January 4, 2015

When the LIGHT Breaks Through

The tight ball rising. Shoulders starting to inch toward the bottom of my ears. Today is the last day of Christmas break and tomorrow it all starts. I feel like I'm looking up at a waterfall that had run dry and suddenly the flood gates have been let loose.

The last 6 months have been so full. Of good. Of hard. Of work. And I have not taken care of myself at all. Workouts have been nonexistent. Food choices… not so stellar.

And my heart. Let's just say I get a "C" for time with God this last term.

And that leaves me here. On the treadmill trying to start my body moving again. And the tension in my body is still rising.

And then, as I start another 'run' interval, looking out the garage window on a brown pasture, still sprinkled with the powder sugar snow, the light breaks through the cold grey sky. And as that sliver of yellow pink light shines through my heart knows…

I cannot do this on my own.
I am not required to do this on my own.
All these balls I'm juggling… faith, family, work, teaching my kids… they are all roles He has given me.

And HE will make beautiful things in them.
IF I give Him room to be a part of it.

Let go.
Let Him.
Breath in His LIGHT.

As I look at that sunset through the clouds and my heart bows down in worship of the incredible creator who can't paint the sky, my body relaxes. I can catch a full breath now. I might not cry.

Tomorrows to-do list hasn't changed. But my focus has.
My focus has to be on Him.
I can't "make" good happen. But He can. Through me. If I stop, look and listen to His leading.

Today, He can. Tomorrow, He can.
Now, if I can just remember this tomorrow morning.

November 6, 2011

Joy in the Rain

I sat down tonight to drink my sleepy tea and let my mind unwind from the events of the day. I have to sigh and laugh a little as I pick up my joy journal... the one that happened to be the only paper I had to record the name, number and license of the driver I "bumped" into in the parking lot earlier this evening. That one when in the rainy dark night I looked left, right, and left again and CRASH.

I have to chuckle to myself. God's sense of humor. I've been extra challenged to find the blessings in all circumstances lately. When my family hit an unexpected  and giant hurdle this spring, God kept gently reminding me of the call to give thanks... in all circumstances. Paul gave the challenge in his first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica - "Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thes. 5:16-18) But when the unexpected crashes into your life and leaves a dent... even then?

I gave myself the pep talk... I can do it. I can find the beauty in the midst of rain. I can give thanks even in the midst of pain, despite the pain. I can find other things around it. Like the fresh mangos, special students, treasured friends and even scooter rides at lunch at the Herb Garden! They are all still there surrounding the hurdle. The hurdle doesn't take these beautiful things away.

It seems God has uped the anti. There it is, staring back at me. Ephesians 5:20 Paul's call to be "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything..." (my emphasis) What? How can this be? Finding good surrounding the bad i can do. But this? Can I  give thanks for all circumstances? Not just for the happy new job, warm house, plenty to eat good circumstances. Could I do that? Can I do that? Can I trust that God has something good for me in it, even though all I see is pain?

Just a page before this challenge Paul passionately writes to the Ephesians pouring out his longing for them to "grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love... that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God..." (Ephesians 3:18-19) Is this what it takes? To be filled up full by God do I have to give thanks for all circumstances?

It sounds backwards. It FEELS backwards. How is pain going to lead me to hope and fullness? All of my being wants to stop pain, prevent pain, wear the 'helmet' that will keep me... and my Chicklets... safe.

In the midst of this challenge I've been reminded to start a Joy Journal again. Years ago I sat daily and stopped to see the sunlight, the roses, the smell pleasures of a backyard swing. And then I stopped. This month author Ann Voskamp and her book "One Thousand Gifts" have challenged me to start again. To stop and see the beauty and blessings of life, whether in a day of mess or bliss. 1,000 gifts of blessing. Can I find them? Will I find them?  Can I find the beautiful in the midst of the rain?

Like I said, the very core of me does not like the sound of this. I want to protect, prevent, make the right choice so I don't have the bad consequence.

But God has a sense of humor. And sometimes no matter how careful I am, the crashes still come. Tonight it came right out of my blind spot and left a nice dent and broken fog light on the front of my car.  And there in the back of my new Joy Journal are all the details... can I turn them around and find a blessing? I can't "protect". I messed up. In the split second of darkness, rain, and blind spots my best intentions couldn't stop it. So now what?

Now what?
What joy, what thanks?

#16 we are all safe - no injuries
#17 doing the right thing in front of my kids - I don't always do as I say... but tonight I did as we waited for the other driver and helped her get a tow truck, when we legally didn't have to. I pray it will stick with my kids... more than a lecture. More than a school assembly. How we waited, and waited, 'till the one we bumped was safely on her way home.

#18 bedtime snuggles - because they are so sweet... any day. especially on messy days.

I love how God gently nudges me, patiently waits for me, teaches me one step at a time to not just make it through a challenge but find a blessing in it. It may not be much, but it's a start. It's a step toward the beautiful and away from the ugly,  angry, picking at the scratch that could choke me down.

I can't say I've found my blessing the big hurdle yet. I'm not quite there. But one step at a time.

Today, I found something to be thankful for, joyful for, in a mess.
Today I danced in the rain.
One more splash of joy...

(Photos... my Chickadee and me dancing in the pouring spring rain in Taiwan.)

(Discover the challenge for 1,000 gifts yourself. Visit Ann Voskamp's blog: aholyexperience.com )

October 25, 2011


falling, tumbling, sudden dropping
no man is an island, no life is alone
when dreams fall and life fails you
falling, tumbling, sudden drop


Hard floor, bones aching, heart throbbing
Tears falling, God calling
I love you
Dreams shattered, pieces scattered


Numb and frozen, shock shaking
Where am I? God are you with me?
Gentle whispers, I am with you
Where are we?


tears falling, all in grayscale,
please God breath new breath in me
make a new dream
show a new path
hold my heart and carry me

June 10, 2010

Oceanside Bliss

Oh, dear friends, it has been too long since I've shared. A bit of reorganizing, travel, and general running after the Chicklets has kept my fingers from tapping and my thoughts in my head. Most recently, the Chicklets and I joined The Captain on an adventure to Nye Beach (Newport), Oregon.

Is there possibly anything more glorious than the beach? Fresh, salty air. Rolling waves that hum their constant rhythm of perfect time... not too fast, not too slow. If only I could keep my life in time with the waves... I would certainly get more posting done!

The glorious long weekend looked like it would be filled with rainy day activities, and I packed a bag full to keep the Chicklets from climbing the walls. But never fear! The mornings were dry and Saturday was filled with sunshine! Which was a good thing because there are too many fabulous restaurants in Newport, with fish so fresh it melts in your mouth. You absolutely have to walk on the beach to make room before the next feast.

If you venture down the Oregon coast, plan to eat well in Newport. Don't count your calories, or your budget. Just enjoy...

Have lunch down at the harbor. But don't give in to temptation to eat that super fried, standard basket of fish and chips. Walk a little further down the row and fresh off the boat fare at Local Ocean. Trust me, your gut and your taste buds will thank you. You can also find them at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, but down by the bay you'll find all the ambiance of great Northwest seafood by the sea. The Roasted Garlic & Dungeness Crab Soup is a must! And the Thai style Penn Cove Mussels are simply scrumptious. Save room for the panko crusted Grilled Fish & Chips. Really, no matter what you order, you can't go wrong and you will want to come back.

Don't spend all your time at the Harbor. Nye Beach is the most adorable little area with a great beach, shopping, and food.

Plan for a delicious dinner at Panache. It is worth the splurge.  Owners and chef Tom & Linda are such gracious hosts. Located in an historic 1919 home with glowing fire place and ocean view, it is the perfect spot for a romantic evening. (If you are on a family trip and have the kiddos in tow, they are happy to accommodate. Our Chicklets did great.)

The menu at Panache begs for you to try one of everything... it's a great thing that several delectables, like the crab cakes, can be ordered as appetizers (yes, splurge!). And the desserts.... remember the old spelling quiz, "Desserts have 2 "s" because you want more, the sandy desert has 1." Well, you want 2 desserts at Panache. Share. But share two of them and let your taste buds dance!

If you're lucky enough to stay in town over night, try breakfast at Cafe Stephanie and lunch at Savory Cafe. They're both just a hop skip and a jump up from the beach and are perfect resting spots between those beach walks.

And don't miss dinner at Nanna's Irish Pub. Take a break from the seafood, and soak up some fine Irish pot pies. The steak and mushroom is my favorite, with a Black & Tan to wash it down.

No, we didn't just eat the entire weekend away... only most of it. :) We did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The Chicklets loved it, even the chicklet in me! And we did plenty of exploring on the beach. Most of all, we enjoyed time as a family away from the phone, the computer, the To Do list... and that my friends is priceless.

May 1, 2010

Simply Yum!

For all my Gluten Free friends... or anyone who likes to eat good food!... you MUST try these tasty new crackers from Trader Joe's.

Add a nice goat cheese spread and a glass of wine and... well...
just come on over and we'll nibble and chat!