer the talk so that everyone is involved and no one is splintering off. What comes from it is fascinating; you instantly have a group of people who may not know each other well, and each has something important to say.

When three or more couples get together, invariably the women will pull together and talk about the kids and relationships, while the men will discuss…..I have no idea what. Later that night, you walk away with your spouse, feeling like you have enjoyed your time, but you may not feel any more connected than before dinner. Now, imagine if a woman who spends most of her days at home with children were to discuss a public relations situation with a Corporate Manager, or a high school teacher shares his heart with a female restaurant owner. Now you’ve got some rousing conversation! The best way to do this is to allow everyone into the same shared conversation.

Obviously this isn’t something you will want to do all the time, occasionally it’s nice to spend time with your tribe, but I can look back to a few times when I really felt heard by people outside of my family, and it was when we were all investing in the same topic. Think about how rare that is in everyday life.

It seems that so often we sit with our friends and spend time with those who are most like us, but if we were to change it up some and give everyone the respect they deserve for simply being at the table, I think we could all learn some things, and walk away feeling a little more connected. I want to challenge you to simply give it a try, whether you are in mixed company or a large group of like individuals; decide to stay on one topic at a time and see where it takes you.

 

Perspective

perspective

Recently I was on the phone with our daughter Jessica, who lives in Maine and is attending Midwifery school, a three-year program that will allow her to be a certified professional Midwife. There has been no doubt in our minds over the last couple of years that our girl (no matter how old she will always be our girl) is meant to be a Midwife, and we love to hear her stories of struggle and triumph to be on her own so far from home.

We were talking about a Nutrition class Jess has been taking, and my assumption was that this would be one of her favorites because she has been passionate about using foods and herbs to heal and prevent sickness. After her first class I was surprised to learn that she was overwhelmed and not excited about the subsequent classes on the subject. After the second class, she was even more negative about the subject, saying they were expecting way too many details and going more in-depth than needed for pre-natal care. I encouraged Jess to give honest feedback when the class was over, suggesting that this was too much information and perhaps less time should be spent on the subject matter.

And then an interesting thing happened. Jessica attended her last Nutrition class and took the final exam. She said she knew she had done well on it, but was the last person to turn in the test. As she did so, her instructor opened up the conversation and invited my girl to ask questions. After discussing the test and talking more about nutrition, Jess had a change of heart; she decided that what was needed wasn’t less information, but more. She concluded that this subject is vital to the health of the pregnant woman and the baby, and that more emphasis should be place on this component, more time allotted in the classroom, not less.

I appreciate the fact that Jessica was able to see from another perspective and adapt to it, she has shown herself to be teachable in so many ways and not afraid to ask questions and learn more, so much more that she might conclude that she has been wrong on something. I want to be like my girl when I grow up; strong in opinions but flexible enough to change. There are so many times in life when we may think we have it all figured out, and it can be tempting to shut out all other possibilities, but doesn’t that really mean that we don’t want our way to be challenged because we might not have all the answers? I want to come to the table with my portion and be willing to share what I believe to be true, but open to another way to see the same thing. This act doesn’t take away from what I believe in the least, but can strengthen it or test it or change it.

I think my girl is right where she needs to be.

%d bloggers like this: