Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of Passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm. We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, God is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

Let's be more aware of all the choices, situations, twists and turns that brought us to this place right here and now. They May Be Miracles.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Reach Higher ("The Extra Inch")

As you sit there in your chair reading this reach your hands as high up into the air as you possibly can...are you reaching?  Are you reaching as high as you possibly can?  Ok, now that you're reaching as high as you possibly can, reach one inch higher. 

You did it, didn't you?  It still amazes me that we can always go another inch.  We were MADE to go another inch.  God doesn't mean for us to ever think we've landed in a place or situation that isn't going to evolve...that isn't going to stretch.  Can't you look back on your life and just see one situation after another where you thought it was the most confusing or stressful or dangerous or overwhelming or happiest or perfect...and then something happened.  The extra inch.  You perservered, or else you passed your joy forward to others...but the extra inch happened and things either got better or even more perfect.  

I really think "the extra inch" is what prayer is all about.  I mean, let's face it - God already knows our needs and desires.  He knows the situations we're in.  He's in them with us.  He's everywhere all the time.  He's present every moment.  And yet He wants us to come to Him with our needs.  He wants us to confide in Him.  He wants a relationship with us.  We're not meant to take for granted His presence...we're meant to live the best life that we can and in the midst of living to turn to Him and ask for help, for blessings, for grace and mercy.  
  • We ask Him to help us get OVER that mountain that's causing us such stress or grief;
  • we ask Him to bring the right people into our lives to get us to where we're trying to go; 
  • we ask Him to help comfort us; 
  • we ask Him to continue to bless us with financial peace;
  • we ask Him to create new opportunities and possibilities for us and the ability to recognize those;
  • we ask Him to help us not to disappoint ourselves or others
  • we ask Him for a shield of protection and for safety and good health
All of these prayers we lift up are "the extra inch" in our lives - the needs we have.  And when we look back on our lives we can always see God's hand...little miracles...
  • Somehow we got over that mountain
  • Somehow the right person showed up at the right time and the right place to get us to the "next level"...
  • Somehow we receive an amazing letter, email, phone call, visit...just the right thing at just the right time from someone who cares
  • Opportunities and possibilities start to surround us
So in as much as we can physically, socially, and emotionally REACH HIGHER at our own will and with our own strength, let us not forget to REACH HIGHER spiritually and ask God each day to help us achieve that "extra inch" - He's just patiently waiting to surprise us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


One of my most favorite all time illustrations that motivational speakers everywhere use is when they tell the audience to stand up and reach their hands to the sky as high as they possibly can.  They'll say, " you're sure you've reached as high as you can?"  And then they'll say, "ok, now reach an inch higher!"  And without fail the entire audience will reach their fingers AT LEAST an inch higher. 

I've always loved this idea because when I think I've done as much as I can possibly do in a day...or when I think I've done as much as I can possibly do in any given situation, I'll think to myself, "Well, what else can I do? How can I reach higher?" 

It's not often I remember a certain message from speakers because I've heard so many of them over the years...but I suppose because this is a popular activity among them that it finally resonated in me.  

If you happened to have read an earlier post of mine where I was struggling with believing in my ability to "lose weight and keep it off" - know that I  have been working on my -brain- and the way I think about things.  I'm ready to reach higher.  I have not TRIED   nearly enough since I started having children.  My mind is finally in the RIGHT place.  I care for myself and my family so much and I want to do all that I can to treat myself better, take care of my vesil here on earth, and create an energy of "we can do anything we set our minds to" around here!

That being said, I have been exercising on the elliptical walker for over 2 weeks now.  Today I went ahead and hit the mile mark.  When I really get in better shape I know I can do much more.  I'll be reaching higher and going faster each day.  Also, the only things I'm eating in between meals now are fruits or vegetables.  I am not cutting out pizza or fried foods...yet...if ever - we'll see how I feel about that later in this journey.  Each day I'm waking up with an attitude of achievement, and when I feel like I want to NOT exercise or be lazy I remind myself to REACH HIGHER!! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

More Than Enough

When we go to Mass on Sundays we usually leave our 2 youngest children, Maggie and Brady, in the babysitting room for obvious reasons.  Today Brady had a cough so we did not think we should expose him to the other children and we brought him to Mass with us...but Maggie still went to the "play area". 

After Mass we went to pick her up and Grace, our oldest, likes to go in first to see her and the rest of us follow.  Today, being St. Valentine's Day, one of the sitters brought in valentines with little dumdum suckers taped to them.  Maggie was so excited about hers and was showing Grace right away!  When I got to her the woman who was passing them out gave her another one and said, give this one to Brady (because Brady usually goes in there too).  Grace had to stand by and watch her younger siblings get valentines.  I could see in her eyes this was a little troubling.

Now, Grace is in 1st grade and her class JUST had their Valentines Day party this past Thursday and she brought home a whole box full of valentines and candy.  I must say she has been a champion at sharing her "goods" with Maggie (and Brady if I say something is ok for him to eat).

In the car on the way home Maggie asked if she could have the sucker (Maggie is my candy-holic).  I told her yes, and as she was unwrapping her sucker Grace asked her if she could hold the valentine and read it to her.  Maggie said yes.  But then Maggie wanted it back.  She got it back and just kept repeating out loud what Grace said that it said.  Maggie was elated to have her very own valentine!  Grace kept trying to get it from her and would say that she wanted to read it again.  Grace, although she had a whole box full of valentines at home, wanted the ONE seemingly very special valentine that Maggie had.   

And it all made me start to think, of course, about how we all can be like this in our lives!  Haven't you had times when you were "full" - full of posessions, full of happiness, full of love...and then you see someone that has "something" - that perverbial "something" that you wish you could have too...maybe a posession, maybe a personality attribute, maybe a physical quality, possibly a spiritual quality.

                                                         "ENVY IS UGLY"

I would like to think possibly that Grace didn't so much want the valentine as she wanted to share in the excitement of it with Maggie.  

And so with us too, when we catch ourselves in the midst of envy (and let's try harder to catch ourselves), maybe we can concentrate our efforts on celebrating the achievements of others...encouraging others...hoping for more for others.  These are all loving actions that can eliminate the envious feelings.  God, with our own efforts, will take care of us and always give us more than enough.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Easy As Pie

I used to work as a drug and alcohol prevention specialist, which means mostly that I worked with high school students - helped them to realize their strengths, created a cohesive environment for them to excel in, built on leadership skills, and worked with other adults in their schools and community who would help in all of these efforts.  Sometimes we would have meetings, sometimes we would go do fun things, sometimes we planned events for elementary or Jr. High students, and sometimes we held conferences (weekend or week-long) both local and state-wide for the high school students.

After one of these such conferences over a weekend I had gotten home and realized that I had forgotten my eye glasses at the camp.  Yes, I normally wear contact lenses, but I need my glasses at night time, and it's really quite an inconvenience when I don't have them at night.  The camp was over 45 minutes away from where I lived, but if I could get a hold of the camp director it wouldn't have been a big deal to go get them.  This was on a Sunday and I was not able to reach the camp director.
Monday went by as well without luck reaching anyone there.

Because that weekend conference was always held in March I'm thinking that we all must have been going to Columbus that week to celebrate my dad's birthday.  In any case, I was in my car with my parents one day that following week and we were at a stop light in Delaware, where the camp was.  Since we were in Delaware I was just talking to my parents about possibly stopping by the camp to see if I could get in to find my glasses (although I was sure they were already found and put into a lost and found area).  Now, I almost NEVER look into other peoples' cars when I'm driving or at a stop light...I'm kind of a cautious driver and I'm always looking at the road.  But for some reason I looked over at the car next to me at the stop light.

Guess who was driving that car.  You got it.  The camp director!  I rolled my window down and waved wildly at him to get his attention and he looked over, and rolled down his window.  I told him I left my glasses at the camp and he said he had found them.  So I followed him there and was able to get my glasses.  Easy as pie.

I bet you can think of a time that God made something "easy as pie" for you too.  I don't presume to think that things just happen in my favor with no one working it out behind the great curtain.  Yes, we are required to take the journey and make the effort.  Sometimes the decisions we make and the roads we take require much more effort, energy, work, blood-sweat-and-tears, than other times.  But often we find ourselves in the middle of an opportunity, a gift, a "where did that come from?" moment, and it causes us to pause...what are those moments for you?  GOD DOES THIS FOR ALL OF US!  Remember and embrace those's an ongoing gift

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Penny Saved

Well, I promised some more every day miracle stories so I thought I'd share one today from a few years ago.

I was visiting a friend in Mansfield, OH which was about a 40 minute drive from my home in Bucyrus.  I had a youth ministry event later that night, and when we were done visiting I went to the Kroger grocery store - just down the street from where they lived - to buy some soda pop and chips to go with the pizza we were having at the event.  I left there to go home and take the kids to my husband, turned around from home and went straight to my event in Crestline which was about 15 minutes from home.  I realized that I had forgotten to buy ice for the pop, so I stopped at a gas station nearby the church.  When I went to pay for the ice I had a very harsh realization.  My wallet was not in my purse.  My heart started pumping and immediately I began to think of what I had done that day.  I went to my car to look and see if it had fallen out of my purse. It had not.  I began to pray, pray, pray that it had not been stolen, that God would protect my identity and all that the wallet held.

I promptly called my husband to tell him my wallet was missing but I had to go to this youth event and couldn't go back to Mansfield...could he? 

The rest is the story he told me once I got home from the events of the evening. Apparently he decided to call the Kroger store first before driving out there. Indeed, they had my wallet.  So he drove there to get it.  When he arrived the woman in the office told him this story...

The cashier saw a woman in line take the wallet from the little counter top provided to sign checks.  The woman who picked up the wallet just seemed to have a strange look on her face as if deciding something, so the cashier asked her if that was her wallet.  The woman admitted that it was not.  

To me the miracle God provided was the cashier's boldness  to ask.  How many times have I let something get past me because I felt it was none of my business, or because I feared a bad reaction, or because I assumed the best in a person?  The cashier prevented someone from making a poor was two miracles in one.  I got my wallet back without incident, and a woman was saved from taking the wrong road at that crossroad. 

I admire bold people...I hope when or if a time presents itself to me that I can be so bold as to help someone make a better choice.