Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Marathon

Whoo-hooo! I ran my third and final marathon last Sunday, took a shower and got on a plane. The flight was delayed, so I got back to Atlanta and dropped into bed at 12:30 a.m. Then I was up at 4:15 a.m. to go live on the radio show for the first time out of Atlanta. Yes, I am crazy. Because then I couldn't walk for three days!

But you learn a lot about yourself running 26.2 miles. Pushing your body to its outer limits is painful, but empowering. The mental game is what keeps you going in an endurance test. Back in 1992, when I ran my first marathon, I told myself, "If this were easy, everyone would be doing it."

This year, several signs encouraged me:

  • Toenails are for wimps!
  • I am Kenyan!
  • You inspire!
  • Finish strong!

And then I prayed... and told myself, "I'm a retiring marathoner." Repeating scriptures also helped.

When you are going beyond your former best efforts... what sayings, signs, adages and scriptures encourage you?

Your marathon may be literal or figurative. Finish strong!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Need You

The father walked with his three children into the park ahead of me. As I jogged around the trail, I heard a little voice cry out, "Daddy! Come here! I need you!" I turned and saw a fourth little one, this boy no more than three years old. He was trying to climb a pole on the playground equipment and wasn't getting off the ground.

The father was 50 feet away. What he said next was brilliant: "I need YOU! Come on." The dad kept walking, and the little boy ran to catch up. Now you and I know the father only needed the child to be moving in the same direction, so the family could reach its destination together.

Isn't that like our situation? We cry out to our heavenly father: "Come here! I need you!" We want God to come and push us up the pole or rescue us from the high slide. We are in a dilemma of our own making, but He's got other plans for our lives, a better path, and He needs us to catch up to Him.

I don't have any illusions that God needs me, but I hope He will use me. The good news is we will always reach our destination when we turn around and follow Him.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A House For Sale

It's official... our house is on the market, and we're moving to Atlanta for two great jobs. We serve a God of miracles!

This is the fourth house I've sold as an adult, and the process for getting a house ready to sell is as bad as the "go and show" stage you have to be in once the house has a sign in front.

Getting ready to sell: fix everything so that the house looks so great, you won't want to leave

Staying ready to sell: make the house look as though you don't live there

You may have heard there's been a run on St. Joseph statues because supposedly, houses will sell more quickly if you have even a little plastic Joe on your property. My realtor's religious history involves Catholicism, and she gave us a little statue in the last house, and another one this time. God doesn't talk to me in a booming voice, but I had the distinct impression He did not want me to give Joseph the credit if we sold our house quickly.

So, I look forward to telling you how God provided a buyer! The house has been on the market three days... and we serve a God of miracles!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blessed to be Busy

Do you ever want to send out an email to your entire address list or record a blanket voicemail that says, "If I owe you a letter, email, check, call, reply or hug... please excuse me right now. My life couldn't get any crazier." I'm afraid if I did that, someone would say, "But you had time to send that message."

Being underemployed this year, I have come to view work as a blessing, not only for the monetary security it provides, but for the human contact, too. God has answered my prayers, and I am busy with work. So please know that I have no complaints, but if I am behind on my email... it's not personal, it's divine!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tell Someone

Tell someone today why he or she is special, talented or loved.

"Perhaps once in a hundred years a person may be ruined by excessive praise, but surely once every minute someone dies inside for lack of it." -- Cecil G. Osborne

Friday, October 12, 2007

A New Ministry?

Have you ever been to a bus station? Four years ago, my husband and I were working for the Law Enforcement Television Network and covered an effective program conducted by the Tallahassee, Florida Police Department. Officers had a strategy for finding drug dealers who were traveling by bus. Tallahassee is a big hub, because it is the convergence of highways going west to Pensacola and beyond... east to Jacksonville... north to Atlanta and south to Orlando and Tampa.

As Mark rolled his video camera that day and I interviewed police officers, I couldn't help but notice the bus passengers. They had sad, tired faces. Many carried grocery bags as suitcases. You know how people going on vacation at the airport have happy children and smiles on their faces? None of that here. The kids looked scared and the parents looked tense. Some looked hungry and didn't have change for the vending machines. Others looked as if they hadn't had a shower in days or didn't own a change of clothes. It dawned on me that if you had money, you didn't ride the bus--you drove your car or bought a plane ticket.

"This is a place of need," I thought. "You could really help people." Ideas ranged from handing out water bottles and healthy snacks to giving away Bibles and canvas bags. Maybe even wet wipes or diapers. From time to time, I thought about what a "bus station ministry" could do and wondered how or when I would try to start something like that in my community.

Then God intervened. We had a caller on our radio show yesterday from Tallahassee. I mentioned on the air that I had an idea for a ministry, but time didn't allow me to describe it. After the show, another caller, from Georgia, sent an email saying he lived close to Tallahassee, so I wrote him about the bus station.

He called back on the air today to say he was going to present the ministry idea to his Sunday school class! I was so excited tears came to my eyes.

To top it off, before the show aired, we prayed that someone with Krohn's Disease would call in-- because another faithful listener had sent a book for us to give to someone with that condition. The caller who wants to start the bus ministry has a wife. Guess what she suffers from?

God is full of surprises. Can you believe how He is working to get people taken care of? Wow.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

His Eye is on the Pomeranian

Yesterday, my husband just happened to come home mid-morning to pick up a piece of equipment from his home office to take to his job, four blocks away. He just happened to leave the gate open.

As he left the back door, he sounded startled: "Oh! That's not one of our dogs."

And instantly, I fell in love with a blonde, hairy canine. Her tag read, "Shasta," and we started calling the numbers listed. Quickly, a vet's office connected us to the owner. I heard Mark say, "Mr. Newsom..." and I shouted, "It's Coach Jim's dog!" Coach Jim is our neighbor down the street and a well-known fixture in the Fort Worth running community.

Coach Jim is also a Christian and didn't even know his dog had escaped the yard. I carried Shasta down the street, where I met Coach Jim. He explained that his pastor had come over to swim (that's a whole other story) and left the gate open.

Coach Jim was so happy to see Shasta. His wife raises Dobermans, but he said, "This is the smartest dog we've ever had. She's my dog."

I smiled, happy that God was watching over the Pomeranians. I knew the chances were small that Shasta would enter a yard where people would instantly return her to her owner, so he wouldn't worry.

God is good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Music to Encourage You

Dennis Jernigan recently released his first CD in five years, and it was worth the wait. I have fallen in love with every song. And I confess, I'm a relatively new convert to contemporary Christian music. While I always enjoyed singing hymns and praise songs in church, I think subconsciously I felt, "That's for Sundays." I mean, I was brought up listening to the British Invasion and thought "Rock and Roll Forever" was second only to "Hallowed Be Thy Name."

So what a blessing it has been to discover music that sounds good and uplifts you with its lyrics.

Back to Dennis... Working at FamilyNet Television, I got to meet him one day in the makeup room. He was so nice. To me, three kids is a big family, and Dennis and his wife have nine children! But that's just part of his amazing testimony. When you get a chance, go to his website, read about his life, and buy the new CD, titled, I Cry Holy. You will be blessed.

Oh and you can also hear an interview we conducted with him on FamilyNet Radio by clicking here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Asking for Help is Scriptural

My friend, Peggy Collins, has written a terrific book that can help all of us who are too independent for our own good. It is titled, Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word.
Enjoy this conversation with Peggy and me.
Lorri: Peggy, your new book was written for a secular audience, but the Christian media has shown lots of interest. What’s attracting Christians to “HINAFLW”?

Peggy: That’s a good question, Lorri. I think it’s because this life here on earth is supposed to be our “practice field” for putting into place all the teachings in the Bible. Being a Self-Sufficient and having Self-Sufficiency Syndrome goes against every tenet the Bible teaches, such as, “Ask and it shall be given unto you.” Self-Sufficients can’t ask for anything because it means letting go of control, risking rejection, letting others see where our weaknesses are, and we’d owe someone and have to do something nice to pay it back. Imagine!
We Self-Sufficients feel like we have to do everything all by ourselves, isolating and distancing ourselves. The Bible teaches “love one another.” I don’t believe we can really love one another until we can know the person we’re loving.

The Self-Sufficient lives very close to the vest, looking as though she doesn’t need anything or anybody. Until that individual can make peace with herself and accept her weaknesses, can we really be in community?

Lorri: Do you think people who have trouble asking other people for help also are reluctant to ask God for help?

Peggy: I do and here’s why. The Self-Sufficient needs to be in control of everything and everybody. It’s out of fear, and this extreme behavior is a way to feel safe. Even though we may turn to God, and I did from the time of my early childhood, I would turn over control of a problem but would just as quickly take it back because I hadn’t “practiced on the practice field,” and I became too frightened at the feeling of letting go. Even though I had faith, the fear caused me to focus on the primitive need to be safe and lose my touch with my faith. As I’ve learned to face my fears, armed with the fact that I’m not facing them alone, I’ve been much more successful.

Lorri: As Christians, do we bless others by asking them for help?

Peggy: Oh yes!! One of my best friends asked a question that really got my attention, “When are you going to give me the dignity of helping you?” When we ask for help, we are giving! We're giving a message that we trust that person will be there for us, that they are more capable in an area than we are or even that we want to grow closer by blessing them with this gift of asking.

Lorri: Peggy, you are forthcoming about your own ordeal with the Self-Sufficiency Syndrome. You are also a woman of faith. Did your faith help you get through the rough times?

Peggy: As I said earlier, I went to God in prayer from the time I was a small child. There were many times in my chaotic home life when I felt God was the only one listening. The problem I have always worked on in my faith is being able to turn it over, watch the results and not take it back! As I’ve grown in my faith, today I’m able to do that much more easily than before.
In my book, Help Is Not a Four-Letter Word, I talk about finally realizing that when I tried to control others' lives, I was really writing their scripts. That was a huge "aha” for me, because I realized that each of the people I loved had a much greater SCRIPT WRITER than I, and now I can stand back and watch the plot unfold with faith and trust!

Lorri: That's great. What else would you like to add?

Peggy: I sat at a church-group breakfast this morning and the discussion turned to how violent and angry the world has become. I was amazed at the “this is how it is” attitude around that table. Until each of us can feel love in our hearts for one another, lean on each other and raise each other up in our faith, it will never be any different, I fear.
When we feel peace and love in our hearts, there will begin to be peace and love in the world. Each of us has to make a personal decision to make that happen.
Lorri: And let's ask each other for help to make it happen! Thank you, Peggy, for writing this important book!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Little Magic

This week, as we reviewed the effects of Hurricane Katrina two years later, we interviewed Pastor Fred Luter of New Orleans on "Mornings," the radio show I co-host. I asked the pastor about his son, who is studying to be a pastor just like his dad.

Lorri: Pastor Luter, is it true Chip lettered in Magic in high school?

Pastor: Yes, he thought that was fun.

Lorri: That will make his sermons interesting to include a few tricks. ‘Sinner-disappear!’

Pastor: I’d like to make a few deacons disappear.

We all got a big laugh out of that. And I suspect that there was a grain of truth in Pastor Luter's words. In Pastor Luter's bag of tricks, a quick sense of humor helps when you face the Category 5 storms of life. What's in your bag of tricks?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Looking Cancer in the Eye with Faith

You don't like to hear that one of your friends has cancer. So when I got the letter below in an email from Lynn, I wasn't expecting to be encouraged! I asked him for permission to share this publicly. I have shortened it some just for space and privacy reasons. He also recommends Prayer Power Ministries.

Dear Family and Friends:

If you are receiving this email it is because (1) you don’t know about my recent cancer diagnosis and I felt that you would want to be informed; or (2) you have expressed concern after hearing of my cancer; and/or (3) you have been praying for me.

A couple of months ago I noticed a small walnut size lump that had appeared on my lymph gland area on the lower left side of my neck. Initially I wasn’t very concerned but I did what any prudent man would do, I asked my barber for his opinion. Being the wise man that he is, he suggested that I get an opinion from a medical professional.

I had an upcoming dermatologist appointment so I decided to wait and consult him. His examination resulted in his insistence that he make an appointment with an ENT specialist before I left his office. The ENT physician ordered a CAT-Scan which led to a biopsy from which he could not get a specific diagnosis. On Wednesday, he decided to surgically remove those specific lymph nodes and have the pathologist render a diagnosis.

While waiting for the diagnosis (a slow process in my opinion), it became apparent to me that this was one of those “life trials”. James 1:2 says “. . . whenever you face trials of many kinds” – not “if you face trials” – because everyone is either going into, coming out of, or in the middle of a trial. Trials of “many kinds” come in varied types: loss of a loved one, loss of a job, poor health, etc, etc., etc. My present trial just happens to be a health one. Cheryl and I made a decision that regardless of the results of the diagnosis – good or bad – we were going to praise the Lord for His goodness.

On Monday following surgery Dr. Moore called and said, “I don’t have a specific diagnosis yet, but I have some good news - it is not lymphoma.” Well, it was really easy to praise God when the news was good.

On Tuesday, Dr. Moore’s call was a little more somber. “We have the diagnosis, but my news today isn’t as good as the news was yesterday. You have Squamous Cell Carcinoma, broadly categorized as “head and neck cancer”! Well, that wasn’t the news I wanted to hear, but as a Christian, I knew I was to still praise God – not for the cancer – but for Who He is and what He is going to do in my life through this journey called Cancer.

Dr. Moore recommended Dr. Greenberg, an oncologist. After our initial consultation, I was measured for a mask to wear during radiation treatments. My first thought was that this could be a try-out for “Phantom of the Opera”, and then I remembered that I can’t carry a tune. Besides that, the mask looked more like Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) in “Silence of the Lambs”.

Dr. Greenberg ordered a PETScan which revealed that the “seed” causing the problem was a cancerous tumor at the base of my tongue, and while that might not sound like “good news”, it was because the exact location of the tumor and the fact that it is contained in one specific area, makes it easier to destroy with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

My treatments are going well but I continually remind myself that it is early yet in the race and the tougher miles lie ahead. As of this time I have completed 10 radiation sessions (10 of 35, but who’s counting?), which I receive every weekday at 11:30 a.m. This has become my new lunch hour routine. I have also completed the first of 6 weekly chemo treatments which lasts 3.5 hours each (but who is watching the clock?). I have purposefully scheduled the chemo treatments on Friday afternoons, allowing me to rest on the weekend, and hopefully return to work on Mondays.

Career Transition Ministries Network, the non-profit 501 c(3) parachurch ministry formed several years ago), continues to meet weekly in a local church in West Plano, Texas, ministering to job seekers. We are a 5-member team, each one able to teach on each topic, so the ministry can continue when any of us are unavailable to participate due to business travel, health situations, or whatever. The ministry team also conducts Saturday workshops – “The Faith Journey called Job Search” in local churches at the invitation of that church. So, ministry work goes on.

My wife, Cheryl, is being a wonderful caregiver including doing everything to fatten me up (as per doctor’s instructions to eat food with plenty of calories) because the time is quickly approaching when the radiation will have effectively damaged my taste buds and salivary glands, making it difficult to swallow solid food. The good news is that I am still on a steady diet of Blue Bell ice cream (recently described as God’s common blessing to all Texans). You won’t understand this if you live out-of-state or have never eaten Blue Bell ice cream. She also has me eating healthy, whole grain dinner rolls (“400 calories” each) from Whole Foods. A friend told her about a brand of “pure” vitamins, so I get large handfuls every morning and evening, whether I want them or not. I am also walking 1.5 to 2.0 miles each morning, which helps my energy level during the day and it’s a great time to pray and reflect on all the many blessings I am grateful for.

So that about sums up the physical side of this experience for now; but more importantly, let me share with you what I am learning from the emotional and spiritual side. I am well aware of the natural temptation to ask “Why cancer?” “Why me?” “Why now?” The “why” questions become endless pages of unanswered questions . . . so I know not to go there. As a Christian I know that God does not owe me an explanation for anything that He allows into my life. “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay . . .” (Romans 9:20-21). So, knowing that I am not to entertain in my mind “why” questions, I quickly move to the “what” questions. “What is God doing in my life through this?” “What is it that God wants to teach me at this time?” Thus far I have been reminded clearly that no circumstance, no trouble, no testing can ever touch me without first coming through the Father and His Son to me; and if it has come that far, it has come with great purpose. And God’s Word clarifies that purpose: “And we know (with certainty) that all (not some) things work together for good (1) to those who love God, (2) to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29) (words in parenthesis added by me). God’s good purpose in all things, including this illness, is to conform my character to that of His Son’s, and there is no one I would rather look more like than Jesus.

My daily time with my Heavenly Father has never been sweeter and my study of His Word has never been richer! In summary, I have never felt closer to Him than now.



Monday, August 6, 2007

Text Messaging

Just today, motoring on the Interstate, my husband and I saw not one, but two, drivers text messaging WHILE they were steering their vehicles!

Text messaging had already been on my mind, because I happened to see blogs written by young people using lots of IM (instant messaging) acronymns. One that annoys me and probably bugs lots of Christians is "OMG." I hope they're meaning "Oh My Gosh," but the skeptical side of me guesses that they're using the Lord's name in vain.

So I have a solution! Let's start a new acronym: TYG. That's right, "Thank You, God!" It's a good one since we all have so much to be thankful for.

It's even easy to type on the keyboard--all three letters form a tiny triangle right next to each other. So if a driver must multi-task, he or she could say TYG for not crashing!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

More Than Hairspray

Have you seen the new version of Hairspray? If you like musicals, you'll like it. If you like John Travolta, you'll like it--his acting reaches new heights, er, heft. It's a cute, feel-good movie with a great message: no matter what we look like on the outside, we count. That message is found in the Bible, too. Check out Galatians 3:28.

The heroine of Hairspray is a teenager named Tracy. She leads a march for integration because it's the right thing to do, even though she may lose her boyfriend and her dream spot on the movie's version of American Bandstand.

It reminded me of a time when someone in my family stood up and did the right thing, even though she was criticized for it. I'm going to be vague with the details, because this happened less than 18 years ago, and there might still be some uncomfortable feelings among people who read this. The story starts when my relative decided to host a baby shower for an unwed mother at her church. People called my relative and accused of her condoning premarital sex and setting a bad example. One person even asked her to cancel the shower.

It may have been the bravest thing my relative ever did--kind of like Tracy walking in that protest march. My relative told the people who complained that they didn't have to come to the party, but the young mother needed help, support, and to see the love of Jesus. The shower was held and by all accounts, was a success. Interestingly, the mother and the baby's father soon got married, had more children and are now active in that church.

As for the outcome of Hairspray, you'll have to see the movie.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Firm Foundation

The Minneapolis bridge collapse and my own near-miss into a mudslick while jogging yesterday remind me that only God provides a firm foundation.

We like to take comfort and encouragement in our modern technology. But a misstep, an accident, a crime, or aging infrastructure can destroy our worldly confidence in an instant. This passage from the Old Testament could be written today:

Habakkuk's Complaint

How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

The Lord's Answer

Look at the nations and watch- and be utterly amazed.

For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.

Habakkuk 1:2-5 (NIV)

Like Habakkuk, we cry out to the Lord and all these generations later, he still amazes. Friends, he holds us in the palm of his hand. I'm so thankful that more people were not lost on that bridge. I'm so grateful I did not land in the mud. I'm so comforted that God's promises are built to last.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Interview with Author Dena Dyer

Dena Dyer is such an encourager! Her ministry is for moms and women. She is an author, singer, performer and speaker. Her credits include Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms (Barbour), The Groovy Chicks Road Trip series (Cook, co-authored with Laurie Copeland and a lot of groovy girlfriends), and lots of magazine articles. A wife and mother of two precious boys, Dena is compassionate and thoughtful. Plus, her blog is where I got the idea of interviewing people for my blog, so of course, I had to interview Dena! Her blog is cool--please check it out.

Lorri: Dena, your faith has played such a big part in everything about your life, from your college choice and finding your husband to what you’re doing now. Has it always been easy to put your faith first?

Dena: No... I have had times when faith was incredibly hard to hold onto, such as when I was going through the loss of a baby early in our marriage. The people who were the least comforting were Christians. That was hard! I also went through a crisis of faith after 9/11. That tragedy was followed by more personal tragedies in some of my friends' lives, and it felt like the world was out of control, and God was nowhere to be found. But through it all, I kept being honest with God about my questions. Like Job, I just kept dialoguing with Him. After a while, I found that at my core, I couldn't let go of God. Or more correctly, He wouldn't let go of me!

Lorri: Thanks for your transparency. It encourages me that someone as "together" as you are may struggle from time to time, like the rest of us. Your ministry includes encouraging mothers. Why is it so hard for moms these days?

Dena: I think we’re really hard on ourselves (I know I am). We want to do it all, be it all and have it all. The problem is, none of us can! When I finally "got" that, I became a much more relaxed and confident mom!

Lorri: Why do you feel called to write?

Dena: I’ve loved writing since I was eight years old and read a story in front of my second grade class. They loved it—and I was hooked! And when I found healing from depression, miscarriage, and anxiety problems in Jesus, it increased my desire to write—to share with others the hope I have. I do believe I’m called, which to me means that I have a divine mandate to use my talents and gifts for Him and not for my own glory. God in his grace has allowed me to do something I absolutely love—that’s his assignment for me. What an awesome thing!

Lorri: What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Dena: Be flexible, professional, and respectful. The business is very volatile and editors change jobs a lot. They are also under tremendous pressure to acquire books and shepherd those books through the publishing process. Then they’re supposed to go to writing conferences, where they look for new writers, teach classes, and nurture professional writers. I honestly don’t see how they do it all.

I have always tried to respect the time constraints my editors have and thank them for their efforts. And I try to meet my deadlines and not be too protective of my writing (taking criticism like a big girl). I’d also advise writers to not give up, if they feel they are "writers" at the core of their beings. This business is hard—and more writers try to break in every day. But if you’re dedicated to learning the craft of writing, and you are persistent in submitting your work (that includes learning how to submit and following publishers’ guidelines), then if you are talented, you will eve ntually get published.

Lorri: Which books have influenced you?

Dena: Okay, where do I start? Some of my all-time favorites are To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, A Separate Peace, Brave New World, and Cold Sassy Tree. I love the Narnia series and every book C.S. Lewis ever wrote (ask me about my C.S. Lewis course in college-wow!) and I can't get enough of books by Anne Lamott, Kathleen Norris, Lauren Winner, John/Staci Eldredge, Ken Gire, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Beuchner and Madeleine L'Engle. Wish I could write like those people! The passion of Beth Moore, Joanna Weaver and Angela Thomas inspires me, and I love the occasional chick-lit novel as a "lite" break in my reading schedule.

Lorri: Dena, thanks so much for squeezing this blog into your busy mothering and reading and writing schedule! God bless your ministry!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Annual Shot in the Arm

We all have ways to rejuvenate. And one of those for me is the annual National Speakers Association convention. You get to see and hear the best speakers in the world. Attendees get motivated, inspired and definitely encouraged. Part of the fun is seeing friends from around the country and making new friends from all over the world. This organization urges mentoring and support, as well as professionalism from the platform and integrity with audiences and clients.

I love this year's president and his theme: "NSA Rocks!"

We all need to be reminded that we rock!

Friday, July 6, 2007


Hearing from Jan Tennyson about her life-changing ministry reminded me of another organization that makes such a huge difference in kids' lives. It's Big Brothers Big Sisters. I met and interviewed the President of the North Texas chapter a few months ago. He had such impressive statistics about how spending a few hours with a young person each month can keep him or her in school, prevent drug use and more, that I asked my husband if he'd like to be a Big Couple. Being a Big Couple means Mark and I get to share the same little brother -- and spend time together!

To my surprise, Mark liked the idea and after interviews and background checks, we got matched to Isaiah. We have only been his "Bigs" for a couple of months, but we think we got the best end of this deal. Isaiah is sweet and smart and has very nice manners. Mark and I have had the opportunity to do all sorts of fun things we would never do otherwise, like go to Chuck E. Cheese's (and Mark got a migraine!) and we learned that adults treat you nicer when you have a kid along.

You can be a Big Brother or a Big Sister or even a Big Family. It's fun to see the world through a "Little's" eyes. I can't wait to see Isaiah again--tomorrow we go to the movies!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Interview with Encourager Jan Tennyson

An attitude of gratitude and faith in a Heavenly Father inspired Jan Tennyson to beat the odds of growing up in foster care and start a Foundation to build the spirit of wounded youngsters with broken dreams.

Jan says, "It is because of the grace of God and the generosity of loyal supporters and volunteers that we have been able to touch the lives of more than 20,000 abused and neglected foster children, teen offenders, and orphans since 1987."

These youngsters are temporarily housed in shelters, group homes, orphanages, and detention centers. Through Dare to Dream’s enrichment programs, souls have been saved, hearts have been healed, and some young people have been able to dream and trust again. Dare to Dream’s Life Skills programs are an important ingredient in the intervention and rehabilitation of youth in the Juvenile Justice System.

Lorri: Jan, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share news about your ministry with us. This blog is about encouraging others. Do you and your volunteers get encouraged seeing the young people whom you help?

Jan: The reward is great when you see the eyes of youth change as they listen and hear the truth about their value and realize that regardless of their circumstances, they can achieve great things because of what they believe. Our volunteer/role models are living examples of the goodness of God.

Lorri: How did you come to know Jesus?

Jan: It wasn't until late in life - 1987, that I heard evangelist Jerry Johnston's testimony at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas and learned that I could have the blessed assurance to know that I would go directly to heaven when I died, by inviting Jesus Christ into my life. I got saved that night and my desires changed, my actions changed, and my future was changed forever by the the touch of the Holy Spirit.

Lorri: You recently won an award from the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry! Congratulations! What was it like to be honored in that way?
Jan: It was humbling and such an honor. When I started Dare to Dream, I didn't sign up for awards or recognition.; I wanted life to be better for kids like me who didn't have strong families to believe and encourage them. Feeling like an outsider is not fun - but the encouragement of people who care can change your future forever.

The Governor's Lonestar Achievement Award Recognizes the outstanding service of an individual who has impacted the delivery of social services in Texas.

Lorri: Jan, thanks for all you do to make a difference. We want to let people know how they can volunteer or donate to keep your ministry going. Please go to the Dare to Dream website!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What Message are You Sending?

My friend Scott just called to tell me about a bumper sticker in front of him. It said, "Too God be the Glory."

Scott knew I would get a kick out of it since I teach business writing, and I'm always encouraging people to brush up their grammar, spelling and punctuation. (You're free to let me know when I have a typo!)

But Scott, my radio co-host, always has a deep spiritual outlook. Regarding the misuse of "Too," he asked, "Can God be glorified when we have a glaring mistake?"

What do you think?

I think we probably have so many faults that God overlooks, that when we're trying to glorify Him, an extra "o" doesn't matter.

Monday, June 18, 2007


It's flooding again in North Texas. My friend Curt moved to Fort Worth in 1959 from Michigan. He says people in his new hometown told him weather would either be drought or floods. So maybe we're just in flood phase.

Texans learn early not to complain about rain. Just a few months ago, the lake beds were cracked, the grass was dead, and we were rationing water.

But today, two people have died in the floods. One was a four-year-old girl who was swept out of her mother's arms as the family evacuated. Let's pray for that mom and her family. The local TV news channels have been showing people sitting on their roofs, reminiscent of New Orleans residents after Katrina. Even though my husband and I have had only a tiny flooding problem compared to theirs, my heart goes out to them. And I'm reminded that self-pity does no good--the situation could always be worse.

I'm thankful for the rain and for the beautiful green grass, flowers, and filling resevoirs. I'm thankful God promised never to destroy the Earth with another flood. I'm thankful that when life sends literal and figurative storms, we have a Rescuer who will never fail nor flee.

And it may be in eternity, but the situation will always get better.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Den, the Dog and the Computer

I just read the last post and realized while I had mentioned the den flooding, I hadn't written in this forum how tough a month May was. Well, hey--this blog is supposed to encourage you, not drag you down with my problems! But even the encouragers get discouraged from time to time. And sometimes it takes the valleys for us to savor the mountain tops.

In hindsight, the trials were minor inconveniences compared to the tribulations others face. At the time, though, they were traumatic for me. In the space of three days, the den flooded, the dog had a stroke and the computer died. The good news (and there's always a silver lining; it just takes a while to find it in some cases) is that the flooding inspired a home improvement project that will make us like our den so much more. Daisy, my precious 16-year-old dog, is doing so much better. And the computer had no recoverable files, but much had been saved on my laptop. So life goes on.
(Here is Daisy shortly after her surgery for an abscessed tooth. We think the surgery caused the stroke.)

What I learned is that just because I am in ministry does not make me immune from troubles. God is not going to make life easier just because I talk about Him for an hour on the radio everyday. Ha! Look what Jesus did--and it didn't make His life on earth any easier.

Another lesson--I know I will be more compassionate when someone tells me about their house flooding or their pet ailing. And I will have lots of advice about computers and backing up!

The biggest loss was losing many, many e-mail addresses. So if you happen to read this and were on any of my e-newsletter lists, you may not be on the new list. Please send an email to Lorri ("at" sign) Lorri dot com if you want to subscribe again.

Now you know why the letter I got in the mail today was such a spirit-lifter.

God Sends a Surprise

I am in tears as I write this--happy tears, because God's showed his goodness and love in a sneaky way today.

In the mailbox was a letter from a friend. A special friend whom I love, but have only seen in person three brief times, and one of those times, I was speaking and he was in the audience! But this gentleman is a person of immense faith, a speaker, and he displays a terrific sense of humor. So it would be hard for anyone not to like him.

Back to the story--out of the blue, he sent me a check for $92.00. Like the gift of God's grace, I did nothing to deserve this, but am happy to have it! (If you know about the den, the dog and the computer, you know cash has been flowing the wrong way around the Allen household this month). But the check could have been for two dollars, and I would feel just as special. God knew a surprise like that would really cheer me up!

Curiosity hit me, though--why a strange number like "92"? Maybe my friend will let me in on his thoughts later. His note just said that the gift was from God. When I looked up Psalm 9:2, a big smile emerged on my face and in my heart.

“I will be glad and exult in Thee; I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High."

God is good... and sneaky.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Effortless Encouragement

My friend Linda is a great encourager. She makes it look easy and natural. For instance, just the way she says, "Wow!" can make you feel like you just gave her a priceless painting.

She helped put herself through college and law school by doing everything from selling makeup to waiting tables. So she always notices people who work in service jobs and talks to them. Last Friday, we were having lunch, and she told our waitperson, "You have the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen!" The young woman did have beautiful eyes. And hearing that from Linda made those eyes dance. She came back to our table later, wearing a big smile, "Someone else noticed my eyes!"

Encouraging others costs nothing but a few seconds of our time. The goodwill we generate may last for days. That's a great return on investment.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Gratitude is Good

Have you ever noticed how many scriptures in the book of Colossians talk about being thankful? When you single them out, you know that gratitude will please the Lord. Take a look. The version is New American Standard Bible, and I've added the italics.

Colossians 1:12: "Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light."

Colossians 2:6-7: "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude."

Colossians 3:15: "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."

Colossians 3:16: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."

Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."

Colossians 4:2: "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving."

What are you thankful for today? Think about it, sing about it, write about it, pray about it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

One More Reason to Study

Preacher Chuck Swindoll sounded great on the radio this morning. His topic--the temptation of Jesus--made me realize I need to know the Bible better.

In Matthew 4, Jesus is tempted three times by the devil. The devil gives up on each attack after Jesus quotes scripture. That tells me if I can recite verses in the face of temptation, the devil will give up on me, too. In verse 10, Jesus adds a direct order, "Begone, Satan!" I think I'll just start every day out that way and see how it goes.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Do people ever ask you your favorite Bible verse, story or character? They may be just trying to start conversation, or maybe they feel like they can get some insight into your personality or spiritual status. For example, if you said, "Job," then the questioner might ask if your patience had been tried lately. And if you pronounced it with a short "o," then the inquirer would have an idea of how much Sunday school you'd attended.

When I get asked this, I usually go blank in confusion. I want to say, "I like them all." But I fear that is the wrong answer. For instance, I don't like the story of Jesus' death--it's not a pretty one. But without it, we wouldn't have the story of His glorious resurrection. While that has to be the best and most important story of all, the Bible is full of such great stories, it's hard to pick another favorite.

As for verses, phew, one will be my favorite for a few years, and then I'll come across another one and that one just has to be my favorite. Some people have "life verses." That impresses me. They can commit to a verse for life!

Right now, my favorite verse is Joshua 1:9 (NIV): "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

That probably gives you way too much insight into me.

Here's a funny story about that verse. It was sent to me last summer by my friend Angie. I liked it so much, I forwarded her e-mail to a few friends. My friend Ellen's computer started acting up a few months later, and that message with that verse kept popping up! She lost many of her other e-mails and files, but not that one! God was with her even in a technology crisis.

Here's good news... God is with you even if you don't have a favorite story, character or verse.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

In the Scheme of Things

Whoever said, "When it rains, it pours" must have lived in Texas in the springtime. Or Oklahoma or Kansas...

Spring storms have tested a lot of us recently. A young man reminded me today that God promised He would never destroy the Earth again by flood.

I said, "Maybe He was just joking." Then I started to get a lecture about God.

"Just KIDDING," I interrupted, to stop him. Who needs a lecture when her house is flooded?

This is my third house flooding as an adult, living on my own. In the scheme of things, this one was not so bad. But that it came while the dog was recovering from surgery and two days before the computer crashed made me think I am under attack from the Evil One.

I was discouraged for a few days, but then realized as long as I am down and out, Satan wins! Don't you suppose the enemy wants us downtrodden, so we won't share the love and joy of Jesus with others?

Of course, I will have more compassion for others who run into a spate of troubles. But I'm not going to let a few obstacles get in my way!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Noticing the Signs

"And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place..." Acts 2:43 (NASB)

You ever feel like God is trying to tell you something? I heard a testimony from a fellow named Moby today who said he had been almost killed in truck accident when he was a truck driver, so he became an electrician. Then he had a zillion volts go through him, burning spots all over his body, so he became a mechanic, and then, he got hit by a train! Fading in and out of conscienceness, he felt he heard the Lord ask, "Have I got your attention yet?"

Moby tells everyone about Jesus now, saying you don't have to get nearly killed three times to invite him into your life, you just have to ask!

For those of us who already know salvation, the signs might be more subtle. For instance, I saw a tire cover on the SUV speeding in the left lane. It said, "Life is Good." Then later the same day, I read a bumper sticker that advised, "Look for the blessings."

The good news is: God has posted the signs. We just have to notice them.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Reason to Encourage

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.

-- William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1, NASB

At the Cowtown Marathon (I ran the Half) recently, my friend Annetta (she is the thin one on the right) ran alongside and my family cheered. And my sweet husband took these pictures. Talk about encouragement! My friends joked that my dad now has to come to every race. Who can you cheer for today?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Horrible News

Well, it's not always good news. But the bottom line is God takes tragedies and uses them for good. We may never know all the reasons 32 senseless deaths happened in Blacksburg, Virginia. But we have to trust.

These events sadden us, numb us, cripple us and shake up our routines. Media coaches will tell you it's a matter of when, not if, an act of violence will occur at your school or workplace. So you should prepare with disaster drills and crisis plans.

Today on "Mornings with Lorri & Friends," one of our guests was Al Meredith, Pastor of Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Al had just returned from burying his mother in 1999 when a gunmen entered the foyer of the church and began shooting. A short time later, eight were dead, including the shooter, and seven more were injured. Pastor Meredith has since been regarded as a resource to the news media because, instinctively, he did everything right in a crisis. He made himself available to the media at any hour requested. He spoke in colorful soundbites. He is an intelligent, articulate preacher and that came across in his replies.

I urge you to listen to the podcast of Pastor Al’s interview with us. He is so wise and comforting. His words will help you reconcile the tragedy in Virginia.

Randy Singer, also with connections to a school shooting and to Virginia, underscored the fragility of life. He, Brother Al and Martin Coleman, a member of Wedgwood, emphasized that no place is safe in our world. But if you’re ready to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then every place is safe. So the best disaster plan of all may be making sure you're right with God.

Travel safe and encourage those you encounter along the way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Interview with Ellen Castro

Ellen Castro and I met on a plane! In the 12 years since then, she has gone from mentor to great friend. She's such an accomplished person. Listen to this: Ellen is an international speaker, coach and consultant, specializing in communication and leadership. Her tagline is so true; she says, "It’s all about TRUST!" She should know. She's the author of Spirited Leadership: 52 Ways to Build Trust on the Job. Her spiritual walk is inspiring. She puts God first, personally and professionally. Her no-cost e-newsletters are encouraging. Go here to subscribe.

LA: Ellen, you had a breakdown as a young professional and realized it was because your work life was not congruent with your beliefs. That led to a huge spiritual journey… and a whole new career… for you. Can you talk about that?

EC: At that point in time, I thought that money and getting my dad’s approval were everything. So I did WHATEVER it took to be the highest ranking female at an oil company in the late 70’s. When I did that and my manager said I was not going to get the next job... I imploded. I was off work for four months and when I came back, my career was over. Whew. Actually the real turn towards my spiritual path happened when I ended up at Harvard at age 36 by “accident.” It was then that I started my spiritual quest. The catalyst was a course that was titled, “The Dynamics of Religion and Psychology.” It has been quite a ride ever since! It is amazing if you pray for healing, that is what God will do to help you find the truth of who you really are and the path to His love.

LA: Your book is an effort to encourage corporate leaders to exhibit their values in the workplace. When you first wrote this book, this was a foreign concept! But it seems to be gaining more acceptance. What reaction have you had to the book?

EC: The book is an outcome of my experience at the oil company...from whom I still don’t buy gas... my studies at Harvard and my work as a leadership consultant and executive coach. And again, God has a sense of humor... you teach what you most have to learn.

So the book is all about trust... since trust is the essence of leadership. And to be trustworthy, you must trust yourself by living a life of credibility and compassion. I believe why things have changed is that people are weary and want to find meaning in their lives and work. People like my book because it is practical and cuts to the chase.

LA: Your corporate presentations and consulting are centered around getting leaders to do the right thing. Why is trust such a big issue?

EC: Trust is a MUST! With everything as chaotic as it is, people want to feel safe and connected in some way. And the leader offers that sense of safety and connection by giving trust and being the role model of trust. There are no neutral actions, and everything leaders do either builds someone’s self-esteem or destroys it. And either builds a sense of connection or isolation. The choice is theirs. And they reap less stress and more success when they are the light and love of God.

LA: Ellen, I love how you put God first in all that you do. What advice do you have for the rest of us on our faith journey?

EC: I put God first because I learned the hard way. He is my source! And my true parent! And when I connect to His love for me, His good for me, I feel worthy and loved. Then I can be the light for others... a source of safety and connection in an unsafe world for others because I feel safe and connected within.

LA: Is there anything else you would like to add?

EC: The truth is while it sounds simple, it is not easy. So my advice is be kind to yourself... there are no setbacks or reasons to punish yourself... it is just an “oops” to learn. So just be happy you got the “oops,” so you can choose again for God and good.

God bless you and yours! Stay connected in every moment! Joy, service and love are a choice... choose wisely!

LA: Thanks, Ellen! I know it was no accident that we sat together on a Southwest flight in 1995. God had a plan for us to help each other and learn from each other. You have so much to offer the corporate world--I hope any leader seeing this will consider bringing you into his or her organization.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

Mary may have been the first reporter. Look at John 20:18. "Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: I have seen the Lord!" (NIV)

She confirms the news for all of us, even today, that we serve a risen Savior. It's all about the empty tomb!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Interview with Craig Harris

Craig Harris has been my friend for more than 20 years. We used to work together at KLTV-Channel 7 in the Tyler-Longview, Texas market. He was the photographer and I was the reporter. It's a team relationship that survived his Aggieness. Actually, I'm quite proud to know Craig. Here are a just a few reasons why...

Craig is a husband, father, award-winning journalist, pastor and author. His “Apparently So” parenting column is featured in newspapers across the country and on websites around the world. Craig believes parents should be deliberate in their effort to provide a happy, safe, secure home. The more fun a family has, the more the parents earn the right to pass their values on to their children. It can’t be all fun – after all, children need their parents to guide and protect them and not just be their friends – but he wants parents to realize how important it is that they establish a warm, emotionally stable relationship with their children. Harris currently serves as the Parent Involvement Coordinator for the Palestine Independent School District and is the pastor of a country church.

Craig was an Associated Press Award Winning TV Reporter and Photographer at KLTV until he left to became a full-time student minister. Harris has written seven books, Sharpen Your Acts!; Yikes! What Am I Teaching Wednesday Night?; Yikes Again!; Ground Your Faith!; Secrets of the Abundant Life; The Sixty-Year Honeymoon; and a novel called The Dead Peasants File (available soon!). He is a regular guest on radio talk shows and is available for speaking engagements. Craig and his wife, Jodi, have two children, David and Savannah. The family has a dachshund named Jello, whom you can see in the photo with Craig and me last Christmas-time.

I'm telling you all this about Craig because his ministry will encourage you.
LA: Craig, you have a Journalism degree, not a Theology degree. When did you feel called to go into ministry?

CH: I never thought I had to be a pastor to spread the Gospel. I’ve always felt I could do more good for the Kingdom by writing or reporting in the secular market with a Christian world view. That is something I still try to do with my column and fiction novels. I was a radio announcer in high school and had a Christian show every Thursday night called “Earthmaker.” I saw then how effective it was to integrate Christianity into the secular culture.

I enjoyed the television reporting job and tried to integrate my world view, but when I got a call offering me a job as a youth minister, I took it, even though it cut my salary in half. I was about to get married and I knew being a TV reporter was going to be hard on my marriage. For me, it was a chance to go home and get paid for what I really loved – teaching the Bible. I sometimes miss the rush of the newsroom, but it really can’t compare with leading someone to Christ. I still consider myself a journalist who happens to preach and not a professional preacher.

LA: Tell us about your passion for youth ministry.

CH: That passion began when I was a teenager. I was in a really good youth ministry and it was wonderful for me. At a time when I was making all of the big decisions for my life, I was seeking God. What a difference that made! Becoming a youth minister was my way of giving back.
I feel youth ministry is the cutting edge of ministry. If we can disciple teenagers, we can change the whole world. Teenagers will also bring their parents, friends and siblings to church if they see it offers answers. I left the youth ministry in 2002 to begin Sycamore Tree Publishing, and have been a senior pastor since 2003.

LA: You also have a ministry for parents. How did your newspaper column get started?

CH: I began writing a parenting column for my local paper ten years ago (1997). I saw it as a way to minister to parents in my hometown and also as good public relations for my church and ministry. Eventually, the newspaper editors began to put it in the same place each Sunday – next to the children’s pictures. I named it “Apparently So”. Friends and strangers began to tell me how much they loved the column. The paper has always let me say whatever I wanted, be it about Christianity or character. I’ve never received a penny for the column. The newspaper’s owners began to notice it on the web site and asked if I would offer it to other papers. So, now, it is offered to scores of newspapers across the country. Again, I don’t get paid for it, but what a great ministry it has become for me. Last year, I offered it to It runs each week, so long as it’s not too spiritual.

LA: How has your newspaper column impacted your community and your church?

CH: I became the pastor of my church because of it. A lady in the church liked it and asked me to meet with the search committee. I’ve been there five years now. And I got my job at the Palestine Independent School District because of it, too. So, when I say I’ve never been paid for the column, I should really say I’ve never been paid directly for it. Several families have joined the church because they read the column and visited us because of it.

LA: Can you share your faith in public schools today?

CH: No, I can’t preach to students or parents. But I write a monthly newsletter that gets sent home to each parent in the district. In it, I talk about building character and instilling responsibility. To me, that is pointing families in the right direction.

LA: Your partner in ministry is your lovely wife, Jodi. How does she encourage you?

CH: I couldn’t do it without her. She’s right behind me on everything I do. She pushes me to be better and tells me how proud of me she is. That means more than I can say. We’ve been on a honeymoon now for sixteen years and counting. My relationship with her is a daily proof that being a man of God is the only way to go.

LA: How can people get your youth ministry resources and read your column?

CH: I offer e-books for student ministry at I post my columns at

LA: Craig, what else would you like to add?

CH: I want to tell you, Lorri, that you and Mark have meant a lot to Jodi and me. I don’t have a whole lot of friends who really understand what I’m trying to do, but you guys do.
LA: Thank you for your sweet words, Craig.
CH: I also want to tell you to be on the lookout for my first fiction novel, The Dead Peasants File. It is about a company that takes your life the day you retire. People are standing in line to work there because it pays so well – with no thought about the end of their lives. It is a parable about life and salvation. I have an agent who is shopping it for me. Pray that God will hook me up with the right publisher!
LA: It is a great premise and a great book! I am sure all of the readers of this blog will pray for you, Craig. This is a book that will change lives. And I thank you for being such a good influence on my life. You are an encourager to so many.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


You may notice off to the left a feature called, "Books I've Read This Year." One of the great perks of being a Talk Show Host is that publicists and authors send you BRAND NEW books for free! It's heaven for bookworms like me.

I used to have a goal of reading a book a month. That's not ambitious when you hear that Oprah reads one a day! But last year, we'd sometimes have four authors as guests during one two-hour program. Phew, Scott and I learned quickly that we just couldn't keep up with the reading with that many authors. So sometimes I just read parts of books--enough to be able to ask intelligent questions.

But I want to promise you that on the list to the left, I'm only going to put books that I read all the way through and ones that I recommend. If you have a question about any of them, please ask!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Take a Stand

Encourage others by not letting bullies get away with victimizing. And just so you know, bullies come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and colors.

A decade ago, I sat on a board of a volunteer professional association, and a member of the group failed to get a big project off the ground that would've raised money for the chapter. Despite a heartfelt apology and good justification from the member, the blonde, female president berated and belittled him the whole meeting. Being the youngest and newest person on the board, I didn't say anything, but kept hoping the older, more experienced members would stick up for the guy. Or say something to the president to get her to move on to something more constructive. It was an awkward, uncomfortable night.

After the meeting, we gathered in little groups to talk about how inappropriate the president's behavior was and expressed our sympathy to Jeff, the picked-on member. I asked my older, wiser friends why they didn't say anything to defend our colleague, and their answer was that they were shocked that such a spectacle could happen among professionals.

The meeting changed me. I vowed never again to sit back, silent, when my words could defend or deflect meanness.

This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. gives me courage to speak out and take a stand: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Be bold for goodness. Be bold for your faith. Battle the bullies.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saying Something Nice

A few days ago, a man I'd just met was asking me about the speaking business. He mentioned that in all his years of public school, he'd received one compliment from a teacher. It was about his ability to speak. Being the only one, the compliment really stuck with him and gave him confidence that he could make presentations.

I know teachers have many challenges, so I'm not asking them to do more, and I'm not fussing at them. Maybe this man was a handful as a youngster, and it was all the teachers could do to keep the class in line. We don't know the whole story.

But it made me sad that this man--probably in his forties--could remember only one compliment.

My dad wanted me to be an executive secretary when I was little. If it hadn't been for the encouragement--and compliments--of Mr. Bledsoe, Miss Verhalen and Mrs. Foster, I might not have known the thrill of sharing ideas with audiences.

Let's encourage each other by finding nice things to say to each other and about each other. I'm not suggesting insincere flattery. Let's look beyond the surface to notice a day-brightening smile, a kind gesture, or a job done well.

You never know how it will give confidence and change a life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

God is in Control

The chorus of a Twila Paris song keeps running through my head. It is on her live CD titled, He is Exalted, and the song is "God Is In Control."

Look at and be encouraged by a few of the lyrics:

God is in control
We believe that His children
Will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember
And never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him
We know O God is in control
O God is in control

Isn't that great? I try not to worry or be anxious. After all, Jesus said, "Do not be anxious." But the last few days, when my mind starts to drift into "What if's," I find myself repeating "God is in control."

I read once that if a song lyric keeps running through your head, it is your subconscious sending you a message. There are worse messages my subconscious could be sending!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Simple Pleasures

What are the simple joys God puts in your life to make you smile?

Do you share any of mine?

1. Seeing an old, arthritic dog wag her tail
2. Scratching the head of the above-mentioned dog in such a way that you can tell she loves it
3. Smelling a puppy
4. Seeing the fluffy, white blossoms of a Bradford Pear tree
5. Reading the newspaper outside in the backyard
6. Receiving an e-mail from an old friend
7. Signing for a mysterious package with the return address written in Chinese
8. Eating a green banana
9. Having lunch with a girlfriend who makes you laugh
10. Realizing a prayer has been answered
11. Having an empty calendar and not panicking about it
12. Spotting daffodils in your yard that you didn't plant
13. Rubbing your hands over the Rosemary bush and then loving the smell it left on your fingers
14. Hearing your mother's voice
15. Getting a welcome-home kiss on your lips from your husband and on the shins from your doggy

May God put some good news and simple pleasures in your life today!

Tornado Update

Robby Brumberg, Associate Editor for Hopegivers International, heard about the prayer request and asked me to update the blog with this information:

"Hopegivers did not receive any extensive damage from the tornado--only a few trees/power lines down and we are already back up and running. Calvary Baptist did indeed take the bigger hit, but they did not lose their worship center. They should be able rebuild what was lost Lord willing."

I don't know about you, but even when you don't receive "extensive" damage, just a little damage, it can still be demoralizing. Let's lift up in prayer those tossed about in literal and figurative storms, those needing a bit of hope and a reminder that God loves them.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Encouraging Tornado Survivors

I just received this e-mail from a friend I've met through Cyberspace. Please say a prayer for those hurt or affected by the storms this week.

Dear Lorri: The Hopegivers Home Office Staff in Columbus, GA took a direct hit from the tornados last Thursday night. (We had) a lot of tree damage. Also Calvary Baptist Church across the street lost its worship center. Pray as the massive clean up starts and strength for the people there!

Our Hope Is In Him,
Ron Leonard
Romans 8:28

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Asking for Help

My friend Peggy Collins has a great new book out. It's titled Help is NOT a Four-Letter Word. In it, Peggy defines self-sufficiency taken to the extreme. She wants to change the culture so that we're not afraid to ask for help. Can you imagine what that would look like? We value independence today more than we value community. We admire people who do it all by themselves and get embarrassed by people who need the help of nursing homes. Peggy explains that self-sufficients become control freaks, stressed out over having to do it all, thus damaging relationships and hurting their health.

Asking for help is biblical. Ask and it shall be given... etc. But it is also biblical to help others. How can we help others if they won't let us? So here goes... let me know how I can help you!

Here's how you can help me. Now that I'm self-employed, hire me to speak at your church or train at your company. Help keep the "Mornings" radio ministry alive by donating at the website. Help me with your prayers.

And if you know someone having trouble asking for help, help them out by giving them a copy of Peggy's book!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Encouragement for Good People

"…a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?' And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone." Mark 10: 17-18 (NASB)

My dad cupped my face in his hands as he kissed me good-bye. He and Mom were leaving our house after a month-long visit. "I'm proud of you," he smiled.

"How could you be proud of me? I don't have a job," I thought instantly in a rare moment of self-pity. But aloud, I just asked, "Why?"

"Because you're a good person," Dad grinned, as big as if he'd just found a bar of chocolate in his pocket.

I wasn't quick enough to respond like Jesus, so I smiled and waved as they drove off, hoping they didn't see the tears trickling down my face.

Most of us are so self-critical, that we never think of ourselves as good. We never measure up. Maybe it's that perfect yardstick of Jesus or maybe our society that showcases someone smarter, prettier, stronger or braver. But because my dad's words made me feel special, I tried their effect on a couple of others. I told my friend Ellen, "You're a good person."

She paused as if she'd never heard those words either, and then said, "Well, yes, I just want to be kind to everyone."

I told my husband he was a good person, and he replied, "I never thought of myself that way."

There are so many bad, evil people in this world. Let's celebrate the fact that we're trying our best to do our best. No, we're not as good as The Father, but His grace makes us better--and that's good news.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Road Signs

The ice was forming on the windshield so quickly the wipers couldn't keep up. Before I got smart enough to turn on the defroster, I squinted through the glass, trying to see the signs ahead.

But this was the route I traveled home everyday. Did I need the street signs and exits to show me the way? What if we didn't have traffic signals and highway signs? I would get even more lost than I do already. I thank God quite often for understandable roadway directions.

Fortunately, on this eternal journey we're traveling, God posts road signs and exit signs in many ways for us. There's the Bible, the sermons, the studies, the radio program, the Christian friends and more.

But sometimes our vision gets clouded by temptation or sin. Or just busy-ness.

The good news is we have a quick-working defroster in our Lord. You just have to ask for help, and He's right there to help you know where to turn next.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Getting Started

Hello, friends!

Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. So I wanted to start a blog so that we could share encouragement and good news more often. Many of you may subscribe to my monthly "Good News! Newsletter" -- it's a free e-newsletter that you can find out more about at my website, but that's more of a monologue and blogging is a dialogue.

At the end of the year, I was laid off. I am a lot less panicky about it than I would've been earlier in my career--God has given me a peace. But every once in a while, I take it personally--I think things like, "Could I have worked harder? Longer?" or "What was I not doing right?"

But already, in just 21 days, God has shown me ways I can learn and grow from this experience. Here's the funny part: I still go into my old office everyday and I still work as a talk show host at "Mornings with Lorri & Friends," so I still get to participate in this wonderful ministry.

It seemed as a professional working woman, I took confidence and self-esteem from my job. Now, I feel as though God is telling me to take confidence in Him.

And that's Good News.

"For the Lord will be your confidence..." Proverbs 3:26 (NASB)