How To Live a 2-Star Life in a 5-Star World

So. There are some things that go along with writing a book.

You know besides all the fame and truck loads of money. Heh.

Four months out and I still get weekly questions like, “How’s the book doing so far?” “How many copies have you sold?” “Has it been reviewed in a journal?” “How do you feel about it releasing the same time as five other blogger’s books?” And then suggestions “Maybe you should try to push it here… or Guest post there…”

These are not my favorite.

Because with every question comes a comparison of my book (which sometimes feels a lot like a comparison of me) lined up next to another book (which sometimes feels a lot like a comparison to another author). Although I know it’s my insecurities and not your questions.

And then there are reviews. Words people write about what you’ve written. It can be a lot of noise.

Most days, I waive off the questions and I forget to read the reviews. I handle questions like “So, is your book a success? ” with answers like “I wrote it out of obedience to God.” Because it’s true.

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With daily Mercy House tasks, writing obligations, overseeing Fair Trade Friday, and managing the massive amounts of laundry my family produces, I don’t have time to worry about it. I’ve said from the beginning, this book will do what it’s supposed to do (glorify God, I hope). I don’t have to sell my soul to sell books.

But then there are days I give into the pressure to compare book sales and mostly myself, to others.

These moments are also not my favorite.

Recently, I got my first 2- star review on Amazon. Sales on Amazon are a good general gauge for how your book is doing.  It was sandwiched between two very kind 5-star reviews, but guess which one was loudest?

It said something to the effect of “The 1st part of this book was very interesting and good to read. Then it turned into at least to me an infomercial on the needs of 3rd world countries…”

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I shared the review on my Facebook page, perhaps to satisfy my own need for approval, but I also found encouragement.

But it was words from a missionary friend living in Costa Rica that hit the mark:

She unwittingly gave you one of the best reviews ever. Lord, please let me live a two star life that turns into an infomercial for the needs of others on this earth so I can live a five star life with you forever. #twostars

And it has become my prayer too.

If I’m too busy listening to who the world says I am, I might miss the great I AM speaking.

Because if my goal in this life is to be known, how can I make Him known? 

It’s hard to look at Him when we’re busy looking at ourselves.

For me, success is easily wrapped up in writing and there are plenty of meters to let me know how I’m doing, I mean, how my books are doing. But the same truth applies in every career and situation. If we are comparing our parenting, our homes, our kids, our jobs to other people, we always end up feeling like we don’t measure up.

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How to live a 2-star life in a 5-star world: 

1. Keep our eyes on Him- we can only focus on one thing at a time

2. Don’t compare yourself to others-it skews our perception of truth

3. Live upside down-embrace the small

I’m learning that in this upside Kingdom where small is big and least is more-

Two stars is more than I thought.


My Family Rocks (Even When It Doesn’t)

Friday mornings around my house are hectic.

With one kid in the high school marching band with a football game at night, it means for a very long day. This past Friday was no different, except that my marcher overslept, my son had to be at junior high early and my youngest was still asleep. My husband and I tag teamed it and while I took my son to school in the dark, he went the opposite direction with our girls, one still in pajamas.

There was traffic and a bad hair day and drama in the car and a lot of oh-my-goodness-the-weekend-is-almost-here thoughts.

Our second grader is years behind her siblings and usually takes their schedule in stride. But not on Friday.

What started out as a small thing, quickly grew to a full blown meltdown. You know the kind. At one point, she was so angry, she started spouting off all the bad words she knew, words like dumb and stupid and shut up. And then she let out the big one she read on the wall at the taco bar we visited this summer. The one I hoped she had forgotten. I knew it was a mistake eating there when she read loudly off the wall “The best damn tacos around” as we were ordering. A good reader has its disadvantages.

We hushed her and told her that was a bad word. Our first mistake.

Because when you’re riding in your pajamas, taking your sister to high school and you’re not getting your way, those bad words are the first thing you think of. Oh, sin nature, you do start early.

She used the word completely wrong and it wasn’t funny at all-the whole morning was a disaster, and when I looked down at the shirt I was wearing, I really wanted to laugh.

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Sometimes I think people think our family has it all together. Childless young married couples have told us, “We want our family to be like yours one day.” Oh, to be a fly on our wall.  Sure, we run a non-profit and we said yes to God and it looks good from the outside…like we are perfect parents with perfect kids. And it couldn’t be further from the truth. We are a big fat disaster most days and that’s why it’s remarkable. Because God uses weak, messy people to change the world.

Two out of three of our kids told us we were mean parents that morning. I don’t know what’s wrong with the third one.

But after taking her consequence like a boss, my little girl hugged us hard and apologized. I chaperoned the marching band on Friday night and thought I saw pride in my high schooler’s eyes. And most of all, I was reminded that my family rocks.

Even, when it doesn’t. Especially then.

We are just [damn] normal.

And I have the t-shirt to prove it.

Get yours here.


Unbelievable Deal: Healthy Living Bundle $1030 Value

I love sharing great deals with you. And I’m super excited about this one because it’s not only an amazing value, it could be life-changing for you and your family.

Our family has been on a journey to healthier living since my husband was diagnosed with Diabetes several years ago. It can be a confusing and challenging road to navigate. If it weren’t for resources, we’d be lost!

That’s why I love The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. It includes an entire healthy living library–86 ebooks plus a lot more, valued at $1030 for only $29.97 (PDF version) or $39.97 (ebook version) and it’s available today.

This is the best deal on ebooks I’ve ever seen! There are ebooks and ecourses with countless recipes, meal planning, ideas for feeding children healthier meals, help for specialized diets and so much more. Not only do we have my husband’s special diet in our house, I’ve also been working hard for the last six months to eliminate as many processed foods for my kids.

Here’s a sampling of some I can’t wait to read in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle:

And there’s still so much more! Not only do you get dozens and dozens of ebooks and courses, there’s also another $200 in freebies from healthy living companies that you’ll receive with your purchase.

This ultimate bundle is expected to sell out early, so get yours today. This deal ends Sept 15.

 

Here’s to healthier living for all of us!

Disclosure: Affiliate links have been included in this post.


In Honor of The Real Labor Day

A couple of years on Labor Day, I shared the hardest labor I’ve ever done: Becoming a mom!

I thought I’d share my facts again and you can do the same in the comments.

We will give each other a virtual, sweaty high-five!

How long were your labors?

Kid #1, 12 hours

Kid #2, 10 hours

Kid #3, 8 hours

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1, 2 weeks late, induced due to begging.

Kid #2, 1 week early, induced due to threatening

Kid #3, 7 weeks early, emergency c-section, because I like to mix it up a little.

Where did you deliver?

In the safety and security of the hospital, where most patients with OCD deliver.

Drugs?

Yes, many and all kinds.

C-section?

On my last one, after 7-8 hours of laboring without dilation, I was rushed down the hall because the baby and I weren’t doing well. I’ve never been more afraid of a nurse with a razor!

Who delivered?

Kid #1- A nice midwife who sat on the end of my bed to ‘take a looksey’ broke the end of my bed–completely off—she went on to do a great job!

Kid #2- We moved when I was 8.5 months pregnant and a very reluctant doctor I only met once, delivered my son.  When she told me I was too far along to accept as a new patient, I burst into tears and said my hubby would have to do it.  She quickly changed her policy.

Kid #3- The best OB in Texas!  I love this woman.  I’m pretty sure she saved my daughter’s life!

How about you? What are your numbers?

Did you adopt? (how long did you wait? Those hours should win you a trophy!)

 

originally posted, Sept. 1, 2008


Saying Yes. Again.

Four years ago we said yes to the improbable. The impossible.

It seems like yesterday we sat down and planned out something we would call Mercy House.

It seems like forever ago.

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2011

Several times over the course of the weekend, the audacity of this crazy idea would hit us. Terrell and I would pass a knowing look over our kid’s heads or he would squeeze my hand in reassurance or just whisper the name of Jesus in my ear. We waivered between extreme exhilaration and total nausea but we simply could not deny that we felt the undeniable presence of God in our conversations and the Holy Spirit leading us.

I’ll never forget sitting down with Terrell, our bills, monthly budget, and savings account figures in front of us and trying to decide how far we could take this dream before it financially ruined us if no one dreamed with us. While we knew this was a journey of faith, it seemed like a daunting task, especially since we were doing it alone.

“This could ruin us, you know,” Terrell said as we stared at our bank statements and 401k account. “I think we can do this for two years at the most.”

“We will get churches to help us and the readers of my blog. They know about Maureen and they followed my story about Africa,” I tried to reassure him. But deep down I was scared and he was too. “Let’s pray.” Again.

“God you know we are terrified. But we believe you have led us to this point. We don’t know how this is going to work but we are trusting you to show us.”

I spent hours laying awake at night during this season, trying to figure it out. I even jotted down a list of names of people I knew with money. I thought we had a good plan.

We were wrong. God had better plans,” from Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith Is No Longer Enough

And that plan included you.

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Our Kenyan Director, Maureen, with her husband, Oliver, Program Director

God has done the impossible.

Saying yes has changed everything for our family. 

We are living wide awake.

This journey has been filled with big faith, big failures, big fears and an even bigger God.

And we are saying yes. Again.

After months of praying and planning, my husband, Terrell, has accepted the invitation from the Mercy House Board of Directors to become the CEO of Mercy House to help lead the vision for the organization to expand its borders beyond Kenya and empower women all over the world.

Last week, he resigned from the job he’s had the last 11 years, a corporate America job and all the benefits that go with it.

We are stepping into the unknown.

Because we know Who is already there, waiting for us.

We are excited. We are scared. (It’s a big pay cut and he will have to raise his salary).

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I wrote these words in my book last year:

“Do you have a dream today? Perhaps you’re wondering if it’s your dream or his dream for you? Here are some characteristics of a God-sized dream:

It will be bigger than your capability.

It will require hard labor. Even with modern-day medicine, childbirth is risky. Similarly, birthing a dream requires hard, long work. It won’t be easy.

It will look impossible. You won’t have the resources, details, or all the answers.

There will be a big gap between your yes and the reality of your dream. That space is God-sized. If we have all the answers, resources, funding, the perfect plan, it might be our dream and not his. But when we don’t know all the details or have all the answers, it gives God room to show up.

It will require great dependence on God. If it fails, he receives glory in our failure. And if it succeeds, he gets the credit. Our God-sized dreams serve two purposes: they grow the dreamer and they give God glory. Our dream starts with our small faith and ends with a Mighty Savior.”

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And today, we are trusting these words. Again.