What Love Isn’t

Now that it is December, holiday season is in full swing here!  The only thing missing is the snow.  But, it’s Michigan so if we just wait another second there will be plenty!

Having to spend lots of time with extended family is a challenge…well, not for me; my family is PERFECT.

But for many, it has its challenges.  The uncle who voted for Trump.  The grandma who voted for Clinton (both of them).  The cousin who never does the dishes and falls asleep watching the Lion’s game. Then, wakes up the minute you change the channel to watch the much more entertaining Packer’s game.  And, of course the brother-in-law who always stirs the pot enough to start a fight and then packs up his family and heads home…three states away.  As you can see, it can be quite the challenge!

Seriously, though have they never read the Bible.

I Corinthians 13.  That’s all I’m sayin’…

Remember.

Love is.

Patient.  Kind.  And, all those other things too!

So, I have been thinking about the “love chapter” a lot this week.  And, I will be the first to admit I am really, REALLY quick to remind the people around me what love is NOT.

When someone makes holiday plans and just expects me to drop everything and be there when they say without asking if it works for me.  Well, love isn’t bossy is it?

Or, if a person cuts me off in traffic, or in front of me at Starbucks.  Well, love isn’t that pushy is it?

And, when I see someone on a certain social media platform racing to condemn a person, place, or thing without a second thought, or pause, or listen.  Hmm, love is definitely not so quick judge; right?

uh. oh.

Yeah.

Big, giant, in my face…

UH-OH!

You see in my haste to point out what love is NOT I have most assuredly forgotten what love IS.  And, I have failed in living out the definition of this highly esteemed word that I seem insistent everyone ELSE is forgetting!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

I am sure you recognize those words up there.  And, they are not mine.  They are His.  Those words need to stop me mid-thought, mid-post, mid-shout and bring me back into focus.  The love that I have been given far outweighs any of the love I could ever display. And, I know I will and have failed.  But, just because I fail doesn’t mean I stop trying or stop remembering.

I will choose happy this holiday season (in the midst of family chaos, shopping disasters, and in spite of social media),  because faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Raining and Pouring and I Didn’t Want to Get Up this Morning

I am so excited that it seems like Fall has finally arrived here in Michigan!  We have three straight days of rain in front of us and I am more than just a little happy about it 🙂

I have missed the rain.  I love the rain.  To look out my living room window and see the sky that grayish blue color.  To see the clouds overflowing with drenching, soaking, beautiful rain.  Don’t get me wrong, was loving the sun filled blue skies we have had lately.  My soul gets happy seeing the sunshine and feeling its warmth.  But, I think I am not the first to admit how much we need this deep and cleansing rain.

I love to hear the drops hitting the roof of my house.  To see the collected tiny spatters form a puddle, that eventually becomes a flood and washes away the dirt and grime left behind sweltering summer days and nights.  Making the world dry and brown world around me green again.  I want to see the driving rain push everything out of its way, and leave only the colors of fall in its wake.  The build up from the hot summer lost in the deep cleansing showers of the falling drops of water.

Life.  The beautiful, chaotic, somewhat organized mess that I call my life could use a good rain too.

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The promise of rain.

The certainty that He will come in exactly the way we need Him.

Sometimes, I need Him to come to me like a driving rain.  A storm that takes out all of the hurt, and replaces it with fresh earth ready to take what He wants to plant in place of what I have let take root.

The promise of rain.

A rain that knows that sometimes I need a slow, steady downpour.  A drenching that brings floods of grace and washes away the mistakes I can’t seem to let go.  A rain that makes those things that I hold onto so slippery my heart has no choice but to let them slip away.

The promise of rain.

He knows when I need a fresh and light drops of refreshing.  To feel His overwhelming love as a touch of healing and growth.  A rain that gently takes away longing and replaces it with the contentment that His grace and mercy bring.  A rain that forces me to grow because I can’t stop the nourishment it brings.

I will choose happy because of the promise this rain brings.  I long for it.  I can see the downpour and feel my soul being refreshed already.

He comes as rain comes, like spring rains refreshing the ground.

Hosea 6:3 The Message

 

 

*Again, no deja vu…I have been sharing some posts from the past and doing a little updating as I re-read them* 

Seasons

 

I have said it before.

I will say it again.

♥♥ I love Fall ♥♥

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The colors, the smells, the crisp air…I could go on and on and on!  I mean, I haven’t even mentioned Thanksgiving, or pumpkins, or pumpkin flavored anything, or mums, or how great it is to have a chai tea latte while watching football on a crisp Friday night.

See, I told you I can go on and on ♥

A couple of weeks ago, my hubby and I were talking about how the trees around us didn’t seem to be changing colors.  They were still pretty green, and I was getting antsy for the world to look like and feel like the season the calendar keeps saying it is!

Our backyard is gorgeous in the Fall.  We have the perfect mix of birch and maple trees, and they never cease to amaze me with the bright yellows, oranges, and reds they display.  This year the color change was taking forever!

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was here!  We woke up one morning and the trees were outstanding.

I wished I could just sit on my couch and take in the fabulous color.

All. Day. Long.

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One of our trees is exceptionally beautiful.  It sits just outside our family room window, and has the picture perfect blend of red, yellow, and orange.  When the sun shines in the morning, the rays catch it from behind and it looks as if it’s on fire.  It is gorgeous!  Fall beauty at its best.   The day went on, and we both admired the tree.  Each of us remarking how happy we were that it had finally changed, and how the light in the family room was completely different when the leaves were orange.  We talked about how it made the room feel more cozy because of the warm hues it sent through the windows.  And, mostly just how absolutely blessed we were to have this display in our backyard!

The next morning, we came downstairs needing to sneak another peak at the tree.

Both of us just stood in the room completely still and in total shock….the tree was bare!  Overnight, it had dropped every single leaf from its branches.  It just stood there gray and empty.  The light in the family room had changed again as the sun shone through the window with no leaves to catch.  We couldn’t help but feel a little bummed.  It happened so fast.  It was over even though it had just started.  And I wanted to look at it more!  I know, I know, I sound kinda whiny…..but it really was that beautiful.

Then, it was just

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How many times have you felt done?  Like you have given all you had to give?  Laid bare all that you are and found yourself in a season that seems cold and empty?  Just standing there having done all everything you know how to do?

I have definitely been there.  It can be lonely to look around and feel like you are spent.   Like your season has come and gone, and you’re just standing empty.

Waiting.

I can’t tell you how much I want this next statement to sink in and hit you right in the heart!


The time we spend waiting is NEVER wasted time!

Think about it…that tree is gonna spend all Winter waiting.  In the waiting, it is going to draw nourishment.  It may look empty, but inside it is reaching deep into its roots and pulling up all it needs to survive.

Spring will bring rain and that tree will be refreshed.  It will bloom again and begin to fill up.

Summer sun will cause those buds to burst open and provide shade and shelter to world beneath it.

And, when THIS season comes again.  And, this tree is called on to be seen again, to be beautiful once more, and to be used…it will give what it has stored up in a minute.  No hesitation.

Oh, that I would be found like that tree!  Wanting to give.  Willing to lay all that I have at the feet of Jesus.  Letting go of all that I have stored up.  At a moments notice and with no second thoughts, I want to be found putting aside my goals and my desires to be used for Him and His glory.

Giving my all.  Giving my very best.  Giving every part of me, so I can be filled up with more of Him and less of me.

In every season.

Willing to be filled, so I can be emptied for Him.

Just like the trees in the backyard.

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****and if you feel like you are having deja vu…you are!  I shared this post a couple of years ago; it was just on my heart for today****

Twilight

Everyone is sleeping in my house.  Except for me.  It’s always me who is awake in the middle of the night, looking at the moon, wishing it was me who was snoring…

It’s been so long since I posted on this blog.  I haven’t written since March.  But, today I have been thinking about writing all day and since I can’t sleep I guess I will type.

The moon is almost full so it’s really bright outside for 12:07 am.  I can make out the trees and the house across the street even though there are no street lights.  I can’t see any stars though.  I love the twilight feel an almost full moon gives to the night.

I have been quiet lately.  Keeping quiet has been easy.  Probably too easy for this girl who has always struggled to let people in.  So, now sitting in the quiet of house with only the moon and my computer screen to light the room I am forced to be honest.

I see the hypocrisy in what I just wrote; I mean, I write a blog!  How can I say that I struggle to let people in?  But, relatable and vulnerable are not the same thing, and transparency and relatable are not as close as they appear.  I can do relatable really well!  I struggle with vulnerable.  I struggle with transparent.

So bear with me as I try…

I haven’t been writing because the past months have been hard in our house.  We left the church we called home for 14yrs to go in the direction we felt God was/is calling us, and it has really been difficult.  We have faced things with our kids that I never in a million years thought we would have to deal with, and it has been really hard.  So many “little things” have piled up on each other that it has created a mountain that seems insurmountable most of the time.

But, the past months have also grown us.  We have learned to follow the voice of God no matter how we feel because it’s the right thing.  We have cried more tears and been more honest with each other and our kids than any other time I can remember because that’s what God wants from us.  The growing mountain of  “little things” has brought us to our knees together because it’s all we know to do.

A few months ago we were able to drive in the Scottish Highlands during what seemed like a never-ending twilight.  It was one of the most breathtaking moments of my life.  The mountains showed bright with the glory of the Creator all around us.  The sky was full of stars you could just barely make out and the color around us was an indescribable blend of blue, purple, red, and orange.  It felt like the mountains and the sky were  swallowing us up on that narrow road as we tried to navigate through the unknown.  But, there was just enough light to show us the way.  What we saw as insurmountable was nothing when viewed in the light of God’s glory.

And, here I sit under that same moon, in another place, staring at different mountain.

 

I will choose happy tonight because it doesn’t matter how big or insurmountable the mountain in front of me is; I know that His glory will be written all over it when all is said and done.   

 

 

Recipes

I have this adorable baby girl.  I mean, she has been a showstopper since the day she was born.  She is now 14yrs old, so I am not allowed to say she is my baby girl.  I am also not allowed to say she is adorable.   Or, a showstopper.   Or, really even talk about her at anytime.  For any reason.  End of story.  Sooooo, if we could just keep this little story between you and me that would be great…

The afore mentioned wonderful, and not sassy at all sweetheart LOVES to bake.  Bella, actually LOVES all things culinary.  I wouldn’t doubt that if at some point we see her on Iron Chef or Beat Bobby Flay; she’s that good! And, quickly on her way to becoming an expert.  This means, she is also an expert at destroying my kitchen!

She’s been working at it since she was a toddler!

The other day she came to me and asked if she could bake some cookies.  Of course, I said yes!  Who doesn’t want cookies they don’t have to bake?!

She mixed.  Kitchen destroyed.  Cookies delicious.  End of story.  Except it’s not…

I walked into the kitchen just as the first batch came out of the oven.  They smelled so good!  But, they didn’t look quite right, and she knew she had made a mistake somewhere along the way.  She was so upset and trying to figure out what went wrong.  I asked her some questions, checked the oven temp, made sure she had remembered that on my cookie recipe it says 3 cups of sugar but it really means 3 cups of flour (it’s an old, hand copied recipe from my mom), but she insisted she had done it all right.  Except, that she didn’t…here’s a little back story.

A couple of months ago, when we made cookies together, we were out of butter.  The recipe calls for butter and shortening so we increased the amount of shortening and went on our merry way…back to the present.

When we were out baking soda she substituted baking powder. Two white powders; no big deal.  But, she not only substituted the soda for powder she increased the amount of powder to make up for the lacking soda.  She figured we had done that last time so it must be okay to do it this time too.  It wasn’t…

It was a mistake and she desperately wanted to fix it.  Could we just get some soda and add it to the remaining unbaked dough?  Was it possible to figure out what we could substitute for the missing soda?  Could we just start over?

I tried to explain the reasons we couldn’t fix it.  That we had no idea how much to put in the remaining dough; even if we had the soda.  That we had no baking soda.  That you can’t just put extra baking powder in; that changes the dough too.  And, then I asked why she didn’t come to me when she realized the problem?  I was just downstairs.  But, she didn’t want to bug me and thought she had figured out the solution on her own.

Yep, baby girl I know exactly how you feel. 

She didn’t.  We couldn’t.  We cleaned.  No cookies.

I do this ALL the time.  I have it all figured out.  I can do it on my own.  I don’t want to bug anyone with my little problems.  I have done these same things over and over so of course I can figure it out on my own this time.  Except I can’t…

I screw it up.  I try to fix it.  It ends up badly.

How can I forget that He is as close as the mention of His name?  Why do I overlook how He gives us every possible solution on the pages of His Word?  Even after I have made complete mess and tried to fix my  problems in my own way (which in turn usually makes a bigger mess, right?), He is still right there with me in the mess.  Jesus takes my hand and helps me clean up.

I wish I could tell you that I always remember to ask first.  Or, that my Bible is worn out because with every little problem I am searching through the pages to find the answer.  But, I can’t.  I can tell you that I am trying, and that admitting I don’t have the answers gets a little easier each time I actually DO admit I don’t have all the answers.

I am going to choose happy this week because the love He has for me is so great and reaches so far that He found me in a messy kitchen, hungry for cookies, baking with Bella.  He found me and reminded me that I don’t have to figure it out all on my own and it was all because Bella wanted to bake cookies 🙂

How?

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So, I know I need to start writing again.  I just don’t know how…

It seems easy, right?  Like, you sit down and words just start flowing out?  Put your fingers on the keys (or pen to the paper; for those of you live in the dark ages, hehehe), the stars align, and you write this profound piece…yeah, it doesn’t seem to work like that lately.  As a matter of fact, writing seems to be the least of my worries.  It feels like I don’t know how to do anything anymore.

I think (actually, I KNOW), you guys have felt this way too!  We all go through seasons where our “know how” seems to be challenged.  Whether, it’s because we change jobs.  Or, a relationship suddenly gets difficult.  Whether it’s because we are suddenly the parent of a teenager, and have no clue who this child is anymore!  Or, even at the opposite end, you just had a baby and can’t even remember what sleep is let alone figure out how to make it happen!

Sometimes, everything seems to change!  And, in what seems like a moment, we can’t figure out who we are or where we fit.  We find ourselves sitting, staring, and wondering, how?

How do I go forward?

How can I make this work?

How long do I wait?

And, as I am trying to write this little blog, I am looking back at what. I. just. typed.  And, something is  standing out to me.  Hmmm, maybe you can just sit down at the keys and type…

Do you see it too?

It is so not the how that I need to be worried about.  It’s the I.

In my own strength.  In my own power.   I will never, EVER, know how.

My focus needs to realign.  My heart needs to trust.  Because, I will never know how until I know who.  And, ***spoiler alert*** who is always, Jesus.

He is the key to how.  Every time I forget how, I need to remember who.  I know He will make my path straight.  I know He is trustworthy.  I know His ways are so much higher than my own.  And, most of all I know His love for me is complete and forever and unfailing!  I will choose happy because knowing WHO gives me the victory over every how!

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Today is the Day!

Just so you know.  Just so you can hear this today.  Just so you have a little reminder on this chilly Thursday that makes you feel all warm and cozy inside.

You are loved.  You are chosen.  You are set apart to fill a part only you can play.

It may be in the lives of your husband.  It may be in the lives of your children.  It may be in the life of a complete stranger.  But, today you have a unique and wonderful role in God’s story, and tomorrow too, and the day after that, and every single day the sun rises in all of its beauty.

**Spoiler Alert: that’s been every day in the history of time**

img_5198I have felt like I am just a background player in the stories playing out around me.  I think most of us feel that way at some point.  I’m Clint’s wife.  Jaden’s mom.  Deb’s friend.  Kate’s sister.  Donna’s neighbor (and friend too).  Oh, and Kendra’s friend too (I’m a lucky girl).  Wes and Serena’s daughter.  Livi’s nurse.  Bella’s sparring partner (she’s a teenager girl and I’m her mom; it’s a realistic title).  So many titles.  And, they all feel like supporting roles in a someone else’s story.  And, they are, because we are called to be a support.

But, this morning when I woke up and a new day started; He chose me.  God picked me just like He has everyday since time started.  He loves me and choose me.  He put the whole redemption story in motion for me.   He loves me that much.  He loves you that much.  So, there is no way we are just background players.

It’s His story and we are chosen to be a part of it.  We are loved by the God who created the universe just to have us.  Just to have you.  Just to have me.

And, no matter who overlooks you, or who forgets your name, or who flat out rejects your heart changes His plan or His unfailing love for you.

So, I am going to choose happy  today because I am free, and chosen, and fully known, and fully loved by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (by the way that is in a worship song…I think by Bethel or Elevation…no it’s Bethel!  The song is You Don’t Miss a Thing, click here if you want to hear it).  And, live today in the knowledge that you are loved!