Friday, March 29, 2013

Once Down In The Gutter & Called A Whore But Came To Know Jesus Died For Me And You


some names have been changed or omitted


I heard my grandfather’s voice and knew he was down the hall in the kitchen reading the morning newspaper as he always did over breakfast. Perched on the edge of his seat wearing a dark robe at the glass kitchen table with it’s dark green painted wrought iron legs he’d clear his throat roughly and down his coffee between the rustling and turning of newspaper pages. Once in the kitchen with my grandmother she retrieved a bowl of batter from the refrigerator which she had evidently been using earlier to make my grandfather’s breakfast of pancakes. As she began ladling wet batter onto the griddle it sizzled and my grandfather peered over his newspaper through his black rimmed reading glasses at me that he always referred to as his “specs”.

“Well, young lady I hear you’re staying with us for awhile. Your dad has sent you to live here. I understand you’ve been causing a lot of trouble for your parents.While you’re here I expect rules to be followed!” he told me gruffly.

I nodded and said. “Okay.”

Getting up out of his chair he grumbled something incoherent under his breath heading to the sink with his plate swimming in extra syrup and butter from his pancakes. He set his plate alongside his fork on the red Formica countertop beside the white porcelain sink with a loud clatter. My grandmother turned around to him and spoke with irritation,

“Okay, that’s enough! Just set it there and move along. I’ll clean it up in a minute.” she told him. He returned to the table, sitting, while he gathered up his messy newspaper and began saying something grouchily about how kids today, they don’t appreciate anything they have. My grandmother flipped the pancakes on the griddle and slammed her spatula down on the counter.

“That’s enough, Daniel!” she yelled at him.

He looked up at her glaring, then glaring darkly at me, then back at her.  “Oh yeah?!” he challenged, rising from his chair. “She leaves, her parents are worried sick, comes back home and you’re over there making her pancakes! Not to mention she’s acted like a complete WHORE!!!” he roared, pushing in his chair slamming it into the table causing a bang of wrought iron against iron. I jumped. I knew my grandfather’s anger could be worse than my dad’s. My grandmother snatched up her red plastic spatula and waved it at him from across the sunny kitchen.

“Hush your mouth! Get out of here! Go find something to do besides running your dirty mouth!!!” she yelled at him, her voice chortled with fury. With a big huff he turned on his heel and walked out retreating down the hall to the den with his continual ranting of how I had been raised in a good Christian home so what was my excuse for my behavior?  

My grandmother placed the plate with pancakes stacked high on it before me and patted my back. “Honey, don’t listen to him. “ she told me soothingly “He’s just nasty and needs to act better. Men shouldn’t call us girl’s names.” She affirmed. I nodded and meekly thanked her softly for making me pancakes. She paused and bent down a bit to throw her arm around me and give me a hug “Oh, honey it’s no trouble at all! I’m always here and happy to do anything for you!” she said to me looking me in the eyes.

I nodded and tears welled in my eyes threatening to slide out and I thought I’d break down crying. We all need to be loved like that when we least deserve it. Instead of angry words, judgmental potshots and looks at us that only serve to bring shame and take us down further we all have the innate ability to instead lift people up with unconditional love, a listening ear and a heartfelt hug. The lifting up of our spirits by other’s is always appreciated even if we don’t have the courage to voice it and will always be remembered with gratitude. It will always make a difference.

My grandfather's dirty shameful words tarnished me. Shame is insidious like a poison. Even long after the whipping of someone’s scornful words toward you, the shame those words produce linger a long time. You never forget them and how they made you feel. How someone makes you feel isincredibly powerful. Yet how you allow them to make you feel can lift you up or drag you down like weighted stone. Feeling incredibly judged and then indignant because of his words that I had come from a good Christian home and had no excuse for my actions, I recoiled inside. How dare he?! I fumed, for he had once himself verbally stated he felt my father was much too controlling of us and that he needed to loosen the reins or there would be consequences. Now that there were said consequences, I was the horrible person, the trouble maker, the whore. 

Unfortunately, no one had ever told us God loved us or that Jesus died for us. The love we received was purely conditional and based on what we did or didn't do. Consequently what we did was never good enough or even right which left you down in the gutter mentality of never being worthy of God's love. We weren’t taught or told to pray or listen for God's instructions when faced with a dilemma. The Lord's words had never been spoken in our homes or family in all my seventeen years. I wanted to yell after my grandfather with these exact sentiments and views on my reality versus his, but I knew to bite my tongue and eat my pancakes instead.

God's love for us includes forgiveness… one of our lessons in life is to learn to be as merciful and forgiving toward others as He has been to us...for when we allow Him to heal our wounds, to forgive our debts as we have forgiven our debtors we will be molded more like Him. 

This Easter take heart 
and know that you are loved.

Jesus died for you and your sins
 so you may have eternal life. 

There is a reservation with your 
name on it waiting for you beside God for all eternity. 

It's not based on what you've done
 or not done or acts of the flesh
 to repay debts that can't be paid. 

It's not because you've
 "been a good person" or 
"tried to do better" 
it's because you know....

Jesus answered, 
"I am the way and the truth and the life.
 No one comes to the Father except through me." 
- John 14:6

© ~ 2013 

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Defines A Well Lived Life?

“Freedom” by graur razvan donut via 

What defines a "well lived life"?

What do you hold important?

Imagine you had unlimited money and time.

If you had these things how would you use them?

Is the picture of a well lived life yours?
Or does it belong to someone else?
Has your definition of a well lived life stayed the same or changed over the years?

We can continually reassess what beliefs we hold so we remain true to ourselves and not sway.

What if you had limited time left here on earth? How would use it? Who would you call?  Who would you make certain you spent time with? What would you do?

When someone passes away and while reading their obituary or listening to the eulogy at their funeral... what would speak to you? What would make you take pause and say to yourself:

"Wow, they lived well."

Is it the amount of friends they had? Their education level? Their accomplishments through work or their community? Maybe it's their financial wealth and status. Perhaps it's who they knew or the things they owned.

Or maybe... just maybe it's something else entirely.


they love deeply

they love their friends as much as their siblings

they cry tears of joy when their friends give birth

they smile with warmth at the recollection of memories so long ago they should be forgotten

they have experienced the most painful losses but cherish the memories of the ones they've loved

they know love should never be mediocre and will not settle for anything less than

they love brightening others days with words of encouragement and cheering them on

they cry with heartache when they hear of someone else's tribulations or illness

they pray for those who have wronged them, those they have lost, and those they still care for from afar

they love God and want to know Him better each and every day

they give life to their dreams which triumph...because triumph is merely "try" with some "umph" in it

they share God's word with their children and love them with fierce devotion 

they open the door for others and offer their seat

they give of their time selflessly and even when it's not accepted know that it's appreciated

they make way for the angry driver to get ahead because they need a bit of grace that day just like they themselves needed last week

they break down any walls they've built as protection and commit to live their life with open arms

they hold onto God and their thread of faith that life will improve even in their darkest hours

they allow tears to free fall when a song plays on the radio because somewhere mixed in those tears is love

they give other's all they can of themselves because giving love never leaves one empty

they love in all seasons, because love is fruitful and fruit is always good for you

they know they are loved not for what they do but because Jesus died for them 


 a well lived life is a sink of dirty dishes because they are blessed to have food

 a well lived life is laundry to fold and a pile to wash because they are blessed to have clothes to wear

 the little things their children leave out are reminders of the fleeting time with them

the shoes they trip over everyday are evidence they have opportunities to travel near or far

 a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is a sign of warmth, comfort and home 

maybe if they know nothing else they know one thing...

that a well lived life is one with God in it 

and God ultimately = love

© ~ 2013 

Related Posts: 

Intent: Living A Life Of Purpose 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Divorce: God Will Comfort Us In Choppy Waters

“Stormy Weather” by dan via 


names have been omitted in this post 


My daughter stood at the French doors, her little hands pressed against the glass dressed in pink hello kitty pajamas peering out at the dreary day. Rain was promised in the forecast and although we hadn't yet received a single drop, I knew it was impending due to the darkening clouds that had rolled in, hanging..... just hanging there outside like an ominous promise of a downpour to come.

Seated on the couch nearby with a stack of magazines, I watched as she continued to stay pressed to the glass, her hazel hued gaze intently fixed on something in the water below. Cars slowly moved in a procession across the bridge over the water below making their morning commute to work and school.

"Why did Daddy buy a boat?" She asked suddenly.

She had been peering at the boat below from our second story view.

The boat was swaying in the choppy water, being rocked by the wind that was ever increasing. The cover had blown off, the inside was filling with water and it screamed of neglect and abandon.

I paused.

I didn't know what to say. 

I hated that boat. 

Well, not the boat specifically. 

But what the boat represented.

Empty promises
Too many tears to count
Dreams destroyed

And too much more to even begin to wrap my head around.

I finally managed to find my voice.

"I don't know." I said quietly.

She didn't turn to look at me but kept peering down at the boat. From her profile of soft pink cheeks, tiny up turned nose and soft blonde brown hair I glimpsed her tiny lip curl in frustration.

"He promised us. He promised to take us fishing. He promised he'd take us on the boat. But he didn't. He was seeing another lady. So why did he buy the boat if he was going to see someone? Because he shouldn't have bought it!" she exclaimed with resounding boldness.

I sat there frozen not knowing how to respond and yet my heart pounded in reaction to what she'd said. Her words hung in the air like those black clouds outside the window seemingly bigger than life itself...all consuming and in your face, inescapable.

I had never witnessed her fraught with so much passion over anything in her young life and her voice rang of despair yet fury.

I was at a loss for words.

I didn't know what to say.

The truth was, I was just as hurt, disappointed, and angry about the changing circumstances. But as hurt as I was I knew deep down the answer wasn't to condemn. It wasn't to point fingers and blame. Even when I wanted to. Even though I had already been guilty of it myself behind closed doors where she wasn't witness to it. I knew I had to rise above. Keep my head above water. Even if only for my daughter. She too, was feeling her way through, swimming through the choppy waters however difficult and trying to find her way to a calmer place. To a place of refuge and stillness. To a place of comfort that would hopefully one day lead to healing. A place we both dearly needed to land and keep anchored in.

Tears began to collect at the corners of my eyes and a lump caught in my throat. My heart ached for her. For myself. For all of us.

Suddenly even for that little boat.

In choppy waters.
It's cover blown.
Water threatening to engulf it. 

I reached out to my daughter and hugged her. Hugged her as the tears, and emotions threatened to overcome and wrack my entire body.

When my youngest sister had died due to a drunk driver, my daughter in the midst of my overwhelming grief and tears had one day put her hand on my arm and said,

"Mommy, I think when we cry God cries too."

At that moment her words echoed in my head.

The soothing words needed then came to me.

As I hugged her I spoke with tears engulfing my eyes,

"I'm so sorry. It's okay to cry. God sees your pain. When we cry I think God cries too. He's here for you."

Just like us, when you or your family is experiencing a choppy life changing experience take heart in knowing that even if you don't have all the answers, God is there and will help guide you to smoother waters. He will hold you as you cry, he sees your pain, he knows it intimately. God will dry your tears and give you comfort needed.

Blessed are those who mourn, 
for they will be comforted.
 - Matthew 5:4 (NIV 2011)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes... 
- Revelation 21:4 (NIV 2011)

© ~ 2013 

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

In Sickness & In Health ~ VCD


names have been omitted from this post 


We had just left the little family owned Italian restaurant we loved to frequent with our children. I had ordered my usual favorite there, Fettucini Alfredo with chicken. As we drove home along the winding dark streets I felt an unsettling in my stomach. Pains in my chest soon ensued and continued the entire drive home. Later that evening I was still in terrible pain and realized I had severe heartburn. Heartburn that was unrelenting and I searched in our medicine cabinet for a bottle of antacids that would give me the relief I needed. Chewing an antacid I thought that evening was an isolated incident and didn't give the heartburn much thought afterward. 

Even though I found eventual relief that night it soon became clear I was having continual problems. Each meal it seemed brought more heart burn and indigestion. Never having had this happen before I couldn't figure out why I was suddenly having problems. I began buying over the counter acid prevention and treatment medications and yet still had symptoms. Nothing seemed to work. It wasn't until I was trying to eat ice cream one day and couldn't seem to breathe I realized something was really wrong. I developed a chronic dry cough and life became more difficult in general. Walking up and down stairs took more effort and left me breathless. Crossing a parking lot on foot to my vehicle seemed comparable to completing a marathon. Trying to limit spicy foods due to the heartburn and deciphering my trigger foods was like attempting to locate a needle in a haystack. Living off bland foods such as plain baked potatoes, steamed vegetables and white rice didn't yield a lessening of symptoms. 

Losing a significant amount of weight over the course of several months I eventually became so weak I had to quit working. I was chronically out of breath. I went to the doctor who suggested I had asthma and proceeded to put me on multiple preventative oral steroid drugs. My gut instinct told me he was wrong because my shortness of breath wasn't coming from my lungs, it appeared to be coming from my throat. I went to another doctor. He listened carefully to my symptoms and adamantly stated it was highly unlikely to be diagnosed with acid reflux and asthma when I was otherwise healthy. He ordered a chest x-ray which came back normal so he then referred me to a Pulmonologist. I was sent for a series of breathing tests called the Methacholine Challenge Test done in a chamber to test my breathing. It turned out I had something called VCD for short or otherwise known as Vocal Chord Dysfunction. 

I was referred to a voice therapist who helps patients with voice issues due to damaged vocal chords. I was so incredibly thankful for my therapist and the doctors who helped me. I had been wrestling with what would happen, where my illness would take me and yet in the end all was okay. It took a year of going to voice therapy each week to get to a place where I could speak without losing my voice or it becoming raspy. We may not completely appreciate our voice or being able to breathe without exertion until we no longer can. I suppose it's like anything...we appreciate it so much more once we have it back and that includes our independence illness can often take from us when sick. 

Acid reflux is something to take very seriously. It can cause significant damage not only to your body but greatly impair your everyday life if not treated correctly. When acid reflux is coming up the esophagus and washes your vocal chords it does damage. Vocal chords and the larynx are highly sensitive to gastric acid and the acid that comes up your esophagus can over time cause esophageal cancer. The acid damages the vocal chords to the point they don't function properly anymore and open when you speak. If they are staying closed or even partially closed you aren't getting enough airflow upon inhalation or exhalation, when eating, and especially when exercising etc. Taking a prescription anti-acid medication or proton pump inhibitor can do wonders along with voice therapy if needed. 

When we go through something like an illness and our life comes to a halt we can even in the midst of it all remind ourselves this isn't forever. God has this. He will see you through it and you will be stronger on the other end. You may believe while suffering in bed he has forgotten you. You may believe he doesn't hear your cries and prayers for help and healing. 

But he does. 

Your circumstances and health may have temporarily changed but God's love for you hasn't. 

You can re-gain weight. 

Your body can heal. 

Your life can go on again. 

The best part is God is always there...

right beside you in sickness and in health. 

And that is never temporary....

Only ever lasting. 

© ~ 2013

To learn more about Vocal Chord Dysfunction (VCD) visit:

Tips for dealing with Acid Reflux:

Raise the head of your bed at least 6 inches with books, etc. 
Chew gum after meals to help with digestion.
Choose meals carefully; avoid rich, spicy foods, processed meats, alcohol or chocolate.
Take your medication regularly.
Sit up straight, use good posture. 
Eat dinner early, don't snack at bedtime. Finish dinner at least 3 hrs before bed. 
See your dentist regularly. Acid can erode your teeth enamel.
If you develop swallowing problems see your doctor.
Get regular scopes done by a Gastroenterologist to check for damage to your esophagus. 
If you develop breathing problems get a chest x-ray and see a pulmonologist. 
Don't wear tight fitting clothing especially around the waist. 
Exercise regularly, it helps with digestion.
Research vcd online and look for ways to relax your facial muscles, neck and shoulders.
Learn proper breathing techniques; your stomach should rise and fall. 
Don't clear your throat; it aggravates your vocal cords, sip water instead.

Thank you for reading!