Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What I Really Want To Say

You know the times, the situations, when you listen politely, give a hug, say I'm praying. I say I know, I understand..... But what I really want to say is this. Just don't quit, don't give up on this. Don't believe you or anyone else is too far gone. Don't believe that new is always better. Don't believe that it won't be hard work too. Don't fret when it seems that doing the right thing always means feeling left out. Don't forget where you came from or what it took to get you right here. Don't forget why you chose this to begin with. Don't believe the lies that press in and tell you that it's over and this is the best it will be. Because it isn't. It just isn't. Don't believe you don't matter, that your words don't count or that you have nothing to say. Yes you do. Even if it's to one other soul. Your words, your life can change everything. I've seen  4 minutes of a life forever change someone. So don't discount your value, your impact. Your worth. Each life has purpose. Thankful. 

They Say It Comes In Three's

It's New Year's Eve. I'm off work today. Actually for a string of days. I started the barroom remodel. So there is that. I just laid here for a while. Praying. Talking. Listening. My verse. Hebrews 4:16. Drawing near to the throne. To find grace. And mercy. And the amplified reads well timed help..... Yes. Help. I let that settle in and then my other verse made me smile. Isaiah 43. Forget the former things.....yes. Forget. That seems a strange word that has taken hold of me. But if we run boldly to His grace and mercy, we can forget. We don't have to hold onto our sins, our mistakes. Because He keeps no record of them. And if He doesn't then why should we? And if we are running to Him and He will send timely help, just as we need it, then what is there to fear?  Because I fear forget. I fear being forgotten.  Because I have felt that. And it is unbearable. Somehow though, I know it's time to forget the former, because the new is coming. Those deeps planted seeds, they don't stay down forever. They burst forth. New. And you forget it was ever dead dry earth. You forget that you ever wondered when and if. You can't remeber the barren because the harvest is so very full. You forget the pain of the toil, because the harvest of the sheaves leaves you crying tears of joy. Forget what was to have vision for what is coming. There is one thing that I won't forget. He inscribed it on my heart and literally sent it in form of binding it around my neck by way of a beautiful necklace. It need always stay. I need always remember. It's my word. Thankful. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014


I came home Christmas Day. I had 3 days ahead of me. That was probably the worst feeling ever. I had no idea what to do with myself...and all these memories. All these things flooding back. Reminding. And I could run from it. I've done that before....and we know about right back rounds now don't we? Yeah. So this year they hit full force. And I decided to let myself be sad about it. And for the life.....I couldn't help myself. I got really ticked off at the wall paper...for the love. It has peeled and sucked for 17 years now. Seventeen. And I.  Hate. It. So I peeled back one big strip and that was that. No going back. Been there before too. Opened that can of worms that cannot be contained And He presses me. Thing after thing kept peeling back layers and opening up spaces that aren't better left set. I could pretend the wall paper was just fine, look past the peeling paint and all that makes my blood boil. I could pretend that what has been the last three years is good enough. But it isn't. It just is not... But am I brave enough to walk through this....

Paper peeled and the bathroom is stripped down to nothing. All its imperfections showing. All mine are hanging out like laundry getting mighty clean and dry. All the soft spots, all the rough spots, laid bare. The bathrooms too. What's underneath? I've been wondering. So we stripped and scrubbed and cleaned and laid it bare. But it's real. And its never been cleaner. And it's never had more potential. Me too. Thankful. 

Friday, December 26, 2014


I envy you.... That took me by surprise. Those words. Because who would envy me? I let the words settle while the water washed over. Oh the words that space contains. The prayers that travel upwards with the steam. I suppose that when I look at things in the proper light, I do. I have blessings abound. And I stopped looking past today and just settled into right now. I'm choosing to be grateful right here. I made hot chocolate for my youngest. With a whipped cream tower. Just like he has always loved. Another year with him. I'm heart full. My girl, we talked today. She was with me in my anxiousness. And she is a comfort and a joy and fiercely protective of her mama. And tonight I settled in. And I pulled out my great grandmothers tea cup. So small and beautiful, yet it has withstood all that the years have brought. And it seemed like a better choice than my normal oversized cup. One small portion at a time. Simple. Lord tonight I just ask for sustaining grace. Help us hold fast to You and Your promises. When all else may fail. You do not. Thankful. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Joining Kate Mountage at her site today.  Her New EBook Letters To Grief is available and she is hosting a link up.  
These aren't always the easiest of days still.  Just when you think you are over it, that you SHOULD BE over all this by now, a wave of it overtakes you and knocks you down with its strength.  And it feels like square one...but it's not really.  You realize that these waves over and over have somehow made you stronger in the getting back up, they might take your breath from you, but you know now, how to keep from going under and make it back once again.  Certain that this will forever change you, but this, it will not be forever.....

You circle round and grip tightly before I can even realize at times. And you settle in. Unmoving. And I realize your coming and going is a process. It peels back a layer or two each time we come face to face. Eye to eye. Because I'm not afraid much anymore. Of you, of your coming. Because you go. You cannot stay when I turn it over, let the tears fall, scream my whys until my voice is a whisper. Sometimes you are heavy and you threaten to overtake me. But I have learned the remedy. Each time I stretch out my hand, each time I give what it is I need to hear myself. Pressing the seeds of hope deep into places that seem void of any hope, but that void is just the preparation to hold what will be. 

We Made It...Day 23

I didn't manage Christmas cards this year. Not surprising. Three years ago was the last time. And I can't quite get over how beautiful and amazing and perfect they perfect my life looked in black and white with a splash of color in between the tri-folded structure. A perfect picture of the perfect family. Because everyone said so. Because the card said so. And a month later it would all be gone. I have photos and memories of beautiful moments from the past 357 days and I can't quite manage to put them together, slap a stamp on it and say Merry Christmas. Not this year. Not just yet. Writing is hard fought lately. Words are not my friend at times and it's just a battle. The card that seems to fit our lives this year would say Bless, we made it, praise Jesus and we need a nap.... But I'm feeling like somehow this is the end of the tunnel, that light is shining brighter and the morning is coming to replace the mourning. My desire feels more like a Happy New Year card... Let's do this! It's gonna be amazing. Because the bottom line is it IS amazing....that I'm here three years later. That we are all here. And we were not destroyed. A little bruised and beaten but not really worse for the wear. No, better for it. Better because of it. Beautifully imperfect people who have an amazing God. He can do anything you know....Thankful. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Seems random. It's days. Steps. Do overs. It's how many times I have woken up since the day I woke up and my life changed in an instant. And I don't count them much anymore. But today, I wondered. Because today I asked the question long Lord? Because the season is pressing tight and my tendency is to run. But I haven't. Not for a while. And the days totaled up don't seems to have the hold on me they once did. The pressing seems to be attacked by other things that pull me through. Smells. They affect me in a way I can hardly put to words. They are powerful reminders, swayers, transportation to a memory. My girl, she's home. These two weeks surrounding the end of the year feel like being thrust on to a merry go round I can't get off of. Hard for a girl like me who needs constants and routines. But she's here, and she fills the space with her nearing adulthood. And it's an amazing thing to watch. She baked last night. At midnight. I slept through it but at one point I woke up and the house was filled with the most beautiful of smells. It was weight to me. Tangible. This house has been through so many changes in the last decade. So has my life. A decade ago I had just walked in to a new career, was finding my way being a working mom again, and wondering what God wanted from me. 10 years later, I'm in the same boat. New career, kids going to new places and juggling this single thing. And there's a depth to it. A change. I see the parallels. But I see the growth. And I'm certain that's the point. I'm different than I was just 1,084 days ago. Nothing left untouched. I'm choosing gratefulness for each step. Each day. Each wake up. Because I'm certain it leading somewhere. Somewhere. Thankful. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Salt Water

I cry. A lot. I always have. It's my emotion for everything. Seriously. I don't know how I manage to stay hydrated sometimes. And it's something that has irritated me most of my life.  Made me feel weak. And I have realized something over these past few days. Something about me and my heart. There was a time I didn't cry at all. My emotions were so heavily sealed off that I felt only numb. It was safer that way. And then God began the process of chipping away at that wall. And when it broke, it broke. And it changed me. I find myself at times bracing against emotions that are painful. Holding my breath trying to escape those feelings. And there comes that wall. And I am finding that the tears come from the breaking over and over. Because that wall holds me back and other out. And it prevents healing. I get frustrated when I feel as if I'm caving in again. Why can't I be stronger. Why can't I just be, well, not me. The tears keep my heart soft. Because He made me that way. They bring forgiveness and love over and over. They carve out places for joy to seep in deep. They are my thorn, but they make me able. They frustrate me, but they make me humble. They make me remember. Thankful. 

Friday, December 19, 2014


Loaves and fishes....that was the sermon. What do I have to bring? What is it that I have to offer? My willingness. To open my hands. To walk to You with what seems pathetically incapable. Incapable of meeting these sea of needs I'm surrounded with. But then again, all that has ever been required is my willingness. To make a step. Whisper a prayer. Offer up what little I have so You can take it....and break it.....yes, the breaking always precedes the miracle...and make it enough. More than enough. So I'm standing here Lord, my willingness to let go of my broken pieces and let You do what it is You do best. Feed Your children.....spiritually, financially, relationally, everyway. Help me overcome my fear of want, my fear of need, my fear of not enough, my fear of left out. And fill me with You. More than enough. Never wanting. Thankful. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 18

It's hard to balance some days. I see that. I see what He's doing. And I fight it. Why now I have no idea. When I have settled under it before, He handles it. And maybe that was going to prepare me, to remind me, what to do this time. It's harder now. More coming at me. He gives me much time of slow, of rest. And I struggle with it. It makes me afraid. And He takes away things that let me keep staying comfortable. Pushes me. This week has been just that. And by Monday, fighting a cold and the fear of this season had worn me down. Tuesday found me just about to drown in it. Two choices. Sink or swim. And so I got up, got dressed and said I have to do this. It's the only thing I know. My girl was up and moving before 10 am....obviously God was up to something!! So off we went. And I let go of the fear and the worry about what will be or what may happen or how I'm not doing any of this right. I spent the day living just in the moment with my girl. I've never had a problem planning for tomorrow, seeing how my actions can best suit long term. I do struggle with being present. Just living in the right now, and finding the joy in it. But for one day, I did. I did. And it was beautiful. And we prepared for Christmas. And we got excited for gifts for friends and family. And we had lunch and walked and talked and made the best memories of all. New ones to replace ones that have made this a season of the not so wonderful. The most beautiful things are often found in the most mundane of places, the most routine of days can bring life changing gifts. Just like Christmas. With a baby in a manger of hay. In the middle of a barn. On a single simple no special night. He made it life changing. Thankful. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are We There Yet?

Two weeks. It's been two weeks. And I have been ever so aware of Advent this year. Boxes and drawers and numbers....counting, looking, anticipating....waiting. Each day of waiting brings a gift. Not yesterday's or tomorrow's. Just today's. But you have to choose it. Unwrap it. Take it in. And choose to be satisfied. Advent is the wait before what we truly anticipate arrives. I have advent in my heart. And the silence that terrifies me is the silent that is needed to hear the proclamation. To hear the good news. Silent night, holy night.. The waiting was not in vain or without end. It brought the greatest Gift. The anticipation grew heavy as the time grew near. And the silence thickened as they waited to rejoice. Waiting. Thankful. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Handle With Care

This place feels a bit scary. I hear the words and I start to get apprehensive. And I just have to say what I know. Even though right now looks can be deceiving. My boy had an all day thing. He's becoming all that he loves. And God set that up. Dropped it right in my lap. Timing. And my girl came home and so we ventured out and shared the day and explored and made some new favorite things. We laughed. I mean snort laugh. From the inside out laugh. And we drug the boy with us. He's getting used to us. We are all getting used to a lot of things. New memories. New friends. New plans.....laced with things that were. Dreams. Today my girl made her first stockings. Just like I do and have always done. I showed her what I do. What we buy.  Passed it down. The staples. All things stocking for our Christmas each year, yes.....passed down and begin and again. Brand new. We took pictures, watched Rudolph, ate ice cream...and my heart feels full tonight. Solid. Thankful. 

Big O' Tents

Another week finished. And I settled in. It's been throwing me some hefty curve balls. And this advent, it's settling in. My youngest checks his box each morning. My girl tells me of her gifts too. Maybe it wasn't as much of a failure as I first believed. I know I have so much to be thankful for. And I am. And maybe right now that's enough. I am finding myself with a stretch of down time.  And it throws me into panic.  And I fight it.  And He just keeps bringing me right back to do over.....So yesterday, I gave in.  I slept until time for the youngest to get on the bus, I drank entirely too much coffee, I pulled off my own version of Christmas decorating, did 10 loads of laundry, cleaned two bathrooms, made one trip to Target, watched entirely too much television, ate tater tots...TWICE..and I didn't run one little step.  All of the things that can throw me into a tailspin.  All the things that when I have them under control make me feels as if I'm under control.  Nice and neat.  Well, everything is not nice and neat.  And I have the urge to untie a few big red bows.  And maybe it's ok to be broken in some respects right now.  There are place in my life that still need some healing.  Some old faithfuls that need to become memories, maybe for a little while, but maybe for always.  It's the not knowing.  It's the fear of failure.  Because let's be honest, I didn't keep it all together, in a lot of ways, I did fail...epicly.  So whats a girl to do with all this handful of fail and fear and fright?  My verse today talked about Paul talking about his weakness.  And the amplified worded God's grace covering Him.  Like a tent.  And I love that.  Cause I need some tent bout' you?  Tent grace sounds like there is plenty to cover you and me and whoever else may need to join us....grace is always better when you share it with a friend anyways.  Thankful.

5 Minute Friday - Prepare

FMF - Prepare - 12.12.2014
I've seen it strung through these last months and years. He has prepared me for what was coming, what would be. It made no sense at times, these random things one after the other. But one would prepare me for the next step to be taken. And I feel that way again. I see Him preparing me for new, for what's next, for what will be, even though I can't see it just yet. He's making a way. Preparing. And I think of the song.....let every heart, prepare Him room.... He wants to be there. In the good and the bad. And He wants to use it all, to prepare us for our calling. And I can use this time to stress and wonder or I can sit quietly, and let His peace come in and prepare the way for blessing. Thankful.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


I had lost my words and whatever I imagined this advent to be in a sea of despair.  And it hit hard.  And I just went right back to bed.  I know that sometimes the breaking comes to show us things.  And I know that breaking can lay me flat.  And so I let it.  I stopped fighting and let it overtake me.  Sometimes getting back up and putting one foot in front of the other is your calling for the day.  It's your best yes.  And so it was mine. I had gifts to buy for children who have such a need that my own have never experienced.  I had food to buy for the family I have around me and the honor of caring for them, feeding them and loving them.  And I let thoses truths surround me, pull me back in and change my perspective.  I let the reality of what I think I need show itself for what it really is.  Nothing can fill the hole He placed in us that was made for Him and Him alone.  He makes a house a home.  His presences is the Giver of life.  If you gain it all and don't have love then what?  Then what...... I breathed a prayer of thanks for a Father that gives His hard-headed daughter far reaching grace when she needs to learn some things the hard way.....once again.  When experience is the best teacher, the best reminder.  And I am never too far gone.  And He does make His path abundantly clear.  Not the journey, but the path.  He pulls me away into the silence, into the quiet to let me feel the full weight of my choices.  So I can't hide from what He is speaking behind busy or other things.  So I can come face to face with what I already know. With what He has already spoken to me a thousand times.  And He will do it again.  Thankful.

Can You Hear It?

Psalm 144:1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,who trains my hands for war,my fingers for battle. 
This verse. It caught my attention and I just can't let it go. Because He did that didn't He? Trained my hands for war....and the battle raging was to build up in the middle of the tearing down. To love in the middle of such hate and ugliness. To hold, to surround with His love, the one who caused me this torment. Yes. That was the very heat of this war of souls. My fingers were trained with pen and paper. Preparing the way to share with others I may never know. But we share our words, our stories, our very own lives. And some days that in itself is a fight. To keep speaking when our hearts break, when we make a wrong turn. When we are not even sure we are getting one thing right.  Today feels like a battle. It feels like an unending war. So what do we do on the days where it feels as though our prayers hit the ceiling? Perhaps it's time to listen. Thankful. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Be Still

So I slept in. And when I woke up plans got changed and all I had was quiet. And it made me break out in hives. I've been fearing it. The quiet that settles in. Because let's face it, I'm quite afraid to hear what He's going to say next. I busied myself and then I sat down to do the thing I know He's been calling me to do. And I put it off because of fear. And the emotions of days.....years...past come tumbling down and out through tears. But I can't help but be reminded of where I am today. Of where He has brought me from. And these things that plague me over and over, well, slowly they will become distant too. This isn't easy. And honestly I'm just praying for the time when it all feels good again. When I look forward to plans instead of getting a knot in my stomach. And each time I face it, I get a little stronger. A little less sad. A little more hopeful. I've run from Christmas for the last three years. And I'm really tired. Tired of less thans and settling and the lies that say this is the best it's ever gonna be. Because it isn't. It just isn't. Thankful. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Count The Blessings

Such pockets of grateful. I have so much. My health comes to mind. My ability to move and exercise and eat. I am blessed. I'm tired, but usually that's from long days at a job I love and then an hour in the gym with beautiful friends. I am privileged to share what I have learned with others and get to watch their health being changed in the process. How amazing is that?? I've also been blessed with the gift of forgiveness. Of healing. Of a tying together things that were once my biggest anxiety. Yes. God has healed that. And so perhaps it's a reminder that what is hardest today will not always be. Perhaps the healing comes from the hard. When you have seen someone at their worst and some how, some way, God births something beautiful when you dare to let humility come. Not humiliation. But the grace that God allows when He bends you low. When you can then see things from another perspective. There is healing there. And then you pass it on. You meet others there. You become a hand holder. And everyone is stronger. Thankful. 

Try Try Again

Its day 3. Day three of advent. I'm exhausted. I'm not sure exactly how this whole gift thing is working out. Maybe it's me. Maybe they are too old, maybe.... But these pockets of beautiful come. Little gifts wrapped. I walked in to work Tuesday frazzled. I had forgotten my lunch for two days in a row, picked out the size too big pants to wear I thought I had given away....yeah. Happy Tuesday. And as I walked in and settled my sweet coworkers made such a fuss about how cute I looked and my new boots. And then out of the blue, as we began talking about exercising after work, something we have grown accustomed to doing, one sweet friend have changed my life... Shut the front door. Heart overflowed. And I cried. Holy cow at the power and the honor in those words. It took me 2 1/2 years and 16 applications to get hired..... 15 no's before I got a yes. And I almost gave up. Almost. Almost said what's the point. But I gave it one more shot I did. And that changed everything. And more than just my own life in the process. Thankful. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Am I There Yet?

Advent. Day two. But technically day three....yeah. I'm new at this. And how ridiculous does that sound. But I'm digging this year, into what is more than presents and trying to pretend that it isn't December again and thinking that somehow perfect has illuded me once more. It hasn't. This is where I'm supposed to be as frustrating as that is to type. Active waiting, her words said. Yes. I'm reminded of 17 years ago. I was actively waiting then too. For a little boy to join our family. I would keep on waiting a bit longer. Longer than expected. Yet he did eventually arrive. Yes he did. I see that very same boy growing in his faith. Momma prayers heard. That makes my heart overflow. I'm thankful for a church that has held me through three long years of this journey. Who has been there in my questioning and wandering and seeking. That makes me feel settled in my own skin. No pretending. Just me. Whoever this is He is making me to be. They are my people. Thankful.