Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When People Tell You What You Already Know



“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.” 2 Peter 1:12

My daughter and I were doing some shopping in Grand Turk last week on vacation. As we went from store to store, the owner or salesperson would quickly move to greet us, and point out their inventory for sale. “Necklace! I have many necklaces! Bracelets, for lovely ladies like you…handbags, right here…” they would say. In store after store, we experienced the same thing as is common when you are shopping at different ports.

We entered one shop and there was no one there to greet us. I was shocked. I immediately sprang into action, to give “the spiel” we were missing. “Necklace! I have many necklaces! Bracelets, for lovely lady like you…handbags, right here…” I quipped to Savanna.  I got the, “Mom, you’re so silly,” vibe from her. 



 “Hey, the lady’s not here to give us the same spiel we’ve already heard and point the stuff that we already know is there,” so somebody had to give the spiel.

“Mom,” Savanna admonished, “she’s doing her job-- just like you do. When you think about it, you both do the same thing!”

“What do you mean?” I said.   

“Well, in many instances, you give the same spiel that people have already heard and point to the stuff they already know. Part of your job is saying, ‘Hey look at this scripture!’ and most people already know it’s there. In most cases, you’re pointing to things people know, and just aren’t doing. Or they forgot. So, you’re just reminding them of what’s there.”  


Yep.

I had to admit, she was right.

I’m going to try to remember that next time I get flustered about somebody’s reminder.

We can all use a good reminder of what we already know is there – but many times fail to act upon.
 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Forgiveness is sooooo EXCITING!!!!


Hard.
Difficult
Excruciating.
Impossible.

I've heard forgiveness described as all of these things and more.

I don't think I've ever heard even one person describe it as exciting, unless they are speaking of the fact that they are excited that God forgave their own sins.

But me? I'm totally, 100%, over-the-moon excited out of my mind about forgiveness!!!

I'm excited about receiving it from God, and giving it as well. I haven't always felt this way, by the way.

Forgiveness totally changed my life, especially in the last year.

This Friday will make one year since something happened to me that has been the hardest thing in my life, to forgive.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oozing Jesus



As I was walking the streets of Pittsburgh this past summer with my family I looked up and saw this message in a store window. I quickly snapped a photo with my phone.

Riding down the road in Tampa a few years ago, I looked up and this message had been written in the clouds:




I stopped to take a photo, wanting to preserve the moment.

Seeing messages such as this are cool, and even more important, I want to BE a living message.

I want people to see what I do, even without words at times, and KNOW that Jesus loves them.

I have job descriptions and initiatives and goals and dreams.
And yet nothing is more important than this.

Truth speaking, yes.
Yet -- oozing love, compassion, and kindness. 

Oozing:

To slowly trickle or seep out of something; flow in a very gradual way.
To give a powerful impression of a quality. (i.e. "he oozed charm and poise.")
Synonyms: exude, gush, drip, pour forth, emanate, radiate

  Yes, I want to ooze Jesus.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Are You Preparing Your Child for the REAL World?


If we're not careful, we can go from being our child's advocate to exerting undue interference that renders them unprepared for adult life.

Yes...this REALLY happened...

Years ago at our church, we had a pastoral staff member in their late twenties whose mother from out of state contacted my husband and me -- TWICE -- to tell us how she thought her son's work issues should be handled. Apparently she didn't agree with some of our decisions. We were absolutely dumbfounded.  Needless to say, the interference on the part of the staffer's mother only made things go from bad to worse.

Opportunities for Growth...


Giving children opportunity to gain experience in solving problems of all kinds begins not when they turn 18 or 21, but all throughout their growing up years. Living in the era of helicopter parenting, many children and teens miss opportunities to learn problem solving skills.

During the course of my children's school years we have had relatively few problems with teachers.  I'm a huge fan of teachers, in general. But there were rare times when we didn't agree with something -- times when something may have been unjust or unwise.


One day a teacher I'll refer to as Mrs. K, called me, and she was literally IN TEARS over the fact that Jordan was tapping on his desk, usually with a pencil. When Jordan finished his work and had nothing to do he would sit there tapping. Jordan doesn't do well when bored or with nothing to do.

I suggested to Mrs. K that she give him a task to do, or send him to the library if his work was finished. She didn't like those suggestions. Her preference was to ask the kids to put their heads down on the desk and rest if they were done with their work. (Something Jordan doesn't do, readily.)

 Did I mention, when she called she was CRYING about the tapping?? Profusely?  I felt it was overly dramatic to say the least.

When I got off the phone, I told Jordan how upset his teacher was over his tapping, and asked him to stop doing it. He said, "See, I told you she was crazy, Mom. What kind of teacher bursts out crying about tapping?"

So I had a choice...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why Affirmation Addicts Get Stuck

Succeeding at anything long-term will be a challenge for those addicted to affirmation.

Affirmation is a wonderful thing when it happens. I love it. (What human being doesn't?) I try to remember to give it to others, knowing how much it means. I have a collection of affirming communications people have sent me over the course of my life. Such notes are of value and are appreciated. 

At the same time, I'm mindful of guarding against the trap of needing any of it to:

1) Do what is right.
2) Fulfill my purpose in the earth.
3) Lead in the way God has called me to.

I learn by observing others, more than anything.

I notice that affirmation addicts tend to spin their wheels a lot, never gaining serious traction.

This is because they have to wait for more affirmations before they can keep going.

Or, they go full steam ahead for a while -- perhaps even make major progress -- and then crash when enough affirmations aren't coming in.

If affirmation is your fuel and it's in short supply, it may put you out of commission at times.

In the words of a great theologian woman who captured the world's attention:

 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Reading the Right Book at the Wrong Time


Did you know you can read the right thing at the wrong time?

I didn't until recently.

The thought never occurred to me to pray about what to read, until this past August.

During my time away after my natural mother passed away, I was blessed to spend some time in the home of Kay Zello. Kay is the mother of my dear friend, Bonnie. She's a woman in ministry that I've always looked up to, since the time I was a young girl. I still remember the first time I heard her preach when she came to my home church in Baltimore. I was about twelve years old. I never forgot Kay or her message. I would hear her preach again and again at various events, and her life impacted mine.

I never imagined that one day, in what was one of my greatest times of need, I would be waking up in Kay's house. We would sit on her porch in pajamas, eating breakfast and sharing our thoughts.  One morning as she went to refill her coffee, I picked up the book that was beside her bible where she had been doing devotions. I thumbed through the pages of the book, having never heard of it before, and found her choice of reading to be interesting. So I asked her about it when she came back out on the porch.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Going to the Next Level With New Year's Resolutions



Have you given up on making new year's resolutions because you never follow through on them? 


Recently I blogged about how I accomplished all but one of my new year's resolutions for 2013.  And they weren't all easy peasy ones. I promise. If you missed the post and want to learn about how I did it and how you can do it too, go here. 

I made a decision to do something else this year that I've never done before.

I'm not striving to come up with totally new goals this year.

For some reason I've always felt pressed to do that. I always felt like a new year called for brand new goals. No one else made me feel pressure to do that -- it was simply my own internal squeeze that I felt to go that direction.

This year, my goal is to go to the next level with my resolutions from  last year.  I met my goals. But meeting them, and exceeding them are two different things.

Does this mean I'm going soft on goals, and taking it easy this year? No.
I'm ready to take last year's "investments" to a whole 'nother level.

My investments are:

Investments in Me
Investments in My Marriage
Investments in my Family 
Investments in the Church
Investments in the Next Generation
Investments in the World


Some people read a post like this and say, "Forget it. That's not for me. I'm unorganized and I can't ever manage to finish anything I set out to do."

Help is on the way.  You CAN do this.

I've written the book on getting stuff done. Some people wonder how I co-pastor a church full time, co-manage my household, fulfill the responsibilities of a wife and mother, serve as a certified career coach, blog daily, travel and speak and a potpourri of other stuff...without ending up in the loony bin. I've had some close calls.

So many people have asked me, "How do you do it?" that I decided to write a book to help others. 

If you haven't already made some resolutions, it's not too late.
It's a new year and anything is possible.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Because of the Birthday Boy, ANYTHING is Possible!

My table is all set for the birthday party!

Christmas is one of our busiest times as pastors. I haven't even shaved both legs in one day this month. 

The question, "Are you going away for the holidays?" is always one that is humorous to me if one knows my line of work. If the holiday in question has any religious significance at all, I am  working overtime.  In 26 years of marriage we've never "gone away for the holidays" mainly because of our work and also because we have three children and our traditions are rooted in the family we have created together as a married couple.

There is no complaint here, just an observation. I absolutely love what I do!  Just sayin' that for a pastor...this is our busy season!Last night we were at the church late, getting things set up for tonight's Christmas Eve Communion. Larry has a special surprise for tonight that he can't wait to unveil! He has talked about it non-stop for a month. I can't wait til' it finally happens!

Today I've been making all the dishes for our traditional family Christmas dinner (read about it here).

Amongst the sweet potatoes and the pumpkin pies and the 7-layer salad, I had to remind myself to just breathe.

Take it all in.

Think of the reason for it all, again.

It's the birthday of the King!

God sent Jesus to earth to make all things possible.
Because of Him, what people say is impossible, is indeed possible!

In fact the word impossible is also I'm-possible when you break the word in two!

Anything is possible for me, for you, for us.
ANYTHING!

I'm experiencing an extra dose of that in my life right now.
Reminding myself that He kicks impossible's butt.

He eats impossible for breakfast.

Why wouldn't anyone want to follow this amazing birthday boy?

I choose to say yes to Him everyday -- and watch Him move the mountains.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Are You Crying Over Spilled Milk?


Things go wrong sometimes even though I think I have prepared well.

There are issues I haven't thought about or things outside of my control, that occur at times.

The last time something like this happened to me, the phrase, "Don't cry over spilled milk," popped into my head."

I have a choice.

I can spend time kicking myself over what went wrong, or I can clean up the mess and then make a note to do something else than whatever it was that I just did.

I can't always guarantee a winning outcome but I can predict a different one.

I may not hit a home run every time, but I will learn valuable things I couldn't have learned any other way.

Making mistakes is not optional - we all make them. It's what we do with them that's important. Learning from a mistake means a course correction so it is  not repeated.  

Spilled milk doesn't have to slay me or sour me. It can actually serve me, if I let it.

The choice is up to me.


 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Make a Caesar Salad At Home That Your Family or Guests Will RAVE About!


Never would I have considered this transformational, but to hear the guests who come to dinner at my home talk, it is. So, I'm sharing it with you today. You can name your firstborn after me thank me later.

People who "don't cook" are especially going to thank me.

Yes, I know you're out there. You're the one who signs up for the church covered dish dinners, telling the lady in charge: "Just to let you know, I don't cook..." hoping to sign up for rolls in a bag or a bakery item. Or soda. ("Pop", for those of you in places like southwest Pennsylvania or Ohio.)

You feel like you're the only one.
You're not.

You've been teased.
You've been mocked.
You've been misunderstood.
Nobody grasps your plight where it concerns the culinary disadvantages that are your reality.


I'm here to help you overcome all that.
It's a new day, my friend.
Your days of taking pop to potlucks are OVER.
[Shout now!]

You have been domestically challenged your whole life, where the kitchen is concerned.
But never will you be disgraced again.

You are about to make a salad that is so scrumptious, it would make a tadpole slap a whale.
So delicious it would make a little tiny bulldog break a great big chain.

Your humiliation has an end date.

Because you're going to take this to your next church potluck.
Or to your friend's house for dinner.

And lo and behold some of you are even going to go so far as to invite people over. [Gasp!]
Seriously.
And for once and they are going to be bowing down to you declaring you the next Master Chef.
This is culinary Viagra. 

This will take you all of five minutes to make. No, I'm not lying or even remotely exaggerating.
And, I promise you will have none left in the bowl when you serve it. My dinner guests have eaten every speck of this even when I have three more courses coming their way.

There's nothing homemade about it. Nothing.
It's four ingredients that you purchase.
That's right, you're about to shamelessly BUY people's adoration.
 (Relax. There is nothing illegal involved.) 

It's about purchasing the right ingredients, particularly the dressing, makes all the difference. You can't use a bottled dressing in the regular aisle.

Yes, I know the ones that aren't refrigerated are cheaper.
But on this, please splurge.
Get cheaper paper towels. Or butter. Or salt.
But don't skimp on this.

You absolutely have to use Marzetti Supreme Caesar Dressing in the refrigerated section usually found next to the bags of pre-washed salad mix, carrots, etc.

I am getting no kick back for telling you this.
Marzetti has no idea who I am.
I am a nobody to these people, I assure you.
It is simply out of the kindness of my heart that I share this secret with you.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get another dressing and think you will get the same results.
You won't.
And then you will blame me.
You will complain that your salad was less than stellar.
You will deflect this criticism onto me and actually it will be your own projected issues we will be dealing with. The disappointing outcome will be because you tried to substitute something else for the Marzetti dressing. Don't make this devastating mistake. Maybe devastating is a bit dramatic. This dreadful mistake. Okay, this...honest yet extremely naive mistake.

Alright, so are you ready to get started on this simple yet revolutionary act that is going to change your entertaining world as you know it?

These are your four ingredients for a salad people are going to scream about are:

(This amount serves about four people)

1 entire bag of pre-washed and cut romaine lettuce mix

About 1/2 bag or box of Caesar croutons (My favorite are Fresh Gourmet Deli Style Parmesan Caesar or Brownberry Caesar.)

About 1/2 bag of shredded parmesan (6 oz bag)

Do not skimp on the cheese, please! Do not use 1/3 do not use a 1/4. Please, do us proud. Do the right thing when it comes to the cheese.

About 1/2 jar of Marzetti Supreme Caesar Salad Dressing

If you want to make this for 8 people, double it. Yep, sheeeer genuis!

See, you do not have to cook a thing, my friend. You can even grab all these ingredients on the way to a party and borrow a bowl from your hostess. And I guarantee, there will be raving. Raving, I tell you.

I mix it all up immediately before serving.

Don't mix it up beforehand and take it somewhere even though you don't want people to see your four store-bought ingredients.  No, no, no. Do not make that colossal mistake. Okay, I know, I know... that's a tad bit dramatic. Do not make this cataclysmic needless mistake. Please, for the love of God and everything holy, mix the salad just moments before you serve it. The angels sing when directions like this are properly followed. I swear, they do. I know I'm not supposed to swear but things of this magnitude demand it. They just do.

If I'm serving this at home, I don't ever serve it along with the rest of the meal. It's worthy of it's own course.  I always put this on the table first alongside some fresh warm bread.  Making amazing bread is a whole 'nother level, but I am here to help you conquer the giant. I show you how in this step-by-step tutorial I created with the help of my adoring and well fed husband.


My guests always remark that they just want to keep eating this salad but need to be careful to save room.  Nevertheless I always wash an empty salad bowl. They just keep taking another bite here and there til' it's all gone.


Enjoy!