Chronicling 40: 194-196


It is really hard to live each day when you feel out of alignment with God and His purpose for you life.  While I love Women’s Ministry, I have been disconnected from it directly for some time.  I equip other leaders, but I haven’t served in Women’s Ministry in a local church in several years.  There were reasons for that disconnection, and there was healing that needed to happen.  Knowing there were valid reasons didn’t help the ache of that void.

As I dip my toes cautiously back into the pool, my friend could see an expression or response that I didn’t even realize I was making.  It was so evident, or she is so perceptive, that she asked me what the reaction was about.  To really put towards how I was feeling seems impossible.

Joy and excitement about all of the things we discussed.

Relief that someone was willing to hear my heart, actually hear me.

Trepidation about getting too excited or my hopes up too much.

There is NO FEELING as good as when your are walking in obedience to His calling on your life, and living that purpose out.  Even when it’s baby steps, toes dipping in the water, taking our time to get acquainted and build momentum.  It’s like fresh breath in your lungs, a restart of your heart, and an energy charge to your mind.

I appreciated our openness with one another.  Making sure we understood the similarities in our personalities and our differences.  We were identifying potential obstacles before the presented themselves, so that we could understand each other better.  Owning our strengths and even our weaknesses.  We laid our hearts and desires, our truth (good and bad) out there to each other.

And we agreed to work with excellence in mind.

Thank you, Lord.  I will not forsake this opportunity to serve once again.  Whether little steps or by your leaps and bounds, I answered “here I am”.


Chronicling 40: Day 183 of 365


I actually struggled between the word “Intentional” and “Increase” for today.  I love the word intentional, because I believe in being far more intentional about things… like intentionally setting study time and prayer time, being intentional about spending time with important people, being intentional about setting good habits… being intentional is part of decision making… a choice.

But, I’ve written a lot about making positive choices.  So, I decided to hone in on the word “increase”.  Most often I see this word chosen due to its relation to career performance and outcomes.  I want to increase my reach.  I want to increase my income.  I want to increase my sales.  I want to increase my customer base.  I want to increase my product line.

Next, it will fall into our personal lives.  Increasing health.  Increasing time with loved ones.  Increasing our time spent resting, traveling, etc.

I’d like to suggest we consider the scriptures:

John 3:30

“He must become greater; I must become less.”

Perhaps the greatest increase is when I decrease.

Chronicling 40: Day 178 of 365


Continuing the exploration of common “Word of the Year” choices…

In a spirit of full transparency, I have to admit that I don’t understand this as a goal for the year.  I can’t think of a time when being “determined” has not been part of who I am and how I operate.  As a kid, I was determined to do well in school.  My mother never had to fight with me about doing homework or finishing projects on time.  I was determined to finish college even when marriage and children put that on hold for a bit.  I was determined in my career, determined to master hobbies, etc.  I’ve never lacked determination only tools and time.  Both of which can be eventually remedied.

But, I would like to talk about the positive and negative of determination.  I remember once hearing a parent say:  “It’s like he is determined to get into as much trouble as possible.”

Just as I can’t comprehend not having determination in my life, I definitely can not understand having determination and using it in a negative way.  But isn’t that the case for some people?  They just seem bent on doing things the wrong way or the hard way every single time.  They have choices before them, and overwhelmingly (if not always) choose the wrong path.  So, I decided to hit the dictionary:

determined:  having made a firm decision and being resolved not to change it.

There it was, the explanation I needed.  Determination itself isn’t positive or negative, it’s just a decision… firm and unwavering.  Each of us can CHOOSE how we employ that decision into our lives.  Will we choose to make good decisions that will bring us love, joy, peace, community, a future, stability, etc.   Or, will we choose to make bad decisions that will be dangerous, bringing chaos, instability, loneliness, and struggle?

Recently, I was involved in a conversation with another woman who was in desperate need of advice.  Since I wasn’t directly involved and had no emotional ties to it, I was able to see things objectively and offer some solutions.  No matter what I offered, she countered a reason or excuse as to why that wouldn’t work.  She had resolved that this wasn’t going to go her way and unwilling to see any opportunity to change it.  She was determined that this bad thing was going to happen, end of story.

Being determined doesn’t always play out in a positive way, and I wonder if that makes it a good candidate for the “Word of the Year”?

Then again, it’s really not the word but rather what you make of it in your life.



Chronicling 40: Day 157 of 365


This spring we said goodbye to our elderly dog.  She had been with us for seventeen years and it was incredibly hard.  We learned very quickly that our younger dog had never been taught to alert us to go outside to use the restroom.  Because he was brought into our home with an existing, experienced dog… and one that was aging and using the restroom more often…

He had become dependent on our routine for going outside. 

He never learned to alert us because he never needed to.  She would bark, or we would let her out on our normal schedules… and he would follow. The first day after she passed, he went to the bathroom in the house.  It was nearly 8pm.  The poor thing hadn’t been out since early that morning.  It wasn’t that we forgot about him.  We interacted with him throughout the day.  He never alerted to needing to go, and we too had become dependent on her routine.

Once we realized that he had never learned, we realized we needed a new routine.  It’s about five months and he has just finally begun to let us know that he needs to use the restroom.  If I am sitting near the door, he will walk over and paw at the door.  He still doesn’t alert, but this is a huge deal.  I’m thankful my desk space is near the back door.

This experience with our dog has made realize how easy it is to just go with the flow of things, to get into habits (good or bad), and how long it can take to change those habits.  We have extended this little dog so much grace, as he is learning.  I wonder if I extend that same amount of grace to others who are faced with new circumstances…

… learning a new trade, skill, talent…

… breaking an old habit …

I also wonder if I am extending the same grace to myself, as I am trying to learn and grow.

Chronicling 40: 154-156 of 365


It is so easy to accumulate things, but it seems like it is getting harder and harder to accumulate memories.  As our kids have gotten older, admission prices go up… more hotel space is needed… they eat more.  In general, everything is more expensive.  Because of this, and our dedication to ridding of debt (Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program)… it’s been a while since we have gone on a real family vacation.

Our kids are getting older though, and at this age… well, you begin to feel like time is running out.  Before you know it there will be marriages and then they will have their own families.  You feel this need to spend as much time together as a family as possible.

Then, when 40 comes knocking on top of all of this… for your own self you begin to question how much stuff you really need.   Would you rather have more things or more experiences in life?

And so this Christmas there were far fewer presents under the tree, because we opted for “Presence Over Presents”.

We are fortunate enough to live close to Orlando, to allow for regular visits… and we qualify for the Florida Residents Discount.  Until just this year we didn’t even know there were special passes for Florida Residents which afford us an opportunity that otherwise would have been out of our budget.   We are looking forward to spending time together versus managing things.  We are excited to make memories versus passing the days.  We are going to take advantage of whatever time we can to be together when work and school keeps us apart the majority of the week.

Things break.  Stuff needs to be repaired.  Technology becomes obsolete.

Memories last forever.

Chronicling 40: Day 144 of 365


Not that long ago, I wrote a series that surrounded the theme of “Never Confuse a Deborah with a Jezebel”.   Today, I want to spend just a moment and add to that thought with:

Never confuse a broken woman with a Jezebel.

When she first appeared on the scene, she was shy and timid.  Gifted.  Talented.  Hard worker.  Quiet.   I figured it would take a bit for her to become comfortable around us and then she’d come out of her shell.

In just a matter of a few encounters later, what I saw was a completely different woman.  Unhinged.  Out of control.  Loud.  Boisterous.  I was so struck by her behavior, that I thought to myself that this woman must have been under the influence of something.

By the end of the evening I thought I had encountered a Jezebel.  Perhaps her reserved nature was simply as way to slink into the group, to get people to like her… before her true nature and intentions would be exposed.

Truth be told, my instincts were right… something was off.  But, my interpretation of those instincts was off the mark as well.  This wasn’t a Jezebel, this was a broken woman.  She was wounded.  She was treading water.  She was trying to keep it all together, and it was falling apart at her feet.  Grasping to maintain a sense of normalcy, building up a wall to keep people from seeing how badly she was hurting.

She was like one of those viral videos you see where the animal is trapped in an icy lake, and even though there is a person trying to rescue the poor beast… it thrashes and flails.  Screeching out in terror, winging its limbs about, and even becoming a danger to the very thing that is trying to rescue it.

This animal is already in a bad situation, fight or flight has set in… there is no logic or reason.  We watch from the outside thinking… “if you would just stop fighting, let yourself be saved”.  We can see the hero coming to the rescue.  We know that even though it’s probably even a bit painful in the way the animal is being round up, it is for it’s own good.  But none the less, the animal is panic stricken.  It doesn’t know.

We don’t always know, when we are in the thick of things, those who are actually trying to help us.   As believers we know that God is with us, but we don’t always have the clear discernment of knowing who He has sent to help and who is out to harm.  Our fight or flight has already been set into motion.  We see threat everywhere, and we respond by fighting… yelling… flailing about… even to the point of making the situation harder for ourselves and those who are trying to help us.

We must be wise.  But that is hard when we lack clarity.

I’ve never been so glad to find out that I was wrong about a person.   Now, instead of seeing a person I needed to be wary of, I saw her differently.  I responded differently. It also served as a lesson to me about being to quick to judge circumstances at a superficial level.  Had I gone to the Lord first, perhaps He would have opened my eyes to her pain and brokenness sooner.

Every day I learn more and more about the wounded people that walk my city streets every day.  I realize that not ever “disgruntled spirit” is someone who is out to hurt or destroy.  They are not all Jezebels.  They are the woman at the well.  They are the woman accused of adultery.  They are the woman who had just two coins to her name.  They are broken women, wounded men.  They need to not be cast aside as Jezebels, but instead introduced to the Savior.  Even, if they are kicking and flailing as He mends their heart.

Chronicling 40: Day 143


Last night I attended a local event where we made what most people would recognize as a “Vision Board”, but it actually was a bit different.  The Vision Boards we are familiar with are big goals or dreams for our lives and futures.  Instead, this was called a Manifested Board.  The differences between this and a Vision Board is that 1) it has a specific time frame of just twelve months, and 2) you are working in the past tense.  It’s not about what you are “going to do” but rather a declaration of what is already done.

Did you know that statistically you are more likely to achieve your goals by writing them down?  Our event host, Tasha Chen, pointed out that we also make a deeper connection to that goal when we can visualize it.  I’m a big goal setter, always have been.  In preparation for this night, we were supposed to bring things like magazines to cut pictures from, etc.  I had printed a few images from my computer of things that I already have on my 2018 goal list.  This board would create the visual connection.

I was not only claiming for myself that I was going to hit these marks in 2018, but I was also sharing with others in the room what my goals were.  Sharing our goals with at least one another person creates accountability, someone will be asking us about our progress. I’m sure several of us will be sharing our accomplishments as the year progresses.  We will want to celebrate with each other as we reach these goals of health, deeper faith, improved relationships, and so much more.

Something else happened, as I prepared for the event.  I was looking for specific images that I wanted to print out to bring with me.  Something that would represent actually publicly showing some of my art.  Up until this point, while I have given and even sold a few pieces … I’ve never attempted a public showing, entered into a contest, etc. (unless you count when I applied to an art college while in High School, and received a small scholarship to the school as well).  My Uncle has been encouraging me, and I decided 2018 would be the year to do it.

That was what landed me on a few websites, and even before I went to the event… I put in 1 online application and printed out 2 mail in applications for juried art shows.  Not shows late next year, but in just a couple of months.  Which means that I need to get to work.  Nothing like a deadline to motivate someone.

Here’s the thing… sometimes the biggest dreams and goals we have (for today, tomorrow, or down the road) don’t require much more than writing it down, sharing it with someone else, and then putting your intentions in motion.   Thankful for the people in my life who give me the nudge… the encouragement… who stand in agreement… and the women who help me walk in confidence and victory.

I realized when I worked on this board, that so many of the things I wanted for 2018 were related to my creative talents.  What was holding me back all of these years was the vulnerability of doing so, it is scary to put out something you created.  I’ve always encouraged my kids to be brave and do big things… but me?  Who would listen to me?  Who would read what I wrote?  Who would want something I made?

Over 100 times in Scripture are we told not to be afraid.  Why should I be afraid to share a gift that the Lord has blessed me with?  And if I do it for Him, honoring the gift He has given me… that is sufficient.

So, when Tasha Chen asked us what word would represent our board and intentions… I said FEARLESS.

2018 will be the year that I am absolutely fearless about pursuing the course the Lord has set for me, using all that He has given me, and standing in victory that His promises for my life are already fulfilled.  I’m just waiting in eager anticipation for the moment I can see what He has already set in motion.