Thursday, December 21, 2017

Lost and Loss

I am trying to process my trip to Arizona. I knew my Grandma was close to her end, but couldn’t make it down when she was still in control of her life the way I had last seen her.
In fact, I was faint with hunger when I landed in Tucson but was advised that she had almost passed away as I landed and I had better hurry over.

I arrived as soon as I could manage and she held on for me, but could barely move her eyelids open to see me. She had suffered mini strokes, leaving her unable to share her delightful laugh that bubbled up out of her every time before.
I can still see the sparkle in her light blue eyes as she joyfully filled our lives through her small acts of service. She always took great care with every task and paid attention to the smallest details.

My Aunt brought her guitar to the care center and we sang and played and spent two hours after visiting had ended, singing Christmas carols, hymns she loved, and even some modern worship choruses. We had harmonies, laughter, and sweet fellowship. My sister was still there, having given up a week to be sure my Grandma was being cared for properly (she’s an RN) and she was able to address some major concerns. We harmonized just as we had so many times before. Both my Aunts and their children were also there as well as my Mom and one of my Uncles.

A nurse came by and we asked if we were too loud. She said,”No. You can scream for all I care! You are singing Christian songs!”

There was something special in the room that night. I may never totally understand, but my Grandma was glowing. She had such a relaxed expression in her mouth and her brow was smiling even though she couldn’t open her eyes.

The next morning, she was much different. It was as if she was in a deep coma and couldn’t acknowledge our presence anymore. My Mom and I looked up hymn lyrics in Spanish on our phones and sang for hours. I spent some time alone by my Grandma’s bed, stroking her hair and holding her hands, praying with her.

We went to the small church she had attended for the last 15-20 months. The pastor and his wife drove to my Grandma’s home every week and took her to church. After she fell in October, they visited her faithfully. Another visitor at the center commented to me “You have an amazing pastor. He would play songs on his phone for an hour and sing along, holding the phone by her ear!”

Monday, my Grandma was the same. My Dad flew in, and we spent more time singing at her bedside.
Tuesday she was still stable, so we made the journey south to see my other grandparents. We had almost reached their town when we received the call.

It was hard to process the words. I knew what they meant, but I still cannot digest them.

You see, my Grandma is not lost. I have not lost her. I am experiencing loss, because we are separated by a fathom I cannot cross, but I know where she is. I know that I will get to join her. I have a hope and a joy mixed with a jumble of knots in my stomach and throat.
I am laughing and crying and quiet and wanting to shout and in the midst of all of it, it is well with my soul.

All around me are the jingle bells ringing and bright happy Christmas pictures and lights and I want to lose myself in them and I also want to shut them out.

I last saw her nine years ago and she wasn’t much for long phone calls, so my recent memories are few and far between, but I mailed her photos of my girls every year and tagged her on Facebook so she would be able to keep up.

I won’t tell you that I lost my Grandma, but I am definitely at a loss right now. At a loss for words, I am fine and then I am not. I can breathe, and then I am fighting to keep back the ocean from my eyes and voice.

“Jean was my Grandma, her heart was to love.
 She taught about Jesus, who came from above.
 Her life was the Gospel, she served and she gave.
 She’s on Earth no longer, she’s not in that grave.
 Goodbyes are disgusting and awful and hard.
 They pierce through my heart like a jagged glass shard.
 But someday I’ll join her and we’ll dance and we’ll sing,
 reunited in Heaven and worshipping our King.”


Friday, December 1, 2017

Near: Five Minute Friday

It's Friday! Time for another Five Minute Friday linkup. This week's prompt is "near".


I'll admit, the very first thing I thought with this prompt was the theme song to the movie "Titanic".

"Near, far, wherever you are, I believe that my heart will go on.
We'll stay forever this way, you are here in my heart and my heart will go on and on."

I thought that maybe I could take Celine Dion's vocals and over-spiritualize that chorus, but then I thought that just getting the song stuck in your head was probably enough of an offense. (laughing over here on this side of the screen)

Is God really far away, or is He near?

Eventually another song I sang in worship often during my college days came to mind.
It is scripture based, and draws lyrics from Nehemiah, another prophet, and James.

"Sing for joy to God our strength
Sing for joy to God our strength, our strength

If we call to Him, He will answer us
If we run to Him, He will run to us
If we lift our hands, He will lift us up
Come now praise his name, all you saints of God.

Draw near to Him, he is here with us
Give Him your love, He's in love with us
He will heal our hearts, He will cleanse our hands
If we rend our hearts He will heal our land."
(Sing for Joy by Don Moen)

If you read the actual passage in James, this was a rather harsh rebuke he was issuing in Chapter 4. Not so light and fluffy.

James 4:7-10
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Perhaps, though, when we ignore the Lord, He feels distant to us because we are not focused on the right things. He is near, and we can hide ourselves in the cleft of the rock, and the storms will rage around us and we will get wet, maybe even soaked, but we will not be drowned.
Challenges that are fierce push us, propel us to the feet of God where we cast ourselves on His mercy. He wants us to come to Him, and He will fight our battles for us!

Nearer My God to Thee

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!
E'en though it be a cross that raise'th me,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone.
Yet in my dreams I'd be
Nearer, my God to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
There let the way appear, steps unto heav'n;
All that Thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Then, with my waking thoughts bright with Thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I'll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Or, if on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I'll fly,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
There in my Father's home, safe and at rest,
There in my Savior's love, perfectly blest;
Age after age to be,
Nearer my God to Thee.
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Songwriters: JOHN S HURT

Timer has gone, and I will leave you with two videos. "Sing for Joy" and an amazing, tear-causing Cello version of "Nearer My God to Thee" performed by Stephen Sharp Nelson (The Piano Guys)


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Silence: Five Minute Friday

Due to my infrequent contributions to FMF during the school year, my blog will appear to be "silent". :) Our prompt this week is 'silence'.
Ready set go!

The silence of the room, the hushed moment of intimacy shattered in a surprise attack!

Torn away and dragged off to her death, she struggles to contain herself.

Thrown to his feet in the crowd, she cannot meet his gaze. They announce her sins for even Caesar to hear, and yet the Rabbi is silent.

Tears flow down her face as she steels herself for the stinging stones that will be followed by crushing cobblestones.
"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!"
Strangely, the whispers fade into whispers until all she finally hears is, "Woman, where are your accusers?"

We, like helpless sheep, cannot defend ourselves against our accusers, but our silent appeals to the Lord Jesus Christ are heard.

It is in the silent discipline of listening that we hear the voice of God. It is no coincidence that the letters which spell "listen" also spell "silent."

*time has ended*


Friday, October 27, 2017

Overcome:Five Minute Friday

When I saw that the prompt was “overcome”, I thought hard. Am I overcoming or am I being overcome?
I have had some refining and growing experiences over the past seven days.
And, some reinforcement of those principles as the days have gone on.
God had my full attention, He was calling me to press into him.
And yet, I still was not ready to fully embrace the calling of the moment.
I was stirred, passionate, ready for action, and then I froze.

The results of my inhibition were the exact results I’d predicted, but the aftermath did not leave me unscathed either.
I still had to learn some things about myself.
I’m still processing much of this.
Remember the verse about Mary pondering this in her heart?
I’m trying to do more of that.

I’m reading a book titled “Fiercehearted”, the very first story is on conflict. On embracing conflict.
On the ways that going through conflict actually makes relationships deeper.
I’m the opposite of embracing conflict. I’d rather know I’m right and hold my tongue than risk a flare of nostrils from one being challenged by my words.

There is a time and a season for everything, and I need to see these moments with my spiritual lenses.
My battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces. (Eph 6:12)

My friend Marie speaks of standing firm in her post here:
I could so relate! I’m wanting to be Barnabas and encourage others, but sometimes that means speaking truth in love.
It means bracing myself for what is right and how it can clash with what is wrong, and being willing to state that something is wrong.
Oh, friends, this is a scary new place for me, and along with it is overcoming my need for approval.

*time has ended*

Here's the FMF link

Thanks for walking with me, one day at a time.
- Tammy

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Invite: Five Minute Friday

I participate in "Five Minute Friday" as often as I can. Weekly, at we have a one-word prompt that we free-write on for only five minutes. No edits, no fanfare, just our sweet offerings in a community of gifted writers that pour out encouragement and "me too".

I was so excited to write this week and had hoped that I could incorporate the prompt into my words.
The prompt is "invite" and it fits so perfectly!!

How often are we rushing through our lives? We are trying to maximize our time and be efficient, and we don't slow down for anything. We tell our kids to "hurry up" more than we tell them "I love you".


Recently, I was going to be at an appointment that I knew would take longer than I wanted it to take. I was trying to prepare my heart to have a good attitude, when God softly whispered to me.

"What if I want to bless you? Would you be willing to linger? Would you soak and savor in that blessing from me?"

My attitude was completely changed! All of a sudden I was looking at this with brand new eyes.
God was inviting me to a chance to be blessed.
I couldn't wait!

And I thought, what if I were looking for His blessing in every situation? Especially the difficult ones? Would I find it there, hidden from plain sight but obvious to one searching?

Last night, I was one of the lucky people in our small Oregon town to attend a Cloverton concert.
Their new album, "Bloom" is full of meaningful lyrics and each song was either filling my heart, or speaking to me where I was at. Lance, the lead singer, took time in the concert to be intentional and speak to us in the audience about what God is trying to do for us. Their music ministry is by far the largest blessing I've ever received at a concert.
I came expecting to be entertained, but I left with my heart refreshed and my soul restored.
Truly, if you are anywhere near their tour, I cannot tell you enough what God is doing right now through them! They have a young lady opening for them named "Linsley" who is gifted, sweet, and even told me she'd be praying for our worship conference next week.

How often do you meet a touring group that is selfless and giving, instead of self-focused and entitled?

God is trying to bless us right now. We need only to look for the blessing. Will you take Him up on his invitation?
Linsley's Song "Give it a rest" was absolutely beautiful. Her voice is such a gift!
 Cloverton's new song "Here it Comes" was by far my favorite at the concert!!!

P.S. Thank you for your comments! I have found that even though I reply well, I don't always make it over to your blog in return, and I apologize if I don't. Know that I will make an effort to read your offering as well if you tell me your linkup number.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Depend: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday is here again, and I am finally caught up enough to participate! Here's the weekly linkup if you're interested in reading more about "depend" this week. So much blessing awaits you!

I never thought of being dependable as sinful.

Growing up, I was the oldest of five children and quite Americanized. Independence and self-sufficiency were praised and I flourished in the predictability of being in control and "in charge".

I wanted to prove that I was trustworthy and responsible and could be left alone.

All of these things are necessary for children to live on their own and survive, but in the realm of the faithful, we have much to unlearn.

Depending on somebody else, being co-dependent, needing somebody in order to sustain our own lives—these all are fairly uncomfortable situations for most of us.

This is precisely where God wants us to develop faith.

He reminds us of feeding the sparrows—that their basic needs are met, and how we are worth much more than sparrows to God. How easy it is to forget, as we are coordinating schedules and packing lunches and balancing checkbooks and grocery shopping and folding laundry, that God is supposed to sustain us, not the other way around.

"See, God? I'm doing it all! I'm Instagraming my sweet devo while I'm waiting in the pickup line." "Philippians 4:13, Lord. I can do all things! (through you, of course, but you don't have to worry about me. That friend of mine needs much more of you right now, what with her husband deployed and another one on the way.)"

Oh, sweet sisters (and brothers), can we just remember why God calls us children? We're not supposed to outgrow our need for God.
*timer has sounded*

And, if you wonder if you can Depend on God? This song. Oh, if nothing else you do today, THIS SONG!!! (It's been my anthem this summer, and our High School worship team introduced it at school yesterday. I was beyond ecstatic!)


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Work: Five Minute Friday

Oh my friends, I miss you! Here is my submission for this week's Five Minute Friday Linkup.
The prompt is "Work", which is my large reason for less contributions to FMF in general. :)


Work is not a word that is all negative. In fact, it's a compliment to be labeled a "hard worker". We are encouraged to work hard, to be diligent and not lazy.
When, however, we have to "put in the work", the tone of the word can take on a negative connotation.
The same is true in marriage.
This Monday, my husband and I will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary.
For the most part, we've worked hard to work together and work things out.
And, most of the time, we don't have much to work out.
This past week was a week of hard work, most likely because I'm "back to work" as a school teacher. We're just not getting much time together and he's been helping catch up some of my house work to ease my burden but it's not gaining us any time.
We had an opportunity to talk about it and work it out. It wasn't really a fun or easy conversation, but the beauty of 13 years is that we are understanding each other better. We know what the other needs, but don't always recognize an unmet need in that area without a floodlight or a magnifying glass or a megaphone in those times of emptiness.
Company Christmas party 2004 (still newlyweds)

Myself and Dave on the first day back to school (and his amazing Barracuda behind us) to follow his rebuild adventures

I am so so thankful that neither of us enjoy stewing and punishing the other with our hurt feelings. That our parents are still married (for both of us! it's rare with friends our ages) is one contributing factor, but I think that the work you put in yields you the reward.

So, if you're married, commit to working it out. If you're not married, don't rush into it until you know that they're willing to work at it until it works.
And, if God's not at the center of your marriage? You're going to have to work so much harder to keep it together. He is our third strand that keeps us tightly woven. Even if one of the strands would be removed, He would still be tightly wound with the other strand.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Speak: Five Minute Friday

It's Saturday morning and I am linking up for Five Minute Friday  I really did intend to post this yesterday, but it's going to post exactly in the order it's needed.

The prompt is speak.

"I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness 
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice


I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay"

this was the song in my head when I heard the prompt.

Mercy Me released the song in 2002, but in the current age, a stillness and a quiet appeal to me greatly.

I can hear all the angry and sad and fearful voices clamoring on the internet and in the newspaper but what I really want is to hear God speak.

His words are alive and they bring life.

One verse came up in a Facebook memory today and seems appropriate to share.

Psalm 142:1-3

"I cry out to the Lord;
    I plead for the Lord’s mercy.
I pour out my complaints before him
    and tell him all my troubles.
When I am overwhelmed,
    you alone know the way I should turn."

Overwhelmed is a great word to describe how I have been feeling, deep in my soul.
I hope you and I can just rest in the Word of God and His holiness.

Turn on a worship song, something that ministers to you, and let the hopelessness subside.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Place: Five Minute Friday

It's Friday and I'm joining the link-up again with so many beautiful people whose hearts are aligned! Here's the link, I hope you'll try it!

This week's prompt is:


Immediately, Michael W. Smith's "Place in this world" popped into my head.
I remember the first time I heard it on a secular station, shocked that a "Christian" artist would be played on a "secular" station.

If you examine the lyrics, they're not overtly Christian, though. He wrote it along with Amy Grant and Wayne Kirkpatrick.

"The wind is moving
But I am standing still
A life of pages
Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful
A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming
Is harder than it seems
Feels like I'm

Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

If there are millions
Down on their knees
Among the many
Can you still hear me?
Hear me asking
Where do I belong?
Is there a vision
That I can call my own?
Show me I'm

Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need Your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world"

I think it reflects the human heart well. We want to have a plan for our lives and a purpose. Well, our purpose is to glorify God and the details of the plan? Those are not always revealed to us.

I spent time with a friend recently who told me her first remembrance of me. We were in a parent panel, interviewing candidates for administrator of our school. She came in with a different background and was concerned about his financial plans. I would not have thought to ask about those. I, instead, asked him what his view was of chapel and its importance. I was currently teaching the preschool and elementary chapels, but knew that our high school needed to be spiritually fed and not put into the "church box" where it's adult church at school and unappealing.

It left an impression on her that I was concerned about the spiritual state of our school, because it's God's school. And, that if we're doing what He asks us to do, then He will definitely provide financially.

It had been my prayer that year (After reading "The Circle Maker") that our school would become God's dwelling place. That our chapel would be set apart, a sacred place (much like the church sanctuary is not the fellowship hall). Currently, our chapel services are in our cafeteria, as are the elementary and kindergarten/preschool concerts.
***Timer ended here***

*wrapping up my thoughts here*
If God's place is our place, if we're consumed by wanting to be aware of His presence in every place we are, then we will find "our place in this world."

At the FMF Retreat, I wasn't sure what my place was. When you have a lot of gifts, people expect to define you by one thing, and you are sometimes at a loss to define yourself. Am I a writer? A musician? A teacher? A mom? A wife? Well, yes, but even if I lost all of that, I'd have Jesus. I'd have His Spirit dwelling within me. So, I am (in Darlene Zschech's wise words) a paper cup. God fills me up and I pour out His overflow on others.

(please leave me your url or linkup number in the comments so I can find you!)

Now I want to wear light denim jeans, with a white t-shirt, and a matching denim jacket. Ha ha ha!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Try: Five Minute Friday

Woo-hoo! It's Friday again and already time for another linkup. I missed the Twitter party last night (it hits at dinnertime out here in Oregon, and my girls and I were preparing to see the community theater production of Mary Poppins.)
This week's linkup is the word Try.


As I was pondering the word "try", I thought of "tried and true" and being "tried in front of a jury".
All the trying was a result of proving and testing.

So, a poem.

Try, try, try again.
Failure is a part of the learning process.
What leads to success in one's own eyes may be quite the opposite in another's.
The light bulb glows with a flick of a switch,
energy pouring from wires into more wires encapsulated in blown glass.
Over 99 times, this energy did not produce light.

In the beginning, God said "let there be light".
There is no need for God to "try", but for us, we are constantly trying.
Our weakest efforts are the beginning of His handiwork.
He flows in us and through us like the electric currents pouring into the tiny wires that are coiled precisely until light begins to dimly glow then brightly beam.
His glories stream into that sacred place
our bodies bearers of His grace
our eyes bear image of His face
and all He asks us to do is try.
If we are plugged into His source
we will not need to force
His power to flow for us to glow.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections and Rest: Five Minute Friday Retreat

I have been savoring so many memories from our retreat last weekend.
Jumping back into real life has been a completely different pace than the still and quiet moments we shared in the Heartland Center in Missouri.
I chose to fly a couple days early to spend time in Omaha, Nebraska with my brother and his wife and their daughter who is not quite a year old.

A dear college friend and pageant sister that I hadn't seen in 13 years had time to lunch with me on the way to Kansas City! Megan also brought her darling daughter, Phoebe.

When I was flying out to the FMF Retreat, I was asked often where I was going and why.
To be honest, I wasn't completely sure of the "why". To meet my friends in real life, of course, but beyond that? What did God have for me and why was my heart so stirred to break bread with these women?  One gem was the three hour layover in Seattle. I met a young Christian woman and we had time to reveal our hearts to each other and I was privileged to pray with her (but almost missed my flight because of it!) The bonus was I got to move to the emergency row with extra leg room.
A new friend from Australia that I got to know and pray with during a 3 hour layover in Seattle. Natasha is amazing!

His biggest gift to me was to be a messenger. Over a month before the retreat, I had the idea to make something for each of the women that would bear their name. I practiced my brush lettering, found a cute printable stationery set, and waited to hear which verses to print on that set for them. (The same passage was used for everybody)
Psalm 139 and Ephesians 2:10 were both brought to my mind repeatedly. That we were intentionally made with a purpose. We are God's masterpiece. We are delightfully complex.
Practice Penning

The drying step

The final product that each woman received (with their own name)

Kate led the speaking our first night. What a treasure she is! She blessed us with our own copies of the Craving Connection book from (in)Courage.
Christina Hubbard spoke from her heart and read from Psalm 139 the first night. My heart was leaping inside my chest at the confirmation!
Not only did he speak to our hearts, He also spoke to our wardrobes. #accidental #twinning #daytwo
Christina is somebody you like right away when you meet her. She is caring and kind and so relatable! She is also not afraid to speak from where she's at. Her genuine "this is what I'm learning" makes her very approachable!
Her blog is:
Kate graciously gave me the floor for a couple minutes while I handed out the cards after reading the passage printed on them. We also sang "He Knows My Name" (I have a maker).
Oh it was so rich!
Seriously, she's better in person than I could ever have imagined! Kate is all about others. What a true gift she is. :)
The entire retreat, she was giving to us and providing a space for us to connect. I hope she received as much as the rest of us!
Her blog is:
I unintentionally coordinated with my roommate, Alice William. And, my mind-reading friend Jeanne also matched me Friday night. This was just a piece of the pie.You see, Five Minute Friday is also Five Minute Family. These sisters? They understand me. Somehow, in all my quirkiness and social awkwardness, I found them, and they've embraced all my muddy ramblings and found the gold nuggets buried within.

I found the people who speak my language, though we all speak differently.
Oregon and Rhode Island...we're coastal and cute!
Alice has a treasure trove of faith and wisdom. Her blog is a weekly memory verse challenge, and her depth of love for God is rich. I am very touched to be called her friend and delighted to have been paired as her roommate!
Her blog is:

Jeanne and Tammy Jean...both with Colorado roots :)
Jeanne is raw and real and always listening for what God has to say. She continues to try to improve what is already a beautiful, faithful walk. You want to be her friend. Forever!
Her blog is:
Anita Ojeda, Jeanne Takenaka, Alice William and I got up before the sun on Saturday to take a morning walk, which ended up being a shared love of God's creation and snapping photographs. There were a couple of hills to make it count as exercise, but it was such a leisurely pace and a safe place to just breathe in the beauty of the morning.

All of Saturday was filled with becoming a better writer and a more connected person. We had such joy and laughter together!
Meghan has SO much to share! I am delighted to be connected to her. She really trusts God with everything. This is a Faith Warrior right here!

Jen is someone I would definitely have been friends with in school! She gets me on so many levels. She even gave me a vanilla lip balm made from beeswax because she and I both burn with Burt's Bees. And we are dedicated to our coffee! :) But seriously? Jen is someone who gives without expecting anything in return. She listens well, she loves to be behind the scenes and help others.

Carolina's real name is spelled AGAPE. :) God is so strong in her life and she is sparklingly beautiful inside and out. And she really DOES give the best hugs. You must meet her for yourself!
Her blog is:

Cyndi is an encourager. She lifts you up even when she needs lifting herself. She won't ask for anything, but I'm so grateful she shared from her heart on Sunday. Her obedience and faithfulness to God are going to lead to many hearts being changed for His glory!

Christina, myself and Alice at dinner at Spin Pizza

Mary Geisen. This woman is BRAVE. She agreed to lay on the floor with me for better lighting. Anita put that photo on Instagram. Then, just below, the real antics began.
Her blog is:

That beautiful red head behind you is recoiling from my finger being poked between the two of us to prevent a photobombing...poor Holly! I didn't know I'd made contact, I just reached between us when I knew she was trying to put a goofy face.

I think Holly is still tender from my poking, so Jen and Mary made sure to make up for the photobombing snafu!
Her blog is:

By the third day, the humidity had got the better of me, so I embraced Anita as we embraced our wild hairs. She has also mastered the art of self-portraits and has longer arms than I do!
Her blog is:

I'm not sure I can summarize this experience well. I'm way over five minutes, ha!
The biggest thing God spoke to me this trip was REST.
Though I'm not sure what that looks like, I know I need to enter His Rest. I've been working too hard on His behalf, trying to be His sidekick, I think.
At the retreat, I found rest. We didn't have a packed schedule, but just the right amount of scheduled time and free time. We ate together, we laughed together, we prayed together, we found safe space to share pain and doubt and hope and dream, and at the end, we are all looking forward to the greatest family reunion of all.

And, though it was extra time away from my husband and our three girls, I had extra time to meet with friends in Nebraska and spend more time with my niece, my brother, and my sister-in-law.
I was able to sleep deeply and to enjoy taking it slow.
I hope to take these lessons and put less on my schedule in the months to come.
The one and only Deidra Riggs made time for a late lunch in Lincoln, Nebraska with me on Sunday. We both had French Toast and spoke about her retreat I'd attended in Nebraska two years prior, our husbands, writing, and Classic Cars. (My husband has a 67 Plymouth Barracuda)
Her blog is:

Speaking of family, this is Claire. I have only two nieces in the world and she's the younger of the two. This trip was our first in-person encounter. She is delightful!! (My sister-in-law is an amazing Omaha, NE photographer. Book with her!)
Photo credit: Katie Hammond

Monday before flying out we walked in the park. This caterpillar was in the grass. It had a twin later on the sidewalk. It was surprisingly soft! We are much like caterpillars. We have no idea what we really look like, but we are on a journey to transformation.

The sunset at my final airport before I drove home.
I was seated next to a woman and her daughter on the final flight home. She noticed my World Vision logo on my sweatshirt (the planes get cold, folks!) and struck up a conversation that lasted two hours.
God is stirring her to write. She's new to all internet and writing online, etc, and I was armed with a wealth of information for her!
(She took notes! Ha!)
When I get a chance (and her permission), I will share a link to her blog. But know this, Rachel Fisher is someone with a story and the ability to tell it!

I am looking forward to reading the other posts, because mine is more of a journal/timeline and less of a lesson. This retreat and trip were about people and relationships and community, and so my pictures are of the people that I really got the time to know. There were more wonderful people that I didn't get time with, and you simply MUST read what they have shared! I know I will!

I'm so hopeful I will get to meet more of you in the future.
Thank you for allowing me to be sincere and share from my heart.
I really can't process it all yet, so this is a rough draft. But that's what Five Minute Friday is all about.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Story: Five Minute Friday

Story is our prompt.
What's your story?
History can be broken into "His story".
Time was marked BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini) when I was in school.
As I travel around the sun I am learning and seeing how my story is truly His story.
I made decisions to follow Him and those are parts of my story.
I made decisions to follow my own acclaim and He welcomed me with open arms, still a part of His story.
The story is unpredictable but the ending is wonderful!
A selfless love willing to die for the hope of returned love and devotion that ends in a forever "Happily ever after."
And everyone is offered the same ending.

I am at the Five Minute Friday Retreat. May this short offering bless you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Comfort: Five Minute Friday

It's so good to be back at FMF!!
I am sitting in a park typing on my iPhone and my thumbs are wrecking my five minutes!!
Siri is interfering with the no edit experience, I will be honest.

I was late to the party Thursday and have been meditating on the word prompt for a couple days.

The verse comfort, comfort, my people came to mind but I didn't remember the rest.
My struggle with sugar for comfort when stressed also made an appearance but here in the warm summer breeze, the thought of "Come to my Fort" is where we are going.

You see, Jesus is always inviting us. And his fort is so much stronger and better than mine! Instead of seeing myself in my human standards of relationships and give and take, I need to re-evaluate his lens.

Little kids play in front of you and occasionally check in and then go back into their world. I like to think this is how He views us. Not as a needy God, upset we aren't focused on Him alone, but a much wiser, calmer grownup who isn't bothered by the little things that ruin our entire world. (The sippy cup is the wrong color, anyone?)

So if I take shelter in His fort, I will be saved.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are saved."

Will you take comfort in God's fort???
We can hang out together!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Play: Five Minute Friday

I can't believe my last post was June 3. And yet, I can. The end of the school year was way more "full" than I had imagined.
So, I'm chiming in tonight for the Five Minute Friday linkup. In just two weeks I'll be live with the real Five Minute Friday people in Missouri! Oh wow!


"Mom, may I please play your piano?"
The sparkling brown eyes I've loved to gaze into for almost ten years look up with anticipation.
Those eyes remind me of another pair of brown eyes that also came alive when the small hands reached out for the black and white keys.
The sounds that resulted would either cause pleasure or dismay to the two young ears on either side of those brown eyes.
Hours spent alone and delighted, just making music on the piano.
Listening and correcting, until finally the music that was composed by others was picked out, note by note, and displayed audibly as a triumphant puzzle solved!!

To have my daughter pick up this gift is such a joy for me! I love to hear her play. She is reading music, playing songs I once played, and picking out other songs by ear.
Someday I hope we will play together. For now, I just savor her love for music, which is my love language.


I apologize for not returning comments last time. It was the weekend before school ended and life was crazy!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Future: Five Minute Friday

Welcome to another wonderful week of Five Minute Friday posting! We have a website now!   So thankful to all who have worked to make it possible. :)
The prompt this week is "Future".

I had two thoughts in my head. One was investments. And futures. And how I know those terms are related but didn't know what "futures" actually were. Here's the internet's offering on the subject:

"Futures are financial contracts obligating the buyer to purchase an asset or the seller to sell an asset, such as a physical commodity or a financial instrument, at a predetermined future date and price."

Well. I could stop now. That's Jesus right there!

:) But I get five minutes, so I'll keep going. Jesus bought our futures and paid for them. We can rest knowing we are redeemed, but we have to claim that redemption!

The other thought? One of my favorite Hymns. "Because He Lives"

The chorus says, "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives."

So, if Jesus is our life and our focus and our future, then everything is because of Him and due to Him and all for Him. Wouldn't our churches look different if we all believed this?

If I'm investing in the future, I am investing in the spiritual legacy I'll leave with my children, and someday grand and great-grand children. I'm investing in the lives of the students I teach. I'm investing in the lives of this amazing FMF community by reading and responding and encouraging and "Me-too-ing"!!

Relationships will be eternal, but nothing else will last.

And now for the corny 90s Jesus poster.

"My future's so bright, I've gotta wear shades."

Remember that one? There IS truth behind it, though.

Sunset this Wednesday

This doesn't do justice to the colors Wednesday night!
Out of time for my five minute limit, but so glad for the Future because we'll both be there together!

P.S. Please include your linkup number or url in your comments for me so I can find you and post and comment back!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Truth: Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday! Here's the link to Kate's Linkup!

Okay, I just noticed it's been a month since I've contributed to the linkup. Wow. And the journey has been wild in the in-between.
But tonight's prompt, "Truth" was too good to stay back from.
Also, my middle school students have been away at outdoor school which has given me a little more creative energy to pour out into the atmosphere. I have been painting their hallway all week!

The reason that "truth" is so important, is that it is the key ingredient of trust. If somebody is not truthful, they are not to be trusted. Whether this is in a work relationship, a parent-child relationship, or a regular person-to-person relationship, we don't wish to be lied to.
(Alright, except for vanity. Tell me I still look young and beautiful and I will probably appreciate the compliment)

It says that we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free. Free from what? What lie have we listened to?

Hint, it's in the book of Genesis.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

This was the lie. That because we were made in the image of God, we believed we could be "like" God.
And this is the struggle in our hearts that is the root of all sin. We want to be like God. We want to be God. We want the control, the power, the steering wheel in our lives.
We don't want pain, discomfort, suffering, poverty, cancer, or anything else we deem "bad". We like to see others get what they deserve. (This is a painful truth. But, since the theme is truth, I'll call it out)

We, however, never want to get what we deserve.

The last time I looked, I really couldn't control anything. And it's been freeing to realize this, though not easy to learn. You see, when the power rests in God's hands, so does the responsibility!

We get to lean on His grace and mercy which surpass our frazzled feelings and emotions. We get to smile and graciously forgive when we'd rather breathe fire and return the wounding a little (or a lot).

And, He gives us perspective. Will this matter in 5 minutes? 4 hours? 3 days? 2 months? 1 year? (calming countdown, yes?)

Oh the little things that could stir us up, but He is quietly whispering to us, "come, hide in the shelter of my wings. I will protect you and keep you from being battered by this storm. You'll get wet, but you won't drown!"

Listen, dear ones, for He is speaking the Truth. He is and was and always will be. So, why not realize He is and was and always will be in control? And you don't have to be?! :)



P.S. Please include your linkup number in your comments. I'd love to see your thoughts on the "truth".

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Empty:Five Minute Friday

What a fun week it's been and it's already time to link up again!
That's right. We're linking up with Kate Motaung for the Five Minute Friday prompt.
This week the word is "Empty".


Last week's prompt was "enough". I centered around the thought that we are lacking something and aren't enough to fill it.
That ties in so well to the "empty" thought.

But you know? God doesn't have room to fill jars of clay with His presence when they're too full of themselves for Him. :)
Sometimes it is the breaking, the cracking of our clay pots that allows the self to drain out and the empty that is so uncomfortable begins to make way for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to sit in the throne.

Oh self, why do you constantly creep back up to that throne and try to sit on it? You're really not the right size or shape to sit on the throne, but you keep trying and my Jesus is a gentleman. He could squish you easily, but He won't. He'll patiently wait for you to move out of His way.

I wish I could teach you to stay in your place. Seated at His right hand, you're in His favor, allowing Him to lead, to rule, and to reign.

Oh but the hope we have, that nobody else has!! When they feel empty, there is nothing to take it away. All substitutes leave them longing for something that is out of reach.

I'm linking a YouTube video of a song that I composed this Wednesday at school with our youngest kids at chapel.
At school I was strumming a guitar and telling them the Easter story (without revealing that I was telling them that specific story), and then the song just came bubbling out. They began to sing it with me, so we sang it a few times.
The lyrics are simple. So is the melody, and well, so are the chords. You could easily be a musician with this one!! G, C, D, G, E, C, D, G. Yep. That's it. Feel free to raise or lower the key.

I hope you'll recognize that the empty place is a gift and an invitation for fresh, living water. We can become filled with stale water and if we don't get it out, it doesn't benefit us OR the others around us. We need those mercies renewed every morning!! :)

Blessings on you this Resurrection Weekend!!

P.S. Please tell me your linkup # or your url in the comments so I can find you! :)