Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bread thoughts.

Is everyone recovering from the Halloween festivities of last night?  I seem to greet each November first with relief and a sharp intake of air, thankful it is clean and new.  We are now fast approaching mine and Onnie's favorite holiday of the year- Thanksgiving.

But first

A few thoughts I had yesterday as I was making baking bread.

Many of you know I have been baking our bread for a while now.  In Ron's and my mission to rid our home of GMOs, processed foods, and toxic chemicals, making sandwich bread at home seemed an economical and easy place to start.  Some of my friends graciously shared recipes and tips with me as I began this process, and I am so very grateful for the support and practical resources.

I am proud to say we have not purchased a loaf of bread from a store in over two months. (Well, except for that one round of sourdough to go with homemade corn chowder, as we celebrated my job...special occasion.)

But I have a confession to make's probably gonna make moot all those domestically blithe facebook posts I like to put up about my newly acquired bread making skills...

I don't really enjoy making bread.

There it is.  Shame, folks.  Shame.

Wait, let me explain.

I make bread the old-fashioned measuring, mixing and kneading by hand, forming loaves, and baking in the oven.  I do not own a food processor, bread machine, or one of those lovely KitchenAid stand mixers.  Sure, I could be more old fashioned with this bread process...sprouting and milling grains, culturing yeast and baking over a fire.  I actually hope to acquire those skills one day.  It could be a lot tougher than it currently is.

But it's still a lot of time and effort.

Honest- I psyche myself up each week before I begin..."Look what I'm doing, I'm making homemade bread for my family!  It's gonna be peaceful and cozy, and the smells filling our home are going to be heavenly!"  The inner pep talk works enough to get me to pull out bowls and measuring cups.  By the way, it takes almost every bowl in our home to make bread each week, as I make four loaves at a time. More on that in a minute.

So I make it into the kitchen and pull out the supplies.

I always attempt to have adequate time set aside for the making and baking.  However, I  underestimate how long this process actually takes.  I know how long it should take, around three hours.  It usually takes four.   

I measure and mix, fretting over minor details, like how the active yeast never bubbles the way the recipe describes.  And the fact I never add the amount of flour called for, as the dough is already too dry with the starting amount.  Weekly, I wonder if my bread is actually going to turn out like...well, bread...or if it's gonna be an inedible mess.  Fret worry.

I let the dough rest after mixing.  Experts say bread turns out much better if given time to rest along the way.  Hmm.

Then...the dreaded kneading.  Ooaf.  My arms are tired just thinking about it.

I make four loaves of bread each week, divided into two batches of dough requiring kneading for 10-12 minutes each.  So I knead for a minimum of twenty minutes.

The first two minutes are tough.  Then I settle into a routine and my arms still feel strong.  However, the last minute of the first batch is murder.  Knowing I have to do it all over again for the second batch of dough is mentally exhausting.

But then a strange thing happens.

The second batch isn't's kind of peaceful.  Sure, my arms are tired.  But I've resigned myself to the job by this point, and the rhythm of "push out with palms, turn and fold, and push out with palms again" is soothing.  Purposeful.  I begin smiling again.

Spray the bowls for rising- never metal for rising, although I still have no idea why- plop the round dough balls in, and let science happen.  I get a break for an hour.

Doubled-in-size dough in bowls gets punched down, kneaded twice, flattened into a rectangle, and folded folded folded into acceptable sandwich loaves.  Well, I try.  My loaves always turn out strange shaped at this point.  Good thing they rise again for a half hour in the loaf pans before being pushed into the oven.

Spray pans, dump in weird-shaped loaves...preheat oven...

And the rest is cake.  Bread.  You know what I mean.

Every week my bread turns out well.  It does now, anyway.  The first few weeks of experimenting were not as successful.  But my girls adore it, and Onnie proclaims loudly and often that my bread is so much better than store-bought.  I am pretty sure Ron likes it too.

Yes, there is a broader point to all this bread making baking complaining 101.  I love analogies, don't you?

I had the thought yesterday that the bread making process is much like many other processes in life...the tall mountains we face which require climbing.

We dread, but psyche ourselves up...we can do this!  The end result is gonna be incredible!

We show up, gather our supplies, and begin to work.  This isn't so bad.

But still, we fret.  Are we doing this correctly?  What if we are spending all this time and effort and our results are worthless in the end?  Still, we plod on.

We rest.  Experts say we will be more successful in the end if we rest along the way. Hmm.

Then we hit the dreadful middle.  We begin to lose strength...we are tired.  There is so much more to will we ever do this? 

Something strange occurs.  Just when we feel we can't move another step, peace begins to settle into our hearts.  Sure, we are still tired.  But our purpose comes back and there is joy again in the hard work.

There is joy in hard work, yes?

We let the processes of our hard  We get a short break to attend to other things.

A little more attention to our climb...finishing out the processes...and then we wait to see what our hard work and persistence have created.

Hint:  they always create something beautiful and worthwhile.  It's the process which sharpens and shapes us, not the end result.

There is victory beauty and great accomplishment.  For a moment.  It doesn't last.

We must begin anew. And again and over. This is life.

Speaking of mountains to climb... 

Beginning today, I am tackling one of the toughest processes in writing to date-  I am taking part in NaNoWriMo...National Novel Writing Month.  The goal is to write 50,000 words, in novel form, during the month of November.  I am a strange mix of excited scared full of dread.  I'm not even prepared with a plot or outline.  But I'm doing it anyway.

I feel called.  By God and by my purpose as a writer.

I'm not gonna cheat the process anymore, nor the beauty that the hard work accomplishes in me.

Tackle something impossible today...begin the process.  This is life.

This was a long one, thanks for hanging in there.



Friday, October 12, 2012

Mourning Jessica.

Here in Colorado we are heart-broken and in shock. 

Yet again. 

What a year this has been for the people of this beautiful and rugged place we call home. 

We, as a state, have been holding our breath since last Friday night, when the Amber Alert was first issued for lost little Jessica Ridgeway.  We prayed and searched all week, while holding our children closer.  Cried.  Pleaded with God and rescue teams for answers...along with the rest of the country, as the news and search went national.  Tried to hold on to hope. 

Jessica became our entire country's lost little girl this week. 

And at 4pm Mountain Standard Time, we got the answer. 

Now we are left trying to process this senselessness, horrific act...the same as we were on July 21st.

Tonight we mourn.

Onnie, our our fourteen year old daughter, made this video on Wednesday night.  I believe it is a beautiful tribute which fits even more now.

Praying, dear readers.

(Please excuse the sideways-ness of the video...if you view it from a smartphone, the image should adjust for you.)


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Loving...out loud.

This verse has been on my heart all morning, and I just posted it on facebook:

"Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world."  James 1:26-27  (The Message)

Must be honest here- I've read the Bible from cover to cover several times...well, except for maybe Revelations, that book just confuses me to no end, even with a stack of commentaries sitting next to me for comfort.  So I know I've read the above verse a few times.  But sadly...or hypocritically, you choose...I would skim it, thinking I was doing my part because we've sponsored a child through World Vision, or given to food banks occasionally.  I knew those piddly acts didn't really add up to the intentional effort specified in James.  But we were doing something so I let myself off the hook. 

Until the Ramsdells became our daughters' pastors and I saw they lived this verse out with their entire lives. 

Heart effort. 

I could talk endlessly about the Ramsdells and the impact they've made on our little family.  I won't do that right now.  But I will happily introduce you to them sometime if you don't already know them, and let them tell you about their passion for the homeless and the loveless, especially orphans. 

Billy used to teach on this verse a lot and he showed our daughters how they can make an impact on the homeless and loveless right now, with their small resources multiplied by heart effort.   

I believe we must teach our children to live a better life story.

What do I mean by that?

Society teaches our children today to live for themselves for the most part, yes?  Get the stuff and you will be happy...fulfilled and have a super awesome life!  Yeah!


How's that working out for us here in America?  

The Bible teaches a different way...a better way. 

To gain your life, you must lose it.  

When we give ourselves...our time, resources, effort, talents and the most worthy causes...pouring out hope to the hopeless and love to those who only know pain, fear and unlove...


We are fulfilled.  We write a better life story with our lives, yes?

And how do we teach our children to do the same with their lives?  By modeling giving of ourselves for them to see, of course.  Because we all know children won't always do what we say, but they will do what we do.  This can be a cause for shuttering or for thankfulness, and we, as parents, hold the process in our hands.  

So I finally joined a local LOVE146 task force this morning.  Yes, I waited much too long.  Scold me for that, I deserve it.  For those unfamiliar with this organization, they are a Christ-centered organization committed to the abolishing child trafficking and exploitation.  This cause has burned on my heart since I first heard about it over a year ago. 

The monthly meeting for September is on my birthday.  I could skip it.  But I'm not. I must start giving myself somewhere, sometime. 

I pray my girls find their causes through the Lord's direction and leading, and pour out love in their own unique ways to change lives.  I pray the same for you today too.  

Give yourself.  Love out loud.  Be fulfilled.  



Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I was going to write this post on Sunday.  Glad I waited.  The slight conviction I was feeling then has metastasized into full-blown angst.  Not always a bad thing.

Especially not in this case.

I've hit this subject of forgiveness hard during the past six months.  First was the realization I had stuffed years of pain down deep, until it all burst out my insides back in March.  Sadly, I imagined those bodies floating in the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina...dead bodies swelling in the water and heat...swelling until sometimes they burst.  Death won't stay neatly inside, it will eventually spill out its blackness and disease, yes?

Honest- I didn't have a clue how to forgive, heal, move forward...move at all.  Worse was the barreling down epiphany, right on pain's heels, of my own actions, words, thoughts, and behaviors in response to years of unreleased pain.

We sometimes do awful things when we are hurting, don't we?

Plus, there was a social situation our family encountered at the beginning of this year which needed me to extend forgiveness into also.  Thought I had moved on from it months ago, but a conversation with a dear friend over coffee and a brownie had me spewing anger and ugly, black unforgiveness.  Oh, how I needed God's grace intervention there.

And...just because I personally think God likes to bring about freedom, healing and restoration simultaneously in several areas once we are willing to allow His hand into our messes....

I was reminded on Monday of probably my toughest extension of forgiveness in my entire life.


You see, I had reached levels of forgiveness in my heart in all of these situations, some deeper than others.  Sometimes we feel healed and whole until memories are brought forth, then we feel the pain and shame all over again.

Does this mean I hadn't forgiven?

I believe I had.  But I'd forgiven like this:

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You're done. It doesn't necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare...”  
-Anne Lamont, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith.

Sure, I'd stopped fighting back.  Well, except for the angry spewing over brownies.  But the blackness was still in my heart, in varying amounts per circumstance and person, poisoning my insides. 

I had not forgiven like this:

"As far as the East is from the West, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."
-Psalms 103:12

You are thinking right now, "That's God talking...that's not for me to do."

But Jesus did it for us.

When others hurt us, they are transgressing against us, yes?  Overstepping our personal boundaries, violating us in some tiny annoyances or with gigantic, life will never be the same, offenses.  

Guest speaker pastor on Sunday...forgive me for not recalling his name...reminded us of the parable Jesus told in Matthew, and how it relates to our forgiveness of others:
A Story About Forgiveness
 At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?" 
 Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

 "The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

"The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!'

"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt."
-Matthew 18:21-35


I know I've been trying to hold others accountable for their ten dollar sin debts to me, in my heart, when Jesus has forgiven my life debt of sin that I can never repay or make right.

Does this mean I forget what they've done to me?  I'm honestly not sure it's humanly possible.  And some transgressions do indeed require cutting someone out of our life, for our own safety or well-being, or that of our loved ones.  So, no, I don't think we ever forget.

But we can forgive.  Release our transgressors from their sin debts owed us.  Gain the perspective of heaven, realizing we are all worthy of death for our sins...our sins against each other and against God.

Sure, it's a process.  I hope it doesn't sound like I am dismissing great and horrible pain perpetrated against you by others.  I am not.  But when we let go...when we choose to forgive and leave the pain and shame in God's very capable hands

We heal.  Can breathe again.  Regain hope and a future.

 I hope you are able to take a step toward forgiving today...I am walking there with you. 

*As I was searching for a picture for this blog, I found the above.  I'm not sure there's a more powerful modern day example of unmerited forgiveness than the response of the Amish community in the aftermath of the school shooting in 2006. Our country demanded hate and retribution, but the Amish poured out love in a way which mystified and challenged us all. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

In which

In which I am thankful my daughter says the thing she does best is worship God.  Not an arrogant boast, but a humble acknowledgment:

 "This is what I was made to do.  To worship."

And so very thankful she has found a group of friends that live this truth, and a church which will let the Youth take over a Sunday morning service so the kids can remind us adults it's all about giving our hearts. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thoughts on Sunday, hearing God, and being weird.

I heard a wise and vulnerable message on Sunday morning about hearing God when He speaks to us.  Larry Hobbs shared his personal journey in hearing God speak to him during one of his toughest times.  As he spoke, I thought about my own times of hearing God "speak" to me.  While Larry voiced his feelings that perhaps we might find him weird for the story he shared...about God speaking to shame burned a little.

You see, I typed out the following personal story several months ago, about a time God spoke clearly to me in my own pain.  But I never posted it.  I chickened out...thought to myself...what are people going to think of me if I share this?  They are going to find me very weird.  Yep, weird was the correct word, alright.

But his courage gave me courage.  So here is my story.  And if you find me weird, I'll try to be okay with that.  Peace.  

February 12, 2012
We sang an old hymn at church this morning, It is Well With My Soul. Many of you know this is my favorite hymn. I loved it as a child and we sang it often at Calvary Tabernacle in Roanoke.  I forgot about it for many years.  But God brought it back to my memory during one of the most difficult times of my life.  It was a turning point for me and I remembered it as we sang this morning:

We were living in Marshall, Virginia and the girls were very young.  Ainsley was less than a year old and suffering from extreme acid reflux.  The condition landed her in the hospital at two weeks old because she would stop breathing every time the acid would bubble up into her throat. It was incredibly painful for her and she cried about 16 hours each day.  If she was awake, she was usually in pain and crying, screaming her little lungs out, actually.  It was very difficult to see my child in such pain everyday and not be able to fix it.

We had been living in the area less than six months when Ron was let go from his job due to the crashing economy.

Further, I had just been informed by my Eye Doctor that I had glaucoma and was already sixty percent blind.  I was told even with treatment I would probably be completely blind in ten years or less. I can't describe the panic I felt at those words.  My visible world became sharp and beautiful and horrible. I stared at my girls' faces terrified I was going to forget them...the shape of their little mouths and the colors in their eyes. 

I was sitting on the floor of the playroom in our little rented house, on the girls' blue and pink IKEA princess rug, holding Ains and trying to comfort her.  I felt the weight of the entire world bearing down to crush me into dust.  She and I were both crying, for our own reasons.  Ron was sitting at our computer a few feet away.  Numb.

I remember thinking, "I can't do this. I have no strength left."

Sometimes we have to get to the end of ourselves before we allow God to step in.  That "end" may be due to our own poor choices or life just beating us until we have nothing left. I also felt very clearly that Satan had thrown down the gauntlet- he had stripped me of my "external" security, the loss of income.  He had attacked our daughter's health, causing great pain and anxiety in our home. If you've ever lived around the constant screams of an infant...unrelenting, for hours at a know how it rips away peace.

But stealing my eyesight? It was an attack on my very purpose.  I am a writer.  I know God created me for this specific "career" purpose. Satan was trying to blot out the very reason I was put on this Earth.

You could say these were all just naturally occurring circumstances and there was nothing spiritual or mystical about them...that life just sucks sometimes. Perhaps. But I believe there is an Enemy of our souls that seeks with all his will and power to destroy all that is good in our lives.  Maybe some of the circumstances were just bad luck.  But I believe the loss of my eyesight was a direct attack.

God said "Enough".

And that's when I heard it, while I was holding my baby girl on the floor and weeping.  I didn't realize I still knew the words to the song.  Maybe I didn't.  But God did.  This is what I heard in my mind and heart, louder than the pain and fears:

"When peace like a river attendeth my way.
when sorrows like sea billows roll...
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say...
It is well, it is well with my soul."

I recognized the song instantly. I can't explain the peace I felt in that moment. It was as though God reached down into my mess and He held me, telling me He could fix all that was broken.   I didn't know how he was going to do it, but I knew I couldn't on my own.  My strength was admirable, and yet useless without God's intervention.

So I gave in and let Him be God. I let the peace come.

God did indeed fix the broken pieces of that day. His fixing was astounding, miraculous as only God can be when we allow Him. His healing power was shown a short week later, when my Eye Doctor stood dumbfounded in the middle of the exam room, staring at his notes and the ceiling...having no idea how this young mom's damaged sight could be nearly perfect six short days after the life sentences of glaucoma and blindness were spoken.

*I know the subject of healing is controversial and I do not have the answers of why some people experience healing and others don't.  I just know I asked, day and night, for six very theologically simplistic prayer:

"God, I believe you can heal.  In Jesus' name, I ask you to heal my eyesight.  Thank you Lord." 

Over and over and over and over. God answered.

Ron got a job offer back in West Palm Beach three months later, and South Florida became home for us again. All the broken pieces of that day in Marshall, Virginia worked out, miraculously.  

I will leave you with the song and the story of its inception.  The writer endured more pain than I have ever known and yet he wrote one of the greatest songs of our faith.  Out of his deep pain, he heard God.  And listened. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Morning-After Regrets.

Did anyone else wake today...THE MORNING AFTER...with a twinge of discomfort over  red-and-white bag indulgences yesterday?  Any lingering chicken crumbs stuck on defiant chins that smelled a bit foul at dawn? 

Honest- My heart just about broke in two last night over the chicken debacle.

I sat in a bowling alley parking lot waiting for my girls and their friends with tears dripping down my face, reading all the reactions, debate and hurt from every side of this issue.  Because the truth is, in the millions of opinions voiced over the last week and yesterday, there is a face and a heart behind each one.  Millions of souls...


We all trampled each other yesterday. 

Trying to prove the rightness of our individual opinions.   We had facts and figures on every side of the debate, statistics to shore up our loudly proclaimed STANCES.  Affection for our individual agendas oozed from our facebook posts, pictures and article links. 

But we didn't have love.  Or true respect for one another.  Even if our voices were soft as we detailed our personal I tried to do yesterday...we still alienated people. If we are guilty of doing this under the guise of defending GOD, then how we stink of religiosity.  I think Jesus would have been on the side of love yesterday.  Sadly, that wasn't one of the options we allowed ourselves, was it? 

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.
 (I Corinthians 13, The Message Version)

I know this post probably isn't going to be very popular.  But this is my heart today...the day after...and I say this with shame and humility and hope:

I need to learn to love like God does.  And yesterday wasn't it.  

Peace, dear readers. 

*For the record, our family did not go to ChicFilA yesterday.  But I still spoke about the issue on facebook and hurt at least one friend in the process.  I am so very sorry for that. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two minute thoughts on Grace....


A rebirth or revival. 

I think we all need these at one time or another in our lives. A new start. Second chance.  I believe these are accomplished primarily through grace.  What's that mean exactly?

"We watched the skater glide gracefully across the pond." 

No, not that kind of grace.  Although I envy that...I have so little of it in my bones. 

Grace: A favor rendered by one who need not do so.  

Maybe that's you or me or God.  Perhaps it's all of us, meshing together, holding out love and compassion and forgiveness...newness...into the bloody beaten angry past.  Taking all the power out of what has been and giving it to what's to come.  

Renaissance.  Yes please.


*A fitting song.  It is old school Mat Kearney...slightly reminding me of Eminem.  But with much better lyrics.  Enjoy.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MY Food Revolution.

I start today's post humbly.  Ever heard the saying, "I don't even know how much I don't know" ?  Or better stated:

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.  -Confucius

Yep, that's me today.

But we all must start somewhere, yes?

So here it is, my Food Revolution for my family...beginning with the Goal Statement:

-We are going to eat REAL FOOD.


Too simple, right?  It's anything but.   If I have learned anything over these past months of research, it's the truth that finding real food in today's world of convenience food, fast food, and diet food, is a huge...well, pain. What exactly is real food and why is it so hard to find?  I think I addressed the last part of that question yesterday- because it has been manufactured right off our grocery store shelves.  But for the first part, the answer might be a little different for everyone, so I am going to share what I have decided it means to our family.  To us:

Real Food means meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, dairy, grains, and snacks that are as unprocessed as possible, free of preservatives, unnatural additives, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup, dyes, and chemicals...if I buy something in a box, can or bag at the store, I want to be able to know the ingredients inside. 


I honestly just got overwhelmed at the end of typing the above.  I feel lost right now.

Whenever I have this feeling, I ask myself again why eating organic matters?  This is where I share my reservations and the deep stuff on my heart...

It seems perhaps a trivial thing to me to be so concerned about our food supply, especially when so much of the world is starving.  Is it elitist of me to demand the very best for my own family?  Or should I just be grateful to have complete access to food?   These questions might seem strange to some, but if you know me, you know these questions concern me greatly.

I am also a frugal person.  I rarely pay full price for anything and I am not a brand snob...I will pick whatever is on sale as long as quality is comparable.  I have never purchased many processed foods for our family...I honestly can't remember ever buying a box of poptarts for my girls.  You may start chucking your rocks at me now, if good mothering is weighed by the amount of sugary Breakfast things we buy for our's okay, I get it.  My mom fed me Whole Wheat Total for breakfast, and I despised the stuff back then...and my mom just a little too.  American children seem to be born with an entitlement attitude towards sugar, yes? 

Back to task.

We all know organic products are more expensive, and honestly, until I did my recent research, I thought the organic branding was hogwash, employed to cause rich people spend more on everyday items...because they could.  I thought organic was all smoke and mirrors.

There it is, folks, my ignorance and shame.  Forgive me please.  I have learned differently.

My answers to my heart-ponderings are pretty simple.

Firstly, my family does deserve the very best I can give them.  If I am not going to give my best time, effort, and resources to them first, then what does the rest matter?  As Mother Teresa said so well

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”

Secondly, as to the expense factor of real food eating...I can only say I will find ways to make it work within our own food budget...


I believe the positive health benefits will far outweigh, in cost, the investment. 

There's the Goal Statement.  What about the specifics?  The 5 part Bullet plan which holds it all together?

Still working on that one.  I have become a ravenous researcher, avid label ingredient reader...and I even managed to hold back my tears in Wal-Mart last night when I flipped over the lovely dark brown gallon of Blue Bell Buttered Pecan Ice Cream and saw high fructose corn syrup as the third ingredient.  Sigh.

I love to cook however, and am looking forward to making many things from scratch. I am ambitious...and naive...enough to say I want to make our bread, peanut butter, and cheese myself, from scratch. 

Yes, you read that right.  Cheese

I could be crazy.  But it honestly seems so much simpler than the food war I wage now.  Hint: Most moms carry a lot of guilt over what we feed our families.  Do we prepare healthy meals, enduring glares and judgements from kids who just want we cave and purchase oreos doughnuts Fruit loops cereal bars chips pretzels soda pop...knowing these items aren't good for our children, but also realizing their peers at school bring these unhealthy non-foods to school every single we cave a little.  Sometimes a lot. 

Bold statement: I am done playing Guilt-Ridden Mom in the Food "Stage Play of Life" in which the Food Industry manufacturers wage sugar, sodium and chemical war on my family.  

I am done. I am out.

I have friends already holding ground in this quest for real food, two are Melissa Arthur and Brandon Mouser.  I have already learned from them and will continue to look to them for guidance and wisdom in the future. Barbara Kingsolver's incredible book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, spoke to my heart also.  She is one of my favorite authors and her family's brave and humble declaration to end the food industry's management over their lives is endlessly inspiring to me. 

And finally, my husband.  While I was mostly tuning out his rants against the government and the food industry a year ago...forgive me, dear...he made a quiet stand against high fructose corn syrup.  Asked if the girls and I would do the same.  We complied and cut soft drinks from our diet.  Thus began the journey...

Thank you husband.  I know you requested our soda ban to protect our health.

Let the Food Revolution begin...


Monday, July 16, 2012

Food, glorious food.

When I was nine, I auditioned and earned a spot with the Roanoke College Children's Choir.  The early days were sweet, we did a Christmas concert all in German, an original Fairy Tale musical entitled, The Queen Bee, in which I was a duck, resplendent in purple gingham bonnet and apron with very yellow tights...maybe that's where my color yellow love started...but the first song I learned during my earliest professional Choir experience was from Oliver Twist.  I only recall two lines.

"Food Glorious Food!  Hot Sausage and Mustard!"

Does sound glorious, doesn't it?  Can't you hear poor, starving young Oliver's longing for nourishing food?  I can.

Warning, bold statement coming...

Here in America, as the most overfed and indulged nation on Earth, we are starving too.

Seems a contradictory notion, yes?

I've been doing research the past several months...

Sure, we have Food, Glorious Food and lots of it...packaged, processed, modified, enriched, and stuffed full of chemicals.  Sugar-fied.  But not really.  It has a taste like sugar but it's not quite that.


Somewhere out in the endless corn fields of Illinois there's an ear of corn saying,

"Look, I can do a great impression of sugar cane!"

And high fructose corn syrup was born. I dare you to find a loaf of bread in your supermarket which doesn't contain the stuff unless you proactively seek it out.

Most of the food we consume here in the US can be categorized as non-food.  Our crackers, chips, poptarts, cold cereals, soft drinks...all those "low-fat" and sugar-free alternatives...are mostly just chemicals, white flour and sugar.  So much sugar in fact, most Americans consume around seventeen four-pound bags of sugar per person every year.*

During the French Revolution, the infamous "cake" Marie Antoinette wanted the starving masses to consume wasn't gonna keep them alive...and it isn't going to nourish us either.

Adding to our fake food problem is the issue of meat and potatoes. Three fourths of all the antibiotics consumed in America are stuffed into our feed-lot cows, in a pitiful attempt to keep the beasts healthy enough to pass the very low FDA inspections.  Why must antibiotics be used?  Because the cows' lovely and nourishing grasses...and fields...were taken away and replaced with modified corn feed and overcrowded, dirt feed lots, so we could get as much meat for the money as possible, regardless of the condition of the "meat".  This new way of cow life exposes our cows to malnourishment and unlivable, disease-ridden conditions.

Did you catch that?  Three fourths of all antibiotics consumed in this country go into our cows...BEFORE WE EAT THEM.  

Do we believe we are what we eat...eats?  We do in the case of breast-feeding mothers.  They must watch their diets very carefully, yes?  All the nasty things going into our food before it becomes our food doesn't just magically Poof  away when we pluck it from the grocery shelf.  Into our carts. Down in our stomachs. 

But we delude ourselves into thinking so, don't we?  I know I do.

Small, family-owned farms in this country are walking away from their an average of 300 per week.  It's a sad statistic, yes, but why does it matter?

Because we are giving our fields over to government control, called industrial farming. Regardless of how one feels about big government, we can agree the government doesn't grow very good crops...the largest cash crop these days is modified, non-edible corn which becomes gasoline and high fructose corn syrup.  I will post a great and informative website at the end of this post, which explains this controversial subject much better than I can.

This is weighty stuff...infuriating, confusing, saddening.  For me it all boils down to a simple question:

What's a mother to do?

Specifically, what am I going to do with this information when it comes to feeding my family?

A simple question with complex parts.  But an easy answer.

We need a Food Revolution.



I will share the war strategy...tomorrow.  Stay tuned.  I'm pretty stoked about this one.

Peace dear readers. 

-Great website discussing the Farm Condition:

*Statistic cited from:


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Doing all the wrong things with what we don't understand or agree with.

I was going to write about something else this morning, but my mind can't seem to get away from a few topics being discussed on facebook.

It started with this yesterday afternoon:

Go ahead and read the fine's too deliciously awful to skim over.

Did you just say WOW with me?  I find myself uttering it and shaking my head...smdh, in fb-speak, ...every time my eyes get pulled back to it.

(My friend, Brandon Mouser, posted it from another friend's page...he's been sHISdh over it too.)

Then, this morning, my favorite fiction author in the entire universe...Mr Ted Dekker...threw down the following:

"We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." -Jonathan Swift. It's a complicated, this thing we call "religion". But do you agree? If so, LIKE.


Finally...or not...because it seems to be one of those facebook days...Brandon Mouser wrote a thoughtful sharp important blog, entitled Lifeway, The Blind Side, and Narcissistic 'Pastors'.  If you follow me on facebook, you might have seen me re-post it this morning.  It is a blog addressed to Lifeway Christian Stores, over a recent issue.  You should go read it in its entirety, but I am going to post part of it here:

"Dear LifeWay,
The power of social media directed me to a story on The Christian Post about a decision you recently made to stop selling a movie called The Blind Side; a movie that you have sold in your establishment since its retail release in 2010 with no consumer complaints. That is, until Pastor Rodney L. Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church decided to petition the Southern Baptist Convention to get you to pull The Blind Side from your shelves because of the movie depicts a certain level of reality that he, apparently, just isn’t comfortable with, or because it depicts a reality that just isn’t Christian enough for his tastes.
And I get it. People using rough language, drinking, guns, gangs, drugs, poor folk, homeless folk, KFC, interracial families (by adoption), etc is definitely not a reality to which real Christians need be subjected. It’s much safer for real Christians to stay cocooned in their white, suburban, gated communities, far away from the sin and depravity of ‘those people’ on the ‘other side of the tracks’. God forbid a real Christian actually encounter this alternative reality… then they might actually have to take Jesus’ teachings seriously!"

Double wow!  Brandon, my friend, you get a standing ovation from me for those steppin on my toes, uncomfortably honest words.  

Truth:  I am all angry turmoil confusion inside right now. 

I think all of the above sums up to a sentiment held by a man I admire, one who has clearly seen how Christianity...and "Christians"...are viewed by the rest of the world.  That would be Mr Carl Medearis, former missionary to Beirut, author of several books, including Tea with Hezbollah, Sitting at the Enemies' Table...well, he's got more informal and formal titles than I could name...and he was once offered his own television show on Al Jazeera, to have the opportunity to share his faith daily.  

He paraphrase of what I've heard him say many times before:

I don't like to call myself a "Christian".  Not at all. I call myself a "Christ follower".  

Oh how I agree.  I even cringe a little these days at the word "Christian".

Not that I don't love Jesus.  Or hold my faith as immeasurably precious and dear.  I do.  But as Ghandi said so well, or perhaps it was Ann Rice...who knows with misquoted quotes these days:

"I like your Christ.  I do not like your Christians.  They are so unlike your Christ."

Boom. Ouch. 

When did our religion of love get hijacked by hate?

(I bet there are Muslims across the world wondering the same thing about their own religion right now.)

And I also would wager to guess I just lost a lot of you on that last sentence.  I am sorry to see you go, but I know the price one pays for having an opinion which contradicts the status quo, and I believe there are Muslims out there who don't actually hate you or me. 

The "religion" of Christianity was founded on's our whole unique deal which sets us apart from all the other religions of the world...

crazy irrational complete and all encompassing sacrificial love to the point of absolute death, love that gives all without expecting demanding brokering for anything in return...perfect love which does not demand its own way, but allows for complete acceptance or refusal of love's offer.  

Raise your hand if you have lived that way today.

Me either.

But that's the reality Christ's love calls us to...the true message of the religion of Christianity. 

Not hating avoiding belittling marginalizing judging mistreating ...afraid we are going to get sullied by the "World" if we interact with those heathen people that are going to Hell.  

Maybe I am making it too simple.  Perhaps it is foolish of me to believe Christ has full capability to deal with the sins of others...just as He deals with mine every single day...without my interference.   

When are we Christians going to stop making everything into an "Us against Them" mentality, with them being all those people out there who don't have the same faith as us.  Because I am pretty sure the only reason I am in the "us" category is because I made a choice.  Yes?

It is the same choice we Christians seem to hold out as our weapon of choice when breaking down the ranks of people in this world.  

The choice Christ died for to give us in the first place.

"For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE his only Son..."

Love freely lavishly given.  When will we learn this lesson?

I have a friend whose ex-wife once made this statement years ago:

"I never asked Jesus to die for me."

At the time I heard this, I thought it was the most horrible awful blasphemous words ever to be uttered.  I was very surprised God didn't strike her dead right on the me, I waited for it.  But there was no clap of thunder from the heavens, no displeasing voice damning her to Hell.

Because Christ's love is not a forced thing.  It is arms wide open waiting.  Just waiting.

Our love, human small conditional cannot truly fathom a love given fully and absolutely with no guarantee of love in return.  Love which continues to give its all even when we spit in its eye.

I truly believe the best course of action for Christ followers...take your word "Christian" with all its judging hatred and go away to love.

My prayer:  God, uncocoon me and show me how to love.


Always love wins.

(Even if one doesn't agree with the way Rob Bell explained it.)

Peace dear readers.  





Friday, May 25, 2012

Going home.

I know what they can never go home.


But you sure can visit.

Our family leaves next Friday on a road trip to Virginia.  People have been asking if I'm getting excited.  Honestly, not yet.  I am always excited for a road trip...going anywhere anytime, the open road, tunes, the adventure excitement unknown...the small towns, strange trees, vast bridges and eyes and soul devour it all.

But the preparation is a lot of work, yes?

My perspective all changed yesterday afternoon though.  My Onnie, our true Southern girl, was talking to her friend as I drove them to youth group and she was bubbling, glowing, bouncing a little in her seat...gushing about all we will do and eat when we get home. To Virginia. 

She made our hometown sound a magical Southern land, where apple butter and fried chicken fills every kitchen table, nighttime bursts with fireflies twinkling, and the weather is always perfect, be it humid rain, sweltering heat, or gentle breeze. 

Was it just the innocent and cloudless filter of childhood she was remembering through?


But there was another clue in her words which pointed to the magic of home.

In every sentence out of her mouth, there were names attached- Nana, Papa Larry, PoPo, Gamgam. Papa Ron. Granny and Pa Meador, Granny Lumsden, and Grandma Hurst.  Uncle Grandle and Aunt Alice.  All my precious Aunts and Uncles, and Ron's too.  The girls' Uncle Ben and Aunt Michelle, and first cousins Luke, Gabe, Christian, and all their other cousins too...I could go on and on. 

Relationships make places and memories special, yes?

And there was more...

Laura said to Onnie, "Virginia sounds like so much fun, and with so much to do!"

Onnie paused.  Replied:

"Actually we don't really do a lot.  We hang out with family and eat.  And play outside a lot.  There are no electronics in VA- you play in the woods and take care of chickens, and pick vegetables.  And you eat really good food.  It's awesome!"

Yes, that's and food, and playing and working together outdoors.  It really is that simple most of the time.  It does sound pretty awesome, doesn't it?

We are incredibly blessed with our large extended family.  I am humbled by the precious lessons they've reinforced in our girls, especially the value of contentment with the simple and free pleasures in life. 

I am not a huge Country music fan, but I feel this song sums up how we feel about the South, and about our hometown...the joy of simple things which bring deep contentment.

"Well it's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes
There's no dollar sign on a piece of mind
this I've come to know."

Truth, yes?  

Honest- I think I am pretty excited to go home now.

So, whether you are traveling this Memorial Day weekend, or staying at your home, I hope you will take a few moments to ponder the simple things in your life and be thankful for them, especially family.

Peace dear readers.


You know I like my chicken fried

Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I've seen the sun rise
See the love in my woman's eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother's love

Well I was raised up beneath the shade of a Georgia Pine
And that's home you know
Sweet tea, pecan pie, and homemade wine where the peaches grow
And my house it's not much to talk about
But it's filled with love that's grown in southern ground

And a little bit of chicken fried


Well it's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes
There's no dollar sign on a piece of mind
this I've come to know
So if you agree, have a drink with me
Raise you glasses for a toast

To a little bit of chicken fried


I thank God for my life
And for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died
The ones that give their lives so we don't have to sacrifice
All the things we love

Like our chicken fried

*Picture resourced from

Monday, May 7, 2012


Thoughtful words:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

As I sit here on a rainy Monday favorite kind of morning to be honest...watching the flickering flame of the lit candle on my desk...all this potential bubbling inside of me, with words, sounds and mental pictures, this quote speaks to me.

Honest:  Today I feel like a cluttered and broken down shack.  My fears, hurts and hang-ups loom large.

I have dreams inside me too but I know my limits.  A cottage sounds nice, yes?  Cozy, which is my favorite word to describe a home.

However, a palace...castle...Wow.  I imagine one on cliffs by the ocean...Prince Eric's castle in The Little Mermaid...fresh seafood every night...les poissons les poissons. 

But that seems impossible, for me anyway.  I would be glad if I evolved into a water-tight dwelling that kept the cold out. 

Hope: God doesn't have my limits.  He sees all the potential inside you and me, and says to us:

"This is quite easy for me, if you will let me."

In the book of II Kings in the Bible, three Kings and their armies were commanded by God to invade Moab.  They assembled, marched for seven days...and then they ran out of water.  Man and beast were about to die of thirst.  Needless to say, they were angry and confused...if God called them to this task, why were they going to die painfully without even attempting what they were called to do?

They found a man of God- Elisha- and asked him to inquire of the Lord.  (Back then...before Jesus...talking to God was a little more complicated.)  He did inquire of the Lord, and said they were to dig ditches all over the valley because God was going to bring much water they would need the ditches to hold it all...and even more astonishingly, He was going to bring it without wind or rain.

*This is the point where you are sitting in the shack in the middle of a hurricane, about to be blown away, drown, or knocked unconscious by steel beams whistling by...and God says He's about to move you into a have zero resources and there's no castle in sight...

Honest- those Israelites were probably thinking this was crazy talk.  Elisha finishes up this dramatic speech with a gauntlet, a challenge, a promise...

"This is easy for God to do.  He will also hand Moab over to you."

And boy, did He!  The next morning, water rushed the valley, the Moabites mistook the sun shining off the water as pools of blood and thought the three armies had slaughtered each other.  They decided to go plunder the camp and marched right into a trap. The Israelites were one hundred percent victorious.  Oh, and they weren't thirsty anymore either.

But did you catch that?  This is easy for God to do.  Turning my shack into a living castle is easy for God to do. Sure, it's going to be work...the armies had to dig the ditches in the blazing sun with wracking thirst...but it's not a hard thing for God.  I only have to be willing to trust His promise, face my fears, and allow Him to beat down closed doors inside of me to build a new, strong foundation.

What would a castle feel like anyway?  Hmm...peace, joy, security, contentment...all my needs provided.  Doesn't mean an endless holiday, storms and invading armies and famine will still come.  But the walls will be strong and the resources plentiful to withstand any attack.
Do I want that?  In the deepest, most guarded parts of my I truly want that?
Yes, please.  Times a million trillion.
Peace...and yes, work...dear readers.

*Above image from

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Shoeless and crazy in America.

Yesterday was One Day without Shoes, a TOMS company creation to bring awareness to children all over the world that do not have shoes, and all the health and safety hazards they face each day on bare feet.  You can learn more about this important day at

My girls were all up for it yesterday so I agreed to let them go to school shoeless, bringing their shoes in the backpack with them.  I was proud of them for looking outside themselves to focus on others in need.  Overall their experiences were good...although Thunder Ridge was very resistant to barefoot students.  I understand the health code issues- I honestly do.  I told the girls to be respectful to teachers and administrators, and put their shoes back on if asked.  Surprisingly, Ainsley fared the best at her elementary school, able to keep her shoes off most of the school day and share the "One Day Without Shoes" message with many.  

But let's face it...going shoeless for one day is a smallish thing.

Or is it?

I decided to go shoeless too yesterday...wanting my girls to see they do not give or sacrifice alone...this is a family and we do things together.  I didn't ask Ron to be involved simply because he has been swamped and stressed at work.  Doubt he could do field tests without his boots either.  I digress.  I was barefoot most of yesterday and learned a lot. Sadly my observations were not as  focused on barefoot children as they were on myself and our society. 

Observation 1- No one notices what is on your feet until there is nothing on your feet.  Then every person on the planet notices your feet.

Observation 2- Apparently only mad crazy mentally unstable people walk around barefoot in America in public.  At least that is how everyone reacted to me.

I was completely unprepared for how prideful I really am.   Ouch.

But let's do a quick poll- Raise your hand if you would head to the grocery store right now without shoes on?  Completely barefoot. Would you?   Some of you might be up for it, but I know others are saying Are you insane? 

I started out small early in the day...taking a forgotten lunch box to Ains at her school.  Okay, not a big deal- Walk into the building, transverse the three steps to the attendance desk and state my request.  The attendance office is a big window so no one can see my feet anyway.  When I got out of the van and put my left foot down on the pavement I actually felt the uneven pebbly.  I made it to the door, pep talking myself along the way, really trying to be light carefree.  Or dedicated purposeful. 

But honestly

I felt naked.  Who knew missing shoes could make one feel like they'd left their pants at home?

Things didn't go quite as planned inside the school.  The office called for Ains to come down to get her lunchbox so I had to wait in the chairs...the ones positioned just far enough from the attendance window for one's feet to be in full view of whomever might be in the office.

I tried fiddling, reading things on the wall...I left my phone in the car...curses Why did I do that??? couldn't even aimlessly browse Facebook or figure out better ways at losing on Words with Friends.  I was tempted to walk over to the Music Room door and stare at the orchestra sign-up posters but that would involve walking...drawing attention to my bare I stayed put.  The principal came out of her office and scowled at my feet.  Or maybe that was my overactive imagination.

Four hours later when Ainsley showed up to collect her lunch box...or it could have been four minutes...I had broken out in a sweat.

I hugged her and hightailed it out of there.

Now I know what you are thinking right now because I was too.

If this was such a stressful experience for me then why in the world was I doing it?  And what exactly is the big deal with walking around barefoot?

Well I generally like to fit in not stand out. As a writer and a female, I want my personality to be what shines more than anything else.

Having bare feet be the reason I'm standing out?? 


That's just me. 

As for my second question above...what's the big deal?  If you are asking that one you have clearly never gone into public barefoot.  I refer back to my poll.   

After arguing with myself and my stupid pride for five minutes sitting in the Wal-Mart parking lot I got out slammed the door and walked into the store.

With my shoes on.  Feeling like a loser quitter. Are you disappointed in me too?  Yes that is acceptable.

But then something interesting happened...

My boldness grew and my fears lessened with each step, and back in the milk section I ripped those flip flops off my feet and stuffed them in my bag.  I felt free.  I felt good.  I felt...

Naked again.

But I was determined this time.  I was gonna talk to people...I am good at that...and tell them about the important reason I was barefoot.

What I wasn't prepared for were the looks people gave me.

Fear pity anger disgust.  Like I was absolutely bat dung crazy.  Every single person I passed on that unusually busy Tuesday morning noticed my feet.  And all of them almost ran from me.

I was prepared to be approached by an employee or manager asking me to put on shoes.  That didn't actually happen. 

But I wasn't prepared to be the crazy woman.

I didn't dialogue with anyone except for the cashier and she basically told me I was stupid for not wearing shoes in public, regardless of the cause.

Such a...

crappy experience.  Just honest.

I learned I am more prideful than I realized.  Sometimes it is important to stand out make waves be the different one.  I fear that.

I also learned how much society views those differences as negative scary unapproachable.

Further I learned going barefoot is truly frightening from a health perspective...what in the world was I stepping on?  In this country we have fairly sanitary surfaces that we encounter each day.  I couldn't fathom being a child and having to walk barefoot over rocks dirt glass rotting sewage...horrific.

Bottom line- Days like yesterday help all sheltered me to sincerely grasp what others around the world face on a daily basis.  In a way I can't conjure in my mind unless I actually take my shoes off.

The takeaway- It was uncomfortable.  I am glad it was.  I wish I would have been bolder.  I am glad I did it. And I am so incredibly proud of my three girls.

Next year we will make and wear t-shirts too.   


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Notions on Love, Hunger Games style.

 I promised at least one more writing about The Hunger Games, yes?

I have seen the movie twice now and loved it more the second time.  Can't wait to see it a few more times...hope it parks at the Elvis for a good long while. 

But, one thing I did not care for in the movie version was the light and vague treatment of Katniss and Peeta's deep connection before The Reaping. It's only a moment- in the rain- but it means everything to the story. 

This is what truly happened, from the book source, Katniss speaking:

"When I met Peeta, I was eleven years old, and I was almost dead." I talk about that awful day when I tried to sell the baby clothes in the rain, how Peeta's mother chased me from the bakery door, and how he took a beating to bring me the loaves of bread that saved our lives. "We had never even spoken.  The first time I ever talked to Peeta was on the train to the games."

Katniss often refers to Peeta as "the boy with the bread".  That is her endearment of him when all other confusing terms conveying her feelings for him fail her..."the boy with the bread".  But that says it all to us, doesn't it?  That phrase sums up his deep connection with Katniss' soul...he sacrificed himself to save her.  And he does it again and again.  Because he loves her. 

I keep being reminded of this:

"Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for another."

I feel I am not learning this lesson and that's why I continue to see it everywhere.  Real and lasting affection means placing one's own selfish wants needs desires below the Beloved's.  It means sacrificing self to bring joy and peace to the one you love more than yourself.  And that's really the key isn't it...loving someone more than we love self.  It's easy to love our children this way, but it's a harder thing to be give all our power hopes dreams future...over to another adult human being, isn't it?

We usually get a different perspective on love from media.  Pop culture tells us to please self, to end relationships where we aren't getting what we deserve...I have used that phrase before too.  Ouch.

But the lasting stories, the ones that won't leave our minds, are love stories based in sacrifice. Katniss and Peeta, Jack and Rose in Titanic, Colonel Brandon and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, Aragorn and Arwen in Lord of the Rings, Rochester and Jane in Jane Eyre, Brad and Paradise in The Bride probably didn't recognize that last one but it's okay, these are just some of my favorites.  I am sure you have plenty of your own.  Although usually in these stories, there isn't equal person loves and sacrifices more than the other.  This is true in life also, yes?  It is rare to find two people in a committed loving relationship who sacrifice takes deep connection and maturity.

Truth- I love the character of Peeta.  He's so good.  If we are honest, we realize Katniss doesn't really deserve the deep and sacrificial love he has for her.  Don't misunderstand me, she is a noble female hero.  But she is selfish with her love too.  She withholds, out of fear.  And she can't figure out what to do with Peeta's love or how to reciprocate, other than feeling she is amassing an emotional debt she can never repay.

Truth- Sometimes you have to just to accept it.  Treasure it for all it is...a gift of another's heart you can never be worthy of.  Then endeavor to give your own heart in return. 

Still pondering love.  And adore that boy with the bread.


Monday, April 2, 2012


There is a thought scraping around inside me this morning.  It is the notion of being uncomfortable.
   I witnessed something peaceful and beautiful yesterday...people being broken real uncomfortable.  The new church we are attending just had their teaching pastor resign. He was a kind man who did more than teach, he connected with people, visited the hurting and had Bible studies in great little coffee shops.  He was loved.  His resignation has been a month long process in which he continued preaching, visiting and doing the nifty Bible Study.  But the people at our church are hurting over his leaving.

So the elders of the church did something new...they didn't just plaster happy smiles on their faces and demand the congregation soldier on. They set aside yesterday morning for prayer and worship and the coolest part- an open mike at the front of the auditorium for people to come and share whatever they wished...a word, some scripture, their brokenness, or maybe some encouragement.  About twenty people shared- some made us smile or nod our heads in agreement, others made us cry resonating their pain in our own hearts. My Onnie even shared...she is terrified of speaking in public but she marched right up visibly shaking and said- "I don't like speaking in public, so I am gonna let God's word speak for me".  Then she read verses out of James.  It was beautiful and I was proud. 

Ron Martin, a respected and wise leader in the church, brought up the uncomfortable bit...the part I can't get out of my mind.  Here are my thoughts on it:

Being uncomfortable isn't fun.  It certainly isn't what we would choose for ourselves...we would surround ourselves with endless security and a static environment if we could, yes?  But there's no growth in that. No chance for God to reshape our insides, molding melting erasing all that keeps us from being all He has created us to be.  Hint:  All He has for us is beyond the greatest we can even fathom for ourselves...He made us, every detail of our being, all creative unique...and He knows exactly what will fulfill and satisfy our deepest needs and desires.

As you know if you've been reading my blog more than a week, I do not like change. Sometimes I enjoy the chaos of change...all adrenaline pushing me toward a goal...but the actual change...newness different unknown...of change, terrifies me. I suppose that's because I've lived long enough to know change doesn't always work out for the better immediately.  It usually does in the end but it's all the painful in between which freezes me solid. 

But what if we could chance being uncomfortable for a season?  What would we gain?  I believe we would gain wisdom insight clarity strength and patience. Being open and available to all we have dreamed but never chanced to hope might come true.  Hmm.

What if? 


Monday, March 26, 2012

Words giddy true.

Perusing floral velour paisley river ducks...

Hmm. So many words this morning.  Interesting words.  Weighty words.  Giddy words.  I was looking for inspiration this morning but instead I keep getting all these words.

And this song.

Man is indeed a giddy thing. 

"Love that will not betray you dismay or enslave you it will set you free..."

Yes please. 

"There is a design, an alignment to cry of my heart to see...The beauty of love as it was made to be."

Truth- God is the beauty of love as it was made to be, in absolute completeness.

Oh how I love a good and true song. All lyrics every note true passion.

Peace indeed readers.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Midnight at the Movies

Yes we went.  Of course we did.  There are a million things I loved about last night, but I will start at the beginning...but right before will say this-

This is not pretty prose today.  I've had three hours of sleep and do not have the most creative words or phrasing today.

Okay.  You've been warned. 

I was late to the Hunger Games phenomenon.  A friend recommended the series to me a couple of years ago, telling me it was so much better than the Twilight Saga.  Truth, yes?  But life passes and I honestly forgot about the recommendation.  But I trusted friend's assessment of the books and stuffed Hunger Games in Onnie's stocking for Christmas in 2010.  Sadly, she read three pages and put it aside. It was darker than she was accustomed. 

So the real hero here is Maise- her Language Arts teacher last year decided to have the class read it and she was hooked.  She had the other two books in the series read in two weeks, convinced Onnie to pick it back up, and since then has gotten countless friends and teachers to read the series as well.  It took me longer to pick it up again but I did and adore it...for so many reasons.

The movie is well done. I want to see it ten more times to catch all the details I missed last night.  I will not give anything away, but will say this-  there are many details in the world of Panem and within the stories themselves that could not be recreated for the movie due to the time constraints of a movie format, and continuity and pacing.  For example, the conversation in our van after the movie, with six teens and preteens, focused largely on the absent lamb stew.

As an avid reader and writer, I can't express the joy in hearing conversations centered around minute details of a quality book all of those kids have read.

The movie sticks very closely to the book.  There is an additional scene which is not in the book, but I feel it keeps with the integrity of motives of the characters and also works as perfect foreshadowing for Catching Fire.

I am sure I will write more about the movie...I have a few ideas for blog posts already in my head.  But the best moments of last night were with my older girls and my girlfriends.  And my daughters' very impressive friends too.   We had so much fun. 

 And the part that makes the writer storyteller part of me glow:

An entire entire North America worth of theaters...gathering and excited about a story of sacrifice oppression courage pain loss strength love hope.

 "The only thing stronger than fear is hope."    

And love. Love caused Katniss to take Prim's place at The sacrifice her life in order to save her sister.  Greater love has no man than this, that he...she...will lay down life for another.  There was some other sacrificial love in there, especially in the book, but I will not chance a spoil. 

So many themes I love.

And.  Finally...

Something more worthwhile than vampires for the youth of America to absorb.  Thank goodness.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We can feel so far from so close...

Rethinking everything.

I've loved Mat Kearney since Bullet released in 2004. That album was fresh and his sound was unlike any I'd heard before.  He's had songs on many TV shows, including Vampire Diaries, Bones, NCIS and 30 Rock.  I have been known to put his albums on shuffle repeat for days because his music is so impressive to me.

I love his latest song- Ships in the Night.  It's simple and deep. I just heard it playing consecutively on three different radio stations here in Denver- WayFM, Alice 105.9 and KIMN 100.3.  Love the love he's getting.  He is musical genius.

This latest song has thoughtful lyrics.  I can't get them out of my brain to be honest.  Relationships are struggle, that's for sure.  They are good ugly comforting painful joyful peaceful confusing exhilarating contentment despairing deep beautiful, such breathtaking beauty sometimes at the most painful places.  We are all still figuring them out- how they function and how we function in them.  How not to break each others' hearts.

"Feels like we're learning this out on our own
Trying to find a way down the road we don't know..."

Sometimes we are so fake about the places we find ourselves in... ignoring all we don't know how to fix.

But we are all broken with confusing how do we make this better parts, yes?  Honest says it's not better or worse than what I imagine, and with eyes wide open I say this is what it is...AND I am here willing to figure this thing out together.  Choosing to be emotionally messy and vulnerable with another human being with as many faults failures insecurities fears hopes dreams purpose  potential as all inside me too.

Love doesn't shun the ugly broken bleeding scarred and embraces and says This is me alsoLet's walk this out together, I'm here, not going never leave or forsake.  I still get stuck a little at that last part every time, even if God did say it first.  It remains so tough for me to comprehend on a heart level.  But to me that is genuine committed love with its eyes wide open. 

I do not have the solutions...all the working results of my words... figured out.  Not even close.  And my words might be naive.  But what if two people, the two equal parts of any relationship, believed and lived them?  Day and night through all dark and easy places? Of course it would take two...two people, two equal parts, working struggling living out those words equally for them to make any difference.  But what if they did?  What if it changed the future?

Like I said, rethinking everything.

Here's the song.  I hope you enjoy it and it makes you think as much as it has me.  I am posting the lyrics after the video link because they are important.  


(By the way, that picture at the top is of Mat and his wife Annie. )

"Ships In The Night"

Like ships in the night
You keep passing me by
We're just wasting time
Trying to prove who's right
And if it all goes crashing into the sea
If it's just you and me
Trying to find the light

Like ships in the night letting cannon balls fly
Say what you mean and it turns to a fight
Fist fly from my mouth as it turns south
You're down the driveway... I'm on the couch

Chasing your dreams since the violent 5th grade
Trying to believe in your silent own way
Cause we'll be ok... I'm not going away
Like you watched at fourteen as it went down the drain

And pops stayed the same and your moms moved away
How many of our parents seem to make it anyway
We're just fumbling through the grey
Trying find a heart that's not walking away

Turn the lights down low
Walk these halls alone
We can feel so far from so close


And I'm at the airport waiting on a second plane
Had to pack and you had cramps and I was late
Headed to a red carpet they won't know my name
Riding in silence all that we wanna say

About to board when you call on the phone
You say "I'm sorry. I'll be waiting at home"
Feels like we're learning this out on our own
Trying to find a way down the road we don't know

Turn the lights down low
Walk these halls alone
We can feel so far from so close


And I'm gonna find my way
Back to your side
And I'm gonna find my way
Back to your side