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Showing posts from March, 2014

How to Lose 15 Pounds in a Year

Since I've been bragging about reaching my weight loss goal on Facebook, several people have asked how I did it.  So, I'm hoping to do a blog post or two about my journey for the last year or so.  First, I must say that I am a wife, mom, and pastor, NOT a fitness or wellness coach.  I only know what worked for me, not what will work for you.  AND, what worked for me was an inconsistent perseverance, because I am still a wife, mom, and pastor.  Life is busy and full; upending my lifestyle for personal fitness just isn't an option.

The title of this post is a key.  Reaching my goal meant a relatively small amount of weight, and it took a long amount of time.  Patience and perseverance win.  And grace, lots and lots of grace.

2013 found me at 130 pounds with high cholesterol and blood pressure.  The last time I'd reached 130 pounds was my third trimester with my daughter, Lily.  I was 123 when I got pregnant with both of my kids.  I took care of myself while pregnant, and a…

Tackling Toxic Words

Yesterday I posted about our student retreat and the toxic words spoken into our students' lives.  
I want to write about how we tried, and continue trying, to combat those.  We can't erase the memories of those words from students' minds.  We can't erase the impact on their hearts.  But we can do something.  Here's what something looks like for us:

1.  At our retreats, each participant has an envelope with their name on it.  Throughout the weekend we encourage participants to write each other encouraging, fun, funny, affirming notes.  At the end of the weekend, each participant takes his envelope home to read their notes.  I've heard from several parents since we returned from the retreat, expressing their gratitude for these notes.  Nothing combats toxic words like true,  life-giving words.

2.  Saturday evening of the retreat we discussed the toxic words.  That's when students wrote them and laid them at the altar.  But we didn't leave it there.  We gave…

Toxic Words

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” and we all know that pithy saying to be crap. 
At our student retreat this weekend, we looked at Toxic Words for one of our sessions.  We watched a video by Craig Groeschel who distinguished between words as truth or trash.  Some words spoken to us, at us, and about us are truth.  But many words spoken to us, at us, and about us are trash.  They are toxic.  They hurt us in the moment, and they often continue to harm us for days, weeks, years, or even the rest of our lives.
I asked students to write down some of the toxic words that have been said to them.  I encouraged them to lay them down on the altar.  They did.
And yesterday I read them.  I read them not to invade privacy, but to be informed of who I’m trying to pastor, to teach, and to lead.
After more than a decade in student ministry, it takes a lot to surprise me.  I wasn’t particularly surprised by the words, but reading them was ov…

It's Your Day!

My twin sister is getting married in June!  Check out her words of wisdom for a great wedding and a great marriage.

It’s not my wedding.
Everyone says it’s your wedding with the best of intentions—they want you, usually the bride, to be happy.  And they mean it sincerely, until they disagree with one of your decisions, and then it’s said more like this:  “Well, it’s your wedding,” probably following a question like one of these:  “You’re having a wedding of 20 people?  You’re not having dancing at the reception when you’re a dancer?  You’re walking yourself down the aisle?”  (People don’t know that yet, but I might as well throw it in here; surprise!)  Their promise to uphold your wishes for your day turns into their condescension and disapproval.  The real question then is not whether it’s your wedding or not (clearly it is, YOU are getting married).  Yes, it’s my wedding, but it’s not just my wedding.  It’s definitely his wedding, but it’s also their wedding.  Let me explain.
For examp…

The Dream of a 7th Grader

Last month, countless students across this country penned their own, "I Have a Dream," speeches.  My sister's students were no exception.  Her students wrote, delivered, and recorded their speeches.  As the class watched the compilation of dreams, one speech left students with jaws open, eyes teary, and prompted a class of 7th graders to stand and applaud spontaneously   With the permission of the author and his parents, I share his big dream.  I hope this encourages you about our future and inspires you to dream big again:

I Have A Dream “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.” - Matthew 5:13 and 5:14. These things, salt and light, are not rare, extraordinarily special, or particularly valuable. However, they can have a huge impact: a single match can make the difference between utter, smothering darkness, and a warm, gentle glow. Salt, likewise, made the difference for many ancient people whether a slab of meat would feed you for a day or a month…

What's All This Talk of Lent and Ashes?

Growing up, I never celebrated Lent or Ash Wednesday, and I didn’t know anything about it.  My only Lenten memory is spending a Friday night at my Catholic friend’s house and it being a big deal that we ate fish. 
It wasn’t until seminary that I even heard much about Ash Wednesday.  I was interested, so I tried an Ash Wednesday Bible study with my student small group.  It was a wonderful experience, and I subsequently continued the tradition for years.  
A few years ago I gave up something for the first, and until now, only time—chap stick.  It was a dry, cracked, bloody experience.  It reminded me all day every day that Easter was coming.  The small sacrifice prepared my heart for Easter.  I have never been as excited to gather at church and worship the living Christ as I was that Sunday.  I stood up front and worshipped loudly and proudly, because I had so greatly anticipated this moment—the worship and adoration of our God who came to earth to be with us, suffered horrific torture a…