Traveling over the Sierras can be lovely and beautiful and conversely treacherous depending on the time of the year.
Several years ago, my family and I had set out on a brief weekend trip to visit my extended family in Reno. Having been in Texas for my grandmother’s memorial service the week prior when Lent began, I wasn’t in the frame of mind to tackle something to give up. The time with family to honor my grandmother was rich and bittersweet; I was still emotionally raw.
Once the U.S. Army recruiting slogan written to entice people to serve, “Be All You Can Be,” has come to embody something very American. It extends beyond the bounds of military and has trickled into our psyche It plays on FoMO, or Fear of Missing Out. It piggybacks on our relatively recent aspirations as women to achieve in the workplace alongside all the traditional responsibilities that have been ours for thousands of years.
I’m no humbug, but I have to admit that I occasionally have trouble enjoying Christmas.
I’ll admit changing the station when “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” croons from the radio, as sometimes it just makes me angry.
For our family, December is often one of the hardest months. All the pressures of gifts, coupled with illness, together with the fact that I’m married to a high school basketball coach make the holiday season a bit of a trial for me.
When I worked in Silicon Valley, pre-kids, Monday morning had a completely different context for me. It would set in at about four o’clock Sunday afternoon that Monday morning would soon be upon me. I needed to “shift” modes internally to put on my “kick ass and take names” hat, ditch self-care and relaxation that I tried to embody on the weekends, and get back to work. Most people who work full-time Monday through Friday jobs don’t have the luxury of taking the beginning of the week – the Monday morning – a little easier.
No matter who you are, I’m willing to bet you struggle with what I call “three A’s.”
Just when you think you’ve got life figured out, or you got today’s check list done, sneaky Satan will up the ante by suggesting to you that perhaps you need to worry and be anxious, or that you should look to others for approval, or that the people you care most about have really abandoned you emotionally.
I recently read a great blog post by Michael Hyatt on the problem of drifting away from your life’s focus. It reminded me that not only can we drift away from our life plans–work, family, creative endeavors, for example–we can also drift greatly from God, and quite possibly, the two go hand-in-hand.
What does it look like when we drift from God? Is this perhaps one of the biggest ways or areas we drift from in our lives? Perhaps when we recalibrate ourselves to be in tune with our Savior, then setting our life’s goals and priorities become that much more clear.
It’s no small task to wait faithfully (and patiently) for God’s timing in your life; when to get married, when to start a new career, when to buy a house, when to move, when to give up, when to say ‘no,’ when to start over–the list is perpetually long, and most of us wrestle with our confidence in the Lord’s timing and our understand of it at one point or another.
“Dear Cousin, I’m thinking about starting a new revenue generating blog, but not sure I can take this on right now. My current site is working well, and the additional project would be a great income earner, but first I just have to locate and install my mojo – it ebbs and flows quite a bit during basketball season.”
I wrote this to my tech-savvy cousin via email several years back as we were discussing new work projects. Over the years, I’ve joked about losing my “mojo” during intense periods of child-rearing.
Christmas is a complicated season. At the surface, the media sends us the message that it is the “most wonderful time of year” filled with candy canes, happy smiling children, blissful mall shopping, and of course, argument-free family gatherings and copious amounts of leisure time. It’s tough to stomach this rosy view of the holiday season in light of how it makes many of us feel.
This time of year brings with it a mountain of additional stress no matter who you are, but especially for ministry leaders.
As is custom on Thanksgiving Day, giving thanks for all we have can be easy or hard depending on what’s going on in our lives. If things are tough, it’s often hard to give God our thanks; when things are going well, sometimes we forget to thank God too. We praise God first because he loved us and sent his only son to die for us on the cross (John 3:16), everything else should be gravy.
The story of Harold Hill, Marion Paroo, and all the townspeople of River City, Iowa in the classic music by Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man is one of near disaster and certain redemption. What could have ended with tar and feathering, lost money, and broken dreams in fact, ended in love, forgiveness, and changed hearts and attitudes towards, well, traveling salesmen among other things.
My grandmother practically lived to write thank you notes, or so it seemed. Upon arriving at her memorial service at her senior residence this past February, the music director, David, who played several hymns during the small gathering, shared after the service that he had never received so many thank you notes, and so many from one person.
There are lots of different “zones” in life, but the zone of motherhood—with all its different ages and stages—is one zone that can never be completely outgrown. Once you’ve become a mother, it’s always a part of you. I really love being a mom with all its ups and downs, exhaustion, joys, and tender moments, however, there is an ongoing tension between the call of motherhood and the call of vocation.
Few things in life can fully capture the impact a loved one can have on us. For me, my grandparents held a very special place in my heart as they were instrumental in my life from the time I was born. While both my grandfathers passed away many years ago, the first of my two cherished grandmothers passed away last week.
As a worship leader, writer, blogger, and mom to four kids under 11, I LOVE new worship music that gets me pumped up and ignites my passion (and my family’s passion) for worship. I’ve long been a fan of Seeds Family Worship and their awesome scripture-infused tracks set to upbeat tunes that make you want to dance while sneaking in scripture memorization. It’s a win-win.
I’m excited to share my first demo recording with you today. I’ve written many songs over the years but never had the opportunity (or time) to record them. Thanks to amazing worship leader, mentor, and friend, Paxson Jeancake, and his in-home recording studio, The Greenhouse, ‘These Feet to Run’ has come to life.
It’s never too late to make a new friend, or to visit someone you love and make lasting memories, or so I learned. It might seem that by the time you’ve landed in a senior residence facility you might have made all the friends you’re going to make in this life. But this wasn’t true for Elaine and Betty, who met eight years ago when they moved next door to one another at Brookdale-Arlington (formerly Town Village), a senior living community, in Arlington, Texas.
As I pulled into the parking lot of my pediatrician’s office, I paused as three women doing fitness training were pulling tires across my path.
I’ve stopped for ducks to cross the road, I’ve slowed down for wild turkeys and squirrels, but I’ve never had to put on the brakes for three women pulling tires.
My family bought its first Litton microwave in the early-80s. My childhood is fraught with memories of microwave experimental cooking such as monkey bread, spam, and macaroni and cheese in that wonderful large humming contraption that even had its own stand in the far corner of our kitchen.
At first glance of the title, you might not be sure that you’re up for a book on “unleashing clout.” Clout isn’t a frequented word these days as we aim to “garner influence,” “build a platform,” or “target our potential” through social media, blogging, marketing, and flashy leadership techniques.
Here we are at another year, the clock still ticks onward, seconds lead to minutes, which add up to hours, days and weeks. Although most of civilization aims to focus on accomplishments and goals for the New Year, how would it look differently if we were to measure our lives in terms of overcoming failures?