Lessons learned from the young <3

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It is rainy and temperatures are forecasted to drop here all day. Every day is a new weather adventure here in the Midwest! 

Our two oldest grandsons play soccer on a set of fields in their hometown that are great as far as the fields go, but someone did not plan the parking lot well for crowded practice and game days. 

They double up on start and end times and the narrow and pitted gravel lanes extend quite a long distance with parking on either side of the entrance and exit paths. 

The way out of the complex means a loooooonnnnnngggggg wait to turn left and many cars trying to turn right as well and the gridlock struggle is real. 

Last Thursday evening, I picked up Graham from practice and was ready to get him to his home and then head home myself. 

We sat in the car for quite some time waiting for some kind soul to let us pull out into the line of cars making their way out of the parking lot. 

True to my Lochner genetics, I began verbalizing my frustration and talking to the other driver’s as if they could hear me. Finally, someone slowed and motioned for me to pull out. I waved my thank you numerous times and got in the procession. 

We were parked quite deep in the lot and so as we rolled along, we passed many other cars waiting to be freed from their parking place. However, I was so busy focusing on the tail lights ahead of me that I was missing seeing the ones who were fervently peering for an opening to pull out. 

I would be right on the front of a car before I saw the driver in place and their wheels slowly inching forward. 

As this happened repeatedly, I felt such conviction for my criticism of others who had seemed so uncaring. It’s possible I may have said several times during our waiting period how everyone was in such a hurry and couldn’t they help a sister out??? 

I said to Graham how I seemed to be the one now who was not leaving an opening for another car to pull out and from the back seat came the gentle reply…”Lola, you have to treat others the way you want to be treated.”

Ouch. 

I realized that in order to let some other cars join the exit line, I would need to be proactive to not be so eager to escape the madness. I would have to intentionally move slowly so that I would be ready to stop and let someone out. I needed to think more of them and less of me. 

It is a good lesson, isn’t it? 

In all of life. 

It is so easy to see when we are being wronged and so difficult to notice the plight of others once we are delivered. 

To remember how it felt to be in certain circumstances and to treat others how we would have wanted to be treated. 

As a bonus lesson, Graham hears that a lot from his parents. He may not always live it at age 8 (goodness knows his Lola is still learning the lesson in her 60’s) but they are sowing seeds of truth and those seeds are taking root.

 Our words and our actions matter. We all have a sphere of influence…sow truth into your sphere.


Our a-maze-ing Tuesday <3

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Thank you Auntie Lisa for telling us about this find at TJ Maxx…huge hit!

On Tuesday I spent the afternoon with these gems and what a day we had!

Due to the driveway being blocked for some work that had to be done in yard, PLUS the fabulous fall weather, PLUS a puppy and two school boys with excess energy to burn….

we packed up water for everyone…must stay hydrated…

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loaded up the crew….

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and then realized why Lola was having a terrible time rolling this party van out of the driveway…

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So plan B…we had the men move their equipment, transferred everyone to the motorized vehicle and headed off to pick up Thing one and Thing two.

We had planned to go to the pumpkin patch anyway so we headed there and on the way Joel asked if we could do the Corn Maze.

I said I thought it cost extra and so, no…we would not be doing that. He insisted it was free…the older two started telling him it wasn’t…Joel hadn’t napped…long story short, Lola had to pull the van over and do intervention.

Which means I put on my mom-voice and said, if it costs we aren’t doing it – if it’s free, we are. End of story. Period. We are done with this discussion.

Well we got to the gate and asked and sure enough it was free.

Joel led the way to the maze…which turned out to be the large silo filled with corn kernels…which IS free and would have made my life much easier if he had not thought that this little diversion is NOT a corn maze but a grain bin….sigh.

Too late for us though because the woman at the gate had made us sign in for participating in the corn maze so that if we got lost and didn’t come out they could send a rescue squad.

I have no idea why she thought we would get lost…they gave us a map…

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According the nice man who sent us on our way, we just needed to enter at #3 and follow the clouds and around through the barn and it would lead us right back out in 20 minutes.

Right.

I can’t read a real map…take a gander at the pic in Joel’s hand and imagine navigating it from this vantage point…

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After the first few times they asked me which way to turn, I gave up and said…go with your best instinct boys…if we aren’t out by dark they will come find us.

We turned one nightmare corner after another….with Joel constantly reminding me not to step in the mud…thanks Joel…

and finally, with great rejoicing in my heart I heard the boys holler that they had found it!!!

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Turns out what they had found was this outlook post that supposedly is like the “halfway” point….

this was our view…

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I started laughing uncontrollably as I realized how far we were from the start/exit…and how hopeless the whole prospect of getting out of there before bedtime was…and what in the world had prompted me to think we could do this…and best.day.ever. all rolled into one hilarious moment.

I felt we should just go back from whence we came…but my navigators insisted we blaze on down the other side of the stairs and so we did and eventually…

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we made it out.

And don’t worry….

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this one did too, but she was no-how and no-way going to stick around for a picture because the band of brothers was making big talk about doing the challenge path next….

another day boys…another day.

Living free of unforgiveness <3

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Last night it was so warm and still in the house that I turned the air on for a bit…this morning I switched to the furnace…oh my…tis the season!

This morning I read a section in a book of prayers for your grandchildren about forgiveness. Prayers for them to forgive quickly and sincerely. 

With all prayers of intercession for anyone, the pray-er must always bring him or herself under the same prayer.

As I read about the importance for all of us to truly, deeply and sincerely forgive; I felt my own convictions.

One of the Scriptures was Matthew 5:44-45:

I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV

This is a teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, the One I say I follow. 

If He is my Leader, then this is my example. 

So I have to stop this morning and step back from the culture I live in and the voices inside me and around me that speak a different teaching and really examine my heart. 

Do I love my enemies?

Do I bless others when they curse me?

Do I do good to those who hate me?

Do I pray for those who have spitefully used me and those who have betrayed and/or persecuted me?

And by “me” I can tell you that anyone who has done any of the above to any of my people…may as well have done it to me; and better for them if they had done it to me instead of one of them. 

So no. 

I don’t measure up well. 

I carry grudges and ill-will wishes for others who have done any and all of the above to me or to those I love. 

So I have to acknowledge that in this teaching, I have missed the mark.

I have sinned. 

And in my failing, I fall on grace. 

In my confession, I find forgiveness extended to me and thus, I am empowered and equipped to live counter culture and I choose to forgive. 

He gives me grace to extend grace. 

What an incredible gift He has given to us, His children.

Be blessed today….Let us ask God to call to mind those against whom we still hold a grudge. 

Yet again, we can lift up our battered and hardened hearts and ask Him to soften them and shape them even more today into the image of the One who forgave us all.

He is able, even when we are not <3

Thoughts on how the times have changed <3

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Happy Monday! 

Russ is having some work done on his truck today and so we did something we haven’t done in years…I drove him to work. 

We were laughing as we drove because back when we were first married and lived in an apartment, we only had one car. 

I either drove him to work or I did without a car all day, which I often did. Even when I started working I would take the bus downtown and he would pick me up after work. 

We didn’t have cell phones…or texts…or emails..or constant access to everyone’s doings throughout the day via social media. 

Now I panic when I can’t find my phone. 

If I text or email someone and they don’t respond in a reasonable amount of time I wonder if something is wrong…or maybe it didn’t go through….or any number of possible reasons why I am having to wait for a reply. 

I rarely actually talk on the phone to anyone. I text or send GIFS or use emojis to add expression to typed conversations.

It’s easier…I can multitask…and I can answer on my own time frame. I am not proud of this…just saying it’s the case.

This past week I shared a post I read about some of the leaders of technology who are banking millions on our dependance of these devices and yet they limit the use of electronics for their own children and families. 

They make them read real books and play outside (according to this Facebook post anyway…which could be fake news for all I know but still….)

Recently I listened to a two part sermon series about how technology has to be tamed in our lives or it will ruin them. 

The teaching pastor had taken some classes about this issue over the summer and was bringing back some of what he had learned. 

He said we tend to think of “technology” as our iPads and computers and phones, but in reality even the washing machine or microwave or vehicles we use to get around are “technology.” 

Think of anything that makes life and work “easier and faster” and that is what technology is. 

And we can become even more impatient, self-centered, self-absorbed as we rely more and more on it. 

The series is thought provoking and can be found at www.grace360.org under the sermons entitled “The Siren’s Call”   

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What can we do to be more proactive in ruling over this wonderful gift of technology? 

Would love to hear your thoughts…over real coffee…but since we can’t all do that, feel free to leave a comment. 

Group hug and I will see you tomorrow <3

Of Football and Evangelism and such….<3

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Good morning! It appears Fall has found us here in the Midwest and I am one happy camper!

I ran into a lot of people on Wednesday and Thursday who are “summer people” and they were expressing deep sorrow that the temperatures would be doing a 20-30 degree drop. 

I tried to be nice but I can’t help it…I love cooler temperatures and I don’t mind snow…so bring it on!

For those of you who are still with me (because the summer people may have gone back to googling Arizona get-aways), I want to share a little thought about our visit to Green Bay a few weeks ago. Speaking of cold weather and snow, right???

If you are a Bear’s fan, I am asking you to mentally plug out all your anti-Packer vibes and hear this as a way to view evangelism from a different perspective. 

We have a running joke between family and friends where I say I am a Green Bay Packer fan and Russ rolls his eyes and corrects me that no, I am an Aaron Rodgers fan. And yes, this is also true. 

But I can honestly say it is my husband’s fault. 

The whole mess started a number of years ago when playoffs were happening for the NFL.

I have absolutely no understanding nor interest in football beyond watching it with Russ. 

I love the atmosphere of the games and people watching, the food and really amazing plays but the rest of it may as well be a college level Physics class for me. I have not a clue what is going on and often can’t even locate where the ball is during a given play. 

This particular year we were driving the long road home from Iowa and Russ got tired so I took over the wheel. 

He was listening to some talk show before one of the games and he fell asleep so I didn’t want to wake him by changing the channel and thus I listened mile after mile while two announcers who absolutely loved Lambeau, #12, Green Bay and all things Packer history. 

By the time Russ woke up, I was hooked. 

I wanted to go to Green Bay. 

I was convinced Aaron Rodgers was the single most amazing and underrated quarterback of all times and that his footwork and thought processes were art in motion. 

I had no more idea of the inner workings of the game, but I became a follower of the Packers that day and when this past year some friends who are natives of Wisconsin found this out they insisted we make the pilgrimage to Lambeau and began working out tickets and details and hosted us to come and visit. 

So before I completely alienate any Bears or Patriots or Seahawks or whatever fans you might be, please see what I realized about evangelism in this experience. 

Because of the enthusiasm of two men talking about Lambeau and the history of Green Bay and the Packers…because they had studied and invested time at games and in the community…because some Packer fans wanted us to come and made the effort to get us there and make us feel a part of it all…we went. 

We went and we felt included and it lived up to the hype of the people who love that place and that team.

And we want to go back. 

I wonder about a place I love so much called church. 

What if I talked about it in such a way of love and enthusiasm; knowing and sharing the history of it and my experiences so that someone else might listen and think that is a place he or she would like to visit. 

And what if, when I started getting the sense that was happening, I made the effort to bring it about..and I made sure they went with me and felt comfortable and had the best experience possible. 

I can’t help but think that I don’t do this very well. 

I tend to view anyone who doesn’t already attend our church or another church as uninterested. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable or feel weird around me so I just don’t talk about it. 

I want to be better about this and I know a relationship with Christ is a whole different ball game then following a sports team…but I think I could learn a little bit about being more open in sharing my love for the Church of Jesus Christ from some cheese heads. 

Those announcers didn’t share their Packer love because they were trying to convert me…that’s what they do. Those fans didn’t care if I was a fan or not…they love their Packers and they were just who they are with no apologies to anyone who doesn’t. 

It should be the same with me and all of us who are experiencing growth and connection through the local church. There are many who do this well and I know God will help the rest of us to do better if we will only ask Him for help to overcome our hesitancy and fear of rejection. 

Something to pray about for sure <3

Have a blessed day…and Go Pack Go!!!