Growing My Own Wings

February 18th, 2019

Two weeks have gone by since we brought home our puppy, Beck. I’ve been consumed with him and every living moment has pretty much revolved around him in some way or another. He’s 9 weeks old and no matter where I take him…..people gasp and come running over to meet him because there’s something really special about new puppies and babies.

He’s our empty nest baby.

You can laugh, it’s okay. I know something inside me needed him. I have a deep wild desire to be needed, by someone or something. A dog at this age in my life seemed to be the healthiest direction for me to go. So, here I am…mothering the cutest yellow lab ON THE DANG PLANET!

In 2 weeks, my oldest will marry his dream girl. In 2 1/2 months, my middle will marry her true love too and the baby…well, she’s been married almost 2 years! It’s a lot. All coming at me rather fast. But, I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for these days my whole life. Still, mama’s don’t stop being mama’s. My role has been evolving and revamping for the last 6 – 8 years.

They don’t need me to do what I did during their school days. No cupcakes for the class or to pick them up after band practice, but they still need me. They don’t need me to wake them up or to make macaroni & cheese, they just need me to grow my own wings.

It sounds crazy but children aren’t the only people to grow up. Parents are on a path of growth that no one seems to mention when sitting beside you at the basketball games or as you gather to pray for the youth group leaving for camp. Strangely enough, you don’t even notice you are growing — until you stand face-to-face with a young adult and hug them goodbye as they leave to go back to THEIR OWN HOUSE!

It all happens in baby steps.

Without meaning to, mama’s wrap all of who they are around the children they raise. I remember the first time I realized they were gone, like…really gone and not coming back. I was dancing around in my kitchen to Stevie Nicks belting out Landslide when I started crying at the words.

I knew they’d leave.

Still.

I BUILT MY DANG LIFE AROUND THEM, you guys!

I’m not the first mama to let go.

So here I am reflecting back on them and realizing that while I was investing in them and teaching them confidence….God was hatching my own little sprout of wings. I can fly too!

Lord,
What a gift to be a mother. I never knew all the things, so many things that would happen in my heart just by watching my children grow and go. I am so proud of each of them and I owe them all a huge thank you. I have courage to move forward and to take on the next great things to come in my life. I have my own wings and I’m excited to use them!
Amen

Reactor Disengaged

February 6th, 2019

Listen up, this one’s for all you reactor’s! You know who you are…when someone rubs you with their sandpaper words or actions, you react. Only it’s not with a Christ-like response, it’s full-out D E F E N S E!

I can throw this out here because, people….I KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO SLAM DOWN A REACTION! So, you’re welcome. I’m here to challenge you to walk away from reacting to every little annoying or hurtful thing that comes at you. Goodness knows, the world needs more loving relationships and less snarly I can’t stand being around you’s! Am I right?

First off, what is it that pushes your buttons? I only ask because that should be exactly where we start, what bothers you? The truth is, often the way we respond to someone that’s a bit difficult has nothing to do with them or their words and everything to do with us. Questions to ask ourselves — Am I just being grouchy? Hungry? Tired? Or am I just being selfish with this person and expecting them to be a model of perfection to fit a standard they will never live up to? OUCH!

If you are not being gracious out of your own selfish issues, the problem isn’t the scratchy person you’re dealing with….it might just be you. That doesn’t mean the people you are frustrated with aren’t being unreasonable or jerky, it only means you may be off your game and not seeing the underlying issue going on with them or yourself. So, you react.

Remember the hurting people, hurt people idea?

Usually when someone attacks or hurts you, the problem is a deep hurt or frustration inside of them. However, you could have honestly done something to them (DO NOT FORGET TO OWN YOUR OWN ISSUES!) and if so, you owe them an apology. The longer you allow the friction between you, the harder it will be to reconcile an ugly situation.

Second, if this rough around the edges person is a chronic toxic partner in your relationship…you have to figure out a way to FORGIVE them. Forgiveness does not mean you allow yourself to become their punching bag. Nope, not at all. It does mean that you can find a way to be sympathetic to them and whatever it is that’s hurting inside. The way you respond to the garbage they throw on you can make the difference in either squelching the situation or inflaming it. If you’ve ever had a pointless argument with someone than you can probably think back to the real issue being something totally opposite of the whole disagreement.

Tough day at work.
Financial struggles.
Sick family member.
Job loss.
Family strife.
Abuse.
Physical pain.
Rejection.
Embarrassment or shame.

Just to name a few reasons we act out in our relationships.

I gotta tell ya, I have reacted to many situations that only escalated a problem that was never even mine to get bent out of shape over. Marriage can be the safest place to REACT and lose control. We tend to be safe there. Which, is in truth, a rotten behavior or habit to fall into. Over time, the reactions can get meaner and uglier until both involved have a stack of resentments higher than the marriage can fend off. So many divorces occur because of the way we react and completely forego the other person’s feelings.

The cold hard truth is we tend to develop a high sense of being offended.

I can find myself totally offended and not even have a human face-to-face encounter during the day. You and I do not have to look very hard to find ourselves offended. Been online lately? Avoid arguing with others from the get-go and you will be a much more gracious person. On and off the internet.

Here’s what I know about controlling the way I react:

If I stop and admit when I am wrong, the frustration between us lessens and the conversation can turn to a more fair and controlled situation. There’s never a winner if you just keep pounding that YOU ARE RIGHT! Truth is, you might be wrong!

If I do a soundcheck on my own heart, the real feelings I’m harboring inside come to light. It’s not always easy to admit when you’re wrong or responding to a bad situation in a way that’s sinful. Matter of fact, most of us never confess to being a jerk. We just let junk fester and soon we cannot hide our sinful reactions. Heart problems will get you and me. Clean it up, people.

If I am constantly in defense mode, the problem with my reacting is more than likely MINE! Remember that commercial, “You’re pushing my buttons, Roger”? Your husband, kids and the rest of the world WILL PUSH YOUR BUTTONS! Maybe not every day, but every chance they can. Be ready, but be tender. You don’t have to come back with your hair on fire. Shut it down with a loving response or some kind of grace that slows everyone’s hot temper. You don’t have to always win or be right.

Remember:

When emotion is high, wisdom is low.

You are equipped to handle your reactions whether you believe it or not. God has given you power over your emotions. If you feel weak in this area, make it a priority to pray about your struggle and memorize scripture to combat the flesh that pulls you towards reacting. You can control situations that seem out of control with a gentle and loving reaction. If you think reacting back with shirt-sleeve feelings is going to work….it’s not.

Lord,
I’m sorry for the many ways I’ve reacted to others that didn’t honor you. My heart wants to be gracious and I’m not doing that when I respond in a way that causes more friction. Help me to offer kindness and mercy to even the least deserving. I never know when that’s going to be me.
Amen

It’s Furrever

February 4th, 2019

Here we go! It’s negative 2 today in Bozeman, Montana and I’m busy potty-training our new baby boy! He is precious! Can you imagine trying to learn this big boy lesson in the deep snow and below freezing temps? He’s a trooper! No accidents! So far….

We practiced the kennel with him a few times yesterday after bringing him home from his little farm boy life. He loved it! At bedtime last night we put him in the kennel and he settled right into his warm bed and fell fast asleep. NOT A PEEP! ALL NIGHT LONG!

What?

It doesn’t hurt that he’s 7 weeks old and already in love with that fuzzy blanket! He’s snuggled up with it right now as I’m typing. It’s a big hit!

He loves going outside! Even as cold as it is….he will run and play as if it’s normal to do that in the dead of winter in Montana! When he’s finished with the snow, he runs to the door! Little smartie!

Don’t ask what we’re going to do in just a few months when he is bigger than me. He is going to be a moose! Look at these feet!

I won’t even bother telling you how soft and velvety his fur is because I know you can almost feel it just from the photos. He’s a hunk!

He’s just perfect!

He’s just what we needed and at exactly the right time. Even though potty-training in winter ain’t for the faint of heart. He is our sweet little guy and as much as I want to smother him, he sort of chooses my hubby over me. And I’m not even jealous!

The puppy days are hard work. We haven’t had one in many years. The time will be more than worth it once he’s a big boy and knows his limits. Labs are smart, sweet and the best all-around family pet. Having him is going to be a very special addition to our whole family.

Welcome home, Beck! We love you already!

Better

February 2nd, 2019

You’ve surely heard that saying — when you know better, you do better. Right?

That’s where I feel smack dab in the middle of today. I want to do better. I want to be better. I want to love and forgive and show grace BETTER than I did yesterday or the day before.

It’s not easy to be a flawed up janky human.

I’ve got this one chance to be so many things to so many people. How can I do it and do it with a GOD-SIZED love? The hardest challenge as a human is to show love and be love in spite of the response or feedback you receive from others.

Yesterday, God poured out a bucket of love on my head while I was teaching at school. I received some of the kindest compliments from my students. I felt amazing! They were heart compliments, not outward appearance or stuff admirations. Which was a big reminder to me that it’s very important HOW WE INTERACT WITH OTHERS AND MAKE THEM FEEL!

I don’t want to be the jerk I know I can very easily be in a lot of situations. I want to be an Ephesians 4:29 kind of person –>

I want to show my love with the fruit of the spirit and not the dried up twigs I sometimes have hanging all over my heart. You know, the angry twigs….the ugly twigs….the jealous twigs….the unforgiving twigs….the judgemental twigs….the frustration twigs….the sarcastic twigs….the haughty-taughty twigs and a few others.

I WANT TO BE BETTER.

Lord

I am not perfect. But I know I can be better. Help me, mold me and make me more like you and less like me.

Amen

It’s Always the Right Time

January 29th, 2019

NOTE TO SELF:

When life comes at you…

You are equipped to handle it.

I now believe the biggest challenge I struggled with during my hubby’s jobloss was the THINKING in my head that I couldn’t handle it! Also, that it was the most impossible time for such a disastrous life change!

Looking back today, it was exactly the right time.

It was the perfect time.

God knew and had a plan all along. He arranged so many blessings in spite of the scariness of our situation. He was preparing us for much bigger things than where we had parked our dreams. A lesson I’ve learned too well going through such a rotten set of circumstances. We felt very uncomfortable for much of the 2 years unemployed. Partly because, who doesn’t get up and go to work? Just fighting the temptation to feel sorry for yourself was a battle everyday. We wanted relief, redemption and to feel normal again.

Desperation will rearrange your priorities.

Some days, I look at where I am and wonder….how in the world did this happen?

Well, the short answer is that God had a big crazy plan to move us and grow us….and He launched that grow up party with a devastating job crash.

It hurt, it stung….it humbled us.

I cried out many times during it that THIS IS HORRIBLE TIMING! My body cranked up and went into menopause, next up was the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, our son lost his job along with my hubby and had to move home (that’s what home is for, by the way), our middle baby graduated college and took off on her career path, the baby got married and everything we knew and loved evolved into some strange new lifestyle that distracted us and burdened us beyond what we were mentally capable of handling.

We fought our emotions, every single day.

Still, God knew what he was doing and he was doing it at the perfect time.

You may be thinking that all is well and perfect now but it’s not. I am still on the growing journey. Nothing is as I pictured it for my fifties! I marvel and question every new step because….I JUST CAN’T LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE! I want to know what’s ahead. I want to know if THIS is what God really means to be doing with me.

I want to be on the right path.

What I have discovered is that everything happens at just the right time. My simple mind might argue that when the bottom falls out from under me but God doesn’t make mistakes.

I have to wrestle my attitude to the ground and trust that no matter the painful circumstance I am forced to walk through, I can hold tight to the promise that God is doing a new thing and everything will be okay.

Right now, this is the exact time to face whatever it is….life throws at us.

10 Better Things To Do With Your Heart & Mind

January 23rd, 2019

…Than to focus on the crap going on in our world!

If you haven’t felt upset this week over all the horrible things on the news or on your social media feed, you may not be paying attention. The world is a wreck! It’s full of heartache and cruelty! Just when I think I’ve seen or heard it all, satan rears back up and says, “Here, hold my pitchfork!”. I am telling you, if Jesus doesn’t come back soon….we are going to literally implode on our own selves!

Lord, we need you!

I can’t wrap my heart around much of what is thrown at us on a daily basis. The recent news of New York passing The Reproductive Health Act breaks my heart in two. It is unbearable to imagine, aborting a baby ready to be born! What is happening to us? Do we have any conscience? Morals? Understanding of just what we are doing? Before you post on my Facebook or blog, don’t bother trying to convince me that IT IS A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER SHE WANTS WITH HER BODY! I won’t come over to your side when it comes to abortion. Ever. It’s just not going to happen.

Maybe you’ve seen the video of the teenage boys wearing MAGA hats this week. It’s now so controversial that no one and everyone has an opinion and what’s really the ugly issue here, still isn’t being addressed. How my heart aches for the parents & for the teens who have had to learn a very sad and hard lesson. This world IS NOT OUR HOME! Never get comfortable or complacent. There will always be someone searching out ugliness in any situation. Parents, you must protect your children. These boys, have a very difficult journey ahead. Imagine how you would feel if your middle/high school boy were treated this way. Heart ache!

Since the world’s expected to end in 12 years, I thought now would be a good time to focus on some good things to think on or do instead of buying into the garbage being pumped into our hearts and minds through television, Facebook, Twitter and more. I believe we have a hope in Jesus Christ that no matter how awful and horrible this world gets….we can find joy again and trust that only comes from knowing the love of God. He can heal our world. He can save us from ourselves. He does see every broken heart and He will come again for those of us who have chosen Him as Lord. Be ready, friends.

1. Be still.

I have learned to sit still when what I want to do most is run ahead of God and grab whatever it is that I am after. Psalm 46:10 has more meaning than just sit still though. God is big enough to handle the hardest of my struggles. I can rest knowing He is doing just that.

2. Pray.

Just keep praying. As hard as it feels, pray. I know my heart needs softening, I see the speck in my eye and I know the only way I can be who I need to be in Christ is through Him. Praying puts me in a position of trust and honor. It’s a lot harder to feel the passionate feelings against those who break your heart when you’re praying for them. People are broken. Who’s going to pray for them, if you and I don’t?

3. Buy someone lunch.

I have a Montana best friend that loves to do nice things for me. She does them for no reason and I can’t tell you how great she makes me feel. It is empowering to MY BRAIN when we go to lunch or shopping. Talking with her and sharing time together removes space from the yucky stuff going on in the world. I’m convinced, we all need to turn off the tv & social media. Go, eat a meal with a friend. Dream together and love one another well.

4. Write a love letter.

I heard a radio story way back about a man who wrote his children a love letter. He did it as a project for the men in his group at church. Initially, he was trying to soften up the guys and point them in a positive direction with their relationships with their children. What happened next solidified the importance of writing these letters because as life would have it, he passed away. The gift of his beautiful words to his children were immeasurable. So, go on…write the people in your life a letter. Tell them what they mean to you. Time will not wait for you.

5. Share your stuff.

Marie Kondo has taken over and reminded us to clear out what clutters our lives. You have something that someone else loves or admires and I KNOW YOU DO NOT NEED IT! Get busy, clean out the stuff you know doesn’t bring you pleasure and give it away. I can say that as I sit in my camper in a snow storm, stuff…..is not what’s important.

6. Help others.

If you look around, you will see…plenty of folks who need help. If you have a strong body and they need help moving…do it. If you are smart and know how to fix something broken, help them fix it. If you are blessed financially and see a need that you can meet, meet it. Have a lonely neighbor, family member or friend…go visit them. It is easy to help others. The hardest part of helping someone else is making ourselves JUST DO IT!

7. Offer grace.

As badly as it hurts, give grace. I’ll be honest, the cruel actions towards the teens on the news this week have nearly caused me to break as a human standing on the sidelines. However, I HAVE TO SEE ALL PARTIES INVOLVED AS CHRIST DOES! People make mistakes, sometimes HUGE mistakes! I can’t let my heart go crazy with anger! I want to offer grace where if you’re paying attention, there hasn’t been much. God, make me a grace giver!

8. Change your own mind.

This goes in the prayer category because if you and I are seeking to grow and be who God desires us to be….we will have to do some changing. Each of us are so drenched with who we are in this world through our heritage, surroundings and belief system. I pray, God help me change. Change what does not belong in me. Make me more like YOU!

9. Pass, on judgement.

My hubby and I are working on this in our own lives right now. Embarrassing huh? Well, I said WE ARE WORKING to stop this bad habit. Judgement comes in all sorts of packages. We judge what people look like, what they say & do, who they accept & don’t, what they’ve done or are doing, the decisions they make, their differences or whatnot! The list goes on. (I’m not using WE as just WE but each of us, as people) We spend too much time judging and not enough loving.

10. Turn off the noise.

I am sitting in silence right this very moment. If I’m not at school or out and about, it’s quiet around me. It’s important to let your mind rest. The tv, computer and cellphone are all necessary items but I will tell you, you need a break from them. In a world riddled with anxiety and TRIGGERS, it is time we set these things down and let our hearts enjoy some rest. Constant bombarding bad news or bickering talking heads rob us of our peace. Let yourself hear the real world. Play with your kids, walk your dog…have a connective conversation with someone you love or a stranger. Stop letting the noise of the world steal your joy.

I can’t tell you how much I needed this list for myself this week. At one point, I felt so stressed and angry that I wanted to throw my own hat in the ring to fight for the injustices of the world with the rest of the angry mob. That’s not going to help anyone! My best role is to focus on healthy ways to live and function in this world. God doesn’t need me arguing with anyone on Facebook or reposting what one news station said about this or that person. I want to be MORE LIKE CHRIST and I can’t do that if I’m acting like a fool!

Lord,

It is hard to live in a world that doesn’t love you like I do. Help me to see every human as you see them. My role on this earth is to love not judge.

Amen