This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

That Double Checking Doubt

Don't worry- you aren't in this alone. But if you send in spies to double check the land God has promised you, you might be a doubter.

In Deuteronomy, Moses talked to his people about claiming the Promised Land, and I can't help picking up on the sarcasm. I picture him side glancing like Jim Halpert from The Office. He points out what should have taken 11 days to cross has taken them 40 years. That's a heck of a traffic jam.

"Look! He has placed the land in front of you. Go and occupy it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you. Don't be afraid! Don't be discouraged!" Deut. 1:21

Now that's a rally speech!!

Do you feel it coming? The awkwardness. The elephant in the room. 

Because then Moses says crazy stuff that goes against his own dang encouragement!  And he blames the Israelites, which is cool because who doesn't love a good scapegoat? 

" But you all came to me and said, "First…" 

hold up. Stop right there. 

"Just as the Lord our God commanded us" and then you say "First let's ______" fill in our own agenda. 

In this case the people said "let's send out scouts to explore the land for us because what if God has a really crappy plan for us and we need to take matters into our own hands?!" 

Ok it doesn't say that, but I'm taking an awkward side glance and noticing that seems to be the #faketruth so many of us are living. 

God speaks to them. Tells them exactly what to do. Tells them GO! Take it. It's yours. And they say, "how about, instead of believing God and obeying him with crazy faith, we send out our people. Our plan. To juuuust take a quick double check just in case. It just makes sense, am I right??" (In this situation, their actions seemed to convey this message rather than their words). 

And Moses, with all the wisdom of a speck of sawdust says, "that seems like a good idea". 

So. Out they went. 12 scouts to check on God's gift and promise. To double check that we can trust if God is really a stand up guy. 

And thank goodness they did. Because do you know what they found? 

"The land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land." 

So. What's your fill in the blank agenda? 

Have you said "I hear you God. But first let's…"
Pray about it more?
Ask all my friends?
Seek a pastor? 
Write a pro and con list?

Is there a promise God is handing you that leaves you sending in the scouts to double check God's goodness? 

A call to be a writer?
A mom?
Financial freedom?
A job you love?
Acceptance to that one university?

Take it back. Skip those forty years and jump right to the end so you go from "Take this land which I promise you" to "the land the Lord our God has given us is indeed a good land."

~ Nonsense

 You're my favorite when you share. Its WJWD.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Thank You Letter to Katie Davis's Parents

To The Parents of Ms. Katie Davis, 

We've never met, but I owe you so much. I just finished reading her book Kisses From Katie where in I welled up a time or two. What an amazing girl. 

As I watched her story unfold, I felt a privilege to read her words. Her compassion is gold. And it has little to do with her heart, and it has everything to do with her reach. In her willingness to say yes to whatever God asked, she is leaving a legacy. One, I think, began with you. 

She mentions you were more than hesitant. I get you. Totally get you. My daughter is leaving for college in a couple weeks. This mamma's heart is a jumble of feels from excitement to depression. 

Reading this book on the front end of my daughter turning 18 and heading into her great big grown up story hit me hard. I couldn't help my thoughts: 

Is my Isabelle the next Katie Davis?
Is it weird that they both feel called to Africa to work with the hurting? 
Can Izzy score me an autograph if she ever runs into Katie at the market? A stalker selfie? 

The answer to all of those questions is probably no, but it's all beside the point. Because I'm changed. I'm a little different after reading Katie's story. I'm challenged in my gut to not only love like Katie but to teach my kids to love this way. Right now. 

No waiting. 

No more wondering. 

No guess work. 

Just love. Thank you for doing this-teaching Katie to love so well. 

I don't need my kids to be the next Katie Davis. Only Katie can be Katie. 

God is writing a story for each of my kids. Unique and crazy and audacious and beautiful. I'm just grateful that you loved well enough that now your girl gets to set a godly example for my little women. 

My daughter, The Squirrel, has started reading Katie's book. She's 11, and that seems a little young, but we know better. After all she was knit together in my womb by perfect hands. 

She's been sent into a world and asked to lead in greatness. Not unlike your Katie Girl. The Squirrel can't be the next Katie Davis. We are too focused on teaching her to love well and be the next Addison Noelle. And she's rocking it. 

Thank you for leading in love and in a great example of raising kids on purpose. 



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Working Wednesday Survival

In over your head? Working and being a wife, husband, parent? I'm dedicating Wednesdays on this here blog to survival tips.

 You can do it. I believe in you. Here's the simplest tip I can ever offer. 

Ready for it? It's deep. 

Keep a calendar. A family one in an often seen space and either a phone calendar or a paper traveling guy. I prefer the traveling guy. I'm a pencil it in (literally) girl, and my phone, while it sends reminders, doesn't cement the event in my brain the way writing it down does. 

You can get fancy and color coordinate, but I use a pencil. Because I love a good sharp pencil. 
 And if I knew your name and address, I would send you a bouquet of them. And I would get them cheap because pencils are on sale for like. A penny or something as its time for you know what. BTS. I'll just leave it at that. 

Everyone's events go on your calendar. Even if you don't have to drive them or supply the money. Because chances are a kid is going to say "hey I've got such and such with so and so on when and then" and a few days will go by and you'll be all "I would like to say yes to you but I have a strange feeling that I've got plans to do something or other with his and hers but I can't remember where or when". 

It's the nature of this beast called raising children. And if your kids are little, revel in their calendar that is so fully under your control. 
No matter how old your kids are, save your sanity and invest in a really great calendar. A portable guy that holds a pencil. One that lays flat when you open it. One that zips and has pockets for tucking in receipts and paper scraps of vital information. One that holds post it notes like a boss. One that has a month at a glance AND a week by week calendar with enough room to write. 

I prefer ones that are time itemized through the day. 

Here are the things I write down:
Writing deadlines
My homework assignment schedule
My gym classes
Meals. Yes. My menu. 
When we will be eating left overs. 
When to send a birthday card so it gets ther in time.
Phone calls to make. 
Emails to send. 
My social media calendar.
My blog post plans
Meal prep party times
My kids' events and clubs
And when my season tickets take me to a baseball game.  

Are you getting this? I write down everything. Even when it seems small. Because the more I get to shove out of my brain the less junk there is bouncing around in there. 
This Survival Tip Brought To You By, 
Stay sane. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jesus Would Have Handed Out Candy

My birthday falls on the eve of All Hallows' Eve. Every year. As a pastor's kid being raised in a somewhat conservative church, that could have been a real problem. 

I'm sure she caught a lot of flack when I was a kid, but my mom chose the road less traveled when it came to raising us kids. Especially when it came to celebrating my birthday. 

When many of our fellow church goers would play at ignorance when someone mentioned the upcoming Trick or Treating event "Trick or Treating? Oh. Not for me. That's just going to be a regular ole Tuesday around here. No way. Porch lights out," my mom said, "hey. I've got an idea. How about instead of pretending it doesn't exist, we do things our way. In a way that glorifies God."

When churchy people (you probably know them) said, "That's satans day" my mom spoke up and declared "That's my kid's birthday. We are going to party it up. She won't ever feel badly because of when her birthday is." 

And when women in their mauve suits and ideas about shunning bragged that they planned to turn out their lights and refuse to hand out candy to any of those Satanic children, my mom said "how about we give them a pencil that says Jesus love you." I was like 8. I thought pencils were rad. And I really liked handing them out. 

It isn't about which side is right or wrong. The Pharisees absolutely thought they were correct. It is about being in the world but not of it in the right way. God didn't say steer clear of sinners. Jesus didn't set an example to only surround ourselves with Christians who believe exactly like we do. 

No! He said be a light. He said stand on a hill and shine our light. He said bring what you have and pour it out over others. If that means handing out candy on Halloween, then do it. If that means hosting taco Tuesday for your kids' potty mouth football team, go buy yourself that mega sized package of tortillas. And if that means bringing dinner to your alcoholic neighbor who won't stop parking on his lawn, get to cooking. 

It's not rocket science, this calling to love one another. But it may mean stepping into a mess, hanging out with sinners, or :gasp: dining with prostitutes. Jesus did all of these. 

My mom took a volatile situation and used it so people would know God's goodness. I want to be like her when I grow up. 

Mamma, you're my mom crush Monday. 

Making Waves, 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thank You Neighborhood Strip Club

I've grown up a little jaded. Vegas billboards leave little to the imagination, even when what they're selling isn't even sex. Except, I guess it's semantics because they are using sex to sell something, but when you're numb to it, you don't notice until it's gone.

When we moved to Reno we sighed in relief when we realized they hold different standards to billboards where kids and adults alike are concerned. That was until I drove around the corner from our new house.

 To be fair we live on the fringe of midtown Reno. It's close to city living and the life that comes from being downtown. I get it.

But recently I've started taking a quicker route to the freeway, and I realized that brings me right by our neighborhood strip club. When I am on my own, I remain normal. When my children are in the car my behavior changes-as it should.

 My job title is Mom. Part of my job description is raising kids who guard their eyes and hearts from temptations that pollute them. I am a protector as we navigate what sometimes feels like crazy wild animal raising. I am all in. So, driving by the sign playing a digital video loop of stripping without using it to teach my kids something feels like a total waste.

Today I am writing over at Reno Moms' Blog. I'm stoked to be their newest monthly contributor!

Read the thank you letter I wrote to the Neighborhood Strip Club here.

 Want to do more than simply read about it? Join Awaken to be heard in our city.

Making Waves,

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christian Americans, God Doesn't Care About Your Rights

Ok, that's a lie. Thank you for reading.

Kidding. But only a little. I was reading through Paul's story, thoughtful about the state of things. Our political world feels like a nightmare squeezed into a garbage disposal with a fish head and a ten day old piece of chicken no one knew fell behind the couch. It's not good.

"Am I not as free as anyone else?" 1 Cor. 9:1

I can only speak for myself when I say I am fearful. Not about where our country is going. It's going to go wherever God allows it. Having fear that reeks of sin and faithlessness. I trust God. Especially since I've studied so much about the presidents from our past. Holy weirdos, Batman, we have had some doozies. We just never had social media to boost it up so much.

"Yet I have never used any of these rights." 1 Cor. 9:14

No, the fear that's eating at me is all about losing my rights. I find that animal rearing it's prideful head inside my chest anytime I give in to curiosity and read a political article. Why do I do it. That isn't even a question, that's how "not for me" I think those articles are. Media is going to be media--stop being surprised by that.

"That's why I never demand my rights when I preach the Good News." 1 Cor. 9:18

But I let it in and can't help thinking, "what about my rights? They can't do that. A president can't just come in and do whatever he wants. This is America! I have rights! Go back to where you came from, Dictator Carl!!"

(Side note: when people bother me, I give them fictitious names to help be deal with their issues aka my issues.)

"Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ." 1 Cor. 9:19

I've realized I am so concerned with my rights. My. Me. Oh the selfishness revealed. I should probably write a thank you note to these very politicians for helping me see how selfish I really am. At least they wear their junk out in the open.

"When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings." 1 Cor. 9:22-23

Always a Work in Progress,


We love sharing; Won't you share us?

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Falling in Love or Falling into Familiar: a note on teenaged dating

I wasn't much of a dater when I was a kid. I wanted to be married. It was my primary goal, and I knew who I would marry. Elvis. Young Elvis. Pre gold lamé. Never mind that the timeline made no sense and he died when I was one. I was in middle school. I knew best.

I listen to many teens talk about their significant others. I'm not going to lie- it's a terrifying conversation most times. I'm working on my game face, but I'm not concerned that teens are dating. I'm concerned they think familiar is the same as love. 

Maybe you're of the "no trying on my daughter" tribe, and that's fine. But most kids date. Each other. In circular fashion. And I need them to hear something. 

Dear teens, 
Who you are now is going to change. At least I hope so. Your frontal lobe isn't even fully developed. Your boy/girlfriend right now, is also going to change. See above for reasons. If you are going to date. Take it easy. 

I promise you that one day you'll know love. So deep and so wonderful that your bad breath will be irrelevant in the mornings. So unconditional that someone will overlook them high waisted pleated pants and want to take you out anyway. So real you'll put him or her first. Even before you. 

But I also promise that if you have to justify a guy's behavior some of the time, you'll end up settling all of the time. And if that girl seems to not respect you or honor your boundaries, she won't suddenly back off, she will lead you down paths you never would have considered. And they are dark. 

You can't love Jesus with everything you are and date a guy that's high most of the time. You are made in God's image. You are the temple in which he dwells. You will end up compromising. These two worlds cannot coexist. 

Don't tell me you love her and you're so scared to lose her to explain why you've gone further than you planned. 

It's a lie you're believing when you say you can handle that she drinks a lot, but you don't have to. The more you are around that the more that becomes your new norm. 

You call it falling in love, but really you are falling into the familiar. And what's familiar is he usually can't cope or be near your family or go out without smoking pot. This is how you know him. This is what's familiar. 

We all want familiar. It's why gangs have existed for nearly all of time. We want a place to fit and look around and lean back and say "this is where I belong. It's familiar". So, sit back for a minute. 

Remember that you have been beautifully and wonderfully made and God has an insanely big plan for your life. He doesn't want you to miss a moment. He doesn't want you falling into the familiar. He wants you rising up audaciously. 

Quit settling for falling into the familiar. Fall in love with Jesus instead. When you do, you may find you end up being much better in a relationship, too. You'll begin to know your worth, and you'll have clear boundaries, and God will use you mightily and then, my friend. Then. You'll be someone else's familiar. 

Only this time it will be busting at the seams with God's love. That's when you know it's true love. 
Yours Forever, 

These photos are part of a series called "the boys who have stolen my heart" 

Friday, July 08, 2016

Lynyrd Skynyrd Had a Great Mom

She's the kind of mother I want to be. With purpose. With straight forward talk. Not afraid to lead her son. 

"Mama told me when I was young
'Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it'll help you some sunny day'

She taught him to listen to his mama. Even if what she was teaching him right now didn't apply, she taught him what it meant to ponder her words and use them when appropriate. 

'Oh, take your time, don't live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You'll find a woman and you'll find love
And don't forget, son, there is someone up above'

She taught him to live for today because tomorrow has enough worries. She taught him about love. She told him about Jesus. 

'And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can'

She taught him that being simple isn't the same as being small. To have goals and to be a man worth knowing. 

'Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied'

And maybe she didn't even realize she was teaching him that God is his portion and his cup. That the boundaries have fallen in good places for him. That even though he may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is given daily life giving bread. 

'Boy, don't you worry, you'll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied'"

She taught him what it meant to have faith like a mustard seed. To step out and hear God and follow. What it means to turn from the enemy's relentless whisper and "only be strong and courageous."

And she's taught me to stand firm in my calling as a mother. Step out and speak with purpose to my children. To only be strong and only be courageous. To look to Him who is my perfect portion. My perfect cup full. 

Raising these boys to men is our job. It's the only job with an echo quite this loud. My children will grow up to change lives. Today, some men in Dallas changed lives. Is this what we are settling for?   

They just don't make music like they used to. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Your Number One Fan

I went about my day helping kids with the usual: dropping off, picking up, cleaning this, cleaning that, getting college nonsense in order and on and on. It's mom life, right? It's what we do. My life is mundane to say the most. 

But every now and then, the crazy things happen. I went to visit a new coffee shop that our friends opened today. Lighthouse Coffee in Sparks. They are wonderful. Their coffee makes me feel warm on the inside. 

A sweet lady approached me and said, "I think we are Facebook friends… your blog is fabulous." 

How great is she?! And who the heck am I that she would know me? It's not the first time it's happened, but it overwhelms me when it does. I can't even believe what God is allowing me to to be part of. 

I love this little blog. So much. I've loved it for nearly 11 years. It just never occurred to me that you would like it too. 

So let me take a second to say thank you. Thank you to anyone who ever reads these words. You lurkers? You are my people.
You extroverts. I get you. 
You introverts. I learn from you everyday. 

Thank you extremely to anyone who shares my posts. That's a starving writer's bread and butter, and it's currently the thing keeping my book from going to the publisher- too few "reaches." 

When they see you sharing, they know you mean it when you say you have been here. When I hear from you, I know you get me. I know I'm not alone. 

So thank you. Thank you friends. Thank you to those I only know online or through this nonsense I call writing. I'm completely grateful for you. I am your number one fan. 

~ Nonsense

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

To the Ridiculous Humans at the Stadium Tonight

Tonight, you helped me teach my children what it means to use words of encouragement. It started with you yelling things at the ump. I won't lie. We were all a little confused in section 104. 
It's possible that the rest of us understand that pitches below the knee are in fact considered balls and not the ump "putting the squeeze on us" or "cheating." No matter. Maybe you didn't know. Your anger and crazy yelling allowed me to point out to my 10 year old what he sounds like when he gets too angry for a situation that doesn't call for anger. 

When you heckled the 3rd base player with phrases like "you suck" and "get a new job" I didn't need to say a word to my children. 

My teenager turned around and said it all with her face that wore a confused countenance and a quiet, "who even behaves like that? How is that helpful?" 
I especially liked when it got quiet and you blamed 3rd base, by name, for a play he missed. Maybe you're right. Maybe he "Wont ever make it to the majors playing like that." Or maybe now that you've been so rude and berated him in front of us all he will change his ways. Maybe that's what he was trying to convey when he heard you and stared at you quietly before throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Maybe he was trying to tell you that's a great way to motivate people. 
(Rivero, you handled that with much more grace than many would have.) 

And when most of our section turned around to look at you when you began with the extra special language and became defensive with creative quips of "the truth hurts" even after that same player made two amazing plays in a row, thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear my kids tell me, "it seems rude to be so judgmental if you aren't out there doing the work." 

I'm not totally sure why you left suddenly after that, but I'm sure you had something pressing. Like heckling someone at the Special Olympics or hating some kid who misses his note while singing the national anthem. It's all good. You gave me the chance to hear from my own children what it means to be a contributing audience member. 

Finally, thank you for proving it takes a village. We each have a role. You played yours swimmingly.