Jackson Five Friday: Your Continuous Loop

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. I snapped the picture above on a trial called The Western Rim. It loops around the western side of a canyon with various overlooks along the way. It was stunningly beautiful on Monday and will only get prettier in the weeks ahead; it’s tempting to hike it almost on a continuous loop.

Do you ever feel like some issue in your life is on a continuous loop in your head? Maybe it’s something someone said that crushed your spirit, maybe it’s some injustice that was done to someone you love, maybe it’s worry about a health issue, or a longing that is yet unfulfilled. Bitterness, worry and disappointment all seem to have the Disney FastPass on the Continuous Loop thrill ride that runs in our heads. But it’s not exactly magical, is it? On the contrary, it’s a foolproof recipe for misery.

But you know what we sometimes forget? We forget that we are the gatekeepers of the ride. We get to decide what thoughts get on that continuous loop. Imagine yourself standing at the entrance and turning away everything toxic.

“Excuse me, Worrywart, I’m afraid you aren’t an approved rider. Bitterness, sorry, try the Teacups. You can’t ride…Attention all guests, attention all guests, please read the requirements for this ride found in Philippians 4:8. If you are not specifically mentioned, please promptly proceed to the exit.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Really what we can and should have on continuous loop is thankfulness. The happiest place on earth, from a mental and spiritual perspective, is invariably full of gratitude. May we be full of gratitude for all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise. May we give thanks without ceasing.

This past week I have had various things that have been embarrassing, discouraging, and worrisome, and I’ve let the wrong kind of thoughts replay in my mind. But a friend’s text set me straight.

“You can’t do this in your own strength but you know the One who can! Stay close to Jesus and He will comfort and heal your heart.”

I hope you too have a sweet friend who will guide you back to the truth. Romans 12:2 is an apt reminder that we are the gatekeepers of our minds.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2 NIV‬‬

Praying that you’ll be discerning about what thoughts get airtime in your mind. Remember Gratitude isn’t ever in the FastPass lane, you’ll have to go and grab her. Strap her in tight and enjoy the ride!



Jackson Five Friday: 47 Business Days

Hey Friends,

I am pretty much the least likely person to give fashion tips, but I’ve got one for you. If you go to DSW and find a cute pair of shoes on the clearance rack that aren’t your size, you can have the store ship you the right size for free. It was almost a dangerous discovery. I ended up picking out three different pairs, for a total of $88.46. At checkout the cute girl, smiled and said, “So you’re all set. The shoes will ship within 47 business days.”

My satisfaction of discovering this fun loophole quickly dissipated.

“Within forty-seven business days?” I repeated, stunned.

“Four to seven,” she said.

So yeah, the reminders that I am getting old are both humbling and frequent. I would loved to have marched right out to the car and called my mom. She would’ve cracked up.

Last week, Nate and I were texting while he was at school. He told me, that he had an in-class essay for history, and that he was nervous about it. Knowing that he probably only had a minute or two before class I kept it brief. I said, “Praying. Use Specifics.” I meant, of course, for him to try to use specific details in his essay, but he responded right back, “Mongols Long Essay Question,” thinking I needed more information.

It made me laugh and for some reason the Taxi episode where Reverend Jim takes his driving test popped immediately to mind. Again, this is something that would be so fun to tell my mom or dad. Who knew my highly intelligent and diligent Nate could ever in a million years do something that would conjure up Reverend Jim!

These are such little things, and yet they deepen the longing for my parents. The bigger things — the things where God has orchestrated events in such an undeniable way — make me heart sick for my parents. There is no one who can celebrate what God has done quite like your parents. In November it’ll be twenty years since my dad died, and later this month will mark two years that my mom has been gone. The sorrow of not having them to hear what God has done has not faded in the least. If you’re parents are alive I hope you cherish the ability to share with them what the Lord is doing in your life. Nevertheless, the Bible calls us to keep proclaiming what He has done.

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him. ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭66:5-6‬ ‭

I hope this weekend you get to live this verse: “Come and see what God has done!”

With Love,


Jackson Five Friday: The Secret to Being Interesting

Hey Friends,

Hope y’all have had a great week. It’s still steamy here in Tennessee but that hasn’t curbed anyone’s enthusiasm for all things fall.

We recently had Back-to-School night for Sam, and today I visited Dub and Nate’s classes. I love knowing their teachers and hearing about what they’re learning. Often it’s the nonacademic components that impress me the most.

One of Sam’s teachers tosses a tennis ball around the classroom. The toss is accompanied by a question. You catch the ball, you answer the question. When you throw the ball back you ask a question. The teacher tells these seventh grade boys, “To be interesting, you have to be interested.” Honestly writing this makes me want to cry tears of gratitude. Knowledge of a formula or history fact cannot compare to being an inquisitive young man.

Truly Sam is interesting in part because he asks great questions. His little mind was churning out excellent observations and thoughtful questions at a young age. Part of his irresistible charm is that he’s interested.

However, I won’t go so far as to say he uses this to bless others. Because he doesn’t. He needs to work on being interested in others. Perhaps it’s time to finally implement my wise friend Beth’s rule about interacting well with adults (read more here). Asking good questions of others is an important part of being other-centered.

Jesus said we’d be known by our love for one another. But you can’t love someone well, or maybe even at all, without being interested in them.

So I’m tossing you the ball. Who will you toss it to, and what do you genuinely want to know?

Hope this weekend is full of being a disciple –asking great questions and intently listening.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John ‬ ‭13:35‬ ‭ESV‬‬

With Love,


Jackson Five Friday: When You Should Remember

Hey Friends,

C.S. Lewis wrote, “A pleasure is not full grown until it is remembered,” and I agree. Some moments in life are so lovely that the joy of it is too much to fully process in real time. The memory of it can be savored over days, weeks, or even years, and the pleasure of remembering exceeds that of the actual experience. I’m not sure if photos hamper or help. Sometimes a good snap captures the moment, other times pictures don’t do justice. I wonder if we didn’t have cameras if our brains would work harder to take note of the details, knowing we couldn’t flip through an album at a future date.

Last Saturday night Will and I were the only patrons at the pool. It was the most peaceful evening in recent memory and I have no idea why others hadn’t flocked there as well, but what a gift to sit there soaking in the last moments of summer, just the two of us. I imagine the picture above will always bring me joy, helping me to relive that beautiful moment.

And it’s good to remember. In fact, the Bible commands over and over again that we remember how God has been faithful, how He has loved us, and redeemed us. The Lord’s Supper is all about remembering too — that Jesus, while sinless, became sin for us.

But the Bible also commands that we forget. In 1 Corinthians 13 we are told that love keeps no record of wrongs. Sometimes it’s not easy to forget, but it’s not optional. We are forgiven as we forgive others. Is there someone you need to forgive this weekend? Praying today that I’ll know what to remember and cherish, and what by God’s grace, and His grace alone, I’ll know what to forget.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Have a fabulous weekend!

With Love,