All posts in Sisters

How To Make Time For a Prayer Partner!

“As much as I would love to pray with a partner, I need to be realistic.  I don’t have enough time to pray by myself.  How the heck am I going to arrange getting together with someone else?”

Excuses, excuses.  Yes, I’ve heard them all.  I’ve used them all myself.

By now, you should be convinced you need a Prayer Maven.  And even if you don’t have a Maven in mind, you know that God will use two or three who are gathered together.

So, your heart is saying you need a prayer partner, but your head is saying you don’t have time.

My answer?

Continue reading →

Why You Need A Prayer Maven

Are you in a prayer rut? Maybe you don’t have the time. You lack motivation. You have no energy.

But you really want to pray.  Right?  You really need to pray.

In addition to a kick in the pants and a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit, may I make suggestion?  You might just need a prayer partner.  Heck, you don’t just need a prayer partner.  You need a Prayer Maven!

You may not be familiar with this term, so I’ll do my best to explain.  A Maven is an expert in a particular field who seeks to pass knowledge on to others.  (For a great discussion of Mavens generally, check out Kristen Lamb’s Blog here.) 

Now, back to a Prayer Maven. Naturally, a Prayer Maven is an expert on prayer.  She’s passionate about prayer. She prays, and she just doesn’t go through the motions. She believes in prayer.  But she doesn’t stop there.  She seeks to pass this knowledge on to other people.  She doesn’t want to keep the joy of prayer to herself.

I am blessed to know a couple of Prayer Mavens, including my own dear mother.  But for purposes of this post (and the related posts that will follow), I’m going to tell you about my sister.  My sister Amy is a textbook Maven.

How do you spot a Maven?

Here are a few clues.  When Amy finds a bargain, she doesn’t keep it to herself.  She calls everyone she knows. In fact, she’ll even buy you the last pair of shoes that are on sale, just in case you want them. (She’ll gladly take them back later; she genuinely doesn’t want you to miss out.)  Amy does the same thing when it comes to food and health choices.  Once she found some luney holistic doctor and she sent me every article he ever wrote, completely unsolicited.  She’s always looking out for your best interest.

Get the point?

Ok, now translate the above to a Prayer Maven.  Amy is crazy about prayer.  Which means she doesn’t just want to pray for you, she wants to pray with you.  She’s not one of those prayer partners who gets together just to talk about herself or vent or complain.  She’s going to limit the fluff talk and help you focus on prayer.  Which makes the perfect recipe for a prayer partner.  And since God promises that where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them, you’re in business!

Do you know a Prayer Maven?  Maybe it’s time to ask God to put one in your life!

And don’t worry, you don’t need a Prayer Maven to get started.  God will honor the prayers of a regular Joe or Jane when we come together in faith.

[We’ll keep talking about prayer partners later this month.]

Will We Be 18 In Heaven?

I’m getting ready for my 18-year-old niece’s graduation party.  I pull a skirt and blouse out of my suitcase.  In Ohio, I’d be trendy.  I’d even be a bit edgy on casual day at the office.

But I’m not in Ohio.  I’m in Vegas. 

Midwest hip has long been out in Vegas.  So I run to my niece and cry, “HELP!”  I don’t want to be a middle-aged aunt tonight.  So she hands me a red dress and I don’t look back.  The dance floor is calling me.

In my sister’s tiny back yard stands a wooden dance floor.  The men came to set it up today in the heat of the Vegas sun.  Nails pounding.  Sweat pouring.  But the sun is down.  The DJ is playing.  And the neighbors (and the police!) have been warned.  It’s not every day that we celebrate a woman coming of age. 

So we dance.

I look around the dance floor and I’m the oldest.  By about 20 years.  At first I feel a little silly (in my niece’s red dress and all) but then I don’t care.  I feel like I’m 18 again.  And it feels good.

My father spots me across the yard and he starts to walk toward me.  He had a bad fall today, and I know he is bleeding.  And hurting.  But his long pants are covering his fresh wounds, and I know he wants to dance.  He wants to feel 18 again too.

We both look at my niece, and she is beautiful.  It is her 18th birthday, and she is the star of this show.  And she loves to dance.  After all, it is in her blood.  So my father takes her hand, and they dance.  Together.

Mind you, he may have had trouble walking today.  But tonight he will dance.  With ease.  

Then my mother – the most beautiful woman alive – takes the dance floor.  She and my father are trying to do the jitter bug to rap music, and I’m laughing so hard that I think I might wet my pants — not a good thing when you are wearing somebody else’s dress.   And I’m reminded that these moments are gift.  These moments when we feel 18 again.

I happen to think we’re all going to be 18 in heaven.  Especially when we’re dancing.

(Kaitlyn at 18!)

The Oldest Sister

Is it true that the oldest sibling has it the hardest?  Just ask my oldest sister, Mona.

Mona is a self-admitted, textbook firstborn.  She’s organized, responsible, and goal-oriented.  Her house is always clean, she’s rarely late, and at work she’s always asked to take on more responsibility – even though she insists she doesn’t want to be in charge. Like it or not, firstborns are born leaders.

Looking back, we all admit that Mona probably had it the hardest growing up.  Try being the oldest of five daughters with a strict, old-fashioned father.  You’re going to grow up fast.  You’re going to make waves.  You’re going to pave the way (and extend the curfew) for younger siblings who will thank you for years to come.

Mona is also quite a catch, so she had lots of boyfriends in her youth.  And back in the early 70’s drive-in movies were the rage.  Did my parents allow her dates to take her to the drive in?  Yes, but only under one condition.  She had to take all four of her younger sisters with her!  Thanks to Mona and her boyfriends, I went on more dates before age five than most girls will before they graduate from high school.

Was Mona allowed to stay out late?  Not exactly.  When she was a senior in high school, her curfew was extended to 10:30 p.m.  Given that her boyfriend didn’t have a car (and Friday night football games are known to last past 10:00 p.m.), she often had to leave the game early and run several miles home (literally on foot) to greet my father, who would be standing at the door watching the clock.

When, at age 19, Mona married Dave, we were all a little worried.  I can still remember my outspoken Grandmother proclaiming, Why didn’t they at least graduate from college first? They had no money and no education – just two young kids in love, looking for some independence.  (We all knew Dave was the one when he agreed multiple times to take us all to the drive-in – even Grandma liked him.) 

The good news?  Mona gracefully paved the way for the rest of us. The first to break my father into boyfriends.  The first to get married.  The first to graduate from college.  The first to have kids.  The first to have grandchildren.  And now, the first to retire.  (Mona, I know you’re going to hit the ground running with a second career, but please do the rest of us a favor and take some time off!  You don’t have to go first anymore.)

Any firstborns out there?  Yes, us younger siblings don’t always understand what you’ve endured, but we can’t imagine life without you.  Thanks for going first!

Why Every Family Needs An Artist

Every family needs an artist.  That’s why I’m thankful for my sister, Mary Beth.

Mary Beth doesn’t blog.  And I can tell you – if she’s reading this, I’m sure she’s already feeling embarrassed.  Artists like their privacy, and they really don’t like public attention, even when it’s flattering.  So I promise I’ll keep it short.

Artists tend to be more compassionate than the rest of us.  They’re always concerned about the little guy.  They break tradition and vote their conscience (even when they’re raised in conservative, Republican families).  They date guys with long hair.  They worry their fathers.  They marry guys who are younger than them.  They live for a cause.  They live for passion, and they really don’t care what other people think.

I also admire artists for their insight and creativity.  I don’t think there’s much activity on the right side of my brain, and I think God knew that I needed an artist in my life to shake up my left-brained, myopic world.

Yes, I’m thankful my family has an artist.  She helps us keep life in perspective and helps us see beyond ourselves.

Do you have an artist in your life who helps you see the world through a different lens?