Tag Archives: God Chicks

Sinking Under Circumstances or SOARING ABOVE Circumstances?

“Oh me, oh my….” she’d proclaim numerous, upon numerous times a day…

She was a glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl.  The staff at the nursing home, her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandchildren, and her friends could predict her woe-is-me words on a daily basis.

Sad, but that’s just the way she was.  I told her as much.  She’d laugh and say, “No I am not negative!”

To make matters worse, I’d blame her for making me that way…Whoa…let’s just come to a screeching halt, right there….No blame game allowed.

Every day, every day, E-V-E-R-Y day, we have a choice.  Yeah, not easy, but it’s the truth.  My perkier-than-he-needs-to-be husband wakes up singin’ country songs every morning.  (Surely there’s a law against that?)  I grumble ‘til I’ve had at least half a pot of coffee.


Those of you who knew her, know that the “Oh me, oh my” lady was my Mother, God rest her soul. Confession: I fight sinking versus soaring above circumstances daily

This week we are going to close out the God Chicks by learning about the Whatever-It-Takes Chick.  It’s a great, friendly finale, however getting there may be a bit rocky.  We will learn how to soar above our circumstances…

The resource we’ve been studying, lo these many weeks, is Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.  If you’ve missed these phenomenal chicks, you can find out more by clicking on The Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, The Champion Chick, The Friend Chick and The Party Chick

God Chicks

We’re going to learn three tips on how to be a Whatever-It-Takes Chick:

#1: “ A Whatever-It-Takes Chick takes care of what she has been given, stewarding it well so that her capacity will be increased.”  Jesus taught us this in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-28.  His desire is for us to be good stewards of what He gives us.

The Life Application Bible says, “God gives us time, gifts, and other resources according to our abilities and He expects us to invest them wisely until he returns.  We are responsible to use well what God has given us.  The issue is not how much we have, but how well we use what we have.”


Holly continues, “If we are committed to being whatever-it-takes chicks,…then we must spend time with people who help enlarge us.” (Grow our faith.) “Who are you spending time with?  Who are you having coffee with?”

She warns us about spending too much time with negative people.  (We talked about that in “What Kind of Friend Are You?  Faithful or Flaky?”…)  She encourages us to seek out mentor types.  People who are committed to doing, to loving more, forgiving more, giving more, THAT’s who we need to be meeting at Starbucks, walking with, eating lunch with, shopping with (oops…maybe shopping is a stretch, but I couldn’t resist. “Retail therapy”…)

people  group happy with colored bags

#2:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks must be great at handling pressure.”  There’s where our title, soaring above, vs. sinking under circumstances comes in. And here’s where two amazing real-life Whatever-It-Takes Chicks enter…

Both of these gals were extremely devoted wives and caregivers to their husbands, both of whom battled cancer valiantly. Those of us who are friends with Kathy and Joe Daniels, and Gwen and Mike Paten, still remember shuddering at the shocking news of their diagnoses.


As friends observing from various distances, some from afar, some up close, we witnessed the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  Kathy and Gwen were Jesus in the flesh to their husbands.  They were Jesus in the flesh to their friends.  While many times we were speechless, their words soothed us. (Why is it when we attempt to comfort the bereaved, many times they end up comforting us?!!!  Sigh…)

Onlookers were blessed.  Young moms were encouraged.  The entire Ohio State football team where Joe coached was ministered to.  Nurses, doctors, janitors, and people beyond family members saw firsthand what “walkin’ the talk” looked like in Louisville, Kentucky and Columbus, Ohio.

By God’s grace and His outstretched arms, Kathy’s and Gwen’s faith never waivered.  Doubt wasn’t danced with. If we, as friends, doubted or feared, Kathy and Gwen would reassure us.


#3:  “Whatever-it-takes chicks don’t look for what is the least they can do.  No, they GO THE EXTRA MILE.”

Two years ago, Lifeway’s Deeper Still Conference came to town. It featured three top-notch Bible study teachers and authors: Kay Arthur, Beth Moore, and Priscilla Shirer. Several gals volunteered on the prayer team for the conference. Gwen was one of them.

The afternoon of opening night I got a phone call. My friend Jane said, “Are you sitting down?” To which I replied, “No…I’m getting dressed, putting on make-up, and drinking tea simultaneously.” Jane did not laugh at my pityful-poor-multi-tasking humor. She paused… “Well, sit down.”

I sat.

I can’t recall how the rest unfolded. I just remembered crumpling up in a chair and wondering how in the world we’d all pull it together to attend this conference.

Her words went something like this: “Docs have told Gwen that Mike may live two more weeks.” Keep in mind he was only diagnosed two weeks prior to this very day.

Somehow we made it to the conference. And there, on the front row, with her “prayer apron” on, was our Gwennie. Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.


Equally mind-blowing, upon Joe’s death, Kathy rose to speak at his funeral. She made sure the entire audience knew who Joe’s friend was who carried him and their family thru’ his journey.

She said, “I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about Joe’s friend, Jesus Christ.” She also presented the Gospel, glorifying God in the most amazing way. There wasn’t a dry eye in the entire church.  Praising the Lord in the midst of sinkable circumstances.

Open Bible

They both were a picture of Job when he said  “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21b)

Like my friends Gwen and Kathy, Holly Wagner says the Whatever-It-Takes-Chick “doesn’t buckle under pressure. She lets the pressure propel her to the next level.

Soaring ABOVE her circumstances, not SINKING under them.

Holly closes with a final challenge: “Just be faithful to be the God Chick in your corner of the earth. And the truth is, it’s actually not just about you. Your actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone, whose actions will affect someone…and it just goes on and on.”

Frozen Time. Drop of water

She pleads, “Don’t hide behind fear or anger or a lack of confidence. The just-b-u chick, the princess chick, the warrior chick, the champion chick, the friend chick, and the whatever-it-takes chick ALL reside in you…You were put on the plant for ‘such a time as this.’ C’mon, you can do it!”

Ann Voskamp’s entry to her blog this week is entitled  “Why You Are Where You Are: For Such a Time as Now” .  Exactly what we’ve been talking about, including the most amazing story. Check it out: www.aholyexperience.com. See the June 18th entry. May we all be encouraged.

Let’s pray:

Lord, you know the wimps we tend to be (!!!). May you equip us to go the extra mile. To soar above our circumstances. To trust you relentlessly. To QUIT WORRYING. To shine the light of Christ onto others. To recognize those in need. I praise you for strong Christian women, God Chicks, if you will, who touch our lives, bringing us along behind them. Keep pursuing us! Amen and amen.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to two of the most amazing Whatever-It-Takes Chicks I know: Gwen Paten and Kathy Daniels. Mike patiently endured cancer thirty-three days. Joe patiently endured cancer five and a half years. Gwen and Kathy burned the midnight oil and were exemplary wives and caregivers. We rejoice that Mike and Joe are in Heaven with the Lord. We rejoice in the witness that Gwen and Kathy are still giving to God’s goodness. They are living out Romans 8:28 which tells us: “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Thanks, girls. God is smiling on you both for your steadfast faith. May He hold you tightly and continue to comfort you.)


Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Friends, Life Lessons

Throwing a Surprise Party is No Piece of Cake…

Ahhh, the web of lies we weave… If you’ve ever thrown a surprise party for that special someone, you know you begin with just one teensy-weensy white lie, which leads to another, and another, quickly mushrooming-n-multiplying until you have no idea WHO you told what.

My friend Michelle and I miraculously pulled off a colossal surprise party for our husbands, Mark and John.  At the time, lo these many years ago, they were turning the big 4-0.


We were blessed with generous friends who offered their company’s facility for the venue.  We created “mock” invitations which invited ourselves to a black tie pre-Derby party.  We feigned excitement over dressing up for the party while our husbands groaned over donning tuxes.

The “real” invitations asked our friends to come to a surprise party for Mark and John and the dress code was casual.  The guys fell for it, hook-line-and-sinker.  Thus the birthday boys stood out just a tad in their tuxedos! The surprise party was a success and as they say, “a good time was had by all”…

John Tux

Everybody loves a good party.  We all know someone, who even in regular settings, is the “life of the party”.  Just off the top of my head I can name three of my friends who I seek out on a regular basis simply to soak in their life-of-the-party-positive-attitudes.

For the past several weeks, we’ve learned about all kinds of “chicks” from Holly Wagner and her fun book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman. (If you’ve missed the earlier ones, you can click on these to learn more:  Just-B-U, Princess, Warrior, Champion, and Friend) Holly’s encouraging style shows us God created us to be ALL of these kinds of chicks.

God Chicks


This week we’ll learn three tips on how to be a Party Chick.   Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  Holly encourages us in this chapter to love life.  She reminds us, “Jesus told His followers that He came to bring life…not death or destruction…but life.

The word Jesus used for ‘life’ is the Greek word zoe.  This word implies more than the breathe-in, breathe-out kind of life…meaning abundant, overflowing, rich, and plentiful life!”

 Tip #1:  Party Chicks live life with passion“We should be celebrating the life we have been given…not just trudging thru’ the days…”  Sigh.  I know this.  But, some days I just don’t feel like it. You?

I don’t want to walk the dog. I don’t want to iron. (Oh, we may just spend some time on that “hot” subject down the road….) I don’t want to straighten my desk.  (Do NOT ask my husband about “our” desk!) And I really, really, REALLY don’t want to cook!

Kitchen sign

Holly doesn’t let up on us, she digs deeper…. “We are given the moment called now. And this moment will not come againWe are to live each moment.  Time then becomes our responsibility.  We are given now only once.”

 “What are you doing with your now moment?”  Truthfully, I wanted to leave that little question out, but…  we’re in this together!   Let’s pray that the Lord will open our eyes to live in the now moment, as in right now.

Tip #2 – Party Chicks are joyful.  They choose “happy” in the midst of their circumstances.  I know, this is tough too.  Believe it or not, an overwhelming amount of research has proven that if you’ll just count your blessings, listing a few each day, your attitude, your health, and your relationships will all improve.

Best resource to turn your attitude right side up:  Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts –A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.  I double-dog-dare you to try it!  Don’t forget she’s coming to Louisville for the North American Christian Convention and will be speaking at the Ladies’ Luncheon, and teaching a workshop on blogging Thursday, July 11th!  (www.gotonacc.org )  You do NOT want to miss the chance to hear her! (For a taste of her Gospel-laced wisdom, click on Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis… and visit her website:  www.aholyexperience.com )

One Thousand Gifts

Philippians 4:8-9 is an excellent challenge for all of us from the apostle Paul:  “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received, or learned from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)

John and I were blessed a few years ago to hear Zig Ziglar speak about the above Scripture.  He used it to warn us about the “G-I-G-O” method.  He said, “If you put garbage into your mind, garbage will come out of your mouth or worse, into your lifestyle…Garbage in, garbage out…”

But… if you make a concerted effort to filter what goes into your mind, thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy, THEN look at the promise in that Scripture, “the God of peace WILL be with you.”

Tip #3:  A Party Chick’s words bring life.  Proverbs 18:21a says, “The tongue has the power of life and death…”(NIV)

Holly makes an eye-opening point:  “See the good…Be the encourager…Do NOT be the girl who is a master at life-liposuction…sucking ALL the life out of someone.”  (Think blood-sucking leech!  This goes right back to last week’s post about Healthy or Unhealthy Friendships…)


Polar opposite from those lovely leeches, let’s camp on encouragement.  It has such a ripple effect.  Holly reminds us, “There is power in encouragement.  It is a gift that can change lives.”

Florence Littauer wrote a beautiful book called, Silver Boxes—The Gift of Encouragement.  It is all about the words we speak and their influence on others.  It is based on Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

 Silver Boxes

Holly teaches, “The word encourage means ‘to put courage in’, and courage means ‘facing danger in spite of fear.’ As we encourage people, we are saying, ‘Keep going! You can do it!’”

To add icing to our party cake, on top of encouraging others, let’s throw in a little laughter.  Proverbs 15:13 in the NCV says, “A happy heart is like good medicine.”  (We talked about the benefits of laughter in the post Get Over the Guilt –Grab a Nap…from Feb. 13..)

Butter Babes laughing

My three friends I mentioned earlier, who are life-of-the-party-positive-attitude girls, ALL love to laugh.  They make laughter seem effortless.  Their outlook on life is contagiously optimistic.

Nicholas De Chamfort said, “The most wasted of all days is that during which one has not laughed.”  Let’s all go out and find something or someone who’s funny and be the best Party Chick God has called us to be!  May God be glorified.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my three Party Chick friends, whom you’ve heard me talk about before, and will again soon:  Nancy Aguiar, Jane Chilton and Gwen Paten. They lift my spirit every single time I’m around them and THAT, my friends, is worth a million bucks.)


Filed under Book Reviews, Conferences, Family, Friends, Life Lessons

What Kind of Friend Are You? Healthy or Unhealthy? (Part 3 of 3)

“Uh, yes… we’d like the Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Strawberries Salad, please, dressing on the side.”  Verdict:  Healthy!

“Uh…and could you please bring us some of your biscuits with those salads?” Verdict:  Unhealthy (but oh-so-fun…)!

Highly amused, our waitress trotted off to retrieve piping hot biscuits with butter, honey, jelly, and more butter to “accompany” our salads.  Surely the salad would counteract the calories of the biscuits???

Country Fresh Biscuits

This meal was part of a recent “banner day” with a long-time friend from Indianapolis.  She’s not just any friend.  She’s a wife, mom, accomplished and published writer, a teacher, a life coach, and an ultra crafty note card maker.  We hadn’t seen each other in WAY too many years.  Allow me to introduce you to Robin Chaddock.


Good news: Robin’s newly married daughter lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  Better news:  Robin was coming to visit!  We snagged a tiny window in our schedules, jumped on  I-65, meeting in the middle, at the Cracker Barrel south of Louisville.

We had lofty ambitions to go antiquing after lunch and to “check on” potential bargains at Zappo’s.  Shocking, after our very long lunch, we only got as far as the rockers on Cracker Barrel’s porch.  With a lovely, warm breeze in our hair, we solved a few of life’s problems.


Isn’t it fun when you can steal away with a friend?  Even if only for a meal, sometimes it’s the boost we need to navigate the day.  Verdict:  healthy!

This quote is a favorite from a book on friendship (compiled by Snapdragon Editorial Group, Inc.) :  “A true friend is someone who has met your family and is sure you will overcome the law of genetics.”  Smile.  Plain and simple:  Sometimes friends “get” you better than family does.


Proverbs 18:24 says, “A true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (NRSV)

These past couple of weeks we’ve been learning tips on being a faithful, Mary-like “Friend Chick” (to see previous posts on friends, click on… for Faithful or Flaky or Mary and Martha).

Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks-Living Life as a 21st Century Woman,  has been opening our eyes about the different types of God Chicks we were created to be.  We’ve learned about the Just-B-U Chick, The Princess Chick, The Warrior Chick, and the Champion Chick.

God Chicks

This week, in learning more about being a Friend Chick, we’ll pick up where we left off in a favorite book, Over Salad and Hot Bread—What an Old Friend Taught Me About Life by Mary Jensen.  We met Mary Jensen who is a “Martha” and Nancy Bayless who was most definitely a “Mary”.

Mary and Nancy had a favorite activity: taking car trips.  In addition to writer’s conferences, they found fun anywhere they went.  As the years rolled by, Mary realized their car trips were taking on a different distinction.

Not having gone to a doctor in fifty years, Nancy was suddenly in need of several doctors.  Recently widowed, with health deteriorating, and now dealing with the “Big C”, Mary  said, “Nancy dealt with age in one primary fashion:  She didn’t talk about it.”


Why is it we all deny aging, thinking we all will escape it?  Verdict:  Unhealthy!

I love how Mary puts it, “Tho’ the body sags and fails, our dear little souls stay young.”  So  true.  Each year when John and I take our sons to the University of Kentucky, I typically will don one of their backpacks. Magically transported back into time, I think I’m the student….until someone calls me “Mam”…Sigh.

After my Dad had a stroke and we realized he and Mother could no longer function in their home, John and I took them on a tour of an Assisted Living facility nearby.  After the tour, John posed the big question, “Well, how’d you like it?”  Not skipping a beat, Mother said, ”Oh, it’s just a bunch of old people!”


Back to Mary and Nancy:   Mary and two other close friends, plus family, are learning how to care for their beloved Nancy. Here’s where the topic of this week’s post comes in:  Are your friendships healthy or unhealthy? 

I won’t even attempt to address the mental aspect of friendships…Best resource for such is a book by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend called  Boundaries—When to Say “Yes”, How to Say “No” to Take Control of Your LifeAdditionally, my friend Jane taught me, “If there’s something that bothers you in a relationship, and it’s still there six months later, MOVE ON…”


Where I’m wanting us to head is in the physical aspect of healthy or unhealthy friendships.  I’ve had so many friends battling cancer recently.  It’s a scary place to be if you’ve not dealt with it before.  Mary and her friends:

Handled Nancy’s cancer journey with respect,

Aspiring to meet her needs,

Loving her NO MATTER WHAT.

Verdict:  Faithful friends STAY during good health and bad health.

In spite of all the changes, Nancy kept her chin up.  Visitors lined up to glean more wisdom from her. Her three closest friends received a cram course in how to keep their marriages alive.

“Nancy, always on a quest to protect the marriages around her, climbed up on that soapbox without leaving her chair.  Before her illness, she actually worked up an entire seminar on the subject of touching.  ‘Physical contact’ became her signature recommendation for marital staleness or difficulty.”  Verdict:  healthy.

Young couple in love holding hands

Finally, Nancy and Mary’s shared faith became a rock to cling to.  Nancy kept her Bible open to Zephaniah 3:17: 

 “The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with his love,

He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Every phrase had meaning for Nancy.

When asked how her spiritual life was going, Nancy said, “I’m overwhelmed with the Lord’s presence.”  May we ALL be overwhelmed with His presence.

Don’t miss this lesson at the end of the book from Mary:  “I suppose when someone seems so alive, so interested in you, so vested in what matters to you, that you come to pay homage, to mend breaches, to comfort, to console, perhaps to catch one last glimpse before your friend slips into eternity.  Or sometimes you come just to be loved for a few more minutes.” (Can’t tell you any more other than to fetch some Kleenex!)

You also must read about Jerry Jenkins and his wife, Dianna’s visit with Nancy.  It was their wish to be with Nancy just one more time.  Jerry has a special nickname for her.  He mentions it in the forward of the book, and he explains it during the visit.  (Not spoiling that either!)

You’ll be happy to know Jerry read Psalm 91 to Nancy.  They, too, shared a love for God’s Word.  More tears.

Mary gives us the best advice on dying:  “…death is aptly defined as bittersweet.  There’s no denying the sorrow, the loss, but it’s such a sweet privilege to be there.  And when the dying one is anticipating a reunion in heaven, and the face-to-face meeting of her God and Savior, and when you believe it, too, there is little to mourn.”  Verdict:  Healthy!!!


White coffin with pink sympathy flowers


So does Mary carry on Nancy’s legacy?  Not tellin’, but bet you can guess. You must see how it all unfolds.  Hint:  God is glorified.

May we all take these tips on being a faithful, Mary-like, in-sickness-or-health Friend Chick.  And may we serve up some chocolate so Nancy will smile over us.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to my friend and mentor, Robin Chaddock.  See her fabulous books below….I met her years ago thru’ a divine appointment, thanks to my cousin Bonnie.  Robin has also been a speaker for us at Book Club.  I’m beyond tickled that she has more than one reason now to blow thru’ Louisville!!! God Bless you and your family, Robin!)







Filed under Book Reviews, Friends, Life Lessons

What Kind of Friend Are You? Faithful or Flaky? (Part 1 of 3)

“Depends on the minute, the hour, and the day…”  is how I’d answer.  Not such a swell response…Flaky comes to mind…

How  ‘bout you?  Would you say you’re a faithful friend (Think Winnie the Pooh), or a flaky one (Who could ignore Eeyore?)???


Eyeores Tail

Indulge me in two amazing, inspirational stories of friendship.   We’re still following Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks-Living Life as a 21st Century Woman.   Next in line is the Friend Chick.  (For other super fun chicks we’ve learned about, click on…Just B U, Princess, Warrior, Champion…)

God Chicks

If we could jump into a sidewalk chalk picture, a la Mary Poppins, we’d take our first plunge into a busy street scene in New York City….many moons ago…

My Aunt June and Uncle Mac lived in Englewood, New Jersey, right across the George Washington Bridge from New York City.  Mac was a tax attorney on Wall Street.  June was an amazing mother to my cousin Russ as well as a Housewife, faithful churchgoer, fan of the theater, fan of the Opera, and life in general. She knew no strangers.


My favorite story about their marriage, besides their mutual love of travel (They actually lived in Paris for several years!), was that many nights a week you could find them in their basement playing ping-pong!  Quite a sight to behold given Mac’s six-foot-six frame.

Realizing how much time they spent in the City, they decided to find an apartment where they could spend weekends to catch a Broadway show or attend dinner parties.  The apartment also came in handy for Mac to be able to work late.

The only place they differed in their cultural interests was the Opera.  June adored it.  Mac?  Not so much.


June discovered an easy solution to this dilemma.  She began going to day-time performances of the Opera. It was at these events where she met an amazing woman.  Funny discovery, they shared the exact same last name:  another Mrs. McCandless!

One thing led to another and both Mrs. McCandless’ enjoyed lunches together, savored performances at the Metropolitan Opera House together, and delighted in Afternoon Tea together.  Quickly, a rich friendship blossomed.


Opera seasons and the years flew by.  Their faithful friendship grew closer with each passing year.  Sadly, the elder Mrs. McCandless’ health began to deteriorate.  Upon her death, June and Mac were amazed to learn that Mrs. McCandless truly had no immediate family.  Her husband had passed away years before.  She left her entire estate to my Aunt June.

The elder Mrs. McCandless also had a New York apartment.  As June and Mac sifted thru’ her belongings, they kept some things and donated some things.  One lighting fixture was always a favorite of my Aunt’s.  It was a crystal chandelier.


They had the chandelier moved to their home in New Jersey.  For some reason, they couldn’t get the fixture to operate consistently.  They had a lighting expert, whom I’ll call Joe, come and take it to be cleaned and thoroughly re-wired.

A few days later, Joe phoned June.  “Mrs. McCandless, you’d better come down here.  I want you to see something.”  Fearing he’d somehow damaged the chandelier, June jumped in her car, arriving in minutes.

“Mrs. McCandless, I’d like to show you something.  What you have, I believe, is priceless.  The crystal drops on this chandelier are signed.  This is Signature Waterford.”  Now, while my Aunt was normally the very calm, conservative, serene type, I suspect she was border-line heart attack at this announcement!  Can you fathom such a scenario?

Now please-oh-please do NOT hear me say, “Let’s make friends just so we can inherit a priceless treasure…”(Au contraire!!!),  but please DO hear me say: Pay attention to people with whom God crosses your path. God made us for relationship. He usually has a purpose in crossing your path with someone.

Always keep your heart open for friends….of ALL ages.  (You can revisit last week’s post about carrying the torch of friendship “Just Take One More Step”… regarding Champion Chicks.)  We learned via a relay illustration how we must not only pass the baton of faith to younger generations, but we must receive the baton of faith from older ones.

olympic torch relay runner

While I jokingly say, “Friends are cheaper than therapy,” for many of us, it’s the truth.  Angela Hunt said, “friends are the life preserver to one’s sanity.” 

The biggest requirement for a faithful friendship to grow is the GIFT OF TIME. 


Our challenge in today’s culture is the demands it puts on our time.  Sadly the first thing to go, many days, is our time and effort spent with a friend.  Texting has now pre-empted email which has now pre-empted phone calls.  When was the last time you received a hand written note in the mail?


Recently I was awakened late at night by a text message.  It was from a long-time friend who I’d not seen in months.  What she wrote, in one simple sentence, would NOT be something to text someone.

For starters, it was late and secondly, this was a supremely delicate subject which really required a face-to-face conversation or a phone call at the very least. Because she is a long-time friend and I know her character, I trust she didn’t mean any harm by it.

But… my friends, it’s fair to say this is where our culture is headed.  Bottom lineBe considerate in how you handle your friends. Don’t be flaky!

I love how the Message tackles this subject:  Ephesians 4:29 says, “Watch the way you talk.  Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth.  Say only what helps, EACH  WORD A GIFT.”


The New International Version is also great: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Holly Wagner reminds us, “Friendships are not just for you, they are to help those around you. Friendships can be an avenue of hope.

Holly adds, “One way to build friendships is to show acceptance in spite of differences.”   She then expounds on the four personality types:  sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatic and choleric.  (See chapter five in God Chicks.)

Carl Rogers gives us the perfect depiction of appreciating differences: “When I walk on the beach to watch the sunset, I do not call out, ‘A little more orange over to the right, please, or ‘Would you mind giving us less purple in the back?’ No, I enjoy the always-different sunsets as they are.  We’d do well to do the same with people we love.”


May we all be purposeful in being faithful friends.  May we give grace and the Gospel, loving as Christ loved.

We will learn of another uncanny friendship involving two very different personality types AND two different generations next week.  Go hunt down some Kleenex, you’ll need it.

‘Til next time!

(This week’s post is dedicated to my sweet Aunt and Uncle, June and Mac McCandless, who are already with the Lord, perhaps dancing, reading, teaching, and of course, playing ping pong! Time spent with them was always educational, fun, and enlightening.  One of June’s many gifts was handwriting a beautiful letter.  After Mac passed away, June played the role of the Matriarch of our family beautifully.  Even at 90 years of age, she had a personal trainer!  Now THAT is some positive attitude!!!  She, too, was a Champion Chick as well as a Faithful Friend Chick. And for those of you wondering the whereabouts of this incredible chandelier, it is now happily hanging in my cousin Russ’ dining room.)



Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Friends, Life Lessons, Uncategorized

TRANSFORM Wimpy Attitude to WARRIOR Attitude: No Age Limits!

These days age limits barely exist.  Toddlers careen down snow-covered mountains on skis while eighty year olds run marathons.  Now in the fifty-something category for yours truly, I beg to talk some transformation.


While it is ultra important to take care of yourself and to get the proper exercise, I’d like to suggest one’s ATTITUDE makes a whale of a difference when navigating life (for the big picture), or when learning a new sport such as snow skiing, just for a fun lil’ example.

Many moons ago John and I were invited to go snow skiing in Colorado with several friends.  This was the chance of a lifetime for us twenty-somethings.  Small detail:  I had never been skiing before.

Plunking myself in ski school, I learned how to snow plow.  Eventually I could keep the skis parallel.  Finally I learned to spread a lovely arc of snow upon stopping.  Now a “big dog”, I was ready for the “big girl” slopes.

One day our friends said, “Meet us at the top for lunch!  The view and the food is fabulous!!! And there are all kinds of slopes to get you back down.” (Meaning beginners were welcome.)

John was elated to have me join him on the ski lift. He’s a proficient skier and he had been patiently waiting while I’d been in ski school.


At one point while riding the lift up to the top of the mountain, it was snowing pretty hard and the snow was pelting our faces.  I whispered, “Oh, how I wish this were sand and we were at the beach.”  Yep, John heard me.  He laughed…I think.

Lunch at the mountaintop restaurant was indeed delicious and the view spectacular.  Most of our group was black diamond level skiers or blue at the very least (advanced to intermediate).  No greenies (beginners) but me.

Things went downhill from there.  (Pun intended)  We could not find a green slope to return to the mountain’s base.  Nope,  nowhere, no sir.

John sweetly suggested, “Oh, you can handle a blue.  Let’s just go slowly.”  Engulfed by moguls, and none-too-enamored with any of them, down-via-the-derriere became my MOT (mode of transportation).  While the sky was already a beautiful hue of blue, I confess I colored it blue-er.  Arg.

So, in my case, I learned to ski too late.  I had a bad attitude coupled with fear which makes for a lousy combination. WIMPY is one adjective which comes to mind.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, another one of our friends on the trip was also fairly new to skiing. Unbelievably, she was negotiating black diamonds, effortlessly,  in a couple of days.  To this day, she’s determined and won’t quit ‘til she grasps what she’s learning.  WARRIOR-LIKE comes to mind. (This little girl below is well on her way!)


Over the past few weeks we’ve been learning about different chicks from Holly Wagner’s book, God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman. Holly uses the term “chick” to have fun, not to be disrespectful. (For previous chick types, see …THE Just B U Chick and the Princess Chick…) This week we’ll be encouraged to purposely transform into a Warrior Chick. 

 God Chicks

Holly shows us what it takes to become a warrior.  While she offers several warrior characteristics, all of which are worth pursuing (please do read her book!), I’m convinced the most important one is to STAY at the post to which you have been assigned.

I suspect you have many different posts.  For example, I currently have the post of being a wife, a mother, a friend, and a teacher/writer.  What posts do you have?  Most posts are life-long.

Most posts are no piece of cake.  Take marriage for example.  When you got engaged and were in the honeymoon phase, yes, you thought marriage would be a piece of cake.  Soon challenges come and how do you handle them?  Do you abandon your post?  NO!  You stay:  in sickness and in health, thru’ dirty laundry, dirty diapers, teensie weensie arguments, and blown budgets.  You STAY.


Same  with children.  They won’t always do as we like for them to do.  Do we dump ‘em?  Say, “Go fend for yourself?”  NO!  We STAY.

Same with friends.  Holly Wagner discusses friends and forgiveness at length.  Warriors STAY at their posts AND go the distance.

The KEY to warrior attitude is being courageousCourage kills fear.  Holly cited Lisa Beamer as a great example.  Lisa’s husband Todd was one of many killed on September 11th, 2001 when his flight crashed in Pennsylvania.  “On October 19th, just a little more than a month after her husband was killed, Lisa boarded the same Newark to San Francisco flight that her husband had been on…The warrior in her rose up!”  Lisa made a statement against fear.

2 Chronicles 20:17 says, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; STAND FIRM and see the deliverance the Lord will give you Judah and Jerusalem….Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

The Life Application Bible helps us understand the above verse better:  “How do we let God fight for us?  (1) By realizing the battle is not ours, but God’s; (2) By recognizing human limitations and allowing God’s strength to work through our fears and weaknesses; (3) By making sure we are pursuing God’s interests and not just our own selfish desires; (4) By asking God for help in our DAILY battles.”

Holly teaches “the Chinese character for crisis is actually the combination of two concepts: opportunity and danger.  It is all a matter of how you look at it.”  All of us can transform wimpy attitudes into warrior ones!  IT IS NEVER TOO LATE… NO AGE LIMITS!!!

 Many of you know Kristen Sauder.  Kristen is valiantly battling cancer.  (www.kristensauder.com )  She is staying at her post of wife, Mom, friend, writer, radio talk show host (when she is able).  Her faith is stronger than it was before her diagnosis and she is clinging to it fiercely.  She is a warrior chick if there ever was one.

Kristen Sauder

Ephesians 6: 10-20, on the Armor of God is the best Scripture for us warrior chicks.  This should be the first bit of attire we put on every day:

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all  the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (NIV)

Note the pieces of armor as well as the number of times we’re told to STAND.  The Apostle Paul tells us to be strong, to put on the armor, and to pray, being alert, declaring the Gospel.  Tall order.  Excellent words of wisdom.

The Bible study I’m currently in is by Tammy Head, called Duty or Delight?  Knowing Where You Stand with God.  Tammy further expounds on the Ephesians passage: “There are four requirements to living victoriously:  1 – Know the Battle that’s raging” (Warrior Chicks courageously fight battles.), 2 – “Know the role your identity plays” (STAY at your post!) , 3 –  “Recognize and resist Satan’s attacks” (as Warrior Chicks, we must heed James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist  the devil, and he will flee from you.”, and 4 – “STAND FIRM in the Armor of God.”  Go back and put that armor on!


We could spend weeks on the armor of God.  Navigating life with a warrior attitude requires the Sword of the Spirit.  Guess what it is?  The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. (See vs. 17 above.)

Lady Justice

Hebrews 4:12 tells us:  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Tammy taught us that “a Roman soldier’s sword wasn’t long but rather light as to be used in hand-to-hand combat…Truly having a tight grip on it was a matter of life and death.”  We must be women who have a tight grip on our swords.

Kristen Sauder obviously has a tight grip on her sword.  She frequently shares in her blog how the Word of God, her Sword of the Spirit, is sustaining her.  She is patiently enduring cancer AND, she and her family are ministering to so many of us without even knowing it.

My friends, we do not have to be “tough stuff” on the exterior.  As long as we’re armored up, we are warriors–wielding God’s Word. We are warriors, STAYING at our posts.

Warrior Chicks:  Hold up your swords and claim Galatians 6:9:  “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”   Remember, NO AGE LIMITS!!!  To God be the Glory.bigstock-Wheat-Harvest-concept-12573353

‘Til  next time!

(This post is dedicated to the strongest Warrior Chick I know:   Kristen Sauder.  Of all the Bible studies she’s written, her Praying for your Prodigal–a Journey through Luke 15  study by far continues to encourage me not to give up praying for prodigals.  And for you readers out there, please hold Kristen and her family tightly in your prayers.)


Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews, Life Lessons

From Easter Chicks to God Chicks… Avoid the Comparison Trap!

Perish the thought of ever being a “hot chick”… Please forgive me, but when I hear the word “chick”, because of this lovely world in which we live, that caliente phrase whips around in my little brain.

So, I’d love to introduce you to a fun, positive phrase, for you girls out there.  Did you know we may also be known as “God Chicks”?  There’s a great book by Holly Wagner with that very title: God Chicks—Living Life as a 21st Century Woman. 

God Chicks

Thankfully Holly clarifies the title:  “The reason I’m using the term chick is not to be disrespectful, but to have a little fun!  So c’mon, you amazing God Chick.  Open your heart to a picture of the woman you were created to be!”

 Last week while celebrating Easter, oh and I pray you celebrated “He is risen!” (Click here for more on “He is risen!”, Jesus’ resurrection), you may have seen little Easter chicks for décor. Or, I know some folks who hatch live chicks this time of year.  Cute,  little fuzzy critters…who blossom into big ole’ hens.  Good eggs, bad rap.  I digress…


Let’s return to “God Chicks”.  Holly gives us several kinds of chicks, all of which are empowering. The one we’ll focus on today is the “Just-B-U” Chick.

One of  my pet peeves, and quite honestly, struggles, is the turbulent trap of comparison.  I inevitably compare myself with the “chick next door”, or the “chick next to me at the checkout”, or the “chick on TV”, and by all means run-Forrest-run from magazine covers!

Holly’s prescription for comparison?  The “Just-B-U” chick! She reminds us, “We will only be effective when we are being ourselves…We spend valuable time wishing we were like someone else, and all the time we have our own treasures inside us…just waiting to be discovered.”

Edwin Elliot said, “By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before!” Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, and I know that full well.”

Holly adds, “Together we will do awesome things for our God, but only if we encourage each other as we fulfill our unique purposes rather than tear each other down by being jealous.”


One recent experience highlights this point perfectly.  Last summer, I was blessed to team-teach with two other very seasoned Bible study teachers, Jane Chilton and Nancy Tinnell.  Jane is a long-time dear friend and mentor of mine.  Nancy is a new, dear friend and mentor, and, may I go so far as to say a guardian angel to many of us in a multitude of ways!!!

By some miracle, and by blind belief on Nancy’s part (!), the three of us connected, prayed, and planned a six-week Bible study. (I fully believe, after the fact, this was a divine appointment.)  We studied Liz Curtis Higgs’ book, The Girl’s Still Got It—Take a Walk with Ruth and the God Who Rocked Her World. (If you go online to Liz’ website, www.lizcurtishiggs.com, you can read her blog about her Bible study on the Book of Ruth.)

The Girls still got it

Being the rookie in this trio has its’ benefits:  I got to watch and soak in a boatload of wisdom. (This was my first time ever to teach a Bible study!) Our planning meetings were rich.  Nancy has this uncanny God-given talent to hone in on a theme to share with our attendees.  She  literally came up with one word or character trait per chapter of Liz’ twelve chapter book!  She kept us focused and on-track. She uses beautiful phrases such as “canopy of grace” that melt your heart.

Open Bible

Jane has also taught Bible studies for years.  She first taught Bible Study Fellowship (www.bsfinternational.org ) and later taught at Southeast Christian Church.  I was blessed to sit under her teaching for several semesters.  She also has an uncanny God-given talent:  she brings to the table unforgettable visuals which clearly tie in a teaching point to apply to your life.  She pushes you to savor God’s Word beyond your brain, to let it dwell in your heart and pour out onto others.


These gals encouraged me to just be myself.   Perhaps I was the comic relief of the bunch…. Even  more comical, was how much I prayed the same thing over and over to the Lord.  Can’t we all shout hallelujah that He never tires of hearing from us?

 James 4:8 in the New King James Version reminds us, “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” We praise you Lord.

 Being pushed way out of one’s comfort zone isn’t the worst thing in the world.  Ann Voskamp recently said, “God takes you out of your comfort zone because THAT’S where you meet The Comforter.” 

I pray you’ll seriously grasp Holly Wagner’s concept of a Just-B-U Chick.   (And this is just one of eight different chicks she teaches about!  More on the others in another post or two or seven!)  The Just-B-U chick encourages all of us to use our gifts to share with others.  Quit comparing yourself to others!  It does no one any good.  At all.

 My small group of Bible study buddies is beginning an awesome study written by Tammy Head.  It’s called Duty or Delight?  Knowing Where You Stand with God.


Already in week 2, Tammy addresses the comparison trap.  She says, “If God isn’t the inspiration for doing what we do, let’s abandon those man-made expectations and run to the cross.  What we’re ultimately looking for is approval, and because Jesus offered His life for us, we already have it.”  Just-B-U!!!

 “Never forget…your value…far above rubies and pearls.”  (Adapted from Proverbs 31:10)

 To close, may I ask you to pray a long-term prayer request?  And may it double as something ultra worthwhile to pray about adding to your calendar?  (Click on “But I don’t have time for a Bible study”… if you have any doubts…)

Guess what?  My friends I told you about earlier, Jane and  Nancy….well, WE have just had another planning meeting.  Watch out

 Exciting news!!!  We will be offering a Fall Bible study.  (Thence the long-term prayer request.)  Please pray for all details to come together and for those of you close to Louisville to come and study with us at Middletown United Methodist Church (www.Middletownumc.org.  If you have questions, please call Kelly McDonald at 502-245-8839)!!!

Even better news: EVERYONE’S invited!  While you’re praying, ask the Lord who He would have you invite.

Tentative timing for the Bible study will run from mid-September until mid-November on Tuesdays.  We’ll be studying Liz Curtis Higgs’ updated edition of Bad Girls of the Bible–and What We Can Learn from Them which has a brand-new, chapter-by-chapter Bible study video taught by Liz.

Oh my, we are ALL in for a treat!  And, like last year, Liz will come visit and speak  in one of our morning classes and one of our night classes!  You do not want to miss this opportunity!  (Her book releases July 16th.)

2013 Bad Girls of the Bible COVER 300x450

I pray we can all be a Just-B-U chick every day.  Remember John Piper’s infamous quote, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.”  That is:  in our own skin, not someone else’s.

 Jeremiah 1:5 adds confirmation to our uniqueness:  “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.”

 Blessings to you this spring day.  Just-B-U!

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my two teaching buddies:  Jane Chilton and Nancy Tinnell.  I’m honored and forever grateful to have been a part of last summer’s study and now, this upcoming one for fall.  Y’all keep me challenged!  I need to stay on my knees, and for that, I’m forever grateful.  May God bless you and continue to give you His guidance to lead me and soooo many others. )



Filed under Bible Studies, Book Reviews