How a Dying Man Changed the Way I Live on A Good Friday

He has Stage IV cancer.

Our strong, healthy friend is dying.

This killer invaded his body quietly. It’s wild to think of the silent battle we don’t even know we could be fighting. How close we walk to death in life…

We can’t answer the when’s and how’s, we can only hold onto the truth that God can do anything.

Because we are people of the Resurrection. We believe in the impossible. We hope for the improbable.

I have watched our friend give even more of his time and energy to others in his sickness.  He is kind and generous. His actions are life-giving.

He makes me want to say all things that are left unspoken. He makes me want to cherish others every day. He makes me want to love freely and live in wild obedience. He reminds me he might not have a tomorrow.

He reminds me that I might not either.

A dying man is changing the way I live.

Because he understands the power of Resurrection, too. He knows his life–a vapor–is not the end. Instead it is the beginning.

The way he chooses to live points to another dying man on another Friday so long ago.

It looked bad. The sky was dark, the deed was done. The enemy gloated.

It was time to wait.

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And we wait. It’s the hardest part of Good Friday-the waiting.

The hours ticked by. The buzzards circled. The blood dried.

But then.

This was no ordinary man who would be held by death or the grave.

The earth shook and we see that the moment God died, He gave us life.

He is alive. Death cannot win.

We are people of the Resurrection. We believe in the impossible. The improbable.

No matter what may come in this life–hardships, dark days, diagnosis or even death.

Jesus’ death changes the way we live.

His Resurrection changes our eternity.

 

Happy Easter, dear friends. 

He is risen.

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What Scares Me More Than Being Inadequate

I used to think my greatest fear was inadequacy.

I believed these words for a very long time.

You could never do that.

You aren’t good enough.

You cannot make a difference.

You will fail.

But the day I said yes to something bigger than my capability, I discovered being inadequate -not having all the answers, not being successful, not being enough–these weren’t my deepest fears.

My deepest fear was rooted in the unleashing of my yes. I realized the unbelievable, unspeakable power of that little word would thrust me into an unknown world of faith-walking and desperation for Jesus.

And that terrified me.

Because I’m still inadequate. No matter what I do, what I learn, there’s always something I don’t know.  We cannot rescue or save or even get our kids to listen half the time. How dare we have the audacity to help another human being?

I live in that place.

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But when we hush that voice and step out anyway, we aren’t depending on ourselves. We are trusting the God of the Universe to act through us.

And that is where our fear lies. What if He asks me to something that is hard? What if I have to give up something I love? What if He uses failure instead of success to reach others and change me?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -by Marianne Williamson

Incredible.

We were created to shine. We were born to make His glory known. We were fashioned to unleash the power of God.

Being inadequate is scary.

But never saying yes is far more terrifying.


WFMW: The Golden Tote

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I spent 10 minutes looking for my denim jacket the other day. I looked everywhere–in my closet, car, laundry room. I finally gave up, scratching my head in wonder.

It turned out my teen daughter looked quite stylish that day at school.

Can anyone else identify? I’m just glad we aren’t the same shoe size anymore.

A friend told me it was a high compliment–that my teenager thinks (some) of my wardrobe is cool enough to wear. I’m honored. Sort of (because I was also a bit cold without my jacket).

But I have to admit, my daughter knows the latest fashion trends way before I do and helps me look cute when I’m “looking my age.” When  The Golden Tote asked if they could send me a tote of clothes to try, we were excited. I say we because we both know it’s not just for me.

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I’ve been a big fan of StitchFix, but I wanted to see how this was different. Because while I love the clothes they send me, it’s expensive. If it weren’t for referral credits, I wouldn’t shop there very often.  The Golden Tote asks a couple of questions and then let’s you choose an item (or two) based on the option you choose and they surprise you with the rest.

Here’s how The Golden Tote works:

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My tote came in a few days and the best part? You don’t have to choose what to keep, you get to keep everything in your prepaid tote. And I loved my grab bag with a super cute dress that I’m going to call my Easter dress, three tops and a cami

Here are my favorites:

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1. This little floral tank is so colorful. It looks great with my favorite cardigan that I already had.

2. I love the pink and green top/dress. It looks cute over jeans or tights or by itself.

3. My hubby is going to love this little slip dress. I’m saving it for our next date.

4. And my favorite is probably this soft white top. It’s simple, but classy. I love it.

and guess what else was in my Golden Tote?

A new denim jacket.

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I think we love it.

The Golden Tote works for us! (Click on my affiliate link to check it out!)


How to Have the Best 10 Minutes of Your Day With Your Family

I get it.

I know just how hard it is to get dinner on the table and five people around it who are all going five different directions at five o’clock.

Mondays my oldest has church youth group and Tuesdays my son has after school honor band practice and Wednesdays we meet with other families for Bible Study and Thursdays, we have dental and eye appointments or –well, you get my point. Some days the window for all of us to be together is so small, it would be easier to just eat on the go or at least separately.

And other days when we have long moments to linger –that’s when the big kids irritate each other until an argument erupts and the youngest is picky and cries in her dinner and we have a big fat mess spilled all over our good intentions.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It’s not.

But that doesn’t mean we stop trying.

Because this isn’t really about food.

It’s not about dinner at all. It’s about pursuing intentional, meaningful conversation that your children will never forget. It’s about building relationships and communicating purpose and goals. It’s about going deeper. It’s about breaking Real Bread together.

It’s about the best 10 minutes of your day.

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Practical Ideas to Make it Happen:

  • Plan a weekly crockpot meal so you aren’t overwhelmed once you get everyone at the table.
  • Keep a large family calendar in the kitchen and make sure at least 3 nights a week are free (even if it’s different every week.)
  • Keep a basket of Bibles near the table. Read them together.
  • Make the window of time interactive: My new ebook Saying Yes to God As a Family: 30 Lessons for the Table from Rhinestone Jesus was created just for this precious 10 minute window. Each short  lesson has a suggested Bible passage and 3 questions to promote interaction and deeper-thinking. (It’s totally free right now when you buy my book -offer expires April 30).
  • Have fun. Painting our kitchen table with chalkboard paint was one of our best decisions to keep our kids around the table longer. Printing out paper placemats for drawing will also keep little hands busy (there are ones included in my ebook). Celebrate great nights together with ice cream!
  • Keep it short. Because kids.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Some nights I want to go straight to bed after dinner because it’s THAT BAD. But we do it all over again the next day. It’s worth it. Don’t give up! Make #sayyesinmymess your mantra.

When we persevere through the mess and stick a yes in it, we discover beautiful moments together, sometimes sandwiched between really bad ones. (That’s life, huh?) If we choose to be intentional, we have the opportunity to connect on a deeper level. We uncover glorious tidbits that carry us through the hard days. We giggle and laugh. We hear about one another’s day and learn more about each other.

We often find the best 10 minutes of our day when we look for them.


The Two Words That Can Absolutely Change Your Marriage

Sometimes I don’t even know I need to hear the words.

Until he says them.

And then I’m like a sponge and I soak them up like my life depended on hearing them.

The whole family spent the entire Saturday knocking down dead trees, pulling up weeds and pulling down thorny vines tangled in our trees. We turned up the earth and planted tiny okra, pepper and tomato plants, already dreaming of summer. If it sounds exhausting, that’s because it was, but it’s my favorite kind of day. We were all working together and accomplishing something we all wanted: a garden.

We were dead tired and covered head-to-toe in filth, dirt in our hair and under our nails. I walked in the kitchen and that’s when I remembered my forgotten trip to the grocery store. I sighed because I had to go to the store and I couldn’t wait another hour.

I scrubbed my hands and put a clean shirt over my-not-so-clean body and my oldest and I headed out. I left my husband and other kids chopping wood to carry off.

I still had groceries to get and unpack, dinner to start, laundry to turn and a half dozen other tasks that keep our family of five running all week long.

The kids helped me unload food into the pantry and I hurried dinner along. It was nearly dark as we sat down to eat, and I stifled a yawn. And that’s when my husband leaned over and looked at me long and hard and whispered the words: thank you.

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And I patted his arm, his face ringed with the weariness of hard physical work and I said them back. Thank you.

Because sometimes? We just need to hear the words. Deep down we know our family is grateful–our kids appreciate the little things, especially when we don’t do them and our husbands and wives see more than we think they do.

But to hear the audible words–some days it’s the jet fuel we need to keep going.

And the words aren’t really dependent upon what we do–because sometimes dinner is a flop and the laundry spills over and the kids meltdown and husbands run late and life has a way of being perfectly imperfect.

But when you overhear him tell your daughter she looks beautiful on Sunday morning or watch him put his briefcase down, loosen his tie and read Junie B. Jones for the millionth time — stop — and thank him.

When you realize she turned off the alarm so you could sleep a few more minutes or remembered your dry cleaning for that important business meeting and changed the cat litter because she knows it’s the chore you hate the most–stop—and thank her.

Sometimes the very thing you need to hear the most is what you need to say to someone else.

When she’s impatient. When he’s angry. When she’s tired. When he’s busy. When she’s down. When he’s not…

When she’s up all night with the baby and you have to step over baskets of unfolded laundry, when you can see the stress of his job weighing him down–these are the messy moments when we feel invisible, unappreciated, overlooked.

These are the moments in our marriages that need a thank you the most.

Because they aren’t just words. Thank you sends a lifeline. It says:

I see what you do all day long.

It matters.

It’s important.

You matter.

You’re important.

I don’t see the mess.

I see your yes in it.

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Click to read more of our marriage story….

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