Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What A Privilege!

(Ron Hall & Denver Moore at a book signing for their book Same Kind of Different As Me in Dec. 2006 in Aledo, Texas; photo courtesy of my friend Lee Ann Moore)

Thanks to the generosity of my writer friend TJ and her husband Corbin, I had the awesome privilege of getting to hear best-selling authors Ron Hall and Denver Moore share their life story tonight, in their own words. In my own words, it was truly amazing!

For those of you who know me, you know that ever since June of last year, I have been trying to get as many people as possible to read Same Kind of Different As Me. I simply cannot describe how wonderful the book is or how potentially life-changing its message is. As soon as I started the book, I called the publisher and ended up getting to attend one of the first book signings in June 2006 at the Murchison Estate in Dallas. So, tonight was actually my third time to get to see the men behind the book. (Does that make me an official groupie or a stalker?)

Tonight was extra special though because I got an update on the book's success and had the opportunity to hear Ron and Denver tell about Miss Debbie's legacy---about how one person can make a difference---and how Denver is continuing to carry Miss Debbie's torch. Some interesting facts: Ron mentioned that their book is third right now on amazon.com in the biography division (#1 is Clarence Thomas's book; #2 is Tony Dungy's book; #3 Denver's; #4 is Sidney Poitier's book; and #5 is Barack Obama's book), and so Denver is ahead of Barack Obama in the polls! Ron also mentioned that they have signed a movie deal with Mark Clayman, the producer of The Pursuit of Happyness.

After Ron, "the opening act for Denver," gave a shortened but brutally honest version of how he met and befriended Denver, Denver put his shy tendencies aside and took the stage while singing, "God is still protecting me; God just kept on blessing me." He commented openly about how he would never have written a book if he had known that he would have to speak on stages. Thankfully, he didn't know about marketing books because we had the rare treat of getting to hear him "preach" (though he didn't like it when people called out "Amen" to the rousing parts of his message). He is truly an instrument of God and a modern-day prophet. It was a delight to see him getting to deliver a message that he is completely passionate about.

A side benefit of the evening was getting to meet and have a wonderful dinner with some of TJ and Corbin's good friends. It was a fun evening that I want to reminisce about and reflect upon for a while, but alas I must get some sleep.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Moody Weather

(the view outside my house)

Who could be discontent with blue clear skies?

That would be me.

On Monday, my birthday, God decided that stormy weather was in order. I was not a happy camper. People who were kind enough to wish me a happy birthday seemed surprised when I responded in a less than joyful way and mentioned the storms outside. Evidently, the storms had made me a bit glum.

So when I heard the forecast for this weekend included brisk mornings and sunny afternoons, I got excited. I geared up yesterday to write about what a super Saturday I had in store. One with no set agenda. A leisurely Saturday with beautiful weather. What more could I ask for?

Maybe no sinus headaches? That would have been a good prayer to pray.

Shortly after I returned from running errands, which included strolling around the nursery picking out pansies, a massive sinus headache started raging in my cheeks and brain. Not long thereafter, nausea set in. I soon found myself making my way to my bed to attempt to find a position that would make my head stop hurting. I went to bed before the sun did.

Thankfully, today the blue clear skies have reappeared, and so far, I don’t have a sinus headache. I’ve managed to plant the pansies that I bought yesterday and to get some chores done. But a little bit of guilt has set in.

Throughout today, God has shown me how quickly I become discontent when everything doesn’t line up like I want it to. I secretly, or maybe not so secretly, pinned my contentment for the weekend on my ability to enjoy it my way (i.e., doing what I wanted to when I wanted to with beautiful weather, all while remaining pain-free). As soon as the headache set in and stole my ability to do pretty much anything, my contentment vanished. At that point, giving thanks in all circumstances was a far cry from the thoughts that were on my mind.

Tomorrow, forecasters predict that the storms will return. But I don’t want my gloomy attitude to return along with them. Instead, I pray that God will give me strength to be content no matter my circumstances. (Philippians 4:11-13)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hope Abounds

Last week, I struggled with hope. Not with having it but with trying to explain it. I needed to write a devotional on hope. Examples weren't hard to come by. Neither was the Reason for my hope. But the task---attempting to put into words why hope continues in the face of bad news or after years and years of hoping for the same thing---seemed impossible.

For instance, I know that at least five of my friends are currently struggling with infertility. Each couple longs to have a child. I'm not sure what each couple's "hope-ometer" reading is right now; more than likely, some readings are higher than others depending on the day.

I talked with one of those friends today, and her "hope-ometer" revealed that it was running on empty. She's recently received some difficult news, which made her question whether God loves her. She wondered why God would give her a desire and then not fulfill that desire. She asked whether I had hope that God would fulfill the desire on my heart.

In all honesty, I believe He will. I don't know when or how; I just have the hope that He will. I don't know how God fills up my "hope-ometer"; I just know that He can and that He does. I guess I would equate it with knowing that God can and does heal people, but I don't understand how He does it. Sometimes the healing is instantaneous, and sometimes it takes years, like with my friend Bekah.

I'd love to hear what y'all, my faithful readers, think. What do you know to be true about hope? How have you continued to hope in the face of despair? You don't have to leave your name, but don't be shy about answering.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Thirty-three years ago today, I came into this world. Unlike turning 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, or any of those other decade ages, this particular birthday does not have any sort of special celebration attached to it. I didn’t get a brand new driver’s license or the opportunity to vote. But despite the world’s view that turning 33 is not a big event, in my mind, it is.

For a few months now, I’ve been contemplating this new age. Mostly because Jesus was 33 when he died. I wasn’t thinking about it with a fatalistic attitude of “turn 33 and die”; instead, I was thinking about all that Jesus had accomplished by the time He was 33.

When I was growing up, I didn’t spend much time daydreaming. Instead, I spent my time writing lists with goals I wanted to achieve and the steps I would take to accomplish them. Consequently, I was a bit of an overachiever.

Over the years, I have scaled back and tried to let God direct my paths instead of my lists. So, when this birthday arrived, I didn’t have a vision of what 33 should look like or where I should be at this point in my life. Consequently, I am not disappointed. There are definitely a few things I wish I had in my life already, but I haven’t lost hope that God can still add them to my life in future years. I’m grateful for the people God has put in my life to encourage me and inspire me. So for the most part, I feel content with where God has brought me over the past 33 years. And, I look forward to seeing where He takes me from this point forward.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Three-Day Parenting Adventure

You’ve probably heard the joke about the next Survivor series requiring participants to mother children (i.e., dress, bathe, feed, and diaper them and run them around to numerous activities, etc.). This past week, I felt like my friend S and I were being taped for the pilot episode.

A friend of ours, who is a single mom of three girls (who are soon to be 7, 4, and 2), asked my friend S and me if we would keep her kids Tuesday night through Friday morning while she traveled to and attended a conference for her work. She doesn’t have family here, so she was in a tight spot as to who would help her. Amazingly, she thought the two of us were somehow fit for the task. And, we accepted the challenge.

Our “assignment” of sorts involved me picking up the car seats at school, along with the three girls, taking them home, preparing their dinner, and helping them with their homework. Then, S would arrive and assist me with their homework, giving them baths, and getting them to bed. After the kids were in bed, S and I would eat dinner, clean up the kitchen, make lunches, choose outfits for the girls to wear the next day, and switch out the car seats from my car to S's car. S would spend the night there while I came home to take care of my dog.

I would return each morning around 6:45 after S had gotten the kids up and gotten breakfast ready. We would then get the kids dressed, teeth brushed, and hair fixed before S took them to school.

At the conclusion of the first evening, I had a huge appreciation for single moms. I have no idea how my friend gets all that done by herself. I also quickly realized that I hadn’t babysat in many years and had clearly forgotten some things. Like portions. And cutting up food for a toddler, who just looked at me when I put uncut food on her plate. And asking if anyone needs to go to the bathroom or has a dirty diaper. None of that is on my daily radar.

I also didn’t realize how much homework kids are assigned these days. I remember reading stories out of our Moonbeams reader when I was in first grade. That was the extent of my homework back then. The seven year old was expected to do a handwriting assignment, read for 5 minutes a night, practice ten spelling words, practice her Scripture memory verse, and practice her lines for a school play. Additionally, the four year old had to practice recognizing shapes and letters. By the end of the week, we were all practicing shapes, spelling “m-u-s-t” and “c-r-a-b,” and reciting the Scripture verse:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother“—which is the first commandment with a promise—“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1-3)

Amidst all that hard work, good times abounded. I laughed as I watched the two year old dancing and snapping as she watched a video or practicing being grown up as she put on orange lip balm multiple times each morning. I stood amazed as the seven year old imagined and then put together healthy dinners for the group (with my assistance). And, I loved watching the four year old relax and unwind by watching a video.

All in all, it was an amazing opportunity to serve a friend in need. Something that I often fail to do.

You see, I’m wired to get things done and seem to measure my weeks by how much I’ve accomplished on MY to-do list instead of by how much I’ve invested in my relationships. As our church has been studying its values of being God-exalting, Truth-centered, relationally-focused, and service-minded, I have been reminded of how I need to restructure my priorities and be more intentional about being relational instead of organizational.

So please pardon me as I sign off to catch up on my sleep---something I am quite sure that my single-mom friend never gets enough of!