Pinterest Isn’t Always Right

Pinterest has taken the place of magazines. It’s Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Apetit, In Style and Reader’s Digest all in one. I’ve saved recipes, fashion ideas and quotes. There are how-to’s from building a backyard cupola to a science project. It’s an encyclopedia offering information you didn’t know you needed.

I like good quotes and have collected quite a few but I ran across this one that made me wince.
“This will all make perfect sense someday.” I liked the style of it. The background was a bold yellow and the words looked like they were handwritten on white paper and pasted in the middle of the yellow. There was a lot of white space which we know draws our interest.
I wondered how many people saved that being comforted by the words.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someday it would make perfect sense?
Mental illness
I can’t make sense of any of it but I believe there is hope. And hope is more than a verse in beautiful calligraphy on Instagram.
Hope is crying with the co-worker just diagnosed with cancer and hope is my friend who volunteers at a pregnancy crisis center. It’s teaching our children and grandchildren about respect and showing it to one another. Hope is smiling and holding the door open and making room for the person who doesn’t look like you.
I haven’t been able to make sense out of hope. But I believe it’s where we find God.

Goals? Me?

around the lake in North Carolina

I don’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect this.

It was our five-year review. At least I guess it’s a five-year thing. They’ve happened somewhat randomly throughout our 20+ years as Salvation Army pastors.

This review skipped the basics, the stuff that tells you how you’re doing or the perception of how you’re doing and went straight to the goals. As in, ‘what are three goals you have?’

I sat silent.

He didn’t want to hear what I was thinking. That Hudson is just shy of 4 years from retirement and my goal is to get through and get out. How’s that for goals?

Finally, a few things were scratched out…I mentioned a certification one of our counselors has encouraged me to get and we talked about that and a possibility of schooling for an advanced certification in addictions counseling.

It all sounded good and met the needs of the review. Whew, that was close!

Then I got an email inquiring about checking on my credits and what would be needed to finish a degree and reality set in and I realized this goal thing was serious.

And one standard review woke me up from my comfortable coasting. It woke me to the reality of what’s next? What is that thing that will always be there when I’m not required to do this or that?

Those thoughts swirled through my mind for days as I needed to peel off layers of expectations, perceptions and obligations. I need to find the basics that make me want to learn and share.

Then I wrote this email:

“As I have thought about our conversation, talked to Henry (who seems to know me better than I know myself) and let these things settle in my heart, I think my real desire, is indeed, communicating; communicating a story of grace and hope and the beauty of God.”

And then I shared it with three friends because to say it makes it real and, hopefully, makes me accountable. But to say it here? I’m taking a deep breath now.

My heart isn’t with the certification for addictions counseling even though I could make money doing that in retirement. My real desire is to tell stories; through words (written and spoken) and or pictures, (photo’s or art).

I’m not sure how it will look right now but I’m looking around to find out. It’s not an obvious thing or easily quantified in our standardized goals but I feel settled about it. In the way that I’m not questioning it or wishy-washy. I don’t have a goal to write a book or be a commercial success but to hone the talents I’ve been given to continue to learn and grow and share God’s story of grace. 

There is a lot of unknown. But this unknown has me excited for the possibilities God has ahead.

The first person I shared this with has this on her Facebook status today. Maybe it’s not just for me but for you too.

no fear
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


What’s good for you


It’s no surprise that I’m not a big show kind of person. Meetings that are overblown and overstuffed with things to make ‘us’ look good or look like we’re doing the most good and celebrating ourselves instead of our Creator.

While meetings can be overdone, I am over critical. Sitting in the crowd, trying to disappear and just get through.

We were going to a week of these big meetings. Thousands would be there from all over and I just wanted to go to England again and see it with family this time. The meetings would be an obligation.



Do you remember somewhere around Jr. High age when you didn’t want to go somewhere or be part of a school group but your parents kept pressing, assuring you it would be good for you?

Daddy always made me play in the school band. In those days I was often the only girl playing a brass instrument and I learned quickly how to ignore rude boys not use to a girl in their section. Especially a girl who wasn’t half bad.

I fussed, but turns out, it was good for me. I learned more about music, which in my opinion, is never bad. I also learned how to not let stupid remarks lower me to another’s level.

Funny thing about this big celebration in London, it was good for me too.




I forget that our coming together is more than celebrating our heritage, it is celebrating why we have this heritage.

We come together to blend our accents and languages in prayer and praise, to come away from the burdens of the everyday and soak up the affirmations that God has raised an Army of believers to serve the lost and last and least.

We come together to be reminded we are the lost, the last, the least, and God calls us through His power and Spirit to be grace and give hope.

We come to be reminded this mission is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our local units, it really is a world-wide Army for God.

We come from over 100 countries to this city where it all began. Where God called a Methodist minister to come away from the safe and practiced church and “Go for souls and go for the worst”.

He and his wife would fill their tent services and store fronts with men still stinking of alcohol, with the curious wondering what this odd lot was about.

“You’ve heard of The Salvation Army, what an odd lot of people they are.

They sing and they shout Hallelujah, as daily they march on to war.

They form in a ring on the corner, they kneel in the street e’er to pray,

While others tell out the sweet story, how happy they are night and day.”

from the song, I’m Glad I’m a Salvation Soldier

Catherine Booth said, “If we are to better the future we must disturb the present” and disturb it they did with their bands playing tunes heard in bars but the words replaced with words of salvation and God’s love.

They gathered on street corners and used military terminology and ranks to identify their ministers (officers) and members (soldiers).





150 years. 

William Booth was a visionary and if we are to be true to his vision, and God’s calling, change must come. But change doesn’t wipe out the past or our foundation.

So we celebrated our heritage and challenged ourselves to continue this war on sin. A war fought with love and mercy. Armed with truth and grace.

And it was so very good for me.

To view video clips of Boundless2015 International Congress, Boundless2015.

Throwback Thursday {doughnuts}

I’m throwing it back to a time way before my time. To a time where all I have to go on is the history left and it is good history for this band of believers and do-gooders.

You may have heard tomorrow is National Donut Day. Exactly how does a food go about having a day proclaimed for its recognition in the whole country? Who cares – it’s a round piece of fried dough that is delicious so what’s not to celebrate?

The Salvation Army has a bit of history with the doughnut. A history that goes back to World War I when a young Salvation Army Lassie gave a fresh doughnut to a homesick “doughboy” in France. It was that gesture that led a group of Salvation Army women to cook up doughnuts by the dozens for the soldiers fighting overseas.

This group of women earned the name Doughnut Girls and brought the doughnut to American soil to serve to soldiers at home.



It was a gesture of serving that has been a hallmark of The Salvation Army since its inception.

Throughout America, The Salvation Army serves as official representatives to Veterans hospitals, sitting on their quarterly meetings and conducting visitation to service men and women in their hospitals.

I have never visited a Veteran’s hospital that I haven’t been thanked for what those generations ahead of me have done. A simple gesture of kindness that is remembered and handed down as part of their family story.

I’ve written more about the doughnut girls here and for those of you who are foodies, here’s the recipe of the original doughnut made to serve our soldiers.


5 C flour
2 C sugar
5 tsp. baking powder
1 ‘saltspoon’ salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 C milk
1 Tub lard


Combine all ingredients (except for lard) to make dough.
Thoroughly knead dough, roll smooth, and cut into rings that are less than 1/4 inch thick. (When finding items to cut out donut circles, be creative. Salvation Army Donut Girls used whatever they could find, from baking powder cans to coffee percolator tubes.)
Drop the rings into the lard, making sure the fat is hot enough to brown the donuts gradually. Turn the donuts slowly several times.
When browned, remove donuts and allow excess fat to drip off.
Dust with powdered sugar. Let cool and enjoy.
Yield: 4 dozen donuts

For all the talk that goes on in any large organization, The Salvation Army included, this ‘Army’ was built on service to others and continue to run on this principle, this mission statement:

Mission Statement
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

We don’t always get this right. We’re made up of people and you know what problems we can create! But we believe this mission. We do our best to put aside judgement and prejudices because to show God’s love includes neither. Rather it is grace extended where none is expected, where none is earned or deserved because grace is the purest kind of gift.

God’s love in gift form. That’s grace.

If you try that doughnut recipe please let me know in the comment section. Or maybe it’s just a good excuse to eat a doughnut tomorrow. And when you do, think of The Salvation Army please. Say a prayer for us that we will uphold this mission statement and be conduits of God’s love.

faith and works quote

No Average People

quote from Jennie Allen

quote from Jennie Allen

Remember all those average marks you got in school? The average that was never enough?

Or the mediocre we call ourselves because our tables aren’t Pinterest perfect?

The God who created the universe and counts the hairs on our head or on the floor, his presence in our ordinary, mediocre lives transforms us beyond what we are able.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 the Message


Five-Minute Friday {meet}

arms of grace quote

It seems we always meet at the worst times. The times when anger wells up inside or fear of the unknown stifles my being and turns me into a complaining mess. Yes, she has a knack for showing up at just those times.

Too often, I ignore her presence or can’t hear her over my selfishness but she is there, waiting with the patience that only comes from above.

What once was hurt
What once was friction
What left a mark
No longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things – Grace, U2

The unknown tomorrow is known by a loving God and through our fears and anger and hurt, his grace will meet us.

When light leaks grace

Boxes. The best gift a toddler can ever receive. They can be surrounded by the latest, greatest and push it away in favor of the box.

They examine the box, pick it up, look in it, get it in. They engage with this piece of cardboard. This no-tech, soundless thing that will be set at the curb as garbage.

I’m thinking about boxes and the darkness they contain. I’ve been in one of those big boxes playing with the kids when they were little. It’s dark inside but there are tiny pinprick holes at the corners, holes that allow minuscule beams of light to cut through the darkness.

These small places….these tiny beams of light are grace.


“Only deeds of Light can drive out depths of dark. Only lives of Light can drive out lies of dark.” – Ann Voskamp

My friends posted these words by the lovely Ann and all I could think of was the shroud of darkness I’ve been feeling. Darkness that comes from words made to create drama and anxiety. Darkness from power meant to remind who has it and who doesn’t. Darkness from selfish deeds.

There are days this darkness hangs heavy like a box is over my head and I forget to look for the pinpricks of light. Worse, I haven’t wanted to look for the light. I’ve held my hurt like a badge of honor and fear grips me, fear of I don’t know what. Have you known that kind of dark? Are you saying, “You too?” We must know we aren’t alone because alone is surely the deepest darkness and you are not alone.

watchnight 6839


Holy Land Tour  prayer candles

We don’t need the light to be strobing or as a big as a searchlight. We don’t need to see lights stream across the night sky to know grace. It seems it most often comes in these little streams, the kind that cuts right through darkness and reminds us that He reaches through the shadows to touch our lives with his grace.

Our lives are entwined with men who have known the darkness of boxes of addiction, who have been unwanted and discarded. Men and families who have forgotten there is light. And this is what we give to them: light that drives out the lies of dark.

This is what friends give me. Even when I push their tender words away with my sarcasm which is barely disguising my pain, even then they are grace-givers because grace doesn’t need to be returned to be given.

Our men like to sing Grace Like Rain

grace like rain falls down on me
…all my stains are washed away

I’m standing in the dark rain, knowing I need to see that trickle of light, when the light leaks grace.

Discomfort Zone

He said it was out of his comfort zone. That when he came in for recovery he decided to do things that were different. It didn’t feel good but he wasn’t sure he remembered what it was like to feel good. The good that was healthy and lasted longer than the alcohol induced good.

He would try. He would try this day by day and it didn’t feel comfortable. It wasn’t anything he was use to. But that was the point.

comfort zone

I was thinking it might be nice to run away. Just me and him, my him, in that little place near a beach that lives only in my mind. Run away from emails from people wanting me to intervene for them, to put aside rules and override staff.

Messages I doubt she’ll remember she sent as its ramblings were surely written under the influence of something other than sanity.

Family wondering if we’ve heard from a brother who was once a part of this place but now has been out of contact for a few years.

This isn’t comfortable and I wonder if that’s the real point of ministry; to get a glimpse of how God must shake his head at our empty promises made with bold-faced words. Our profession of belief that turns cold when we realize more than words are required.

“Jesus clearly taught the twelve disciples about surrender, the necessity of suffering, humility, servant leadership, and nonviolence. The men resisted him every time, and so he finally had to make the journey himself and tell them, “Follow me!” But we avoided that, too, by making the message into something he never said: “Worship me.” Worship of Jesus is rather harmless and risk-free; actually following Jesus changes everything.” – Richard Rohr

The music washes over us soothing and embracing as hands raise with voices, this worship is comfortable and easy and this is loving Jesus, yes? Harmless and risk-free as Richard Rohr wrote. This is the kind of Jesus I want, the one who loves everyone and we all win because we’re singing these songs and feeling His spirit. In this room. On this day.

I’ve been wrestling for weeks now. Wanting to live in that last paragraph, the comfortable Jesus. I’ve been wanting to walk away and too many days have been going through the motions. If I’m brutally honest, I want out. Out of making decisions and out of living by others. Out of being places I’d rather not be, of going places not chosen by me.

And there it is: me.

He said it was out of his comfort zone. He would try this new way. It didn’t feel comfortable, but that was the point.

 “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10:38-39, the Message

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee to #TellHisStory

We’ve been revived

I reckon some would call it revival and in one definition of the word it would be.

Like a plant thirsting for water, when finally the watering spout tips into it’s soil, it’s leaves turn up as they are revived.

We starve ourselves, not from food as we seem a most glutenous group of humans we Americans. But we starve our souls from the very thing that lifts our eyes, our heart, our spirit. We try filling it with work, money, family, distractions and, yes, even church.

We know we are hungry for more but more of what?

There is a God shaped vacuüm in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus. – Blaise Pascal

This is what we thirst for. This the only one who can fill that vacuüm that has already sucked everything else dry and finding no revival, no life.

old-fashioned Salvation Army revival

old-fashioned Salvation Army revival

As a kid, revival meant spending a lot of nights at church. There would be spirited singing, hand clapping and, at times, tambourines shaking. The old people seemed to come alive and the kids….when your dad is the preacher you just learn the rhythms of meetings.

I can’t say as I especially liked revival meetings. But they seemed necessary to bring new folks in and shake up, or wake up, the regulars.

Oscar Roan  Oscar Roan



We haven’t used the word revival in years. But we bring a speaker in every year to bring new life to the men.

It’s not that they don’t hear God’s word every day.
It’s not that anyone outside of God’s own spirit can bring new life to anyone.
But there is something to be said for a different voice. A fresh word. That new flame.

Oscar comes to us every year. He travels the country speaking to other ARC’s, in prisons, youth camps, wherever the invitation is extended to share his gift of speaking, and he is gifted.

It seems just when we’re feeling satisfied and comfortable, this word comes to overturn our pride and call us to repent of our comfort and to bring a reawakening to our soul.

His words cut hard but are true. There’s no prosperity teaching from this man unless you consider the cost of God’s call to leave everything profitable. He reminds us this is the only profit we should want because it is all we need.

He speaks to the hearts of each one as he takes the story of Lot and his rebellion and makes it our story.

How Lot chose a life away from what he’d been taught and how God never abandoned him but gave him one and then two and a third chance and saved him when the whole city around him was destroyed for their wickedness. (Genesis 13-18)

His words are so plain when he doesn’t preach of an easy life but that “it’s going to rain” so expect it. And when it rains God is with us.

Oscars words are directed to the men but they are reaching every heart there and mine is pierced all over again knowing the bitterness that has been in my heart. Knowing the resentments I haven’t let go and knowing how this is like Lot choosing another way rather than God’s way.

There is not enough room in our chapel to contain the men who’ve come forward to pray and night after night this happens. The aisle fills up and they are clinging to the podium and to each other and we see the very spirit of God move in to restore life to our soul for we have been revived.

I Don’t Wanna

“I don’t’ wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna”

She plopped herself on the airport floor, her mama leading her away from the crowd of folks at the gate. She looked all of 5, jacket nearly slipping off of her shoulders as she bounced on her legs, emphasis for her mama’s benefit.

Her mom stood in the parent pose of silent resolve, “I can outlast you”,  you could hear her thinking, her eyes a different determination. It’s tough to be a parent in public these days but she was a superstar.

baby on beach edit

toddler beach boy

Deerfield Beach and Atlantic Ocean

I watched the scene playing out, thinking if only a video of this could be played for the girl when she’s older. Trying to recall similar scenes of my childhood and thinking how often I’d like to do what this girl is doing now, showing everyone that she doesn’t want to, never knowing what it was she didn’t want to do. Is that even the point? The why? Or just the will?

The quiet truth comes late to me, not wanting to admit my grownup way of showing my will.

I didn’t want to go. I don’t like the show, the ceremony, the dressing up as if we’re someone when I really belong with the no-ones we think we’re helping. I rationalize in every way I can when the truth is I want what I want and I don’t wanna.

There’s no throwing myself to the floor endlessly saying the words. If you’re anything like me, we’re past that. We have more sophisticated ways of showing our will. At least I do.

I make sure to find a seat in the back. I try to lose myself in the crowd, willing not to be noticed or seen. Just get through it.

I try to say the serenity prayer, at least the line I can remember, “help me accept the things I cannot change” and a moment of stillness comes. It’s short lived before someone says something that makes me roll my eyes.

It is a terrible place to be and I can make the place terrible for those around me. Those who have to live with me, listen to me. Or maybe they’ve grown tired of hearing my grownup, “I don’t wanna’s” and just nod at the right places. Sometimes he says it’s not easy being you, with a smile in his voice that I know is his way of trying to soothe. This man is ridiculously patient.

I’ll beat myself up for this. For not being able to let God take over my spirit, for not being able to give these anxieties fully to him and that’s when her words came to me.

Time was short and my eyes skimmed her post but when they fell on this, I saw the truth:

“Anxiety can wear anger’s mask.” Ann Voskamp

It sounds like anger. The words, the tone, the resistance, all masked as anger when truth is it’s that thorn of anxiety I guard as though it’s my life’s companion and I guess it is. We need to break-up but every time I decide to call it quits it never lasts.

You know Ann. You know what she’s going to say, that when anxiety and fear threaten to consume you, to count your thanks, your gifts, God’s blessings that overflow in our lives. But all I can hear is the voice of fear, an uneasiness that is without reason.

This is the real me. The rebellious spirit that rises up that isn’t about rebellion but anxiety over… what?

Oh, I hope you know where I am on this. I hope you get this fear that can take over your mind for no reason except you don’t wanna.

birthday party girls 6509



I can gather up my fears or His peace.

The fear is comfortable, it’s what I know, a near constant companion if I’m to be true.

But peace? It is the less familiar, the choice that takes new steps, small and deliberate. It takes a slowing down, a humbling of self, a giving of grace to self and others.

There are words tucked in my mind, words from long ago that I search for, something about “a child shall lead them”. How many times did Jesus gather the children up to him? And He, He was the child the old scribes said would lead them. Lead them to peace.

To the Savior who stretches his arms out to the children, stretch your arms out to me. Pull me up from the floor, from my pouting ways. Let your grace wash over me in an assurance that calms my fears and brings welcome peace.