LuSays

Laugh, Cry, Love

Who Else Makes Fashion Mistakes?

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Do you serve in ministry? Do you want to make a difference in this world? As a pastor’s wife of a children’s pastor, along with my husband, I feel a deep calling to support and love families. At times my vanity can get in the way of this calling.

Allow me to explain.

My husband encourages me to go shopping and buy new clothes. While I love getting new things I don’t like shopping. Can anyone relate to this? A woman who doesn’t like to shop. It’s an oxymoron! He’ll even go to the mall with me and wait patiently while I lament over purchases. You may be thinking at this point, “I’d kill to have a husband who goes shopping with me!”

I have issues, I already know, please don’t try and fix me by sending condolence notes to my husband.

Shopping can be so intimidating. When things don’t fit right it adds to my already sensitive body issues. And why does it look so good on those manikins and why don’t I look like that? 

Putting together outfits for church can cause mild panic attacks. And if I fail, my daughter will be the first to point out my fashion fumble. Getting a thumbs-up from her is like an A+. Whooya!

However, on this particular Sunday I hit a home run with my wardrobe. Cute dress, cute shoes, I was stylin’! But by 10:00 a.m. my feet were killing me!

And of course that is when a family needed assistance in finding the children’s area. My feel were hurting so much in my stylin’ shoes I couldn’t bare the thought of walking any extra steps, let alone all the way to the front of the church. I happily gave them directions. As soon as they walked away I felt regret. I should have WALKED THEM THERE! Okay, not my proudest moment.

I chose vanity over loving and serving others.

How I looked that day overrode being ready for service and ministry. And on top of it, the long walk to our car at the end of our three services, took longer than I’d like to admit. All because of my sore but cute feet, taking little steps on our trek to the parking structure even after handing off all my stuff to my tired husband.

Moral of the story: Wear the right shoes in order to make a difference and to love others the way Jesus calls us to love them.

Have you ever done this? Allowed something to get in the way of truly serving and loving others?

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How to Blow Out the Pity-Party Candles

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Welcome to a pity-party. Pass out the party hats, blow up balloons, and strike up the band…oh, and don’t forget the Wailing Wall, because it’s a pity-party. My pity-party! We all have them now and then, and we like to send out invitations. Rallying as many as possible to join in our celebration. Someone please feel sorry for me.

I was at church, one of my favorite places in the entire world, and yet I was having a “party.” And not only that, I was doing my best to enlist my husband and kids. But no one would join me. It was a party for one, a solo act if you will.

Next, I invited God to join in on my festivities. He didn’t seem to see things quite the way I did.

Stepping outside to take in the sunshine and a few breaths didn’t seem to help.

Then, I noticed a van that shuttled our handicapped church members and visitors pulling into our church parking lot. As the van circled the lot a car pulled in the reserved spot and blocked the handicapped unloading area. Some people can be so rude! I thought I might be witness to a little shuttle scuttle.

I watched as the female driver stepped out from the van and asked the car parked in the handicapped-unloading zone to move. She was nice about it. Hmmm.

After the car moved without incident, the van pulled into the spot. My heart melted watching this dedicated, kind woman. She got out of the van, and opened the side door. She then gently guided the elderly lady in a wheelchair down the ramp. The driver hit her own head in the process. I heard her let out a big, “Ouch.”

What dedication! What strength! What kindness!

What an idiot I am!

I took off my pity-party hat, and stopped blowing my pity-party horn and thanked God that I could walk.

It can become so easy to focus on what we don’t have, what we don’t like, and what didn’t go our way. We can hoard our blessings, taking them in like a glutton, and then forget to take a breath and exhale thankfulness. We forget to thank God and others. Sometimes along the way we stop cultivating a heart of gratefulness. We begin to take what is extraordinary for granted.

Once, I was behind an elderly gentleman in line at the grocery store and overheard his conversation with the checker.

“Hello. How are you today sir?”

“I woke up this morning with a heartbeat. Everything is extra after that!”

I have a heartbeat! I can walk! And if that is all we have today, for that we can be thankful! But oh, most of us have so much more—so many blessings—too many to count.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 6-7).

The cure for a bad attitude is to count your blessings!

What are you thankful for today? How do you pull yourself out of a pity-party? Please share it with us.

Striving To Be a Better Wife

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I feel as though I reached an all new low. You know, those moments where something in you comes out but you wish it wasn’t there? Then after, you’re faced with the reality of the ugly inside of you. Well, yeah, one of those moments.

Hubby and I had fallen asleep for the night after a long exta-tiring weekend of ministry. (He’s a children’s pastor.) A nightmare had woken him, and he was standing by our bedroom window. Gently he leaned down and kissed me. It woke me up. After we talked for a few minutes, he climbed back into bed and fell back asleep in like 30 seconds. Sound asleep!

Does anyone else live with a spouse like that who can fall asleep faster than a race car driver can do a lap? It can be a bit unnerving. 

So sweet. So tender. How wonderful. The problem was I was pissed! I couldn’t fall back to sleep, and then on top of it I had a hot flash! UUUggghhh!

Wide awake I tossed and turned. I wanted to hit him with a pillow. Instead I reached over and turned on my light.

He shot up, “What’s happening? What’s wrong?”

“I can’t get back to sleep so, I’m going to read.”

He could tell I was ticked. He apologized for waking me. And you know what he did? He fell back to sleep EVEN WITH THE LIGHT ON! I had an inkling I might regret this in the morning. I read for awhile and then turned off my light and finally went back to sleep.

In the morning my first words were, “I’m so sorry.” He quickly forgave me but it was hard for me to forgive myself. I had been so terribly mean. And the fact that he forgave me so quickly without even a mention of the monster I had been the night before made me feel even worse.

Does this ever happen to you, you’ve been forgiven but then you have difficulty forgiving yourself?

I know I’m going to feel bad about this all day and maybe into tomorrow. I’ll probably apologize again just because I can’t shake it off. Where did this come from? How can I be so mean? So selfish?

I am praying that “Mean Wife” can stay dormant until I learn how to deal with her better. All I can do at this point is be the best wife I can be today. I can’t go back.

Apologize and then do better, that’s the mending bridge for marriage. 

6 Critical Steps When You Find Yourself In a Foxhole With Your Spouse

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                                    Picture taken by photographer Josh Telles

For 6 months I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare. Each day almost seemed worse than the day before. I felt hopeless. Powerless. But what’s worse is my husband felt worse than I did. Knowing this increased my anxiety, which grew with each passing day.

My dear husband sustained an injury which caused severe chronic pain for 6 months. Our daughter’s wedding, our much-awaited vacation, Christmas, birthdays all passed by and his agonizing pain raged on like an unwanted hurricane.

As a pastor, he continued working and did so unbelievably well. How could he do that? My pride for him grew.

But no one knew how difficult life was for us.

Not able to sleep, my precious husband was up putting heat and then ice on his shoulder, sometimes up to 4 times each night. Many nights I tossed and turned unable to sleep myself. “God, please heal him. Please put an end to his pain.”

Most days seemed unbearable.

Even my close friends had no idea of the nightmare we were experiencing. I didn’t want to give it any more weight or time than it had already stolen. Talking about it would only give it more credence, and I was way to miserable to do that. I welcomed any break I could get.

Here are 6 tips for survival while in an over-stressful predicament with your spouse:

  1. One day at a time. Many days my husband would say, “I can’t do this another week, month.” I always said to him, “We just need to get through today.” The key is to focus on one day at a time.
  2. Be understanding. When someone is in pain, whether physical or emotional, they yelp about things they ordinarily would not yelp about. Don’t take it personally. Roll with it.
  3. Team up and tackle it together. When someone is going through a rough time having another by his or her side can make all the difference in the world. Most times you don’t even need to say a word. Just be present.
  4. Pray instead of worrying. When negative thoughts or frustrations arise, pray.
  5. Don’t talk about it. Talking incessantly about illness or whatever negative predicament you’re in gives it more steam than it needs. For us, we were living it. We didn’t need to talk about it. Obviously we had to at times, but only when necessary. Why give the beast more ground to further destroy us?
  6. Take care of yourself. If I wasn’t okay I couldn’t be there for him. If there is ever a time to be strong it is when your spouse is counting on you for support.

Finally, after 6 months, and regular visits to our amazing chiropractor, Dr. Craig Keoshian, Mike’s pain subsided and then completely disappeared. It rolled out as quickly as it rolled in.

I could breathe again. The sun shined bright again. Normal was glorious. Thank you. God. For normal. For answered prayer.

You Can Do It!

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Have you ever listened to your inner voice when faced with a difficult or seemingly impossible task? What we tell ourselves about the impossible task is more than likely what will transpire. Do you hear, “I can do this!”? Or do you hear, “Um, this is too great a task for me, I don’t think I can do it.”?

When I have a challenging mission ahead of me I will start chanting to myself, “You can do this, you can do this, you can do this…”

I never realized this until just recently. While sitting on my back porch reflecting on a upcoming impossible goal, my thoughts went back to childhood. As a child, inside I felt fearful about many things and often felt scared about moving forward with new ventures. But my dad always had confidence in me. From very young I can remember him volunteering me for all kinds of missions. When they needed a child to ask a question or to step forward or do just about anything, he cheerfully volunteered me. I heard, “My daughter will do that!” He always said it with such assurance I never wanted to disappoint him. Then he’d look at me and say, “You can do that right?” Usually I was scared but I moved forward anyway.

And you know what I discovered? Moving forward conquered my fear. When I stepped out and took action, my fear went away.

Taking action conquers fear. 

When we stand still, immobilized by fear, our fear grows. Inaction turns our fear into a scary monster. The more our thoughts meditate on that scary monster the more paralyzed we become. And soon we convince ourselves the task is too big for us and we give up before even taking a step.

Our thoughts are powerful. Consider Proverbs 23:7 – “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” What we think about ourselves becomes our reality.

What are you afraid of doing today? Don’t allow fear to stop you from moving forward. Tell yourself you can do it and move. What words are you sewing into your children? Do they hear, “You can do it!” Or are they hearing doubtful unconfident remarks?

What scripts are you playing in your head? Are you stopping yourself from action before you even take one step? Pay attention to your inner voice and replace negative destructive words with, “You’re amazing and you can do it!”

We All Use Toilet Paper

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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

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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?

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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.

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