Wednesday, October 30, 2013

how to find the good in every story

31 days comes to an end today and you may have noticed I missed a few of them here at the end.  Sometimes the writing of stories must wait as we shift all of our energy into the living of them.
When I set out to tell the stories of others this month I had no idea a new one would be written in my own life.

The shock of having a child diagnosed with a chronic illness has worn off.  Now I find myself facing the reality that my story going forward will be very different than I could have ever imagined.  
Her story will be different, too.

Monday, October 28, 2013

held by your hands

This whirlwind week has left me with many words to share and not enough energy to share them.
For now I am pushing aside the dirty dishes left on the table and ignoring the piles and crumbs that surround me to say this one thing that can't wait any longer...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

when you're away from home

She crept up beside my bed.
   I had a bad dream mommy.

Normally I would have walked her back to bed and rubbed her back and kissed all the scary thoughts away.  But last night I pulled back the covers and she climbed in beside me.  

I knew what the day ahead would hold and all I wanted to do was hold her.  
In hindsight it was God's kindness and mercy that led us to put all the pieces together once she was tucked in bed last night...before the nod of a doctor's head made it official today.  An observant mama and Google make a pretty good team when it comes to medical diagnoses.  As much as I hoped I was dead wrong, I knew in my heart I was completely right.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Maybe you don't see the connections yet 
but just because you don't see them doesn't mean they aren't there.
{Queen Tara in Epic}

Friday, October 18, 2013

the stories of steinbeck

I don't remember exactly when I began reading Steinbeck.
I do remember my dad passing the books along to me one by one.  I drank each one dry and then moved on to the next.
Tortilla Flat
Cannery Row
East of Eden

After this one I stopped.  It remains one of the most profound books I have ever read.  A classic story of good and evil crafted into a work of art.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

courage to walk a new path :: angie's story

I met her in a mutual friend's kitchen three years ago.  I prepped the vegetables for dinner and she told me she was a writer.  As I listened to her story, the courage in her voice crept into my timid writer heart and I began to see clearly this calling we both share.  When I think about that time when I finally began to take my writing seriously, I think of Angie.  I shared a few words on her blog last year and I'm thrilled that you get to hear from her over here today.  
Here's a #31days guest post by the courageous Angie Mizzell.

I had just completed my freshman year of college when my maternal grandmother got the diagnosis:
Three weeks later, she was gone.  Her death was a sucker punch.  
It was too soon. 
Too unexpected. 
She was too young. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

when life isn't tied up with a pretty bow :: rebecca's story

The story of my friend Rebecca - whose faith is deep and wide.

even in the midst of the deepest pain there are windows to God's hope...

Monday, October 14, 2013

a story of mourning and gladness

Joey had just walked out of the back door and into the woods to go hunting with my brother and cousin.  With my Uncle Ed's death hanging heavy over us everyone needed a little distraction...a chance for something besides grief to sprout up.  
In a matter of weeks we went from being told my uncle had prostate cancer to making funeral arrangements.  
Sometimes it feels like straight line winds have wiped out the world around you and left you standing out in the rubble wondering what just happened.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

the gift you can open any day of the year

So I met this man right as I was about to leave Harris Teeter and we wound up talking for almost 2 hours! You are not going to believe his story...

My sister shook her head and smiled...
  how does that always happen to you?
I'm sure she was thinking back to the time I sat next to that guy on the subway who was
a chef on his way to a job interview
and was super nervous
and had just moved to NYC with his girlfriend
and didn't yet know his way around
and was hoping he didn't get lost
and, by the way, he went to the same culinary school as our cool is that?

I collected all of that information over the course of 3 stops on the yellow line.

I'm a story collector.

Friday, October 11, 2013

never alone :: the story of a life redeemed

On windy days the sapling outside of her bedroom made a familiar scraping sound against the metal of the single-wide she called home.  When her mother locked her in her room there was no escaping the eerie sound.  She just cowered and endured it.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

language of the heart

i have been
blown away.
brought to tears.
filled with hope.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

the opening chapter :: lucy's story

These words were written by the prophet Jeremiah to the Jewish exiles in babylon a looooong time ago.  If you've spent much time reading the Bible you know that the stories often have a funny way of applying directly to the time and place in which we live today.  This is why the Bible is my favorite storybook.

When they were sent to Babylon, the rebellious Jewish exiles may have felt devastated.  They collectively wept at the prospect of being slaves to this foreign nation.  They were essentially leaving the security of their homeland, where they originally had a strong connection with one another and with God, and being dumped in the midst of a people whose culture and values were drastically different from their own.  Not fun.
I'm sure there were times when these people wanted to shout - 'Hey!  There's been a mistake here!  Take me back to my other life!'  but...
that season was no wasn't bad luck.  
It was part of the plan...God's plan.  
One commentary says it this way...
When you find yourself in the midst of  suffering and hardship, don't think his plans for you have changed.  God uses all things for the ultimate good of those who love him.  You might not understand his purpose in all things, but he promises to be working for your good.  (Wiersbe)

Fast forward a couple thousand years...
a rebellious 15 year old girl finds herself 'on the run'.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

what we shared at the swings :: katie's story

We pushed their little bodies back up into the air each time they returned to us.  
back and forth
back and forth

Our conversation moved that way too.  
Surrounded by slides and swings and laughing children we fell into the easy conversation that mothers share.  I hadn't seen Katie since the end of last school year so there were plenty of topics to fill the space between us.

Suddenly a benign conversation about Vacation Bible School was interrupted by her offer...
to share a story.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

make some light

Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.
{The Tale of Despereaux}
Despereaux Tilling was a mouse born with a small body and unusually large ears.  He loved books, music, and light.  He wasn't like the other mice...he was something more.  But sometimes being different can leave you misunderstood.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

tea olives :: aunt linda's story

I will never smell a tea olive tree without thinking of my Aunt Linda.
The older I get the more I experience death...but that doesn't make it any easier.

Friday, October 4, 2013

when your detour becomes your road :: laura's story

Songs tell some of the most beautiful stories.
This summer I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite storytelling songwriters.  As she shared her heart through her music there was one song in particular that left a room full of 500+ grown women in tears.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

golden bowls :: Jill's story

Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
Revelation 5:8
Almost four years ago my best friend was advised that her pregnancy should be terminated.  When her water broke at only 20 weeks the doctors believed that the baby girl she carried would not survive.

I remember sitting on the edge of her hospital bed holding her hands tight as we wept together.  Through the tears I cried out to God in a way I had never cried out before.  I pleaded for that fragile life my friend carried in her womb.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

your amazing story

About a year ago I saw a commercial for a certain cable network and this is what some idiot marketing genius decided was a great way to promote the network...

The story you could be watching is better than the one you're in!

What???  Are you kidding me???