5 Good Things

1. sons
Our second child was a boy. It’s nearly incomprehensible how much joy both of our children bring. I delight in the differences between daughters and sons. We have been through challenging times with this boy. Perhaps that is what makes the joy so full.

2. breakfast
I’ve always been a breakfast person even when it meant a carton of chocolate milk picked up at the convenience store. Most of my life it’s been little more than cereal and milk. The past few years it’s become a more intentional menu. After visiting Israel I came home eating yogurt most days for breakfast. Greek yogurt, nuts, honey and hot tea, preferably Tazo Organic Chai…..yum!

3. community worship
I’m lousy at personal worship. I’m impatient and self-conscious and all of that. But coming together with others and seeing their expressions is where I find a deeper appreciation.

4. rhythm
I like complicated beats. The kind that aren’t always expected. A syncopated rhythm or at least one with with hesitation. It draws me in. Makes me notice. But the subtle rhythms of life are the ones that trip me up. I don’t know what takes me so long to notice them and make the connections they are drawing in my life.

5. old things
An old manual typewriter sits not far from where I sit now. It doesn’t work well. You can’t get a piece of paper in it because the paper wheel doesn’t grab properly. But I like seeing it. The record player across the room isn’t as obvious. It plays vinyl but it’s not old. It’s made to look like a replica and has a few modern hookups. I learned to type on a manual but one perhaps not this old. I asked for a record player for my 15 birthday and had one until getting the new things called c.d. players in the 80’s. Today even the younger ones are turning back to what is old. They wear wireless headphones while listening to needles glide across vinyl records. Amazing.

The best old things are friends.

At the Crossroads

It could be my favorite story in the bible. My favorite story ever, maybe, this story of a son who was all grown and full of that knowing and left in the confidence of innocence. An innocence from living a life where it’s all there and so he took it for granted it would always be.

It’s the favorite story of many, even people who don’t know much of the bible find this story to be their story and in so many ways it is. It’s our coming of age story when the world was ours waiting to be taken only to find the world won. But here’s the critical part of the story, here’s where the real decision comes.

photo credit: Gavin Yeatts

photo credit: Gavin Yeatts


He was sitting at the table waiting for the intake process. Again. Two friends were with him when I walked up and patted him on the shoulder. “Welcome back”. He’s never been a big man but he was wearing the kind of thin that comes from living under a bridge the past 7 months. He glanced up at me and the four of us chatted a bit. And here is the decision he had to make, just like the son in the story. This man in front of me, a man I’ve known for 4 years, I call his wife friend and I’ve wrapped my arms around her tearful self when he’s set out to take the world – again – this man had to make a decision. Again.

He hasn’t been in the far country of addiction alone. He’s made such a positive impact on so many when he was in recovery that they’ve searched for him. They’ve taken him food and cigarettes. They’ve prayed for him and begged him to come back. Come home. And that is where so many of us stand. At the crossroads of truth and lies.


Golan Heights




Five-Minute Friday {friends}

lily S and kk

I was that little girl, always moving, the new one in class, holding back for what I don’t know.

I was that teenager, still the new one in class and moving even more. Nothing to hold on to except leaving and move leaving.

If I’ve envied anything it has been those with friends with roots. These days, I have friends with roots but we carefully color them. No, I’m talking about the roots that go down deep, the kind that went through junior high together and has the photo’s of awkward hairstyles and more awkward dress style to prove it.

But I’ve gathered a circle of friend, I have. We stretch across miles and miles and one time zone. We hardly ever see each other and when we do it’s at some event with crowds of people not giving us time to, well, be friends.



These friends have been drafted by me. They had little choice I’m afraid and in some ways we are an unlikely group. I fear I am the one who fits least yet I’m the one who has chosen them all. It turns out, we’re okay with that. They’re okay with these rambling emails I send to them, some aching as I’m searching my way through life and others filled with funny stories about the search.

They are my grace-tribe. I so easily picture their smiling faces because they are grace-givers not just to me but to all. They are listeners and learners and mama’s learning to let go like me. We are alike and we are so different. We are disciplined and we are a wreck. We are strong and we cry. Well, I cry. We like art and museums and music but not all the same. We like our space. We are huggers and not so much huggers. We are tall and I’m not tall. We are all beautiful and loved by a God who will not let us go.

We are friends.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker as she hosts Five-Minute Friday where bloggers join in as Lisa-Jo provides the word prompt for the week. To be part of this blogging community or read other posts on this theme, click here.

When we don’t want real

It’s just a simple selfie I took for a photo prompt. It was uncomfortably close and I didn’t like it much (too much face!) so I played with some filters until I told my inner critic to ‘shut up!’ and settled on this.


Since getting a better camera, my enjoyment of photography has grown and I find the photo prompts often help push me to view things differently. To look from another angle or play with white space and different filters on various photo apps. It pushes the right creative buttons for me.

But when I changed my profile pic on Facebook to the above selfie, I got a mixture of comments and concern. I was surprised by the reactions and wonder if it’s just too real for some folks.

My sister let the photo tell a short story to her but she knows the me behind the smile and we share that heavy heart for mama. One expressed his concern for how “sad” I look and two told me they just don’t like it. James said he appreciates the artistic part of it but he doesn’t like it of me and another echoed that.

Over-thinker that I am I think they don’t want to see this me. The me who isn’t always smiling, the me who is introspective and more real than the one they see.

It’s a crazy line, the one of leadership, ministry, pastoring, mentoring. It’s a line that few seem to see. Until you post a photo like this. Then the focus sharpens and reveals a picture most prefer: always smiling, happy, worry-free, carefree, strong, energetic, faith-filled true believer.

They’ve heard me share from pain and seen me fight back the tears of sorrow and smile through tears of joy. They’ve heard me proclaim the hope I have and it is real. All of it is me. It’s just that, I’m not always smiling. And I think this might be hard for some. To allow me that space where I am the me for me and not for them.

David, from the Old Testament part of the Bible, David was a poet, musician, shepherd, king, commander-in-chief, adulterer, best friend, man after God’s own heart. His poetry was at one moment roaring cheers to God and the next, tears of sorrow and lament. He was all of those things and it is something I connected with early on. His ups and downs mirrored mine as I was going through my parents divorce in my teenage years. His words gave voice to my heart cries.

There is that side of me. It’s not as happy “looking” but just as joy-filled. Just as assured of God’s love for me in all views of my life.

My one word this year is be. This is me. Blue, harried, thoughtful, quiet and introspective, loud and laughing, loving and guarding, struggling and finding. I am missing my youth and looking forward to new adventures. I risk love while trying to guard from the pain that comes with risk. I am smart and eager to learn. I am anxious and terribly sarcastic. I am uncomfortable with praise and eager to please (though not as much as in my youth).

I am a leader and follower. I am learning to love me. “Jesus loves me, this I know.”

Black Friday {my way}

I usually join in a Five-Minute Friday link up but today, Lord-willing, we will be on the road driving back from Thanksgiving spent with the FL Panhandle Hudsons. The following was on my mind and it seems a good time for some change of pace writing. 

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 8.20.19 AM

I just wrote a long email to some friends. Really long. It included an excerpt from a blog I read by a writer who said what I couldn’t but wanted to so that added to its length and I wonder if they read it. Will they open, glance at how far they have to scroll down and say, later? They have busy lives, I know that. Maybe they’ll skim it or maybe, just maybe, they’ll wait until they can soak in every single word because they know the words are from me to them.

That’s what I did with letters from granny. She is the first one I remember getting a written letter from. That’s all we had in the days before technology had taken over our time, rushing us from lingering over a well-written word and pushing us to spill our lives into 144 characters or less.

My daughter talks to our grand about writing to me one day and I wonder what I’ll say. I don’t remember much of the content of the letters from my granny. I just remember she wrote. To me. My name was on the envelope I got to open. Her writing was hard to read as she never mastered the art of punctuation. It would often take a few attempts at one sentence to decipher what she was trying to say. Now, I’m more concerned about writing in a hand legible enough for our granddaughter to read. Little is written in hand anymore and I generally think that’s a good thing.




I peruse my Flipboard each morning with the blogs I’ve bookmarked for reading. Some are daily must-reads and some, quite frankly, are skimmed or skipped because of the lack of brevity. Rachel Held Evans, I love your voice but really, most of them are just too long for my mornings.

But from a friend? I will linger. I will save an email to read when I can soak in their tone and let my eyes move across each word shared from their thoughts.

Those emails are too few. I know our lives are moving fast these days. And the faster they move the less we share and the more we keep stuffed inside and, really, I don’t think it’s about time but it’s about us. Our fear of speaking those words close to us. I know it’s hard but I also know it is freeing. And that is why I write. It’s why I write here and why I have this small circle who, unless they change their email, get these wordy, rambling emails from me being all kinds of crazy, touchy-feely, wordy, me.

Happy birthday, my friend

We’ve been blessed, you and I. We grew deeper in our spiritual walk here, sitting in the same church, sitting next to each other in the songsters. But that wasn’t what grew our faith.

LaVerne called it Camelot and it was for them and more than we ever realized. Those were special days as we saw a new wave of faith expression and we grew together with our families.

When I found out I was pregnant, again, and Heather had just turned one and no one was happy for me, you were. You were the one with joy in your voice when I told you and I needed that.

Heather and just a bit of Rachel at swim lessons.

Heather and just a bit of Rachel at swim lessons.

Jonathan considering the waves

Jonathan considering the waves

Remember the outdoor services Maj. Crabson liked to have?

Remember the outdoor services Maj. Crabson liked to have?

Our oldest

Our first borns

Remember our weekly picnics at the beach with our littles? One week you’d pay the $3 for parking and the next I’d pay. We packed our lunches and got a table under the pine trees at that stretch of beach. The first time Jonathan looked at those waves he had second thoughts but it wasn’t long before he caught on to the joy of letting the water chase him up on the shore.

You with our first borns.

You with our first borns.

Our boy and your oldest graduating together.

Our boy and your oldest graduating together. They’ve grown up so well.

We took quilting classes together and sewed for our babies and tried to plant a garden that failed miserably. We wanted to be country mama’s living in the heart of this big city. Right here, where we landed again. Only you have moved when we were sent back and I’ve missed you.

That group from way back, all of you were my group, those friends we thought we’d go through life with and then it all changed. People started moving but we stayed, you and Dale, Bud and Barb and me and Henry. It had always been us and was again and then we moved. It was hard. And Barbara died and it was even harder. The roots were deep by then and all of it, that’s what grew our faith.

We have grandbabies now and you have your country home in, as Henry calls it, the middle of nowhere. You are not only happy but you are free. Our lives have moved in different directions and I never saw it coming. Not bad, just different. I am happy for you. I am thankful for your friendship and I miss you. I am celebrating you today, dear friend. Celebrating your life and thanking God for the history we have. You’re the only one left really and some days I’m clinging to it a little tighter. I need someone to have known me from before the babies and before my name was followed by “and Henry” and who shared secrets while those babies were napping and we were working on a puzzle while we puzzled life.

It’s been a long time from those days of me seeking shelter in your little place, healing from a broken heart. Distance may quiet us now but only temporarily and birthdays are not meant to be quiet. I pray it’s filled with joyous noise that rocks your day reminding you of whose you are. I thank God you are His and because of Him you are free. Happy birthday Donna. I love you friend!

I’m Walking on Sunshine & Liebsters

“I’m walking on sunshine, whoa-whoa, and don’t it feel good!” 1985 Katrina & the Waves

I’m a bit overwhelmed with the generosity of my friends Melis @ http://iamnotshe.wordpress.com and Jen@http://steponacrack.wordpress.com for bestowing on me the Sunshine and Liebster awards. It’s amazing how you can get to know people you’ve never met and become part of a mutual support and encourager through the blogosphere. I am thankful to learn from both women who have much to share of perseverance and triumph. Please check out their blogs.

There are rules to these awards and, well, I’ll be adapting them a bit. Did I hear someone say control? I’d like to deny it but every time I think of my rationale it still sounds like control. I’ll own it.

The first rule of both is to give thanks to those passing the award on to you and link back. That is my favorite part and done.

The next part for the Sunshine award is to tell something about yourself in the way of favorites and the Liebster asks you to just share the love. Here’s where I’m going to twist it up some. I’ll share some of my favorite things and blogs so you’re getting the combo deal here. Did someone say “super-size”? No problem, ‘have it your way’ 😉

Favorite place to spend time doing nothing: the beach

Favorite new hobby: taking pictures and blogging

Favorite place to take pictures: the beach

Favorite place to live if I could live anywhere: near the beach (sensing a theme?)

Other favorites include blue, the number 14, family, grace, God, friends, music, arts, the beach. 😀

I do have some favorite blogs I read regularly and will gladly share them with you.

Heidi at Good Life No Alcohol. She writes honestly and helpfully about recovery. Excellent blog.

Debbie at Two Minutes of Grace is a master with words and does it most gracefully, of course.

My Mother’s Brain: love in the time of dementia posts sporadically but I have found it to be touching and comforting as I go through the same journey as Beatriz

It’s Not Really About Me is a new one to me but I appreciate the simplicity of Judi’s life and her deep faith.

Yes, this is just a handful but most have been mentioned by others and deservedly so. All of these blogs have taught me, comforted me, encouraged me and uplifted me. I am thankful to God for using others to speak into my life.

Simply Saturday: It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like….

If it were not for Henry, I’m not sure how much I’d decorate the house for Christmas. It was one of the many things I seemed to not think twice about doing when our kids were home or living near by. But these days, it’s Henry. He loves it. He really does. And once I get started, I remember why it’s important, for me, to continue doing this.

So many of the pretty things we set out have loving memories connected. Memories of friends passed or friends far away.

The Santa’s mama has added to my collection over the years. The ornaments she’d pick up from craft shows and send our way. I miss talking to her about our new finds and new crafts we liked. So many things we hang on the tree or sit on a shelf that remind me of the boxes we used to get from her. Always packed with a Christmas dish towel to cushion the contents.

My friend, Donna, carved this special creation from a bar of Ivory soap. She and I have exchanged homemade things often in the past.

The sheep my friend Barbara and I collected from the Sunrise craft show. Every year we’d go and look for the older woman with the sheep. Her daughter in upstate New York raised sheep and used their wool to make the sheep.

We’ve collected quite a lot in the 34 years we’ve been married. So many things I made when the kids were little.

My eyes look past the bottle brush trees and glittery boot to see the real Christmas. A babe, born for us. For love.