I’m sure 99% of you already know this, so forgive me for being a little slow on the uptake, but nobody can really make you happy. Happiness is a choice. Sure, circumstances can be more conducive to happiness, but it all boils down to you.

Remember the giddiness you felt on Christmas morning when you were a child? Now think long and hard, do you remember how long that happiness lasted? It lasted until the dog chewed the arm off your doll, or the wheel broke off of the Tonka truck. It lasted until your big sister told you your toys were stupid and you were a dork. (Of course, my big sister did no such thing.) It lasted until your big brother ate the last piece of bacon and you didn’t get any. My point is, that happiness you felt while ripping open your gifts was fleeting, even though at the time, you didn’t think anything in the world could rob you of your bliss.

But life happens, and our bliss gets sabotaged. And then we spend all the years between age 10 and 40 trying to put that bliss back together.

But there’s a trick, there’s an insider trading secret: make the choice to be happy, even when you don’t feel like it. Happiness is like all things in life that are worth fighting for, it takes work, and our flesh doesn’t like it, but the rewards are monumental.

Marriage is hard, raising children is hard, working a job and paying bills is hard, but we can focus on the good stuff, the sweet stuff, the funny moments, heck, if I just look back at what God spared me from, and the mercy He’s shown me along the way, I should be happy for a lifetime.  Do you know what I mean?

My husband and my son make me laugh all the time, they are smart and funny, and they love me and take great care of me, but even they don’t have the power to make me happy all the way down in my soul. That power rests solely with me.

And it rests inside of you too. No matter what might be going on around you, between your free will that God gave you, and His love which is there for the taking, you can be happy.

Don’t be robbed of your happiness, fight for it, it’s worth it, and so are you.



The calm after the storm, the peace after the melee, the shot of tequila after the tornado… yes, that is what I am experiencing. Utter bliss. Hair colored this morning, making a big pot of pasta for good friends, the dog looking at me adoringly, the stove humming with foodie anticipation. And I’m snacking on Ritz crackers. They’re still hip, right?

My boys have descended on their beloved South Texas, and I am happily occupying South Tulsa.

Since the hospital bills are now arriving from Jaxon’s thorn in the flesh, I sincerely hope he avoids another cactus fight. And you can bet I will scour his little body while wearing my granny glasses when he gets home.

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. I’m sorry I have been so lacking in blog entries. I have thought about you daily, but sadly, didn’t have anything enlightening to say.

So let me say this, I wish you the most blessed New Year. I wish you the happiest year of your life. I wish you joy that you have never experienced. I wish you the peace that only comes when you know the love of our Father God, and the fulfillment that comes when you are safely tucked under His wings.

A non-traditional tradition

So Jaxon had to write an essay about his family’s Christmas traditions, and he actually wrote that not having any Christmas traditions was his Christmas tradition.

I pondered this fretfully, feeling a little like the worst Mom in the world.

It’s true we do not light up the house like the Griswold’s. We do not spend hours baking fancy cookies; I don’t have the patience. We do not go caroling. Who needs the 40-mph north wind? But we do have our own squirrely traditions… lots of them, or at least I do. How did I manage to have a rich and full Holiday Season every year, and my baby boy not notice? Where did I go wrong?

Every year I do the following:

I design about 4 online Christmas cards before I make a decision on one.

I must have a pine-tree-scented candle burning from the day I put up my tree. It’s the only way I can deal with a fake.

I lock myself in the guest room and wrap all of Jaxon’s presents. He tries to peek under the door.

I put a little pan of orange peels and spices to simmer on the stove; it makes Lynn sneeze occasionally.

I have big plans of making lovely bows for all my gifts, but end up using stick-ons. No one ever cares.

I make orange cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning right after we open gifts.

I contribute my favorite seven-layer-salad and a relish tray to my in-laws’ Christmas dinner.

I get really excited for my boys to leave on their day-after-Christmas hunting trip, leaving me home alone to relish the quiet, but miss them fiercely after about 2 days.

And that is exactly what we concluded when we finished that essay. Jaxon’s favorite Christmas tradition is the South Texas hunting extravaganza. His Papa and his cousins and guns and knives and cacti? It’s a little boy’s fantasy! And that boy having the time of his life brings a big smile to my soul.

I hope you find what brings that smile to your soul this week. I will be the one sniffing the candles and orange peels and being truly grateful for my precious family and my Father God; the one who must be smiling in His soul when He sees His own precious family celebrating Him.

Jaxon’s thorn in the flesh

For the last few months, my 10-year-old son has had a little knot on his right middle finger. We really had no idea what it was, but it bothered him enough that he wanted to go have a doctor check it out. Me being the mother who is either hyper-overprotective, or hyper-don’t-sweat-it, and never just a nice happy medium, was not concerned about it.

The doctor told us it was a ganglion cyst. NASTY! He assured us that it was no big deal, he could cut it out, put in a little stitch and a Band-Aid and we’d be on our way. Whew.

So we move along towards the procedure date and the night before when they call to schedule the time, I am made aware that they are going to put him out under general anesthesia. MINOR HEART ATTACK!

The procedure was as smooth as could be and as I was nervously tapping my feet and contemplating asking for a tranquilizer in the family waiting room at St. Francis Children’s Hospital, (gulp) the surgeon comes strolling into the (full) waiting room with a little cup and announces loudly, “Well, here’s the culprit! It was a big splinter!” I have never been more ashamed and relieved at the same time.

Upon closer examination, it was a thorn, probably from his last South Texas hunting trip nearly a year ago. Jaxon has a passion for annihilating any cactus that gets in the range of his Bowie knife. The thorn had gone deep into his finger, undetected by any of us, and his divinely designed, fearfully and wonderfully made little body had surrounded the thorn with protective tissue until it had become a cyst about the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil.

We proudly and sheepishly brought the treasure home in its little cup and celebrated with a milkshake and a new video game which he has happily been playing for about five hours.

So thank you Jesus for an inquisitive child, a steady-handed surgeon, sweet and gracious nurses, and your comforting Holy Spirit to hold my hand through the whole thing. I don’t know what I would do without you.

Big words and Oral Roberts

Befuddled, what a great word. You drop that bad boy on a triple word score and you’re doin’ it.

Sometimes I’m just befuddled on how to pray for a situation. I don’t have the spiritual gumption to rise up in strength and pray Heaven down. I don’t have the words, I don’t have that fire. All I’ve got is, “Oh God, help me.”

I find myself there a lot.

The other day, I was editing down a classic Oral Roberts sermon for our magazine and I stumbled upon perhaps the most perfect prayer I’ve ever read. It’s so real and heartfelt and non-super-spiritual.

After preaching his sermon, Oral prayed this prayer over the people in attendance. Before you skip down past the part in italics, because I am notorious for skipping through the scripture passages, etc… please take a moment to read the whole thing. He covers the critical areas so well and yet leaves it open at the end for us to just say, “Oh God, help my life.”

Heavenly Father, in the name of Your incomparable Son, Jesus of Nazareth, I ask for miracles. Dear friend, through Jesus Christ of Nazareth who’s risen from the dead and who is transferring His power toward you right now, I pray that He will touch you from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet.  I pray that your soul will be born again.  I pray that you will say, “God, forgive me of my sins.  Forgive me of my unbelief and come into my heart and make me a new creature.”

I pray God will heal you.  If you have medicine in your body, if some physician is working with you, or if you’ve had surgery, I pray that whatever he has done will work, and that the Spirit of God will come upon the physician’s care.  And then I pray that the miraculous power of God to heal will touch you.  Every part of your blood.  Every bone in your body.  Every muscle.  Every nerve.  That from your head to your feet the healing power of Jesus will flow through you like a mighty river.

I pray for your loneliness, for your feelings of desperation and helplessness.  I pray that Jesus will transfer His power to you, that you’ll feel and hear God’s still small voice, and you’ll take dominion over this struggle, through the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Today I pray that you will rise up, and Christ will come into you with a new power.  And you will know that you know that you know that Christ has taken over and is going to change things in your life.

Through Jesus Christ I pray, I believe, and I expect this miracle to happen in your life.  Amen and amen.

My favorite line is this: And you will know that you know that you know that Christ has taken over and is going to change things in your life. If you skipped the entire thing, I hope you hold on to that one line. If we’ll call out to God in our weakest and darkest times, when we’re completely befuddled, He is there, and help is right around the corner.

All I want for Christmas is a housekeeper

What do you want for Christmas? Do you have visions of kitchen gadgets and sparkling new dishes? Do you long for cozy sweaters and Uggs? Or are you like me, you just want a housekeeper?

It’s amazing what a clean house will do for my mental state. Piles of freshly folded laundry, the smell of Bounce wafting through a clean kitchen. Even the smell of Tilex in the shower gets my motor running. I realize I am weird. I never have been a normal person. Why start now?

It’s a random Thursday and I feel like sharing a random 10-year-old picture with you. I just want you to appreciate how fat my face is. If I smiled any harder, my eyes would be closed. Take heed, my friends. This is what 9 months of cheeseburgers will do to you.

And if Lynn’s size is any clue, I wasn’t leaving any cheeseburgers for him.

Have a happy day! I wish you efficient housekeepers and fat-free cheeseburgers!