Archive for April, 2008

Top Twenty: #13-16

Posted: April 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Well, the Twenty’s today have this in common: knowing them could save someone’s life and the life you save could be your own. Literally. Hee. Making myself laugh so early in the morning? Priceless.

#16 How to Change a Flat Tire: Yikes! I really want this one on the list because….well…because, it could possibly be that I’m not entirely sure I could pull it off myself. It’s on my list of goals and dreams for 2008 though. Slacker alternative for knowing how to change a tire: make a goal to learn how to change a tire.

#15 CPR and the Heimlich. I know, I know, you never think you’ll need it. But trust me, a well-executed Heimlich in a busy restaurant will probably get you on the news, or at least a free dinner or something. Seriously, if you ever DO need it, you’ll be endlessly thankful that you learned it. Tons of information (though beware: they seem a little sassy about it) here. Visit this site and then tell me how much you love the picture they chose to illustrate “first aid.” Heh.

#14 How to Use Jumper Cables without blowing up your car. I have experience in this! I have watched smoke curling up from the engine and seen my cables liquefy in front of my little eyes, so I still call my husband every time to have him talk me through it. Interesting aside: I’ve found that the need for jumper cables always occurs on the coldest day of the year. In fact, just thinking about jumper cables makes my hands cold and numb. Weird.

#13 How the Rest of the World Lives. If you woke up this morning, turned on the kitchen faucet and water came out, then you’re in the top tiny percentage of people living in the lap of luxury. If you eat three meals today – even if two of them are Top Ramen – you’re wildly affluent compared to your global neighbors. If you have been fully immunized against disease or have ever been treated by a docter when you were sick…wow…that’s pretty darn wealthy. If you’ve cast a vote, attended church or gone outside without a veil over your face without fear, then you oughta be dancing in the streets today because you are blessed indeed. Bonus points (from Heaven) if you let that awareness motivate you to action.

For perspective on that last one, please read Left to Tell by Immaculae Ilabagiza. It’s a heart-wrenching read, but it’s good for us in America to occasionally let the anesthesia wear off, you know?

SO excited about tomorrow’s Twenty,



Top Twenty List: #18 & 19

Posted: April 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Continuing my rambling rant on the Top Twenty things Every Woman Should Know:

#18 How to cook one really great dinner. Just one is all you need to impress your date, your dad or your neighbor, Thad (RIP, Dr. Seuss). I love this site for beginners because it has tons of pictures. And this one is great if you’re anywhere on the scale from intermediate to pro. And two great foodie blogs, just for inspiration’s sake: Orangette and Smitten Kitchen.

#17 The correct usage of the word “literally”. Everyone who knows me well – particularly those who have shared a home or a last name with me – will assure you that this one is very near to my heart. If you take a week and pay attention to the way people use the word, you’ll find it’s almost always wrong. Here’s my rule of thumb: unless I’m looking for an ACTUAL needle in an honest-to-goodness haystack, then the word “literally” does not apply and should not come nigh unto my sentence. Unless the way that girl sang that song really and truly caused my brain to explode, then saying it “literally blew my mind” is not okay. Figuratively…that’s the way our minds generally are blown and that’s the way needles are usually sought for in haystacks. Admittedly, saying “It was so funny I figuratively died laughing,” doesn’t pack the same punch, but – hey – I didn’t make the rules, I just like to talk about ’em!

Well, this post has been very cathartic for me. Thank you.

Wishing it was Literally 87 Degrees Today,


You know, I have found that this blog has become an interesting little window. Through it, I think people can see a little more clearly into my life and my rambling thoughts…but it turns out the window goes both ways and I can see you too! And it’s fun! But you should definitely pull your blinds sometimes. I kid! You’re all awesome!

Seriously, most of the posts that I have written have been in response to a question that someone has asked me after I’ve spoken somewhere for some reason. They ask, I try to answer and then I think, “Hey! I should write about that. Right after I finish writing about burnt chicken and CLC dating habits, I’m going to get to that!” So, this post does not reflect a specific question…but it is totally the result of my meeting and knowing and speaking to hundreds of women and being amazed at the things that some know and some don’t. You may not agree with my choices…feel free to rebut, the window is wide open. I promise to post a couple every day until we get to the magic number 1. Most of them are totally free, they just require a little time…and for some, I’ll include a slacker alternative. So…without further preamble, prelude or prejudice…I give you the Top Twenty Things Every Woman Should Know List:

#20 The names of the current US President, Vice President, Speaker of the House & Secretary of State. Bonus points for knowing the names of three other world leaders. Dead ones don’t count unless you know how and when they died. If the death is a particularly good story then I’ll give you a pass on the Secretary of State.

#19 How to win at least one card game. Slacker alternative: How to PLAY at least one card game. Everything you ever needed to know about both the playing and the winning is right here.

It’s gonna be a fun week,



Posted: April 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

Matthew 11:28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Jesus is talking to people here who have been following God the only way they know how. The “way” was chiseled out by God – and then a man made system was handwritten in the margins. And even for those who longed for more, all the doing and sacrificing and performing and pleasing must have left them aching at the end of the day…starving for just a taste of the God behind the veil. Surely, in the midst of all the trying and hoop-jumping, every true God-seeker was longing to catch a glimpse of His face and to know that for even just a moment, they had been seen by Him.

And then came Jesus.

This question He asks: “are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?” is the first indication to them that He knows their secrets. He sees where no one else can see and He cares about the frustrations that live behind the the frenzied actions. I can imagine that every head began to nod and every eye began to well with tears.

Yes, we’re tired.

Worn out? Absolutely.

Burned out on the system? Without a doubt. But it’s all we have. It’s the only visible gauge available for measuring our right standing with the invisible God. There is no other system…is there?

“Come to Me.”


“Get away with Me and you will recover your life.” Big, big, BIG words. They had – in the process of serving and striving – lost the life in their lives. KJV says “you shall find rest for your souls.” That word rest means “intermission or recreation”. In the midst of the busyness of following God, they had lost the powerful pause that needs to built into it all – not for impressing Him, but for enjoying Him. They needed to recover the pause…the intermission…the whole meaning of real LIFE. Because in those moments of meeting with Him, He fits His yoke on us. He shows us how to “walk with Him and work with Him.” Clearly, what they thought was “with Him” before, was not. Much of the activity that was wearing them down and burning them out was – in fact – worthless. Shoot. That’s frustrating. And freeing. And really pretty wonderful.

Loving the pause,


(Note: At the risk of revealing our deep, inner dorkiness AND getting spammed with one million terrible emails, I still chose that title. So brave!)

Me: I know you want to go to sleep, but I need to ask you a really important question. It’s really, really important.

Steve: Okay, hit me.

Me: If you could only have – for the rest of your life with no exceptions whatsoever – three books of the Bible, which three would you choose?

Steve: That’s a terrible question.

Me: No, it’s a great one because it will make you prioritize!

Steve: Okay. Psalms. A gospel – probably John. And Revelations.


Me: Um…Revelations? (Pause) Really? Are you sure you don’t want to re-visit that choice?

Steve: No. It’s the perfect choice because if I only had three books I’d want to know what’s coming.

Me: Hmmm…I don’t know that Revelations ever makes “what’s coming” much clearer for me.

Steve: Yes it does, you just don’t like it. Also, it tells us so much about worship. And also, these are my choices, Bo. Leave them alone. What are yours?

Me: Definitely Psalms. A gospel – probably Luke.

Steve: Luke? Why not John?

Me: Because Luke has the Christmas story! I couldn’t live all the rest of the Christmases of my lifetime without the Christmas story.

Steve: But John has “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” and that’s like your favorite scripture.

Me: I know. Sad. Really sad. I’m going to miss John so much. Maybe I could borrow YOUR copy of John?

Steve: No way, sister! You said THREE books only. You said NO exceptions. Borrowing would violate the whole arrangement.

Me: ARGH! This is a terrible question.

Steve: You still have one book left.

Me: (Sigh) I know . Let’s see. I guess Galatians, because I’m reading it right now and it’s changing my life.

Steve: Yeah, but you said it’s changing your life because you’re also reading Deuteronomy. Are you keeping Deuteronomy?

Me: NO! I don’t want Deuteronomy!

Steve: But it’s all about the generations.

Me: Shoot. It is. I want Deuteronomy!

Steve: How about we go a different way here? How about you tell me which books you COULD live without.

Me: Well, I guess maybe 1 & 2 Chronicles because it’s a lot of repeat from Kings…but then we have no “If My people which are called by My name…” We need that verse in America to survive!

Steve: Okaaaaay. Well, how about the Samuels?

Me: (sitting up, aghast and appalled) Are you kidding me right now (tm: Lindsay Parnell)? The story of Israel’s transition from judges to kings? It’s a stage-setting story. Foundational. Essential in every way!

Steve: (Yawn) Okay, Bo, we’ll keep the Samuels.

Me: I suppose – if push came to shove – I could let go of Esther, because it’s kind of isolated and not essential to the rest of the Old Testament.


Steve: “For such a time as this…”

Me: Blast! This is a terrible, terrible question!

Steve: I think I have a fever and I have to speak in Oneighty tomorrow.

Me: I’ll be quiet now. But I’m keeping Esther.

So…it was an enlightening discussion and when I opened my Bible the next morning I wanted to kiss every single page. I also decided to memorize more.

Now, Steve and I wish to pass our misery along to you. Three books. Three books only. For the rest of your life. What will they be? (It’s way harder than you think. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re very decisive or unmarried so you don’t have someone else messing up your choices.)

Happy choosing,


P.S. Today is Steve’s 46th birthday and I think this post just proves what a terrifically patient and amazing guy he is. Happy birthday, wonderful husband…I love you more than words can say!

Beautiful Battlefields

Posted: April 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

Psalm 11 I’ve already run for dear life straight into the arms of God. So why would I run away now when you say, “Run to the mountains; the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to God. The bottom’s dropped out of the country; good people don’t have a chance!” But God hasn’t moved to the mountains; His holy address hasn’t changed. He’s in charge, as always, His eyes taking everything in, His eyelids unblinking…not missing a thing.

This was a tough week. But one morning before sunrise this little scripture showed its face and it was brilliant and beautiful in about a million ways. Here’s a bit from my journal:

In hard times, people will say: Run! Get away from the trouble! Flee and save yourself! The problem with that plan? God hasn’t gone to the mountains. He doesn’t flee. He doesn’t hide from trouble – in fact, He uses trouble as His most wonderful window display. And when I run from the hard thing or the the tough relationship or the difficult situation, I may actually be running from God.

And in related news…

I Samuel 18:30 Whenever the Philistine warlords came out to battle, David was there to meet them – and beat them – upstaging Saul’s men. David’s name was on everyone’s lips.

Saul – in his frantic attempts to kill David – actually keeps unwittingly positioning him for victory, increased strength and wild acclaim. Wow. Saul would have been smarter to just closet David away in a safe, quiet spot in the kingdom, away from the battlefield that would prove his strength and his God.

Many people will say “pick your battles”. I’m learning that as long as I’m hidden in Christ, my battles can pick me and I’m still going to be right where He wants me. And right where He wants me – no matter how dangerous – is always safe.

So, here’s my decision for the coming week and I empower you to hold me accountable: no matter what, no matter who, no matter how hot the battle – I will not run to the mountains or the mall or to Food Network (my favorite place of escape). I will not lose heart or shrink back or let fear nibble away at my faith. I will stand and believe and say “Bring it on, Saul! If God is for me, who can…who possibly would dare…to be against me?”

With beauty in sight,


P.S. Food network? While not a worthy escape is still a remarkable achievement of television genius.

Fast Forwarding Faith

Posted: April 16, 2008 in Uncategorized

“When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.” I Samuel 17:11

“God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.” I Samuel 17:37

Whether we realize it or not, stories are almost always playing out inside our heads and they’re usually about ten minutes ahead of the moment we’re actually living in. We’re cautious with our kids around water, because the story in our mind rolls out to a place where they fall in and can’t get out. We race on our way to work because these mind-pictures move rapidly ahead of real time to the moment we get confronted or fired for being late….and some people would even let that picture keep playing to the point where they lose their house and car because they now have no job and can’t pay the bills. And then they REALLY step on the gas to get to work! It’s not so much the immediate or the absolute that moves us to do what we do, but rather the possibility of what could be as it unfolds in our imagination. And those perceived possibilities are created by fear or by faith…and nothing in between.

Saul & his troops heard the words of the giant and their heads were filled with fast-moving, technicolor pictures of all that could happen in the next ten minutes. Fear poked it’s spiny fingers into the corner of their brains where the future lives and penciled in the possibilities of what-could-be.

Enter David. His picture of the next 10 minutes was FILLED with faith and – dare I say – EAGER anticipation to rumble with that giant! What made the difference? He relied on what he had seen God do in the past and how he had experienced His presence in the heat of battle. I’m sure he rewound and replayed the miraculous moment when he wrestled that bear to the ground as supernatural faith rippled through his memory and into his muscles.

He just knew.

He didn’t know his own strength or his own courage. He just knew his own God, and that gave him everything else he needed. I betcha he could even imagine the feeling of carrying Goliath’s head through the camp and was already planning where he would hang the big guy’s weapons when he took them back to his tent. David let his knowledge of God’s faithfulness fill in all the missing details so that he could clearly envision the exact events of the next few minutes in which a very small rock would to catapult a very large giant into eternity.

When faith paints our picture of the future as it forms in our imagination, anything is possible. When we are able to pull up a fresh awareness of the victories of the past, God becomes bigger than every other giant we’re facing. And that lets us be the size that we are. And that’s just about the best gift ever.

So, how about you? What do the next ten minutes or ten months or ten years look like in your head? Who would you guess is painting that picture?

Believing for the heads of giants,