The Throne of Grace

Today I will be perfectly candid with you.  If you are looking for a feel-good, inspirational blog post, you may want to just stop reading now.  This is not it.  This is the real truth, probably one that more people identify with than even I could imagine.

In all honesty, when I was reading everyone’s “Thanks for a great 2014” post on Facebook, I wanted to post “2014 sucked (a word I intensely dislike yet found myself using) and I will be glad when it is over.” Continue reading

Leaving a Legacy

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking at our annual ladies’ tea and talked about leaving a legacy.  This was actually prompted by the recent death of my mother and knowing what a wonderful legacy she has left. She has touched more lives than anyone can possibly know and the ripple effect will continue on for generations.  As I thought about this, I also thought about how my life is being lived and what kind of legacy I am leaving for my family and friends.

Here are some of my conclusions on leaving a legacy. Shannon Adler said, “Carve you name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” We want to leave a positive legacy. But how do we get there? Here are some areas we need to think about.

Continue reading

Goodbye . . . for now

100_4237A few years ago for Mother’s Day, I wrote the following blog post about my mom.  Today my heart is aching and my emotions are raw, as I prepare to say my final goodbye.  Her death has left our entire family devastated.  My mom was a unique, one-of-kind woman. and it is hard to even comprehend the impact she has had on multiple lives.  It would take an entire book to share the kind of life she lived, the kind of example she set, and the kind of love that she showed. She was a mentor to many, an extraordinary friend, and an awesome mom. Continue reading

Safe Haven Friendships

As a women’s ministry leader I have been reminded over and over again that people want true authenticity from their leaders. However, in reality, that is much easier said than done.   While many women are social and friendships are important to them, it is rare to have those true “safe haven” friendships. You know the ones—the ones where you can truly be yourself, with all your flaws, all your doubts, all your hurts and all your disappointments. Those friendships are few and far in between.

I consider myself extremely blessed because last weekend I was able to spend time with two of my safe haven friends. They are women I trust implicitly with my secrets, my hurts, and my dreams. They don’t judge me. Continue reading

A New Perspective

Last weekend I rode the Ducks in Branson, Missouri. For those of you who are familiar with Branson, the Duck Tour is one of the most popular tourist attractions there. It is fun, and a treat to hear the Captains of the amphibious vehicles as they guide you on the tour.

As we took in the area around Branson, we drove up up Bear Mountain. Partially up the mountain there is a rock clearing with old military vehicles. While driving through the site a narrative plays, explaining which war the vehicle was used in and the primary role of each of the vehicles. We saw tanks, Jeeps, and a various assortment of vehicles.

ambulanceI have been on the Duck tour before, but this time it took on a special significance to me and I saw it from a new perspective. That was because my brother-in-law, Steve, is a Vietnam veteran, and he and my sister were with me on the tour. Steve was a medic in Vietnam and served mostly on the front line with the ground troops. They generally used helicopters to evacuate wounded soldiers, but as we approached the ambulance, he noted it was the type of ambulance they used in other areas. Continue reading

What Happened in Ferguson?

My husband grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. We were married in Ferguson. We still have friends who live and serve in Ferguson, who are trying to make a difference in the city around them.  And it breaks my heart to see what has been happening since the shooting death of Michael Brown. Finger pointing, rioting, tears, and heartbreak.

For anyone who has lived in the St. Louis area, they must come to the recognition that it is steeped in racism and misunderstandings, on both sides–white and black.  The issues are complex and run deep.  There are no quick fixes or easy answers.  Poverty, lack of moral guidance, drugs, and violence all feed into a feeling of helplessness for some in the black community.

I talked to a young black woman today who was appalled by the riots and the violence demonstrated last night. Her words were, “Don’t they realize they are destroying the very businesses that have stayed in their community?”  I doubt that they thought that through. There is something about a mob mentality that doesn’t lend itself to logic and commonsense. Continue reading

Four Letter Words that Ruin Our Lives

Growing up, I was always aware of the “four-letter” words that I should never say.  And for the most part, I didn’t.  In high school, I let the occasional word fly just because some of my friends did. As a Christian I became convicted that curse words really did not belong in my vocabulary. However, I have learned through time that there are some four letter words other than curse words that can ruin our lives.  Here is a list of four letter words that can have a negative impact on our lives. Continue reading

The Words That Made a Difference

golden apleMany of us can identify defining moments in our lives, that may be seemingly insignificant to others, but mean a lot to us.  I was a senior in high school when my choir teacher had each of us stand and sing a verse–solo.  I sat listening as each class member sang, dreadfully anticipating my turn. Finally, the teacher nodded toward me and I slowly stood and straightened my shoulders. My clenched palms were sweaty and my heart was beating rapidly. My stomach was churning as I opened my mouth and let the first notes roll forth. My nervousness was reflected in my breathy, quavering voice.

As I was singing, I heard it. Giggling. Coming from the second row. From the group of girls who could REALLY sing (one of them was Miss Teen USA and her talent was singing). My face flaming red, I finished my verse and then quickly sat down, mortified and embarrassed. I knew I would never sing in public again. Continue reading

Daddy’s Girl

Tom&JamieSsDear Tom,

I wish you were here.  I thought I wouldn’t miss you as much as time went by, but I was wrong.  Days like today I miss you more than ever.  In the 4 1/2 years since you left us here and went to your eternal home with Jesus, I have been privileged to watch our kids mature and make lives for themselves.

Chris is in Dallas with his family now and they have a new daughter who is so precious and looks like a cross between both of her siblings.  Jeffrey has married and has a baby who is at that “just about to walk” stage and is a such a cutie.  Bradley has moved and is sharing an apartment with friends, something I began to wonder if it would ever happen.  And Jamie, well. Jamie is getting married. Continue reading

6,782. The number of military casualties during operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn casualties as confirmed by U.S. Central Command.  http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. For many it just means a three-day weekend full of picnics, swimming, and fun.  For those in retail it means, hard work as the stores capitalize on big sales.  But for those who understand the true meaning of “memorial,’ this day honors those who have sacrificed their lives in service for their country.

They are men and women who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place by protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. They sometimes fight in wars they don’t understand and don’t want. They endure great hardships, both mental and physical. The cost is high and these warriors frequently return with wounds that we can’t see and live with nightmares born from the horrors of war. Sometimes they return in flag-drapped caskets, signifying the ultimate sacrifice. The ones we remember on Memorial Day. Continue reading

Memorial Day