Thursday, December 31, 2015

the most precious thing

They had been playing in the basement for nearly an hour.

I stepped onto the landing at the top of the stairs to call them up for bedtime.  But first, I listened.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

the relationship i've had to fight for


Her hair was a tousled mess on the top of her head. She wore only the pink and white striped undies she slept in and the insulin pump connected to her hip.  With her thumb she pressed the button through the Hello Kitty pouch to make the pump screen light up.  She announced dramatically in a loud whisper - my pump says it's 7:05!  Is that true?!  How is that even possible?!  It's still dark outside!

A grin spread across her face as I explained it was, in fact, true and the clouds had covered the morning sun.  She danced lightly on tip toe and said something about how she should have known because her tummy was hungry for breakfast.

As she skipped back down the hallway to find some clothes I sat on the couch feeling like I had just been the audience for a highly acclaimed Broadway performance.  I was delighted by her.  If that show had started while I was still blurry-eyed in bed my response probably would have been totally different.  Thankfully, on that particular day I had resisted the 'snooze' button and drug myself out of bed early just as I intend to do every day.  It's my chance to get may head and my heart right before they need me.  It's the difference in me feeling enchanted versus exasperated with her, with them, my little people.

Barely a minute passed before she returned in her purple silk Rapunzel gown with her sewing kit in hand.  Ready to begin...

Friday, December 11, 2015

you can do something with your despair


I went on live television with a giant foam watermelon sticker on the back of my cowboy boot.

I didn’t even notice until later that day as I was removing the boots from my tired feet.  Thankfully the camera angle was favorable and the sticker was hidden up against the couch where I was seated, chatting with the hosts of the ‘Your Carolina’ morning show.


I had to laugh when I saw it there.  The kids and I had used them as part of a ‘fruit of the spirit’ activity.  Watermelon represented faithfulness – how appropriate.  The very fact that I was making an appearance on that show was a demonstration of faithfulness – both mine and God’s... 

Visit my friend, Nicki's blog for the rest of the story.  I'm guest posting over there today!  She's awesome and you'll love her AND we're giving away a free copy of Type ONEderland to someone who leaves a comment!!  Happy Friday y'all!

Monday, December 7, 2015

if you're feeling scared

If there is one thing I have had to wrestle to the ground over and over again it is fear.

When I was a little girl I couldn't fall asleep with the lights off. I was afraid of the dark.  I used a nightlight until an embarrassingly old age.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

when the worst thing happens it's never all bad

When your eyes are blurry with tears of grief it's hard to see anything good in front of you, 
but just because you can't see something doesn't mean it's not there.

Lucy's diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes - a chronic illness that would kill her if untreated - devastated us.  Have you ever been devastated?  Have you ever cried yourself down a river of despair into a foreign land of fear?  If so, you'll be in good company in Type ONEderland.  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

a thanksgiving prayer

A beautiful truth from the queen of thanks.

It is my prayer for all of us today, friends,
that we would pull up a chair right smack dab in the middle of our lives -
right here, right now -
prop our elbows on the table,
clasp our hands together,
and rest our heads low
as we get small and whisper our prayer big
to say
thank you God 
not for what I hope will happen
or for what I think I need
or for what I wish would change
but for what you have given me
right here, right now.
It is more than enough.

I am thankful for every single one of you today, and every day.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

a very special announcement

So I tried Blab for the first time last night and despite my inexperience I LOVED IT!  If you missed me fumbling through my big announcement you can check it out below.

You can also join us live next Tuesday, December 1st at 9:09pm for a Blab Book Launch Party!  I would so love to see your face {and hear your voice!} there!


Monday, November 23, 2015

who will make the introduction?

This post was originally published here in March 2013.  As our church wraps up a series on what it means to be 'the church' I was reminded of these words.  I believe with my whole heart that the church is to be the bearer of hope for the world.  We get it wrong a lot of the time but I will never stop trying to get it right.  If we don't, who will?
I wish I could have held her hands in mine and looked deep into her eyes - unafraid of what was hiding there.  Did I pass her on the street?  Did I bump into her in the grocery store?  Did I walk right by unaware of the war that was being waged for her heart?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

if you want to talk about something more important than starbucks cups

As we talked, I cried right into my cobb salad.  Right there next to the glassed-in play area where the kids were squealing and laughing and running wild, I let the tears run too.

It's not the first time I've been a blubbering mess in Chick-fil-a and it probably won't be the last.  When you are a mama of little ones you connect with people whenever and wherever you can.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

when you are wrestling

As I write, I can hear the kids wrestling with their daddy in the basement.  There is giggling and squealing with delight and an occasional desperate cry to 'LET ME UP!'

I have been wrestling.

Unlike my kids I have more of a tendency to demand my release than to laugh and have fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

the unlikely place where love is found

Have you ever compared yourself to someone else?
I never do that.

That's a lie.

I've compared myself to others and come out on top.
I've compared myself to others and come out on the bottom.
And I've landed everywhere in between.

It's a slow and painful death to our spirits.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

when it's worth dying for

I walked in the house with my arms piled full of trash from the car.  

It's amazing how we automatically move through the simple tasks of our days in the middle of crisis.  Sometimes it's the only thing that holds us together.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

when you're ready for a change of seasons

Summers in the south can lay heavy and oppressive.  It seems we've been moving in slow motion for months - dragging the weight of the hot humid air everywhere we go.

Fall came early last week and she was a welcome guest.  The cool, crisp mornings cut through my skin and suddenly I am awake, alive again.

Even if we're strong enough to carry heavy things, there's only so far we can go before our bodies give out from fatigue.  Our steps slow to a halt and then we stand still, and full of burden, waiting for the reprieve.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

when you are born and raised {again}

I was born in Blacksburg, Virginia.  I have only been back to visit once.  I carry a few snapshots in my mind of the place that held my earliest days.

I was raised in Clemson, South Carolina.  It's where nearly all of my childhood memories reside.   After years of living in North Carolina we moved back there.  My kids are now growing up in the very place I grew up.  It's a precious thing.

But I've discovered we are not just born and raised in one place and by one person.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

megaphone moments

They were barefoot at the bottom of the driveway - still in their pajamas even though it was nearly noon.

She had one foot on the silver platform of her scooter and the other on the cracked black asphalt where the tree roots had tried to break free.  He stood close, looking curiously at what she held in her hand.  I'm sure it was some type of insect or plant or other natural treasure that our wooded yard offers.  It was the closeness that kept me watching through the blinds, studying them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

chairs and celebrations

There were over 300 borrowed chairs that needed to be folded and loaded into the back of a truck to return to their middle school home for good.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

holding on and letting go

I was folding clothes on the couch when he asked me -
     So what is your giveaway?

That's it.  Right there.
I pointed to the piece of reclaimed wood propped up on our fire place.

That?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

when you feel like you don't matter

Sometimes I contemplate quitting my job.

Not my job as a wife or a mom.  The other one.
It's not that I am exceptionally good in my roles at home.  Just yesterday I let my kids watch too much t.v. and allowed them to jump on the furniture and fed them rolled up deli meat and apples for dinner.  And that was a good day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

when your voice is muted

So there was this conference call.  
I had it on my schedule.  
It was a writer thing so it was kind of a big deal because I've felt called to do more writer things lately.
I told my husband that I would need to be available so he would be POD {parent on duty}.  

9pm on a Tuesday night.  No problem - or so I thought.

Monday, August 3, 2015

celebrate smallness

When I opened my eyes they were still there - the mountains -
just beyond the miles and miles of pine tops.

I sat like a bird perched in a tree on the deck that was ours for the night.  In honor of eleven years of marriage, we had exchanged the humidity of home for 24 hours away where the air was thiner.  The conditions were perfect to see the ridges painted blue rolled out on the horizon in front of me.

I grew up in the shadows of those mountains - someone so small next to something so big.
Just the sight of them feels like home.
And so I marvel at the very thing that feels
safe and familiar,
yet leaves me feeling small and weak.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

my video that went viral {almost}

When I watched the video I had 'a moment'.  
A tears welling, 
heart filling 
moment.  
I was in the parking lot of Trader Joe's and I had just pulled out my phone to send a text.  I pressed my thumb down to unlock the home screen and the image appeared on my camera.  I didn't remember taking a video.  Wait.  That's me.  How did I take a video of myself?
I pressed play...
      enter the moment.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

getting by or getting better

Can you imagine being sick for nearly 40 years even though you were within a stone's throw of the cure?

There was this man and he did that - just lay there on the ground watching others get well while he stayed sick.  When asked if he actually wanted to be healed he didn't even say 'yes' he just started making excuses about how other people and situations had gotten in his way.  When you see yourself as the victim, it's always somebody else's fault.

I know.  I've done that.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

little girl, big needles

There was a night the week we got home from the hospital that Joey had to hold her down.

All three of us were on the floor of our foyer right next to the skinny wooden table with the flowers carved along the side.

Friday, June 26, 2015

when you didn't plan on being a hot mess {and the importance of bench sitting}

I didn't feel like a hot mess when I woke up this morning.

I mean, I actually felt clear-headed, non-hormonal, and semi-normal.  I had an idea of what to fix the kids for breakfast and I remembered everything they needed for Vacation Bible School before we were already in the car and on the way.  I even took a shower.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

black and white

When I was around ten or eleven years old I watched a TV drama that depicted life during the civil rights movement.  I was equal parts disheartened and inspired.  I declared out loud that I wished I had lived in the 1960's so that I could have been a part of that fight for freedom and equality.  It would be several more years before I realized that fight was still going on.  And yet, what have I done about it?

I've been aware.
I've been interested.
I've wanted to bridge gaps.
But have I really?
In elementary school when I was asked to write a paper about someone famous I chose Jackie Robinson.  I chose him mainly because he was black and I didn't know a lot about black people and that didn't seem right.  So I read his story and wrote it in my own words and I've always carried it with me, but has that really made any difference?

I am white.
Most of my friends are white.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

running and rolling {and why they don't work}

There was a time when I thought my life depended primarily on me.  Man, that was exhausting.

When you think your life depends primarily on you there are two ways you might behave –
running
or
rolling up in a ball.
Or if you're crazy like me, you might do both.

Running is the move when you think you’ve got a shot.  When you think that, despite the difficulties, you could push yourself farther and faster to eventually make this thing work.  This was the mode of operation for an over-achieving, people-pleaser like me for years.

Rolling up in a ball is what you do when you decide it’s impossible.  The difficulties and obstacles are so overwhelming that you just give up and decide there is no point in even trying.  This can look like a complete giving up because you feel destroyed or a complete giving yourself over to something that will destroy you.  Either way, you are rolling yourself right into a trap.  I’ve been there too.
How about you?  Have you run, or rolled, or maybe both?

Monday, June 8, 2015

if something big has come crashing into your life

She demands attention.
I mean, it's not like you can just ignore water that stretches out in front of you for thousands of miles.
She's big - massive, really.
She's loud - requiring you to raise your voice to be heard over her.
She's bright - collecting all the light that reaches down to touch her.

But for all her bigness
and loudness
and brightness,

Saturday, June 6, 2015

a weekend wish

In this moment there is nothing so important that you can't take time for a slow, deep inhale and a long, lingering exhale.
It's what God wants to give you - a chance to catch your breath.  
Because a chance to catch your breath is a chance to catch a glimpse of him, a whisper, a nudge - that sets your gaze back in the right direction.  And suddenly the rhythm in our chest begins to reset the rhythm of our souls.  Happy Weekend, friends!

{BTW - in case you haven't heard - I have a new FB page!  
We are having all sorts of fun over there and I hope you'll join us!}

Monday, June 1, 2015

be careful how you're 'being careful'

The kids played behind the glass wall as we hunched over the table intent in our conversation.  It was the first chance I'd had to sit with my friend, Rebecca, and process through the struggles of the weeks before.

On that day nearly 2 years ago, Lucy, our daughter, had just received her diagnosis and I had been drowning - in fear and grief and learning this new way of life.
I knew I needed to come up for air long enough to go into public and sit with someone who could see me and this situation with tenderness and truth.  It's a treasure to have a dear friend who is also a counselor.  Halfway through the conversation I told her I was thinking about quitting.
She looked at me questioningly - Quit what?
Everything.
My job.
My responsibilities.
Every committee and every commitment.
I had to clear my plate completely so that I could get a handle on what we were dealing with.

She didn't hesitate in her response - Don't do it.  Don't make any big decisions right now in the middle of crisis.  Wait.

Monday, May 25, 2015

an unexpected flood

I almost left it as a draft.
Those words I posted yesterday.  
Those desperate, unedited, "we're gonna be late for church!" words did not seem worthy of the situation they spoke about.  And so I almost left them sitting in a file, unpublished.

Sometimes the Spirit of God compels us to do something - not to do something perfectly but to just do something.  And so yesterday I quietly posted those words that seemed grossly inadequate and then I watched as, unbelievably, God took a small offering and used it in a big way.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

when all you can do is pray

This morning I woke to little girls giggling across the hall.

Yesterday was Lucy's birthday and we surprised her by arranging for her best friend from North Carolina to come and spend the night.  She couldn't have been more excited to see her.

It's been big celebration around our house this weekend and I was laying in bed feeling grateful for my little family {plus one} all snuggled in happy and healthy around me.

When I finally got up I grabbed my phone to check the time and noticed an email from a friend.  The subject line indicated a prayer need so I broke my Sunday morning rule of no phone use and opened it.  With every word I read my heart broke open.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

find a way

You know it's bad when your six year old waits for the thundering words to quiet and then steps out into the hallway and looks you dead on -
     You know mommy, you guys just need to find a way to get along.

Friday, May 15, 2015

the hard questions i'm asking

Let's talk about the worst thing you ever did.
What?  That doesn't sound fun?
Before you hate me, let's just go there for a moment.

What is the thing you are most ashamed of?  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

together

The walls are bare.
Just like the way they laid their hearts out for us.
Bare and beautiful.

The IF team just moved into their new offices but they welcomed us into something that felt more like home than a place of business.  There isn't a single thing hanging on the clean white walls of that old stone house in Austin, but the whole place was painted in love and grace.  Some people and places make you instantly feel like family.

Monday, May 4, 2015

when God gives you something scary

When I was a little girl I heard the story of Mary.
You know Mary.  She's the one who married Joseph.  The one who gave birth to Jesus.

I'm sure it wasn't my first time hearing her story, but it is the first memory I have of it.  The reason I remember is because after I heard the story - I heard from God.
Hold on.
Before you write me off as a complete lunatic give me a chance to explain.

Monday, April 27, 2015

when you just want to be chosen

I first heard Ann Voskamp say it -
     all is grace
and I know it to be true.

This weekend the baby wrens hatched in the corner of our kitchen window like some crazy, extravagant gift wrapped up just for us.  Who gets front row seats to a real life nature show while scrubbing dishes?  Seriously.
We feel chosen.
We are chosen.
Everybody wants to be chosen, right?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

what are you waiting for?

I was perched precariously on the kitchen counter with a dripping paintbrush in hand when they arrived - two friends I hadn't seen since our college days.

When you move into a new house {that is actually really old} there is work to be done.  This is one of the reasons you haven't heard much from me lately.

There has been painting of walls and cleaning of corners and drilling of holes that seem to never end.  And all the while there is still the usual laundry piling high, dishes getting crusty, and kids who demand to be fed.  Sometimes I feel like there is so much work to be done and not enough time to do it all.  Anybody with me?

If I'm not careful my to-do list can grow so big and bossy that it blocks my view of what is really important.  I can set my eyes and my heart on it's glaring demands and suddenly I am left standing behind a wall of tasks that won't let me move forward.
Have you ever felt 'stuck'?
This is how we get there.

Monday, April 20, 2015

because i missed you


Writing can be like a dream.  The images and emotions flow seamlessly together to create an experience you can’t wait to wake up and tell someone about.  

Other times you get twisted up in the sheets and instead of waking up with a story to tell you wake up frustrated and tangled and fighting to break free.  By then you've completely forgotten what happened.  You’ve got nothing to share.  

That’s what writing has become for me.  
There are times of flow and times of fight and somehow I can’t get enough of either one.  It's what keeps me moving and growing and processing and discovering...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

when life does not go according to plan

On Monday he lost his first tooth and rode his scooter around the driveway with a big snaggletooth grin.

Hard to believe that only two days before we were scurrying from one medical facility to another - me carrying him in and out of waiting rooms, on and off of x-ray machines, afraid to make any sudden moves because he would scream.  It began in the middle of the night - the severe pain in his right leg.  I woke to his crying and listened to it off and on the rest of the night.  When it was no better by morning we headed for urgent care.  After 24 hours in and out of medical facilities on very little sleep, we were both exhausted.  It had not been an easy day.  When we finally arrived back home I told him to take it easy and rest a bit because I didn't want us to wind up back in the hospital.

Why not?  he asked.  I liked going there with you.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

the one thing I really don't want to tell you this Easter {and the one thing I do}

It's always said with an undertone of criticism - maybe a tad bit of belittling.  At the very least it is bossy.  I know because I said it once, a long time ago, and it tasted so bitter on my lips that I never breathed it again.

God helps those who help themselves.

First of all, it's not in the Bible.  Let's just clarify that.
Second of all, there are a lot of profound and true statements that are not found in the Bible - this is not one of them.

Monday, March 16, 2015

the beauty of bare branches

My South Carolina backyard seemed to burst open with color overnight.  Golden forsythia and fragrant white pussy willow are in full bloom which means the rest of the woods are not far behind.
I. love. spring.
But despite my longing for warmer weather, there is a part of winter I will miss -

Monday, March 9, 2015

advice for your renovation {of home or heart}

Home renovation is not for the faint of heart.
We signed the contract on a 1950's ranch on Christmas Day and here we are two months later still dreaming of being settled in our new home.
We are getting closer.

Just this week the giant, rusty dumpster was removed from the front yard.  The pink toilet and rolls of old carpet gone along with it.  Dust that was an inch thick everywhere is slowly being vacuumed, swept, and mopped clean.  I have a kitchen sink.
Hallelujah.  Praise the Lord.
I. have. a. kitchen. sink.
Don't ever take your kitchen sink for granted, people.

Friday, February 27, 2015

when your mess is exposed

I rode behind the truck for at least five miles before I realized it.  The conversation with my friend on the other end of the phone had me so captivated that I wasn't paying attention to what was happening.  When the wet streaks began hitting my windshield I turned on the wipers assuming it was the snow they had predicted.  It sure was messier than any snow I remembered, but...whatever.

When I finally noticed the giant sprayers on the back of the bright yellow truck directly in front of me, it dawned on me - this might not be snow.  And, in fact, it was not.  It was salt.  And by this point the entire front end of my minivan was covered.  Good grief.  I am an idiot.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

we are the people of the cross

My 5 year old loves to complain.  If we're going somewhere other than exactly where he wants to go he crumbles at the knees and tells me
it's SO far
he's SO tired
his legs hurt SO bad
and I just have to laugh and roll my eyes and sarcastically say - I know, it's such a long hard road isn't it buddy?

Friday, February 13, 2015

{when} five-minute-friday

{linking up today with a few friends for five-minute-friday}
When will this be over?
When will I heal?
When will I finally get an answer?
When will this dream come true?
When will it stop, start...

If I'm not careful all my 'whens' are
a bitter little voice asking impatient questions
demanding
future-focused
stealing the joy that could be found here and now
setting my heart and mind on what I want instead of what I already have.

I'm like a child asking over and over from the backseat of the car - When will we be there!?  
Or from the aisle of the store - When can I get more Star Wars Legos!?
Or from under the covers - When will it be morning!?

But God loves this childish, misguided heart of mine anyway.  A child who doesn't know what is best for her.  Lovingly he withholds answers we don't need and turns us back to the ones we already have.

We find freedom and peace when our 'whens' become something different.
Grace-filled statements instead of grumbling questions.

When I was still a complete mess of a person he didn't just say he loved me, he showed me.  

He proved it by taking the weight of this broken-down world on his shoulders until it crushed him.  He did that - for me and for you.  When there was nothing - in this world, in our hearts, in our hands - he made something.

That is the the one 'when' statement that answers all our 'when' questions.
And the answer is this - He already has...
And it's more than enough.  It's everything.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

a tuesday morning pep talk for you {and me}

You were created.
You didn't just 'happen'.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your birth, you were thoughtfully made before you ever took your first breath.

You possess a unique
design
passion
purpose.

That sneaking, lying, no-good voice will try to tell you
There are already plenty of people doing 'that thing'.
Lots of people do 'that thing' better than you ever could.
You don't have enough time or enough talent to do 'that thing'.
You've missed your chance.
You're too old, too young, too busy...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

when the breath has left the room {and my hormones step in}

Breathing room.
I've been thinking a lot about it,
writing a lot about it,
talking a lot about it.
I've basically been beating it like a dead horse {in the most graceful way}.

I think it's helping because I am finding my own breathing room more and more these days.  But then again, sometimes
   I. FAIL. MISERABLY.