Time Out!

A couple of weeks ago I went out of town on a Momma’s Getaway.  Much needed, may I add.  As my friend and I were driving around Richmond…and after many wrong turns…we were finally headed in the right direction!  And we were praising Jesus!

We were in the historic Museum District working our way to the art museum.  I was marveling at how beautiful it must be in the fall.  Historic brownstones lined the wide street with incredible, mature trees lined up, gracing the front yards and the median down the middle of the road.  In a different life, I think I like the idea of living in some place such as this.  I bet full-on spring is amazing.

As we were driving and talking, my friend pointed out the median.  There it was.  It stretched the length of this major street.  Busy traffic was coming and going.  She remarked at how nice it was to have that beautiful greenspace on this busy road.  It sure made all the difference.  I imagine this area of town is premium….it showed.  Hmmmm….how our lives really need a median!

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Make this jump with me.  Our lives need, no, must have, a median.  That calming, relaxing beautiful space and time we carve out for ourselves.  The time we take to renew our minds and bodies.

As we were finding our way down this gorgeous stretch of Richmond, we realized the small lesson we were learning.

Everyone needs a median.

We all need some space and time that separates all the coming and going to recharge and regain sanity.  We need the time to slow down the hurry and frenzy.  We noticed that even in our getaway, we were hurrying to do everything we wanted in the short window.  Go figure!

I can hear those who are closest to me laughing.  They just might be thinking I have officially lost it.  Resting is not my favorite past time.  My husband teases me, asking if I am going to “read”.  That’s the code word for sneaking into a nap.  It’s no secret, my aversion to naps.  He tells me to read when I am frazzled and exhausted.  Sometimes I  comply.  Just sometimes….but not without a fight.

You know the struggle. 

Sure, I could take a nap or sit down and chill.  But, that just means that much and more will be left to get done.  I can’t relax due to the self-nagging guilt for not continuing to get things done.  I always figure I haven’t done enough to justify resting.  I have a tally running in this goofy brain of mine.  If I don’t feel like I have done enough then I don’t get to rest.  I am always running from one thing to the next…..and feel guilty if I don’t.

You understand.  This life.  This one short, beautiful life. 

This life often has us running—fast.  If one event is good then 2 is probably  better.  The pressure!  We want our kids to be prepared for life and follow their passions.  There are the all-too-familiar tasks that just have to be done.  No way around that.  We are called to serve.  Well, that means coming and going.  Maybe WE have passions we want to follow….what if?  If I don’t jump on this opportunity, right now, it will never come my way again.  My new-ish neighbor greeted me yesterday in the grass in-between.  “You’re never home.”  Well….I am….sometimes.  Such a friendly lady with very friendly dogs.  I need to make time to get to know her.  Time.

So. Much. Pressure.

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We are all called. 

To what?  That is the question you must ask.  Periodically take a systems check and make sure the commitments you have made are the best ones for your season of life.  Here are some wise words,

“We can do everything, but we can’t.”

Take a moment and think on that. We have to be wise.

That median.  It really is a must.

You can make it as beautiful as you want.  Take care of it.  Make it what you need it to be.  Medians break up the chaos and crazy-busy.  It gives you a place to take a time out and catch your breath.  Each person’s median is going to feel and look different.  But, whatever you do, fill it with your beauty.  Go ahead. Give yourself permission.

To be truly spectacular in all you are called to do….you have to find the center.

The center of who you are. 

The center of your purpose.

The center of it all….your Giver of life.

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Life won’t unravel.  I promise.  And, you won’t find yourself unraveled either.  Go ahead, try it!  I dare you!

I would love to hear about your median.  What does it look like and how often do you visit it?  Or, maybe, you need to create one for yourself.  Please share in the comments below and be an inspiration to others!

Stop Hatin’!

Try as I might, I just can’t seem to get it right.

I read something today.  It made me think.

Oh, I’ve heard it a bajillion times before.  Today, though, it came on the heels of a conversation my sweet friend and I had last weekend. I thought I knew it well.   But today I realized I needed to see it from another view—a whole new angle.

We have been created in the image of our Creator.  We have been made in His likeness.  

In I Corinthians 3:16, it states we are the image of God and His Spirit dwells in us.  Furthermore, we should not vandalize and abuse this temple.  In my self-righteousness, I often give myself a big thumbs up on this one.  Clearly, I have this one down.  I take care of myself—body, mind and spirit…not doing the obvious no-no’s.  You know, those things the Church has labeled as “not good for me” or “not temple honoring.”  Whew!  I’ve gotten this one thing right.

But, today.  As I was reading that verse in my new book, it slapped me in the face—and heart.

I’m not.  I’m not REALLY getting this right.

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I beat my self up every day.

Yes.  My soul and spirit and mind take a good hard beating.  I wouldn’t let anyone speak to my friends this way.  Yet, I bet many do that to themselves just like I do.

If you continue reading in Corinthians, we also see God is not too impressed with this world’s wisdom and standards by which it measures things.  To Him it is foolish and stupid.  He sees through it all.

In fact, it says, “He sees through the smoke-screens of the know-it-alls.”  Hmmm.  I’m feeling as if that pretty much sums it up in regard to today’s standards, “heroes”, and measurements of success.

So.  Perhaps you are already a step ahead of me!

Why then, would we ever want to measure our success or failure or beauty by the standard this world has set up as

THE

standard.

Back to the conversation last weekend.

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and, honestly, don’t like what I see.  I wish some things were different.  My body, personality, my flaws….you name it.  Or how about when I look through the lens of social media.

“She is doing what I want; she’s just done it sooner and better.  Look at her accomplishments; I seemed to have misplaced mine.”

You get it, don’t you?

As women, we watch and listen and compare ourselves right up with the celebs and stars and current trends.  Or maybe you just look around at those surrounding you.  You just compare yourself with your friends and enemies.  You clearly know what you don’t like about yourself.

I beat myself up; with every mistake and misstep, I see a giant F!

F is for failure.bampw-black-and-white-cry-eye-girl-Favim.com-255924

If I eat too many carbs or calories, I’m a FAILURE.  If I forget to have all the baseball gear ready for game time—FAILURE.  If I miss an opportunity to say the right thing at the right time—FAILURE.  If I can’t figure out how to be in two places at once—you got it–F.  I’m severely calendar impaired and most birthday cards that have to be mailed….always late.  But, hey!  They get them, right?  You get the picture.  F, F, big giant F!

Instead of seeing the beautiful me, inside and outside, I see the annoying and frustrating flaws.  The beating and bashing continues.

Can you relate? 

So, my point to my friend was, perhaps we have something another person is praying for.

Maybe someone passing me in the mall, watching on Facebook, or down the street sees me and my life and all that I do right, and wishes some of this was hers.  Just maybe?  Because, I know we all do it.  (And because we certainly don’t show the messy parts and neither do other people).

Other people see the beauty we don’t see.

The words from I Corinthians say it even better!

The Spirit of God lives in us and we were created by God in the first place.  That is enough! 

Enough is enough.

What more can be added or taken away?

If we can see ourselves as complete in Him, perhaps we can move past our faults and embrace the beautiful us.  The God of the universe looks upon us, dwells in us, and says we are good.  We are the image of God!

Why would that ever NOT be enough?  

What are we saying when we hate on ourselves?  What are we saying when we say we aren’t enough?

Not good enough.

Not smart enough.

Not deserving enough.

Not together enough.

Just. Never. Enough.

We are saying the Creator isn’t enough.

I pray we see this verse for what it is.  It is a beautiful love note.

As our cultural standards tell us we are not enough, we are reminded we are.

Because of Him…..nothing we have done….but, because of Whose we are, we are enough!

Step up to that mirror and shut off the media.  Remind yourself you are created by the Creator Extraordinaire and He calls you enough!

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Off We Go!

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A good old fashioned swing.

I think it must be the closest feeling a child has to soaring.  I remember as a kid on the playground pumping higher and higher…once I got the pumping figured out.  The cool kid thing was jumping from the swing at the peak.  Probably not the safest!  I was horrified when my kids tried it.  My younger brother did it once….landed flat on his back.  Hurt himself, he did.  Yeah….no jumping from swings, kids!

I think we all long to soar.

We want to soar with our dreams.

Pumping and pumping until we reach the heights.  I know I do….but, I really, really want my kiddos to soar.  My oldest is a big dreamer.  He has always had a creative imagination and I often felt I was trying to hold fast to a bucking bronco.  He has always had so much he wants to do.  I never could quite keep up!  He inspired our made up word—exhausterating!

I never ever want to be a dream killer.

Some dreams are often unrealistic.  I want to be my child’s biggest cheerleader.  Life has a way of killing dreams.  I’m not going to be guilty of doing it.  I will train and guide my children on a path which leads to fulfilling their dreams.  Whatever God has for them….He will lead them.

Giving them wings is a little like stomping on your heart one day and thrilling it with joy the next.  My firstborn is pumping his wings fiercely.  As the time grew near for him to soar from the nest, my heart couldn’t comprehend it.  I had given so much of my life to this cute little boy who easily held my heart.  How was I supposed to give him wings when I wasn’t sure I wanted him out of my nest in the first place?

The fear of the unknown was almost debilitating.  Much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth took place.  Until one day, a wise lady basically told me to get over it.  I’m not kidding.  Her kids are grown and she has a great-grandbaby, maybe two.

But, I was bemoaning on Facebook about the nest emptying of one, and she told me to think of all the greatness to come.  There would be great joy on the flip side; an adult relationship with your offspring is incredibly rewarding!  But, I have to adjust my thinking.  I had to rethink this and keep moving forward.

At first, I have to say, it jolted me.

It felt rough and scratchy.

But, it wiggled its way into my brain and heart.

I sat in his bedroom, after the dorm move in day, and cried my way through the mess that was left behind.  I cried and scratched and clawed my way through a week, or maybe just two.  Sobbing even, maybe.  Until one day, my littlest Little asked if I still loved them—the ones who were still there with me in the nest.  I knew it was time to pull on the big girl panties and fully embrace this new day.  And slowly, I began to see.  I was excited to see him try his new way; walk his own path.  His joy was my joy.

When our children soar, our hearts soar with them.

It has been a giving and taking and figuring it all out.  You know, the normal boundaries stuff, and the mom in me worrying stuff, and I want you home this weekend stuff.  It has been good.  Mine is about to finish his first year of college.  I can’t even imagine it.  Oh, the soaring he has done!

There have been some clunky landings and stormy skies.  But, that is the soaring life.  How did he get the wings to fly, you ask?

 

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We certainly don’t have all the answers, here are 5 things we did:

  1. Teach him he can do anything and everything God has for him to do.  He stirs the passion of our hearts to do good things.  Make sure he knows we believe 100% in him.
  2. Give him solid roots to ground him.  Are they gonna be forgotten sometimes? Oh, yes.  But, this solid foundation will always go with them.
  3. Shape his life full of opportunities which inspire him to be all he can be with God.
  4. Make sure he knows he has a nest to come home to.  Our love is unconditional.
  5. Realize at this point, the “parenting” is pretty much done; we are now in the coaching phase. 

I see the shortcomings and misfires in our parenting.  This has not been an easy or mistake-free parenting adventure.  But, like I told one of my Littles today, we make mistakes, but it has only been done from a heart of love.  They aren’t going to like every decision we make, but never forget, it is always made from a place of love.

Love.  Real, honest love.  This is what makes the wings grow.

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What In The World Am I Doing?

My dad loved the outdoors. 

But not just any place outdoors.  He loved working in his yard.  And, he had the gift!  He knew what he was doing.  My daddy had a good eye and the green thumb touch.  It was so beautiful, I had my engagement pictures taken in our backyard….it was as beautiful as any park.

He knew exactly what it needed and when. He fertilized, watered and trimmed religiously.  This yard was sculpted into a tropical oasis.

I’ll never forget, however, the work my brother and I were recruited to do one spring Saturday.  Before the grass ever went in, we were on rock and pebble duty.  Now, before you think “how hard can that be?”,  let me tell you we lived in the hill country of Texas.  A sledge hammer was used to set fence post holes due to the rocky terrain.  Yeah.

So, imagine millions and millions of rocks and pebbles littering this painfully bare plot of ground.  Ok, well, maybe not millions.

As a 12 year old, I’m pretty sure it felt like a quarry!!

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But, these pesky rocks had to go to make way for beautiful green grass.  In order for the grass roots to, well, take root and thrive, the land had to be prepped.  #Loads.Of.Fun.  I’m sure he said it built character…….along with driving the green Ford station wagon as my first car.  That was my daddy.

 

Character.

It doesn’t seem we hear that word very much anymore.  On any given day I can find an article on Facebook about parenting for good self-esteem; or how about parenting for great intelligence.  Maybe, parenting towards tolerance and inclusiveness is the key.  Maybe it’s parenting to sensitivity and emotional wholeness and generosity.  It certainly does run the spectrum.  We can take a look at society as a whole and realize some parenting may be going in the right direction, yet so much is not.

Character seems to be an old-school word.

But,  part of giving our Loves roots is shaping their nature into strong, moral beings. 

There is accountability and courage to do the right thing—even in a world gone mad. 

Character is doing the right thing even when you may not benefit or nobody may ever know otherwise. 

Character is looking out for others—being aware of the other person’s feelings. 

Character is working hard and serving one another–regardless of how big or small the task or person. 

Forgiving and holding your tongue, even when it would certainly be easier to set everyone straight….that should set the standard. 

Generosity and graciousness should guide decisions in a world that applauds grabbing all you can get. 

Our children must know there is a code of right and wrong.  They need a moral compass. 

How about respect for human life?  Or, maybe simply being respectful. 

It may mean taking responsibility for a poor decision without placing blame or running the bus over other people.  

Roots. 

They provide the moral compass and the centering force for all we do or don’t do.

Imagine the chaos in even the very littlest of our littles when the root system is not cultivated.  They feel most secure when clear boundaries are in place.  Oh, some things are cute when they are an adorable one year old.  But, come 13.  Yeah, not so cute anymore.  There are so many beautiful life lessons we can teach the Loves God has given to us.

So, here are some wise thoughts to make this happen…..straight from Deuteronomy 11:18-21:

Pray for them.

Tell them.

Show them.

  • We can’t do it alone.  Not in this world we live in. We need God to help us.  He knows them better than we do!  I regularly pray “help me partner with You as I parent.”
  • We have to teach them and write it on their hearts.  Not only when it’s the cute little baby Bible, but when they are strong and the world is fiercely pitching its message.
  • “Do as I do….not just what I say.”  Live it out when it’s hard, even when it would be so much easier to turn and run.  They don’t need to see shallow hype.

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It is our job to train them, shape them and send them soaring from the nest.  This world needs them!  The world needs you to pour into them and expect them to step up and be the very best they can be.

Is it all going to go smoothly?  Nope.  Will we make mistakes?  You bet.  But, they can learn from that as well.  Love and authenticity goes a long way to smoothing out the bumps.  Remember, God gave them to you……and you to them.

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