Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My 500 Words ~ Day 1

Jeff Goins is hosting a writing challenge for January, 2014. And since I've been desperately needing to get back into writing regularly, I figured, why not?! The basic idea is to free-write 500 words every day. No editing, no critiquing, just get the words down. So here goes...

A new year, a new beginning, a new opportunity to become devoted to what truly matters…

So here I am, endeavoring to write 500 words per day every day this month. Thirty-one days times five hundred words equals fifteen thousand, five hundred words in all. See what I did there? I wrote out the numbers to make my word count grow faster. Clever I am, young padawan. And blank. Totally blank. I’ve got no clue what to write, even though the challenge page had a list of suggestions. Hmm…

I remember a time when I could write about anything, anywhere, any time. Life was always happening. Everything was meaningful and beautiful and bright. But now, now it’s like my muse has left me. I miss it so much! I envy the younger me, who was free to be, whose only obligation was to grow up and learn and experience life. If only I had known how good I had it. My youth was rough, sure, but my prisons then were of my own making.

Today, however, I’m trapped in adulthood. Money is tight. Time is tighter. Responsibilities exceed all possibility, with no end in sight. And yet it’s wonderful. Wonderfully crazy. Wonderfully hard. Wonderfully FULL - life now is so full. And while there are times when I would give anything just to get a break, there are many more moments that I wish would never end. Those moments in which my children’s laughter drowns out all other sounds, when a child’s smile is the brightest light I’ve ever seen, when a lingering hug contains all the power and love of God himself. Those moments are worth growing up for. They’re worth this prison of sorts, in which my goal is not just to survive but to teach these little ones about what life is. And life is beautiful.

The crumpled pages strewn about with crayon-drawn pictures, paper plates that should have made it to the trash, a random spoon hidden under a dirty shirt that hasn’t made its way to the laundry… these things are beautiful. The sink full of dishes, refrigerator overflowing with half-eaten meals and more condiments than any family should need, the crumbs on the counter where a boy made his own toast for breakfast, all eight cups cluttering the counter… all beautiful. Even the drips on the toilet seat, as annoying as they can be, the toothbrushes that someone forgot to rinse, and the laundry laying on the floor right next to the basket… God, thank you for this beautiful, blessing-filled life!

There are days in which I think I can’t stand another moment. The bickering of small voices drives me crazy. The refusal to do school. The messes made in anger. The sleep deprivation. A person could go mad! But somehow, every time I’ve reached my limit, just as I’m at the melting point and know for sure that this is the day I lose my mind, Love steps in and shows me the way. And I realize that, even now, life is always happening. Everything has meaning. The world may be dark, but my hope is bright. My old muse may be gone, but I’ve got a house full of new ones. I don’t really envy the younger me - she may have had it easy, but I have it better. I am still free, and I choose to be the best mother/wife/woman I can be. I am obliged only to the King of Kings, who simply asks me to follow His lead as I experience life. Perhaps I am not trapped in any prison at all.

Perhaps, after all is said and done, the only thing holding me back from a truly joyful life is the cell I’ve devised for myself, built out of good intentions, society’s negative influence, and fear. So I break down the walls. I cast off my fear. I toss society’s mumbo-jumbo in the furnace. Lord, take my good intentions and help me soar!

Friday, November 15, 2013


I've been wanting to write this post for a couple months, but Blogger didn't seem to want to load for me. I finally realized today that it could be a browser issue and installed firefox. Why Google Chrome won't let me use Google Blogs I'll never know...

Anywho, yes. We're taking a hiatus from the blog. So much is happening in all our lives that there's simply no way to keep up with everything. And as much as we love our readers, family and real life come first.

At some point - most likely next year - there will be a relaunch of the site, but for now we're offline. So, in the words of Ted Baxter, "Good night, and good news."

And in the words of Kathy, "Have a happy day!"


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Baby Necessities Giveaway!!

Hop on over and join in this BIG giveaway! Loaded with amazing products when you're expecting a new baby, this package will have you up and off to a good start! 

All by small companies driven to make sure each family can provide exactly what they need without all the extras and junk we don't want in our home or lives!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Missionaries at Home

Our reason for moving to the inner-city is becoming clear. We’re here to do ministry.

Some neighborhood kids (the same ones that have vandalized the house and our van before) tried to break our kitchen window again tonight. They banged on it repeatedly with various hard items. They knew that we saw them - one even waved at me - but they didn’t care about getting caught.

After the third or fourth time that they did it and ran off, I decided to follow them. I got Kalli on the leash, grabbed my phone, and marched down a dark alley to talk to the one kid's parents. I wasn’t the least bit afraid, but the heavy vibe of the street prompted me to pray, "Lord, give me the right words."

A half dozen or more men were on one porch talking, and another half dozen or so were playing basketball. But when I walked up, the ball and all other conversations stopped. It was like a scene from an old western movie, where the outcast steps into the saloon, and everything gets all quiet. It was an ominous situation, for sure, with the boy’s older brother telling me no adults were home and a group of young men crowding around me when I went to knock on the door anyway. They wouldn't let me onto the porch.

I stood my ground and calmly explained to the brother that his parents needed to know what was going on. Then the mom came outside, and let's just say that meeting their mother helped me understand the boys' aggression a little better. I tried to make it clear that I didn't want trouble but that we would have no choice but to hold them responsible if anything got broken. No respect; she wouldn't even look at my face and probably didn't hear a word I said. I think I’ll bake her some cookies tomorrow.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Camp NaNoWriMo is eating me alive.

I have’t posted about it here, but I did mention on Facebook that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, "An idyllic writers retreat, smack-dab in the middle of [my] crazy life." It’s basically 30 days for writing toward a self-appointed word goal while leaning on the moral support of a virtual cabin full of fellow authors. It’s like the National Novel Writing Month event that is held ever November by the Office of Letters and Light, except the goal is more flexible (you can set your own and write in any format, instead of shooting for a 50,000 word novel like everyone else).

I started my month of writing with every intention of building some blog content. But now I've got this story brewing, pouring itself out, begging me to keep writing. It's taking turns I never wanted to take, delving into a world about which I had no desire to write. It hurts and it's beautiful, it's grinding my heart to a pulp and it's building my hopes up. I don’t want to go there, but I can’t turn away. My mind is consumed with the thoughts of another life, of a girl who needs love. And now it’s my job to make sure she finds it, though her face is one I’ll never touch.

What a joy it is to be the master of a universe, and yet what agony it creates in my soul, knowing that, though I’d like to ease her pain, to write a happy ending, the characters that I have shaped are taking hold of their own stories and twisting them into a mottled mess of devastating freedom. To think that I could hold their destinies and yet allow such misery… I think I’m beginning to know how God feels, why He allows His children to suffer. It’s not that He wants it, but He loves us enough to allow us to write our own fates - even though it crushes Him.

Oh, Lord, let me please You with the choices I make. I don’t want to cause You the kind of crushing pain that comes from having your children go astray. Guide me in the way everlasting, that Your glory will rise among the nations! And let this story that’s consumed me be a tool for healing and uplifting hurting souls. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Anything Means Everything

 I'm currently participating in a small group of women reading the book Anything by Jennie Allen and using the Good Morning Girl's standard SOAP approach to Bible study to expand on the truths found therein. I can't do a regular book review, because it just wouldn't do it justice, so I've decided to share some of my thoughts on how it's affected my life thus far.

The problem with praying  an anything prayer is that it involves everything. I'm less than halfway through the book, and already my life has changed drastically.

You know the saying, If you give him an inch, he'll take a mile? Well it seems to fit my dealings with God pretty well lately. It's not so much that he's taking more than I gave; it's that I offered more than I realized. On page 57, Jennie states, "If anything has 'buts,' it wouldn't be anything." And that is so true.

I remember listening to that song by Meatloaf that goes, "And I would do anything for love, but I won't do that" play on the jukebox at the local pizza joint and thinking how stupid it was. I mean, how in the world can you say you'll do "anything" but then turn around and say, "Oh, I didn't mean that. Pick something else"? It just doesn't make sense. And yet, we all do it with God.

For me it was, "Sure, Lord, I'll be a missionary. I'll go to some exotic place and serve the poor starving children. Just don't make me give birth to them, because I'd really rather not get married. I'm thinking something like what Mother Teresa had. And remember that it has to be a third world country, because You know I don't like it here in America very much; the people are too selfish and ungrateful, and their sense of entitlement bothers me. Oh, and that third world country needs to have indoor plumbing so I can shower daily. And don't forget that I need to have access to the internet and eat a special diet and..." Okay, so I really wasn't quite that bad, but only because I was afraid to be. I mean, you can't disrespect God, right, 'cause He might strike you down with lightning or something.

Isn't that really how we all feel, though? We're willing to do something great, willing to sacrifice just so much, as long as our needs are met first and we don't have to step too far out of our comfort zones.

When I was 18, I offered my all to Jesus, thinking it would get me into a missionary situation similar the one I described above. A few months later I was married (I hoped to die an old maid) and pregnant (I really never wanted kids) and living in poverty in the US with little or no opportunity to minister to anyone other than my abusive husband (not exactly the mission field I wanted). But God still used me; I just didn't always realize He was doing it. I thought I had failed Him and He had scrapped His plans for me. Truth is, He knew what was going to happen all along. I just had to give Him full reign so that His Will could come to fruition.

And then I lost patience. Something about being treated like garbage while trying to protect your kids from their father's abuse will do that to you. "God, if this is the life you have for me, I want out!" I stepped out of His will, but He saved us anyway.

Several years later, I've just turned 30. I have SIX beautiful children, none of whom were planned by me but all of whom were planned by God. I'm engaged to a man that loves my children as his own and cherishes me in a way I'd never imagined possible. And I'm reading this book by Jennie Allen called Anything: the Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul. (It's pretty spiffy, but it makes me cry a lot.)

I've re-offered myself to God, and He is moving in fast!

One week into this spiritual commitment, I was presented with a situation that brought back all the pain of the hell that was my marriage. I obeyed God's leading whispers, and I experienced a profound release, a freedom like you can't imagine.

Two weeks in, my fiancé said he feels led to practice sexual abstinence until we can get officially married. That's a huge thing for a 28 year old guy who shares a bedroom with the mother of his child! I agreed, and the chronic infection that I've had for months faded away.

Yesterday, halfway through week three, the Lord revealed a piece of His plan for us that completely floored me (in a good way). All the pieces are starting to fit together, and I am so glad that my God knows better than I do what path I should follow and how to get me back on track when I stumble off in the wrong direction! I can't wait to see what he does over the next five weeks and beyond...


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Get Free, Stay Free

From Wednesday on last week, I got up late and missed my window of opportunity for uninterrupted Jam time. (My alarms didn't go off. I set 5 or six of them to go off at 15 minute increments, because some mornings it is just physically impossible for me to get out of bed. But anyway...) So yesterday Alex agreed to let me ignore the world for a while to catch up on the study.

Galatians 5 killed me.

After Saturday's events, I was starting to feel broken again, like the wound that never properly healed was ripped wide open, I was mostly numb but wanted to feel, just like before, when shutting down was the only way to survive, and I was worried that it would take me a while to get back on my feet emotionally. It seemed like I had a long way to go, because healing from abuse typically takes quite a long time.

But God!

That first verse... Not just that Christ set us free for freedom, but the second part: "DO NOT let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery." That's what was happening to me on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The enemy had grabbed a foot hold while I was doing God's work. While I was sharing certain details of my past with a woman who was >thisclose< to putting herself in my shoes (the old ratty ones that no one should ever have worn) the devil found a piece of fear in me, clung to it, and started trying to convince me that I wasn't free.

Satan's a liar, you know.

I read that verse (Galatians 5:1) and broke down. Then a song came up on Pandora that put me literally on my knees, sobbing. And all the pain, all the guilt, all the fear, all the what-ifs and if-onlys are gone. Jesus took it all! I am free - completely 100% FREE from the hell that was my reality. It is over. And I never have to be enslaved by it again.

This weekend marked the point at which I moved from trying to serve God while coping with life to really living in servitude to His Will. And now the only thing that matters is my faith expressing itself through love.

God is good, people. Let Him have your burdens today.