Family, Rest

Lake week day 3

It’s just incredible here. In fact, I think we’d buy a property up here so we could come as often as possible should the opportunity present itself. There’s nothing better than life at the lake during lake week.

Today we were met with significantly less drama than yesterday and managed to enjoy a bunch of mountain activities while being boatless.

We started by heading to my friend at the local boat shop to consult about our troubling position. It started rather humorously as we spoke with Mike (see, first name basis already) about our problem, and like every other mechanic would say in the heat of the moment, it’d be impossible to fix this week and we’re 4 weeks out on repairs mostly because of covid and backordering of parts.

We discussed what our best option would be and settled on probably just buying a new engine for the dang thing. In case we didn’t fully clarify, what happened is that we effectively blew the transmission of the boat. Engine runs file but the prop won’t turn because of a blown gear.

Mike tells us that because of the age of our engine there would be absolutely no way we’d find a fix for it in the next month and if we did it would be a unicorn bringing it to us.

Well, it’s funny how things work like this because I believe in a God of impossibility who delights in the care and concern of his kids. By the time our conversation with Mike ended, he had found the exact part we needed, at a supplier who works closely with him less than an hour away, would be delivered next day and would be reassembled in less than one hours, and OH, at a discount!

He stood dumbfounded at his own words!

For the rest of the day, we spent hiking and picnicking around Trough Creek State Park visiting the rainbow waterfall, the suspension bridge, and the ice mine all found. It was a tremendous excursion that brought some amazing views and a lot of fun.

After some time in the hammock and doing squirt gun canvas painting (that would be my creative wife’s doing), we spent some time swimming at the beach before a huge BBQ chicken dinner and a late night, fireside chat that took us up to almost midnight reminiscing about the stories that gave my parents all that gray hair. Oh those were the days! The days of jumping off two-story roofs onto large trampolines and igniting entire bags of fireworks, and that amazing helicopter rescue moment that happened while mom was major prego with my youngest brother back in ’91.

I tell you what, nothing compares with moments with family. Nothing does! They are absolutely the most important moments of life.

Experience, Family, Rest

Lake Week

Lake week again. Finally! We’ve been anticipating this week for a long time now.  Our family really only knows one speed and that it just fast. With 5 kids, you can imagine the constant movement that happens all the time. It gets to be breakneck every once in a while. 

Over the past few weeks, as we’ve been in the process of finishing up some major projects on our house, we’ve just about exhausted ourselves for weeks on end. For a while there it was up around 5 and to bed around midnight for days on end and you can really only do that for so long before your body begins to refuse to listen to your crazy talk! 

So lake week. For three years running we’ve made it a point to come up here in the middle of July to just be together with the whole family and spend as much time on the water as we are able. We have found that there is therapy in these woods and waters. Some sort of healing salve is released when you jump in for the first time and float 40’ above the muddy bottom of the warm waters.  We’ll fish, we’ll tube, we’ll ski, we’ll eat and laugh and play and it will be most rejuvenating. 

What’s your therapy? What do you do in your word to get the most relaxing you can? 

Rest

unplug

My morning view is exquisite! Like no other. All I hear around me is birds and the occasional airplane passing miles overhead and the hissing of the campfire next to me drying out wet wood

The water in front of me is like glass and is as inviting as a cool drink on a hot day.
It won’t be long before the noise around is all but explosive.

I’ve come to realize that these are the moments that should be defining our lives. These moments of calm and peaceful serenity are the ones that draw us ever closer to the heart of our Father.

Somehow I just wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind when he told the Disciples to “Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while”, Mark 6:31 TPT.

I’m all about productivity. In fact it’s probably my loudest anthem, but productivity must be met with equal parts of rest and serenity.

You are only as good productively as you are at resting consistently.

There’s a sign at the gym where I destroy my body in the morning that reads, “almost everything can be fixed if it’s simply unplugged for a minute.”

What do you need to do to unplug for a minute?

I bought a hammock a while back and I take it with me everywhere I go and have used it frequently in the most random of places because of that reality, sometimes you just need a few moments of rest.

But sometimes you need seasons of rest.

The beginning of this year was a time when we felt the Lord put our family into a season of rest that was brought on by an illness Crystal faced. It wasn’t much rest of a lot of angles but it forced her into shutting down everything she was facing and she could literally do and accomplish nothing. It was a season of forced rest.

I wonder what would have been different had we willfully chosen a season of rest before that. Or had we altered our schedules and determinations to be more restful prior to that?

So the question stands, what do you need to do to unplug for a minute? And where do you need to unplug for a season?

Experience, Rest

Three Days of Adventure

These past three days have been the best of our lives!

That’s a pretty sweeping statement to make considering “our lives” encompass 16 years of history, but there is just something so incredibly wonderful about spending concentrated time with my best friend.

After the way this year started with Crystal’s sickness and being on complete bedrest for 7 weeks, I felt that we had been robbed!

My good friend, Aaron, preaching about John 10:10 this summer during our series, One Thing, and in it, he hammered on the reality that “the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…” and I literally felt that our adversary had stolen so much from us. We were powerless to do anything about this burglar, as if he had marched himself into our home in the middle of the afternoon with all of us standing around. Without even masking his person, he sat down on the couch, grabbed the remote out of Grayson’s hand, started watching some ridiculous show, like Game of Thrones, and demanding that we bring him sweet tea. He stuck around for weeks in the same position just making demands of us and sucking the very life from our existence!

We’d hear him laughing and carrying on at night when we were all trying to rest and recover from this awful experience. He just wouldn’t go away!

We’d try to make those neat phrases to make guests know that their time to stay had passed. You know like, “well,we’ve got to get dinner together”, and “thanks for stopping by, it was so good to see you again,” but he just wouldn’t take the hint.

Why is it that we try so hard not to offend the devil when he is literally ROBBING us!

Finally, I saw what was going on, came to reality of what was being taken from us and I began to demand that he get the hell out of our home, and the hell he was getting out was himself!

I began praying that the Lord make him pay recompense x100 for all that had been taken from us and those around us.

He had stolen so much time.

He had stolen energy.

He had stolen opportunity.

He had stolen experiences.

He had stolen moments of life change at our church.

NO MORE!

To this day, I still pray that the Lord would bring back what’s been lost. That He would make the devil pay and pay sorely for all that’s been taken. I pray that we’d recover X100 what was taken in medical expenses.

I pray we’d see X100, people accept Christ because of it.

The devil wanted us out of this church, this role in leadership and influence and because of that, he’s going to pay, sorely, for all he thought he’d get away with!

So that brings me back to the last three days. It had been my plan for a while, and I believe the Lord just gave it to me, that I should surprise Crystal with a trip away, just she and I. No agenda, just time together. So I did.

I told her to block off three days, don’t plan anything!

I lined up my parents to be at our house to hang with the grandkids. They were already traveling in the area and it wasn’t much for them to plan a few days to be with the kids. So graciously, the took me up on it.

Over the last three days, we’ve had nothing but fun and acted like kids. We’ve come to HGTV Mecca: Waco, Texas, where every woman tries to dress like Joanna and somehow the single word, Magnolia, has healing power.

We rented a convertible and cruised down the Texas freeway with the top down for 90 miles.

We’ve laughed and spent lots of time just being together. and eating, lots and lots of eating. Tacos and BBQ and coffee, and tacos.

We stayed in a tiny house village, which to my surprise, is incredibly fun and was actually one of Crystal’s bucket list ideas!

We drove to every antique store we could and browsed for hours for rusty, stained and ancient metal, photos and newspaper articles!

It’s hard to see that experience in the past now, but for me, for us, it was a step in recovery and celebration that where the devil sought to destroy, the Lord is using to move faith forward.

I say all this to make you a little jealous. 😉

I also say this to help you see that the devil is a liar, cheat and a thief . He’s always going to try to steal and I just can’t help but wonder if he’s pulled up a chair in your home. You’re serving him your dinner and wondering why there’s not enough food for your family! Why there’s not enough time in your day! Why there’s not enough worship in your life! It’s because of that dang thief and he’s sucking the very life and joy out of you!

It’s time to put an end to the burglary.

It’s time to recognize that the longer you let the liar take up space on your couch, the more your relationships suffer, the more bitter you become and the less like Jesus to look at the end of the day.

Let’s start a new program, we’ll call it something genius, like Neighborhood Watch because there is a thief in the neighborhood and he is relentless in what he’s out to steal, kill and destroy!

Rest

What happened to Siesta?

Photo by Mika on Unsplash

For those who know me best know, I’m a bit infatuated with Mexico. I love Latin Culture and reminisce about my time living there quite often. I believe it’s one of the best places on earth! Some days I miss it terribly and think frequently about the memories we created during our time living there.

Something that I always found most intriguing was their lackadaisical approach to life. You’ve heard about it before, the anthem of Mexico is that it will be done mañana!

Every afternoon from like 2-4 everything shut down. It was expected, everyone, everywhere, rested during that middle part of the day. Most people worked long hours, arriving early and staying late, and to endure that, they rested during this middle, hot part of the day. While I never really participated in siesta while we were there, I’ve come to really appreciate that about their culture.

The velocity of life in America is the thing I dislike most about our own culture. We accomplish a lot, get a lot of stuff done, but we miss so much in the process!

Granted it’s impossible to stop the speed of life around us, but that doesn’t mean we can slow our own roll. Even if it’s just for a short period of time. A healthy goal for this might become, every day for the next week, I’m going to take a lunch break.
I can’t even remember the last time I did that! I work through lunch like every day and I’ve actually begun to loathe it.

So today, and for the next week, I’m gonna pack my hammock, take a lunch and maybe even a nap, just because I can (and maybe because I should!) besides, I still have mañana!

How about you? Do you take a break like this? Have you ever and would you ever consider it again?

Biblical Living, Random, Rest

Stop Pushing so Hard

Tuesday morning. Favorite day of the week. I awake with a ton of anticipation of what this day holds. It’s Easter week, so in the church world, we are warming up for the main event that will happen on Sunday.

My alarm buzzes at 4:45 AM. It’s way early and yet, I have so much to do. My body doesn’t want to move yet, neither does my mind.

5:10 and my phone goes off again, reminding me, I’ve snoozed too long and it’s time to get out of bed. I browse my email and scan Facebook for a minute before I jump out of bed and quietly make my way down stairs to start warming up the Holy Spirit (That would be coffee).

By 9AM, the kids are off to school and I am off to work, but feeling like I’ve already worked a full day. My body is telling me I’m pushing too hard.
I’ve learned over the years that it does very little good to keep pushing. When you push to hard you make mistakes and usually mistakes come with zeros at the end.

I did whatever person should do when they push too hard…

take a nap in the parking lot of Starbucks.

Isn’t that what you do too?

I’ll need another form of rest today so I can continue, but it’s critically important to know what you can handle and when to say it is enough.

What do you gain by pushing so hard?

I know there’s so much to do. There always is.

In this thinking, my mind is drawn back a Biblical principle. Matthew 16:26, “What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?”

Take a deep breath today. Stop pushing so hard. Sure there is a time to work yourself to exhaustion. But just know not to work yourself past exhaustion. God didn’t intend for you to live that way.

Experience, Family, Purpose, Rest

The Best Tuesday of the Week!

Photo by Jörg on Unsplash

Just a few weeks ago the skies were still overcast and winter continued to hang over our heads. It was as if it would never release its chokehold on us. For months we’ve endured the dreary days of downcast skies and all that you can do with life indoors had lost its excitement long ago.

But today! Today promises to be the best day yet! The sun is out. And it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week and the best Tuesday you’re going to have this week!

As I sit in Starbucks this morning, immersed in my Tuesday Setlist, people around are enjoying their Dark Cup of Holy Spirit 😉 (Little inside joke with have at Grand Point Ship), and life looks good again.

Yesterday was another great day of the week. A day full of ministry for me. So many conversations of life change and helping people take one more step in their walk with Christ. Some of the going through some very very tough life situations, but all of them inspired with the hope of the Savior and willing to try just one day more.

Then it struck me. Probably because I’m surrounded in this atmosphere of the Spirit’s presence. I love it when the Lord speaks to me and reminds me of promises He’s already stated. This is what I heard:

We simply underestimate the extent of the Grace of God. It just goes everywhere. Farther than our sin extends and beyond where we feel hope ends.

Open your eyes! Recognize that today, Today you are living and breathing the goodness of the Lord around you. Today is the best Tuesday you’re going to have all week, and it’s sunny, and the Lord Still Moves!

No matter what happens today, the Lord is still in control and that is worth your celebration.

Biblical Living, Rest

Soul Refuel

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

I love alone time.

It fills my soul. I don’t need a lot of it, just a dose, an hour or so every week, and it’s just time for me to reflect and refuel my soul.

I find that over the days of my week I build up a resistance to all things human and it makes be brittle. I get to a place where noise is deafening and I literally can’t stand anything that is not controlled. I noticed that my fuses become shorter and shorter before I tend to blow up on someone or something. I don’t love that part about who I am, but one of the most important things is realizing it’s a part of me. I can either do something about it or ignore it. So I choose my word of the year, intentional, and do something with it.

After I’ve had a short time of space where I fill my head with sounds of incredible worship and the air around me with words of prayer, I literally feel the filling of the Spirit in me and I become human again. I realize the theology behind that statement isn’t accurate, but semantics… Maybe one day I won’t need these times of space and solitude, but at that point, you and I will be neighbors in heaven. Until then, I resort to a space. A resort, where we I can dream and pray and worship.

You should try it sometime.

All it takes is a really good cup of coffee and an atmosphere where the Lord can personally, refill your soul.

Enjoy your time away…

Experience, Family, Rest

The Best Yes Life

Photo by John Volante on Unsplash

It’s not that I consider myself as old or getting too old, but that I am learning the value of every day. The thought occurred to me as we closed the year and began the new and the thought that so many seem to characterize their lives- thank God that year is over, this next one is going to be so much better.

For some, that is most certainly true. I know some people of whom last year was marred by so much loss. They lost friends, family, possessions, relationships, careers, money, some literally they lost the works and, undoubtedly, they are grateful to see a year scared by such loss appear in the rearview mirror. But for other, for the ones who just endured a few consequences of bad decisions, for us to see that in the mirror should not bring relief, it should bring a sense of anticipation. You learned! Learn to love learning!

The thought that so captivated me was the reality that one of the only years of my life is now over. Time, in my mind, is suddenly becoming finite. I am painfully aware of the fact that my days are limited. My time with opportunity to affect change around me is pre-determined.
The moments I have to love my children are not limitless.

Because of that new found truth, I determine to live the Best Yes Life. I have a few best yes’s that I can enjoy and the rest, I’m just not going to worry about.

I don’t want to get to the end of the year, look back and see a history of missed opportunity. I want to look back and see a well chosen story that is marked by sweet memories of Best Yes’s.

I want to see my children laugh, smile and be thrilled by time together.

I want to date my wife like we just met.

I want to put my canoe in the water every week (that it’s warm enough) and enjoy the peace and tranquility of being outside, alone, with God.

I want to choose time over treasure realizing that the treasure may actually be found in time.

Biblical Living, Rest

Living in Your Head

As a little girl, I remember loving to lay on a soft, flowered covered field on the farm looking at the clouds daydreaming of what was ahead and imaginary unicorns and glitter dancing around me. Until one beautiful Spring day in my pleated dress, I rolled down a freshly mowed lawn and had to be rushed to the ER with an allergic reaction to grass. Who can be allergic to grass? Yes, that was me; covered in hives and a long week at home from school.

 I think about that time and I wish I had moments in my adulthood of those simple moments. Not the red hive moments but the days that my only agenda was day dreaming; living in the possibilities of the impossible, moments of quiet hearing from the Lord.  Unicorns and glitter included of course! 

This world around me says fill your life, pack it full, dream bigger, reach higher, push further…Nothing is ever enough! In our Christian lives, we can easily arrive at the routine of living in our head that we are never enough. That God is the one wanting us to keep working toward a bigger position in this world. However that is not the truth.

Jesus said in Matthew 22: 37, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

God calls us to LOVE HIM! He doesn’t say “Love the world, the goals, your calendar, your agenda” He says Love me with all your heart. 

So as I enter in this new year I am scheduling time to have those moments of daydreams and worship with the Lord. Times that are quiet, so I can hear Him speak and pour into me. I want to fully understand how much He really does love me and not to, tiredly, impress Him with all that I do. He doesn’t need me in this world but wants me to have a deeper and a child like love towards Him. Don’t be surprised if you drive by my house and see an 30+ year old laying in the yard looking at the clouds falling deeper in love with the Lord.