Tuesday, August 30, 2016

reflecting obsession

quieting down {so I can hear}

{my spinning weather vane}

If this weather vane was symbolic
 of my time and attention
I think it might be spinning out of orbit by now.  
{don't judge me here, I really am trying}

And so for a moment,
 I purpose to sit still and quiet my heart.
I go to a quiet room.
I sit down and then...

Then the dog barks.
One of the kids wants a haircut.
The cat jumps on my lap and spills my coffee.
Another child {teenager} wants an energy drink
from the gas station down the street. "Please, Mom?" 
Deliver 'energy drink bad for you' speech 438th time.
Husband wants me to go work out with him at the gym. 
I need to pay 3 bills today.
Home school curriculum needs handed out for the week
and 4th grader needs her baton at school.
Oldest daughter wants to tell me all about her new job! {yay!}
I need to prepare a devotional for a group of young mom's...
 for tomorrow morning.
Then the to do list of errands pops into my swirling mind.
Then the dog is barking again.
I think I'm over the flu...?
It's church night, what's for dinner?
{I'm really not exaggerating}
Then as I sit at my quiet desk 
a family member comes into room, leans over my shoulder
and asks "Whatcha doin?" 
as they chomp on a mouth full of almonds.
{I really, really don't like eating sounds}

So I just smile...

I am not whining or trying to evoke sympathy.
Just keepin it real.
If any one reads this and is encouraged
mission accomplished.

My Planner
(hey, I have one)

Mom's quiet bench.

(I found this old post in a long list of drafts and thought I'd go ahead and publish)


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Broken Mirrors, Bent Tiaras and Truth

Broken mirrors can't reflect an honest image.
Bent tiaras that aren't real will tarnish and fade.
But the truth...

Trying to see clearly through broken glass is like
reading a newspaper through a kaleidoscope in a dark room.
It just doesn't work.
I remember the first time I saw an actual kaleidoscope.
I was fascinated and I played with it for hours.
It is a great toy but a terrible lens.

I don't remember looking in mirrors or even caring about them as a small child.
I was completely unaware of self.

My mother had left again. Yes, left as in gone. For a long time. Like 2 months. Again.
And my father sat uncomfortably in my grandparent's small living room in a chair by the door.
His right arm was in a brace extending out and away from his body
and he had burn salve covering his neck, shoulder and face.
He had just been released from the hospital to come home... but 'home' was gone.
We had a little problem.
Mom left the iron on that night when she went to bingo.

As we drove down the road towards home we could see smoke and flames.
Dad slid our van to a jolting stop in Grandpa's driveway across the street and said "Wait here!"
We sat and waited and waited... and waited. Then we saw firetrucks, a police car and an ambulance.
In my 4 year old mind I thought "Good!  They are coming to help Dad put out the fire!
Then we can all go inside and get ready for bed." I was 4, remember.
Moments later 4 children ages 2, 4, 6 and 7 watched the workers take someone out of the house
on a stretcher. Maybe a worker got hurt, I thought to myself.
We sat and waited and waited.  Surely my super hero dad, larger than life dad was OK, right?
We didn't see him for weeks and weeks.
 Mom went to stay with her sisters in another part of the state.

It was Saturday and Grandpa was cooking up his usual big German breakfast.
Bacon, eggs from his chicken coop, oatmeal with cream, hash browns, toast.
He always cooked for an army and asked if you wanted more, "did you get enough to eat, have some more!" he'd say as he loaded up your plate again explaining how important breakfast was
and how healthy his provisions were.

Dad was usually out taking care of his horses, fixing fence or something, anything out on the farm
on a Saturday or Sunday morning but there he was just miserably sitting.

"Debby, come here."
I was half way afraid, somewhat reserved.
He was a strong, shall we say, disciplinarian son of a WW2 veteran.  I paused.
"Debby, come here."
I walked shyly nearer to him with my freshly arranged piggy tails that Grandma put in my hair
and I was wearing 'new to me' boys farm overalls that someone donated to our family since everything we owned was now in a charred pile across the street.
"Yes?" I quietly said.
"You need to start watching your weight, don't you think?"
as he looked me up and down.
"Wait? Like for the bus?" I wondered. "What does he mean?"
And then he clarified with these shattering words "You are getting fat. Don't you think?
You need to start watching your weight."
I acknowledged his statement with a nod and went upstairs and sat on the end of the bed.
I thought "I can't eat. 
 I'm fat" at the ripe age of 4.
Then it was time for breakfast.  Grandpa called everyone to the table. I sat frozen, immobilized.
A few minutes later every adult in the house hollered at me to come to the kitchen so I went.

A mirror broke in my mind that day with a seed of a lie but I didn't really know it until years later.
Not wanting anyone to look at me I constantly tried to hide.
That seed germinated and grew into all too common eating disorders, self hatred, rejection, etc
and was watered over and over by a sea of lies that I swam in every day.
Comments surrounded me.  I believed it because it was loud and it was repetitous.
Reinforced by beauty pageant mentalities all around me I not only thought of myself
 as fat but also ugly and dumb.
Dumb. Fat. Ugly.
A bent tiara identity. 
What was spoken to me was becoming my reflection of how I saw myself.
Clear distortion
 of self, God and others.

Then one day I lifted my gaze upward.
Truth was calling.

He is not a kaleidoscope God.
He wants us to see clearly.
Him. Ourselves as He sees us and others.
To believe Him and what He says over anything and everything else.
To let Him plant His eternal truths deep within the marrow of our hearts.

Ephesians 3:12 tells us that "In Him and through faith in Him 
we may approach God with freedom and confidence."

And in verse 16
"I pray that out of His glorious riches 
He may strengthen you with power
 through His Spirit in your inner being, 
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  
And I pray that you,
 being rooted and established in love, 
may have power,
 together with all the Lord's holy people, 
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep 
is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- 
that you may be filled to the measure 
of all the fullness of God."

Rooted, established and having power.
A welcomed exchange
 for a broken mirror and a bent tiara!


Saturday, January 9, 2016

A simple and complex word.

I heard a speaker use a particular word in the form of a question recently
and it captured my attention.
It was a simple word that likely skipped right over the ears of many 
and perhaps was all to familiar to others but it was very timely for me and I heard it.
".. endorsement..."
And I wondered who endorses me?

Please hear me, I know who endorses me, defines me and created me.
 But an honest question: On this planet, who?
And would one or two or three be.. enough?

Community is important and the council of honest friends is very valuable
but who am I looking to to endorse me?
Endorsement gives validity to what you are doing.
It gives a much firmer foundation to a project.
If an organization wanted to build a dream but lacked the funding
they would look to a lender to back them, endorse them.
Shark Tank.  They lend and of course they take in exchange.
 If you start a business or a non-profit there are laws governing that you have
a group, a committee or board of leadership.

My husband and I started a non-profit organization called
GOING BEYOND THE GAME and I was quite surprised by all of the processes.
We have a board made of honest visionaries and tacticians
and that is stabilizing and deeply valuable.

Many around me do not see it.
Perhaps because they only know what they see on the surface.
As a deeply buried dream begins to emerge and it's purpose becomes
 less and less foggy and vague this word was quite timely.
So buried in fact, that I had forgotten until a spot light was put on it
in a darkened room of a few thousand people.
"...there's a dream deep, deep inside of you... breathe on it..." and then
"I endorse you.  I see your dream.  It's my dream that I've put in you."
"I see it clearly.  Trust me. I will bring it up and out and unfold it before you..."
That is the single most valuable, pointed and precise endorsement that I need, right?

It is still out of focus, fuzzy and a bit vague.
 Tiny bits and pieces are coming to bring shape to an unknown
 but I am keeping my ears and heart open to hear the rumble of the unfolding.
And until then I will keep doing what I'm doing.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans..."

And that is really what I want, all I want, only what I want.
All the other what would look like 'dreams' are just fillers, temporary fluff and styrofoam to me.
Too many ideas and such a short time.

What is your dream?
Are you walking that out?
And to some of you who feel limited, too broken or a life too far gone
 I ask "Why not?"
I think real dreams take our feet from the dirt of this life and launch us
and many others along the way into high places.

If your dream doesn't scare you it may not be big enough.

It's a challenge to wrap up this post since it is such an unfinished topic
so how about this:

"To be continued"


Thursday, June 11, 2015

a gift of living, trusting, joyful {grace}


Have you ever thought that you've learned 
quite a bit about something
only to discover that you really don't know so much at all?

I thought I had learned a few things about grace.
Undeserved favor.
A gift.
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found.
Was blind but now I see.
The kind you ask for, 
search for or at least put your heart or hands out for.

Last week, in the middle of the night 
I found myself sitting in an emergency room
 in great pain with many unanswered questions.
The diagnosis was undetermined.
The cause of the problem was a mystery.
The cat scan showed cause for very real concern.
My husband sat exhausted in the corner 
slumped over in a chair.
As I returned to the room from my second cat scan 
I could hear whispers "How serious is it, Doctor?"
Worry. Fear. Concern.

I felt cushioned, insulated from fears and worry.grace

As the team of medical staff looked over lab results 
and discussed my prognosis I sat quietly, peaceful. grace
I usually pray about things. Everything and often.
I am a mom. I am a wife. I am human and in this world
there are always things to talk to God about.
But I didn't even do that.  I just sat. Peaceful.grace
I thought "I'm ready.  I'm ready to go"
But I have children, children that aren't grown yet.
And my husband... he'd have to find a new wife. 
Ugh. So much hassle.  ;)
So a thought slipped into my mind with such ease 
like oxygen enters the lungs while in a deep sleep.
Effortlessly the thought came as I looked at my tired husband
"I don't have dying grace.  I have living grace."grace
At first it was a silent thought that entered quietly and gently
into the corridors of my mind.  
Then deciding that the thought deserved merit
I contemplated it a moment then gave it a soft megaphone.
"I don't have dying grace.  I have living grace."
And I repeated it again for three reasons.
I needed to hear what I just said.
I wanted my husband to hear again what I just said and
it carried the watermark of hope, wisdom, 
comfort and peace that surpassed mine.

 (sending a text to a group of men who pray)

Several years ago my mother's health declined.
It was a time filled with challenges of all kinds.
There were days and moments filled with hope and determination
and days sprinkled with questions, disappointments and grief.

One perfect spring afternoon, the kind you'd see on a cartoon or Sesame Street, brilliant blue with white puffy clouds
Mom took flight into eternity.
I got to be by her side when she departed her shell of a body 
and flew with a circle of birds upward.
I saw grace.
Grace to go.
Dying grace.
And also helped an aunt take Grandma a few years ago 
across a cold windy parking lot from her nursing home
 to a dr. appointment to check on her lungs.
They suspected pneumonia. 
As they tried to take her blood pressure on her frail little arm
the nurse could see that bone and skin alone 
couldn't give a proper reading.
So the nurse paused and removed the cuff and then listened to her lungs and heart.
She sweetly looked up at my aunt and then she was gone.
She told me weeks before that she wanted to go home.
She had grace to go.
As I sat in the ER another thought:
And an image of a little girl clinging to a huge iron anchor.
Trusting. Resting. Waiting. Clinging. Joyful.
Yes, joy.grace
My husband says it was the pain management but I know better.
I was so darn funny! I was cracking one liners all night/morning!
After seeing the second cat scan the doctor 
asked in a concerned tone
"Tell me, where is your greatest pain?"
Swiftly answering with mouth off to the side 
and one eyebrow raised I said quite matter of fact 
"In the black shirt, sitting over there in the corner." 

After deciding to admit me into the hospital 
but to transfer me to the main campus
an ambulance service was called for transport.
When they arrived I walked out of the ER 
and asked them if I could drive.

(post limo, pre arrival into 'med spa' suite)

When we arrived at the hospital and was being taken to my room
I was asked if I preferred
to be carried into the room or if I wanted to walk.
I said I could walk and as I got up to walk added
"Thanks for the limo ride guys!  
I'd tip ya but I left my purse at home!"
I called the hospital my med spa.

(room service, really?)

Room service?  They actually call it ROOM SERVICE!
Of course, I wasn't hungry but I had to eat something
so I could take my meds so I had a salmon fillet
and it was perfect.

Seriously, things have changed since I had my last baby!
A menu?  Spa-cation.
  No cooking or cleaning, no dog hair or dogs barking, ahhh...

At last all tucked in and ready to go to sleep at 5:40am.
Well, that's what I thought...
Wait.  I'm in a hospital.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi we're from lab and we've come to take a gallon of blood.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi, we're from lab and we've come for another gallon.
Time to take your vitals.
Hi.  I'm your surgeon...
Hi.  I'm your surgeon's resident...
Time for vitals...

I asked if there was anyway I could sleep just a bit
since I had no sleep Sunday night.
The nurse compassionately smiled and said I'll be right back.
When she returned she carried a little spa kit:
ear plugs and a room darkening mask and graciously stated 
"We will coordinate lab and vitals so you can rest this afternoon."

I have tests and more tests this week and next.
I will be found clinging to the Anchor
with gratefulness for His gifts of grace.

Trust really is the opposite of fear.
The image of the anchor and the little girl 
was a picture of where I was at in my thoughts.
Trust brings peace providing space for being at rest
and having true joy, freedom from carrying a load of worry, fear...
"Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy loads
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke..."
He has us covered.
He truly has our back.

Living grace.
Healing grace.
I didn't ask.
I didn't fight for it.
I didn't even pray.
It was just there, a gift.
I guess that's what grace is.

Light shines brightest in darkness.

Have a grace filled day!


Friday, April 3, 2015

a lamb and a lion

Today we remember the lamb.

The sacrifice. 
Willing, not forced.
Mocked, yet focused.
Accused, yet silent.

Sunday morning, we celebrate the Lion.

Overcoming One.

Happy Resurrection Weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

plans {and an "I'm ok with it" a blurry destination}

goal setter.

Words that we use.

Highly effective people have these traits.

I love lists, planners, brainstorming sessions.

But sometimes, we just don't know.
We cannot see ahead no matter how hard we squint.
I love strength finders.
I took a test.
It told me that I am strategic,
that I love to learn, that I'm responsible,
that I love people and that I'm focused.  
We have a busy home.
And way too many pets!
A wise man recently told me recently that
our home has to resemble controlled chaos.
I completely agreed.
Charts and graphs, compasses and ledgers
help us to navigate but then something happens.
Changes, illness, loss, grief, the list can go on and on
{and I've been told that I can too}
these things are not planned.
Not in our control.
And I guess they are not supposed to be.
I asked for wisdom.
And I heard again, trust.
And I thought "again, Lord?"
"Yes, again."
And then a discovery:
I needed to trust because I had fear.
Just a little bitty one.
Couldn't be that debilitating, right?
I was wrong.
I don't know much about fishing 
but if you were going to catch a whale by mouth
you might just need a huge hook.
And if you want to catch a little fish you'd use a smaller hook.
Both are effective.
Both catch what the one holding the fishing pole are after, right?
I had a little remaining hook called fear.
And I didn't know it until it led me around like a fish
being drug to shore.
The discovery of the hook came by revelation of the truth.
I had to be open.
I had to become aware that something was off kilter
 and I had to cooperate with the Physician to remove it.
Actually He had me do it.  
He just showed me what to do.
Recognize the hook. {revelation}
Repent. {of fear resulting in a closed handed grip }
Renounce. {withdraw pattern of behavior}
And renew, refresh. {in the trustworthy Truth}
God is the engineer, He holds the compass and the charts.
He sees the 360* view, above and below and He can be trusted.
In all of my strategic planning and visionary ideas for days ahead
I had swallowed a hook of fear.

I used to think that faith and fear were opposites.
Not anymore.
Trust and fear seem more opposed.
I'm a word person so here's my out loud thinking:
{not all inclusive or conclusive}

faith: what you are believing determining 
who or what you believe
fear: having a frame of mind of not being sure and certain
of where to rest our worries, concerns so we carry them
around creating more heavy luggage in our minds and emotions

trust: the gift of grace, the choice and the determination 
of the will to place worries, cares, concerns, destiny, etc
into the hand of One much, much more capable than I
to navigate, direct, care for and reroute when best.

"All of our ambitions, hopes and plans.
I surrender these into your hands.
For it's only in your will that I am free..." 

Sounds like a great plan to me.

{junque shed}  {the white chair}

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

simple {and yet veiled} treasure

I can hear treasure.
It is piping through speakers in malls.
Whispering in elevators in hotels.
Floating through airwaves in airports and shopping malls.

Can you hear it?

It's sound is soft and gentle and it's easiest to hear
when I slow down and listen.

It is an ocean of guidance, truth and wisdom.
Something much deeper than the 
tiny to scale performance platforms
and faux trappings of wealth, titles, 
position and power that so many of us reach for.

With it comes peace and joy.


A gift
all wrapped up in the melody of a song.

Can you hear it?

Perhaps you live in a place that these songs are not common
but would like to hear them.
And even where it is common to play these songs
many do not hear. 
Sometimes I don't hear because my mind is full of movement.
Tasks. To do lists. Typical stuff.
Stuff.  Yes, holiday stuff.
Holiday stuffing is best for dinner
or as a verb, best for stockings.
So I have to intentionally slow down and be quiet so I can hear.

It sounds something like this:

"Joy to the world. The Lord is come.
 Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room...
He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove 
the glories of his righteousness and wonders of His love..."

And then: "Come and behold him
born the King of angels...
Glory to God in the highest...
Jesus to Thee be all glory given.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord."

May your Christmas be warmed
 by truly hearing the eternal truths in song 
throughout every road you travel!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

{thankfulness} under-armour cold gear, cold hands and candles

{intentional thankfulness}

I love this time of year.
 Snow often appears literally overnight
blanketing everything with a peaceful white dusting
to welcome an expected and welcoming warm golden sunrise. 
The children are giddy with anticipation of snow activities.
Candles, fireplaces and little fairy lights become well used
to warm the evenings and light up dark corners
and the sounds of holiday music is heard throughout our home.
And outside gets all dressed up for winter, too.
We painted our whole kitchen in chalkboard
a few years ago and I use the walls quite often 
to write lists, verses to remember, thinking processes
or just funny things that the kids say.
This morning, the kids helped to make a list called
about winter.
The list is quite long I am happy to say.
Sledding, hot cocoa, our advent calendar, stockings, hunting,
hockey games, basketball, Christmas light drives,
snow, secret Santa, turkey with stuffing, 
Grandma's corn casserole (not mine. just grandma's)  
making deer and goose jerky with Dad, white lights,
candles, fireplace, baking, giving, Christmas music, 
family gatherings, pine trees, snow angels 
and building a snowman, hot cider, warm soup...

I realize that my attitude and outlook about the coming 
inevitable sub zero frigid temperatures
is as real as the choice that I have 
physically before me right now.
I am sitting in front of a window and can feel the warm sun 
on my face and at the same time my fingers are freezing.
We haven't turned on our furnace yet and there are areas in our home that are nice and cozy with a space heater.  
There are also areas that remind you to wear 
your slippers and long johns!
I recently read an article written by an adult 
reflecting upon memories from childhood about the heart
 of their mother when it would snow.
She would look out the window and smile.
This mother's attitude left quite a positive impression
on their, now adult, child.
"She smiles at the future..." Proverbs, The Bible

What a good thing to teach.
Smiling at the future.
Smiling in gratefulness out the window
 seeing with the eye what is, 
hoping in the heart for what is yet to be
Looking ahead, shunning worry and fear, 
while embracing hope, joy and peace.
There is a prerequisite I believe:
That mother had to have trust in something much bigger 
that could go much farther than her physical eye could take her.
Faith, not sight.

'"In everything, give thanks."
"Really?" I would ask.
"Everything?" I asked in my mind as I would read that verse.
That sounded crazy.
Often impossible.
Ah.  Must be supernatural.

We may never understand the depth of the rewards
of being grateful.
It releases something within us and around us
that promotes joy, peace, contentment...

And just ask my family.
They will tell you I often fail in this, but I'm trying

Several years ago I wanted to fast,
to give up something that can get in the way
of physical, emotional and spiritual health.
As I was praying about what to give up: food, coffee, media, etc.
I had a thought.
"How about grumbling? Complaining? Discontentment?
Oh, don't get me wrong, it's not that I have
 a nature bent towards negativity.
It's just that I had a house full of busyness with normal 
loads and loads of laundry, lots of messes, chores,
an unemployed and thus unhappy husband, bills,
a dying mother and uncertainty all around me.
"Give thanks."
And a wise friend stated 
"Give thanks in every situation...
not for...
but in."
It is a truth that is simply profound.
I may never fully understand it
but I believe it.

Oh, and we finally broke down and turned on our furnace.
It was 9* the other night.
I'm grateful for heat...

Thanks for reading.
Have a thankful day!


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