"Do Hard Things"

Not to perpetuate the Alabama stereotype, but... I might be a tad sunburned, from sitting in my yard, in my bathing suit, in full view of the road, in a $8.99 bright yellow baby pool, while Madeline was inside napping. Go ahead and judge me.

But I love the nose and shoulder freckles from a day in the sun.  AND I made a nice dent in my most recent  book, Do Hard Things.  I've loved it (and have wanted to post many facebook statuses about it, but I can't figure out a way to phrase them without inviting endless "That's what she said" jokes).

It's excellent, though!  The subtitle is, "A teenage rebellion against low expectations."  If you are a teenager, have teenagers, work with teenagers, or have ever seen a teenager - you should read it.  The concept is excellent!   From the introduction:

"Most people don't expect you to understand what we're going to tell you in this book.  And even if you understand, they don't expect you to care.  And even if you care, they don't expect you to do anything about it.  And even if you do something about it, they don't expect it to last.  WE DO."

This coming week at Middle School Camp, we're challenging our teenagers to do hard things.  Things that take them out of their comfort zone, things that go above and beyond any requirements or expectations, things that don't pay off right away, things that are too big to do alone, and things that go against the flow.  I'm so excited.

Can you imagine what it might look like if we stopped telling teenagers that they are immature, irresponsible, and nothing but trouble?  And started telling them that their teenage years ARE NOT a chance to do all the foolish things in their systems before "real life" begins - but instead, an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape themselves for, and launch themselves into a meaningful, successful adulthood?  Who says teenagers have to make dumb decisions?  Whose rule is that?  What if they DON'T WANT to waste those years?

I've shared this video on the Girls Night blog, but it seems to fit here too...


So go!  Be used of God!  Do hard things!  Change the world.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  [Thomas Edison]

"All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days, nor will it be finished in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.  BUT LET US BEGIN." [John F. Kennedy]

"If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."  [Thomas A. Edison]


I recognize that the link I'm about to post is horrifying.  I mean - truly scary.  But you can't appreciate the hilariousness of my latest Madeline video until you've seen it. Here's the NutriGrain commercial that, mercifully, I never saw on television.  (You can see the crazy in his eyes.)


I'm sorry you had to see that - but I promise this next one is redemptive.  Here is my ham of a daughter - who has apparently heard Dan and I quoting the commercial more than once.


YEAAAHHH, babies!  Babies everywhere!

*sigh*  Well, at least she's up to date on her pop-culture references.


Why yes, this IS my third 4th of July post. But you'd post too if you had something this precious to share!

Since we received Madeline's Dx in 2008 - we've been waiting for the day that she can TELL US what she sees; for the last two years I've been wondering how our little one perceives the world around her.  And then I blinked, and here we are!  If you ever wondered how a two-year-old with vision loss understands the world - here is a bit of commentary from Madeline herself.


Fireworks were an awesome multi-sensory experience!  You can hear them, smell them, feel them, and see them!  And what great high-contrast: bright lights in the pitch-black sky.

On our first Fourth of July in Huntsville we SERIOUSLY underestimated the traffic.  We ran into a stand-still on the highway about 6 miles away from the fireworks themselves, s0 we pulled off the road and watched from an exit ramp.  We weren't alone - easily 50 other people along our little stretch of road enjoyed them with us.

And here are a few pictures of Madeline and her new friend, Daisy, whom she met this holiday.

Now, onto post-Fourth of July living!

Treasuring Him

For those of you who don't know, I am completely consumed with the concept of 'worthiness' - of 'worth.'   It's fascinating to me what people will endure to get to something they consider "worth it."

--They'll fetch coffee and dry cleaning and do menial, self-abasing work in an internship for years to secure a job that's "worth it."

--They'll sit on the bench for years to play mere minutes for a team because it's "worth it."

--They'll beat their bodies into submission, get up at ungodly hours, exercise until every muscle is quaking, demonstrate extreme discipline in eating - to achieve a goal that's "worth it" to them.

All of our choices are ultimately based on what we value.  Subconsciously, we are perpetually placing things on a kind of hierarchy.   You want the shortcut to finding out what's "worthy" to you?

Look at your checkbook and your datebook.   Whatever you're spending your money on is what you value.  For example, if I spend more on clothes than I do on my house - it's because it's worth it to me to have a so-so decorated living room if it allows me to dress fashionably.  The same principle applies to your calendar.  You spend your time on what you value.  If I spend more time painting than cleaning it's because I value art more than housekeeping.

Anyway - you get it.

So here's the catch.  When people say that God is worthy.  What do they really mean?  Worthy of what?  Worthy of going to church once a month?  Worthy of trying not to cuss?  Worthy of selling everything you own and giving it to the poor?

I have quite a lot to say on this subject,  but I think I'll lead with this video.  I could watch it on repeat and shout, "Amen!" all alone in my house.


"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." [Philippians 3: 8-9]