Category Archives: Family

Showing Up and Sharing

I recently have had the honor of being asked to participate in a  project sharing stories of ‘FamilyPreneurs.’ I know it’s not a real word…YET! I want to share here. Following is our short BIO for the project:

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Our story is a Faith story. Jeff and I will celebrate 27 years of marriage this year, by the grace of God. Our family includes three wonderful sons, two daughters-in-love and a very precious grand baby. We also own and partner in four companies that employ approximately 400 people.

Entrepreneurship has afforded our family more benefits than a simple biography could encapsulate. But I’ll try: Income, outrageous ability to be generous, time and education flexibility, travel, homes, cars, etc… It has also cost us: time, flexibility, relationships, travel, homes, cars etc… And it almost cost us our marriage.

Jeff and I were not raised in homes that followed Jesus, so we truly didn’t know there was a better way to do life, relationships and business. We were honest, hardworking, struggling, hard people. We were trying to do everything ‘right’ and the way we were ‘taught.’ You know – work our asses off, educate our children in a traditional setting with emphasis on performance and grades, make everything on the outside ‘look perfect.’ On the inside we were dying. Our marriage was in shambles. I was clinically depressed while on depression medication. Our children had diagnosis of ADHD, dyslexia and ADD. We survived embezzlement – just barely – and had deep mistrust issues with everyone. What a ride!

Discovering and surrendering to a relationship with our Creator changed everything. I started contemplating and seeking Jesus during a two year stint of therapy. Don’t get me wrong, it was (and still is) a process! Jesus made us realize we are never alone, we always have a helper and we might want to step out of some of our old ways of thinking.

Just some of the benefits: no more depression or depression meds, the best marriage in the world – we have led countless marriage groups, the options of homeschool and alternative education opportunities, financial investment in our children’s businesses as opposed to college education, a family that isn’t perfect but IS for each other, businesses that grew during the economic downturn of 2008+, new opportunities daily, and for me the courage to pursue my love of art and writing. Truly we are blessed beyond measure and live a life of unspeakable joy. The hardships no longer take us out, they make us stronger.

Saying Goodbye to 2015

This has been a great year. A wonderful year. A hard year. A year full of change. Isn’t every year just like this? Some more marked by joy than sadness. And some more marked by loss than by love. The constant is the ever moving and happening change around us. Why is it that this change always seems to surprise? To knock me off kilter? To shake me? Maybe it is supposed to.

This year I gained a daughter, became a grandmother and lost my dad. We purchased a second home, a new business, a new car. A friend passed away. We became empty nesters. I had both writing and art published, sold or under contract to be. I took the steps to open a new studio in 2016. We changed A LOT in our businesses. I continue to look forward.

I need to honor my God, my year and myself – by taking a moment to reflect on this year.

What if everything stayed the same? How would we become ourselves? How would we continue?

He who sits on the throne says, “I make ALL things new.”

I think this includes me. He renews me, my mind, my outlook  and my life. Probably you and yours too. I think part of the point is learning to deal with this continual newness. This change.

I am choosing to embrace change. I would love to tell you how gracefully and beautifully I have done this. However, that would be a lie. It’s been incredibly messy, hard, unscheduled and unplanned and simply wonderful. What God has worked out for good (through the hardness and awkwardness) bowls me over!

This is the time of year I choose thankfulness for the blessings of the year, forgiveness for my shortcomings (or complete failures), grace for my mistakes, hope for the future and mercy in each moment. I thank God for all He has done and is continuing to do in me and my family. I thank Jesus for being with me through it all.

I also seek God for a word or theme for my next year. For 2016 I have heard: Be dazzled.

I can’t tell you how this warms my soul! I have been praying for a pure heart. That God would keep wonder alive and fresh for me daily. That Jesus would teach me, guide me, lead me deeper into Him everyday.

And I encourage YOU. Take a moment. Look at the highs and lows of your year. Thank God in all your circumstance. Share your gratitude. Say your goodbyes. Give forgiveness. Welcome the New Year. Ask for a word or theme for 2016 AND embrace it! Stay present. Be intentional. And love one another.

 

 

 

 

 

I want MORE for Christmas!

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This year I have been thinking a lot about Christmas.

What it means. Why we do what we do (or don’t do). What traditions we follow. How we celebrate. Who we celebrate with.

Even the word: Christmas.

I was driving by a sign the other day and mentally broke the word ‘Christmas’ down.

“Christ” – as in Jesus.

“Mas” – the Spanish word for ‘but’ or with an accent mark above the ‘a’, meaning ‘more.’

 But, Jesus

 Jesus – More

I follow many traditions of man:

Family made.

Created by Western Christianity.

Commercially made.

Not necessarily in that order.

The irony of the truth, that God, in the form of a baby, came to us in a barn (not a church building, or a temple, or a mansion, or a government building or an inn or even a simple home) still boggles my mind.

I ask, “Why?”

Could it be so that one group could not lay claim to the Messiah?

As humans we like to think we know the right way. That our people group, sub culture, culture, religion, like-minded friends, etc… know The way. We can be so small minded.

This year as I give to the poor, share with the less fortunate, buy gifts for friends and family, bake cookies, wrap presents, read the original Christmas story, decorate a Christmas tree, sing carols, enjoy Christmas lights, visit churches  and wear red and green, I can’t help but think there is more. I don’t think these activities are wrong. But there is more.

Shouldn’t everyday be Christmas?

Truly in our hearts and lives, Jesus came that we might have LIFE and Abundant Life – everyday.

ALL the World – not just one sub culture. I am discovering, daily, what that might mean and look like.

Hope Filled, Grace Filled, Joy-Filled, Mercy Filled, Generous, Loving, Overflowing to the whole world… Not perfect, just Life Bringing…

My prayer this year: More Jesus. More of You. Everyday. For everyone.

New Years Eve with Post Its!

DSC00699It’s New Year’s Day 2013.

I am standing in my home hallway. The presence of God is here – thick.

I am tearful, joyful, thankful, heart light, heart broken and so filled up!

You see, last night we had a different kind of New Year’s Eve Party.

We invited friends and family to share what God has done in their lives on post it notes. These notes hang in my hallway, a testimony of our Loving and Good God!

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Marriages Restored.

Families Celebrated.

Cancer has been healed.

Nature Extolled.

Relationships Renewed.

Hopes fulfilled.

Healthy Lives Happening.

Loved Ones in Heaven.

Simple Pleasures Rejoiced.

Hearts Mended.

Provision Made.

Praise & More Praise to our Creator

Hope Filled Expectations for 2013

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I wish you could have been here! I wish you could be here now!

I don’t know if I’ll ever take the post it notes down – they just may be here the next time you come over!

Celebrating Jesus with loved ones, praying to our Papa God and feeling the Holy Spirit move through our home is an incredible gift!

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. “His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)

We LOVE you LORD!

May your New Year be filled with the goodness and LOVE of God!

Blessings and Much Love From My Family to Yours!

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Do It @ Home on ThanksGiving!

It’s that time of year again.

You know the time! The four letter word ‘busy’ is how everyone is, when you ask how they are.

The mall Christmas decorations go up as soon as the trick or treaters go home. Today is officially 6 weeks until Christmas Morning. That would be 41 shopping days until little Johnny finds out if he can keep up with the Joneses – or not. Thanksgiving gets sandwiched between Halloween and Black Friday, shopping lists are made, dream holidays planned, credit cards get worn out and we step into the highest suicide rate of the year. Or not.

We actually have a choice in this.

Are we powerless victims to advertising? Or are we powerful believers in a redeeming, hope filled season? One where Jesus reigns?

Okay, honestly, I am mostly the powerful believer in a redeeming, hope filled, Jesus season with occasional tendencies toward powerless advertisement victim…Don’t judge me!

What are our options this year? How can we remain Christ centered? I could give you some lists (maybe next week).

How about one thing?

Is there one thing I could do to slow down, be thankful, remember who I am in Christ, stay focused on Jesus?

Yes. There. Is.

Communion.

Celebrate the Lord’s Supper at home. Start with Thanksgiving!

Recently, as I have been reading my bible, I have been hit with such a huge realization. Jesus didn’t go to ‘church.’ He didn’t ever tell people to go to ‘church.’ He didn’t have a ‘church’ building campaign. He didn’t tell us to build a ‘church.’ The word translated into ‘church’ in our bibles was the word ekklesia and it means ‘called out ones.’ It refers to people not buildings.

I am for the the local ‘church’ buildings – they provide an amazing service. But I also believe we should not depend on the local church to ‘do’ our walk with Jesus for us. I love sharing communion with other believers in a church service. I think it is a holy moment. It’s even better in your own home!

Jesus didn’t take communion in a ‘church’ building. Or a synagogue. Or a temple. He broke bread, in a home, with his twelve friends (11 if you don’t count Judas a friend). These are the guys He did life with.

This famous ‘Last Supper’ bread breaking was during the Passover meal. This  celebration was and is in remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel. Jesus and the disciples were in someone’s home. In a guest room set up for this feast. For almost four hundred years after Christ’s resurrection, believers met in homes and shared communion in their own homes. (Mark 14:12-26, Matthew 26:17-30, Luke 22:7-23)

Some of my personal thoughts:

I think Jesus loved this! He broke bread and gave thanks as the risen Christ with the guys he met on the road to Emmaus! He loved being with people, enjoyed eating with them, feeding them (sometimes 5000 at a time)!

When I take Jesus with me when I am not in a ‘church’ building and place Him at the helm of my every day life – heaven smiles.

If we take communion at home in a biblical model (1 Corinthians 11:23-25):

1. We examine or test ourselves to see where our heart is at. What does this look like? I usually do this in a two step process:

(a)   Do I need to forgive anyone? Close your eyes and ask God. Did anyone come to mind? If so – forgive the person – out loud (whether you feel like it or not doesn’t matter – just do it). Release them from your expectations and ask God to bless them. 

(b)   Am I believing any lies? Close your eyes and ask God. Did you hear a lie you are believing? If so – ask God to forgive you for believing the lie and ask Him what the truth is.

2. We give thanks. Whatever this looks like for you. What are you thankful for?

3. We break the bread. Jesus did this and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” As you take a bite of bread remember what Jesus has done, who He is, how much He loves you.

4. We take the cup. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this,  whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Drink from the cup (or a cup) and remember Jesus, consider the wonder of the new covenant – us, no longer separated from our Heavenly daddy!

It’s really that simple. And that beautiful. And that holy. In your own home. With your own family and or friends. Do it when you gather as a group or family in  remembrance and honor of our Lord Jesus. Do it at home! Often.

Jesus never intended communion to be reserved for a ‘church building’ or ‘church setting.’ Heck, there weren’t any when he walked the planet.

Jesus wants to walk with, commune with, love and laugh with, guide, counsel, protect and bless you 24/7! Invite Him to dinner! (Revelation 3:20)

We set a place for Him at our home. I believe He is with us and will show up on my doorstep for dinner!

Is God a Snitch?

My son asked this of me the other day.

“Is God a snitch?”

Max was not particularly happy when he asked me this question. He was late getting home from a friend’s house. I had greeted him with the question, “So…where were you?”

“You know. I already told you I was going to Hank’s house,” came his cautionary reply.

“I know that’s where you told me you were going. But where were you really?” I raised an eyebrow and tried to look stern. Inside I was giggling, I knew he hadn’t been at his friend’s home.

“Fine. I went to Monte’s house.” He was honest. That was a huge plus in my book!

“I  knew that is where you went.”

Max was exasperated. “Mom! Quit praying that stupid prayer! Is God a snitch?”

Max was referring to a prayer I began praying about eight years ago. It goes something like this: Dear Lord, please grant me the wisdom to be the type of parent you want me to be. Reveal to me only what I need to know, today, to be that kind of parent – that I might protect the children you have placed in my care. That I would be wise, merciful, gracious and loving AND fully informed!

God has been so faithful in answering that prayer. Totally on a need to know basis.

When my children are in trouble, when they aren’t where they say they will be, when they need to confess something, when they need an extra hug or encouragement – God lets me know.

I have three sons. God knows what I need to know and when I need to know it. I haven’t been able to protect my sons from everything – I guess I am not supposed to.

Sometimes it’s more about me trusting God, no matter what has happened or is happening.

God has also led me to the discovery of the firecracker in the toilet, the car rolled out of the driveway, the gasoline bomb and a few other ‘boy’ actions that I’m sure to share at a later date…

God also lets me know when I need to keep my mouth shut, my opinions to myself or when I need to disengage. I have learned, through His guidance, that it is often wise for me to go to my own ‘time out.’ Of course, I am still growing in all these areas…

God is not a snitch. He is a faithful God. There is no deceit in HIM. He is jealous for us (not of us). Anything that attempts to separate us from His love is unacceptable!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39).

I am convinced that God simply wants to help me train my child in the way he should go. How could I even try that without the grace, mercy and supernatural power of Jesus?

This is a two-way street!

My own faults and shortcomings are always revealed to me. The Lord often uses my children in this endeavor (bless their hearts…).

It’s only fair that we would both (parents and children) have an edifying, enlightening, loving, inspiring, life changing, personal and encouraging relationship with our Creator.

Isn’t that why He came?

Practical Love

Love.

I’ve thought about that word all my life. Last week was Valentine’s Day. Most of America was at least subject to having ‘love’ on their mind.

But what does that mean?

Without a definition I can only fall back on my experience of the word. What if I only felt loved when my actions were approved by someone else? What if I was continually told, “I love you,” by an abuser? What if love only meant “sex” to me? What if love meant receiving flowers to me and washing the car to you? With out an anchor how can I know if I am being loving?

This weekend I was at an intensive training held by a gentleman that has thought a lot more about the word ‘love’ than most of us!

The training was the Re_Orient Intensive — an equipping program prior to the release of the book Re_Orient. The author is Kevin Weaver (www.thereorientbook.com).

His definition of LOVE is “the kind of love that contends for the highest possible good in every circumstance and relentlessly contending until it is a present tense reality.”

He reminds us to ask the questions, “What would love do?” or “What’s the highest possible good in that situation?”

For me, I need to step out of my box. We all have them. The preconceived notions of a word or a definition and how ‘we’ think ‘that’ should look.

Thank you Kevin Weaver for taking the time to search out what the original meaning of the word love is (the agape – God kind – of unconditional love).

Considering the above definition I discovered room for ‘love’ improvement in every area of my life!

Words are a passion of mine. But practical application to my daily life is priceless.

So, what does this look like? In my corner of the world I am a Daughter of the King, a wife, a mom, a seeker of truth, a business owner, a friend, an animal lover, a nature freak, and a whole lot more! I have a lot of areas to ‘love’ in!

I began by asking – What does this mean in my walk with God? What is the highest possible good? Today, for me, was to be jealous of my time with God. For me, it is out of the fullness I receive from being with Him that I operate the best! How do I contend for that? For me, today, I purposefully set time aside just for Jesus and I to hang out. We laughed together. The time was amazing!

I can get overwhelmed with the sheer possibility of all the areas I should or could be more loving. All the things I could or should do. All the opportunities presented to me on a daily basis to do.

Now I have a new filter.

I don’t have to map my entire life out at this moment. I can begin by simply asking that question for right now – today, and then contending for that ideal.

What would love do?

If I was wore out from over doing – would that be the highest good? If my walk with God, my marriage or family suffered because I was not ‘loving’ well; do I even have a right to diligently attempt this elsewhere without first practicing it well in my home or daily areas of influence?

What is the highest possible good, today, in my marriage? For my children? At my job? With the people I am with everyday?

Some examples of the highest possible good (for right now – today) in my life:

As a wife – could I honor my husband better? Yep! Today instead of just giving my opinion I could build him up in an area he could use a boost (Honey, thank you so much for working today to provide for our family! I am honored to be your wife). I could choose to focus on the good in my husband, intentionally, all day! He would say that was one highest possible good for him (from me) today!

As a mom – What is the highest possible good today? Today the highest possible good is for me to be present with my son, to reconnect after a weekend of separation. Yes, I have unpacking to do, laundry, cooking, phone calls, bills, etc to take care of. My son will always be more precious to me than those activities. He really requires so little of my time to be loved – some eye to eye time, a hug, an affirmation, a side by side activity (I did pass on the tandem chain sawing invitation…), a meal shared. He even enjoys helping steward our household and daily business activities with us. The highest possible good would be that I didn’t miss that today.

Ask these questions.

Of course I have answers to what the highest possible good could be in different arenas.  I’d like to save and change the world! I am not discounting these areas at all! Instead I am moving toward them, contending for Love’s Ideal one step at a time. Starting yesterday!

Right now I have today. I am going to DO what I can today.

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:34-35)