Mommy, Concentrated

Jesus Centered Family Focused

A Light Unto My Path

Dear Maven, On New Year’s Eve you asked me, “Do you have any resolutions?” Immediately, I thought of another Sunday morning years ago when we compiled a list of personal and family goals. (I have absolutely no idea where that list is today, by the way. I just know I still have a few pounds to drop.) Maven, your question was a hard one because I don’t have any formal resolutions for 2017. Do I want to exercise more, lose weight? Sure. Write more regularly, find a publisher? Absolutely. Hold my temper, fuss less, stop yelling? Darn skippy. Show more compassion, give more, love wholeheartedly, stop and smell the roses before I forget to water them? Working on those even now. But can I resolve to do those things, keep all those promises to myself? The Ghost of Christmas Past tells me, “Been there, broken that.” “So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 You see making resolutions the way I used to: as an interesting way to cast a grander vision or redirect and improve your life. But fun killer that I am today, I view it through different lenses.Today, New Year’s resolutions announce, “I’m not happy with the way my life has worked out. I’m frustrated with how I look/feel, with what I do/am. I see failure behind me, but a few tweaks can lead to future success. God, can you do better?” But I’m not in charge of growing one hair on your head or mine, no matter how much Nature’s Blessing or Aveda I use. And goal setting might work if...

Oh! It Is Jesus!

When I opened the front door last week I screamed—not once, but twice, loud enough for little people to come running from thither and yon. I expected to retrieve a package from the porch, but instead, a man stood just inside our storm door. Nope, it wasn’t the UPS guy or a stranger trying to steal a kiss under the mistletoe. The “mystery man” was Crusader, home for Christmas break. So, my first scream was abject terror; the second…well, more terror, then happy realization. (I do need to work on that fight/flight/fright thing.) Now, it was my understanding that Crusader was driving in later that evening with a friend. In fact, I had just texted him about his arrival time, and I was rushing around killing the fatted calf, stuffing things under sofas and into closets to make the house presentable, and worrying and praying all the while about wet roads, sleepy drivers, and the accident statistics Songbird had just shared with me about teens driving with friends. But all that fretting and scurrying was for naught, because Hubby had made different plans. Without my knowing—or worrying—he’d arranged for Crusader to fly home, so he showed up about eight hours earlier than I’d expected. The expected… God is and does so much more than what I can expect, hope, think, or imagine, yet I continue trying to restrict Him to that box. I attach so much cause-and-effect power to my prayers: if I don’t talk to God about it, either something bad will happen or nothing good will. But really, my prayers aren’t like regularly scheduled oil changes; they’re...

Cast Your Crowns

Yesterday, M&M announced, “I voted for orange!” My little guy makes a lot of choices every day, not just about his favorite color—things like whether he’ll stay in his bed all night, between obediently eating his dinner or crying over the chicken pot pie, whether to entertain himself quietly or bug Brown Sugar about playing Littlest Pets. And his decisions greatly impact the rest of us: our sleep, our menu planning, or whether we get through today’s algebra lesson. But as much as I love orange, stress the importance of math, and adore M&M in all his temper tantrum glory, I’ve got an important decision to make today. No, not Hillary versus Donald. Just like many of you I’ve been debating, praying for, and agonizing over making that decision, but really, we’ve all got bigger fish to fry. Every minute I have to make a choice that involves life beyond the booth or the polls: Do I choose Jesus or the world? “You already chose Jesus. You’re saved,” you say. Yet my faith in the sacrificial, saving grace of the cross means I take it up daily, feeling its weight and relying on its power to carry me moment to moment. When I first set my sights on heaven I didn’t start walking on water. Rather, my faith is a life raft when everyday life overwhelms me. For me, choosing Jesus daily means reading the Bible instead of playing my 5001st game of Solitaire (uh-huh, I mean that literally); biting my tongue and saying, “thank you” when Hubby tells me how to drive; loving that child who called Maven “that...

Living Made Easy

Hubby knows how much I love leather-bound journals, flowery notebooks, datebooks, smooth-writing pens, and lead pencils—and not just any pencils, PaperMate lead pencils. So, imagine my joy when he surprised me with a special two-pack of the newest PaperMate pens. PaperMate…in a pen? A writer’s heaven. (Yes, in some ways, I’m pretty easy to please, especially when any or all of these things come tucked into a new purse I can play with.) It’s not that I have beautiful handwriting. It’s not even legible. To some it’s a lost art, but actually writing something down with my PaperMate pencil… Mmm-mmmm. Just ask the little people. They can tell you all about my reaction when I’ve discovered someone writing with one—that’s part of the unfinished, mushy side of me Jesus is still cooking. Starting a journal for my new writers’ critique group presented just the special occasion I needed to write with my new pen. Eagerly I opened the pack, extracted a pen, studied it for a moment before pushing that button—ooh, the satisfying sound of the click!—and then put the pen to paper. I couldn’t wait to feel the ease of ink flowing onto paper. But it seemed I’d have to do just that, because the darn thing wouldn’t write. After inspecting it more carefully I noted a red tip over the nub, this tiny plastic bubble stopping up the flow of my magic ink. What in the world? I rubbed the paper. Nothing. So I rubbed harder. Still, nothing. I tapped the tip. Nope. Frustrated, I retrieved the original packaging, still nestling the second, untouched pen, and read...

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