Click, click record & repeat!

Do you take a ton of photos on your phone? What about video? Who is the subject matter most of the time?


When my husband died suddenly  seven years ago at age 37, I was lucky that I had taken so many photos and videos. But, it was all about my son…which is typical. We wanted to catch him making that funny face, documenting his  new wiggly dance, listening to him speak in complete funny sentences at such a young age. But the result was not many photos of mom or dad! In the videos I can hear my husband’s voice occasionally, but rarely see his face. I see this happening with other couples. We stop taking photos of each other, and just focus on the kids.


This fall season, while picking out pumpkins, tasting fresh apples, getting sticky from donuts and cider, please make it a point to capture photos of the kids but also the Mr. or Mrs. AND BOTH Mr. and Mrs.  For single moms this is especially hard, but ask people around you to take photos. Better yet, ask your 3-year old to take a photo – you know they have years of experience with your phone! Find another family and offer to take family pictures for each other.  I guess “selfies” have helped tremendously in this area, too.


Take more videos. Record the everyday ramblings of not just the kids but of dad cooking bacon on a Saturday morning. Record mom as she asks the kids to pick up their rooms…because someday they will miss that voice, even asking them to do chores. Record the contagious belly laughter. It might make you cry someday to hear it again, but you’ll be glad you captured it.


Finally, DO something with these photos and videos. Take time each week to at least email yourself your photos, or upload them to a photo site like dropshots or shutterfly (or dozens of other options). Move the videos to a safer place or get them transferred to a DVD. You will be glad you did.   I have spent many hours making photo books on Shutterfly and Snapfish. (I wish they were compensating me for advertising for them!). My books generally take 10+ hours to make, but I do it in stages over several nights: upload photos, choose book, edit/crop photos, add text & stickers and review. I save the book in my cart until there’s a half off sale…which is often. (Traveler’s tip: Great Wolf Lodge offers a free 8×8 Shutterfly book – be sure to ask for the coupon!)


So this fall…………click, click, record and repeat…a lot. Enjoy the moment without needing to get “the perfect” shot. Instead, focus on getting mom & dad’s photos and voices documented. Record the laughter and the tantrums. (You heard me. Document those, too!) Instead of checking facebook while at a family outing, record the chillens picking on each other or holding hands. You’ll miss their squeaky little voices! And as a family, look at the photo books together and recall those quality family moments. Even if the kids moan about watching the footage, they’ll be grateful for it…someday. And, as scary as it sounds, you won’t all live forever, and to be able to listen to voices again…trust me – it’s a great thing. 



It’s a dirty job – and I’m an expert.

Do you remember that show “Dirty Jobs?” I remember thinking, who in the world wants to do that for a living? Who wants to work with sewage, or be covered in mud on a daily basis? Who wants to shovel manure all day, or work in a meat-packing plant? There are many grungy jobs I would never want to attempt. 

Which dirty job would you never want to do? Realistically, someone has to, or should do, this job in order to make the world function, right? They may not be fun jobs, but we rely on others to do the dirty jobs in this world. For a lot of people who do those dirty jobs, they are actually really good at it, passionate even. It doesn’t matter so much what job you are doing, as long as you do it with all of your heart and soul; you are helping someone, you are creating to help others, you are servicing others and you work hard while doing it.

I never had a dirty job. With the exception of diaper duty while babysitting, I’ve had pretty clean jobs. Well, until….the last seven years or so.

In 2009, I was thrown into a full-time job that I never wanted. I didn’t dream of becoming an expert at this. I never wished that people would consider me a “go-to” person in this field. I dreamed of a wedding (singular)  and babies and vacations. I didn’t hope that someday, people would call me for advice on this awkward topic. I didn’t want this dirty job….GRIEF. It just may not be as visualy dirty as Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs but people hope to avoid it.


Grief is a dirty job. It is messy, unpredictable and lasting. It is downright hard. It might get easier one moment and then throw you right back to where it all started, with a smell, memory, song, or the way the wind blows. Grief doesn’t end at 5pm or at the end of 5 years. Grief lingers. But here’s the thing – grief affects everyone. Every single human being. And it’s awkward. We struggle with what to say, or what not to say, or how to help – really help.

And now God has given me the experience so that I can call myself a sort-of “expert” in the field. I’ve been through the variety of emotions, experiences, learned practical tips, attended and led support groups and grief conferences, read a lot of books, and made many friends along the way who have been there.

What about you? What are you an expert at…that you didn’t want to be? What have you gone through, that has equipped you to be a “go-to” person? If you are open about it, please comment on this post.

“God allows pain because it is the secret to our purpose.”  –Emily Wierenga, author/speaker.

Most importantly, (read this twice): Do you recognize your painful experience as a gift from God? Do you realize you’ve become an expert, maybe unwillingly, in order to help others? 

 Share: “I am an expert in ________.” 

Just Breathe…


When is the last time you absolutely dreaded a conversation? I mean, ache in the stomach, sweaty palms, wishing-you-were-on-a-sunny-beach somewhere-not-here…feeling??  Maybe it is a work-related scuffle with a co-worker, or giving someone bad news, or admitting you’ve made a mistake, or calling someone out on an important issue, or finally coming clean about something?

There are all sorts of reasons we get anxious about conversations. We anticipate what might be said, what we will say in response or in defense. We fear different outcomes. We fear the “not yet known.” We fear things won’t be the same, or will be the same, despite the difficult conversation. I think that is one of the many reasons why Facebooking, emailing and texting is so popular.  If you don’t have to face that person, if you don’t have to see their reaction and emotions, it makes it easier on you (and maybe them). But sometimes there is no option – in person it is.

Whether it is anticipated or we are blindsided, whether it is work or personal, life-changing or about laundry-changing, with people we know well or barely know…there can be different levels of anxiety.

How do we prepare for those anticipated scary conversations? How do we suit ourselves for being ready on the spot for the unanticipated scary confrontations?

I have one of those anticipated, scary conversations coming up this week. I am analyzing, role-playing, imagining words that might come up, preparing for the worst, praying that I can take the high road instead of saying something I might regret.

I am clinging to a verse I heard today at my church home:

1Peter 3:9: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

Our God knows the whole story. He knows what’s been said and done, and what you want to say! He knows your heart, your worth (beyond measure!) and he wants good for you and has good in store for you.

This week, I must remember this and just breathe. I must offer a blessing instead of being defensive  or insulting. Can I really do this?? Can I??  I will have to let you know if I did!

Take the high road. Always take the high road. Bless others instead of insulting them. It’s hard. It’s reeeeally hard sometimes. I’ve not always been successful at it. Because we are not always successful at these things, God provides ways to remind us and equip us.  Seeking encouraging verses from the Bible, attending church, calling loyal friends who remind us to do good, and keep us on that high road.

For those times when we are blindsided by confrontations: breathe. Clench your fists and pray for silence while we let those emotions fly in our mind…until we can say something in response that is calm and less impulsive…and maybe even, a blessing.  While this is very hard, when you’re not sure you can do it, when you’ve got a million things going on in your life and you don’t need this chaos…..JUST BREATHE. Then, thank God for that ability to inhale and exhale…and even bless someone in the hardest of situations.

Breathe – Jonny Diaz   -If you need a reminder this week to “Breathe”….listen to this and read the words. I’ll bet you can totally relate.


Let Labor Day be Opposite Day

My family recently had an “opposite day.”  We ate cake in the morning, wore our pajamas to church (we totally did) and had pancakes and bacon for dinner.  I used to do this more often, when my son was younger. I recall making Mac ‘n Cheese at 8am for breakfast, followed by mowing the lawn in pajamas. I highly recommend this tradition.

With tomorrow being Labor Day, we had plans today to drive up north to relax….but with kids is it really “relaxing?” My son is old enough to get himself ready and keep himself happy, but my daughter definitely takes work …. A lot of labor to get everything packed, tossing toys back at her during the ride, and being her constant shadow while she discovers all of the awesomeness that a lakefront cottage has to offer. So, due to the thought of all that “labor,” plus recovering from a fun-filled day yesterday, and still monitoring my daughter’s low-grade fever….we decided to stay home today and probably tomorrow.  (Note: to prevent any tone of ungratefulness, I am thankful to have access to that cottage, grateful for the fun-filled day yesterday, and glad that it is just a fever…but stay with me here). 

In honor of Labor Day, I am doing the opposite: not Laboring. It’s, I guess, “Opposite day of Labor Day.”

I certainly hope this is the case for you, too. We live in a world full of deadlines, have to’s, need-to’s, and miscellaneous obligations. We rush around- not smelling any roses, not looking up at the clouds imagining what the shapes of fluff resemble, not even checking things off of our list – because, “wait, there’s more!”  What is the #1 answer when someone asks how you are or how your summer has been???  “Oh, you know, busy….”  It doesn’t seem to get any less busy…ever.

This Labor Day….no matter what stage of life you are in…I hope you can “not” Labor. As soon as you are done reading this (and after telling all of your friends to read it, ha ha), make an announcement to your family that you are NOT going to Labor this Labor Day!  Play board games, play lawn games,  just lie on the floor and let your littles crawl all over you and bury you with pillows and blankets. (In fact, you might be able to get a 4-minute cat-nap in this way!)  Put a sheet on the grass under a tree and tell everyone to grab a snack and a book and head outside.  Make your “to do” list something like this:  1)    …….and then throw it away!

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.

I know, I know! Easier said than done. Someone has to make the food, keep the house (somewhat) in order… oil the machine.  There will always be a hundred things to do.

But come on….if you are weary, if you are burdened, if you are both (like a lot of us)….let “Labor Day” be “Opposite Day.” DO put off today what you can do the next day, if it entails hard work.  Relax. BE with your family-with not just your body, but your mind, your eyes, your hugs, your ears.

Do the opposite of Labor…on this Labor Day.  And don’t forget to thank the Maker…. for …everything. 

girl looking at clouds

My $6 regret

six dollars

What can you buy for six bucks? Not much, right? A fancy coffee, a fast-food meal for one, a pair of socks, a six pack of root beer, maybe a pack of Pokemon cards?  Keep thinking about what six dollars can buy….

My “day job” is in Human Resources which includes recruiting. I work in an industry with high turnover, low pay, and a hard, physical job. It is really hard to find quality candidates that are honest, don’t have extensive criminal backgrounds, and employees that will work for the company for more than a few months. Have you ever worked in a job where you felt like you were spinning your wheels?

I’ve done a lot of recruiting at job fairs. It’s strange…one day no one shows up, one day we get a lot of applicants that get hired but then never show up to work, one day we nicknamed “Felony Thursday.” (Practically everyone who applied had a felony, which excludes them from most positions.)

Recently, instead of “Felony Thursday”, it was “Living in a Shelter Tuesday.” Several people I interviewed had no home to call their own. They just wanted to start over, from the bottom. Here’s where my “six dollars” comes into play.

Meet “Mr. H.” Neatly dressed, well-spoken, a firm handshake and eye contact started our conversation. It was my favorite interview I’ve ever done. He talked about growing up on a farm, the hay-bailing labor that he did as a child that he actually remembers fondly. He talked about his relevant 25-year experience. He talked about being a Christian and how it has kept him grateful for every morning that he wakes up. Being in HR, I can’t ask him about his religious beliefs but I did chime in, “me, too” when he said he was a Christian. I couldn’t help it, I’m proud of it. He confirmed he has never received even a parking ticket and he could pass a drug test. At that point, I am so pleased that he walked into the interview. I have found a great match. (Victory!) The next step, I explain,  is for him to go to the police station for a copy of his arrest record (hopefully showing nothing) and have it sent to us. I add that there is a $6.00 cost that he is responsible for. (Cue the awkward silence) ……….”Whoa, I better stop you right there, ma’am. I do not have $6.”

I am at a loss. My heart sinks with disappointment and disbelief. He said that he is currently living in a shelter, has enough for bus fare to get the drug test, but cannot come up with the $6. A friend might loan him the money but he won’t see the friend until next week. He adds that his mentor at the shelter said he cannot go around asking for the money.

While he is saying this, I thought to myself that I am SURE I have six dollars.  It took everything I had not to just hand over the six dollars. See, I’m a generous, loving, trusting person, but I’ve been burned before by interviewees that lie…to my face. I’ve been made a fool trusting applicants that say they can pass a drug test or say they have no criminal background. Time after time, I’m lied to so it’s made me jaded.  So, while Mr. H laments about how he wishes his circumstances were different, and this might just not be the right timing, I am completely torn.

Before I reach for my wallet, he stands up and says he is sure his friend can loan him the money and he will send me his arrest record by the following Monday. Phew. Ok. This is still ok. This is going to work. Maybe he will be able to finally get out of the shelter! I have no idea why he’s there, how long he’s been there, or what his story is. I just know he affected my heart.

Monday comes and goes, nothing.  He’s never to be heard from since. What happened? Did he fool me? Or could I have changed his life if I gave him that $6? Could he have been an angel in disguise, testing me to see if I will help? Have you ever thought about that possibility? Or did I do the right thing by not giving money away, not totally sure where he’d spend it?

How do you feel when you come across people in need? Have you been burned? There are so many factors to consider, right?  Would it make a difference if your kids were with you at the time? Do you lead by example and give – or assume the worst?  This man, Mr. H, really acted like he wanted to work. If only I’d given him the $6, I could have known the answer. Six dollars doesn’t buy much, but it might have bought a new start for this man!

Deuteronomy 15:10    Be sure to give to them without any hesitation. When you do this, the LORD your God will bless you in everything you work for and set out to do.

What would you have done? (Please reply!) And also, how do you heal from a regret like this? 



You’re a Gem – Part 2

broken jewelry

In my last blog, (You’re a Gem – Part 1), I talked about all of the different kinds of jewels and gems that we have in our jewelry box. They can represent the types of friends we have – the “once in awhile” jewelry pieces, the tried and true pieces that we want to wear daily. The sparkly, fun, special, valuable…it all makes us smile.

I’m kinda dreading this post because it is painful. But I know I’m not the only one with broken or damaged pieces in our jewelry boxes. What about your box?

Do you have any jewelry pieces that aren’t shiny anymore? They might be tarnished or chipping. They are like friends that are going through a rough time and I can tell…whether they’ve told me about it or not. I can see they’re hurting on the outside. Is it up to me to offer a polishing cloth to help reveal these friends’ true beauty and get them back to their healthy, confident selves? Sometimes that is the right thing; other times those friends need to polish themselves from the inside out or it won’t be lasting. Sometimes it takes the professionals to handle the polishing. But I need to remind them that I still love and treasure them, no matter what they look or feel like.

What about the necklace, though cute, that gets caught in the little hairs on my neck and just about makes me want to yank it off? (Am I the only one that happens to?). I tried and try again to wear it, forgetting about that annoying pain. Because I really like the necklace, I want it to work, I want it to be a favorite…but again, it hurts me, it lets me down…and I come to a point where I just can’t wear it anymore. Maybe my expectations were too high or just too different for what (that friend) is capable of right now. It’s painful, disappointing and uncomfortable. I take it off. I keep it in the bottom drawer, or maybe give it away. It’s been fun – mostly – but it’s time to move on. It’s not worth the pain. After some tears and prayers, I wish you well…goodbye.

Sadly, the broken jewelry…it can’t be worn. Something happened – maybe I dropped it or stepped on it or got it wet – I didn’t mean to – honest. Sometimes I’m not even sure of what I did to it, which is especially frustrating and sad. Maybe it can be fixed with lots of effort and time; sometimes not.  I treasured them once. Do I save it, hoping it can be fixed someday? Do I try to keep wearing it broken and get hurt every time the necklace slips off my neck and falls into my hands? Or do I say, “It’s been great having you, but now I’m forced to move on.” I’ve got enough other stress in my life and I have to let some things go.

What about those shiny and sparkly friends? When I’m with them, I might feel more important, more elegant and more beautiful. But it can be a lot of work and anxiety prepping for that polished look that can lead me to feeling inadequate in comparison. I feel like I need to have everything polished and packaged pretty well – because they are. Some shiny and sparkly friends are coated with glam and perfection but are hollow on the inside and won’t last or can’t be trusted. Friends that you have to try too hard for, or to change who you are to be with them….might not belong in your box.

Are there empty spaces in your box of friends?  I hope so! I have discovered new friends in the most unexpected places, just by being friendly, outgoing, and trying new things.  Also, by realizing everyone has a story. Sometimes casual friends of mine became soul sisters just by listening to their story and realizing their strength and hope was something I wanted to learn more about. I would challenge you, this week, to talk to someone you don’t know very well. See if you can find a common ground. Open the door for them to open up to you, should they choose to. You might be the gem they need, just by listening. Keep space in your box open for friends that God knows you will need.

Today, I mourn the broken jewels and make room for ones yet to come.  I keep a polishing cloth handy for those who need a shine. Thank you, God, for the gems and metals you’ve placed in my box….the shiny, the favorites, the once-in-awhile”s and the “used to be”s. They were all placed in our boxes, by an intentional God, at the perfect time. Sometimes you need to put in the effort to fix the broken, admit you were wrong or did wrong, or said it wrong. Some pieces weren’t meant to move forward with us and that has to be ok. It might be time to say a “goodbye,” maybe not directly to that person. Sometimes that makes things worse. Sometimes writing a goodbye letter in a journal or an out-loud prayer is helpful.

Two are better than one; for if they fall, one will lift up the other. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Treasure all the beautiful gems that remain in your box and lift you up; Bless and release the broken ones and be ready & open for new ones. Resist being sad about any open spaces in your box…He’s working on it. 🙂  

You’re a Gem! (Part One)

diamond and teal gemI am on an airplane recently after 4 days away from home…. I look out the mini window and feel the warm sun on my pale Michigan arms. My hand reaches up to my neck and touches my favorite silver necklace I wear most days. It’s got a little jewel and two little initial charms – to represent my two kids that I can’t wait to see. My favorite silver necklace….Squirrel! Squirrel! That reminds me, I didn’t wear the Karama gold necklace that held my nametag this weekend at the conference..I’ll wear the gold one tomorrow. Silver & gold, Silver & gold….reminds me of that song, “Make new friends, but keep the-e old, one is silver and the other gold.”  (Do you remember that song?) I thank God immediately for all of my silver and gold friends. But then it seems I have more friend categories than that. What about titanium, nickel, platinum, magnesium (is that even a metal?) I smile, thinking of my different types of friends – the precious metals that I treasure like jewelry pieces in a box that I would never give away. I challenge you to think along with me of your friends in your jewelry box:  

Titanium….cannot be broken from me. The ones that were there for me; they rushed and then stood by my side, and stayed, and called, and stay, and call. I love those necklaces or jewels that you find yourself clutching close to your heart. The ones you miss regularly – something’s wrong when you realize you haven’t worn it (seen her) in awhile. Your heart hurts… must.see.her.

Some friends are like the colorful bangles I wear around my wrist occasionally- they add so much fun to my life! I smile and say, “Yes! It’s so great to see you! I always have fun with you!” But I might not have the energy or time to wear them often.

Do you have some wild jewelry friends that are a “once in awhile” friends?  I love changing it up from time to time – but it’s not for all-season wear. They’re like my friend I met in Spain who would leave our dinner table mid-paella and jump on the back of a Harley with a Don Juan and tell me “I’ll be back luego!” while tossing her head back in laughter…Bless her. I’ve since parted ways with that gem but I still treasure the times we spent together and would love to meet up for some sangria with a side of funny Spain stories.

The “hidden gems” that come out of the woodwork are incredibly special. These are the ones you never knew you had until something bad happened – the jewelry box gets tipped over and there it appears. You discover a new friendship because of an unfortunate situation…and in time, you can be grateful for the good that came out of the bad.

What about the first pair of earrings you ever wore? Do you still have them like I do?  I still have friends that were with me in the start of my childhood…I may not have see them in years but one still texts me with well wishes. Another gem sent me a handmade quilt from her church that prayed over me during a hard time in my life. Like the first earrings in my box, I don’t look at them alot but I smile when thinking of the memories and will never forget them.

There’s jewelry I never thought I’d wear. Not usually my style, but it fits me! I never would have sought this kind out but it was gifted to me and I am going to try it. It might take some getting used to, some hesitation, but it’s starting to grow on me. And when people compliment the new look, it gives me confidence that maybe the gifter knows my style better than me!

I treasure all of my gem friends! The quirky, the sparkly, the everyday, the titanium, the ones that make me feel pretty, special, and valued. I pray that every woman has at least a few friends that make her feel this way.  Thank you, God, for the gems and precious metals you’ve placed in my box.

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Proverbs 31:10

(I say that friends of noble character are worth far more than rubies, too)

So, friends, do you have a variety of gems and precious metals in your jewelry box? Have you told a friend today that you are glad they are in your box? To which gem can you send a Thank You note today … thanking them for their place in your life, close to your heart?

What about the broken, tarnished, painful jewelry (the ones that pinch your little neck hairs!)? Do you have some friendships that resemble those?  What do you do with those pieces of jewelry? Toss ‘em? Try to fix them? Is it time to walk away? Or do you wish for certain gems that you fear will never be a part of your box? ……Come back next week for Part 2 ….

broken jewelry

#SheSpeaks16 Conference Recap

Get comfy, it’s over 500 words but worth the read!

I’m participating in Cindy Bultema’s BlogHop about a recent conference I attended called SheSpeaks. Because I cannot get the term “Sock Hop” out of my head, I feel like I should be wearing a poodle skirt. I promise you, I’m not. 🙂



I was so lucky to be able to attend this year’s SheSpeaks…held in North Carolina (I’m from Michigan). I was hoping to get inspired, confirm my calling to write a book to help others, and meet some incredible people. Check, check and check!  An unanticipated “check” was to start a blog.

Writing a blog was never something I thought I would do, but after attending SheSpeaks16, it was decided for me. On the first plane ride home, I wrote one! And then my second flight, before the plane was even off the ground, I had written another. I tell you…during those flights, I just wanted to read one of the books I’d purchased at the Conference. But I couldn’t! I tried, and then these words and stories just kept coming to mind and I heard God undeniably saying, “write it down now.” (Not in a mean tone with thunder and lightning noises, mind you. That would have been downright scary while I was in an airplane. But just a gentle, yet firm, “do this now.”)

What I now do when writing my blog is to take Shauna Niequist’s advice to “regularly practice silence to hear God.” In order to get my best words out, I need to be still, quiet, and listen. By committing to writing one blog a week, the new adventure is attainable and still allows me to be present with my family. I was glad to also hear Shauna’s quote, “Writers and Speakers are hands reaching out saying you’re not alone.” Yes! That is what my writing is about. I want those who are going through grief (death, divorce, job loss, medical diagnosis) to know they are not alone and there is hope. I want them to know I’ve been in some bad & sad situations myself, and I’m more than ok, and I’m here to help encourage them.

Chrystal Evans Hurst gave me inspiration about blogging:  I love that she didn’t think she had time to write a book but she had enough blog posts to put together a large portion of the book. Blogging is, in a way, like writing small chapters or samples of your book.

What I loved about SheSpeaks is how warm and welcoming everyone was. From my roommate that I’d never met before (but within hours felt like I’d known her for years!), to the approachable session leaders, to anyone I sat down next to! I didn’t feel competition, but rather, a sisterhood. Hundreds of women cheering me on, and me cheering on them. I heard dozens of other stories, whether it be during a meal or between sessions. It made me realize that we all have a story, we all want to help someone else, or many someone else’s. What was evident as well, is that the women I met at SheSpeaks16, give all the glory to God for their story and their purpose.  It was truly an inspiring and affirming conference.

From Lysa’s TerKeurst:  “Don’t let today’s reaction be tomorrow’s regret.”  This is such a life lesson. We all need to take a deep breath and pray before reacting emotionally.

And personally, I really related to Lysa’s quote, “Because of the pain, your life was saved.” I’ve been through a lot of pain, but my faith in God has never been stronger.  And her session, “Your Very Best Idea Ever”, included the quote to remember as writers and speakers, “Striving for credit will discredit you.” This is one I need to remember daily.

Alicia Bruxvoort’s session “Chasing Your Dream While Chasing the Kids, Too.”  If you weren’t in her session, you MUST turn to p.65 in the SheSpeaks guide and read her acronym phrases for DREAM. It is truly amazing! If you didn’t attend SheSpeaks16 and want to know, please contact me! It is genius!

Emily Wierenga’s session “7 Essentials to Writing An Inspirational Memoir,” brought out this fantastic quote: “God allows pain because it is the secret to our purpose.” Whoa! That is powerful!

If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I’ve broken the Blogging rule about not going over 500 or so words. Oops. Hey, this is my 3rd blog post. And there’s so many more great take-aways I left out. If you, or someone you know, wants any information about SheSpeaks, please do not hesitate to ask me. If you are feeling led to attend next year ….you won’t regret it!
Please comment and tell me which one of the quotes I referenced above is your favorite, and why?

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Boo-Boo “Itch”

Update: December 2016:  Thank you, Maranatha Christian Writer’s Conference, for awarding me 2nd place for this entry in the Leona Hertel Devotional Writing Contest!! 

I’ve had to correct myself recently when reassuring my children. Here’s why:

My son doesn’t typically fall and scrape his knee anymore but my daughter just did for the first time.

Beautiful sunny day at the park, my precious 17-month old girl in a light blue, flowery dress with a matching diaper cover. The pretty stable toddler gets going too fast in her clunky pink sandals. She sees the slide but her eyes are faster than her feet, of course. Down she goes, as I stretch out my arms, knowing I’m no Inspector Gadget – they won’t stretch out to catch her. Tears: real drops, stream down her cheeks as protective brother comes running from the other direction. Ok, there’s blood. Time to leave. Let’s go home, get a band-aid and patch up this girl. While I clutch this girl’s head to my shoulder, I say instinctively, “You’re ok! You Are Ok!” … Except she’s not – in her little mind. Her world came crashing down when she did. In the midst of witnessing her not be  ok, even though I knew she would be, I said more comfortingly, “You will be ok. You will be ok.”

I’m careful now about these words. Sometimes we are are not ok. We are hurt, abandoned, sick, sad, tired, or all of the above. But as Christians, we will be ok. We will be ok. Not right now, maybe; maybe not tomorrow. Maybe longer. But while you might not be ok at this moment and I acknowledge that, you will be ok.

I’m thinking of several friends that are hurting …. Loss, sickness, unimaginable heartbreak. Are you hurting today? Do you know someone that is? To those hurting, they are not ok right now. It’s hard to imagine, for them, when they will be ok. Reassure them with your prayers of comfort and peace, that they feel loved and know they will be ok. In the meantime, when they don’t know if & when they will be ok, use your gifts to show them love and give them hope. What are you good at? How can you use that gift to help someone going through a hard time? When you reach out to the hurting, it can help them see that with God’s love and friends’ support, they will be ok.

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

Shortly after her cement scuffle, she is ok. Weeks later, she still points to her left knee and says “Itch.” (My teaching her to say “boo-boo” or “ouch” resulted in “itch” and I really kinda love it.) I silently wonder how much longer she will say “itch” or if she even remembers the actual fall or the pain. Because what I want her to remember most is that she was going to be ok.  I say to her, Baby girl, I will always help you up and tell you you will be ok….because you will be.

Next week: You’re a gem!

Don’t open that door!!!

Do you like scary movies?  I’m talking about the ones from the 80’s.  Picture the girl with a scrunchy holding her permed-hair back, (except for this tall hedge of AquaNet-sprayed bangs), with the pegged jeans just above her Keds shoes, and the shoulder-pad infused shirt…her. The innocent baby sitter who ends up in a nightmare of prank calls and slamming doors. Why, in the world, does she keep doing things that you know are going to lead to more screaming? Why not just do the safe thing? Protect the kids, protect yourself, and just wait to be rescued. Why take the risk when you know the possibilities of danger and hurt are near? And for Pete’s sake………DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!!!!  

For me, starting this blog is opening that door!   One voice inside me is telling me not to. (Yes, I hear voices…that’s another day’s post, HA!) Anyway, one doubting voice says just play it safe, trust the people around me and just keep doing what I’m doing. In fact, while writing this I’m thinking, well, since this reminds me of Halloween and scary movies, I think I’ll wait to start the blog until October…My un-official major in college was Procrastination, by the way… Then God shows me a visual of the door. Open it now! Yes, it will be scary. No, I dont know exactly what lies on the other side. Yes, there will be people that try to judge me for opening it, or cause a rush of wind & rain to come at me when I open it. But there are a whole lot more people, I pray, that will smile and be glad I opened that door. It was never a door I thought I would be given the opportunity to open. But I know that I can reach others – to make them laugh, learn something new, be inspired to DO something, to show others that you can still smile while walking on rocky paths.

Speakers and writers are hands reaching out saying, “You are not alone.” –Shauna Niequist

So, here I am. I’m opening the door. Somewhat scared with sweaty palms, and yet, knowing God has his hands open to catch me if I trip while tip toeing over the threshold. I’m tip toeing, yet excited about all of these words and stories, that are lined up at the door chanting, “Open! Open! Open!”

What is on the other side of your door? I’m willing to bet it’s something awesome, amazing and maybe a little scary. And please don’t mistake me for saying that what I have already is not awesome and amazing. It is. I am grateful every day for what God has put in my world. Here’s my bossy tone coming out: Be Grateful for what God has placed in your world. But he will also place doors along your path if you’re willing to open them.  If you’re not quite ready to open them, it’s ok. It is. But, like the 80’s scary movie babysitter, don’t listen to anyone who says, “DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!” 

Next week: “Boo-boo ouch”