All posts in Home

Celebrating the Life of My Father: What’s Your Legacy?

The word for May (albeit late) is LEGACY.  We all have a legacy.  If you’re like me, your daily life is more about what needs to get done right now and less about legacy.  But life circumstances have a way of putting things in perspective when they otherwise get out of whack.  Busy women especially need to push the pause button, forget the everyday stress and minutia, and ask — what’s my legacy?

For me, my legacy is deeply tied to my parents.  They remind me of who I am, where I came from, and what’s really important.  This week, I’m celebrating my father’s life and mourning his loss.  You can read his obituary here.  I’ve had the privilege of recording the lessons he taught me through a series of blog posts over the years.   I’m honored to share his legacy over and over again.

How An Old-Fashioned Father Father Raised Five Loyal Daughters

Thanks For Fighting Dad.

 This Father’s Day, Don’t Stop Praying For Your Man

Lessons Learned From My Father’s Illness (Part 1)

Lessons Learned From My Father’s Illness (Part 2)

The Word For April:  Less.

Will We Be 18 In Heaven? 

Our Aging Parents Can Still Teach Us (80th Birthday)

 

***********

How are you recording (and living out) your own legacy?

Working Moms: Is Yes A Dirty Word?

Smiley-happy

Every month in 2015, I am focusing on a different word.

The word for February 2015 is simple:  YES.

Wait a minute, what happened to NO?  After all, if you’re a working mom, the word no probably isn’t in your vocabulary. Most of us need to draw some serious boundaries.  Yes has become a dirty word.  A word that we dread.  A word that we regret saying once it leaves our lips.  A word that has become negative despite its positive meaning.

So why on earth am I writing about YES for an entire month?

It’s simple.  We need to start saying yes first.  We need to start saying yes to the things that are really important.  

Ok, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than it sounds.  I’ll admit, I really don’t have this whole yes/no thing figured out.  But I do know that I’ve probably had it backwards.  And I don’t think I’m alone.

Most weeks, I let my schedule fill up with lots of “stuff.”  Most of this stuff is good — ranging from work, school, activities, exercise – but at the end of the week I find myself asking, What did I really accomplish?

I’m not suggesting that my daily routine isn’t productive or worthy of my time.  I am suggesting it’s not always intentional.

And this year – when my schedule like yours frequently blazes out of control – I want to be intentional.  So, how does this translate into saying yes?

Stick with me in the weeks to come.

This week, I want to focus on our foundation:  God is a God of YES.

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.  (2 Corinthians 1:20) (NLT)

This is an amazing promise indeed.  Every time we pray – every time we say “amen” — we are saying YES to God.

If we start with this foundation, yes becomes the good word it was intended to be.

****************

Have you allowed yes to become a dreaded word – even a dirty word – in your vocabulary?  

 

 

Working Mom’s Devotional: Are You Present At Home?

91vCKbpQfeL._SL1500_

Some of my friends are picking one word this year.  A single word to sum up a goal or intention for 2015.  A simple way to stay engaged after New Year’s resolutions are long forgotten.

What’s the first word that comes to mind for 2015?

Here’s mine:  PRESENT

No, I’m not going to focus on this word for an entire year.  I’m way too impatient (and I have too many words I’m excited about) so I’ll focus on one word a month.  Want to join me?

This January, I’m asking myself if I’m really present – at home, at work, with others, and in my relationship with God.  Am I engaged in the moment, or am I constantly preoccupied with everything else?  More often than not, I can tell you what’s happening on my email, what’s going on on the other side of the world, or what’s on my calendar next week.  But can I tell you what the person sitting beside me is thinking or feeling?  Am I connected in real time?

This is something I’ve been thinking about for months.  So much that I haven’t been blogging.  I haven’t been writing.  And I’ve backed off considerably from social media.

But this is about more than unplugging.  Unplugging is a knee jerk reaction to something bigger.  Unplugging is about pushing the pause button so I can stop and think.  And listen.  Fortunately, I have plenty of people who are willing to give me advice.

Starting with my third grade daughter.

“Mom, yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present.” (Author Unknown)

Pretty timely, huh?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had some serious down time.  I’ve had the luxury of connecting with my family in real time.  And I’ve learned an important aspect of living in the present.  Being present means putting other people before yourself.

Several times over Christmas break, I have spent time jumping on the trampoline in our back yard.  Not by choice.  It’s freezing outside.  I get dizzy jumping up and down.  And I twisted my neck and broke my fingernails playing this crazy game on the trampoline called “Ga-ga.”  It’s much easier to be selfish with my time.  Being present requires me to engage.  It requires me to consider the thoughts and give in to the preferences of others.  It even requires me to play Ga-ga.

But my daughters love it.  They light up whenever I jump, and they say things like, “Mom, this is so cool.  I can’t believe you are actually good at Ga-ga.”    You see, when I’m jumping on the trampoline, I have a singular focus.  I can’t multi-task, I can’t take a phone call or text, and I can’t even carry a conversation.  I just jump, laugh, and try not to get hit by the ball.

Do you make similar sacrifices to be actively present at home?  How can you best engage in real time with your family in 2015?

***********

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Working Mom’s Devotional: Not Ready For Christmas?

Momwrapping.jpg

Not ready for Christmas?  Me neither.  If I could just stop time this week.  There are just too many gifts to buy, presents to wrap, and cookies to bake.  The teacher gifts alone can drive me mad.  And then there’s my travel schedule.  Four cities in five days.  Who has time to get ready for Christmas?

Not me.

Sometimes, I think if I was a “really good mother” I might finally feel prepared.

But then I look at Mary.

She wasn’t prepared either.

When I look at the birth of Christ I am comforted by Mary’s lack of planning. It doesn’t appear she attended birthing classes or decorated a nursery. She didn’t have a birthing coach, and she was far away from family and friends, traveling to Bethlehem. (She also didn’t bake cookies or run around buying teacher gifts at the last minute!)  The amazing thing is that God had prepared her.

I had read the story of Mary and Elizabeth since I was a child but only recently was struck by God’s complete brilliance in using the birth of John the Baptist to prepare Mary for her own labor and delivery. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and foretold the birth of Christ, Elizabeth—John the Baptist’s mother-to-be—was already six-months pregnant. (Luke 1:56) Mary went to visit Elizabeth and stayed with her three months. Six plus three is nine, so Mary must have stayed for John’s birth. Assuming she did, she would have watched and learned about labor and delivery firsthand from her older cousin Elizabeth. So Mary didn’t have to attend birthing classes or rent a video. How else would a young virgin in the middle of Bethlehem know how to give birth with an inexperienced husband in a stable?

In other words, God is in charge of preparing the way for Christmas, not us.

So, how does Mary teach us to respond?

She says“yes” and trusts God with the details.  When the angel Gabriel first appeared to Mary to announce the immaculate birth, listen to her response:

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”  (Luke 1:38) 

Can getting ready for Christmas really be this simple?  Like me, are you struggling to get it all done this year?

*************

[Dear Readers, As many of you have noticed, I’ve taken a break from blogging during this season.  Thank you deeply for the kind notes and encouragement.  Life is complicated, but God is good and I hope to ramp up writing again in 2015.  I miss you dearly!  Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.   Warmly, Susan]


 

***Excerpts above from Chasing Superwoman.

Not Ready For Easter? You’re In Good Company

cross

I woke up in the middle of the night last night in a panic.  I dreamed it was Easter morning, and I had forgotten to fill the Easter baskets and hide the eggs.  I almost got out of bed until I realized I had another day.  So I took a deep breath and went back to sleep.

When I woke up this morning, it dawned on me.

I’m not ready for Easter.

Yet in the midst of my panic attack, I heard another voice.  A voice that is much calmer.  A voice that assures me that Easter is not about me, it’s about something much bigger.  Something miraculous that doesn’t depend on my efforts to fill Easter baskets or hide eggs.

Here’s what the voice said:

Keep it simple this year.

I know, this isn’t very profound.  But it hit me hard.  Probably because life is more complicated than it needs to be right now.  Granted, I no longer need to deal with Easter Bunny Drama (I never really liked that sneaky Easter Bunny anyway).  Yet I still feel the pressure to make Easter a big production – to get distracted from the real meaning of the death and resurrection of my Lord.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even ready for Lent this year.  The season has passed so quickly.  In an effort to “keep it simple” this week, I’ve been reading about the last week of Jesus’ life.  Every evening, we sit in the living room and read about the events of the day.  One thing I’m struck by (with some comfort) is this:  the disciples weren’t ready either.  They didn’t get it.  They didn’t prepare for Easter let alone fathom the events to come.  But this didn’t stop Jesus.

I may not be ready for Easter, but maybe that’s a good thing.  It forces me to “keep it simple” – to leave room for Jesus to surprise me instead of getting distracted by my own efforts and plans.  To even embrace an Easter miracle.

How will you keep Easter simple this year?   Are you ready for the unexpected?

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.  (Luke 18: 31-34)