I am so glad you are joining me on this journey of Intentional Living. That is, living the WORD, one WORD at a time, INTENTIONALLY.hearts on cross wood jpg

If you have been following the posts the past couple of weeks on abandoning New Year’s RESOLUTIONS for a WORD, then you know how this came about for me. It all really started with a verse that is the theme verse for this devotion.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2). Read Full Article →

We are seven days into the New Year. If it were any other year, I would be struggling with my list of New Year’s RESOLUTIONS and feeling miserable by now. You know, the list of things you want to change about yourself, behaviors and patterns from what has been your norm. Things like losing weight, exercising more, reading the bible in a year, being a better mom and wife, etc.

As I said before, I have determined that RESOLUTIONS are nothing more than me trying to take control over something in my life for which I never really had control. Thus, I set myself up for failure and all the lovely emotions of disappointment and self-loathing that accompany failure.

This year God has prompted me to rethink RESOLUTIONS. Rather than focusing on a list of RESOLUTIONS that involve my making changes, He has given me a WORD that He will use to refine me.hearts on cross wood jpg

The WORD is INTENTIONAL. It is taking action, purposely stepping out in God’s character, offering Him the driver’s seat of my life and allowing myself to be renewed by Him in this New Year.

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) If we believe this statement to be true, then we must accept that we were designed to be like God, to have His character.

We cannot adopt God’s character by putting His characteristics down on a list and expecting to receive them by sheer will. It is through the Holy Spirit and our willingness and commitment to obeying God that brings about seeing Him in us. Read Full Article →

It’s that time again. Those few days in between the month spent at a dead run getting ready for all the festivities of the 24 hours that is Christmas which has now past and the coming of the New Year. That time when we tend to reflect on what was and look forward in anticipation of what is to come.Traffic Sign - Don't

A time many spend thinking about what they want to do differently in the coming year. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the time of preparing the dreaded “RESOLUTIONS.”  They are the plans we make for ourselves that usually include things like losing weight, eating healthy, exercising daily, cleaning out the clutter, the closet, making that scrapbook that you swore to make the year your child was born.

Have you ever noticed how RESOLUTIONS are rarely achieved? I believe it is because mapping out MY RESOLUTIONS is nothing more than me trying to take control over something in my life for which I never really had control. Even my most noble of goals, those related to others, end up being all about me and my sheer determination to take control of myself and the things around me so that something or someone will change to satisfy me. Read Full Article →

heart_mini I exited Walmart a couple of nights ago into a crowd of gawkers. There had been an accident. I breathed a sigh of relief as the woman on the ground being attended by three men was speaking in coherent sentences. As I scanned the crowd to figure out what happened I saw her. The woman in tears, clearly shaken and on her phone standing outside her car. She was the reason. I could hear the sirens as the fire engine and ambulance arrived followed almost immediately by a police car.

I started thinking, “What is happening here?” as my mind flashed to the images on the news from the day before, where just a block away, an SUV crashed into a Starbucks. Several people were injured, one critically. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, just a slip of the foot on the accelerator. I did not any of the people involved, but I have friends who did.

Within less than 24 hours in mid-December, the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, lives were changed. I doubt those involved would call it wonderful.  Not the man from a local ministry unexpectedly hit by a car in the middle of Starbucks while innocently holding a meeting, who has undergone one surgery and is facing another. Nor the poor woman lying on the ground in front of me who had been walking in the crosswalk from the parking lot towards Walmart and not for the women who were driving the cars, absentmindedly causing “accidents”. Read Full Article →

heart_miniI was filled with anticipation. Husband and I were off for a weekend away to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, albeit late. We spent our actual anniversary with daughter in Disneyland which is another story (Losing It!).

We wanted our weekend away to be special. Sadly, we both forgot about our anniversary on the day. I was reminded by a Happy Anniversary text. We both laughed and made excuses, but it left me feeling sad and a little unsettled. We have had a tough go of things and I had great hopes of this weekend rekindling some of what felt lost in our relationship.Woman running pathHeb12

We debated about where to go. Since we had just spent a small fortune at the Happiest and Close To The Most Expensive Place on Earth, we wanted to keep our trip in driving distance. We narrowed it down to either our house on the mountain at the lake or the charming town where we got married.

We decided since we go to the lake often, we would go back to where we were married. Husband made all the arrangements, tickets to the theater and booking the cabin where we spent our wedding night. I was excited and yet a little hesitant. A little voice kept whispering, “Go to lake”, but we had made the decision. Read Full Article →

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It was late Sunday night while I was peacefully sleeping that I started having a nightmare that I could not find our Disneyland packet for our trip Wednesday. We were very excited about going. We decided to surprise daughter who had never been but had been asking us repeatedly about going for several years. Most all of her friends had been and I knew she was feeling left out. We just hadn’t had the resources to go, but God blessed us this past summer so I felt it was ok to use the money my father left us to take her. It made it feel even more special, like somehow he was part of it.

Anyway, I was very disturbed Monday morning about the dream. The packet with our tickets, hotel vouchers, etc. had come several weeks before. I remembered pulling it out and putting it someplace “safe” so that daughter would not find it but I wasn’t exactly sure where. I took daughter to school and came home and the search began. I checked my usual places, but it was nowhere to be found.

My next step was to post on Facebook that I was losing my mind, shared my saga and asked for prayer. I received a lot of responses from friends. Some offered prayer, others suggestions of places to look, while others put forth advice. “In the future do what I do, keep a note on your phone with that kind of info.” Followed by another who said “I agree… Or take a picture of where you hid it.”  Well intended but not helpful in the moment. I felt so stupid.

I seemed to recall that I had hidden it in my closet which was a complete mess.  So I started pulling everything out but they were not there. I cleaned out my closet, my dresser, my desk, and was headed to the linen closet not really believing it was there but no idea where else to look. It was midnight and the only thing I had succeeded in finding was the Disney packet from when we took stepdaughter eight years before.

Fall trees Lisa Q Psalm 188 jpgI decided to call it a day. I fell into bed in a state of despair thinking how stupid I am, how I can’t remember anything anymore, knowing husband was completely frustrated with me, telling myself I can’t do anything right, and praying through tears that God would open up the recesses of the black hole I call my brain to reveal where I put them.

Tuesday morning came, daughter went to school and panic set in. We were supposed to leave the next day. Husband was staying focused on work, which is what I should have been doing for the past 2 days and not searching for something I should be able to put my hands on immediately. I started trying to console myself. If I couldn’t find them, at least daughter would not be disappointed. Husband chimed in that if we had told her then I would not have had to hide them. Another not so timely piece of advice. Read Full Article →

heart_miniThe volume had been high at home for a couple of days. Daughter had been struggling with issues, some known and some unknown. What is known is that life is hard at seven. Life is hard at 40-something. Life is just hard.Playgroundjpg

It is hard being here, in this broken place with broken people carrying around lofty expectations, when we were made to be there, in that perfect place, in heaven with God. Yet our faith requires us to live a life of not yet in a very broken now.

I am the first to admit that home is broken and to be clear, I am not getting divorced. We are simply imperfect and still figuring out how to be “healthy” in a sick space. For as hard as it is for us, it somehow seems compounded for daughter.

She had been riddled with anxiety and acting out more so than usual those couple of days. I tried so hard to figure it out. As a mommy, my heart bled for the hurt I could see as she lashed out, yelling and seemingly out of control. There must be a reason, something I could fix. Read Full Article →

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I saw this meme on a friend’s page on Facebook the other day and it made me laugh. I read it out loud to husband who also chuckled. I am not sure if it was sincere or obligatory in an attempt to ward off my using one of the words against him.Five Deadly Women Words

I know I have said these words in exactly that way and I bet many of you have as well. Whether you are male or female, I am sure you relate to this “secret” language that we are making light of here.

I started to share the post to have a laugh over it with friends but was stopped short. A sense of deep sadness swept over me as the truth about using this “secret” language or “code words” took hold.

We speak these code words, sometimes flippantly, in frustration, or maybe even in exasperation, expecting our spouses to understand.  We may even use these code words on our children, friends, or coworkers.

Read Full Article →

heart_miniDaughter has entered that in between stage, too old for baby things and too young for tween things. She is caught between desperately wanting hugs, cuddles and nurturing and I am too old, too cool, too whatever for all that.

The stage where you hear, “Don’t call me Pumpkin Zoofie (don’t ask) in front of people, only at home!” and “I can do it (the things you have been doing forever) myself!” The stage where the horrifying words “I hate you!” escape her lips in great drama followed by tears, apologies and grand expressions of love and affection.

It is the start of the life-long war between accountability and grace and it is up to you, the parent, to decide which is to be the victor in each instance.  Yours is the battlefield for “Train(ing) up a child in the way he should go.” Proverbs 22:6.oath_pledge jpg

It is a scary proposition to be the coach of a precious life looking to you, fighting with you, testing you, seeking wisdom and discernment, love and affection, and wanting freedom and independence all before the hormones kick in!

I picked daughter up from school the other day, as I usually do, and somewhere between the school parking lot and our front door came the words “You are the worst mom ever!” Read Full Article →

heart_mini Of all the tough lessons God has been teaching me these past few months over managing relationships, impossible conversations, grief, and sorting through stuff, this one feels even harder. It is testing my patience, forcing me to be calm, presenting me with unanswerable questions, and presenting me with the ultimate question.PML Fire Jer29_11

For almost a week now I have been pensively watching the Rim Fire in California. It started at 16,000 acres last weekend and is up to over 126,000 as of this morning. It has even made national news as it has reached into Yosemite National Park (the high country, not the valley where all the amazing waterfalls and granite masterpieces reside) and because Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is at risk which provides San Francisco with water and much of its power.

For most people it is a stop and take notice for a brief second but for me it is consuming, an obsession. The most recent mandatory evacuation area for this fire is within ½ mile of my precious refuge, my father’s house on the mountain at the lake. There is so much irony in all of this as we have been engaging in hard conversations about what to do with the house, how to manage dad’s stuff, and next steps, which may all be mute. Read Full Article →