Friday, October 30, 2015


Today, I'm doing a lot of reflecting.  I just had a long and drawn out debate with my daughter on the book of faces.  She thinks that everything boils down to racism.  I do not agree.  But I am so glad to see her being passionate about changing the world.  It's refreshing, really.  We get our passionate sparks for social justice ignited.  Sometimes they catch fire and spread and we truly effect change.  More often though, our sparks fizzle and maybe even go out. 

This leads me to the subject of the day: overthinking.  I'm an overthinker.  There are many links on social media connecting overthinking and depression. Some of those links lead me to places that are not good places for me to dwell.  I have had a couple of battles with depression.  I really could not give words even now to what that was like.  I could not begin to describe it or define it or even tell you why it happened.  I don't begin to speculate about what someone else's depression looks like.  I wouldn't debate whether medication is a necessary thing for anyone else-that is ultimately a very personal thing best worked out by doctor and patient.  Close friends and family are often helpful to gain perspective when perspective is lost-but an outsider has no business supposing.

One topic I do want to cover is this:  People who think deeply are more likely to suffer from depression.  Those of us who over-think and over-analyze have trouble fitting in sometimes.  Things cause us pain that others don't even bother to consider.  Ever heard any of the following phrases: "You think too much.", "You analyze everything.", or "I like you better when you are funny."  If so, we are brain cousins.

For instance, there is a health kick sweeping the nation.  I KNOW with all of my heart that it is something that has to happen. However, most of the industries left in this country are not the 'good for us' variety.  If we return to our humble beginnings, what happens to all the jobs?  If everyone gives up soda, what happens to coke jobs?  That's a ripple everyone will feel.  There are thousands of industries that support the soda industry.  The same with Wal-mart.  There are companies that employ 20-30 people who are paid well and their main and sometimes only customer is Wal-mart.  So, I cannot embrace the fad of returning to our roots because we really can't go back.  We are smarter as a society-but we no longer know how to survive.  My grandpa had generations of farming knowledge and that is why he was good at it.  He was used to working hard in the heat.  Hubby and I put out a garden every year and we are mostly embarrassed by how obvious it is that we neither like it or possess garden mojo of any kind.  If our family relied upon that garden to eat, we would surely perish.

See what I did there?  My mind goes from thinking I need to give up sodas to my family perishing from our inability to garden.  I can ripple effect things to death, because I THINK.  What saves me from the doom of my mind?  Joy and hope; two of the most beautiful words in the English language.  Two words that for me are synonymous with one big word-GOD.  You see, my thinker knows that we didn't just all end up here from nothing for nothing.  I KNOW I am created by a creator because I also create.  And just like that, the anxious, knotted stomach eases a little.  I don't have to keep the world spinning, someone bigger that me is in charge.  I do what I can to make the world a better place.  I love, work, think, write, learn, teach, and enjoy life to the fullest because there is something better ahead.  I don't know what it is, but I know it is truth.

God helps me stay balanced.  He keeps me stable.  The times in my life when I lost hope and joy were times when I doubted Him.  I got stressed out about not knowing what my next step was and overthinking all the things that could happen.  In a world full of conflict, scandal, and unrest, I am so glad to be leaning on something everlasting.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Originally published at my new gig.

John 8:3-11 is one of my favorite references to the teachings of Christ in the Bible.  What basically happens is that a whole group of Pharisees come to Jesus with a woman who is actually caught in the act of adultery.  The penalty, for her at least, was to be stoned to death.  They asked, "What shall we do with her?" Jesus answered that one who had not sinned should cast the first stone.  All of her accusers vanished.

Why is this my favorite teaching?  It reminds me.  Reminds me that I deserve punishment, but I am forgiven.  It reminds me not to be quick to stone someone else for their sins.  The message of Christ is mercy.  God is love and God is mercy. It is HIS WILL that NONE should perish.

Okay, so there is the scripture.  What does it mean?  Sometimes, I think we learn scripture, can quote it even...but it never actually sinks into our hearts.  I'm asking you to let those things sink in your heart. 
  • Let he/she who is without sin cast the first stone.
  • His mercies are new every morning.
  • Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to save it.
  • God's will is that NONE should perish.
I consider these my Christian guidelines, along with the MAJOR command: Love your neighbor as yourself.  So, now, a real life application for me.  Our church has some turmoil right now.  There are a couple of marriages on the rocks.  In addition to that, there is at least some suspicion of sketchy behavior on the part of one or more of those folk.  Because I am human, I've been very speculative.  I've observed things I don't like.  I've inferred things here and there.  I've engaged in some venting from time to time.  I've tried actively to be an encourager to all parties...but I have my leanings.  I don't really know the truth and I know full well that any truth in this matter will come with a bias.  It is largely none of my business, and yet it is effecting change in my church that isn't good.  What am I supposed to do?  Even with the person/persons I feel is wrong?  What did Jesus do with the adulteress woman?  HE GENTLY RESTORED HER.  Restored her, gently.  I don't want that to be the answer.  When I am wronged, I want to shout it from the rooftops.  I want all the world to know of my injustice!  IT ISN'T FAIR.  Someone should publicly confess.  We need to find out what happened and fix it.  And then I read through my guidelines again.

Perhaps then, my role is not to be the investigator that solves the crime or finds the guilty party.  Perhaps, my role is more of a supporting one, allowing God to do the heart work.  To gently and lovingly remind myself and others that none of us is without sin.  To remind a person who has jumped into the deep end of sin that God has a calling for them.  That no matter how far they roam, the mercies of God will not run out.  Otherwise, I'm just another Pharisee calling for the stoning of a sinner that could just as easily be me.  I choose grace.  I choose mercy.  I choose God's will that none should perish.  Above all else, I really want to love people as much as I love myself and I want a gentle restoration...not a demand of repentance or banishment.  Love and mercy are powerful tools, let's use them to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Parenting IS Hard

So, I skipped church today.  I sit here writing this, fully dressed for church.  Hair done, make-up(I don't really wear a lot but what little I do wear is there.), ready for a day with my peeps.  But, I couldn't do it.  I fought with my youngest on the way in. We had unkind words...mostly mine. I brought us home and I just.could.not.  I literally could. not. even.  My oldest took herself and her sisters.  Erik is at another church.  I feel overwhelmed.

My cup overfloweth with blessings. And stress.  My kids are growing up and I am no longer in control in any way. When your kids are young, there is this illusion that you are in control.  You determine leave times. destinations, wardrobes, bedtimes and a whole other host of things that make your existence one that is of your own creation and overall, very pleasant.  Kids mostly do what they are told and life is pretty sweet.

Fast forward to the present...I am not in control.  AND, it kind of feels like no one else is either.  I know that ultimately, God is in control.  BUT, the DEVIL is in the details.  I know he seeks to devour and destroy.  I know my family is not an exception.  I know he is happy I stayed home today.  There are just times when I can't do it.  When 'one more thing' is one thing too many.

So, I sit here this morning.  Putting it into words how this 'kids growing up' thing is hard.  I have loved being a mother.  I have poured my heart and soul into my kids.  I have tried to live like I know God wants me to.  I have been talking to them about the really important stuff: sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, spirituality, etc-all of their lives.  There wasn't THE TALK, there was always just open dialogue.  This is still true.  I've tried to be an example.  I've tried to break the chain of generational sins.  I've tried to do the very best that I know how.

As I write this, all I can think is: Was it enough?  Was I too busy? Was I so focused on giving my kids what I didn't get that I missed giving them what THEY really needed?  Have I damaged them? Am I a good mom?  Will my children rise up and call me blessed?  God gives me new mercies every morning...but do my children?  Do I give them new mercies?  Have I smothered them?  Have I given them room to move, grow and become who God needs them to be?

The ultimate question: Have I been a good mom to them?  I assume it haunts every mother, it haunts me.  I obsess on it daily.  It pummels me from too many directions.  I secretly need validation from everyone, anyone, Dr. Phil.  It is surely a tool of the devil.  He loves it when I question things.  He loves my fear and pounces on my weaknesses.  He loves pride almost as much as humiliation.  He firmly plants himself in both.

My conclusions?  I am not good enough.  I will never be enough.  I can't save my children.  That is what Jesus died to be. (Hat tip Sara Matheny...this TRUTH I cling to!) I am perfectly flawed.  The kind of flawed that, no doubt, has done some damage to my kids.  Hopefully, some counseling, growing up and introspection will get them over it.  However, I have done the very best I could.  Like my mother before me did the best she could.  One day, if they decide to, my kids will also do the best they can with their own kids.  We are not striving for perfection.  We are striving for loving, feeling, compassionate offspring that try to find their own way in their own way. Erik and I were the very best parents we knew how to be.  We took our personal examples, examples around us and we muddled through.  Muddled.  It's the best word.  We didn't know exactly what to do and we still don't.  BUT, we LOVE our kids.  We love them so much that it hurts to the bone.  We are brought to tears by their successes and failures, by our successes and failures.  We are brought to tears by their possible futures...the good and bad things we contrive in our heads.  We are brought to tears by the thought that they could move on and be okay without us.  We are brought to tears by the thought that they could rely on us too much and not be independent.  We are brought to tears by the fact that they...ARE GROWING UP.

It all seems a little too much.  Too fast, too soon, too emotional, too scary, too real, too happy, too exciting...really too much.

And so this Father's Day, I sit in my quiet house and TRUST.  I trust that God has a plan for each one of the people in my family. I TRUST that it might not always look like I want it to and that won't make it bad.  I TRUST that God will prepare me, has in fact, already prepared me for whatever our future holds.  I am blessed to be part of the journey of the four people I share space with in this home.  Please, God, help me to remember it is a blessing.  AND, I am not in control.  GOD IS IN CONTROL, not me.  My job is to LOVE MYSELF and LOVE OTHERS.

Having children has changed me so much for the better.  I can't even imagine life without them.  God gives such wonderful gifts that make us better people.  Thank you, God, for the blessing of being called Mom by Erika, Kayla and Lilly.  Thank you, God, for giving me Erik to share life and this wild roller coaster ride of parenting with.  Life is good, even when it is hard and I feel overwhelmed by everything.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love is...

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

New International Version (NIV)
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love is patient: eats last, gives others the 'good one', bites her tongue and makes an appropriate response not the one that pops into her head, allows other people to make their own mistakes even when she desperately wants to give advice, allows someone in front of her in traffic, doesn't make a fuss when someone runs late.

Love is kind: pays a compliment to a total stranger because her hair DOES look good, gives a friend some money when she loses her job, goes to weddings and funerals if at all possible because they matter, says thank you, sends cards for no reason, gives gifts-sometimes anonymously, makes food for people, notices good behavior of children and tells the parent, overlooks bad behavior of other people's children unless it is a 'biggie' and even then treads lightly onto that slippery slope, loves children utterly and completely because someday they will be grown-ups.

It does not envy:  everyone has blessings and curses-I trust in a God that knows more what we need than we do.

It does not boast: lives life in such a way that others think well of her and compliment her-saying it herself will always sound empty and never fulfills.

It is not proud: we are all sinners in need of a savior...not a lot to be proud of.

It does not dishonor others:  If her success comes as a result of someone else losing theirs-it isn't really success, walks away from gossip-gossip is any words that allow someone else to be not thought well of, fully realizes that words and actions have much power and uses them for good, overlooks the faults of others because she realizes she is not without faults.

It is not self-seeking: seeks only Godly glory, isn't trying to do anything more than mimic Christ.

It is not easily angered:
It keeps no record of wrongs:
 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth:  
 It always protects:
Love always trusts:
Love always hopes:
Love always perseveres.

All you need is love is not an oversimplification.  Love is not simple.  It is so hard, we need God to even be able to do it.  Love is supernatural.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day

My first Mother's Day without my mom is now completed.  It was a hard day.  Everything made me think of her.  As I take comfort in the things in my home that used to be hers, it is a daily reminder that she is gone.  The loss is felt deep within my soul but I would not wish her back here for anything.  While I know that this was a difficult day for all she left behind, I know that she had the best Mother's Day ever.  I know that she was with her mother, the mother she had not seen since she was 8 years old.  I know that she is happy in the arms of God.

Lots of people question the existence of God.  I have certainly questioned it in my life.  I am thankful that my heart was open enough to see the very real and personal evidences that allow me to be comforted forever by a personal knowledge of God.  On this earth, I am but a vapor.  I will live my life and this physical body will one day be snuffed out.  My soul and the very essence of who I am, though, will live throughout eternity.  I will spend Mother's Day with my mom again.  AND, we won't struggle to get along or fight or bicker.  We will both be healed of our physical afflictions and the broken places of our hearts and we will commune with God.

That 'Old' Feeling

I have been substituting for almost 2 full school years. Yes, I am still loving it in a way that I did not expect. I have made friends with most all of the teachers and I really enjoy having such a wide variety of personality types as co-workers.  But, surprisingly, my most favorite part is the teenagers.  I love them.  They are so much fun to tease.  I pretended I was mean and intimidating for a while, so now I have some street cred. For realz, y'all.

This brings me to a story of why I feel old.  The other day, while in the library, a student came in that was prepping for a mock election.  She had on a power suit.  I told her she was cutting it in a 'man's world'.  I then told her she should carry a  Bobbitt knife to complete the look.  They all sort of smiled and chuckled. However, due to my astute knowledge of teenagers, I could tell that they had no clue what I was talking about.  I said, "Oh my, you kids don't even know what I'm talking about, do you?"  They confessed that they indeed were supplying me with sympathy laughter.  I told them they could not encounter anyone my age that would not know exactly what that meant and all the details to go with it.  Then they googled it.  Then they all died a little that something so awful had happened.

This little incident and my lost references to 'Kramer' of Seinfeld fame remind me that while I may feel hip and young in my brain, I am indeed OLD.  The generation gap, it is REAL.  It is also the widest gap ever known. 

Friday, January 10, 2014


My mom's preacher read this for me at her service.  I needed to record it here.

Today, my mother is an angel.  She'd be the first to tell you she wasn't always.  But in many ways, she was.  She was one of the most hospitable people I've ever known.  She loved feeding people and sharing the table with loved ones.  Most of our happiest memories involve a huge meal followed by laughter through tears.  Mom was a giver-she never had a possession that she was attached to.  She knew life was all about people and relationships.  Her gift of hospitality was frequently exercised.  Through the years, she received much generosity and also freely gave it.

In every family, there is much that goes unsaid.  In our family, we are much more likely to have things that should have been left unsaid.  Thankfully, love prevails over our foolish words.  We love each other deeply despite our differences.  We don't wait for apologies to love or forgive.  We understand that we are not perfect...even though we all really hate admitting it.

Mom was a working mom with four daughters.  We are her biggest fans and her toughest critics.

I am thankful today that our family isn't perfect.  We did put the 'fun' in dysfunction.  God shines brightly through our broken places.  We rejoice in the fact that our broken mom is whole.  God is faithful to heal and restore.

Today, my mom is a perfect and unblemished angel in the arms of God.  Thank you Jesus!