Cultivating Character with Ben Franklin

I can’t remember exactly what I was reading the other day, (a book often leads to an article which leads to a blog which leads to another book…sort of a common hazard among us ADD’s. Anyhoo….) but at some point a reference was made to Benjamin Franklin’s Thirteen Virtues. It gave a brief description, and I was fascinated, so I had to find out more. After a very quick search I learned the following from Wikipedia:

Franklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues, which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:

  • “Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
  • “Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.”
  • “Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.”
  • “Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.”
  • “Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.”
  • “Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.”
  • “Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”
  • “Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.”
  • “Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
  • “Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.”
  • “Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
  • “Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.”
  • “Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.”

Franklin did not try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would work on one and only one each week “leaving all others to their ordinary chance”. While Franklin did not live completely by his virtues and by his own admission, he fell short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other single point; in his autobiography Franklin wrote, “I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit.”

Um…first of all, at 20 years old he “sought to cultivate his character” so he made a list of the highest virtues he could think of, then briefly defined them, and created a plan to follow them in order to have descendants that someday followed his example??

WHOA. I don’t know what you were doing when you were 20 years old, but I think I was probably just trying to cultivate enough dough to pay my rent and keep gas in my car. I was barely worried about my character (which explains a whole lot if you knew me back then.)

I have read over this list of Franklin’s 13 Virtues several times in the past week or so. I have been very inspired by it. I wondered how it might benefit me, as well as the world around me, if I took time to intentionally cultivate (or on some days, even bother to pay attention to) my own character as he did. How would it help bring to light things that I need to work on? How would it show me the ways that God’s gifts are already being used well through me? And what would be on my list of virtues to use as a measuring stick?

As a person of faith in Jesus Christ, my list is really already figured out for me. We already have a list of virtues to live by…they’re more commonly referred to in scripture as the fruit of the spirit. They are not just virtues that we should aspire to; they are actually the evidence that we’re growing more Christ-like every day.

I have an experiment in mind. Not even sure if that’s the best word for it. Maybe more like a 9-week devotional journey. What if we took this list of 9 fruits of the spirit, briefly sketched out what those look like to us in everyday life, and focused on cultivating one of them in our lives each week? Not a lot of work or hype, just focus and notice. I’d almost bet that some cool stuff would happen right in front of us.

I’ll be starting this next week. I’ve already had a couple of crazy chicks I know say they’re on board with it too. We can share our thoughts, progress, and shortcomings through the journey. Anyone else care to join us?

Everyone’s a Lifeline

This past week I had the opportunity to volunteer as an operator for the Central Ohio Trafficking Hotline (285-HELP). I must say, it was by far one of the most emotionally and mentally demanding things I have ever done. I had to be available to answer calls 24 hours a day for the entire week. That means I answered calls that rang in the middle of taking a shower, in the middle of attempting to eat dinner out at restaurants, and even while grocery shopping. With cell phones everywhere nowadays, you wouldn’t think that would be such a big deal. But answering a call on the Trafficking Hotline is much different than answering a call from your sister or your golfing buddy in the middle of grocery shopping. You have to listen intently to the caller’s situation, write down details of what they relay to you, ask lots of pertinent questions to accurately assess their situation, and determine very quickly what resources can be called upon to help them in this scenario. Sometimes I just looked up some phone numbers for them to get the most direct connection to the assistance they needed. Sometimes I was calling my resources for immediate help to get the caller to safety. Every time I got off the phone I thought about something else I could have said or asked that might have helped the caller, or might have helped someone else help them better. In some instances, because my heart was heavy, my eyes even stayed open at night while I wondered how the person was doing and if I did everything I could to help them.

With all that said, I can also say without a doubt that this experience has been one of the most completely rewarding of my life. I never knew how a bunch of calls interrupting my shower would affect me. I never knew that I would remember the voices of my callers and how they sometimes trembled just a little bit when explaining their need for help. I never knew that a person dialing a phone could be such an act of bravery. And I never realized that making myself available to answer a phone would turn out to be such an important decision in my life.

Even though I was little more than the middle man between the help my callers need and the actual people who can help them, I realized that being available to answer that phone was truly a life-giving action. In some cases, the fact that a person in need of help even had that phone number to call in the first place was actually a life-saving thing. In some cases, it just made their lives more comfortable for a time. Either way, I realized it was a lifeline for them in some way, and I got the privilege of being part of it.

I thought about how in many different ways, we really all have the opportunity every day to be a lifeline for someone. Maybe not on a hotline that is published all over the place, but maybe just in our kitchen when we get a call from a friend having a bad day. Maybe it’s when a customer calls about an important shipment that is late. Maybe it has nothing at all to do with a phone, but comes in the form of a person at church asking you to pray for them. It might even be less obvious than that, like when someone you pass by looks lonely and you give them a smile or exchange some small talk. Maybe that’s their only lifeline for that day. I think a lifeline can be anything that keeps one person connected to another for a moment, and communicates a message to them that says “You’re important. You’re not alone.” In that same way, when we connect with each other, we’re connecting to something bigger and beyond ourselves. Something good. Something full of life.

We don’t always know when the opportunity to be a lifeline will come up, but we can choose to make room in our lives for when they do. We can pray for eyes to see and ears to hear things that are not always on the outside, and we can actively seek out opportunities to be a lifeline to others around us. What is it that stirs your heart in a way that you just can’t seem to not think about it? What heavies your heart to the point where you just have to take action, even if that means stretching beyond your comfort zone?

For me, its men and women and children who are treated like property, in a modern time when we look back on what we’ve always known of slavery and we shake our heads in disgust. It’s people not even knowing that an equally disgusting injustice is happening today, right in our back yards, but in numbers that dwarf everything our history books ever taught us about the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

For you, it might be orphans or clean water or the environment or access to medical care or racial reconciliation or homelessness or gang violence or education or poverty in general. I don’t know. All of these things are worthy of attention, but only your specific few will stir you individually into action. If you don’t know where you’re meant to be a lifeline, get your feet wet in something and start figuring it out. Because I’m telling you…time’s a-wastin’. And if you’re not making yourself available to be that lifeline to someone, then they’re missing out on something they need, and so are you. Find your lifeline so you can be one.

*****************************************

If human trafficking is what stirs you into action, check out the Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition , doma International, or Gracehaven House for ways you can help in the central Ohio area. Outside of that area, visit Love146, Not For Sale, Free the Slaves, or International Justice Mission, or As Our Own to learn more about human trafficking in the US and around the world.

 

 

Anatomy of a Debt-Free Scream

This weekend was AWESOME!!! After learning everything we needed to know in Financial Peace University about how to get ourselves out of debt, and after working for nearly 6 years to get it done, we decided to commemorate this awesome milestone by heading to Tennessee to scream to the world that WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEE live on The Dave Ramsey Show! It was the coolest day ever. We cried and laughed. Our team of 2 was strengthened. Even though there were (and still are) lots of haters…people who said it couldn’t be done, we were being way too radical, it will never last, you can’t live without a credit card or a car payment, etc…… We drowned all of them out with hope in what we knew could work (you know, common sense and hard work!) And this past weekend, we got to celebrate a big ol’ victory.

Yes!

But I have to say, talking about it now makes it almost sound almost too simple. Just saying “we paid off our debt” sounds like a one-step process. It was far from that. It was something that had to built up over a long, long time, with many parts that all were equally important. Our debt-free scream wasn’t just a moment in time…it was a thing with structure to it. Bones, if you will. It has anatomy.

So what makes up a debt-free scream?

1. Anger. That’s right. Anger. Everyone seems to have a big fat student loan payment or a payment from a stupid car lease gone wrong or credit card bills hanging over their head. Those things don’t make you special. They make you normal. And when you start to get angry with being normal, you just might want stop being normal. You have to get so disgusted with your own bondage, the fact that you work a job you hate just because you need to pay those bills and buy that stuff, that your blood starts boiling when you think about it.  When you think about your $7,642 Visa bill that just came in the mail, doesn’t it get you even a little bit peeved trying to even remember what the heck you even bought with all that money? No? If not, then quit reading. You’re not ready to pursue a debt-free scream journey. Check back with me when you’re ticked.

2. Someone smarter than you. Now I don’t mean actual IQ-smart.  I mean you need someone to come along in your life, whether it’s a friend, your spouse, even an author, who can show up and nudge you in the right direction about this money stuff.  They don’t have to be a CPA. They just have to be a person who sees the bigger picture a half-step in front of you and can tell you that you’ve got to do something differently. For me, it was my friend Jeff. He’s always been smarter than me about handling money, (and pretty much everything else too, probably.) But he was the one who shoved Financial Peace University into my life by way of a wedding present. If he hadn’t been smart enough to do that, “debt-free scream” wouldn’t even be in my vocabulary. (Thanks, Jeff!! Turns out that wasn’t the world’s worst wedding present after all. You’re redeemed as the Awesome Gift-Giver.)

3. Motivation (aka Dreams). People tell you about new things all the time. If you’re like me, a lot of them seem like cool ideas. Making your own soap. Sewing your own clothes. Skydiving. But that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be motivated to do any of those things just because they sound nice. There has to be some reason for you to actually do them. My husband and I believe that our motivation comes by what we refer to as dreaming a little. We just sit down, hang out for a bit, and talk about what we’re dreaming of doing whenever we reach our goal.

4. A process. Dave Ramsey says, “goals are just dreams with work clothes on.” We can dream all day about what we’re going to go, but then we have to work through a process of steps to actually do it. To become debt-free, you need a step-by-step process and a commitment to following it. If you’re married and trying to pay off debt, that commitment needs to come from both parties. Otherwise the process will be derailed along the way. Our process was to follow the plan outlined in Financial Peace University, which is the same process found in The Total Money Makeover. This plan was perfect for us because it was no slimy, creepy get-rich-quick scheme in a box. It was just common sense organized into small chunks called The Seven Baby Steps.  Turns out that hard work and diligence really do pay off! Which brings me to my next point…

5. Discipline. Yeah, that icky D-word that no one likes, least of all me. But nothing difficult (and worth the effort) can ever get done without the ol’ stuff. So buckle down, decide that the best is more important than the right now, and handle your business. Even when you really, really don’t feel like cooking tonight. Even when you’d really like a new dress to wear to that reunion. Even when everyone else went on a vacation this year. Even when Christmas comes and goes and you don’t open a single present. Even when it’s hard. Even when it sucks. Do it anyway. Because the truth is, it’s so, so worth it. My husband is a beautiful illustration of this. He’s worked so hard to help us reach this goal.  He even worked LOTS of overtime the last couple of months so we could meet our goal on time (um, we actually met it a little early because he rocks so much!) He is a freakin’ warrior. And I am so lucky to have a man like that, who will put his own wants aside for the greater good… our future. That’s a man. He defines disciplined. And he is my inspiration.

6. Lungs. Yep, after you’ve worked your tail off, and you’ve held hands through the tough times, and you’ve looked people in the eye who said you couldn’t do it, and you’ve done it anyway…it’s time to celebrate! Take a deep breath and scream to the world: WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEE!!!!! Use those lungs, baby!!! Whether it’s on the air with Dave Ramsey or not, shout it from the rooftops and celebrate! You’ve earned it!!

7. Open hands. What, you thought we were done? Not even a little. Once you’re free from debt, free from bondage, free from someone else telling every dime of your money where it has to go…. Relax and look around for ways you can use what you have to bless others. After all, you’ve been living on way less than you make anyway while you paid off all that debt. You have other goals to meet that need some of that money, I know. Everyone knows. When you become  debt-free isn’t the only time that you should be generous…certainly not. But when you have more resources, you have more responsibility. So don’t just use it all for yourself, that would be irresponsible. Help someone. Bless someone. Make life a little easier for someone else just because you can. That’s when your debt-free scream will be heard around the world. And that’s when you know that the anatomy of your debt-free scream is complete.

By the way, if you’ve just read this and you’re ready to start your debt-free journey but aren’t sure how, leave your email address in the comments and I will get in touch to mail you a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover. I have two copies sitting on my shelf right now that someone else could be using. No strings, no funny business. I just want to get the same information into your hands that we learned so you can start your debt-free journey right now. Freedom’s waitin’.

Prayer for Superbowl Weekend

No, I’m not asking you to pray for a certain team to win this weekend… I dont even know who is playing in the Superbowl (except maybe the team from Indianapolis, I assume, since that’s where the thing is being held?? Really… no flippin’ clue)

But I am asking you to take a minute to pray this weekend, because although zillions of people will be enjoying the game, food, and the festivities surrounding the game, the Superbowl is also one of the largest events of the year for human traffickers. I don’t mean to be Debbie Downer, but this is something that has become very important to me as I’ve learned more about it, and each year, traffickers “ship their product” (young women, girls, and boys) to where the demand is high. The Super Bowl attracts many men to the event’s area each year, and they are more apt to take part in things they might not normally do in their own hometowns, therefore the demand for sex-for-sale goes way up this weekend in that city. The traffickers are crude businesspeople (huge understatement, I know) who are happy to respond to the whole supply-demand deal with “freshly imported merchandise.” I can’t even begin to imagine what these young victims will have to endure this weekend.

I dont know if your relaxing weekend includes watching the game or not, but would you please take a moment to pray for these women and children who are being trafficked? Think of them as your own wife or sister, as your own daughter or son…then pray like that.

If you attend GCV and want to join me in praying for these people together, Meet me at the back of the auditorium at 10:30am tomorrow and we’ll pray in between services.

To learn more about fighting human trafficking in the US, check out:
SOAP
Doma
On Facebook search for Price of Life and She Has a Name.

Thanks in advance. Love to you all.

India Chronicles: 15 Starfish

Who knew there were starfish in India?

The light of my life this past month has undoubtedly been 15 beautiful little girls in India. A few years back, our church partnered with a local ministry based in India to build a children’s home for abandoned girls. There, females are not valued as much as males, so there tends to be a high population of homeless and abandoned females. Some of the girls now living at the children’s home came from physically abusive backgrounds and wear their scars blatantly on their faces. Some of them were abandoned by their families who couldn’t afford to care for all of their children and their scars are a bit more covert. Some were even going to be killed at birth or sold to a brothel, but their parents were convinced to allow their daughter to be cared for at the children’s home instead. No matter what their background, these girls would have led unimaginably horrid lives, if they’d even survived at all. But because regular everyday people cared enough to invest in them, I saw with my own eyes how these girls are now growing into the lovely young ladies God has created them to be.

The children’s home is situated on a lush, calm, quiet, and secure property where the girls can be free to run and play without fear of harm. It is so peaceful there that I frequently would lose track of time, just enjoying the fresh air and the sunlight. But beyond the borders of that property,  nothing could describe the environment better than the word chaos. Dirt, fumes, trash, human waste, noise, and constant commotion characterize the streets of the city, and that’s the pretty decent, middle-class part of town. In this part of town, we saw many people regularly urinating and allowing their children to defecate on the side of the road, in plain view of all the cars crammed into rush-hour traffic. We passed by a huge trash heap where a mangy dog, a scrawny cow, an elderly man, and a young child around 4 years old were all side by side digging through it. I assume they were looking for something to eat, although it’s possible  they could have simply been passing the time. Either way…what kind of life are they living, that small children and old men have been brought down to the level of scroungy animals wandering in the street?

When I think of that stark contrast, I really get a picture of the world the girls could have lived in, and I’m so thankful for the healthy upbringing they will now enjoy. What an incredible difference. I am humbled to be a very small part of that difference, and when I think of how little it really costs me, not only in actual money but in time and energy, it’s truly nothing at all. For less than the amount that Todd and I will spend when we go out to dinner with friends, or the amount I would spend on a new pair of shoes, each month I can help provide a safe home, medical care, a private education, and a loving environment to a little girl whose family could not take care of her. And best of all, this little girl will someday know that her life was changed, not because of me, but because of Jesus. I am devoting my life to following Him and He says that if I so much as give a cup of water to these little ones who need love & care, I am doing the same to Him.

I know there are thousands of children out there who may not get the same opportunities as these girls, other children who I will never have the opportunity to help. My world is small and my resources are limited. And that breaks my heart. But if every one of us looked out into our world and fixed our eyes on just one face…one child or one homeless person or one mentally disabled neighbor or one lonely widow or one depressed teenager or one man who just lost a job or one woman who society has given up on…if we just focused on extending the love and mercy that Jesus has extended to us…if we just decided to make some tiny sacrifice for the sake of that one… then we could all make a big, big difference.

The 15 beautiful girls there at the children’s home reminded me of a little modern parable that has been circulating in many forms over the past several years. It goes a little something like this:

One morning an elderly man was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a boy surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish that had washed up onto the beach at high tide. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up one by one and throwing them back into the ocean.

Puzzled, the older man looked at the young boy and asked, “Little boy, what are you doing?”

The youth responded without looking up, “I’m trying to save these starfish, sir.”

The old man chuckled aloud, and queried, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you possibly make?”

Holding a starfish in his hand, the boy turned to the man and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Whether you are tired of hearing that little story or not, I pray that none of us ever get tired of hearing the message it conveys. I pray that I never get tired of hearing that message. I pray that we all find our starfish, and let Jesus show us exactly how to throw it back into the ocean.

Choosing Enough

I had to stop at the grocery store today to pick up a few things since we’ve been away from the house for over a week and there aren’t many staples available in our kitchen. I stood in the bread aisle bombarded with hundreds of choices. Thousands of slices of bread stared me in the face. White. Wheat. Low carb. Whole grain. Honey oat. Rye. Whole wheat white. 90 calories per slice. Homestyle. Cinnamon swirl. Bread, bread, bread…so many choices of brand and type and taste.

Why? Why should I have SO many choices for something as simple as bread??

Of course it’s nice to have choices, but I just returned from a place where the people had so very few choices. Not just when it comes to bread, either. Many things in their life aren’t really a choice at all. I met people who live in a leper colony and do not even have leprosy or any other disease. They live there because their parents live there. They were born of a leper, which may as well make them a leper too, for all that it matters in their society. They are the untouchables. Societal outcasts who do not get to choose their place in life. They can choose to leave the colony, sure, but their status in society makes them outcasts nonetheless. They couldn’t choose a career path or an education or a person to marry outside of those walls. The only thing I can think of that they could do would be to get out of there, run away to a developed country, and never tell anyone where they came from. But by what means would they be able to do such a thing? They have no money. They have no job. They have no possessions to trade for a ride outta that place. They simply survive until it’s their time to die. They don’t really have viable choices otherwise.

So…it makes me wonder why I get to have all these choices about everything under the sun while others elsewhere have little choice about anything at all. I am not posing a question of destiny, but rather a question of enough.

How is it that I should have plenty while others have nothing? Wouldn’t it be better for us all to just have enough? Wouldn’t it be possible for everyone to have enough?

I truly believe that there are enough basic resources (food, clean water, shelter, clothing) for everyone on this planet to have enough to survive and even thrive. I just think that there are some of us (ME) who have grown accustomed to a lifestyle that allows us to have more than enough. I am not necessarily saying that having more than enough is an evil, terrible thing. Not at all. But I’m starting to think that having more than enough while my brothers and sisters around the globe and right next door have very little or even nothing is not something that will allow me to sleep well at night. Why should I have MORE than enough when there is another human being on this planet who doesn’t even have enough to live on?

So, you’re a socialist, then? Not at all. I am not proposing that we draw a line in the air, and whoever has something above that line will have it taken from them and redistributed to those whose stuff doesn’t reach up to that line. No way. I don’t think that people who have worked hard to make a living ought to be robbed from any more than anyone else should. (Did you hear me, congress??) I do think that the way this business gets fixed is the same way everything gets fixed…by changing one person’s heart at a time. You see, if all of us truly looked at those around us as our brother or our sister, our child or our mother, then our hearts would be different toward them. We would want to examine our situation and resources and try to figure out how we could best use them to help someone else have access to a life that includes consistent safety, health, and dignity. (Sounds a little like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness….hmmm) The same kind of life that we enjoy.

Since we returned from India, we’ve barely spoken about the experience. The things we have talked about have been very surface…the funny anecdotes and things we saw.  My heart is wrenching after seeing and hearing and feeling the things we did. We just haven’t processed it all quite yet. I looked into faces of people who have lost their hope because they have no choices. Their hearts are sick because they cannot see another way. In the face of things so overwhelming, I found myself wishing for just a second that I didn’t care. I wished that I had never seen any of it, or that I might forget what I saw. Because sometimes, the problems just seem so huge that it seems like nothing will ever solve them. And how do you give hope to someone with so few choices anyway? But that wish didn’t last very long. The more I thought about it, there was one choice that I decided I was glad to have. You see, I decided that I can choose to have a little less than I could. I could choose to cut back in a few areas and still be able to have enough for myself, and give someone else the opportunity to have enough as well. I like this plan way better than having plenty while my brother or sister sits by with nothing. I can give up my plenty, still have enough, and make sure someone else has enough too. No one will take from me what I have…I will freely give it.

If I break it down and look at the numbers, the truth is that it really won’t even cost me very much. If I freely give up one Starbucks coffee, one trip to the movie theater, a new pair of sunglasses, dinner out once a month, and new lipstick colors for the spring, I’ve already made room for one more girl at the children’s home where I visited to have a life of enough. In doing so, I’m really not restricting myself or limiting myself…I’m freeing myself to share my plenty in order to give someone else enough. That’s one choice I’m thankful to have and honored to make.

 

…and Life Gets in the Way

So I noticed today how my everyday humdrum parts of life really kinda get in the way of my creative pursuits. Bummer.

Like, for instance….my job. That pesky thing is really taking time away from my writing. Rude!!

And showering, washing/drying/fen-a-g-ling with my hair, shaving my legs, and putting on makeup…those things are getting a little demanding, having to be done every stinkin’ day and all. (Don’t worry, I’m not giving those things up. You’re welcome)

And exercising. Yeah, I’m just about through with that flippin’ business altogether. (Okay, so I’m not really, but there’s no way I’m going to stop complaining about it!) I actually have fallen into a very (VERY) strange love affair with running. And now I’m signed up to run a race even. 4 whole miles (that is a marathon to me, thank you very much!) and that’s happening in about a week. WHAT!!??

[breathing into a brown bag] moving right along…..

Writing, I love you. I really, truly do. And I know I neglected you for too many years and now that we’ve just gotten back together, I hardly spend enough time with you. And now people are starting to ask what is up with us and it’s getting all awkward at dinner parties and such. But I really still do love you. I don’t want you to leave… really. I’ll change someday…I promise.

Anyhoo…. I am loving writing lately so much that I think about it a lot. Like when I shouldn’t be thinking of it. Like at work. And when I’m sleeping (yep, dreamt about submitting an article the other night…yikes!) and I’m starting to prefer it to my day job. Which is super fun and way crazy scary all at the same time.

But…what do we have here?? Another creative flame that may be fanned into existence again??? Dut-da-da-daaahhhh…

I need to get back on the jewelry-making train. And….fast. Why, you ask??

Because in [early!] December, my little bitty pieces of wearable art just might inspire someone to buy them in order to give the money to an awesome organization to fight a hideous monster.

Eyebrow raising yet??

More to come soon on that… (I’ll give you a few hints: Gallery Hop, Doma, awesome. There, that’s all you get.)

For now, let’s just say that I have to get BUSY on this project, and all that non-important mumbo-jumbo like eating and sleeping and working and showering and blow-drying and exercising (especially that!!) is SO going to get in the way of this resurrected love, I just KNOW it….. *Sigh*

Please pray for me…I need a lot of stamina in the upcoming weeks. For my job (need a little extra motivation on that one too, please,) for the upcoming race I’ll be running on Thanksgiving morning (woohoo!!) and most of all for this new project that will take a lot of time out of my schedule in the next few weeks. I’m psyched and inspired and even though I’m tired, I’m feeling very alive right now. Check back with me in a couple of weeks on that one…

Goodnight friends…thanks for listening (reading!) my rambling.

PS: speaking of inspiration: thank you to everyone who requested a topic for me to write about. One problem: The requests are split exactly 50/50 between people who want to read more marriage-related stuff and people who requested everything else! If you haven’t responded to that little survey yet, would you take a minute to break the tie for me? That would be awesome and appreciated. Thank you!!