Friday, September 30, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
This reminds me of the authentic root of my faith when I take time in the Bible and pray, as opposed to sprinkling a quick dose of an on-the-go prayer into my morning. The point of prayer is to be with God, right? It’s not about the recitation. God only knows He doesn’t need more noise in this world. The fresh, pure taste of connecting with God adds spice and joy to my life.
It’s worth the effort.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
It was slated to start at 11:11.
Friday, April 1, 2016
This mistress is a Life-changer, a Killer, and an Enemy.
I went into survival mode. Learning whatever I could about what was going on. Tests, more tests, research, doctor’s appointments. Planning for treatments, impact on our family, our financials. How do you plan what you do not know?
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Step 1: The recipe
This step took a bit of effort. The only way to get it right was to dive into that mound of dough and muscle it until the texture was just right. It was a hands-on experience, and relationships are no different. Simply being together, whether we were talking, cooking, cleaning or simply saying nothing, is what I remember about the texture of life at Grandmom’s house.
Step 3: Wait and wait and wait
I remembered thinking we’d never get to eat those doughnuts when Grandmom set the bowl aside, putting a towel on top so the dough could rise. The yeast would do its job only as long as we left it alone. Patience is probably the most important step in creating meaningful traditions, and without it the result will be an indigestible mess.
A few hours later, the overflowing bowl of dough needed shaping. We’d dump it all over a blanket of flour on the counter and roll it out, then cut into diamond-shaped portions to make it manageable. This is the only way those beauties could face the heat of the frying pan in the next step. Relationships are like this. At times, we need to cut back to shape our connections into precious pieces we can handle. It was in the little things, like a conversation about high school, or my current boyfriend, where I could ask Grandmom’s perspective on shaping and dealing with my own issues in life.
Step 5: Fry the dough
Step 6: Sweeten
A little sugar to sweeten the treat, like words of encouragement and time with Grandmom, gave the perfect finish to our tradition. The result? Heavenly perfection.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
The paperback is available on Amazon:
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
It’s not the guns themselves but the people with evil intent which frighten me, though. When I think of my daughter’s bull’s-eye competitions, I smile with pride at her skills. It takes intense focus, physical training, and a gut-level dose of courage to hit the tiny little “x” in the middle of the big, bad white paper with black rings. I also smile with joy at her shared experience with her father. Nothing will replace their special times together, in training and in competition, and my daughter’s life is blessed as a result. The guns they use in these competitions are not in the hands of people with evil intent. Instead, they are in the hands of people who love competition, who love each other and who safely handle the tools of their sport.
1) Everyone in shooting knows it’s virtually impossible to hit the ‘x’ every time.
2) Shooting professionals manage their thoughts by approaching the target one shot at a time.
3) Finally, true competitors know that each shot is a clean slate.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I was extra klutzy one day and, not surprisingly, dropped it on the hard tile floor of the powder room. It split cleanly into two pieces, “FAI” in one piece with the emphatic “TH” separated from it. Broken faith still contains the components of faith, I thought. I just needed to put it back together. One dose of hot glue and it dried back into one piece, with only a fine line separating the ‘I’ and the T’ evidencing the damage.
I think life is like this sometimes. My faith gets broken and needs repair. Sometimes the repair line is noticeable, but hopefully, most of the time, it is not.
I had been working on a submission for “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” but had a dragging, nagging, sagging day and felt my little roots of doubt settling in. I wondered if my ideas were interesting, or if my writing was valuable, or if I should be writing at all. I hadn’t experienced a hefty dose of self-doubt in, say, two or three days, so I was due for this episode. Regardless, I managed to spend time working through and completing the article.
The next day I planned to review, edit and send the article to the Chicken Soup folks. A dark cloud of self-doubt promised to accompany me each step of the way. I started my day as usual, with my steaming cup of coffee, bible and journal. I asked God for guidance and maybe a shot of confidence to go with it.
My doorbell rang. It was a neighbor, handing me a brightly-wrapped red and white package, with a note taped to the top. “This is for you,” she said. “I saw it and thought of you.”
It was a copy of Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul.
Faith repaired is still faith.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
I penned this line ten years ago for the first time and almost every January 1st since.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
I still remember chanting this line during my elementary school years. Interesting defense, but it doesn’t work. It’s a lie.
Words can hurt me.
Words can also heal me.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, a man name Isaiah prophesied the first Christmas.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Immanuel. It’s a Hebrew word which means “God with us.”
Imagine that. GOD with us?!
We’re talking about God here, not a celebrity, not a top dog in a business organization, not a sports-team owner, not a major scientist or Nobel Peace Prize winner. We’re talking about the Almighty God, the Creator of the world, who chooses to be with us.
And how about the preposition “with”? God WITH us.
“With”…in the middle of, among, alongside. Not above, around, behind, before. God sent Jesus to be with us. God’s presence is with us in the middle of the messes, the joys, the funny slices of life, the scary nights.
And how special to know God wants to be with US. You and me, personally, one on one.
No matter what kind of month we had, what kind of year it is, whether we are joyful or sad or hopeful or afraid, God chooses to be with us.
Now that’s the best Christmas present of all.
Words do matter.
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”
Yup, that’s a pretty good line right there.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Friday, December 12, 2014
This is why, during this year’s Christmas season, I wonder what Mary, the mother of Jesus was thinking.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Heights of Fear
Parents trickled into the cavernous room, immediately overwhelmed by the stench of chlorine and oppressive humidity. Dissonant sounds of unclear origin echoed the children’s pounding hearts as they lined up against the gray cement wall on the far side. Moms searched the line for their own children, sending reassurance with a wave and a forced smile. The adults continued to methodically fill the metal bleachers while the swim coaches entered, quietly reminding the children of the basics taught over the past eight weeks. Meanwhile, the high dive platform projected its majestic presence thirty feet up, commanding acknowledgement from its royal subjects.
Staring down at the pattern of tiny gray tiles under my pudgy bare feet, I tugged at my white rubber cap again, wondering how to make the ominous white platform disappear. The muddled sounds of the coach’s voice reminded me to glance up at her lips to glean a word or two of the instructions she was giving. I couldn’t wear my hearing aids in the pool since they couldn’t get wet. Goosebumps and the knotted pit in my gut accompanied my walk along the slippery poolside plank as I waited my turn for the final requirement to finish my swim class. I didn’t want to look up as the first kid tentatively climbed the ladder to his fate at the top. I couldn’t help peeking though; I held my breath for him as he climbed and climbed and climbed some more; then skipped forward off the board to make the dreaded descent. Thwomp. It was a loud landing into the dark descent of the deep water, even to my ears. I bet it hurt. I continued to hold my breath, shivering, until I saw his dark shadow moving closer and closer to the surface of the water. He doggie paddled his way to the side of the pool and climbed out. I exhaled.
After what seemed like an eternity, it was my turn. I stood at the bottom of the ladder looking up, wondering if it reached heaven. Taking a deep breath, I started to climb slowly, keeping my focus straight ahead. I didn’t even want to try to see if my mom noticed me from the bleachers because it meant I had to look somewhere else. One-two-three. I’ll just count my way up there. Four-five-six. Taking my time, I considered going down instead of up again. Seven-eight-nine. The goosebumps and pit in my stomach were now accompanied by the fact that I couldn’t breathe. Inhale, exhale. Ten-eleven-twelve. Inhale, exhale. Thirty four- thirty five- thirty six. I was at the top. The grit of the board scratched the bottom of my feet as I took tiny steps forward to reach the end. There were a couple more steps to take and I stopped and peeked. All I could see was a black square of motion down there, and it didn’t look big enough to catch me.
Time froze; bile caught in the back of my throat, threatening to give me a new way to embarrass myself in front of other people. I swallowed. I slid my right foot forward; dragged my left foot to meet it. I did it again. Oh God I can’t do this. Will I die now? One more step to go. At the end of the board, I knew I had to move fast or freak out, big time. I sucked in a short breath and jumped forward. I don’t know if the screaming was in my head or out of my mouth but it was all I could hear. Falling falling falling until I slammed into a cold wet wall. That hurt. Flailing, I sank sank sank for what seemed like another eternity. My chest tightened with fear, my nose flooded with pool water. At last, I stopped sinking and was still. Silence surrounded me; isolated me; threatened me.
Motivated by my need to get out of there, I finally remembered to move my arms and legs. My chest tightened more. Blowing out through my nose, bubbles tickled my cheeks as they swam to the surface faster than I ever could. I followed the bubbles up the water. Swim swim swim. Swim some more. My arms got heavier but I moved them anyway. The light from the top of the water started to get brighter. I swam some more. Breaking through the wet ceiling, I sucked in air while I kicked my way to the side of the pool. My chest was still heaving as I grabbed the ladder and climbed out. Dripping, I looked in the bleachers for my mom. I took a few steps and finally saw her frantically waving from the sea of parents. I walked the slippery path back to the group of kids in my class to join the land of the living.
Today, I understand how the jump off the high dive was a critical turning point in learning how to trust. No matter how many swim lessons I had, there was a level of trust beyond my understanding which propelled my jump. To trust the God of heaven to love me so much to send His Son—for ME!--is a jump into overwhelming love which I hope catches me each time I fall.