People often ask me about the name of my blog... click here to read the story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Address...

I'm moving...
Due to ongoing issue in Blogger, I'm moving Flirting with Eternity to WordPress. Won't you please follow me there? The new address is:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Last week I stumbled upon the singer/songwriter JJ Heller. After listening to bits of a few songs, I downloaded the entire set. This morning one of the lines struck me:

Falling in love with you was easy
You were always meant to have my heart

The song is obviously about her relationship with God. I believe God did create us with a "God shaped vacuum" as Pascal (or someone-it's origin is debated) wrote. So I do believe He was meant to have my heart.

But is falling in love with God easy?

For the few who read this blog, I'd really like to hear what you have to say...don't be afraid...there's no right answer. And honestly, this strikes me this morning because, although I feel guilty and somehow wrong saying it, falling in love with God doesn't feel easy or even natural. So, tell me, what do you think? What's your story? I'd love for you to post it here, but if you're more comfortable emailing me, that's fine too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Closet Cleaning...

Cleaning the closet.
I just wanted to make space for my vacuum.
Who knew a simple task would eventually lead to tears.
On a mission, sorting and chucking, I didn't think I just did. But, as I dug deeper into the closet, the magnitude of my task struck me. I pulled out box after box bearing scribbled labels like: army guys, Playmobile, Lego's, blocks, Lincoln Logs, Play Dough, beads, and Lord of the Rings. That's when it really hit me. I remember buying the Helm's Deep playset for the boys oh-so many years ago. I remember the unabashed look of pure delight and disbelief on their faces Christmas morning. How can I give this away? How can I simply throw it in a box, drive it to the donation center and leave it? I know it's just plastic, but...
All these memories wrapped up in all these heart hurts...there's a lump in my throat. I'm saying goodbye to an era in the simple act of cleaning out this closet.
Good bye to marathon sessions of building make believe towns and communities that eventually pushed out beyond the playroom doors and spilled over into the rest of the house.
Goodbye to Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet shops and American Girl dolls.
Good bye to epic battles fought and re fought over mountains of furniture and in valleys of carpeting.
Good bye to the time when simple kisses made the hurts all go away.
Good bye to cuddling and sipping hot chocolate curled up together in a comfy chair. Good bye to this home, these toys, these memories being the center of their universe.
In reality, these boxes sit untouched in the closet. They haven't played like that in a long time. Yet somehow keeping them felt like holding back time for a while. Who's foolish enough to try that?
I'm surprised at myself. I just told a woman yesterday how much I loved this stage right now and how I didn't really miss when the kids were younger. They get my jokes now. They make me laugh now. They have original thoughts and ideas and opinions of their own now and I love it. I see each of them reaching out for God and faith and finding it. I'm proud of who they are and what they're becoming.
And honestly, until this moment, didn't pine for earlier days.

But there it is again, the tears welling in my eyes and my heart tearing just a little.

I wish I could tie this all up with a profound quote, Bible verse or life lesson. But the closet is calling and if Brad walks in a finds me typing and crying instead of sorting, it might be a long day.
I know I'll be ok.
I know the tears will stop and my heart will go back to normal and that I'll be happy when my vacuum takes it's new spot.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Winding and twisting my old beat up van through the city, I drove as if on auto pilot. The gray streets and monochromatic urban scape left me dull. Heart weary and questioning the future, thoughts bounced around hitting the corners of my brain like it was the concrete sound barrier lining the beltway. A song started to play on the radio. Half listening, the words "You're beautiful. You are made for so much more than all of this." intrigued me. Beautiful was not the first descriptor that came to my mind as I thought of myself or anything around me. As the melody continued, the lyrics gripped my heart and mind. The phrases were made for more than this...more than asphalt roads and concrete walls...more than old vans and new cars...more than the sum of what you do...more than the worries of the future...more than the regrets of the past...more than the pressures of this are treasured. you are sacred. you are His.You're beautiful.
Stirred in spirit the immediate question sprang to mind: For what, then, was I meant?
St. Irenaeus said: "The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God." But what does it look like when I'm fully alive? When you're fully alive? When God's glory manifests itself through us? Will we shoot little moonbeams from our fingertips? Will we feel something different? Does it happen once then stay that way all the time or is it rare? Do we always know when we're fully alive?
Pondering my life, there are a few instances when all my senses were heightened, my purpose seemed clear and the promise of eternity permeated my being. Like lazing in the heat of a fully exposed south window on a cold winters day, His glory-His Life radiates from the inside out. It's moments when clarity, peace and a deep sense of rightness rule my being. You'd think those would all be associated with positive, happy feelings. But I'm pretty sure the point isn't the feelings. As I think about those fully alive moments, they're not always particularly good times surrounded with warm fuzzies. Some moments are delightful like Megan's wedding or a friends surprise party just a few weeks ago. But others came in the midst of deep suffering and intense pain during times of great loss. One moment in particular, I wasn't even actually involved but witnessed the Holy Spirit work through someone else in a way plain, clear and powerful yet so intimate that I felt voyeuristic being there. Even though it wasn't pleasant, it was sacred, infused with the Holy.
We're meant for Holy moments. Moments of personal surrender. Moments of a usefulness beyond our ability. Moments in the midst of both the mundane and the spectacular. Moments of the sacred cutting through the secular like a knife through butter. Not always grand or happy or even noticeable. But in those moments God's glory and power seems revealed through His not-so-holy created ones. And we see His beauty and sense our own beauty in ways intangible and at times unimaginable and see that we are treasured...sacred...beautiful.
Psalm 27:4
One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

Will you take a minute and listen to Beautiful by Mercyme?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Insecurity Check.

I did it again. Hitting the reply to all button I voiced only half my opinion and said it in a wishy washy way even though I actually had a strong argument. Why do I do that? Why am I so afraid of offending? Of disagreeing with others? It's ridiculous. Some of it's insecurity. And some of it is genuinely not wanting to put people off in a way that would keep them from God. But really, it's mostly because I'm a relationship person and if relationships aren't ok then nothing feels ok. Take today for example. There's a good chance I'm going to run into someone I know from my past at the cross country meet. The last time I saw her, the reception was chilly at best. It's all I can do to not obsess about seeing her again. Will she ignore me this time? Will she be civil? Why do I care so much? If she doesn't like me she doesn't like me. All I can do is be kind and be myself. I can't control her response any more than I can control the weather so why spend so much brain energy on it?


That's it. Next time I'm asked for an opinion, I'm giving it in full.


Unless is controversial.

Or I feel like I do today.

And at the meet today?

I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess I will not obsess

Monday, August 29, 2011


To know and be known.
I've written on it, prayed about it, and spent countless hours thinking about it. Simultaneously I've both longed for it and pushed it away.
We all want to know someone intimately and with certainty.
And we all want to be known both intimately and with certainty.
To have someone anticipate our words or pick the perfect gift not because we told them but because they know us that well, proves rare and elusive. Even as spouses it's difficult to achieve then maintain that sort of intimacy.

But whether we realize it or not, we desire it and seek it.

I can't help but wonder why.

Why do we care? Especially if we're Christians and believe in an all sufficient God, why do we care if others know us? Isn't the Creator of the Universe knowing us enough?

Apparently not or we wouldn't feel so desperate for human love, companionship and belonging.
Saying it and feeling it are fine, but living "I love you" matters for eternity. It matters because it expresses knowing and being known. It's more than hoping to be known. When you live love for someone they are known. I'm afraid I'm not articulating what I mean very well. I'll have to think some more...

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Long and Winding Road

You can see for miles. Roads stretch out before you with very little to obstruct the view. Over the open prairie, the sky's big and the earth gently heaves and sighs. It's beautiful and I've grown to love it.

On our way to Gavin's Point Dam over the July 4th weekend, we drove over hills and through dales that actually twist and turn so you can't always see where the road leads. I found myself looking down the byways and wondering what was around the bend. One little road, for some reason, seemed magical. It looked lovely and mysterious and like it could only hold treasures.

In my younger years, I'm quite sure I saw my future through those same curious, hopeful eyes; anticipating the best kind of magic. But at some point in my life, I'm not even sure when or how it happened, my view changed. What lay beyond the bend became something I feared. Instead of hopefully trusting that life (or more aptly the Giver of Life) would be full of ups and downs and twists and turns that eventually always lead to someplace lovely, I started believing that danger lurked in the unknown places.

Maybe it's because not knowing what's next makes life not only unpredictable but messy. When Brad's feeling out of control over something in his life, he quotes Steve Martin from Parenthood: "I don't like messy." I don't know if any of us like messy, but at some point we all have to accept that it's part of life and we can either 1) live with it begrudgingly, 2) keep trying to manage and contrive and control and drive everyone-including ourselves- crazy or C) Look beyond the mess and enjoy the journey despite the uncertainty.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Learning to Kneel

Two and a half hours of sheer, unadulterated happiness.

Dancing and singing under the Minnesota night sky with 60,000 others, my heart overflowed. Song after familiar song rang out into the sky and sank deep into my soul. Even in the driving rain*, the spirit remained undiminished and the energy level ramped up. I soaked up every second of my once in a lifetime concert and each time I raised my hands and voice to heaven, the cross on the soaring spire of our unconventional church (aka "the claw") reminded me of even more.

Moment Of Surrender

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses roam free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too smart to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
If love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pain would stop

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

*It rained for over an hour. Not sprinkles. Not gentle summer rain. Pouring, torrential, all clothes including underwear drenched and wringing wet rain. Memorable and awesome.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More than you could ask.

A concert of monumental* proportions takes place in less than 24 hours. For me, it's the concert of a lifetime. And I realized today that I've hardly talked about it and only mentioned it in passing on facebook and in this blog. I think it seems so unbelievable to me that I actually get to go that I haven't wanted to share it for fear of it not happening. I also really didn't want to see and hear people's reactions or have to explain who they are or what their music means to me.
But as I sat on my deck I realized I've been afraid to be excited, afraid to enjoy it, afraid to anticipate. Little by little satan's been eroding my joy of something that's not only a gift from my husband and friend, but a gift from God.

As I sat mulling it over, God brought this verse to mind: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Immeasurably more than I could ask...

Yep, it's gonna be good.

*well, monumental to me ;)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Called to love

It's under "favorites" on my laptop. And when you click on the link on our pc at home and begin typing letters, all the names of pages visited pop up. provides free online pages for people struggling with illnesses. Preemies, cancer patients, victims of accidents and those with ongoing health issues share updates and reflections on personalized sites. It's a beautiful, practical way not only to share information, but also for the patients and families to receive support and encouragement as they face their battles. It makes it "easy" to bless others with words and prayers.

But reaching out, supporting the sick and hurting isn't always so easy or convenient. Sometimes because you're afraid. Like the other day when I hugged the young soul who just shared with me their fight against bed bugs in their home. I gave the hug but immediately worried, brain racing can you get bed bugs from a hug? (I don't think so). But regardless of my fear, the hug was necessary. At times, reaching out, meeting needs, and caring for those hurting is difficult because so many suffer in silence. Mental illness, addictions, abuse, wayward children, marital conflicts, and money issues all exhaust and drain those encountering them. But often out of embarrassment, shame, guilt or simply hurt, they don't tell anyone.

There's no Caringbridge for parents struggling with kids making life-altering, dangerous decisions. There's no website (that I know of) for those suffering from depression, bi-polar disorder or other mental illness to share their pain and receive encouragement. People facing financial ruin, lawsuits, addictions or marital issues rarely share their pain publicly. I'm not blaming anyone for this. I've been there and if no one pursues or acts like they care, it's seems easier to deal with the pain alone.

However, Jesus never meant for life to be handled alone. My point is simply that then the only way to build up and encourage these suffering in silence is to be in their lives enough so that they either trust enough to share, or you're close to pick up on cues.

It's not easy to hug the kids with bed bugs or lice. It's not easy to get close to someone hurting; they're sometimes prickly as a self defense. It's not east to love and share someones pain when your own feels overwhelming. But, if you claim to follow Christ, you're called to a life of service to others...a life of loving the unlovable...a life of being close enough to know and see the hurt...a life of non-judgemental unconditional love for those in pain.

Called to love.
Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.
~Mother Teresa

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lasting Legacy

"...a quiet, studious man, rich in the wisdom that is better than learning, the charity which calls all mankind `brother', the piety that blossoms into character, making it august and lovely.
Earnest young men found the gray-headed scholar as young at heart as they, thoughtful
or troubled women instinctively brought their doubts to him, sure of finding the gentlest sympathy, the wisest counsel. Sinners told their sins to the pure-hearted old man and were both rebuked and saved. Gifted men found a companion in him. Ambitious men caught glimpses of nobler ambitions than their own, and even worldlings confessed that his beliefs were beautiful and true, although `they wouldn't pay'.

To outsiders the...energetic women seemed to rule the house,and so they did in many things, but the quiet scholar, sitting among his books, was still the head of the family, the household conscience, anchor, and comforter, for to him the busy,anxious women always turned in troublous times, finding him, in the truest sense of those sacred words, husband and father.

The girls gave their hearts into their mother's keeping, their souls into their father's, and to both parents, who lived and labored so faithfully for them, they gave a love that grew with their growth and bound them tenderly together by the sweetest tie which blesses
life and outlives death.

~Louisa May Alcott Little Women

I love you Dad and am blessed daily be your influence. Happy Father's Day.

Love, Patty

Thursday, June 16, 2011


In no place emotionally to make small talk, I remember sitting in silence.
She didn't seem to care.
Every once in a while she asked me a question and smiled kindly at my brief, barely alive response. As we approached the end of the meal she started telling me her story. My mind racing but my face stolid, I listened.
I heard as she shared her story of addiction, depression, broken relationships and God's healing power experienced in her life.
The memory of her gentle voice but strong words comes back to me as I think about my own story.
At the request of a very worried mutual friend, she came, vulnerable and ready to risk for the sake of helping a struggling soul.
She didn't know me. Yet she spoke with transparency, honesty, authenticity and tenderness. She didn't ask for a response from me or expect anything from me.
And I didn't offer.
Out of a deep love for God, she reached out in obedience expecting nothing. And nothing was what she got. Well, from me at least.
What she didn't know or couldn't anticipate was the profound impact that hour long lunch around a mutual friends table had on me. I sought help and I stopped beating myself up mentally. Those were some of the deepest darkest days of my life, and she brought a glimmer of light into my dark tunnel to show me where to walk next.
She's a customer of mine now. She comes into my shop and we periodically have the opportunity to share joys, sorrows and prayer requests. But I don't think I've ever actually thanked her.
So, dear friend, thank you for being real. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for being honest. Thank you for sharing your life with me when I had nothing to offer in return. God used you. You were His words to me that day.
Is there someone who needs to hear your story? Who needs to see a real person? Risk it--offer without expecting.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I washed the windows Saturday. I hardly ever wash the windows. Not because I don't want to look out of clean windows, but because our house is old and the combination storms that the previous owner put on are a pain in the neck. Anyway, I washed the windows. And they looked beautiful. Sparkly and clean the sun shined brighter through them. Then, it rained. And it's been raining off and on for the last four days. I didn't think of it at first. Then, Sunday afternoon it dawned on me that surely my clean windows were no longer clean. I checked, and it's true, all my work and broken finger nails and risky ladder climbing was in vain. Every window was splattered with rain drops.
So why do it I bemoaned.
Why spend the time and energy washing the windows if all you get is a few stolen moments of sparkling beauty?
Spiritual life feels like that sometimes. You toil and sweat and sacrifice for a few stolen moments of beauty...
like when you have heart level conversation that clearly makes a difference
like when you're able to help, truly help someone in their need
like when the sunset takes your breath away
or when you sense God's love and know for that moment in earth time He's smiling on you.
This post is rambly and doesn't have a point accept that even though I hate cleaning in general and washing windows specifically, I'll keep doing it if only for those few moments of sparkle.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Honestly, I don't remember 1994. A toddler and an infant filled my days with diapers, midnight feedings, messy kisses, sweet giggles, and lots of firsts. The year blurs into the rest of the decade. But half a world away, for an entire country, 1994 looms like an ominous cloud in history. Beginning in April of 1994, and continuing for almost 100 days, over 500,000 Rwandan's suffered death and persecution at the hands of their former friends and neighbors.
While I tucked my babies in at night, other moms quieted their starving babies for fear of discovery.
While we moved into our home, others escaped theirs in the night.
While I read Good Night Moon to my three year old, recently orphaned Rwandan children huddled in the marshes night after night waiting for rescue.
While I enjoyed the safety, blessing and comfort of a loving husband, women on another continent suffered the cruelty and brutality of merciless men.

While we lived in relative harmony with our neighbors and in our community, villagers in Rwanda terrorized, tortured, and murdered their neighbors.

Reading as we forgive by Catherine Claire Larson, opened my eyes and heart not only to the pain these fellow humans endured during the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but also to the tremendous capacity for humans to forgive the unforgivable. The book relates several true stories of forgiveness between victim and offender. Unbelievable tales of reconciliation that demonstrate that healing for a war torn country is possible, each personal story inspires me to practice true forgiveness in my own life on a daily basis.

I'm thankful for my life and that, for whatever reason, I've been thus far spared the pain these people endured. But I never again want to be so consumed with my own small corner of this planet that I'm completely blind to another country's suffering.

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory,
for ever.

Jesus prayer in Matthew 6
King James Version

Want to know more? Here's a few websites:

as we forgive

The Umuvumu Tree Project

The United State Holocaust Memorial Museum
Restorative Justice

*Please forgive the strange blogspot induced spacing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good Grief

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his faithful servants. ~Psalm 116:15

The white haired organist played the old hymns. Flowers in shades of pink adorned the chapel. People spoke in hushed tones as they dabbed away tears. Friends and family gathered to say good bye and celebrate life.

It's a scene played out over and over again and yet, when it's your mother, father, brother or friend, it's no longer a common occurance because it's personal.

She lived a long, full life. Sitting in the pew, listening to adoring sons and loving grandchildren, you might think it was a perfect life. But anyone who lives knows there's no such thing even for this lovely woman. Blessed, faith-filled and faithful yes; but not without hurt, tragedy and pain. And yet, through it all, she loved God and her family well. Passing on a legacy of strength, loyalty and trust in her Maker, her funeral honored her story but more importantly pointed everyone in the chapel to the Giver of that legacy.

Several thoughts struck me as I sat in the church during this sacred moment simultaneously mourning and celebrating.

What would she think of her own funeral?
What would my kids say about me when I die?
What would they laugh about?
Would memories spark hurt or anger about me or would love truly cover the multitude of my sins?
Would the funeral be more about me or the One to whom I belonged?

When I ordered flowers for the service, I told my talented florist friend that the most distinguishing trait about the deceased was her faith and trust in God. I couldn't think of hobbies she had or what she loved to do. I could only think of Who she loved (well, that and the fact that she regularly prayed for the Twins--yes, the baseball team--but I didn't want a Twinkies floral arrangment).

What would someone tell a florist about me?
At the graveside, the pastor asked the family to say just one word that described their mom and grandma.




When I'm gone, what will those closest say about me? Will they struggle to find appropriate words or will the praises come out fast and furious like they did yesterday for this lovely, dearly loved woman?
What would I want them to say?

What do you want those nearest and dearest to you to say...

Marion R. Solfelt 6.27.1924~5.24.2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blank pages

Type a sentence.

Delete the sentence.

Type another.


Stare at the screen.

Start typing.

Stop typing.

Stare some more.

Delete everything.

Hit "New Post" button and repeat the process.

Walk away and let another day pass.

A million thoughts run through my mind. None seem to stay long enough to be put into actual ideas. Flitting through my brain like a drunken butterfly roaming from flower to flower they never stay long enough to grow and develop.

Posts about rebelliousness. Posts about cancer. Posts about weariness. Posts about hardships and trials. Posts about beauty. Posts about things that upset me. Posts about my family, my kids, my friends. Happy posts. Hopeful posts. Depressing posts. Post after post after post half completed sitting in my "drafts" folder.

My brain's been thrown into a whirlpool spinning endlessly around.

Unlike writing, avoidance comes easily.
I avoid conflict.
I avoid dairy.
I avoid work.
I avoid people.
I avoid talking. yes...I do...believe it or not....

There's too much. So much of life feels like it can't be shared right now. Not in a blog. And not in person. For so many reasons, right now, at least one major part of my existence remains wholly private.
What do I write about when I can't share the thing closest to my heart and foremost in my mind?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quite Enough

We Are Loved

David Crowder Band

Velvet black night
Pierced with white
Stars waiting quiet
Wide listening sky

Stillness of air
Life hanging there
Out of despair
Rises a prayer

Can we take in Your light
So we can shine like You?
With all this weariness
Can we shine like You?
With this weariness

O we are loved
We are loved
And it's quite enough that
We are loved

We are loved
We are loved
And it's quite enough that
We are loved

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Up to my ankles

"Some people are destined to be deep thinkers. I am not one of these people." ~Jen Lancaster

A few years ago, my sister looked at me and said I'm not deep... I've given up on trying to be or thinking I am.

If you know her, you know she's incredibly well read, intelligent, thoughtful and reflective. In her humility, though, she doesn't share that richness with everyone. I think she's "deep" as opposed to shallow. But I guess that's only measured against my own idea of depth.

The older I get, the more I realize when I naively assumed I was in the deep end of thought I was actually wading in the kiddie pool.

I know I still am. And I'm ok with that. I'm not intelligent enough to have completely original thoughts nor well read enough to grasp what's beyond a backyard pool's worth of ideas nor witty enough to banter with the best.

I'm slowly letting go of trying to impress or measure up to those who are either truly my superiors or those who think they are...slowly embracing my average-ness...slowly learing to enjoy being the happy little stick figure girl splashing in 6 inches of thought.

But sitting around a conference table last week with three Phd's, several Master's holders and a prominent, successful business person was enough to throw me off the deep end. Insecurity and fear gripped my heart and held my tongue captive. And when I did speak (which was near to inaudible) everything that came out of my mouth sounded (at least to my own ears) garbled and incoherent.

I still haven't recovered.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The day after

The second I saw the kitchen I was angry. Not the sighing weary anger but real- from the gut want to commit acts of violence- anger. The remnants of a fun, late night of cards and food were enough to send me over the edge. This is what happens when your children grow up and stay up later than you. Add to that dirty and clean laundry all co-mingling on the floor, last nights dishes and a plugged toilet and it's a recipe for disaster.

Me stomping through the house...
NO one picks up after themselves *bang*
they treat me like a maid *slam*
no respect. I get absolutely zero respect *violently throwing clothes in the general direction of the laundry room*
Room and board. I'm going to start charging room and board *slam slam bang*
I have to go away to WORK now...where I cook and clean and WAIT on OTHER people *yelled as I grab my bag and slam my way out the door*

You get the picture.

Once at work I remember there's no milk. *slam* Oh yeah, nobody is here to hear me.
I make my list and run to get groceries and upon my return, I hit my head getting out of the car. *moan* I put the key in the shop lock and it won't go in.
What the what!?! This just worked-I just unlocked this 20 minutes ago *fuming*
Maybe if I push a little more *snap*
Oh crap *grumbled under my breath as the key breaks off in my hand*
The universe is against me *Tears well up*
I will not cry I will not cry I will not cry *huge lump in my throat*

Tears suppressed, I get in my van and tires squealing head back home for the other keys.

Note for the future: It would be a lot easier to ask for Brad's help if you haven't acted like such a jerk. But I have no choice; so I ask. He grabs his jacket and follows me in his truck (from a distance, mind you, I'm sure fearful of what I may do). Upon arriving back at work I look and hang my head in shame and humiliation; I put the key in the wrong lock...that's why it wouldn't go in and that's why it broke.

User error. My user error. What's wrong with me! I've been opening this door for 6 years *no tears now just more anger*
As Brad pulls up, I hastily tell him the news and retreat into my shop kitchen. I assume he retrieved the broken key, I didn't stick around to find out.

In my kitchen, listening to Beethoven (which, incidentally is good, socially acceptable, appropriate for the work place anger music) I continue slamming and fuming partly wishing someone was around to care that my day's crappy and it's only 7:15 and mostly grateful no one's witnessing my hissy fit.

After I get everything going, I check my emails and facebook and finally this blog. And what do I see? Living on Sunday. What an idiot I am. Why did I ever post that? Now I have to own up to it. Wasn't yesterday Resurrection Sunday? The day we're reminded of the fact that not only did Jesus die for our sins (which should have been enough) but He rose again so that we "may have life and have it to the full".

So far my Monday living was full. Full. Of. Crap.

Legitimate frustration with my family for not picking up after themselves spiraled within seconds to full blown anger, resentment, bitterness and more anger. But I was at work now.

It was a busy day at the shop. 20+ women came in and I was friendly and charming and served them with a smile. None of them would have guessed that I still harbored malicious thoughts towards my own flesh and blood.

I'd love to end this post by telling you that when I got home the kids apologized and I apologized and we all made up and had a big family hug. But the reality is, although I'm letting it go, I'm still a little miffed and trying to get over my pity party.

Will living on Sunday ever be easy?*

*that's a rhetorical question.
**both photos are Lois (Jane Kaczmarek) from Malcolm in the Middle

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Living on Sunday.

Both videos are sermon exerpts from Dr. S.M. Lockridge.

It's not just the big things like disease and heartache, betrayal and loss that throw my heart and mind into a tailspin. It's small things like jealousy and envy and discontent.

It's Friday but Sunday's coming.
But why, oh why do we(read me) so often live in Friday, at times completely forgetting about Sunday?
I do. I camp out there, in Jesus death, in the darkness and seeming defeat of Friday and cry out with the Psalmist
How long o, Lord? Will you forget us forever?

I stay my frustration, anger and discontent.
But the story didn't end on Friday. And my life doesn't have to be lived on Friday.
I believe I Corinthians 15: “
'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
You don't have to live in the Friday of the jealousy, anger, bitterness and selfishness.

I want to, no matter my circumstances or surroundings, live on Sunday.





To live on Sunday for My King.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Song part b

It's amazing to me what some individuals and families are asked to endure.

a chronically ill child.

a terminally ill loved one.

perpetual financial issues.

the fallout of abuse.


lifelong mental illness.

betrayals in marriage, work, family, ministries.

My heart breaks for people I know facing the day to day, exhausting grind of job loss, faithless spouses, wayward children, loneliness, addictions and despair. Like the Psalmist, I cry out How long to sing this song? How long? Yet, like Jeremiah I'm reminded that because of God's deep love for us, His mercies are new every day and His faithfulness is indeed great. And with Paul I can confess and cling to the fact that because Jesus became a sacrificial lamb for me, nothing can separate me from God's love. Nothing.

May you, who are exhausted, despairing and feel like darkness is winning and you can barely hold on, may you know the Truth that God's love never fails.

And if you're not sure, I'd love to talk to you about

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Song

Driving to work, I questioned my ability to make it through the day. Whatever I need to get through this day, God, I'm sure I don't have it. Whatever I need has to come from you. I made it through the day. Moment by grace filled moment every need supplied until I laid my head on the pillow. God of mercy, God of grace thank you for your saving sustaining moment by moment love.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Find a Happy Place

By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Feeling like I *need* something today that's not possible.

trying to trust...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anything that hinders....

Obsessing. When something upsets me, usually relationally, I obsess. I stew. I ruminate. I can't stop thinking about it.

The other day I had a disturbing call. No, it wasn't one of those life changing, earth shattering calls. It was just a garden variety sucky call. Feeling defeated, attacked and generally harassed by life, it took all my mental and spiritual energy to stop replaying the call over and over in my head. The same thing happened on Facebook the other day. I'm not even positive the person was being mean, but it felt cutting and if I think about it for more than .5 seconds, I'm stuck there. Again consumed in a silly cycle of self deprecation and prideful blaming.

Thankfully, I've pretty much gotten over the adolescent notion that if someone is upset it usually has something to do with me. I know that most of the time when someone's not ok, even if they lash out at me, there's something deeper behind it. I'm merely the recipient of the emotional vomit.

So, I can know this and yet, I still obsess.

The apostle Paul encouraged the people of Corinth to ..."take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ...". Capturing thoughts tonight feels like an impossible task; they come so fast and furious. How can they be reigned in? Tamed?

And yet I'm promised that God, who started this good work of salvation and new life in me back when I was just 7 years old, will be faithful and steadfast to complete it.

So, even though it feels like I'm chasing the fluffy seeds from a dandelion while they float ever higher in the air, I keep rounding up the thoughts giving them back to the One who started all this good work.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Flashes of lightening and rumbling thunder break through the silent dark night. Listening to the icy rain hit the window I'm reminded again of my smallness. Our smallness. For all our knowledge and technology we can't, with %100 accuracy, predict, plan or direct the path of a storm.

There's general calm in our home right now. Aside from a nasty flu bug, the sky's are blue. But even here in the mostly sunny spot, gray clouds threaten. They take the form of thoughts; my thoughts. Accusations form a menacing and dark and low hanging wall cloud. Some of the blaming words fall on me: what's wrong with you? why can't you be more thankful? you're not doing enough. you're not enough. And when my brain's ready to explode just to expel the stinging words, they shift from myself to others: you deserve more. what was she thinking treating you that way? they always have to be right. you've been wronged. Pride plays a ridiculous game with our emotions making us the victim and victimizer at the same time.

Then, when I step back and observe my thoughts instead of participate in them, there's another voice. No blame. No accusations. Only Grace offered up freely to this broken woman. And forgiveness breaks through and I'm off the hook and others are off the hook and the calm returns.

Life whispered to this weather beaten soul Be still and Know that I AM God.

**my daughter took this photo on her way to school last year**

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Big round eyes with long lashes, flashing a toothless grin stretching from ear to ear, our hearts were charmed. Even a stranger's gaze turned upon you and you generously, gratuitously broke into an eye sparkling smile. Happy, beguiling and strong, we dubbed you our Charming Child.


School, drivers ed, football, basketball, soccer, and friends fill your days. Active, never passive, you're determined, funny, noisy, loving and aware. Soon, so soon, 15 will be a distant memory and you'll be called into adulthood and all it's joys and responsibilities.

So right now, as you stand on the edge of the rest of your life, I pray you embrace who you are: strong, passionate, energetic, hardworking and brave and enjoy all God is giving you in this moment.

I know it's tempting to look back and define yourself by events in your past, both good and bad. But I pray you see them as molding, shaping circumstances-no more and no less- and let God be your definer. He loves you oh, so much. He knows every scrape, broken limb, disease, close call, and heart wound you've suffered. He's also rejoiced with every joy experienced. He's your Healer, Savior, Strength, Comforter, and Counselor and is calling you now, on the cusp on adulthood to an even deeper relationship with Himself.

.We love you and all that you are and we pray and ask God to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but an amazing inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And we ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live a full life, full in the fullness of God.*

Happy 15th birthday, son. Love, Mom & Dad

*adapted from Paul's prayer for the Ephesians in The Message

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bucket List

If I were the kind of person who made lists and had a bucket list* then I'm sure in my top 10 would be to see U2 in person. And as of July 23 2011, I could cross that off my list. :) Yea me yea me yea me.

*you know, from that's a list of stuff you want to do before you's all about embracing life...carpe diem...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brand New Clothes

I spent the weekend laughing, talking, eating, shopping, laughing, crying, more talking, more eating, and more laughing with three of my favorite people: my mom and two sisters. We had a lovely time celebrating K's 50th birthday and I'll probably write more on that later. But my search for the perfect ensemble is on my mind right now.

My niece's wedding is coming up and I wanted a new outfit to wear. I don't know about you, but the older I get, the harder it is to pick out clothes. I used to be so confident. Now I'm never sure if something looks right or is too old or too young. So, while I had my sissy's with me, I made them play Clinton & Stacy for me. After a series of try ons and errors, I'm happy to say I did find an outfit and it's not black (a big thing for me since every dressy thing I own has vast amounts of black).

I came home and tried on my new digs for Brad and he loved it. A departure in style yet flattering, comfortable and I think classy, I'm thrilled and can't wait to wear the outfit.

While reminiscing with my sisters this weekend, I thought about how throughout our lives we try things on like outfits. We try on personalities when we're teenagers, we can try on people when we're dating, we try on parenting styles, methods for running a household, careers, and even religions. I'm not saying we should do this, I'm saying most of us do try things on without even knowing it. It's not always bad. It can help us sort out who we really are, where we belong and most importantly, to Whom we belong.

So this morning when I read this verse from Colossians 3 "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." I couldn't help but think of my shopping trip. It felt more comfortable to me to stick with a basic black sheath dress and then accessorize. But I knew I couldn't do it. I needed color. I needed style. I needed something more reflective of who I am.

We settle so often in our lives for comfort. For a basic black sheath and some cheap costume jewelery.
We've tried on the world's way for dealing with life and accepted it.

We settle for the convention of "nice" instead of the radical idea of "grace".

We offer civility instead of true kindness to people.

We offer politeness instead of patience.

We give condescension instead of humility.

It's so much easier that way. People don't question us...our sanity or motives when we conform to the world's standards of what's decent behavior to our fellow humans. But when you love and live like Jesus did... when you realize how dearly loved you are and choose to live a reflection of that love...well, then, you can appear foolish, radical, and just simply too much. It's easier to blend. To wear our black sheath dresses and fit in.

But that's not the end to which we're called and it's also not reflective of who we truly are. If we belong to Christ, we're a new creation. The old is gone. No more black sheath's for us. We're called to grace, mercy, kindness, compassion, justice and peace...reflecting Christ in us.

He has shown you, o man. And what does God require of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~The Prophet Micah

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Never Satisfied.

The first time I heard U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, way back in 1987, I arrogantly thought oh, those poor guys. So close to Truth, yet missing it. Still looking when God is right there. As if God's something you find or stumble upon or that once you "find" Him, that's it. Over the years it's increasingly clear that they're not the ones who missed it, I was. I misunderstood the song and the sentiment. I think I understand it better now.
My adult life I've longed for satisfaction.
Constantly fighting against discontent, I seek to practice contentedness.
Not wanting to be a negative, complaining, never enough kind of girl, I've looked for fulfillment often confusing it with peace.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
In my middle age, I realize that's a good thing

God wants me never satisfied.
He wants my heart longing.
He wants me seeking and searching and fervently looking; desperate for more.
There's purpose in the pursuit.
He wants me seeking more Him.
He wants me never satisfied with the status quo.
Good enough isn't enough when it comes to God.
More and more and more and forever more God.
Looking and seeking and searching until Kingdom Come.

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land

where there is no water. ~David

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dream Weaver

I had the oddest dream the other night. Well, morning really.
I haven't been sleeping well. I wake in the wee hours drenched in sweat, feeling like my insides are a radiator...ahhh the beauty of middle age. Anyway, I usually get up, walk around a little then end up on the couch where I can fall asleep for an hour or two.
The other morning, as I restlessly slept on the couch, I dreamt I was being pursued. By a man. Not creepy- pursued: romantically- pursued.
And not by my husband.
I told Brad he must have died or something because he was nowhere in the dream. But the kids were there, encouraging me.
And my pursuer? Jay Leno.
I know. Weird. I don't watch the late Show and haven't seen or heard anything of Leno in several months, yet there he was, in my dream, declaring his undying love for me.

As you can imagine, it was strange. But the strange (and I have to admit shocking) thing to me was my response.
I thought in my dream Well, he's not that good looking...he's not a christian...but he is really funny and has lots of sure, I'll go with it.
I threw away my scruples about dating someone of the same faith pretty fast in the light of humor and money.
I'm not sure what it says about me.
Hopelessly shallow...worried about finances...needing a laugh...who knows.
I'm trying not to over analyze it or feel was a dream for crying out loud.
But really...very strange.
Tell me your weird dreams so I don't feel so ridiculous.

Monday, February 21, 2011


"I am somebody cause God don't make no junk" ~Ethel Waters

The way he said it made me smile (well, smirk). Telling a story about high school he made sure to include the term "varsity" before the word basketball. Whether or not he played varsity ball in high school had zero bearing on the story he was telling. So why include it? I've done it a million times: feeling insecure for one reason or another, I name drop or include useless facts that somehow might impress someone. It's ridiculous. A group a adults turn into insecure 17 year olds trying to be accepted or noticed or one up someone else.
When we first moved here, to Iowa, I was 24. New baby, first time as a stay at home mom, only four years of marriage under my belt, I struggled with my identity. I tried to fit in to my little community but every time I opened my mouth about anything from politics to religion, music to decorating, faith to movies, I received either blank or incredulous stares. That's how I perceived them, anyway.

Then, as more babies came and I continued to struggle with everything in life, the realization dawned that I was depressed.

I read my Bible fervently, endlessly.

I prayed, begging God for relief and healing.

I sought counselling.

I learned coping skills.

I trained my thoughts so I was telling myself Truth.

I took meds.

All of it helped. A little.

After years of struggling with the ups and downs of both major and chronic depression,there's countless times I feel like God made a mistake. I was a mistake. He didn't want me this way. I didn't want to be this way. But try as I might, I couldn't/can't change it.

"I" couldn't...can't change it.
I can do what I'm called to do and responsible to do (basically the above "list") but only God can bring healing or change.
Only God.
And although He's granted times of reprieve, there's not been healing to this point.

He's also began to teach me that things I've seen as a result of depression, or things I hate about myself are simply part of who I am. They're not always good or bad, they just are. They're part of the personality He gave me.
We walk around (especially as Christians) and make value judgements about things that we have no business judging. Happy people=good people. Sad people=bad people. Happy, positive=faithful. Sad, melancholy=faithless. The thought process goes something like: If you're trusting God (reeeally trusting God) then you'll be happy (joy filled, positive, and probably quoting lots of scripture). If you're doubting, sad or depressed then you must not be trusting enough.
Yes, I've over simplified it, but there it is.

So what do you do? When you think God's made a mistake with you--at the core? What do you do? Keep trying to change it? Give up and give in? Accept it?

God doesn't make mistakes. I'm sure of that.

He also wants to keep stretching and growing us for His purposes. I'm also sure of that.

But beyond those two things, the only thing I'm sure of is Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Don't let the sun...

I've read Little Women so many times, the back is worn and many of the pages dog-eared. But no matter how familiar the story, I'm stilled moved, convicted and touched by it. One time, reading in bed late at night, I started sobbing. Brad asked what was wrong and I slobbered through tears Beth died!
But, you've read it before, you know she dies came the quizzical response. I had no answer, just more tears as I continued reading. That's what it does to me.

As I cozied up with my fuzzy blanket, hot chocolate and a storm raging outside, the touching story of the four dear sisters carried me to tears again. No, it wasn't Beth's untimely death that provoked the flood. It was Jo's unforgiveness towards Amy after the younger sibling burns her prized possession: her manuscript. After the incident, Marmee (their mom) admonishes Jo to forgive her sister and "not let the sun go down on your anger". Jo dismisses her mother's wise advice and allows the anger to fester. Later, when they go ice skating, Jo knows that Amy didn't hear the warning about the thin ice and doesn't inform her or even stop her as she glides out toward danger. If you haven't read the book (which is a shame and you really should read it even if you're a guy) I have to tell you that Amy falls through the ice but is saved (thank you Lauri) and there is sweet reconciliation between sisters. Jo, though still prone to rash behavior, never again lets the sun go down without forgiving.

That's when I started crying.

No one else knows the anger, bitterness, envy or secret grievances we carry around with us.
No one knows when we go to bed, night after night, angry for real or perceived wrongs.
Sometimes, people can guess by words we say or how we respond to certain situations, but no one really knows.
Yet, that anger or unforgiveness or envy or jealousy or whatever we harbor, festers like an infected wound.
Sometimes those around us are hurt by it, but most often, we're the ones who suffer the most from our unforgiveness.
Friday, a beautiful young soul was lost in a tragic car accident. There was no warning. No time to say goodbye or one last I love you or please forgive me. One moment she breathed oxygen, the next she stood with her Savior in another world.
The older we get the more obvious it is that life is short and unpredictable. Each day begins and you have no idea how it will end...sitting together in front of another episode of Mythbusters or mourning over a casket.
Forgive while you can.
Say I love you while you're able.
Don't let the sun go down on your anger.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Yesterday I turned 44.
Gray hair, creaky bones, failing eyesight and now a harsh reaction to rich dairy products round out all the reasons to despise getting older. Not being able to eat cheese is the newest issue and it completely sucks. If you know me, you know I love cheese and use it in and on everything. Well, not anymore. I get sick now every time I eat it...even small amounts. How sad... tragic really that as you grow mature enough to fully appreciate things, you can't have them. Just another evil twist of fate.
Anyway, despite the slow deterioration of my body, I still love cooking. And eating. Brad knows this and offered to take me out for my birthday dinner, but I wanted the whole family to go. Taking all six of us out is cost prohibitive (unless we go to McD's which is not an option), so I opted to make my own meal.
And make it I did...all my favorites and some new ones.

Crostini with tomato bruschetta
Homemade goat cheese
Prime rib
Sauteed green beans with pearl onions
Baked potatoes
Fresh Italian whey bread
Triple layer chocolate peanut butter cake

The homemade goat cheese (flavored with fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper) lusciously spread on the bruschetta and whey bread tasted amazing with everything. A wonderful alternative to give me my cheese fix. Definitely something I'll be making often.
Prime rib is my favorite and frankly one of the main reasons (besides bacon) that I'm a carnivore. Roasted to perfection, every savory bite melted in my mouth.
Italian whey bread was another new recipe. As I researched the goat cheese I found several potential uses for the leftover whey created when the cheese separates. The best option to me was the bread. It was sooo yummy. Dense in texture with a subtle flavor is complimented the rest of the meal perfectly.
The dessert...well, for someone who makes cakes for a living, this wasn't my best. The recipe is great. That's not the problem. The issue was me on the phone while I was making it. I lost track of measurements twice and while it didn't effect the flavor, it most certainly effected the consistency. The end result was not bad...but not great either.
So, the winner in the birthday meal menu?
The homemade goat cheese.

Sorry, I realize this post is uninspiring and I don't even have pictures of the creations...I just wasn't on top of it...maybe next time.

Prime Rib
I had a 6.5 pound prime rib roast and rubbed it with a paste of olive oil, thyme, garlic (10 cloves), coarse salt & pepper. I let it sit at room temp for about an hour.
I roasted it on 500* for about 30 minutes (your house will probably get smokey because of the drippings so be prepared). Then turned the oven down to 300* and cooked it until the middle internal temp was 140*--about another hour and a half. I then removed it and let it rest for about 30 minutes. Prime rib is supposed to be medium rare so don't freak out about the red--just enjoy the melt in your mouth texture of perfect meat!

Goat Cheese
This was so easy it's ridiculous.
*Heat 1 qt goats milk til it reaches 180*
*Add 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
*Gently stir and it will curdle--slightly--it's not chunky.
*Have 4 layers cheesecloth ready in a colander set in a deep bowl and gently ladle the liquid into it. Tie up the cheese cloth and hang on a spoon traversing the bowl and let it drip and separate.
*The whey ends up in the bottom and the cheese is in the cloth.
*Let it drain about 11/2 hours then gently fold in whatever flavors** you want and serve.
*I used the whey to make bread...just google "Italian Whey Bread" if you're interested.
**I used garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper & a touch olive oil. Next time I'm going to go sweet and add clover honey and maybe a little cinnamon. I'm telling you this is rich, delicious, mellow cheese with the consistency of ricotta. Yum! My kids even loved it!