The Impossibly Cold Cup

“a time to laugh …” Ecclesiastes 3:4bpost-image-55

Have you seen these cups that claim to keep things cold for hours? It’s fascinating. How can an ice cube stay an ice cube in ninety degree heat for such an extended amount of time? It seems impossible. It makes me laugh at how fascinating these simple things can be to me!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 states the many different seasons of life, and laughter is included. God created laughter. He is the master of sarcasm, as evident in Old Testament Stories and New Testament Parables. Our innate sense of humor and craving for a good reason to smile comes from our good Father.

He created the entire universe in six days, and then rested for one.

He created time yet holds the ability to stretch our minutes.

He flooded the whole earth and destroyed everything, but left one arc untouched.

He spoke to Moses through a burning bush.

He made Joshua march around Jericho once a day for six days before the walls came down on the seventh.

Jesus set up scenes and solve problems in a way that would make us remember. We’re still reading them to this day.

He fed thousands of people with a few fish and some bread loaves.

He healed a woman who touched His robe as He passed by to heal someone else.

His best friends sat at the cafeteria table everyone else is afraid to walk by.

He walked just about everywhere He went, but then rode into town on a donkey …

He washed his friends’ feet.

He almost sunk his friends’ boat with a huge catch of fish.

Why does all of this make me smile? Laugh, even? Certainly not out of disrespect or ill-intended sarcasm as we have grown so accustomed to in our society. No, this humor is born out of love and intentionality. God purposefully places people and circumstances to encourage our smiles …our laughs. With God, there is no coincidence. No impossibility. He is sovereign. There is definitely no coincidence in soveriegnty.

Jesus wasted no parables with the minutes He chose to spend on earth. We only have access to what was written down about Jesus. I like to imagine what other kinds of things He did that we’re not privy to. Jesus is a fun guy. Heaven with Him is going to be a blast.

jammed-tweet-blueIt makes a really cold cup seem like a simple accomplishment. We are created in His image, wired to accomplish the impossible. And with great faith and a Savior like Jesus, who can stop us? Each created for a specific purpose, let’s not forget to revel in the humor of our Father along the way. And marvel at the simple joys and impossibilities …like un-melting ice!

Father, Praise You for happiness and laughter alongside our awe for You! Thank You for lacing lightheartedness into miraculous wonders. We confess that we think humor is our thing …and often use it inappropriately. Bless our innate craving to laugh to be for Your glory, and never at another’s expense. In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Happy Laughing,

Megs

This post was originally a part of the #jammed Daily Devotional Series from February, Dunked in Grace, Day 55: Grace outlasts the heat.

Throwback Update …

When I look back and read some of these devotional entries, I smile at the growth God has led me through since! The more I grow in my faith, and the closer I become to my Creator, the more I realize that His love is a joy-filled wisdom filter over every Instagram-able moment. I realize it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon a happy moment or a bust a gut laughing.

So often we are focused on the big things -good and bad – when we direct our attention to God. But the truth is, He’s in all the little moments of our lives, too. He cares so immensely for each one of us. When we realize how great His love is, it causes us to see things from a different, joy-filled perspective. Joy, that through ups and downs, sustains our strength. Moments of laughter that meet us in impossibly hard circumstances. What a journey …

Happy Laughing …

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The Friend Book

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The fog cast an erie lure of anxiety over the pier. It had enveloped the lighthouse, and I checked my footprints to make sure I hadn’t drifted off the pavement to the glazed-over river. I trekked on, trusting it was still out there beyond the mist. A wispy top-layer of snow revealed one single set of down and back footprints. All alone … I threw my arms up and let started to dance-walk to the new album I couldn’t stop listening to.

My quest to “be me” occasionally feels akin to walking down the pier in thick fog. I lose sight of what I know is there. God always has a way of breaking through the thickness with a shard of light. Many times, that glint of hope comes in the form of a friend.

There has been a book about friendship spinning around in my head for many years. Perhaps it circulates because I have never quite found an author that has addressed my trademark quest to “be friends with everyone.” I believe when God asks me to write about something, He has a lesson for me to learn and a story someone needs to hear. Research and reading unravel answers, but sometimes God uses people to pull it all together.

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Making a new friend, or approaching a new season with an established one, takes a slow walk in humility. John 15:9 instructs us to “remain in His love,” and snap judgements and circles of gossip definitely lie outside of it. Walk in prayerful consideration to stop and think before saying or doing anything that could hurt another soul, especially one that is akin to your friendship; but without disregard for a sweet one you may be squashing before it’s given the opportunity to sprout buds and grow.

imageThat foggy pier walk rekindled a revelation I’d had years back as a young runner. Comparing the trace of my tracks in the snow, one set revealed a wisp on the tail of my heal where I had drug my feet. The other set, after I noticed and corrected the problem, was nice and clean. Dragging feet cause runners overuse injuries from this mark of improper form. In my friendships, I’ve been challenged to peer into the past before before moving forward.

Don’t fear forgiveness …the asking or the receiving of it. You may open the door of relief for someone who needs to unload the burden of imperfections that they carry. We all carry them. “We all fall short.” (Romans 3:23) So, have mercy.

I picked up a cross necklace a few years back when I needed a constant visual reminder Jesus was with me no matter how tight the drama in my life was wound. The first time I put it on, I noticed an inscription on the back. “Be the change.” As a new coach implementing lots of changes, I took it as a sign I was running in pace with God’s plan. Really, it just meant to be me through the change.

Kindness can mean everything to someone living in a moment in which everything is crumbling. When my kids come to me annoyed with a classmate, the sting of past experience flares to the surface.

“There’s always something good you can find about a person,” I teach them, “Find it, and focus on that.”

Focus on the light beyond the fog.

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Friends defy definition. Church friends, Bible study friends, high school and college friends, teammates, family, bloggers, work peers, neighbors and far away friends, Facebook friends, and authors who write words that resonate so much with our hearts that they feel like friends …and church that can feel like home even though it’s several states away from our actual homes.

I believe friends populate our lives because we were never created to walk out life’s lesson alone. We are the church. Set here to love the people in our lives. Jesus is the perfect definition of friendship. And because of Him we can go to our Great God in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). We weren’t meant to be alone. We can reach out to friends He’s placed in our lives to allow their light alongside ours to pierce through the fog.

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Throwback Update:

Wow! Reading this reminded me how afraid I was to tell my story …worried that no one would be able to relate. The original post was the framework for a review of “The Gift of Friendship,” by Dawn Camp. I highly recommend it. Her words and the collective stories contributed to it came alongside me when I need to know that I was not alone.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned while writing my own book on friendship, “Friends with Everyone,” is to let go of fear and trust God’s timing and purpose for my story. Of course someone needs to read it. You know what?! I needed to read it! We are all placed in each others lives, purposefully, by a God who isn’t in the business of coincidence. Stay tuned for my next release …”Surface.”

Click here for a copy of “The Gift of Friendship,” by Dawn Camp.

Click here to grab your copy of Friends with Everyone …and Happy Reading!!!

Megs

The Spider Pee.

“Mom, look!  Friends!”  Brianne excitedly states.

It seemed the discussion we’d had a month ago about the mayflies being harmless has finally managed to sink in.  Either that, or more-likely she forgot about it and decided herself that these bugs are fun to pick up by the wings and make ‘friends’ with.

Brianne and her ‘friend’ Mr. Mayfly on the rockets.

At four years old, I find that the stubbornness that surfaced at three has now matured into “I’m right-” ness.  Funny, isn’t it?  How they go from bombarding you with questions…straight to telling you what the correct answer is.  Or, what they think it is.  On a toddlers level, the things that they are so-called ‘right’ about are the things they couldn’t be more far off from the truth on.

“Mom, those aren’t hands (on a clock) those are pointers.” she states.

It’s hard not to laugh right in their face sometimes.  I don’t want to deter them from making hypotheses and exploring the world on their own level, but I can’t just let them believe that fire ants really catch on fire…or that little babies really do like it when you poke them in the eyes…or that the kid on the playground really did push too hard on purpose even though I saw the whole thing happen…  I have to interfere at some point, right?

Boundaries.  That’s what the parenting books call them.  It’s a tough thing to establish.  I’ve gone from the physical boundaries that ensure my kid won’t take off running wherever and whenever they choose…to now the negotiation boundaries.  There is only so much say my kids get with me.  Only so much opinion they get to express at this point…before negotiations are over…and whether they understand yet or not why they are going to do what I asked…it’s time to do what I asked.

Without boundaries, absolute chaos.  No manners, no sweet, polite requests.  Enforcing them makes me feel like a drill sergeant.  Nonetheless, I feel safer knowing my kids will stick by me in public places, and do what I ask. Lots of days I feel like border patrol.  Now that my oldest is four, she likes to tell me where she thinks her boundaries should be.

“Mom, I’m just going right over there, okay? I’ll be right there in the next aisle….by that slide…in line for that ride…in the lake up to my belly button…it’s fine, mom…it’s fine.”

OR

“Brianne, we’re having chicken and peach rice pudding tonight for dinner.”  I inform her.  She looks at me like I’m crazy and immediately backfires, “I’m not very going to eat that.”  Nice.

All it takes is a ‘no’ or a ‘oh, yes you are’ from me for her to dig her heels in and state her case.  Whine, beg, plead, pout, stomp…flat out refuse.  Go ahead kid, throw it all out there.  Get it all out of your system and then do what I told you to do in the first place.

It’s exhausting to refuse to negotiate with a four year old.  There are certain days of the month when I just don’t possess the patience it requires to be calm about it.  One of those days that cause me to wake up the next morning ready to start a day that is NOT yesterday…and then realize I’m in for another one.  Those are the days when I explain to her what being grounded is, how long a whole week…or month…without TV is, and what it feels like to do all of your chores and not get any allowance on account of one day’s bad behavior.  It’s on those days when I have no patience, that she has no patience with me, either.   And her two year old little sister just yells, “MOM” at the top of her lungs demanding to listen to ‘Baby-baby-baby-oh…” all day long in the background.

Soon, we’ll be at XC practice by 8am every morning, and there will be no room for morning slow poke shenanigans. I swear they can sense it.   That’s why they’re ramping up.  Ugh, I hate hurrying toddlers.  It just makes them lolly gag even more.

“Brianne, did you make your bed?  Go to the bathroom?  Brush your teeth?  Trace your alphabet letter of the day?  Eat your breakfast?  Get dressed?”

She just looks at me like I’m nuts.  Mind you, she’s been happily doing all of these things all summer long, on account of our extremely successful chore chart and allowance system.  As she trudges off to the bathroom, I follow along to make sure she washes her hands.  Distracted, I get there after she’s already gone potty…but she’s standing there looking bewildered.

“Did you go?”  I ask.

“A spider came out of my pee.”  she said…pretty seriously.

I had killed a spider in there earlier that morning, and just threw him in the toilet dead to go down with the next flush.  When I told her that, I thought she’d be relieved.  But, how silly of me, she’s four.

“No, Mom.  I peed it out.”

Explained again, that I killed the spider.

“No, Mom!  I seriously know that spider came out of my pee.”

Whatever.  The spider came out of your pee, kid.

Everything, and I mean everything, is a debate.  And argument.  A test of willpower.  To quote my favorite TV Show of all time, “Serenity Now!!”

Good days and bad…best buds.

It’s in these streaks of ‘bad’ days that I miss the good relationship I have with my daughter, and it reminds me that those dreaded teenage years are right around the corner.  As much as I want to instill good manners and proper behavior in her, I also have to remember to listen to my daughter.  I know when I’m having an off day I pray for a little extra sympathy and understanding from the world around me.  I’m sure that’s how she feels, too.

It’s on these days that I know she’ll want extra ‘Mommy cuddles,’ and it seems she appreciates not having to even ask.  I honestly need them as much as she does.  It’s in these moments that I feel the bond between my daughter and I growing.

Best buds are always there for each other.

Happy Debating!

Megs

The Remote Control

Apparently more fascinating than any toy money can buy ….it’s the remote control.  In particular, my remote control.  The one I grab groggily in the morning to catch the Today Show …oh, who am I kidding with my pre-parent nostalgia …the Disney Channel. Adjusting to my new normal, the morning person I’ve always been is now desperately trying to put off the clamoring for breakfast and get an few extra minutes of sleep.

Somehow, this particular remote control has become the toddler’s favorite pretend one. More annoying than trying to coax my cat out of my older daughter’s room before bedtime, is trying to locate where my number two child has stashed my remote control. Sans a mom sigh, I vacate my comfortable stop to unearth the abnormal place she’s guaranteed to place it …in her shoes (the next obsession), kitty’s food bowl, big sister’s closet, her high chair…

Annoying as it is to locate the dang thing when I need it, watching her interact with it as if there’s a person talking to her on the other end is pretty priceless.  It’s one of those things that we’ll soon forget about over time, so I’m glad I’m writing about it.

Our memories seem to be aging twice as fast now that our children are stealing all of our sleep and encroaching on every comfortable creature habit we ever had the three decades prior. Somehow the things we thought we’d never forget about our girls, we find reminiscing about when we run across old photos and videos.  Racing my oldest daughter down the street (pretend starting blocks included…funny, since I could never use them properly myself.). Teaching number one how to walk down the street to the lake- every day, holding both her little hands …coaxing her along. There’s seemingly so much time with that first one.

Already, at one and three, there are things that get lost in the shuffle of all the fun and frustrating memories we’ve accumulated thus far.  The telephone remote control will surely be filed away and replaced with other hilarious ….and maybe not so much so …idiosyncrasies coming our way.  Right now, number two spits out new adorable words and phrases everyday, and number one recites things I’m quite sure she shouldn’t be saying yet at all.

“Who is it, Lo Lo?  Who’s on the phone?”

Putting the remote on her shoulder and looking up at me as if I’ve interrupted important negotiations, she replied….

Zszszszzpseeeee…..Pa Pa!  Hiiiiiiiii!  Hi, Papa!”

…then ran out of the room on her tip toes to finish her conversation in private.

Happy Channel Surfing…

Megs

What we know now …

“LLLLLOOOOOO!!!!” Number one, now ten and a half, yelled to her sister, “CAN YOU COME TURN NETFLIX ON?!”

This is common scene, and when I wrote the original post no one knew what Netflix was. Number two is still obsessed with the remote control …thought she is the smallest and youngest in the house, Lo is the only one who can work all six remote controls and three TV’s in the house without a hitch. Instead of calling Papa on the remote control, she became the first of my two kids to master texting, emoji’s and FaceTime.  Papa even has a bitmoji, thanks to her.

Life is exactly how I thought it would be, and why I started this blog. I forgot about the remote control phone, and am so glad there are so many memories here to laugh about all over again. It’s the reason I started this blog …

Happy Memory Surfing …

Megs

The Last Day of February…

Ahhhh…the last day of February.

Thank.  The. Lord.

Let’s be real.  This is the time of the year when even the most avid ‘I love the change of the seasons’ peeps want to hibernate, and we all get sick.  Too tired of wearing hats, winter coats, boots, pre-heating the car for 15 minutes before we get in it.  It all gets a little tiresome come the last day of February, so we get lackadaisical and end up with disgusting sicknesses.  My family is no different.  Right now, yogurt is our Pepto …hey …don’t knock it ’till you try it.

Think about it.  When the sun comes out and the outside thermometer reads 3o or above, the spring coats come out.  The same forecast in January?  We’re not venturing out without the down puffy coat.  I’m constantly reminded of how pre-mature my Spring fever is by the frozen lake at the end of my street.  Just in case I get the urge to start looking for green shoots of life popping up through the ground, Mother Erie stands there to greet me with 10 foot chunks of busted up ice chunks to remind me that it’s still February.

...still frozen...
Frozen Mother Erie

The stores don’t help either.  Do you know that if you happen to wait until February to buy a winter boots you cannot just go out and buy another pair!  You’re left to squeeze your growing child’s foot in until they return to the stores in August.  The flip-flops are on the end cap at Target but we’re in the middle of an ice storm.

Flip flops on the end cap in February remind me how many snowbirds are down in Florida, and how many of my friends from college actually moved South like I planned to. While they are surrounded by blue water and palm trees, I’m looking out my window wondering if I should call the power company before that freshly cracked limb falls on the wires.  I’m usually not this salty about where I live.  I do love The Land …it’s just been way too long since I’ve hugged a palm tree.

Last day of February …I salute you. Buh-bye. 

St. Pat’s Day is coming …will we be slathering on SPF or scraping snow off the windshields? Who. Even. Knows. 

But we’re one step closer to Sunny and 80…

Happy Monday:)

Wow! The very beginning of Sunny&80. The first post. It’s amazing to see what God has done in my life and with this blog. Fresh on the facebook scene, I remember the feelings of frustration I felt watching old friends live in the warm places I longed to relocate to. Since this post, my parents have relocated to a permanent background of palm trees, too. And my brother. In fact, I’m the last of Five Alive still residing in The Land. But I’m not frustrated about it anymore. Though the angst to leave rises up now and again, I have learned to defer the urge to move for more of God wherever I’m at. Joy in the journey. He’s not a God of coincidence, so I know I’ve been placed purposefully …and I won’t miss a move if I’m focused on Jesus. There is great peace in working hard with what He’s given us, loving the people in our lives well, and watching expectantly for Him to meet us there and make a move …

I hope I’ve been able to pass along the encouragement and love He’s shown me through Sunny &80. This blog is a record of the life I’ve lived. It’s my prayer you see Jesus through it …because He’s been with me every word of the way. 

Megs.