Friday, July 19, 2019

TGIF | Celebrate

Friends, I want to first tell you that it has been a week of victories. Praise God! Last week was hard! It had been three months since I have cried like I did last Thursday during my session with Rachel, my therapist. The emotions, anxiety and negative thoughts were high. Oh so high!!

I see more clearly the impact lack of sleep has on my mood and thoughts. Last week was an awful week of not sleeping well. Poor sleep falls more on the common side for me but it's an issue we (my psychologist and I) are trying to address.

This week I have slept much better. Praise God!
I have felt much better. Praise God!
I have pushed through negative thoughts quicker. Praise God!
I have shown up and been vulnerable more often. Praise God!

TGIF: Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration and Fun Friday


I fear crossing the too much information line here. As Brené Brown writes in her book Daring Greatly, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

But as Brené also writes, we can also “share too much information as a way to protect us from vulnerability.” I am processing this thought and see some truth as I realize all I have written so far is an attempt to protect myself in being vulnerable with you.

What I fear most is how what I want to share with you will be perceived. Too much information? Shameful? And maybe someone will perceive it that way. Yet here is what I am trusting...

The real victory I desire to share with you is worthy of celebrating -- not shameful.The eating disorder I have had a relationship with for over 20 years is not shameful. It's only a relationship that needs to end.

My Victory:
the follow up to And...” I have not purged in six weeks. Praise God! 

This is huge for me and I would really, really, really, appreciate if you would celebrate with me.

Have I gone this long before? Yes. Why do I so badly want to celebrate this time? Healing is a journey, a messy journey. It often involves steps forward, steps backwards, and steps forward again. But the real reason I ask you to celebrate with me is because something is different this time. I can't explain it (other than to point to God)--I simply feel it. I am truly on a journey of healing. I need to celebrate the progress.

God is moving in miraculous ways. Praise God!


I am grateful for my husband. Sure I told you this in a previous post but the gratitude overflows. The ways he shows up for me and loves me...I am blessed, and grateful.

Today I celebrate Scott. I celebrate the ways he loves and supports me through the good and the bad (just as we vowed to do). I celebrate how God has shown up in our lives and our marriage to transform us to the people and couple we are today. It is only by the grace of God we celebrate 29 years of marriage in October. Only God! But God!!! Friends, our God can and will do more than you can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).


Are you familiar with Java with Juli or Juli Slattery? I have listened to many of her podcasts. However, the past few months I have been on a Brené Brown and Priscilla Shirer kick so it's been a while since I have tuned in. When I looked at her recent podcast titles, one came up with the title, “Winning the Battle in Your Mind.

Well yes, the title resonated just a little. 

I could attempt to summarize the podcast but instead I prefer to simply encourage you to give up the 45.48 minutes of your time to listen in as Juli talks with Kelly Balarie. Listen here.

God continually uses others to inspire me to go deeper in my relationship with Him and to make the choice to truly, truly take Him at His word - I am beautiful, victorious, enough, created, strong, amazing, capable, chosen, never alone and always loved. 

And I am inspired to purchase Kelly's book Battle Ready.

And I am celebrating a week of progress in winning the battle in my own mind!


While this celebration happened a few weeks ago, I now have pictures from Emily's first birthday party (thanks to my lovely sister) so I am sharing with you the fun of celebrating this sweet little girl who is growing up so quickly.

What are you trusting, grateful for, inspired by, and doing for fun? Join Brené here in sharing your TGIF every Friday, or share with me below. I love hearing from you.

Note: Early images are from Unsplash

Friday, July 12, 2019

TGIF | Fully Persuaded

TGIF – Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration and Fun Friday


I tend to get stuck here, especially if I am having a week like the one I have had this past week. I fight the urge to give up on this whole writing thing because it simply feels too hard.

I shared in last week's TGIF post an inspiration to start a God Box. There is not a box yet, but until there is a box, the notes app on my phone is where I leave all the things that attempt to take up space in my mind and instead surrender them to God. At least I really try to surrender them to Him.

What I need to trust is that the anxiousness of my mind, the constant racing of thoughts (more often negative than positive) will begin to slow. The grounding exercises I'm practicing will become the natural response to the racing thoughts. The medication will make a difference. This is not the way it always will be. I will taste victory this side of heaven

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." - Romans 4:20-21

And I will give glory to God even if the struggle remains because my love and devotion is to Him, not the promise.

Oh God, let it be so.


I am grateful for sisters who show up to help with the food portion of my daughter-in-law's baby shower (versus my catered food plan), regardless of how I have failed to show up for them in so many ways.

I am grateful for friendships made throughout the journey of writing in this space and for those friends who continue to show up to cheer me on, regardless of how I have failed to do the same for them.

My natural response is to feel unworthy of love and support from others -- unworthy of connection -- unworthy of that relationship. I see all my failures. I look inward instead of outward. There is profound gratitude for how therapy, and the work of the Holy Spirit, is renewing my mind to see things more rightly. To receive the gift of help from others. To rest in gratitude for their strengths instead of resting in my weaknesses.


For some reason this one feels harder this week. But I know my tendency is to over think a thought -- to question the rightfulness of a thought. Or maybe what I am questioning is how I will be perceived by others if I actually share that particular thought. Is it questioning or fear?

If I stop overthinking this, the truth is I am inspired to keep taking another step forward. I am inspired to continue the journey of healing even though staying sick feels normal and comfortable -- it's what I know. Twenty-five years of a relationship with an eating disorder is hard to walk away from. But I am inspired to walk away. I am inspired to believe who He created me to be is special and unique. I am not a mistake. He made me on purpose for a purpose.

I am inspired to take God at His word... I am beautiful, victorious, enough, created, strong, amazing, capable, chosen, never alone and always loved. You are all these things too!


Last weekend we babysat our sweet Emily all day Saturday and through the night. On Sunday morning, after she woke and had her morning banana, I turned on Jesus kid's music, held her close and danced around our kitchen with her. Oh what fun! She never fails to make all things better. Being her grandma truly is the bestest!

What are you trusting, grateful for, inspired by, and doing for fun? Join Brené here in sharing your TGIF every Friday, or share with me below. I love hearing from you.


Friday, July 5, 2019

TGIF | God Box

Can I be honest in telling you writing this post comes with quite a bit of anxiety? I wrote and shared a TGIF post last week and I can count on two hands how many views it had. I know it should not be about the numbers and those number DO NOT define my self-worth, yet it still left me discouraged and questioning what I’m doing. I also accidentally deleted the first TGIF post I wrote in the midst my “I’m not enough” rant (to myself that is). Oops, and oh well.

I am committed more than ever before to walk this journey towards healing. And writing again has helped, so I will push through the doubts and insecurities and trust He has purpose in bringing me back to this space.

TGIF – Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration and Fun Friday


The trust topic with Rachel, my therapist, this week past was to trust that it’s okay to feel disappointed, but I don’t need to take ownership of that disappointment. Meaning—not every disappointment is a result of me failing in some way. To feel disappointed does not mean I am a disappointment.

Image Source: Scripture Pictures, by Naphy Joiner


I have experienced overwhelming gratitude for my husband these past few weeks. Let me just say—he loves me so well! He is my hero, not only for his commitment to service our country, but for his commitment to be there for me and to love me no matter what. I have to believe that loving someone through 20+ years of struggling with an eating disorder is super hard.

Happy Independence Day!


As I talked about disappointments with Rachel, I was reminded of a creative idea I read about in Anne Lamott’s book, HELP, THANKS, WOW. She writes about starting a God Box to let go of those things that are weighing you down by surrendering them to God. It’s the practice of literally writing down on a piece of paper what you are wrestling with and then placing that paper in the God Box – releasing it to God.

To say to God, “It’s yours, I’m done.

Image Source: Scripture Pictures

Rachel carried this a step further and suggested I start a journal to keep a record of my victories. She is quick to make sure I see them and celebrate them. I see a long road ahead of me in this journey to healing, but I have also made significant progress from where I was several months ago. There have been many victories.

Whatever I walk through
Wherever I am
Your Name can move mountains
Wherever I stand
-Highlands, by Hillsong UNITED

Friends, His name CAN move mountains! He is moving mountains I had begun to believe were unmovable.

I am inspired to create the God Box and to record my victories. And I am inspired to celebrate those victories!

“For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” - Deuteronomy 20:4


I have a hunch this portion of TGIF will often (quite likely always) involve a memory of fun had with our sweet granddaughter (and granddaughter to come). I simply can’t get enough of her. My son does not need to ask me twice to babysit, and it even requires a two-hour drive to get to them. While I hate the drive, I will not say no to time together.

She's the cutest!

What are you trusting, grateful for, inspired by, and doing for fun? Join Brené here in sharing your TGIF every Friday, or share with me below. I love hearing from you.

Friday, June 28, 2019

TGIF | The Healing Journey

TGIF - Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration and Fun Fridays


Trust has been a hard one for me the past two weeks. It's always about learning to trust God more and I need to trust Him more in the rising strong process. In Brené Brown's book, Rising Strong, she provides a three-step Rising Strong Process:

  • The Reckoning: walking into our story (identify/engage with emotions)
  • The Rumble: owning our story (the story I'm making up)
  • The Revolution: writing a new ending 

I'm doing a lot of "reckoning" with my emotions instead of going with the previous behavior of suppressing them and hoping they go away, but over time I have allowed them to define me. And this reckoning process is not fun. The "rumble" is not fun either. Most of the time I see how I'm leaning on my own understanding and interpretation of events (my interpretation being not one hundred percent accurate). The actual rumble to investigate what's really happening, which typically requires engagement with the other person(s) involved in the story, I'm not doing so much. The rumble is essential to get to the revolution step.

The diagnosis report from when I first began seeking out a therapist includes: depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorder and relationship problems.

I'm learning how true the relationship problems are (the diagnosis first took me by surprise, and it hurt) because I disengage and self-protect instead of trusting God by showing up vulnerable and human in my relationships. I see the greatness of the disengagement behavior and the impact. A term I identify with is UNTETHERED.

As my therapist, Rachel, has said, it took many moments to bring me here and it will likely take many moments of choosing to show up vulnerable before I experience the healing I seek. Often, we want healing to be an event, and God is able to do that, but more often than not He has purpose in the journey to healing.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Scripture Pictures - Artist: Nina Jensen


I'm grateful for time away with our family. We spent a lovely (not perfect but all together lovely) week in Estes Park, Colorado with our boys and their wives, and our sweet little granddaughter. Colorado is one of our most favorite places. A journey to the mountains feels like I've journeyed closer to God--His presence more greatly experienced.

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds." Psalm 9:1


I pulled out my NIKON camera for our Colorado trip, which was first purchased in 2008 prior to going to Colorado with our two boys (they were much younger obviously).

Same Camera, Same Rock, a little less sunny

Basically, the camera is much older now. The camera appears to work the same as it did way back then, and as I'm capturing moments inspiration grows to take up photography again. But then... I return home and upload the photos to my home computer and the inspiration fizzles out. Not good enough.

Seriously, when will this stop?!?! I do this with everything.

Writing - not good enough
Photography - not good enough
Ministry - not good enough
Work - not good enough
And the list goes on.

I watched a YouTube video of Priscilla Shirer delivering a sermon from Exodus 14. She tells a story of her intern not following instructions her husband sent in a text when traveling out of Dallas Fort Worth airport together. The intern got delayed at the security check point so Priscilla's husband sent her a text telling her what gate to meet them at. The intern read the text but assumed he meant something different from what he wrote and headed to a whole different terminal. When the intern finally caught up with them on the plane seconds before it was to depart and explained what happened, Priscilla's husband said to her, “You know, you could’ve saved yourself so much trouble if you had simply believed that what I wrote is what I meant.”

If only I truly believed that what God wrote about me in the Bible was truly what He meant... to see myself as He sees me. Oh, the headaches and sleepless nights it would likely save.

"Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you." Isaiah 43:4

The thing is, I never allow myself to rest in what I know are lies from the enemy. I am not passive here. I actively seek God through His Word, I listen as He speaks truth my heart needs to hear, and I continually see Him move in my life in miraculous ways.

Inspiration, and strength, to take another step forward in the journey to healing comes from Him and through Him. He uses godly women to inspire me. And this writing again...He's using truth telling about the struggle to do work in me beyond what you'll see here in this space.

Inspirational Truth: "I'm not fighting for victory, but from victory. And this changes everything."


Time with our sweet granddaughter, Emily, always equates to FUN times. She really does make everything better. We love her so much!!

What are you trusting, grateful for, inspired by, and doing for fun? Join Brené here in sharing your TGIF every Friday, or share with me below. I love hearing from you.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Pursuing Authenticity

Coffee dates with girlfriends are one of my most favorite activities. Those two hours because they always tends to be at least two hours in length are such a time of blessing and encouragement. And I'd like to believe we both walk away equally encouraged, although I often fear I do too much of the talking and need to practice listening more.

The topic of writing came up at a recent coffee date. My sweet friend extended words of affirmation regarding my writing and encouraged me to be in prayer about returning to writing.

Honestly... I have discovered I have a fear of writing. Maybe not a fear of actually writing but a fear of the emotions that tend to come when I write -- a fear of returning to another place where I allow "not good enough" to reign. I also question if God is calling me to write. What if God is saying no to something I want? But what if this is something God is calling me to and I am letting fear win?

Could I put those questions aside, for now, and simply write? I raised the topic with my therapist and she asked, "could writing be an avenue towards healing, and could you write without placing any expectations on yourself and simply write for you?"

I think the question I need to answer is, could I simply be me and not allow writing to be another wrestle for worthiness?

Months ago I received two copies of the Magnolia Journal in the mail. On the front of the cover it read, "The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be." I saw God's hand in delivering two copies of this issue to my mailbox. He knows my thoughts - He knows exactly where they go -- the world needs someone else, not me.

I have read three Brené Brown books over the past seven months, and I'm currently reading #4.

Braving the Wilderness—Belonging.
The Gifts of Imperfection—Be you.
Daring Greatly—Be all in.
Rising Strong—Fall. Get up. Try again.

In her book Rising Strong as she writes about how one of the "truisms" for living wholeheartedly, she say,“You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” ~ Brené Brown

Friends, I need to be done with the hustle for worthiness. For me that comes with being authentic about the struggle (depression, anxiety and an eating disorder) but also having the courage to show up and simply be who God made me to be. As Brené also says, "to let go of who I think I'm supposed to be and embrace who I am."

But to embrace who I am - who God created me to be - I know that involves getting to know my deepest, most authentic self, and doing the hard work of engaging (or reckoning and rumbling) with my emotions. There are so many layers to break through. At the core though, as Michelle DeRusha writes in her book True You, "my identity as a child of God is everything. I know without that, I have nothing; without that, I am nothing."

Our church recently did a sermon series on 2 Corinthians. In the first chapter of 2 Corinthians we see the God of All Comfort in the first several versus. We see how suffering is an opportunity for God to work through us - that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

But we have a choice to make - will our principle identity be found in God or in our suffering? For me, I've allowed my identify to be placed in not-enough. But God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that I am more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). Faith is believing Him - trusting in Him. I am who He says I am!

There is a connection in all this that I am trying to make. If only the words would pour out more clearly. Maybe it's in what I said to my pastor following his sermon, "The enemy is attacking me from every angle but he will not win. Though I may be stumbling, I know God will not let me fall. He continues to uphold me. I know in this season of suffering (where the lies are louder than the truth) He is doing something in and through me. I know and trust He will do a new thing. For I know our God is good and He is faithful to all that He promises.

I feel like much is left unsaid when I make the attempt to express myself. I tend to think I'm not making sense but I have been told my perception in that thinking is not accurate. Oh how I'm working on trusting -- trusting in Him -- trusting He will do more than I can ask or imagine with this offering.

Can I end with this? Words from the beautiful Ann Voskamp -- "God is good and you are always loved."

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Raise a Hallelujah

In my last post I shared with you a few verses to a song I've been singing over and over. Because my one word this year is SING, and I am singing friends. I think just maybe I will sing a little more with you.

Toward the end of the song the lead singer speaks out these words as the melody of the song continues to play:

"Begin to raise your own Hallelujah
There's a song written on your heart that only you can sing
When you sing enemies flee
When you sing prison walls come falling down
When you sing heaven invades the earth
Raise it like a banner
Raise it like a flag
Raise it in the middle of the storm
Let it rise
Like a symphony to the King
Sing a little louder!"
Raise a Hallelujah

Those words are on repeat in my mind. Mainly the lines about singing and enemies fleeing and prison walls falling down and heaven invading the earth. Why? Friends, when I begin to sing - to give Him all my praise and worship - I witness those very things take place.

Maybe it's only in my mind but as I sing I experience the battle being won. I'm reminded that victory is sure.

And I need this reminder as the battle of lies versus truth plays out in my mind. I know we are not to give our enemy too much power, but we also cannot minimize his realness and the fact that he is high bent on stealing our joy. As my dear friend wrote in an email - the enemy is trying to get me from every angle.

My continual response now is to sing, and to sing louder and louder.

There are times when the singing isn't literal singing, but it takes the form of speaking out the truth of who He is - the truth of His goodness, love, grace and mercy. And the truth that even though the world may seem like it's spinning out of control, we are not without hope. He reigns! He is a promise-keeper. The promises He makes throughout the Bible are promises we can bank on.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20

I had coffee yesterday with two women who are part of a small group I have the privileged of leading. In the two and half hours we spent together we covered a range of topics.

We talked about King David and how even though he was a man after God's own heart, he stumbled often but God did not let him fall - though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand (Psalm 37:24). There's such encouragement in that for us.

We talked about how our heart aches for family and friends who do not know God, or who have turned away from Him. Yet, we proclaimed the reckless love of our God and the hope we have that He will chase them down. I know it's a hope I must cling to.

We shared our testimonies and marveled at the undeniable truth of God. When you hear our stories what other explanation can there be? But God and Only God!

We spoke of our shared desires to be bolder in our faith. To have a greater fear of God, rather than a fear of how another may respond to the truth we speak. But please God, help us speak the truth in love.

We dove into politics and social issues - topics we are trained as leaders to divert from. But there we were discussing these things. At one point, even though everything we said pointed back to God and the truth of His word, and how that truth includes we are to love despite our differences, I made us pause to admit we had crossed over to topics I should not allow. I took a moment to ensure there were no hurt feelings. I knew ultimately we each approached these topics with a desire for Him to help us to love like Christ. That even when it's hard, when our differences scare us, may we show up regardless and love.

Why do I tell you about this coffee date? I believe it's because in those two and a half hours the three of us each raised our own Hallelujah. We sang the songs of our hearts - the realness of hard seasons but the truth that God is who He says He is. It was our symphony to our King.

I drove home to that song - Raise a Hallelujah - and once again marveled at the awesomeness of our God. When we sing, heaven really does invade the earth. And isn't that because He dwells in us so as we raise our Hallelujah's we do our part in bringing heaven to earth?

When you walk into our home I have these words on a frame: Love deeply, welcome gladly, serve faithfully, so that in all things God may be praised. This is taken from 1 Peter 4:8-11. This is where I will end today - in all things may God be praised! May we raise our Hallelujah's to Him and then watch the enemy - our real enemy - flee. Watch strongholds be broken, relationships restored, the blind see, and so much more. Watch God do more than we can ask or imagine.

And then sing a little louder!


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

My One Word :: Sing

Hello friends. 

Being here seems foreign to me. The last time I sat down to write a post (or to write for that matter) was April 2018. It took me several attempts to even login this morning. Why am I here now? I honestly do not know other than to say I do give thought to this space on occasion and wonder if I could return to sharing here on a more frequent basis. I never seem to come to a sureness.

Yet, here I am. I think it may have something to do with it being a new year. And not only a new year, but a year of new beginnings.

My employer recently moved from one town to another (closer to home). We are in a completely new space (new everything!), and I also enter my tenth year with this company. A new year and new space is allowing for a new beginning, or a fresh start, which I have discovered I desperately need.

I also turn 50 this year. I close out a decade and begin a new one.

So yes, a new year with new beginnings! Why not begin writing again? Yes? No?

I am not sure where to begin though. I have always asked God to make the act of writing flow more naturally. I dislike the constant hardness of transferring thoughts from my mind to the written form. I seek perfection or the ability to write more like her (her being a long list of others who do this better). If I cannot be perfect or like her than why bother?

I know, such wrong thinking. I remain so very good at the wrong thinking. But God! New year, new beginning. He's at work in my mind and in my heart.

As I leave one decade and begin another, this is the clarity He has given me... I have given the enemy too much occupancy in my mind for far too long.

Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.
Not smart enough.
Not enough.

And the not enough's give way to feelings of not-belonging. I see how much the not-enough's and not-belonging have impacted the extent to which I withdraw from connection. I have stopped showing up, unless if feels safe to do so.

In addition to the wrong thinking and it's effects, military life and far too much time apart from my husband is having it's own effects. We are pushing through and even though I don't understand or quite know how to explain all the emotions and hardness of this season, what I do know is our God is faithful and trustworthy one hundred percent of the time.

And though I feel like I am constantly stumbling in all my different roles, I believe His promise in Psalm 37:24 so very much, "though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." Psalm 37:24

As I rest in His sovereignty and goodness, the hardness doesn't magically disappears but each day I experience His faithfulness to provide all that I need to make it through another day.

What does all this have to do with my one word -- the title of this post?

I sat with a dear friend recently - one who shows up regardless of how many times I tell her I remain in this place of believing I am not good enough. In a place of wishing He created me to be someone else - anyone but me. But if all He has created, and He created us in His image, is good, doesn't that apply to me too? I even went as far to say that I had begun to question if I was really a Christ follower.

As I said those words out loud to her the flood gates opened. The enormity of the lies... for I know I love the LORD our God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (Deut. 6:5).

And then gradually through worship songs He led me to my one word. I saw how I needed to SING louder than my unbelief. And oh how I have been singing....

"I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief
I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody
I raise a hallelujah, heaven comes to fight for me."
Raise a Hallelujah

"And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God"
Goodness of God

There's a song in my soul
And I feel it stirring in me
This I know for sure
That Your love is like a flood
And Your mercy never ending
I give my song to You
Song in my Soul

So friends, I'm going to sing in the middle of this hardness. I'm going to sing louder and louder of His goodness and love. "Louder and louder you're going to hear my praises roar."

Let's sing a little louder together, shall we?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Filling The Void

Hello there, friends!

I’m sitting here on this Saturday afternoon waiting for my Lemon Bundt cake to bake. I have never made a Lemon Bundt cake before. And I feel rather confident this first attempt won’t turn out so well. First of all, I have not previously zested a lemon and I believe I used too much flour. I probably could have added more buttermilk before I poured the batter into the Bundt pan. Anyways… we will wait and see what happens.

It has been a quiet few days here in my home. I tend to be intentional with filling up my calendar but scheduled plans this past week cancelled so I have had a free calendar since dinner with a dear friend on Tuesday night.

Let me just say the quietness has been hard. It makes me miss my husband a gazillion times more and missing him more often does not seem possible. But apparently it is.

I have plans tonight though. Woot! Woot! This is why I am making the Lemon Bundt cake. Two friends from my younger years (one I have known since Junior High and the other since High School) are coming over tonight. We are making dinner together…Chicken and Dumplings.

Do you recall me telling you I do not cook or bake?

I am not sure if there is a purpose to this post. I sat down to write as my eyes began to water…again. Ya’ll, I’m missing my husband something fierce. I do this and that to fill up my time but evening always comes and the only thing I want is to curl up on our sofa next to him. Instead I curl up with a blanket, a small glass of wine, and partake in whatever Netflix series I am in the midst of.

I have watched in its entirety Jane the Virgin and Rectify so far. Jane was entertaining and Rectify was incredibly moving and well done. I do not know what to watch next. Do you have any suggestions? It must be relatively clean, please.

Before the TV watching happens I attempt to be productive. I choose to engage my mind with good things – helpful things. Can I share a few of those “things” with you?

I am addicted to Emily Freeman. I adore her!! Like very much so!! She speaks to my soul through either her podcast “The Next Right Thing” or her book “Simply Tuesday.” Episode 10 of her podcast, Be Where You Are, has reminded me to slow down.

“God comes to me where I live and loves me where I am. If I am not where I am, God cannot meet me there.”

She reminds us to be where you are instead of rushing ahead to where you think you need to be. That is hard, friends, because I would give anything to rush ahead to my husband’s return home. But I am learning to trust that God is doing something very much needed in and through me right here and now.

****These silly tears… if only I could write why they come. This writing thing…it’s so darn hard. Oh how I wish you could gather with me at my table. I’ve got a Bundt cake!!****

I have been reading and listening much on how to listen well. Because as someone said on some podcast (I honestly can’t remember who or where), “Without intention, listening well will not happen.”

Heather Holleman has inspired me to give living with flair a try.

Could I find a way to make every day joyful and meaningful? Just as a sentence turns into something beautiful with the right verb and punctuation, can I learn to revise my day and punctuate it with flair? Could I record something memorable--some evidence of God at work--every single day?”

Finding evidence of God – oh yes, there is evidence of God to be found, All. The. Time! Writing it down – I’m trying.

Francie Winslow is teaching me needed wisdom on bringing heaven into our home and how “it begins right here in our homes. In our bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens.” She’s all about helping us build our marriage connection. I cannot believe I am going there here, but her words of encouragement on how sex is a holy gift from God that connects two to become one… oh friends, I pray for me to see this rightly and to do this better when my husband returns home. There is so much room for growth here.

Francie and her Facebook group, Heaven In Your Home, introduced me to Java with Julie (aka, Julie Slattery of Authentic Intimacy). Two of her recent podcasts, “Navigating Different Views on Sexuality” and “Listening So People Will Talk” are so worth your listening time. In the second podcast she addresses parents of adult children becoming better listeners -- to give less advice and listen more -- to ask better questions so they will talk more. I tuned in rather intently to that portion.

And for quick inspiration, Lisa Whittle speaks right to my heart with her daily 5 Word Prayers podcast. She has a series that speaks to friendships and covers topics such as jealousy and comparison. I have a big struggle on these two topics with a coworker (I am the one with the jealousy and comparison problem) and I really need to as Lisa says, SQUASH IT!

Lisa ends one of those podcasts by saying, "Jesus is Everything. May He be your everything today." Sounds like a lovely way to end our time together.

May He be our everything!
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Monday, April 16, 2018

God's Providential Hand

This past Friday, April 13th, my husband messaged me saying, “Today is 8 years complete.”  On April 13, 2010 he enlisted in the Army Reserves.

My response… It has been a crazy 8 years.

Our military life journey began before the April 13th date. Maybe it began with me thinking I could forbid my husband to speak about our son potentially enlisting in the military. I actually stormed out on a dinner date with my younger sister and her husband because my husband had the audacity to bring up the topic yet again.

My standard response to the idea… No!! I will not have it.

I imagine our God has a sense of humor and I think every time I made this declaration He smiled with a hint of laughter for the story He had already written for us. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 19:11).”

Here we are 8 years later. I tried to forbid military life for our son and it became a way of life for us as a family. Even after my acceptance to this drastic life change (my husband was 41 at the time he enlisted) never could I have imagined what God had planned for us.

Our present reality is not the focus of this post though. The focus I desire is God’s sovereignty.

Because this I believe… that night when I stormed out of the restaurant and left my husband in the care of family to drive him home, God’s providential hand was at work. It had been at work in and through and over us all along writing our But God story with defining moments that would discipline us to get our attention. That night in the restaurant was one of those defining moments.

Another defining moment came when in a counseling session with our son and a counselor we used for several years for us individually and as a couple. Enlistment in the military came up in the discussion as an option for our son and my son’s response was, “My mom won’t let me.”

My son did not need my consent. He simply wanted my support.

He enlisted for the first time in the U.S. Navy on April 30, 2009 (there’s more to this story which involves a broken collar bone, a cancelled contract and another enlistment).

Another rather significant defining moment came when my husband approached me with his desire to enlist in the Army Reserves. I did not storm out of the restaurant we were in that evening when, dare I say, he bravely told me of this desire. Quite the opposite happened – I looked at him with overflowing admiration.

On September 18, 2010 we celebrated my husband’s departure for Basic Training and our son’s departure to soon follow in January 2011.

Seriously, we were not capable of dreaming up such a story. But God is able to write such a story.

I had every intention of winning in forbidding military life for our family. But God in turn used military life to draw us to Him (read story here). I can now look back and see His providential hand in those defining moments, and all the moments between, bringing us to where we are now.

I see God in all things. I can go back to the day I first told my husband I wanted a divorce. An early morning in bed where I sat up, looked at him convinced a life apart was the best way, and told him, “I can’t do this anymore.”

I see all the ways God put obstacles and storms in our path to redirect us to His way for us. I see all the ways God chased after us… where he was leaving the 99 to go after two.

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Reckless Love, Cory Asbury

As our Executive Pastor said in his sermon last Sunday on Jonah, Chapter 1 – “The Love of God chases us. He doesn’t give up on us.”

God was relentless in getting our attention to re-route us to Him with a soul purpose of life transformation – a new life with Him at the center.

The sovereign, providential hand of God did whatever was required to get us where we needed to be – in a relationship with Him - because of His overwhelming, never-ending reckless love for us. May our response to His discipline and love always be, “Lord, have your way with us.” I say this because I’m full aware there is much more work to be done.

But I am confident of this, “he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).”

I have far extended my word count limit, friends. I pray the post to follow this will tell you what I desire to say when someone questions the realness of our God. I pray for boldness to speak of His most excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31). I pray I never tire of giving thanks for HIS providential hand in my (in our) life.

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15).”

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Friday, April 13, 2018

{More} Things I'm Discovering

These things I’m discovering appear to be the easier posts to write. The many other things I want to tell you about – like the wonder and miracles He performs that truly cannot be counted – remain a process of moving thoughts from my head to paper. What I want to express seems to get lost in translation.

Source: Scripture Pictures

If we were to spend any time together face-to-face, you would find me apologizing often for my inability to express myself clearly… convinced what comes out are merely jumbled up thoughts.

You might tell me I’m doing just fine. I would thank you for being kind, and patient.

There really is much I want to tell you. It will come.

Until such time, it’s apparently a season of discovery so why not continue to share the discoveries with you? Okay? I shall make the assumption you're responding with an okay back to me. ☺

When invited to someone’s home, bring the hostess chocolates (one suggestion) instead of cut flowers. If you have your hearts set on cut flowers, come with a vase and arrange the flowers for your sweet hostess upon your arrival. I support this suggestion knowing if you were to show up at my home with cut flowers it would immediately throw off my “best hostess ever” intentions. While I’m sure your cut flowers would be beautiful, instead of me focused on greeting you as my honored guest I am instead frantically looking for the vase I know I do not own or went into hiding. Point being, lets be mindful of unnecessarily unraveling our sweet hostesses. I totally get not wanting to show up empty handed which is why I appreciated this wisdom.

True humility also includes not thinking less of yourself. My discovery… I need to work on my humbleness. Lord, make me humble.

Jesus commands us to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15).” And in Romans 1:16 we learn from Paul that we should not be ashamed of the gospel, “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” This isn’t new knowledge, but an awakening in my heart to be obedient to all He commands and a prayer to be more bold and unashamed to share the best news EVER! Lord, please make this especially so with my children.

Speaking of prayer, I have come to realize I need to not only read about living more of a praying life, I need to get on with the business of praying. Like the on my hands and knees kind of praying. Not only is PRAYER my One Word for 2018, but as Priscilla Shirer writes in her book Fervant, “Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. It is kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you” and the people you love. Lord, make me a prayer warrior.

Speaking of obedience, this may need to be my new life verse – “love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life (Deuteronomy 30:20).” In summary: love, obey and commit for He is our life. Lord, may I walk in a manner that reflects your reign in my life.

My heart’s desire is for deeper connection with woman but while this is my heart’s desire there can be circumstances when it’s so hard. I attended a party recently where there were brief signs of connection but I left knowing I gave Satan the upper hand (again) and let him steal my opportunity for joy. Lord, may I no longer let comparison be the thief of my joy. Like really, it needs to stop.

Speaking of connection, the lovely Shauna Niequist reminded me of the importance of having a friend who is brave enough to say something difficult to help bring you to the next level of growth. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses (Proverbs 27:6).” We need to tell each other the truth so we can get better. It may hurt but may we have a friend who can be trusted. Lord, thank you for my dear friend, Susan. She speaks truth even when it hurts but she has proven to be a safe place--someone I can trust. And, Lord, make me a safe place for another. Help me point them to You.

For fun… Everyone must have a globe (or many globes) in their home! ❤ I’m discovering most people do. Do you? I’m on the hunt for an antique globe for my oldest son and his wife for their new home.

We will end on that fun note. Truthfully though… go get yourself a globe if you don’t have one. It’s more fun to antique shop for one versus heading out to Hobby Lobby (mind you, their globes are cute and I would totally get wanting to walk out with one).

Thank you for gathering here with me, friend.

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