Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Because I Care About My Health...........and Cable TV

I pulled in the parking lot the other day and saw a guy heading in the door with a walker.

A few weeks ago there was a different gentleman walking inside with a cane, winter hat/coat on and jeans.

Perhaps my favorite moment is when I get there at just the right time and am surrounded by the older but not ancient 10am crowd.  There is a lot of yelling and cajoling and in particular there is one REALLY loud guy.

This is the guy that knows everyone.

He always introduces himself to any newbie (He spotted me RIGHT AWAY).

He yells clear across the room to his buddies and knows all the ins and outs of the building.

You almost want to avoid him but don't because he's genuinely a nice guy.

(Patrick Anderson, if you are reading this I am guessing this is exactly the way you view me at church :)

So why am I telling you all this?

Well, I finally found a gym where I fit RIGHT IN.

These are my people when it comes to exercise.

I love it.

I always said that when the kids went to school I would REALLY, TRULY begin to exercise.  I think I used to say this because it felt as if that day would never, ever happen.  It seemed almost impossible that a day would come when I would drop all the kids off at school and...........then..........well, I couldn't even think about what I would do the next minute.  I had grand visions of reading all day on the couch and binge watching tv shows while I hand-rolled pasta or made all kinds of different breads.

That didn't happen.

None of it.

EXCEPT the exercise.

But before you think I am some kind of total convert..........refer back to my gym buddies.

We have a lot in common.

We don't dress to impress.  (I did try to buy what I thought looked like gym's very bright and is made of gym wear material, it makes me feel a bit sporty but the shirt I wear most often is one I stole from Jen says something about a 5K on it...........I like to make people think I ran that reality, she gave the shirt to Francesca to wear as a "maxi skirt" when Francesca peed her pants at church and I had nothing to give her.......)

I have my own medical issues. (I routinely choose the treadmill nearest to the bathroom.  I usually have to get off at least once during my time to pee.  I pause my machine, slip off, rush in and out and get back on.  One time I didn't realize I had started it back up BEFORE getting on and I go to get on and totally tripped BECAUSE IT WAS ALREADY MOVING.  Praise to the mighty God above that I didn't actually fall.)

Going to the gym is a social thing.  (I go because I LOVE to hang out with my friends Stacey and Clinton and sometimes Randy.  The gym is the only time I get to see them and check in on how they are doing.  I mean, TECHNICALLY, we aren't REALLY friends because they don't know my name and I only interact with them via the tv screen and the conversation only goes one way BUT I love them and their passion for seeing women feel good about themselves.  They have never met a woman that wasn't beautiful.  I feel that Randy might pass out if he ever saw me in a wedding dress because that is how STUNNING he would find me.)

Just being at the gym is the end goal.  (I started getting a bit cocky in my thinking and from wearing my 5K Jen shirt..........actually ran 3 miles one day.........have been consistently running/jogging rather than just walking......I know this isn't impressive for many of you but BELIEVE ME when I say it is QUITE THE FEAT for I starting thinking........huh.  Maybe, I just might sign up for one of those 5K things that everyone is doing these days.  If I get the right person to do it with me I will FOR SURE finish........I can be a little stubborn/competitive.  This thought lasted right up until the day my regular treadmill by the bathroom was taken and I had to go into THE OTHER ROOM.  This is the room where everyone under 70 goes to work out - NOT MY PEOPLE. I once saw a woman with MATCHING workout gear on, I didn't know how to handle it.  Oh and they have a wall of mirrors - RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TREADMILLS.  That is the day I decided that I was never, ever going to run in public.  OH MY WORD.  No one needs to see that.)

So that's my foray into the gym world, the wonderful world where exercise and cable TV collide.

It's kind of wonderful.

If you want to come and join the guys, Stacey, Clinton, Randy and I, we will be at the Hall of Fame Fitness Center.

Just look for the treadmill by the bathroom.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Choose Your Own Adventure

To my loves - my Heart, my Joy and my Adventure............

I have dreams for you.

I have hopes for you.

I pray prayers for you.

I want so much for you.

And yet.

I am not YOU.

My dreams may not be yours.

My hopes may not be yours.

My prayers may not be yours.

But my love is yours - never changing, never based on what you do rather based on who you are - my child - forever and always.

My time is yours - to fill with your stories and your excitement and your pride and your heartaches and your disappointments.......I will listen to it all - forever and always.

My home is yours - for growing up in, decorating, running about in, living in and in the future for visits and stays, a safe place to come home to - forever and always.

My arms are yours - for late night cuddles, early morning snuggles, for soothing hurts and calming fears, for one day welcoming your love and then your little loves, they will be waiting to be filled - forever and always.

For when you were born, my life got bigger.

My heart got bigger.

My dreams got bigger.

My hopes got bigger.

My life got bigger.

YOU are my adventure.

And as I watch you grow and love and live........I see glimpses of  YOUR adventure.

I see beauty that finds adventure in the pages of a book, in the helping and loving others.  I see you come alive when you are learning and then teaching.  I see the grace and poise you exhibit in so many situations.  I see how you have awaken to who you are and that your adventure is more of a quiet sort but no less of an adventure.  You dance and glide across a stage, silent but beautiful as you perform in front of so many.   You live, at times, this secret life where you thoughts are hidden and your desires are written...........until you find a quiet time, a safe person, a trusted friend........oh and then the words don't stop and once again it is beauty that pours forth in the guise of silliness and dreams and insight and more.  I love that you choose well and choose with care who you share your heart with.

How my heart swells to see you living a life of adventure - not my adventure but yours.

I am so proud of you, the one I call my HEART.

I see my rough and tumble, always moving, always wanting more and impatient for the next thing are a bit more obvious in your adventures, my love.  You careen down steep hills, wrestle with friends, tackle your momma and will sacrifice life and limb to block any soccer goal.  It seems soccer is, indeed, a contact sport when you play.  You run head first into life - sometimes thinking, sometimes not.  And have quiet moments of hearing from God and have a depth of insight that belies the rough and tumble boy you present to the world.  You are attentive and have a respect for those you trust, those in authority.  You are a perfectionist.  What an anomaly you are, my love.............I can't wait to see what it is you do in life.

And how my heart swells to see you living a life of adventure - not my adventure but yours.

I am so proud of you, the one I call my JOY.

And oh my...............that last.  The last, hip-shaking, Jersey-accented, LOOK AT ME, comfort-seeking, always messy, crazy girl.  You have never met a mirror you didn't love.  You sit at my vanity and peer into it, singing and posing and applying whatever it is you can find.  And when you apply make-up or nail polish or glitter or paint or accessories your motto is MORE IS BETTER.  You make us laugh, my love.  You make us shake our heads in wonder.  You make us crazy.  For you are a feeler - everything is FELT and it's felt in a BIG way.  Whether that emotion is love or sadness or hurt or disappointment or joy or excitement.  It's go big or go home with you.

And how my heart swells to see you living a life of adventure - not my adventure but yours.

I am so proud of you, the one I call my ADVENTURE.

So know, my loves, whatever it is you choose to do, whatever adventure you choose.......

My love, my time, my home, my arms..............

They are yours.

But your life?'s a choose your OWN adventure kind of story.

I love you.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

For Chris.....

For every dreamer...................there is a dream maker.

You know who you are...........

The ones that listen.

The ones that know.

The ones that plan.

The ones that are on alert.

For every dreamer has the ONE that makes it happen.

And yes.

There is a GOD.

And yes.

GOD loves.

GOD plants the seed.

GOD inspires.

GOD believes.

But the dream maker.......well, they LOVE the dreamer.

They SEE the dreamer and their passion is the dreamer.

They are the ones that take care of the kids as the dreamer goes out and does their thing.

They are the one that gives the space to the dreamer.

They are the one that is steady to the dreamer's sporadic.

They are the one that sees with God's eyes.

They see their Love.

They support their Love.

They aren't starry-eyed, they are realist and they realize that they are in love with the dreamer.

And so they dream, too.

And maybe it's reluctantly and with dragging feet and rolled eyes.

But make no mistake............

The dreamer CANNOT happen without the dream maker.

Thank you.

Thank you to all the dream makers out there.

Thank you for LOVING.

Thank you for recognizing BEAUTY.

Thank you for your SERVANTHOOD.

Thank you for loving our children.

Thank you for loving US.

Thank you for making things happen.

For every dreamer needs a dream maker.

Thank you, Chris.

The IF Gathering couldn't have happened without you.

Without you first saying YES to your dreamer.


It starts almost immediately............

Right after we pull out of our beloved family camp in Dunkirk, New York.........

The conversation begins about WHAT WILL WE DO FOR TALENT SHOW NEXT YEAR?!?

And it continues throughout the year.

Just yesterday we were in the car on the way to school and Francesca was saying that HER talent is art......and if you know Francesca you know and love the way she says "aaarrrrt" - her accent as dramatic as her personality.

She wants to stand on stage and paint a picture and then bestow it upon a lucky audience member.

Fia is singing and dancing at this time.

Nico MIGHT dance but he also might burp.  He might do a skit.  At one point he wanted to play the lego flute.

My children.

What's amazing is that these are the same children that are HORRIFIED when any attention is paid to them by most adults.  They shun the spotlight, they get embarrassed easily.   They are quiet and well mannered at school.  We've been trying to encourage their participation.  The teachers all believe that FRANCESCA is serious and shy and quiet.


But, yes, it's true.

So why is it different at camp?

How can these same children get up in front of a 100 or so people at camp and display their talents so proudly?

It's because it's a FAMILY camp.

It's a place where you walk onto the grounds and you are home.  You are with family.  Your entire family - all 100 or so people.  These are people that hoot and holler when ANY child takes the stage - whether burping the abcs, singing a song off tune, free dancing or performing a skit.

I think we underestimate FAMILY.

We don't fully comprehend the power of FAMILY.

The expanded definition and capacity of FAMILY.

The healing nature of FAMILY.

The ability of FAMILY to empower, to bring out the best in people.

The changing love that FAMILY gives to people.

How when we are with FAMILY we are free.

And when I think of the Church?

I think of FAMILY.

When I read on blogs or in articles all the things we need to change and think about and do in order to GET people to come to church and that the church is dying and we need this type of worship music and make sure your service is this and your preaching is this and you have this and that and all that............OH MY WORD, IT IS OVERWHELMING.

And I get it.

I do.

I like worship.

I love to hear a good message and I like to preach a good message.

I want my kids to know Jesus and I value what they do at church.

BUT, PEOPLE, if we can't offer FAMILY what are we offering?

We are offering a band-aid.

We are offering a Sunday morning experience not a daily walk.

We are offering a mere shadow of what the Church is supposed to be.

We are to be God's FAMILY.

We are to be brothers and sisters and mamas and papas in CHRIST.

We are to be FAMILY - wholly and dearly loved, clothed with compassion and kindness and gentleness.

I don't know about you but I want a Church where people are free and empowered and loved and changed and the best is brought out because they are with FAMILY.

I don't want to welcome people into church.

I want to welcome them their FAMILY.

Join me?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Are You With Me?

For me?

The Church?

It's not a place of rules.

It's not a place for the good.

It's not a place for the perfect.

It's not a place for the whole and already arrived.

It's not a place of exclusion.

It's not a place that tells me what I can't do.

In's not even a PLACE.

Rather it's a PEOPLE.

It's a people that BELIEVE.

Believe that God is bigger and stronger than the things that crush us and tell us we CAN'T.

Believe that truth can exist and live in harmony with love.

Believe that perfection is only for God.

Believe that brokenness is the pathway to Jesus.


We can love the unloved.

We can heal the sick.

We can help the poor.

We can pray the prayers of a mighty God.

We can sing out in worship and adoration, foolishly and powerfully.

We can raise up a generation that equates the Church with love and mercy and justice and truth.

We can be the light of the world, a people that seek to shine LIGHT in every corner of their life.

We can.

Because for me?

The Church?

It's not a place.

It's a people and it's filled with people that I BELIEVE in.

The Church is a people and THEY CAN.

Are you with me?