Tag Archives: laughter

Sweeping Girls off their Feet

This is too fun! Last year my oldest son and his buddy decided to sweep girls off their feet for Valentine’s Day. See for yourself how the women at their school received their good-natured attentions.

Have a beautiful day!

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

PS It’s hard to tell what they are handing the girls who get swept away. It’s chocolate. ;o)

PPS Feel free to share and like this video. It’s had over 95,000 hits. It will only take a few more for it to be monetized. Who knows? If we all share it maybe it can start helping with college tuition.

PPPS While both of these fine men were foot lose and fancy free last year at this time, this year they each have their own special Valentine Lady. Now they can apply their charms to being sure ONE special girl stays “swept off her feet.”

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A Chuckle for Thanksgiving

So, yesterday’s post expressed the serious side of me–and lots of gratitude. Thought I’d lighten it up by sharing a little humor on this Thanksgiving day.

Freedom to Move Forward

It’s like breathing deeper. Or flying. Or laughing for a long time.

This new sense of freedom.

Crazy how the layer must peel away.

And in each new layer of freedom how the heart soars.broadmoor 10

How I think I’ve arrived.

Only to find out weeks or years or months later that there’s a deeper level not yet lived out.

Last year it was in my body.

In my thirties it was in my mind, emotions, and spirit.

Yesterday it was a paradigm shift again, but more than that it was a very real change in how I do life.

Here’s the thing. Until my thirties much of my effort was centered around being good. I wanted to be good for God. To do it all right. As I’ve written before, that almost destroyed me, that crazy realm of perfectionism. And in one of those oh so sweet moments amazing moments, the God of the Universe chose to whisper to me, “Paula, all your life you’ve tried to be good. Get to know me, and I will make you good.”

And thus began the journey of letting go of the self-pressure to perform and clinging to the promise that the God who created me would complete His work in me and make me something better than I was.

At that time I remember thinking that life was really just about surrendering to the One. Moving when He directed. Instead of a myriad of rules I couldn’t keep straight, figure out, or live up to, there was one guiding word in my life: surrender.

And here I sit, about ten years later realizing that there was another layer of performance that had not yet been cleaned out. And that there have been times I’ve been paralyzed by it.

See, when life was about following the rules, there was a lot of pressure to do it right. When life became about following the Spirit, I wanted to do it right.

Somewhere in these last ten years I slipped back into the old rut of striving with a new face called living out God’s will.

Don’t get me wrong. I still want to live in God’s will.

Hang in here with me so I can explain.

Sometimes I’ve gotten so stressed about my ability to hear God or discern His will that I was held back in fear that I hadn’t heard correctly. Here’s an example:

Last fall my fabulous agent and I made the decision for me to focus a few years on writing category romance. It’s not the great American novel, nor it is the life-changing non-fiction work I dream of writing, but it is a genre I can write in the chaos of having children at home (or launching into the next stage, which frankly is way more momma work that I ever dreamed). It’s also a genre where I’ve been traditionally published and won some recognition.

So last fall I wrote a romance.

For the first half of the book I fought myself constantly. Somewhere deep inside I wondered if I was in God’s will. There had been a direction in my heart, wisdom in counsel, but not one of the rare, audible stamps of approval from Him. I doubted my decision, which made writing unnecessarily difficult. About half way through the story I began to see the unmistakable fingerprints of God flowing in the threads of my story, and my heart was at rest. Unfortunately I spent way too much energy on second-guessing myself before I finally came to grips that I was okay, and God was fine with my choice.

The last month or so I’ve been meandering through a book by Graham Cooke. I read a bit at night, pink highlighter in hand, and wonder if I’m retaining the concepts as I fall asleep. Over the last year I’ve also been memorizing the 14th chapter of John in the Bible, wondering if those deep magnificent concepts could somehow go even deeper than my cognitive understanding and change me. Wondering. Not knowing if I was learning or changing or growing or not.

But God is faithful to change us even when we don’t know we’re being changed. HE never stops working in us, even when we don’t know it is happening. Evidently my Spirit and His were processing when I didn’t even realize it because yesterday it all came together for me, and suddenly I felt it–that breathless, wonderful, want-to-laugh-out-loud-in-joy sense of new-found freedom.

It wasn’t even very different from how I’ve been striving to live, it just took out the striving, which is really what living with and for and in Jesus is all about, right?

Peace. Rest. Confidence. Joy!

Here’s the bright and brilliant and breath-taking truth: I am freed for forward movement.

Duh, right?

Here’s what I mean. My focus, my “job,” my only real goal in this walk with God is (or should be) getting to know Him. Growing in intimacy.

But I’ve spent way too much time focused on getting guidance, on what I’m supposed to DO instead of who I am in and with HIM and who HE is in and with me and who we are together.

Relationship. Beautiful, glorious, breath-taking relationship.

The kind where you enjoy life together. You talk about stuff. You laugh and celebrate and sometimes cry together. You simply BE in oneness.

See, when I am focused on relationship I’m not striving to figure out how to live life, I’m simply living it! Moving forward as I feel in my heart I am to move. Always pliable, surrendering to His nudges, but not striving to know His will, not struggling with decisions, not paralyzed by fear I might have misheard or made a wrong choice.

Just moving–walking, leaping, dancing, running, whatever the mood of the task or moment–forward.

I can trust that when the God wants to redirect or draw my attention to something I haven’t yet discovered, He will. Jesus said His sheep know His voice, and God told the prophet Isaiah, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

I can trust my God to lead me. I can trust myself to know His Voice (and HIM to straighten me out if I miss it). I’m a grown-up and free to walk forward directed by who I am and who HE is in me. God doesn’t want to micro-manage me. He doesn’t want me to be afraid of every little misstep.

He wants me FREE and in motion!

The wonder of that–the joy of moving forward without constant questioning and too much striving to be sure I take perfect steps–makes me want to run forward and be brave and do new things and be comfortable with the old things I’m already doing.

And I have. But I’ll save that story for tomorrow.

May freedom fill your heart too,

moldenhauer signature3

Thank God They Didn’t Say It Then (Day 74)

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

Been laughing at the things my family says to me lately.  They mean these little jewels as compliments, but they are quite telling. Seriously, I laughed.

“Wow, Mom! Your double chin is gone!”

“Honey! There’s no more cellulite on your legs . . . ”

“You know, you were starting to be kind of round, but now you actually have a shape.”

Gotta love ‘em.

All I can say is I would have been devastated had they voiced those thoughts back when it was the other reality. I didn’t spend my days paying attention to the double chin, cellulite, or round body. I mean I noticed things were going downhill, but it would have hurt to have my loved ones pointing out the decline.

Thank God they didn’t.

Real Time Update:

About a month after I wrote the above one of my sons did something even better than make one of those comments. He didn’t recognize me! He’d gone to church with his aunt, and I was supposed to pick him up afterwards. I arrived early, so I decided to slip inside rather than wait outside. I sat next to my sister-in-law. Stephen was on the other side. After church his eye grew wide, “Wow, Mom. I didn’t know that was you. I just saw this thin blond lady and thought she was a friend of Auntie Anne’s!”

Talk about affirmation of change!

What About You?

What backwards encouragement do you get at your house for weight loss? Or affirmation of change?

Weight Loss Journey Day 41 & 42

Yesterday the weight loss journey was good. Exercised. Stayed at 1200 calories. But had a discouraging appointment with my doc about the on-going weirdness in my head, and that’s just old news. I will get better, no matter the diagnosis or lack thereof, so . . . moving on . . .

Jerry cropped

My honey, Jerry Moldenhauer, at one of my booksignings

Happy birthday to my precious husband!

Today was one of the worst days I’ve had in a while when it comes to weight loss. No time to exercise and treats everywhere. Way over calorie count. BUT it was a glorious day in other ways. Had a wonderful session with my counselor.  I told her a bunch of my holiday angst. She said she felt the Holy Spirit say, “Let Jesus surprise you.” So I’m going to. I’m going to trust God has this all figured out.

Had our Christmas party at critique group. Everyone brought snacks. I brought myself a salad in hopes I’d eat less, but I still couldn’t resist all the treats. I do think I did less than at this time last year, but . . .

I had so much fun. It was one of the best parties ever, so much laughter! The Lord must delight in our humor, in our giggles, in our love. I think it was extra special because it was a small group, and we all know each other so well. And Kathy Kovach, Miss Spiritual Truth with a Giggle, leads the group. She loves to laugh.

Came home to finish up the famous Moldenhauer chocolate cake for Jerry’s birthday dinner. It is SO good. My mother-in-law is still known for this cake even though she is in her late 80s and no longer bakes. I’m honored to continue the family tradition. All the kids, including Sarah’s fiancé, David, made it for dinner. The best part is when the kids prayed, thanking God for their dad. David’s precious prayer started my waterworks, and they just kept welling. I was blessed when the boys asked the Lord to help them be like their as they grow up. I can’t imagine what Jerry must have felt.

I am eternally grateful to have married a man who consistently makes his family and his faith a priority. Jerry’s unconditional love has shown me God’s heart—how I don’t have to perform to be loved. God has brought much healing to me through my husband. I know few women can say that, and I am forever humbled by this gift.

Real Time Update:

Okay. So I went over calorie count. We all do that sometimes, do we? Not that I’m almost 35 pounds down and still putting new holes in my belt to keep my jeans up, I know that it’s not a day that throws you off, it’s a lifestyle. So . . . be conscious of what you’re eating every day, but don’t let one day of celebration send you into a tailspin or drown you in guilt. Enjoy the party and balance that day out with great choices the rest of the day and week.

I believe food is one of God’s gifts for times of celebration. We should embrace and rejoice . . . we just shouldn’t eat every day as though we were at a party, right?

How About You?

Do you think it’s okay to celebrate with food? Does that thought trip you up? Should we even think of food as a way to celebrate?