Monthly Archives: March 2013

Five Minute Friday – Broken


I have been broken.  It has happened once in my life.

Busted-up, bruised, beat down, torn apart, anxiety and fear-ridden and in despair … I’ve seen a lot of those things in my life.

One day, I knew I was completely broken.  I never denied Christ when it came time as a young adult to walk – or spring – to the altar for the first time.

But once, in a country not my own, in a house temporarily my living quarters, on a carpet that I was happy to have, I was broken.

It was the day when I knew only God could work the miracle I needed and for the first time in my life I felt compelled to hit the floor.

I poured out everything I had harbored and asked God to show me what else was in His way of healing me.

“I want you to have it God – all of it.”

Broken became repaired.

Broken became healed.

It started that day, in my soul.

A week later I walked into my military hospital to return my records from the German Neuro Surgery clinic.  My legs walked and my face beamed as I “accidentally” ran into my doctor.  His face lit up and he knew I had been healed.

I said, “God did this.”  He said, “I can see that.”

After a big hug of thanks, I turned on my heels and left to wander the hard cobblestone and brick streets of the city with my family.

Broken, healed, and free.


Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

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I will radiate for Him

tuc sunrise

No matter where I am,

No matter how I got there,,

My God is with me.

Never leaving me,

Or forsaking me.

Always stretching me,

Always comforting me,

For my benefit and His glory.

Molding me,

Firing me,

and re-firing me,

to make me beautiful,

from the inside,

from the soul.

So that I,

With my flaws,

And my imperfections,

might radiate for Him.

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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Remember

Rothenburg Volksmarch

Volksmarching Group

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

In a thousand ways I remember.

It’s one of the hardest words I deal with in my life.  It’s painful, and it’s full of loss, and it’s joy.

This morning it’s full of tears – streaming down my face onto this notebook of mine as I deal with constant reminders of things I’ll never forget.

Someone once explained that quite possibly significant memories are marked in your brain by the outpouring of adrenaline that occurs at an event.

I’m at no loss in the adrenaline department.

Once it was loss – of a Mother – when none of us saw it coming.  I remember dropping to the floor in disbelief and crying out.

Once it was the loss – of a friend – who struggled for years against cancer.  I remember the sorrow of her passing and the sweetness of her walk with the LORD.

I remember those crazy days of childbirth and the complete exhilaration and joy.

I remember the loss of the ones who have chosen to walk out of my life leaving me with empty arms.

I remember the excitement of buying our first house and all the fun times we had with my children there in those years.

I remember Germany, and the vivid and plentiful memories.  I feel like we lived there yesterday and not 12 years ago.

Most of all, I know that when I forget things, and I feel like I’m losing some precious memories these days… that there are a thousand people who will never let me forget … and that brings hope and joy.  I’m not the only one who remembers …

Deep, Deep Joy. 


Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

A bunch of us, with a one-word prompt, write fearlessly for FIVE minutes and link up together. Join us!


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Maya the Thief

maya closeup

My youngest cat Maya thinks she is so awesome.

The way she can steal a piece of paper is amazing… not to mention it’s a real mystery WHERE she is getting my little receipts and small paper items.  Every time we look in the office everything APPEARS to be in place.  Another favorite item up for her theft is the paper dinner napkins.  She must hear us from the far reaches of the house when we carefully remove a few from the napkin holder to set the table.  She’s up into a chair and sneaking her little paw over the edge (just her paw, it’s so cute) and swiping the paper.  Quick too, like while the table setter is over at the silverware drawer – Fast!

Every cat we’ve ever owned has had some quirky trait, or traits, that begin to show up as the cat matures.  Usually by age 2 there’s at least one annoying thing the cat continues to do at least on a weekly basis.  This youngster is starting early – she’s just turned a year old.  And just yesterday… she stole a tape dispenser!  Really??? A plastic, Scotch tape dispenser?!  She carried it out of one of the kid’s rooms in her mouth and into the kitchen where she was “busted” by my teenager.

Yeah, busted…by the humans who, of course, thought it was hilarious.  It was just like trying to reprimand a kid while you’re laughing.  Ridiculous and Impossible!  Somehow I think we all have this “Food Chain” out-of-order.  Cats are clearly quite craftier than we think.

Some of these peculiar traits are funny, and usually provide a constant amusement beyond the playful kitten stages. However, some are late in the arrival…say when the cat has made their home here for like 5 or 6 years!  Those are the days when you just want to pull your hair out…. Recently one of our cats just started jumping and grabbing door jambs.  What???? I said “No No” every time he did it, but it didn’t work – this time.

Cats are amazingly trainable and we’ve used many of the same methods that we used on the dogs.  But you have to be patient.  Like sometimes patient FOREVER … cause some stuff “just don’t stick” with cats.

When I wrote my last blog about training children and helping them to learn to try new foods, I couldn’t help but reflect on the animals that run wild in our house.  They help me to remember to {Let Go} of stuff that “just don’t stick.”  I have herded and tried to control the animals, the kids, the junk in the house that breaks… but there are some things that “just don’t stick” and I’m truly wasting my energy in the wrong place.

Control is an illusion.  It’s not in my power to control stuff no matter how I try.  Control belongs to God.  He created these creatures and if he wants, he can keep them from scratching the furniture.  Again.  And Again.

Everything’s a test in my life or a lesson to be learned – mostly because I know God and His ways are great and good and serve a purpose in my life.  Teaching me about letting go is high on God’s priority list apparently…kind of like His ability to teach patience…

Once, many years ago, I learned that I was putting things on the altar only to pick them back up the next day usually.  This one time, I clearly remember, I struggled to the point of letting it go…someone gave me a piece of chalk and had me mark an X on the back of the altar…. I was blown away.  That X is still there and no longer do I carry that burden with me anymore from that very moment forward.  See, sometimes we have to make a tangible or visible effort to {Let It Go}.

Letting go is hard and requires practice.  I practiced it last week when my two children drove off together for an event that would bring them home in the dark.  I cried, then I let it go.  I can’t control what’s going to happen to them every time they get behind the wheel – and I don’t want to, truthfully.  God does much bigger and better things with WHATEVER happens!

I just need to lean into His open arms where His trust lies and {Let It Go}

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and He will make your paths straight.

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Posted by on March 20, 2013 in Life, in general


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It’s Soup, Not a Conspiracy

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

My children are wonderful.  Mind if I take a little credit for a part of that?

We eat together

We watch T.V. together

We go to the movies together

But here’s my big bragging point:

*They eat their vegetables and they try new foods – in a foreign country no less.*

We moved to Germany when our girls were ages 12, 8, and 3 1/2.  It was the perfect age for them to enjoy and remember our overseas tour.  Each child had something unique to their own experience while living there for three years.  One took a trip to Italy for Spring Break with Club Beyond – a Christian youth group.  Another traveled with the Girl Scouts to “Our Chalet” in the Swiss alps – headquarters of  WAGGGS.  And the other, well, let’s just say she experienced (and survived) Pre School while Mom became a part time volunteer for the Red Cross at the post chapel.

We all enjoyed train trips, castle and cathedral tours, shopping and eating downtown, Volksmarching, Christmas markets and our big weekend adventure to Prague in the Czech Republic.  Everyday life in a little German town was also special.  Some of our favorite dining experiences were just a short walk away.  Perfect on a late summer evening when the sun hangs in the sky hours longer than it does in the States.

When my husband and I were young, our parents held very similar views on table etiquette.  You know, like being told to eat everything on your plate … regardless of what it was or how much was there.  My husband ate well, but does confess to occasionally having to sit there until everything was gone from his plate.  He says that on a few occasions, he was there until bedtime.

I didn’t eat much at all when I was little.  The dining room table was a place of torture for me as a child.   But, I was also sneaky and I was really good at hiding my food after the authorities left the room.  Really, I don’t know why my parents didn’t catch on when they’d find the hamburgers (we called them hockey pucks) under the china hutch…

Maybe, just maybe, we learned a little about parenting though through these experiences.  Now, let me be honest when I say, I stopped blaming my parents for what I deemed inappropriate long before I had children.  I read some books, I watched other Moms, and I learned on the fly.

I understood how much and how often to feed children and as they grew, we just gently expanded their horizons by increments.  I learned just how small their stomachs really were, how to feed them healthy food, saved treats for special times and to average out what they ate over a period of a few days.

While cleaning the soup pot last night I recalled an adult who remarked to me how I “snuck ” lima beans into the soup once – apparently she didn’t like them.  Perhaps she was forced to eat them as a child and still has lima bean nightmares to this very day …

All I could think was “Hey, it’s soup, not a conspiracy.”  (Insert YOUR giggle here)

When cooking for company, I usually try to make amiable food that everyone will enjoy…. not eccentric things that kids won’t like.  And healthy … I’m kind of known for that.  But, I certainly don’t try to sneak in an ingredient.  (The lima beans are already included in the frozen mixed veggie bag)

So, here’s the deal … We love food, we love having company, and we’ve been known to have cereal for dinner…

We teach good table manners, but I think we have really been teaching honesty, respect, and thankfulness.

I think those are really the core values hiding under all those {mushrooms, olives, beets, cooked spinach, etc.}  And the biggest lesson of all is … when they go out on their own, they are going to make their own choices.

And that, my friends and fellow parents…  {THAT WAS HARD FOR ME TO SWALLOW!}

We do intend to train a child in the way they should go, and then we {Let. Them. Go.}  And it’s a lesson I’m still learning.

**After a long day visiting Prague in the Czech Republic, the kids ate some interesting food for dinner. We were seated in a little alcove room with some other English-speaking travelers.  Here is a picture of the kids being silly and making imprints on their foreheads with the woven placemats.

  We decided that the “were all Czeched out.”

czeched out

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Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Rest

hiking boots

Ahhh, the illusive idea of rest. I have no idea what that is until I get some.

For almost 5 years now I’ve had no consistent sleep at night. No, I don’t have any infants or toddlers around to blame this on. I’m also not able to say its “the change.” I’m in between those stages of life…I’m stuck in the middle.

I don’t sleep well because my stinking neck hurts and sometimes that wreaks enough havoc…but I get other pains too. I have several areas in my back that cause problems – mainly because I’ve don’t have much of any inward or outward curve to my spine. What doesn’t hurt? My lower back – which is ironic because I ruptured a disc there over 10 years ago.

Rest. It comes in small doses.

It resembles the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Rest came yesterday when I hiked and I sat down on my favorite rock. My rest was in the sun, the breeze, and the fresh air.

Rest – it arrived when the girls got home safely yesterday from a late night school function.

Rest – it’s that unexpected nap I occasionally get that truly refreshes me.

Rest, for me, comes and goes fleetingly – but never without a deep sigh and some serious thankfulness.

It’s like God touches my head and sends this incredible peace straight through my muscles, my bones, and my soul…and makes for a little bubbling happen in the wellspring of my life.

{Way Down Deep} in my soul where only He can reach.

Psalm 62:1

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.


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The Year of the Circus

cropped porch

{It felt like a war zone}

In the last week, our pool fence was built and I celebrated my birthday.  Not too monumental for the average week … it was just an aluminum fence and a special date on the calendar that happens to be my birthday.  Most of my birthdays have been great, and I spent this one with my husband and kids and we had a quiet dinner and a little dessert.  It didn’t need to be a grand occasion this year, although I do enjoy a good party or a nice tandem parachute jump out of an airplane to celebrate.

It seemed like an audible sigh hung in the air Monday – the day of my actual birthday.  What are birthdays for if not for a little retrospection?  Especially when your years are pushing closer to 50 than they are to 40?  All I can really say is that the last year has been like a 3-ring circus.  And I was the featured performer … it was a juggling act …

It all began last March with a colossal hail storm.  It was  {Really. Big. Hail.}

The hail storm hit long before dark on March 2nd and in some places near the house, it piled up almost 2 1/2 feet deep.  Most of the hail was at least as big as baseballs, and some close to softball-size.  I have NEVER seen, nor do I EVER want to see, hail that big again!

We surveyed the damage – cars dinged up under the carport, holes in the vinyl siding, a broken glass pane, and quite a few plants and bushes that looked like they received a buzz cut.  Eventually we would learn that our new roof took 70% damage as well.

So, about that 3-ring circus… I was about to leave for a fabulous trip to Vegas to visit some high school friends when this all hit.  I did take my trip – and spent my birthday hiking, skydiving, dining out at a fancy restaurant, and getting re-acquainted with my friends that I hadn’t seen in almost 30 years.  I came home and the next day the roofers came with the insurance man and somewhere in there we took delivery and set-up of our new unpainted portable building.

That week they re-did the roof, and another contracting team started ripping off all the siding and we were going to pay the extra money to have a the whole house done – so it would match!  And I began spending the long days painting the new building and supervising the subcontractors.  Did I mention the pneumonia that had manifested in me along with the flu that first week?  Or the workers that were ONLY supervised by me and not their boss?  Or the windows that had to be re-wrapped 4 times to get it right?  Or how about the TERMITES that we found????

When most of this craziness was over, I had a spur-of-the-moment idea – “Let’s put in a pool!”  Well, that went very well actually and I was very thankful for good workers because I was worn out.  I can only imagine if a tornado had hit… I think I would have lost my mind!

So, the pool fence is finished and I think there was a collective *sigh* between the house and the family.  I’m going to put up a sign that says “No More Contractors!”  I think I should put it on the bathroom mirror to remind myself not to ask for so much on my plate at once.

It was quite a year, and looking back, I’m VERY GLAD IT’S OVER!  There were many lessons learned, laughs to be had, and a few painful days where my anger grew way too large and my compassion grew Waaayyyy teeny tiny.  We are ALL looking forward to using the pool this summer and getting the grass to grow.  I think I’ll leave any ideas from Pinterest OFF my list of things to do though.  This year, I want to enjoy all that work that was accomplished…. and see if I can regain just a LITTLE bit of my sanity.

Next month I intend to take a short vacation to Arizona for some hiking and visiting of high school friends.  That will probably help my family get THEIR sanity back!

small fence picture

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Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Life, in general


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The howling of the wind …

The dropping of the maple’s dead wood …

The reddish sprigs emerging and being tossed by the blowing snow …

The sprouting of the lilies in their dirt beds …

Weeds and grass spreading green in haphazard patches …

Wind, thunderstorms, clouds, and undecided temperatures …

Birthdays, talk of cake and a family gathering …

Easter music being practiced …

Bare brown trees beginning to get more sun …

Sap beginning to rise …

Emergence, March, Spring …

A deep breath, a gentle sigh, it’s almost here …

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Posted by on March 9, 2013 in Life, in general


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Five Minute Friday – Home


My change of plans upon arriving in Philadelphia was all my doing.  I left the former hotel reservations in the trashcan in Alabama.  Sometimes things just need to be upended, turned around and I needed a visit home more than anything.

Home, as in my hometown where I spent my first 13 years.

Home, as in where the cemetery holds more memories than any photo album I own.

Home, as in the place where just about every face is a newcomer these days, but old friends are not hard to find.

That’s what I desperately needed – my friends.  That and some Italian food!

I had a short weekend but it was packed with quaint little get-togethers in a great little café that serves the best omelets. I wish I could say that we’ve all kept in touch for the nearly 30 years since I moved in 8th grade, but truthfully, we’ve all been on some seriously separate paths.  Thankfully, I was welcomed to their 25th High School reunion a few years ago and that is when all of my oldest and dearest friends came rushing back into my life.

It has been almost a lovesick feeling to leave everything you’ve ever known in your younger life, but a great reward to come back, be welcomed, and know that you were missed.  And each time I leave, I eagerly await the next visit home.

Living “life on the move” can be hard.  As people, we have all hit lows and highs in our life.  But the really great thing about spending time back in my hometown with friends is the laughing, the knowing looks, and the understanding you receive from those who know you through-and-through.

My friends – they are my “home.”

Home?  Talk about getting a song stuck in your head!  The minute I saw the word prompt for today…Simon and Garfunkel started a serenade in my brain.  Homeward Bound was the tune so here’s a link for you to listen:

Curious about Five Minute Friday?  It’s like a Flashmob for writers.

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An Ordinary Life


Some days it’s difficult to believe that nothing special happens. Actually, I’m sure special things happened today, they just didn’t occur in this house. It was an ordinary, hum-drum, do-the-laundry-and-take-out-the-trash kind of day. Literally.  Add in making dinner – and baking some biscuits too – since I had time.

After last Friday’s writing prompt on the word “ordinary,” I’ve been thinking a lot about that very thing. I’ve been thinking how much an ordinary, common, everyday life can weigh a person down. How it can slowly etch away at a vibrant personality and transform that person into someone very different. Many people know about this if they’ve been married a while or if they have been living in the trenches with babies on their hips and toddlers running underfoot. You may have started to wither under the weight of it all. I know, because I’ve seen it happen to myself.

Ordinary can also transform a person into something better. It’s a matter of perspective I would say…and how often you step back and see how far God has brought you in your spiritual growth.

Our everyday life can be so repetitive that it may be hard to see “the forest through the trees.”  Growth happens.  Renewal happens.  Winter happens, then Spring happens.  I’ve had one of those weeks that was very tiring.  I also caught a cold which could be the reason that I’ve been dragging along all week.

But, it doesn’t mean that something didn’t happen for me spiritually.  I’ve been forced to slow down.  I have had a few things taken off my responsibility list and so I’ve experienced thankfulness.  And just when I didn’t think I could handle another broken heat pump part, it turned out to be some disconnected wires and a FREE service call!  And, when the fencing people called and said “I know it’s short notice, but…” I was very happy that today they would install my pool fence.  Short notice?  I’m thankful that it’s finally going to get put in..

I see sprouts of my day lilies shooting up in my flower beds regardless of the cold, frigid nights.  Winter is still happening, but Spring is about to start.  Clouds will roll back and before you know it, the sun will be blistering hot.  And I will be truly thankful for some better weather and some evidence of the Earth’s renewal.  It will still be an ordinary and common life, but change and growth happen quite frequently in these days and nights that seem to all run together.  And there’s always more that God can give you, just around the corner from today.

God’s still in control, He’s still on the throne.  And today, I am thankful for that truth.  May it reside in your heart and soul today like a bright and sunny day.

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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Life, in general


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