Mending Fences

Loss – in all the forms in which it raises its ugly head in our lives – often blows through like a late summer twister. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of tornadoes on the evening news (or in your social media fee), you’ve seen how they hop and skip across the landscape indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. 

On one block – a pile of splinters and twisted wire. On the next – nary a blade of grass out of place. 

Loss does the same thing. It skips across the landscape of our lives indiscriminately dispensing mercy and destruction. One week, we may be the ones giving thanks that our manicured lawns and carefully curated flower beds are intact. Even so – there will come a time when we each will face a pile of splinters and twisted wire.

Loss reduces our boundaries (our personal fences) to a pile of rubble. And that’s assuming we had good fences before loss came blowing through town.

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Motion Granted

For over twenty-five years, I’ve been an attorney. Arguing was a big part of my job. Granted, we attorneys dress up our arguments with flowery language. We lay them out in poetic prose. We even give written arguments cute nicknames like “Petitions” – “pleading” our case – or “Motions” – “moving” the court to see things our way. 

Sometimes, my prayers to God resemble a legal argument more than a heartfelt plea. I tend to throw decorum aside. I just go barging into God’s office “pleading” my case or “moving” Him to see things my way. (For the record, I’ve never barged into a judge’s chambers.)

A few Sundays ago, I kinda pulled that “barging in” thing. As my husband and I sat in services at our local church, the sermon had come to a close. The pastor announced that it was time for a baptism. 

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Better Late Than Never

A few years ago, I picked up the practice of choosing a “word-of-the-year” or intention as opposed to making annual resolutions. It’s simple. Just choose a word to explore from all aspects throughout the year – how does the dictionary define the word; how does scripture apply the word; how does the word work in your life, and a myriad other ways to dissect and study one word. Before you give me credit for such a fabulous idea, I stole it from a friend, but feel free to appropriate the idea for your own use.

Frankly, I never really took resolutions too seriously. Diets, exercise, and bullet journals sound great until you try to put them into practice. At that point, they just become tedious. When results do not appear immediately, the flimsiest of excuses will divert us me from our my best intentions.

As such, I went through a phase when I purposefully set ridiculous resolutions. In 2010, I resolved to learn to accessorize. Yes, that is nearly as petty as it sounds. Nearly ten years later, all I can show for my efforts are a couple of belts and a basket full of winter scarves. In 2012, I resolved to drink more coffee and more martinis. Low bar. Wildly successful – depending upon how you define “success.” 

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Unchain My Heart

I’m an awful person. Really. Deep down – in those places no one sees. Hateful thoughts and judgmental “observations” and intolerant tones and ungrateful attitudes lurk. The whys prowl about  – why does it always happen to me?; why am I forced to suffer?; why my baby girl? Why? Why? Why? (Read those last three words out loud. Scary how much they sound like waah, waah, waah.) My own insecurities, regrets, and doubts feed the negativity.  At that point, I’m uncertain whether Satan’s sinister lies take me by force or if I simply surrender out of exhaustion.

In either case, these are the chains that bind my heart. Read more

Taking Faith on a Dare

Are you a sucker for a dare or a challenge? I wish that I could answer “no” to that question, but sadly and all too often the answer is “yes.” In my younger days, tackling a challenge usually meant that I would get myself into some sort of trouble. There was that time that I had to prove that I could ramp a BMX bike like my younger brother and his friends. That one landed me on my head – literally, complete with a ride in an ambulance and a luxury, all-inclusive stay at our local hospital.

More recently, the dares and challenges that I accept would be considered “good for me.” I fell for that 30-day plank challenge that was all the rage on social media. Nailed it! Back in 2007, I was goaded into running a half-marathon. Crushed it!

No, I was not a runner. No, I don’t enjoy running. Yes, I get a deep sense of satisfaction when I push myself to achieve goals that seem just out of my reach. In this sense, my stubborn streak could be seen as both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, we could be calling 9-1-1 or on the other I could enjoy toned arms and abs of steel for 30-days.

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Some of my fondest memories growing up in the late 70s was when my daddy took on the role of  “human jukebox.” We didn’t call it that back then, but that’s what he did. We’d all sit around the turntable as he’d carefully slip away the album cover and then cajole the album from its sleeve. There in his deep, olive hands would gleam black, shiny vinyl. Daddy would ever so gently place the album onto the turntable and guide the arm to the exact spot that would play his song of choice. As the song wound down, he’d reverse the process and then start over with the next song on his “playlist.” We’d do this for hours. Read more

Hope: A Feeling or a Choice?

When I was a kid, my Mamaw had this funny expression. When I’d ask where she was going, she’d always gather her fingers to her thumb, waive her hand at me, and in a thick Sicilian accent respond, “Palermo!”

It made no sense. I had no idea who, what, where, or when “Palermo” was. And, sensing that she was not in the mood for additional questions, I’d let it drop. Still wondering… Palermo?

This next part is a little embarrassing, but here goes. Read more