Monday, July 9, 2012

First Things First

Somewhere on an arbitrary list is an item labeled, “organize the 2009 pictures.”
If I had stayed on top of that list it would have had 2010, 2011 and a creeping 2012 added to it, but it doesn’t – because it is obviously not a priority.
First things are always first.  That’s the hard truth.  My calendar reveals the story of my heart and my passions.  Whether I like it or not, what I theorize about is only theory if it isn’t reflected in my actions.
Check out your own calendar.  Who gets your time and energy, not your “unplugged” time, but your engaged time?
(Huge pause because I am currently checking out my ten-year-old daughter’s Lego house that means a lot to her at this very moment.)
What, Who or Where is your first being spent?  Take an inventory.  The themes or reoccurring actions are what comes first.  These are your real priorities.
Sometimes we put things first to avoid guilt, shame or obligation put on us by other people.  Regardless of the negative motive, the result is the same – that behavior is first.  Avoiding is the priority.  What huge regrets we live with when we do that!
I don’t yet put all the first things first that I want right now, but I am learning how to pray about it.  My first step has been to quit praying that I would “be more to do more” and started praying that my actions and calendar would reflect the things that should be first in my life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The American Cell Phone

I am embarrassed.  My day was ruined by my cell phone.  What on earth?
This morning I ran a 5K.  I even spent time in the Greek studying Peter and his imprisonment and release, thanks to a fabulous angel that helped him escape.
Yet, at 11:30 a.m. I stood drop-jawed at US Cellular when I found out that my cell phone was D.O.A. and not returning to this life.  The rest of my day was spent in a daze.  I even began to cry as I realized that all of my contacts were lost.
Seriously, what on earth?
When did I get so reliant on my cell phone?  When did I get lonely without it?  Is this an American trend?
As I sat at Olive Garden waiting for my mom in-law and daughter for an hour, thanks to no cell phone to let them know I was there….I thought – long and hard.  I thought about once was and what now is.
Each ding symbolizes a task.  Each tone symbolizes a need.  I am needed and should perform instantly.  Really?  It is such a reminder of a caring for a newborn.  Sounds equal work, work equals sleep deprivation, sleep deprivation means you are a good mom.  Really?
I am not always the sharpest tool in the shed, but I am sharp enough to realize that being inconsolable over a cell phone is simply wrong.  Has our culture become so obsessed with feelings of importance that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to wait?
Do you remember what it felt like as a kid to wait on your allowance?  Or to wait on the big game on Saturday?
Today, I forgot.  I am embarrassed to say that today I called my very best friend, Brian, my hubby and cried like a two-year-old that I lost my contacts and that my phone was D.O.A. and contained even my dad’s contact, whom has been gone for over five years.
No wonder other countries complain about us.  We are not always thinking clearly.  If you are one of the few of us that thinks clearly – congratulations – please teach us.
Tonight, like many things in my life, I am putting my cell phone on the proverbial alter to be sacrificed.  I was important before the dings.  I was important before the tones.  I was important because I was an original.
So, this original, will be going to bed a happy camper.  Happy because happiness comes from people not things and happy feelings come from knowing that God is in control and we are not.  My phone is D.O.A. and I am using a flip phone, but I am happy and content.  I do not need a phone to direct the course of my days.  I need a God who says it is okay to put the darn thing on silent.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

White Horse Myth

This morning I was listening to Dr. BrenĂ© Brown from the University of Houston speak on “shame and vulnerability.”  In her talk she made a remark that struck me at the core.  She said that a man at one of her book signings stated that ladies would rather see their men die on the white horse than for their men to truly reveal their shame.  I have no doubt that men believe this.
What a fabulous psychology to keep men and women from living fully alive together in harmony!
Men, real women do not believe this.  For those of us who adore our spouse and want to share our lives and hearts with them, well, it goes like this…We desperately want to be in the vault with you.  Our greatest, most fulfilling moments in the relationship come at points of sincere vulnerability.  Whether it be a moment of intense failure or sadness, a moment of riding to great heights or even just a moment of impulse – we want to be there.  We want to feel the emotions, hear the sounds, know the intent – we want the whole experience, not the modified version from atop the horse.
Women who do not know themselves well or have not come to a place of wholeness might desire an outreached arm pulling them from the mud pit, but that desire should be fleeting – it isn’t a relationship builder.  Jesus is the perpetual white knight that pulls society and His children from the pit daily, not a man.
Real men, you beautiful creatures that work hard for your family and spoil your children with your presence – YOU are enough.  I can assure you that the white horse is a myth.  No man looks hot straddling a white horse. Seriously.
My husband has been to some incredible mountaintops of achievement.  He is the type of man that could assume a lofty position, but let me be clear – when his hazel eyes see into my soul and connects to my most vulnerable of ideas and emotions and declares, “me, too” there is no white horse moment that could
 trump such an experience.  His reality is captivating.
I do not want to gaze upon my man on a white horse.  I desire to meet him in the vault every evening, just the two of us.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

the Butterfly

The butterfly leaves behind the work and pain of the caterpillar.
I have an interesting relationship with the butterfly.  When my dad passed away the first sign of his lingering existence came in the form of an orange butterfly.  I know that seems crazy, but bear with me.  When Eden was only five we discovered she had an amazing talent – she shined at the piano.  Mind you, my dad played the piano for a living and I have no clue where to even begin when I sit at a piano, but not Eden.  Her tiny fingers glided over each key as she confidently knew the sound it would make.  I was enamored.
One special, beautiful day I pulled up to her piano lesson and found a gorgeous, orange butterfly circling our car.  Almost with an unmatched enthusiasm to say, “I cannot wait to escort you, little child, to the piano.”
At first, I dismissed the butterfly.  Although curious, I was not an interpreter of signs or wonders – just a mom dropping off her kid at piano lessons.
The next week, the butterfly was there again, greeting us in the same fashion and again, escorting the apple of my eye all the way to the piano.  By the third week I was open to interpreting the significance of the butterfly. Orange?  Hmm…my dad was an Oklahoma State University fraternity boy that someone had just mentioned seeing his picture in the basement.  Piano lessons…hmmm…my dad made his living from his talent of playing the piano.  Dad?
The orange butterfly brought tears.  The orange butterfly brought questions.  The orange butterfly, most importantly, brought a life lesson.
As I studied the butterfly I began to realize that it spent more time as a caterpillar than a butterfly.  What an example of hard work and struggle, preparing for the biggest change known in the insect world.  The caterpillar must strategize for change.  The caterpillar plans for a full body change knowing that it is the last two weeks of life in full glory.
Aren’t we the same?  Isn’t it years of life focused on ambition, titles, and significance…only to find that freedom is more important?
The butterfly leaves and never returns, unlike the salmon.  The butterfly spends two weeks relishing in self-actualization on display.  The butterfly is not only beautiful, but free.
My daughter and I are training for a run right now.  As we left the back porch ready to embark on a two-and-half mile run the orange butterfly joined us.  I was instantly reminded of my dad’s spirit, one of freedom, one of pursuit.  As we ran, Eden decided it would be fun to run through a muddy puddle.  I laughed at my cautious child wishing to be rebellious, even if for only a moment, and looked back at the footprints.  Two sets, mine and hers.  Two butterflies running freely.  Two girls given the privilege of freedom from what the world would tell us we must be.  Two adventurers willing, if only for a brief moment, to fly.
Our Father gives us that privilege.  Our Father causes us, the once struggling caterpillar, to shed the unwanted struggles and forget.  He causes us to fly.  He creates the beauty.
The butterfly leaves behind the work and pain of the caterpillar.  The butterfly is known by the Creator.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Man's Power

Don’t tell my husband, but I believe he is the emotional hub of our home.  I am fully convinced that his mood, his affirmation and most importantly, his affections, directly impact Eden and I more than any other physically present factor.
The two of us, Eden and I, pull into the CVS parking lot where I am meeting Brian so that the two of them have plenty of time to get to Stomp, it is playing downtown.  Eden flips the mirror in the car, looks at her self, looks at me and promptly ask, “do you think I look pretty?”  My heart melted.  My sweet nine-year old is wanting to look pretty for her daddy.
I remember that feeling.  My parents were divorced, so often as a child, my dad and I dated.  He picked me up, usually took me out to eat and sometimes bowling or a movie.  I would spend time in front of mirrors and getting second opinions on outfits or hairstyles.  His perception of me became my reality of me.  He held such power in his words.  Most blessed was I that my dad was an affectionate man.
Eden has that same affection.  Eden also has a daddy that is able to tuck her in at night and make her feel safe when she believes that noises are coming from her closet.  Eden also has a dad that shares with her truth and reason.  His intelligence is beyond his PhD, he posses wisdom – understanding of God.  He teaches her what has been taught to him.
Men, you are so powerful.  You have no idea the power you posses in the homes you live in.  Seldom have I heard that a women shaped a child’s view of God.  Use your power wisely.

Monday, February 27, 2012

a Christian Question

My mornings begin, when done right, with a soothing cup of coffee and a longstanding engagement of getting to know God.  Sometimes, I walk away from the encounter bolstered and excited about what’s next; and sometimes I walk away questioning my very nature and state of understanding.  A few mornings ago, I felt like I was handed a question.  I have been chewing on this question since it was asked, so I have decided to share it with you.
Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a treasure hidden in a field; which when a man finds it, he conceals, and for the joy of finding it, goes and sells everything that he has, and buys the field. (1)  Or, like a precious pearl, with again, selling everything to buy it. (2)
The question I was asked, “What did you sell?”  ”What was everything to you before you met Me?”
Often in church we camp out on losing our life to Christ or denying ourselves to follow, which is in Scripture;  but how often do we nail down what that loss was to us?  How often are we vulnerable enough to confess what we sold for that precious pearl?  And even more vulnerable – how many of us are pawning off parts of that great field we bought to buy back some of what we’ve sold?
If you have not bought the field, well, this question is not directed at you; but for those of us who had that moment when we sold it all…well, let’s really nail down what we sold to make sure we aren’t trying to buy it back.
Jesus could have said that the kingdom of heaven was like a big ol’ gift of a pearl given to you from your Daddy, but he didn’t.  He said, “..what shall a man give in exchange for his life?” (3)
We all know that there is nothing we own that could buy this kind of love and life, but maybe it is time to survey the cost.
(1) Matthew 13:44
(2) Matthew 13:46
(3) Matthew 16:26

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Female Warriors

“The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who                    descends to the depth of his heart.”  ~Julien Green
We all have stories.  We all have scars on our heart from experiences that brought us pain, as well as beautiful, red plump areas from intense joy and happiness.  In this respect, we are all on the same page.  But some of us are brave enough to go deep into the valley of our heart – the dark, sometimes distorted, areas of the journey of life.
My bravery comes from taking the journey with a group of women who have become sisters.  We all share the same Daddy.  We all share a passion to be what our Daddy created in His image.  And we all share love. God is love.  We hold nothing more sacred in our group than that love.
Now, we are becoming warriors.
You might be baffled with my statement and it just might seem silly to you that a group of women could become warriors – after all, aren’t groups of women typically emotional and involve coffee?  Sometimes.  But sometimes women are brought together to fight in a battle that is much larger than the crowds at the mall in December.  Sometimes, women are asked to fight in the epic battle of good vs. evil.  Sometimes, women are asked to fight against whispers of hate from the enemy robbing them of peace, robbing them of acceptance…robbing them of God’s best.
My platoon is in training; becoming equipped with truth and honest reflection of what has been and what could be with understanding.  My sojourners are gorgeous.  Each one of them carries a flame that has been lit and a perseverance that is contagious.
I cannot imagine crossing enemy lines without my sisters.
“Strength and Honor!”