Thursday, March 30, 2006


I was talking to a friend the other day who told me that her mom and step-dad, who are separating, had just divided up their grave sites. It got me to thinking about all the things you have to decide... who will get what...when there is a divorce. Want to know what this feels like? Close your eyes and imagine you have to figure out who would get:
  • the wedding pictures
  • old tax returns
  • the book collection
  • the pets
  • letters and love notes from the kids
  • the "Our First Christmas" ornament
  • pictures from family vacations
  • the mold of the baby's hand prints
  • old love letters and cards to each other
  • that souvenier from that special vacation

It isn't so hard to divide up, the bank accounts, the cars. But how do you divide up memories and lives spent together?

If you know someone going through a divorce or separation...or any kind of loss for that matter...please pray for them. It will be appreciated.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


This morning I read, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits towards me?" (Psalm 116:12) You have done so much for me. I started thinking about how I could ever say thanks. If I were to make up a special little thank you for those I love, it might include: Sandy/dark chocolate, Vicki/Fenton glass, Paul/a good book, Amy/purple tulips, Tracey/something with lace, Darryl/gift certificate to Cracker Barrel, Rachel/music, and my list could go on.

There is just so much I don't know about You. And I got to wondering about You. I want to know You more than what I know intellectually. More than the typical things. I want to know You intimately. Like, do You like ice cream? Do You enjoy sports? Do You have a cushion on Your throne? When You placed the stars in the sky, did You rearrange them a few times or just leave them where You placed them the first time? What makes You laugh? Was it fun when You created the universe? What do You look forward to the most when we are finally all together? What is the hardest part about being You, being God? What is Your favorite part of the day? You have created so much that is pleasurable, what do You do for pleasure? Do You like Rap? Do You think spiders are beautiful or necessary? You collect our tears because they are precious to You, will we ever see Yours...I mean see what the tears of God really look like...not just know about them? Do you shave? What were You thinking about when You created the Platypus?

LOL, I must sound like such a child. I feel kind of silly for asking. But I don't want to know just what I read about You or just who I think You might be, or only who I have experienced You to be so far. I really want to know You for You.
Hugs & Kisses,

Monday, March 27, 2006


Yesterday I was weary...weary to the bone...weary in my soul...weary. As soon as I opened my eyes I told You..."Lord, I need You. I need Your touch. I don't know how I am going to make it through this day." I grabbed a devotional and You spoke. The first words I read were, "And Jesus put forth His hand and touched him, saying I will..." (Matthew 8:3a) My heart was stirred. You heard me. And Your presence, Your touch warmed me...heart and soul.

I went to get my mom out of bed for what seemed like the millioneth time. I know it's not her fault, but the smells of taking care of her bodily just felt like too much. "I can't do this," I told You. Then I heard my daughter playing a Beethoven piece as she waited for me to be done so we could go to church. The beauty of the music carried me through my duties of caring for my mom. You reminded me that You were there and understood. You waited patiently for me. You heard me. And I knew Your voice and Your touch.

Your love amazes me. Those times You invite me to just hide myself in You. Those times You make it so clear that You know and You hear and You care. I love You...deeply, deeply love You!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


He got up from the supper and took off his outer garment & wrapped a towel around himself. - John 13:4

And the call is to community

In an upstairs room

A parable is just about to come alive

And while they bicker about who's best

With a painful glance He'll silently rise

Their Savior Servant must show them how

Through the will of the water

And the tenderness of the towel

And the call is to community

The imporverished power that sets the soul free

In humility to take the vow

That day after day we must take up

The basin & the towel

In any oridinary place

On any ordinary day

The parable can live again

when one will kneel and one will yeild

Our Savior Servant must show us how

Through the will of the water

And the tenderness of the towel

And the space between ourselves sometime

Is more than the distance between the stars

By the fragile bridge of the servant's bow

We take up the basin & the towel

And the call is to community

The impoverished power that sets the soul free

In humility to take the vow

That day after day we must take up

the basin & the towel

by Michael Card

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I was running late this morning. Had to stop by the grocery store for one more ingredient for the dish I was making for my small group tonite. I had a couple of old batteries, so I stopped at the library next to the grocery store. They have a used battery drop box. Of course, since I was in a hurry, I dropped one of the batteries, which rolled under my car. I thought about just driving away...after all I was going to be late for work. But, God wouldn't let me. I pulled forward, retrieved the battery, and dropped it in the box. As I looked up to go back to my car, I saw a pond with a solitary, snow-white swan gliding silently across until it disappeared behind some reeds. It was a beautiful, serene, calming sight. I stopped to thank God for that moment. A moment I would have missed if He hadn't encouraged me to stop and do the right thing. I love when He rewards us like that!
I happily made my way to the office. I pulled into a spot way down at the end, opened the door, stuck my foot out.....uh, oh.....something was not right. I looked down and there was my heel in the center of a pile of crap! For real--a huge pile of crap. (Other witnesses attribute it to a human, but my mind can't go there...I have to imagine that some Great Dane was running loose in our parking lot.) I got out of the car, grabbed a plastic bag and a spare shoe from my trunk and stopped to decide what to do. This was disgusting. I thought about just moving my car to a new parking space. But, God wouldn't let me. I went inside to clean off my shoe and gather some cleaning products. I had to ask one of the bosses for his key to the storage room where the paper towels were stored. I looked so ridiculous as I stood there with one playtex glove on (could only find one), a couple of garbage bags, a bottle of 409, and a thoroughly disgusted look on my face. My boss cracked up when I told him why I needed the paper towels. He kept apologizing for laughing but he couldn't stop. Then the whole office heard about it. Everyone was laughing. I ended up laughing too. My two dear friends, Mandy and Vicki, came out to provide support. Vicki even held the garbage bag for me while I cleaned up.
It's only been a few hours, but already I have had the opportunity to talk to two of my co-workers about why I did this. I am sure that alot more people will hear about it before the day is out. Everyone in my office knows I am a Christian. Who knew that cleaning a pile of crap would be one of the ways God would choose for me to live out my faith and testify about Him? I thank God for these opportunities to speak of and for Him. Opportunites I would have missed if He hadn't encouraged me to stop and do the right thing. I love when He rewards us like that!
You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.--Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.-Phillippians 3:14

"It is arduous work to keep the master ambition in front. It means...not being ambitious to win souls or to establish churches or to have revivals, but being ambitious only to be 'accepted of Him'....Paul is like a musician who does not need the approval of the audience if he can catch the look of approval from his Master....I have to learn to relate everything to the master ambition, and to maintain it without any cessation. My worth to God in public is what I am in private. Is my master ambition to please Him and be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how noble?" -Oswald Chambers, MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


This past Christmas I was gifted with some money. What was great was that for the past few years, I have bought one Christmas present. One present for my daughter. That was it. But this year, with the money received, we were able to buy Christmas presents for others. And, we were able to keep a Christmas tradition we started when we first learned about the divorce-that of gifting someone else with some money at Christmas. Nothing big. No extravagent gifts. My daughter was overjoyed. She said that this year really felt like Christmas! We all know the old adage--it is more blessed to give than to receive. This Christmas felt good to us because someone else's generosity allowed us to be generous.
One of the things I did with the money was to set aside enough to buy two tickets for the Third Day concert I knew was coming up in February. They haven't been concerts for me...they have been times of worship and fellowship. Besides, I am a Gomer (see to learn about Gomers!). Gomers just don't miss a Third Day concert! With money so tight, I wasn't sure how I was going to make this happen. Buying those tickets felt so luxurious and joyful. We were going for sure!! A few weeks later, I received an email from a friend who told us she was gifting us with two tickets to Third Day. How cool was this, from no tickets to four tickets? We were then able to gift HippieJoe and his girlfriend with our tickets. (HippieJoe is an ultimate Gomer, so there was noone that I would have rather gifted with tickets!)
So what? you are probably thinking. Well, here is the most awesome part. We figured out that HippieJoe's parents had been gifted tickets by couple A. Couple B had bought an extra ticket for their brother, but he couldn't come. So, they gifted his ticket. The friend who gifted us our tickets ended up with an extra ticket when her husband couldn't come, so she ended up gifting that ticket to a young lady from church who didn't have one, someone she didn't even know! My daughter and I had been twice gifted with tickets, first by the money we had received and then with actual tickets. Plus, we had the joy of gifting someone else tickets. Are you following this? Almost everyone in this little circle was at the concert because they had been gifted with tickets!
That just excites me. This was only a concert, but such a great example of the Bride of Christ...looking out for each other, blessing each other, taking care of each other, interconnected and interdependent. This happens over and over, day after day, from small, seemingly insignificant things to those huge critical things. One Christ, one Body, one Community!!
There is a lesson in this besides the obvious. With all the loss that is experienced in divorce, one of the hardest loss is that of the blessing of giving. Resources are, time, energy. It's easy for you and everyone else to focus only on your neediness. But, when you are a Christian, comes the need to give, to bless others, as you yourself have been blessed. One of the greatest gifts my Christian friends gave me throughout my divorce was keeping our relationship "mutual". They not only allowed, but invited me, to pour into their lives as I was able. Perhaps I couldn't give money, but I could give a listening ear, I could kneel in prayer for their needs, I could laugh with them, I could weep with them, I could help lessen the load of their burdens, as they had lessened mine.
Remember to keep the relationship "mutual"!

Friday, March 17, 2006


I found my mom in tears yesterday. Mike died. Mike worked on her staff over 17 years ago. He lived alone. His closest relative died a couple years back. Mike was alone. My mom said he didn't have anybody. Mike lay in his yard for I don't know how long before he was found. That is because nobody was looking for Mike.

Perhaps Mike preferred being alone. I don't know. But I can't get him out of my mind. Lord, give me eyes to see the Mikes in my life. I can free up some time.

I promise to start looking for Mike.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father: but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.--Mathtew 10:29

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I am a bit perplexed and puzzled. I seem to be at some sort of crossroads. I think I am gaining some clarity....piece by puzzle piece. However, two conversations have started this ball rolling. One was with someone who was answering some questions put to him. He made a statement about differences in relationships. He didn't bash anyone. He didn't assault anyone's character. He didn't put on an air of superiority. He just made the observation that differences led to tension which required an action and the necessity to keep an eye on that tension before it became harmful or negative. Simple yet very profound.
Just yesterday, I had a second conversation with my boss, who is also my friend and brother. He was talking about the tension in relationships and the need to manage that tension. He viewed this tension as not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of and to use as a barometer. The way he put things, this tension could actually be a tool...a very useful tool in decision making and relationship building.
So, these two ideas...differences and tension is what I am trying to understand and measure in my own life.
Growing up I was surrounded by differences. (But different was normal so it didn't seem different. Does that make sense?) We spent as much time at my grandparents house as we did our own. My grandparents were immigrants. Their neighborhood was full of immigrants. Different colors, languages, traditions--truly a "melting pot". I never encountered racial or ethnic slurs because everyone was our "neighbor".
The first time I really became aware that "different" meant being treated "different" was after I graduated from high school. A close friend of mine had moved to Charleston. My brother was in the Navy and stationed in Nevada. I wanted to see them both but couldn't afford airfare to both destinations. So I took the bus.
I left Wayne, Michigan and headed to downtown Detroit. When I got on the bus there, I was one of the only caucasians on the bus. I didn't think anything of it until the Mediterranian guy in the seat next to me started talking about what "pigs" Jamacans were. Um, needless to say...that wasn't a good thing. I was the minority until we hit the South. Then I noticed that the behavior of the blacks on the bus changed. Less free and talkative to more quiet and subdued. After I left Charleston, heading out west, I tried to talk to a Hispanic kid in the seat next to me. (That is what you do on a bus....either sleep or talk to whoever is sitting next to have alot of time on your hands!) He wouldn't look me in the eye or respond to my small talk. When we got out at a stop in Texas, a white lady sitting behind us took me aside and let me know that it would be inappropriate for someone of his race to be seen talking to a white girl. Yikes! I didn't know that my overtures of friendliness could have caused him problems. We hit Arizona where I learned that my connecting bus had left 15 minutes prior to my arrival. I was young and scared. My lay-over would now be 6 hours. I was holding back tears until I saw this older couple...the man was holding a Bible. Wow! Christians! Just when I needed a friend. I went up to them and said, "Hi, I see you are Christians. I am too!" They just looked me up from head to toe and never said a word before they turned their backs to me. I did cry after that. Once I reached Nevada, the locals complained about the "no good, lazy Indians".
On my way home across the Northern US, the bus was filled with variety in age and race. I hooked up with a very proper black lady on her way to Chicago for a Baptist convention, a couple a few years older than I was who returning from backpacking, a harried looking white grandmother and her two preschool age grandchildren, and a guy in his early to mid-30's who wore an earring before earrings were popular and smoked like fiend. Christians, non-Christians, young, old, couples, singles, men, women, black, and white. Somehow, despite our differences, we became a rag-tag little family for the two days we rode the bus together, watching out for each other, helping one another, talking, and laughing.
On my trip I had two totally different experiences with differentness and the tension they brought. It is easy for me to see and guage when it comes to race, gender, or age. But what about personality and temperment differences? Should the tensions resulting from those be something to overlook or overcome? What are the tensions I can live with and what are the tensions that could end up breaking a relationship if lived with too long? Is it Christian and loving to say I can love you from a distance only? How do I maintain perspective without turning the person who I have differences with into a perceived enemy? How do I distance myself yet leave doors open in these relationships? What is it that I am truly looking for in these relationships? When is it the right time to move on? What is God's take on the whole thing? What if God wants me to keep these relationships?
What if I am making too much of the whole thing and it is really no big deal? LOL. I need to think about this more, but would love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Butterfly Kisses suck. Not butterfly kisses themselves. They are sweet and wonderful when received from a sweet and wonderful child. It's the song. I hate when they play this song. Not that the song isn't as sweet and wonderful as butterfly kisses are. It is. It's just what this song does to me that sucks.
We were at the beginning of the end of our marriage. Things were falling apart fast. That sounds weird since we had been in a slow, uncomfortable, holding pattern for so many years. But here we were. I wasn't sure where things were headed. My husband was. He told one of MY friends that he had been to see a lawyer. God said wait. Friends and family said look to protecting yourself and your child. God said wait. So, what was there to do..... but wait.
It was Spring. Recital time! Every parent looks forward to watching their little virtuoso on the stage mesmerizing the audience with the proficiency of their musical abilities. My daughter's flute teacher was excited to tell us he had something really great planned for her to play that year. He told us he wanted her to play Butterfly Kisses with a full band back-up. On the screen behind her would be a slide show of pictures from infancy to present. He wanted lots of daddy-daughter pictures....and even better, take one with her wearing a veil! He said the audience would love it, they would probably all be moved to tears.
My face betrayed me. He didn't get it. What didn't I like about his idea? I think he was the first person outside of my close circle of friends that I told. "My husband has gone to see a lawyer. Things are pretty bad right now. I'm not sure what is going to happen." Generously, he offered to switch her song. But, I couldn't take this away from my daughter because of my discomfort. If I surrounded myself with friends, perhaps it would be alright.
She played Butterfly Kisses beautifully. The audience oohed and aahed as each new picture came on the screen. A few people actually cried. My friends encircled me with love and support. God's grace was there for me and I got through it. Life marched on. I switched the station every time this song came on.
Until a couple of days ago. Butterfly Kissis came on when I was driving. It's been a long time. I always enjoyed the song before. Let it play. And play on it did. Painting a beautiful picture of the love of a daddy for his daughter as she grows from his little girl to a young woman that he will walk down the aisle. And the grief crashed down so forcefully it was almost crushing. My daughter, my beautiful little girl won't have that. Her daddy can go months without calling her. He doesn't know her dreams, her fears, her hurts. Has she ever seen his eyes filled with love for her? Has he told her that she is beautiful? Has he told her how lucky some young man will be to take her as his wife some day? Has he told her that, no matter what, he will protect her? Will he be a stranger the day he walks her down the aisle? Will she have the intimacy of that shared moment with her daddy? Or will it be one more thing she has had ripped from her?
Fear adds to my grief. I love my daughter. I know she knows it. I am deliberate about her knowing it. But try as I might, I cannot give her all those things that little girls learn and gain from their relationships with their daddies. I try to compensate as much as I am able. But I wonder, when I am watching her look into a mirror on her wedding day to adjust her veil, what will I see in her eyes? Will I have done enough? Will I be enough?

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Yesterday was a very good day.
  • My daughter came bounding out of her piano lesson with a huge smile. She had played her Beethoven piece so well that her teacher just stopped her instructing and sat back to enjoy the music.
  • Two friends gave me options for having my car engine problems diagnosed for free.
  • A friend of mine made some very Godly, loving, and mature choices. She chose to put others before herself. She chose to honor You with her obedience. Gosh, I am proud of her and amazed as I see Your likeness in her more and more.
  • Our Life Group collected items for a care package for a soldier over in Iraq. Then we played a game that had us all laughing hysterically. It was so much fun thatwe all stayed later than planned. These people are so awesome!

These simple blessings You gave me have left me feeling renewed and content. Somehow they have given me the strength to face the uncertainties of my tomorrows. I really, really appreciate them.

Thank You for thinking of me....I love You so much!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I LOVE this movie. My daughter and I have watched this 7 times. (We have also watched the A&E version several times and read the book 3 times. ) It is the most romantic story, funny and moving.

So, it didn't surprise me when on my way home from work yesterday, one of the lines from the movie popped into my head. In the movie Mr. Darcy declared, "My good opinion, once lost forever." God whispered, "That's you. You are like that." I was startled. That IS me. I AM exactly like that. I could have coined that line. Why hadn't I ever seen that before?

I was really stunned. I realized that if I decide you are unsafe, crazy, too difficult, inferior to me, have wronged or hurt me, or I just don't care for you....I turn off a switch. I am done. You may never know it. I may smile and be polite. But I have totally turned off my heart and mind to you. I have little or no compassion. I rarely think about you and if I am somehow forced to, I am detached and self-righteous. Yikes....I am Proud, Intolerant, Arrogant, and Unforgiving!

The conversation I had been having with God before this happened was about love. He asked me, "Who do you love?" I was happily flipping through all the great people I have in my life, when He confronted me with faces that I decided weren't worthy of my time or attention.

He doesn't treat me like that. Those faces I had rejected belong to His people, ones He loves and died for. Ones who are worthy of His love.

I am ashamed. I am committed to change.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Last night I caught an episode of Super Nanny. Now I haven't seen the show in about a year. Super Nanny, Jo Frost, once again was going to impart her every ready wisdom to a parent who was struggling with out-of-control kids. Right on cue, Super Nanny stepped in and sent the misbehaving child to.....the Thinking Pond? Wait one minute here--what happened to the NAUGHTY CHAIR????????????
I couldn't believe it! Even Super Nanny has fallen to political-correctness. Now, I know what you may be thinking and I have had this conversation with friends. Disciplining should be done in such a way as to keep the child's self-esteem intact. I agree. It was called Time Out when my child was younger. I will admit that I used The Naughty Chair with one little guy who was entrusted to my care and it worked wonderfully well with him. Plus, I got to walk around saying "nowtee chahh" in my very, very bad English accent which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The little guy I was referring to was the son of a single mom that I was helping out with child care once a week. I will call him Joseph. He was 4 and I thought him incredibly adorable. He could read at a 3rd or 4th grade level and hadn't even started Kindergarten. I am sure he was smarter than most people. He did however, severely lack in the social skills. He caused havoc wherever he went. I instituted The Naughty Chair with Joseph and it didn't take long at all for him to change from defiant, angry, and frustrated to happy, interactive, and responsible. Sadly, my circumstances changed and I was no longer available to watch him and his sibling. The last I heard, he was suspended from Kindergarten for kicking his teacher and principal. I miss Joseph. Alot.
My point is this. I don't think sending Joseph to The Naughty Chair affected his self-image. I think it helped him. I asked my teenager what she thought about the switch from the The Naughty Chair to The Thinking Pond and her observation was that she thought it might make it harder for the kids to identify behaviors as wrong. I argued, "But the kids are told to think about what they did and why they are there." She countered that it wasn't clearly delinated that the behavior was wrong or bad.
God is not afraid to tell us behavior is wrong or bad. He calls it sin. He also tells us that this wrong or bad behavior can lead to eternal destruction and death. Now, that's pretty straight-forward-right to the point. He also tells us that He disciplines those He loves because He loves. He knows more fully than we can even imagine, the cost of wrong behavior to ourselves, and to others, and to Him. He earned the right to talk to us about this and tell us "like it is" because besides being Almighty God, He was also our sacrificial Lamb.
Loving and direct? Loving directness? Like the old chicken or the egg question...which comes first...self-esteem or righteousness? Or, self-esteem through His righteousness? I need to ponder these things....I think I will go sit in The Thinking Pond!
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.--Proverbs 3:7-8

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Witness

You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.--Matthew 5:16

There we sat, in a tiny room, waiting for the mediator to finish talking to my husband and his lawyer. My lawyer was in his 60's, Jewish, and a tough, wiry, little man. To distract myself from the voices in the next room, I asked him about his family. He had been married for years and years and happily told stories of his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. Out of the blue he said to me, "There is something different about you--you aren't like most other clients." I just sat and looked questioningly at him. "The way you talk, your concern that your child maintains a good relationship with her father, the decisions you have made...very different from what I usually see." I almost laughed. Could it be that the resentment and bitterness that I constantly wrestled with hadn't been noticed yet? Or could it be....Lord, could it actually be....despite this still want to use me?? Instead of laughing, I said, "Would you mind if I shared some things with you?..."

You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.--Matthew 5:16

PART 2 -

Out of four children, I am the only Christian. I am also the only one of my siblings who is divorced. For years I have been telling them about Jesus, trying to live my life in such a way that it would draw them the Christ. Now my life was in shambles. Nothing that anyone would look at and say, "Gee, I want what she has!"

I couldn't be more wrong. Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING....has witnessed to my family like my brothers and sisters in Christ have. I didn't realize they were watching when The Church brought us groceries...fixed my car...gave me a job...moved my ex-husband into his new house because he had no friends or family to help him...poured resources and support into my life...gifted us with Christmas presents (several times)...surprised me with a bed when I didn't have one and slept in a sleeping bag on the floor...made repairs on my house...moved me out of my house...and ministered to us in so many ways that the list could go on and on.

I keep the Christmas card my youngest brother sent me this year in my Bible. Over and over he has told me that he is amazed by my friends. In his card he expressed, yet again, that he has never seen anything like the people I have in my life. I smile every time I read it because I know what he has almost, but not quite, discovered yet...he is seeing Jesus!

You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.--Matthew 5:16