I've been listening to a morning radio show on the way to work. The focus this week has been on heaven. When I got bored with the daily request for donations for the non-profit program, I turned onto the local Christian station and heard a familiar song, but this time, I paid attention to the words. The focus of the song was about achieving all your goals...now what?

All of those things together struck a chord in my heart...suppose I check off all my goals... Suppose my bucket list spills over with completed tasks. Suppose I have adequate food, clothing, and a job... Now what? What else is left?

The song said over and over, "Your love. Your love. The only thing that matters..."

The radio program beckoned, "There is more to life than just what we see on Earth."

Life can seem like a constant race or goal or unmet desire. But when I take a step back, what really matters? What will last beyond my final early breath?

The love of God is eternal. Heaven is forever.

My priorities have to be refocused on a daily basis--well, maybe a hourly, no-- minute-ly, no-- secondly basis.


It's not a bad thing to have goals or dreams. I believe God puts those in our heart. But the main goal is Christ.

Where is your focus today? What is overtaking your mind and/or your time? How does that fit with God's agenda?
(questions I am asking myself)

The cool thing is when I am able to able to refocus--things are much better. I like knowing a big God watches over and cares for little me. (oh, and you, too--no worries.)

1) Run faster.
2) Do a backbend kickover without hospitalization.
3) Pray more.
4) Read more.
5) Figure out what constitutes classic pieces of clothing for me.
6) Get better sleep.
7) Figure out where my affordable dry cleaning place should be.
8) Spend more time with YoungLife kids.
9) Put God's word on my heart and mind better.
10) Dance and/or sing each day.

Thirty-six, I bid you adieu.
It was a pretty good year for me and you.
We met some new friends and had some adventures.
I'm still aging, but I don't yet need dentures.

This could be the year I finally settle down.
Meet a good-hearted man from a nearby town.
Or it could be the year I sail the seas,
On a Disney cruise to some place like Belize.

Whatever treasures the next year holds,
I know good & well I'm not that old.
I still got some glamour; I still got spunk!
The haunting of forty will not put me in a funk!


It started out with a free rainbow slinky. I love slinkies. They bring back good memories of childhood trying to get that crazy thing to travel smoothly down our staircase. But this slinky led me on a bad path.

I remember I was visiting an off-campus college bookstore trying to get some used textbooks for a better price. While there, I was lured to a credit card representative that would give me a free rainbow slinky and discounted plane tickets for signing up. Little did I realize, that those "free" items would costs me thousands and thousands of dollars in the years to follow.

My purchases were maintained and orderly for many years. I knew what debt was--my father was an accountant. I knew I didn't want it. So, I would faithfully pay off each balance.

Life took some unexpected turns in my early twenties. I left my teaching job in North Carolina to move home and pursue a more advanced degree. Then, within a month of making this decision, my father was diagnosed with cancer.

We moved to Houston for his treatment. I started going to a large church that was very welcoming and loving, but also filled with many people who seemed to have way better paying jobs than I ever had. And at that time, I had no job.

So, Houston had all kinds of new adventures and possibilities. And I had few funds. I did not want to keep asking my parents for money, so I used my plastic. The balance wasn't horrific, but it was like a starter kit. Then, I found myself in a relationship with a someone who tried impressing me with fine food, gifts, and trips. After the impressing stage of the dating relationship was over, we started splitting our costs 50/50. My half was pretty much plastic.

After the big spender got cut from my life, the plastic became my emergency spending account. And it seemed like there were always extra emergencies.

Years later, my church went through a campaign to raise funds for a redo of our sanctuary. We were asked to pray about how to give extra. I kind of felt like my contribution would be like the widow's mite. I still prayed about how much to give and was given a number that was a little uncomfortable. And then in frustration--or maybe in obedience--I got out all my bills and sat with them spread out all over the floor. And I prayed and cried out to God asking for help.

I prayed about becoming a more cheerful giver--which seemed a weird thing to do when you are trying to pay off debt--but it was a very crucial part of the lesson I learned. I've had many great examples of cheerful givers in my life. And I've been challenged by people who live this out.

The way I see it, God has all the money in the world, and he chooses how to distribute it. That money can shift from one hand to the next. If I have a lot of it or a little of it, it's not mine. It's God's. And what he does entrust me with, I need to be wise about how I use it. (note: I am still not the queen of wisdom in this area)

Sometime after I prayed, I was pretty much miraculously blessed with a new job and a raise, and I made a decision to get control of the plastic. I felt those things were an answer to prayer and God taking care of me. I'm happy to say, as of last Friday, the plastic is now paid in full! I'm no longer an American statistic. It feels good.

I want to thank God for being gracious to me by teaching me how to grow wiser and more discerning in the crazy world of money. Our world is full of lures, and shiny, plastic money can help bring temporary relief--but I warn you, it comes with a high interest rate. Be careful and prayerful. (I feel a bumper sticker coming on!)

College students: avoid the rainbow slinky!!!

I want to go to the rodeo, but somehow life keeps holding me back. I had a few opportunities at the beginning of the rodeo season, but I did some other things...and now, I have a pending trip home with very few days left to visit the bulls and cowboys and fried food fixers.

Honestly, I'm almost in a panic. I have to get to that rodeo!

I feel like a cowgirl version of Cinderella. To complete that storyline, I also don't have any boots to wear! Do you know how embarrassing it is to be a Houstonian without a good pair of boots? I bought a pair of boots several years back that have been worn until the heels are just wonky and both unfixable and unwearable.

If you've never been to the rodeo, you have to go. You need to get over the traffic and the crowds and the funky smells, and just take it in. The rodeo is the place where country comes to town. I know I can get some good fried crawfish some place else, but I really want it from the rodeo. I want to see those high school kids chase the calves and get pulled all over Reliant. If I miss the rodeo, it's like skipping a monumental seasonal change--like missing the Starbucks Holiday drinks or something.

Rodeo, one way or another, I will be there with boots on. Regardless or not of bippity-boppity-boo sweeping a wave of bedazzlement cowgirl glory on me -- or if I just have to wear some city slicker wear, I'm going.