step outside your comfort zone.

Some of you know I serve as a career coach. Just last week I found myself in a Panera Bread working with one of my current students on their resume.
This particular location is extremely thin on power outlets
, so while working on battery power, we pretty much stalked every person at every table near a coveted outlet until finally we scored a “Power Table” with about 17% battery power remaining on my laptop.

A few minutes later, I looked up to see a super tall and impressively muscular guy walking around the restaurant, holding his phone and a power cable, clearly looking for a free outlet. I knew he was out of luck. He went to the cashier to ask where the outlets were and then he knew he was out of luck.

I watched him go back to his seat and join a large group of his friends seated at a span of tables.

I could have dismissed him and gotten back to work. It certainly would have been easy. and safe.

and selfish.

But I could feel the Holy Spirit nudging me.

So, as I reached into my purse for my favorite shiny red high speed portable charger, I told my student I would be right back.

The entire restaurant was loud and bustling and nobody was paying any attention to me, so the walk toward him was mindless, fast and easy. But, the moment I stepped up to that particular group of tables, every. single. person. seated there abruptly stopped talking and turned toward the interruption. .

that would be me.

every single face was silently staring. at me.

I admit, I was immediately uncomfortable. When I’d reached for the charger and while I was walking toward the table, I hadn’t considered the possibility that my attempt to help might be viewed as an unwelcome intrusion, but at that moment, from my perspective, 8 people halting their conversation to openly stare at me had “intrusion” written all over it.

and I was suddenly, extremely and self-consciously aware of the fact that I am white.

Did I not mention that every single person staring at me was black?

I held out my phone charger.

“Would you like to borrow this?”

There was a noticeable pause, then a look of disbelief and confusion, followed by a “REALLY?!?!” as his friends looked back and forth from me to him like they were watching a tennis match.

Ball was back in my court.

“Sure.”

I pointed to my table and my student. “I’ll be sitting right over there when you’re done with it.”

I’d like to say that he charged his phone, returned my phone charger and that was that.

In reality, I forgot about him and my charger for about a half hour and when I looked up, he – and all of his friends – were gone.

Me: “Did he leave?”

My student and I scanned the restaurant. He was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly she said, “There he is! Outside.”

We kept working for another 20 minutes or so and then she noticed him get up and walk toward the parking lot, out of our line of sight. I stepped outside and saw him dump his drink cup in a garbage can at the edge of the parking lot, so I said, “Are you leaving?”

He immediately assured me he wasn’t and joined his friends who were now sitting at tables near the garbage can where he dumped his drink cup.

I went back inside, my student and I got engaged in a particularly challenging section of the resume and we both completely forgot about him.

Until he quietly slipped the charger on our the table, thanked me again and left.

Would I have left the building without saying something to me if I were him?
No. It was thoughtless, but not malicious or devious.

Did I think he was trying to steal my $20 rapid phone charger?
No. I thought he forgot it was in his pocket.

Did he think I thought he was trying to steal my phone charger?
I don’t think so. He didn’t seem offended.

Did I regret loaning it to him?
No. I knew when I stepped outside my comfort zone and handed over my phone charger to a complete stranger that it would be easier to keep to myself and let his phone die.

I know that reaching out to help someone is a witness for Christ even when His name isn’t spoken.

I hope and pray that by evidencing “Love God, Love Others” in that simple action, my student watched, processed and was inspired to step out of her own comfort zone and extend a helping hand when it would be easier to be quiet and stay comfortable.

Will I do it again?
Even more so.

But I also think that the next time I go back to that particular Panera, I’ll be bringing a power strip with me to share with my fellow power-needy laptop cohorts.

Lord, please help me to be aware of your presence in every moment of my life and to recognize your promptings. Please bless me with the courage and motivation to be immediately obedient when you nudge me to do or say something. Don’t let me miss an opportunity to bless and be blessed because I’m held back by fear or because I want to cling to my comfort zone. AMEN.

say what you mean. don’t be mean when you say it.

facebook I dont want to see thisI cut waaay back on facebook over the last few months. Derisive sarcasm and hate were saturating my news feed, weighing and wearing me down.

As I tentatively become more active again, one of my new facebook practices is to select “I don’t want to see this” whenever I read a post declaring that something somebody said or wrote or tweeted “destroyed” something another person said, wrote or stood for. (or similar language)

These kind of smack-down statements are usually only true if you completely ignore or rule out every other aspect of a complex issue other than the one the destroyer targets.

“Destroyed” (and words like it) is the kind of inflammatory language that triggers pointless, unresolvable bickering. It doesn’t invite or facilitate open dialog. Rather, it takes the potential for conversation that might lead divisive people to discover common ground and crops it to a trite soundbite that ends in a period or an exclamation point, or worse yet – “BAM!”

If divisive issues were truly simple, there wouldn’t be so much controversy over them. #edify

“It is the mark of an educated mind
to be able to entertain a thought
without accepting it.” Aristotle

edify
Ephesians 4 29 Bible

#edify: profanity

fiddlesticksThe first curse word each of my children heard came out of my mother’s mouth. Let’s just say it wasn’t one of the curse words you might find in the Bible.

She wasn’t angry. or frustrated. or hurt in any way. She wasn’t speaking passionately about anything of significance. It was just a passing thoughtless comment. I’ve said in a previous post that

“I grew up with a mom who used “colorful” language. nautical colors.

It’s not like I’ve never used colorful language myself. I freely admit that I sometimes cuss in my head. Sometimes it leaks out of my mouth or my fingertips, like in THIS post, from back in 2013. My language has not been – and probably will not be – consummately color-free. Even so, I can honestly say that in my immediate family, profanity isn’t something we regularly weave into our lives.

Of all the places we go, we hear curse words at Walt Disney World the most.

Casual replacement of the word “stuff” with the word “sh!+”
Telling children to “get their “a$$” over here!” or that they’re “going get they’re “a$$ busted!”
Calling a woman a “b!tch” – sometimes in front of her own children. or her parents.
And then there’s “shut the F#¢« up” and
the tired overuse of “F#¢«ing” as an adjective.

While this language is commonplace for some, it’s startling to us. There’s an inward flinch. Our outward response is almost always silence. Because we’re articulate like that. Meanwhile, the silence feels awkward.

word Im searching for I cant sayHere’s what I’ve observed:

If profanity is a normal part of your vocabulary, and you use it with someone who doesn’t, it doesn’t facilitate camaraderie, it creates distance.

Sometimes it leaves a lasting impression.

If you’ve decided that including profanity in your everyday vocabulary and conversations is no big deal, I’m going to pass along some unsolicited advice:

A good rule of thumb is not to use profanity with anyone until and unless they use it with you first.

And NEVER use profanity with children. Just don’t. Sure, it’s possible they’ve grown up saturated in it and are desensitized to it. But it’s also possible that profanity hasn’t been a part of their everyday life and using it with those kids doesn’t make them feel more comfortable with you. It makes them UNcomfortable. If they respect your authority as an adult, they won’t tell you they are uncomfortable.

Consider this possibility:
From a kid’s point of view, you, an adult, have perceived power/authority over them.
When you cuss, they feel that telling you it makes them uncomfortable is the same as telling you that you’re wrong.
They might believe that telling you that you’re wrong would be disrespectful.
Distance has been created. They are intimidated by you.
Intentionally or unintentionally – that intimidation is an abuse of power over kids.

Years ago, I told my kids my view of profanity: It’s often used to emphasize something, but in reality, one of things it most emphasizes is a lack of vocabulary and creativity. Using profanity, besides being unprofessional, is just plain lazy. There are so. many. words. available for use.

So, if you’re looking for some creative alternatives to colorful language, I offer these for your consideration:

never underestimate the influence of little things.

I had a horrible, horrible dream a few weeks ago.

horrible.

In this dream, my daughter was being stalked. And NOTHING we did could stop the stalker.

If you’ve read my blog before or follow me on facebook, you already know my daughter LOVES people. Genuinely, empathetically, compassionately, passionately loves people. She gets a high from encouraging people that I think actually fuels her. When someone hurts, she hurts. And she prays. She prays for people she loves, she prays for people who are mean to her and she prays for people she doesn’t even know.

She prays because she’s already figured out that most of the time, while she can make things better by loving people, she can’t fix some things. Some things are too big, but she knows God can do ANYthing.

And that’s how the horrible dream started. She befriended someone in pain. And he latched onto her. It wasn’t long before he began telling her she was an inspiration to him. “You are my inspiration” soon led to “You are the only one who understands me.” He gave her gifts. She caught him staring at her often. He began saying things that made her worry that he might hurt himself and she began to feel responsible for his emotional state.

In real life, she shares everything with me, so of course, in my dream, she told me all this. In my dream, I coached her to still be herself and not to hold back from being kind to him, but to never be alone with him, to always be in a group and to always make sure she didn’t treat him differently than she treated anyone else.

Then everything changed. Instantly.

(remember, this is a dream)

In the dream the chronology was all over the place. Her age ranged from 13 to 18, but one thing was a constant. We were desperate. We tried everything we could think of. We started by changing her schedule so she didn’t have classes with him. We took her to a therapist to help her cope and to help her understand how he was trying to manipulate her. We resorted to changing schools, which broke her heart because she had to leave all her friends. We sent her to relatives. She and I moved. The entire family moved. Across town and out of state. Her dream of working as a Disney princess was impossible because he would stalk her at work. He broke into our house. He vandalized our house. Sabotaged her car. Followed her. Restraining orders did nothing. If he was arrested, he started up again as soon as he was released.

NOTHING we did made any difference at all.

And then (don’t forget – this is a dream)

I remembered. God can do anything. We had spent years trying to handle the situation on our own and nothing had worked. So I gave it all up to God. I prayed like a widow (persistently, like in Luke 18:8).

And suddenly, PinkGirl was 13 again. It was like I rewound the dream. None of the horrible, unpreventable things had happened yet.

Leo Buscaglia Quote Kindness EncouragmentAnd in my prayers, God reminded me of an article I read a while back written by an elementary school teacher. I don’t remember the specifics, but she was heartbroken about a school shooting or maybe the Boston Marathon bombing, I don’t remember. She wondered about the childhood of these people who kill. She was burdened. And in working through that burden, she recognized her influence. The power she had to impact young lives and maybe, hopefully, change the trajectory of those lives. She wrote about her teaching philosophy. In her classroom, every single day she was identifying the subtle way some kids were being excluded and isolated and she was not only lovingly, creatively and intentionally putting stop to it, but molding the character of the other students as she taught them to see people. Really SEE people. Compassionately. And in the process, that isolated kid, the one who felt invisible and unloved and unaccepted began to change his opinion of himself and of the people in his life.

So (remember, this is a dream) I went to the administrators of PinkGirl’s (private, Christian) school and told them what was happening with this boy and PinkGirl. I told them about the article. We made a plan. Every. single. middle school teacher began to intentionally speak into this boy’s life. To SEE him. To validate him, encourage him, mentor him. To constantly reinforce that God loves him unconditionally. That Christ loved him so much He died for him. To teach him that even though the people in his life might fail him, God never will. Everyone involved began praying that he would find and accept Christ and that these teachers who interacted with him 7 hours a day, 5 days a week would have a chance to disciple him before he moved on to high school.

As the teachers began to draw him into group activities and the other kids began to really see him too…

I woke up. (At the crack of dawn, way before I needed to, I might add.)

And I remembered these two facebook posts I wrote about my daughter back in February:

I LOVE my daughter’s school and the middle school teachers. She just called me in uncontrollable happy tears to tell me how much she loves me because she just came out of a class where her classmates (PinkGirl included) just “poured their hearts out about everything they were all going through and how we’re all so thankful and blessed that we have Christ in our lives to help us and…” Her next class was Bible and she asked to go to the office to call me and ask me to come up to school so she could hug me. I’m outta here. #ilovemydaughter

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Just got back from going to PinkGirl’s school to give her a requested mid-day bear hug. One of the kids involved in that heart-wrenching discussion was sharing really, really hard things and everyone was telling him it would be okay. PinkGirl said: “I can’t promise you everything will be okay. At least not the way we see our life. But it will be okay the way God sees it. I think God is using the things in our lives to mold us into the people we’re going to be. It’s like a blacksmith. Sometimes, a blacksmith has to heat stuff up and hit it really hard with a hammer to mold it into something beautiful. The blacksmith knows what he’s making.”
#ilovemydaughter #seepeople #reachout

And I remembered how my daughter had told me that this boy had later told her she was an inspiration to him. And how he had given her a few small presents. She told me it made her uncomfortable. And I remember how I had coached her to continue being his friend, but to always stay with a group when she was around him. I had explained that she wasn’t equipped to help him, so she shouldn’t give him any advice, but she could be his friend and pray for him.

There was no going back to sleep.

So I went downstairs to curl up on my loveseat with a cup of coffee and my prayer journal.

And I wrote this:

“Lord I HATED that dream. Please help me use whatever I learned from it. I pray Lord, that if we are ever in that situation, that’s exactly how we would respond.”

and this:

“I pray for PinkGirl’s friend from school. Can’t remember his name Lord, but you know who he is. Please draw him close to you and let him know You love him.”

Driving PinkGirl to rehearsal later that morning, I asked her about the boy from school, and she reminded me that for some reason, he wouldn’t be returning to her school next year.

So. That’s that, right?

Except that when I went to pick her up, I found out that the boy had come to her theater company asking about auditions.

If you know me, you know I don’t believe in coincidences.

I had a flash of fear. The dream wasn’t even 12 hours old.

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things.But then I realized. This theater PinkGirl goes to? SEEING kids is what they DO. It’s saturated in their culture. They don’t just help kids develop their talent, they also focus on helping kids develop strong character and confidence. They mentor kids from teeny to teenager. When a kid first comes to them, they start with the assumption that each one wants to please and to be validated. They search for aptitude and potential and try to help kids grow into their strengths and to gain confidence and become self-motivated by providing age and skill appropriate challenges and holding them accountable. Any sign of kids excluding kids isn’t allowed. The more outgoing kids are mentored and taught to be intentionally inclusive and specifically encouraging to the shy and quiet kids. Constructive criticism isn’t shied away from, but shaming criticism and demoralizing sarcasm isn’t tolerated for a fraction of a second. Like the teacher who wrote the article, these kids, if they stay with this company, begin to recognize the power of their words and actions and their ability to influence others through encouragement and inclusion.

This boy is a beginner, so if he does come to PinkGirl’s theater, it’s likely he won’t be in the same productions, at least for a while. But I’m confident that if this boy comes to this theater company, he will be seen. He will be included. By the time he interacts with PinkGirl in that environment, she will not be the only person who inspires him.

Or prays for him.

No matter who you are, there are people in your circle of influence. People you are in a continuing relationship with and people you will interact with today and may never see again. Start with prayer. Ask God to show you who those people are. Ask God to equip you. Because God can do anything.

You can spend years trying to handle a situation on your own or you can give it all up to God. And pray like a widow that He would bless you with wisdom and discernment and patience and stamina and…pray like a widow that He will guide you. Pray that you would have the courage and motivation to be obedient.

seasoned with salt.

Be salt and light. Matthew 5:13-16

Be salt and light. Matthew 5:13-16If you profess Christianity, please be careful in your discussions about controversial issues today. Please don’t be arrogant. You’re never going to change someone’s mind when you’re words are laced with arrogance or contempt.

What’s your goal?

You don’t have to try and get someone to agree with your point, but you can introduce doubt in their thinking by respectfully questioning the things they say that you don’t agree with.

If your goal is just to be right, you’re missing an opportunity. People are watching and listening.

When we profess faith in Christ, we are called to submit our minds to Him so that they would be transformed. Our words should be seasoned with salt.

Please pray before you speak and ask the Holy Spirit to speak through you instead.

If you publish something on the internet about your belief or conviction or opinion or whatever word you want to use, please take a time-out between the moment when you think you’re finished typing and the moment you hit publish or post. I can’t tell you how many words haven’t made the cut when I take that time out. I’ve written thousands of words that never saw the light of the internet because the Holy Spirit showed me they weren’t edifying.

Click Here to See the Full Post >>>

say what you mean, but don’t be mean when you say it.

I’ve been saying that for years. To my kids, to students and to myself, whenever the situation calls for it. It’s one of my idioms.

Ephesians 429This afternoon, I read an article about a controversial subject in which the writer gave the distinct impression that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is ignorant.

Not ignorant in an uninformed or misguided way. There was no attempt to inform or guide. The writer declared “palpable and inescapable love” for God and their neighbor, but as I read, I found myself thinking of the word contempt, not love.

The examples were taken to an extreme, seemingly in an effort to evidence the stupidity and expressions of hate by anyone who believes differently.

For the purposes of this post, the issue itself is irrelevant. I personally didn’t identify with either side of the specific issue being written about. The idea that no other (more complicated) possibilities of thought or action exist is implausible.

Issues under debate are not simple. If they were simple, there wouldn’t be so much debate.

Click Here to Read the Full Post >>>

facebook fragments: 03/01/14 – 03/07/14 (chairs, crowns and sarcasm)

Monday, March 3, 2014
1:03am. photos later, but it’s FINALLY down. Not done, but down. Tomorrow we rent the 100 lb. roller for the third and last time. Tuesday, I clean and “polish” the new flooring in the kitchen and eat in kitchen area. And at this moment, we have zero kitchen chairs around our kitchen table. Our comfortable but flooring killer caster tainted rolling chairs are on the back porch, never to be allowed inside again. I NEVER want to lay flooring again. Everything hurts except my ears. and maybe the top of my head. #thehomeprojectthatneverends

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Monday, March 3, 2014 (breakfast)
Me, to FirstHusband this morning: “Part of me says I’m going to take my minivan out into the world today and bring home 4 kitchen chairs. Then I think, nah.”
FirstHusband: “You know what I would say if I were you?
Me: “G’night?”
FirstHusband: “yep.”
(we laid flooring till 2:30am Saturday night and till 1am last night. I got up to take PinkGirl to school this morning and let him get an extra hour and a half in the bed. I think we’re both heading back to bed after breakfast. and after ibuprofen. #mycoffeeisbroken #thehomeprojectthatneverends

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Monday, March 3, 2014 (afternoon)
There’s some ugly furniture on Craigslist. And calling it “high end” doesn’t make it any less ugly. #ihateshopping

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Little known fact: My husband is a sucker for old war movies. I swear these ship and submarine scenes were filmed in a bathtub with toys. Does every sub have a red knob somebody has to turn to stop the water spraying in the sub after they’ve been hit? And now I can’t go to bed till I find out what happens. Good thing the music is so good. #ilovemyhusband Torpedo Run on IMDB

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Craigslist should filter and disallow certain words. Like “beautiful” and “gorgeous” and “MUST SEE!” These words are completely subjective. and more often than not, flat out WRONG. #ihateshopping

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One day, a loooong time ago, somebody looked at these and said, “I’ll take them.”
http://orlando.craigslist.org/fuo/4343888068.html

Ugly Chairs

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The house is completely empty. Time to sing. LOUD.

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In case facebook decided you didn’t want to read some of my facebook posts last week here they are, all on one page: facebook fragments: 02/22/14 – 02/28/14 (the kitchen, a loveseat & lessons from my daughter)

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Getting fitted for a crown this morning, and if you know me, you know I ain’t talking about a tiara – and if you know me, you know what I mean when I say I’d rather go shopping.

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This is 99 cents on Kindle right now.
Lent for NonLent People

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Thursday, March 6, 2014
The cats were digging around in the root veggie box in my pantry like it was a litter box. Turns out they were after this little guy. In my house? In my pantry?

Frog in Grass

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Reading too much on the internet today and keep thinking one thing: Sarcasm is an ineffective persuasive technique. It’s condescending, arrogant, divisive and shuts down dialog. It’s too often used by people in a manner to indicate that an issue is simple and anyone who doesn’t see the simplicity and logic of their side of an argument is an idiot to be ridiculed and dismissed. Seriously. If these issues were simple, they wouldn’t be so controversial. Anyone who uses trite, flippant sarcasm to make a point – especially without even acknowledging any opposing points of view, loses credibility with me – and my interest in any discussion with them about how stupid my point of view is. #seepeople #edify

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Social Media Guard. #seepeople

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.

facebook fragments: 02/22/14 – 02/28/14 (the kitchen, a loveseat & lessons from my daughter)

Saturday, February 22, 2014
We are loving our new microwave! Last one didn’t have the express cook feature and this one has it from 30 seconds to 6 minutes. and it is so. quiet. Best of all, it doesn’t continue to beep nag us when the cook time is complete.

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You know what I LOVE about reading Philip Yancey? He’s not afraid to barrel headlong into the hard questions even when it could make his readers ask “uhhhh. Is this guy even a CHRISTIAN?!

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Only one thing missing from today. A tin roof.
#torrentialdownpour

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More photos of #thehomeprojectthatneverends: the living room makeover. the library.
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The view out my back porch today. It’s raining so hard even a turtle is looking for shelter.

back porch table saw

back porch turtle

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CLICK HERE to see the latest photos of the 2014 home makeover project. My very own mini LIBRARY.

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FavoriteHusband and Bob have been fighting over this chair all day. FavoriteHusband just left the house.
You got about an hour and a half, Bob.

chair stealing cat

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I know. that in a home improvement project, the house will go from bad to terrible to chaos before even coming close to better. But at this very moment, we have so many things happening at the same time, it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel is being carried in the opposite direction.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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Sunday, February 23, 2014
Although we are hours behind our hoped for schedule, the game room baseboards are finished, every piece of furniture is back in place with felt on the bottom and the electronics are all hooked back up. Unfortunately, because of all the rain yesterday, we created a dependent task by using wood cutting power tools on the back porch. EVERY. THING. is covered in sawdust, which I have NO intention of cleaning up today. Next up. Laying the new flooring in the kitchen.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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My husband just pulled the oven into the middle of the kitchen floor.
that. is. dis. gusting.
#ewww

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The kitchen floor will not be finished by the time we go to bed. At this point, both the fridge and the oven are in the middle of my kitchen. We just broke for dinner. Takeout from Gino’s. We’ve lived here since 1996 and we’ve only eaten there once. Four thumbs up. And the portion sizes are HUGE. Who can eat this much in one sitting? All four of us will be getting two meals out of our orders. Which is good. Because our fridge and stove are in the middle of the kitchen right now.

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Monday, February 24, 2014
2:40am.
The fridge, stove and dishwasher are all where they should be. With new flooring under each. The room we thought would be the easiest has turned out to be the hardest. The kitchen is…1/4 – 1/3 finished.
We. are. tired.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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You know what people don’t say enough? “dagnabbit.”

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dagnabbit. No water comes out of the sink when I turn on hot and no water comes out of the fridge door when I try to get ice water. obviously, we’ve done something to break something. twice. or maybe just once with double consequences. But the floor under the fridge and dishwasher look excellent. Have I mentioned that I HATE dependent tasks? Especially when we actually CREATE them.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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And two more dominoes fall in #thehomeprojectthatneverends. Both involving shopping. I hate shopping.
(1) Putting the loveseat back into the living room and we noticed it was actually THREADBARE. Not sure I’ve ever seen threadbare before, but this is definitely it. Found a new one I actually LOVE yesterday on accident when I was returning shelving to Big Lots. and it’s a floor model on clearance! FavoriteHusband is taking his truck this afternoon. REALLY hope it’s still there.
(2) 2nd domino is replacing the rolling office chairs we have around our kitchen table. Floor manufacturer’s instructions warn against the casters. Casters that meet specs are a minimum of $50 a set. $50+ each to make chairs that already have “cosmetic issues” more functional. no. I’ll be shopping for new kitchen chairs. Comfortable. Cheap.
CLICK HERE to see 2009 photos of our chair preference progression AND the threadbare loveseat before it was threadbare and the flooring we will be covering up this weekend.

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That lizard Bob the cat presented to me and then set free in the house on Valentine’s Day?
Found him.
And it’s clear that Bob found him first.
#ewww

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FavoriteHusband is picking up my new reading spot right now. Then we need to feed my old reading spot to the Whale POD (charity storage unit.) Hoping to lay more flooring in the kitchen tonight.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

new loveseat

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(10:30pm)
FavoriteHusband and I spent the last hour and a half laying only FOUR rows of flooring in the kitchen. He went into the garage to get tools to switch out the water filter on the back of the fridge.
Me, to FavoriteSon: “I tire of this game. I don’t want to play anymore.”
FavoriteSon: “Then quit. Make dad do it.”
Me: “That wouldn’t be very nice.”
FS: “Well, then stop complaining.”
Me: “yeah. That’s not gonna happen.”
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
It is February 25th. Who knows why my daughter is ECSTATICALLY HAPPY it is FINALLY February 25th?
(digital HD release of Disney’s Frozen)

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If you know me, you probably already know this. In the context of my everyday interactions with people, I am very open about my faith. Because I’ve learned that if I hide the thing that is most important in my life from the people I interact with in an effort to make them more comfortable, we will never be true friends. They will never know who I really am. I will be a big fake. The hiding would be deceitful. I tell people about my faith in Christ because it is such a integral part of my life that to hide it from people would be to hide myself. It would keep people at a distance.

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters

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The rest of the flooring is going to go down SLOWLY. The reason? We are working BACKwards. Up until the kitchen, we were working north to south, which meant we were laying flooring on TOP of the last laid row. In order to match up with the connecting room, we have to lay the kitchen south to north, which means that every. single. plank. has to be tucked UNDER the previous row. The adhesive is STRONG. If we let any part of the planks touch before they are positioned, it is a struggle to readjust.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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“I’ve found my bliss.” and/or “I need to find my bliss.”
#thingsIwillneversay

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
To continue from yesterday…Here’s what evangelism looks like in my life: When I interact with people, the first thing I want to do is get to know more about them as an individual. I ask questions. I listen. I ask more questions. and I listen. Sometimes, the other person shares something about their own life or experiences or goals or dreams or obstacles or fears that calls to my mind something in my own life and experience – something which relates in some way to what they’ve shared with me. Since Christ is such an integral part of my life, it’s only natural that those experiences would be saturated by His presence and influence.

I don’t filter God out of my life stories to make other people more comfortable.

What about you? Do you filter out what Christ has done and is doing in your life in an effort to make people more comfortable? To make yourself easier to like? Are you hiding the most important part of yourself and in the process, sabotaging the potential for authentic friendships? Are you keeping people at a distance? Settling for another acquaintance when you could have a true friend? What happens if you give the other person more credit than that? What happens if you trust them accept you for who you are even if they are different than you?
(this is an excerpt from one of my February 2013 blog posts – CLICK HERE to read the full post)

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Would this count as a Rick Roll?

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PinkGirl, on the ride home from school: “Mom! Did you know there’s a gorilla that can communicate using sign language?”
Me: “Yes.”
PinkGirl: “Her name is Koko.”
Me: “I know.”
PinkGirl: “I want a gor…”
Me: “Noooooo.”
PinkGirl: “But she’s so swe…”
Me: “No. You may NOT have a gorilla.”
#ilovemydaughter

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PinkGirl, trying to pack her lunch in our construction zone kitchen: (spoken wistfully): “Mom. Do you remember…when we used to have a counter?”
Me: “yes. smart alec kid.”
PinkGirl, point waving at all the painting and flooring supplies: “and I didn’t make this mess.”
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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LONG overdue catharsis. no holds barred. (my latest blog post): The lying tempter would persuade.
(click the link above or the Jim Carrey photos below to read the full post)

Ace Ventura Recognizing the Voice of Truth

Thursday, February 27, 2014
We put the game room back together last weekend.
FavoriteSon: “It’s not really a man cave.”
Me: “You use this room more than anyone else. It’s a man cave.”
FavoriteSon: “There’s a quote by Henry David Thoreau on the wall. It’s not a man cave.”
touché
#ilovemyson

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Me, to FavoriteSon: “Part of me says (excited voice) ‘Your Dad is coming home today!!’ and part of me says (depressed voice) ‘Your Dad is coming home today.'”
FavoriteSon: “Because you have to get back to work on the house?”
yes. I did miss him. But it was a wonderful two days off.
#thehomeprojectthatneverends

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Seriously affirmed in my reasoning to create and publish facebook compilation blog posts. Working on one now and there’s so much stuff I flat out can NOT find on facebook that I know I posted less than a week ago. It’s like it disappeared. If you think facebook is a great way to chronicle your everyday life, it’s not. I’m going to try and do these compilation posts from here on out – and post on my own blog. Where I have control of content.

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I LOVE my daughter’s school and the middle school teachers. She just called me in uncontrollable happy tears to tell me how much she loves me because she just came out of drama class where her classmates (PinkGirl included) just “poured their hearts out about everything they were all going through and how we’re all so thankful and blessed that we have Christ in our lives to help us and…” Her next class was Bible and she asked to go to the office to call me and ask me to come up to school so she could hug me. I’m outta here. #ilovemydaughter

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Just got back from going to PinkGirl’s school to give her a requested mid-day bear hug. One of the kids involved in that heart-wrenching discussion was sharing really, really hard things and everyone was telling him it would be okay. PinkGirl said: “I can’t promise you everything will be okay. At least not the way we see our life. But it will be okay the way God sees it. I think God is using the things in our lives to mold us into the people we’re going to be. It’s like a blacksmith. Sometimes, a blacksmith has to heat stuff up and hit it really hard with a hammer to mold it into something beautiful. The blacksmith knows what he’s making.”
#ilovemydaughter #seepeople #reachout

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EVERY day matters. EVERY conversation matters. Don’t settle for conversations about nothing. Platitudes can be lies. Ask questions that let your friends and family KNOW you care about them and talk about things really that matter, even if it makes them uncomfortable. Even if it makes them back away. Even if people think you’re too serious. It doesn’t mean you are wrong. It means they aren’t ready. #lessonsfrommydaughter

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HOW have I never seen this? I LOVE smart fast funny! so. good.

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I add “read books” to my to-do list every day so I know I’ll get at least one thing done.

Add read book to my to do list

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Here’s another facebook compilation blog post. Everything I posted on facebook between February 15th thru 21st, all on one page. Because sometimes stuff on facebook doesn’t show up in my newsfeed. or disappears.

facebook fragments: 02/15/14 – 02/21/14 (EPCOT, fb hacks & a dead microwave)

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Whenever I see something arrogantly or sarcastically hateful on facebook, I can’t help but wonder what is going on in that person’s life that would prompt them to take time and effort out of their probably otherwise demanding day to be openly and intentionally hurtful to strangers. or friends. #seepeople #edify

edify

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To see more previous facebook update and compilation blog posts, CLICK HERE.