GPS

“I think I need to go right,” I said to Barton who was riding shotgun.

“No,” she rebuked – well, maybe not rebuked, firmly replied. “Just keep going straight. She will tell us when to turn.”

The “she” is Barton’s GPS voice that was leading us through the streets of Far North Houston – Humble, Tx to be exact. The girls jumped on an adventure to join me in Houston for some unexpected fun. At least I hope it’s fun. KSBJ’s Morning Show host Bill Maier invited me to sit in for his co-host Copelia while she’s off for a couple of days.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.55.57 PMBill’s invite was out of the blue – I had blank space on my calendar – I said yes – instantly doubted myself – then determined to sink into the craziness of it all. I mean, what a blast to see up close and personal the workings of one of the best morning radio shows.

“In 500 feet take the veer right at the fork.”

I looked at Snopes, doubting the instruction. “500 feet,” she nod-reiterated to me.

So, I did what the map guide said to do. And I kept doing it (thanks to the task-master riding shotgun) but not without questioning: “Aren’t we supposed to go turn now?” Or being impatient, “seems like we’ve gone WAAAYY to far!” Or thinking I knew better, “No, I’m sure that this is the street.” Followed by, “No worries, I can just turn around and try again.”

“If you’ll just listen and follow what it says, we’ll get there,” Barton said to me. “Even though it’s not talking all the time, it always says when to turn or to go straight just at the right time.”

It was the listen and follow comment that really got me. Sounded familiar. And wise.

It’s an admonition we’ve really been holding on to tight of late. When things in life veer off the path that you assumed normal, regular – not looking for spectacular here.

Recently, with some gals that have been gathering on Tuesdays to contemplate heaven and living life in light of eternity, the topic of manna-living came up. It was beautiful to consider together the fact that manna wasn’t only something that appeared every morning for daily nourishment to the wandering folks in a desert so long ago. Manna was perfect provision for each and every person. What appeared on the outside to look and be the same actually perfectly met each and every very different person in their very different needs. Fun to think that the same manna nourished/sustained a diabetic as well as gluten-free and even the picky is-there-any-ketchup kids.

What does that have to do with us today? Manna not only nourished but served as a teaching tool, a visual of sorts, to point us toward what actually has always been around – perfect provision. Even in the moments when it might not seem like it.

I was relying on Barton’s directions because my maps app was stuck, stubbornly refusing to work. Hers, on the other hand, worked though it might have appeared questionable at best on the outside of her smashed phone:

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“Hey – it’s right there,” Barton pointed at the KSBJ sign in the parking lot of our destination. “I told you we would get there. You just had to be patient.”

If she only knew how deep those words had sunk. They were a nice long drink to a thirsty soul – a reminder to stay the course even when we can’t always see what’s around the corner.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

p.s. Listen in today and tomorrow at KSBJ – Houston

Top 10 Tips for Surviving Swimsuit Shopping … and a few thank-you’s

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June 21st, the official start of Summer, is just around the corner. And if you haven’t already done it, swimsuit shopping is staring you down. Because, it’s that time of the year, again. Groans can be heard coming from mall dressings-rooms across the globe.

“I hate shopping for swim-suits,” said my college-aged niece.

“I do, too.” I replied, secretly wishing to be a twenty year-old like her rather than a budding 50 year-old soon to face a 3-way mirror.

We’re not alone. 70 percent of Americans would rather go to the dentist, do their taxes, sit in the middle aisle on an airplane, or visit their in-laws than go swimsuit shopping, according to a recent survey.

But, rather than give sewn-together pieces of spandex cloth any power, here are Ten Tips for Swimsuit-Shopping Survival.

No 10: Talk to yourself. Confirm that yes – you are, in fact, the same person in jeans and a sweater as you are in a swimsuit. [Repeat step as needed.]

No 9: Code-Word Photoshop. Those grocery store checkout magazine covers that taunt us with “my new beach-body”… airbrushed.

No 8: Take Back-Up. Cagney had Lacy, Rizzoli had Isles – swimsuit-shopping dressing rooms are no different than most homicide crime scenes. Our thoughts can be notorious joy killers. So, grab a friend and be prepared to believe her. [Warning: Never try on swim-suits together – for obvious reasons.]

No 7: Look straight ahead. When perusing the rack, keep your eyes on your own paper. Don’t look at the shopper next to you, eye their size or suit choices. You are not that person.

No 6: Choose carefully. Be honest. Best to avoid wishful thinking.

No 5: Glasses. Bring and put on glasses, sunglasses or rose-colored if you have them. Never allow dressing-room lighting to ruin your mood.

No 4: Take control: Forcefully dispel negative thoughts. In 10 years, you’ll look back and wish you could look the way you do now. [Good time to repeat: I’m the same person in jeans and a sweater.]

No 3: Pick and pray. Just pick one. Get over questionable mirror angles and size tags that never deserve the power we give them to mess with our thoughts. Take your tag, scratch out the 1 and make that size 12 a 2. Instant boost. Pray for yourself and for the person in the dressing room next to you. She’s wishing for candescent over bright, highlight-every-flaw-that-is-or-isn’t-there fluorescent lighting too.

No 2: Perspective. My niece points us in the right direction:

“Yeah,” she continued. “I don’t like swimsuit or shoe shopping.”

Shoe shopping?!

“Yeah, swim suits and pairs of shoes – those really need to be something you LOVE – since you only have one or two for the entire season.”

For her – a disdain for swimsuit shopping has nothing to do with body-image or self-worth. Her thoughts have rarely, if ever, been held prisoner to an airbrushed ideal.

She doesn’t think that way because she doesn’t see that way.

She is visually-impaired. And though her sight is limited, she sees more than anyone I know. She is also one of the most content people I know – even when shopping for swimsuits.

Keller Quote No 1: Focus: Don’t allow racing thoughts to focus on limitations – especially if they have anything to do with body image. But if they do, let them be vague, “like a breeze among flowers.”

Your worth resides much deeper than any exterior image seen in a mirror.

Thanks for walking the road with me!

– Kay

p.s. A special thanks to catholicmom.com for posting this article on their website. And THANKS to all the fun media outlets this week who felt like chatting about comparison and it’s assault on our contentment.

NPR’s KERA: Think with Krys Boyd

Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey & Bob Levine, Day 1

And to our friend KJ Dell’Antonia for the shout-out at NYT Motherlode:
Motherlode

The Meaning of Life

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“What’s the meaning of life?”

The question floated my way from the back seat. It was lobbed to me by my sole passenger whom I had just retrieved from a birthday party at Lil’ Ninjas. He’s 8. I thought he was being silly.

“What do you think the meaning of life is?” I tossed back with a little wink in the rear-view mirror.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “That’s why I asked you.”

He was serious. Apparently he really wanted to know.

I thought for a minute. I might have even hummed an audible “hmmmm….” as I considered the best way to answer such a grand question from a little kid who apparently was thinking big thoughts.

How do you answer a question like that? For an eight-year-old? For myself?

Big language won’t work – even if you have the answer. Answers to kids need to be concise, without confusing or flowery language to mask any lack of knowledge on the subject. They see right through a good stall. And, answers can’t be layered with philosophical or theological verbiage. Such tactics that often work with adults only garner more questions with kids. Answers need to be simple. Simple and true in order for them to land.

As I considered his question: What is the meaning of life?, I wondered – can it be boiled down to a simple statement that could satisfy the curiosity of a child? The curiosity of the adult to whom the question was asked? Though my thoughts raced through iterations of explanations, they kept traveling back to love. To love … and to people. Because it seems to me that God started it all as an outflow of love. (And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13)

But before I could start down the road and try to say out loud what I think about the meaning of life… the kid did.

“I think I know,” he began after his own careful contemplation of the question he had asked. “I think the meaning of life is fun.”

Hmm….

“Okay,” I nod. Then prod, “What is fun to you?”

“Well,” he paused – maybe running through his own mental iterations to see if his conclusion rings true. Then he confidently replied, “Fun is spending time with cousins.”

His conclusion is the closest definition of love this side of heaven. When he’s with cousins he can barely contain the love he feels for them and the happiness he experiences when he’s with them.

Love and people.

“Yes,” he continued. “Cousins and Hawaiian Falls.”

Hawaiian Falls?

“You know that thing that goes around the water park where you float?”

“The lazy river?” I offer.

“Yes – the Lazy River. It moves you along without you having to try. Yeah – that and cousins is what’s fun. And I think that’s the meaning of life.”

Well – there you have it. The meaning of life. Love. People. Carried along. (Sidenote: not only did Jack enjoy the Lazy River because the current moves you along, but also because his friend Charlie was riding alongside.) Living life alongside, not on our own strength, but through the One who first loved us. It may be a theological stretch, but it sure had me thinking.

Thanks for walking the road with me.

-Kay

p.s.

p.s. A special shout-out thanks to the outpouring of love I received yesterday as so many of you let me reach out for support and prayer on a couple of things. I was overwhelmed by the support (during a media-infused day) and the kind words through texts and emails. You know who you are :)

USA Today: Graduates, Listen to your mom: Column

USA Today was kind enough to share a little carpool commencement speech. Here’s a snippet and a link to read the rest. What advice would you add? (Join the conversation here OR better yet on the USA Today site.) With a 600-word limit – and an editor that made a few changes – I was a bit limited in what I could include. But what can an unknown do but say/shout THANKS!

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Advice from commencement speakers is one thing. But your mom knows you best.

Young men and women of 2015, I would say, my chief counsel is this: Take the good from headline speakers — and from anyone else who impresses you — but use them to add to who you are, and not to subtract from how you see yourself.

As a dark-horse commencement speaker, I would give three pieces of advice:

1) Dare to not compare. Give up the impulse to measure up.

Comparison is like an electric car, I’d say. It pulls up in silence and captures attention through envy, what-ifs and if-onlys, fair and not fair, measuring and striving to be enough. The car doors open to woo you to the Land of Discontent where all the street names end in –er: Better, Prettier, Faster, Smarter. (You’ve been there — the land where everyone else’s highlight reels appear to be another day in the park.)

Forget that car. Your job is to be the fullest version of yourself, which excludes living up to any image on your smartphone screen, notebook screen, computer screen, movie screen … any screen.

2) Life is a journey and not a relay race, so travel alongside people and not against them.

The trend to live out loud surrounds you, but life is not a win-or-lose event on any of a dozen performance platforms. There is no…

Click HERE to read the rest:

Thanks for walking the road with me

-Kay