Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Season

Merry Christmas! Two days late, I know.

My children are in Florida and I am in Louisiana. So I shed a few tears on Christmas since my heart misses them so much. But I talked to them on the phone twice, and will see them in a matter of days. Our doggie misses them too. He searches their beds, and cries, and comes to me with the most mournful look on his face, nudges me desperately, like, "DO something!!! WHERE ARE MY KIDS???!!!" Crazy dog! Can't say I blame him, though. Had I the K-9 excuse, I'd behave the very self-same way. However, I must soldier on like the human I try to be and endure this, making the most of it, and that's what I'm trying to do.

My Christmas was a quiet one, and I must say, quite enjoyable. I spent it bonding with my sweet husband. We needed this time and we are enjoying every second of it. Christmas Eve at my stepson's house where baby Caleb is already getting spoiled by his big brother and sister in law. We had Christmas dinner at his brother's and enjoyed the most eclectic cultural Christmas of my life. My sister in law is Thai, and so we had turkey next to the egg rolls, next to the ham, next to the noodles. Thai karaoke and New Orleans accents and crazy kids everywhere... and a little bit of Polk county redneck girl (me). Fun!

My man got me a spa day for Christmas and so I spent yesterday sprawled in a pedicure chair, white chocolate cappucino in hand, totally relaxing. I needed it. Funny thing, I happened to be one of three pregnant ladies in the salon all at the same time. Picture three very pregnant people sprawled in pedicure chairs and the place looked more like a maternity ward than an upscale spa. It turned some heads for sure! Too funny.

All in all, a Christmas to be cherished, since most of it was spent in the arms of the one I love, curled up by our fireplace getting closer and dreaming and building a stronger foundation for our family. And kissing too!! :) What's a good Christmas without some serious kissing, I always say.

To all of you out there, Merry, merry merry Christmas season. (Which, according to my bestie, Christy, lasts until epiphany, and I wholeheartedly agree!!!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Missing Heart Report

Well, my heart has officially exited my body and is walking around down in Florida. I put my kids on a plane Thursday. Their first plane ride alone. They cried. I cried. We are gonna miss each other!! Two weeks will not pass quickly enough.

But they did it! They called back so proud of themselves. They had a good flight, and made it there safe and sound. It's hard not to be blue. I'm doing my best to enjoy my last hurrah alone with my hubby before new baby arrives. I still miss my babies, though. I have two very brave, very wonderful children.

Now... the Saints are about to kick off. It's time to watch some football!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Decision

Today I'm decorating Gingerbread men. I have seven days until my babies have to leave me for Christmas, and the Christmasing has begun. We have an action packed weekend coming up and what better way to kick off than Gingerbread men? And a visit to the doctor to hear our baby's heartbeat. Frustrations are officially going to the back burner, and I mean the very back. I have a gorgeous husband who is nuts about me, I have two amazing children on the outside and one inside. It's Christmastime and we have each other... and gingerbread men. All other crap must wait until I am finished relishing every second with my precious ones.

Let's do it!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Taking Advice

Levi on tattling:

"Robert ALWAYS has to do that. He tells on somebody ALL the time, he always has to have something to tell on. It's like "DUDE... take a break!!"

I SO feel his pain. There is something going on right now that makes my heart say "Seriously???? I mean, REALLY??? After everything you have already done to me and my children... now this????" It's like "DUDE... take a break!"

Maybe it's the size of my belly, and the size of the hormone surges I'm having. Maybe it's exhaustion or fear or whatever. I'm just having trouble finding my usual look-on-the-bright-side attitude. I'm frustrated with people and humanity and the general stupidity of a person who unfortunately has influence on my babies. Honestly, I'm frustrated with God a little too. It's not like He doesn't already know this, so don't you freak out ok? I just feel like I tried to honor Him through forgiveness and through sticking out a marriage that was doomed. I tried to be the hero, to forgive when it wasn't deserved, to keep going when no one knew how I was suffering. I tried to hold it all together, for the sake of my family and for the sake of His church. And now... this situation just continues to plague me, even after I've finally been released from it and gone on toward wholeness.

I feel like crying out for mercy from this. I feel like asking "How long? and WHY???" Mostly I also feel frustrated that no one seems to be caring what is best for my children. Perhaps pregnancy has me feeling SUPER maternal right now, but I just can't get over how precious my children are, and how undeserved all of their suffering has been. WHO's looking out for them?? Well, me and God that's who. But still I wish I could make other people wake up and realize that they are really what is important.

Ugh. I'm tired of all this, and tired of being tired of it. I want to go on with my life and love my husband and enjoy our new baby. And that I will do. We all will.

Perhaps I should take Levi's advice after all. I mean "Dude... take a break!" isn't a bad sounding deal. Maybe a break and a little perspective will help... and some chinese food...


Friday, December 04, 2009

Sharin' My Happiness

My dear sweet longtime, knows-all-my-secrets friend, Christy Sallee, took some pics of me and my gorgeous man. Ya know how when you are pregnant you just feel kind of... yucky? Definitely not beautiful. Well, I posed for and Christy took some pics that made me feel BEAUTIFUL. Some I never dreamed I'd dare to take. But I did, and IT WAS SO AWESOME!! C, you did my heart good!!! Some of the ones that are appropriate to share are below. Untouched.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Peanut Gallery

Levi: (Commenting on my new back brace to help with lower back and round ligament pain) "Are you gonna wear that all the time?"

Me: "Well, it helps my back feel better."

Levi: "I'm a man. So I don't get back pain. Unless I have a cramp.... Now, preg-i-nit women... (with a shake of his head) THEY get a lot of cramps."

This is pregnancy from a seven year old boy's perspective. I love being "preg-i-nit!"

Monday, November 16, 2009


Just a few questions...

Why does pregnancy make food fall on your clothes? I walk around every day with SOMETHING on my shirt. Am I really that much of a pig?

Why can't I ever, EVER get full? I'm hungry ALL the time!!

How is it that I can be so proud of my daughter and how grown up she is, and want her to come back and be a baby again all at the same time??

Is it really true that a new baby can make me love the babies I already have a million times more?

Why do I expect so much of myself? Why all the perfectionism crap?

Where is my nap?

Where do college students' parents think their children are when they are actually sitting near me and my family on the streetcar wearing next to nothing and acting way too desperate? And how will I keep my daughter from engaging in such?

Why are the people at the coffee shop on Oak Street and Carollton so unfriendly? I mean, you can be bohemian and funky and all... and still be friendly to your customers. GOSH!! All I wanted was a steamer.

Will my son remember walking to the streetcar stop and riding downtown with me and his S-Dad, just for fun? Will he remember all the crazy stuff we can see in this city? Will he know how much fun I had showing it to him?

Why can't we watch Napoleon Dynamite every day? I love that movie!! Are you gonna eat your tots?

How come I'm writing these silly questions when there are a zillion other deep thoughts I could be sharing?

Why can't every day be Monday?

Why do I let people who have done enough to hurt me, and yet somehow still feel entitled to treat me as he, I mean they, please continue to hurt me? I think I'm finished with that.

What are we havin' for Thanksgiving? Pecan pie, I hope. I'd really love some pecan pie right now.

Why don't I spend more time being silly? I haven't been nearly silly enough. There goes that perfectionism again...

Who knows...

And I thought I had all the answers... Turns out I mostly just have questions.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Baby CALEB!!!

Here's our baby, Caleb!

His face in 4-D.

Here, he's waving hello to his big brother Levi and his big sister, Mackenzie. They had so much fun seeing him on the screen. You can see the side of his head and his profile, but the hand is kind of covering his mouth.

Sorry for the funny way they look, had to scan the hard copies in, but I wanted to get them up here to celebrate! He's growing so well, his heart looks good, kidneys, brain, everything!!! YAY! He does happen to be breech right now, but that can and hopefully will change before time to make his appearance. Any prayers anyone wants to say to that effect will be welcome. Sorry to brag and run, but just had to show my little joy. More later!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jus' Fer FUN!!

This is my Halloween Costume. Mrs. Conception!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Motherhood Moment

It's been a few days. We've had some sickness at home, but all are on the mend now.

In other news... and this is big....



I cannot tell you how excited I am about this accomplishment. Mackenzie has always worked for B's and C's. She's moved around so much, and been through so many challenges. I knew this school, Faith Lutheran, would be a financial challenge, but I really felt she needed this. I wish I could describe the look on her face. This is her first time on honor roll. She's always been close but missed it. And now... SHE DID IT!!! I'm so happy for her. This is a result of her very hard work, teamed with a teacher who has time to notice Mackenzie, and with a learning environment that is perfect for her. I'm SO pleased. There were some naysayers on this school decision. Well, actually only one. Right now, I'm just so glad I stuck to my guns.

Most days I wonder if I'm ruining my kids. So much has happened out of my control, and I'm not perfect by any stretch of imagination. Since my girl was born, not a day has gone by that I haven't thought of her, planned for her, worried about her, hoped for her, and loved her more than life itself. And this... to see the look on her face, hear the happy tone of her voice, to get to tell her: "YOU DID IT, GIRL!" This was one of those moments that makes motherhood a miracle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Hope. My little sister's middle name. A word I use every day. Something every good Christian girl should never let go of. Hope.

Let's face it. Hope sometimes looks as tattered as Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner must have looked as he gazed on a battle worn flag, torn up but still flying. Those shreds inspired an anthem that we still hold as our country's theme. Hope need not be beautiful or completely intact to still be present in one's life.

Reminds me of something my Granny used to say. She was never one to give up hope, never even one to complain. On her worst days, when asked how she was feeling, she'd say: "I'm kickin' but not high, floppin' but cain't fly." Said in her soft southern accent, sweet as honey, those words often come to my mind when I don't want to keep going.

Over the last few years of my life, I've endured some things I never anticipated. Spent a few semesters in the "school of hard knocks" you might say. I gotta admit, I emerged with my hope torn to shreds. This summer, I spent most days tired of hoping, tired of the "keep on keepin on" thing. Tired of it all, and wondering what in the world it's all for, anyway. That's when I started getting ready for the retreat I was supposed to do about.... of all things... hope.

I was driving around this summer, actually in the car with a person who was making my irritability and fatigue a bit more unbearable, if you know what I mean. I looked up ahead at an elementary school sign. It read: "I can have hope anytime I want." And that, my friends, was the kick-off for my journey into the idea of hope. What is it? How can I keep it alive? What do I do when I'm tired of trying?

In this, of all cities, the words "I can have hope anytime I want" carry a deep meaning. They did in my heart, as well. When I started to dig, to search, to look deeper into hope, here's what I found, in a nutshell:

Hope has absolutely nothing to do with my situation. Nothing to do with my personal happiness or satisfaction. The only things God asks me to hope in are Him, His Word, His unfailing love, my redemption, and my eternal life in heaven. That's it, baby. Nothing on the list about a happy life, health, plenty of money, or people who treat me decently. Wow. Several of the things I hope for right there, and none of them guaranteed to be on God's list of stuff for me. This took some time for me to accept, especially considering that most of my life, I've been trained that when I do good for God, He will do good for me.

Of course He will. Actually, He already has. He's loved me unfailingly, given me His word, His redemption, a home in heaven, and Himself. Here's what I found out: Most of the things I hope for are very temporal in nature. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily. I had just missed altogether the unshakeable hope that is mine in God. Sure, I'll be glad if I'm healthy, glad if our baby is perfect, glad if I ever can exist without financial worries, glad if my children continue to be healthy and happy. But if none of that ever happens, I still have hope, because I've been given things to hope in that are completely unaffected by fickle circumstances.

I found it interesting how much time I spent hoping for things that may or may not happen, instead of hoping in the wonderful things that are mine because of Jesus. So my hope flag still flies. It may be ripped in some places and may have a bullet hole or two, but it flies and always will. It's actually flying a little more proudly now that I've begun to really examine WHAT I'm hoping in and WHO gives me that hope.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I have not enjoyed Monday to its full and wonderful capacity in quite a while. Being preoccupied with such things as morning sickness, how in the world am I going to pay school tuition, and blood thinner injections, plus more stuff that I needn't go into right this minute, has kept me from throwing myself into Monday the way I am accustomed to doing. I've been slugging by not really throwing myself into anything except the bed... and then the heartburn kicks in and I regret even that action.

But today... for some reason, my body just did it. My brain just finally had enough, I guess, and said GIMME A MONDAY!!! And so my body kicked in gear and we did it! Made the bed. Did some laundry. Got the kids to school on time with a healthy breakfast in the tummies AND lunch in their hands. Made some soccer team negotiations for my daughter. Weasled a much-procrastinated-about and stressed-out-over brake tag for my husbands car out of a guy. Carved a pumpkin. Paid some bills. Eating some lunch and catching up on my blogging, AND I know what we're having for dinner tonight. It was nice to tell my sweetie to put up his feet when he gets home because I have dinner handled.

Kickin' butt and takin' names! That's what Monday is all about!!

Seriously, perhaps it is the combination of several events of late, some serious examination of the hope I have in God, an unwelcome nonetheless exciting fresh start that has happened in my life... Last evening marked a special kick off of sorts which I may or may not write about later. For now, my thought is that maybe that little re-start has sort of set things to right in my brain and my body.

It also helps to be past morning sickness, to have adjusted to giving my own injections, and to know that my baby is healthy inside me.

Plus the smell of cinnamon in the air and the fact that it is, indeed, October. Who knows....

But Monday is here and I'm enjoying every manic minute of it!!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Some good stuff

Had a fabulous weekend with Glendale Presbyterian Church!! LOVE THOSE PEOPLE!!!! They are beyond incredible. The food, the friendships, the fun, the food!!! It's like going home. Thanks, GPC!

We talked a lot about hope. Many more thoughts to come on that subject. For now, this is a quick check in to say I'm still alive and home and to give you a list of some things I appreciate immensely:


My CHILDREN!!! They are the two, wait three counting my stepson, no make that four... can't forget baby Caleb... oh yeah and my step daughter in law rocks also, can't leave her out... So they are the five most wonderful people on the planet. I love them. Today I'd like to especially brag on Mackenzie and Levi because they have been through stuff no kid should have to face and they still meet every day with a smile and a heart full of love. They are my heroes!

Oatmeal Creme Pies. With an entire quart of very cold skim milk. Yes, all by myself.

And God. He totally CAN, even when I can't. I need that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Day in the Life

I'm getting ready for a conference about hope. I've been doing some of the most challenging thinking I've ever done about that subject. At risk of giving away the goods, I'll save the rest for post-conference. However, just for fun, anyone who'd like to respond and tell me what hope means to you, I'd be pleased as punch. Just comment, and if you don't wish me to publish your words, say so.

That done, I've been thinking that I haven't said a whole lot on my blog about my work. I've meant to a thousand times because I really love my work, and find daily something challenging and enriching about it. I often think, "I gotta blog about this." and then life takes over and the moment of profundity gets swept away. I hate that.

I work in a business that can "take a lot out of you" if you do your job well. Assisted Living is a beautiful concept. Every day I come to work and bring joy to someone's life. Every day, I help someone, encourage someone, bring someone something they need. Practically, my job as activities coordinator means that I also provide entertainment, challenge (mental and physical) and general times of enjoyment. "Chancellor of Fun" I like to think. I suppose I could go to work each day and mechanically do the steps of my job. I may even accomplish nearly the same results. However, I just can't keep from involving my heart. There are 63 residents at the assisted living home where I work. Sixty three people to love, care for, entertain, serve, be concerned about, and generally allow into my business. Part of my job means sharing my life with them, and getting involved in theirs.

Right now for me, this means at least ten conversations a day about the size and general shape of my belly, how my children are doing in school, how much salt I ate today, and whether or not I'm getting enough rest. Not to mention at least ten more conversations about my marriage, since my husband also works here as the chef. When am I going to fatten him up? Is he working tomorrow and if so will he make me scones for breakfast?

Doing my job well means being available to hug somebody when I'd rather not be touched. It means listening to a story I've heard no less than fifty times before, but listening like it's the first time. It means showing respect to an elder who may sometimes act like a child. It means lending dignity to undignified aging processes. It means letting myself really love a lot of other people, whether or not they love me in return. All heavy and emotionally complicated situations.

Not that the job is without reward. The rewards are also rich and abundant. For one thing, our baby will be born to a houseful of ma maws and pa pas who have been eagerly expecting him. My children already get covered with hugs and giggles when they are here. Plus, smiles look so beautiful on wrinkled faces...especially knowing I helped put them there. Laughter is abundant and wisdom oozes from every nook and cranny. Reminders of what is truly important in life are everywhere, every day.

What strikes me over and over again is that I only took a job in assisted living because I had been left alone with my children and was about to starve. I never expected to get something absolutely perfect for me. SOmething I would enjoy every moment of.

Not every moment is easy, but every one is worth it. So hopefully for a while I'll be blogging on the every day stuff, the every day gorgeousness that is my life. The beautiful, challenging, and noteworthy moments that I've too often let pass me by.

Monday, September 14, 2009


In the middle of life's whirlwind of late, and all the stress, hormones, tears, worries, and emotions that are part of this pregnancy, I have a consolation.

Psalm 139 says "You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Know what I was thinkin? That means God Himself, the same One who made the mountains is actually, physically, with His own hands, piecing someone together inside my physical body right now.

There are no words to tell you how much I needed that knowledge. Sometimes in life's complications... you know, the ones that don't fit inside the guidelines of what I dreamed for myself and my life, it's hard to know that God is there. It's hard not to be seriously in doubt. It's interesting in the midst of some of my most spiritually barren times, God has chosen to actually physically touch me. Perhaps I have no feelings that prove His work in my life, but I see the physical evidence of it literally swelling inside me.

Now that I consider it, all three of my pregnancies have come at spiritually difficult times. How well He knows me... If my heart refuses to or simply hasn't the strength to hear, He just takes over my body.

This knowledge is precious to me. Too wonderful to express.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Nothin' Pretty

Hold onto your hat. This ain't nothin pretty.

Life's been... well, a little on the overwhelming side lately. Frankly, I'm fighting cynicism and outright irritability like you wouldn't believe.

I got into a confrontation with my ex husband and his new wife. Ewww... It was miserable for a thousand reasons. I wasn't nice. Didn't feel like being nice and didn't care that I didn't feel like being nice. Still don't. I was surprised at the fury that is in me. Mama Bear had her claws out if you know what I mean. Divorce of any kind is disgusting, and mine is/was among the most gross of situations. I still experience nausea when considering what happened to my kids and me. Most people who know about it do.

It's strange because I have a beautiful life, a gorgeous new husband, and my kids have a new big brother and are about to get a new baby brother or sister. They're doing great in school, happy in our church, growing every day. We're happy. I hate how past wounds sometimes show themselves and seem to be as infected as if they just happened. Sometimes I feel like I'll be injured forever over this. Some people say that a broken bone still aches years and years later in bad weather or something. Seems like emotional wounds are much the same way, still flaring up so to speak at one time or another.

Had a great visit with my family this weekend, and got some much needed TLC from them. My sister's church showed the movie "Fireproof" and the pastor preached his beginning sermon of a study they are doing based on the Love Dare. (For those of you not in the mainstream church, it's a marriage enrichment thing.) The pastor used the passage I Corinthians 13, of course, since he was talking about love. Now, I was doing no small amount of teeth gritting having already sat through the scripted "Isn't it GREAT to be in the house of the Lord today?" and "Lord, bless us and be with us." and the misuse of Malachi 3:10, and the pastor's cheesy pasted-on grin. Bleah. I missed my church and the realness that is there. Thank God my pastors have the guts to frown if they're sad or tell me if they're mad. Or at least not to take glamour shots of themselves. I love you, Jim and Greg... Crocs and ALL!!!

Anyway, I was gritting my teeth, and fighting the nasty, cynical thoughts that raced through my mind as he read the familiar "Love is patient, love is kind, love believes the best, love endures all things..." I thought to myself: "How can that be? I tried so hard to "believe the best" to give another person the benefit of every doubt. I trusted again and again and still I was lied to, humiliated, decieved, and ultimately abandoned. What's the point? And how will my new marriage have any hope if this kind of crap is going on in my mind? Why did God let this happen to me?" But then... to my shock, pasty-grin man had something smart to say. He said everywhere you see the word love, you can insert the name Jesus. Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind, Jesus believes the best, Jesus never fails. This immediately passed my theological who-ha filter, since I know the scripture says God IS love. And so we can safely substitue His name there.

I began to think. Perhaps this passage, while it certainly is the standard we should strive for, has been under the wrong focus for me. The failure of other people to love me, or me to love them isn't what I Cor. 13 is all about. It's about Jesus and how He behaves toward humans, including me. Perhaps it isn't saying: "This is how you love. Now TRY HARDER!" Perhaps it's more like: "This is how God loves you. So, having been loved like this, you can deal with the failure of other people to love you and your failure to love them." Hmmm... So maybe it's more like God saying "So what if he lied to you and utterly failed you. I love you and will never fail you and never lie to you."

I don't know why God let me marry a man who would hurt me in such a way. I was trying with all my might at the time to do what I thought God wanted me to do. I don't know why He let me get ripped apart like that. I do know that the stark contrast between the way I was loved in my first marriage and the way God loves me practically screams to me. I have to wonder if I would have ever glimpsed the magnitude of the strength of God's love if I hadn't experienced the failure of human love.

Mere guesses at a question that will probably never be answered and really doesn't make sense anyway...

In all my frustrated cynicism, my irritability, meanness, and sorrow.... in all my happy moments, my blissful passion with my new husband and my joy at the smiles of my children... In ALL those moments I'm loved. Hmmm....

Maybe this was somethin pretty after all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

People, Pigs, and Psalms

Kids are doing great in school. I promise to post a pic soon, they look so fresh and sweet in their little uniforms with their backpacks and lunchboxes. Too cute!

We have an ultrasound today. I'm getting spoiled with all these glimpses of our little one. Hopefully all will be well. Tomorrow makes one week on heparin shots three times each day. I know it sounds funny, but I'm so proud! I was once a queasy girl with quite a weak stomach. I never imagined I'd be able to draw up a syringe and shoot myself in the belly, but I do it three times every day! Takin' it like a woman!! It's amazing what one is capable of when one has to be. Not that I'm always brave...I'm trying not to be a wimp about the whole thing, but I will admit to you that the bruises all over my tummy and the idea of sticking a needle in there one more time sometimes makes me want to cry. Don't tell anybody, ok?

I think it's mostly the fact that I read too much. Sometimes knowledge is power and sometimes knowledge is utterly detrimental! For example, when I got pregnant I read that pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of death in pregnancy. Just the thing for which I am most at risk!! Yikes! I also read that heparin is made from the intestinal mucosa of pigs. Disgusting. Imagine my thoughts as I squirt that through the needle into my tummy three times each day. Perhaps that explains the bacon craving... :)

Isn't it strange, though, how an experience can be much more daunting if you know what's going on? Sometimes it's nice to be blissfully unaware. Makes me think of my children, and intensely hope that they have no idea the severity of what they have endured over the last 3 years. Makes me think of my parents and be grateful for what they shielded me from. Makes me think of God, and wonder how many valleys I've been in contained the shadow of death, I just didn't know.

That brings me to an interesting thought. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will FEAR NO EVIL, for thou art with me." How striking that the evil is present, even dominant it seems in that valley of the shadow, yet it is not to be feared. Doesn't say it isn't to be seen or heard or known, just not feared. So whether I see and know the danger I'm in, or whether I have no clue about the peril around me, I have no need to fear because He is with me. Not an easy thought to absorb, but one I needed today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Today is Mackenzie and Levi's first day of school! I'm so excited for them. They are going to Faith Lutheran School, which I just adore. It's a loving place where they will hear truth and I'm so happy to have found it. They've been through so much, I just couldn't bear for them to be lost in a crowd. Faith is, I hope, a kind of loving little cocoon for them. I know I can't always keep them in a cocoon. I've had to face the harsh reality that there are many things I can't protect them from, but this one thing I can do, so I'm doing it. The sacrifice is well worth it.

Life is bringing it's share of stress to me. I need some medicine I can't afford. Hopefully a good solution has come along, a less expensive medicine that involves a little more risk, but will be better than nothing. I'll find out today about that. It's scary feeling like a time bomb, like a clot could come along any time and that could be it for me. It also has a way of keeping me on my toes so to speak. Thinking about serious things like that makes me want to be sure that my husband knows how much I love him, my kids know how great they are, and so on.

That brings me to another topic. Stepfamilies are hard things to build! Not at all like having years on your own before children are born. We had a month or so on our own and then two kids joined us, with their own habits and personalities to add to the mix. Add to that a new, risky pregnancy surprise and we end up with an "us" that's easy to lose among all the "dailies." I'm finding that even though I already knew that marriage takes work and effort, never just "falling into place" on its own, a second marriage with step family is even more of a fragile existence. It takes even more effort, more attention, more purposeful love than I ever imagined. I mean, going on a date with a person is one thing. Living with that person all the time, while trying to parent children that haven't always been a part of this particular household, plus work, plus groceries and errands and a new baby and doctor visits and shots and juggling bills and viruses that go around the house and feeding the dog and keeping up the laundry... well that's a whole other thing entirely!! Life tends to take over!! One has to be vigilant if she wants her relationship to be alive and healthy and fun and vibrant. It ain't for the faint of heart, I tell ya!

Ah well... Faint of Heart is something I cannot afford to be, and when I truly think about it, don't need to be if I trust God like I say I do...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wanna See My Uterus?

Well, mostly my uterus. But the important part is that little peanut in there. That's our baby! And the pink in the middle is the heartbeat. I had to show this one because the doppler image on the screen came out looking so much like an actual heart shape. Too cool, we thought. Dwayne got to see this one with me which was awesome since it's been 21 years since his son was born. Having a baby is a whole new ball game now, so it kind of feels like a first.

This week we had a little scare. Just a few days after I published our news, I had some spotting. Frightening indeed. I found that even though I just accepted this news, I certainly wasn't ready for this adventure to end that abruptly. I held my breath through another ultrasound until I saw that little heartbeat again, going as strong as ever. Thanks be to God.

I want my faith to be such that I can accept whatever is brought my way, be it blessing or loss. God's goodness certainly doesn't come and go with my circumstances. A hard place to be, however, when you anticipate a painful loss. I mean what do you say? Personally I've reached a point with God that I don't bother with platitudes. He already knows it all. So I get right to the point and tell Him what I want. Then I pray to be ready if what I want isn't what He has for me. "Thy will be done" is easy to say, not so easy to mean. For example, I came right out with "Please don't let this baby die. Please don't let me see an ultrasound with no heartbeat." I found it an interesting challenge of my faith over the last few days, to be in a place of knowing God may or may not take this child, and trying hard to keep myself honest, eventually having to admit that Him taking this baby was NOT ok with me. I guess we are all in that place always, whether we feel it or not. Loss comes often without warning, without giving us opportunity to pray for what we want to see happen. Believing that God is omnipotent places me at His mercy at all times. He can give or take away at any moment. I suppose He sometimes brings along moments like the ones I had this week to enable us to interact with Him. Little wake up calls, so to speak, or moments when He takes our faces in His hands and forces us to look at the condition of our belief in Him.

I'm grateful that my scary little blessing is alive and well in there, turning flips and growing into someone wonderful. And I'm grateful for the opportunity to walk with God, be it a smooth or rough road. What is abundantly clear to me right now is that He is way more capable of holding me than I am of holding onto Him.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Scary Blessings

Last Friday, I fell in love again. This time with a baby.

The one that happens to be inside me right now.

Big news, I know. I’ve spent the last 10 days in utter shock and intermittent panic. I’m only 6 weeks and a few days along, and I know that’s pretty early to be blabbing such news. However, I figure I have shared almost every challenge in my life over the last few years on this blog, and truthfully when I don’t write about what I’m dealing with, I always regret it. I’m a writer at heart and I’m going to have to accept that. So regardless of what happens I might as well catalog this adventure here.

Anyway, as I mentioned, since discovering my pregnancy, I’ve been in shock, panic, fear, and a little bit of sadness I must admit. Dwayne and I have both shed our share of tears. This wasn’t something we were planning for. As a matter of fact we were planning AGAINST this. Because of the embolisms I had in 2007, pregnancy is a scary thing for me. So after two home tests and one doctor visit confirmed my fear, I ended up at a Perinatologist’s office on Friday, braced for the bad news about what this pregnancy might entail for me. I was still kind of hoping she’d somehow say “I don’t know what test you took, or what doctor you saw…you aren’t pregnant.” But she didn’t say that. The doctor plopped me up on a table and started squirting ultrasound stuff on my belly. She started poking around and I had a moment of more panic. Part of me hoped she found nothing, and part of me desperately hoped she found everything ok. Then I saw it. My baby’s heart beating away on the ultrasound screen… and there I went. That was all it took.

After that, two daily injections of blood thinner throughout the pregnancy weren’t quite so scary anymore, and the idea of an induced controlled labor wasn’t so horrifying. The swirling questions like “What if I get another clot? Or What if I bleed to death? And How will we afford this?” gave way to “Will it be a boy or a girl? And Will she be healthy? And Am I really going to get to meet the person produced by me and Dwayne?”

Scary blessings. That’s something God is into with me. Dwayne and I were laughing with Jim on Sunday after we told him, about how I’d been blogging lately about how my life is settling down….

Settling, schmettling. It’s evidently not in the plan for me. So… deep breath… I’ve trusted God for big things before, and this will be no exception. Me, my love, my kids, and the little heartbeat inside me will all be trusting Him for this one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Giving What I Have

This morning my pastor reminded me of a passage in Acts 3 I hadn’t thought of for a while. It’s one of those well known Bible stories, a Sunday School staple, and so I was familiar with the words. I even had a picture in my mind from childhood, a concept of what the scene would have looked like. Peter and John on their way to the temple and as they go, they pass the beggar by the gate called Beautiful. The beggar had been crippled from birth and the people would bring him to the gate so he could beg for alms. Peter and John passed by and he begged them for money just as he begged everyone else. What they said to him always gets me. “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

This morning those words had meaning to me in a different way than ever before. My husband and I were in a conversation the other day and he asked me what I was passionate about. (His passion for food makes him a great chef, a total joy to watch… not to mention the food I get to eat!) I didn’t want to talk about it. Though my main passions in life haven’t really changed, so much of my circumstance HAS changed that I’m not so sure these days that I have too many “passion outlets” so to speak. Call it adjusting to family life. Call it a lot of huge changes in a short time. Call it finally being realistic about what and who I am. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m only saying that so much of my life has changed that I don’t express myself in the ways I always did before.

Here’s the kicker: God doesn’t always do things the way we expect. (ya THINK?) Here go Peter and John on the way to the temple, minding their own business. They get asked for some money. One would think they might consider just giving the money, and if they had none, which they stated was the case, then they might just say something like, “Sorry man, wish I could help, but I’m just as broke as you are.” But no. They were able to think outside the box. (At the suggestion of the Holy Spirit, I’m sure) They didn’t do what the man expected. They didn’t minister in the way most people would have. They had no money, and told the man so. What they did next was what really struck me this morning. Peter TOOK THE MAN BY THE HAND and he stood up and walked.

The weekend Dwayne and I eloped, I flew to New Orleans by way of Dallas, TX. I had to stop in Dallas to pick up my car. (Long story.) Anyway, I ended up on the plane next to a woman who appeared harmless at first glance, but the longer the plane ride, the more agitated and upset she became. At first, I thought I’d better leave her alone. I wanted to concentrate on my happy plans, after all. But the more upset she became, the stronger I felt I should reach out to her. So I went there. All it took was one glance over at her, one kind word and I was in. Come to find out, she was on her way to Dallas, having just learned the night before that her mother had been found dead in her home there. Upon hearing the news, my new friend had indulged a bit too much in some alcoholic beverage and so was completely clueless about where she was going and when she was supposed to get there. She was panicky, hung over, and completely in pieces. I held her hand and cried with her. Then when we finally landed, I took her arm, led her to the ladies room and then literally handed her to her brother who was waiting to pick her up.

That day I had no answers for that woman. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure I even remember her name. I had no counseling degree, no professional designation, no title of “women’s minister” or “Christian speaker,” the usual things I would expect to be called upon to give her. At this moment, I find it laughable that I would have ever thought any of those things was enough, but at one time I did. I felt completely ill-equipped, since I was (and still am) asking my own very hard questions about the terrible things in life and why God allows them. But what I had, I gave to this woman. I had a warm hand, a couple of tissues, an open heart and some of my own tears. Once she walked away with her brother, I had a long ride to New Orleans to contemplate the situation. This morning when Jim read the passage in Acts 3, God brought that woman to my mind. I didn’t have the usual “grade A” church stuff to give that woman. I even felt completely incapable of helping her at all, my level of belief was so low at the time. However, all God asked me to do was give her what I had. And it was worth it. I could picture this morning as Jim read the words, Peter’s hand extended to the beggar, and then my own hand daring to reach out and touch a lady who was drunk and crying. What I had, I gave her.

This is the part that brings me tears. It doesn’t matter if a church, or a group, or anyone thinks I’m good enough. It doesn’t matter that I was on a plane and not a stage. So many things I don’t know about anymore, but one bottom line I’m still sure of is that God loves me and He changed my life. I have no clue why He has asked me to walk in some of the places He has taken me. But I know He’s never left me, even when I’ve been angry with Him or ignored Him altogether. That bottom line was all I had to give her, and that was exactly what she needed right then. She needed somebody like me who has finally been through enough pain to understand completely how somebody could end up drunk on a plane at 7:00 in the morning. She needed somebody who was tired enough of churchy phrases not to even bother offering her any. She needed somebody who felt dirty enough herself not to be put off at the idea of reaching out to a stranger who hadn’t combed her hair and who smelled of alcohol. That day she needed what I had to give.

Just like on that day recorded in Acts, the beggar needed what Peter and John had to give. He didn’t really need money, which perhaps could be why they were in a situation where they had none. After all, it certainly would have been easier to just throw a coin to the beggar and keep on walking. What Peter and John had to give the man required that they take him by the hand and get at least a little bit involved in his life. Definitely the more difficult of the two options. Just like me that morning on the plane. I felt totally stripped of anything worth giving to that broken woman. I feel broken myself so much of the time. And yet because of my own heartache, I was able to give her exactly what she needed.

All this stuff is swirling around in my heart, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. I know my whole life is totally, radically different than what it was 2 years ago. I know I never expected the joy and the pain that I’ve had over the last months. I know in the middle of all this change, it’s difficult not to lose my purpose. But this morning’s thoughts helped me know it’s still there. I may not have the expected equipment, the stuff I used to take such pride in, but for some who will cross my path, I have exactly what is needed. My passion and purpose still lives. It lives in moments on airplanes, in unexpected phone calls, in opportunities to love unconditionally, at work when I listen to someone’s story for the hundredth time, or patiently answer the same question I answered five minutes ago. It’s a little of whatever I happen to have, given to whomever may need it, whenever that time happens to come along. That’s me. That’s what I do, and why I live. It’s why I lived 3 years ago when I rarely left the church grounds to accomplish such things, and it’s why I live now, when I rarely accomplish such things at church. Perhaps the purpose, just like the Purpose-Giver, doesn’t change. Perhaps our purpose and passion can remain intact and can take ever-evolving forms as our lives grow and change. Perhaps it’s about time I figured out that I can live His purpose for me in whatever circumstance I happen to be.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Building an Us

I've missed you, blog! Oh I've been wonderfully busy with the most magnificent things, but I've still missed you!

I'm thinking today how fun it is to be making an "us" out of a "him" and "me." I'm getting a blessed opportunity to build a life together with my new husband and now the kids are home, which makes for a more crazy and infinitely more interesting journey. It's not easy to blend a family. It can also be delightfully rewarding.

One thing I love is that we began our marriage with a very seasoned, very established him, and a pretty seasoned and established me. I had my own things, he had his. I had my own traditions, he had his. I had my own ideas about how to make love work, and he had his. So now, we begin blending his things, his traditions, his ideas with mine and a new "us" is born. I have to say this is so much different from the first time when I had nothing. I was so young, I had literally no idea what I was doing. This time, I'm well aware of the risks, the sacrifices, the potential pain, as is he. We decided it was worth the risk and we jumped! Now I have to say what we're "cooking up" is pretty yummy, with the ingredients each of us has to give.

I must also say it's been awkward at times. Ya see, I married outside my denomination. (GASP!!!) And I married rather quickly, much sooner than the prescribed mourning period or whatever an approved amount of time it is a person is supposed to wait around before they move on after a divorce. A surprising move for a denominational poster girl like me. Some people aren't quite sure what to make of it. But I must be honest with you. I can't think of a marriage (except possibly my own parents) in my denomination or among people who would advise me against my choice, that I envy. Not one. Nobody seems to be having the kind of deep love, laughter, joy, and even heartwrenching passion that would make me look at their marriage and say "Boy, I wish I had a marriage like that." Know whose marriage I envy? MINE! Oh yeah, I know we just started and all that and we're still honeymooning and all that. I'm all too aware of the challenges we will face and the fact that we will have to work very hard at maintaining what we have begun. We've had our disagreements and already the obstacles are great. I suppose I'm trying to simply voice the thought that though my new marriage has met with some disapproval here and there, I find it interesting that the kind of love and depth of passion and joy I always dreamed of is now mine, and though my man isn't a member of my denomination, he demonstrates the kind of love and care I rarely saw inside my denomination between a husband and wife. I'd always been told marriage should be like this, but never saw it lived until now... a man outside my denomination happens to be showing me... and maybe them... how it's done.

This brings me to a sobering thought about my own self. How often have I written off people, due to their differences, perhaps in beliefs or looks or whatever, and missed something spectacular? See the amazing guy I'm married to now, wasn't on what would once have been my list of approved individuals with which to associate. Yowie! I suppose it took going through the kind of humiliation that rotated me off of some people's approved lists to open my mind and heart to something different, something deeper that just what I found inside my own self. Boy am I glad it did.

I have much more to download from my mind and my heart.

For now, I close with a list of happy pleasures:

Giggles and smiles in our home, a big goofy dog that loves my boy, loaning one of my favorite books to my daughter, catching up over coffee, holding wrinkled hands at work, a husband who is a chef... how could I ask for more??, noisy laughter that happens when kids sock slide on the wood floor down the hallway, and quiet moments with my babies just settling in at home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lazy River

I miss my kids. Dreadfully. They stayed in Florida to finish school, and I have to admit the honeymoon time alone with my man has been absolutely incredible. Still, I miss my babies. It just isn't right not to have them in my arms. Their rooms are all ready and waiting. Every day Dwayne and I walk past empty kids rooms and kind of sigh to each other. We are pitiful! Only a few more days, though, and we'll have them home.

In the meantime, I'm settling in, finding my place. I'm finding that crazy drive I used to have, that push to get everything done RIGHT NOW is not so present in my life these days. The constant fear of letting everyone down, fear that I might not be the best, fear that I might fail and therefore suffer the loss of my worth as an individual is gone. The heavy weight of everyone's expectations or rather my concern over everyone's expectations is lifted.

Not that I've done away with goals or plans, or that I've said "forget it" to my heart's dreams. I'm not sure how to explain it except to say I've let go. Not of what I was created to do or be. I'm still doing and being. But I've let go of the idealistic me. The one that thought pleasing everyone would make everything alright. If only I could be good enough for everyone, I thought, then they'd be happy and so would I. HA! It don' work dat way, in case you was wonderin'!

These days I'm feeling more seasoned, more settled, more like I've landed. I'm pleased with my accomplishments thus far, but more than that I'm grateful to be accepted by God for who I am, failures and all. I'm grateful for the ability to take a deep breath, relax, and allow my life to ease along like a lazy river for a while. It seems I'm accustomed to stirring up rapids whenever possible, or perhaps rapids find me. Either way, while navigating rapids it's difficult to take in the scenery. And I must say my life involves some lovely scenery indeed.

Wave if ya see me float by!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thanks, God.

There is a theme, a sort of steady song ringing inside me these days. It's definitely one of gratitude. Seriously, just think about it...

It's Saturday morning. I'm sitting at a cute little coffee house with a white chocolate cappucino next to me. I have a doting husband who is absolutely nuts about me. He took me dancing last night. And made me surf and turf (steak and fish). Broiled fish in this yummy marinade with creole tomato slices on top with grilled steak. I wore a scandalous dress and felt like a queen. He's at work today so I stole some time to have brunch with a friend and do some catching up. Then over here to write a little.

I have a job I absolutely love. It suits me so well. I love making money doing something I adore. I'm working again at St. Francis Villa Assisted Living. SUCH a fun place, and my job is basically to increase the fun. Did I mention it's FUN???
My sweet husband is the chef at St. Francis Villa. He's been there a long time, so the residents are quite fond of him, and also of me I like to think. Our marriage and new beginning has been so sweet to experience with them. It's like celebrating with 60 grandparents. They can't wait for the kids to get here.

Neither can I. I have two absolutely beautiful children. They are almost finished with school in Florida and they'll be on their way home!! Their friends here are waiting excitedly, as are their mom and stepdad! Not to mention their new dog. (Anyone who's read this blog with any regularity knows I have no small amount of contempt for animals who excrete waste in my general area. However, this particular dog happens to be owned and very well trained by the man I love and I must admit I'm getting a little soft spot in my heart for him.) He's a gorgeous lab and is just itching for a little boy and girl to love.

I live in an amazing city and my home is in the most perfect location ever. I'm steps from the Mississippi and from Uptown New Orleans charm. I'm a few moments car ride from pretty much any are of the city I want to see and still located in a relatively wholesome neighborhood. At night I hear ships bellow at us from the river as they pass by, trains whistle to announce themselves as they speed through the town. Daytime brings just enough hustle and bustle, and yet my back yard (actually a river levee) reflects a relaxed ease that permeates this city even on its most raucous day.

I have lived deep sorrow and even deeper love. I can't understand but I CAN revel in the love of a God who would give Himself for me and who would stoop to understand and care about my every need. I have

Fresh Air, sunshine, vidalia onions and peace.
Laughter, strawberry jam, lazy mornings and joy.
Two blue eyed babies, unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling, sno-balls this summer and hope.
Romance, sweet wine, bubble baths and love.

A charmed life is mine indeed and I am grateful. Grateful enough to determine not to let a second go by that I don't fully experience and enjoy. The bad things are bad, and they're still there. Guess they always will be. But they are and always have been outweighed by the incredible sweetness that has been poured over my life.

Thanks, God. Seems silly, almost pitiful in light of the blessings bestowed upon me. But those words are loaded with emotion. He hears their inflection and He knows just what I mean.

Monday, May 25, 2009

About Time.

Though I'm certain you can understand the reason for my lack of blog activity lately, I have to say myself, it's about time!

Last evening I experienced a feeling I haven't had in a very long time. I felt settled, steady, at home. I've spent the last four weeks nesting, adding my own touches to my husband's house, making it our home. I've been busy learning my new job and my new neighborhood. Over the last few years, my life has been full of plenty of uncertainty, and I must tell you I'm so pleased to be feeling rested, settled, grounded. I've chosen a home and an awesome new life and it feels SO good to be me right now. It's about time.

I have tons to write about... terribly interesting and wonderful things I've been mulling over in my brain. For now I've gotta run, promise to be back with more soon.

Friday, May 01, 2009


I know this'll possibly be a shocker, since I have been very conservative with details on this blog about what has been happening in my love life. Truth be told, I've been conservative with details about my love life in pretty much every public arena and even more private relationships. After the end of a very public marriage in my past, and after a life lived under the scrutiny of others, I've treasured my privacy as I've fallen in love. I've treasured the happiness this love brings me and I'm savoring every moment of it for all it's worth. So now it's time to share a bit with you.

My new husband lives in New Orleans, works as a chef there. We met at work, had a bit of a sparky start to our friendship at first... but our friendship turned into love. This man is full of laughter and fun. He has been a friend to me during some very sad and very happy times. He has my heart in a way I didn't know was possible.

On Monday, my favorite day of the week, we married in a very quiet ceremony at a judge's home. Funny detail... my Granny and Papa eloped many many years ago. They woke up a judge in the middle of the night and he married them. Through a strange series of events, we also ended up at the home of a judge (not in the middle of the night) and I couldn't help thinking of Granny and Papa, how they got their start, and wonder if she felt as happy as I did. If that kind of start was good enough for their 60 year marriage, it's more than good enough for me. It was actually perfect for me. The lack of the normal circus events that surround weddings gave me blissful freedom to consider, soak in, and completely enjoy my marriage ceremony. It was personal, and private, and precious.

This is us, starting a new life. A very new, very wonderful life.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inanimate Object

If I were an inanimate object, I realized today exactly what I'd want to be.

One of those big round shiny balls that you buy in WalMart for $2.50. The brightly colored marbl-ey kind. The kind that makes a loud noise when you bounce it, and the slightest force produces in it an enormous, enthusiastic bounce. Those things are full of joy and life. They are fun, almost irresistable to play with. They are simple, but inviting. They are at home on a concrete slab and also in a grassy backyard. Little kids like them, but grown ups do too. They get along with all kinds of people. They bring a good time to an ordinary day.

Yup... that's what I'd wanna be.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

He is Risen!!

Today culminates the quietest Easter season of my life. No fanfare this year. No rehearsals, no running around. Not even a new dress. I'll be attending a service this morning, quietly with my family (or as quiet as we get anyway) but I'll not step foot on the stage area and won't be called upon to spout profundity or bare the contents of my overflowing heart for all to observe.

Only here I share with you the most precious truth for me this Easter. It started 2 weeks ago as I sang an old song with words that were new again to me: "He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own. He bore the burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone." The last several years of my life I've become more familiar with sin and sorrow than I ever imagined I'd be. And to know, to make that truth personal again, that He took MY sin and MY sorrow, and made them His very own... makes me realize again the reason I will love Jesus forever. I have been and am now deeply loved by some of the most wonderful human beings ever created. Yet, all that love is just a shadow of the One who went past sympathy, past compassion, past mercy and made my sorrows His own. He alone can truly identify with me, understand me, accept me, and when all other loves fail... still love me completely. Beyond all the celebration, underneath the high note hallelujahs of today, Easter this year whispered very real, very intimate, very personal realization to me. Jesus reached down and took me on in all my crazy quirks, mistakes and mishaps. The me nobody can fully understand is known completely by Him and loved anyway.

In joy or sadness, sorrow or celebration, this truth is the source of life and love for me. Jesus did for me what I couldn't do for myself, and because of Him I am forever loved and accepted. Because of Him, I have hope now and always.

The old hymn finishes out: "How marvelous, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be, How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior's love for me." And now, with no one to hear but that Savior, my heart sings it.

Happy Easter.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Seasons Collide

Christy sent me a picture taken from our fun dinner evening.

I named it "old and new." The sight struck me as soon as I saw it. The tree, as you can see, has blossoms and older fruit on it at the same time. It reminded me of life and how it sometimes works. Reminds me of my life right now. Full of the promise of newness... the blossoms, and still sporting the results of the last season... the fruit. I kind of liked the sight of it, and the thought. I liked the idea that life's seasons sometimes collide. Sometimes we get to savor fruit and smell blossoms at the same time. Here's me doing just that:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Don't Get No Better'n dis!!!

This evening was an utterly blissful experience. Christy came over with the kids. We threw together a spaghetti dinner and headed outside to eat in the fresh air. At my house right now, fresh air is heavily laden with the scent of orange blossoms and dirt.

With children running and playing freely, Christy and I rocked in rocking chairs on the porch. We sipped sweet wine and laughed. We talked in the open-hearted, nothing-to-hide way that best friends can. We ate lime cookies. There was an absolutely delicious breeze. There was serious profundity shared, and some senseless silliness too.

I LOVED IT!!! More deep and wonderful thoughts to follow... but now...

I have very dirty toes from strolling in the grove and homemade sugar scrub and lotion to play with. Time for a luxurious shower and some much needed rest. (Hear my thoroughly satisfied sigh) Life, my friends, is a string of exquisite moments if we'll only stop and savor them. I'm off to do my savoring. You do some too, ok?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Crazy Love

Have you ever considered the joy, sheer JOY of pleasing someone you love? This weekend I had a chance to bring some serious happiness to someone I love very much. I looked forward to the experience, but when it actually happened I was caught off guard by the wonder of it. Perhaps there is no greater joy in my life than seeing the people I love gleam with happiness. To know that I had the ability to cause that shining smile is a joy and satisfaction that I find hard to describe.

I think too often we subscribe to a self pleasing kind of love that doesn't need to sacrifice and gets it's thrill from how good love can feel to one's self. Too often we forget the absolute pleasure involved when you invest yourself in another person, give your best to love that person, and see the efforts of your love come through in a smile, a laugh, or a happy reaction.

Love is a risk. It's scary. It can be painful. But all those things have to do with MYSELF. It's a risk TO ME because I might not be loved in return. It's scary because the one I love might fail me. It's painful because the object of my love might not meet my expectations.

It's interesting how all the fear falls away when I allow myself to focus on another: the one I love. I move past the risk, the fear, the pain, and let myself give to the person I love, expecting nothing in return. Just loving out of the utter satisfaction of being able to love.

One of the first verses I memorized as a child was "God is love." Those three words pack a serious punch. God IS love. If God is in me, then love is in me. Not just a little love, but a God-sized, never-ending, never-failing love. It continuously springs up from somewhere and allows me to give that crazy love and enjoy it to the fullest. It's a love that doesn't run out and keeps coming when it seems there should be nothing left. It's a firsthand miracle that I witness in myself every day.

Well, I take that back. I witness it in myself when I get outta the way and allow it to happen. There are certain things: anger, shame, blame, stuff like that will seriously clog the pipes and inhibit love's flow in my life.

But on the days when I let it, this incredible love is there and it flows out of me. And although it seems like something I'm giving, the truth is I'm getting so much joy from the process it seems as if I'm GETTING instead. Here is what I think is TOO COOL: I know very well the pain involved in loving. My worst imagined fears in the love department have become awful, awful realities. And yet... I LOVE. I love LOVE. Somehow I've emerged able to still function in love. OH, not somehow... I know how. Because GOD IS LOVE. And because God is in me, love is in me. Period. And I get to play in it and enjoy it and dump it on other people. I also get to spend zero time worrying about the risk. It's crazy, and I love it.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I'll have a King Kong movie, please. Hold the Kong.

This afternoon I was told, and I quote: "Trouble follows you." Well...

I prefer to think that my life is full of adventure.

Not the least of which was had today when a bomb was found in the parking garage where I park my car to go to work. Why in the world anyone would bother bombing a po-dunk parking garage in Lakeland Florida is beyond me, other than utter foolishness. However, it did make for some excitement which can be sorely lacking in my workdays. When we walked outside at lunch, there was a bomb squad and helicopter hovering, newscameras everywhere and people standing gazing up at the tall buildings. The only thing missing was King Kong and we would have had a hit movie on our hands!!

Happily, the bomb was either dismantled or found to be nothing, and by the time I left the parking garage with my dad's truck (my car was totaled 2 weeks ago, remember?) all were gone except one lone newscaster doing a live 5:00 report. I didn't even get on TV. Shoot.

In other news, I ran across a unique name and street address today. One that simply demanded a limerick from me. Unlike my wonderful friend, Mary (see top right blog titled "Calico Dreams") who is able to steadily produce a limerick each Friday, I seem to have limerick attacks. During one such attack last week, at least ten limericks were produced by my twisted brain in one day. Most of them were messaged to my coworkers, just for fun. Today, I suppose, was simply a limerick hiccup. It's actually the first limerick I've published here, but you'll see. It's just a combination that demands limericism. (is that a word?)

Oh the woes of poor Ms. Irma Dill
Whose insurance rates make her feel ill.
She may go insane
In her house on Crane Lane
Unless I can help her cut the bill.

I'm sorry. You just can't top a good limerick sometimes. However not all people are appreciative of the limerick. Today's rhyme didn't even produce a snicker from my coworkers.

BUT, blessedly, my dear family laughed UPROARIOUSLY at my limerick (too uproariously to be just polite laughter) at this evening's belated birthday dinner. There was steak, baked potatoes, corn, green beans, onions and homemade chocolate cake. We ate way too much and then, as usually happens when we are all sitting around together, we laughed until there were tears running down our faces and severe nausea was had by all. A perfect ending to the day.

A bomb, a limerick, and a birthday party. All in less than 12 hours. None of these things were ordered by me, none of them I wished for. But all of them came my way adding spice and joy and adventure to my life. Sometimes the best things in life are things I can't work toward, strive for, or dream up on my own. Sometimes the best things are simply things God hands me just for fun. I ask you... who on earth is more blessed than I?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Still Writin'

I promised reflection, and so for what it's worth... here it is.

In looking back over the last year of my life, well, it goes without saying that a lot has changed. Some changes were my own choice. Some were the result of choices other people made. Either way, the change is there and it's good. One thing I like about life and about God is the ability we have to constantly re-evaluate, start over again and again, and constantly readjust our lives and our thinking. It's just one of the sparkling facets of the jewel we call grace.

Over the past year, I'd say re-evaluation and readjusting has been a theme. Perhaps some of my adjustments have surprised some. Myself included.

It comes down to this: Over the last year, I've started my life over. But not in a rip-off-the-page-and-keep-writing-on-the-same-notepad kind of way. More in a get-a-whole-new-notepad-plus-a-different-pen kind of way. In some ways I've been forced and in some ways I've chosen to question absolutely everything I've believed and everything I've been and everything I thought I wanted to be. There are still MANY question marks hanging around. That's ok with me. Slowly but surely I'm putting things back together. I'm addressing some hard truths about the way I lived in the past. I'm addressing some questions that I suppose have always been there, but my past identity didn't give me the freedom to ask them.

Perhaps over the next days I can get more specific about those questions and truths. Maybe it'll help someone else to hear me ask... even if I don't yet have the answers.

Either way, old notepad or new, I'm still writin' and still livin' and still lovin' every minute of it. Can't wait to see what this year brings!

Monday, March 02, 2009


Good heavens. I'm 33!

Spent my birthday in a whirlwind of bliss. I do love whirlwinds of bliss. The only downside (if you can call it that) is that I haven't had quite the time to reflect as deeply as I normally would. I say downside because I'm definitely feeling it. I'm feeling the need to delve deeply and perhaps this evening I will, once the kids are in bed and all the daily responsibilities are said and done. Perhaps I'll even publish some of the findings.

We'll see... In the meantime, watch out, 33! I'm takin you by storm!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I got in a car accident last night. The kids and I are all fine, thanks be to God. My car, however, is not fine. As in it no longer has a trunk. At all.

Here's the funny thing. I cried myself to sleep over this. I'm still crying. What is WRONG with me?? I mean the accident wasn't just a little fender bender, however my precious babies escaped completely unharmed and myself with only a headache. Silly things like cars can be replaced. I'm not sure why this affected me so.

Have you ever had something just trigger a flood of emotion in you? I think that's what happened to me. Sometimes (and it's funny that I just wrote about independence) it freaks me out how my heart handles things differently now that I am divorced. I am the main provider for myself and these children. I bought that car myself and use it to accomplish said provision. And I will figure out a way to work this out. I'm an insurance agent for heaven's sake, I know how claims work and will deal with this one. I'm totally ok.

And yet I'm crying like a baby. It's funny the traffic jam of emotion. There's the tough me, the me that knows I'll deal with this and it'll be fine. And there's the softie me, the one that just wants to lay down and cry. The one that is sad because the first car I ever bought by myself is ruined. The one that wants to cry herself a river because things aren't always as easy as she wants them to be. There's the reflective me, the one that is so grateful that there can be a car that no longer has a trunk, but no harm to the little boy in the backseat of that car. There's the responsible me, the one that has already entered the claim report online and is wondering how she'll replace this car if it is totaled. There's dark me, the one that is mad and wished bad stuff would stop happening to me. And there's sunny me, the one that is just happy we are all ok, and absolutely refuses to let this stop the party.

All those me's get together and the meeting produces quite the emotional stir in me. Ah well...

Bottom line, I say (crying while I say it) that my head is up, my heart is open, I'm a happy woman, so bring it on. Again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Independently Dependent?

Had too much fun on a Valentine's trip to New Orleans!! The kids and I are worn out but happy as clams.

I have a whole bunch of interesting thoughts swirling. Earlier tonight, my friend Rachel called me to discuss her topic for LIVEChat. Independence and interdependence. I LOVED the idea! It really hit home to me and I've been thinking on it ever since.

Independence and interdependence are at war inside me all the time. I was brought up a little girl who dreamed of having a home and family, a husband who would support me so I could play the role I was "created" for, that of a wife and mother. Yeah, only that didn't happen. For one thing, I got married to a man who worked in ministry, hardly a profession that provides for one-income family type arrangements. (Hmmm... interesting how the very institution that taught me I belonged at home... eh...that's another thought for another blog.) And secondly, any time I was able to spend doing the "at home mommy" thing, well... I hated myself and life in general. I struggled for years to finally accept the fact that I enjoy the challenge of work and career and that is OK.

My point is that I was trained, as MANY little girls are, to plan for and even aspire to interdependence. I was taught that the "right" life for me as a woman would involve interdependence upon a husband to support me and "lead" me in the right direction. It would involve interdependence upon a church and the people around me that I looked to for guidance. Nice idea, huh? Except life doesn't always work that way. In fact, it pretty much never works that way. Without fail, people fail. And so, those people I was trained to be dependent upon proved not very dependable, and some of the ideas I placed my innocent heart's belief in also proved not so dependable.

And thus, I learned independence. I learned that I, a moderately intelligent, generally positive, friendly, creative woman could indeed make it all by myself. Not only could I be independent, but I could handle the dependence of a lot of other people upon me. And you know what? I LIKED it. It's quite a rush being able to accomplish such things. There's just one problem with this kind of independence...


Here's what I know: Being dependent doesn't work. Neither does being totally independent. There must be a balance somewhere between the two. (For anyone who worries what I mean, I do not speak here of dependence upon God. There is no argument that all of us are utterly dependent upon Him whether we know it or not, like it or not. I speak in this instance of human relationships.)

I've got enough spunk that I experience a wave of nausea at being a sniveling, weak, dependent woman who needs a man (or friend, or church, or whatever) to help her make decisions and function in life. I've also got enough tenderness that I fatigue at being a hard-lined independent woman who needs NO ONE and handles everything all on her own.

I find it interesting that I was taught as a girl that dependence was the proper way for me, all the while I was expected to grow up capable of being not only independent, but of handling the dependence of others like my husband, needy church people, my children, and whoever else might come along needing my help. And being an "all or nothin" type of person, it's kind of difficult for me to balance. I find I tend to either deeply feel my need for the friendship, approval, and support of others, or I defiantly feel satisfied and smug in my own independence. I have little middle ground. Which way the pendulum is swinging depends upon my mood, my circumstances, or my situation at any given moment.

Here's what I wonder: What if I could, confident in the fact that I can be independent, choose to risk dependence upon another person? Is there such a thing as independently dependent?

I think so. I also think this is a risk I must take if I wish to have meaningful relationships. I think there are appropriate moments when tough-girl independence is a must, and I think there are moments when I choose to let my heart be dependent on someone, further choosing to believe they are worth that risk, even if they let me down. Perhaps then, I must be independent in order to be dependent. Perhaps knowing I CAN do it on my own frees me to choose NOT to do it on my own sometimes.

Hmmmm.... then I must arrive at the conclusion that I'm an independent woman who sometimes chooses to allow herself to be dependent. Dependence is a risky business. What if they let me down?

But what if they don't? And that, my friends, is what makes relationships worthwhile. Sometimes people don't come through for us, but sometimes they DO, and those moments of sweetness, when a friend reaches out, when a loved one shows up, when a hand is there to hold yours just when you need it most... those are the moments in life I don't want to miss.

So I guess I independently choose to be dependent when I'm ready to be. Or even when I'm not ready. It's a risk I've taken and will keep taking in order to experience love and life.

Depend... kind of sounds like DEEP END. Kind of sounds like where a girl like me isn't scared to swim. Anybody wanna do a cannonball?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Know what I love?


There are few things on earth more beautiful than a strawberry: perfectly ripe, perfectly red, perfectly topped with a green leafy hat. Strawberries are in season in my neck of the woods right now, and I've spent this afternoon covered in them. I made three batches of homemade strawberry jam! Two high octane batches and one reduced sugar batch for my daddy who is a diabetic.

Now, normally I'm not the happy homemaker type. Oh, I can hold my own in a kitchen and I manage to run a functional home, but I do enjoy transacting business and having a career also. So it's not like you'll find homemade bread or any kind of crafty-type things around my house. BUT part of the magnificence of femininity is that in less than a 24 hour period, I can enjoy traditional homemaking and fast paced career activities... and I mean completely enjoy BOTH.

But I'm getting off the subject... Back to the strawberries.

I love making jam. It's sticky and messy, and I burned my finger but I still love it. You've smelled fresh strawberries, right? Imagine that smell magnified 1000 times as the strawberries and sugar heat up to just the right point. It's amazing, I tell you. PLUS, the process produces this pink foamy stuff that you can include in your jam or skim off the top (most people skim it) and it tastes incredible, has the consistency of strawberry mousse. The jars make the cutest little popping sound as they seal. The whole process is sweet, sticky, productive and incredibly fun.

I've made plenty of jam before, but this time I couldn't help getting a little nostalgic about the whole thing. This time I made the jam in my Granny's kitchen. (I live here, and she's in heaven, but it'll always be her kitchen.) I used a hand held chopper that was once hers. It still has bits of the masking tape she wrapped around the handle to protect her fingers, though my dishwashers have worn most of the tape away in the years I've had it. I stood at her sink, chopping with her chopper and looking out windows she looked out of for so many years as she ran her household. I'm frankly not too sure why I'm here or how long I'll be in this place, but today's moments were part of what I expected to experience here: a reminder of just who I am and where I've come from. I needed the reminder, since lately I've felt as if I'm just back at square one. Maybe I am. But while I'm here, I'm soaking up the facts of who I am so that I can move forward, confident in those facts and in myself.

All that from strawberry jam...

Did I mention I love strawberries?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tiny Gifts

Wow, how did Saturday arrive again? It's been a week of learning, and applying some things I've been learning. And it ain't so easy. Old habits die hard, for one thing, and letting life overwhelm me is a very old habit of mine. I'm happy to report, however, that habit IS dying.

This week I gave a presentation for a group of homeschool moms... about making sure we get all the joy out of every day life. Only that very day, some events occured that made it VERY challenging for me to hang onto the joy. Happily, since I didn't want to talk something I refused to walk, I had to force myself to maintain my focus and refuse to allow the hurtful behavior of another person overwhelm my joy.

If a cheating husband, pulmonary embolisms, hurricanes, divorce and single parenthood have taught me anything, they've taught me how to appreciate the small joys and pleasures in life and how to focus on those tiny joys to maintain a healthy perspective. I know all too well that tomorrow could get much, much worse than today. I must enjoy every tiny gift that comes my way. Those small things: the laughter of my children, the sparkle in their blue eyes, cute earrings on sale, the smell of coffee brewing, a succession of green lights when I'm in a hurry, leather scented car jar air freshener, a hot shower, a cold drink. Such things are the stuff of a fun life. They show up on the good days, and on the bad days they show up too.

On good days, we miss those tiny gifts because we don't think we need them. On bad days, we miss them because we are too busy letting the negative things in life overwhelm us. I've learned that appreciating the simple things isn't simple at all. It takes focus, determination, and relentless practice. To put it plainly, having fun is hard work!! But it's worth it!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


It's Saturday. I had to work this morning, but now....

Now I'm lying on my couch in a sweatshirt and comfy jeans. I'm surrounded by junk food, and I have the remote control in my hand and no one to compete with for its possession.

I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon right here.

See ya!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Market Research

I had a great time on the cruise. I'd never done that before, and I SO enjoyed the time with my sister. We ate what we wanted, did what we wanted WHEN we wanted. That was a treat for us two mommies!!

There was an interesting dynamic, because it was KLOVE radio's Christian music cruise. So there was an element of people... an element that used to be my comfort zone... that made the cruise an interesting time of reflection for me.

Oh, there are many deep reflections to be told. But not now. For now, I'll tell you something very interesting that I learned on this cruise...

The KLOVE powers that be, or Premier Christian cruises, whomever... made an interesting choice. They closed the dance club on the ship, and turned it into a bookstore, but left the casino open.

News flash...

A LOT more Christians dance than gamble!!! Who knew?? The casino was deader than a doornail the whole time, but based upon the dancing I witnessed (and YES participated in) on the Lido deck during a certain midnight music session, the dance club would have been hoppin!! I find this an interesting observation, though not terribly surprising once given a little thought. I mean, given the choice between the two, dancing is certainly the funner. (I know funner's not a word... SO?) Although, I have very little experience in either arena, being raised up to believe that both dancing and gambling were not things in which a good girl would indulge. I only did one... just the dancing. Especially since I have no money to lose, and dancing is free. So for future reference, dear Christian cruise planners, close the casino and make your money on the dance club!!

And there, my friends, is a very valuable piece of information for you. Hope you have occasion to use it sometime.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Whoa. My life right now is like drinking from a fire hydrant. Adventure-having is hard work!!

Tomorrow I leave on my first cruise! I'm going with my sis. Truth is, I do not have time to be cruising right now, but this cruise is a wonderful gift and I'm going anyway. Who knows... maybe when I think I can handle it least is when I need it most.

The emotional pile I have to sort through right now is fathoms deep anyway. Perhaps a few days at sea will help me get started.

For now, it's bon voyage! Or whatever you say...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Back to the Laundry Room

It's Saturday morning. I'm working on housework and catching up on things. Just me and my son here, and we're having an easygoing day. My girl is in the woods with her Papa on her first hunting trip!

It's been an adventuresome week. Between work, and mommy stuff, and business, and just being alive... things can get busy!

My son had a physical this week. Have you ever tried to get a six year old boy to pee in a cup? It's one of those moments, standing over the toilet holding a small cup in my hand, waiting for a boy with interesting aim to fill 'er up, when time seems to freeze and I laugh at the absurdity of life. Trust me, no giddy pregnant woman who is shopping for monogrammed burp cloths and cute little blue bassinet bedding pictures herself holding a pee cup one shining day in her future. Oh no indeed. She also doesn't fantasize about trying to clean regurgitated stomach contents out of a car seat, or drag a screaming child out of a public place. She doesn't daydream about explaining the menstrual cycle to her daughter, or trying to keep a handle on pre-teen drama and emotion.

She certainly never pictures herself single and learning to be "man of the house" as well. She doesn't aspire to be able to kill huge roaches in one single, powerful shoe slap, or to be tough enough to assure her boy that if anyone tried to get in the house "mommy will kick their butt." And she NEVER NEVER NEVER hopes to be able to effectively treat head lice or graciously wear diaper overflow on her clothing.

Interestingly enough, though she'll never dream of conquering these absurd moments, the ones that come in abundance to ordinary women, they're the moments she'll be proudest of and the ones she'll treasure most because of their laughter and fun.

That's life. Real life. The life I choose to live and choose to love.

Time to head back to the laundry room!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Welcome to 2009!

The one I love told me "this is our year." I like that. The statement resounds with possibility and opportunity. It sings of the happy times I have now, and happy times I look forward to having. Mostly it is a reminder to me that the life I want is mine already. The person I am is at home and accepted. God decided that. So in brokenness or wholeness, I am free to embrace every moment of the time given to me.

Possibly the most important lesson of my life has been learning to enjoy each day. My yesterdays are gone, I have no guarantee of tomorrow, and today, each day, is full of joy if I'll only let it be. It is my choice to enjoy the sweet, the simple, the silly and even the strange. It's my choice. And I so choose.

Welcome to 2009! Welcome, 2009.