Archive by Author

Take Off The Mask

17 Sep

“The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.”

–Ann Voskamp

The woman who looks in the mirror and believes the lies of who she is, by the reflection she sees. The face staring back at her is beautiful but she only sees imperfection.

The woman who says nothing because she feels like she has nothing valuable to say.

The girl who doesn’t fit in, instead choosing rebellion, because she believes no one really cares.

The woman who pours everything into her career, hoping to prove she has what it takes…only to find out the career has taken all that really matters.

The woman who fears that she has celebrated many birthdays, but has never really lived.

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Perfect friend. Perfect employee. Perfect appearance. Perfect intellect. Perfection…perfection…perfection.

The masks are real, and so many of us have them.

We wear them because we know them, they cover our insecurities. They become comfortable.

Stepping out of the comfort zone, removing the masks is scary. It makes us vulnerable.

It makes us approachable.

It makes us real.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

That Day Could Have Been My Last

16 Sep

That day, in June of 2009, was gray, as the rain poured from the heavens. We were in the process of moving, packing up all we owned to move to another state. My husband, and oldest son, were in the truck ahead, pulling a trailer behind. I was with our son and daughter in my Camry. We had one of the cats in her carrier in the back seat.

The rain was hard as we drove north on I-75 that day, as we crossed over Jellico mountain. I didn’t have the radio on, I wasn’t talking to the kids, absolutely no phones were used…I was concentrating on my driving in this east Tennessee summer deluge. I had no idea, as the minutes ticked, as rivulets of water poured across my windshield, what would happen…in one heart pounding moment.

There was so much water on the road. I was focused on driving behind my husband, and keeping an eye on the loaded trailer. My car’s tires lost contact with the pavement. The car jerked violently sideways, across lanes of oncoming traffic. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The moment froze, for what seemed an eternity. I heard myself scream. Then we were ripped back to reality, as the car careened across the interstate heading for the solid rock wall of Jellico mountain, that I-75 sliced through. In that one brief moment, the car jolted again, caught pavement and threw us backwards, like a sling shot, back across several lanes of traffic in the opposite direction. We went, 50 mph backwards down an embankment of dirt, all four tires blew out, and the under carriage of the car dug hard into the ground…before we hit the mountain of trees behind us.

After checking the kids (we were all seat belted in) and the cat, and realizing we were all okay, I breathed deeply. Shock. Horror. Crying. Emotional. I called my husband, who was further up the road and had not witnessed the accident in the rain. I called the insurance company, and the police.  Some people stopped to make sure we were okay, some sped by with not even a glance. After my husband circled back around and the car was towed, we ended up in a small Tennessee town. We had to wait on a rental car, transfer all the stuff from the Camry to the other car…in the pouring rain. The church across the road was having a service. We needed boxes or bags to put stuff in from the totaled car. We walked over. We looked soaking wet, emotional, and bone tired after hours of the after math of the wreck. They could have took one look at us and turned away. Instead they took us in, fed us, and offered to help in any way that they could. They were Jesus’ hands and feet to us that evening. They were a living testimony of what it is to be Christ’s followers.

I look back on that day, and I still get goosebumps. I feel the terror of having no control over my car. It washes over me. I am very aware of the fact that it could have ended differently. If I had been going faster the car could have flipped, if the cars in front of me or behind me had been any closer, it might have been a multi-vehicle crash, if the tires hadn’t caught pavement when they did we would have went head long into solid mountain rock. If the car had hydroplaned just less than a mile further up the road, we could have easily gone through a small guard rail and plummeted thousands of feet to our deaths, down the side of a mountain. I am grateful that the only thing destroyed that day was my car. God was merciful to us that day, in that moment. I don’t understand the reasons, as I know that so many aren’t as fortunate as we were.

One thing that I learned from this experience is this…..I am not in control. We all like to think we are, but it just isn’t true. We never have been in control. God, and He alone, holds our futures in HIs hand. Our days have already been numbered in HIs book, before even one of them came to be. I did not wake up that morning, thinking that that day could be my last….but, if it had been, I was ready. My son was ready, my daughter was ready. No question where we would spend our eternity.

Friends, do you have that same confidence? Do you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, where you will spend eternity? The start of your forever could be 50 years from now, or it could be this afternoon. Don’t leave your eternal destiny to chance.

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Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (We all do things that are wrong–sometimes others can see our sin, but sometimes our sin is hidden in our own hearts. We know it is there. None of us is perfect or blameless.)

Romans 5:8 “But, God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Jesus died for you. A perfect, sinless life, laid down to take your place. He knew that you would one day walk this earth, and when he took your place, your name, your face, was on his mind.)

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (It is not God’s desire for anyone to perish–but, that is what sin does to people, we die….that is why Jesus stepped in the gap between the darkness of sin that brings death and eternal life with the One true Living God.)

Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”  (This couldn’t be more simple. One cannot work their way to Heaven. The price has already been paid–you just need to acknowledge it.)

I Am Covered

15 Sep

I believe that there is no such thing as coincidence, only providence.

God’s divine guidance. There are no mistakes.

How many times am I guilty of being blind to the extraordinary of the every day?

My heavenly Father gives me the gift of Himself.

His handprints are all over this life that I am living.

There is no moment that is too small, or too insignificant.

There is no crisis too big, or too difficult for Him.

This life is woven in the tapestry of His grace, and I am covered.

Each moment is a gift.

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Today I am thankful for: 

*the golden colors of the fields, ushering in Fall

*the soft muzzle of a horse

*the unbridled enthusiasm of a 65 pound puppy

*fingers that fly painlessly over the keys

*popcorn popped in the old fashioned way

*brothers and sisters in Christ, singing truth

*wedding band glinting in the sunshine pouring through the kitchen window

*memorizing scripture, food for the soul

*fresh vegetables, given by a friend

*numbers on the scale going down

*a new stage in life, that even though difficult, is growing me

*health, may I never take it for granted

*the love of family and friends

*Jesus, who makes all things new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17 

There’s A Chill In The Air

12 Sep

The day began early, after a fitful night’s sleep. Normally, sleep comes easily to me, often times as soon as my head hits the pillow. I was up soon after the dimly lit morning got underway. After getting dressed, brushing my teeth and washing my face, I was ready to face the day. The cool morning air, ushered in by a large cold front from Canada, chilled my bare arms. I made a mental note to wear my jacket when I went over to the barn to feed the animals. The sky was gray and overcast on this Friday. It was just beginning to barely look like Fall, even though it is feeling like it.

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The greens of summer are starting to fade. The flowers of the field have turned to a golden yellow, and a few leaves are getting ready for their colorful Autumn parade. I listen as geese lift off from the pond across the road. I know geese can be messy and downright mean when they want to be, but I love to watch them flying in formation. They stick together, they work together, to make it to their destination.

The other day, at the grocery store, I picked up some canned pumpkin and some pumpkin spice. I love all things pumpkin and so, I have plans for (sugar free) pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin roll. There is something about this time of year, the scent of apple and spice candles, soft blankets, warm drinks, cooler temperatures and beautiful colors. A couple of months of blazing glory before winter sets in…..

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We Must Remember

11 Sep

Yesterday I watched a video filmed at George Washington University. These university students were asked what national anniversary was coming up this week. The majority of the students had no idea. Mind you, many of these young adults were in elementary school when terrorists took down the World Trade Center towers. Their ages were in the single digits when the heroes of the flight over Pennsylvania yelled, “Let’s Roll!”, before they took back the plane from the people that meant it for destruction. These students were learning how to read and compute basic math problems, when a plane turned the Pentagon into a blazing inferno.

It saddened me to see the students fumbling for words, scrambling for something to say. Completely unaware. They are now, like we all were before September 11, 2001. Blissfully ignorant. That Tuesday morning was a calm and beautiful, blue sky day. We naively went about our normal routine, never knowing that our world was about to change forever.

We live in a world where terrorism now makes the nightly news. Buildings blown up, embassies burned to the ground, people murdered, american journalists beheaded, Christians martyred because they refuse to convert, new threats of ISIS members crossing over our southern border, literally hell bent on our destruction.

If we don’t remember the terror we felt on that day thirteen years ago….we are doomed to repeat the scene. We cannot afford to be complacent. We need to remain vigilant. Our lives depend on it.

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A blog post from my archives.

I remember that day as if it just happened……..

 

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

 

 

A Different World

11 Sep

The day was normal. Just like any other. Elementary school children chattering with each other. My teaching assistant and I were working with our reading groups on that Tuesday morning. A sunny day, nothing out of the ordinary…and then a fellow teacher popped into my classroom to tell me to go and watch the TVin the school conference room. I excused myself, leaving my kiddos with my assistant for a minute.

I stared at the television, not comprehending what I was looking at. The plane, the World Trade Center, the fire and smoke. People everywhere. The second plane hitting the building. News anchors eerily silent as, even they, had no words for what they were seeing. Chills ran across me as I stared in disbelief.

I numbly walked back to my classroom. Knowing that life was different now.

I told my assistant to go to the conference room.

I looked at the faces of all my young students and realized that life as we knew it would never be the same. These children would grow up in a different world than I had.

And it made me so sad.

September 11, 2001

 

You Are Never Farther Than His Reach

9 Sep

Sometimes I go back through my blog archives and reread what I have already written. The words pour over me. They speak to me, take me back to where I was when I first wrote them……….Maybe you, like me, need to be reminded today, that Jesus makes all things new, and that no matter where you are at in life…..you are never farther than His reach.  

 

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He Makes All Things New

“Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.” –Sixteenth century poet

What beautiful words. And aren’t we all a work in progress?

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I thank God, when I come to the end of my road…it’s not really the end of me.

Jesus is new beginnings.

I thank God He didn’t allow my poor choices of the past…to define my future.

God is sovereign.

I thank God that my mistakes are only part of me… they are not ALL of me.

God is all knowing.

I thank God that His forgiveness, although undeserved, is abundant.

Jesus is love.

I thank God that He is holy and just… yet full of mercy.

God is compassionate.

I thank God that when I chose to turn away from Him… He never turned His back on me.

Jesus is patient.

I thank God that during my times of anger or indifference… He stood firm.

God is the Rock.

I thank God for second chances…and third chances…and fourth chances…

Jesus is the One that makes all things new.

I thank God, when I understood it was Him that I needed…

He is the One that said, “Come to me“.

I thank God that He is worthy of all my praise…

God is the One that hears me when I pray.

I thank God that He can and does make beauty where none existed. That He brings back to life, that which was dead.

God is a miracle worker.

“For nothing is impossible with God.”  Luke 1:37 NIV

Notebooks Full Of Words

8 Sep

Write them down. 

Keep writing.

Again and again. 

Add another. 

Never stop. 

See them. Really, see them.

Notebooks full of words, overflowing with eucharisteo. 

Thanksgiving. 

Evidence of His grace. 

Gifts, all of them.

Great and glorious gifts in the every day.

 

 

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Today I am thankful for: 

*a comfy bed

*a husband, whom I love, that is sleeping beside me

*early morning when most of the world is still asleep

*muddy paws and happy licks

*the crow of the rooster

*golden, blinding sunlight streaming across the fields

*feeling like the beauty of nature is all for me to see

*blue sky and puffy white clouds

*a morning chill

*looking forward to Fall

*breakfast while checking emails

*an email from my son at college

*the gift of friendship

*hearing another’s story and grateful that we crossed each other’s path

*joy for friends that will soon be married

*a sweet card of encouragement

*new recipes 

*a brand new week with endless possibilities

*love and laugher and living and losing all wrapped up in the days

Thank you, Jesus, for it all. 

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