Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Finish

Finish is far too much like saying goodbye.  Maybe that is why I struggle to finish things.  I tell people I'm the idea person.  I have all sorts of great ideas. I have started some amazing projects.  Finished, not so much. Part of the problem is that I am never satisfied with the product.  Which is why Five Minute Friday is so liberating.  I have to finish.  I have to let it go.  It is a blessing.

Depression and Jesus

     Depression is that thing that makes good things seem insignificant and bad things seem insurmountable.  Depression makes sunny days too bright to bear and cloudy days too dreary to function.  It matters not the weather, it is as if my heart is broken to start the day.  It matters not the circumstances, or the people, or the place.  No doubt, people help make it better.  Those who love and encourage and support are invaluable.  I am blessed to have so many of those people in my life.  But, depression doesn’t have to have a reason.  Sometimes, often in fact, my heart hurts and my brain can’t convince itself or my heart different. 

     There is one thing that brings always brings peace.  Jesus.  My soul has found rest in Him.  Every. Single. Time. The truth that He is God, that He became man, lived a life free of sin, died on a cross, paid my penalty for sin, and rose again is the one thing, the thing, in which I hope.  I find comfort in the words of the Bible for I have seen the promises fulfilled in my life and the lives of others.  The truth of it resonates in every fiber of my being.  And over and over and over again He shows up, comforts, brings peace, and guides my steps. 

     So, I do not speak or write about God or His Son Jesus because I think I know more than anyone else.  I do not speak or write about Jesus to force someone else to believe as I do.  I do not believe because someone told me too or because I think it is what I should do.  I speak and write about the love of my life because He has saved me.  My very being sings His praises.  The core of who I am is sold out to who He is.  There is no other motivation behind anything I write or say.  Do I want you to believe?  Of course, but not because I said so – because you have had a personal, intimate encounter with Him.  Do I want to encourage you?  Absolutely, I believe that is the gift He has given me.  I pray that my writing gives others tools to know Him more, trust Him more, and be strong in Him.  But the meaning of everything I write is just that I love Him and I want to share.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being a Mom is Tough

   Mom instead of Mommy

     It's beginning to sink in.  But I am only barely coming to terms with it.  I am no longer Mommy.  I am now Mom - or worse - Mother.  We have reached the point that both of our kids are either pre-teen or teen.  It's tough.  Not just because teenagers can be difficult but because they are almost grown.  Almost every mother of a child older than 10 and every single grandmother that I talked too when pregnant for the first time told me to treasure every moment.  That they days would fly by and I would look up and they would be grown.  I believed them.  I had seen first hand how quickly children grow as a baby sitter, teacher, and summer camp preschool worker.  So, every time I was awake enough to cherish the moment, I tried.  I often prayer, "Lord, help me remember this time right now.  Help me remember how it feels to hold this baby to my chest.  Help me remember how it feels to hold hands with a bouncing preschooler.  Help me remember how it feels to sit with a child in my lap and read."  I took pictures.  I wrote cute things down in a journal.  I stayed beside their beds for hours at a time when they were scared or sad or lonely.  And still, still, it went too fast. Way too fast.
     Thankfully, there is joy in who they are becoming.  Watching them develop their own interests and their own ideas is fascinating.  The conversations we have are deeper and about a much wider span of topics. We can do more together.  I can share shoes and jewelry with my daughter.  Concerts do not involve people dressed up like stuffed animals or animated characters.  And everything is easier without car seats and diaper bags!  But it is different.  I am struggling to know where the boundaries are, struggling to know how much, and when, to push.  I struggle with guilt of what I didn't do while they were young and should have.  I struggle with how to get through to them when communication seems so difficult.  I knew what I was doing when they were little.  Well, at least more often than I do now.  I had lots of experience and education to help me understand and act accordingly.  I'm not at all saying that means I did it well all of the time, just that it was easier.  Now, I got nothing.
     No, that's not true - I have a God who loves me and my children.  I have a Bible that guides me and encourages me.  I have a husband who loves me, loves our kids, and helps in every way possible.  I have friends who have been there done that and are willing to share advice and encouragement.  I have parents and a father-in-law who love on me and my kids.  And now, I have a group of mothers to help support and encourage me.  Thank God!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


    I drove into the entrance a little bit excited and a lot scared.  And completely in awe of the beauty surrounding me.  It was the beauty of the place that had brought me back.  My family had visited when I was a teenager and longed to return to the mountains.  I got my opportunity as summer staff at the camp we had visited.  Drove across the country for the chance.  But I was alone.  What awaited me?  Who awaited me? Would I find a place where I belonged?  People with whom I belonged?
     It is the desire of our hearts.  To belong.  To know and be known.  To be wanted.  We are desperate for it.  We do crazy things to try and obtain it.  And sometimes we find that place and those people.  What a rare and beautiful gift.  I found it in that place.  On that mountain, where the steeple lit up the night in striking colors.  Inside the rooms of a preschool where we passed the bean bags and drank untold amounts of apple juice.  Down the sidewalks where we walked, up and down,  and up and down, with a stroller that held six.
     There, in that place, people belonged.  Not because we were all the same.  Or because we thought the same.  But because we were in it together.  We shared the same experiences, the same goals, and the same terrible dining hall food.  And it brought us together.  Gave us a place where we all belonged.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Shopping Cart Questions

    Knowing that the chances are approximately 1 in 463 that I will get a cart that works with me instead of against me, I just take the first cart and go with it.  Less than six feet later, it is clear I picked wrong.  I consider turning around and taking the cart back.  But for unknown reasons, I keep going.  As I attempt to push the cart in a straight line, just straight, I start to get frustrated.  My thoughts are something like this, “Stupid cart. Just move.  Just go.  Please!!  I hate these carts.”
     It’s important to note that I am still not more than four aisles into the store.  Turning around and going back would in no way be hard, at all.  Once again, I consider getting another cart.  Once again, I reject the idea and keep moving.  Fast forward about five minutes.  Now, I’m just plain angry.  My thoughts are more like: “Every single time.  Every single time I get an impossible cart, and I have to struggle and struggle just to get around, and what makes it so hard anyway, and why don’t they fix them, and why in the world can’t they make a cart that will work, and on and on and on.”
     At this point, it occurs to me that maybe I’m tired and hungry and need to calm down.  It is after all, just a shopping cart that requires a little extra muscle.  Is this really something I want to spend my emotional energy on?  Am I actually throwing a little fit in the middle of a grocery store, albeit, in my head?  And, why in the world, did I not just simply take the cart back and get another one?
          And then, it became a challenge.  I continue with the cart, but mostly because I was kinda intrigued.  Why didn’t I take it back, really?  As I pushed and shopped, I also pondered.  Which quickly led me past the cart question and to a more serious question: why do I repeatedly do things the hard way and then get angry because it was hard? 
     It’s not like I didn’t know it would be hard.  I know that pushing around a messed up cart will make shopping more difficult.  I know that completing small pieces of a project in a timely manner is easier than waiting until the last minute and trying to cram it together.  I know that exercising in the morning is easier than waiting until the day starts and plans get in the way.  I know that putting things away after I use them is easier than clearing piles later.  I know that one way is easy and one way is hard. 
     It’s not like being angry about it will make it any easier.  In fact, it makes it much more difficult.  When I’m angry and stressed, my heart races faster, my muscles clench, and my brain doesn’t work as well.  Not to mention that those around me suffer due to my foul mood.
      There has to be a better plan.  Clearly, the best plan would be to make wiser choices.  Take the cart back.  Put things away.  Exercise early.  Etc., etc., etc.  Just get it done.  I realize that making the best requires discipline, and follow through, and work.  I am also aware that it makes life easier.
     But here’s the big take away from my cart story, once you choose the more difficult path, accept it and don’t let it be an excuse to be angry.  Just take it for what it is and move on.  Let it motivate you to make the better choice next time.  Let it be a lesson for those around you.  Do your best to turn it in to something good.  Your family, your friends, your co-workers, and random strangers at the grocery store will be super grateful!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday - Exhale

Five Minute Friday - Where bloggers join together to write for five minutes about one topic.  A phenomenal community created by Lisa-Jo Baker at
Today's prompt: Exhale

     The phone rings.  My hands start to sake.  My heart rate shoots up.  I hold my breath.  Will this be okay?  Is this the call I've been dreading?  Is this where the dream falls apart?
     Breathe.  Exhale.  Let it out.  Deep breath in and back out.  Re-adjust.  Re-think.  Trust.
     God's got this.  No matter what this call holds, God's got this.  It will be okay.  Eventually.  And is there even really a reason to dread?  Nope.  Won't do me any good anyway.
     Breath. Relax. Exhale. Trust.

     And the phone call.  All good.  Nothing to dread.  Nothing to worry about.  Just a simple phone call.  And a great reminder to exhale and trust.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grief and Hope

     Something is missing.  Nothing is as it should be.  Everything is just not quite right.  It is a wonder to me that the world continues to function.  That people go about their business as I life hasn’t been rocked to the very core.  It is wonder to me that I continue to function.  Because sometimes, the missing her almost keeps me from keeping on.  Sometimes, the grief is almost too much.
     Grief lingers.  It haunts.  Sometimes it hides, just in the shadows, and for a time I feel relieved.   Then it jumps out and swallows me whole.  Its grip tightens around me.  I have to scratch, and claw, to climb my way out.  But I do.  Because grief is not the end of the story.  Grief is a process.  Yes, it is nasty and ugly much of the time.  Yet, it is also sprinkled with beauty and joy and hope.  Beauty in the memories that make me smile.  Joy in knowing that she is at peace and at home.  Hope in knowing that I will see her again. 
     God is well acquainted with grief.  He full well knows the pain of being separated from the one you love.  He understands mourning.  And He walks through it with us.  He holds us and comforts us.  “Praise the Lord, praise God our Savior!  For each day He carries us in His arms.  Our God is a God who saves!”  Psalm 68:19-20a (NLT)  He promises that He will one day wipe away all our tears.  “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…” Revelation 21:4 (NIV)

     And that is more than enough reason to keep on.