Monday, July 11, 2016

Dear Readers,

A soft light filters through the stand of trees behind my hilltop home.  It is a gentle, early morning light. The light always comforts me.

On sleepless nights and weary mornings, I look forward to this light.  And so, this morning, The Type A Lady wakes up.

I haven't written in such a long time and, for that, I have no excuse.  I'm sorry.

I'm easily distracted and, I must say, 2016 has distracted me in so many ways.  I'll write more about this later.

We've been perpetually moving since the new year hit and this has reeked havoc on my schedule and discipline.  I've lost my place a bit, but I promise I'll get it back.

With that, I make a list and a promise to be more consistent with my communication:

____I'll write something at least once a week

____I'll talk to God about this writing stuff and brainstorm ideas

____I'll think of you, fellow list makers, and try to fill a need

____I'll thank God for this privilege and keep it humble...keep it real

____I'll settle down and look the Light.

Love, The Type A Lady

Monday, January 25, 2016

Checking in to 2015

 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. - Proverbs 19:21

Wow!  It's already January 25 and I have not written you in a long, long time.
Geesh!  I am so sorry!   This Type A Lady has lost control!

Yikes!  I better catch up in my communication.  I think I'll start with a checklist from the year 2015.  The very thought of a checklist calms me down and puts my year into perspective.

Without further ado, here's my take on 2015.  God helped me get through the past year.

Here's how:

2015... The Type A Lady Looks Back

Type A ladies like to  organize and plan.  There is a sense of satisfaction to see checkable lines and dates and goals to tick off .

The year 2015 wrecked my checklist.  Here are some items which were not on my list for 2015:

___My husband undergoing four cancer surgeries. Nope...this did not fit in the schedule.  God told me to "simmer down" however, and to wait.  So I waited.  I waited in hospital waiting rooms.  I waited for doctors' meetings.  I waited for test results...and through it all, I learned about patience, trust, hope, and prayer.  I've never been very good with patience. The prayer has helped.  Trust and hope were the gifts God gave me when I learned to wait.

___Dashing to the emergency room during my daughter's wedding reception.  What do chest pains and 50 people at an outdoor party at my farm have to do with each other?  They both occurred on the same night.  God taught me to "let go" and "get going" as I left my guests and my daughter and her groom to fend for themselves in order to drive my hubby to the ER.

___Rejoicing in small victories.  Thank you, God.  Brad did not have a heart attack. Too bad he had to have his Gallbladder taken out. -You guessed it: surgery number five.  I began to learn I should never plan on anything being normal in our lives.  Expect the unexpected.  God will get you through.

___Learning to let go of worries. As the year progressed, my husband's cancer was coupled with heart problems.  I learned what a cardiothoracic surgeon is.  I also learned God can take our questions. Why does my poor husband have to go through all this?????

___Leaving some blank space in my days.  I have always over-booked.  2015 may have shattered my checklist, but God used it to slow me down and appreciate the ones I love, especially my poor "over-operated" husband.

___Checking in with God before I check out my "to do".   I need to take time to talk to God.  No excuses here.  2015 stomped its foot and tore up my checklist.  Lesson learned, God.  I need you.

Talk to you all later in 2016!

--Love, Laurie

Monday, October 12, 2015

Type A Lady Takes a WALK...and discovers a secret

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.                  --Philippians 4:11

Walking for a "Type A" woman could be considered a misnomer. When I take a "walk," I usually walk/race with a mission in mind. It could be physical fitness.  I could be hammering out some angry energy.  I seldom walk to just enjoy the moment.  

I'm so grateful my father-in-law showed me how to walk. We took a little walk to the Secret Garden...and discovered the secret to contentment. Here's a little story of our journey.  

"Well, well, well !"  My 90 year-old father-in-law exclaimed when he got out of his car.  He gazed around as if he was seing our hilltop farm for the first time, even though he's been here a hundred times.

"This is so nice!" he pronounced, gazing over the cornfields.  "What a beautiful place!"  He smiled and walked around with a "let me soak it in" satisfied look on his face.

Bert Watkins and his wife, Beth are the best in-laws a Type A girl can have. We lost Beth in 2013, and now I treasure my time with Bert, one of the most positive people I know.

Brad & I ate dinner  with him one crisp fall night in Illinois.  He was going to be returning to Florida and we wanted a special evening before he left.  When darkness came, I said to Bert, "Let's take a walk to the Secret Garden."

The Secret Garden is lit up by hundreds of sparkling white lights.  This secluded little spot behind our old wooden smokehouse is sheltered by trees which simply glisten.

"This is just perfect," Bert said as he gazed at the lights.  "Oh, oh, oh you are just so lucky.  Be sure to count your blessings!"   

We walked the Secret Garden with Bert Tuesday night.  Wednesday morning, he stepped out of his back door and fell and broke his arm.

The break led to a trip to the emergency room.  When he returned home, Bert winced in pain.  Yet, as he sat on his own back porch in a crowded condo complex, arm in sling, he leaned his head back in the cool breeze and said,  "Well, well, well this is just so perfect! Isn't this nice?"  

I suddenly realized a secret as sparkling as the Secret Garden.  For Bert Watkins, contentment is an inside job...a thankful attitude is important.     That's a good lesson to learn.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tear Down the Walls

Tear Down That Wall! 

There are many ways we build walls in our families. A wall is anything that prevents us from connecting and enjoying each other.

A wall can destroy interaction between parent and child. It can eat away at a marriage. God offers the ultimate means of tearing down walls.

This Type A lady is excited to bring you a CHECKLIST of ways you can tear down walls (or prevent them from happening!) in your family. Special thanks to Gayla Fields, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, for her input into this handy list!

___1. The wall of “busy”ness.
“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10
As families, many of us are overbooked and overscheduled. Society pressures parents to sign their children up for everything, from gymnastics to soccer, dance to t-ball.  
God points out we don't have to follow society.
Counselor Gayla Fields says  children need “down time,” as do parents. She recommends limiting the number of activities.

“If you find yourself running every night of the week, you are involved in too much.” She noted children need a routine and home time with a healthy dinner and regular bedtime.
If we're too busy, we don’t talk. We miss opportunities to sit together, eat dinner together or even have a family game night. Don’t build a wall of busyness in your life.

___2. The wall of unforgiveness.

"Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.…
                                                    -- Matthew 18:21-22
Unforgiveness may be common when one person hurts the other and forgiveness never comes. We must choose to forgive to avoid the wall. If Jesus can forgive, so can we…with His help.

The hurt party may not admit it, but he or she holds a silent grudge against her mate. It surfaces at different points and true one-ness as a couple cannot happen.

Forgiveness is giving up your right to hurt back.  It is a very freeing thing.  

___3. The wall of disrespect.

"Use helpful words...the kind that builds others up."
                                                      -- Ephesians 4:29-32
We live in a time where respect is seldom displayed. Watch any television program and you will hear snide, sarcastic communication between husbands and wives and children and their parents. Respect is hard to find these days.
Respect is a choice. Bad habits of disrespectful communication can be broken when we decide to make an effort to speak with a positive tone and message. 

Praise your mate and children. Point out their good qualities and decisions. Don’t nag and don’t always point out their mistakes.
Don't let teasing control your communication. What may be harmless jokes to one person may be devastating degradation to another.       
Know your mate and your children. Don’t hurt them with teasing.

Tear Down the Walls

Understanding how your child is uniquely wired will go along way to knowing how to lead, discipline and coach him.
Some kids love a crowd.  Others what quiet and solitude.  Some want to lead. Others want to follow.
Birth order may have something to do with this.  Dr. Kevin Leman points out: First borns tend to outperform, be organized and have a tremendous sense of duty.  
Middlers may be quiet and withdrawn, usually opposite their older siblings.    
Youngest fight for their position and are often more challenging and questioning.
Observe how your child interacts with others.  What’s important to your child?  How does she spend her free time?
Remember that each child in your family is different, even close sisters or brothers.  Treatment will have to vary with the personalities.
Remember to “Train a child up in the way he should go” (Prov 22:6) but that training depends upon her BENT.

Tear down the walls that separate us in our marriages and'll be glad you did!


Friday, September 11, 2015

September 11th Remembered

Dearest Father in Heaven, 

Thank you for giving us hope and a future.  Help those who struggle with grief and brokeness.  Help those who are first responders: police, firemen, soldiers and others who step into danger daily. Help us understand the direction you want us to go....Forgive our thoughtlessness and confusion.

Heal our land, my precious Father...and grant us peace and understanding.  We love you. 

I was at the office.  Brad came in with a shocked look.

He quickly turned on the radio and we held each other as we listened in horror.

I needed to do something.  I rushed to my church where I encountered a friend.  We sat in the darkened church and prayed.

I dashed to the grade school.  The office staff let me sit and pray as they fielded questions.  I calmed anxious children and intervened for traumatized parents.

I called my parents and let them know I loved them.  In those riveting moments, four things stood out:

God - love - family - others

Perhaps that focus would serve us well today.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Putting on my Armor and Running Back to my War Room

Hey - if you can believe it, the Type A Lady actually sat still for a couple of hours to watch the latest Kendrick Bros Film:  War Room .

The movie is charming and thought-provoking and, of course, convicting.  You should check it out for yourself.

The film inspired me to get back into my own little  "War Room" yesterday. I headed to the closet.

I pushed back the skirts and piles of dirty clothes (yes, I hide dirty clothes in my closet). I finally found the wall and the little drawings hanging there.

I remembered the drawings from long ago when my daughters were little...and excited....and interested....and, welp, still my "little" girls.

There they were, right above my flea-market shoes.  My girls created our own little "War Room."  20 years ago.  They decorated the walls of my closet with reminders of Jesus.  I had left the pictures there, but, subsequently piled a lot of stuff in front of them.  Typical.

Enid Ellyn:  Loving Jesus makes you A+ Happy! 

 I abandoned my "War Room" long ago in favor of clutter, distraction, life challenges and, yes, lengthy lists.

Type A girls sometimes have short attention spans and, truth-be-told, I got distracted from this special Jesus
place.  There were too many battles and bossy times, practices and prom nights, grade schools and graduations.....Who has time to pray in a closet???

The little drawings still cling to the scotch tape, however.  Jesus never left me.  I just left Him.

The movie, War Room, reminded me I'd better be strategic about spending time with Jesus.  I need to PLAN (Now that's something Type As do BEST!)

Brynn Elliott: Jesus on the cross.

Oh, I'm not totally awful, but I am totally disjointed.  My prayer can be haphazard and momentary.  I often cry out, but seldom truly communicate.

Today....I am coming out of the closet....literally.  I'm taking those sweet drawings and taping them above my desk.  They'll remind me to pray for the 26, 25 and 21 year-olds who created the artwork.

I'm planting my Bible on the desktop and I'm vowing to read it before I plunk one computer key or utter one cry for help.  I'm sticking up some Bible Verses and photographs.  I'm bringing my War Room into the spare bedroom and I'm not looking back!

If I'm going to complain about it....I'd better pray about it.  If I'm going to worry... I'd better go give it to God. If I'm going to yammer about making the right choices...I'd better listen to God.

- Want to join me?

Go see War Room.  Grab your gear.  Set up your spot.  Let's go to battle!  We start on our knees.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. - Ephesians 6:12

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's the biggest problem facing your high school students today?

I was working with the Faith Family Resource Center to create a series of parental programs to help children succeed in high school.

Being a good little journalist, I decided to do a little investigative reporting to find out from school staff members exactly what topics they'd like to see covered in our education programs.

I went to the principal of our local high school and asked him a question.  He was a  long-time teacher and administrator.

"What's the biggest problem facing your high school students today?"

His answer was quick and concise:


Lesson learned, dear readers.  We need to work on this problem.  Divorce is affecting our families, our children, our students and society as a whole.

As a Type A Lady, I want to give a "checklist" for all couples thinking they would like to get married.

Here's a great checklist for you to share:

The Type A Checklist for Couples:
  1. Spend more time planning your marriage than planning your wedding
  2. Get your spiritual house in order: Commit your life to Christ and draw closer to Him via Bible Study.  He is the ONLY TRUE unconditional lover of your soul. Get to know God and His plan for your life.
  3. Ask God:  Is this man/woman part of Your PLAN?
  4. Don't expect your mate to be God.  
  5. Ask yourself if your mate makes you a better person...or drags you down. 
  6. Get GOOD, Bible-based counseling BEFORE you get married
  7. TAKE TIME -- Don't rush into marriage without knowing the values, beliefs, commitments and spending habits of your future mate
  8. Understand:  Love is a CHOICE, not a feeling.  Choose to LOVE.
  9. DON'T think you can somehow "change" your mate
  10. Understand: Marriage is a life-long covenant which must worked on. 
The high school principal made a major impression on me.  His eyes were sad and his voice was firm.

Divorce plays a huge part in creating problems for children.  We can't be fippant about it.

Let's share my checklist with our children and anyone planning to marry. 

Let's do our share to delete "Divorce".

Train up a child in the way he should go,And when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6