Tag Archives: thankfulness

The Pause Is Everything.


One of my mentors always reminds me that “hurry up” is not a quality of the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit is actually quite the opposite…..specifically qualities like patience and self-control. I know this. Yet, I forget this often. And, self-control is the key to slowing down.

Self-control is the key to the pause.

And, the pause is everything. I mean EVERYTHING.

The other day I had to pick up some papers that were set outside an office building for me. They were being held up by a large 2×4. In my hastiness, I grabbed the papers and knocked the 2×4 on my foot. Every explicative went through my head, and I left there angry at the 2×4 and the people who thought putting it there was a good idea. The reality is I rushed as I do everything. Not paying attention to my steps or my surroundings. I just acted and reacted without giving it any thought. Without a pause. So, the universe simply responded to my actions. Gravity, like it always does, did its job, and the 2×4 came crashing down on my foot. Had I slowed down and taken notice of the moment, I suspect I could have prevented the entire incident.

The spirit has also been speaking to me about the power of the pause in how I take care of my body. I grab a snack bar for breakfast, albeit “gluten free”, because I don’t want to pause an entire 5 minutes to fry an egg. When the egg offers me much more good for my body…..and in those five minutes of pausing, my thoughts slow down. In those 5 minutes, I notice my thoughts aren’t just on the egg itself. But, my thoughts quiet for a moment to hear what my Spirit is saying. To listen. To be still. In those 5 minutes, my entire being benefits: body, soul, and spirit. That’s the power of the pause. Again, I say, the pause is everything.

Abandoning the pause can affect everything in our lives. And, often times, we don’t acknowledge our condition as a failure to pause. When in reality, our condition is often the effect of our haste. We make a bad decision, because we do not pause. We respond with anger or hurtful words, because we do not pause. We hurt ourselves, because we do not pause. We hurt others, because we do not pause.

We miss moments with our children, because we do not pause. We fail to see the goodness in our partner’s eyes, because we do not pause. We miss God in the moment when we are with other people when we do not pause.

But, when we DO pause. We just don’t save ourselves and others from our hasty reactions…..but, we absorb life itself in all of its goodness. We see God in all things and in all people. We walk like barefoot priests careful of where we step, careful of the direction we take, tender with the words we speak. We pause, and we ABSORB LIFE. We absorb His presence, because, His presence is in the pause. We hear Him speak, and we make better choices. We zoom out, and don’t just see the one tree, but we see the entire forest. Instead of looking at one date on my calendar I see an entire week, month, year, life.

The pause makes us thankful, because it becomes impossible to not think of something good when we slow down. That gratitude moves us and motivates us to lead our day with eyes that see and ears that ear what we need to see and hear. The more we pause, the more grateful we become. The more grateful we become, the more good things we see and attract to our lives….simply because we are expanding in our thankfulness for life.

But, it cannot happen without the pause.

I have a cousin named Mark. He is, no doubt, one of the greatest beings walking this planet. He is never in a hurry yet nothing in his world is ever left undone. Easter Sunday, he lingered after church and talked to me for a long time. I had a brief thought of surely he has to get to his family lunch….surely, I have to get to my family lunch. But, I abandoned that thought immediately and paused. There have been moments I have thought Mark paused, because HE needed that pause. The truth is, I needed it. In the moments I have thought I was giving to him, he is the one who has been giving to me. That’s the power of the pause. It’s not just for ourselves.

Pause. Observe. Absorb. You will see more clearly. You will make better decisions. Others won’t taste your haste in word or action. 2x4s won’t make you want to shout explicatives. Practice it. Write it on your hand until it’s written on your heart. Just slow down in every single way possible.

The pause everything.

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Filed under gratitude, life, Life Experiences, Relationships, Spiritual Journey, Uncategorized

Living An Adventure.

Jett haybale

Now that the kids are back in school, and I’ve stopped celebrating my freedom, wiped my tears, I’m going to try to get back into the habit of writing everyday. One thing I’ve learned is that the more I write, the more I have to write about. The less I write, the more I stare at my computer and try to remember how in the Sam Hill I did this everyday. When we don’t use our gifts, they lie dormant. No good for anyone. (Thank you, dear friend, Susan Harp.) So, here is my attempt to use it, and hopefully along, the way make you laugh or feel all the feels or be reminded that life is good, and YOU matter.

My kids started a new adventure this year at St. George’s Episcopal School. Anna even started a new adventure taking ballet. Who would’ve thought that my girl who insisted on dressing like she was trying out for the NBA would decide she’s a dancer? Or John Henry would decide one day, “I want to learn the cello.” Then, there is Jett where every day is an adventure. So much to do, to explore, to learn, to grow. Kids just get it. But, sometimes, along the way, we grown-ups don’t get it anymore. We stop imagining ourselves doing something new. We stop imagining the life we really want to live. We stop imagining, we stop being thankful, and we stop living an adventure.

I started reading Mark Batterson’s new book, A Trip Around the Sun: Turning Your Everyday Life Into the Adventure of A Lifetime. Batterson writes, “Kids get adventure. Its innate. They live life free of worry, full of faith, and with their eyes peeled for the next big adventure. We should live with holy anticipation of what’s around the corner.” I began thinking about how God wants us to become like little children. When the disciples asked Jesus who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven, He called a child to Him and said, “Become like him.” Become like a child. Forgive like a child. Love like a child. Seek adventure like a child!

As I read, I began taking inventory of my own life. I have seasons I stop living an adventure. I honestly think I’ve been in one. It’s not that I haven’t necessarily done adventurous things lately. Doing a helicopter tour in Hawaii this past July was a definite stretch for me in terms of adventure. However, it’s been more of the absence of observing life and being truly thankful for it. I believe our imagination is birthed in our observation of life around us. It’s birthed when we slow down our minds and slow down our motions to breathe in Him. To look intently into Jett’s eyes when he is taking ten minutes to tell a two minute story. To notice how his eyes get so animated and to appreciate how passionate he is about his story. It’s birthed in sweet conversations with Anna when she asks questions like, “Tell me more about how we hear the Spirit within us.” It’s birthed in moments like last night when I begin singing a song, and John Henry says, “I can play that on guitar.” So, he does, and we begin singing these words together:

How do I say thank You, Lord
For the way that You love
And the way that You come

For all that You’ve done
All that You’ll do
My hearts pours out
Thank You

You don’t have to come
But You always do
You show up in splendor
And change the whole room

How do I say thank You, Lord
For the life that You gave
The cross that You bore

For the love You poured out
To ransom my soul
My hearts pours out
This thankful song

A life of adventure may not always be climbing Mt. Everest or taking some big risk. A life of adventure may be in having that hard conversation. It may be in noticing God in every moment. It may be a moment where your heart pours out thanksgiving for a life that is just so good, and a God whose goodness never stops pursuing after you. That’s the environment, those are the conditions, where imagination is birthed. And, imagination is what sets our life up for the adventure of a lifetime.

Be aware. Slow down. Notice. And, above all, let thanksgiving be your language. Because, there is no greater adventure than a life filled with gratitude.



Filed under gratitude, life, Motherhood, Uncategorized, Writing

When We Run Into Problems.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

These verses carried me through the hardest time in my life over 14 years ago. I read this passage again this morning with a different set of eyes. A confident set of eyes. A heart that knows and understands. A life that can testify to it over and over and over again.

Our initial reaction to adversity and problems isn’t, “Well thank you, Jesus. This is going to grow me and strengthen my character.” No. It can be anger, frustration, sadness, disappointment, and so many other things. Certainly not happiness that we get to endure something hard. It’s not a normal reaction. Hey, you’re normal. So, I am I! However, once we get over the initial shock and awe of it, we get to make a choice how we are going to through the problem. Whether the problem is as large as what I endured 14 years ago when my husband walked out or even if it is as small as a conflict at your work, we get to choose to endure it with a confident hope that He will grow us and work it for our good.

So, what do we do after we get over the initial onset of a problem? I wanted to share some things that I do that may help you, too. First, I vent upward. That means I don’t share my problem with someone who isn’t on the same page of life with me spiritually. Because, that person may feed into my anger or resentment where nothing redemptive comes from it. I vent to someone who has compassion but who also brings light to it. They help me process it from a position of forgiveness and understanding. They remind me to trust Him. The conversation is always redemptive.

I slow down. Haste causes us to react instead of respond. It causes a build up of negative emotions and feelings that are hard to come down from. I slow down my responses, my comments, my time. When we slow down, we are able to think more clearly, take captive our thoughts that are negative more easily, and avoid making the mistake of saying or doing something we might regret.

I pray and meditate. This keeps my heart soft and refocuses my thoughts. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Don’t worry about your problem. Don’t dwell on it. Tell God what you need, and THANK Him for everything He has already done. Everything He has already delivered you from and made better for you. Re-center your thoughts on Him and on thankfulness. When you catch yourself dwelling on the problem, replace that thought with all of the good in your life. Everything you have to be thankful for. THEN, peace will flood your life.

Finally, I am open to change. What if I am the one that is the problem? What if God is not just working something for my good, but what if He is changing ME? What if I created the problem myself? Stay open to accept responsibility. Allow people you trust to speak into your life.

All problems are meant for our growth. I learned a long time ago to say, “Nothing goes wrong in my world.” Instead, every situation is an opportunity to grow. To learn. An opportunity to be a better friend. A better mom. A better wife. A better person. Without running into hard situations, it is impossible to become BETTER. So, with that knowledge, we really can rejoice in hard times. Because, we are then presented with an opportunity for our lives to be better. We may not always see the end from the beginning and know the hows and whys, but we can trust in the One who is working all things, ALL, for our good.


Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, life, Relationships, Uncategorized


Our greatest battles usually have little to do with our circumstances. We fight our greatest battles in our mind. I've been fighting my own for the past several days. I know better than to rely on what I'm feeling than to rely on Him. I also know that all feelings remain neutral until I give meaning to them.


I know these things.


Yet, still I found it easier to embrace the feelings. Thus, engage in battle….in my mind.


Yesterday, I celebrated my beautiful mother's birthday. And, even on a day that should be completely about her, she ministered to me.


“What you're feeling is temporary,” she said. “You won't always feel the way you're feeling right now. Remember that.”




And, yet I found myself trading a thankful heart…..enjoying time with my family….all the GOOD stuff in my life…..I traded it all for focusing on a feeling that is temporary.


Then, she said, “Now, begin thanking God for everything good thing in your life. Don't stop thanking Him.”


And, THAT is the key to winning this battle. Thankfulness is the key to winning every battle. Not trying to figure out the how's or the whys.




Don't take your eyes off of what you already have, because you can't see what you want to see when you want to see it.


What you're feeling right now is temporary. Don't lose sight of what's eternal. Let thankfulness be your predominant thought today.


Today, I'm thanking God for this beautiful woman.




Filed under God Stuff, gratitude

Thankful Today.

Today, I wake up, and I’m just thankful.  Brushing Anna’s hair this morning, I think, “I get to brush this little girl’s hair.”  God gave this funny, beautiful girl, who never turns down center stage, to me.

 I look at John Henry who is protecting his bowl of cereal like it is last and think, “How am I so blessed that he lives in the same house with me?” 

And, then the littlest guy decides today is the day he finally recognizes daylight savings time change, and he sleeps until 8:00am.  I think, “Is he the most perfect baby boy in the universe?”  In my little world, in my family of five plus a dog and a cat, he is.

I notice how my husband makes the coffee.  He reads the big kids today’s school lunch menu, and he, subsequently, makes John Henry his own lunch to carry.  Food is a big deal to this kid, if you didn’t already notice this by the invisible fort he built around his morning breakfast.  And, I think, “I am married to man who never, ever complains about anything.  Ever.” 

I pour my coffee, and I think about how I walk into my local church, and how much love I feel from everyone there.  I think, “Do I have the most incredible church family in the world?”  I do.

And, then I think about my salvation.  I don’t even use the word, “salvation” a lot.  Is that odd?  Perhaps.  But, I think about it today.  I think, “Wow.  God gave me this gift of grace, and look what I have received by way of it.”  I don’t ever want to lose the joy of my salvation. 

So, here I sit behind this computer, and I write a post on a subject I think would be more fitting for next week.  A Thanksgiving post, if you will.  But, I’m thankful today. 

Let’s face it.  Some days, we just notice things more than others.  It makes us thankful.

Today is one of those days. 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  His faithful endures forever.  1 Chronicles 16:34


Filed under gratitude, Kid Stuff, life, Motherhood

Oh These Blessings.

Dear Mom,

I am glad that your haveing a baby.  I love you with all my hart.  Your the best mom ever.  You are my favrit mom.


John Henry

Sorry, but the “best mom ever” title is taken.  John Henry said so.

I’m so thankful for a son who is thoughtful.

I’m thankful for a daughter who makes me laugh.

I’m thankful for a baby boy who kicks my ribs in the middle of the night.

I’m thankful for a husband who always strives to do what is right.

And, most of all, I’m thankful for a King who knows me by name.

Enjoy the people God has placed in your life this Thanksgiving holiday. 

I’m going to enjoy mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under gratitude, Kid Stuff, Motherhood, Relationships

Where Is the Light?

I’ll be short.  I am thankful.  I am thankful that I get to be a wife to Kris.  I am thankful that I get to be a mom to John Henry and Anna.  I am thankful.

I am thankful that I get to sleep in with my children.

I am thankful that I if I ever need to work full-time, I can.

I am thankful.

I am thankful that I have clean water.

I am thankful that I can go to a local grocer and feed my family.

I am thankful that I live in a country that was founded on the Word of God.

I am thankful.

I am thankful that I have a father who proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom.

I am thankful that I have a mother who reminds me that I serve a faithful Creator.

I am thankful that I have friends who not only hold me accountable to live a life that brings glory to Him, but who LOVE me.  I mean really love me.

I am thankful.

When things seem dim, or dark, or questionable, I remember.

I am thankful.

Because, I am a child of God.

I am thankful.

So, when you are struggling seeing the light at the end of your tunnel, remember.  You are a child of the most high God. 

Who was bought with a price.

So, let’s just be thankful.



Filed under gratitude