Wednesday, April 26, 2017


I am insane.  There are no men waiting at my door to place me in my own white jacket, though I’m sure my husband thinks there should be sometimes.  Its just when I take a step back and look at some of things I do or struggle with I can honestly say, its nuts!  

I had another post planned for today but thought I would take a moment to breathe and share something from my real life in real time.  

Do you ever step back and watch yourself from a bird’s eye view?  As if you were some reality tv star being able to see your daily routine, ok so not entirely the same as there is nothing real about reality tv, but you get my point.  If you haven’t, you should - you will be amazed! 

Today, I am going out of town for two nights. I am going to a conference and will be sitting in classrooms all day.  Packing should be a simple task. Yet, if you’d watch me try to get ready to leave, you think I would be going away for a year.  I have lived in 6 states, 2 foreign countries, I have lived in at least 21 different houses/apartments and have travelled to 27 countries.  Packing shouldn’t be difficult for me but the truth is: 


I suck at it.  I also run around like a crazy person.  I had this conversation with my husband this morning,

 a man who has raised two daughters before I came around and is fully capable of running the house despite the copious notes I have left for him.

What is wrong with me?  

The simple answer is - I am human and I struggle with anxiety.  So there you go, but when I see it play out sometimes it completely makes me want to laugh.  I am going crazy over scenarios that haven’t happened, and preparing for the apocalypse and I am just going to be a few hours drive away!  

When I read the Bible, I often wonder why God repeats himself so much and I am pretty sure the answer is because we need it! Don't we all act insane at times?  We need God and more importantly we are a hot mess without him.  

If you are reading this, I hope you see the humor in my words because I know we are also wonderful, competent people.  But at our worst, I think insane is a good word.  

You know what?  Even when you are acting like me - a chicken with their head cut off obsessing over things that don't matter, God loves you.  He died for me when I was a hot mess! (Romans 5:8 - note that is a Carrie paraphrase, the Bible does not actually say hot mess).  

You know when I have a day like today, I have to take a step back and not take myself so seriously.  Sometimes I can laugh at my imperfections and issues because if you were at my house watching me today, you would chuckle at my craziness.  I know my husband does.  

I am so grateful I have a God who loves me as much as he does!  If you need a dose of love today, read I John in the Bible (its towards the back) and see just how much God loves you.  He gave his life for you and that is a sacrificial love that changes people.  

Happy Wednesday!  And if you think of it, pray for me as I leave this house! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Do You Measure Up?

We grow up being asked what we want to be when we grow up.  Kids rattle off a list of professions like police officer, astronaut, teacher, or even President.  My six-year-old says he wants to be a Ninja (though last year it was Ninja Elf, but he's dropped the Elf because that isn't realistic. - Ha!) 

We grow up and become a lot of different professions, some with great focus and even dead on with what the six-year-old version of themselves stated they would be.  Others just aimlessly land in some 9-5 just to pay the bills.  But I think we are doing a big disservice to children and to ourselves when we put so much focus on the professional success you will one day find.

I recently lost someone I loved dearly.  Wanda Sharp died just months before her 92nd birthday.  She left behind family but she also left behind a legacy that reached far beyond her own DNA.   Wanda wasn't a successful entrepreneur, and she actually spent most of her work years as a bus driver for special needs kids.  In the years I knew her, Wanda was a faithful volunteer with the youth group I lead.  She never thought she did much to help me, but the love she spread impacted lives.  She was the group grandma for years.  Teens graduated and moved on but they still loved Wanda, because she loved them.  It didn't matter how many times you attended or how well she knew you, she was gonna love on you. 

For those of us in the church, Wanda was mom or grandma.  She filled a void in many, and when she died, there was a group of young people that mourned as much as her family and friends.   On the day we honored her, I sat with typed pages filled with sentiments emailed to me that former students who wanted to share with her family, so they would know what she meant to them.  A woman who grew up with "Grandma" Wanda flew in from Louisiana (a long way from Visalia, California) just to be in attendance at the service.  The room was packed with people impacted by Wanda and the attendees even included one the students she transported all those years ago.

I am sad to lose such a precious woman but so glad she can stand before her maker and feel the love she gave here on earth.  She will understand and be comforted by the value she always had and never truly saw.  

In thinking of this I realized.  Wanda wasn't a success because she went to an Ivy League University or worked as CEO at some fortune 500 company.  She was a success because she was a woman who loved on people.  She made a mark that was indelible in the souls of people.  Wanda didn't let age, background, race or religion keep her from loving on whomever crossed her path.  She was a beacon example this world needs!

So my question is:

How Do You Measure Up?

Is your focus for a life well-lived on the successes you receive along the path to that dream job or is your focus on the people who are in front of you?

The great thing about focusing on the latter question is that it starts now.  Kids don't have to wait until they grow up to be a success.  They get to build character and be loving, kind people NOW!  Doing good for others will only lead them to what they will be when they grow up.

We should encourage kids to live for now.  Of course focusing on a goal for the future has its own merit and they will have to chart a path for the future with their education, but they should be more concerned about who they are than where they end up because ultimately, that is what matters most!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When Your Best Isn't Enough

Do you ever feel like your best just isn’t good enough?  

I think most of us can answer, “yes” to that question.  

The truth is -  my best isn’t good enough.  
I can’t do it all.  
I wear a lot of hats and they can get exhausting.  I wasn't made to do all that I do.  

I was created with limitations and needs for things such as rest and relationships, both of which require a pause button from the rat race I run in daily.  

I am both a working mom and a stay-at-home mom.  I live the best and worst of both worlds.  Usually when I am rocking it in one area, I am behind or bombing in another area.  

The feminist movement has given us a lot of freedoms as women, but its also given us some unfair expectations.  We are expected to work and raise a family simultaneously, while looking good in the process!  That is a lot of pressure and as a result, we end up expecting too much out of ourselves subsequently beating ourselves up when we don’t hit the mark.  

My “to-do” list is always full and even if I go strong all day knocking items off the list, I still won’t come close to getting it all done.  Here's two things I hope will help.  

  1. God Has A Plan Beyond What We See 

Today, a friend shared with me a few bumps in her road of late, but because of her time in the Bible and in prayer with God, she was prepared to view those setbacks with spiritual eyes.  It gave her the ability to see God in the midst of the issues she had encountered.  Instead of letting that pit her against her Lord, she sat in the lap of Jesus and got on board with his plan.  

2. God Takes Our Mistakes and Makes Miracles

I distinctly recall a moment when I was talking to God about my many issues as a mom.  I felt like the latest test had found me lacking and I was wallowing in self-pity and giving myself a good figurative flogging.  In the midst of my tear-filled verbal purging, I heard God say in my spirit, 

“Carrie, I know you will make mistakes as a mom, but it is in those shortcomings that your kids will get to meet with me and walk it out in our relationship.”  

It blew my mind, to think God had intention for my mistakes.  God had a plan - even for my overloaded mommy explosions.  He planned to use it for his glory as he fulfilled his word in Proverbs 27:17, when he says: 

As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

We weren’t called to do it all, raise the perfect kids or aim at perfection in life at all.  We were created for relationship with God and others.   We serve a God that is big enough to do it all.  When we surrender our path to him, we can find him in each turn along the road.  We can see him work in spite of our full plate and the dropped balls along the way.  

I find each day that I start with God, I end up accomplishing exactly what I need to - nothing more, nothing less.  It doesn’t all get knocked off the list but the important things do.  

Are you struggling to find that balance between work life and mom life?  Are you drowning in a sea of to-do lists?  Time with God isn’t just about adding something else to your list - its about adjusting your list to be in alignment with his will; knowing that God breaths life into even the most devastating of days.  He’s got this - YOU can trust HIM!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Does Your Opinion Really Matter?

In August 1999, I flew to London, England for my semester abroad.  It was an amazing experience and there is a lot I could share with you about those five months, but for the purpose of this blog post, I just want to share with you a small part of one day.  

My friend, Laura, had her mom and sister visiting and we went to a variety of touristy places with them.  One of our stops was Speaker’s Corner.  It is a place where anyone can come with their soap box and talk about anything they desire as long as its lawful in the eyes of the police.  It was a memorable experience.  

There was a homeless guy sitting in an inflatable chair while drinking wine talking about strange parts of his life.  I also remember a man discussing his religious belief as an atheistic-Christian (kind of seems like an oxymoron to me).  

In that corner there were maybe 12 people dawning a variety of wardrobes, props and opinions.  We walked down the line of speakers and listened into bits of words they shared and would discuss our thoughts to what they said.  Some speakers captured our attention for awhile while others just had us for a sentence or two.  When we had our fill, we went off to the next item of sightseeing on our agenda.  

It was fun.  

I haven’t been back to Speaker’s Corner in London since that day.  That was eighteen years ago.  I’ve since survived Y2K, graduated college, moved states twice, gotten married, had kids and lived a lot of life.  

When I think about the fun we had at that corner, it is because it was a visit.  We were able to be entertained, then move on.  

Speaker’s Corner would not have been as fun if I lived there.

Yet, I do live there.   So do you. 

Its called Social Media.  

Everyone has two cents on practically any and every topic and each one of us feel the need to share such two cents every couple of seconds to add to our feed in the form of statuses, pictures, videos, memes, links, etc.  

Its not that your opinion doesn’t matter, its just it doesn’t always need to be said.  (And to be fair, there is a reason they compare opinions to bottoms, because - sorry - but not every opinion is pleasant).  I marvel how often some big thing happens in our world that I will see 300 people share the exact same sentiment.  

It gets overwhelming.  I stop paying attention and I am just no longer having fun.   Social media has become this necessary evil in my life with a few perks.  I still love the connection with friends from all over the world and timeline in my life.  I love that I can reach out and make my voice heard when it matters.  

I don’t want to do away with all we have in the internet age, but I just want to be able to visit Speaker’s Corner and NOT LIVE THERE!  

Can’t we use a little self-restraint and not share every opinion?  I recognize the irony of this topic in my very own blog post, here sharing my opinion, but if we all shared one opinion in our blogs once a week - I would love that!  Reality is, opinions come in at a speed rivaling the speed of light for many people, not once a week.  

If we truly want to have an impact on the world, then maybe we should speak less often so our words have more weight when we do need to use them.