For Brandon, Who Did the Right Thing

Once there was a mom, who went for the American Dream.  She had a good job, and she did well.  She drove a Mercedes-Benz.

The mom sometimes traveled for her job, and one day, at the pinnacle of her success, she boarded a plane for someplace she’d never been:  glittering Las Vegas.  Driving down the strip, she marveled at the sights, hanging her head out the window and swerving, until her business associate asked her to pull over and ride in the passenger seat.

“You should get out more,” said the business associate.

“Maybe so,” thought the mom.

In Las Vegas, the mom took photos, won awards, and made good memories, but when she got home, she noticed that her young son was unusually quiet.  One afternoon, she saw him running down the hall, hiding something.  Later, she quietly retraced his steps and found a crumpled drawing in the waste paper basket.  Smoothing it, she went to find him.

“Tell me about your drawing,” she said, gently.

Her son looked embarrassed, but he began to point out trees and houses on the paper.

“And what is this?” asked the mom, pointing to a drawing of a hammer, something shattered into shards, and what looked like drops of blood.

The son hesitated. “That’s my broken heart,” he said, lowering his eyes, but not before the mom saw tears.

“Oh, sweetheart!”  exclaimed the mom.  “Why is your heart broken?”

“Because you’re never here.”

Ah, there it was.

The mom gathered her son into her arms.  She comforted him.  And she promised him that she would never forget what he told her that day.

The mom kept her promise.  She taped the boy’s broken heart to her computer screen as a reminder.  And she contacted her business associates and clients and announced her semi-retirement.  She apologized to them for losing track and forgetting her priorities.

Years passed, and the boy grew.  He is almost a senior in high school.  The mom still devotes as much time to him as she can.

And guess what?  The mom still has her good job.  But now, she is so part time that she is almost a full-time mom.  The budget is tight, because she doesn’t make much money (sometimes nothing).  She sold the Mercedes long ago.

Occasionally, the mom wonders if she should get out more, but deep inside, she knows she did the right thing.  She and her son are close.  His heart is mended. And to this day, she still has his drawing.

IMG_2702

The End.

Posted in A Thankful Heart, Facing the Monsters, Just Being Real, Parent Stories | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

An Open Letter to the World

Dear World,

Please forgive my sometimes embarrassingly bad example. I am supposed to be like my teacher, Jesus Christ.  I’m not there yet, but I press on.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Christian

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Why I Left the Church

Apparently, people leaving the church is a topic of discussion. I see articles and books discussing the reasons why.   I hear it mentioned in talks. I pass a large, boarded up church in a college town when I visit family. That stark visual jarred me into thought.

I don’t know if people are really leaving the church, or why. I can only tell you why I did.

I left the church because it wasn’t real and neither was I.

That was years ago, and I am back in church. I love the church now, as I did then. But during my absence, I got some things figured out, mostly about myself. I did Bible studies alone, at home. I spent a lot of time one-on-one with God, out in nature. I didn’t miss a day of relating to Him.  I was real, and God was faithful.  I finally faced some truths, and that changed everything.

So there you have it–why I left the church. And I’ll leave you with one last thought:

It’s good to be back. 

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Look! Our Year Names

We’re kind of excited.  Some of us named 2015:

RebeccaIntentional (Philippians 3:13-14)

Rene’ – Gratitude (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Erin – Roots (Digging down deep in relationships)

Tempi – Focus

Barbara – Truth (John 8:32)

Amanda – Get Busy (James 1:22)

Lori – Awaken

Kelly – Compassion

Sherry – Laughter (Genesis 18:12-14 and Psalm 90:12-17)

Sherry’s 2015 song:

Sherry’s view from work:

Canyon

Rainbow (2)

And Stephanie – Joy (John 15:11 and Psalm 16:11)

Did you name your year?

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Letting Go

2015 is the Year of Joy for me, and that word terrifies me. It terrifies me because I don’t want to go through something hard, and do it with joy.

In 2015, I am supposed to let go of:

  • words
  • fear
  • emotional panic

And yet, I hold onto these things with a white-knuckled, desperate power hold.

My assignment is to be real, so I share this story.  I used to be quite practiced at being fake.

All of this is hard.  

But as my pastor explained in December, God does not just equip us, He sustains us.

And I’m counting on that.

Words Fear Emotional Panic

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Scripture Memory Challenge: Join Us in Houston?

Here is my scripture memory challenge for 2015:

  • Choose 24 verses
  • Recite 1o of the 24 at the end of the year

We are partnering with Beth Moore’s ministry for her Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge.

To join us, post first verse as a comment (name, city/state, verse written out, reference, translation) under this post.

Full instructions here.

Highlight bullets:

  • First verse post comment = enrollment
  • Make a matching verse spiral
  • Post on Beth’s blog on the 1st and 15th of each month
  • Post 21 out of 24 times to go to Houston
  • Spiral = ticket in to the event
  • Recite 10 verses to a partner at the event

We would love for you to join us.

(Committed so far from our group:  Rene’, Rebecca, Erin, Lori, Barbara, Amanda, myself)

Scripture Memory book (1)  Scripture Memory book (2)

Next post:  Letting Go

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A Name for 2015

I have two words for 2015, but only one name.  Let me explain…

A group of friends and family that I am part of chooses a title/word for each year.  This choice serves as a theme, and is an exercise in learning and growing for the coming year. This is what we do in lieu of New Year’s resolutions.  We tend to stick to this better, and it is more meaningful.  We call it naming the year.  We announce our choices on New Year’s Day, and we hold each other accountable throughout the year.

As I smugly stated in this post, I thought I had 2015 named by October 31.  The word I chose was focus.  The simple, obvious reason (usually the way it starts for me) was that I needed to focus on my son’s school, because we home school, and he will be a senior in the fall.

This choice was reinforced in several ways, including lyrics from this worship song:

“Oh God, may we be focused on the least…a people balancing the fasting and the feast…”

The song seemed perfect for my Year of Focus, and it is.

I even had a scripture that went along with everything:  Matthew 25:35-40.

All of this was wrapped neatly, connected to other lessons, and tied with a bow.  The exclamation point was a painful realization that taught me that I’d better put my money where my bracelet is:

I Am Second bracelet

And then, in late December, another word came swirling out of the vapors and smacked me right between the eyes.  I didn’t see it for days.  I swatted at the pesky thing.  I tried to give it away. (“You should name your year this…”)

But the word kept hovering around me, trying to get me to see.

The Joy Woman put the word everywhere in her house and I saw it at every turn. Then, on December 21, the day the Joy Woman died, her daughter tearfully put the word on my wrist. It was to be her mother’s Christmas gift, and she wanted me to have it.

Joy on the Wrist

Shortly after that, I was surprised to pull the word out of my study tote.  My daughter-in-love tucked it there last Mother’s Day.  Looking at the word in such beautiful color was when I began to see it more clearly.

Scatter Joy notebook

And finally, I unwittingly hid the word in my heart in this 2014 memory verse:

11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

(John 15:11, ESV)

I became more deeply interested in the word as I pondered this verse just two days ago.

The word is joy.

This word  choice doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons.  The first reason is that for the most part, the joy of the Lord is already my strength.  I do not mean that I have arrived in this area.  (Far from it.)  I do mean that when joy is missing in my heart, I learned the hard way to see such a void as clanging bells, flashing lights and lowering crossing arms, to stop me from any further progress until I run to God, one-on-one, to figure out what is going on.  If there is something (other than true grief) blocking joy, I must let Him fix and remove it.  If I don’t, I continue in misery.  If I do:  Bam.  Joy restored.

Another reason the choice of joy is strange to me is that I picture this word as the Joy Woman’s word, and not mine. And another reason is that I already had a word for 2015.

But on December 30, during my quiet time, I realized that I do want to know what Jesus means by that little, extra word in the scripture above:  full. That your joy may be full.  Doesn’t that sound lovely? And strong?

Well, it sounds lovely and strong and intriguing to me.  And although focus came first and I actually prefer it, and although the word joy is a bit frightening, and although it’s kinda-sorta supposed to be one word for each year, I have quit swatting at the thing and trying to give it away.  I’ve accepted the second word.

So, I have two words for 2015.  It’s the year to focus, but it’s name is joy.

Blank Pages NY Day

(A clean start and a Happy New Year wish to you…)  

In case you’re interested:

How We Name Our Year

Posted in Just Being Real, Naming the Years, The Year of Joy (2015) | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments