Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Butterfly Effect

I saved a butterfly last week.  Our family had just arrived at Wal Mart to grab some groceries for dinner. (Pretty easy to relate to, huh!) When we got out of the car and began to walk to the entrance, I noticed this little creature kind of struggling to not blow away on this windy day. It would appear that it had become trapped in the middle of the parking lot, much like a cat up a tree. So, I leaned over and picked the little thing up and watched it watch me. I showed both of my preschoolers the upclose view, which was a treat. 

Next, my husband and our son proceeded to go into the store, but instead of following, I took our daughter and did something else. We walked hand in hand, and I talked to her about how this butterfly was lost, and it needed our help. This quickly became one of those, "everyday moments, that is a teaching moment". We took the butterfly and put it in a tree away from the parking lot. It climbed around happily. We said goodbye and proceeded on our shopping mission.

What if this mattered? No, what if this, REALLY mattered?! What if taking the time to help this tiny, seemingly insignificant insect impacted the entire world?

It seems that often in this world, we are handed out hefty doses of discouragement, and disappointment. But what if we saw things differently? What if everything we did mattered? What if it mattered, and someone proved it?

Have you ever heard of the scientific principle, The Butterfly Effect? It is defined as this:the phenomenon whereby a small change at one place in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, e.g., a butterfly flapping its wings in Rio de Janeiro might change the weather in Chicago.

I'm VERY EXCITED about today's blog, because the point that I am trying to convey to you, has not only already been PROVEN scientifically, but has been beautifully described in a new book by author and speaker, Andy Andrews, whom I was thrilled to hear speak last month. His book is appropriately titled, "The Butterfly Effect", and if I could, I would like to recommend it as a gift for someone special in your life. That act alone, according to this scientific principle, would change the world.

Much to my delight, when I went to his website to add a link to this blog, to pay homage to this talented author, I discovered something even better! Below you will find an online sample of this beautiful book!!! And let's add some icing to that cake: Andy has also graciously added an online sample of the children's version of the book, "The Boy Who Changed the World"! Thanks Andy. What a gift, you have given us.

Please take a few minutes to flip through and read these short books, found at your local bookstores and I promise that you will walk away with, not just encouragement, but a new sense of certainty through scientific PROOF that YOU MATTER! (The links at the bottom of the page do not include the books in their entirety, they are online samples.)

Taking this idea one step deeper, let me also remind you what the book of James says about life:

James 4:14 NIV
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

I challenge you to spend this brief life making a difference and bringing honor to The Creator of the Universe with every breath you take and every move you make, bringing honor to Him. Overwhelmed? Then just take it one day at a time.

I saved a butterfly last week. How will you change the world today?

Here is, "The Butterfly Effect" sample link:

Here is, "The Boy Why Changed the World" sample link:

Sunday, September 5, 2010


(3 of 3 in the Grant inspired blog trilogy)

I was able to join some friends a couple of weeks ago for a two day trip to the Women of Faith conference when they stopped in Indianapolis. I was so happy and thankful to go, and had an amazing and inspired time.
That being said, like any mama, I was also happy to get home and have those tiny arms wrapped around me again. They missed me, and it showed. Luckily we arrived home early enough to spend some family time together before bed time. Treasured.

The next morning was Sunday. We had breakfast, and were off to church. All was well until we dropped the kids off at their Sunday School class. Grant had a bit of anxiety at the thought of me being out of sight again. I was able to convince him, because he has learned that he can trust my word, that we would all sit together and sing in the sanctuary very soon. Reluctantly, he agreed.
Sunday School finished up and as I exited my class, there was Grant with our friend Joe. Joe's daughter was teaching the toddler class, and he had gone in to say hello. During that time, he and Grant had buddied up. The way that Joe translated Grant's requests was: "Hey, can I sit on your lap? It's all girls in here, and I need a guy pal". haha

So, we all went into the sanctuary and began greeting and visiting before the worship began. Grant pleaded to go sit with Joe and his family. Since Joe was smiling, I figured that he was ok with it. They were sitting a couple of rows up, and just to the right. Kamran and I had a perfect view of Grant, and he also had a perfect view of us. He was being adorable. Smiling. Waving. Grinning. Singing the words that he knew.

That's when he looked over to his side. His face lit up. Nothing magical, out of the blue, or overly amazing happened. He simple saw Nikki and Eric.

Nikki and Eric are our friends, and they usually sit a pew or two in front of us. We visit most every Sunday. Grant grew more and more excited about seeing them. He smiled, and his eyes grew wide. He motioned again and again for his daddy and I to see them. "Look!" He would say in an overly loud whisper, as he pointed. I was giggling at his cuteness, and at the humor of him getting so excited to see the same sight that we always see....

And there was my moment with God. My lesson. Thank goodness I was paying attention! Did you catch it?
There isn't a whole lot of lesson to teach here, is there? It's all in the story. Grant, in his childish innocence exhibited the behavior that we so often lack as supposed learned adults.
He showed passion filled joy to see the friends that are ALWAYS THERE... 
I think we are kidding ourselves if we don't think that we don't short change God. Too often we give Him:

Our last thoughts, rather than our first.

Our pocket change, rather than a cheerful giving.
Our halfhearted attention, rather than being sold out.

Our leftovers.

Oh Lord, forgive me for my arrogance. Forgive me for my lukewarmness, and please forgive me for being a spoiled-rich-kid. May I always greet you with that same passionate joy that my son displayed, BECAUSE You are ALWAYS THERE.

*I feel that it's important for me to point this out. God shared that moment with me, but it wasn't in a shameful kind of way. He simply pointed out some inspiration for me. He didn't shove it down my throat, He didn't force me to act on it, and He even had me smiling in the midst of my conviction..... You have to give Him bonus points for using those giant brown eyes to get His point across. ;)
I want to be like Grant when I grow up :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh WHERE is my hairbrush?!?!?

I supposed it's no coincidence that the day that I sit down to write the blog about the sweet and selfless reminder that my son gave me last week falls on the same day that he is pushing my patience to the edge. I guess in many ways, knowing his contrasting mood possibilities makes today's post ring sweeter still. 

Enjoy post 2 in my series of 3 consecutive blogs inspired by my 3yr old son, Kamran Grant.

I'm a flake. You know my type: We can never find anything. If we are used to carrying 3 items out the door, but randomly have an extra item to carry, we will most likely subconsciously check off three items, one of which is the random item,  thus causing us to forget one of the regulars. We, of course, don't realize this until we are half way down the road, unless we are lucky enough that the forgotten item was our car keys. 

I'm a perfectly otherwise intelligent and otherwise mature person, but indeed, I do find myself looking for my bra, my cell phone and my hairbrush on a nearly daily basis. (Sorry for the bra image, but it's a fact.) 

I was getting ready for work the other evening when I was searching for my hairbrush, regardless, I was in a pretty good mood, and I was joking out loud with my husband that you think that as frazzled as looking for these things makes me, I would practice more prevention. During this time, my three year old son Kamran Grant decided to intervene. He put down his toys and came into my bedroom and began searching right along side me. We chatted a little, and then he was gone. 

I decided to take a little break from my quest and do some other prep work for my show. About five minutes later Grant excitedly ran back into my bedroom. He couldn't wait to share his hairbrush with me. It was the one that he had gotten as a baby from a friend, with the soft bristles, designed for smoothing peach fuzz. "Here you go Mommy! You can use my hairbrush". 

Now, obviously this hairbrush would not do the intended job. It wouldn't begin to tame or part my thick hair. But don't you think for one minute that I let that steal my son's blessing. I showed him the appreciation gratitude and excitement that his actions warranted. I'm not trying to brag on myself here, but this is just one of those times that I knew that I did the 100% right thing. 

I whisked the brush out of his hands and began delightfully brushing my hair on all sides. I looked in the mirror, just as I always do when I get ready. As I brushed I poured out my thankfulness in elevated tone. Next I rushed off through the house calling for my husband by name. When I found him I shared with him the happiness that I felt because of Grant's offering. I will never forget the look on my son's face as he listened in the kitchen doorway. It was much better than the satisfaction that I got from knowing that I had taken time away from getting ready for work. 

The look on Grant's face was one of smiling eyes. He knew that he had made me happy and had gained absolutely nothing from it in return, and yet that was enough. He was happy that he had made ME happy. Even now, as I sit here and write this I almost tear up.

We Americans are all rich, whether we care to admit it or not, and that makes it very important that we make efforts of properly teaching our children the importance of taking themselves out of the center of the universe sometimes and practicing selflessness.

In the moment that I stood there in the kitchen looking into Grant's eyes listening to his father join in on the praises I felt a surge of different joys.

~I was joyful that a three year old took five minutes of his playtime and devoted it to helping someone else. (In my opinion, that is a long time for a toddler to stay focused on something that isn't self-benefiting)

~I was joyful in the feeling that I had, that I am doing something right in my parenting.

~I was joyful that I took the time to make the fuss that I made, even though the clock was ticking and I still wasn't ready for work.


~I was joyful to see this example of how perfect worship between us and God should be. 

Too often we have the attitude that loving and serving God is a trade off. That they are requirements that we must fulfill to stay in good graces with Him and hopefully have our needs met. 

Could it be that we usually miss the mark? Could we maybe be making this harder than it should be? I believe that true worship or service to our Lord is a heart issue. They are to be done for the pure joy that it brings to Him.... with no strings attached. 

2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  
(this is not just about tithing.)

In the moments that we spend with Him, in whatever way is most fitting for each of us individually, if we can loose ourselves in Him... if we just... delight in His delight, if we can just cry out knowing that He deserves all that we could give and more... I believe THAT is true, unpolluted, unadulterated, genuine worship/or service. If I were to guess, I would say that He smiles within His joy in those moments. The moments that we actually GET IT. 

I'll bet that these are some of God's favorite moments. On this day, He decided to share one with me. I was proud of Grant, and He gave me a small glimpse of how I make Him feel when my agenda is pure. Thank goodness for the times that we listen. The times that we "get it".

In the end, I didn't find my hairbrush before work. It didn't even matter, since I realized that I was also out of hairspray. (geez, I need to get with it) I smoothed back my hair halfback into a clip and went to work smiling anyway. Why wouldn't I be? I realized that Grant had "gotten it" and so had I, and that was all that mattered.