Posts

Showing posts from 2013

2014

Image
I usually look forward not back, but I simply cannot look ahead to 2014 without pausing to reflect on the year that draws to a close. 

As I type we are returning from a family vacation at the most magical place on earth. At least their slogan lives up to its promise. It was lights, parades, memories, Mickey and friends and so much more. This was a trip we won't soon forget. I can't think of a better way to close out the year then spending this time together as a family. 2013 is a year I want to memorialize. In the Old Testament there are references to altars built to stand as reminders for generations to come. 2013 stands as such a year for us. 
At the start of 2013 I was celebrating a quiet New Year's Eve at home while my little man was tucked snuggily into bed. I was a single mom with a house on the market and in the middle of a bitter custody battle. It would be a few months into the new year before some of those things would be finalized. Lots of chapters ended while oth…

Empty House

Image
It's the night before Christmas and all through the house, there's not a creature stirring. All's quiet at home, no sound to be heard. Not even the excitement of a little boy who won't go to bed as he anxiously awaits the dawn of Christmas. That's because he's not here. Not tonight. It's quiet. Too quiet. I'm painfully aware of his absence on this night, moreso than other nights. 
I set out cookies for Santa. I promised him I would. I left Jokey by the plate and I included his photo. Through the power of technology and the blessing of Facetime, I showed him the display and assured him Santa would still bring gifts, along with the rest of the family, even if he wasn't here tonight. There's a certain magic of kids bounding out of bed to race downstairs to see the presents under the tree. Somehow I've come to peace with the fact that our presents will be opened later in the day. They're just as much a surprise in the afternoon as they are in…

Christmas Lessons

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I've got my candycane earrings complemented by my red snowflake accented nails. Of course I'm wearing all my Merry Christmas shirt. And it's all topped off with a new gift I just received. It's one of the most important accessories, and now one of my favorites, a Santa Claus hat complete with a little rhinestone crown. For those of you who know me well you realize why there is not only irony in this gift but also how ridiculously appropriate it is. I've been called the queen, a diva, former pageant has-been, you name it. Either way it somehow seems a little bit fitting that there is a princess crown combined with my Santa hat. Yes I am wearing it all today and I am also wearing a genuine grin comimg from the joy and Christmas cheer that I feel. 
It's going to be an insanely busy day. The traffic yesterday was only a small indication of all of the plans and preparations that are being made for this holiday. I'm no…

Celebrate Christ

To the cashier who checked me out while I busily stood there and never spoke, how rude of me. 
To the kid checking receipts at the door who asked me how I was and I barely responded, I apologize. 
To the woman ringing the bell at the red kettle and singing your heart out in baritone versions of Christmas carols, thank you. 
It's coming on Christmas and I'm usually the one spreading the cheer. Yet I found myself dreadfully overwhelmed, exhausted and truthfully just flat-out stressed! All the good intentions, cards I meant to send, gifts I intended to buy, crafts I'd hoped to make, goodies I wanted to bake and everything that remains undone seemed to be looming over me. It's not like it snuck up on me. It's always December 25. In fact, Christmas keeps coming earlier and earlier based upon when the stores put things out. So why am I not prepared? Why were feelings of weariness and stress taking over where I should be joyful and cheerful and celebrating?
It took a humbling…

Disappointed

Did God disappoint me?

I'm ashamed to admit it. It seems so vulgar to even think. How dare I say such a thing. Worse, how foolish of me to feel this way!

I knew this was one of those requests that seemed "unlikely."  It's not that He can't or won't. It would just mean a near miracle experience would need to happen. But isn't that just like God?! Of course! Which is why I also admit that while tempering thoughts of excitement and anticipation, I was still entertaining the hope that it would be just like God to do this in the back of my mind. 
It was there. Mixed with a dose of reality along with the cruelty I felt in trying to convince myself not to get ahead of myself...or God.
Here is my struggle. You know me - I'm being gut-level honest. How exactly is one supposed to go through the Christian life living on faith? We express our prayers, concerns, hopes and the desire of our hearts to the God who asks us to make our requests known, and yet we must r…

The Heart of Christmas

Image
I love Christmas! I love celebrating! I love the thrill in the air. The magic. The wonder. The excitment and joy. I love all the festivities. Breakfast with Santa, train rides, a visit with Santa, fun times with friends and family, the movie Frozen, Christmas cookies with Nana, Christmas shopping for the family, and a day to just rest and be at home and enjoy our own familiy time. It causes me to pause and give thanks. The blessings abound and my heart is full, and I'm thankful.
There's a certain joy in the air and I wonder about this. The other day someone told me her daughter asked if she believed in Santa. Her response was that she believes Santa is the spirit of Christmas. I understand the wonder from a child's point of view, but her response got me thinking. Is jolly ol' Saint Nick the embodiment of Christmas joy and cheer? Can one man be the cause for peace on earth and goodwill toward men? I believe so...but I don't believe it's Santa.
The truth is I never…

LOST: Elf on a Shelf

Image
LOST: Elf on a Shelf. Pointy Red Hat and Red and White Elf Suit. Stands about 12" tall. Last seen getting into mischief before heading back to the North Pole on December 24, 2012. In our house, he is known by the name "Jokey."
Between selling a house, renting a house, then building a house, moving three times from three different locations along with three storage units, Jokey is lost. I've looked everywhere. We spent 8 hours on Saturday going through every. single. box in the basement (no small task) but he's no where to be found.

Part of me didn't think it would be a big deal. The fun and mystery of the elf to a 4 year old had certainly lost its magic for a more mature and more aware 5 year old... Or had it?!
One of my friends several years into the tradition admitted she's struggling to come up with new ideas each night - sometimes in the morning, because she'd forgotten the night before. I've been guilty of that as well. Just yesterday I saw …

In All Things

Of course we are all mindful to pause on this day and give thanks; admid the preparations of food and fixin's, in the midst of scouring Black Friday ads and planning out shopping strategies, among the visitors and gatherings and of course in the middle of holiday cheer. Yes, we're stopping to give thanks. 

I have more to be thankful for than pen could ever write. More to say thanks for than words could ever express. Yet I'm also aware of those around me who may not be able to say the same. 
Today someone I know is recovering from surgery after a long, painful struggle. Someone else is fighting cancer. One of my own loved ones will not go to dialysis today, Thanksgiving, and will have to muster up every ounce of strength to make it until Saturday's treatment. One family I know had the bottom fall out with a sudden job loss on Monday. Yet another dear one will muster up the strength and dignity to be at the table with an ex and their new spouse, all for the sake of the kid…

So Long Insecurity

I'm about to make a bold statement. Wait for it...

Everyone struggles with insecurity. Everyone. Period. You cannot convince me otherwise.

You see the truth about insecurity is it's mostly wrapped up in lies. Hold tight, you know I'll explain.

I don't care who you are, what you've done, how much you've achieved, whatever your accomplishments. No matter how good you look, feel, speak, do, whatever, I'm convinced every single one of us is haunted by some level of insecurity.

It's more than its definition of a lack of confidence. No, this is something that truly hits at the core of every person. It's as unique to an individual as their fingerprint...because it is the very thing that can strip away every ounce of confidence, every belief in one's self or dream, and hit at the heart of who each of us believe we are or think we should be.

In some ways the things we fear we aren't, or maybe worse the things we fear we are, tend to be the driving fo…

Blood Type Unknown

I had a bad feeling about this. 
In some ways I admit I had already psyched myself out. But I don't believe it was all my fault. 
It shouldn't have been so difficult. People do it all the time and I was watching one after another go in and come back out an hour later, upright, walking, talking and perfectly normal. 
Needless to say my pulse was elevated. They told me so. "You have to calm down," they said. I couldn't hide my nerves so it was unlikely they would soon be calmed. 
I was checked on both sides for the best location. Only one viable option I was told so they set me up and began the process. 
My fingers were tapping. I decided to stare out the window. It was a cold rain. Grey and bleak on the outside. I realized my toes were cold as I stared down at my feet propped up. 
It was time. With blood pressure cuff on and stress ball in hand I was told to squeeze three times and not let go on the third. I obeyed every instruction. They encouraged me to be distracted …

I Don't Understand

The thing is, sometimes I just don't understand.

Right now it truly has NOTHING to do with me or my story.

It's not impacting me or my family.

But for someone else close to me I'm helplessly standing by and wondering what in the world is going on.

It's completely out of their hands. It's completely unfair. There's nothing that can be done. Except take a deep breath, say a prayer, and move forward.

But how?! The future is so uncertain right now.

The news can be devastating - it was to me and I'm not even directly impacted by it.

It's in these moments when our faith is put to the test. Will we trust God when it's most difficult to do so? Will we trust God when there's nothing humanly possible for us to do? Will we trust God and have faith in a plan we can't see?

Sometimes it doesn't make sense.

The trials become the chance to put our faith into action. Even more, the chance to sit back and allow God to move.

What I know is that He's g…

I'm Thankful

I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw picture after picture of trimmed trees and decked out halls. The stockings were hung and mantles were dawning holiday decor. It was the middle of November and well before Thanksgiving.
My happy scarecrow is still sitting beside my white decorative pumpkin. Autumn colored leaves are draped across the mantle with a cornucopia on each end. The house is filled with the aroma of Pumpkin Cupcake. 
Don't get me wrong.  I'm not boycotting or rejecting it. Truth be told, Pandora's Holiday station is playing even as I type this. I'm actually anxiously awaiting putting up the tree and I've picked out a very special spot for it in the corner of my brand new living room. But there has been a great debate ensuing as Christmas creeps closer and closer into Autumn. 
Regardless of your position, whether your house is already decorated for Christmas or if you are holding firm until after the turkey leftovers have spoiled, t…

I'm Learning

Sometimes I stress myself out. 
I'm a perfectionist in my work and projects. I want things to be the absolute best. I want whatever represents ME to be superb. And I fail. Mostly, I fail myself.
Why am I so hard on myself? Why am I afraid of failure? 
Please understand. The accolades are certainly appreciated, but I don't require them to propel me. I'm motivated on my own and that motivation is what drives me to do my best - not for anyone - but for myself.
And sometimes I am my own worst enemy. The stress of my own self can be simply overwhelming. 
That's when I realize I'm hard on myself and it's also usually when I become aware of all the things I could have done better...more...differently...if only...
It is in those moments when I am defeated by my own self. I'm left in a perpetual cycle of striving, seeking, doing, trying, attempting, believing, analyzing, over-analyzing...
If only I could get out of my own way. 
I am my own worst critic. Please. Don't tr…

Lessons from a Little One

In the past 2 days my little five-year-old boy has taught me some very important lessons. Yesterday was quite an eventful and chaotic day as I tried my superhuman juggling act, balancing work responsibilities, trying to be two places at the same time, along with being mom and wife and fulfilling all the expectations I felt were resting on my shoulders. My precocious five-year-old is always full of energy but I am so proud to report that he could not have been better behaved. I suppose both he and the Lord knew that I needed at least one thing to go easily. But it wasn't just that which made my heart smile.
In the middle of a frantic day when everything had to be on a schedule, I completely missed the turn for where I was supposed to vote. I went about 4 miles out-of-the-way and was completely lost and I started to get frustrated. I didn't have time to get lost and I certainly didn't have time to waste. We were on a tight schedule. I decided to pull over and try to Google di…

5 Days of Thankfulness

November came without warning. In the middle of unpacking and trying to organize, balancing schedules, jobs, school and a host of other demands, I somehow lost track of the day of the week - let alone what the date was. 
It wasn't until I started seeing numbered posts of Thanksgiving when I realized everyone else was already on Day 3 and I hadn't even started. 
I'm going to be honest. I'm burning the candle at both ends - and if it had 5 points to it, I'd be burning it at all of those too! Many of those points make up my reasons for being thankful. I say all that to add the disclaimer that I might not make it to 30. Wait, let me rephrase. I most assuredly can find 30 (or more) reasons to give Thanksgiving...but I can't quite commit to daily keeping track throughout the month.
However, I of all people have so much to be grateful for and I want to share.
1. My Savior. To be more than cliche, I'd be lost without Him. My life was in utter ruins and mounds of chaos …

Purple Door

Image
It's been over a month since my last post, and for good reason. The past month has been filled with finalizing the house, packing and finally moving. Of course I haven't managed to unpack and organize everything in just 5 days but I am happy to report the main level is in order, minus anything being hung on the walls. 
This house has been an unbelievable blessing, but even more so since I know this is my final move for a very VERY long time. For the first time in nearly 4 years I can unpack boxes and put things away in their permanent place. There is no concern or worry over how long, or short, this residence will be my dwelling because I can say with full confidence I'm finally home sweet home. 
Everything about this house, everything about this move, is summed up in the knowledge and assurance that my future is secure. I don't say that in a materialistic kind of way, but if you've peaked in on my life over the past 4 years (or you've read any previous blogs)…

Your Love

Image
I can't even come up with the words to describe the scene. It was the most beautiful full rainbow I've ever seen. If that weren't enough it's a double rainbow with the brightest, most brilliant colors. Behind it was a setting sun with exquisite light displays reflecting back upon the ROYGBIV hues. The presence of The Lord was so strong, overarching the entire scene.

We weren't alone when we stopped on the side of the road. Dozens of cars were pulling over, snapping pictures and staring in awe at the wonderment before us. 
Thank You, Lord. That's all I could find myself saying as tears welled in my eyes at the brilliant majesty He had put on display. 
I suddenly realized I had gotten out of the car so quickly to snap pictures that I'd left my door wide open. I could hear the song on the radio, so fitting for the scene I was soaking in. 
Your love never fails It never gives up It never runs out on me.... And on and on and on and on it goes Yes, it overwhelms and sat…

Missing Person

The bumper sticker read, "Sometimes all I want to be is a missing person." I couldn't help but chuckle, wondering if the poor soul driving was a mom needing a moment to herself. I could relate, knowing full well my own son had stood outside my locked door banging and yelling and wondering when I'd finally be out.

Of course I began to analyze. (Yes, you know me. I can over-analyze anything, including a bumper sticker.) What's important to note, by God's sovereign design, is the fact that I am studying this very topic and just read this portion of Gideon's story this morning.

"The angel of the Lordcame and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.When the angel of the Lordappeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:11-12

From my study I've come to understand that Gideon was in the least likely of place…

FILE NAME: HIS

Yesterday I wrote what could be the enemy's notes about me. His tactics and schemes to attack and get me down. I promised you, though, not to stop there. While I wrote with vulnerability about my weaknesses, I must add the disclaimer to today's post. It's also vulnerable in the opposite direction. For fear this could come across prideful, I am almost reserved in writing this post more so than yesterday's. Yet I'm asking for this to be understood and heard from my heart.

To counteract the schemes of the devil, we must know the file our Lord keeps on each of us as well. As I explained, as Scripture tells us, this isn't a record of wrongs. Praise God, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, our confessed sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. They're forgiven, under the blood, washed clean, and we are made new. But in keeping with this idea of the file the enemy has to destroy us, I'd like to offer my thoughts on the file our Heavenly Father us…