Strength – a poem for Carly

She dug further down in the deep of her heart
And the further she went, the more pain would impart
Past the rejection, past all the lies
For their protection, she casts off disguise

She sees it all
But is blind to her own strength
She sees it all…but her strength

      Upholding them
      Supporting them

      With the strength
      She has from above

In the very last days he spent on this earth
She would fight for the rights of the two she gave birth
Walking the tightrope, shaking with fear
Helping them say all he needed to hear

She sees it all
But is blind to her own strength
She sees it all… but her strength

      Upholding them
      Supporting them

      With the strength
      She has from above

The strength she has from above
From above
She fights with the strength
From above

With the strength from above

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Not About a Tree

Last night at Steve and Debi’s, we were all talking and having fun – including Rocky and Kourtney and baby Bayleigh Bebb, the Stewarts and Sami! It was pretty special. And loud. So when Steve went to the attic and brought out Gramma Grace’s hand crafted and framed Christmas Trees made of sparkly jewelry and broaches, it caused a bit of a switch in the atmosphere. We all gazed at the four of them in their imperfect glory.

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One actually still worked when the light strand was plugged in. The wooden backings were drilled with holes so that tiny white lights could be pushed through from behind, making it even more special than any other kind of framed Christmas tree made of jewelry. 🙂 I remember these being hung around her and Grampa’s house every Christmas. Gramma Grace was a lovely, creative, funny, sometimes harsh, but most of the time kind and welcoming Gramma. I rarely talk about her, but miss her very much.

So Uncle Steve brought out the decorative trees and displayed them in the living room, giving Charity and I first “dibs” probably due to our childhood memories of them. There were some hurt feelings in the air, because Sami wasn’t considered. It wasn’t really about the trees, as much as it was about her feeling of being overlooked. I understood. She quietly made her way upstairs to her bedroom and I felt the Spirit just as quietly tell me to follow her so I made my way up the dark, narrow stairway and was happy she let me in.

We talked for a while. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.  And was kind of concerned that everyone had eaten dinner without us at one point, but not enough to cut the conversation short. I learned many things about my sweet cousin as we dove into some deep subjects like depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and their threats on the Bebb family. Our words waded through the safe but murky waters of spiritual things like supernatural healing, speaking in tongues, and the intrigue of dream interpretation. And we also splashed around in shallow-water topics like our favorite memorized movies of the past (hers was Ironman and I had three: Dead Poet’s Society, Reality Bites and The Notebook) and our fave subject in school (which happened to be English and writing for both of us). Ricky came in and let us know that everyone was in fact, eating, so we better head downstairs if we wanted in. So we wrapped it up, just like that. But I was so thankful for that time we got to spend together.

I texted her on my way home to see if I could go sing at the nursing home she works at, since that’s been on my heart lately. She texted me back at almost 1am with a positive reply.  

I think God is reminding me of the importance of investing in a life, once again. I suddenly want to get to know her more. This new connection is not a coincidence. Life on this earth is too short to not really know or invest in your own family.

Busiest Week of the Year. What a great family I have.

Just an update of my life…

This week, as with all 2nd weeks of June, we celebrate 5 things in 5 days:

June 10: Ricky’s b-day (38)

June 12: Mom’s b-day (61)

Last Day of School (for Angel)

June 14: Our Anniversary (17 yrs)

June 15: Father’s Day

So it’s been a whirlwind! But pretty great. I had to back out of worship practice Wednesday (which means Sunday as well) but did keep my standing Monday night commitment w/my Mending the Soul class. Three weeks left and I’ll have completed the class and be better equipped to help those affected by abuse, neglect or trauma. I’m praying that even though I don’t know what’s around the bend or who God has in store for me to meet and help through healing, He will use this training. He will take  what I’m learning and I’ll be able to understand someone – maybe even lots of people – and take their hand as they journey toward mental, emotional and spiritual healing and health. If not one-on-one, then maybe I’ll use the wisdom to become a facilitator of a related class, myself some day.

Braylon and I have been getting in the Word in the mornings this week too. It’s been pretty cool. 10-15 minutes, we each read. He reads from Proverbs (the chapter of the day) and Ephesians – his book of choice written by Paul. I loved that he chose such an encouraging book. We’re talking about reading until something jumps out at you, writing that thing down, and then we’ll talk about why it seems significant – and today I talked to him about why it’s important to go deeper than just reading to cross it off your list – but read to really understand what God’s saying to you in that moment. Instead of reading and writing it down and moving on, we’re praying a quick request to God beforehand that He’s speak to us and help us understand and apply what we read, we’re then reading, writing and talking about how it might apply…with one example we can think of.  I think this will really pay off. Heck, I know it will! Isaiah 55:11-13 promises! It’s always a battle to start getting in the Word more intentionally and consistently. But once you’re there, you’re like – this is sweet! Why did I ever stop?! God is speaking right to me!  or – that would be perfect for me to send to so-&-so right now!  It’s cause it really is ALIVE and active – full of power and life.

Angel is still so sweet. Every year I keep waiting for her to turn bratty and sour. But NOPE. Not yet. 🙂 She told me yesterday that she wants to be a singer when she gets older and my heart stopped and did a happy dance in my chest for 2 seconds. She’s good at it, too.

I had to re-wash and re-rinse her hair tonight. I thought she, at 7 1/2, would be old enough to wash her hair by herself. But alas, she hopped out without yelling at me to check it first…and she had weird dry scalp flakes (or hair gel pieces) and soapiness still in there! So here we go again. She loves to play outside with her bro who she still at times calls “bwud-ger” and their favorite outdoor activities lately involve the “over the creek” swing their dad made, hanging with the 5 “Buck Boys” down the street  jumping on their trampoline or shooting hoops, riding bikes or rip-sticking.

Sometimes Bray goes exploring in the big backyard, takes his knife and cuts or whittles whatever wooden thing he can get his hands on. When I look for him from the back porch, I usually find him just in time to see his arm flailing as he chucks a rock or a stick as far as he can. Which is SO Braylon. He’s been doing that since he was like 3! He’s really worked on drawing this year and has gotten so dang good at it! I love his determination. His perfectionism is an unfortunate genetic obstacle to artistic greatness. It’s ok though. It’ll hopefully equally help him achieve his artistic goals! He is just like his daddy who used to draw and doodle in high school and then way after that, he realized – wait a minute! I think I GOT somethin’ here! And next thing you know he’s like Creative Director Web Designer and Marketing Consultant for a major corporation. But whatevs ~ Braylon will be fantastic at whatever he does with the Lord’s help and guidance. His openness, compassion & humor light me up…and his dad loves how sensitive, creative and confident he can be.

It’s now after midnight on 6/14 – which means it’s Ricky’s and my 17th anniversary! We’ve been hanging out lookin at our wedding photos and he was kind enough to oblige me and pick out his favorite one of just me, just him and both of us. Today we played ping pong (I beat him again! All three games this time. Hee hee). We listened to the Lionel Richie Pandora Station during dinner (I made us raspberry salad and grilled bacon sandwiches) and  afterward when we found ourselves alone by the ping pong table he made, right after I beat him, we kissed and slow danced for a minute to Journey’s “Open Arms”…despite my garlic bread breath.

I can’t wait to see what later today has in store for us.

Or the rest of our lives.

Gramma Grace ~ a poem on Memories in Honor

Her hugs would envelope my tiny frame
Hydrangeas of purple white blue
Her slanted driveway gave us a game
Makeshift go-cart planks on wheels

Easter service bunny cake-pan
Jellybeans green-hued coconut
Lemon drop dishes, two in each hand
Makeshift roller skate rink in the back

Reader’s Digest, People’s Court
Whopner, dachshunds, motorized chair
Secret passage, hideout, fort
Eyes that sparkle, giggle fest

We were welcome, we were there
Road trips, parks, reunion fun
We were clueless to despair
Until she stole her life from us

1995 in Spring
When Easter boasts of Jesus’ blood
The day after her birthday’d bring
News of her blood, it left her still

We watched her Pastor lift and roll
Heavy carpet, dripping bed
What would become of Gramma’s soul?
Her wounded heart, is it now whole?

There was no stone that rolled away
Her Depression held a permanence
Can suicide be void of blame?
I’ll never point to man, nor self

Two years later, down the isle
Eight and Braylon grew inside
Twelve my Angel flashed her smile
Nineteen now, I miss her still

Grace and the Will to Put it on Display

Motherhood and grace should go hand in hand.  It’s a tough job, and when things get crazy or you mess up, it can be so relieving to find grace in others’ view of you…in how they react. Grace received from your own children and husband goes a long way. But sometimes grace from a stranger can go even further.

Last weekend, I was having a good time with several of Braylon’s friends in our garage. We decided to do an art project around a table. Braylon finished pretty quickly and joined his friend from school, “J”, in the driveway. This was just the 2nd time he’d come over to play, and I’d recently had a bad miscommunication with his mother, but wrote her a loving note to try & work it out… and a few weeks later we seemed to be fine. So the other day,  Braylon & “J” were skateboarding for a while and then they started fake-sword-fighting (while I was painting, etc. with 3 other lil ones, about 15 ft away).

Then I hear “J’ complaining about his arm hurting. He wasn’t crying, but I got up to see why it hurt. I saw several dots of blood on it, from where Braylon got him with his “fake sword”. Thing is, Braylon wasn’t thinking and chose a dangerous tool to use as his “fake sword” – one he’d gotten from our grill – the kind with strong, wire bristles for cleaning a grill. I examined the tool and had Bray apologize, as it looked like it did hurt. But they weren’t fighting maliciously and Bray didn’t get him intentionally. Nonetheless, I was concerned so later that day, I text’d his mother, telling her briefly what happened, that it was an accident and was sorry, & asking how her son was doing. She replied “some brusing and a few drop of blood…”. Two days later (Monday, I believe) “J” came to my mind again and I was concerned, so I text’d her again to follow up on his arm’s condition. Although I didn’t actually see the short sword-fight, I couldn’t imagine his arm still hurting from how it looked shortly after. I expected her to say he’s much better….or it’s almost healed; thanks for asking.

I deleted her reply, but it was very similar to this: “its pretty messed up. i am very upset with your son. i will never let him play with my son again. frankly, i question your intelligence”.  This is the 2nd time this mother’s reacted to me in this way, so I don’t know why I was shocked. I guess I’m just not used to it. It’s so contrasting to how my friends would react.

Although I felt terrible, and wanted to reply, I didn’t. I felt anything I would say would not help.

Fast-Fwd to yesterday (Tuesday), at the Wal*Mart check-out:  I had bought my food and was waiting for carry-out help while I watched the lady behind me. Her daughter (2-3 yrs old) was sitting on the ground toward the middle of the isle. I watched as another lady headed through the isle with her cart half-full of groceries. I saw her look & notice the little girl, and continue on, but to her surprise, she’d misjudged where her cart’s wheels were heading and ran right over the little girl’s fingers. I saw it. And I heard the “bump-bump”. Then I heard nothing. There seemed to be a full minute that passed before that girl could catch her breath enough to let out the most horrendous, glass-shatterin’ cry. Her mommy swooped her up, and the lady rushed back and must’ve apologized 3 times as she intermittently self-checked her food, explaining that she honestly thought she had enough room to go by.

The little girl’s mom responded several times back with a smile, “Oh, it’s ok. She’ll be ok.”  or, “It’s her nap time & she’s tired. I think I’ll just give her some Tylenol & put her down for a nap when we get home.” Another time she said, “Things like this happen sometimes. Pleeaase, don’t feel bad. Her fingers were kind of out there too far, I think”. I watched the guilt-ridden woman listen to these words of honey, hoping they’d be received… hoping they’d resound louder than the cries of pain.

After the woman left, and the mom was still there, paying, I walked up to her & thanked her. She looked at me, confused. I explained briefly that earlier this week, I’d had a mom react to something my son did that accidentally hurt her son – & the reaction I got was, well, quite opposite. I said how it was so refreshing to witness one mom showing so much grace to another.

I guess I was hormonal and had teared up while talking, cause the next thing I know, I hear this big, kind stranger say, “awwwwwwe!” and was squeezed in her compassionate bear-hug! When she let go, I guess she thought I needed more affirmation and proceeded to tell me a little story about how she could relate, when a mom at a park “went off” on her. She then wished me a good day & went on her way.

It seemed to really work out that it took Wal*Mart employees 12 minutes to find someone for car carry-out that day. After a few minutes of waiting, I was going to just go. But I really wanted to see how everything played out.  Had they helped me immediately with all my groceries, like some grocery stores offer, I’d have missed this scene – this demonstration of grace and love to a stranger. It’s one thing to treat someone you love with such grace, but another to extend it to your neighbor … to a stranger in the store, a park, a post office. How ’bout someone who has crossed you – someone who you don’t like?  How are you different than anyone in this God-forsaken world if you show a hostile attitude or even indifference to those people? Nothing sets you apart.

Specifically, I think it’s so important for mothers to stick together and support each other. That’s part of why I’ve been involved in mom’s groups for many years. We need to hold each other up with reliable encouragement, honesty & prayer. Keep each other accountable. Live in an exemplary way for our children, almost going out of our way to brighten another mom’s week…WEEKLY.  I know I’m miles away from living this consistently, but dangitall if I’m not gonna make it my goal. Life is too short to not make your mark of grace on everyone you can, especially other moms.

That’s my 2¢.

The Women’s Conference with Sheri Silk and Kim Walker Smith

This is my attempt to basically journal about this weekend when I visited Church of the Hills in Austin. April 17, I was so excited ~ and arrived at the church with my friends, Athena and Debbie. We had a wonderful sweet worship time lead by Kim Walker Smith and her husband, Skyler. As the songs went on, a sound from overhead became louder and louder & I asked Athena, “is that the vent system?!” She repied, “no, I think it’s rain!” And it was. A storm was rolling by. About between song 3 & 4, the rain was so loud, especially in contrast to the quieting music as they transitioned. And then…a huge thunder roared and Continue reading

An Afternoon @ the Taylor Rest Home

God is teaching us today about the futility of boredom,  the life-giving power of kind words, the importance of eye contact and touch, a surprising connection between old and young, and the hope of a purpose-filled life on earth. The sand will run out sooner than we think.  And I think again, am I pursuing what is only temporary? Or will I commit to pursuing that which will last?

Oh, that this conviction would linger…