How to Be Brave

Some people are born brave. Some people are forced to become brave. And maybe there are some people who will never be brave.

Yesterday Finn woke up from nap time at school with blood dripping from his mouth. He had bitten through his bottom lip, was lethargic and his skin was splotchy red. The teachers assumed he had a seizure, though no one saw him shake or go rigid. We took him to the ER and ran a shunt series (IV, blood work, head and chest x-rays, and CT scan) to be sure his shunt was working properly and that his brain wasn’t swollen. Praise God all his tests came back normal!

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Apparently this was his first seizure and most likely not his last. We’d appreciate your prayers against them. They’re so scary to me, and yet another thing to worry about/watch out for.

As Finn was wheeling away from the CT scan room, wiping tears from his eyes, he said through swollen lips, “I was so brave, wasn’t I, Momma? It wasn’t so bad. Where are the Popsicles?”

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Nothing terrifies Finn more than being strapped down and shoved inside that spinning CT scan tunnel, but he was forced to do it (not the first time; not the last), and he emerged braver. He was an over-comer, and he knew it. He was brave.

Since I was a child, I’ve been a risk-taker, dangling my legs over the edge of the canyon, asking bold questions, and pushing boundaries.

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But I’ve been fearful, so  O U T S I D E  my comfort zone, in the past two years because of various life, friendship and career changes. I’ve had to remind myself daily:

“God did not give [me] a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline.”   2 Timothy 1:7

So if I entertain fear, it’s not from God.

 

How to Be Brave:

1. Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

-I tell my clients, “Don’t think, just do it.” Box jumps. Pull ups. Meal planning.

2. Remember what you’ve already overcome. Think back to the struggles. Many of us have endured some scary stuff. Stand tall; you made it!

-Parenting is tough. Wear your supermom/dad cape with pride, knowing this is perhaps the most difficult job you’ll ever have.

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3. Make a commitment and stand by your word.

“A commitment is doing what you said you’d do long after the mood you said you’d do it in is gone.” -George Zaluki

-Faith in God. Marriage. Jobs. Ministry. Taking your kids to the park. These are commitments we stand by whether we feel like it or not.

-I love the phrase, “Because I said I would…” There aren’t many characteristics I admire more in people than those who do what they said they’d do, when they said they’d do it.

4. Instead of shrinking from that which you’re afraid of, go toward it. Run! Now.

5. Put yourself in situations where you’re uncomfortable.

-Comfortable faith and comfortable lives don’t transform us or inspire others. Get to the point where you’re actually uncomfortable in your comfort zone.

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6. Surround yourself with people who are bolder and more courageous than you are. They’ll rub off on you.

7. Dream bigger.

-I’m a realist, so I’m guilty of dreaming small. I dream only for what I think is attainable. That’s boring, and it doesn’t involve faith or big thinking.

-Write those dreams down somewhere and share them with others. It makes them more real and you’re accountable for them.

8. Pretend you’re brave.

-When I first became a personal trainer, I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I liked people and I liked movement…so I made people move. I faked it. When they’d ask why we were doing a particular exercise, if I didn’t know the answer, I’d say something semi-intelligent then let them know I’d research the answer. And I did. I got better.

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9. Practice being brave.

-Talk to your cashier. Ask them a specific question like, “Do you work all evening? Has it been a tough day?” Look them in the eye.

-Invite someone to your church. Or your gym. Or your play date group.

-Order your own food. I listened to one of the top-earners in Arbonne say she used to be so terrified of being in front of people that she actually couldn’t even order her own food at a restaurant or in the drive-thru.

-Ask your family and friends questions. Be in control of the conversation.

-Voice a complaint or a compliment–in person–at a local establishment.

-Discipline your kids. They’re kids; you know best. Be the boss.

-Ask for a raise and articulate why you deserve it. But be sure you deserve it.

 10. Ask God for courage. He commands it.

-Mary and Joseph, Ruth, Rahab, Joseph son of Jacob, Paul, Moses, Abraham, Solomon, David, Peter…these imperfect people trusted in a perfect God for their courage and strength.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Be braver, friends. I’m right there with you. 

 

He Did It For Me

Jesus dragged that splintered cross toward Golgotha’s hill for me. Burning muscles and tearing flesh. Spirit broken.

I can’t comprehend love like that–love that loved me before I loved Him. Love that accepted me at my worst but expects me to be my best. He became my sin and was punished for it.

Jesus stretched out his arms and was pierced for me. Pain for me. Spat upon and mocked by angry men, foaming at the mouth with hatred and fear. He was thinking of me with His face to the sky; a resilience that was not of this world. He cried bloody tears for me. His soul must have quivered at the hell that was encroaching. Thunder booming, lightning electrifying the sky.

The Lamb died for me.

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But then…He came back for me…so I could know the mystery of His living presence. So I could live fully, with hope. I can’t explain it, and I don’t need to, really.

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” Acts 3:15

If He did this for me, He did this for you.

 

Marriage Muscles

I think marriage (done right) is hard. It’s difficult in the same way that maintaining physical fitness is difficult. It’s not cheating on your reps, it’s getting flat to the ground in your burpees; chin over the bar in your pull ups. You both have to keep showing up. You have to get uncomfortable sometimes and apologize when your pride is refusing. Some weeks/months/years are better than others. But when you work at it, you reap the benefits and it feels so good. Your marriage muscles are growing, making you stronger and more fit to withstand life’s next fight.

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I told a client last week that learning to love your body is like an arranged marriage. You didn’t get to choose the body you were given, but it’s your job to care for it and make it the best it can be. And after time, you may just fall in love with it.

If you and your spouse are in need of a little marriage CPR, here are 10 of Joey and I’s favorite cost-effective, unconventional ideas for date nights:

  1. We have fantastic cycling trails in Tulsa and most of the time we pull the kids in the bike trailer. But a few times, we’ve gone alone: Bike from home to downtown, grab coffee at Chimera. Order the spiced cold brew and disregard the people snickering at your padded cycling shorts.IMG_5673
  2. Go to a movie but sit in the balcony at the Warren Theater (Moore or Tulsa). You get to choose your seat online and you’ll have a waiter and heated, reclining seats. Then discuss the movie on the way home.IMG_0366
  3. Meet at a coffee shop or local lunch spot on a work day. This is one of our favorites. We have child care already provided and it breaks up our work week. We love Queenies, Foolish Things or Hodges Bend.FullSizeRender
  4. Go rock climbing then out for dinner as reward. In Durango, it was Cascade Falls or X Rock. In Waco, we’d climb at the SLC or drive down to Austin to Rimer’s Ranch. In OKC we would go to Rock Town. Here in Tulsa, we want to try outdoor climbing at Chandler Park.IMG_5257IMG_4660IMG_5296
  5. Bentonville, AR is so much fun. We love 21C hotel (blog post here), Crepes Paulette food truck, and Crystal Bridges museum and biking/nature trails. They also now have Onyx Coffee Lab, one of our all-time favorite coffee shops.IMG_6618IMG_0151
  6. Go to the Chinese Foot Massage on 71st and Sheridan. Warning: they will massage every inch of you if you’re not careful (not just your feet!), they may step on your back, they will smell like an ashtray, you’ll be in a large dark room with about a dozen other people wondering what the heck is going on, and it will be AMAZING. $30 and worth every penny.
  7. Plan an annual day off together. We do this in November every year. We send the littles off to daycare then go out for breakfast, coffee and Christmas shopping. Sometimes we even get in a nap at home before we pick up the kids. I look forward to it all year.  IMG_9683
  8. Camp in your backyard. We haven’t done this in Tulsa yet because our kids’ video monitor broke, but we did it several times in Norman. Fire, tent, stars, yes. IMG_4557
  9. Sporting events are fun. We loved going to Thunder games in OKC and we’ve had fun at Driller’s baseball games here in Tulsa. IMG_4020
  10. Race. You can train together for a full 2-6 months prior to race time, you have one goal and one finish line. You get fit together so you win together. We are excited for our next 5k: Run Bentonville in April. IMG_5770DSC_0711

Cheers to a healthy–albeit hard at times–marriage!

Four Fingers

Four years of Finn. Four of the sweetest and hardest of my life.

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You are my heart on my sleeve. My superhero on wheels. My unexpected miracle.

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I am honored to be your mom, cheering and jumping up and down on the front row of your little life.

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God has big, important things for you to do, and we’re all watching.

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Happiest Birthday, Mighty Finn!

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

(We’ve prayed this over you since you were in my belly, and we’re not stopping now.)

The Drum

If God were an instrument, I think He’d be a drum. His deep, syncopated rhythm commanded the room and my heart’s full attention. I heard Him in the pounding.

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His  B  O  O  M  echoed through me and I shuttered; awake to His impressive presence. He is holy and I am most definitely not.

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I’ve heard Him in the hymn before; the piano’s lilting tune. The skillful strum of Joey’s guitar. I hear Him in the clear, confident voice of a gifted vocalist. He is all around, before, behind and within. This weekend, though, I heard Him in the drum.

 

Duct Tape

Joey and I are sitting in a time-share condo in Branson, MO. Onyx coffee brewing. Pistachio shells in styrofoam cups.

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A kind couple from church offered this place to us as a retreat. Our Little Crazies are spending a fun weekend with my parents while we sleep in past 7:00am, read for pleasure, and rest our weary parenting muscles.

We ate at Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls restaurant this morning, and a Roy Rogers doppelganger serenaded us with his cowboy tunes while we indulged in sticky toffee cinnamon rolls–our first breakfast post-Daniel fast. A true “break-fast.” Grandpa Milt would have loved every minute of it.

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My grandparents come from the era of “fixing it.” If something breaks or wears down, you don’t drive to Target for a new one. You fix it. Patch the jeans. Duct tape the broom. Get under the car yourself.

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Gram and Gramps playing Play Doh with Finn at Big Cedar over Christmas.

They are resourceful and enterprising; making whatever they have last. Their era was one of scarcity. WWII raged while they were just kids on the farm, the Great Depression had rattled the American Dream, and the men worked hard to put food on the table for their housewives and children. I respect and admire their industrious, conserving qualities. “Waste not, want not.”

I cannot, however, apply these principles to my spiritual life. The Kingdom of God is not one of scarcity; it boasts abundance. When I uncover ugly parts of me–embarrassing weaknesses, habitual sin–my tendency is to patch them up. Slap some duct tape on them and hope they don’t burst open.

Pastor Craig said something recently that stuck with me like super glue on my grandparents’ broken vase:

“Jesus did not come to make us better. He came to make us new.”

Whoa. There’s no patch large enough to cover my insecurity and sin. When it comes to our lives, betterment without the grace of Jesus is silly; futile.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24)

We get to trade in our old, scuffed-up self for a new self. A fresh start. Stop patching yourself up. Let Jesus make you new.

The Purple Girls

Wednesday, January  13th. Jenks West Elementary transitional pre-K program. Leaving the parking lot.

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“Hey Finn, how was school this morning?”

“Good.”

“What did you learn about?”

“Ms. Sarah put a feather on me and it was soft. Bricks are TOO hard. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. There were three pigs. They had a house made of BRICK (yelling) and STRAW and WOOD! And he puffed and huffed and blowed the house down!”

“Who were your friends?”

“Jackson and Tinsley and Sam and Ali and Claire…”

“What about Tripp?”

“No, not Tripp. He wasn’t there today. And the Purple Girls.”

“Who are the Purple Girls?”

“I forgot their names.”

“Was Mrs. Fox there today?”

“No, she went to the restaurant.”

“Restaurant?”

“Yeah, restroom.”

“Awesome, dude.”:)