Monthly Archives: January 2016

We Kissed Date Nights Goodbye



Regular date Nights. Sounds great, right? Get a sitter, get out of the house and spend time together. If you don’t, your marriage is doomed. Everyone from Redbook to your pastor is declaring it.

Pisha, I say. On what grounds, you may ask, do I declare this pisha?

Forty three years of marriage and counting. Staying happily married for that much time lends credibility to one’s opinions.

I can’t jump on the date night bandwagon, in spite of the fact that hubby and I are in the “business” of hitching and counseling young couples:

  • First, the word regular. Regular as in your bowel function? Done or happening frequently? Or regular as in conforming to the usual?
  • Have you ever wrangled the kids out of the house on a weeknight? Better yet, on a Thursday night??? After a Wednesday night at church? That project that’s due on Friday isn’t gluing itself to a poster board.
  • Money. I know that you can argue that you can come up with creative date night ideas that don’t cost a dime, and good for you. What happens when we use those creative juices to come up with a way to get the baby to sleep through the night (or just through a quickie)?
  • No children in the house? Why in the world do you want to leave the coziness of your own nest? Nothing more romantic than a snuggling together and seeing where the night goes.
  • I’m totally in favor of special time together.
  • Weddings…always be the first to respond Yes! And never take your young children unless it’s a close family member. What a great gift to you! A beautiful ceremony to recall the joy and sacredness of your vows, followed by dinner (free) and dancing. What could be more romantic?
  • Coffee Breaks – I’m a striver. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to relax at home, surrounded by the things that I need to do. When he “scoops me up” for a visit to a nearby coffee shop it is a perfect diversion and gets me focused on the man I love.
  • Volunteer – What are you passionate or your spouse passionate about? Get involved together.
  • Completing projects – Paint a room, organize your pictures, or plant a garden. Work side by side, even if it’s after the kids are tucked in at night.
  • Family walks – Even with a passel of kids, you know they will run ahead and around you as you walk. Head to a park, run off some steam and you’ll be surprised what the endorphins will do for their sleep and your love life. There is nothing sexier than your man playing with your children.
  • Vacations – Biggest regret? That we didn’t take more…but as a family.
  • Every night – okay I know this doesn’t work for everyone but you know your life and can figure this out:
    • Put the kids to bed and spend time together, not just sitting in front of the TV
    • Go to bed together. It can be tricky if you’re a night owl and he gets up early. Adjust. The time before you sleep is critical to your relationship. Devote a few minutes to each other, even if you have to get up after he’s drifted off.In 1989, the Orlando Magic was established as a franchise. I married a man who loves, and taught me to love, the game of basketball. We were season ticket holders for the first few years and rarely missed a game. We were away from home lots of nights, but our girls were responsible and could look after themselves – it was “our” time. I remember seeing Larry Bird (Google him – he’s a legend) and Michael Jordan on the court and pinching myself. We thought we were in heaven.When I look back, the seats in the arena were a dream come true, but the time and money spent were extravagant. However, working as a team in that gym we accomplished something that was truly ours, yet outside of ourselves. It was ours to share.
    • Fifteen years earlier, we volunteered to run the basketball league for a local organization. Every Saturday we drove around, collecting a rag tag bunch of preteen boys in our Chevelle. The rear floor board was rusted out and we were always a little concerned about having enough gas to make the drive across town and back. We had our baby girl with us, too and she was at home on the courts. We spent all day at the gym, working together to get games started on time, pay the officials, keep scorebooks and keep tabs on those boys. Lots of weeks we spent our meager budget to buy at least one of them a burger. We worked hard side by side and we loved it.
    • It’s great to plan a night out. It’s even better to have a night out planned for you; to be dated, to be wooed and in the process remember the things that brought you together in the beginning. I love getting primped for a night out because it’s special. But I’m just going to say it. Regular sounds a little too….regular. There’s nothing magical happening at Chili’s, friends.


If you are still with me…go, enjoy a night out once in a while. If your church (like mine) is offering babysitting services free or at a great price, take advantage of it. But don’t let anyone tell you that your marriage is doomed if you don’t have a weekly date night.






A Matter of Focus


It’s almost time.  I’m already having the dream where I’m wandering around trying to decide what to pack and everyone is waiting for me. It’s the one where I’m also standing, undressed, in front of my closet, paralyzed.  Nothing looks like my clothes and I just stare. It’s as if I’m glued to the floor.

Hubby is going to have surgery soon. It’s a couple of weeks out.  I can’t wait for it.  I’m terrified of it. I’m making lists for my lists.  I’ve read everything they’ve sent and everything I can find on the internet (don’t do that!). I’ve also read most of it to him.  Because, you know…men.

The house is being made ready for convalescence. I’ve cleaned the fridge, because you know…you never know. The windows are clean, because if I were laid up the dirty windows would bother me.  I bought thank you cards, because people are going to visit and bring food.

Valentines are ready to mail. The oven is clean, because…I don’t know!

The hospital checklist is detailed.  If you forget to take the MRI the surgery will be cancelled.  CANCELLED, people!  I can’t do this again.  The surgery cannot be cancelled. Therefore, the MRI is in the folder that is in the bag that is being made ready.

The truth is, controlling things is sort of my thing.  Order makes me happy and knowing exactly what to expect makes me really happy.  When I travel on business, I spend lots of time on Google Earth.  I look at the street view from the front of my hotel. I research restaurants, shopping malls, drug stores in near proximity.  I love familiarity.

To say that I’m anxious about this might be a bit understated. They are going to cut his back open and expose his spine, friends.  I’ve seen pictures (note remarks above warning about internet research).  The surgeon has done thousands of these procedures and I’m sure it’s just another day at the office for him, but this is my sweetheart. It’s not just another tick mark in a long line of one after another. It’s my love.

Be still my trembling heart. I know.  Over and over I remind myself that God has him. He has us. And He will be with us through the storm.

cameraI have a really nice new camera.  I want to do some cool shots and every single time it focuses on the object in the foreground.  I’ve got to spend some time with the owner’s manual to learn how to switch from auto focus.

The truth is, that’s the problem with this surgery. On auto focus, fear and anxiety are in the foreground of every shot.

It’s time to be finished with house work and packing. The lists we’ll be making these next two weeks are of gratitude and confidence. It’s time to celebrate healing and look forward to precious opportunities to be a blessing in this journey.

Focus, Lorraine, focus.  It’s about to get real up in here.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3


The Lie that Says “You Can’t”



When I read this Annual Report provided by Word Press, I literally caught my breath. A year ago this blog was a secret little dream, one that I thought would stay hidden in my heart.

It wasn’t until our small group leader introduced me to a book by Bruce Wilkinson called “The Dream Giver” (Thanks , Josh Grosshans!) that I began to consider the possibility. I was inspired by the book; I was encouraged by my hubby, whose confidence in me is epic; and I was terrified by the voice that said “You can’t”.

It’s been just over six months. I remember sitting in our favorite coffee shop with my sweet, patient niece. Armed with nothing more than a laptop and a name for the blog, Annie walked me through setting up the page. Since, then I’ve pretty much flown by the seat of my pants.  Jesus, take the wheel because WordPress isn’t exactly babysitting bloggers!  As I write I am so thankful that I didn’t wait until I had it all figured out to start. I wish I knew more about web design and had a bigger budget but one thing I know: this undertaking is a marathon, not a sprint.

This morning my grandson and I drove out to Epcot to watch his mom, MY daughter, cross the finish line at the Disney marathon.  She didn’t train as much as she’d hoped and I’m sure that at 2:00 this morning when she ate a bowl of cheerios, hoping they would digest before race time, she heard that same terrifying voice saying “You can’t” This wasn’t her first marathon; she’s run a Goofy (that ‘s a half marathon on Saturday, followed by the marathon on Sunday – she’s her father’s child) a couple of times and she knew exactly what she was about to undertake.

C and I worked our way up to a barricade near the finish and stood anxiously on tiptoes, surveying wave after wave of finishers. That boy never looked away, his gaze intent for the face of his mom.  As runners passed, the crowd cheered and shouted out names.  In the hour that we stood there, I wept for those who obviously were overcoming more than 26.2 miles.

Before I could spot her, in spite of my height advantage, he shouted “There she is!” Her eyes lit when she saw him and she blew a kiss, then crossed the finish and collected the prize that finishers earn.


DSC_0005As we walked to the car, she talked about the tough miles and moments when she fought hard against the voice that continued to tell her “You can’t”. She chose the only way to overcome the lying voice; keep moving forward.

This writing journey has been an emotional roller coaster, but I’ve kept my head up and my eyes forward.

I cannot begin to express how encouraged I’ve been by friends and family who have faithfully read every post. You are part of the analytics that follow.  I love you all.

Along this journey, my most faithful encourager has been my hubby.  He proofreads my posts and cries with me over the words every week. I can’t imagine any journey without him. I love you, baby!

As we stood near the finish this morning, I witnessed the joy of a stronger, more seasoned runner reaching back to cross the finish line with a novice.

One of the greatest blessings of writing has been in the encouragement from other writers. One precious momma in particular has reached back and taken my hand. The unselfish sharing of her reputation and influence in the blogging world has been refreshing and life-changing. Thank you, Jami Amerine, for your friendship!

It is with humility and great awe that I share what HE has done with the dream that he placed in my heart.  Take a few minutes to read the report. You will be amazed, as I was.  Your dream is safe with him, but you have to take the first step, my friend. The only answer to the lying voice that says “You can’t” is “Watch me!”


To Him alone be the glory!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

More Pie in My Face


“Grandma, have you made any new year’s resolutions?” The question came from J, my eleven and a half year old grandson. His younger brother G, nearly eight, chimed in “I haven’t made any revolutions. I don’t really know much about that.” I smiled and ignored the wrong word and explained that I don’t make resolutions. The truth is, I only know one thing about them – they have never led me anywhere but to failure. However, I was curious. So I asked J if he had any. His answer set me back.

“I want to devote my life to Christ.” Alrighty then.

A couple of nights later I woke from a sound sleep. The family had returned home and the nest was once again empty. Among hundreds of other thoughts during the hours of sleeplessness that ensued, I revisited the conversation about resolutions. My grandmotherly advice to J had been to set some tangible, practical goals that would in turn bring him closer to that devotion he wanted. While I don’t believe in resolutions, I believe attainable goals are a sure way to make incremental steps.

Well, then, Grandma. Have you set any goals? They had been simmering in my heart for days so I grabbed my phone, opened the Notes app and made a list.

  • Stay to the end of the party. Dance the last dance; have one more piece of cake.
  • Never miss a chance to get pie on your face. Whatever the game is, play it; don’t worry about looking foolish.
  • Listen more, talk less. Plan to learn something new about every person you know.
  • Hold every baby. Every time. Except at Publix. Don’t take babies from strangers at Publix.
  • Cook more. Take meals to new mommas and the widow down the street.
  • Spend less time wringing hands and more time folding them.

In that quiet night, I replayed the high and low points of the past year.

A boy left us and the grief was palpable, even under the best possible circumstances.

Months later I stood at the front of a military chapel and tried to make words do justice to the life of a dear friend, shortened far too soon by cancer.

Our family grew through adoption and we learned that children who enter foster care often have lots of special needs.

In some, God’s plan has been made clear but in others there are still so many questions.

This Jesus that I work for? He calls me to lay down my safe, comfy life. Pain is what we risk in relationship, but he is right there with us. No fear.


I’m beginning to see the relationship between joy and sorrow. It’s all bubbling up from the same spring. The sorrow was great because of my love for each of those precious souls – the heart connection was so real that there was physical pain. There is great risk in love and he has called us to risky lives. He also promised to be close to us in the sorrow.

Honestly, 2016 will likely look much like last year. There will be gain and loss, joy and sorrow.

I’m looking forward to this year; I will take risks for my Jesus and it will be good. I can’t wait to see where He leads!

Pie Face

I pray that I will have the courage to live each day courageously, loving people and serving my Jesus. And if I get pie in my face, I’ll just have to deal.