Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy 4th of July Monsoon from Tennessee

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We are expecting around 12 friends and family in 20 minutes so I thought it was the perfect time to wish all my Millinery friends a Happy 4th. We are having a crazy downpour that now has the weather people issuing flash flood warnings. For heaven’s sake! Whoever heard of such on July 4th? Nevertheless we intend to grill out (you can see my husband’s brilliant set up in the picture) and enjoy some time with our people. Here are my thoughts to share with you today about America: I am grateful to live here. I am blessed to live here. And because I enjoy that blessing I have a responsibility to share, give and frankly, care about the rest of the world. Ultimate freedom is found not in our country, but our Savior and while it is wonderful to thank God for our country, we mustn’t confuse that with worship. God is not an American.

I am proud of America in many ways, and certainly today want to say a special thank you to all those who serve in the military to maintain our freedoms. May your day be filled with wonderful food, family and gratitude!

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Keeping it All Together

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When I was young and had a memory that actually worked I did not feel joined at the hip to my planner. With every birth, I have become more convinced that somehow a woman’s memory is connected to the baby, because as each child left my body, so did some of my ability to recall where I’m supposed to be, who I told which story too and why am I standing in the middle of the grocery store?? So, as all good women eventually do, I quit trying to wing it, and began writing everything down as my primary plan. My memory had been relegated to a back up plan B.

Over the years I have had many different types of planner and calendars and have finally come up with a system that works for me. I use two planner/journals per year for my scheduling, meal planning and sermon notes. I have discovered a new sweet benefit of my attempts to keep everything running smoothly throughout the year: in writing down all the appointments, meals and thoughts about God, little reminders for kids schools or sports, etc. I have created a chronicle of our year. I have never been a good “journaler” and Millinery doesn’t really count because I certainly filter which events and thoughts I share with the world at large. But my journal for my meal planning/sermon notes as well as my daily planner are a true uncensored look at my life.

It was a fun treat to begin looking back at these as a year would come to a close. I could see the ebb and flow of life in myself and my family as I read my weekly menu’s, scanned all the plans made with friends and family, all the work appointments and doctor appointments and trips I’d taken. My favorite part was looking through old sermon notes to see how God was showing me more of Himself and His love and His purposes in my life. Some of my scribbled notes and crossed out to-do lists showed me how I still teeter on the edge of over-committing and how I still struggle to be consistent in things like exercise/bible study/healthy eating.

I highly recommend keeping all your to-do lists, menu’s, ideas and plans in one or two planners so you can look back as well. It is practical to plan and make lists, but having a year’s worth all bound together to reread is also nostalgic and offers a perspective on life I haven’t experienced until I began doing this.

My current pretty journal…..
A recent meal plan, and notes from an incredible sermon series through the book of Genesis

Quick Thoughts

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Tonight’s thoughts are short and sweet, sponsored by “Gone-With-the-Wind-Comes-on-TV-Tonight-and-I-Still-Have-a-Few-Loose-Ends-to-Tie-Up-Before-Bed”.

If your busyness is focused on making yourself look good, making your kids look good, getting people to like or be impressed with you, personal gain or creating temporary security it will lead to frantic, stressed out living. Temporary happiness replaced by deep emptiness. And the need to continually engage in more of the same.

If your busyness is focused on bringing glory to your creator, blessing your family and friends and reflecting God’s love to hurting and broken people- all the while knowing none of the “works” you do make God love you any more than He already does- then it will lead to joy.

I have lived in both types of busyness. It requires honest inner assessment for me to really know my motives, and at times I’m sure they’re a little of both. But, choosing to ask why I’m so busy is a good place to start. 

So tonight as you get ready for a big day of feasting, remember to focus on Jesus. His love and redemption offered at the cross. And allow that to fuel the choices you make. Or don’t make. 

That is all. Off to watch one of my childhood favorites……

Bookend Birthdays

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So today is my last day at 38. Tomorrow I will be 39 and officially living my last year of this decade. It is the book end on a really great period in my life. I have loved, loved my 30’s. God has worked me through lots of emotional and spiritual junk, I began a career, I gave birth to my bookend baby, traveled to Brazil and India to make Jesus famous and it has generally been a time of great blessing by God, full of transitions. In these nine years I have changed houses, churches and work life. I went from a mom of “littles” to a mom of teens + one big girl. I went from working part-time to full-time. My friendships have shifted. Thankfully, my primary relationships are stronger and my love for God is deeper than they were when I began this decade. What a blessing!

As I sit here, sipping my coffee and thinking of this last year in the 30’s I feel somewhat excited and motivated to close this era with gusto. You know, to look back and say my 39th year really reflected all that my 30’s taught me and blessed me with. So, to that end I have a few small (or big, depending on your perspective) goals for life over the next 365 days:

to be in better shape physically than I was when I began this decade- since I’ve been very open about my struggles to exercise faithfully, you know this will be a challenge. But since I have come to the conviction that I want to be a good steward of the body and health that God has given me, it has been a little easier. My plan to reach this goal is to continue to work out four days a week, cut back even further on diet cokes and bring some strength training into my cardio.

to try something new- I am a self professed “hamster on a wheel” so trying new things is always in intentional choice. But I am keeping my eyes and ears open to an opportunity God might present to grow me through attempting something I’ve never done. I’ll keep you posted.

to faithfully spend time connecting to God- this is another pattern of inconsistency I deeply desire to change. This is my year to do it! My church is a beautiful encouragement to me in this area as we are memorizing God’s word together and studying through books of the bible in sermons. I am serious about becoming a woman who depends on God and not my own strength, personality or gifting. My plan is to simply spend time in prayer and reading God’s word on a very consistent basis. I won’t say every day, because for me that tends to become legalism- something to check off a list that proves I’m “good” but I do want my life to be characterized by a pattern. In fact, I guess the goal would be at the end of the year to feel my day was not quite normal if I hadn’t spent intentional time with God.

to rejoice in the gifts of the moment and spend less time wasted on worry- I read a quote recently, I think it was Donald Miller, which said “God created this wonderful world full of awe and beauty and placed you in it to learn from it, care for it and see His glory. And you can’t do that sitting on the couch watching TV all the time.” So true! To which I would add, you can’t do that worrying about what tomorrow might bring. This moment is a gift. Right now, sitting here with this laptop and my cozy blanket and my needy cat. My lungs work, my heart works, my kidneys work. My family is safe. My needs are met. These are gifts I don’t deserve. I have not earned the right to have them. I want to live in such a way that as I enter my 40’s I am constantly aware that every moment– the fun, the tiring, the good, the painful, the sweet, the sad, the ordinary and extraordinary- are all from God and all to be lived to His glory.

Me and the hubs going out for my 39th Birthday Date!

I am closing this blog with a prayer of thanks to my Lord:

Dear Father, thank you for giving me life- both physically 39 years ago and spiritually! What a blessing to live knowing who you are and what you have done for me. I thank you for all my gifts, but most importantly for your son’s death and resurrection that gives me hope, and life and joy. This has been such a good year. I have cried a bunch with you over hurts of letting go. Over tensions in relationships. And in those tears you have taught me so many good things about myself and my need to be loved that I try to fill in many ways outside of you. Thank you for teaching me to depend on you to fill my heart. I have also delighted in my children growing up and seeing their lives unfold. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to be their mom another year. Thank you for challenging me to hold them “open palmed” and preparing me for them to spread their wings soon. I have treasured times with both my moms this year. Thank you for giving them another year of life and health, that I may love them better and learn to honor them more for who they are in my life. I have learned so much this year about myself in my marriage. Thank you for giving Scott and I the grace to love one another through the good, bad and ugly. He is still my very best friend and I am deeply grateful for every day we are given together. Finally I am amazed that you have given us a church family where we are challenged and loved. City Church has been one of my very favorite presents from you this year- may I be as much a blessing to this family as they have been to me and my family. In Jesus’ Name- Amen.

Style and Acceptance

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I enjoy being a stylish girl. I really do. But I find that I am always a little slow with catching up to whatever the newest “look” is. When flat ironed hair came “in” about 12 years ago, I was still getting spiral perms. When pointed-toe shoes came in, I was still loving my snub-nosed clogs from 2 seasons before.  And when belts made a huge come back, well, I’m still getting used to them- I currently only own one and I’m not convinced I’m wearing it right.

I have to really watch how people are wearing the latest look and study it and watch blog outfit posts to gain the confidence to try it. I think I lack an innate sense of style, so I mimic others. I would have been kicked off Project Runway immediately. (which would have been fine with me because there seem to be unnecessarily high levels of drama involved in every episode…..)

As a teenager, I could disguise this lack of style awareness by spending large amounts of time shopping and paying attention to others. When I first had babies, I went through a period of not really caring about staying current in fashion, because I just figured, “oh well, I’m a mom now and that doesn’t matter”. Then when I was suddenly single again, I got concerned about how “dated” I looked and how that might affect “dating”. I got remarried and have spent my late 20’s through late 30’s trying to figure out what my style is, and how to be current without being too young or too trendy. I’m too busy to spend hours trolling the internet or reading magazines. If I had to give my style a label it might be “cute and girly meets classic off the clearance rack” I find myself asking:
 at what age do I stop wearing actual shorts? can I shop at Forever 21? Is it really ok for my bra straps to show a bit from under my tank top straps? How long are we going to be “belting” because I don’t want to buy a bunch of belts if they’ll be “out” in a season or two. Are skinny jeans already out, or can I keep wearing them? 

I realize none of these thoughts are very deep or particularly life altering. They are simply reflection of the fact that I have never outgrown the desire to be lovely or stylish. What I have (thankfully) learned is that my acceptability and worth cannot be fulfilled by achieving either desire. I listened to some friends today talking about the struggle to feel acceptable in their own skin, after babies or age catching up with them or simply because they are overweight currently. It struck me as we all talked that being lovely is a good desire- but unless you believe you are already seen in that light be the One who will always love you perfectly, insecurities will surface. One of the good gifts of aging is the greater acceptance of myself for who God made me to be- small, curvy, girly. And style challenged. 


Totally Terrific Tuesday

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Reasons in no particular order that Tuesday was good:

1. I got to go work out with my two teenage sons at 5:30 am, which means a. I have two children God has blessed me to love for 17 and 15 years respectively b. both are healthy enough to work out c. both are motivated and have goals d. they like me enough to be seen with me (at least by the 13 other people at the Y)

2. My energy lasted all day. As my friend Doris says, Thank-the-lujah!

3. During my shopping fast I’m being forced to think outside the box about my outfits. Today I pulled off a new one that was, as a bonus, totally comfy for my long day.

4. My friends are having an adoption benefit to raise money for their adoption from Colombia. This excites me. I enjoy thinking about what wonderful parents they will be. I also enjoy thinking about how adoption is a beautiful picture of the gospel. They have been waiting for two years on this process- anything that feels like it moves them forward is good.

5. My friend at work did beautifully in her surgery yesterday and the doctors caught the cancer early. (Still praying for her total recovery)

6. My husband is handling planning my birthday. I do not feel like planning my own this year, so I am delighted.

7. Gave Emma the photo of Welly the cat curled up on a suitcase (which is his very favorite thing to sleep on) that my parents developed, even adding a soft focus effect (hilarious). Emma was delighted and made immediate plans to hang the picture in her locker at school for all to see her beloved cat.

8. Gorgeous, flaming red sugar maple tree I see on my way to work. (love, love, love fall!)

9. Was reminded today that it’s never too late to change your thinking or habits. The line from the Switchfoot song went rumbling through my head- “This is your life. Are you who you wanna be?” I’m so thankful that God has done so much transformation in my thinking which has led to changes in the way I feel and act. I like who I am becoming, and I feel free to admit I have so much work yet to do.

10. French Onion Chicken for dinner. Healthy, frugal and tasty= my kind of dinner!

Hamster off her Wheel

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Have you ever had your entire week just “thrown off” by one unexpected little twist or turn? That was my week, for sure and certain. I (obviously) did not plan in my September “surgery for Klynt” and even though he is recovering really well and being such a trooper, I have been completely behind ever since Monday. I went to bed exhausted every night, I lost my phone twice in one day, I sent emails without their necessary attachments. I even ended up grocery shopping at 9pm last night (which ended at 11:30 with the last item being put away), because I rearranged my work week to allow for being with my Klynters during his surgery, which meant rearranging all my normal wife and mom jobs too. Whew! I am delighted to be sitting in my jammies at 9:48am with a big ol’ day of “whatever I want to do” spread out in front of me!

One benefit to being a little “off kilter” all week is it shakes me up a bit and exposes a few cracks in the surface of my faith. For one thing, I notice I am way more easily agitated when I am out of my normal routine. That comfort of the familiar and regular is taken away and I feel a bit raw. I found myself needing to apologize for a harsh tone with Emma or making an assumption with Kyler. It’s humbling to see how easily my “goodness” erodes under a little pressure. I take so much comfort though, in knowing God does not crumble. He remains my one source of constant in an ever-changing life. I think part of my challenge is to learn to find more comfort in Him, and less in routine and schedule.

Another blessing of this week was questioning my norms. There are little ruts I dig that I never even think to alter, until they get altered and I realize it was better! Working out on Wednesdays around 8:30 worked great this week. Not doing laundry Tues-Thurs was not, in fact, a disaster. I’m still basically caught up. It was kind of nice being in my office on Friday and getting to visit with my Branches girls without the busyness of so many clients.

As thankful as I am for today’s wonderful laid back pace, I am also choosing to be thankful for a week that felt hectic and weird and uncomfortable. God has been teaching me to choose gratitude over complaint for several years now, and when I pick gratitude it’s amazing how much goodness and joy I find in things that used to bring me such angst.