Staying out of the dirt: my garden

It’s springish in the Texas hill country. Although you’d never know with the cold front that blew in yesterday. But before the cold & rain set in, I spent about 30 minutes planting my spring garden. 16 new plants in, 8 that are still strong from the fall planting cleaned up. 30 minutes.

Last fall, among other things, I planted spinach & strawberries. The spinach has been the rock star of plants producing for almost 6 months now. I thought my black thumb had made my strawberries just pretty green leave until little white flowers started to bloom several weeks back. And now I’ve got sweet little baby strawberries starting make their appearance!

I added my 12 new plants, cleaned out the water basin, added new water & nutrients. And walked inside. Not a speck of dirt touched. No digging. No needing to remember to water. Didn’t even break a sweat! Now I get to just sit back and watch out my back window as things start to grow. And of course harvest more spinach and get my first strawberries. And spinach. Did I mention the spinach? It’s become currency in this day and age of no eggs at the grocery store. I’ve traded spinach for eggs just like Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’m ready for my bonnet and covered wagon. Life on the prairie is calling. As soon as the AC is installed, I’ll be there 😉

This dirtless wonder that has me convinced I’d survive 24 hours on the prairie is a Tower Garden. Water, a motor to circulate the water, a timer & a plug are all I need to grow fresh, organic, non- GMO fruits, veggies & herbs all year round. Very little space required. No digging and weeding needed. A green thumb isn’t even needed! Just 30 minutes or so when you change out your plants and you’ll be ready for the prairie, too. Happy gardening!


It’s 8PM. The day has been long. Dinner has finally been cleaned up and it’s time to FINALLY just sit down. And then the youngest excitedly announces it’s time for a family board game. Because this morning at 7AM, before the coffee had a chance to help you make wise choices, you agreed to a family game night. Tonight. You barely remember the conversation, but the kiddo sure does. In the busyness of the day (and maybe just a little wishful thinking), you just plain forgot.

You’ve been friends for a while. The closest of friends. The sharing of daily life is easy. The comfort in just knowing this friendship is present can turn a bad day around. And then, in what seems to be overnight, a complete disconnect. You’re left confused, hurt, a little mad. Feeling forgotten.

Whether you’re the one that has forgotten the important thing or the one who has been forgotten, there’s a sting. And we’ve all been on both sides.

The reality of life is, that even with the best of intentions, we forget. We forget the game night, the event, the special occasion. We forget to ask how the day went or how that appointment was. Sometimes, to an extent, we even forget a person. Time gets away from us. Physical distance creates relational distance. Some unresolved or unspoken something makes us disconnect.

Sometimes we’re walking through a hard place and the stay in the hard place is long. Longer than we’d like. And definitely longer than we’d have ever left ourselves there. Sometimes the hard place has endured for so long that you begin to question if God has forgotten you there. If He remembers at 8PM tonight that this morning at 7AM you asked…maybe even begged…for him give you a glimpse of life outside the hard place.

Then, in the midst of the hard, just when you start to believe you’ve been forgotten, God reminds you. He reminds of you a promise. A promise that He made and because He made it, He will keep it. “I will not forget you. I have written your name on the palms of my hands” (The irony of the beginning of Isaiah 49:15, is that Isaiah actually talks about a mother forgetting her child. I can’t help but think that thousands of years ago when that was written, God knew that 21st century moms would have some busy to combat and that we’d forget a game night or two.)

He won’t forget. He hasn’t forgotten. My name is written on the palm of his hand. Like when we were younger and wrote that important thing we didn’t want to forget on our hand. We knew we’d always remember if it was written there. And we didn’t dare wash that hand until whatever we wrote was taken care of.

That’s the remembering of the Father. HE will not forget. Your name is written on the palms of His hands. He’s not forgotten you in the hard place. He sees you. And better than that, He’s with you. He’s right there. He’s always there. He’s always acting on your behalf.

Your friend, a parent, a child, a boss, a leader may make you feel forgotten. “But I will not forget you. I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” And He’ll probably keep your favorite board game waiting for your arrival in heaven, too!

Bad at something new

I did a thing today. For me, it was a big thing. Not so much because of what I did, but the fact that I did it.

Can I let you in on a little secret about me? For pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve been a starter. Often a reluctant starter. And rarely a finisher when it comes to fitness goals. I’d get frustrated with the way the jeans fit or how the skirt looked and begrudgingly exercise for a few days, maybe a few weeks and on one or 2 occasions a few months. But then I’d quit. I guarantee you I could give you a valid reason.

But I’d always let a valid reason for “taking it easy ” turn into a bad excuse for quitting. Always. Then months would go by again before I started the ridiculous cycle over again. Until August.

This August, I decided that I was going to train for a 5k. I wanted to train for and complete a 5k before the cross country season was over. (Key to success 1: Commit to the end before you begin.) The 5k distance is what Payne has run all of high school in cross country. I wanted to do it before he was done at Tivy.

Within a short time of starting my training, our church announced a 5k at the camp our church owns here in town. It would be a tough course, but it would also be a smaller field of runners. And it fell on a rare Saturday that had nothing else on the calendar. I paid the registration. (Key to success 2: Commit in a way that motivates you to do the thing. I hate wasted money. If I paid, I’d show up.)

A couple of weeks into training, it started to get harder. I seriously had ZERO motivation to get out the door. Z E R O. I was sore all the time. I didn’t “see” results. I had so much self-doubt. Could I even really do this? But I went out. Because I was more determined to be healthy than I was to be lazy. Honestly, the motivation to go was rarely there when I’d take the first step out the door. (Key to success 3: Determination is a greater force than motivation. Motivation is fleeting. Determination is what you have to commit to.)

Throughout the training program I had so many days that I’d read what that day’s workout entailed and be overwhelmed with self-doubt. I literally had to be my own hype man to even start. And every time one of those days came around and I finished the workout, I’d cry during my cool down. Because I did it. I pushed through how hard it was, how much my legs hurt, how hot and humid or cold and windy it was. AND I FINISHED. (Key to success 4: BELIEVE that you are more capable than you can imagine. Quiet the self-doubt and DO THE THING.)

The last 2 weeks have been challenging training wise. We’ve traveled 3 weekends in a row. Texas is being Texas and we’ve had all 4 season cycle through multiple times. I haven’t been able to stay on my training schedule like I wanted. As today approached I felt less & less prepared. Less and less capable. That self-doubt made its big entrance to my mind and almost won.

Y’all, yesterday I was using not having proper cold weather running clothes as the reason I shouldn’t run today. Wouldn’t you know that even our small town has multiple retailers that sell such things? And even had them on clearance! There went that excuse. By last night, I was so consumed by self-doubt that I was certain I wouldn’t run today. Would I even be able to finish? What if I finished dead last? What if my time was really bad? What if this was really too hard for me? Then I saw this and cried.

I was brave enough to start. Was I brave enough to be bad at it, but still finish it? (Key to success 5: The process is where the learning happens. The commitment to the thing is what’s important. Being good at the new thing right away isn’t the goal. Sticking with it long enough to not be bad is the goal.) Reading that, coupled with Payne telling me he was meeting me out there to support me got me to bed with a little more courage. (Side note: Remember earlier when I said we had that rare Saturday with nothing on the schedule, so this was the perfect date? That unicorn disappeared quickly. Addison’s soccer team finished the regular season in 1st place. Her first playoff game? The exact same date & time as my 5k. I told Chad if he showed up for me, I’d walk right off that course and drive to her game. Because both of us needed to do the thing today. And she needed one of her people there for her.)

This morning that self-doubt was well rested enough to wake up with me and almost paralyze me. I hadn’t told but 6 people I was training for this. And 3 of those share a house with me. I knew how many times I’d started something, talked all about it then didn’t finish. I just needed this one to be me fighting me to get to the end. And a few runners who just get this crazy thing to really get my struggles & help me through the hard stuff. Even as I was driving to Mount Wesley this morning, I was tempted to turn around. A couple of quick texts to Kendra and Paige, and the last bit of encouragement I needed kept my car pointed the right direction. (Key to success 6: Find your people. For me, this time, it was the 3 in my house, one that was training for the same event, and 2 that are seasoned runners. Your people want to cheer you to success. And they can handle your self-doubt and whatever things threaten to derail you. And they can talk you off the ledge when you’re ready to quit.)

Even as I lined up this morning, I questioned myself. But that determination took over. And I did it. It was hard. It was stupid cold. It definitely wasn’t pretty. It was slower than I’d hoped it would be. But thanks to Spencer running alongside me, I finished. Thanks to Payne & Kendra finding us along the way to cheer, we finished. I didn’t just start, I finished.

And this one standing at the finish cheering me on? It was a full circle moment. I cried…of course I did. (I also made it to the second half of the soccer playoff game to watch Addi advance to next week’s championship game!)

Friends, let me tell you this. You can do the thing. Just start. Set goals. Make your determination big enough to compensate for lack of motivation. Believe in you. Be your own hype man. Because other people encouraging you can only go so far if you don’t believe what you’re hearing. Find your people. They might be different for every thing that you do. But find them. They’ll be just as determined for you as you are for yourself. Let go of doing it “right” or perfectly or even well while you’re learning and just do the thing. JUST DO THE THING.

If I can train for and compete in a 5k at not-29-years-old, you can do your thing. Y O U C A N D O T H E T H I N G!

We will NOT go home

I had to process and chew and pray before I could sit down to this computer. Then I had to pray some more. Because nothing can clearly reveal my need for Jesus more than a person who seeks to demean, marginalize or defame another human.

I think now I’ve settled in a place of strength and worth. Because those things don’t come from a man. But from my Father. So here’s your disclaimer. If you hold to the ancient, chauvinistic, unbiblical, non-Christlike notion that women belong at home and not in ministry, you should step off this train. Or maybe you should hold on tight.

Over the weekend a video begin to make its rounds on social media of a panel of men, dressed in fancy suits, pretending to be the voice of God. A man, to a round of applause and laughter said of a female leader of the faith, “Go Home. There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preaching. Period. Paragraph. End of discussion.” His cohort proceeded to call Beth Moore, a woman of God, whose teaching has led thousands to the feet of Jesus, narcissistic. They went on to describe the compelling nature with which Beth teaches this way: “Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the the tv sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching.” I can’t say anything more here. Because I wouldn’t represent Jesus well. Moving on.

I won’t link the video. I won’t even say their names. These clowns (that’s my daughter’s affectionate word for anyone actin’ a fool right now, and if the shoe fits…) aren’t worth the airtime. But I will climb to the very tippy top of my soap box, pick up my megaphone and answer. LOUDLY.

To those who wish to silence women in the church. Have fun with that. Here’s the thing. The ministry, the voice we have? YOU DIDN’T GIVE IT TO US. YOU DIDN’T CALL US TO IT. AND YOU CANNOT SILENCE IT.

We were not called by you and our calling does not hinge on your permission or approval. Our Father, the creator of it all, called us. Our Father called us just as he called Esther, Deborah, Lydia, Mary Magdeline, Hagar and countless other women in the Bible. Or did you skip those parts because they didn’t fit your narrative? Do you forget that it was a woman who carried probably the greatest responsibility of all mankind in raising JESUS? We don’t know much about Joseph from Scripture, but throughout all of Jesus 33 years, we hear about Mary. She was present at home for him and in ministry with him. She wasn’t relegated to cooking & cleaning & staying silent.

Sisters, if you’re still with me, hear this. The God of all creation looked at this vast expanse and said, “This place needs one of her. This place needs the voice and experience and leading that only she can give.” And HE empowers you to step into your gifts and your calling. For Him. Maybe that’s behind the pulpit in a church or on a mission field in a foreign land or in front of children or youth weekly. Maybe that’s in a classroom or a boardroom or a store front or an office. Maybe that’s rallied around the living room table instilling the virtues of the Father in future world changers. That’s the thing though. No man can tell you what your calling is. Wherever it is that God is leading, HE IS THE ONE LEADING. Cling to him. Seek his voice. Turn off the noise. The voices that say you have no position to speak? THEY ARE NOISE. Resounding gongs and clanging symbols (1 Corinthians 13:1).

If any men are here, can I have a few seconds more? (To be clear, I’m not asking your permission. I’m asking you to stick it out just a bit longer. But if you’re here you probably already know that.) Men: your wives, sisters, mothers, daughters need your voice in this. It’s not enough that we women band together in strength and solidarity and say, “WE WILL NOT GO HOME”. We need the men around us to stand and say, “WE WELCOME YOU IN”. We need the men around us to speak louder than the voices who wish to silence us. We need the men around us to encourage us in our callings and giftings and leadings. We need the men around us to be wise enough to realize that empowering us in our ministry space makes you stronger as a man and as a spiritual leader.

If there is breath in you, God has a purpose for you. If God has a purpose for you, He also has a plan for you. If God has a plan for you, no man change that or take that away. And anyone who seeks to “put you in your place” because you’re a woman is not in tune with the heart of the Father.

If you are sitting in a church body that does anything less than encourage you to pursue all that Christ has for you, you are sitting in a church body that isn’t for Christ. A CHURCH THAT ISN’T FOR ALL PEOPLE FULLY LIVING OUT THEIR GOD ORDAINED PURPOSE IS NOT A CHURCH FOR CHRIST. Read that again.

So to the men in the fancy suits and the people who sat in their audience and applauded with approval, I leave you with this. You’ve awakened a lioness. A pack of us. Many of us have spoken in our circles. Many of us sent our support to those you tear down publicly. But now you’ve done just the opposite of what you’d hoped. You’ve empowered and emboldened us to step even more confidently into our ministry spaces and press in to the Father even more. Be ready. We’re coming. Not for you, but for the world that needs to know who Jesus really is. Lionesses who are known by name to the Father and who speak fearlessly with His permission, approval and full blessing. You can go home now. We’ll take it from here.

Catching Feelings

This week. What.a.week. Lots of things that made me laugh, smile, cry, cry again and again and again. But mostly made me think.

If you could hit rewind on my heart to 2 years ago, so many things would be different. My girl comfortably in her last years of elementary school. Still my little girl. My boy comfortably smack in the middle of high school (you know, just far enough from graduation that I could pretend it was in the distance). A handful of close friends who defined ride or die. It was a comfortable place. So comfortable that I decided to try something new and lead the high school girls from church.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I had convinced myself that I could be good for these girls. That my experiences, my past, my life could help them navigate years that are weird and sometimes hard and confusing and fun. But I never considered that they’d be good for me. I never considered that my heart needed them probably more than they needed me.

Over the last 2 years, the completely unexpected and unplanned happened. In the midst of losing one of those close ride or die friends, a few girls grabbed pieces of my heart. Over the last 2 years we’ve laughed together. We’ve cried together. We’ve questioned life together. We’ve prayed together. We’ve gone to concerts together. We’ve danced together. We’ve baked together. We’ve eaten A LOT of food together. Life. We’ve done life together.

This last week of telling these 3 girls goodbye has been hard on my heart. But so fulfilling, too. I know they have such big things ahead. I know the moving out and moving away is the next right thing. And I know they’ll be back. Family dinners, chocolate chip waffles & Jenga for days when breaks happen!

There’s also been something about these goodbyes that’s forced me to realize that a new year is starting. A year that makes my first born a SENIOR in high school. That makes me realize the next round of goodbyes will mean the biggest part of my heart yet will leave the dirty 8-30 to go out into the big old world. The tears my “baby” has shed the last 2 years during these goodbyes will be nothing like the ones I’ll dry next year. When she tells them all goodbye and also moves into the upside down world of middle school.

Today, I’ll let myself cry. Because good Lord these girls made me catch big feelings! Today I’ll let my heart be sad that goodbyes are a thing. Why can’t they all just stay!? And we’ve got some big lasts coming up in our house. Jesus, take the wheel because we all know I shouldn’t steer this ship!

But tomorrow? Look out, people. This will be a year of making everything big. And everything special. And seizing every moment. And saying YES a lot to the things that make my people smile.

Paige, Martie, Taylor – I love you BIG. Payne, Addi – let’s do life BIG this year! Friends, say a prayer for Chad. He has to handle this hot mess this year. Also, I’ll gladly accept all donations of whatever drink you deem appropriate for Senior year of high school.