One-Sided Negotiations

I’m definitely honing my management skills parenting a toddler.  Negotiations are another story.

After a full breakfast with my son, playtime ensued by tossing a sippy cup of milk across the kitchen.  No-spill cups are no match for him.  Since it was no longer serving as a tool to drink milk but rather a weapon, I took it away.

In less than a second, a shriek rang out coupled with gritted teeth and shaking fists.  Where does he get this?  So I remove him from his highchair.  As his feet touch the ground, his body crumples on the floor into a full body meltdown.

Of course, you don’t want to reward such behavior.  But it is baffling how you go from a simple drink to this.  In negotiations, defining ground rules is essential.  I’m not sure how clearly those get communicated between a parent and a toddler.

I wonder if it would work if I responded the same way he did while upset.  But alas, it’s just spilled milk.

La Gringa Fails: Part 2

My first year here, I had a college friend visit during the country’s spring break–Semana Santa.  Wanting to give her the full tour, we drove outside the city, along with everyone else.

What is normally a two lane highway was transformed by drivers into four lanes, at least three of which were going one direction.  Cars hanging off the shoulders, dodging oncoming traffic, it was another ruthless game of chicken.

Fed up with constantly being cut off by eager beach-goers, my last straw was with one driver that was within an inch of my car.  Reaching out my window, in dead stop traffic, I pounded my fist on the hood of his car, shouting, “Hey, do you have insurance?” in my limited Spanish.

My friend slunk down in the passenger’s seat.  The thirty-something year old driver, leaning in front of his rowdy crew, slowing smiled and responded, “Ay, mamasita!”

Sheepishly I rolled up my window and was forced to inch alongside the guy in traffic for the next forty minutes.


La Gringa Fails

When you live in a foreign land while learning a new language, you’re bound to have some fails along the way.

My first few months here, I was shopping in local Walmart and needed help to find Advil.  So I asked, “Dónde está las drogas para mujeres?” (Where are the drugs for women?)  With a blank stare, she replied, “Advil??”  “Ah, sí, Advil.

Less than two weeks later, I returned looking for Coca-Cola.  “Donde esta la coca?” (Where’s the cocaine?).  “Coca-Cola?” she asked.  “Ah, sí, Coca Cola.”

Pretty sure I’m giving the wrong impression here.  #findanewplacetoshop

Who Do You See?

Cindy & Chris wedding

We are our own worst critics.  Condemning, shaming, comparing.

More often than not, we see where we fall short and not in the spiritual sense but rather in comparison to those around us.

  • Fit in a smaller size.
  • Make every meal from scratch.
  • Take up a hobby or four.
  • Get more involved in activities.
  • Earn more.
  • Buy more.

So why then do we preach His love but choose not to believe it?

Isaiah 62:5 states “…as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

He delights in us.  Takes pleasure in us.

We’ve heard it a thousand times–it’s not our accomplishments or what we have.  But what does it take for that to sink in?

Be still.  Rejoice.  The Creator sees you.

And is pleased.

Photo by Jeremy Yates


Cindy & Chris wedding

Life is heavy.  It’s also fleeting.

How quickly we can forget the things that once brought us joy.  It seems to be second nature to find something wrong with someone or something around you.

Rather than things appreciated, we lambaste our spouse with a laundry list of to-dos or complaints as they walk in the door.

Charlie Chaplin reminds us that “a day without laughter is a day wasted.”

Ironically, as I write this, I’m scowling at my four drenched dogs traipsing through the kitchen while my son throws things from his high chair.  I drop a toy by accident and he starts laughing.

What would life look like if we, as adults, viewed life through a child’s eyes?  We’d stress less, laugh more.

What is one thing that makes you laugh today?   I tried something new.  Playing the harmonica.  A good laugh for all.

Photo by Jeremy Yates

Fire Came Down

Cindy & Chris wedding

I’m convicted by how little I really know about or experience prayer.  The mountain of books on my nightstand on this topic shame me each day.  Yet as I start my day, I realize there’s no amount of reading on prayer than can substitute for it.

I sit down but stumble on what to say.  Distracted by my own thoughts, the baby talking, dogs barking, birds chirping, phone beeping…anything but what I’m trying to focus on.  Within minutes, I’m through.  Discouraged.

As I read 2 Chronicles 7, I realize there is so much more to be experienced.

1When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”

There is power when we pray.  Yet we make excuses, self-blame and assume we must be deemed worthy or perfect before we can pray or see results of prayer.  His glory is here.  His glory is now.  His love endures forever.  He commanded Solomon later in the chapter:

“14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Will I turn from what I want?  My selfish ways?  If I want His glory, will I choose humility?  Will I tune out distractions to seek His face?  Will I choose to believe I will hear Him?

He has forgiven my sin.  He has healed me.  His love endures forever.


Photo by Jeremy Yates

He Will Not Return To Me




His infant son became deathly ill.  He wailed in despair, refused to eat and laid on the floor in his grief-torn clothes.  Friends drew near only to have their comfort rejected.  A week later, his son was gone.  Fearful he would break, or worse, his friends delayed delivering the news.

But when he did discover the unbearable truth, , he showered, ate and worshiped.  Wait, what?

King David’s response to this unthinkable loss was While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 11:22-23)

The grief doesn’t go away.  Walking through it is the most painful thing I’ve experienced thus far.  There is nothing to be said that can make it hurt less.

But as David recognized his own finiteness, I am reminded of my own as I read 1 Corinthians 15:54-57:  “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.  But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The sting is quite real.  And penetrating.  And at times, debilitating.  And I don’t want it.  I don’t want death, I don’t want to walk through it.  But it does come.  And there is no victory in it without our Lord Jesus Christ.