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.