International Women’s Day

Mother Teresa

I saved my Wednesday post for Thursday this week, because today is International Women’s Day. While I’m not a women’s libber or a women’s rights activist (Not that there’s anything wrong with those who are, in fact, if that’s you, KUDOS! Keep it up!), I do believe women are special and contribute far more to society than they’re given credit for. So today I celebrate a few of the women who have contributed something to my life in the way of lessons learned or those I greatly admire. Those are:

Marilyn Monroe – She was such a beautiful, talented woman, and yet so conflicted. Sadly, Marilyn Monroe has proven that beauty truly is only skin deep and cannot buy happiness or true joy.

Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer – She has demonstrated that being a woman should never stop one from doing what one truly wants to do. If anything, she has shown that one should try even harder, pursuing passion with gusto.

Oprah Winfrey – She has shown that no matter what we’re born with and what our past holds, it does not have to define and shape our future. We have the power within us to do and be whatever we choose to be. And, as with Amelia Earhart, passion and perseverance can move mountains.

Katie Davis – Katie has shown that we’re never too young to make a difference. At 18 she moved to Uganda to work with the poor and has adopted 14 girls and made a difference to an abundance of people. She radiates joy, love, hope, and the Spirit of Jesus.

Anne Frank – Her statement, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart,” is astounding to me. She has shown that attitude really is 99% of what we become.

Kathryn Stockett – Wow! Talk about perseverance! After five years of trying to secure a literary agent and approximately 60 rejections, the author of the bestseller, The Help, never quit. Thank goodness she finally caught the attention of just one, because it’s a book I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

Jane Pauley – I grew up watching her on NBC’s The Today Show, and her simple beauty and love of being a journalist fed my love of words. Recently she has spoken openly about her bipolar disorder, helping to overcome some of the stigma surrounding the illness. Go Jane!

Maya Angelou – A woman who has overcome childhood trauma and used it to help others overcome through words. And the poem Phenomenal Woman? I need say no more. Simply phenomenal!

Mother Teresa – I don’t even know where to begin with explaining what this amazing Godly woman has taught me. She was the most perfect role model of grace, humility, and demonstration of love. Her simplicity and selfless service to others knew no bounds.

But the first and most influential woman in my life is my mother. She has taught me that hard work, faith, and dedication are the keys to success. She has taught me that taking care of and being present for my own family is the greatest gift I can give, and that to serve and follow Christ, I need not travel to another country to do so, but it starts in my own home. And she has taught me that laughter and joy are key to aging gracefully.

To you women, celebrate those women who have paved the way to make your life a better one. And to you men, celebrate those women who enrich your lives.

There are still many causes worth sacrificing for, so much history yet to be made.   Michelle Obama

Well-behaved women seldom make history. 
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

 

Women’s History Month Spotlight – Mary, Mother of Jesus

mother-mary-with-child-jesus

As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know back then, that role would far surpass any joy I’ve ever experienced. And that it would rocket my capacity to worry past the moon. I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of nights of uninterrupted sleep I’ve had since my boys were born. And this month they turn 24 and 27!

Mary, on the other hand, knew she was going to lose her son. She knew she was going to give birth to the Lord of heaven and earth, and knew from Jesus himself what was forthcoming. Could you imagine? I’m not sure–no, I am sure–I would never have been able to handle that with such grace, such trust in God, such beauty, as she did. She was the epitome of what a mother should be.

I’ve kept journals for each of my boys until they were 12 years old. I wrote in those journals every day when they were younger, a little less frequently as they got older, but even then, at least a few times a week. I tried to capture the miracle of everything life gave them every single day – the joy, the hurts, the lessons. When I read those journals, it’s like experiencing those magical days of motherhood again. What a miracle! My boys have taught me the definition of real and unconditional love. They’ve taught me how beautiful it is to see life through the eyes of a child. And through it all, they’ve taught me to trust Jesus.

images511DL4VT

Another miracle of being a mother? I’m a grandmother. And what a joy that is! 🙂

photo 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday–On Tuesday

I’ve always had a bit of rebellion coursing through my veins. Thank goodness it’s mellowed as I’ve gotten older to breaking only trivial rules–like deciding to post a Thursday post on a Tuesday. 🙂

I found another poem I’d written a very long time ago, shortly after the birth of my oldest son, Benjamin, who turns 26 (Zoinks!) tomorrow, March 25th. He’s grown to be such an amazing young man!

poem

 

A totally unrelated question for you as I ponder the future of the mystery novel I’m writing–what is your preference, self publishing, traditional publishing, and why?

Carpe Diem

 

The Best Days of My Life

photo 4

Twenty-three years ago today, March 17th, and twenty-six years ago on March 25th, were two of the best days of my life. The day my boys were born were the days I learned what it means to love completely and unconditionally. Each day spent with my boys from that day forward has been a “best” day.

When my boys were born, I began writing in a journal for each of them, each entry a love letter, that they may never have a single doubt ever in their lifetime about how much they are loved. That they may never for a second doubt their worth. And still, though they’re no longer little boys, there are days when I feel the overwhelming need to express my love, my gratitude to them, and for them, in a love letter that will someday find its way to them.

Boys

Every day as mom to these two amazing young men has been a magical journey, one with the most joy and laughter and also the biggest tears. When they’re happy, my heart rejoices. When they’re sad, my heart breaks. I’ve never worried more and I’ve never laughed more. And I wouldn’t trade a single moment of any of those experiences for anything else in the world.

A phone call out of the blue, a random text, hearing their voices say “I Love You, Mom,” and reading and re-reading the cards their little hands have made for me over the years, is the gift that keeps on giving. Over and over and over. And never grows old.

So on the day they were born, the day they celebrate another year older, I celebrate another year of having the privilege of being their mother. Another year of “best” days.

St Patricks Day

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

My top three for the week:

3.)  Watching my 22-year-old son play in a soccer tournament. I love to watch him play. His speed, skill  and agility are delightful to watch and I’m so proud of him.

2.)  Opening the door one evening to find my 25-year-old son and my 16-month-old granddaughter standing there, both smiling from ear to ear. Sheer delight!

1.)  A heartfelt, meaningful conversation with one of my boys on life and relationships. Being a mother–and grandmother–truly is my greatest joy.

I would love to hear what you’re grateful for. 🙂

And now it’s back to my last week of camp, (camp NaNoWriMo)  to get some serious writing in and pack things up. What a fun and productive month it’s been!

Back off to the wilderness.

Back off to the wilderness.

 

Thankful Thursday – The Lives and Health of My Boys

 048

I clearly remember the phone call I received from my 16-year-old son while I was nearing the end of a workday.  “Mom, I saw someone shot.  They aren’t moving.  Mom, there’s so much blood.” And the line went dead.

I attempted to call him back immediately, my fingers numb and not even feeling the number keys.  No answer.  The thought of praying escaped me while I was consumed with fear._MG_0597

After calling 9-1-1 in a desperate attempt for answers, the dispatcher assured me my son was fine, to remain calm, and to keep calling him until he answered.

Calm?  Not a chance.  My adrenaline was speeding far too fast to slow down, much less be calm.

As I look back on that day, how he happened to be driving on a road at the very time two men were attempting to carjack several vehicles, the bullets that splayed past my son as the two suspects were shot by investigators, an officer stopping my son and telling him to call 9-1-1 while the officer kept his gun on the suspect, I realize God was in control.  Of that particular situation and of my son’s life.

And I am so thankful for his life and his health.  And for a God who protects and saves.

My son’s comment as he tried to process such a horrific scene as best a 16-year-old can, “It’s not like it is in video games.  There’s so much blood.”  And my response, “You’re right, son.  In life there are no do-over’s when it comes to death.  It’s for real.”

A hard lesson for a child.

I remember the phone call I received two years later about my other son, then 17 years old, as I had just gotten settled in the stands to watch a Colorado Rockies baseball game.

MN 2009 001

“Ben had an accident at the pool.  He’s okay but they’re taking him to the hospital with a head injury.”

“He’s okay” and “head injury” in the same sentence created sparks of conflict in my mind.  Besides that, he was a lifeguard.  How could he have an accident? I tried to reason without success.

On a 30-minute car ride to the hospital that felt more like 3 hours, I arrived in time for tests to reveal it was more serious than they had thought.  He had brain bleeding and two neck fractures.  He was whisked off to a trauma hospital with me not a half of a step behind him, jumping in the ambulance beside him and the paramedic.

And once again, I realize God was in control of that particular situation and of my son’s life. And once again I am so thankful for my son’s life and his health.  And for a God who protects and saves.

The neurologist’s words, “A person normally doesn’t live from such an injury, much less walk again. You’re very lucky.”  And my whispered words, “God has a plan for your life, son.”photo (25)

I wasted too much time feeling sorry for myself, horrified by all of the “what-if” scenarios my mind circled around;  time wasted that I could–and should–have been praising Him for His presence.  For not “almost” taking my boys from me, but completely shielding them from real harm. For giving them protection and life.  Twice.

God gave me my boys not once, but twice.  He gave His own Son so that I may have mine forever.  Thankful?  Words cannot even begin to express.

English: Rainbow

Here’s to a heart of gratitude from a parent for the lives of her children to the ultimate Parent of all.

All is Grace.

Healing Words

Today, July 8th, marks eight days of celebrating life, and each day hereafter, yet another.

A year ago, I posted a blog entry on life circumstances that have made July a very difficult month to get through. I had mentioned how each year I would find myself holding my breath just waiting for July to end, giving birth to August, and I never quite released that breath I was holding until 12:01 a.m. when August was fully born.

This past year has reaped so many blessings and stitched so many miracles through my silky web, that I feel like my soul has been given new birth. Not once have I measured the minutes in the day by the pain I’ve endured, by the “almost’s” that nearly happened, nor have I x’d out each day before it ended, eagerly waiting to ‘x’ out the next–and the next.

Pen

I’ve traced the beginning of the real healing to writing. Writing has released repressed emotions, thoughts, and ideas that have led to newness and wholeness, and a brand new life.

Writing brings light when the day begins dark; when sadness strikes, it brings a glimmer a joy; it brings clarity out of confusion, and draws gratitude out of the simplest things; when isolated and alone it brings company through blogging friends and make-believe characters.

Writing pen to paper – or fingertips to keyboard – has facilitated healing and freedom from the traps the enemy has tried to catch me in. And what a blessing that is!

“It’s ironic that poets use words to convey what lies beyond words, that poetry becomes most powerful where simple language fails, allowing one to bridge the conscious and unconscious.” – Diane Ackerman, author and poet

This month, as I’ve mentioned in my post last Friday, my son was married, which brought joy to soothe a lifetime of pain. Chalk up another July bonus.

wedding-11

The happy – and gorgeous – couple.

This is one happy and proud mama!

This is one happy and proud mama!

And now, my friends, it’s back off to Camp, another July bonus, where I’ll be mixing fun with healing in one neat little package. Well, okay–I guess it could turn into one sticky little package if I get carried away with the marshmallows and s’mores. And what is camping without that? 🙂

Back off to the wilderness.

Back off to the wilderness.

All truly is grace.

A Mother’s Day Thanksgiving

English: BBQ - Self Designed.

English: BBQ – Self Designed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a lazy blogger the past week. That being said, I’ve been breathing new life into revising my novel, The Inheritance, and I’m seeing the final touches being completed in the very near future. Near, as in by mid-June. 🙂

My husband and I are taking a much needed vacation this next week–leaving in the morning–so I will resume blogging after we get back home.

In the meantime, I’m re-posting what I wrote for last Mother’s Day, a day that was so spiritually lifting it took my breath away.

I would like to wish all mothers, wanna-be mothers, aunts, grandmas, moms to pets, and any woman who cares for a child, regardless of whether you gave birth to them or not, a very happy Mother’s Day. Celebrate YOU, the LOVE you give, and the DIFFERENCE you make in the life a child.

And here’s the re-blog:

True to form, my husband agreed to do whatever I wanted to do for Mother’s Day, wanting to be sure my day was perfect.  My list consisted of two things: our first bike ride of the season, 30 miles round trip along the Platte River Trail to Confluence Park in Denver, enhanced by getting a treat from Starbucks, of course, followed by a BBQ in our backyard with my kids. We were on the bike path by 9:00 a.m., the slightest breeze, sun shining bright, trees budding like crazy, grass green as  be. I was in a state of awe as I breezed along the path, all of my senses aroused and drinking in the beauty that surrounded me. And all I could do was pray, giving thanks to a God who is so amazing to care about the most insignificant parts of my life, making them so significant.I saw the wild flowers sprinkled throughout the open fields, like paint on a canvas, and gave thanks for the blessings, too numerous to count, sprinkled throughout each of my days.

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed...

English: Wild Flowers in the Crop The rapeseed crop was dotted with a selection of wild flowers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw three small children lined up on a fallen log like baby birds in a nest, reaching up to the man standing before them patiently providing water and nourishment for the next leg of their journey. I gave thanks for the supply of living water and spiritual nourishment He provides me to sustain me on my journey of life.In the river below the bank I saw the flowing ripples from a duck that had taken flight. I gave thanks for a God who flows through my veins with love and grace to create the ripple effect to those He brings me to.

A woman in fragile health, wearing a mask protecting her mouth and nose from breathing the dust in the air, yet not afraid to go out and breathe in the beauty of the earth, smiled at me, the gentle crinkling at the corner of her eyes,  as she walked past. I thanked Him for my health and for his loving Spirit flowing to me through others.

I heard a baby crying in a meshed carriage being pulled behind a bike, and I watched the mother stop to comfort her child.  I thought of Mary on this blessed Mother’s Day, the perfect example of obedience and motherhood, bearing and raising a son that became my savior. And I gave thanks for the privilege of being a mother.

In the heat and stillness of mid-summer, with a not-distant-enough sewage treatment plant along one portion of the river, where I usually strengthen my breath holding skills, this particular day I inhaled the sweet fragrance of crab apple blossoms in the gentle spring breeze. And I gave thanks for the ability to smell such sweetness.

Martin Johnson Heade - Apple Blossoms CGF

Martin Johnson Heade – Apple Blossoms CGF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we walked in the park and I saw a disheveled man, sleeping soundly through the activity happening around him, back pack askew, I thanked God for my home and for the strength to get off the elevator of alcoholism before it hit the bottom floor. And I prayed for this man. That he would find the loving God that has blessed me beyond what I can possibly begin to comprehend.His goodness is everywhere, in everything, and in everyone. I’ve come to believe that what I look for, I will find. If I look for His blessings and His goodness, I will see it. Each morning upon waking, I have a choice whether I will see goodness. And I pray each day I choose wisely.

Share with me what you are grateful for today at this very moment.

Women’s History Month

I could hardly believe it when I realized this is my 100th post.  Amazing!  🙂

I spent some time trying to think of some wise, witty, memorable ideas, wanting to make it a huge celebration.  But then in the back of my mind, I thought since March is Women’s History Month, why not pay tribute to women who have changed the course of history.  The women who have paved the way to where I am today.  The women who’s courage amazes and captivates the attention of other women who are trying to make it in today’s world.

I’ve decided to list my top ten, and encourage and invite you to list some of yours in the comments.  Maybe there’s a woman who has made a difference in your life that others haven’t heard of and by learning more about that person, could make a difference in someone else’s life as well.

So here’s my top ten:

10.) Marilyn Monroe – She was such a beautiful, talented woman, and yet so conflicted.  Sadly, Marilyn Monroe has proven that beauty truly is only skin deep and cannot buy happiness.

9.)   Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer – She has demonstrated that being a woman should never stop one from doing what one truly wants to do.  If anything, she has shown that one should try even harder, pursuing passion with gusto.

8.)   Oprah Winfrey – She has shown that no matter what we’re born with and what our past holds, it does not have to define and shape our future.  We have the power within us to do and be whatever we choose to be.  And, as with Amelia Earhart, passion and perseverance can move mountains.

7.)   Katie Davis – Katie has shown that we’re never too young to make a difference.  At 18 she moved to Uganda to work with the poor and has adopted 14 girls and made a difference to an abundance of people.  She radiates joy, love, hope, and the Spirit of Jesus.

Katie Davis2

6.)   Anne Frank – Her statement, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart,” is astounding to me. She has shown that attitude really is 99% of what we become.

5.)   Kathryn Stockett – Wow! Talk about perseverance! After five years of trying to secure a literary agent and approximately 60 rejections, the author of the bestseller, The Help, never quit.  Thank goodness she finally caught the attention of just one, because it’s a book I would recommend to anyone and everyone.

4.)   Jane Pauley – I grew up watching her on NBC’s The Today Show, and her simple beauty and love of being a journalist fed my love of words. Recently she has spoken openly about her bipolar disorder, helping to overcome some of the stigma surrounding the illness.

3.)   Maya Angelou – A woman who has overcome childhood trauma and used it to help others overcome through words.  And the poem Phenomenal Woman? I need say no more. Simply phenomenal.

2.)   Mother Teresa – I don’t even know where to begin with explaining what this amazing Godly woman has taught me.  She was the most perfect role model of grace, humility, and demonstration of love. Her simplicity and selfless service to others knew no bounds.

1.)   The first and most influential woman in my life would be my mother.  She has taught me that hard work, faith, and dedication are the keys to success.  She has taught me that taking care of and being present for my own family is the greatest gift I can give, and that to serve and follow Christ, I need not travel to another country to do so, but it starts in my own home.  And she has taught me that laughter and joy are key to aging gracefully.

Mom-Princess

Forgiveness and Consequences

forgiveness

forgiveness (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

When her child is hurting, why does a mom take it upon herself to want to strip away the pain, rescuing her child, his immediate happiness trumping an opportunity to pray he use that moment of adversity and trial to grow closer to God.

At least that’s what this mom tends to do.

When my child, even my adult child, chooses to live life separate and apart from his mom, breaking my heart wide open, exposing the rawness, the very nerve endings throbbing red with pain as when a hammer hits a thumb, why does it cause this mom to feel overwhelming guilt for something I may not have done? 

Or perhaps even worse, something I may have done very wrong.

Why must I reduce it to be the result of something I did or didn’t do, rather than a sign of his growing independence as he grows a family of his own? 

It was once told to me that the best gift we can give our children is to teach them how to live without us.  So why must I look at it as a weakness on my part rather than a strength?

Could it be the fact that I still hold myself guilty for something that happened long ago? And why is it so much easier to  grant others forgiveness and grace that we oftentimes cannot extend to ourselves?

Could it be one can’t actually forgive oneself, but only simply give it to God, to be rid of it once and for all? Could something I’ve been making so hard really be that simple? 

Christ has forgiven me for something that happened over a decade ago as many times as I have sought His forgiveness. And that has been a million times. Or so it seems.  

How many times must I ask His forgiveness before it becomes a lack of faith on my part? An unbelief that He forgave me the very first time I fell on my knees, tear-stained, heart broken, still breaking, asking Him to forgive my selfishness and waywardness.  

What if He’s teaching me lessons in forgiveness, trust and consequences?

What if He is teaching me that when my child does something that may cause me heart-wrenching, raw pain, such as turning a back, spouting hurtful words, that that is how my own behavior, as His child,  pains Him?

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

A pain that is wild beyond description or comprehension.What if He is teaching me the depth of His love and forgiveness? That just because there is forgiveness, does not mean there are no consequences.

Teaching me that even though He has truly forgiven me, unpleasant and painful results from sin long ago can still appear in my life. Like a volcano a decade old, the gray ashes still falling, spiraling down ever so faintly around shoulders who long ago caused the eruption. A reminder.

Teaching me that not only does forgiveness not mean there are no consequences, but that consequences may be part of the forgiveness? In order to teach me a lesson that will last, to prevent further pain. That the price we pay is something to consider a gift.

What if He is teaching me that because He has forgiven, I can rest in Him while I pay that price? That He is with me on the journey, rather than facing the bare, cold bones of that reality alone.

In my child’s worst moments, even my adult child, I would never withhold forgiveness from him, but extend even more love. More grace. More compassion. Walking with him, holding him every step of the way, no matter how rocky or how long the journey. 

What if He is teaching me the reality and depth of His love and forgiveness, knowing that what I am capable of feeling is only a fraction of His love for us. For my son.

That is something to be eternally grateful for. A lesson worth the pain to learn. To remember always.

That I can walk the road of my life,  rocky with debris from my choices and sinfulness, God’s outstretched hand helping me up each and every time I trip because I looked away from Him.  That He watches over my children, His children, better than this mom could ever imagine.

Consequences. Forgiveness. Intertwined to perfection.

Grace to You.