Wednesday, May 28, 2008


This afternoon I've been making excuses why I can't write the two articles I need to complete for my latest freelance assignment. The boys are home on summer vacation...I need to pack for the beach (we leave tomorrow)...I don't know what to write about... . On and on the excuses leap to mind. So, I finally at least sit down at my computer and get as far as my home page when the title of this news story catches my eye: "Tenn. woman, 61, dies in iron lung after outage."

I think, "What year is it?" and confess I didn't realize that these apparatus were still used in health care. I click on the link and read about this woman, Dianne Odell. Striken with polio when she was three-years-old (three years before the vaccine was available), Ms. Odell spent her life in the iron lung. The article says, "Though confined inside the 750-pound apparatus, Odell managed to get a high school diploma, take college courses and write a children's book."

It continues, "The iron lung that she used was a cylindrical chamber with a seal at the neck. She lay on her back in the device with only her head exposed, and made eye contact with visitors using an angled mirror above her head. The lung worked by producing positive and negative pressure on the lungs that caused them to expand and contract so that she could breathe."

How does someone trapped in such a situation see beyond her confines? How does she dream, pursue, and accomplish? Yet, she did. The article explains, "A voice-activated computer allowed her to write a children's book, 'Less Light,' about Blinky, a tiny star who dreams of becoming a wishing star. In a 2001 interview with The Associated Press, she said she wanted to show children, especially those with physical disabilities, that they should never give up."

I am humbled by her courage and determination. And I am ashamed of my own tendency to put off, to give up, and to make excuses. So, as I sit here, I take a deep breath and savor the amazing gift of being able to do so in my own strength. As I set to work on my articles, I decide to shed the shackles I've allowed to restrain me (excuses) and write with deep thanks for the flow of words and ideas, the opportunity to express myself, and the freedom and ability to stand up and walk away from the computer when I am finished.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Soccer Mom

Okay, so I'm not actually a "soccer mom," in that my boys don't play the sport. But I am a woman who stays at home, whose time is primarily devoted to domestic life. My place in this world has been the object of much consideration since electing to stay home with the boys eight years ago. And lately my place, in terms of my age, has drawn a good bit of my attention.

I'm 38, and 40 is looming large as I celebrate this milestone with my best friend and my sister this year. Many other things have sharply brought this reality to me. One is the reflection in the mirror -- when did I get those lines beside my eyes (do I really have to call them wrinkles!)? When did Miss Clairol become an intimate acquaintence? And how many lotions and creams are required in just daily maintenance?!

Pop culture dates me as well. I remember when the previous three Indiana Jones movies debuted. I remember Jimmer Rogers wearing a fedora to class in homage to Indy. I remember when Michael Jackson's Thriller was #1 for 37 weeks straight, and boys wore zippered jackets like MJ wore in the "Beat It" video. I remember when Tom Cruise slid across the floor in "Risky Business" and serenaded Kelly McGillis in "Top Gun."

I feel like this was all yesterday, and it's impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that Tom Cruise has been making movies for 25 years, Indiana Jones (i.e. Harrison Ford) is a 60+-year-old man, and Thriller is 25 years old and Michael Jackson is ... well, what can I say there? Wow, all of the cliches are true -- time marches on, time flies, time is of the essence...

But even as the reality of all of this sinks in, I marvel at the goodness of today, the blessings of my life, the mystery of growing up (a continual process), and the fun in being a child of the 80s. Another cliche rings true: There's no time like the present. Indy's on yet another adventure, Tom is still making movies, and I'm learning to age -- sometimes grudingly, sometimes glumly, and sometimes (smile) gracefully.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Birthday Seth!

Today Seth is 9 years old! This past year has been one of incredible growth in Seth, and we feel like we are glimpsing the teenager he's becoming and the man he will grow to be. It is taking our breath away.

Just last Christmas Seth and I were walking through the mall and I reached to hold his hand. He pulled away. Ouch. Yet I know that his response is natural and that he is no longer my baby. I am learning to honor that, but I confess, as his mother, it's tough.

God has been gracious, though, to bless me with an amazing gift in the midst of these changes. Earlier this year, Seth asked if he could start running with me. We went on a date to buy him some running shoes, and then a few days later took our first run together. Throughout the mile run, Seth provided ongoing commentary -- about the weather, scenery, animals, and so on. He talked the entire run. It was such a beautiful time and such a blessing to see how our relationship will continue to grow as he grows up.

There are just no adequate words to describe Seth -- such an amazing person, gifted with a gentle, caring heart and such a sweet, kind spirit. Such a heart, such a man ... we just can't imagine how he will impact others in his lifetime. He truly enriches this family, and we are so happy to celebrate him and his life on this day! Happy birthday, Seth!

Friday, May 2, 2008


I've been thinking a lot this week about choices and what they can tell us about the state of our heart. It seems to be true, no matter how big or small the choice. My choices can reveal where I am abiding (in Christ or elsewhere); how Satan is attacking me; and how aware I am of the larger story I am a part of (the story where God [not me] is THE central character).

An example: food. Many of you know my weight has been an issue for the past several years. When losing weight back in 2006, I realized how I was turning to food for more than a physical hunger -- I know I am not alone in this tendency to fill a void through the immediate gratification of a milkshake, chocolate bar, cheetos, or all of the above. I was turning to food rather than turning to God. Food had become one of my "abiding places."

Food was also one way the enemy took me out. I was so focused on my weight, my changing body, my lack of energy, and everything else that came along with my struggle, that I failed to wholly offer myself to others. And when we are hiding, we aren't fulfilling our calling: to reveal the glory of God.

My weight also became my main preoccupation and distraction, and often it was the story in which I was living as the central character. And ohhhh, there is so much more. There was (and is) a larger story unfolding all around me that I was invited to participate in, but I failed to step into my glorious role.

So, the choice. What to eat for lunch today? The combo with waffle fries and a cookies 'n cream milkshake or the grilled chicken wrap with Diet Coke? I know it seems small...really inconsequential...but I know it's actually not. I know each time I choose wisely, I am caring for my body, disarming the enemy, and staying focused on the bigger picture of my LIFE with God.

Of course, some choices seem weightier than others: where to live, work, go to school, etc. And some choices seem easier: what to wear today, what to do this weekend, etc. But they all require something of me -- I have to decide if I will impulsively follow my own desires, or if I will consider what my choice reveals about the condition of my heart.

I believe our choices should bring us freedom to walk with God and teach us how to do this more wholly, more intimately, and more fearlessly. Oh, and by the way, I had the wrap and Diet Coke. In one way, I'm still hungry, but in another way (the way that truly matters) I am filled.