Monthly Archives: September 2017

Joy = Strength


“I can’t do this. It’s impossible.  There’s no way I will ever be able to do this. I’m not strong enough to handle all of this.”  Those are things we often say to ourselves throughout the day and throughout the week.  We don’t feel like we are strong enough. Strength is defined as the state of being strong.  Wow.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be strong?!  How many of us actually feel strong most days?  I know myself that some days I wake and I feel like I can tackle anything.  All cylinders are firing. Other days, I wake and just drag.  I can almost tell that everything I attempt will be difficult. Where can I get the strength I need to get through this day and ultimately my life?

The scripture in Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The joy of the Lord is my strength? Joy (aka the feeling of great pleasure and happiness) of the Lord is my strength. I can interpret that two ways and both of them sound fun.

  1. The Joy OF the Lord is my strength. So, what can I do to make the Lord full of great pleasure and happiness?  Surely not waking in the new day that he has given me and grumbling down the stairs to complain about all that I have to do that day.  I don’t think that brings Him joy.
  2. The JOY of the Lord is my strength. So, JOY is from the Lord.  Remember, Joy is feeling pleasure and happiness, so what should I do today to experience it?

Being that I am not a theologian and the fact that I just make this stuff up as I go, don’t hold me accountable, but I think that either interpretation will bring you joy and thus, bring the Lord joy. So, what can we do when we wake having one of those days when we aren’t feeling strong?

Yesterday I listened to a teaching by Hannah Keely that suggested, that we ask ourselves not only, “What do I have to do today?” but also “What can I do to have fun today?”   And, though her message wasn’t exactly what we are talking about, I think that quote fits in perfectly here. When we are trying to figure out what we have to do on any given day, we should also be figuring out how we are going to have fun that day.  I think that would renew our joy and therefore, give us STRENGTH.

Let’s go play and have fun and be strong!

10 Easy things adults can do to be silly and have fun:

  1. Call a friend who makes you laugh.
  2. Put silly photos of your family on the fridge.
  3. Write yourself a fun message on your bathroom mirror.
  4. Blow Bubbles!
  5. Play with your pet or the kid next store.
  6. Wave at people in passing cars.
  7. Read the funnies in the paper & mail the really good one to a friend.
  8. Play a prank on someone you love. (And who loves you enough to tolerate it!)
  9. Blow up a balloon and see how many times you can keep it in the air.
  10. Dance during commercials while watching TV


Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve for the joy of the Lord is your strength. — Nehemiah 8:10

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Act Your Age


050d337f78b2af662959ccccb8086736e1c0ea-wmLast week was a bad week.  After making progress on some plans we were making for my 18-year-old son with RAD, he started to backslide. He stole money and food from us and the neighbors, he lied so many times that even he couldn’t keep them straight and finally he packed a bag and left on foot….barefoot at that.

Once again I had the “What am I supposed to do with this Lord?” conversation with God. “You created him wise enough to scheme and manipulate and simple enough to run away from home in his bare feet?! Is tough love appropriate when we are never sure of his level of understanding?”

Well, he ran to his biological grandmother’s which gave me five days to stew. Five days to be angry at him, angry at God, angry at the world. I wallowed in a vat of, guilt anger and despair. I treated myself to yet another pity party and entertained myself with not cooking meals, not making my bed and sleeping during the day. I even tried cursing a bit to show how angry I was.  Take that!

George and I attended a therapy session for ourselves. (Imagine that. Years and years of therapy with a RAD kid and now we need to attend without him.) The therapist agreed that I was the angriest she’s ever seen me and that as I suggested, I was a victim of chronic abuse and PTSD. It was pretty obvious.  However, the session ended with my making the statement, “When this is all over and we come back and everything is fine, I’ll share…”

BrrrrZzzzLeeeap. (Make that sound of a needle on a record player sliding across the record to get to the beginning again.)  Did you hear that? “When everything is fine.” I knew it would be fine again, I just didn’t know when.

The following day, I had my nails done (since I had chewed them off the day before in therapy!) and though my appointment was at 10:00 no one saw me until 10:20, the color the manicurist picked was not flattering and the chatter of other clients about drove me through the roof.  My husband picked me up and asked how I made out.  I burst into tears. Not yet.  It wasn’t fine yet.

My faith was so challenged. Why wasn’t God fixing this? It’s been a chronic problem for 17 years and there’s no resolution. So painful. Wait. Maybe God was saying “no.” We Christians know God says, “Yes, No and In my own time” but have you heard anyone talk about a “no” they got prior to death? Nope. Because that is where hope comes in. We keep hoping, our hope is in the Lord who is able to do more than we can imagine…so why isn’t He doing it? I recognized that maybe I was getting a “no.” Should I learn to accept that? I became like a child whose parent had said, “No.” I read my Bible because I didn’t want to be disobedient but I wasn’t happy about it. I threw the party I mentioned earlier and I went to bed saying to God, “You can hold me if you want, but I’m not speaking to you.”

Well, as they always do, things have returned to our “normal,” kid has returned home and we are “fine” as predicted.

Today I read Phil 3:13-16

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

All of us who are mature? OUCH! Only let us live up to what we have already attained? OOOOOH! So my kid spent a week not doing all the things he’s been taught. He spent days not recalling all the lessons he should’ve learned years ago. I did the same. Looks like we both need to grow up, mature and act our age and live up to what we’ve already attained.

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Filed under family, Inspirational, Parenting, Scriptures, Trauma-mama, Uncategorized

A Dictionary, My Date Book, The Bible & The Yellow Pages

IMG_1661A dictionary, my date book, the Bible, the Yellow Pages,…..Things that no one uses? Things that are obsolete? Things that we don’t need? Things that have been replaced by smart phones?

Seriously, today I looked up a word in the dictionary. I still do this often, maybe once or twice a week. I still find the dictionary amazing, full of so many words with the meanings right beside them! Oftentimes when I read a word in a book, I guess at its meaning and move onto the rest of the sentence, but a dictionary….aaaaah….there is no mystery, the meaning is right there. Amazing.

The Bible. Also another book I use often. I read it daily and there are many words I do not know in it and frequently I go to the dictionary for help. The dictionary aids me some and can define words, but the true mystery of the meaning may not become evident to me immediately. Actually, for the true meaning, I have to consult the author and not the dictionary.

I mentioned my date book, and the yellow pages too.  Books that my millennial children see of no value whatsoever.  They have apps for all of that! They also could or may have apps for the dictionary and Bible too, so all of these books can be removed from your bookshelf and put onto your phone and placed in the palm of your hand.  Could using them be made any easier? And yet, it seems that the ease and accessibility have not made most people read the Bible more.

I think it comes down to making reading your Bible an intentional daily act. Whether you grab a cup of tea and your leather bound bible off the shelf or if you have your phone sound a daily alarm to alert you to follow your daily reading plan (yes it will even do that for you,) you must be intentional.

You may have heard the story about if we treated our Bibles like our cell phones how much better the world would be…I will share it below…but I bet if you held your Bible in your hand all day, you’d eventually open it and read.

The dictionary, my Bible, my date book and the Yellow Pages – Things I value and refer to often, (except for the Yellow Pages….who needs it?)

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Attitude is Everything


I’m sitting in my car in the empty cinema parking lot enjoying the morning.  Crazy right?  The radio announcers were talking about the oppressive heat today and I know it’s early and I may complain later but right now…it is well with my soul.  I have the windows down, the breeze is blowing, I’m in the shade of one of the five trees in this parking lot next to a concrete island filled with mulch.  A paradise? No. A parking lot? Yes. I wonder why it is that we can sometimes find contentment and joy in a parking lot when other times we can’t find it in a celebration or typical happy place? We can spend a ton of money to travel to a destination to not feel as I do right now. I’ve done it. At one time, I made my family matching T-shirts that said AIE – Attitude is Everything and I believe that’s true, but I also think expectations may be even more important than attitude.  There’s a joke I’ve seen that says “Happiness is found lowering your expectations…lower….lower than that….even lower…ok, right there is good.”  Laugh, but recognize the truth. We may all be happier if we lower our expectations.  When I dropped my daughter off at music lessons for two hours and decided to pull into this parking lot, did I expect it to be this haven? This place of peace with birdsong filling the air? I did not and yet that’s what I got. A beautiful morning and a beautiful place to sit and read. Attitude IS everything and I feel blessed.decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-ezxo3g-clipart

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
–Psalm 29:11

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