Saturday, December 24, 2011


Rejoice?  It's a Christmas word, right?  The only time I hear it is at Christmas in a card or in a song. 

Today...God gave me this word.  I pondered it.  I (yes, you'll be surprised by this) asked questions about it.  I dissected it.  Re - to do again.  Joice - it must be a form of joy.

I came up with 'to choose joy again and again.'

I smiled.  I liked it.  I decided it is definitely not a Christmas word.  It is my word.  It is my word for 2012.  "Rejoice always."

Now for the tough part, how do I really do it?

God brought to mind the verse that follows..."Pray without ceasing."


Then ouch! 

I quickly counter with "Oh, I'm in an attitude of prayer.  I pray all the time as I zip from school to home and home to soccer games and..."  I'm stopped dead.  How is my meaningful in-depth, daily prayer time? Ew.w.w!

So we come back to prayer, Lord.

I must say I'm not surprised.  You took me to that word this summer.  :)  It's back.  It doesn't quite conjure up the pleasant, non-guilty emotions of 'the Christmas word rejoice.'

Yet, it's 'the how' to get to rejoice - choosing joy again and again.

Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing! 

Got it!  :) 

Truth doesn't always slide down as easily as a Starbucks Peppermint White Mocha, yet it's truth just the same.  Thanks for my Christmas Eve gift!  (Like you haven't given me enough, already.  :))


Sunday, December 11, 2011


Matt's Greenville College Soccer Team has a tradition...whenever they're being introduced before a game, they do a simple clap-clap after each name is read.  "Forward #10, Cobi Allen" (clap-clap) "Forward #11 David Dunlop" (clap-clap) "Defensive Mid-field #18, Matt Cowman" (clap-clap).

The other day as we were working on our family Christmas puzzle - Wait a minute!  Let me clarify who the 'we' was - Madison, Bobby and I. When Matt's home and we have his company, our numbers go up...whether it's Grace or Sally (from China) or Keagan (when he's home from the air force.)  Notice I did not say Matt.  Notice I did not say Michaela and Meredith.  (They only like to work on the puzzle when there are 15 or 20 pieces left.) 

Anyhow, as 'we' were working at the beginning of the daunting 1000 piece puzzle, Bobby thought to add in, "Hey, when we find a piece, let's clap-clap.  We need all the encouragement we can get on this tough puzzle.

That night we clap-clapped as we labored to get 11 reindeer pieces put into the lower left side of the puzzle. 

The next morning, Michaela had a soccer game.  As the girls were warming up, Meredith and I heard it.  Clap-clap.  We quickly picked our spot on the bleachers and glanced up, eager to see what had precipitated the clap-clap.  "Two claps for Keagan's headband" Coach Bob called out.  The 12-year-old girls giggled as they in unity clap-clapped.

I smiled.

Clap-Clap.  I kinda liked it.  No!  I really liked it.

"Two claps for Schay's hair," Coach called.


The girls were all smilin' as they began warming up.

Two claps.  I want God's two claps!  What do I do that would make God say, "Two claps for Lisa?"


I immediately began racking my brain for something big...What big thing do I do?  Shoot.  Not gettin' much in that department.  I started slinkin' into discouragement.

Then I heard it. 

A whisper...think small. 


I looked at Meredith sitting beside me.  The night before I had taken her laundry out and folded it for her, because she had already gone to bed.  Clap-clap.

I looked out at the girls warming up.  Michaela, my goalie.  Lately, we'd been challenging each other to ping pong, because we're pretty evenly matched and we both like to end on top.  I smiled.  Clap-clap.

I looked at Michaela's handsome coach, my man.  I smiled.  He's so cute.  He's an amazing coach.  What a special blessing for her to have her dad as her soccer coach all these years.  So what had I done for him?  Think, think...Ooh, I had hurried to get the coffee going so it'd be ready for him to grab to take to the game. Clap-clap.

I did get some clap-claps!  The best part was they came from the ultimate hands.

And wonder of wonders...He clap-claps the little things.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Parenting with my 'A-Game?'

I've been thinking about my waitressing days recently.  I enjoyed those days at Bob Evans in Sandusky, Ohio - taking orders, refilling coffee and bringing out great food.  The paradox of waitressing however, was that often my best service came when I was busy.  Doesn't make sense, does it?

When I was busy, I was constantly on the floor, so I was easily accessible if someone needed ketchup or another Coke.  When I was busy, I was zipping through the main doors to the floor, right by the cooks, so if they called out my order, I'd hear them immediately.  When I was busy, I was pouring everything I had into caring for my five tables.  It took my 'A Game' to stay ahead, so I was giving my 'A Game.'

 When I wasn't busy, it was the opposite.  I'd get into conversations in the back room with other waitresses.  Another waitress might have to come back and mention "Table 5 needs ketchup."  When I wasn't busy, my order might be called up, but I wouldn't hear.  I wasn't zipping by.  When I wasn't busy, I'd get lax.  I didn't need my 'A Game.'

It reminds me of parenting.  When my children were young, I was busy.  It took my 'A Game' to stay ahead of meals for a family of 6.  It took my 'A Game' to keep my toddler daughters happy at countless soccer games...that and a bookbag filled with crayons, coloring books, bagggies of pretzels and sippy cups full of apple juice. It took my 'A Game' to discipline children who hit or disobeyed or got out of their beds at bedtime. 

My children are now mostly junior highers.  Life's not nearly so busy.  They do their own laundry.  They get their own snacks.  They mostly get their chores done. They rarely need diciplining.  They get their homework done.  Parenting doesn't take my 'A Game' anymore.

So what game are my older children getting? 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Turkey, pumpkin pie, family, football, all parts of Thanksgiving.  Yeah, sure we all know the history of it...Pilgrims, Indians, religious freedom, surviving when so many didn't, thankfulness to God, yaddy yaddy yadda.

This Thanksgiving I am rejecting the yaddy yaddy yadda!  I am whole-heartedly embracing our amazing holiday, Thankgiving. 

It all started when Matt asked if he could invite his new roommate, Albert, over for Thanksgiving.  Albert is from China.  He has only been in America for weeks.  His twin sister, Sally, came too. 

What a delight! 

Of course, being the inquisitive type, I immediately asked if they had any holidays comparable to our Thanksgiving. 

"No," they replied in impeccable English. 

No Thanksgiving?  No time when your country reflects on it's blessings?  Sure, how many people in America, like the Pilgrims, actually do praise and thank their God on this holiday?  Yet, it is our national heritage! 

We learned so much about the amazing city of Beijing, China.  We learned about the educational system.  We heard how Sally and Albert would get up at 5:00am in order to go to school.  They would not be finished until 10:00pm.  Then they would study until midnight.  And begin again the next morning.

We Americans are wondering why the Chinese are excelling in their educational system? 

We shared turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie and they shared their Jasmine tea and stories.  We shared our Christmas puzzle, o.k. more like coersed Sally to help us.  She eagerly skipped in to help us, then flipped a piece over.

A frown crossed her face.  "Where are the numbers?" she asked in her sweet, quiet way.  She went on to explain that only children do puzzles and they are numbered on the back.

Albert and Sally shared stories of their holidays, Chinese New Year,  Spring Festival and Autumn Festival.  I couldn't help but marvel at "No Christmas?"

What would life be like with no Christmas?

On Saturday, the girls drug the Christmas trunks upstairs.  Meredith put on the Christmas music and we hung wreaths, stockings and Christmas pictures.  Then came our favorite box.  As Madison pulled out our nativity scene, I listened as she explained the people and animals they were unwrapping. 

I smiled.  What an amazing perspective having Sally and Albert in our home had given us all.  But more than a perspective,  how thankful we could all be at the beautiful people we were getting to know.  Beautiful people from a beautiful country so far away. 

Tonight I am thankful!  I have a renewed appreciation for living in the land of the free, the home of the brave, AMERICA!  I am thankful for the amazing heritage which is ours.  As a believer, I am rejoicing in that!  I am also rejoicing in my two new friends, Sally and Albert!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Cool Is That?

On Friday, Madison and I were running errands.  As we were singing along with the Christian Station, WGCA, I stopped. 

Glancing at Madison, I said, "It stinks they haven't played 'The Great Awakening' in awhile.  I love that song!"

As we pulled into our driveway, the next song began. 

My ears perked up.  My eyes bulged. 

"Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh - Oh O.  Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh -Oh O.  Oh, O, Oh, O!  Oh, O, Oh, O, Oh, O!"

I gasped, 'The Great Awakening!'

"Can you believe it?" I said incredulously to Madison.

Madison just shook her head. 

"Aren't you amazed?" I prodded.  Wondering why Madison was acting strangely.

Madison shook her head.  "Mo-mom, when that last song was on, I prayed the D.J. would put 'The Great Awakening' on."

"He-He did..."  Madison was beaming.

My thoughts were racing.

Madison prayed about that?!  Madison did that!  Something so small?  Something so unselfish- Something just for me.  God answered!  God did that!  Something so small?  Something just for me...and her!  How antsy with anticipation He must've been as each measure in the former song played on.  How antsy to know that in just a few beats we'd hear His "YES"

...and be stunned.

He cared to answer!

He delighted in answering!

He delighted- in us!

Monday, November 7, 2011


On Saturday we were in Greenville for the SLYAC championship soccer game.  Well, technically we were there for the last 7 minutes of the soccer game.  Our source said it started at 2:00.  As we parked, we immediately noticed the game had begun. 

I quickly checked my watch, 1:52. 

"It must be the JV team," Madison said.

I smiled, "Yah, that's it.  There's no way they'd start early."

As we continued approaching, I noticed a familiar face, Colby.  "Colby's not JV," I said. "This is the varsity game!"

I scanned the score.  "At least we're winning."

The buzzer soon sounded and the Greenville boys jumped into piles like new puppies, cheering and high-fiving.

"I gotta go to the bathroom," I told the girls.  Unfortunately, our only choice was the porta-potties.  I went first and noticed immediately they were out of hand sanitizers.  Why is it that hand sanitizers are absolutely imperative in a porta-potty?  Uh, maybe because it's filthy and stinky in there.

"No hand sanitizers," I said as I exitted.

"Don't worry, mom," Meredith said.  "I have some."  She reached down onto her bookbag and snapped open Bath and Bodies candy apple sanitizer. 

I squirted the fruity scent into my open palm.  As the sweet, girly smell, spread over my hand, I smiled.  That's better!

Then Meredith went in.

When she came out she said, "It does stink that they don't have any hand sanitizer, but at least they had soap."


My eyes got big.  Madison started laughing. 

I was afraid to ask, but had to. "Meredith, did you use 'the soap?'

"No.o.o," she said slowly, trying to figure out my question.

I was afraid to ask the next question, but I had to, "Have you ever used---'the soap?'

"I don't think so," Meredith said.

Madison cut in, "Meredith, that's not soap!"

My darling daughter looked confused. 

Between laughs, Madison said, "That's so it doesn't get stinky where the boys pee."

The realization hit Mer's face as her eyes got big and the look of horror crossed her face, while Madison and I were practically rolling in the grass laughing.

Yes, it was a disappointing day.  Things did not go as we expected.   But whenever one of us would mention 'Soap' we'd be rolling again until our sides ached.

I sure do love my Mer!

Monday, October 31, 2011


What?  A Halloween blog starting with disappointment?  Yep. 

There he stood, a little kindergartener, tears pooling in his eyes, as he tried to explain to his teacher that his mom was coming with his zombie costume.  No, he didn't want to line up for the parade.  His costume wasn't here yet.

I watched as his tenderhearted teacher stooped down to look into his eyes, "No, honey.  We can't wait.  Now is the time for the parade.  We have to go."

His lips quivered and he slowly shook his head back and forth, more tears pooling in his eyes, threatening to spill over.

"Why don't you get a drink of water at the drinking fountain?  Then come back in.  You'll feel better."

He quickly exitted.  When he came back in, he did look better.  It had helped....somewhat. 

He quickly lined up in line-order and looked up at me.  Being "an extra" at classroom party time, I can fill in where needed.

I found my need.

I got in line beside him.  As we walked down the school steps and out into the radiant sun, I glanced over at him. 

He looked up at me and began, "Maybe my mom will be here.  Maybe she is watching the parade and has my zombie costume with her." 

I smiled back.  "Maybe."

We walked all the way around the block.  No mom.  No costume. 


I watched a brave five  year old deal with it. 


God has watched a "not so brave forty-five year old" deal with it.  I hate disappointment.  Of all the emotions I most hate, disappointment is at the top. 

I get excited by the little things.  I anticipate even the smallest of things...Thursdays lunch with my man at Jimmy Johns, a Starbucks run with my girls, a phone conversation with my son.  I look forward to them.  I plan on them.  I think of them when I get up in the morning. 

Disappointment.  It has flattened me, angered me, pestered me and left me alone to wrestle through my hurt.  Some disappointments are accidents. I'm so sorry.  I just forgot.  Please forgive me.

Some disappointments are unavoidable.  There was just no way out.  I had to help them.

Some disappointments are not accidents.  They are planned, not by the seen but the unseen.  They are planned by a loving God that knows I need a balance of experiences in my life in order to be the best me I can be...and perhaps so I can lovingly cast a glance, give a hug or a heart-felt smile to someone who is now there.