November 19, 2012

It's the End of the World as I Know It...

It's the end of the world as I know it...and I am trying to feel fine.

The past several years have been a consistent transition of things in my world. Because of an unexpected blessing I was able to take 2012 off from working and thought I would spend a lot of time investing in myself--doing things to develop my mind, heart, and body.

I did do things occasionally for myself. I saw more of the world than ever, found time to read, gave myself a respite of saying no to every opportunity, and began to enjoy singing and playing music again. There were weeks when I was attuned to life and enjoyed it immensely. And there were weeks when I crashed and slept; where worries crept in and my way of coping was to not.

Time invested was not always helping me to grow or develop, but to replenish a depleted me. I feel as though I have had time to recover and heal and am both afraid and antsy for what's next.

So as 2012 comes to a close and I am starting to work again, I am mindful of how easy it is to lose oneself in the midst of every day life. As I was thinking about how to keep balance in life and work and love and kids and marriage and all the other stuff that pulls for our attention, I came across a 21-day "online class" by Molly Mahar ( that helps you develop "clarity about what you are craving for 2013."

I am excited to do this and map out 2013. Not too be confined to plans or a timeline, but to have a clear picture of things I would like to accomplish for me personally on a spiritual, intellectual, physical, financial, and emotional level.

I envision myself as the best me that I can be. Enjoying the journey of making my life all that I believe I was designed to be.

November 5, 2012

The Honeymoon is Over

This week the honeymoon is officially over.

Mike and I have been blessed with an enormous amount of time together to celebrate life as newlyweds. This involved my three blessings adjusting to life on Tybee and the blending of Mike's three kids into our "Brady Bunch."

We are starting a new business ( which is starting to take off and our days at home together are ending. We knew this time would come, but that does not make it any easier.

Mike and I are literally passing each other on or way to-and-from town all week this week. We usually have our weekends together, but he is meeting a beloved friend for a boys weekend while I cheer on Laurel's soccer team in their tournament this weekend. This is the first time (besides a funeral I attended for two days in NYC) that we will be apart. Truth be told, I already dread it. There is the potential that we will be apart the following weekend too.

I know that we were gifted with lots of time and am thankful for that. I also know that as the girls get older our weekends apart will likely be more (after all I am married to a die-hard season ticket holder for UGA).

Sure in the grand scheme of life this is all minor stuff, but change is never easy.

Actually, most of us fear change. The comfort of what we know often paralyzes us to move forward. We remain transfixed in a state of what is instead of embracing the thought of what could be.

We all have hopes and dreams of what we want to try, where we would like to work, where we want to live, what differences we want to make in the world. We put off becoming all that we could be for the future because there isn't time now, or we do not have the money, or because we have kids.

We often always concoct a reason for why not now won't work; instead of finding or own why not way.

There are countless examples of people that we sit in awe of who have dared to live the life they imagined. They started out no different from you and I. I believe that we are all blessed with a crazy, wonderful, wild adventure, yet few of us ever come close to living it out.

My personal prayer is that I do not arrive at my grace safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow! What a ride!"

Find one small thing you desire to try and do it. It is not a matter of accomplishing all the big things at once but taking small steps forward. There are things that you desire to do. There are changes you desire to make. There are experiences you desire to have. There are places you desire to live. There are jobs you desire to hold. There is a life you desire to live. Why not now?

October 24, 2012

How Do You Work From Home?

"Well, your door is not shut," I exclaimed to Mike the other day as I had something I needed to tell him at that moment.

We are adapting to working from home, together. Our red room extends into the living room, dining room and kitchen area in a very open layout with over sized doorways (with no doors) into each room. Mike has always preferred to work on the back deck; or when it is too cold in the kitchen. I somehow overtook the desk in the red room and now use that as my office space.

I am still finding my rhythm of working from home. After the two and a half hours in the morning of getting the girls ready for school and to school, I arrive back home at 9 to start my day. By this time Mike, who took Maddie to school at 7:15 a.m., is already writing his daily blog (

Mondays are the hardest because everything I didn't do on the weekend, I always tell myself I can do on Monday....but...finally around noon I am ready to start doing things and it starts with lunch. Soon after that it is off to get the girls and take Cassidy to gymnastics. So work and housework never really seem to happen on Monday.

A regret filled Monday night leaves me working way past bedtime to catch up and Tuesdays begins with a great gusto of "I am ready!"

For awhile I will find my momentum and get many things done. Often as I find my groove, Mike decides it is time to come and give me a kiss. I stay focused on the computer and work as he tries to persuade me otherwise.

"Umm...didn't you see my door was closed," I often say to him as we both laugh.

I consider it a great blessing to be able to work from home running our own business
(  but it is also one of the hardest adjustments. Living five blocks from the beach doesn't help either. But who gets to do this?

Mike and I are creating a life that we both desire to have.

I am now living out my dream of working from home and being my own boss. Yet, it is scary and thrilling as most dreams-turned-into-reality are.

"The rhythm of a work routine from home will come," I tell myself as the sun bounces shadows across my desk from the palm tree dancing outside my "office" window.  The reflections on my desk make me look at my two to-do lists. The longer list being longterm items; the other today's list.

Seeing that five of eight things  are completed on today's list, I think it is time to check on Mike. Looks like his office door is open....

October 19, 2012

My Confession

There comes a point in life when you realize that no matter how hard you try for something, some things just will never be the way you imagined. I like to believe we can all really reach our dreams of work, love, family...and yet the sad reality is that we can try and fail, give and give...and still what we thought never happens.

The family you dreamt of is shattered by years of infertility and loss. The one you pledged to love fails to respect the special bond you should share. The perfect job is downsizing and your are blindsided when your name is on the list. The safety net you planned is drained by medical bills. The retirement account you established is now pulled to cover today's bills.

Our days are filled with countless disappointments.

Lately, I am trying to wrap my head around several things. Some are directly related to me; others to those I love dearly. It all just does not make sense.

For a pretty positive person, I find myself struggling to count my blessings in the midst of this all. It is hard to accept circumstances when you really thought you (or they) deserved better. It is a process of anger, shock, hurt...until a dull ache remains.

You go through the motions of each day trying to make it better than the last, only to go so far before you are reminded of it all again. Why do bad things happen to good people?

I believe though that we can all grow and change for the better in these times. The sad truth is we cannot make someone else change; even when a small change on their part would greatly alter reality for the better.

So what do we do? How do we accept what is beyond our control? How do we look on the bright side of life when we can't see it?

I know, faith.

Yet, I find that when things happen to me I draw back. I protect myself. I cannot muster even the smallest ounce of faith that things will get better.

I am learning to accept that I may never get the desires of my heart. If I am honest, I don't like it. Of all the good I try to give and love I try to spread, I deserve better, the end, maybe not having them is better.

That is hard to say. Who wants to think that loss, pain, and hurt are worth something better?

I know I will be okay; and those that I love who are hurting will be okay too..but today, well is one of those times when...the ache weighs heavily in my heart. When I am trying to understand what the now will look like and accept some things just will always be.

So I share this not for sympathy, but to let others know it is okay. We all have our days when we doubt, when we question our reality over what we imagined, when the questions have no answers, when we struggle to find faith.

There is no shame in admitting that we falter. In fact I think it is healthier to admit that we struggle than to appear perfect. So I make my confession.

October 15, 2012

Monday, Days Like This

A restless night led to a slow start to this Monday and I am off-kilter this afternoon. I think to myself, "Mama said there'd be days like this..."

I tossed and turned last night forever. Nothing particular was on my mind and it had been a wonderful weekend. I just could not get comfortable. Finally at 1 a.m. I threw the blankets off of me and proceeded to finally stop sweating and eventually exhaustion hit.

Mike woke me up as I asked this morning, but I remained exhausted. I eventually stumbled out of bed. Mike was already working and had completed more on his to-do list in a few hours than I will complete all day. He was in his zone, so I decided to go and do my stuff.

I yawned through a Pilate's workout instead of a run and hopped in the shower. We had brunch with an equally tired Sam and Chelsea and then rode our bikes home.

I loathe this feeling. My tired mind makes me on edge with a thousand silly thoughts and I find myself in a state of numb. I complete tasks feeling like I am performing through an out of body experience.

I grant myself permission to have days like this. We all do. The key is not to get stuck in a repetitive pattern of off-kilter days that result in angst or unhappiness. That is all to easy of a place to end up.

So, I fumble through today. I just can't find a way to "stop the storm from rollin' in" so I will "take shelter it'll pass and then the sun is gonna shine."

October 4, 2012

Almost Ready

I started working the summer I turned 14. Eventually I began working during the school year as well and all through college. Three months after graduating from college I entered the corporate world and stopped only for six weeks of maternity leave three times and for short vacations here and there.

It was never in my realm of possibility to not work. I enjoyed getting dressed up each day and watching my professional life grow. A normal paycheck meant financial stability and benefits took care of other concerns. I was tied to the safety of what an 9-5 (which it hardly ever was just this) job offered me. It is what most of us know.

I got to work with some wonderful people whom I now count as friends. Experiences occurred that I am grateful for. I was challenged for being a woman and a mother that worked outside the house too.

For the past 10 months I have not worked. (Well, that is not true. I have worked hard in the last few months developing our next big dream into a reality. Keep watching as we are almost ready!) But, I had my first summer off since I was 14 this year and it was harder than I thought. I always believed that staying at home with kids is harder than also working outside the home. This is so true!

Taking time off for me and the girls was a blessing in so many ways. I struggled though too. Learning how not to entertain the girls all day long, believing in myself beyond the professional accolades I received, and having faith that all the bills would get paid.

Now with the girls back in school, I am trying to find the new rhythm of working from home for myself. It is a scary, yet exciting place to be. Mike is also working from home and he sits in his office on the back deck while I sit in my office at the desk in the red room and we work. We communicate through texting as Goddess and Winston, our dogs, show no interest in being the doggie express.

Yesterday I was looking at Crystal McDaniel's Facebook page. She is a friend from high school that I would  pick up for school in my teal Geo Metro and  we would sing to the Cranberries or she would listen to my latest boy woes. Crystal has been driving free for 6 years as she is now a Future Executive Senior Sales Director for Mary Kay. "I chose to work hard as hard for myself as I once did for a boss. I simply made a decision everyday to go to work to build my own future because Delaney and I deserve it," she wrote on her page beneath a photo of her new Cadillac. I am in awe of her.

With what is next just around the corner, there is part of me that still clings to the security a 9-5 job brings. We are all given different paths to choose and what is right for one person may not be right for another, but I have this opportunity to "work as hard for myself as I once did for a boss" that I just have to take.

I am (almost) ready.

September 28, 2012

The Shrimp Boats

For some reason I love the shrimp boats. I do not eat shrimp, or fish at all, but every single time I see them out on the ocean with their nets down and the diamonds of the sun dancing on the water it takes my breath away.

The last bridge to Tybee often has several shrimped boats docked just to the right of it and it has become my own little "Welcome Home" sign. So I stopped the other day and took a walk out onto the fishing pier across from the boats.

The waves come in and the boats gracefully float up and down in harmony with the water. They are tightly anchored to the dock. Rust spots accent the corners of the boats with several spots of the boat missing paint. The nets are strong yet show signs of use and you can easily see frayed strings throughout. Yet these boats go out every day and gather shrimp.

This week has been great work wise. The momentum of our next adventure is really taking off and we are almost ready to launch publically. My heart though has been letting off emotions that I was unprepared for. Scars of the past have emerged which has caused me to pause and reflect. I find myself guarded and fearful. I feel like the shrimp boats look- rusty, worn, and fraying.

After getting my first ticket in 14 years this morning, for doing a stop-and-roll instead of a complete stop, I drove home in silence. Thinking of my Jesus whom I let down every single day, but still loves me. Who forgives the foolish mistakes I repeatedly make. Who never lets me go. I cannot control what storms come, but I can learn to better rest in the knowledge that "he that owns a cattle on a thousand hills..." is my anchor.

A replica of a shrimp boat that I was gifted named "Miss Sarah" hangs in my living room and I stare at it believing.

September 25, 2012

A Return on an Investment

"Please tell me that is not a ticket!" I exclaimed to Mike as we pulled up to my car. Beneath the windshield wiper rested a yellow piece of paper. I had left my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot when we went to Athens this weekend and we were just returning to pick it up.

Walking over to my car I realize that it is not a ticket, but a yellow legal pad piece of paper. As I unfold the note I see today’s date and my name. "Hellow, Are you ok? I saw your car here at Walmart. I was worried about you! That your car was here."

It turns out the a former client of mine for Union Mission saw my car parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot and was alarmed that something had happened to me. "You will never believe this," I say to Mike as I hand him the note to read.

I will never forget the first time I met him. He was full anger at the world and spared no emotions while sharing it with me. Previously he had some pretty string political views that he shared with the wrong people and ended up on the FBI watch list. He had lost his boat, his only source of income and where he lived. Any benefits that he tried to claim were denied and the flag on his identity made him unemployable. He was broken, hurt, and bitter. Over time he came to accept his faults in what had brought him to his desperation and I began to see him smile. He apologized over and over again to me for his angry outburst in the beginning.

He never knew that from the first day that he yelled at me I saw him walk away with tears in his eyes and a piece of my heart became his. It took a long time, but he did get some money that was rightly his and bought himself a jeep. I was the first person he stopped by to see after he purchased the vehicle.

Eventually he was back on track and no longer needed our services, but he would still stop in to see me. The man I met to the man he became was perhaps the greatest redemption story I have ever witnessed personally. I have not seen him since December 2011 when I stopped working at Union Mission, but he remains in my thoughts often.

"I go to church at the Assembly of God. Church next door to Walmart. I was sorry to hear that you left Union Mission. Ive been praying for you. I pray your ok, and your family. Please let me know you are ok! I invite you and your family to church," concluded his note.

When I worked in a youth mentoring program I always told our volunteer mentors that they may never know just how deeply they touched their mentee. Rarely do we see a return on what we invest.

The part of my heart he holds smiled in disbelief, thankfulness, wonderment..."Oh, don't worry I am ok....but thank you, thank you, thank you, for caring about me!" I would have never imagined this from the first time we met.

September 17, 2012

Now What?

It has taken me several days to try and write about that which is stuck in my head and heart. I am still not sure I can find the words to say what I want to say, but I cannot hold all the emotion in any longer.

I tagged along on a conference that Mike was attending in Memphis. We decided to walk down to the National Civil Rights Museum and come across a 70s looking sign indicating "Lorraine Motel". Mike is beside himself as this is a place he has wanted to visit. I honestly had no idea that the museum was attached to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

We turn the corner and immediately see the balcony on which Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. We both pause and our talking ceases.

We decide to tour the Civil Rights Museum, sans audio headphones, and I was not prepared at all for what I experienced. I begin reading all that is inscribed along the displays with large oversized photos along the walls. Several quotes make me pause and think about how applicable they are to today and I take photos of them.

The historical display of hatred left me speechless. I read nothing new, but seeing the photos, hearing audio clips of the time, and "being there" penetrated deep into my heart and mind that I am still trying to wrap my mind around the haunted presence.

The museum starts with the earliest slave revolts over 400 years ago and depicts the "Unremitting Struggle" from 1619-1865. I turn around to the next exhibit and am aghast at the KKK outfit glaring at me from the center of the wall. In this "Strategies for Change" exhibit I am reminded that 4 million African Americans were freed as a result of the Emancipation Proclamation and the North having won the Civil War but, Black codes and Jim Crow laws emerged as a way to keep former slaves inferior.

The next several exhibits tell me the story of protests and organizations that fought for a freedom that should never have been not a freedom. By this time I am filled with pain for what has occurred in our history.

At this point in the museum, I see a bus. Stepping onto a bus I am struck by the vision of Rosa Parks, clutching her purse and hear her nicely refusing to move. Standing there next to her seated on the seat, my mind and body are transported to another place and time. It is wrong.

My heart is heavy and continues to ache as I continue through the museum....the Woolworth lunch counter sit-in, Freedom Rides, James Meredith, The Albany Movement, Birmingham- Project C- Confrontation, a replica of MLK in the Birmingham Jail, March on Washington, Freedom Summer of 1964, Bloody Sunday, March Against Fear, the development of the Poor People's Campaign in Chicago, and finally Memphis.

By this time, Mike and I are touring the museum on our own speaking rarely. Nothing is said as we enter Room 306 from inside the Lorrain Motel. I stand there frozen in time. My heart and head are a mix of emotions. The depth of the cruelty of the past several hundred years and the tragedy of 1968 touch deep into my soul as I stand there viewing the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot. All the photos that I have seen of this day enter my mind and where I am becomes a black and white version captured in time. The past becomes alive in me and I stand there silent.

Eventually we cross the street. I am honestly not sure what we are going to see until I enter the exhibit. I am not prepared at all to be standing at the window where James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King, Jr. The actual evidence found at the scene is, beer can, the gun, hair follicles.... it is almost too much for the mind to process.

I never expected to feel so much touring the National Civil Rights Museum. I am still trying to find the words to share my emotions. I cannot leave there and not be changed. The tragedy, injustice of the past, which I believe still lingers in the present. I have sat here for days questioning myself over and now what?

I cannot make up for a past that I was not part of it, but I still share sorrow that it ever happened, but Sarah you saw all this, you felt this, this touch deep into a part of you, now what?

I vow that my girls will learn to love and respect others, seeing them for who they are, not the color of their skin, where they live, or what they believe. I vow that I will show compassion and teach the girls to help others. I vow that I will leave every place I go better. I vow that I will try to bless others.

It is just a start of taking that which I felt and doing something with it. There is nothing that can erase what happened, but I also know that I cannot "have been there" and not want to do something about it.

September 7, 2012

Literally Speaking

I am a very literal person. I never realized how much so until I married a very non-literal man.

I take what is said at face value always. When I say something to you it is truth, not a sugar coated version of something to make you feel good. I mean what I say and only say what I mean. This has caused for many interesting discussions in our household.

I have been told that I am not an encourager when the truth is I am not going to say “way to go,” unless it is deserved. If I see more in a person than they do I try to push them further. “Well done,” from me is true statement of how I thought you did, not a sprinkled version of affirmation to make you feel good.

I try to be kind to everyone but I cannot say I honestly love everyone. Despite being commanded to by Jesus, I fall short here. Those I love know I do.

I believe each person has their own beauty, but I suck at giving (and receiving) compliments. However, some people are so quick to tell everyone how special they are, which in my opinion removes the specialness of it all.

My favorite quote guy says it perfectly when Javan wrote: If I am truly honest, I cannot say I offer love to every stranger I meet for then what would I offer to those truly special in my life. Instead, I would like to believe I offer- Understanding that their life is as important to them as mine is to me; Compassion for all the pain and suffering that comes with being human; Tolerance of that which they choose to believe and the way they choose to live; and the Freedom to know their own life and to discover and develop their own abilities without any unwarranted hatred or prejudice from me. For even if I do not offer love, there is no other foundation on which love can grow.

I constantly say I am on my journey to becoming. I think it is a life-long process. I am starting to share more and more of my process through writing because I find in interesting to see where others are and try to motivate others to look at their own journeys. I love discovering that I am not alone in my thoughts or actions or doubts.

So if my writings cause you to pause and think about your own journey…”Way to go!” The literal person in me means that!

September 6, 2012

Are you a Carbon Copy?

Running today I was watching for my bubblegum pink lady. She was not out on my first time by her house, but on my route back I looked again. I found her sitting under the carport with her walker and a huge white alligator skin purse. “Good afternoon,” I yelled waving to her from the street. It made me smile real big doing so.

Behind this 5’3” frame is someone who was afraid to be fully me. That will surprise a lot of people, I know. I was speaking with a dear friend the other day about how I am trying to raise the girls to not believe or be what I believe or am simply because I believe it, but to discover their own beliefs and self.

I grew up in a wonderful home going to church, participating in youth group, great at school, sociable, and went to a Christian college.

The problem is I never explored why I believed what I believed during this time. I followed what was taught by my parents or youth leaders. I knew all the right answers and still made tons of bad choices, but I did not have ownership of my faith.

I remember clearly in college that there was a woman coming to speak at chapel. We were required to attend chapel at least twice a week. I at first was appalled that a woman was speaking at our Christian college. Clearly this was biblically wrong, but I did something I normally didn’t and started to question that. So I attended the service and ended up loving her.

This led me to start to read and research on this topic.Since that point I have taken time to research and read on many other topics so that I began to understand what I believe and why.

For years I sat every time the door was open in a church pew. There were some great pastors I learned from, both good and bad lessons. I still love the traditions of a church service and singing the good old hymns, although I am not in attendance every Sunday.

And now I often go to Tybee Church which is held in a bar, although no alcohol is served. It is a collection of people who have felt shunned or have left the traditional church, but find Jesus is this tiny little corner down in the south. Some of the holiest people I know I have met there.

I am greeted every time I go with hugs and kisses and true honest “It is great to see you.” Echoing Don Miller’s sentiment on meeting people outside church, “Because I grew up in the safe cocoon of big-Christianity, I came to believe anything outside the (traditional) church was filled with darkness and unlove. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined there were, outside the church, people so purely lovely as the ones I met here.”

I am letting go every day of the “what would others think” insecurities that I carried around for so long. I am choosing to share what I have been through, where I am, and my joys and struggles because when I do others seem to resonate with me or be inspired.

I still struggle with worrying about what others would think if I……. but really it is between me and God. I am not designed to be just another, when I can be the wonderfully quirky compassionate me that I know was gifted to me.

Too many of us hide behind ourselves. We hold true to a faith that is not our own. We want our children to be just like us. Stop and take a look at yourself. Begin to peel back the layers of what the world or your past has hidden. Take time each day to look for yourself. In the choices you make, the things you say, the activities in which you invest your time.

For a long time there were parts of me that I hid for various reasons. I did not spend time looking for me until I realized that I was becoming a carbon copy of someone else. Like the bubblegum pink lady today, I found myself because I was looking and I smiled real big in doing so.

September 3, 2012

Heart smiles I had to share

Four Army men come jogging up the parking lot as we are lining up to start the 5K on Saturday. I nudge Mike who is standing near me and point them out. Dressed in camouflage long pants, brown T-shirts, their Army boots, carrying backpacks full of stuff…I start to sweat more just looking at them.

I do not think much of them until I catch up with them in the 5K and over hear them bantering back and forth….”Hey, I have cookies in my pack…” one exclaims to another. “I think it is time…” and they all laugh. I decide that I am at mile 2 and if I can keep pace with them it would be an awesome picture at the finish. I begin to banter with them, telling them how fun it would be to have them all enter the finish area in front of me and then all of a sudden I break through the middle of them. They love the idea.

As we continue running, one of the four slows down his pace. His partner realizes this and makes the other two stop while he runs back to get the one who has slowed down. He rejoins his partner and runs in step with him until the four are all together again. No comments were made about the guy that needed to slow down or why. They all just continued running as if one never lagged behind.

Somewhere, probably in a movie, I heard that military never leave a man behind. I imagine on the battlefield this is true, but to see this play out in a 5K left me in awe.

I finish the race ahead of these four and cheer loudly for them as they cross the finish as a unit. They have no idea how they touched my heart. Then I see two of them return to the path and emerge again with their wives who were also running the race. Tears came to my eyes.

These four will never know how much their simple actions touched me. The commitment of the four bound together by a military oath, not leaving one behind. Followed by the two running back to finish with their partners in life. It was a beautiful thing to witness. And my heart smiled.

August 18, 2012

A Walk to the Mailbox

I see bubblegum pink out of the corner of my eye and turn to look. She is coming around the corner of her house wearing bubblegum pink pants with a white patterned hibiscus shirt, shadowed by more bubblegum pink. Her hair is as normal, with a few stray strands poking out her and there, as if a few rollers fell out before they should have. Today she carries an oversized light purple purse with a manila envelope peeking out; and as always her walker.

I have watched her many times. The first time I saw her she was struggling to pick up her walker and place it on the grass in front of her. She repeated this over and over until she got to the end of her yard and opened her mailbox.

Living on an island most people have to use the post office. Meaning we have to drive to get our mail. Elderly or disabled, or those who have someone managed to convenience the post office of a necessity; get to have their mail delivered. I was telling Mike the other day as we drove to the post office how I love getting the mail. He on the other hand has been to the post office more in the last six months than he had in the last three years.

The first time I saw her making her way to her mailbox, I wanted to stop and get her mail for her. It was painful to watch her pick up her walker, place it on the grass in front of her, scuff her feet up, and proceed to pick up her walker again and repeat this until she reached her destination. The thought came to me to organize a group of people to pay for and put it a walkway for her so she could just roll herself right out to get her mail.

My legs had no energy this morning as I ran. I could not even convince myself to push myself harder this morning. And then I spotted the bubblegum pink. A vision of struggle to complete an ordinary task made beautiful by her determination.

We never know what life will toss our way. We will face struggles and trials. We will find joy in unexpected places. We will experience pain that will never heal. We will see love in ways we never dreamed. Some days will be bad, some good, some great.

But we are gifted each day. Even if I have to pick up my own walker and plod my way to reach my destination, I will.

August 6, 2012

Running Thoughts

I signed up for a 5k on September 1 to motivate myself to start running again on a regular basis. It has been a little too easy for me to slip into the beach bum life. On my schedule this week was a 2 mile, 3 mile, and a 5 mile run, but we leave for a cruise on Wednesday. I originally planned to swap my 3 mile and 5 mile days since the thought of running 5 miles on the cruise track did not even pique my interest.
This morning Winston woke me up with is barking at 6:20. I was unable to fall back to sleep as my mind and heart were filled with thoughts of those I love. Those who have lost children, battling cancer, starting over, stuck in bad habits. I prayed for all of them...multiple times.
I was very sluggish this morning and did not run. Thinking it would be cooler to go in the evening I resigned myself to running later. I told Mike I was going to run 3-4 miles today, knowing that inside I really wanted to push for 5. Only the day kept getting hotter and hotter. Finally at 6, I decided to run.

After the first mile I hit the sand on the beach and the beauty of the ocean left me breathless. I can look at the ocean day after day and it leaves me speechless. There is a special power to the majestic mystery that it holds. Half way through my run I have the strongest urge to look back. I turn around and view the pier in the distance. Mindful of just how far I have come, but more aware of how far I have to go.

I can look back at my past and see how much I have grown. I have named my own faults and try to improve on them; I know just how strong I am, and just how weak I can be. I trust more, love more and share more. I am proud of who I am today. It took me a long time to be able to say that.

Yet, I know there is so much more ahead that will challenge, excite and stretch me to be more and more the me I am becoming. There is a list of things I want to experience, places I want to visit, and people I want to help. And whatever else God has in store for me.

As I exit the beach, I see a large lush and green garden just off the boardwalk. A man is weeding and I pause long enough to tell him just how beautiful his garden is. The tender care and attention he has given and continues to give to his garden has yielded something worthy of praise, and yet I bet he did not plant his garden with that intention.

I finish my run home smiling. Proud of myself for running 5 miles instead of taking the easy route and dropping down to 3. Thankful for the reminder of how far I have come, but with a renewed sense of excitement for focusing on what's ahead. And for the glimpse of beauty that reminds me to be humble.

May 2, 2012


I was blessed to have four grandparents that I grew up knowing. Pop was the first to pass away in 1995. Followed with the passing of my grandmothers in 2008 and 2010. Today PopPop went to be reuinted with Grandma.

To me Frederick J. Elias was a devoted husband. There is much I do not know about him, but I can vividly remember that almost every time we would visit them, he would sit with Grandma's tired legs on his lap and rub them. Grandma was ill for a very long time and he did everything he could to take care of her. "Fred..." you would often hear her calling from across the house and he would respond...each and every time. He loved her.

When she passed away he was also ready to go. I suppose that is a true testament of just how much their lives intertwined and how connected they were. I imagine when you give so much of your life to a person and they are gone...there is simply no way to fill that void.

PopPop went on living, but would often comment in our talks just how much he missed Grandma. He spent time memorizing Bible verses in the last few years and there is a lot of time I am not sure how he filled.

Today though I am sad. I cry for the loss of PopPop, for all that I did not do or the calls I did not make before today. To knowing that my last grandparent is gone.

I believe that PopPop is in Heaven and that Jesus welcomed him home. And there is a small part of me that snickers in thinking that Grandma had a small part.... and when it was time she joyous called again, "Fred..." and he responded for the final time.

April 17, 2012

Having Today

Some things never get easier.

I grew up a pastor's kid and went to a lot of funerals. I can clearly remember the first funeral I went to. She was 101ish, a little old lady who had lived a long life. I was in 5th grade.

From that point on I went to countless funerals of congregation members. My great grandmother was the first of my relatives to die. I remember being dazed by all that was going on, but I did not cry. I did not know her. In 1995 I lost my Pop. I cried, a lot. I knew him.

The hardest funeral's though for me are the ones where it just doesn't seem fair. That life was cut too short too soon. The high school student who died in a car crash while her mother was driving on an icy road, my 9 month old niece who died of SIDS, my 15 year old cousin who drowned, my 8 year old niece who died from a chromosomal disorder. Those were the ones that I still get find myself wondering just what was God thinking?

When someone dies of old age we seem to mourn in a different way. It is almost as if the long lived life calms the grief of what is expected. But when someone dies before we think they should, mourning is filled with trying to make some sense of it all. We feel angry and cheated.

Within the last several months, death has faced many of my dear friends. My sweet friend who lost her twins, another friend whose husband died at 35, and another friend whose son was recently killed in Afghanistan. IT IS NOT FAIR!

It is hard to even name the emotions that surface and let them go. I do not believe that time heals these wounds. We adapt and learn to live in the what is now, but we are forever changed.

For some this change rest inside and is a silent reminder. For others though this change sparks them to a more passionate life. Spurring them to reach out to others, try new things, or do something they always wanted to do sooner than later.

I believe in a God that understands my grief. Who someday will allow us to see just what he was thinking. Who shares in my sorrows and does not waver in his love when I question.

What I understand more and more though is today is truly a gift.

Many wake up each morning to a masterpiece in the sky but rarely stop to appreciate it. The birds sing all day long while other music drowns out their beautiful natural melodies. We sit behind a computer inside missing out on the sun kisses that await us. We make promises to others for another day because we are too busy. It rains and we use an umbrella instead of dancing in the rain.

A whole world we rarely stop to see and enjoy.

There is nothing that can ever take away the grief. I choose though to consciously stop and appreciate more, be more aware of things around me, find the joy of each day, because there are just too many who were not gifted this day.

March 24, 2012

My Carpe Diem

Engraved in gold lettering across my high school yearbook are the words "Carpe Diem." We, as high school graduates, were energized to go out into the big world that awaited us and think for ourselves, be individuals, and live an extraordinary life.

Many of us fell into the traditional step of what came Then love...then marriage...then a job to support the baby in the baby carriage...then the house in the suburbs...while working harder and harder to keep it all together.

And then one day, for many, life screeches to a halt and you find yourself in despair crying out "Why?"

Yesterday I learned of a high school friend who became a widow at the age of 31 and another dear friend who lost the twins she was carrying; after many years of heartache trying. Others are struggling to hold their marriages together or pay this month's rent.

I can't help but stop and in my own pleading for them ask, "Why?"

Last night I sat at a backyard BBQ where a wandering musician played guitar for us. I looked around at the people who were sharing this experience with me and knew that this is truly what life is about---relationships.

I may not be rich or have the largest house or know where money is going to come from. I may go through loss that I fear will leave me stuck in despair. I may repeatedly cry out for myself or others, "Why?"

Every day though, I am amazed just how many of us share parallel situations on our journeys. When we allow ourselves to be open and share we realize that we are not alone. And that, I believe, is the greatest gift.

There is a collection of friends who have exemplified Romans 12:15 for me and I strive to do the same. I will rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Relationships. My life is rich and extraordinary because of that.

Carpe Diem.

February 29, 2012

All the Difference

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Our days are filled with choices. Some are simple and easy, while others hold the capacity to greatly alter our lives.

We are often inspired by others to reach for our dreams, embrace what makes us happy, and to be what we want to be. Yet, it is often the same people who, when we so boldly take the leap, stand there shaking their heads in disbelief. Often in disapproval.

Take the risk, but don't do anything out of the ordinary. Reach for your dreams, but stay confined by societal rules to get there. Be happy, but keep everyone else happy along the way.

My life has presented me with choices that I have had to make and some that I have had to accept. They have not all been easy, but I am following my heart. I am praying and trusting God more than I ever have.

I know there are people who don't understand my choices, who forget there are two sides to every story, who criticize. There are others who stand in awe that I am pursuing happiness and are dancing in delight with me along the journey.

We all have the choice to forge our own path. To make our life what it was meant to be. To make God laugh, cry, dance, sing, and embrace us as we do our best to live the life given to us. It is the uniqueness of each other that we often fail to accept.

There are a lot of unknowns for me right now, but I have never been happier. I am sure that I am exactly where I am suppose to be and with who I am suppose to be with. I delight in my three blessings with a pure simple beautiful joy. I am surrounded by a crazy wonderful carnival of friends who have embraced me with unconditional love. I have rekindled my deep connections with friends whom I have always cherished.

I have no doubts.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

January 28, 2012

From Wandering to Wondering

We wake up each day and repeat pretty much the course of yesterday. Ending up ready for bed each night tired only from the typical routine of what always is.

Most of us walk through life waiting for eventually. The "eventually" of when we have enough time or enough money or enough courage or enough faith to do what we really want to do. The endless list of excuses that keep us bound to the safety of now. Letting the unknowns of what if I just....paralyze us.

I am learning more and more that often we are pushed to face our own feared landscape of the unknown. I think of several friends who are wandering right now. Some are getting caught in the depths of self doubt. Some are choosing distractions to avoid facing what they need too. Some are choosing to accept that this is how it is just going to be and remain stuck.

There are a handful though who are embracing the change. They have moved to a new place to follow their dreams. They have decided to take some time off to choose what is next. They are expanding themselves through trying new things. They are wondering.

I am faced with my canvas of life filled with a bunch of question marks right now. For a little while I let them be shadowed with doubts of uncertainty, but then I found the faith to believe, again. Slowly those question marks turned to hues of bright hope and glittery goodness of what is.

The mirroring of my today to my yesterday is over. I am enjoying the adventure of figuring out what I want my "eventually" to be. Leaving the wandering and embracing the wondering.

January 23, 2012


Schedules were once a necessary part of my day. I was the to-do list master and was disciplined about self indulgence (usually playing on the computer or reading) until the work for the day was done and the girls were in bed and everything was ready for the next day and all the shoes were lined up by the door and all the dishes were clean...and... I had lost my spontaneity.

I think really though, I feared the loss of control. If I wasn't in charge things would not happen, they would not get done right, or fast enough. I was a master at controlling myself...and tried to control make them fit into what I wanted them to be.

Life was structured and routines prevailed. Interruptions greatly threw my world off kilter and made me angry.

That was then.

Cass was sick today and as she lay resting on the couch, I spent the day playing on the computer. A few times I thought that about the floors that needed to be mopped...and eventually the wash made it to the dryer. Yet, my mind was consumed in thinking about the next big event in my life.

For once again in my life, I am ready to throw caution to the wind and dive right in without holding my nose. It has been a long, long time since I felt this ready for something. So today I got frustrated when I felt like all the reasons of why not now (albeit practical ones) were being shared with me.

So I started to revert to planning...organizing...controlling. Letting the ugly old parts of me start to have life in now. That is not who I am.

So honey, forget all the what ifs, the hows, all the little things we just don't know. Life has a way of working itself out. Often better than we can imagine. I know what is real, and true, and beautiful. I take this gift of us and want to celebrate it as only we can.

There was a time when I would not have been able to say all of that, but this is now.

I believe. I trust. I am ready.


January 18, 2012


The other night I spent countless hours lying awake wrestling with some news I had recently received. It was not something I wanted to hear, but it was the truth. I had known all along, but it was confirmed in the end.

So this news catapulted me back into the past. Initially I was shocked, then angry, then body shook, I was physically sick, and started to drown in endless sorrow.

I fought to get out of remaining back there. It is easy to get stuck in the what was and let it strangle the happiness out of what is.

I have always tried to live for the present. Yet, I struggle at times letting history take happiness out of my today's.

Of all the good and of all the bad in my past, it comprises chapters of my life that have shaped who I have become.

I am on a constant journey to being the best me that I can be. I take what the past was and learn from it. Vowing never to make certain mistakes again, promising myself to forgive, pushing myself to learn from it and be better.

As hard as I wish there is no power to change what has occurred or to erase it from memory. What I do know is that I can choose to allow the past to intrude and continue to have life by festering in the present or I can learn to accept and forgive.

Forgiveness is hard but essential. This is very difficult for me. Yet, I am slowly moving past the "Why did this happen to me?" to "How has this (or can this) help me grow?" I am grabbing onto faith; clinging to the hope and promise of the future.

January 11, 2012

Sharing My Journey

In a world full of expectations we are doomed to fail. Try as I might to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, daughter, boss, employee....I have wonderfully failed in all of these areas.

Tonight I find myself reflecting on my failures.

There were days when I was simply perfect in all these things, doing what everyone else expected. Going, going, going and going to the point of crashing. Only to take a twenty minute reprieve and go at it again. I wanted to escape, even for a weekend get-a-way alone, but the guilt of taking time for me always won over.

Running eventually became my escape and turned into something I enjoyed. Countless offers of others to run with me were avoided because this was the only thing that I gave to myself.

I have always worked. I have always said yes. I have always done everything I could for others. I have always placed others needs ahead of my own. I have tried to meet expectations of others at the cost of myself.

As much as I love celebrating others through giving, I hate receiving gifts. I get uneasy opening gifts in front of others and subdue emotions when doing so. I commented to my best friend last night that when he shows up I am so excited, but I rarely show it. Receiving gifts, in any form, is not easy for me.

Why is it so hard to just be who we are? Why do we convince ourselves that being us is not enough? Why do we not celebrate the wonderfully wacky and unique person we are?

My life is not picture perfect and it is not what others wish it was. I have received enough notes of failure in the last several months to know just what others do not like about my life.

Yet despite the daily expectations of others I fail to meet, I am learning that is okay to be me. Each day I discover new gifts that I am learning to receive and I am learning to express the joy of such things.

I know my faults. I have accepted my failures. I still struggle to find consistency in the middle of being too strict or too lenient. But I am me. On a journey of learning, discovering, accepting, believing, trusting, and growing.

In a world full of expectations we are doomed to fail. I will never be perfect and that is okay.