Laughter is Good Medicine

Today we had a series of failures. After five weeks of online learning I think we hit a breaking point. The internet kept freezing, the all important online check-ins could not be done, and the assignments could not be turned in. The kids hit a wall and in all honesty, I think I hit the wall too. Between frustrating online Spanish assignments, Zoom house tours given by college professors and 3 hour live workouts, the frustration level in the house had finally peaked. After weeks of trying to stay motivated, be positive, and stay healthy, something like the black hole entered the house and sucked it all out! I’m. Totally. Serious. But, in that place of total frustration, something funny happened. Rather than sink into sadness or anger, the kids went a little crazy. A  few of them grabbed their coziest blankets, put on their fuzzy animal socks, and went to the backyard to unleash some energy. What happened next was good for my soul, and theirs as well. For the next hour or so they proceeded to make fun of themselves and the ridiculous situations they are finding themselves in. They doubled over laughing. From screens freezing on their faces for the whole lecture to little brothers doing Just Dance in the back of their classes, they laughed and laughed over all the failures and embarrassing moments they had experienced. And they laughed hard. The sound was so good to hear. The smiles were so good to see. The moment was priceless.

Yes, this has been an amazing journey and not everything has gone smoothly. Hopefully someday we will look back and recognize the wild ride we have all been on, one that seems to have no end. But in the midst we must take a break from everything we are doing to sit and laugh. We need to find a few moments to refill our weary souls and yes, laughter is truly the best medicine. 

My prayer for each of you today is that you may have one good belly laugh. So good your eyes water and your stomach aches. So good you need to catch your breath. So good it leaves a smile on your face the rest of the day.

Proverbs 31:25 says “laugh without fear of the future”. How challenging are those words? But, how encouraging are they? I would be lying to say I’m not somewhat afraid of the future. But today, I can also laugh, because I know who holds the future, and I’m in  very good hands.

Pink hair don’t care

There is a new found freedom when one suddenly doesn’t have to physically attend school anymore. All the social pressures of what to wear, how to fix your hair, name brands, trends, you name it, suddenly disappear. We all remember what those pressures were for each of us and it is no different today. So I am seeing an emotional freedom in my children now that school is online. Showers, clean clothes, and brushed hair are optional. The most pressing need now is working internet and a quiet space to listen to lectures. Both of those seem to be at a scarcity in our house! 

Yet, In this new reality I have seen some creativity and freedom emerge in my children. My middle schooler, in particular, has quickly shed the middle school fatigue. In fact, this past weekend, he dyed his hair. He didn’t pick any color, he picked the brightest hot pink he could find. He sat extra long to make sure the color took hold, and he dutifully followed all the instructions. His hair is shockingly pink. It’s extra long right now as well so he looks a little bit like a Fuzzy Q-tip with lipstick on top. And he loves it. Not only is he super proud of his hair dying creation, he loves his new “look”. When I asked him about his Zoom Spanish class and if kids could see him he looked at me and said “pink hair don’t care”.  I cannot help but think about how free from judgement and criticism he feels. I cannot help but wonder how much of his creativity has been sparked by the absence of stress. Not that we don’t have stress in the house, we do. But social stress seems to have faded away and the all too common desire to “fit in” or just “not stand out” for a middle schooler has all but disappeared. How beautiful. How wonderful for him to get this moment in time to breathe a little creative life into his soul. How awesome would it be if one of the fallouts from this time in seclusion is that people emerge more comfortable and confident. 

So how about you? What pressures have loosened their grip on you? Or better yet,  what stressors have you let go of this past month? How has that changed your perspective on things like your work, your relationships, your self? Have you found a new sense of freedom to “be who you really are” or at least to let your creative self out? As we all know, Middle School luckily doesn’t last forever but societal pressure does. This break has given us the opportunity to “reset” and rediscover who we are, what we love, what we need, and what we really don’t need. It’s a time to “clean out the closets” of life and pursue relationships and activities that build you up and make you feel good. It has also given us a chance to breathe life into pieces of our soul we may have neglected or forgotten about. 

We also have been given to the chance to move closer to who we are created to be.  Psalm 139:14 reminds us that “we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Today may you clear your mind from all that clutters it. May you also free your soul to become all you have been made to be!

I’m terrible at Yoga

I’m terrible at Yoga. I really am. I’m not patient; I don’t really like to be quiet; and settling my mind is a whole other challenge. So in all honesty, I’m terrible at yoga. Not only am I terrible at it, it hurts. I know what you’re thinking, for those yogis out there you are sure I am doing it wrong. That’s why it hurts.  I have been to classes, and I have watched the videos on YouTube. I have tried to breathe slowly and be mindful. I’ve tried it all, it still hurts. I should probably explain that for years I have been a runner. The kind that puts on their shoes and runs out the door, no stretching, no warm up or cool down. Just running. As I have gotten older, this has caught up with me. My body is tight, my back is sore, and my muscles don’t work the way they used to.  I just don’t think I have taken care of myself the way I should have. I did not lean into some of the less exciting stuff of being a runner, like stretching. So I have tightened up. This is why I have started yoga. And This is why it hurts. I am breathing air into muscles that have not been stretched for years. I am sitting in stretches that are uncomfortable but I stay in them long enough to release the tension. I am leaning into spaces I haven’t wanted to; and it hurts. But each day, my tight muscles seem to loosen up just a bit. Each day they feel the blood move through them, and they move a little more smoothly. And some days, when I’m really lucky, things that hurt the day before – like my back – feel better than when I started. Each day, I grow a little healthier even through the pain.

Life is a little like that. Sometimes we may have to lean into uncomfortable places. Sometimes we may have to sit in them a little longer than we would like. As we do, we feel the pain begin to release. But sitting in those places can be difficult. It can challenge us to face things we have ignored or shut out. Unfortunately, to really work out those knots we will need to lean into them. We may not like it. We may feel like we are not good at it. But that’s not what matters. If we start, we will eventually get better at it and soon we will begin to see the fruits of our hard work. So, as I breathe into another downward dog, I remind myself that doing difficult things is not only ok, in fact it’s really good.

What are areas of your life that may need a little leaning into? Has God been showing you something in your life that needs to be worked out? Maybe it’s a personal trait; patience, selflessness, honesty. Maybe it’s a relationship with a child, a spouse, yourself. Prayerfully ask God to help you lean in to work the kinks out.

2 Chronicles 20:15 says: Do not be discouraged by this great army because the battle isn’t yours. It belongs to God!


That’s a pretty poignant word these days. Just hearing it brings up images of sickness, fear, and isolation. The very thought of it makes us want to run and hide so we are not somehow infected by it. Well, I saw a sign today that changed my perspective. As I took my morning walk I went a route that often  has sidewalk chalk writings in front of a certain house. I read the words of encouragement as I walk over them. Today’s caught my eye and made me think. It simply said “guess what’s contagious? Hope!” I walked over the concrete and was struck by that thought. Hope is contagious. When one person carries hope, it spreads to others. Hope is not purely a static feeling that we have today. Hope is a movement. It propels us forward. Usually towards something better. I guess if hope is contagious, I want to be infected by it! Completely and totally. I want to carry and spread it to everyone  I meet each day. I want to give it to others and infect them too! 

Hope is contagious, do you have it?

What are you hopeful for? Do you feel hopeful today? How can you “spread” that hope to those around you?

If you need hope, who can you go to that will share their hope with you?

Devotional Moment

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

This verse in Jeremiah reminds us that God holds our future, and that He holds our hope as well. The future seems especially uncertain these days. Write down five attributes of God that remind you of his goodness and his love for you. Keep these words in your mind all day and allow them to let your hope grow. Let them also remind you that God is good, and he’s got you! That is where our hope comes from.

80’s Music

Whitney Huston, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Prince… the list could go on and on. The best of the 80’s, or at least those are the ones I remember. With so much time and no place to go we have found ourselves doing creative things to keep busy. Last night my husband got on an 80’s music kick. Actually to be honest, he never really got past the 80’s, but now he has plenty of time to share his favorites with his ever so patient, yet unimpressed kids. After playing several winners such as “living on a prayer” and “I wanna dance with somebody” we talked about the 80’s and what a “happy” time period that was. They commented on how fun it seemed to be a kid then. And I have to agree, the 80’s were fun. We wore neon clothes and Keds, permed our hair, and drove around town at night looking for people. We spent hours in our cars, actually talked on our phones and played Pac-man. It was awesome. The funny thing is, at the time, I didn’t know I was making great memories. As a high school student I was pretty absorbed with myself, and I do not remember being conscious of the place I was in. I remember being self-conscious. I
remember being socially conscious of which group I belonged to. . But I do not remember going out of my way to make thoughtful memories. I don’t ever remember saying to myself as a 16-year-old that these were going to be the best years. In fact much of high school was not. Most of us would agree that those days are often laced with challenges. Changing relationships, changing family structures, and growing up were just plain challenging. But when I look back on it now it holds a sweet place in my heart. Even though the pictures might make me want to cry, I smile when I think of the 80’s and the memories I have. I wonder if, 25 years from now, we will listen to certain songs that will bring us back to this very day, this very place in time. I am sure certain artists and certain songs will immediately throw our minds into the space of being at home, being in seclusion , together. I wonder what our memories will be? Will they be laced with sweetness, growth, and joy? Or will they be laced with challenge, disdain, frustration? Maybe they will hold all of it in one tightly packed ball. Maybe that’s ok. So my question is, are we making memories now? We are in a moment in time that will stay with us forever. Will we look back in contempt and be glad it’s behind us or will we,
somehow, in the midst of all the chaos, have sweet memories? Memories of being together. Memories of trying new things. Memories of helping others. What memories am I making today?

The choice is really up to you. As our friends from the 80’s classic Indiana Jones movie would say, “choose wisely”.

Devotional Moment:
1 Corinthians 16:14 reminds us that all we do should be done in Love. When we love well, we live well. Ask God today for patience, creativity, and motivation to love others well. Identify someone near and far that you will “love well” today.

It’s pajama day, again

It’s pajama day, again…
Yep. I don’t even need to explain this. It’s pajama day again. Every. Single. Day. Today, like most others, I get up, do a little work, get the kids up for school, and if I’m motivated put clean pajamas on. There’s something comforting and “homey” about being in my pajamas all day. But I may have actually exhausted that “pajama day” excitement. How could a day so looked forward to as a child become something that holds such different meaning now as an adult? How could my secret hopes of wearing pajamas every day not live up to its expectations? Maybe it’s not the pajamas. Maybe it’s me. Could it be that every day I wake up in this pandemic and must choose how I’m going to feel? Pajamas or no pajamas, each day I get to choose how I will approach my job, my children, myself. For many of us we are heading into a month or more of staying at home, and we are tired. So today, as the morning sun enters my kitchen window giving the room a soft
warm feel, I am reminded that I get to choose how I feel. I am given the ability to decide how I will use my mind, manage my emotions, engage in relationships and practice self care. For those of you that feel trapped, unsafe, or unsure of yourself, please reach out. There is a host of people wanting to help you.
For me, today I choose joy. Today I will choose to be in this, not over it. Today I will choose to love and embrace those I am stuck at home with 🙂 Today I will choose to reach out to an old friend. Today I will choose to live, and live abundantly, from wherever I am “staying put”. Today I will choose joy, because I can.

What will you choose today? Write down feelings you will bring into today.

Take a few long, deep breaths and commit your mind to move toward this.

Share it with a friend, your spouse, your dog :). Its the first step towards moving in that direction!

It’s not about me

It’s been almost four weeks. Four weeks of no activities, four weeks of very little contact, four weeks of staying at home. It’s been almost four weeks, and If I’m being completely honest, I woke up today tired of it.   I miss my daily walking route, and the neighbors I see along the way. I actually miss driving carpools to and from kids activities. I miss work, my friends, the groups I’m in, and the people I do life with. Sure I can call them, have Zoom parties, and even continue to share stories with them. But if I am being totally honest, I’m getting anxious and tired. Sometimes I’m sad, I feel a sense of loss, and sometimes I’m just bored. And today is one of those days. So this morning as I geared up for another day of online school, zoom meetings, social distance hellos and all the other new norms we have come to expect, I am reminded of one main thing. This is not about me. This staying at home thing, it’s not about me at all. In fact this is maybe one of the most selfless things I’ve been asked to do. I am staying home, to help others. I am staying home to reduce spread, I am staying home so doctors and nurses can do their job well. So I encourage you to be reminded today of what you are doing. In a self serving, fast paced, follow your dreams culture, this feels difficult. It’s not. It’s the least we can do. So to all of you, to all of us, I say Good Job and keep it up! When you feel down or even confused, remind yourself this is not about you! This is about helping others. This is about being in it together. We are all on the same team, and your team needs you to do your part. So use whatever cheer you like , “go get it em”, “you got this”, “you can do it’. Whatever motivates you and inspires you. But mostly whatever reminds you, it’s not about you, it’s about everyone else. Because at the end of the day we are one team and it’s a team I’m proud and thankful to be on.

Charlie at work

I have a cat. Yes, I know you’re thinking I must have a crazy house with all the animals and your right, it is crazy. The cat is named Charlie. He is 5 and still very persnickety. He was a birthday present for one of my daughters and has become the family couch potato. We try to get him to exercise by waving cat toys around, moving laser lights on the floors, and even bringing him down the steps so he has to walk up them a few extra times a day. But Charlie has made it clear to us that he is uninterested. He is rather independent and unusually arrogant as many cats are. Nevertheless, we adore him and daily try to engage him in more activities. The funny thing is, since the “stay at home” order went into place Charlie has made one big change. Charlie’s daytime sleeping space has moved. Rather than sleeping on his cat perch that we purchased for him, Charlie prefers to go to the room where my husband is. You see, everyday Charlie “goes to work” with Mark. Now I must be honest and say his style of work is awesome and one to be coveted. He stretches out across the bed that is next to the desk. Every once in a while, he’ll lift his head to see what the other voices are that come from Zoom calls. Occasionally he switches positions and rolls on his back for a short belly scratch, and at least a couple times a day he saunters out of the bedroom to his food dish, but he waits for my husband to go with him. They are buddies, or shall I say, they are co-workers. Mark is busy working, while Charlie is busy with his job as well.

Charlie doesn’t do much, but he does keep good company. He’s not opinionated, he doesn’t ask too many questions or give too much advice, he doesn’t need too much attention, but he does like the camaraderie. I would say Charlie is a pretty good co-worker. I would say Charlie knows exactly what he’s doing. Charlie has mastered the art of being present. He’s a good listener and he’s not distracted by much. He does not have another agenda, in fact, I’m not sure he has an agenda at all.

Now I have to be honest; Charlie’s skills are not ones I possess. Quite, calm, restful. But his presence is so appreciated. Rather than come to that space and demand attention, he comes into that space just to be together. They may not even acknowledge each other for hours, but they are together. I wonder if “being together “can be defined differently than I think? Maybe being together could be just offering someone the gift of presence, or maybe it means practicing the lost art of listening. Maybe they don’t need my thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Or maybe for today, they just need to be listened to. Sometimes being fully present is a gift in itself.

I am aware that right now being with someone is virtually impossible unless they live in your home. But I am sure we could find other ways to bless someone with our presence, or our listening ear. Who is someone you could bless that way today? 

Brainstorm other ways you can be with someone who might value the gift of your presence.

How can we practice the art of listening well? Make a list of tangible steps to try today. For example, do not look at phone while talking to people.

It’s Easter morning, and everything’s different

It’s Easter morning 2020 and everything’s different. The roads are quiet, the churches are empty, the restaurants are closed. Never in our wildest imaginations could we have dreamed up this scenario. Fear lingers in the air as the invisible enemy continues to lurk in the air. People hide in their homes to protect themselves and their loved ones.
I cannot help but wonder how different this must feel from the first Easter. What that morning was like. I cannot put aside my curiosity. Were people afraid? Angry? Excited? The answer is yes. Crazy as it seems, thousands of years ago people felt the same feelings we feel today. They too looked for answers. Times have changed but the human heart has not. We seek to be known, to feel joy, to be included. To love and be loved.
You see when Jesus rose from the dead he changed everything, and I mean everything. Yes we still have pain, suffering, and injustice in our world and
things don’t make sense all the time. Jesus came to be in it “with” us, not to just make it all go away. I know all of you reading this may not feel the same about these things. I know many of you question, challenge, and choose other beliefs . My prayer for each of us today is that we would ask ourselves what we believe and why. Jesus reminds us that he came into the world and not to judge but to love. So as you seek, pray, struggle, fear, hope;  my prayer is that you would give Jesus a chance. That you would open your heart and your eyes to who he is. That you would know fully, that you are loved. And as you celebrate this day with its  beauty, confusion, joy and fear all at once, remember:

It’s Easter morning my friends, and yes, everything’s different!

To the class of 2020

Bright, talented, kind, socially aware. We remember when you started preschool. We thought graduating in 2020 sounded so cool, and so far away. Story after story reported your schooling. You were the class of 2020. What would life be like then? What would your graduation hold? So interesting, so exciting. You’ve weathered many storms. Who knew your final challenge would be one of global proportion? Who knew you’d have to give up so much for the greater good? Well, my hat goes off to the graduates of 2020.

I am sorry you missed your prom. I am sorry you’ve missed your spring sports, activities, musicals, concerts, scholar banquets and so much more. I am sorry you will not get to finish your last day in your high school and kick your heels in the air as you walk out. I am sorry you will not publicly be able to receive all the awards and accolades you deserve. No high fives and hugs to celebrate. As a nation we grieve with you.
But hear me out class of 2020, you are exceptional. You have survived so much in this life already. You have managed anxiety, depression, social media, academic stress and more. You have managed the storm of global unrest, political dissension and school shootings. Yet in the midst of such troubling times, you have become people of great determination. Amongst you are students who have started global charities, raised national awareness on pertinent issues and started businesses. I know in this group there are aspiring musicians, amazingly gifted students, strong leaders, exceptional athletes and so much more. You are kind, you are creative, you are talented; and you are just getting started!

So to the class of 2020- hear the nation say-  We love you. We are proud of you. We are thankful you have become who you are, and we know the best is yet to come. Keep singing, playing, writing, learning, growing as this is not the end but rather just the beginning. There are endless opportunities for you and may you have the courage to embark on them. Most of all, may you take your strength, resiliency, and passion into a world that desperately needs you. Be proud of who you are and all you’ve done. Know that through your losses, you have played a valuable role in beating this pandemic. Believe you are a difference maker – because you are!

Congratulations graduate!

Please send this to the graduate you know and love and add their picture if you want!