The messiness of life

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Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I have heard many prayers that ask for the peace that surpasses understanding.

Look at the verse.  It’s not just any peace.   It’s God’s peace that surpasses understanding.  And when you realize that, there is an aha! moment because, of course, it doesn’t make sense. God is bigger than our minds could ever comprehend, therefore, so is His peace.

On August 6, 2017 the pastor at the church I’m attending delivered a message based on this scripture, and I had my aha! moment.

On August 7, 2017, seven months after Nugget had been cut from my womb, I had our first ultrasound for our second child. We saw its heart beating.

On August 14, 2017 our second ultrasound revealed that our little one’s heart had stopped beating.

On August 21, 2017 my body shed all its preparations and the tiny little person that had started there.

And through it all, even though there was sadness, I was at peace.

This, in no way, has been an easy road to travel.  However, the good that Steven and I have found along the way can’t, in any way, be replaced. As individuals we have grown.  As a couple we have strengthened.

The messiness of life. . .we’re ok wading through it and cleaning it up together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.


We Called You Nugget


It’s not what I thought you would be called when we found out you were coming.  I thought you would be Monkey because, well, everything is monkey in our house.

I won’t say that we were trying to have you.  Your daddy and I just said we were staying out of God’s way.  The week before I knew you were with us, I asked your Aunt Jerri what her pregnancy symptoms were. Hers didn’t help.

I was exhausted that week. . .being who I am, sleep is no stranger, and I’m quite good at it, but this was different.  It was a real struggle to stay up past eight.  If the phone rang at nine I wanted to know who was calling so late.  Jerri and I texted every day.  She wanted me to take a test, but I kept saying no.  I was waiting.

December 3, 2016 I took the test while your daddy slept.  He had to work that night.  The little line showed up! You announced your presence! It was difficult for me to not go jump on the bed. But I didn’t. Instead, I thanked God for you. He thought we should be parents.

And, so we are.

I left the positive test with a onesie I bought in Scotland that summer on your daddy’s sink.  When he finally went in there, he asked, “Do two lines mean positive?” It made me laugh because why else would I leave a onesie and a pregnancy test on his sink?

And when we started telling people, you were Nugget.

My excitement was so strong, I couldn’t stop telling people.  Two weeks after we knew you were with us, we were able to get with your grandparents and tell them.  They were so excited. We gave them all a book to read to you when you came, some baby wipes, a burp cloth (or vomit cloth as your daddy says), and a clean onesie.  I have to say, though, telling your great granddaddy Coleman was probably my favorite.  We got to his house and told him we had news.  He made us wait so he could lean against the wall since “it sounds important.” Then we said, “We’re having a baby!” He started to grin, and then said, “You mean a human baby, right?” How well does he know his family that he had to clarify if the baby was human or of the animal kind?

It was Christmas Day when I realized just how excited your daddy was. He filled my stocking with baby things.  But it wasn’t the things that let me know; it was seeing how lit up his eyes became when he talked about being in the infant section of the store.

You got several things for Christmas from your family.  Things they wanted you to have when you got here. Money for a savings account. Ornaments that were all your own. Every one couldn’t wait for you to get here.

When I went back to work, I decided I could tell the people at school.  My students were excited to know that you were coming.  They encouraged me and let me know that I would be a great mom. We felt sure that since you’d been with us for over two months, we were safe to tell people.

But that Friday, January 6, I spotted. We went to have an ultrasound for peace of mind because twenty percent of women spot during pregnancy. But in a heart beat, the breath was sucked out of us.

You had decided to hang out in my Fallopian tube–stubborn child. And some time in week seven your little heart stopped and you went to Jesus. Your great grandparents were waiting for you. You saved my life, most likely, by doing that. Had you continued to grow where you were, I would have had internal bleeding, and you still would die.

It all was too fast. To be so full of joy and hope and then to be shaken with grief and loss.

To not get to hold you.

To have someone cut you out of me.

To question why God would answer prayer this way.

To not understand.

Your father and I have grieved, cried, and prayed together. He has been my rock, and I pray I have been his. His first words in the midst of all the shock were that he didn’t regret a moment of the time we had with you. And later, he said, you see the whole puzzle with God while we see only a piece.

I don’t regret it either. Feeling my body change.  Telling people. Planning for you. Dreaming.

And one day, we’ll see you again because we have Hope.

But I miss you.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”


The death of a blog


seasonedjournalSo, back in May I said I’d see you in June.

And I did once.

And then I was gone again.

I’m not sure how that happens. Life, maybe? I had really good intentions when I started my blog (even though I really just don’t understand where the word “blog” came from and how it came to mean posting musings online). I think I did really well for those first 8 to 9 months as well.

Then, in that tenth month, I became sporadic.

Then, in that eleventh month, I gave myself a vacation.

Then, at the year, well, by then, I had completely forgotten my blog and there was nothing.

Isn’t that the way with many things in our lives? Maybe even things as important as relationships. We do really well for a while. We call, talk, make time for dinner, walks, sharing.

Then, we get busy. We think, oh, it’s not important to touch base today. My friend will be there tomorrow. Then we forget the next day because we need groceries, and then we need to run to the post office and the bank. Oh, and after that we have to get the grass mowed and the laundry folded. And, whew, finally we can sit down for a minute, and we fall asleep.

But there’s always tomorrow, right?

And suddenly (except not so suddenly) our friend isn’t there tomorrow.

There’s only one person I know who is always there tomorrow no matter how much we neglect our relationship with Him. But I bet He wishes we would take time to nurture that one too. He wants to know about your grocery shopping, and post office needs, and how the grass makes your eyes itchy and you’re terrified of yellow jackets. And He wants to know how you love His sunsets and the way your newly mowed grass smells after rain and how much you appreciate the people He has put in your path.

And He wants you to reach out to that friend you said will be there tomorrow.

Don’t let the relationships in your life die as easily as my blog seems to have.


Do You Have Your Passport?


CarolynI love to travel.  If I could find a way to do it full time, I probably would.  I love taking my students to Europe and watching them realize just how big the world is and then come to the conclusion that while we’re all unique, we are all alike as well.  People have dreams and hopes and fears and families and friends and insecurities and confidence and all the rest of it no matter what their first language is or where they live.

This love of traveling was sparked in me by my friend Carolyn.  I introduced you to her when I first wrote about my book club, Between the Covers.  She was an amazing woman.  She possessed class and dignity and compassion and humor and more knowledge about literature and teaching than I can ever hope to attain.  She took me to London and Paris in 2005 and opened up the world to me.

Several years ago we were going to go to Rome.  But she couldn’t find her passport.  She looked everywhere.  Carolyn considered having it replaced, but her health was declining, and she wasn’t sure if she’d really ever get to use it again anyway.  As it turns out, 2005 was her last trip across the pond.  The lost passport became somewhat of a joke–if we misplaced things we’d say “It’s with Carolyn’s passport.”Passport

However, Carolyn had the most important passport there is.  Carolyn knew our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  She was a godly woman who was an example not only to me, but also to everyone she was around.  She touched so many lives–in her family, in her friends, in her classroom, in her church, in her visits to the hospital and cancer center, in her nail salon, in restaurants.  She was steadfast in her faith.

Carolyn knew John 14:6: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This morning Carolyn’s Passport was stamped by Jesus Himself as He welcomed her home.

Salt and {goodness}


This week, I had the honor and privilege of posting at my friend Katie’s.  Cardigan Way is all about looking for the goodness in life and how good of her to think highly enough of me to request my verbiage on her blog.  Katie is a lovely friend who has an amazing story of faith.  I have been blessed to have her in my real life.  So, go see what I have to say about salt and then peruse the goodness that is Katie and Cardigan Way.

Since it is faith week, I do have this verse to share in conjunction with the post.

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13

One foot in front of the other

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LentToday is the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar.  Being Baptist, I’ve never put much thought into Lent.  Our pastor said this Sunday that it’s probably because in church history when what I’ll call “the great split” happened, Protestants didn’t want to participate in something that they saw as very Roman Catholic.

However, he then went on to say that this was flawed thinking.  He called Lent a practice in imitation.  He defined Lent as the self-denial and steadfast obedience of Christ as He walks toward the cross.  Therefore, that is how we should view it since we, as proclaimed Christians, spend our lives trying to be more like Christ.

Doesn’t sound so different that way, does it?  Just sounds right.

I’ve been pondering where I want my words to go from here.  My mind is torn in several directions.  My admiration of our pastor to incorporate church history into his sermons so that not only am I challenged by the content, but also I’m educated.  My contemplation of how Christians need to unite despite their denominations or their split between C and P.  My conviction that Lent is necessary in my own spiritual walk–and, therefore, my fear of it.  I mean, to participate, I really have to examine my life and my shortcomings in my walk with and to Christ.

I’ve even thought perhaps I’d ask you guys what you will do for Lent, if you feel as I do that it’s necessary.

Lent is very personal, much like participating in the Lord’s Supper.  There are so many things I could sacrifice or deny myself that how do I pick just one or two to give over to Christ?

Ah, there’s the rub, isn’t it?

Christ doesn’t want just one or two things for Lent.  He wants my whole life my whole life.  Every. Single. Day.

My entire life should be an imitation of Christ in self-denial and steadfast obedience as I walk toward Him.


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Years ago I made the resolution to not make resolutions at the New Year.  Who needs the extra pressure?

For the most part, I’ve managed to keep that one.

Past resolutions have included things like:

1) Quit biting my nails: I still bite them–when I’m bored, when I’m nervous or agitated, when I’m driving down the road, and interestingly enough when I go to the movies.  (And though I don’t resolve to do it anymore, I do wish I could quit!)

2) Lose weight: Who hasn’t made this resolution?  (Don’t answer that.)

3) Exercise more: Let’s face it–I hate exercise; I hate that it’s called exercise; I hate that it makes me sweaty and hurts; I hate that other people seem to get happy endorphins after exercising–why should they be so lucky?

These are the resolutions that I can recall right off the top of my head.  I notice that they seem to have a lot to do with my outer appearance.

A resolution is merely a commitment. And commitment takes effort.  Consider:

Owning a pet. Going to your job and doing it well. Marriage. Raising children.

Being a Christian.

When I give up on those outward resolutions, I’m left with more time to focus on the commitments that really make up my life.

I offer this verse:

Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”



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