Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ice Cream Brings Peace. Day 1.

Peace. It’s the focus, once again, for the next 25 days. When I was asked to be part of this writing/storytelling experience again this year, I agreed without hesitation. I agreed because I like the idea of writing about peace, I like the idea of being in a group that’s writing about peace, I like the idea of creatively bringing peace into the world in my own little way. Peace. It’s what’s for…dinner?

Sometimes, occasionally, frequently my daughter and I have ice cream for dinner. Yes, I know, it’s a horrible thing to have for dinner! It’s also an AMAZING thing to have for dinner :)

I’ve raised two children. My third and final child is no longer a child, but rather a 14 year old young lady. I’ve experienced many battles in the parenting realm over the last 21 years; unfortunately it takes me more than one trip around the mountain to figure things out. One lesson I finally learned—ice cream makes your heart feel better, and sometimes that’s all you can do—just eat ice cream. 

Two years ago my youngest and I experienced a deep, crushing, heart break. We both felt it and we both wondered if we’d ever not feel it again. Hurt has a way of making you believe you’ll never feel anything but hurt. Hurt has a way of making everything worse. One night in particular E and I were sitting in silence on the couch when I blurted out, “We need ice cream for dinner!” And so it began. 

I’m grateful to say two years later our hurt has left, laughter has returned, and love has overcome us. Two years later we see clearly how God has healed, God has led, and God has provided. Two years later ice cream is no longer just for wounds, it’s now become “our thing.” Hey, when you have two women in the house, well, you need ice cream sometimes! You need ice cream for dinner often. Ice cream brings peace.

I know I’ll always be a mom. I also know the role as mom changes as the children grow up. I don’t like to live in the land of regrets, but I do wish I’d done ice cream for dinner when it was the four of us. I think there were times when we needed that kind of peace in our house.  

As you move into Christmas time, and get busy with all the places to go and people to see and things to buy, I encourage you to have ice cream for dinner, and not feel guilty about it. We all need a little more peace in our lives; and I can tell you, ice cream for dinner = peace! 

*If you'd like to follow this adventure of fellow writers for peace, visit 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Super Tuesday, America

Tomorrow is a pretty big deal for our country. Super Tuesday. I think it's fair to say the entire country is concerned. I also think it's fair to say the entire world is watching, and frankly just as concerned as we are for the future of our country. 

What happened to America? Where have all the Americans gone too? Because I don't see Americans. I see hate, finger pointing, name calling, and an insistence on "I'm right, you're wrong." If what you stand for isn't what I stand for, then you are clearly wrong. We want equality and yet we fall so short in giving it. 

We don’t want anything other than to be right. Is that America? Is that what we stand for? Is that who we are? A giant jerk who insists on having it MY WAY. I have never been more concerned for America than I am right now and it has little to do with who’s going to be our next President. I am concerned about America because AMERICANS are turning on one another as if we’ve lost our minds and forgotten what it means to be united.

This country fought hard to get to a place of being united. For far too long we were divided, we turned against one another and it seems that we are doing that again—as if the first time around wasn’t bad enough. We aren’t just fighting against terrorism, we aren’t just fighting against Left and Right, we are fighting US. WE ARE FIGHTING OURSELVES. 

We are becoming the very evil we claim to be fighting against. 

If you claim to be a Christian, if you attend church on Sunday and then spew hatred on Monday, if you point fingers and call names…shame on you. Shame on us all for standing in the grace He so willingly gave while insisting another person, another AMERICAN, is less than.

Our country is in a very desperate state and we are most certainly not going in the right direction, but friends please stop and look around—WE make up this country and it is WE than can unit or continue down a path of destruction. We are not puppets, we are not helpless and we are not mean. America is beautiful and we must act beautiful. Be the bigger person, be American. 

May God have mercy on our country, on our people, on our future.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Shifting your focus as you end the year...

I tend to buck the system when someone tells me to write my goals down because "you're more likely to achieve them if you do." Um, no actually I'm not. I am a writer, I write stuff all the time. And I've made plenty of lists, written plenty of goals only to later find that stupid piece of paper reminding me of what I didn't do. Writing is only half of the equation. There's no magic potion that occurs between writing something down and having it happen. Which I think is backed up by the article I found on stating "8% of people achieve their new years resolutions." We can SAY and WRITE till we die, that doesn't make it happen.

Why? Because change is hard. Growth is painful. And frankly when things get hard, when life gets busy, it's easier to just give in and be where we are.

I'm only 39 years old. I have lived much, I still have much to live. I am utterly amazed at how much I have changed in the last 10 years, how much I have changed in this past year. Sometimes I hear myself talking, recognize thoughts that I know I didn't used to have, and I can't help but be surprised at just how much I have changed. In talking with my son today, we discussed what it means to have a mindset that wants to try new things, explore, grow, and working to become something more than we currently are; I shared with him THAT'S the key to making things happen--you take the risk and do it, in the moment you are in!

I've changed, I've grown because I've worked at it. I read a LOT, I have people in my life whom I see as wise and will help me grow, I do the hard work and I don't give up. I may not move as quickly as I'd like in some areas, but I don't quit. I may take 50 steps backwards, but I don't quit. I may be crawling on the ground whispering "is this the end?" but I don't quit. I keep moving forward. I have grown ON PURPOSE because I have focused on the moment, remembering the end goal.

So, please, make your lists, write your goals, do whatever is necessary to get you focused but then actually do it. Don't set out to lose 80 pounds this year. Don't set out to read 15 books this year. Don't make some huge lofty goal because you think that's what you are supposed to do. Instead, set your mind on the fact that you want to grow, you want to become, you want to move this moment, on this day. A year is intimidating and for some of us a year is too large. We don't live a year at a time, we live a day at a time, a breath at a time. You want to read more? Then tonight read for the 30 minutes you'd be watching a tv show. You want to get in shape? Then pass on the donut and remind yourself it's about the moment and in this moment I choose to be healthy.

Grow on purpose in the moment you are in. Let the year happen, who cares about the year's resolution...grow on purpose in the moment you are in. The year is out of your control--the choice you make in the moment you are in, THAT'S yours to do with as you please.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I Believe

For the past several years I've had a word to focus on for that year; I'm not exactly sure how it started, but it's been a rather interesting and helpful experience nevertheless. As 2015 is coming to a close, I've been thinking more and more about my word for 2016, having some moments of wondering if I'll even do it at all. But, last night during a conversation with a new friend it came with such clarity I could feel my insides smiling.


My focus for 2016 will be courage and I couldn't be more excited and freaked out! (which is pretty much how I know it's the right word)  I've had people describe me as being courageous but I always find a way to diminish it because I have never ever viewed courage as part of something I possess. However, I have done this focusing on a word/phrase concept for enough years now to know, by the end I'll view courage and experience courage in ways I cannot imagine right now--and that makes me very happy!

When you have a word/phrase to focus on for the year, it doesn't mean every waking moment revolves around it; what it does mean is that you experience that word/phrase in new ways, you grow tremendously in the area of that word/phrase and by the end of the year it's been successfully added to your tool belt (not that you've nailed it and never need to explore it again, but more that you're now aware of it and open to that word/phrase). It's a very cool experience.

My focus for 2015 has been believe and balance (yes, it was a two-word year). Though I have more I plan to write in these final days of 2015, I will leave you today with this...

The word believe came last Christmas as I was setting out my Nativity scene and I saw the baby figurine that represents Jesus. I instantly thought "Do I believe this BABY was 'Lord at thy birth'?" I realized that I knew it was true, but somewhere between my heart and my head a disconnect was happening. I was saying I believed it but did I truly BELIEVE it? 

This year has had it's ups and downs, just like yours I'm guessing. Some days are better than others, some seasons are better than others. As I got the Nativity scene out this Christmas and I looked at that baby, I had a different thought than the previous year; this year I said out loud "Thank you for being Lord at they birth."  A shift has happened and though I still have my times of struggle, I'm definitely farther along than I was this time last year in terms of believe.

What about you? What will be your focus for 2016? We grow on purpose friend, we grow on purpose.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Day 25 of 25 Days for Peace

I have put off writing all day--I woke early, with a "theme" of what to write about but instead of jotting it down so I wouldn't forget, I rolled over in bed and shut my eyes tighter. I don't want to write the last post. I don't want it to be day 25. This project has been invigorating, challenging, frustrating, and more rewarding than I expected and although those are all good, it's not why I didn't want this moment to come.

I tend to be an "out of sight out of mind" kind of person. Seriously, if it wasn't for my kids saying "mom mom mom" I'm certain I would have lost them by now. It's a real problem. And I know I'm not alone. I'm willing to bet many of you following along with 25 Days for Peace tend to be forgetful too, tend to be absent minded when it's not right in front of you. I don't want it to be day 25 because I fear we'll begin to shift and no longer be focusing on something as important as Peace; I fear that we'll wake up one day and say "That project was so good, can't really remember much of it and certainly don't feel peace now, but man it was good!" I fear that will be me.

Focusing for 25 days on a single word has been unearthing for me. Things have surfaced internally that I never saw coming, I've experienced God in ways I never expected, and friendships have formed that I never looked for; it has been an amazing 25 days and peace has covered me to the point of overflowing. I literally FEEL peace, I'm calmer, I'm focused, and at the store the other day the lady waiting in line behind me said "I want what you have because you seem so...peaceful." I busted out laughing at the irony as I said "Well as a matter of fact..." We had a beautiful encounter in a moment that could have just been grumbling and joining in misery.

As I write these words, as I reflect on the past days, I am realizing peace has become part of me. Could my focus shift? Yes, and in some ways it will. But, it doesn't have to LEAVE me. And it doesn't have to leave YOU. Our project is complete, but Peace is with us--let us never forget the reason why Jesus was bring US peace.

Merry Christmas to you...Happy Birthday to Jesus. This 25th day is the best day we could ever ask for, may Peace never be far from our focus.

*One final thought, in your times of struggle to find calm I encourage you to visit and re-read...the words matter in the future days just as much as on the current day.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day 24 The list.

Growing up we're reminded all throughout the year about the list. The naughty and nice list. Santa's list. Our parents use this list to keep us from throwing fits in the store, being mean to our siblings and we are told that if we're reeeeally good, Santa will bring us LOTS of toys. Yes, Santa's list is a pretty big deal for kids and dare I say it's a big deal for parents too.

The problem? This list, you see, is conditional. We only get rewarded if we make the nice list and as kids we feel that we are only loved if we are rewarded and thus, when we fall short, the fear is much deeper than Santa not visiting, the fear is the loss of love. 

My biggest struggle as a Christian is that I often view God and how He works in my life along the same lines as Santa and that list. I think of the things I have done wrong, the times I have fallen short, the expectations of others that I failed to live up too and I am tempted to believe God has placed me on the naughty list thus removing me from His loving arms.

The list tries to haunt me.

Tonight, on the Eve of the birth of Jesus, my prayer is that we (you and me) will remember each and every day to come that in the miracle of the birth of Jesus the list vanishes. No longer is it about being good enough, no longer is there a threat of the make-believe Santa not visiting--through the birth of the very real Jesus, we can experience unconditional and unwavering love simply because God wants to love us.

When you become a Christian, the list vanishes and in it's place is the Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Day 23. Finding wholeness

"When someone shows you their true colors, believe them. When someone says 'This is who I am' believe them."  Words spoken by the late Maya Angelo; words that have stuck with me since I first heard them in the late 90's although it hasn't been until recently that I began to grasp what she meant.

When will I come across a man I can trust? When will I meet a person that is truly who they present themselves to be? When can I lay my walls down? These are questions I wrestle with often and every time the answer I hear in my heart is the same--that's only found in Jesus. Which frankly, in my humanness, makes me mad and brings me peace all in the same breath.

I want to reach a point where I can be in relation with someone (whether friendship or romantic) and trust what he/she tells me. I want to know with certainty that he/she won't leave me, won't hurt my heart, and won't betray my trust. Understanding I will never have that is a difficult pill to swallow.

And then I think about the times Jesus was betrayed, the times Mary was ridiculed for being pregnant, the times God watched His Son endure heartache...

People are broken. That's the bottom line. People are broken and selfish and not 100% trustworthy. Most people  mean well, they have good intentions, but they are people and people are broken. There's a song with lyrics "I'm bent but not broken" and though I understand the notion, I beg to differ--we are straight up broken and it's in that brokenness we face the fork in the road. At the admission of brokenness we will either put on masks and put up walls or we will turn to God for hope and healing.

 The gift is, the decision is ours. 

We long to be surrounded by people that will love us, be completely safe for us and we understand that just doesn't exist. Instead of feeling despair over that, instead of giving in and responding from a place of hopelessness, I encourage you to take a risk and go to church this Christmas. Take a risk and reach your hand out to the only One that offers absolute unwavering trustworthy love.  For it's in the protection of Him that we are able to love the unlovable--broken people of which I am at the top of the list.

Heed Maya's words, befriend from a place of wisdom, instill healthy boundaries but never believe the lie that says "You'll never be in a place of trust where you can just be you."  We're broken for a reason, it's in the brokenness we find the beautiful peace of Jesus Christ.

It's in that peace we are made whole.