His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

On this day…

You know how Facebook alerts you to the posts you’ve made on this day in years past? Those memories typically have one of three effects on me…

First, I can read those and want to crack up – most of those memories involve my children and something wack they said that I wanted to document. For instance, not too long ago, I was reminded of a time when Emma and I were having ‘a moment,’ which was followed by her saying something to the effect of, “momma, your teeth are really brown, maybe it’s because of all the coffee you drink.” WOW.

Another feeling I can have is that of reminiscing on days in which I felt particularly stronger or weaker, depending on the circumstances of my life at the time. As I’m sure we all have, there were times in my life when I felt like She-Ra and could take on the world and nothing was going to stop me. I’ve also had times in my life in which I felt so weak that the slightest breeze could have toppled me.

The third, and most frequent feeling I have, which brings us to this post today, is that of melancholy. Just yesterday, I gave my students a list of ‘common’ words and asked them to come up with more descriptive synonyms. One of the common words was ‘sad.’ As we know, there are many shades of sadness. Many students came up with the word ‘depressed’ as a more descriptive synonym. But the synonym that resonates with me the deepest today is melancholy.

Dictionary.com defines melancholy as, “sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.” This perfectly describes my feelings today.

Today is the day we set aside to ‘officially’ say our goodbyes to my sweet Grandma. I use quotes because is there ever an official goodbye to someone you love? Even if it’s for the shortest of times, ‘goodbye’ seems so…final. I know my grandma is in heaven…waiting for me.

So, why am I in a mood of ‘sober thoughtfulness?’ Well, because I was ironing Elijah’s shirt for the funeral today and I thought to myself how much grandma would appreciate the fact that I’m ironing…I mean, who irons anything anymore?!?!

Which brings me to my next thought…I am in the middle of purchasing a home for me and my kiddos. The home was built in the 60’s. Guess what my daughter found when we looked at the home? She found an ironing board in the wall. Oh, how my grandma would be so tickled to know that I have an ironing board, in the wall, in my new home. I can already think of all of the ways she would be redecorating or redesigning my home. The ironic thing? I do the same thing.

When we were looking at all. of. the. houses. to possibly buy, in every one, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, I would love to do (x, y, z) in this room.’

My grandma also loved to tell me all of the things I should do, the activities I should join, the ways I should make more friends. Oh how I loathed those conversations. But guess what? I do the EXACT same thing with my daughter.

That is one thing my grandma was good at…making friends. She was also good at volunteering…helping out…lending a hand…offering advice (solicited or otherwise…lol)…

She was an amazing lady. She wasn’t perfect, though. None of us are. I can remember the times when I would discipline my daughter, and she would just shake her head and do the ‘tsk, tsk’ thing that would drive. me. crazy.

I’m going to miss that.

This wonderful woman, who had such a full life…she held onto some wrongs that were done to her. She had hung onto them for far too long. I suspect she carried them with her right up until Jesus met her at the pearly gates and told her she didn’t have to carry the weight of that load anymore.

I have a tendency to hold a grudge too. I would love to learn from my mother how to let some things just roll off my back. I guess I’m a work in progress.

Most of the time (especially in public), I’m a pretty stoic person. I have learned how to ‘stuff’ things until I’m ready to deal with them. Oftentimes, I never reach the place where I’m ‘ready’ to deal with them…I get so caught up in the ‘what’s next on my list to accomplish,’ ‘I have so much to do.’ This does not a healthy woman make. We have to take the time to process our grief and our disappointments. It’s how we learn and how we grow. (Plus it’s just healthy for our souls)

However, as I type this in the privacy of my own home, surrounded only by my children and my dog, I am getting emotional.

I am emotional for all of the words left unsaid. All of the times I ‘intended’ to take my grandma to Goodwill – her favorite place – this summer. All of the times I held onto anger and frustration toward her, when she really just wanted things to be ‘perfect’ for me. I should have let those things go.

And then one day, you wake, and you learn that there is no more time. See, I think that’s the lesson she was trying to get me to see then and is still trying to get me to see even now, after her death. One day, there will be no more ‘one – days,’ and all you’ll be left with are the empty promises and regrets of the things left undone.

I’m teaching 8th grade English again this year. I have to tell you, as much as these kids make me crazy sometimes, this is really the BEST age. Anyway, our principal asked us to choose one word to be our focus for this year. One word that will carry us through the daily grind. One word that we can cling to when the crazy kicks in. One word that will sustain us when we want to give up.

My word is intentional.

I don’t want to be in this same ‘place’ in two years or even two months. I want to grow. I want to build deeper connections with other. I want to stretch myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. But so many times, it’s easier to just ‘go with the flow.’ I told my students last week when they were grumbling about how HARD a writing assignment I had given them was, that, ‘If it were easy everyone would do it.’

Guess I should live by my own words. Or eat them…historically, words you have to eat don’t taste very good.

If you’re still with me and you’re still reading…thank you. I was able to write all of this, pretty much non-stop, in about 15 minutes. So, thank you for reading my words.

If you’re still reading this, please, I beg you, help me to be accountable. Ask me how my one word living is going. Being held accountable is the only way we can grow.

If you’re still reading this and you want to be held accountable as well, leave me a comment with your one word. I can’t promise it will be this week or even next, but I will check in with you to see how your one word living is going.

Until next time, peace and love to you all.



Book Reviews, His Word, Soul Relationships

Heart Sisters Book Review – and a GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited to share with you, my awesome readers, about a book I read…it’s a book about being a good friend…being the kind of friend you want to have. It’s called Heart Sisters and it’s by Natalie Chambers Snapp.

It’s no wonder that in today’s world, women are catty and competitive with one another. What do we expect, when our minds and TV screens are filled with shows such as The Bachelor, in which 20 or more women vie for the love of ONE man…or what about The Real Housewives of wherever, in which women are concerned with materials things or their exterior only?

So, when this book hit my radar, I was ecstatic, to say the least. I mean, who couldn’t use some additional literature on how to walk through conflict in love?

In the introduction, Natalie says that her prayer is that “the pages of this book will encourage you to work hard for the other women around you. To love them. To cry and laugh and genuinely encourage one another instead of being threatened by the “fleshy” feelings of insecurity, jealousy, or comparison.” I have to say, her prayer has been answered.

Throughout the course of this book, I have been challenged to view the women in my life in a different light. After all, we are all on this journey together. We are ALL under the constant barrage of feeling like we are not ‘enough.’ Whether its from our own family {because, let’s face it, we all have family members who, with one look, can make us feel small}, or the media, or our other mom acquaintances; it doesn’t take much for us to feel ‘less than’ in today’s world.

What if, instead of subscribing to our society’s ‘disposable’ view of people and relationships, we actually began to invest in people and our relationships? What kind of lovely world would that leave for our children?

This book offers guidance on how to do just that.

Natalie candidly shares some of the lessons she’s learned in life with her girlfriends – past and present. She offers biblical and world-view perspectives on why, as women, we need girlfriends in our lives. We cannot look to one person, however AWESOME that person is, to fulfill all of our relational needs.

“…the truth of the matter is we need other women in our tribe. We need to lean on each other and hold each other up when it feels like we can’t walk…We need someone to speak up if the dark brown lipstick makes us look like a corpse. Simply put, God knew we would need all kinds of relationships to fulfill the desire He placed in each of our hearts to live in community.”

I have so many favorite things about this book, but I want to share two of them with you today.

First is that Natalie gives excellent insight on five reasons that keep us {women} from embracing authentic female friendships. She coined this neat acronym to help us remember the ‘Fearless Five’

Can’t Ever Imagine Being Friends




Being Prideful


So many of our issues can be neatly slotted into one of these reasons for shying away from authenticity and transparency in our relationships. Natalie walks through each of these in detail and gives true examples of how these can kill relationships in one fell swoop.

The other thing that truly touched my heart is the list of the Super Seven Sisters. These women are the true heart of you and each one has a different role to fulfill in your life. Now, as she indicates, you may have one friend who fills multiple ‘roles’ or who fits more than one ‘Sister’ relationship. If so, that’s great!

Here are a couple of the Super Seven Sisters that Natalie covers:

* Rahab: This woman is bold and will speak for you when you can’t.

* Ruth: These friends are loyal and unwavering.

* Elizabeth: This friend possesses the gift of encouragement; always lifting you up.

Now, I have one friend who fits all of the above profiles, but I also have others who may only fit one of the above, and that’s ok too.

Ok…now that I’ve shared some of my thoughts on why this book is so awesome and so timely {I have a daughter going to middle school sooner than I’d like and I know she can glean insight from this book}, I want to give one away to one of my faithful readers.

In the comments, please answer this: which of the ‘Fearless Five’ above do you struggle with most? Is comparison your pitfall? Do you find yourself comparing your perceived failures to the successes of others? Or is Being prideful your thing? You don’t think anyone could do ‘X’ as well as you do it?

Whatever your ‘issue’ is {and please be honest ladies, we ALL have issues…that’s the beauty of it!} I would love to have an open discussion on how we can use this book and overcome these snares that the enemy uses to prevent real, true, and authentic relationships.

One of you lucky ladies will be chosen at random to receive a copy of Natalie’s book. For those of you who just can’t wait for the drawing and want to purchase your own copy {and I can’t blame you there!}, you can do so here at Amazon.

Please be sure to include your email so I can contact you if you’re the lucky winner! Also, the contest closes at midnight on May 31. The lucky winner will be notified the week of June 1.

His Word, Series

Catching Fire, the Real Enemy, and Our Weapons

With the release of ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ on disk yesterday, I think it’s only fitting to use this movie to illustrate a point.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, and now movie, series, Katniss is the main female character and Peeta is the main male character. They were victors in a modern Gladiator-style ‘game’ in the first move ‘The Hunger Games.’ In the second movie, ‘Catching Fire,’ they are sent back to the game or arena, with the other remaining victors to viciously battle it out. One other important character, played by Woody Harrelson, is Haymitch, their mentor. It is his job to help prepare them, physically, mentally, and emotionally, for the battle.

Ok, now that you’re mostly up to speed, here’s where things get good. In Catching Fire, Haymitch is prepping Katniss for the arena. She is just beside herself that she has to go back, since winning the games has generally bought you a ticket out of future games. In her thinking, she views all of the other contestants as the enemies. She is trying to get herself in the mindset that, in order for her to win again, she will need to kill all of the others.

During one scene, Haymitch tells her, “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…you just remember who the enemy is.”

See, Haymitch wanted her to remember that the other contestants in the ‘game’ are forced to be there, just like she is. They don’t want to kill any more than she does. They are pawns in the government’s game just as she is.

I think that we believers could take a cue from Haymitch to remember who the real enemy is. We need to remember who we are truly fighting against. Recall what Ephesians 6:12 tells us:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

In his commentary, Matthew Henry says that, “The combat is not against ordinary human enemies, not merely against people made up of flesh and blood.” See, most people think that the people we encounter during our daily lives or our arena, are ‘out to get us’ or are being difficult because that’s who they are to their core. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that they are simply pawns in the enemy’s games. He is using them to achieve his purposes.

Matthew Henry goes on to say, “Our enemies fight to prevent our ascent to heaven…because we grapple with spiritual enemies; we also need faith in our Christian work, because we need to draw in supplies of spiritual strength.” The devil wants nothing more than to keep you, yes YOU, out of heaven. He wants to see you suffering an eternal damnation, separated from God.

Because we are fighting this battle, we need to have supplies of our spiritual strength. Which is where Paul further goes on to tell us in verses 13-17 to put on the full armor of God so that we can stand our ground. He instructs us to stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, and to take up the shield of faith. Finally, he tells us to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

All of these weapons prepare us for the spiritual warfare that is going on around us and within us.

We, as believers, need to remember the words of our Savior Jesus Christ, found in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

It is not the desire of our loving, heavenly Father that we would perish or that we would fall prey to the enemy. He desires that we would come into a relationship with Him and draw upon His strength, use the weapons we have available to us, and bring others to Him.

Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Fellow believers, lets put on the full armor of God this morning and attack the real enemy and not one another.