A life of sliding doors


I love the movie ‘Sliding Doors.’ I’m often surprised when people haven’t even heard of it, and yet it’s one of my all time favorites. Not because of any spectacular acting or an amazing soundtrack or great special effects. It’s that the truth behind the story resonates somewhere deep in my soul.

A woman is going home after work and she misses her train. The movie illustrates the power of a sliding train door — a door closed vs. a door open — by showing two tales: what happens if she misses the train and what happens if she doesn’t.

Her life is dramatically different depending on whether or not she makes it through that sliding door. In one scenario she catches her boyfriend cheating which starts her down a path of self-discovery and new opportunity. The other scenario, he doesn’t get caught and her life continues down that path.

I’ve had many a sliding door in my life, and while it’s not healthy to wonder “what if” I admit my mind has wandered down that path from time to time. It’s mind-blowing to think what a big impact something so seemingly small can make. It happens everyday though. I forget my phone and run back in the house making me 2 minutes late pulling out of the neighborhood. As a result I’m now behind a school bus slowing me down even more. The school bus rolls through the light just as it turns yellow but I stop. A little farther down the road I see a fender bender that just happened and I wonder if I hadn’t ran back in for my phone and got behind that bus could that have been me in that wreck?

It’s not always bad things either. Ever been one number away from winning an awesome door prize? You came into an event with your co-workers, you all accepted the door prize raffle tickets in random order as you came in, and the person who came in just in front of you won. If only you’d walked in just one person ahead it could be you.

There’s a few big sliding doors from my life that stick with me. They’re not seemingly random things like running late or the order of raffle tickets, but they’re the choices I made. What if I had made a different choice? A different choice of college. A different choice of career. A different choice of job. Et cetera. I know what happened when I chose the choice I chose. This. This life I’m living happened. But if I had made a different choice how different life may be. Maybe better, maybe worse, maybe kinda the same but kinda different.

There’s another movie that explores this same theme. ‘The Butterfly Effect.’ The main character has the supernatural ability to time travel and he tries to fix something that went wrong in the past. But every time he fixes it the way he thinks it should be it messes something else up. Everything that happens is interconnected so you can’t change one thing without changing it all

But we don’t live in movies with alternate realities. What’s happened happened and this is the only shot we get. It’s very interesting though to ponder the significance of every choice and every forgotten phone, every sliding door and the profound impact these seemingly small details can have.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

 — A Proverb

Wear Sequins

If you got sequins, wear ’em.

If you don’t got sequins, get some, then wear them.

I don’t remember buying this blouse. Knowing me, it was a deal on a clearance rack and something I bought because it was pretty and I justified it just in case I ever had the occasion to wear such a thing.

I’ve only worn it a time or two, mostly because I don’t go to very many fancy things where sequins would fit in. But it’s so very pretty and each time I pass it over and choose some other top I think things like why did you buy it if you’re never gonna wear it or worse, you’re never going to go anywhere fancy enough that you’ll need to wear something like that.

Negative, insecure thoughts.

So this one night a few weeks I had to go to a thing — nothing too fancy but a business casual thing — and I wore my sequins. I also wore hoop earrings. Not because it was a formal event just because I wanted to and I felt good wearing it. I felt pretty and feminine, attractive and stylish even.

I figure if I wait for the perfect occasion to wear my sequined blouse I may never wear it again, so might as well wear it other times. Especially if it boosts how I feel about myself!

So my challenge to you is to buy something you think is pretty but that you think you’ll never wear … and then wear it!

December 29th is THE best day to be born


I was born on December 29.

A Christmas time birthday.


No one likes a birthday around Christmas.

You get the combined one big gift for Christmas and Birthday.

If you happen to get a separate birthday gift, your birthday gift comes wrapped in Christmas paper. You wouldn’t wrap it in snowman paper if my birthday was in June would you? No, I didn’t think so.

None of your friends can come to a birthday party because there’s so many Christmas parties and time spent traveling to grandma’s.

Snow and ice can cancel any party you do manage to plan.

So in general it’s not the best time of year to be born.

Which makes the following most unlikely story even more hilarious.

First, I have to say that my family always did a great job at making my Christmastime birthday special. Most of the above complaints I didn’t experience, at least not too often. My birthday was always it’s own celebration separate from our Christmas traditions.

So the night before my 17th birthday we had a family birthday party with hot sub sandwiches from the sandwich shop where I worked and mom’s famous red velvet cake. My sister was pregnant with twins who were due the end of January, but of course twins are full term about a month early. There was joking about them being born on my birthday but I’m not sure any of us took it too seriously.

But sure enough, the next day, on my 17th birthday, my sister got sick, went in to labor and my twin nephews were born. I blame it on the combination of a hot Reuben sandwich + red velvet cake + a late night action flick. I mean sauerkraut + really rich cake would make anybody sick enough to go into labor.

So my birthday became “our” birthday.

Fast forward a few years to my child-bearing years. Because of my December birthday I wanted to have children any other time of the year than Christmas. Things worked out pretty well with my first born. Finn was born in July.

A few years later though, I was ready to try for baby no. 2, and I thought it would take a little longer to get pregnant than it did. I remember using an online due date predictor and shaking my head at the estimated due date: Dec. 28, the day before my birthday.

The drs. expected me to deliver early — common with second babies they said — and one of the drs. even suggested that if everything looked good she’d induce me on Dec. 21 and we’d be home by Christmas.

I even bought a baby’s first Christmas outfit.

But Dec. 21 came and went and no baby, no induction.

So Dec. 28 my dr. decided to schedule my induction for the next day. I laughed of course. She noticed my birthdate and asked if I wanted to pick a different day.

Ha, no, I told her, at this point I’d rather share a birthday with my child than be one day off. Plus, who would choose to be big & pregnant any longer than they had to be.

So the next day our trio of birthdays became a foursome.

Pretty crazy huh?



The Girl With Two Pearl Earrings



He didn’t know what he was doing, but for just a fleeting moment, the 8-year-old made my day.

I was herding him into the shower after a typical Easter Sunday of church, family, lunch, egg hunts, and playing with the neighbors.

I didn’t wear a new dress this year, so there was nothing special to notice there. Immediately after church I changed into capris and a t-shirt; again, nothing special. I’d worn my hair down to church, but to settle into the comfort of the afternoon I’d whipped it back into my typical low-ponytail/bun. Nothing out of the ordinary.

But in my quick wardrobe change from church-dressy to afternoon-casual I’d not taken the time to change my earrings.

And with hair swept back into a bun, the dangly diamond and pearls and I’d worn to church that morning were more easily seen, I guess.

Because as I was there in his bathroom getting the water temperature just right and the fresh towel hung on the towel bar for him, he looked at what I was doing, hopped in the shower and then took a double take.

He saw something he hadn’t seen all day apparently.

My earrings.

He said, “Your earrings look pretty, mom.”

And then — this was the kicker — he said, “Has anyone told you that today?”

Thank you, I said. And no, no one has told me that today. How sweet of you to notice.

He kept right on going with this shower, didn’t miss a beat, but I had stopped my flurry of activity with the water and towel and just took in this moment of sweet surprise at his noticing. I was wearing earrings he’d never seen before. That’s probably why he noticed them. Yet isn’t it interesting that he asked me if anyone else had noticed? It’s like he knew that most likely no one had seen them, but also that he valued being the one who noticed. He does, by the way, love being the one to notice details that others overlook.

He had no idea that those were earrings were special and that my choice to wear them this day was special too. See, I wore those earrings on my wedding day to his father nearly 15 years ago. I don’t think I’ve worn them in the 15 years since. But I’d chosen to wear them especially on Easter Sunday because Easter this year felt like a celebration in a way it hasn’t felt before and I wanted to dress up to celebrate. I wanted to wear a dressy pair of earrings, and this pair is one of the dressiest I have.

He didn’t know what he was doing — and he doesn’t even now understand what he did — but for just a fleeting moment, the 8-year-old made my day.

Rembrandt’s Chattanooga

I had the great pleasure of hanging out in Chattanooga recently with two of my good friends. We were in town for a two-day conference but stayed over an extra day just to enjoy each other and the city — to indulge in one more day kid-free and just us girls.

One of the things we did was visit Rembrandt’s Coffee House in Chattanooga’s Bluff View Art District.

The art district is a very cute historic-looking area with several bakeries and restaurants to choose from. It looks much older than it actually is with much of what’s there only having opened since the mid ’90s (Rembrandt’s opened in ’94).

It’s near the river with great views of the water and a nearby sculpture garden too.


Me and Stephanie at the bakery case


Panoramic view of inside Rembrandt’s


The courtyard is quaint yet gorgeous with a very “old town” feel


Yum! Look at what we sampled. Coffees and pastries!


Lots of chocolate-y things in the pastry case

Being a Better Steward

Lately I’ve been convicted about being a better steward in several areas of my life.

One of those is with money. I do a horrible  job of keeping up with what’s coming in and what’s going out and what’s due when, and I’m long overdue for getting this better under control. I used to keep detailed records and budgets, and somewhere along they way that got lost in the shuffle and I’ve just never got it back. So, my plan which I’ve already started implementing is to use Quicken on the Macbook to keep up with checking accounts and expenses, and using free budgeting tools from Dave Ramsey to plan a budget I can stick with.

Another area to be better steward is with my home. There are areas and rooms in my home that are just, for lack of a better term, junky. I tend to be a clutter bug and a procrastinator, both of which can lead to many organized piles of various things that I rarely get back to. So, I’ve started clearing things out that need to go (i.e. in the trash or be donated) and putting things back where they go, like a stack of winter coats that were in a corner of my bedroom back into the coat closet, or a stack of books that were in the bedroom floor back onto the bookshelves in the dining room, etc.

And the final area to be a better steward is with my time. This one may prove to be the toughest to change. I waste a lot of time doing worthless things, and I put off and delay doing the essential things. I’ve struggled some with depression the last few years which often results in my lying in bed too much, especially in the morning, waiting til the last possible minute to jump up and run around like a mad woman getting ready for the day. That doesn’t leave any time for spending with God and reading my Bible in the morning, it sets the pace from the start for a hectic, harried day, and negatively affects my boys’ day’s too, getting their day’s started with a crazy running-late mom. I also put off  things like hanging the laundry as soon as its dry which means the clothes wrinkle and I end up tumbling them several times in the dryer before I actually make the time to hang them up. I leave laundry sitting in baskets and delay folding them as long as possible. I leave dishes in the dishwasher for days. We’re only given so much time and I waste a lot of mine. It’s time I make better use of the time I’m given.

How about you? In what ways could you be a better steward?

If God Brings You To It …


“If God brings you to it He will bring you through it.”

I see this sign each time I walk in to the counseling center. I see it and long to be encouraged by it, but instead I’m often saddened because some of my worst situations are all my fault. The “it” I’m in is of my own choosing, my own sin, or mine and others poor choices. So what then? I feel as if I’ve brought myself to it. If God didn’t bring me to it, will He still bring me through it?

First, I think there’s a few lies in my own response that need to be corrected. The biggest lie is the belief that I got myself into this mess. Yes, sin and poor choices can get us into situations and there are consequences. But can we really do anything that a sovereign God doesn’t allow? He gives us free will but He’s still sovereign. Nothing can happen to us that He doesn’t allow.

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.” — Ecclesiastes 7:14

I like how The Message puts it in Proverbs 16:1:

“Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word.”

So in that way he brought me to “it” because He’s allowed it, even if what He allowed was for me to make poor choices.

A similar sentiment is in the lyrics to Mandisa’s “Stronger,”

“‘Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it”

I hear that and similarly think — but God didn’t start it; I did, meaning I caused this hard time. But “this work” isn’t necessarily a present hard time. Philippians 1:6 says that very thing: “… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

When did that good work begin? I believe God’s good works began at the creation of the world, after all he saw all that he created and called it good. He created man and called man “very good.” But specifically, in my life, it began when he made me.

Psalm 139:13: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

That’s when the good work in me began. So even if I mess up along the way and have hard times as a result, — for all have sinned and fall short — this promise to bring me through it and complete a good work is still mine.

I think Satan wants us to believe that we can no longer lay claim to that promise, that if we cause our own pain then it’s all on us and all our fault and there’s nothing God will do. But that’s not true. Our Heavenly Father desires more than anything for us to not fall to such lies but to believe He’s going to work all things out to our good — all things. Even sin. Even poor choices. Even _____ — whatever we put it in that blank. There may be still be pain and consequences but he never leaves nor forsakes us (Deut. 31:6). He began a good work, and He will be faithful to complete it.