LuSays

Laugh, Cry, Love

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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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!”

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