Mistreatment Optional

two possible choices

Blame-shifting. Reversing cause and effect. Responsibility avoidance. Projecting. If you’ve chronically been the target of them, this one’s for you. My heart breaks for you.

I’ve seen how the simple can be made so complicated by the one who stands to gain from smoke and mirrors, so let’s be crystal clear about the justification of such shifty tactics….


Escalate to loudness, name-calling or character assassination when upset. It wasn’t.

Give you the silent treatment. It wasn’t.

Repeat childhood trauma patterns instead of overcome them. It wasn’t.

Lie. It wasn’t.

Throw an emotional or physical fit when they didn’t get their way. It wasn’t.

Never truly resolve disagreements, anger or episodes but, instead, insist you act like they never happened. It wasn’t.

Silence you when they didn’t like the content of your speech or mind. It wasn’t.

Look out for number one first (or only) while calling you selfish. It wasn’t.

Throw you a bone only when they didn’t care about that particular bone. It wasn’t.

Tell you they knew what your words meant better than you did. It wasn’t.

Interpret a harmless question as an attack and defend themself by attacking you. It wasn’t.

See virtually everything and everyone as a threat and live with a get-them-before-they-get-you posture. It wasn’t.

Be indifferent. It wasn’t.

Not care about the feedback that they were hurting you. It wasn’t.

Find a way to make you pay them back quadruple for any small kindness, yanking that attached string until it strangled your vibrancy. It wasn’t.

Remind you that you’re unbearable and cumbersome if you express valid needs. It wasn’t.

Never care to get to know your heart. It wasn’t.

Never pay voluntary attention to you unless something was in it for them. It wasn’t.

Fake and announce their own goodwill to cover ulterior motives. It wasn’t.

Avoid real accountability by maligning or shunning anyone trying to offer it. It wasn’t.

Stay stuck in old patterns. It wasn’t.

Turn on a dime to nastiness or punishment when displeased but be sweet as punch during a good mood or to get out of trouble. It wasn’t.

Hurt you to dull or avenge their own pain, even when it had nothing to do with you. It wasn’t.


Not done any of that with regularity and sans remorse (evidenced by no significant change over time). Absolutely none.

Asked clarifying questions instead of reacting aggressively. They could have done that.

Listened until they understood what you meant to say. Could’ve done that.

Done the work to find out why they feel like the world is against them. And that.

Talked problems through like an adult. Yep, that.

Controlled their emotions instead of being controlled by them. That, too.

Stayed calm. For example, that.

Handled the disappointments that come with life in productive, not destructive, ways. That.

Solved problems instead of thriving on drama. A relief, that.

Not violated your boundaries no matter what. Healthy, that.

Not degraded your value. Most importantly, that.

Not dismissed your existence. Essential, that.

Spoken to you even when they experienced something or felt a feeling they didn’t like. Definitely that.

Grown up. (It’s hard in today’s age but) yes, even that.

Not thought of themselves more highly than they ought. Very Biblical, that.

Given you preference sometimes, even if it was a sacrifice. Genuine love, that.

Given you more than the scraps from the table of their life. Since you’re not a dog, that.

Told the truth even when it’s hard. Such is life, that.

Recognized your right to be an individual with your own mind and mouth. Freedom, that.

Learned kindness. Not so hard, that.

Been willing to authentically question whether they were wrong about anything and change. Humility, that.

Researched empathy development. Learnable, that?

Felt and dealt with pain without taking it out on you. Only fair, that.

Testified to things that happened as they really did instead of how it was advantageous to remember them. Not bearing false witness, that.

And that and that and that…. There are so many possible that’s.

They could have chosen any of the that’s to handle life and you in a different way. Remember, dear soul, there are (the majority of) people who expect themselves at every moment of every day to do the that’s and never be cruel—big cruel or little cruel.

So the person coming to mind for you right now…they simply didn’t have to mistreat you. Just because they convinced you (or themself) that they couldn’t help it or it wasn’t wrong (and being convincing is the specialty of the responsibility avoidant), that doesn’t make it true. And just because someone told you that your only option was to stay in there close and try harder to stop them from doing what they never ever had to do in the first place (not once), that doesn’t mean you needed to. It just means that a lot of wrong ideas and actions will never add up to a right result, and some people misinterpret God and/or don’t believe in boundaries and/or get manipulated by these folks at the expense of the innocent and/or just get sidetracked trying to save the one who doesn’t want saving instead of offering real help to the victim.

Today, please be reminded and reinforced of what’s so easy to forget in the middle of a mental-manipulation storm. You can believe the evidence of real reality—not twisted accusations—when you’re accused of doing the very thing that’s, in fact, being done to you. You’re never to blame for anyone’s behavior but your own. You don’t need to provide a safe space for someone to carry out ongoing disregard for your safety. You can unapologetically wear your boldest boundary-setting hat so that natural consequences burden exactly the right back (namely, not yours, and that’s the loving thing to do for them and you). Each adult can reasonably be expected to be a responsible grown up without being repeatedly requested to do so by you.
Know confidently and thoroughly that each person has an equal opportunity to unpack their personal baggage instead of throwing the whole lot of it at your face (or worse, your heart) with the battle cry, “You deserved that!” And if you try to hand it back graciously, and they chuck it again harder with an even louder slur, you’ve definitely found yourself a dangerous one who’s unwilling to take responsibility for numero uno.

So today, declare with clarity: They didn’t have to do any of it, that oh-so-poor interpersonal behavior. They had a choice, like everyone else on earth. They had a choice all along. It was, in fact, always 100% optional.

With Hope & Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writer’s Block Prose, LLC

It’s Just a Little PTSD…So Why Aren’t You Smiling?

Fake smile graphic

I’m writing this today because of a response I once got from a pastor to a dire situation in my life. I went to him desperate, needing tangible help, asking for intervention, assistance, something. I was in the middle of trauma, relatively uncomposed, unnerved, showing the effects of being in the most difficult situation of my life. The pastor repeated frequently (as though it should be comforting), “I pray you find your peace and joy,” and left his “support” at that, for the most part, despite many interactions about the particular trauma I was facing. Now, I think pastors have one of the hardest and most draining jobs in the world, and I think we should honor them if at all appropriate at every possible turn. But everything in me knew, that response was wrong…lacking, at best.

Have you ever been in the struggle of a lifetime during which many a person has something “helpful” to say about how you should handle it? (It’s often, ironically, the same people who crumble over a hangnail.) Or they seem to imply, if not say directly, that you need to appear a certain way on the outside as proof that you’re handling your challenge right (meaning, how they’d handle it, though they have never handled it)? I have been there. I know you have, too.

I’ve noticed that all too often certain emotions are labeled “negative” and others “positive” and then conclusions drawn about success or failure based on which of those are exhibited during a struggle. I have no tolerance left for this shallow analysis. I salute farewell in those moments now and scooch closer to my battle buddies–ones who don’t make accusations when you express transient (very normal) emotions and responses to extreme duress.

And duress and trauma abound in this life. There is a war on, and I believe everybody is in the middle of it, whether they’re on the front lines or not, whether they’re actively deployed or waiting their turn in the theater wings. I recently heard it said well: “I believe in the devil. Anyone who doesn’t has a big surprise coming someday.” I’ve met two kinds of people—those who know they’re at war, and those who don’t.

We unequivocally need to know who to lock arms with in the fight if we’re going to win (survive life’s worst and recover to thrive). My choice is to soldier up with those who acknowledge the reality of war and have some understanding of its ugliness, because they won’t call you ugly while you’re fighting. I also choose to forevermore now avoid double agents who say they’re on your side but then discharge friendly fire at close range to try to keep you in line instead of firing at the real enemy. Taking those bullets used to make my head spin but now just my heels do; I take off running fast for safety from such attempts to “help.”

There are others who have fought life’s wars on the front lines who know how to do it with you. I find them. And it’s not hard, because they stick out like sore thumbs. They’ll be saying things like:

  • I see the strength underneath your tears.
  • I see the courage in you taking action that you didn’t want to take when you could’ve become paralyzed.
  • I see that sometimes the answer is this and sometimes it’s that other thing, so I won’t generalize and legalize your problem.
  • I won’t claim to know what I’d do or how I’d be in this situation, because I’ve never had to do it. What do you need?
  • I see that you fight on readily even though it’s temporarily breaking your heart and happiness, because there’s justice and peace in the outcome. I see you’re choosing delayed gratification through the anguish.
  • I know the momentary sobs and panic don’t mean you’re failing but are the obstacles that could make you stand down and surrender, but you don’t.
  • I’m proud of you for grieving; it’s the only way through and out.
  • I know that joy goes deeper than a smile, and peace runs deeper than moments of still meditation.

In other words, they’ll say things out of emotional depth and breadth, out of the insight that comes with experience and humility.

Strangely, I’ve found it’s the same folks who’d say you’re not joyful and peaceful enough in the middle of your catastrophe who’d in the next breath say they can’t believe you’re really going through something all that bad because you don’t look traumatized enough. Figure that. If you manage by some miracle to keep your smile and some fairly consistent pep in your step, you’re still not eligible for the handling-it-well trophy from these folks; they simply discredit the difficulty of your challenge. What? Unfortunately, they’re not really able or interested in loving and supporting you but fixing or dismissing you enough to keep themselves comfortable. They want to give war instructions from a safe distance or make believe that war isn’t really that bad. It’s more convenient to the status quo.

To the contrary, your better war buddies are the ones that just dive into your foxhole and ask questions later, because they know and trust your character. They simply start tending your wounds and shooting at your enemy (not you) when you can’t. Your band of brothers isn’t sitting back grading you, waiting to help until you’re perfectly composed under fire, holding up a score card like a figure skating judge (3.6 out of 10 for lack of peace and joy). Whether you’re holding it together perfectly or losing it altogether, if the war’s on, they see and they jump. They strategize with you about what is needed to conquer instead of presume they know better than you what to do simply because you appear frightened. Only allow that at your right and left hands during the fiercest battles.

I suppose the people suggesting that we should look superficially alright while taking enemy fire may have a decent motive but a very misguided tactic. Maybe they mean to give good advice about what it looks like to conquer, how not to let yourself be controlled by circumstances or let hard things steal from you. But in my opinion, it’s a little crazy to think you won’t see war on someone’s face. And they’re skipping a vital step—the crucial need to feel in order to heal. Nobody fights a war without feeling something. We can’t skip right to the end of the process, because pain legitimately hurts, and wounds need to heal. And sometimes you need help getting out of the line of fire first, not help fixing your countenance while you’re taking shots.

So maybe when we see someone upended from trauma we can try to remember some things–my humble suggestions from the front lines of battle:

  • Maybe we can remember that the body has an involuntary nervous system during stress, and the resulting expression of trauma symptoms is normal under duress (and it’s not smiles, yawns, relaxation and giggles, for clarity).
  • Maybe we understand that there are different make-ups and personality types–different innate levels of emotional and physical sensitivity.
  • Maybe we remember that feelings are just feelings; they come and go often without warning or choice, especially and justifiably so under hardship. But character is what defines a real warrior—right choices made and brave actions taken in the face of those extremely pressing feelings. We remember to look for the latter if we’re going to judge performance at all.
  • Maybe we understand that a soldier on the front lines of war or a victimized person isn’t going to act or appear the same as one miles away from the action, secure at home.
  • Maybe we remember Ecclesiastes 3, Lamentations, Job, the Psalms; there’s a time for everything, and God sanctioned and gave us great examples of a good, healthy lament.
  • Maybe we understand that sometimes the strongest people stay in battle voluntarily, laying down their lives and surrendering comfortable feelings for noble reasons; they stand at attention in an attempt to create peace and joy for others or because there’s a deeper peace and truer joy in battle sacrifice then in Friday night pizza and a movie. There are causes worth self sacrifice.

If we don’t remember all this, then we have to say that Jesus really screwed up at Gethsemane. Furthermore, we’d have to believe his disciples got it pitch perfect right in that garden. They were chill enough to sleep during the prelude to the cross. They were the “peaceful” ones, by appearances. Maybe they joked around—happily lazing—until they drifted off, because they didn’t realize they were in a war. Anyone who believes that surface appearance represents (spiritual) success or failure would naturally applaud them; they held their peace and maintained their joy, yep. But that Jesus, oh he really dropped the ball. He was in visceral turmoil, having a very hard conversation and mentally working his problem relentlessly with his Daddy. He wouldn’t let it go and hold his peace (or tongue or questions or emotions), tormented to the point of drops of blood-sweat.

The above paragraph must be true, unless of course the peace and joy God directed us to have mean something deeper than the absence of adrenaline along with the silence and upward curvature of the corners of ones lips.

But if we think Jesus didn’t mess up big time but instead saved the day, then we have to see it. His emotions had nothing at all to do with him handling his situation well–perfectly. He looked like a mess, and yet He was totally right and triumphant. He didn’t say, Hey, good job guys for not getting upset or stressed out and staying all emotionally peachy. No. He said (basically, I take much paraphrasing liberty), You couldn’t get serious and hunker down with me? Come on! We’re at war. I’m heading off to the front lines, to the grave, to experience all the sin of everyone for all time for three days. Wake up and work this problem with me! I’m sweating bullets over here, and you couldn’t join me in battle even for one hour? He was preparing for a HUGE battle, and he knew it wasn’t time to invite his friends for a nice spot of tea and crumpets with happy chats in the name of handling it “well.” He knew that true peace and joy were in the delayed gratification of surrendering to a misery that hadn’t even really yet begun and walking straight to battle, because of love. He chose the peace and joy of obedience through unrelenting, temporary torment.

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of peace and joy. I even think God promised them. I just can’t define them as superficially as I’ve seen done. A breezy attitude isn’t peace, and a smile isn’t joy. It can be, but we best hunt deeper, farther and smarter for their meaning before we start accusing others of failure to have them. And if all we can do when we are in a position to help someone in trauma or oppression is wish peace and joy on them, we might want to revisit how Jesus ministered to the suffering or needy and our own qualifications, capability and claim to serve as a people minister.

An obvious example of how judging by demeanor fails terribly comes to mind. Can someone appear laid-back peaceful and jovial joyful all the time while using food, nicotine, alcohol, workaholism, shopaholism or popularity to sustain it? Yep. But is that peace? Is that joy? Is that authentic living? Or are the depths of emotion and hard realities of life simply being avoided with band-aids on a bleeding heart? Unhealthy coping mechanisms call into question someone’s claim of peace and joy to me faster than you can say “twinkie.”

The moral of my story is that there are unsafe folks to confide in when the battle is on, as I’m sure you well know—some characters without intestinal fortitude to handle more than a slightly rocky boat. They are those who would say yelling “Fire!” during a (real) fire is a disturbance of the peace, even though there are lives at stake and adrenaline-inspired running to do. They are those who’d forego the trouble of carrying a wounded soldier off the battlefield because they have “proper boundaries” (literally the explanation I received from said pastor) for the sake of their own joy, or worse, not even go to the battlefield in the first place because it’s not a peaceful place.

But that’s not real life. That’s not love. And that’s not noble. No, those aren’t the folks I want surrounding me in my darkest hours. When the boat capsizes in the deep, I want rock-solid fortitude, emotional depth and through-and-through courage in my companions. I want someone, even in the PTSD-ridden after hours when the sound of a harmless Nerf gun makes me hit the deck for fear of life and limb, who doesn’t ask the (stupid) question, “Why aren’t you smiling?” but instead asks, “What can I do to help you smile again, dear wounded one?” I want someone who understands we’re at war—and not with each other, but with much, much more powerful forces.

And I want to be that person as well for those at the front lines fighting the good fight. Because it’s OK to not look OK when crazy bad things happen. It doesn’t mean you’re not OK in the places that matter most. All feelings have different jobs but an important role, and often they point to something that needs to change. It’s healthy to feel emotions in trauma; damage is done to the soul and spirit if we don’t, because healing then halts. Emotional authenticity in the midst of rough feelings is a hallmark of maturity, not wrongness. The feeling and expression of difficult things is strength, not weakness, especially when it produces growth. And I argue the person who expresses more progresses more than the person who represses more.

So in the future, if I give voice to casualties I’ve suffered from war in a shell-shocked, shaky way and am given the suggestion to just find my peace and joy in that moment, my likely response will be…Peace out.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

Love is Patient, Love is Kind (Nah, Scratch That if You’re Married)

wedding rings

OK, I couldn’t shut up about this anymore (apparently a typical problem that comes with increasing years). I turned on the radio and heard this teaching for the exasperating umpteenth time: “Happy relationships know that you owe everything to your spouse but are owed nothing.” It went on to say that all expectations in marriage are wrong–ALL. By this rationale, if your eyes take a passing glance at what you’re receiving from a partner and it’s less than you expected, you’re automatically in the wrong. So keep your eyes on your own paper. *gigantic eye roll…deep breathing exercises*

No. No no. And no. Please, no more. Stop it, Christian marriage “experts.”

It sounds so loving, sacrificial, noble, altruistic, heroic, savior-like. Right? I really (somewhat) believed it (almost) for a long time, so I’m not trying to be hard on anyone. I just see now why it’s disastrous advice. I grant you that on the surface, it’s a beautiful, idyllic notion. It’s perfect for those of us who like to try to simplify concepts in our overly-complicated minds, stick our heads in the heavenly clouds while still living on messy terra cotta or tend to martyr ourselves when it’s obvious (to everyone else) that it’s stupid to do so.

The problem is—well, there are two biggees I can see right off—it’s also perfect teaching for the person who would take advantage of or use another person without compunction. That leaves the accidental martyrs hanging out to dry with no defenses (supposedly on moral grounds). When you prohibit expectations, you eliminate healthy boundaries.

The biggest problem with it all, this checking your expectations at the door of marriage (like a moviegoer who’s afraid of being let down by a sequel and so drops the bar so low that the worst of cinema can step over it with ease) is that none of any of all of it is Biblical. It sounds close, but just close enough to be dangerous in a decent percentage of marriages. Let’s test it: Jesus came into the world so that standards and expectations for love could be discarded. Does that sentence sound absurd? That’s because it is.

Let me concede what truth and good intention I think radio teacher was attempting. It’s right that no one is owed love. However, that’s why marriage vows are optional in our free society. Walking down the aisle and saying promises out your lips is voluntary. So, check. We’re not claiming an entitlement when we accept another’s promise to love us. (They are claiming an entitlement if they act however they want after that and expect you to stay.)

And no one can expect a spouse’s love to keep them fixed. It’s true that if you expect a partner to do what only the Master and Creator can do for you, again, game over. Filling a void with a person doesn’t work and won’t sustain a healthy and happy relationship.

And radio teacher is right that no one can rightly demand love that looks just so every moment. Selfishness kills a relationship faster than a person can say, “Gimme, gimme, gimme….” If your expectations are for having the final say over green polka dot curtains or eating mushroom and gruyere pizza every Thursday on fine china, your spouse must read your mind at all times, questioning or giving you feedback is off limits and their needs don’t ever enter your self-preoccupied mind, then well, you do need to drop those expectations like the hot potato of destruction that they are.

So giving the benefit of the doubt, I believe what radio teacher is rightly attempting to point out is that being a selfish or improperly dependent spouse will damage the marriage. But, could we not just teach, don’t be selfish or improperly dependent? Do we have to say, it’s wrong to expect anything at all once we’re hitched? (After all, he is kind of telling spouses that they can expect their partners not to have expectations. Tricky what he did there.) Do we have to go so far out of balance? Radio teacher went on to say that any of your wishes, hopes, dreams or ideas for what love looks like should “go in a box and stay there.” Gasp. There are thousands of ways to teach this without saying there’s no such thing as a deal-breaker.

This isn’t off-mainstream teaching in Christian circles in my experience. And essentially, carried to its only logical conclusion, once you exchange vows there’s then no standard by which you can judge the health of the marriage or the rightness of what’s happening in it. And that, my friends, radio teacher said is the key to a happy relationship. (Or a delusional one. And happy for whom? Somebody wanting to exert no effort or to dole out mistreatment unchallenged would certainly do a happy dance.)

Why would we try to disallow the wise and normal act of looking for follow through on things promised? The instruction to turn 100% blind eyes to failure is, at minimum, naïve to the reality that some partners fail badly, miserably in fact, and sometimes in an evil fashion. And those on the receiving end of that extreme failure or evil have been instructed clearly by radio teacher that they have no right to acknowledge or speak of that reality or expect anything different…if they want to be truly happy that is. That’s crazytown.

Nowhere else in real reality, common-sense land and the Bible (the master guide to real reality) do I see this ridiculous notion taught or enforced. It doesn’t even work that way with the greatest sacrifice ever known, made by a perfect God. You’d think the most altruistic, forgiving and heroic gift of all time (Jesus dying for you) would require nothing in return if all this were true. AND YET, God set clear expectations in order to partake in a saving and intimate relationship with Him (belief in Jesus along with authentic humility and genuine repentance). And what a reasonable expectation it is. Otherwise, anyone could make a mockery of a precious offering, and it wouldn’t be precious if it was valued at any less than the price of each human heart.

But, let’s get down to earth. Say you get a loan to buy a car. You’ve entered voluntarily into a relationship with a bank, and they you. They keep up their end and pay the car dealership, so you take the car home. You don’t keep your promise to make the loan payments, so they take the car back after a certain time of default (even if you keep saying sorry but don’t get a job, sorry). We all get this. This is not hard.

We rightly expect many things any time any kind of relationship is formed. Every relationship carries an agreement or exchange of some kind that defines it. Then, strength of character and the implementation of justice require that the parties keep their ends of the deal for the relationship to continue. The one that doesn’t, doesn’t keep the car. It returns to the partner who kept their word.

Isn’t this easy to see in all our everyday situations? We don’t make relationships void of expectations so that they’ll work; we define them by expectations so that they will. The former is called peace at any cost; the latter is called healthy partnership, for both people, reciprocally. Promises are expected to be honored, because once we make them we’ve moved from individuals acting independently to people in relationships who can harm one another. Boundaries are most easily violated by the close knit, so God knew once we’re proximate, interdependent, interactive people we needed accountability to protect one another and ourselves from serious damage, especially in our most intimate relationships.

Marriages are obviously our most intimate and vulnerable relationships in which we make the greatest promises to love and be loved that we ever will. Why exchange vows at all if the relationship can legitimately be whatever the parties willy-nilly decide to make it, ignoring what was said on the big day? Promising to follow through on not being self-centered, outrageous marriage partners is kind of the whole wedding day, isn’t it? By saying it all out loud, we’re in essence giving the other person (and witnesses) explicit permission to notice and call us out if we’re not making good on our words.

Yet some people still say we shouldn’t have expectations—enforce or notice anything—in our precious marriages? They must believe the act of staying married is the only important thing once you’re a married person, and the rest of societal rules or healthy personhood must fall away? For goodness sake, we’re not even allowed to threaten the well-being of a stranger on the street or we’ll get in trouble. But if it happens in a marriage, oops, the recipient is out of luck because nothing is owed and kind treatment can’t be expected? Why on God’s green earth would we demote marriage to a relationship less important than one with a stranger on the street instead of elevating the union based on its promises? We expect logical and clear consequences if one fails what’s expected of them in lesser relationships. If we do it for a car, we can do it for a marriage.

The natural result of all this nonsense is that when there’s no “permission” granted by the “experts” to even notice a spouse’s failure–when vows and the standard they’re supposed to set are thrown away the instant they’re spoken–the mistreated are silenced. And then vows aren’t really vows, are they. We’ve stripped them of meaning if the outcome doesn’t have to at least loosely resemble the outline—if we don’t get to expect to live within basic parameters of the kind of relationship to which we committed. Disappointments will arise, yes. But devastation shouldn’t be accepted without questions, and provisions are made in the Bible for the failure to handle another heart responsibly.

The bottom line is, we give vows no esteem and no power to do their job if behavior in marriage isn’t evaluated based on them, if they don’t set up expectations which carry public and private weight. The act of getting married is for the very purpose of creating standards. And expecting vows to be honored and allowing natural consequences if they’re not is fighting for the sanctity of marriage, not dismissing it.

The trouble with not being on the lookout for whether reasonable expectations are met is that there’s neither the intention nor ability to abide by vows embedded in each person who speaks them. Welcome to life after Adam and Eve. Welcome to reality. The problem in many a destructive marriage is the absence of expectations by a partner for themselves alongside a demand that this absence be overlooked entirely. Imagine how radio teacher reinforces that entitled thinking. Hearing the admonition to drop expectations altogether doesn’t stand a chance of reaching an abuser far off into the ditch of entitlement and self-obsession, statistics and experts say. They don’t self-reflect and change but simply apply the teaching in double standard fashion to their partner saying, See, you’re wrong to expect anything from me. You need to accept that I don’t need to change. Radio teacher has just rolled out the red carpet for continued mistreatment by echoing abusers’ self-established privilege to demand that whatever they do is fine. So this teaching doesn’t magically transform someone who holds no other-serving expectations for their own behavior; it only nooses the one who does. In such cases, it isn’t expectations that killed a relationship but the lack thereof.

An authoritative passage on love is 1 Corinthians 13, but many times I hear it taught as only a command to those trying to love well. Each of us do need that, because God knows the lives of everyone around us are better and safer when we love His way. However, isn’t it also an essential guide to recognize when we’re being loved well, a standard by which to test another person’s words based on their follow through? God knew talk is cheap, and people lie or hide their way to the altar sometimes. He knew we needed a way to assess what is happening other than relying on a person’s words—that way is relying on His Word. I think it’s perfectly fair game to insert your name and then your spouse’s name into this text in place of the word love to examine whether you’re giving love and living at the other end of it or of something else entirely:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Based on what I heard from radio teacher, we’re supposed to say, Yep, love is that. I’ll do that. But when it comes to the other person, nope, scratch that. There’s no standard for what love looks like from you because I’m now married. I can’t even open my eyes and observe whether you’re loving me. I must simply believe you are, whether reality and God’s description of love confirms it or not. If I don’t turn a blind eye to your bad behavior and only look at myself, I’ve sinned (not you’ve sinned, I’ve sinned, for looking at your sin—what??).

No thank you. We need to have recourse if we commit to love and end up in destruction. God doesn’t say, Oh well. Tough luck that you couldn’t read the future. You’re on your own now. God doesn’t simply discard our importance at the altar. He never said it doesn’t matter if we’re loved in a marriage (that we said yes to because someone vowed to do it); we take vows precisely because He said it matters very much. Love is a fair expectation to have, and defining what love looks like by the Word of God is healthy and wise in any situation. Breaches of love and the unhappiness that follows aren’t tragic because of the one acknowledging the severely failed expectations; it’s tragic for them.

Some best attempts at an endeavor simply aren’t good enough for success, and the person pointing them out isn’t the problem. The failed attempts are the problem. When you try out for basketball and make the team, you have to bring basketball skills and effort to the games in order to keep playing. If you don’t, it’s not your team’s fault that you’re on the bench. You don’t get to go out on the basketball court and play lacrosse or pretend the game isn’t in session because you don’t feel like playing. You’ve then let them down. Marriage partners have to be playing the same game and must both be interested in the sport of relationship. I guess radio teacher would have a spouse say, “The lacrosse you’re playing or disinterest you’re showing for our basketball game is good enough.” That doesn’t make it true. God honors truth, and He uses it to set people free. Forgiving another’s shortcomings isn’t the same thing as a head stuck in the sand.

Having said that (this paragraph is ultra important), no one will love perfectly, and during times of crisis they might do it particularly awfully, which is probably also what radio teacher meant: Don’t expect another to be God, perfect or perfectly fulfilling in their ability to love you. Love is patient. Love is kind and forebears those who uncharacteristically lapse or screw up royally but are working toward better in genuine repentance.

But then sometimes, the track record of failing a pledge, playing different games and showing no sustained evidence of authentic remorse and dependable change is so consistent and comprehensive that the car must be repossessed. God Himself issued a divorce decree to his bride Israel at one point, because they failed to keep up their end of the covenant vows. God insists on integrity in promise-making and -keeping. He values grace, yes. He values justice and safety, too. And he never confuses forgiveness with lack of consequences, guaranteed proximity or unconditional, intimate relationship. Neither did Jesus when He came to show us how it’s all done.

In stark contrast, radio teacher said, “Happy relationships know that you are owed nothing.” You are to stay in intimate marital relationship no matter what, essentially. (I’d imagine he believes in one commonly accepted Biblical exception—adultery—although he wouldn’t be able to say so and still teach that ALL expectations are wrong. Hmm.) Many people teach the Bible this way. The misinterpretation of a few verses is convincing at first but astounding once you take a good, long look at the Bible as a whole.

I contend that happy individuals know that they are owed nothing—that entitlement is wrong. You’re not entitled to marriage vows or love from anyone. And if someone can’t or won’t give or keep them, you don’t have a right to force them. You’re only entitled to be released in God-given freedom–to stop pretending that the agreement and promises are intact. Forgiveness only means they don’t owe you what they promised to give anymore, but it doesn’t necessitate letting them endlessly put wear and tear on the car for which they defaulted.

God granted us this freedom with Him, first and foremost. We can turn down or default on our half of our relationship with Him, and He won’t force it. He will love us without conditions, because that depends only on Him. But, He never modeled nor mentioned (nor implied and especially didn’t teach) that close and intimate relationship with Him and all its benefits come without conditions or expectations. It’s very much a two-way street. If it’s good enough for God, it’s good enough for me.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,


Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

The Alternative to Adoption

baby boy with duck

I’m thinking a lot about my 5-year old son today (although quite frankly, it’s hard not to at this age what with the “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy….”). My mind is on birth and adoption, because it’s Easter. This is my favorite of holidays, celebrating how a singular event made spiritual orphans into sons and daughters. That’s big.

So I’ve been thinking about how my son will form his sense of identity, because he’s adopted. He can now verbalize that Mommy’s belly was broken, so we got to choose him to be our boy. He doesn’t know yet that someone else had to do what could be interpreted as un-choosing him first. By my judgment, that piece comes later in the age-appropriate conversation chronology. Before we delve there, I need him to be of the age where he can understand that things aren’t always as they appear.

I pray so frequently for his identity to be secure, definitely not based on having been gleefully chosen by us, although I hope that helps. I just know that our choosing him may not feel like enough comfort at times in light of having been surrendered by the mother who bore him. So I pray.

I pray, first and foremost, that my son sees that the Maker of the universe chose (with a capital C) him. I pray He sees that as we prayed for a child, God Himself placed him in the womb of a woman who would choose life. I pray he understands that although his birth mother couldn’t raise him, she certainly chose him. Millions don’t. I see fully now, and I pray my son does, that it’s not the giving up for adoption that un-chooses a child. It’s the alternative to adoption that does that–giving nobody anywhere on earth a chance to choose them.

So, Son, I’ll speak to you, and you can read this in good time. I hope you see with crystal clear vision that you were chosen three times (above the average one or two): 1) by God who created you, 2) by birthmom who chose life and 3) by us who wanted your utter preciousness in our home. I pray you have eyes to see what your birthmom did instead of what she couldn’t do.

But mostly, Son, I hope you see that the sky’s the limit for the love you can feel and the places you can go in your life if you just believe that nobody is truly an orphan by God’s grace.

I also need that message. Some people have chosen me; others haven’t. Some have embraced me and drawn close; others have stepped back or built walls. It will always be so for everyone. I know I’m not unique in that.

So may we cling tightly to some truths in order to survive and thrive during the expected times of being un-chosen:

  1. We have life, and we are no orphans. We need never doubt that we’re fully loved, chosen, enjoyed and prepared to live abundantly. There’s nothing about anyone’s life that need be second rate because of rejection.
  2. We can choose to focus on what being “given away” offers to us instead of just what it steals from us. The Fixer turns around for good many an assault meant to harm us or accidental screw-up flung our way if we put it in His hands. We can foresee a benefit coming to us out of any circumstance when we surrender it. And since we know that we, too, have flung our fair share of junk around, we can forgive.

We need not run after those who put us to the side; others on our path won’t dismiss us. We need not pursue affection or approval; God pursues us with them and just the right number of people will, as well, although at times it won’t feel that way. (Just hold on.) We can put our hearts in the right Hands, knowing He’s the master of making lemonade from twisted, turbulent, messy, lemony human behavior.

If we get this–really get it–then we are free. People can choose us…or not. They can reject us from malice; we are free to use it as education to select better future associations without bitterness. They can reject us from ignorance; we are free to walk away and move on with heads held high. They can be correct in passing us by; we are free to say thanks for the feedback along with the hurt.

Even if everything in our lives is transient; we are free to let go, receive new and expect good. When the foundation of being Chosen is irrevocable, and it is, identity is immovable. It makes us able to be thankful for what people can give and forgive what they can’t. They simply don’t define who we are. We can know something is becoming of us, because our adoptive Parent will ensure it if we believe and follow.

So, Son, grasp and hold onto these things with white knuckles, always with every breath. You were created. You are wanted. Something is becoming of you. No person’s choice–for better or worse–has control over that.

Some people may desire us and have the ability to embrace us. Some may not, passing us on to the next person. It happens to the best of everybody. Make it of no matter, Son.

Some people will fight to have us close, and some will call us too much and push us away, sometimes violently. Make it of no matter, Son.

Some people will honor and value us, and some may refuse to respond to the sound of our voices or acknowledge us with their gaze. Make it of no matter, Son.

We stand on solid ground, Son. We’ve invited the Easter Truth into our hearts. We are loved, and nobody can steal our ability to love. We were given life, and nobody can steal our ability to live. Nobody.

I think today about all the babies who took flight to heaven and communed with God before their earthly bodies ever had a chance to live. They were Chosen, too. They also exist by design. It just takes one Choosing, ultimately, to have a future. (Remember, Son, it depends on no person.) The Father can’t be overruled in the end. People don’t have the final say about you.

I hope our love as parents is meaningful to you, Son. I hope we lavish it. And yet I hope it pales in comparison to how much you value the love of the One who made the original Choice that gave you to us and this world. What He Chooses, nobody can un-choose.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

Is This Many Disasters Natural?

Fires and floods

I’ve experienced four natural disasters that totaled my residences–one by fire and three by water. I’m 42-years old, so it appears I like to average one a decade. Three of them, though, decided to scrunch themselves into seven years. Apparently those li’l suckers were running a sprint, not a marathon.

Dare I say this propensity to natural disasters is unusual without sounding self-pitying? I wouldn’t take them back, so I seek no pity. It just strikes me as, let’s say, oddball. I can’t quite find anyone with whom to commiserate fully. I’ll never incriminate the Master Plan, though, because the smoke and sogginess crystallized some major life lessons.

But let me tell the abbreviated stories first.

My childhood home, along with my teenager stuff, was destroyed by electrical fire at 17-years old. It doesn’t always happen like the movies, so you know. Our fire was in broad daylight. We were home. We just calmly walked out, went to the neighbor’s to call 911 (no cell phones, the horror) and watched with the whole neighborhood as it burned, firefighters cutting holes in the roof for the fire hoses.

But, all new clothes for a teenage girl isn’t such bad news. And finding out which girls at school have generous souls because they give you clothes–and not old leftovers, but nice ones–is a great lesson on the best of humanity. Those girls are few. Those girls are precious. I seek out those girls in life always now (and not for the clothes).

Fast forward eleven years and the real adventure starts. While on a trip to celebrate my first wedding anniversary, we received a call that our house was going to flood soon after we’d arrive home, and it did. We’d just finished renovating the entire house.

Now grant you, we were fully aware we lived in a flood zone. The average frequency of flooding seemed to be every thirty years or so, based on history. The last flood had been eight years before. Probability and statistics be darned (sorry Dad).

You’ve never crossed your eyes so hard in disbelief as when you see a piano and pool table lifted by car jack onto multiple cinder blocks, legs wrapped in heavy duty garbage bags (praying it’s high enough), with everything you own piled on top, a dishwasher on a dining room table in an upstairs bedroom and two cats with noses pressed to the glass on the French doors of their higher-ground prison, watching as you leave them to spend three days alone as the house floods and recedes below.

But out we go to live in a spare bedroom with family, 75-pound yellow Labrador in tow. (If you’ve been following my blog, this is during my mute years, making for interesting family dynamics.)

Several feet of water on the first floor meant demolition down to and rebuilding up from the studs and joists. Gutted would be an understatement, because you have to slush through all the mud to even begin to getting around to gutting. And flooded carpet is heaaVY. But many months later, we finished. Done. Check. Woo-hoo!

Less than two years after that flood, we flooded from the top. No sooner were half of our roof shingles torn off for replacement than the skies dumped unceasing, torrential rain for days, and the roofers hadn’t correctly protected the roof as it sat shingle-less through the onslaught. So it rained in the house. At least it only rained in half the house. (It rained on the big-screen first, as luck would have it. Bye bye, TV.) We were helpless to stop the indoor rain until the outdoor rain stopped. By then, the damage was done.

In came the water management folks, cutting holes in the walls and blowing fans up and through for days that sounded like jet engines. We assumed the mold preventative measures worked since that’s what their business is all about, you know, preventing mold.

However, three weeks later we started demo, pulling out all the drywall, carpet and ceiling in half the house, and there it was. There was the mold, in all its sneaky glory. But we didn’t grow just any mold. Nope. We sprung for the big guns–the nefarious black. I got sick very quickly.

Out we go again to live in a spare bedroom with family, yellow and chocolate Labs boarded. (If you read my infertility post, you’ll understand they were our children at that point. We missed them!)

We lived in a historic district home with ancient, plaster ceilings. Have you ever experienced (insidious, cruel, mean-spirited) plaster dust? Don’t. Make a quality decision now not to. We had thick plastic hanging floor to ceiling, covering doorways, wrapped around every single possession we owned all piled in the non-raining half of the house. In the end, the dust still covered everything we unwrapped. It was reminiscent of the worst quarantine set you’ve ever seen in a futuristic bio-attack movie. It felt like a war scene.

But we rebuilt again. We made it back. Done. Check. Yay.

Next, just to be gluttons for punishment, we went ahead with a huge addition to the house we’d been planning since we bought the place, because we needed bedrooms for kids. Done. Check. Good.

We got it done in time for the next flood. Remember that 30-year-average-between-floods fact? Yeah, neither could the floods. Hurricane Ivan (“The Terrible”) deposited several feet of water in the first floor again.

Out we go, but this time we got a whole in-law suite to ourselves, chocolate and black Labs in tow. (RIP, Jack the yellow. We chronicle the lives of our dogs by which ones were with us during which ousting.) The house was torn down to bare bones again and rebuilt. Done. Check. Enough already.

I will say this for it. We never had to worry too terribly about the potty mistakes of the puppies-in-training at this house. New flooring down to the studs every year or two will do that for you.

So to recount, we moved into this house originally in Fall of 2003. We moved back into it after conquering the final flood end of year 2011. During that time, we’d done the initial renovation of the whole house, torn it down to studs for three natural disasters and then stuck a huge second story renovation project in the middle just for fun.

At this point, we felt dazed, confused and exhausted…utterly and beyond comprehension exhausted…and grateful. I was grateful to have survived the chaos, and a peaceful day in a finished space has never gone unappreciated by me ever again. And I was increasingly grateful as I started to see beauty rising from ashes (and I’m not referring to the rebuilt home itself).

In late 2012 we adopted our baby boy. After getting through the sleepless baby stage, we started making plans to move. We weren’t tempting the fate of that amnesic floodplain while we had a child and expected one or two more by adoption.

We may very well have lived in that house forever were it not for that overly restless river. We’d made an old chapel into our home, and we loved it. I adored living there in that house, by that river, somehow, despite…. Plus, after being fixed up time after time, it was bolstered and rebuilt as stable as a bomb shelter (well maybe not) despite its age. And it was as beautiful as I could have ever wished a home to be, with stained glass windows for days and a vaulted ceiling to heaven, now everything inside brand new. So, considering its perfected state, it was obviously time to sell (as anybody who’s ever fixed up their house just to put in on the market knows).

So what did we do? We bought a fixer-upper (but it didn’t need gutting, so there’s that anyway). But, hey, when the price is right and you’re on a roll…. We’re maybe almost getting closer to the tail end of this renovation 2 ½ years later, and we love living without flood risk. But what I know from my house fire is, there’s never no risk. That’s life. My security isn’t in elevation or inspected electrical systems. And, like I said, these disasters brought me lots of beautiful gifts wrapped in flame and saturation.

In ways too complicated and personal to describe, God provided for us financially via these floods. My chronically poor health wasn’t cheap. Adoption isn’t cheap. And entrepreneurship comes with sometimes pricey, big risks. But, by no coincidence I’m sure, the same risky business we own is that which enabled us to survive (and dare I say thrive?) through the disasters. We own a business fixing up old real estate, essentially, so paying ourselves to undo the repetitive destruction was a blessing, underneath all the blood, sweat and many (many many) tears and mold-induced lightheaded spells.

But that was the least of the provision. God could’ve worked out the finances any number of ways. The thing I couldn’t have learned from anything other than destruction of health and home was this: People are what matter. People. People. People. Period and amen.

I know it sounds trite. It’s easy to let that go in one ear and out the other at different points in our lives. It’s easy to live brushing it off, thinking there’s more time, or wanting to forget it, choosing to be in happy distraction or denial, especially if comfort of body or abode hasn’t ever been disturbed. It’s tempting to occupy time and spend energy managing stuff or trying to buy or organize it for its own sake. Stuff can even be a false salve or lie sometimes, if we’re managing our sentimental stuff so sacredly because it belonged to people we cared about, or if we talk ourselves into believing we’re chasing after it for the sake of the people we love while they always see our backside.

But many challenging questions remain. Am I treating people with as much care and attention as belongings? If the person whose thing I am now treasuring knew I was treasuring it, would they be surprised based on the love I showed them (or didn’t) while I had them? Am I pushing off time with anyone until after I own a satisfactory amount of stuff? Am I using stuff to avoid the hard work of real relationships or to try to bandage a wounded, unhealed heart that can’t ever be fixed that way?

At any rate, the primary gift I received is learning that if my inner house is in order, I can more than survive my outer house falling to pieces (repeatedly) in any number of violent ways. In the moment, it’s terribly painful, YES; no one likes their every routine and comfort stolen for days, much less months or decades. But, here’s what I know beyond a doubt now. You can take everything I own, and I am still me, my memories are still my memories, and my life is still there for the living. Destroyed stuff can’t steal anything substantial from me unless I keep looking back at it.

My primary residence is my spirit & soul; a street address only keeps me dry and warm. I’m terribly, hugely grateful for the latter. Many are not so blessed. But my current house with my current stuff and my current routine will never define or make me, and the lack thereof can never confuse or break me.

People–loving and being loved by, serving and really knowing them–makes up life. The rest, as they say, goes back in the box at the end of the game (or sometimes much sooner and more often, in my case). And all that stuff is to be obtained solely for use in the service of people and life, not the other way around, as they also say. The trite-isms are tried and true. I’m grateful for my upending reminders to live with the end in mind, even if this many natural disasters is anything but natural.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

My Mute Years


I was mute once for years–three years to be exact. I had to be stoic as well, if I knew what was good for me.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t physically talk, technically. My mouth could move. Sound could come out. (And I certainly don’t want to disrespect anyone who has no choice in muteness by using the word.) It wasn’t that I was physically unable to smile or laugh. My lips could curve up in the corners, and the intense desire to do so was present.

This wasn’t a depression. It wasn’t a chosen, monastic experience (although after having an extroverted 4-year old, I may choose one). I was simply in the midst of what I call The Dental Debacle.

Yes, I titled it, this phase of my life from late 2002 through 2010. Anything that hangs on for eight years rightfully earns a proud title. The worst of it was the first three years. An annoyingly slow recovery of five years followed. I’ve been in maintenance mode ever since, which means most of the time I don’t suffer but occasionally my face still reminds me who’s boss. And I’m always instinctively measuring my words.

But I skipped the story. So, it’s not that I couldn’t talk or smile or laugh or sing. It’s that if I did, I couldn’t afford the price tag (on par with the sticker shock of shopping in Manhattan after being raised in the Midwest).

Per my vow to never exaggerate my life experiences when I write, it isn’t accurate to say I was 100% mute or stoic. Since my face could function and I couldn’t bear not expressing some kindness or interest (or attitude) most days, I’d risk a few smiles and sentences. (There were exceptions, where I threw caution to the wind, didn’t limit myself and planned to pay, e.g., my wedding. Man did I pay.) Any more gesticulations than that, and sometimes just those paltry few, would lay me up with a neck/jaw pain episode for days.

And by laid up, I mean, I actually have hip damage because I needed to lay my neck up at a 45-degree angle, in one position, on one side, for a day or two, just so, in order to endure it. No drugs worked. Ya’ll know I’m pretty crunchy granola holistic, but I’d have taken the drugs, thank you very much. Nothing touched the pain. Nothing would even take the edge off.

I had on average two of these episodes a week for years. They’ve decreased to about one every month or two. It’s good. It’s enough. I’m grateful. (Although next year might bring experiments in hyperbaric chambers for me. #neverstopsearching)

So if you can say I had a choice, then I chose muteness. I chose to look sad (because my relaxed face isn’t cheerful, doggoneit). I chose to stand with a lifeless face during the singing at church. I chose to stifle laughter. All the good stuff was all happening on my insides–very loudly, very lively–but I dared not let it out, not even through my fingertips. Communicating via computer also brought on a neck pain crisis in Russian roulette fashion. And forget about playing piano, which had been an enormous part of life since age 6, much less picking up a pitcher of water or sweeping the front steps. My neck was done getting along with my arms and head.

The details of my bizarre phenomena are never my point when I write, so I’ll condense eight years down to one (albeit long) sentence. Here you go. A routine tooth refilling eventually turned into trigeminal neuralgia, four root canals, gum surgery (without effective anesthetic), four crown attempts (with gold ones on just long enough to glint in my wedding photos), the extraction of two molars, a tooth implant (with complications galore), a month on baby food and liquids, a damaged bite, jaw and neck vertebrae, all total requiring sixteen dental professionals and about 200 dental and chiropractor visits, etc…and pain. Oh the pain.

I can’t describe this pain, in my teeth, my jaw, my neck, my heart (both figuratively and literally because of tooth abscesses). It was pain without momentary relief for years. Before it was over, I was almost out of hope. Almost.

I think I’m catching onto a theme in my life (maybe even hoping I am, however tough it is to swallow down this particular theme). There’s a category into which most of my significant life experiences fit. And patterns excite me, because I think they reveal callings and destinies. So all this craziness is hopefully my compass to due north on my future life map.

Anyway, here’s my (ridiculous?) motif then: I contract the sorts of ills and conundrums at which professionals, after doing their best, shake their heads and toss up their hands. They announce me a lost (or crazy) cause and pass me along to someone better equipped to help. The more equipped souls try and, most often, shake their heads and toss up their hands. We all end up in a sort of hands-in-the-air dance, just trying to avoid bruised professional egos colliding with my crushed hopes, because that would certainly be an ugly dance none of us wants to do. But for the most part, the blame-and-shame dance isn’t worth dancing, so I bow out of that one. I was dealt my cards. They’re the ones with which I must play the game. And in this case, as in so many different kinds of cases for me, modern dentistry just didn’t have my answers even when they were sure they did. Results speak (and I’ve learned to never bark up a tree that’s not producing fruit).

So, I end up with mysterious problem. Check. I strenuously pursue professional help. Check. Pain and problems increase with therapy. Check. Years and years of waiting follow. Check. But then God whispers and points. The exit door is finally illuminated, most often located directly opposite where most of the experts sent me. And it’s not delayed asking that produces all this waiting. God simply delays until it’s time, until the right resource or person is ready, until I am ready. (I don’t like this modus operandi of the Man Upstairs until hindsight is 20/20, personally. Clearly, I’m always ready yesterday, and His flight must just get delayed.)

I must say that normally I don’t have trouble writing about the tough stuff in my life. I’m usually very clear about what pearl I’ve extracted from which mucky oyster and can chat about it just as easily as what I ate for breakfast. Once a scar has healed right, you can touch it without going through the roof. But this Debacle is different.

I still cringe a little. Maybe it’s because some people did unwittingly cause me some of the worst pain of my life, some of which still remains, some of which could’ve been avoided had they listened and been humble or had I been more confident and not submitted unwisely. Maybe it’s because I’m not absolutely sure I learned all I was supposed to learn. Maybe I don’t feel I’ve fully yanked the silver lining down off this storm cloud that still circles back around ocassionally. Maybe a sort of solitary confinement, where you still exist but can’t fully engage, is just a difficult memory, period.

Yet somehow I remember that intense time period in my life with some fondness, so I trust my character was forged, whether or not I can express it perfectly here. But the following are a few things I do now know because of my mute years:

Almost out of hope isn’t out of hope. A teeny tiny morsel of hope placed in the right Hands is enough. Mustard seeds do move mountains. The hope of one foot placed in front of the other, and a mutely prayed prayer, is enough.

People mean well, and God uses people to help us sometimes–sometimes–but people aren’t enough. And the more unusual the circumstance, the number of people there are to rely on falls off exponentially. Let them off the hook, and don’t panic. (You’ll SO want to panic. You’ll BE panicking when you desparately need help. Decide not to panic anyway, even in the middle of accidentally panicking again and trying to keep them on the hook. There’s an alternative to people.)

Alternative: A lot of good comes from the noise of the world being shushed. Being alone with God for a long desert season is the hardest good thing there is. Sometimes He wants to teach you some uncommon knowledge that people will undo if they’ve got your ear and confidence. Every human is of imperfect character and doesn’t really know what in the world they’re doing in some way, shape or form either, just like you and me, so nobody can be promoted to savior status.

Hey, it’s an extreme example, and I’m not saying it’s our guaranteed fate in similar circumstances, but King Asa got in trouble (he died) because he only asked for a doctor’s help when he got ill (2 Chronicles 16; 12-13). He never asked God. Doctors can be great. But put the Physician before physicians.

These past few months, I almost became mute again, in a way. I almost let two disparaging remarks about my writing shut me up. Out of all the feedback and love, I almost let two people undo me. Two! How, well, stupid was that? I also didn’t write during that time because life pressed in and really needed me. But I realized I chose, too, to silence myself just because the put-downs hurt.

But what hurts more: letting people have their opinions or losing my voice again? This is a no-brainer. Come on, Carolyn. Learn from living.

So hello there. Here I am again. I most definitely won’t choose to be mute (although anyone at all is certainly entitled to wish I were!). Who among us is exempt from a bit of dislike here and there, and is it really so devastating? There are legitimate causes to shut down a voice box and surrender a smile. Hearing from a few harsh critics isn’t one of them.

On the other hand, if the All-Knowing Teacher leans in super close and whispers,”Quiet down, because it’s you and me for a while again, kid,” then I’ll urgently find me some duct tape. Otherwise, no thanks. Once silenced was enough for me.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

This entry was posted on November 22, 2017. 1 Comment

License to be a Lioness

lioness and cubs

I think my Teacher has me write so that I won’t forget my assignments–what it is I’m supposed to be trying to do and be. My blog is directed squarely at me in that way. And lately He’s been parading a theme back and forth in my space, so I best jot down my marching orders. The parade banner reads: This is a day and age to be a lion.

Wait. Isn’t every day and age an advantageous one to be a lion? Don’t they rule the jungle? Isn’t any challenge of their fiefdom categorically denied? Don’t they have the weight of just being born lions going for them?

Yes, but that’s not my point, because lions don’t dominate and assert themselves just to dominate and assert themselves. There are driving factors far more admirable and cooperative at play in these communal creatures.

At any rate, I’m fairly certain that some humans don’t imitate lion strength simply because they don’t know they’re meant to be lion-esque or think it’s outright wrong to be so. Maybe the negative connotation is that it’s all bullying and selfish conquering. But I think it’s time to challenge that thinking. It’s time a greater number of benevolent lion-leaders emerge on the side of right in this country lest imposter lion-leaders prevail (of the lording over type).

Heretofore in life, I feel like I’ve lived in a day and age fashioned for lambs. I’ve witnessed the important role of gentle followers–of humble learners with a seeming innocence and harmlessness about them. For a long while, the environment in the country just called for–allowed for–a mutual deference and respect that was wooly and more playful. Lambs were relatively safe. A soft touch wasn’t generally taken advantage of or attacked (although there have always been those who will).  A sweet disposition or kindness wasn’t generally mistaken for weakness or exploited.

But today…today, oh boy…a stronger spine and sense of true north aren’t optional for thriving. A cunning, solid stance is crucial, or ground will be lost, both personally and collectively as a country. I’m talking about traditional soul and spirit territory being re-charted. I’m talking about historic heart and mind landscapes being dug up. I’m talking about the fundamental topography of beliefs and principles being ground down. All this is done in a dog-eat-dogma world of opinions and ideologies flying at the speed of bytes and bits. If you don’t know where you stand today, you are going to fall for anything–especially a rewriting of history–into a dismal wasteland far from a free democracy founded on self-evident truths.

Lambs can’t hold ground. They don’t do uber powerful (the warmth of wool notwithstanding). They aren’t created to exert leadership and influence. In fact, they’re in dire need of protection just to survive. They’re created to blindly follow; they’re simply not bright in the ways of the world. They play a different role. If winning people over with warm sweaters, good cheese or cuteness is necessary, they’re your guys. There is a time and place for that, too, and we each need a lamb side.

But lions…. They preserve their tribes–their pride and pride land–at great cost to themselves. They earn territory and manage it sacrificially for the sake of each other. They bravely do their part to ward off invaders who would steal their sustenance or prevent free movement at home. They aren’t confused about their authority or rights. They lay down their lives to preserve and protect those in their territory.

Furthermore, they won’t waste time on pettiness, anxiety or the unimportant. They don’t wander around between hunts (the lionesses make the kills to provide food, fyi) wondering if a fellow animal will hurt them (because the lions make very sure it won’t). They rest comfortably much of the time, relaxing and replenishing reserves. They save their strength for the unavoidable battles. They don’t pick useless fights, but they understand not every animal respects borders or knows the rules of a fair fight, so they’re appropriately on guard. They’re not wasting energy being bitter or re-fighting yesterday’s battles. They live today. Restlessness isn’t part of their existence, until the basics of survival and leadership are required, and then they get the job done. They stake their land, raise their kids, feed their families and call it a day. They’re not worried that they’re too powerful or might hurt feelings living the way they do. They don’t apologize for their convictions or try to convince other animals that they have the right to their own choices. They just walk in power and confidence. They know who and what they are, and they mind their own business, except when their business of family and survival are assaulted.

There’s a lot of human assault going on today in our country. A lot. And the folks trained and practiced at responding as lambs may not be doing themselves, their families or the country a service if some lion skills aren’t learned now (as in, right now, as in, yesterday, as in, I’m late).

When I talk about frequent assaults occurring, let me be clear. I’m not talking about assaults with words. There will always be a more than adequate amount of free speech going on. Smart and…not-so-smart…people all like to talk. But again, lions don’t worry about whining or insults to their feelings. They’ll let you howl or cry–no harm, no foul. What I mean is that there are a lot of actual assaults to freedom, bodies and possessions going on. And if you’re on the receiving end, you need lion prowess now. Just try assaulting a lion’s freedom, and see what happens. See if he’s at the ready to fight for his pride (family). Lions know when and to whom to submit, and they will submit to no one who hasn’t earned proper authority to lead them. They understand boundaries and respond appropriately to trespassing.

Gaaaasp? Is it right to fight for territory? Yes. Freedom plus self- and stuff-ownership are proper territories to defend. Boundaries and freedom were Created into the order of things. When we go beyond someone’s boundary, we should expect resistance. I didn’t say when we go beyond their emotional or mental capacity to be verbally challenged, we should expect retaliation or assault. That’s called being a thug. I said, when we pass their physical borders, expect a defense. The right to control our own space is God-given. (The right to lay down your physical space and allow martyrdom is also God-given, but it’s not up to anyone but you.)

Meaning? To clearly see the distinction between hurt feelings and actual boundary crossing, we need more lions.

To be ready to stand against epidemic levels of faulty logic skills that produce nice sounding (but wrong) arguments, we need more lions.

To not be swayed or intimated by loud, mocking or condemning voices, we need more lions.

To not be fooled by self-appointed teachers offering shallow solutions to ocean-deep problems, we need more lions.

To easily recognize that relativism doesn’t line up with reality and dismiss it, we need more lions.

To know that resentment toward success and wealth shoots those less fortunate in both feet, we need more lions.

To know that you keep a baby (respect for this country) while discarding bathwater (past mistakes conquered and current ones being fought), we need more lions.

To have the self-control not to take easy offense, only picking critical battles, we need more lions.

To identify double standards and hypocrisy in action, we need more lions.

To recognize and heal culturally rampant entitlement and narcissism, we need more lions.

To keep our bodies strong and fit and ready, we need more lions.

To be honest, I prefer lambhood…sheepdom…as it were. I wish I was better at balancing it with my inner lioness. By nature, I like the thought of everybody getting along, being agreeable, simple and keeping the peace. (You can imagine how much I like feeling called to write pseudo-political posts then.)  Join me in “Kumbaya” and smores around the campfire, pretty please? I’m that to a fault if left unchallenged. But I look around and see so many reasons to challenge myself now, to stand and act like a resolved beast at times, whether my kitty paws fit comfortably yet or not.

In true sheep form I, like many of you I’m sure, have often responded passively and without retaliation to being called names or judged for my beliefs and the flock of which I’m a part. (My flock definitely isn’t trending on twitter now-a-days.) I’ve been rejected for not going along with what’s popular and not cowering to the most aggressive voice. But those are teeeeeny, tiny potatoes compared to actual persecution for beliefs by world standards. I’ve responded with lamb-gentleness before (with a spotty record, to be sure), since indeed there are many times we’re to follow the One who was led like a lamb to the slaughter without protest.

There’s a time for baaa-ing and a time for roaring. I mean the Lion of Judah certainly knew how to roar, and loudly, at the right time. I sense the time for roaring has come for those who would do it purely to protect and preserve freedom–everyone’s freedom. I think the lions, whether lazing in the sun between exhibits of strength or flexing their muscles because territory is being threatened, aren’t at all conflicted by the fact they have to be both severe and soft. They just know which to be when and that firmly standing up to some opponents enables rest and peace.

So wake up, lions and lionesses. You need not be phased by monkeys–foolish sorts who spout off for sport. There’s no need to be intimidated by tigers–haughty chest-thumpers determined to do damage or destroy another’s turf out of vengeance or personal gain. You need not be worried that you’ll be overcome when you’re outnumbered; a lion isn’t worried about a pack of laughing hyenas. You need only to remember Whose you are and that Truth never changes. Lions don’t walk around being obnoxious, abusive or arrogant. They just walk authentically strong–who they’re created to be as jungle kings–extending protection and offering sustenance and order.

I understand there’s a time for everything under the sun. (I certainly didn’t come up with that because, again, I prefer ridiculously unrealistic, sugary niceness at all times. Thanks for nothing, Ecclesiastes 3.) I believe today is a day for honing lion skills so we’re ready when sheepishness just won’t do.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

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After the Laughter


This post feels somewhat self-indulgent, because for my own sake I have to talk all around an important issue without hitting it directly. Hopefully many of the concerns that surround private feats are universal so that my unwrapping the box here, even without opening it, will be meaningful if you are in the middle of a confidential crusade, too.

I don’t know if this is a confession or a concession, but it’s in that general vicinity: I’ve lately been making neat and tidy plans to relax into a season of heightened comfort and leisure in life, reclining into greater safety and ease. I’ve been doing so because, remarkably, it actually looked feasible for a change.

I’ve done my planning, and so God has been doing His laughing, as they say.

I don’t believe He’s laughing at me, mocking my attempts at a more carefree happiness. I believe He likes to see me smile even more than I like to do it, and He has compassion for my often painful journey. Nor do I think He’s laughing with me right now, because many a day I’m still just not laughing. I do, however, believe He’s been laughing for me–a surrogate and guiding laugh–when I can’t, to assure me that someday I absolutely will.

I was unable to smile or laugh without debilitating pain for essentially three years (or eight depending how you look at it), and God was calm, cool and grinny the whole time. So this laughing thing isn’t just metaphorical for me; it’s been lived. I’m not in the mood to write that story today. I just mention it to say, He’s never left me behind when He laughs ahead of me; He’s always pulled me toward it.

My Surrogate laughs for me when I’m struggling to do the up front, hard work of delayed gratification, because He knows my rewards are coming. He laughs for me when He sees obedience–me giving my imperfect darndest to lay down my life–because He knows it’s the only way to my happiness. And unlike me, who has to live with the blinders of chronological time on, He sees clearly that any unhappy or super challenging thing isn’t the final word. He laughs for me, because He sees the end right along with the beginning.

Although some days everything in me wants to shrink back, preserve, conserve and protect myself from the battles–the stuff in life that requires that extra push of energy and intestinal oomph–He knows when I refuse to retreat, I’ve already won. He laughs when he sees His kids run full force through fear and opposition, because power and freedom are on the other side. He knows I can’t lose, because I’m His. He’s the decided victor on the last page of the story.

And so my smaller self tries to make my smaller plans, and He laughs me forward to bigger ones. The bigger deals feel too big, like clothes that are going to slide right off in the middle of a speech and humiliate me terribly. But He’s always somehow growing me into them, and the ones He picks out end up fitting best, go figure, after they really (really) don’t for a while.

But at least there’s a happy tune accompanying my awkward efforts to put on my big girl outfits; it’s the aforementioned faint-but-buoyant, joyful-but-calm laugh. It rises up from the gut, that most important hidden, core place that solidifies and softens in just the right ways to help us walk boldly on instead of lagging or limping along endlessly. If we never follow that subtle laugh out of the messes, or sometimes into them, we miss so much.

I hear that laughter-music now, and once again it isn’t mine yet, because truth be told I’m riddled with nerves and desperately in need of the Surrogate’s chuckle. For here I am today, mustering the gumption to take another step that feels too big for my legs and a leap that feels too big for my faith (especially after my mind was bent on all my absolutely brilliant plans for ease and idleness). I’m on a precipice deciding whether to jump, because I do have a choice this time.

I’ve decided to grab myself by the collar and shove myself toward doing the thing(s) I think I cannot do (paraphrased, credits to Eleanor Roosevelt). And there really are so many things I’ve always thought I can’t do. But I’m doing it simply because the gut laughter (Laugher) seems to think I can, as indicated by His relaxed smile that rests amidst my torrent of (other) feelings. I’m clumsily taking semi-calculated risks, throwing a portion of my conventional wisdom and common sense to haphazardly float on the wind…all on a hunch…a low, deep chortle from within. (My hunches are always worst enemies turned best friends after a while. We have a love-hate relationship, my hunches and I.)

If you’re going to have a favorite saying of, “Do it afraid” (Joyce Meyer), and I do, then you better have made a quality decision to back it up with action. So I have long ago decided that fear ain’t gonna boss me round, o’ no. (I’ll tremble and start writing grammatically incorrect English through teary-eyed, blurry vision, but I will dig in my heels, find my ground and thumb my nose at it eventually. Can eventually be much, much later please?) I don’t ever want to walk away from an opportunity to try because I listened to my deafeningly loud, knocking knees over the still, small, delighted giggle that wants me to just lighten up and let go a little. I don’t want to stop participating in the important stuff just because it’s (way) harder than the unimportant stuff.

And the only thing I know about doing it afraid is as follows: If I let the tiny, knowing grin inside take the lead, along with its light and lightness, I always laugh big in the end. Always. It doesn’t normally come quickly, but it’s gratifying and abiding when it does.

This wouldn’t be a blog post of mine without a caveat. I’m not talking about an I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead philosophy of pushing the limits endlessly out of worry that time is running out and there’s an urgent legacy to be left. I think that’s just (how do I say this gently?) dumb. Delusions regarding human frailty (e.g., thinking that sleep and rest aren’t required in order to stay vertical) just smack of arrogance to me. I’m under no illusions that I can maniacally run in pursuit of big things I conjure up to do just for the sake of doing big things.

What I am talking about is following the laughter–guidance and peace–of Someone who knows what’s possible and reasonable to try, even when it appears less than reasonable, and learning to recognize that soft voice that encourages when screaming ones would try to discourage. I am talking about not resting on the laurels of past accomplishments or service and picking up the next gauntlet when the Calling comes. Maybe I’m proposing an I’ll-be-comfortable-when-I’m-dead philosophy. When I get Home, my heart will rest; as long as I live here and now, it will always be on the line. I might as well make that line count.

By the way, If I should ever manage to laugh the entire journey through while I trip over my over-sized clothes during my growing (groaning) pains, well, give me a trophy or something. I’ve never pulled it off. That would be a standout day for an often hesitant, over-calculating soul like mine (and thank goodness all the onus isn’t on me).

But I aim for the laugh–and not a whooping, obnoxious guffaw that claims to know it’s getting everything right but a chronic, consistent teehee in the background of life that says, I’m alright, whether I get this next adventure exactly right or exactly wrong. And I’m alright precisely because I know there’s a day that death will loose me. The day I stop being confined by this body and time, along with my limits and floundering flaws, is the day death loses. And on that day, I know I’ll want to celebrate having left it all on the playing field, sacrificing what didn’t matter to what did and wearing myself plum out charging straight for it. That day will heal whatever the charge to battle wounded. So, I’ve decided to chart my chase based on insider information coming at me in the form of a laugh from the One who will make it all right in the end.

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

I’ll Pencil You In (My Busy Schedule Lie)

Calendar with pencil

I’ve been lying. I didn’t realize it, although I’d been wondering at myself. My words weren’t quite aligning with my actions, yet I couldn’t quite get them together. So I’m glad clarity came, because I value integrity above almost everything else.

Problem was, I often heard myself reply some variation of the culturally commonplace, “I’m too busy,” to invites. But then I’d sometimes witness myself have an hour or two of downtime or the ability to do something optional and call myself out. Wait, I could’ve said yes to whomever about whatever, strictly speaking. Liar, liar, pants on….

Then I realized what “I’m too busy” means to me: “I’ll become too busy” if I say yes. And I simply won’t voluntarily do too busy anymore.

I want to avoid being overly busy on par with, say, avoiding sharks if I’m boogie boarding. To me, there’s no life on the crazy-busy train; there’s only racing past life.

I’ve only found real life in hopping off at some train stations. And now I abhor racing around, as if there’s always a destination up ahead so important I never stop and see where I am. I abhor aiming for such a mirage only to arrive and pound sand. I abhor life with no time to think (I mean, really think), to feel (I mean, really feel), to learn (I mean, really…you’re with me) or to really talk (about something besides weather). I abhor not remembering what I did where, with who or when and wondering where weeks (or years) went with no meaningful recollection of any of it. And most of all, I abhor living in a constant state of abhoring.

So no thanks. I have and will, without apology (except for the aforementioned accidental lies, sorry), continue to guard my un-busy spaces. And lest you think that if you hear no from me it makes you less important than the nothing I have planned, please reconsider. I’ve learned that unfilled space is the very thing that allows me to connect with and value you in the long run. Without breathing room, any real relationships for me are entirely thwarted; I just can’t show up even when I show up. If I’m already at the last or next thing in my harried spirit, I’m never with you. And that is the primary reason I defend the un-busy territory fiercely; it’s the foundation of all my important, treasured things.

A quick rewind for context: I once lived plum loco–far too crazy. You couldn’t have out-overachieved or out-people-pleased me, no sir. Nor could you have tried to obsess more about perfection while doing it. I was all in on the most reckless gambling with health and sanity. Oops. But that was more than half a lifetime ago, and since then there’s been a long series of events that have taught me to slow the heck down and forget about many things that used to seem so crucial. (They were so not crucial.)

I hated the slower speed at first. I mean, life didn’t just tap the brakes on me; it brought me to a screeching dead halt, for years. I’m talking about years that felt like centuries. Time that can’t be spent living feels interminable. So I’m certainly not saying I’d ever want that again, because balance is so unbelievably much better. Extreme inactivity, loneliness or lack of productivity are a fight against depression just waiting to happen; they’re a foolish choice, when and if you have a choice. I’m not promoting under-achievement or isolation or laziness. And The Big Boss is pretty clear that if you won’t (not can’t) work, you shouldn’t eat. Freeloaders and hermits, I’m not talking to you today.

Having said all that, I’m now totally grateful that I was thrown off the hamster wheel early in life to discover that the hamster wheel is optional. Who knew? Optional! And the hamster wheel is awful, if not while you’re on it, then the regrets of it in hindsight (and it will always end there, because it’s unsustainable). Awful!

I used to think this was entirely a personality preference. I used to believe I was just an old soul, because that’s, well, absolutely true. And I’d imagine to some degree that plays in. Different people thrive in different ways, sure. But I’ve observed some universal pitfalls to chronically pushing the pedal to the floor that no personality type seems to escape.

However, I’ll only make a list specific to me here, because that’s all I can testify to with absolute authority. When my life goes at breakneck speed, invariably:

1. Everything becomes all about me. “Hop onto my hamster wheel, or get out of my way” is the message to everyone feeling the gale-force winds of my spinning.
2. My life becomes sloppy. Messes pile up–not only physical messes of stuff, but ones of priorities and relationships.
3. But speaking of physical messes, my diet becomes trash. Since we are (look and act like) what we eat, that’s a big uh oh.
4. What’s simple gets too complicated, and what’s complicated is made too simple. For example, try having a cup of coffee with a friend on their hamster wheel. Conversely, when on your hamster wheel, try focusing long enough to engage someone needing support through heartache, illness or loss.
5. I love people poorly. Off the hamster wheel, when someone needs me (including me, because self-care matters much), I can almost always respond to needs that arise. (I really super love that feeling.)
6. I’m busy but unproductive. The busyness doesn’t stabilize or contribute to my present or future in any meaningful way.
7. I’m unfocused. I’m aiming at too many targets to hit any of them with proficiency or enjoyment.
8. I can’t ponder or cherish anything (except maybe bragging about how much I do in a day, which really doesn’t impress anyone but me anyway).
9. I get suckered into believing the lie that I’m maximizing my time on earth. Filling isn’t maximizing. Choosing carefully is maximizing. I can fill a jar with diamonds, throw them on a shelf and go mine some more to win a race I’ve manufactured in my mind. Or, I can stop to admire and utilize what’s in my jar to bejewel myself and others. Sometimes enough is enough.

Here enters an essential caveat, lest we start judging or condemning another’s schedule or apparent busyness: We all live on planet earth, a very dicey place to live. Unless you know someone very intimately (and even then), you never know what another person is going through. No one ever actually lives in another’s shoes. So, when I talk about this subject, I am suggesting self analysis, not other scrutiny.

Very, very difficult circumstances call each of us to step up and run raggedly at some point. Many situations require busyness that’s plain unreasonable, not chosen and certainly not welcome. I’ve had perfect storms descend and surprise, as have most of us. Natural disasters, crises, involuntary single parenthood, etc and the like bring on seasons (operative word, because they should pass) where just figuring out how to fit in a shower or trip to the bathroom are next to impossible, with no flexibility. Sometimes you’re just coping and practicing endurance (and crossing your legs).

I’m at the tail end (oh, I hope) of several years like that. A few urgent situations decided to sync up their schedules on me, and it blew mine out of the water. My immediate family and survival became the only priorities I could maintain, because I was squarely hoisted onto the hamster wheel–all spin and no substance, besides protecting my baby boy from a whirlwind he wasn’t going to face on my watch and growing my perseverance muscles. But I guess those are pretty substantive activities, too, so there’s value in a passing storm. But I’d never make the destructive choice to camp a tornado indefinitely on top of my house just for the achievement of survival.

I occasionally still get frustrated at drawing the borders around my life to sustain the calm times when there’s so much I want to do, see and be (forgetting that I have an eternity to fit it all in, because this isn’t my final train stop). Sometimes I temporarily think (a.k.a., lose my mind) that jumping back on the hamster wheel will be more exciting, a fix for my desire to be fully alive and experience much. But the corporate hamster wheel spins so unbelievably fast now days. Even when I try to hop on up I just go flying off. Then I remember, the hamster wheel hurts and doesn’t deliver what it promises. It’s just speed for speed’s sake, and I don’t want back on. It’s too dizzying. I don’t fit in hamster wheels anymore.

So when I’m able, I’ll travel contentedly beside those walking the quieter trails, listening to the birds, enjoying the flowers and talking about the stuff of life. (It’s just a metaphor, by the way. I’m so not an outdoor girl, for real, so don’t ask me to go hiking. Maybe a spa day? Call me.)

At the end of the day, I’m an idealist, once and always. So I have recurring delusional thoughts like, let’s all jump off the hamster wheel simultaneously and nobody gets hurt or misses a thing! Yay!

But no. Let’s be honest. The whole system is beyond that (and more importantly, I don’t get to choose a pace for anybody but me). Everything about everything is hyper-complicated now days: school extracurriculars, business regulations, Pinterest mommyhood, relationships in the days of sex identity as a social construct. Complication is not easily undone; slowing a freight train down takes a long while even with a lot of horse power. The chances of taming this societal beast are small at best (minus economic collapse, but let’s root against that, shall we?).

So, we’ll all just make our choices–swim against the tide or go along with it. I, for one, feel like I get swept away from the ones I love (even in their presence) when I ride the wave, however exciting it may feel for a moment. As I type that, I’m reminded of a movie that echoes my sentiment. It’s the 2012 film The Impossible, about a family caught in the devastating Thailand tsunami. I dare you to watch it (without holding your breath) and then tell me you want to live one day–one hour–distracted from your loved ones’ embraces, swirling with activity until you fall into bed not knowing how you spent or survived your day, emotionally disconnected or so hungry for success or accomplishment that nothing can pull at your heartstrings.

God help me, I choose sanity. I choose health. I choose meaning. I choose people. And God help me choose it again when tomorrow beats down my door screaming “squirrel” (*wink* to my Up fans). May I hold all trite-but-true sayings close to my heart: Don’t burn the candle at both ends, life is a marathon and not a sprint, your vibe attracts your tribe, blah to the very important blah. And may I choose to speak the whole truth from today on: “I’m going to say no this time, because I will become too busy if I say yes.”

With Hope and Heart in Hand,

Presented by Writers Block Prose, LLC

This entry was posted on June 7, 2017. 3 Comments