An honest reflection of me- in fragments. Imperfect- Grace Covered. Balance. Mom. Wife.
Nurse. Homeschool Teacher. Christ follower first. Second changes. Thankful.

Where are you? I'm here...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chalk scrapped across the worn blackboard
Well loved and used, shaded in un-erasable pale hues 
Flowers towered as giants reaching up to a stretching sun cloaked in wispy clouds 
And stick figures held hands under rainbows
As the white-bearded man strummed his guitar

Without thought I scribbled in fun
"We were here"
Dusty fingers wrapped themselves in his
As particles of chalk danced in our space 
Those three words hung heavy 

Because being present matters
Moments lived and savored 
Or lost
Time speaks 
It speaks in seconds spent, minutes passed, and hours given 
Values and heart shouted in the void of now

Everyday we get 86,400 seconds

I get 86,400 seconds
Not because I deserve them 
But because I'm gifted them
They can't be stock piled but they can be wasted
And I get to choose 
We get to choose

Will I spend them being present?
And what will will those seconds say about me?
How will you spend them?
What does your time say about you?

In memories, and moments shared and dusty chalk board drawings
I hope when all my seconds are spent and my time speaks it will say;  I loved, with everything I had to give, I loved and I loved well, 
That people matter, that Faith sustains, that Hope makes alive and that Worship is living.  

I hope it shouts I choose well, and that "I was here"

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Courageously Ordinary

Monday, October 27, 2014

I homeschool
And I have the same amount of patience as you (not enough)
I balance life as a working Mom
And I struggle to cook dinner, do laundry, and love at the same time
I am a wife
But submission and being what he needs...I'm learning
I am a mom
And sometimes I ignore when I should choose make-believe or I yell when I need to be quiet
I am a woman
And my emotions get the better of me
I am tired
And I live a caffeinated life

I am ordinary
I wrestle with expectations, control, lists, schedules and self-inflicted laws
I fail and need forgiveness
I am learning transparency
And how living courageously as ordinary is better than a facade of extraordinary

Because when we choose to live courageously - knowing our ordinary is not enough
It gives the world a glimpse of how great Jesus is in spite of us
When we choose time with Him
Our ordinary fades into His extraordinary  
And He is astonishing
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Loosing Baby

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Dear Baby Girl (you're gone) --

You would be five, but your body never was and instead you're just a beautiful soul
I don't think of you as often as I once did, and though my head knows that is a completely normal statement to make, there's a piece of me that hates that I can say that.
Because I loved you and regardless of how many days or weeks or months you were or were not - you mattered.
But, I couldn't live inside the heartbreak that was loosing you.
I learned early on there would be days I just need to made cupcakes and I learned how to live with loosing you, and slowly it became okay.

When I lost you - you changed me.
I learned how to ask the hard questions,
And in asking I realized I could be angry with God and still believe in Him,
I accepted that the depth of my understanding was lacking and that drove me to want to know God more.  

Because I couldn't make your heart beat, the false illusion of control I was living faded to a beautiful reality of guided trust.
You showed me how big faith is, how little I had, and how much we can do with the sufficient little.
I came to accept the truly momentary nature of my role as Mom,
Loosing you doesn't mean I'm not your Mom - it's just a reminder of how time is fleeting.
And it taught me the best way to love them is with an open hand.
I found in my doubt God was not disappointed, but lovingly waiting.
Waiting to give me the peace and answers my aching-heart demanded.
When you ceased to grow, within me grew a longing for the eternal home we could share
Because in that place you're whole and rejoicing and worshiping and living.
You would be five
I would never have chosen to loose you, but five years ago I did
But it was not an empty loss
Loosing you drained out the parts of me that were too full
So I could be shaped into someone more deserving of the two I get to keep (for now)
I'm still not perfect, there are days I need emptied and days I need filled up
But because I had you, and because I lost you
I am more
Until I can hug and hold you - know you were loved, I needed you and you mattered.

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Acting not Reacting

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Eyes squinted and face hardened 
Fingers twist into fists, his arms encompass himself as he stuffs his words
And he holds himself there
Emotions overtaking reason and right
Angry, Hurt

Eyes fill with salty tears that stream hot across her reddened cheeks
Words come out staccato as she buries her head in my lap
And she looses herself there
Emotions overriding logic and sense
Dramatic, Grieved

Growing up is emotional
But life doesn't get less emotional just because you grow up...
I may not twist my fingers into fists, cross my arms or bury my head to cry
Then again...

So I'm taller and more experienced
But I fall captive to my emotions too
There are a lot of adults who are just simply, taller
I don't want to be that kind of adult
Or raise those kind of adults

I don't want to be tongue tied with anger, or walled up in a jail of emotion
I don't want to react in the moment
I want to ACT with intention
And maybe that's the difference between growing up and just growing taller
Learning how to act - in spite of emotion
Coping and expressing
Speaking through anger into a place of peace
Asking for forgiveness
Crying tears of joy, repentance, and renewal
Choosing to look up instead of inside
Giving when taking would be easier
Living purposefully
Forgiving and forgetting
Relying on Someone bigger than myself, bigger than my emotions
Acting not Reacting

So in his defiant anger I'll hold him tight and wait patiently for the words to come
As she cries I'll stroke her hair, listening to the whys and dry her tears
And we'll learn together how to tear down the bars of emotion that hold us captive
How to live intentionally acting instead of reacting

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Truth or Dare

Friday, October 24, 2014

Truth or Dare
I always chose truth
But if the question was about a boy -sometimes I'd lie
Because didn't everyone like the same boy in middle school?

Truth hasn't always been easy for me
Ask my mom about the glasses I "needed" in second or third grade
But real truth doesn't change
And the truth is
We are made different

So she poses the question...
Then she asks a few more
And wraps up with this:
"If things are going to change then different needs to cease being a dare"
She's 17
And I know she's going to shape the world 
Because she already is

And she's right
If things are going to change different needs to just be
So I still choose truth
Unchanging and different
I'll build my life on belief
And let the rest fall into place
I've never been good at dares
But I'm pretty okay with being just me

Writing for 5 min about one word and 
linking up over at
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Beautiful transformation

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Suppressed by summer and sun
Lying just beneath the surface of green
Life, awaiting transformation

But change is hard

Summer slips into fall
The sun wains and the green fades
Life, transforming

And change happens

Without consent or control
Life transforms
Choices have a ripple effect
And you get affected
Kids grow
Friends move
Life happens

Transformation feels like fall
The shades of life exposed
Life is not static, it is not summer or fall
It's seasonal
There is beauty in the transformation

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6 Questions to Ask about Smart Phones

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It's at our fingertips
Whistling, Beeping, Notifying, Ringing
Seldom ringing, but constantly beckoning
Information, Connection, Entertainment and Distraction
Packaged neatly as normal and necessary

Accessible information is trusted, not discerned
I am entertained but being a consumer is consuming
When we're together it takes us away
And distraction siphons purpose

I see it in me and I see it in them
Anticipation, Preoccupation, Attachment, Dependency
On this thing, this noisy object that beeps and pulls and distracts and fits in my pocket
Normal?  Yes
But necessary?

I remember life without it
All rings sounded the same and they weren't screened, just answered
I didn't stare at it, or sit by it and it couldn't fit in my pocket
That was then
So what of the now
Because I'm not going backward, and it's not going to stop beckoning or being available

I've got to find the different within this new normal
And I've got to show them how to navigate this world of disconnected connection

We have the internet in the palm of our hands
And typing words seems more convenient than speaking them
Via #selfie, pin, status update, snap or tweet
Social Media will continue to give us a glimpse into the days one second of perfection, or the occasional post of authenticity
We are going to have information about people without real relationship
And apps will continue to challenge us; to cut the rope, be a ninja of fruit, crush the candy, run through the temple, flap the bird, connect the dots, clash the clan or craft the mine

But I find myself in the middle of a battle with what's normal and feeling overly distracted, attached and dependent
I don't have the answers...But I have some questions

   1. Am I more engaged with a device than the life that's happening around me?
   2. Can I see snap shots of others perfect second without comparing, complaining or judging?
   3. Am I the same person in real life as in text, tweet, status, and selfie?
   4. Do they see my eyes on them more than on a screen?
   5. What are my habits formed around?
   6. When I look back in fifty years what am I going to remember about right now?

I want to remember, with printed pictures, penned notes, memories made -me and him and them, candidly - Sad, happy, loss, joy, failure, trying, living, giving - and most of all God's faithfulness
I want to form habits that are healthy, and life giving, encouraging and beneficial
I want them to see the flecks of gold in my eyes looking intently back into theirs, engaged in their make-believe and interested in what excites them, because they're not going to care what I think for much longer
I want to live with integrity - if I wouldn't say it to your face I'm not going to type it, I'll be honest in my posts or not post at all
If we haven't spoken in six months maybe I don't need to know about your perfect second?
I'm not going to waste time comparing, and if I don't then I won't have anything to complain about
As for silently judgment - forgive me - I'm learning that mercy triumphs
I don't want to wake up to a  screen, but to the sun
I want to kiss him, drink coffee, pray, love and live a life that's bigger than likes, re-tweets, favorites, likes, "friends", "followers", re-pins, top-scores and screens

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Trusting the Titanic

Monday, October 20, 2014

When man's claim of impossible drained of evidence
The frozen water rushed in
They said he followed instruction
They say he set her aside - her with his smile and her mother's eyes- into the rescue boat
The one that rowed away, carrying freezing souls to a place of dry and safe, to live one more day
They said he searched the ship and icy water for survivors
As warm red slowly crystallized and hearts stopped their beating - he used his last breath to seek out the dying that they might have a chance to live
Not those dying as result of the life thieving cold - but to save those whose souls were sinking long before the unsinkable ship began it's descent
Those whose cause of death was life lived within the lie - that to be the master of your own soul is really living

He was John Harper

Photo Credit -
I'm frozen in the how...
How do you jump into the wreckage
Leaving behind that which was entrusted to you
How do you strive and seek to save lives not knowing if that little soul - the one with your eyes and his smile - will know salvation without you?

...your children I will save - Isaiah 49:25

Trust, that if he's big enough to save me - He's big enough to save them
And understand their souls aren't mine for the saving
They're His

So in the middle of trusting
Their mine to love
To model for, to challenge, to teach, to show grace
Mine to offer hope, to encourage, to build up, to hold
And mine to [someday] release
Her, with my eyes of green and daddy's smile
Him, with my smile and daddy's eyes
So for this moment that they're mine
I'll do my best, ask for forgiveness for the rest
And trust

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Name Calling - Sticks and Stones

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sticks break, stones crumble, bones heal
But words
When carelessly flung into the space we live in quickly become a weapon of self-destruction
We calculate their meaning, intention, truth
They linger in thought
They hurt
The wounds of words tear at the inside where no one can see
And where healing is hidden
Words leave calloused scars
Callouses that harden hearts, build up walls against relationship and deconstruct self-worth
Words spoken
Words perceived
And words whispered in thought
Words hurt, and destroy
But they don't have to...

No word carelessly spoken has the power to shape us
Unless we let it
But scars are
And thoughts need capturing to undo the power of weapon words

There is a Word that's meant to shape
A Word to replace all the captured thoughts
A Word meant to bind up hurting heart and heal scars
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."  - John 1:1-5

Words can destroy
But this Word
Is life
And a new name
Child of God - the only name meant to define us
"To all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to be called children of God" -- John 1:12
Sometimes I am my own biggest bully
But not today, today I will call myself the name I was given
And I will speak with intention - to share truth, build up, and encourage

What name have you allowed to define you?
What word do you need to hear and believe today?

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Unplanned Pregnancy

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My eyes locked into the depth of his brown eyes
I had never know such need, such joy, such love, such exhaustion
Everyday, was new
New sounds, smells, sleep schedules, snuggles, tiny achievements
Little fingers and toes
Growing faster than I imagined ever possible
I awoke drained, nursed, napped, and lived tired
One-hundred-eighty days - passed like a blink
Overflowing with this new needy love

And then an unsettled feeling in the pit my stomach that wouldn't ease
I awoke tired and and the weariness seemed almost unbearable
Two-lines; the test showed two lines, as did the second, and when the third  read "pregnant..."
I cried
Because I'd have two babies
Because this was not my plan
And because the one with brown eyes was going to have to grow up
I cried
Because I wasn't ready
And because I couldn't imagine there being enough love or enough of me

My doubts didn't keep her from coming

Fast-forward almost eight years later
I'm not enough
I can't be exactly what they need all the time
I make mistakes
I don't always understand what they need, other times I don't know how to give or get through
I get distracted
And I'm learning it's okay to not be enough 
Because as they grow, I'm growing too
In the middle of living
I'm learning how to be their Mom
So, I pray they forgive and forget all my faults, my questions, my not enough

But love...
From the moment I heard the beat of her heart there was enough 
As her life within me grew, and my stomach expanded to her form
My heart began to overflow anew
In spite of me, because of her, love grew
Multiplied by the lives that needed
And so eyes of blue and brown hold me fixed in years of change and new
As I learn the depth of their hearts, their God woven personalities, needs and passions
I give out of the love that forever is growing with us
Trusting that love covers
And that loving deeply will be enough

I will forever be amazed at the love of a God who calls the imperfect to know the perfect, then floods us with love, grace and affords us the opportunity to shape little lives.  Being a Mom has convicted me of selfishness, pride and complacency.  Being a Mom has made me want to choose different, and be present.  I now seek and pray from a place of need, like an unquenchable thirst, I need God's guidance, love and Word like never before.  Being a Mom has shown me how to love, and it's given me a glimpse of how God loves - and His love is enough.  Planned or unplanned God is, and HE is enough.

Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for your heart
 Meredith Bernard talking #woman2woman
And with Kate Motaung  - Five Minute Friday

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A Different God

Friday, October 17, 2014

I've believed in Him
Loved Him
Served Him
Misunderstood Him
Ignored Him
Ran from Him
Hid from Him
And found that through it all

He is a different God

I tried life without Him
Living by my own heart
Fitting in with the world (or desperately trying)
Trying on shades of life like a new hair color (and I colored my hair A LOT)
Filling my head with stories of stars - neglecting the Word and the One who breathed us into existence
My heart was not a good god
It changes and lies and hurts and bleeds
It wearies
My heart is fickle
But God
He is not like my heart
Or the world
He doesn't change
How boring to always be the same
Or How unlike everything else?
And how deserving
Deserving of respect and honor and Lordship

I've called Him many names
Good, Father, Awesome, Healer, Holy, Creator, Jesus, Redeemer, Truth, Life, Fair, Loving
And I believe them all
But calling Him Lord was, and is too often, lip service
Because, though I am made like Him
I am NOT Him
And He is unlike me in His abiding static
Yet He moves
He moved into the world
Through the guidance and deliverance of an imperfect but faithful people
He moved through judges who lead His people and prophets who spoke His truth
And then He moved in a way no other god has or can
He moved through Jesus
God's Son, wrapped in human skin
Jesus who felt, and lived and yearned and ached and cried and bled
Jesus who moved with God
And completed the plan to heal and forgive
Jesus, who took my consequence and shattered the fear of death
Breaking the grip of death's hold on the eternal soul
Freeing all who believe, all who call, all who trust, all who love, all who allow themselves to be moved
Moved closer to a God that desires even though He doesn't need

Who cared that my sin drove me away from Him
Who doesn't hate, except for His hatred of sin, the one thing that separates me from from Him
Who loved me enough to remedy my separation
Who doesn't command and control
But instead loves and patiently waits for me to love Him too

He moved
But He's not done moving
He moves now
In us and through us
When we give Him the throne of our hearts
He gives us His Spirit
His power, His guidance, His grace, His static
Reigning, amidst my volatility

And so I call Him Lord
And mean it
Understanding who He is and what I'm not
That He is greater
And different
And there's a peace in the awareness that I won't ever quite "get" Him
And a passion that ignites trusting His different is what I need

In my running He pursued me
In my misunderstanding He waited and whispered His truth
In my ignorance He gave me grace and guidance
In my hiding He stood constant
So, everyday I believe
I imperfectly love
And I serve Him, inadequately, but with all of me that I can give 

Because He is a Different God

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The Everyday Privilege

Thursday, October 16, 2014

With the dripping of time, the day wears
Hands grow numb to the holding, and arms accustom to the embrace
Lashes blink back at his gaze and lips purse instinctively instead of passionately
Words escape without intention, moments pass, and life drifts

As my eyes close in rest -  I give no thought to their opening
Because tomorrow...
Tomorrow has always been
Tomorrow is filled with plans and purpose and expectation of being
But what if today was my last tomorrow
What of my today?

Today I awoke
Today I held
Today I listened
Today I believed
Today I read and embraced and forgave and cried
Today I had him
Today he walked in faith
Today he looked at me like he couldn't look away
Today he made me laugh
Today he prayed and encouraged and carried and kissed
Today they called me Mom
Today they hugged
Today they were loud
Today they made me frustrated and proud
Today they whispered and imagined and questioned and played
Today we were
And we loved

So if my eyes close and they neglect to open again
Today I knew love
Love that spans eternity
I knew them
In long loving glances
In moments of frustration and pride
In forgiveness
In laughter and loud silly noises
In enjoyment
In imaginary worlds and words
In intertwined fingers and lingering embrace
And if it were my last tomorrow
I had the privilege of loving

So if I awake to a tomorrow with them
My hands will revel the holding, and arms will cherish the embrace
Lashes won't blink, instead, eyes will hold his gaze, Lips will flush with affection
Words won't escape - they'll be purposed, moments will be captured and life lived
Because time drips and wears
But our numbered tomorrows are not to be wasted
They're to be lived
Cherishing our everyday privilege - to love
Chasing after the One who loved us first
Accepting the challenge for everyday to be filled with a love that moves, fills, and lives through the moment into eternity

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Grace Isn't a Second Chance

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On each line write a name
You pick which name goes where
One line gets the name Jesus
The other yours

I make mistakes everyday
I get irritated instead of being gracious
I rush when I need to be patient
I plan instead of praying
I take love for granted
I put ME first
 That's not to say I don't try, 
Everyday I try
Try to be kind, and better, and self-less, and patient
I know I'll never be enough on my own
But still I try
Because isn't grace a second chance
A chance to do it different?
To do it right?

But this...
2 Corinthians 5:21 - God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Me? -The righteousness of God 
Me? -Living IN Him
Grace isn't a second chance to try harder
It's everything
Because Jesus became what I was
And took what I deserved
To give me what I couldn't earn
Grace is breath, and blood, and heart, and soul
Filling, moving, sparking
Grace is the power, purpose, and personality of Christ living inside of me
Grace is the banner over our life 
Because sin is finished
And I don't have to try

Romans 11:6 - is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

I just need to surrender

And LIVE in His grace
It's not a second chance
It's my everything - everyday

*Inspired by several lessons and conversations
with a couple of really solid Youth Pastors
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Holding onto Hope

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This body, shell, silently erodes away
Time drips down in sun and years and babies and careers and sleepless nights
Hands ache, minds are stripped of memories, hearts beat harder and strength fails
This body,
It wrinkles, wears, stretches, ages, tears and empties

Death Comes

But not just to the aging
Death, silent and sure steals the breath of the unborn, the new born and any who have once been born
It leaves holes where souls once touched and held and rocked and hugged
It's shakes homes and breaks hearts
It cares not of our willingness or readiness - it just comes

So we hold
We hold our breath, and the ones we love a little closer
We hold tightly to memories of laughter, work, relationship, card games, candy, conversation, baking,  bingo, and life lived
We grasp the now moments, holding hands, playing make-believe, whispered prayers, bicycle rides, heads resting on shoulders, creating, sharing, doing and times spent doing nothing
We hold onto hope

But what if hope isn't in the holding on?
What if hope is in the letting go?

What if hope is built?
Built, as the temporary heart yields to the eternal call of an eternal God on your eternal soul

Hope Fills
It fills the holes in the aching heart, it's expectant and life giving
Hope breathes and lifts, remains and sustains
Hope is built
Built as the temporary heart bows to the eternal promises of a faithful God

God is incapable of it.

And what of life?
What if life that gives hope looks a little, or a lot, like dying?

Springing forth from the daily death to self
Because selfishness steals
While eternity softly calls
God, The Creator
Beckons, Welcomes and Wants
God, The Son
Pursues, Gives and Redeems
God, The Spirit
Guides, Empowers and Dwells
Offering hope and peace and something more to hold onto
Because while death comes - it can not break the love of an eternal Savior
It can not unredeem what's been paid for
Or break what's been bound up in the ever-after

There is no fear
For life overcomes decay
Eternity is
And hope
Hope in this eternal, calling, pursuing, dwelling, living God
Does not disappoint

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You're Entitled to Your Own Opinion (Or are you?)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

You know what everyone has that's different?
An Opinon
Filtered through our own experiences, emotions, belief system, and understanding
Regardless of skin color, gender, religion
Everyone has an opinion
Politics - Separation of Church and State - Abortion - Marriage - Health Care - Sports - Parenting - Coaches - Minimum Wage - College - Homeschool - GOD - Religion - Vaccinations - Chicken - Organic Foods - Drinking - Video Games - Electronics - GMO's - Marijuana - Fast Food - Outfits - Speech - Occupations - Pumpkin Spice Anything - Coffee - Worship
The list could go on and on...

But after a conversation with a very wise friend
I've been convicted
Because this thing I have felt all my life entitled to have
I realize is not a right
And maybe it's not right at all?

Because we're created uniquely
Gifted purposefully
For the building up of each other and for unity
But opinions divide

If I've choose this One Lord to be over all, through all, in all
Alive in me
Then I choose His truth
And that's all

HE is a God of Unity and Truth
In Him there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female - we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28)
And we don't get our own opinion
We get HIS
HIS Spirit
And His grace
Empowering us
Guiding us
Helping us to understand

We're not entitled to an opinion
But we have a choice

"If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve..." Joshua 24:15

And I choose HIM
My opinion's really not that great anyway

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A Bird's-Eye View...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

"If I could be any animal I think I would be a bird, because it would be really cool to fly" he said
"I'd be a bird too, just imagine all that you could see..." she chimed

A heavenly view
Surveying the vast checker board of life
Painted with greens and blues
Shaded in hues of laughter, hurt, joy, doubt, love, and content
And what of time?
Could we fly so high that time looses its grip
Un-ruled by a schedule
Today and tomorrow melding together into forever

How great would it be to be a bird...
But of worms, and wind and homes made from mud and sticks
I think I'd rather not

Instead, to choose a bird's-eye view
Discerning today for all that it's not
Seeing now for all that it is
A piece of eternity
That matters
Ripe to enjoy, care, laugh, forgive, love, choose

Is today waiting for me to engage?
Begging for me to fly?
To lift above the mundane, routine and money
To live
Un-ruled by the things that don't matter
Filled with the things that do

Birds trust that the little things of today will be
And they take flight to see

I want to take flight,
Engage, Live, See
And live today for eternity
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What! You too? Friendship

Friday, October 10, 2014

Third grade in a single file line we walked, feet shuffling, emotions unsure
Waiting for the bomb threat all-clear 
And she asked if I prayed

Sleep-overs, Ace Of Base sing-a-longs, original song writing, and a second house to call my home
 Growing up, growing apart and back together again
Born To Be

Toddlers twisted around legs, babes in our arms
Wading through the emotions; long days, tired days, tantrums, dirty diapers and tears
Being a Mom of 2 under 2 - MOPS

I came with a lists of questions and the reluctant feeling..."I don't want my kids to be weird"
She made coffee, pulled out textbooks, workbooks and we laughed about our shared feeling

All our cares start to not seem so silly, or they're rendered ridiculous
Because we share them
Caring for each other
Bound together in the little things
Ready to face the big ones

Because life is better when you know you're not alone
I can't imagine life without my 
What! You toos?

Linking up with the Five Minute Friday crew
Writing for 5 minutes about one word - CARE 
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Body Image - A surrendered beauty

Thursday, October 9, 2014

She was beautiful,
Long red hair that twisted into curls at the end with a voice that was always soft, controlled and sweet,
She was fun and patient and kind - Mrs. Blackwell
My Sixth grade teacher
And as her student you knew she cared about you
Not just about papers, Greek God projects, and Monster-Mash performances, but about you
She found the beauty in us - awkward, prepubescent, obnoxious, self-absorbed sixth graders
And I'll never forget these words
"You are such a beautiful girl, inside and out"
She was an encourager

What I record next
I blame on insecurity, pre-teen hormones
Or just an attack of darkness I wasn't readily prepared to fight

She said I was beautiful on the inside and out
But my mind twisted and morphed that into
I'm Ugly
Because that's what people say to people who aren't very pretty
- Right?

I was shallow
And insecure
Listening but not hearing
Looking but not seeing
And I would waste years in that place of void
Longing to be pretty and feel beautiful
Confusing the symmetry of a face and look of a body frame for the honest radiance of the soul
And God's artful design of me

Don't we all have something ugly we're hiding and fighting?
An external blemish, sag, bulge?
An internal battle of imperfection or comparison issue?
A confused understanding of how God pieced us together?

You are A weaving of emotions, talents, weaknesses and strengths that are uniquely yours knit together by the master weaver of the universe
An eclectic collection of colors, and brush strokes painted by the creators hand
One of a kind
The only you
And me, the only me
So why is it we struggle to see ourselves?
To feel talented, worthy, beautiful...more?
We forget
We're Gods masterpiece IN Christ Jesus
And some of us need to move INTO Christ
For the masterpiece your life is intended to be can only be fully realized when lived within the grace of a Savior
Surrender our idea of beauty, to the revelation of who He made us to be
Accept He is the artist and master weaver
And He calls us His greatest work of art
Ephesians 2:10

Absolute beauty is found in surrender
Letting the mirror reflect the heart of our Creator
And accepting our self, design and worth in HIM

We all need a Mrs. Blackwell to encourage us
Because, on some level, we're all fighting against ugly
Even better than a Mrs. Blackwell
Is a God who claims you
And calls you beautiful
If you don't feel beautiful today - YOU ARE
Don't be like me listening but not hearing
Because You're Beautiful

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Following a Servant

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

For three years they walked and listened
On dusty streets, crowded hills and over stormy seas they followed
Followed a servant
A servant who was not selective in those he served
A prostitute
A Government official
A thief
A mother
A betrayer
A leper
A doubter
A paralytic
A bunch of fishermen

And he showed them how to live, how to love, how to serve
He showed them God's heart
Then they wrote it all down
And started living it too


Innocence for the Guilty

Forgiveness for the Condemned

Second chance for the Liars, stealers, haters, and the good but not good enough

Justice for the Undeserving

Peace for the Aching and the Worried

Promise for the Doubting

Love for the Unloveable

Healing for the Hurting

Ransom for the Prisoner

Knowledge for the Seeking

Hope for the Wandering

LIFE for the Dying

Everyday is a second chance
Because I'll never be good enough
And I need this servant
The world needs Him
Because we're all dying
So I'll love Him because He loved me first, and follow Him with all that I have
Because it's not just eternity you get when you follow
It's Him in the middle of right now too
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The Indispensable Weaker Woman

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When I as little I created a fantastic game
"My Way Day"
It's a pretty self explanatory game
1. Wake Up
2. Decide to play "My Way Day"
3. Enlist younger brother
4. Follow the rule, there's only one, do whatever the person who has dubbed it their day wants to do
What?  You don't think anyone would want to play that with you?
5. Promise your brother you'll play "their way day" tomorrow
6. Enjoy bossing everyone around for the day
7. Decide not to play "their way day" tomorrow

Yes, that really happened, and Mom says that Joshua did everything I told him too...insert your judgment of me here

As a big sister to two brothers I grew up bossing and snake catching and racing and wrestling.
I was one of them; just as strong, just as fast, just as tough - until I wasn't
And I didn't want to be
But I didn't want to be less either
Because we live in this world where women and men are equal
Except we're not

This month is all about being different, exploring it, embracing it, and living it
Men/Women not on my list
But then I read this verse in 1 Peter
"Husbands in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner..."
The verse doesn't stop there but my brain did - because I resented being called weaker
My husband will tell you I'm not weaker - I birthed two babies
A part of me wondered if it was a translation error
So I pulled up and kept reading
It was not a translation error
King James, New American Standard, New English, even The Message and The Good News translation
**there are an excessive amount of English Bible translations - another topic for another day**
All translations said weaker, but what they didn't say was less
The verse goes on to say "...AND as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life..."

But not less

From day one
I was different from my brothers, because I was a girl
Form birth I had more body fat, they had more muscle
And the hormones that spark reactions in my brain are specific to me, theirs designed for them
We're not the same because we're not made to be
I am weaker
I can't win in arm wrestling, do as many push-ups or beat my nine year old in a 100 yard dash
My roller-coaster of emotion muddies my judgment, winds up my tongue, and sometimes I worry if it's been too long since my last cry
But that doesn't mean I'm less
It just means I am how I was designed to be

"...those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable...there should be no division in the body, but its parts should have equal concern for each other." - 1 Corinthians 12:22,25

Equally valued
Acknowledging her weakness
Learning how to be okay with my design
And Thankful
Thankful that no one in my life ever defined me or treated me as less
But as just me

So I'll raise my girl with a boys name to know she can be herself
And my boy who beats me at foot races to know he has a responsibility
To value life, and each other
As ones designed different but equally valued and loved

Linking up with Meredith -here 
- encouraging women, about women stuff 

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I can be light

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday mornings I stand with self-less abandon, and in true David-Crowder “Undignified” fashion lead the littles in our junior worship time.  Together we shout the fruit of the spirit, we sing, we clap and we dance to tunes both soft and rockin’. 

Little bodies sway and swing untimely to the beat of sound and song making a beautiful camouflage for that one boy that’s too-cool to worship with body and soul (you know the one, the one you whisper prayers or other spiritual mumblings for).

But then, there’s this moment of child like exuberance, when ten fingers and two hands times forty raise, when eyes squeeze tight and small voices lift in proclamation;
 “We are the light of the world, we are a city on a hill.” 
It’s in this moment I am not their worship leader.  I’m not using my gifts to serve, rather I am being served.  I am being shown what true worship, what child-like faith looks like. 

The flood of emotion fills my eyes with salty tears of joy, and doubt, gladness and repentance.  So I pretend to close my eyes in worship, damming up the flood of welling tears.

Do they know?

Is there any way they can possibly understand - that they are?

That we are?

Their little hands raised in worship, their mouth speaking what their mind may only know in part.  But proclaiming truth.  And I am challenged.

Challenged to live as His light in a world of grey discontent; a world that needs and wants and finds all lacking.  
I can be a light of contentment and joy. 
In a world of dark discord; a world that divides, and hates and tears each other to pieces.  
I can be a light of unity and love. 
In a world of ashen purpose; a world that’s lost in self and stuff and driven toward fleeting success.  
I can be a light of hope and meaning. 
In a world of shadowed truth; a world that disguises and analyzes and calls all relative.  
I can be an unchanging light.

These lives with grace covered imperfections shine from the inside out His radiance.  
Shine that an unknowing world may want to know. Shine to reflect His glory.  
Shine not out of our goodness but out of His.  
Shine, cutting through the darkness and grey of this world a beacon of hope, of different.

There is no lack of darkness, but the light within you is greater. 

How will you shine?
How will He shine through you?
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Driving Up a One Way Street

Sunday, October 5, 2014

When in a rush, one might think of rolling through the stop sign
But the ONE WAY?
Purposefully driving into head-on traffic?
I've done it accidentally
Once, while downtown, covering the length of a block,
Thankfully, not meeting a single car

The signs are rules.
To keep us safe
Prevent chaos
Give order
Show direction

And we obey them
Without thinking
We stop
We follow the marked way
We choose the rules

But there is this movement
Even among "Christians" - against rules

"The Bible wouldn't be written the same if it was written today"
"It's a relationship not a religion"
"The God, I know would never..."
Fill in the blank
"Whatever works for you is okay for you"

We don't hesitate to stop at the stop sign
But we question if we really need to go to church
If homosexuality is still a sin
If our actions matter as much as our "belief"
If the God who gives us grace truly desires for us to live by a set of standards
If Jesus is really the only way to heaven

If we believed in the stop sign - we trusted that it was good and had a purpose
But didn't choose to stop
We would crash

And that's what we do with our belief in Jesus
We wreck it
With selfish worship
Self-proclaimed truth
Loveless actions
Careless words
And idolatry

Our God is unchanging,
And His Word fixed
Persevering Truth
Applicable - Emotional - Alive - A Shield - And A Sword
For all generations

It is a relationship
Rooted in love, faith, and trust
Love that drives action
Faith that forces transformation
Trust that His promises are worth our alienation
Because we love Him that much - there isn't another option
We choose to Submit - We choose to Obey
Because belief isn't enough

It's a relationship that is covered in His grace
"I'm not enough"
"I can't -- even when I try with all of me"
With HIM all things are possible"
"I don't understand"
His ways are higher - His thoughts are higher

I don't pretend to fully know God
The comprehension of Him is beyond me
His Love
His Justice
His Power
His Mercy
His Anger
His Patience
His Goodness
His Holiness
Infinitely more than my mind can grasp
But I trust Him to be who He Says He IS
And not mold Him into something modest and small that I can understand

Whatever works for you isn't okay
Unless It's Jesus
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  NO ONE comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

It was controversial when He said it
It's still controversial today
But it's worth loosing everything for
This grace covered ONE WAY life
These grace covered rules
Keeping us safe
Preventing chaos
Teaching us
Making us complete
And leading us in the ONE WAY that matters
For eternity

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Saying No To Good Things

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I've started this post about 39 times since April
And I get about this far every time
Because I have a problem (well honestly I have multiple problems, but we'll just focus on this one)
Saying No To Good Things

I'm a yes girl
You're go-to when in a pinch
Just think about asking me and I've probably already volunteered
I've got this over-active servant heart
And my brain hasn't figured out how to regulate the "yes-es" that come out of my mouth
It really needs to
Because when all those yes-es go forth it's my brain and body and soul and husband and kids that suffer

You can only run for so long
Until your body tires, wears, and just can't go anymore
(for me, that's about 3 miles)

But how do you learn how to stop running when all your life your legs have been moving, your hands pumping, and your lips yes-ing
What if the only way to stop is by starting
Starting to say "No"
Even when that No comes as a response to and at the expense of a good thing

Because there are a lot of good things we can throw yes at
But not all good things are right things
There are a lot of ways we can serve
But not all service is becoming

So I asked God what I should do
Because He says He'll answer if we ask
And He did
But I didn't like His answer
So I kept running, yes-ing, wearying, serving out of my own strength


Like Goliath, struck by a little stone
My life was rocked by the force of a child thrown pebble
And I was forced to stop running
As concussion consumed even the routine of life
Forced to be still,
To savor quiet
Forced to need,
To let go and let in
Forced to ask, receive
And question
Question what deserved a yes, and what was right - not just good

You know what I always wanted to be when I grew up?
A Mom
And now I get to be
But something about being a Mom didn't seem like enough
There's so much good out there to be done
So much hurt and need and empty
And I let just being a Mom feel inadequate

Feelings are terrible dictators
And there is no such thing as just being a Mom

In her voice I hear my purpose
And in his question, affirmation of the answer He gave me months ago
Raise them
Be rested for them
Teach them
Be fully present
Give them your time
Have fun with them
Encourage them
LIVE life with them

So everyday, I awake to their faces, and we don't rush anywhere
I plan our homeschool schedule, and teach them how to live like people who are all on the same team
I teach them about history - so we avoid repeating it
We drink tea, play games, take walks, imagine stories and paint
I teach them about God and other religions
We go grocery shopping, clean toilets, dust counter tops and bake cookies
I teach them the three R's
Because the right thing I need to do right now is to raise them

In their faces there is confirmation
Letting go of good things, that aren't right things - is good
And sometimes, saying no is right

What good thing is it time to let go of?
What's your right thing right now?

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Unmasking "Okay"

Friday, October 3, 2014

Do you ever choose your vocabulary based on the group of people you're around?
Ever filter or censor?
Or maybe you color normal speak/text/type with four letter words that seem like expression
Doesn't everybody?
*See footnote

Do you use social media and comment boxes as a place to act like someone else, or articulate your opinions in a way you might never in a face to face situation?
Anonymously even?

Is it real life interaction that you can't seem to nail down?
Does it makes you uncomfortable, or fearful or self-conscious or tired
So you hide behind personas, smiles, expectations, drama or apathy - carefully calculating how people think you will respond or act before entering a situation?
Or maybe you just genuinely don't like people
I get it: people stink (figuratively and sometimes literally) but we kinda ALL need each other

Intending good, for yourself, or others have you ever faked an attitude, action or emotion?
Or have you told a different version of the same story, same event - different flavor - to a different group of people?

(except for not liking people and the comment box one - oh and I don't use four letter words anymore...This makes me seem like a credible person to write and talk about being real - right?)

We shape-shift
And act our way through situations
We disguise and hide
We all do it - It may be a momentary mask - But it's not okay
Because that mask is a lie
A lie we tell consciously, unconsciously, and subconsciously
To others and ourselves
We lie ourselves into something we are not
And without intention those lies become us

"For we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place."
-- Isaiah 28:15b

Faking it is easy
Being real takes courage
Being real is different
And it starts intentionally with the little stuff
Like the casual "Hi, how are you?"
What if we answered honestly?
Because "fine and okay" are the usual responses, but maybe I'm not fine, maybe you're less than okay
And what if when we ask - we really want to know...the barista at Starbucks, the cashier at the grocery, the friend, the co-worker, the sister, the husband, the child

What if instead of disguising, stuffing, hiding - we acknowledge the truth?
That we are simply ourselves
Imperfect, but wholly us
We maybe don't fit in with every group
And we don't have it all together
I. Don't. Have. It. All. Together
But what if I don't have to?
What if all I need to do is HOLD onto the One that does?

Because When I'm not enough
God says, "I am your portion.  My grace is enough, in all things and at all times I will provide all that you need, For my power is made perfect in your weakness"
-Psalm 73:26b, 2Corinthians 12:9, 2Corinthians 9:8

What if being real looked a lot like letting go
"People don't choose to be courageous, they just choose not to be afraid anymore"
- Bob Goff

Let go of fear
Because God made you, and He called you good
But, maybe you're crippled
Crippled by fear, or pride, or insecurity, or doubt, or inadequacy or maybe you're physically crippled - and through what seems like a deficiency it's hard to see how good you are
Hear this...

    "Another time Jesus went into the meeting place, and a man with a shriveled hand was there... Jesus said to the man, 'Stand up in front of everyone...and stretch out your hand.'  The man stretched out his hand and was completely restored."
--Mark 3:1-5

This man lived courageously everyday, as himself, imperfect and crippled for the glory of God  Because one day Jesus was going to walk into that meeting place and completely restore him.
There's freedom in being who you were made to be
You were made to shine, not to hide
And Jesus offers us all restoration

What mask do you need to take off?
Don't let yourself become the lie
Believe His truth about who you are
Be brave
Tell yourself the truth
Live Real
Really Live

*Jacob's Dad always told him, "there are a lot of words in the English language and intelligent people can figure out a better way to express themselves - be an intelligent person"  Jacob now repeats this phrase to our two.
Just let that marinate for a minute 
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To All Those Who Have Ever Felt Different

Thursday, October 2, 2014

To My Two Darling Children - I love you for who you are
(And to all those in the world who have ever felt different)

There is this common phrase, it's infiltrated our schools, our work places, our political agendas, our churches and even our thought life.  
"We don't want anyone to feel different"

I remember the feeling
It sinks heavy to the pit of your stomach
Size, Skill, Skin color, Beauty, Voice, Comfort in a crowd, 
Presence, Body language, Temperament, Personality, 

I was tall, my legs long and big, my voice carried, my hair was frizzy, but my eyes pretty  
I was poised on the outside but inside insecure, quiet and shy in a crowd, caring but unsure
Myself with only a few
Caught in comparison - different felt like a bad thing

And comparison, It causes us to doubt that different was designed

So at first listen
"We don't want anyone to feel different"
Sounds harmless, good, maybe even a little like equality
And I am for equality
But I am NOT for an equality that drains the color, individuality, and God infused uniqueness from the world

I want to feel different
I want you to feel different

Different is defined as: "separate or distinct, not identical, unusual, not ordinary, differing"

You are distinct - the ONLY you
From your finger prints and skin color to the way you process emotion

You are not not identical
From the curve of your lips to the width of your hips,
From allergies to peanuts, gluten, bees, pollen and cats
To the cow lick in your hair, the way your joints bend or the way you clumsily fall into a room
Embrace the way you were made, and treat your body well

You are unusual
Built uniquely with your own strengths, weaknesses, passions, ingenuity and intelligence
Don't compare and don't conform 
Know your weaknesses, grow your strengths, pursue the passion implanted within you 
Be creative, and be intelligent enough to understand the difference between Truth and knowledge (there is a difference)

You are not ordinary - you are beautiful
Fashioned with the color of the heavens in your eyes, tones of the earth in your hair and the unfading beauty that is the outpouring of your heart
Your heart, not the bleeding beating organ but the emotional guts that drive hands to help, a spirit to pray and a body to rest

You differ
Born to lead or teach or comfort or follow and each, with their own set of responsibilities 
If to lead, lead well
If to teach, teach truth
If to comfort, comfort wholly and freely
If to follow, follow wisely

You are separate 
Created with talents, and skills unlike any other
These are for you to use, not to squander in selfishness or bury in fear 
Use them for the glory of the One who made you
For the relief and refreshment of a world in need
And for the betterment of others

I am different
You are different

What if we stop being afraid of different?
What if we start celebrating it?
Talking about it?
Building a world that didn't judge it or waste time comparing

What if we look into a room of color and uniqueness and felt like a missing piece of the puzzle
Instead of something that didn't fit in? 

What if we decided to feel different?

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