Welcome to My Royally Wrecked Space to Chill...

I hope you find comradery...I hope you find peace....I hope you find joy...I hope you find acceptance...I hope you feel loved...I hope you know that your are precious...chosen...and always welcome here...come sit a spell...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Packin' Courage, Beatin' Giants, and High Fivin'

"Giants are not as strong as they seem and sometimes the shepherd boy has a sling in his pocket." Malcolm Gladwell

Confession: I sit in my car, in my driveway, and listen to sermons and Ted Talks. It's a way of isolation from my ADD self.

This morning I dropped the beloveds off at school and cued up Malcolm Gladwell's Ted Talk on his new book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants." (How can you NOT want to read this book with a title like that?)

I was captivated.

Malcolm beautifully expounds on research into the age old Biblical story of David and Goliath with facts and theories that I never pictured nor imagined. He presents us with this thought: Perhaps we've interpreted this story incorrectly. By viewing David as an underdog and Goliath as a victor, maybe, just maybe we've had it all wrong. What if Goliath was impaired and David had the advantage? What if Goliath just LOOKED looming and horrifying? What if David truly had the upper hand with one single stone and sling?

You guys know I love it.

I am forever in favor of the underdog. The yearling. The kid in the corner of the playground. Just last night I lay into the wee hours considering my career path, "Do I really want to go into Oncology? Is there a clinic that I can specialize in AIDS work? I really want to touch people no one wants to touch." Thus I loved the presentation that Giants are not really as strong as we believe them to be and furthermore us little peons fighting with a stick and a sling have more going for us than a dream and a suicidal courageousness.

Obviously, God had David. He ordained the steps of this shepherd boy to fight and win. He walked him straight into a war zone, equipped him with hardly anything, then showed He was still God by allowing him to kill the bully. But what else was God imparting? What did he really want all of us underdogs to learn?

I believe it was this nugget:


Through the preacher Malcolm Gladwell this morning :-), I realized God was showing that we are far more equipped than we give ourselves and Him credit for.

Fighting the giants in our lives can seem daunting (shout out to Christine Caine's book "Undaunted") like an uphill trek against Machu Picchu with no acclimation and no beef jerky. But in reality this is not so. As I delve deeper and deeper into aging (what choice do I have) and vulnerability practice, I find that daring greatly and being a wholehearted person are difficult, embarrassing to my pride, and downright terrifying but not something that I stand totally unequipped for.

Here's the deal: All of us have a slingshot in our pocket. We just don't take it out against the giants. Due to fear, embarrassment about going against cultural norm, or just plain apathy, we sit on the sidelines playing with our harps (shout out to David) and refuse to fight for our own lives. Shame on us.

Don't get me wrong, Giant fighting is about as fun as a root canal sans the gas. Some days it seems like running a marathon with not one day of training. Battling for what you want and victory is fierce, lonely at times, exhausting, and requires oodles and oodles of fortitude and staying power. But when the day comes that you leave the corner of the playground, walk up that hill, and pull out what you've got (aka your slingshot), take aim and fire at your giant...you realize you aren't as big of an underdog as you thought you were.

Because you just knocked that bully to the ground. With hardly any weaponry except that big ol' pack of courage and trust on your back.

Once you've fought and won...you want to do it again. You want to dwell in the arena of courageous living. The corner of the playground no longer holds a spot for you. You've outgrown that space.

Here's what I propose: Today we all gear up together and begin to walk out of the corner. Put on our courage packs, talk to our battle trainer while he sticks our slingshot in our pocket, and begin walking. It might take us a little while to acclimate to the higher altitudes that living wholeheartedly requires, but we'll be moving. Together. Once we get to the top, we'll all yell, hoot and holler for one another as we pull out our slingshots and knock our giants to the ground. Then collectively, we'll run over and take a look at what we've been afraid of for so long and realize: He was so much less intelligent, capable, and menacing that we dreamed him to be.

Then we'll all high five, pick up our stones, and start the next trek. Together. As a group of misfit underdogs determined to win.

Grace and Peace Fighters,

A ~

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What I've learned after not really dating for 3 years...

Yesterday I found myself drifting off mentally in Microbiology and the thought struck me "October will mark 3 years since your second divorce. You have officially not dated in 3 years." I'm not sure why that struck me so monumental at the time but it really did. I sat with it on the 30 minute ride home and thought over the last three years. Where I am. What I've learned. Where I'm headed.

I met my first husband at my 15th birthday party and have no shame in saying He was the love of my life. I fell madly for him and we dated off and on till I married him at 22. I adored him. We got each other. Unfortunately, He carries deep wounds and brokenness that he could not overcome during our union and I decided it best that I raise the girls solo in 2006. We were married 8 years and together 15. I love him still in a platonic, compassionate way. Healing is a beautiful thing.

Stayed solo till 2008.

I met my second husband through our mutual best friends and thought he would be my prince charming. Little did I know, that no one can be prince charming. We all have brokenness, body odor, and flaws. I quickly realized during our 18 month union that we weren't invested on the same levels and sought counsel from multiple sources. Turning point came and again I was solo.

We divorced October 2010.

I'm giving you the clean adult rated versions. Two sides. No one wins.

I decided when the second divorce occurred that it was a wake up call to be alone for a while, chill out and find other avenues of fun, fulfillment, and joy. I also decided to uproot my whole life, move from Dallas and a life I loved, to Arkansas to start over pursuing a new career. When I left Dallas, I was casually dating 3 men and couldn't care less about it. Revelation: I was no more fulfilled with 3 attachments than with none.

January came and I moved to Arkansas. With the exception of a few minor dalliance' here and there, I've not dated. I've not pursued invites. I've warded off friend hook ups.

3 years.

What have I learned and where am I at in a culture that stresses relationships, sex, and codependency?

1. I'm OK. I was mortified when the second divorce took place. All my bets were on that one and when it imploded no one was more shocked and disoriented than myself. I was filled with a huge sense of shame. I was raised and truly believe in one man one woman for a lifetime. One divorce was a blow, two was death. But what I realized throughout the last three years is that everything I ever feared on a grand scale happened to me. And I'm alive. I'm great. I'm solid. My faith is stronger than ever. I'm a fighter. I'm a survivor. I'm loved. Sometimes looking our greatest fears square in the eye and being required to live through them sets us free. When you have nothing left, there is no anxiety over what might destroy you. I'm OK.

2. God really is enough. I don't hesitate to say I lost myself in both marriages. I sacrificed my health, my sanity, and my own opinions to codependency and a desire to have a "family". It didn't work. In the effort to be the perfect wife, I became a wreck. I lost touch with my goals and became a stepford wife the second time. It was awful and lonely. I've learned that the only way to be truly non-codependent is to be completely God-dependent. I wake up in the morning and my first thought is "Get to the couch and dive in." (It's my devotion spot) When things go haywire, I don't think anymore who can I call for support. I call God. In this process, I've learned that I can live in the woods raising two little women alone and be completely fulfilled and not lonely. Family is not defined by one woman, one man, and 2.5 kids. It's defined by love, peace, and contentment. It's completely weird and people don't get it but it's true. Not to say I don't have moments, but in general terms, He fills me. I have no needs.

3. You really can live without sex and not crumble up and die. I love sex as much as the next person. Believe me. However, I made a commitment to myself that sex would not impede my judgement to stay out of bad relationships. I really believe not having sex before marriage is the way to go. I think it honors God and myself. It really is quite horrible though. All these people around you asking "HOW DO YOU GO WITHOUT SEX?" Every movie, TV show, book throwing you curve balls about the joys of sex every other second. It's rough. But you know what is more rough? Lying in bed next to someone that you've just given your body (and in my opinion soul) over to and feeling like the loneliest person in the world. Not cool. Devastating. Remembering how that felt strengthens my resolve. I'd rather be sexless than feel worthless and used.

4. Life is not "less than" because you do not have a romantic partner. Dude...the world is so awesome. There are some incredibly amazing people out there just dying to hang out with you. Dying to share their stories and their time with you. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A PARTNER TO ENJOY YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST.  I am so fulfilled and loved by my friendships and non-romantic relationships. Love does not have to be romantic. Love comes in many forms. It is truly possible to live feeling completely accepted and loved while LIVING alone. It's also truly possible to live with a partner, sitting on the couch with them at night, and FEEL completely alone. I know. I've done both.

5. It is entirely possible to live life on your own terms. When I began this journey, I had much work to do in regards to relegating my "coolness factor" to my situation. I struggled with feeling "less cool" "less hip" because I didn't hang out with single hot men and I hung out in my house reading like a fean and studying. But guess what happened? I became a nurse. My vocabulary and knowledge increased. My worth felt secured. My children blossomed from routine and home life. I finally have come around to the fact that what culture dictates as necessary for "coolness" doesn't apply to me. I call my own shots and listen to the voice of God for the next step. That's pretty dang cool in my opinion. I don't need anyone else to validate me anymore. My decisions and what they have led me into speak for themselves.

6. This season doesn't mean I'll never fall in love again. I'm not a man hater by any means. I know a lot of really incredible ones. They love their wives and children in ways that astound me and make me love them even more. I just haven't partnered with one of these types yet. ;-) Emerson said this "We must be our own before we can be another's." I'm not sure until now that I ever truly belonged to myself. This legality most assuredly hindered my choices. I was looking for completion. Acceptance. Validation. What I didn't realize is no one can fill those areas but God and me. Now that I'm recovering from those areas and belong to myself, I'm not going to shut the door that I won't ever date again. I'm also not going to shut the door that I indeed might be alone for quite a while. You just never know. But here's what I do know: Either way, I'll be great.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Believing Over Feelings and other Un-Fun Stuff do to in a Desert

Isaiah 49:15-18

I love vocabulary. Words thrill me. Good vocabulary is to me what fine wine is to others. I love reading books that require me to utilize a dictionary. (or Google)

I guess it stands to reason that as I journey through dark nights of the soul I find solace in words. Not just words from mere mortals as myself but divine words...words that tell me "If He loved them enough to do that...then maybe I can be next..."

Words that say "I breathed life into those dry bones...I can certainly breathe into yours..."

Humanity has also deposited into my weary wanderings. I read a quote by blogger and soon to be author Preston Yancey (I'll probably misquote, sorry Preston) that basically said "Books reminded me of God when I couldn't feel Him."Amen.

Maybe I'm the only one tired.

Maybe I'm the only dying for more than what I'm in currently but know that I have a while longer to sojourn in this place.

Maybe I'm the only one bored at times and completely overwhelmed at others.

Maybe I'm the only one walking through a dry dustbowl of a season.

And maybe I'm not. Maybe you're out there. Maybe you're reading and are also choosing believing over feeling.

I just thought you might want to know: You're not alone.

I'm reading too.

I'm believing instead of feeling too.

I'm breathing through a hankerchief in the driest freakin desert ever. But I'm also encouraged.

Because as I read the words of the prophets and God...and I read Christine Caine, Tullian Tchividjian, and countless others...I realize I'm not alone.

Everyone travels through their own crappy sandstorm...

And at some point...you see something that looks like a mirage in the distance...only to find you've crossed over into refreshment and beauty...

Hang on friends...the pool is coming...I don't feel the waters yet...but I believe I see them just over that sand dune...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'm about to dance the Behayseus out of life...

It's a farce really...this whole "stay in the moment and it won't pass you by" movement.

It's passed and is passing me by.

The girl. The big one. She's just that: Big.

I'm frightened by it. Reminded that my time is running out. I actually shuddered about it today.


When I breathed her in after picking up a bigger, more self attuned, more *shudder mature girl at camp...I shuddered.

She didn't see and I didn't breathe a word because kids are like dogs don't you know...they smell anxiety and fear...so I kept sipping my Starbucks really coolly...

But. I shuddered.

I looked at the long limbs sprawled sleeping in the passenger seat and I swear if she would have asked for an albino west Parisian Rhino I would have moved Heaven and Europe to get it for her.

I find aging to be enthralling. Liberating. Exciting. Scary as hell.

Because as my children grow...I'm faced with the age old adage that I'm indeed growing with them. I'm faced with the indisputable fact that while I am quite the worker towards goals, it is only true and fair that I recognize there will be some that I'll never have the time to meet.

For a go getter...that's scary.

I have a petulant persistent fear that my very best of comrades know about: I'm afraid of ending up in a boring, sameness life.

Aging into the crazy cat lady that never reaches other lands and never holds hands and never looks upon anything other than her yard and library books.

However, It struck me today that I'll probably be so dang busy living that I'll look up and be on my way to Jesus before I figure out my life is over.

I certainly hope so.

I stay reminded that life is what we make it. Life is what we focus on.

Life is finitely impossible to predict, plan or make promises to...We must follow it's lead but certainly are invited to dance along.

Waltzing away, as Mary Oliver so eloquently puts it, "A bride married to amazement"...

Realizing we're never quite in control...but we're also never alone. That's the beauty of the dance.

Forever intertwined, we waltz with our finiteness...with our fallibility...with our eternal selves...

This. This is what makes the waltz of life so incredibly appealing. If the music never died would we appreciate it? If the leader never threatened to end the dance and choose another partner, would we realize how wonderful the steps He floats and dips us through truly are?

I think not.

I choose to believe it's the beautiful slow let down of life that makes it most beautiful. The knowing that we're all headed for a supreme destination and our bodies will all ultimately forsake us.

(Even the really toned, tanned ones. I digress.)

Because it's in the moments where I feel a tug of nostalgia, that I am reminded to savor the moments of life. To listen a little closer to my Daddy's words...to hug my mom before I leave...to call my brother back and listen to his laugh...to cry in sweet communion with my best friend over depths shared while 5 children come undone behind us...to remember her in THIS moment at THIS height and THIS gangly age...

THESE moments...THESE snapshots will be the encapsulation of my existence on this planet...THIS is what I will have fought for...worked for...dreamed after...and I want to remember...I want it to be worth it...I want it all to have mattered...if only to me and one long limbed growing girl and her beautiful dirty sidekick of a sis...

That could never be boring and sameness. Boom. Take that life.
Grace n Peace,

A ~

Friday, May 17, 2013

lest you think my life is all sunshine...

I am writing this strictly because I want you mama's...ladies...women...to know you're not alone. Those of you that converse with me and talk about how positive I am...I wanted you to know...

I fell the last two weeks.


I lost my shine. I lost my way. I fell.

I fell into a big black hole.

I screamed at my kids. I sat in the car long after it was turned off and stared out. I ate dill pickle chips and candy for lunch. 

I have injustices in my life just like you all. Real injustices that tear at the threads of my heart and are quite unfair.

Injustices that make people say "Oh...honey...I'm so sorry. It's going to get better." (which I hate and appreciate all at the same time...because it affronts my pride and what I know...it might not "get better" in ways others think.)

But with all this...I also won.

I'd gotten so used to being on top. So used to being "together". So used to being a "teachable" mom to my kids and avoiding conflict. I was riding high.

Then out of nowhere I got knocked off my invisible top and had to decide what to do in the lowlands. It took me a couple of weeks. But I decided.


My circumstances and response to them brought me once again to the altar. They brought me to my own human frailty and the ability to fall into despair, whining, and self pity at any given moment...

And as Kyle Idleman says "Whining in many ways, is the opposite of worshiping the Lord." Aha.

Whining is not my style. My kids will tell you their kooky mom screams out at the curb "Be shiny! Not whiny!" And honestly I didn't really whine the last two weeks (except to my dearest...you know who you are) outwardly...

That's because I'm a cave dweller...I burrow...I don't answer the phone...I ignore life and hide when I'm verging on not good things...so you'll never know I struggle...

But one cannot burrow from God.

I was whining in head prayers...my thoughts...I allowed myself a few days to wallow...then I just kept doing what I know to do.

I stopped screaming.

I ran.

I ate well.

I engaged.

And finally it happened. He broke through and I heard him loud and clear: Worship Me.

Yes. It's unfair.

Yes. Your load is heavy.

Yes. It's not what you expected.

Yes. You don't know how to make it all happen.

Yes. I am here.

Yes. This is holy ground.

Yes. I will be with you to till the end.

Yes. You ARE that positive, loving woman.

Yes. It's just a day. Get up. Worship.

As simple as that...He reminded me again that it all comes down to one principle in this life: Live your life in worship to Him. 

No other gods...including self-pity...before Him. 

He will take care of the rest. 

You will live in plenty even if you have less than what others deem enough. 


He is good. All the time He is good.

So...for those of you who ask me how I do it...I don't.

I cling. He does it. 

And on occasion...I fall flat like a whining brat...and I learn all over again...

How to stand on shaky legs supported by the Savior...


Grace n Peace,

A ~

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ode to Groceries

...I used to dream...while in my parent's house...of buying my own groceries again...
plump, juicy tomatoes...rich from the garden...at the local farmers market...
I thought to myself...if I can just have that...I would be filled...
...my cupboards...though filled by budget and strings...house my groceries...
fresh, whole foods...ripe from the season...groceries...
I almost missed the blessing moment...the minute where I realize fruition...
...but then dish water and suds struck a cord...and I glanced about...with wet hands...
I have my own groceries...
And I am thankful.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mundane Makes Me (Raw version)

(Disclaimer; I'm writing this more for myself than anyone else as a remembrance...and I'm coming off 36 hours of work and exhaustion is an understatement. Not editing. Just raw.)

God...you amaze me. I often think you will show me great visions of your plan in burning bushes and relevant prophets...then you choose an invalid. Even as I type this I cannot help but weep.

I had a moment that will forever change me. Unexpected. After the most horrific day; moment. I didn't see it coming...it was in a dark nursing hall room with someone the world would say has nothing to offer me but time...and I was forever changed.
I had lost my cool with a friend earlier...I had been standing for 12 hours...I thought I might lose my mind...and still it happened. That moment.
Spirit connection...as I squatted down and listened to the spirituals with Him...our hearts became one...right in the middle of my med pass...spirit communing with spirit...we listened...we shared...and He said "I knew we were special...I couldn't figure out why...now I know...Jesus...I can tell you really love Him..." My heart. I cried. Looked him in the eye and cried. We were encouraged. We made a vow to pray for another's struggles every day. It was Spirit. It was Divine. It could have been missed.
I'm still crying. My precious friend. Incapacitated yet he poured into me and I Him. I was changed. I was infused with Holy Calling...to the small...those deemed "palliative" not "purposeful"...those the world says "keep comfortable"not "what can they offer"...
I was humbled. Torn and shredded in the most beautiful way. Reminded of my prayers whispered to be Him in the world...and an Aha...that whole "I want to make a difference thing" becomes real when I'm faced with the brutal question "Do you?" Because you might end up in a nursing home on your feet weekend after weekend with this man for 32 hours for that one moment...do you really want to make a difference? Is the hard work, exhaustion, frustration, sacrifice really worth it like you say it is?  I've been educated in the last 3 years...that the moments I envisioned the great prophets of old and the new trailblazers of the present, have spoken of are minuscule in terms of the work and mundane behind them. Oh I'm sure there are those who live one exciting tale to the next (God knows with my ADD self I'd love to be one of them) but the majority of us find His moments between long pockets of waiting, walking, and wishing for more. My aha taught me that there IS calling in this season. I was filled with blessed assurance and fed deeply in soul ravines that threatened to run dry from lack of rain. I must put in the work...I must not miss the mundane...the mundane makes me. Centers me. Sometimes threatens me. But produces me.
If He chooses this path for me forever (and honestly I hope He doesn't), I'll walk it every day like I did yesterday...praying for strength to rise above and shine on those I can, remembering Jesus' words and actions on earth...He walked the mundane...gave well past his wall of exhaustion...and often sat with those the world deemed "gone"...Yet we celebrate His life as so exciting...could it be that Jesus had many mundane moments looking from the outside in? Could it be his feet and legs could barely move after walking and standing and teaching? Could it be he wanted bigger, more exciting things in that desert than starving for 40 days and just resisting the devil? Did Jesus have to live in the mundane too and learn to let it produce Him? Have we possibly, just possibly over excited the days of Jesus and forgotten that He was just a man? And He too dealt with keeping the heart of God in an earthen, limited body and had to relegate that with his dreams for greater every day? Have we underestimated the power of the stories we DON'T read in the New Testament...the ones where Jesus went to bed tired and got up more tired...yet got up anyway...and went about the daily tasks of life? Jesus knows my heart and how it longs to travel Africa and do those things our culture deems magical...yet I'm quite sure when I arrive...more mundane would be there to greet me...He also knows my heart in the mundane because He walked it...on tired, swollen feet He also walked it...and He experienced miracles,   unexpected highs, and forever changing moments. But in between all those things...there had to have been mundane. And He did it. Choosing fruit off trees rather than meat at the wealthy friends table...knowing He had something so priceless within but choosing to allow that priceless God to present however He deemed fit...with field or fancy table...with prostitute and tax collector...liberal and pharisee...invalid and possessed...One. Mundane Act after Another. 
And so I will, for the moments sake, trust the mundane in my life. Because in that perspective, the mundane becomes holy. I want to be holy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've fallen out of love...

I've fallen out of love with falling in love.

I've rather fallen in love with life instead.

There was a time in my life where I couldn't imagine a life without romantic entanglement and tangled sheets...

Tide turned. I lept and lept big for me...lept ALONE...shudder

Tide brought me to me. It's not every one's God path...it has been mine.

It crept up on me...when I was not chasing it. Workin' hard and chasin' dreams...that old thing called love. It caught up to me. I fell in love. With MY life.

Wearing an exquisite perfume sample on my wrist...I feel love and pleasure in it...

Window exalts the tree outside that is in full bloom...I feel ecstasy and beauty...

Listening to the sweetest little sad love song...doesn't sadden me a bit...I don't feel slighted anymore...I feel lucky...blessed rather...

I'm in no romantic relationship. I feel just fine about that. Rather...I feel great.

I've found life I think. I've found love I think. I've found peace I think.

I might fall in love tomorrow. I might not.

Good news is...I'm already in love.

I'm not alone. I'm surrounded in love. In more ways than I could view when younger and desperate for affirmation...

I'm surrounded by emotional opulence...

When my Daddy asks me over coffee, "Are you happy?"... I pause...my natural reaction is to think I'm not with a life that looks different than my peers...and I say "Yes. Yes I am." It's true.

Contentment is great gain. Dreaming again is being in love. I'm in love...very different this time around. ;-)

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Friday, February 22, 2013

We lit the candle at breakfast today...to remind us of our Vision...to be light of the world...

Breakfast burritos and fruity pebbles...not the stuff of the high tea that I imagine "ladies" dine on at breakfast...

I've been up before them...wrestling in His presence...reading aloud to Him...splaying my heart open and asking for this day's guidance...

There is a thought...a theme the last couple of weeks I cannot shake...stirring with me...

I want to be...a lady...

I want to raise...ladies...

I'm reading "Girls with Swords" by Lisa Bevere. She is definitely what I would call a lady. But she fights. For all the right things...she's passionate...willing to say what needs to be said...in a ladylike way. I like it.

I'm also reading "The Power of Your Words" by Robert Morris. Digesting...that every word...every tiny or large utterance is counted...there are no idle words...

I am stirred within my spirit to renegotiate my words...my actions...my thoughts...
I am stirred to be different...in a world where women are indistinguishable in their behavior from men...
I am stirred to be deeply feminine in my gestures...verbiage...dress...

I admit...I've had to repent for some actions...ask for a new deposit of gentleness and gracefulness...

My path requires strength...a lot of strength...in many ways I've been placed in the arena of men by necessity...

Breadwinner...spiritual leader...Father and Mother...

I find that it propels me to be reactionary...ready for movement at all times...and unduanting...

In this process...I can become too strong...too direct...too much...

I then have to go back to the throne...as I did today...and ask Him to be my Father...my Breadwinner...my Spiritual Leader...

You see I'm not ashamed of my strength...it's the path God has called me to...but I will be ashamed if it I walk it with the wrong shoes and arrive with blisters rather than vigor...

So I constantly stay in the word and splay myself before him so He might illuminate my worldliness...my careless words...the days where I speak before I think...

I want to be of quiet strength...I want to be a lady...

I believe in the power of the lady...

I am raising ladies...and as with any other out of the norm occurrence these days...you must work on being ladylike...for our society is not producing such character any longer...all you must do is look around and see the value placed on pornography...physical beauty...and the ability to keep up with the boys to see our society has changed...

I'm not interested in changing. I'm not interested in raising women who fit in.

I want to be a lady. I want to raise ladies.

So...after my prayers...we again negotiated between our triplicate who God says we are...what is "ladylike" to our Creator...we prayed...we gathered up our school bags and headed out to shine our lights...

We will do it all again tomorrow...and the next...but for today, we took time to step back into our rightful place in the kingdom...

As Ladies...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Multiple Personality Mandy

I'm an extrovert. I'm an introvert. I have multiple personality disorder.

I am energized by people. I'm also energized alone. I have multiple personality disorder.

These days, I'm...by necessity...spending a lot of time alone. It's difficult.

I miss my tribe at Mosaic Church in Little Rock.

I miss my God friends.

I miss my mentors.

I miss fun.

I sat down this morning during my devotionals and talked with God about it...He didn't talk back audibly...but He impressed fortitude into my soul...

This is a season. The doors He has opened for this period in my life have led me to this exact place. He has a plan.

I'm reading "Girls with Swords" by Lisa Bevere right now and came across this line today..."If we are to follow their example (heroes of the faith), we must become farsighted."

We must look past the current season and recognize our future...smile...wave at it...then get back to the business of today.

I've lived long enough to know that every season is preparatory...essential for the next...and God ordained. I've also learned to be content in the current season. It's really really not easy to do when it's more work than fun.

But I do trust Him. I believe I will not always work all weekend and miss my community of God Lovers...I believe I will not always be slaving away at school...I believe better days are ahead for my extrovert side. It will happen. Know why?

He created me. Exactly as I am. Multiple personality disorder and all.

Right now...He's feeding my introvert. He's feeding my soul. He is building my reserves for the future I just waved and winked at in the distance. He knows what I need.

Who knows...in the next season I might be so filled with fun and people my inner introvert will be crying out for space...and then you'll have to hear about that!

What season are you in? What are you longing for that is absent?

Trust Him today. Seasons are not forever...but they do prepare the soil for the next chapter.

Keep diggin'...Keep wavin'...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trust Issues

I have trust issues.

But in only one particular area of my life.

I think.

I can trust God with almost everything...except this one area.

He illuminated this lack of trust and the sin in it a few weeks ago and I've been praying and visualizing "opening the lid" to this box I've shut him out of...

And...In southern slang, It ain't easy yawl!

Imagine my surprise when I finally crack the lid to this box of un-trust...become open...and He opens a door!

Only for it to slam in my face...

I'm not going to lie...I was a bit stunned. And angry.

I told God He needed to get his act together. He pretty much told me He's had it together since the dawn of time and I need to sit down and let Him work. Ugh.

During my word time today, I continue reading about my guy David. Sweet, God loving David. Adulterer, murderer, look the other way so I can have what I want David.

I was reading the passage after He had slept with Bathsheba (with a name like that who WOULDN'T want her?!!) and murdered her husband, and she is pregnant. God tells David because of his sin, his son with Bathsheba will die.

The baby becomes ill...what does David do?

"David pleaded with God for the boy. He fasted, went home, and spent the night lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his house stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat anything with them." (II Samuel 12:16-17)

David begs...pleads...refuses to get up...petitioning God for his miracle...

The baby dies.

Here's where it gets weird. You'd expect David to wail...gnash his teeth...get depressed. Nope.

"When David saw that his servants were whispering to each other, he guessed that the baby was dead. So he asked his servants, “Is the baby dead?”

He is dead,” they replied.

"20 Then David got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped. Then he went home and requested something to eat. So they served him food, and he ate." (II Samuel 12: 20-21)


How backwards would I have done things? I've been sitting on my couch gazing out the window pondering this scenario...asking God the meaning...and it all boils down to one thing:


David knew he had brought all this destruction on himself, yet he believed God heard his cries and his petitions to save his son. God chose not to. For whatever reason. Maybe to teach David a lesson about His judgement. Or maybe His sovereignty. Whatever the case...

David trusted God.

The whole scenario amazes me. This man loses his son, then goes to the temple and worships God. That kind of action requires MAD trust.

David didn't ask questions or go to bed...He worshiped the God he loved and got on with life. Believing (I think) there was more around the bend and He needed to be upright and praising God to experience it...

What a lesson.


When it hurts.


When the door you thought He opened slams ON your face.


When you screw up.


When you want to crawl into bed and never get out.


When the window to your world is clear.


When the window is foggy.

Trust HIM. Praise HIM. Believe HIM for the best...

Oh yeah...because after David lost his son...the next son conceived during Bathsheba's grief...was Solomon...and well...we all know how blessed he turned out ;-).

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

David Delights Me...

I'm currently in the book of II Samuel for my daily readings...I've been following the angst of David and Saul...or rather Saul FOR David...

I don't think there are any amazing things about David I could highlight that haven't already been written in 10,123 books...

For me...there is an overwhelming theme of the life of David...

He loved God enough to get past himself to seek Him out in EVERYTHING...

When it came to his pursuit of God, David allowed NOTHING even his own failures and pride to interrupt their connection.

It's quite beautiful really...this man...full of man-ness...humanity...who seeks God IN SPITE of himself...

Throughout my reading, I find David asking God daily about the daily mundane issues of his life..."God should I go here? Should I tackle this God? Who am I Lord? Thank you God..."

He was aware that he had nothing to offer but brazen in his passionate pursuit of the God that had called him. I think this is why people so connect with His story. He wasn't prideful or egotistical...just human. He fell so many times in so many predictable ways...yet he never thought twice about quitting God...even when it looked like God should leave him...

I find David inspiring and comforting...especially on those days where I am more human than spirit...He encourages my soul to pursue God even when I don't deserve to...

David lifts my heart to be a fool for God when others don't get me...(AKA Dancing in your underwear to praise God in front of your constituents)

He reminds me that God looks at the heart...and like God knew David was all in for Him...He knows I am also and this is where grace falls in the cracks of my shook up existence and cements my dwelling place in Him...

What comfort...what delight...it gives me the courage I need to pursue Him on the dimmest lit days and dance before Him on the brightest...

He is mine and I am His...

Grace N Peace,

A ~

Friday, February 15, 2013

Really? Really.


Oh yesterday...all my troubles seemed so far away....just kidding...it was actually the opposite.

I found myself clenched in the gut and hard pressed. Yesterday...I had a lot riding on my morning...

I whispered prayers in the dark early hours...summoned the reservoirs of strength...fought through...but sometimes...you get tired of fighting...

I eased into the afternoon with cloudiness and weariness...trudging through the things I needed to accomplish with little centering or joy...marking off the "to dos"...

I don't do well without centering.

I was to meet friends for dinner...issues arise 2 hours before...I handle them...run out the door...

Weary...bleary eyed...running through my reserves like kerosene, wishing for respite, I drag myself into a dark place and sit at midnight. I say aloud..."This is NOT what you promised. Why can't you just make it easy for once. I need more."

He states audible to the chambers of my soul "I am all you need. YOU are all I say you are."

Really? That erases the last 48 hours - 4 weeks of humanity in the trenches of life digging to stay afloat and live in joy feeling like a failure half the time and a zombie the other half? Really Father?


I've been stuck on a remake by Josh Garrels "Farther Along" for weeks...it speaks to my tired soul...the words seep in...

Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin' for my soul
And I've got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I've been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin' on

I again realize...seasons of life expand us...grow us...shape character...
Will I sit with my children and listen to their hearts and stories...or will I be busy in this moment when all I want to do is tune out?
Will I stay in the word when all I want to do is watch Downton Abbey and talk to no one?
Will I walk in joy and light even when I don't feel it?
Will I profess I am all HE says I am when I feel like it's all toppling?

Yes. Oh yes. A thousand times yes.

Because. He is all I need...and these wilderness wanderings of the soul are footsteps into that very hard to realize place...He is all I need...It is only in the longing...the alone-ness...the lack of refuge in the world...the drain of the temporary but necessary...that I find it out...all over again...He is all I need.

So I crawl into bed knowing when I awake the world will be new and so will be His mercies.

I awake to the sound of little voices and I go in search of them...crawl between my two beauties and breathe them in...celebrating the sacred holiness that is family...

Later when everyone is gone...I fall into the word and what He says I am...and my soul fills up...my hand holds his...fingers intertwined I grasp tight and breathe relief that all is new...We can do this. My sandals will not wear out...my body will not fail me...my thirst will be quenched and belly full on this trek across wilderness land...because He is all I need.


Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I'm free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I'll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

May you find respite today.

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thinking small...

I abhor complicated situations. I avoid relationships, friendships, acquaintances that require detailed road maps to maintain. I have a pixie cut simply because I HATE spending an hour on my hair when there is so much sunshine in the world. I am confrontational if the situation warrants it and is a biggie...but if you just wore some pants that are obviously the incorrect size...don't look to me to correct your faux pas. I mean, come on folks, my personality test was 66% "feelings"...I love everyone!

I revel in the small stuff and admittedly probably sometimes judge those who don't get that...(thank God for grace). So imagine my surprise when my heart got pounded this weekend by a "small" thought.

Here's how it went down:

I took my car to have maintenance work completed, washed, and rotated tires. It THRILLED my little heart.
I texted my dad and said "My car drives like it's brand new!"
He replied "I'm so glad baby!"
To which I replied "It's the little things."
He replied "The little things become big things when you don't have them."

And there it is.

That one simple line has completely wrecked my heart for a week.

I...who revel in grass, trees, and Goodwill finds...wrecked by small.

I think of people around the world who don't have clean water...children dying from diarrhea when I have an abundance of Imodium in my medical cart...children in my state that only eat at school when my kids are wolfing down Petit Jean bacon. Small things to me. Monumental to them.

I think of my friends that love me exactly as I am...nourishing...constant...sustaining. What about the sweet residents I care for that have no visitors? No one to listen. No one to sit and converse with about the daily happenings. Small to me. Quite large to them.

I think of my amazing brother. My brother and my friend. Sober for 14 months after 16 years. My friend. My confidant that has come back from the brink and found God and us...You can't know what our relationship means to me after I had lost for so long. Then there are the other addicts...struggling still...dying inside...wanting more but not able to grasp it. Easy to me. Quite overwhelming to them.

I think of a dear woman that desperately wants a child. Yearns for a baby to coo to and wrap in her arms. Heart heavy and longing...and I a few miles away look at my beautiful loves and rush them out the door to school whispering quick prayers "to shine the light" and go on to the next detail. Routine to me. Heaven to her.

I have been praying that God would help me stay aware of my "small" mercies...blessings...wonders. May I never take them for granted, though I know I do. I'm also praying for new eyes to see others "small things". I'm taking time to touch every patient, kneel down look in their eyes and hear their stories. Hug them. Love them. Remember that they are His. I'm taking time to stop and stay still when I have a chance so He might speak into my soul and whisper the small...and I might receive it with full gratitude. Because He does not have to speak...He does not have to bless...He does not have to love me...Yet he does...In the biggest small ways. I want to honor that in every way.

Small potatoes. Big ripples.

May you think small today...

Grace n Peace,

A ~

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

God of the trees

This morning I moved out to my stoop to enjoy some quiet expanse of the soul. I sat still and allowed my soul to become enraptured...filled...

Wild, untamed wind running through my bed head...trees swaying...birds tweeting...I was...full.

My soul...untamed as well...free to float about the yard and explore...

I looked out on one of my trees, and marveled that this evidence of my creator has been on this planet longer than I...standing strong for this moment...this moment that I might sit a spell and enjoy her...

I was overwhelmed with the majesty of oneness with this old knobby tree...not in just a metaphysical way...but rather that God created us both...for completely different purposes yet mutually needed...mutually loved and cherished by Him...created for reasons beyond what I always reflect upon in the day to day harried existence...


To bless...

To be blessed...

To love...

To be loved...

To live in quiet surrender that all He has might be accomplished.

I began to mist as He spoke..."I love you. So very much. You need nothing more. I am with you."

I began to sing...out loud...in my boxers...on the stoop...with cars driving by...

"God I want to know you...live my life to show you...all the love I owe you...I'm a seeker of your heart."

I thought back over the three occasions yesterday my girl said "Mom this life...OUR life! I'm so blessed by it! You have a great new job making money. We have a new home. We're peaceful. I'm just...SO BLESSED MOMMY!"


My riches abound in such deep ravines of the soul that they cannot be tamed. Cannot be levied. They are deeper. Wider...Impervious to anything but Him...

Superficial constraints cannot hinder...nor can earthly fed wants expand them... 

My riches...are all in HIM. Completely. Fully. Un-mistakenly. 

No great deep spiritual revealing perhaps...but deeply moving on a undefinable level...He IS. We ARE.

There might not be "more" than this...and if not...I'll die happy and content.

Grace n Peace,

The girl sitting out in her boxers singing like a crazy cat lady to the God of the trees

PS ~ I'm pretty sure there will be massive amounts of glorious trees in Heaven...I'm just saying...oh...and Vietnamese banquets ALL. DAY. LONG. XOXOXO