When Raul & I were dating, more thought it wouldn’t work, than would. Raul was a principled, moral, intentional Christian; I was all the opposite. Raul knew what he wanted & knew God was in it. I DIDN’T know what I wanted & doubted God was in it. Raul wanted a relationship; I wanted a fling. Raul wanted me to stop cussing; I wanted him to START cussing. Raul knew boundaries; I knew how to cross them. They say opposites attract. But when we were dating I had to ask, “But do extremes?!” Straight up, dating WILL have dramas, uncertainty, miscommunication & misunderstanding. SO EXPECT IT. Dating is like-well, it’s like porcupines mating—sticky, painful, awkward. But like I told this chic recently: obey God & be honest & it can’t go wrong. God can ONLY bless obedience & honesty. And ultimately, that’s what we all want–whether dating, single or married. Raul & I have been married 12 years. We survived our porcupine dance. And so will you. Hey, what advice or questions do you have, as it pertains to dating? Let’s get this convo started!
It’s hard to believe this photo was taken over three years ago. We know time flies. But memories stay. We can’t bottle time, but we can capture memories. We can’t stop the clock, but we can pause for reflection. This summer, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, no doubt, your time is gonna fly. So be sure to take some of its time to journal & photograph the highlights. Raul, the boys & I may never return to this place, but we can always return to the memories we captured when we did.
Never touching the nest or her eggs, the boys & I enjoyed keeping watch on Ma Duck. We were curious why she built her nest where she did. As you can see, she had to endure the pangs of this thorned bouganveilla every time she sat on her nest. But we deciphered that she was willing to endure that to have the safety this particular spot afforded her. Last week, while in Chicago, the boys & I talked about coming home to see Ma Duck & her new fuzzy babies. We talked about how we’d put bread outside so Ma Duck could be a hero to them when she brought home a tasty treat of starchy-spongy goodness. But when we returned from Chicago, we were aghast to see that an animal had gotten to her babies. All the eggs were on the ground, split open. That was tough, man! We had grown fond of Ma-Duck & her babies-to-be. Today, I saw her in our driveway & I’d be a liar if I didn’t tell you my heart sank. She sacrificed & suffered for the sake of her babies & an enemy snatched them away. There’s a lesson in this. Probably several. But for me, it was a reminder of what Christ did for me. He sacrificed & suffered for my sake…and for several years, the enemy snatched me away. But my story doesn’t stop there. What the enemy tried to snatch away, God got back. For good. Forever.
I don’t like reading, but I make myself read. I’m thankful for all the authors whose books have been there for me at all the right times. Notwithstanding the bible, after a LOT of processing, I finally boiled it down to these five as my all-time fav:
I learned not to base my self esteem on what others said or what I did. I learned there was more to me than those 2 combined.
After getting hired, my headhunter gave me this book. When I got fired from that job 30 days later is when it meant the most.
I learned where God is in murder, pain, death, and where he is when there is no explanation.
Suffering from depression and anxiety all my life, this book set me free. It was balm for my mind; healing for my thoughts.
I’ve never been a book-smart person. This helped me realize, despite that, I still had a brain & God could do good things with it.
Boy did I have fun perusing through my grandma’s photo albums last week. ‘Though these preposterous photos speak for themselves, I do have one takeaway: everyone is born with a talent & God does not create a life that He can not use purposefully. HE knows we have talent; WE go through trial & error to discover it. Based on these pix, I can see that from way-back-when, I enjoyed being in front of people–helping them laugh. 32 years later….I still do & am honored whenever I get the chance to use this at my church. I hope you have discovered your talent. More importantly, I hope you are using it. You are too talented to spare the world of the talent you were born to run with.
Who is your enemy? Maybe you don’t have one. Enjoy that! Give thanks! And don’t take it for granted! But maybe you’re in a season right now where you have one. Either you made someone your enemy or they made you theirs. These are tough seasons. Everything in you wants to fight the enemy OR get even with the enemy OR get others to align with you against the enemy OR compromise your integrity for the enemy. A few years ago, I had an enemy. I had someone against me who hurt me–nearly destroying me as a wife, a mom, a person. And you bet, my instinct was to do everything I just mentioned above. It was a tireless, daunting full-time job to work against my instinct & do as God would do…love them. Jesus said to love your enemies. If that isn’t a honkin contradiction I don’t know what is. But it doesn’t matter if it’s a contradiction to us or an impossibility to our human nature..God said do it. Because He’s mean like that? No. Because He loves us and He lives in us. And LOVE ALWAYS WINS. Jesus LOVED his enemies that beat him, whipped him, slapped him, spit on him, nailed him, hung him. AND HE WAS HUMAN. He had the wiring to do what instincts would do with enemies…but He didn’t. There’s an old saying, “keep your friends close & your enemies closer.” And I know why that person quoted that. But what if we gave it an addendum? Instead: keep our friends close, our enemies closer…so that they sense our mercy & see our forgiveness. I’ll close with this rhetorical question: what if I treated my enemy like my friend?
I know several who have clouds over their heads & it’s raining down on them. And this is not a short April shower, either. It’s an ongoing, is-this-ever-gonna-end kinda rain. Life is seasonal. And when its the rainy season, we wonder if it will ever end. Will we ever see the sun? Will the clouds ever dissipate? But metaphorically speaking, knowing our rainy season could be a long one, we gotta make choices while in it. Dance in the rain or pout in the puddles? Stand up in the clouds or sit under them. Look, not too long ago, I came out of a TWO YEAR rainy season. I’m sharing this because this is what I had to learn to do. I had to learn that I didn’t know when the rain would end…but I had a choice of what I could do in it. Did I dance in the rain all the time? No way. But I didn’t sit, pout & waste my life in it either. If you are in a rainy season–and its been awhile–I hope you find the strength within to occasionally stand up & dance in it. And I’m praying that your sun will soon shine.
What is awkward? Awkward is asking someone if they are pregnant & they aren’t. Awkward is passing gas ’cause you think you’re alone & someone walks in. Awkward is unfollowing someone on Twitter & they ask you why. And awkward is being a Christian. Yep. It’s awkward When I am around family or friends who are of no religion or of a different faith, it can be awkward. They do things I don’t do, I do things they don’t do. And hello, enter: awkward. But the bible I read makes no promises that Christianity is meant to be un-awkward. Today, as we celebrated our freedom as a country, I got to thinking that awkward–here–is something many–over there–don’t have. They aren’t awkward, they are persecuted. They don’t have uncomfortable moments, they have painful lifespans. I typed this after our family’s BBQ today. As I consider how moments in it mighta been awkward, I am thankful that awkwardness was as worse as it got. As Americans, we are truly, truly blessed.
There is no denying that I can do some silly & arguably stupid things. On any random day, I might show up to church in an alpaca hat or a sombrero. I might wear a chicken costume on stage. I might run through the aisles at Target and slide on my knees. I might drink chocolate milk with my kids and not wipe off the mustache. Or I might try to climb a tree (operative word being “might”) (see pic). But there is always something I (we) can do as we get older that can help us feel younger. Don’t be afraid to tap into that. Is it immature? Depends. I guess if you ask the Queen of England it is. But is it fun? You betcha! If you haven’t done anything as an oldie to help you feel lil youngie I triple-dog dare you to give it a shot. I’d love to know what you did so don’t forget to come on back and leave a comment. Have fun! 🙂