Our Ties

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Texas, United States
Nothing really different about us... normal people, normal existence, extraordinary journey of blessings brought in the most profound, difficult, devasting, and amazing circumstances. To know our journey is to know grace. I invite you in to view this simple life where extraordinary events shape together to create something only Grace can explain.......

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The boulder is back....and it hurts

It is that time again.  The time that darn boulder arrives and crushes me... almost to death.  The time when the live streaming of the movie starts to replay.  Until this time, it can be romanticized, softened, fast forwarded, or rewound to avoid the parts I hate.  But when the calendar flips to November, suddenly all of the buttons on the control freeze and I find myself lost in a sea of the most vivid, detailed memories that exist in my brain.

They say that trauma does that to a person.  They say that the most traumatic events of our lives are the ones that are the most memorable.  I am fascinated by that, but believe it to be true.  I have very few memories from before I was five.  But I remember standing in my bedroom in front of my cute, little girl mirror, crying while watching myself because my Papa had passed away.  I wasn't old enough to know what it meant, but I knew what it meant all at the same time.  I remember my daddy holding me and letting me look down on the casket.  My first taste of death.  He looked weird.... like my Papa, but strangely mannequin-like.  And I didn't like the smell.  I remember the smell.  It didn't stink but it was unfamiliar and very off-putting.  Those memories are maybe 30 seconds in length, but they are burned deeply into my brain's playback box.

Then of course my adopted kids solidified the theory for me.  Having both adopted and biological children, I saw firsthand the distinct difference in the older two and how they managed childhood, verses my younger three.  There was always a difference in their outlook.  Why?  Because they had come from unfair, unthinkable conditions for little ones.  They had those traumatic memories etched in their brain in the form of deep, hurting scars.  They couldn't see anything as innocent children in wonderment, because every bit of their innocence was robbed of them.  They couldn't even see our love for them.  They couldn't (and can't) see anything from their childhood beyond their own hurt.  It distorted, confused, and ruined their ability to bond with us.  In the thick of it, I was traumatized too.  Now that there has been some time gaps, I recognize more clearly how it wasn't and isn't us.  It was that playback they couldn't stop in their brain.  I remember the pain with them.  But I love them and I anguish over their hope that is lost in their early childhood traumatic events.  They are still chasing those people and trying to right the wrongs so their brain can release the bad and replace it with good.  And they can't hear yet, that it can never be.  I didn't understand that as much early on, as I understand it now.  But now? Now I understand it.....

I understand it well.....

I watched my sweet, little, 3 year old, son slowly fade into the horizon over and over again until the final day when Jesus took Him quickly and beautifully from our lives into the place of restoration and total healing.  The place my heart holds to, knowing one day I will be there too.The place where finally, the videos and traumas of this life for every person who chooses, fades away forever, leaving only this bliss I cannot comprehend.

November 25th and the weeks leading up to it are forever etched in my mind.  The sights, the sounds, the feelings, they are as tangible today as they were then.  If I allow myself, I can close my eyes, lock out the world, and I can literally tell you what songs we last heard, the smell of the last food we tasted, the expressions I saw on people's faces, and most of all, what every single person in my family looked like, sounded like, acted like, as it all came crashing down around us.  It is the most cherished, yet painful thing I have in my life.  I would have imagined that the vividness of the experience would have faded, much like the smell of his clothes that I can no longer pull out and "find him" in.  I would have guessed that I would remember the "big events" but not the minute details of each sound and action made around me.  I would have assumed that what I felt curled up on his bed as I listened to my family gather in our home outside my room, to provide support for me, my husband, and our children, would diminish.  Nothing has faded, nothing has diminished, and this season, by no choice of my own, forces it to the forefront of my experiences all over again, where it cannot be lessened or ignored.

Don't feel bad about that, though.  I welcome it, strange as it sounds.

You see, I used to want the hurt to end. I wanted to feel normal again... whole again.... happy again.  I wanted life "back".  As time has moved forward, I realize that I would have those same feelings, as odd as it is to say out loud, if I didn't experience these feelings.  This is a part of my journey, my story, my testimony, my faith.  Without this, I am no longer who I am today... and I like who I am today.  I am not satisfied with who I am.  I want more.  But I like who I am... I like what I know and the faith that I have learned is real and tangible and sustaining.  Eathan's life... and death.... is a part of what God is doing with me.

People that don't understand my faith, would see God as cruel.  Why?  Why would a God of love allow me to hurt this way for the rest of my life on earth?  How is that love at all?

I get that question. I get it and I understand when it is happening from those around us, trying to understand our journey from the outside that don't know our Father.   We have had the looks and the people that almost eye-roll at our faith that are asking that question in their behaviors to us,  It is almost a look of pity... like we hold to the faith as a desperate, hurting measure.  Ironically, that is exactly true, but on a deeper level than they can understand.  We have had some point blank ask us, "Where is your God now?" They can't believe we would still cling to the One believe failed us.  Without the faith we have, we would see it the same way.  And even myself, when certain things happen and this world and all the fighting and hating back and forth makes me crazy, I can't help but think, "GOD?  ARE YOU THERE?"

The difference though, is the minute I cry out to God, that is it.... I am crying out TO God.  I know He IS there.  It isn't something that I can put into words.  It is something I experienced when I was nine years old and again as a teen really wanting to solidify that He is real.  I met Him... personally.  Something happened that I have no words for and I MET Him. And ever since then, even when I feel like my prayers are bouncing off the walls and ceiling, somewhere deep in there, I feel Him.

I get the question, but I know the answer... especially in light of my son's death.  God is all I have.  If I don't cling to him, than these memories, these vivid last weeks of my son's life, are all I have left.  I want more.  I want more than the joy mixed with sorrow of his days.  I want more with all of those I love!  I want it all!  I want pure joy.  I crave it.  I chase it.  It fails me here often, but there... I want it.  I want to be where God is and I want to hear those sounds and know that feeling that erases every last pain of this earth.

But until then, I am thank I remember.  Why?  Because it means I am living.  I am doing this thing I am here to do.  Imperfectly, painfully, but still filled with joy and laughter... I am living!  I am watching Seth thrive as an adult. I am watching him make decisions where he considers his heart and the hearts of others.  I am watching him seek God and know what God is calling on his life and chasing it.  I am watching Brycelynn grow in size, while that joy that God sent us in here remains contagiously present.  She gets down and within minutes... MINUTES... that child is up again! I am meeting new people and loving on people I have known forever.  I am learning about the world and other views, while finding deep hope beyond the vicious anger spewed by the angry mobs.  I am having deep, intellectual conversations with people I deeply respect of other races and denominations of faith so that I can learn how to love people more.  I am crying over my animals that I love so much, knowing it is a gift to love God's creatures that much, even when it hurts.  I am meeting new students every year and having a chance to give them a piece of me to take with them, while receiving the greatest blessing of taking pieces of them with me forever changed for knowing them.  I am quietly sharing my faith with an older couple who would do anything for us, but don't seem to have a personal relationship with Jesus.  I am working through frustrations and finding my way to the other side in education because I believe in our future generations.  I am achieving my goal of becoming a nationally certified school and private licensed counselor, even though the program has continued to change and add more to the amount of courses and internship work that has to occur... I am doing it no matter the obstacles. I am still holding hands with the guy that stole my heart and married me at 21 years of age. I am cherishing my parents more every day, than I did the day before.

I am living.  My son's death helps me live.

It is weird to say, but it is true.  I would not live the way I do, were it not for what I have experienced through his life and ultimately through his death.  God met me there and has carried me in a way I never knew I needed.  He took Eathan home because disease had riddled his little body for 18 months and he was heroic. He changed more lives than I will ever know until heaven and God said "Well done, thy good and faithful servant" and took him to the place where he could forget it all and just experience the joy.

But he also did it for me... for my husband, our kids, our family, our friends, even strangers we have never met.  He does EVERYTHING for our good... even death... because God knows the bigger picture.  He knows who we would be on the alternate route.  He knows who would miss knowing HIM on the alternate route.  So he orchestrates a painfully beautiful canvass  that covers us all.

The day Eathan died was our best day in weeks.  He had been crashing and going into shock every 7 to ten hours.  That day he had crashed late the night before.  The nurses were led by the lord to do molds of his hands and feet for us in the middle of the night as he lay resting while stabilizing again.... the way he had stabilized for the past 7-8 weeks straight every 7-10 hours.  The day he died, they were led to make molds.  Beautiful.... spirit led. Not coincidence.    He had arrived home when it was still dark in the wee hours of the morning, as we always brought him back home to be with us there rather than spend whatever time we had left in the hospital.  We wanted time with him where it felt good.  It was the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  We had, for the first time, uttered the words, "he isn't going to make it long" to extended family beyond our parents on Thanksgiving day and now we were living in the moments we could.  It has always been tradition to decorate our home the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  This day was no different.  We wanted to do it with Eathan.... one last time.  He had sufferd a stroke and lost vision a couple of weeks prior, so we were intentional about the sounds and smells.  I would describe every detail to him. He had a dancing Santa he loved.  I plugged it in so he could hear it and I began to dance and sing around the living room where he lay on the couch.  He propped on his chubby little arm and started laughing and throwing his little bleeding head back in joy.  Then he said it.

"Mama... you so punny!"  (Mama, you so funny)

I laughed and first and then stopped..... I hadn't told him I was dancing.  I said, "Tuffy, can you see me?" He said, "You dancing, Mama! You so punny!" I hollered at Todd and the kids who were setting the tree up in a different area.  We rejoiced that day.  We KNEW God was healing him!  He was hearing our cries! We had the best 13 hours of our lives!  Yes... we made it 13 hours that day with no shock,  Eathan picked out his own ornament at the store (also a tradition), he saw Christmas lights as we took him for a ride around, and he even ate french fries! He hadn't eaten anything but M& M's for weeks!  He just let the tube feed him.  But this day, he ATE!  We were seeing a miracle. 

You can imagine the shock, then, when Eathan faded fast that night and clutched his chest with his chubby little hand and said "Ouch! It hurts."  Everything went into "go time" mode for me.  I didn't see it as different.  I just saw his faded lips, knew the bleeding was too much again, and began the process of loading him.  We had a system. I ran to the kids and loved on them each one and loaded his bag that was always ready by the door.  Todd carried Tuffy, loving on him, spending those moments he could with him.  He called 9-1-1 to alert them I was heading out so they could block the highway for us, I jumped in the car, kissed Todd, and sped away, while Todd called in the parents to come be with the kids so he could get to us.  I didn't know this night was different.  Todd did.  He said the moment we drove off, he broke because he knew.

Not me.  I drove down our dirt hill, pulled onto the highway, pushed the petal of the Red Chevy Tahoe all the way to the floor, and began my ritual of talking to God and to Eathan, at the same time.  I never knew how we made it to the hospital each time.  My speeds would reach above 100 on that highway.  The patrol officers always had everyone stopped and pulled over and I just drove like mad.  I am not even sure I looked at the road.  I just prayed, cried, and talked to Eathan.  Those angels are real... they carried us.

The officers had been doing this for over two months... twice a day.   The first time came when I was flying and an officer pulled in behind me clocking my speed well over 100.  In order to not be shot, I pulled over.  I had my hazards on, but I didn't know what he must be thinking and even in my chaos I had the sense to pull over.  He was a giant, kind man that approached me in confident, fear.  I could see him, guarded and ready for whatever "monster" might come at him.  I had the lights on in my car always because I wanted to see my son's face so I kept my hands on the wheel and was crying.  He said, "Ma'am, please step out..."  and I yelled "MY SON IS DYING!  OPEN THE BACK DOOR!  LOOK IN THE WINDOW!"  He looked and without hesitation yelled, "FOLLOW  ME" and he ran back to his car and turned on his sirens and took off.  He led the way for us that night.  When I turned into the back parking lot of the hospital (he had headed to the ER because he didn't know our routine) he sped back behind me and wanted to help.  I remember his face.  His kind, helping eyes.  I wanted to lean into him and cry... he was that kind of man.  But there was no time.  The nurses had the back door to the ICU open and the race was happening.  I spouted, "Thank you sir" and saw the tears in his eyes as I grabbed my son and ran.  He was behind setting up our situation.  He stayed and talked to nurses.  They explained the details of the events that were happening and he said that from now on we were to alert them we were in route and he would ensure the department was there to protect our drive.

They always were.  All the way to the final drive to Eathan's resting place.  I think every single on and off duty officer was either at the funeral or at every intersection between the church downtown and the cemetery miles and miles away.... even in the ice storm that had arrived the day before we buried him.

We arrived that night and I remember opening the back door and knowing.  His body looked peaceful and there was this look on his face.  This look of excitement and joy!  For a fleeting moment, I knew my boy had seen Jesus.  But then my flesh cried out and I screamed "NO!  YOU STAY WITH ME!" and I grabbed him and ran to the door, where the nurses were waiting.  I remember the hallway seemed to grow longer that night as we ran to "his" room.  It was like my legs were made of rubber and my feet of cement and I was in slow motion.  I saw every nurse, every tech, every respiratory therapists look of concern.  I can still remember hearing the machines and that sound... that awful sound that came when the heartbeat showed zero.  I remember my legs gave out and the nurse behind me holding me up as I fell.  I remember looking to each precious person in the room pleading and yelling for them to "FIX HIM!  IT IS YOUR JOB TO FIX HIM!" and seeing them helplessly look back at me with the love of Jesus, knowing they couldn't. I knew that.  We had already discussed what would happen if we lost him and tried to resuscitate.  His little body couldn't... shouldn't... be put through it.  But in the moment, my Mama-heart couldn't bear it.

They were heroes.  Each and every person in that room loved my son beyond words.  I know they didn't want it to be his last breath either.  But they were able to heroically hold to what was best for him.  With courage and the deepest love they could give, they protected Tuffy from something worse.  I remember after begging, when the moment came when I stopped.  I crawled in bed with him and they unhooked him.  For the first time in 18 months, I cradled my sweet child without any barriers of cords, tubes, and machines.  He melted against me, so warm.  I closed my eyes and it was like an out-of-body experience.  I could hear myself screaming, "I am not ready!" but at the same time, it was like everyone faded far away and I could only feel his warmth.

I cherish that time.  I needed to hold him like that.  I didn't know how badly I needed to hold my child without all the medical intrusion.

Todd arrived and suddenly I wasn't in that out-of-body feeling.  I was keenly aware of his pain, my own, those in the room.  I can tell you every word that was said to us.  I can tell you every person that came, both in the hall and in the room.  I can tell you what I felt when his doctors arrived.  I can tell you everything.  I can tell you how I felt begging Charlie, now a dear friend, but then our funeral director, not to zip him in a bag.  I remember Todd telling me we had to let him go now.  I remember walking down the hall, the nurses lining the way, broken with us and for us.  I remember seeing the door close on Eathan and Charlie's look of sincere pain for us.  I remember his promise to take good care of Eathan and believing him.

Then I remember empty.  The most empty I have ever known.  I didn't know how to leave without him, go home without him, sleep without him.  I didn't know how to see my parents... my kids... without him.  I didn't know how to live without him.

It was days before the boulder came.  The day after the funeral, to be exact.  Until then it was this emptiness that was as close to hell that I ever want to feel. But the boulder came crashing down that morning as I looked out the window and saw people going to work.  I was screaming inside, "DON'T YOU KNOW MY SON DIED? HOW CAN YOU JUST BE GOING TO WORK LIKE THAT?"  And then it hit.  Life was going to go on without my son.  And the boulder came trying to hold me down, making it difficult to breathe.

Life has been chiseling down that boulder since that day. I could write for weeks and not even cover the first week of life after Eathan.  The feelings, emotions, pain, and yes, joy.  Tuffy is joy.  He is the closest thing to touching Jesus I have ever experienced.  I believe the closer he got to death, the more Jesus was there and I FELT him.  I miss it.  Every single day.

I shared in bible study, that I have no problem celebrating all that God has done and is still doing.  I could blog for weeks just on miracles and changed lives.  And I have written many down before.  I believe in remembrance stones.  But this time of year I remember his death and it is exhausting and I don't want to.

But then I do want to.  Because even death was and is beautiful.

So, this Thanksgiving, if you have stuck with me and read all the way to here, please know the boulder is back, but I mean it when I say JOY COMES IN THE MORNING.  God has a way of getting us through it when we don't even see how it could ever be possible.  And He has a way of using every tear.  I believe that.

So, before you hate people and fight wrong battles, think of Eathan.  Choose love.  It will make you experience things in a way that is beyond worth any pain that accompanies.

And then one day, God will draw us home too.  And all this will fade into a sea of beautiful glory where a love we've only dreamt of encompasses us for eternity.

Hope keeps chiseling off the boulder.

I am thankful today on Thanksgiving.  And I will be thankful tomorrow... the death date.... because Eathan and Jesus have allowed me a journey that has taught me how.....


Monday, June 13, 2016


I always wait a day or two to process a horrific event, such as what has again happened in our country, both the shooting of Christina Grimmie, as well as the mass shooting, now labeled the largest modern day mass shooting on American soil.  I listen to what the media says.  I watch the presidential response and this year, the candidates responses also.  I pause and wait for the victim lists to become actual, tangible people that I can see because it is always important to me to know they are more than names and statistics.  I want to look at them, read of them, and know who it is that their families are grieving because it matters to me. Those 50 people were someone's sons and daughters.  I have to give them more in my mind that the statistic of being one of a number.  So I wait for that list and I pour over it. 

Most of all, however,  I pray.  I pray because every single time an event such as this happens, I just don't find comfort in what I am hearing and seeing in response to the tragedy.  I mean, not an ounce of comfort is found in all of that.  Only heartbreak...  People blaming people;  People hating people;  Shattered lives hurting others, making more shattered lives; Political agendas being shoved down my throat from all directions;  People trying to garnish attention for causes.  The list is endless to what I observe every single time.  I read some of the comments people make on posts and they are so cruel.  Bashing people, making inappropriate statements that mock the situations, word fights, more threats... it just absolutely makes me crazy.

I am sitting there watching all of this and I just want to scream... "PEOPLE!  Look around you.  Does this not make you want to run to people you love and just do that... love them?"  I find myself having to work really hard at not wanting to become a coward and retreat into a hiding hole with my children because I don't want to lose another child.  I have experienced death of a child and I never, ever want to go through that again.  But someone might want me to!  Someone wanted to kill those people, for whatever reason, so they might want to kill mine or me as well!  They might hate my patriotism and want me dead.  Or they might hate the way I teach school.  Or they may hate the way I wear flip flops.  I don't know why someone might hate me or my family enough to want to kill us, but I think the reality is, we can all see that people do hate that much.  It is proven time and again since the time sin hit this earth.  People DO kill people and it scares the living daylights out of me. 

I watch all these people start to go after each other with the blame game and I am so confused.  When I see people hurting I want to go to them not yell at other people and try to be "right" about "my side" or "my views".  I just want to comfort them, show them I care and that I know that their lives will never fully be recovered back to what it once was. I want to tell them to hang on because somehow, God is still here.  He didn't stop it, but He didn't miss it either. And I want to tell them it is absolutely okay to be mad at God and yell at him and ask Him why.  He is  big enough for that!  He wants us to ask Him and yell at Him.  He doesn't care HOW we come to Him, He just wants us to come!  I want to tell them they don't have to put on a strong face and say that God is good, because that is what faith is. No!  Faith is saying, "I can't do this! WHY? WHY? WHY? Why would you let this happen, God? WHHHHYYYYYYYY?"    That is faith, real, unedited, un-churchy faith.

And then I want to tell them that somehow in the midst of being mad and trying to make sense of it, a comfort would come that makes no sense at all.  It would be like a washing that would flow so softly over their wounds that they wouldn't be able to pin point when it began.  It would be like a quiet whisper enveloping and calming the screams of anguish this world has brought.  It wouldn't explain the hurt or even extinguish it, but it would envelop it in a way that felt... held.  It would calm them enough that they could take the next breath, then the next, for as long as it took to get past just breathing and take the next step, whatever that is. 

I want to tell them this because they don't need more propaganda.  They don't need more hate and hurt and attacks and fights.  They need hope.  THEY NEED HOPE RIGHT NOW!  How do I know?  Because my children weren't in Orlando.  I have not had a gunman take out someone I love.  And I am scared of what is happening.  I need hope!  If I need it, how much more do these hurting people need it?  HOW MUCH MORE!!!!

So people, I don't know where you are on this.  I don't know if you have strong political views or areas of pure anger at things that are being said or who was targeted and why you are angry.  What I know is until we start laying all that junk down and love one another and believe that the only way to endure this mess of a world is in Christ alone, we are going to stay vulnerable and afraid.  I don't like feeling afraid.  When I turn to God, the seas calm.   Man can I be like Peter in these times.  I can start to look at the raging waters instead of keeping my eyes on Jesus and down I start to go.  Tonight, as I soak in the names and faces of those lost, I find myself looking back at Jesus and feeling the gentle covering wash over me.  I stop feeling agonizing pain on if those that died knew He loved them before they took their last breath and I start remembering that God is bigger than anything I can figure out or think through.  I can't understand the senseless deaths of such a young singer and all those lives, but I can understand that somehow, someway, evil will NOT win.  So tonight, I am walking in faith without sight in my "un-religious, all out there, I DON'T FEEL SAFE, GOD!" moments and I have a tingle come over me that whispers... "I got this."

I am going to leave this with the best way I know how.  I watched Christina Grimmie on The Voice, because I am a huge fan of the show.  She says it all right here in one of my favorite songs of all times...

I love you,



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Piece By Piece

Today I watched the latest episode of American Idol and had the privilege of sitting and bawling my eyes out to Kelli Clarkson's performance of Piece by Piece.  If you haven't seen it... go do it.  Now.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FHYBQxURQo  It hit me in ways I can't explain, but feel led to try.  Hope you will muddle through this with me.

My daddy is currently laid up in a hospital bed in more pain than I can imagine after his surgery.  He went in strong in spirit, came out even stronger.  I admire my parents more every day.  I have the best there is out there, people.  I can't think of a single time in my life that I haven't felt their love, loyalty, and support.  I know that they would die for me.  I have always known that.  What a precious gift to be surrounded in that kind of love throughout my earthly life!  And how easy that made grasping the love God has for me.  My daddy was not a man of words, but of actions.  He didn't have to tell me of his love because I experienced it every day.  He has this profound way of making me feel safe and wanted through his consistent, faithful actions, which made me know what to search for in a husband and potential father some day.  And I found that in Todd.  My mom is my dearest friend.  We laugh and cry and share and even argue.  The friendship is unshakable.  She taught me how to be a fiercely, loving daughter, wife, mom, and friend.

I have really been sad not being there for them through their surgeries.  I hate it.  I am the daughter that likes to go and hear the doctor reports and do their laundry and clean their house.  I like to do something, anything, to give a little back for all the ways they have given to me.  And when I can't it hurts.  It's when the distance and circumstances between us just about rip my heart out.  So I am missing them more this weekend than usual because I have such a desperate need to be off this knee wheelie and back home helping, somehow.  But I can't and that  is just how it is.  So I have trusted that God has remained with them and He has met them in their needs and will continue.  I am so thankful for that bridge that can span ANY miles or obstacles between those we love and us!

So today, as I have been having my parents heavily on my heart, I watched Kelly Clarkson blow me away with that performance and song. And I broke.  I am so blessed, but at every turn so many are not.  So, so many grow up feeling what Kelly expresses feeling as a young girl.  My own adopted children felt it before coming to us, and even with us because we couldn't filll the void of that abandonment they experienced before we got them.  It shatters me.  I think of students, neighbors, my kids friends, so many that feel that pain... and I see them struggle with their belief in God as well.  It crushes me.

My biological children are experiencing what I did as a child.  As long as I live, they will never feel abandoned or alone.  I will be there.  And if it could have been different for my adopted children.... they wouldn't have either.  I can't control what is out of my reach and beyond my abilities.  But I can absolutely continue to be who I am to anyone who will let me.  And I will.  I WILL.  I will love fiercely and intentionally.

Sometimes that causes me to feel lonely.  People are so busy with their lives and activities, many won't slow down and really live life together.  Sometimes I yearn to just sit and talk deep about my thoughts and feelings for hours.  I am not even sure hours would be enough.  It comes from so many places in me.  Places of love from my parents and family, shattered places from grief of the death of my sweet three year old, places of anger from the rejection caused by actions I couldn't prevent from others.  Places of overwhelming gratitude for the grace of Christ.  And even places of feeling sad that I can't be with my parents when I NEED to be sometimes. I want to share my heart and all that God has done with everyone that will listen.  I want to talk about my son in heaven and his beautiful journey as he headed HOME.  I want to talk about the hard stuff.  I want to talk about others joys and hurts.  I want to brag on my kids but not to boast, just celebrate.  I want to talk about my students and how much they each change me and why.  I just sometimes feel like I might explode.  Poor Todd gets the most of it.  He is a great listener and cares so much.  But sometimes I want to tell others.  I want to sit in a room of people that want to do the same thing and just lose track of time and let God pour out from our journeys. 

But then, in a quiet house on a Saturday, just when I feel I might explode, God does something unexpected in unexpected ways. He gives me a song that has NOTHING to do with my own childhood, yet everything to do with my childhood and moves me into conversations with Him where I am never lonely and it can always be deep.  My blessed childhood met up with Kelly's broken one, and yet the outcome we both choose is to love fiercely.  I hope Kelly Clarkson knows that beyond her husband,  God loves her even more and will even more so never walk away.  And I hope that anyone reading this knows that too.  My goodness, God loves us.

I want those that are within my touch to know I love them.  I cry every year when I have to let my students move on.  I physically hurt because I truly love them.  I remain joyfully sad that my son is thriving at A&M because I miss hugging him every single day.  I miss my daughter when she sleeps over at a friend's house because I miss her contagious mess of dramatic flair that makes us... us.  I cry at just the thought of my dogs growing old.  I am telling you, when I love I love to my core. God blessed me because He taught me early how to love deep and hasn't stopped since.

I don't know what your childhood was.  I don't know what your current circumstances are.  But piece by piece GOD loves you and will always be there.... always.  And when you absorb that love, you may feel lonely because so many don't get the need to live it out loud, but God does.... and it is glorious.

"And now three things remain:  faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love"   1 Cor 13:13

I love you,


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Blanketed Part 2

12-22-15  Part 2

Those verses in Isaiah 55 (See part one for details) hit me big today, as I searched his word after really experiencing the moments of just “being” out on the balcony with God.  It hit me that I am not here to continue learn to accept help and get over my pity party.  (That is an ongoing work in progress and the reminders are very good.)  But what hit me as I felt surrounded in the quilt of beautiful snow, pure and untouched in every direction I looked this morning, was that God was screaming at my worried heart, to remember that He WILL accomplish what He pleases and it SHALL PROSPER. 

Ever since we traveled to Europe this summer for our glorious dream trip for Seth’s graduation, I have been deeply burdened for our world.  When we were in Paris, for the first time on that trip, and directly in my life, I felt completely vulnerable and unprotected.  There was a beheading at a factory while we were there and we suddenly saw the Militia everywhere, armed with machine guns and obviously on guard.  We were in Paris the shortest amount of time, as we spent time in other countries and in Normandy and Mont St Michele in France, but our time there became very worrisome for me.  I tried to withhold any real obvious fear for my kids… namely my daughter’s sake.  She is still fresh and full of childhood and I want that to last for her as long as it can.  But, I was un-nerved at the sudden change in feel of the city.  We saved the Eiffel Tower for our last day there, with the intentions of watching the sunset over Paris from the top.  We took a cab to get there.  When we got in the car, I don’t know what it was, but I felt immediately unsafe.  The driver was playing some very dark sounding, music, he spoke little English, work extremely dark glasses, and was completely unfriendly.  It felt as if we were an annoyance to him.  I had ridden subways, buses, and cabs all over Europe with many that spoke different languages and were Muslim.  This was different.  This man felt angry.  His whole demeanor felt unsafe to me.  I leaned over and whispered to my daughter, “I don’t know why, but I just feel like I need you to say the name of Jesus in your head over and over until we are out of this taxi.”  For the first time in her life, she didn’t question me at all.  It was like she sensed it too and just nodded her head.  Seth had sat in the front and I knew he was intuitive enough to guard his heart.  We were very quiet and the ride, though quick, felt very long.  When we stepped out of the cab, I looked at Seth and said, “I was so uncomfortable.”  He knew exactly and so did my daughter.  It was a moment I will never forget.   

Our trip ended without incident, but I can honestly say, those couple of days in Paris have weighed heavy on me.  Then as things escalated and Paris experienced the terrible terrorist attacks, along with California’s incident, I have really been struggling more than I think I realized with the concern of the state of our world.  I can’t stand to watch the presidential chatter…. I have personal respect for Ben Carson as he was one of my son’s doctors and I know his heart is real and pure and kind…. But the rest just is so over the top.  Promises, lies, attacks, accusations, cursing, cruelness.  I know a few of the candidates are being more honorable, but overall it just troubles my soul.  The hate of others is so evident in foreign and home soil and I am looking at my children and those children I teach and love, wondering how the world will ever be right for them.  I didn’t realize just how much I was carrying it deep inside until God touched me as I looked out over the pureness of that gorgeous landscape. 

He gave me those verses and I know that it is not my job to see the world as it is in its current state.  It is my job to see God as He ALWAYS is.  God is watering.  He will bring forth what He intends to accomplish.  And the pureness of the snow that I am blessed enough to slow down and just fall in love with, is His way of saying to my heart that joy is still greater than the enemy so desperately roaming the earth.  God. Is. GOD. IS.  GOD!!!!  IS!!!!!!! 

Thankful that I am not at the mountain.  Thankful that I have a God gracious enough to meet with me in the snow.  And thankful that my children and all those I love have that same God loving them as well. 




Blanketed Part 1


I am currently sitting in the quiet of a Colorado cabin, with the soft daylight filtering in the window, enhanced by the sparkles of the falling snow.  I have sat for hours the past two days doing nothing but staring and just “being”.  It has been a long, long time since I have just “been.”  Life isn’t in that stage right now.  My family is and has been in a very active stage of life for many years now and it isn’t really slowing down anytime soon, so this time of just being is so unexpected!  I am soaking it up….. but in all honesty, it has taken a bit for me to get there. But right now, in this pause of time, I am truly grateful, even for the reasons and ways it came to be.

I never dreamed over Thanksgiving, how one fall would affect everything so much.  It is my life-long joke that I love a good fall, but the reality is, I learned a long time ago to learn to laugh at myself because I do fall.  Most people don’t know because it really has no overall bearing on my life, but I was born with tunnel vision.  What that means is that I was born without peripheral vision.  Therefore, if I am not looking at something, I don’t see it.  So, falls do happen from time to time because that can make you a bit clumsy.  I have never seen or felt it to be any sort of handicap as it has never impaired any area of my life.  I think when you are born without it, your brain just does fine without it.  I have known people, even one friend in particular, that lost their peripheral due to medical issues and they have had a tremendously difficult time adjusting, struggling with feeling off balance and etc.  I just haven’t had to go through that.  Depth perception is difficult at times, but again it’s all I’ve known so it’s really not worth worrying about or talking much about.

However, this fall reminded me that it is a deficit and for the first time, it has really affected me!  I turned to look at a car and when I turned around, I had no idea the sidewalk was ending so when I stepped, I thought I was stepping a normal step, not a drop off.  When I went down, I knew immediately this fall wasn’t one I was going to jump back up from.  I also again know it is really small in comparison to many things in life and I feel bad complaining.  I have dealt with cancer in my life, have friends with cancer, friends with MS, people that have missing limbs that I care about, family going through physical difficulties, and I will heal. It is a longer route than I wanted and certainly having to deal with a blown out shoulder and a blown out ankle on opposite sides of the body hasn’t been easy, but I will heal.  And I am thankful.  Sincerely, thankful!   

But the thing is, it is still hard and if I act like it isn’t I am not being authentic.  Any of you that know me or have read my blog, know that the only way I know how to be is real and honest.  So that is where I am again, blissfully sitting to write FINALLY after a long semester of grad school and fun teaching.  When I fell, I knew it hurt and I knew I was about to be inconvenienced.  I had no idea the challenges I would face emotionally as a result.  First of all, it happened the first day my son was FINALLY home from college for Thanksgiving break.  I had plans and was so looking forward to a week of family fun… not a time of feeling so bad that I only got out of bed to go to the bathroom and back.  Second, I teach first graders!  How in the world do you make that happen with a bad leg and a bad arm that can’t be used?  Also, I was knee deep in a demanding grad school class that required me to be on my mental A-game….and my mental game was depleted at the end of the day.  Finally, we had a family ski trip planned for Christmas break and the reality was, I knew I was not going to be better enough by then for it to even remotely resemble what I envisioned it to be.  So, in all honesty, though I am grateful I will heal, I was pretty bummed.  A lot.

See, the thing is, I am young.  I mean not in my 20’s young, but young.  The last few years since my hysterectomy have been pretty brutal on my body.  I have found out some health diagnosis I didn’t want and have had to see far more doctors than I want or meant to.  I feel I have pushed through it all, even last year having a terrible issue with my back.  I am the kind of person that doesn’t surrender to this junk.  I believe 90% of the ballgame is mental and I am just not one to slow down and just accept that some things aren’t perfect in my body.  That has been a good thing overall, I think, but I am slowly learning, while sitting and staring at this gorgeous backdrop of glistening snow, that it continues to be an area of pride for me that I have to work through.  And that hurts and stinks.

I have learned and even blogged about the pride issue many times.  It isn’t pride as in arrogance.  It is pride as in independence.  I love to be the giver and the doer in life.  It is my love language to serve others and be a part of giving.  It just lights my fire.  It is what I love about being a mom, a teacher, a friend, a neighbor, a church member, and it is what heals me most with missing my sweet Eathan.  When I am raising money or giving out blankets or teaching kids about the true meaning of serving others, I am healing.  It’s the most glorious feeling.  And I just am not as good at receiving.  I have learned and valued being on the receiving in a great deal along the way, especially through Eathan’s journey home to Heaven.  The love and sacrifice that was shown to our family continues to just blow my mind.  I will never, as long as I am this side of heaven, be able to truly express the depth of what that love shown to us meant and still means.  I forget a lot of things in life, but I can assure you, there isn’t a single act of love and kindness that I have forgotten from our journey during that time and after.  And since that time, I work really hard at remembering that refusing others help is refusing them a blessing. I really understand that.  I know how I am blessed in giving and I know I must allow that for others.  So, it’s not that. 

The thing that I am currently struggling with, I think, that makes this different, is even in the midst of all that, I was still able to give also.  I was giving my daily life to Eathan’s fight and to loving my husband and children through it to the very best of my ability.  I was still giving.  In all of my journey’s I have still been able to give while receiving.  This time, this silly fall, took that from me.  I have felt more helpless than I ever have before.  And I didn’t know until I got so grumpy my first night hear, just how much I had to work on myself in that area.  How many times I have learned to BE STILL AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD!  But I still didn’t fully know it.  Still.  After all the lessons.  After all the beautiful patience God has had allowing me to learn through the years. 

When we arrived here, I was coming off of a couple of weeks of having dear, dear friend donate her full days to coming and being my hands and feet when I returned to the classroom.  She knew how hard the Christmas season is for busy activities and she just came and selflessly served me and my students.  If I needed an errand she did it.  If I couldn’t reach something, she got it.  She passed out papers.  She opened my cokes.  She picked up my trash.  My word, she just served me.  She lost her daughter last spring, suddenly and tragically.  That sweet daughter’s birthday is today and Christmas is around the corner.  I know that season of pain.  Yet there she was, every day serving me.  It was beautifully hard for me.  Funny, I almost dread working without her now, because of how my heart feels when I am near her!  But it was tough to experience.  My team picked up the slack, even my teaching partner that has a fractured foot.  Coworkers were amazing.  I made it through because of my village. But I felt so out of my element, not doing for myself.  And then my poor family.  I am absolutely useless at home.  It has been hard to not do what I do there and have to see them, especially Todd with his bad back and busy schedule, having to drive me and help in every way while I am useless.  Tough.  Friends have brought food.  Neighbors have helped with dogs.  Just remarkable, but very hard for me.  Because I can’t do one thing to give back right now.

So when we headed here for our vacation, I had the stubbornness in me to actually think I would just knee-wheely right out to that mountain, plop down and watch.  When we arrived, I was hurting almost as much as the first week, as the 18 hour car ride wasn’t friendly to the injuries.   Then when we got here, we realized that though we were bottom level, there were stairs.  STAIRS.  I can’t walk!  I can’t use crutches due to the shoulder.  And there were stairs.  Still in my determination, I said to myself, “NO BIG DEAL. I CAN SCOOT”.  It was hard, painful, and somewhat embarrassing along the way.  By the time I was half way up the 16 stairs, I was crying and just flat mad.  The reality hit that I wasn’t going to be able to manage those stairs multiple times in a day.  The reality was I wasn’t going to be able to head to the mountain.  The reality was, that our first ski trip since moving to Houston (ski trips are what we always took to run away on the death date...they are very special to us) that I was going to pretty much miss it all.  I felt sorry for myself and I felt sorry for my family.  I felt like a big ol’ burden and fun spoiler. 

But then they left yesterday and I was thrilled to see the excitement in their faces.  I laid in bed for a long time after they left, just staring out at this gorgeous view.  I didn’t read.  I didn’t watch TV.  I posted a few pictures to facebook and then I just stared.  For the longest time.  I wasn’t really talking to God.  I was just… being.  I did that off and on all day.  Many people encouraged me on social media to enjoy the time.  Rest.  Relax. Soak up the time.  And I heard.  I listened.  But I still had this nagging sadness.  When the family came home and shared their stories, they were all wiped out.  We needed to get some things from Wal Mart and pick up some food for the cabin.  It wasn’t worth me going and the effort it would take on all of us.  Seth offered to stay, but I just didn’t want people staying behind because of me.  I wanted them to go and see and do.  These little towns are so quaint and seeing them at night is just worth it.  So they left and I sat alone again.  Trying to be okay with things, but feeling sad.

Last night, I woke up and was just lying there listening to the night sounds, and I don’t know, but God got a hold of me. He convicted me that I was not being a fair example for the ones I love the most.  I tell my kids all the time that every situation is what we choose to make of it, but I wasn’t making anything great of this.  I didn’t know what to do about it, but I felt it.  This morning, when they left, I didn’t feel sad like yesterday.  I didn’t feel jealous of Todd getting to see first-hand what I can only see in pictures.  I got up on my knee-wheely, put on my warm coat, and scooted onto this beautiful balcony and just got lost in the reality of where I am and what a fantastic gift it is that I am here.  I prayed for my friend Joni, who is more courageous and beautiful than anyone I know, as she lives a full life, fully paralyzed due to MS.  I love her.  I honor her.  I respect her. And I thought of Randy and Shawna, as Randy continues to battle something that so far has taken a leg and several fingers, with more issues still occurring.  I respect them so much.  I was overwhelmed with the understanding that I was missing the point again.  I was here.  I was experiencing these moments just as I was meant to because God allowed them. 

The blanket of fresh, pure, untouched snow is something I would have missed were I at the mountain with all the excitement of the skiing.  God had given me this gift to absorb and I was so busy feeling “helpless” that I was missing the gift!  This morning, I see it.  I SEE it.  I feel it.  I am experiencing it.  And I realized, as I was shivering on the balcony looking out at that gorgeous backdrop God had given me that I needed this for something more than I even knew. 


This is so long.  I am sorry! It’s been such a busy season of research and essays, with teaching, that I haven’t written.  So I am on a roll!  IF you are still with me, bless you!  Most may not be and that is okay too.  I always write to write.  If God wants others to read it, that’s great.  If not, it’s okay too because man do I love that God made me find joy in writing!  I hope someday that this will be a legacy of who I really am for my children.  Not just the parts of me or certain moments, but who I am to my core.  So I write until I feel I am done! 

I am so not done!  So I will stop this entry and save the rest for a second entry.  Who knew a blog could also be a chapter book!  I will leave you with these verses that speak truth to me today while resting in the beauty of the white blanketed mountains. 


Isaiah 55:10- 13

10“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, And Bread to the eater,

11 So shall my word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

12 “ For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands,

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the Cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the Lord for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stop the fighting!

Just seeing all the anger on Facebook.  There are some real perks from being disconnected from social media! 

I am going to speak my mind now, however.  In light of yesterday's Supreme Court hearing here is my reaction:  
1). I believe in love first.  Not conditional love. Just love. I will love all people because thankfully that's how God loves me!! 
2). I believe people have a right to choose.  I will respect that right and appreciate that I have that same right. 
3) I still believe that the biblical marriage union is between a man and woman. 
4) However, I will not hate people for believing otherwise.  
5) I won't freak out over a law.  I will keep loving. Keep respecting.  And I hope others will do the same for me.  

This law is not the issue.  The question is do you know what you believe?  If you do then live it.  If you have an opportunity to peacefully discuss why you believe what you believe, on either side if the issue, civilly discuss it.  That's where growth happens.  Fighting, demeaning, judging (yes both sides), and being enraged does not lead to peace. I'm ok listening to why others believe what they believe.  I hope to be given the same respect.  To me, that's when the greatest change happens.  The rest just seems like a lot of cruelness on both sides that I want nothing to do with because it seems like hypocrisy on both sides.  Both are yelling at each other to love. None are displaying that love to anyone that is different in view.  Who wins there? 

I know who I am and I know what I believe.  I am a follower of Jesus Christ and His teachings.  Who am I to act in hatred when Christ never did? He experienced the wrath of hatred... To the point of His death.  How did He respond? In love. Always, always in love. 

Today I'm back to my vacation and away from social media.  I am going to meet new people in Germany of whom I don't know their beliefs or religion.  I am going to get to know them and I'm going to try to display quiet love from inside.  Oh how I wish we would do that back home today as well... 

"Love thy neighbor as thyself". Man I sure don't want people to hate me for what they believe is wrong in me, so I am going to do towards others as I want for myself.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Whatever Major Loser!

I have spent most of my writing time this year writing private things to my children, especially my son, who is in his senior year. My blog has suffered.  I am okay with that though, because it's a monumental year in so many ways and I am trying to share very personally with my children what this year means to me.  Time is going very fast and I am absorbing every possible moment I can!  That doesn't leave a lot of time for further writing!   However, I just needed to come back to this tonight.  I miss writing in this way and I am glad to come back tonight and share something on my heart.  I learned a lesson again this weekend that I started learning many years ago.  It's crazy to me, really, but it's true.

Here I sit at 29 years old (okay, okay....give or take quite a few years... uh-hmmm is that really important right now?) and I am realizing that even at my age, bullies that have never grown up or moved out of that miserable mean-girl mentality, still exist.  It's a hard pill to swallow for me, but it's true.  The things they say and do may have different content than back in middle school, but the approach and behaviors are 100% spot on to what they were all the way back then. They can get under my skin in a New York second, as the phrase goes, and my blood can boil something fierce. I learned a long time ago that I am not intimidated by them.  They are a mush of pretend toughness that is camouflaging their obvious weakness.   I find myself struggling to maintain my own maturity because sometimes I just want to dish out what is given.

Man, sometimes it would feel good to walk right up to a bullying adult and just start an official "cut down war" like we used to have for fun... only I want to do it and mean it. If I am really honest, every once in a while, with this one particular person, I want to put my fingers on my forehead and do the signs for "WHATEVER- MAJOR- LOSER!"  with every ounce of mean I can muster.  Sometimes, I just can taste the sweetness of the tell-off.

And if I wanted, I could find a way to justify it.  Goodness knows bullies give plenty of obvious ammunition to pull from.  I could even use God's word (by isolating certain verses of course) to justify my behavior.... the scripture about eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth comes to mind... or in an adult bully's case... nasty words for nasty words, nasty actions for nasty actions.  Uh-huh, I could definitely convince myself and others I had every right to be as nasty as I could possibly be.  People would probably applaud me because if I am feeling it, so are a ton of others because the bully path is wide and ugly.  So that could even be a justification... I am doing a service for others.....

But wait... WAIT.  Just before I embark on that well deserved tongue lashing, it happens.  IT happens.  You know.... that still, small voice that says, "Robin, are you Mine or not?  Who are you about to please right now... self or me?" pause..... then I think,  "Uh... well.  Hold up.  I am not doing this for ME.  It's for the WORLD.  I am stopping the nonsense."  The still,  small voice is a little louder, "Oh I am not saying you shouldn't use your voice and your power of tongue.  I gave those to you.  Of course you should use them.  I don't ask my disciples to be weak!"  pause...  then I think, "EXACTLY.  Enough is enough.  You gave me a brain, a tongue, and a heart that knows what is an injustice!"  The still,small voice, "Yes, and I gave you a brain to think and a heart to care.  You do remember what is greatest of all, don't you?  DON'T YOU?"  Pause... then I begin to justify, "Of course!  The greatest of these is love!  So I love the bully enough to stop them.  It is my job to STOP them!"  The still, small voice, "Oh child, there you go again in your arrogance!"  I respond, "Arrogance?  NO!  This isn't about arrogance.  THEY have arrogance. I am just trying to stop their attacks and lies."  The still, small voice isn't so small anymore.  We are in a full on wrestling match.  He says, "It is not nor ever will be your job to change them.  That is MY job and mine alone.  Sometimes I use you for what I am doing, but it is NEVER, EVER you!  Pause, long, long pause.  Then a whisper from my heart... "Forgive me, Father." 

And as quick as that, the justifications slip away and the truth reigns victorious.  I cannot justify acting like the overgrown bully acts for any reason in the world.  And because of that still, small voice, I suddenly don't feel such a need to justify it anymore.  Suddenly my thoughts go back to what I know... this person doesn't hate me or any other person they are so ugly to.  This person hates herself.  She isn't satisfied with who she is. I don't think she knows that, but I do.  She is jealous of everyone and every thing, including kids and that comes from an unsatisfied place in herself!  She mocks me for my faith.  She mock anyone in any religion of any faith.  She hates God and religion.  She hates faith of any kind. Her words.  Her proclamation. Her treatment of others isn't a reflection of the other person, it is a reflection of her own hatred inside.  She isn't trying to fight for good things.  She isn't trying to battle for anyone to have a better life or better opportunities.  She is trying with all her might to be destructive because its the only thing that makes her feel better inside. It is a sad existence and because of my Father, I am drawn back to pray for her rather than to "do to her what she has done to others" as my flesh may feel because that is opposite of what God actually wants from us. 

So where does that leave me?  I have to cross paths with this person on a regular basis right now.  I have to see her spread poison at every turn.  I have to see people hurt by her, enraged by her, and others sucked into her lies only to realize a little to late, the spinster has them trapped in her web of deceit and  destruction.  It leaves me waiting and allowing God to show me the way. Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Sometimes that means He lets me speak truth to her.  Sometimes... most of the time... it means I have to pray and stand back.  I am not a savior, nor do I have any power to change a heart.  My job isn't to fix her.  My job is to just be a vessel and try to control my own responses.  Saturday God let me speak, just briefly, to her about a situation she took entirely too far.  I was furious.  But amazingly, when I let God direct me, I was able to manage myself in a way that was very clear to her that she was not intimidating to me, but also in a way that  were I able to see Jesus with my naked eye, I would not have been ashamed.  That is most important to me!

As she squirmed a bit without any real recourse because I didn't handle anything in a way that would allow her cause for a "fight" which is what she is always looking for, I found myself so aware of God in me.  Instead of going in for a fight on her level, I handled it in a way that let her know I and many others saw straight through her games and that a line is drawn where kids are involved, but I didn't engage in her level of attack. She huffed off and disappeared.  I did it off to the side, in a non-spectacle way, so I drew very little attention to myself and was able to ensure that anyone not aware of the issues with her, weren't made aware because of me.  I am proud of that situation.  I am proud of me.  Not because of me, but because of Christ in me.

And it takes me back to a very pivotal time in my childhood.  There was a bully in my life.. in several of our lives.  She would pick someone to be mad at every day and the rest of the group would go along for fear of them being the next target if they didn't.  I remember many times going home to my mom and crying.  She would always tell me that until I stopped letting her bother me, she would do it again and again.  She said I needed to handle myself in a way that was direct, firm, but honorable. When I finally had the courage to do it, it was the most freeing experience of my childhood.  It grew me and planted a strength in me.  I learned back then, I could stand against what is wrong, but in a way that didn't breed more wrong.  I am so grateful for a wise mom.  And I am grateful for the remembrance stone of that day that helps me to continue to handle myself in that way today. 

This situation isn't really that big of a deal.  I just have to deal with her briefly in a certain season of the year and then our paths never cross.  On the days she goes too far, it feels huge and my flesh wants a piece of her.  But the fact that I have God's whispers to remind me who I am and who I belong to, I can overcome that flesh driven anger and deal with it correctly.  Then I can move on and continue in the blessings that are all around me.  And I can hope that the words I spoke to her, will somehow shape her away from what she does to so many.  Maybe I said what others have yet to say, but will be positively affected by because I did it for them.  Who knows.  I just know I will keep praying for her and I will celebrate that the simple statement I made on Saturday released me from all those feelings she was building up inside me. 

The greater lesson in all of this, beyond what I have shared, is how easily and quickly we let down our guard to the fact that Satan comes at us to distract us from our plan for good!   So much energy was spent over the last few weeks, thinking of this person and her crazy treatment of the people around her.  I have so much I am praying about, trusting God with, seeking God for, and I let my eyes fall from Him to her behavior.  It is like Peter walking on water and starting to sink because he took his eyes off of Jesus.  How easily we can start to sink.  How blessed I am to have that still, small voice in my heart to pull me back to where I should focus.  How in the world would I make it without the Lord?  I don't even want to know.

You may not have a bully to deal with right now, the way I do, but just remember, Satan is always a bully and he is finding your distraction even as I type. It's funny, really.  Todd and I have been through so much together and have learned so personally how very near God is.  Even now, there are things taking place that in the bigger picture are far more of a concern than some mean-girl grown up.  Satan knows we are laying the bigger things at the feet of Jesus, so he is bringing a smaller distraction. He is quite good at his evil craft!   We have to pray for one another and we have to seek His face for one another!  As the song goes by Michael W. Smith goes... "Pray for me and I'll pray for you!"