The First Years (#jammed daily devo, day 216)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 216: Home is home.

“Think of us as servants who are owned by Christ. It is our job to share the secrets of God.” 1 August 4Corinthians 4:1 (NLV)

They are finally old enough to read Harry Potter, and I am loving it. The books came out when I was in college, and I’ve waited all this time for my daughters to grow up and take interest in the series before reading them myself. Even though it’s hard to keep from finding out what happens next and how it all ends, the magic we are discovering together is far beyond spoiling.

“Can I read for little bit, Mommy?”

To be honest, I thought she’d give up pretty quick. The words were enormous and some totally new. I should have known better than to underestimate the little girl who’s list of first words included “brachiosaurus.” And just like that, my baby grew up again. Off on her own, reading the adventure all by herself.

Today’s verse reminds us that, when we follow Christ, our job is to spread the good news. Much of this world is out of our control. Jesus is meant to be loved and shared. When we’re tempted to stay put in the comfort zone, Christ begs us to push past it and fling the doors open.

Find someone to read to. Live out in the open so others can see Him. There are so many people that don’t know the freedom and peace of a life with Christ. Don’t underestimate anyone’s ability to read difficult text …don’t count anyone out that we feel wouldn’t want to hear.

When we follow Christ, He shows us who we really are. And we’re called to let our light shine on the rest of the world.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the light. Thank You for the lessons that You teach us through the secrets the Spirit reveals. We confess, we do not seek people out to share the good news of Christ enough, and pray that You reveal those to us whom we are meant to read to …and serve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Reading,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

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The First Years (#jammed daily devo, day 216)

August #jammed: Reflecting on Grace.

Day 216: Home is home.

“Think of us as servants who are owned by Christ. It is our job to share the secrets of God.” 1 August 4Corinthians 4:1 (NLV)

They are finally old enough to read Harry Potter, and I am loving it. The books came out when I was in college, and I’ve waited all this time for my daughters to grow up and take interest in the series before reading them myself. Even though it’s hard to keep from finding out what happens next and how it all ends, the magic we are discovering together is far beyond spoiling.

“Can I read for little bit, Mommy?”

To be honest, I thought she’d give up pretty quick. The words were enormous and some totally new. I should have known better than to underestimate the little girl who’s list of first words included “brachiosaurus.” And just like that, my baby grew up again. Off on her own, reading the adventure all by herself.

Today’s verse reminds us that, when we follow Christ, our job is to spread the good news. Much of this world is out of our control. Jesus is meant to be loved and shared. When we’re tempted to stay put in the comfort zone, Christ begs us to push past it and fling the doors open.

Find someone to read to. Live out in the open so others can see Him. There are so many people that don’t know the freedom and peace of a life with Christ. Don’t underestimate anyone’s ability to read difficult text …don’t count anyone out that we feel wouldn’t want to hear.

When we follow Christ, He shows us who we really are. And we’re called to let our light shine on the rest of the world.

#jammed click to tweet jun:jul:aug

Father, Praise You for the light. Thank You for the lessons that You teach us through the secrets the Spirit reveals. We confess, we do not seek people out to share the good news of Christ enough, and pray that You reveal those to us whom we are meant to read to …and serve. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace! 

#greatgrace17

Happy Reading,

Megs

Get the #jammed Daily Devo sent straight to your inbox each morning, by subscribing to Sunny&80. 

The Land

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Witness is woven into everyone’s life, but not all have a natural appreciation for their “place.” Clevelanders have taking a beating for decades. For the state of their city and “the curse” on their teams. I am them.

“Against all odds…

I don’t now why we want to take the hardest road…

I don’t know why the Man above gives me the hardest road…

but the Man above doesn’t put you in situations that you can’t handle…

and I just kept that same positive attitude…

Instead of saying ‘why me…’

saying ‘this is what He wants me to do.”

-LeBron James, after winning the 2016 NBA Championship

This generation of Cavaliers basketball players capped off a legacy that began long before they started playing in the big leagues.  My feet froze watching Elway crush our football team. I watched the old stadium fall. I wondered if a lost $100 bill had fallen from a very tall pocket grabbing a bite at Whitey’s after a game at the Richfield Coliseum. I walked to “The Jake” after work many summer nights in run of the late 90’s.

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My most cherished sports memory isn’t the Brown’s rookie graveyard I put up in my front yard on Halloween. It’s not training camp in Berea every year, where the hope of every Browns fan is at it’s most realistic peek. Not the sense of a piece of home seeing people you knew “back then” in the same tailgate spot. Not post game victory walks or seeing concerts at my favorite fields. Not even a long awaited raise of a shiny gold trophy.

It’s my brother…

And his little-kid face…

…at the local restaurant in the burb we grew up in, taking off his unbent hat to have a couple CAVS write a little history into his heart. He’s the biggest Cleveland fan I know.

The energy. The camaraderie. The land.

When the homesick tendencies of dorm life set in, I clung to the conversations over commonalities. Fellow fans felt like family, and I began to realize that “home” wasn’t just teenage angst waiting to bust out and get out. “Home” was layered into my heart.  No matter where I reside, my heart beats to “Cleveland Rocks.”

The life of a Clevelander is built into the layers of adversity. As the seasons change, jobs get lost, the Browns get worse, and the trophy eludes …we remain. We hold on to hope. We welcome you home. We believe.

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“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

We’re all tempted to throw in the towel. When the environment that surrounds starts to crumble in around us, the tempting tendency is to run …quit …move. Tenacity is woven into tough spots. Stuttering human stamina indicates opportunity for God to move. Will we follow fight or flight, or sit and stay to see why?

Paul is comforting us in that we’re all tempted. Christ was tempted. To sin. To quit. To run. To move. It’s not in the want to waver that we fail, but in the actual running and moving. In the stillness of our hearts, we choose whether to soldier on …to trust Him at His word …to wait on why.

Witness is woven into every life. LeBron, and his faith that God won’t test him beyond what he can handle, represented an entire city that shares that mentality. Can’t give up. Won’t give up. We will stay and wait.

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I didn’t watch any games this year. Not until there were 10.6 seconds remaining. Bracing for the heartache of a city and another reel tacked on the highlights of our almost accomplishments. Fearing the faltering crack of one team under so much pressure. But, in my Northeast Ohio heart, I believed it could happen. Against all odds. That’s CLE life.

BELIEVELAND.

PERFECTWe believe in each other. Because, under fire, sometimes that’s all we’ve got. Just to glance up, grab the hand beside us, and soldier on. Keep going …hoping …cheering …willing.

It’s just a game in a world filled with so much injustice, hurt, and tragedy. Just a trophy coming to reside in a city on a quest to come back.  But weaved into the win are streets full of people from all walks of life… in the city where someone always knows someone you know… embracing the victory of hope fulfilled …in a city that’s come back.

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Thank you, Cleveland, for bringing out the best piece of humanity …love. For who we are, for our history, and for our “place.”

It’s my “place.” It’s our “place.” #allin

Happy Parade Day, Cleveland! Let the ticker tape fly!

Megs

 

 

 

The Mirrors

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The battle of reflection is won in Jesus.

My daughters are obsessed with the bathroom mirror, especially when the clock is racing at opposite ends of the day. Apparently, that appears to be the perfect time to substitute a toothbrush for a microphone, and a step-stool for a stage.

If you need a little bit of sunshine to belly laugh your way through the morning routine, try creeping up on your kid while they’re in the middle of a ballad. … Better yet, try catching a bit on film …

“MOM!!!” my daughter screamed as she fell off of the stool wide-eyed and landed in a panic half-way across the bathroom.

My legs buckled in laughter, and mind flooded with reflections of my own lip sync grandeur.

“Oh-my-goodness!” I replied. “Are you OK?”

“Mom,” she whinnied, red-faced, “erase that video right now.”

Their obsession with the mirror has resulted in a lot of early morning laps run around the yard (their punishment for breaking a house rule) from territorial struggles over air-time on the bathroom stage. It’s going to make them late for school one day …  I just hope it doesn’t distract them from pursuing their purpose.IMG_8953

Mirrors resemble bullets shot, and childhood wounds turned scars … collaborating in the dusty corners of my mind.

“Look at her elbows!”  Before I was laughed out of cheer-leading tryouts at my Catholic grade school, I didn’t even realize my elbows hyper-extended.

“You’re  fat.” Every woman faces it, mocked or not, and the age at which we risk becoming slave to it gets younger and younger…

“You’re flat!” And with that, this small-chested girl’s self-esteem took a defeating nose dive.  I was twelve.

Thankfully, Jesus grabbed my heart at an early age, and turned me into a product of prayer enabled to overcome the pain of reflection with laughter and silliness. Jesus gave me a crash course in His creative vision for my reflection.

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

The scars slowly became sentiments I learned to disregard, rather than lose precious minutes to a mirror haunted by comparison. Exercising a heart of encouragement, I stick motivational quotes, pictures, stickers,  and necklaces my daughters have made in the spaces that surround my reflection.  A recent discovery illuminated the humor within my inspirations to distract me from a self-destructing glance.

I believe with all of my heart that God gifted us sarcasm because He has mastered it, possessing a gut breaking sense of humor.

When my daughter gave me a pat on the belly (after I’d just been training for a marathon) and told me it looked like I had another baby in there, I purposefully pushed back the lump in my throat and responded by making my belly talk in a high pitched voice until we were all rolling on the ground laughing.

A powerful rendering I can gift my daughters is the vagueness of reflection. To have them grow up without purposefully picking a part their appearance would answer a ginormous prayer. I’m raising them to be active beings and healthy eaters … and to love dessert.

I try not to let my weight control my reflection, by leaving it out of conversation.  I don’t own a scale, but I’m aware of how my pants fit … that’s enough.  I’m a runner because it’s a passion God lent to me…but it’s not driven by the result of how it affects my physical appearance.

Why… and HOW?  No, I’m not superhuman.  But I know someone who is.

I give it up, and I lift it up everyday in prayer…and God is faithful.  

In down times when injury halts my strides, the challenge to embrace the obvious scoop of Ben and Jerry’s Late Night Dough that overflows from the top of my skinnies heightens exponentially.  But I remain faithful in prayer, and I repeat what I know to be true.  It takes this girl a conscious effort to embrace the reflection. To be able to balance taking care of the body God gave me less becoming so obsessed with the bullets whirring past the echoes of my mind’s ears. image

The hope I ascertain for my daughters is that the mirror won’t represent suffering and wasted minutes drowned in vanity …hours lost in worthless lament … days forgone in self-torture projected by another soul’s insecurities.  I pray they quarantine the precious minutes of life to achieve God’s purpose- and laugh…

“You need to be reminded of the power of imagination,” graced the words of Steven Furtick a midst my morning inbox devotions. “Your imagination is the incubation place for every great thing you’ll ever think,” he continued.

That same morning I flipped over to First 5, and Whitney Capps had written, “Can we accept Jesus’ authority even if it doesn’t look like we though it would?”

The cycle stops with me, in hopes that my daughters’ imaginations won’t be suffocated by perceived reflection; but rather, led by the dreams they harvest there.  It’s an impossible task that I am not built to achieve alone. I know that Jesus will grab my hand whether I’m running a marathon or buried in my books…and I in return will aim to honor Him and His sacrifice with every shred of my being, no matter which I’m blessed to be in midst of.

“Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Colossians 3:12

Happy Reflecting…

Megs

AND REMEMBER…  “Be joyful always.” 1Thes. 5:16

The Big Girl Bed.

Well, that’s it.  No more baby crib.  It has been disassembled, loaded in the shed of disheveled furniture we don’t have room for in our tiny house, and replaced with a ‘big girl bed.’  I got misty eyed, saying goodbye to what has been a part of our household now for the last 4 years.  Not just the crib, but babies.  Little babies, which in my case were both so small when they were born that the newborn sized clothing was too big on them.

I remember helping my husband assemble the crib for the first time in preparation for Brianne.  It was an absolute menace…as was taking it down for the last time.  It’s as if the crib itself needed to get one last word in.  Before Brianne was born, I would sit in the room we had fixed up for her and stare at that empty crib and all it’s pink frilly glory.  After sleeping by my side for a month after my C-section, she spent her first night in that crib.  I checked on her no less than 10 times to make sure she was breathing.

In preparation for her little sister being born right after she turned two, Brianne got moved to a big girl bed early.  At 18 months, she slept right through the night in her big girl bed and never turned back.  She was so happy!  I never expected Little Lauren, now 18 months old, to be ready for a big girl bed herself.  Yet, in Lauren’s vocally persistent way, she made it clear that she could no longer sleep comfortably through the night in her crib.  It was time.

Freshly adorned with Tinkerbell bedding, Lauren climbed up there and had a little ‘big girl bed’ party for herself.  Slept through the first night, and never turned back.  That first morning the loud thud of her falling out of her big girl bed ensued a sprinting panic, and there she laid on her back looking up at us with an ‘Oops, I forgot I had to climb down’ expression on her face. “I’m al-wight!”

Now, all I have are memories of the crib days.  St. Pat’s Day morning finding Lauren sitting up for the first time in it.  Brianne jumping up and down with the giggles each morning.  Lauren kicking the wall trying to express her unhappiness with her 7pm bedtime.  Lauren throwing dolls, socks, books, and anything she could reach to throw over the edge of her crib to express her unhappiness with her bedtime.

So small.  They start out SO SMALL!  So small that every little thump at night made me jump up and check on them…or make my husband get up and check on them.  Now, it’s whomever they call that has to get up.  Which was real funny to Jim (my husband) because they call out for mom a lot.  I’ve gone from being so worried about them and all their tinyness to “1-2-3-not-it!” when they call for ‘Dada’ at night.

No more baby coes…now it ‘s terrible two tantrums and four year old sass…

With every new stage that my kids enter, I’m tempted to look back and cry over the time that’s already passed by so quickly.  But then, I look at these two beautiful living reminders that life is great… that I get the privilege of hanging out with all day…and it’s hard to feel sorry for myself.  Brianne is now starting to read books to Lauren, and Lauren is now starting to boss Brianne around.  With the passing of every stage, comes a new one full of new reasons to laugh.

Happy Memories…

Megs