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A Half-Day In My Life: The Last 12 Hours

June 4, 2014

I know all you girl-moms out there wonder what it is that we boy-moms are always complaining about.

You have your own drama, of that I’m certain. Here’s a little peep into our world, just an average snippet of my every-day life. Now you know…

6pm: I look out the front window to see one of my sons standing at the curb, loading up the recycling can in broad daylight, for all the world to see…in his underwear. And no, it was not boxers, or even boxer briefs.

2:21am: Woke up to hear the door from the garage slamming shut. Frantically woke Gabe, who leapt from bed, simultaneously running and climbing into a pair of shorts, before plunging out the front door to the driveway, ready and prepared to tackle whatever bad guys were in the process of stealing his brand-new mountain bike. Or so he assumed.

I cowered at the front window in terror, when from behind me, a small voice came out of the darkness from the direction of the garage: “Why is daddy in the driveway? I just wanted to get my blanket out of the dryer.”

6:30am: In the middle of the morning rush-get-ready-for-school, somehow forty gallons (or so) of water were dumped on the kitchen floor in a dog-water-bowl incident. Noah’s flood required six bath towels and four hand towels to sop up, but on the bright side, the kitchen floor is nice and clean.

Is this normal? Does this ring familiar? Oh, do tell. Please say I’m not alone…

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Gratitude Monday: See how the flowers of the field grow?

June 2, 2014

Gratitude Monday

 

Los Gatos Creek Trail, Sunday, June 1

Los Gatos Creek Trail, Sunday, June 1

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

Matthew 6:27-29, MSG

Your turn: What are YOU thankful for on this March Monday?

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The Illuminated Life: Two Kinds of Bright

May 28, 2014

You know those people who come into your life unexpectedly and just change everything? Patty B. snuggled up to me when I was a raw, aching, motherless first-time mom. I didn’t know just how much pain I was in until Patty began to help me heal, smoothing my rough edges and loving me through some of the darkest days of my marriage, life and motherhood. She continues to shine on in the lives of others, here, there and around the world.

The Illuminated Life Series

Two Kinds of Bright

by Pat Brockman

I believe that the One who said “Let light come from darkness” was as intent on creating light in me as He was in His universe.

He could have done it with just a command, “Let there be light in Pat!” and it would have been so!   Light in me, derived from heaven, could shine!  Likewise, He could have performed a powerful deed and with Light in me done  moved on to other things . Instead He chose to bring me light from Heaven through precious people that He carefully selected and placed along the way.  Then the Creator of the universe, my Heavenly Father, stuck around to lovingly and purposefully direct my path so I would encounter them.

Scripture tells us it is not in a man’s way to direct His steps. I never could have laid out the path my life has taken or imagined the stops along the way. I know “relocation” is a noun, but it is the word that best describes  my childhood and married life. My dad was in the Navy and there were at least nine or ten moves  along the coast or from coast to coast during my school years. Forty-one years of married life has seen us in ten different cities in four different states and two different countries. It never occurred to me to not make friends in the places we lived because of the sadness of one day having to say good-by.  I was like a salmon swimming upstream to connect and belong because I was lonely and needed community. God, rich in mercy, went ahead to provide. From the day I was born, there were gracious, amazing Christian people who I loved, and who loved on me and my family. Any brightness I have comes from the illumination of being lit by them.

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I have spent an inordinate amount of energy and emotion starting over in each place we have lived. The will to do so has been a gift of the Spirit.

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.

Philippians 2:13 NIV

The reward has been blessing upon blessing of people who are priceless treasures in my life. I thank God for each of them and as I do, I beg for forgiveness and grace in my shortcomings to maintain contact and express  my love and appreciation in ways they might need when I have moved on. I know when it comes to friendship it is harder to be left behind than to leave. I miss my friends in other places and I know they miss me. My intentions and desire to pour in and still be a part of their life is strong. As they say, the spirit is willing but flesh is weak. In each new place there is work to do, labor prompted by love as Paul describes in Thessalonians.

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

1 Thessalonians 1:2 NIV

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NIV

In thinking about the illuminated life and God’s admonition to“Shine!”, I want my old friends to know that through them, I was lit, and I have taken the glow from having been so to try and bring brightness wherever I go.

My prayer is that the glow is strong enough through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, to brighten their lives still, as they brightened mine.

To Him be the glory!

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my_picturePat runs with perseverance the race set out before her both literally and figuratively. She and Bo, her husband of 41 years, encourage others through their leadership roles at Oakhills Church Westside Fellowship, and Downtown Run Group in San Antonio, TX. After raising three sons she delights in being in touch with her inner girly girl through two daughters-in-law and two granddaughters. The fun of being a Boymom continues since she also has two little grandsons to remind her of those days.

You can put on your running shoes and catch her on the Riverwalk training for her next half marathon orjust go to www.patbrockman.com where she is training herself to sit down long enough to write!

Over here…The Moms of Boys Society

May 23, 2014

Practicing Perseverance

“Check out these GUNS!” My eight-year-old raced into the room wearing nothing but flannel snowman pajama bottoms, and proudly posed for me, arms bent tight in a classic body-builders stance. Little sinews and bones so lean that the muscles, while still tiny and childlike, stood in sharp definition. His four-year-old brother trotted behind, trying to do the same, chubby belly pooching over his bedtime pull-up. They turned circles, grunting and growling, before tumbling into the floor in a tangle of testosterone and legs.

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Little men, longing to be big ones, strong and capable. The toddler’s battle cry: “I can do it!” howled  long before they really can. As they’ve gotten older, life has gotten bigger, and the battle cry begins to change. “I can’t!” they cry before they’ve even begun. “It’s too hard!”

It might be homework. It might be the sea of fallen leaves on a lawn. It might be emptying the dishwasher or carrying groceries in from the car. Life is full of challenges. Life is full of resistance.

Read the rest of this post over at The MOB Society! 

On Worry

May 13, 2014

Do you ever worry about your kids?

Wide-awake 4am worry? Do you ever worry that you’ve screwed them up just enough that they’ll one day be sitting on someone’s couch lamenting just how bad a mom (or dad) you were? Do you ever worry that you missed the cues, the signs that something was needed, but you weren’t paying attention? Do you ever worry that you aren’t doing enough, and if you stop worrying, it’ll just be worse?

I do.

I’ve become so used to worrying, in fact, that I was afraid to stop worrying. As if somehow my worry was...helping. 

Little secret…it wasn’t. 

I’ve worried for weeks. For months. I’ve worried during the day, and I’ve worried during the night. I’ve worried when I’m at the gym, in the car, on my bike and while I’m making dinner.

Worry, like anger, is an emotion that erodes. My stomach started hurting. Headaches became more frequent. I became snappish and irritable, too obsessed with worry to be distracted by anything, or anyone, else.

But it’s hard to carry that kind of worry around for long. I finally had to drop that bag ‘o bricks and admit I simply couldn’t carry it any more. Too much, too long. Not helping, anyway.

I tried something new. Every time I’d start to worry, I prayed. (I know, I know, what a remarkable concept!)

I prayed. God, I entrust my children to your care. I know you love them more than I do. I know you have their best interests in mind, and that anything and everything they endure they will have you with them, by their side, every step of the way.

It became a mantra…over and over and over I prayed the same thing, all day long.

The funniest thing happened….

My kids were fine. 

They were more than fine. They were great.

Sort of like God was up there saying…

See? I’ve got this. 

 

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The Illuminated Life: Bringing Out The God Colors

May 7, 2014

The Illuminated Life Series

Bringing Out The God Colors

by Jodi Harris

Who cries watching American Idol? Um, I did. Yep. Bawled like a baby. Ever had a moment when God entered a room unexpectedly? Kind of like when the disciples were hiding out after Jesus’ death behind locked doors. Suddenly, there was Jesus. ALIVE. I can tell you what my reaction would have been. 2 words. But only the first would have been accurate. Holy. And I guess that’s it. Jesus didn’t enter through the door. He entered supernaturally. To the disciples, yes, and in the American Idol studio. Totally unexpected in both places.

As Curtis Finch Jr. sang “I Believe I Can Fly” in Season 12, the judges rose to their feet, ferociously applauding and waving their hands in the air. I waited for the typical, “that was fabulous” reactions given for an outstanding singing performance. Not so.

Keith Urban: “We just had a sermon in Vegas, baby! …you just ooze everything good and light and godly…you just have so much hope in you, and we need so much of that man. Thank you very much…”

Nicki Minaj (let me re-iterate that: NICKI MINAJ): This is bigger than American Idol to me. When you make people feel good, when you make people feel powerful, when you make people feel like they can fly, that’s something that was given to you by Somebody else, a higher power. That is not something that can even be measured in the amount of votes you get tonight. I don’t care how many votes you get for the rest of your life, you have a calling on your life to bless people, and to do so much good, and I really hope and pray you make that kind of an album…people need that right now…people are hurting, we need that…this is what we need from you. We need that.”

Randy Jackson: “Let’s just all say Praise God to start this off…”

Mariah Carey: “First of all, I want to thank you for that performance because the energy that you gave off and what you were feeling and spreading to us just so generously was I what I needed in this moment right now in my life, so I just want to thank you for that…When we hear you sing… and you adding everything you said, and when you said “with God I can fly,”  and you made me feel like man, thank you that Curtis is here tonight.”

Ryan Seacrest: “You lifted the entire spirit in this arena tonight.”

And Curtis’ comment when later interviewed, “What is one of your favorite moments?”

Answer: “That time I got a chance to sing I Believe I Can Fly. The energy from the audience was amazing. I felt like I was standing in a room of believers, knowing that they could do anything once they set their mind to it.”

I’ve experienced God moments when I’m in church for sure, or in my own life. But this was the first time I watched others who do NOT claim Christ experience His presence and respond so passionately. Scripture came alive for me:

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, youll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

Curtis prompted people to open up with God, but he didn’t preach a sermon. He didn’t use accusations or arguments or guilt. He was just… himself. Doing the very thing he loved to do and was born to do. That moment had nothing to do with winning a competition or being the best of the best vocally but everything to do with shining passionately just as God created him.

How many times do I get so wrapped up in becoming a better version of myself or maybe just someone different altogether that I actually miss opportunities to shine just as God made me? We are God’s Masterpiece, His Poetry,(Eph. 2:10), and instead of opening up to others so they can experience Him, I’m busy editing and critiquing His work. And missing moments to shine.

Imagine a world where we didn’t worry about what we are NOT. Imagine a world where we lived just as we ARE. Free to shine. Even in the broken places. Maybe especially through the broken places.

How will you shine today, bringing out the God-colors in this world in ways that only YOU can?

bringing out the god colors

 

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Picture1Jodi Harris serves on  the Women’s Ministry Team at InRoads Christian Church in Fremont, CA. She and her husband Jeff planted InRoads in 2001. She is a contributing author to the books Bloom Where You’re Planted: Stories of Women In Church Planting, Volumes 1 & 2.

She is a pastor’s wife and mom to 3 rambunctious boys ages 5 to 15. As a Bible teacher, speaker, writer, and worship leader, Jodi desires to move women into a deeper relationship with Jesus and inspire them to use their lives fully for God. Jodi believes being authentic and real about life and its struggles are keys to transformation, healing, and true community in Christ. You can connect with her at JodiAnnHarris.com where she blogs about “Confessions of A Pastor’s Wife.”

She Laughs Without Fear of the Future

May 4, 2014

When I left for college, I promptly went out and had my ears double-pierced. It was, in its small way, my first act of real rebellion. I knew my parents did not want me to get them double-pierced. So, I had them done about two weeks after settling in on campus.

Then I started planning for the tattoo.

But what? And where? And, well, why?

What – a flower? A daisy? So mundane.

Where – my back? A shoulder? Someplace that would be visible when I chose, but not visible when I needed to be prim and proper?

Why – to upset my parents further of course.

I never got the tattoo. I was at least sane enough at 18 to realize that my reasons, and my lack of vision, were reason enough not to pursue a permanent mark on my frame.

I’ve thought about this ever since. I like the idea of a tattoo as something unexpected and out of the ordinary. But when everyone is getting one, it’s not so unusual. I wanted to be different.

I’ve been chewing of this idea of contentment for days. What does contentment really mean? What is the essence, the essential of contentment?

I think contentment is to be present, to be here, not there, not somewhere else. Not worrying about what’s next or what if.

Imagine that your family genes carry with them the potential of a devastating illness. But, for a variety of reasons, you don’t know, you can’t know, if yours is one of the number chosen to suffer.

What then? Could you live each day, present and accounted for, unafraid of the future? Or would you drown in the fear, the worry, the what if of your inexplicable future?

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25

This. This is who I want to be. Present. Unafraid. Laughing at the days to come.

If I ever were to get a tattoo…this would be it. But maybe in Hebrew, so it’ll be pretty…and on my wrist so I can look at it every day and remember:

 

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