Monday, October 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Topic Tuesday~ Roomies for Life.

It's Topic Tuesday! 

I know this has happened to some of you before- You’ve had a day or a week where the same themes keep running through your mind and consciousness. Example- you are super frustrated with your kids then someone posts on FB about “patience” being a virtue. Then you’re in the grocery store (of course you're in a hurry, as always) and the lady in front of you writes a check and uses 10 million coupons (this is actually me some days), you’re about to blow your top, but then it’s your turn and the cashier says, “Thank you for your patience.” You smile a fake smile cause you’re trying to hide what’s really going on in your head. Then a friend calls to tell you a story about how she was patient and it paid off… You’re finally like, “ENOUGH! I get it God! I need to work on my patience!”

Well, this is not an all CAPS type of theme like patience, but lately I have seen a particular topic on repeat.

Multi-generational living. 

Some of you just read those words and thought, what in the world is she talking about?
And I actually just used that term because I saw it somewhere else, and thought- that’s it! That’s the name for the theme circling my head like a hawk!

So what is it? It’s when more than two generations are living together under the same roof (my definition for it anyways). This very important tradition has become a thing of the past for me and most of my peers. But this is not how it used to be. In fact, my mother’s generation did this, so it is not that far removed, and yet it’s almost vanished… How and why so quickly?

Picture of the family who inspired my latest novel. Count the four generations.
I am writing a literary fiction novel right now that is inspired by true events. The setting for part of the book is the early 60s. Now the early 60s did not get everything right for certain, but I do think they got this one correct. The family in the story (remember it’s inspired by true events) had four generations under one roof. ONE ROOF. And each generation serves a purpose in the story. There were no insignificant roles.

Was it a crazy household? Yes, probably. But can you for a moment think about the wisdom of the elders being passed down in that kind of environment… and the care given to the family member who's in life’s last stages… and the youth- the young generation, full of life- who is able to still bring joy and laughter into the home.  

Why has this gone by and by? I too have fallen into the cultural norm and thought about how wonderful life will be when my kids go off to college, and my husband and I have the house to ourselves. But do I really want that?

I’m not sure I do. I think I’m kind of leaning towards multi-generational living, watching my grandkids grow up in real time, because they’re down the hall, and not across town. I'm kind of leaning towards being Roomies for life...

I wonder if my kids or my husband will agree…

Also, check out this great video of folks who demonstrate well this type of living!


Monday, July 25, 2016

Seven Deadly Sins...

Sin: It seems we always are talking about it lately, but only it’s not the sin we commit ourselves, but yet the sin we see others commit, the sin we see others struggle with, the sin that binds someone else in a permanent hold. Even people who aren’t believers in God (or even gods) will use the word sin. Believing in a higher power and calling someone a sinner are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can believe in God and yet still be blinded to your own sin or the sin around you, just like unbelievers will toss out the word in casual conversation.

When you hear the word sin, what do you think of?
Committing…
Murder?
Rape?
Theft?
Adultery?
Fraud?
Assault?

Those are some big ones right? The ones we KNOW are no-nos.

But what about these sins?
Being Conservative.
Being Liberal.
Being Pro-Cop.
Being Pro-Black.
Being Pro-Traditional Marriage.
Being Pro-Gay Rights.
Being Pro-Guns.
Being Pro-Target.
Being Pro-Immigration Reform.
Being Pro-ObamaCare.
Being Pro-Confederate Flag.
Being Anti-Military.
Being Anti-Socialism.
Being Anti-Religion.
Being Anti-Muslim.

Each of these has an opposite, and each of these are plastered on our social media pages on a constant feed of hate and accusations. But guess what? None of these are sins. Having opinions on these things can certainly lead to a breakdown in our behavior which could cause us to lash out and sin, but these aren’t sins alone, these are opinions.

How are we so corrupt as a society that we don’t even know what sin is anymore? We think someone who doesn’t believe the exact same things we do should go to hell and if someone is like us then they are the righteous ones! Like us! Since we all seem to think we are righteous and unflawed (according to our perfect lives on posted on our Facebook and Twitter feeds)!

So I did a little research. (Ten seconds on google) And found what I was looking for. Let’s get back to the basics.

Though I do have a Theology degree, I am not going to use my trusty old books from school filled with big words I may or may not remember the meanings of, but rather I am going to use a list that was compiled by someone who musta been really smart a long, long time ago based off different scriptures in the Bible.




The Seven Deadly Sins (that’s how I learned them as a kid)…

   Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
   Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
   Greed - excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness: “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).
   Laziness – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
   Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1)
   Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
   Pride - quality or state of being proud – inordinate self-esteem: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

(List taken from: http://www.allaboutgod.com/what-are-the-seven-deadly-sins-faq.htm)


How many of these sins have you committed today? Truly, I say, I just might have touched on all of them this day alone.

I believe if we all strived not commit these sins on a daily basis, we’d begin to see a change in our society. A change in the world our children are growing up in. A change in how we view our neighbor who is going through each day dealing with these same very basic, yet corrupting and deadly sins…

Fight it. Stop the hate. Stop calling or thinking someone is a sinner because they don’t believe in the same things you do. Focus on the sin that has you in the strongest foothold and end it. Develop a habit of ridding it from your life. Then, move on to the next one.


It’s time to look at ourselves in the mirror and deal with ourselves instead of everyone else.

And my spew of words is over. Thanks for allowing me to get it out. Now let's get to work on improving this world!

(Photo Cred: https://lettherebemovies.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/the-seven-deadly-sins_o_1775841.jpg)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Skylight View

My house was built in the early 90s. This means we moved into a 20 year old house ready for some updating. If you're old enough to remember the 90s, you can close your eyes and see mauve carpet, hunter green tile, wallpaper, gold everywhere (not the trendy kind), and a hook in the ceiling of your kitchen for that fake plant or fern you had to dangle above your fake Ficus tree. The only one from this list I'm not completely sure was in my home is the mauve carpeting. Lucky for us, the carpet was new, but lucky for us, they left the hook, green tile, gold fixtures and wallpaper for us to admire.

 Guess what else I have? A skylight in the vaulted ceiling of my master bath. 
Your mind just said, "Oooo, fancy! Prestigious even!" 

If anyone else has one of these, I'm sure you'd agree it's not fancy. It dates the house while at the same time accumulating dirt, grime, and pollen until the rain attempts to wash it away. It was one of those things I wanted to get rid of immediately. Four years later, it's still there, only now I've grown to love this particular window view with an unexpected admiration. 

Big-trunked, ridiculously tall trees line our backyard. Most were there long before our home ever was. It's a mass of green right now, multi-colored in the Fall, and creepily sparse in the winter. But this old, grimy skylight, placed high on my roof, frames this one particularly tall tree perfectly. This view into it's highest limbs, probably at least 80 feet in the air, has caught my attention. It blooms the most magnificent flowers. 
 My husband assured me "it's just a poplar tree", and I looked it up. Sure enough Google tells me it's a Tulip Poplar, but even still, even though it is not a rare tree, it fascinates me. I've gone out on my second story back deck and looked out into the tree line, and ONLY when I look up, way, way up, do I see this tree's limbs sprawl out and bloom into a beautiful chaotic display. 

I hated the fact these blooms were so far away, out of reach, and almost out of sight, unless I looked through the old, outdated, obscurely-placed window in my roof.

And then a revelation hit me. 

These blooms aren't for me. They're for God. They are the tree's offering to the Lord. 

"Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before Him...."

They are the tree's way to worship the Lord who gave it life.

".....Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness." 1 Chronicles 16:29

I've often viewed God's beautiful landscapes as His gift to us, his most special creation. But I realize now they're for Him too. For Him, the King of all, to enjoy.... and nature's way of worshipping Him.  

It's made me wonder how easily we can miss God's glory that surrounds us everyday. How easily we forget to bring Him an offering of love and worship, when even the trees don't forget.

I'm not getting rid of that skylight anytime soon. And I pray this Tulip Poplar tree will outlive me, so that I can also enjoy its love offering to God each Spring. 

What love offerings are you missing in your own backyard? 

I promise they're there. We just gotta look, and sometimes just look up.

Friday, March 25, 2016

#FirstWorldProblem

Many of you see "#FirstWorldProblem" and know exactly what it's referring to- the sarcastic remark made by us First World-ers when we face a problem any human living in a Third World country would laugh at, or even snarl at. Using the hashtag we can make light of our relatively silly dilemma, giving us permission to whine or complain about it on social media.

Now I am NOT saying these words with condemnation. In fact, I'm scared to search my own social media postings, afraid I'll see how many times I've used the hashtag myself. But I couldn't help but feel guilty when I watched the two and a half minute video below.

I dare you to take a look.

If The World Were 100 People | GOOD Data
When you shrink the world's population down to 100 people, this is what you get:
Posted by GOOD on Monday, March 14, 2016

I wonder how many of you watched it and immediately realized you fit into the top percentiles of the "good, better, best" statistics- like having the ability to read, the ability too earn more than $10 a day, and having access to food, clean water, shelter, college, internet, and cell phones! The list goes on and on...

Our life - how we choose to love and live- is affected and changed by our perspective. And doesn't the video (and ones like them) make you cringe, revealing how distorted our perspective has become? The fact we have a hashtag which allows us the freedom to complain about our privilege proves this lack of perspective, at least it's proved my own.

After watching it, all could think was the word thankful.

For me, my thankful heart turns to God, crying out my gratitude for His grace and mercy and blessings over me. Fitting I should see this video a few days before Easter Sunday, where Christians in this great country have the privilege to celebrate that Jesus died a sinner's death for us, then rose victorious over it, paving the way for me (and for you) to enter His Holy realm one day and spend an eternity in His presence. 

Oh, what a reason to be thankful!

If you cringed watching that video, I invite you to attend a local church service Easter morning. It is a great day to sacrifice an hour to God for the privilege He's granted us. And you never know, He may change your perspective on how to love and live.


“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His, we are His people,
the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all
generations.”

Psalm 100: 1-5

Thursday, February 25, 2016

If you do it once, you'll wanna do it again...

You know how skydivers say if you do it once, you'll want to do it again? Honestly, I've never understood this statement. I could never talk myself into thinking even once was a good idea, so why would it be a good idea twice? Doesn't that actually up the odds against me? Make the chances of the plane crashing, or my parachute not opening, a fraction stronger against me surviving?

But this past weekend, I finally understood... 

I mustered all the courage I had, prayed a lot, and got into my car all by myself to head inside the perimeter of Atlanta at 8am, so that I could attend the Atlanta Writing Workshop. I found parking, walked inside, checked in, got my name tag, and sat down all by myself. The whole time I was smiling, but was secretly about to throw up what little breakfast I'd been able to get down.

I was terrified because I KNEW I was going to show up, and be found a fraud. By just attending this workshop, you're admitting that you take writing, whether novels of fiction, non-fiction, or children's books, seriously.

 I am seriously trying to write novels, but does that count? Am I qualified to sit amongst the other writers at the workshop?

God answered that question for me very quickly, because pretty soon, a woman sat down next to me who was just like me! She was taking a leap of faith. Ready to learn about the publishing world, social media platforms for writers, and what the agents want to see from their authors. And once the workshop got started, and people began asking the same questions I had, and pitching their stories to agents, it became more and more clear...

I do fit here. I am not a fraud. I am serious.

And once that fear, that crippling fear, was gone, I was able to have fun. I made a new friend, and learned some great stuff. I met some agents and realized even more how much I envy their job, (cause I'm a book nerd) but also that they're real, and actually really approachable. I had nothing to fear the whole time and I wasted all that energy! 

I left feeling invigorated, and then I remembered back to 2011 (I think!) when I was in full-time ministry. My pastor wanted to send me to probably the biggest Children's Pastors Conference (In fact, I think that's what it's called, haha!) on the planet. They do them in a couple different places each year, and he wanted me to fly out to San Diego by myself to attend the one there. Of course, I said yes, but I flew out there thinking I had lost my mind! I was going to be lonely all week, AND people will realize I'm a fraud. I hadn't been doing my job for very long, and was still "getting my feet wet". I just KNEW everyone there would see me for what I was. 

But guess what? I quickly found out there were a lot of newbies attending to learn. And there were also lots of tenured attendees, who opened their brains for the pickin' with us newbies. I came home refreshed and invigorated.

All this to say, I do get that statement now. I probably won't ever go skydiving, but I understand that when something sets such passion inside, you do want to do it again. I'm gonna sign up for another writer's conference, maybe even one far away, and this time I'm pushing away the fear to allow the fun to happen sooner!

What is it that you fear right now, that if you took a leap of faith could end up being addictive? Invigorating? Even fun? Don't close yourself off because of fear, because most likely you're just closing yourself off to the growth and fun that could be taking place.

Who knows? If you do it once, it might surprise you, and you'll want to do it again.....



Image from: http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=10429