You get what you expect

Somewhere between optimism and pessimism is reality. Reality can look like pessimism to some but it is not. Reality tries to keep expectations, well, real. Not too high so as to be crushed by disappointment but not so low as to be considered pessimistic. That middle ground is where I firmly stand. It feels safe and safe is important. To me.

Faith, however, is not safe. Safe faith has few expectations. I know because I’ve chosen safe over more.

I’m looking ahead at the next few days where I don’t know what to expect. It feels like plunging into the deep to me as I head to a conference unknowing a soul there and not being the most outgoing person at new things. The chatter is coming from women much younger and they’re talking about sharing rooms and all the fun that will be and I am absolutely not sharing a room. I appreciate being at a time in my life where I know I need the personal space and quiet.

on the road 6416

231N sign

I’m heading out on the road alone, something I haven’t done in a few years. I expect it will be fine. But that is the limit to my expectations. Until I leave there to head to the granddaughter’s birthday party where I expect to see smiles and hear the laughter of a gaggle of little girls. There will be running and hugging and tissue paper being thrown out of gift bags one after the other. Expectations gleaned from previous birthday celebrations.

Experience can bring certain expectations but new things? New places, events, situations, bring reserve to this realist. They stifle my anticipation as I strive for inner calm and I wonder what I miss staying safe.

expect Nouwen



In 1978 Avis took a bold approach in their advertising campaign when they admitted they were #2. Second to Hertz. In their admission they made the claim, “When You’re No. 2 You Try Harder”.


That ad campaign worked for Avis but most of us don’t like coming in second. We want our teams to make the playoffs every year. Technology has us waiting in lines for “the next best thing”. Stocks rise and fall on who’s in first place, not second.

When it comes to products, second is often better than the first. As two smart men in my life have said, never get the first model. Wait for the second so the bugs can be worked out. The first is a prototype, the second is better. Not a good advertising campaign, however.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. 4 Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing.” Philippians 2:3-4 Living Bible

Jesus’ life showed us about living second. Though he was the Son of God, he lived as a servant, humbling himself by washing the feet of his disciples, sharing a meal with dishonest people, speaking to a woman caught living in adultery. This is grace, the same grace he gives to us.

I am 2nd

A few years ago someone shared a video with me from a group called I am Second. Their purpose is to share the stories of people, some famous, some like me and you, who are claiming their second place as they put Jesus first. That’s our rightful place, second. We don’t have to try harder. We don’t have to try at all. That’s what grace is all about. It accepts the broken people we are. I am Second.

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No room for fear

I’ve scrapped two drafts on this word, fear. There is nothing better I can say than what God’s word says. Besides, it’s Monday and you don’t need a long post to muddle through. Just this truth:

[ To Love, to Be Loved ] God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 1 John 4:18 the Message

no room for fear


P.S. I just ran across this article on A Deeper Story that sums up our human fears in words that have me whispering a quiet yes, over and over.

Your Honor

Socrates quote

This quote from Socrates was written long before social media, the optimum place to put our best persona forward. I try to keep my whining at a minimum on Facebook and no angry tirades unless my sports team has let me down and we’re in the season for that to happen regularly.

Those of you who know me from this blog or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, yeah, you’re seeing the best me. The one I want you to believe I am all the time.

You’re seeing the fresh hair cut photo, professionally styled. You’re seeing the fully awake, happy , laughing, smiling me. I may share my sorrows and hurts but I’ll do my best to find a pretty bow to put on it at the end. I’ll make sure to tell you I still believe in love, in grace, in God.

Meanwhile, all the other people live however they wish, picking and choosing their gods. But we live honoring God, and we’re loyal to our God forever and ever. Micah 4:5

But we live honoring God.

We respect his word and his name.

We try to people of integrity and good character.

We live our broken lives imperfectly before God. We honor him when we call on his name and accept his grace and redemption. Forever and ever.

Saturday’s people {youth}

There is such joy in watching the adventure and energy in the young. The waiting for the small swells of ocean to form to give them their chance to surf the Florida-sized waves. The patience they have in waiting 100 times longer for the wave to form than they are able to ride it. The exuberance when the wave is caught or in skim boarding or just running in the water. These are Saturday’s people at our stretch of beach.

Deerfield beach  surf class and boards

winter at the beach

Celebrating the 4th



skim boarders 3399

Five-Minute Friday {long}

Just past the midway mark in the write31days challenge and I’m changing course a bit to link up for Five-Minute Friday and continue the remainder of this writing challenge with the word prompts provided by Kate, our gracious host of FMF. Ready? or not ;)

I still remember the conversation where I discovered how different we can measure distance. It’s not kilometers or miles but with time. Mama asked how far we lived from a certain place and I replied not with miles but with time. “We’re about 20 minutes away.” “But how far?”, she asked again. Like in miles? That’s often irrelevant where I live. But in her small town, where the outer most edges of town can be reached in 10 minutes, it was more about miles.

I’ve been missing our kids lately. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many miles they live from us but I know it’s too far. It’s 4.5 hours to the closest and the boy? that will take longer than a days drive.


with Tim


I know that when I want to rest in the sound of their voices and laughter two hours would seem too long. Though it sounds pretty good now.

I’ve sat through movies and meetings that are too long. Sermons and services. I’ve been the one at times going on too much, too long, having trouble finding the end.

In my longing to be with them, I know that in their presence or not, there is no end to our love for each other and no end to God’s love for us. The love that never changes, never fails.

Extraordinary Ordinary {Jill}

Jill is your typical academic over achiever. She looks younger than her years and is a bit on the quiet side but maybe it’s just with me because I don’t know her that well. I know her through her mom and from afar. I know her enough to be impressed with her faith.

I’m not sure how old Jill is but she can’t be more than 30. She finished her masters degree last year and married her best friend a couple of years ago. She’s known for a while she would work in missions. In an area that served the least and the lost. She knew this call was on her life so she did.

At first this was lived out leading mission trips and creating awareness about human trafficking and other vulnerable people through The Salvation Army. Turns out, that was just a starter for Jill and now she’s taking that faith leap. The one that doesn’t come with guaranteed annual salary with benefits. The one that means she’ll be raising her salary as she gives completely to helping women caught in the snare of the sex trade.

On the website of Created Women, their focus is stated as this:

To restore vulnerable women involved in the sex industry to an understanding of their value, beauty and destiny by offering them a name, a place, a voice, and a new life in Jesus Christ.

I have no doubt her heart will be broken over and over because we are broken people. And I have no doubt she will be reassured every time this is where God is calling her today. Her particular task that can only be done with her heart.

Working in her local area, Jill is making a difference one person at a time.

Catalyst People {Christine Caine}

A few years ago I was sitting with 13,000 people in the Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta, Georgia when this petite woman took the stage and preached. She was in command of the stage walking about so she connected with all in the circular arena. If she glanced at a teleprompter it never showed. She didn’t teach or speak as we often like to use when a woman conveys the sacred word. This woman preached in confidence and urgency the message God himself had placed in her heart.

Christine Caine quote

Her story isn’t remarkable. She was adopted as an infant. Raised in a strong denominational culture of church going but absent from a personal relationship with Jesus. This didn’t seem to be part of their religion but it was something Christine pursued in her teens.

What we see more and more is when ordinary people are obedient to the call of God on their life, extraordinary things happen. Obedience. Surrender of self.

Christine is married with two children. She and her husband are part of the Hillsong Church in Australia. She didn’t start as an author or speaker. She started volunteering to clean the youth hall at church, her service, what she could give. When we are faithful with the small things…..

In 2007 she and Nick started The A21 Campaign, a nonprofit organization to end human trafficking.

You and I are ordinary people like Christine. We all won’t be authors or start a nonprofit or stand on stage speaking to thousands. We won’t even write a blog that makes anyones “must read” list of bloggers. But as Christine says in the quote above, we all have been chosen for a particular important task that can be done by no one else. Where is God calling you today?

Extraordinary Ordinary {this guy}

October posts have all been part of a blogging challenge to write for 31 days. It is proving to be just that: a challenge. Even this talkative girl is struggling with things to say.

Allow me a brief departure in sharing stories of people to share a more personal one. This one is completely biased. Today is our 37th anniversary. And this guy, the one who boldly asked this scared girl after two months of dating, to marry him, this guy is no ordinary guy. To live life next to me this long should be proof enough. Seriously.

Remember the movie When Harry Met Sally? The part when Harry was telling Sally about people who were high maintenance and the worst were the ones who are high maintenance but didn’t know it? Yeah, that person. That could be me. Sometimes. Only today I own it a lot more. Does it mean I’m high maintenance when everyone around me knows I prefer bendy straws? ;)

He has been my refuge and safe harbor. He is a natural at being a daddy and now, Papa. He is one of the smartest people I know but leaves a trail of half empty Diet Coke cans and rarely remembers to empty his pockets before putting his clothes in the laundry hamper.

us 1977 polaroid


this year

this year

His calm is amazing.

He would just as soon pick up items at the store as needed. I have this compulsion to make lists and make fewer trips to the store.

His background noise is the golf channel. Mine is not.

His car radio is set to the Sirius classical station. As in Chopin, Mendel and the like. I prefer Spotify and am more likely to listen to the classics like Kansas, Carole King and Jackson Browne or more current tunes from David Crowder, Aretha Franklin and Fallout Boy.

We agree on football as our favorite sport and tend to watch it with, um, enthusiasm (which means we yell at the t.v. a lot)

Yep, this guy seems quite ordinary. Unassuming and introverted. But he is anything but. His caring for the men in our Center is extraordinary as he prays daily with them. He is a servant leader. He is a man after God’s own heart. This guy.

Catalyst People {Ann Voskamp}

What are Catalyst people? They are people who inspire, motivate, effect change, spur action. This week in the write31days series I’ll share people who have been a catalyst in my life and countless others.

Ann is a wife to a Canadian pig farmer, mama to 6, blogger, author and a woman finding joy and communion in giving thanks to God in all things. Her best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are reminded all of us how naming and counting our gifts bring us closer to the heart of God. She lives an ordinary life in an extraordinary way. Ann blogs at A Holy Experience.



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