Wednesday, August 29, 2018


I got a text.  It was from a friend in rehab (I have a few of them there at the moment).  She thanked me for my card and I quickly responded with the following: 


Followed by: 

I'm proud of you. 

As I typed that last sentence I had this epiphany.  I'm saying to someone in rehab that I am proud of them, and the "why" is what birthed my deep thought.  I have met several people lately in the middle of their life mess, and honestly, I am in the middle of my own life mess.  I could record and replay the message I hear from people faced with reality - they are awful for where they are and facing it just reminds them of the bad person they are. 

Reality is, we all are in the midst of some type of life situation.  The details are different for all of us, but humanity is in all of us.  It takes courage to face up to life.   

I realized in that moment people have to make a choice in who they become.   

1. Those who face life head on and in spite of the failures and struggles that seek to define them, reach out for the life they want.  These people seek to be whole, healthy individuals.  The struggle is the hurdle, not the defining quality.  These people call out for help when they get stuck so they will ensure they reach their goals and find success.  

2.  Those who hide behind their masks and keep their secrets, thoughts and addictions from the world.  Perfection is always an illusion and those who put up the image of perfection are usually trading relationships for busy work or looking good.  These people are tired from being who everyone else wants them to be and feeling enslaved to self-imposed expectations.  

We often get tricked into thinking we are the only ones struggling with thoughts, insecurities, fears, addictions, weaknesses, temptations, etc, because so many people seem to have it together.  BUT ITS A LIE! There are no perfect people. 

 Of course not everyone's junk is created equal and some of us have more to overcome, but we can choose to cry at reality and keep making excuses, all the while climbing deeper in the pit, or we can face the man in the mirror and do what we have to do to be who we want to be.  We have to speak truth to the lies and realize while we will always be facing new obstacles throughout life, how we respond to them largely affects how they affect us.  

I was proud of this woman as well as a few others I am working with because they are choosing to face all the hurt and pain below the surface.  Usually the addictions or bad behaviors we develop are symptoms of some underlying issue.  

My own choice to have an abortion at 18 was a cover-up mission to hide the pain I had from divorce, abuse and false religious expectation.  Its sad that my turning point came at the cost of my son, but it was where I faced myself and the lies I was holding as truth and began to heal from everything.  

I am proud of people who make the choice, no matter how big or small, to be themselves, face lies they believe and begin to find their voice in this world.  I am proud of people who say, "no," to the things that keep them down and are willing to do the work in exchange for freedom.  

So here's my final question for you, which person are you?  If you are number 1, or see you are number 2 and want to change, hear me say: I AM PROUD OF YOU! We each have some choice in the person we are each day.  Find your choice and make it wisely! Happy Wednesday!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


As a woman with perfectionist tendencies, the word, "failure" is often a four-letter word in my world.  However, it shouldn't be.  Failing at things can be a lifeline if we know how to use it properly.  

When I fail at something I get a view into what doesn't work.  If I am intentional not to let it feed my identity and take the lesson its trying to offer, I can make necessary adaptations and re-aim at my goal.  

I am one who believes far too often we would be better served if we used physical metaphors to help us navigate emotional issues.  For example, when I trip and fall while walking down the street, I may give a sheepish, embarrassing look around as I get up and dust myself off, but I do get up, make the necessary adjustments, and keep going.  I don't sit and cry and ask everyone why I fell.  I don't stay there on the sidewalk for hours, days or years.  However, when I make a life misstep, I do find myself staying put in a fit, mourning my mishap.  Taking a clue from physical life tells me to get up, fix what needs it and keep going.  

Perfection is not and never should be a life goal.  Perfectionism doesn't lead to happiness, instead it leads to lifelessness! The last thing we want is a globe full of Stepford Wives  roaming around.  Where is fun in that?  Life, a full life, is messy!  

Jerry Bridges in his book, "The Pursuit of Holiness" shares a truth I often quote because it speaks to the heart of me, "A failure is not someone who fails, but someone who stops trying."  In contrast, Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Both of these quotes can serve as bookends to the topic of failure.  

If we look at failing as the definition of being a failure, we will never succeed in tackling our goals in life.  We must view a failure as someone who stops trying and use that definition to propel us to move forward.  We must also be brave enough to examine those moments we fail so we can try someone new in our next attempt.  Doing the same thing over and over again (whether it truly was Albert Einstein who said it or not) is the definition of insanity.  We must change our approach, perspective, words, behaviors, response, or all of the above as we head out on our redo.  

Do you need a little grace today?  Are you too hard on yourself when you make mistakes?  Do you need to go out and fail so you can discover what it truly takes in making your dreams reality?  Getting good at failing will also show us that it has no barring on our personal value.  

Tripping on the sidewalk doesn't make me a horrible person, it just makes me human.  Missing that job opportunity, going bankrupt, getting dumped, failing a class doesn't make us bad people, it just means we are in fact, people! 

The one class in college I had to retake did cost me extra, but getting the grade replaced on my transcript wasn't the only reward.  I hated the first Sociology 101 class I took.  It was awful!!! When I retook it with a different professor at a different time, I found that I loved the class.  The curriculum was completely different and I learned some valuable information.  Had I let that "D" stand, I would have never had the great experience that came at the end of my failed first attempt.  

Can you think of a time that a failed experience led to a new beautiful reality?  Take some time and soak this in and allow it to change your perspective.  Is there a recent failed moment that you aren't gleaning enough from?  Have you let the failure stop you from trying?  Please hear me when I say, don't quit.  You can succeed and I'm guessing someone else needs this lesson from you.  Go get it!!! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Six Lessons From Grandma

Two weeks ago I talked about the memories that come to mind and just the amazing way the brain holds onto some things in our conscious mind and other memories get filed away and never or seldom remembered again. 

This last weekend we celebrated the life of my Grandma Pat.  I had the honor of putting together the slideshow and as I thought back on the times we had together, I realized just how special she was and our relationship was, so I thought in her honor I would share some lessons I learned from my grandma with you!

1. Family is Family - Grandma Pat was my dad's stepmom. I never felt the "step."  She was my grandma and I was her first grandchild.  She made me feel so special on my visits with her and she was someone who made me feel loved.  I knew she was in my corner.  

I never knew until adulthood when I encountered other families that the word, "step" actually created rifts in families and that distinctions of "real" and "step" were made.  It just wasn't in my understanding and its something I continue to try to pass on in life.  

I am about to have my first grand baby, as my stepdaughter, Stephanie, is due in February. I hope that child one day can echo the same words I use when I describe the relationship pictured above. 

2. Its Never Too Late to Start Over - The blended family I grew up in looked perfect to me.  I thought I was amongst the real-life Brady Bunch.  It wasn't until I grew into adulthood that I learned, it was really tough in the beginning.  There were moments when the obstacles that this new family faced challenged its future and as they forged ahead bitterness could have taken hold, but it didn't.  

My grandparents never let age, or bad habits be an excuse for moving forward.  If something needed to be changed, you worked at it until you found success.  I have let this guide me in life as well.  I do a lot wrong, but I won't let that be a quitting spot, but a place where growth will happen.  

I've often quoted Jerry Bridges from his book, Pursuit of Holiness, when he says, "A failure is not someone who fails, but someone who stops trying." I quote it because its a source of encouragement to stay the course.  Whatever obstacle you face, when you fail, dust yourself off and go at it again. 

3.  Gratitude is Everything - We didn't do a traditional service.  It was a lunch and service of our (very large) family at my aunt's house.  We had a lunch of Grandma's favorite recipes, ate candies she loved, drank Fuzzy Navel wine coolers and Sangria (her favorite drinks) and finished the service with pie, as she taught pie making, for many years.  

One of the memories many of us shared was Grandma's strict ways of enforcing the "thank-you" note.  She was infamous for requirement of a "thank-you" note.  While I didn't always agree with the strict standard she held, I know that showing gratitude is a lost art in our society and its something that we must practice more.  Being grateful is a must for the best life possible.  

I loved the touch my Aunt Julia added by having a basket of "thank-you" notes for us to take on our way out so that we could thank someone in honor of Grandma.  I marvelled that despite our objections at times in our childhood, here was a room of thirteen twenty-somethings that know how to write "thank-you" notes and do it consistently.  What a treasure for the generations to come!!!

4. Fun is a Key Ingredient in Life - When I was little, my visits to Grandma and Grandpa's house included playing card games, watching movies in their bed, going on adventures like panning for gold or going out shopping and out to dinner, but my most prized memory is the dress-up time Grandma did with me.  

She would dress me in an old flapper outfit or some other fancy dress.  She'd do my hair and make up and then present me to the family ready in the living room as Glamour Galore, the famous fashion model. Sometimes I was her sister, Glorious.  The way in which Grandma turned the ordinary into an event was an art form and it was a school I loved to attend. 

She had fun! Life is full of junk and sometimes you just have to have fun for no reason at all, other than because life would be too boring without it!  I carry this into my motherhood now.  Sometimes we make the ordinary meal a special event or go on an adventure just because its a Tuesday.  Life has enough serious in it - fun is necessary!!!

5.  Go For Your Goals - Grandma Pat was a supporter.  If she knew you liked something, she was there to cheer you on in those goals.  After all, if you didn't make it, life was full of the neigh-sayers,  but we don't have to be that for those we love.  

As I started to speak more openly about my past, my abortion and how God had healed me, I decided I should tell my family.  I'd rather them hear it from me, than read it somewhere else or have someone else tell them.  After a riveting game of Mexican train, one visit, I told my grandparents my story.  They gave me a hug and sent me to bed.  I later discovered they flipped out in my absence in shock of the bomb I'd dropped in their laps.  

Despite their private freak out, Grandma learned why I was passionate about sharing my story and encouraged me in my public speaking.  One of the first things she did was get me hired as the guest speaker at their local Pregnancy Center's annual banquet! She let me see how to go after goals on my own and to encourage those around us.  What a gift!

6. There's Always A Way to Conquer Those Obstacles - My Aunt Julia shared a story about Grandma, that I loved.  When Grandma was first married, she wanted to make a roast for her husband's boss the night he was coming to dinner.  She'd never made one before and since this was long before google was around, she decided to figure it out herself.  

She called random numbers and acted like she was doing a survey.  She inquired about the ways in which people made a roast.  She then took all the answers and landed on a median recipe on temperature, prepping etc.  Grandma didn't have the luxury of education so many have today, but she was so intelligent (she had a genius IQ) so she learned what she didn't know, any way she could.

Hearing others stories like this one, mirrored the ways Grandma had taught me to get the knowledge you needed to walk down that path you envisioned.  We let far too much stand in our way, and I loved hearing the creative ways, Grandma conquered whatever came her way.  We give up far too quickly in life and many of us need to regroup and go!

Do you ever stop and think what you've learned from those you love?  Which of the lessons above did you most need to hear?  I'd love to hear from you! Happy Wednesday!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Answer To A Question

Being a Christian can often be like walking a tightrope. If you aren't careful you will fall one way or the other.  Getting too grace-filled waters down the message of Christ and eliminates the need for a Savior and getting too truth-filled leads to harsh religion which can hurt others and ourselves.

Saturday morning a friend and I sat and discussed these extremes of religion as it related to a situation in her life.  Some people live on certain verses of the Bible alone and build their lives around it, excluding passages of the Bible that add nuance and meaning to those verses.  The Bible is best understood as a whole so when people choose to extract sections as a basis for their faith, they can deviate from its complete message.  My friend and I had a good talk, she left my house, and I thought the conversation was over. 

Then I woke up Sunday morning. 

My mom sends out a scripture every day and often some commentary with it.  But this particular morning she sent her text group some of her thoughts instead of a scripture.  Her thoughts fit perfectly as an answer to my friend's questions of me the day before.  So I immediately shared it with her.  She was delighted and I was equally delighted and a little proud of my mama who shares the truth of God with such eloquence and love.

Yesterday, I was met with another story of evangelism gone wrong and how the message of "you're going to hell" is in no way good news.  Sharing Christ with others is about what he adds to our life and how he rescues us from the junk we face here on earth.  Being rescued and loved is definitely good news!

This morning I decided I needed to share my mom's Sunday words with you.  She is a woman I admire for so many reasons and at the top of that list is her relationship with God.  I know how to be a woman of God because of my mom!  Enjoy her perspective and see the perspective we must take as we attempt to serve God.  

Sunday morning's text: 

An area of what I view as growth in my life is in the arena of openness to truth. I've always known of those people who were open to any new idea, any shiny bauble in a pretty box, who end up so "out there" that they seem to lose reality of any foundation or structural framework... anything goes! I've also been aware of those who hold to the human expression of religion so tightly in order to prevent going the wrong way, that their narrowness seems cast iron bars around them and joy was traded for a miniscule finite view of truth (defined typically from a few selected Scriptures). 

From this place as a Christ-follower, seeking humility and desiring to honor God as God, and His word as an incredible kindness from Him, miraculously preserved over the ages for the benefit of His children, is a place of awesome delight, sore muscles and bloody elbows! I'm abundantly gratified and thankful for early Scripture training and the experience of a truly personal relationship with God, in His Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I shamefully admit, I have in times past, behaved like Eve in the garden who chose to add her 2-cents to God's words, in an effort to hold tightly to obedience. Similarly, I, like she, also plummeted to the hard ground below, alive, but broken. In an effort to be perfectly obedient, I have made God small and manageable... with similar results! Except in those times, I have often snatched a few passersby with me on my descent to the rocks below. 

I don't believe one can truly SERVE the LORD while being lazy, selfish, or unloving. I'm not saying one can't be saved from the damnation of hell - Christ brings life to those who accept His gift of paid-in-full. But to "serve" God is another matter... Definitely not for the faint of heart! Service to the One true God, while on this earth calls for incredible courage, discipline, hard work, a determination for due diligence, and a selfless compassion that is far greater than our personal desire. If we stop our seeking of God's blessings at the door of OURSELVES,  we may indeed be successful in our careers, our relationships even, but we will not soar on the wings of the eagle! That requires much, much more of us.

We have a responsibility as Christians to be as Christ was and to do so is a hard task.  It takes balance found only in walking in the Spirit of God.  I hope as you read my mom's words, God spoke to you.  I hope you are inspired to seek God in a fresh way this week and to know God is there always and desires a close relationship with you.  Happy Wednesday! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What Memories May Come

The human ability to remember is amazing to me.  All our memories and moments are stored in our brains and yet we can equally recall the past as well as forget sections of it.  I am in awe of what we actually remember and what gets forgotten.

I recently shared my car with a new friend who escaped an abusive marriage.  My heart has been open to her because of my own experiences.  Along this car ride she shared with me her story and it was heartbreaking not just because of the acts she was subjected to, but because of what it revealed about women and how they learn to cope with realities that should never be.

As she shared, I shared.  

The last time my step dad abused my mom was a big day and yet its the most menial moments that I remember most.  

What I remember most, once it was all over, was sitting in the hospital ER reading a People magazine article about what Kim Bassinger looked like without makeup.  That fact absolutely cracks me up because there was so much more going on and that is what I remember most!  But as I shared, it was as if remembering that trivial moment was a key to unlock other memories.  I then remembered Kurt showing up in the ER wanting to see my mom.  I was so upset that I tried to attack him and a nurse had to restrain me.  I was appalled that this man would show up to see the damage he had done.  Can you imagine this young teenage girl going after a grown man in a hospital waiting room? Bringing back those memories also brought back emotion.  I had to hold back tears as I drove.

I now understand why he did that, because Kurt wasn't a bad man, he was a hurting man.  He had himself been abused.  He carried a great deal of pain and when the emotion cleared I can only imagine the amount of regret and self-loathing that replaced the anger that had led to him hurting my mom, the woman he'd loved and married.  Regret is what brought him there.

Even though the recounting evokes emotion its also what helps bring healing.  I know God has healed my heart from those years.  I can say, as I have said before in other posts, I don't hold any unforgiveness or hatred toward Kurt because as I processed I saw his hurt, and my heart was able to not only forgive but have compassion for a man that brought pain into my own life.  If I had kept running from those memories that healing would never have come.

Truth moment - being moved to emotion or having feelings triggered does not equate to not having dealt with the pain.  Dr. Henry Venter, a counselor that specializes in Reproductive Grief, once told me the sign you have healed from a wound isn't in whether or not emotions can be triggered but in how it affects your day to day life.  Carrying a burden you can't let go of is one way to know you have to heal from it.  

I've encountered several women lately who are walking a rough road.  They are all, like me, at different stages in the process, but far too many of them are stuck in running away from the memories and emotions and its keeping them from facing up with themselves so they can heal.  Find a safe space to see what memories may come and allow God to heal those broken places.  My mom is an excellent example - today, she is a beacon of light to many women because she allowed God to heal  her and allowed God to use the challenges she's walked.  Honestly, she's one of my heroes (as is this women in my car) because as I stated before a hero isn't defined by what they face but how they respond! 

I may or may not know you, but if you are carrying a burden isn't it time to get help and find healing?

1. You can't do it alone.
2. You can't wait till you're ready
3. You can't worry about what others think
4. You do matter.

I promise you, you can overcome this (whatever the "this" is for you). I am not done in my overcoming journey because I had several things to overcome, but I have overcome too large obstacles from my past and it serves as a reminder that I can overcome the one I currently face.  If you aren't sure where to start, message me and I will happily help you find your starting place (a good counselor, support group etc).  God bless you this Wednesday.  Don't give up on your journey because you are so worth the fight!