To those of my friends that have read my prior post, I have something to say here that I hope you will hear.  Because of so much conversation I’ve had with many friends and family over the last couple days. I’m going to be very honest and vulnerable, and it is only because I have deeply hurt some people with what I have said. I can say, I should have known this could happen, because of the topic, but I truly was coming from a place of love. In this post though, it has been FOOLISH on my part to think that all that is in my heart, and on my mind could be summed up in a short post. If you know me well you know my intentions were out of love. Please, please read until the end. And if you think this doesn’t affect you I promise you it does. 

I hope this will be read, and received and understood.  I think people don’t appreciate a long post anymore so I will do my best to be clear without going to long. I’m not a writer so forgive me as I attempt explaining. It will most likely be too long. 

I spoke at an event on September 24, 2019, to hundreds of men and women about abortion. I shared my own traumatic experience and how it impacted my life very openly and honestly. The impact it all had on me however, would have to be heard and spoken of face to face to even come close to understanding, just like everyones story.  I spoke up, after over 30 years of sickening, suffocation silence. I spoke, because I wanted to break through the shame women and men experience, help find healing, and bring awareness of the impact of hate and what is being said to women about abortion. I wanted to stand up for those who are being silenced and hurt. I spoke to give hope and speak life to women who had abortions for one reason or another.  

I have talked with women that come from every scenario you can imagine. I have friends that became pregnant at a very young age, and had an abortion alone, with no one by their side, out of fear that their parents would find out, and it would wreak havoc on their lives. Some of those procedures went well, and others were complicated, painful and scaring. Then, there are those who went with a friend or boyfriend, feeling pressured and wanting to back out, to keep their baby and find another way, but didn’t, and couldn’t, and live with regret, anxiety and the fear of anyone finding out what they had done. I have a friend who chose to have an abortion in medical school because it just couldn’t interfere with her countless years of hard work and discipline and her parents would never forgive her. She chose to go through with it, and went on with her life thinking it was a wise decision. She then found 10 years later that she would have to explain to her husband, that she was most certain the reason they were unable to have children, because of the abortion that left excessive scaring on her uterus. She wasn’t certain, but it haunted her. She felt responsible and guilty. I also have a friend who’s family chose to have her abort after being raped. Can you imagine? Of course I would want to do the same. I had been violently raped and understood. Who would say otherwise? All of these lovely, strong amazing women and young girls, made decisions that impacted their lives in ways you will never ever understand, unless you yourself have had an abortion.  

I do know, that there are many women that have had abortions that felt it was the best decision at the time, and they are thankful for the outcome. Most that I have spoken with though, still live with shame. Most women can’t speak of it, or even find help or counseling, because they are living with fears of judgment and ridicule from their husbands or children that don’t know, their parents that wouldn’t understand, the church that would most certainly condemn them, the public, who may do God knows what to them, out of hatred or a prideful stance in religion or politics.  Most women stay silent. The thing is, this  silence whether they feel they did the right thing, or wish they took a different route, only causes anxiety, fears and depression in the mind and heart of a person who should not feel anything but love and understanding. Ultimately there is no room for judgment by anyone. It is not so simple, and this I did not communicate in my post, I wrote quickly and clicked on “done”. It’s never done and simple.

I have been told that I have come across judgmental in my post, and I am writing to respond not out of pride. (if you truly know me, and fb people don’t totally—you will know I am not that person) I had many friends text or write me thanking me for speaking up and feeling I was their voice. Many friends have thanked me, because they can’t speak their minds for fear of losing their job for being pro life, or possibly tipping a friend or family member off, to question or think maybe they had an abortion. (that fear still lingers) I have friends thanking me for saying what I posted, lovingly and yet strongly. It’s a topic that they can’t speak of because the world in many ways silences them. 

It will surprise you, but all but a few of the women who are grateful for this post and that I am standing up for, are the very women that have had abortions who still carry the weight and shame of their decision. They wish they had done things another way. They have regret, but can’t speak for fear of shame, and that shame mostly comes from family, the Pro life community and Churches. Isn’t that backwards?

Religious groups, and close-minded people show hate and not love. They point fingers and silence people to live with something so serious, emotional and traumatizing, while pretending to care, or walk about saying they are doing what is right. These women go without counseling, understanding or healing, and the ability to open their mouths and talk and cry and express their feelings about the whole situation. Many of these women live with PTSD and anxiety that no one would ever know about. They are your mother, sister and girlfriends. 1 in 4 women have had an abortion. Look around. They are silenced. These women teach your children in school and show up at the PTA meeting. They work with you at your company and walk along side you through life. But they are silenced. You will never know their story. It is because of people, like you ASSUMED I am, that women live this life with an unseen sign on their backs saying WORTHLESS, SHAME, UGLY. It’s real and it’s painful and you will never know it.

There is also another side, that was not addressed and if left without acknowledgment. If not acknowledged it will only lead to further sadness, shame and anger. And for this I am so sorry. This is truly why I am writing this post. I didn’t address it, because I thought that my stance would be known. But with my short post, it couldn’t possibly be known. I was assuming I would be heard as loving women that have suffered or will suffer in some way, because of one decision that would forever change their lives.  But, my word usage was harsh in one post, and the interpretation was left open to believe I am one of those awful judgmental people, or worse, a heartless hypocritical Christian. And there are many out there, I know.  There are many that are NOT that way, but yes, sadly there are those who are beyond hypocritical. But those people don’t represent me, or anyone who truly follows Jesus.

I have to apologize to the thousands of women that have had to abort their babies for medical reasons beyond their control. They have had to face a terrible procedure that they did not want, nor want to agree with. I know them personally. And as well, a friend wrote me yesterday to tell my privately of someone dear to them that my post hurt. This makes me so sad. These women, had to wrestle and fight for the life of their unborn baby until there was no other answer. They have faced similar shame and guilt and have been silenced in so many ways. They not only live with heart break and sadness that is not comprehended unless you have carried a child in your womb, but the pain of silence because of the judgment floating around so freely.  Whether someone has been pregnant and forced to abort, or birthed their child that did not survive because of complications, we will never understand the loss of a child by a mother fully wanting and preparing for the miracle of her precious baby to arrive. We won’t. I will never because that is not what I have experienced, so I won’t even begin to say I can understand in any way. It’s heartbreaking to even imagine.

Recently, I was with a group of amazing friends, and shockingly learned of their own stories, and others, of losing their baby because of complications during their pregnancies. Losing them not to abortion, but miscarriages. Their stories were heart wrenching and just unbelievable. It terrified me to think of their circumstances and how vulnerable we all are as women, to go through something as difficult as losing your baby at 4, 6 or 8 months gestation, or 2 months after birth. I couldn’t believe after hearing their stories, how strong and courageous, happy and kind they still were after all they had been through. Well I can really, because women are amazing and STRONG. I sat there ashamed and sick to my stomach, as I listened as well, from the place in me that faced my own nightmare 30 + years ago. I worried that they cold see right through me and would judge me intensely. The silence crept in again, even after speaking with hundreds of women about breaking the silence. What I saw also, was the pain that these women still lived in, yet found comfort speaking with someone who could understand. They had healing on a new level right there in that car, that if kept silent wouldn’t be allowed to take the course of letting go, and moving into a new light. I was so thankful to be a part of that moment. To see the freedom of speaking and healing in a safe place.

Stay with me, please. See, this is so complex. It’s more complex than you realize. Or maybe you do. 

I have a friend who is here, because her mom refused to listen to the doctors who gave her every medical reason to abort. Doctor after doctor gave her mom fact after fact that she wouldn’t be born alive, or would be born with severe birth defects or worse. Her mom decided to take the risk that was thought to be dangerous and unwise. Well, thank God Rachel is here and making a difference in this world in incredible ways. And, she is perfectly healthy. So when I am talking with her, and look her in the eyes, I see a miracle. When I hug Rachel, and hold her to my heart, I feel a miracle. I have been touched by her in more ways than she will ever know. Mostly, because she shows the TRUE love of God. She counsels women about abortion and shares with them that there is another way. Not on FB, not behind a screen, but she speaks at various women’s clinics, on the sidewalks, at public events, on tv, through writing and more. She speaks though, of hope and options like adoption and more. She literally saves lives. Lives that you can hold and touch and know. She also speaks with the young girls and women that have chosen an abortion over these options, even after meeting with her, and she embraces them with love and shares with them the love they deserve with NO JUDGEMENT. She encourages them and still offers help and hope. She is my hero.

I also have a friend that I met at an event who was there to talk with women about abortion.  She was gang raped by 6 men. I think that says it all. It’s horrifying and our worst nightmare as women.  After sharing her gruesome story, I thought for sure I would comfort her and support her decision in every way. Then, she pulled out a picture of her little beautiful 3 year old girl. Her daughter who was born by the conception of a violent rape. We sat and shared stories about her sweet girl, just as I talk about my children we spoke of hers. There was a difference of course in her mind, and memory or the trauma that will forever be with her. But we talked mostly instead about the similarities and family genetics that were amazing and as unique and beautiful as any child. She told me that it was the worst and hardest decision she could ever face. But she said it was the best. Obviously it was. She simply said, I knew she was a part of me, and that made her my child and so I kept her. I was floored by her strength and courage and ability to face all he negative affects as well that she would have to heal from, as you can imagine. She became my hero as well.

These two stories are ones of thousands we know right? These stories are not “stories” though. They are personal, real, deep, life changing moments that are impossible to understand without walking through ourselves. 

My story however, radically changed a year ago, and my thinking morphed into something different after 50 years of believing one way. Time and wisdom, age and circumstances do that. My story is personal and too long to share. But, I can say that I felt my entire life, that every woman has her right to her body and her decisions. I felt that at the end of the day, it is not and could not ever be my decision or any court, to say what another women can or can’t do. It is her God given right. There is a but, and I know we all hate a but… Yet ,this I have to share in hopes that at least you understand where I am coming from whether you agree or not. This is also my weakness in life, my downfall,  that I want to be understood. In this case though, I really do. It matters for women that read this or hear of this, not me.

January 7, 2019, I had a massive shift in my reality. I really do want to keep this short. Obviously I am failing at this. I could write and write and that too would be for my healing and benefit, I’m sure. I had been speaking with my birth father for the first time in my life, for about a month, when we had a real, honest talk about what had happened in the past that lead to my adoption. I can’t go into it all here, but what I learned rocked my world. See, I thought because of what I read in my adoption papers early in life, that my birth parents dated for some time, accidentally conceived me, and for some reason realized it was in everyones best interest that I would be placed for adoption. I was okay with that to some extent, and filled in the blanks as a young girl would, as to what happened. What I didn’t know, or could ever have imagined or considered, was what I suddenly found out that day over the phone. After my birth mom realized she couldn’t go to her parents, or face the shame in her community, and a series of difficult events occurred she was faced with an option that would take care of her dilemma. She was taken by car, out of state, to a place that would perform an illegal abortion. This was 1968 and abortion was illegal. This procedure was dangerous for my birth mom, frightening for her, and there was too much uncertainty of a dangerous outcome. They quickly decided not to go through with the abortion, drove home and put that idea behind them. I was obviously put up for adoption (in a secretive shameful way) The moment I heard this my heart skipped and felt like it stopped. I was silenced. I was shocked. I was sick to my stomach. I said words and thought things I don’t entirely remember in the moment of disbelief. I felt my mind spinning and circling around beliefs I had held in my mind, about decisions I had made and decisions I agreed to. I felt awful and in ways I can’t explain. I of course, thought my birth father in that moment was brave and bold and honest and good. I heard his tone and words to be understood from a man who was not the man he was 50 years ago. I didn’t even know him, but I knew him in that second to be someone I could trust and respect. He was breaking silence for himself and for me. It was odd and awful, good and healing all in one. I forgave him because he asked for forgiveness. I didn’t really think he needed to ask, but it was for him ( and for myself I now know) for healing. I hung up the phone, walked straight outside and walked circles around my neighborhood. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t see straight. Tears were flowing down my face and the ache in my heart was surreal and new. It was overwhelming my soul and every thought I had. I wanted to scream. I wanted to speak with someone. I just didn’t know what to do with what I was feeling.  I sat and cried and wept like never before. I did so for many reasons that were pulsing through my mind. I did so because suddenly everything I thought of and believed shifted. I felt like a hypocrite. I felt confused. See, for the first time this was personal. I was that baby. I was in the room about to be aborted. It was me. I was floored that I felt what I felt. This part is personal. This part no one would understand. I was living because I was moment from being taken by abortion. But I wasn’t. And in that realization, I thought of my children Roddy, Keala, Liam and Grace that would NOT be here. I had obviously thought that before….I thought the thought of “What if I had been aborted” But it was distant, didn’t happen, and not my reality. But this, this changed that they would not exist. Which in turn changes the lives of thousands of people in our family and beyond. It changed everything. It was like being in a movie where they show what would happen if one thing were altered by a life not being lived. My life mattered for their lives. My children would not be here. I wouldn’t be here. You could simply say, yes, and life would have carried on differently and it all would have been fine. I guess you could take that stance certainly. But, say that to every person that has been touched by their lives, and there is purpose and beauty in it, and you would know that their lives matter. I don’t really say my life, because my whole life, honestly I grew up believing it didn’t matter. Really. No lie. I thought that until I had my children.

I didn’t instantly change my mind on abortion that day. My heart, soul and spirit were changed. I realized the implications of abortion and I felt guilt for my past on a level that I will never on this earth be able to explain. Guilt also that it took it to be ME, and me being so selfish to not realize that the life was a life that mattered. I thought months later, that I should speak out. I wanted to speak honestly and openly, so that if there were one woman living, as I had been living in silence and ashamed, that she would find comfort and a voice to express her sadness and regret. I wanted to help women know that there was counseling and healing available in so many ways. I also wanted to give hope to the women that were not wanting to go through with an abortion, but feeling lost or helpless, to know there are many options and many people wanting to come along side them with love and support. I wanted to stand up for life and acknowledge life from conception. Life with a heartbeat. Life that cannot defend itself. Life that deserves a chance.

I haven’t overlooked the struggle woman and young girls face. I have talked with them. Some of whom still chose an abortion. And I LOVE them and chose to encourage them to live without regret and to embrace how worthy, brave and lovely they still are. Abortion doesn’t define you. It hurts you, affects you deeply in ways people never understand no matter what your circumstance. I don’t know the answers. I just know that shame is a killer and it is hurting woman. (and men who help pay for the abortion, push the abortion, or try to plead not to have the abortion. Again, it’s not simple) Whether you chose to, or are forced to go through with it, it just brings pain. 

If you have had an abortion, for what ever reason, I am sorry you endured it. If it were by choice, it was hard. If you were coerced, it was hard. If you had no choice at all, it was the hardest. I am sorry and feel for you in ways you won’t ever know. 

I am writing because I feel deeply, am sensitive, and I know I was deeply misunderstood. It was my fault to think that such a place FB was a good place to bring this up.

SO, if I hurt you I apologize deeply.  If I helped you, I am grateful. If I encouraged you, I pray you seek what you need to find you peace. 

There is no simple answer and truly all we can do is love. Love covers all and heals all. It really does. They say it starts with “me” so this is my start. I love you.




New Beginnings include the past

A New Year is here! With that most of us embrace this time as a time of new beginnings and great hope in anticipation for all that is ahead of us. Somehow though many of us are carrying into the new year things we rather not. Things we experienced last year or from times past that we would rather forget or rid of from our memory, still seem to be right here with us. These memories or experiences can weigh us down or taint our future where we want to bring goodness and joy into our lives or the lives of others. I’m learning this year, better than before, to take these seemingly negative things that have happened and turn them into something beautiful, new and meaningful, that will shape my life in ways that are hopeful and good for others.

I was looking at our Christmas tree last night, as we counted down to the New Year (and yes, I stayed home in my yoga pants watching movies!) and noticed just how bright, sparkling and gorgeous it was. I just love our tree! It’s not amazing as some I’ve seen in images, but it’s perfect to me.  I just sat there staring at the glimmering lights and realized I’d be taking it down and packing away the ornaments and lights to end the season in just a few days.  The tree would then sit there stark and wilting, ready to be recycled and thrown back into the earth never to be seen again. The ornaments though, old and new, would be delicately wrapped, tucked away, and put in a safe place for keeping until next year when we will buy a new green gorgeous tree to redecorate and to celebrate God willing once again.

Our troubles, stressors, or pains from this past year are kind of like the Christmas tree. Really, the tree in itself  is beautiful, alive and perfectly made, green and full of life. It’s a tree! It comes just as it is, and truly doesn’t need an ornament or light to be beautiful and complete. We come into this world this way also. We are beautiful and complete, lacking nothing really.  Well, not entirely right?  We are lacking. Our journey here is meant for so much more. We have much to do and much to experience to truly be complete and whole, new and full of life. That is for sure true.

Our Christmas tree is covered with ornaments that the kids have made throughout their younger years, ones passed down from generations, new and fun ones we have collected along the way and the sentimental ones we give each other each new year. We decorate the tree in the somewhat the same manner each year, but each year it is entirely different. The ornaments are placed just so, with great care but in new ways and areas on the tree. They have new meaning each year, and shine and glimmer differently as they are placed next to ornaments they’ve never been near, which gives a newness that always amazes me. When decorated and complete I may even be (sadly. haha) caught moving them about, to create symmetry and a better flow. I can’t help myself!  The tree is always beautiful and some years prettier than the past. Yes sometimes the tree may be thinner or not as healthy, sometimes too expensive or too short or tall. But, always new and special, always changing. Our memories and experiences are just the same. We are covered in them, just as the tree is with the ornaments and lights.  Our every thought and action, dream and waking moment is affected in some way by our experiences. Each new year we bring those experiences and memories with us. Whether they are wanted  or not they are with us.

What I want to do this new year is to first see myself as the naked tree perfectly made full and beautiful and complete. Not because I am but because God sees me that way. And that way, I want to be. I want to realize that I don’t need to be shining, glowing or pretty every moment.  I don’t need to be a certain way to be noticed. Just as the tree I can change each year. I can let go of things that don’t serve me, and tuck them away. Just as we take down the ornaments, wrap them up and put them away for safe keeping. Also knowing that we could change up the look of the tree entirely by not reusing the ornaments we have or by buying new ones. We can let go of old ways and memories and change them and shift them in to new ways of being or seeing things, just as the tree. We can even let go of things we don’t need, “recycle” them, or rid of them all together. It’s up to us. We get to choose how we want to be and how we will carry ourselves into all that awaits us.

For today I’m going to enjoy my sparkling, shimmering memory making tree! In a few days I’ll take it down and decide what to keep and what to discard. I have ornaments that have broken and ones I no longer like. I have ones I patch and glue every year that I never want to fall apart, or lose. I will look at each ornament with a grateful heart, wrap it carefully and tuck it away for next year. Although truthfully, there may be a few though that are just not going to make it til next year. And that’s okay. They were meant to be with us as long as they were, they all served their purpose. They will most certainly be missed  but also replaced with something colorful, shiny, bright and wonderful next year. I will choose that for my tree and me!

Happy New Year friends! You are perfectly made. He thinks so.


Faking it.

We all fake it. We all do. At one time or another, we fake who we are. We do this to be polite at times, as to not put our problems and mess, on someone else. We do it to survive a toxic relationship, that we know we can’t leave. We do it to convince others that we are something we know we are not. And we do it to get from one level to the next, until we don’t have to fake it. We even fake it for so long, that we forget just who we are.

Now you may be thinking, no that’s not me. I actually don’t have to fake it. Well, good for you, you are one of the special few.

What I do know, and would love to talk about, is how we all have been in situations where we have felt the need to hide our struggles, problems, insecurities, vulnerabilities, and fears. We have all put up that front, that cover, that mask. There are definitely times, when it is appropriate, and necessary for sure. But then, there is the rest of life. Most of life. Life that is hard and full of struggles. Really hard. Like tough marriages, that are caught up in a cycle that are increasingly unhealthy, year after year. Like friendships that are complicated and difficult. Like parents that don’t approve of your decisions, or judge the way your chose to live your life. Or maybe, for you, it’s your children, that seem to be slipping away, and you just can’t figure out how to build the relationship you’d like to have with them. Maybe, someone you love is abusing drugs, or alcohol, and it’s ruining their life, and yours.  Maybe you lost your job and you just can’t get yourself to believe in yourself again. Maybe it’s infidelity, mental illness, a financial crisis, or worse. The list goes on. Right? We all have something we are struggling with, or know someone dear to us, that is experiencing one or more of these troubles right now. But, we don’t let on. We fake it. We look good, move forward, and don’t let our guard down.

With all this though, what I see most days are friends, family, and people around me, smiling, saying “Yeah, I’m good. You?” Or, “alright, great. You?” We smile, and grin, and wave, and nod when we really want to cry, and shake our heads and beg for help. Why do we say we are “good” when we aren’t?  Well, of course I can’t go around saying the truth on any given day, or I’d be crying at the checkout counter and falling to the ground, in tears on a run. (well, actually, I’ve done both.) Most seasons in life we are coasting along and life IS good. But then when we find ourselves in that tough place, we put on that smile. Really though, we want to look good. But what is looking good? We’ve created such an image of what it looks like to be healthy and happy, that it is just that, an image.

What I would love to see, is more of us sharing our struggles, and talking about our pains. We would all be comforted, and blown away, knowing that we are not alone. So much of our anxiety and troubles, come from feeling alone, and not knowing where to turn, or how to deal with things. When in reality, the person right next to you, working with you, going to school with you, or doing life with you, is dealing with something similar, or knows someone who has been where you are.

This life is tough. It is. If you are in a good place right now, I am thrilled for you. I am. I love that place. But soon enough, seasons change, and we all find ourselves back in a situation that isn’t so easy.  Or, if you are like me, or most people who have experienced trauma, or a painful event, you’re still reliving the uninvited past, from time to time. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if you could speak freely about your struggles? Wouldn’t it be the sweetest thing, to understand that you are not alone? Or, to be open enough with people, to share your struggles, to be able to in turn help someone else?

I’ve been very open about my life with friends, and people I meet. I always have. I try hard not to be fake. Do I fake it? Yes. I do. And I know, that it’s actually not so healthy. Sadness, stress and worry actually store up in my body on a cellular level, and become who I am emotionally, spiritually and physically. So that, I don’t want. That is why one thing I do, is talk. I talk with friends when I feel it is appropriate, and I share. I share what I’ve been through, and I share my fears and faults. Thankfully, I have. Because with that, I allow others to see my mess and my hope, my fears and my triumphs, my weakness and my strength. Through that, I have found that women, (some men) come to me and share their troubles. I’ve had friends, and a few strangers, (yep) open up to me, and talk about their struggles with husbands, family, friends and life. What is so beautiful through it though, is that there is this incredible, loving connection that takes place, that only happens when two people are open and authentic about who they really are, and what they are really dealing with. There is no room for faking. No room for just “good”. And what happens when there is no room for faking it? Real life opportunity for spiritual growth, emotional healing, physical healing, and life change happens. Just like that. No magic pill. No special therapy. No long drawn out, difficult process. Just an honest moment of connecting with another person, (a lot of listening) that allows who you really are deep down inside, to resurface in a safe, simple way. Sometimes, allowing that part of you to surface, (that has been stuffed deep down, hiding from the world, because of that “fake” you), now has a chance to come up and just be. And when that happens. Wow. Watch out. The mask comes off. And all kinds of growth and healing is possible.

There is a time for therapy of course, and professional help yes. But, what we need more of, and desperately desire, are real relationships with no filters. No fake anything. You will surprise yourself. You’ll see. When you break down those walls and let people in. You just may help yourself out.


Short but sweet

I talk a lot about peace. Peace of mind, peace in our bodies, and peace with others. I don’t always have peace though. And that’s okay.

There are times when I feel completely covered in peace, and then there are days when I am so far from it, that I question things. I analyze things, and am concerned with how one moment I may feel satisfied and content, and the next I am let down or worried, discouraged or upset. I am rarely in that place of struggling, and frustration about feeling so incomplete and alone, yet at times I am there. We all are. We all come to a place where we may feel discontent and discouraged. We all have days that rock our world, small or large. But what I know so well, is that we will never feel complete peace. Complete peace, as in always with you, never without it kind of peace. It doesn’t exist. Yes, maybe in a moment of meditation, prayer, reuniting with a friend or family member, a test result that is good news, or a new opportunity that shows us good things are on the way. But it’s all momentary and fleeting. There will always be something that will take us from that moment of peace and joy. There will always be something, or someone that lets us down.

What helps me shift gears when things are difficult, is to realize that it is momentary, and that it will not be the same tomorrow. One, I have a choice in matter, when I wake up each day, to choose to see things differently, to embrace change and uncertainty, or to forgive what has happened and move on. I have a choice and only I am responsible for that. A friend taught me this over 25 years ago. It was life changing . I know that sounds dumb, but I had never been taught the concept, and never knew I had the power to change the trajectory of my day or even my life. He ( Tony that’s you. smile. ) told me that I had no control over anything and I wasn’t responsible for anyone else’s feelings. The only thing I have control over is my attitude. A light bulb went off. For real. It was a moment for me that shifted my way of thinking and being, and I still have to remember it to this day.

I am a people pleaser. I say yes, when I want to say no. I try to make others content and happy before my self. (news flash, I can’t “make” anyone happy.) I run toward problems thinking I can fix them, and want everyone to experience peace, and feel content and cared for. Yes, those are good things, but not when you haven’t cared for yourself. I can’t be any good to anyone for the long haul, when I am tapped out, (not realizing it at all) and not when I am lacking peace. I certainly have figured this out over the last 25 years, but it is a never-ending progression with me.

I am always about helping others, (especially my husband and children) find peace. But what I do know, is that I have to take care of myself first, and realize that the peace I have is fleeting. The peace they will have is fleeting. And that’s okay. What I need to do, by example, is choose to fix my mind on greater things, and to let go of all else. My peace comes from one source truly, and that is God. How can that be you ask, If you don’t always have peace? Well, the deposit of peace, in a second from Him, into my mind, body and spirit, remains with me more than a moment. It fills me to a point of unexplainable joy. In a moment, (just a moment) I experience peace that covers me for days and months on end, if I am lucky. In a moment, I am shown grace, love, mercy, compassion and peace on a level you wouldn’t think possible. It’s a tiny glimpse of heaven, given to me, to share with others. Why isn’t it constant? Why is it unattainable at times, most times, when I need it, and feel desperate for it? Maybe because I forget the source. Maybe because I have built up unintentional walls of business, expectations, being stretched thin, and thinking I can do all things and be all things when I can’t. You forget the source? You know the source. How do you forget? I don’t quite forget, I forget the POWER of the source and without realizing it, I become a bit empty and dry. I become like the creek in the forest that slowly dries up in need of a water. I forget that there will be a new day full of rain from above, creating a waterfall that will flow down into the slivers of cracks in the thirsty dry creek. I forget that I am like that creek. I develop cracks and crevasses that leave me empty, and lifeless at times. But when the rain comes and water flows and the life source for plants and animals and creation are again refreshed and renewed, so will I be, by the life source I wait on, in hopes of renewal and growth. I know it will come, and I know it may take time. Yet, I know that when it does, I will find newness. I will find life again. I will find the gift of peace, maybe in just a moment. Peace to share and let flow to those I know. Peace that I will recognize and choose to see, and allow to sustain me another day. Maybe another season even. If I’m lucky. But I choose.

If we are lucky, this peace will last for a long season. But it will be just that. A season like the seasons we experience in nature. It will come and go and leave us when least expected. We will be blown away when it leaves us, just as the leaves of a tree are blown away in the fall. We will feel cold and alone, bare and raw in a difficult season, just as the tree in the winter looses its flowers and leaves, to be stark and looking lifeless. We will experience growth and newness in beautiful ways, shining like a light for others to see, just as the little green leaves appear, with lovely fresh blossoms bringing beauty and color on a tree in the spring. We will find comfort and rest, rejuvenating our spirits and preparing for the next season in life, just as the tree in the summer that stands tall and strong, looking complete and full of life. We all go through seasons just as all of nature and creation. What I have learned and am learning, is to continue to sway and move, and allow change to happen naturally. I have learned that in all things, tomorrow is a new day, and I have the gift of looking at it, as that or not. I have the gift of creating what I want each day in my mind. I chose to be flexible, forgiven, better than, humble and kind. I chose to see the goodness in all things or not. I chose. Do I fail? Yes. Am I always at peace? No. Do wake up and give thanks and shift my thinking for a new day? Yes. I do. I do so, because some days, that is all I can do. Peace is fleeing here in this life. Like everything else, for now, here in this realm, it is far from permanent and far from perfect. Maybe in moment it will be perfect, and that my friend is a gift, a rare and beautiful gift from God.

I pray you find peace today. I pray you know it’s source, and I pray you know that if you don’t find it today, it will be waiting there for you tomorrow.



About 15 years ago, we were watching old family movies, when we came across one, where my older daughter was saying, “My mommy is really comfy. I love my mommy, she’s so comfy.” She was as sweet pie, as soft as butter, smiling with her golden curly hair, and big bright brown eyes, expressing her love and contentment, with the word “comfy”. Comfy can be used in many positive ways, as a slang for the word comfortable. Comfier and comfiest sound so inviting and peaceful, and may even leave you with an image of a perfectly puffed up white pillow, inviting and waiting for you to melt your body right into it. The word “comfortable”, may leave you with a different feel and idea. It does for me, and in some ways, I don’t like the idea of being comfortable. Maybe it sounds like things are the same, boring, or too easy. Maybe it’s because my life really has never been comfortable, and I just can’t relate to it. Well, in some respects it’s true. But I, like my little girl, like things to be comfy. Maybe not comfortable, but comfy for sure.

What in the world does that mean? For me, an introvert, it means a lot. I figured out, about 8 years ago after reading the book Quiet, that I am an introvert. And what a relief it was to know I wasn’t alone! I wasn’t the only person who at times, needed to be alone in order to recharge my mind and spirit, after being with people. I wasn’t the only person, that when surrounded by large groups of people, felt the very air I was breathing, suck right out of me, to the point where I would feel weak and faint. I wasn’t the only person that walked circles around a party, smiling, trying to look like I was social and having a good time, only circling, because I was either nervous, uncomfortable, or overwhelmed by the whole thing. I’d excuse myself to go to the restroom, (that I didn’t need to use)  just to hide behind a door to take a few deep breaths, so I could walk back into a busy, chatty crowd. I’m not just an introvert, but an introvert wrapped with a bow of anxiety. Not so much now, but in my 30’s,  – Yes way! Now that I know this though, it’s a bit comforting to realize it’s not just me, and that I have friends in this same camp, and they are not odd or weak, (like I thought I was), but rather just made differently, with different life experiences, and different ways of being, that either naturally or unnaturally shaped them to be just the way they are. But this, this way of being, is not “comfy”. It’s actually uncomfortable to say the least.

What is comfy then? To me, comfy is a place in my mind and spirit that comes about when my life is at ease. It may be snuggled up next to my husband on the couch, where he sweetly massages my feet without my asking. ( I’m spoiled. I know.) Comfy is when everything is going smoothly in my life. When hugs are poured out on me, and kisses are shared spontaneously. Comfy for me, when my husband and I are in that sweet spot, and on the same page about things. Comfy in my world, is when homeschooling the kids is challenging, yet not difficult, when my children are happy , the bills are paid, my family and friends are in good health. When yoga and long runs are part of my week, my relationships are healthy, and life is just cruising along to a Bob Marley beat. Yeah, that’s comfy. That’s really comfy. I love that! But that’s not real. And most times, it only lasts for a season. Maybe even, only a month or a week. Maybe a day. Or, like a hiccup, it’s there yet before you know it, it’s gone. Because somewhere down the road of reality, we are all definitely made aware of the fact that our lives are not at all comfy.

In the last few weeks, I have talked with many close friends, family, and met more people than I could have ever imagined, that are struggling with anxiety, sickness, stress or very difficult home lives. I’ve talked to more friends recently, more than any other time in my life, that are feeling isolated and alone in their minds, and day-to-day lives, because of what they are dealing with. They don’t know what to do, or how to articulate their worry and fears, in a world where we all look like we have it together. If you go by FB, Instagram, or Snapchat, or whatever other social media you dive into, you’d think we all are living in a perfect world. But life is far from perfect, and yet we somehow think that someone else is living it.  How can we possibly speak of our own worries and troubles, when no one else is speaking of theirs? We live in a time where we all appear to be content, and on top of the world, through social media. But, if someone could see things through our own lens, they would see that at times, we all feel less than, anxious or even alone. They would see our troubles and difficulties, and not feel so alone. I know you’ve heard this. We all talk about how we should spend less time on our devices. We know we should put down our phones, and look up and around. We know we need to be more present with our friends and family, truly giving them our complete attention. Psychologists, teachers and professionals are all talking about it. We even tell our friends, and families this, yet we get sucked right back into the cycle of it all. The moment we see the our feed, wall or snap we are in competition mode no matter how you cut it. And that’s a stress whether we are aware or not, in some way we are part of the cycle. It’s not all bad, I’m not saying that. I love the articles, foodie posts, exercise challenges, ideas for decorating and design and gorgeous, tempting food pics. I know, I just said that. I love food!  It’s not all negative. That’s definitely not what I’m saying. But if we compare ourselves to the perfect pictures, that were taken 10 times over, for the ultimate post, while edited, cropped and filtered, we will be a bit let down, and left with an image that is very hard to live up to, during our not so comfy days.

The super cool things is, that we were made to be wiser and smarter than all this. Computers and technology have nothing on us! Our minds and spirits are so powerful and amazing, that if we take time to back away, clear our minds, recharge, and look up and away, we will know exactly what to believe and not believe. Maybe not entirely at times, but we will have a nudge, or gentle push in our spirits, that if we listen and follow, we will find what is real and right in time. We are all starting to get, that this fake, perfectly crafted world we see before us, is just that. Fake. Not fake, as in not happening, because what you see is happening, it’s just not the whole picture.  Years ago, I posted a picture of my husband and I on a date, looking happy, and giggling, while having a drink outdoors on a perfectly sunny, beautiful day. It was beautiful indeed. We were having fun, for sure! He looked so handsome, and I was in a sexy dress, (he thought so), and the night was amazing. That’s what people saw. But what they didn’t see was what happened after a phone call, right before getting home, (about to be the best part of our date – insert smile) that quickly spiraled our evening, because of a difficult family incident.  So to some, that quick picture, taken in a flash of moment, on our “perfect” looking date night, was perceived  as the reality of our every day life. It was a glimpse into our life, for sure. But that only told one fraction of it. You get me. We all have this in common, because our lives are not a snap shot. Our lives are anything but that. Anything but comfy. Of course, we wouldn’t share our worst days for the world to see, but I do hope we share. I do hope we talk, and communicate in some way, of the troubles, and difficulties we face. I do hope we get together with our friends, (even at a party, wall to wall with people where you want to hide in the bathroom for a moment just to breathe haha, just me) or just one on one, over coffee or whatever, to just get vulnerable, and real enough to let others know that they are not alone. And not just in the typical way of sharing, where you still need to keep it all appearing as if you have it together, but in a way of being totally real and authentic about your life. Your amazing, sweet moments matter. Your high points need to be shared. We need to see the good in all things. BUT, we all need a reality check in person, face to face, to share the difficult, sometimes awful, stressful, messy moments of our lives.

We all have friends with addictions, depression, sickness, anxiety, eating disorders, financial troubles, struggling marriages, fears of failure, insecurities, hopelessness and loneliness, Don’t you?  If you don’t think you know these people personally, I ask you to ask a friend. If you think that this is a downer, too negative, or that this couldn’t involve anyone you know, trust me, you aren’t living in the real world. This messy way of describing people, is the messy truth. Try sharing your feelings or thoughts with someone on a deeper level than you have. You may be surprised to hear what they have to say to you. You’ll allow them to share themselves with you, just by being real and vulnerable with them.  The only way I know this, is because I share my thoughts and feelings with people about certain struggles I have, and the more I do, the more I see tears flowing down faces, hands reaching out for hugs, people sharing their thoughts and fears, that they had never before felt safe to express. Walls have come down, and light has brought hope to a hopeless situation. Friends that have felt trapped or isolated for years, now express gratitude for a listening ear.  In these moments of realness, that I am so grateful for, I see God’s hand in healing and restoration. I see hope and truth and friendship on levels I never thought possible. I see the beauty of humanity in this broken world. I see connections spiritually and emotionally that point me to God. There is no greater gift than to connect with someone on this level. There is no place I’d rather be, than in an uncomfortable, messy conversation with someone being real. (well there is, like the beach….) But, truly, it is a liberating, refreshing, life-giving place to be. Now, I am becoming quite comfy, being uncomfortable.

I know now, that it takes being uncomfortable, (not Comfy) vulnerable, and risky to find that place of comfort with a friend. Everything in my life that has been difficult, has been extremely uncomfortable. I used to tuck my troubles away in my mind, stuffing them deep down into my spirit, hiding the mess, so that no one would see the real me. I did everything I could to avoid being uncomfortable. Which meant having a false reality most times. But now, I’ve grown to know better – to just be real. (too bad it took til I was in my 40’s to figure it out!) It’s a process for sure. I have realized no matter how difficult and uncomfortable those moments and experiences were, they made me stronger and wiser. Being uncomfortable stretched me, shaped me, and empowered me to be who I am today. Being uncomfortable has made me more compassionate and empathetic for others than I ever would be, had my life always been stress free, comfortable, cozy, and comfy.

I think it’s fair to say we all would like our lives to be comfy. My little girl wanted to remain in my comfy arms, snug as a bug in a rug. But, she had to leave my side, into the oh so uncomfortable world.  Yet, this world that hurt her, disappointed her, troubled her and discouraged her, (like all of us have experienced) also shaped her into most beautiful, confident, brave, kind young woman I know. Had we not talked about my struggles, been vulnerable with each other, and had I not been real with her, she may have turned out quite differently. We can do this for each other in so many ways. It’s really crucial we do. Not so much so we feel comfortable, but rather comfy. Comfy to me, is cared for, loved, understood, protected, heard, and at ease. You won’t be in that sweet spot always, but you sure can create a place for someone else to feel that way. And that, that is pretty comfy.






You may find God on a yoga mat

You are either thinking cool, her title! Or what, seriously? Stay with me here. It was an hour and a half toward the end of my yoga practice, while laying flat on my back, in savasana, trying to relax, and let go of my stress for the day, (which really means stress of my life) when I began to tense up, not wanting to let my arms and hands gently fall to my sides, onto my mat. This was many, years ago, while I was in the middle of my yoga teacher training, and I was discovering what happened, not only physically, but mentally, and spiritually, during asanas in a yoga class. Yes, all three, mind, body, spirit.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. “Spiritually? See, I knew yoga was a religion. I  just knew that it wasn’t from God, and some gateway to something we shouldn’t partake in.” Or maybe your thoughts aren’t so severe, but you question… I ask you to hold your horses friends. Please follow me for a moment. People have asked me over and over, “is yoga a religion? What in the world do they mean, let go, or open your heart? What do those poses mean anyway?” Well, for every single person, it is individual and personal, and either tied to no religion at all, or maybe a religion. I know, you have done your research, and you have heard many stories, proving that yoga is a religion. I know. I’ve looked into it all myself, and found the truth. Most importantly, I found my truth, and how for me, Jesus was right there, on my mat with me, no matter what the person next to me was believing or doing. (which is none of my business anyway) I met Him on a deeper level, right there on my mat. I am not religious, and don’t have a religion. I have a spiritual relationship with Jesus, and surrender my life to Him. That’s about it. I look for Him, yes, in a yoga class. As well as on a long run, while cooking, on the beach, or the movies, driving my car, at a concert, or while meeting strangers. Wherever!

The funny, and not so funny thing, is that people think that it’s when you put on your Sunday best, and go to church, that you find God. Maybe, yes. But, not so true most times. From what I see, and have experienced on my own, is that Sunday is the day we are sometimes furthest from God.  Unless you really get it, and let go, surrender, and be still, you will miss Him. People get all dressed up, put on that all together, “happy” face, race out the door, to look good, and show up for church (in a building) hoping that no one will really see what’s going on inside. Of course that’s probably not you, and I know that we all go, for humble, meaningful, reasons. But let’s get real.  Some days, there’s a lot more going on. You show up annoyed with your husband or wife, your kids are discouraged and having a difficult time, you’re hung over, in a fight with a friend, carrying around anger or jealousy or worst yet, judgement. We want to look like we have it all going on, so we hold our heads up high, and move through the day with smiles, that don’t really come from deep within, and words are spoken that are not quiet true to ourselves, or expressive of where we really are in the moment.  We fake it.

If you are lucky enough, you have had a supernatural experience in “church”, and have felt the weight of the world lifted off you. I have. Maybe a word shot straight through your heart, and changed you instantly. Happened to me. Maybe a passionate, beautiful song, or watching someone worship with arms wide open, and a humbled heart, struck a chord with you, and took you to an emotional place of healing like you’d never experienced before. Loved that. It happens. In church it happens for sure. What I hope you know though, is that it wasn’t the church that did that. It wasn’t church (your building) where you showed up on Sunday, that allowed that to happen. It wasn’t church that brought you to your knees. It wasn’t church, that filled your heart so deeply, that tears burst through, and poured out of your eyes, down your face . What happened to you there, in church, is what happened to me, on my mat, that sweet day, long ago in savasana.

It was in savasana, that I had a supernatural, surreal moment, and met Jesus on an entirely new level, right there, in a yoga studio, on my mat. It was on my mat, my arms holding to my chest and unable to fall to my sides and relax and let go, where I heard a voice. (not audible, but in my spirit.) “Let go. Surrender. Allow me to be with you, and heal the very part of you that can’t just BE.” I couldn’t seem to let my arms fall away to the side. I was holding myself tightly, and just stuck. I placed them back over my heart and kept them there, gripping as if something I could do, would take away my troubles and pain. Part of savasana, is to allow yourself to be, and just let go. To rest. To let down all walls, all worry, all past and present, and just Be. Well, I couldn’t be, for some reason. Then, out of no where, I was struck in a powerful way. Thoughts and visuals were flying through my mind, and downloading into my spirit. I saw my 15 years old self, in the shower, beaten, alone. and a bloody mess. I saw myself clinging to my own body, holding myself together, while I shook uncontrollably, trying to wash my body of the ugliness that just occurred, crying and screaming, though no one could hear me, cause I shoved my hands over my mouth to silence myself. I saw myself alone and holding on for dear life in that moment, for I knew I would totally lose it, and come apart completely, if I let go. The visions kept coming, and I tensed up even more. The tension became real and I could feel it in my body, mind and spirit. My hands and arms covered my heart while laying there. They were firm and shaking and not budging. Because of that horrid act, in that moment, my mind and body were reliving it. I was experiencing a traumatic moment all over again, right there on my mat. It was surreal. Sadly, this had happened many times before. But why now? What? Why? I just finished practicing yoga, with the most amazing group of beautiful people, in a quiet peaceful class. I was in a good place. So I thought. Stress, bad memories, and pain, have a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. It began to take hold of me. But, again, I heard that voice. “I am here. I am with you. Surrender it. Right now, let it all go.” How do I express what happened next? I won’t go into it all, because there really are no words. But in that moment, I grabbed ahold of my thoughts and captured them right then and there. I imagined Jesus standing there, over me, with arms wide open, waiting for me to come to Him. There are no words. Really. I am just not an eloquent, expressive writer, to even come close to sharing the healing I felt within my mind, body and spirit. I decided to allow my hands to unclasp, and my arms to loosen and drift to my side. I slowly pushed the memories away, and filled them with a picture of who I am in Him. I held on to that. I held on to Him, and He held on to me. I reached out to Him. Surrendered …. and then, I don’t know how I saw it, but He let me see this beautiful young girl, smiling and running along the beach, laughing and joyful. It was me. My spirit was soaring high and found myself in Him. My heart-felt as if it were floating above me, and my breath began to slow down, into a deep, calm peace. Right there, on my mat, a radical transformation occurred. It was healing, powerful, supernatural and real. I wasn’t in church. It wasn’t on a Sunday. It wasn’t when I looked all together and pretty. It was when I was vulnerable, afraid, weak and a sweaty, salty mess of a yogi, laying there on my mat.

Many people have asked me, “What kind of people go to yoga? What kind of people practice yoga? What religion is yoga? Are they dabbling in witchcraft or some demonic, pagan way of being?” I’ve heard it all. Really. Not to lie, I’ve questioned it. I question just about everything, so I’m not pointing fingers. But, I’ll tell you, the kind of people who practice yoga, are about the same as the ones in your church. They are amazing, humble, sacrificing, salt of the earth, giving, selfless, generous, lovely, kind people. They are hippies, foodies, liberals, conservatives, climate change, tree hugging, loving people. Just know though, that in your church, there are people you don’t care to talk about. People who are alcoholics, drug abusers, pedophiles, porn addicts, adulterers, liars, frauds and broken, messed up people. Right there. In church. Sitting with you in the pew. Yep. They are there. The same goes for any yoga class, and of course, everywhere. And that’s where Jesus is. You’ll find Him everywhere. You’ll find Him with the worst and best of people, and in the most unthinkable places. You’ll find him on a mission trip and on a street corner, in a board meeting and in a night club. You’ll find Him living in a cardboard box and in a bar. See, Jesus didn’t go toward the powerful, beautiful, successful people. He went toward the lost, lonely, hurt, broken people. And those people are you and me. (yeah, you may be powerful, and beautiful, but you get me….) He wants us when we are broken, meek and humble. And if you peel away the layers, you’ll find that broken person somewhere on the inside. We all are to some extent broken. How could we not be, living this life on this earth? It wasn’t in a building or particular place that He met with people. He just met them where they were. He wants to meet us right where we are, wherever we are. It’s just like the potter, working with soft, fresh, pliable clay. He can mold it out of nothing, and transform it into the most precious, beautiful piece of work. It would be hard to do the same with a solid, hardened complete piece of stone. If you seek Him, you will find Him. If you let go, soften your heart, and surrender yourself, you will find Him. It may be while working, surfing, hiking, or in crazy traffic. It may be in the shower, (usually is for me!), or while managing your children, while completely overwhelmed and tired. It may be at a bar, or in your sorority. Or maybe while washing dishes in the back of a kitchen, or in the office, where no one even notices you, or knows your name. But He is there. He wants to meet you in a very personal, real, authentic, no B.S. about it, kind of way.

I’m sure you may say, “Why would you share that? Don’t you care about what people think of you? That’s so personal.” Well, I share, because when I do, I hear, “me too.” When I speak truthfully, I hear “I know, I’ve been there.” I hear, “thank you. I needed to hear that.” Sadly, I hear that often about physical or mental abuse. No lie. A lot. So, if there’s a simple way for me to show God’s love, and power, it’s to share my stories and my pain, that He has miraculously rewritten, changed and healed. It’s all for Him! All for you to see a glimpse of His mighty, radical, never-ending love for YOU. So if one story, or look into my life may help you know, or see that, then that my friend, is why.

So when you are all dressed up, this Sunday, maybe on your way to church, and pass by the jogger on the street, (that certainly can’t be going to service like you) or you see the yoga studio open, and classes are full, or the SUV with bike racks on top, heading off for some fun, or the homeless person on the side of the road, or the angry person in the checkout line, remind yourself that they just might be meeting God, where they are meeting God. And if you’re in church, where everyone looks to have it all together, know that your sweet glance or wink, hug or smile, may mean much more than you could ever imagine. Sometimes it’s in the least expected places where we encounter such a blessing, as His presence. It was for me. Right there in the middle of yoga, sweaty and a mess, on my mat.


Never Enough

I was driving home yesterday morning, listening to the song  Never Enough, from the Greatest Showman soundtrack, (if you haven’t heard it. Do listen.) and started weeping like a baby. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the lyrics, or just that it is a beautiful, powerful, emotional song. But, I cried. The kind of cry you have where one minute you are bawling, and then next, you start laughing out loud, all at the same time. The mix of emotions were wonderful though!  If you ask my children they will say this is an odd thing about me for sure. I laugh after I discipline in a serious moment. I laugh in the middle of an argument with my husband. (not good). I laugh after crying, and I laugh at myself when I screw up. I know. Weird. But laughing and crying at the same time is not such a bad thing. It’s pretty cathartic if you ask me. It’s renewing and recharging. And that- that is exactly what I need.

That’s kind of where I am right now. Realizing that there really never will be enough here on this side of heaven.  It’s been an incredibly emotional year for my family. My move here to Kentucky, leaving our children, friends, and all our comforts, to a new city, knowing no one, has brought about more emotions for myself, than I have experienced in a long time.  Amazing positive emotions, and lonely sad ones to name a few. But, things have now quickly and abruptly changed, and for sure, I am all about seeing the goodness in everything. Because a grateful heart leaves little room for sadness or regret. We moved here with that thought in mind, to look for goodness, and have surely found it to be true. Seek and ye shall find. I get it now. For real.

Change is not something anyone in our family likes. We don’t. We like comfortable, predictable and knowing what’s next. Even though we are up for adventure, and love trying new things, and looked at this move that way, we secretly still like things -just so. Life’s not like that though. Change happens in a blink of an eye, and for so many people, it can be difficult to say the least. This change has been a struggle, but one that has been amazingly life-giving, challenging, meaningful beyond our wildest expectations, and full of lessons we’ve learned, that we wouldn’t trade for the world.

What I’ve learned, is that there will never be a perfect place. There will never be enough. Not enough of anything. Because we sure moved to a perfect, dreamy home, where horses would trot by at sunset, the kids would walk down the street for art classes, and in to town for gelato, all by themselves. (which is rare these days) And street parties, concerts in the park, and bbq’s were the norm. This lovely place in Kentucky, where we found peace, fun-filled days and nights, new amazing friends, gorgeous land, and of course incredible food,  (for a foodie like me, cause that really matters!) and yet still our hearts were not completely filled. Our struggle was now different from being in Georgia, where we were wanting to find a new home, and be in a place that we’d like better, thinking that their would be somewhere we would be happier, more satisfied, and that that would be enough. Our struggle was now, that we were in a “better place”, but our hearts were still aching and missing something. There was an emptiness because we were missing our family and friends and all that we truly loved. I really struggled with what this was all about, and kept wondering if we should stay here, or go back to Georgia. I kept wondering if this emptiness would leave, and we’d learn to love our new life here in Kentucky. Maybe we would…. who knows. The Kentucky grass IS greener! But, what I have realized, is that the saying, “home is where the heart is,” IS REAL.  My  girlfriend, sent me a picture of a sign, while I was struggling with this concept. It said, “Where we love is truly home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” That said it all to me. The emptiness I felt, (we felt), was because our hearts were still at home. Home in Georgia. Home where we loved. Home where our loved ones were. Here, we were experiencing all that we desired, but still, it still wasn’t enough. So what would be enough? Would a beach house in Hawaii be enough? A farm-house in the country with goats be enough? (maybe!) Would more money, more friends, more you fill in the blank, be enough? No. It wouldn’t.

Trust me. The struggle has been real. The nights of secretly crying myself to sleep were real. Watching my younger kids experience missing their siblings, school and friends, was difficult. But what we soon discovered, was that no matter where we were, whatever we would be doing, who we would be with, or however much money we were blessed with, that it would never be enough. Being home with family and friends will be enough for now. For sure! And I will be toasting to it all day long, (with a very tasty lilikoi tequila cocktail) when I finally unpack may bags and return the next week!  But, will it be enough forever? If my children decide to move away, or my friends leave, or someone dies, and things change again, the emotions will come back, and nothing here, ever, ever, will be enough to completely fill the space in my heart that will be left empty again. We aren’t designed for that completeness. Not here. The longing I experienced, won’t completely be filled, even with all those I love, and all I desire close to me. The yearning for more love, more closeness, more safety, more romance, more comfort, will never end, and will never be filled completely. Because there just isn’t enough on this planet, to fill the entirety of my heart.

What is enough though, will be on the other side of this earth, realm, world, or life we live in. What will be enough, is the everlasting, harmonious, heavenly promised land. And hopefully, that is a ways away, as we have a lot of living to do! So here’s to change, uncertainty, and not knowing. Here’s to living life fully without regrets, and being content with where you are! Cheers!


Naked Hippies

On the North Shore of Kauai you’ll find one the worlds most beautiful, rugged, lush, tropical, trails. If you live on Kauai, or you were not your typical tourist, you have probably hiked the Kalalau Trail. This was one of my favorite things to do growing up. My dad would pile a bunch of us in the back of his truck, with no worries about seatbelts, sunblock, or water bottles. We would cruise out to the North Shore, to the very end of the island where the road would end. Back then, you wouldn’t have to park far away, and wait forever for a parking space. It was peaceful and quiet in the 70’s. We would all jump out of the back of dads truck, race off tippy toeing through the hot sand, not waiting for him, or any adult, and jump into the crystal clear reef protect waters of Ke`e Beach.

After a long swim, we would dash over to the beginning of the trail, all tan, sandy and wet, ready for an adventure. This was the start of the Napali Coast, that lead to Hanakapi`ai and Kalalau Beach. Our muddy, barefoot feet, led us through steep trails, winding turns, valleys, and rocky points that jutted out over the gorgeous turquoise Pacific Ocean. There were dangerous areas, like crawlers ledge, where the wind would whip through with such force, that you could lean into it, and feel its strength holding you up. (which you really wouldn’t do there, or you’d fall 600 or more feet down the cliff,I into the ocean.)  I loved it all, even though I fell one time, and slid 6 feet down, to be caught, by the roots of trees and rocks. Powerful waterfalls, and racing streams surrounded us, and lush green plants and vibrant flowers colored the trails. It was a magical haven for me.

We had hiked the trail many times, but I will never forget this one particular day. As we hiked into Hanakapi`ai Beach, I made my way around the last rocky turn, crossed a creek, waded through a tidal pool, where the falls met the ocean, and found my way over the slippery moss-covered lava rocks. I looked up, and right in front of me, were all these naked people. Yes. Naked people everywhere! I was probably 6 years old, and not at all shocked really, just surprised. I probably wasn’t even wearing a bikini top at the time, and I was used to seeing people half-naked anyway. But, this was a little different. Beautiful, tan, long-haired women were sunbathing on rocks, with green leaves covering certain parts of their bodies. (No, not those parts, those parts were on display for all to see.) My dad pointed out, that they were using the leaves and seaweed for some kind of healing. Men were just hanging out, (no pun intended! Haha) walking around, showing every bit of themselves without a care in the world. Children were running, and dancing everywhere, bouncing around in the calm waves as free as could be. I guess I picked up on my dads carefree way of reacting to it all. He didn’t say a negative word, or comment in any way, other than just saying hello, and smiling at everyone. I can’t remember, but he probably stripped down too! It was no big deal. None. I guess if my dad had said something crude or rude, or off colored that day, my view would have been different. I wasn’t clueless, I did pause, realizing of how odd it was, to see so many naked people all in one place. But, I don’t remember having a negative thought, or hearing anyone say anything derogatory. Don’t get me wrong, I knew the obvious, that we needed to wear clothing in life! But, I did admire how carefree and confident these people were.  I think I knew, before anyone said a word, that these naked free-spirited people were Hippies. I had heard the term used before, to describe people like this, on the island. I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I remember admiring how happy, content, and free, (and naked ) these hippies were!

I was just a young little girl back then, looking at these beautiful, naked bodies through my innocent eyes. It seemed kind of natural to me. Everyone looked healthy and happy. I was too young to know about the way much of our world viewed the naked body, what was taboo, and what was misconstrued. I had not seen anything inappropriate, or vulgar, or heard a anyone talk about someone’s body disrespectfully, or in a disgusting way. Nor had I been sexually abused, and physically hurt yet. I was still young and unaware of all the obsessiveness, idolatry and shame, involved in nakedness, so I thought it was all a wonderful thing.

We all, at one time or another, had great confidence and self-respect for our bodies. But, over time, some of us lost sight of how beautiful and lovely we truly are. We may have heard something critical, said about our figure, or the way we walked or moved.  It may have been while watching a movie, that glorified hyper sexual imagery, more than the heart and mind of a woman, (or man) that left you feeling confused. Or possibly, you overheard your mother complain about food, and her weight, or shape. Or maybe, you watched men, or your father, flirt with women and treat them as sexual objects. Or something as simple as  being in dressing room, where clothing didn’t fit right, and instead of knowing that your body is intricately designed, and beautifully shaped, you began a cycle of judgement or disapproval. And then, there’s the ugly truth, that many of us were groped, fondled, molested, or raped, leaving us with little confidence, self-respect or love for our own bodies. The list is sadly, endless, and it’s a different story, and picture for all of us. With this, many of us began to judge ourselves, and started examining our bodies, comparing ourselves to friends, celebrities, magazine covers, and Instagram feeds.

As much as these things, have shaped our view of ourselves, and become the norm of thinking, please know, that at the end of the day, your physical appearance has nothing to do with who you are. It doesn’t matter what size you are, what your thighs look like in your yoga pants, how big or small your boobs are, (trust me!) how long your legs are, or how you look in a bathing suit. The stretch marks, cellulite or extra weight you may carry is NOT you. And for men, I’m sure it’s similar, yet a different slant on the way you think you should look, or treat your body, in comparison to others.

Years ago, my mother in law was talking to my husband, about his old high school girlfriend, that she had recently seen, and referred to her as a “perfect size 8”. She truly thought this woman was beautiful and perfect, as a size 8. Isn’t that wonderful!!! Of course it is!  But I had never heard anyone say such a thing. See, another person would say that a size 8, was over weight and not attractive. Isn’t that ridiculous! I say that, because I had been told when was a size 2, (by someone important to me) that I needed to lose weight. Go figure! And at that time, I believed the nonsense. Not for long, but it got in my head, and affected me. Our world has twisted ideas on body image, for sure. And sadly, at some point we started to believe the lies. Talk about mind games.

There was a moment for you, that slowly drew your mind away from seeing your beauty and knowing your worth. For some of you, thankfully, it may not have been anything traumatic or terrible, and it just may have manifested from random life experiences. Yet for others, it may have been a moment, that forever changed the trajectory of your life, leaving you with a mental, (or physical) scar, that you have to care for, day-to-day, just to see yourself as worthy. Whatever it is for you, I want you to know, that it is your spirit within you, that ultimately needs to be healed and cared for. It is your spirit that was hurt, not only your body. I want you to know that you are so much more than your physical body. You’ve heard that before, I know.  But I want you to really get this. YOU are NOT your body. You are living in your body. Yes, the way we view our body matters, and the way we care for our body is crucial. I do hope you will learn to cherish, and respect your body, and treat it like a temple. (There is a lot to say on that, but I won’t get into it now.) I hope that you will somehow find a way, through art, counseling, therapy, writing, cooking, meditation or prayer, back to seeing yourself as whole and beautiful. I hope that you will find healing from what may have happened, that blinds you from seeing and knowing the real you.

So what do you do? You capture your thoughts, and call them out as the lies they are. If they are not kind, peaceful, or life-giving, than they need to go! It’s kind of simple really. You have way more power than you know about! Listen to the Holy Spirit, to know and believe that you are beautifully and wonderfully made. Imagine, if today were the last day you had here on earth. Today is it. Just like that. Just like it may have been for your girl friend, who died of cancer, or your dad or mom, like mine, who passed away much too soon. Or your friend, whose child is dying right now, or your grandfather who is sick, or who ever it is, that won’t see many more days. Do you think for one moment, that they are thinking of whether or not you love them based on their physical body? No. They don’t. Do you think for one moment, that if your friend with breast cancer, was given 1 more month with her husband or kids, that she would be worrying about her hair or boobs? Nope. Not. Not at all.  Of course they would want a healthy vibrant body, but that wouldn’t affect their love for you, nor would it affect your love for them. Nor would it change WHO they are. I was blessed enough to be with my mom when she was dying, and we were able to gaze into each others eyes, and express our love for each other. We really didn’t even have to speak. We just knew. We just looked into each others eyes, and understood the immensity of our love. Yes, I loved feeling her hold my her face in her hands, but what connected us was our spirit. Your loved one, would look you in the eyes too, deep into your soul and tell you they loved you. They would be loving YOU – your Spirit. And that, That is YOU.

I pray you connect with the Holy Spirit, your spirit, and embrace your body today! We are mind, body and spirit. All three! I hope there will be a spark within you, to see your beauty today! No matter how you look, what size you are, or what you have been through, you are perfect. Shine bright my friend!

Psalms 139: 13 -14 reminds us……

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.










I’d give anything to warm my winter body out in the sun today. Should I add hemp and macadamia nuts, or Brazil nuts to my power balls? Should we go take pictures of the Alpaca down the street, after our studies today? Easy breezy, friendly thoughts, were rolling through my mind, as I cleaned the house. Then, out of no where, like a flash flood, negative thoughts began to run through my mind, one after the other. Like the time I didn’t keep my word with a friend, and the time I snuck out, and ran off to the beach in the middle of the night, and in high school, when I threw a party and 75+ “friends” showed up, (along with the police), and there was the time I took the car, and went joy riding around the island without my license… on and on…the thoughts kept coming, and some were not anything I’d want to share.

I was having a lovely day, thinking happy thoughts, when these negative thoughts, that I had tucked away and given up, surfaced again. More thoughts entered in, and slowly my mood changed. I stopped singing and began thinking a bit too deeply, (as I do). This wasn’t a first, this had happened before, and I knew it wouldn’t be the last. I used to have this reel running through my head, over and over, usually at the worst possible time. I’d wind up feeling guilty or wishing I had done something differently. You’ve had this happen, right? When you’re tired, snuggled up in bed, drifting off to sleep, and the unwelcome thoughts begin to settle in. Or while driving in the car alone, enjoying a little quiet time, or maybe, it’s after you speak with your parent, and they say that one particular thing, that takes you right back to a time you’d rather not think about. You know what I’m talking about. You start over thinking things. You remember a guy, or girl who treated you horribly. Or the lie you told your friend, or spouse, or the way you backed out of something, and didn’t keep your word. Or maybe for you, it was the night you drank too much, and lost your temper. Or worst of all, you start thinking negatively about your weight, and your appearance, comparing yourself to others. The list goes on and on. Then, that voice emerges. We all have that voice, that creeps up, out of no where, and starts running through our mind. The one that finds its way in, without permission, that doesn’t seem to remember it’s not invited. It’s that voice, we all know, all to well.  The voice we should ignore, but listen to anyway. It’s not kind or friendly and it’s definitely not welcome, but it still comes on in, every time. Well, it was unexpected and uninvited today. I tried to push it aside, and move on. But, as I was cleaning the dirt, and mess, I started to see myself as THAT mess, and heard that voice begin to make its way into my mind. Not an audible voice, but the one you know all to well, that nags, and taunts you.

Seriously? I’m having a great day! I’m in a good place. What’s going on? I thought for a minute. I paused. And then I remembered. Capture it Kira. Capture it. And with that, I said NO. Nope. Not today. Not gonna happen. Don’t you remember Kira? Don’t you remember who you are? Just then, I remembered the new song, my daughter just told me about, and turned it on, right then and there. I played Who You Say I am, by Hillsong, as loud as I could.  I took a deep breath, cleared my thoughts, and began to sing. And just like that, His Spirit moved on in. Have you had this happen? I’m sure you have. It’s a wave of peace and love that sweeps over every single part of your being, and comforts you. It’s a calming that takes over, and stills your heart and mind. If you listen carefully, you can hear His whisper that gently says, “I say who you are.”

I used to be so frustrated, and consumed with why I couldn’t rid of certain memories, or let go of past hurts. I’d pray, meditate, run, journal, eat a bag of sweet potato chips, (yep, you know the kind), stand on my head, (yes. stand on my head) or just lay down cry. I would seek ways to alleviate the thoughts, that kept me from seeing myself the way He saw me. Some days it was a struggle. But, then one day, I learned how to capture those thoughts, and replace them with His thoughts. The Word says, in Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” I am learning to believe that I am who He says I am. I am not the thoughts that come against me. I am not insecure, afraid or weak. He doesn’t see me as I sometimes see myself. He sees me as His lovely, amazing creation, and loves me for who I am in Him. Most days, I walk with my head held high, wearing my sparkling, imaginary crown. Yet, there are days, because I’m human, and in need of reminders and affirmation, that I ask Him to whispered in my ear. I don’t think I could ever come close to sharing, or expressing all that my spirit hears, and knows from Him. But I do know, it’s more powerful and beautiful than your mind could ever realize, or comprehend. If you ask, and listen carefully, you’ll hear Him whispering the name He first called you. And you will melt in a puddle of grace, overcome by the sweetness of His love for YOU. I pray you will ask Him today, to remind you of that name. I promise you, you will put on your crown and walk with your head held high!

Yes, I will struggle with my thoughts every now and then, and so will you. Some days they creep in out of no where, uninvited.  Just like today. The difference now, is that I know to how to capture those thoughts, and call them out as the lies they are. I remind myself of who He says I am, take captive His thoughts, and invite them in, every. single. time.


Cardboard Boxes and Coves

pexels-photo-103567.jpeg“Mommy, you know that man who lives under the cardboard box on the side of the road up here on the left? We saw him earlier today with Roddy on our way home, and Roddy was so sad that he didn’t have a bar, or water to give him. He gives food to the homeless people you know…. It’s so easy mommy, we just need to always have something with us to be able to give someone in need, and then just love them.” Gracie said this so sweetly and in a matter of fact way. I knew this about Roddy, and was so thankful that he was now teaching Liam and Grace to do the same.

I talked with Gracie and Liam that night after being with Roddy, about caring for all people, in all situations, and about the of the man living under the cardboard box. We all wondered how he got there, how long he’d been there, and if he’d ever find a home.  I shared with them a story of when I was their age dealing with something a bit different, yet similar.

I was in 7th grade, living with my dad and brothers in our new home near the ocean. My parents were now divorced and my mom had left to live in the mainland. We moved from our mountain home to be near the ocean which soon became my get away, resting, and hiding place. My world had changed drastically, and I still had the need to run away from my problems. So I ran to the beach, and I ran often. My father was at the hospital busy working, sometimes 6 days a week, and my older brother was going to school on Oahu, so my little brother and I were usually home alone.  Most every day, I would make my way down to the beach, by walking, skateboarding, running, or by begging the bus driver to drop me off at a spot where the beach was a five foot jump away, rather than dropping me off a 1/4 mile up the street, just so I could have as much time there as possible!

My friends and I would meet after school to surf, play volleyball, or just hang out. I often made random, temporary friends that came to the island for Spring break or Summer vacation. So, I was used to seeing new people all the time. One day I met a boy named Cameron, who quickly became one of my best friends. We spent our days at the beach, running around Coco Palms Hotel, jumping in pools, and in and out of the lobby and hallways. We goofed around opening coconuts for tourists, collecting their money and running off to buy ice cream. (none of that was really allowed, but we did it anyway!) I new he wasn’t a tourist because he was hapa haole, (half Hawaiian – half white), but I didn’t know where he lived or much about his life, other than he was becoming my best friend. One day, I went down to the beach early, at sunrise to go for a quick run, and saw something that I never expected. I was at the end of the beach where black lava rocks ran up the side of a cliff and formed a cove. I thought I saw someone behind what appeared to be a man made wall of of palm branches. I walked a little further, acting as if I were just going to walk along the reef, when I looked over and saw him. It was my friend Cameron, sitting there in the cove. It didn’t take long at all, for me to see his backpack, a blanket, and some trash, surrounding the area. I walked over to him as if none of that mattered, (though my mind was totally spinning), and just said hi. We looked at each other without saying a word. Then he took off and ran into the water with his board. He stayed out there forever, and I eventually had to go home, without saying goodbye.

The next day I woke up early, and packed up some leftover fish and sticky rice and walked on down to the cove. He was already out surfing, so I sat there and waited for him to come in.  When he did, he ran up to me, smiled, and we just started talking as if nothing had changed.  I handed him his food, and we spent a couple hours together walking the beach, and swimming. We never spoke about why, or how he ended up there. We just went on, as if everything was normal. I took mangos, papayas, and bananas from the yard, or left overs from dinner, day after day, and if he wasn’t there, I left it for him in the cove. One day while getting some sushi at the local store on the beach, I overheard a couple people working there, talking about him. They were saying that he was from Oahu, and homeless, because his father had died, and his mother left him. I was worried about the way they were talking, and thought they may call the police, or do something to get him off the beach. Part of me wanted to say something, but I just kept quiet and ran down to the beach to find my friend.  I asked him why he never told me how he ended up alone, and begged him to let me tell someone. He told me about losing his dad, and not knowing where his mom was. We sat and talked and my heart broke for him. I promised though, as he asked, not to say anything to anyone. And so I didn’t.

Sadly, Summer was coming to an end, and I wanted Cameron to enroll in school. I knew he’d make friends and have a normal life, and possibly find help if he could just get in. I don’t know how it happened, without a home or parents, but he enrolled and was all set, ready for ninth grade. He didn’t have many clothes, or anything for that matter, and I wondered how it would all work out. I was so happy for him! I thought that this would be a way a caring person would finally find out about where, and how he was living, and help him.  A few days before school started, we met at the beach, and he asked if I would cut his hair. Ha! Me? He wanted to look good for school, and for some crazy idea thought that I could do it.  I had no idea of how to cut hair, but he asked, so I said yes. We walked a block up the street to my house, that was tucked back along the water. He had never been there, and I worried that my dad would come home to find me cutting his hair and feeding him in our house. My dad was very strict and told me who I could spend my time with, and who I should avoid. He always told me to stay away from the boys that surfed near the cove. He didn’t even know them, but somehow he thought they were trouble. Obviously, I didn’t listen. Cameron cleaned up in the outdoor shower, which I know must have been wonderful for him being salty and dirty much of the time. I gave him a towel, and some food, and began to cut his hair. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I could have cried while cutting his hair. I had so much love and compassion for him. Not love, like you’d think I’d have at that age for a boyfriend, but love for him because I could relate to his loneliness of losing his mom, his fear of being alone, and his anxiety for all the uncertainty. He was my best friend, and I hurt for him. I didn’t know how to help him. All I knew that I could do, was to give him what I had, and be his friend.

The next day came, as Summer was over, and we went off to our separate schools. I couldn’t get off the bus fast enough, (at my beach stop) to go find Cameron, and find out about his first day! When I got to the cove, the palm branch wall had fallen, and all his things were gone. I sat in the sand, confused and worried, and stayed there on the beach for hours waiting, hoping he’d show up. Finally, I realized he wouldn’t be coming, so I decided to go home.

Weeks went by without seeing my friend. I looked everywhere for him, but he was no where to be found. After a while, I heard from other friends, who went to his school, that he was there. They said he was showing up, on a bus from the North Shore, (on other side of the island), and that he was living with an older man. I figured something like that had happened, and I didn’t like the sounds of it. But, I was thankful he found a home, and wasn’t sleeping on the beach alone any more. So I left it at that, and hoped to see him again someday. You know, sadly, I never saw Cameron again. On that small island, you’d think I would have run into him somewhere. I didn’t. Not once.

I told Liam and Gracie that night, about my friend Cameron, and how he was homeless and though a young teenager, was just like the man living under the cardboard boxes. They were just the same. They were homeless and alone, and in need. The man under the cardboard box was really no different than my friend in the cove.  They both needed someone to feed them, notice them, and love them. Yeah, it was way easier for me to help my friend on Kauai for many reasons. But the need was all the same. Gracie had it right. “It’s so easy mommy, we just need to always have something with us, to be able to give to someone in need, and then just love them.” Just love them.

Whenever I see a homeless person, I think of Cameron. I remember his smile and love for life! I remember how kind he was to me, and all the fun we had roaming around the island. I remember my radical love for him and how I’d do anything just to help him. I’d like to say I still have that radical kind of love for homeless people. But really, I don’t. I’d like it back though. When I was young I was a bit of a rebel, for many reasons. My rebellious way though, made me who I was to be, in the moment, for Cameron. I did so many things that I will never regret. Sometimes, we listen to the advice of people saying, “they aren’t safe… or don’t go near that person…. or avoid that area…. “, but I say, don’t always listen. I say, rebel a little. Go toward them, run to them, and look for them. Be smart of course!  But know that you’ll never make a difference if you play it safe.  The man under the cardboard box has a story just like my friend Cameron, and just like mine. Who knows, his mother may have left, just like my friend. They may have a lot in common. The only difference between and them, would be that one is living off the 120 loop in Georgia today, and one was on the beach of Kauai, 35 some years ago.

I hope I find within me, the radical love I had when I was younger, and I hope I rebel again, and give more love out abundantly and often!

I LOVE this Scripture from Mathew 25:35-40. Of course when searching in the in the Word, I find just what I need, every time. This is for me to always remember Cameron and the man under the cardboard box.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Kira Lynn