Little Choices Matter


We all have those moments when we feel fully alive. A few days ago, I took my kids to our neighborhood park to play. It was a cold, sunny day and the chilly air invigorated us all and made me want to chase my kids around the park and slide down the slides with them.

As I pushed my three year old on the swing, I watched her face light up with laughter and her blonde curls dance in the sunlight. I caught my breath as I watched her face move forward and backward, high in the air as she shouted, “push me higher, Mommy!”

I stared deep into her eyes and saw joy there. And, to be honest, I just let my gaze hang out there for awhile…on her….nothing and no one else.

Maximizing Joy to the Glory of God


I believe that God delights in our delight of Him and His creation. He wants us to be joyful. He loves it when we glory in the moment that He has placed before us right now. Like a picture, frozen in time, He doesn’t want us to miss what’s He’s giving us as a gift today.

While I know that as far as the big picture goes, I feel great about where I am and what I am doing, I am praying this year to make my little choices count. Because I’m realizing more and more that over time little things often become big things.

Here are some of the little choices I want to make this year:

I want to sit and quietly nurse my baby without making a grocery list in my head at the same time. I want to feel the soft warmth of his cheek against my hand and revel in it.

Because it will not last.

When my eldest daughter says, “hey Mom, listen to me play my violin!” I want to stop washing the dishes or folding laundry and sit down on the couch and give her proper attention. I want to give myself permission to enjoy her and appreciate her efforts.

Because this learning phase won’t last forever.

I want to actually lay down in my three year old’s bed and read her books as long as she wants to and have absolutely no agenda about when I’ll leave.

Because before I know it, her afternoon nap will be a thing of the past.

I want to stop myself before I lose my temper over a math lesson.

Because what matters most is my relationship with my daughter,  not  just checking a task off a list.

I want to encourage my husband more and complain to him less.

Because he’s an amazing person worthy of love and respect.

I want to turn off my phone when I am with others.

Because I can answer texts and emails later and people are most important.

We glorify God when we are fully present in the moment that He has given to us and receive it as the gift that it is.

This year, we will each have our share of painful moments, challenging moments, stressful moments, beautiful moments, exciting moments, alarming moments, moments of every emotion and every kind.

Let’s let our moments change us and mold us into the image of Christ this year, remembering that all our choices today do matter and are laying a clear path for our future.


No Ordinary People


Today our family launched out on a “divide and conquer” shopping trip. My husband and I each took two kids and entered into the hustle and bustle of grocery and gift shopping for the big day.

I took my big girls and did the grocery shopping. The store was crowded and as I pushed my cart into the checkout line, I got a text from my husband indicating that we needed to get out pronto – it was a “parent code red alert” – the baby was tired and hungry.

As I hurriedly shoved all our Christmas goodies onto the counter, our cashier began to ask me some questions as the girls fought over who was going to swipe the cards and sign my name. She said, “How old are they? Are these your only kids or do you have more?” We laughed and I told her I had two more. She told me that she had five.

Then she paused.

She said, “I have one more – a little boy who died of leukemia when he was four. His birthday is December 23rd. He would have been 16 this year.” Her eyes filled with tears a bit as she looked back down at the groceries.

For just a moment, time froze. I forgot about the groceries on the counter and the baby crying in the car. I looked at this lovely woman and saw deep pain from a wound that gets ripped open further every year right at Christmas time.

I realized that I had approximately two minutes left with this woman. I said that I was so, so sorry for her loss. I looked at her name tag and told her that today the girls and I would say a special prayer for her. She smiled and said thank you and we pushed our cart away.

My eldest daughter said, “Mom, what is leukemia?” I explained the disease to her and we said a prayer for her together, asking God to comfort her and heal her heart during this week.

No Mere Mortals

We all have problems. Life is complicated and messy and often it is all we can do to stay afloat ourselves.

But when we see that the folks in our own life boat are doing alright and take a look outside, we may likely see some folks drowning in the water right outside our boat.image

It’s easy to push past people in a crowd without looking at their faces.

It’s easy to become irritated when they cut us off in traffic or rub us the wrong way.

But let’s not forget that everyone around us is a unique person with a unique story to tell – and that every interaction we have with every person has the capacity to encourage or discourage them in some way.

C.S. Lewis said it best in his book, ‘The Weight of Glory’:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you 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 other of these destinations.

It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all 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…

But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors…

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

As we go about our business these last few days before Christmas, let’s stay alert to our neighbors.

Look up to see their eyes. This season can hold a lot of pain for many people.

Grasp their hand a little tighter when you say hello. Say a prayer for those who have lost loved ones this year.

And thank God for every person who encouraged your heart this year.

No Man Is An Island

Learning to Lean on Others


About two weeks ago, I had a baby. This being my fourth child, I know what to expect for the first several weeks – lack of sleep, fatigue, recovery, and often one day seeming to run into the next (My husband and I are constantly asking each other “What day is it again?”)

Having three vibrant, energetic girls already who wake up between 6:30-7am ready to attack the day with exuberance is a beautiful challenge in this short but intense season of our lives with a newborn. I have learned from previous births how much I need to lean on others to support me in this time.

I simply can’t do it on my own.

The last two weeks, I have been overwhelmed with the amount of help I have received from family, friends, and neighbors who have cared for the girls, brought us meals and groceries, stopped by to hold my baby for awhile while he is fussy, or just popped by our home to say hello because they know I’m in the house much of the day.

I can’t over-emphasize my need for these precious people or my appreciation for each one of them.

No Man is An Island


Poet John Donne wrote the famous words:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main…

Indeed, we are all in need of one another regardless of how independent we may pride ourselves in being. Often it can take illness, crisis, or a significant trial to reveal to us just how much we need those around us.

A significant part of the Christian life is acknowledging with humility, “I need community. I need the Body of Christ.”

There is no perfect church. There are no perfect people. And because all people are full of flaws and weaknesses, we are simply going to rub each other the wrong way at times. It’s part of life.

Regardless of whether you’ve been hurt by others in the past (who hasn’t?), Christ still said that we need each other, wounds and all. In fact, He prayed with passion that “All of them (meaning the Church) might be ONE, Father, just as you are in me..” (John 17:21).

If we say we love Christ, we need to love each other. And we can’t really love others if we don’t let them into our lives – perhaps even in our most vulnerable states.

Letting People In

As I sit on my couch I look at my front door, which remains open most of the time these days. Sometimes people come in when I’m unprepared. Sometimes, I’m not in the best mood to greet them. But I have found that my life is richer and fuller for letting people serve me in my times of need and from those times that others have allowed me to serve them as well.

No man is an island – have you made yourself one, though? Who has been there for you in your times of need? Have you told them how much you do need them?

If you’ve camped out on an island for awhile, thinking, “I can do this on my own,” take some time to re-evaluate. When you isolate yourself, no one benefits.

Whatever you are going through right now, you don’t have to go through it alone. Make a choice to get in a boat and cross on over to the main land. You’ll be glad that you did.

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