LuSays

Laugh, Cry, Love

Need Grace?

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While watching a social experiment video I was totally sucked in. A man was dropping his wallet to see if people would return it.

Most did.

But this one guy picked up the wallet and put it in his pocket.

He then proceeded to go shopping!

He bought shoes and clothing using a credit card.

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I’m thinking, What a criminal! This is an example of what’s wrong with our world today. Let’s see what else this guy buys.

With every purchase I became more aggravated. We’ve all heard the identity theft stories. My husband and I had to cancel one of our credit cards last week because of suspicion activity.

Stealing is WRONG people. Get a job!!!

Then the thief on the shopping spree stopped to look over the wallet. He pulled out the driver’s license from the wallet.

One of the commentators on the video said, “Let’s go confront him now.”

But the owner of the wallet responded, “No let’s watch a little longer.”

With bags of new shoes and clothes the “bandit” started walking.

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He stopped at a house and knocked on the front door.

It was the address on the driver’s license from the dropped wallet.

At this point I’m thinking, Oh after your shopping spree NOW you are going to return the wallet! What a scumbag!

It was time for the wallet owner to confront the thief. This is how I remember it:

“Hey, can I help you? This is my house.”

“Here, I found this wallet.”

“I’ve been following you and you used my credit card to buy all that stuff.”

“No, I used my credit card.”

“Really? You have a Chase credit card?”

“Yes.”

“Can I see it?”

“Sure.”

I’m thinking, BUSTED!

And the “thief” pulls out his OWN Chase credit card!

Whoa! I didn’t see that coming! He’s not a thief after all and even though he didn’t have a car he walked to return the wallet! He’s NOT a scumbag! 

The wallet owner gave the Good Samaritan $100. He initially refused the money but took it after the other guy insisted.

Oh, now he’s a Good Samaritan. Just seconds ago you were calling this upstanding guy a scumbag. How quickly you jump to conclusions. 

You really need to give people a little more grace. 

Obviously, this got me thinking. Why is it that I jump to the worst conclusions? I think it would be wise to change this kind of thought pattern. Don’t you? Wouldn’t it be better to think the best of people until we have all the facts? Why am I so quick to go to the dark side before all the facts are in?

Step away from negative thinking. 

This is my new quest: to think more optimistically about people even when it looks like I have justification to think negatively.

What if we applied this to our family?

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What if we always…and I mean always…all the time…always…thought positively about our spouse giving them the benefit of the doubt in all things.

As in, if they forget to take care of something—they had a good reason.

They say something to hurt our feelings—they didn’t mean to.

They leave a mess for us to clean up—they lost track of time and had to run out because they didn’t plan well but really did intend to take care of it. Really they did! (Okay, I’m talking about me here.)

You get the idea.

And with our kids, what if we did the same? What if we sought to understand where they were coming from instead of thinking the worst scenario? What if we got all the facts before we jumped to conclusions? Disrespectful attitudes, poor grades, and not doing what was asked can be viewed through an entirely different lens.

I’d rather error on the side of grace.

Wouldn’t you?

Final point:

What if we allowed for grace and thought good before we made adverse conclusions?

What would that look like in your life?

This could change our overall love for others. This could assist us in becoming more like Christ. It would most certainly help us keep a positive attitude and overall demeanor.

The result would be more joy and better relationships. 

Has there ever been a time where you jumped to wrong conclusions before you had all the facts?

Yes Tonight

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For all you married folks out there, how often you do say, Not tonight? How often do you hear, Not tonight?

And if you’re not married, please share this post with someone who is.

“Not tonight” can feel like a right hook coming from the person you love most. The sting of rejection regarding something this intimate can’t be removed as easily as a bee sting. It can sometimes hurt for longer than we like to admit to ourselves or to our spouse.

This one statement has the potential to turn into a huge problem in marriage. It can masquerade as fights, deep despair, low self-esteem, and loss of joy. Make no mistake about it, lack of physical connection in a marriage can have long-term negative affects on the relationship.

None of us needs to be reminded of the high divorce rates. So, let’s not talk about that, okay?

Some of the most painful conversations I’ve ever had are with those who seek me out for advice because of “inactivity” in their marriage. The pain in their eyes reveals the deep despair in their heart.

Does anyone really have an answer for this?

I’ve heard:

“This is so painful that I don’t want to be married anymore.”

“There’s nothing worse than lying in bed next to someone who doesn’t want you.”

“I feel unloved.”

“I’m so angry.”

Unfortunately, anger usually does not get you any closer to some fun in the bedroom.

I am not going to try and pretend that there are simple answers or solutions if a lack of desire or lack of intimacy plague your marriage.

But I may have information that might help.

I read something recently by Shaunti Feldhahn, which I am excited to share with you. Shaunti is a social researcher and best-selling author.

Shaunti writes:

“As you probably know, testosterone is the main hormone that makes someone want sex.  Well, it turns out, being regularly sexually stimulated (at least once a week) actually raises testosterone levels, while forgoing sex for a week or more will cause testosterone levels to drop… When you decide to regularly engage with your spouse in that way, your testosterone levels will likely rise and you will begin to want sex more.”

Could it be that the cure for a low libido is more rolls between the sheets?

Share this with your spouse and see if you can get a rhythm going. Maybe today can be the start of your “secret” world-renowned symphony. A symphony that plays in your head and creates a stronger more fulfilled marriage.

A night at the classical symphony concert

The more you do something, the more you’ll make it a habit.

Give it a try.

The only thing at stake is a better-healthier-happier marriage and a better-healthier-happier you. 

Go ahead, put a smile on your face.

Put a smile on the face of your spouse.

What do you have to lose?

“He has brought me into his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love,” (The Song of Solomon 2:4).

I See You, Young Mom

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I see you in the restaurant wishing to get a few words in with your husband while your child screams.

I pass you quickly in the church hallway while you’re moving slowly with a little gem in one arm and another treasure by the hand.

I pass you in the grocery store isle wearing high heals with my hair curled (because I had time), while you barely brushed your teeth.

I see you in the check out line flustered over a candy bar your toddler won’t release.

I see you.

I have a secret: I’m staring because I’m jealous.

Sure I can take all the time I need in the bathroom without little hands banging and hearing screams of “Mommy, where are you?” I can reach for my Bible before getting out of bed when you may have been awaken by little hands and a little face in yours pleading, “Mommy, I’m hungry.”

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I probably have fewer dishes to clean, undone laundry, and more adult time than you.

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But hear this: What you do is important! Your job as a mom will bring future rewards beyond measure.

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”-Milton Berle

One day you’ll be like me. Looking back with delight, and a little bit of envy, on those who are still in the depths of raising children. Presently, it may feel like an eternity of empty bowls, nighttime baths, sleepless nights, and frenzied time-outs, but one day you will be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labor. One day.

Now that my children are raised I want you to know peace comes from knowing I gave mothering my all. There is not one regret over cancelling “adult stuff” to spend time with my kids.

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I see you, young mom and you ARE making a difference. You matter more than you know. Your children will thank you one day.

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Keep loving your family, there is no greater calling.

God blessed us when he designed moms. Don’t you agree?

Are You Feeling Exhausted and Overwhelmed?

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“Wow, she’s beautiful. Why can’t I be like her? She has it all together. And her kids look amazing too. How does she do it?” Have you ever looked at someone and thought that? Are you like me? Because I have. Don’t judge me.

Well, there she was approaching the children’s area with three perfect little kids in tow. I kinda wanted to trip her to see if she always landed on her feet!

Instead I greeted her with, “Welcome! How are you?”

Those of you calling a fowl on me shouting LIAR! what was I supposed to say, “Hello, let me smudge your makeup!” ?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

But…what she said shocked my socks off, “These kids are driving me crazy! I’m dreading summer!

Do you ever feel like this? On the outside you’ve got it all together, but on the inside life is painful and overwhelming? I have played this game far more times than I’d like to admit. You feel like you’re lying to the world but you feel trapped to do anything about it.

If you’re feeling like this I’d like to throw you a lifeline. It has always worked for me and I’m trusting it will work for you too.

One thing I did while my kids were growing-up was to take a TIMEOUT and get away all by myself—long enough to miss my family and long enough that they missed me. I’d travel to visit a friend or relative, scheduling something once a year. If you’re going to keep refreshed for the marathon of being a parent I believe this is critical.

Whether you’re a parent or single and need a rest, a TIMEOUT will refresh and recharge you.

The key to this lifeline is to spend time alone reflecting and listening to God.

You may not be able to take days to get away (although I highly recommend you figure it out for your survival) but at least give yourself an offsite alone for one day.

Offsite days are a regular thing for me. I’ll drive to the beach all by myself to reflect, pray, plan, and hear from God. Sometimes it looks more like tears, shedding anger, letting go of bitterness, and a spiritual clobber over the head.

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On a recent beach day alone, I brought a book to read. Looking out at the breathtaking ocean view and reading it relaxed me beyond words. Things were jumping out at me from off the pages of my uninterrupted reading. After scrambling through my tote bag for a pen I discovered a pen was the one thing I forgot to bring. After a brief panic, I grabbed my lipstick and used that instead, marking up my book with hot pink smudges. Offsite days turn me into MacGyver! Hey, a girl can’t go anywhere without lipstick!

I have never had a time alone where I haven’t had significant revelation about my life and areas I need to prune and polish. You may be thinking, “Yeah, sounds great, but you don’t know my life. I can’t do this, not even for a day!” If you feel stuck all the more reason to do it. For the sake of your family and for your spiritual, emotional, and physical health you can’t afford not to.

You’ll be surprised what you can do if you think out of the box and go for it. Swap kids with a friend—take theirs for a day or week and then switch. Promise hubby a “new model” in exchange for a needed reprieve. Beg. Cheat. Steal. (Sarcasm.) Whatever you need to do.

Everyone benefits when you are happy, healthy, and not wanting to strangle everyone.

As you continually care for your family you need to pamper you! Give yourself a TIMEOUT mixed with a lot of grace and then extend grace to your family.

Forge on fellow Gracian! Play. Laugh. Love. Love all out! Starting with you.

Do you need a break? Summer is coming, are you ready?

Are You Afraid to Let Your Child Fail?

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We all hate failing. And we hate watching our children fail. I think it may very well be one of the most painful things about parenting. When our child hurts, we hurt. Sometimes, and in my case, we hurt beyond their level of hurting. As in, they have moved on but we haven’t, or should I say I haven’t. Even as I write this I can think back on challenges my children have faced and feel the sting of it as if it were yesterday. Can you relate to this painful feeling? I have to continually tell myself, Move on! That is the past! They are fine now!

What’s worse is when I step in to “assist” my child—and all of my kids are adults so I am revealing my recovery as an obsessed mom—and try and veer them from what I see as a potential failure.

Key words here are “I” and “potential.”

This happened recently. My daughter invited us over for dinner. It was her first “dinner party” as a married woman and she wanted everything to be as perfect as possible. We were on the phone when she told me what time she was putting dinner in the crock-pot. Of course, I was concerned it wouldn’t be ready on time and suggested a different time. Aren’t I brilliant?

Really? She’s an adult! I think she knows how to do this! 

I have had too many times where my dinner parties were ruined because I didn’t plan time for cooking well. We all remember the Christmas Lasagna Debacle. Haven’t you had times where things just didn’t cook right and in the time you had planned? I can’t be the only one.

This caused her to doubt herself. I could hear my dear son-in-law, “She’s got this. You’re causing her anxiety.”

She said, “Mom, I got the recipe on Pinterest and I’m following that.”

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry. You know what you’re doing I’m sure it will be great.”

I didn’t even know how to spell Pinterest. I had to look it up! I can really be a total lame-brain. All I should have said was, “I’m so excited! I can’t wait to eat your delicious dinner.” Period! Period. Period!

Okay, well here’s my point and huge revelation. It is better to let your kids fumble and learn than to step in and try and save the day. I was really trying to spare her what I thought could be a misstep for her because it had been for me so many times.

But isn’t that how we learn—by making mistakes? Isn’t that how you learned?

If you have a teenager for instance, sometimes the best thing you can do is allow them to mess-up. I know you want to step in and be the hero, me too. How will they learn if you always save the day?

This is something I’ve always struggled with. As you can tell by my story about my daughter, I never want to see my kids take a tumble. I think many times it is harder on me than on them.

It is through failure that we learn.

Can you think of one person who has had huge success who hasn’t had huge fumbles along the way? I can’t either. If you want to see extraordinary played out in your child’s life, you’ve got to let them fail.

When failure is big the greater the potential victory.

And when your child has a major fumble, show abundant grace. When they fail, come alongside and help them through the challenge without judgment. This is especially true if your child is a teenager. The more judgment you show, the more they will keep things inside and not open up.

Consequences are a great teacher. What I’ve learned is I just need to be there to help them get up.

Be a Gracian. Yes, I just made that word up. Spread grace to others, especially your family.

Give yourself grace.

Do you find it difficult to find balance between stepping in and allowing your child to experience natural consequences? I do. I am always in search of that balance. One misstep at a time toward balance.

Onward fellow Gracian!

And if you were wondering, here are some pictures from our delightful and delicious dinner. Mine vegetarian of course! As you can see from the pictures the failure on that day was all mine.

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3 Ways To Keep Him Thinking About You All Day Long

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Have you ever wondered what your husband thinks about all day? Thoughts are powerful, they can either enhance or damage your marriage.

One day before hubby left for work I was in the garage working-out. He stopped in to say goodbye. Being the idiot I can be I brought up a sensitive and charged issue. He barked. I barked back.

Who’s the dumb pup now?

He left upset and I finished my workout emotionally riled up. We later talked on the phone and resolved our dispute. But, it didn’t have to happen at all.

Better are the days in which we part with happier feelings and thoughts. To help you not make the mistake I did I’ve come up with 3 ways to keep him thinking about you in a positive way all day.

  1. Hide a love-note in one of his pockets – Imagine his embarrassment if he discovers the note in front of someone else! Okay, that’s just my depraved mind being exposed. But truthfully, he may be a tad embarrassed, but the guy watching will no doubt feel a bit envious. What to say on the note? Be creative. Let him know how much you love him. Add something you respect about him. End it with a lipstick kiss. No matter what you write he’ll get a kick out of it.
  2. Make-out with him before he leaves home in the morning – At this one you may be thinking: No way! I’m busy making breakfast and getting kids off to school or getting ready myself. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I understand. Know that this action will have great payoffs. He may come home early. He most definitely will come home happy. And he will be thinking about you for most of his day. Just try it out and see if you can fit it in. You may also be thinking: If I do that it may lead to something else and for sure, ain’t nobody got time for that! Do you want him to be thinking about you or not?
  3. Promise him a “surprise” when he arrives home – You decide what that surprise can be but you know what he’s hoping it is. I really don’t think I need to say more on this point. It speaks for itself.

So, there you have it. Give one or all of these a try and then let us know how it went.

How have you enhanced your marriage by navigating him toward positive thoughts about you?

Why I Love Platform University

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Make all your dreams a reality.

In honor of full discloser I am writing this post as part of a contest with Michael Hyatt’s Platform University. Michael Hyatt is the author of the New York Times bestseller Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers. His mission is simply this: “to help high achievers win at work and succeed at life.”

Truthfully, I hadn’t planned on participating because, I wasn’t certain I could win (when I play, I like to win, don’t you?), and because I didn’t think you’d be interested in why I love Platform University.

Then I realized what Platform University has primarily done is inspire me. And knowing we all love to be inspired, I wanted to share that inspiration with you.

I found out about Platform from my husband who as a pastor, has benefited from Michael Hyatt’s goal setting program called 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. My husband has completed the program every year now, and I’ve seen notable change in him as a result. One of which is regular date nights with me! After viewing one of Michael Hyatt’s podcasts I was invited to join Platform University.

I hesitated.

In life, to make change happen you need to take that first step. Join. Say yes. Go. Do. Speak. Step out!

I just want to write. I want to help others through my life experiences and use my writing to do so. Today, so much about writing is building a platform to get your work out.

In light of this, I took the step of joining Platform University. It was an excellent no-turning-back step.

I love the master classes, the member makeovers, the behind the scenes, the question and answer sessions, and the community of others cheering me on.

Inspiration arrives at the click of a computer key.

What inspires you? If you don’t know, find out, and then do it. In life we need to stay motivated. When I don’t feel moved I feel dead inside. As a result, my life loses its zest. I become dull.

Do you have a dream? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but were afraid to take that first step? What do you dream about when no one else is around? What do you secretly wish for? Maybe it’s writing. Maybe your dream is to be a chef or a business owner. Whatever it is, I encourage you to take that first step.

Be the best version of you by going after your dreams.

You are never too young or too old.

Mark Zuckerberg co-founder of Facebook, who dropped out of Harvard University, became a billionaire before the age of 25. And then there was Julia Child who at the age of 51 made her debut on television as the “French Chef.”

Whatever your dream, Platform University can help you achieve it.

Go to www.platformuniversity.com

As for me my first goal and biggest “dream” was to raise godly children. Now that my 3 children are adults, and loving and serving God, I’m on to my second biggest dream. Which is to use my writing to make a difference for others.

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.”- Martin Luther

I do love Platform University, not because it gave me instant results, although it has, not because it gave me focus, because it has done that too, but mainly because it boosted my belief in me. It also helped me to continue to strive to be the best version of myself I can.

Be the best version of you and take your first step, whatever that is for you.

How One Word Can Make Your Marriage Stronger

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Do you ever feel alone? I mean totally alone? Like there is no one who can understand or make you feel better?

I was feeling this way over a recent set back, and decided to give my husband a heads-up. Because the last thing I wanted was to add a fight to my already defeated demeanor.

In the middle of the day I sent Mike this text:

“Just wanted you to know so you don’t take it personally – I am so depressed today. It has nothing to do with you. You don’t need to call. Please don’t. Will see you when you get home. I love you.”

I ended it with a heart emoticon so I could feel like I was being a good wife even in my distress.

Of course, he called. He probably wanted to make sure I’d at least take a shower that day!

When I answered the phone I could hear the softness in is voice.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

“How you doin’?”

“I feel so discouraged. I feel like my dreams are never going to happen. I feel so alone.”

“We will work on this together.”

WE. WE. WE.

That’s all he needed to say. There is power in the word WE. A team of two is always stronger than a team of one. The one word that will always make an impact is WE.

I broke down sobbing.

After I hung up the phone, my spirit was recharged. My zest for my husband was recharged. Knowing he was by my side, and that we were in this challenging life together, I didn’t feel alone anymore.

It was all I needed to do a pull-up and get back to business.

When was the last time you felt complete disappointment? We all have setbacks. We all feel down now and then. We all want to feel like we matter. Like we make a difference.

Having someone who loves us, and who will jump in our mess with us gives us the formula to love fully. To be the best version of ourselves. To not give up on our dreams.

The next time your spouse or someone you love is going through a trying time say, “We will get through this together.” It will make all the difference to them.

When has your spouse lifted you when you couldn’t lift yourself? Can you think of a time someone came alongside you and helped you through a tough time?

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 feet 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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