Thursday, December 5, 2013

A snow day that didn't happen.....

This morning I awoke with childlike anticipation of today being a snow day.  Nope.  Maybe tomorrow.  However, it is collaboration day which means the kids can snuggle in a little longer and I can have a few moments of quiet time.

 It is on my heart to spend some alone time with God.  (Pause to silently berate self for not sticking to this aspiration on a daily day I will I promise myself...which leads me down the trail of "all you have is this moment, what do you mean one day?"   Practice what you preach sister!)  Okay, okay, back on task.....I tell myself I have until 7 a.m. to spend on laundry, dishes, whatever and then until 7:30 to spend some quiet time with just God and I....and after that I'll wake the kids. 

In the midst of this rabbit trail the word forgiveness weighs heavily on me.  I am so angry and betrayed feeling right now.  Yadyadayada...get over it I tell myself.  "People have it way worse" says my voice of reason.  And then that other voice..."you have a right to be angry and betrayed.  Feel it and work on forgiveness."  Wait...which is the voice of reason?

This all occurs in a period of a few moments.  As I type this I can see why being still, really and truly still is a challenge for me.  BUT...I want to feel God's presence.  I want to crawl up in his lap and rest awhile. must center myself.  I must be still.

I sit down to read at our beautifully refurbished red desk/table.  I love red.  I look at the Christmas tree lit up (no décor other than lights yet and I'm thinking of keeping it that way.  Simplicity is appealing.) I breathe in, breathe out, breathe in and begin....

I open Nathan's Bible (I can't even find mine in this dark house and I don't want to risk the noise of searching).  It is a time that I open the Bible and find exactly what my heart needs and I am inspired to dwell on it, write and pray. 

A little voice which is not my own this time is speaking.  "Momma, why did you put up the tree without me?"  Sweet Stella is awake.  I absorb a little of her joy as she finds Dophy, our sneaky elf, hiding in the tree.  This leads me down another rabbit trail of dear friends who do not do the elf or even Santa.  Children are children for such a little time and I love the magical fun.    I respect their choices but inwardly curse those who have told my children their own truth.  This makes me think of a conversation with my dear friend Stephanie last night over Santa.  Another child told her child Santa wasn't real and Steph was in a quandary and oh I sure do love that family.  STOP SARAH!  You really are scattered dear one, even in your alone time.  Back to being still...

I am feeling guilty right now.  Feeling guilty that I did not stand up for a friend when a coworker was blatantly rude to her in my presence yesterday.  Feeling guilty over the rage I have inside me at certain people.  Feeling guilty for suggesting a friend who is hurting focus on Thankfulness when I'm struggling with it myself.  Feeling guilty for unforgiveness, especially when I know who it is hurting the most.  Guilty that my Auntie is in the hospital and I didn't go see her yesterday.

Forgive me for my here and there writing today.  This is truly where I am, all over the board and trying to be still and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD.  What I opened to in Nathan's Bible (The Message), what I found bathed me in it is....

A David Psalm....David 138

Thank you!  Everything in me says, "Thank you!"  Angels listen as I sing my thanks.  I kneel in worship facing your holy temple and say it again, "Thank you!"  Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness; Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.  the moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.

When they hear what you have to say, God, all earth's kings will say "Thank you."  They'll sing of what you've done:  "How Great is the Glory of God!"  And here's why:  God, high above, sees far below; no matter the distance, he knows everything about us. 

When I walk into the thick of trouble, keep me alive in the angry turmoil.  With one hand, strike my foes, With your other hand, save me.  Finish what you started in me, God.  Your love is eternal - don't quit on me now.

Father God,

My heart is so heavy.  You know this already.  I am deeply grateful for the blessings you have bestowed on me in all circumstances.  My precious family, the roof over our heads, warmth, health, friends, YOU, hope, beauty from ashes...I could go on for miles. 

I am calling out to you God.  I am crying out your name for my own sake and I am calling you on Nathan's behalf.  Please come close.  Please hold us.  I know you are before us, I know your are behind us and I know you are beside us and carrying us.  I cannot fathom how you do this, I just know I am thankful that you do.

God, please use our circumstances for your glory.  I trust you will, even if I don't 'see' it.  We are walking in the thick of trouble and I know you will get us through.  I know you will save us.  I know you will strike our foes....unforgiveness, doubt, worry, frozenness (again, I could go on for miles). 

I cannot wait to see what you are doing with us God. Literally, I cannot wait.  Please open our hearts and eyes to feel you and to know, beyond all doubts, it's gonna be okay.

In your very precious name I pray,


Sunday, December 1, 2013

The beautiful truth of the muck

 I want to write flowing words of gratitude and joy, but if I did do that in this moment I would be putting on a mask and guarding my authenticity.  How can I find peace and be real if I live in a state of hiding? 

 My heart is a bit full of muck right now... I'm struggling to see past the muck and into the beauty.  I do know it's there, tonight though...I am going to allow myself to be so very real and share my heart as is.  I know God is doing His healing as I grieve.  I believe I am growing through these uncomfortable times and that the end result will be used to glorify God.  Tonight though...I'm just not feelin' it. 

What do I feel?  Heavy.  Burdened.  Angry.  Afraid.  Betrayed.  Hateful.  Unsure.  Insecure.  Void of options.  Broke. Raw. Unmotivated.  Sad. Guilt ridden.  Insufficient.   And oddly enough, thankful. 

Thankful.  thankful.  I'm thankful for the hope I feel in what is to come; the ick feelings are for the uncertainty of now.  I am only going to allow myself to feel the ickiness for a little while and once I have welcomed it in I will kick it out in the cold....for now though it is a part of me that I must search out and speak to in order to be whole.  I hope that makes sense.  It does to me, and I guess that is truly all the matters.

Some of life...

A phone conversation with my Daddy lately goes something like this...
(He calls me by pushing auto dial on his phone and I answer...)
Me:  Hi Daddy.
Dad:  Hi there.  Who have I got here?
Me:  It's Sarah.
Dad:  Who?
Me:  Sarah
Dad:  Sa-va?
Me:  No, this is Sarah.
Dad:  Oh...Sa-va.  Which one have I got here?  (this can continue for a good bit)
Me:  How are you?
Dad:  As long as I'm standing, it's a good day  OR not so good, I'm in trouble here  OR  Do you know where I am, I really do want to go home (he is home), I don't care for it here.

This is just one little variation.  And God bless, I love this man with my whole heart.  I love to have his big, warm hand wrapped around mine.  I love how he tells me he sure does love me (unless he thinks I'm not me, in which case he does not say anything but 'thank you' because he is happily married and his wife wouldn't care for him saying something different.)  But I hate this Alzheimers.  It says horribly ugly things sometimes and it steals the expression from my Daddy's eyes and replaces it with a lost, afraid and blank gaze.  I HATE IT.  I adore my Momma.  I adore how tender she is with my Daddy (even when she believes she is not).  I love how she protects his dignity when he cannot.  I love her love for this man.  I hate the weariness I see in her eyes, the slowness in her step and the hard truth that I cannot change this.  The yuck muck.

Marriage....home life....blah blah blah.  Home is still my favorite place to be and these magnificent babies (okay, they are 12 and 8) but always my babies and precious husband bless my heart immensely.  Struggling we are but we are finding a new normal.  I hope it's a temporary normal until we find our real rhythm and connection again.  Just when I begin to forget that we are struggling right now I remember. Reality  can be so painful and from the pain can come beauty....I guess that's more of the beautiful truth of the muck.

Tomorrow we are attending a very significant meeting.  It's one with old friends who are no longer friends.  Through our past relationship, my very definition of friendship has been drastically changed.  Stinks.  Praying for resolve.  Praying for peace and for nothing but truth to be revealed beyond a doubt.  In this I feel like I am sinking in muck....still searching for the beauty.

I am stressed and Christmas is coming.  I 'should' not be feeling stressed and so then I add guilt to the mix.  Why not?  Family drama is lurking.  Geographical boundaries are sometimes needed but always wounding.  Praying for healing, conviction and peace.  Ugliness.

As we are smack in the middle of the muck this verse comes to mind....
Jeremiah 29:11  'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.' 

There my friends is the beautiful truth of the muck.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Just wanted to share

I posted this to a fb website that I am on with people from an Empowered Parenting class I took (love and logic with heart) a couple of years ago.  My parenting has changed drastically since that time...I have not yet reached perfection and I hopefully never will.  I just wanted to share this learning and growing experience...
It's been a little hectic around here. Nathan is back home and we have a long road ahead of us, but at least we have a road is what I keep telling myself. It is truly good to have him home. My Daddy is rapidly declining and it just least I still get to hold his hand I say to myself. In all of this, the kids and I have been doing really well for the most part. Until two nights ago....John (12) had a raging meltdown that I haven't seen from him in a long time. It was all over me asking to look at his daily agenda, which he forgot to bring home. A chair went flying, clean clothes thrown off the table they were folded, etc...but the words that were screamed hurt me the most. Exact quote...'I wish you were never my Mom, I wish I had a different Mom and you'd move away, I ha...te you...and the list goes on." I did not say a word. I picked up the laptop because it was the only thing I could think to take away... I prayed silently and I walked out of the room, praying he did not follow me. I spent about 20 minutes doing this while he layed on the couch in silence. He then walked to his room sobbing out loud that he was so stupid and he hated himself. Oh how my heart hurt. I know he felt bad but in the past him doing this has made me cave. After some time had gone by and I felt we had both calmed immensely, I went in John's room to talk to him. I told him that when I was a little girl my Grandma had spoken cruel words to me at times and I had felt the same sense of stupid and hating towards myself. I told him when he spoke to me like that, I was so glad I knew he didn't mean it. I knew he didn't want a different mom and no way did I believe he hated me but that it hurt my heart really bad when he spoke to me like I was meaningless. When he tried to say he couldn't help it, it was his ADHD, I told him I agreed that impulse control was a challenge but walked through ways of 'doing different' even when it was hard. I shared that when I had my stroke, although I almost lost my physical life he would never lose me in his heart because God chose me to be his Momma so he would have to come to terms with this. We giggled. This all ended in tears and hugs from both of us, and a loss of all electronics until he earned them back by being kind and respectful...because even though 'we can't help it', there is a consequence. I am thankful for love and logic. I am thankful I pushed my own pause button rather than reacting in hurt, fear and anger like I would've many times before. I'll count this as a hard but successful learning event.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Why I love to go for a daily's a great debriefing time, a time to think, to breathe and to invest in myself.

Why I hate to go for a daily walk...I don't wanna debrief  and breathe when my natural impulse is to stuff and smile.  Investing in myself is a struggle, something I forget to do unless I make a point to schedule myself in.

On a home visit today with a very sick little baby.   Baby is nearly a year old and on a trach and a ventilator that does most of her breathing for her.  Sounds and looks and is scary.  However, baby is thriving.  Momma is extraordinary.  Baby practices tummy time and it's unpleasant so she has a total cry face with tears but no sounds because of her trach and vent.  Therapist explains that when we make babies do something like this, even though it is for their healing and good - we are making them work so hard and then they cry.  (Don't worry, the tummy time only lasted a minute or two). 

A while back I met a precious toddler who hears and understands things way above his age level but he does not speak any words out loud.  You see...he has two non hearing parents and so the language spoken in his home is sign language.  Now he's in school and he's having to learn a whole new set of social skills and how to use his voice (literally).  This is hard.  Tears or frustration may come.  In the end, optimally this child will know English and American Sign Language before he hits Kindergarten.

Last night, in a fit over an answer he didn't like, my 12 year old told me that he hated me and wished he had a different Mom.  OUCH!  It was so hard not to become an emotional mess, drag my own baggage in and tell him that he almost got that wish 4 years ago while I broke down in tears.  After a calming period and a heartfelt discussion, I was grateful I had opted for grace in the moment and chosen calm....despite the hard.

It got me thinking...all of these I don't wanna's that I have been experiencing lately....In all these situations, none of us knew the full beauty on the other side.  That is what I am hanging onto these days.

God speaks gently to me and says He loves me, I am His baby girl.  He knows right now my heart is hurting and this hurts his heart...but He knew way before now what now would be and He is not just before me, He is beside and behind me.  What a comfort to my spirit that is.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Where I am.

It is cold outside and my heart is warm.  I cry tears of hurt and sadness often lately and my spirit still bursts with joy. I am lacking some really cool 'stuff' and yet my cup overflows with blessings.  I am loving people where they are while allowing myself to be where I am.  I am using discernment to disengage from those I need to and I am allowing myself to be in vulnerable whole hearted relationships with others.  I am setting healthy boundaries and I am growing leaps and bounds.  I have come so very far oh but I still have so far to go.
Life sure is a conundrum. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9, 2013

Today....November 9....4 full years away from the big ole' stroke.  I've been so very peaceful and calm today.  It's been a day of celebration, just as I had hoped for.

The nine o'clock hour nears and before I am aware it was creeping up, anxiety has arrived. Painful memories flood my spirit and fear fills my mind.  Flashback to roaring helicopter sounds hovering, eyes darting from side to side,  screaming for Nathan, bouncing off of invisible walls, uncontrollable vomiting - and then, hearing Nathan talk with physician friends on the phone asking what to do.  The kind paramedics come into our home to help ME.  My Daddy kneels near my head and keeps me from choking, my Momma and my sister are soothing, Nathan is preparing me to go to the hospital,  John is scared, Stella is asleep, the dog won't leave my side....flood flood flood and I am afraid.  So.very.afraid.

 But it's different this year.  The anxiety came, I acknowledged it, I felt the weight of that night for a few moments and allowed myself to mourn what I lost through that 'accident'.  And just as quickly as the anxiety crept in, it is replaced by the same peace and calm I had all day long.  I don't even know how I got to this place but I am so thankful I am arriving here; always arriving. I am ever grateful that although fear is sometimes a part of my journey, fear is not the determinate of my life.   In the past, I have counted down the days until today, I have counted the moments until 9:04 or 9:06 or whatever time it was that I remember seeing the clock change.  Tonight, I find great value in not remembering the exact time I am supposed to remember.  More proof to me that I am beginning to release the pain and invite the peace.

This morning, our beautiful sister friend, Holly took our family pictures as she does every November 9.  The gifts she gave us this morning are etched permanently in my heart.  Her  facebook page is by Holly Peevyhouse, called 'Capturing Beautiful'.  It is certainly worth your time to visit her page.  Holly has a gift of not only capturing beauty on film but for capturing the true spirits of those in the story she is telling.  It is the first time in months that we have laughed as a family.  The beauty of this time set the tone for my day.  Holly's talent, laughter and gentle spirit bestowed blessings on us beyond anything I could have imagined. 

The rest of this day included a great family breakfast at IHOP, visiting my Momma and Daddy, watching Stella gracefully and joyfully iceskate, napping, getting endless hugs and I love you's from John, watching Nathan tear out our kitchen cabinets, spending time with a few of my precious nieces, many prayers, coffee, writing and loving on fur babies.

What an extraordinarily beautiful day it has been.  I have said what I needed to say, I have loved big, been genuinely kind, and I have been loved well. I have big plans for this next year...starting now, in this moment.

God bless.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Today, tomorrow and....

Tomorrow is a day of celebration and great gratitude for me..... Tomorrow marks four years since I had that big 'ole stroke that tried to steal my physical life...... Four years ago tomorrow I spent much time sobbing, trying to make sense of it all and wishing I could just die so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.....

Today, like everyday,  is a day of celebration and great gratitude for me too.  That big ole' stroke shoved it in my face that life really is short and you better soak in every single moment, for the moment is all we have.  Today I still know how to have a really good, ugly cry but the difference is today there is joy beyond and even in my tears and today I WANT TO LIVE these moments the very best I can. 

Life is hard.  Life is so, so hard.  Oh but life truly is amazing and wonderful.  There really is beauty from the ashes, always. 

Tomorrow morning my dear heart sister is taking our family pictures, as she does for me on every 'strokeaversarry' or 'birthday' or 'life celebration' that I have.  November 9.  Family Picture Day.  Love really big day.  Be kind to myself day and love like there is no tomorrow....just as we have the opportunity to do every day.  No need to wait for a November 9 of your own.  Say what you need to say.  Love.  Hug.  Celebrate.  Laugh.  Cry.  Find solutions more important than being right.  Share your heart. Be honest.  Be real.  Be raw.  Did I say love?

I almost put pictures off tomorrow, because you's a HARD time in life right now and I don't want to fake anything.  But I am not faking the love I feel for my precious husband and our lovelier than anything I've ever known children.  We have love in our family.  We have love in the middle of the hard and we are still writing our story.  We are given this moment, and as long as we have this moment, we are writing our story.  What happens when our moments here are over?  The opportunities to make the most of the moment will vanish and what will be left is a legacy....your legacy...our legacy.  But the legacy is made only of how you spend these moments now....cheers to spending them well.

Be blessed,


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gratitude, Hope, Healing and Restoration

I pray often.  All day long.  In the shower, in the car, doing laundry, reading to the kids, brushing the dogs...ALL DAY LONG.   I forget to share my prayers with my children.  One of the wise beautiful hearted friends who blesses my life told me she begins each day with a discussion and prayer time with her children.  I want this. This intimidates me, but I want this.  I am going to begin this in my prayer life...our prayer life, today.

As I pray, gratitude, hope, healing and restoration continue to be on my heart.  I am grateful for our children, wellness, our warm home, an incredible, loving family, beautiful friendships, a job I really like and the amazing times I have had with my husband. My list of gratitude grows and changes every time I pray, but these remain constant. 

If I forget thanksgiving, I lose hope for what is on the other side of what 'is' right now.  I must have hope, without hope I have no reason and as you can see from my gratitude list, I always have reason to give thanks.  Always.  Even in the darkest moments.

Healing is the process of curing or becoming well or the process of bringing that curing or becoming well to another.  Interesting.   In the healing of me, there is healing of others and in the healing of others, there is healing in me.  It's a process.  Wounds may happen in an instant but the healing of the wounds can take a lifetime.  The process of healing, right now, is so painful.  I do believe there is certainly healing taking place though.  A process that is under the hands of Gods timing and not my own.

Restoration... something, especially a building, that has been brought back to an earlier and usually better condition than it was before.  A building isn't erupted overnight.  A building must have a strong foundation...sometimes the foundation is laid first and sometimes the foundation happens during the process; mostly it's a combination of both.  Then the building is made in several phases.  Such is the way of healing.

So, I pray.  I ask you to pray with me....

I pray for restoration of  hope, of relationships with God, of our family, our marriage, our home (in the physical and emotional sense) and of hearts.  I pray for healing of all individuals involved in these.  I pray to always remember I have a reason or a thousand reasons to be thankful, always.

Happy Saturday.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Today is our 14th wedding anniversary.  I began preparing myself for this day last night as I wrote the following on facebook;

"Tomorrow is our fourteen year anniversary.  Things aren't quite how I imagined them as the big day arrives, and for that I am sad.  I have hope still that we have beauty beyond what I ever imagined waiting on the other side of this, and for that, there is joy.  It's hard to see past what is right now though, so I'm trusting God that everything I need is everything I have in each moment.  Praying that there is a true love story in the making...the kind that makes it through anything."

Tonight we went to dinner as a family....

Dinner stank.  Not the food but the overall tone at dinner.  Nothing happened how it was 'supposed' to happen.  I looked at last night's post just now and what I wrote just fully sunk in.  It IS hard to see past what is now.  I forgot to trust God that everything I needed was what I had in each moment and I got caught up in the what if's and the shoulds.  That resulted in hurt feelings all around and saddened children.  Who am I kidding?  That's the pretty way of saying lots of arguing, horrid feelings, hateful words and kids who had no escape from the crazed grown ups.  I hope they forgive us and still know they are safe and loved.  I feel like a blob of failure as a Momma tonight.

I have received many heartfelt texts and emails and I will respond to them as my energy grows.  They along with your prayers are sustaining me.  One of my wisest and bestest friends texted this to me tonight in response to my sharing about where I am emotionally; "Today stands for you and your determination.  Your unending perseverance.  You should celebrate YOU!  Good Job Sarah, Happy Anniversary!"  She's right.  So right.  I forgot to celebrate ME.  I do have much to celebrate...beginning with this moment.

God bless.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Hidden miracles

"You might be right in the middle of a miracle and not even know it."  These are words I heard during "Sisters" at Life Church tonight and I grabbed onto them. I I gripped them tight and stuck them in my heart and I am determined to not let them go.

 People that I love are in desperate places and I hurt.  I hurt - I want to throw up my hands and say, "I can't.",  I want to put my helpless cloak on.  Kind of.  Not really.  Because I know I can.  I know God will use me and this muckiest of mucks to bring light and truth.  I would like to know when, I would like to know how, I would sometimes even like to know why.  I don't know though....and if I did it might just be too much for me to comprehend.  A reminder that I, myself, am not God. 

I have cried heaving, sobbing, snotting ugly cries so often lately.  There is a difference between when I did that often growing up and now.  Then I did it because if I could out crazy the craziness I would take the focus off of the anger and screaming and it would turn to  pity.  (sometimes.)  Self preservation.  Those tears were certainly a real result of a pained heart but they could be manipulative...anything to stop the crazy.  Now my tears are authentic and heartfelt as they were then, but their purpose is cathartic, healing....a painful recovery process of my own.  I hate when my tears make another uncomfortable because I've worked long and hard at not crying for the dramatic effect or for self preservation, and only to cry when I am touched and honoring my own heart.  I am learning that any one else's discomfort does not belong to me and that often even my own discomfort is a kind of growth that I could experience no other way. I am.  Thankful for friends and family who walk ugly roads with me, sometimes carrying me through.  Thankful for having experienced so much true love and joy historically, that even the torment I see cannot take away those memories.  Thankful for hope.  Thankful that I could very possibly be in the middle of a miracle and not even know it...and for the possibility (that I must cherish) that this story could have a happier ending than ever I could've imagined.

I've attached a couple of songs that are really helping me through this time.  Listen to them if you will.

God bless, sweet dreams.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

No time to say 'hello', goodbye.

It's time.  I don't know how I will make the time but I know it's time and I know God will help me find the way.  Time for what?  I don't know.  One of my favorite Alice in Wonderland quotes is,
"I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date.  No time to say "Hello."  Goodbye.  I'm late. I'm late.  I'm late.

And here I am, seeing myself as the eternal late bloomer but it's time.  My time.  I can't say hello, for I am already here.  Goodbye what was.  Hello what is.  It's time for me to join in on my life.

Now is the hold on to love: you'll know when it's worth fighting for: when its lighting your life; when you never feel alone. Savor it, treasure it, and fight as hard as you can to keep it.

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out live, and to let it come in." -Morrie Schwartz

This is what I posted on my facebook status earlier today.  In my life, these words mattered to me because I am struggling through a dark valley with the man who has my heart.  I hope and I pray that one day my love and I are writing together, sharing our journey and helping others find their way out of the dark. Of course I realize there is another possibility...many other possibilities, but I am going to hang on to the hope I have.  Even when I'm mad.  Even when I'm sad.  Even when I've become an icky blob of blubbering snot.  Hope.shall.reign.

A wise and loving friend responded to my this post by asking if this included self love. (no jokes here, this is truly serious stuff) Of course I quickly responded yes, that is something I am fighting for right now.  Another very wise and loving friend in my life assured me that something deep inside of me is healing right now, even in the pain.  The same friend believes life keeps giving us the same lesson to teach us until we are taught, in essence.  Over the day it sunk it...of course I do not love myself so very much.  I love the Momma I am.  I love the wife I am.  I love the daughter and Aunt, cousin, niece, worker, friend I am.  But do I love me?  Am I working on loving me?  This is absolutely a recurring theme in my life.  Can I find my worth once and for all and believe it, even if someone else does not?  Well...the answer right now is nope, not so much.  But do I want to?  Yes.  Do I want the feelings I feel to be the truth about me, so truthful that they guide me straight into living the light as I bask in the warmth of God's love?  Yes.  Kind of.  Kind of I want that.  An itty bitty mustard seed kind of want.  It's so hard for me to see me in the muck.  Stand tall Sarah.  Stand tall my heart keeps saying.

 I sat at outside of Starbuck's the other day and I wrote endlessly about all the don't wants or didn't wants in my life; I just had to get it all out.  I feel like I am choking on emotional pain sometimes and that release of the ugly in a safe place helps me remain under the shadow of His wing, seeking refuge rather than feeling that I am standing alone and helpless.  After I wrote all of my don't wants and didn't wants, I sat quietly, I closed my eyes and I prayed.  I prayed as tears fell.  I prayed as I put aside the probability that some curious person was watching me like I was an oddity and  I felt the fall breeze blowing gently on me.

 I began to relax and consider the possibilities hope gave me.  I imagined ten years down the road...Stella was graduating and she was radiant; confident, joyful and sunshiney as ever.  Her hair was beautiful and long but I could not decide if it was straight or wavy.  Handsome John was walking hand in hand with another.  I couldn't see the other person, just the hand and I knew (the way I assume I will know in my Momma's heart) that my son was happy and fully in love and loved.  He was making the people around him smile and he had a calm peace about him.  Next, I see Nathan and I and we are standing in a grassy park area, watching...absorbing and in my vision I can feel the contentedness and peace.  Hope.shall.reign.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Home for a moment

Our family attended the same church for pretty much all of our children's lives and most of mine until last year.  It was a tough decision to leave, albeit a prayerful one.  Nathan and I felt a tug to be somewhere else with our children and the whole process made them MAD!  We have found a church that (we think) we love but it's hard work getting in there as part of the family.  A process.  We are working on it. 

Sometimes, we go visit our old church.  They are our family.  They have been with us through childbirths, deaths of loved ones, everyday stuff, my stroke and so much more.  They have seen our babies grow all the way from babies in the belly to the young man and young lady they are.  They have given a safe and loving church home to my niece and it is there that I find endless hearts and relationships that will always be a part of me. 

Today, I felt the children and I needed familiar.  We needed a soft place to land.  And so...we went to our old church.  During family praise I got to stand up with our son at my side and I got to share the pain our family is experiencing.  During the prayer, I was surrounded by the multitudes.  As I looked at the faces around me, I at first felt ashamed.  Ashamed as in I felt I only came here when I was sad but nobody was counting my visits, they were just loving us. My shame faded, my tears slowed, and the faces I looked at were angels.  I felt peace and took note of this moment as a bit of Heaven on earth.

A dear friend led me to the prayer chapel where we shared our hearts and hurts for over an hour.  At that time, another dear friend joined us.  This is what it means to be held.  This is what it means to be Jesus with skin on.  This is what it looks like when love wins.  The rest of the day was difficult, but the strength I drew from my visit gave me a little oomph, and hopefully my kiddos too. 

Home is where the heart is.  It was good to be home today.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I am wounded.  I am empty and  I am dark surrounded by light.  I am afraid and I am worn.  I am crying out to God with every breath in me asking him to let me not relinquish my hope and belief, my love and my faith. 

I am brave.  I will weather the storms this season brings.  I will do that surrounded and supported by the love of friends and family.  A beautiful friend said to me today...sometimes brave means falling apart and allowing God to be my strength.  I am an expert faller aparter right now.

I am worthy.  I feel very disposable in this moment, quite unworthy.   Those feelings are a lie.  The truth is I am worthy.  I will ground myself in this truth even when I want to believe a lie.  It may take me a bit to remember, but remember I will.

I am truly joyful. (not going to use happy, I have decided joyful is more accurate)
I am not so happy with my current circumstances, I am sad.  However, I will not give my joyful spirit away in the long term, for the one who carries me through the pain continues to surround me with his love....this is where my joy originates.

I AM loved by God.  I am His princess.  I AM loved by God.

I am a whimsical woman.  My whimsy is taking a bit of a back seat right now, but she will return. 

I am an engaged and trusting Momma with the heart of a child.  My babies need me right now in a really BIG way.  I will not desert them nor detach from them.  I will trust that I have everything I need for them right when I need it and I will trust that they will have all they need in the moment that they need it.  And I will play with my children....heart to heart....child to child.

Most importantly, I am a WHOLE and SURRENDERED woman basking in the warmth of God's Sonshine.  I might also be a bawling, fighting, fearful woman basking in the tank of my misery at times-and in a flash, I feel God's breath on my skin as the wind blows gently by; I hear his voice in certain songs and in my children's laughter and I sense his presence as I curl into the fetal position crying my heart out...

I am afraid.  I can really delve into fear of the unknown, it comes naturally to me.  So, while I try to lean into what is, I am working at living who I know I am rather than greeting familiar fear with open arms.  In the meantime, I hurt.

A verse I found that I didn't even know was in the Bible...I find great comfort in it..."Thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:  'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a humble and contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the hearts of the contrite ones.  I have seen his ways, and I will heal him.  I will also lead him and restore comforts to him.'"  Isaiah 57:15, 18

Please pray.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Eclipse...there are many definitions but my favorite is 'a temporary or permanent dimming or cutting off of light'. 

Nathan and I went to Dallas for an overnight stay to see Depeche Mode in concert.  I had bought him the tickets several months ago.  Nathan LOVES his music but he especially LOVES Depeche Mode.  So much so that their song 'Just Can't Get Enough' was the song boomed through the church speaker system as soon as we were pronounced husband and wife nearly 14 years ago. 

We had fun on our little mini trip.  It's nice to get away for a night and try and reconnect what gets lost in daily life.  We rode the DART (an adventure for us, we have no tram system in Tulsa) to the Gexa Energy Pavillion from our hotel....the front desk person said we would get off right in front of the Gexa.  WRONG!  More like a mile away...but the night was beautiful and the threat of a downpour remained only a threat.

We spent the evening on a blanket, getting sprinkled on occasionally and listening to Depeche play their newest tunes along with some old ones we love.  I had hoped to hear 'Just Can't get Enough' but seriously doubted that would happen, it's one of their oldest.  Despite the great concert, my attention was divided between  watching Nathan enjoy the night and an absolute fixation on the sky.  I was enjoying the full moon and cool breeze.  I felt the rhythm of the music playing, but more I was feeling the rhythm of life.  All of a sudden, the clouds totally covered my moon.  (Just as I was recalling "I see the moon and the moon sees me..." as read to our children so many times.  Silly, but I was sad that my moon was 'gone' for the moment.  I resonated with how much this was like my life right now....the brightness was there and all of a sudden it was covered by clouds. 

For the next hour, I saw no trace of the moon.  And then it was the second to the last song, and the song was 'Just Can't Get Enough' and in that moment, the clouds parted and I saw my moon shining brightly.  It stayed that way throughout the remainder of the concert.  I felt personally kissed by God.  I felt connected and peaceful and reassured.  Things will be alright.

Again, I believe that you have to be in touch with your darkness to know your light and to love it.  Right now my life is experiencing a temporary dimming of light.  It is not permanent and it is not totally cut off. My life is experiencing an eclipse.  I am reminded of the lyrics to David Crowder's song, Jealous....When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me...oh, how he loves us...
Even when I can't see the light, I can feel it, and oh, how loved I am.

It's ups and down.  It is dark and light. is life...beautiful, magnificent, glorious life.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I must become less so He can become more.  My heart's burning desire.

It was brought to my attention today that this extends into life more than I ever realized.  "That which we focus on becomes larger."  Simple concept, right?  Hard to live bet. 

What have I been feeding myself lately (besides Halloween oreos and pumpkin spice lattes...those don't count.)  Here's a little sampler of the menu I have been serving right up to me on a daily basis....
  • I am invisible.  I am small.  I must shrink down. 
  • I am ashamed.  I cannot do this.  I am helpless.
  • I am alone.  I am insignificant.  I am unlovable.
  • I am undesireable.  I am unworthy.
Wow! Wow. wow. wow.   This is the toxic fantasy that I have been living out lately.  Those thoughts are what I have been focusing on and they have become larger than life itself.  I have let these lies become my feelings and I have let these feelings become my life and I have given up my option to think and make a choice about what is real and who I really am. 

What do I want?  I want to feel and think TALL.  What does TALL look like?  TALL is beautiful with or without makeup.  Her beauty begins inside and extends outward.  TALL enters the room and she doesn't take survey of everyone in it before she smiles and feels at ease with who she is, nor does she seek out the safest looking person in the room to latch onto.  TALL believes the truth she knows about who God made her to be, and TALL is amazing.  Simply because she is.

Who is Sarah?  I have begun to lose sight of that lately as I have played these tapes over and over in my heart and mind.  In addition to those, add in all the very real sorrows in life right now and I have shrunken so small I have disappeared right before my very own eyes.  So...who is Sarah?  Sarah is a brave, worthy, loved by God, truly happy, whimsical woman.  She is whole and surrendered and basking in the warmth of God's sunshine.  She is an engaged and trusting Momma with the heart of a child....and Sarah is becoming TALL.    This is the reality I am going to focus on.  Despite what goes on around me, these are who God made me to be.  I'm learning to give myself grace.  I give myself some...but I am pretty stingy with it.  I am praying for heaps and gobs of grace to flow over and in my heart. 

I got the gift of being reminded today.  I have been feeding the fantasy when truly, the reality is so much better.

God bless and g'night.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Letting Go

September 11.  September 11.  September 11.  No matter the year,  those two words conjure powerful images and memories.  I still weep for the losses that happened that day and am thankful when I hear a story of how someone's life was touched or changed that day.  I am thankful for those who tell their stories for it reminds me that it is good to continue to tell my own.  The resilience of the human race enthralls me, but ugh....the part where your story is being written can be so hard.

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning, soaking in my private pity party and reading my Jesus Calling in hopes of livening my spirits.  John walks in and comments that today is September 11.  I concurred and then John stated that he was only 13 days old when the World Trade Center bombings occurred.  Like the rest of America, I remember that day well. It just feels like a heavy day.  September 11. 

Today, two big things happened in our household....

 Stella Pearl attended her very first Girl Scout meeting.  For two years, she has wanted to be a Girl Scout and this is the first year that there was an opening in a troop at her school.  She had to go to her troop meeting in a classroom immediately after school.  I gave her the room number this morning and then trusted she would get herself there after the bell rang.  (I trusted she could do this without my aiding.  Big deal for me!}  She did get there and she had a fabulous time.

 John Bradley left for Jenks Wild today.  This is an environmental learning camp the sixth graders get to do at New Life Ranch.  Awesome!  He was so excited and I wish him a wonderful time but he won't be calling us for TWO days.  This is a big deal for me.  An even bigger deal that I let them both go off on their own and I was truly happy for their experiences.

I sent John off with the following note in his duffel bag. I hope he isn't embarrassed, I really do.  Even if he is, it's okay!

"Dear John,

In the kitchen we just discussed that you were only 13 days old when the World Trade Center bombings happened.  What we did not discuss is that during that time, Daddy was constantly traveling with his job (on airplanes) and he was out of town when this happened.  I was up snuggling you (because you were my beautiful baby boy and I rarely put you down) - I was doing this when I saw on t.v. a clip of the first plane crashing into the building.  I thought it was some crazy movie I didn't want to watch...but it was on every channel.  I called Nana and as we heard the news, we just cried and cried.  Nana came over and we hugged and cried some more.  I was thinking to myself..."How did I bring this perfect child into this scary world?"  Nana and I took turns holding you tighter and loving you more.  I have learned every day to give you to God and to thank him for the gift of you.  You are too amazing to be held tightly in my grasp!  So today, I do a different kind of letting go as you go on your first sleep away camp - Have a super blast and enjoy every moment!  I love you.


Life is just a little of letting go every day, isn't it?  I HATE letting go.  I HATE it because I never know exactly what the outcome is going to be.  But when I do loosen that grip just a wee bit....well, when I do.....when I do.....I can't wait to see what God does with that.  Just praying that I trust his love is better and stronger and kinder than my 'magic wand' that I seem to have lost.

And finally...just for humor's sake (because 'studies show that laughter is healing')....Tonight I could not wait to bathe my blues away in a bubble bath.  I just got settled in, the water temperature was perfect.  I even had a pumpkin spice latte and a great book with me.  Stella Pearl walks right in and says, "Hi Momma".  I say Hi and then I tell her that I am having some quiet time and I'll be out in a few minutes.  She says she'll go but could I just play a game of  'Would You Rather?" with her one time?  (big brown eyes pleading)  I agree to one time.  And it went like this...
Stella:  Would you rather have the dreamiest bubble bath with a pumpkin spice latte, a book, big bubbles and maybe even a massage or would you rather have your one and only Stella Pearl sitting with you playing "Would You Rather?",  so that you will not be lonely?
Me:  I'll let you the reader conclude on your own what my response was....helpful hint....
I know now that my baby girl would rather ride a unicorn through the sky than slide off of a rainbow into clouds.  (It sounds fun but when you land on the cloud you'd just fall right through to earth bc the cloud is made of water.)  That's it sister,  stay real!

Be blessed.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Here I am

Why do I write?  I have written all my life...journals, letters, emails, texts, lunch box lovies (as my kids call them), post it notes, blogging, network media, anything I can use to convey my heart with written linguistics.  Writing is my chosen form of communication.  It is where I feel safely self assured and where I find rhythm.  It is the most natural way for me to share my heart.  In my writing I do not shrink down as I tend to do in person.  I may even stand bolder than I would in person.  Bolder in that if your perception of my written word is disapproval or rejection, I do not have to look you in the face to see that- not bolder as in I have permission to speak ugliness over you in my writing and say things I would never say to your person.

 I have not kept my garden well since my Granny became ill.  The leaves of my beautiful plants were wilted, turning brown and the fruits were shriveling and mushy. When I noticed, I was heartbroken.  I LOVE my garden.  It is where I meet God each morning and where I get to fill my cup nurturing and watching something I love grow....and they never talk back to me!  I get to talk to God and enjoy the gift of nature he bestowed on us.  I began to water my suffering plants a little extra and feed them some wonderful nutrients....and of course I spent time talking to each plant and saying a little prayer for it.  (remember, it's my quiet time with God most mornings so there aren't really any onlookers to question who I am speaking to).  After about a week of extra tlc, my garden is coming back - healthy green foliage, lovely fruits, etc.  A few plants did not make it through - their season was over and I had to prune them from the garden.  It sounds silly, but every time I have to pull a plant I feel just a little sad.  I wonder what I could've done to make it live longer and even when I know there was nothing, I grieve for it for a moment when I throw it over the fence.  The cool thing is that every time I give up a plant that is not healthy, the plants that remain take that energy that the sick plants were using and they grow stronger, greener, fruitier.  

I spent 30 days on writing ways in which I was kind to myself.  I learned that I must be kinder to myself, consistently. I learned that much like I did in my garden, the minute things get overwhelming, I stop taking care of myself and the things I love.  I don't write.  I don't play in the garden.  I don't pray regularly and I don't nurture my healthy habits.  And much like my plants, my spirit begins to wilt, and the gifts I have are not distributed because I have become disconnected from my God. 

And now here I am writing for 30 days on vulnerability.  That is what brought me to the question....why do I write?  Someday I'd love to write and publish a book that touches hearts and changes lives.  I've got to start somewhere so I blog, I post, I journal.  I want to write with the open heart and sincere heart I have and I pray my writing brings healing not only to myself, but to someone else who is seeking a life of authenticity.  If they aren't seeking a life of authenticity and vulnerability makes them uncomfortable, I hope my sharing helps them embrace that discomfort and find what their hearts seek.

That said, I do not only write about a life I hope to life.  I mean, I do write my hopes and dreams but I also share my struggles, my story.  (which is still being written).  I am a real person.  I am not a fictional character.  If it ever happens that you read something I have written and you want to visit on the phone, over email, or face to face (my favorite), please let me know.  My heart grows from sharing in real life and from hearing your story too.  I love how all of our stories entertwine - I think God is the best networker ever.

Sweet dreams cherished ones.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Well....bless my heart

I titled this post 'Well, bless my heart' because I hear that's the appropriate southern girl thing to say to someone when there are no words, so to save anyone the trouble I just say it to myself.  :)  Since this is me Sarah, there are always words - they may not be beautiful but there are definately words.  I have been working on a '30 days of kindness to myself' project on facebook and I'm not sure why, but I am fairly certain God has planted this idea in my heart.  I can't wait to see where it goes and what comes of it.  In addition to that, I have been journaling often.  Writing is a soothing balm to my soul even though sometimes it makes me deal honestly with some of the hardest crap I otherwise manage to avoid or push away.  It's in my heart to write and to share.  I'd be honored if you would join me in prayer about helping that come to fruition in a bigger way.

I am under gobs of stress right now, if you have seen any of my previous posts you probably know that.  A Daddy's mind is being stolen from him by his Alzheimers.  It is a mean disease.  My precious Granny is in an extraordinary hospice and in the process of dying.  (she is 98).  I am so sad for my Momma because your Momma is your Momma no matter the age and she is experiencing great loss all around her.  We are very close to heading into arbitration with a business we have had great trouble with and my sweet husband is having a really rough time...which equates to our marriage having a tough time.

I am up and then I am down and somedays I am spinning round and round.  I have had some gut wrenching, horribly painful, disgustingly ugly freak out moments and I'm sure there are more lurking in here.  What I also have had are some of the most comforting God kisses and moments of being held by Him than I have ever felt.  Ever.  I have been surrounded by encouragement, wisdom,  love, hard questions, truth, hugs and sharing.  When I get caught up in the 'what if's', as I often do...I am reminding myself of the 'Who is'.  When my heart is empty and I am an afraid little girl, I have cried out for God to fill me up and I have been overcome with His presence and glory.  I am doing more than surviving, I am living.  In some ways I feel my feet have been knocked out from under me and in some ways I am seeing more clearly who I am, how I am to be treated and how deeply I am loved.  My mantra....I have to feel the pain to truly feel the joy.

I don't write big details about my Daddy out of respect for he and my Momma.  I feel he deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  I have many funny stories, and some not so funny that I journal about and hope to share one day when the time is right.  Today, I want to share about part of a day (today) spent with my Daddy.  My Momma is sitting with my Granny, and I'm thankful she can be there.  I am thankful that I got to take off work and be here.  It's been a really good day for him today.  Thankful for every good moment.

I have always known my Daddy loves me.  I needed tires, gas, money, a big hug and to feel pretty, he's always been my biggest fan.  In that way I have been his little princess.  In the way of conversations we  rarely shared anything on a deep, emotional level.  I think that's part the generation he grew up in and in part how he was raised.  But....I always knew he loved me the best way he knows how and I know he is the very best earthly Daddy for me.  As a result of all of this, during this crappy Alzheimers progression, I feel closer to my Dad than I ever have.  I am honored to hold his hand, hear his sweet heart (and sometimes his angry words), listen to him voice in the way he can how scary this disease is, and have him love my children generously and joke with them in childlike innocence.  Their are gifts here, even in this blech disease.  I also get to know my siblings on a whole new level as we band together to care for the what is and that too is an awesome gift.  That was a little background....

This morning, we went to the grocery store.  My Dad shuffled through, holding my hand the entire time as he helped me shop and remarked several times how amazing and big this store is.  He wanted me to buy peanut butter because he said he's always wanted to try it but never has.  (I don't think this is true but I certainly got the peanut butter...just in case).  After that, we went to the park to enjoy the glorious weather and feed the ducks.  We conversed with a Grandma and her two 4 year old grandchildren....they are preparing for pre k.  I was struck by the similarities in growing up and in growing away...young and doors to walk through in those stages and in between.  We took a walk around the trail but stopped to read every dedication sign under every tree we could find and we checked out every dog and owner we could.  When we were done, we stopped at Starbucks despite Dad saying repeatedly he wasn't thirsty (he was hot and I felt he needed a drink).  I got him an iced green tea and after one sip, he said it tasted like Heaven.  

We came home, put the groceries away and ate some eggplant parmigiana that I made with my garden eggplant.  It was so yummy, but the cool thing is that my Dad thinks all the food I cook his yummy.  (As a matter of fact, as I type, Dad is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (his first, of course) for a snack and he is quite impressed with my cooking abilities once more!)  As we ate lunch, I saw the familiar lost look flash across his eyes.  He was just telling me how this ('what's this thing he has?'  'demenita'.  'oh yea')  thing is so strange because one minute he is clear as day and the next minute everything is different and he doesn't know what is going on.  Anyway, he started telling me how lucky he and his wife were because they had really great kids and 31 grandkids!  We discussed his navy days and how he was an aircraft carrier on the USS Bennington (CVA 20).  He talked about the home he grew up in and his school days.  He recalls these items with intricate detail.  And then he tells me I look familiar, like my eyes are like his eyes....but he can't quite place me.  Then he tells me about his daughter Sarah....and my heart was so touched that I had to share.

His story..."Sarah is a peach.  (I laugh because my husband always called me peaches in our early days).  Sarah is married to Nate.  I used to not think much of him but I sure do like him.  He's good to my Sarah and he's smart, intelligent - he's even adding onto their house.  You should see the floor he has put in.  They have two kids.  The boy, John, he's little but he's strong.  He plays ball.  The girl - Stella, she's just like her Momma and looks like her too.  Sarah works at some organization where she helps the less fortunate, she does a whole lot of good to a whole bunch of somebodies.  And then Nathan, he kind of does the same thing but he works for that school in Dallas (how my Dad refers to Pathways).  My Mother loved Sarah dearly.  It's my impression that they (Nate and Sarah) both work their rears off to help others.  (Again, he stops to tell me how familiar I look and asks my name.  I tell him Sarah-he continues with the conversation).  I just have nothing but praise for them.  (I stand to gather his dish and he stops to tell me I look a little younger when I'm standing).  That Sarah, she'll do anything for you...we went to the grocery store today and she bought a box of groceries 10 feet wide, she's an excellent cook and she took me to feed the ducks and the catfish.  You need to get ahold of her work because every time I talk to them they have nothing but praise for her.  I'll tell you this...everybody who meets Sarah likes her and everyone who knows her loves her."

Can I tell you what this conversation did for my heart?  Great medicine.  I have to sign off now, my Dad needs me to help him call his kids....maybe I could get ahold of Sarah?

Monday, July 22, 2013


I am realizing more and more how big of a role shame plays in my life.  I am writing often in my personal journal and I am compiling those writings into what I someday pray is a book.  Then I will share the story of my A to B....until then, there are some things I feel compelled to share because they are so heavy on my heart. 

Life is hard, we all know that.  I am battling right now to learn to love myself, and I have blogged about that very topic recently.  I decided on a whim yesterday (more of a Holy Spirit whim I believe) to gift myself with 30 days of being kind to myself.  Life is out of control and as always, I'm not in control of life.  I am however, the manager of my life and I do have choices to make beauty out of the hands dealt. 

My nice thing to myself yesterday (day one) was to pick fresh veggies and herbs from my garden.  We had ripe red tomatoes, beautiful white Casper eggplants and narrow Ping ting lang (or something) purple eggplants; there were green bell peppers, and red sweet peppers.  After photographing the gorgeous colors, I chopped, chopped, chopped my worries away.  John came into the kitchen and asked to help.  He has a big relator heart and likes to do things side by side, though as he enters pre adolescence he becomes too cool to join in these activities at times.  That said, I was thrilled to have his sweet presence in that moment.  I added an onion and fresh garlic and John opened cans of tomato sauce.  I watched him sauté the veggies in a bit of olive oil and then I let him pour the hot veggies into the tomato sauce.  Lastly, I went out into the pouring rain just to pick fresh basil, thyme and oregano.  I am glad I did, if only to see the delight on John's face while he inhaled the fragrance of each herb as he added them to the sauce.  We poured it all into the crockpot, simmered it all day so the house smelled intoxicatingly delicious and tonight we enjoyed the sauce with spaghetti and meatballs.  So much of this meal had nourished my heart before I ever tasted it.  So there...that was my number one kindness to myself.

A nice thing that happened to me yesterday is that I was surrounded in a safe place with love, hope, prayers, tears and heart medicine.  I was in a place where it was okay to be vulnerable, okay to be afraid and encouraged through my tears.

Day  two is today, I woke up and my first thought was 'Oh no, I have to do something nice for me today and I really don't have time.'  I decided to place it in God's hands and see where I needed to be kind to myself today.  And the gift I gave me was not quite as easy as yesterday's kindness.  At three o'clock today, I walked into Weight Watchers.  It felt like the billionth time, the billionth failure.  The minute I stepped on the scale I told the clerk that I did not want to know my weight.  I told her briefly about my current stress, I was desperate to seek my way out of shame and of needing to be here again.  Needing to be here again means I am engaged in the same struggle not just of being overweight but of being stressed, shamed, disappointed and undeserving.  She was kind to me.  She told me my point amount for each day and I knew that was way higher than I wanted.  The minute I got in the car, I looked at the number on the scale and I felt sad.   I was not going to tell anyone that I had joined again, I was just going to try in secret.  In my secret shame.  And then I thought about the impact of the Brene Brown books I am reading and decided to do different and speak of my shame.  Maybe that really will help some of it's power diminish.

After work, I actually attended the Weight Watchers meeting.  I walked in with an attitude of 'here I go again' and my self defeating tapes began to play.  I stayed pretty disengaged until close to the end of the meeting and the leader (who I thought had very kind eyes) asked what we were going to do different this week.  I am sure she meant something like 'drink more water', 'track meals', 'exercise', and so I did as I do and gave the unique answer.  I held back my tears the best I could as I said that I could not believe I was here again.  I spoke of my shame and of my embarrassment.  Several people turned and looked at me and I did not see judgment, I saw compassion. 

Then, the lovely thing that happened to me today....After the meeting, a very sweet woman and her daughter came to introduce themselves.  The woman asked me if I struggled loving myself and she said that she had struggled for years to love herself.  She had tears in her eyes and hugged me tight.  And I knew I was in the right place and that I had everything I needed in that moment.  Several people told me that I was beautiful.  That was hard for me to hear.  I know my spirit is beautiful but my self image right now is that I am pretty icky.  It is my goal to learn to not just love my heart but to love my body as is.  I still want to lose these ugly pounds but with them I want to lose the ugly self hatred I have because it holds me back in my confidence.

So....I have been well loved and the love I have received has been found in the most surprising of places.  I am hurting.  I am thankful and I have a glimmer of hope mixed in with my sadness.  God is good to us.

Peace and blessings to you.....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Little girl lost

Vulnerable.  Raw.  Intentional.  Real.  Clarified.  Pure.  Inspirational.  Life giving.  Joyful.  Feeling.  Truthful.  Peaceful.  Confident.  Radiant.  Glory giving.  Loving.  Gracious.  Thankful.  Delightful.

These are some of the things I long to be.  I long to live out of my heart and I yearn to be recognized as different and beautiful in my uniqueness. 

I adore sunflowers, zinnias, peonies, wild flowers....they are just little God kisses to me.  The colors, shapes, the way they open to greet the morning sun and the way they hang their sweet heads for a rest when then sun goes down....lessons in the flowers.  God's artwork.  I love them so. I want to learn myself every bit as much.  I want to see the good, deep and soulful beauty in me and I want to bring a smile to my own face the way the sunflowers do.  Mostly right now, I look in the mirror and I hate what I see on the outside.  I know the inside of me is growing and stretching and it's a painful time.  .  I want to be congruent with who God created me to be.  I want to go deep with him and jump into his arms with open heart and NO abandon.  Wild and free, moving with the wind that is God.  Leaning into the storms and standing tall in the sun.

God keeps on bringing us lessons until we get it....that's what I believe anyway.  Not to be mean, not to taunt us - rather to prepare us for the next level.  The beautiful sunflower stands noble in the light.  It stands taller than me and shows off it's many yellow hues with the soft brown of the seeds contrasting in extraordinary ways.  I remember the day John, Stella and I planted those little bitty seeds in the garden boxes Nathan and Ethan built us.  I was so excited to see what would come of them, I had no idea they would be so glorious.  I hope God sees his glory when he sees me.  Actually, I believe he does.  I just want to see the same and kind of I want the world to see the same.  I want to stand tall.  I want to write.  I want to touch people's hearts through my writing.  I dream of being a published writer.  I journal.  I blog.  These are my seeds.  I look in the mirror and even when I see ugly, I recognize there is a light hiding in my eyes and I cherish that....another seed.  Tonight I was  And in that place my little girl me and I reconnected.  She's special.  I'm special.  So many times in this big ole' world I lose sight of her - but always she is here waiting for me to love her.  To love her Now.  In spite of what is or what is not.  That's my recurring theme.  Learning to love myself.

I read this yesterday..."Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is he bravest thing that we will ever do."  -  Brene Brown, 'Gifts of Imperfection'  I thought I owned my story but I'm wondering how much of my story owns me?  Loving myself though the process of owning my story....that is what I am committed to learning to do.  After all, I am a brave, worthy, loved by God, truly happy, whimsical, whole and surrendered woman basking in the warmth of God's sunshine and an engaged and trusting Momma.  I have bought into the lie again that when life is so painful as it sometimes is, I am no longer that person.  I will learn to love myself as God loves me...through the process.  Little girl me will not forever be lost.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Hidden Rainbows

Life is a journey, not a destination....and lately it has been a tough sort of journey.  I am looking for the rainbows every day, because they are there.  I am also acknowledging the fears, the hurts, the sorrows and the pain.  I must, for if I did not recognize those things how would I know that the rainbow is truly a rainbow?

I went for my every 6 month cardiology appointment on Monday.  Strange and new adventure for me amongst the familiar.  I did not have the crazy anxiety I have always had weeks before, at least not in the forefront.  I had a 'flat' sort of  mood the days before, kind of a drawn into myself fussy mood.  That probably wasn't any better than the familiar anxiety but I honestly am trying to be at a peaceful place.  Maybe I've come to realize God really does have this (my life) and I can let go.  The BUT is once I realize this as my truth, I attempt to take control of something other than my own life.  Ahhh....growth is only hard, right? 

 I laid on that cold table for my EKG and considered how although times have changed they are still the same.  There is no scrubbing of the skin with sandpaper and there are no huge amounts of goo that linger on your skin for days after.  The EKG takes only minutes.  There is no huge machine brought in the room where I can hear the reading of my heart rhythms going on, there is a little laptop that neatly prints out little paper with my big results.  There is the uber quiet technician that I have never met before and try desperately to engage in conversation as invades my personal space with her many little sticky patches on my body.  There is the recognition of the always cold table I am laying still on.  There is the intense self awareness of my own invincibility as I lay quietly, so not in control of my surroundings or outcome. 

My favorite are (not) the niceties as the Dr. comes in and asks the routine questions that make my tummy cringe and my skin crawl.  Any shortness of breath?  Any chest pain?  Fainting spells?  Dizziness? Swelling?  No, no, no, no and no! 

But hey house is in crazy chaos and we are about to go through arbitration with the company we have been struggling with for nearly a year.  And, hey Dr., Alzheimer's is invading every inch of my Daddy and I am losing him.  Also Dr., my Momma is so sad and so strong and I hate that I really can do nothing to stop her pain and bring my Daddy back and make my Granny well.  Oh, and I think I have gained a lot of weight and I can't seem to focus on accomplishing anything fully at home and I say horribly ugly things to myself when I look in the mirror.  So, dear Dr......can you hear me screaming inside?  I didn't think so.  Okay...we'll just stick to the subject at hand and I will walk out of here feeling as exhausted as I am and we'll call it good.

I know someone will wonder (or at least I would) so I'm going to throw this in.  My heart healthy looks great.  There are no changes in the EKG and my Dr.  (truly a wonderful cardiologist) says that after my visit in the fall we will probably go back to annual visits rather than  bi annual.  Lastly, he didn't see the need to do any of the tests I HATE right now (although I am thankful for the knowledge they provide).  Dr. says that we can go back to only doing those every 2 or three years.  For all of these things, I am beyond grateful.  I have to promise to call if anything feels weird of course, and I promised.  I am the queen of feeling weird, but I think I understand what he means. what did I leave the dr. office with?  Lots of gratitude for a good report and lots of praise for my God.  Lots of sorrow for my parents and still grieving for what was and what 'should've/could've' been.  Betrayed feelings over our house situation and of course, a good dose of shame and self hatred for how I've let myself go. 

The rainbows....A great report from the Dr.!  (although my first great report was the lack of huge anxiety and the peace about it was not 100% but it was very different for me).  I have my Mom and I have my Dad; I have their love for me and my love for them.  My husband and my is a hard time in our marriage, stress abounds.  However, the love I feel in my little family pushes and pulls me through this life.  Friends, nephews, nieces, furry friends, a HOME that cannot be taken by anyone b/c it is in our hearts, shelter, food, clothing, a career I really do enjoy, my garden, the hum of the fan, being not hurt in a car wreck this week (no one was hurt = thankfulness),  my nephew Ethan gets to go SKY DIVING today, and the list goes on. 

My heart aches.  My heart rejoices.  Ebbs and flows.  This is life.  Thankfulness in the happy, gratitude in the sorrow and we keep on going..................

Find your rainbows and hang on tight.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Photo: Artist: Hazy Sun

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Digging deep and finding peace

Here is my heart....raw as all get out.  Tears are flowing and I will do nothing to stop fact I have been praying for time to let my sorrow out in a healthy way so I can find some healing and forgiveness.  I feel horribly sad, broken and lost.  I want my whole Daddy back.  I want my Momma to have health, joy and freedom.  I want to not be in Hell with the contractors over work that has been done in our home.  I want worry free days and a light heart.  I want to not believe that my babies are already becoming third and sixth graders.  I want the addicts in my life to find a life apart from their addictions...a life full of joy.  I want broken families mended, I want lost friendships restored, I want spiritual wounds magically gone.  I want to have our summer babysitting worked out.  And while I'm at it...I want a fenced yard and a more comfortable toilet seat.  I want sick people healed, I want to fight the good fight and run the good race but I'm so tired of the fight and I just want peace.  So here I am.....reminded that I live in a world that is not my home but nonetheless a world with people and things I've come to love.  Trying to lean into the hard and truly feel what I feel but also trying to not lose my peace and my happy.  Not wanting to fall into a dark space so I'm trying to make sure my heart is still filled with light....reality vs. wonderland.  I'm stuck in between.  I make myself vulnerable in my writing and I know this leaves me wide open for both negative criticisms and healthy's okay. 

 I thought before today that I was my own worst critic but I see now that people can say twisted and ugly things, and even though I know how untrue they are, they hurt. I found this out through words that an old 'friend' wrote of me.   My least favorite was this...(said of me after I had quoted an experienced architect - which the author apparently thought was my own  "This is just another example of how she likes to act like she actually knows what she's talking would be safe to assume her brother was probably whispering in her ear as she was writing."  OUCH!  Why ouch?  I always knew I was intelligent.  More perceptive and emotionally intelligent than anything....but that wasn't necessarily something I viewed as a strength.  After my big ole stroke, I felt extremely incompetent and broken....stupid was my favorite word for myself.  I have worked long and hard to understand that though my mind may be different, I am by no means stupid....nor was I ever.  As a matter of fact, I have only gained deeper perspective on the preciousness of life and bigger love for people and their hearts than ever before. I still suck at math.  But given the options...I am grateful for the outcome.  And, fyi, if my big brother had been whispering in my ear, I should've been listening.  He obviously cared more about the outcome than the writer on the other side.  Anyway, I've been playing this tape loud today....stupid stupid stupid.  And as I write I am beginning to have a small calm in my heart about who I really am and who I really belong I must work on remembering that though this process is crazy unpleasant, it is my God that has the outcome in his hands.  And it's not just the outcome he's the whole process, it's us.  Why do I forget this so quickly?

Once upon a time, in the midst of darkness, I was asked to write a list of 65 things I was grateful for.  I think I will do that now...I couldn't imagine doing it when I started writing tonight but if anyone can change my heart and attitude it is my God.
1.  Chirping birds
2.  My sweet garden
3.  Safety from the storms
4.  My Daddy's hands that I can hold
5.  My precious Momma supplying us with dinner tonight
6.  Time to cry, time to process, time to pray, time to forgive, time to heal and time to hear who I really am
7.  Nathan Tronnier, my calm and handsome love
8.  Stella Pearl my sunshine girl
9.  John Bradley whom I love so madly
10.  Ethan's symphony
11.  Maple, Rusty, Froggy and Shrek
12.  Amazing nieces and nephews that light up my world
13.  Sisters and brothers that have my heart
14.  Kevin's life
15.  Brent's life
16.  A jelly belly (well...I don't love the belly but I love that it grew a John and Stella in there)
17.  That God loves me even when I'm whiny, sad, distrustful and mad....and when I'm happy, sunshiny, sparkly and joyful.
18. A home filled with love
19.  A job that lets me 'be the change I want to see.'
20.  Cool, morning grass and bare feet
21.  open windows with fresh, breezy air
22.  Smelling clean laundry
23.  Caramel ribbon frappucino's
24.  A church with LIFE
25.  A beautiful Sunday night class
26.  Friends I have and friends I've lost, both touch my life
27.  Pathways core training
28.  Dallas loves
29.  The Sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons
30.  My new True Rose candle
31.  The last day of school
32.  Summer chill time
33.  trees and flowers, mud and clear waters
34.  My little girl in the forest
35.  The gift of gab
36.  Tears
37.  Laughter
38.  Memories and moments
39.  porch sitting
40.  Cooking
41.  fresh out of the dryer cotton sheets on my bed
42.  A bath that is just the right temperature and a pillow that your head is in just the right spot on after the bath
43.  The smell of pink peonies wafting through the yard
44.  Choices
45.  Encouragement and wisdom
46.  New life, old life and in between life
47.  A hurting heart so I can appreciate a renewed heart
48.  Truth
49.  The Better Business Bureau
50.  Granny sweet Granny
51.  Wise Auntie
52.  Hugs
53.  Kisses....of course
54.  Sleeping naked in the fresh washed cotton sheets
55.  Family snuggles and movie nights in bed (not on the naked nights)
56.  My cute little Kia sportage - Kiki
57.  Giving back
58.  Learning to take my 'medicine' with a happy heart
59.  Knowledge and discernment
60.  Breathing
61.  Music
62.  Growing
63.  Loving and being authentic
64.  Scrabble
65. blow or in the bath

I sit amazed at the peace I feel.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you friends.  Keep praying, please.