My new blog is fully functional now and I'm anxious to get started on this new chapter in my life. Look for more real, honest entries straight out of my journal and morning quiet times. I'm also planning on hosting a discussion on The Hunger Games in a few weeks. I hope you'll join us. You can also find me Jewels of Encouragement every month on the 24th. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope to see you along the road. May your battles always end victoriously.
Happy Tuesday to all! I can't believe we're halfway through June already! Is it just me or is this year flying by too fast? I feel like I've been on one of those roller coasters that spins and dips and flips upside down...I'm kind of dizzy! The last few months have been quite eventful. I won't bore you with details but here's a short summary:
I began entering the weekly writing challenges over at Faithwriters.com. It would appear that my writing course at Longridge paid off. Through a handful of well placed entries I advanced all the way to the highest level. I am among the masters now and anxious to find out where God is leading me next. I stepped down from the worship team and now my special music is limited to an occasional Thursday night service. So while I haven't been as active with the blog as I would like, I've still been writing as often as possible. Speaking of which...
Be on the lookout for a new blog address to find me. I am shutting this one down and starting over in a new direction. My new blog is called Letters to God. I'll be sharing my morning quiet times and journal entries with an occasional story or guest post thrown in for diversity. I hope you'll stick around! More to come in a few days. Stay tuned and thanks for hanging with me this far. I can't wait to see what's around the next corner. The sword and the shield are cleansed and rested...
Happy Friday! I'm over at Jewels of Encouragement today. I hope you'll drop by and leave me a comment so I know you've been there. Also, you may have noticed the beautiful photos I've been using in my posts. If you get the chance, do drop by Eric's website and check out his work or leave a comment for him. I know he would appreciate it. I hope you're encouraged in the coming week! If God has done something amazing for you I want to hear about it!
I suppose at the heart of every great battle stands a
warrior looking for the nearest exit. He tugs at his helmet as the sweat drips
down his chin and soaks his chest. His armor is heavy and his fear heavier. He
knows that someone will die today. Will it be him? He stands at the ready,
spear in position and shield in place. He faces his enemy and prays with every
ounce of his strength, “Dear God, please do not let my death be in vain!”
I’ve had to reposition my armor lately because frankly, it’s
getting uncomfortable. The war I’m engaged in is intense. I am weary,
battle scarred, and discouraged. If I die tomorrow will the choices I have made
in this life bring any glory to God in the next? I can only hope and pray.
Perhaps the secret to fighting well is not so much in wearing the armor or standing on the front lines. Maybe it’s all about choosing to rise and forcing oneself to stand upright when surrender seems more appealing. Armor is certainly important and battles cannot be won without facing the opponent. Before victory can be achieved perhaps the warrior just needs to believe his legs are functional and will carry him where he needs to go. Maybe all I have to do is believe I can…
If it takes me all stinking day I am going to write something, anything...I will not stare at a blank screen today...
I suppose I could stand to listen to my own advice as posted here. Failure can be a good thing. It forces us to be real with ourselves and the world around us. Speaking of which, if you've been following me during the last month you may have noticed that my Project Kindness got scrapped. I gave up after a week but only because I realized how daunting the whole thing really was. I can't realistically make myself go out of my way to do something nice for someone 365 days out of the year. It was a great idea in theory but I'm going to be honest. Chronic pain makes it hard to do a lot of stuff. As I move on from that brief, though well-intended hiccup, I learned two things. I don't have to be Superwoman to show the world I care and the fact that I'm aware of others and making the conscious effort says enough on its own. Case closed and moving on. Today I'm working on another less grandiose achievement.
You know that feeling you get when the world around you seems to move so fast that you get dizzy? Things move at lightning speed and you're left exhausted, a little sick, and ready to just...stop. As in stop this ride, I want to get off right now. Yeah, that's me. Can I please have five seconds to gather my strength and breathe a little? Two weeks ago I woke up in excruciating pain...again. Endometriosis is a cruel and hateful disease, caring little if you're still paying off the last four surgeries and going through menopause in your 30s. All it knows is destruction. So I spent the next week fighting with my body. Then I got really depressed. Then I found out that a family member I dearly love is fighting cancer. Then I started having recurring nightmares again. Then I decided to sit down and write about it all and ended up staring at a blank screen. And getting more depressed. It's been a long month but guess what? I finally have good news!
Today I decided that I'm not going to stare at a blank screen anymore. I'm going to push past the failure, defeat, and depression and call it like it is. I am not a quitter (most of the time) and I refuse to give up. I read a blog yesterday that really got under my skin. The author asked the question- "Why must we go through these horrible events and situations in our lives? Why?" I was very blunt in my response. "What keeps me going is hope. I have a living hope in something (Someone) I can't see but feel is as real to me as the pain I am experiencing as we speak. I know it's all temporary and some day I will be free...Why do we go through this hell? I believe it's so that we will turn to God. In anger, sadness, comfort or simply to yell at him, I believe he just wants to hear our voice..."
Bad things happen so that we will turn to God...and find our freedom in his restraints. In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul urges us to purge out the old leaven so that we may become new. Perhaps another reason bad things happen is so that we may be cleansed- cleansed from toxic thoughts and behaviors that hinder us from truly pressing forward toward the mark of Christ. Our greatest joys and triumphs are a direct result of our greatest pain and suffering. Nothing valuable is achieved without hard work and anything worth having is worth suffering for. That's just the way it is.
Today I'm celebrating a small victory. My screen isn't blank anymore.
At the close of every year I like
to look back and reflect on lessons learned and revelations discovered about
the last 12 months. 2011 turned out to be quite eventful and jam-packed full of
new discoveries and experiences. I’m happy to say that I grew both as a
Christian and as a person. My loved ones ran alongside me and did their best to
help me stay humble and happy. Aside from discovering that it takes about nine
months for a bad haircut to grow out, here some other details you might have
We kicked off the New Year with a
bowl of dog food and a tragedy. Angelina discovered that dog food doesn’t go
with cereal the same way that reality tv doesn’t go with the Disney channel.
There are some things that humans just are not supposed to consume. Zach came
to the painful awareness that nobody is immune to depression and even his peers
have the power to make drastic, tragic choices when life becomes too
Spring was filled with recurring
nightmares, a lesson in forgiveness, and the stark reality that my hemlines
were causing heartburn. I discovered that hackers do exist and that online
shopping is a big no-no in our house from now on. I learned that anger cannot
be treated unless it’s cut out at the root and there is no deed so big that it
cannot be forgiven by the grace of God. Oh and here’s a friendly reminder in
case you happen to ever get in this situation. When someone asks you to lower
your hemline, they’re really not being mean. They’re simply tired of looking at
your underwear in church.
My summer depression was relatively
mild this year although I did have long stretches where I couldn’t write
anything at all. During this time I learned that contentment is a choice, there
are no coincidences, and when the bank says they’re working with you what they
really mean is that you should start packing because they’re going to take your
house. I celebrated my birthday in a new home (after only a week of searching
and packing) and discovered that despite my best efforts, God still won’t fit
into any of the pretty boxes I designed for him. He is the master of the
impossible and peace is his way of telling me that the problem has already been
Fall paved the way for new
friendships, new beginnings, and new awakenings. I celebrated my tenth wedding
anniversary without the fluffy white dress but it was a great party anyway. I
got beautiful pictures thanks to my talented new friend, Eric Leffler. As a result of
his efforts my passion for writing was reawakened. We’re still waiting to hear
back from the editors, by the way. Angelina learned where babies come from
while I became the first of my friends to reach that milestone. Although I
appreciate that I get to be the genius everyone runs to for advice now, I
totally get why mom made me wait until I was 13 to tell me the truth about
Santa. There is a limit to how much trauma a parent should be allowed to
inflict on herself.
My baby sister helped me understand
that there is a hero inside all of us and that people are responding to our
efforts to do good even if they are not saying a single word. She convinced me
to write a book but I unconvinced myself when I looked at the facts. I’m just
not ready to take that step yet but the ground work has been laid. I’m
surrounded by people who love and support me and I’m continuing to learn about
what it takes to be a great writer.
The holiday season was the most
memorable I’ve ever had. Our Thanksgiving table was accompanied by two
ex-convicts who have done hard time in prison for murder. It was such an honor
having them there and hearing about how God had changed them from the inside
out. If redemption had a face I’m pretty sure it would look like those two.
Listening to Bill talk reminded me of my own first Thanksgiving outside of my
own “prison”. Although we have nothing in common, I felt connected to him
because I know how it feels to sit among total strangers and feel more love
than you know what to do with. I wanted to bottle that moment and keep it with
me forever. (Too bad Eric wasn’t there to capture it)
For the first time in ten years we
left the snow chains in the car and stayed home for Christmas. I discovered
that I rock in the kitchen and that cooking for 12 people is easier than I
thought. My turkey is good enough to feed the Pope or even George Clooney. Just
don’t ask me to make pumpkin pie. That record is about 50/50 at the moment.
Before we close out another year,
here are some of my most recent revelations-
·When sponsoring a woman working her steps, make
sure you’re guarded and prayed up because you will get hurt.
·Always practice before Sunday morning. Always.
·Nothing is more haunting than blue lights on a
track field and cancer survivors are among the bravest people in the world.
·Do what you’re good at and do it often. Don’t
waste time on stupid stuff that doesn’t matter or won’t help change the world,
even in a small way. Life is too short to dwell on past mistakes and failures
but it gets really tedious when you’re not living up to your full potential.
·Never cut your hair off right before summer. Just say no.
Happy New Year and God bless you abundantly in 2012! I love