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  Social media can be so annoying. (I realize this may sound hypocritical because many of you got to this post through social media channels, but of course, I wasn't referring to myself. I am never annoying. Just ask my husband. He loves it when I put my ice cold feet on his back or when I forget to close the garage door or buy food for meals. Nope - never annoying. Just rainbows and butterflies around here.) Do you agree, though, that social media can stress you out and just plain get on your nerves? Last weekend, I attended a conference where one of the speakers made a simple statement that liberated so many people listening. She gave us all permission to unfollow people on social media. I almost stood up and applauded, because I have been doing this a LOT lately (election, anyone?) and it has been so freeing. Most of us are "friends" with people we aren't really friends with, and daily we're subjected to posts reminding us why we're not really friends.¬†I'm not talking about people we disagree with, necessarily. I have a lot of friends (in real and virtual life) I share vastly different views from, but I still follow...


  November is here, people, and I can hardly believe it. Maybe that's because it was 84 degrees yesterday and I had sweat running down my back as I walked from the parking lot to the car, but whatever. Stores have Christmas trees and carols are ringing, so the season is upon us. Before we get caught up in the end of the year rush, there are two things I want you to know today, both of which will benefit you. First, I have something to give you. If you don't know much of my story, the short version is that nearly 6 years ago, I went through an extremely painful time, one I wasn't sure I would make it through. My life was turned upside down, and for a very long time, pain was a constant companion. Slowly, I began to recover, and although it was the worst time of my life, it was also the period during which I learned the most about myself, God, and the purpose of pain. The gift I want to give you is a short e-book I've written called "Five Reasons to Embrace Painful Times." It's 18 pages full of the most important lessons I have learned about...


  My son marched over after the post-game huddle, shoulders looking too broad in pads and white jersey. "That last touchdown for them? The ball didn't even cross the plane. It was only his head!" The outrage was clear in his voice, the disgust evident on his face. The scoreboard showed a final score of 35-13, a bitter loss bringing¬†their overall record to a losing one. It's been a fun season, one in which he's learned a lot, but I think I've learned a lot, too. I've learned that my boy, the one who was 6 pounds at birth and wore preemie clothing home from the hospital, can be hit without breaking. I've learned he has an infinite capacity for playing Madden Mobile, and I've learned I can be one of those mamas yelling a little too loudly from the sidelines. But I've also learned that to my son, the world is black and white. The rules are the rules, and if you block him in the back, he's going to have something to say about it. If the ref misses a call, he's going to bring it up later. And by all means, if a touchdown is not really a touchdown, he's going to...


  Lord, Some days I feel like such a screw-up. I wake up wanting to stay in bed, sleeping away the minutes you've given me. I want to do what's comfortable for myself and what will bring me most satisfaction, all while forgetting you didn't make me for me. You made me for you. So God, I need to confess. I confess that most days I think more about myself than I ever think about you. Even in the work that you have given me, I look for ways to take myself higher. In the relationships you've gifted me, I look for ways to have my way be the way. In the life you have presented me, I make it all about myself. I confess that I spend far too much time thinking about what others think of me. I listen for their opinions while ignoring your truth. I repeat their praises and insults to myself, disregarding your words about who I truly am. I confess that my fears motivate me far more than my faith, and I quickly assume the worst of you rather than believing the best. When things don't go my way, I think, "It's because He doesn't love me" rather than "It's only...