It's one o'clock in the a.m., and I can't sleep. So, naturally...I write.

Lately, I have been frustrated. Mainly about how I've heard a personal relationship with Christ should look: wake up at 4am, drink coffee, write in your prayer journal, post a picture of it on Instagram, and repeat...

Wait, if you do those things, I AM NOT JUDGING YOU. How could I? If that is what your relationship with our Lord looks like, then you are a rockstar. Because you are doing life with Jesus in a way that glorifies Him and engages your spirit.

But. That's. Not. What. My. Relationship. With. The. Lord. Looks. Like.

Actually, that's a lie. Sometimes, when I'm really lucky, that is exactly what my relationship with my God looks like. But not everyday, and certainly not methodically. That's just not where I'm at. And it has taken me so long to figure that out! I can't tell you how many times that I have tried it in a structured way, only to have it not work out and then I feel like a complete failure or somehow less than my brothers and sisters who do life with God this way.

A glimpse?

The sun brightens my bedroom, peeking through my curtains and I can hear the birds singing their morning song. I roll over in bed, plucking my phone from the charger. "8:00 a.m.," I think to myself, "What day is it?" As I stretch and make my way to brush the fur from my teeth, I greet the Lord, "Mrrmmph."
Making my way to the kitchen, I wonder what the day will hold. I'm silently asking the Lord to do what He wants and thanking Him for grace already when I inevitably will get in His way, today. I put the kettle on for my decaffeinated green tea and fill a glass of water to take my supplements. My eyes are less blurry now, and I can see the dishes in the sink that I left from last night.
I begin to rinse them and put them in the dishwasher as I think of my kids, still sleeping, and my husband who has already been working for several hours. Thanking God for these blessings, I hear the kettle begin to whistle. I quickly lift the spout, so as not to awaken the boys before I can steal a moment of quiet time with the Lord. The tea steeps as I finish the dishes. A bit of honey, a quick stir and I make my way to my favorite chair.
By now, it is usually 8:15 and I know there won't be a lot of time before the boys are begging for breakfast. "I should really wake up earlier," I think, knowing that when I have tried, it has always been the same: the boys wake earlier and I get just the same amount of time to myself. Shrugging, I grab my phone to read Streams in the Desert, musing to myself how sometimes it really does feel like little streams here and there.
Almost always, the words of this nearly hundred year-old devotional book speak straight to my spirit. I'm in awe of how sanctification and refinement are so transcendental and I tell God so. I spend a few moments in prayer thanking Him for words that are so personal.
Beside me on the table, there are five bibles and a notebook. Sometimes I write, sometimes I read through old things I have written. Each of the bibles are a different translation. I like variety. Choosing one at random, I flip through to the bible references for that day's devotion. Sometimes I read the Proverb and Psalm of the day. Sometimes I sit and think about what I have read.
A thump and a knock and I know that the boys are awake. I pull myself away from my thoughts and my prayers and my day is swept away. Pj's off and play clothes on (sometimes), breakfast, clean up after breakfast, put on a show for the kids as I check the social networks, put on a load of laundry while I pray for a friend who posted a need, referee when one of the boys won't share, praying for strength not to lose it, learning time with the boys and praying for wisdom to teach them, send them outside to play while I plan/prepare lunch, they come in and go out at least a dozen times needing water, toys, love...during this time, my voice has warmed some and I spend the moments where I am not answering questions and providing direction (correction?) singing my favorite praise songs to the Lord.
Lunch, a little more play time, get them to pick up toys and it's off to nap (quiet time) for the boys. Again, I sit and scroll through facebook, reading articles and blogs that make me think--sometimes sending me to the Word and prayer all over again. Sometimes I just read things that make me laugh.
Sometimes Husband arrives home soon after I have put the boys down, so I visit with him and listen to his day instead of having quiet time, myself. Often, he will sense my need for solitude and go do his thing for awhile. Before I know it, the time is up and it's time to think about cooking dinner, finishing the laundry, actually feeding everyone, cleaning them, cleaning the kitchen, bathtime, cuddle time, pj time, brush teeth, story, prayers and bed. Singing all the while...sometimes the boys dance with me in the kitchen.
At this point, Husband and I pretend to be adults, watching a show on tv or comparing funny stories while we scroll through facebook. He is worn from manual labor, I am worn from the neverending activity of raising (read: keeping alive) two very energetic and strong-willed boys. We do our best to love on one another a bit, then he is off to bed at 10.
Usually, I am awake another hour or two (well I DID sleep til 8). During this time, I read...fiction, non-fiction...engaging my imagination as I rest my aching body. As I fall asleep, there is a prayer on my lips, of thanks, of ideas, of bequest.
I dream in parables a lot. Startlingly vivid and imaginative words from the Lord. I wake at 2 or 3 in the morning to record things down. Sometimes it takes me quite awhile to get back to sleep. So I pray...

I have tried to sleep earlier and rise earlier, and both times I really gave it a good few weeks' try...I ended up quite ill. Deep inside, I knew that I needed to do what was best for my health in every aspect.

And wouldn't you know...in all of the busy-ness of my day, I don't feel as though I have neglected my relationship with the Lord, at all. I talk to Him constantly. Often out loud and I know sometimes I sound a little crazy. He speaks to me through the Word, through my discipline/teaching/correcting the boys, through songs and through His beautiful creation.

This season of life has taught me a lot about what it really means to be still and know that He is God. For me, it's not trying to plug myself into some formula of inputting certain things to receive certain things. For me, it's about knowing that those certain things are already mine because of Jesus. And I'm doing my best to be willing and available to both receive and extend those things in my daily life.

You know what? One day I actually do want to be an early-riser. I want to wake with the sun and enjoy a sunset. I want to spend hours at a time, exploring the depths of the Word uninterrupted like I used to. And one day I think I will get to do those things. I'll be healthy! I'll have the presence of mind to write down each beautiful nugget of truth or wisdom that the Lord brings me (in the same notebook, for the love of God!).

For now...I have random notes written in about 20 notebooks and at least 10 bibles. I have typed notes on a computer, a laptop and even quick notes on my phone. There are even a few recorded verbal notes that I have saved. I have this blog that keeps me (somewhat) sane.

Why am I writing all of this? Mainly so that one day when I'm feeling less-than or inadequate in my relationship with the Lord because of something some person or some tweet told me, I will come back here and read this and remember to go to the Source. If He desires more from me (doesn't He always?!?!), I want to know it and He knows that...I'll sense it, and yes...God's people will confirm it, but ultimately I know my Shepherd's voice well enough to follow where HE leads me on this journey.

And for now...that is enough.


That Awkward Moment When...

The older I get, the more I am beginning to understand that we all have our little quirks. We all feel a little silly sometimes. We all feel a little awkward.

Maybe it's not your everyday circumstance (as you will soon see it is for me), but you know what I mean. Walking on the right side of the mall, when the store you want to get to is on your left...you end up passing the store, because people are in your way...then you check out something in a kiosk just so you don't look silly doubling back. No? Maybe it's just me.

That awkward moment when:

-Adding cinnamon to taco meat instead of cumin? Then feeding your in-laws?

-Forgetting your eye make-up on only one eye?

-Walking around with your zipper down?

-Trying to hug someone but your faces keep turning the same direction, so it looks like you're trying to steal a smooch?

-Saying, "What?" for the third time and realizing you will never know what they just said?

-Answering "That's awesome!" when you didn't hear and realizing they just told you that their grandma died?

-Asking about someone's grandkid only to find out it's their kid?

-Trying to reach something on the top shelf at the supermarket and ending up waiting for the next person to walk by so you can get a hand?

-Walking down the street with a theme song in your head ("Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk...") when all of a sudden out of nowhere jumps this giant shadow that trips you and you end up rolling your ankle?

-Standing still doing absolutely nothing and falling over?

Ok, so some of those examples might have been a little extreme for you. But for me, these are pretty much everyday occurences. Except the cooking, maybe...I'm actually ok at that.

Awkward. I have felt this way pretty much my whole life. There are situations where I feel more awkward or less awkward, but it's pretty much always there. As I said earlier, we all have our quirks and I'm learning not to focus on mine so much, but there are still plenty of times that I find myself wanting to find a cave and live there forever with my little cave drawings and maybe Peeta.

Avoiding situations that might turn awkward sounds safe and easy, but this has only caused me to feel even more awkward when I find myself in that place, once again.

I've always been one of those people with their head in the clouds. Imagining things, analyzing, questioning...curious about the smallest details, only to miss the giant car I just walked into. Actually, I've never broken anything bigger than my pinky toe (knock on wood), but I am almost always sporting a dozen or so bruises.

Well, one day as I was walking and just about to fall into a random giant crevice in the earth, I began thinking that maybe seeing myself as awkward wasn't helping things. It seemed the more awkward I felt, the more awkward I was. As I prayed, I asked God how exactly I was supposed to get off that crazy cycle.

A bible verse came to mind:

"For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." -Proverbs 23:7

This verse is a little tricky, because you could easily take this and add a little worldly spin on it and say, "Mind over matter, Pip!", but I don't think that is the point. I can think all day long that I am a rockstar. That's never going to make me a rockstar to anyone but my mom (hi, mom!).

What God revealed to me about this verse is that instead of fretting over my awkwardness, I needed to read, hear, know, believe and accept who He says I am. Well, that's easy! Grumpy cat says...NO.

This is a journey. A mission. An assignment that will get easi-ER, but will never be finished. I have to literally arrest every thought that could potentially bind me up again in my awkwardly awkward state of awkwardness and dispose of it. Then, I must replace that lie with one of God's truths. Every. Single. Time.

I'm lucky though. And so are you, really. We have the Holy Spirit who Himself is a little quirky (what? it's true). At just the right moment, He brings stuff to my memory (like the bible verse above) that I haven't heard or been taught in years. As I turn the pages in my bible, it falls to just the right truth. As I scroll through facebook, He has prompted one of my similarly awkward friends to share just the right word for me.

So, I'm on this journey. It has been challenging to say the least. Especially when situations like the ones I listed above continue to occur in my life. Only instead of hiding in a cave, I am facing down the whispers of dark lies in my head that inevitably follow one of these moments and I am shining the light of God's truth right in their stupid, ugly faces. Because I'm sure that's what Jesus would do.

Why does it matter whether I'm awkward or not, or even whether I see myself this way or not? Because I have to do life on this planet with more than just Peeta. I need to be willing and able to communicate and connect effectively with others so that I can help lead and reconnect them with our Father.

I'm praying and thinking about continuing this blog later with some of the words that God has helped me replace the word "awkward" with. I always appreciate prayers on my journey and please let me know if there is any way I can pray for you.




I am an aerobic sleeper.

Yes, even though I tend to hate all things "aerobic", it seems that in my sleep my body rebels against me and chooses to operate in the ways of the ninja. I kick sometimes, I steal covers often, and every now and then I find myself with a Wound Of Unknown Origin. Has this ever happened to you?

Usually I won't discover said wound until I am engaged in activity that causes me to use the part of me that has been affected. I'll be washing dishes (in the kitchen where I belong, of course) or doing laundry (but only until I return to the kitchen) and suddenly...OUCH! "What IS this devil of a pain in my elbow?" I exclaim, as my hand raises to cover it.

I quickly move to the restroom, where I can examine this most awkward piece of my anatomy more thoroughly. "Well, what do you know?" I say to myself. "I must have done that while I was sleeping."

Unfortunately, too often this is how I discover my emotional wounds as well.

I'll be going along, in my day to day life, just doing my thing and then OUCH! What the heck was that all about? Something has probed a wound. Immediately, a hand goes up to cover it and keep THAT from happening again. Occasionally, I'll pause to examine it, but most of the time I will just limp along...making sure that this particular pain is avoided at all cost.

Self protection. Defense mechanisms. We have each dealt with at least one, some cases much milder than others, of course. Some of us are so skilled in the act of covering wounds that we have forgotten they were even there to begin with.

Recently, the Lord revealed a wound to me in this manner. I wish I could say that I responded with grace and humility, curiously allowing the wound to be examined as God sought to deal with it.

I did not.

I lashed out at the Instrument that touched my pain and then quickly sought to cover my mangled mess.

Do you have children? They are the most fearless things, aren't they? Climbing to tops of the highest pieces of furniture or playground equipment and then promptly plunging to ground. However, get them into a chair with the threat of cleansing a wound and they then turn into screaming and terrified little animals. I wonder what they're thinking, sometimes:

"What is this hydrogen peroxide you speak of? That sounds suspicious. No way is that pain doing me any good. OUCH!!!!!! You crazy, sadistic, horrible woman! I can't believe you're doing this to me! Whyyyyyy?!?!?! ...Oo! A bandaid. That's better!" (If you read that in Stewie's voice, you're still with me.)

So, this is pretty much what I've been experiencing. Except the cleansing part isn't over, yet.

Once the wound was discovered, I limped home and quickly moved through several steps of grief:

Denial. What wound? I don't see a wound. Oh, you mean that gaping hole in my leg? It's just a flesh wound!
Blame. Probably the Instrument that touched it did it. Yeah, I mean...who says it was even there before that?
Anger. I can't believe I have to even deal with this right now, God! What the heck. I have a race to run!
Depression. Why are You even letting this happen, God? Just take me now and end this horrible pain!

Yesterday, as I moved through these feelings, I begged God for a bandage.

But my Father is much too loving and merciful to do that. This morning He reminded me that a wound must be completely purified before it will begin to heal. Do I want it to fester and become infected? No, of course not. Do I want to get my hands in His way and risk the chance of an ugly scar? No, of course not. Does it feel good in the meantime? No, of course not.

Instead of screaming and crying and throwing a fit about it, though, I imagine this will go a lot more smoothly if I humbly submit to this time of cleansing. Today, I am walking in acceptance that in order for God to be able to bind up my wounds, some purification has to happen first. But thankfully, as I look up into His eyes, they are full of love--His hands are gentle in healing. His words, comforting.

So, thank You, Father. Thank You for being a parent whose infinite wisdom sees beyond my present pain to my complete healing in this area. Thank You for the comfort of Your Word as I endure, and Thank You for the Instruments that You use to examine and reveal areas where I need Your healing hand. In the powerful, precious name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.



It's a new year!!! Ok, ok...I know it has been for a couple of days now. You'll forgive me for that, though, since I'm sick, right? :)

Oh, yes. I have a cold. Not a big deal for most folks, but when you have been bordering on the edge of auto-immune disease for a few years, it is definitely a little bit bigger of a deal. Last time I had a cold, it quickly turned into a monstrous ordeal and by the end of it I was fighting not one, but two acute infections. One chance to beat it with antibiotics (which I HATE, but I had no choice) or they were threatening me with hospital time. Luckily, it worked and I kicked that cold. After 6 weeks...

Actually, luck had nothing to do with it. And that's kind of why I am sitting here babbling on and on.

And on.

So, this time that I have been under the weather, I cannot seem to shake the gratitude. That sounds funny, but here's a glimpse inside my brain the last day or so: (scared?)

Me: Ugh. I feel like mangled poo that's been refried in brussel sprout juice.
God: ...
Me: Sorry, God, that was a bit much, huh? I just wish I could feel better. I have things to do! Isn't that just such a glorious thing, God? I have things to do. I can do things. Like, the other day...I was sitting with Aidan and we were talking about his piano playing and he asked me to teach him more songs! I love that he wants me to help and that I can help. Thank you for blessing me with the ability to be here and do things and love people!
God: Calm down, your body needs the energy for healing. And you're welcome. :)
Me: ...

Ok, that was silly. But don't worry...God is used to me by now. Or so I tell myself, anyway.

Seriously, though. It seems like every time that I have tried to whine or complain about being sick, the Holy Spirit has brought me around to seeing something to be thankful for in the middle of it. Do you know what I'm thankful for most of all?

That my hope is in the Lord.

As I was eating my special gluten free, sugar free, dairy free dinner tonight, I thought about everything I have learned in the last three years regarding nutrition. If you've been around me for four seconds during a meal, there's a good chance that you know a morsel of this information.

Tonight, though, as I thought about everything...I laughed. Out loud! Because so much of what I know contradicts itself at some point. I've even asked doctors, "But what if..." and gotten the "Well..." answers. The truth that I came to rest in tonight is that no matter What I Do...God is my healer. He just is. And He will. Heal me, that is.

I'll still do my best to take care of this temple, of course. But only because I have faith that God is working it all together for my good. Standing in my kitchen tonight, I had an amazing peace come over me. And I took another bite of my gluten free, sugar free, dairy free dinner.

Once again, I am so thankful that all my delight is in Him...all of my hope...all of my strength. God gave me that word for this new year. No matter what things await me this year, my hope is in Him. And I feel like having this cold allowed me to know and receive this truth in a much deeper way.

Oh, and...

Happy New Year! :)



I know. This is a very loaded word.

My kids do this one a lot. It usually goes something like this:

Me: Boys, who made that stream of water in the hallway?
Aidan: That's not water...Duck did it.
Declan: No, Aidan did!

Even as adults, too often we want to take the credit, but never the blame. It takes a lot of humility to be able to accept blame when responsible for something, and even more so when not responsible.

My brother died about 5 years ago. Many of you know the story, but what you may not know is that one of the first things that I did was yell at God. "Why him?" I screamed, "He suffered so much, so young...he fought for our country...he won souls for You...he was just starting to enjoy life. Couldn't You have done something?"

Of course, blame is one of the natural stages of grief. We need someone or something to hold responsible for our hurt; even if deep down we understand that sometimes life just sucks...we still need a scapegoat.

But even though I knew it was normal, I still felt a little guilty that I pointed the finger at the very One who had held me together through it all.

Last week, I had lunch with a mentor. As we sat and talked, conversation turned to a situation where someone going through a hard time had lashed out at those around them. "It's like...instead of blaming God like the rest of us do when something bad happens, this person is blaming those around them," she said.

Whoa! I had a mind-blowing epiphany through that one simple statement.

It seems we all blame God at some point. Why is that? Is it lack of faith? Or lack of knowledge?

Or...what if it is just the simple fact that we need to put blame on Him in order to maintain fellowship? Think about it...if blame is such a natural response to grief and loss in our lives, wouldn't it stand to reason that some aspect of this exchange is necessary for us to get through the trial?

For example:
Us: Why, God? I mean...what were You thinking? I don't even know if I can trust you anymore...

All the while, God knows that these thoughts and feelings are inside of us. Imagine if we had those thoughts and instead of going to Him honestly, we took them and blamed the next person to cross our path. Did anything get accomplished? Did our relationship with the Lord grow? It seems to me that we have only made a bad situation worse by dragging someone else into our funk.

We must have that moment of honesty before God to maintain our fellowship with Him, don't you think? Otherwise, we put the blame on someone else...maybe even multiple someones, denying the real origin of our anger, frustration and ultimately--our hurt. And all this leads to is a whole lot more hurt--and usually not just our own--when we don't deal with our true feelings of who we think is to blame.

Because deep inside, we feel like it was God who let us down.

But, what if we just let it all out to God? Would He really be shocked? Or displeased? If we are honest, and truly want to know the purpose and will of our Father, then our honesty will only help our relationship with Him. As we turn toward Him and release those thoughts, we will find ourselves face to face with the One who will comfort, sustain and mature us through that difficult time. Our anger will begin to subside and we will see that grace has a face...and that the hand of God is extended toward us to show us that grace and not to show us pain.

The God who gave us His Son, gave us everything just to mend our broken bond with Him...what He wants most when we are hurting is to draw us nearer, to have the chance to take our pain on Himself (again) and make us a little more dependent on Him, a little more like Jesus. And that may just require us to throw out all the blame that is inside of us onto Him. I'm confident that He can handle it.



Do you have any nerdy friends? Wait...if you're reading this, you're probably my friend, so don't answer that.

My nerdy friends and I like to have conversations like:

-If you had to choose a zombie apocalypse team with one Disney character, one character from Harry Potter, one character from Lord of the Rings and one television crime scene investigator, who would they be?

or (my personal favorite)

-If you could have one superpower...what would it be?

Often people are surprised by my answer, but I would definitely choose invisibility. I have many reasons--most of them aren't creepy at all. My biggest reason? I love to people-watch and analyze the way they do things and body language, etc. The only problem with that is if people notice you watching them it can get awkward...

I think there would be lots of benefits to being invisible. You could avoid "that one person." Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. You could check your BO without grossing people out. You could mess with people's minds in sooooo many ways...

Seriously, though...when is invisibility not an awesome thing?!?!

When you don't want to be invisible.

Tonight, as I was shopping in the grocery store, I was almost run down by a shopping cart at least three times. One guy stepped back into me and I had to jump to get out of his way. Twice, I stood waiting for someone to notice I was trying to get through before they moved (slightly) out of the way.

Then, as I was turning onto the chocolate aisle (don't judge me), I couldn't turn in because a woman was blocking the aisle. She even looked at me and still didn't move over. Finally, I said (super sweetly, I swear), "Excuse me!" She moved her cart an infinitesimal degree and I squeezed through. I hate the feeling that people don't see me...or that I'm just in everyone's way wherever I go.

About halfway down the aisle, as I'm praying about this and having an attitude check, I say to God: "You have no idea how it feels...do you even know what it's like to feel invisible?"

Immediately, I stopped in the aisle and began to cry. I had an instant playback of how most of my days go. Oftentimes, when I am busy, I just plow through my day with barely a nod of recognition to the Creator of the universe, the King of kings and the Spirit that dwells within me. Too often, I treat the Holy Trinity like the shoppers in the grocery store treated me tonight (seriously...did they have a meeting?). Like I wasn't even there.

It's so easy, though, isn't it? I mean...He kind of IS invisible to us.

Oh, but when I am intentional and I pursue His truth and teaching...when I bow my heart down to His will and purpose for my life...when I choose to follow Him instead of inform Him of what I plan to do--even in the little things...that is when a seemingly invisible God finds visibility through me.

That is when I look like Christ. That is when He can be seen...through me. And that is when I will gladly choose to be invisible and lay down my 'right' to be seen--so that people will be able to look at me and see only Him.



One of my favorite moments in The Wizard of Oz is when Dorothy, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man meet the Cowardly Lion and he sings his song about courage. He is definitely my favorite character. See!

I've been through a lot in my life...too much to go into detail here. In the midst of these times, people have always told me that I am brave. A good friend of mine even gave me a Willow Tree angel named Courage when my brother died. Heck, I was even Merida from the Disney movie, Brave, for Halloween this year.

But I don't feel brave today. 

Today, I feel very very tired. Almost too tired to keep believing that I'm ever going to feel well again. I feel like a failure. First, because I can't seem to do any of the things that I need to do or want to do. And second, because I can't seem to access the faith that has always come so easily to me.

As I looked to the Word for answers on how to be courageous, I saw a lot of verses telling me to be brave, but none that told me how! So I decided to look up the word courage at www.blueletterbible.org. After browsing through the different definitions, I found this one:

courage: (v.) (2) to adhere, to hold fast to anything

Right now, I don't have the strength or capacity to do much at all (much less roar) but I can adhere to the hope that the Holy Spirit will intercede for me. I can trust that He will strengthen me to believe, to have faith that this is not the end of the story. This is just a growth spurt, and sometimes that comes with growing pains.

As the quote up there says, I will try again tomorrow. I'm so thankful that I will not be alone!

"And the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all things that I said to you." -John 14:26