Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Progress Not Perfection

If you are one of those "perfect" people, who does not admit to any wrong doing in your life, does not struggle with making good choices, and if you like to criticize those of us who know we do, go read somebody else's blog today.

Progress, not perfection. What a wonderful thing. I have heard this phrase on and off for years, but only recently adopted it as a philosophy in my own life. Even though I would say things like, "Just take one step at a time" or similar sentences as I talked to myself about whatever I was working on at the time, I always seemed to be more focused on the goal, the finished product, or the outcome. I am impatient with myself (and often times with others) and want to see results faster than what is sometimes realistic.

When I had my birthday back in November, I decided that age 46 would be "the year of health". I prefer to use my own birth date to begin change as opposed to the New Year's Resolutions. Taking personal inventory is something that I do more often than once a year and another year older is a good time to set new goals. Anyway, I decided that this would be the year that I would exercise regularly, eat healthier, start attending a regular recovery meeting and look at some key relationships in my life to make positive changes.

Well.......some of these things have been easier than others. Since my beloved husband is totally behind me in my quest for physical health (he is a health NUT), he is assisting in every way possible regarding diet and exercise. We have joined a health club and he prepares a healthy meal for every evening that I go the gym after work. I have not had too much conflict with my resolution to attend the recovery meeting, once I started going. And the relationships, well, this is certainly a work in progress.

As I have pondered the progress of this work the past couple of days, I have been discouraged. Although I have been doing 10 times better in the diet and exercise department for over a month, I have only lost 6 pounds. Discouraged. I love the recovery meeting, I enjoy the relationships and the honesty and the tools that I am learning to use, but I want to see the results today. Discouraged. And the relationships, some of them have years worth of pain, undealt with hurts, personalities that are not mine to fix, and character issues that I choose to not closely associate with. (the recovery meeting will help me keep my responsibility MINE, and give to God what is His) I resolve in my mind to think, speak, and behave in one way, and catch myself doing the total opposite. Discouraged.

I am thankful that God knows just how I feel. Jesus felt the same temptations that I do. He struggled with the desire to react like I do. He knows why I look at the apple in my refrigerator and choose the Girl Scout Cookies. He can relate to the thoughts I have about driving straight home after work instead of stopping off at the gym. He knows what I mean when I stand before Him and confess the anger, the hurt, the desire to hurt back and He loves me anyway.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. - Hebrews 4:15,16

I am so thankful to know that He understands and that I can freely and openly go to Him with all that I am, just as I am...not perfect.

I know that I am not the only Christ follower in this world that experiences this. My friends do too. (some of my blog commenter's don't have this problem) Some days, I just shake my head in frustration at the difficulties I face in simply doing what I say I am going to do. As my discouragement has taken over much of my thought process the past three days, God so kindly reminded me for the past two that I am not alone. The wonderful passage that He brought to mind (again) is found in Romans 7:15-20.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Whew! I know I am not the only one! Even Paul, the one I admire, felt exactly as I do sometimes. What a relief. The cause is not lost on me. I know that God will complete the work He began. I just need to walk with Him, one step at a time and remember:

Progress, not perfection.



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kisses From An Enemy

When I woke up this morning, my heart was racing, I was shaky and sweaty, and I felt downright terrified. As I lay in my warm and comfortable bed I realized that I had been dreaming when the alarm went off. The last thing I remember from my dream is leaving a room full of people and a person stopped me to kiss me goodbye. I was startled when I realized that the person who did this in the dream is someone who has called me "Enemy" and someone who I daily choose forgiveness toward.

The kiss was a simple one on the cheek. The scene is still clear in my mind. I had turned to go and said person called out my name which caused me to turn around. There he stood with his arms stretched out and as I approached him, he embraced me and kissed me on the cheek. The next thing I remember is the alarm going off.

The alarm on the clock is not the only alarm going off today. I am disturbed by the dream, wondering what it means. Where is Daniel when I need him! I don't know if I should worry or be relieved. I think about how Jesus felt when Judas, the betrayer, kissed him. The thought makes me shiver. Or could it be a simple kiss goodbye...all is well, no more hate, a sign of forgiveness?

Either way, I am feeling a little unnerved. I am glad that it was just a dream. And until I know otherwise, I will take it as a warning and continue to pray for my enemies. I will ponder this passage out of proverbs and not question why such a thing would be added to our list of wise words from God.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are lavish and deceitful.
Proverbs 27:6

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Girls gone wild in Breckenridge, CO!

Stoked...ready to hit the slopes! Felicia, Yvonne, Jessica, and myself on the deck of the condo.

Quick stop to store up on energy...some protein and carbs by way of a big breakfast and a bunch of good, hot coffee! This is the Sunshine Cafe in Dillon, CO! Great food!

Oh! These ski boots are SO heavy! I don't know if I can walk out of here!

We will be here for you!

Yvonne and Liz on the Gondola "V" is for Vonne and "L" is for Liz...NOT loser!

This is Felicia getting a pep talk from Yvonne. She thinks skiing is a white people sport! We called her Diva since all she wanted to do was look cute. We got her up on the mountain, but she walked down! She did not like skiing because there was no motor and no breaks. Plus, she wanted someone to carry her skis for her. (she found someone! Ha!) Diva for sure...she waited for us in the lodge!

Jessica and myself, kicked back enjoying the ride! The view was great and we couldn't wait to start skiing!

Here we are on our first run! Jeff (in the background) was a great and patient teacher. Oh, and check it out...he is carrying Felicia's skis! He encouraged us all to do the blues and we did great. I can't believe that I didn't fall the entire day!

OK, the picture doesn't really show how steep this was, but it took our breath away to look at it and know that we were going down! This is the intermediate run that we made.
We are done for the day! Talk about work...we worked hard. By this time we could barely walk! Great fun, but our legs were about to fall off. We could barely smile to take this photo.

We hit a pub in beautiful Breckenridge to rest and gain a little strength! We danced, played a few mean games of foosball and waited for dinner time!

Beautiful girls in Beautiful Breckenridge!

Reflecting on the wonder of it all. What a great day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Postcard from the Rockies

The snow is heavy. The skiing is great. The food is filling. The company is fun.

Good trip. Needed break. The air is as fresh as I thought it would be. Clear air, clear head.

I am glad that I came. Four of us traveled out here together. Tonight we are down to two of us remaining at the condo. Relaxed. Contemplative. Honest. Opportunities to change things about where we have been and where we want to be. Funny how God presents opportunities to show us things that we need to see. Something interesting happened that is not my story to tell, but as I think about what I saw, what we said, how I felt, I know that God is working in my life and in the lives of others around me. Rough roads ahead, but sometimes we have to go through the rockies to get to the fields of grace.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It is Time

The day is here...I am off to Colorado tomorrow. Woo Hoo! I have the fattest suitcase ever! I can't believe how much room it takes to pack for 4 days of snow. And we ladies have divvied up on some things, shampoo to share, one blow dryer, etc.

Most important, I have warm clothes. I have gloves, insulated under clothing, socks, socks, and more socks...and books. If I get cold, I will head to the lodge with a good book, sit by the fire and drink hot cocoa. No matter what we do, I will be in the mountains. I hope to come home with a perspective that is as fresh as the newly fallen snow.

See you next week!


I won't be the circus for you to star in
I won't leave you roses to watch them die
You won't be the heartache that keeps me sleepless
You won't be the songs that I could never write

I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall
I don't want to have to see you leave me
I don't want to take, I don't want to lose it all
Maybe I'm a fake, maybe you're a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love with you again

I won't be a fortress for you to hide in
I won't be the first one you think to call
You won't be the regrets that I can't live with
And we won't be the last ones to ever have to lose it all

I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall
I don't want to have to see you leave me
I don't want to take, I don't want to lose it all
Maybe I'm a fake, maybe you're a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love with you again

When we're scared and lonely
We will tell ourselves we're only
Just a word from what we needed
But we know that this ain't right

I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall
I don't want to have to see you leave me
I don't want to take, I don't want to lose it all
Maybe I'm a fake, maybe you're a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love with you again

I can't stay
I can't fall for you again

Great song. Expresses my heart.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Washed By The Water

Life can sometimes be stormy and rainy and sometimes it is difficult to see through all the water that seems to be coming up around me like a flood. There is an aspect of my life where the storm has carried on for a long time. Occasionally, days would look clear, but often times it resembled a rainforest, or maybe a monsoon. However I choose to describe it, the icky, muddy water coninued to surround me. But, even though not all days have been bright and sunny, my security in Christ has always been there. I know He is walking with me every step of the way.

The storms of life come and go. Sometimes there is even a flood. I am looking at sunnier days ahead, but when the thunder starts to roll again in the distance, if it looks like the clouds might be moving my direction, I know that I am washed clean in Jesus Christ.

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

Even if the Earth crumbles under my feet
Even if the ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won’t never ever let you down
I won’t fall
I won’t fall
I won’t fall as long as you’re around me

Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water

~Need to Breathe

Monday, February 18, 2008


The days are counting down to the girl's ski trip. Only three more nights and I will lay my eyes on the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It has been years since I have seen the Rockies, much less spent time skiing there.

I can't wait to look up at the mountain peaks as I leave the Denver airport. I look forward to the crisp, cold air...breathing the freshness into my lungs. I love the way the sun goes down in the mountains, quickly and the night comes before you know it. I can't wait to hear the crackle of the fire in the lodge, the warm drinks, and the laughter of having fun. I am eager to take the lift to the top of a mountain, looking down and all around and seeing the beauty of God's fantastic creation...the snow, the trees, the rocks, and the steep amazing mountain range. I hope that I stay upright as I slide down the mountainside on two long sticks, trying to keep my balance, going faster than I feel comfortable with, and hearing the swoosh of the snow as my skis move along top of it.

It will be fun to play. It will be fun to laugh. I look forward to spending social time with ones I work hard with. It will be a pleasure to relax with ladies who I have gotten to know well by solving problems with, sitting in meetings with, brainstorming with and trying to make it through a difficult work day with.

God created us to work and to enjoy life. I am blessed to have the ability to do both, relationships that mingle together.

So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15

Sunday, February 17, 2008

High Low

Years ago, I saw a movie that gave me a good idea. The family in the movie played a game everyday called "High Low". At the end of everyday, each family member would express to the family what was the high point of their day and what was the low point of their day. After watching the movie, I adopted that game as one of our regular family dinner time ice breakers. My kids would roll their eyes some days (especially my boys) because they really didn't want to participate. But, it was not an option, all must play and play they did. I found out great things about my family during those mealtimes, I learned how to rejoice with them and how to pray for them. We still play it, although not as often. I have played it privately myself, in my quiet time with my Lord and have found it to be a beneficial way of gaining clearer perspective on my life.

Then a few years back, I heard Oprah Winfrey talk about a journal she keeps called "Things Worth Remembering" The only things allowed in the journal were things that were positive and (guess what?) worth remembering. I liked that too, so I started one. That was in 1999 and the journal still sits on my bedside table. Anyone can read it as it is personal but not private. At the end of some very ordinary days and the end of some extraordinary days, I record the things that are worth remembering in my life. I have been able to recall the sound of my son as he walked up the stairs in our old house, the laughter of the kids as they played video games in their rooms, tears that I wiped, hugs that I received, meals that we shared, rainy days, holidays, and many things that would be less vivid in my memory if I had not written them down. I love keeping that journal and I love reading through it. Memories and positive, wonderful emotions come back to me every time that I take the time to read back through the things worth remembering in my life. I realize I am so blessed!

So, today's post is a High Low.

Yesterday, Rebecca had her birthday party. It was a wonderful party. A scavenger hunt had been planned but the weather turned cold and rainy. So, at the last minute we scrambled for Plan B. The girls arrived and made birthday signs. Then they were all blindfolded and had to draw a picture of a house. The girls voted for the winning drawing. Celebrity Sleuth was going on all evening. Each girl had the name of a celebrity on their back and had to figure out who they were by asking yes or no questions. It was so funny! Then they played straw ping pong...blowing a ping-pong ball back and forth on a table with straws. They danced and sang. Then the scavenger hunt took place but in the house. I had taken pictures of various items in the house (macro close up) and the girls had to identify the items. They did this in teams. They played truth or dare, ate a huge chocolate chip cookie and drank hot cocoa. Gifts were opened and fun was had by all. The high for me was hearing the girls laugh, hearing one say to another who had to come late, "Wow, you missed out! We've been having a blast!" and Rebecca telling me that she thinks it was her best party yet! Talk about a high! What started out as Plan B and hoping we could pull it off, ended up being a blast and the best party ever!

The low was thinking about my friend who taught me how to decorate for birthday parties! I was doing it all alone and missed her. She used to help me all the time and things have changed.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Love and Support

Just a quick thank you to the friends and family members who read this the last couple of weeks blogs and called to love me and support me. Those whom were hurt by the comments that were meant to hurt me, I love you. As you know, I am working on the things that grieve me and grieve God. I am glad for your love and support (instead of ridicule and criticism) as I travel this road to be more like Christ. Your phone calls and emails lifted my heart and give me hope! Teanut, especially you! Thanks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What do you make of this?

OK, Enough of all that serious stuff...on to the real life matters and the real reason for this blog...keeping my loved ones informed of the life of Liz. My sister called this evening and she and my dad both were frustrated with the negativity of the "non" loved ones that read my blog (GO AWAY!) that they are having to weed through in order to get to the real stuff in my life! (I know they love me and I love a blessing! It just hurts them to see such yuck.)

So, a loved one update....

Aaron's girlfriend, Amy's sister FINALLY had her baby last week! His name is Jack Thomas (after his Great Grandpa and his Grandpa) and he weighed in at 6 lbs. 9 oz. of absolute and total perfection.

So, nine months of waiting for these two (not the parents) was spent going back and forth about Aaron's fear of holding this newborn child. Amy would insist that he would hold him, and Aaron would insist that he would not. It became almost a joke within both families. I think there was serious concern on Amy's part that Aaron really had a fear of holding infants and I prayed that it would not interfere with the love that they share.

The day finally came and the crowd gathered at the hospital. Little Jack was passed around for hours and being held by all the family. But not Aaron. He quietly stayed in the background and stood his ground on not holding the little one. Proud as can be, he showed photos to whoever would look at them, sent them to family members who were not at the hospital (that would be me and my husband) from his phone and acted exactly as a perfect uncle to be would behave...with the exception of cradling the young one in his arms.

I wonder if Amy was dismayed. I was not surprised. This is a child who fell asleep crying because I would not help him pull his pants up when he was four and old enough to do it himself, and woke up two hours later with the same infuriated request. Stubborn could be his middle name. And stubborn he became about holding the babe.

However, the second night rolled around. Aaron and Amy spent the entire evening at the hospital with new Mommy, new Daddy, and new Grandparents. All took turns holding little Jack. One more request for Aaron to give it a try....and look......

There is hope! He did it! And nobody got broken! And it was even fun. He has spent lots of hours holding this little guy (he is just barely a week old) and looks forward to future holdings!

Sometimes it just takes a little encouragement to try something we are afraid to do! The rewards are fantastic. There is nothing like the comfort and peace of holding a child that you have waited for, that you have hopes for, and look forward to getting to know as they grow up. Even when it is your girlfriend's nephew, it is love.

Congratulations to Christi and Jason on the birth of their handsome baby boy!

Happy days to Amy and Aaron as they play with this little one and spoil him rotten!


The following message came to me from someone yesterday as a result of my recent posts. I did not post the comment since I thought it deserved an entire post.

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity”

Evident in your entries as opposed to your actions.

It is apparent to me that many ideas and entries that you have writen as your own thoughts, are actually gross distortions of His holy word.

Is is never OK to justify anger and hatred with scripture and references to the most merciful one, nor quoting alanon to justify your selfishness. Reading through the last several weeks of your entries, I noticed that you come across as borderline self-righteous.


Websters defines a hypocrite as:
a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

I will admit, to God and everyone that, yes, I am sometimes a hypocrite. That is why I need Jesus in my life. Without Him, I am the worst excuse of a person. I appreciate this person's ability to recognize this.

I am sorry that my honesty has been perceived as lies. However, I know that I am a child of God and that I have His Spirit in me. I heed the way He works in me and although I am not perfect, I love Him and know He is working in me. It saddens me to know that the scriptures that God uses in my life appears distorted to this reader, but I know what my Lord speaks to me and they are holy words of wisdom, of love, of guidance, and grace.

I agree, it is never OK to justify anger and hatred with scripture. Scripture convicts. My anger and hatred are sins that I confess to my Lord. I simply do not deny that I struggle with these sins. But I am aware, not deceived by myself, that I am a sinner. God is forgiveness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8-10

PRAISE GOD! I know I am not exempt from this need!

Oswald Chambers says:

"If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we WILL become spiritual hypocrits. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and critism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf."

If you see me sin, I ask for your prayers, not your critism.

Thank you, Dear Friend, for your comment. Your words to me reflect the possibility of some hatred and anger toward me. I am sorry for whatever I have may done to hurt you.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
James 5:15-17

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My baby turned 14 today! Happy Birthday, Becca!

Girl Time

Just a little fun post...
I am going on a ski trip soon. There is a group of us girls who work together, one coming all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, who are going on a ski trip! It is going to be a blast. We are all flying into Denver airport and taking a limousine to our condo. Funny...a car service. One of the girls is married a record promoter and best friend of producer and singer, Timbaland. She is used to the "finer things" so she is making sure that we are doing it up right! We are shopping, dining, skiing, and pampering ourselves and each other for nearly 4 entire days.
If I ever was looking forward to a trip, this is one of the ones. I can't wait to spend time relaxing and playing with no enemies to dodge, no work to do, nothing to do but have fun.

Happy Valentines Day

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

For God so loved you.......
For God so loved me........

Don't ever doubt it. We know that He loves us by just looking at the cross where He proved His love for us, the one's who question Him, the one's who reject Him, the one's who mock Him...

We can look at that cross and see "I love you" written in red, His blood.

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

This was the first prayer that I ever learned. In my childhood home, this prayer hung on the wall in the family dining area. It was directly across the room, in my line of vision, when I sat down to eat every meal until I was in the sixth grade. I had it memorized long before I knew what it meant.

In adulthood, I have heard the prayer over and over, even prayed it a few times myself, but not until recently, has it become my way of life. Back in September, I knew it was time for me to do something that has been recommended to me for years and I finally made the commitment to give it a try a couple of months ago. I am now attending a recovery meeting every week in which I pray this prayer, with other's whose struggles are similar to mine, with the same purpose in turn our lives over to the care and will of God. To bring serenity to our lives in the face of chaos. To learn to live a life of joy, in spite of the craziness, the pain, and the things that we cannot change. I am learning what it means, really means to accept the things that I cannot change, and there is a whole lot on that list! The only thing that I can change is myself, and ONLY with the help of God. I continue to rely on His strength, as I find the courage to change my reactions and myself. Sometimes, I have not known the difference, but I am praying that I will know, and am thrilled that God is answering that prayer. I am grateful for the group of people who are there every week to help me, to teach me, to love me and to listen to me.

Read it again, this time in it's entirety. Let it sink into your heart as it sinks into mine.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Genuine Pearls

For all of my life, people have commented on what a "people person" I am. I love people and my relationships are a high priority in my life. My family and my friends bring more joy and pleasure than anything else (besides my relationship with God...who is THE BEST!) and there is no other way I would spend time than with people, if given a choice.

This is a good thing, but at times it is a difficult thing. When things are good in my relationships, when priorities are right, healthy boundaries are set and followed, I thrive on these relationships. They are my life blood. But, I also have developed some behavior patterns (no offense to the alcoholics and addicts in my life) that created some issues of co dependence, control, and chaos. It seems that I will hang on to relationships with people who are not always the best for me. I think I can fix them. Or I can love them enough to make things work. And when things don't, I find myself with a long list of resentments. (some of you are laughing right now because you relate)

Sadly, I have found myself in this situation with a person whom I have loved and I enjoyed her friendship for many years. But I have not set healthy boundaries. I have allowed hurtful behaviors to go on for years, and continued to hope and pray for things to get better. A counselor told me years ago that forgiveness cannot truly take place if you remain in the situation that allows you to be hurt over and over again. This counselor was teaching me about boundaries. It didn't make total sense to me then. Funny, the same words were just spoken to me by the very person who this blog is about. It clicked.

Simultaneously, I was working on that Betrayal stuff (see blog post Betrayal vs New Songs) and my friend's name came up on my list. I was surprised. I thought I had dealt with this. "I think things are better", I said to God. "We are working on things, setting boundaries." He showed me I still had work to do.

Three times in the last two weeks, I have known what I need to do. His voice has been clear, almost audible. I asked for guidance, still trying to negotiate the answer to my liking.

Bear with me as I go back in time. I heard a story on the radio station I listen to. I have never heard this station read a story before, and I haven't heard them read a story since, but last year on February 11th (I JUST REALIZED IT IS ONE YEAR TO THE VERY DAY!...WOW GOD...YOU ARE AMAZING!) a story was read about a little girl who desperately wanted a strand of pearls from the dime store. Long story short, she got those pearls and wore them every day. Her loving Daddy, when he came to tuck her into bed and kiss her goodnight, started to ask if she would give him her pearls. She always said no but offered all other prized possessions in place of her treasured pearls. One day, her daddy walked in to her bedroom, and she sat, crying with the pearls in her hand. She offered them to him. He took the dime store pearls and out of his pocket he handed her a beautiful box of genuine pearls. I knew the minute I heard that story what God was telling me to do. I should have gotten right down on the floor and told Him yes right then. But I delayed. An entire year later (to the very day) I am ready to hand over the dime store pearls.

Like the little girl, I am crying. It is scary to let go of something that I have held on to so tightly. But, I believe God's promise that He will give me the genuine thing. I will be obedient to Him, working on myself, dealing appropriately with resentments and character defects of my own, letting Him do what He needs to do with me and with my friend. But right now, I know that I need to let go of that relationship. I need to detach from the past. I need to remove myself from the hurt so that I can work on true forgiveness. Not for her sake, but for my own.

You can read the beautiful story here.

I was holding onto things of which God wants me to let go.

"Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities, or even a job to which you have become so attached that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand. Sometimes it is impossible to see until we relinquish 'the cheap stuff'. But DO believe this one thing........God will never take away something or ask you to give it up without giving you something better in its place. He's had it in His hand all along."

I am looking forward to what God has in His pocket for me!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And That's Enough

A friend of mine read my blog titled Reputations the other day and asked me if I would give her the names of the ones who I used in the blog. Some of you are thinking, "That is a bold request", but this is a friend, who in the past, I have shared just about everything with and there is nothing I could say that would surprise her. As I went through the names of those that I had used as examples, she wondered about a few people who I had not mentioned and wondered what their titles were. The one that stuck out to both of us was a former neighbor of mine, who we both knew. He and his (now former) wife were good friends of my husband and myself, and the friend I was speaking with also had some social interaction with them as well. At times my relationship with this neighbor was rocky. He is a very outspoken guy and sometimes came across a little rude. He and I have had a few run-ins in the course of the nearly 11 years we were neighbors, a few of them were tough to move past. He was a close friend of my husband' of those guy things where he would spend many evenings in my garage working on cars, shooting the breeze, working on sprinkler systems, etc, etc. Especially when he found himself single, he spent a good deal of time at our home and therefore was witness to some of my worst moods. Embarrassing. However, when push came to shove, even though I didn't always like him, I cared about him as a person. I testified in court in his behalf in a custody trial, I prayed fervently when he was diagnosed with cancer and was told his prognosis was very bad. He was there for me during an injury of one of my children that had me turning in circles in panic mode and helped my child to safety and helped me calm down. As I thought about this neighbor, this friend, my gut instinct was that my "title" would be one of the negative ones. It might have been if I made the summary on only my own relationship with him. However, my husband's friendship with him went into play. I have a title for him and I liked it enough to add him to the list.

He is a loyal friend to my husband and that's enough.

The friend I was speaking to liked this title as well. The good part about it is "that's enough". It doesn't matter all the other things, especially the negative things about this relationship. What shines in my mind is his loyalty to my husband. And that is enough for me.
It is enough.

A friend loves at all times...
Proverbs 17:17a

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Who is "Myself"?

Has anyone ever said to you, "I am just not myself."? I have had someone say that to me recently, in fact, the same person has said this to me several times over the past couple of years. There was a woman who I worked with some time ago and she would use the phrase, "My world is just not lining up today." Another friend of mine and I were discussing how we feel when we don't feel like ourselves and realized that we are very much alike in that we almost always feel like ourselves, but occasionally there are days where we are simply a little down, things are not quite right, there is just something that has effected the way we "usually" feel. It would be alarming to myself and also to this friend of mine to feel "not myself" for more than a day or two. So, as is usual to myself when something catches my attention like this, I have pondered it, tossed it around in my head and my heart, even thinking about what God thinks about us not being ourselves. What exactly is "feeling like myself"?

Some years ago, I found myself dealing with mild depression. As a matter of fact, this has happened two times in my lifetime. Both of those times, I did not feel like myself. But, I knew it was not OK for me to not be myself for only so long before I sought help. I was afraid if I was not myself for long enough, I might become the person that I was not, the one who was not "myself". That was really scary to me, especially since I didn't really like her.

One of my favorite songs is a song by Brandon Heath titled, "I'm Not Who I Was". It is a song about not being yourself and then becoming someone better. His particular problem in this song is anger toward someone who hurt him and how he found his way to forgiveness and becoming a new and healthy him. I love it. There is something good about not being yourself and then becoming someone better.

I have watched people experience things that would cause many people to not be themselves. My mom is one of those people. She was involved in a horrible motorcycle accident a couple of years ago, losing the love of her life and also the use of her right leg. There were a few months following the wreck that I would say she was not herself, but she is now. No excuses coming from her. She continues to strive toward healing and wholeness, in spite of her losses, and I admire her. But then I have a friend who has experienced a different type of loss...the loss of hopes and dreams of something that she wanted, something that she feels out of control in, and she also has not been herself. But her season seems to go on and on, having no end. From the outside looking in, it looks like a choice. What makes some people move out of their circumstances and be "themselves" and some don't? Some people simply turn into people they do not want to be.

It seems to be a spiritual thing. Captivity. Bondage. The people who stay "not themselves" are being held captive by circumstances. They are hindered from living the abundant life that God has planned for them. I don't want to let that happen to me. I don't want to see it happen to others. I wish there was some way that we could see ourselves when we have been not ourselves for so long, we are in danger of losing who we are. I have watched it happen to a few people in my life. They say they are not themselves, but they are themselves. They have just become who they don't want to be. Sad.

I don't have the answer to this pondering in my mind. I do know that it doesn't have to be. My God can make all things new. He is stronger than all circumstances, he loves more than I hurt, His grace is bigger than all disappointment and He is always there with all I need.

Don't let "Not Yourself" become "Who I Am." It's easy to do and not worth it.

Just being myself,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Girls Night Out

I have to post a little blog about my recent Girls Night Out. Ashley (pictured here with me) and I went to see Casting Crowns in downtown Ft. Worth on Saturday night. I have been looking forward to going for months and was thrilled to have Ashley go with me. We made ourselves beautiful and headed out on the town early enough to grab a nice dinner before the concert began.

Now, I have to tell you, we both had on nifty high heeled black boots thinking we would look cute and all. What were we thinking? We parked in a parking garage across the street from the convention center, thinking we would walk to a restaurant to eat dinner. Well, we did, but we walked for blocks! I had spent an hour and a half in the gym with my work out crazy husband and Ashley had been on her elliptical machine! We kept our heads high, our attitudes positive, but our feet were screaming for relief!

The concert was wonderful. The band was entertaining, talented, and led us in a wonderful time of reflecting and connecting with God. We sang to God, to the band, and to each other as we enjoyed the songs that they performed for us. They loved it when we joined them and encouraged us to do so. They joked with us, prayed with us, painted for us, and even sang "Deep in the Heart of Texas" especially for us. (doubtful they sang that song at any of their other stops...well, maybe if they go to Houston or San Antonio!) I was a know it all and Ashley sang in her socks. (the boots had to come off!)

I have to say, attending a good concert is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening! Added fun is to spend it with a friend who is enjoying the music too! Nights like those make great memories and life fun!

No Guilt

I have been a little worried about myself all day. I think I might be a bad person. I watched the Super Bowl game last night with every hope that the Giants would win and as you can imagine was thrilled when the game ended with Giants 17, Patriots 14. I had no ties to either team and no real preference. I even believe that the Patriots are a better team than the Giants. But there was something mean in me that wanted the Giants to win for the simple reason that the Patriots had not lost. I thought about my attitude, a little concerned about how mean it is that I felt that way.

I have a tendency to base my opinions on football teams based on the quarterback. And not just the quarterback's playing ability, but his looks always contribute to whether or not I like the team. Now, Tom Brady is a guy who is nice to look at, but Eli Manning has taken too many hard raps from the media and I have felt a little sorry for him. He is cute for a boy, but I really wanted him to redeem himself from the little boy image. Last night was his night to shine. Is this right behavior??

Well, I am not feeling one bit guilty for wanting a team to lose just so they would not have a perfect season. There is just something not right about a perfect season, and don't really think they are a perfect team. Even though I wonder a little bit about my character, I will let God deal with me on that one! I am glad that the Giants won Super Bowl 42!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Is it me?

When my daughter asked me that question, "Is it me?" my mommy heart broke into a million pieces. She had returned home from a youth service in which the topic was "Friends". For her, the road to finding fun, strong, Christian friendships has been difficult since our move to Texas two and a half years ago. She left behind a group of solid friends, some of whom she had known since she was a baby, one who had been her "best" friend through thick and thin. I knew it would take time for her (and myself) to reestablish friendships that are meaningful and healthy, and middle school timing would add challenges in itself.

Since moving here, she has not lacked for friends, but they have moved in and out of her life like storm clouds. Loyalty has not been a character trait that she has found in her middle school friends. I have watched her, encouraged her, and prayed for her. She seemed to be handling it as an accepted part of middle school life, until the other night.

We had arranged for her to ride with a friend (a new friend, not someone she knows real well) to the youth group meeting this week. This friend's mother and I have become friends (I hope we become good friends) and we discovered that our daughters were going through similar feelings, especially with the crowd at our mutual youth service. The girls attended this particular meeting together and heard the same message. They had a lively and honest conversation on the ride home. I understand that my daughter bore her soul regarding her friendship journey, and I was proud of her for being honest.

When she sat down and talked with me about her evening, that is when I heard those words, "Is it me?" Ouch. I knew just how she was feeling. How many times have I asked myself, and then God, that same question as I have struggled with finding true, loyal, healthy and fun friendships, especially since our move. I assured my daughter that she was beautiful and desirable as a friend and had wonderful qualities that would make almost anyone who knows her want to be her friend. We did talk about a few areas that might need attention (quick temper, occasional crankiness....), but affirmed her in her positive character traits, prayed for her and gave her a hug.

My hope is that she does a personal evaluation of what kind of friend she is, and what kinds of friends she wants. I will be taking the same personal evaluation along with her, as I continue to pray for a strong group of friends in our new area. It was like looking in the mirror when I saw my daughter's heart. She has formed the same importance that I have regarding the relationships in her life. She has learned from me the growth that comes from making a place for ourselves in the world of good friends. She knows that when we count in the lives of those around us, we are whole as women and girls. To share life with a friend who loves and encourages and helps gives evidence and witness to God in our lives.

I will pray for us both, that we will be the type of friends to others that we want to experience, that we will see the gals that God puts in our lives and be open to all possibilities, that we will go to Him when we are lonely and remember He is our Best Friend, and work on our own Mother Daughter friendship as we travel this road together, as women.


p.s. The other young lady and my daughter have decided to work on their own friendship. They experienced a positive and hopeful connection during that conversation. Hooray for God...doesn't He do the coolest things?