Monday, June 30, 2008

Do Good

A few years ago, one of my co-workers gave me one of those daily flip devotional calendars. I am very grateful for her and for the calendar since often times, God uses the calendar to help me remember Him through out the day. Occasionally a work related situation becomes easier to handle, or I am reminded that I represent God in my office as well as in my home and with my outside relationships. Today, however; was a reminder for my current attitude about life in general. Today, I am aware that my thinking is negative and am having a difficult time seeing all persons through the eyes of God. Too often my behavior has not been reflective of Christ in my life, nor has been the way other's have behaved toward me. God planted a beautiful reminder in front of me today as I read the thoughts that are on today's calendar.

Joyfully and with all desire to do good, I share the words of Anne Graham Lotz.

When God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7), all human life became sacred because it came directly from God. Whether a person is a murderer on death row or the most beloved person in town, each one is to be treated with respect if for no other reason than human life comes from God...

There is absolutely no room for prejudice of any kind in a life that follows the Creator's directions.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Gal. 6:10

Sunday, June 29, 2008

God Is Sweeter

Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms...Eph. 3 8-10

He is truly amazing. Even in my cynicism, in my sinful attitude, God is faithful to me.

My family and I attended the weekend service at our church home last night. We sat with friends of ours (funny...both of the relationships were formed through the recovery program...but they are also "church" friends nonetheless.) And once again, God's word was loud and gentle and true and exactly what He wanted me to hear.

Matt's message was on the church. God's message was on the church. My hope is renewed, my heart is swollen with the amount of love God shows me in my life...and including the church where He has currently placed me. I love the honesty and integrity that comes from the heart of the pastor...and the other leaders who I have had the privilege to meet. So much of what I have learned, I am having to unlearn...and not from the "old style traditional" churches, but unlearning some of the negatives that I learned from a church that seems to avoids sin, confrontation, and honesty. Too many secrets. Too many faces turned. Even with me, no confrontation which should have been had, but only "Poor, Liz." "Don't talk to Liz" "Look at Liz" "Don't talk about Liz" Did anyone pray for me? Did anyone talk openly with me? No. Just gave up as they watched me walk down the path of destruction.

God starts over. He is so remarkably merciful. He provides. I have confessed my bitterness, the profanity, the hatred, the computer hacking, and the envy. My real friends know these things. They see the pain that I have allowed in my life. They have hope for me. God does too and He does not allow me to stay there.

I am free. The relief that I feel is wonderful. I am grateful that I walked through the season that He took me through. I will be a better person, more like Him. I will be a better wife, a better mother, and a better friend. I will pay more attention to the friends I select. No more liars. No more abusers. Next time the Holy Spirit warns my husband or myself that certain people are dangerous for us, I will pay attention.

My heart is open to what God has for me. I know that not all churches are bad. Not all Christian's are mean. And my experience is for my growth in Him. I have no regrets. I have loved with all I had. I made mistakes, but have been willing to walk through them into reconciliation.

Through His church, of which I am a part, I pray for the manifold wisdom of God to be revealed. I see it in the church that I am a part of today. It is not about what I have done. It is not about what they have done. It is all about what HE has done. And He did it all. He paid it all. Through Him, I have all I need.

The Village Church.

Check it out!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Serenity is Sweet

Today's meditation:

Before coming into Al-Anon, I spent most of my life having expectations of, and making unrealistic demands on, everyone around me. Anyone who didn't follow through on those demands invited my wrath. However, of all those I placed under my jurisdiction, the person I was hardest on was myself.
It felt strange, therefore, to come through the doors of Al-Anon to a place not governed by cruel dictators who gave harsh commands. Instead, I heard things like "Keep It Simple" and "Easy Does It." It was like entering a new and different world where I was taught to love myself and to treat myself with dignity and respect. Luckily, I didn't have to learn these difficult lessons alone. Rather, I learned by watching other Al-Anon members treat themselves - and me - with love, dignity, and respect.
As other members modeled these approaches in relating to me, I was eager to use each one, right away! Quite often I stumbled while trying to implement too many changes at once by using my same old forceful self-will. Then I learned I could apply the slogans not just to the happenings in my life but also to the manner in which I worked my program. Members encouraged me to eliminate "have-tos" and "shoulds" and to slow down so that I could consciously choose which changes felt right to me. I've discovered that the only thing barely approaching a "have-to" in Al-Anon is willingness, and even that is optional. I can work my program at the speed and to the degree that suits my needs at any given time.

Hope for Today

Today I am grateful for serenity.

I am grateful for my willingness to work on the three things I choose to tackle right now.

I am grateful for prayer. I pray blessings for my enemies and nobody can stop me.

I am grateful for my family and friends who call me and check on me several times a day when things are tough.

I am grateful that God is faithful to His promises and that includes me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home and Healing

Oh how it feels good to be home.

The time I had in Virginia was fun and relaxing for the most part. I totally enjoyed spending time with my friends and most certainly, my son and his girlfriend. My daughter was able to see people and places that have been near to her heart and learn that things do change and God has her where He wants her right now.

And I was able to accomplish what I hoped and prayed would happen. I discovered truth and lies. I have been waiting for years for particular words to be spoken and they finally were said. What a relief. I no longer have to wonder what is true and what is not. Intuitively I knew some things and they were confirmed. It feels good to know that I am not totally crazy, that I have been lied to, and to finally know the truth.

I now walk ahead, knowing who I am, living with what God will accomplish in my life as He has lead me through the season in my life that has come to an end. Even though I have wandered off the path He was leading me down, He waits for me as I crawl back to Him for His perfect guidance, love, and grace. I have made a lot of mistakes and taken a lot of hard knocks, but He is with me and He walks with me every single step. He is gracious as He provides people who love me, unconditionally, even as I admit the mistakes I have made. They also walk with me and support me. How grateful I am for His perfect provision, His strong protection, and His unending love.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


A fire burns behind me
I run to keep ahead
Those who I once cared for
becoming cold and dead

Red and black the flames grow high
Smoke rises in the air
The pain of my unworthiness
Seems more than I can bear

In front of me I see the sun
I long to feel it's heat
The iciness inside my heart
has paralyzed my feet

I see the moon, I see the stars
They swirl and dance for me
I see the hole, the big dark hole
Where one star used to be

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In just a few hours I will be on an airplane to start the highly anticipated trip to Virginia. I covet your prayers for safety, but more importantly that I will follow God as He leads me into closure and healing while I am there. Much pain is associated with this trip that I have worked on letting go of since my relocation to Texas. In fact, the pain had almost clouded my memories enough to cause me forget the wonderful and beautiful things that happened while I lived there. I look forward to rejoicing over the wonderful friends that have remained loyal, loving, and supportive and they walked with me on this journey. I look forward SO MUCH to the beach time with my family and close friend, Tina, who will join me there. I am eager and excited to enjoy the rides at Busch Gardens, where we spent day after day for many years, remembering many lovely memories with many different friends as we screamed, and ran, and roller-coastered our way through fun times together.

I pray for the many situations that I leave in God's care while I am away. My mother is recovering from recent surgery.

My father in law is battling cancer, going to treatments every day.

My dear friend, Ashley, who is caring for her husband who took a 30 feet fall from a tree on Saturday.

My other sweet friend, Kim, who lost her job yesterday.

And many other circumstances that I am lifting up in prayer as I leave for this trip. If you would, please join me in lifting all of this up to the mighty God who cares for all of us with a love we cannot even imagine.

See you in a week..........


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Breakfast in Oklahoma

My husband, daughter, and I are in Oklahoma visiting family this weekend. One of our stops was to have breakfast at a little diner in Claremore, Oklahoma where my husband grew up. It is a little place that is hidden away, family owned, and has big country breakfasts. We were enjoying good hot coffee, biscuits and gravy, french toast and eggs and the company of Fred's mom and her husband when Fred's mom said, "Hey, there's Garth." We looked at the doorway and sure enough, there he was. The diner went on with business as usual...Garth and his family eat there often. He could have been any old Joe (see his shirt), but for us, it was a treat. We asked our waitress if we could approach him and she said, "Yes. He is very nice. Plus, he was just in here yesterday and was mobbed by some visitors from California." So, we took our camera and paper and pen to meet Garth Brooks. We approached and he stood and removed his hat. He complimented my daughter on her beautiful eyes. He asked my husband where he worked and what he did. He introduced us to his daughter. We chatted about where we lived, the area, and different things. He hugged my mother in law, since they have met several times before. And he posed for this picture with Rebecca. He said she could put it on her here I am posting it to my blog. What a fun way to start the day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Little Lady

The other day, one of my employees shared something with me that I have been thinking about. She was having a conversation with a co-worker, not in our department, and was asked who her supervisor was. My friend (and employee) spent a few minutes trying to describe me when finally the other employee said, "Oh! You work for that happy little lady!" I had to laugh at the how I was described. My friend went on to tell me how she agreed that I was a happy little lady and that I was as fun to work for as it seemed. I was touched.

I thought about this for a few days as I really do want to be a person who is pleasing to work for. Sometimes the decisions that I make are not easy and sometimes I have to be tough. For example today I told the department that if we were not able to meet a deadline, that we would have to work sometime over the July 4th weekend. However, most of the time, it is good news that I get to share, coaching and encouraging that I get to do, and relationship building is a priority. I like this part of my job. It was good to hear that God is giving me success as I go about trying to do a job that will honor Him.

It was refreshing to hear of my "work" reputation. Sometimes I have wondered how I appear to other people, especially ones who don't know me. I know that I have sometimes made choices that hindered a positive reputation, but strive to do better. I am glad to have new chances and hope that I can maintain the good reputation, with God's most merciful help.

Benjamin Franklin said:

"It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it."

So true.

Let me work on the good. I like being known as "the happy little lady."

Monday, June 9, 2008


There are just some things in life that a person just won't forget.

Certain people, places, and experiences have the capability of sticking in my heart and mind with an amount of adhesiveness much like Superglue. Recently, it seems that I am experiencing an increase in unforgettables, or possibly my awareness has just increased. Either way, I feel that I have had barely enough time to process one memorable moment before my life journey carries me on to the next.

This past week has been packed with people, words spoken, time spent, and celebrations that I will likely not forget.

Arriving in Tulsa to be with my mom during her surgery last week, I was given another opportunity to participate in one of the major reasons that I am certain that God brought me to Texas. Texas is fairly close to my family home - only a few hours drive - and I have made that trip many, many times in the last two and a half years to be with my mother during many surgeries since her motorcycle wreck. I can't even imagine what it would have been like to still be in Virginia at such a time as this. And even though I wish that I did not have this event in my life, I am very grateful to be available during these times. Sad as it has been, many beautiful memories have come from this event. My relationship with my mother is closer than I ever could have believed possible. I have made wonderful and caring friends through this situation, and I have seen strength, sacrifice, and support exampled in a way that boggles my mind and blesses my heart.

While there, I spent some fun time and some serious time with a man who knew my mom's husband before he died (as a result of that wreck). He originally came into our lives somewhat out of obligation and ended up a family friend who will never be forgotten. He started out Ron's friend, then my mom's friend, and now I call him one of my friends. Certainly worth remembering.

I also enjoyed time with my sister and her daughter, my niece. Yet another wonderful perk of living near my family... when my niece entered the room where I was, she ran to me with open arms and I scooped her up for many hugs and kisses. I will remember her beautiful little face, her sweet kisses, and gentle hugs for as long as I live. Oh, how I enjoy loving my niece.

I traveled from Tulsa to Wichita, Kansas to watch my half sister get married. The wedding was lovely and the couple was excited and thrilled to be husband and wife. Their faces are captured in my memory as I watched the groom cry as he watched his bride walk down the isle, as my sister shook with excitement as she approached her husband-to-be to exchange the vows of marriage, and the tear that rolled down my father's cheek as he watched his final of three daughters move from his care to her husband's.

I saw family, some of whom I haven't seen in nearly thirty years. I saw cousins who were babies and toddlers and now are grown, aunts and uncles that I remember as young and fun now old and wise. One uncle in particular touched my heart. He spent his life making a living as a welder and when I saw him he always seemed gruff and grouchy. I realize now that he was probably very tired and hot from his job but he always sort of scared me as a child. When I saw my uncle this past weekend, he took both of my hands in his and told me how happy he was to see me. He looked me directly in the eyes and he meant it. It warmed my heart beyond what words can even express.

Another fantastic thing that happened was the discovery that my brother is dating the daughter of some friends of mine from our small group Bible study from the early 1990's! What a small world. I attended worship services at my former church and ran into her parents and we had a wonderful time catching up and talking about how pleased we are about this new relationship.

I also was able to spend some wonderful and precious time with a dear friend who has been in my life for nearly twenty years. We only talk a few times a year, but when we get together, it is as if we have never been apart. I know that is a cliche', but it is a gift that is unforgettable.

On the way home, driving alone in my car, my mind swirled with the events that will be forever etched in my heart. I just want to savor every moment. Memories are wonderful. When I close my eyes the faces are still there, the words are still there, the sights and sounds of things worth remembering are stuck in my heart, part of my journey, forever.

I thank my God every time I remember you. ~Phil 1:3

Thursday, June 5, 2008


-I am grateful for physicians and good medical caregivers.
-I am grateful for friends who care and help.
-I am grateful for God's peace and control over my life and the lives of those I love.
-I am grateful for the freedom, with my job, my family responsibilities, and the finances, to be able to be with my mom as she is recovering from her surgery.
-I am grateful for good weather.
-I am grateful for soothing music.
-I am grateful for healthy food.
-I am grateful for good books.
-I am grateful for computers.
-I am grateful for my mom's great attitude.
-I am grateful for my own health.
-I am grateful for my husband who calls me daily while I am gone to tell me that he loves me. (and I know he means it.)

What a blessing it is to have so much to be grateful for. What a great life. What a great God. Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2008


The month has arrived - it is June. I love the month of June. For those of us in Texas, school will be finished in a couple of days. The official start of summer, when school lets out as well as the calendar acknowledges "First Day of Summer" on the 21st. Students and parents anticipate this part of the year and when it arrives there seems to be great relief.

My mother celebrates her birthday in June. Now both of my son's celebrate their birthdays in June as well; in fact, the oldest one shares his grandmother's birthday and the middle one is the following day. Three years ago, my sister gave birth to the only niece on my side of the family. Celebrating the births of all of these very special people in my life make June almost as fun as Christmas and certainly as expensive. Our family spends a fair amount of time anticipating and planning for these birthdays. I am very happy that June falls six months after Christmas, it gives me time to save up again.

However, before all the festivities, my mom will be having another surgery. Her leg is still not healed from the wreck two and a half years ago. The hardware that holds it together has come apart (again). So, back into surgery she goes, for more hardware and another bone graft. The anticipation is huge...will the surgery go well? will her leg heal this time? will she walk?

This year, I have been especially excited for June because my half sister is getting married. Her wedding will be in Kansas, in a city where my family lived for several years. So, not only do I have the pleasure of watching her wedding ceremony, I will also get to visit with good friends. I anticipate a time of joy, fun, laughter, and time with loved ones.

Then the finale for June 2008, the highly anticipated return to Virginia. Only two more weeks and we will be there. The schedule is all set. The contacts have all been made. The parties are planned and the beach house is prepared. My daughter is eagerly counting down the days. She will get to spend the week with her best friend, the one she has known since she was a baby. I get to spend time with my two best friends, one in celebration of what our friendship has endured and the other in hopes of reestablishing some trust. I anticipate both situations with great hope and excitement. I will also be able to visit with many other friends who have been very important in my life. I have one friend who was my mentor for many years. She is very ill and I look forward to seeing her and telling her how much I love her. So many special people, so many special sights, and so many special times.

June. Wow. It seems to be flying by already and it has just begun. I only hope that I can enjoy every day, savor every moment...breath in the air and the joy of life. I pray that time will pass slowly, that I will remember every sound, every smell, every word, and every touch. Life is so precious, so simple, and the days fly by one after the other and the next thing I know it is gone.

My sons turning 24 and 21 respectively. They were babies only yesterday.

And have I really been around for 46 of my mom's birthdays? That can't possibly be!

And has it been three years already since we moved from Virginia to Texas? I guess so!

And certainly I will not be one of the "seniors" at the wedding? Yes, I'm afraid so.

And has it been almost twenty years ago that I lived in the state of Kansas? Absolutely.

The clock ticks by as I anticipate all these events in the month of June. But right now, right here, let me enjoy this moment and the next. Slow down and wait. Breath in, breath out. Enjoy the anticipation and enjoy the now.