Monday, January 30, 2012


“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Do you experience the sick feeling of regret?  It shakes you from your sleep or it bullies your thoughts by day. It may be new to you or the same regret has been haunting you for years. Do you wonder, “Will I ever move past my regret?”
Regret is defined as a feeling of sorrow, remorse, a sense of loss, fault, or disappointment. I see regret as falling into one of two categories. The first category comes as a result of our fault and neglect, the second category is the result of personal loss and disappointment.
Regret due to fault and neglect includes our sinful or negligent choices, and we are reaping the consequences in our lives. It hurts and we feel sick about it.
Worse than our own inner turmoil, is being aware that our actions have had negative repercussions on our loved ones. When our regretful actions involve the most significant people in our lives, our remorse runs deep. The regret over our choices play like a bad dream over and over in our heads.
What can free us from this taunter ?
Jesus Himself, our great High Priest, invites us to receive His mercy. God chose to take on flesh and walk among men and women. He experienced every temptation, yet was without sin. He took our sins upon Him and suffered death on the cross. He did this so we can have forgiveness and a relationship with God. This is why we can approach His throne-His presence-with confidence, because it is a throne of grace! When we move into His presence, confessing our sin, we receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (check out Hebrews 4:14-16).
Let grace and mercy replace your regret
Grace is God’s constant and unfailing faithfulness to His promises and to His people. It includes His unconditional love and acceptance of you. You can neither earn it or lose it.
Mercy means to bend or stoop in kindness. Mercy shows favor and graciousness. It flows from the loving-kindness of God. Both grace and mercy are the very nature of God.
Wouldn’t you love God to replace your regret with His grace and mercy? You aren’t able to fully embrace it for yourself until you face your actions head on with Jesus. But, we put it off. We harbor the guilt and carry the baggage of regret. We allow regret to make its home in our life, and drag it along through the years.
Maybe we think God will be angry with us. Maybe it is too painful to rehash your regrets in His presence. But, isn’t it time? I like these words from my BFF, Christie Lee Rayburn, “The road to forgiveness is simple–it is our sin that is complex. We spend our lives reversing the two.”
Don’t let the possible “simplicity” of God’s cleansing keep you from it. Regret saps you of freedom and years of life. It is time to sit at the throne of grace and let our compassionate Savior, Jesus, cover you with His mercy.
It is time to deal with it
Go find a quiet place in your home. Get on your knees (you don’t have to, but I find it helps me to humble my heart - as if kneeling at the throne), and confess what needs to be confessed.  Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself. Ask Him to cover you with His goodness.
Aaaahhhh…..that feels so good.
Now embrace it. God promises every one of us, when we confess our sins, He will always be faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). That means You—Are–Clean.
Soak in those words.
You-not the other guy you think is more deserving.
Are-God’s Word doesn’t say He might cleanse you of all unrighteousness. It says He will.
Clean-that means you don’t pick the garbage back up tomorrow after you have trashed it today. Leave your garbage at the throne.
It’s a new day! Don’t look back, my friend. “Will I ever get past my regret?”–It is up to you now. You have the opportunity to walk in newness of life today.
Embrace it!
Consider this tough question: Once we are free from the remorse and condemnation of our actions, can we ever get past the pain of loss?
This is part 1 of a 3 part series on Regret. Next, we’ll look at Regret due to loss and disappointment. We’ll talk about whether regret is ever good.

Woman Gone Wise

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WHEN I WAS 16 ...

Twenty years ago, the boy I had a huge crush on took me on my very first date. Turns out, it was my only ‘first date’. Because sometimes one is all you need.

When I was 16…

you took me on a walk at Glenmore resevoir. You told me you had a question for me, but you kept changing the subject and clearing your throat. We talked about exams and schoolwork. We talked about our friends. We talked about the gifts we had gotten at Christmas. We talked about the weather, for Pete’s sake. I wondered if you were ever going to get to the point. Finally, as we turned towards home you blurted out “doyouwantogooutwithme?”
Of course I said “YES!” and then tried desperately to act cool about the whole thing.
When I was 18, you took me on a walk at Glenmore resevoir after dinner. You put your suit jacket over my shoulders to keep me warm. You were fidgety and nervous. I wondered what was wrong with you. You got down on one knee, right in the snow, and blurted out “willyoumarryme?”.
I think there was some stuff about how much you loved me et cetera… but I was crying and laughing and entirely giving up any pretense of coolness, so I don’t really remember.

When I was 16…

you reached over and took my hand for the first time. It was a bit awkward. We hadn’t figured out how to fit our fingers together just right, but you didn’t let go all the way back home.
When I was 23, you held my hand while we waited for the results of the pregnancy test. You held my hand in the hospital waiting room. You held my hand when the doctors told us our baby had died, and during labour and delivery. You held my hand when they took him away. You didn’t let go, not then and not through the sad, sad months to come.
You held my hand through 4 more children. Two girls, another stillborn baby boy, and our youngest who came one month early with a little extra in the DNA department.
Our hands fit together perfectly now; we don’t even have to think about it.

When I was 16…

we played Monopoly and you tried to slip me money so that I would win. You crushed me. I was embarrassed because I wanted you to think I was smart and capable, and because I really, really like to win.
When I was 30, we started family games night. Candyland, then Trouble and Sorry, eventually chess, Scrabble and Monopoly. You help the girls here and there, you give them tips, but we don’t let them win every game. It’s more fun that way, a real challenge. Because we all really, really like to win.

When I was 16…

we went to A&W for dinner, then to see Beauty and the Beast in the theatre. I was skeptical that anything could compete with Little Mermaid. We shared popcorn, and halfway through the movie you put your arm around me in one quick, smooth motion, and then let out a sigh of relief.
You were so cute! I couldn’t believe how fun this dating thing was turning out to be.
When I was 36, you took me to A&W for dinner, then to the movies for our 20 year “anniversary”. Beauty and the Beast 3D was playing and that seemed romantic, but we decided to see Sherlock Holmes instead. We’ve seen enough kids movies to last 3 lifetimes. I ate all the popcorn and you drank a huge pop. You had to go to the bathroom 3 times and I teased you mercilessly about it.
We still laugh and act like teenagers when we are on a date. I have more fun with you than anyone else.

When I was 16…

you walked me to the LRT station. I leaned in to hug you and you stole your first kiss. I was shocked. Church girls like me didn’t expect that on a first date. But you were worldly and wild like that.
When I was 22, you decided you wanted to serve God with your life. Your family thought we were crazy. Mine thought we were saints. They were both wrong. I knew our life wouldn’t be normal or easy; it wasn’t what I expected. But you were brave and devoted like that.
Now we live in the real world, and that ministry life is a memory. We’ve learned a lot since then. And the kissing has just gotten better and better.

When I was 16…

we had our first fight. My friend Claire and I smoked a cigarette in the alley behind my house. The next week I drank half a pitcher of real margaritas at a restaurant and got a little tipsy. You were appalled when you found out. You wondered who I was. I called you a stuffed shirt.
When I was 19, we had our first married fight – day one of our honeymoon, at the breakfast table. I ordered Eggs Benedict and you had the pancakes platter. I snagged a piece of bacon and popped it in my mouth. You looked at me like I had kicked your puppy. Apparently, you do not share food. This has not changed.
But you’ve shared everything else with me for the past 20 years, so I’m not going to complain. You can have all the bacon.
I picked the best man in the world when I was 16. I let you think it was all your idea, but I knew what I wanted. And I really, really like to win.

So here’s me, SO incredibly grateful that I got to grow up with you by my side.

So Here's Us ... Life on the Raggedy Edge

Monday, January 23, 2012


I stood in my heels next to our Lexus as I talked with a woman on the sidewalk.  She sat in her wheelchair as she told me about her recent trials.  Pointing to her crunched up toes, she explained her feet hurt because she had to squeeze them into a pair of old shoes that were a size too small.
My heart remembered, “To whom much is given, much is required”.
I see it more everyday.  People counting their last pennies to pay for their groceries, or taking items out of their cart in order to pay for the minimal amount of food they need.  I see more and more children walking to school who have outgrown their clothing and their coats.
People are stretched financially and stressed out emotionally.  Although we have our own challenges financially and emotionally as a family, we have so much in comparison.  What can I do with my resources: my time, my extra change, for the good of my neighbors?
  1. Be aware of someone struggling to pay for their groceries in the grocery line.  Discretely offer to pay for them.
  2. Offer to wrap gifts and help write letters at a local home for the elderly.
  3. Cook and deliver a meal together to someone recovering from surgery or physical limitations.
  4. Adopt a family in need:  buy a meal card or a Target card, and deliver it anonymously.
  5. Collect canned foods while Christmas Caroling and deliver it to the local food shelter.
  6. Christmas Carol, play musical instruments or create a dance or drama for a nursing home.  Give out lotion, chapsticks or personal artwork.
  7. Read for children at a local hospital or library.
  8. Whenever you buy a coat or shoes for yourself or children, give away the extra coat or shoes you own.
  9. Babysit for a single parent.  Give mom or dad a mental break and invite their child to hang out in your home.
  10. Give a special needs family a break and offer to watch their child for a few hours or overnight for a much-needed getaway.
How do you serve your neighbors?  What simple things can you do this week to incorporate a lifestyle of compassion?


Monday, January 16, 2012


In a series of posts, “A World Beyond ME”, we will look at 40 acts of compassion for kids and their families.  Today, we are considering 10 Acts of Compassion kids age 10 and under can engage in with their families.
Because you want your children to grow in their capacity for compassion, allow them to have their creative input in your service choice.  Come alongside them as you serve, nudging them to take initiative.
While you participate in acts of compassion with your family, be aware you are a role model as you enjoy the service. Your kids are watching your interactions,  your attitudes ,and your acceptance of others. Don’t forget to let your kids use their own hands and feet and voice!  This is the best way for them to build upon their confidence and ability to care for others.
  1. Run or walk with an organized 5k to support your favorite charity:  Special Olympics, Breast Cancer Research, Run to Feed the Hungry
  2. Raise your own funds to support your favorite charity through garage sales, car washes, or another creative idea.
  3. Mow the lawn together, shovel snow off a sidewalk or take out the trash for an elderly neighbor.
  4. Share your talents or play games and cards with folks at a local home for the elderly.
  5. Find out about shut-ins at your church who may need errands run, a homemade dinner,  items fixed, windows cleaned or junk dumped.
  6. Serve dirty water at dinner, and then talk about raising or saving money for many people who do not have clean drinking water or wells (
  7. Create artwork to thank someone or encourage someone in need of some emotional support.
  8. Do a family member’s chores at home.  Consider doing it on the sly or leave a special “anonymous” note.
  9. Bring baked goods to the local fire station and create a handmade thank you card.
  10. Donate your old books to a child in need.  Pick up an extra coloring book at the store.  Consider local churches, shelters, libraries or Head Start to bring your donation.
We would love to hear your ideas and experiences engaging your children ages 10 and under in compassionate acts!  Please add to the list your ideas.


Sunday, January 8, 2012


Brother encourages brother at Special Olympics

In my ministry and family experiences of working with young people, I am convinced those who are encouraged to develop empathy and exercise compassion in their lives benefit richly. Consider the character development that occurs in your children as you provide opportunities for them to show compassion.
  • Kids who volunteer learn to look beyond their own needs and desires.
  •  Self-pity decreases.  They are more likely to take their eyes off of their own problems and see them in perspective of others who have great need.
  • Self-importance decreases.  Their narrow adolescent world grows as they increasingly experience the needs of others.
  • They are more likely to embrace the value of treating others as they themselves want to be treated.
  • Self-indulgence decreases as they desire to give their resources to others in need.
  • Serving others brings a sense of purpose and mission to their existence (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Serving others brings personal fulfillment, satisfaction and joy as they are doing what they were created to do (Ephesians 2:10)
  • Acts of compassion promote a higher level of self-esteem due to their ability to make a contribution.
  • Moral responsibility and character are developed as children consider others in need.
  •  Acts of service and compassion develop a child’s ability to accept and communicate effectively with a diverse culture.
  • Volunteering to help others creates unique opportunities for children to use their talents and creative abilities for a purpose.
  • Serving beside others creates new friendships and builds positive memories with peers.
  • Compassionate children influence a generation, a school, and community.
  • Serving beside others promotes multi-generational understanding and respect.
  • Compassionate experiences in childhood help shape character and life-long patterns for adulthood.
This month I will be posting a series, “A World Beyond ME: Raising Compassionate Kids”.  I hope you will share your own thoughts and experiences as you follow along.

Woman Gone Wise

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I think every one on the planet can point to key moments in their lives where a situation either made them or broke them or sometimes both.  For some it's a death in the family, a birth, a move, a loss of a job, etc.  

There were a few challenges for me in the last year, and looking back, I hope that one day I can say, "Yep, that definitely made me a better person."

Toward the end of the school year I was faced with making a decision to continue teaching at a school I dearly loved or to take a step out of my comfort zone and move to another building, job, etc.  This decision was not entered into lightly.  I started contemplating and researching options in February - even taking a jaunt around the state to see if some of my options were what I really wanted.  I explored many opportunities that I would not have considered before and for that I think I am better.  I learned a lot about myself through interview processes for different positions in different capacities.  But, in the end, I chose to go to another building.  Not because I was unhappy, but because I wanted to be in control of some of the change that would take place over the next year.  It was a challenge to leave a family that I had grown to love like my own family and enter into a building where no one knew a thing about me, how I taught, etc. But, I did it.  Has it been a challenge to learn the new expectations of a new administrator?  Absolutely.  Has it been a challenge to learn a new grade level? You betcha!

As a part of this challenge, I faced one of the largest challenges in my life.  I've dubbed it the 2011 Blog Catastrophe.  As a part of my closure, I wrote about leaving my school and moving to another.  Without going through the painful details, I experienced personal attack like I had never done so before. I became terrified to share my opinion about anything, scared to write on my blog.  I deleted most of my facebook friends because I didn't know who I could trust and who I couldn't. I went through weeks of phone calls to people who were upset with me, lots of tears, not eating, questioning everything I did.  Honestly, I still struggle with some of these things when asked what I think about something now.  This experience shook me to the core and still rattles me.  

But, I learned something in it all.  Beware, this may offend someone, but know that you were warned and I am not singling anyone out.  I learned that it doesn't matter what you say, when you say it, how you say it, what you write - someone out there will be offended.  You can NEVER make everyone happy 100% of the time, and if you spend your time trying to do that the only person who will be UNHAPPY is you.  Talk about huge learning.  


Monday, January 2, 2012


We’re a family that likes to play games: Uno, Blokus, Sorry, Trouble, Charades… We try to make time at least once a week to play together. Another family tradition we have on these nights are the musical stylings of none other than… myself.

I’ve paid my dues, time after time.

So, I’m not exactly musical, at all. In fact, I’m rather tone deaf, but I more than compensate for this with sheer enthusiasm.

I’ve served my sentence, but committed no crime.

No, Mom, not again! Why must she keep doing this?”

And bad mistakes, I’ve made a few.

Cue the groaning and eye rolling. The occasional pillow is thrown my way, but don’t fear, I am spry. I don’t want to die with this music in me!

I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through!
This is where it gets loud!


In addition to illustrating what an incredibly gracious winner I am, this little conert is an example of one of our family’s greatest strengths. We are silly.

When the girls were little Glen use to tickle them while singing “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose, may an elephant caresse you with his toes…” I’m pretty sure HIS Dad used to sing it to him. My Dad preferred to make up his own words and was more likely to bellow bizarre phrases than sing. The words “Total Alabama!” were a frequent exclamation. I have no idea what it means, but it still makes me smile.

I don’t know what it is about kids that awaken the inner goofball. Both my husband and my father are fairly quiet and reserved people in most situations, but they can behave like complete nutbars with their children. It’s fun to laugh at and with each other, but it’s so much more than that.

Our absurd rituals and goofy traditions build intimacy. We create a weird and crazy world that is uniquely ours. Yes, we discipline, we fight, we build routines to make life run smoother… we love each other in hundreds of practical ways. But there’s something precious about the fun times when we truly LIKE each other too.

So here’s me, singing on and on and on and on.

Life On the Raggedy Edge