Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How to have the Worst Valentine's Day Ever...

It's Valentine's Day.  You couldn't possibly forget it, because social media is right there to flood your feed with All of the Pictures.  Homemade cards. Breakfast in bed.  Original poems. Surprise dates.  It's supposed to be a day to celebrate love - any and all kinds of love.

There are so many articles out there on how to make the most of your Valentines Day... On how to WOW them with your love.  But I want to cover something no one seems to help us with.  I want to make sure you know how to have the WORST Valentine's Day ever.

WIVES:

Compare your husband with other husbands.  Why not?  Their wives are posting pictures and all the juicy details.  What's wrong with YOUR husband?  Why didn't HE cry actual tears while professing his love for you, catch them in a tiny glass vile and give it to you on a necklace, like Lisa's husband?  I mean, sure, your husband has great qualities.  He loves you faithfully, he is a hands-on dad, provides for the family, helps around the house, speaks highly of you to his friends and family.... Celebrating who he IS instead of who he is NOT is just way too easy.  Take the time to really hold him up against other men on this one specific day.  Identify where he doesn't measure up.  Oh, and to really seal the deal, tell him!!!

HUSBANDS:

Compare your wife with other wives.  Randy's wife got up and cooked him a heart shaped breakfast, and your wife was still in her jammies with yesterday's leftover makeup smudged under her eyes when you left for work.  Why couldn't she have put forth a little more effort?  I mean, sure, she was up really late helping the kids with their homework last night.  She's such a good mom, she holds down the fort at home while you work long hours in your business... she has her own side business too, but makes sure all of your needs are met.... She is an amazing wife, mom, friend, and daughter... But dangit, why didn't she surprise you and cut a tiny lock of your hair when you were sleeping and wear it in a locket around her neck today like Jim's wife? Now THAT is romantic!  Or at least that's how it seemed, based on the post you just read about it!  Speaking of posts, why didn't your wife profess her love for you on social media like so many other wives did today?!

MOMS and DADS:

Compare your kids Valentines with other kids Valentines!  Oh man, Stacy had the whole breakfast table decorated with red and pink hearts.  A gift sat at each place setting perfectly wrapped, almost overflowing with goodies.  You threw frozen waffles in the toaster, but for the love, you better believe you didn't just spray whipped cream on top - you applied it in the shape of a heart!  No one can say you didn't try!  But woah, Jenny clearly Moms so hard!  She hired someone to make the PERFECT Valentines for her kid's class.  Each gift had a clever "pun" attached, that perfectly ties in the themed gift with the Day of Love.  YOUR child's reusable Albertson's bag filled with miniature Nerds boxes that barely fit her name them?  Ha!  Enjoy taking that walk of shame to the classroom!

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OK, sarcasm done.  ;)

Bottom line?  Everyone has different gifts.  It's a lot of pressure to be All the Right Things on one specific day.  Give grace.  Enjoy today.  Your way.

And as a reminder: Today is not for the top 2%.  Today is an All Play!  If you have life and breath?  There is something to celebrate today!  LOVE is found in a romantic gesture, yes, but also a kind gesture. A compassionate gesture.  A sacrificial gesture.  Find a homeless person and give them a meal.  That's love.  Bring your best friend their favorite coffee.  That's love.  Give a compliment to a stranger.  Spread love.  Celebrate it!  Love is worth celebrating.   Not Lisa's love or Jenny's love or Randy's love or Stacy's love.  Their love is beautiful because it is THEIRS.  YOU celebrate YOUR love. YOUR way.  Fancy?  Simple?  Loud?  Quiet?  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  You do you.  No right, no wrong.  Just Love.






Friday, February 2, 2018

That Time My 5 Year Old PREACHED To Me...

A small children's chair from our upstairs loft had somehow made its way downstairs today.  At the end of the day as we were tidying after dinner, the last item at the bottom of the stairs, waiting to be taken up, was the chair.  Reese ran over to it and said, "I'll carry it up!"  I had to hold back my laughter.  Sweet Reese is 5 years old but she looks about 3.  ;)  She is in the 6th percentile for height and weight and is as petite as they come.  But her heart and spirit?  Oh man, they are fierce!  "No honey, I will carry it up," I replied.  But she frowned at me and insisted she could do it.  The other kids all went upstairs to get ready for bed and I returned to the kitchen sink to wash the final pot from dinner.

About 30 seconds later, I heard her.  She was out of breath.  There was a strain in her voice.  Each word had about 2 seconds between the next.  She spoke to herself through gritted teeth.  "Just.. because.. it's hard... doesn't.. mean.. God's not here."  My eyes grew huge.   My eyes filled with tears.  Oh sweet baby girl, may your whispered prayer, through gritted teeth, steady your heart not just for this moment, but for all the moments of your life.
I turned around to see my baby giving all she had, to get the chair up just one stair.
Her words rung in my ears.  "Just because it's hard, doesn't mean God's not here."  She pushed.  She pulled. She lifted.  She struggled.  She sat for a rest.  And finally, big sis Taylor, on her way downstairs for a glass of water, offered to help.  Reese accepted the assistance, this time with gratitude.  And together, they got the chair safely up the stairs.

Sometimes God gives us supernatural strength to get through something beyond what we ever could have thought we could handle.

He is present.  Empowering. 

And sometimes God sends people to walk alongside.  To support us and hold us up.  To cheer us on, and sit in it with us, and to share in the heavy lifting.

He is present.  Providing tangible support - His hands and feet.

And sometimes, God just sits with us in the warm sun.  Toes in the sand, with blessings flooding our thoughts, and peace that goes beyond our understanding.

He is present.  Providing rest and goodness.

When life is easy, God is here.
When life is hard, God is here.
He Is With.
Always.

Sometimes we have to look for Him.
Sometimes we have to pause and listen for Him.
And sometimes His presence is an undeniable force we can't dismiss.

But then there's those other times.  The times we don't see, and we don't hear, and we don't feel, but we KNOW.  We know His character. We know His promises.

And so we wipe the sweat from our brow, take a deep breath, and through gritted teeth, we declare the Truth and choose to let our faith conquer our doubt.

"Just because it's hard, doesn't mean God isn't here."