Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seeing From The Inside Out

The elevator line was so long as dozens of girls lined up with cartloads of their belongings. It was freshman move-in day, and I was one of them. My new dorm room was on the 6th floor, my mom had sprained her ankle the day before, and the moving process was going to take ALL day and night at this rate. So my dad, my sister, and I began the long arduous journey of carrying all of my personal possessions up six flights of stairs, while my momentarily handicapped mom unpacked in my room.

It took us a few days to get everything settled, and then I waited with nervous anticipation for my roommate to arrive.

What would she be like?
Would we get along?
Would we be friends?

A week passed, and then two, and after a month, I began to wonder if she would ever arrive. But she never did, and I ended up with a room to myself for a whole year.

I was kind of sad about it at first. I know. Ironic., right? Who doesn't want a room to themselves in college? But I am a people person, and I missed being with my family. But pretty quickly, I realized that having my own room was a lot of fun because my place soon became the late-nite-hang-out corner, so my little extroverted cup was filled.

The funny thing about my room was that if you did not know, you would never have been able to tell that I DID NOT have a roommate because my "stuff" filled the room. People would comment on that often, and I would feel self conscious about it.

Why did I feel the need to have so many of my personal belongings AT college with me instead of leaving many things "at home" like many of my dorm mates did?

One day, one of the girls on my floor, Roseanne, said to me, after someone else commented on how I had so much stuff in a room that was meant for two people and I was feeling unsure & insecure, "You are a missionary kid. You have had to live a life where you take everything wherever you go."

In one simple statement, she validated WHO I was, not just a judgment that others were making from outward appearances based on their own history and life views.

She saw ME.

This past Sunday, the guest pastor talked about how throughout Song of Solomon you find repetitive moments where the bridegroom calls forth things in his bride that she doesn't see in herself. He went on to talk about how we can't call forth things in others if we first don't know how God does that for us, and when you believe God's assessment of you, you actually begin to believe in yourself.

He said that it is easy to call forth what you see on the outside, the negative aspects of each other, the issues that we each have, but it is a WHOLE OTHER thing to be able to speak forth the potential in another person by seeing beyond the surface, by looking into who they are, by seeing their heart...

So today, this is what I am SURE of....

God loves you with a FIERCE, ETERNAL love.

The potential inside of YOU is greater than you can ever imagine.

You are so precious, valuable, and full of purpose in every fiber of your being,
no matter what is happening TODAY!

And as for me....I AM kind of a packrat, and I while I am working on that {for my husband's sake}, I have also realized that part of that comes from my desire to keep the people, places, and things close to me that I don't get to see every day....

And really, that is a beautiful thing, right?

*above photo was from our recent South Africa move

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, March 28, 2011

Designs for Life

Last Thursday, I had the great opportunity to join my friend Jamie at a fundraising fashion show sponsoring The Life Crisis Center. Jamie hand makes all of her own jewelry.

Beautiful, right?

Join me over at WhimSea Designs, her blog, where I am posting today.

And while you are there, won't you link over to her Etsy page and check out her jewelry and consider reposting. Seriously, her designs are one-of-a-kind, and since each of us are one of a kind....what could be better??

Follow the WhimSea.....:)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Waking Up

Taking 5 minutes on Fridays is such a relief, in a way, because it removes that nagging perfectionism that stops me from writing some days, and just lets me breathe and well.....WRITE.

The best part is that I know that I am not alone, and that other amazing women and/or bloggers out there are doing the same thing and linking up with Lisa-Jo @ The Gypsy Mama, so we can share our 5 minutes.

Don't you just love sharing? Well, for the most part anyway....

So here goes.....this week's writing prompt is WAKING UP.


Waking up....well, it isn't the easiest part of my day these days.

You see, I am a night owl. Always have been. Since I was a little girl.

I hated going to sleep. "What am I missing?" I would think.

But even though I am a night owl by nature, I am not NOT a morning person.

That is, until the past couple of years, since I have been dealing with chronic pain.

Mornings are not so fun.

There is achiness and anxiety and worry in those first moments of wakefulness.

But then, I WAKE UP, and I think about my day, and I mentally and with heart speak ask God to write the day for me.

There aren't real words or even prayers because, well, I am not so much a morning person anymore, but my heart longs for Him to guide my day, to direct my steps, to ease the aches & pains -- both physically, mentally, & emotionally.

And you know what?

He's pretty good at it....

What do you think about when you are WAKING UP?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Only The Hungry Search For Food...."

This post by Emily Freeman at (in)courage last week LITERALLY made me weep. I read a lot of blog posts and that doesn't happen very often.

I hope it touches your heart like it did mine.....


I haven't posted in about a week.

Yes. I have been busy.

I had some of my old youth group girlfriends in town and we had a little mini-reunion.

It was so great to look through pictures {some almost 20 years old...I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT!} and reminisce about all the good times we had as well as sad ones.

It is fun to be with people who have KNOWN you that long....there's nothing like it....really!

And then, our goddaughter was dedicated on Sunday, and that was so precious.
I am thankful to her parents for allowing us to hold such a special role in her life.
Her mommy, my best friend, also celebrated her own birthday on Sunday, and we had laughs & games & more stories.
I love living in community and connection with people.

But. Those occasions are not really the reasons that I haven't posted.

I mean experiencing LIFE and DOING life with people gives a writer MORE inspiration with which to work. Don't you think?

So. The real reason. The honest truth.

I have paused in my blogging because I have felt that I was in a holding pattern, and I am still not out of it, honestly. Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama posted a "preview" on Twitter Thursday night of what the 5 Minute Friday prompt for the next day would be -- waiting. Oh boy did she have MY number this week!

But I still never posted.

And...I could blame it on many things.

I could blame it on the pre-monthly hormonal rush.

I could blame it on the fact that having that monthly friend means that I am not pregnant yet again this month.

I could blame it on the fact that Friday I really felt like something on the highway that had been run over a few times and I just had NOTHING to give.

All those reasons, or even just ONE of those reasons, would probably generate understanding nods from many of you.

But I think that they oversimplify, or at the very least, overshadow, the REAL cause of my cyberspace silence.

I am in a holding pattern because I am struggling....

to pray,
to read the Word,
to hear His voice,
to know His heartbeat.

Keith Wheeler, a man who travels the world carrying a "literal" cross to share the love of Jesus with people, once said, "Ministry is the overflow of a life lived in love with Jesus."

As I write, not only do I hope the lessons I am learning minister to others, but the words given life on paper, or um, actually, on screen, often minister to me, but IF these words are not from the overflow, then where is Jesus in these strokes?

So today I write, not from a place of this great big lesson learned, OR from this amazing AHA moment, but from the raw truth of my own imperfection.

I am waiting...

And so is He....

I am SO glad that He hasn't given up on me.

AND He hasn't given up on YOU!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Put My Trust In You

Some days I feel paralyzed with fear...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I am overwhelmed with life...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days the future seems like a scary dark tunnel with no light...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I feel like a failure...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I wonder "why" {A LOT}...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I feel like I am losing it...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I REALLY DO lose it...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I just need grace, grace, and more grace...

...I put my trust in You.

Psalm 136:1
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
His love endures forever.

Monday, March 14, 2011

You've Been RE-made {Multitude Monday #206-210}

There is something so amazingly beautiful about His grace...

He rejoices over you with singing.

He dances over you with His love.

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

~206~ Knowing I am MORE than my past, my weaknesses, my stains...
~207~ "It's not about what I've done, but what's been done for me...."
~208~ Accepting His limitless mercy AGAIN
~209~ Rediscovering WHO He has created me to be AGAIN
~210~ Basking the knowledge that I have been RE-made....I am REDEEMED!

I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So on Mondays, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

You are NOT Abandoned!

"I write so that no one feels abandoned."

What a powerful statement! This is the bio statement for Audra Krell's Twitter account.

I cannot stop pondering these simple words. They resonate in my mind. My heart keeps pounding with the intensity of their meaning.

"I write so that no one feels abandoned."

What if I approached everything in my life this way?

"I sing so that people have comfort in their pain."

"I laugh so that the world around me could be filled with JOY."

"I live so that my life testifies of Someone greater than me."

"I write so that no one feels abandoned."

Can my reasons for writing be summed up in the simplistic beauty of these precious words?

I write because I must. Right? I am a writer. Correct?
Do I have to have a greater meaning than this?
Do I have to qualify and justify my work, my reasons, my desires, my passions?

A writer's soul begs to be poured out, ink to paper, strokes to screen, weaving the story of life...the ebb & the flow...the agony intermingled with victories.

But is "my soul my own"? as Rachel Lynde of Anne of Green Gables was wont to call it. Am I the writer of my own story?

I KNOW I am not....

And yet....

"I write so that no one feels abandoned"

......continues to resound in my head.

It's the heart of the Father God. He couldn't stand the separation. He couldn't stand the divide that kept Him from the intimacy into which He had created us. He HAD to make a way.

And I am sure that there are many ways in which He could have saved the world, and yet, He didn't want us to be alone, to be abandoned in our humanity, in our sinful world & nature, so He sent the best of His love for us -- His one and only Son.

In Him, through Him, He could truly understand the true depth of our aloneness and then He took it further. For in the moment when the sin of the world was taken upon Him, the Father...HIS Father HAD to turn His face away because He could not look at the sin so heavily weighed upon His Beloved. In THAT moment, Jesus KNEW abandonment. Jesus knew loneliness. Jesus knew pain. He KNEW like many of us will NEVER know because He ransomed us. He REDEEMED {there's my word} us!

He...Jesus died to save us from an eternity of separation.

He died so no one would BE abandoned.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Five Minute Friday: The MOST Loved

I'm a little late this week with my 5 Minute Friday, but that's okay, right? Especially with the beautiful prompt from Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama this week....

I feel loved when.....


Sometimes it's just a touch or a glance.

Sometimes it's, "I'll rub your back for you."

Sometimes it's a text, a phone call, a inbox message, a heartfelt comment on my blog.

Love holds many facets and dynamics for me.

But, I feel the most loved when I am accepted, wholly & completely, wheat & chaff, prickles & hugs.

I feel most loved when I am seen and spoken to and embraced through the eyes of love.

I feel most loved when I am understood, not agreed with patronizingly or argued with unwaveringly.

I feel most loved when my heart is prioritized by another human being.

And yet....

I feel THE MOST loved when I remember HOW much HE loves me....

How His mercy is new each morning

How my life basks in the radiance of His grace

How He dances and rejoices over me


I can rest in His love....His arms.....His heart....

the shelter of His wings.


What is Five Minute Friday, you may ask? It is those beautiful moments in time where we take 5....just 5....minutes to share some thoughts, unedited, unsifted, uncalculated....allowing our hearts to be REAL and our minds to just chill.

Join me??

Come on.....it only takes 5 minutes! *wink, wink*

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Daddy's Love

{My cousin, Justin, with his baby girl, Haylee,
after her dedication at the family meal celebration}

Linked up with Wordless Wednesday, Live and Love Out Loud, Project Alicia, Better in Bulk, & Woven By Words.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

These Are The Women....

Last August, on Women's Day in South Africa, I highlighted some of the amazing women who have touched my life over the years. You can read about that HERE. I love these women!

Today, in honor of International Women's Day, I wanted to highlight/feature/honor the women who impact/encourage/challenge me in this new world I joined almost one year ago - the blogosphere. I, actually, read every post that these women write...even if I miss it the day of the post, I always go back and catch up!

These are the women....

These are a snapshot of their stories....

{in no particular order}

Jen and her husband have been on a sabbatical from the mission field for the past year and are currently living in Texas. We met because of our connection to South Africa and because of making mutual HARD decisions to take that time away. Her blog is filled with recipes, photos, book reviews, mama related topics and REAL open heart posts. She is getting to go to India in just a few short weeks to take pictures with a ministry close to her heart. I am proud to call Jen...a friend...and look forward to the day when we will meet face-to-face.

Stephanie @ Metropolitan Mama
In Stephanie, I have TRULY found a kindred spirit. We are at different places in life, but at the same place in heart. Steph & her beloved husband, Tim, are traveling all across the country with their two little girls to Give Every Day. They are both jacks-of-all-trades so the content of her personal blog as well as their Give Every Day blog are filled with variety and fun. What I love about both blogs is that they are short, sweet, to-the-point BUT content-packed, fun-filled, and personal. My favorite thing about Steph though, is her heart towards people. She has a lot of accolades in the blog world, but she REALLY takes time to answer every tweet, comment, etc. She really cares. REALLY. I can't wait to meet in person. I have a feeling that our husbands will have to MAKE us stop talking! ;)

Holley is who I want to be when I grow up {next to my mommy, of course ;)}. She is an author, a blogger, a counselor, a DaySpring card writer, and so much more. Holley and her husband have also been TTC {trying to conceive} for a number of years. Her posts are SO real and SO encouraging. She speaks in a way that you can just picture her looking you in your eyes and reminding you of Jesus' words over you. She is LITERALLY His mouthpiece in such a REAL way. Her words are like a healing balm to a hurting soul. She is the kind of person you can imagine yourself letting down your guard with and crying on her shoulder.

Lisa-Jo @ The Gypsy Mama
Lisa-Jo is, well, SO MUCH FUN! Lisa-Jo is a South African, married to an American. {Sounds a little familiar, right? Well, sort of!} She writes about kids, travel, women, homesickness, family, and much more. Her writing style is one of my VERY FAVS. She visually makes a point in the way she writes -- the perfect combination of poetry and prose. She has two little boys that she adores and is getting ready to welcome her little girl into the world. She is the social media manager for DaySpring and the community manager for (in)courage. She is a #MUSTFOLLOW on Twitter - @thegypsymama. Just check her out...you'll see why and won't be sorry.

Anna @ Anna's Joy
Anna is a "real life" friend as well as a blogger friend. She and her husband, John, just welcomed baby Ayla into their lives after TTC for 3 years. Anna and I met at ORU, and she became an integral part of my story through her job in the chaplain's department. She "talked me up" to the women's pastor, and the next 3 years I had the opportunity to lead and to empower other young women on campus. I am forever grateful to her for her role in my story. Her blog is full of fun and variety. She pulls the ironic out of life and is lots of fun to dive into!

Paige is another "real life" friend. We ALSO met at ORU. Paige is one of those people that just oozes kindness and compassion. When you meet her in "real" life you will see this about her, but you will also find this on her blog. Paige is a missions pastor in Texas as well as mentor to a number of college-aged girls. Her favorite people are her husband, Josh, and her sweet Selah, who just turned one. Paige's blog is filled with musings on motherhood, missions, & miscellaneous adventures. She is a TRUE story teller, and you don't want to miss her weekly blasts-from-the-past!!

Tara is truly the whole reason that I decided to start a blog in the first place. She took her life and documented it on virtual pages filled with stories, prayers, hard stuff, fun stuff, photos, Scriptures, life lessons, and just plain raw Tara. Her & her husband, Troy's, legacy is captured in this blog for their 7....yes, 7....children to cherish for years to come. Tara and her family are missionaries to my beloved Haiti, and the while the way we met was not a pleasant one {earthquake in Haiti 2010}, the connections we have made in the past year have been so poignant in my life. I look forward to actually "seeing" them face-to-face one day. I mean how many people are willing to go search and rescue for someone else's parents when they don't even know you?? Their "presence" on the internet & in my life during that season will not be quickly forgotten.

I hope that you will stop by some or ALL of their pages. I just KNOW that you will be blessed as much as I have been.

Happy International Women's Day to ALL of you
beautiful women out there!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hope for Today {Multitude Monday #191-#205}

Last year, I spent 30 Days talking about HOPE here on this blog. The Lord taught me so much in that season -- how to hope in Him and Him alone, not in circumstances or even dreams or desires.

Yesterday, in church, my cousin, who is the youth pastor, shared about having Hope for Today.

Proverbs 13:12 (New International Version, ©2011)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

His words re-iterated what God has been teaching me in this past year.

To get your grip back on hope:

1) You have to be PATIENT as you purse Him & not JUST your desires.
2) You need to remember the PROMISE that God has given to us through Abraham -- the blessing of being His descendants
3) You must cling to the anchor of your soul -- the PERSON of Jesus, the hope, the High Priest, the intercessor.

He gave a great example that resonated with me. You don't get married {hopefully} JUST to have children. You get married because you are crazy in love and want to spend the rest of your life with someone. Children are the overflow, the fruit, the blessing of that love.

That is how our relationship with God needs to be. We want to BE with Him because we love Him & He loves us and to spend all of eternity with Him. Everything else is just the overflow.

With this hope in mind....I continue to count and to share my multitude of gifts.....

Gratitude - a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation, as for gifts or favours;
the state of feeling grateful

#191 - 2 for $20 deal at Ruby Tuesdays

#192 - sharing that with my best friend

#193 - eating 9 oz steaks for that awesome price - YUM!

#194 - my goddaughter smiling at me

#195 - heart-to-heart chats, sifting through the chaff, but holding onto the wheat

#196 - catching up with a youth group girlfriends

#197 - taking snapshots of beautiful women

#198 - NEW Bible reading plan

#199 - the possibility of open doors

#200 - how much my husband loves & enjoys his job

#201 - God reminding me to love like He does

#202 - choosing to give grace, whether I receive it or not

#203 - babysitting my goddaughter for the first time

#204 - watching her wiggle and laugh and squirm

#205 - holding her sweet little baby self

I have joined The Gratitude Community -- a place to be inspired by others and what God is doing in their lives, a chance to share my own journey of gratitude, and an opportunity to REMEMBER to be grateful in ALL things. So on Mondays, I will add to my list of 1000 gifts of all the graces God has provided in my life. Would you consider joining me? Even if you don't blog, you can join the gratitude community by starting a gratitude journal, mentionning your gifts on Facebook, or sending e-mails to your friends. Let's work together to help in creating a more thankful, joyous world!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Character Quotables

"We'll never grow to spiritual maturity until we learn to do what's
right even when it feels wrong." [Joyce Meyers]

"Character is NEVER built in the classroom,
it's built in the circumstances of life."
[Michael & Bonnie Fehlauer]

‎"God brings men into deep waters not to drown them, but to cleanse them." [Augury]

"Adversity has the same effect on us as training has on a boxer:
it reduces us to our fighting weight." [Josh Billings]

Friday, March 4, 2011

Five Minute Friday: I See My History

What a joy to be a part of a community, taking just 5 minutes on a Friday to just pour out our thoughts, hearts, lives without a lot of fuss & fanfare, without the laborious editing and perfectionism....just sharing -- 5 minutes.

This week's prompt from The Gypsy Mama is....

When I Look In The Mirror I See....


When I look in the mirror, I see a girl not so girlish any more.

I see 10 more pounds that my 30 year old self seems to have tacked on for "warmth."

I see the beginning of this double chin, which is SO NOT HAPPENING! ;)

I see the lines, wrinkles, blemishes on my face.

My mother calls them laugh lines. She has them too. She says, "Maybe I shouldn't have laughed so much."

I am glad she did. Because when I look at my face, I see my mother's eyes, her smile, AND her laugh lines.

When I look at my hands, they are my mother's -- those beautiful hands that held me when I was broken, that embraced me when I felt alone, that welcomed me when I came home from my many travels.

When I look in the mirror, I see my history...sometimes history isn't always as "beautiful" as we hope it would be....on the surface at least.

But it is beautiful, isn't it?

Beautiful because the lines, the wrinkles, the fragility have marked a life lived.


Would you like to join in? You can. It's simple. Just set your timer for 5 minutes. Write out your heart, and then link up at The Gypsy Mama & let me know if you do so I can read your story too!

She has a cool new button for the Friday fun, don't you think?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Knowing His Rest; Writing with Grace

I want to write something real.

I want to write REAL words.

Words that wield challenge and encouragement.
Words that pour grace and restoration.
Words that offer healing and renewal.
Words that transport you to a place in time filled with wonder or sorrow.
Words that inspire.....

What are these tools....these words....these gifts....these curses.....these blessings?

The power that they hold.
The impact of their weight.
The reach of their ripple.

How can one sift and measure accurately these tools given to us by the Master Himself?


Are they not gifts to be poured out freely?
Are they not treasures to be shared?
Are they not instruments in harmony at an orchestra in which beauty or sorrow can be played?

Therefore, I choose....



...to yield these precious morsels back into His hands....

....asking Him to sift the chaff and bring forth the wheat....

There I find joy...
There I find peace...
There I find TRUE rest...

...as once again, my life falls into the rhythms of His grace....

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Linking up today with:

Finding Rest at:


What Inspired You? at:
Mama’s Losin’ It


Amanda at:
Weekend Bloggy Reading
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