Day 4

Have you ever seen a toddler that was so out of control it was a scene? Like a train wreck people stare, roll their eyes, and judge? The mom seems oblivious and ferociously defensive at the notion that anything their darling child is doing might be wrong?

That is me, except with my parents.

I am the daughter who is unrelentingly unwilling to acknowledge there might not be hope. The incurable disease might not be cured and the “Progressive” in its title is not a joke. It actually guarantees things are getting worse.

My mom has a terrible disease and lost her ability to talk over two years ago. Last December, she was no longer able to swallow, so she lost the ability to eat and had a feeding tube put in. That transitioned us to needing 24 hour care, and it turns out my father needs it as badly, if not worse.

He falls all the time.

People love to point out any flaw in his memory or thinking. (I, on the other hand, accidentally drove the wrong way down a one-way street this week, so I am gentle with the imperfections of life.)

We have issues with constipation and the unfortunate consequence of overcorrecting.

Recently I talked them into a 5 week time frame of intense therapies and treatments. They will do neurofeedback, hako-med, medical wave, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, oxygen therapy, and lower back decompression designed to increase circulation to the brain and body. They will are supposed to be in the pool three times each week. Twice they’ll exercise for an hour, once for half an hour. They will also get weekly massages, once for my mom and twice for my dad.

But things keep getting in the way of my plan. And I hate that.

Yesterday was DAY 4. I took my mom on the two-hour journey to Louisiana for cranialsacral therapy. The plan was to then take her to neurofeedback and then the pool. (My dad had been up all night with intestinal issues and was too tired for the newly-put-in-place program.) All day my mom had looked a little wonky, so when she said she had the chills we changed course and scheduled IV Therapy for her.

I had already made an appointment for my dad, so there they were, side by side getting their particular cocktail of vitamins and minerals and fluids pumped in. The last time I did that for my dad, he didn’t fall for days.

Last night my husband had to head over at midnight and help him off the floor.

Each day I pray to the Lord, asking for HIS help to help my parents. I ask HIM to show me which way to turn.

It’s only Day 4. It is not supposed to be perfect.

I want HIS work in my parents to amaze everyone who thinks I am nuts.

Here’s how it works for me: Any new idea that eases my heart or mind a bit, I consider to be from the Lord. I don’t hear audible voices. I don’t have burning bushes, but if I believe HE is for me (which I do) then I believe that help is from HIM.

And then I thank HIM for allowing my father to have made enough money to pay for the new idea. Then I talk to my parents and if they agree, I consider that HIS work as well. They can be stubborn, old codgers.

Yesterday was only DAY 4. I can look to HIM for a better tomorrow.

2020 Vision

The end of 2019 came in like a wave. Rushing and thrashing, it took my family to new places. Places we didn’t want to be but knew we could not avoid.

A New Year always brings me hope. The opportunities to look fresh and start anew are treasured. Loading up things to take to the Goodwill, extra bags of trash by the can, and the scent of cleaners illustrate my nearly desperate need for a more manageable life.

I am always striving to “get organized.”

One thing I have changed this year is to write my calendar items in pencil.

There, quite simply, is always the possibility of a crisis around the corner. My mom has a terrible disease. My Dad falls like it is his job.

We have caregivers, but that is its own tricky situation. There is a constant balance of living with purpose and throwing plans away to best deal with a situation at hand.

Just the other day I was taking my precious little peanut (who is no longer little) to an appointment that had the possibility of helping me pursue several therapies for her that I am excited about. While I was driving I got a text from my mom that my Dad had fallen.

The caregiver left to get lunch and he was on the floor, unable to get up.

As always, the first call was to my hubby. He was on his way out to the airport. He was willing to turn around, but our son was closer, so I called him and he was off to the rescue.

When my husband called a few minutes later, he was a bit surprised that I wasn’t on my way to my parents’ house. “I need to do this for Ryan. I have to feel like I am moving toward a better life with her, and this could be a big part of that.”

The brutal truth was this:

  • I could not get my Dad off the floor.
  • My son could, and he was on his way.

My father means the world to me, but there was no real benefit to sacrificing the opportunity to move the ball forward for my daughter at that moment. So I didn’t.

Each moment presents choices. I want to choose to invest in the wisest way available, in the priorities the Lord has put before me. Every day is an investment. The results are the Lord’s. The decision to invest obediently is mine.

I am empowered by those truths.

I love my family. I want to do this life well. I want a watching world to see God in a real and powerful way flowing through the pulse of my life. That will be the most effective if HE is pulsing through the flow of my days.

And my choices.

And my priorities.

Thinking About Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child?

I can’t believe how quickly the summer flies by.

I hate that.

I love summer.

And educating my kids is the hardest part of parenting for me.

My special needs daughter had the very best kindergarten teacher in the world. Really, she did. I am not just saying that. This particular teacher is likely, realistically, in the top 1% of teachers in the nation.

She is THAT good.

However, not everyone is that good. The next grade, my daughter (who was mainstreamed in a typical 1st grade class) got her first report card. The entire thing was filled with the grade N/A. Not Applicable.

Gets along well with others? Not applicable.

Follows classroom rules? Not applicable.

Every category didn’t count for her. Obviously, that was not going to work.

When we went to look for a second grade teacher, I observed the class of the most highly recommended teacher at the school. Everyone raved about her. She was clearly uninterested in my daughter. She was curt when I was in her class, unwilling to attend any planning meeting, and if she saw me in the hallway would turn around and head the other way.

Obviously, that was not going to work.

The coordinator for her case at the school insisted we go look at the special education class. Ryan climbed up into my lap, curled into fetal position, and sucked her thumb the whole time we were there.

Obviously, that was not going to work.

That same coordinator, at the next meeting, would not put my concern/complaint about the school’s speech therapist into my daughter’s file. My daughter never hit a single IEP goal for speech; the therapist would not allow her to bring her school-paid-for-speech-device to speech. But complaints were not allowed to be put into the file.

Obviously, that was not going to work.

So we moved to private school. But the school changed and the enthusiasm for her weaned, so eventually we decided to homeschool.

Perhaps you are there, wondering what to do for your precious little person, asking if homeschool is the best available option.

I am a terrible homeschooler. I have moments of unbelievable glory, but incredible inconsistency. However, it is absolutely the very best thing for our family. We began in California and have continued in Texas. We did not sell our home in California for nearly two years, so we did not have the money I wanted for the therapies she needed. Additionally, in the two years since we moved, my mother in law passed away after a twenty year battle with dementia and my mother was diagnosed with A Typical Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

My mom can no longer talk. She eats liquid food only. It is difficult and full of grief and anguish; and lots and lots of appointments. So there are HUGE things stacked against me in may quest to do a great job homeschooling.

But my daughter is cherished every day. She is not picking up behaviors I don’t like. We are learning–step by step. We have made progress and are ready for what will be our best year ever.

If you are wondering, YOU CAN DO THIS. Let me give you my recommendations:

  • Meet Sarah MacKenzie. She is the author of Teaching From Rest and The Read Aloud Family. She has a podcast and blog called The Read Aloud Revival. Make your number one priority to fill your world with great stories.
  • Audible. Actually, there is probably a free way to get audio books, so look there. But add audiobooks to your day’s plan. We have recently begun this and I LOVE not having the IPad out in the car. Instead, we have great stories to listen to. Running errands or going to appointments has become a productive part of our days.
  • Five In A Row. Five in A Row is a curriculum centered around reading the same story 5 days in a row. There is incredible learning tied into each story including life skills, geography, writing, comprehension and social studies. It is wonderful. It is the easiest I have come across that helps us feel like we are doing a great job day after day.
  • Light Tables. Light tables offer an open ended activity that encourages exploring and creativity. I have LOVED our activities and intend to build on that this year.
  • Play games. We play Yahtzee, go fish, and Whack-A-Mole. I am hoping to promote quick thinking and math skills. We are struggling in math.

If you add to the repertoire art and music and field trips, you will feel good about your child’s education. We have the 5 In A Row cookbook, so we will add cleaning up and cooking to the day.

Once I understood that sitting at the table for two hours each day makes all the difference in the world, things worked smoothly. Not two hours in a row–we break it up with walks, or giving her books to retreat for quiet reading time, or chores–but two hours at a table makes an incredible home school day.

It is so much less stressful than watching the system fail her..

When You’ve Had Enough

When You’ve Had Enough

I slipped in the back door and left a dixie cup of liquid pain reliever by the kitchen sink.

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, my mom was able to swallow all her pills.

Today, she had an angry headache.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is a terrible, debilitating disease. To the average person, it looks a lot like ALS. In a spinning room, wiping away her tears, she was once given the Lou Gehrig’s Disease diagnosis. Then, months later, given it again—almost. (“You don’t have ALS yet,” the neurologist declared.) 

My mom’s first symptom, slurring her words, began about nine years ago.

Today she can not speak. She has an incredibly difficult time swallowing. She “eats” smoothies and soups, over the sink, using one hand to hold her jaw closed. The other hand, which has nearly no function, claws plastic IKEA cups and throws the food into her mouth; then she focuses and swallows the best she can.

It is brutally difficult. She is gigantically courageous.

The process is hard and messy—she spills a lot. Remarkably, she has maintained her weight for coming on two years and we have had no bouts on pneumonia. 

Pneumonia is our biggest threat.

I take that back. Pneumonia is our second biggest threat; discouragement is the first.

When you are given first an incorrect diagnosis (ALS) then a likely correct diagnosis (A-Typical PSP) that shares one thing in common—a lack of any medical help available—you begin a journey of willingness to try anything. In these last years, we have done yoga, acupuncture, cryotherapy, red light therapy, essential oils, ozone and UV therapy, IV vitamin cocktails, stem cells, crazy patches that supposedly activate your body, a massive list of supplements and CBD Oil.

The fact that I have resorted to CBD oil shows the level of ANYTHINGNESS I am willing to go to. I hate marijuana.

I hate it.

And, yes, I can tell you the difference between CBD and THC. I know the benefits of hemp and the long history of its uses in this country dating back to Mt. Vernon. I know about the endocannabinoid system. 

But I still hate marijuana and every attempt to normalize it in society. 

I have walked a long road and crossed a bridge on this topic and, as it turns out, I want help for my mom more than I hate all things Cannabis related, so in an attempt to help her conquer the (lack of) sleep beast that is haunting her, I patch her with crazy patches, drop CBD oil under her tongue, massage her swollen hand, put drops in her dry eyes and tuck her in—praying that she might rest. “The patches are just a placebo!” Critics say with rage.

Let me be clear, at this stage in the journey a placebo effect that makes things feel better is welcome 100% of the time. (I was kicked out of that Facebook group.) After a few days of using the patches, she could swallow pills again.

That might not last, but it did happen.

We have not found any miracle cure, and while daily life is not anything anyone would actually choose, most people don’t survive the disease as long as she has. And most people, after this long of a battle, are in wheelchairs or have significant cognitive impairment. My mom has no cognitive decline and has never fallen.

In other online groups of people associated with the disease, I am questioned, “Are you sure your mom has PSP?” Because nine years of symptoms later, she can still drive and walk and think. Something we are doing might be doing something to keep the full measure of the disease away. So I keep pounding on the internet and swiping my Dad’s credit card to find help.

And I keep my head in my Bible, steady in the knowledge that THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HATH MADE.  THE MESSAGE version of the Bible is my best friend as of late. Today I am clinging to His words in Proverbs 1:

These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son. Israel’s king—Written down so we will know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it’s going.

I don’t have to understand or even like much of this life. I know where it is going for all who believe, and that is enough for me. I fail regularly at living well and living right—but that is not a surprise to God.

The surprise to me is that EVEN THOUGH GOD KNOWS EVERY SINGLE FAILURE OF MINE, He still loves me. And He loves my mom. 

That is enough. 

The ENOUGH of this life can weigh. Me. down. Over and over in my prayer journal I have typed the words, “Lord, I need to know that I will be okay in YOU if ________________ happens.” I am learning, slowly, to release the things that scare me most. The words from Psalm 18 encourage to keep going, and to encourage my mom to keep going:

God made my life complete when I placed the pieces before Him. When I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways He works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together.

And THAT is enough.

Four Somethings


My online friend, Heather, hosts a monthly link up for bloggers called FOUR SOMETHINGS. It is designed to connect and encourage around four things: Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned and Something Read. Many, many times I have vowed to do this regularly and almost every time I have failed.

This fall has been a whirlwind of incredible high and lows. I suspect the winter will bring more of the same, but it is moving me to beg God for consistency in my emotions, regardless of the cyclone of events in my life . As I grow in my ability to do that, I know that my life reaps rewards.

Part of growing in that consistency involves actually doing more things I intend to do. Pushing past intentions is valuable, so I am starting right here!



I love turkey. I love the smell of my home as it bakes in the oven. I love how the juice from the Italian sausage in the stuffing bastes the meat, making it tender and flavorful. I love the table full of food and people. It is the way I want my life to feel more often.


No question my favorite words said were, “I did the dishes.”

It made me love my hubby even more.

A helping hand is a gift from God.

And my heart needs and craves order over chaos these days.

This is new for me. I am an exceedingly flexible person who has been able to engage and function in total disarray for most of my life. Lately, however, I have noticed that mess and disorder (in the environment or the calendar) reduce my productivity significantly. I am not terribly fond of this new reality, but it made my hubby’s words on Thanksgiving Day all the sweeter.


I learned I am not in control of the universe.

This may not be the first time I have learned this detail. I am also reminded that the God who actually does run the universe is not necessarily motivated by my spectacular ideas.

If I was in charge, things would be much, much different than they are.

But they are not, and so I am wrestling hard with the way things actually are–except for those things I am in denial about. Those I will wrestle with later, because denial can only work for so long. This season for so many people I love has been FULL of really hard things: depression, violence, betrayal and loneliness. There have been many, many powerless moments where the only thing I could think to do was to repeat the following prayer over and over and over again:


Fill ________________________ with YOUR peace, YOUR comfort, YOUR joy and YOUR love. Give them wisdom.


I have prayed that for myself and others hundred of times these last several weeks, and it has been a balm to my spirit. I repeat it until I physically feel the stress in my body start to dissipate. I have said it in the half-asleep moments in the dark of night when I am rolling over and remembering hurts. I have counted it grace to lean into God, and found myself grateful He, not me, is in charge.

I (re)learned that sometimes I have to remind myself of God’s goodness, because the world run amok will do everything in its power to steal my joy…


There is only one thing that has filled my head and that is Lysa Terkeurst’s book It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way. Sometimes it feels like she follows me around and speaks directly into my life…this book was written in the darkness coming into the light of a cancer diagnosis and reeling from infidelity of her marriage. I just love her words and her work.

I have friends living devastating stories right now, and she reminds us all that the story is not over.

I often say God sees the whole thing, while I am living in this minute. It’s hard to walk that out some days…

So there we are. Four things and looking forward to four more next month…THANKS Heather!

Four Somethings…

My online friend, Heather Gerwing, hosts a monthly link up “Four Somethings” for bloggers to connect and reflect. Every month I am CERTAIN I will think, ponder, write and join.

Then the time passes and I don’t.

But today, I think I will. Today is my mom’s 79th birthday. The morning breeze is flapping the American flag on my porch. The wind chime is singing to me. My husband woke before the sun to take my mom flying in his airplane as a birthday celebration.

Here he is with our daughter and his plane…two of his very favorite things.

It is a good day to be grateful.


This summer I have loved taking our jet skiis out on the lakes. This is our first full summer in East Texas–we arrived mid-summer last year–and the simplicity of having this readily available has been delightful. In California the lakes were far away, and it when you add the gas money, the cost of getting into the lake, and the time required we just did not spend much time as a family on the water.

This summer that totally changed.

It is 32 minutes from our driveway to being in the water. It is a $3 fee that we put in an envelope in a box by the ramp. SIMPLE. Affordable.

I love it.


Because this is the season I am living, and because this is my mom’s birthday, I am going to quote something my mom said in a text to my sister in law, thanking her for birthday flowers:

Thank you so very much. I’m 79 tomorrow! I’m so happy to make it this far; there were times, this past year, when I was unsure I would/could.

The gastroenterologist said this morning that I looked robust and healthy, and I did not look like I needed a feeding tube!

I don’t want anybody else’s life. I am happy and grateful to be living my own.


Building upon the quote from my mom, the most profound thing I have (re)learned is this: We are capable of learning new normals.

My mom, who reigned for decades as the Queen of Oversharing and who could talk the paint off a wall, can no longer talk. She cannot eat regular food or smile on command.

Something is going terribly wrong between her brain and her muscles. It could be her brain; it could be her nerves. What feels like a billion tests, ordered by a thousand doctors, in endless hospitals and offices, has resulted in several diagnoses she does not have.

We don’t actually know what she has, but her hands and her mouth don’t do what we want them to do.

We have been told it is ALS. We have been told it is not.

We have been told it is Progressive Bulbar Palsy. We have been told it is not.

We have been told by many people in several states that there is nothing that can be done.

That is our new normal.

And we are making the best of it.



For so long I have read mostly non-fiction, Bible Studies, medical and educational opinions and my sweet little brain struggles to follow stories…so the summer always inspires me to try to retrain my mind.

My first novel of the summer was one I picked up at Sam’s Club specifically because of the title: The Book Of Summer. I didn’t love it, but I finished it, so YAY me.

The next book I read (finally) because it had been on my shelf for a long, long time was Everybody’s Fool, by Richard Russo. That one I really enjoyed!

Finally, my favorite of the summer, was absolutely The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer.

My sweet, precious mother in law passed away this summer. Her father, my husband’s grandfather, immigrated from Guernsey roughly 100 years ago. As a graduation gift to our teenage daughter, my husband took her to Europe. They went to Germany and Guernsey.

My daughter met her grandmother’s cousin who lived on Guernsey Island while it was occupied by the Germans in WW2. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE how grateful I am she had that experience?

As they were flying over the Atlantic, I was at Barnes & Noble buying the book. I had wanted to read it for a long time, and this moment seemed to good to pass up. The timing was perfect…I devoured the book and loved every page.

REFLECTIONS***** In many ways the summer of 2018 was the SUMMER OF SADNESS. There were beautiful moments. But there were some hard, hard things as well that I will write about at some point. But the pause this precious morning to reflect on four things is one I am grateful for…four…

When You’re Praying This Is Her Last Mother’s Day

When You’re Praying This Is Her Last Mother’s Day

Hallmark Days can be achingly saccharine.

Mother’s Day is just such an occasion…


I honestly can’t remember the first time she forgot.

I love my mother in law so much.

I don’t mean that in the ooey-gooey emotionally charged way of love, but in the time spent and efforts invested way.

I have held her hand in hospital beds and stayed up all night answering “Where am I? Who are you?” over and over again.

I have made her meals and loaded the walker in the car to go on outings time after time after time.

A few short months ago all her kids came to visit. We had a belated Christmas dinner together as a family.

We rented a wheelchair, bundled her up and took her to the zoo.

A few weeks later my little family took her out to dinner for her 88th birthday. As we were leaving a sweet stranger approached me and said, “You have a lot on your plate. Your family is doing a beautiful job.”

Kind words are so generous.

But the clock of dementia is not easy on an already addled brain. We are two decades into the journey of memory loss, and these last months find us in places I don’t want to be anymore.

She can no longer walk, so the adventures and outings are over.

The increasing holes in her thoughts are filled with fear and sadness. I have never known her to be anything but delightful…but now we have to medicate the screams and the tears.

Several weeks ago we took her to the ER for dehydration and a suspected UTI. Listening to her as she was getting catheterized ripped my heart out. I never want to hear to shriek in pain again.

It was time to acknowledge that Hospice was the biggest grace, and treating illnesses that we would have to do invasive tests to diagnose was no longer the best choice for her.

For years she had no memory but still enjoyed her days. My daughter has never known her as a grandmother who could remember who she was, but they love each other dearly.

Whether it’s because her brain is too far gone or her medications are too strong we don’t know, but sometimes she doesn’t even wake up to visit her. There are days when keeping her eyes open is so. much. work.

When she cries because she’s afraid of dying, we talk about heaven and how beautiful it is. On one particularly dark day, when looking at her made us wonder if she was going to make it through the night, my hubby asked her, “Mom, are you ready to go be with Jesus?”

“If He wants me,” she replied.

The celebration of a life well lived includes the willingness to let go at the end. And so, this Mother’s Day weekend, we are asking God for the strength to end well and the courage to allow her to do the same.

Not every Mother’s Day wish will go on a greeting card.


Sitting Down and Standing Up

Part of me is afraid to sit down at the keyboard and begin typing.

Afraid of oversharing.

Afraid of too much emotion.

Parenting a teenager in today’s world stirs vulnerability that is new and raw. I hate it.

Being a daughter to aging parents thrusted me into situations I never, ever wanted to be in.

Several times over this last year I sat down at a table (or in a room) thinking my life was one way, and stood up from the same table with everything changed.

These moments have defined my marriage, determined where I would live, involved a terminal diagnosis and altered relationships. I have stood up without saying a word, silent in a new resolution; I have declared “I won’t fight about this,” and walked away; I have repeated over and over “we will be okay”, not really believing the words as I spoke them.

I am constantly reminding myself of this truth: God sees the whole story while I am living in this minute. My perspective is not His, and I have to choose whether to trust Him or trust me. I am remarkably untrustworthy.

I sit down attempting to soak in His word and stand up desperate to believe Him.

  • Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
  • “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation builds perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. Romans 5:3-4




More and more I am convinced that the actual miracle I need is not necessarily the thing I am praying for, but the courage to believe in God’s goodness no matter what happens.

That is where the hope will come.

One foot in front of the other, I will go through my day remembering to do the things I know bring wisdom. I will pray. I will read my Bible. I will look for the good and praise it.

I will sit down and seek Him and stand up choosing to believe Him.

I will do the same thing again tomorrow.

In that, I will find the hope I desperately seek.

Torn Between Two Sides

Torn Between Two Sides

I LOVE to be inspired.

Good recipes, great decorating, creative parenting or insights to the Scriptures all move me closer to how I crave my life to feel.

I flip through magazines, read books and scour the internet looking for scraps of connection. I want to connect to the hope of better through seeing great things in others.

Then I get distracted, wondering why my jeans are so tight (again), forlornly wrapped in the mundane.

Eventually, I go back and pursue more ideas. My life is a cycle of being pulled between my ideal and my real.

Sometimes I love what I see. One one side there are people doing UH-mazing things. They are feeding the hungry and articulating the plight of the oppressed. They post pictures of fabulous and funny times with their families. There is no talk of perfection. They make me realize people with bad tempers and mental illnesses lead fulfilling lives that dig in to hard places.

It thrills me.

And then they start talking about the Bible and what their opinions of what it means to be a Christian are, and the air from my emotional balloon escapes.

On the other “side” are women whose Biblical exegesis calls me to deeper understanding and love for God’s word. They help me realize what a difference the principles in 2 Kings can make in my life, and want to share it.

But it sometimes feels like their primary ministry is to criticize others. Even though I often agree, I am uninspired. Their lives look sterile and unapproachable.

Once on a video study the teacher talked about sin that sneaks in our lives. I was totally on board with that. Sin sneaks in our lives all the time.

Her transparent moment of sharing? Unintentionally collecting pens from businesses in the bottom of her purse. What a thief. I wanted to get up and walk out.

Let’s be clear. The sins that sneak into my life are far more dramatic than that. I convince myself that winning the lottery will solve all my problems (because God’s provision is not enough). Laziness is a plague that consumes me. My temper is so, so much better than it used to be, but I still have some weak moments.

In the small group after the video I complained about the pen-sin and was immediately chastised. Someone pretended to be repenting for her own previous grumble, but then quoted me directly as the example of what we should not be doing. It was silly and cowardly.

Apparently, in her world, Bible study is only for people who love every word of every study ever done. We can just check our brains at the door and nod our heads in pious bobble-head agreement.

Have you met me? Like that’s gonna happen.

I once read a blog by someone whose theology and lifestyle are SO far away from what I believe. But as I read the blog I could totally understand why women loved her. Several times I brought a paper copy of the blog to circles of women who I am on the same side with and asked, “What is great about what she is saying?”

You might have thought I was asking people off the street to explain the theory of Quantum Physics. It was nuts. Woman after woman was unable or unwilling to see what was being offered by this person as praise-worthy. They were all willing to dissect the theological points they know are wrong and assume the very worst about intentions. In spite of my pleas not to focus on the Biblical disagreements and discover what we could learn from her, the conversation always turned to what the Bible really says or that she was looking for money and attention. I was apparently asking too much.

I regularly find myself torn. This group of women over here, who I could not disagree with more politically and Biblically, have lives I admire and walks with Jesus that compel me to think about others more. They seem like they are parenting with passion and facing hard things boldly.

But the Jesus they refer to is not necessarily who I see when I read the Bible.

On the other side my brain can engage in conversations about hermeneutics. After time together I love my Bible more and am invigorated to study; but the lack of transparency in their lives leaves me hollowed and wanting. I am not certain I have any desire to be as polished as they look. They assure me they are doing the work of the Lord outside of sharing their discernment but I have no idea what that means. Their sticky sweet language can leave me shaking my head and asking, “What does that look like in real life?”

And I find myself wondering, if knowing and loving the God they are teaching me about does not compel me love others more, what is the point? Furthermore, if they talk in a language that has no practical understanding, how can I share with others?

Years and years into this faith journey, I am yet to hear someone explain what it actually mean to die to yourself.

This summer I hopped on a plane to meet a gaggle of friends in Austin, Texas. Brought together by the mission of launching books, this rag-tag group of widely varying ideas, priorities and beliefs, has enriched my life immensely–even though I disagree with many (if not most) on some pretty big things. My life is bigger and more vibrant because of them. Couldn’t that be the work of the Lord?

Does God move in spite of, or because of, differing views?

In some things I am achingly black and white. In others, not so much.

Once, in a Women’s Ministry leadership meeting, a woman on the team took a book I recommended and threw it on the ground. Then she stomped on it. Then she looked at me with hate in her eyes and said, “Nothing we do will matter until we get the anti-Christ out of this ministry.”

It was a book on time management.

I clearly told everyone it was not a Christian book. I simply thought that it could help us get organized so we could serve with greater efficiency and excellence. Guess what?

I still love that book.

Recently, I decided to leave a book launch team because the divide between beliefs was too much for me to navigate with clarity and integrity. I posted in the Facebook page what I was doing and why. While it would have been easier to slip away, I believe in the power of conversation. 

The author was gracious and engaging. The women in the group covered the spectrum of agreeing and understanding, trying to talk me into believing a different way, and disagreeing but understanding. It was the kind of conversation we should be having more of. Restoring civil conversation has to become a priority.

Ultimately, I do believe that Biblical truth matters more than anything.

The women with the lives are leading people in their Biblical direction, which I disagree with. They have Christian audiences, speak at churches, regularly talk about God and have book contracts to build followers and share ideas. I don’t dispute that. I have tremendous concerns about it. This highlights real questions that should be wrestled with.

  • God created the Bible. Do we believe that or not?
  • There is a consequence for sin. Do we believe that or not?
  • The Bible clearly calls many things sin. Do we believe that or not?

I concede the arguments from other viewpoints are boring to me. They claim the Bible was written in a different time. It was for a different culture. We have progressed beyond that. Seriously, if one more person talks about putting God in a box, I may vomit.

As if we can. If God is not omniscient then He is not the God of my understanding. God knew about 2017, when the Bible was written before the birth of Christ. Do we believe that, or not?

However, I see the women with the theology repelling people. Not all people, but some people. The people who love the discerning voices (those people who are warning against the loose beliefs of others) often already agree with the pointer-outers. Confirmation bias makes the words comforting to those already in line, but not effectively convicting to those who are not.

Is that the point?


From where I sit it looks like in order to reach the people who don’t already love God’s word and crave its truth we must live lives that matter.

  • Can we talk about your faults? Can you tell me which Bible verses helped you with that? Will you share when you believed God was moving you to change and to grow so that thing maybe wasn’t so dark in your day to day life?
  • Does loving God and His word draw you in to serving and helping? How and where and why?
  • Will you help me to understand how the words on that page apply to my life?
  • Will you share with me enough of you that walking with God can feel real AND vibrant AND hard AND beautiful?

It is easy to pick apart other people. It is easy to say how other people are failing and doing things all wrong. It is my second nature. I believe it is Andy Stanley who says flaws are much easier to see looking out a window at other people than they are looking in a mirror at one’s self. I live that truth daily.

Balancing that with a passion for Biblical truth is gentle ground. I want to gather a group of women who are willing to sit in the discomfort of differing opinions and examine them closely in the light of Scripture. It thrills me to unpack how Korah’s rebellion or 1 Kings Chapter 22 speak directly to some of the biggest issues that divide the church today. I want people to stop rolling their eyes when I say, “I know I disagree. I don’t believe that is true, but I absolutely believe they love and serve Jesus.”

This is going to be tough. The divide is wide and getting wider. There are moments when it feels like all hope is lost, but GOD IS STILL GOD. His word is still good and true. His people are still here. I am one. Please, Lord, let me live this life for You with excellence and passion with and alongside people I agree and disagree with equal love and respect.




No, I Won’t Unite. And Know, That’s Not My Right

No, I Won’t Unite. And Know, That’s Not My Right

The rain pummeled the East Texas ground on a humid, August evening. The lightening was the most spectacular display of electric sky I have ever seen in my life. I was awe-struck by its power and beauty.

These last days have been full. We got the keys to move in to a rental house.

At the same time my husband’s brother and sister brought my mother in law out from California. We moved her from one memory care unit to another. In California she was an hour away, in Texas ten minutes. We were busy with details and caregivers and the grief that comes with decades old dementia.

But that doesn’t mean the rest of the world doesn’t matter.

Earlier this summer my hubby took our teenager and grown son on a tour of the University of Virginia at Charlottesville. Their precious feet walked on the ground that hosted hatred and violence this weekend.

I don’t know everything that took place during the riots, but I know enough.


When I get a friend request on social media from someone I have not seen for years, I generally send a message that says something along the lines of, “I am a right-wing, religious nut. Ignore any political posts you don’t like but know that I do post other funny things and pictures of my kids, who are adorable.”

I am pretty darn comfy my own political skin.

Most people who know me know that I am a right leaning conservative. It is a secret to no one.

But if anyone saw the horror that was called “UNITE THE RIGHT” and thought that might be what I believed, I would be sick to my stomach. That is not the platform of anyone seeking political solutions to real problems. They promote and espouse ideas that are not even rational.

What happened last weekend was terrorism. It was vile, putrid poison in souls spilling out to infect anyone it came in contact with. My son told me there were swastikas and Nazi salutes. While I was unpacking Depends and walkers, he was watching the news and keeping me informed.

We were disgusted.


I saw a picture online of men carrying “torches”. My first thought was, “Did they order those from Oriental Trading Company?” Seriously, I have used those tiki torches for luau-parties in my back yard. Who does that? 

Then, I looked again. I gazed past the angry expressions and saw people who look just like those I have known my whole life. They could have been my brother or my son. Their appearance was familiar. People who look like that have sat at my table, in places I work, in the stadium of the football field at the local high school.

I want hatred to be obvious, so that it can be singled out, dealt with and shunned. I don’t want it to look like the average guy sitting at the movie theatre next to me. It is so hard to change what we can’t even recognize. 


I know I live in a bubble. While people I know may look like the terrorists in Charlottesville, I don’t know anyone who thinks like they do. At least, I don’t know anyone who would admit it to me.

While I can be a delight, I am not known in far and wide circles for my ability to hold my tongue. If any one I knew held the vile opinions spewed a few days ago, that person would likely hide it from me. Seriously. (All who know me are nodding in agreement.)

I was in my 40’s before I’d ever heard someone use the “N word” in real life. I was working at a restaurant and a regular customer said it to someone else in conversation.

I turned and told him to stop. He apologized and said he would never say it in front of me again. I said, “That’s actually not good enough. It is a word designed to incite hate, and you should never say it again.” He got up without eating and left the restaurant.

But here’s the thing I am keenly aware of: He was not going to burn a cross in my yard or poison my pets. My life was not in danger. My boss would NEVER be angry at me for losing the customer. My bubble insured that would be a two minute interaction with no lasting consequences to my life, except on my own personal values.

Had I said nothing, a tiny part of me would have atrophied.

I am all for a debate of conflicting ideas, but not all ideas are debate-worthy. Loving this nation and being of European descent does not make one a White Nationalist. I am numb that white supremacy is still a thing. How on earth?


In my bubble there is little, if any, thought to race in my daily life.

In California my mom, who began slurring her speech five years ago and has gotten progressively worse, had a general practitioner and neurologist. In Texas she also has a general practitioner and a neurologist.

In California we had five years with no help. In Texas we had one appointment and a diagnosis.

All four doctors have different ethnic backgrounds.

On the list of what matters to me regarding medical care for my mom, race is nowhere to be seen. I couldn’t care less. All I care about is who is going to help.

That, I have been told, makes me a racist.


I have been told the only way to view these current events is through the lens of America’s 400 year history of oppression by the white man.

I have been told pockets of racial ease are part of the construct to actually oppress, and that it is more complicated than I know.

I have been told that the only way I can be a part of solutions is to spend extended time with people of different races and cultures.

Meanwhile, I am just trying to find where I packed my family’s socks and figure out if I left the ^%@#** new silverware in the basket at IKEA. How many meals can we share washing our one fork in between servings?


Where is the place for me in this conversation?

I love this country. I believe it is flawed in history and execution and yet is a beacon of hope for generations far and wide. On our very worst day, the freedom experienced here is unfathomable elsewhere.

Somewhere else in the world, today, a woman will be imprisoned for being in public alone. Someone will be executed for being gay. A Christian will spend another day in prison, perhaps with no decent food or restrooms, because of an unwavering belief that Jesus died on the cross for all mankind.

Does that minimize genuine struggles of minorities here? Of course not. But it goes through my head anyway. If the only way to bridge the divide is to think the worst about this nation, I am not a part of the bridge.

What do you do when the people shouting the loudest about solving the problems make you want to hide under the table and excuse yourself by saying, “I am just trying to homeschool my special needs kiddo and visit my mother in law in the memory care wing of the assisted living facility where she lives.” 

The conversation is painted in terms of two sides, each side achingly monolithic in the eyes of the other. According to some on the left, hating Obamacare makes me a racist. Voting for Trump makes me a racist. Failing to live my days with constant apologies for my white privilege makes me a racist.

With that the conversation ends.

I am stuck here feeling lost and out of sorts, spent and weary by what is already on my plate to deal with, but also devastated and disgusted by what is happening; and exhausted and unsettled by the solutions people offer. One thing, however, is incredibly clear–no, I won’t unite with your hatred and I want the world to know, that is not the Right that I vote for and believe in.