Lessons From The Lipstick Saga

Lately I’ve been making an effort in ways I’d forgotten.  My friend Lorrie playfully attests that she’s nothing without her lipstick.  I didn’t get her permission to say that, but I don’t think she’ll mind.  (You can can catch Lorrie saying fun stuff like that somewhere in the land of https://www.LorrieT.com/  That’s her playground, and she loves to welcome new friends!  But don’t go there yet.  I have to tell you this story first, Girlfriend.)  Allow me to start by confessing that I have to agree.  A little color just brings a girl to life!  Wouldn’t you agree?

I’m typically pretty committed to my shade of choice, and this can get sticky.  Like it did not long ago, when the unthinkable happened.

I’d been encouraged by one of my book pals Jess Connolly to reclaim my lipstick wearing yesterdays gone by in the book Wild and Free beautifully co-written by herself and Ms. Hayley Morgan.  (“Book pals,” by the way, are people I’ve never met in real life… but after reading their books, I swear that we’re friends!)  And if you didn’t catch it, I did a Facebook Live in my slippers on a happy Slow Down, It’s Saturday! to tell you about the book- not the lipstick.  (Visit my video library in the Soul LoveAble Facebook Page to check that out and more!  If you don’t see the link on the sidebar, just look for it at the bottom of this page.)

So I’m in the bathroom at work refreshing my Wet ‘n’ Wild Iced Cherry when… I drop it. Right. On. The. Floor.  This is where you should hear that screeching halt Halloween noise that lets you know the appropriate response is to cringe.

I swoop it up in a hurry and do what any desperate situation calls for.  I panic.  In my moment of crisis, I scrub half the tube away with dry paper towels and actually consider whether I will ever use it again.  Ever.  Yes, I considered it.

I hope you have enough faith in my better judgment to guess where this story takes me next.  There I am, crouched down on my haunches, attempting to duplicate my color after finishing up at work in the make-up aisle at Walmart.  After settling for what seems to be the closest match, I pry through the impossible plastic in my car.  Now while this tube appears to be ordinary lipstick, it does not apply itself as such.  My thirsty lips beg to differ.  Girls, can I just tell you?  I don’t love matte.  Surely some of you know the secret, and it’s probably really great.  But it’s not my fave, and I wasn’t happy.  Round two.

Several days and probably $20 later I land on Fire and Ice by Revlon and pair it with a Cotton Candy gloss from Wet ‘n’ Wild.  Because it’s come to my attention that what I really love is shine more than shade.

As it turns out, the new combination is a huge hit.  My lips are all the buzz these days.  It’s a fun fact I never imagined would make the hot topic headlines in my news feed.  And I’m thrilled that in spite of that, it has.  Life is full of surprises!

~/~

Listen, I’m probably never going to be a girl that wears lipstick every day or fun earrings that dangle.  Most jewelry annoys me, and those days are gone.  At a genuinely happy to be pushing 40, those little things take more effort than I can afford.

But something is telling me it’s important to remember that I used to be.  I used to be a girl that cared what I looked like.  And I wanted girlfriends enough to do the hard work of connecting.  Enough to actually go places and even do things.  Just for fun.   Do you ever ask yourself, “When did I give up?”  I know I do.

That very same girl lives inside me today.  I bet she lives in you too.  She wants to come out of the cage!  That’s a lot of what my book pals Jess and Hayley have to say in their book about how we’re made for more than the expectations that keep us pinned up inside of ourselves.

Sometimes I need a little reminder to mix things up and try something different.  Maybe you do too.

When was the last time you started up a nice chat with the lady standing next to you in your favorite department store or maybe the food line while you wait- and not to complain?  Hey, invite her to Church if the window is right!  What about making some room for a person you haven’t met yet, to sit next to you?  You could even ask if she knows her way around the building if you like.  And don’t forget to offer exchanging your info if you’re hitting it off.  Let’s not be too grown-up for the making of friends.

Potential friends are everywhere we look.  It just takes a little effort to see them.  Something different and new is a good thing.  Even if it’s bumpy.  I think I’m ready for that.

Are you?

Don’t wait to drop your lipstick on the floor.  New colors are fun, and so are new friends!  Go ahead, and see for yourself.

You’ll be glad that you did!

Your First Aid Kit For Surviving Embarrassment

I wasn’t kind.  In a knee-jerk flash, the words had spilled from my mouth.  To bring them back was impossible.  I scurried and scrambled in my failings to fix what I’d fractured.  I confessed that I was worried I had embarrassed the person I spoke so carelessly to, but what’s truer is that I had embarrassed myself.  And I didn’t know how to repair it.

Have you ever been there?

I think it would be fair to say I’ve spent most of my life troubleshooting the wounds of embarrassment.

Take today, for instance.  I was putting in an order for one of my co-workers, and I literally had to ask her what her name was.  My system’s memory- or lack of it- was mine.  There was no way around it.  I had to say out loud that I didn’t remember the name of this person.  This is someone with whom I’ve shared pizza, or more accurately a nice person that’s given of her own pizza to my benefit.  She’s made a mostly happy routine of offering up polite exchanges throughout the day.  I’ve even journaled over one of our charming chats.  This someone is most certainly a someone I should have known by the group of letters she uses to identify herself.

Can I just crawl into a hole and hibernate until the rapture please?  Good Lord, have mercy!  Have you ever just wanted to hide?

~/~

At least that’s an honest mistake.  You can most likely identify with that.  But the kind of embarrassing that comes from when I haven’t been kind?  That’s different.

The truth is I didn’t mean to be unkind.  And I should probably cut myself some slack.  It’s not the first, and won’t likely be the last time, that I mess up and need some serious grace.  The good news is, God has plenty.

If I choose to see things from that viewpoint, I can assess that the reason it bothers me is because I do care about this person.  That’s not such a bad place to start from.  It’s all about the position I take toward this person and toward God.  It’s my giving God the space to meet me there, where I need Him.  Conviction is a beautiful thing.  It means God is moving and stirring.

I can live with that.  The situation itself becomes a messenger from God that reminds me there’s hope for me yet.  He’s not finished with me.

~/~

Sometimes I want to hibernate until He is finished, but I’m starting to realize that’s when I miss out.  God wants me to see Him show up.  He’s a redeemer, and it’s me He’s redeeming.  He’s given me a front row seat to watch Him work and see how it’s done.  From the inside out.  All I have to do is show up for the process and stay present.

While He does the work.

He’s not finished with me.  Praise God!  I take comfort in that.

Can I tell you a secret, my friend?  If you’re still breathing air, there’s hope for you too.  His work isn’t through.  And that’s very good news!

It’s safe to come out now.  You don’t want to miss what He’s doing next.

In you.

“Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace; may the poor and needy praise your name.”  Psalm 74:21

How To Find Your People

Do you have people?

This question matters, and I’ll tell you why.  It’s for times like this.

The last couple weeks, I haven’t had it in me to do a lot of showing up.  But I haven’t had to.  My people did the showing up for me.  The relationships God has been building, before I knew I’d need them, have been there to support me in my moment of lack.  I was covered in prayer.  I was given space and grace to be absent until I’d recovered enough to return to the land of the living.  Prayers came from everywhere to encourage me in my spirit, when my faith was growing quite weak.

It wasn’t always this way.  I used to struggle alone.  I battled, alone.  And when I returned to the land of the living, no one would even know that I’d struggled.  I’d leave the people out of getting to show up for me when I was in need.  I was pretending I could do it all on my own.  I was fooling myself.  Inside, I was crumbling.  I just didn’t know it.

When the storms came on strong, I didn’t know where to look for help.  I’d weather them as best I could.  I would try to stay strong.  It never occurred to me that there might be another way.  This was the only way I knew.

But something has changed, and it’s changing me.  It’s the people.  God’s people.  It’s letting them in.

I’m getting to see God show up in ways I’d never imagined.  In a mighty way, through them.  Their faith-filled prayers go up when mine are weak.  The collective prayers of many gain strength from my weakness.  It’s tragic that I used to settle for my own defeated prayers in the face of doing battle.  And it’s an enemy tactic.  Our enemy has us convinced that it’s better to hide, and to posture.  We wait it out until we feel stronger.  We want to maintain an appearance of having it together.  How fooled we have been!  The community is for the times when we’re weak.  We show up spent and defeated, and the brethren steps in.  The sisterhood.  They hold up our arms, like Aaron and Hur did for Moses.  They pray prayers we can’t summon over promises that sound more like fiction than truth.  And God hears them.

Community remembers who we are, when we can’t.  And it matters.  Trust me, it matters.  In ways that reach farther than even meets the eye.

These words I write now are a picture of that.  When I feel like I have to say important things about uncertain times, I don’t have it in me to show up.  But when I come as I am, God meets me here.  He always does.  It’s a quiet confidence.

It doesn’t happen overnight.   It’s a practice.  It’s over and over again, and getting it wrong all the way to getting it right when you finally do.  Only to discover there is no right or wrong in this thing.  It’s showing up to figure it out.  And people to do it with, even when you can’t.

Are you tired bearing your burdens alone?  Are you too exhausted to posture, and say the right things?  There’s a cure for all that, and it’s a great place to start.  Healthy confession is good for the soul.  If it sounds super scary, start small.  See how it feels.  And build on that.  Let the people doing life alongside you begin to really see you.

Take it from me.  The day will come that you’ll be really glad you did.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  Proverbs 17:17

Doctor’s Orders For The Busy Soul

Do you feel too reliant on other people’s ideas to have great ideas of your own?  I know I do.  Listen.  I’m a Jesus-loving, self-denying, proud-to-be-available for all the others aunt.  And sister.  And daughter.  And friend.  I love all that.  I really do.  But all of that keeps me really busy.  And sometimes I get just a little bit lost in all of that.  Does that happen to you?

I get tired.  And I get- dare I say it- uninspired.  Sunday is a perfect example.  Church is great.  It’s awesome really.  The message is all about God’s pursuit of the lost.  Our pastor talks about the celebration in heaven over even just one lost soul when they’re finally brought home- even if that someone is me.  To mark the occasion my new nephew- 5 days old- makes his debut on the Church scene.  He already has lots of fans waiting in line to make his acquaintance.  It all feels really connected that day.  The mingling with other believers is full of energy and life.  It’s great.

I work late on Saturday night.  I don’t get much sleep.  While Sunday is my absolute favorite day of the week, by the time I’m finished with all the activities, I’m usually quite tired.  That’s just in time for the very best part of the day when I get to relax and take it all in with my family.  This day is no exception.

After Church, I eagerly come home excited to share our thoughts on the sermon and rehash the highlights.  Mom thinks it’s funny because the pastor used the celebration over finding a lost phone as part of his illustration.  She wonders if my own recent experience inspired this in some way.  I too think this is curious.  You’re more than welcome to read about my lost device in “Can A Stolen Phone Be A Gift From God?”  Check out my recent posts for the story.

I take my mom to work not long after, and we have a nice chat about some of the ways God is moving in our home.  It’s great.  I love these little chats.  They’re uninterrupted and free of distraction.  Car chats are maybe my favorite.  By the time I make it back home, I’m melting.  I do a few routine things winding down and consider maybe doing some reading.  Or perhaps the unthinkable, a nap.

About this time, the dog gets out for the bazillionth time.  My niece needs me to go fetch him.  The neighbors have an impenetrable defensive fence surrounding their castle.  Well, it’s impenetrable to me, but not to our dog.   This is a trying event that I’m all too familiar with.  I stress to my niece the importance of watching herself on her way out the door.  Because I’m not going to keep doing this.  The cranky is starting.

Only a moment later, we’re having this discussion again.  And I see that look.  You know the one.  The I don’t care what you say, I’m going to do what I want look.  It comes with a smirk.  I’m ticked.  You might appreciate that my instinct is to use a different word here.  I’ll spare you that detail.  This is where I’m harsh with her.  It’s not the extreme kind of harsh where you question whether or not I’m fit to be left alone with children.  But it’s harsh for my taste.  I’m lacking in patience, and I haven’t been kind.  I don’t like it.

This niece of mine is seven years old, and she requires ample portions of patience which I just don’t have in me.  I know it.  I stand down.  My back hurts, and I don’t have it in me.  I go inside to do something mindless.  I want to distract myself from what I am feeling.  I think about what a lovely day it has been and what an awful contribution I just made to it.  The guilt is setting in.  I want to make it right with her.  But I’m too tired to be nice.  I just know it.  She’s going to try my patience again.  There’s no doubt about it.  I don’t have it in me to practice the good things I want to.  I need a nap.

Now brace yourself for this, friend.

I take one.  Right in the midst of this feeling like I should most definitely be doing something better than napping, I take one anyway.  My step-dad is outside.  I know the kids are fine.  So I nap.  For the good of humanity, I let myself nap.

I awake soon after much more refreshed, and I instantly remember the dire state of the seven-year-old I abandoned in my fit of distress.  I have to find her.  I have to fix it.  I go outside.  She isn’t there.  The car is gone, and I’m told that they left with their dad, she and her sister.  I look around, and right there I pray in my heart.  I recognize in the presence of Jesus that I wasn’t a reflection of His heart toward her, and I ask Him to forgive me.

That’s precisely when she pops out into my visage onto the street, an answer to my prayer.  She sees me, and her eyes light up the entire block.  She screams gleefully my name, and runs toward me full with joy.  My spirit whispers a grateful thank you as I lift her into my arms.  Her sister is gone, but she has stayed behind to play with her friends just down the road from us.

We decide to take a nice walk, just the two of us.  There are no distractions.  No interruptions.  We have a nice chat about all sorts of fun things I don’t quite remember now.  She wants to spit out her gum.  I tell her to wait until we pass a trash can.  She does.  It’s pure joy, this walk with my formerly unruly niece.  There are teachable moments, and I have it in me to teach when they come.  There’s no hurry.  The first trash can we encounter is in front of the corner store, and she doesn’t even press me to go inside.  She’s a dream.  Or maybe, I am.  We continue to enjoy our walking chat.

Sometimes I just need a nap, and that’s okay.

Today, if you’re feeling like you just don’t have it in you, can I charge you in love to just take a nap?  Or fill in the blank, whatever makes you happy.  Can I take that license, and just commission you to rest?  Feed your soul.  Your people will thank you, even if they don’t.

Trust me.  You’re better for others when you take care of you.  Sometimes we just need to be inspired.

I hope today, you’re feeling inspired.

Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Would You Dream A Little Dream With Me?

You stand at the threshold of your life in action.  It’s already in motion.

We’ve been talking about the invitations, and we’ve identified some factors that prevent us from showing up for them.  These factors in all their forms are shaped by fear in some way.  I hope we’ve discovered by now that fear is powerless over something far better.  That something is love.

Now I’d like to talk about that.  The love.  If you’ll indulge me, I’d love nothing more than to take you by the hand and escort you into something grand.  It’s a vision for hope in your very own story.  Your story gets to come as it is.  It starts today.  And you get to be in it.

I dream of the life I’d write for myself if I had my way about it.  If no questions asked, I could truly be who I please and live how I wish.  I imagine, if money and time were not an issue, the kind of dream I’d get to craft.

Honestly, if I give myself to this dream, it’s all about the people that get to be in it.  It has little to do with how I support them or myself or even the dream.  It’s about the joy.  What do you dream about, if you dare?

I’m guessing you don’t dream about the long hours of education in mastering a craft or all the restless nights in the dark spent cultivating the relationships that reflect your deepest bonds.  You think of the finish.  The fruit of your labor.  You think of the fun.  I know I do.

So why on earth do we end up leaving the fun- the joy- out of our good work?  What happens to our dream, the reason we do all the work?  We get stuck.  Don’t we?

I wrestle through all the labor thinking that one day I’ll arrive at the fruit, and it will finally be fun.  Do you do that?  But what if the fun is meant to be harvested while we’re still on the way?  If we don’t stop to welcome it en route, could we miss it altogether?

Do these kinds of questions change anything?  Do they change me?

I’m guessing they might.

What might it look like for you to seek that kind of fruit in your very own life?  What if you did it today?

In my world, today was baby day.  It was my brother’s first.  This happens to be my routine writing day as well.  I had a piece in mind I’d planned to construct.  But I lacked the time or the will to put it together.

Instead, I wrote this.  That seemed better.  I’ll save my deeper dive for next week.  It isn’t going anywhere.  And my heart will be in it.  Meanwhile, I’m okay with this.  Just this.

Today, I was present where I truly belonged.  Isn’t that what counts?  Isn’t that the dream?  When I let love lead my way, my heart gets to follow in its steps.  Life in action greets me today.  Every day, I get to choose if I will return that greeting.  So do you.

I hope you’ll choose the path that makes you feel like life’s a little more worth living.  I think the whole world will be a better place, because your fuller joy will spill into it.  You get to participate in your very own God-given life.  It’s a blessing.  And it’s already happening.  You’re already invited.  There’s not a better script in the world for you to perform than the one that’s been written for YOU.

Love comes to life when you do, my friend.  Come to life.  In your very own God-given corner of the world.  It’s a place that can’t wait to see what kind of place it might be with you really in it.  As you are, and where you are.  Today.

What do you see in that kind of world?  Why don’t you show us?

…”for (we) will take nothing with (us) when (we) die, (our) splendor will not descend with (us).”  Psalm 49:17 NIV {personalized for effect}

We can’t wait to see it with you!

How To Find The Invitations Hidden In Fear

The invitations are everywhere.  We’ve been invited to God’s very best.  There is a bouncer who calls Himself fear, and he’s scary.  Or she is.  At first she seems nice.  As crazy as it is, I think that we’re friends.  It’s a mystery to me because she never lets me in.  I guess secretly, I presume that she values me.  It’s as if  she wants to protect me from something inside.  I trust her.  Because clearly she knows better than me.  She’s loud and quick on her feet.  She knows things I don’t and catches all the tricks.  Fear is bossy and seems to know all the answers.  She tells me where to go.  Every detour en route is her turf.  She is there.  It makes me feel safe.

Something feels wrong, but I can’t place it quite yet.  There’s something Fear isn’t disclosing to me.  I begin to fear what she doesn’t say more than what she does.  Surely it’s too scary even to mention the unmentionables inside.  For my own good, she keeps quiet about these perplexing unknown to me factors.  This guard of the doors keeps me quite distracted.  So I never get too close to the truth.  What is it?  What is she hiding from me?

I can’t shake my curiosity.  I must know.  I stalk her, looking for clues.  I check all the places where I’m usually quite certain to find her.  I search each location for hard evidence.  Something I can take to my lab.  Night and day, I probe.  I dissect.  I dig, and I study.  What am I missing?

With intense obsession, I comb all this evidence.  What do I see?  Where does this trail eventually lead?  I follow these breadcrumbs to other people like me.  Many I’ve seen before now, and I thought they were threats.  I’m compelled to look closer.  I uncover the cords attached to their souls.  They’ve been tricked.  Fear has mastered the art of pulling these nearly invisible strings.  These people are victims.  Her fingerprints are smeared across each and every misdeed that begs to be seen.

Her prey doesn’t know that she’s played them.  They’ve been used, and they don’t even know it.  Each does exactly as she plans.  They all do.  Some are far better at keeping these ties to Fear a secret.  She’s there too.  There’s no doubt about it.  I brace myself to prepare for what I’ll see next.

I move closer.

From a distance, these marks seem like the usual suspects.  It’s the same story.  I’ve heard it all before.  There’s nothing new to see here.  I find myself wanting to maintain a healthy detachment to all of this.  I’d rather not get too personal.  Why is that?

Then I start to stir inside.  Something is trying to surface.  Why am I suddenly so anxious?  The sweat beads cold just under my skin.  What’s the reason for this clamminess now filling up my insides?  My chest is pounding.  I’m queasy.  I know something I don’t want to know.  These victims are me.  I’ve been fooled.  She played me.  All the places we went were a lie.

What didn’t I see?

It was the blessings.  All the glorious blessings.  I missed them.  There’s so much reward that I’ve missed because of this Fear.  I feel sick.

I start to rehearse all the things I should have done differently.  There are all these ways I could have prevailed and taken hold of these many good things.  I grieve.

That’s when something else becomes present with me.  It’s comfort.  This feeling is something I haven’t known before now.  It’s something other than this world.  Something other than what I can even understand.  This presence makes me feel strangely secure.  A certain peace which I cannot describe seeps deep into my being and spreads calmly throughout my entire body and soul.  Why is my spirit so quiet and calm?  Nothing seen has been changed.

The inaudible whispers wrap me like a warm blanket.  Suddenly, I know.  This is Love.

I’ve been soothed by something- Someone- more certain than Fear.  I still feel her nearness, and yet I’m not afraid anymore.  Love can be trusted.  Somehow, I know it.  No longer do I need it explained.  There’s a knowing so deep in my bones, that I sense it’s always been there.  He never confused me with a pretense of posture and answers.  Or pushy demands.  No less, He was there.  I just didn’t see Him.

What does this Love now wish me to see?

The blessings haven’t gone anywhere.  They’re right where I left them in the very start.  Now I know what Fear doesn’t want me to see.  It’s right there.  It’s all there.  It’s still there.  Love is here, to lead my way.  He shows me a new way.  Love is the way to everything good.  Fear taught me that.  Thank you, Fear.

You’ve pointed the way, and now you’re in the way.  It’s time to say good-bye, to you.  Now I know how.  I don’t need you anymore.  You’re just something I got used to.  I’ll get used to this too.  The invitations are mine, and you can’t have them.  I’m taking them back.  I want to use them.  I intend to take them inside, all the way in, to where God has told me to go.  I’m invited.  It says it right here.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  Matthew 7:7

I’m afraid you’ll have to stay here, Fear.  I’m going in.  You can chase me inside, but I’m still going in.  The thing is, I’ll already be in.  And once I’m there, perfect Love will cast you out.  He told me so in His letter to me.  It’s there in my memory.  I just forgot for awhile.  But thankfully, my Love never forgets His promise to me.  Even if I do.

Knock.  Knock.

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;  it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them.”  Psalm 44:3

 

~/~

 

My friend, the invitations are written, but we have to receive them.  Do you struggle with that?  I wonder if Fear keeps you just on the outside of everything good.  All God’s best is waiting for you.  What might Fear have to teach you if you listen in close?  I wonder.  Will you let the whispers of Love finish your story?

Will you knock?  Love wants to meet you on the inside.  What are you waiting for!

Let’s reach for abundance.  Let’s reach high and wide for Love poured out, over us.  Our Savior’s come to rescue us.  Let’s not keep our Love waiting.  It’s time to go to Him.  Will you come with me?

3 Reasons Why It’s Super Hard For Grown-Ups To Play

More than most anything else, I want to be a person that knows how to play.  But I struggle with that.  Do you?

When I consider all the things I’d like to see in my life, it seems to me they’re the by-products of simple play.  It’s giggles and adventure.  It’s the spontaneity driven by connectivity.  It’s something kinetic and electric.  I crave movement.  And yet, I resist it.  Why do I do that?

First and most obvious, I would say, is the issue of time.  There never seems to be enough.  Still, I manage to make more than enough for the lesser things.  Why is that?

I like to compartmentalize everything.  I want to wait until it’s designated fun time.  But fun can’t be put in a jar and perform on demand.  It happens on the way out the door.  And under a time crunch.  It happens right in the middle of things.  I have to let it in as it is and answer the door when it knocks.  It’s sad to admit how rarely I do.

Second, and perhaps more telling for me, is maybe the why.  I have to reach deep inside myself to access the place where this stuff is found living and breathing.  The treasury I seek is hidden the vulnerable.  I have to confess it exists to enter into it, but I prefer to keep this place guarded.

Third is the most crippling I think.  It’s the presence of others.  I allow the potentially distasteful and probably unlikely thoughts of others to immobilize my truest expressions.  But no emotion is complete until it’s expressed.  Love isn’t.  Neither is joy, or even sadness.  None are finished inside me until I’ve let them be felt.  I walk around only half full of the glory that waits- even beckons- for me.

 

~/~

 

Every day I have a choice to make about how I begin my day.  Saturday I felt like I made the wrong choice when straight away I reached for my mom’s phone instead of my Bible.  If you don’t know the story, my phone was recently stolen.  Yes, I wrote about it.  You can read that story too if you’d like.  It’s titled “Can A Stolen Phone Be A Gift From God?”   Now I use my mom’s phone.

I thought it would only take a moment, and I totally had in mind to keep with my schedule.  Bible time with coffee, then a jog, were at the top of  my list.  Daily writing practice was of course part of this line-up.  There were all the things, and just a little time.  I finished checking my messages pretty fast and moved on to my computer.  Again, I thought it would only take a moment to do this quick thing that I had wanted to do.  I still totally had in mind to keep with my schedule.  I’m addicted to checking things off my list.  Check.  Check.

Of course, it took a little longer than I’d planned.  Just a little.  I still would have had room to salvage the time that remained.  By now, I’ve half-way gotten involved in a movie my mom’s watching.  So I half-way read my Bible for the day, while still kind of watching “The Wedding Date” with Debra Messing.  It’s not a great partner to devotion by the way, but nevertheless, I digress.  I’ve still had no coffee at this point, and the tension is rising inside me.  I’m becoming quite irritable as my time runs shorter.  I can feel it.  The vibe is totally off.  I knew it from the start.

 

~/~

 

Today I awoke and lingered a moment before rising from bed.  I let the excitement of a book I’ve been expecting in the mail lure me to open my eyelids.  I go straight to my computer to check my email for confirmation of it’s arrival.  There was no news, and I closed my computer.  I was short on time before my mom left for work, and I wanted to see if there were Marco Polo messages from my friends before she did.  There were.  Yay!

I listened to them with great delight and then sent my mom off with happy greetings.  My three-year-old niece asks my mom for a kiss.  “A kiss, not a hug…” cause she’s wet.  I had some laughs with my sister before she left for work too.  I hadn’t rushed to my Bible today as I commonly do, but this felt different somehow than Saturday.

The dog keeps keeps running out the door, and usually this is no big deal.  But the neighbors have recently installed a wooden fence that doesn’t serve to keep our dog out.  This means I have to inform the neighbors to retrieve the dog.  This is not something I wish to do.  So naturally right when my sister’s walking out the door, this brilliant dog makes his escape.  I guess knowing full well that I must catch this outlaw BEFORE he makes it to the alleged fence turns me into Catwoman herself.  I duck and dive and jump over plants to cut him off right at the slat he was going for.  A fantastic rush of adrenaline expresses itself in glorious laughter.  I roar with it.  I won.

After everything has settled, I read some Scripture from the 40th Psalm about how God has lifted me out of the pit and given me a firm place to stand.  I’m reminded how He blesses the person that makes Him their trust rather than the false gods which are the lesser things.  It says that many are the wonders that God has already done, and that the things He’s planned for ME no one can recount to Him.  The Psalmist tells me that were he to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.  Our redeeming God has put a NEW song in my mouth!  Great is His love and faithfulness!  He’s quick to save me in my needy condition because it pleases Him.  May we who seek Him rejoice.  Make us glad in Your presence, O Lord.

I did some good reading on the porch while it rained.  Later I ate a jalapeno from our garden and went for a run.  My nieces and I discovered the art of peeling a peach without breaking the peel.  It looked like a red-orange snake.  I learned also that I can distract the 3-year-old niece from being hurt by providing assistance while she does a well rehearsed flip.  She says, “Stand on your tippie-toes…”  This means get ready.  She uses me as an anchor while she lifts herself up for a back flip followed immediately by a front flip.  We finish with high fives and clapping and squeals.

We went for pizza… because it’s Tuesday.  I invite all the whimsical conversation that the children like to make.  I wish I could remember all the fun things they say.  Earlier today, the 7-year-old says, “What’s wrong, Jelly Bean?”  It’s something she’s heard from me.  Isn’t that fun?  There were woo-hoos and big cries and lots of “I love you”s.  They came from right out of nowhere.  And I smiled until my cheeks hurt.

Why was today different than Saturday?  I wonder.

Saturday I reached for routine.  Today I reached for delight.

What do you reach for, my friend?

I hope you said joy.  And goodness.  I hope you said Jesus.  I pray that you know deep in your soul that His joy is full when yours is complete.  I hope you know that He’s in His glory when it’s Him you enjoy.  But because you can, not because you must.  I pray that you reach out for the gifts He has given because He’d be sad if you didn’t.  We can enjoy what He’s given, both for Him and with Him.  That’s how all of the gifts become gifts we get to give back.  It’s called joy.  And all the rewards are still ours.  Because that’s just how He likes it.

If the day was new, and the slate was totally clean, what might you do with it?  Just for the fun of it.

The 3-year-old tells me, “Today was a beautiful day!”  It certainly was.  I think I might sit for awhile.  Just for the fun of it.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Psalm 37:4