Monday, April 1, 2013

{Under Construction} A fun new design is on the way!

Hello, faithful ones!
We are doing a little work on my blog this month.  
{Do you love the sneak peek above?}
I won't be posting regularly until we have the new platform up and running.
I have a bit to learn about how to use Word Press, so 
Mackenzie Turner, my website designer, is going to teach me a few things.

Until then, will you pray for our team?  
That I will learn quickly...
Jenn Sprinkle, my graphic designer, would have God-inspired ideas...
The movement of information will go easily for Mackenzie...
and Mackenzie's new little one will take long naps? {wink!}
Aren't her girls perfect?!
Thanks for your patience.  
I'll be in touch in a couple of weeks to let you know how we're doing.
Until then...
Be a blessing!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

{Make Friends} Conversation Starters

I have always enjoyed meeting new people, but it wasn't until I heard Fred Smith say that his hobby was "making conversation" that I realized it was mine, too.  Before this epiphany, I would often stare at the blank on the application form asking me to list my hobbies. 
I didn't knit or ride a bike, but I could talk.
Hobbies are great, because they start with something you love, then compel you to improve at it.  Making conversation is no exception.
Talking about the weather isn't enough for a talker, and talking isn't for the faint of heart. 
It takes courage to talk to a stranger, a teenager,  a grieving widow, a friend in crisis, or someone who has done you wrong.  Talking to people is risky, unpredictable business.  You risk being misunderstood, fumbling your words, or discovering after you walk away that you have spinach in your teeth.  It requires dealing with conflict, making the hard phone call, and saying you're sorry... a lot.

When you consider the complexity of making conversation, hobbies like skydiving and bungee jumping look like a breeze!  But the investment of yourself in the lives of others is worth it.  For some, it comes naturally, for others, it is more difficult.  But anyone who wants to live a deep and meaningful life, must learn to talk to people.  When I saw these strangers on the street sitting in a ball pit working to get to know one another, I was encouraged to keep working at my hobby.  
What JOY it is to make new friends!
{If you're reading via email, you can play the video HERE.}
And if you need a few questions to help you get the conversation started, visit Humor that Works and get their list.  
Here are a few of my favorites:

Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad but it 
turned out to be for the best?
What was one of the best parties you’ve ever been to?
What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you cry or tear up?
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
What was the last experience that made you a stronger person?
What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?
What’s the best/worst gift you’ve ever given/received?
What do you miss most about being a kid?
What is your first memory of being really excited?
What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
When was the last time you were nervous?
What is something you learned in the last week?
What story does your family always tell about you?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

{Bridal Luncheon} The details and meaning of the day.

We spent the day honoring our sweet friend, Jenna, yesterday~  
She is getting married tonight!  
A few of the neighborhood ladies hosted a bridesmaid's luncheon for her at Sfuzzi's in Las Colinas.  They have a pretty private room, perfect for parties like this.  
I wanted to share a few sweet things I took away from the event with you...

The incredible power of a mother's words. 

Mary, the emotional mother of the bride regained her composure when her youngest daughter, Amy, took her hand, infusing strength and composure into her heart. She then spoke unconditional love and pride over her soon-to-be-married daughter. 
It was the perfect example of words that bring life, and you could see the impact it had on Jenna when she dabbed the tears from her eyes.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" Proverbs 18:21

Let the generations be blessed!

Little Sophia, the flower girl, was all eyes and ears.  She stood by the bride and drank in every word.  Then I met Jenna's aunt, Mary Lawrence. I couldn't help but consider the profound impact these distant generations could have on one another.  Sophia brought a spirit of awe and delight and pride to the family.  Mary Lawrence, a 5 time cancer survivor, lover of Jesus and encourager, brought insight and peace.  The youthfulness of Sophia and wisdom of Mary Lawrence added JOY and DEPTH to our day.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD" Ps. 127:3
"Gray hair is a CROWN of splendor; it is attained by a RIGHTEOUS life." Proverbs 16:31

Details and meaning make a party memorable.

Jenna gave the hostesses a beautiful stone heart as a way to say thank you.  It was made in Haiti and the proceeds go to  A Heart for Haiti.  I love it's meaning and the sweet words that Mary and Jenna attached to it!  
Some people use paint to make art, Jill uses flowers.  She put together the sweet flower arrangements with flowers she bought at the grocery store.  To keep the cost down, she bought a potted hydrangea and cut off the stems {buying individually stems at the florist is expensive!} and used her own vases.  Abby brought pretty padded hangers for the bridesmaid's to hang their dresses on.
Abby's art is with paper and a computer.  Aren't the invitations for the party beautiful?  
And now for the best kept secret of the day!  
The guests oohed and aahed over how delicious the cake was with it's white chocolate mouse filling.  Here's our little secret...
  Order it with white on white icing, scored with little rosettes {very classy and sweet!} from Costco
Delicious and pretty for $17.99!
 Speaking of weddings, have you seen this video?  
I've watched it several times, 
noticing the reactions from all who hear the message as it unfolds. 
The congregation giggles, taking in the fact that this father has more to say than "Her mother and I" when asked the question, "Who gives this bride away."
The bride, blushes and looks down, but you know in her heart she is happy her daddy has some things he wants to make perfectly clear to her man.
The groom starts out nervous, laughs some, and ends up in tears.  
What a gift this is~ and thank goodness someone captured it on video~  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{Loving Your Wife} J.T.'s beautiful sacrifice.

This story has been reposted with permission from my friend Nat Pugh.  Nat often speaks of the precious unconditional love of his parents, but recently when he blogged about the tender care his father showed his mother as she grew ill.  Reading it made me want to love my Mr. Wonderful better.  I pray it inspires you in the same way.
Dad said he would slow down and quit traveling so much once Mom could no longer take care of herself.  She had Parkinson’s and the disease progressively ate away at her mobility and agility…but not her sense of humor or her spirit.  They were in their early 80’s but he was still in demand as a preacher and he loved nothing more than to hop on a plane and jet off to some location to inspire all who heard him.  If you ever heard him, you never forgot him.  But he loved Mom more.  He did stop his traveling and tirelessly devoted himself to caring for his bride of over sixty years.

Before bedtime he would remove his hearing aids rendering him basically deaf.  There was no way he could hear Mom’s soft voice in the middle of the night asking assistance to get up to go to the bathroom, or help rolling over.  So dad came up with a profound act of love.
He went out and bought a small rope and cut it to about six feet.  He tied one end  of the rope to the railing of Mom’s hospital style bed they had moved into their bedroom.  Nightly, he would tie the other end to his wrist before going to sleep.  When Mom needed him she would tug on the rope, waking him so he could get up and help her.
Dad lived love in action as her daily care took a toll on his own health.  She became his focus.  I told him those last few years were his finest.  I told him I was more proud of how he loved and cared for Mom than any of the significant accomplishments of his life.  His actions spoke volumes as he, more than any man I know, practiced what he preached.
Question:  I see J.T.'s love for Bessie in Nat's life as he loves his sweet wife, Dana, with the same sacrificial love.  Are you putting the interest of your husband or wife above your own like J.T. modeled so beautifully?  A great way to find out is to ask your spouse a simple question:
What do I do that makes you feel most loved? 

Monday, February 25, 2013

{Giving my son away} Loving him enough to let him go (twice).

 I'm back from my wedding planning trip, and I'm tired.  So. very. tired.  

It's not so much because Mom and I explored the city of Houston for two days looking for rehearsal dinner venues, or even the tsunami of details yet to be decided before the wedding...

I'm tired because it's hard work emotionally to let go of my boy~ 
Even to the most deserving bride.
And his Meagan truly is above and beyond what I could have ever hoped or imagined.  
There's not a doubt in my mind that she is the one I've been praying for.

Most of the time I'm giddy as I anticipate the moment their blue eyes meet as she glides down the aisle on her father's arm like a dream.  But there are moments, like right now, when the house is empty and quiet {Mr. Wonderful is out of town} when tears blur 
the letters on the computer screen, and it is really hard. 

Giving my boy away creates a sacred, ironic, noble kind of sadness.  

  • It's sacred because the glorious, God-designed mission of motherhood allowed me to birth and raise a son.   
  • It's ironic because I don't want things to change, but I don't want them to stay the same, either.   
  • And it's noble because letting him go requires a profound, selfless act of courage.

I made this sacrifice once before, on my knees, after my cancer diagnosis.  Uncertain about my future, I wept and prayed and lifted my hands to Jesus, offering my children to him forever.  I survived cancer, but that moment marked me.  I gave him away once, so I figure I can give him away again.  Because that's what mother's do.

Tonight I escaped to the attic and sat amidst the boxes of soccer trophies and tubs full of Legos and plastic army men.  I shifted things around until I found the large, long plastic box labeled "Blake."  Holding my breath, I could feel my throat tighten as I snapped the lid off and looked inside.  It was full of over sized, extra large zip-lock bags bulging with memories.   Random things filled the box along with Blake's school work, journals and art. 

His first pair of Stride Rite walking shoes,
a grey construction paper mouse,
a spiral full of prayers from his fifth grade 
Bible study,
his tattered, thread-bare, sharpie-scribbled red converse sneakers 
(oh, how he loved those shoes!),
and his graduation tassel.  

It was good to sit and drink in his life as I laughed and smiled through my tears.

There have been times when my children needed to move on, when instead of trusting God, it was as if I grabbed both their ankles forcing them to drag me out into the world with them, my weight holding them back like an anchor.  As they went off to school, camp or college, sometimes I would tighten my grip on those ankles until I heard the voice of God. 
"Do you want my best for your child?  Then you must let him go, trust me.  
I'll help you."

I'm claiming a mothering victory on this one. 
I've had my reflective moment.  Now I'm getting out in front of it, pressing into the sadness, and pushing through to the 

Question:  Is there something you need to release your child to do on their own?  Are you hindering their growth by holding on too tightly?  Whether it's starting school or getting married, kids learn to rely on God when we release our grip and let them fly.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wedding planning and marriage advice.

I'm off to Houston to secure the venues for the Rehearsal dinner and Bridesmaid's luncheon for our upcoming wedding.  I'm taking this pair of precious coffee mugs with me to give to the bride and groom {see the writing on the inside rim?  It reads, "I have found the one my heart loves." from Song of Solomon 3:4}

I can hardly contain my joy!

I also packed a copy of The Knot Book of Wedding Lists just to make sure I'm not missing any of the details, and of course my trusty organizational binder that holds all the sacred lists~ it is adorned with my "She said, YES!" printable

The other day I read a terrific blog post by Chance Scoggins where he shares a valuable piece of marriage advice he learned from his wise friend.  

Chance tells about their conversation.  

It began when he asked this about marriage:

I asked him, “How can I be sure we’ll last forever?”

“You can’t.  You can only be sure it’s going to last forever a day at a time.  You make it to forever bit by bit.”

Read the rest of Chance's story here.  {And consider following Chance's blog; he's terrific!}
Question:  When you consider your marriage and the difficulties you face in it, is your first reaction to examine how well your spouse is meeting your needs?  Why not reframe the question to something like this:  How well am I meeting the needs of my spouse?
After all... he (or she) is the one your heart loves!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

{Howard Hendricks} Do the job you love.

image by skylab via
Howard Hendricks died today.
He was a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for 52 years, and according to this video interview, he loved it so much he would have done it for free.  Watch and see this gentle man describe the joy he experiences doing what he loves.
Prof Hendricks influenced many prominent preachers: Tony Evans, Bruce Wilkinson, Charles Swindoll and David Jeremiah are among the most renown.   He also taught my Mr. Wonderful, and thousands of other students who went through Dallas Theological Seminary. 

  Back in 1983, Mr. Wonderful went to a Campus Crusade conference called KC '83 with 17,000 other college kids.  When he heard Dr. Hendricks speak he was profoundly moved.  In fact, Mr. Wonderful enrolled in Howard's Bible Methods class at DTS after moving to Dallas the following year.   

Fast forward 20 years or so, and Mr. Wonderful was introduced to Howard's son, Bill Hendricks.  As you can imagine, Bill makes his father proud by helping others find their God given calling through his Giftedness Center.  Dwight worked with Bill during a difficult career transition and Bill helped him find his way.  If you ask Dwight about Prof or his son, he will tell you that Howard and Bill changed the direction of his life.  

Mr. Wonderful introduced me to Howard when we ran into him at a Young Life Ski Resort in Colorado a few years ago.  His face lit up when Dwight spoke to him, and I saw the twinkle in his eye and sincere delight in his voice as he engaged his student.

I found another AMAZING teacher you need to meet via video.
The video is 12 minutes, but you must watch it until the end.  It just gets more remarkable along the way.  Jeffery Wright teaches Physics and COMPASSION.
This blog post is our way of saying thanks, Prof Hendricks, for embracing your God-given calling and finding joy in it..
No doubt, your legacy will just keep rippling outward. 

Question:  As you think back to the teachers in you life, which ones were the most influential?  Why don't you take a few minutes and see if you can find them through Facebook or an internet search, then text or tweet or post a little thank you on their wall.  It's never been easier to say "thank you!" 

If you are reading via email, you will need to click HERE to view the videos on my blog.