Monday, September 23, 2013


i stepped off the elevator unsure of what to expect...nervous anticipation filling my chest as i watcher her walk towards me, certain of nothing other than the overwhelming sense of sadness i saw as i looked into her eyes.

she loved him deeply...something shared between only a few very lucky people i'm discovering.  i've known her many years, watched her experience heart ache on more than one occasion...but nothing like this.  he was the love of her life...if only for a few very precious years...once a neighbor, something so much more in the end.

we talked about their much they shared, the importance of what really matters...and that they had something special and, while it was ironic and sad that it was so short-lived, they still had it and that's more than many can say in a lifetime.

i ached for her...for the love she was letting go...for the cruel reality that after all they had each suffered through they only got to enjoy something so wonderful for such a short amount of time...for the eleven year old son she would have to tell...and for the shared life she would have to learn how to walk through alone.

i don't understand why these things happen...why some people wait an entire lifetime to find the one person who completes them only to lose them after a few short years...why it's so hard to find that person and why some of us never do...

i left there knowing he was dying...that she would never hear his voice or see his smile or look into his eyes...that his hand would never hold her's again and never would they share a decision or a meal or a day at the lake...and i hurt for her...and maybe even a little for me and everyone else i know who longs for that type of love...even to only have it for a little while.      

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


it's a cheese puffs and red wine kinda night around here...

i'm not sure if it's the absolute exhaustion i'm feeling from being awake since 3 a.m., the raging PMS (yes, i sure am admitting to that on here), the stress i'm feeling at work now that the "newness" has worn off, the sore throat that started earlier today or some wretched combination of everything but i feel fat and ugly and find myself eating junk food, drinking wine and daydreaming of vacations in beautiful places where scantily clad, gorgeous men wait on me hand and foot.  that's not too much to ask, is it?

i'm watching julie & julia and remembering the streets of paris...the pain au chocolates and the baguettes...the little doors of every color down each windy street...the view of the city from sacre couer...the way i felt almost transposed into another era as i stepped out of the stairs of the metro and looked up at the century-old buildings, imagining the stories they each held.  

then i find myself imagining a white sandy beach...the crystal clear water never getting more than waste deep no matter how far out you go.  i want to take her to swim with the dolphins and watch the sea turtles hatch...wander up and down the shore looking for sea glass and sand dollars...little things that when added all together become some of life's greatest memories.

i want a big, double-wide chair in a bedroom next to a window with a little table and a pretty lamp.  there i would find all my notebooks, pens, stationary, laptop and a stack of my favorite books...a soft cozy blanket draped over the back and a vase of pretty fresh flowers.  i would read and write in my very own beautiful little corner.  this space doesn't exist in my current bedroom...

my small blonde one is sitting behind me talking to no one in particular in a fake brittish accent - i almost expect to hear "the rain in spain falls mainly on the plains", but she knows nothing of eliza doolittle.  she is spending great amounts of time creating special bracelets for friends and practicing an accent she shares during the day with her little redheaded friend.  she knows not of the battles i fight within...the fears i carry and insecurities i try hard to hide.  i still find myself struggling to feel like much more than a wanna be adult who can't quite figure out how to do it each day wondering if i'm giving her enough of myself or if she will look back on this time and see me as selfish and lazy, or wonder as i often do why i didn't try harder to do more with my life or make plans to do something instead of sitting back waiting for it to come to me.  i'm not sure why i worry so much about her knowing me and seeing me for who i am instead of the me she will likely conjure up in her mind based on moments spent in anger or embarrassment, mingled hopefully with joy and love.  maybe because it's just me and there is no one else here with us to help her see what life is like (yes, i realize she has a fantastic dad and incredible step-mom who do plenty of that but i mean right here, in our home, our life).  what am i teaching her?  what example am i setting for her?  does she know she can do anything or will she have a dream and make it smaller to fit into whatever box she is comfortable with?  will she know how to share a life with someone even though she may never see that here?  am i teaching her how to be a woman of virtue?  a true friend?  am i teaching her to respect herself and stand up for what she believes in?  am i inspiring her to live her life and to appreciate the people within it and the memories she creates?  please, god, i hope so.  there are many ways i know i am failing her.  ways i don't even want to get into right now because there really is no point and i don't have the energy to address them tonight.  

what i do know is, i love her.  i fiercely love her with all that i am and if she knows nothing else about me, from me, she will know how to love and that, in my opinion, that is the greatest gift you can give anyone.  

for now, i will finish my glass of wine and heat up a bean bag for my achy back and crawl into bed with the hope my night doesn't end at 3 a.m. again.      

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


note i put no "13" on the title...i feel it goes without saying that the year matters none.

there's no question i remember exactly where i was that day, no question i remember exactly what i was doing and no question i remember exactly how i felt that day and during the days that followed.  i hated knowing that living here, so far away from everything that was happening, i couldn't make much of a difference.  watching those images over and over again, i couldn't help but think about the lives lost and the families they left behind.  each life valuable in its own way, all ordinary by typical standards yet made heroic at the hands of cowards on a beautiful, sunny september day.

i remember questioning every aspect of my life, feeling so insignificant and like every decision i had made up to that point was potentially wrong.  it took me a long time to get past that part, and i'm not really sure why.  i guess it has something to do with wondering if my existence really mattered at all given how quickly it can all change combined with the fact i knew i had done little up to that point to make a difference or give something back.

a couple years later i had a little girl and the value of my life changed.  i became someone to her, if never to anyone else.  suddenly i knew that if something ever happened to me, there was at least one person whose life would be forever impacted...and, more so, that whatever i do with my life - then, now and in the future - will be an example to her.  while i may never again be someone's wife, i am forever her mom.  while i may never do anything to change the world, i make a difference in her world every single day.  while i can't influence many, i have the opportunity to guide and direct her when she asks for it and even more with my actions.  if i never do anything else, i want her to know the value of her know she has the power within her to lead believe in herself when others don't...and to take the gifts she's been given and go into the world with an open heart and trust she can make a difference to someone.

it's vital that we never forget...what happened that day 12 years ago...the lives that were lost and the lives that were forever changed...and, maybe most of all, that fate takes place of all plans and expectations...that we never know what the next moment holds and we have the ability to be something to someone even if it's not heroic by most standards.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


generosity.  to give.  freely.  of one's time, talents, money...of one's spirit, heart, soul.  over the past few weeks i've seen generosity pour from people in ways i never could have imagined.  lives changed through the kindness of strangers giving whatever they can for people they likely will never meet.  sometimes it's groceries, other times it's diapers, on many occasions it's money and often it's time and labor making an old building a home for a family to live in while they figure out how to provide for their children and get back on their feet.

i have always said we each have a story.  this is even more evident to me now.  some are painful to see, difficult to hear with chapters so badly written they almost need to be torn out.  we each walk a fine line...the line between a simple, "normal" life and a drama-filled, messy disaster.  yes, some are a little farther away on either side of that line than others, but at various points in our lives we teeter dangerously close to the breaking point - whatever that may look like to us.  i'm often amazed by people who seem to always have it together; whose lives are always in tact and never seem to be falling apart - that's definitely not me, and i'm guessing it's not really them either but they are just better at hiding the junk...or living in the land of denial.  it's said we will not be given more than we can handle.  yet, when i look at some people i am left wondering exactly how that makes sense.  i get the idea of having faith - i have lots of it...i get the idea of trusting that He will provide - i've seen it happen...but what i don't get, no matter how much i believe or how much i trust, is why some are left to carry such heavy burdens while others have so little.  yes, i get that we all make our own choices, that we each have some say in how our lives end up...but, how then do we justify the lives that are plagued with difficulty, most of which is truly out of our control - health problems, the loss of loved ones, difficulty finding good jobs, constant car trouble?  where did they go wrong?  especially when i know their faith, their trust is more than many i know who have much easier lives.  i know, i know...who am i to discern the ease of someone's life?  it's really not my place, but i just call it like i see it and until someone shows me otherwise i'm gonna go with what i see.  i just have a hard time believing that some of us are just meant to have such rough lives.

maybe that's where the rest of us come in...where the idea of generosity comes in...we are His hands and feet...His strength when others are too weak on their own.  but, again, i struggle with this more often than not.

sunday during worship, we sang two songs with powerful words that hit me so hard i had to pull out my little ragged notebook and write them down...

your grace has found me right where i am
i am empty but alive in your hands


"beautiful things"
you make beautiful things
you make beautiful things
out of dust
you make beautiful things
you make beautiful things
out of us

we are taught to extend give it...and, often the more difficult task - to receive it.  we are met right where we are...not where we try to be, not where we think we should be...but, right where we are.  empty but alive in your hands...this line makes me think of our Hillcrest families...much of the time they come to us just like that - empty, with nothing...yet they are there, alive, willing to trust us (to trust Him) to help fill them up again.
i love the idea that He makes us...He can make me...even when i'm so much less than He wants me to be, even when i fail miserably, even when i'm ugly and selfish and unkind...He can make something beautiful out of me.
i pray all the time to see others as He sees them...and to not waste this life because up to this point, i've had it good...i've been one of the lucky ones - sure i've had my moments, never is life perfect all the time; but overall mine has been a piece of cake compared to others and i feel it's my do something more with what i've been given.  give more than you have, love with all you are, expect nothing in return and give grace even when it's hard.  

Monday, September 2, 2013


it is early...4:59 a.m. kind of early.  my mind tosses and my mind turns, giving way to thoughts i can only hear clearly in the early morning silence.  i've taken in a lot the past few weeks...some of which i welcomed, much of which i would rather forget.

 fragile.  we are all fragile.  we crack and we shatter like glass and over time we begin to see pieces of us, tiny slivers really, missing...shards of trust, self-confidence, worthiness, guilt, inadequacy surrounding the super glued shell we work so hard to maintain.  yet, over time, these slivers seem to become harder to ignore and we find ourselves bitter, lonely, empty, sad.  we become every hurt we've ever felt, everything we think others think about us.  are we incapable of hearing the good things, unable to see ourselves as those we love see us?  maybe the really hard part is letting go of what we think others think and see and truly allow ourselves to be who we are...cracks and all.

i have a scar on my right hand, close to my thumb.  there isn't a day that i don't notice it and if you watch me, you'll likely see that i rub my finger along it quite often.  this scar is one of only a few visible scars i possess...the story behind it nothing exciting:  it was a saturday evening, the night before easter.  i had just fixed dinner for d and i in our little white house and i went to wash dishes.  we had no dishwasher there so i did them all by hand; something i actually found relaxing most of the time.  i stuck my hand inside a glass as i had done countless times before, but didn't realize until it was too late that it was broken.  a trip to the e.r., ten stitches and a tetnus shot later, i was good as new.  what you don't know when you see me run my left thumb over that spot is, i was already pregnant with m at that time but didn't yet know it.  and, that is the same place i cut falling out of a carriage ride years later.  what you don't see when i touch that crooked white line are the memories that come with it...the excitement i felt days later when i learned i was pregnant, and nervous embarrassment calmed by another's touch.

i have an amazing group of girlfriends.  women i've known my entire life, each of which hold a very special place in my heart.  we know each other inside and out, sharing pieces of our lives as honestly as we possibly can.  over the course of a couple hours, several drinks, lots of laughing and even a few tears...we counsel and we guide, offering support and encouragement...yet, i often walk away knowing we have each left with needs unmet, questions unasked and problems unresolved.  there are dark, dusty corners of our life...our hearts, our souls...we don't bare even to each other...things we are ashamed of, afraid of, don't want to bother others with...things we alone carry that we fear make us less somehow.  why is this?  are we afraid that, like so many others we have loved and trusted, they will leave us too?  do we fear them thinking less of us, or pitying us or feeling like we are just too hard to love?  probably.  but, the reality is, at this point in my life, they are it for me...they know me inside and out, they know my insecurities and my faults and have picked me up, dusted me off and helped me regain my footing more than once.  it is such a relief to have friends who know my cracks like their own, and who, when i let them, want to be the glue holding me together.

i don't like letting others see my flaws...or, rather, the less than pretty parts of who i am.  i prefer to hide all of that someplace deep inside so no one knows all the junk i carry.  yet, i long for one person who i can be totally honest, totally real with.  someone who will take all the scars, all the cracks, all the slivers and love every piece of me.  the question is, is it possible to see myself as i would hope they would see me?  is it possible to love myself in that way...forgiving all the faults, repairing all the cracks, loving all the scars for the stories behind them?  or, will i always see myself first as the discarded version...with my eyes open primarily to the pieces of myself that others haven't loved?  we are our toughest critic, often pushing away something good and rarely giving ourselves the same grace we give others.  the grace that would likely put us back together and make us whole if we let it...