Wednesday, December 30, 2015


In the past, many have chosen a word for the coming year. For example. "Be". As in be present. Be in the Word. Be accountable and so on and so forth.

For a while now I've been drawn to the "and" sign. The ampersand...&. Have you ever thought about the ampersand? To me it stands for many beginnings as well as endings. It seems like a good sign for an ever-flowing, season-filled life.

No matter what we go through in life, there is always an and. 

As I was looking for a picture of an ampersand, since I can't seem to find my very own ampersand for our house, yet, I saw the picture below and it seemed to go perfectly with my thoughts. 

"Resembling a broken infinity, the ampersand reminds
us that nothing truly lasts forever but there is always an AND"
Are you choosing a word, phrase or symbol for the new year? Share in the comments, if so. I'd love to hear your choosing and the reason behind it. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Maine Trip

We did it. After...wait here while I get out a calculator....feel free to hum to yourself as you wait...pretend it's hold music....I'm back... After twenty-seven years of marriage, Hubs and I went away for a long weekend by ourselves. Kind of. Sort of. Really not really.

After waking up at way-too-early o'clock in the morning, we boarded a plane and after two take-off and two-landings, we were in Maine. And, guess who was there to meet and greet us?! Our favorite #2 daughter!!!!!!! In case you missed it, she is a missionary with an awesome organization.

We flew in on her birthday so this momma was packin' semi-fresh cinnamon rolls. I think it only took her less than five hints for me to figure out what she wanted me to bring.

We met the rest of the missionary staff, shared the cinnamon rolls, and tour the church in which they meet. One of our vacation traditions was even accomplished on the first day. Good ol' Walmart shopping trip. Why is it we can never take a vacation with out stopping there at least once. Sigh.

It was a bit windy and cloudy
until the last day.
After checking in to our hotel on the beach. Did you catch that? On.the.beach. Since it is off-season it was so much cheaper than a hotel inland. As I was saying, after checking in to our hotel ON THE BEACH, we, and a fellow staffer, went to her favorite pizza place for a celebration of the day of her birth. Her favorite place was full of deliciousness!

Our last day there, we went to her church. I decided I really liked her pastor after he began by letting the congregation know one of the phrases used in today's society, "It is what it is", is like fingernails on a chalk board. I wanted to stand up and shout my agreement and FINALLY someone understood! But, I didn't. I would have died of embarrassment and since we already paid for our flight home that would just not be "good stewardship" of our money. ;)

I have been known to tell our little family that by saying that phrase it is just telling me you do not care and are not going to try. Guess what...yup, he basically said the same thing. He related it to the verses in Exodus when Moses was pleading for the people. God had "had it up to here" with His people. But Moses pleaded with God to not do away with them.

Just think about what would have happened if Moses would have said, "It is what it is," and moved on with his own life. No, he did something. It only took one person to make a difference. God heard him.

What about us? Are we "it is what it is-ing" to death? Or are we seeing what is going on and pleading with God through pray and petition? For example...and there are many but for the sake of argument...We may not all be able to go to a country and be instrumental in putting a stop to the horrific-ness of human trafficking. But, are we pleading with God to place people in places of difference? Are we pleading God to change the heart and mind of those violating those stuck in trafficking?

It was a thought-provoking sermon to end a wonderful trip.

It was a whirl-wind of a trip. We saw her favorite places and could just "be" with her. It was wonderful. We are so thankful the other staff members said, in so many words, "Go, have fun. Spend time with your family!" I loved being able to reach out and touch her (even though she's not a big fan of touch). To see her when I talked with her. We had a couple of great talks sitting on the bed of the hotel room. It was fabulous.

Father/Daughter bonding over engine oil. 

On the last day there was FINALLY a visible sunrise!!

What a glorious start to the last day in Maine!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shower, Bats and a Recorder

"Tonight's the best night to view the Perseid Meteor Shower between midnight and 4 a.m. Look up and to the northeast," they said. It will be fun, they said.

I'm 40-cough years old and have yet to see a meteor shower no matter how many times I've looked. So, before I go to bed I make a deal with one of our daughters. "If you set your alarm to get up for the shower, wake me up and I'll go outside with you." Deal.

Shortly after mid-night we are donning hooded sweatshirts, sweat pants and boots. What, Fashion Police?! It was cool out last night.

What did I learn looking for said shower?

There are way too many bats flying around like they own the place. Which, in turn, brought back the bad memory of when two bats were flying laps inside our house. Although this happened many years ago, the trauma is real. I may have had a hard time falling asleep last night as I was reliving that traumatic time in my life.

I decided that I'm okay "holding up the house" as my viewing partner ventures out into the yard to get a better look. With the bats. BATS. Swooping bats. The house and I bonded and I'm okay with that.

I can neither confirm or deny we may have broken up some sort of "bug" party complete with music. Or perhaps we have a neighborhood ghost. (shrugs) Same thing. The music sounded like someone playing a recorder except way better than a 4th grader who is forced to learn the instrument. It was actually quite creepy especially when my viewing partner said, "I have never heard that before." And stopped.

I, also, wondered why I have never learned to spot anything more than the big and little dipper and some dude's belt. Apparently one was to look a constellation that starts with an "S" then look down and find another that starts with a "P" and you'll see the meteor shower. Ummm....I saw the little dipper.

I looked straight up and saw lots of stars. I thought that was a great start. I tried not to blink until my eyes began to dry out. I thought, perhaps, just maybe, I saw one or two meteors but then I couldn't figure out if it was because I finally blinked or if the bats swooping into my view made an optical illusion.

So, basically that is a half hour of sleep I'll never get back.

What did you learn last night?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Come. Sit. Breathe in Relief. Simply Tuesday.

"Oh, yes, that happened to me, too. When it happened to me, I just..."

From that point I take off with an elaborate story complete with facial expressions and hand gestures. [Big sigh and shaking my head] No. I'm not dramatic in the least.

In the past, I thought it was helpful for the other person to know she isn't alone. Problems, fears, you name it, happen to all of us. But, am I competing with the other person when I throw 'been there, done that, survived' into the ring of discussion and make it about me?

I'm not saying relating to a person by saying, "it happened to me" isn't helpful. But, I believe there is a time and place for it.

I'm reading a great book by author Emily P. Freeman entitled Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. It is one of those books in which you've highlighted a tremendous amount of sentences and/or paragraphs it has you wonder if you should own stock in the yellow highlighter company! I come from a long line of "you do not write or highlight in a book...books are for reading". So, to say I have actually colored most of my book...well, the struggle is real.

As I was innocently reading chapter 7, I began to feel conviction in my soul. It is a chapter of connection and competition and a mention of the dreaded people-pleaser. [dun-dun-dunnnn] Hi. I'm Deanna and I'm a people-pleaser. [sigh] As the author so aptly wrote, "It's an issue of safety and control [ouch], which is a subtle form of competition, the enemy of connection [double ouch]."

When I turn the conversation to me, even though I think I'm helping, I really begin to take away her safety in our communication. I steer away from her and point to me. "...people need our with-ness" not me trying to think of what to say next to make her feel better. Counselor, I am not. Fixer, sometimes...okay most of the time...people just want someone to hear them not fix them. Did you hear me? Really hear them. And, when we really hear them, "we need not compete, we need only to connect".

Am I practicing what I've just confessed? I'm trying. Really trying. When I revert back to my old ways, I'm much more aware. It gives me permission to be. To hear.

I can invite her onto a bench of connection and safety. A bench where the world slows down and breathes. A bench of stillness - of just being. A bench of sharing and being heard. A bench where the Holy Spirit talks to us and through us. A place of smallness in this huge world.

When is the last time you've sat still for five minutes and just breathed? Yeah, I can't remember either.

Psst...come close. Inhale and release. Felt good, huh. Go on - sit, breathe, and be okay in your smallness.

More about Simply Tuesday:

Emily's book is about so much more. I highly, highly, highly [have I convinced you to read it yet?] recommend Simply Tuesday. You'll look at our "church-y" words in a brand new way...and hopefully stop using some of them. You'll see it's okay to be small in a world full of voices shouting one needs to be big in power or fame to make a difference. can make a huge difference in the lives around you by just being you.

So, basically...go buy it already!!

(Silly legal stuff: I received an Advanced Readers Copy and am part of Emily's launch team. I was only asked to give an honest review and help promote the book.)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Of Doors and Men

This is NOT our porch but
how cute is this?! 
Our front porch screen door is literally on one hinge. We've stopped using the door unless it is an emergency. Like the UPS man delivering a package and we need to run outside as quickly as possible so the dog doesn't scare him into a flight or fight mode. You know, emergency situations. 

Of course said door is a special order size in which we need to wait and pray hubs measured the opening correctly because non-refundable! Three weeks later and a few slams to get it shut after said emergency situation above, hubs and son go to pick up the door. Tonight, they decided to tackle the job of putting it up. May God be with us all...

You know when you open a box with high expectations and you are clearly disappointed? Yeah, welcome to our world. 

We actually purchased two identical doors. One for the back, which was a common size and could bring it home from the store immediately, and the special order door due to sizing. We have an old, old, old, did I mention old, house. 

As in...let's take down the ugly wallpaper in the kitchen and laundry room said a much younger me. It will be fun. It was kind of fun until the laundry room walls began to come down with the wall paper. So the inexpensive, we will only have the paint cost and wallpaper glue removal cost, turned into removing the old laundry room plaster walls and putting up dry wall. Our marriage barely survived. You know, fun old house stuff. Anyway....

The men of the house tackled the back door hanging and after a few battles, won. It was quite a victorious sight. The dog, who has not known of a screen door since the old screen blew off it's hinges before said dog arrived to live with us, didn't know what to do with this monstrosity covering his beloved door...a.k.a...he was scared of the door. Yellow labs...a.k.a. scaredy-cats...are like that even though he does scare the UPS man. Good news is...he is use to it now. Back to the front door...

So, since we purchased two identical doors we knew something was amiss when there wasn't a decorative rectangle thingy (technical term) under the window on the bottom of the door. Call me weird, but now it just looks cheap, which in money terms was not cheap.

I called the company to find out if they do not attach the decoration when it is a special size or if they just forgot to put it on after cutting it down. I was warned by the person with whom I was talking that the phone battery on the phone she was using was about to die and if we get disconnected she'd call me back. Annnnndddd, five seconds later she was gone. 

After 15 minutes, the phone rang and after calling the door company, she had news. If a door is cut less than 77.5", the door company cannot put on the decorative rectangle thingy. Not enough room, they say. Guess what size we need? Go on...guess. You know you want to.... 

Seventy-seven inches. Yup, a half of an inch shy. I laughed. The lady from the store laughed....well, chuckled but still. Welcome to "just another chapter in our lives." When I was younger there would have been tears. Now...I just laugh. 

So, if you know where we live (and if you don't know and somehow find out...that is just creepy) and drive by, see our front porch screen door and think, "wow, now that is a cheap door." You now know the rest of the story. ☺

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Today was more emotional than I thought. Today was my uncle's funeral. He was the husband of my mom's oldest sister, who passed away nine years ago.

As the pastor said, "You could not think of one without the other." It was like he took the thoughts right out of my head and spoke them out loud.

My cousin, their youngest daughter, spoke of many things everyone loved about her dad. She shared how he asked her to live with him after her mom died. My cousin has a rare condition and they took care of one another. I learned of the prayers my aunt and uncle prayed while she was still living, carried on with my uncle and cousin after she had passed.

My cousin spoke of how they prayed for family, including nieces and nephews. That was the first emotion trigger. She spoke of how my uncle couldn't wait to be with his wife and all those who had gone before. Second emotion trigger.

She shared the prayer they would always say at night before each of them retired. Third emotion trigger. It was such a beautiful prayer. Of course, my cousin was emotional and since I'm a sympathetic crier...well, you get the picture.

My aunt and uncle (see I can't even talk about my uncle without including my aunt) were both so, so kind. And, nice. Yes, they had their faults like every human but their kindness was a beacon of light. My uncle had such a gentle spirit. He smoked when smoking a pipe was 'cool'. Whenever I smell that fake vanilla smell I remember the pipes on the pipe rack on the mantel.

They opened their home to many. Hospitality ran through their veins. My mom lived with them for a time before she and dad married. He courted her in that house. My cousins talk of how they would sneak down the stairs and mercilessly tease them as mom and dad sat together on the couch. It sounds like my cousin's job of making my mom's face turn red was the main goal.

Their legacy will be one of faith, kindness, mercy, love and hospitality. They will surely hear, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On the Throne

When the mountains shake and the earth spins wildly out of control, when the sky is cloudy and gloom seems all around...God is in control and on His Throne.

When the miracle of life is being grown and exciting days are blooming, when days on the calendar seem to go right after a spell of stinky days...God is in control and on His Throne.

Will we choose to love Him in bad times or just the good. Or will we question  why He "let' something happen if He is so powerful. He is still on His Throne in the good, the bad and downright ugly.

I want to be like those mentioned in Hebrews 11. Or as I call them, the "By Faith Guys". Their days did not consist of rose-colored glasses, puppy dogs romping all around or sunshine all the time. But, by faith they hung in there and obeyed their Father. God isn't calling everyone to build an ark or march around a wall for seven days but he is calling us to obedience and using our gifts.

"By Faith Guy"...who's with me on striving for that title?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The end of June

I'm sorry if I told you something you didn't know in the title. But, it is my duty to let you know the world is spinning out of control and it is the.end.of.June. Don't panic. This, too, shall pass just like the days are passing before our eyes and the end is near it will be Christmas soon and I don't have any presents purchased and...

Other than knowing time stand still for no one, I feel you can handle what I am about to tell you.

I am typing with a very painful finger. I sacrificed my pointer finger, this morning, for my youngest. Hold your applause for my selflessness. Sit down as I tell the tale...

I am very fancy and have a French Press coffee maker. Wee, wee. Or as the French spell it, oui, oui. It is routine to ask my son "coffee, no coffee" almost every morning. Those are really the only words I can utter. I double what I'm making and 3 minutes later we are pouring coffee into our semi-fancy mugs. Yes, he is 18 but a momma can do for her child while he is still home. We both like creamer because it is not about the coffee at all. Coffee is just a holder of cream and sugar goodness. So, while opening the new creamer which still had a seal on it...I cut my finger on the metal-like seal AFTER I so carefully washed it off because ANTS. Now I'm sporting the ever-so-fashionable-fabric-like band-aid.

Speaking of ants. They are the bane of my existence (I hope I just used that expression correctly!). I have NEVER had ants other than a few who hitchhiked into the house on our clothing. "This certain brand" [which starts with a te and ends with and rro] works great I was told by some who have ants every year. Perhaps I should have questioned taking important advice like this from a person who has ants every year.

So I purchase said bait [I'm not sure how I feel about feeding them what they want...sugar, don't we all want sugar?...and waiting for them to die from the Borax] and put it out. Let me tell you, the ants sent out an APB alerting their friends and neighbors about the party at our house.

If you've never used bait, here is what you do. Place a few drops of the bait on a cardboard cut out. Then, they'll come over for the "pool party" and hang out around the "pool of eventual death". Seriously, they surround the sugar-goo. They are to take it back to the 'nest' and it will eventually kill all involved with the evasion of my house! So what if it takes a couple of weeks. YES a few weeks.

But, it does work...I think. Where they were coming in...not an ant to be found. However, I was awaken this morning by a husband on his way to work saying, "I gotta go. And, there are more ants. I took care of most of them." Those romantic words will wake a girl right up.

Yes, he did take care of some but left plenty for me. So, now we have ants in a different spot...or two. Woo.hoo. And, now the ants are enjoying another pool party at another location...but still in my house!

You must feel so privileged to know that exiting news. I work through the pain just to entertain you. Or is it bore you? [shrugs] Same thing.

After I put the band-aid on my ouchy, I looked out the window and saw this.

It is one of our momma cats. What you can't see are the four kittens all trying to climb up the 'igloo' to pester love on her. Personally, I walked through the circle in our house and would gently push the door toward the closed position as I was walking. We have an old house and if you go through all the right doors, you're walking in a circle. I mean it is a mother's responsibility to teach her children problem-solving skills, right?! Back to the cat...see how she is peering down on them. Yeah, I hear a "na-na-nana boo-boo", too. Sometimes a momma just needs a break while lovingly keeping an eye on her younins'.

And, I will leave you with this piece of wisdom:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Run Run Runaway

from flickr
I'm really going to do it this time! They'll never find me at Grandpa and Grandma's house. Thought my angry nine-year-old self as I tried to tie all my stuff into a bandanna. I still had to look for a stick in which to attach it, but, as soon as I found one, I was out of there.

Apparently I wasn't the smartest when it came to running away from home. I have this image of myself on the floor of my bedroom trying to find a stick in which to tie on the bandanna filled with all my precious things. Because everyone who ran away looks like a hobo and all worldly processions fit into a bandanna.

Yes, I had/have a vivid imagination. I even got out the door without my mom seeing me and made it as far as the neighbors before turning around. I remember looking back to see if anyone noticed or missed me yet.

I don't remember why I wanted to runaway. My parents probably wouldn't let me have something I really needed wanted. And, my Grandparent's house. Yeah, that was only a quarter of a mile away and would have been the first place they would have looked. I was a brave child. Ha.

Psst. Come close to the screen. (she looks to her left, to her right, then whispers) There are days I still want to runaway. (big sigh) 

The reasons are not as small as when I was a child. Right now, the reasons are...well, life. Life. (another big sigh) Life can be joyful. Yet life can be a big pain. I start looking around at others who seemingly have life all together. Their life is easy and fun. They go places, do things, never have any problems (or so it seems). I start comparing. I get discouraged. I get envious. I get down. Why can't my life be easy?! 

I just want to runaway from this thing called life (no this is not a cry for help). I call my friend. She wants to runaway, too. However, our money tree has not blossomed...yet. So, we wait. And, wait. We are still waiting.

My first problem? Comparison. Envy and bitterness come in a close second. And, can we talk about "not fair" problems? I feel small. I want to be noticed. Yes, I'm a always.

Do I think there is anything wrong with feeling any of those emotions? Nope. God gave us emotions for a reason. I can feel "blue"** and down. But, it's okay. I can feel overwhelmed...again, okay. As in the movie Inside Out notes, sadness and joy go hand in hand.

It's in these moments I need to remember to run to God instead of running away. Remembering His promises and me putting one foot in front of the other as I remember to hold on tight. Joy comes in the morning. And, our mourning can turn into dancing!

Note: I've received an advance readers copy of a book you are going to want to pre-order. Go check it out. Oh, how my copy has multiple sentences highlighted per page. Yes, you will want this book! I'll write about it more as the release approaches. 

**"blue" is not depression. Depression is serious and treatment by a professional is often required. I'm not making light of depression. I've walked with a few friends and it is not for the faint of heart. If you think you or someone you know may have depression, seek help. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Hearts Made Whole

"Sometimes even the strongest need someone to take care of them."
Caroline is a feisty little thing. She is determined to keep her family safe after her mother, and now her father pass away. Life isn't fair, yet Caroline keeps sailing full steam ahead tending the lighthouse. It's a job she loves. Too bad the inspector of lighthouses doesn't care.

In enters Ryan Chambers. He has a past in which he cannot let go - or maybe the past won't let go of him yet. Caroline just wants to shake him senseless. Yet, she sees something in his haunted eyes. She doesn't want to like him as her lighthouse job was snatched out from beneath her. Yet...

When someone keeps trying to hurt them or send a dangerous message to them, it only makes Ryan and Caroline work harder together. Even if it means giving up a dream.

Hope. Compassion. Love. Guilt. Forgiveness. Unworthiness. Overcoming. And a giggle or three. Those are emotions I would use to describe the theme of Hearts Made Whole. Who among us has not felt one or all of those emotions?

Hearts Made Whole written by Jody Hedlund is book two in her Beacons of Hope series. However, don't let that stop you if you haven't read book one. Jody is a master at series books. She expertly weaves the story and seamlessly welcomes character of one book into another without the reading being confused.

The mysterious happenings had me guessing which character was out to get Caroline. Or was it Ryan they were out to get? After two wrong guesses I finally discovered the culprit.

Toward the end of the book Caroline's sister says, "Sometimes even the strongest need someone to take care of them." I will admit I cried. Yes, I'm a natural-born crier. But, something about that statement just hit me. Maybe it has been several things I've been working through the last few months. Maybe I just needed a cry. Maybe, just maybe, when you're reading a well-written book and you're fully immersed in that world you become so emotionally attached to a character you feel what she feels. Maybe. Or I could have been having an emotional day. Shrugs shoulders.

RUN out to or CLICK on over to your favorite bookstore and purchase a wonderful book by a magnificent writer. You won't be sorry...although your household chores may be neglected for a few days because you can't put it down. Dust and cleaning will always be there so have some fun in the sun (or beach) and read this little beauty.

Author, Jody Hedlund, and her publisher have a great giveaway going on right now. Be sure to enter here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

So many words

So many words are just a jumble in my mind. So many. It's hard to put my thoughts into sentences that would make sense to anyone living outside my mind. Shoot, anyone inside my mind would be yelling, "Whaaaaa?!"

Many changes have taken place and I'm trying to wrap my mind around a few things. I just wanted you to know, if anyone reads this thing called a blog (what kind of word is blog, anyway?!), I'm still around. I've always wondered when others have seemingly dropped off the face of the 'blog' if that person is okay. My mind goes to all kinds of drama and I tend to wonder. So, wonder no more, reader...all three of you. :)

I shall return soon. Carry on with your life. I know you can do it! ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Some Weekend

Oh my dear friends. Some weekends are full of busyness. Some are a blessing of much needed rest and downtime. This weekend, however, has run a gamut of feelings.

Most of you know, if you've been reading long or personally know me, that our Dancer Daughter is in a foreign land. Nepal to be exact. Yes, the same Nepal that had the major earthquake. 

Saturday morning I woke up early. Yes, I'm old and sleeping in is really a young person's sport. I'm in the habit of getting on the internet first thing in the morning. Don't judge. It's how I wake up. There's nothing like the bright light from the computer to get one going. Since our daughter is in a different time zone, if she emails me there is one waiting for me in the morning. 

Facebook has this thing called Trending which I normally ignore. Of course that morning I had to look. First line read Kathmandu Nepal earthquake... Let's just say the blood from my face drained like it did when Writer Daughter called me telling me she was in an accident. Because EARTHQUAKE. Because buildings tend to FALL when the earth shakes. Because THIRD-WORLD country. Moms, can I get an "I hear ya" when your mind goes someplace you don't want it to go?!

After calling my husband into the room and telling him, I furiously typed a message to one of the staff of the organization who remained stateside. I didn't know if she knew yet since it was early in the morning and well, she is young and can actually sleep in on a Saturday. Within thirty minutes she responded that she was just seeing this as well and calling the director (also stateside). 

In the meantime I found another post by the organization in which Dancer Daughter staffs telling of the earthquake and the team is safe. And, a few minutes later I heard the same news from the staff person I made contact with. My fear turned into gratefulness. 

Yes, of course a plethora of concerns rolled through my head after hearing of their safety and I had to remove myself from the internet. All the what-ifs. Then my mind went back to a post I wrote on this blog before they left for the foreign land. It was something God showed me while I was in the midst of fear because of all the terrible things happening in the world. 

All I can do is trust she is in God's mighty, strong, and powerful hands. All one can do is pray. And, prayer is everything!

As I prayed for her (and the others) and their protection, God allowed me to see a huge 'army' of extremely tall Angels surrounding them in this foreign land. Yet, it wasn't just them in this fortress of protection. People of that land were in the circle with them. I saw smiles and heard laughter even with the dreaded language barriers. And, I saw an agape* love. As the group moved, so did the Angels. Some Angels were turned in watching, some were turned out, guarding.

I prayed for the group going to have a strong sense of the Holy Spirit. To move when the Spirit whispers, "Move." To stop (immediately) when the Spirit shouts, "Stop!" To be so in-tune with God that every whisper, every song of laughter, every ungraceful movement, every bit of eye contact with others will be a Holy Moment and God will shine through bright and beautiful as He smiles at their hearts.
I don't know why God protected the team and not the thousands who died. I don't know. I can't even begin to wrap my mind around that. However, I do have faith that the church in that country and others will show up in big ways. Ways that only God can provide. It's the only way to make any sense out of the tragedy. 

Here is a great way and a safe way to give money to the rebuilding of Nepal if you are interested. Click on  this  and 100% of your donation will go to Nepal!! Or here until May 15 for a really cool t-shirt!

Our daughter is still there. There are aftershocks. All I can do is pray. I've already warned her when she comes home-home we are coming inside the airport (aka pay a ridiculous amount of money to park a vehicle) and to prepare herself for a proper hug.

And, Firefighter boy became an adult today. I blinked. I admit it. How can it be our youngest is a senior in high school and about to graduate? So, we do what my family does well...we ate our way through his birthday weekend. 

I may have been stress eating just a tad. ☺

So, how was your weekend? ☺

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter and Stuff

Easter is upon us. Does it "feel" like it? Or maybe it's just me.

Honestly, Easter has sneaked up on me. Maybe it is the nasty head cold. Maybe it's extra hours put in at work. Maybe it's thinking about everything that needs to be done with graduating my youngest and throwing a party. Maybe it's just a season in my life. Maybe I'm missing my girl who is celebrating Easter in another country. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Embarrassingly, I am a pro at coming up with excuses. Seriously, Christ died for me (and you) and I'm over here belly-achin'. God is in my life (our lives) And, I can't rejoice over the huge thing He did for me (and you)?! 

Maybe, just maybe, I'm looking for all the good feelings when I should be in awe of what He did for me (us). It is more than Peanut Butter Eggs, Easter Egg Hunts, family meals and the "work" involved.

Jesus had a moment of "ok, God, if you want to find another way I'd be okay with that" but he was obedient. He was the sacrificial lamb that was foretold years and years before it finally came to pass. He died for our sin, our shame, our guilt. The grave couldn't hold Him...we rose from the grave!!!! I should be shouting from the rooftops!

So, as I was not feeling all Easter-y, I came across the first song (video below the lyrics). He is so good to me (us)....even in the times of yuck. He is good. I may need to look closer during those yuck times but He is there holding me (us) up, comforting me (us), loving me (us).

The last video is just a wonderful song that reminds me of how much God loves me (us). How different would my life be if He hadn't "paid it all"?

Enjoy and Happy Easter!!!

                                                              "Good To Me"

I put all my hope in the truth of Your promise
And I steady my heart on the ground of Your goodness
When I'm bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me

I lift up my eyes to the hills where my help is found
Your voice fills the night - raise my head up to hear the sound
Though fires burn all around me I will praise You, my God
And the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy

Because You are good to me, good to me

Your goodness and mercy shall follow me
All my life
I will trust in Your promise

                                                            "Jesus Paid It All"
(Oh, Praise the One)

I hear the Savior say,
Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
and melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow

O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow
He washed it white as snow

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Coffee Jitterbug

Confession. I don't like coffee. I like the smell of coffee but not the smell of gross strong/bitter coffee.  As a child I used to dip my cookie in my dad's coffee just to mimic him. But, gross!

Socially, coffee is key. How many times does your friend call and say, "Would you like to meet for water?" So, when I would like to meet a friend or a friend asks me to meet it always "coffee". And, I'm not complaining. I am more than willing.

I lovingly refer to my coffee as just something to hold the cream/flavoring and sugar. I, also, tell the barista I want only half the amount of coffee in my foo-foo drink. Most of the time, that does the trick. All of this back-story to tell you....

Yesterday, I met a lovely friend for coffee. She told me she liked the 'house' coffee better than the foo-foo drinks. I asked if there was cream and sugar to add and she assured me there was enough to go around. So, I ordered a coffee...not a foo-foo drink. I felt so grown up.

I added a little bit of sugar and creamer and sipped. I hope there wasn't a camera focused on me as made a bitter-coffee-face. My friend, who adores coffee, commented it tasted like it was burnt. Great. So, we added more and more creamer and sugar just to make it drinkable. I may or may not have added a quarter cup of sugar. I'm not exaggerating.

We found a cute, little table in the corner and talked a-mile-a-minute jumping from one subject to another. We were having a grand time catching up. It had been way too long since we had seen or talked with each other. My friend is so much fun; giggles and cackling were hard to control.

In a smaller town, you are bound to see someone you know walk into the coffee shop. Well, that happened. It was good. Very good. However, as I talk I often start playing with whatever is on the table like confetti or the napkin. My hubs gets annoyed often at this and removes the item from my reach. It is only then I realize I'm playing with that object while talking. Aren't husbands just great?!

I had not finished my coffee and had about a quarter of the cup left (probably the quarter with all the sugar in it). I was talking and playing with the napkin...that was underneath my coffee cup. You know, the one with coffee still in it. (can you see where this is headed?)

I'm not sure how it happened. And, not in slow motion either. Next thing I know I'm grabbing for the cup that was titling my way and spewing liquid toward and all over me. My friend has the normal reaction and gasps. What do you do when someone gasps loudly in public. Yup, all eyes were glued on me. My friend and the friend who had walked in and was talking with us grabbed napkins and became my mommy. I now know what it feels like to be a child who just spilled her milk. It was all over me, my shoes, the floor, the table. And, who knows why but everything was sticky after we wiped it up. (wink, wink--
all that sugar!)

I tried to wipe up my shirt and jeans with a napkin. Do you know what happens when you try to wipe up wet clothing with a napkin? You guessed it. I not only had a huge wet spot on my shirt and looked like I peed my pants, but now I have white "crumbles" on my shirt and jeans. Dark shirt and dark jeans with white "crumbles". Let's just draw more attention to myself why don't we?!

How embarrassing, yet how funny!

Everything is alright. I sprayed down my shoes, and put stain releaser on my clothing when I got home.  I'm talking everything had a stain on it! It was so bad I had to take a quick shower before work. I thanked my friend for being my mommy and we agreed we needed to do this again...minus the coffee fiasco!

Moral of the story: never get in the habit of playing with items at the table while talking. Bad, very bad, things can happen. ☺ And, always accept the coffee invitation. There is always enough sugar and creamer!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Up in the Air

Dancer Daughter is up in the air right now. Literally. Which has me thinking about the laws of physics. Because GRAVITY, people! Yes, I know the tube hurdling through the air is hurdling-through-the-air because of acceleration, thrust, wings and all kinds of other things I'm sure I don't understand.

Many things happen in our lives. Joys, sorrows, and 'eh' days. It's easy to have faith in the times of joy. But, when sorrows and 'eh' days hit us, that's a little harder. Those are the times I wonder. I don't lose faith; I just wonder. And, that is okay. God sets me straight pretty quickly in reminding me of all He has given and sacrificed for me (us).

So, while she is hurdling through the air at 470 knots, I have to think about the faith it took the Wright Brothers to jump in their first plane and attempt to fly. Sure, they had one of God's designs (bird) to work off of and learn from but did doubt enter their minds? I have to believe it did. But it just took one leap of faith. That is all it took.

Are you ready to leap and do what God's been laying on your heart? Nudging you?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

When the world goes mad

...or perhaps it's just me.

Day after day the media portrays the world in utter chaos. If it isn't catastrophic weather turning lives up-side-down, it's people groups hurting, and often killing, others.

"Don't watch the news," voices shout. "It's depressing."

Yes, yes it is. But, we cannot live under a rock either. It's messy out there. And, in the messy bits of life we learn. We learn compassion, grace, mercy and what it looks like outside of our own messy life.

As much as I have fears (or as my mom would say, "concern" because 'fear' is not a word for a Christian...I may have rolled my eyes when she said that.) about loved ones and certain circumstances, I have to believe, HAVE to believe, God is still God. God is still holding us.

"Yeah, right. If there was a God then he must be pretty cruel. Children are starving. People doing his work are getting kidnapped or killed. How can you believe in someone so cruel?"

Hasn't every Christian heard that at some point in their lives? I don't know the answers. Only God knows. I believe He allows things to happen. I don't know why. Just that He does. God can see the bigger picture. I can't. And, ONLY God knows is all I need.

Have you ever gone through a tough time and wonder why? Then, months or even years later you realize if you hadn't gone through 'x' then 'y' would never have happened. And, 'y' is usually pretty awesome.

Am I freaked out that I have a child going overseas in the future? You bet. All I can do is trust she is in God's mighty, strong, and powerful hands. All one can do is pray. And, prayer is everything!

As I prayed for her (and the others) and their protection, God allowed me to see a huge 'army' of extremely tall Angels surrounding them in this foreign land. Yet, it wasn't just them in this fortress of protection. People of that land were in the circle with them. I saw smiles and heard laughter even with the dreaded language barriers. And, I saw an agape* love. As the group moved, so did the Angels. Some Angels were turned in watching, some were turned out, guarding.

I prayed for the group going to have a strong sense of the Holy Spirit. To move when the Spirit whispers, "Move." To stop (immediately) when the Spirit shouts, "Stop!" To be so in-tune with God that every whisper, every song of laughter, every ungraceful movement, every bit of eye contact with others will be a Holy Moment and God will shine through bright and beautiful as He smiles at their hearts.

May we all have a 'vision' of God's love for us and others in our moments of fear. Peace, to you.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  ~~  Philippians 4:6-7

 *Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus has for his Father and his followers. Jesus showed us agape love through the cross. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Step, Pause, Step, Step

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

For such a time as this. The story of Esther has always intrigued me. It quickly became one of my favorite books of the Bible. But, imagine my surprise when I learned from a Beth Moore Bible Study that this is the only book of the Bible that doesn't mention God. I know. I should have figured that out before but sometimes it's the little things that escape notice. Even though the book of Esther doesn't not mention God, He is there. He is here.

Esther was given a huge task. One that I'm sure had her shaking in her sandals. She was asked to go to the King (her husband) and plead for the lives of the Jews. Her people. Only the King didn't know the Jews were her people. Plus, the King didn't "call" for her in thirty days meaning there was already trouble in paradise. Can you just imagine Esther's nervousness and knowing if the King did not find favor in her just showing up unexpected he could have her killed? Talk about wanting to throw up!!

Not only in this section of the book of Esther, but in the whole book, notice how Esther was never alone. She had others around her. Supporting her. Encouraging her. Giving her the needed pep talk. Guiding her. She had community - one in which she could call upon to fast and pray. God puts other in our lives for 'such a time as this'.

Hubs alarm sounds-off at way-too-early-o'clock in the morning. Sometime God chooses this early morning time to have a talk with me instead of allowing me to snatch some more zzzz. I think God has chosen this time because He knows I get easily distracted. But, the only thing to distract me is hearing my husband get ready for work. So, this morning, He reminded me of Esther 4:14 (above) and began playing the song Anthem in my brain. (video at the end of post)

There is a section in this song that God showed me taking a step after each sentence..and sometimes pausing after a step. It was like a spiritual mantra in my head.

Imagine with me, if you will. God can do "stuff" without us. But, He chooses us to walk along side of Him. It's like when our children are learning to walk or ride a bike with out training wheels for the first time. We hold the baby's hands and help him/her walk. We run beside the bike holding on until the right moment and let go - but we still run along side of them and the bike just in case they wobble.

Whatever your destiny, wherever He calls you, He is there. He is calling you to obedience. We just only need to be brave and move. And, honestly, the moving part is the scariest. 

I am royalty. [step, pause]
I have destiny. [step, pause]
I have been set free [step]
I'm gonna shape history. [step]
[And, repeat!!!]

Monday, February 16, 2015

In Which I Wait

Last Friday was another exciting day in the waiting room. My dad had an appointment and I knew the doctor was running behind. How did I know such things? Ummm, the amount of people in the waiting room in an office with only one doctor. And you just thought I was super smart.

The room was a bit noisy as we walked in. People talking plus the noise of a TV does tend to lend itself to noise. My dad went up to the check-in window and was met by a very nice, albeit a little too chipper, woman. She asked him how he was to which he replied he could be better. He was having a procedure he dreads so...yeah.

Side note: isn't it against some doctor office procedure to ask someone how they are doing? I mean, nine times out of ten you would not even enter doctor's office if you were feeling 100% healthy. Now you're wondering the same thing, aren't you? Unless you're a pharmaceutical rep, I think there is probably an issue going on.

Well, that launched a festive round of discussing how much we all like this doctor. And, as much as I agreed, wholeheartedly, I just wanted to read. Instead, I just smiled and nodded at the appropriate times. I may or may not have thrown in a "yeah" for good measure. My sound sensitivity (un-diagnosed) was kicking into high gear since it is a state law that doctor offices must have a TV in the corner with volume set to LOUD. (sarcasm) Soon, waiting people were slowly called into the doctor's chamber of doom. You know what I'm saying...the scales = doom. Need I say more?

My dad fell asleep waiting so I took the time to move to another chair to see the TV clearly. Hey, my dad abandoned me for sleep, there was no way to concentrate on my book with all that noise and I was learning how to make some sort of drink for Valentine's Day. I don't drink but I was trying to figure ways to make it with soda pop. There isn't a way. 

After my dad was called back for the procedure I started to smell popcorn. By this time, there was only one other person in the waiting room. So, I innocently asked, "Do you smell popcorn or is it just me?" That started a titillating round of conversation about different ways to make popcorn and the varying varieties. I was even given directions to where to buy a nutty-tasting popcorn. Don't ask me for directions. I got "lost" after "turn right before the pond". 

Now, here is the fun part. In walked a nicely dressed, young man. Not too tall, not too short...just right. He had an appointment so apparently he isn't as healthy as he looked but we can overlook that in a future son-in-law, right? Yes, I had our oldest in mind for this nice man. He was very mannerly and had a nice deep voice. Very clean cut. No ring or tan line with a ring missing. I checked. Here was the dilemma, to give him our daughter's business card or not give him her business card. That is the question.

I did what any good, bored-in-the-waiting-room mom would do. I sent her a text (at work) asking if I should give him her business card. Moms of unmarried children, unite!

While I held my breath waiting for her reply, I heard my dad. Talking to the receptionist. Setting up the date of the next appointment and procedure. I heard him say, "Any Friday" to which I sprinted leisurely walked toward the voices. I tried to open the door going into the 'chamber of doom'. It's locked. Thaaat's right. Locked. The door has a little window so I tap on it to get my dad's attention. Did I mention he is almost deaf even with two hearing aids? I finally get his attention and he clearly didn't understand the universal sign for, "open this door!"

I mean, really, I didn't want to yell at the poor man because my FUTURE son-in-law just may be watching me! The door was finally opened and I was able to re-arrange the Friday appointment in which I had plans. But, FUTURE son-in-law is in the waiting room and I haven't heard from my daughter.

I finally heard from our daughter when we were in the elevator...leaving my NOT future son-in-law in the dust. Her answer to my should-I-give-him-your-business-card question? "Take a picture and send it to me." Well, all I can say is I tried. ;)

Moral of the story: never put a bored-out-of-her-mind mom in the same room as a prospective FUTURE son-in-law! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

With Kindness, Love, and Listening

Photo found online
It was a simpler time. A time when bare feet pounded the grass at high speed. The sun shone down on our sunscreen-free skin. Climbing the roof of the house and chicken coop, hanging upside-down from the clothesline post, and climbing trees to read a book were considered normal childhood. Playing in the woods with neighbors. Adventure was out there for us to find.

School-age became a more complicated time. Along with the fun classes like recess and lunch, a young child learned more than the mandatory subject lessons taught. The perfect world seemed to grow dim and cold between everyone's competitive spirit of gossip and one-upping. Whispers behind others backs were taught on their own. Judgement over clothing started way too early. Name-calling was at an all time high. Insecurity rang out like the lunch bell. Bullying ran rampant without a name. Not to mention the long bus ride.

Now enter the age of technology where one can sit behind a computer, hit send and the whole world can see ones thoughts. Instead of meanness showing up on the playground, it shows up in comments where one can be anonymous or just a name.

Words do hurt contrary to the nursery lie rhyme. It's so easy to read a tweet, text, status or the millions of other ways social media pops up and misread the person's intentions. For some reason, just because we can type characters to form words, it gives us a "right" to tell everyone what we think. Sometimes in the most harsh words.

Take the hot topic of immunizations, for example. What ever happened to talking to a person who decided against immunizations and find out his/her reasoning? But, we feel as though we have the 'right' to spout off about how irresponsible it is among a whole host of other negative, judging words. What ever happened to two sides of the story? What ever happened to communication and active listening?

The problem with emails, texts and all social forms is the unknown "tone" of the words. Tone of voice can be heard with phone calls and eye-to-eye conversations. Typed or written words...not so much.

Do Christians need to speak up on certain topics when the only form of communication seems to be through social media or blogs? You bet. But, do it with kindness, love and in the 'tone' of wanting to hear that person's view so we can all understand where we are all coming from.

Am I opinionated? Ummmm....yes. If someone asks me my opinion, I don't usually hold back. Is that a problem? It can be. I try to say things in love and understanding but I have a long way to go. Sometimes I find myself writing a comment only to erase it and move on. Sometimes I have to delete an email so I don't respond. It's a battle against the 'mean-girl'.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.                                          Proverbs 16:24

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's Okay...

This is part of a note I sent someone who is battling cancer. However, it can apply to any struggle we have in our lives from a child who is ill to caring for a parent.

It's okay. It's okay to break down, pound your fist on the steering wheel and wonder how this has happened to you. It's okay to cry. it's okay to be angry. It's okay to put yourself first even though it is an unnatural thing for a mom, wife and woman to do. It's okay to feel torn between caring for yourself and caring for your family. It's okay to feel overwhelmed and want to scream. It's okay. God is still God. You love Him and He is madly in love with you. You are never alone. He hurts with you in this broken world. You cling to His Word and find strength from it and through it. And, just because you have feelings and emotions other than the "good church girl" kind, does not make that love you and God have for each other any less powerful. He knows you. He put those emotions in you and He knows why. He is there hold you as you cry and wonder. It does not make your faith any less...He's hold on to you even more than we all realize. He is working wonders in your life, your family and friends’ lives.

We, woman, have so many masks. If we show the slightest crack in our masks, we feel others may judge us as one of little faith. If our Joy mask isn't on tight enough and we get cranky then the joy of the Lord isn't our strength; what lies we believe. What lies we tell others. We are taught to be "good girls" but it also tells us to put on our mask. I've learned the hard ways "it's okay..."

Blessing to you as you watch God do wonders and experience His presence and miracles first hand. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Post I Thought Was Posted

***Oops! So apparently I'm 'losing' it in more ways than one. I thought I had already posted at the beginning of the year! Funny. So, go grab a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate or what have you and sit back and read the story of taking our daughter to the airport one early, early crisp morning.***

Once upon a time, because all good stories start that way. Problem is, there is so much to tell and too many words to write.

Dancer Daughter was home for Christmas. So, so, so good to have her home. Yet when she went back I had peace. The peace only God can give. No tears, which if you know me is a huge deal. Sad? Yes. Tears? No...but come close and I'll whisper that it was still hard seeing her walk way.

I had to take her back to the airport since hubs could not get off of work. I was so nervous about it. I was having dreams about it a month prior. Yes, it's ok. Shake your head, I am right now. The reason I was nervous? Middle of winter in Ohio and I hate driving on busy highways. Yes, I used the word hate. Oh, and did I mention we had to leave our house between 2 and 2:30 AM? And, of course, I went to bed at 7 that night and what time do you think I fell into a fitful sleep? Yup, almost 10. Then I was naturally awake at 1 AM because "what if the alarm doesn't go off?!" Doesn't that always happen?! So, it was me, Dancer Daughter and Firefighter Son.

And, here are the things I learned that day and it wasn't even 8 AM:
  • At 2:30 a.m. you'll rarely get stopped by a red light therefore making better time than what you had planned. 
  • Semis are not out and about at that time of night morning. Yay for me. Trucks make me nervous. They are big. They tend to sway and get really close to the dotted line especially when being passed. 
  • All highways need to have reflectors IN their roads so you know where the road is going when you aren't friends with the road yet. Yes, Michigan, I'm talking to you. 
  • If you slow down because you can't figure out where the road it going (see point above) and allow the guy a mile behind you to catch up and zoom around you, you'll have a much better idea where the road is going...unless he goes off the road then you're both in trouble (that didn't happen but it could have...).
  • It was discovered road signs are sprayed with a solution so when it does snow the snow/ice doesn't stick to the signs. However, that makes the signs dirty and non-reflective. So, if you do not know where you are going in the middle of the dark morning, so sorry for you. 
  • Airline check-ins are not open at 3:40 a.m. (see the first point) However, it does make one feel like one is participating in the Amazing Race and all the teams now catch up with one another. ;)
  • Firefighter Son and I were obviously not suppose to get cappuccinos at 4 a.m. since the gas station in which we stopped was "still waiting for the parts". Insert angry eyes here.
  • Semis begin to grace the highways with their presence at 4 a.m. And, be careful passing said semis that early in the morning because you'll never know what is in the passing lane. Dead animal, I'm talking to you.
  • A certain doughnut/coffee place does not have fresh, or any kind, of doughnut available at 5 a.m. And, while we are taking about this, the dining room does not open until 6. Apparently I should have figured that out with the lack of cars in the parking lot. But, according to the sign, the drive-thru is open all night. Employees, what are you doing there all night if not making doughnuts? I needed a sugar high for the rest of the drive home, lady!
  • Don't tick off the drive-thru lady (see above) by asking about doughnuts, in which she says you can't have any, and then asking her to wait while you decided on a hot drink. Don't place your order and then say, "Hello?" (so it was three times) because all you heard was deafening silence. Could that be why my hot drink didn't taste all?! Even when I got home and doctored it up...blick.
  • And finally, when driving with a teenage son expect to learn all kinds of random information. (loved every part of that!)
Dancer Daughter made it safe and sound to her location. We made it home safe and sound even before hubs had to leave for work leaving him with a nice toasty vehicle to drive (you're welcome hun).