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Sunday, January 17, 2016

What's the most important word in a marriage?

 photo heart pizza_zpscj3laot9.jpgApparently, it's not love. Does that shock you? It's kind of surprising to me.

Our church is hosting a marriage workshop soon. We are bringing in author and well-known speaker Dr. Allan Hunt to lead the half-day event. The promo materials lead with the question: What is the most important word in a marriage...and it's not love?

I guess I won't know for sure what the answer is until January 30 when Allan Hunt tells us, but I have a few guesses:

Toilet paper: Ok, so technically that is two words. But TP is a pretty darn important word in a marriage. It can be rough or soft. It absorbs stuff and cleans up messes. When it's missing, that's real bad.

So, you're not sold on toilet paper as the key word in marriage? Try this one:

Pizza: Don't you just breathe a sigh of relief when you ask "what do you want for dinner?" and your spouse says "Let's just order pizza." I think that's Mike's way of saying "you do so much, why don't you take it easy tonight." Or he could be saying "you're a really bad cook and I'm not up to pretending to like your latest creation." Plus, pizza is versatile. It can be spicy, chock full of things that are good for you, or decadent and rich. And, it even tastes good cold.

Still not quite right? I've got one more guess.

Sleep: Of all my guesses, this one has the best chance of being right. Who doesn't love sleep? Except for a toddler and when they don't take naps and don't sleep at night, you wonder why you ever thought it was a good idea to get married and have kids in the first place. Sleep recharges you and helps you be ready to take on the day. When your spouse let's you sleep in or doesn't interrupt your nap, that's love.

What do you think the most important word in a marriage is? If you want to know for sure, I invite you to join us for Passion & Purpose for Marriage on January 30, 2016 from 9am-1:30pm at St. Luke Catholic Church (which is not my church. We are still rebuilding from the big fire last September). Tickets are $25 per person.

In addition to unlocking the mystery of marriage's most important word you can expect:
  • 5 things women need to know about men
  • 5 things men need to know about women
  • 5 love languages
  • NO GROUP SHARING
  • A "swag bag" of books and resources valued at $30
To learn more and purchase your tickets, click here


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When Cinderella got cancer

I don't cry often or easily. But tonight, as I was watching my 12-year-old's basketball practice, I found myself blinking back tears. It had nothing to do with my baby growing up too fast. It wasn't the scent of sweaty sixth grade boys filling a warm gym. Instead, I stood there, profoundly sad about the death of a man I've never met.

Andrew Smith was a Butler basketball player who played on the two Bulldog basketball teams that went to back-to-back Final Fours in the NCAA tournament just a few years ago. This morning he died after a two-year fight against cancer. He was 25.


Andrewsmith photo andrewsmith_zpsawyyafxh.jpg

I never met Andrew or his young wife Samantha. My only real connection to him is the fact we went to the same college -- 20 years apart. So why, I wonder, did I stand in a gym tonight and will my tears not to fall? I think it has something to do with Cinderella.

When Butler made its first NCAA run to the Final Four in 2010, they were tagged as a "Cinderella" team. No one expected them to make it to the big dance. But they didn't listen to everyone else's expectations. They kept their heads up, their hopes high, and their determination solid.

Andrew was a Cinderella cancer patient, of sorts, invited to a cruel dance. No one expected him to be there, in the role of patient with a hospital as his ballroom. Just before his diagnosis, he had been playing professional basketball in Europe. In their approach to cancer, Andrew and Samantha Smith kept their hands folded, their faith high, and their trust in God solid.

Cinderella had a fairy godmother who waved a wand and turned dirty, raggedy clothes into a radiant gown. She transformed mice into footmen and a pumpkin into a glittering carriage.

I think somewhere along the way, I let myself believe that Andrew Smith would have a godmother who would work unimaginable miracles, that Andrew's story would become a hopeful fairy tale told to generations.

I kept up with Andrew's cancer journey through blog posts from his wife. I could hear the urgency in the voice she used to tell their story. I could also hear the fierceness with which the Smiths believed that Andrew would be healed. Samantha Smith did not paint a rosy picture -- she painted an honest one.

She wrote about the ugly stepsisters of cancer -- pain, nausea, frustration, desperation. She wrote about Prince Charming -- the stranger who swept in to donate the bone marrow that held the potential for a cure. In the past few weeks, Samantha wrote about the desperate search for the glass slipper -- a clinical trial -- that would give she and Andrew a chance to live happily ever after.

Sadly, this story does not have a fairy tale ending, at least not as this world would define it.  But the faith that Andrew and Samantha so unabashedly shared with all those who lifted their hearts for Andrew's healing tells us that this tale does have an eternal happy ending.

I don't cry often or easily. But I did cry when the Butler Bulldogs lost the 2010 National Championship to Duke. So I guess it's ok for me to cry at the loss of a 6-foot, 11-inch Cinderella named Andrew.

#AndrewSmithStrong #OnceaBulldogAlwaysaBulldog

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I failed at my 2015 goal but I have no regrets

About this time last year, I made a very public declaration that by January 2016, I would have my house ready to sell. My New Year’s goal (not a resolution, mind you), was to spend 2015 methodically purging and sprucing our house so we could move.  And how did I do? Failed miserably.

As I sat at home on New Year’s Eve enjoying deep dish pizza, Treehouse Masters on the DVR, and a few rounds of Killer Uno, it occurred to me that all the things I could have worked on, improved, done better last year are all still there waiting for me. My weight, organizational habits, the number of books that I didn’t read, money management…I could go on.  That realization could have been a recipe for disaster, or at least regret.

But I didn’t let it be. I changed some in 2015. I learned not to sweat the small stuff. I got comfortable with the idea of not being in control of everything all the time. I ventured into the land of “no,” and found that the world did not fall apart because I declined to do something.

Trust me, I’m still a work in progress.  Just ask my kids. I still get stressed out over stupid stuff.   I utter “yes” to too many things. I still own my people pleaser badge. But I do it all less than I used to, so I’m counting it as a win. 

For 2016, I’m seeking balance.

 photo balance_zpslvjnprnq.jpg

How do I let things go, while at the same time holding myself accountable to goals and standards that I consider important.  I can say “Life is short; eat dessert first,” but then be toppled by a heart attack or stroke or even a ballooning weight because the reality is that donuts for breakfast and Snickers for lunch really is not a great idea.

I don’t know what balance looks like for me in 2016, but I honestly feel a call to it. I know it includes slowing down and really considering my needs and opportunities, not rushing in, being comfortable with – or at least tolerant of – uncertainty. 

2015 was a good year. A year of subtle, but significant change.

I am looking forward to the balance that 2016 can bring.