Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cap'n Crunch, Rob Bell and Hell

Thinking this title will get me some extra hits...and some chastisement from my mama for typing the "H" word!  (If you joined in to see some review on the Rob Bell book...sorry!  This really will have nothing to do with it.  If you joined in to get some free Cap'n Crunch...sorry!  That will not be happening here.  Surely nobody joined in to read about Hell...but, you never know!  Anyway, all feel free to read on!)

Now, for those of you too busy (like myself and pretty much every other woman on the planet) to get caught up in the latest deep, theological debate, there is great fuss and controversy over a new book by a pastor in Michigan named Rob Bell.  As I have laundry, no lesson plans for Monday, am short on toddler workers in the church nursery tomorrow morning and boys to pack back off to college...and that's just some of my "stuff" today...I'm not really feeling the need to get involved in the fray. 

However, the book - one including some thoughts Bell has on Hell - has birthed some "on the side" questions regarding how to talk to kids about the afterlife.  So, though I am a person who believes the Bible means what it says and says what it means and also one who grows stronger each day in her own convictions, in true cavewoman style, I will keep this real-life friendly and practical.  Again, I am not reviewing the content of the Bell book.  Like Hell, I don't want to go there.  I just want to encourage parents when it comes to having conversations with children.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Kids and questions regarding the afterlife.  Discussion topic that ranks up there with "Where do babies come from?" and "Why did God let my goldfish die?"...and "Why are you and daddy always wrestling in your room?"

I can't tell you I've hit a home run with my answers on the latter three, but when the whole matter of Hell came up when my boys were little I didn't have too go far for some great stuff to share.  You see, I knew exactly how they felt because I grew up in church and had once been a child myself.

If you were blessed enough to be a child in church during the 70's, chances are you got to view a movie series about Jesus coming back to earth for people who knew and loved him...and the horrors those left behind would surely experience.  Now, I must say - and I'm not looking for a big, debate here, unless it's about who is going to win the Final Four (KU) - that I believe all of the Bible.  It's the real deal.  And though I speak figuratively a lot myself, I think God's Word is pretty literal.  Sure, there are parables, but the truth is there for us to draw from, and I for one will not be tampering with it just so that I can shirk responsibility or live any old way I want. Okay, that's been stated, so let's go back to the kid discussion and leave theology to those guys with more time and degrees than us simple - but awesome - cavepeople.

When I was young, the movies I mentioned came to my church.  After viewing, I locked myself in a bathroom at home and wouldn't come out.  My mom, the wisest cavewoman ever, let me cry for a bit and then - through the bathroom door - asked me a question, "KyAnne, do you love Jesus?"  I whimpered, "Yesssss..." She then questioned, "Have you asked Him in your heart and purpose to live for Him each day?  Loving people the way He would have you to?"  I again answered, "Yes..."  She went on, "Well, then you have nothing to be afraid of."  Tears dried up, I wiped my nose, I unlocked the bathroom door and happily went about my childhood.  I'm sure there are those who would say, "This is too simple of an answer.  There's much more to this!"  Well, duh!  But, most children are not enrolled in seminary and pondering the deepest, spiritual things.  Most of them are rather pondering questions like whether or not the gum they just swallowed will stay in their stomach for the next seven years.

I may not claim theological greatness, but I have probably had more discussions with children than most out there.  We don't want our kids to be uneducated or unwise when it comes to what they believe, but if your kid is four and worried about leaving their house and Wonder Pets to go to Heaven, you have to pray for sweet and simple answers.  As they grow, their understanding will, too, and we need to give them opportunities to learn.  We are their trainers and teachers for only so long, and there comes a point where they hit that "age of accountability" and we have to acknowledge that they aren't given to us to be our little robots, but like us...they have a free will.

When my kiddos were grade school and junior high kiddos, we rang out the praises of Heaven and had a quiet understanding that none of us wanted anything to do with Hell (whether believed to be temporary or not) EVER.  Really it was only mentioned when we sang on the way to school each morning.  One of our favorite bands had a song called, "Breakfast," which was fun and uptempo...but, actually packed a punch.  Maybe we misinterpreted it (which wouldn't be a crime as it wasn't necessarily Scripture), but to our little gang it was a challenge to be fueled up on God's Word, an encouragement to be a witness of Christ's love and to always remember, as the song says...

"When the toast is burned.
  And all the milk has turned
  And Cap'n Crunch is wavin' farewell.
  When the big one finds you
  May this song remind you
  That they don't serve breakfast in Hell!"

No breakfast?  What kid would want to go there?  Why would any of us?  So, the afterlife.  Heaven and Hell.  Keep it simple for your kids.  Hell?  Um, just don't go there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ode to OxiClean?

Well...not exactly an ode.  An ode would require a complex scheme of rhyme and meter.  That will not be happening here today. 

But, I will express some exalted emotion within the confines of this blog - that's the other stuff that makes an ode and ode. And I will begin by "oding" (pretty sure that's not a real word) to OxiClean.

I thank my good friend, Barb, for introducing me some years back to the wonders of OC, and I could practically write an ode to her because of it.  It's so great that I spent an entire baseball season feeling immense pride when other moms would say, "How do you get the boys pants so white?!  It looks like they haven't ever played in them!"

A couple of problems here:  1)  Only a man would pick the color white for baseball pants.  Especially when the game is being played on some Mississippi mud.  The real stuff, not the dessert. Though the dessert would stain as well, I'm sure.  2)  I found out much later that my boys weren't as proud of the pants as the grown-ups were.  They also told me it looked like they hadn't ever played in them...which baseball playing boys don't think is cool at all.

So, I love OxiClean.  Anyone who knows me well, knows this to be true.  I think I've even woven it into a pre-Thanksgiving Sunday morning message before.  There's no way around it.  Awesome.

But, being that it is Spring Break here in my little corner of Kansas, I have been thinking about cleaning a lot.  Did you catch that?  "Thinking" about cleaning a lot...not necessarily cleaning a lot.  Anyway, as I periodically pick up around the house - which, by the way, needs more picking up than usual since the whole gang's here - I am reminded of so many things.  Most of all things to be grateful for.  Things greater than my beloved OxiClean.

I'm a winter fan.  I love snow.  I love to be cold.  I typically am one of those people who can get along with anyone...but, if I have to be in the heat for extended periods of time, I can make Santa cry.  However, there is something about spring and a cool - not cold - breeze blowing through the house that makes me happy.  My step quickens and I want the home God has given me to be tidy and comfortable.  As I wash clothes (yes, with OC) I thank God for the appliances I have and the people who wear the mounds of material I will be cramming in said appliances.  I happily dust off "Blue Bell", my trusty bike, and zip around the metropolis of Altamont, waving to every person I pass. All around can probably hear me humming as I thank God for such a sweet place to call "my hometown." 

Sure, I come back from my ride and remember there are bills to pay, lesson plans to make (school will resume on Monday whether I like it or not) and that two of my boys will be gone by the weekend...which seemed much further away just a day or two ago.   And these are just minor things I face, nobody needs me to go into the "heavy" stuff on such a lovely day.  But, here I am...thinking about OxiClean and...God.

I sing the praises of OxiClean because it has the power to take away stains from things that only have a temporal value in our home.  In other words, OC may clean, but it merely delays the inevitable.  Clothes don't last forever.  This isn't going to be an eloquent's Spring Break, for Pete's sake!  But, I do immediately think of the hand of God in my, fixing, healing and helping.  And He doesn't simply delay an inevitable end...He carries us to an incredible future.  Don't you feel exalted emotion just thinking about it? Ode-lay!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Root for Your Home Team!

I am a University of Kansas men's basketball fan. I can chant "rock chalk" with the best of them. This is one of my favorite times of year...March Madness, baby!

It helps that I love basketball and that at one time...when my body was in an entirely different form and much, much younger...actually played a fair amount of hoops myself. Oh...and it really helps that I'm a Kansan. And that I have a son attending the institution. Very few of you care about any of this, so I'll quickly transition. But, first let me say, if you are a Kansan and you have ever been to Allen Fieldhouse for a would have to agree that there is at least one moment (most often during the chant) when you look at those around you who don't hail from the Wheat State...and feel great pity.

Everybody has something they root for. It doesn't even have to be a traditional team or sport. It can be for your favorite TV show to return to the fall lineup, it can be for your child to make the honor roll, it can be for your company to surpass projected sales. It can even be for your friends to gain weight. Oh, come on! Some of you root for that - and you and I know it!

One thing we did from the time our boys were very small was the Weaver Chant. Seriously. This first took place when our oldest was two and our middle was an infant. My husband would belt out, "Give me a 'W'!...give me an 'E'!..." - you get the picture. The two-year-old would shout back the letters at the top of his little lungs. It was one of the most exciting times of his day and we dared not miss this evening ritual. I remember when we brought our youngest home form the hospital and the two older boys were four and two. The oldest said, "You know what I'm 'cited 'bout, Mommy? I'm so 'cited the baby gets to do the Weaver Chant!"

You see, we really tried to instill in our boys from a very young age that we were a family with a name we could be proud of...and therefore one we needed to strive to represent well. Are we perfect? No way. But, that pride the boys could grasp onto was balanced by the reminder that they (and their parents)needed to "represent." I'm a will only be something to be proud of as long as I live a life that strives to give those around me something to be proud of. Especially God.

We will never achieve perfection. We will fail. Miserably. We can never live lives completely worthy of what our ancestors sacrificed for us and worked so hard for us to have what we have today. We can't ever live lives anywhere near worthy of what God has done for us. But, could we at least try to live our lives as if we could? Just as a way of saying, "Thanks!"?

So, cheer loud, be proud, live well!! Come on! Give me a...(insert your family name here...)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Inner Marie Barone

I don't typically recommend TV shows or movies. Last time I recommended a movie I forgot I had viewed the cleaned-up, airplane version and spent some time explaining myself to a very shocked and disappointed who had rented the movie for a family movie night. Egg: on face.

There is a show I have seen from time to time that, when the content is completely appropriate, has made me laugh so hard I thought I would throw-up.

On said show, there is an overbearing mother of grown sons who just can't let go. She is always putting her nose where it doesn't belong and not only "s'mothering" her sons, but often offending her poor daughter-in-law as well. I really can't relate to a person like this at all...that's what makes it so funny. Yeah, right.

I like to think I'm a cool mom. I like to think I have raised my little birdies up to fly freely out of my nest and have a wonderful life without me in their faces 24/7. I also like to think that when my son marries his fantastic bride in May that I will always keep my nose where it should be and be the mother-in-law from Heaven.

But, there are times...

Okay, like the other day when I called my oldest son to see if he was eating. Not eating right. Not eating enough. Eating. Did I mention he is almost 22 and has lived on his own for a while? It's probably safe to say that he occasionally puts some form of nourishment in his face.

Or, incessantly calling my middle son at college just to make sure he "made it home okay." He's the one getting married, so I hope it's obvious to all that he is not six.

How about the "baby"...who would be 17 as of yesterday that I call most mornings after I leave the house for RMS 310...just to make sure he's up, almost ready for school and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love him.

The TV mom I refer to also worries about one son's safety so much that she actually sabotages a job for him in government law enforcement. I think she even sends a pie to the FBI with a letter asking them not to hire the boy. One of my sons will be commissioned upon college graduation as an officer in the US Army, and I've already been flipping through pie recipes and thinking of ways to get him a desk job.

Wow. Letting go is harder than I thought it would be. Oh, sure, when they were eight, 10 and 12 - yelling at one another because someone breathed on someone else - I thought I would dance on the day I saw the back of the last one's head pulling out the driveway to live on his own. But, now...not so much.

For those of you in the same boat as me - I know you feel this. For those of you who have long been without a child living in the house - I know you remember and relate. For those of you who think "that day" will never come - you may remember my words and say, "The crazy cavelady actually knew some stuff!"

My boys will all be home next week for Spring Break. I am so excited to have all of my birds back in the nest for a little while. The first few days will be a blast with me hugging them a lot, their dad wrestling with them a lot and me happily doing their laundry. But, towards the end of the "break" I'll remember. I'll remember that God gives them to us to raise up and send out. My husband and I purposed to give this sad world three more people who could offer something good and help it - at least from their respective corners - be a little better place to be. It's a good thing to see your birds fly. It was the goal all's just hard to see the goal when our eyes are clouded with goodbye tears.

Just about that time...when my inner Marie B. starts to kick in and get selfish...God helps me snap out of it and see the men I get to still have in my life...just not necessarily in my house. And if that doesn't snap me out of it...the 5th bag of dirty laundry - that someone "forgot" to bring in at the beginning of break now making it's way up to my back door at the end of break - typically does.

Monday, March 14, 2011


I didn't spell it wrong. I wasn't trying to say what you think I was trying to say. I think I was trying to say what I'm trying to say. Oh, just read on...

Tomorrow, within the hallowed walls of Roosevelt Middle School, my 8th grade lab rats (metaphor) will be tested over their vast knowledge of many things, including the subject of "figurative language." Their incredible grasp of this facet of language arts must surely be credited to their brilliant teacher's capable instruction. Cough! Cough! (onomatopoeia)

I don't know if weather tampers with testing or not, but I heard it could be raining cats and dogs tomorrow. (idiom)

Okay!! Enough with the figurative language, I know! But, there is something I do want to tie-in to life tonight...and that would be hyperbole. Or, as we like to say in Room 310...exaggeration for effect.

My students really struggle with this one, and I don't know why. I mean, come on...they're junior high students! Exaggeration for effect? Seriously? All children and many adults seem to incorporate hyperbole into their lives on a daily basis, but teens are especially adept.

I realize most people refer to it as "drama" these days. But, what is drama at it's very core? Yup. Exaggeration for effect.

This hyperbole-in-life manifests in many forms. Fit-throwing two-year-old. Whiny four-year-old. Belligerent nine-year-old. "I'll be the only one not at the party! Everyone else is going!" 14-year-old. (That would also be an example of the "bandwagon" persuasive technique, but that's another blog altogether...)

How about the "If you don't let me date him, I'll just die!" 17-year-old? Let's push ahead a few years...ever seen the "I work and work and nobody ever notices or appreciates me!" 40-year-old?

Ah, hyperbole. Or, sadly, most days, that would be Hyper-ol-Me.

Look! There's me freaking out over not having the house clean! Look! There I am again, telling someone I am the worst mom in the world because I couldn't get to my son's school for Parent-Teacher Conferences tonight. Now, I expect all of my students' parents to line up tomorrow night at RMS to visit with me! Great! Now I'm also the worst, most hypocritical teacher ever!

She's hyper! She's old! She'! She's Hyper-ol-Me:
Ms. Exaggeration for Effect!

But, what if she could use that exaggeration for effect as a tool of good and not evil? Mmmm...

You see, I looked it up and one synonym for "exaggerate" is "amplify." Like it. I just got to thinking a little bit ago, "What if I stopped exaggerating the bad, negative, stupid (well, sorry, but some of it is just plain that!) in my life and started amplifying the good?" Or, since I fully know that any good in my life comes from God, I could say "amplifying all that's God!"

Then, my exaggerations for effect just might have positive affects on everyone around me. And that's no exaggeration.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Easy Like Sunday Morning?

Lionel Richie has obviously never been to my house on a Sunday morning. Seriously...easy? What was he singing about? Where does he live? Who does he live with? Really?

When my kids where little, we woke up on Sunday morning earlier than any other morning of the week. Why? Because we go to church. Now, my middle son really hated church when he was a toddler and his older, preschool brother loved to use it against him (I'll give an example soon...) Many a Sunday morning, to avoid a level nine meltdown, I would dress the church-hater in his sleep. That way we didn't have crying all the way to the House of the Lord. I believe I also used the Pop Tart bribery method.

I need to insert here the fact that when my middle son - or Number 2 - was in his toddler and preschool years he hated being left anywhere with anyone other than mommy or daddy. He was "our" boy and the only one of our three boys who ever was clingy. For those of you who have had your own "cling-on" know it is a very draining thing. I mean, we want our kids to love and miss us, but I don't know anyone who enjoys the process of prying a small child off of their leg just so one or the other can use the bathroom.

ANYWAY, back to the oldest using the church-hating against the middle guy. Number 2 would wake up sometimes on the way to church, look down, see the dress-up clothes and ask, "Where we going?"...and Number 1 would maliciously reply with a creepy-beyond-his-years, "To CHURRRCH!" Cue: wailing.

There was a season in which I got up at 5:30 AM just to get the three ready to be at church by 8 or 8:30 AM. And it's not like we lived 50 miles away from our church. It was more like five. One morning, when I was wearing a white dress (stupid, I know) my oldest asked, "Mommy, are you gonna' wear that poopie dress to church?" He wasn't implying that the dress was unattractive, he was simply addressing the fact that I was indeed wearing poop on the dress. You think the stink would've clued me in. That's how crazy my Sunday mornings were.

In addition to the mayhem of getting people out the door in excrement-free,dress-up clothing, we typically had an insane ride to our destination. These trips grew with intensity as the boys aged. One Sunday morning when the boys were about 10, 12 and 14, it was so bad that I pulled the car over on I-5 in the north of Seattle and said (loudly and crazily), "I know what you're thinking! You're all thinking, 'Sure, she's yelling at us and then she'll walk in the church doors and be all nice to people.'" I continued, "You bet I'm yelling at you and you bet I'll be nice to people at church! Why should I be upset or ugly to people at church when you're the ones who are being rude, disrespectful and hateful? Is it their fault you are making bad choices this morning? Well, IS IT?!" Cue: crickets chirping.

I looked at the three faces staring at me from the backseat and realized, though we were now most likely going to be late to church, that I had a teachable moment. "Look guys, I know Sundays can be a bit nutty. I know you may even think me hypocritical at times. But, here's the deal...whether your dad was a pastor or not, we'd be going to church. Whether we were in occupational ministry or not, our family would have the same guardrails. You see, we go to church because we have this awesome God who helps us so much that it is the very least we can do to set aside part of one day a week just to go and say, 'Thanks' and 'What can I do for You?'" I pressed on, "Also, every time you think me hypocritical, ask yourself this question, 'My mom is pretty crazy, what would she be like without God?'" The boys looked at each other with this, "Wow...never thought about that and it would be bad!" face that just about made me laugh out loud.

The oldest finally spoke up and said, "That actually makes a lot of sense, Mom. I get it." Don't you love when kids "get it"...those light bulb moments? I apologized to them for possibly being a little harsh, I also reminded them that I was human - though that was no excuse not to let God help me get better each day at being more like Him. I don't know about you, but I've expected too little from my kids at times. On that day, we turned a big corner and never looked back. It was a very good thing. After that, Sunday mornings didn't get easier, but they got way happier.

You see, I was honest with my kids. Not in a self-serving, make excuses, "deal with it" sort of way. But, in a way that my kids could not only swallow but that they could truly understand. I didn't say, "With God, I will now be the perfect mom!"...I said, "With God, I can be a way better mom than I can without Him, so let's get our fannies to church and say a big, collective, 'thanks' for helping our family be a little less crazy all the way around!"

Easy like Sunday morning? Whatever! Better for Sunday morning? Maybe...sometimes. Better because of Sunday morning...and Who and what it represents? Definitely.

If you haven't had your fanny (and I say this in all love)to church on a Sunday in a while...I understand. I lost that hour of sleep last night (thanks, daylight-savings-sleep-stealing people!)and barely got my own fanny up and out the door this morning. I also didn't have enough volunteers for the children's program I direct, which made it an even more "sunshiny" morning than usual. BUT, once I got there...once I saw some cute kids all happy to see me...once I had some cool people walk over and hug my neck and say, "Love ya', girl! How are you doing? What can I do for you?"...well, I was glad I rolled the fanny out of bed. (And if you've seen my fanny lately, you know this is no small feat!)

I also remembered today those words I had so vehemently told my boys that not-so-easy Sunday morning all those now many years ago, "...we go to church because we have this awesome God who helps us so much that it is the very least we can do..."

If you're a church faithful - good for you, but I'm not giving out any cookies and neither is God. Just stay faithful. Keep serving, loving and thanking. And if you're someone who is struggling to find a worship place or someone just struggling to faithfully get to one you've already found...pray for that awesome God's help. I mean in light of all He's's the very least we can do.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crammin' for Tests

So, I just ended a day in which I tried to help my 8th graders cram for their big, state tests next week. We will cram again on Monday. Tests are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. By the way, I also have some parent-teacher conferences thrown in on those days just for fun. And, yes, I am being sarcastic.

Truth be told, the testing success of my students will rely more on what we've done in class every day for the entire school year...not solely in the last few hours leading up to the tests.

Stink! I feel a convicting, life tie-in coming on...

How many times have a I been faced with a crisis - or test - and scrambled as fast as I could to find my dusty Bible? (Sound familiar to anyone out there?) How many times have I asked God to give me "big" opportunities or challenges only to be reminded that I was greatly struggling just trying to handle the "lesser" ones He had already entrusted me with?


As I age, and (please, dear Lord let it be so) mature in Christ, I don't find myself enjoying life's tests any more than I ever have, but I am finding them not to be as earth-shattering to navigate. This is probably in large part due to the fact that I now try to study God's Word a bit each day, instead of waiting to cram it and fit it in right at the "midnight hour." Now, we are blessed in that the Lord still tends to bail us out of rough situations, even if we haven't done our part. Actually, this would pretty much be the crux of the Gospel. But, it does seem pretty silly to not be communicating with and learning about this amazing, heroic God every chance we get.

I mean, we're sure quick to holler His name when we're in a plain English...we're users. Not so Sunday School sweet when you put it that way, is it?

When I was a teenager, I would often doodle, daydream, pass notes or sleep when I was in class. I would procrastinate writing important papers and studying for tests. Many a late night, I would desperately ask my parents to please "pray for me"...secretly thinking that would make their child sound very spiritually minded. They weren't ever as impressed as I thought they should be. I typically got an answer like, "Well, we'll pray for God to help bring to mind all of the good stuff you've been studying and working so diligently to learn. That's about all we can do." Smarty-pants parents.

I don't like tests whether I'm studied up or not. And let's face it, some tests are more difficult than others no matter how hard we prepare. But I vividly remember the slight anxiety I felt going in to take tests I had really tried to prepare for versus the sickening, paralyzing fear I was overwhelmed with when I approached a test for which I hadn't.

We don't know what life tests are around the corner. We'd probably have to be resuscitated if we did. But, letting God teach us a little bit each day - even on the good days - sure helps eliminate that good, old testing anxiety. As well as the need for cramming.

And who of us couldn't do with a little less anxiety?

I know we're all tired. I know we all have a lot do to. I'm typing and you're reading and we should both probably be sifting through those piles of "things" we have to deal with in our lives. But, take some time each day to hide God's Word in your heart. It's your secret, testing weapon.

And whether you're being tested at work, school or a co-worker, teacher or three-year-old...make sure you're stockpiling the Word a bit each day. When that pink-slip comes or that three-year-old's crayon melts in the dryer and just makes your slip'll be glad you did! (I know, nobody wears slips was for affect, okay?)

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word." Psalm 119:11-16

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


No, I didn't get a tattoo to commemorate the release of my book. I also have not taken to watching reality TV programing set in tattoo parlors. Please continue to read and you'll get where I'm heading here. (Oh, and would someone quickly call my mom and tell her that there is not a picture of my arm - with a tattoo - floating around in cyberspace?)

Though it's been an amazing week seeing my manuscript come to life in book form...there's at least one aspect in all of the hubbub that makes me a bit uncomfortable: book signing.

Seriously? Have you seen my signature? If my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Beaver, gets a load of it anywhere she is going to demand that "Superior Handwriting" certificate back that she proudly gave me in the spring of '78. (Well, even if she wants it back, I'm sure it's in the same black hole as the macrame hanging planter I was working on in Girl Scouts around the same time. So, no dice, Mrs. B!)

But, as awkward (and humbling) as it is to be asked for my signature, I think I'm struck more by the thought of putting my name to something. Our names represent who and what we are. Call it whatever you want..."signing your John Hancock"..."puttin' your name on it"..."making your mark"...when you sign your name you are saying, "I approve of this message." People are big on endorsements...when someone lends their name to a product, a message or a person - no matter how we look at it, they are saying, "I approve!"

How comforted and encouraged I am when reminded of the words in II Corinthians 3, where we are told that one of the coolest things ever written is not even written, signed or endorsed by a mere mortal like you, me or the person responsible for the "Twilight" saga.

" are a letter of Christ...written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on stone tablets but on tablets of human hearts."

Wow. I want to be endorsed by God. I want to strive to live a life worthy of having His signature spirit-inked all over me! And when we are His written work, this is the best part of all...

"Now we have such confidence in God through Christ. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God."

So, here's the deal. Yes, I've launched a book. Yes, I wrote it all by myself, though with some great input and much prayer. Yes, I would love to see people read it and be encouraged by it. Yes, my John Hancock is on it. Yes, I have a book signing at the Mustard Seed in Parsons, KS on Saturday from 10 AM until noon. Yes, this is all a bit exciting.

But, it all pales in comparison to this: if we are in Christ...we are His letters. We are His writing. We are inked by God.

I love the thought of it: Life Signing by God. 24/7-365. No waiting. No purchase necessary.

Get (spirit) inked! :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Reality Check

Yep...I'm home from a really awesome conference alright. No more maid service, no more lettuce wraps at P.F. Chang's, no more girl chat until 2 AM and no more sleeping in.

Back to the land of "I have no idea what to wear to work tomorrow as I personally haven't done a load of laundry since Tuesday" (it's Sunday night, for those of you who haven't been scratching tally marks on your cave wall). I also need to go grocery shopping as I pretty much know the choices for breakfast in the morning will be eggs or eggs. (The milk smells, I had to even mark Capn' Crunch off the list of possibilities!) That stack of "to be graded" papers I just knew would shrink as the flurry of my red pen cut it down to size in no time - sadly, still looms large. My caveman didn't know about some money I forgot I spent last week, and I unwisely waited until tonight to tell him...just a few hours after he had spent the entire afternoon doing bills and preparing taxes.

Yep...I'm back! You see, for the past three days I've been "the speaker"...the "big deal"..."someone who seems to have some answers." It's cool to be able to go and share with others and try to impart awesome stuff that God has shared with you. It's both humbling and gratifying to have people come up to you and say, "I loved what you said!"..."You're awesome!"..."Maybe you can come speak at the next event my group is having!"..."You made me feel so understood and hopeful!" I pretty much drove the two hours back home to my cave on a cloud.

But, fortunately (and I do mean fortunately) for me...before my cloud engine even had time to cool down...the reality of my cave gave me a big, reassuring hug. You see, I had spent three days encouraging women through drawing from my own cave experiences. I had the incredible opportunity to remind people that God sees them...right where they are...dirty laundry, spoiled milk, unbalanced checkbook and all...and in the midst of it He gives them the love, hope and energy to carry on.

I smile as I sit here typing at my little table that barely can hold my laptop because it is already struggling to support a myriad of items as varied as a baby gift that should have been gifted days ago, a container of air soft pellets (remember, I have boys) and a turned-over bottle of Febreze (remember, I have boys). Speaking of boys, I just let one in the back door and I am now pausing to spray some Febreze...

Spraying accomplished. So, because I have laundry and you have a life...I'll sum this up: Conferences are fun. Taking a break from the cave is nice. Catching up with old friends and hanging out with new friends is spirit-lifting. Eating at P.F. Chang's gives my taste buds their very own mini-vacation. Knowing I may have encouraged others is amazing. Still, I'm back and I'm thankful...

Thankful for the people in my reality who create the laundry piled on the bathroom floor. Thankful for the people in my reality who need to eat...which will make for a Wal-Mart stop after a long day in RMS Room 310 tomorrow. Thankful for the people in my reality who create the papers I need to grade. Thankful for the person who tries to keep both our checkbook and me in balance.

Thankful for a God who gives me everything I need to bravely embrace it all. "To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me". Colossians 1:29

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cavewomen Unite!

I am a cavewoman.

No cryogenics have been involved, and I don't live in a subterranean house. But, I am a 21st century cavewoman...

It has been well over two decades since I first stepped inside my cave, but the memories of that day remain fresh and clear...unlike the air within the actual dwelling! I have endured the hardships of living in tight quarters with males lacking good communication skills. I have also learned how to function in life while often lacking the proper resources. Like making pretend swords out of foil and cardboard, as well as feeding four people at McDonald's on $2.85. So, if you stopped by hoping to read about how we as women must struggle and conquer to survive and may not be entirely disappointed.

I don't always buy into the "power of positive thinking" as I have been incredibly positive about having pets, sleepovers and natural childbirth - and a whole lot of good that did me! But, I do hope to bring a little ray of light into the musty, dark caves all women find themselves in from time to time. Whether you work in the home or out of the home, have skin that is yellow, black or white, have money or don't, went to college or didn't - if you are the the keeper of your cave - I have news for you! You are a cavewoman...and I say we wear the moniker with pride! (That doesn't necessarily mean we start wearing dino bones in our hair or burn bras or anything. Well, we could probably eat some cookie dough from time to time...that would be first...then we would feel sick and be angry with ourselves for all blowing our diets that we just started that morning, but...oh,well!)

When you have a spare moment - like when the men are making fire and the children are not - stop back by for a visit...we cavewomen have to totally stick together. Oh! And if the kids are at grandma's (or maybe even college!) in your near future, you might have a precious morsel of time to check out my new book..."Diary of a Cavewoman"...easy read full of encouragement for women of all ages and stages! You can find it on my website at