Friends who Leave Rocks

Summer’s high-pitched crying stole my ability to think. I grabbed my stress ball, plunked down in the rocking chair, and continued to rock my inconsolable baby while allowing every ounce of frustrated energy to pour through my hand and onto that stress ball.

I was beyond depressed. I was angry with the Lord. I felt like He had dealt me the worst hand. No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to work to calm my baby.

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10 Pieces of Unconventional Advice for a Long and Happy Marriage

Since getting married, I’ve kept an ongoing list of advice people gave us that sounded strange, but became the most meaningful pieces of wisdom. I also took time in my recent interviews with couples who have been married 30-50+ years to ask what advice they would offer a young newlywed or engaged couple in order to set them up for a long and happy marriage. I have combined my list and their comments to create…

10 pieces of Unconventional Advice for a Long and Happy Marriage: 

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Like Babies Playing with Power Tools

Summer’s hands pressed against the edge of the door as she was trying to finagle it open. She knew her daddy was on the other side doing woodwork and she wanted to watch. Baylor also paced looking at me as if to beg, “please can we go?”

I cracked open the door and asked Ryan if we could join him. He nodded, letting me know our presence was okay. I grabbed a few candy canes and followed Summer outside. There, we played soccer and watched Ryan work under the rumbles of the power tools.

Ryan paused with the saw and moved over to another tool. During the transition, I ran indoors to grab a toy. The silence felt piercing in the wake of his power tools.

While inside, I heard Ryan’s fierce, loud cry, “NOOO! Get away right now. That is never okay. Bad. Do not touch.”

His tone sent a chill down my spine.

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The American Heart

Above: My daughter watching the election. She wore my feelings on her face. 

I’m learning that freedom and security in our world are simply mirages.

Perhaps the more unbelievable and comical aspects of this election are the responses that flood my Facebook feed and the corners of cable television in the wake of such brutal campaigns. It is quite amusing that we are, in the least bit, surprised by the results of this election.

I understand that many of my readers are optimists. And many of my friends are hopeful. And we should be. As followers of Jesus, we should know hope intimately. As humans with hearts and heads, we should be sensitive to the wellbeing of one another, and the basic human rights of all people.

But, I must admit, in light of prophecies outlined in Scriptures and the recent tune of our society at-large here in the United States, I am not the least bit astonished by our options in candidates or by the outcome of this civil war masked as an election.

I feel an urge to share some observations as a woman who has had the privilege of knowing a wide array of people types in my short journey. I know some of our nation’s wealthiest and some of our nation’s poorest people. I know people of color, people of various faiths and spiritual convictions, republicans, democrats, libertarians, and socialists. I have known people washed in elite academia, people educated by hard knocks from life on the streets, people who have had their futures secured by trust funds, people who have never known financial security, farmers, financial gurus, doctors, and the mentally unstable. I have brushed shoulders with pastors, politicians, prostitutes, professors, drug dealers and professional musicians. And among all of these people, I have noticed that we have one thing in common:

We all claim to be people of love.

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Showering with a Screwdriver

The laundry towers, dishes pile up, trash multiplies, toys scatter. The dog needs feeding, bed needs making, the baby needs attention…

I mustn’t waste this day away on chores.

Today there are laughs to be had, beauty to see, tastes to savor, words to be read, written and exchanged. Love to be shared, sidewalks to stroll, ducks to feed, and swings to play on. Coffee to be enjoyed, smiles to pass along, messes to make, and places to tidy up.

She will not remember the clean home. I will not wish for another moment to wash dishes or fold laundry as I reach the end of my earthly journey. I will wish for more moments to allow Love to come in, take charge, and trickle powerfully out.

And so I began packing up in preparation for our upcoming walk to the park. And then I saw them.

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Hopeful and Broken

It was one of those mornings. The sun’s warm rays gently touched my face in the early hours, waking me up. I squirmed beneath the sheets and was, once again, incredibly aware of my thighs. The rolls of fat on my stomach. My round face.

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Relationships are the greatest gifts we will ever receive. If all materials were stripped away and we were left with nothing. No home. No food. No clothes. No car. Nothing. We would still have relationships. Relationships are fostered between people. Connections that cannot be denied or ignored. We were created for relationships. We were intended to actively engage with other people we cross paths with. Even if you engage in a pattern of negative communication with another human being, you are in a relationship with that person. It might not be a good relationship, but you are in one. We are all connected. Continue reading “Relationships”