Not One Thing

We are leaving for vacation in four hours. Tony is at school. It is my job to pack the Suburban, tidy up the house, gather all the beach gear, take the trash and recycling to the dump (maybe I should do that BEFORE packing up the car with our stuff…), clean the windshield and get some cash. Daniel needs to mow the front yard. The girls need to clean their room. Shannon needs to wash her clothes. I gotta make our summer music mix for the car.

We are leaving in FOUR HOURS. The kids are still in bed.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I am – ahem – enjoying my VACATION already. At the moment, that means sitting immobile with a great cup of coffee and a blank slate in front of the next few days.

It feels very, very good.

Church Today

Wow.

Some days just work.

Sometimes it’s my attitude.

Sometimes it’s a great combination of people.

Sometimes it’s the fresh wind of grace.

Today, our gathering of worship was just that. We were whipped and caressed with grace.

And it was good. In spite of all the things that we control that failed to occur, the mistakes made, balls dropped…in spite of our rank humanity, we experienced the presence of God in an amazing, tangible way.

This I know, because I have no words. At some point, words become meaningless. It was, quite simply, a time of fullness, redemption, truth and grace.

Amen.

It’s Summer And I’m Staying Up Late

Just a few random thoughts as the evening winds down. Or, as the case may be, the morning winds up; it’s 1:13AM. I’m obviously on a summer schedule…

  • I love to cook. It might be more accurate to say that I love to feed people. I really do. I go on and on about not having the gift of hospitality; I’m not much for hosting parties and entertaining and all that. But I love to make food for the people I love. From scratch. Tonight I threw together some sort of beef tips on rice meal that came from frozen sauce (made from scratch a few weeks ago, when we had stew or soup of some sort – honestly, I realized after I threw it in the pot that it WASN’T what I thought it was. I hoped for the best and bravely carried on….) and some steak that didn’t get cooked for dinner yesterday. A little on the salty side (why? don’t know..) but delicious. I have a habit of declaring my food delicious right there at the table. That’s probably really bad manners, but I enjoy making stuff and I don’t mind enjoying it when I eat it, too. 
  • I’m growing a garden of sorts, but it appears to be a miserable failure. It did alright when it was raining every day, but I sort of forgot about it this week. I think the 148,000 degree temperatures might have done it in. Epic fail.
  • Had a great talk tonight with a friend who has been “officially” in ministry for some time; well-educated (at seminary, no less!) and serving others in the name of Jesus for quite some time. She exudes grace and tenderness. She’s moving towards ordination – the official sanction of a Christian church on her calling to ministry – with her tender, wounded heart in her hands. In previous churches, she was refused ordination. She’s a woman; many churches “don’t do women.” She’s found a safer place now and will be ordained in the fall. It was just so wonderful to talk with her, to listen to her articulate her heart and talk about her journey.
  • Had a great conversation today with another friend, who has grown and changed and leaned hard into her real self over the last four years. As I listened to her share about where she is in her life and how she is embracing the future, I got goosebumps. She is living a life worth living; it’s an incredible story. She’s inspiring.
  • Talked with another woman yesterday at lunch and enjoyed hearing about her journey and her passion for a future that is as yet unknown.
  • Thinking hard about how I felt God nudge me towards speaking to/with/for women a few years ago at a retreat. I got to speak in front of the entire church last week, but there’s something in me that sometimes leans hard towards women. Fascinating, since I’ve always felt like a very odd (as in different) sort of woman; being “the chick in the band” for most of my life can do that to you… 
  • I was driving to work Wednesday morning feeling SO incredibly happy that it made me wonder if I’d been SO incredibly sad for too long. It was an odd feeling. I think I’ve been stressed.
  • Vacation comes soon. Beach…sand…ocean…family…  BREATHING.
End of late night rant. I’ll go cook something….

Bloated, Consistent Accountability



Summer + Hot Weather + Wacky Schedules + Beth Moore = RUTH
Beth Moore
I’m doing a Bible study over the next few weeks, and you’re invited – by me and by Beth Moore.
Beth Moore is a gifted speaker, insightful teacher and dynamic personality. And she’s a blogger. She’s a major celebrity in the world of Christian culture. And while I’m prone to a bit of cynicism when it comes to Christian celebrities, this girl’s got the goods.
She’s very southern, and that’s a bent all its own – but with her passion for her topic and a genuine interest in the spiritual lives of women, she comes across as nothing bit sincere. Very southern, but sincere.
I believe Beth Moore when she talks about Jesus.
She’s got this website that has quite a following, and for a few summers now they’ve done a Bible study “together”. Blog followers are called “siestas”, which is, I think, the result of some long story about the word “sisters” and “siestas” and yada yada yada….but it’s sort of cute. So this summer, the “Siesta Bible Study” is based on the book of Ruth, from the Old Testament, using a Kelly Minter study book.
And Kelly Minter is a singer/songwriter. Musician. Writer. Girl after my own heart. Here’s a sample…
Kelly Minter
This is good stuff. Challenging.
Wanna do it with me? With the way summer schedules go, it’s tough to meet for any kind of small group or study. But there’s a common connector here with a video every two weeks, and a great, very engaging book to study.
So here’s what I’m thinking: I’m going to do this study, and hope that a few folks will do it at the same time. For those of us who are local, we can entertain the idea of getting together a couple of times during the next 12 weeks to discuss (and eat – see video for details!) For all of us – especially those who are farther apart geographically – we can discuss via Facebook.
And pray for one another.
And learn something that just might rock our worlds.
If you’re in, leave a comment here and the Ruth note on my Facebook page. And order the book! You can read the first chapter here and get a head start; the book is available here and here.

Here’s the preview video; you can hear Miss Beth herself sketch out the plan for the summer study.

And by the way; my answers to her questions?

#1 – BLOATED
#2 – CONSISTENT ACCOUNTABILITY

Parenting Tips

When it comes to blogging pastors, Mark Beeson is one of the best.

I read him daily. You should, too.

This latest post on parenting really hit a chord with me. Want to have great kids? Want to do the very best you can as a mom or dad? Want to fill in the blank spaces if you’re a single parent?

Read this. Then look around and figure out where “your” people are….

Summer Begins Today

It’s the last day of school for the kids.

Summer officially begins.

More than anything, I want to be here:

But I will not. I will be here this weekend, and I’m not exactly sure when we’ll get there.

When did my life turn into one in which summer was simply another run of days and weeks of work and Stuff To Do? What happened to the June/July/August days that stretched on and on with nothing to do? What happened to leisurely afternoons at the pool?

I miss my younger self.

And I want to go to the beach. Now.

On Almost Six Months Of Marriage

I’ve been married now for almost six months. Long enough for us to have gotten comfortable with one another, even though every day brings us new experiences. Short enough to have our heads spinning from everything that’s happened in the past few months.

We’ve had a lot of changes in our family. In the midst of it all, we’re learning how to live together, how to accommodate one another, how we each deal with crisis.
We’ve learned to be clear and frank about what it is we like and dislike. What we need and could do without.
Part of me was utterly terrified about getting married again. There were so many ways things could go south. I had gotten pretty comfortable living on my own. Crossing the line from ‘single’ to ‘married’ at this point meant some major life changes. After six years, I’d figured out who I was as a single mom. To be married meant a total new life definition. It meant changes would be ahead. It would be a call to a selflessness that I wasn’t sure I could muster. It was a huge risk for me; to place that level of trust in someone was overwhelmingly frightening and a real challenge to my insecurities.
What if he realized, after a few days/weeks/months that he realy didn’t like me? What if he changed his mind?
I’ve had to own all that stuff and more, to be honest about my fears and concerns. To listen to his. To learn more about love and respect and what matters most.
It takes work. It’s not always easy.
But there’s something so solid underneath even the hard times. I’ve long believed that in order to be in a healthy relationship, I had to be healthy first. I think I’m a lot closer to that today than ever before.

And this man is solid, too. Decent and kind. Authentic. And pretty firm in his commitment; he hasn’t changed his mind.

I’m glad I’m married. I’m think this in one of life’s finest opportunities to feel the full force of our belief that God’s mercies are new every morning.

Indeed, they are.

So Long Self Day Seven

Things I don’t know yet
When, exactly, I’m going to get to the beach
What, exactly, it’s going to take to motivate me to get back to the gym


What I’m learning
How valuable it is to work as a team and feel productive (Hi, Lindsay! Hi, Lori!)
How to relinquish control and let others rise to the occasion.

Things (people) I’m praying for 
Danny Buetow.
Bob and Jeanne.

Things that annoy me
A zit. I have a big, painful zit.
I wish I could get more sleep.

Things that scare me
Not much, right now.

Things that make me happy
Finally got my bangs out of my eyes.
Sydni Brawley’s voice. The girl can SING!

And thus ends the week-long experiment.

The message is written and rehearsed. Brian has spent a few hours editing, coaching and today listening and giving great feedback. I practiced speaking to the cameras today.

I’m fine. And this was incredibly productive.

So long….