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Cultivate the Garden of Your Heart

I have a black thumb, and I have ended up killing every plant I've ever tried to own. I even accidently "watered" my cilantro plant with Dr Pepper one day. So the irony of the vision God gave me a while back was not lost on me. The garden was about 20 feet by 20 feet with a short blue picket fence around it. Chicken wire meticulously wove in and out of the pickets to prevent rabbits and other varmint from infiltrating the perimeter. Honeysuckles and ivy grew along the green wall of a small garden shed with bright white trim that sat on the northern border of the garden. Fragrant magnolias and lantanas grew along the pickets, while honeysuckles, violets, hibiscus, hydrangeas, daisies, tulips, chrysanthemums and other vibrant flowers filled out the spaces in between. Every day, I tended to my garden. A weed never had a chance to grow in my garden. When I built the garden, landscape fabric had been laid under fresh soil. I would tend the underbrush and look for weeds or ins…

When My Brother Sins

When other people sin, one of our first reactions is to point out their sin to them. After all, we care about the person, and we don't want them to sin. We want to make sure the ones we love live an upright life. But is pointing out other people's sin biblical? How many times did Jesus point out other people's sin? Let's examine Jesus' behavior and words. 
When Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well in John 4, she is surprised Jesus is even talking to her. He is kind and offers her living water. He doesn't point out her sin and tell her she's a harlot. He comments on her marriage situation as a way to show that He is indeed a prophet. He shows her grace and mercy--He is being relational.
In John 8:1-11, a woman was caught in the act of adultery. How incredibly embarrassing, but Jesus didn't even tell her she was sinning. He didn't condemn her or shame her. He told her to go and sin no more. He then turned to the self-righteous ones and …

Dating Advice

A friend recently asked me to give her some sage words of advice about dating. Not sure why she asked me, considering I have no idea how to make a relationship actually work, but these are the things I put together for her. I've done a lot of reading, healing, praying and writing over the years, and these are some of the things I've learned. I've written on some of these topics before, so I've included some hyperlinks to more in-depth articles. I chose several years ago to never use the word “rejected.” The negative connotation bothered me. I am not rejected; I will never be rejected. Christ took my rejection on the cross. Someone may choose to not continue dating me (or to be married to me), but I refuse to take that word on as part of my identity.A woman’s greatest need is love—she wants to feel desired, taken care of and put first. A man’s greatest need is respect—to feel honored, listened to and allowed to lead. If both partners do this for each other willingly, as…

How to Submit Your Life to God

My first full sentence was, "Let me do it by me-self!" I've always been fiercely independent and have never enjoyed being told what to do. As I grew up, I read the scripture that told us to "Take up your cross daily and follow me," (Luke 9:23) and I knew the Bible said, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) But being the stubborn, hard-headed child I was, I had no idea how to do that, and I was fairly certain I didn't want to.
Why would I want to submit to God, anyway? Did it really even matter? When I was younger, Christianity was like a checklist to me. Don't drink: check. Don't smoke: check. Don't cuss: check. Don't have sex: check. Have quiet time every morning: umm...not so much, but I would certainly feel guilty if I didn't. As I got older and actually did submit my life to the Lord, I realized the key: It's about relationship. I submit this analogy. Let's …

Why I am a Conservative

2020 is a presidential election year, and the divide between right and left has never been bigger. With the proliferation of "Fake News," it is becoming harder and harder to determine who is lying and who is telling the truth. Being informed has never been more imperative. Both sides of the aisle accuse the other of hatred, ignorance and bigotry--the list of name-calling goes on and on. But we must know what we believe and why.

I feel it is important to teach my children the importance of citizenship, and why it is so crucial to make informed decisions to elect our public leaders. I also feel I should tell you why I am a conservative, and why I believe what I believe. My children will always be free to choose their own path and their own philosophy, but I pray they do so with an informed mind.

I am a conservative because I believe in people. I believe that at their core, people are good and kind. I believe that people are capable of making their own decisions on how to liv…

Are You Toxic?

In psychology, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is a phenomenon where people over-estimate their abilities--either cognitive or physical. The effect basically says that incompetent people lack the self-awareness to know they are incompetent. It states that as you learn more about a concept, you realize more and more how little you know about the concept. This is why when I was 16, I thought I knew everything, but by the time I graduated college, I realized I knew nothing. College and being on my own opened up the entire world to me, and I realized the vast amount of information, history, culture and life that I didn't even know existed. I knew so very, very little.

Broadening this psychological effect, we can extrapolate the following to apply to emotional intelligence:
❖ Emotionally unhealthy people don't know they are emotionally unhealthy.
❖ Negative people don't know they are negative.
❖ Toxic people don't know they are toxic.
❖ Narcissists don't know they are narcis…

Jesus Would Advocate for Civil Disobedience

In March, executive orders from governors across the country forced us to stay home, to close schools and churches and to shut down private businesses. Businesses were classified as either "essential" or "non-essential." All businesses deemed "non-essential" were forced to close. This included markets, clothing stores, boutiques, dine-in restaurants, and beauty salons. State parks, city parks, beaches, walking trails, lakes, and other wide open spaces were closed as well.

Many people feel that the "social distancing," as it has come to be known, and stay at home executive orders violate their constitutional rights, such as our first amendment right to freely exercise our religion, our right to peaceably assemble, and that we shall not be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the people who feel their rights have been violated have decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Some have even chosen to defy…

Anchor for My Soul

A couple years ago, I got a tattoo of an anchor on the inside of my left wrist. Not only have I always loved the water, but I wanted a reminder of Hebrews 6:19-20 that says, "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf..." So when I look down, I can be reminded that Jesus is the anchor of my soul.

This scripture got me through a lot of the hard times I've experienced in my life. I never want to forget that Jesus enters before me to the throneroom of grace. I have taken solace in the fact that Jesus intercedes for me on my behalf when I can't find the words to pray.

When I first really started to think about this passage of scripture, I thought about how the anchor is firm and secure in the seabed, keeping the boat exactly where it should be. So when my circumstances would rock me back and forth, I would get upset, because I'm supposed to be …

Coronavirus Response by Enneagram

The Enneagram test is is a comprehensive personality test that has become wildly popular the past few years. It breaks people down into nine basic categories based on their fears, desires and motivations. If you don't know what type you are, click here for a free test, or you want to read more about each type, click here. I thought I would have a little fun with the Corona frenzy that has the world shut down right now, and I broke down the responses each personality type would have. Because, hey, what else is there to do at home? (this is for entertainment purposes only!)
1. The Moral Perfectionist Food is rationedEach family member is only allowed four squares of TP per wipeHome school desks are set up with color-coded assignment chartsAlready wrote her own lessons to teach her childrenWonders why people are just now learning how to wash their hands properly

2. The Supportive Advisor Calling grandparents and other elderly to make sure they have enough food and suppliesThe neighborhoo…

What Makes a Narcissist Miserable?

While not an expert on narcissism by any means, I have been married to two narcissists. Their personalities and how they manifested their narcissism were completely opposite one another, so it took me much longer to see the covert narcissism of husband #2. So one could say that I've been up-close-and-personal with a wide spectrum of narcissism.

I recently wrote an article about ways to spot a covert narcissist by looking for these signs. Because of that article, as well as other conversations I've had with people about narcissism, I was recently asked, "What makes a narcissist feel miserable?" So after thinking about it and praying, I came up with this list of things that would make any narcissist miserable.

1. Being alone
A narcissist feeds on the attention of others. They will always surround themselves with others who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. This is why narcissists jump from one relationship to another. Narcissists will never …

He Didn't Reject Me; He Rejected the God Inside of Me

After my husband left me in 2013, I spent a lot of time in prayer and supplication to the Lord. I wanted to know if I was making a mistake by divorcing him. I wanted clarity that I wasn't sinning by getting a divorce. Then God gave me a vision. I hesitate to call it a vision, because I know many people stumble when hearing that word--myself included. But it wasn't really a dream, either, but it came to me when I was lying in bed in a half-lucid state, so I'm not sure what else to call it.

I was in the middle of a vast body of water with both of my girls, ages 3 and 6 at the time. No life jackets, no boats in sight, and nothing to hold on to. Swimming to shore would require extraordinary effort, and at the moment, it was everything I could do to just breathe. The water lapped into my mouth and nose. I was surely going to drown, and my girls were, too. I kept trying to make sure my precious daughters were above water, but every time I lifted them up, I began to drown myself…

The Allure of Being the Other Woman

I have never understood how anyone could date someone who is married. How in the world could any woman ever be ok with being "the other woman"? Why would someone think that God would bring them someone who is already married? How could anyone ever be ok being the homewrecker?

Then I was her. 
I didn't mean to be, and I definitely didn't act on it in any way. He wasn't married, but he was in a committed relationship. The experience left an indelible mark on me, and I had a paradigm shift concerning "the other woman."
Let's back up six years to when "Bennett" and I were dating. I had met him right after my divorce was final, and he was a breath of fresh air. In all the ways my husband had failed me, Bennett encouraged me and held me up. We instantly connected, and we dated for nearly a year. We eventually broke up because he wasn't interested in ever being a step-dad. As a single mom of a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old at the time, I coul…

He Knows What's Best

"It's not fair! You don't even trust me!" My 12-year-old daughter slammed her bedroom door. I sighed heavily and slumped down on the couch. With my face in my hands, I questioned my mothering; I questioned my ability to handle a tween, and a tear started to form in the corner of my eye.

She wanted to walk home from school with her best friend to her house. She's always either ridden the bus or been picked up, and I said no. We had a fervent text battle earlier that afternoon when I told her no, and now that we were home, she wanted to punish me for telling her no.

It hadn't been a flippant answer; I had weighed the options. I thought about the route they would have to take--it crossed a major roadway with no crosswalk. I considered the time of day and weather (late afternoon and overcast). I considered the number of other children walking that route (very few). I considered the length of the route (nearly a mile and half). All in all, I did not feel comfort…

It Wasn't Supposed to be Like This, Kobe

I stood in the center circle of the hardwood floor at Reunion Arena in 1995. I closed my eyes and drank in the reality of the moment. I was about to play on the same court as the Dallas Mavericks and all the legends of the game who had come through that gym. I was going to get to send the rock through the same net, sweat in the same seats and run through the same tunnel. I was in the presence of greatness, even though the NBA players weren't physically there.

Pictures of Michael Jordan meticulously cut from Sports Illustrated plastered my closet doors in high school. A life-size poster of Jason Kidd hung behind my door. Above my bed, the 1996 Dream Team smiled at me every day. A Reggie Miller jersey was all I wanted for Christmas my junior year, and I proudly sported Charles Barkley's CB 34's when I was on the court.

Not many girls had basketball posters in their rooms. The summer before my senior year, the Lakers drafted this kid straight out of high school. I remember t…

What Kind of Plate Are You?

We use paper plates at my house. It comes down to pure laziness--I just hate doing dishes. Sometimes, we'll even use paper bowls and plastic silverware. Every now and then, the practicality of the meal requires actual dishes, so we feel fancy. A meal like steak, for instance, requires a real plate. Not only may the food slide off a paper plate, but the steak knife could cut right to the table.

In addition to being lazy, I'm also cheap, so I've bought the off-brand paper plates before. Even worse are the ones that pre-schoolers use for crafts. I'm not even sure those were actually designed to hold food--they're flimsy and everything seeps through them. I've learned to purchase name-brand paper plates to avoid dinnertime disasters. It's a little more expensive, but it's well worth it to not have food slide off the edge or seep through.

We do use real plates other times, too, though. My mom has heirloom China that we only use on holidays. Each plate has t…

His Mercies are New Every Morning

It was close to 5 am when we pulled out of the parking lot, and I was already exhausted. Darkness enveloped us, and the moon was nowhere to be seen. We were headed to Waco for a school trip, and I was the less-than-enthusiastic bus driver. So I filled myself with a determination to stay awake and caffeine--lots of caffeine.

As I was driving down I-35, the sky began to ever so slowly brighten. The lyrics to Rita Springer's song You Never Change came to my mind that say, "You are the sunrise; there is no mistaking Your light." As I looked around me, there was indeed no mistaking the light that was forthcoming. The sun was yet to peek above the horizon, but the brightness of the morning was already evident.

As I got my first glimpse of the sun, the lyrics hit even harder. There is no man-made light that could be comparable to the sun. There's never been a time where I saw a light and wondered, "Oh, is that the sun?" Only the sun is the sun, and it's unmis…

Popular posts from this blog

Jesus Would Advocate for Civil Disobedience

In March, executive orders from governors across the country forced us to stay home, to close schools and churches and to shut down private businesses. Businesses were classified as either "essential" or "non-essential." All businesses deemed "non-essential" were forced to close. This included markets, clothing stores, boutiques, dine-in restaurants, and beauty salons. State parks, city parks, beaches, walking trails, lakes, and other wide open spaces were closed as well.

Many people feel that the "social distancing," as it has come to be known, and stay at home executive orders violate their constitutional rights, such as our first amendment right to freely exercise our religion, our right to peaceably assemble, and that we shall not be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the people who feel their rights have been violated have decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Some have even chosen to defy…

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists.

But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red flags, and there …

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following:
Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord.

Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back.

Shortly after he left in June, God told me tha…