Currently viewing the category: "Truth"

It’s that time again. Those few days in between the month spent at a dead run getting ready for all the festivities of the 24 hours that is Christmas which has now past and the coming of the New Year. That time when we tend to reflect on what was and look forward in anticipation of what is to come.Traffic Sign - Don't

A time many spend thinking about what they want to do differently in the coming year. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the time of preparing the dreaded “RESOLUTIONS.”  They are the plans we make for ourselves that usually include things like losing weight, eating healthy, exercising daily, cleaning out the clutter, the closet, making that scrapbook that you swore to make the year your child was born.

Have you ever noticed how RESOLUTIONS are rarely achieved? I believe it is because mapping out MY RESOLUTIONS is nothing more than me trying to take control over something in my life for which I never really had control. Even my most noble of goals, those related to others, end up being all about me and my sheer determination to take control of myself and the things around me so that something or someone will change to satisfy me. Read Full Article →

heart_mini I exited Walmart a couple of nights ago into a crowd of gawkers. There had been an accident. I breathed a sigh of relief as the woman on the ground being attended by three men was speaking in coherent sentences. As I scanned the crowd to figure out what happened I saw her. The woman in tears, clearly shaken and on her phone standing outside her car. She was the reason. I could hear the sirens as the fire engine and ambulance arrived followed almost immediately by a police car.

I started thinking, “What is happening here?” as my mind flashed to the images on the news from the day before, where just a block away, an SUV crashed into a Starbucks. Several people were injured, one critically. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, just a slip of the foot on the accelerator. I did not any of the people involved, but I have friends who did.

Within less than 24 hours in mid-December, the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, lives were changed. I doubt those involved would call it wonderful.  Not the man from a local ministry unexpectedly hit by a car in the middle of Starbucks while innocently holding a meeting, who has undergone one surgery and is facing another. Nor the poor woman lying on the ground in front of me who had been walking in the crosswalk from the parking lot towards Walmart and not for the women who were driving the cars, absentmindedly causing “accidents”. Read Full Article →

heart_miniI was filled with anticipation. Husband and I were off for a weekend away to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary, albeit late. We spent our actual anniversary with daughter in Disneyland which is another story (Losing It!).

We wanted our weekend away to be special. Sadly, we both forgot about our anniversary on the day. I was reminded by a Happy Anniversary text. We both laughed and made excuses, but it left me feeling sad and a little unsettled. We have had a tough go of things and I had great hopes of this weekend rekindling some of what felt lost in our relationship.Woman running pathHeb12

We debated about where to go. Since we had just spent a small fortune at the Happiest and Close To The Most Expensive Place on Earth, we wanted to keep our trip in driving distance. We narrowed it down to either our house on the mountain at the lake or the charming town where we got married.

We decided since we go to the lake often, we would go back to where we were married. Husband made all the arrangements, tickets to the theater and booking the cabin where we spent our wedding night. I was excited and yet a little hesitant. A little voice kept whispering, “Go to lake”, but we had made the decision. Read Full Article →

heart_mini

It was late Sunday night while I was peacefully sleeping that I started having a nightmare that I could not find our Disneyland packet for our trip Wednesday. We were very excited about going. We decided to surprise daughter who had never been but had been asking us repeatedly about going for several years. Most all of her friends had been and I knew she was feeling left out. We just hadn’t had the resources to go, but God blessed us this past summer so I felt it was ok to use the money my father left us to take her. It made it feel even more special, like somehow he was part of it.

Anyway, I was very disturbed Monday morning about the dream. The packet with our tickets, hotel vouchers, etc. had come several weeks before. I remembered pulling it out and putting it someplace “safe” so that daughter would not find it but I wasn’t exactly sure where. I took daughter to school and came home and the search began. I checked my usual places, but it was nowhere to be found.

My next step was to post on Facebook that I was losing my mind, shared my saga and asked for prayer. I received a lot of responses from friends. Some offered prayer, others suggestions of places to look, while others put forth advice. “In the future do what I do, keep a note on your phone with that kind of info.” Followed by another who said “I agree… Or take a picture of where you hid it.”  Well intended but not helpful in the moment. I felt so stupid.

I seemed to recall that I had hidden it in my closet which was a complete mess.  So I started pulling everything out but they were not there. I cleaned out my closet, my dresser, my desk, and was headed to the linen closet not really believing it was there but no idea where else to look. It was midnight and the only thing I had succeeded in finding was the Disney packet from when we took stepdaughter eight years before.

Fall trees Lisa Q Psalm 188 jpgI decided to call it a day. I fell into bed in a state of despair thinking how stupid I am, how I can’t remember anything anymore, knowing husband was completely frustrated with me, telling myself I can’t do anything right, and praying through tears that God would open up the recesses of the black hole I call my brain to reveal where I put them.

Tuesday morning came, daughter went to school and panic set in. We were supposed to leave the next day. Husband was staying focused on work, which is what I should have been doing for the past 2 days and not searching for something I should be able to put my hands on immediately. I started trying to console myself. If I couldn’t find them, at least daughter would not be disappointed. Husband chimed in that if we had told her then I would not have had to hide them. Another not so timely piece of advice. Read Full Article →

heart_mini

I saw this meme on a friend’s page on Facebook the other day and it made me laugh. I read it out loud to husband who also chuckled. I am not sure if it was sincere or obligatory in an attempt to ward off my using one of the words against him.Five Deadly Women Words

I know I have said these words in exactly that way and I bet many of you have as well. Whether you are male or female, I am sure you relate to this “secret” language that we are making light of here.

I started to share the post to have a laugh over it with friends but was stopped short. A sense of deep sadness swept over me as the truth about using this “secret” language or “code words” took hold.

We speak these code words, sometimes flippantly, in frustration, or maybe even in exasperation, expecting our spouses to understand.  We may even use these code words on our children, friends, or coworkers.

Read Full Article →

heart_miniDaughter has entered that in between stage, too old for baby things and too young for tween things. She is caught between desperately wanting hugs, cuddles and nurturing and I am too old, too cool, too whatever for all that.

The stage where you hear, “Don’t call me Pumpkin Zoofie (don’t ask) in front of people, only at home!” and “I can do it (the things you have been doing forever) myself!” The stage where the horrifying words “I hate you!” escape her lips in great drama followed by tears, apologies and grand expressions of love and affection.

It is the start of the life-long war between accountability and grace and it is up to you, the parent, to decide which is to be the victor in each instance.  Yours is the battlefield for “Train(ing) up a child in the way he should go.” Proverbs 22:6.oath_pledge jpg

It is a scary proposition to be the coach of a precious life looking to you, fighting with you, testing you, seeking wisdom and discernment, love and affection, and wanting freedom and independence all before the hormones kick in!

I picked daughter up from school the other day, as I usually do, and somewhere between the school parking lot and our front door came the words “You are the worst mom ever!” Read Full Article →

heart_mini

Feeling great about navigating through the impossible conversation, sister and I began the process of sorting through Dad’s stuff in the house on the mountain at the lake. My heart ached realizing that all of his years of living were reduced to stuff on shelves, in closets, drawers and boxes. My dread was renewed at the sheer volume of stuff. Dad never threw anything away.blue flowers background Prov 15

I am not sure what compelled him to hang on to everything, and I mean everything. Like the American Kennel Club registration papers for the dog we had when I was a child, our sweet family dog who died when I was 13. Or the auto insurance policies to the Dodge station wagon (yes, the large green “Brady Bunch” wagon with the wood panel down the side) from 1972 through 1977. There were things like his childhood stuffed bear to every letter, birthday card and father’s day card I had ever sent him. Read Full Article →

I have spent the past two weeks in pain. I mean literal pain, the kind of pain that hurts, that is debilitating and feels like it will never end.  The kind of pain that makes you feel sorry for yourself and compels others to feel sorry for you and secretly thankful that they are not you.

I spent a week at my dad’s home up in the mountains at the lake with my sister. We were starting the process of sorting through and reorganizing some our dad’s things and beginning the discussions between us and my stepmom about what to do with the house.  That is really when my pain began.

It started in my heart as my grief over the loss of my dad moved into the forefront of my mind with the dreaded discussion of what to do with his house that has become my special place, my retreat, and my refuge.  I could almost feel my heart bleed knowing that his wonderful house is going to become something different and likely belonging to someone different, sooner rather than later.

I am not entirely certain how I injured my back that week. We did do a lot of sorting through boxes and moving a few things around.   I also played with my wonderful 18-month-old giant of a nephew. I am not kidding about the giant part. He weighs 30 lbs. and is the size of a 3-year-old.

Whatever it was that started the spasms in my back left me in sheer agony, hurting so bad that the only place I could find marginal relief was on my side or flat on my back in bed.

It left me with lots of time to think through and experience my pain. I became so consumed by it that I even looked up the definition of pain: suffering, distress or torment that presents physically, emotionally or both.  Words used to describe pain are torture, misery, torment, ache, agony and anguish. That was me!

We have all experienced these emotions and my obvious conclusion is that pain stinks. Really, is there any other kind of pain? Before you stop reading because all I have done so far is complain, I want to share with you how God met me in the midst of one of my better pity parties to answer that question.

As I pondered all of these things, feeling horribly sorry for myself, daughter arrived. She lied down next to me and read to me as has been our custom all week. She was very careful about how she moved around me so as not to cause me greater pain. We read and talked and giggled and loved on each other. In the midst of my pain was beauty and God’s love poured over and through both of us as we spent that precious hour together.

It did not take my pain away, but it did bring me some relief, an opportunity to focus on something besides my suffering, distress, torment… you get the idea.

Read Full Article →

Watching daughter’s reflection in the mirror this morning, thinking how grown up she looks as she stands next to me, a proclamation was made, “I wish I was blonde.” My heart sank as the voice of envy and insecurity comes out of the mouth of my precious, beautiful girl.

And so for daughter the battle begins at the age of seven. The battle we all face about our appearance, our bodies, the things we don’t like about ourselves, the fight against envy and insecurity. It is the war of negativity, the whispers of the enemy and our roots struggling to take hold in the rich soil of our Father and not the wasteland of self loathing and the enemy .

I don’t remember when it began for me but I know it was young, maybe even before daughter.  I never felt like the pretty one. I was short. My hair was thin and mousey. I was always a little pudgy. All the critical passages of womanhood came late for me. The boys paid no attention, or at least ones I wanted to look my way. I let my list of inadequacies begin to define me. Read Full Article →

My eyes at half mast, my heart in angst, I walked out to my desk in the dark this very early morning. I flipped on the light, able to see but I heard nothing. It is another day of deafening silence.

Why when God has been so present, answering so many of my prayers daily, has He been so painfully quiet in this one are of my life? This one hugely significant area of my life for which I have been seeking wisdom and direction for months, actually years and still I hear nothing. It has taken me to a place of frustration and sometimes anger, testing my faith.

I am simply not good at waiting and I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  Last December as I was sitting at a women’s Christmas dinner, the speaker charged us with relinquishing ourselves to God and asking for His direction. I almost laughed, thinking that is all I have been doing for months, but out of obedience I prayed.  What came next was an answer I never expected and did not like at all. The answer was, “Barbara, you know what to do.”

Read Full Article →