Friday, December 12, 2008

Baby Jesus

Did you know that there are children that don't know who Baby Jesus is? That have never heard that Name?

I met a child who was telling me all about Santa and the fun of Christmas. And, I innocently agreed with her about all the great things about Christmas -- and I said, and we have Baby Jesus' birthday.

And, then she stopped. And, she looked at me completely confused. Like, "who is that?" And, then she just kept going with her Christmas prattle.

I'm sure this is not an isolated incident. I have never been so sad -- and disillusioned.

How do we live in a "Christian society" -- where children look at lights and blowup santas and snowmen but don't recognize a nativity? Don't even know what it's there for?

And, what do I do with this information? How do I even begin to share -- and will I offend/embarass her "Christian" parents if I try to tell her. How do you not communicate the most beautiful love story ever written -- to your CHILDREN?

I feel a sad truth sinking in -- that I just haven't done enough. That there isn't enough time to stop the bleeding. What happens to generations of families that don't share the story? That don't know how much God loves them. What happens to those families when the bottom falls out -- and they have no idea where to turn? They don't know that there is a God who is holding out His hand to just lift them to their feet and out of the mire? And, even more, will pick them up and carry them and release the burden? Who is more powerful and loving than I will ever pretend to understand? How can you not tell? How can you not shout it from the rooftops?

As much as I hate the "in your face Christianity" that wears religion on its sleeve. I understand that a true passion for people is often at the root -- that human weakness turns zeal into control.

I can't change hearts. But, God can. And, so I release control -- to allow God to use me to fight the battle without manufacturing the outcome.

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." -- Luke 2:10-11

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On a brighter note

I'm definitely feeling like I'm back to my old self! :) Do you know what I did the other day? I arranged a date!! :) :) It was so much fun to connect two people. And, honestly, two people I haven't personally seen in years -- but I actually think it could be good. At the very least they should have a good time. :)

What the heck??

No luck on the church front, yet. I'm considering starting my own. I went to a Presbyterian church last week. His "sermon" outline went like this:
A. Talk about my grandson's near death experience from when he was born
B. Relate that to how it made me think about family, faith and church
C. Personal story about family
D. Personal story about faith
E. Personal story about church
F. Read the book, "Before you were born"
G. Give God the glory for my crappy sermon

Honestly. What is going on in the church??????? When is church personal feel good time? What's the point of showing up? I can get personal feel good from watching a sappy movie. And, I can stay home curled up in my pajamas for that.

To his credit, he read a Psalm before he started his talk. Bless his heart.

What is it going to take for the Church to just preach the truth? What could be better than hearing about God's grace -- and the power of an almighty God? What could be a better reason for getting up on a Sunday morning and getting dressed than to be fed with meat from God's Word. I don't understand why we have to water it down!!! And, why should I settle for anything less than the energizing power of the truth?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Is anyone else confused? We live in a country that celebrates freedom. That gets angry when our civil liberties are threatened. When "big brother" listens in on our conversations to prevent terrorism (I don't like it either, mind you), when congress bails out big business, etc., we kick and we scream.

And, yet, if you watch the news -- I know, it's depressing. Obama is the McHero of the presidential election -- and all we can be sure of is that the government will get bigger -- which can only serve to decrease our freedoms. Why knowingly give up control to the government??

I don't get it.

Please understand, I don't like John McCain. Never have. But, at least, with a democratic congress his crazy ideas will be held in check. And, he's not openly telling the world -- I'm going to make the government as powerful as I possibly can.

And, Obama's failure to acknowledge that he's a socialist. Of course, he's a socialist! He's the very definition of a socialist!!!! Power to the people -- was the reason we had a tea party in Boston. It's the reason our forefathers risked their lives to start this country. So, how -- somebody please explain it to me -- how can we in good conscience vote someone into office who threatens to destroy the very foundation of this country? (And, don't get me started about his buddies Pelosi and Franks . . . )

Friday, October 24, 2008


It's amazing how quiet my life gets when there really is no drama. It's like I went on this big trip. Came home. Had a big meltdown. And, then . . . . quiet.

I think there are actually days when I wonder if I'm okay, just because things seem to have settled into such normalcy. :)

I had a lovely time with my friend, Erin last weekend. Just about the only girl I know who actually gets a rockin' body when she's pregnant. She goes from cute and petite to perfectly proportioned curvy. Down right sexy when she's pregnant -- go figure.

Anyway, Erin's due November 13 with baby #2 (name TBA, but we do know it's a girl). It was big fun to hang out with her and Paxton. What a cute kid. When something is funny, he says, "Achoo. Funny. Achoo." Ha!

Again, just a great time to be normal and relax. I would show you pictures, but for some reason my camera's SD card went bad -- and I lost them all. They were cute, too. Major bummer!

I'm learning to find God in this quiet. To trust that just because the drama seems to have disappeared -- He hasn't. That He will continue to show me who He is -- even without the "shock and awe".

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Dad Rocks

I love this from my Dad yesterday. "I have my daughter back. My wife has her daughter back. My daughter has her sister back. Her friends have their friend back. And, no, I won't pray for that to change."

Just an update

Just a quick update on the regular day-in-day-outs. I have accepted a new position as an Executive Recruiter for WorldBridge Partners. Sounds impressive, huh? Basically, I look to match engineers in the medical device industry with medical device companies looking for engineers.

Two weeks in, and, so far, so good. I like not driving. I like having regular working hours. But, with new graces, comes added accountability -- like no more excuses for not working out, making friends, getting involved in my community, etc. (Incidentally, if you happen to know engineers in medical devices, you can always send them my way! :))

I went to my first church event on a week night since . . . well, since a really long time ago. I didn't really find what I was looking for -- but that was not the point. That was Monday. Tomorrow morning, it's up early and at least an ab workout. Although, it hasn't been THAT long since I had a regular workout routine -- just longer than I would like.

I get to visit Erin Marshall this weekend (she's 8 months along -- and ready to pop!!) in Arkansas. Then, it's a focused effort to find a church HOME.

Now, if I can just maintain the disciplines of a workout and regular church, it will be simply a matter of finding a community activity that I enjoy -- and I will be well on the road to balanced.

Cross your fingers . . . ;0

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sovereign, not surprised

Grieving sucks. Really.

Now, after 3 weeks with people, I fully understand that I'm not the only one grieving. But, it still sucks.

What I know for sure after this weekend is that I am an absolute nutbag! A wack job! A looney toon! (Do you hear the funny farm sirens -- they're headed my way!)

The good news is this: as my friend Mike Garty says, "the King is sovereign, not surprised."

Thank You God for knowing exactly how we're wired. For your compassion. For seeing us through our grief. For holding us as we work it out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

From the sandbox to the beach

Wow! It's hard to believe the month is coming to an end. The last few weeks have been incredibly full and passed so quickly. While it's been a "vacation" it hasn't been easy.

I have loved and laughed and cried and been inspired. I have breathed in the smell of newborns, revelled in the love of young children, enjoyed deep, satisfying conversations with long time friends, wrestled with my own fears and insecurities, and in the end found new motivation.

I can honestly say that at the start of this adventure, my "sandbox," as my mother refers to my understanding of the world, was quite small. Clearly, it had atrophied over the last 8 years, without my even perceiving it. But, thanks to this time, my eyes have been open to new possibilities.

My sandbox has grown and, towel in hand, I'm heading for the beach.

Not that the transition will be easy or certain. Sadly, I'm realizing that more than finances and emotional health have deteriorated over the years. But, I have a firm grip on reality -- and I am confident in the faithfulness of God. I am sure that He will make my paths straight.

If I have learned one thing, it is that -- whether we know it or not -- we are all in crisis. As long as we inhabit the earth, there is a deep longing in our hearts that cannot be filled with anything but the life-giving, thirst-quenching presence of God. Money, perfection, human love, sex, education, power, control -- none of it will ever "fill the hole".
Tomorrow marks what would have been the 8th anniversary of my marriage. It is fitting that the day arrives as this life-changing trip comes to a close, and I open a new chapter in my life.

I am deeply grateful for the friends who have opened their homes to me, shared their lives with me -- and been kind enough to allow me to indulge in this soul-searching adventure. Their graciousness is evidence of God's unending love.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I found it!

So, the other day, I'm at my friends house, Blake and Stacy King. To know Blake, is to know he just doesn't understand how people can lose things. And, sure enough, just when I'm supposed to move my car so he can get to heaven itself, otherwise known as Starbucks . . . I lose my keys.

Yep. Nowhere to be found.

Now, usually, I can find my keys. I just retrace my steps and there they are. But, this time, nothing.

I looked through my bag, I checked my clothes. I checked the car, but it was locked and I only lock my car with the key -- so I didn't lock my key IN the car. I looked through my bag. I checked my clothes. 5 minutes later, while his car is running and waiting, I'm still looking for my keys.

Fortunately, Blake loves me. He didn't show his frustration to me. And, then Stacy says, "are you SURE you didn't put your key in your clothes from last night." And, of course I was sure, because I checked them twice. But, just to appease her, I checked again.

And there they were.

Sort of like joy.

This last year, I've looked in all the usual places. I've gone to church. I've thanked God for his blessings. I've talked to my friends. I've played with children. Went back to search at church. I've wept with thanksgiving for God's grace. And, yet, that pure joy -- that sense of freedom that "Right here. Right now. This is where I should be, here with God and everything is the way it should be." seems so elusive.

I've had glimpses. I was selling windows to a customer in Milwaukee. And, frankly, there wasn't much selling going on. It was just laughing and talking and sharing about life in Milwaukee -- and the crazy politics and the cool festivals. I totally lost track of time, just lost in the fun of connecting with people.

I was playing with my friend Mark's 3-year-old daughter, Charlotte, just before I left on this journey. There's this circular fountain outside their apartment complex and I was chasing her. And, I was truly just myself -- laughing and giggling and chasing.

Last night, my friend Missy and I spent the day shopping and just sharing with one another about dashed dreams and creating new hopes and renewing friendships. And, then, we just got to giggling (okay, maybe there was a little wine involved), but just sharing a good time with a good friend.

I felt so free.

I keep wanting to bottle those moments. Because, I often try to create them. Sometimes I pretend that I'm being myself, because I know I should be myself. But, it's not natural. It's me trying to be me not just being me. (Is anyone thinking that I'm crazy, yet?)

But today, there it was again. I was worshipping. And, this pure, organic desire to be with God. Pure joy. I found it -- or it found me. Not that I expect that the feeling will stay. But, there it was. And, for that moment I remembered why I want to -- not should -- serve God. Why I want to be connected to His people. Why I want to be His girl -- and the opportunities He has laid in my lap that I don't want to waste.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home is where?

The two most emotional words in the English language: Mom and Home.

I was challenged on Friday to identify home. I've often had a "if you don't like it, you can change your mind" attitude. But, perhaps, it's time to make a decision and put down roots. I've never thought of myself as a commitment phobe. But, maybe I am.

Now as a single adult, I have freedom. I'm not tied to putting food on the table for a man who sits around and plays video games all day. I can do anything I want. I have the flexibility to change my mind. But, maybe part of becoming a whole adult is establishing my own home. Maybe I make a bigger impact on the world if I commit to a community and to the people around me. Rather than flitting about in undecided turmoil.

Mom said to me the other night, "we create our environment." That's true. So, my happiness or contentedness is dependent on me -- and the choices I make.

As I'm writing, I'm thinking this is commonsense. But, when the slate is clean and the options are endless, where do you start? I have this enormous opportunity -- but, how do I get my arms around it all just so I can embrace it?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The adventure is on!

I'm on the road! For the next month I get to do nothing but explore! I'm exploring new opportunities, reconnecting with old friends, meeting babies and relinquishing the stress of the last year. What an opportunity!!

So, far, I figure I am just about the luckiest girl in the world! I've spent the last two days cuddling, giggling and laughing with two of the sweetest nieces on the planet. I even received the title of most popular substitute teacher! (Sorry Mom!) ;0 Even my poor sister just can't compete with my educational skills!

Nope. It really doesn't get much better. And, by virtue of the fact that I'm a "novelty" they even listen well to me.

So, we're having fun in Indiana. Tomorrow I'm headed to Florida. Lookout, Road, here I come!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Made for each other

Thanks to Cindy for reminding me that we ARE made for community. :) We don't live in a bubble do we? But, sometimes, hiding out seems safer than sticking our toe in a larger pond.

I had the privilege today, of meeting a marine reservist Sgt. Michael Rands from the Fox Company 2nd battalion here in Wisconsin. They just arrived on Wisconsin soil two weeks ago from Iraq to the open arms of friends and family.

Michael returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. His mother, Susan, and I worked together at Brookstone Homes. And, I've walked with Susan through each deployment, although this was my first opportunity to meet Michael. Michael also met his new baby girl, Adison when he came home -- and I had the opportunity to meet her today, too.

I was surrounded today for exactly 90 minutes by people who love Susan and Michael. All of their friends and family. And, I must say, it made me homesick for my own. I left with the old "not feeling well" excuse -- and bawled the whole way home. (In fact, I'm still crying as I type. (I am going to have one major headache tomorrow!!!!) For all of my big talk about sticking it out till I'm healthy, I miss doing life with the people I love!!! :)

Coupled with the current goings on at work, maybe this signals a need for change -- or maybe just a long vacation. I guess we'll find out soon . . .

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why not?

How do things get so crazy?? There is a problem that I'm dealing with -- and I just don't want to.

Why now? Why when I'm just a few weeks from being completely removed from a situation that has been going on for nearly a year, why does it have to get so big that it can't be ignored?

Why not.

I want to sweep it under the rug. I want to pretend like it doesn't exist. And, yet it does. And, it's awful. And, I hate this kind of thing. I am the only one who can confront this head on. No one else can do it for me.

I suppose better now than a few months ago when I was financially and emotionally destitute.

I could walk away. But, I woke up about 6 weeks ago, and had a fleeting thought to recommit myself to "do the right thing" in light of the moral vacancy I interact with daily.

Well, here's my chance. I have the opportunity to act. And, I'm scared.


I just have to say that I couldn't be happier with McCain's choice of Sarah Palin. Who would've thought?! She IS the every "man" and an incredible leader to boot!

Congratulations to Senator McCain for having the courage and inspiration to rally his base -- and make the right decision for his party and this country!!!


Now, what do YOU think?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The center

Okay, so I know I am not perfect. I know that God knows that I can and will fail miserably. But, I do get frustrated with my inability to constantly be holy and perfect -- especially when He is just so good to me.

These past two weeks have been amazing! We've been running our big "friends and family" sale at Sears. Usually it's a great time to make money, because our prices are so low. However, sometimes the sale is a bust. Anyway, this last two weeks, I've sold 70% of my appointments. The average is 20%!! Unbelievable. God has absolutely been looking out for my every need.

I feel like my response to Him is not enough. And, of course, it never will be. So, again, I rest in His grace. God is soooo good. And, I don't deserve it.

I am so helplessly dependent on God for my physical needs. Like a teenager who can't wait to grow up, sometimes, I want to hurry past this financially dependent stage. But, it's right here -- in the center of his protection and care and grace -- that I come to know his personal attention to me. Who else knows exactly what I need and when I need it? How much more loved and cared for does it really get? What better reminder of his care for me could I possibly want?

It is now that He is resetting the foundation for His personal, direct care for me in the small things. When bigger issues come around, these touchstones will serve as a reminder that I am ALWAYS in the center of His love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The wastefulness of grace

Some people need to get their lives under control -- I need to let go a little bit. I am so concerned that I might not become the person that I think I should be -- that I am too afraid to let my real self develop. That somehow my life will pass me by -- and that I'm already behind this self-imposed idea of "where I should be". I am constantly trying to control the direction of my life to my own detriment.

As my counselor says, "how is that working for you?"

Needless to say, not very well. There is this idea in my head that if I am not measured -- if I don't control every moment, I'll waste my time/life. And, yet, I am learning that when I allow God to control, He teaches me things in the moment -- and allows me to almost physically see real change taking place in my life.

I know that I am weak and wicked. Why is it so difficult to relax and release control to a perfect God?

I was at my counselor's the other day and she was telling me about this book called The Shack. Apparently, the writing is weak, but the story is profound. In his biography the author says he's living in the northwest in the "wastefulness of grace."

That, to me, is an oxymoron and a luxury. I hate wastefulness. I love grace. But, together they create a deep and important truth -- that God POURS out his love on us. He doesn't dole out grace in neat, measured sugary sweet packages. He recklessly, wildly, mercifully, unreservedly showers his love on us.

I live for those quiet, completely abandoned, precious moments when I am truly present enough to bathe in the luxury of His love.

O The Deep Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Monday, August 11, 2008


"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" -- Matthew 7:9-11

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beer and cheese

It's good to be back among the living. Without going into the gory details, I had a violent bout with the flu on Sunday night that I really thought was going to kill me. I know that I am loved, because I received an unusual number of phone calls on Monday from people who didn't know I was sick. I scared a few of them when I answered the phone -- I was really sick.

A good friend rescued me by insisting that a trip to the doctor Monday night -- and not Tuesday morning was the best remedy -- and the surest way to avoid dehydration. It was good advice. A simple trip to the urgent care -- complete with an IV drip and a nausea shot -- rescued me from my "death bed". A few bowls of chicken noodle soup later along with several ounces of Powerade and I'm almost ready to go back to work.

During that time, I also lost my cell phone -- my only connection with the rest of my world -- at the grocery store. Since I thought it was stolen, I also lost several hours of what would've been needed rest.

By the time I found my phone and called all my worried loved ones to tell them I was on the mend and had a connection to civilization, I was ready for another nap.

Fortunately, I only had one appointment today, so I had time to rest and get some things done. During that time, I talked to my sister, who asked a question I suppose many other people have asked themselves, "Why are you still in Wisconsin?"

Good question. There are days when I'm not sure I know the answer. On the other hand, I can come up with many good reasons why I'm not ready to leave.

At the time the divorce finalized and my house sold, I was not in any emotional condition to just move without purpose. I definitely didn't want the stress of a job change. I definitely didn't want to move to a completely foreign place where I only knew a few people. I felt completely overwhelmed at the idea of starting my life over. The truth is, as much as I haven't ever really felt at home in Wisconsin, I've been here longer than I've been anywhere -- short of my K-12 years in Columbus, Ind.

Wisconsin feels foreign to my friends and family, but I have as many friends here that I actually do things with that I would have anywhere I would move to. And, for that reason, it feels safe. I don't have to deal with having to heal in front of anyone -- it hasn't been pretty. I don't have to start a new job, develop new friendships or reestablish old friendships all at one time.

I also told myself that no matter where I "land" I want to leave my emotional baggage here. I want to lose the weight I gained while I have been here. I want to be free of the bad emotional habits I developed in my marriage. And, I want to rediscover who I really am.

Since the divorce, I have lost nearly half the weight I gained. I am working with my counselor on a regular basis to identify and reverse my bad habits. And, I am rediscovering what I like and don't like about myself -- and where I want to go.

This rediscovery phase is so important because my natural tendency is to be a chameleon -- to blend into the lives of the people I love and care about. While I am a strong leader, I also morph into a support role. This can be a strength -- but taken to an extreme, I lose my identity in the process. And, that is not healthy.

One my biggest weaknesses is that I always worry about what other people think. I don't trust myself to heal properly and honestly if I'm constantly wondering how other people are responding to the crazy cycle they call the "healing process" -- for me it's more like watch the crazy lady go through every emotion in an hour -- repeat and rinse.

This may be hard to understand, but I don't feel strong enough to live near my family or close friends without completely losing myself in them. If I have a second chance at figuring out who I am, then now is the time to do that. Do I need a support network, yes! But, the fact is, I get lots of support. I have lots of people who love me and care about me and look after me -- locally and nationally. Contrary to popular belief, Wisconsin is not a remote island, devoid of human care and concern. Quite the contrary. I am so blessed. And, yet, I know that no one can walk through this fire for me.

That doesn't mean that I can't or won't accept help. I need lots of it! But, it does mean that I pick and choose the help I can accept to continue to move forward in the healing process -- and identify the help that will only weaken that end. It does not mean that I always choose wisely. But, God is good and wise and strong. He restores me gently.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Megyn Kelly comment about liars

I loved this comment from Megyn Kelly, Fox News, so I just had to share . . .

"(People who lie) do not have an adult relationship with the truth."

Well said.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good and perfect gifts

I was on Facebook the other day chatting with my friend, Cindy. She knows well, as do all of my friends, that growing great kids has always been a dream of mine. So, she thoughtfully encouraged me with the comment that I will make a great mom someday.

So, I said, "I would relish being a mother. But, the reality is, I may just get to enjoy other people's children. What I know for sure is, God loves me enough to give me the best. Either will be a gift."

That statement is still ringing in my ears. Frankly, I'm surprised that it came from me. I certainly don't always feel that way. Most of the time, I'm just dumbfounded that I don't have the classic American family. I get a knot in my stomach when I face the reality that I may be single and childless for the rest of my life.

But, it's true. If I believe that God provides. If I believe that God loves me more than ANYONE (and, there are a lot of people who love me a lot). If I believe that I have a relationship with a deeply personal God who knows the innermost desires of my heart. If I believe that God knows the worst about me and chooses the best for me, then I have to believe that everything He allows in my life is a gift. Even if it doesn't feel like it. Even if my circumstances make me angry or sad.

The fact is, everything that has ever happened to me -- the good and the bad -- He has worked out to teach me more about Himself -- without fail. And, the more I learn more about Him, the more I am interested in furthering His kingdom and extending His love.

Praise to the Lord, Who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The 9th commandment

Okay. Seriously. Does anyone else get tired of lying? Maybe it's just my workplace, but it seems like lying is a pervasive problem. Starts as a "little white one" or an "exaggeration" and just escalates. It seems most "professionals", don't even realize that they are lying -- but by the time they reach that point, they are easy to identify. They have no credibilty.

I find that professional liars even make things up that they don't have to. They just "tell stories" because that's what they are accustom to doing.

Politicians are a perfect example. Look at this political season -- how many times do our representatives change their stories -- or spin a situation. And, it's often "excused". But, they aren't alone.

Lying stinks. I know people who are such well known liars that people who listen to them don't even believe anything they say -- from the simple to the profound -- including their spouses and children. Yuck.

The liars that I'm around even try to ask "trial closing" questions, to make themselves believe that you've bought into the lie. It's utterly ridiculous. How do these people live with themselves?

Why even bother opening your mouth, if no one believes anything you say??? I'm stupefied.

So, how, exactly do you call out a liar? I mean, how do you expose a lie, without just calling someone a liar? I know that Christians are supposed to "confront in love" but what about when you're dealing with nonbelievers?

Today I'm just at my limit for listening to the garbage. The really sad part is that when you're surrounded by people who lie, it's hard to believe anyone tells the truth.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I am blessed

Really. I am blessed. There is absolutely no way I could have survived the last 9 months without the guiding hand of my God. I am so grateful to Him. And, tonight, I feel compelled to say to Him -- and my faithful friends who have been his hands and feet -- a simple thank you.

Thank You for covering every bill and every need. I worried (I worry), but I never needed (need) to.

Thank You for Stacy, who listened, and encouraged, and pushed and stretched and listened and answered several phone calls a day and listened and listened and listened -- and never judged. Did I mention answering EVERY emotionally exhausting phone call? For being my communicator. For standing in the gap for me, and caring for me like no one else could. I owe you my life. And for Blake and Kaylee who put up with Stacy while she was caring for me.

Thank You for my counselor. I could never have picked anyone so perfect. She was honest and fair. She listened. She NEVER let me wallow in self pity. She NEVER told me what to do. She taught me how to think. She is teaching me how to live. She suffered with me through an anxiety attack, and offered her services gratis when I needed her the most. She is compassionate and unaffected by my crazy stories.

For my parents, who are just grateful to have their daughter back. Who worked tirelessly to help me get my house ready for sale. Who have not let the stigma of a divorced child keep them from loving me. Who have listened and counseled only when I've asked. Who have not pushed me to do anything I am not ready to do. I am grateful for our renewed friendship.

For my sister and her family, who have been a safe haven -- and a source of laughter. And, who now, put up with the reality of Tim living nearby. For Grace and Hannah who ask questions honestly and receive honest answers with the same openness. For being with me during the divorce. I couldn't have gone through it without all of you. For Matt packing the truck.

For Mark, one of the most trustworthy, deeply caring and kind people I know. Who has watched me fall down and offered a hand. Who has tapped a tender place deep within me and refused to let me give into self criticism. Who has helped me understand grace. Who has challenged me to live with honesty. Who has been an incredible friend without judgment or fear. Who unpacked the truck. Who taught me to fire my first gun. Who has watched out for my safety at every turn.

For Valerie who gave me a safe home, food and wine when I literally only had 50 bucks in my pocket. Who has simply loved me before the divorce and after. Who helped me decorate my home to get it ready to sell. For Steve who let me invade his home and be an emotional girl -- and who reminded me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

For Robin and Clark. Who knew you would play the role you have? I guess God did. For talking to Tim. For not taking sides. For hosting me and my friends in Columbus. For filling in the gaps.

For my boss and my job. Neither of which I like. Both of which have allowed me to grieve and heal.

For my Taylor girlfriends. For flowers and e-mails. For compassion. For lack of judgment and open hearts. For listening and crying and just letting me be. God, we had no idea all we would go through together when we met on a warm summer night in 1990. But, I am grateful that You handpicked each one.

For the Keeley/Marshall clan who will always be my second family. For welcoming me right after my separation. For visiting in Minneapolis. For Erin's intentional visit to my new home with my new name in my new life.

For every person who may not have "heard it" directly from me, but didn't get angry -- or feel slighted. Who rose above personal hurt and recognized that I love them -- I just have to take care of myself first.

For every person who heard it and offered grace and compassion. Their judgment was my biggest fear.

Father, You have held my hand through every moment. You know it all -- the good and the bad. Thank You for teaching me more about your grace. Thank You for these angels of mercy who have carried me. I am not worthy of your personal, intentional, spot-on care for me. It is because of who You are that I am becoming really Yours. I do not deserve You, but I need You.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Ecstasy. eX -- the quit smoking drug. The X generation. My "Ex" called tonight. I answered. There are those who probably think I shouldn't have picked up, but I did.

It was another emotional diatribe, but this time I managed to escape without a migraine or a bout of depression.

Here's the truth about my divorce. I'm grateful that I had the courage and strength to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. I was blessed to have supportive friends and family. Was I perfect? No. I was the enabler. But, in the process, I lost everything, and I had to leave out of self-preservation.

That being said, it frustrates me that my ex and I can't communicate as Christians. That we can't seem to extend grace to one another. I feel like I have to be mean in order to encourage him to move on. And, he wants to blame me for the fact that he is divorced.

I believe that God loves us. That he has saved me by His GRACE. That he has saved Tim by His GRACE. That God has complete compassion and love for both of us. That He wants the best for both of us.

Why can't we communicate grace to one another? Maybe we're just both still healing, but when we have the same fight that we've had for the last year, then, it doesn't seem like we've really made much progress.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Being revealed

Watching "How Do I Look" the other day (yes, I watch way too much tv), I saw a woman who was stuck in "fantasyland attire". Literally. She's a kindergarten teacher, who thinks it's perfectly acceptable to dress like a 5-year-old in princess outfits, and outlandish clothes -- the kind I pulled out of the toybox when I was a toddler to play dress up.

As this woman became aware of her fashion shortcomings, the hostess asked how she was feeling. She insightfully remarked, "I am being revealed."

Wow. While I was horrified by her lack of good fashion sense, I relate to her perfectly. I may not literally wear it "on my sleeve" but I have covered up who God is in me with emotional and spiritual "fantasyland" attire designed by who I think I should be -- not who I am. Nonetheless, God out of his deep love for me, has gently begun His revelation in me.

This morning, I went to church. While that may seem ordinary for some, for me, lately, that is new. The pastor is starting a series on the book of Revelation. (Funny, how I feel led to go to a church I've been dragging my heels to attend -- and the sermon comes at me with pinpoint accuracy.) I couldn't help but think that while the author, John, is revealing Christ to me. I am also being revealed. As I am tested. As trials come. As I confess my sins. As I allow Christ to become more central in my life, I become more aware of my shortcomings and the truth about me becomes more apparent.

I am naked. My heart is insipid and cold -- black as night. I cling desperately to the revelation of my God -- that it is only because of Him that I am whole. It is only by His grace that I heal. It is only because of His grace that I hope. He is everything -- the first and the last -- the One who was and is and is to come. I am nothing without Him.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My journey to authenticity

I am watching a TBS version of Sex and the City. The one where Sam has to give a breast cancer speech. As she's practicing the speech, Smith tells her that she seems stiff. He says that the most inspirational speeches are the ones where the speaker is authentic. "Keep it real."

It seems trite. Truly. But, it is now my inspiration for this blog. I want to be real. I want to live a "no-holds-barred" life. I want to be transparent. I want others to see the grace of God working itself out in me every day.

But, I am scared.

I like painting a perfect picture of myself for others to see. But, my life has not been lilly white. I wonder what others will think and if they will accept that I have -- and often -- fail miserably. So, this is my first step forward.