Sunday Blessings 218 and 219 (LAR 2018 Edition)

(1) Baby holding with Baby A

(2) Chili lights parties

(3) Mini golfing with Tim and the boys

(4) LAR fun

(5) Hanging with N and N

(6) Lots of meals with AT and SR

(7) The Incredibles 2 movie

(8) Helping SB with his PPT presentation

(9) Yummy margaritas

(10) Learning lots

(11) LAR talent show.

(12) Trail Ridge Road with SR and AT

(13) Stopping to have lunch with KL on my way home.

(14) KD and R and Z picking me up at the car rental place and giving me a ride home.

(15) Fun mail..a new LLR Irma and my new Rachel Kurtz cd.

(16) ST telling me that my poetry keeps getting better and better.

(17) Annie F Downs That Sounds Fun podcast

(18) A beautiful much needed PLN

(19) Uploading all my LAR photos.

(20) Veggies

(21) Gods grace and friends/colleagues who extend that grace.

My Prayer is that It’s Enough!

Earlier this week, my day was interrupted with the news of Kate Spade. Then this morning, I woke up to the death of Anthony Bourdain. Both deaths attributed to suicide. Yet the truth is they died because of the mental illness they struggled with. Their stories are not the only stories like this. The suicide rates in this country are extremely high yet that’s only part of the story.

I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. Our mom had a nervous breakdown after my sister was born. She lives each day with a mental illness. In fact, growing up, I don’t remember a time when mom didn’t end up in the hospital.

Also while in college, one of my dear friends took his life because of the demons in his head. I remember how upset our campus pastor was as she felt we would have seen the signs as he had just transferred to another school.

I know that we all want these beautiful beloved children of God to live happy lives. But the reality is that mental illness has its own path. It can be regulated some with medicine but that’s not the whole picture either. Often the medicine isn’t enough. Or the demons have more power. Or the patient simply stops taking the medication. I remember several times when mom would be at her highest highs and stop taking her medications because she thought she didn’t need them anymore. It’s like the heart knows one thing, but the head says another.

In the midst of mental illness, it can be hard to even see that they need help. Those struggling with mental illness need to seek help from the outside which truly cannot come from the inside. The best thing we can do is love the mentally ill for who God created them to be. If my mom has taught me anything in life, it’s that….love unconditionally and without limits.

Those struggling with mental health issues need to know they are not alone not just through words but most especially through our actions. There is incredible power in knowing we are accepted and loved for who God created us to be.

I always get frustrated and angry when the media jumps to conclusions about the mentally ill especially in regards to school shootings. I think this often exacerbates the stigma. The facts actually show the mentally ill are more often the victims than the culprits.

Friends, know you are not alone! But most especially, know that I love you; love you so incredibly fiercely especially on days when it seems the demons have won with so many around us. And today, after the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I’m loving you even more fiercely as beautiful beloved children of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. My prayer is that this fierce love is enough!

Summer Nights

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “fly.” We would love to have you join us.

Summer sun shining brightly
Children gleefully playing
Water splashing
Children laughing

The glow of the campfire
As the sun begins to set
The light of the firefly
Shining as they fly around

Sticky S’more covered hands and faces
The smell of campfire lingering
On ones clothes.

The night sky darkens
The crescent moon rises
Stars twinkling

Sweet little ones
Rest their heads
And drift off to dreamland.

Mosquitoes and other bugs fly around
A reminder once again
Of the beauty of God’s creation.

Around the fire
A deep sigh is released
A peaceful holy night


And of course, I had to share my fave group singing one of my all time fave songs.

Sunday Blessings 217

(1) B90 Group and an awesome Zoom conversation.

(2) A great meeting!

(3) Baking frenzy!! I forgot how much I love to bake.

(4) Shutterfly photo books

(5) An unexpected check in the mail.

(6) A great last youth gathering meeting before we head to Houston!

(7) Water

(8) Voxing with KA

(9) The return of Nashville!!

(10) Ice on a hot day

(11) Texting with my sissy

(12) A fun rental car

(13) RG giving me a ride to the airport so I could pick up my rental car.

(14) A clean house

(15) The Tony Awards

(16) A grad announcement from one of my seminary friend’s daughter.

(17) Texting with Aunt N

(18) Return of Food Network Star

(19) A cool breeze

(20) All of you!!

Holy Hustle (A Book Review)

I met Crystal Stine through the blogging community. I even guest posted for her in December of 2016. But most especially I have gotten to know Crystal through the Write 31 Days Challenge. Crystal’s first book “Holy Hustle” was released yesterday June 5, 2018. The subtitle of this book is “embracing a work-hard, rest-well life.” Oh how we all need to read Crystal’s book.

One of my favorite pieces of the book is that each chapter ends with a Digging Deeper section. I love how easily accessible these sections are and I believe would be easily used in a small group at church or beyond. I also love the Holy Hustle stories that are shared at the end of each chapter. A perfect reminder that we are not on this journey alone. We all struggle with finding the balance of working hard and resting well.

This book spoke to me so much. Both Crystal and I have had experiences of being hurt by the church in one way or another. But her words remind us of the faithfulness of our God and how we are never alone. God is always faithful. God promises to walk with us through all of life’s ups and downs.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her book:

Success isn’t about having or doing more; success is about serving more (P.24)
God builds in us a calling and a passion for doing His work through love, which unites and strengthens His church (P. 43)
When we strive to fix things on our own in big ways, we miss the small gifts God has set in place for us (P.91)
Loving others well not only creates beautiful, lasting relationships that will also benefit our work, but draws others closer to the kind of life-changing love they can receive only from Jesus (P.129)
God worked and called it good, and He rested and called it holy (P. 177)

Don’t just take my word for it! Run to your local bookstore and pick up a copy for yourself.

**I did get an early release copy of this book. However these thoughts are my own and I am in no way being compensated for my opinion.

Pruned and Shaped

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “return.” We would love to have you join us. 

Books taken off shelves. Boxes piled up. Sorting through papers–what do you keep, what do you throw away. Soon an empty chair and a closed door. An unexpected change.

I walk out the door wondering what is next. Praying that God will put a new path in my view. I can’t look back now. There is no return. I must turn down a different road. And as I walk out the door, I turn back around and look up at the steeple. A silent prayer is spoken in my heart and soul.

A single tear falls from my eyes.

I walk back to my home.

I feel lost; alone.

Wondering where God is calling me next.

A few weeks pass and I return to one of my favorite places in the world; Rocky Mountain National Park (Only 6 more days and I will be heading there again). It is here that I visibly can feel God’s presence; through friends who listen and embrace me in my own grief.

Near the top of the mountain, more tears fall. As I look to the future and leave the past behind; a season of no return. A season of changing and growing and being molded by the Father’s love! “For God so loved the world, God sent God’s one and only Son whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send God’s Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that we might be saved through it.”

Sometimes life is full of unexpected seasons; seasons that cause us to wander and feel lost. Yet God always shows up again and again. God always returns and holds our hands in the midst of our trials. And it is here during these seasons that we change.

I leave you with these words from Mary Geisen’s Tell His Story post today: “Life experience teaches us that throughout our lives we find times when the old bumps into the new. It becomes beautiful, but not without growing pains. Tell His Story has been given a second chance. We can expect growing pains, but in the midst we will see such beauty as we never imagined.”

In other words, we must continually be pruned and shaped into who God calls us to be!

Also linked up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Mary and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories!


Sunday Blessings 216

(1) A fresh rain

(2) Snapchatting with RS

(3) Bible journaling

(4) Road tripping with NM

(5) Panera

(6) Hanging with CT, RT and KG

(7) WND Mission Gala

(8) Seeing so many awesome friends.

(9) Texting with my faves

(10) Hanging with CT, RT and KL.

(11) Chatting with LP and MO

(12) Running into my former colleagues brother in law at synod assembly.

(13) Getting our Service Learning Day shirts in the mail.

(14) Stella Rosa wine. Yummy!!

(15) Watching Pitch Perfect 2!!

(16) A beautiful PLN!!

(17) Great nursing home staff at moms nursing home.

(18) A night at camp fun

(19) A gorgeous summer night

(20) The smell of campfire