Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Who doesn’t love good stuff that’s free?

Good morning to you!

My kind husband has supported me in this writing effort and also funded not only the website but also the means for me to attend three conferences over the years.

The first one I signed up for was She Speaks led by the Proverbs 31 team back in the summer of 2013 and I didn’t have a blog or anything.

Just me and a closet full of journals and scraps of paper with thoughts scattered hither and yon.

I had no idea what I was doing and had flashbacks of every new school I had to enter.

And believe me with eight of those experiences under my belt, I know a thing or two about walking in alone.

So every time I entered the large room for meal or teaching, I would pray for God to send me to the right table.

One of those prayers was answered by sitting with an elegant and reserved woman who was also new to exploring how to use the unquenchable call to capture all the swirling thoughts and ideas in our head and hearts and corral them onto ink and paper and then ask God…

Now what?

We exchanged information and kind of kept up over the next few years as we each began to flesh out a presence on the internet.

Fast forward to last summer when I got the idea to google writing conferences and came across The Declare Conference held in Dallas area each year.

The speakers looked solid and it was close to John so I decided to check with my friend Lisa who happens to be a Texan and see if she had heard anything about this gathering.

Turns out she had an interest in the same event and we ended up rooming together last year.

How cute is she?

I know…pretty darn cute ….

She had a book proposal put together and presented it with favorable results and when I say “book proposal” let me tell you…her research and art work and concept absolutely blew me away.

She is a student of God’s Word but has the gift of making it accessible to draw other students in to the process of learning.

I love her posts and devotions at

Lisa has also started a podcast series. Each podcast is around 20 minutes and her gentle voice is pleasant to listen to as she shares her reflections on passages of Scripture. She is speaking to and about women so not sure how much guys would get out of it…but you never know <3

And right now she is offering a free five day study through her website. You can click here for the study:

Here are some samples of the pages – of course I printed mine off, but they come as an easy download right to your computer … no need to add any kind of adobe reader or whatever…easy peasy…

Each day offers simple format of questions that are clear and lead you to passages of Scripture.

The questions are not those obtuse ones that make you feel awkward because you aren’t sure what is being asked….just straight Bible Study questions that lead to LEARNING.

There is an opportunity to apply what I learned so that I am transformed by the Word and a call to action that moves me forward in my faith journey.

And in addition to giving me a space for collecting my own passages to meditate on, each day offers her leg work through the Bible…

I am such a visual person and all these fonts on cards I can cut out and carry with me are just a bonus to the whole study.

So there you have it.

I am including links again at the bottom for Lisa’s website and the Declare Conference below:

The Declare Conference:

Lisa’s devotional website:

Sign up for the 5 day Bible Study on the Word of God:

and you can listen to the podcasts for both the Declare Conference and The Warrior She found on their pages.

That’s my recommendation…don’t even need to give me a penny for my thoughts…free…free…all free.


Who said that?

Yesterday’s post stirred some comments about how we dress after Labor Day. 

Back in the day, there were guidelines for dress and so I joked with some friends about wearing white pants after Labor Day. 

A couple of us, our own daughter Rachel included, struggle with hearing our mom’s voice warning us of some kind of unnamed dire consequence should we slip on a pair of white jeans come the Tuesday morning following this holiday. 

Even if the temperature is well over 100 with the heat index, we just can’t do it. 

No judgment against those who do. 

It’s just we can’t drown out the voice in our heads. 

First off…the fact that I am the voice in our daughter’s head freaks me out…but beyond that…

as I pondered these comments yesterday, I was struck with two thoughts. 

One is how my mom probably made it her mission to prepare me for success and prosperity in life. To aim for good and avoid the pitfalls of evil.

And this is the stuff I tend to remember most vividly…things like “Don’t wear white pants after Labor Day” and her infallible method for solving all mathematical equations by starting with this phrase….

“Well, let’s see. A pint is a pound the world around.”

From there she would commence to ciphering, as Jethro Clampett would say, and come up with the correct answer to just about any math problem. 

Don’t ask me how she did it, but this has worked for me in many a grocery store aisle as I calculated ingredients for a recipe. 

The other thought I had was more a rabbit trail on other voices in my head. 

Because I can become easily discouraged to the point of quitting something just because of the dialogue that runs through my mind. 

Often the statements I give credence to somehow disguise themselves as the opinions of others.

Am I alone in this? 

Maybe I am and if so, pray for me. 

But I can literally assign thoughts to other people based on a facial expression, a chance encounter in a hallway or just a lack of any positive feedback that I twist into disapproval. 

Someone hurries by me or has a slight frown when they say hello. I read this as they don’t like me.

I get a short text response and assume I have offended this friend in some way. 

A card or gift is sent and goes unacknowledged? I have over stepped my bounds and made this one feel uncomfortable.

I am going to credit both Lysa TerKeurst and Beth Moore for help in undoing some of this mess.

My thoughts are based on things I read from different books: Unglued by Lysa and So Long, Insecurity by Beth …but I am not quoting either one…just sharing my takeaways as I apply them to the above vortex of ridiculous self-talk that I can blame on others. 

When I imagine what another person might be thinking and assign these as valid thoughts, I am completely ignoring the fact that no one has actually voiced in real life the comments my mind has manufactured. 

In interpreting a look or perceiving a slight from someone, it is my own brain that develops and fills in the scenario of criticism or discouragement.

It is my insecurities that have globbed onto someone else’s existence and twisted that one’s mood into a direct assault on my efforts to fulfill my purpose and move forward. 

If I stop and ask myself point blank if that person has actually said the things I am assigning to him or her, the answer is always…no. 

How unfair to blame someone else for my own barrage of negative thoughts. 

And in the same way, how unfair to run to God and ask Him to console me when in reality it is my own fault for placing the opinion of others above that of His. 

I don’t think these moments are the time to try and placate myself with “At least God loves me and thinks good things toward me.”

Yes, as a follower of Christ it is the main thing that I find my identity in who He says I am…however, I need to first come clean with the truth that I have a deep need to feed my own ego with approval from others.

Because I have basically come up with what boils down to a fabrication of any truth.

These thoughts are L.I.E.S. and I have formed them and then nurtured them to grow.

And I need to own this about myself.

I have the capacity to entertain a lying spirit in my heart…I need a Savior.


When I confess this longing to be loved by others and acknowledge my tendency to be self-absorbed, I am opening the door that leads me to repentance.

I can turn from my natural craving for affirmation from people and ask God to help me seek only His “Well done’s” at the end of each day. 

I want to be a teller and a lover of truth, especially within my own mind.

I will probably always struggle with voices in my head, but by His grace I can sort through them with His help and guidance and throw away the ones that are just vain imaginings. 

Because it seems like it’s been for forever…

Good morning to you on this post-Labor Day weekend Tuesday.

I am moving incredibly slowly this morning.

Trying to figure out how to best be efficient with the day ahead while I am also considering how soon is too soon to take an afternoon nap.

Probably should wait until after “noon.”

Since I have nothing profound to share with you, maybe just some pictures of our weekend and then it’s off to tackle the To Do list that is lurking around the kitchen counter somewhere near the calendar….

I will do a quick summary of the weekend highlights and let you get on your way <3

Friday night, we went to our second game of the season…

this time to see our favorite cheerleader more than the actual game…

and since we had to eat dinner…

there was this.

We decided I could do a fall football game food review so I can report that the Maroa Forsyth team made a pretty tasty burger last weekend.

Since I am not and expert on pork tenderloins, I have nothing to compare this one with but  Russ said Mt Zion serves up a good one.

I worked on Saturday and Russ held down the home-front.

He reported that the grocery and post office lines are ridiculous…yes, yes they are.

And I am so grateful he embraced the wait so I don’t have to do those tasks today <3

Sunday we headed to St Louis after church to attend…

with these two…

And yes this is a spliced together picture because we just snapped on the way to the car after dinner.


On Monday we celebrated Labor Day by laboring in the yard and taking a long walk.

Soooooo hot….

Then dinner with some friends and time to read before we crashed.

This morning we got a text from Rachel with pictures…
pc/Rachel <3

Graham checked off one of his summer bucket list wishes…he caught a monarch.

In case any of you are activists for this beautiful butterfly, no worries…mom also said that they had a talk about what it might feel like to be a glorious winged creature reduced to living in a cage and so they set him free…
pc/Rachel <3

And that is how we ended the Summer of 2018 <3

How about you ?




No, thank you <3

I am constantly learning from our children and today’s post is gleaned from time spent with Rachel and her four on various outings and hanging around the house. 

She has been a “boy mom” for seven years now and God bless her, she does it well.

I never had brothers and so I was not familiar with the delicacies of the indelicacies that seem to accompany the formative years of the male population of planet earth. 

We had our boy after six years raising two daughters and they co-mommed with me so I never had the full brunt of what it is to bring up a boy.

Some of the things that they seem prone to talk about and do can throw me into a state of panic about the future of their social acceptability, but Rachel has an expression she uses in a polite tone to let them know they need to stop but not give them the satisfaction of grossing her out to the point of incapacity.

On any given occasion of inappropriate speech or activity, she will calmly pass by and just say, “No, thank you.” 

I like that.

And I find it helpful in my daily life when situations arise that I can choose to react to

(with fits and rants and other unhealthy emotions)

or respond to

(with a simple…No, thank you…I am not accepting this one)

So for Wednesday Randoms…here are five of my latest applications:

<3 The lure of pseudo-relationships offered through social media.

Every. Single. Day.

I try to make it a point to limit my scrolling to about ten or so posts down into Facebook, check my notices for group messages and move on.

Ain’t nobody got enough time to find out what every body is doing today.

Same for the twenty emails I get in my inbox each day. If I am not planning to shop because I don’t really need anything, I delete the amazing sale that is being offered. 

50% off Photo books through Sunday? I don’t have time to even download my photos to the computer, let alone compose a book. 

No, thank you.

<3 The pit of self-condemning thoughts. This is a constant battle for me as I am usually running a replay of every conversation I have just walked away from.

On analyzing what I said and didn’t say, I am sure to long for a redo of the entire exchange.

This downward spirals into a self-analysis that would make critics of The Donald look kind. 

Highlighting all my failures in a way that borders on negative self-exaltation?

No, thank you.

<3 Too much of anything, even if it’s a good thing. 

This goes along with the first one, but I subscribe to a lot of devotions and blog posts and follow a lot of inspirational people on Instagram. But that doesn’t mean I have time to read each and every one, each and every day. 

God sprinkles wisdom and encouragement through so many sources.

I have to be discerning of His movement or I could spend my whole day crouched over my phone reading inspiration and miss the moments of engagement He was preparing me to be a part of that are happening around me. 

Guilt for deleting four out of five teachings or not signing up for the next Bible study or ordering the book?

No, thank you. 

<3 Provocation from loud voices pressing their issues onto me. 

We live in an age where every single human being has easy access to gaining the public forum to air whatever campaign they have joined. 

But I cannot take up all the causes of all the people. 

I don’t want to be insensitive and I don’t want to close myself off from understanding real woundings and injustice, but there is a proliferation of attempts to raise my awareness of things that I don’t even deal with. 

I can be sympathetic or empathetic towards those who are affected, but living in angst over the plight of some situation over which I have absolutely no personal encounters, control or interaction? 

No, thank you.

If you are feeling stretched thin by too much of something that is being pushed on you, maybe it is time to realize you do have some control over what you allow yourself to be exposed to and just politely say….No, thank you <3

A Monday laugh <3

Hope you are having a great start to your week. 

I have a story that is busting inside me because I have been laughing out loud over it and I hope it at least gives you a smile to start the day <3

A few weeks ago I was with Rachel and the tribe when Graham told his mom not to listen and then cupped his hand over his mouth and began to attempt to whisper a plan he and Emmett had hatched for their mom’s birthday.

Creds to Rachel for truly blocking out any understanding of conversation. She is earning her Mom wings at levels bordering on excellence. 

She busied herself and shut off her radar as Graham outlined how he and Emmett had ascertained her favorite place to eat is Chipolte and by cleverly questioning her on menu items, and counting their piggy bank contents they were sure they had enough to take her there AND have dessert at Orange Leaf.

And if all of that wasn’t cute enough to make my heart want to burst, he finished the whole plan with asking if I thought Papi and I could come.

I was so honored. 

So blessed. 

He was hoping they could do it on her actual birthday which is today and I told him it may be hard for Papi to get off and I told him we also had a Spanish class we would have to miss but we would do our best. 

Subsequent visits escalated the necessity for us to reschedule our lives as he frantically pleaded with me for us to be there. 

We did figure out that their after school schedule on Monday would make it impossible to work all of this out between swim lessons and sports practices so I was able to convince him Sunday would work better. 

By now Rachel was having to be more involved with the behind the scenes planning of adults figuring out how to make this happen without the hosts catching on that we were facilitating…ie…slipping some extra cash in the wallet tucked in his drawer and adjusting plans and schedules and attire and location…etc…etc …etc…

So Saturday evening I had one final chat with Graham about how we were pulling all of this off. 

I asked him if he wanted Papi and me to come to the house or meet them at the restaurant and this is where I go into fits of laughter every. single. time. 

He looked at me with the widest eyes and said –

Oh Lola! You aren’t coming with us. You are coming up to watch the little guys so Emmett and I can have a date with mom!

He then commenced to profusely apologize…

even though he had no need because I was laughing so hard. 

But how adorable when he told me, literally, he was so sorry I had misunderstood….

but could I still come and watch Joel and Caroline for him? 


Absolutely, we can.  

Apparently they had not budgeted for a babysitter.

So after church yesterday, Papi and I made a quick change to shorts and headed up to “surprise” our girl. 

She gave a fairly convincing “What are you two doing here?” …

which made me laugh even harder…

 and  headed off with her two escorts for the time of her life.

Oh…I will probably still tell this one until people I know are able to tell it back to me word for word…

but for now….

I hope to enjoy the sweetness of a few more belly laughs on how this went down before I tuck it away in the growing treasure box of moments that are so precious they really have to be lifted up and just given to God as an offering of thanks and praise.