Dream Big

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I close each blog with Dream Big! Pray Big! Pastor Tate is doing a sermon series on Praying Big! I have only heard the first sermon but felt the impact already. He shared a few of his dreams and how they came true. He started preaching at a church of 7 people and found himself teaching at the Rose Bowl to thousands recently. Dream come true! He said after that event he heard God say, “now it’s time to fulfill some of My dreams for you.”

How often am I pursuing my dreams and neglect to see what God’s dreams are? God is so good to open doors and give us good gifts. He’s a good father.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! – Matthew 7:11 NIV

When was the last time I asked God what His plans and dreams are for me? It’s been awhile. He has been providing abundantly for me. He is in my daily life. He has shown me His love and been merciful. However, He and I haven’t chatted about what’s next. What does He have on my agenda? I want to know.

The next few weeks I will be asking Him and listening. I want to know what plans He has for me. I know He has them. He told me so.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I can’t wait to see what they are. I think I dream big. God dreams even bigger. He knows what I am capable of. He knows what He and I together are capable of. Show me Your path Lord!

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. Sorry to miss last week. We were on our annual beach trip. Amazing as always!

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Heavy Heart

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If you are a Christian and my age (51 now), you probably remember the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris. It was a controversial book and has since been pulled from the shelves by the author himself. Just a few years ago, Josh realized the narrowness and unhealthiness in his teachings from that book. I remember thinking, “It takes a very humble man to admit a mistake like that.” However, the other day I saw that he is getting a divorce after 19 years of marriage and walking away from his faith. My heart has been heavy since I read that.

I know that those in leadership are human and will disappoint. I’m sad about his divorce since there are 3 kids involved. I hope they can work it out or be amicable with one another for the children’s well-being. It’s the walking away from his faith that floored me. How do you walk away from the life you lived your entire life? He was a pastor for a season. He taught for years at Christian conferences as well. He had an impact on many. Now his faith is done and over. I don’t get that.

I guess my heart is heavy not just for him, his family, and his choices but also for the reality that no one is immune to falling away. I love God with all my heart and soul. He is my life line. I can’t imagine any other choice in my life. When I see this man, who has known God since his childhood, walk away, it scares me. What happens in life to lead you here? What could be so damaging that your lifeline to God means nothing anymore? I can’t imagine. I don’t want to imagine.

What I do know is this: to stay in love with God, you need to be intentional. So live in authentic community – aka – have at least one friend in your life who loves Jesus and knows everything about you. Someone who will ask you hard questions and challenge you when you are making stupid choices. Without that, we are all susceptible to turning our back on our faith. Also, spend time with God daily. It’s hard to walk away from someone you are so attached to. Read the Bible, listen to a sermon, worship with Christian music, journal, pray, … Just be with God and His truth. The world around us is full of lies. Ignore that. Dive deep with God.

Pray for the Harris’ family. Find your community, if you don’t already have one. Seek God daily.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Hugh

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I went to see Hugh Jackman at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday night. My oldest daughter and I went. This was an experience I will remember a long time. Hugh is especially gifted when he sings musical theater – especially the classics. Les Mis made me cry. He sang a song, “My Boy Bill,” from Carousel that truly was a show stopper. His medley of classic movie musicals blew me away too. When he spoke and was himself, his Australian accent was strong and his corny dad humor came out. He’s a normal guy. However, when in character, he commanded the stage. You could tell he was truly having a blast doing this show. It was charming and stirring.

As humans, we have more than one side to who we are. I am always myself but when I’m at work, I am in a different “mode” than when I’m hanging with my girl friends. When I am in the zone at work though, I am good at what I do. That’s how Hugh was. When I’m just myself with friends, I’m silly, corny and normal. That was Hugh too. Too often we only see one side to celebrities. Getting to glimpse a normal guy, enjoying his work, was refreshing. Do you get a chance to see your co-workers in “normal guy” mode? Look for it this week.

Make an effort to start a non-work related conversation, if appropriate, in your work environment. When I get a chance to interact at work with my co-workers, I try to talk about items outside of work. It shows me a glimpse into who they are. They are professionals who do their job well. They are also humans with real world problems and joys. With some people at work, our interaction will stay at the professional level. Those that I can dive deeper with, I do. You usually know who those people are. Dive in an see what you can uncover.

The more we realize we are all struggling with similar issues and seeking similar goals, the more we can relate and the less we gripe about one another. I know I don’t “know” Hugh Jackman, I just got a peak into his true self. Something about performing at the Hollywood Bowl seems to draw out people into their true self. I saw this when Barry Manilow performed there the first time. He truly was having fun. You could see it. What it boils down to is we are humans with similar dreams. When you experience your dreams coming true, soak in it and take it all in. Let others see you enjoying the fulfillment of your hard work and the opportunities before you. It will inspire them to do the same and push toward their dreams. Encourage someone this week by loving what you are doing.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

Soccer

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Did you watch the World Cup? USA’s Women’s Soccer Team won!  Woohoo! We are a soccer family. We love watching soccer. Two of my kids loving playing soccer. I am a soccer mom. One of my favorite labels that I have. If you aren’t a soccer family, maybe you are a baseball family or football or basketball or tennis. What is your family sport that you either love to play or watch?

It’s good as a family to have a common interest. It draws you together. It gives you a common ally. It even gives you a common rival – the opponent. You cheer together. You groan together when the team blows it. It’s a bonding time.

Growing up we had sports on TV all weekend. I wasn’t a big sports fan but once a game got close or the energy in the room picked up, I was hooked. You could hear our family cheering or moaning all the way down our street. Those are fond memories. I used to get dragged to my brother’s Little League baseball games growing up. Today, those are some of my favorite childhood memories – slushies at the snack shack, chasing foul balls to get a free snack token, playing on the playground with the other sisters who got dragged along.

What is your family sport? Do you have one? Can you get one? I know that watching movies together is the more common past-time for families. I encourage you to find a sport that you can enjoy together. Even bowling is fun to watch. Usually I’m laughing at their outfits though.

This may seem like a shallow blog to some of you. Yet, I can almost guarantee, once you find your sport, you will understand the importance of this. Finding ways to connect as a family is tough these day. Screens rule our lives. Let the TV screen be on but watch a sport. Add your family sport to the comment section. I’d like to know what everyone else is watching.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Toy Story 4

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Warning: Spoilers ahead

I wasn’t going to see this new installment of Toy Story. I felt that Toy Story 3 wrapped it up in a nice bow. I laughed. I cried. I felt the conclusion of Andy and Woody’s story. However, I had several friends see the new movie and said I should see it. This past weekend, my son and I enjoyed a Saturday matinee complete with popcorn and raspberry lemonaide (incredible drink by the way). I am so glad I saw it.

I won’t go into the plot so much as the significant scenes. The one that got me the most was when Woody says to Bo Peep, “This is all I have left.” He no longer had a purpose. You see, Bonnie wasn’t as big a fan of Woody as she was the other toys. He still had his friends but he being the main source of joy for a child was gone. When Bonnie finds the ultimate toy that brings her joy, Woody become the “trainer” to help that toy understand his worth. He sought out purpose since his original purpose was gone.

I so feel like Woody. As my kids are all teenagers now, my role as their mom has changed dramatically. I am still important and necessary but I am less meeting needs and more the coach. I help my kids in their decision making (when they ask) and I am still their guide and voice of reason. My role has changed. My purpose is different. I love Dr. Phil when he says “you are raising adults.” In other words, I want to raise my kids to be productive members of society, adults who contribute and hopefully, adults who continue to seek and love Jesus. When Woody said, “this is all I have left,” I started crying. I understood his pain, his difficulty in letting go and becoming something new. He fought so hard to be the best in this new role. I get it.

At the end of the movie, Woody has a choice to make. Continue to find new roles and purposes and stay where he had always been or to seek a new path and find a new direction. SPOILER: he chooses the new path. As my daughter starts college in September, my other daughter is now a driver and I am working full-time outside the home, I am starting towards a new path myself. I am still mom and raising this kids to be adults but that role is changing every day. In 5 years, I’ll be an empty-nester. I am preparing today for that new path. I will be mom forever. That won’t change. But I need to seek some new paths and directions so that the empty house won’t seem so empty. I have always had outside interests – ministry, writing, my friends. I am not super worried about it. Yet, like Woody, I will have to let go of some great things to embrace the new directions ahead. Grief is always involved in change.

I bawled at the end of the movie. “The ugly cry” as Oprah calls it. I was crying for Woody. I was crying for myself. I was crying for the end of a great movie series. I was happy too. I felt encouraged. I felt hopeful. I felt inspired. So I recommend Toy Story 4. It will help guide you to the path of new.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

2 beaches and a desert

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Sometimes we have busy seasons. Most of us have that at Christmas time. Maybe your family all have birthdays in the same month. For me, it was this past weekend. I was in San Bernardino, San Diego, and Santa Barbara in the span for 3 days. All events were for great or necessary reasons.

I treked out to San Bernardino for 3 days in a row actually. I am working outside the home now. I am an instructor of Microsoft products. I love what I am doing. I am not so fond of the driving involved though. I had several days of a one hour commute to San Bernardino. The morning drive is lovely. The sun is rising. There was a bit of a fog layer. The crispness of the morning invigorated me.

Friday I drove to San Diego for my daughter’s college orientation sessions. UCSD offers them early and encourages families to attend a family session going on while the students stay in the dorms and interact with their future classmates. I must say, I love UCSD and the college of Revelle. I learned so much about the school and what’s in store for my daughter in the fall. She’s gonna love it here. I just know it. After the session I took my first Uber ride to get to the train station then Amtraked it home. Full, fun day.

Santa Barbara always refuels me. I had the pleasure of being the keynote speaker at a women’s event in Goleta. I shared about how God calls us as “older women” to model faith and loving God to the “younger women” in our lives. I use quotes because older woman can mean a 20 year old investing in a teenager or a 70 year old investing in a 50 year old. We always have someone younger than us we can invest in. Most of us have someone older than us to learn from as well.  The cool thing about this talk is that I finished writing it the day before at UCSD. God just poured out ideas on me while I waited for my Uber. It blew me away. God was in all these crazy trips I was making over the span of 3 days.

When you are in one of those busy seasons of life, take just 5 minutes to sit and breath. When I sat, God showed up and taught me and led me to scripture for my talk. I often run so fast in these busy times I miss Him. Just a few minutes returns perspective. He rejuvenates and restores you. Find that moment. Even if you need to take your quiet moment while in the “powder room,” make the time. God will show up. He will remind you He’s there. He may even encourage you with His Word. The great thing about God, He’s never too busy even in the busy seasons. He has time for us. He has time when we make it for Him. So stop, listen, breath and let God into the busy moments of your life. I am glad I did.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

P.S. The photograph was taken on my train ride home. Lovely ride up the coast.

Life

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We live it daily. We are in it. It’s life. This week I had two friends lose their mothers. One of the mothers was also my friend so I lost a friend. Another amazing woman of God who led my table at Bible Study for a few years just found out she has aggressive cancer. Another friend will be out of a job in 2 weeks due to a layoff from financial issues and he worked at this church for almost 30 years. Life is hard.

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  – Matthew 4:45b NIV

Just because we know Jesus, we aren’t immune to the hardships of life. We are, however, better equipped to handle it. Well, we aren’t but He is. We have all of His power, strength, might, patience, love and more at our fingertips. The Holy Spirit, who lives in the believers of Jesus Christ, is our guide. How else could we handle all that life throws at us?

I feel so sad when my friends who don’t know Jesus hit hard times. They don’t have the hope we have. They don’t have the help we have. They don’t have the same tools. There are tools the world offers that can help. Counselors, self-help tips, eating well, resting, and more. I use those tools as well. Yet ultimately, my peace comes from God.

Yesterday the sermon at church was on not being ashamed of the gospel. With so much pain and hurt in our lives and the lives of our friends, we can’t be ashamed of the gospel. We need it and our friends desperately need it. So tell someone about Jesus today. I am sure they need to hear it. Whether you are reminding them of their faith or teaching them something new about the God who loves them unconditionally, do it. A simple statement of “Jesus loves you more than I do” will help. Or pray with someone. Or hug them and whisper “you are loved beyond measure by God.” Give hope. Give truth. Give the good news. Jesus is alive and lives in those who believe. We all need this hope.

Dream Big! Pray Big!