Amazin’ Grace

I went to a funeral service on Saturday, a younger childhood friend of mine who had left this life too early. The message was simple and sweet and the point of it all – we were there with the purpose to remember, grieve, and love, not to cast our judgment.

I left with the phrase, “There but the grace of God go I,” ringing in my ears.

I am a bull in a china shop when it comes to relationships and life! I thought, “I am sure one person that needs a lot of grace to be in people’s lives.” I trust very few people and let very few into my innermost thoughts. If you think I overshare, here, there is actually MORE you don’t get the privilege of knowing!!!  How about that?  And even if I let you in, you’re on, like, a 10-year probation period to see if I can really trust you. It’s part of my past, part of something I am working on, and if you can’t accept it, I am sad, but I am okay with it. Very cautious with my heart.

For two days after my last post, on changing the negative thought life I was condoning for so long, I felt awful.  I could not combat the dark voices in my head and wasn’t feeling supported in my environment.  It was so hard.  I had just written about overcoming negative self-talk and the process by which God was showing me to do it.  There seemed to be a cement veil between what I knew when I typed my blog message to when I needed to act on my message.  I was crushed.

My consolation was to hide, to isolate, to protect myself.  I know that pattern isn’t right, but it’s self-preservation.  We go back to what we know our brain tells us we’re in fight or flight.  I muddled through Monday, still not quite able to bounce back.  Monday night posed an even bigger struggle as I was challenged and defeated.  I didn’t understand.  I didn’t do anything right – I didn’t talk right, I didn’t listen right, I didn’t apologize right, I should have done this, I should have done that.  I was bad.  Very, very bad.

Tuesday came in with a busy day and I slumped my way to the dentist for a tooth extraction.  Ugh, right?  As I sat, I texted, and when I got home I couldn’t sleep.  I was just so disturbed by my bad feelings and overwhelmed with confusion.

I am 100% confident someone prayed for me about 2 on Tuesday afternoon.  Thank you to whoever did this!  I am aware of the Spirit manifesting its presence in me and I knew I felt God.  I felt His peace, spirit, and power come back to me and I knew, with certainty, I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was.  I got confidence in myself because of God’s confidence in me, through the mercy of Jesus, and by the work of his Holy Spirit.

I went home and tested His will, and found that instead of approving my confidence, it disproved what I had been feeling so sure of moments before.  And just when I thought I was a real whack job, the mystery unfolded.  The light came on.  In a precious little twinkle of His love for me, He gave me a glimmer of His sovereignty.  God gave me the chance to show pride, arrogance, and the muscle of how I had been wrongfully accused and treated.  He also gave me the opportunity to be His very precious daughter who is gracious, abounds in mercy, and chooses love.  I chose love!  I chose to speak softly! I chose to speak life!

My confusion about how bad I had been quickly withered away.  “There, but by the grace of God go all of us.”  We are not here as judge and jury.  We are here to love.  We may do things differently than others, but if at the heart of it is love, the intention will always be revealed as pure.

God’s love never fails.



1 Corinthians 13:8

The Christ Who Stole Grinchmas!

I don’t know if it’s being 33, perspective, or circumstances, but the spirit and season of Christmas have changed in our home.   I love it.  When Toby and I were young and stupid we tried to express our love with money and gifts.  Which is lovely, but it was more stress than it should have been.  It was fueled by the desire to share our love, but we missed the big picture.  We’re finally getting our Grinch on and we’re getting real with what this holiday is about.  

I love making thoughtful gift choices.  I like that tingly feeling in my tummy when that magical moment of giving and receiving collide.  God’s fingerprints.  


We purchased more gifts for Quincy’s 1st Christmas than she could ever have played with.  We thought that’s what we were supposed to do.  Time, money, and Tate changed all that!  By the time you get to number two, the money is divided and so is time, energy, and patience!  We wound up with two overly spoiled girls, nonetheless.  Lots of experience, several years, and a baby boy later…  the essence of gift giving in our home is precious to me and has nothing to do with the price tag, quantity, or demand.

The meaning of Christ’s birth and the representation of the gifts to the King is well taught in our home.  We celebrate both with that sentimental “Hallmark Holiday” tradition as well as a spiritual joy for our Savior.  I think Santa is amazing and I love that we can enjoy a magical season of childhood with our kids as we plan their gifts.  

Our oldest, Quincy, is an avid crafter and designer of all things.  Our sweet neighbors…  they are so generous!  The husband is a high school educator and taught art for 25 years.  He has been giving Quincy art lessons on Monday afternoons after he gets off of work.  I am so thankful.  My heart is bursting with joy for her.  He was *MY* art teacher in high school.  What a precious sacrifice he is making for her.  

Toby and I chose to get her a starter sewing machine.  She is temporarily focused on being a fashion designer.  Quincy is such a hands-on learner and I’d like to think that she inherited some of her mama’s craftiness.  I am so excited to see the expression on her face and the amazing creations she will make.  I chose a loom and scarf making supplies for her stocking.  I am seriously grinning at the computer as I type this.

Our sweet Tate has decided that she is a Master Chef.  She loves the Food Network.  She plays “Tate’s Restaurant,” “Top Chef,” and “Chopped” regularly.  We were able to use some points Toby had of some kind of get a kitchenette for her, totally free!  Our friends and family have bought her a chef’s hat and coat.  Her stocking will have some simple plastic cookware for her kitchen.  She was blessed with an Easy Bake Oven from a sweet friend…  Toby will be blessed enough to try all of her edibles!  I will volunteer to judge the dish presentation!  It’s a two part score and we each have to do our part, Tob.

The little man in the house received a great big box a couple months ago.  I ordered his present early, it showed up, on the porch…  the girls saw it.  Santa couldn’t have brought that present early!  Duh!  So, Toby was sent to fetch a small red tricycle on behalf of the fat guy in the red suit.  As for the great big box;  It’s one of those plastic, smaller rideable rollercoaster thingamajigs.  Five star reviews everywhere you look.  He is so active, he will love these toys!  I snagged a SpongeBob Toothbrush and Toby found a plush Spider Man for his stocking.  I know Tripp will be so happy.  And, it will all be enough.  No matter what.  

I still have my Toby, my mom, and my sister to shop for.  I want to and have to get them something.  After that, I hope I have extra dinero to buy some fun gifts for the friends and family that I love so much.  But, if I don’t, I’m totally okay with that and I’m sorry if you aren’t.  BAHAHAHA!

For several years we have gone to the Christmas Eve service our church holds.  It’s normally a candlelight service.  I don’t think it’s a “vigil” is it?  The first year, we had to work (florists do not get holidays off!), and showed up a few minutes late.  We walk into the room and my Tate, who was like 4’ish, walked to the lights and turned them on because it was dark.  That was a moment wrecker.  

I think we may have had real candles that year, too, which made me real nervous with the kids, but they did great.  I love that we all go around and say something like one big family.  Sometimes it’s what you are thankful for or sometimes it’s a spiritual sentiment, but it is now more important to me than anything else on Christmas Eve.  It’s special.

Ya know, I couldn’t imagine being divinely impregnated, in a stable, ready to give birth.  And Joseph, props to that guy for sticking with Mary.  That couldn’t have been easy.  It’s such a perplexing, mysterious, and interesting story – the birth of baby Jesus.  I think I heard somewhere that when the wise men would have arrived to give Christ their gifts, he would have been close to age two.  Tripp is two.  I couldn’t imagine giving him frankincense, myrrh, and gold.  I wonder if Jesus was a real baby boy or a super baby boy.  

Speaking of which, our baby boy is grown up and in his own big boy bed *and* room now.  Yes, he is almost two.  Don’t judge me.  I loved having him close.  All of my kids, I like keeping them close.  Society says it is expected for them to go out into the world and someday I’ll be ready for that.  But, for now my heart says to keep them close.  I cannot explain it, other than a spiritual conviction to keep them close.  Something tells me that this time and experience is valuable.  That makes me all the more excited to share this season of Christmas love!

Merry Christmas!  

This picture is a close up of our family “Grinchmas Tree!”