LuSays

Lu says, "Let's talk."

We All Use Toilet Paper

Tim's first funeral

Recently my husband and I had a chance to visit our son who is a children’s pastor in another state. Something happened that made my mom heart burst with pride. As usual we were introduced to many different people, but there was one person our son seemed more eager for us to meet. He went out of his way to call us over to meet someone who seemed special to him.

“Jose, these are my parents!”

Jose was walking by in a hurry carrying toilet paper. Clearly one of his job duties was to maintain the bathrooms. Jose was extremely welcoming but had a difficult time communicating with us because English was not his first language.

Watching my son it was obvious he interacted with everyone the same regardless of his or her status or title. He treated everyone equally.

Many treat people as merely steps as a means to advance their status or career. People who can help one get ahead are treated one way, and those who offer little by way of advancement are treated entirely different. I’ve witnessed people in positions of power treating those who hold “lower” positions with complete disregard and or utter rudeness.

As a pastor’s wife often I see two separate personalities in people, one when they are talking to me, and another when they are talking to my husband.

Really? Give me a break! Get a better life. Geez!

Who you are as a person gives you value, not your accomplishments or what you do. We are all children of the King. Created by God. All of us entered the world naked and we will all face God when we die.

A title does not make you a better person.

Often times the people who have had the greatest impact on me were those without any significant title. Wisdom comes in the form of unsuspecting people.

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The person fixing your computer may become your boss next year. Once when I went on an interview the guy mopping the floor in the lobby turned out to be the decision-making executive. I was so glad I had been polite to him when I asked a question on my way in.

The level of kindness you display to all people will reveal your true identity.

True godly character can be measured by the way you treat others.

No matter who they are. And that my friends, is why I feel so proud of my son today, he is a man of true character who shows kindness to all people.

“Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them.” –Matthew 7:12

Fifty Shades of Black & White

hollywood

A movie is hitting our box offices that seems to be causing much controversy and conversation. You may be asking yourself, “Should I go see this movie?”

Why would you?

  • Perhaps you’re curious. Curiosity has caused me to take foolish actions and try stupid things. Many I wish I could take back but you know how that goes.
  • You feel left out. No body wants to be that kid who didn’t get invited to the party. I hate feeling left out and it has caused much insecurity in me. We all want to be with the “cool kids” and know the pain of being left out.
  • Sex has become boring. Maybe you’ve been married a long time and the sparks in the bedroom have diminished. Or maybe you haven’t been married very long but you thought sex would be oh-so-much-better. Either way you may be thinking that this movie will give your sex life a boost and some new energy. Maybe you’re hoping it can renew your marriage.

Allow me to offer you a much better idea to spice up your love life. Lock your door. Put on some romantic music. Light a candle. Slip into something sexy. Enjoy each other with reckless abandonment.

Then, treat each other well all day and every day. And keep what happens in the bedroom, in the bedroom! What happens there should stay between husband and wife. It is sacred, created by God, a mystery for us to enjoy.

The movie has been described as soft-core porn. Soft. Hard. Gray. Let’s call it what it is. It’s pornography.

This is a black and white issue with no gray area and boils down to this:

  • If you view pornography and want to view more, go see the movie.
  • If you like watching men dominate women, go see the movie.
  • If you enjoy watching women be demeaned, go see the movie.
  • If you like to see excessive nudity, go see the movie.
  • If you want to promote watching a man inflict bodily harm on a young woman, go see the movie.
  • If you enjoy hearing God’s name misused more than a dozen times, go see the movie.
  • If you want to use your money to promote more smutty movies in the future, go see the movie.

Go over to Plugged In at Focus on the Family for a full review of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey. 

There is enough pain and violence in the world. There is way too much domestic abuse. Go visit a women’s shelter and see how many of them would like to watch the movie. Women are not property and we need to teach our young people how to respect and love each other. This movie is a sad direction of the moral decay of our country.

Instead of putting energy into viewing filth, work on strengthening your family. Vow to put your spouse first and commit to loving them with all your being. Show love and admiration.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Free Romance: Why wouldn’t you do this?

i love you

The crowd gathered. It seemed the longer we walked the larger the crowd got. Couples held each other close. Many were holding hands. It was a bit chilly. I found myself wishing I had dressed warmer, but oddly enough, my discomfort didn’t lessen the experience.

We’ve all heard the expression, “The best things in life are free.” On this glorious day of our vacation it was ringing true. Most things during our special ten days together put a dent in the pocket book but this “free” evening was a highlight of our trip.

We walked hand-in-hand down the boardwalk, looking out at the ocean with a cold breeze hitting our faces. For the first time in about 25 years my husband and I took an extended vacation without the kids. It was marvelous. It was energizing. It was invigorating.

But on this particular night it was romantic. As we walked, the sun was setting over the ocean. God’s splendid beauty filled the panoramic view. Rays of stunning light eliminated the sky. As the sun moved the scene changed, screen by magnificent screen.

Until the sun sat right on top of the water as if the ocean were cupping the sun in its hands. And then suddenly it dropped below the water as if the hand of God pulled it down from below.

How is it that I have never seen this before? How is it possible that I had allowed the pace of life to rob me of this treasure for so many years?

We seek romance in many various forms and yet it just happened upon us by accident. Holding hands, walking down the beach, and watching the sunset over the ocean was nothing short of spectacular. And supremely romantic.

Now I understood the gathering of the crowd. They knew something that I didn’t. They knew the importance of stopping time and breathing in all the beauty of God’s creation.

Calendar time to just be still. Schedule time to spend with loved ones. Stop and take in the beauty of life, the beauty of nature.

Enjoy a little romance.

Failing as a Wife

10405525_993456554017698_5583546193026531360_nSitting across from my 19-year-old during our lunch he pronounced,  “I feel really angry right now. I feel angry at you for the way you treated Dad.”

Wow. Really? Me? The woman who just blogged about having a great marriage? Really? Treat him bad? I don’t think so.

He definitely had my attention. And given the fact that he almost never displays anger it impacted me profoundly.

“Okay. I’m listening.”

“Dad has been overloaded lately. You’ve made things worse and added to his load by the way you’ve been acting.”

A tear rolled down my cheek.

He was right. My behavior had been out of line.

“I don’t want to make you sad. I mean, you’re a good mom and a good wife. But there isn’t anyone in your life who will call you on this.”

It was an extremely humbling experience. I told my son he was right and that I would be apologizing to his dad. I thanked him for calling me out.

After apologizing to my husband and being gracefully forgiven, I realized I needed to do an about-face. It is not enough to admit being wrong, we need to change our behavior. Isn’t it frustrating when someone says they are sorry and then turns around and does the same offense again? Don’t be that person.

If we truly desire to be the best version of ourselves we need to give credence to those brave enough to hold us accountable for our actions. To be the best wife, or husband, we need to continually look within and examine if we indeed are the problem. If you are not willing to examine yourself, your marriage will never be the best it can be.

I’ve spent much of my marriage feeling like I’m failing as a wife. But I think feeling like a failure has propelled me to do better and better.

Look within, make the changes, move forward. Never give up.

7 KEYS TO A HONEYMOON-MARRIAGE

in bed

I had a secret fear for many years. One that I told no one. Not even my husband. This fear started after our children were born. As they grew older, my fear grew.

I feared the empty nest years. I loved and enjoyed my children with extreme delight and couldn’t imagine life being as good after they left the nest.

Then one day this fear vanished! My youngest, and only chick left at home, flew away for 10 days to visit his brother and “sister.” Those 10 days were fantastic, electrifying, and simply brilliant! My husband and I felt like we were on our honeymoon again. Not only was it amazing, but I felt like I went back to being 20!

One of my biggest fears is now gone. This experience has caused me to think about what the secret sauce is to a marriage that feels like a continual honeymoon.

7 keys to a honeymoon-marriage:

  • Be nice- Sadly, too often the person we treat the worst is our spouse. We say things we would never say to our friends and harbor unrealistic expectations. Treat your spouse better than you do anyone else.
  • Put them first- Consider their feelings in your decisions. Make time for them. Schedule regular date nights. Focus on their needs and how you can help support all they do. Be willing to put “you” aside to serve them.
  • Words- Say, “Thank you,” “I’m sorry,” “I was wrong,” and “I love you,” often.
  • Focus on the good- Focus on the things you love about your spouse. Don’t key in on the nuances that annoy you but instead keep your mind on the attributes you love about them.
  • Schedule “intimacy”- Great sex is a huge key to a happy marriage. A marriage without it is like going to the ice cream parlor when you were a kid and leaving with no ice cream. Or making it on the baseball team but never being able to throw the ball. Boring.  
  • Laugh- Have fun! Don’t take yourself too seriously and be willing to joke. You are probably not that easy to live with and they put up with you. Find the humor in your relationship. Laugh together. Laugh at yourself.
  • Work- Marriage takes work. Work on making it the best it can be everyday. Work on making “you” the best you can be.

Marriage is a gift. Marriage molds us. It brings out our best and our worst. Marriage is a chisel that God uses to create a masterpiece.

Love your husband. Love your wife. Love until your last breath. Or their last breath.

How’s your marriage? It’s never too late to turn it into a honeymoon-marriage.

5 Marks That You Are A Great Parent

Kids-going-back-to-school

If you are anything like me you wonder if you’re a good mom or a good dad. You wonder if this long marathon called parenting is heading you in a direction you desire.

While I was raising my children I often felt like I was failing. Maybe I shouldn’t have done this. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. What if I’m doing this parenting thing all wrong?

How many mistakes am I making along the way? Now that I’m on the other side of raising kids I know I made many. Can you still be a great parent and make many mistakes? Yes!

Here are 5 marks that you’re a great parent:

  • What matters to your child matters to you. Children know you care when you take an interest in what is happening in their world. When you make the things that may seem trivial to you but are very important to them, important to you, your child will feel loved. They will feel like they matter. They will feel valued.
  • You model the character and integrity you want to see in them. The way you treat others teaches your child how to behave. Your words and your actions are a molding tool. The way you treat your spouse teaches more than any marriage seminar. How you talk about and treat your ex-spouse will teach volumes. How you navigate life will have huge implications in your child’s future.
  • You listen to your child. Sometimes as parents all we need to do is listen. And listen without judgment or dishing out consequences for what they say. Like adults, children need to be heard.
  • You’re tired. Parenting is hard work. Sometimes you’ll be just plain old tired. It comes with the job. Late nights because of illness. Lack of sleep due to hanging out with your teenager while they talk about school drama. Exhausted from being a taxi service.
  • You have time for them. It may very well be the most important mark of a great parent. While I was raising my children, I always had time for them. Now that they are adults, they have time for me. It is simple math. The time you put in will pay dividends like no other investment. Invest your time well.

It’s easy to get discouraged. But if you’re doing these 5 things you’re investing in your child’s future. Make your child a priority and you will never regret it.

How about you? Do you ever wonder if you’re on the right tract with your kids?

VEGETARIANS ARE SO WEIRD!

Simple Salad

Do you know any Vegetarians? Perhaps you live with one and they drive you crazy. I once said, “If you don’t eat meat there is something wrong with you.” And then I became a Vegetarian! Let the record show I do not believe that any more.

Last night hubby and I went out for a date night. After arriving home I was raving about my delicious dinner to my son.

“I got this baked brie. It tasted so good. It was like the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had!”

“Mom, if a grilled cheese sandwich is a delicacy to you there is something wrong.”

It made me laugh.

Many people view Vegetarians as strange and difficult. You may think all we eat is salad. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I love food! I love what I eat!

I get asked often why I became a Vegetarian.

Here are 5 great reasons:

  1. I had high cholesterol. The doctor wanted to put me on medication but instead I changed my diet and became a Vegetarian.
  2. I feel better. Totally better.
  3. I like to eat a lot. Eating many vegetables will not put weight on you.
  4. Food tastes better since I made the switch.
  5. Just the smell of meat makes me want to hurl now. Do I need another reason?

At this point you may think this blog is about my trying to convince you to become a Vegetarian. It’s not. The point I want to make is tolerance. Vegetarians get made fun of a lot.

I overheard a lady complaining about what to feed a family member who was coming over. She was upset because they were a “Vegetarian.”

If this is your dilemma  let me help you. We eat fruit, pasta, potatoes, rice, beans, hummus, eggs, cheese, etc., in addition to vegetables. We are not as picky as you might think.

And now landing on the purpose of this post.

Let’s be tolerant and kind to one another. Yes, we Vegetarians can seem a bit strange and foreign. Please be understanding about our weirdness. And if you are a Vegetarian, please don’t condemn those who eat meat.

Be considerate. Be respectful of others. Be nice to those who are different. Be tolerant.

How about you? Have you been judged for being different? 

I Was Nearly 200 Pounds

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I used to be extremely heavy. One time a friend said to me, “I see you walking all around the neighborhood but your butt doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.” True statement.

I have a bit of a confession to make: I can’t get enough of the TV show My 600-lb Life. This show is about people who are roughly 600 pounds who decide to have gastrointestinal bypass surgery. The camera follows them for 7 years. I find it riveting.  I can watch the show for hours. One night my husband came out into our living room at 2:00 AM asking, “When are you coming to bed?” I may be addicted.

Why am I so compelled to watch this show? Probably because I relate to the stories. I understand the struggle. I understand turning to food when sad, happy, lonely, rejected or celebrating. I also understand feeling stuck…feeling as though you are in prison. That’s basically what these people on the show have done to themselves, is put themselves in their own prison.

One common theme has stuck out for me through all the the stories I have watched. There is always a person being an enabler to the one who is morbidly obese. There is someone who is continually fueling the prison cell with large amounts of unhealthy food and habits. What I cannot understand is why family members don’t help those who suffer with overeating by following a healthy food plan themselves. Wouldn’t it make sense that to truly help and love the person trying to lose weight to join them in their quest for a healthier lifestyle?

Support from family is indeed how I was able to go from almost 200 pounds to under 120. When I decided to change, get fit, and eat healthy, the encouragement and support from my family made all the difference. If you have a family member who struggles with weight issues, help them by eating healthy yourself. It will make all the difference in the world.

How about you? Are you trying to get more healthy and fit in 2015? Do you feel support from family?

My Bucket List For 2015

red bucketAs the year draws to a close, we can’t help but look back at 2014. Was it all you hoped it would be? Maybe you had a particularly difficult year, or maybe you had dream-come-true moments that exceeded your expectations. Either way, many at this time will begin the process of compiling their New Year’s Resolution list.

I prefer to make a bucket list and focus on the great things I want to see happen in 2015. But before I do, allow me to share a few of my bucket-list accomplishments from 2014.

INSANITY. That’s right, insanity! Even at 51, I completed the INSANITY workout program. I didn’t think I could – and yes, it totally kicked my booty – but I did it!

Shaunti Feldhahn. I met the best selling author Shaunti Faldhahn. If you’re not familiar with Shanti’s work, one of her best books is For Women Only. She is an amazing speaker and writer. It was a highlight of my year to be able to talk with her.

Hell’s Kitchen. I was on an episode of the TV show Hell’s Kitchen. I tasted the mouth-watering risotto and was just feet away from the famous chef Gordon Ramsey.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “How in the world are you going to top INSANITY, Shaunti Feldhahn, and Hell’s Kitchen?”

Well here goes. My 2015 Bucket List:

  • I am going to get even more physically fit in 2015 than I did in 2014. INSANITY here I come again!
  • I want to visit my brother. He’s one of my favorite people on the planet and I’m sad he lives in another state. I am going to get on a plane headed to my favorite brother!
  • I want to meet Tyler Perry. (I know this is a long shot, but this is my list and I can write whatever I want!) I love Tyler Perry’s Madea movies and I respect his open discussions about loving Jesus.
  • I want to use my time to invest in healthy and happy marriages by first investing in my own marriage and becoming the best wife I can be, then by helping others in any way God can use me.
  • I want to learn how to be the best mother-in-law possible. We’ve all heard negative jokes and comments about mother-in-laws and I am determined to not add to those. I know one of the best gifts I can give my married children is to be a kind, loving, and gracious “mom” to their spouses.

Now it’s your turn. Even if 2014 was tearful, stressful, disappointing, or disastrous, you can turn it around. What’s on your bucket list for 2015?

I want to wish you a Happy New Year dear reader, and may your 2015 blow you away with an overabundance of love and exceeded expectations!

How To Have a Stress FREE Christmas

This is the time of year where we are all running around like crazy people. Is it possible to make the Christmas season about what is most important to us? I think it is. However, there was a time I didn’t think it was possible. I dreaded Christmas because it seemed to be the highest stress time of the year for me. One year I even wrote myself a little note on my calendar beginning the month of December which read, “You will survive. You will get through this month!”

Sadly, Christmas should not be about surviving. Christmas is a time for love, laughter, friends, and family. It is a time to reflect on the baby born to save the world. Jesus Christ, that little baby that changed my life forever.

So, how do we turn stress into joy?

First, we need to remove the expectations we put on ourselves and lower our standards a bit. What do I mean by that? Quit thinking you can do it all and be perfect. Getting everyone the perfect gifts, preparing the perfect meal, thinking you should look like a Victoria Secret model while baking goodies for the neighborhood. I used to think I had to bake something for everyone I knew. No wonder I was stressed!

At the beginning of the holiday season sit down and make a list consisting of all you want to do and what needs to get done for Christmas. Go over it with your family and together determine what stays on the list and what can be tossed. Whittle down your list to what takes top priority and what is utmost important. Do you really need to participate in the ugliest Christmas sweater contest? If you do, keep it on your list. If not, who cares?

Next, learn the word no. You can’t say yes to everything at Christmas time and skate through stress free. It is okay to say no. And don’t feel guilty about it!

Lastly, carve out some time for YOU. Meet up with a friend to catch up. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea. Read a good book. Take a walk. Stay in bed longer than usual. Write a note to a loved one and let them know how much you value them. Take some time to enjoy life. Enjoy your family. Let others know how much you love them. If you are stressed and frazzled you most likely won’t do that and could miss out on what’s most important.

As I write this post my Christmas tree is still in the garage. But that’s okay, I’m spending some time with people I love today and the tree will go up…eventually.

I would like to wish you a blessed and beautiful Christmas!

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