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Celebrations

How To Heal the World with a Few Forgotten Changes

Hi there! What country are you currently in? Would you say you live in a land that needs God’s intervention?

America, heading into her 246th birthday, needs Him like never before. She needs God to step in with forgiveness and miraculous healing! He will, if…

“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

2 Chronicles 7:14, 15

God didn’t tell me just to hope and pray for America to change. He told me to humble myself, pray and seek His face, and turn from my sin. I don’t need to bring revival to the country, only to me. If each of God’s people would change only themselves, God would change the World.

Will I? Will you?

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Celebrations Conversations

One Father’s Day Post Remarkably Limited by Brain Fog

Pssst, friend, do you have a second? I’m so glad you dropped by! I want to talk to you about something. It’s kind of personal, but I’m hoping for your insight and grace.

My issue

I’ve been experiencing remarkable brain fog. It is frustrating, maybe, but honestly my mind is too murky to feel the frustration. It’s a strange sort of apathy. I have thoughts and ideas which lack cohesion and disappear before I can take decisive action.

Do you know what I mean? Have you encountered this type of thing? I’m sharing mine for two reasons.

  1. An explanation. I have been trying to only write as God blesses me with clarity. Admittedly, my blogs have been fewer.
  2. A request. If you have endured brain fog and obtained insight on how to overcome it, I’d love to learn. What worked for you?

My ideas

I have a few ideas as to why this may be happening:

  1. Age. I’m at that middle-age stage where hormones (or decrease of them) wreak havoc. I know brain fog can be part of the deal.
  2. Altitude. I’ve recently moved from sea-level to 7000 feet. I returned, last month, for a week-long visit to the town from which I moved. I’ve noticed my brain fog has been especially thick since I’ve come back to high altitude.
  3. Spiritual Warfare. I feel like there are spiritual truths I’m not quite grasping. A train of thought starts chugging and gains momentum for an intriguing minute but then it fades before the end of the track. It could be that the enemy is using spiritual warfare to run interference.
  4. Exercise and Nutrition. I finished a metabolic reset about a month ago. It was a set menu and exercise regimen. The workouts would have been extreme for me at sea-level, but they were really hard without time for proper adjustment to the altitude. I told myself I would either end up in the best shape of my life or dead… but maybe I ended up foggy. The nutrition was excellent during that two weeks, but not sustainable for my lifestyle or budget, so it’s possible the inconsistency is affecting my mind.
  5. Covid. I had Covid at the beginning of the year. One of the symptoms I experienced was brain fog and it was similar to what I’m noticing now. I’ve heard that, for some people, it persists for months. This could be my plight.
  6. Answered prayer. Ever since I decided to make SEO Someone Else’s Obsession, I have asked God not to let me write anything that isn’t worthwhile. Maybe my ideas haven’t fit His definition of meaningful and He has simply hazed them over in my brain. If that is it, then I’m thankful for the answered prayer.

My apology

So this is where I offer an apology. I really wanted to write a post of encouragement and appreciation to dads in anticipation of Father’s Day. Maybe I still will. But so far, I haven’t been able to hold onto any of my ideas long enough get a post done.

I had a moment of clarity yesterday while I was out on the trail and wrote an entire article in my head. When I got home and tried to type it out, I lost it. Chalk up another point to brain fog.

My thanks

For now, I hope a simple THANK YOU will suffice. Dads have it rough in today’s world. I know, I know – we’re told they have privilege because they’re men and we’re pressured to lend our support elsewhere. I say, hogwash!

I think dads who do what it takes to protect and provide for their families deserve more respect and appreciation than we could possibly muster. This world is trying to steal the leadership role that God gave to fathers in their households. A Godly man must work tirelessly to simply stand his ground, not allowing a godless society to envelop his family. And then he has to go above and beyond to model and instill a legacy of lasting faith for the coming generations.

If you’re this kind of dad, wow! You deserve great honor. If you have this kind of dad, celebrate him – not just on Father’s Day, but especially then.

And that is all God has helped me to put together for now. Tell me, have you been limited by prolonged brain fog? What was the cause? How did you overcome it? Do you have any suggestions for me?

What can you tell me about your dad? Do you have a favorite memory with him? If you’d like to honor him in the comments, it would be my privilege to celebrate him with you this Father’s Day week.

Related post: 5 Things You’d Have to Endure from Me if I Were Like My Father

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Celebrations

Happy Mother’s Day with Love For Every Imperfect Mom

I recently watched a TV show where a woman was looking for a sperm donor. She took a long time to consider. In addition to the DNA of the men from whom she had to choose, she thought about character.

How involved did the men want to be in raising the baby? On what parameters, if any, did they insist in regard to religion, schooling, and household rules as the child grew? Whose genes and influence did she want in her child’s life?

I don’t know how sperm donation works, or if this was a typical situation, but it was a beautiful illustration. I believe God considers carefully when choosing the people who will co-parent His kids with Him. Our children really have 3 parents, do they not?

I went out for a run to think this over and pray for so many women I know who feel like anything but a good mom this Mother’s Day. What follows is a collection of my breathless thoughts.

I think we feel inadequate because we compare ourselves to the best in the moms around us. We fail to remember our inherent worth. It is inherent because Jesus built it right in.

I saw this post on Facebook:

A painting of three women, wearing swimsuits, in knee deep water
Watercolor and poem by Rachel Toll

“Three good friends went for a swim.
The one who was fat wished she was thin.
The one who was curvy wished she was clever.
The one who was clever wished she swam better.
The really great swimmer wished she was witty.
The one who was witty wished she was pretty.
All three friends thought the other two were just fine.
If only they could let their own bright light shine.”

Ladies – I think moms in particular – know we are flawed. And we usually feel we are more so than the next gal. We think our kids would be better off in the care of someone more _______. (Fill in the blank)

Have you ever stopped to consider that God knows everything about you? And yet, He still chose you, and an imperfect father, to parent the children He gave you. He wants you to do your best. But He is prepared to make up for whatever skills and wisdom you lack.

Children who blame their earthly parents for their faults might have a point. We aren’t perfect. But their Heavenly Father is. He offers them flawless parenting.

Purple flowers sprouting in spring.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

And you know what? God is a perfect parent to us too. We have the ideal example from which to model our parenting efforts.

He takes away every excuse. We cannot blame other humans for the faults we carry. Sure, they may have contributed to our inadequacies, but we are individually responsible if we choose to stagnate in them.

One day, we will stand before God alone. No one else will be there for us to point fingers. The only one in front of us will be our perfect Father, who gave us everything we needed for the pursuit of righteousness and Godliness.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 1:3

Just as the woman on TV thought long and hard about who to pick as her co-parent, God has been purposeful with us. He knew His intention for each child He would create. He took our strengths and flaws into account, and decided we were the ideal moms to raise the babies He gave us.

This Mother’s Day don’t beat yourself up because you don’t measure up.

Work on your shortcomings with your Heavenly Father. Remember that your children have a perfect parent. It isn’t supposed to be you. God will make up for whatever inadequacies you have when the need arises. It is entirely possible that the character being produced in your children, as they live with your imperfection, is the exact reason God put your household together the way He did.

The scale was never set to register perfection from you. Exhale. God knows what He is doing. Do your best and commit the rest.

With love for every imperfect mom out there…
and that would be ALL of us,

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Celebrations

You See, Mom Is Beautiful Forward, Backward, Up Or Down!

As Mother’s Day approaches, I can’t seem to shake an image I saw in a recent ad. It was a coffee mug with the words “I’m a plant mom” on the side. God uses the wildest things to catch my attention and make me think.

I guess I’m a plant mom. I have exactly 1 plant and I’m happy to tell you I’ve kept it alive for almost 3 weeks. That might be a record for me.

I bought it the day before my dog died. And with all my kids grown, I think I may have transferred my desire to nurture something onto this tiny basil plant. My husband, who has always been the green thumb of the family, suggested he care for it and I surprised even myself with how emphatically I declined his offer.

I have a startling number of friends who have lost their moms this year. I know women who have miscarried. I think of others who cannot be with their mothers or children for countless reasons.

But Mother’s Day does not have to be exclusively about biological connections. Oh, if you have them, celebrate them for the precious gift they are! But if not, I want to encourage you that Mother’s Day is for you too!

The word MOM, spelled forward, backward, and up and down, against a backdrop of pink flowers
You See, Mom Is Beautiful Forward, Backward, Up Or Down!

You see, just as the word MOM reads beautifully forward, backward, up or down, the reality of MOM is the same way. There are so many angles from which to celebrate Mother’s Day. And they are all tremendous gifts!

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers, including:
Plant Moms
Pet Moms
Small Business Moms
Car Moms
Blog Moms
Project Moms
Whether the “baby” you care and sacrifice for is human or otherwise, Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to children of all ages, including those with:
Adoptive Moms
Step Moms
Foster Moms
Team Moms
Work Moms
Church Moms
Chosen Moms
If you have any maternal figure(s) in your life who care about you, love and sacrifice for you, or encourage you to become the person you were created to be, Happy Mother’s Day to you and to them!

And a special Happy Mother’s Day to those with Moms and/or children who are no longer here. I suspect you have the most real understanding of the preciousness of motherhood. God bless you.

Hopefully you see that MOM is beautiful, forward, backward, up and down. Whether your Motherly relationships are clear cut or more creative in their makeup, they are unique gifts from God. There is much love and appreciation to be cherished and shared on Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day!
Who and why will you celebrate this year?

Related post: 5 Things About Me That Are My Mother’s Fault

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Celebrations

30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years

Yes, today is my 30th Wedding Anniversary! When I first considered the idea of listing 30 details surrounding my wedding day, I wasn’t sure I could remember that many things. I got out a pad of paper and started to write.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard at all! As I look over my list of 30 wondrous wedding memories, 30 wonderful years later, I notice that what has stuck with me are special moments which include emotion – love, appreciation, connection, gratitude, humor. That is worth mentioning in a day when young couples feel their weddings must be expensive and well photographed for social media. I hope my list suggests otherwise. The most important thing is to feel and experience the moments as they happen.

Our wedding party: 30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years
30 years ago today!

30 Wondrous Wedding Memories
for 30 Wonderful Years

The Rehearsal

  • I moved the last of my things into our new apartment on Friday morning, Feb. 7, 1992. My fiancé, Michael, was already living there. The schedule was tight to get to the rehearsal because it, and the wedding, were a couple hours away, in the town where my parents lived.
  • We stopped for gas on the way to the rehearsal. It was wondrous to think that the next time we filled the tank, we’d be husband and wife.
  • My rehearsal bouquet was a compilation of the bows that had been on my bridal shower gifts. They’d been inserted into slits in a paper plate, and I held the ribbons underneath.
  • Some dear friends agreed to host our rehearsal dinner in their home. I chose a menu of lasagna, caesar salad and bread but I wore white jeans. Everybody knows marinara sauce is drawn to white clothing. I was more nervous eating that meal than at my wedding.
  • Michael and I had decided to forego our bachelor and bachelorette parties. Instead, we had a worship night after the rehearsal dinner. Michael has amazing vocals! I felt a deep kindred-spirit closeness with the dear brothers and sisters in Christ who made up our wedding party. Together we praised Jesus for bringing us to the eve of our wedding and our friends prayed over us, asking God’s blessing and favor on us as a couple.

Our Wedding Day

  • I awoke on February 8, 1992, in my childhood room in my parents’ home. I got ready in the familiar bathroom. I felt like the same little kid, but I was getting married! It all seemed so surreal.
  • I had a bargain brand lipstick that I was ecstatic about because it was the perfect shade for the day!
  • We were married by a pastor who was a family friend. His church was in an office park and had a black and white industrial vibe. We built that into our theme, adding touches of red and sprinkles of fire and ice roses. It was simple and unique.
White roses with red tips: 30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years
Photo by Katya Zyu on Unsplash
Fire and Ice Roses
  • I adored my wedding dress. I bought the first one I tried on. It was priced right and fit perfectly; no alterations needed.
  • As hard as I tried, none of my bridesmaids liked their dresses. Has any bridesmaid ever liked their dress? If you’ve been a bridesmaid, please comment and tell me about the dress you were asked to wear!
  • From the church’s back room, where I hid until it was time to enter, I could see the guests arriving. The building was made of reflective glass, so they could not see in, but I could see out. It was amazing to see all my most favorite people making their way to the same door.
  • My best friend worked so hard for me. I brainstormed and she handmade everything in my imagination that didn’t exist in stores. The selflessness and talent she had were incredible!
  • She made my veil, which was more of a white halo made of tulle and flowers. It was perfect, I loved it. And her. She was the sister I never had. I tried hard not to cry when she put it on my head a few minutes before the ceremony, because – you know – makeup.
  • I have vivid memories of my grandparents from my wedding. I remember what they were wearing. I remember their smiles and genuine joy. My nana had her jaw wired shut after breaking it in a fall. But she looked radiant. None of them are alive today (grandparents or best friend from point above) so the memories are priceless!
  • My sister-in-law cried all the way down the aisle. I was glad I couldn’t see her face, because I’m an empathetic crier and – yes – makeup.
  • My dad walked me down the aisle, gave me away, then went directly to the microphone and sang “Sunrise, Sunset”, the song from Fiddler on the Roof. Click here to read the beautiful, heartfelt lyrics. From just this excerpt, you will understand why I, and my makeup, were doomed to part ways!

Is this the little girl I carried

Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older

When did they?

…Sunrise, sunset

Written by: Jerry Bock / Sheldon Harnick
  • We wrote our own vows. Michael wrote, and read, an amazingly touching poem for me. Why did I try to wear makeup?.
Me crying while my groom read his vows: 30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years
There was no hope for my makeup.
  • I found out later that most of the women in the audience were in the same makeup predicament. The tissues that came out while my dad sang were used again as my groom poured wondrous words of devotion from of his huge heart.
  • After the ceremony, I used the term “Handsome Husband” a million times. It sounded so strange and yet so wonderful.
  • The entire day was a collaboration of service by loved ones. Friends worked on everything from food to furniture to make our ceremony special.
  • Cake pops were not yet a thing, that I recall, but my mom handmade hundreds of heart-shaped chocolate lollipops to offer our guests.
  • I remember our cake tasting appointment better than the actual wedding cake. Sampling the flavor choices was my favorite element of wedding planning.
  • Newly engaged friends were at our wedding. They wanted to get married quickly and were able to arrange, then and there, for the same pastor, church, and order of ceremony. It was a crazy de ja vu for Michael and me to come back, just 3 weeks later, as guests for their wedding.
  • I changed out of my wedding dress and into a cute white suit to leave the church. It was still the days of pantyhose, and I had the daintiest white ones with a hint of shimmer. I was so proud to get them on without running them. (I’m aging myself. Do young brides today even know what it means to run a pair of hose?)

The Honeymoon (and following days)

  • We spent our wedding night in a beautiful Bed and Breakfast only a few miles from the church. Our room had a view of the ocean, a huge fireplace, and thick bathrobes for our use. There, in the lap of highest luxury I’d ever experienced, we ate a box of pizza because, back then, pizza places were the only restaurants which delivered.
  • My grandparents gifted us our honeymoon. They planned, and paid for, a trip along the coast with overnight stays in unique spots on the way. The most memorable was an inn where each suite had its own motif. Our room was forest themed, and it truly felt like we were sleeping under the trees.
  • One honeymoon afternoon, while exploring a quaint coastal town, we found a jewelry shop which soldered my engagement and wedding rings together while we waited.
  • On the way back from our week-long honeymoon, we stopped at my parent’s house to open our wedding gifts. I was overcome by the generosity of our friends. I’m still using a few of those gifts today!
  • Our photographer (in the days before digital and editable photography) used the incorrect camera settings for indoor photos. We got a pile of very-washed-out wedding pictures. He was our neighbor, had donated his time as our gift, and he felt terrible. But they are one of a kind. To this day, I haven’t seen any other wedding photos like mine! (The ones in this post have been scanned and color corrected. Technology has improved!)
  • Two weeks after our wedding, we went to Tahoe, to be treated by Michael’s family to our formal reception. They threw a luau (Hawaiian party) we will never forget! It was fun to get to wear my wedding dress twice. Only God knew, as we sat watching the Polynesian dancers, that we would have 5 kids of our own, who would grow up dancing and entertaining at many similar future luaus.
My groom and me: 30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years
God has been so faithful.
We owe Him everything!

Before I sign off, I want to wish my handsome husband a very Happy Anniversary! He deserves a standing ovation for putting up with me every single day for 30 years. Counting leap years, that is roughly 10, 957 days. We joke that the pastor who married us must have tied the knot tight!

If you’re still reading, thank you for indulging me. I appreciate your company down memory lane as I’ve recalled 30 Wondrous Wedding Memories for 30 Wonderful Years. I’d love to hear something you remember from your wedding or a marriage ceremony you’ve attended. Do we have any experiences in common? Any complete opposites? Did your bridesmaids like their dresses? What are your thoughts?

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Celebrations Conversations

Stunning Valentines from God – Photo Challenge!

Friends, do you know what next week brings? February! I love February. It is the month which contains both my wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day. And I propose a photo challenge!

Whether you prefer Valentines (celebration of love), Palentines (in appreciation of pals and friends), or Nilentines (anti-Valentines but still a reason to get together), I know one thing to be true. God loves us all! He loves us with a stunning, unconditional, and everlasting love.

“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3

The other day I read a post by Windsofchange18 called Signs, Moments, Smiling. She posted a photo and described how she noticed hearts formed by the knots on the tree in her yard. I commented that it was like a Valentine from God.

Shortly after, I went for a walk and found this.

A heart shaped leaf stuck on a rock wall: Stunning Valentines from God - Photo Challenge!
My own Valentine from God

God sent me my own Valentine! I felt so personally romanced. And I’ll bet, if you look around, you’ll find one He has set out for you too! My mind immediately said, “Photo challenge!”

Will you be on the watch for hearts from God? When you see one in the clouds, in the shadows, in the trees or anywhere, snap a quick photo and share it! Be sure to link back to this post so we can all soak in the love!

God makes the most stunning Valentines! I can’t wait to see what He shows to you. Thank you for participating in this photo challenge.

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.”

Psalm 33:5