The Tony Awards

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Aaron Tveit winning Best Actor in a Musical

I love award shows. All of them. My favorite is the Oscars then the Tonys then they all blend together. The Tony Awards are for live theater – plays and musicals – staged on Broadway. We are a musical family – we have musical talents and we love musicals. Even though it is September of 2021, this Tony Award show covered the 2019-2020 shows that opened before the pandemic hit. Only 18 shows were eligible but they were great shows!

A good musical teaches me, inspires me, delights me and/or gives me a tune to hum all day long. I watched “Jagged Little Pill” with my daughter on YouTube. It’s a musical set to the music of Alanis Morissette. Wow! Her music is powerful and angry and truthful. So is this musical. The story is a heartbreaking yet enlightening. I am glad I experienced it. Well deserving of its nominations.

Why am I writing about the Tony awards in my normally spiritually focused blog? Because it gives me great joy. What gives you great joy? A walk, a hike, hanging with friends, music, musicals, painting, reading, sitting by the beach? Investing in things that bring you joy is a powerful part of self-care. Joy gives us energy on dreary days. Joy gives us memories. Joy gives a place to share with others how we are feeling and why.

Delighting in God is our first and foremost source of joy. However, the joys of life are necessary too.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ~Psalm 16:11

Invite God with you to your places of joy. When I watch a musical, even though its subject matter is sometimes tough and foul language is included, God is with me. When I laugh with friends, God is with me. When I sit quietly and read a book, God is with me. When I ride my bike, God is with me. All the places I seek joy, I have God with me. Seek joy. In God’s presence, there is fullness of joy. Amen!

Dream Big! Pray Big!

College

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Tis the season. UCs (University of California) start this week. If you have a Cal State or Private School student, they started several weeks ago. I have 2 in college this year. Wow. It’s been a tough month. Getting all the supplies needed for a freshman in college takes time and planning. Helping my junior in college decide what to bring to her first off campus apartment was another time consuming task. But now, they are moved in and the house is quiet.

I remember when my oldest went off to school as a freshman. She isn’t a loud personality by any means however, the house felt oddly quiet once she left. Now with 2 gone (I still have my son at home – yay), it’s silent. I am sure I may appreciate it at some point but for now, it’s just too quiet.

How are you doing moms and dads who released a kid into college this year? I am slowly adjusting. I had my worst day a few days before they left. I was a puddle of tears and my body filled with knots from my stress. The day arrived, friends prayed, I prayed and I said goodbye. Yes, they will be home at holidays and for a portion of summer (maybe). It’s different though. Not bad, just different. It’s a new season of life for them and a new season of parenting for us.

My advice – feel it and share how your are feeling with others. When you are missing them, it’s OK to cry. Some of you have kids that will call or text you. Some of you don’t. You are allowed to set an expectation of them calling home (especially if you are funding their college in some way).

I don’t want this blog to read like an advice column. I am figuring this out myself. I just want to say, I see you and understand what you are feeling because I’m there too. This is when we need one another. I have said it before, we all need friends in various stages of life. I have friends with grown children. They have walked this road and I learn from them and get sympathy from them too. They remember and they also survived it. I am encouraging friends this year who are sending their first child off to school. I’ve been there. I’m also seeking advice from friends who have 2 out of the home. I haven’t done this before.

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV

Let’s help each other in whatever season we find ourselves in. We got this when we share our burdens. Be a comforter and be comforted. My girls are just fine. I am a good mom and they are becoming strong young women. I am proud and honored to watch them mature. I send them off in confidence because God loves them more than I do. I love them a ton too! I am praying more. I am crying a bit too. I am fine. My girls are too. You will be as well.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Deeper

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“Stop asking how long Lord BUT instead ask how deep Lord?” This was my takeaway from church yesterday.

Wow. I didn’t like that at all. I want to know how long. How long am I going to be struggling with this health issue? How long am I going to be stuck in this place in life? How long with my child be hurting? How long will injustice prevail? How long? How long?

Many of my prayers have been how long? But now I am striving to change my prayers to how deep? How can I grow through this? What do I need to change in my heart, mind, attitude, tone, voice,etc. to make this situation bearable? How do I need to lean on You, Lord, in new ways to sustain me in this long journey? How can I grow?

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! ~ Romans 11:33 NIV

Let’s grow. Let’s know. Let’s seek the depth of wisdom and knowledge.

This is not an easy change. I like how long? It let’s me whine a bit. It let’s me sit in it a bit longer. Remember a few weeks ago? If I’m still telling the story, I’m not over it. If I’m still praying how long? I’m still struggling with releasing it to God. That’s OK. Currently, I am dealing with a situation that is gonna be how long? for a bit longer. I’m not ready to release and grow from it. I’m just not. I will be soon. When I do, my prayer will change to how deep? Some times we need to sit in how long? a bit longer.

This is a goal. Something to strive towards. Our growth in God isn’t instant. It’s a process. It may be several situations that we go through before growth happens. We may get it the first time through. Guess what? The next growth opportunity is ahead. We are more mature and wiser to accept it and learn from it.

My hope for you this week is to look at your how long? prayers and see if any of them can change to how deep? Maybe the two will be prayed in conjunction for a bit. Start this journey of releasing and seeking growth. The depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God are waiting.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Contentment

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I’m reading a book called “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” by John Mark Comer. Incredible the lessons in here. Saturday morning I read the following quote:

“Right now you have everything you need to live a happy, content life; you have access to the Father.”

Wow!!!! Do you believe that? I do most days but not all days. Today I’m clinging to it. Leaning on it.

We all are striving for happiness but I encourage you to strive for contentment which is a deeper form a happiness. It’s happiness with today, right now.

“for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”~ Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

When Paul spoke these words, he meant it. He had experienced the top and bottom of life. Who made this contentment possible? God – Him who gives me strength.

How do we find that strength? We ask for it. We turn to God. We pray. We bring a friend into our prayer. We say thank you for the list of 1000 things we can be thankful for. Today it may be stuff like – I’m awake, my house, the sunrise. Other days our thankful list is more contemplative – thanks for the lesson I learned today, thanks for the conflict I survived it made me better.

Today, I’m exhausted. I want to be in bed. I started this blog on Saturday and now on Tuesday, do I still believe it? Yes! I do. I am grateful for my friend who prayed with me on the phone this morning. I’m grateful for God reminding me of a task He gave me to do so now I can do it. I’m grateful for a hug from my son. I’m grateful for a quiet house today. I’m grateful for coworkers who understand what my job requires of me and encourage me to press on. I’m grateful for you readers. You keep me honest. I write to encourage us all.

I hope today you realize you are lacking nothing. You are LACKING NOTHING! You have access to the Father! You are LACKING NOTHING. You may be tired. You may be weary. You may be happy. You may be excited. You may have health issues. You may have money issues. You most likely have relationship issues (who doesn’t). You are LACKING NOTHING! I’m preaching to myself this morning! Receive it. I do. I can do all things through HIM who gives me strength. I am LACKING NOTHING! That is contentment. Seek it. Seek Him!

Dream Big! Pray Big!