Monday, December 22, 2008
I awoke this morning to find my two youngest boys sleeping on the living room floor, dart guns and light sabers littered around them. I assume they were looking to sleep near the Christmas tree. As I adjusted their blankets and added an additional layer to keep them toasty (and sleeping), I stepped on an action figure and tried to keep a wimper from escaping my lips. I nearly fell onto one of the boys and instead performed some accidental acrobatics worthy of Cirque.
I gingerly pulled myself to a standing position and smiled gratefully. I love raising boys. There will come a day when I will never have to pick up an action figure, toy gun or stinky tennis shoe. I will miss the hubbub and chaos of these days. I have faith that my boys will grow into amazing men - conquerors, mighty heroes of this day, faithful husbands and fathers.
Thank you Father for these days.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
According to the law of aerodynamics a bumble bee cannot fly. Its body is too heavy in proportion to its wings. The bumble bee does not know that it is not supposed to be able to fly, and so it goes ahead and flies anyway.
You are capable of AMAZING things because you were created for greatness. Do not listen when people say it cannot be done. You are courageous, beautiful and powerful!
Psalm 139:14, Romans 8:37, Ephesians 2:10
I am posting it here because I know there are many of us grown women who need to hear it too.
Have a very Merry Christmas. May you enjoy the abundance of God's peace and grace as you spend time with friends and family this season.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Anyway, I was at my favorite Starbucks this morning reading and came across the story in chapter 9 where Jesus encounters a man who was born blind. In the process of healing him, Jesus spits into the dirt on the ground and makes some mud (um, odd to anyone else?). He takes this mud and rubs in onto the man's eyes. Then, he instructs the man to go wash in a pool. The man returns home to his family able to see for the first time in his life. A miracle, awesome right?
However, as you read on you find that the Pharisees badgered this once-blind man regarding his relationship with Jesus and his "sins" before he was healed. Eventually this leads to the Pharisees throwing him out of the city. Now, here is the really cool part. In verse 35 the Bible says that Jesus heard of this and came back to find him. JESUS CAME TO FIND HIM after hearing of his calamity. I remember the spit-mud on the eyes part of this Bible story from memory, many of us probably do. I don't ever recall reading the latter section of the story. Jesus heard he was struggling then came personally and affirmed his faith (verse 38).
This week ends a season of calamity for my family. I am so grateful for being delivered out of it. However, I can recount throughout this season Jesus affirming me that He was right by my side. "I am here, you are not alone, do not fear..." Just like this blind man, Jesus didn't ignore my struggle, he just affirmed my faith. He is so faithful.
Be encouraged and blessed!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
All of these people are assembled to hear Jesus speak or to receive miraculous healing. Realizing the physical needs of this multitude, Jesus asks one of his disciples where they can buy bread to feed them all. So here are these disciples, not entirely yet sure who Jesus is, young, not wealthy faced with feeding 5,000+ people. I have done enough event planning to know that even with a team of caterers, this is no small task. The noise level involved with feeding that large of a group without a PA system, would be daunting alone. Then, verse 6 says, "He asked this only to test him, for He already had in mind what he was going to do."
I thought, "Hmmm, here I am in my life faced with some large tasks just ahead of me and I bet that God knows already what he is going to do about them." I need to just relax a bit, ease up on my reigns and seek Him a bit more to find out how we are going to handle this. HE ALREADY HAS A PLAN.
Then, just after that in verses 16-21 the disciples are in a boat heading to Jesus' next speaking engagement in Capernaum. :) [I am so funny I know.] There was a strong wind and the waters were rough. They were ROWING (thank you Father for motorized boats) for 3 to 3.5 miles and then they saw Jesus approaching, walking on the water. So just like I would have, they freaked out and were afraid. But then Jesus spoke to them and said, "It is I; don't be afraid.". Verse 21 was the interesting one to me, "Then they were willing to take Him into the boat,". OK, so I assume that before that they were like, "Row faster, he's catching up." Right? But, it was the voice of God that quited them down so they were able to receive Him.
Boy, this is me right now, rowing and rowing and rowing just trying to get out of the storm and away from the things that scare me, when I just need to hear the voice of God to understand and receive. Thank you Father for your word, for my church so that I can receive of you and not be in fear.
Hopefully this encourages you as it has me this morning. SLOW DOWN AND LISTEN, GOD ALREADY HAS A PLAN. And, stop rowing so quickly... aren't you tired?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Growing up with a brother, these girl sessions are sometimes foreign to me. I find that I watch them with the detail of a scientist or wildlife expert watching animals in the wild. "Hmm, wonder what that means? Is that aggressive or friendly behavior? Should I keep hidden or run for my life?"
In all seriousness this is a great group of girls and we are going to be fierce competitors this season!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
I can only guess at what kind of stress my little doggie has. Evidently, the overactive squirrels preparing for hibernation are too much for her. She has taken to collecting rocks in a pile underneath my bed. Cute, right? Well, I recently noticed that the decorative rocks displayed in a glass bowl on my dining room table have become additions to her pile. So tell me, how does my hoarding pooch get those rocks? She is up on our dining room table when we are not home! Gag.
God has called us to live in peace. Throughout the Bible we read of God's promise to bring us peace. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. Why, then, am I fighting daily to keep myself in peace? Because I am human and, if I am honest, a bit of a control freak. Thankfully, my loving Father God is patient.
Sometimes I think I have things under control. I am a rather capable woman. I can usually walk with more than my share of balls in the air. It is this gift that gets me in trouble. I get over-confident and starting thinking it is ME that is so great. BUT, it is not about me. My life must glorify God, not my ability to handle stress.
Ugh, so as a warrior chick (thank you Holly Wagner) I am drawing my sword. Enemy beware! I will fight for peace because God promises it. I am more than a conqueror in the arms of my Father, I can speak to my circumstances and declare victory because I serve an Almighty God. I know that my needs (all of them) are met because the Bible says so.
Hoo-Rah (or however that goes).
Monday, August 18, 2008
It happened to be one of the hottest days of the summer, but we were perky and cute in our uniforms anyway. We have a repertoire of 5 cheers and we cheered for half of the second quarter followed by a halftime performance. I must say, I could never have done that at 4 years old. Not only did we perform the cheers, but we offered a mean rally and even managed to get the crowd to participate with us. It was tons of fun.
Friday, August 08, 2008
- Exactly 24 cheerleaders and 2 coaches with backpacks can fit into the elevators in Haggett Hall.
- Young girls will not claim any undergarments left in bathrooms regardless of the discretion used to compel them to do so - even if their names are written on them.
- It takes about eight 24oz bottles of Diet Pepsi over ice to keep 2 coaches alive during 2 full days and 2 half days of camp.
- Little girls can go to the bathroom 10 times each in a four hour period.
- Never underestimate the sweet smile and innocent eyes of two ten year olds in the bathroom at 12:30am.
- Red licorice can heal homesickness in a pinch.
- I am so lucky to have such great kids in our program.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I watched him walk back behind a column to his mother and older brother. I proceeded about 10 more feet and then turned around. I approached the mother and asked her what she needed a dollar for. Her answer did not satisfy my need to know that my cash wouldn't support a drug habit. The story involved a need for $30 to help their family return to their home in West Virginia. How could $30 get them that far? It certainly did not add up. Further questioning increased my suspicions.
I could not fathom utilizing my children in this manner, regardless of my circumstances. I wanted to be angry with the mother. I wanted to shake her and demand that she shield her children from this matter. Protect them! Then, I decided, at that moment, that I wanted the boys to remember not the shame of asking strangers for money, but that there are good people in the world.
I gathered all of the cash I had in my wallet, which wasn't much, and offered it to the little brother. His face lit up and he jumped up slightly! That made the situation worse from where I stood. I smiled brightly to the boys, looked each one in the face hoping to impart their value in taking the time to acknowledge them. The mother didn't thank me.
I walked to my car wondering if I should have done more. Could I have filled their gas tank? Did they have a car? Should I have re-entered the store and bought some food? Should I have questioned the mother further? I probably didn't do enough. However, for a moment I know those little boys felt like valuable little people. I prayed for that family as I drove home. "Father protect those boys, bring others to them to help raise them up in the way they should go. Help them to realize their potential and value to this world. Father, bless me abundantly so that in the future I can make a bigger difference in this situation."
Friday, August 01, 2008
We greeted the car attendant at the station and she allowed me to board the train briefly to get the boys settled into their seats. She was not exaggerating when she said brief! I had just helped the boys stow their luggage when I felt the train lurch forward. I rushed to the car entrance to see instant panic flash across the attendant's face as she realized that I was still on board - really it was less than 3 minutes! She grabbed my arm as I attempted to jump from the moving train - barely moving!
Minor chaos ensued, which involved my kids rushing to find me and being forced to remain seated, me sequestered in a nearby car and trying to remain civil as the conductor was summoned to speak with me and the car attendant trying to find a solution that didn't involve her receiving blame. I was then informed that I was stuck on the train until the next stop - TACOMA! "But," she smiled "we won't charge you for that leg." You bet your sweet smile you won't. [help me Father not to react poorly] I am a Hobo - illegally on a train.
The conductor chastised me, yes chastised ME, that unaccompanied minors were not allowed to board at the last station. Like I was trying to be sneaky or something - I just didn't want to drive into Seattle. Who knew this train station rule? Was it posted? Did the website address it? Maybe, somewhere, but why was I allowed to purchase the tickets?
So, I have the new found pleasure of taking an early morning trip to Tacoma. Woo Hoo! Did I mention that I was in my jammies? I doubt I locked my car which is now miles behind us at the station. [another quick prayer] I return to my children who are faking calm. I call and wake my husband and plead with him to come and get me in Tacoma at the train station. I try to keep my mind fixed on the things above - "Help me Jesus not to hit, yell or cuss." So my saintly, sleepy, unshaven and un-coffee'd husband sets off to rescue me - mind you this was rush hour by now.
The car attendant, bless this poor woman, calls ahead to the next station to fix the unaccompanied minor issue and asks the next station attendant to prepare the necessary paperwork for me to sign upon my arrival. At this same time, a supervisor somewhere gets wind of this whole incident and decides that me and my kids - such villains - should depart the train in Tacoma and find "alternate transportation" to Portland. WHAT!? We prepare to depart. One of my boys is now crying [help me Father].
The train stops, we exit the train, the car attendant (remember her - the reason why I am stuck on the train in the first place?) calls her boss on her personal cell phone and gets the whole debacle cleared up in a manner of minutes - villains to VIP's! [Thank you Father!]
Morning rush hour, waiting in a train station with the other Hobo's (translate: a handful of business-types, a transvestite, a man with a very large cart and a loud belching issue, and a young woman with an apple in each hand) - what an adventure! I will make the 40 minute drive downtown in the future and hope my credentials are not posted on some train station website as a possible Hobo.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Recently our Belles Junior and Youth squads voted on new captains for the 08-09 season. We have been served so well by our original captains, Lisa and Kali, since our inception THREE YEARS ago. We felt it was time for other Belles to have a chance at captain and to allow Kali and Lisa a break from the added responsibility. They voted... so wisely. We have four new captains to take over the reigns: Mckenna, Alesha, Catherine and Marissa. I know these four young ladies will serve their squads well and I look forward to this season working with them. The best part about this transition, because it would be easier for the coaches if the existing captains remained, was the response of Kali and Lisa. They were given the task of notifying the new captains of their positions. They were so proud to do this. I was so proud of them. We have such great girls on our squad.
My husband is currently in a transitional phase professionally. It is requiring that we reinvent our relationship and our homelife. It isn't comfortable or easy. Part of growing together. All for the better, but still change.
Then, just last night one of my very best friends got engaged! I am so happy for her and so excited for her future with her new husband. I know it is God's will for them. Hooray! However, as happens when every woman marries, her friendships with her female friends will experience transition.
I make myself absorb changes of all kinds. It isn't always comfortable. I walked around last evening for a little too long while it was a little too dark. I donned my sneakers and stepped off my front porch determined to convince God that these changes, er transitions were not necessary right now. Just like wishing for summer to linger and autumn to delay, this was futile!
As I walked, prayed and listened I felt the comfort and peace of God. The transitions in my life are necessary just as the flow of water is necessary to keep bodies of water from becoming swamps. How self-centered I am sometimes seeing everything from my me-glasses. My Father God reminded me that I am bigger than that.
I woke this morning a little sore - I must have been walking aggressively! I am so thankful for the transitions in my life. They are part of the process that keeps me from being stagnant and stinky.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Our new Belles squads performed for the first time before several hundred spectators. Our Angels (the special needs program we began in Maple Valley) performed for the first time together too. I WAS SO PROUD of the efforts each young lady made.
One little girl (who is only 4) was tearful just before her performance. With encouragement from mom and coach she braved the performance floor. Through her tears she began her dance and by the end was smiling and confident. I know each time she performs she will learn to overcome the anxiety and embrace courage. Each time will be easier.
My hope is that each of the girls who performed on Saturday will recall that process, overcoming anxiety and embracing courage, throughout their lives. That is the crux of my business!
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. " Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Pictures coming soon...
Monday, June 09, 2008
Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.
These scriptures are cautionary in the use of our words. Be careful what you say because words are powerful as demonstrated by Jesus cursing this tree.
My pastor used this scripture on Sunday as he was teaching on faith. As he was teaching I noticed a piece of the scripture that I have never "seen" before. "For it was not the season for figs" Jesus walked over to the tree EXPECTING to receive fruit to eat even though figs were not in season at that time.
Right now the season of our economy is such that one should expect lack and shortage - high gas and grocery prices, a sluggish real estate market and fear running rampant in consumers. However, being formed in the image of Christ, we should have the same expectation - fruit to be available to us even when the "season" isn't right.
We should expect to have more than enough because GOD is our source, our businesses should be growing and thriving, our pantries should be stocked, our investment accounts should be holding. We can expect it just as Jesus did.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Then, as I was walking with the cart through the hallways of the children's area I saw looks of concern from some parents and excited expectation from their kids. I guess maybe, they know me. I had to chuckle because maybe once or twice I have been known to have some over-the-top games during my Kids Church lessons. BUT, I guess I wasn't aware that there might be some stigma attached. Ha - kidding. I have to say that I like things on the wild side and I guess they know me.
Funny that the same day during my small group bible study I shared with the young ladies about Psalm 139 - God knows you and all your ways, even before you were born, even the bad stuff. He still loves you - even if you are a little on the wild side like me. He REALLY KNOWS YOU.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I agree with this sentence when you are in a position of rationalizing OTHER PEOPLE'S behavior or lack thereof. In other words, have a realistic expectation of other people's behavior based upon their past actions, NOT based upon your personal feelings. For example, my girlfriend will likely be late because she always is, but not my girlfriend will likely be late because nobody thinks I am important. Get it?
There were two analogies the host used that I thought were useful:
- Do you take your cat on a walk with a leash? No because cats don't like that.
- You can't use a bone dry sponge to soak up water, it has to be slightly wet.
Sometimes we expect people to do something that they historically have chosen not to do and then we are upset because they don't. The cat? Or maybe we expect people to be able to do something that they have no skills to do and then we are upset that they cannot. The sponge?
The talk show host was speaking of adult child-parent relationships in both of these matters. Sad that so many people suffer in their adult lives expecting something from a parent that has never happened and likely will never happen. We cannot expect an absent father to suddenly want to be involved in our lives. We cannot expect emotionally unavailable mothers to suddenly become that. If we have a reasonable expectation of people and get our needs met through other relationships in our lives, we can find peace.
Ask God to bring you a father-person or mother-person (or whoever-person) to fill a need in your life. Don't set yourself up for continual hurt by having unrealistic expectations from loved ones.
FIND PEACE because some people can't.
Monday, May 12, 2008
- Strong physically and in spirit
- Hard workers at home and at practice
- Good examples
- Make good choices (smart)
Well, out of the mouths of babes our vision is established... I just love this thing called coaching!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
- Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 2 cor 9:10-11.
This is a great verse which explains God's plan for providing for us. However, the first part of verse 10 just jumped off the page to me, "He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food". When we are experiencing lack in our lives we need to take a look these two separate areas: what you have to give for a purpose and what you have to sustain you.
Easy to discern and apply in the financial realm of our lives, right? Just check the credit card account balance, are you using more that what you have to sustain you (e.g bread for food)? Check your tax return, are you giving enough for a specific purpose (sowing): church, charity, gifts, etc.
We can also apply these same principles to the other areas of our lives. When I feel overwhelmed and exhausted it might just be because I am spending too much time on either the sowing or sustaining part of my life. Maybe I have over committed myself to volunteering at church or school and not enough time reading my bible, working out or just resting. Or, the converse can be true too, I am using all of my emotional and time resources on myself and not giving enough to others. Is my husband cranky and my kids wild beasts? Maybe I need to spend some time at home just chilling with my peeps. Do I feel tired and my skin looks bad? Maybe I need to get to the gym and devote some time to myself (when was the last time I breathed fresh air, anyway?).
It can be a delicate balancing act, but one in which God is involved as He notes here in verse 10. Don't eat your seed, don't neglect your personal needs either.
As we near Mother's Day, every mother can take something from these wise words from our Lord. Keep the balance - what you say no to will probably lead to more success than what you say yes to. Take care of yourself, but give yourself away too. Find that balance between the two that provides peace for you and your home.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I also heard an interview of Maria Shriver as she was marketing her new book. She said something that was interesting to me. DISCLAIMER: I have not read her book, nor do I know of Maria's stance on any political or social views. But she is a woman older than me who has gained some knowledge in her years and that is why I would listen to her. She remarked on her relationship with her mother as being good, but emotionally distant. Now as her mother is progressing in age and requires some "mothering" from Maria she said that she had the "opportunity AT THIS AGE to be something different than what her mom was to her".
I thought, "Wow, me too!" At this age, I can break free from the examples lead before me and choose to be something different if I want. It is an act of my will (although a very difficult venture at times) to change my behavior and thought patterns to be the person I want to be.
So I think at this age that I will choose to be positive (I will have to work HARD), healthy, happy, and prosperous. I will choose to have friendships with people who make me better. I will choose to let people be themselves and let loose of my desire to control (ouch again). What will you choose to be AT THIS AGE?
Monday, April 14, 2008
She shared that she had struggled with her weight her entire life. She said that one day it occurred to her that when she had successfully rid herself of the extra weight it was motivated by comparison - trying to be thinner or prettier than some else. Once she realized this and embraced the folly of it, she has not struggled with her weight since. The last sentence she spoke was the most poignant, "I realized that I don't have to be "er" than anyone else." Prettier, smarter, thinner, faster, better, richer... The poison of comparison holds us all at times.
Later that same day I sat in a mid-week church service and heard my pastor teach on the book of Galatians. Specifically, Gal 1:15 Paul mentions that from birth God had called him, even before Paul chose to serve God. It was if Heaven opened just then and God leaned down and gave me that father wink, "Did you get that honey, it was for you."
GOD CALLED ME to do certain things with my strengths and weaknesses. What the person next to me has or does is irrelevant because GOD CALLED ME from birth to be a wife, mom, cheerleading coach, Sunday School teacher and friend. Who I am must be different because I have a specific purpose. I need to excel in the areas that help me to accomplish my calling and not my husband's, sister's or friends. I don't need to be as thin as her or as smart as him or as patient as her or as -er to anybody. I just need to run my own race, right?
WOO HOO! What freedom there is in that. Comparison trips up the young women in our country. Eating disorders, cutting, suicide, drugs, etc. all motivated because we wish we were more like "her". BUT GOD, "who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace" Gal 1:15b, has ordained a purpose for you that has nothing to do with "her". Meditate on that and make yourself believe it!
Monday, March 31, 2008
I asked her how she was and with some gentle prodding she shared with me a hurt she had experienced over the last week. Her story was so similar to those I hear often from my female friends. The micro details vary greatly but the overriding theme is similar, "I have always struggled to feel like I measure up to other women. I sometimes don't feel valuable." I too have struggled and still do struggle with this issue. I battle it with prayer, the Word and faith confession, "I am who God says I am. I was created by my Heavenly Father in my mother's womb. He knew the good works I would do before I was born. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God loved me so much that He sacrificed His own son just so that we could have relationship."
It was during my conversation with her that I was reminded about the greatness of God. There are billions of people in the world, but my dear friend at church was so valuable that He saw fit to place us together weeks ago so we might begin a friendship. She is so valuable that this Sunday the Holy Spirit dropped her right into my lap so that together we might encourage one another as two women who fight the same battle. As I listened and then spoke I heard the woman next to me quietly praying. Her knowing glance let me know that she was asking God for wisdom on my behalf. Unbeknownst to the people around us, there were three women in church drawing their swords and fighting off the enemy.
The enemy attacks women because he knows the power we have to encourage, to love, to bring healing to the world. Our husbands, our children and our girlfriends need strong women who know their value to encourage them through life's difficulties. A women has the power in her tongue to make her husband feel like a king or a mouse (in just a few words!). The creative power of women has immeasurable value to the business world. If the enemy keeps women fighting each other instead of fighting together against a common enemy - the victory will be elusive.
Gather your girlfriends and draw your swords!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Patient, consistent faithful. Big words. Big vision and goal. I believe Liberty Bell Spirit Squad is achieving these words and I am working on it.
As we approach our next tryouts this Saturday, March 29th I am so excited to meet the new faces of our Belles. Patient, consistent and faithful are traits I would use to characterize our 07-08 Belles. I can't wait to see how the veteran squad members function as examples to new members. Years down the road, I hope these cheerleaders look back on their time on a competitive cheerleading squad and use the triumphs, disappointments and relationships to help them have victory in their lives.
Patient, consistent, faithful.
Monday, March 17, 2008
It makes me chuckle to think back to our first year at the St. Pat's parade when we had 8 actual cheerleaders and 12 of my dance team pretending to be cheerleaders to give us some volume! I was the only coach and I coerced my dear friends to walk with us and act like coaches too. Ha! My how times have changed.
Also on Saturday our Belles squad competed at the Galaxy Challenge Cheerleading Competition in Covington. I was unable to be there, but Coach Rosie informed me that this was their best performance yet. [maybe I should miss more of them?] What a great way to end a season full of victory! They took first in their division and earned almost 70 more points than the last time they performed in the same setting and division. WOW!
I can't wait to see what the Belles do next year - better watch out for us!
Monday, March 10, 2008
One particular girl danced nearly alone in her small group. She smiled and gave it her all as she danced in front of the rest of the squad. I recalled during her tryout a year ago how she would only look at the floor in front of her and how she would bite her lower lip. I was amazed at her showmanship on Saturday. She made eye contact with her audience and smiled while she danced. This is VICTORY in my eyes!
I am so grateful to be a part of each girl's life if only for a short while. More than the competition, I LOVE this part of coaching. More than any awards, the achievements that each girl made this year are so valuable. I hope they cherish the achievements as I cherish being a spectator to the process.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I want to encourage you to reach out to kids beyond your family. You have something precious you can pass along to another generation. We are called to be examples (although imperfect) to the next generation.
The biggest change is that our Belles program is expanding to four squads: Tiny, Mini, Youth and Junior. We are so excited! The tryout for the older girls will take place on March 29, 2008. Interested parties can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We began our competitive squad two years ago as a test. Could we offer something low cost, only practicing 2-3 times per month and still be competitive with the rest of the all-star community? The answer is yes! We recently placed 4th at the PacWest Sonics Cheerleading Competitive at Junior Level 2. This is our first year, so we can only go up from here! You can check out how we did: http://www.youtube.com/user/CoachKindra.
I can't wait for next season!