Friday, December 28, 2012


This Christmas season has been different than in previous years.

Everything about it has been such a blessing. Throughout the season I've been overwhelmed by the reality of what Christmas is truly about. For the first time, it was more than a story about a baby in a manger. Every time I think about it, read a scripture, hear a carol. I am awestruck at the enormity of it all. God sent His son, as a real life baby, to save me (and you).

I am so incredibly thankful for Jesus and his sacrifice for me, for us.

Then to think of His name.


God with us.

God with us.

To even think of it is overwhelming and fills me with such gratitude.

This past year has been a time of learning to trust God with everything. My broken heart, my son and his broken heart, finances, family, friends, cars, houses, all of it. Giving it to Him. An amazing thing happens when you finally learn to trust God. He is there for you. All the time. Turns out He has been there the whole time, I just wasn't paying attention. He is always with us, just as His name says. Emmanuel. God with us.

He is there, waiting for us to turn to Him. When we do, wonderful things happen. There is joy that comes with knowing Jesus that is indescribable. A calmness that comes from knowing that the creator of the heavens and earth is with you. Knowing that, in the end, everything will be ok (better than ok actually!) no matter how hard it seems at the moment. We can be assured of this through His name. Emmanuel. God with us.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When God Speaks

So, God has been drawing me ever closer to Him these past few weeks. Every time I turn around, there is a book, a scripture, a song, an encouraging word from a friend, a new book study, a blog post, the list is seemingly unending in how He has been speaking to me these days.

I've been feeling closer to Him, but still not connected like I want to be. The desire in my heart is growing and the same old thing just isn't enough anymore. I've been reading my bible, reading christian blogs, reading books, and most of all on my knees praying, like never before. I've been pleading with Him to speak to me, to guide me, to tell me HIS heart.

So, yesterday morning I went to church. It was great. Worship was great, the message was inspiring. I went back for the women's book study at 5. Again, a blessed time with women of God, learning, loving and sharing. I have amazing women of faith in my small group and I am so encouraged and energized for the Lord by them. There are no coincidences that I am in this group with these women. After the book study, we  stayed for the evening service. These Gathering Unto Him services have been taking place for 6 years. This weekend was the 6th anniversary celebration. I have been feeling guilty for not attending regularly, or at all considering I probably haven't attended 6 times in the past 6 years. But I went last week and again last night.

The worship was amazing. AMAZING! However, I wasn't feeling overwhelmed by the Spirit personally. I was longing for intimacy, to know that HE knew I was there. finally. However, I worshiped with my whole heart, knowing that I love Him and He is worthy of all praise.  As the worship was winding down, a young man went up and spoke. What he spoke were words directly from God's heart to mine. He said that he felt like God was saying that He didn't care if I was there for the last 6 years or if I was getting up early to read my bible. That I was asking for His heart. He didn't speak it directly to me, he just spoke out. His obedience dropped me to me knees. I knew that God was speaking to ME.


Then, a lovely woman of God heard my cries as this young man spoke and came to me. She hugged me and gave me another message from God. That I didn't have to be brave all the time. That I didn't have to be brave in front of HIM.  I couldn't stand from the weight of HIS love.

When God speaks, things change. One of the lyrics we were singing said "In your presence, I am undone."
It is the truth. I was completely undone for the rest of the evening. I sat on my bed and cried for the longest time, just knowing that He spoke to me.

My heart was changed last night. I woke up a different person today. I really feel like something inside of me has changed. My heart feels more tender and I have this love for HIS creation. I am clinging to this love, this mercy, this Fathers heart for me. I'm not letting go.

Friday, November 2, 2012

FMF: Roots


When I saw this prompt the very first thing that came into my mind was a song we sing during worship in church. I looked it up and it is called "Tree" and if I had to venture a guess I'd say it was based on Jeremiah 17:8.

Having roots that go down deep has long been a desire of my heart. For the longest time, this was only a physical desire of mine. As a child, we moved A LOT! I went to 10 schools by the time I graduated. This caused me a lot of anxiety as I was already a shy and timid child. I longed to live in the same place and be around the same people. This continued after I was on my own. I think I moved every 6 months or so for the first few years I was living independently. Finally, last summer I bought a townhouse for my son and I to live in. Our roots are already starting to develop here. We've made several friends in the new neighborhood and are really feeling the community.

Also, more recently I've had a desire for my spirtual roots to "go down deep". I have this inner longing to know Jesus better, to be solid in HIM. I've been through a lot in my life and I don't expect that things are going to get easier in the world any time soon. However, I do know that God has been with me throughout and that if my roots are in HIM I'll make it through whatever comes my way.

If you haven't heard this song before, I included the link. I hope it blesses you as much as it does me!

I'm linking up with for Five Minute Fridays! Join us! It's simple and so fun!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Over the past several years (or more...geez time flies!) I've mostly isolated myself. I have my BEST friend but she lives far away. As for friends that live in the same state as me, I've had none. I made very poor choices in my life and ended up being hurt over and over (and over) by people who claimed to be my friends. I knew they weren't trustworthy (frankly, there were times I wasn't a very good friend either) but I couldn't help but see the good in people and believe the best about them. Once I turned my life around (or more accurately, God turned my life around for me) and removed myself from these circumstances and these people, I was left with no one that I could trust. Not even myself. I got to the point that I was afraid to have a friend, because I was sure that I would pick someone that would betray me.

Then I met my husband and he filled that void. He was my best friend, my confidante, my everything. I got used to having someone to talk to and to trust with my feelings. Then I lost him. I was left alone again on a day to day basis. I still had my best friend (and always will!). But not having someone to call to come over and eat ice cream on a whim is lonely.

It's not like I was alone all the time. I had acquaintances from church who I considered friends, but we didn't socialize or talk on a regular basis. SO many people were there for me, but I wasn't ready to let them in. Not all the way, anyway. Throughout the couple of years going through cancer with my husband and his passing, God was showing me all of the people that cared for me. He was showing me how much HE cared for me through all of these people. People I didn't think even knew who I was. People I didn't know.

It's been a year now since his passing and some of these relationships have developed into true friendships, but still no friends that I had regular relationship with. Then one day I moved. A girl from church that I've always admired, but never really talked to much, volunteered to help me move. I was so touched. We spent only a little time together that day, but I felt so drawn to her. I wanted to be her friend. I ignored my fears and followed God's lead and emailed her and asked her over for dinner.

She accepted! We have had so much fun getting to know each other. She inspires me in her faith and her devotion to God and her family and friends. We laugh and have such a good time together. She has been such a blessing in my life! I told her the other day how she was the first new friend I've let into my life in so long. It was hard to admit, but I am so glad for this new relationship. I am learning to trust people again and through them, I am learning to trust God even more.
Friends are a blessing and I'm so glad that God is bringing me trustworthy good friends to spend time with!

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
Helen Keller

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

For When Being a Mom is Hard

Sometimes being a Mom is hard work. Ok, to be honest, it's hard MOST of the time. And sometimes I am REALLY bad at it. Last night was a good example of my lack of greatness in the parenting department.

I have one child to deal with. One sheet of math homework. It shouldn't be that hard, right? (How those of you with lots of kids make it through the night, I have no idea, but my hat is off to you!) The homework consisted of finding 3 labels from the kitchen and copying the measurements onto the worksheet and 2 practice problems, one addition and one subtraction. I am ashamed to say that this homework took nearly TWO HOURS to complete. There was yelling, crying, tantrum throwing, and walking away all involved. It was horrendus to say the least. We finally got it done. Fortunately for me, he must have been worn out from fighting about homework because he didn't give much resistance to the shower.

After he washed all of his anger down the drain in the shower, he came downstairs, cuddled next to me and in his little boy voice asked if we could start over. Of course, I cuddled him back, agreed and silently overflowed with thoughts of guilt and self-loathing. We talked a bit about how we both could have acted differently and then went to bed.

I often use a Bible app on my smartphone. So when I laid down in bed and opened the app it was on Isaiah 41 and the version was The Message. The title at the top? "Do you feel like a lowly worm?" How appropriate!?! That is pretty much exactly how I was feeling, except possibly lower. I'm supposed to be the grown up and I was acting just as childish as the 8 year old. I was feeling terrible and like a horrible mother. Afraid. Afraid of the impact my parenting is having on my precious son.

I read the chapter and then read it again in the NIV version.

Isaiah 41:9-10 (NIV)
I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:14 (NIV)
Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
    little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
God is so awesome. I love how He is there for us all the time. I don't even know why my bible app was in Isaiah as I was reading Romans last time I used it. But there it was. Exactly what I needed. Encouragement from the Father and a reminder that He is always there for me to lean on and ask for help.
I'm feeling much better about homework time tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The W word

Widow. If I am honest with myself, I hate this word. It reminds me of the loss of the love of my life. It reminds me that all my dreams of being married and having a family (in the traditional sense) were realized and then lost.

But it is so much more than that. It is an ugly word and there are so many connotations that are bad. When I hear the word widow, I think of a bitter, old, lonely woman who never smiles. She dresses in drab colors, has unkempt hair and wrinkles from frowning. Her eyes are empty. You feel sorry for her when you look at her.

This is not who I am. This is not who I am called to be. I like to smile. I love to see the joy in everyday things. I am lonely sometimes, but in the solitude I am drawn closer to Jesus.

I did some bible study on the word "widow" and I found so many instances where God commands us to care for widows and fatherless children. It gives me so much comfort knowing that he understands my grief and has given specific instructions for my care.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
                                                                                                  ~James 1:27 (NIV)

                                                   "Learn to do right; seek justice.
                                                    Defend the oppressed.
                                                    Take up the cause of the fatherless;
                                                    Plead the case of the widow."
                                                                                ~Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

I miss my husband so much. But I am not alone. Not only do I have my family and friends looking out for me and supporting me. I have God.

"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."
                                                                                                                                ~Psalm 68:5

I have a father in heaven who is there for me whenever I am lonely, whenever I am sad, when I am scared and when I am lost. Knowing He is there for me gives me strength. It brings me joy.

"......Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
                                                                     ~Nehemiah 8:10

***Linking up with Ann at***

Friday, October 12, 2012


The Rules.......

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Link up here.

This weeks topic: RACE

The very first thing that comes to my mind when I see the word "race" is how, since my son was old enough to walk, we've been "racing". Racing to the bathtub, racing to brush our teeth, racing to the car. You get the idea. In his nearly nine years of life, I'm fairly sure it is the most brilliant parenting strategy I've come up with. Whenever he would argue with me about not wanting to do something I would challenge him to a race to that very thing and he was instantly taken over by his competitive nature and before he knew what happened he was in the bathtub. ;)

We haven't raced in awhile. Maybe it's because our new house has an upstairs and I'm clutzy, or possibly it's because he is actually fast now and I don't have much of a chance anymore. But the other night he was complaining about the shower and things were about to escalate and I remembered the race. It worked. We raced to the top of the stairs. He won. And he took a shower.

Friday, October 5, 2012

FMF: Welcome

Linking up with for Five Minute Fridays. Five minutes of unedited, free-writing. No rules other than to visit the 2-3 link-ups before yours and leave an encouraging word.

This weeks topic:  WELCOME

9 years ago I was unwed, pregnant, living with my mom. I was a disaster. I was ashamed of myself, my life, everything. But I had this baby growing inside of me and somehow I knew things needed to change.  Since I was living with my mom, I had to follow her rules which meant I had to live by her rules. Living by her rules meant I had to go to church every Sunday. I grew up in church so it wasn't like I didn't know God or anything. But I was ashamed. I was embarrassed to go. I didn't know any of these people as our old church had shut its doors and I hadn't been to her new church. But I went. People were nice to me but I wasn't really open to their welcome.

Then one day I got invited to a baby shower. For my baby. I was welcomed by all of these women who I didn't know at all. They put together this wonderful party for me and my son. He was showered with wonderful new clothes and all the things new babies need.  (Technically times up.....but I'm not done yet!)

I was so touched and as I look back, I see that God was welcoming me back. He used these beautiful women to show me His love. It took me a while to get back on track with Him, but knowing that there were people that loved God enough to love me, sins and all, really opened a giant door for me.

To this day, my son and I are close to one of the families from that church. They are "Uncle and Aunt" to my son and I still remember the darling outfit she got him at our baby shower.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wedding Anniversary

Today would be my 4th wedding anniversary, except that I lost my husband to cancer a year ago this coming Sunday. So, needless to say, it's been a tough week. Going through all of the firsts and reliving all of the beautiful memories of the love of my life. Our anniversary dinner last year (tuna helper on tv trays in the living room) was the last meal we ever shared together. He passed away 3 days later. What a gift that was. God is good and blesses us even in the midst of death.

I've been completely anxiety ridden this week, stress rash and all. (It's super pretty.) Last night as I went to bed, I was just about at a breaking point and I didn't even see it coming. (I'm not always good at reading signals.) I was laying there and EVERYTHING was bothering me. The tv was too bright and too loud, my entire body was uncomfortable, I was cold, I was hot, I turned the tv off and it was too quiet. Oh, and I couldn't breathe. Good times. Then I started crying. And crying. When I finally really felt like I couldn't breathe I decided perhaps it was time for the ancxiety meds. And some leftover pizza.

After a good cry I finally stumbled upon the right answer and opened my bible. I have a wonderful study bible that was a gift to my husband. It is special to me because it was his and he has all kinds of little treasures stored between the pages, love notes from me, pictures our son drew him. I looked up grief and read a few passages that did nothing for me, but I kept going.  I came to Job. There has to be something good in Job about grief, right?!?!

Job 3:23-26

New Living Translation (NLT)

23 Why is life given to those with no future,
    those God has surrounded with difficulties?
24 I cannot eat for sighing;
    my groans pour out like water.
25 What I always feared has happened to me.
    What I dreaded has come true.
26 I have no peace, no quietness.
    I have no rest; only trouble comes.”

So, ya, that's how I was feeling. Pretty sorry for myself. I read the notes on these verses at the bottom. At first it discussed Job's life and his losing perspective. Then I read this:

"Trials and grief, whether temporary or enduring, do not destroy the real purpose of life. Life is not given merely for happiness and personal fulfillment but for us to serve and honor God. The worth and meaning of life is not based on what we feel but on the one reality no one can take away-God's love for us. Don't assume that because God truly loves you, he will always prevent suffering. The opposite may be true. God's love cannot be measured or limited by how great or how little we may suffer. Roman's 8:38, 39 teaches us that nothing can separate us from God's love."

I wept at the revelation of God's love for me and remembered all of HIS work that came through my husbands illness and death. I slept peacefully last night and I woke up with a grateful heart this morning.

God is good. All of the time.

Many Blessings

Friday, September 21, 2012

FMF: Wide

This weeks Five Minute Friday with Link to Lisa-Jo Baker topic is Wide!


Deep and Wide. A song we sang in sunday school when I was very young. He loves us deep and He loves us Wide. It's impossible to imagine how WIDE His love can be. When my son tells me he loves me "this much" and stretches his little arms as wide as he can, I'm struck by how hard he is stretching. To imagine the Father's arms stretched, infinitely wider than we can imagine makes me catch my breath. My whole life I've searched for love (in all the wrong places, mind you!) and the whole time it's been there. The answer found in a childhood song. Deep and Wide. There is a fountain flowing Deep and Wide. A fountain of God's love for me. For you.

For a stroll down memory lane..... :)

Friday, September 14, 2012


I've been reading the Five Minute Friday posts by for several weeks now. I keep wanting to participate, but once I have read so many posts, I feel that I can't come up with anything original to write about. Ok, so that's probably just an excuse because I'm nervous to share unedited words.  But this week I got the email and saw the topic. I didn't open it. I waited until I had 5 minutes uninterupted to write. So here it is:

Focus. I often have a hard time focusing. I see where my son gets it from. I shouldn’t get so frustrated with him when he goes off track, I suppose. I don’t hear God scolding me from above when I’m praying and all the sudden I find myself thinking about dinner or a conversation I had last night.

I want to be better at focusing on what God wants me to focus on. I have a tendency to get a hint of what He wants me to do and I run with it. Since I don’t spend time enough figuring out what He really has in mind, I usually end up losing focus on whatever it is and end up nowhere.  So tonight I’m going to pray for focus. That He will lead me (and my wandering mind) where I need to go. Where He wants me to go. I want to focus on His will and not my own. I’ve done enough of that, and it just isn’t the way it should be.

Times up!

Looking forward to making this a weekly thing!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


There is a song by Green Day titled Wake Me up When September Ends. There is a part of me that really wants to just hide under my covers and listen to this song until October 1st. My husband's birthday was September 3rd. Our anniversary is Sept. 27th. The first anniversary of his death will be on Sept. 30th. It all seems more than I can handle in just 30 days time. On my own, I know that I could never handle all of this grief. The heaviness that was in my heart before I even got out of bed on his birthday felt like bricks on my chest. But God blessed me richly that day. We visited the cemetery, had ice cream cake (my husband's very favorite!) with family and spent a wonderful day together playing games and getting ready for the first day of school.

As much as I'd love to hide under those covers, I choose to live each day. If I learned nothing else from my husband's illness, I learned not to take advantage of the time we have. I LOVE September. When I was a child I loved school. I loved getting dressed in my new school clothes, seeing my friends, even the school work. (Ya, I was THAT kid.) Yesterday was my son's first day of 3rd grade. He started a new school as we moved over the summer. He's always kind of struggled with school and generally hasn't had the best attitude about it. Miracle of miracles!!! He came home yesterday and told me he had a GREAT day!!!! Then while we were doing homework last night he told me he was a little excited for school the next day. I had to check my pulse. But lo and behold he got up this morning with no fight and was happy as could be. Blessings. They are everywhere. We just have to notice them.

It's going to be a hard month. But when I look for the blessings that God has placed all around for me (and you) to remind me that HE is right there with me, I know that I will make it through. There are many birthdays to celebrate, a wedding and all sorts of fun activities this month to help carry us through.

Have a blessed September!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Phil 4:13

Friday, August 17, 2012

Let it go

So I tend to be a perfectionist (or OCD) sometimes, or else I just really like things done my way. You know...the right way. It can be so difficult to let my son learn his own way of doing things and even more difficult to accept them as "ok". I'm really not selfish and bossy, but somehow it got into my mind that certain things are to be done certain ways and it is very hard to let that go.

For example, the other day he replaced the toilet paper in the bathroom. I should have been completely ecstatic that he did this all on his own without being asked! And I was....except that the toilet paper wasn't coming over the top of the roll. It took ALL of my willpower not to "fix" it. I didn't want to squash his excitement that he did it all by himself by telling him he did it "wrong". Who knows, he may not have noticed if I changed it, but I didn't want to take that risk so I handled it until the next roll change. Phew!

Last night he asked if we could eat outside, the weather was beautiful and it was a perfect evening to spend together on the deck. He was so excited I said "yes" that he immediately started setting up. We recently moved and the deck chairs were still in the garage, so he used the one dirty outside chair that I had been using for gardening and then he went in and grabbed a bar stool for himself. Then he set up the TV trays and got dishes and coffee cups to drink out of. He was so excited. I bit my tongue and we had the best outside meal ever! We laughed and joked and had a great time just being together. Turns out, it doesn't matter if things are just right or not.

Sometimes, as hard as it is, the best thing to do is just take a deep breath and let it go. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


If only all days could be like today.

Tanner and I went on a bike ride this afternoon. The weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was the most beautiful blue. The breeze was sweet smelling and felt so gentle across my face. Families were everywhere enjoying the loveliness of the day.

Perfection. And I'm thankful for it.


So I've been reading a lot of blogs lately and have been inspired to start one of my own. I'm not sure yet exactly how I'll use it but I've got so much that I'd like to say. Perhaps I'll just use it as a journal, but I think I'd like to share some of my thoughts with others. Especially since I lost Jerry, I don't have him to share my thoughts and experiences with.

Big things have been happening in my heart lately and I feel like I'm changing and discovering something new about myself each and every day. God is touching my heart and showing me new things all the time. I'm seeing the world in a whole new light. Some times, I see the great beauty that God has blessed us with and I am so thankful. Other times, I see the brokenness of the world and feel such great sorrow. What I am learning through everything that I have experienced over the past, well 38 years, is that there is no time for inaction.

I've spent a lot of my life paralyzed by fear, lack of self-confidence and just plain old laziness. No more. Life is for living and there is more to it than just making our own lives comfortable.

I hope you will join me in my journey of discovery. I'm excited and scared all at the same time. The one one thing I know is that God is on my side and with Him all things are possible. :)