Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Confessions of a Closet Dancer

Well, it’s whimsical Wednesday and I have a confession to make.

If you read my previous post titled “God Knows” then you know that I have continual back problems due to scoliosis. Well, Monday I woke up in a tremendous amount of pain. It was so intense that I was unable to complete my physical therapy session that morning. My therapist kept asking what I did over the weekend and I couldn’t think of any specific thing that would have caused such a flare-up.

Tuesday morning, still in pain, I was wracking my brain trying to think of what I could have done. I even asked God during my prayer time what could have caused it. Now, I’m not sure if God was answering me or if my brain chose that exact moment for sudden recall but as if watching a movie, I saw a scene from Sunday night that cleared up the elusive pain causing incident.

But, before I confess, I must digress.

As many of you know, I am a writer. And, for a very long time, this has been my work space.

I’m also a stay at home mom of two small children who find it hilarious to invade this stuffed-in-a-corner-of-a-room workplace and attack anything and everything, including me. I’ve learned to live with the invasions, even cherish them at times, but it does make forward progress on any large writing assignments tedious.

However, over the Christmas break, my dear sweet amazing husband whom I cherish beyond life itself made a decision. He decided the work space I had been using was no longer viable for the goals I have set for the coming year. Therefore, over the past weekend, he did some rearranging and created a home office just for me.

This is my new office.

That’s right. My own office complete with a door. Those who have or have raised children understand how a door (at times) can be the most beautiful sight in the entire world.

This incredible creation was completed Sunday. And now, it’s confession time.
Sunday evening, my family allotted me some time to escape into my office and work…by myself…with the door closed.

The quiet of the room screamed in my ears. The peace inside the four walls ignited fireworks in my head. The excitement was such that I could not sit at the computer and type away. No! That would not be a proper inauguration for such a wonderful gift as this.

Instead, I turned on my media player, picked a song of my choice (yes, that’s right…I got to pick my own song in my own office) and danced myself silly all over this brand new office.

Yep, you read that correctly, I danced my back out.

So, as I sat in my prayer time with a vision of myself playing air guitar and living out fantasies of being a hip hop dancer I couldn’t help but fall on the floor hysterically laughing. The joy of my new office was worth the dancing but the dancing was not worth the pain so I will probably not do that again but I will continue to enjoy my new office.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Forgot the Turkey, God Didn't

Christmas 2008 is finally over. The dishes have been washed, the wrapping paper cleaned up, presents have been put away and family and friends have gone home.

Now there is quiet, and in that quiet a time for reflection.

For me, the month of December brings with it a to-do list that can only be mastered by a ninja of time management, which I am not. I start the month out with the intention of staying on top of my game. My gifts are bought before Thanksgiving. Holiday shopping lists are prepared and kept on hand. Event plans are penned down before December 1st and the day planner kept open for all to see. But, then we enter December and a snowball of “I forgots” begins to take shape.

I was ready for our nuclear family Christmas events, but I forgot that in the midst of that I had writing assignments due, school functions I was heading up, and physical therapy sessions. Oh and then there was the class party I forgot I was hosting and the cookies I forgot I had to make for the fellowship following the school Christmas presentation.

I took all these “I forgots” in stride. I was overwhelmed, I was exhausted, I cried more than once but I was able to stay the course. That is until the Titanic of the “I forgots” was remembered. We were traveling out of state the weekend before Christmas not to return until the night before Christmas Eve. That’s right. The weekend when Christmas meal shopping is done and the last minute details are taken care of (including wrapping presents); I would be out of town.

It wasn’t that I forgot we were traveling, I forgot when we were traveling. So, the night before the trip while we were packing, I was listing everything that had not been done and could not be done now that we would be out of town, including the purchase of a turkey for our Christmas meal. By the time midnight rolled around and the last suitcase was zipped, I had sworn off all future holiday travel.

I must admit this declaration of travel free holidays brought with it a sort of relief. Knowing this would be the last time I would be drowning in “I forgots” with no time to remember made the trip north quite bearable. Well, it would have been bearable had the Lord quit trying to convict me. I wasn’t listening though so it was okay.

We reached my in-laws house and by the second day, something had changed. I was no longer drowning in “I forgots”. I was embraced by the love of family.

You see, I love my husband’s family. In fact, I have no problem calling my husband’s parents Mom and Dad because I love them as a Mom and Dad. They are my second parents and I know they are gifts from God.

Although I was basking in my family’s company, I still held my declaration of “no more holiday traveling” in my heart. And, the Lord was still convicting me.

On the third day of our visit, I was sitting in the living room talking to Mom. We discussed family and society. It seems a lot of her friends would be alone this Christmas because their children were too busy to take the time to travel home. More than that, we discussed how the view of “family” in society’s eyes has degenerated over the years. Where children once cared for their elderly parents, now it’s common to turn them over to nursing homes and visit when it’s convenient.

Our conversation took a personal twist when I learned that some of our own family members have become too busy to invest in family. Tears welled in Mom’s eyes and my heart broke.

When did I forget the true gift of Christmas? God invested in us when he sent His only son to this earth. That birth was a gift to us. That gift grew up and Jesus spent his life investing in people. Why would I take that gift and turn it towards selfish things. Is wrapping presents, cleaning the house before Christmas morning and shopping for our holiday meal more important that the investment into the lives of family?

As I finished talking with Mom and walked back towards our room, I repented.

Lord, please forgive me for my selfish declaration of no more holiday traveling. Please forgive me for putting my to-do list above your to-do list. Thank you, Lord, for my family. I treasure my time with them and will always stop what I’m doing to invest in them for investing in your people is my gift to you.

For the first time in weeks, peace flooded my heart. The “I forgots” faded into the background and Christmas looked a whole lot brighter. As I entered our room, my cell phone beeped with a text message from a friend whose family would be dining with us Christmas day. She asked if we had bought a turkey yet. Still covered in peace, I replied no. “Good” she wrote back. Her message went on to say her neighbor had just given her an 11 pound turkey for us to eat on Christmas day. That’s right. A free turkey delivered to my friend’s door for us to cook on Christmas day. I didn’t have time to get a turkey. God did.

December is busy. With school-aged children and everything else life has to offer, it’s the nature of the holiday. But, I will never again place that busyness over my family. For the true gift of Christmas is expressed through the love we share with each other. I love you Mom and Dad and although I’ll see you many times throughout the year, I am already excited about next Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas Again

Author's note: due to overexhaustion from Christmas festivities, I will be back to the world of blogging on Monday. Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Hello Bloggy Friends,

We have just returned home from our Christmas travels and in light of that I have no inspired prose to post today. However, I thought I would share my absolute favorite Christmas cookie recipe. I would have a picture for you but I haven't made them yet. It's on my to-do list for Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, I am the only one in my family who loves the cookies but maybe I will find a fellow lover of the Christmas wreath cookie among one of my new friends.

I will back on Friday with a love letter to the king. I hope and pray everyone has a safe and wonderful Christmas. May each of you enjoy your time with family and friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Christmas Wreath Cookies

1 cup softened unsalted sweet cream butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs separated
2 cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped nuts (I usually get away with 1 cup)
maraschino cherries or chocolate kisses

preheat oven to 375

Cream butter and sugar.

mix in egg yolks, flour, salt and vanilla

Form 1" balls, dip in egg whites and then chopped nuts

Bake on greased cookie sheet for five minutes. After five minutes, use thumb or back of spoon to smoosh cookie in the middle. Place cherry in the middle and bake for 10 more minutes. (if using chocolate kisses, put them in the middle after total baking time)


Again, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

4 more days until Christmas!

As we celebrate the birth of our savior this week,
I pray each of you finds
peace during last minute preparations,
joy in the company of friends and family
and true love from the one who sent his only son.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 19, 2008

Love Letters to the King

Do you remember, my Lord?

The first time I came to you?

I remember….

Standing in a walkway, sweat dripping from my brow as I swept the front stoop of my master’s store, your messenger found me.

No words spoken. He leaned from his saddle, a gold sealed note in his hand. I took it, and he disappeared into the dust cloud from the horse-trodden cobblestone road.

Alone, in the midst of the crowded village market, I stood.

A poor peasant girl, in thread-bare clothes, holding a note from the King.

I broke the seal and read the letter.

Come to me.

Three simple words. My brow creased. My heart skipped a beat. Why me, my Lord? With tears streaming down my cheeks, my condition resonated within me, tormenting my soul. Dirty, used, broken, I cannot go to the king.

But your note. Come to me.

My heart moved beyond my torment. I must go to the King.

The broom fell from my hand. I clutched the note to my bosom and ran. Each step carried me farther away from the village and closer to your garden. My heart beat explosively in my chest until each breath was harder to grasp than the last. I pushed on until I reached the gate. Holding fast to the iron bars, I lay my head on the cold metal and wept for the unworthiness of my soul.

The setting sun threw roses to the earth that illuminated the lake in a ghostly glow. As I looked towards the water, I found you standing beneath the willow tree; its branches bowing in your presence.

The gate was not locked. I passed through the entrance and tread reticently down the path. The closer I came to you, the more I was enveloped by the peace that emanated from your stature. I cared less and less about my appearance. I only wanted you.

At the end of the path I stopped. The great lake spread before me, smoldering in the setting sun. You did not acknowledge my presence. You stood staring at the water. Your shoulders broad with strength, your head held high in majesty and your heart…I could hear calling to me.

I was eager. I was also scared.

Your note in my hand, I walked to your side and bowed my head.
Expecting to hear your voice, I felt your hand instead. You lifted my chin with your fingers until my eyes met yours. You looked into my soul as if you were studying a great masterpiece.

Wiping the tears from my cheeks, you spoke, “Peasant girl no more. From now on you are my Princess.”

I remember my Lord. And, I will never forget.


Your enraptured servant

“No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah, for the Lord will take delight in you…” Is 62:4 (NIV)

May you run to the one who beckons you that he may delight in your presence.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nathan and the Cookie

This is my son.

After six weeks of grueling bed rest to keep him in the womb and then a 12 hour induction to get him out of the womb, Nathan burst forth into the world and stole mine and his Daddy’s heart.

Ever since, he has confounded us to no end. Why? Because there is no parenting book known to man that explains our son.

Our biggest issue with him…food.

Here is the look that Nathan gives us every night at the dinner table.

Nathan avoids any food that contains color. The exception to this rule is cheese. His favorite dish – kashi crackers and sliced cheese.

Our pediatrician has given us many ideas to try and we have put forth our best effort only to have each idea crash and burn.

For example, there was the “grow your own food” idea. That way, he is invested in the food and will enjoy his bounty at harvest time. He was invested alright, but his idea of bounty was watching us eating it.

Then there was the “let him cook with you” idea. Nathan was very excited about this idea and had a blast cooking. But, in the end, he plated the food and offered it to his sister. As he is a very good big brother.

After running the gamut of ideas, we had only one option left. Bribery.

Enter “blue iced star cookie”. (I would have had a picture but my husband ate the cookie.)

We have a friend who makes the best iced cookies in the whole world. But, since it takes three days to make these cookies, we only get them at Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Last Friday, we had one cookie left. A blue-iced star cookie. Nathan had been eyeing it the entire day.

Daddy and I decided to use the cookie.

We sat down to dinner. Now mind you, we had already had our daily discussion of what’s-for-dinner-I-don’t-like-that-fix-me-something-different, but this time we had ammo.

“Nathan,” I said, “here’s the deal. All you have to do is taste a piece of roast. Chew it up real fast and swallow it. Then, take half a sliced carrot and do the same. If you do that, you can have the blue-iced star cookie.”

We even put the cookie on the table so he would know the reward was real.

Dinner went as usual. Mommy, Daddy and sister ate. Nathan stared at his plate. Mommy, Daddy and sister finished their food, sister asked to be excused, Nathan stared at his plate.

Then, the bartering started.

“Why Moooommmmy, why can’t I just have the blue-iced star cookie noooowwww.”

This is now evoking not so calm responses. “Nathan, for all that is decent and holy, please eat the food. One bite son. That’s all we ask. Don’t even chew, just swallow and we’ll call it good.”

We sat for another ten minutes.

Losing all hope, I was about to clear the table when Nathan’s face lit up. He jumped out of his seat and ran around the end of the table to stand between us.

“Mommy, Daddy, here’s the deal” he started, “I am going to take the blue-iced star cookie and tear it in half. I will give one half to Daddy and one half to Mommy. Then you can eat the cookie.”

“But Nathan….” I tried to intervene.

“No Mommy, it’s okay. You guys eat the cookie. I will not eat the cookie and I will not eat the food. Okay?”

With Mommy and Daddy’s jaws on the ground, Nathan then asked to be excused from the table. No food. No cookie. May I get down now?

“Yes…..yes you may.”

Perhaps one day he’ll eat something nutritious. Until then, Kashi crackers and cheese are my specialty.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mary's Journal

Oh my Lord, why choose me?

Why should I be the one to carry such a burden and yet such a gift?

I am no one special. A poor young girl who tends to her family and prepares for her wedding and yet your angel visits me with this message.

I am afraid.

I’m afraid I won’t live up to that which you need to be.

I’m afraid of what the people will say.

And, I’m afraid Joseph will no longer want me. What will I do then? Will you take care of me then Father?

Fear has arrested my soul and trapped my breath within my lungs. Everything within me wants to scream “no” to your call. But, how can I turn down the God of heaven and earth?

Since I was a little girl, I have believed in you.

I have remained faithful to your ways every day of my life. To this end, I will lay down my fears and rejoice in that which you have called me to do.

Bear your son.

I will trust in you, Father. I will stand in faith. And I will submit to the will of the Lord.

But, please be with me to calm my fears and point the way, as I cannot do this alone.


May the Lord that declares your purpose, also calm your fears that you may submit to his will and rejoice as you walk by faith into your destiny.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Love Letters to the King

They were waiting for me, my Lord.

Never have I been so aware of your absence until I was in their presence.

They lay silent in our garden and set traps to ensnare me. I came looking for you, but was instead met with the ones who hate you the most.

They encircled me in our beloved garden. I fought to get away and the torn hem of my skirt and bruise of my cheek speaks of the struggle that ensued.

Breaking away, I ran. My screams matched the panicked beating of my heart.

They were close behind. I could feel the heat of their pursuit on the back of my neck. I turned to find them and in doing so missed you.

You heard my cries and rushed to my aide.

Your arm captured my body and lifted me to safety behind you. Your sword, drawn, met theirs with such intensity that the clash of metal hurt my ears.

I cowered in your shadow. Covering my ears, tears were left to stream down my face and drip onto my knees.

Your sword was swift and followed by the thuds of unmoving flesh. The stench of sweat, blood and defeat filled the air.

The defeat was theirs.

I did not open my eyes until I felt your arms encompass me and lift me from the ground. I buried my face into your neck as you carried me to our sanctuary.

You washed my wounds and dried my brow. Kissing my forehead, you took me in your arms and held me tight.

Forever will you be my strength, my protector, my King.

Your enraptured servant.

I pray that you know and trust the one who loves, honors and protects you.

“A King’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.” (Prov 19:12 NIV)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Dress a 2-Year Old

Whereas Mondays are reflective and Fridays are dedicated to Love Letters to the King, Wednesdays must bring with it a little witticism to get us through the week. Because girlfriend, if we aren’t laughing on “hump” day, we just might not make it through.

I am wondering if anyone else has trouble getting their young children dressed in the morning. You see, I have long since decided that I did not birth a precious little princess who stole my heart before I ever laid eyes on her. No, that is the fantasy version of it. In actuality, I birthed a fashionista whose Diva standard hits new heights on a daily basis.

Where her attitude is concerned, I take most of the blame. When choosing names for this little sweetheart, I begged my husband to let me name her Regan. This was our first glimpse into the battles that awaited us since Regan is Gaelic for “queen”. Of course Mommy, being a very OCD type-A perfectionist, had to pick a middle name that matched the first so we chose Nicole which means “ruler of the people”.

Now, anyone in their right mind would have seen the set up and sidestepped it, but I just figured she was headed for a life in politics. What I forgot was all the training that would need to take place before her first cry and her first oath of office.

So, this morning as I was once again tackling the “you must get dressed now – we have to leave – your brother is going to be late for school” daily routine, I remembered a how-to clip I wrote about a year ago on how to dress your sweet precious little girl and I thought I would share.

Here it is.

How to Dress a 2-Year Old Girl

It’s morning and once again you must dress your 2-year old daughter. Here are some simple steps that will make the procedure as painless as possible.

First, stretch out. Remember, she is younger, faster and more flexible.

Second, have two completed outfits ready for her to choose from. Any less would cause dissention in the ranks, any more and you will be there all day.

Third, you’ll need to catch your child. Make sure you plan your strategy carefully much like a lioness would when tracking a gazelle. Don’t forget to make a mental note of all the toys in the floor. It would do no good to end your chase with a broken leg.

Once your daughter is secure, you move to the fourth step of exchanging pajamas for day clothes. Please make sure her pacifier is out of her mouth before you remove her shirt or the neck hole may become permanently lodged around her nose and head.

Now that her outfit is on, finish the ensemble by fixing her hair and putting on her shoes. (Special note: always keep an extra pair of socks with you because hers will go missing.)

Be sure to compliment her on how beautiful she looks as she runs off posing as if she did all the work.

Finally, reward yourself by sitting down, taking a deep breath and drinking yet another cup of coffee because any minute now you’ll have to do it all over again.

Can anyone relate?

Monday, December 8, 2008

As I Think About Christmas

The steam from the mug warms my face. With every breath, the sweet indulgent vapor of cocoa penetrates my body. On the couch, snuggled beneath my mother’s quilt, I am surrounded by a domesticated display of northern lights emanating from the tree adorned with memories past.

It is here that I think about Christmas.

I think about the time I spent selecting each present bought for loved ones. Each gift that is painstakingly decided upon with the hope that the smile displayed at the unveiling of the present matches the joy exploding within my heart.

I think about the tears I will shed over the delight of our children on Christmas morning as they run to the tree to find their anticipated treasures. I am amazed at the rejuvenating power of a child’s laughter, joy and faith in that which can’t be seen.

I think about the food that will be meticulously prepared and the family that will gather to partake of it. Each one, in love with the day, will come in contentment to sit and visit, renewing and strengthening their bond of kinship.

But most of all, I think of a child nestled at the breast of a virgin mother. Born in a manger, born in seclusion, born to be chased, mocked and scorned, yet born a King, born to save, and born to be our greatest gift.

Amidst the dreams of a beautiful Christmas will I rest in the arms of my King. I will hug his neck, kiss his cheek, lie beneath his shadow and offer him my heart, for it is the greatest gift that I can give to the one who gives all things.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

***Christmas Give-A-Way Winner***

Congratulations to Rachel Ann!

She is the winner of Glenn Beck's new book and Barlow Girl's new Christmas CD.

Thanks to all who entered.

I hope to see you here again!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Love Letters to the King

Lysa's Christmas Give-A-Way

Thanks for coming over from Lysa's blog for the give-away. If you are already one of my bloggy friends who came here without stopping by Lysa's, be sure to head to her blog for chances to win more stuff! (You can do this by clicking on the Chritmas give-a-way button)

My Give-Away:

Glenn Beck's The Christmas Sweater and Barlow Girl Home For Christmas CD

To win simply leave a comment with your email address in which I can contact you for shipping details. The winner will be chosen Sunday morning. I hope you enjoy Love Letters to the King Fridays. And, I look forward to seeing you again.

Love Letter To The King

Oh my Lord. I sought you today.

The surprise of morning caught my breath within my throat at the thought of catching you.

I rose to sneak away to our garden. It was cold. I wrapped a sweater around me and held it tight.

Without a sound I walked through the wrought iron gate, careful not to let the aged hinges announce my presence. I wanted to slip behind you and throw my arms around your shoulders before you even knew I was there.

The haze of unfallen dew cloaked my approach. On the tips of my toes I slipped down the path covered in shadow of the aged trees that hovered above my head. Running my hand along the leaves of a trailing vine, I felt the wet kiss of morning. I paused at the end of the path, I rubbed the petals of an opening rose bud, releasing the scent of untouched beauty and allowing its velvety touch to caress my skin.

Where were you? I stood, scanning the garden for any sign of your presence. I found none.

My heart and head low, I walked towards the stream where I stood below our weeping willow losing my sadness to the sorrowful shower of the willow’s branches.

Did I miss you?

The sun rose in the morning sky. Its glow warmed the back of my shoulders. I released the hold of my sweater and brought my hand to my throat holding the necklace I wear in honor of you.

A rush of wind caught the hem of my skirt and the heavy steps of someone’s approach arrested my heart. Before I could turn, your arms were around my shoulders, holding me and washing away my disappointment.

You were there all along. Watching me pursue you. And, when I least expected, you met me where I was at.

My King, I will always love you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God Knows

I have scoliosis.

Defined, this simply means curvature of the spine. For most, it is easily treated with no long term effects. For some, it has major repercussions.

I was diagnosed with this disorder in the sixth grade and had to wear a brace 23-hours a day over the next two and a half years. During a time when I wanted to wear the latest fashions, I instead dressed to conceal the brace. Instead of playing sports with my friends, I cheered them on from the stands. Instead of being a go-getter, I hid to avoid ridicule.

At the end of the two years, it was determined that the curvature of my spine was still progressing and I underwent spinal fusion surgery. This brought another onslaught of preteen issues as I spent the first half of my eighth grade year in a hospital bed in the front room of our house taking classes from a state paid tutor.

The years ticked by and I hid this disability beneath the appearance of a normal body. With no outward expression of the metal fused to my bone, no one need know that I was limited. Especially me.

I lived as if the problem did not exist. Despite the pain, despite the physical limitations, despite the second fusion 14 years after the first, I lived as if there was not nor had been a disability.

My cloak of denial was dismantled when earlier this year, my disability took on an outward appearance. Now, at times, I walk with a cane. Not only did my limitations become visible to those around me, they were now visible to me.

I began to cry out to God, “Why can’t I do the things everyone else can do? Why can’t I be normal?”

These cries were followed by a laundry list of everything I wanted to do and have never been able too. I cried on the shoulder of my God until he moved upon my heart.

“Sweetheart,” he whispered, “I know.”

Through this He showed me that when I spend time telling God everything I can’t do, I am telling him something that He already knows. But, if I will get quiet before Him, lay my circumstances down at His feet, fall at the foot of the throne and listen; then I will be primed to find out what He wants me to know.

Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV)

My God purposed me for a destiny created just for me. He knew my limitations before I did and that did not change His mind about the things He created for me to do. When I let go of my predisposed beliefs about my purpose and I take on the purposes of God then I realize that “I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:13

Is there a circumstance in your life that has limited to you? Is there something you need to lay at the cross? Let’s take time today to get in touch with the one who created us and find out the purpose He has for each of our lives.

And, let’s encourage each other along the way.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Challenge, The Goal and The Blog

Thanks to my friend Glynnis Whitwer’s blog challenge, an inspirational fire has been lit under the creativity that drives my writing.

Glynnis challenged her blog friends to join her in holding each other accountable for whatever goal we are trying to reach. Mine is to begin writing on a consistent basis and breathe life back into my career. This is a career path in which the God-given desire of my heart forces me to run in order to see the smile upon the face of God and know He is pleased. (Oh how I could rabbit trail on the desire of God to see our dreams come true but that is surely another blog and another day.)

My initial goal was to complete one blog entry a week along amidst other projects, however I have enjoyed blogging so much and have been encouraged by so many that I can’t stop at just one blog. So, I have changed my goal to three times a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be my blog days. And, since life has a way of getting away from me, I welcome my blog friends to please keep me accountable to this goal.

Since I am new to blogging, I have spent some time visiting friend’s blogs, asking questions and trying to “learn the ropes”. I must say I have been truly inspired.

My friend Sonya has been blogging for awhile and her advice was to use this blog to find my voice. That rang a bell that has resounded the question “what is my voice?”.

Like all writers who write because God has called them do so and they simply can do nothing else, my voice belongs to Him. Only in the one who created me can I find the true inspiration for the words that spill from my pen. As water shoots forth from a spring so does the voice of a writer spill forth from the heart of God. Therefore, I dedicate this blog to the one who created me and beckons me to write…Jesus Christ the King of Kings. And, as part of that dedication, Friday’s will be set aside for love letters written from the heart of all the King’s princesses to the King.

Thank you to all my blog friends who have inspired me and to those of you I have yet to meet. Happy blogging.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Love Letter to a King

The sun has not yet risen my Lord.

As the tide rises and kisses the shore, so does the anticipation within me, alluring me from my slumber. I wonder if you will be there.

Quiet as a church mouse I slip out of my room and down the stairs; careful not to wake the slumbering court and cut short our secret rendezvous.

Down the hall and into the front room I arrive at our meeting place. Are you here, my Lord? I am calling. Begging you to come.

How I long to rest in the arms of the one I call King. King Jesus.

I have snuck away with you today not because I need you but because I want you. For you have changed me in such a way that I delight at the mere thought of your presence. You show me rainbows in rainstorms and laughter in sorrow. You hold me up when I want to fall down and your shadow is my constant companion.

My King, I have come to you this morning while the stars still temper the darkness to see if there is anything I can do for you. Can I sing? Can I dance? Can I bring a smile to your face? In a world of so much torment where the sorrows of your people must at times burden you, how can I enchant your heart?

Today, my King, I will love you. I will love you with all my soul and all my mind and all my heart. And, I will love your people for each one is your child and to each one you are King.


Your enraptured servant

Monday, November 24, 2008

Treadmill, Exit Stage Left

I am a very weird person in that I love my treadmill.

For me, the treadmill was not simply a tool in which you run to lose weight and stay healthy. It was a means of escape. For forty minutes and two and a half miles 6-days a week, I could put headphones in my ears and transport to anywhere, be anyone and accomplish anything. It was a place where surreal experiences could become a reality.

It was until God began to deal with me about it.

Earlier this summer, He whispered in my ear and reminisced about how far He has brought me and what an amazing transformation my life has been. But, then he nudged me and suggested how much more incredible it would be if I gave him everything.

“Everything Lord?” I asked. “I have given you everything.”

“Give me the treadmill.”

The words hit hard. It was the hardest thing He could have asked at this point in my life. As long as I had my treadmill I could eat what I want since I could walk it off later. If I was angry, I could use the negative energy to walk an extra mile. If I was in physical pain, I would walk on the treadmill and prove that I could do it in spite of my disability. You see, to give up my treadmill would mean I would have to be completely dependent upon God.

It took a little prodding, but in the end I released the treadmill to the Lord. I stopped getting on it. The dust began to collect and I left it there untouched. Each day I would temper the desire to beat myself up on the treadmill by spending time building myself up in the presence of God.

In God’s funny way, this lesson came just in time as I have had scoliosis since the sixth grade and have already undergone two spinal fusion surgeries. After encountering more back issues this year, it turns out that walking on the treadmill was causing more harm than good.

Yesterday, we sold my treadmill. If this transaction had taken place earlier this year, the buyer would have had to peel me off the machine, but as it was, I was happy to see it go.

God is my strength, my provider, my counselor and my All. No longer will I need a machine to prove that.

Now let’s just hope the number on the scale doesn’t go up...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Queen of Sheba

I have a cat. She is the sweetest cat I have ever met. We adopted her about a month ago after a friend found her in the parking lot of a post office where she was abandoned.

We brought her into our home where she was introduced to our two children and our 11 pound MinPin. After smacking the dog into submission and learning to stay out from under the kid’s feet, she fit right into our family.

My daughter and I named the cat Ella. Short for Cinderella. A precious name for a precious cat. However, our precious cat has started to be a bit high maintenance.
She eats six times a day. At first, I indulged this since when we brought her home you could count her ribs by sight. But now, not having been able to break this six meal habit, her belly is so big it sways when she walks. And please, do not try to withhold food. She will search you out and meow at you until the nerve in the side of your temple threatens to beat a hole in your skull. Sanity demands you fill her bowl with food. Even if it’s three in the morning.

She has also declared the stairs as the place to which she rests her sleepy head. She stretches her long body across the entire length of a step and doesn’t mind when you step over her to descend or ascend the stairs with laundry in your arms.
But, when she jumps in your lap, curls into a ball and soothes the stress of the day away with her gentle purrs, all of her habits become endearing. At least they were until last night.

Recently, we ripped the carpet from our stairs and replaced it with hard wood flooring. It’s the pinnacle attraction of our house. It has also left our arthritic, 10-year old dog unable to move between the first and second floor. Now the dog stands at the top or bottom of the stairs and does a sort of half hopping rain dance until you pick her up and carry her to her desired destination.

The cat, having watched the dog, has discovered how much less energy she could expend if she would only demand a ride up and down the stairs. Unfortunately, she decided to try out this idea in the wee early hours of last night. That cat sat at the bottom of the stairs and meowed for two hours until my husband got out of bed and fetched her highness up the stairs, where she curled up and went to sleep for the rest of the night.

I have decided Ella was an inappropriate name. We should change it to Queen of Sheba. She apparently believes she is royalty.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Terror Behind the Screened Door

I love to write. The process of putting pen to paper to spill prose across the blank page creates an atmosphere in which my heart is as a bird escaping its cage and my imagination is set free to explore unlimited possibilities. These moments inspire me to live to the fullest and dream the unthinkable. However, as a stay at home mom of a two and four year old, these moments are few and far between.

Since returning from the Proverbs 31 conference, I have been unable to write three emails in a row let alone a paragraph, article, or even my writing assignment that is due in a week. Shrouded in conviction, desparation and exhaustion I sat down at the computer to hammer out at least a few sentences. Breathing deeply, I rested my hands on the keyboard begging inspiration to come to me. I started by replying to an email in which a (very good) friend was politely yelling at me for my lack of writing. In my first sentence, I defended myself. In the second, I made an excuse. In the third, I admitted she was right and was about too provide a list of items I was working on when, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. MOOOOOOMMMMMY!" screams the 4 year old.

"AHHHHH (breathe) AHHHHHH." echos the 2 year old.

And then, the four year old let out the highest pitch blood curtling scream I have ever heard in my life. It was the kind of scream that wins actresses leading roles in horror flicks.

My fingers hit ten different keys on the computer creating a word even wouldn't be able to make sense. I flew from my chair and ran down the stairs. I am not sure I touched each step during my descent but I am glad my hand was on the rail or I would have rolled down on my head instead of landing on two feet. It's a shame I worked out that day because I probably burned just as many calories on my mad dash towards the screams as I did on the treadmill.

During my flight down the second half of the stairs, I scanned the first floor for my children. I didn't see them and the screams continued to intesify. It's amazing what kind of horrible thoughts can fill your mind in a matter of seconds as I had visions of missing limbs, free flowing blood and a man with a chain saw chasing my children.

The back porch. That's where the screams were coming from. As their little voices crescendoed in terror, I added my screams to complete the chorus (mainly so my children would know that I was vicariously freaking out with them). I ran to the screened porch and came face to face with my kids, both of whom were locked outside on the patio. There they were. My two prescious children with their noses planted in the screen mesh of the door, trembling in fear.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Mooooommm, we, we, we (breathe) wanted to see the lizard." Offered my brave 4 year old.

"Okay, and?"

"The door shut and I can't open it."

It took five minutes of sitting on the couch, holding them both in my lap, to stop the onslaught of tears, shakes and sobs. The entire time of which I am trying not to laugh at the over-dramatization of Terror Behind the Screened Door.

After calming my children, I headed back upstairs to again sit at my computer. The moment of inspiration gone, I can't help but laugh at the irony of my situation. I love to write. I also love my children. Sometimes, the two do not mesh very well, and other times they do. But, the memories will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trusting the King

Last weekend, I attended the Proverbs 31 SheSpeaks conference. If my attendance had been brought about by sheer fancy, than I would continue this entry by divulging all the oohs and aahs that took place. However, I wasn't there by accident, and therefore was on the lookout for my King.

To explain, I must digress. I am a fiction writer. I love to take words and link them together in such a way that the reader is transported into a another world where their imagination is set free. However, fiction was not only my love, it was also my sanctuary.

In February 2008, I received an email from Proverbs 31 announcing the upcoming SheSpeaks conference. As soon as I read it, I knew God wanted me to attend.

When I registered for the conference, I learned that publishers would be onsite for pitch meetings. And, God directed me to sign up for this as well.

In a flurry of excitement, I dusted off my completed, unpublished novel, and started fleshing out ideas for its proposal. God again knocked on my door. This time he asked me to lay my fiction down.

What? Lay my fiction down? It's what I do. It's all I know. My King was silent. He waited for my submission. It wasn't immediate, but I relented. I laid my fiction at the foot of the cross, and waited for his direction. It wasn't long before God breathed life into me, birthing a different dream.

"My Princess. I have called you to write but I can not use a gift that you have perverted through the wounds of your past. You are hiding and I want to set you free."

God showed me that just as he asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac upon the altar, sometimes he asks us to sacrifice our desires. When we do, he is able to remold and resurrect those dreams in such a way that fulfills our destiny in him and furthers the Kingdom of God.

My dream was resurrected. This time in the form of non-fiction. For three months, I worked tirelessy on my book proposal. Only this time it wasn't my story, it was his. I went to the conference not knowing what to expect. For two days, I absorbed information from classes, made it through my pitch meetings without throwing up, and cried during praise and worship. All the while, wondering if I had heard God correctly, and needing reassurance from my King.

At the end of Saturday when my emotions were spent, and my mind nearing overload, I discovered a prayer room. Up until this point I had been unaware that the P31 staff had set up a prayer room, complete with an altar, pillows, chairs, and lots of tissues. The room had tables lining the walls, and on the tables were printed pages, each listing a different name of God. The staff had also printed out each attendees name, prayed, and strategically placed them on the tables.

A woman I'd befriended earlier that evening found my name. It was laying on the paper which boldly pronounced "Jehovah-Jireh the Lord will Provide". Underneath this heading was a scripture verse that said, "just as God provided a ram to replace Isaac on the altar for Abraham, so will God provide all your needs." (paraphrased, Gen 22)

This past weekend was an experience I will treasure forever, and one I intend to repeat. I can't explain the specific reasons why God called me to attend the conference. I can't explain the road he has put me on or how, when and where it will end up. But I can trust my King. God called me to Concord, and in his faithfulness he met me there. I can't wait to see where he calls me next.

Thank you Proverbs31. The conference was incredible.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Test Post

Another test