How Stories Shape the World: why good fiction matters

Remember that movie Runaway Bride? I haven’t seen it in years but I want to watch it again. There’s a scene where Julia Robert’s character realizes she doesn’t know how she likes her eggs because she’s always adopted the preference of her significant other. We should know how we like our eggs. We need to know who God made us to be.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago what my favorite movie genre was. My answer was swift. Action. I love action movies. I elaborated on my answer because that’s what I do. I love stories of danger and heroism. I love epic tales of adventure and daring. This is how I look at life.

I envision life as a battle. I’m not just training my children to help others and not hurt them. I’m teaching them to swing a sword and a tend a wound. I’m not simply protecting their minds and hearts from evil; I’m chasing away monsters that would carry them away in the darkness. I’m not just continuing to serve God in the mundane of life; I’m living glorious adventures. I’m in a epic tale of challenge and love and the triumph of good over evil, or at least that’s what I’m hoping for. Some days it feels like I might not make it. It seems like evil may win. It feels as if I will be taken out by the enemy before I can finish my mission.

Pick the Adventure Your 80-year-old Self Will Be Proud Of

I’ve talked about getting my nose pierced all year.  Actually-hold that-in spring of 2017 I went to a homeschool conference with a friend and we had a long conversation about my getting my nose pierced. Another friend and I tossed the idea around at the beginning of the year because she wanted to pierce her ear cartilage. But I let it drop even though I’ve wanted to do this for three or four years.

I hadn’t thought about it seriously in months. The day after Christmas I walked by the mirror while I was picking up the bedroom and “you should go pierce your nose” seemed to be written in all-caps on the mirror. I stood and stared at my reflection in the mirror and, for some reason, felt certain that if I did not go pierce my nose then, I would never do it. And if I never did it, it would start a trend of not doing things and I would have a long list of regrets when I was an eighty-year-old woman looking back at my life. I grabbed my friend and went two days later.

Handling the waiting: when God seems late

This is the first year that we’ve had a child in public school and haven’t picked when Christmas break starts. I’m itching to have all my boys home all day. (Yes, I know there will be times they drive me nuts.) I’m looking forward to breakfast in pajamas and decorating Christmas cookies and reading books on the couch. I want to not worry as much about bedtime and not wake the baby up from his nap for pick-up. It is the 17th of December and we have four more days to go. All our neighboring schools are on break now. My friends are posting pictures of Christmas break activities and exclaiming how many days of vacation they have and we’re still setting our alarm and packing snacks. We’re still waiting for Christmas break.

I’ve sat in the NICU watching neighboring families go home. I’ve searched through God’s Word, wondering why answers seemed so hard to find. I’ve spent seasons of my life waiting and I’m sure, even without asking, that you have too.

While those situations vary from person to person, there are some waiting seasons that all of God’s people experience. Waiting is part of the human story. It’s Advent season. We’re anticipating the birth of the Messiah and yet, then, the people had not heard from God for 400 years. He had made all of these promises. He promised to keep those promises in spite of the unfaithfulness of the people. And then- silence.

Reading Plans for the New Year and the December Dilemma

I have a  December Dilemma. (Yes, I just gave it that name.) I really want to reread the Harry Potter series this month. I read it the first time in December of 2015 and I would love to read them again. But you don’t read Harry Potter a few pages at a time, here and there, when you have a chance. You read Harry Potter in a pick up the book after the kids are in bed and go to sleep when you finish the final sentence type of manner. That’s the appropriate way to read Harry Potter. Which means I have to either get a babysitter, ignore my life, or lose a week of sleep while I read the series. Will I do this? I haven’t decided yet.

That’s not how I typically read. It doesn’t work in my season of life and honestly, hasn’t worked since I was a child. Adults just have too many responsibilities to do that. So I read in snatches. I read in the bathroom. I take a book in the car. I read before I go to sleep. I read a few pages at quiet time. I read during commercials of tv shows (that’s not a joke, friends). Do I have time to read a paragraph? Then it’s reading time. I read in the tiniest moments because reading matters.

Here for the least: it makes up our lives

For about a year I’ve been contemplating my spot on the internet. Why am I here? Do I need to be here? I watched amazing people do things I love on the internet and knew that the world didn’t need me to do that thing too.

During that same year, I’ve consistently needed the same message in my life. Do not quit. Keep going. Be faithful in the small things. I also discovered that everyone else seems to need that same message. I have Voxer conversations with my friends about how we spend our time reminding ourselves that all this small work matters. I hear people on podcasts say that quitting is the big temptation that they face. I post on Instagram and people across all categories say they struggle to remember it too: the little things are the big things. We know it, but it’s hard to live it well.

Here’s what I keep telling myself: I can’t quit. Can I be honest? Quitting often sounds really awesome. And while there is a part of me that is tired and wants to quit, there is a little whisper, deep down, that reminds me that it’s imperative that I do not quit. That I do it all again today. That I refocus my attention to these little things, these least things, and how I’m doing them.

Unconventional Rest: Going to the Movies Solo

I don’t know anyone else that goes to the movies alone.

(I know you’re out there, ok?)

Almost every time I tell someone that I go to the movies by myself, they respond, “Oh, you should have told me and I would have gone with you!” I try to smother my laughter because I know they are trying to be nice, but I intentionally go to the movies by myself. I look forward to it. I put it on my Powersheets as a goal almost every month. It makes me giddy all day anticipating going after I tuck the boys in bed.

I turn the music up louder on the drive because the kids aren’t in the van. I don’t chit-chat while I stand in line, and nobody says, “mom, mom, mom,” not even once. I order a large Dr. Pepper and a medium popcorn and I sit in silence. Once the movie theater was completely empty except for me. The best part- the reason I’m going- is to get lost in a good story.

Episode 123: Speak Truth to the Lies

In this solo episode, Lisa talks about realizing she was speaking lies over her life instead of the truth of the Gospel. She steps through three questions to help you identify your internal dialogue, evaluate that by the Gospel, and then apply the truth of the Bible to the lies you are telling yourself.

Also, check out her friend Tabitha Panariso on Instagram!