Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dear Alicia,

You've been on my mind all day today. I think it started when I rolled out of bed and saw my tube of red lipstick. Do you remember when we shared your red lipstick once and certain people thought we were weird? I think they are weird. Who has a best friend that they don't share lipstick with? You're not a real friend if you can't share your lip color, that's what I say.

Anyway, I decided to live loud and proud today and wear my red lipstick (well the actual name is lip "butter", but you know it works the same, just shinier) all day. In honor of you, of course, because I like you and I want to be your friend always.

I think I look awesome with bed head and red lipstick. What do you think?

Don't ever share this picture with anyone. They may get scared and think your friends are strange.

I look a little better if I smile.

But not great since it is 7 am and my Ambien may still be in my system. Did I tell you I take Ambien? Ya, I know, may be addicting. I hear it from EVERYONE. Who cares really. It's better than killing someone from lack of deep rem sleep. Is that how you abbreviate rem?

I had to apply more lipstick by the time I had my coffee and sat to have my morning meditations. (That's another word for being really spiritual). It's the butter part, I think. It kind of just slips off my lips... like butter. Ok, I know you are laughing out loud right now. But, I guess I had enough on to make my mark this morning. Whew! Kind of reminds me of old ladies.

I spent a long time planning my day today and being spiritual. It was cloudy and I felt a bit melancholy...well until I remembered I was having a happy day because I had on my red lip butter. It changes everything. It made me so happy that I decided to put on my walking shoes and take a walk. Red lipstick and all. It looks kind of funny to have bright red lips and absolutely no other make up on so I decided to wear my sunglasses, even though it was not sunny. But, I was sunny in my heart with really pretty lips, shining like...well like butter. OMG, I just crack myself up!

I made sure to say good-bye to Sammy before I went for my walk on a cloudy day with red lipstick on (hey, I think that could be the title of a movie). Sammy was a little weirded out by the taste of lip butter. I am a little weirded out that Sammy tasted my lip butter. Dogs are weird. I think maybe I am weird because I like Sammy. 

After my walk, I decided to get a move on for the day and make my bed. And darn it anyway, Alicia,somehow, of all days, when I picked up my pillow, it slipped and HIT MY LIPS! Now I have red lipstick on my new pillow case. 

I'll check in with Heloise tomorrow and get some tips on how to remove that stain.

I opened all my curtains and then decided to get dressed. That was dumb. Don't need the whole neighborhood watching me get dressed. It's bad enough that I have to see myself get dressed. So I decided to dress in my closet. Well, it's not very big and my arms were kind of crammed. I was putting on one of those bras that you pull over your head and you'll never guess what happened? Yep. That darn lipstick again. Smack dab on the inside of my bra. Please don't ever tell anyone I told you this. I hate sports bras...the whole getting it on and then off..just annoying. And now I know, never put your lipstick on before putting your sports bra on if you are dressing in the closet because this is what it will look like if you do. 

EEwww! I don't really like that picture. I doubt you do either. We think too much alike, you and me. I already know what is going on in your head. But I won't tell anyone.

Hey, did I tell you I did a bedroom makeover? When you look at these pictures, you will understand why I was dressing in the closet. Next time, I should get dressed, then open my curtains.

If you look real close, you can see my lipstick laying there. It adds a nice touch to the ambiance of the room, don't you think?

I had a doctor's appointment today at 3. I was rushing around trying to get ready, (due to the fact that I always wait until I absolutely have to shower, to shower), that by the time I got to the waiting room, I was having a major hot flash. Red lip butter and hot flashes do not go well together. Can you tell I am a little stressed here?

Christiana was with me because she was having ear pain. I had her snap this photo so you could see my pretty lips. But, they weren't so pretty anymore. Hot flashes are for the birds and old people and I am neither. I think my brain forgot to tell my hormones that though.

When I got home, Christiana's new, very nice friend was here. I wanted to see what it would look like if I kissed someone on the cheek with red lip butter on so I used him as my Guinea pig. Not sure where these glasses came from but I thought they may add a nice touch. I think I may have surprised him just a bit. He looks a little scared. 

Christiana's friend is a great in lots of ways and he is a great dancer. He actually has quite the hip action going on.I only know because he and Christiana were a couple of dancing fools in our living room one night. Oh.. and speaking of hip action, have you seen Derek Hough on DWTS? Hot as my red lipstick is all I have to say. His hip action melts my lip butter!

Well, I better wrap this letter up. Here's one last picture for you. I am headed over to a friends house to eat supper and watch some hip action...on DWTS that is... just to be clear. Didn't want you to get any wrong ideas there girly. Christiana was bored,so she curled my hair. And, I put on my red lipstick one last time. Looks a lot better than bed head.


PS...Just in case you are wondering what inspired this post, it was part of Alicia's Happy Day Project. Go check her blog out.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day Three: Expectation

Read Day One:Betrayed here.
Read Day Two:Grief here.  

On day one, I began with a disclaimer: I am not writing fluff here. If you want to stop reading, you have my permission at anytime. That disclaimer still holds true.  I have felt a release in my heart to let the words flow on paper so to speak, and so I have. Today will be no different.

It is day three.

I began my reading this morning in Matthew 28. I did not anticipate the direction the Lord would take me. I had other ideas of where I thought I was going but the Lord redirected the gps. The final destination will be the same. I'm just taking a little different route to get there.

It is the day after, the day after. It is no longer the Sabbath and some particular people are a little more than ready to head to the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid. I don't think this was done with a bounce in their step. The grief they had felt the day after was worse today. It was, in my imagination, a trek full of muffled sobs and tear stained cheeks. I doubt cheery comments about the weather were being discussed. These ladies, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James needed closure to this nightmare.(I can relate.) They did not even get to say good bye. (That sounds all too familiar.) And so they were up and ready at the break of dawn, carrying their prepared spices to anoint the body of Jesus.

What happened when they arrived at the tomb is mind blowing. I think sometimes when we read familiar passages of Scripture we forget to pay attention to the details so, I am going to let the gospel of Matthew tell us again just how it went down when these ladie's dusty feet reached their destination.

"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it."

An earthquake? An angel descending? Pretty amazing. Only I don't think it felt amazing to these women. After all, they had just been through two days of turmoil that involved a different earthquake and very strange things happening like tombs opening up and the dead coming to life (See Matthew 27:51-53).Their emotions were already worn so thin that this probably just about put them over the edge. It is no wonder the angel had to say to them "do not be afraid" because they were. But the angel of the Lord also brought them the best news they had heard in three days.

"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said."

This is the Easter story. Our whole reason for today is because on the third day, He arose. It was a promise the disciples and those close to Him had heard prior to his death but only now was sinking in. It changed lives forever. Theirs and ours.  

The angel continued on saying,

"He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him. Now I have told you."

I noticed in my Bible that I had written these words next to that Scripture...

"Now I have told you." The truth.

And a little farther down, I had written this...

"And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day." The lies.

In the absence of truth, great stories begin.

That is what happened after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Pharisees were all but beside themselves when they heard what had happened to Jesus. They did not want people to know the truth so they created a story. Scripture uses phrases like, "devised a plan," "you are to say". You know... the kind of things we say when we need to manipulate a situation to our benefit. And it worked. Because that is the story that was circulated and pretty soon when you hear a lie long enough you think it is truth.

I am treading really dangerous waters here, I know, so I am going to try and be as careful as I can. It is not my intention to stir the pot. I just want you to hear me on this.

If the truth, of a situation, will bring about an undesired result, sometimes, we devise plans, to manipulate the situation.

It is grammatically unnecessary to use all those commas in that statement but I did it purposely for emphasis. And I am going to say it again.

 If the truth, of a situation, will bring about an undesired result, sometimes, we devise plans, to manipulate the situation.

You ask me how I know? I just do. I have been in the middle of it all. I know the truth. After all, I am one of the lead characters in this drama.

That is the little detour that I did not plan to go on. And I wonder why the Lord brought me this way? I think because this is my catharsis. I need to get it out. It has been more than a year of so much pain...so, so much. I don't even know how to put it into words. All I know is in the absence of truth pain has festered. Like a splinter shoved deep into your skin. The longer it stays, the more infected it becomes. You can try all the topical treatments available but if the splinter is not removed, healing will never happen.

There may just have to be some digging deep. It may take a strong Light and a sharp needle but it can be done. And it must be done. In Christ and because we are Christ to this world. Division among the believers is the enemy's idea. Not God's. Plastic people don't make real impressions. And, can I share something with you? I have had people on the perimeter of my life let's say, who I hardly know, that have shared in my sorrow and shown more compassion to me and our family than those who, in Christ, did life with me just not too much more than a year ago. 

How can this be? I will go to my grave screaming this injustice because it is NOT the heart of God at all. If we cannot learn to handle the falling of a brother in Christ with grace and mercy and work through the pain and suffering together, how can we offer it to the world? We can't. Plain and simple you are lying to yourself if you believe that story. 

It is my heart's cry. Where are the warriors? Who sends someone out to battle alone? And in the name of Jesus on top of it. It is time to awaken to the enemies tactics and call him on it. The fight is on and we are not very impressive. I will not. I will not live a life without love. Period. It is hard and I don't do it right most of the time but I will die trying. I want mercy and grace to flow from my life like syrup. Thick and sugary.

Oh dear Jesus. Help me to be like You. I want to be like You. I don't just want to speak all kinds of words that sound good. I want to Live. Your. Word. 

Jesus told the truth. He told the disciples and many others that He would be raised on the third day and He was. They may have been confused at first but in the end it all made sense. That is what I am hoping for too.

And so I wait in expectation. I am certain of one thing. God spoke a promise to me. I may not understand now, but I will someday. Have I wondered if I heard correctly? For sure. Have I dismissed it? Many times. Do I have complete revelation? Probably not. I only know that His Word is true and that is what I live for.


I live for the ones I love more than anyone on this earth. 

My children. Elise. Ross. Christiana. Corbin. I could not have made it this past year without their love and obedient hearts to the Lord to forgive and live a life of love. They are amazing. Really. They have fought and cried and believed and prayed and encouraged and loved. Loved. And loved some more. I may not see the promise that I believe the Lord has given me in my lifetime, but with hearts like my children have, I don't doubt that God will bring about something beyond what I can imagine in their's. I love them so much.

Thank you for taking this journey with me and your sweet comments of love and care. It has helped more than you can imagine.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 2: Grief

Read Day One: Betrayed here.

God gave clear instructions, to the Hebrew people, on the celebration of certain appointed feasts (Leviticus 23). Yesterday, known as Good Friday to us, was and is still, to the Hebrew people, the Feast of Passover. As the name implies, it is a day to commemorate, for all time, the very first passover which spared the lives of all under the blood (for more clarity, you could read the story in Exodus 12). It is to occur on the 14th day of the first month of the Jewish calendar.

Every. Single. Year.

At Easter time, this day is also known as The Last Supper. It was the meal Jesus and His disciples shared just a few short hours before His betrayal - what we would deem Thursday evening in our spectrum of Easter week, followed by Good Friday. To the Jews, since their day begins at sunset, the Passover began with the sharing of a a specific meal with Jesus and ended with Him hung on a cross. All in a span of less than 24 hours. In the year of Jesus death, their celebration of Passover was heavily tainted by the events of that day. Never had they seen a day like this. It may have started out in celebration but at the end of the day, no one was celebrating. Especially those to whom Jesus did life with.

Mary, his mother.

Mary Magdalene.

Jesus' brothers and sisters.

His disciples.

It really was finished and their close companion and friend was dead. And in only a few hours, the sun would set and the Feast of Passover would end and the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin. Because, day 14 is the Feast of Passover; day 15 is the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Every. Single. Year.

This is the day not mentioned anywhere in Scripture in the Easter story. The day after. The beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and a Sabbath too. This meant it was a day of rest. No working, just lots of time to think about the nightmare of all that just happened. The day where all who lived in close companionship with Jesus, were alone in their thoughts. He was gone. And even though there is not a single word in Scripture mentioning this day, it is not hard to imagine the devastation they felt. The grief that consumed them.

Picture for a moment how this day was for Jesus' mother? The rest of the family? What about Peter? He denied Christ three times and watched from a distance as they murdered his friend. Can you even imagine how he felt on the day after -the day unmentioned in Scripture? Maybe it's because no one was talking. The sounds of wailing and crying were all they heard. It was grief times ten and then some. Maybe, just maybe, the worse day of their lives. 

I can tell you from the depths of my heart and from much experience that grief is beyond words at times. Dictionary.com may have its literal rendering...

 Grief - the keen mental suffering or distress of affliction over loss; sharp sorrow...

...but when you grieve, words like that mean little. I know because grief has consumed me for over a year. Grief has caused so much pain that some days I didn't want to get out of bed. And didn't. It has made my ability to swallow, literally, impossible at times. It has spurred on so many tears that I haven't just cried buckets, I've cried rivers. It has rendered me useless. It has caused my limbs to feel weak, my mind to feel foggy, my mouth to be dry, my smile to feel worn, my eyes to be dim, my feet to be slothful, my soul to feel empty. It has tried to be my best friend and companion and shut all others out. It has stolen thoughts and robbed me of emotional health. Experts say that grieving is natural and needed and it may very well be, but I say, it is tiring and hard and tiring and hard. Yes. I did just repeat myself because that is what it is. And I am tired.

And so today, I think about the day after. The day where many of Jesus' close friends and companions were alone and grieving. And I think about grief. Their grief. My grief. And how I want it to go away. 

I'm not really sure how that happens. Especially with all the betrayal from the one and the many. Because we are called, in Christ, to reconciliation, without it, grief remains.

Do you know what the synonym for reconcile is? Harmony. Or I think Scripture would call it unity in the Spirit.

I would have to say, again this may just tick some of you off, one of the biggest sources of my grief, in this past year, has been the lack of unity among believers in this trauma that has turned our lives upside down. The absence of the body of Christ to comfort us and share this heavy burden. Not just for me but for my family.  

How can it be that we want to win thousands for Christ but we don't even give life giving aid to the wounded soldiers in the army of God? We just leave them out in the field to fend off the enemy alone or just bleed to death. But hail evangelism! Get those people to church! Give shout outs to this program and the next event but don't cross the street to help out the beaten Samaritan.

It shouldn't be is what I am going to say. In Christ, it shouldn't be. We must rise up, people! The love of Jesus is on the line. Others are watching. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34,35)

The lack of love from so many I did life with has nearly killed me. I am not trying to place blame or cause fights. But it is
grief times ten and then some for me. And like I said yesterday, I know that God is working in me too.  

It has been the day after for too long. Thank God tomorrow will be here soon.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day One: Betrayed

I knew this morning, before I crawled out of bed, that I would find my way to the story that has given this day it's name. Good Friday. I am not really sure why we call it good. The good comes later...but not today. It was hard and lonely and deadly.

What I did not know, was that through the reading of this story, God would bring me through some thoughts that I now have to put to writing. It is what some would call a catharsis. A purging of the emotions or the relieving of emotional tensions in the form of art, according to dictionary.com. It is time. I can always tell when it is time.

This will not be a post of fluff. It will not contain photos to please your eye and keep you interested. It may even get long and boring and you may think, "why am I reading this?" And it's ok. You can stop anytime. This is my catharsis. I share it because I need to. 

Not much more than a year ago, my life came to a screeching halt of all I knew. Sparing all details, suffice it to say, that while reading the story of Jesus' last 24 hours of life on this earth, early this morning, my heart resonated like never before when I read this verse:

"Then all the disciples deserted him and fled." (Matthew 26:56)


I don't have to ask dictionary.com for the definition of the word betrayal. I know it all too well. And before the assumption is made that you think you know who I am talking about, let me just say, you may be right but this betrayal does not involve just one, but the many. A group of sorts. It wasn't just one betrayal for me...for my children... that has nearly killed us. No. The betrayal of the many has dug the knife even deeper.In fact, at times, my heart was bleeding so profusely I did not think I would survive. It is the inflicting of a pain that is beyond description. At least the one knew. The many didn't even bother to ask.

It is interesting to me to read through this day in Jesus' life and relate. You may think I am crazy, but truly, it has helped me. Jesus knew betrayal too. And like me, it wasn't just the one, but the many. We all remember Judas...even named the Betrayer. But what about the others? Like His close friends. Peter. James. John. In the last hours of His life, knowing the pain that was ahead, He shared his heart with the three who He deemed trustworthy...close....bosom-like. Scripture says that Jesus took these three away from the rest of the disciples and was sorrowful and troubled saying to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death!" Oh the depth of pain He must have felt. Can't explain it, but my heart so grieves when I read this because nothing could have prepared me for the kind of pain my heart has been through in this past year. Nothing. And in some small way, I get it with Jesus. Sometimes sorrow so deep feels like every part of you IS dying. And the three were there. They heard His words and had to know He was hurting, but in just a few short hours,they left and Jesus walked it alone.

"Then, when the going got tough, his friends deserted Him and fled." That would be the Robin Moslander version of verse 56. But in reality, that is what happened. The ones He shared His heart with, looked to for support, fled. Betrayal to the utmost.

I know this. Some, no many who were friends, some for several years have betrayed and fled too. Like my dad told me, "You will know who your true friends are." Sad. I don't think...no I know...that this is not the way it is suppose to be for those in the family of God. For the brothers and sisters in Christ. For those who we share fellowship with. It isn't right. True friends lay down their lives for each other. That is what Scripture says. We don't abandon. We don't turn our backs.

The finality of Jesus' life began that day with the celebration of Passover. Within just a few short hours, he was betrayed by his friends and turned over to the authorities. That is when then the real horror began. Stripped and mocked. Spit on. Shoved and hit. Laughed at. Oh those Pharisees. Aren't they such a fun bunch? So steeped in their own piousness that they can't even see the gift of Grace standing before their very eyes. After all, it's all about law keeping. Their words exactly? "He is worthy of death!"

It is easy to spot the likes of Pharisee-ism in the modern church. It is where grace and mercy is non-existent. When loving your neighbor as yourself is not really done. When laying down your life for your friend being the greater love doesn't exist. But law keeping does. The words "too far" are spoken in superiority. Along with, "I would never do that."

Sense a bit of emotional release with those words? Ya. It's true. Remember, this is my catharsis. And I realize these words may just really tick some of you off. But in my life, in this last year,I haven't just known the betrayal of the one, and the friends. I have known the betrayal of those who I now deem as the Pharisees. Law keepers. Where judgement is over mercy and love is not an action. Where position is more important than relationship. Where noses are turned up and "better than you" attitudes exist.May I just say it again. Where loving..showing love by actions does not exist.These are the fruits of Pharisees.   

In Christ...in CHRIST...we have one choice. Mercy. Period. I know that is hard to swallow at times...oh believe me, I know. But Scripture is clear. We are to...

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgement without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement!" James 2:12,13.

What's mercy? Showing compassion to those who do not deserve it. Plain and simple. None of us deserve one darn thing. The mercy shown to us by Jesus Christ walking the path to His death, even for the ones who betrayed Him, was done in love and not because we deserve it.

Wanna know something? I don't really love mercy. Oh I do when I like the person. Or I feel like it. But, most of the time, judgement can win out for me too. I get it. I know it's easy to make excuses as to why we act like Pharisees but it doesn't make it right. It doesn't. Showing mercy...being Christ like to all in all situations is the toughest thing we do as Christians. And it is why so many look at the way we, the body of Christ acts and call us a bunch of hypocrites. Because honestly, if we don't try to not be, we will be by default.

I've learned a lot about myself and others in this past year. Much of it, as you have read, has been extremely painful. The bottom line? I have been writhing in pain, inflicted by the one and the many for so long that I am tired of dressing and redressing the wound. It's time for healing.

And for the record..having a catharsis does not replace the work of Christ in my heart to forgive and love through this pain. I want you to know I know that and I have given place in my heart for that work to begin.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Way Overdue - Part 2

If you haven't read part 1 of

Awesomeness in Asheville with Alicia

in my prior post, you may want to check that out first. Because, part 2 of anything usually makes more sense if part 1 is before part 2. Just in case you were not aware of that.

And..I am not really sure why it has taken me so long to do part 2, but, I can't post another blog until I finish the part 2 to part 1 and I have had so many other blog thoughts come and go that I am beside myself that I have not finished this blog yet.

Ok...you must take a breath now after that very long and probably, grammatically incorrect sentence.

Back to this post.

I loved Asheville with Alicia and her family. In all seriousness, they are some of the. most. special. people. in my life.

All the pictures above were taken the day we hiked in to see some beautiful waterfalls. Outside of the fact that I got car sick on the drive through the mountains, the day was perfect. The waterfalls were breathtaking, the sun was shining, the kids were happy.

Little Sophia and I spent some time together each night reading the book Little Women. She'd be all ready for bed and we'd snuggle together on my bed while I read to her. I so enjoyed this time with her.

Saturday night Jarrod, Alicia and I went to downtown Asheville and found this cute, little, restaurant named Salsa's where we ate supper. The food was so nummy. And the drink I had was so good...like nothing I've tasted before.

I didn't want my time in Asheville to come to an end. But I am sure you all are wishing this post would so, I think I will wrap it up with a group of photos of just some of the other things we did while I was there.

Alicia taught me how to create with different medias...

Sophie let me do her hair in pigtails...

And two little bums kept climbing the fence, to peek at the creek, while giving me a heart attack, on a walk through the park.

The End.