Thursday, October 15, 2015

Faith Like Job - Guest Blogger

     When I learned that there was a day to celebrate the lives of infants and babies who were lost to their parents, I was deeply touched. While I have never experienced this heartbreak personally, I know many who have. People whom I love, people whom I admire, people who matter. My first thought was of my precious friend, Alyssa Crouch who had only shared her loss about a year ago. I asked her if she would write out her experience for my readers. I know that you will love her, her testimony, and her story as much as I do.

     Job, God reminded me of Job’s story when it seemed that everything was crashing down. The summer of 2013 was brutal. I was doing interviews for a teaching position, my husband and I were in the midst of purchasing a house, because in part, we were pregnant.
     Our pregnancy came as a slight surprise because we weren’t trying for a child, but there was no means of prevention. We were both excited and scared out of our minds because we had recently graduated college, were both working at a sandwich shop, and lived in a small rented trailer. We had hope, however, because of our faith in God and great support from close family and friends. As the summer wore on though, it began to weaken.
     I heard back from my first interview that they had hired someone else. Shortly after, the house we were trying to buy did not pass the septic inspection, meaning we would have to pay an additional $10,000 to fix it because the sellers couldn’t. We lost the contract on that house because we couldn’t pay and the mortgage came back unapproved. We were ready to look at other houses, still holding on to the image of cuddling our new baby in a new house, but then the unthinkable happened.
     If was a Friday. I was at work and noticed that I had started cramping and bleeding. My mom had a friend that was a nurse, who told me that I needed to rest that weekend and go to the doctor on Monday. I stayed in bed that weekend praying for my child. Since I was only about 5-6 along, at the time, the only people we had shared our wonderful news with was immediate family. Laying in bed, I was grateful this was the case. On Monday, my husband and I went to the OB where she told me that she wasn’t sure why I was bleeding, that I was too early to really see much and called it a threatened pregnancy.
     In the two weeks that followed, I never felt more like a stuck pig. Every two days or so, I was sent for bloodwork. I remember holding and looking at my belly, begging my child to stay with me. I went on to another teaching interview, still in pain. another doctor visit came when I was about 7 weeks along. The doctor looked over my hormone levels and performed an ultrasound. This was the first time my husband and I had seen our baby, or rather, where he should have been. (I’ve always thought our child was a boy.) After printing a picture (which got jammed) the OB confirmed it was a blighted ovum and explained that my body had aborted the pregnancy (although we are not sure why) and an empty sac was still present.
     We were in shock. How? Why? These were the questions constantly on my mind. For the next month, I was in pain with my body letting everything go. I was confused, thinking that “nothing was there anyway, why did I love it?” Already in so much emotional pain as well, a few days after the appointment, I got a call telling me that I was not selected for my second interview either. I was infuriated, depressed, and beaten down. I cried and cried for days until there was nothing left. That’s when I got really mad a God.
     I remember laying on my bed, feeble tears making their way down my cheeks, dead to my own mind for lack of comprehension, and I audibly asked, “Why?” I can’t explain how, but three letters seemed to glow on the ceiling above me. J-O-B. I said, “really God!? Why are you testing me?” I closed my eyes and felt courage enough to pick up my Bible. Flipping through the book of Job, I realized that I could have it a lot worse. Not meaning that my concerns didn’t matter, but I needed to have faith like Job. When my husband got home, I told him what I had discovered and I was able to let my emotions go. He held me and we cried together. This was the first step in my healing.
     Hope twinkled again when I again went for an interview, in which I got hired for the position. It wasn’t until the spring of 2014 though, that better understanding took place. My best friend, and sister by love, presented me with a stuffed animal and a message that God instructed. “Even though you don’t have an earthly body to hold, you are a mother. Someday God will give you children in your arms.” This was the breakthrough. It still wasn’t easy to think through, and still isn’t, but gradually I began to remember my son with love.
     God helped me replace the feelings of hurt, sadness, and confusion, with love, fiath, and determination to go on. He has started a fire in me to help others work through their pain of saying goodbye before ever getting to say hello.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Doubt

    Doubt gets a bad rap. It is thought of as the opposite of belief, and belief is shining example of all that we are supposed to do and be as Christians. Rather than opposite, in my life, doubt has been the beginning of true belief. Doubt acknowledges that there are questions that cannot be answered easily. Doubt is an honest struggle with what we believe to be true and what reality looks like all around us. Doubt is saying to God, “I don’t get it. How does this (whatever this is) line up with what I have learned about Your character? Help me make sense out of this.”
     My belief is that God can handle doubt. He is a big God. He is well aware that there will be questions, and concerns, and doubts. He is ready, willing, and able to answer them all. When we come to Him and admit our doubt, He is able to prove Himself to us. When we hide our confusion and our questions, we are basically saying that we don’t believe He is capable of an answer. The Bible tells us that those who seek will find. That gives me permission to seek. It gives me permission to ask the hard questions and believe that He will answer them.

          Doubt is not the opposite of belief. Doubt is the catalyst for making a belief solid. Wrestle with God. Take your doubt to Him and let Him work in and through it. Then your belief will be stronger and more powerful because it will be real.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


     Words, words, words. I love the way they sound, the way they look, and the meaning they carry. I love studying the history and meaning of words. I love playing around with them to see which combination works best to explain something to someone else. I just love words.
     Perhaps it is my love for them that gives them so much power. Or maybe, since God used words to create the entire universe, they are just powerful. Whatever the reason, words have the power to inspire, encourage, and motivate, or destroy, damage, and cause immense pain.  
     Sometimes, we know are words will hurt another, they may have been chosen for that purpose. In other situations, words meant for other reasons still wound the hearers of our words. 
Just recently, I chose to speak the words that I would have wanted to hear. The ones that would have made me feel better. I did not take the time to think about how my friend would hear them. Thankfully, she was honest with me and let me know that my words had hurt her. It was a tough two days, but we worked through it and I am grateful that I can see another perspective.
     It gave me pause to think that words meant to help instead hurt. How was I to trust my words if they were so confusing? Two things stuck out to me as I processed this incident along with a couple of others where I was wounded by words others spoke. First, I need to be very clear on the reason I choose to speak, type, or write. My motives may have been good, but what was my true intent behind sharing them with my friend. Was it to ease my own anxiety? Was it to try and gain extra friendship points, was it me trying to prove something to her or to myself? When I take the time to examine exactly why I feel I need to share, it gives me clarity. It also allows me to choose the words that will best convey the meaning I desire them to contain. I am able to carefully choose just the ones that right for that person, that situation, and most clearly communicate my thoughts.
     Second, not every word that I think needs to make its way out of my mouth. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29, "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." My thoughts don't always meet this qualification. When a thought comes to my head that would only hurt the people I around me, I don't need to share it. This doesn't mean that I don't tell people truth. Truth is valuable and necessary. Just being annoyed, or frustrated, does not give me the right to share those thoughts. I need to weigh my words carefully before sharing them with others. 
     All of this does mean that I won't use as many words. The good news is that when I choose my words carefully, they are much more powerful. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Really God, Patience?

     It's been a week. It has been a long, powerful, beautiful, heartbreaking week. The amount of good and the amount hard in this week is indescribable. So I a head full of words that are all mixed up. There is so much that I want to say, so much I need to say. Too much, apparently, because none of them are coming together to create sentences that other people would understand. I have been at this computer typing word after word, and then erasing word after word, for almost four hours. Just a moment ago, I decided to take a break and spend some time in prayer and reading my Bible. When all the things become too much, when all my thoughts and feelings are a mixed up jumble that I can't make sense of, I can trust Him to calm me, to guide me. So I prayed, and decided to start with a short devotion. 
     When I found today inside the book, I just shook my head and laughed. The verse, "And so after he had patiently endured..." My thoughts went something like this, "Really, God. Just really. I opened this book so that You could give me a verse about Your blessing, or Your faithfulness, or Your anything other than me having patience!"
     Turns out that if you keep reading, there are blessings to patience. "And so, after he had patiently  endured, he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:15) This verse is in reference to Abraham, who spent a good deal of his entire life being patient and waiting for God to fulfill His promises. Those years were hard on almost every level. He suffered through much while he was waiting. That last part though, 'he obtained the promise'. That part - it makes it worth it. It also makes it bearable. 
     God has given us promises as well. He has promised us salvation through His son. He has promised us that He will be with us. He has promised us that He will wipe away every tear. I need that promise.  I need to know that even though today was filled with junk, pain, and fear, there is coming a tomorrow that will be filled with joy. 
     Not much has changed during the time since I read that verse. Really, just my heart. My heart can now rest in the truth that God keeps His promises. It can rest in the story of Abraham and the knowledge that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and I can trust Him. I don't know what tomorrow holds. I just know who holds me. And tonight, that is more than enough.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Road To Becoming - Jenny Simmons

It's here! It's officially launch day for Jenny Simmons and her incredible book, The Road to Becoming. I wanted my readers to know why this day is so important to me.
In the fall of 2013 I begrudgingly agreed to accompany teenagers on a weekend trip to Lives Ablaze in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Honestly, I was pretty ticked that I volunteered in the first place. What exactly made me think that sleeping on the floor of a church, with a group of teenagers, was a good idea? My attitude when I arrived at Hoffmantown Church was incredibly bad. Basically I had decided that I would go, I would even smile, but I wasn't going to enjoy it. 
About an hour into the program, they introduced this lady who was "the former lead singer" of Addison Road. My attitude did not improve. My judgmental nature started to manifest itself. "Former lead singer? Does that just mean that she wasn't good enough to stay the lead singer? Why would someone of that level of importance be performing for teenagers in New Mexico?" Horrible - but true. 
Then this astonishingly beautiful woman came out and spoke words of truth. She was so real with us. Like we were sitting in a coffee shop hanging out - instead of her being this huge star and there being a ton of teenagers in between us. She told of how her band, Addison Road had suffered through difficulty after difficulty and finally had no choice but to stop touring because you can only replace a van/RV full of your belongings so many times. She spoke of being broken, and scared, and at the end of herself. It all made sense to me. I felt like she was one of my people. 
Then, she started to sing. Oh. My. Goodness. After the first song, my husband looked at me and said, "We are buying this CD, aren't we?" "Yes, and the bracelets and the anything else she is selling," was my response. Through her music and her testimony, my heart was changed. Rather than being angry and judgy, I worshiped, and prayed, and found joy.
Immediately upon arriving home, I followed her fan page, her blog, and eagerly awaited the next album. Each post drew me further in. She has a way of weaving words that cause a person to laugh, understand, and cry. And then laugh again. I read every thing she posted - because it mattered. 
2013 was a very difficult fall for me and lead into an unspeakably bad 2014. Jenny Simmons helped me through that - and she didn't even know it. I can sing every word to every song on her last two albums because I listen it that often. When she announced that she was writing a book, I was overjoyed! I had personally experienced the overwhelming power of her words. To be a part of launching this book is my way of giving back. My way of showing her how powerful her honesty, raw emotion, and passion for God touched and changed me. My goal is to make this book more successful than she could have ever imagined. After reading it, I don't feel that way just to help her. I feel that way because it is just that good. It is the story of her season spent in a desert. She writes about her fears, her doubts, her anger at the almost unbelievable series of tragedies in her life. Naturally, she doesn't leave the reader in that place, but she takes us on the journey with her. 
Yes, I am a part of a "team". Yes, it is part of our job to help sell books. No, those are not the reasons that I tell you to read the book. I tell you to read the book because even in our small launch team people have been forever, positively changed by the words contained in this book.…/…/ref=sr_1_1……/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Friday, July 17, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Free

Five Minute Friday – Free
     Trapped, confined, held down, no escape, no hope.  This is often how I feel.  I let the weight of my burdens and even the burdens of others back me into a corner and cause me to collapse.  That has never once helped.  It has never once provided a solution, helped another person, or made me feel at all hopeful. 
     It is also unnecessary.  I am free.  Jesus has paid the price for my freedom – here and for eternity.  He tells us that He came to give us life and give it abundantly.  I want to take Him up on His offer.  I want to feel hope, freedom, and security.  More than that, I want to just know it.  I want more than a feeling, which changes based on circumstances.  I want it to be a soul deep understanding.
     I have discovered through reading wisdom gained by others, and much personal experience that feelings are not truth.  When we experience what we call a feeling – it is valid – we are having that feeling.  But, that does not make the feeling the truth.  I can feel like I am unwanted, unloved, and unpopular.  That does not mean that I am truthfully those things.  I can feel like my words are not enough – that does not mean they aren’t.  My feelings come and go and are based not on truth – but on hormones, and thoughts, and circumstances.  I am choosing to focus on the truth and allow my feelings to catch up. 
     Only I can change how I feel and how I think.  Only I can decide to live in the freedom that I have.  I do that by focusing on what is the truth.  The truth is that I am loved by the God of the universe, by my family, and by my friends.  The truth is that I am secure in my relationships and in my career.  The truth is that God has promised that He will work all things for my good.  Which doesn’t make everything good – it makes everything part of the plan for my good.  I can also choose to focus on that which brings me joy.  The more I focus on the things I love and adore – the faster my feelings line up with truth. 

     My five minutes are now up.  I would be remiss however if I didn’t tell you this – you get to control how you feel and what you think.  You cannot control the things that happen around you.  You can control how you choose to deal with them.  Remind yourself of truth, remind yourself of what things bring you joy, and remind yourself that your God is working for your good.
     Hooking up with all the amazing writers of Five Minute Friday.  Where we all write for five minutes on the same prompt - provided by Kate Motaung at

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

My First Post at Dauntless Grace

I'm so excited to have my first blog posted by Dauntless Grace Ministries.  This ministry was founded on the concept of being honest, brave, and vulnerable.  I am honored to share part of my story with this ministry.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Favorite

     It is a question often asked, “What is your favorite verse?”  While an innocent question by nature, it is an almost impossible question to answer.  There. Are. So. Many.  And, because the Bible is living and active, the verses that touch my heart change based on what season I’m in and what I need to hear. 
     There are those verses however, that I cling to over and over again.  The ones that speak to the very core of who I am and what I need.  My favorites are the ones that I have read but then actually seen God prove Himself through.  When I find a verse in the Bible that is a promise that I desperately need for God to fulfill, I write it out, decorate it, and hang it up.  I read it as often as possible and pray that God would show me that it is true.  Sometimes, I am still surprised when He does follow through, when He proves, once again, to be faithful.  Always, does that verse then become more personal to me.  It is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, a reminder that He cares enough about me to listen and answer my prayers, a reminder that this hope I profess is real. 
     I suppose then, that I do have a few favorites, a few go to verses that bring me hope, joy, and faith.  Ephesians 3:16 is one such verse, “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources, He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.” (NLT)  There have been those moments in time where I had no strength, none, and yet I was able to persevere.  My whole being knows that in those moments it was not me that did the sustaining, or the strengthening.  It had to be God.  If you are in the midst of a struggle, a time when you feel like putting one step in front of the other is way beyond reasonable, hear me say that He will provide.  He will strengthen you and He will be faithful.  Then, this verse can sink into your heart because you have seen the evidence for yourself. 

     Do you have a verse that has become your “favorite” because you have seen God prove Himself true through it?  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pondering Friendship

     I am baffled, confused, and bewildered. Turns out, I'm not the only one. In fact, there are apparently many of us out there who don't understand and don't know what steps to take to comprehend.  Why are friendships so difficult to create and maintain? Why are some people left friendless (or at least feel that way)? Why do so many women that I speak with day in and day out feel utterly alone?
     I know the basic answers to these questions: time, work, family, etc. Those reasons are valid, but they can only be a minor part of the explanation. Women crave friendship. We crave real relationships were we can laugh, cry, share, pray, play, and talk to each other about all the little things and all the big things. We want to make connections. Yet, so many of us don't, or feel like we can't.
    Tonight a friend posted about feeling exceedingly lonely. The kind of lonely that just makes you mentally and emotionally exhausted. The kind of lonely where your mind wonders why you don't have friends. The kind of lonely where you have examined every possible reason for your lack of connection, and they all go back to that you just aren't enough to be worthy of friendship. The kind of lonely where you have been through the range of emotions, on more than one occasion, and are just spent from way it makes you feel.  And I just don't get it.  From the outside looking in, this young lady seems like the ideal candidate for a friend.  She is beautiful but humble, hilarious, intelligent, caring, thoughtful, and willingly to open her heart.  Numerous other women commented on her post and echoed her thoughts and feelings.  As I read the thread, the thought just kept coming back to - all of these women are the kind of people I want to have as friends.  Why is it that they aren't overflowing with friendships?
     Insecurity would top my list of answers for that question, if we dig a little. The knowledge that beautiful women don't know they are beautiful was almost more than I could comprehend.  How is it possible that incredibly talented people are always afraid they aren't good enough? I have ideas rolling around in my head - when I can put them into sentences that make sense - it will be a post. The most important part to me is that regardless of the reason for our insecurities, we need to get past them enough to form connections. The trade-off is too high. We are losing the benefits of true friendship.
     How do we get past it?  Not entirely sure, yet.  Start small maybe.  Make a phone call, send an e-mail, go visit someone.  Do something that puts you a step closer to building a relationship.
I would love to know your thoughts on developing friendships.  Leave your ideas in the comments.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

     I have a beautiful new friend. She has lovely brown eyes and long blond hair. She has five gorgeous children. Three of them share her skin color. Two of them do not. Those two little people who have different colored skin have been through so much. They were orphaned in a country that could barely care for them. They had to transition from one country to another one that is so very different in almost every conceivable way. They were eagerly gathered into a family that loves them, but they were not equipped with the ability to comprehend such love. They were thrust into a new culture that is vastly different from their own. They had to adjust to new siblings, new rules, new Every. Single. Thing.
      My new friend has just shared some of the progress these kiddos have made. They are learning. Learning what it means to have a safe place to stay. Learning that some people don't leave. Learning that rules serve a purpose. Learning that they are loved unconditionally.
     Frequently, I look at a picture she shared with me. In the picture she is kneeling in the grass beside her adopted daughter, and for the very first time her daughter is allowing her to comfort her. Lightly, ever so gently, my friend's arm is draped over her daughter's shoulder as the little girl cries. Six months it has taken to get to this point. To the point where she is even allowed to try and make her little girl feel better when she is hurting. Six months to get to the point where she can touch her in love.
      As I read reports of what happened in Texas, I can't help but think of her and all 5 of her children. I am not trying to make a political statement. Regardless of your opinion on what happened and why - it appears to be completely true that the three children who have light colored skin would be at much less risk than the two who have darker skin. She has to be fearful for these kids who have stolen her heart and taken up every bit of energy she's had for six months. No mother should live in fear because her children have a certain color of skin.
     I believe that people should listen when police officers give them instructions. I know that most of us do not understand the entirety of what happened. What we do know is that our country is experiencing racial tension. The evidence is all around us. Marches, protests, prayer meetings, and numerous talks between leaders occur frequently.
     For the sake of my new friend, and the many who are in her position, it is imperative that we start discussing this issue with less emotion and more thought. We need to let down our preconceived notions and attempt to see the view of the person on the other side.      My fourth graders learn about active listening. Active listening requires that the listener is not only hearing the words but thinking about them. It also requires that they are not formulating a response to what is being stated. They are just listening. That is my goal right now - to actively listen to what all sides are saying so that I can do my part to help ease this tension. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fighting Forgiveness

     First Thoughts on Fighting Forgiveness
     When we choose to publicly decimate another person’s character with our insidious words and veiled threats we are revealing much more about our hearts than the about the person for whom our words are meant.  When our words are designed solely to wound and harm another, we can always be assured that they are not only inappropriate but representative of the dark nature of our own hearts. 
     Ugly and cruel words spouted off at another in the heat of a hurtful and passion filled moment show the impact and depth of the wound inflicted.  When these same words are carefully thought out and planned it shows simply that we have allowed our initial hurt to damage us far more than it actually had the power to on its own.  It is a direct reflection of us rather than the person who was initially in the wrong. 
     Not only does forgiveness free us from the weight of bitterness and pain, it is commanded by our God.  Choosing to continue to lash out at those who have hurt us shows that we are unwilling to follow our God and His desires.  Furthermore, it demonstrates that have forgotten the magnitude of the grace He extended to us while we were yet entirely undeserving. 

     Never would I attempt to proclaim that forgiveness is easy or that we allow abuse to continue in any form.  What is true however, is that our refusal to do so hurts us, our relationships with other people in our lives, and most importantly it hinders our relationship with our Father.  Those reasons make not only forgiveness, but moving past hurts, important enough that I want to work at it intentionally.  I want my words and actions to suggest that I am making every effort to be the person I was called to be rather than simply punishing those I feel are not making the same effort.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Meet

Five Minute Friday - Meet

     Two months ago I would have insisted that to create and maintain a true friendship you would have to meet that person, in real life.  I would have told you that you couldn't know a person's heart through a screen.  There are very valid reasons for this position.  What that thought does not take into account is what happens when people, who are hungry for authenticity and realness, are brought together by God.  I have discussed #the4500 at length in several other posts.  I am aware that to the outside world it sounds just a wee bit crazy.  Okay, maybe a lot crazy.  Two months ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly.  But it's not.  Talking with these amazing women, reading their words, praying for them, being prayed for by them, sharing heartbreak and victory with them, has changed me.  It has made me more brave than I have been in years.  It has given me the courage to meet with two incredible women, in real life, who are willing to share life with me as well.  These women spread out all over the country have given me confidence, wisdom, and strength.  They have given me books to read, thoughts to ponder, and the encouragement to dream big.  The critical piece of this whole community is the real.  Not one woman has tried to be perfect.  Not one has shown themselves as having it all together.  Not one has made themselves better than another.  Each one of us has come just as we are and shared from our hearts.  We have crossed over the selfie boundary and shared videos so that we can hear and see each other.  We have texted, and messaged, and laughed and cried. All of this points to how needed this real version of life is to all of us.  All of to one extent or the other, is drowning in something.  Our hearts and minds long to hear that we are not alone, we are not crazy, and we might have ideas and thoughts that are worthy of being heard.  Every single person you meet - whether in real life - or on this whole new world of social media - has a struggle.  Every person has a need and a desire.  My hope is that we would start treating each other with more grace, more mercy, and more kindness.  Including ourselves.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Claiming My Blog

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What I am Learning from the #the4500
Part Two of So Many
I am a writer. These are life changing words. They speak of new dreams and new goals. They speak to my heart and my soul. I have been articulating my thoughts and feelings with words for some time. Adding to them that I would love to be a writer someday. The 4500 (explanation here:  have taught me that to live a dream first you have to claim it.  Acknowledge the dream in words. Develop the idea that encompasses your goal.  Then, you have to believe that it can and will happen.  Believing that your dream can and will happen gives you motivation to do what is necessary to make it happen. It gives you strength to keep going when time and money and life get in the way. Belief gives you hope and hope gives courage.  Finally, you have to do it. Want to be a writer? Then write. Want to be a dancer? Then dance.   Want to be an engineer?  Then study and do engineering type things. Work at what you want.   
This is an important step for me. I am claiming my dream by claiming my blog. While I'm still not even quite sure what that means - I know it is a step. And rather than just publish the link that the handy-dandy help page instructed me to do, I am writing a post as well. Writing because that is what "real" writers do - they write. Thank you to all of my friends who faithfully read my musings. Your likes and comments have given me this dream. Thank you to those who have encouraged me to keep writing because you have been touched by something I have written. It gives me purpose and belief. Thank you to #the4500 for giving me the courage to put this out there and enjoy the ride. Thank you for the words that you write that not only start my brain spinning but push me to use my words more effectively.  Thank you for the prayers, and the kind words, and the knowledge that several of you would come and kick me in my behind if I don't get busy! Thank you to those of you reading. A writer can write volumes of words - but the dream is realized when people read them.  Now go do something that gets you closer to your dream!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Friendships Need Follow Through

What I am Learning from #the4500
Part One of Like a Billion

     Lesson One:  Friendships need follow through.  Yesterday, I got happy mail!  I received an actual envelope with my name handwritten and inside, a sweet card and a gift.  Not my birthday, not an anniversary, just because.  I smiled, I giggled, and I was greatly encouraged. This friend had thought of me, prayed for me, and then followed through on an idea.  It made a huge difference in my life.  It also reminded me of the truth that friendships need follow through.  Follow through can mean a lot of different things.  The essential part is action, doing something.  This is the hard part for me.  If you want to text – I’m in.  If you need prayer – I am on it – often.  Actually showing up for dinner, making a phone call, mailing the letter I wrote – that is hard for me.  I don’t know all the reasons why, I just know I struggle to follow through.  But I am learning that the benefits of action added to thought are abundant and plentiful.  They are more than worth stepping out of my comfort zone.  To my friends who have been patiently waiting for me to figure this out – thank you for loving on me and living this out as an example.  Thank you for your patience and your repeated attempts to engage me – even when I don’t respond.  To my new friends in #the4500 thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone.  Thank you for concrete examples of what friendship looks like.  To my dear new friend who made my day yesterday – you have no idea how much you have blessed me, and pushed me.  I am so glad to call you friend.  To my precious friend with whom I have been giving my best effort to follow through with lately – that is just how special you are – no, really – you are that special.  To any woman who is reading this – let’s do this friendship thing better.  Let’s act more than we talk.  Let’s give more than we get – or at least try.  Let’s do dinner, and phone calls, and happy mail.  Let’s invest in each other – and reap the benefits.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday is here! You made it! There is joy in today. That joy will translate into eternal joy. But the truth is however, sometimes we make it until Sunday and it is not at all what we were expecting or wanting. There is disappointment, anger, sadness, and emptiness. If you are there right now, you are not alone. Julie Presley wrote about just this feeling today. Her post touched me in a mighty way. Its truths resonated with me and I feel compelled to share it. Go to her author page: – and click on the Great Expectations: Mary and the Empty Tomb post. Then come back and share your thoughts with me.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Come quickly Sunday

Sunday is coming.  This is truth.  A beautiful, life giving, hope sustaining truth.  Friday and Saturday are long, though.  So very long and hard.  The time between that which breaks your heart and leaves you undone and when healing touches you is almost unbearable.  When I think of Jesus saying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, I know that He gets it.  No pain could be more raw, more desperate than the Son of God being ripped apart from His Father.  He knows and understand loneliness, disappointment, poverty, and betrayal.  He wants to walk with you through yours.  He wants to love you, and guide you, and comfort you.  That’s why He was willing to suffer in the first place.  He is not shaming you because you aren’t over it yet.  Saturday teaches us that it takes time.  He is not blaming you for your contribution to your pain – He ushered the convicted thief into paradise.  He does not abandon you because you doubt.  His own disciple doubted and He willingly showed Thomas the wounds in His hands.  He just wants to love on you.  He quite literally knows the way out of Hell.  He wants you to make until Sunday.  Sunday, come quickly!  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Real

For real?
That is the prompt for Five Minute Friday.  
Stop it. 
Is all the world coming together to send me a message? 
Folks, it just got real.  What is real is that we don’t have time to be messing around with stuff that isn’t meaningful, and powerful, and important.  We no longer have the option to play – unless playing is your real and important.  Mothers, teachers, artists – you keep playing.  Dreamers keep dreaming – but let’s start moving at the same time.  Let’s start making these dreams into realities.  How?  Yeah, I don’t have that part yet.  It’s coming.  I’m not just leaving that part out.  But it is go time.  For real.  What is it that you wish was real in your world?  Let’s make it happen.  

Five Minute Friday is five minutes of writing from the heart.  Without worrying about editing, and without fear.  Just write.  Join us at

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

      Last week, I got a rejection letter.  A kind, gracious, funny letter that explained that 5000 people had applied for 500 positions and I was one of the 4500.  So bummed.  I had applied to be a part of Jen Hatmaker’s launch team.  Jen is an author and has a book called, For the Love, coming out in August.  I desperately wanted to read it early and be a part of her team.  Disappointment flooded over me.  Until I re-read the letter.  First, as a bonus, the 4500 received four chapters of the upcoming book.  Four chapters is a pretty good consolation prize.  Second, the letter was encouraging and even uplifting.  In fact, it made me smile.  I was touched that this author would take the time and energy to make us feel like we were important to her.  Ignoring the fact that it was 10:40 and I should be going to sleep, I decided to try and send her a shout out on Twitter.  While tweets are not really my thing – 140 characters is almost never enough for me to share my thoughts – it is also the easiest way to connect with someone.  So, I tweeted.  Twitter then showed me the latest tweets that others had made that had a connection to my tweet.  Several women were tweeting about their similar feelings – and getting a response from our beloved Jen!  Megan Card, Megan Hall, Katie Curry, and Rosemond Cates were cracking me up.  Wanting to be a part of this group – I joined in.  I was more than a little giddy when they included me in their little group of awesome.  I was stunned when Jen Hatmaker included me in a tweet.  The whole thing pretty much rocked my world. 

     My world continues to be rocked every single day.  The 4500 has turned into a whole thing.  A hashtag bearing, Facebook group creating, thing.  And it has been phenomenal.  Every day I meet more women who are authentic and brave and strong.  I have met people who think just like me and people who think drastically different from me – and they are all working towards making this world a better place.  I am so unbelievably honored to be one of #The4500.  Oh, and the book – LOVE IT!  Hysterically funny, thought provoking, and important.  Jen Hatmaker addresses topics from fashion disasters to the importance of being around people who get you and care about you.  She discusses the craziness of back to school and writes an open, candid letter to churches.  I will warn you – do not try and read For the Love while someone in the room is trying to sleep.  The laughing kinda keeps them awake.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thanks Teachers

     In the midst of all the controversy of state and national testing of students, there is this: my children have had amazing teachers. As a teacher, and a mother, I believe I have a pretty significant understanding of what makes a teacher effective. So I make that statement with a clear understanding of its meaning. My children have been provided an education that is significantly above just good. These teachers have taught my children the academic information they need to become successful. They have come early and stayed late to spend time with my kids to ensure that they understand the material. They have altered lesson plans, materials, and presentation formats to make sure that my children are learning at the highest level. They have inspired, encouraged, and pushed my kids. My kids are better people because of the influence and effort of these teachers. Teachers who invested so much of themselves into their students. Teachers who cared about each and every student who entered their classrooms. Teachers who taught my kids how to learn, not just facts. Teachers who taught my kids to explore, and be curious, and enjoy learning. In this season of high stakes testing and even higher stress levels, I want these men and women to know how grateful I am for what they have given to my children and to our family.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Be Still and Rest

     You know that moment when you come face to face with the crazy in your world and have to decide whether to lean full into it or figure out how to accept or change it?  That moment struck me hard and fierce this morning.  I woke up sad, and angry, and scared.  I’ve been fighting those feelings most of February for a host of reasons.  I’ve tried squashing them, ignoring them, and denying them.  None of those strategies have been in the least bit successful.  So this morning I started just to let them out.  Out of sheer desperation, (why does it have to come to that), I opened my devotional.
The first line: “Never become extremely upset over your circumstances.” 
Me:  Shut Up!!  Are you kidding me?
It goes on: “’Do not fret.’ Never get unduly upset!  Stay cool!  Even for a good reason, worrying will not help you.”
 Me:  For the love!! Fine!!  Slap me with truth.  Geez!!
     At this point, it was exceedingly clear that I needed to finish.  The words were piercing my heart and soul.  Honestly, it was a little frustrating.  I have some blasted good reasons for being upset.  The truth of the words, however, is real.  Never once has worry solved a problem.  Worry hurts me and produces no positive change.  Rationally thinking through the issues so as to arrive at a workable solution – that might work.  Sharing my thoughts and ideas on the subject with those who might be able to effect some change – that might work.  Accepting that sometimes, “it just is what it is” and determining what I can do in spite of it – that might work.  Repeatedly fretting over situations that I cannot change – never going to work.
     So, I slowed down.  Took a deep breath.  And read the rest.
Dear Restless Heart
          “Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;
     God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
     Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.
     Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own  
     His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
     Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
     Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,
     He has a meaning kin in chilly winds that blows;
     Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.
     Dear restless heart, recline upon His breast this hour,
     His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and
     Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power,
     Dear restless heart, be still!  Don’t struggle to be free;
     God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
     Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.”
Edith Willis Linn

     I am continuing to allow those words to soak in and change the frantic pace of my heart.  I am tossing them about and trying to really grasp the truth contained in them.  There are times when just going full tilt into crazy seems like the best choice.  Wallowing in self-pity, and anger, and frustration appears to be easier.  Initially, it might well be easier.  It would not. however, remain easy.  Thus, the plan has to be acceptance or change.  For me, most of my crazy is out of my control.  What I can control, is my reaction.  So, for today at least, I am choosing to be still and rest in Him.  God is bigger and He's got this.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Share

     Five Minute Friday is five minutes of writing straight from your heart.  I preface with that by way of explanation.  Should you choose to read what follows, understand that it is my heart laid out in words.  I am fully aware that there are many who will not only disagree with me, but disapprove of sharing.  Please, just understand that I am putting my truth out there as clearly as I know how, that this is the deepest part of my heart and soul.  I share as a way of explanation, in the hopes that some might understand where I’m coming from and why.  
     I love Jesus.  My saying that, or anything related to that is not meant to shame anyone, belittle anyone, convince anyone, or harass anyone.  It is just the truth.  And for me, it is the most important truth.  And the why is the most essential part of the whole thing, and the reason I keep blabbing about it.  I realize that religion and faith and Jesus stir up crazy, powerful emotions.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  If we can, let’s look at this rationally.  If I truly care about another human being then it is logical and rational to think that I would want to share what is most important to me with that person.  Again, if I care about a person, it is logical and rational that I would want them to know and be a part of what brings me joy most especially, if I truly believed that it would bring them joy.  Therefore, if I truly believe that Jesus literally has the power to get people into Heaven, and if I truly believe that He is the only way to get to Heaven, it is logical and rational that I would feel compelled to share that with the people I love.  Please hear me clearly, I am not arguing about how valid my beliefs are, or whether you agree.  What I am saying is that if I am willing to share my favorite restaurants, my favorite stores, my favorite movies with you, why would I not share with you that which I believe is the key to all things good?  If I claim to care about you, but keep from you the one thing I think will determine your eternity, than I am either a liar or inherently cruel.  One more thing, the fact that I think you need a Savior does not and never has meant that I think you are somehow worse than me.  It does not mean that I believe you don’t deserve to go to Heaven.  It means that I believe that every single person, eve, other than Jesus, needs a Savior.  Most certainly, me.  My wanting you to know Jesus has never, ever been about judging you.  Yes, there are people who are all about the judgment and the anger.  That’s not me.  I just think that I have the most wonderful gift ever, and I want to share it.  That’s it, period.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.

     As I graded papers today, I was struck most by the notes my fourth graders took on an animated movie about Martin Luther King Jr. While it would be impossible to encompass the work of Martin Luther King Jr. in one hour, their notes show that his message was very clear. The following sentiments are the ones that showed up, in some version, repeatedly in my students notes:
~Anyone can make a difference in the world.
~He was always doing good things for other people
~He wanted everyone to be friends.
~He believed in non-violent protests.
~He changed the world.
     There is so much to say about who Martin Luther King Jr. was, the impact that he made on the world, and the work that is still left to do. But, these five ideas, noted time after time, are powerful components of that conversation.  They are also a great place to start if we want to change our world.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Send

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  Where writers are able to write for five minutes, from the heart, on the same prompt.  No editing, no over-thinking, just writing.  Friday's prompt - Send.

Like farmers in the midst of a terrible drought, we cry out to God to send us grace, send us mercy, send us love, send us peace.  We groan from the weight of the grief, of the stress, even of the mundane.  We need refreshment.  We need strength and joy and hope.  The good news is that He will provide everything we need.  But not always in the ways that we think or expect.  Sometimes, we have to look for the joy, sometimes we have to give grace and mercy to receive it, sometimes we have to take the time to refresh ourselves.  When we really stop and take the time to invest in other people, to look for the good in the world, we will find little pockets of beauty and joy.  We will receive back in the measure that we have given.  It’s really a beautiful design – give and get.  Hard sometimes, but most certainly worth the effort.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I Love New

     I love new. New year's, new books, new purses, new crayons, new chances. I love the prospect that this time could be better and brighter. Happier and fuller. I love the idea that maybe the best really is yet to come and that quite possibly I am embarking on just that journey. 
    Yes, I  am keenly aware of the opposite end of the spectrum. I have a deep understanding of failure and grief and darkness. So it is not in denial of those realities that I choose to embrace hope. It is because my hope is in a Savior that works in the ultimate good. Who promises that in the end, it will all matter, it will all work for good, and there will be no tears. He promises that in this life there will be joy and love and light. I have clung to that and He has been shown faithful. 
    Knowing this, I choose to be excited about all that may happen during this next year. This next season. The dates don't particularly matter, but renewal does. We all need and deserve renewal. A fresh slate,a new plan, more energy. I have learned that this renewal doesn't just come. It has to be sought. And claimed. So take some time, find some quiet, do something that brings you joy and search for that peace, that renewal. And then enjoy. Life won't be perfect - but it can be good.