Saturday, May 31, 2014


I have been dealing with a profound heartbreak for a little over a month now. And because the gaping wound was so raw and fresh and aching, it had been difficult to want to write on the blog.

When a bond, that was forged through blood, childhood promises, heart, smiles and tears, laughter and pain, finally is a devastating loss felt deep in the soul. The effect is crippling. When that bond breaks, and you know with an excruciating finality that it can never be repaired......the sadness is overwhelming.

The bond that went beyond friendship. The bond that was hands clasped tightly together, vowing to always be together. The bond that was very much firmly in place in every part of your being. A true heart mate.

Gone. Ripped away. Shattered. Forever.

How do you come back from that kind of loss? How do you stop reaching for the phone, only to remember that you can't make that call anymore? How do you recover from that kind of death?

I wish I could say that it gets easier. I wish it would feel easier. It isn't just the fact that the relationship is gone. It is the agony of missing what that brought to my life - the joy, the laughter, the challenge, the love. It just stopped. A bond that I never expected to break and lose forever is gone. And it hurts. And, I imagine it will always hurt. The loss of it. Without even the tiniest thread with which to rebuild, a door closed, never to be opened again. And will never be the same. There will always be a scar within me from this. And now every good memory is intertwined with the pain of the loss. And, perhaps, that is the saddest part of all.


Artwork by Judith Redman

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Can I Pray for You Today?

"How can I pray for you today?"

If you follow me on facebook, you know that I post this question daily. It is something that I felt challenged to do after seeing someone else post it several times. I never imagined the impact it would have.

Every single day I receive prayer requests. Most of them come by way of private messages. There are things that people don't always want to share with the world. Struggles that they don't need everyone to know about. Yet, they need someone to pray for them, with them, to agree with them, to talk to them, to listen to them, to love them, and to be loved by.

That simple question turned out to be not so simple at all. That question has changed me.

Prayer Warrior.

I have met some incredible prayer warriors in my life. I have been in awe of those who could pray for others. It was one of my greatest weaknesses. It was an arena I never wanted to enter. Then, eight years ago, God thrust me into the praying arena in a very public way. And, oh, how I fought him on it.

I was in line at the Dollar store and I heard two women behind me talking. One woman was talking about the health/medical issues she was facing. And I knew God was telling me to pray for her. I was terrified. What on earth did he want me to pray? I wasn't good at that sort of thing. And in front of all these people? No way! I was going to look like a freak. How was looking like a freak going to be a good Christian witness to others? It wasn't! (I will come back to that nonsense later.) I hurried through the line and back out to the car where my family was waiting. And I sat there. Practically hyperventilating. I felt on fire. I was sick at my stomach. And I couldn't move. My husband asked me what was wrong. I told him as tears streamed down my cheeks. He let me talk it all out. We watched the woman walk out of the store. And behind her walked a woman that we knew to be a prayer warrior. Well, I thought, good. She is great at praying , she will do a much better job than I ever could. I waited. The woman I was supposed to pray for walked into a fabric store while God's prayer warrior walked in the other direction. In shock, I looked at my husband who said, "I guess God wants you to do it". (I would like to point out that said husband seemed to be smirking at the time which did not go over well with me at all!)

I decided to wait until she came out of the fabric store to pray with her quietly and not in the middle of a store full of people. After 45 minutes of waiting, I sort of realized that God was pushing me but the window of opportunity would be lost soon. I could feel the door closing. If I didn't walk into that store right now, I would miss it. Terrified, I went in to find this woman. All the while, I was imagining how crazy she was going to think I was. Finding her looking at quilting supplies, I quickly explained the situation and asked if I could pray for her. Turns out, she is a Christian. As I was praying for her, she was praying for me. We both cried and hugged. God was glorified. Whether I looked like a freak didn't matter and I didn't even care.

I wish I could say that was the only time God has had to push me to do that. There is nothing quite as strange as standing in the lingerie department of a store, praying with an 80 year old woman about a lump in her breast. Even at church, if I was asked to pray, I would freeze up. For years, I actually tried to justify not praying by saying that I believed a woman shouldn't lead prayer if there was a man present. I finally accepted it as my Christian duty to pray sometimes. And I just want to clear up any confusion - I am talking about praying publicly and with and for strangers or anyone not in my immediate circle. I could pray by myself all day long. I could pray quietly during service. I could pray over my family.

So you would think that asking how I can pray for people online wouldn't be a big deal, right? Well, you would be wrong! Even though, I have been praying for people for a few years, it was still difficult. And then I began posting this question daily on facebook. Now I am praying for people every day. It has been humbling and awesome. And it has increased and enriched my prayer life. So, just as I was getting comfortable with praying, I screwed up. Big time. Recently. As in, earlier this month.

Just so you can understand what a messed up person I am, let me paint you a little picture. I am on the prayer team at church. That means that I am up front at the end of service and I pray for and with people who come up needing/wanting prayer and/or seeking salvation. See the picture? Okay, here it comes. It was at an evening worship service we had. There was a couple I had never seen before sitting a few rows up from me. During worship, I knew I was supposed to go up and pray for the woman. I fought God on that for three songs. I had excuse after excuse. There weren't many people there so it would really be noticed and I would look like a freak. What if I scare her off? With the music playing, what if I can't hear her and I mess something up? Like if she asked me to pray for a renewal in her relationship with God and I start praying about her dog. I just kept putting it off. Then, I closed my eyes during the next song and when I opened them, the couple had left. I ran out to go after them. I could hear that door slamming shut. I searched outside, but they were already gone. The rest of that worship service I spent crying and begging God to forgive me and give me another chance.

That evening, at home, I talked to my husband about it. I asked why I couldn't be a prayer warrior. He looked at me funny and asked me why I thought I wasn't. Because it is a great weakness in me, I explained. And then he started talking about God using us in our weakness to be made strong and how what was once a weakness is now a strength. And then he got on me about my perfection issue.

Since I have been asking people how I can pray for them, my faith has grown. My weakness is becoming a strength. My prayers have grown. My compassion and love for others has grown. I have gained so much more than I have given in this. I am humbled. And like all warriors, I see my scars for what they are now, not as signs of defeat or weakness, but of reminders that I am still here to fight the battle, to continue to move toward victory, to carry on, and to learn from the mistakes that I made.

How can I pray for you today?

Love and Blessings!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

As the School Year Comes to a Close....

Only five days of school left for my youngest two children. I find I am busier than ever. Much busier than I was at the beginning of the school year. There are teacher gifts to acquire, papers and portfolios to read, a new schedule to dread...I mean, look forward to.

Summer clothes need to be dug out, only to find that they don't fit so a shopping trip is now in the works. Summer vacation plans need to be finalized. New menus and grocery lists need to be made. I need to find the summer boredom list to hang up on the fridge. And....I need to clean the house.

I really need to clean the house. We are in the process of re-modeling the house. Right now, we are in the kitchen. We have painted the walls, and we still need to finish the trim. Then, I get to go look at floor samples. I am quite excited about replacing the ugly 40 year old flooring we currently have.

Another reason I need to clean the house. My keys have been missing for over a month now. While I insist that it is clearly the work of mischievous little gnomes, my husband believes otherwise. I am a bit put out that he thinks I just misplaced them and haven't been able to find them and I tell him this most fervently. He, however, brings up my track record of losing my keys and glasses on a regular basis. In my defense about the glasses, I am nearsighted and therefore rarely need to wear my glasses when I am at home, so it is easy to forget where I last had them.

As busy as I am getting ready for summer break, I am looking forward to it. Spending time together as a family - is needed and wanted. We have puppies expected to enter our world in about a week or so. New places to visit. Old friends to connect with. New opportunities. My first book will be available (I am soooo excited about that). And road trips full of adventure......assuming I find my keys.

Enjoying my last few days of solitude before the summer adventures begin.

Love and Blessings!

Saturday, May 10, 2014


The first thing I think of when I see the word "Mother" is the Danzig song by the same name. I know what you're thinking, "Danzig?".  Teenage hormones, crush on the older high school guy who liked them.....I became a fan....until I moved on....... Don't judge me.

Bizarre right? Even though I would like to believe otherwise, it is probably bizarre. Just like the sound of my husband's "rooster" alarm in the morning immediately begins the Alice In Chains song of the same name, playing in my head. (Same hormones, different crush)

So what memories, songs, thoughts, meanings does the phrase, "Mother's Day", evoke within me?

A puzzle. A giant floor puzzle actually. I feel the eye rolls.

I have had a love/hate relationship with Mother's Day forever. I had my mom for the first few years of my life as a mom and then she left us. I had my grandmother but it was not the same. I loved my grandma (still do), but I could never quite move past the hurt of my mom leaving. I didn't have a mom. She was still alive, but she chose not to be my mom. And Mother's Day was a constant reminder of that fact.

I still struggled with the horrible Hallmark holiday even after having my own children. My husband's mother passed away several years before we married and he also hated the holiday (actually, he hated all holidays). He hated Mother's day because of the loving woman and relationship that he missed. I was so jealous of that. I had nothing to look back on and miss because I was missing what I never had.

Over the years, I have grown up. I began to find new ways of seeing things. I learned the art of perception and angles. Over time, I stood up and took a few steps back. That is when I saw the puzzle. And I realized I had been focusing on a missing piece instead of the beauty of the entire puzzle. There were so many other pieces that I took for granted. To mother means to raise up with care and affection. There are so many women who have done that for me. Even my mother in her own way. It may have been in pieces, but it was still a part of my puzzle.

My puzzle is far from complete. It gets added to daily. I am a mother after all. But, I can look back now with fondness at the first part of my puzzle. I can see the image clearly. And the missing piece? It no longer brings pain and anguish. Because the whole of it is a thing of beauty. Each "mother" in my life that left a mark and provided a piece to the puzzle. I am so thankful for them. The missing piece is not ugly to me now. It is part of what makes my puzzle, my life, my memories, my character, me....unique.

Happy Mother's Day!

Love and Blessings!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

34 Tuesdays

I Needed to Clear My Head....and Heart....

I took a very necessary break from the blog. I took on too much again. I was dealing with pain and hurt - physically and emotionally. There has been a lot that I have been processing these last few weeks. It has been difficult. I have felt both crowded and alone. Loved and rejected. Wanted and discarded. Weak and strong. Useless and needed. All at the same time. 

I have worked really hard this year to open up and be vulnerable. To tear down walls and make myself available. Stupidly, I believed that was the hard part. Smooth sailing from there. How wrong I have discovered that to be. Opening up has been the easy part. Feeling has been the hard part for me.

I have been known as an ice queen (and rightly so). Closed off and unfeeling. That was me. I could cut someone out of my life without a second glance, without guilt, without remorse, without sorrow or sadness....without feeling...anything. I'm not saying I was a robot or anything. I did feel things. I just kept people at arm's length. I fought personal connections. I was too easily hurt that way.

Yet, this year, I forced my self to really step out. It has been huge for me. It may look like I am in a shell to many, but this is leaps and bounds from where I've been. 

And I have been reeling from the magnitude of feelings that I have had to endure ever since.

I cared about people before, but I never allowed people to care about me. I didn't believe anyone did. So, I didn't care if anyone did because I never let them in. 

One day, earlier this year, a single text sent my world spinning and left me on the floor, sobbing and hyperventilating. I had sent someone that I cared (and still do care) about a happy birthday text. I had been praying for her and shared that with her. She is one of the best people I have ever met. She sent me a reply that said she valued our friendship. I was floored! I didn't know we were friends. I have never really done "friends" that well. How and when did we become friends? Seriously?! I asked my husband. His response was along the lines of, "Of course you're friends. What is wrong with you?". 

She was my friend. She is my friend. We're not "hang out on Friday night" friends. We've never hit a movie or dinner together. But I would walk through fire for her. She is the first one I go to when I need someone to pray. She is eloquent and encouraging. She is loving and giving and so funny and incredibly brilliant. We aren't best friends. But I can't imagine who I would be without her. Who my children would be. Who my family would be. She has impacted my family that much. She has helped to build faith in my children. She has put the Word of God into them. She has taught my family lessons in giving, kindness, prayer, belief, and love. She inspires. 

And my friend is my reminder now that when I am open and get hurt and rejected and abandoned, that I can also be lifted up and loved and wanted. (I'm suddenly reminded of the opening to the Facts of Life theme song.) 

I want to share a story about my friend before I go. This past Saturday, my friend was sick. Really sick. And she was missing one of her really good college friend's wedding because she was sick. She had asked me to pray for her. She was obviously devastated that she was missing the wedding. So, I put on my wedding dress, the family got dressed up (husband and son both wore ties!), and we rehearsed a mock wedding to perform in my friend's front yard. On the way to her house, I stopped at a store to pick up a slice of wedding cake (what's a wedding without cake?) and a restaurant to pick up chicken noodle soup (she was sick, remember?). Now, you can imaging the attention I got walking through both places in a wedding dress! Several people asked me questions and I briefly told them what I was doing. Every single person had the same reaction. They said, "Wow! That must be some friend for you to do that".  And that basically sums it up. She is that kind of friend. She inspires that. She is that amazing. She is that valued. She is that special. And I can't thank God enough for putting her in my life.

Here is your challenge - Who would you walk through fire for? What crazy or special or inconvenient thing can you do for that person? Do it! No excuses!

Love and Blessings!