13 Feb 2014

How to get more passion in your life

Spoiler alert: You can read this whole post or you can just click here and take the short cut to passionately falling in love with 250 kids who would tell you that there is nothing ordinary about being a mom. Especially when you don’t have one. Here’s the chance to give your heart away and BE someone’s unexpected, ridiculously generous valentine.

UPDATED: My friend Money Saving Mom has stunned me by offering to give away her book as well as pre-order my book for anyone who gives more than $40!! Details over here.

I remember exactly where I was when I fell in love with Peter. When I knew he was the man I would marry.

I was walking under the cherry blossoms on D street across from the US Capitol.



I thought I would throw up with the weight of it.

This responsibility of knowing you’re going to commit your life, your zip code, your culture, your body and your dreams to someone else. For better or worse.

We’ve lived our share of worse.

I ate romance novels like so much chocolate when I was sixteen. I believed in happy endings that looked like desperate dashes through airports to declare undying love.

But in real life it has been my experience that love goes out for milk in between bouts of a snow storm. After it has shoveled the driveway.

Or picks up a pair of socks off the floor every single morning even after fifteen years of gesticulating wildly at laundry baskets.

But love.

It does run. It will run.

Oh how it runs.

This daring verb that is so much more than a date on the calendar.



Love runs into danger. Love runs for the forgotten. Love runs from itself. Love runs beyond what it thought it could endure. Love runs away from measuring sticks and toward partnership.

Love runs. It never races. Love runs at your pace. Love runs for the winsome joy of bearing witness, of celebrating, of delighting in the dance of dishes and laundry and a hundred, hundred glasses of water after lights out.

Love singles out the lonely and is not embarrassed to be friends with the forgotten. Love doesn’t keep score of cool. Love finds hope in trash heaps and new beginnings at the bottom of dumpsters.

Love runs round after round of milk at midnight baby after baby, year after year. Even when people whisper and wonder why you’ve decided to add yet another kid to your family.

Love runs toward children with arms wide open.


Love runs and rides back roads after prodigals. Love runs even when all it can do is limp.

I remember exactly where I was when I fell in love with the Maubane community.

I was sitting on the cement stoop outside Ma Margaret’s house, shirt stuck to my sweaty back and tiny Rodney on my lap. We threw a Christmas party in 100 degree weather and Rodney’s packet of chocolates had melted along with my heart.



And I remember where I was when God started working on my heart to see my blog like a door and myself the door holder who gets to invite people into this remarkable story.

And I remember where I was when I found out how much it would cost for 1 blog community to build 1 South African community a safe place for sustainable food, child care, economic empowerment, job skills trainings, a gathering place for church, classrooms for HIV/Aids education, and a playground for their kids.

I was sitting in the red plastic booth at a Wimpy restaurant in Pretoria, South Africa when I did the math and thought I would throw up at the $150,000 price tag.

But love.

Love runs.

Love runs faster than fear. Love runs toward hopelessness. Love runs past doubt. Love runs the race wild and true and on shaking, determined knees.

Love runs to its friends and invites them in.

Love sees everyone as family and every day a start of something beautiful.  Love runs through doors even where there aren’t supposed to be any.

This is my family.





You are my friends.

Here is the door.

I’m holding it open, run through and fall in love.

The Maubane Community Center – a human blue print of hope

human blue print

This plan has been a year in the making and the goal is to raise $150,000 to fund the entire project between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day – because love is more than a date on the calendar, and it never leaves anyone out. And Mother’s Day is a 365 days a year adventure, always worth celebrating.

Phase 1: Community Vegetable Garden {watered by the water point you all built last fall}

Phase 2: Community Kitchen and Welcome Center

Phase 3: Community Outreach Hall

Phase 4: 12 Classrooms

Phase 5: Playground

Click here to donate.

Because there’s a whole community of women who are raising more kids than just their own and still have all the same hopes, dreams and fears that we do.

And there’s a whole community of kids who would tell you that there is nothing ordinary about being a mom. Especially when you don’t have one.

I’m related to three of them.


Fall in Love with the World Next Door Necklace


My friend Krafty Kashoan has created three custom necklaces and will donate half the price of each to this project. Choose from the words Brave, Family, or Pray and wear a reminder of this love story with you on Valentine’s and beyond.


Five Minute Friday

– your prompt this week is GARDEN – because it’s the first phase of this love story. So, go ahead, hold the door open and invite as many as you can into the story.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Since all hope of being normal has gone out the window and I’m crying like a hot mess, I’ll just say, standing with you tonight. Cheering for you, running towards love. Always. May God break open the heavens and plant fruit for generations to come. Believing with you.

  2. 3

    Oh Lisa-Jo…what beauty this will be. I can see it now. Standing tall in stone, you in the front when you return, hugging the necks of them all, with smiles from east to west. We ARE blessed to be a blessing, and you are living it friend, becoming the door for us all to run through. Love runs, and I’m running with you. Cheering and so moved, and sending so SO much love and prayers, my friend…xo

  3. 4

    “Love runs faster than fear. Love runs toward hopelessness. Love runs past doubt.”

    Yes! So happy that we serve a God who outruns, over powers, overcomes! And then He just turns right around and He runs to us!

    Love you so!

  4. 5

    I love how you KNOW and you DO – and it WORKS! I love. love. love your love does list, too!

  5. 6

    Thank you so much for holding the door open! I can not wait to see how quickly this happens! I just feel it in my bones that we mommas can make this happen & shine Jesus’ Love so bright & beautiful to that precious community and your family! I just ordered a “Brave” necklace because I need some bravery right now, & I shared the links on FB & Pinterest. Will talk to the hubs about giving more!

    • 7

      I didn’t even think about Pinterest! I hit FB and Twitter. Pinning now. And it’s already growing. It’s tripled since this afternoon.

  6. 8

    Had my five minute challenge completed and went to save draft (WordPress) and there was a major malfunction and I lost it all. It was all over the place – my friend, an avid gardener is in the ER this morning with her beloved husband and my heart and prayers are with her. So, I am going to pass on posting today, a re-write would be almost like “cheating”.
    I have truly enjoyed this five minute exercise for the last 3 Fridays but today will just enjoy reading others!

  7. 9

    My dear Lisa,
    I have been admirer of you for some time now.
    Five minute Friday has become a holy space in my week.
    I simply started to cry as I read this morning’s offering.
    I was over awed how my silly, trifle, annoyance of early this morning God broke out into such a deep, deep truth, that I could then write and share about.
    Your post and your heart allowed it.
    God Bless you and Pure Charity and South Africa.
    There are so many, many good causes out there.
    We have such a strapped financial situation, but I knew not to hesitate in giving this morning.
    By the way, I am so looking forward to seeing you at the Raising Generations Today Conference in my hometown of Corning, NY this March. I will be sure to give you hug. Even though I am not a hugger. For you: I make an acceptation.

  8. 10

    So jaw-dropping and thrilling and exciting to see blog after blog of FMF family standing on both sides to hold up the arms of this vision like Moses’ weary limbs in Exodus 17 … pillars of women who refuse to let the tide turn, and will stand in the gap with the help of God to win the battle. Blessings to you, Lisa-Jo, and the whole crew who stand on your left and your right as you pursue these God-sized dreams for His glory.

  9. 11

    I just commented, but then these verses came to mind: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, ESV

    May God indeed cause this garden to grow.

    When God makes it grow: http://reflectiontherapy.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/when-god-makes-it-grow/

  10. 12
    AineMistig says:

    Five Minute Friday


    Kindergarten. It means “Children’s Garden” in German, because they thought that was the environment a child’s education began in should be. They needed to be in a garden. And it’s true…but it’s more than that. WE need to be in a garden.
    A garden of hope, of wonder, of curiosity. A garden of love and transparency. Where everything we need is available to everyone to be found by everyone given to each other. We need green and fresh air and buzzing bees so much that scientists think children and people today may actually be suffering from nature deprivation. It’s believed so strongly there are Kindergartens in California that are actually entirely outside…in God’s garden.
    And gardens remind us of how life was created to be. It’s all-in. Your hands get close and touch and get dirt under the nails. You bend with the effort. It takes time, and daily care to finally receive a handful of fruit which may be years in the making. Gardens say “Life is a process,” with no willing to compromise.

    • 13
      AineMistig says:

      That was the 5 minutes.

      If I had time to add, I think it would be this:

      Perhaps that is a better name for childhood: the children’s garden. And perhaps it would help all involved if parents were called by a truer name for their work: gardeners. And it would definitely be better if everyone remembered we’re ALL children in the garden.

  11. 14

    I love this, I am so looking forward to seeing you reach your goal. I just purchased a ‘Brave’ necklace. Love & support from Australia :-) xx

  12. 15

    Just wanted you to know again how blessed I am to be part of this. And I cannot listen to this song without thinking of you & this wonderful project. “God put a million, million doors in this world, for His love to walk through, and one of those doors is you!” And through this, we all get to be doors too!


  13. 16

    Hi Lisa-Jo,

    I was late getting this up because of the ice storm in our area and loss of power! I did get a lot of writing in during that time, though, and so I posted this on my site this morning:


    Blessings to you and yours! Thank you for all you do and how you bless so many, myself included!

  14. 17

    Wow… what a beautiful beautiful beautiful post… love runs faster than fear. Yes, it does. I love this and have reposted.

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