Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love Letters to the King

Welcome! If you are new to my blog and Love Letters the the King, please click here.

If you missed last Friday's love letter, click here.

I hope you enjoy this week's letter.

My sin overshadows me.

Like a thick cloak, my shame wraps around me and forbids forgiveness to enter. The weight of it growing heavier with each step, I tread through the garden looking for you, and avoiding you at the same time.

I did not mean to take it as far as I did. The provocation of such a thing seems childish now that it’s behind me. But, the crowd, my Lord. What was I to do? Not defend you?

They did not believe me. The explanation for the glow of my skin, the smile upon my lips, and the light-hearted way in which I now walk. They heralded me with accusations of being bewitched by an unholy incantation, for only that would cause such a change within me.

I told them, my Lord. I told them about you, and about our garden. I left no detail out as I dictated your love in insufficient prose. I tried to explain the part of me that is alive because of you, but they would not listen.

They threw slurs around like poisonous darts that penetrated my soul, and darkened my heart. “It is all in your mind.” They yelled. “A lie of your making used to belittle us. You are no better than we are.”

They are right. I thought, I am no better than any of you. And to some, I am less than that.

Their accusations turned to counsel and their counsel became my beliefs. In an instant, I believed in their version of your truth. As the crowd dissipated, I stood alone. Tears of frustration welled in my eyes. How could I have been so wrong? Shedding my hope, I laid plans to return to my old life. To once again become that which I fought so hard to forget. For, in my mind, it was the only place I could find solace.


At first, I wasn’t sure I heard it.

Princess, come to me.

The tears that filled my eyes now spilled down my face. My head bowed, I ran towards your garden. Yes, the garden. How could I believe another above you?

Now, walking in our sacred place, I feel the weight of my shame from being so easily persuaded from the truth. My heart, bubbling over with love for you, fears the reprimand that should come, and the sadness that will fill your eyes when you look at me. It is almost too much to bear.

My feet saunter down the path toward the willow tree that stands alone in front of your lake. Head bowed, staring at the broken bedrock, my arms swing mindlessly by my sides in cadence with my footsteps. Intermittent tears trickle to the ground.

From the corner of my eye, a shadow joined me along the path. Footsteps, now audible, fell in rhythm with mine. And, as my arm swung back behind me, your hand grabbed mine and interlaced your fingers into my fingers.

My momentum slowed as we strolled, hand-in-hand, along the path towards the lake.

We stopped at the water’s edge and, fearing the calm before the storm, I braced for your anger. Instead, you smiled. Stepping behind me, you wrapped your arms around my shoulders and pulled me back into your chest.

Your lips brushed my ear as you whispered, “No matter how much you doubt, Princess, I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are mine and mine alone. Call upon me dear one…..I will always answer.”

Your words stung. But just as salve stings before it soothes, your words brought healing as well. My cloak of shame was ripped from me and thrown to the wind. Peace infiltrated my mind and body as I lay engulfed in the security of your embrace.

Under the willow tree by the water’s edge, we stood until the sun was tucked beneath the horizon. And, I wished I could have stayed there forever.

May I never doubt your love again.

Your enraptured servant.

“…Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

What are Love Letters to the King?


“Love Letters to the King” is a set of letters that take you on a journey to explore the fictional account of how a peasant girl arrested the heart of a King, and how the King transforms her into a Princess.

Written as individual first person letters, you feel as though you have stumbled across a young woman’s account of an age-old love affair.

My prayer is that, as you unravel the mystery behind the letters, you’ll discover there’s a King waiting to start a love affair with you.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Disney Fun

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Recently, my family went on vacation to our favorite recreational spot. Disney World!

Last week, I shared pics of the golden chariot that carried me around the park. (For those who are just stopping by I have a disability. You can read about it by clicking here.)

This week, I have to give Disney major kudos for their new ride Toy Story Mania inside their Hollywood Studios park.

This ride is so much fun. It's a 3D virtual reality tour de force of carnival games.

(Sorry I don't have better pictures. We were so taken by the decor, we forgot to snap more pics)

The cart sits four people (two on each side) and each person has their own popper gun. The cart twists and turns along a track, stopping in front of wall size TV screens that flash up differnt carnival games such as shoot the swimming ducks, or hit the plates with arrows. And, it's all in 3D thanks to the beautiful yellow glasses they make you wear. Your get a high score. Of course, my husband won. But, there's always next time.

Now, I must digress.

The ride was fun, yes. But, there were two other things about this ride that made it a memorable experience.

One, Disney pulled out all the stops in designing this ride where the handicapped are concerned. The thing that stood out the most....No one had to wait on disabled guests to load into a cart. We were on a completely separate loading dock. A cart would leave the main drag, enter our loading dock and could be disassembled to accomodate even the bulkiest of wheelchairs. Once the person is loaded, the cart finds its way back to the main track and off it goes. For me, this is awesome. I hate making people wait just because I move slower than everyone else. Man, that stresses me out! However, on Toy Story, I could be as slow as I needed to be, and no one was put out. Loved it!!

Two, Zach. This begs explanation. You see, the Toy Story ride is new. Therefore, the line was LONG. My kids and waiting do not go very well together and if they have to stand in line for more than five minutes they get bored, which leads to straight out goofiness.

Regan, being a climber, decided it was a good idea to scale the metal poles. She continued to do this even after the Disney worker asked her not to climb. Yes, that's our girl. Inevitably, she fell and hit her mouth on the pole. Crying ensued, Mommy consoled and Zach entered the picture.

Oblivious to me there was another family behind us. However, it wasn't Mommy or Daddy that had the disability; it was there son, Zach. He was maybe two years older than Regan and he had Down Syndrome.

As I sat in my scooter with Regan in my lap, her head buried in my chest, Zach moved around and stood in front of us. With compassion in his eyes, he began stroking the back of Regan's hair. When she turned her head towards him, he leaned in and gave her a big bear hug and asked if she was okay.

Immediately, Regan's tears dried and we spent the next fifteen minutes getting to know Zach.

I was almost sad when we loaded into the cart and said bye only to find that Zach and his Mom loaded into the cart behind us and (due to the logistics of the carts) Regan and Zach faced each other for most of the ride. So, instead of these two preschoolers shooting the wall sized TV screens, they instead shot each other and when the popguns didn't seem to work, they made faces and laughed.

After the ride was over, Zach came and hugged Regan and kissed her on the cheek. We said goodbye and never saw him again.

Long lines are not always fun and can bring about many frustrations, but this line held a gift and I was happy they we were the family that unwrapped it.

Stay tuned as this Friday we will have another Love Letter and Monday will hold the next installment in Mary's Journal. And, next Wednesday, I may have to share the vacation inside the vacation....carrot cake cookies. Hmmmmm.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mary's Journal

How awesome are you God that nothing is impossible with you? That is what Gabriel said when he visited me, and he was right. To think, my dear cousin was barren. Wanting a child all her life, she was left with an empty womb and empty arms until such a time as this.

A time of your choosing. I am still in awe.

Amazed at your glory and of your love, for you looked down upon her….upon Elizabeth…and you filled her womb. Even in her old age, when others said it was no longer possible, you gave her life.

How awesome are you God that you would do such a thing?

In your presence, my heart is set to song and takes flight among the eagles. For, my very bones ache with the knowledge that possibilities are endless with you.

She’d waited for so long. My dear Elizabeth, whose dreams had years ago become distant memories. She’d pushed them from her mind and yet, you did not. And, for that I am grateful.

But I wonder, how many more have forgotten dreams. How many more serve you in gladness but, secretly look to you with hopelessness? If you delivered such blessings upon my cousin, then I know you can do the same for many more.

My God, the one in whom I trust. I plead to you that we are a desolate people my Lord. The Romans bear down on us every day. Our hardships are evident in our calloused hands, our impoverished land and our broken hearts.

But, you are a deliverer of forgotten dreams. A resurrector of barren hopes. Can you not show up for everyone as you have Elizabeth?

In this moment it occurs to me that perhaps you already have. For my cousin’s womb is not the only one that has been touched.

Mine is filled as well.

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. Is this not also what Gabriel said to me? But, in truth, I wonder what that means. Will he fulfill dreams, my Lord? Will he be the one we have been hoping and praying for?

My mind is filled with questions whose answers cause my heart to tremble.

I have become so accustomed to hoping and praying for the Messiah that I cannot imagine that he is already here. This baby growing inside of me…is it him my Lord? I’m scared to hope and yet scared not too. For why else would you have bestowed such a thing upon me except to answer the cries of your people?

Because my Lord, you are the restorer of hopes and dreams. The one who looks down upon us, and in mercy and grace, fulfills that which we believe to be impossible.

I am in awe of you my Lord and forever will be.


“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:36-37 NIV

May the Lord resurrect in your life that which you thought to be lost for He has not forgotten the God-given dreams of your heart. For when you least expect it, you will find that nothing is impossible with God.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Love Letters to the King

I saw myself today.

The garden was soaked from a mid-morning rain. Droplets scurried down branches and dripped from the tip of each leaf lending its girth to the growing puddles beneath the canopy.

With each step, my feet slipped deeper within the saturated earth. Bending down to dislodge my sandal, something caught my eye.

Entangled in the roots of an ancient oak, a pool of water gained refuge from the sun. The puddle, undisturbed, was a perfect looking glass that reflected my every movement. I leaned over the muddy water and was disheartened by the girl staring back at me.

I tested the reflection by touching my cheek only to find the girl in the puddle touched hers as well. But, surely that could not be me. Dampened by the humidity, hair stuck haphazardly to her face and neck. Her cheeks, sallow and gaunt, looked out of place amidst a rose filled garden. Unwoven threads spilled from the aged-shawl pulled over her shoulders and lay threat to unravel the garment there beneath the tree. Dipping my finger into the pool, I’d hoped the ripples would make her disappear but she did not. The smile evaporated from the girl’s lips as it did mine.

How can I visit you in such a state? I’d seen the reflection and realized my own displeasure. How can I possibly please you?

The sun grew taller above the trees. And, I knew you’d be waiting.

Not willing to deny my heart’s desire to drink in your presence, I walked toward our meeting place.

Within minutes, I spanned the distance of the garden and found you waiting beneath the draped branches of the willow tree. Casting my eyes to the ground, I took my place by your side.
My shame stood between us. Your silence suffocated me and my heart felt as though it would shatter.

My foot turned and my body twisted until I was facing the path once again. Stepping forward to leave, your hand caught my elbow.

“Come” you said.

With your arm, linked in mine, you guided me to the edge of the lake. Dropping to one knee, I followed suit and knelt by your side.

We leaned over the water’s edge and a smile spread across your lips.

“Look into my water.” You said as your finger cracked the glassy surface and swirled the water until, at your whim, it turned into a crystal revealing secrets of yesterday and tomorrow.
Instead of my reflection, I saw old turn new. Darkness invaded by light. And, fear dispelled by truth. Drawn into the crystal, I watched images of my life replayed before me only this time I saw you etched into the picture.

You were there when the midwife handed me swaddled in a blanket to my mother. You were there standing next to me at the funeral of my father. And, you were there when the messenger brought the note calling me to your garden. Always there, always watching, always protecting. You were with me.

Your finger brushed the water’s surface again and the image changed. Tears welled up in my eyes until they spilled down my cheeks as a new vision came forth from the crystal. The girl from the puddle was standing in a great hall. You reached out and took her by the hand. A cacophony of music poured in as the couple danced across the floor. With each turn, my dress underwent a metamorphosis changing my appearance to that of a royal courtier.

Your laughter shattered the image as the crystal dispersed into a thousand water droplets and disappeared beneath the surface.

Leaning towards me, you whispered in my ear, “Do not trust your eyes Princess, trust mine.”

Yes my Lord, I will trust.

For I will forever be yours.


Your enraptured servant

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and a bride adorns herself with jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 NIV

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Disney and all things Scooterized

I saw a woman wearing stiletto heels in the middle of Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fl. (If you have ever been to one of the Disney parks then you know that the parks span multiple acres and require a crazy amount of walking.)

The shoes looked nice but the only thing I could think is “we are in the back of the park. That means you walked from the parking lot to here in those shoes and what’s worse… have to walk back.” Bless you young lady. Bless you.

Now, I admire anyone who can wear “fashion before comfort” type shoes. Why? Because I can’t. I would love to wear some styling killing-my-feet-while-I’m walking-but-who-cares-cause-I-am-strutting-my-stuff kind of shoes. But, if you have read any of my previous Wednesday posts, then you know that I have a completely fused spine and walk with a cane. It would be impracticality and an impossibility to don those type of shoes so I vicariously live through other’s hurt feet.

So, when and why did I notice this woman’s shoes? I noticed them this past weekend during our impromptu family get-a-way to Disney World in Orlando. Our favorite place to vacation. And, even though we have been too many times to count, this trip was distinctly different.

My husband, who was tired of me being in pain due to hobbling around the parks, decided it was time to embrace my disability and rent a scooter. Yes, I am now a scooter-riding Disney chic. I wonder if there is a club I can join…..

Anyway, here I am atop my golden, I mean white metal, chariot. We’ve decided that the next time we go to Disney, I am going to wear a special ordered T-shirt while riding my scooter that says “BEWARE FAULTY WANDS… fairy godmother zapped a pumpkin and this is what I got”

I must admit though, if you’re kicking it handicap style, Disney is the place to do it. Check out the Disney bus that transports guests from the resorts to the parks.

Riding a scooter? No problem, the bus is fully equipped to take you and your noble steed to the park. And, you get first dibs on the seats.

Notice my husband driving the scooter onto the bus elevator thingy? I am a bad enough driver on the road. You do not want me backing up a scooter in a crowd, on a bus or anywhere else!

And here it is parked on the bus. Nestled into its transportation spot, we sit back and enjoy the ride to whichever park we are heading too. Very nice Disney. Thank you for making it easy.

Stay tuned. Friday will host a new Love Letter to the King, Monday features the latest Mary’s Journal and next Wednesday will be more Disney adventures.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Happy Martin Luther King Day

Please enjoy the latest Love Letter to the King for a couple more days.

I'll be back on Wednesday with some whimiscal posts from our family vacation; a new Letter on Friday and back to Mary's Journal on Monday.

Hope you had a great weekend.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Love Letters to the King

Oh my Lord,

The darkness has overtaken me.

The gloom of it pierces my heart and poisons my soul and I fear I can bear no more. And, I wonder, how do I know the sun will rise, my Lord? How do I know this darkness will flee from me?

For I fear it is a nebulous dark that arises from the underworld and threatens to destroy me.

It’s as if death itself has rested upon me for I am cloaked in shadows that have no beginning or end. I am lost amidst a black abyss that drips from my skin and springs forth eternal sorrow.

Here, on the path that runs through the middle of our garden, do I sit hugging my knees to my chest. I rock back and forth, physically willing the hands of time to quicken and bring the light of day sooner, but they do not. Instead, the broken rocks imbedded in the path bite my skin to the point of bleeding so that tears of pain join my tears of sadness as they waterfall off my cheeks.

I could leave.

I could stand right now and run out of the garden and back to the safety of my own room within the village. I could climb into my bed, pull the covers tight around me and find warmth in my own trapped body heat. I could go back to that place, to the constraints of a world of my design, and find a frail security. But I would be alone. I would no longer have the hope I find in you. I would no longer have the joy I feel in your presence. And, I would no longer see the look in your eyes that tells me how beautiful I am.

Having known to well the bitter taste of such an empty life, I do not dare leave the garden. Even while gripped in a darkness that masks the truth of my surroundings, I choose to wait.

And, in the waiting, believe that the sun will again come up.

For in one moment, the darkness will be lit with the brilliance of a thousand rainbows birthed by fire. The sun will ease above the horizon and chase away my demons. The trees shall awake, shake the inkiness of night from their branches and spread their leaves in honor of you. The morning dew will wash away every hint of lies that the shadows cursed upon the land and the garden will be new once again.

In that moment, I will rise. The rays of sun spilling into the garden will burn the sorrow off my skin and dry the tears from my face. A smile will cascade across my lips as I head towards the lake. For I know that when dawn kisses the earth, I will find you beneath the willow tree, waiting for me.

Yes, my Lord, right now it is dark. I am surrounded by all that I fear. But I choose to believe the sun will rise.

I will rest in the knowledge of that which I know but cannot see. And, I trust I will find you there.


Your enraptured servant

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Welcome to Whimsical Wednesday – where laughter gets us through the week.

This is Ella.

She was a gift this past November and I’d like to take the opportunity to say thank you to the giver.

I love cats. However, my husband hates cats. About every six months over the last seven years, I have asked if we could have a cat and the answer has always been NO. End of story.

Having played every angle, including the “but the kids really want a cat”, I had come to terms with never having a cat. But, then one fateful Thursday afternoon my inbox was infiltrated with an email profiling an abandoned cat who was in need of a home. My heartstrings were once again pulled.
Being that it was way too late in the afternoon to ask my husband about the cat (as his nerves would already be shot from a long stressful day at the office) I decided to wait until the next morning.
Friday came and I sent my husband off to work, made sure he arrived safely and then I popped the question.
Forwarding the original cat email, I asked if we could give this abandoned kitty a second chance. I even added a smiley face for added sentiment.

To my absolute surprise my husband said “yes”.
After making sure he was serious, I had that cat signed, sealed and delivered within thirty minutes. I couldn’t believe it. We had a cat.

Later that afternoon when my husband arrived home from work I asked him why he changed his mind after all these years. His response, “I didn’t have a choice.”
He recounted the story that during his bible study meeting the previous Tuesday, God spoke to his heart and told him to get me a cat. He’d been wracking his brain all week trying to figure out how to surprise me with a cat when I forwarded the email to him.

The funny part of the story….this cat is identical to a cat I had in my childhood that was unfairly taken away from me. This cat from the past was just one of many things taken away from me as a child. God had long since promised restoration and has delivered on many accounts, but now he is delivering on finite details. As He has restored a favorite pet.

Ella has made a wonderful addition to our family and is a constant reminder of God’s restorative power. So thank you Lord for your gift. And thank you to my husband for being obedient.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mary's Journal

Today, I sing.

I sing a song that is mine and mine alone. Walking towards Elizabeth’s house, the path is deserted. But instead of loneliness I find peace, and so I sing.

“There is a joy in my heart. A joy I do not understand.
There is a joy inside my soul.
And, it threatens to control the very essence of who I am.

I am nothing. I am something. I am yours and yours alone.

My God. Precious God. To you am I thankful.
For this gift that you have given me.

To the one placed inside of me. My thoughts are always of you.
I dream of who you are and what you will do.
Will you change the world? I know that you will. But how and when escapes me.
My thoughts they do betray me. For I fear that which will come for you.
I fear what wants to destroy you.

My baby. Small one kept secret for now.
You’re safe, you’re growing, tucked away from the world.
Baby of mine and yet, I am yours. For my heart already bears the scars of loving you.

Jesus. I’ll call you Jesus. The name bestowed upon you by God himself.
What plans he has for you? What meaning shall come from your name?
Will the world love or hate you? I’m haunted by these questions whose answers I know not. But today, you are mine. Kept safe within me.
Yes, safe within me.”

This is the song within my heart Lord. Today, I release it to you. As I walk towards my cousin’s house, I feel as though I am walking towards destiny for at this point there is no going back.

With each step that I take, the song in my heart grows louder. Perhaps it will grow so loud it will drown my fears and yet the grand noise of it shall betray my secret to Elizabeth. And, I fear what she will think of me. Will she believe my story? Though I am sure that he cannot, I wonder if Gabriel could go before me and tell my story that I may not have to explain this mystery.

I think that I shall not tell her.

For now is a time of rejoicing over the child that she is carrying. A miracle child in and of itself. Yes, today I will rejoice with Elizabeth.

But, this song. It threatens to consume me. I do believe my secret is written all over my face Lord, that I shall not be able to keep it no matter how hard I try. For, how can one hide the great mystery that is you.

Oh Lord, I promised to trust in you and you alone. Pave the way before me and be sure to hold my hand. For I go to rejoice and care for my cousin. I pray she will rejoice with me as well.


“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3 NIV

The song of the Lord is as springs of living water and when the song is uttered it releases waves of healing restoration for your soul. So, regardless of circumstance, regardless of all that is around you, release your song unto the Lord.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Love Letters to the King

Today, my Lord, I have grown tired. The burden of my insignificance heavy upon me. The bruise on my arm a reminder that there are those who do not care I am here.

Sweeping the front step of my employer’s store, surrounded by a dust cloud perpetuated by a dry land, dispassionate villagers care not that they knock me to and fro.

My day’s chores seem unending and unrewarded.

I want to escape. To run into the presence of the one who breathes life upon my soul. But the dust did not only shield me from view. It darkened you from my mind as well.

I tried to daydream of you, to find happiness amidst the mockery of hope, but the dream did not come. Your image faded as if covered beneath the debris of my brokenness. For a moment, I thought I would not find you, that maybe I had never
found you. Sorrow filled my heart and tears burst forth.

But I cannot forget our garden, my Lord. And so, at the end of the day, I left the village. Tears washing the dirt from my face, I walked towards you.

My shoes were filled with gravel and, with every step, bit the soles of my feet. My sweat soaked garment clung to my body. Wiping my brow, the closeness of my own bed in the village brought more solace than the journey to your garden, but I pressed on.

By the time I arrived, the sun was dipping just below the horizon, casting shadow upon the wrought iron gate.

Tranquility spilled forth as an intangible cloud that engulfed my body and nurtured my soul. The celestial twilight penetrated my spirit, renewing me from the inside. You were there. I could feel you.

Although the evening’s air began to cool, my skin was feverish. Nearing the gate, I let go my shawl allowing it to slip from my shoulders, down my back and onto the ground. Two steps before entering I pulled the slip knot from my hair, shaking the dust from my locks and letting them cascade down my back. I stepped out of my shoes and left them at the foot of the gate before entering your garden.

Leaving the path, I stepped barefooted onto the chilled grass. With each step, the coarse blades scrubbed the dirt from the soles of my feet. The night air dried my dress until it lay loose around me.

The cicadas serenaded the evening sky and the garden erupted in dance. I could do nothing but join in. My arms lifted and pulled my torso from side to side. Reaching towards the earth, I skimmed my fingers along the blades of grass before leaping into the air and throwing my hands towards heaven. Twirling, I joined the garden in rhythm and song until my lungs hurt from the sting of inhaling too much cold air too quickly.

Pausing to catch my breath, I saw you in the distance. Barely making out your silhouette, the only aspect of your darkened figure evident was the smile upon your face. You were watching me.

With one foot in front of the other, I bowed towards you. For you, my Lord, are the true joy that invades my heart and sets my foot to dance.


Your enraptured servant

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV)

Dance, sing and rejoice in the one who sees you no matter your circumstance. And know, his refreshing is for evermore.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time to Potty Train

Welcome to Whimsical Wednesday, where laughter gets us through the week!

Yesterday, my daughter changed her own diaper.

It occurs to me that this is a sign of her readiness to potty train, and yet I cringe at the very thought of it.

I am no good at potty training. Why do I say I am not good at it? Because I know that I am not good at it.

For instance, we tried the immersion method with Squeaker (our daughter) once before. We bought her underwear of her choice and announced the special day that would be potty training day.

Squeaker proudly wore her underwear and sat on the potty every 20 minutes for about two hours with no success. Considering all the juice she had been drinking, I knew we would need to “go” at any minute so I was trying to watch her closely. But, the minutes ticked by and I got distracted.

Squeaker climbed into a dinette chair and sat down for lunch. She took a bite of her food and released her bladder all in one simultaneous motion. I yelled, “Squeak, you’re wet.”

With a bit of sandwich hanging out of her mouth, she climbed out of her chair, swooshed her hand across the seat spraying pee all over the floor, shook her hand off, climbed back into the chair and resumed eating.

After we washed everything, the diapers came back into being.

Now, this in itself is not enough to scare me out of potty training. No, this is a small blip on the radar. The real root of fear was planted with our first born.

Enter Bug, our son.

At 2 years of age, we tried everything with him. Nothing worked. He simply did not want to go on the potty, so I let it go.

One day, I took Squeaker (who was still in an infant carrier) and Bug to meet a friend and her kids at the library. As we walked into the lobby, Bug announced his immediate need to use the potty.

I was speechless. I looked at my friend for guidance.

“Well, you have to take him.” She said.

“But, I don’t have the diaper bag.”

“Take him!”

So, leaving Squeaker with her, I ran Bug to the nearest restroom yelling all the way, “Hold it son, hold it, we’re almost there, hold it!”

Into the restroom and into a stall we went. Now mind you, I had to carefully remove the diaper so we could reuse it as I had nothing with me. Careful not to touch the inside of the diaper to the dirty floor, I laid it on the ground. And of course I’m yelling all the while “Hold it son, no don’t touch that…no, don’t put your hand in the water….Son! Just wait on me.”

Finally, I get the boy on the potty and he says, “Oh, I don’t have to go.”

You don’t have to go? Boy, you better squeeze something out.

Trying to win the good mommy of the year award, I bite my tongue….lift Bug carefully off the potty seat, replace old diaper and re-dress him. It was sometime during this process that a strange image flashed across my mind. What was that weird thing on the wall by the sinks.

That’s when it hit me. That’s right. It was a urinal.

Okay, I say to myself, this is a bad dream. That wasn’t a urinal. We really are in the right restroom. Just in case we’ll sneak…….

Nope. No sneaking. At this point someone turned on the water and started to wash their hands. I was cornered and Bug was getting antsy.

Out of the stall we walk only to be caught like a deer in headlights in the glare of a man whose expression could only be described as “Oh dear Lord, I am going to jail!”

The worst part is, he started looking around to make sure he wasn’t in the wrong restroom.

Now, you would think I would quickly slink out of the restroom, leave the library and never step foot in there again. But, you have to understand that I am very OCD and my 2 year old had just touched a toilet. We had to wash our hands. So, standing at the sink, next to the man, I wash my son’s hands and apologize profusely trying to plead my case.

“He had to go.” I said.

The man finished washing his hands and backed his way out of the restroom, never taking his eyes off of us.

With head bowed in disgrace, I exited the restroom to the sounds of my friend’s hysterical laughter.

So yes, potty training is terrifying and with child #2 ready to take the potty plunge, I grit my teeth and pray that at least part of my dignity remains intact after the ensuing battle.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mary's Journal

My hands are still sweating. Favored one. Me? Favored for what I must ask.

I still do not fully understand. If my heart could be anymore torn it might break in half. Joy and fear threaten to battle for occupation of my mind and I’m not sure which will win.

Favored one. Me?

Can tears fall from happiness and terror? Can one tear drown fate and another spring life? For my tears deceive me and they know not why they fall. In my pillow do I allow my tears to soak through like a bloodstained cloth. For one moment I am at peace and the next torment.

Favored one. Me?

His light was so bright. The one you call Gabriel. Heavenly to be sure for none could possess such a light source and be of this earth for he emanated that which could only be replicated by the sun itself and yet, it did not burn me. No, his presence was cool, peaceful, like a babbling brook whose source evades all capture. His words were soothing as silk coursing against one’s skin and yet they were loud as if rattling around the inside of a great cavern. My heart ached in his presence and I could not doubt he was sent by you, my Lord.

But, favored one. Me?

Am I not a poor peasant girl? Simple in all manners and ways? For today, I was doing nothing much of consequence. Nothing that would stand out to anyone of importance, but tonight…your angel. Gabriel. I fear my life has changed forever. I fear what tomorrow holds.

But, I will trust in the one who holds my tomorrow.

For I know You, my Lord. I have followed your ways and trusted your heart. I sought you in all things and believed you in all things. Why now, upon such great evidence, should I stop? No, I shall not for You are mightier than the sword, stronger than all that would test my faith. No, my Lord, I shall not leave you now.

Now, I will trust you all the more.

Bestow upon me what you will, my Lord. May it be to me as the angel has said.

“For nothing is impossible with God. ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’” Luke 1:37-38

I pray that you see yourself the way God sees you. For you are not forgotten or unnoticed. You are not “poor” in the sight of the Lord. No, you are favored. You are a daughter of the King and nothing is impossible with God. Trust in him. Throw all cares on him and today seek God for the purpose of your life for He is ready to bestow your destiny upon you.

*author's note: This Mary's journal is similar to the original one in Dec however, this new revised version is the first official journal entry for the "Mary's journal" devotionals. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Love Letters to the King

I was tired, my Lord.

The day behind me had been difficult. My work seemed unyielding and it warranted no merit. I laid my head to rest but sleep eluded me even in the darkened hour.

Restless, I drifted between our world and the one where dreams come to life. But my dreams could not keep me.

Immersed in Cimmerian shadows I left my bed and entered your garden. I knew you would not be there until the sun broke through the darkness and yet I had to come. In my malcontent, I needed to feel the remnant of your presence. To stand where I knew your foot had stood. To touch the smooth bark of the willow upon which you often rest your hand. I needed you. So, I waited.

The shroud of darkness screamed in my ears and yet, I thought I heard the approach of footsteps. I tried to turn but your hands took hold of my shoulders and squared my body in its place. Your grasp was firm. I was captive to your embrace.

“My Lord, are you not pleased to find me waiting?”

Your hand left my shoulder and covered my lips. Your skin was not smooth as it had been before. Calluses scraped my lower lip and an earthy malodorous smell filled my nose. I laid back into your chest hoping my submission would ease your grip, but you moved your other hand across my chest and held me closer than before. The stubble of your unshaven chin bit into my cheek. And your voice….

“Why do you love him?”

My breath was arrested within me, threatening to take my life.

“Why can you not love me?”

“You are not my King.”

“No. But, I should be for I can offer you so much more.”

The spittle of his words wet the inside of my ear. I could no longer hear the garden. I could only hear his filth and I was unwillingly intoxicated. Like filling my veins with poison, he purred his promises from a forked tongue masking all that I loved from view.

The muffled sound of a whimpering heart was all that was audible from my lips. My thoughts crying out for the only one whose love could break his hold.
The sun crept over the horizon and the lake danced in its presence. The scales of the arm that held me at bay turned to flesh in the glow of the sun.

Like a warrior riding in from the distance, the light flooded the garden and again I heard the approach of footsteps.

“Let her go, Lord Viroth. She is not yours to hold.”

His hand left my mouth and his embrace released. Curses slip past his lips as we turned to face the King.

You towered in front of him, the sun illuminating your face so that it hurt my eyes. Your arm outstretched towards me and I ran into your embrace.

“Leave us Viroth and do not be so quick as to come back again.”

With your words still lingering in the air, Lord Viroth disappeared into unnatural shadow.

I buried myself within your grasp. The gentleness of your touch renewed my strength. The brush of your finger across my lips healed the scrapes of my captivity.

“Forgive me my Lord, for in my weakness I thought he was you.”

Your lips buried within my hair, you kissed the top of my head. “Know only me Princess for what I offer cannot be duplicated.”

I will know you King. I will seek you always and in your embrace will I find refuge.


Your enraptured servant.

May you know the heart of the King and the voice of the one who loves you for in his embrace you will find refuge and peace for your soul.

“For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; for I am your servant.” Psalms 143:11, 12 (NIV)