What Happens in the Stretching Seasons

A few years ago, after a particularly grueling season of family life followed by a respite, followed by the onset of another stressful season, a dear friend listened to me talk about what was happening and said five words I have never forgotten.

“Lois,” she said, “you’ve become quite flexible.”

Flexible. Now that’s a word I never would have used to describe myself even a few years earlier.

As I’ve written here on more than one occasion, I’m not fond of change. I tend to like things how they are, and it takes me awhile to adjust to different, even if I’m the one who initiated it.

My life hasn’t exactly cooperated with my preferences these last several years, however. Here’s a brief recap:

In early 2006, after 12 years in Arkansas, we moved to my home state of Kansas where Randy had accepted a new job. That job didn’t work out how he thought it would, so in the fall of 2008, he accepted a position with a different company. Soon thereafter, the stock market crashed and the construction industry in our area tanked.

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When Life’s Emotions Confuse and Overwhelm

In December, Lilly’s ballet school put on a special holiday production featuring vocal music and the Christmas story set to modern dance.

After one of the performances, I was talking to my 83-year-old father, who had been in the audience that afternoon. He told me he had noticed a lone woman in the crowd standing with her arms lifted high during a stirring rendition of “Oh Holy Night.”

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What I Learned This Winter (Awards Edition)

Yesterday was the official first day of spring. Instead of bemoaning the end of winter (which I have been known to do), let’s celebrate with a little end-of-the-season awards ceremony (just like the Oscars, only without the movies, celebrities, fancy dresses and political statements).

Best Substitute for Flowers on Valentine’s Day

As much as I love long-stemmed red roses, I told Randy that I’d rather receive a present I could keep for Valentine’s Day this year. So, along with a lovely card and the customary (not to mention mandatory) box of chocolates, he presented me with my new favorite houseplant: a Ponytail Palm.

For me, the thought that goes into a gift is almost as meaningful as the gift itself. And, oddly enough, the fact that the Ponytail Palm reminds Randy of my hair pushes the significance meter sky high on this one.

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Spring Break Encouragement for all the Tired Moms

Several years ago, my friend Kim joined Lilly, Molly and me for a hike at our local arboretum. I was tired and just wanted to stick to the hiking trail, but of course, the girls wanted to go down the bank of the creek and skip rocks by the water like we usually did.

I would have been content to stay up top and wait for them, but Kim had other plans.

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One Simple Way to Revitalize Your Bible Reading

When it takes you two years and nine months to complete your two-year Bible reading plan, you can look at it one of two ways.

You can feel guilty that it took you that long to get through it (mostly because you don’t do it on weekends or during vacations). Or you can be grateful that the process reignited a love of structured Bible reading that sort of got buried during several years of exhausted living.

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When the Way Ahead is Unclear

I have this thing where I hate not being able to see my feet.

I first realized this about myself years ago when Randy and I were waiting for at table at a crowded restaurant. The lighting in the place was very low, and the flooring was black. When our name was finally called, we had to pick our way through the other waiting people without stumbling or bumping into anyone.

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