More Joy in One Ordinary Day


Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More. More.” I have God’s more-than-enough. More joy in one ordinary day. (Psalm 4:6-7 MSG)

 That last line got me…

More JOY in one ORDINARY day.

I want to find joy in the simple satisfactions of every day rather than be always waiting, ever disappointed when the marvelous is mowed down by mere.

It takes extraordinary courage to find joy in ordinary days when the world is hungry for more.

It’s easy to do isn’t it? Chase after the massive monumentals; the bigger-than-life-itself stuff. The living with tomorrow in mind and miss the here and now. I don’t want to become so busy chasing after extraordinary that I miss the joy that comes with the ordinary.

I never want to tire of the wonder of an egg. How does a chicken make an outer shell with an egg inside? Not to mention the greens, blues and all manner of hues. And then there’s one yolk or two?

I never want to tire of the smell of sun-kissed sheets dried on the line. It makes for the outdoor to come in and my sleep so fine.


I never want to tire of watching bees work to make honey. They take nectar from a flower and turn it in to something worth more than money.

The smell of bread baking and apple butter making.

Georgia peaches that travelled so far, line my shelf in wide-mouth Mason jars.


Sunrises and sunsets and super moons that are blue, remind me each day to be grateful and true.


Photo of this beautiful blue super moon is courtesy of Dianna Dickson 🙂

Old hymnals filled with songs I hold dear. They tell of grace and a cross and of Jesus who’s near.


I want to notice the forget-me-not so tiny and small as well as those who feel like flowers on a wall.

The snow as it glistens like diamonds in the sun. The hoof prints of deer making a path as they run.

The smell of a babe as you rock her to sleep is a joy in one’s heart forever to keep.

Sitting on my front porch swing listening to the frogs as they sing.

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. (Thomas Moore)

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals as long as we don’t get so busy racing towards the next thing that we miss the victory of today. There is more joy in an ordinary day when we s-l-o-w down enough to notice. Chasing after slow is a bit of all right too.

It does take practice. And determination. And courage. It takes a certain fearlessness and fortitude to say STOP in a world full of clamor and commotion.

We are so wired by technology to always be on, always be involved, always be in the know, that it takes a literal brain reboot to enjoy (in joy) silence and solitude and God’s more-than-enough.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. (William Arthur Ward)

There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be joyful about, so much to be blessed by…in a simple ordinary day.

Fiercely for you!












Feeling Like You Can’t…


I woke up at 2AM thinking about the previous day. I had some minor outpatient surgery to repair some varicose veins. I woke up the morning of the surgery feeling pretty anxious. That’s usually not how I roll. You do what ya gotta do. Ya know?

Cosmetics aside, I needed to have this done so the blood could flow back up my leg freely.

We arrived at 5:30AM, got registered quickly and was sitting in a very quiet surgical waiting room waiting for the staff person to arrive at 6. The longer I sat the more I felt the need to leave. Fight or flight I believe they call it.

Thankfully I was taken back and prepared for surgery before “flight” happened. I decided to “fight” by repeating this praise song by All Sons and Daughters…

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

…over and over in my head.

Ironically, I woke up from the anesthesia with the feeling that I couldn’t breathe. I looked at one masked face after another telling them with panic in my voice I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

All of them told me I was fine. I was talking so I was breathing.

It didn’t help.

I reached back for the nurse anesthetist who had told me in pre-op prep that if I had any problems to let her know and she would help me. She grabbed ahold of my hand, told me not to worry, put an oxygen mask on and told the rest of the team that I was having a panic attack. She then proceeded to give me some “calm down medicine” in my IV. Calm down medicine is like sitting under the poplar tree at my grandparents house sipping iced tea on a hot summers day…cool, calm and refreshing.

The irony and parallel that I thought of at 2 in the morning?

The irony…the fact that I was singing the lyrics about God’s breath in my lungs and pouring out praise and then “coming to” feeling like I couldn’t breathe!

The parallel…how many times has life punched you in the gut and taken your breath away? Like life is spinning out of control? No one is listening. No one is helping you. How often does the enemy try to convince you that God is not there nor does he care?

The enemy wants us to feel like that. He wants us to panic and hyperventilate and grasp at whoever will listen.

What do (should) we do instead?

Praise the One who can help in the middle of it. And then watch the devil be defeated!

I know. I know. That’s the last thing you want to do. It’s easier to focus on the situation at hand and not on the One who can handle the situation.

We want to march out with the white flag singing I surrender all to the very one who is taking our breath instead of the One who is Breathtaking.

King Jehoshaphat had an entire (vast) army coming at him…the Ammonites and the Moabites got together and ganged up on King J and his crew. Guess who led the army out to meet the “-ite” brothers? The praise and worship team! Check it out…

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. (2Chronicles 20:21 NIV emphasis mine)

Because nothing screams victory in battle more than a bunch of choir singers.

It just doesn’t make sense does it? Shouldn’t we send out our elite soldiers with their battle ready skills and armor? There are people trained for this kind of thing. Keep reading…

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2Chronicles 20:22 NIV emphasis mine)

Notice as they began to sing…not before.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones confused by this war tactic…

The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. (2Chronicles 20:23 NIV)

So the next time the devil tries to knock the very wind out of you, leaving you to believe your Father doesn’t care, that your Dad isn’t big enough, don your choir robe, inhale a big old breath, exhale some praise and sing baby sing. It will confuse the heck out of him.

That my friends is the best “calm down medicine” this side of heaven.

Fiercely for you!


PS Surgery went very well and according to my man, my legs look like I tried to shave them with a very old razor and no readers. You guys.



Comfort Food


Why is it the kids pick a dish involving your homemade noodles whenever you ask what they’re hungry for?

 My man asked me this as I was rolling out noodles for Johnny Marzetti, a family favorite for decades.

There is something comforting about combining eggs with flour and a dash of salt. Rolling them out then up, slicing them thin and spreading them out to dry on a cookie sheet.

But it’s more than that.

I get the recipe out every time. Oh, I don’t need it. I’ve made the dish so many times through the years that it’s been put to memory long ago. It’s more than directions on a card. It’s memories of the heart.


Seeing that familiar handwriting reminds me of sitting around the old oak table at my in-laws. A table where we ate together, played games together, did homework (yes, I married my high school sweetheart) together.

I remember the pan she used, the apron she wore and the Saturday morning conversations we had as she whisked, mixed and rolled. My mother-in-law, Evelyn was solace for my soul.

As I’m whisking the eggs and getting ready to add the flour, I’m reminded of all the times I watched my Granny mix noodles together. When asked why she never measured out the flour she used, she told me you just feel of it and know when the dough is ready for kneading. I can’t tell you a measure because when it’s storming the damp air causes you to need more flour. You’ll get familiar with the feel the more you spend time making them.

 My Granny was a woman of simple means. A country girl from the hills of Tennessee who could make do with very little. There is something comforting about simple, isn’t there?

There is solace in that recipe card with stains from use, those handwritten words of direction and the memories from long ago. It provides comfort food for the body.

But these words on a page are like food for the soul….

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

(He is my soul Provider.)

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

(He is my rest Giver.)

He leads me beside quiet waters,

(He is my silence Sustainer.)

He restores my soul.

(He is my soul Rescuer.)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.

(He is my steps Director.)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

(He is my Peace.)

(Psalm 23:1-5 NIV)

Like familiar writing on a stained recipe card this familiar passage doesn’t have to be looked up. Most of us have it memorized. But when you need to feed your soul it does one good to see and read the writ of old.

It provides, quiets, sustains and restores.

Like. Nothing. Else. Can.

I can’t explain it. I just feel of it and know.

Here’s to simple solace.

Fiercely for you!



My Year to Swing Easy


There has been a misconception about my word for the year. Although solo and solace sound similar, their definitions are not. While solace means comfort it doesn’t mean quitting. It doesn’t mean stepping away from everything and everyone and go it alone.

That’s pretty much what I had in mind for the New Year. As I was explaining my word thoughts to my man, he said something about that being my go to…going into hermit mode.

Kind of made me mad.

But there is some truth to it.

I DO find great comfort in being at home. It IS an easy go to when the world is nuts or you’ve had a time with an off-the-wall person. I CAN talk myself into believing that I don’t need relationships with people “out there.” People suck sometimes. I suck sometimes.

This month I’ve read six books, put together two puzzles, watched two Netflix series of multiple seasons, written a little, napped some, lit candles a lot, went to church, cleaned out my pantry and felt like I was settling in to this solo solace thing quite nicely. People? Who needs them? And then I found this…


It may not look like much to you but it’s my favorite ball marker given to me by one of my favorite golf partners and people ever. We don’t just golf; we do free therapy for each other, laugh, cry, cut up and act a fool. I had looked everywhere for this marker but couldn’t find it until it showed up in a spot I had already looked a hundred times before. Coincidence? Nah.

God teaches me in simple ways mostly because I can be pretty dense sometimes (or some may say mule headed.)

I love to golf. Not that I’m good at it but even on my worst day, it’s great to be outside enjoying the scenery, the company, and the fun. My aforementioned buddy and I decided to join a league where we bring down the median age to about 70.

I was a little nervous as I tee’d up my first ball and sure enough duffed my drive about 10 yards in front of the box. Next one was the same. What the heck?? So I asked my girlfriend what she thought was going on since she sees me golf all the time and we are fairly equal in skill (though she almost always outdrives me and beats me by a couple strokes…sigh…)

Her response: You’re trying too hard. Just get up there and swing easy like you do. Stop trying to kill it.

So I did. While I can’t say that every drive was straight and beautiful, once I started swinging easy it was way better. I was trying to impress these women, some of who have golfed longer than I’ve been alive. I was trying too hard and got caught up in playing someone else’s game.

This is the message God is trying to tell me. Stay in your lane. Be who you are. Stop trying so hard and play the game I’ve given you to play. But don’t quit. Show up. Bring your clubs. Tee up your ball. Swing easy. Watch Me work.

He says it better than I can in Psalm 46:10: Cease striving and know that I am God. (NASB)

Be still. Swing easy.


In a world that screams “hustle harder” so you’ll go farther, it’s frowned upon to be still. Hustle (push or force one’s way; jostle or shove, be aggressive, beg; solicit) for your worth. It takes courage to realize that that is exhausting and do something about it. To be brave enough to step back, stay in your own story and stop trying to kill it.

On a side note and I’m sure just in case the ball marker wasn’t enough to get the point across, the first puzzle I put together had several missing pieces. When we don’t show up or try to walk in someone else’s story, there are holes that can’t be filled and the world misses out on seeing the complete picture.

So while I need solo time for solace because I’m wired that way, I’m not quitting. But I am swinging easy this year. No more hustling. Because I’m already worth it.

Fiercely for you,















Solace for My Soul


Solace. It’s a lonely sounding word. So when it kept coming to mind as my word for this year, I balked. How boring. How lame. How unadventurous and ordinary. That won’t get you where you need to go to succeed. Sigh.

I looked it up in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary (a gift from my kids for Mother’s Day) and it says: (v.) to take comfort; to be cheered or relieved in grief. (n.) comfort in grief; alleviation of grief or anxiety; also, that which relieves in distress; recreation

The past few years have been a whirlwind of adventure with high school and college graduations, two weddings, births (grandbabies), deaths (Granny and Mom), loss of friendships, job changes, political discourse, successes and failures…bringing with it highs and lows, tears of joy and sorrow, worry and angst, confusion and concern, highlights and darkness.

If I were to be honest, I’m tired. Bone tired. Down in my soul tired.

Maybe solace, comfort is exactly what I need.

I began to notice something back in December when I knew this word was supposed to be mine in the New Year. On a handful of occasions during a six week period I had different people ask me the same thing but from different angles. What are you doing now that you have one kid at home? You don’t work? Don’t you get bored?? What are you up to these days? Oh my gosh! What I wouldn’t give to be unbusy like you.

 It made me doubt what I do…write a blog, farm a few chickens, grow a garden and take care of my family. It made me think I should be working, doing something big. I fail and succeed a thousand times if only in my own mind. Anybody else out there an over analyzer? I drive my own self crazy.  That’s the way of things today, isn’t it?

The world roars “MORE” while my soul searches for simple.

One of my goals for this year is to read through the Psalms and Proverbs each month. David is awesome! A badass king of the warriors, slaying thousands of men one minute and an emotional crying-myself-to-sleep-heap the next. I get that. But David knew who to go to for solace…

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)

That’s what I want. A soul at rest. That doesn’t come from doing more, being more, running more, working more, serving more. Solace doesn’t come from the world or food or shopping. No. It comes from God alone.

When my now five-year-old grandson was just a baby, we took him to see my Granny, his great, great grandmother. Arteritis had long since taken her vision. Dark shadows were all she could make out and those only on the sunniest of days. She kept her eyes closed mostly and relied on her other senses to “see” for her.

Oh I wish I could see him. Bring him over and let me feel of him.

So we did. We watched as she used her gnarled, arthritic hands to see him.

She felt of his chubby little feet first. Squeezed his legs, his arms. Felt of his torso and his frog belly. Then she moved to his face, taking special care to be gentle. She explored the shape of his head, the curve of his neck, his tiny chin and button nose. She felt his eyes, his soft baby cheeks, his tiny ears with the gentleness and intimacy of Grandmotherly love.

As she rested her hand on his leg she said, He sure is somethin’ isn’t he? I’m so glad I got to see him.

 She saw him by being close enough to touch him, smell him, feel of him.


Time had slowed down, the baby was still (as if he sensed this old woman needed him to be) and we got to witness a beautiful few minutes between baby and great, great grandmother.

The world runs crazy after much of the wrong things. I’m guilty of it too. Chasing after people, positions and purpose wearies the soul. Sometimes we lose sight of God don’t we? When that happens, I want to get close enough to feel of him. I want to climb up in my Father’s lap, close my eyes, feel of His face and see that’s He’s something else. All else will fall into place.

Here’s to a year of Solace.

Fiercely for you!





When Christmas is Different


We’re having a bit of a different Christmas around here. It’s for a good reason…my middle daughter is having a baby soon and our oldest daughter is flying out to see her and this new little one while said oldest daughter is on break from teaching. So that means two of the five kiddos (and their spouses) will not be around for the holidays. That’s 40%. Almost half of us aren’t here.

We’ve been watching old VHS tapes of when all the older ones were littles with much of the tapings being around Christmas. The memories are beautiful but it’s also a reminder of just how different things are now.

Not all bad mind you. Just different.

The kids were all under one roof. Now three of the five are married blending traditions of both families as their own. Todd’s parents and sister and my grandparents were all alive and well. Those are treasured  times and moments that pass too quickly.

This year finds me feeling funky. What do you do when Christmas is different?

I woke up in the wee hours one morning with an acronym of GRACE on my mind and in my heart. Maybe you could use it this year too.

G is for give.

As in give YOURSELF some grace this year. Sometimes it’s easier to give to others than receive from yourself. We can certainly say to a friend, Of course you are sad (or bummed or blue or sick or whatever). It’s hard when things change (or you lose someone or your health is bad or it’s different).

 It’s okay to tell yourself that too. Cut yourself some slack, do what you can then gift yourself with grace.

R is for rest.

With all the hustle-bustle and added details…shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, parties, programs etc…of the season we forget or don’t allow for a time to rest.

Keep your quiet time appointment with the Lord. Allow yourself 15 minutes to simply be still or catch a quick nap. Spend a few minutes in the twinkle of the tree lights thinking through all you have to be thankful for. Don’t have a tree? That’s okay. Light a candle, grab a book or magazine and allow yourself some down time.

Self-care is important especially during busy (different) seasons.

A is for acknowledge.

Acknowledge your true feelings. Talk to someone…a counselor, pastor or friend about what you’re feeling…really feeling. Shoving emotions down because you shouldn’t feel this way or you feel like a Scrooge isn’t healthy and will come out somewhere else…hello cookies!

Stop telling yourself you should or shouldn’t do or feel a certain way and be honest with your emotions.

C is for cherish and change.

You get a two for one special here. Cherish those memories! When I look back at the Christmases gone by I LOVE seeing everyone together. The traditions, the food, the gatherings, the gifts. But life is about change. Some things need to go. Others need to be changed up a bit.

Do I miss some of those earlier years when my kids were all little and under my roof? I’d be lying if I said no. But I am learning to enjoy the rhythm of a new norm with a balance of old and new traditions.

Remember: just because you always have doesn’t mean you always have to.

E is for engage.

When your holidays are different, either from loss or even good things, it’s easy to withdraw from the world. It’s easy to assume everybody else is singing about the most wonderful time of the year and not struggling at all.

Don’t buy into that lie. Don’t withdraw. Please don’t.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing…coffee with a friend, serve in a shelter, go for a walk with a buddy, volunteer at church, visit people in a nursing home, deliver cookies to the hospital or abuse shelter….but do something. Serving, engaging gets us thinking outside of ourselves.

God sees us, you and me. He knows our struggle. He feels our pain. He knows when our Merry Christmas! is more like “Many Grievings.” It’s why he sent Hope in the form of a newborn babe, a Son, his One and Only…to help us through when things are different.

And that is GRACE.

Fiercely for YOU!







My Iris Rogue

Apparently there is some confusion around here about what season it is. I have an Iris that’s blooming. It’s fall in Ohio which is not her normal bloom time of spring. But there she stands, in the weeds, at the wrong time of year, petals blowing in the crisp fall air, being gorgeous. My Iris has gone rogue.

To “go rogue” means to cease to follow orders; to act on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction

Not to be confused with an Irish Rogue which, according to Urban Dictionary means: The act of giving the finger to anyone who has ticked you off. ( I won’t give you the example they used. Let’s just say it had to do with road rage.)

We live in an Irish Rogue world right now. Flipping the bird (yelling, screaming, name-calling, road rage, social media shaming etc) has become every day conversation for a lot of people. Right, left, conservative, liberal, believer, unbeliever…doesn’t matter…we have all sunk to the Irish Rogue method of communication.

Since this seems to be the norm, let’s go rogue…Iris Rogue. Let’s cease to follow orders of this world, which has become ugly and speak words of encouragement instead of words of strife and conflict. This Iris didn’t listen to the “rules”, she busted out a bloom in her off season.

If you are a believer in Jesus, the Bible says some things about “out of season” answers:

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1Peter 3:15 NIV bold is mine)

 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season: correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2Timothy 4:2 NIV bold is mine)

What does it matter if I can answer all my Bible study homework questions while sitting in class (in season) but then go out into the world and be harsh with my answers and tone (out of season)?

We have a reason for our hope but no one will listen if we go Irish Rogue.

Be a bloom, not a butt.

If going rogue means acting on one’s own, usually against expectation or instruction and the common comeback is laced with sarcasm and cynicism, going Iris Rogue means being the one who stays calm, cool and collected in a conversation….

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. (Proverbs 15:1 NLT)

…especially when gentle answers are a rare find these days.

Words matter. People matter. The words we say to people matter. We have an opportunity to rise above the weeds, to bring beauty to the boorish, hope to the hurting, and peace to pain. But we can’t do that if we’re shouting to be seen.

Going Iris Rogue is listening more than needing to be heard. Seeing more than needing to be seen. It is practicing the art of being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19 NIV) Not everyone needs our opinion.

Go rogue…ask them to tell you more. Find out why they think or believe what they do. Instead of you’re an idiot! try that’s interesting. Instead of reacting with anger (the expected reaction) respect their opinion. After all, it is just that, an opinion. And it’s theirs.

No one has persuaded anyone of anything with harsh words. We want to attract, not attack. Heck, they may even ask you the reason for your hope. The reason why you reacted differently. The reason why you listened without becoming angry. What an opportunity!

Be a bloom not a brute.

In a world gone Irish Rogue, be an Iris.

Fiercely for you!







Beware the Naked Man…

naked man.jpg

While this quote makes me smile for some reason, it’s so obvious that a naked man offering an item of clothing is ridiculous. You can’t offer what you don’t have. Neither can you trust someone who does so.

Social Media perfection is much like this African proverb because you can’t be what you aren’t which is perfect. If she sounds too good to be real, she probably is. If he sounds fake, he probably is. Everyone you see as you scroll through social media wakes up with stinky breath and struggles with something.

While we certainly don’t want to air our own or see everyone’s dirty laundry, this obsession for perfection is sending us down a path that is harmful.

The Direction of Perfection

The perfect picture. The perfect post. The perfect persona. The perfect plate. Pinterest perfection. We have become a culture that is consumed with the appearance of perfect.

The direction perfection sends us down is the slippery slope of self-absorption. Perfection, or the appearance of, becomes the idol we chase after. An idol is anything that either disproportionately consumes your thoughts, actions or resources, or that take your eyes off of God.

If we’ve set our eyes on the prize of perfection, constantly hustling for picture perfect, are we really winning anything? Or have we lost our way?

Beware the naked man who offers directions for he has no place in which to keep a compass.

The Deflection of Perfection

My three-year-old grandson has the art of deflection down to a science. He gets in trouble for something or is being asked to do something he doesn’t necessarily want to do and he immediately changes the subject or diverts attention to something else.

To deflect is to bend or turn aside; turn from a true course or straight line. It is a coping mechanism people use when not wanting to reflect on the reality of something. It’s used as a shield so others will not see one’s true nature.

The deflection of perfection is seen when we draw attention to the good and wonderful things we are doing while never acknowledging any bad behavior. If I can get you to stay focused over here, you won’t pay attention to what is going on over there.

Be wary of anyone who is always put together, always very spiritual sounding, always talking about the good things they do. It could be the right hand is distracting from what the left hand is doing. No one is perfect.

Don’t buy a shirt from the naked man.

The Deception of Perfection

Somewhere along the way we’ve exchanged the idea of striving for excellence with having to be perfect. Excellence leads to great and honorable things. Perfectionism leads to fear of making mistakes, paralysis of analysis, and feeling judged.

One energizes. The other criticizes.

masquerades as light

The one who masquerades as an angel of light has invited us to dance with him at the ball of perfection. We waltz with worry over others liking the real us. We foxtrot with fear that others will find out what frauds we are. We do the hustle to be heard and the salsa to be seen.

But at the end of the night, we’re exhausted. Our feet hurt from shoes we never should have worn and our mascara has run under the mask we’ve put on to hide our true identities.

Beware the naked man who asks you to dance because, well, that’s nasty.

When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver. (Brene’ Brown)

Either get in the driver’s seat or get out of the car but let’s stop driving down the destructive path of perfectionism by being brave enough to simply be ourselves.

Fiercely for you!


The Greatest of These


I sat in a hotel room in Nashville lamenting the previous six weeks to one that was much wiser than I. My grandmother had died, my man had changed jobs and my daughter had gone completely rogue…all in the course of about ten days. This was the fall that fell.

You’ve got to find a way through this. Your daughter needs you right now. You have to see past your own hurt and anger. I know it’s hard but she needs you to love her.

 Surely she didn’t hear what I had said. Love her? After the stunt she was pulling? Are you kidding me!

Fast forward several weeks and many arguments, groundings, things taken away and tears. I asked an acquaintance of mine who was a former addict but was now in social work what her mom had done during her most difficult days. Her answer? She loved me through it. Even on my ugliest of days my mom saw in me what I could not and she showed me by loving me.

 Did I listen? No. How could I? I was so very angry. My heels were dug in. She WOULD listen to me OR ELSE! Loving her was the last thing I wanted to do.

Two more times from two different people came the advice to love her.

Sometimes the very thing you refuse to do is the exact thing God will ask of you.

We were having another shouting match. I followed her to the bathroom (the bathroom for Pete’s sake!) and was screaming (not for the first time), Your behavior is bullshit! You are tearing this family apart!

 (I’ve never pretended to be a “shiny” Christian on here, only real. I wish my real was prettier and wrapped with a big bow but this was my reality for many months.) Until….

My daughter turned on a dime, looked me square in the face and said, You are being exactly like the very people you are trying to protect me from. You are no different.

If words could leave a handprint, surely I would have had marks across my face. The truth to her words shocked me to silence. She was absolutely right. I had become a venom vomiting, maniacal mom who was bitter not brave, hateful from hurt not helpful, unforgiving, unloving, angry and afraid.

Was she rebelling? Yes. But this isn’t about her. It’s about my response to her….which completely sucked.

Dr. Luke shared these words of Jesus, The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NIV bold is mine)

My mouth was pumping out what was in my heart which was full of anger, hurt, bitterness and fear and was a reflection of the words I spoke (screamed.)

Grace could not be heard over the volume of my voice and the wound of my words.

We both retreated to our rooms that night and I knew what I had to do. The next morning after she left for school, I went into her room, got down on my knees like I had done so many times during this storm but instead of praying for her to change, I confessed….

I poured out my anger, bitterness, fear and hurt. I confided in my Father my inability to see the girl he gave me through the fog of fear, the inability to love her like I should because of my own anger and hurt. But that I knew he could love her through me and I was willing for him to do that. I asked him to change me, to create in me a clean heart.

I got up off my knees that day with a peace like I’d not known for many weeks. My situation was no different but I was. (You can read more about that day here… )

Things slowly began to change between us. She began to confide in me more and I began to be able to see her with compassion and love once again. I could see that she was hurting and confused. I don’t want this to sound prettier than it was. It took a lot of conversations, counseling and God interventions to heal but heal we have.

Paul says in 1Corinthians 13:13, But for right now…we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (The Message)

 I can have all the faith and hope in the world but if I can’t love someone who’s actions are unlovable, what’s the point?

The Message says it this way, If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. (1Corinthians 13:2)

 In other words I can teach a Bible study, attend church, listen to Christian music, be faith full but if I can’t love my neighbor who may be different than me, believe different than me, act different than me, look different than me…What. Is. The. Point?

Why share this now? I can’t help but look around and see the venomous vitriol being spewed from every single direction. Name calling, hurtful words, anger, hatred. I get it. I really do. You want more than anything for people to listen. You want them to see your side of things. So you speak louder. But learn from my experience: screaming that someone’s behavior is bull crap or following them around (literally or via the internet) roaring your opinion does not change anyone.

Only love does that.

Love allows for grace to be given and truth to be spoken. Love allows for safe places and soft landings even when we don’t always agree. Love allows for difficult conversations and differences of opinions. Love allows for change to happen. It’s the greatest of these.

And it starts with me.

Fiercely for you!








When You End Up in the Ditch

The Cup Plant known to collect rain water in her “cups” that can be used for drinking water in emergencies. She can be found in ditches along roadsides, offering us a cool drink perhaps?

I had been asking Mom for gas money for several days. While I had been watching the needle move towards E, it didn’t really dawn on me that I would run out of gas…oh to be 16 again…until my car sputtered to a halt on my way to school one morning. My sister and I were able to push it off the country road enough to not get hit.

Fortunately for my siblings and me, my then boyfriend, now husband (awww…insert heart emoji’s here) took the same route to school, saw us stranded and pulled over to pick us up. There’s nothing quite like piling in to a ’67 VW with rusted floorboards. But at least his tank was full.

Later that day, I got scolded pretty good by my stepfather for parking in the ditch at the wrong angle. Wait. What? I guess gas couldn’t get to the carburetor because of the angle of the car….or something like that. (To this day I have no knowledge of any of this…I couldn’t even spell carburetor just now!)

I wish I could tell you this was the last time I ended up in a ditch. But, well, life happens, tanks run out, and there you are, parked at a wonky angle in the ditch. I’ve learned a few things through the years….

When you’re running towards E you have to go to a resource that can help you. The logical place to go for gas money was my Mom. This is usually true. What I didn’t know is she couldn’t give me what she herself didn’t have…money for gas. I kept waiting. She kept putting it off. I ended up in the ditch.

Sometimes the actions (or inaction) of others are what put you in the ditch. Had I realized there was no money for gas, I could have caught a ride to school with said hunk of a boy mentioned above.

How many times have I gone to someone who simply did not have the know- how or wherewithal to give me what I needed to prevent me from ending up in the ditch.

I just kept driving.

When you’re running towards E you have to pay attention to the signs. It was naïve (foolish?) of me to think I could just keep going and going and never run out of gas. There were red flags…like the needle that kept creeping closer to empty. My truck today has a signal that lets me know when I’m 50 miles or less to empty. (And believe me, I head to the nearest gas station because that beep makes me panic a little!)

How many times have I ignored signs and red flags and beeps and just kept going? Oh, hello, Mr. Ditch. We must stop meeting like this. I had no clue we’d be together again so soon. Oh wait. Yes I did. I chose to ignore them!

 I just kept driving.

When you’re running on E you don’t get to choose where you park, you just land where you run out of gas. It’s almost always not in a convenient spot…

Sometimes it’s in the hospital because you’ve ignored your body’s symptoms. Sometimes it’s with a counselor because you’ve ignored your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes it’s in divorce court because you’ve ignored warning signs in your marriage. Sometimes it’s because of someone else’s actions or lack thereof. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a store and you start crying for not any one thing but a million.  And you can’t stop.

We just keep driving.

The Bull Thistle…completely dried up…just like us when we “bull” our way through and keep driving.

No matter the reason, no matter the how, no matter the why, we have a Rescuer. He doesn’t look at us and think You idiot. (Though he may shake his head on occasion…) He looks at his children with compassion. He doesn’t ignore our cries from the ditch…no matter how we ran out of gas, no matter what angle we “parked” the car…he hears us…

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

 Oh. My. Soul!

Chicory coming up THROUGH a crack in the road. 

He is the Resource that never runs out. He is the One with all the answers. He is the Fuel that fills my tank. He is the Nemesis to my enemy. He is the Light that shows the way. He is Breath when I cannot breathe. He is.

He is the Lifter of my head when I’m weary. He is the Hearer of my heart. He is the collector of my tears. He is the Helper in times of trouble. He is Firmness under my feet. He is the Rock on which I stand. He is.

He Rescues. Redeems. Restores. Amen.