Dancing With the Stars

Last Friday afternoon I had just landed in Minneapolis and my friend, Candace Cameron Bure, texted to ask if I would fly to Los Angeles to shoot a segment with her for Dancing With the Stars. Monday was going to be icon night on the show. The five semi-finalists were inviting icons/influencers to come and give them encouragement.

My very first thought was, I need to send Candace a list of really great people she can invite to do this. Big name people. I’ll call people who know people. I love this girl and I want her to have the right icon for her semi-final night.

My second thought was,
I need to call my husband.

Scott didn’t think Candace sent a whole long text to me by mistake. “It happens,” I told him. “I could just text her back – Hey girl. Oops, I think this text was meant for someone else. Ha! Crazy! I’ll be praying for your icon! #dwts #mirrorball #gogirl #djcandyball.”

Scott told me to stop it.

Then he told me to go.

Only the good Lord knows why I chose last weekend for my own personal travel challenge:

Go speak in Minneapolis with only the bare necessities. Leave everything you won’t need for one night/two days at home.

So after an amazing Saturday with Kathy Troccoli and Kelly Minter, I boarded my new flight to Hollywood with two already worn outfits, a bag of make-up, one pair of shoes and flip-flops. Woo. I had won my one-night, luggage-packing challenge. Note to self:

You never know when Dancing With the Stars is going to call.

Overpack.

On the plane, I finally let myself think about what I was going to Los Angeles to do. And the whole thing was completely ridiculous. And incredibly humbling. Candace could have invited anybody, anybody in this world to come and be her “icon.” It was her one shot to bring more star power. Besides, there are 2o million viewers and ratings and big things to consider. Like the VOTES. For goodness sake, there are people who might have gotten her more votes. I don’t know who exactly. TV people know these things. But surely they would be headliner kind of people. Maybe Taylor Swift or Condelezza Rice or Roma Downey or Maya Angelou. Like I said, I have no idea who you’re supposed to invite for icon night.

What I do know is that Candace and I both know I am not her icon. Jesus is the icon. I am just walking beside her toward Him.

But the whole crazy thing happened anyway and ABC flew a North Carolina Bible teacher with two outfits to tape a segment for Dancing With the Stars. For. Goodness. Sake.

Candace and I sat down Sunday afternoon to film our interview. She was exhausted, but still beautiful and strong. I had on the clothes I had spoken in Friday night, but by that time, I had finally caught on to God’s instructions for me:

Angela, stop thinking about yourself. This is about Me. This is about Candace. Be filled with My grace and My peace. You are the messenger and you are her friend. 

Whew, I was off the hook. I had been sent to love my friend with the love of God. Easiest thing I’d done all week.

I prayed and asked God how to best encourage her. These were the two passages I took to our interview:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy.  – Psalm 16:11a

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you; because he trusts in you.  – Isaiah 26:3

We taped a lot of footage  that afternoon, with no idea what would end up on the show. I guess I thought the two Bible girls would surely get buried somewhere in the middle of the program, but last Monday night, Dancing With the Stars led with the God story.

It was just a tiny, little thing. Talking with my friend about our faith on a dancing show. But God has been so faithful and good to me, I pray those moments were a beautiful reflection of His love. Not enough people know about His love and it would be so cool if they knew this one main thing: the God who knows you truly, loves you still.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  – John 3:16

You can watch our interview here.

By the way, Candace dances in the finale this Monday night. The other three finale dancers are all beautiful, hard-working people, each one of them artistic, athletic and a joy to watch. But Candace is my friend. I know her heart. She has given this competition her all. Dancing With the Stars is one part dance scores and one part applause by phone. Will you join me in celebrating Candace’s hard work with your votes this Monday night.

Candace Cameron Bure & me - It had been a very long day and she was beautiful as ever.

Candace Cameron Bure & me – It had been a very long day on Dancing With the Stars and she was beautiful as ever.

Dancing With the Stars 2018-02-21T12:26:36+00:00

52 Things Kids Need From a Mom

This weekend I had the great, great joy of speaking to moms at LifeWay’s dotMOM Conference in Chattanooga, TN. In Friday’s break-out session, I spent an hour with some very fun moms covering a few of the topics in my book called, For the session, I printed the 52 chapter titles from the book to give to each of the ladies, but ran out of copies. They asked me to post those titles and I promised them I would.

Just in case you weren’t in my session, please read a bit of introduction before I give you the 52 Things:

I want you to know that I have written these 52 things as prompts. Ideas. Creative reminders. Two of my girlfriends read this list before it was published and both of them called me to say, ” I haven’t done even half of them. I hope there’s still time left.” So I want to tell you what I told them: There is no guilt intended for you with this list of chapter titles. They have not been written as a checklist for women who want to be impressive moms. Each of these chapters was written out of longing, desire and love.”

Some of you could write 1052 other things kids need from a mom. My friend with an autistic son could help us all learn so much more about patience and championing your child. My friend with adopted children would be able to give us lists of things kids need to adapt to a new culture and make the transition from orphanage to family. Another one of my friends spends almost every moment caring for her baby, who has had life-threatening issues and too many stays in the hospital. Oh, the things she could tell us.

A list of things for moms could become very intimidating, but I did not write one word of this book to be intimidating. I have written from grace and for grace. So with these words of introduction, here you go . . . 52 Things Kids Need From a Mom:

Kids need their mom:

  1. To pray in secret with the door open.
  2. To never stop touching them.
  3. To hang hearts of love over their lives.
  4. To watch them go out of sight.
  5. To keep a date night with dad.
  6. To make them sit around the table . . . and linger.
  7. To let her yes be yes and her no be no.
  8. To be delayed, rerouted and canceled with poise.
  9. To make them wait to take a bite.
  10. To take Christmas to people who have nothing.
  11. To miss a few things they do wrong.
  12. To put down the phone.
  13. To learn their unique love language.
  14. To occasionally be a supermom.
  15. To turn their beds down at night.
  16. To ride a roller coaster . . . for the first time.
  17. To talk to them like they are fascinating.
  18. To treat their friends like family.
  19. To cheer wildly from the stands.
  20. To give grace-filled consequences.
  21. To be a passionate, alive, spiritual lover of God.
  22. To indulge their silly.
  23. To have a hallelujah party.
  24. To keep a family blog.
  25. To become physically and emotionally healthy.
  26. To become spiritually healty.
  27. To believe they will not grunt forever.
  28. To make a big deal out of God.
  29. To keep her promise.
  30. To wait on them hand and foot . . . they are sick.
  31. To tell them to buy another token and keep swinging.
  32. To pray them home and for the will of God.
  33. To be a “groovy” mom.
  34. To teach them how to know the voice of God.
  35. To believe in their strengths and speak life into their gifts.
  36. To make a home where grace lives.
  37. To throw down the “MOM card.”
  38. To tell them what she’d do differently.
  39. To make a big deal out of grandparents and extended family.
  40. To teach them how to keep their money straight, in order, facing the same direction.
  41. To be patient about things like thumb-sucking and pacifiers.
  42. To let them make really dumb mistakes without condemnation.
  43. To introduce them to her friend named Jesus.
  44. To set the tone for the family.
  45. To teach them to genuinely respect all people, cultures, denominations and creeds.
  46. To teach the boys how to love a wife.
  47. To teach the girls how to love a husband.
  48. To identify the characteristics of a fool and tell them what to do when they meet one.
  49. To train them to listen to her.
  50. To teach them not to be easily offended.
  51. To live as single moms with amazing lives.
  52. To teach them a gracious and generous hospitality.

A couple more thoughts before I leave you. The list you just read is a list of CHAPTER TITLES, not rules to keep. This list is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, nor have I just given you the be-all-end-all of motherhood. These things were written because of God’s grace to me and they are only intended as encouragement to you.

I am running alongside you, longing to love them well today.

Angela

PS – if you’d like to read the chapters that belong to the titles, you can order 52 Things here.

52 Things Kids Need From a Mom 2018-02-21T12:26:36+00:00

Life Lessons From Mama

White, half-runner beans. Not pole beans. Not wax beans. And for goodness sake, not those skinny, little French beans. According to my mama, the only bean worth an afternoon of stringing and snapping are the locally grown, white half-runner beans. As far as I can tell, mama was right. I guess I’ve eaten green beans all over this world, and not one of them has ever tasted as good as the half-runners mama cooked and canned for our family. Course, mama was right about a lot of other things too. I can still hear her talking to me as clear as day:

  • Always look for white silver queen corn at the farmer’s market.
  • Messing with that dough too long is gonna make your biscuits tough.
  • Dress that baby like a sweet little baby. She has the rest of   her life to dress like a grown up.
  • Don’t let your husband leave the house in a wrinkled shirt. You want him to look like he’s loved when he goes into that meeting.
  • Dry your clothes in the sun and the whole house will smell better.
  • Wait ‘til the first of May to set your flowers out. Anytime before that and sure enough, it’ll come a frost.
  • Make your red velvet cake the day before you’re going to serve it. Store it somewhere cool and the next day it’ll be perfectly moist and delicious.
  • At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water. And do it often.
  • Get your ironing caught up so you can rest awhile.

Mama went to heaven last November and this summer all I can think about is how much I miss her. Mama was an amazing care-giver and home-keeper all year round, but she really shined in the summer. Fresh flowers from her yard. Fresh veggies from her “little patch.” Fresh canned beans and tomatoes and chow-chow.

Nothing made mama happier than a breeze through the window, clean sheets on the beds and dinner on the stove. She kept several snap-on aprons at my house and hers. Better coverage. Easier to slip on. I can vividly see her in that apron standing beside the oven, watching the bread and waiting for the family and friends she loved to bless.

I am one of the lavishly blessed.

When mama and daddy came to live down the street from my family, we didn’t know her time left on this earth was so short. We thought the new chemo and the new doctor could make her stronger. And sure enough, the last night we talked it seemed like she was taking a turn for the better. She laughed when I told her a story about one of the kids. She said I should find her jambalaya recipe because it was a good one. She seemed stronger that night and so very much at peace. Daddy and I were thankful and glad.

The next morning mama was barely able to respond and we couldn’t understand the drastic change. A very kind doctor explained that many times a new strength comes just before God calls His beloved home.

God was calling mama home.

I’ve had several months to think about it and I’ve decided that a believer’s weary soul must fill with new strength to hear the Father say, It’s time to come home. I am keeping my promise. You are mine. I have not left you. I have not forsaken you. Come and be with me always.

Looking back to that night in the hospital, I believe daddy and I witnessed the strength of God’s promise being kept. Her Father came to take her home, so our sweet mama said goodbyes to all of us and hello to heaven.

Today she sees fully what we still live by faith. God is stronger than every weakness. He is stronger than our fears. He is stronger than ovarian cancer. And hallelujah, Our God Almighty is stronger than death.

All of us miss mama so much, especially when we’re gathered around a table, but it comforts us to think of her now. The suffering is over. She is healed and rejoicing in the presence of God. She sits at the feast of His goodness and I have to believe somewhere on that table, there are half-runner beans and homegrown tomatoes. And mama is smiling.

You can download a free sample of my new Bible study, Stronger, here

Life Lessons From Mama 2018-02-21T12:26:37+00:00

Another Writer Speaks to My Insecurities

I recently came across this post by Sally Lloyd-Jones, so I copied a portion here. Her words spoke to me and I hope they speak to you as well.

I used to think my self-doubt and insecurity about writing were signs of my profound humility. It felt noble and heroic to be this full of agonizing self-doubt. It felt lowly and meek to be so tortured about whether or not I could write. I could almost hear the soundtrack and the violins. If there’d been open, windswept moors nearby, I’d have been on them.

But that’s the thing about pride. It hides itself.

The more I go on, the more I realize, it’s entirely the other way round. Our self-doubt and insecurity don’t reveal our humility; they mask our pride.

When you’re doubting whether you can do it, whether you’re a good writer, you’re looking to yourself, what you can do, what resources you have. You’re focused entirely inwardly, on yourself.

It’s pride because it means you think it’s all about you.

But if you realize it’s not about you — that whatever you have is a gift from God — if, in other words, you get out of the way — then you can be fearless. There is no vision too great, nothing too outrageous to dream, nothing too impossible to dare.

–Sally Lloyd-Jones

You can read her entire post on John Piper’s website, desiringgod.org.

Blessings to you this Monday. I press on, writing away, reminded it’s not about me. Whew.

Another Writer Speaks to My Insecurities 2018-02-21T12:26:37+00:00