love

I Love You

Three very simple words that possess the power to literally change everything.
We’ve heard them so may times we don’t always realize their full implication.
If we don’t hear them, it has a profoundly negative impact on our life.
If we don’t say them, it has a profoundly negative impact on our life.

But what if that’s all you could say? -Continue Reading

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Celebrate That! Part One

My family likes to follow a certain football player in the NFL.  Last week he was mic’d during the game. We watched the video with all his comments.  It was very entertaining. Every time something positive happened he would say, “Celebrate That!  Celebrate That!” to his teammates.  He wanted to make sure that everyone experienced the success together.  He wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of the good.

Today in church the pastor told a story of 4,400 South Korean Army troops hearing the story of Jesus and getting baptized this past summer.  FOUR THOUSAND-FOUR HUNDRED!!  The pastor remarked that we wouldn’t hear about this in the mainstream news so as a church we needed to Celebrate That!

The Christmas season is upon us.  Christmas by definition is the celebration of Jesus birth.  I realize that this time of year has become a blending of many things for most Americans.  It’s the celebration of peace, joy, family togetherness, giving etc.  It’s all good. Honestly, we need as many reasons to encourage love, giving and kindness that we can get.  Lest we forget, the roots of Christmas has always been about Jesus.

We need our attention to be turned toward the good in the Jesus story so we can Celebrate That!

This is part one of a four part series of posts focusing on celebrating the Christmas story from different angles. My hope is that it gives you something new to consider; that it peaks your curiosity and inspires your soul.

Celebrate That!

 

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Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:    Isaiah 7:14

Have you ever had a sign?  You know, something weird happens and you think, that must be a sign. We all look for something other to happen in order to affirm what is currently happening.  We need a reason, albeit foreign to us, to understand the inexplainable or unfamiliar.

The gas pump stops at $10 on the dot, the exact amount you had in your pocket. All your socks have mates when you’ve done the laundry, this never happens.  The clouds open up and sun beams directly down on a couple as they share their wedding vows.  You think, it’s a sign.

Something pointing to a supernatural occurrence, meant just for you.

Someone is trying to get your attention.

Someone wants you to notice.

Long before Jesus was actually born, a prophet gave word that a sign would be given initiating His birth. A precursor to His arrival. Something other would happen that would be a sign of the inexplainable birth of God’s son.

We don’t often celebrate the fact that before Jesus was born we were given a sign, meant just for us.  (See here.)

God getting our attention.

God getting us to notice.

God sending a sign is reason to Celebrate That!  God desiring our attention.  God not wanting us to miss the inexplainable and unfamiliar because there is something special in it, just for you and me.  The sign is like a big flag waving in the air, begging our eyes to see, urging our gaze to look away from the ordinary and consider the extraordinary.

There is something in the story of Jesus birth meant just for you.

Before God sent His son, He sent a sign. 

Celebrate That!

I Have Rust

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Rust is ugly.

It’s hard to show my rust.  My husband and I are not rust kind of people.  We both work hard to keep rust scratches and dents from happening. We don’t like rust to show.

Some of you are like, get over yourself, rust is reality, don’t be such a snob. But there are others of you who know exactly how I feel. It’s hard to let the ugly truth just hang out in the open where everyone can see it.

Rust is eventual in the big scheme of things.

We bought our suburban 12 years ago knowing that it would be the car for the long haul.  The vehicle of investment that would facilitate our family need for a long period of time.  The thing is, it’s gone on much longer than either my husband or I had expected.  This is a good thing because we’ve needed it go keep rambling.  As diligently as we’ve tended to its’ engine and body, rust could not be kept from settling in.  Long term vehicle use in a snowy climate is subject to the effects of salt. Rust. It’s inevitable, but not terminal.  The suburban keeps on, keeping on. Doing what she was meant to do.

Symbol of longevity.

The rust on my car tells a story.  It speaks of the many years and miles we’ve shared caring for our family. The rust is her wrinkles. Although it takes a little more effort these days, she has not given up. She has been many places and seen many things. Always an integral part of life.

I notice now more than ever all the ways there are to make ourselves appear younger than we are.  The ways we can cover up rust and not let anyone know we’ve traveled many miles and been many places.  And I ask, why?  Experience is the badge of longevity and wisdom often follows.  Who doesn’t want that?  Who doesn’t want their life to read like a really cool story?

Silent sickness.

The patterns of rust that have formed on my car are in places where water and salt have sat longer than they should. The corrosion of rust began forming a long time ago in these unseen places and they have finally ripped through the steel. We didn’t know these spots on the car were vulnerable, that is why they are vulnerable. We often cannot see our area of weakness until some rust has formed.

Anytime we commit ourselves to loving other people long term, whether it be family, friends, c0-workers, church etc., our vulnerabilities will show up.  We don’t want them to but they will.

Love brings out the good and the weak inside of us.  It’s supposed to.

I said before that I don’t like my rust to show. I really don’t. But I think one of the greatest gifts we receive from being in long term love is accepting the rust in our lives. Not to shame us but to show our humanity and our need for extra TLC in certain places.  Love comes to accept and offer healing rather than destroy our self worth.

Rust sometimes has to form first before we know corrosion has taken place.

How many times have you had the same conversation with a loved one where they claim you “just don’t see it” or “this happens every time”?  You probably have some rust.

Don’t let the rust scare you.

Rust can be problematic but it doesn’t have to be cataclysmic. You can keep rambling down the road with rust as long as you know where it is and are actively tending to it. My tendency is to hide it and not deal with it.

Sometimes you can bounce around from friend or family group, never really letting anyone stay long enough or get close enough to see your rust. It feels comfortable at first but eventually you end up hiding and never get to experience what love and healing can do when they are mixed.

So, I have rust.

I don’t like it.

I don’t want you to see it.

But you have rust too.

Now we are not so alone.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~ Romans 3:23

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, ~ John 17:3

 

Love People Friday

Love People Clothing

Love People Clothing

I decided that today is Love People Friday.

Every day is a good day for working on love but Friday is even more important than most.  It’s the official start to the weekend. The weekend goes better when Friday is good!

My sister, Jodi, has a small business where she crafts unique pieces of clothing and sells them in local boutiques. It’s been a nice little business for some time but recently she has been inspired to move beyond creating something women like to own into creating something women will want to wear.  Her business, Love People Clothing has always promoted an inspired look but now she wants to promote an inspired life.  So she created a t-shirt line that goes by the name Love People.

Her goal is to inspire others to really examine the heart of what loving others is about and living that out in day to day life. The t-shirts are just a small reminder to wear love like you would wear a piece of clothing. To her love is not about the grand gestures but the small, loving words or actions that impact one.  Impressing thousands is easy and temporary, loving just one isn’t necessarily easy but it creates the most lasting effect.

So back to Love People Friday.

Friday is the day when most of us experience a shift in the work/school week.  Schedules are not as structured and we spend more time with our family and friends.  All the more reason why Friday matters the most when it comes to all things LOVE.

If I’m being honest, weekends around my house haven’t always been full of love.  Where I can coast most of the week on my own terms, I now have to collaborate with others on activities, needs or meals.  And then there is the issue of who gets in the shower first or who has the remote control?  I’ve been known to loose all good graces before on a Sunday afternoon. I need to be reminded to wear love.

That’s why I’ve dubbed Friday, Love People Friday.  It’s a reminder that I have to put on love before we all get together.  I have to decide ahead of time that I’m choosing love instead self-centeredness.  I choose to see my husband as he is and not as I expect him to be. I choose to flesh out patience, in whatever means necessary, when tempers rise and energy is low.  Letting naps happen. I choose to wait my turn and give grace when we are struggling; to speak truth or stop unhealthy habits as best I can for the sake of love. Eating a meal together instead of all at different times. Giving extra hugs and kisses and whisper soft words of love. Saying “thank you” and “please”. Playing a game. Reminding one another why you love “us”. Choosing to walk around the mall with your child, just because they need some time.

I know I won’t always do it well but I commit to giving it a try.

So here’s to Love People Friday.  Decide now to love those in your life this weekend.  You’ll be spending a little more time with them after all.  Wearing love on Friday could determine how well the rest of the weekend goes.

Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.  ~Colossians 3:14

#wearlove

How To Break A Crockpot

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So I broke my crockpot last night.

You heard right.

I broke my crockpot.  You know the cooking appliance that you throw ingredients in and leave it to cook all day.  You pretty much can’t mess it up….yea.  Somehow I found a way to ruin mine.

I wanted to try something new.  I tried a recipe for home made bread in the crockpot.  It sounded easy so I gave it a go.

Now I probably should have realized it was a bad idea when the instructions stated to place the inner liner of the crockpot in the oven at a high temperature for over an hour.  The actual heating element of the crockpot….the part that makes it a crockpot...wasn’t actually going to be used.

Hmmmm.

So I followed the instructions as written (something that I don’t normally do but I was hoping to prove to my family that I could follow a recipe).  I heated up the oven.  Put the crock pot with all the ingredients in and…poof….after some time out came my experiment.

It didn’t work.

This is nothing new for me, or my family.  I’m used to things not working in the kitchen.  I began cleaning my mess.  I noticed something wrong with my crockpot, there was a sticky cloudy coating on the inside.  I scrubbed and scrubbed.  It wouldn’t come clean.  Then I realized…it wasn’t a stuck on mess…the glaze had come off… grrrrrrr.

Now I’m not sure but I don’t think I can use a crockpot in this condition.  The glaze seals the pot so it’s safe to use…but it has to be used properly. (I think they remind people to use appliances properly for a reason.  Lesson learned.)  Apparently putting the crockpot in the oven at a high temperature falls outside meaning of “used properly”.

Sharing my failed bread making attempt with my husband, he blurted out, “If you wanted a loaf of bread why didn’t you just get in the car and go get one instead of trying a new recipe and ruining the crockpot?”

“It wasn’t the bread I wanted. I wanted to try something new.”  I responded.

We both found each other to be funny.  He looked at the entire endeavor one way and I the other. The bread was the desired result but we assumed two different goals.  Mr. Practical was about securing a loaf of bread. Miss Inginuity was about experimenting with creativity and innovation.

Isn’t that like relationships? They are formed by two people with different mental, emotional and relational DNA. When two people assume the wrong things about one another, crockpots get ruined. Many disagreeable moments happen because we fight over how to fight.  We misunderstand one another.  We are familiar with one another but we don’t know one another.

One loaf of bread.  Two ways to get it.

How many arguments happen because we only relate one way – our way.  How many fights ignite because we react instead of respond, or we posture ourselves to be the right one instead of listening or asking questions to better understand?   Just because we are in a relationship doesn’t mean we know how to relate.  Just because we are in a marriage doesn’t mean we know how to be married. We are siblings but struggle to feel like family.  We c0-exist with other workers and fail to collaborate. Friends wonder how to be good at friendship.

The point is, relationships don’t always get used properly.

I didn’t realize that crockpots in a high temperature oven for a long time is a bad idea. I was unaware of how to properly use it.  I didn’t think I needed to read the owners manual.  In the same way we don’t realize we need to go to school on relationships. Having a relationship isn’t the same as being in a relationship.  Friendship isn’t automatic when you are friends.

Who knew we need to learn to be a learner of those we live with and love?

Who knew crockpots could be ruined?

Who knew relating to others requires learning how?

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  ~ I John 3:18