Archive of ‘Life’ category

Time to Renew

Draw Near to God

Does it feel like summer has just flown by? Didn’t the girls just get out of school, like, last week? I can still feel the Florida sand between my toes like it was yesterday, but it was three long months ago.

It was a fun summer with no schedule, sleeping in until 10 am (that was the 12-year-old), no official bedtime, summer vacation with the family and a wedding on the beach mentioned above.

There was disappointment too. Selling of a business that was built for many, many years. One of a job accepted, then relinquished, leaving us to flutter about like a crazy moth banging its head again a window trying to escape. Now, we are left to start over. Did we not read the signs correctly, God?

That last one makes me feel like I need to renew.

I need to come out of the laziness that is summer and into a renewed purpose.

I need to be invigorated, connected, committed (not to a hospital kind of committed either).

As the leaves and weather change, shaking off summer, so too does this life.

This renewing starts with Him. Commit to read the Word. Connect to it. Be invigorated by it.

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the trouble we can need now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT

What about you? What plans do you have for this new season?

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Draw Near to God print is available in Have Faith Everyday Shop. Priced as low as $6.60. Also available as a throw pillow, tote bag, and greeting card. LINKING UP with RachelWojo.

About This #IceBucketChallenge for ALS

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

My step-father, Ron McCormick died from ALS on July 4, 2011.

For 10 years he endured this terrible disease that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For many years we, as a family raised money for ALS research and participated as a team in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Colorado and Missouri, and attended candlelight vigils, but never thought about dumping ice water on our head!

This #IceBucketChallenge makes me smile. Seeing so many people getting involved with an organization that is committed to finding a cure for ALS is inspiring.

As of yesterday, (8/21/14) the ALSA has received $41.8 million in donations, as opposed to $2.1 million raised during this same time in 2013 (July 29 to August 21). ~ALS Association

There are haters out there, bashing this Challenge. Forget those people!

Anything that gets this much attention for ALS is a good thing. The more attention we bring to ALS, the better chance we have to find a cure, because cures are not cheap, people!

The following is an excerpt of a post I wrote for Ron on his 62nd birthday.

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Ron in 2003

Ron McCormick turns 62 years old today. It’s a birthday to celebrate. He should eat lots of sugar-loaded cake. He should open presents from loved ones. He should kick up his heels, dance a little, maybe on a table. But he can’t because he was diagnosed with a fatal disease called ALS.

Ron is now completely paralyzed. He has lived with the disease for almost 9 years. Typical life expectancy is 3-5 years after diagnosis. So he has lived far beyond the “norm”. But he is tired. He is weary.

Ron in 2010

Ron in 2010

Ron has been on a ventilator for more years than I can remember (since 2003). He can’t eat. He can’t drink. He can’t swallow. He has a feeding tube. His throat has to be suctioned out continually. He can’t sit up on his own. He can’t talk. He only “talks” using a special computer. My mom and his caregivers try to read his lips but over the years that has become almost impossible. He can’t walk. He can’t hug his grandchildren. He can’t work on rebuilding his Monte Carlo. He needs 24/7 care, even though the state of Missouri doesn’t feel he “needs” it and will not pay for that kind of care. My mother is left to “fend for herself”, using whatever or whoever she can as a caregiver. Many of these people, although good-hearted, are not qualified to be this type of caregiver and they learn as they go (just as she has). With all this she also works a full-time job and takes care of Ron’s young grand kids.

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This is why I give to the ALSA.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE…IT’S ABOUT FINDING A CURE. If dumping a bucket of ice-cold water on your head is the thing you are compelled to do for ALS, then go for it! I will watch your video, and applaud you. But also give money because that is really the point.

If you are like me, the idea of dumping ice-cold water on your head gives you chills, well, ALS will take your check without the ice water! Either way the ALS wins!

Because it’s time we found a cure!

Ron’s Story | What is ALS | ALSA | Walk to Defeat ALS

 

Honestly Messy Life

Dear friend,

You came to my house last evening. I welcomed you in. I offered you a drink. Among the mess, we sat down on the sofa to chat.

It wasn’t that many years ago that this simple act of friendship would have sent anxiety coursing through my veins. I was acutely aware of the mess around us.

Messy House

You can see my kids’ rooms are messy with toys about the floor. There are dirty dishes in the sink and the carpet could use another vacuum to remove massive amounts of dog hair.

There is dust on my ceiling fan blades. It actually looks more like the blades have grown fur. I admit, I wish I had cleaned them before you stopped by. No worries, I did what any self-respecting woman would do…I turned on the ceiling fans as to disguise the dirt on the edges!

In years past I would have vacuumed every inch of my house, cleaned the bathroom (why is there a shoe on the counter?), and loaded the dirty dishes into the dishwasher…and of course, wiped down the ceiling fans before your visit.

Back then I was so worried about doing it all, doing it perfectly, I wasn’t living an authentic life. It was the fake, Martha Stewart way of doing life. I was fueled by the accolades you gave me, whether it was for the fabulous birthday party I planned, or the compliments when you said, “Your house is always clean.”

I wanted to do it all because that signaled that I had it all together. When really anxiety was ruling my head. I was so concerned about hiding the mess that I forgot to live life.

The real me has dust on the edges; and if I want you to know me, really know me, then you need to see that dust.

Life is messy. And if you have kids, it’s really messy. If we are honest, my friend, we are all messy.

In today’s world it’s not easy to admit that we can’t do it all every single moment. We shouldn’t compete with the glossy styled homes pictured in magazines; or the Pinterest food too pretty to eat; or our fabulous Facebook friends. We are only seeing what they want us to see.

I want to know the real you too. Mess and all. Let’s live this messy life together. That’s the honest, messy truth.

A Summer Letter to my Kids

Dear kids,

You have 35 days of summer vacation left before school starts. I would suggest you don’t waste it with whining, fighting, and proclaiming, “I am bored!”.

I am bored is not a disease. It is not an affliction that calls for a remedy. It is not a bell you ring and the entertainment director magically appears with a circus. I am also not that entertainment director I speak of.

Bored is what adults call leisure time.

Look, before you know it we will be school supply shopping. I will register you for school next week. We will be meeting your teachers, learning your new schedule, signing up for fall sports, and fighting about math homework.

Splashing rain

Summer is not be squandered. It should be relished, adored, relaxed.

With every proclamation of “I am bored” is an opportunity for adventure, creativity and ingeniousness.

Summer is the perfect time to use those little brains of yours to seize the day.

Cape Diem.

Spalshing rain3

Splash in the rain puddles like the neighbors aren’t looking out the window, shaking their heads.

Grab an arm full of recyclable materials from the recycle bin and create something awesome with glue and glitter.

Pull out the Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, and Legos from the closet and build. Let your imagination run wild.

Head to the backyard and build a tent, have a picnic, play in the sprinklers, and enjoy the summer sunshine.

Splashing rain2

Don’t waste this summer. In a few short years you will be leaving behind these carefree days for adulthood. You’ll wish you could have a summer vacation.

Go on…seize the day.

*Pictures by Alexandra

Generation Gap

generation gap

Husband and I were talking with our girls about jobs we have had in our lives. I told my 7-year-old I worked for my hometown newspaper when I was 18-years-old.

She asked, “What’s a newspaper?”

After my bewilderment wore off, I explained a newspaper by using an example I thought she might have seen on a TV show.

“Oh,” she said with a questioning look. I can read between the lines. What she really meant was, “Why would anyone read a newspaper when you can get your news online?”

I am sure it happens to every generation. Parents and kids don’t connect on technological levels. This is why my 12- year-old gives her Dad lessons on how to use his iPhone (evidence above).

My kids have never used a phone with a cord, except in a hotel. They will never laid on their bed, gossiping with a friend while twisting the cord around their fingers. We haven’t had a land line in our home for seven years. On a recent trip to the Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida I had to “teach” my girls how to dial on a rotary phone that was on display.

They take for granted instant internet access. Remember dial up? One of our TVs even has wifi for surfing the net. Remember having only four channels to choose from, and if you wanted to channel surf you had to get up and turn the dial on the TV?

They have never watched a movie at the drive-in. That is just sad.

They have never played a cassette tape in a boom box. They have never rushed to the store to buy a new release of an album by their favorite artist. They have never laid on their bed, listening to the entire album while looking at the album art. Instead of buying a single 45 record they download one song at a time. They only own CDs because I have bought them. They will never make a mix tape.

They have never taken pictures of their friends on a film camera…then waited a week to get the pictures back. Instead they use Instagram, digital cameras, an iPod, or phone with a camera. It’s all instant.

They don’t write letters, they text. Come to think of it, they don’t talk on the phone either, they text.

I wonder what technological advances will be different when my kids have kids of their own.

Will they say, “When I was a young we got our news on the Internet.”

And will their kids ask, “What’s the Internet?”

How Not to Scar Your Kids for Life … Talking About Sex

TALK

 

Let’s Talk About Sex (Amazon) Book by Planned Parenthood/Mar Monte A read along for ages 9 to 12 and their parents

Two years ago my oldest daughter was in 5th grade. That is a big year in school for kids. It’s when they start transitioning from “little kids” to “big middle schoolers”. It’s a time to start giving our kids more responsibilities, not just at school, but also at home. They start to take on responsibilities that will prepare them for the future.

It’s also the year across America that schools give the dreaded “sex and puberty talk”. It’s a big deal for our little ones…and it’s a big deal for us. Our precious little kids are growing up! (Sigh) Although “the talk” covers the basics of puberty, menstruation, body hair, etc. there is a lot of information they don’t cover. Parents, I hate to tell you this…you still have to have the “birds and bees” talk with your kids.

Are you freaking out about that? Inhale…exhale…then get this book: Let’s Talk About S-E-X. This book covers all the bases…I mean everything.

(more…)

For Your Weekend | It’s the Summer Slow Down

summer slow-down

It’s summer slow down around here. Time for lazy days, popsicles on the patio, crafts days and enjoying the Colorado outdoors. And, so my writing schedule will also slow down just a bit. I pray that you slow down too; kick off your flip-flops, eat ice cream like a kid, enjoy the sunshine and marvel in the glorious details that is summer.

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SUMMER BIBLE STUDY FOR WOMEN | I have started a Bible study, er, actually I plan to start it this weekend. I am a little late to the study… This Summer Bible Study hosted by Julie at Women Who Believe is all about God’s Grace. Who couldn’t use more grace in her life? This study is entitled, Grace Awakened and it spends the entire study in the book of Ephesians. Week 1 has already started, but that is the great thing about summer…you get to finally take your time and slow down! So, it’s never too late to join in. I hope that you will join me over at Women Who Believe for this enlightening summer scripture study.

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Thank you to Meg at Whatever for this amazing easy and fun craft idea:

Crazy Owls

Continuous line drawing

These owls were drawn with one continuous line! Seriously. We never picked up our marker to draw the owls, only when we forgot and had to put our marker back down in the same spot, anyway. If you go here you can see how super easy it is to draw and Meg even posted a great video too. Poke around while you are there. Meg’s blog is so much fun!

Have a blessed weekend and remember to slow it down a bit. Enjoy this summer!

****LINKING UP | Bonnie at Faith Barista wrote a book! How cool is that? It’s called “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”. Needing a little spiritual whitespace of your own? Add this one to your summer reading book list.

Think Before You Pick Up That Rock

Fellow Sinners

I turn on the TV. It’s another scandal. It’s the same old story but with different players.

The stories start the same with a public figure saying, or doing, something really ignorant, and that is all anyone is talking about.

News anchors, morning show hosts, late night comedians all weigh in on the matter. They are stating their case in the courthouse of public opinion.

Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with deafening criticism and suggestions on what should happen next to this cheater, bigot, fool. Hashtags are created. Parody videos are uploaded. Polls are taken.

What will be the punishment be this time? Cancel his/her show? Demand resignation from political office? Pull the lucrative sponsors? Force him to sell his team? Boycott her products, or the stores that carry those products? Stone them all?

Hmmm, that reminds me of another story; one that actually involved stoning of a woman accused of adultery. (John 7:53-8:11)

Whether you are a regular church-goers or not, chances are you’ve heard this story too. The Pharisees came to Jesus with a woman accused of adultery. “Stone her!” They shout. Jesus, being cool, refuses to participate in the stoning. Instead he asks those who have never sinned be the one to cast the first stone. Stunned, the Pharisees dropped their stones and retreated. Jesus was always going against the courthouse of public opinion like that. He tells the woman to go and sin no more.

And, that makes me think of the stones I have thrown at myself. The critical inner-voice that says, “Why did I say that? I am so stupid.” “What was I thinking? What an idiot!” “Why did I say something so mean? I am so hateful.”

We all throw stones. Sometimes the target is the person we don’t really know involved in the latest scandal, our neighbor, friends, spouse, kids, that woman working in the drive-thru window, even the reflection in the mirror.

Surely you can think of a time you said something ignorant, insensitive, arrogant, mean at one time that you now regret. I mean, truly regret saying. I do. Maybe you are so used to throwing rocks at yourself or others, you don’t even notice the head wound.

We tend to be pretty hard on ourselves, so it makes sense we would be hard on others. But, what if we were easier on ourselves, and in turn, easier on others? What if there was more forgiveness and less public stoning?

Would you want forgiveness, or condemnation?

LINKING UP | At We are THAT Family, RachelWojo, WholeHearted Home, To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, and Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart. I encourage you to read these wonderful women planting small seeds in their part of their world.

Life lesson #7: Mean Girls Don’t Grow Up…They Just Grow Old.

An open letter to my tween,

I hear middle school has been rough lately. You have a hard enough time trying to navigate this delicate social universe when, in walks a mean girl sending out shock waves that rock your middle school world. What do you do? You are caught in the middle of being “polite”, because that is what you have been taught to do, and getting this mean girl off your back.

It’s hard. I get it. Been there, done that. Are the kids still saying that?

Here’s a life lesson, from your mom who has lived a looooonngg time: “Mean Girls” are not labels reserved for schoolyard meanies.

Mean Girls don’t grow up…they just grow old. They become mean women.

You’d think graduating high school would usher in a new way of thinking for them. You’d think these mean girls would leave their childish, tormenting, insecure ways behind and become instantly nice.

Well, it’s not a switch that can be flipped into the “on” position. I wish.

Mean girls grow up to be your neighbor, your boss, a parent on your child’s PTO, a family member, a co-worker, or a client that can’t be pleased not matter what. And guess what? They are still mean.

I wish I could say that someday they wake up and become an encourager of everyone around them. I would be lying if I told you that.

The truth is, a mean girl never goes away. You will be dealing with her for the rest of your life.

That’s not to say that some mean girls haven’t changed their evil ways. I am sure there are some reformed mean girls living among us. I just haven’t met any…none that have admitted to being a recovering mean girl, anyway. Is it possible I could know them, even call them “friend”, and don’t know it? Maybe.


Here’s something else to know. The more you surround yourself with real, authentic friends, the easier it will be to guard yourself against the mean girls no matter what life stage you are experiencing. Because real friends will support you, not bring you down. It is okay to “weed your garden” of a mean girl.

Some days it might feel like a battlefield. It might feel like it’s you against a mean girl. But, don’t forget, you have an army of real friends who have your back. There is strength in numbers against mean girl.

Their meanness is all about them. It’s not about you. It’s about their insecurities, home issues, low self-esteem, peer pressure, drama addiction, or whatever. Once you realize this, the less power they have over your emotions.

I am not saying this will eliminate the sting of a mean girl. Sadly, that actually never changes. Even your old mother, with all her years of wisdom, can be hurt by the sting of a mean girl’s words or actions.

But…it’s not about me, it’s about them and their issues.

Love,

Your mom, who was once a 12-year-old fighting a mean girl battle.

LINKING UP | Faith Barista WhiteSpace and Holley Gerth Coffee for your Heart. Read more encouraging women over at both of these wonderful, faith-filled blogs! Check out the new blog I just recently discovered: Messy Marriage, and link ups.

(**Note to Subscribers: Typos are the worst and happen to the best of us. When it happens it is…Ugh! Sorry for the double post today.)

Motherhood…It Ain’t Easy

MOTHERHOOD.

It’s the hardest job in the world.

It’s the most thankless job in the world. We are grossly underpaid.

It’s the most important job we will ever have. There are no manuals to prepare us for it. Sure, there are books…a lot of books…but none are concise. So we are really left to just wing it.

There are no sick days, paid vacations or promotions. We will be yelled at, have food flung at us, complained to, maybe hit or kicked, cried on, ran to, ran from, hugged, kissed, hated, puked on and loved, all at any given minute.

And, we say we wouldn’t change it for the world.

Or, would we?

First of all… I would get paid! Paid. Big. Time. And, not just in chocolate. I would get a paid vacation, preferably to a topical island sans kids. And, for a minimum of 2 weeks, thank you. I would have a maid to keep the kids’ rooms clean. No more digging out an endless stream of dirty socks and candy wrappers from under their bed.

The only kind of wine in my house would be the red or pink kind. A healthy dinner would magically appear on the table before anyone had a chance to have a melt-down from hunger. And a meal that the kids would eat, without complaint.

And lastly, I would wear designer heels, meet my hubby at the front door, drink in hand, when he came home from a long day at work, because all would be perfect in the world.

Ah, a girl can dream.

{*Repost, May, 2011}

Mother’s Day is just around the corner…

Joy necklace (Big, bad affiliate link ahead. If you click on the link below, or the photo at the left, I may receive some funds for my growing Starbucks habit, but not enough to buy a pony. I only endorse products/causes that are personally meaningful, or that I like. And, I LOVE these necklaces. It is such a great price that I ordered two myself.) On sale now at Dayspring: 50% this beautiful medallion necklace for only $8.99! Shop now for Mom…or yourself.

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