Tag: Word prompt

It’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too rainy,

IT’S TOO HUMID!

I’m too old, too young, too tired, too broke.

I forgot.

I overslept.

It was too boring.

Excuses are unlimited. I could fill a tiny house with them. Some of them are legitimate but if we’re trying to make progress, they’re unacceptable.

Recently, I’ve realized I’ll choose the easy way over more practice or more work. I’m satisfied with average or just a bit better than whoever is next to me.

There’s nothing wrong with average but I wonder if we’re called to more? Not for the purpose of measuring but because God gives us his best.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence,2 Peter 1:3 ESV

My mind is running through a list of reasons of why I can’t do something today. Reasons sound better than excuses but the meaning, and the result is the same.

As Craig Groeschel says, we can make excuses or progress but we can’t make both. Sometimes truth feels harsh. Especially on a Friday morning 🙂

Linking up with Kate Motaung for Five-Minute Friday

Five-Minute Friday

I get to decide what to accept.

Her words fell heavier than her feet when she walked into the room proclaiming impending disaster. Drama is her way and it’s a way I don’t accept.

Too many times I’ve stood in his office door and listened to words of self-pity, knowing it was my job to listen only. It’s not an easy one as words swirl in my mind of what I’d like to say. Not the time. Not his need.

Words are hurled, good, bad, hurtful, lies, false flattery, like a tornado they swirl about touching down in random places. We discern which to accept and which to let fall. Which do we allow to make their mark with pain or joy?

I wish it were as easy as only allowing the sweet-sounding words as truth. Growth comes with accepting the hard ones too. Our faith is grown accepting God’s way over our own. Transformation comes with accepting his grace.

Five-Minute Friday grace

Palm trees are built to weather the winds of tropical breezes and storms. Their root system looks like millions of thin strands that tend to go straight down. No matter the size of palm tree you’re planting, support braces are required for a minimum of one year. They need the support to keep them in place allowing the roots to grow.

There is one in our front yard. It replaces another that was damaged by lightning. Three 2×4’s are braced to keep it firm. The top swayed as the other palms lining our street did when the winds of Hurricane Irma swept through our city earlier this week. It swayed, but held firm.

rains

I’ve sat on our porch watching the palms in back bend and bow to our fierce summer rains. They are a model of how we can weather the figurative storms in life. Even in creation, God shows us the importance of support. He shows us with the proper planting and care that we may bend and sway but still hold firm.

The past ten days, His support has been emails, texts and phone calls from friends. It has been words of concern and friendship. It’s come from unexpected people and places but He is there.

Fridays I link up with other wordsmiths for Five-Minute Friday.

 

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

faith Five-Minute Friday

When we toured Rome, our guide helped us navigate the crowds through the Vatican. She kept us moving faster than we’d have taken on our own but there was so much to see.

In Turkey, our guide Jim answered questions on bus rides from one area to the next and cautioned us about buying things from street merchants that seemed to magically appear as the doors of our bus opened.

We’ve had tour guides in several countries and a guide on our first white water rafting trip. All of them led with confident knowledge and a patient understanding of the foreign culture.

One year we took a self-guided tour through Gettysburg listening to the audio recording provided.

Whether we are led by a professional guide or an audio one, having someone alongside to help us walk through life provides comforting assurance.

Most of my life guides have been friends and family. I don’t care much for the manuals provided with appliances, the kind that looks as if they’re written in my language but I can’t seem to understand a word. No, I need to see the words lived out. I need to be shown.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus spoke in parables when he taught. He used stories people could relate to. He talked about weddings and soil and being a good neighbor. He told stories about sons who left their families and learned hard lessons and stories about lost sheep.

His stories were a guide to people thousands of years ago and a guide to our lives today. His words are often gentle and I imagine him as a great story-teller with gestures and vocal inflections.

We’re all leading someone. People are watching our words on social media and seeing if they match our actions. What kind of guide are you? Do you lead with mandates or stories?

I need to do better. I need to soften my tone and firm up my actions. I want to be a guide leading others to one greater than me.

Linking up with Five-Minute Friday

SaveSave

faith Five-Minute Friday

The prompt is inspire but I’m not feeling it. Inspired, that is. What do you do when you need to conjure up inspiration?

In photography, I scroll through my favorite Instagram feeds or type in a specific look on Google image and hope for others to inspire me. Sometimes the spark comes right away and other times it’s just beyond my reach.

I like how inspiration starts like the flicker of a flame and works its way through me. Sometimes it’s like foamy bubbles on a frosted glass of root beer that tickle my nose. That tiny flicker, bubble or seed of an idea feels good.

It comes when I’m driving and can’t commit words to paper or, like so many others, when I’m in the shower. If the words are good, I tell myself, they’ll stick. Most often they don’t.

The trouble with inspiration is I want it to fuel me to move; to act, to do something, make something, be something. But what if there are times inspiration is only meant to make me recognize the Creator? What if the great works of art are meant to inspire worship? What if this expanse of shoreline where we breathe in God’s handiwork is meant to inspire gratitude and not another blog post or painting?

Maybe inspiration isn’t always meant to fuel doing but being.

 

Five-Minute Friday photography

He picks up a shell from the shore. “This looks like a heart….sort of”, he says. Yes, it does, sort of. Close enough to add to the other sort of heart-shaped shells we collect. You tend to find what you’re looking for. We look for hearts.

No special reason except the first time we spied a shell that resembled a heart it seemed special. They aren’t made in heart shapes. It’s not how they are designed by our creator. At least not the ones lining our beaches. That started our hunt and turned our eye looking for the different. The shells that are surely meant for us.

I’m a collector, sort of, who doesn’t want a bunch of stuff. The kind that has to be carefully dusted and grows to more than your shelves can hold. I don’t tell people I have a fondness for black and white cows because your congregation and employees will give you cows on every occasion for the next ….well, forever! (Forget I said I like cows 😉

We all collect something. Some of us seem to collect aches and pains, our woes are out there for everyone to hear. Some of us collect friends and some collect more manageable things like shells.

What I most like to collect are stories. Some about grace, some about grief; some about love, some about loss. All about living out life in its fullness.

This is a collection I want to grow. There is always room for more stories. There is always room for more grace.

family Five-Minute Friday grace

Comfort is a word with a double edge.

We are urged to get out of our comfort zone and curb our indulgence in our comfort foods, the pint of Ben and Jerry’s we crave at the end of a hard day….not our best go-to.

Comfort is familiar. It is routine and known and safe.

It is also complacency and hiding and avoidance. When does the contentment that soothes your soul become bad?

Harder still is the answer. The answer for me isn’t the same for you. And it seems to change, starting with the disclaimer: it depends.

It’s not that comfort is bad, maybe it’s that we don’t always look for it in the best places. To be honest, I’d rather toss back a few almond M&M’s than recall a verse of scripture or inspiring quote. Comfort=easy=lazy=not real comfort

Most would say it’s about balance. The truth about balance is that it’s elusive. It’s not 50-50 as I’ve mistakenly believed. We grab our doses of ease when we can. We stay in our zone. We lap up conversation with a good friend because it tastes better than ice cream and is calorie free. Or maybe we share the conversation over the sweet comfort of ice cream or cookies or pie – yes pie…with ice cream!

While we’re at it, let’s put our favorite play list on in the background and talk about the last good book we read. Let’s laugh at our silly mistakes. Let’s get comfortable with the rhythms of life and let’s make space for grace, the truest comfort.

 

 

Five-Minute Friday grace

She’s an only child and we are her playmates. I, the least willing to get in the cool water of the pool, to get my hair wet. Her pleas are urgent, “C’mon MeMe….pleeeease.” Play with me is all she wants.

missing her

I can make play about work more than fun. Chasing her on the playground means sweaty and sand in your shoes and hair matted to your face.

It means an extra close shave of the legs before heading to the beach and all the stuff that has to be packed. It means wearing a swimsuit that never looks good! All of this just to play.

Yes, all of this to play with our only grandchild. The one whose squeals of fun part the gathering clouds. Her smile melts my resolve and makes the so-called play refreshing.

Her Baba is her best playmate. They are fish in the water swimming down to be the first to get the toys on the bottom of the pool. They sculpt sandcastles on the shore at the beach and run fast into the tide coming in.

Let me be the gatherer of stuff and plans and time. Let me be the watcher of this show of fun between grandfather and granddaughter. This is how I play. This is my true delight. And to be drawn into it a bit more as an accomplice…yes, it’s worth the extra as joy always is.

 

SaveSave

family Five-Minute Friday

How did I take one giant step playing Mother May I as a kid and I can’t do lunges on steady feet as an adult? I wobble and throw my arms out to keep balance ON THE FLOOR!

I stand straight. Fix my eyes on an unmovable point across the room and stretch out with one leg. Fixing my eyes on the edge of the frame on the wall, the unmovable, helps steady my move, helps stabilize my balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder where they fix their eyes? On the horizon that never changes?

Our work in in the recovery community isn’t stable. Some days it’s like being forced on an out of control roller coaster. The dips and turns have your fingers wrapped in a death grip around the, so-called, safety bar. The minute it slows and you catch your breath it whips around another sharp curve and you wonder where that blood curdling scream is coming from only to discover it’s you.

Does that sound like your day? It’s called life. And I keep searching for that smooth ocean where I can stand balanced and enjoying the view.

Where can I fix my eyes? What will help hold my balance in this ever-shifting world?

“Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith.” Hebrews 12:2a VOICE

In the Old Testament book of laments, where people were surrounded by difficulties, we find this hope:

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.
Lamentations 3:23 the Message

 

faith Five-Minute Friday hope

Sometimes I have to pause and ask myself, “What’d you expect?”
Answer: I don’t know, but not this.
I never expected to be married at 20, our first baby at 21 and second at 23.
I never expected to find ourselves in full time ministry as, what I joke, was my husband’s mid-life crisis.
I never expected my parents to divorce or my mom to have Alzheimer’s.
But I did, we did, they did.
There were some hurts, anger, feelings of not knowing my way but also learning about God’s love in ways I never would have without these times in my life.
I try to keep expectations low, it’s safer that way. But they have a way of being invisible. You don’t know they’re there until you’re let down.
We’re facing a new time in our lives. As always, this husband who I could never have expected to be so what I need (aka wonderful!) is sailing through. But me, I didn’t expect this anxiety.
I didn’t expect the uncertainty. One moment I feel elated about the nearing future of retirement and what it promises. The next, I want to know the specifics. Now. I don’t want to wait. Are there hidden expectations waiting for me – again?
I realize I can expect to be overjoyed but that one doesn’t come natural to me. So I hold my breath a bit and overthink it all.
Until those words come that find a way of answering the fear:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal,
“plans for peace, not evil,
to give you a future and hope—never forget that.

faith Five-Minute Friday hope