work in progress

No penny I wouldn’t save
No journey I wouldn’t brave
No word left unsaid
A million tears I would shed
For your glory

No story I wouldn’t tell
Rain fire from war-torn hell
Allow me to burn
No lesson unlearned
To bring your peace

Pieces of heart
Start over with smart
Put evil away
Take out patience today
Live it all for love

Life is too hard
To avoid getting scarred
Bind these cuts
Give me guts
Sturdy my back for the fight

Right this soldier’s wrongs
Shoulder my burden with songs
Dive deep in my chest
Battle my demons to rest
Rock me down to sleep

Weep for the child I was
Made offerings for broken laws
Gave up my life
Extracted truth with a knife
Found your bright words in the night

Carved out all the cancer
Heard your sweet voice in an answer
Love is the key
Grace on your knees

Finish your work in me, please.

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Time for Christ: Carol in my heart

Carola folksong with religious meaning usually sung at Christmas, a familiar tune to welcome and celebrate the spirit of Christmastime


My friend Carol. She’s a wonderful lady. I met her several years ago, before 2012, at Shoal Creek Community Church, back in Missouri. Carol is soft in voice and features, hard to know. Blonde. Statuesque. She could be a secret, delicate ballerina that only dances for God. Full of passion. A deep river of heart and love, running fast, yet soundless. And at the bottom of all, a Christ-centered human. She is generous of spirit, kind and, in a way, mysterious. If she were a song (carol)–Silent Night. Awe-filled, yet restrained and humble. I admire her quiet dignity, beauty, strength and grace.

After I mentioned (several times online, sorry!) about my upcoming trip to Israel, I recently discovered that Carol volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and I couldn’t wait to interview her about her service. Thank you, Carol, for answering my questions with such thoughtful responses! Thank you for sharing your heart and being comfortable enough to do that! You’re a good writer, Lady!


What is the name of the organization that you volunteer with?

Habitat for Humanity RV Care-a-Vanners

What is their mission?

It supports Habitat for Humanity’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

How long have you been serving with this group?

3 years

Where did you go this summer on your mission?

Brookings, SD

What did you do on this mission?

It’s usually a two-week period of helping to build a house. We do whatever we are capable of doing, at whatever stage of building they are when we arrive. We have started from slab, framing walls and have gotten there at the stage of putting on siding, putting in windows and painting.

How do you feel you’ve grown as a Christian or person after this trip?

As a person, I’ve learned skills I never thought I would ever know. People are willing to teach. All you have to do is ask. Also, I’ve become more aware and accepting of other cultures and religions. Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization, but they don’t discriminate on the basis of religion, age, gender or lifestyle. Morning devotionals are a regular part of every site build. It helps us keep our minds focused on why we do what we do. It doesn’t have to be a prayer. It can be a story or poem or quotes to inspire. We do usually close with a prayer and then hold hands and speak the Habitat motto:

“Habitat’s not a hand out but a hand UP!”

I now feel more comfortable sharing about my faith than I used to, so I feel I’ve grown some in that regard.

Why do you serve?

We like it because we love to travel, camp, meet new people and share God’s love by giving to those who are less fortunate. It’s a way we can do all of that and also work on keeping ourselves somewhat fit in our retirement. We love the camaraderie and being part of a group of like-minded individuals coming together to work towards a goal for the betterment of a family’s life. The thankfulness of the family shines through to return God’s love back to us.

Additional details:

Once you join the group you can go online to sign up. There is a schedule of locations and dates and number of spots available. Usually it’s free or reduced cost camping for the two-week period of the build.


Thank you, Carol! For your service to H for H! And for donating to my trip. I truly value our friendship, even if we can’t sip coffee together. Wouldn’t that be great?! If you’re ever in SW Florida, please do stay a while and we’d love to entertain you. I hope to serve one day with you and Steve! That would be so fun. H for H is a wonderful organization and it’s so inspiring to see our former president, Mr. Carter, still such an active participant. The organization and people like you give families dignity and hope. I admire you and your husband. You’re good, good folks with big hearts! ❤

Prayers for you and your family!

I get to do some Carol-ing of my own soon in Israel. 😀

Habitat for Humanity has many opportunities for those who own an RV or anyone who just wants to help, even locally. The have ReStore (local donation centers, maybe even in your town or nearby) and countless ways to serve. H for H is a nationwide organization that focuses on providing housing for all, no matter who they are or what they believe.

The Kindness of Karen

Karen. Aunt Karen. She’s not even my aunt by blood, but I think of her as family. I’ve only known her for just over a year. She’s one of the nicest women I’ve ever met. Gentle, kind, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for sure. She was my husband’s saving grace when he was a child.

My husband grew up in a strange home. Don’t we all.

He lost his parents when he was very young. His mother died when he was still an infant and his father died when he was a toddler, too young to even form a memory of his face. He was orphaned.

He was raised by his paternal grandparents. His Uncle Guy and Aunt Karen were there for those formative years as well, living just next door.

I’ve known Karen for years, without the benefit of meeting her in person, because my husband described her so vividly. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed angel of mercy in a chaotic world. A calming influence on an energetic boy. He would tell me about her rubbing his back for naptime. (He still likes to have his back rubbed. Who doesn’t?) He was certainly enamored with his Aunt Karen.

He talked about how Aunt Karen could show discipline, not humiliation, in behavior correction. His grandmother and uncle often resorted to yelling and intimidation. But Karen. She was different.

Karen was the mother he needed. Tender. Patient. Feminine. She was the female ideal. The compassion he required as an extremely sensitive child. A soft place to land.

I finally met Karen just over a year ago. She was so warm and welcoming. Immediate hugs and she accepted me totally from the first moment. She was every bit of the angel Guy recalled to me. Karen has a generous spirit. She always asks questions and she lavished our daughter with so much attention.

She lives in Colorado, so we don’t get to see her much, but we have Facebook (thank God) and she’s so supportive of my blog. Thank you, Karen!

Aunt Karen just made the first donation for my trip. An extremely generous one. Thank you for believing in me and this journey.

I truly appreciate your kindness, generosity and the immediate acceptance as a member of your family. I’m just sorry we hadn’t met until just over a year ago. You’re a beautiful person. Inside and out. You changed my husband’s life and offered him grace when he absolutely needed it. You saved him from a harsh life just by being kind and showing him nice people exist. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for the kindness you showed him. Thank you for being a mother to him, even if for a short time. It stayed with him all through the years. You ARE an angel. I know he thinks that, too. xoxo

Grace

Utterly gutted
My brain is flooded
Drowning in blood and emotions
Liquid chemicals straining
Against solid flesh remaining
Doused in prayers and devotions

I won’t come to this again
Back from then to when and been
I am not my past
I am sufficiently stronger
Able to convincingly conjure
Armor to withstand this blast

Strength does not lie in hate
Patience does not lie in wait
Peace lies in the discipline of love
Resolve comes from compromise
Insight from understanding eyes
Grace feathers down like a dove

hold the door open for grace

i thought i shared this already. this is from 2015, originally.


i was being the door lady at Lilli’s school this morning and a car pulled up with two kids and one irate mom. i opened the door as the van pulled up to the curb. one child got out of the back and another opened the door to the passenger side front. she didn’t get out. her mother was mad. frustrated. high-pitched. irritated. annoyed. yelling.

u could tell she felt disrespected and very taken aback. did she have a right to feel that way? who knows? maybe. probably. maybe not. maybe she’s on her period, maybe she’s super demanding, maybe nothing anybody ever does pleases her and she’s just a high-riding bitch. maybe her daughter said something really nasty to her right before she opened the door and the mother had a legitimate beef with her evil, rotten spawn of a demon child.

maybe not.

i don’t really know either one of the people i’m describing. my limited experience with this family is that the daughter was gossiping and picking on my daughter at the beginning of the school year. in choir, the girl started a rumor that Lilli was a terrible singer and that she was single-handedly ruining the choir. i’m not exaggerating this rumor. that’s what was said. funny. because Lilli just made honor choir after auditioning for only a few moments. she thought she messed up and wanted to try again. the choir teacher said, “No need. You did just fine. I gave you a 5 out of 5.” not bragging, but i don’t think she’s ruining the choir.

so this is the girl who said bad things about my kid. she purposefully tried to hurt my daughter.

do i dislike her? no. she’s just a kid. and whatever behavior she learned is directly the responsibility of her parents. do i hold a grudge against this kid? no. she’s just a kid. i’m a xian and were supposed to forgive and forget. was i wary of this kid? yeah. i felt nervous for MY kid. mama bear has her claws out. at least.

today though. today. i had deep compassion for this kid. i am this kid. she’s tall, overweight, bully-ish and uncomfortable in most situations. she doesn’t feel like she fits in and so…lashes out. her parent is riding her and she has a bad attitude. she’s probably been pushed around by parents, other kids and other adults. i was this poor kid.

and i’m the mother. ready to be offended. i don’t yell at my kid, but i sure as shit harp on my husband. i don’t wanna be the crazy lady yelling in the car in front of everyone. but i do often feel disrespected. i wish to GOD i was not so easily offended/hurt/angered/tempted. i am an easy target for Satan when it comes to my pride. so i am the daughter. i am the mother. i am the embarrassing sideshow in front of the school. so what did i do?

i recognized my own failure in these actions. i identified with these people and i gave them grace in my heart. if not a verbal acknowledgement…a mental pass at their behavior. because so often i make constant judgments about people’s ridiculous behavior and i cut them down in my mind. kill someone in your mind with words, might as well kill them IRL. that’s what the bible says.

BUT! this morning. i made a change. i prayed for them! i prayed for them on the spot because i don’t want to be judged when i find myself in the same situation. i said, “Good morning!” with a smile to the girl who hurt my daughter. and i prayed all over her as she walked by. she doesn’t deserve it, but neither do i. and i prayed for the mom to wake up, get right, calm down and have a good day. praying that for myself too. amazing things to learn when holding the door for people and volunteering ur time at school. little lessons in the smallest examples of service. it’s humbling to have to hold the door for someone the world would tell you to hate. try washing their feet.

Blessed

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


It doesn’t say blessed are the poor in finance. It says poor in spirit.

Poor in spirit means that we ALL are spiritually bankrupt and are in need of spiritual currency. Not only bankrupt, because that would mean even, but DEEP in debt.
How many dollars have your parents given you to save your bacon before you could stand on your own two feet? Can you ever repay them?
That’s God’s love for us.
In Christianity, the currency is Jesus.
We all require Christ to know heaven. That’s what we believe.
All Christ means? All Christ stood for?
LOVE. Grace. Grace and love are the same thing.
Blessed are those who require LOVE, deal in LOVE, freely give LOVE. For they shall see heaven.
To forgive and be forgiven.
To live in peace.
We require grace because we continually get it wrong. Because we are human. Fallible.
We give grace because we want it and get it.
The whole of the law is LOVE.
I wanna be rich!

Eye to Eye

Most of the time, on my medical courier route, I notice that many people avoid eye contact. When I walk into the hospital to deliver my labs, most of the doctors and nurses coming and going have their heads down and pointed at the ground, straight ahead, or usually, more often than not, pointed at a device.

They walk and talk, walk and swipe, or walk and text. I worry about some because they pay more attention to the screen than the pavement underneath them. Good thing they are very near a hospital.

I have started looking at my phone, too. Not as intently as most, but I’m still distracted. Plus, I enjoy not making eye contact. I have to force myself to look at people. And I typically find flaws when I really look at other people. Why don’t I look for the good? It’s just so easy to see the bad.

I struggle with trust. With past issues. With hating others. Always have. I look for the bad because I feel comfortable with that. I’ve seen so much bad, I’m kind of an expert on spotting f’d-up behavior. I’m not an emotional genius, more of a savant. I am intuitive, sensitive and have a keen sense of character. I’m a people watcher when they aren’t looking directly at me. I’m a watcher, not an engager. I became a student of behavior out of necessity, rather than innate talent. I mainly wanted to defend myself and understand my situation. For free. LOL

Today, I will smile. I have to reboot my thinking every once in a while. I will search out smiles and give them away for free. Willingly. Heartily. Sincerely. I will love others today. Even if they don’t return the favor. It’s a choice to see someone. Sometimes, a hard choice. And I will see the good.

unlovable

from 2014. i’m better now. almost.


so, okay. i have this terrible condition that rears its ugly head every so often. i start to feel bad. mentally, internally. then it sort of morphs into something worse. a terrifying feeling of not being loved. then i set about to let everyone in my tiny family know about it. i moan and shout from the next room, “No one loves me!” then my family rushes in and kisses me and reassures me. “We love you!” it’s a fun, silly game, but one that i need sometimes because while i make a joke, i still need that comfort and love to bolster my fragile mentality.

well last night, i finally realized, what i really feel is, “I’m unlovable.” i begin to feel as if no one in the world could possibly love me. that i’m too fat, ugly, annoying and selfish for anyone to love. so i said, from my bedroom last nite, “I’m unlovable!” then my family rushed in, Lilli who is so smart, “I love you! And God loves you!” I said, “No, you don’t. You can’t possibly.” and she made some silly joke to make me laugh about how i was being impossible. and then Guy rushed in, hugging me and kissing me, singing Voice of Truth.

…and the voice of truth tells me a different story,
and the voice of truth says do not be afraid…

which is his subtle-not subtle way of saying, “Shut up! Stop lying to yourself.”

and that’s what i am doing. i’m lying to myself. i’m listening to that tiny, crazy voice that tells me:
i’m worthless.
i’m scared.
i’m not loved.
and that’s not the voice of truth, that’s not the voice of God. that’s the voice of the enemy–my own thoughts OR the twisted up world OR the devil.

i am lovable. i am loved. if for no other reason than God loves me. i am thankful for my family. for my husband, who is the voice of reason. for scooping me up and sparing me from my own terrible thoughts, for giving me undivided attention even when i’m pretty obvious about it. i love you, Guy. thanks for the reminder.