Is There a Plumber in the House?

washingdishesThere is currently a plumber under my kitchen sink. Judging by the pounding and heavy breathing, I can only imagine that it will cost a pretty penny. Now, just to clear things up, this is a different plumber than the one who was under that same sink just a few short weeks ago. That plumber, my friends, may or may not have been the one to see me do the ugly cry and then call me later to make sure “we were cool.” What I’m telling you is that I am having some plumbing issues.

No one has to tell me that things could be worse. I do not need to hear about all of the people who are struggling with much bigger things. I know that, in the grand scheme of things, this is simply an annoyance. The truth is that the little annoyances of life can be the final straw when you are the one washing your dishes in a bucket. Can I get an amen?

It’s there, in the little anxieties of life, that we can find Satan hard at work. It isn’t the huge issues that take us out. We can rally for the big things. We will trust God for miracles. But those little things – they can be like death by a thousand cuts. They can become a distraction which the enemy will use to his advantage.

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Take a moment and read Luke 21. It’s okay. I’ll wait.

***

In this passage, Jesus is teaching about some hard things to come:

The destruction of the temple

Wars

Earthquakes

Famine

Pestilence

Persecution

Heaven will pass away

Earth will pass away.

Those are some big things. Yet, we are instructed to not worry about those big things. In hebrews 2 1verse 14, Jesus tells us to settle it in our minds beforehand not to worry about what we will say when we are imprisoned.

Our instruction, sweet sisters, is to watch that our hearts are not weighed down by the cares/worries/anxieties of this life.

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. – Luke 21:34

It is at this point that I wish I were sitting face to face with each of you. I wish you could see how I am about to jump out of my skin because I know that you know what I’m talking about.

Jesus warns us that the day of His return will come upon us suddenly.

Why?

Because we were not living in anticipation of His return.

Why?

Because we were distracted.

By what?

The worries of this life.

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Can you see how the enemy works? He knows that we are going to take those big things straight to our God to handle. He knows that, when tragedy strikes, we will fall on our faces before our God.

But when the car breaks down or the toilet overflows or the kids lose the library books or there is an unexpected bill or, someone work with me, the kitchen sink will not drain and you find yourself washing your dishes in a bucket that you are pretty certain was last used to soak someone’s feet?

At that point, how easily are we distracted from the work of Christ?

The next time you feel overwhelmed and heavy hearted over the day to day worries of this life, be reminded that these annoyances are Satan’s pathetic attempt to distract you.

Do not let it work. Let’s stay alert. Let’s spend our days anticipating Christ’s return so that, when He comes, we are not caught by surprise and can say, “Yes, Lord, I was expecting you.”

You all are loved.

5 Friends Every Woman Needs (and Needs to be)

We live in this weird time where everything is online to be seen, misinterpreted, exaggerated and envied. If someone posts a picture of their latest culinary creation, girls night out or time alone at the coffee shop, our first thought is to compare her life to our own.

Even a person’s friendships are out there for our scrutiny. We analyze how many girlfriends someone has, how often they get together and whether they do or do not include their children. The fact is that there is not a magic number of friends a woman needs. There is not a perfect nights-out-to-nights-at-home ratio.

friends

There are, however, some key characteristics needed in friendship. These can be found in multiple people or just a couple. If you find all of them in one woman, hold on to her like grim death.

  • The Grace Giver There is no way around it. We are going to mess up in big, embarrassing ways. We are going to speak out of turn. We are going to stand someone up. We are going to hurt someone’s feelings. Every woman needs a friend that is generous with the grace. No one should have to grovel, beg or plead for friendship. There has to be a woman who, when she looks you in the eye, has nothing but love.
  • The Truth Teller This is the friend that you do not always appreciate at the time, but it is so needed. Every woman needs a friend that will tell her when her attitude is out of whack or her priorities are out of line. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s precious. Flattery may feel good, but a truth-teller can be trusted. This is the woman who will tell you when your hair is too big, your jeans are too tight or your contribution to Wednesday night supper was less than stellar.
  • The Couch Counselor Lots of people will open their hearts to you. They will listen intently and pray faithfully. It is a special person, however, that opens her home to you. When a woman is willing to move the laundry and make some coffee, real relationships are formed. Honesty abounds with Dora the Explorer in the background.
  • The Burden Bearer Just the other day, I was struck by a verse in Philippians. When writing to “the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi,” Paul’s desire was that they would be striving side by side and not frightened in anything (Philippians 1:27-28.) If there was some striving and some opportunities to be frightened, it is safe to say that there were some trials and painful experiences going on in their lives. Even your closest of friends can not always fix your problems. You need a friend, however, that will walk side by side with you through your trial. You need that woman who will bake you a casserole, babysit your kids or just be there to listen.
  • The Secret Sharer Oh, this is a good one, y’all. There must be a woman in your life who is a safe place for your secrets. This is the woman who knows that your cakes are from a box, you hid in the bathroom during your junior prom and you love you some reality television on Tuesday nights. There is no judgement in this relationship. When Gilmore Girls did you wrong, she just showed up with chocolate. She knows what you like on your pizza and never blinks twice when you go back for thirds at the local buffet.

Friendship is such a tricky thing. I think back to my mom sitting on the front porch snapping fresh green beans with the neighbor and wonder when it all got so complicated. When did friendship become a competition? Who cares if someone else is having dinner and drinking wine with her girlfriends while your crew are all holding juice boxes watching the kids run around the playground?

Again, I say, “Who cares?” Friendship doesn’t always look like it did on Friends, but that doesn’t make it any less of a friendship.

If it works for you, I say, “Pass the coffee and carry on.”

The Truth About Guacamole and Girlfriends

I think it is worse when you never see it coming. You awaken to a beautiful morning with the sun streaming through the windows. {Yes, I sleep until 7:00 a.m. most days. Whatever.} You jump out of bed with visions of coffee on the deck and a leisurely start to the day. Then, you hear the cough.

This is not the my-saliva-went-down-the-wrong-way kind of cough. Nor is it the I-want-your-attention kind. No, this is the cough – the one that you will literally hear in your sleep for the next ten days. It is the dry, hacking, cancel any plans you may have had kind of cough. It mocks you and any medicine you throw its way. The cough makes everything seem more stressful. You lose your mind when a child spills her milk at breakfast even though you have been cleaning up spilled milk since ’02.

When you hear that cough – give it up, girlfriend – you are in for the long haul.

avocado

Late yesterday afternoon, two of my children began showing signs of the cough. My three-year-old {who has not napped since the great bedtime battle of 2013} asked to lay on my bed and “rest her eyes.” Danger, Will Robinson! Then the one-year-old, who normally naps like a boss, decided sleeping was so not her thing. By 5:00 it became clear that the cough had, indeed, invaded our home.

Here is the thing, sweet friends. I had a girls night out planned – the kind which requires no high chairs and no one orders macaroni and cheese. Home is where the heart is, but guacamole is good for the soul. What I am saying is that I left my clingy, hacking children in my husband’s very capable hands and left.

Y’all, let me tell you something. There is very little in this life that can not be drastically improved by guacamole and girlfriends. I did not say “fixed,” mind you – but made better. Sometimes, we just need a reason to put on some earrings, to eat a plate of food without sharing and to laugh at ourselves.

We did not solve the world’s problems. We did not discuss anything that is currently trending on Twitter or Facebook. We laughed. We breathed. We sat, uninterrupted except for the lovely waiter who refilled our glasses, and just enjoyed a meal. It was lovely.

Then, I drove home in a guacamole haze not realizing that I failed to turn my headlines on until I was three red lights down the road. I drifted off to sleep knowing that I would, once again, awaken to the sound of the cough.

I laugh at the cough. This ain’t my first rodeo.

Happy Wednesday.

❤ Stacy

5 Ways to Filter Negative Noise in Your Life

I am currently the only one awake in my house. That is nothing short of a miracle. I want to write, but I also want to sit and enjoy the silence. Life just seems so loud these days. I know what you’re thinking. How can life not be loud with five kids? Here’s the thing, though. The kids are not the noise. 20120920-011548.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. They can be very loud. At the end of the day, however, they are not the noise that stresses out my soul. It is the anger on the Internet. It is the drama constantly unfolding on the television. It is the discord in church pews. It is neighbors who just can’t get along.

Noise. Noise. Noise.

Do you feel that way too? Do you wish there was a tad less noise in your life? Here are five changes you can make to filter out some of the negative noise.

Filtering Negative Noise

  • Begin your day with quiet. For years, my alarm clock has been whichever kid woke up first. With the addition of each infant, I was certain that, the longer she slept, the more refreshed I would feel upon awakening. That is not what happens. It doesn’t matter if she wakes up at 5:45 or 8:00, if I stay in bed until she awakens, I am thrown headlong into the noise of the day. I need a moment of quiet. It may only be five minutes, but it will be my five minutes.
  • Choose better background noise. Whether you are a retiree or a stay at home parent, those at home sometimes prefer background noise. The default tool is often the television. The television, however, can be full of negative emotions and scenarios. Instead, choose to listen to a podcast, music or audio book. Listening to other things will not only set a better tone but it enables you to move around the house while listening.
  • Choose the better portion. Sometimes, the loudest noise is inside our own heads. We, like Martha, are anxious and troubled about so many things. Jesus did not say that Mary did not have things which could have caused her to feel anxious and troubled. The difference was that Mary chose the better thing to focus on. Choose worship over worry.
  • Leave the noise behind. There is a great big, beautiful world full of adventure and excitement. It is right outside your door. Go and explore. Step away from the computer. Walk away from the chores. Take your family and leave your phone. Eat ice cream. Sit on a park bench. Enjoy life.
  • End your day with quiet. Whether your day is full of staff meetings and business lunches or play dates and doctor’s appointments, it is important to end where you began. Take a deep breath. Read a little. Laugh with someone. Thank God for the people He has placed in your life. Drink a little something hot. Dream about tomorrow.

If we are not intentionally seeking some quiet, the negative noises will take over.

What do you do to add a little peace and quiet to your day?

Nothing Says Adult Like Voluntarily Going to the Dentist

I just got back from the dentist’s office. I dread these trips more than I did as a kid. When someone is staring into your mouth with a bright light and a magnifying glass, it is hard to hide your 5 cups a day coffee habit and your aversion to flossing. The truth comes out, my friends, and it isn’t pretty.

The worst part of these trips, however, is not the shiny instruments of death or the way your gums beg for mercy. No, the worst part is what goes on inside your head. And, when I say your head, I totally mean mine. It just makes me feel better to pretend we are talking about you.

So, this is what goes on inside my head during a teeth cleaning.free 1

Do I have coffee breath because that is a dead giveaway?

Where am I supposed to look?

She’s done already? Oh, she is just changing tools.

I’m never coming here again.

Am I supposed to swallow this water she’s pouring into my mouth?

How long am I supposed to close my mouth on that air, spit  vacuumy thing?

Why is she talking to me?

I think I just licked her finger.

She is done! Nope, another false alarm.

I taste blood. Why do I taste blood?

What did she just type into the computer? It’s probably really bad.

I’m never coming here, again.

Was that her stomach or mine?

I don’t know where to put my tongue.

How much are they charging me for this pleasure?

I’m never coming here again. 

Oh, she’s done. That wasn’t too bad.

Six months? Sure, see you then!

That is your glimpse into the mind of a crazy woman. It’s pretty scary.

heart sugar cookie****

In other non-dental {you’re welcome} news, I have been thinking about a verse I read the other day.

And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment. – Luke 7:37

This is a fairly familiar passage of Scripture. A woman known for her sinfulness dares to enter a Pharisee’s house uninvited. Why would she do that? Why would she put herself in a position where she would surely be ridiculed? What made her want to be in a place where she was not wanted? Why was she willing to put herself out there like that?

Why, indeed?

The answer is simple. This woman showed up at that house because Jesus was there. She was not concerned with what others thought or knew about her. She could handle the judgmental glances because her eyes were only on Him. She was willing to get a little uncomfortable in order to get a little closer to Christ. 

It got me thinking.

When is the last time I have willingly been uncomfortable in order to be a little closer to Jesus?