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Friday, March 1, 2019

The world needs your story!




I love stories.

I woke up this morning thinking that, for whatever reason, the favorite part of any book for me is when I stumble into a story. They are like jewels that glitter and sparkle in the midst of a landscape of monotone words and thoughts.

My new read, Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom, is chock-a-block full of stories.

As I am prone to do, I started in the middle of the book with a chapter that sounded interesting, only to discover that if I wanted to follow the map to all the buried treasure this book contained, I would need to start at the very beginning. Which I did. This morning.

I am nothing if not methodical in my own crazy way.

Friday, February 15, 2019

On grace and love and hope and forgiving pants




If I were to ask you to name One Thing that you struggle with, what would it be?

It's like at work when I have to ask a new customer for their birth month so they can receive a special offer, and they not only give me the month but also the day and year. And I'm like, too much information! I don't need it all!

I'm not asking you to tell me...or write me...or post it on Facebook. I'm simply giving you a chance to name it and claim it.

Why are you doing this? you may ask. Why are you disturbing my well-ordered and tightly contained life?

Because what we bring into the Light can no longer hold us hostage in the darkness.

Here, let me go first...

Friday, February 8, 2019

How are you doing with the Who Are You bit?



I about fell off my chair laughing this morning when I read this one simple chapter by Anne Lamott:

Bitter Truth

Chocolate with 81% cacao is not actually a food. Its best use is as bait in snake traps. Also, as a shim to balance the legs of wobbly chairs. It was never meant to be considered edible.

Don't let others make you feel unsophisticated if you reach middle age preferring Hershey's Kisses. So many of your better people do. Also, always carry a handful of Kisses in your backpack or purse to give away. People will like you more. 

After I finished high-fiving Anne for her honesty...and of course taking a picture of it to post on FB because that's where all truth ends up...I felt a sudden connecting of the dots in my somewhat foggy brain that this is exactly what I have been reading about over the last couple weeks! And that is...

We all have a story to tell.

And we must tell OUR OWN story.

So evidently, my story involves Hershey's Kisses and how very much I love them. True confession...I'm coming out of the closet on this one...I have always loved them. My dream burial would be in my most comfiest Cuddle Duds, lying on my memory-foam-covered-bed with a bag of Hershey Kisses clenched to my chest. Perfect. Kids, take note.

Now, back to the Bitter Truth...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Asleep in the Light...a long overdue confession




I could tell I was upset by the way I was folding the sheets...not that I usually strive for perfection.

But whipping them around and flinging them on the counter were signs that I was upset. No, angry. No, ready to blow.

How could this happen?

And then I thought back to the chapter I had read this morning in Donald Miller's book...where he shared about the time that he was forced to go through his checking account from the previous year, looking for tax deductions. He didn't find many, but what he did find sobered him.

Betrayed him.

Opened his eyes.

Oh, how well I was identifying with him during that sheet-mutilating-session!

Have you ever had one of those moments? You know, the ones where you swear you can feel the earth moving under your feet as the walls you have built so relentlessly to protect you come tumbling down?

I know for a fact that I had experienced one...many years ago...at my moment of salvation. And now I was in the throes of another.

As the words, asleep in the light, pierced my consciousness, I felt the gentle knife of conviction penetrate my soul.

And only one Person can do that and you best not ignore Him.

For your spiritual life depends on it.

Friday, January 18, 2019

To the edge of Unbelief...and back again





Behold my second blog for this week. The first one just would not cooperate no matter how I worked with it. So now it has been sent to the place where all unfinished blogs go to die: the Save pile.

I really wasn't planning on writing another one, but this one is begging to come out. And I understand, for words brought into the light are always more powerful than those that cower in the darkness.

It's a confession of sorts...

The uncomfortable but liberating gift of openness...

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How are you doing in the story of your life?




I often thought it would be cool to write a book. I don't know, say a novel. For some reason they seem easier...unlike non-fiction that requires all that studying.

Until one day when I sat down and tried it. Yes, I know, that's a hilarious thought. No one decides one day to sit down and write a book. Not any sane person.

I remember sitting there and thinking, obviously, what should it be about? And the more I thought about it the worse the idea seemed...all the who, what, when, where, and why's were overwhelming.

And since then I've had great respect for anyone driven enough to put their thoughts together and spend the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to turn out any work worth reading.

People often say to me, You should write a book! And Lord knows I try so hard not to start guffawing right in their faces. Dear one, you have no idea. I don't have the training, or the dedication, or the desire to do so.

That's probably why I blog. It's short. It's sweet. It's to the point.

And I can be done in 2 hours or less.

Awhile back, I picked up one of Donald Miller's books at my favorite used book store: A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, and promptly added it to my pile of want-to-reads, where it remained until this week. When I bought his book I had no idea what it was about. But it had Donald Miller on the cover and I hadn't yet read it and that's all I needed to know.

Sometimes I need a dose of Donald Miller. Or Frederich Beuchner. Or Brennan Manning. Or Anne Lamott. Someone who others might might raise their eyebrows over, but who I think are spot on...

People who give me a dose of something out of my box...out of my comfort zone. People who call me to think in ways I have long forgotten. Or in new ways that I desperately need.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The desperately needed gift of Hope





I woke up this morning thinking, I can't do this.

I'm weary and tired and frustrated and ready to run.

I can't dance any faster and yet the music keeps playing...day after day after day.

No matter how hard I try, I can't rise above the feelings of despair...and that if I just tried harder I could outrun the issues that are sucking the life out of me right now.

Have you ever felt like that?

Like no matter how hard you try, it's just not working?

By wiring and nature I am a Helper. God knows I wish I wasn't. Because I spend a lot of my time investing in other people and causes. Because I care. I truly do.

But what about when others around you aren't Helpers? When they are on their own fast track to who-knows-where and the rush of their speed going past you blows you aside and leaves you struggling to regain your balance?

Helpers have a major weakness. Well, more than one, but let's talk about just the one today...

We are good at taking care of everyone and everything else...

But we don't help ourselves.

When things go wrong, instead of realizing we can't control others or their choices, we wonder what we could have done differently.

We internalize other people's pain deeply and want to carry it for them, instead of letting go and allowing them to learn...often the hard way...the necessary way...the lessons that can only come  through pain and bad choices.

When Helpers are in an unhealthy situation...be it at work or at church or wherever...we absorb the negativity, thinking we'll dump it later. But we rarely do.

Helpers can be a mess.

And that's why sometimes it can feel so hope-less.

And so heavy.

And so heart-breaking.

And that's how I woke up this morning.

I needed a kind word...an encouraging word...someone to get off their own fast track and notice that I was being sucked under the train wheels.

All I could see was a day of NEEDS. I wanted to roll over and hide...or get on a plane to AZ.

But that's not what Helpers do!

I could hear the pitter-patter of little doggy feet out in the hallway, eagerly awaiting my arrival...

Birds chattering outside the bedroom window...wondering why I had left them no food on such a cold morning...

And minutes ticking by that needed to be filled with all that was ahead on this pre-Christmas day when work was looming in late afternoon.

Well, you get it.

So up I arose...all the while crying out desperately for strength to keep-on-keeping-on for just one more day.

And then something amazing happened...a miracle!

I was in the laundry room, shifting over the load I had left late last night, when I opened the dryer door and found...of all things...

A note!!

I did a double take. No, it was real!

As I read it I started to cry. It had been so long since someone noticed me...said an encouraging word...thanked me.

I'm going to frame this note.

Because I realized, in that life-giving, life-renewing instant, the power of a kind word.

It took my husband probably 30 seconds to write out the note, but it changed my whole day...

And gave hope where there was none.

And that's a gift I think we all need... and can share....this Christmas season:

Hope.

This is supposed to be the MOST wonderful time of the year. But for many, it isn't.

They are dealing with not only their losses and fears and daily struggles, but also the expectations and needs that this season brings.

It can feel so hope-less.

But dear ones, this is where we come in!

What if today we give the Gift of Noticing?

The Gift of A Kind Word?

The Gift of Thanks?

The Gift of Time?

It may take only 30 seconds to save a person's life...figuratively or literally.

I promise you, there is no greater gift you can buy.

I know.

Because I just received it.