Wednesday, October 31

Happy Halloween...are your wearing your boots?

It's Halloween, if you are wearing your boots, I hope you are on your way to a costume party!
It's a perfect example of what 'wearing your boots as a homemaker' means. Tonight is a night to spend with family and neighbors. It is not the time to wear your heavy-duty cleaning boots. When I was in college and studying for finals, I always had an overwhelming desire to clean my drawers, organize my closet, re-arrange my furniture...anything but study. As soon as the pressure of finals was over, my desire to clean was over as well! I had to learn there was a proper time to do different tasks and during finals wasn't the time to do major cleaning of my room.

Halloween isn't the time to be cleaning your home. Enjoy the moment!

Another thought...

Some women don't own a pair of boots for household chores. They have cleaning ladies. My opinion is that a pair of boots is still needed. Wear those boots occasionally and teach your children the basics of cleaning and organizing for when they keep house in the future.

Other women wear their boots with pride and often forget to take them off when the house is spotless. They stomp right over the family in their effort to keep the house perfect. Boots aren't meant for long-term isn't non-stop. You need to ease up and enjoy the people in your home, not just the home itself.

Well, I am off to find my Halloween boots, my broom and my pointed hat...

Tuesday, October 30

Who has time for homemaking?

This is my schedule from today and for tomorrow.....

Get up
Go to work
Go buy dress for husband's work party this weekend
Go to hospital to see new baby nephew (yeah, I'm an aunt!!)
Get home at 9:15 to see my husband who just got home from traveling

Get up
Go to breakfast meeting
Go back to hospital to visit baby nephew again with my husband
Go to appointment
Go to the club (need to fit into the dress I just bought!)
Get home late afternoon
Small group coming over at 6:30

We are women. We are wives. We are moms. We are siblings. We are aunties (yeah again!). We are business women. We are busy women.

Very busy. And I don't even have kids!

So how does one fit in the role of being a Homemaker? I looked up the definition of Homemaker just to see how it was defined and this is what I found:

[hohm-mey-ker] Pronunciation Key –noun

1.a person who manages the household of his or her own family, esp. as a principal occupation.

A Homemaker is a person who "manages" a household. I get easily overwhelmed at the idea of managing my home. I live in a town home with just two people and it has taken me six years to grow into this role of being a Homemaker -- and I am still growing. I have so much to learn about pulling on my boots and getting to work. I'm learning to balance my time, my schedule, my busyness and my priorities.

I'm do you all view your role as a Homemaker? Overwhelming, exciting, a blessing, a lot of work? How are you learning to balance your roles? Please share!

Monday, October 29

These Boots Are Made for Working!

In my quest for prioritizing all the different responsibilities in my life, I found it to be helpful to think of my roles in terms of the shoes I wore daily. (Read the past few postings to get a flavor of what Stacy and I have shared about barefeet, socks, slippers and sneakers). This week we are on to the one-of-a-kind, muscle shoe. Only a boot would fit my role as a homemaker. As I trudged out to the garden with fertilizer, washed windows, painted bedrooms, hauled in groceries or moved furniture, I needed all-purpose, heavy-duty boots! Durable, indestructible, not necessarily pretty, but somebody had to do these jobs, right? The role of a homemaker used to consume me. Taking care of the home was so relentless it often discouraged me. There was always more that could or should be done. When I would visualize myself slipping into my boots for a period of time, I could scoot around and get jobs done, knowing I could change my shoes later and get on with what I really wanted to do. Keeping the house in good repair was a priority for me...I needed to realize that when I put on my boots... they were made for working!

Wearing a interesting topic for this week.

Friday, October 26

Become an Expert

"When you love someone, become an expert of them" That is exactly what 'changing shoes' will allow you to do when raising kids. (Refer back to the earlier postings this week to clarify 'shoes'!) As a mom, if I put on a different pair of sneakers daily to represent my intentional interaction with each child, I would be assured that I was building a relationship with my child. I was on my way to become an expert of each child that I loved so dearly. So to end this week, I would like to challenge you to take the "Sneaker System Challenge" and set up a way to learn more about your child as he/she ages.
Get a small journal, or spiral notebook. Just a small one and have one for each child. Label it with your child's name and if possible put a picture of the sneaker that represents that child on the cover (the sneaker picture is extra credit, don't get discouraged trying to find the perfect representation!) As often as you can, record what you are learning about your child. Just small, quick entry journals that will be fun to pass on to your child someday, but more importantly be a reminder to you who your child is.
When my children were growing up, my daughter was the only one who HATED mustard. Not a dislike, but a true repulsion of that food. I would make sandwiches for the whole gang and mindlessly put mustard on all of the sandwiches. I wasn't seasoned enough as a mom to realize I should be noting these differences down and taking it to heart...but I am hoping to redeem myself by passing this option on to you. Once I caught on to the need to individualize my parenting, I began noticing how each child learned, what caused them to act out, what their love language was, etc.
It is a marathon you are in as a mom, so get those sneakers positioned on the starting line everyday and put them to the test of allowing you to become an expert of each of your children.

Thursday, October 25


"God gives us the strength as mothers to do what is "unnatural." It is against our nature to get up three or four times a night, yet we do it. It is against our nature to wipe dirty bottoms, clean up vomit, wipe runny noses, wash piles of dirty laundry, yet we do it. It is against the natural to be unselfish, yet, as mothers, we have to be." - Ruth Graham Bell

So it would seem from the quote above that it is unnatural to pull on your tennies. It is unnatural to spend dedicated time with each child. It is unnatural to set aside your needs (and your other roles), but yet it is so important.

Ask God for strength today to do what is unnatural...then put on your tennies and be what no one else can be for your children....their mom.

Wednesday, October 24

Are those words ringing in your ears? Do you have to catch yourself so you don't answer in an impatient way, or worse!
I remember as a mom of young kids, there were so many times I fell into bed with those words haunting me as I thought I hadn't quite fulfilled my days duties, I hadn't met everyone's needs. What's a mother to do?

Try the sneaker test and see if that won't help you this week. Put out one pair of sneakers for each child that you have. To begin with, actually change shoes during the day as you interact with each child. (Now use some common sense and don't go jumping from one pair to another with each sentence you say to each child)! Just plan a simple activity with one child and put on the shoes you have designated for that child. Then be mindful of another interaction of some length with your other child, and so on. I think you may find the hollering for 'Mommy' diminishing abit when you are proactive and reach out to get into your child's life daily. It may just be to look at a picture book, color a poster, build with legos, rake the leaves, have a tea party or rock your little one before naptime. Kids just need abit of one-on-one time with mommy.

Have you ever put on your running shoes in the morning and they feel great and you head out for a full day? By the time you take off your shoes at night however, your toes are crinkled and sore and your feet are hot and stinky. As much as you love those shoes it feels so good to wiggle your toes and let your feet breathe. Well, if you are a mom full-time, everyday with no break or breathers, that's when the call for "MOMMY" starts to wear you down. Try this exercise of changing your shoes sometime during the day and see if that doesn't make you and your kids abit more comfortable!

Of course, I don't need to tell you that the cry for 'mommy' is just for a season. All too soon you will find yourself longing for those words to be directed at you again. So make the most of this season of your are a mommy and someone is just calling out to tell you that you are loved!

Tuesday, October 23

Sneakers = Sacrifice?

I have had the neat opportunity to see friends recently who have made the wise choice to pull on their sneakers as new moms. They probably didn't even realize they were putting on their sneakers, but they were!

Ryan and I went to visit some family near Chicago recently. We went to see an amazing musical with his cousins who have a four-month-old daughter. Our plan was to go out to dinner after the musical. Instead of going out, Ryan's cousin made the wise choice to go home and order Chinese take out for us all so that she could be there to feed her daughter and put her to bed for the night.

Now which would have been more fun: going out to dinner in a fun restaurant in downtown Chicago or eating take out at home?

The answer: it doesn't really matter. It wasn't about which would be more fun. It was about the reality of motherhood and the sacrifices one has to make as a mom. Rather than keeping on her fancy shoes for a night out on the town, this wise mom (of only four months!) made the sacrifice to slide on her tennies and fulfill her calling as a mother.

I have a friend who recently made the decision to turn down an invitation to a party because her daughter's bedtime conflicted with the get together. She could have possibly found a baby sitter or she could have kept her daughter up a bit later. Instead, she too made the motherhood sacrifice of choosing tennies over her friends.

I know they will both be blessed for their wise decisions!

Monday, October 22

Now for the REAL Shoes...

In talking about priorities for women, we have spent 3 weeks sharing about how our 'feet' help to visualize what tasks we take on daily. Please go back and read earlier posts if this doesn't make sense to you because today we are moving onto 'real shoes'... hoping to relieve some of the stress that women feel as their daily tasks mount up.

Many years ago, I was struggling with how to prioritize my days. After identifying my role as a child of God, a woman and a wife, I looked into my closet to see what choices I had to pick from as I reviewed my daily plans. It didn't take long to realize as a mom of 3 young kids, that my day would be mostly spent as a MOM. Right away I reached for my sneakers, knowing they would be the perfect 'first' shoe to wear as my day would be filled with the busyness of children. Choosing the sneaker, I knew I would be comfortable, ready for the long haul and my foot would be supported and able to take on another marathon of a day. A sneaker would go with just about any of my outfits, was acceptable most places and could be worn year round. I was stopped in my tracks, however as I put on a pair of sneakers, knowing I would be wearing them all day. How would this prioritize my day? I would just wear sneakers, attend to my kids and the day would be over. That's when I experienced an 'aha' moment, because I realized I couldn't wear one pair of sneakers all day...I had 3 kids. I needed a pair for each child! By identifying my need for individual sneakers, I would be giving each child individual attention daily. Just as I 'visualized' wearing slippers when I interacted with my husband, I could 'visualize' wearing a different pair of sneakers with each child and really giving them quality time daily. Being a mom doesn't mean I can jump into a pair of shoes and I am off to do my duty. It means being intentional with each child and really getting into each life. That's a challenge, but it also the reward of motherhood. We'll talk more this week on sneakers...but for now, go gather a pair of running shoes or cross-trainers, one for every child you have and be ready for a good week of mothering.

Friday, October 19

You Choose the Ending...

Remember those stories you read in Junior High where you could choose different endings to complete the book? You had several options and depending on what you chose, the heroine might die or live happily ever after. Well, here's a chance for you to choose your ending...

You are busy in the kitchen, preparing a meal to take to a sick friend. You aren't too skilled at pulling together a 'make and take meal' so you are trying your best to make it work. You got up early to get a stew in the oven, a jello in the frig, bread baking in your bread maker and you have all the ingredients out on the counter to make an apple cake. You take a quick break to make a few business calls and get some bills in the mail by noon. Just then, your husband walks in the kitchen running late for an appointment. He seems oblivious to what you have going on and he asks if 'you could help him out with some things today?' You turn to him and....(you choose the ending)

a. Throw a cup of flour at him....he goes off to work looking like he's married to quite a chef

b. You scream, "can't you see I am like Martha Stewart/Mother Theresa, making a dinner, only to give it away? You are married to such a wonderful woman, how can you ask anything more of me?" Your husband heads off to work, wondering why he would marry Martha Stewart/Mother Theresa

c. You smile a minute, count to ten, look down and pretend you are wearing your slippers and politely ask him what those 'things are that need to be done today' before you give him an answer. Your husband mentions 3 things that aren't too outrageous so you tell him you can fit it in after you are done cooking. He heads off to work a happy man and you continue with your day, knowing you slipped into your slippers for a moment as you listened to your you responded in a helpful way.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to evaluate what ending would be most beneficial to a marriage, does it? I share this scenario with you as an example of how an everyday occurrence can turn into a victory for you. Each day you are writing your life story. Each day you can choose what shoes to wear. By choosing to listen to your husband, respond in a gentle manner and be willing to help him for a short time during the day, you may have changed your story from a tragedy to a real-life love story! It may mean that you, the heroine of your story, can live happily ever after with your hero!

Thursday, October 18

The power to choose

Every day we are faced with the opportunity to make choices.

Pastor and author Erwin McManus says, "The most spiritual activity you will engage in today is making choices."

If you are like me, you haven't thought about choices as spiritual decisions. But it is true - choices are spiritual decisions!
I choose every day how I spend my time, my money, my energy. I choose my attitude. I choose my actions.

In my relationship with God I can make choices that move me closer toward Him (prayer, Bible study, worship). If I choose the wrong I did earlier this week when I chose vacuuming, dishes and laundry over spending time with the Lord....I suffer the consequences.

So it is with marriage.
When I said "I do" I made an initial choice. But I also have to make a daily choice to "choose slippers." In doing so, I will grow in my relationship with Ryan.

But choosing slippers is not easy. My natural reaction is to be selfish, impatient and lazy. My natural focus is me - my needs, my preferences, my desires.

Isn't that why marriage is so good for us? It forces us to think beyond ourselves. It forces us to slow down, take time and pull on our slippers for the sake of our mate.

That is, if we so choose.

Wednesday, October 17

Homework on the Blog?

Now we will see how serious you are! Here's a quick homework assignment that will encourage you to wear your slippers daily. For the next 5 days:

1.Pay Attention to you husband in a very intentional way. Visualize that you are wearing slippers (if just for 5 minutes). Stop and really listen to your husband as he talks about his day, or asks a favor of you, or shares some dream with you. Give him eye contact during this time.

2.Show Appreciation to your husband...thank him for his hard work, his help around the house, how he treats your mom. Watch for something he does that just makes you want to say 'Thank you!'

3. Express Affection to your husband. Not in a hot and heavy way, but in simple acts of kindness. Picture yourself wearing slippers when you walk by him and reach out and touch his arm or tousle his hair. Give him a backrub when you watch the news together. Hold his hand when you walk into Target. Everyday affection becomes magnified when you see yourself wearing slippers

Try this homework for 5 days, and see if it doesn't awaken your relationship with your husband. Share some ideas with the rest of will be extra credit for homework well done!

Tuesday, October 16

Think slippers

I love my slippers. In the summer I wear flip flop slippers and now that the weather is turning cooler I like slippers that keep my feet warm and cozy.

I think of slippers when I read this marriage advice by author Lynn Bowen Walker (she says a friend shared it with her years ago)...

Her friend asked her: "Have you ever thought about the difference between goals and desires?" "Your desire may be to have a happy marriage. But you can't control that; that takes two people. The only thing you can control," she said, "is you. So even though your desire is to have a happy marriage, you have to make it your goal to be a good wife."

While 'good wife' can sound very beaver cleaver-like, I think the point is that desiring something doesn't really get us anywhere.... It is up to us to set goals to achieve our desires. And when it comes to marriage, we control whether or not we slide on our slippers each day (mentally or physically).

Maybe one simple goal for us as young wives is to make sure we have some slipper time each day. That might be one-on-one focused conversation, that might be cuddling on the couch and rubbing his back, that might be pursuing intimate time together, or it might just be responding patiently and respectfully when everything in you wants to respond differently.

Our marriages are too important ladies to not set goals for ourselves as wives.
So make it your goal to 'think slippers' today!

Monday, October 15

The Wife You Always Wanted To Be

Two weeks ago, we started a new discussion on women and priorities. How do we keep everything in balance, how do we keep from 'going under' with all the demands put upon us? I shared about a time in my life when I needed to take a serious look at how I was prioritizing everything in my life. I categorized my activities by visualizing what shoes I was wearing! I could only wear one pair of shoes at a time and I could only handle one major task at a time, so putting the two together seemed to keep me in balance.
The first week we talked about looking at our feet. If I started each day barefoot...meeting with God and asking for direction, my day had a sense of purpose. The second week I was ready to reach for a deal with all my issues as a woman and get that in order before I reached out to help others all day long.
So this week...I recall looking into my closet as a young wife trying to decide what shoe would represent my role as a wife. This was a priority I wanted to take on, it was a role I wanted to fulfill with enthusiasm, but somehow with 3 kids, it was not one I put out in front very often. As I envisioned myself putting on shoes, I knew a shoe was not the appropriate covering for my foot just yet. Instead, I chose slippers to represent my role as a wife. My slipper would slow me down before rushing out into the world to conquer all my tasks. My slipper would make me mindful of the soft touch I could bring into my husband's world and it was the slipper that would remind me that I was the only one who had the privilege to wear slippers as I interacted with my husband. This exercise wasn't to be cute or creative, it was to help me pay attention to what I was doing at every minute of the day. If I had on my slippers (or at least imagined I was wearing slippers) as I talked with my husband, I would hopefully talk in a way that was respectful to my husband. I would talk in a tone of voice that would appeal to my husband rather than let anything fly out of my mouth. A slipper put the sacredness back in my relationship and would cause me to talk kinder, touch more often, smile with appreciation and listen with care. Wearing my slippers daily didn't mean I was sexual all the time, it meant that I was giving my husband attention in all areas in a respectful, purposeful way. I was being the kind of wife I wanted to be. The good news? I found when I became very intentional about being a wife who paid attention, showed respect, listened and enjoyed my husband, my husband began acting more like the husband I wanted him to be!
Don't own a pair of slippers? Better stop by Target and pick up a pair as we talk further this week about being a wife amidst all our other obligations. Hopefully, it will slow you down to think about being the wife you always wanted to be.

Friday, October 12

Dare to Dream

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to daydream? Was it when you were painting your fingernails, sitting in the bathtub, organizing your closet, or wandering through a bookstore looking for a book on travel? I have found it difficult to daydream when I am so pre-occupied with others in my life. I get into a mode of 'doing' rather than 'dreaming' and that is healthy for most of my day, but I have had to make myself return to moments of dreaming to monitor how I am taking care of myself. I can't continue to pour myself into the lives of others without filling myself up first. If I can't bring a dream into my mind's eye or calm myself down enough to conjour up a peaceful idea, I am probably operating on nervous energy and obligation rather than God's leading and love for others. Putting on my socks in the morning is a visual for me to acknowledge my need for 'margin' in my life. Right after meeting with God is a good time for me to sit for a moment and choose one 'dream' that I will allow myself for that day...or at least fit in during the week sometime. I acknowledge it as a priority and then I work to have that daydream come true. I paint my nails or take a bath. I exercise or I make a doctor's appointment for myself! Some 'socks' I reach for are the heavy-duty ones and others are the colorful, feminine style. Taking care of myself happens in alot of ways, it is the wise woman who sees this and is able to fit in a dream or two for herself. See if monitoring your daydreams doesn't help in balancing your priorities and busy calendars while giving you more energy and enthusiasm for everything else you have to do. Day-dreaming too much? Well, just wait until we reach for those shoes next week. That will re-focus you on reality:)

Thursday, October 11

What's That Smell?

One of the biggest challenges I had as a second grade teacher came my first year when a little girl was assigned to my classroom...and nobody liked her. From the first day of school, they made fun of her and everyone tried to avoid sitting by her and no one made any attempt to be her friend. It didn't take me long to figure out why...she had terrible body odor. She was only 7 years old, but it soon became apparent that she didn't change her underwear often enough...if at all! She really smelled and her feet were the most obvious. Her socks were dirty, worn out and stuck to her feet as if they were her shoes! I knew I had to confront her parents with this dilemma at conference time. The problem was finally resolved but not without me wondering how her parents did not pick up on their daughter's neglectful habits.
Well, we are talking about socks this week, so you know where I am going with this! I have had to be very mindful over the years of my smelly feet. Have I worn my socks too long because I am taking care of everyone but myself? Many times even my family fails to tell me that my attitude stinks or my energy needs improvement because I become defensive. "I have too much to do!" I am busy helping everyone else, but I am not paying attention to my needs and I begin to smell in many different ways if I am not caring for myself. I eat poorly, I don't rest enough, I over-commit, I skip doctor appointments, I fail to exercise, I don't pay attention to how I dress, I forget to take time to read, enjoy my hobbies or go to my favorite places. I only have one life, I need to find time for myself along the way and pass on a fragrance rather than foot odor!

Wednesday, October 10

Choose socks today

"To avoid burnout, treat yourself well. You are not only the anchor of your family; you are an important person in your own right. You count, and your needs are important. When you feel irritable, anxious, or depressed, stop and ask yourself an important question: What do I need right now? When you identify the need, plan a way to meet it." - Debbie Barr, A Season at Home

I don't know about you, but I find it really hard to take care of myself as a woman. As Barb mentioned, we have a lot to take care of: our physical needs, emotional health, and personal care. Not to mention any combination of family needs, home needs, career needs, children needs, etc. Sometimes it is easier to not put on the sock and go straight for the shoe.

But eventually we will suffer -- and those we are striving to take care of will suffer -- if we don't first make the choice to take care of ourselves. If you are having a hard time doing this, ask the Lord for help! You don't need to do this alone.

Let's us know how we can pray for you!

Tuesday, October 9

Ready to Start Your Day?

When I was trying to sort out my priorities when I was a young wife and mom, I was always quick to get a jump on the day. I liked to make 'lists' and check off my 'to dos' and move onto the next task. It appeared to be a good system if I was evaluated on paying attention to the 'urgent', but I could easily leave the 'important' behind because I didn't know how to prioritize my life. Using the 'shoe' analogy helped me sort things out in a visual way.
My barefeet needed to be attended to first, we talked about that last week. As I reached for my first pair of shoes, I realized I was skipping over the 'important'...and that was a pair of socks. As Stacy mentioned yesterday, socks are necessary as a buffer between the shoe and my foot. It is important. I liken the sock to taking care of myself as a woman. Taking care of my physical needs, my emotional health, my personal care and grooming were all important if I was going to spend the rest of my day serving others. So for many years I have paid attention to taking care of myself FIRST. That was a real switch for me as I was so used to hopping out of bed to get my day started and meeting the needs of my family.
What are some of the things I have made a priority? Well, for starters, I have been pretty diligent in getting some sort of exercise daily...walking, biking, gardening, etc. Just to get my body moving and the blood to my brain. About 30 years ago, I was talking with a CEO of a company I was working with. To this day, I remember his comment. He told me that he got up early and ran every morning if for no other reason than if his day was a complete mess, at least he got in a good run and was taking care of himself. I have thought of that statement alot since then because I have found that to be true. If my day gets no further than meeting with God (barefoot) and getting some exercise (wearing my socks)I feel fortified to get through the rest of my day. Ready to start your day? Remember the important stuff...put on your socks first!

Monday, October 8

A buffer

Last week we talked about our role as a child of God. We need to go barefoot before God daily.

This week we will touch on another role - our role as women. Barb chose socks as the appropriate covering for our feet to remind us to take care of ourselves as women.

The sock is our buffer from the world.
Visualize yourself slipping on a comfy pair of socks. They are your daily Because when you slide on a silky pair of stockings or a cozy pair of socks, you are taking care of your feet. And we need to take care of ourselves every day for the purpose of taking care of order to serve others.

Daily life gives us blisters, callouses, and tired, weary feet. We go before God to get them clean. To be refreshed. To be authentic.

And then we can grab our favorite socks and be ready to face the day as women in whatever role he has us in.
So go find a fun pair of socks and slip them on!

Friday, October 5

Oh, My Aching Feet!

I just took off some new boots I bought for this fall season of fashion! They look great, but boy do I need to break them in! I was reminded of a doctor's appointment I went to years ago. He was a podiatrist, a foot doctor. My feet had been really hurting and I couldn't really tell where the pain was coming from. It didn't take long for the doctor to see I had 'bunions' and they were the cause of my discomfort. He went on to tell me I was wearing shoes that were too small and to be mindful that as I aged, my feet would grow and I would need to increase the size of my shoes over the years.

Well, as I talk about barefeet as an analogy with starting the day with God, I could use many 'cute' comparisons, but I just want to end the week with this last one.

I can impress alot of people I meet on a daily basis with what I wear, how I act or by what I say. I can keep up an image on the outside, but if it doesn't match up with who I really am on the inside, my 'life bunions' will cry out. Life will become too painful. I need to acknowledge that just as my feet continue to grow, so do all the circumstances in my life and I need to adjust accordingly. Meeting with my Creator at the start of each new day will keep me mindful of all the changes in my life.

Stacy and I hope you will continue with us as we share our thoughts about 'priorities for women' in the weeks to come. Shoes will be our visual...but we can't talk about shoes without talking about the importance of taking care of our feet. Our first priority then, is our relationship with God...coming to Him daily in our barefeet, discovering who we really are and the plans that God has for us.

Thursday, October 4

Sometimes it hurts to go barefoot

Getting barefoot before the Lord is painful at times....

In order to truly be barefoot as a child of God, I need to be honest with my Heavenly Father. Recently that has been difficult for me because I am in a place that I don't really understand right now.

Sometimes the LAST thing I feel like doing is meeting Jesus. I'm impatient. I'm frustrated. I'm confused.

But that's exactly why I need to strip down to my bare feet and be honest. God wants to hear about my pain, my sadness, my longing, my resentment, my anger, my bitterness (btw, I'm working on dealing with those last three not-so-great character qualities that I've discovered are taking up residence in my heart. If you've got any tips, please share them!).

I'm waiting for answered prayers. God's waiting for me to place my dirty, calloused, tired feet into his loving hands.

So I'm learning I don't meet with the Lord because I feel like it - because there are days when I definitely don't 'feel' like it. I meet with God because only He can understand the pain. Only he can soothe the hurt. Only he can offer the comfort. Only he can provide the peace that passes understanding.

Wednesday, October 3


Remember as a kid the first time you walked abit too long with sand in your shoes? You were just too eager to do what you were doing to stop and clean out the sand or take the stone out of your shoe that was irritating you. When you finally couldn't stand the distraction, you took off your shoe only to find a small pebble causing the problem; or sand that just grated between your toes that looked so benign. Now that you are grown up, you feel the discomfort sooner and are quick to take off your shoes and clean off the debris because you know a blister can form pretty fast otherwise.
That analogy works so well as we see ourselves coming before the Lord in sign of sand, pebbles or stones. We come before the Lord with a clean heart because we know if we carry all the debris from the day before hidden, it will only cause a 'blister' in our relationship with the Lord that will chaff and hinder our prayers.
Many days I have been quick to put on a pair of shoes and head out to tackle my day, thinking I could pray my way through the pressure. I don't start my day in barefeet, meeting with the Lord. Those are the days that I usually have an issue with the Lord because I haven't come clean in examining my heart. Those are the days I don't take time to listen to His Word because I am too pre-occupied with my worries and feelings. I forgot to clean out my debris and irritations and I pay the price.
Just as my feet hurt when I disregard the minor chaffings, so my heart and relationships hurt when I ignore my sins. Big or small, sin is sin and needs to be cleared away before I start my day.
Barefeet doesn't leave alot to the imagination. Try meeting with God tomorrow morning in your barefeet...focus on your feet as you pray and imagine that your heart is free from debris, just as your clean unprotected feet are. You're not a kid anymore, you know that blisters can be avoided, and that it is as simple as a choice.

Tuesday, October 2

Solitude and silence

I heard a fantastic message this week that stopped me in my tracks (you can listen to it online by clicking on the word 'message'). Be warned: it just might change your life.

What got me so excited about this message is that it goes hand in hand with what Barb talked about yesterday!
The message focuses on how difficult it is for us to quiet ourselves, drown out the noise in our life and listen to God.

The pastor drew this powerful conclusion:
"Maybe there is a correlation between the noise [in our life] and our inability to hear and respond to God."

His suggestion is that we need to quiet our souls before the Lord. No music. No television. Nothing. Just quietness before God. He encouraged us to 'learn to love the silence.'

I believe that one way to quiet our souls is to get barefoot before the Lord each day. Now in saying that, I will tell you that I have not done that today. I chose sleeping in this morning over meeting God. I chose laundry over talking with my creator. I chose my to-do list over sitting in the presence of my Heavenly Father.

Why is it so difficult to be still? Why is it so hard to take the time to listen to God? I can pray all day long...asking God to answer my prayers, lifting up others needs...but am I hearing FROM God or just talking TO God?

I was challenged by these words: "Does your life and schedule reflect a person who wants to hear from God? In order to follow Jesus you have to hear him. In order to hear him you have to slow down."

Thankfully tomorrow is a new day. I want to pour out my heart to God and I want to hear what He has to say to me as well. I think I better set the alarm and schedule some 'barefoot' time with God.

Monday, October 1

I Don't Have the Time...But I Can't Say No"

We women have a tough time saying 'no', don't we? There is always one more thing to do or one more thing that we WANT to do. Can I share briefly in the coming days a 'visual' that has helped me sort out my priorities? I think every woman loves that is the visual I will work with over the coming days. SHOES! We can only wear one pair of shoes at a time so let's take a look at what we can learn as a woman from wearing shoes.

Before a woman can select the shoe she needs to put on, she needs to realize what it is that she will be doing. That is really what we are talking about--priorities. When I first get out of bed in the morning, I am barefoot and that is where my day begins. I visualize myself coming before the Lord, barefoot, ready to meet with Him about my day. If I start each day asking God for direction, protection, forgiveness and peace of mind, I can be assured that He will direct my steps and my choices as I talk with Him through out the day.

Barefoot, I am not trying to impress anyone, I am without pretense or protection. I am standing before my Lord, asking Him what I need to change within my heart before I head out for my day.

Before we get to putting on our shoes, we need to deal with our feet. Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. He came to earth to serve, not be be served and as a mom or as a wife we are constantly asked to serve. I have found when I visualize myself barefoot before the Lord in the morning, I am asking Him for strength and direction for my day of service.

Think about it...your barefeet, waiting to get your marching orders for the day, from the Lord. That should get you off on the right foot!