Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Lorri Dudley (Page 1 of 4)

Modern clean lined living rooom

Comparison – The “Oh Shiney Object” of Purpose.

I threw out all my home décor magazines.

It turns out they were not good for my mental state.

Modern Living Room

I’d look at the beautiful homes and the new fashions and colors and grow discontented with the scuff marks on my walls, the dents in the baseboards, and the outdated style. The more I compared my home to the fancy high-end homes of the rich and famous, the less satisfied I became with what I had.

We’d done some renovations already. Why wasn’t I satisfied with that?

Tom Gilovich, a behavioral economist from Cornell University, found that although we might find a slight uptick or rush in happiness when we first purchase something, it quickly dwindles as we adapt to it. Psychologists have coined the term “hedonistic treadmill”—after the initial rush of happiness wears off, to maintain the feeling of stimulation, people go out and purchase another and another to maintain the rush.

The ugliness of comparison.
Saul, the first king of Israel, was a tall, handsome, and a fierce warrior. He was everything the Israelites wanted in a king. However, Saul was driven crazy by a song. In 1 Samuel chapter 18, women were singing about their heroes and the decimation of their enemies by chanting Saul had slain his thousands, but David has slain his ten thousands. King Saul should have been psyched. David was on his team. By destroying their enemies, David saved King Saul a lot of work and added to his greatness. But Saul wasn’t happy.

“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated by purpose.” – Bob Goff

The ugliness of comparison altered Saul’s judgement. It distracted him from being a great King and instead turned his focus onto being better than one specific shepherd boy. From Saul’s view from his castle, the grass seemed greener in the shepherd boy’s pasture. Ultimately, comparison destroyed Saul.

Woman putting on makeup

I see the same inner turmoil, especially in women. We often get all dolled up, not to woo our man, but to one-up the other women present. The beast of comparison rears its ugly head. The true purpose of enjoying friendships is often lost behind layers of mascara, lipstick, and tummy suckers.

“Happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve already got.” – Garth Brooks

My house is not shiny and new. It’s a home. It’s lived in, comfortable, and enjoyable. Troupes of children pass through, tracking in dirt and raiding the cabinets. If I updated it into the mausoleums pictured in the magazines, in the end, how much happier would I truly be? And for how long? Would I be trading my family time and or writing time for safeguarding the house against smudges and scratches? And what happens when the next magazine issue comes out with a different latest up-and-coming style?

I’m exhausted thinking about it. It’s not worth it to me. As it turns out, I derive more pleasure out of knowing people feel welcome in our home. I do, however, hope that distressed furniture will make a comeback.

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Frog heart sculpture

Go Ahead and Look Foolish

“Excuse me, sir. May I have the honor of brushing your hair?” Beth Moore tells a story of being in an airport and seeing an elderly man with long, ratty, unkempt hair. As she waited for the boarding call, God nudged her to brush an elderly man hair. No way, she argued with Jesus, but He wouldn’t leave her alone until she approached the man with the strange suggestion. The elderly man consented, and after she worked out all the tangles, she noticed he was crying. It turns out the man had been in the hospital and was flying home to see his wife. God knew the man had been embarrassed about his messy appearance and needed his hair brushed before he returned home to his bride. Because Beth Moore obeyed and was brave enough to appear foolish asking a man if she could brush his hair at the airport, an elderly man’s prayers were answered.
Don’t let fear of feeling foolish kept you from God’s blessing. “In God I have put my trust. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalms 56:11NIV
I haven’t done anything as extreme as asking to brush a stranger’s hair. But, there have been times when I’ve wrestled with God because I didn’t want to appear foolish. I’ve argued with Him about not wanting to hug a stranger. I’ve explained to Him that there is a big difference between writing and public praying because you can’t go back and edit spoken words to make them sound better, but He told me to pray anyway. He’s asked me to reach out to old high school acquaintances and complete strangers.  Sadly, sometimes, I haven’t obeyed, but the times that I have, I’m not certain who was blessed more, the person I was prompted to help or me.
Trust God’s bigger plan. Don’t let pride stand in your way. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV
Noah probably felt foolish building an ark in the desert. Sarah probably looked foolish knitting baby booties at age ninety. The Israelites probably felt silly silently marching around Jericho ready to crumble the walls down with their trumpet blasts. King Saul and two armies thought David foolish for going after a giant with nothing but a slingshot. And I’m certain the blind man probably felt awkward hearing Jesus spit into the mud and standing there while he rubbed it on the man’s eyes.
I don’t don’t believe God uses these scenarios to get a good laugh. These are opportunities for us to humble ourselves to let it all ride on God’s plan. It allows God to grow bigger in our lives and for us to become smaller. And, history has shown, God will reward those who aren’t afraid to obey his prompting.
So go ahead, be brave enough to be foolish.
Woman indoor rock climbing

How Are You Anchored?

I was suspended in air. Literally not figuratively. My feet floated about a foot above the ground. I clutched the rope in a death grip as I dangled, knowing if I let go my husband would plummet to the ground.

When we first got married, I wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons. My husbandWoman indoor rock climbing is a good negotiator, so he agreed but on the condition that I’d take indoor rock climbing classes. It was a fair deal, and even though rock climbing was intimidating, I found it to be a lot like the game Twister but hanging off the side of a wall. We had a couple of lessons, and everything was going great. The instructor even decided it was time we climbed on our own.

By the time I noticed my mistake, it’s was too late.

My husband reached the top of the thirty-foot wall and signaled he was ready to repel down. I tightened my grip on the ropes and yelled back to go ahead. He released his hold and leaned back in a trust fall.

I jerked into the air like a rag doll only to come to a jarring stop as the anchor caught. My feet pedaled air, and I quickly realized what I’d done wrong. There are three slots one can hook into on the anchor rope. This important rope secures you to the ground so that when a smaller person, like myself, partners up with a big  6’3” male, we don’t go flying to the ceiling while our partner crashes to the ground. The three slots are for basically, tall, medium, and small. I should have hooked into the small, but unknowingly, I inserted my carabiner into the tall loop.

My husband instantly knew something was wrong, probably because he expected a nice easy descent but instead he dropped two feet before slamming to a halt. “Everything okay, babes?” he asked.

“Everything’s fine,” I said in a tight voice and smiled, hoping he wouldn’t notice I was suspended in air.

I eased the rope between my gloved fingers. Once his feet touched the ground, mine did also.

We laugh about it now, or at least I do. He may still my shake his head at me. But it goes to show how important it is to have a proper anchor.

Anchor“This hope [Jesus] is a safe anchor for our souls. It will never move.” – Hebrews 6:19 (NLV)

Without a proper anchor we all are like rag dolls being jerked around by our emotions, trends, and what the world tells us will make us happy. When we anchor into the firm foundation of Jesus Christ, life is no longer happening to us. It’s happening for us. We gain peace, clarity, and purpose.

When we aren’t anchored to a firm foundation, it’s easy to drift and be tossed about. When my boys leave for school, I often say, “Remember whose child you are.” If they don’t know to whom they belong or what they stand for and against, then they can be easily persuaded by whims, their friends, and charismatic adults. I want them grounded in the Rock of Ages, not grasping for earthly things that moths and rust can destroy (Matthew 6:19-20).

If you are going through motions, feeling lost, or floundering adrift, seek Jesus. But, don’t just haphazardly clip into Him like I hooked my carabiner into that anchor. Seek Him with a ready and open heart. In Jeremiah 29:13, God says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Stop wandering aimlessly through life. God has a purpose and a plan for your life. His foundation is secure, and He’s waiting for your knock upon His door.

Let Him be your anchor.

Meme with anchor. 2nd verse of "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less."

Woman's praying hands

The Perfect Way of Unanswered Prayers

“Did you ever wish you had a girl?”Woman's praying hands

I froze, ornament in hand suspended midway to the tree. My middle son peered at me, his eyes seeking an answer. His question drew the attention of my youngest, and they both stared at me with unblinking eyes.

Was this one of those questions that could impact them for the rest of their lives? I could picture them lying on a couch addressing a future psychologist, “The reason I can’t hold a job or have a family is that my mother really wanted a girl.”

I am a girl, and it’s natural to want what’s familiar to you, but thankfully, we don’t always get what we want.

I hung the ornament on a limb and turned to face them with an honest answer. “At one point, yes. I thought having a girl like myself might be fun, but God had a better plan. God knew what I wanted before I realized it myself. He knew that as soon as I met you, you would be the ones I wanted, and so I’m very thankful that God went with His plan and not mine.”

Later that same night, as we were setting the table, my youngest poured the milk and asked me, “Did you have a boyfriend before Dad?”

I set a plate down and wondered what was it about today that had them asking all these questions. “Yes, I dated some boys in school.”

His eyes grew big and solemn. “Did dad know?” He whispered the words as if I’d been cheating.

Holy moly, I needed to be very clear. “No, no, no. I hadn’t met your dad yet.”

“Did you break up with them?” he asked.

“Well, some I did, but some broke up with me.”

“If you didn’t want to break up, did you want to marry them?”

Dinner could have been burning on the stove, but I wouldn’t have cared. It was one of those rare, amazing moments when you hold your child’s complete attention. I inhaled a deep breath. “At the time, I had wanted things to work out, but I’m very, very, grateful that God didn’t answer those prayers. He knew there was a better man for me—your dad.” I smiled. “God’s ways are higher than our ways. If I had married one of those men, then I wouldn’t have had you.”

I searched my son’s eyes for an indication that my elderly wisdom might have registered.

“How did the other boyfriends break up with you?” He smiled a mischevious grin. ​

Maybe it would sink in later.

All those questions reminded me to be grateful that God hadn’t answered my prayers. Back then, I had wondered where God was, why he hadn’t responded. I My boys sitting togethermourned the loss of what my mind had conceived, but God was patient with me and forgiving. All the while he was maneuvering the pieces of his puzzle into place to form a bigger picture. Looking back, I see his fingerprints everywhere. And, if I had one prayer now, it would be that my own children wouldn’t try to force the pieces of the puzzle together. That they would trust in God’s plan and relinquish their own. Psalm 18:30 says it best, “As for God, His way is perfect.”

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9

Battle of the Saintes painting

The Meaning of Shalom

My two oldest kids were terrible sleepers as babies. If they slept for over two hours straight, I’d do a happy dance. When I discovered I was pregnant with my third, I Baby Name Finder: Baby Name Wizardwas determined this child would be a better sleeper. I even typed into the baby names finder what name means “sleeps through the night.” The closest it could determine was Shalom which means peace.

Shalom. I’d heard this Hebrew word before but usually associated it with a Jewish greeting or salutation. Shalom actually has a deeper meaning than just peace which we often associate with the absence of war. It means inner well-being, prosperity, and health. Now, I didn’t end up calling my son Shalom. A friend of mine had already given the name to her daughter (who is a lovely girl both inside and out, and I couldn’t think of a better name for her), but I love the idea that every time she calls her daughter’s name she is speaking prosperity, peace, and health over her little girl.

I’ve been researching the British Caribbean during and after the American Revolution for an Island book series I’m working on, so I’ve been digging into Battle of the Saintes paintinghistorical events, piracy, and Caribbean life in the late 18th and early 19th century. One thing I never realized was how the Caribbean Islands impacted the Revolutionary War. The British Navy, at the time, was the greatest in the world. America standing up to the mother country was like David going up against Goliath. However, Britain was also in a power struggle with France over the Caribbean islands which were valuable for their sugar exports. British Naval forces were split between fighting in America and protecting their island holdings from foreign invaders. The division weakened British naval forces in their fight for control of the United States (O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided, 2000, p.185).

The national election is this week and Newscasters have been as excited as a weatherman before a blizzard. I try not to be political, and I don’t plan to start now. I’m typing this on Monday knowing it will be read after the polls have closed and the results determined, and I did that intentionally. Because one thing I’ve come to realize about people whether on the left or right is that we all want shalom. We all desire well-being, happiness, and prosperity and to see others prosper. Jesus (the Prince of Peace) said it best in Mark 3:25 which was echoed in a speech by President Abraham Lincoln, “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” We are stronger when we are unified.

No matter what the outcome, I hope we find unity as a country and as the body of Christ. That we stop pointing fingers and instead focus our pursuits on life, liberty, and happiness. I pray we will each strive to reach shalom.

So, may you have health and well-being, may you continue to chase your dreams, and may you prosper.


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Wheat field at sunrise

How to Reap a Harvest

“Leave a place better than you found it.” Ever since I heard this piece of wisdom from author and speaker, Joe McGee, I’ve repeated it a hundred times, and my kids Wheat field at sunrisemay roll their eyes when we’re leaving a fast food restaurant, or someone’s house, or the church, but I interpret it to mean I’m getting through to them. It’s not always fun to pick up the napkins someone else left on the floor at Dairy Queen or to wipe off the sink at church when someone else left a mess, but I remind them that opportunities will arise when you strive to do more than what is expected.

People will invest in you when you are faithful in the small things.

When my husband’s company posts a hiring ad, typically there is a small project suggestion at the bottom of the job posting. For example: create a video that tells why they’d be a good fit for the company. It’s amazing how many people send over their resume and completely ignore the project request. However, the ones who went the extra mile and created the short video have almost always received a job offer. (I actually can’t think of one who hasn’t, but that might not be the case.)

What is expected of you is the threshold—so do more.

We were not meant to blend in and get by. To be salt and light to the world, we must stand out, and to that, we need to go above and beyond. Take it from Rebekah in the Bible. When Abraham grew old, he sent his servant to go find a wife for his son Isaac. I can imagine the servant stressed out by the big task of finding a bride Two camelsand convincing her to come back with him to an unknown place to marry a man she’d never met. So the servant prayed, help me be successful in this, Lord. He asked it to be a sign if a woman waters his camels then that woman was to be Isaac’s bride. So the servant sat down near the spring and along came Rebekah. He asked her for a drink, and she not only gave him a drink but watered his camels also. Now, this doesn’t sound like too big of a task until you consider that camels can drink up to fifty gallons and the servant didn’t just bring one or two camels—he had brought ten. That is a lot of water to draw from the well. Rebekah went the extra mile, and she reaped a harvest of God’s blessing in return.

It doesn’t have to be a monumental task like watering ten camels. It’s okay to start small. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” We might not be able to do for all, but we can start with one. Bless them, sow a seed, and watch it turn into a harvest.

Go ahead, leave the world better than you found it.

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Dudley's on Mt. Monadnock, NH

Harder the Hike, the Better the View

Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire is not for the faint of heart or the occasional Sunday stroller. I’m usually up for an adventure, and it was a gorgeous day, so we Dudley's on Mt. Monadnock, NHstruck out with the kids and some friends and headed up the mountain. The boys did great until we were about ¼ of the way up the first peak when they began to complain. “How much further?” “Are we there yet?” “My legs hurt.” Now I said the first peak because it is a double summit mountain. Once you get to what you believe to be the top, you realize the trail keeps going, and there’s another peak hiding behind the first. At this point, I’m mentally siding with the boys. I didn’t own hiking boots, and my sneakers were done sneakin’. I thought I was in pretty good fitness shape until the muscles in my ankles began to hurt from adjusting to the uneven ground.

My husband being the optimist said, “Look, we’re almost to the top.” We kept moving. Part of me wanted to turn around. We’d been hiking for over a couple hours, and we still had to go all the way back down. I wanted to protest or complain, but I didn’t want to ruin the trip for our friends or allow the boys to see mom give up.

At last, we reached the top, I remember ignoring the aches and pushing my legs up View from Mt Monadnockthe final steep climb. It opened onto a rocky plateau. I stopped to catch my breath. Not because I was winded, but because the view was so spectacular. From the peak, an endless patterned carpet filled with greens, yellows, oranges, and reds spread out before us. A vast expanse of clear blue stretched above us, and when we looked east, we could see a cluster of tiny rectangular sticks that comprised of the city of Boston.

One of our boys stared wide-eyed and said, “Wow! Look at how great God is.” That made the entire trek for me. The hard climb, the achy muscles, the pure exhaustion, all forgotten as we gazed out at the splendor before us.

The harder the hike, the better the view.

For ten years we used to run a small group at our house weekly. (Now that I’m wiser we’ve learned to rotate houses.) There were days where I’d come home from work exhausted. The kids would be at each other, and I still hadn’t fed them dinner or set out food and chairs for our small group. I would rub my temples with one hand and hold my phone with the other ready push send on an email to cancel the group for the night.

But, thank God, I didn’t hit send.

Those nights we’d have the most incredible group, filled with breakthroughs, people opening their hearts, and Godly revelations. This happened at least a couple nights a semester, and every time it would be a remarkable experience.

There is evil out there that wants to keep us from experiencing God’s joy. It will attack us in big and small ways, but don’t relent. Keep pushing through. There is something spectacular for you to see but the devil is doing his darnedest to block your way.

If you’re exhausted and spent, uncertain whether you can keep going, you may be steps away from a breakthrough. Let the devil know you’re onto his trick, and you’re not backing down. You’re going to keep hiking because God has planned an amazing view for you right over the next peak.

“God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.” – 2 Samuel 22:33 (NLT)

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Beaver swimming

Leave it to Beavers

You may be thinking I have some sort of fascination with animals that start with the Beaver swimmingletter B. I’ve talked about buffalos, bears, and now beavers. If I do a blog on badgers, I will admit I have a problem. Actually, a friend of mine, Michelle, was asking me about my writing. When I told her I was getting a little discouraged, she smiled and announced that I need to be a beaver.


It turns out beavers secrete an oil which acts as an insulator and waterproofing agent. Not only does water roll off their back, but they are shielded from the elements. They also have a flexible toe to pull out any burrs and parasites that worm their way in through the protective layer of fur.

In addition, their ears have valves which close to prevent water from getting in when they are submerged. Their eyes have a nictitating membrane which helps them to see clearly underwater. Beavers pair for life and have strong social bonds, surviving together as a group. And, don’t forget their wide, flat tails which act as a rudder for steering.

So, be a beaver. When negative thoughts worm their way in, pluck them out before they take hold. Let rejection roll off you like water off a beaver’s back. Plug your ears to doubt and criticism and hone in on the sound of God’s voice. See clearly by keeping focused on the one who created and planned your future. Use God’s word as a rudder to steer you in the right direction. And, if or when you do get down, get around people who will pull you out of the pit of discouragement and help you to stay the course.

Joshua 1:9 commands us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God has given us the abilities we need to do His will. We are stronger than we realize when we lean on Him.

Impressed by the beaver yet? Well, here’s another fact. Beavers are one of the few Beaver damspecies that change their environment to suit them. By building dams, they flood the surrounding area to modify the land for their purposes instead of adapting to suit the location.

And so should we. We are to live in the world but not be of the world. When we feel like caving to societal pressure, being lured down an easy path, or conforming to the norm, remember God made us to stand out. We were created to make a difference for His kingdom. We are to be the salt and light to a dark world. We are to shine as a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:13-16).

So go ahead and start building a dam. Someday you’ll wake up to waterfront property.

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a cluster of cockle burrs

A Briar Fight

I’d never heard of or even conceived of something like this until my kids came to me with brown thistle burrs stuck in their clothes and hair. Being a mom of three boys a cluster of cockle burrsI’ve had to learn to handle mud baths, spontaneous water hose fights, and other messes. Usually, I’d just say go clean up and change your clothes, but we were at church. (Yes, church, of all places to get into a briar fight. I’m not even sure where they found the briars.) When it was time to check them into the kid’s service, my youngest was practically in tears because the hooks of the burrs had lodged in his shirt and were now irritating his skin. “Mom,” he says, “it itches, but not in an itch/scratch way, in a burning way!” I thought, well, yeah. What did you think would happen after a briar fight?’

As I worked on a solution that didn’t require me driving home to get him a new shirt, my gaze fell on the flash of blue tucked under my other son’s arm. The youngest took off his shirt and donned his brother’s jacket. He worried about being naked underneath, but at least the itch was gone.

It may be because I’ve been writing for this blog for a while or maybe it’s because God is good at teaching me life lessons through my boys, but my first thought after getting them all briar free was, this is going to end up as a blog story. Sure enough, here I am writing about the briar fight. Hebrews 12:1 kept running through my mind. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”

The briar fight sounded like fun at the time. They knew it was something mom wouldn’t have approved of, but the fun factor rang louder than my voice in their heads. Afterward, however, they suffered the consequence of having tiny little needles pricking their skin, keeping them from being comfortable and from enjoying what God had planned for them next.

Sin can be like the briar. It may seem like fun. Like it’s not that big of a deal, that it’s relatively harmless and besides no one has to know. But then, the little hooks of sin embed themselves into your clothes and eventually work their way into your skin. Their pinpricks become a distraction, an annoyance, and before long the pain becomes all consuming. The fun was short-lived but the consequences are long-lasting.

Thankfully we have a big brother we too can turn to. If we ask him, he will strip us of our burr laden shirts. He will readily hand us his garment—the white robe of righteousness. The pain of our past, present, future sins he nailed to the cross. So, whenever the barbed hooks of sin try to embed into your life, remind sin to whom you’re related and the sacrifice that was paid for your freedom.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

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Buffalo in field

Be a Buffalo

Niagara FallsWith a wide-stance, I braced myself against the reeling of the boat. Drenched to the bone, I held my camera out to capture the splendor of Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist is a misnomer. It should be called the Maid of the Torrential Downpour. No matter what the name, the vast expanse of the falls is impressive and well worth visiting.

600,000 gallons per second of water cascade over just the Horseshoe Falls alone. The speed of the falling water can reach 68mph and the rapids below up to 30mph.  The Maid of the Mist’s engines revved and fought against the strong current to provide us with an up-close view of this natural wonder.

While in Buffalo, NY right near Niagara, I was told the difference between the cow Buffalo in fieldand the buffalo. When a cow senses a storm approaching, it runs away from the direction of the storm. The problem with cows is that they aren’t faster than the storms. They struggle through the wind and the rain as they try to outrun it. In doing so, they actually end up running alongside the storm prolonging their wet misery. Buffalo, on the other hand, wait for the storm to arrive then turn and charge into the tempest. Somehow the buffalo seem to understand that by heading into the storm they can minimize its duration and suffering.

Are you a cow or a buffalo?

I admit. I don’t like conflict. Not many people do. Which is often why individuals with debt problems ignore bills as they pile up. Calls to problem customers who need extra hand-holding get pushed off until later. And, why working spouses stay longer at the office instead of coming home to work out marital problems. One thing I have learned is that facing difficult issues is more effective than running from them. Just like the cow can’t outrun the storm, undealt with problems will also track you down usually increasing in strength as they fester.

So how can we be a buffalo and not a cow?

  • Acknowledge there is a problem. Is there something that you’re avoiding? A subject you’re extra defensive or sensitive about? Something that causes you discomfort or pain. Usually, that is a sign of an underlying problem.
  • Accept that God is bigger than your pain. Pray about the problem. Know that ultimately God is in control and trust he is looking out for your best interests
  • Address the problem. Communication is key. It is a crucial part of the healing process for both parties. Open up about the hurt and pain. However, be careful not to let your emotions rule you. If you need to go back and pray more until you can take a calmer position than do so but don’t use it as an excuse to continue avoiding the issue.
  • Adapt to the outcome. Sometimes the storm may batter us, but remember facing it will get us through it faster. God uses trials to develop our character. He is growing us as a person and making us more into his likeness.
  • Appreciate the transformation. Storms may cause some damage, but they also bring a much-needed change, e., cooler or warmer weather. Don’t focus on the aftermath, concentrate on what you learned and how you are stronger for it.

Always remember, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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