Monday, May 2, 2016

Bathrooms, Boycotts, and One Mom's Voice

I feel like before I wade to deep into this water that I should tell you a little about myself for

full discloser.

I am a born again Christian. I believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  I believe that the Bible

has clear standards by which we are to live. I believe sin is sin no matter the stripe, but yes

I do believe that homosexuality and others sexual sins-including Transgenderism- are offensive to

God.

Politically, I no longer call myself a Republican but a Conservative and I'm pretty staunch in

those views.

I have worked at Target.  I was a sales floor team member for 2 years about 11 years ago. . .and

I LOVED it. I was very good at my job, received a couple of awards and even had a customer

brag on me to the cooperation and I received a letter of  appreciation from the president of Target.


_________________________

Bloggers everywhere are chiming in on the controversy surrounding the decision by Target to

announce that people may use which ever restroom they choose by which matches the gender they

are identifying with.

I don't usually like to write posts about things that are blowing up social media and news feeds,

because there are typically much louder voices than mine doing so, or I find others saying what

I would like to say and I feel there's no need for my voice.

But, a few times in my blogging life have been different and this seems like one of them.

________________________

My Conservative Christian brothers and sisters are up in arms.

And I get it.  I mean really, it seems like such a silly argument to me. And to most of us, I'm

sure it does. But, then I've never been presenting myself to the world as the opposite gender,

so maybe it causes more angst  than I can ever fully know.

Our society is changing and changing quickly. It can cause your head to spin and wonder

what in the world is happening.

_________________________

I have never noticed  bathroom police at Target or any where else,  and frankly if you're dressed

as a woman and still enter the mens room that seems so much more of a stranger thing to happen.

I know I have shared a restroom with a transgendered person more than once.  I did not fear

for my safety.  I have however feared for my children (namely my boys) sending them into

the mens restroom when they were little guys and seeing some sketchy looking characters come out

before they did.

With this new policy (although I question whether it's new. I think it's just being stated out loud

for the first time) much of the conversation amongst Christians and Conservatives is about safety.

I get that. I do.  But, here's the thing. You had a false sense of safety before, if you thought a

public restroom was safe.  Story after story can be told of heterosexual predators and  child predators

long before this policy. Does it make it easier for them? I have no idea. But, maybe not, as you

might be more aware of your surroundings now.

________________________

Perhaps you can guess already what I am going to say about the boycott of Target.

I will not be participating.

As an American you have every right to spend your hard earned dollars wherever you see fit.

I absolutely believe that.

But, it seems for Christians this is our go-to.  And I suppose it's because we know that's where

we can hurt them, right in their pocketbook.


I'm just left wondering, why are we surprised/scared/confused when a known liberal leaning

company, acts like a liberal leaning company?

Really, how was anyone surprised by  or taken off guard by this?


_________________________

I can hear the comments and emails being written now.

About the Bible and what it has to say about sexuality.

About how if we don't take a stand now when will we?

I hear you.

Here is my response.

The need these people have, the need I have and every person has, is Jesus.

Their sin is unbelief, yes manifested in outward ways, but their sin is no worse than mine.

Or yours.

And if we Jesus Followers believe this to be true. . .that all sin and fall short of the glory of God. .

that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. . .

then how do we tell them if we're boycotting them?

How do we tell them if we are walking into our local Target store and confronting sales floor

people or store managers (Who have absolutely have  no power to change the mandate from

their corporate office and are just trying to earn a paycheck ).

When we are ugly and unkind in one moment then telling about the saving grace of Jesus in the next?

Or are we even doing that?  Are we so concerned about our changing society we'd rather focus on

that and how it upsets us, then telling people about Jesus?

We will never win them with a boycott.  We can never scream loud or long enough.  When we  take

on the worlds methods of getting our point across our voice begins to sound the same and gets

downed out.


____________________

So, what's the answer?

I'm just one mom, and there are many many much smarter and wiser than me, but for me, I'll

keep shopping those discounts racks at Target.  I will smile and be polite. When there's a chance to

talk about Jesus I will. Talk about Jesus. Not bathrooms.

Jesus can save. Save to the uttermost. Save us all from every pit we're in. The ones we've been

pushed in and the ones we've created ourselves.

Only Jesus.


_____________________

So, do I think you're a horrible person if you boycott Target?

No not necessarily. If you've prayed about it and feel the Holy Spirit leading you in that way then

no.

I would ask that you do it kindly. Respectfully even. Can you imagine that? Disagreeing without

being disagreeable.

And I would say this, don't do it because you're afraid.

Jesus is coming back. He will right every wrong. He will make straight all the crooked  places. (no

pun intended)

Yes, our country looks different than it used to.

I say good. . .as hard as that is to swallow.  It brings us closer to depending on God instead of

ourselves.

It allows us more opportunities to share the love of Christ.

We've become lazy over the generations, we Western Christians.

It's time we flex our muscles and fight the good fight; down on our knees in prayer, sharing the

gospel even when it's neither convenient or safe, tell the truth about what the Bible says.



But, for me. I'll go shopping.

And if I have to use the restroom while I'm out. . .well it was never my favorite place in Target

anyway. . .have you been in a public bathroom, they're pretty nasty no matter what.

I'll smile at the cashier and I'll tell her Jesus loves her. Because he does.  And that might be

the first time they've ever heard that or it might be what they needed to hear that day, and I can't

do it if I'm boycotting.



_____________________


We can do this. . .walk in grace.

Let's do it together.


Much Love,























Thursday, April 28, 2016

Groceries, Seasons and Me. . .or I'm always learning at Aldi

I was frantically running errands on Monday, and landed myself at Aldi.

We were running low on food and it was just no longer an option to put it off.

Although, in my heart I totally wanted to. . .but my families insistence on eating prevented that for

even one more day.

So there I was, list in hand, ready to rock Aldi. After all, I'm no newbie!  I know I need a quarter,

I recognize  all the labels, I know where the sacks are and that I'll be paying for them-and filling them

up.  Yep, I've got this down pat.

The very story I ever wrote as adult was about an adventure in this very store, in the very location I

was at on Monday.  You can read that here.

I've shared that story quite a bit  as I've had more speaking opportunities, and it came to mind

Monday as I was tossing things in my cart and crossing them off my list.  The store was filled with

moms and preschoolers or should I say; frantic, tired, stressed moms and noisy, busy preschoolers.

I tried to hide my smile as I heard them and their dear momma's trying to herd them to the next aisle.

Oh, OH! How I've been there.  I remember those days well.  Cajoling, bribing, threatening. . . even

yes, even giving in and caving to whatever was being begged for. . .yep

I've done it all.


Listen, I'm no parenting expert and would never claim to be.  Heck, we're right in the deep water over

here. How can you be an expert when you haven't seen the finished product yet?

But, I am a momma who's seen a few things and been doing this mom life for more than a few years.

So, hear this my Dear Sweet Momma's out there, the days do get easier.

There will absolutely be a time in your life you can go to the store and no one begs you to buy them

anything.  You'll go ALONE (can you even imagine) and you won't worry about germ filled carts,

or keeping littles entertained while you pile two weeks worth of groceries in your cart.

You won't be squeezing an avocado in one hand while holding a squirmy toddler with the other.

No will run down the aisle, colliding with a grandma, while you stand there mortified with the toilet

paper in your hand.

These crazy stress filled moments will pass.

Now, don't get me wrong. They will be filled with other crazy stress filled moments.

Moments involving homework, friends, what's appropriate to wear and what's not, eye rolling and

Don't you talk to me like that Mister! moments.

So, what did I learn in aisle 12 this week??

Don't wish away the baby/toddler/preschool years.  Cherish them. Even the hard ones.

Those precious babies grow up so stinkin' fast it'll make your head spin.

Soon you'll be sitting at the dinner table talking about how to pay for college and dating and  "Can I

have the car Friday night."

Here's the other thing I learned. I can't wish away these teenage/middle school/I'm almost double

digits mom years either.  I can't keep wishing to turn the clock back (or if I'm really honest, speed it

forward. . .teenagers are no joke you guys !)

Spring is springing here in Kansas.  A season, a promise.  Some days are so beautiful you wish you

could bask in them forever. Some days are dark and gloomy. Some are downright volatile.

But, each and every one of them pass. Nothing stays the same.  Summer will soon be here.

Your season, and mine. It'll change.  Let's learn to enjoy the one we're in right now, instead of

wishing it away.

Oh Aldi, how you mess with my head when I'm just trying to buy some groceries.

Thank you, Lord for always being willing to teach me where I'm at. . .even the aisle of the grocery

store.

Thank You, for never changing in a world and circumstances that always

do.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJ) To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:


Help us Lord to embrace the season we're in.


You are loved,




Monday, April 18, 2016

26 Days

Oh My Stars, I just saw when I last blogged.

That is so sad and a sign of a busy life.

As you can imagine, some things have happened along the way between February 15 and April 18th.


We had a lovely anniversary weekend.

Our Sweet Girl broke her foot during PE.

I've had a couple of speaking opportunities.

Our middle just turned 13 (Another teenager in the house. . .somebody hold me)

Our oldest is on the job hunt.

My Uncle passed away.

And a dream of my Dear Hubby came true when he bought a Harley.

Sister had her piano recital.

Life has happened.

That's a  lot of life in a short two months for one little family.

And I bet, if you and I were sitting down to chat you could give me a list just as long as mine.

Some good, some not so good and some just stinkin hard.

Life.

With all this life going on around us and after months of praying, we realized a change in the coming school year was needed for our family.

After 12 years we would not be enrolling in the Christian school my children have attended since preschool and I would not be returning to the job I've had there for the past 5 years.

There are several reasons why it seemed God was leading us in this direction and none of them easy.

It has been a difficult year for our middle child and we have seen him hurt and struggling.

My husband wanted to move him in October then again at Christmas break, but I kept hesitating

thinking it would be best or at least 'fine' to finish out the school year. After all, transitioning

to a new school is challenging and during the school year even more so. That is what I was

saying to justify my hesitation. Which really was just fear, wrapped in a disguise.

Last Wednesday our middle came frantically looking for me after school to tell about a bullying

situation he had just found himself in. He was upset and disheveled.

As we talked through things and notified the school, my husband said let's pull him now.

My reply was "It's only 26 more days".

The next day things got worse and spiraled to a place I had never dreamed.

By Friday morning our two youngest children were enrolled in their new school.

Frankly, we spent much of the weekend walking around wounded and in shock.

But, as the shock began to wear off  and I kept thinking about "It's only 26 more days", it was

as if I could hear the Lord whispering into my heart, "but it was 26 days to long. I asked you to obey

a long time ago."  And He had.  Chance after chance I had to listen to my husbands wise counsel and

that of other trusted friends who knew what we'd been dealing with, but I let fear of the unknown stop

me.

Sometimes 26 days is just to long and God says "IT IS TIME TO GO RIGHT NOW!".

Surely, I can't be the only holding on to something God is telling them to let go of, or to move

on from.  Not necessarily even bad things, but it's just not His plan for you right now.

Fear is such a liar.  It holds us back... It holds me back.  Just when I think I've got it beat, it

rears its ugly, stupid, lying head once again.  Oh I was ready to obey, to follow. . .when it

was convient for me. . .when I thought the timing was right. . .which isn't obedience at all, just

fear wrapped up in control.

Some wounds have been inflicted on us by others, either their actions or their gossiping tongues . . .

but some wounds we let be inflicted by staying to long in a place after God said move.

The littles had a great first day.  I  know they all won't be great, but today was and I am so thankful

for that!

When God says move.  It's best to move.

26 days.

I can't wait to see what God does with 26 days.
Monday, February 15, 2016

Lessons Learned Along the Way

Today my sweet husband and I are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary.

All the while contemplating the major question. . .how the heck did we get old enough to be married

for this long?? (Seriously. It was supposed to take much longer than it has.)






We were young and naive and didn't know much.

The only thing we knew is we loved Jesus and each other. And that we were pretty sure that

was enough.


I've learned some lessons along the way, some the easy way, but most the hard, so I thought I'd pass them along so maybe you don't have to learn them the hard way like  me.

_____________________________________________


1) Forgiveness.  You will be doing and asking for it more than you dreamed.

And when you say you forgive, you've really got to do it. Don't keep them dangling on the hook-twisting, wondering if 'this' was the time they'd really be forgiven.

2) Be a grace giver.  Everyone wants to receive grace yet so few want to give it.
You're going to get hurt and it may be hard to move past. Let the grace you've been so freely given flow out of you. It will heal you both.

3) Be kind.  Yep, that's it. You gotta be nice to each other--even when you're tired and cranky.

3) Laugh.  Oh my goodness, life is so stinking hard, you've got  to laugh when you can and maybe even when you feel like you can't.  Laugh together and often.

4) Have fun (see previous point) Life is hard, find or make the fun as often as you can. And don't ever take it for granted.

5) Little things are really big things.
    Folding the towels the correct way, toilet paper replaced on the roll, fill up the car with gas, surprise them with their favorite drink. Little things add up to really big things.

6) Sex. Have it. Lots of it. Have it when you don't always feel like it at first.
It's a gift, enjoy it.

7) The time to let go, isn't in the middle of the storm.
Let's be real. Storms are going to come. Some of them much stronger than others.  And let me tell you that if you think we haven't been through some 'stuff' in our 24 years, you'd be Oh So Wrong.

BUT, we've held on. Even when it was hard. Even when we didn't like each other very much.
Because, here's the thing about storms. . .they eventually end.  And, typically when they do, they
leave a beautiful rainbow or some refreshed earth.  Now, doesn't mean you won't have to clean up some storm damage, but there will be beauty that comes from the storms.
Hunker down and ride it out, it will pass.
Some storms life gives you, others you create for yourself, either way-hold on and don't let go.

8) Allow the other person to grow and change.

I was asked the other day, if Jerry was different from when we were first married.
My reply,  "I sure hope so. I hope we both are."
I would hate to think we are still our 20/23 year old selves. Wouldn't that just be a shame if we were?
You're going to change, you're going to grow. That's ok, actually that is great! What a gift to get a front row seat to someone else's life and growth. Be thankful for it.

9) Do not bad mouth each other to other people.
Seriously. Not to your mom, your best friend. Not on Facebook or any where else. That has never once made a person better.
(I'm not talking about needing help. If you need it-FIND IT. Your pastor, a counselor, therapist . . .Go right now.)

10) Love Jesus.
Love him more than each other. Serve him, follow him.
Loving Jesus first has the miraculous ability to help you love others more, even when they aren't worthy, even when they are unloveable.


We aren't perfect and will never claim to be. Our marriage has been one wild ride, complete with drops and twists and sudden jolts and yes a few times even waiting to get the heck off.
We were so young, naive and in some ways foolish, in fact, I had a 'friend' come up to me at our church at the time and look me straight in the face and say 'You know it will never last don't you?'.
You can imagine how that left me feeling.
But, here we are, two older, wiser (?) people still hand in hand.

Nope, not perfect, there have been many slammed doors and silent nights, but there has been more laughter and happy tears than I ever dreamed possible, and I've seen Jesus more through our wild ride than I ever imagined I would.





Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The View From Up Here

In October Hubby and I had a little weekend getaway to Eureka Springs Arkansas.

We had never been there and we enjoyed every minute.



On our last day, we left the town and drove around the surrounding countryside.

I have never been to that part of Arkansas was surprised by the beauty and also the farmland.

Because of the rolling hills we could look down and see the farms all plotted out like a quilt.

Everything was just so neat and tidy and beautiful. I was awed by the loveliness.




As I was drinking in the country side and thinking how lovely it must be to be an Arkansas farmer,

and maybe I could be one too, Dear Hubby said, "boy it sure must be hard to farm that land!".


Well, I was so surprised at that thought. . .that something in the middle of all that beauty could be 
difficult.

I asked, why he thought so.

He began talking about how rocky the soil was and being hillside and the such.

I just sat there beside him thinking two distinct thoughts:

1) this conversation pretty much sums up how we each see the world (one of us the eternal optimist and dreamer the other well . . . his nickname is Eeyore for a reason.)



2) Isn't that how we often tend to judge each others lives.  We look down as we're just cruising by,

whether it's on social media or stories swirling around us, and only see the high powered jobs or 

amazing trips, the super star kids and perfect marriages.

But, we don't see what it's really like up close.  We don't see the hard stuff they've worked through or 

the dark valleys they might be going through or the flood that's washing them away piece by piece.



We can get so busy comparing our lives to theirs, even when we don't have an up close view, that we 

begin to become unsatisfied and ungrateful for our own lives, jobs, even our own people.



And what damage that can do.  



Never mistake your hilltop view of someones life to an up close reality of what it is really like on the 

ground.

I've never once met a perfect person, met a perfect couple, heard of a job that wasn't difficult or knew

perfect kids.

Now, I have known people who have walked through the valley's and come out on the other side 

changed and marked for life.

But, you and I, we have got to tend to our own soil, in our own little patches of land that we've been

given to tend.

Let's make a promise to ourselves and to our Dear People, not to compare them or the lives we are 

living  to those we're just cruising by with only a snapshot into their lives.

Let's be a people who are thankful and content, grateful to God for every gift.


Love your people today, even the difficult ones, thank God for all He's given you, even the hard stuff.

It will change lives, beginning with yours.





Grace and Peace,












Saturday, January 9, 2016

What a Difference a Year Makes

January 7, 2015 I found myself sitting my endocrinologist office for my bi-yearly check up.

I don't know what I was expecting, but what I heard shook me to my core.

I tipped the scales at a little over 300 pounds.

I was embarrassed, angry, shamed.  All I wanted to do was hide.

She'd never given me a lecture before, but I got one that day.

I either needed to lose weight or pursue weight loss surgery.

Something had to change.



New Years Eve 2015
There are no full body pictures, because I wouldn't have posed



I was the speaker at an event for single moms in October of 2014
I am at my heaviest here.
And completely loved.
No one in my life ever made me feel anything other than beautiful.



I was having heart palpitations, my blood pressure was beginning to skyrocket,  my knees where painful to the point where I was facing surgery on one.  I was exhausted ALL THE TIME.

But, I was also loved and cared for and often the funniest one in the room -even when I didn't want to be.

God was growing my ministry and sphere of influence, but in the middle of the night when I was still and being completely honest, I was so miserable and embarrassed -for myself and for husband and kids (Who let me be VERY CLEAR have never NOT ONCE said one thing to me about my size).


Well, I left her office and cried.
And cried some more.

Didn't she know I couldn't do it?
I'd been heavy most of my life, I have Thyroid Disease -which makes everything harder, I'm over 40-everyone knows it's to hard for women over 40 to lose weight.  
So, I cried some more.

I looked into the surgery.  (I should tell you, I've  had some scary reactions,  life treating reactions  to anesthesia.) And came to the conclusion that it wasn't an option.

So, on January 8, 2015 I basically threw my hands in the air and said 'FINE'.
My goal that this point was to prove I COULDN'T do it.

Then the first 25 pounds came off, then 50 . . .

In July, I was back in the Dr office.
This time she's the one who got all teary.  She talked about how she often has to tell people the hard things and they get mad at her or don't listen.  She thanked me. I cried and thanked her.

Along this journey, I've come face to face with the sin of gluttony in my life.

I confessed this sin to God and my Dear Husband.

A year into this journey, I've learned many lessons.  Some of them painful.

Things like, not everyone wants you to change.
People get mad or hurt or offended.

I've been told I talk about my journey, on social media, to much and not enough.

I've been told I'm an inspiration and that I've hurt feelings by tackling my weight.

One year later, I can say I've learned much about myself, my God and my friends and those who
became detractors.   

I'm also down 121 pounds and 8 ounces.  I'm at a BMI of 31 (with the goal of 25)-in July it was 37- I don 't know what it was when I began because I could never look at those numbers.

When I began I was wearing a 24/26 or 3x/4x.
I'm now wearing a 12/14 on top and 14 on bottom or a Large.

When I was back in the Dr office this week  my blood pressure was 118/70 and my pulse was 60.

I no longer experience heart palpitations and have NO knee pain whatsoever.

The Dr didn't tear up this time, she cheered my on to finish this race well.  

I have 30 more pounds to to get to my goal.

I will do it.

Not because I've got it all together now or have all the answers but because God has brought me to far now for me to quit.

I can keep up with my kids.  I'm physically so much stronger.  I'm happier.
I actually feel good.

(and for a girl who loves fashion the shopping has been fun-just keeping it real)

Here I am exactly one year later.


I saved one pair of jeans so I will never forget.
Also, excuse my puppy in the background.


I love my shirt in these pictures. It also makes me chuckle, because in the beginning I did not believe I could.  I set out to prove I couldn't and yet, by God's Amazing Grace, here I am, almost half the girl I used to be.


To every person who's prayed for me, loved me, supported me and cheered me on--

Thank you.  You'll just never know.  I wish I could tell you, but I don't have enough words to tell you how much it has meant to me.

What difference does a day make? A  year?  Well, it can make all the difference in the world.



Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:13-14 (ESV)


Grace and Peace Along the Journey,












Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Hello Friends,

If you are stopping by for the first time or the 100th-thank you!

The reality that anyone would want to read what I write is still a mystery to me and one I thank

the Lord for often.

Your faithfulness and encouragement has been a huge blessing to me. Thank you, for going

along on this journey with me.



I pray this Christmas finds you living in the knowledge that Emmanuel, "God with us", has

come. And He has come for you.

Just like He came amidst  the darkness, turmoil, poverty and chaos 2000 plus years ago, He is here

right now in the middle of all you have going on.

And He didn't just come, He also brought His peace, joy, hope, love with Him. All you need to

do is receive Him.

I pray that the reality of Jesus surrounds you and me this Christmas season and all through 2016.


From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!