{Photo 270/365}  I noticed this tree in my neighbor’s front yard as I pulled into my development this afternoon.  Do you see the change taking place?  The gradual change?  The left part of the tree is green, then as you look to the right there are hints of light orange, then red.   It’s happening slowly as we enter this new season, Autumn, by small degrees; little by little.  Soon, this tree and the tree-line behind it will be vibrant in color.  I think of life…my journey…the journey of others who are close to me.  How we want to see change happen so quickly.  How we can be impatient for what’s on the horizon, what’s next.  How if we were to go at the speed that we would like, we might not get the outcome that God has planned for us.  How with gradual change comes refining, learning, growth.  I love how I am gradually changing.  I’m grateful for God’s patience with me through all of my seasons.  My desire is to extend that same patience to others.


Patience [pey-shuhns] – noun; quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence

Another fruit of the spirit – Patience is demonstrated so beautifully by our merciful, longsuffering God. While this quality is placed in us by God, it does take effort on our part and cooperation with the work He is performing in us. It is patience or longsuffering that allows us to absorb the trials of life – to walk in love when those around us are unlovely or to trust when God’s timing is far from our own.

Patience is a multi-faceted virtue – what does it mean to you?

Are you cooperating with God’s work of patience in your life?

In what areas do you find most difficult to be patient?

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

1 Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me…, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example…

“Patience is not passive; on the contrary, it is active; it is concentrated strength” – Edward G. Bulwer- Lytton

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What does a "thumbs up" mean to you?

images-8I dropped my son off today after school at his dad’s house, so he could go to his hockey game.  As he walked in front of my truck I rolled down my window and spoke loudly, “Good Luck tonight buddy, call me when your game ends and let know how the game went, I love you!”  He smiled at me and replied, “OK mom, bye!” and with his hand he gave me a thumbs up.

A couple of years ago I was extremely sad that my son could never say the sweet words that I so longed to hear from his mouth, “I love you Mom.”  He was 7 years old when my mind started to race about this.  I had never had the opportunity to hear him utter the word LOVE.  His brother on the other hand is polar opposite, he absolutely LOVES everything and everybody – he’s my little Peace and Love child!   He loves to hug, snuggle, kiss, and love.  He definitely makes up for his brother in this area.

Forcing the words out of Zach didn’t work.  He would always tell me, “Mom, I can’t say that word.”  Understand something, when he says that he can’t say that word, he literally means it.  Let me share with you an example.  I sing to my boys quite often.  The one song that I sing frequently is, You are my Sunshine.  I’m sure you’ve heard it…….

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skys are grey
You’ll never know “Zach and Zane” (I always insert their names here) How much I love you!
Please don’t take my sunshine away.

I ask the boys to sing the song with me sometimes, you know, one big happy family (I know I’m a dork!!)  Oh well, I’m silly with my boys and it keeps us FUN!  So anyway, I ask them to sing and when we get to the line……….how much I love you……… Zach omits the word, he SKIPS over it.  He does this all the time – when he’s reading, singing Jesus Loves Me, etc.

I found myself asking Zach, “Honey, do you love me?”  He would always shake his head and say YES!  I know I’m sounding pathetic – I have to admit, I was insecure.  I couldn’t figure it out – it REALLY bothered me!  My expectations were not being met.  I was having a hard time accepting it and because he didn’t express himself like my other son Zane or how I saw other kids express themselves, I took it personal.  I thought….What in the world is wrong with me?  Did I do something wrong parenting him?  Hadn’t I raised both boys the same way;  to show love “properly”?

“Properly” I discovered was the lie that I was choosing to believe which had caused me the insecurity and unmet expectation.  Who am I to judge how someone else expresses love to another person.  In my desperate attempts to “make” him “tell” me he loved me, the way I expected him to, I was over looking how he was showing me love – the way he was capable of showing it.

I realized that Zachary shows love by being a helper.  He shows love by talking and visiting with me.  He shows love by wanting me to sit close to him on the couch and watch a movie.  He shows love by inviting me to go on bike rides, play hockey with him, shoot baskets, or by playing catch.  When Zach and I spend time together, he is telling me he loves me.

Through this process I have learned to open my mind and to be more accepting of others in all aspects of my life.  Just because others don’t do things the way I would necessarily do them doesn’t mean it is not done properly.  I am learning to become more tolerant, understanding, and patient.  I found that this doesn’t always come easy and natural for me – but I’m a work in progress.

As I worked through this insecurity I had with Zachary, we communicated and decided that it’s important to let those we love know that we love them.  We established a secret code – I guess you could call it sign language.  It’s a “thumbs up” and to us, it means “I love you.”

I said yes, really meant no – am I honest?

yesno4It’s 2:14am and I’m up.  NOT because I want to be, but because I couldn’t fall BACK to sleep after my son slapped me in the face with his hand.  Here’s the deal.  When we got home from our St. Patrick’s Day evening fun with our friends at 9:00pm on a school night, my youngest son wanted to sleep with me, how sweet!!  My husband is out of town so he begged and begged and I said YES.  Of course I know what that means deep down inside – I end up sleeping on the FAR left 1 foot area of the king size bed while my son tosses and turns hogging the covers ALL night long.  What I truly wanted to say was NO because I wanted to good night sleep, but I said yes……here I am.

My mind is racing about this simple question, prompted by my experience tonight……..If I say YES when I really mean NO, am I being dishonest?  Looking back in my life I can identify MANY times where I said YES but meant NO.  The outcome of most of those situations didn’t turn out so good, for a lot of reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we are often presented with things that we don’t really “feel” like doing.  Things that make us feel uncomfortable, push our limits physically or mentally, or get us to step out of our comfort zone.  Often times these things allow us to grow, experience new things and develop character.

I would consider myself to be an honest person, but as I answer this question I realize that I’m being dishonest.  UGH!  What I see God showing me is that this character trait NEEDS some work.  I need to be honest with myself – I believe that this is what it is really about.

When I’m confronted with the question from a friend who says, “I know that we were supposed to meet at noon for lunch, but can we change it to 12:30?” IF 12:30 doesn’t work for me I need to say NO, not YES.  This is a real life example, I’m embarrassed to admit it.  I said YES and then I was upset.  I’m pretty sure that when I got to lunch I wasn’t the best company to her because I was resentful.  Why?  Well, let me tell you ALL the reasons – 12:30 didn’t work for me, didn’t she understand that I’ve got a busy day?  I was checking my phone the whole time looking at the clock because I was pressed for time, I was impatient and distracted – BAD FRIEND!!  Why hadn’t I been honest?  I know this seems like a simple thing, what in the world was I doing – come on!  She didn’t deserve that.

The experiences similar to this in my life are many.  Another area where I’ve been dishonest is with volunteering of my time.  Oh the poor people who have to be around me when I’m doing something that I don’t want to be doing.  I’ve been told that my anger displays itself LOUDLY!  Isn’t that nice?!?!?  I don’t think so – UGH!  What I’ve found is that MY dishonesty leads to resentments, unproductiveness, procrastination, damaged relationships, and impatience.  ALL from a simple little answer and by not saying what I really meant to say.

Who set the ball in motion, and who am I to blame but myself?  As I peel back the layers, dig really deep, this little “white” lie, this smudge of dishonesty stems from fear and insecurity.  Maybe you ask yourself the same questions from time to time……..What will others think of me?  Will I be accepted?  Will I end up alone if I don’t do this?  Will I be loved if I don’t do that?……..When I’m operating out of fear, where is God?  If I’m insecure and pleasing people, then I’m NOT trusting God to meet my needs.  Either God IS or he IS NOT – He is NOT both.  In the end, when I am dishonest with myself, my life becomes unmanageable.  I’m over committed, sleep deprived, unhappy, and miserable.

Even though this is ALL pretty ugly, I’m taking it head on.  I’m hopeful that I will improve in this area of being honest with myself which in turn allows me to be honest with others.  I’m hopeful that more often than not my YES will mean YES, my NO will mean NO, and my motives will be selfless.

It isn't what you get, it is what you become.

This year I was able to attend my home church, Hosanna!, to celebrate Christmas Eve. For the first time ever, they had a live nativity scene. It was simply amazing. The front altar was covered with hay, and roaming about were 2 camels, a donkey, goat, lamb, calf and geese. Throughout the service, the lamb “baa’ed” and made his voice heard. The dust from the hay emcompassed the congregation, my daughter’s eyes began to water, and we both began to sneeze. The Christmas carols sounded sweet as I’ve ever heard, and a part of me felt like I was really there. It was one of those moments where I looked over at my husband and thought to myself, wow. We are so blessed. Sitting between us were our 2 beautiful children. We were among the animals celebrating Jesus’ birth.

Part of our pastor’s message was this. So much of Christmas has become “what did you get for Christmas?” He said something simple, but something that I’d like to remember. “It isn’t what you get, it is what you become.” I like that. A good overall life lesson. It isn’t what you have, what kind of car you drive, how many toys you own, or how nice your house is- in other words: what you get. It is who you are, and who you become. Approaching every new year, I try and take a good hard look at myself. Who would I like to become, and what am I going to do to get there?

I go back to the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. I can’t think of a better character checklist than that. Now, where do I begin?

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