Read with Kleenex

Today I want to give you a few links to some of the most powerful words I’ve read on the internet these last few months.  These writers are real, honest and have an incredible knack for weaving word pictures in such a way that makes you stop cold and think deep.


The pastor of the church we have been visiting preached a sermon this morning titled Come Before Winter.  Apparently it is an annual tradition for him to preach this message and I really wish someone would have warned me ahead of time how emotional this message would be.  Although, it’s probably best I didn’t know, because I may have been tempted to skip it altogether.

The theme was centered around Paul’s final letter to Timothy when he urged him to come back to Rome quickly, before winter set in and travel across the Mediteranean would be impossible.  Paul knew he had little time left and there were still words he wanted to say to his beloved Timothy.

The message?  Life is short and goes by in an instant.  What are we doing to seize every opportunity while we are here on this Earth to glorify and honor God with our relationships, our gifts and talents and the tasks set before us?  He finished his message by reading something he wrote about his youngest child, who will graduate from high school this spring.  This was written days before he would watch his son play his final football game.

Get your Kleenex handy.

He was born on an October weekend 18 autumns ago. I was proud then. I am proud now. He has graced my life and blessed me in immeasurable ways.  And now it’s his senior year. It’s the last week, the last game. It was bound to happen. Where did the time go?

Read the entire story here.

Folks, there were grown men throughout the sanctuary blubbering like small children, most of them crowned with silver hair.  It was the kind of morning where you walk around with a burning lump lodged in your throat and you laugh inappropriately just to keep from crying.

Or maybe that was just me…

The next two ladies are hands down two of the most amazing bloggers to grace the internet and I’m not just saying that because I happen to know and love each one of them dearly.

Okay maybe I’m a tiny bit biased.

Becke’ not only has an amazing, God-given gift for photography, but she also has a deep and profound love of scripture and understanding of grace.  Oh, and she just so happens to be my sister-in-law.  If you’re not reading her blog, I really encourage you to do so.  You will be blessed.  And you might be slightly jealous of her pictures….

God wants light in His house so we could see.  The seeing would enable generations to hope for the one Good Olive, the one who would be beaten in that Garden of Gethsamene (garden of oil press), in order to bring true light.

Read the full post here.  And then look at the rest of her posts.  Just be prepared to go deep because Becke’ takes you to church when she writes.  You can also go ooh and aah over her pictures here.

And then there’s Wendy.  I’ve mentioned her a time or two…because she’s awesome.  And she may write one of the most refreshingly honest blogs on all the interwebs.  She’s sincere and real and bold and she writes with a humility that is like a breath of fresh air.  Wendy is an actress and a writer and she oozes creativity.  But more than that, she is a wife and a mom and she embraces those roles fully and completely.

Joy is not dependent upon our circumstances, the health of those we love, or how physically well-rested we are; JOY comes from abiding in Him, ever thankful that He abides in us.

Read the rest of this post here and then go read some more of her posts.  I actually had a difficult time choosing which post to highlight.

Speaking of life moving quickly - this kid is going to be FOUR this week!

There are a lot of places where you could spend your time online.  But I hope that by reading the words of these bloggers you find yourself encouraged as you see their genuine authenticity.  And I pray that as you head into your week, you find yourself feeling blessed and renewed.

I pray the same for myself.  A word to the wise – don’t drink caffinated tea at night.  You could just find yourself up and kickin’ at 2:00 am.  Not that I would know anything about that…

Blessings, friends.


Image Credit:

“I have a secret,” he whispers. Or a “theekwet,” in his lispy language.

“What’s your secret?” I ask, leaning down so my nose is inches from his freckled face.  (Oh how I love his dotted little nose.)

“I wub you,” he answers with a grin.

And then I melt.  And promise him all the Cheezit’s he could ever want.  And a pony.  And his sibling’s inheritance.

How is it that children know the exact words to say when we need it most?  I was tired this morning, and a little crabby.  I wanted to sleep  longer and wake up happier.  My yummy little guy was actually still waking up himself and had snuggled his warm body close, his sippy cup tucked under his arm.  (Because my third born does not function in any capacity in the morning without a sippy cup of juice or milk first.  He’s a toddler coffee addict…without the coffee.)

How did he know that I just needed some kind of encouragement to get the day started?  When I pulled back from our “theekwet” he grinned at me slyly.  He’s a heartbreaker that one.  Mama’s lock your doors, cause this kid is trouble. Adorable, squeezable trouble – the most dangerous kind.

There have been so many encouragement’s these past few days.  Are you guys praying?  Because I am feeling the power of God working in ways I didn’t imagine.  Tangible delight being poured upon us.  From “theekwets” to the making of new friends.  From house hunting encouragement to just an overall feeling of contentment.

Today, I went with Lee to the bank to be added to our new account.  The woman who helped Lee last week when he first went in wasn’t available, but another woman was there to help us.  Her name was Ekaterina, or Katya – her accent was Russian.  After we sat down, she left the room briefly and Lee looked at me with eyebrows raised.

“Hmmm…” he said, all smug-like.

“Don’t, please,” I groaned.  “I don’t feel like it.”  You see, friends, my husband feels the need to tell every single Russian we ever meet that his wife speaks Russian.  Then he slaps me on the back and tells me to talk.  It’s not my favorite.

But I’m also really grateful to him for it.  Because, honestly, my personality is one that I would let all those opportunities just slide right by because it makes me a little uncomfortable and embarrassed.  And this morning…well, the “theekwet” hadn’t totally burned off my crabby mood.

When she returned the firs thing Lee asked was where she was from.  “Russia,” she replied in the accent that is so familiar to me.  “Huh,” he said, looking at me.  I sighed and turned and began speaking with her in Russian.  And you know what?

It was awesome!

Why do I resist that sexy man of mine?!

So my new friend and I will be getting together sometime soon to go shopping at some local Russian stores.  And it was yet another whisper – a “theekwet,” if you will – that everything is going to be okay.  I love making Russian friends.  Love it, love it, love it.  And I would have completely passed that opportunity up today had it not been for my annoying supportive husband.  And God once again whispered to my heart.  “I’ve got you covered, young one.  Just enjoy the ride…and stop complaining when your husband brags on you.

I feel like I’m getting a lot of those whispers lately.  And a few slaps upside the head.

Moving is hard.  But right now, in this moment, I’m kind of enjoying the ride.

Thank you for riding this roller coaster with us and praying us from one side to the other.

*For more awesome pictures of my kids, and my nephews, visit my sister-in-law’s blog.  Not only is Becke’ an amazing photographer, but she is a spectacular writer as well.  She inspires me.  You can see more of her photography here.

2011 Goal – I did it

When I was a senior in college, a fire ignited inside me.  It was a love for the written word that I didn’t really know was in me.  It was lit by a few professors who saw something I didn’t and urged me to think bigger.  It was fanned by a fiancee who made me believe the sky was the limit and had bigger dreams for me than I ever dared to dream for myself.  It burst into flame when a man I barely knew took me under his wing and made me his co-author

The fire dulled a bit when I had my first real taste of the publishing world and the challenges that come with pursuing publication.  I had a big break, and I will forever be grateful for it, but there were some roadblocks along the way that made me question whether or not I really had any talent as a writer.  Comments were made that caused me to wonder if, perhaps, I had set too lofty a goal in my endeavors toward authorship. 

Then I had a baby.  And another one.  And another one.  And I just figured the dream of being a writer was over for me.  Until I discovered blogging and met other fabulous writers and wondered if maybe, juuuust maybe, I should give the whole writer thing a second chance.

The end of last year brought some big encouragements my way.  I met people who, despite the fact that they barely knew me, believed in me.  Strangers urged me to write more.*  And I began to wonder and think and ponder and pray.  Still those doubts nagged in the back of my mind.  What if I fail?  What if I’m no good?  What if I’ve set up this expectation that I’m some kind of spectacular communicator of the written word when really I stink?

If any of you read the Christmas letter I sent out that was fraught with typos, you know idea of me being a stellar communicator is laughable…

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe it was time for me to give my own writing a second chance.  So I made a goal for 2011.  I decided that this would be the year I finish my novel.  The same novel that took birth my senior year of college.  The same novel that I spent a month in Ukraine researching when I was pregnant with Sloan.  The same novel that is so stuck in my head it’s difficult for me to even think about writing another story.

I revisited my novel last night.  I liked some of what I read and some of it made me want to roll on broken glass.  But the characters were there waiting for me.  They are still fresh in my mind and their stories are primed for completion.  The trip Lee and I took overseas last fall gave me mighty inspiration for the novel.  Pictures formed in my head that weren’t there before and storylines that once seemed lifeless took breath.

It’s in there.  And I have to get it out.  Do you think I can convince Lee to take me on another European vacation to further my inspiration? 

I don’t know if this book will be any good.  I hope I at least do the characters and the story justice.  The truth is, I know full well I’m not the greatest writer out there.  But I also know that I have a story to tell and if I don’t get it out of my head, I might well explode.  And think of the mess that would make!

Ba-dum Ching!

Yes, the story is there.  And today?  Today I picked it back up again.  Wish me luck.  I really, really do want to finish it.

*To those who have encouraged me over the years, both past and present, I can’t thank you enough.  Most of you have no idea how well timed your words of encouragement were to me.  I am exceedingly grateful to all who have offered words of affirmation when my heart needed it most.

(Incidentally, I do not in any way, shape or form write this post to garner more praise or encouragement or to try and toot my own horn.  I am simply processing the emotions that are swirling inside. Just wanted to make that clear!)