I Go With the Flow

dog-708376_1280Roll with the punches! Go with the flow (hand wave). Yes, these are dreaded cliches–the bane of a writer’s existence. But these two cliches illustrate a point I hope to make.

It all started with a funeral. Or rather, a celebration of a life. The man who died is connected by marriage to one of my sons, but had been part of our life for years. One of his grandsons gave the eulogy, which was touching and beautiful. One phrase stuck in my mind and touched me deeply.

“He lived his life on purpose.”

family-11883_1280This man did many good things. He worked hard and excelled in his career. He raised an awesome family, all of whom grew up to do well. He had a fifty-two-year happy marriage. He spent time with his wife and family. According to his grandson’s eulogy, he never went anywhere alone, but always desired one or all of them with him. They vacationed as a family. When he ran errands, he took one or more of the grandchildren along. He enjoyed their company.

Beyond family, he served his church. He visited and ministered to prisoners. And many other things. He did these things on purpose. To serve and show his gratitude and love. Not to receive a blessing in return, but to be a blessing, whether he ever received any recognition at all for what he had done.

On purpose and with one purpose in mind: to serve his God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Why did this strike such a chord with me?

I’ve always rolled with punches. Gone with the flow…which reminds me of my Aunt Jenny, who always had a smile, a chuckle, and a “Jenny-ism” to add to the conversation. She’d do a little dance, usually a few cha-cha or swing steps, wave her hand in the air and say, “I go with the flow. My flo’ lin-o-le-um.”

Aunt Jenny

Her antics never failed to elicit a smile, a chuckle, or an outright belly-laugh. Everyone loved Aunt Jenny, and she loved us. But looking back, I think she lived life on purpose. She served out of love. She’d received forgiveness and wanted to make sure everyone knew how they could receive the same gift. On purpose.

When you serve others, are you only fulfilling a requirement, expecting a return on your sacrifice? Or do you serve on purpose, with purpose, to be a blessing, no matter what comes of it? Maybe no one ever thanks you. Maybe you never receive any recognition. Do you go anyway–keep on serving those who are hurting and in need?

Are you simply surviving life, just getting by, living but not really alive? You may think there’s nothing you can do. But small acts of kindness can add up to a lifetime of good, if done on purpose. My mom writes letters to her friends and family. They’ve told me what a blessing it is to receive a letter from her. She’s always so upbeat and positive. Those letters are like little rays of sunshine. That’s purpose.

You may never travel to a foreign country to help dig hurting souls out of earthquake-torn buildings. Or help restore flooded homes. But do you allow someone with fewer items to pass in front of you at the grocery? Do you hold the door and allow others to enter a building before you? Do you smile and greet visitors when they enter your church? Make them feel at home? On purpose, with one purpose in mind–to be a blessing. To serve God, be His hands and feet in the world.

I think it’s okay to “go with the flow,” as long as you live life on purpose when it really counts. When you can fill a purpose or a need–do it. I hope the words of that eulogy stay with me for a good long time and prick my conscience when I desire to ride the waves instead of serve a purpose.

So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even. (2 Corinthians 8:10-20 The Message)

Cara Putman – Authorview

Welcome to Authorview, Cara Putman, author, teacher, lawyer…among other things. How does she do it all? I am especially grateful to this oh-so-busy woman for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope you enjoy her interview and follow through by discovering who she is–as a writer, and a Christian. See her links below.     
Cara Putnam

I am a…Crazy woman. I homeschool, write books, teach graduate classes at a Big Ten university, and practice a little law.
You would like me when I’m…Reading a good book because it puts me in a good frame of mind.
You wouldn’t like me when I’m…Tired. The world just gets harder then.
What qualities I like to see in others:    A heart that is quick to see the needs of others.
Favorite way to spend an evening:  With my family watching a good movie or playing games.
Who I love to spend an evening with:  My husband or a group of girlfriends.
Am reading (or want to read):  The Secret of Pembrooke Parkby Julie Klassen and Unbroken.
If I had a hammer…I’d build our unfinished basement.
My favorite genre is:  Romantic suspense or legal suspense. I love a good page-turner.
My work-in-progress:  A Legal suspense
My favorite food is:  Italian, Mexican Yummy!
I’m a collector of:    Books. I give dozens away a year, but I always seem to have more!
My favorite happily-ever-after:    The romance Jesus has with each of us.

Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 19 books, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana. You can connect with her online at:


Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined–in war, in love, and in God.

USA Today Review

Flood, Fire, and Loss

Until this past week, I’d never heard of a six-alarm fire. 

Fire at General Electric, Louisville, KY 4-3-2015
(Photos contributed by Leah Hamilton Cook)

Louisville, Kentucky residents had an eventful first few days of April. It’s usually pretty quiet as we wind down from winter, celebrate Easter, get ready for the Derby festivities. Our news photographs usually include the incredible hats of every color and design–the beautiful thoroughbreds arriving at Churchill Downs, and tulips swaying in the breeze.

But this year is…a little different.

On the morning of April 3rd, President Obama arrived in Louisville. Soon afterwards, we were hit by massive flooding–and in the midst of the floods–a huge building at General Electric burned to the ground. Top that off with Kentucky’s bone-jarring loss to Wisconsin in the Final Four, and you could use the word “devastation.”

If you’re interested, click this link for some pretty amazing photos of the flooding.

GE Fire, 4-3-2015 by LHC


It has been hinted at. Personally, I’m glad the president got out when he did, and was safe while here.

Over where I live, it was unhealthy to go outside. The smoke was so heavy from the fire at GE, it looked like dense fog, but smelled much worse. The heavy rain kept it close to the ground.

(Click here for some additional photos at WSJ)

GE Fire, 4-3-2015 by LHC

But the rain finally cleared, leaving in its wake, swollen streams, rivers, and drainage ditches. There were homes lost to flooding, numerous water rescues, and even bridges and highways washed out. Much of  Waterfront Park (the site of many of our Derby activities) was under water.

In the next few days, we would begin to see what it’s going to take to recover.

And many GE employees are getting an unexpected Spring break. Not only is it unsafe for them to return to work, but many of the parts they need to build their products burned up in the fire.

On top of all this, my husband is in mourning because his favorite team lost in the Final Four. After an amazing perfect season, the team that just couldn’t seem to lose, lost. His heart is broken. But he will recover. I’m glad not to have to watch the game tonight. I really don’t care who wins. It doesn’t matter, because Kentucky lost.

I’m proud of our University of Kentucky Wildcats. May the lessons learned this awesome season stay with you and serve you well in the coming years.

Louisville is resilient. We have bounced back from many disasters. Epic floods and tornadoes. By Derby Day, (barring another flood or tornado or devastating fire) I expect the cleanup will be complete enough to continue their usual activities. The ladies will don their beautiful hats, the thoroughbreds will prance and strut their stuff. And if the Ohio River drops to a safer level, the steamboats will race.

And Spring will truly have arrived in Louisville, Kentucky.