Monday, January 27, 2014


There were times when I wished
to un-see, un-feel, un-know
gruesome, ugly, painful, unpleasant.

I wished to have a thicker skin,
so that things would not hurt me;
would bounce off me like I had a protective shield.

Now, I am thankful...
To have eyes that see and emotions to feel
and to be changed
by all that I experience.

Through all that I experience each day,
I. Am. Changed.

I am free to act (or not)
and to do or be (and become)...

Each day I am braver,
more willing to see and feel and know...
and for that...
I am grateful.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's Okay to Let Your Heart Break

Hey, stranger!

12 days ago (only TWELVE?!) I began a new position working for a non-profit organization.  Basically, I'm working with homeless individuals and people at risk of homelessness to help them attain permanent, safe housing.  There are a lot of other factors in the mix for the people I'm working with and this agency I work for is truly amazing. 

Every day I stand in awe of my colleagues; their compassion, strength, wisdom, capability.... I have so much to learn. 

So, I hear my father's voice a lot as I'm working.  My dad would not have thought me being a counselor was a hot idea; this man who spent his life trying to enclose me in bubble wrap and protect me from reality. This would make him roll in his grave as much as the tattoo I got a month ago. (A story for another day.)  My dad used to say, "Why do you want to get mixed up in other people's problems?" 

I don't want to get mixed up, but respond.  How can we walk through this world with blinders on, ignoring the world we live in and act as if we are all living in a vacuum not impacting one another.

There but by the grace of God, go I.

I am reminded of this song...
I cannot walk through life ignoring what I see and know to be true.  I have been blessed with an amazing support system.  I have a wonderful, forgiving and understanding husband and  my children and in-laws and friends are terrific.  I have been gifted with a great education.   My life is riddled with blessings.

Most of all, like the song mentions I have a heart for this work.  I do not believe I can save the world, nor do I think that I should. 

What I realized today is that it is alright for my heart to be broken by what I see and experience.  I was doubting myself because it was breaking.  I don't break down and sob in front of people (well, not the clients, anyway) but my heart aches for the pain I see, and I am moved.  I am moved to learn and grow and always do my very best; to meet people where they are, to encourage and assist and treat each person with the dignity and compassion that we all deserve because we all are humans, uniquely and wonderfully made.




Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This morning, Little Miss Almost 2 was whining/ crying across the kitchen, "Mamaaaaa!" because her favorite DVD wasn't working properly and who knows what else wasn't going right in her world.  There were tears in her eyes and she just wasn't a happy camper.

I bent down to pick her up and she turned away, crossing her arms,  to look out the window (probably hoping to see her favorite Harley riding neighbor- a post for another day).  She did turn back to me and raised her arms for me to hold her and snuggle in for a moment of comfort.

In that moment, as I kissed her little mulletted  head, I remembered my own desires for comfort and how I seek them and where I find them, or don't.

You see, I expect love and comfort and peace and satisfaction to come from the people in my life, or from within me.  I expect that the Husband or my kids or my friends or a job or vocation or hobby or food will fill the void.  According to the Bible, only God can fill that void.

So the other day, in my frustration, I stood in the shower, crying (because apparently I can only cry in the shower, otherwise I can't cry, I can only stop to explain to concerned onlookers why I am crying which, while it is nice to have 10 year-olds care, it would be nice to be allowed to experience a feeling not have to give a dissertation about it).  In my frustration, my, "I don't know if  everything is really going to be okay." I said, "I don't know how to let You fill, me Lord."  I thought I knew and now, I am not sure how to let God fill that void and live in that place of peace.

It's a little like dancing naked, admitting here, for the world to read, that I am not sure how to let God fill me right now.

I have been hearing the word integrity a lot from my supervisor, about being the person of integrity in the room.  I asked my fb peeps what they thought integrity meant and so I hope I am acting with integrity by saying that I am struggling with this how right now.  I am struggling with how?  and  what if...? and  why not...?  I am surely not the first human and I will surely not be the last.  If it offends you... well, you can pray for me or you can stop reading or shrug, well, whatever. 

As for me... I just have to find a way to walk through this and get to the other side, soothing a mulletted-head little Miss and getting her biggest bro off to college, getting the middles ready for another school year.  I will do my best to be His hands and feet as I am able, being that I am sorely broken, like the rest of the world, I might add.

-Peace, from one vessel to another

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I enjoy reading Max Dubinsky.  Something in the post I linked above pricked at my heart and soul and speaks to why I haven't been writing here or doing a lot of things lately.  It's more than this, it's linked to bigger questions too, but when I read in the above linked post about how people had been going to church to,
"...Celebrate the fact that everything was going to be okay...Unfortunately, when we show up today, it’s not always what we find. The guilt I found in all the churches I’ve attended, I believe it creeps its way in to our hearts when the celebration fades out. When we stop believing everything is going to be okay.." Max Dubinksy.."What I Learned About the Church While Seeking God Outside Of It" 1, 2012

I guess maybe for me,  it's the question, "What if...?" linked with the idea that maybe, just maybe, everything is not going to be okay that has thrown me into a proverbial tailspin, and midlife crisis. 

I have questions and doubts and frustrations.  Life has always had ups and downs and "all-arounds", but right now I feel disoriented; I'm underwater and cannot find my way to the surface.  It's....disconcerting, and also maybe a little freeing.  It's frightening and sometimes it makes me angry.

I don't know if I've lost myself or am still finding my true self.  Does this make me sound crazy?  I hope not!  I've spent a lifetime being what other people expected or wanted.  I still do that, but I want to have a little balance and a little more choice in how I respond and fill their needs.  But I wonder, what if the true me isn't "okay"?

I guess I will find out.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Roots and Wings and Caps and Gowns.. Oh My

Someone get another box of tissues, because apparently I've sprung a leak.

This is the morning of the oldest boy's, oldest child's, commencement.  In the evening we will be joining hundreds, thousands really, of others in an auditorium  to watch our first born and 494 other graduates receive diplomas signifying academic achievements. My son has much to be proud of. 

I am teary now and I have been teary for days, weeks months...who am I kidding?  I'm one of those crying types. 

So today, I sit and type through big, sobbing tears and I don't understand it.  He's not going anywhere for two months and he's not even going far to college.  It's just that sometimes my heart feels overflowing with the intensity of life.  I tried to explain to the 10 yo because he was trying to understand my's not sadness..exactly.  It's more like an intensity of emotion.

I see flashes of the past 17+ years so vividly.  I still remember the Husband's face when I told him there were 2 blue lines.  It may be the only time that man has ever been speechless. I remember the awe at the miracle of his birth.  I think love was really something tangible we could touch and hold in our hands in the predawn hours of that day.  I realize how fleeting those nights he slept no more than 5 minutes at a stretch really were.  They felt like they'd never end.  I remember the way he ran around at my mother's funeral like the perfect comic relief and the way chasing him was the carrot on the string that kept me from curling up in a ball of despair; his smile and laugh were sweet comfort.  When he was 3 and we were new to our church, his Sunday School teacher was convinced we'd never be back...the story of the widow's mite had him in tears.  When he was 6 he announced he was going to build a 1000 story building for all the homeless people.  He went through a phase where he wanted to be a roller coaster designer.  (He is, instead, majoring in civil engineering).  He is my personal tech support, the one who will not let his sister cry and will help his brothers with school work. 

I look at him and am so proud of this young man.  I see shades of the man he is yet to grow into and reflections of the boy he once was. 

We want to give them roots and wings. We want to raise them so they can leave, but no matter how great we can be as parents (and I am far from great), we cannot control everything and everyone, including the children.  I cannot always protect these kids from others or even their own choices.  Having a part of my heart walking around outside my body can feel a little like someone squeezing the air of my lungs.

So today, I will cry a little. (Little is relative.)  I will iron his shirt and smile with pride when he walks down the stairs with his tie knotted "just so".  I will hold this memory in my heart along with all the others I have been blessed with and there will always be room for more memories of him and his brothers and sister as they walk through this crazy, amazing adventure of life.

-Peace and Love (and where is that box of tissues?!)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Not Job (long O)

I've taken a bit of a writing hiatus.

The reason is simple and complicated all at the same time.  I realized that who I am "here" and what I'm going through "out there" are not in sync.  

When people tell me I seem peaceful or like I have it together I feel... like a big, fat liar.  I also found out that sometimes it even intimidated people...until we had a conversation and they saw me in scary, living technicolor hot mess.  (Then we were cool.)

  Often I write to work through things, which makes it seem all methodical and peaceful and clean..which is what I am doing now except...Life, my friends, is often very messy, especially when lived fully and with risks and mistakes.

When I started this blog I had this "pie in the sky" idea that I would someday get a book contract and maybe even get to speak from a Christian perspective.  The reality is, the real me probably wouldn't fit in so well with what I perceive to be what they are looking for.

I know that if I filled my life with only things deemed pleasing to God, I would be better off and I know in my head that God loves me flaws and poor choices and all.  (That's grace.)  My heart is not on the same "God loves me" page.  Ironic because I spend a lot of time telling other people something that my heart cannot believe for me.  

It really hit home for me last night as I was saying The Lord's Prayer with my kids...and my words felt stuck in my throat and I felt like my stomach was full of rocks...

You see, life has been kind of rough all the way around for years..and sometimes I feel like, "Why even bother?"  We've spent a lot of time and energy trying to follow Gods will and I'm kind of in a "What the hell?"  mood.  Nothing I do seems to make a difference.

I come from a tradition that espouses, "Saved by grace through faith and not by works of the law."  so I do not necessarily believe my actions result in salvation, but sometimes, it would be nice if my actions would result in a little good news in the "here and now" not only in an "end time" which I cannot even begin to imagine.

I understand and believe that faith is reflected in how we handle adversity. I am trying hard to see silver linings, but to be honest...the tarnish is getting to me.

I do not have the patience nor the faith of Job, it would seem.  I feel it's obvious I do not even have the faith of a mustard seed...I have the shaken and  fractured faith of a woman who doesn't ever have to wait long for the other shoe to drop...on her head, as the can of spaghettios falls on her bare foot.

This is me.  It's real.  My kids struggle and sometimes the only help I can offer is hugs and love them with everything I have (and it doesn't ever seem to be enough).  I like to listen to (sing along with and dance to) loud rock music with lyrics I wouldn't want my kids to sing along to (that's what ear buds and car rides by myself are I either sing along at the top of my lungs in the mom van or I'm dancing around the kitchen to music no one else can hear), I enjoy a cocktail, good books (good being relative), walking by the ocean (had to throw that in, hehe) and lots of other things.  I struggle with problems and questions.  My home is in a constant state of clutter. There's never enough time or money or peace.   I am imperfect and rarely truly "at peace".  I am seeking my true self instead of fulfilling the expectations of others and trying not to be selfish and hurt the ones I love in the process.  (Talk about a delicate balance...)

To steal a dear friend's phrase, "I'm seeking the balance between edgy and respectable."  I am certainly not Job (long O).

-Peace (in whatever measure you can find it.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Roll Better Than a Flat Tire

Frequently I find myself saying, "Life is what happens when we're making other plans."

This morning I planned to go to the park for an early walk, then meet a friend for coffee. It is chilly so I even got proper clothing together.

As I left my driveway I saw an unfamiliar light gleaming on the dashboard but I thought I'd just deal with it later. (You're cringing and shaking your head, aren't you? That's what the Husband is going to do when he reads this.)

"What IS that noise?!" I searched for a place to turn around or over and as I pulled into a parking lot it clicked. Flat tire.

So here I sit, waiting to be rescued. The lug nuts are stuck so roadside assistance just arrived. Yahoo!

This was not part of my plan. The time spent getting the tire fixed or replaced and the money it will cost was not in the plan either. That is life. I can whine about it or roll with it.

---Spare on, Husband takes it to be fixed--

I will confess that "discussing" replacement options (how many tires to replace..because they're all shot?!) meant that the Husband attempted to discuss and I ranted about how it's never just what we bring it in for and yes, I was yelling and no, I may not have said, "Goodbye." when I hung up. (Sometimes my conversation skills are sorely lacking.)

But... You see my 'frayed-by-10:30-am' nerves are part of what happens when life happens and my plans don't. I get a little (or a lot) agitated, especially when it is about money I have not budgeted to spend. It was much easier to roll and not whine when I wasn't hearing, "4 new tires" on the same day I am taking 12 yo for new glasses and there are other expenses looming large on the horizon and...

Oh hello, God! I'm supposed to trust you and to have faith that You will provide... and where does that fit in with the tire scenario? Some will say that we should not expect such things of God and others will tell you that God has a way of providing. (FYI no surprise checks arrived in the mail today lol). I am going to tell you that I know it will work out in the end but right now I'm a little bit in knots trying to figure out how. I think it is safe to say that I trust God with the big salvation stuff but the little, big stuff...I feel like I am constantly panicking over and trying to figure out.

I have learned that NOTHING ever goes as I plan it. And when it plans are not all that splendid. Sooo...I need to learn to roll better than my flat tire. I need to just quote my old supervisor who used to say, "They can't kill you and eat you." (Obviously she was never in a land of cannibals.) I need to see the gifts of warm safe house, food to eat and basic health. I need to trust in God and see that it's better to roll with it than panic and whine or *ahem* yell at the messenger. (Yes, I am ashamed.)

I ask God to forgive me when I do not roll better than a flat tire. I also ask my family and friends to forgive me for that unpleasant trait, among the many others I possess which show my lack of faith, patience and character. Sigh.

I pray that I will learn to roll better. If you have some flat spots, I hope you can smooth them out and roll better, too.