Sunday, March 30, 2008

Too Much Fun

My KIDS ARE HOME!! YAY! And they brought my sister with 'em!

We've been havin' too much fun! Here's what we did today:

It's been too long since me and my sis had church together. This is us at Riverside this morning. We are havin' an awesome time in case ya can't tell.

Man, I needed this!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jis' So Ya Know

Doin' ok today. Still lonely. But I woke up with a thought today... This is IT.

This is the real thing. This is what being a believer is all about. Nothing I say or feel surprises Him. So I woke up lonely. And guess what? I had Someone to discuss the loneliness with, Someone to take it to. It's still there, but Jesus is carrying it... and me.

Isn't that good? Isn't it good that every moment my heart is held by God Himself? Isn't it good that He understands even the stuff that I can't express?

I gotta admit, there's a dread in the pit of my stomach at the idea of facing this day in and day out. Looking at the long term responsibility that falls on my shoulders alone is staggering. BUT... I don't have to deal with the long term all at once. I simply have to breathe this breath. And the next. Just today.

And today, Jesus is enough. He will be enough tomorrow too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Low

I like authenticity. It's a pillar of what Woman on the Edge is all about. Therefore, I blog lows along with the highs.

This one's a low.

Woke up cryin' again today. (Hey that sounds like a line in a country song...) Today has been a lonely day. Oh, I've been going nonstop all day and surrounded by people for most of the day. But before I got out of the cocoon created by my sheets and comforter, I felt it. And now that I'm about to return to my bed, it's still there. It's been there all day, screaming at me over the noise of life.


Not just missing-the-kids kind of loneliness. Worse than that. It's the no-one-grown-up-to-share-my-life-with, he-really-didn't-want-me-anymore, what's-wrong-with-me kind of loneliness. It's being stood up: for life. God, it hurts.

Ever the optimist, I must say it's good to be digging down through another layer of this grief. That means if I keep digging I'll eventually hear the clank as my shovel hits the treasure chest, right? It's good to be processing another phase of this ordeal. It's better than living in misery and doing God knows what to distract myself, and never facing what's really the problem.

I'm told that this kind of loneliness is a constant in the life of a single mom, but that it won't always scream this loud. Lord, I hope it won't.

I suppose readers of this blog might tire of this journey. Hell, I'm sick of it too some days. To many it could seem that this should be easier by now. And in some ways, it is getting easier. I apologize if you are tired of hearing the grief. My hope is that somewhere out there, there may be someone who needs to see or hear or read that there is life in the midst of grief. There is One who gives hope to all who mourn. And so in the interest of letting someone inside my heart to witness the way a Christ follower copes with devastation, I write. Of the good and of the bad, I write.

And today was "the bad."

But I am determined to go on. Me and Jesus, we go on. We look this loneliness in the face and go on. Tomorrow morning brings new mercies. Lord knows I need 'em.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Alone

On Saturday I sent my kids to be with their dad for spring break. Bereft doesn't begin to describe how I felt. My heart slammed into the wall of reality as I faced a week alone. Fortunately, I had a good friend to stand, or drive, beside me the whole way. She let me cry and vent all I needed.

I got home and wandered aimlessly around my empty house. I thought about going to a movie, or going to the store. Anything to get away from the loneliness. But finally, I decided no. I would face this week alone. God and I will face it. He has things to tell me and I will not run. That decided, I settled in with some mint chocolate chip ice cream and had a rather peaceful evening.

Sunday, Easter morning, I woke up crying. Not unusual for me these days. My first thought was of Jesus and His first words to Mary on that very first Easter day. "Why are you crying?" I realized that I wouldn't be the first weeping woman that Jesus encountered on Easter. I also realized that the same eyes that saw Mary that morning long ago see me now. I spent the morning in quiet, getting ready for the busy times ahead during worship services.

As I was headed out my door to walk over to church, I noticed a pretty Easter flag had been placed in my yard. From a distance I could see a bright colored cross on the flag, but as I approached, I saw that the cross was actually a formation of butterflies. And printed over and over on the flag is the verse II Corinthians 5:17, the very reference that is tattooed on my back just underneath a butterfly. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, ALL THINGS ARE MADE NEW."

Talk about a love note from God! Hand delivered by a sister from my amazing church family. A perfect start to a new beginning. I had been apprehensive about this Easter alone. It turned out to be the most meaningful Easter I can remember. Music and memories, friendship and fondue, singing and sleeping. All those things were involved in the loveliness of the day. But the best part is, that God took my lonely heart, wrapped it up tight in His love, whispered to it His secrets, and covered it with a blanket of grace. He turned my loneliness into an opportunity to really see Him.

He is risen! He is risen indeed! He is risen IN ME!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday School

Well... we don't call it that anymore. But I sure got SCHOOLED today!!

My awesome Bible study leader, (you totally rock, Kim) reminded me of something amazing today. We were talking over the story of Jesus calming the storm in Luke 8:22-25. Kim was reminding us that we often skip to the application idea that Jesus can calm the "storms of life." We often minimize the actual physical miracle that took place in that moment when Almighty God lifted His hand and ordered a massive storm to stop... and it did. I had my HCSB with me today, and in that translation it says the disciples "were swamped and were in danger." Boy, have I felt that lately!!

But back to the point: they were in REAL PHYSICAL DANGER from the storm. And the REAL Son of God simply spoke and nature obeyed Him as if she were His handmaiden. "Yes, sir. Anything You say, Sir."

THAT, my friends, is the kind of power possessed by the One who is in total control of my life. EVERYTHING that is happening to me is completely subject to Him. Ya'll, I am in the boat with Him, and sometimes I totally feel like screaming the disciples' cry of "MASTER, MASTER, WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!" But ya know what? He is totally capable of calming the proverbial "storm of life" that I am in right now, but even more, He rules over even the physical wind and sea. And somehow...

Somehow that makes it all ok.

Today's happy notes: The music of little voices in my house.

Mackenzie: (singing a Barlowe Girl song) "I may not be a star, but can I still be someonnnnne?"
Levi: (matter of fact-ly) "You could be a farmer."

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Grace Giver

OK, Brain chaos is subsiding. Something has occurred to me. I LOVE MY LIFE. And if you have been reading this blog, no I haven't lost my mind. In the middle of all this, pain and grief and yucky stuff, I am so blessed. I get to be a speaker, which I LOVE. I have 2 awesome kids whom I ADORE. I have a good job, great friends (some who even get solidarity tattoos), the most wonderful church family EVER, and to top it all off, I got Jesus. Jesus, who is my ever present Help, my best friend, my deepest love, my everything. I just plain enjoy Him.

Its not that my pain has subsided. It hasn't. But the miracle of God's grace in my life means that even on the dark, sad, terrible days I can still love to live. I can still love my life. Wild, wonderful, sad, heartbreaking, exciting, intense as it is, my life sometimes overwhelms me. But I still love it. Ya'll, that is a TOTAL GOD THING!

I only have one small complaint today. Dog poop. It's no secret I'm not a real animal lover. But I tolerate some animals. I don't own any myself, but some I tolerate mainly because they belong to people I love and so I deal with them in order to spend time with their people. I gotta tell ya, though, the roads in hell are paved with dog poop. It has to be true. That is the stinkiest, most disgusting, most irritating stuff I know of. It caused the loss of a pair of shoes tonight, shoes I really liked. Wonderful shoes, sacrificed on the altar of disgustingness because I couldn't deal with cleaning them off. Oh I tried. But the gag reflex just kept on coming. So I'm left bereft of one pair of shoes and in a quandry. Why, I ask. Why would anyone want to have dog poop as a significant part of his or her life? Or maybe they wouldn't. That could be why said poop ended up in the yard of a person like me who strives for a dog poop-free existence. Mystery of life, I tell ya.

That's all for my rant.

I really do love my life. Perhaps I'm in the eye of a storm. Maybe I'm experiencing a few moments of clarity in the middle of this chaotic week. Perhaps I'm fooling myself. Nevertheless I will enjoy this. The feeling and knowing that in spite of and in the middle of grief, my life is blessed. There is no reason for this, other than GRACE. That is why my whole being belongs to the Grace Giver. That and I'm pretty sure He doesn't own a dog! He's more of a cattle owner, I understand. Has a thousand hills of em I've heard...

Time for bed. G'night!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tazmanian Devil

Right now my brain is in total chaos. Do you ever have so many ideas, so much information, things to remember, things to do, rolling around in your head that you feel you might go right on off the deep end? THAT'S ME RIGHT NOW!!

I have messages to prepare for two social worker appreciation luncheons I'll be speaking for this week, I'll be leading worship at church this Sunday, so I need to plan that, I'll be playing for a wedding on Saturday, and I'm putting together a big event at work, plus I need to mop my floor, scrub my countertops, pay some bills, and wash my car. So what am I doing about it?? I'm writing a blog, that's what I'm doing!!

Know what I wish I could do? I wish I could move like the Tazmanian Devil could on Looney Tunes when I was a kid. That crazy guy could whirl around everywhere and he moved so fast it made your head spin. Of course, now that I think about it, he couldn't speak coherently could he? Maybe I'm better off with the spunk of Daffy Duck. Then again, Bugs Bunny's eloquence could really come in handy. Gimme some of Wiley Coyote's determination and Smurfette's feminine appeal and I could REALLY go somewhere!!

Ah well... I suppose I'll just settle for plain ol' me. And one thing at a time I'll grab the stuff that is swirling and flying about in my head and nail each thing down somewhere. One thing at a time. So if I don't post for a few days, you know what I'm up to.

That's all, Folks!!! :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

OK, This one, too!

OK, I couldn't resist this one either. This is Mackenzie in conversation with a church friend and neighbor. Also taken at the 54th anniversary celebration. I love this moment. This one makes a Mama proud!


I simply HAD to post this picture. It was taken at our church's 54th anniversary. Only I know the inexplicable comfort that comes from holding my babies. But somehow it was captured for me in this picture. I love it.

Monday, March 03, 2008


I colored my hair. All by myself. Well, actually my ten year old daughter did the spots I couldn't reach. It turned out great!! Not bad for my first crack at home hair coloring! The only casualties were a ruined towel and tank top, which are now my "hair color stuff." So now my hair is colored "chocolate cherry" and I really like it! Sort of a funky too red to be brown, to brown to be red, too light to be black, too dark to be brunette color. All in all, a successful first.

I like firsts. There's something to be said for the comfort of the familiar. But now that I'm forced into a world of firsts, I must say I have a growing appreciation for the wonder and surprise of a first time.

I'm racking up quite a list of first times. And though I hope you, reader, never have to experience some of the firsts I've been encountering, I hope you DO get to walk through your own firsts with the wonder of a child, trusting the same God that is sustaining me as I toddle through every one of these shaky first steps.

I'm going to bed now. I'm sleeping on the first bedding set I've ever purchased on no one's opinion but my own. I'll need to rest up for tomorrow, when I'll get in the first car I've ever bought by myself, pop in the first CD I've ever bought FOR myself, turn it up loud and drive to the first job I've ever had in the assisted living business, where I'll put in the hours I need to support myself and my kids alone for the first time. Hey, I'm on a roll! Maybe I'll come home and make cornish game hens for supper. It'd be a first!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Broken Happy Birthday

Well, I did it. I made it through another milestone. I turned 32 yesterday. It wasn't the happiest birthday I've ever had. Happy birthday seems like a mean joke this year. I've been dreading this birthday. How can one have a happy birthday when a person she loves and a person she thought loved her has walked away?

I'll tell you how.

She learns to redefine happy. She learns that even though life isn't what she had envisioned for herself, it doesn't have to be miserable. In fact, she lets herself open up to new ideas of what happiness is, and enjoy things she somehow missed before. She goes to the zoo with her kids, and lets herself notice how blue their eyes are, how perfect the weather is, and how fun it is to live in New Orleans. She goes to dinner with some of her favorite people in the world, and lets herself appreciate having just who she wants around her on that day. She lets herself laugh and lets herself eat a lovely piece of cheesecake. She finally, on her birthday, lets herself accept that a part of her has died, but a new part must now be born. She gets yellow roses and a heartfelt letter from a friend. She goes to sleep with her babies in her arms, peacefully knowing that the day she dreaded was a happy one after all.

That's how she--- I, had a broken and happy birthday.