Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Memories

The year is winding down as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. It's hard not to reminisce of the year we are about to say goodbye to.

As I think about Christmas morning, I cannot help to be saddened by the realization that 1 year ago we celebrate Christmas with my father. It was his final Christmas. While we didn't necessarily do anything special, it will forever be a special day for me. For that was the last time I saw my dad.

It was wonderful to come home from work that morning. To not only have my husband and children with me as we opened presents, but to have my dad there to join in the early morning chaos. You could see the sheer joy on his face as he absorbed the excitement that came from Slugger & Songbird that morning.

I can't remember a single gift that was given. But I will always remember that moment.There, by the lights on our tree, my little family of four was temporarily a family of five. Later in the day, we were joined by my sister and her boyfriend (my soon-to-be brother-in-law) and the delicious mustache cake she made in honor of Dad.

This year, we will once again be a family of 5 as my mother joins us for the holiday. What a blessing that my children get to have another holiday with a grandparent.

The past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. I've admitted that I wasn't looking forward to Christmas this year. Yet I know that I must move forward so that I can heal. My father would not want me to stop my life. In fact, he'd be very upset with me. So, again, I choose joy this holiday season. I choose to remember the wonderful times with my Dad. Not just last year's memories, but ALL of the memories that I have with him.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas with Dad

One of the Christmas memories that sticks out most in my mind is from 1993. That was the 1st year my Dad was a single father.

Poor man was 'stuck' with 3 daughters who he didn't have much of a relationship with. To make matters worse, we were 21, 18 & 17. Those are hard enough ages to shop for when you KNOW the kid. Imagine having no clue!

I don't think I was expecting much that Christmas. I mean, we didn't have much of a relationship prior to that. At least not one that didn't involve screaming & yelling.

He did a good job. He did his best. That Christmas morning, we awoke to gift cards to JC Penny (where EVERY teen loves to shop), a hunter green bathrobe with our initials embroidered on the pocket and a 12 pack of our favorite soda. I'm sure there were a few odds and ends in our stockings.

Since that 1st Christmas, Dad did considerably better. At one point, he even remembered that I had always wanted to see The Nutcracker. So as an early gift, he gave my sisters, my niece & I tickets to a local ballet performance. That has to be one of my favorite memories. The fact that he remembered after SO many years that I wanted to see that performance.

My father really did have a big heart. It may have taken years to uncover it, but it was there. Eventually he poured that love into his grandchildren too.

We are blessed to have had him in our lives.

Many blessings,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Choosing Joy

The other day I had the wonderful opportunity to support my mom mentor/wife mentor, Karen, as she filmed the next installment of her upcoming DVD curriculum for her ministry Birds On a Wire. While she was teaching lessons I had already heard from her, I guess I needed to hear them again.

The overall topic was "Lies Moms Believe". Yet these lies aren't just for moms.

Lie #11 I must be happy to be a godly mom

I'm going to tailor this lie. I must be happy to be a godly woman. You can search the Bible high & low and no where does God promise happiness. It just cannot be found. But He DOES promise He will bring us joy. He also promises that He will never leave us.

We I need to learn is contentment. And, yes ladies & gentlemen, contentment is LEARNED! It does not come natural. Karen pointed to Philippians 4:11:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Paul had to learn contentment.

Karen also went on to say that God has provided a 'manual' on how to attain contentment in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

So, today I choose joy.

Today I choose to remember the wonderful times with my father. To keep his memory alive by enjoying those memories. I have truly been blessed by the relationship that I had with my father. While our early years together weren't the best, they weren't all bad.

Today I embrace the chorus of the Newsboys song "Your Love Never Fails":

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

What a promise!!!

As someone sweetly reminded me, grief is a process. No matter how hard I fight the process, it won't change. It is something that must  be endured. But what can change is how handle it. Don't beat myself for feeling the grief, but also don't wallow in my grief. God has surrounded me with wonderful & loving friends and family. It's time that I lean on them.

I am a blessed woman.... I am a godly woman.

Many blessings,

Can't I cancel Christmas?

I've been doing my Christmas shopping since August. Picking up an item here & there that I think would make the perfect gift for one of my children. Just yesterday, I completed my shopping for them & the Mayor.

The Mayor is trying really hard to make sure that this Christmas is extra special since it will be the 1st one without my father AND since last Christmas was the last time I saw him before he passed. That means a little extra decorations inside & outside the house. I've got to admit, it's gotten me excited.

Then today I hit a holiday wall.

I decided to go through the pile of goodies that I've purchased for the children. We aren't one of those families that have unlimited price limit when it comes to gift buying. We decide on a Christmas budget at the beginning of the year and I usually do a great job of sticking to it.

Today.... well, I sat there in my closet, surrounded by my purchases and hated every single item I bought. I wanted to return it all. Gifts, gift cards, stocking stuffers - EVERYTHING.

It's not that I was regretting not buying the latest & greatest. Not at all.

I just don't feel inspired.

As I walked through the house getting ready for work, I just wanted to take everything down. Box up my Nativity. Toss away the lights. I want it all gone. Wipe away the thought of Christmas.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.. I know what you're thinking. Christmas shouldn't be about the gifts. I should focus on the birth of my Savior. Celebrate the day that He came to this earth, a human, so that He could walk this earth & fulfill a prophecy. I mean, aren't I a Christian? Shouldn't I be immune to the trappings of this commercialized holiday?

The truth of the matter is - DEATH SUCKS! There, I said it. Right there, in black & white for the world to see. I don't want to have a 1st Christmas without my father. If I don't have a 1st one, then I can't have a 2nd one & so on. yes, I am a Christian, but I am also human.

No, I won't cancel Christmas. It really is one of my favorite holidays. Instead of focusing on my loss, I'm going to try to remember the Christmases that I did have with my Dad. Focus of the gift of his life.

I can't guarantee it won't hurt. I can only guarantee that I'm going to give it a try.

Many blessings,

Thursday, November 28, 2013


This post is going to brutally honest (like I try to be with all of my posts). But I'll forewarn you, it may be "offensive" to some.

Thanksgiving marks 3 months since my father passed away. It still seems so surreal. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him & miss him.

I don't think I've grieved properly. It's not just about staying strong for my family anymore. It's more than that. It's about my faith. You see, as a Christian I have the hope that one day I will be reunited with my father again in Heaven. That knowledge makes me feel like I shouldn't miss him as much. I'll see him again.

But the truth is, this sucks!! I hate the fact that my father is dead. I don't understand any of it. Why was he taken so young? Why didn't he take care of himself better? He had SO much to live for. He had plans for the future.

Yes, I am VERY clear that God knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). I also know that all of our days are numbered (Job 14:5 & Psalm 139:16). I get all of that. I celebrate that. But we rarely think that our numbered days means BEFORE we grow old. No one ever thinks "I'm probably going to die when I'm 64". No, we all have visions of being in our 80's surrounded by grandchildren, possibly even great-grandchildren.

Coping with death is another one of those topics that churches just don't talk about. Shouldn't Christians rejoice that one day they will be reunited with their loved ones in Glory? More and more people have having "Life Celebrations" instead of funerals.

Yes, I want to celebrate the amazing life my father had. He was a very eclectic person, always on an adventure. But I also want to mourn my loss. He was my father. I dreamed of being his little girl. And now he's gone.

All I want to do is cry, scream, throw things. I want to just have a good old-fashioned tantrum. I don't want to put on a happy face for the sake of those around me. I just want to weep over my loss. Not wallow in it until I can no longer function, but just to feel like I am actually grieving. Right now, I feel like a fake.

I am not alright with any of this. I don't know if I ever will.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Starved for love

This past weekend I had to travel to New Jersey to help out with an estate sale. 

One of the bonuses of an estate sale is that you have to go through EVERYTHING and see if you want to sell it. This stirs up memories of years past. I can honestly say there wasn't much that I needed to keep for sentimental reasons. Most invoked memories, but I was able to let them go to a good home (for a good price).

However one item that someone came across was my diary from Summer of 1992. As I sat reading the entries, I had a realization. I was starved for love by a man. Within days, I was 'in love' with several guys; most of them were 'THE ONE'. 

As much as I can sit here & giggle at those entries, my heart breaks for that young woman. You can feel the desperation in each word. A young woman wanting so much to be loved unconditionally. To find the one that makes her soul sing. To the point of even contemplating reuniting with a man who sexually assaulted her. 

My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I was willing to give my heart (and sometimes my body) to any man that came along. All in the name of being loved. Wanting to find my identity.


"... I forgive him for raping me. I trust him again. I think I just want to be with him because I have no one and he gives me a familiar comfort & adoration that I am lacking in my life right now."

Just because I was lonely I was willing to look past what was done to me. 

I wish I could go back in time and tell that girl to hold on. That the love of a man isn't necessary. A person needs to love themselves before they can be loved by another person. The ultimate love is the love of a Heavenly Father. Only He can fill those empty places in your heart.

It saddens me to know it took so much hurt to get to where I am today, but I know that God will use it to help other women. My heart was shattered only to have God put it back together - piece by piece. Hard to believe that was 20 years ago. Yet here I am. A stronger woman because of those hurts.

Dear friend - do not settle for less than. Love yourself. Don't be in such a rush to be loved by a man. The right one will come along. Be patient dear one. Let God be your comfort. Rest in Him. He will give you the desires of your heart. Allow your heart to heal. The right man will guard your heart. But don't freely give.

Many blessings,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Roller coaster ride

I'd like to say I've always loved roller coasters. I have mixed memories of my childhood, going to Great Adventure with my family. I was fine on the everyday-run-of-the-mill roller coasters, but my father thought it would be a BRILLIANT idea to bring me on Lightening Loops (aka HELL).

Other than that one ride, roller coasters are my thing. It's an adrenaline rush for me.

Yet this roller coaster I'm on now called LIFE... well, it just sucks! I'd say its comparable to Lightening Loops.

Just when I think I'm starting to find my new normal, life happens and I am reminded of my loss.

Now this weekend... I'm headed to NJ in just a few hours to be there for our estate sale. Trust me, there aren't a TON of valuables worth millions. But we do have to empty a rather large house filled with a hoarder's treasures; most of which none of us want.

I am not ready to say good bye to those items. I know, I know. They're just THINGS. At least I have my memories of Dad. I love my memories, but I would give anything to have Dad back.

As we clear out the house, watching our items become someone else's, I pray for peace. I also pray that if it gets too difficult, my sister & I will know when its time to literally walk away.

I'm looking forward to spending time with my sister again... yet I can't wait to get back home.

Many blessings,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Peace (for today)

I've been doing a lot of thinking, especially about Mending Hearts. I know I need to get it off the ground. I've known that for a while now. But what I didn't realize is that my story of redemption also includes the redemption of my father. Now to find a way to work his part of the story into the bigger story.

The song that keeps rolling through my mind is a powerful one by Gungor: Beautiful Things.

This song has been speaking to my soul. A constant reminder that God can take the worst and turn it into the most amazing! Daily, he wipes away our mistakes and makes us new - if we ask Him. It's as simple as that.

Ask and you shall receive.

It's sounds so easy yet feels so complicated.

The beauty of change with God is that we don't HAVE to change to be with Him. We change because we ARE with Him. He takes the murkiest parts of our soul, washes them new. As white as snow.

My soul just swells with that knowledge! My heart cries out with joy at the possibilities!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Every day is a new normal

... and I do NOT like it one bit

My father has been gone for almost 2 months. Each day, my heart heals a little more. Then something happens and my heart breaks all over again.

I am trying to find a new normal.

Yet each day I am reminded of the things I will miss now that he's gone. Hearing his voice. Sharing a sermon with him. Bragging on my kids. His annual visits. My heart is heavy..

I know I need to take comfort that we will be reunited. My heart knows that.. But my heart just isn't cooperating.

I miss Dad so much. He was such an integral part of my life. One that I thought I had many more years with.

I'll admit, I have gotten to the point where Wednesday is just a Wednesday. Not the day that marks the weeks since my father's death.

My mind plays tricks on me. Thinking that he's still here, I just haven't heard from him in a while. Then I am reminded. And I hurt.

What makes this loss so monumental is how far my relationship with my father had come. Growing up, wanting nothing but the love of my earthly father. Eventually, learning to to lean on the love of my Heavenly Father. Then receiving the love of my earthly father.

Now my earthly father is gone... and I need to lean on my Heavenly Father once again.

This is not an easy road. I won't pretend its easy. I want nothing more but to run & cry. I want so much to be angry. Angry at God. Angry at my father. But I can't. I just cannot be angry.

In the meantime, I'll just take each day as it comes. Wake up, put one foot in front of the other and move on. My memories will always be with me...

Many blessings,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Soothing my soul

Yet another amazing Sunday at my church leading my middle school girls. I love when God just speaks to me, especially through music.

It was a bit of a rough weekend. Heard from the 1st bill collector regarding Dad's estate. He hasn't even been gone a month yet & already the vultures are circling. Thankfully, I just handed out my lawyers phone number.

The Mayor was away this weekend with his high school group. Songbird was away too. So it was just me & Slugger hanging out. He's such a great young man. He heard me crying on the phone and he came in and started crying. His heart hurt because my heart was hurting. Ladies - you're in for a special man when he's available.

Back to God talking to me....

One of the songs we sang in Transit was Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons. I just LOVE this song. Since I first heard it, it spoke to my soul. This Sunday was no different.

The third verse reads:

"And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore."

My father spent the last 15+ years leading a Christian blues band, Breaking the Bondage Blues Band. Praising his Heavenly Father. This verse is a wonderful reminder that while dad's time on earth worshiping may be over, he's in Heaven praising God for eternity.

I'm not sure if my dad was aware he was dying. I'd like to think that he wasn't suffering. That in his heart he was able to praise God as he passed away. That death was just a fleeting moment for him. That once he got to heaven, a party ensued. Welcoming him. I can just see him with his friends who passed away before him passing him a harmonica and asking him to play.

This song & verse gives me comfort. A reminder that there is life after death.

Many blessings,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Too many hats

I usually strive on chaos. Being pulled in different directions. I think its because being chaotic let's me know I'm actually accomplishing something. Just another CHECK off my checklist.

Work is shorthanded, so there's been a ton of overtime. Until recently, I haven't minded. Extra money, helping my co-workers. I love my job. I love what I do. But since the death of my dad, things have changed for me.

I feel like I am being pulled in 20 different directions, without end. Family, work, church, coping w/ my dad's death, dealing w/ his estate. It's enough to drive a sane person crazy.

Lately, I feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I'm going to snap. Averaging 20+ hours of overtime each paycheck is crazy. Yet, overtime is mandatory. My time with my family is suffering. I haven't really been able to fully grieve my loss. Yeah, I've cried here & there, but there hasn't been that full blown grieve. It's coming - I feel it building.

I has always tried to help co-workers with scheduling needs in the hopes that one day, if I ever need the favor, someone will help me out.


We're all overworked. I am exhausted. On the days I do have off, I'm sleeping. Which means no time with the family. I'd love to say that this is only temporary, but I've been working this schedule for almost 2 years now.

Now add in my trips to NJ to help out w/ my father's house, I'll never have time with the kids.

Sure - the money will be great. But money isn't everything. I would rather live with less money and more time with my family. Heck, last night I got to the point where I almost begged the Mayor to let me quit. It's not that I don't like my job - I would just like to actually have a day off where I don't need to worry about getting called in to work.

This is just frustration talking. I know that.

But my fear is that my depression will surface causing me to go into a tailspin. At least I am aware. I've let others know how I'm feeling, so they can be aware too.

Praying for inner peace.

Many blessings,

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mending my heart

One of the benefits of volunteering with my middle school students is that on weekend when I'm working and unable to attend service, I still get a sermon.

The current middle school series is titled "The Amazing Grace" - all about how God's gift of grace cannot be earned. It is simply a gift for us to accept. It's a gift for ALL.

Today's lesson spoke directly to my heart. Even the worship music.

I was struggling a little this morning emotionally. I saw Jana for the 1st time since Kevin's funeral. She came over & loved on me, checking to see how I was holding up. As a started to cry on her shoulder and tell her just how much this all sucks, I whispered to her how we miss her - not just Cue52 but HER. She started to cry.

As worship started, I could feel my heart welling with emotion. The final song, Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin, turned on the water works. Part surrender, part joy.

When the speaker came forward, he talked about the gift of grace. How special it makes us feel to know that God offers us the gift for free. No strings attached. Then he started talking about when we realize that the gift is for everyone - even those who have hurt us.

We want so much for God to judge people the way we judge them. You hurt me, I cut you off. I want to punish you. You don't deserve MY grace. Thankfully God doesn't operate that way.

What is even better is that Christ came to heal the brokenhearted.

The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
    because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken,to tell the captives they are free,    and to tell the prisoners they are released. ~ Isaiah 61:1

That means He wants to heal MY broken heart. Whether it's my broken heart from my past or over the death of the my father. God wants to heal my heart.

This isn't a new concept for me. Mending Hearts is based on the promise in Psalms:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalms 147:3

Yet why did I need that reminder again? Sometimes, when we're in our grief we can't see clearly. We need a little nudge.

I left church feeling lighter, freer, comforted. I needed to hear that message. It may have been delivered to a group of middle school students, but it found its way to this adult heart. I am blessed.

Many blessings,

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New lesson in death

As I shared the other day, my father passed away a little over 2 weeks ago. It was very sudden. My sisters & I were really expecting another 20 years with him. Needless to say, we have been devastated.

I have found that people want to help. They hate feeling helpless when you're going through something so painful. Most offer their condolences, try to give you words of wisdom to help lessen the pain. Others cook. We've been the recipients of some delicious meals - THANK YOU!

They all have been kind and thoughtful and loving. I never knew how loved we were until this happened. I am humbled by the outpouring of love & support from our friends, family & people we don't even know. Hearing from those who knew my dad, sharing their stories of him. Those have been priceless! My father loved being that tough Bronx-born bad ass from New Jersey. Yet, inside beat the heart of a teddy bear.

One friend gently guided me to a website/email group. It's called Grief Share. The last thing I need is ANOTHER email, but since he took the time out to tell me about it, I wanted to check it out.

I've only been receiving the emails for the past 5 days, but they are spot on. It's amazing to open them and see someone putting in words what I am feeling. It brings such a peace. I am not alone in how I am feeling. What I am going through is normal. There isn't a right or wrong way to grieve. It's a personal journey. Each person experiences things differently. No matter what I feel, it's ok to feel it.

This is going to be a LONG journey. I am learning a new normal. I don't like the new normal and I probably never will. At least I can cling to the promise of seeing him again.

Many blessings,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A grandson's farewell

My father passed away suddenly 2 weeks ago. My sweet son asked to speak at his funeral. Here's what he said:

My Keepa (grandfather) was the best harmonica player I knew, not that I knew many, and he was overall amazing. When I saw him, I hugged him. (If I could I would tackle him to the floor). 

I remember the last time I saw him. He had a cane and I started to worry because I love him.

One of my favorite memories of him was when I was trying to teach him how to play Lego Batman 2: DC Superheros on the Wii and I had to repeat stuff over and over again. 

My mom told me that he served in the Vietnam War 18th Engineer Brigade and he worked in the Port Authority for 35 years.

His most recent visit I never thought it would be the last I saw him.

Now that I am here I realized that was not the last time I saw him, but I will see him one day in Heaven. Every day I will look forward to it.

                                                                      Christmas 2012

I have been trying to put down in words exactly what I am going through, but have been so unsuccessful. Certainly not because I'm dealing well with this loss. But because I have so many conflicting feelings right now. Anger, sadness, longing, content, happiness, hope. I'll just take each day as it comes.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A girl with a mission

Songbird returned from her mission trip to Mexico this past Saturday. I'll admit, I was crying as soon as I saw her coming out of that terminal. I missed her so much.

She's been home for about 3 days now. We've only gotten snippets of her journey. I'd love to say she took amazing pictures of her time there, but unless you want to see her wrinkled toes, a pile of cookies or goofy pictures of her teammates, you'll have to use your imagination. Lord knows I've had to.

She came back tired - manual labor & changing time zones will do that to you. Yet she also came back with a renewed faith. She loved serving. She can't wait to go back next year and serve again. She was amazed at the progress that was made in the short time she was there and cannot wait to see what is accomplished in the coming year.

I just love her servant's heart. I'd love to say that she gets it from us (and it may), but I know that its truly a gift from God. God put it on her heart to serve. He put it on her heart to go back.

As the days go by, I hope to learn more about what she experienced. In the meantime, I am blessed knowing that she has decided to follow Christ's example and make fishers of men at such a young age. I only wish I was that obedient at her age.

Many blessings,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What a blessing

Mending Hearts has been a work in progress for several years now. I know how it I want it to work. I have a lot of the plans written down (mostly on napkins & other scraps of paper). I think the reason for dragging my feet is fear. Not necessarily fear of failure- if I can help just 1 person then it is not a failure. I am afraid of success.

Don't get me wrong, I want to following God's plan. I want to reach out and help other people. But I want it to be easy & instantaneous. Which it is not.

Yet the other night I received a call that just may change my life.

You see, a friend is hoping to venture out in a new business for herself. Coordinating natural beauty pageants that benefit local non-profits. The first local non-profit that she would like to help -- MENDING HEARTS! Half of the pageants' proceeds will be donated to Mending Hearts. Now I have no reason to get this off the ground.

I am humbled that she wants to feature this ministry. She wants to help get the word out locally so that I can follow my calling. This is a win/win. She gets the pageant experience & I get the free publicity. The fact that she has that amount of faith in this calling -- it truly is humbling. She believes in this ministry. She believes in the mission. She believes in me.

I'll be honest, I'm a little freaked out now. I mean, time to put my money where my mouth is (not literally). It's a put-up-or-shut-up time. So much on my end needs to be accomplished. I gotta say though -- I am SO excited. This is a break I've been hoping for. Heck, this is the kick in the pants that I needed.

So, the journey continues......

Many blessings,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Piece of my heart

Songbird has spread her wings and gone on an adventure. She decided last fall that she wanted to sign up for a mission trip with the high school ministry at our church.

Last Saturday, bright and early, she and approximately 40 other high school students (& 12 adults) boarded an international flight to Merida, Yucatan Mexico. There they are to serve the community by doing some construction at a local school and painting the classrooms.

As proud as I am of my daughter's servant heart, I miss her terribly. It feels like a piece of my heart is missing. Silly, I guess. What will it be like when she goes off to college in just 2 short years.

Thankfully, the group is maintaining a blog of the trip, so we are able to see snippets of what she is doing. She looks wonderful. Having a great time. Making new friends. Serving God. What more can a mother ask for.

I cannot wait for her to come home on Saturday. I can't wait to hear about everything she's done. How God worked through her. I cannot wait to see what she brings home and see her pictures.  I cannot wait to HUG her.

Many blessings,

Friday, June 28, 2013

Farewell to a friend

Today I write with a heavy heart. Our family mourns the loss of a wonderful man, a friend to many, a mentor to all, a father, a husband, a child of God.

To many, Kevin Jackson was the man behind the scenes. But he was SO much more than that.

Kevin & his beautiful wife, Jana, had a vision. A dream. To create a mentor-ship program in the fine arts. God came through and thus Cue52 was born.

After having private vocal lessons, it was recommended that Songbird join the students of Cue. In the past 2 years, Songbird has blossomed into a wonderful talent on stage. She always had the singing ability, now she has the stage presence to go along with it.

Kevin & Jana have been more than just program directors. Their influences have entered into multiple areas of our lives. Music, church, family, marriage.

A few weeks ago, Kevin was mowing the lawn. He came inside because he was having a headache. He collapsed & rushed to the ER. From there, he was Life Flighted to another hospital..Diagnosis: brain aneurysm.

Unfortunately, today the decision was made to remove the respirator.

I cannot begin to imagine what a tough decision that must of been for all involved.

My heart is broken for this family. The loss of a father. The loss of a husband.

While I know that Kevin has received the ultimate healing, those of us left behind will miss him greatly.

To those who mourn this loss, I leave these words.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

But I AM worthy.... and so are you

It's been a pretty rough week in my life. Work issues, friends health issues. But what has broken my heart the most is a small conversation with the Mayor.

No, don't worry -- we're fine. In fact, we had a wonderful confirmation that we are on the right track in our marriage. That's a whole other entry.

What has broken my heart this week is learning that someone from our church has told an acquaintance that they would not be welcomed in our church because of their past.


Why am I so bothered by this? Because if attending church was contingent on our past, NONE of us would be able to attend. I know my past alone would make me ineligible.

Romans 3:23-24
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

What I love about these verses is the word ALL. That word is so inclusive. It's numeric value is infinite. Think about it:

couple -- 2
few -- 3 or more
several -- 5 or more

Yet all - there really is no numeric value. It means infinity.

That means every single person who has been on this planet - past, present or future -- is unworthy yet through Christ's death & resurrection have been redeemed. What gives us the right to tell someone they are/are not allowed to attend a church.

Yesterday's sermon was perfect. It's called "My Bad Church Experience: Part III". The entire sermon was how church should be all inclusive. I couldn't help but chuckle, praying that the person who told our acquaintance they couldn't attend was convicted of their actions/words.

I try to be inclusive. I'm not always good at it. I try to remember the hurt & pain I felt when I am not included.

Dear friends, be inclusive. Welcome everyone.

Many blessings,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being loved

I've got to say, one of the hardest things I've done in my life has been to allow myself to be loved. Sounds simple doesn't it? But if you grow up thinking you aren't loved or wanted, being loved by someone can be pretty scary.

I have known the Mayor since we were 15 years old. We both turned 41 this year. That is 26 years!! November marks 16 years of marriage for us. That's becoming unheard of in our society.

I have always loved the Mayor, but I do believe there are different kinds of love. According to C.S. Lewis, there are 4 types of love:

Storge -- affection
Phileo -- friendship
Eros -- romance
Agape -- unconditional

At some point in time, I have experienced all of these loves with the Mayor, however I know I held him back from Agape love (and sometimes Eros). There are days, even now, that I struggle to let him love me. Little naggings in the back of my mind saying that I'm just not worth loving. However, the Mayor has been a wonderful example of God's Agape love.

Sure, there are days I wonder why he married me. I fear that he will one day wake up and hit the road because he realizes I am too much of a mess to stay with. Yet in those moments, there's a tugging on my heart, reminding me that he truly does love me.

The worst is when I try to make him not love me. You know that "I'm-gonna-show-him" side of my personality. And each time, he stays patient, continuously loving me, reeling me back in.

Feeling disconnect isn't the same as falling out of love. The love is still there, just hidden. Like a rare jewel. It needs to be sought out, cultivated. You don't just say "I do" and live happily ever after. Nope, hard work is ahead of you. That's stuff most people won't tell you about.

Each day that I allow myself to be loved by the Mayor, my heart heals just a little bit more. There will be scar tissue - just like any wound. But over time, the scar tissue becomes tough - a visual reminder of the battle.

Some days, loving me is a battle. Breaking down those walls tat I love to put up. We all do. Yet the Mayor continues to scale the walls of my heart, trying to free my heart.

It's not always easy. It certainly isn't always pretty. Yet it is always worth it.

My goal is to continue to allow myself to be loved. To allow my heart to get wrapped up in those wonderful feelings of love & acceptance.

Even when humans fail me - and they will - I always have the unconditional love of my Heavenly Father. The one who created me. The one who knew the plans of my life before I was even created. The one who sent His Son to die for my sins. Yet most days I even struggle with His love. I am so unworthy.

Overall, being loved means you have to love yourself. You need to forgive yourself for the mistakes of your past; grace. Giving yourself grace.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The state of marriage

The other day, I was at the middle school for Slugger's final band concert of 7th grade. I ran in to a friend's mother - who happened to be visiting Georgia to spend time with her son, his wife & children.

I have known this woman since I was in the 7th grade - since 1984/1985. That's a LONG time - I'm too tired to do the math. As I approached her, I realized that I probably hadn't seen my friend's mother since I moved to Georgia in 2004.

We hugged. The first words out of her mouth to me were "So, are you divorced yet?"

Umm...... excuse me?!?!?!?!

Did I mention that this woman was at my wedding? Her daughter read scripture. I was in her daughter's wedding.

I politely told her that I was still married. We continued to catch up and then left.

I told my husband about it and I started getting a little offended. What made her think my marriage wouldn't last?

Then I started to really think about it.

Let's face it. 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce. It's become the norm in our society. It is more unusual for a couple to remain married - especially for 16 years. I think what's even more unheard of is a couple being HAPPILY married.

Yes, I said it. I am happily married. I won't sit here and say that all 16 years have been happy. We have been through some trying times. But we have managed to come out the other side for the better. Our marriage is stronger because of the trials we've endured.


It saddens me to think that most marriages will end before they even have a chance to begin. People no longer fight for what they want. They give up so easily. Spouses become disposable. Marriages end with a quick scribble of a pen.

The state of my marriage is always a work in progress. Even after 16 years, we learn something new every day.

I am proud to be able to answer the "Are you divorced" question with a NO!

Many blessings,

Monday, April 29, 2013

What I've learned

Through the magic of Facebook, I have reconnected with many people from my past. Some of those people were friends & former youth group leaders from when I was a teen.

It's been interesting reuniting with some of them. At first, I wasn't too thrilled. I mean, they represent that terrible time in my past when I was abused by my youth pastor, B. They were my church family who turned their back on me when I came forward about the abuse. However, God has been revealing the truth to me through these people.

It is not that they abandoned me. They were simply trying to protect their families. Many left the church because of what was happening. Sure, they didn't stick up for me. They're human. It's got to be hard to believe the worst about someone you've known for most of your life.

I love that God has revealed this to me. While I long ago forgave them & my youth pastor, it really has brought even MORE healing to my already mended heart.

I am in a good place. I am at peace. God is active in my life.

Many blessings,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

At peace

For my birthday, the Mayor was super sweet and sent me to Iowa for a week to visit BFF and family. Let me tell you, it was EXACTLY what my heart needed.

I'll admit, I have been floundering in the friend department since BFF and the Professor moved to Iowa a few years ago. Instead of just healthily mourning the change in the friendship, I cut myself completely off from other around me. Looking back on it, that's my M.O. I'd rather close myself off than to possibly risk being hurt again, in the process I hurt myself by lacking in meaningful friendships.

The moment I saw BFF in the airport, EVERYTHING came back. There wasn't any hesitancy in our friendship. Hundreds of miles may separate us, but we are as close as we ever were. 

The visit uneventful. Just got a lay of the land. A glimpse into her new life. Trips to Walmart, Costco, 5 different libraries, the kids' school, multiple places to eat, church & the movies. Typical of what we would have been doing had she still be in Georgia. I also had the chance to meet some of her new friends. 

Ultimately, I needed to see that she was okay. I needed to know that our friendship really hadn't changed. Even if we don't talk every day, the only distance is miles. Nothing else. She is still my best friend. The Professor & I still verbally spar. 

I look forward to my next visit - this time with my entire family.

As I returned to Georgia, I returned with a resolve that I will no longer hide from people. I will do what I can to maintain my other friendships. I will be intentional to cultivate those relationships. It's going to be tough. Definitely something outside of my comfort zone. 

Here's to friendships!!!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A glimpse into my husband's heart

Last week was Spring Break for my family. Being that the Mayor is a teacher, I had the WHOLE family home. Because I had to work, we didn't have any plans for the week. Just some shopping, movies & friends. Oh - I had work.

On the final day of Spring Break, the Mayor, Songbird & Slugger had the chance to give back and serve at a homeless ministry in Atlanta with some other high school students from our church. Somehow, the Mayor was asked to speak.

Songbird & Slugger hopped on stage & lead worship with some of the other volunteers. Songbird singing & Slugger rockin' the tambourine.

Because I had to work, I didn't get to serve with my family. But I was blessed that the Mayor shared what God placed on his heart.

And now I share it with you.

When my kids were younger, I remember holding them in my arms and just rocking them back. I would think, you are so beautiful and so amazing. I would whisper to them that I would always love them. I would say that nothing could ever stop my love for them. Then they started to grow and man they started to develop personalities all their own; they were pistols. I found myself still whispering to them that I would always love them and nothing could ever stop that. Then they grew more and I realized they made  mistakes and disappointed me. I realized that despite that, they were in need of my love and acceptance. To this day, they long to hear the words "I love you"! Do they disappoint me? Sure. Does that mean I stop loving them? No. In fact, I found that I was the same as them, looking for someone to love and accept me. But I failed and disappointed time and time again. i still do this to my family today, but the amazing and humbling things is they continue to love and accept me, despite me.

I used to wonder why I would choose to love them the way I do. As I looked and searched, I found answers to this. It took me time to understand it, but when I did, what a game changer it was. I found I loved them because there was the love of a Savior that accepted me as I am, a failure. Even more important, a love that would use me as I am. See I wondered why God would choose to use me, a failure, to do anything for Him. He saw me and still does, as a vessel for Him. What I began to realize it God does not see me as man does, instead He sees me as potential. God chooses to love me, despite me, because He sees what I can do, even when I don't see it.

As I continued to explore this idea, I realized that God chooses people to do things, that are usually opposite of who I would choose. Let's be honest, I would not have chosen Abraham to build a nation around, he was too old; or Moses to rescue my people, he couldn't even talk; or Paul, really - he killed Christians, but that spread the gospel to them. What I have come to realize is God looks at my potential, at your potential, not our past. He is less concerned about what we did then what we can do. God uses people like me and you to do great things. When we feel we are an obstacle to him, he says "Watch me leverage this person for my plan". What I began to realize is that God choose to call me his child. He adopted me knowing exactly who I am and what I had done. Through His Son Jesus, he chose to adopt me as part of his family. when we realize we are His children, we can hear him whisper to us "I love you and nothing will ever change that". His love through Jesus has allowed us to call him DADDY.

What I know is God sent his Son so we could become his child. He desires us, no matter our past. Let me tell you, my past is ugly with a capital U, and yet his grace covers that and allows me to come to him. We don't have to look at God through the lens of what we did, but rather who we are - HIS CHILD. God's redemptive story includes me, my children, my wife, you, these students. Everyday I wonder "Why God do you love me?" "I am ugly inside and yet you look past it". I realize I will never, ever be able to understand it but I am so thankful for it. God redeems and restores us everyday. Will we fail him? Yes. Will we disappoint him? Yes. Will he still call us his child? Yes. Does he still love us? Yes. The love of a daddy as great as God shows true unconditional love. God's grace changed everything! It allows God to use us no matter our past. It allows God to say "Come to me, as you are, no need to fix it now, we'll fix it as we grow our relationship together". Just when we think we can't do anything, God steps in a says "Watch me use you".

As I think back to my kids, I remember what God whispers to me; I love you and I will never stop. Despite their mistakes and disappointments God love them. Despite my failures and disappointments God calls me his child. No matter where you are at or what you believe know that there is a God who calls you his child, he wants to adopt you and he longs to use you in anyway he sees fit. When you least expect it, God uses you. When you think you are not good enough, God uses you. When you think he has stopped loving you, he looks down and whispers to you "I love you and you are my child".

Yet another wonderful reason why I love my husband so....

Many  blessings,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Another lesson. Really?

I've learned a lot of lessons in my almost 41 years. Most of them have been hard lessons to leave. Heck, sometimes I've had to learn the same lesson more than once.

It's no secret that I take medication to regulate my clinical depression. I'm not here to debate the meds vs. no meds issue. I am usually fairly diligent when it comes to those particular meds. I mean, I may not always finish my antibiotics (once the funk clears up, you're cured, right?). I don't like how I feel when I am not taking them.

Recently, I needed refills. I also need to go to the doctor for a check up to get the refill. Instead of being proactive and making the needed appointment, I decided to play doctor on my own. There's been a time or two when I accidentally missed a dose and nothing happened. I should be ok, right?

Yeah - not so much. Everything came to a halt yesterday. I had a complete meltdown. EPIC! It's been a long time since I've had one. 

Let me tell you I did NOT like that feeling. Complete feeling of being out of control. Brain racing. Zaps. Crying at the drop of a hat. Not good.

What lesson did I learn?

I will not play doctor on my own. I will make sure that I have the necessary meds and take them as directed. It is amazing how great I feel today - after having my meltdown and the meds back in my system. Not over-the-top happy. My normal happy. But compared to my mood yesterday - WOW!

Many blessings,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On the other side

As I've said previously, I struggle with clinical depression. I have for many years. I'd like to think it all started in 1994, but deep down inside I know that it started well before that.

During my darker times of depression, I had contemplated suicide. At the time, it seemed like the best way to end the pain that I was in. I truly believed that my friends and family would be better off without. Over time, I have learned that lie is the FURTHEST thing from the truth. My temporary pain may be over, but I would have left behind a wake of heart ache.

Being on the other side of suicide, I have seen the devastation that decision can cause in a family. Those left behind search for answers; why did this happen, how could this have happened, what did we miss.

It breaks my heart to see the aftermath of suicide. Denial, anger. Families trying to make sense of it all. Putting the pieces back together - trying to live life while there is a gaping hole in their lives from the absence of their loved one.

I am so thankful that I never succeeded. Thankful for the new outlook on life. Thankful that my friends and family didn't have to deal with losing me. Thankful that I can live out the rest of my life as an example of God's redemption and love.

Dear friend, if you are in that dark place - reconsider. Talk to someone. A friend, a family member, even a stranger. Dial 911. They can get you some help.

Many blessings,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Broken not beaten

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to go to Night of Worship at my church. They do this about 4 times a year. A wonderful opportunity to worship our Heavenly Father, pray together & have communion.

You're asking yourself - ummm... don't you do that EVERY Sunday? Well, yes. We don't celebrate communion every Sunday because it would be difficult to serve it to thousands of people each & every week. As for the music & prayer - hasn't there been a time where you're at church, worshiping and they cut to the sermon. Not saying I don't love hearing the sermon, but sometimes God just speaks to me through music. Plus, for me, its an amazing chance for me to fully let go & just bask in His love.

That's what Night of Worship is for.. for those times when you just need a little MORE worship... gather with others to pray and commune together.

As I've said before, worship is how I connect with God. Music speaks to my heart. The beat, the rhythm, the words. There was just something about this particular night, my heart was breaking. Not sure why. Things have been pretty good. Yet I could FEEL God tugging on my heart. That tightness in my chest.

We sang and tears just came to my eyes. Within seconds, the waterworks begin to flow. Tears streaming down my face. In that moment, I could FEEL the presence of God. There - speaking to me. As the tears flowed, I started to sob. You know that sob.. that "I am in pain & need help" sob. I know my poor husband was confused. I'll admit. I didn't know where it was coming from.

But there I sat...tears streaming, worshiping my Heavenly Father. In an instant, I was overtaken by this amazing sense of peace. My Heavenly Father telling me "I am here child".

A lot happened in that moment. Stuff that I am still trying to sort out in my mind. Need to put it on paper and start working it out.

It was an awesome feeling.... feeling the presence of God right there as you are feeling broken & beaten. I could do nothing but worship Him. For what He has done in my life & what He still has in store for me.

I'll leave you with a song. This one definitely speaks to my heart.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Label Maker

This weekend was amazing!! It was AWESOME!! Yes, I can say that because God definitely had His hand in this past weekend.

Imagine over 1500 middle school students coming together in one place for the sole purpose of worshiping God. Intense - yes! Awe-inspiring - yes! The fact that I got to take part of something so monumental, I am just blessed by the opportunity.

The topic for the weekend was Romans 12:2

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Tough to do any age,  but especially tough in middle school. So much of our identity is truly built during these formidable years. What our friends, family, the world around us have to say about us will remain with us for the rest of our lives. The good, the bad, & the ugly.

The labels my girls internalize were heartbreaking. Most of these words they've heard from their own parents. Stupid, unwanted, unplanned, untalented, ugly, thunder thighs. Parents - we have a moral obligation to BUILD our children up, not tear them down. The words that we say, even in jest, cut to the core of our most prized blessings - robbing them of the joy of truly being loved. I, too, am guilty.

Thankfully, 1500 students got to hear just how much God loves them and what amazing plans He has for them. That God's plan for them is good, pleasing & perfect. That by focusing on how GOD labels them, they will be able to fight the negativity.

This weekend gave me the opportunity to share just a little bit of my story with my girls. I wanted to let them know that I can understand what they are going through. That the choices they make today can & will impact them. That listening to the negative labels can be detrimental. I felt like I was really able to connect with them. Some took what was said to heart. Others just heard a story. Either way, I shared what God nudged me to share and walked away from a truly wonderful weekend with 12 amazing teen girls.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of these girls' lives. Some I've known for 3 years, others for just the weekend. But I walk away from the weekend knowing that I was exactly where God wanted & needed me to be.

Let God be your label maker.....

Many blessings,

*** bible verse taken from

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Changing labels

This coming weekend is Walking Wisely Weekend. It's the annual in-town retreat for middle school students at my church. I co-lead a group of wonderful 8th grade girls. Sadly, this will be our last official outing as a group. In just a few short months they will be 'graduating' to the high school ministry. After a lot of prayer & thought, I have decided to not move up with them. As much as I want to see where God takes them, I know that my time with them is coming to an end. He will place the right people in their lives for the next step.

I wanted to be prepared for the weekend, so last night I took at look at the leader guide. We'll be talking about labels. How other people label us, how we label people and ultimately how God sees us. Which got me thinking of my own labels.

Growing up, a lot of the 'labels' for myself came from my perception of what family thought of me; unwanted, useless, unlovable, dumb. Other labels came from my peers; stupid, awkward, freak. If you hear those labels enough you start to believe them. And I did. Sometimes I even played into those labels.

It has taken me MANY years to overcome those labels. There are days when I fall back into the trap of believing those words. Sometimes I am hard on myself and come up with new labels for myself.

But then I try to see myself through God's eyes.

It's not always easy. The negative can be SO ingrained. It can be difficult to believe the good, when you've only ever believed the bad. I don't have the best self-esteem, but I have gotten better.

God sees me as the person He made me. So full of potential. I just need to slow down & hear Him. Focus on what He has to say. What He has planned for my life.

Again - the Samaritan women at the well came to mind. Here was this woman.. the lowest of the low simply because she was a Samaritan. To make matters worse, she had been divorced multiple times and currently living with a man who was not her husband. Unacceptable in Biblical times. Yet our Savior... HER Savior came to her, asked her for water and offered her so much more. He offered forgiveness... and opportunity for her to change her 'label'.

There's been a lot of growth for me. Along with growth are the growing pains. It hasn't always been easy to embrace new labels - especially positive ones. Yet it has been so very freeing.

Do not define yourself by what others tell you. What society tells you. Define yourself by who our Heavenly Father says you are.

I am now entrusted with labeling these young women. These labels will stick with them forever. They will be tattooed to their very being. A very huge responsibility, but one that I do not take lightly. God has a plan for each one of these amazing girls. My prayer is that our weekend is filled with fun, but with soul searching. Opportunities for each of them to be vulnerable. To shed the negative labels that they cling to and embrace the ones that God gives them.

For you, I pray the same....

Many blessings,

Saturday, January 12, 2013

With you & for you

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? ~ Romans 8:31

God is with us AND for us. Are there any sweeter words? 

As we align our will with God's will, we can accomplish anything. We do need to remember that while He promises to be with us, He doesn't promise an easy road.

I needed this reminder. 

I've been slack when it comes to Mending Hearts. I'll be honest. I expect it to just be easy. Everything just fall into place. Doors open. Ta dah! A la peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. POOF!

But it isn't going to be that way. I am going to meet resistance, especially because it's God's will. The enemy certainly doesn't want to see anyone succeed at God's will. Nothing will stop us, but Satan will certainly try. 

Do not be discouraged. Be still and rest in the knowledge that God is God and He is in control.

Yeah - I know. I need to focus on that. Focus on what God wants - not whether it'll be easy for me. Nothing worthwhile is going to be easy. Hard work is what's needed.

The devotion for January 9th was PERFECT for this. It reminds me to slow down. Enjoy the journey; let God lead the way. 

It should be like that for my entire life - not just parts of it. Give my entire life to Him. Not just bits & pieces. Giving Him total control of my life - I'll admit. It's scary. It's a total control thing for me. But I know that when I DO relinquish control to Him, life is SO much better. I can honestly sit back, take a deep breath, and know that HE is in control.

When I really stop & think about it... allowing God to have total control gives me a greater peace. Yet why do I choose to keep thinking I need to be in control? Simply because I am human. 

I'll be honest - its times like this when I hate my human-ness. I would love to just say that I put ALL my trust in Him. That nothing bothers me. That I rest in Him. Most of the time it is true. But again, I am still human and there will be times where I take my troubles back.

Be blessed dear friends.....

Many blessings,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday's ponderings

While I truly feel God speaking to me through music, I have decided to be more intentional with daily devotions. As much as I love books, I have decided to try an app. Since I have been wanting to buy the "Jesus Calling" book, I opted to download the free app (I may purchase the full app at some point, but this will be good to get my feet wet).

Today's topic - God being able to handle ALL of our expectations.

To me - that's powerful. Of course, He wants us to come to Him with our positive expectations, but He also wants us to come to Him when we are heavy hearted. Sometimes our unanswered prayers are simply lessons. Lessons for us to learn to wait upon Him, to TRUST Him - not only in the light of our day, but in the darkness as well.

I find it SO easy to praise Him when things are going well. Throw up a quick THANK YOU GOD! I mean, how can you not. When a friend does something wonderful for you, how simple is it to just say "thank you". Yet, its in those moments where I feel alone. In my darkness. Those are the times where I can't see past the pain. But God wants me to run to Him. I should thank Him. Not because I am suffering, but because I know that He is in control - simply because He loves me.

Today's devotion said:

"The more extreme your circumstances, the more likely you are to see My Power and Glory at work in the situation." ~ January 6th, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Ok - so as I typed the above quote I realized I read the wrong day. Oh well - God gave me a lesson & I'm running with it.

As I look back on my life, my story, I can see exactly when God was glorified by my circumstances. No, I am not saying He wanted me to suffer and endure the hurt. I truly believe He grieved WITH me. Instead, I rest in the knowledge that He can use those events to show His goodness & mercy.

For today, I will try to thank Him in the good and bad. Just because something doesn't go my way, doesn't mean it didn't go the way it was supposed to go. Instead, I need to simply accept the outcome. I will meditate on Ephesians 3:20-21:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Many blessings,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Heart & Mind

I am not a marriage expert. My marriage is not perfect. There are days where I do things right and then days where I am a complete mess up.

One thing I am always saying is 'I wish we knew.... before we got married." Learning those lessons wouldn't have stopped me from getting married, but I do think they might have helped with some of the speed bumps we've encountered through the years.

The Mayor and I have decided to take time off from being small group leaders for couples. I'll be honest. I feel guilty for not feeling guilty about the decision. We truly needed the time off. We need to reconnect with one another, with our family, with ourselves. We can't be effective small group leaders if we don't fill ourselves up.

Yet, marriage has been on my heart & mind. Marriage in America is in a crisis. People use marriage as something disposable. Don't like the person, life getting tough - divorce. Don't get me wrong - I've been there. I've said it. I've contemplated it.

The Mayor & I dated for over 3 years before getting engaged. We were engaged for over a year before getting married. We did not live together until we said I DO.

We have been married for 15 years. We have fought our way to this point. There were definitely times where we wanted to throw in the towel. Today we are thankful that we stuck together and fought the battle. Every day is a battle. It is SO easy to become complacent. To just take advantage of one another. To take advantage that our spouse will always be there.

When we go back to leading a small group in August, I seriously think we should consider investing in marriages. Either new marriages or established marriages. That I'm not sure. But I do believe that God is leading us to this point. We have a lot to offer couples. We have so much to learn.

This is my heart & mind.....

Many blessings,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Hurricane love

My last post talked about the dark place I was in. I'm not saying that I am no longer there - I'm just saying I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I haven't been able to get the song "How He Loves" by David Crowder Band out of my head lately. It is such a simple song lyrically, but oh so powerful!!

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

One can look back at their life, look at all the negative and think that God has deserted them. That they were broken. And maybe, in some cases, they were.. but for the most part, we bend to the situation and learn to adapt - much like trees in a hurricane.

I'm not saying that trees don't fall down or get uprooted during a storm. But for every tree that does fall, hundreds others sway and bend in the wind. Adapting to their surroundings so that they can survived.

God doesn't want to break us. It's not about OUR will, but HIS will. Jesus teaches us to pray "THY WILL BE DONE". Instead of focusing on the bad, I want to focus on what do I need to learn from this. God has my best interest at heart. He loves me... He loves you!

This isn't the official video of the song, but I love the visual.

Many blessings,