Monday, August 31, 2009

The Things I Take for Granted

There is nothing like a busy weekend in the World of Trauma to remind me of all I have to be grateful for! I find I am continually speaking the the phrase, "Oh, the things we take for granted". Like say, being able to walk down the hall to the bathroom or being able to type with two hands. I can go home at the end of twelve hours, and I can drive.

I don't have any extraneous drains, tubes or pieces of hardware sticking out of my body. I can brush my own hair, brush my own teeth and take care of my basic needs.

Taking a step further back, I am reminded that I have a home and people who would come get me if I ever needed a ride. I have friends and family who love me and care for me. I have enough to eat and the resources to meet our basic needs.

My children and I are happy and healthy.

I am more fortunate than many.Each of the people I cared for today at work had at least one of the above that they could not claim for themselves.

I am grateful. Very, very grateful for the joys and the blessings in this life. Thank You, God for all You do in this world. Whether they know it or not, I know that You have your hand on all those who lay before me today. Bring them peace. Bring them health. Bring them knowledge of Your presence in their lives.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Power of Prayer

I knew my son wasn't feeling well when he said he was too tired for karate. I made it clear to him that his alternative was dinner a shower and an early bedtime, to which he eagerly agreed. Odd.

"Can I snuggle in your bed?" he asked? Reluctantly, I agreed. I'll let him fall asleep there sometimes and then move him into his bed for the night. His cough had subsided, but I was sure, if he was brewing something, he was certainly contagious... and I SURE didn't want it.

I also didn't want him to spike a fever. We'd gotten notice of the sick policy for the school this year. "Fever of 100 without a known cause" means an automatic week off. I suspect the H1N1 flu virus is the reason behind it, but.... seriously?

I opted to let him sleep there for the night - I could better monitor his temperature, his cough/wheezing, and pray.

I did my best to keep my back to him - I love him dearly, but not the suspected germs! When I went to bed, I lay my hand on his chest and prayed for him: healing, strength, relief of fatigue, ease of breathing, eradicate his cough and his wheezing, and please, please, please... keep his fever down. We'd hit 99.4 at bedtime.

He held tight to my hand for a while, clear up to my elbow. He flopped around like a fish, and I kept praying.

When he let go of his grip on my arm, I removed it. Pulling it toward me, I smeared it with hand sanitizer, before tucking it up under my chin.

And so my night progressed. He'd flop or cough, and I'd reach back, touch him and pray. "Please heal my boy". I didn't sleep much, but it didn't matter... I had other priorities that night.

He woke up feeling "better", still tired, and a little warm - 99.7. I kept him home, and told him I would continue to pray for him. "Continue?" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "I prayed for you all night long...."

"Well, Mom...." he said with certainty. "THAT is why I feel better..."

I love my boy, his faith and our God.

(and yes, he is 100% well again!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It's a beautiful evening here in Middle Tennessee. It's still too humid to REALLY feel like fall, but there is a chill in the air and as I walked, I could smell a campfire. A hint of the change of seasons is upon us. YES!

Sometimes, I really love change. I love to watch God's handiwork as the scenes merge. Seasons come and go - sometimes abruptly, sometimes more gradually. Either way, they unfold as they should.

We are approaching one of my favorite seasons - Autumn. Harvest. Thanksgiving. Gratitude. Cool evenings and still warm afternoons. Streamingl sunshine and beautiful colors adorning the trees. Who could ask for more!?

It's funny, though. I am much less excited about changing seasons in my life. They are no less important or beautiful. I am just more attached to the process and how I think it should go. I know fully that there are reasons for change - and some I love. Others, not so much.

When they come gradually, as many have this past year, they are less disturbing. Yet, it is often the changes that come abruptly, and knock me to my knees that bring me closer in my walk with God.

Seasons come and seasons go... in the world, in my life, and in the lives of those around me.''

I am grateful for his hand in changing of the seasons.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Barking up the Wrong Tree

Apparently, I have been barking up the wrong tree.

It's looking like one of those times when MY plan - which is the most obvious course of action - gets repeatedly halted. Even to the last minute, I sit and I hope that it will fall into place, but no.

So I pray; "Lord, what would you have me do?" He sends perhaps an answer, perhaps a crumb to get me by. Doesn't matter really. So long as I put one foot in front of the other on the path that he is step at a time.

Of course I would prefer to see more than the location of where my right foot should go next, but I think, perhaps it is also a lesson in "Trust Me". Thus far, He as been with me. I know that He stands before me and beside me. He's got my back and He knows the plans He has for me.

Doing anything but trusting and following is surely foolish.

But, ah yes... I am human, and sometimes I like to try my own way.

Fortunately, He stands before and bedside me. He's got my back and He knows the plans He has for me. Eventually, when He breaks it down into small enough pieces, I get it....

Until then, we dance...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Anniversary Wishes

Shadowed by my daughters baptism and memories of my father, the fact that my blog is actually a year old now got kinda lost in the shuffle. I did sort of celebrate, incredulously, with myself.

On one hand, it seems like so long ago, and so much has happened. On the other, it seems like just yesterday I could barely prepare lunch for all the hustle and bustle back to the computer to add another topic to write about.

My stories, longing to be shared, were pouring out. "Write ME!" "Write ME!" they shouted. Most of those that came to mind a year ago have been shared. A few still lie in draft form, waiting for some inspiration or insight to finish them.

The thing, though, that continues to amaze me is that people actually read it. I just can't wrap my brain around that. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that you do. A year ago, I'd all but dance as another state turned green on my "visitor" map. It's been fun to watch.... and fun to write.

God has spoken to me through many of my posts. Some of the days when I had NO IDEA what would come out, when I read them, I was shown things I needed to see.

It's been quite a year. I am grateful for my friends - old and new - and for those of you who find me "by chance".

Thank you for today and yesterday, be with me tomorrow.....I am sure another adventure awaits!

Lord, lead and I will follow....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Sometimes I just sit and shake my head. Seriously? I don't get it. Some of the choices that people make - attitudes that prevail - I DON'T understand.

Do people really think there are not consequences for their actions? Perhaps it will go away if I ignore it long enough....?

Do they really think that band-aid will stop the hemorrhage?

How did entitlement get so mainstream?

What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

And why do people feel like they can cuss at someone because they missed the pick up day for their consignment items?


I * don't * get it.

I do feel like I'm talking like a grandma some days: "When I was your age, we used to.....", we didn't have this or that, and we used to be polite. I'm too young for that.

But things have changed rapidly - in my adult lifetime, even. I wonder sometime how things will change in my kids' lifetimes. I am sure in ways that I cannot even imagine...or want to.

A part of me hopes that people will be come outraged enough to change. To repent. To say, "WOW.... I've REALLY messed this up..." and start again. To realize this path is NOT working.

There is a way. Perhaps that is why it's called the "narrow path"...

May I find it....

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
Matthew 7:13-14

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Remembering Dad...

It's hard to believe it's been five years. Five summer visits without him. Five birthdays without a crack of dawn phone call on my birthday (He said it was the only time he was SURE he'd reach me...)

But, you know, it was time, and the timing was perfectly choreographed. My children and I had just returned from a visit to Massachusetts. He had just spent an afternoon at my sister's house with all four of his children and nine of his grandchildren (#10 was born the following April). He and my mother had just celebrated an anniversary.

I had been home about two or three days when I received the call from my mother. She then asked me if I wanted to speak at his funeral. I needed some time to think about that.

So, I packed up my kids and did what we always did - we went to the Y. With a pair of (then) three year olds, I was bound and determined to use every second of the nine hour per week childcare limit! I signed them into the nursery, made a few phone calls and headed to the shower.

There I simply cried. It was quiet, peaceful, and I learned that "Love never ends....". I also was flooded with memories of the things my father had taught me through the years, and I decided I would speak at his funeral. To appreciate it fully, you must remember that my father spent half of his childhood and all of his adult years, blind.

This is what I wrote and read:

"....My mother asked me if I wanted to speak today. My first thought was "Gosh, I don't know what I would say", but I agreed to think about it.

Then, I started remembering some of the things I had learned from my father through the years:
  • I learned that there are other, perhaps better ways to "see" than with your eyes.
  • I learned how to pour a glass of water in the dark without spilling a drop.
  • I learned that blindness isn't the handicap: surrendering hope, ability and perseverance to your "difference" is, something my father often refused to do.
  • I learned that humor is a great way to address what the world perceives as your weakness
  • I learned that just because the world stares, doesn't mean you should not do it, or stop doing it.
  • I learned that the world isn't fair.
  • I learned that what I did with the unfairness is what mattered.
  • I learned the importance of "Attitude" and the consequences of both a positive and negative outlook on life.
  • I learned that "If you'd thought about it first, you wouldn't have to apologize now"
  • I learned that men DO ask for directions.
  • I learned that it's OK to ask.... the worst thing that can happen is they'll say no.
  • I learned that although it may be effective, "You don't always need a sledgehammer to swat mosquitoes"
  • I learned that he wasn't always right: Nurses DO do more than empty bedpans.
  • I learned that *I* wasn't always right either.
  • Once I had children of my own, I learned that the ridiculous house rules -- like "wash your hands after you eat", "don't eat in the living room", "if you put things away after you use them, you'll know where to find them" -- do make sense after all.
  • I learned that family time does matter.
My father encouraged me to read aloud. He encouraged me to speak in front of people. He encouraged me to write. He encouraged me to try new things and to do my best.

I know that he loves me. I use the present tense because, although his body isn't here with us anymore, his love is.

And, I find myself now smiling rather than rolling my eyes when I hear myself say:
"wash your hands after you eat"
"Don't eat in the living room"
"If you put things away after you use them, you'll know where to find them"

I still don't know what I should say standing before all of you now, so I guess I'll just say, "Thanks, Dad".

Still not sure what to say....

so, again......

"Thanks, Dad"

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Profession of Faith

It kind of surprised me a few weeks ago when my daughter said "Mom, I want to be baptized".

It was one of those occasions as a mother that I wasn't prepared for. I expected one day that yes, she would, but it snuck up on me faster than I care to admit. It also proved to me that she listens and observes much more than I realize.

We sat and talked. I asked questions about what it means to be "baptized". She answered until I didn't know what else to ask. She prayed, "inviting Jesus into her heart", just before I kissed her goodnight.

For days, I continued to question her - rephrasing questions I already asked. Did she *really* understand? She is seven after all...

The next Sunday, I mentioned it to the pastor. We set up a time for her to talk with him. I had another week to talk with her before then. Seriously, I ran out of questions, so we just talked some more.

When that day arrived, I was surprised by yet another thing. She asked to pick something up from home before we went to sit with the pastor. I asked her what. "You'll see...." she said. We drove up and she ran in and came back with a little notepad with a verse on it. She had received it for Christmas last year.

She asked me to read it. Her prayer journal. Prayers of petition and of gratitude. I stood amazed. I had no idea. I had no words. Just a smile and a hug.

I sat, they talked. I listened as she held my hand tightly. She does get it.

So, Sunday, we went, and I stood beside her in the creek. The pastor spoke of the joy in her face as she spoke of accepting Jesus, encouraging the witnesses to get to know her and watch her mature in her relationship with God. Standing beside my daughter, she proclaimed her faith to those standing on the shore.

Now, it begins.... truly, truly begins....

May I encourage her. May I support her. May I guide her. But mostly.... May I be a model of a loving, obedient Christian woman.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Loving "Testy"

Beth (Moore) spent a lot of time talking about "Testy" at our weekend retreat. "Testy" is the descriptor for the people in our lives who are a challenge to love. We do, but it's hard work. We often leave feeling exhausted or craving something to ease our discomfort.

She says - and I concur - that these people are hand picked and placed in our lives with a specific purpose.... to bring out the worst in us. Once it is brought out, God can pluck it away.

She encouraged us to remember that "something is broken in Testy", and to ask for insight. Insight brings compassion, and makes it easier to extend love to them.

"Testy" people also remind us to deal with our issues, or we will become "Testy" as well. In my life, I have found that the people who bug me the most are the ones who have the most to teach me... usually about the same issue that annoys me the most in them. The ol' "you spot it, you got it". Oh yeah. Been there, done that...

It is often painful, and certainly a challenge. There have been times when I have KNOWN that a person had shown up in my life for a reason. I have known they are God-placed, and yet I have prayed and prayed hard that He would removed the heart-connect, or the relationship. "I am happy to work them, Lord, very kindly, I will work with them, but please don't ask me to love them...." "Request denied. Love them well...."

"Show me, Lord...."

Give me wisdom and insight. Help me see clearly through Your eyes. Give me undeniable opportunities to "love them well". Lead and I will follow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Being Filled.... Loving Well

You will all be pleased to know that I have been truly blessed by the first night of fellowship with some women from my church. We have begun Beth Moore's "Loving Well" retreat in a box, and I have left with joy and enthusiasm.

On my mile drive to the church, I considered topics for today's blog. The only thing that came to mind was the most unusual phone call I got that afternoon...."Uhm... someone thinks my neighbor might be dead in his house.... will you come with me to check?" My answer "of course!" (one of the hazards of being a medical professional). Fortunately, he was very much alive. However, suffice it to say that in the 20 minutes between her request and our assessment, God and I had quite a dialog. I prayed for clarity...and we expressed much gratitude when the task was complete! Thank you, God for life and small favors!

But, no... God has spared you my thoughts and fears with that one, by providing a wonderful evening.

I was invited to be part of the "spa" experience by bringing my massage chair. People seldom realize that I receive much in giving massage. I feel honored to be allowed to participate - to touch - and enjoy being present with people as I work. It is a gift to me, and as always, I leave feeling better than when I arrived.

As they sat in my chair, Beth Moore was before me on the big screen. She was talking about Loving Well - of course - and the people that come into our lives that we will be challenged to love... only some of which will be a Joy. (If you don't know, or don't remember, the title of the study itself assured me that God would speak to me through it, based on experience with similar words.)

She said many things that I needed to hear, that pierced my heart or made me say "oh yeah...!" (or "oh boy!") The 0ne thing that she said that really resonated with me was this:

"In order to love well, we must be well loved"

We can't give what we don't have. If we have bandaged or blockaded our hearts in order to protect them from worldly hurts, we often also prevent ourselves from truly experiencing God's unconditional love for us.

She encouraged each of us to allow God to fill us up. Not only by making and taking time to be with Him and allowing HIM to heal and protect our hearts, but also by not discounting or rejecting His love because of our shame, guilt or pride.

Sometimes it feels selfish - or lazy - to just sit and be with Him. There is so much else in the world that needs doing. Some of it is REALLY GOOD stuff. Some of it is busy-work. Either way, it reminds me of Mary and Martha.

I want to sit, like Mary, at His feet, quietly in His presence, not busily caught up in the list of "must do"s. I want to savor His presence, not become resentful of my sister who does.

For it is there that I will be healed, filled, restored. There I will find peace. There I will experience the love that has been so graciously extended to me.... even when I'm "testy".

There I will learn to love well, as I experience what it means to be well loved.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Student Creed .... #2

"I will develop self-discipline, in order
to bring out the best in myself and others"

These words haunt me sometimes. They comprise the second part of my son's karate student creed. Three times a week, I hear the students call it out. It sits on my son's side of the bathroom mirror, for him to read as he brushes his teeth.

Three times a week, I hear his instructor discussing a portion of the creed, and quite frequently this piece of "S-D". And now, when I find myself hitting the snooze an extra time rather than hitting the treadmill, or reaching for some mindless snack, I hear the words in my head.

"I will develop self-discipline, in order to bring out the best in myself and others"

Seriously, though. If I DID? If I really, truly DID? *wow* It could be really amazing. Truly.

If I developed the self-discipline to sit EVERYDAY and read my bible, and sit quietly for God to speak. When it's convenient, OH YEAH! I will - love it. But.. that's not what self-discipline is about.

Recently, when the instructor asked what self-discipline is, the students replied with answers like "doing the right thing....", "... without being told", "being good". And, while yes, those answers are correct in a way - they show the outcome - they are not the depth and the breadth of the matter.

He reminded us at the end of class:

"Most people know what the right thing to do is.
Most people know how to do it.
Very few people ACTUALLY do it"

I want to actually do it. I want to be one of the few.

Show me Lord...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

LIttle by Little....

Small, slow baby steps.... Ah, yes... working on my patience again.

It's nice to know, though that little by little things are improving. Breathing a little deeper, letting my shoulder blades rest "down my back" and not wearing them as earrings. It's the little things in life, you know....

There is much I would like to change in many areas of my life. Some will happen, I'm sure... Others, no way. But... little by little, poco a poco, I'm getting there.

Right now, the goal is sleep. Regular bedtimes and nights without child-ish interruptions, will make a huge difference in the quality (and probably quantity!) of my life.

Besides, trying to do anything but survive when I'm not well rested is counter productive. So, I will attempt to focus on what I need to do, and not what the world says I should.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My plans, God's plans.... still praying....

My intention was to make today a day of five minute jobs. Partially, the list has grown to epic proportions, and partially, I thought it would help me be continually in prayer. My intention was to take a moment to pray between each task.

But, I think God had other plans for my day. It has turned out to be a day of service. A day of reaching out and lending a hand to others in my life. I'm good with that!

The other thing that is interesting to me. My day of "praying without ceasing" began with one group of people I intended to pray for today. I drafted this blog entry days ago, anticipating their need - everything to this point has been re-written. Since writing the draft, there have been several other prayer needs brought to my attention. Curiously enough....

The prayer, remains the same:

I pray for you peace and strength. Wisdom, discernment and hope. Most of all, I pray for unyielding faith that He knows all and will continue to reign eternal.

As you walk forward today, know that you are covered in prayer, and held very close to Him.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was sitting with my daughter in our pastor's office. She had approached me a few weeks back about wanting to be baptized. I'd talked with her about it, and told her the next step was to talk with the pastor. We wanted to be sure, she fully understood what she was requesting.

There we sat, the two of them talking, and me, a very privileged fly on the wall. She shared her conviction and her understanding of the meaning of baptism. He explained words like "sanctification", and described the "picture" of baptism.

Then, he read from Ephesians. Chapter 1, verses 13-14. He explained to her the concept of being "sealed", and used an envelope and a letter as an illustration.

That image struck me and has stuck with me. Me, a letter, sealed in an envelope, addressed to God. No stamp required. Instead, hearing and believing. Confessing and proclaiming.

Special delivery. Addressed to no one but God Himself.

I like that.

Ephesians 1:13-14

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Au Contraire...

"What does 'au contraire' mean, Mom?" my daughter asked shortly after declaring that she was now french. "On the contrary", I replied. "What's 'contrary' ? "

To that I laughed out loud. If you've read here and here, you already know that the first thing that came to mind was her recent behavioral issues.

My first inclination was to harp on this definition:

contrary: resistant to guidance or discipline; "Mary Mary quite contrary"; "an obstinate child with a violent temper"; "a perverse mood"; "wayward behavior"

To that, I could have added example after example of her recent "contrary" behavior.

Somehow, - thank You, God- I managed to temper that reaction somewhat. I didn't avoid it completely, because it was so perfectly timed, but I broadened it to its general definition.

"Au contraire, Mom", she replied, in her best french accent.

"Au contraire, mon amie", I laughed back.

Thank You, God for the humor amid the contrary attitudes...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Return of Joy

As I sat for a moment on my back deck, I gazed at the empty hummingbird feeder. I recalled my fascination with the tiny creatures a year ago, and how abundant they seemed to be. This year, not so much.

Back then, they were an embodiment of joy. Their dance, their laughing song. This year, they were noticeably absent.

True, I had been less consistent with filling their feeder, but the natural attractants were no less plentiful. The bee balm and the rose of sharon bloomed as fully as a year ago.

I wondered if the lack of the presence of hummingbird joy paralleled my life. I considered that for a moment, but it didn't ring true for me. There was much joy this summer - packed into the hustle and bustle. I sat there quietly lost in thought for a while.

I caught the flash out of the corner of my eye, and followed the blur until it lighted on the closeline. YES! They ARE here!

I wondered when the last time I sat and actively looked for them. I couldn't recall. I remember taking a few minutes in the morning light last summer. They'd chase each other and welcome the day. I'd see them again as I sat for an afternoon moment of peace. But this year...? When had I sat expectantly longing for them to reveal themselves to me? I hadn't.

Perhaps joy itself is similar. If I'm caught up in the bustle of life, will it elude me? And, just because I don't see it right in front of my eyes, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Joy is in our perspective, in what we see, what we search for.

Do I sit quietly and expectantly, or do I move along wondering where it has gone? Are my days grounded in gratitude? Do I take time to search for the joy that I know is abundant in the world?

Seek and you shall find, He says...

Help me seek joy!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Needing to be Carried....

It was the second full day of school - second grade - and my daughter was refusing to walk to the car. "Carry me!" she insisted. I began the ever-famous "1-2-3" count before she lost her tv privileges that afternoon. Begrudgingly, she stomped to the car, and we began our day.

Returning home I was greeted by my Moms in Touch group. As a prayer request, I shared the story of the morning - be it transition or attitude or what, it needs changing.

The next morning, one of my prayer-partners texted me "I hope no one needed carrying today". I replied "nope. breakfast in bed works wonders." We joked a bit about the "princess treatment", and I wrote "we all need 'princess treatment' every so often".

It wasn't until I began to walk the dog, an hour later that the irony hit me. Yes, princess treatment is wonderful. God's graces and blessings certainly have helped bring difficult things to pass, and encouraged me to continue forward when I really just wanted to crawl back into bed and pull up the covers. It was the carrying part that got me.

We really do all need to be carried. Every day. I thought back to my discipline of my daughter, and how yes, she needs God (and sometimes mom) to carry her - but she also needs to learn to walk.

I thought of the times where I had asked God to "carry me", and felt like I got more of the "1-2-3" treatment. Should I carry my nearly eight year old daughter everywhere she wants to be carried? Absolutely not.

I'm sure at that moment of realization, God gave me "a smile and a wink". I hung my head, ashamed of the way I'd stomped through those times, but grateful for the knowledge that this too is forgiven.

Ah, my penitent heart, open before God once again.

Friday, August 14, 2009

New Schedule ... YES!

School has started and the routine has begun! YES! I am thrilled.

While I love the laid back feel of summer, there is something to be said for some structure as well. Especially on a day that began our model for "intentionally slowing down". FAB-U-LOUS!

We got home in time for dinner together as a family, showers and an appropriate bedtime. Peaceful, joyful, together. Yup. Need this!

You have been showing this to me for a while... encouraging me to take more time together - eat together - simply BE together. I know I am just beginning this journey!

Help me to continue this trend... Yes, there are a few more things that will be added to the schedule that was this week - two genders of scouts, and Karate will return. Perhaps, some more work for me, God willing.

Help me to follow where you're leading....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's What We Do....

My quest to find some missing papers and the conversation that ensued brought it home. Over and over, as I thanked her for praying for me, and reminding me that there IS a solution that I don't see right now, she said "It's what we do...."

Yes, it is. We stand beside one another. We listen to each other. We love each other. We bear one another's burdens. I love that.

I cannot begin to put words to HOW MUCH I love that.

It has made all the difference to me in my life... especially as a single mother. My village. My prayer group. My church. We stand beside one another. We listen to each other. We love each other. We bear another's burdens.

"Can someone give me a ride to our meeting in the morning?" YES! absolutely!

"Can you bring my kid here.... there?" YES! absolutely!

"I need to talk..." YES! absolutely!

It's what we do..... Thank God!

I need that....

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I was at a loss as to what to share today. I'd been poking around Facebook and seen people having taken the "What Bible verse fits your life". On principle, I refuse to participate in the Facebook quizzes, but I wondered what verse might come up. I Google'd something similar and came up with my "Birth Verse". Philippians 4:7.

If nothing else, it's something I needed to be reminded of today. "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding". Ah yes.... need that.

There have definitely been days of some anxiety lately. And some "I have NO idea how this is going to work out...." Yet, I try to trust...

When I get back to that place, I think of all the other times I've been there and what has happened. His timing has been perfect and "all I have needed [His] hand hath provided". Why I worry, I don't know... other than that it doesn't seem possible through my human eyes.

So, "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard [my] heart and [my] mind in Christ Jesus".... Amen! I'm good with that! Bring it!

Philippians 4:7 NIV
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Makeup!! WHOO HOOO!!

As if I didn't already realized how fast they are growing up, I was asked by my seven-going-on-seventeen year old daughter when could she have her own make up.

I had OK'd lip gloss, which she would wear from time to to time, and reminded her of this. "No, Mom. Blush. Lipstick... you know..."

Blush, yes. I do know. Lipstick. Ewwww. What a pain! For SOOO many reasons, not the least of them being "finding one in the drier!" I mean, c'mon. I've got so many other things to do besides reapply lipstick, and hope I don't leave tell-tale traces of color here and there.

I'm not a "girly-girl". My daughter is.

She'd begged to go to Wal*mart. I told her we'd look through my make up and find her something. And so, the day that started so horribly, ended sweetly.

She opened my drawer and started looking through it. "The first thing to know about make up," I told her, " is that it doesn't matter as much what you put ON your face as it does to TAKE CARE OF your face." I went on to explain that make up wouldn't cover up the lack of care, and that eating well, drinking plenty of water and getting adequate rest were the things that would really help her shine beautifully from the inside out. She nodded intently.

I dug through til I found a blush that I'd not used because it ended up being a shade too light for me. I showed her the how's and where's, demonstrating once, then allowing her to do the same. Searching further I found a sample lipstick color that was just about right for her. She put that on and grinned from ear to ear.

I reminded her that with increased privileges come increased responsibilities. She MUST wash her face before bed to remove the make up. She agreed willingly. (Score!)

I reminded her that it was NOT to wear to school or to church, for the time being. She went skipping to add her new treasures to her lip gloss collection.

I sat contemplating the words that had come out of my mouth. "It doesn't matter as much what you put ON your face as it does to TAKE CARE OF your face." The same is true with my life. It is what is INSIDE my life that matters. My care - or lack there of- is what will shine through, no matter what I place on the exterior.

The things and the stuff that surround me don't matter as much as how I live my life. There is no "stuff" that will cover the effects of a life poorly lived.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Chance to Begin Again

Set up this scene if you will. I am functioning on, at most, four hours of sleep, preparing for a day that begins with early morning band practice before church and runs non-stop til late afternoon.

Add to that two over-tired children who are so revved up about the beginning of second grade that they can hardly sit still. Open house was a huge success: one in which they demonstrated much patience, and my daughter proudly sported her new "Eagles" ponytail holder.

As she has every day since she received it, she wanted to wear it to church. She insisted she had left it on her bed the night before, but even in our last few moments before walking out the door, we were unable to locate it. She would have to do without.

And there, the crisis began. She dug her feet in the ground, arms pressed tightly agains the sides of her bedroom door frame, refusing to move. I carried her to the car, slipping her hairbrush into my interpreting bag in case she decided to groom herself that morning. Of course, I know she is vain enough to allow me not to engage in THAT battle!

Out we go, into the car. I buckled her in, and drive the whole mile to our church. Somehow I managed not to cuss - not quite as successful at not raising my voice - but during the drive, I elected to pray silently instead. "HELP ME! HELP ME! HELP ME!!"

In the parking lot, I got out, offered her the quesadilla she had refused at home, grabbed my bag and headed into the church alone. She was refusing to move. My son chose to finish his level on his latest Nintendo DS game.

It must have shown on my face. One of the pastors asked how I was doing. I honestly don't remember what I said, but no doubt my displeasure was conveyed.

I opened my notebook, pulled out the music for the service, and sat for a moment. I wondered briefly if I'd survive her adolescent years, frustrated with her "rebellion", I signed as the thoughts formed in my head. She digs in her heels and refuses to move.

"Not unlike someone else I know...." The words were unspoken, but true none-the-less. I let that conviction settle in my heart, and considered the times where I had done the same thing with God.

"No. No. No. No. NO!", "You are the worst God in the WHOLE WORLD!" (well, I might not have gone as far as saying THAT exactly....but you know where I'm going with this.)

Still lost in thought, as the band continued with their sound check, I considered the moments where I was more like my daughter than I cared to admit. What had happened then?

He came to me, picked me up, dried my tears, professed His love to me despite my lack of reciprocation, set me down and allowed me to begin again...

"So... what are you waiting for?" Again unspoken, as I returned to the presence of the room.

"Be imitators of Christ", I've heard again and again. I sometimes wonder how exactly, but He's given me step-by-step instructions for this situation. Time to seize an opportunity.

I set down my book, slid on my shoes and headed out the door. Up the walk comes my son. "She's still mad at me, I'm guessing..." I said as he approached. "OHHHHHH YEAH!!" he says.

"Help me, help me, help me..." I pray silently, all the way to the car.

There she sat, arms still folded, forehead wrinkled, mouth set. "Ready?" I asked. She shook her head "No."

"C'mon", I said, as I scooped her up, dried her tears, professed my love for her despite her lack of reciprocation. We returned to the stage, where I set her down and allowed her to begin again...

She sat at my feet for a long while before saying, "I love you, Mommy".

"I love you too...."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Taking a "pass"...

Dear Blog-y friends....

I'm taking a "pass" today....

I've been in consignment tagging "hell" - though I do realize what a HUGE blessing it is to have stuff to sell and to have such a wonderful place to trade my kids old clothes (and TOYS) for cash.

The dawn will have broken before I fully reached REM sleep.

Pray that my hands will connect with Him as I attempt to interpret at church....

And pray for my friend as she continues to uncover "truth". God knows... He's right there beside her, encouraging her, and will comfort her if need be.

Be well my friends.....

Until tomorrow....

God bless....

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Wonderful Beginnings

It was open house at our Elementary School. The teachers were bustling around with last minute preparations, as was I. Just another hundred copies and I'd be finished....

When the doors opened, it was amazing to watch. From where I was standing at our PTO table, I had a clear view of the front door. I waved to the parents and children I knew, as they entered the school. "You know TOO many people," my friend said jokingly. Her family was new to our school last year.

I noticed the difference in the children, and could guess their grade level based on their behavior. The kindergarteners clung tightly to mom or dad's leg - with the exception of one young gentleman, dressed in shorts, sneakers, a white shirt and blue tie. He was very conversant and had more manners than many adults I meet from day to day. I stuck my hand out and said "hello sir - I can tell I just need to meet you! My name is Ms. Linda...." I can tell that he will bring a smile to my face every time I see him in the hallway or the lunchroom.

The second graders - where my children fall - walked confidently down the hall. The girls arm in arm and the boys discussing their latest discoveries in a video game, or their latest achievements on the ball field. They had FINALLY made it to the 2nd and 3rd grade hall. Their final destination before they moved over to the middle school. They even have LOCKERS! WHOO HOO!

I thought back through our time at the school. I am a mom that STRONGLY believes in parental involvement in their child's education. I believe that teachers need as much support was we can provide. The students too, need to know that their education is important to us, as parents, that we are engaged and a part of the system.

I thought about it while I was handing out information. This is our third year at the school.... our forth participating with PTO. That was interesting in itself. We moved to a new school district the year before their kindergarten year. The principal at the old school district would hear nothing of it. At the new, she said "hasn't happened before, but it's all good. C'mon!" And so we went. We listened and became involved.

Being involved, being of service has been an amazing gift.... to me. Being able to greet the children in my kids' classes by name when I see them in the hallway, or the lunch room. Having them wave and SMILE at me. Knowing that a teacher will actually be able to spend time with her infant son rather than spending the evening cutting out 18 sets of an upcoming project.

I am very, very blessed to be able to be there.

It's been a wonderful beginning! Here's to the rest of the year!

Friday, August 7, 2009


I keep coming back to it. Discernment. Perhaps as I write, I will learn.... He teaches me that way, you know...

Life barrages us with opportunities to fine tune our discernment. Day after day, moment after moment. Opportunity after hidden opportunity!

As I think through the day, prioritize the items on the "to do" list, I hear a reminder to not "mistake the urgent for the important". Sometimes I get so focused on the deadlines that I miss out on some of the richness of this life. I hope I haven't done that too much with my kids.

I am very aware of the big deadlines ahead of me: PTO open house and the Consignment sale drop-off. Both are important - and becoming more urgent as the hours pass by - but compared to a discussion with my daughter about baptism. Not even close.

"Special offers" come into our lives - so do God's miracles. Being able to distinguish the offers that are "too good to be true" because they aren't from the others that bless us off our feet because that's the way God works is HUGE.

I have learned, through the years, that I have a pretty good barometer. I wasn't able to utilize it til I realized it was in my 'gut' and in my heart --not in my head. For a long, long time, I'd talk myself out of what I knew to be true by rationalizing the 'evidence' that surrounded me. I'd cling to someone's words as truth, despite drowning in their contradictory actions.

It took some time, but I've learned some things. I've learned I need to disconnect my preferences and emotions from the events at hand. If I am to see clearly, it must not be through the lens of my hopes and dreams, fears and dreads.

I have also learned that the world's urgency, and my hesitancy must be removed as well. Just as the students in my son's karate class must wait on their instructor to say "GO!" before they work on their 'black belt speed', I must wait for God to say 'go' before I rush off into my life. I must bring it before God.

If I listen, He will speak. "wait", "go", "listen", "stop", "run", "look", "yes", "no". If I haven't heard, it isn't time.

Thus Far, He has lead me. He has "stalked" me, called me. He has remained beside me, whispering in my hear.

"Listen", "look", "hope", "pray", "love".....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Service - The Other Side

It was a beautiful day - one I had been waiting for! Not to hot, not raining. YES! Perfect! It was time to clean out my shed.

I knew there were things in there that just got moved and put there to be "dealt with" at a later time. Well, it's a later time! Besides, I needed the space to move the stuff that sits in my garage that truly belongs in my shed.

So, out onto the lawn went the contents of the shed: lawnmower, weed eater, multiple old cardboard boxes (empty), flower pots, ladders, wheelbarrow and multiple other assorted items.

Shortly after the bottom fell out of the bag of lime (as I was lifting it), my neighbor walked over. "I see you're cleaning the barn!" I nodded as we exchanged greetings. He cast a glance at the wheelbarrow. "Is that tire flat?" Again, I nodded. "I'd be happy to take a look at it for you...."

This neighbor is a tinker-er. It's a rare occasion that I step outside and not hear the clanking and banging coming from his "barn". He's in his late seventies, but is spry and agile. His mind is sharp and with his hearing aids, he can tell if my mower is "not quite right" from his porch. He has refurbished playground equipment and set it up for my children.

One morning, a few months after I'd moved in, I began to realize what joy he brought me - simply through the sounds of his labor. A giving spirit, always working on a cause.

He asked how my weedeater and the lawnmower were working. "Fine". He nodded and looked away. Deep within me, there was a tug: "He's trying to help you! He wants to help you! LET HIM!"

I looked back at the weedeater. I mentioned how I'd had to hold it together with electrical tape after a screw had fallen out. His face lit up. He'd be happy to look at it, he said.

He asked again about the lawnmower. I suggested he help me with the "end of season" care that it would require. Again he agreed, without hesitation.

As he walked away, I was reminded again of a phrase spoken by a friend of mine: "Do no deny another an opportunity to serve."

That's hard for me.... but I'm working on it!

Thank You God for this opportunity - for the gift of this neighbor, and Your still, small voice within....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Return to Service

This is an exciting time of year for me. Not only is summer drawing to a close, which will mark the beginning of my favorite season, autumn, but it also marks the beginning of the school year.

Structured schedules will return, as will opportunities to serve. I was amazed to realize how much I enjoy volunteering at my kids' school. I started during their kindergarten year.

It was then that I found out about "Helping Hands". On Thursdays, parents come to lend a hand at school. Teachers frequently set out projects that we can help with. Sometimes, it's cutting yarn, or die cutting letters or symbols. I've created rabbits in the spring, and a bunch of BIG red Cliffords.

I enjoy lunch with my children, and camaraderie with fellow parents working toward a common goal - the task at hand, and the bigger picture: supporting the teachers and the school so the students can learn!

This year, I will also serve in a more formal capacity: PTO President. I have asked God to prepare me for this, to guide me, and support me throughout the year! I have a wonderful board and I look forward to beginning the year!

I have my list of fears that I am handing straight over to Him.

I believe in service. I believe in our school. And I believe He has a plan for us.

May I follow where You lead....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seeking God

Tonight I blog by candlelight....citronella candlelight. It's a beautiful night, and I hope to enjoy it for a while before the bugs chase me back inside.

The sun has set and the stars are beginning to take their place in the sky beside the nearly-full moon. The cricket chorus is becoming progressively louder, and random neighborhood dogs are checking in with a bark.

Inside, there are dishes to unload and rooms that need to be vacuumed. The laundry is washed and folded, but some still needs to be put away. My kids' rooms lie vacant awaiting their return.

So, outside, I sit. Moment by moment I am reminded of God's presence in my life. And, while I know He is equally present within the walls of my home, it is within nature that I feel Him most - and, of course, within the words of a song.

Sometimes, I need to feel him more strongly. And so, I seek Him... I go to the places where I have undoubtedly felt him before. I play music - I sing and I sign. I sit quietly. I pray and I listen. And He meets me.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Thank You, God!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being Stalked: Loving well

If there were any doubt in my mind that God's active "stalking" of me continues, it is gone, gone, gone...

There are a few phrases that really catch my attention: "Thus Far" and "Love well" are by far the top two. When I hear them, I KNOW that God is not far away... and usually, there is some teachin' gonna happen! Typically, I sigh, take a deep breath and have learned to hold on for the ride.

In this example, it's not much different...

From time to time, "difficult" people appear in my life. I've learned that they are rarely brought into my life for the sole purpose of annoying me. Quite the contrary. There is almost always a very clear purpose in our walk together.

Some have demonstrated character traits that were hard for me to see in myself - traits that desperately needed changing.... within ME. Others reenact relationships from my past that are in need some sort of restoration or release. Perhaps, they teach me how to live differently in a similar situation.... or let go.

Whatever the reason, they're there, showing up at the strangest times. When they appear, I begin to pray: "Lord, help me." "What do I do?" "Show me" "Give me the words" (or "hold my tongue!") and sometimes even "PUH-LEASE disconnect me from this!"

Help - Yes. Guide - Yes. Show - Yes. Words (or no words) - Yes. Disconnect - Never. Drat.

I was discussing a situation with a friend of mine not long ago. She asked me what I thought God was asking me to do in this relationship. The answer came immediately... I sighed and shook my head as I typed my reply: "love them well".

I thought back to the last time I'd received those instructions: "love him well". It was at the end of my marriage. Fortunately, I also remembered what I'd learned: "Show me how, Lord... show me how..."

A few days later, I headed away for a week's vacation. Perhaps not having to work with them for a little while would give God a chance to teach me. I returned renewed, but without any divine insight.

Sunday morning, at church, I step into the bathroom and dropped my jaw. There, before me was the flier for the upcoming women's retreat: Beth Moore - "Loving well". A retreat in a box... with my name written ALLLL over it.

"No, no, no, no, no....." silently, I stood, reading the description of the course. "oh, no.... Here we go...." I took a deep breath and stood up tall... closed my eyes and said:

"Lead on, Lord....."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What I Like, What I Do

I had tuned into some of the internal chatter that occupies my brain from time to time. Brushing my teeth, just casually eavesdropping on the silent conversation regarding planning a picnic. Suddenly, I stopped brushing, spit into the sink and spoke aloud. "Wait, wait, wait...."

"What do you like to eat?" you asked, I commented to one part of myself.

And, turning to face another invisible part, "you replied, "What do I LIKE to eat, or what DO I eat?"

"You understand why that's important, right?" I said to both of them.

I then turned to more conscious thinking, asking both of the questions and extracting answers - and finding them very interesting! The two lists had little in common. On one hand was salmon and asparagus and salads of various types. Fruits and vegetable, water and tea. The other rattled off like a drive-thru menu.

Really? Yeah. Really. I didn't realize the extent of the dichotomy that existed. Which then begs the next question:


Good question. I dare say much of it is related to an overbooked schedule, and the resulting exhaustion. With conscious effort, it is improving, but there remains much room for improvement.

May I weed through the extraneous "stuff" in my life to find the real goodness. May I listen and choose well. May I follow You.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hold My Heart

I sat at work during a few slow moments, trying to come up with a blog topic. Nothing. Not. One. Thing.

Hours later, it started to come together, piece by piece...

I've been aware that Tenth Avenue North is quickly becoming a favorite group for me. First it was "By my side", then, tonight, driving home, I heard "Hold My Heart". It was my first introduction to the song, and I didn't really think much of it. It caught my attention, and I made note of the title to lyric-search it later...when I got time. No rush.

It was later on, talking with an IM friend that the puzzle pieces fit. The song, the topic, the lesson. *wham*.

We had been discussing the balance between being "open-hearted" and "loving well" vs. turning and running or slamming the heart-walls shut with people who may not be QUITE ready to hear or receive - those who have their hearts protected by walls of their own.

I told her I needed to find a way to "protect" my heart, but not shut it down. As I typed those words, three other words -"hold my heart" - sang in the back in my head. I knew it was time to look up those lyrics - and knew what I was to write.

I found the song, pressed 'play' and read the lyrics as they sang. By the middle of the first verse, the tears were falling. I have felt that alone. I have cried that "one tear in the driving rain". Yet, without a doubt, He has caught every tear that I have shed. He has heard my one voice. He has heard the sound of my breaking heart....

Now, He seeks to heal it. In His hands it is safe, protected, open and "loving well". He continues to teach me - through the people He has sent, through the lyrics and the music. He continues to stalk me, love me, hold me....

In His hands, my heart is safe.

"... would You come close and hold my heart?"

Hold My Heart - 10th Avenue North

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You?
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You?
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I'm on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I'm on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You're everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there's no other way
I'm done asking why

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can't see but I'll take my chances
To hear you call my name
To hear you call my name