Friday, March 15, 2019

Five Steps to Happiness - The Glorious Table

I fight the urge to hyperventilate as we get close to the trailhead. I wish the cause was adrenaline and excitement, but that’s not the problem. Self-recrimination runs wild. How could I do this to myself again? What was I thinking when I said another yes to this kind of trip? Did I forget that I’m not in my twenties anymore? I take deep breaths and force a tremulous smile as we disembark from the van and I’m quickly thrust into the role of experienced, calm hiker with our group.
I zip my comfortable flip-flops into my pack with my other thirty pounds of essential supplies, slather myself with 100 percent Deet, and lace up my hikers. There’s no turning back now. The only question is how much happiness I’ll be able to wrestle out of the climb.
The first section is always the hardest, I tell myself. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, taking one more step and then one more.The hot sandy trail leads through streams and slowly slants uphill, becoming rocky.
As I take what must be the 18,209th step, I draw in another deep breath, look up, and pause to fully soak in the beauty around me. The snowy peaks of the Wind River Mountains rise above the trees on either side of me. My heart swells as I hear birds chirping, and I feel the soft breeze on my skin. All this must have been here as I was trudging along, but I hadn’t noticed until I looked up. Only 18,209 steps could bring me to this beautiful place near the Continental Divide, where purple flowers push themselves out of rocky cracks. Only a change in my gaze could allow me to see the flowers and the mountains instead of just the ground at my feet. Only a change of my gaze could bring happiness.


Every single day of my life is like that. Moments happen. Circumstances swirl out of my control. My feet get wet, I have miles left to go, and the load is heavy. But often, at those very same moments, birds are singing, a warm breeze is softly touching my skin, and a view I forgot to notice is before me.
The simplest path to happiness most often requires only a shift of my eyes. When I apply the lessons of the Wyoming wilderness, I’m surprised by how much happiness lives in each of my routine, everyday moments.

Hop on over to The Glorious Table to read the five steps to happiness I learned in the Wyominh wilderness.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Silver and Gold: The Gift of Friendship - The Glorious Table

Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, and the other is gold.
Living in the parsonage next door to my church brought with it a fierce temptation to run for cover on Sunday mornings. At war with my longing for good friends was my compulsion to avoid awkward post-service conversations. I loved my friends; it was the process from acquaintance to bosom friend that killed me. Voices in my head told me the happy groups chatting in the foyer didn’t need one more person. But I was in a new place with new people as a mom of two preschoolers. To build a life here, I needed friends.
God always knew I needed friends. The proof started before I was even born as my mom discovered one of her Lamaze classmates attended the same church she did. My first friendship was born before I was.
Kim and I grew up together. She was the blond to my brunette, the laughter to my serious, and the active to my laid back. She provided an anchor of belonging to my little heart. I can’t remember my elementary school days without Kim’s face connected to fun times.
God added another layer when I tested out of my reading group in first grade. The school wanted to advance me further than my mom was comfortable. The compromise was to advance me with another girl to a level that made both moms comfortable. It turned out Gretchen didn’t only go to my school; she also lived four blocks down the street from me. We wore a path between our houses experiencing the best and hardest pieces of growing up.
Going to a new school for eighth grade—alone—felt like torture. I held my eyes open wide as we drove so tears wouldn’t drop onto my carefully mascara-ed eyelashes. I’d never had to make friends on my own before, and I felt sure the only ones I had were a result of my two besties’ sparkle. But God had a plan. Within two weeks, I had friends. At graduation, we took a group photo, and I told my mom, “It would be impossible to ever find friends this good again.”

God might have laughed just then.
I couldn’t see his hand yet. It took a few more years of perspective for my rearview mirror to clear...
Please join me at The Glorious Table to continue reading about the ways God has over and over again given me the gift friendships.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Why Your Kids Need the Church - The Glorious Table



Murphy’s Law would say everything goes wrong as you’re trying to get your family out the door for church. People wake up late, and they wake up grumpy. The baby poops through his diaper onto your pants just as we are walking out the door. Big homework projects due on Monday are suddenly “remembered.” I’ve actually arrived at church with a barefoot kid. More than once. Apparently hopping into the car in a warm attached garage makes my kids forget shoes are necessary in the winter.
Sunday mornings are often hard, yet despite all the forces of nature that work against us and the Sunday morning trauma we’ve endured, regular church attendance is a family priority. For us it’s a clear case of the benefits outweighing the costs.
Why Our Kids Need Church
In the heat of the moment, when baby poop is running down your leg and the toddler can’t find his shoes, you need to have conviction and purpose to keep going. You need to be convinced that giving your kids a church family is something you can’t afford to miss. Click here to read five reasons I think it’s worth it to brave the Sunday morning craziness.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Have you Glimpsed Your Soul - The Glorious Table

An unexpected reflection as I passed a store window or mirror used to clue me into some form of self-care that needed tightening up. Now a notification that I’ve been tagged in a friend’s online photo makes me throw out an old favorite sweatshirt or lean closer to the magnifying mirror with my tweezers. A non-curated view of myself encourages better self-care.
The same thing can drive changes in my soul.
Soul mirrors are harder to come by than physical reflections. Although the messages they hold are less obvious, they’re a precious treasure. After the initial uncomfortable flinch, if we learn to stay in the moment, the truth will emerge. When it does, we can become something new. Writing for the Glorious Table has been this type of soul mirror for me.

I sent my first submission to our editor, Harmony, on July 31, 2015. It came back with much-needed red ink and kind but firm instruction. “Also,” she wrote, “you need to work on eliminating ellipses. I suggest looking at the CMS section on ellipses and thinking about when it’s appropriate to use them . . . You had eight ellipses in 800 words—that’s a lot.”
Alone in front of my computer screen, I felt myself blush. I was embarrassed to need a Google search to define ellipsis ( . . . ), but I was also excited to see a path to grow. I thought Harmony was holding up a mirror for my writing, but it turned out to also be a mirror for my soul.
Please join me at The Glorious Table to read the rest of my ellipses lesson!

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Live Your Genealogy Well - The Glorious Table

“When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug. And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters. When Serug had lived 30years, he became the father of Nahor. And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.” Genesis 11:20-23 (NKJV)
I bet you didn’t memorize these verses in Sunday School when you were growing up. If you’re like me, your eyes glazed over as you stumbled through them to finish your Read Through The Bible in a Year plan. Maybe you think of Ancestry.com commercials you’ve seen and wonder about your own lineage. Did the line of your nose come from a distant descendant from a foreign country? Was your outlook on life shaped little by little as it filtered down from a culture you’ve never directly experienced? And the most weighty question: what legacy am I crafting for the generations who follow?

If each word of the Bible is truly God-breathed and useful in our lives, genealogies must have precious gems of truth hidden in them. I think one of those gems is a perspective bigger than ourselves. The genealogies are a tool God uses to give us an eagle-eye view of his work and our place in it.
Read my tips for living your genealogy well at The Glorious Table!


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Motherhood Ain't for Sissies - The Glorious Table



Someday I’ll be a white-haired lady talking with friends or gazing out a window alone with my thoughts. My conversation and thoughts are sure to center around moments when my life was busy with little people who called me Mom. Among the everyday moments, other memories will float to the surface and demand my attention above the rest. The highlights will be the clutch moments, the pivotal points in my children’s lives when a decision was made or a new ounce of courage was found. The moments I got to watch them become.

Those clutch moments are the same desires I dreamt about when my babies were growing inside me. My prayers were full of desire to be there when my kids needed me most. I was desperate to offer support and put the wind in their sails. The same moments I longed for at the beginning will be the exact ones sustaining me at the end.


What I didn’t see coming were the tears. My early dreams and the memories real life has given me bear many similarities; what they don’t share are all those tears. My dreams didn’t consider the ripping required for the butterflies to emerge from their cocoons. They didn’t compute the necessary tearing of muscles to make them grow strong.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Devotion - How to Be Prepared for Trouble - The Glorious Table

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 ESV)
We all love a good police drama. My favorite episodes are when they call in a guy (or woman) to defuse a bomb or talk down a hostage taker. One guy steps forward, close to danger, willing to defy great odds. He knows he has expertise and preparation the rest of the world doesn’t have to offer.
The expert has high-level training and has honed his skill through hours of practice. He has learned to mitigate the effects of stress on his body. He uses deep breathing to slow his heart rate and steady his hand. Good sleep and healthy living are serious issues to him, knowing he could get a call at any moment.
Why is he this extreme? What has made him willing to sacrifice time and pleasure to prepare with unusual skills? He knows he’s on call and that his phone will ring when disaster strikes. He expects trouble and has prepared to meet it with skill and strength.

I go about my days without ever practicing bomb-defusing skills. I never check my phone expecting to see an urgent call from the local police negotiations unit. They never request my help. My job doesn’t demand expert skills in hostage negotiations or bomb defusing. It makes sense that I don’t have those skills. It would be utterly foolish if I applied for and got a job in special operations and was put on call, because I’d be unprepared.
***I'll share my secrets for living life as prepared as the bomb expert over at The Glorious Table. Please join me there to read more!**

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