I am an emotional wreck this morning.  I saw the new yesterday about the school shooting in Florida.  Mass shootings seem to be more and more commonplace.  It tears my nerves up.  It was just last week that my son’s school did a practice drill of a lockdown in the event that there was an active shooter on campus.  It’s just gut wrenching to me that they even have to practice such a thing.

But there are two things that I have found deeply disturbing.

First, the number of kids that were taking videos and doing Snapchats while all this was going on was alarming to me.  Nowadays, where eh-vah-ry-body has a cell phone, we all have the lovely blessing of getting a first hand look into the day-to-day lives of all our friends and neighbors.  People actually make a living doing You-Tube videos of themselves eating disgusting food and doing stupid (and dangerous) things.  But the thing is, there would be no living to be made if there weren’t people who watched the videos.  And honestly, I don’t know that humanity is all that much more narcissistic and me-focused than we’ve always been, it’s just that now we have outlets to promote ourselves that we didn’t used to have.

When tragedy happens, you can bet that these days that somebody got a video of it and the news media will gracious pay good money for said video.  So now, a school shooting happens and instead of HIDING and PRESERVING YOUR FREAKING LIFE, we have kids doing Snapchats that say “omg nooooo” while there are shots going off in the background.  It’s almost as disturbing as the shooting itself to think that while a classmate is lying on the floor bleeding to death, another is posting a video on Snapchat.  Do you see what I’m saying?  Nobody in the general public needs to see that video.  NOBODY.  There is no news value whatsoever there.  None.  Please please parents, school admins, and any other adulty person that has the ear of a child in school…please tell your children to protect themselves.  That a firsthand video of horror is nothing to compare to the value of their own lives.  That sending a Snapchat is just not worth the risk of calling attention to yourself when there is an active gunman SHOOTING PEOPLE at your school.

The second thing that stuns me about all this is the number of kids that are saying how disturbing the shooter was prior to all this.  That some classmates had even predicted that if there was ever a shooting at their school, this guy would be the one to do it.  And he did.  In this day and age where people get their feelings hurt when you look at them wrong, where your neighbor is somebody that you see when you are driving into or out of your garage, where people “just stay out of it,” and some mass shooting happens, you will always have those who will say, “I just can’t believe they would do something like this.”  But if you start to dig a little into the lives of these people that are doing such heinous things, you’ll almost always find all kinds of crazy, unstable stuff.  And you’ll also find people who knew about their crazy, unstable stuff.  And nobody says anything.  Because what can we do anyway?  You start to see how unstable a person is, how dangerous they could be, but who do you tell?  What do you do?  Everybody is so offended about everything anymore that no one would dare question the metal stability of a person who says disturbing things and posts pictures of themselves with weapons on Instagram.  I mean, if this guy wants to take pictures of himself holding a gun and post it all over social media, that’s his right, isn’t it?  The liberal people say so because nobody has the right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my life.  The gun people say so because nobody has the right to tell me I can’t own/take pictures of me with my weaponry if I want to.  Nobody has the right to speak up because it might be offensive to someone else.  It’s none of my business what someone else does or how they want to live their lives. Until it is my business because somebody I love is gone.

And so the shootings continue.  The domestic abuse and killing continues.  The child abuse and trafficking continues.  The awful horrible things just continue.  And we all sit at home and watch them live from the camera phone of a teenager lying on the floor at their school while someone is shooting their teachers and classmates.

How long, O Lord?  How long?

I dropped my son off at school this morning and as he was getting his stuff together to get out of the car, he started telling me how they were going to be practicing how they would do a lockdown.  He said he was afraid because what if there really was an intruder?  What if the intruder got him?  What if?

I explained the best I could in the moment that the lockdowns were good to practice because that way he and his friends would know exactly what to do if there really was an intruder.  It would help them be safer than if they had never done a lockdown before and then had to in a real situation.  I told him that the school had safety measures put in place to hopefully keep an intruder from ever getting very far into the building even if one did show up, but just in case the next step was to do a lockdown to protect themselves.  I honestly don’t know that I was much comfort to him, but he seemed to accept my answer and got his things and went on into school.

And I cried all the way home.

I cried because I wanted to be able to tell him that everything would be fine.  That he wouldn’t ever have to worry about an intruder coming into his school.  That he was safe from harm there.  That we lived in a place where things like that just don’t happen.  But I knew I couldn’t say those things truthfully.

Because we live in a town where a man goes into the Walmart parking lot and shoots random people.  We live in a town where a husband kills his wife and himself in their own home while their child is at school.  We live in a country where evil men gain access to guns and mow people down at an outdoor concert.  We live in a world where a woman drowns her own children because they were getting in the way of her relationship with her boyfriend.

Our world is overwrought with sin.  And with sin comes pain and loss and death.  And being a parent in the midst of all that is hard.  You want to shield your children from it all, protect them from the ones that would set out to do them harm.  To tell them that everything will be okay and they don’t have to worry.  But sometimes there’s just not a comforting answer.  Sometimes the truth is just scary and the best way to deal with it is to be prepared in the event that something bad happens.

Last week there was a news reporter in the park lot of the school asking parents in the pickup line if they talked to their children about active shooter situations.  When she got to me, she asked if I’d like to go on camera and share my thoughts, to which I of course replied “no, thank you” on account of my hair looking completely inappropriate for TV.  But even beyond that, I don’t know that I would have had a response at the moment.  How do you talk to you children about such horrible things?  You want them to be aware, but you also don’t want to scare the living daylights out of them at the same time.

So I called my husband this morning in tears…my level-headed, military-minded, always prepared husband.  (God knew I needed somebody who could take a fearful situation and make a logical plan.  Stuff like this tears my nerves slam up.)  He and I going to sit down together tonight and have a conversation with our boys about it all.  I think that’s really all you can do sometimes.  Keep the lines of communication open, talk through the fears, prepare them for the world as best you can, and pray.

I am curious though…if you have children, do you talk to them about what to do if there’s a shooter at their school?  And if you’ve had that conversation, how did it go?


Well, January is almost over and I feel like it just started.  I decided after all the starts and stops this month with not one, but two rounds of snow and a ridiculous number of snow days for my little one, I’ll just start my “New Year” in February.

And since February is right around the corner, I thought I’d share my word with you.  I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the One Word idea.  Instead of making a bunch of resolutions, which I already said I wasn’t going to do, you prayerfully seek out one word that will set the tone for your year to come.  Last year, I don’t think I actually had one particular word, but rather several phrases.  But this year, there has been one word that keeps settling into my heart.


I first saw it in a Facebook post from a page I follow:


Unbecoming just stuck in my head.  For so much of my life, I have tried to be this or be that.  Tried to make myself into somebody that I thought people would like.  Tried to fit this mold or that one.  Tried to be pleasing.  And the worst part is that with all my efforts to become this or become that, I still never felt like I fit in anywhere.

Maybe it was because I was too busy trying to be things that I’m not supposed to be.

So this year is going to be about unbecoming.  About taking off all the layers of stuff that’s just not supposed to be there.  About unbecoming the perfect wife and mother….because I’ll never be perfect.  I’m releasing myself from that.  About unbecoming the perfect Christian…because I’ll never be that either.  I’m giving myself grace there.  About unbecoming the funniest person or the thinnest person or the best writer or whatever else and give myself space to find out who I am underneath all these layers.

I’m giving myself the freedom to not have to fit anybody’s mold, but rather to allow God to shape me.  I feel like I have already been walking through a season of removing or “unbecoming” as it were…it’s just only recently I think that I’ve really begun to recognize it as season of undoing.  It has been a hard season, but I think I’m beginning to understand that God has been walking me through the process of unbecoming – before I even had a word for it.  I believe His intention has been and continues to be to clear away all the clutter and start fresh.  I’ve said for so long how much sometimes I wish I could just erase everything I knew about God and just start from scratch.  To learn Him from the beginning without all the “churchy” baggage that I’ve picked up along the way.

So that’s my word and my prayer for this year…

Lord, give me perseverance and courage to unbecome all the things that aren’t the me you would have me to be.  And in the unbecoming, I pray that all the things that keep me tangled up and tied down would all fall away and I would fall in love with you all over again.

Did you have a “One Word” for this year that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear it!

It’s been a hard few days.  My shoulders feel a bit heavy with the weight of being a grown up.  In fact, I had in my mind to write about all that, but I decided not to depress the hell out of us all on this Monday morning.

So on another note, I visited my friend’s church again this weekend to see her little ones get baptized.  (I got the day right this time.  Ha!)  And what a pleasure it was.  They were both darling, as always, and it was a privilege to be a witness to such a special moment.

And in true kid fashion, her son was not nearly as interested in what was going on as he was in whatever it was that caught his eye on the floor.  He was sitting on the floor at his mom and dad’s feet, picking at a place in the carpet. I couldn’t help but smile at how relaxed he seemed. At one point he rolled over and was laying on his back spread eagle.  He was just so comfortable rolling around and investigating the things around him.

I kept thinking, what a picture of Jesus and how He prepares the way for us to life, doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  The pastor was thinking along the same line too because he mentioned how much like this grace was.  How it covers us when we don’t even know we need it…and how sometimes its awesomeness knocks us out on the floor.

That sweet boy didn’t know a whole lot about the situation yet, but there his mommy and daddy were, making a covenant with God on behalf of him and his sister, to raise them in a way that would demonstrate the gospel to them.  And one day, when they are older, they will take ownership of that covenant for themselves. He might not have completely understood what was happening, but he was there with Mom and Dad, and he was enjoying the moment.

It made me think about how many times I find myself freaking out about what’s going on around me instead of just enjoying where God has me. How often I’m impatiently wandering off on my own instead of just sitting happily at my Father’s feet, waiting for His direction. Sometimes it’s like I’ve forgotten how to rest in Him…how to trust in Him.

But God never forgets to be God.

The loving hands of our Father are always leading us and providing for us before we even know what we need.  The sacrifice of our Savior did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. The gentle wooing of our Holy Spirit is always drawing our hearts, pointing us towards Christ.

We can be at peace at our Father’s feet knowing that He is always working in our favor. And we can be joyful in knowing that He is always doing the good thing, the life-giving thing.

And so for today, when being an adult is hard, I’m going to just lay in the floor and look up at my Father and trust in His love for me.

My sweet friend’s children were getting baptized yesterday and she had invited me to come.  I got up, got dressed and drove to her church and went inside to look for her and her husband.  I even said to the lady at the information table, “Hi, I’m here to see my friend’s kids get baptized,” to which she said…somewhat confused….”oh, well okay.  The service hasn’t started yet, and that’s usually part of the service.”  I knew that already, but smiled and said thank you, and went into the sanctuary to wait.  I found a seat and texted my friend to say I was there and it was about then that I looked at her original text and realized that I was in fact a week early.  That might explain the info lady’s confusion.  Oh well, I thought.  I’m here now.  Might as well stay for the service.

Ya’ll.  This kinda stuff happens a whole lot more than it used to.  I closed the garage door on my car the other day and the sad thing was, I was fully aware in the moment that my car was still sitting halfway in the garage.  I’m not sure what I thought was going to happen other than what did, but anyway.  Thankfully the garage door was fine.  I guess these things will become more and more commonplace the older that I get.

Anyhow, the church service was nice and I was a little excited to see that it was communion weekend.  I haven’t taken communion in a while, since at the Catholic church I can’t because I’m not Catholic and that’s the only church we’ve been to since leaving our previous one.

It came time for communion and everybody went up to get bread and juice, only you were supposed to take it back to your seat so everybody could partake together.  A piece of bread off the common loaf and a little plastic cup with juice in it.  So I’m sitting in my seat with my bread and juice waiting while the last few rows go up and someone walks past me and a little piece of their bread falls on the floor in the isle.  Well, I couldn’t take my eyes off that little piece of bread.  I kept think as people were walking by, “oh no, somebody’s gonna step on Jesus!”  Amazingly enough though, nobody did.  People just kept walking by and that little piece of bread just kept sitting there on the floor.  So I decided that as soon as the service was over, I was going to grab that little piece of bread before people got up and started walking out and then somebody would step on Jesus’ body for sure.

So communion was over and we all closed our eyes and the pastor led us in prayer to close the service.  And when I opened my eyes, lo and behold ya’ll, that little piece of bread was gone!  Somebody else must have seen the bread on the floor and  got to it before I did, but all I could think to myself was, “Praise the Lord, He has risen!” which got me a little tickled.

And I guess it got me thinking some too.  Like about Hansel and Gretel and how they left bread crumbs so they could find their way back home.  Okay, so maybe Hansel and Gretel aren’t the best example because the birds ate their bread and they got lost and ended up in the house of the witch who wanted to eat them.  You know, what?  Nevermind.  Forget Hansel and Gretel.

The point I’m trying to get to is that when we are living in the abundant love of Christ, we’ll want to leave Jesus crumbs wherever we go.  Sitting at the table of the Lord will always afford us more than enough so that we might leave a bread trail for others to find their way to Him.  It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.  Sometimes I think we make it harder than it has to be.  Or we think we have to let somebody else do the leading because we don’t have the right words or know all the things.

But when you’ve been to a restaurant and eaten a delicious meal, you tell others about how good it was.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to cook the food you had, you just know it was worth telling somebody else about so they can go and eat there too.

Jesus is the same.  It’s okay if you don’t know all the theology.  It’s alright if you can’t recite verse after verse of scripture.  Because the thing you do know is that He is good and you want others to taste and see.

Just keep coming to the Father’s table.  Keep on dining with Jesus.  His goodness will start to spill out of you and you’ll be leaving Jesus crumbs everywhere you go.

So today’s my birthday!  Yay!!!  I’m 44 years old today.  And since history is something of interest to me, I thought for today we’d see what else happened on this day in history besides me being born.

The first thing that popped up on my search is that on this day in 1493, Christopher Columbus mistook manatees for mermaids.  Yes friends.  Columbus looked out into the ocean and saw these manatees (otherwise known as SEA COWS) and thought they were mermaids.  He’s even quoted to have said that they were “not half as beautiful as they were painted.”  You reckon?  Let’s compare.

mermaid with notes

Sure.  I can totally understand the mix up, Chris.


In 1768, the first modern circus was staged.  And that’s appropriate since in 2018, the circus is still strong with this one.


In 1861, the merchant ship, “Star of the West,” was shot at trying to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter.  While this didn’t actually start the Civil War, it was the first time shots were exchanged between the North and the South.  The war itself didn’t officially begin until April of that year.


In 1976, two years after I was born, Sylvester Stallone started filming Rocky.  A movie about a guy who liked to exercise that began filming on my birthday.  Ironic considering that I hate exercise with the fire of 1000 suns.


In 2007, the iPhone debuted.  Thank you Steve Jobs!  I’m really sorry it took me several more birthdays before I finally gave in and got one.


So that’s just a few things.  If you want to read about more stuff that happened on my birthday or you want to see what happened on yours, check out the History Channel’s “This Day in History.”

Here I stand in the kitchen and I’m writing with my laptop on the counter and cooking pancakes all at the same time.  So I’m already breaking one resolution – namely to focus on the task at hand, whatever that might be.  And I’ll likely burn a pancake.

Wait, you know what?  I’ve decided right here and now.  Forget resolutions.  I never keep them anyway.  Hang on.  Time to flip.

The pancake I mean.  Not that I’m going to flip.  Time to flip the pancake.  Which I did.

But then I have flipped out a few times in the last couple of weeks too though, so there’s that.

I’m changing my antidepressant meds from one to another in the hopes that it will help me in my endeavors to be less fat.  But in the meantime I have gone from happy, to weepy, to crazed bitch, to happy over and over in the last couple of weeks while everything levels itself back out.  Fun times, ya’ll.  Fun times.  And Merry Christmas to you as well, good sir.

And whoops.  Almost burnt a pancake.

So here we are again at the beginning of a new year…well, day 2 of the beginning of a…whatever.

Here we are at day 2 of the beginning of a new year and it’s time for a fresh start.  All the mistakes and shortcomings from last year are dead and gone and I have a whole new year’s worth screw ups ahead of me.  Look, I’m just trying to be real.

It’s not all bad though.  There’s been some really good things that have happened over the course of the last year.  They haven’t all looked like good things at the time they were happening, but in looking back I can see light peeking through the cracks of the hard parts where God was doing a thing.  I don’t know what it was in some cases, but it was something.  I’m relearning that God doesn’t just sit around killing time.  (And I say “relearning” because really I knew that already…I guess I just forgot.)  Yes, God is in the business of getting stuff done.  And it’s always good in the end even if it hurts like hell in the middle.

So here’s to new beginnings or fresh starts or to waking up to a new year but feeling the same as you did yesterday…or two days ago as it were…and just trying to figure out where your other sock is and making sure you don’t forget to pick up any of your kids.

God’s here friends…with you and with me.

There’s considerably more to me than I give way to out loud.  There’s a whole underneath layer that sits just below the surface, out of view.  Because the hidden parts are often in contradiction to the life I desire to portray.

See, you build your house with the beautiful parts of yourself and display all the lovely things on the lawn.  The ugly and the odd stays inside in the dark with the curtains drawn, only rarely, if ever, daring a quick glance between the blinds.  But even the quickest of glances offers glorious visions of the neighborhood, leaving me seeing spots, and it is quite painfully clear that the world…at least my piece of it…is not ready for the ugly and the odd.

Honestly, it is much easier to hide it all.  To just answer “fine.”  There’s less to have to explain.  Less to have to find words for.  The constant battle that rages on the inside – the fight between light and dark – is better left stuffed down inside.  There’s the fear that to let it all out in the open – to give it words – would set it free forever and I’d never get it all back in the bottle.

In case you’re wondering, we’ve more or less stopped looking for a church and honestly I’m not all that sad about it.  I don’t think what my heart deeply desires actually exists, so I’m just going to push pause.  And I’m actually somewhat relieved about it.

Because the facade is exhausting.

What I mean is that I’m just not good.  I am a sinner, buried in the mire and sometimes I don’t care if I ever get out.  Sometimes I quite revel in the mire.  The smell of it.  The way it feels smeared on my skin.  The honesty of it all.  There is no pretending to be done when you are covered from head to toe in muck.  And truth be told, I am raw from all the attempts at scrubbing it off.  Of trying to be different.  Trying to be better.  Trying to overcome.  Trying to live like I’m free when I know bloody well I’m not.  Trying to live like I’m head over heels in love with a God that I hardly hear from anymore when in reality, aside from the few prayers offered up for others, we barely speak.

A couple of months have passed since my last post and what I thought was a turning point turned out to be the same as every other time I think maybe I’m beginning to get somewhere.  Nothing changes.  I’m still the same.  Still a prisoner to anxiety and depression, food addiction, self hate, fear.  All of it.

I found myself wandering around Barnes & Noble today scrutinizing this book and that book, trying to find the one that might finally give me the answer.  Looking for that person who might have it all figured out and can tell me how the hell to fix myself.  And it’s all the same.  Pray this prayer.  Learn this scripture.  Do these steps.  These people with their all “God moments” and I wonder to myself if I’m just not fixable.

Maybe that’s it.  Maybe I’m just completely and utterly beyond fixing.

I know one thing though.  I’m tired.  Tired of the anticipation of changes that just don’t come.

Please Jesus.  Please.  I just want to be better.

Who are you, Soul?

Are you the one never quite at home?  Never quite finding the real belonging place?

You are, aren’t you?

The one who even among the dearest friends sits in self-imposed aloneness, owned by the fear of rejection and equally by the fear of acceptance.

Drawn to darkness, you find more comfort there than in the light you deem undeserved…undesired even sometimes.  Living in a minor key, as notes of comfortable melancholy map out your history, the same chords play over and over on repeat as if to prove that while the depths of your desires may be colored in the beauty of great and mighty things, your mind and your body will always betray you with feet dug in the ground, refusing to go one single step further away from same ol’ same ol’.

Yes, Brokenness is my name and I am broken.

I am the one always seeking and not finding.  The one who resides in a constant place of not enough-ness.  The one who needs desperately to believe that there is more here than meets the eye…because there’s more to me than meets the eye.  Please let there be more to me than meets the eye.  This can’t be all there is.

Because I’m drowning on a daily basis underneath the doldrums of the day-to-day.  Always falling short takes it toll.  Being broken drains clarity and sometimes I can’t even remember my last coherent thought.

My dreaming mind sees a place where things are slower.  A place where I can breathe. Where all the right words flow clear like water and all the wrong-said things go unsaid. A place where twirling whirling hoop skirts dance and there is laughter and rose gardens and I imagine myself as an artist standing under a shade tree spreading lines of color on canvas.  Or I see a field of flowers bringing solitude and rest as I stare up at the night sky where little stars punch holes of light in the dark…much like the darkness of you, Soul.  Where are the little holes of light punched into the darkness that is you?  Because sometimes they are hard to see.  And sometimes there are no stars at all.

My name is Brokenness and I am broken.  But I hear there is One who changes names.  He gives new names written on white stones and heals up all the hurts.  He is the Light that punches holes in the dark.

You hold onto Him, Soul.  Because He is good.

As the weekend comes to a close, I find myself with a quiet moment.  Everyone is in bed, the Christmas tree glows softly, and there’s a chill in the air outside.  The room smells like pine and I feel serene and at peace for the moment.  And then the dog promptly gags and throws up a little in the floor.


The long weekend was a good one though, dog barf aside.  Dinner with part of the family on Thanksgiving day and lunch with the rest of the family today.  But there was one moment that has sat with me all weekend.

My two cousins and I were seated at one of the adult tables with our spouses.  (I’m sure if you have a large family you know what the adult table is.  The kids got the card tables and the adults sat at the big table.)  And there we all are eating and having adult conversation when it suddenly struck me…where were the adults at the table?  I mean, we can’t be the ones here at the table having grown up conversations about kids and gymnastics and politics, can we?  Where were the real adults?

And the moment when I looked around at the table and realized we WERE the adults, it was like time slowed for just a second.  My cousin sitting across from me, the one who played dress up with me at Grandmother’s house.  Her husband sitting beside her.  Her daughters on the sofa, her son upstairs playing with mine.  My other cousin sitting beside me.  The one who, along with the rest of us, used to play fun games on holidays like this.  And there beside him, his wife, holding one of their three little ones in her lap.  Suddenly the children weren’t at the kids’ table anymore.  They were all grown up.  Now our children were at the kids’ table.  It was quite surreal.

And for that moment, I just wanted time to stop.  To just stay right there, while my parents and my aunt and uncle talked at the other adult table.  While our kids were all still young.  Before our hair goes gray all over and time begins to take its toll.  To just stay.

But stay, we cannot.  Time is not ours to stop.  The older I get, the faster it seems to go by.  And the older I get, the easier it can be to look back and be found wanting.  I think of things I wish I had valued at the time that I had them.  Moments in time that start to fade that I wish I could remember better.  So many things I realized I wanted to do when it was too late to do them.

But time doesn’t go backwards.  Time moves forward.  And we move with it.  And we must live in the moment while it is ours.  To enjoy what we are given as it is received.  To take those surreal moments and breathe them in while we sit in them and have the pleasure of later recalling those moments with joy for having had them.

Yes, time moves forward, but in that moment looking around the table,  my heart was full of gratitude and thanksgiving for what has been.

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