Willing to yield?

YieldOh James, you got me again.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17)

Wisdom means a willingness to yield? Are you kidding me? In what universe? What if I’m right? What if Lynn is totally wrong? Do I still have to yield? Why?

I’ll tell you why. Because it is more important to please God than to be right. It is more important to please God than win an argument. Not that I ever win anyway because Lynn can talk me under the table, but I have been known to claim victory by my silence. I guess now I have to give that up too. Ugh.

Why do we have to do these things that are so hard? Well, we don’t. The Bible just says that’s what wisdom is. And if wisdom from above, or real Godly wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and willing to yield, then I want it.

I want it because I want to be like Him and I want Him to be pleased with me. And because of this whopper of a scripture full of its promised benefits. Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her. (Proverbs 3:13-18)

Wisdom sounds pretty good to me.


Faith and CrossFit

Faith and CrossFitLynn is a hard taskmaster. He’s recently found CrossFit and has been forcing this brutal regime on me. Just kidding. But I have been doing some exercises at home in the privacy of my living room.

Last night he told me I was going to do 100 squats. And I resisted the urge to slap him. But then he told me to just get 10 and rest, or just get 5 and rest. And then when I was really hurting, he said just get 3 and rest. And when I was at 70, I stopped and did my push-ups. 50 of those. And when I thought my arms were literally going to fall off, he said, “Now get the last 30 squats,” and I wanted to slap him again. But I started squatting and was shocked to discover that my legs had recovered a little and I was able to knock out 10 without too much agony. Then I took them 5 at a time until I reached my goal. I was exhausted and a little nauseated, yes, but I did it.

You see, the thought of doing 100 squats was pure insanity to me. There was no way to wrap my brain around it… until there was. And that’s how we have to approach a lot of tough situations in life. Problems may seem huge and insurmountable, but if we take a small step of faith, and then another, and then another, then we find ourselves moving steadily through the problem until one day, we look up and realize we are on the other side.

That’s how faith works.

We do not see the whole picture, we do not know how it’s all going to work out. But we have to do what we know to do, a step at a time, a day at a time, or sometimes even a moment at a time, all the while putting our trust in Him, our answer-giver, our way-maker, knowing that God works all things together for good to those that love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That means He can use every drop of blood, sweat, and tears along the way to bring something beautiful out of our journey.

Hoe your own row

Hoe your own rowLynn and Jaxon have been eating “Paleo,” or the caveman diet. I for one am tired of meat. What about the cavewoman who only wanted to eat pasta and vegetables? Meat is great, but I don’t need it every day. And I certainly don’t want it for every meal. Lynn used to think I was crazy when I had pasta with plain red sauce for dinner… no meat in the sauce. He basically called that a side dish. I think I could live on pasta.

If my ancestors were hunters and gatherers, I am definitely a gatherer. I can hunt if I need to, sure. Put a gun in my hands and a hungry family and I can take care of business. But given the choice, I think I would tend to the garden rather than the flocks.

But that’s why they call it, “Different strokes for different folks.” We like what we like. We can appreciate something else, we can see its value, but given the choice, we will probably go with what we like.

But the other is not wrong. And you are not right.

The Body of Christ, the Church, people of God, whatever you want to call it, we are a group of parts that work together as one. And we all have a different part to play. I love the analogy of a “body” because it makes sense to say that an eye cannot do the job of an elbow. And a foot cannot do the work of the mouth. Although mine too often end up in the same place…

We have to do what we do best and leave others to do what they do best. I cannot do your job and you cannot do mine. You cannot carry my load and I can’t carry yours.

We all have to hoe our own row.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

I love this time of year. I love getting the Christmas stuff out of the attic and poking through the boxes with a smile and a giggle. How many years will the glue on a kindergarten popsicle stick ornament last? I hope forever.

I love browsing the aisles at Garden Ridge, scouring their selection for a fantastically funky ornament to add to my collection.

I love sniffing candles at my favorite little shop until I find that perfect Christmas tree fragrance that will fill my home and warm my soul.

I love watching my husband watch me decorate the tree.

I love a simmering pot of spicy apple cider.

I love spiking the egg nog.

I love the Holidays.

Would Jesus have an iPhone?

In my opinion, there are those that embrace change, and those who shun it. When it comes to cell phones, I have unabashedly shunned change. I am legendary for it. When I had an old school Nokia phone, I was the one that didn’t want that newfangled Blackberry that Oprah was talking about. I distinctly remember her showing one and thinking, oh no, I will never need one of those. I have a cell phone and a Palm Pilot and that’s all I need. Then I added an MP3 player to my collection. So I walked around with three gadgets on me all the time, never knowing that there was a better way.

Then Lynn got his first Blackberry, and he shamed me consistently as I carried around all my gadgets. I fiddled with his phone and I just knew I’d never be able to figure it out. I was content to only have a cell phone that made phone calls and texts. I didn’t need a calendar, I didn’t need email. I didn’t even know about Facebook back then, I felt guilty about starting my first Myspace page. I imagine I would have been the one fussing about the arrival of the television and yelling about it being a devil-box.

And then the advent of the iPhone… Katy bar the door. All-out war was declared in my home. I had finally graduated to Blackberry, Lynn was getting his MBA in iPhone.

What is it that makes some of us really uncomfortable with change; especially technological progress? And why is it that the Church seems to be the first group to start the riot? I really don’t get it. The Church should be the ones with the most forward thinking. They should be leading the charge of living better, living smarter, living cleaner, living healthier… the Church should always be doing it better, not doing it the old school way. I think maybe we get forward movement confused with spiritual backwardness.

Jesus totally would have had an iPhone.

Today I am going to find a very cute case for my very cute new iPhone. And I’m going to make a concerted effort to open my circa 1972 eyeballs and see opportunities to do things better. I don’t want to be the reluctant one, I don’t want to be the one that has to say that I finally saw the light and bought myself one gadget that took the place of three. I want to be ahead of that curve. I want to see opportunities instead of roadblocks.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. It doesn’t say watch out for change and avoid it at all costs. It just says, “Be wise!” Lord, help me to see the difference!

Marriage is hard on a good day

Do you ever want to just slap the crap out of your spouse? I bet that got your attention. Seriously, I would be lying if I said I never felt the urge to resort to physical violence. Marriage is hard on a good day. The question is: how do you not quit?

While I couldn’t possibly call myself a counselor of any kind, and I would not attempt to simplify the intricacies of marriage in a blog post, I do have some experience in the art of staying when you’d rather run.

Staying is a choice, as is all of life. Life is a series of choices and consequences; some good and some bad. We pay the price for our choices, and we can also reap some pretty amazing benefits. When I choose to eat three coneys with everything, I pay the price for it. When I choose to eat a salad, I reap the benefit of that.

I mentioned a scripture in my last post that has helped me tremendously over the years, not just in marriage, but in life. It is Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy… meditate on these things.

Focus on the good, be thankful for the good, remember the good, meditate on the good, be grateful for the good. There is always something good we can be thankful for.

And I’ll tell you one thing I’ve learned from painful experience: you absolutely cannot compare your spouse to someone else’s. That, my friends, is a slippery slope. God gave my husband to me, just as He gave your spouse to you. Lynn Mize is God’s perfect man for me. He knows my heart, he knows my flaws, he knows what areas I’m weak in, and thank God, he excels in those areas. We complement each other, but we are far from perfect.

We fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but we keep working on it. We simmer down and talk to each other. We forgive each other… a lot. But most importantly, we choose to stay. And every time we make that choice, the grace of God is there to back us up.

The man with the turkey sandwich

I absolutely love the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It’s such a great time to relax with family, to gorge on leftovers, to brave the mall and the movie theater, and just escape the grind for a few days. As I sit here in the family room, my Christmas tree is up and lit and beautiful. It’s still naked, but I will get it decorated tomorrow. Today’s task was just to drag it out of the spider webs and get it set up. I wouldn’t want to work too hard on my day off, now would I? (I did manage to move between the fridge and the microwave a few times.)

With all this free time on my hands, I’ve had a chance to take a breath and really be thankful for my life. I have a big, loud, goofy, wonderful family, I  have a precious little boy who is an absolute joy, and I have the husband to beat all husbands. A husband who braved Garden Ridge with me today, a husband who loves God and me and Jax, and a husband who makes me turkey sandwiches.


It was the day after Thanksgiving of 1994. I was babysitting my niece Caitlin at my sister’s house. This guy I was extremely interested in called me and asked me what I was doing. We chatted for a while, and then I made a request of him, the first of many . . . would you bring me a turkey sandwich? And the amazing thing is, he did. Sixteen years and lots of hurdles later, he’s still bringing me turkey sandwiches. Thanks, babe. I don’t know what I would do without you!

May you all have someone in your life who will bring you turkey sandwiches.

Special guest star

Hey everyone, here’s a very relevant post by my special guest blogger, the very right Reverend Lynn N. Mize, aka, Lynn, aka my husband. Here’s what he looks like, but this picture is 4 years old and I’ve given him more gray hair since then.

Are people really people too? Yeah I agree, not a very coherent thought. What I mean is that we all “preach” be nice to people. We all tell our kids to be sweet to the little rascal in their class. We throw “The Golden Rule” about commonly to our kids and after seeing the disbelieving look on their faces and watching them mentally recount all the ugly things we’ve said about and done to folks, we sanctimoniously utter our favorite get outta jail free card “Do as I say, not as I do.” Wow, really!?

We all know how we’ve been hurt and what we’ve been through. We can all recite the wrongs done to us alphabetically. But what about the guy that just cut in line or the woman that just nearly ran us off the road? How about the turkey that just said something so outta line to us? Are they people too? Does that mean we have to be nice to them?

There are always times we have to stand up for ourselves and that’s a good thing if done properly. The part that concerns me is that we always act like what’s been done to us is an affront directed at us instead of seeing the real issue which is “What’s eating on that person?” “Wonder what their life is like?” “Is there something I can say or do to make them know that Jesus loves them and that I can empathize with cruddy days?”

I suppose it’s par for the course these days to make it about us. We live in what’s got to be the most self-centered world yet. Our culture almost demands that we outdo one another’s narcissism. A culture war really, one where culture talks loud and righteousness is seemingly outdated. One where it’s not about others but about our personal perception and feelings. One where it doesn’t matter what’s right or wrong but what emotions it stirs in our deepest places. Well, I’m calling foul. I’m not gonna be that guy. I refuse to make it about me. I choose to try to be the solution instead of the problem. I choose to follow the example of Jesus and say that it’s not my will but God’s will. I choose to give solutions and help and love and encouragement and money and time. I refuse to say “It’s not my problem.” It is our problem . . . Jesus is the answer and if we aren’t the conduit between Him and hurting people (even if they’re nasty), then who will be?

I guess people are people after all . . . and they hurt. Whatcha gonna do about it? Oh wait, what am I gonna do about it?