A Walk Down Memorial Lane [Cemeteries, Slunka and Tim McGraw]

It was a holiday and the weather was beautiful. "Let's go for a walk," my husband said.

"Okay," I replied, then added "let's walk in those gardens we always pass by on the way to town."

The gardens we saw from the highway looked lush and beautiful, but we always drove by them on our way somewhere else. Today seemed like a great day to explore them. In the back of my mind I remembered the garden in a town I lived in as a grade schooler. We took our family photos there with the flowers as a backdrop. They were called Memorial Gardens. I was too young to pay much attention to the name of who they were memorializing.

We got into our walking clothes, then got into the car. Coincidentally, this garden was also called Memorial Gardens and I was feeling sentimental as I told my husband on our way there about our family pictures in the days before digital, when we easily posed for at least three rolls of 24 photos to give us a better chance of having a good photo of all five of us.


My Maximal Inspirational Social Media Experiment

I am doing an experiment.

Through a friend's facebook post, I found an online resource to maximize my mornings. That sounds like something I need to do, so I checked it out. It's offered on a blog called Inspired to Action, which is something I want to be. Theoretically.

I say theoretically because, I confess, my first thought was "I do not need one more thing to make me feel bad about myself for not having a maximal, inspirational morning routine."

I want to be inspired, I do. I like to think about inspiring things. I like to think about doing inspiring things. I like to think that I actually will do them. But, honestly, doing usually usually involves risk. And risk involves the possibility of failure. And, as Ed Harris said in the movie Apollo 13, "failure is not an option."

I am what Dr. Kevin Lehman would call the discouraged firstborn perfectionist. I do want to maximize my mornings and I do want to be inspired to action, but I want to do it perfectly! I know that no one is perfect, but that doesn't stop something inside of me from thinking that I ought to be perfect. I need to be perfect because otherwise I won't be lovable. Or, so something inside of me says. That something inside of me is so strong that I've actually given it a name: Condemner.

"That's your Condemner talking again," my husband will say. "Tell it to shut up."

If I don't try I won't fail. Unfortunately, if I don't try I won't succeed either. And there's the rub.

O, Condemner, what goodness have you kept me from? No more! I'm telling you to shut up!

I'm going to reign in my desire to be the one to accomplish great inspirational things and I'm going to start with myself. I am going to try to maximize my mornings. If I make good decisions in the mornings, I am in a better position to make good decisions throughout the days, weeks, years. As Luke writes, Jesus said "the one who is faithful in the small things will be given bigger things."

So this is my experiment: to maximize my mornings on social media. I figure that if I can't be in a traditional women's bible study because of my work schedule, I might as well try to connect online with women who are wanting the same thing. I signed up for the Hello Mornings Challenge to keep me accountable. Actually, I don't really know how accountable it can keep me, so that's why it's an experiment. I haven't had a good experience with social media, but this is a different application of the beast.

I've joined a group of women on Facebook who I have never met before and who happen to all live somewhere on the west coast. Each morning we are supposed to check in with each other on how we are doing with regards to maximizing our mornings.

On Instagram, I've joined others in posting images of their #hellomornings. It's pretty inspiring to see all the images posted. I've also noticed, as I've always suspected, coffee goes well with bible study.

Day 2

My goal is to create a habit of studying God's word and exercising in the mornings. While I am motivated enough to get into the Bible by myself, I have no confidence in my desire to get into a sweat by myself.

I know a woman in my church who is a firefighter. She goes to the gym we my husband works out at, so I asked her to go to a spin class with me. Because I know me, I gave her permission to get after me if I make excuses. I figured that having someone to disappoint if I didn't show up would motivate me if nothing else did.

As soon as she agreed to meet me for the 5:30 am class, I sort of went into a state of shock. Fifty minutes of cycling. At an hour that I have only experienced in my sleep. Yikes.

"I don't know if I can do this," I thought.

"Condemner, shutty," I said.

I am happy to report that this morning I was done with spin class before I usually even get out of bed. I found out that endorphins really do exist. And, because I was already up and at 'em, I delved into my Bible study. I even had time to journal, which is a discipline I want to get back to practicing. This maximizing mornings thing truly is inspiring to action!

Then I took an instagram, uploaded it, logged into facebook and reported my progress, and prayed for the other ladies.

If there must be social media, I choose to maximize it and use it for good.


Why My Daughter Won't Ride In The Front Seat (And How That Makes Me Think Of God)

My daughter recently told me that she did not want to ride in the car with me while I am driving. I was surprised when she said that because I am a good driver. Honestly, I am.

I use my blinkers even in empty parking lots. I haven't hit anyone, though I have been hit. While stopped at a red light. From behind. By someone with no insurance. I digress. Sure I tend to prefer the fast lane, exceeding limits. I speed very safely.

Kaitlin is my conscience. "Mom, the speed limit is 65. You are going 72," she says with obvious concern.


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