Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Dog is Fat

I took my dog to the vet today

complaining he didn’t want to run or play

The dog seemed lethargic and lazy, I said

not chasing squirrels…but sleeping instead

The vet did examine, observe, and explain

saying the dog’s neither sick nor in pain

He took me aside, his voice very flat

and said, “Nothing’s wrong, miss, your dog is just fat.”


TRUE STORY.  Poor, poor Neo.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life Saver

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20

When I was just a wee little girl with no bangs (because my friend, Robin and I decided to cut them off with safety scissors during Kindergarten class), sometimes my mom would buy me Life Savers.  And I got to eat the whole roll myself.  And I loved this.  But what I really loved the most was that I was able to open them myself.  My mother had shown me how to pull the little blue paper string at the top of the roll and pull off the little silver top.  The fact that I knew how to do this formerly mysterious task thrilled my bang-less self and made me feel very grown up. Sometimes, my mom would even ask me to open her pack of gum using the same method, and when I did this, I felt so very helpful.

You know what?  God doesn’t need us.  He is fully capable of achieving His purposes and showing His glory without our help.  But, He loves us, and sometimes, because He is our Father, He lets us help with some of His tasks.  Sometimes, these tasks are small, like writing a note of encouragement, and sometimes, they are huge, like telling the nations about Jesus, but either way, we can feel good about being included in His plan.

He allows us to help Him “pull the string” because He wants us to know that we are part of the Kingdom, and He knows that we care much more about things in which we are invested.  By walking with God and watching for where He is working, we can get involved in His work and grow up in His grace.

‘Cause He is the real Life Saver, you know.


When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Colossians 3:4


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Groceries, Grace, and God

Wow. It has been a whole week since I last posted.  Sorry. I haven’t really been that busy, just lazy and unmotivated.  Sometimes I’m like that you know.

A memory popped into my head yesterday.  One time, when my kids were young, and I was trying to figure out the logistics of how to grocery shop with both a baby and a toddler, a funny thing happened.  Imagine that.  Anyway, I was about halfway through my shopping trip with the baby seat clipped to the front of the cart and the toddler ensconced inside the cart (I always thought shopping carts with a side car would be an ingenious invention), and I was piling groceries upon the innocent toddler.  As I was coming to the end of the cereal isle—Luke—or whomever the child was in the cart—I’m sure I knew who it was then—even in my sleep deprived state—said, “Mommy, stop!  I can’t feel my legs!” And as I looked around the baby seat to the voice on the other side, I saw some little eyes peeking out from the lunch meat, the string cheese, and the Toasty O’s.  Not only had I covered his legs, but his whole body was hidden in next week’s menu—poor kid.  It’s one thing to have a bag of pretzels on your lap…but a whole other trauma to experience an edible avalanche while sitting in a metal cart at Fareway. 

I think that the reason God allowed that funny memory to surface is because He was showing me how grace-filled He is.  Here’s how I know that:  Tuesday I was watching a Beth Moore video in my Bible study and she said some things that made me realize that I was being hypocritical and apathetic in some of my attitudes .  I had been allowing some ugliness in my life that was offensive to God, but unnoticed by me.  Sometimes God shows me things that I don’t like—things that don’t reflect Him accurately—and tells me that if I want to be completely obedient to Him, I need to start thinking rightly, get rid of my selfishness…or laziness…or callousness…and shape up.  I’m so glad He does this for me;  though the process is often messy and difficult, through it all, He is making me into the Tori he intends me to be.  And I’m so glad He does it little by little, year by year, decade by decade, because if He had chosen to throw an awareness of all my ugliness, all my wickedness, on me the first day I decided to follow Him, I would have been overwhelmed with how very very unworthy I was…and I think I might have given up right then and there.  But God, because He is a sweet and tender Savior, chooses to give me just a little at time, so I can work on it over the course of my life—instead of trying to turn around 180 degrees all at once.  He does this because He is a wise Father and He knows how very weak we are; He understands that if He throws all the “groceries” of our moral depravity on us at once that we would drown in self-pity and lose our spiritual legs in the process—pretty nifty analogy, huh?

It’s true.  And I am still learning every day how to be more like Him.  And He is still ever patient--allowing me to feel my legs.  And I am ever grateful for His mercy.

I am laid low in the dust;
   preserve my life according to your word.
I recounted my ways and you answered me;
   teach me your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
   then I will meditate on your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow;
   strengthen me according to your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;
   be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;
   I have set my heart on your laws.

Psalm 119:25-30

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Run a Better Race

I did a sprint workout with Tess today, and it reminded me of why I choose LSD when I run—that’s Long Slow Distance for all of you thinking I have really fallen off the wagon. If you are struggling with pride lately or just feeling slightly uppity, go sprint around a cinder track with your fleet-footed 18 year old daughter.  And unless your name is Usain Bolt or Carmelita Jeter, you will feel lead-footed and foolish.

Sprinting is not something most of us do on a regular basis.  I actually had to visualize something evil chasing me to get my legs to move faster.  And every time we did another 150 meter sprint, Tess kept getting farther and farther ahead of me—even though we always started at the same time.  I literally ate her dust—or cinder in this case—because I followed her on the very inside lane, rather than running beside her, wanting to run the least distance possible.  And for our final 300 meter sprint, Tess said, “We only have to run this one at about 75%.”  And all I could think was, “Yeah, your 75% is exactly the same as my 150%.  Let’s go.”  So, in her gazelle-like fashion, she flew by me again and I didn’t even try to finish strong like I always tell my kids to do.  It was at this point that I was keenly aware of my legs and my abs and my age and Tess cheerfully exclaimed, “Aren’t you glad we did the easy workout?”

As I’ve posted before, we like what we’re used to…and I am used to running long slow distance.  Running sprints with my daughter was not what I was accustomed to or comfortable with.  It put me waaaaaay outside of my cozy zone.  And when I was doing it, I was hyper-aware of how awkward I looked and how awful I felt.  Just because I experienced these things, though, doesn’t necessarily mean I shouldn’t pursue sprinting (though I don’t think I could be ready for the 2012 Olympic games in London); it means that sprinting has become an unnatural activity for me because I haven’t practiced it lately.  It doesn’t mean it couldn’t become natural for me.

Isn’t it the same with our lives?  We get really comfortable with the way we operate.  Our daily routines become predictable and familiar.  Then, when we decide to change—to lose some weight, to eat more vegetables, to pay off our debt, to memorize scripture, to read more good books, to stop drinking that poison Diet Coke (that one is for me)--we have to fight against ourselves to get these new habits to form.  Why?  Because we like what we’re used to and these new things are unfamiliar and hard for us. They take us into foreign territory where things look different.  We are keenly aware of all the newness--and sometimes we just get so tired of this uncomfortable “sprinting” that we just stop and walk back to normality, neutrality, and mediocrity.  We go back to our old story and our old ways; the old story’s easier. Change is too difficult, unnatural.  It’s too hard to run a new race.

Is that where you want to be?  Me either.  Here’s the challenge:  Be that person that you’ve always wanted to be by changing your mind.  Begin to change your mind by acting on your dreams.  Begin to act on your dreams by getting out of your comfort zone--even if it’s awkward at first--even if you’re really slow.  Work hard to train your brain and your body toward excellence.  And remember that “natural” is not always necessarily right or good—sometimes it’s just plain lazy.  You are capable of much more than you think.  This is your life—live it abundantly!

And I’ll try to do a little less LSD and a little more sprinting—even when it hurts my legs…and my pride.

I want to run a better race.  Don’t you?


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-21

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Down on the ranch

Since none of you has asked me a question for my Why Don’t We? series, I will have to resort to one of my former (albeit short-lived)series called SC Weekly (SC an acronym for stream of consciousness).  For this series, I basically just sat down at the computer and wrote whatever was on my mind, which I guess isn’t really too different from any of my normal posts, except maybe a little more mundane.  Here goes…

Tess and I have been home all spring break by ourselves since the boys of the fam decided to ditch us and go backpacking in the deserts of southern Texas and Shay is off frolicking on band tour in Disney World, Florida.  So if you are a pillager and/or a plunderer, and you are reading this post right now, do not plan a raid on my house because my 120 pound, very mean dog with sharp teeth, and my very scary father will declare war on your sorry selves and you will pillage and plunder no longer.  Don’t believe my Dad is scary?  Read this.  So, as I was saying, there have only been two of us at the ranch for the last several days and it has been absolutely splendid.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my normal life and all the flurry that goes with my children and family, but the temporary freedom that the lack of this has created, has been absolutely divine.  And I am so enjoying it because it is new and different, but I wouldn’t want it like this for always.  Here are the things I have been loving:  Tess and I cleaned the house on Monday and it is still clean!  I really really like my house clean and we have been trying not to move around very much in it—or even cook very much—so that it stays in this pristine state.  We have eaten lunch out of the house every day and today we even snuck our own little picnic into Movies 12 at 11:25 a.m.for a matinee (really?  who goes to a movie in the morning?!), but we ate it very quietly, crunching our chips oh so softly, so that the other two people in the theater would not report us for violating the rules cause it would be a big bummer if Tess and I got thrown in the slammer when the boys were out of cell range.  Tonight, I actually did cook for the first time all break.  But I buffed up the stainless real nice when I was done so it looked like no one had even used it. I made grilled cheese sandwiches and we finished up 2 week old chili which I hope doesn’t send either of us to the hospital for food poisoning.  I’m feeling pretty good right now. We also got to run together this morning and talk about Cain and Abel and who Cain would have married after he murdered his brother because it says that Cain was the father of Enoch and ummm… since Cain’s parents were the only couple on earth at the time, he would have had to marry a sister…oooooh.  And this afternoon, we sat on the porch in the warm sunshine and she read and I wrote and it felt like summer. Tonight, while Tess was at work, I took the dog for a walk in the dark.  I really didn’t want to walk him in the dark, but we agreed to walk him daily since he is getting fat (still very ferocious, though), and I hadn’t walked him yet.  So while I was walking him in the pitch darkness on our lonely road, two cars came at me, and I had to make sure they didn’t hit me or the dog or the cat who was following me, so I ran and picked up the cat hoping not to get killed and while this was all happening and my life was being endangered, Shay called me from Florida to say hi but that she couldn’t talk long because her band teachers were going to be bungee jumping right outside the hotel pretty soon. What?  She seemed to be a having a fabulous time. 

So, that about sums it up; my simple life on the ranch, in a nutshell. a big nutshell. maybe like a brazil nut.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

You’re Not Little Anymore

                                 cole preschool valentine 001

When I look at this picture, tears come to my eyes and I can hardly type, little boy, ‘cause you’re not little anymore…

When I see your sweet smile, I want to pick you up and squeeze you, but I can’t, little boy, ‘cause you’re not little anymore…

When I think of all the dates I had with you, my little buddy, little boy, I yearn for yesterday, but it’s gone, ‘cause your not little anymore…

You are growing up, little boy, even taller than me, and you give me hugs when I am hurting, ‘cause your not little anymore…

You are making me so proud, little boy, with your choices, your wisdom, your honor, your joy, ‘cause your not little anymore…

You are turning into an amazing young man, little boy, whom I love with my whole heart…and your not little anymore.

Happy 14th Birthday Cole Benjamin! 

My son, if your heart is wise,
   then my heart will be glad;
my inmost being will rejoice
   when your lips speak what is right.

Proverbs 23:15-16

Monday, March 12, 2012

Self Surrender

From today’s reading in My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers…

Beware of surrender that is motivated by personal benefits that may result. For example, “I’m going to give myself to God because I want to be delivered from sin, because I want to be made holy.” Being delivered from sin and being made holy are the result of being right with God, but surrender resulting from this kind of thinking is certainly not the true nature of Christianity. Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all. We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ’This is what God has done for me.’ ” Gaining heaven, being delivered from sin, and being made useful to God are things that should never even be a consideration in real surrender.

Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Always a Peacemaker

When I brought you home, you chose not to fuss,

but lay quiet in your cradle and sleep.

And when you awoke, with two toddlers staring,

Still, you made not a peep.

Your big blue eyes looking…yearning for mama,

not wanting to cause any trouble,

You started to whimper, so softly at first

I wasn’t aware of your struggle.

As finally I heard you and went to your aid,

I smiled when I saw your sweet face,

for there you were lying, squirming, and trying,

simply wanting your mother’s embrace.

As I lifted you, dear one, up to my shoulder,

and breathed in your baby perfume,

my love for you, tiny peace-maker

suddenly filled up the whole nursery room.


Happy 16th Birthday Sweet Shay Nicole!


But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18

Monday, March 5, 2012

‘member that time?

‘Member that time when Brent and I were first married and we would go for walks on a path by the horse pasture?  And member how one time I wanted to take apples to feed the horses, so I cut up big slices and carried them in a little bag?  And member how, when we got to the horses, one big brown horse smelled the apples and came trotting up to me, and when his big hairy horse mouth got close to my hand, I panicked and the apple slice got stuck in his nostril?  And member how he ran away as fast as he could with the apple sticking out of his nose?  member that? 

Yeah, well, I felt guilty for awhile about that, and I was a little afraid I might get indicted for animal abuse by the campus police except they never found me and I never fessed up.

I hope the apple horse had a really good horse friend that offered to eat the stuck slice out of his nose because it would be a bummer to only have the use of one nostril and/or smell rotten apples for the rest of your life.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why don’t we?

I have the most faithful readers in the world.  Without your questions, this series would be null, void, nothing, nil, nix, nada,  naught, zero, zilch, zip, zippo (I got all of those from –pretty snazzy, huh?). 

So…I’m glad you love me, or at least you feel sorry for me…and that you keep asking me questions because we all know that I am highly qualified in this capacity. 

And you all must be pretty gullible too.

Here we go!

Kim from, writes:

I have a question for you. Why did the matronly lady at Kohls seem so appalled that my son was in full out superhero attire? Does she not understand the value of superheros in our lives? And would it have been appropriate to smack her? Cuz that's what I wanted to do.

Dear Kim,

Maybe the matronly Kohl’s lady always secretly wanted to be the Bionic Woman or Elastigirl from the Incredibles, but maybe in the last several years, things have been stressful working in the women’s section, and maybe she has been going home every night feeling depressed, so maybe she just sits on the couch and watches old Wonder Woman reruns wishing she was Lynda Carter and eating Moose Tracks ice cream.  So, maybe, when your son appeared in his full superhero regalia, it brought out all of her old feelings of regret in never taking Tae kwon do so that she could become a female super hero, and just maybe this regret masqueraded as bitterness at your son obviously realizing his dreams and living them out at such a young age.  She probably fully understands the value of super heros in our lives, but was too trapped by her bitterness of her lack of get up and go to show her true feelings.  She was probably hurting, Kim, and remember, hurt people hurt people.  So, in answer to your question of smacking, no, I think that smacking her would have been a bad idea as it would  probably have fatally crippled her obviously damaged psyche and removed all spunk from her sad, matronly heart.  Maybe next time you go to Kohl’s, you should seek her out and give her a hug or a friendly little punch in the shoulder.  And maybe you should make her a cape to help her re-ignite her dreams.

That’s all the wisdom I have for you today.  Ask me anything—preferably human interest related.  Do not ask me anything about math, cars, or politics, because it you do, I will have to lie to you so it sounds like I know what I am talking about.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Light Walk

Ever been in a in a really dark room where the darkness seems oppressive because you have just come out of the light?  And you do things like put your hand up to your face but you can’t even see that?  But little by little, as your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness, your hand comes clearly into view and the darkness doesn’t seem so dark anymore?  It’s not like it’s a big shock or anything—the new ability to function in the darkness--it occurs so gradually that it seems normal—the whole adjusting thing.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Don’t you also think we do that sometimes with our faith?  I mean as Christ-followers, we are walking in the Light.  But sometimes, when we are not being purposeful with our days, when we are not disciplining our minds to think with the truth, when we are not practicing discernment with our eyes and ears—basically, when we are allowing the world to woo us—then we are surrounding ourselves with darkness, not light.  And because most of us don’t just jump with wild abandon into these compromises, and because most of these compromises come from several wrong choices over the course of time, it’s an unnoticeable change—a slow fade. 

As we continue to surround ourselves with the darkness of the world’s ways, we become more and more able to function in that arena.  In fact, the darkness begins to feel comfortable—not like an adjustment at all.  We begin to look just like the world—not like the Children of Light that we are. 

Let’s make a choice to be blinding Light to a world comfortable in darkness.

Then, and only then, will we be proper Image-bearers. 

May it be so.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light—for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth—discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8-10 (HCSB)