Monday, July 18, 2016

Note to Myself on a Monday


Well here we are again. It's Monday, and you and your planner are raring to go! 

As you sit sipping your coffee and ready to wrangle this week into hour-by-half-hour-order with your strategies and pencil in hand, give me your ear for just a minute. 

I promise I won't take long. I know how important world domination is. 

But hear me. 

It's just a Monday. There's nothing too significant about it. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and even Saturday and Sunday are all pretty similar. They're septuplets with the same twenty-four hour DNA. 

I get that Monday wants a plan. She's Type A like that. All the days have their traits. Wednesday's a little melancholy. Extroverted Friday is ready to play, and Sunday likes his coffee long and leisurely. 

But no matter its personality or where the day fits into the grand plan of your week, it's your day. You need to remember that, especially on Monday. She can be so bossy.

So I want you to think about Monday like this. She's your pacesetter. You know how she likes to sprint. Well let's slow her down a bit. You've got at least four more days ahead. If you want to run well and finish strong, Monday's going to need to chill.

It won't be easy. She's strong-willed. But I think I have a plan that even Monday can't resist.

Burst training. 

Go hard. Let Monday furrow her brow, put on her "Eye of the Tiger" playlist, and sprint out of the gate! Let her loose, and then make her stop. Even if it's only for five minutes, put on the brakes. 

And breathe.

































Monday's a great gal. She's just a little ambitious. Enjoy her.

And I'll see you at the finish line on Friday. 





Thursday, July 14, 2016

Imago Dei





What would it look like?

Imago Dei.

What would it look like if we really lived like we truly believed that?

Every human being created in the image of God.





Every. Single. One.

Including that guy that just cut you off in traffic. 


The boss that is intent on making your every day miserable. 

The child that is breaking your heart. Again. 

The former friend that is doing her best to ruin your reputation.

The church member that rubs you up and down and every which wrong way. 

Your political opponents (now we're getting personal). 

That dishonest business that's trying to rip you off and winning. 

Your negligent landlord. 

Your obnoxious, scary neighbor. 

Your ex. And his girlfriend.

Knit together in his or her mother's womb by the same artist that called the universe and all its varied wonders into being.





Every. Single. One.

Created and cherished.

It's a risky proposition. Our vulnerable hearts are intent on dividing humanity into neat categories with hidden titles . . . love, like, tolerate, dislike, can't stand (aka hate). Protecting ourselves behind a carefully crafted shield of neglect, indifference, even hate.


Not my religion. Not my denomination. Not my political affiliation. Not my type. Not my friend. Not my people.

But "protection" is a deceptive illusion and is ultimately destructive. When we construct fences and build walls to protect our neat categories and hard hearts it's like stepping on our oxygen line.

Because love is air.

Inhale. Exhale. Both directions. And it better not stop, or you'll pass out.


"But," we protest, "there are bad people in this world!" As if every soul we've ever written off was ineffably evil. 

Regarding the imago dei in man, church father Augustine declared, "[it] is always there, even if it is worn away almost to nothing."

Nice try.

We're made for love. Surprisingly, it's much easier in a way. Sure, there's plenty of hard work involved. But when we choose to set aside prejudices and silence the anxious judge and jury of our minds, we find that we hold two things fundamentally in common with everyone.

1. the image of God
2. our need for His grace

Suddenly, we are the acquitted and the only justice is to share the unmerited favor we've received. 

And love becomes simple.


It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.


There are no ordinary people. 

You have never talked to a mere mortal. 

Imago Dei.





Every 




single 




one.
























My friend Deidra Riggs lives this. A voice of truth and reconciliation in a divided and hemorrhaging culture, Deidra calls the body of Christ to unity. Her newest book, One: Unity in a Divided World is a megaphone. It's coming out next spring and is available for pre-order on Amazon. I encourage you to check it out! And while you're waiting, you can find her challenging and hopeful words on her blog at deidrariggs.com




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

(Not So) Perfect Pictures


You know those pictures of mother and daughter on her wedding day? The ones where mother lovingly dresses her daughter. Buttoning her gown. Tying her bow. Pinning her hair.

And the mother. She's as beautiful as she's ever been. Except for maybe the day she got married.

That's what I said when I was shopping for my mother of the bride dress with Em. "I want to be as beautiful as I've ever been." The day my only daughter would marry.

I'd been mother of the groom just a month before. I wanted to be pretty that day too. But it was the bride's day and her mother's first. So I subdued my dress choice. Nothing too noticeable. Just the demure momma of that guy.

But not this day!

When I found the dress, it was just like I'd dreamed. Watercolor flowers, a flouncy waist, perfect!

Em's wedding was a community affair. And I was involved with almost every part. My timetable on the day of the wedding went through numerous revisions.

And those pictures I mentioned? The ones where I'm supposed to look my most beautiful? Yeah, those. They got forgotten around the third revision. Somewhere between the last touches in the reception area and on my way to grab a shower and get beautiful, my friend found me.

"Em wants you to come help her get dressed."

"Dressed?" As my mind checked off tasks, I was confused as to why my daughter needed me to help her dress. She'd been quite adept at doing it on her own for many years.

"She wants you to button her gown and get pictures."

Those pictures. The ones I'm supposed to be beautiful for because this is the day my only daughter gets married. Those.


























Sweaty, pony tail, no makeup, floral tee and shorts weren't exactly what I had in mind.

But some beautiful things I didn't plan to wear were there. 

























Like the love in our eyes, the hands that held and caressed, the embrace we've shared since the day they first put her in my arms. 

It was the most beautiful day of my life. Maybe even more beautiful than my own wedding day.

I'm learning that a lot of days are like that. Perfectly planned, imperfectly executed, and often better than I imagined. It's teaching me to hold loosely to my plans and embrace whatever comes.


The great thing, if one can, 
is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things 
as interruptions of one's "own", or "real" life. 
The truth is of course 
that what one calls the interruptions 
are precisely one's real life 
- the life God is sending one day by day.
~ C.S. Lewis


Photos by Hilary Lynn Photography (my daughter-in-love ;)

Em and Ethan just celebrated their third anniversary! We've all had lots of perfectly imperfect days since then. I'm so grateful for their beauty.







Monday, June 20, 2016

The Ups & "Downs" of Collaboration



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 had 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

When I decided to make my dream of an annual women's retreat a reality, I knew I couldn't do it alone. So I prayed for friends who wanted to help . . . and waited.

Lo and behold, one day I took a mental inventory of the women in my life and discovered God had answered my prayer. One would make an awesome administrator. Another was the queen of hospitality. One already led worship for her church. And so on.

As I prayerfully (and I do mean prayer-fully) asked my friends to join me, they enthusiastically embraced my dream and together we made Winsome happen.

Collaborating with these women was one of the best and hardest decisions I've ever made.

Join me over at God-Sized Dreams to find out why!



Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Mom's Heart





















My eyes well up with tears, as I stare at his photo. I can hardly think about him without tears these days. 

There’s nothing quite so tender as a momma’s heart for her child. Whether he’s twenty months or twenty years, the thought of her beloved takes a mom to a sweet, yet vulnerable place. Place her child under some sort of trial or distress, and a mother’s vulnerability and tenderness multiplies exponentially. How is it a mother feels everything her child feels but stronger?

My “child" is far away from me right now. Out of touch indefinitely. I spin my globe and ponder the vast oceans. My hands pass over searching and praying, a caress. My eldest son is in a submarine.

I asked him where they would go.

“I don’t know.”

“Will you know when you’re there?”

“No.”

“Will they tell you where you went when you get back?”

“No.”

“So you’re floating around somewhere in some ocean, but you don’t know where?!”

“Yep.”

This feels like the epitome of estrangement. He could’ve gone to the moon, and I would look up each evening and say goodnight. Instead, I find my mind frantically grasping for something familiar to settle its uncertainty. 

I imagine it’s dark, there’s a lot of metal, and I can see him doing . . I have no idea. Nothing is familiar about my son’s circumstances. This momma could rest with the unknown for a week even two. But months?! In this foreign place, I keep searching for the familiar, the known. 

I see Josh in his uniform. It makes him plain like his peers. I can’t imagine him seeing new sights like I did when he traveled to Eastern Europe, Ukraine, and Russia. I would plead for pictures, and as each arrived I vicariously lived his excitement even as my heart and mind were comforted to see him safe and smiling again. Now he can’t even see the sunrise! But I know his mind; it’s rich. So I pray for his inner man. 

The castle of the mind is a vast place. I know there’s a universe of thought and adventure just above his shoulders. I pray for new ideas, epiphanies, truths, questions, understanding, appreciations. 

I’m reminded of how when someone loses a sense, they’re compensated with the intensifying of the other senses. In the darkness and world of metal . . no sunrise, no moon, no weather (no grey days, rain, clouds, wind, cold or hot) . . his static environment must be like losing the sense of smell or becoming color blind. Might his taste, touch, and hearing increase?

In the days before his departure, I pondered what I could give him to refresh himself on his journey. With limited baggage and no options of sending a care package, homemade cookies were out. Books were too bulky. Games too. Music! I’ve loved Handel’s Water Music since I discovered it as a teen. Sending it to Josh via iTunes was simple. It wasn’t until I’d sent it that I realized the irony. 



















Now I imagine Josh surrounded by an ocean, refreshing his soul with classical music inspired by water. Perfect. I listen to it daily and pray for him as I do. It’s a connection. Each suite evokes varied emotion which evokes varied requests. I know in the Spirit they could correspond. Or not. Either way, I’m comforted by the thought of his possible restoration and comfort.

The Spirit. I’ve never leaned so hard on the reality of our unity in Christ. In this estranged place, it is a lifeline of peace. When Josh chose to be a submarine officer, my whole connotation of this mysterious world changed. It remained mysterious, but the mystery wasn’t as entertaining as I’d found it before. A mom wants to know where her child is going, who’s going to be there, what life will look like in that place, and how can she reach him in an emergency!

Once again, I grasped for the familiar. Should I watch undersea documentaries? No, he’d never see any of that. Submarine movies were out. They’d only scare me. Josh wasn’t a helpful source of information, top-secret clearance and all. Who knew? Where could I go to find what I needed to know? 

Then I remembered someone who is infinitely familiar with my son’s destination. He created it and commands it. I went to scripture, and in its pages I found the ultimate comfort. 

Before there was time, the Spirit of the God I know so well, He hovered over the waters my son and his comrades "swim" in today. Timeless (before time) truths from Genesis, the Psalms, and Proverbs spoke solid reassurance to my soul. 


Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence? 


If I ascend to heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,




Even there Your hand will lead me,

And Your right hand will take hold of me.

~Psalm 139:7-10


My heart finds refuge, rest, and perfect peace in Him. This momma may be totally out of control of her beloved son, but her Father isn’t. 

And that's everything I need to know. 




















Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Two Moms, Their Daughters, & One Purple Bike

Mom’s bike sat there in the garage, virtually untouched. Every time we’d visit, I glared at it. It taunted me, a reminder of difficult days.
Love is a battlefield.
~Pat Benatar
DSC01271
The barn at the Winsome Retreat.
KIM: Mom and Dad’s marriage had known those battlefields. They fought hard and were victorious in the end. Their love won.
But that bike. It was like a scar. Mom had bought it while she and Dad were separated. It was hard for me to accept the image of her bike riding down the beach boardwalk while all our hearts had sat at home, broken.
They reunited long ago, and God did a ton of healing. But scars have a way of making old wounds ache.
After mom passed away last fall, I didn’t know what to think about the bike. 
Join me at Deidra's place for the rest of this wonderful story!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Five Reasons Why You Need a Retreat

















So I'll just begin by saying . . yes, I host a retreat. And yes, I would love for you to attend. But honestly, that's not really what this post is about.

No, this is about you and why you need a retreat.


For the sake of clarity, let me define what I mean by a retreat. This definition will do . . . "a quiet and secluded place in which one can rest and relax."












Your soul needs this place. And probably more than once a year. If you haven't taken this kind of focused time for yourself (or if it's been more than a year since you did), let me give you five reasons why you should.

1. A retreat recalibrates your soul. The busyness and harshness of life have a way of knocking our souls off kilter and robbing our everyday of meaning and purpose. A retreat can bring us back on course.

2. A retreat reminds those you love that you are a woman worth caring for. It's easy to be taken for granted as a woman. Not because your loved ones are spoiled and selfish, but because you are so generous. You give and give, and those around you can easily forget (or never even know) you have needs too. It's good for them to see you take time to care for yourself!



3. A retreat lets you feel. It can be scary. But whether the deep "feels" of your soul are positive, negative, or more likely a messy mix of both, you need time to sit and sort and feel.

4. A retreat reconnects you to the best of you. If you're gracious with yourself on your time of retreat, you have the wonderful potential to get to know parts of you that you may have forgotten or have just never taken the time to know. 




























For a while there was a push to call retreats “advances.” No, thank you. Every day and every one will invite me to advance, push harder and faster, and excel. A retreat is a unique invitation to step away and even back a few steps to a quiet and secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

Whether it's a day, a weekend, or week. Whether you go a quiet place all alone, with a few friends, or a large group of likeminded women. Whether you take just a Bible, journal, and pen or sit and listen to stories and lessons from women like you . . . I hope you'll consider taking a retreat in the near future. 

In case you aren't convinced yet, here's one more reason (#5 and the best reason) for you to take a retreat . . your Father wants to spend time with you. He wants to go with you to a still place and remind you that He loves you like crazy. And if there's no other reason at all, that's why you need a retreat.






Winsome is coming up April 8-10, and I'd love for you to join us! If you'd like to find out more, check out our website.

Also, you can save money by registering with a friend and taking advantage of our Early Bird prices good through February 14!