Not Our Agenda

But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.   Luke 9:9

Gospel-Reflections-800x800-gold-outline-400x400My husband was showing my kids some Bugs Bunny episodes on YouTube recently. When he showed them the one about the man who finds a singing frog, I was transported back to childhood, but not in a good way. The extreme frustration I’d felt then came back in full force as I watched the man try to show others how the frog could sing. Anytime anyone but the man was around, the frog would just “ribbit.” Yet the second they left, the frog would stand up and belt out a show tune. Over and over again this happened; Over and over again, my frustration grew right along with the man’s. Continue reading

Telling Them Our Story

We do not keep them from our children; we recount them to the next generation. The praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and His strength, the wonders that He performed.    Psalm 78:4

9.19.19 Telling Them Our Story

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I’ve been a huge fan of the devotional Living Faith for years. There’s always some gem in the daily reflections that transforms how I view God and life, in all the right ways.

Recently, it was editor Terence Hegarty’s reflection from September 12th that impacted me deeply. In it, he shared some of his rules for raising his children. Rule #4 was: “Read them stories, especially at bed time. When they are older, tell them your story.”

It got me questioning how much of my story I’ve told my kids. Continue reading

His Rope of Love

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

9.12.19 His Rope of LoveWe went to see the movie “The Peanut Butter Falcon” last weekend. If you haven’t seen it yet, run to the theatre! It was excellent!

In it, Zach, a young Down Syndrome man (played by an actor with Down Syndrome), breaks out of his institution to go to a wrestling camp. He then meets a guy named Tyler who is battling his own demons. The two pair up and become traveling companions.

Although this movie pulls at your heart strings constantly, the crossing-the-river scene is what had my heart rate spiking. Zach can’t swim.

Thinking outside the box, Tyler inflates a pair of pants and a trash bag for Zach to float on. He then ties a rope connecting himself to Zach.

Sure enough, as Tyler is swimming and pulling Zach on this long rope behind him, a boat comes zooming down the river, heading straight for them. If Tyler doesn’t swim for his life, the boat will cut the rope in two and Zach will lose his. Continue reading

All Things Can Become New

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Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19

9.4.19 All Things Can Become New

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All across the country, school is back in full swing. Our kids carry clean notebooks and refreshed minds, ready to be filled with new knowledge.

Back at home, however, all we moms have is the leftover mess of summer. Yes, we feel glee and relief as the bus pulls away with our noisy kids. But we don’t necessarily feel excited about the new school year. The only new thing for us is the chaos of adjusting to a new routine.

That’s when envy sets in: Envy for all our kids get to learn, all the experiences they have yet to live, and the endless potential of who they can become. That loop runs incessantly in our minds as we wipe sticky goo off the counter, scrub dirty toilets, and fold eighteen loads of laundry.

Then the words of Isaiah 43:18-19 whisper across our minds. Continue reading

Missing the Whole Point

Enjoy this Flashback post from August 2017 while we’re away on vacation.

“I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain and to be sent on my way there by you, after I have enjoyed being with you for a time.” Romans 15:24

8 18 17 with word overlayEvery Friday in summer, our family gathers together on our back deck at 5 p.m. for pina colada smoothies. Despite all the fun adventures we go on throughout the week, I think we all cherish this time the most. It’s a chance to chill out, and just be together.

Zack just got a new game for his birthday. It’s all about quests and imagination. He and Mason asked asked if we could play it as a family during pina colada time. We said yes.

Half-way through the game, I lost sight of the whole point of our gathering. Thank goodness my kids set me straight.
Zack had made up the story line of the game: one character’s wallet got stolen. The rest of our characters were banding together to track down the robber and get the wallet back.

I was completely into it, and ready to have my character help save the day. I was all about the forward momentum to achieve the end goal. Zack and Mason were not.

Twenty minutes later, they were still going on and on about the intricate details of a battle they came up with in the first three seconds of the game. The battle had NOTHING to do with catching the robber. I was losing my mind! How were we going to catch the criminal if his trail was growing cold?

In my frustration, I voiced my concerns. I asked them how we were ever going to meet our objective if the journey was taking so long. Why weren’t we staying focused? When were we going to make progress?

Mason turned to me and said, matter-of-factly, “Mommy, you’re missing the whole point. The fun of the game is the journey.”

Wow!! He’s 100% right. The journey IS the point. Whether it’s a game, a Friday afternoon, or the span of all our days combined, it’s all about touching the lives of other, and being in the moment enough so others can touch our lives. How do I keep forgetting this?

Even St. Paul, who had the vital task of spreading the faith in the early church, knew that God wanted him to “enjoy being with others for a time.” I’m sure it’s what fed him, rejuvenated him, and made his work more meaningful.

So, yes, there are things in our days that need to get done. Yes, we do need forward progression to make them happen. But God has wrapped up surprise after surprise for us in every moment of every day. If we’re only focused on the end product, we miss unwrapping all those gifts God wants to offer us along the way.

Questions For Reflection:

     * Am I too focused on the end game to enjoy the journey?

     * If so, what changes can I make to be more in the moment so I can enjoy God’s gifts along the way?

Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe
4 1/2 cups ice
2 – 6 oz. cans of pineapple juice
2 – 5.2 oz. containers of So Delicious vanilla coconut yogurt
3/4 cup Coco Lopez cream of coconut
1 1/4 cup So Delicious coconut milk ice cream
Put ice cubes in first, then everything else. Blend well. Garnish with whip cream and cherries. Makes 5 glasses.

Holding My Kids Close

Enjoy this Flashback post from June 2016 while we’re on vacation. 

There is an appointed time for everything,… a time to embrace… Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 5

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe school year is jam packed for us with band practice, karate, track, Drama Club, dance, floor hockey, Game Club, CCD, Daisy Girl Scouts, etc. I may be the one driving and picking up for it all, but I don’t participate in any of it. That is hours and hours of the week that I am not in the company of my kids. The only time I get to spend with them is during homework, where I am constantly riding them to stay focused, or at dinner, where I am pushing them to eat faster so we can get to the next activity. How sad is that?

So when summer comes, I get so excited, I plan all these great adventures where we can be together. Then I invite my kids’ friends to come along. It’s completely counterproductive: when their friends are there, my kids choose to talk to them, over me, every time. I can’t blame them: when the moms come along, I talk with the moms more than my own kids every time too.

So I decided I wanted last Wednesday to be different. Continue reading

Lessons from Our Bathtub

Enjoy this Flashback post from the Summer of 2017

And we have this confidence in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14

6 29 17 with word overlayAs I washed Jocelyn’s hair in the bathtub the other morning, we chatted about random things. I’m not quite sure how, but we ended up talking about babies. Jocelyn said she wanted her first baby to be a girl. At just seven years of age, she had it all planned out: “When I’m pregnant,” she said, “I’ll pray to God for a girl. He’ll hear my prayer and give me one.”

I loved how trusting she was. She didn’t doubt for a second that God would hear her prayer, nor did she doubt that He’d answer it. But I knew there was a lesson to be taught. So I grabbed my chance and ran with it. Continue reading