Faith, Reflection

3 Nails… 3 Days

The Old Rugged Cross.

My mind cannot wrap around the reality of a death like this. It is beyond fathomable, comprehensible, and indescribable.

To be punctured by three nails, stripped almost naked, a crown of thorns piercing the skull, and placed vertically for hours until the body completely suffocates… he didn’t deserve this.

Yet, over 2000 years ago this was the most brutal form of punishment by death. This was reserved for the worst of the worst. The greatest felon received pure torture.

Oh, how pensive I have been. How quiet and still my soul has become since Maundy Thursday. Words are difficult to form. Thoughts are circling.

In the midst of all of this I am grateful and at peace. I am so humbled and thankful. I don’t deserve the grace and the mercy given to me by my Savior.

Whether you believe this story to be true or not, my soul verifies its truth in me. I know that I know that I know. And no one can change my mind.

You may have a different view. It depends on how you were raised. What you were taught. Beliefs you were made to know and understand. No matter what or how or why, as an adult you have the choice to walk away from it or embrace it.

I am not sure how much longer our world will recognize and celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection. We live in a time where right is wrong, good is bad, and religion is a sham. But, I don’t see my faith as a religion… my beliefs are not my ticket to God.

The cross is the only way. And it’s up to me to walk away… or embrace it.

Faith, Health, Reflection, Woman

Taking back my power

Healing begins the moment you choose to take your power back.

I never realized before that I always had the power within me. I knew I was strong and independent, but I allowed too many people to come in and take the wind right out of my sails.

And for years I suffered.

Why do we allow others to have this much control? Why do we cower when we feel guilt or shame? Why are we not standing up for ourselves?

The only answer that I can muster is that I was a people pleaser. I wanted to be liked. No, I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be valued.

I wanted to matter.

But, there is a cost when it comes to relationships. Whether you invest in a friendship or a love relationship there is a cost.

It will cost you your time.

It will cost you your energy.

It will cost you your heart.

Because, if you are anything like me, you truly value your investment in humans. You have a deep love for connection. You treasure the precious moments and memories.

And sometimes that investment will take rather than give.

The key is to be prepared. A healthy person must know ahead of time that other humans are gonna fail you!

YOU are going to fail you.

Yet, if you know the risks and you choose to accept the chance anyway, then failure may be an option.

But failure is NOT a permanent option.

It is a…

F – first

A – attempt

I – in

L – learning

If you allow yourself to catch some scrapes and bruises, your heart “skin” will become a little thicker. Your mind will become wiser. And your soul will become stronger.

In the journey of becoming process driven, I am choosing to take my power BACK.

I am choosing to guard my heart more, to solidify my soul more, and to still find human tenderness in the trenches.

So look out 2019!

I’m baaaaack!


Education, Faith, motherhood

Blood Convos

Lunar light and heavy thoughts

Last night the western hemisphere witnessed the viewing of the spectacular super blood wolf moon. Although my little area was covered in a wispy layer of clouds, we were able to watch the moon rise in its glory and then disappear by 9:40 p.m. into a shadowy covering.

My 12 year old daughter and I sat in the patio area of our backyard, as the last glimmer of the sun’s reflection sparkled from the top of the moon, looking similar to a kippah. Then, a brief moment later, earth’s shadow swallowed up the remaining light, and the moon began to change into a brilliant reddish-orange color.

The conversation that began earlier in the evening evolved from laughter-filled pre-teen innuendos to a somber-bewildered pondering of ‘the end of the world’ topic. The light that normally consumes my daughter’s view of life disappeared at the same time that the moon decided to play peek-a-boo with the earth. She began to ask questions, and I sat there to answer in the calmest manner I could.

There are seldom conversations about the deep and heavy thoughts in life, especially when it derives from the mind of a young person. For someone so young yet so wise to ask such philosophical, scientific, and faith-based questions, it brings about the very thoughts I ponder as a mid-life woman.

And I smile.

We were able to divulge into the topic of the beginning of life (think BIG) and where we are headed as a planet, as a human race, as a small part of the Universe. We discussed our beliefs, our fears, our hopes, and our priorities. Yet, no matter how much was shared to ease this curious young mind, I did not have all of the answers.

I am learning through this process driven life that we aren’t always meant to know the destination. And sometimes, we may know the hopeful destination, but the journey still scares the bejeezers out of our souls. And, then, when the fear has floated in the forefront for a moment, we push it aside and let the time pass as it should. For if we knew what would happen in our future (and I am visualizing the horrible movie Knowing) then our world would be consumed in continual chaos and anarchy.

At the end of our blood conversation I know she found more solace in her thoughts. She and I shared a few moments of mother-daughter snuggle time, and she drifted off into a peaceful sleep. As a seasoned mother of four I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to guide and shape this young woman-to-be. The goal of my process driven life is to do that just that. Be present. Be available. But most importantly, BE intentional.

Faith, Reflection, Woman

Finding my WHY

It seems that anyone who wants to be successful in his/her career, family, health, or spiritual journey must first ask the question: What is my WHY?

I have been pondering this question for several days now (if not, for several years). This persistent question keeps coming up, and I can’t seem to dodge it until I have temporarily satisfied my soul’s longing for the answer.

But, something amazing happened last night when I was pondering that question. I realized that my WHY doesn’t have to remain the same. It can change over time! As I accomplish a goal, I can determine a new WHY. Some of my WHYs are permanent, such as “I’m doing this for my kids.” But, some of my WHYs are temporary. These temporary answers can change as I do.

Discovering what you want to be or who you are is one of the most sought after ponderings in the universe. You may ask simple questions to yourself (Where would I like to be in 12 months?), or you may ask the most complex questions that never really have any black or white answers. I tend to toss and turn at night over some of these gray questions/answers. So, how do I find a balance in all of this questioning?

  1. I have to acknowledge that I do not know all the answers in this life, and that I need to LET GO of the false sense of control that I seem to have.
  2. I have to show gentleness and grace to myself, as I tend to get a little too hard on myself for not solving the problem/question right away.
  3. I have to walk away and leave it for another day, when my strength just doesn’t seem to be there.

As I look back through my journaling this past year, I know that a lot of mid-life moms must go through this period of questioning, seeking, and pursuing. We are at a point of the mountain peak, where we have journeyed for half of our lives to reach this pinnacle. But, when we look around and see where we’ve been, and then look ahead to see where we are going, we get lost in the fog. The beautiful clouds that seem so enamoring from the ground are now surrounding us at this mountain peak. It was supposed to be clear at the peak. We should know how to solve it all, handle it all, and understand it all.

So as begin the descent down to the ground of the latter half of my life, I want to have that kind of peace that surrounds me, even with the clouds. I want to know that my WHYs are not in vain, and that they have purpose for my purpose.

I hope that you’ll take the time to review your WHYs this week. Enjoy the thoughts, but don’t muddle too long on the unknown. Try and take the time to write them down, and just be content with where you are… at this moment.

For one day, these WHYs will become the mosaic of your legacy.

Faith, Health, Reflection

Lessons from the Boot

Almost six months have passed (gasp!), and I finally have the time/feeling/sense of urgency to write.

As of last Wednesday, I am temporarily immobile.  You see, I broke my ankle. boot

I am a middle-aged mama who broke her first bone. Ever.

Yes, it hurts. I thought a sprained ankle or a swollen knee hurts a lot. Nope. There’s not much to compare to a broken bone. Well, unless it’s a kidney stone. Then, that hurts worse than child birth. Oh wait, I’m digressing…

So, as I sit here, day after day, waiting for my avulsion fracture to heal, I have a lot of time to think. And, I am learning something from this dreadful boot upon which I re-learn to walk again.

1. REST is a four-letter word.

Sure, I love the occasional nap and a good night’s sleep, but continual rest day after day? It’s been emotionally painful to bear. I have actually viewed it as a new curse word, so to speak.  I am a busy, go-go-go mama, and the last thing I need or want to do is rest. Yet, here I am, on my bum, making the most of my time.

I want to be productive. I want to say, hey look what I can do! Ah, crap… there goes that prideful thinking again. I like a nice pat on the back as much as the next person does, but for some reason my EGO thinks that being busy equals being productive.

I am learning that RESTing is more important than BUSYing. If you get a chance to sit, be quiet and listen, you’ll start to “see” and “hear” the rest of the world around you. I am more conscious of my children’s conversations. I am more aware of time. I am more in awe of nature and its beauty. I am more close to my God.

2. It’s okay to be the passenger.

Taking a break from driving has been also hard on me. I don’t get to be in control at the wheel, and sometimes the journey is not as fun. I have to build trust in my driver (usually, it’s my husband). I have to keep my mouth shut, my tongue bit, and a smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong. He’s a great driver. He knows where HE is going. I just don’t like the fact that I am Miss Daisy for the next five or six weeks.

But, the good part about being a passenger is that I get a break. I don’t have to concentrate on the road if I don’t want to do so. I can relax while I get to my destination. I don’t have to walk. And, it’s air-conditioned (thank goodness) so the natural elements of an Arizona summer aren’t bugging me (no pun intended).

Again, this little lesson is about SLOWING DOWN and taking a breather. I keep forgetting that LIFE is not a marathon race. Well, it’s a marathon, but it doesn’t have to be a race.

3. Kisses from strangers.

Yes, I received a kiss from a stranger for wearing my boot. I was sitting in church this past Sunday, and of course I chose an aisle seat so I could have extra leg room for my boot. As we were sitting and praying during the quiet part of the service, this older gentleman, an usher, came up to me and whispered, “Would you like to race?” I looked at him blankly and replied, “Why yes, that would be nice!” He laughed, and instead of giving me a hand shake or a side hug, he bent down and kissed me on the forehead. I was a little shocked, but my husband was appalled!

Who did this guy think he was to kiss me? For me, I smiled and felt so warm and snugly inside. It was as if my own earthly daddy had kissed me. I think he was an angel, sent by God, to tell me that everything is going to be okay.

So, of course, a person with a walking boot may get unwarranted attention. Take that, prideful EGO!

More to come…

I am sure there will be more lessons to learn from all of this mess called a broken ankle. I know it could have been much worse, as I fell from from the bottom of the stairs (versus the dangerous top of the stairs).

Until then, carry on. Walk well. Slow down. Enjoy a snail’s pace every now and then.

Faith, Reflection

Living in Abundance

One of my favorite devotionals is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. As I read today’s entry, the word abundance is clearly the theme.

Do you live a life with abundance? It depends on how you define abundance.

When I view abundance, I envision a life full of surplus. Having material possessions: such as a full pantry of food, a full closet of clothes and shoes, the latest gadgets and techno gizmos, and all of the modern conveniences like washing machines, fancy cars, and swimming pools.

Again, my question is now personal: Do I live with abundance? In terms of the above, yes, I do.

But, spiritual abundance is much different than earthly abundance. I would rather have the fullness of God’s abundance in my life. I can live without excess clothes, shoes, technology, and even a car or swimming pool.

A lot of people in poor countries do not have what we have. And, they are happy. Truly happy.

That’s what I would like to attain as a child of God, a follower of Christ, a pursuer of righteous living.

True happiness.

It doesn’t come from owning a myriad of things. True happiness is a result of contentment… of wanting very little.

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”

Just knowing I am loved, I am special, and I am complete… because God is in the center of it all.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord.”

I actually like purging.  Empty the closets, the garage, and my mind of the excess.  All these things that we hold on to become rubble in time.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Open your hands. Palms down. Release. Palms up. Receive.

“He who asks in faith must believe and not doubt.”

How are you living an abundant life?


The Clock is Ticking

alarm_clock_10It’s the last day of 2014. My mind is swirling with thoughts of this past year. Most of this past year contains good memories. Then, there are some days that I’d rather forget. Even with the good and the bad, time keeps moving forward.

The clock of LIFE is ticking.

I can’t help but know that the trials of 2014 have brought forth some growth, too. As I sit here and think about what happened, it’s hard to grasp that so much of the events were not under my control. I have learned a great lesson in 2014: I can only control my attitude and my effort. Everything else is in God’s hands. With this great lesson embraced, I can look at 2015 and smile.

My Ways are not His Ways

As I go to sleep tonight, I am hopeful that tomorrow, January 1, 2015, will be a metaphorical fresh start. My job description, as a child of God, is to walk by faith. My Father in Heaven knows my path. He knows what steps I will take. He knows the number of my days. He knows His Will and His Way for me. I am choosing to face the future with a fresh perspective. Some days are much easier to accept, and I have to cling to those easy days. For when the turbulent days abound, and Lord knows they will come, I can hang on stronger because of the foundation laid in days past.

I have no idea…

What to expect. Sure, I can plan out my calendar. I can make a to-do list. I have my ten goals that I plan to reach. I will keep pushing forward. Yet, in all of this surety, I really have no idea what will come to fruition. Isn’t that how life works, anyway? That’s why faith, courage, strength, hope, and love are so crucial to understanding and fulfilling our lives on earth. I have learned to live with my palms open, face down, waiting for God to take my hand and lead me on.

My footprints, His footprints

One of my favorite poems is titled, Footprints. It’s a small script of a person who notices that there are two sets of footprints in the sand. But, when there was a point of hardship, the person noticed only one set of footprints. The end of the poem resolves this person’s fear by saying that the one set represents God and God alone. The person was being carried by God during the time of hardship.

My hope and prayer for 2015 is that I will see two sets of footprints on the good days. I want to be walking side by side with my Jesus. And then, on the hardship days, I will know without a shadow of a doubt that the one set of footprints will be my heavenly Father’s footprints… for I will be carried in his loving arms.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is to fall into the arms of Jesus. Let Him take you by the hand, walk beside Him, and lean on Him when the storm may come.

May 2015 be your year to reconcile, reconnect, and restore relationships.



Nine Fruits: Number Nine ~ Self-Control

figure8The ninth and final “Fruit of the Spirit” is self-control.

Oh boy, do I feel unworthy about writing on a topic such as this.

For one thing, self-control is a complex topic, and there is not one person on the planet who has mastered it with full success.

Yet, the good news is that there is always hope toward understanding and incorporating self-control into one’s daily life.

The diagram to the right is an amateur’s rendering of the different aspects of life. The top circle of the figure 8 represents the physical side of a person’s life. The middle connector is the spiritual point. And, the bottom circle represents the other main features that complete the life of a human: the social side.

Self-control is necessary in each of these ten points of a person’s life. In order to achieve balance, focus, organization, goals, and success, the ten points must be given a rank or priority and work together in harmony.

So, how does one begin to achieve self-control? How will self-control manifest as a “fruit” in a person’s life? In my experience, self-control has always been a “mind over matter” issue. If I was determined to set a weight loss goal, my self-control for sugar or portion control would have to kick in to high gear in order to see results.

Another example for self-control is in the area of finances. Now, I’m no Dave Ramsey, but I do know a thing or two about finances. It’s actually very similar to calories and weight control. Self-control is the key to controlling how much is deposited (saved or energy ingested) or withdrawn (spent or energy burned).

I didn’t want to wait until January 1st, 2015, to start following a friend’s recommendation called the “30 Day Push.” This is a free and simple accountability program designed by Chalene Johnson that helps an individual decide to take control, yes ~ self-control, over all of the ten major points in his/her life. I was so excited to find this freebie because I need that accountability. I need that encouragement.

I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and experience in better living. I believe that God wants us all to embrace these nine “fruits” so that we may have the best life possible. He wants us to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And when we finally embrace all of these fruits, and use them and share them to the best of our abilities, then we are glorifying Him and fulfilling our purpose here on earth.

Self-control is not easy. But, it is doable. It is achievable on all levels. And, it is one of the best reminders of how much strength we really do have by saying yes or no or wait. It is through self-control that we show respect to ourselves and integrity to others.

Faith, Reflection

Nine Fruits: Part Seven ~ Faithfulness

I have a Pinterest board called “Growing Faith.” There has never been a time in my life where I didn’t see myself lacking in faith, or that my faith was stunted in growth… until now.

Believe me, I am not trying to be a pessimist. I want to be a person of faith. I love God, I love Jesus, and I love the Bible.

With all of this love, I have noticed that I am struggling in the area of faithfulness.

There is a verse in 2 Timothy 2:13, which says,

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (NIV)

Oh, I know I have had my share of faithlessness. Bouts of doubt. It may be recognized as a mid-life crisis to some. I have questioned so many things, such as: “Who am I? Where am I going in this life? What have I done so far to be a positive impact to others?”

Then, my dear, sweet husband tells me to get my head out of the sand.

I am learning that faithfulness is not about me. It is about putting faith in someone greater than me. Sure, I can be faithful to my family, to my husband, to my career, to my calling. But, the faithfulness that is mentioned as a Fruit of the Spirit, well, that’s the ultimate definition: to be faithful to the Creator of faith: God.

Another verse that has helped me re-learn more about faithfulness is this:

Psalm 86:11 (NIV)

 Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.

There are many more that you can read, too, right here if you need encouragement.

Just as the seasons of the earth are faithful each year to arrive, so is God’s faithfulness to me.

Just as the sun rises and sets each day, so is God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him.

Just as the ocean rushes to the shoreline over and over, so is God’s faithfulness to you, who will seek Him.

My prayer is that not only will I grow in my faithfulness, but that God’s faithfulness will reach out to you, dear reader.

The differing seasons of the same tree in my neighborhood…. beautiful resemblance of faithfulness.