Not On This Journey Alone

I have been off the grid, so to speak, for a few days. Monday I received my Trim Healthy Mama book, by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. These two ladies are sisters. Their book is a common sense guide to satisfy your cravings and energize your life. I’ve been reading. I’ve been online, talking with people from the THM groups. I’ve been making new foods and drinks. I’ve been kind of consumed with it over the past few days.

I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an auto-immune disease of the thyroid. I was diagnosed with this disease 30+ years ago, at the age of 14. If you know anything about the thyroid, it is a gland that is part of the body’s endocrine system. In a nutshell, the thyroid is the powerhouse behind ones metabolism, or in my case, the lack there of. Sigh. Now, doctors and researchers are finding out that those with Hashimoto’s have a higher chance of also having gluten intolerance/sensitivities. Things one used to eat when younger, can no longer be handled as ones body ages.  This makes sense to me, as I have been feeling blah, tired, bloated and just “not right” for the past several months. I never knew how much gluten protein is in everything! Sigh again. It doesn’t seem fair.

Since I’m being totally honest, there are times when I feel “less”. Not enough. I look in the mirror and  long to see my 21 year old self look back at me. The one who was slender and fit. The one who felt good. Those nagging voices shove their way into my conscious thoughts, tearing at my self- esteem. “You won’t feel better. You won’t look better. Just accept that your body is letting you down.” I don’t want to give up. I want to be healthy, strong, feel good, and look good…again. I’ve always been a resilient and determined personality. Quiet, but determined. And yet, there are days that are more difficult than others. These  health issues (weight/metabolism, gluten, auto-immune) are difficult to deal with sometimes. Alright, at times they are a real pain…both literally and figuratively.

But, I know this…….

God is with me, even in this. The God of all the universe cares that I am feeling down about my health issues. He cares when I am frustrated or when I am struggling. He sees me on my good days and my not so good days. He is in my corner. He loves me no matter what. Does this mean that I am suddenly going to have perfect health? No. Does it mean that I am going to look like I did when I was 21 again? No, probably not. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be peace among the pain. Prayer instead of panic. Praise even in the midst of the storms that life throws at all of us.

Maybe you are not dealing with health issues. Maybe for you it is a difficult relationship. Or a career that is stressing you out. You could be facing life threatening circumstances, or living through a trauma. It might not be that extreme for you, it might be simpler, but  the burden wears at you on a daily basis. We all have our “things”.

We need the reminder.

We’re not in this alone.

Even when life is frustrating or scary, we are not on this journey by ourselves.


Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:29-30 NIV




What Is Your Destination?

*Today’s Thursday’s 3/6/14 Writing prompt : Taking the journey.                                                                                                Our writing prompt today kicks off {The Journey Series} inspired by themes of Lent. Week #1.


A journey is not a short trip. A journey is usually long, taking days, weeks, or in some cases years to arrive at the destination.

As a follower of Christ, my final destination is not Earth. My entire life, in the here and now, is a journey. It is preparation for what is to come. I am here for however many years the Lord deems to give me. None of us know how long our journey will be. Let that sink in. We really don’t know, do we? It could be today, or tomorrow. Next week? Six decades from now?

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:9 

God has a purpose, a plan, for each of us. (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil,to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) I don’t know about you, but so many times I go “off road” from God’s map for my journey. The journey then takes twists and turns and I get jolted around. I’m left wondering how in the world I ended up in this place? I ask for help, and He takes a hold of  me, and lifts me out of the pit. He puts me back on the path.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV

How will I choose to spend my days on this journey? Will I  hear the Lord say, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Will I be like Isaiah and say, “Here I am Lord, send me!”

Will I be fearless? Will I be nervous and scared?  Will I stay the course because I know that my Father has my back?

The trek might be hard and difficult at times, but I am a warrior on this journey of life.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 NIV


I Realize…

Today’s writing prompt pertains to the life journey. At Faith Jam we spend time discussing what God is doing in our lives,  how He has changed us, how we have grown, and what we have learned through the process.

 Writing prompt: What I’m Learning About Myself.


The Top 10 Things That I Have Learned About Myself And Life…..

1. I realize that life is short. When looking through the scope of eternity, whether we take one short breath in this world, or live to be one hundred years…it is all brief in the scope of eternity.

When my grandparents passed, my first husband died of an incurable heart disease, or when my father ended his life too soon, I realized that it doesn’t really matter how long someone has….it never seems enough. All relationships end. No one really likes to think about it, but it is true. When walking down the aisle, eyes full of love, the words “until death do us part” don’t seem real. Until it happens to you. And it will. No one makes it out alive. I know some of you are probably thinking how morbid I sound, but if one can’t live with the knowing that it won’t be forever, they will never fully appreciate the moments they have. Sure, the small irritations of life, are still there, but the perspective changes. I look at relationships with different eyes now. This perspective makes life richer.

2. Tell the people you love, that you love them. You need to say it, and they need to hear it. All the time. Every day. Don’t let things go unsaid, because regret is a bitter pill to swallow, and no one likes the taste.

3. Say you are sorry. It is humbling. I am not perfect, and neither are you. It is okay to be wrong sometimes. Just admit it.

4. There is always good to appreciate. I’ve always been a voracious reader. My life has been consumed with the written word. About three years ago, I came across One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. There are only a handful of books that have changed my life. (the first and most important, the Bible) Ann’s book talks about how all of life is a gift and we need to list out our thanks to God for all the ways He gives us daily gifts. It was life changing for me, because she opened my eyes to true appreciation and thankfulness for God’s blessings.

5. Music transcends. Music touches the soul, like nothing else can.

6. I try to keep my heart tender towards others. Yes, I’ve gotten teased because I cry at TV shows or Hallmark commercials. I don’t like for people to cry alone…I’m right there with them.

7.God loves me. He loves you. He loves us so much that He took our place on a cross. A cross that was the bridge between us and God. There is nothing in this world that will ever be more important than this relationship. People have said, “I’d die for my faith”, and that is true, but I’d much rather live my faith. Every day for Him. If I had nothing else in this life, I’d realize that HE is enough.

8.Friendships are important, they are the glue of life. Laughter, talking, goofing, hugging, shopping, joking, crying, sharing….. true friendships are awesome. Cultivate them whenever possible. They are worth it. My husband is my best friend, and I am thankful every day that we were brought together.

9.I love nature. It brings me a deep peace to walk outside and see God’s creativity. I realize how small I am in this big world. I stand amazed. Even feeding the animals becomes less of a chore and more of a joy when the perspective is one of amazement.

10. Spend time each day doing what you love. It will make you a better person, and it will bring you joy and that will show to others.



The Road That Leads Home


Home Driveway


I live down a country road.

There is not much traffic on the road. It is fairly quiet, most of the time.

After a short jaunt, or a long trip, it is always nice to see the road that leads to home.

Knowing I’m almost there…


This day I am reminded of another road that leads home.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20 NIV

I am just a pilgrim on a journey.

On the road.

On my way home.





Do I Want To Change The Story?

Photo of TomTom Go 500

Image via Wikipedia

I have mentioned that I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. After going through the first chapter, and discussing it with the book club, here are some of my insights.

Even if you haven’t read the book, I’m sure you can relate.

(pg. 14) “Does God really love me? If He truly, deeply loves me, why does He withhold that which I believe will fully nourish me? Why do I live in this sense of rejection, of less than, of pain? Does He not want me to be happy?

I admit I have that thought sometimes. On days that I presume that I know so much more than God, I’m sure that my plan will work. If He would only allow me to have my way, everything would work out for me. I would live happily ever after. Doesn’t He love me enough to let me do this on my own? Why can’t He just let me? Doesn’t He want me to be happy?

In my mind I have it figured out, but….in my heart I don’t really feel it. My heart knows that I am not capable of writing my own story. I am the same one who is scared of mice, burns toast, and is directionally challenged. I can’t handle the most basic things of life and I know I am helpless to even try with the harder things. I fail. Without Him, I fail. Every. Single. Time.

And yet, I still want the control. The ability to run my story, my way. I want to stamp my life with, I CAN. I WILL. I KNOW. I DID. I want to be in the driver’s seat of my own destiny. My life map spread out before me. MY voice, the one giving directions through the GPS of my story.

My hubris knows no bounds.

(pg. 15) “Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.

If I’m completely honest with myself. Really honest…isn’t that how I feel? How about you?

The life we live, is hardly the life we planned. We wonder if there isn’t something more in the 24 hours a day? When years turn into decades, do we look back with gratitude? Or grief?Peace or regret?

(pg. 21) As Mrs. Voskamp tells the story of her brother-in-law, a man and his wife that lost two of their young sons to a genetic disease. She struggled with her nephew’s deaths. She told this grieving father, if it were up to her….she would write the story differently. He replied, “Just that maybe…maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”

It’s true. I don’t know what the ending holds.

God does. He knows.

I could attempt my own story. I could fight. I could scratch and claw my way through life. Constantly grabbing back, what I feel is mine to have. Wishing…screaming….for things to be different.

If I do that, I will miss the things. The small things. The every day things. The things that bring joy. If my eyes are riveted, by pride, to all I do not have, I will completely miss all that I do have. I will miss all the ways that God has said yes to me. There is peace and joy in the every day…if I deliberately take the time to see it. And thank God for it.




Living Life, Fully In The Moment

Laughing girl

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

We all struggle in this life.

I, along with you, want to live life fully…but, I confess I don’t know how on most days. I am a failed perfectionist. I like my life to be ordered and understandable. How many opportunities have I missed because they didn’t fit in my schedule? I hadn’t penned them in my Daytimer? I was too busy to slow down, and with that I missed some of God‘s most extraordinary moments for me. Although my life here on earth will never be perfect, and even though I mess up on a daily basis, God remains gracious. He gives me more opportunities to slow down and communicate with Him. More than I deserve.

Sometimes the day to day living gets in my way. My eyes are too eagerly set on my plans for tomorrow, to stop and enjoy the exquisiteness of today. I often times forget that I am but a pilgrim on this journey. This place is not my home. I was created for something so much more. God knows this. He reminds me of it, if I will only take the time to stop and really see…… to see His moments.

As much as I enjoy the beauty of this world, I am aware that this world is just a shadow of what is to come. In my quieter times, this thought crosses my mind. My breath catches in my throat and my eyes tear up as I contemplate what that truly means.

How many of us dare to live fully? I’m not talking about risk taking, or defying rules. I’m talking about slowing down enough to savor the wonderful gifts that God chooses to give us. To fully appreciate the joy of each day, regardless of the weather, how much money is in the bank, or whether or not  everything is checked off on the to do list. When was it that we fell asleep at the wheel?

Do you understand that life is really not about those  lists of things? Do you really? If you are like me, you say you do, but so many times I know I don’t truly comprehend the depth of it. So many times I rush head long into the day, never looking back, and then before I know it, it is time to go to bed. Where was the enjoyment? The abundance? The moments?  Oh, they were there. I was just blind to them.

When I think about that….it makes me cry. How many years have I wasted in my rush to the finish line? How much of  what God  offers, have I chosen to ignore?


Dare to Live Fully

Open your eyes to ordinary amazing grace. Life is sometimes dark, gritty, and tough, so how in the world do you find joy? How do you live really, fully alive? How do you see what God is providing right here? How do you find God?


The In Courage group is starting a book club. I think I’m going to join because I need the challenge. The dare. To live a full life. Will you join me?

A Life Worth Living

I believe that I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I will be speaking at my church’s ladies luncheon. This event happens in just a few weeks. Time has gone by rather quickly and I am not fully prepared. I have the ideas in my head, the outline….but, I have to fill in the meat, so to speak. As you all well know I like to tell a good story. I enjoy details and sometimes get side tracked….that is the most difficult part of speaking. I get caught up in the story and forget where I’m headed. I need to focus:)

What will my story be?

It all started when….. Nah.

Once upon a time….Uh, no.

In a galaxy far, far away….Definitely not.

Hmmmm…… What IS my story???? And how am I going to help a roomful of ladies figure out theirs?

As much as women have in common, things that unite us…..motherhood, friendships, being a daughter, a wife, having a family… we all are also unique. The stories are each as different as the grains of sand on the beach. Not one is a carbon copy of another.

As a child I was the the compliant one. The people pleaser. Everybody’s friend. A good listener. A loyal friend. A voracious reader. Good grades. A volunteer. I saw life in vivid detail—as I am a visual creature. I still see life that way. I love color and symmetry. I am aesthetic to the core. I see the beauty is architecture and in the stars. I enjoy the coziness of a new pair of socks, and also enjoy how my books all line up on the shelf. I enjoy people. My very analytical, problem solving, “please get to the point”,  husband does not always understand me. I think I frustrate him sometimes because I like to elaborate on the details of how I “see” things and he wants the bottom line. The bottom line, to me, is not near as much fun…, I loop de loop through my story until I finally reach the end. He is exhausted and I am energized. God made us each different. That is what makes each person so interesting and exciting…..if we were all the same, how boring would that be? That is where the story begins……

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them……God saw all that he made and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27, 31) God in His infinite wisdom created each of us. Each child that is born– He knows. From the first breathe, until the last. He gave us our personalities. He delights in us. Much like a parent delights in watching his/her child as he/she grows, God must enjoy watching His creations. We are not perfect. We are sinners of the highest degree….but, He loves us. So, our stories each begin with HIM.

I had a good childhood by most people’s standards. I grew up in a rural county of Maryland in a house surrounded with corn and soybean fields, and the occasional run away cattle. I was away from the hustle and bustle of Baltimore and Washington D.C.  I grew up surrounded by family members that loved me, went to the same church for the entirety of my growing up years, had friends, rode my bike, had regular family get togethers for birthdays, did well in school and graduated with awards and scholarships. I went on to a private, Christian, liberal arts college in the south. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. Exactly what I wanted to do, exactly how I wanted it, graduated on time, surrounded by family and friends…… indeed, life was good.

Up to that point, I would say life had been pretty good. (with the exceptions of losing all my grandparents by the time I graduated from college–but, I was blessed with many happy memories of each of them) Life was an adventure and I was ready to set sail.

In the two decades that were to follow God would write my story in a way that I could never have for seen….and to be honest I’m glad I couldn’t see it, because if I had known what lie ahead of me….I might have turned and ran. I’m not necessarily the bravest soul on the face of the earth. I find it difficult to smoosh a big spider with my shoe, much less face some of life’s darkest hours. Just like me, I’m sure that many of you that are reading my blog have had to face your own giants. Things that seemed so big, and so scary that your breathe caught in your throat, your heart pounded in your ears, and the tears spilled like a torrent that you thought might never end. A cry came from deep within your soul…a place that only you and God even know exists.

Almost always our stories have some joy in them. A marriage, the birth of a child, anniversaries, meaningful friendships, families that love us unconditionally,  exciting vacations, fulfilling careers….things that give us purpose, make us happy, things we love. I have been blessed to have all these things in my life.

As much as I love these parts of my story….and they have truly brought me unexplainable joy, it would be wrong of me to not mention the darker side of my story. As with most people, it seems that it is during the darker times of life that I learn the most. The easy times of life I am able to coast through, the darker times cause me to have to struggle, work my muscles, and yes… times to give up. I fall in a heap at my Savior’s feet. Utterly used up and exhausted from the strenuous climb through the dark valley.  Job loss. Death of my spouse. A father who chose to take his own life. Broken relationships. Mistakes that affected others. These things are a part of my story. They are each a piece of my life. Whether I like it or not. Whether it hurts or not… is part of me.

All of the good and the bad mixed together make me. How I choose to deal with these experiences is what makes my legacy. Too many  good experiences make one lazy, and spoiled. There is no joy in a life where everything is handed to you. There is no hope when all one has known is sunshine. There is no appreciation for salvation if one does not recognize the darkness in their own heart.  The dark times cause struggle, but they also cause determination, they cause pain but also courage, they can make us bitter or make us better. The choice is ours to make.

What kind of legacy do you want people to remember about you? When you have breathed your last, what will others say about you? Will your words be carried in someone’s heart? Or left in your own, buried along with you?  My desire is that my story will shine in the lives of those that know me. Not as a perfect life…but, as a life that was worth living. I hope my words, both spoken and written will fill my family’s hearts and minds for generations after I am gone. I long to give my children the hope that so lovingly was given to me.  A hope that only comes from knowing the Lord. I want others to know I spent my life pointing at Jesus. This life was never really about me. I am grateful for it…and I have been blessed by it….but, when it all comes down to it…it is all about HIM.

That is a legacy and a story worth writing about.