Abuse Survivor, anxiety, bravery, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, testimony, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I asked my friend to counsel me. She invited me to dinner instead and we counseled, consoled and decided some things.

Considered why there’s no 12 step type group for those who are questioners, often to the point of despondency, despairing and the other “D”, depression.

There was healing in our agreement, there was laughter over our recognition of that need.

There was the knowing of ourselves and of one another.


I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in close to two years. I was scurrying to make it and almost cancelled. My hair was dirty, I didn’t feel too “spunky” and well, I’m older than the last time I saw her. I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been thinking about aging.

But, I made it to the spot, dry shampoo and mascara plumped eyelashes with blush on my cheeks.

I beat her there. She arrived and we held each other long, long, long. “I love you” was the greeting as well as the goodbye.

We talked, we laughed, we counseled one another. We ate pizza over a glass of good wine.

When I woke the next morning, my first thought was “God’s not disappointed in you.” and as the day became sunny and pink with azaleas, I took to heart that I shouldn’t be either and I smiled as I remembered my friend’s hands in mine as we caught up with each other and decided.

“We’re gonna make it after all.”

Two days later, I’m recalling the likemindedness in our chatter. I’m remembering her inquisitive patience. I’m reminding myself of the gift of affirmation, the bravery of listening when listening is more important than adding to the conversation.

Early today, I rethought a familiar prayer, the one prayed by Jabez, (I Chronicles 4:10) the son who was labeled by a name that made his future seem grim.

Lord, help me to trust you to enlarge my boundaries, extend my reach and keep me from chasing after things that will lead to pain, things fueled by insecurity and fear.

I readied myself in the dark for my day, interrupted by the nudge to pray.

A prayer with a shift in perspective.

Jesus, help me to accept fully your befriending.

Because all sorts of songs and trendy Christian talk will proclaim friendship with Jesus.

But, oh to be honest, it’s not up to us at all.

No effort will sustain the relationship.

It’s really much more simple.

Acceptance. Belief.

Be befriended by Jesus.

I’m not sure where I’d be if there were an expiration date on my understanding of such things.

I’m old and I yet young in this friendship actually.

You’ll likely hear this song soon or hear about it. Lauren Daigle’s tender voice and truth admitting she’d be a mess without the friendship of Jesus.

Thank God I Do

I encourage you to listen. I just did with tear soaked cheeks while feeding a baby.

I hope you’ll allow the befriending of Jesus.

It’s a beautiful education of the soul.

The Way Within

Art, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, hope, Lent, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Good Morning, God

Last night, this verse kept coming back up in and out of my sleep. I didn’t have it correct though, I thought the “soul at rest”.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I made a list of ways I try to quiet my soul when I’m troubled or worried. There was a trend; overthinking, overeating, over drinking that glass of wine, over exercising, over scrolling on my phone, over comparing my life to others, over imagining catastrophic things.

I remembered the peace of adding thick paste on tiny canvases and manipulating the shape into crosses.


There, in the messy place scattered with stop and start paintings and in progress projects, I sat the small crosses aside to rest.

Anything I use to rescue myself becomes so noisy, I can barely hear, sense, remember God’s Spirit in me, much less imagine him holding my left hand with his right.

We add noises, actions, resolutions and solutions to our lives intent on well-intentioned improvements.

We forget we were never expected to nor are we able on our own. The flesh is so weak, but the Spirit so strong and sweetly longing to be stronger.

“It is not He who is far away from us, but we from Him.” Mother Francis Raphael

Not Able on My Own

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peace is God’s intent, the within way.

January Things and Thoughts

Abuse Survivor, birds, bravery, contentment, courage, daughters, depression, Faith, family, freedom, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, suicide loss, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

Once I was a member, although not fully eligible to join, of a community of people who gathered over grief.

I was the leader, though never feeling equipped. Often, I thought to advise or redirect which led to empty gazed expressions from those mourning a loss due to suicide.

It was simply better that I just sit with them, that I listen.

Often listening lasted too long for me.

Moments between a gut-wrenching story and the responses of others stretched out long around the conference table.

Still, sitting still together in silence was best.

On Tuesday, my granddaughter who’s two and a half going on twenty asked to get closer, get closer to the little birds.

I saw one bird on a thin branch. She spotted its companion nearby. We walked carefully, me instructing her, “Step up high, high knees, watch your feet, be careful!”

We walked over limbs, pine tree remnants and broken up soil in the place where the land is being cleared for changes, her future and her family’s.

I thought of, am thinking of David, of the psalms. One in particular I cling to and others so honest we’re reluctant to say we can relate.

“I lie awake; I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭102:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We found our footing atop a little high place she called the mountains and we saw the sparrows before they flitted away.

In the margin of my Bible there’s a sketch here, a rooftop with a solitary bird brings me comfort, tells me others understand.

I have a very old Bible, an estate sale find. Once I thought to find the owner’s family, now I have decided it’s mine.

In this old Oxford Bible, a leather woven cover soft over the thin yellow pages, I find papers, a teacher’s identification card, and a lesson plan marked “January”, a typewritten script for 5th grade students on the color wheel.

The owner of the Bible I found was an art teacher.

Underlined in faded red, she must’ve wanted to express the importance of colors developing, merging, being strengthened when placed alongside or blended together.

I found it fitting to tuck the funeral pamphlet of my mama’s service here.

Here in January.

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭138:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today, I journaled prompted by more ancient words, the quote in my “Joy and Strength” devotional.

Let them be strangers, your dark thoughts. Believe them not. Receive them not. Know them not. Own them not. (Joy and Strength, Isaac Pennington)

“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Continue and believe. Share your sorrows. Listen and agree.

Jesus, we need you.

Keep On

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, hope, Peace, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, walking, wisdom

The cold air was dreadful. I’d made a mistake in choosing to walk.

Halfway up the trail and I wondered why I had no cap, no jacket.

Even the couple with the dog dressed in a jacket must have known.

I walked on.

I thought of what was to come.

Up the hill, round the curve.

My body warmed.

I conquered the cul de sacs.

Again, I think of my son saying walking’s not exercise.

Caring less than before as my thoughts unravel in a rhythm that I know.

The rhythm of release. The crossing paths with those who know my walking.

Never pausing for chit chat.

They know me, fast and determined.

I walk on.

Strong and with intention.

An object lesson in perseverance.

A better than before every single time, can’t think of a time I wasn’t better for choosing.

Walking, fast and steadfastly.

Continue, I do.

Continue and believe.

As Sure As The Sun

Advent, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, Faith, grace, hope, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, wonder

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Whatever you can depend upon, think of such things.

Last night, I realized I hadn’t shared “lovely” things in a while. I started posting pics with the simple words from Paul…whatever is lovely, think about such things, way back in 2019.

I get to watch the sun come up while the toddler is stirring. This morning, it made me want to add a phrase to Paul’s instruction…

Whatever you can depend upon

because I remembered my Father in heaven is as dependable as the sunrise and sunset He made.

The closer I get to Christmas, the more frantic I feel and I remind myself of the hope, the internal goal…peace, joy that is evident in me whatever room I enter. I’m a work in progress, I’m thinking it’s evident.

I recalled my life verse (Isaiah 30:15) early today. I jotted it down…paraphrasing. I’m best when I’m quietly confident, when my repentance leads to rest. I’m at my worst when I strike out on my own, either running from something or trying to rush something on my own.

But grace waits. Grace returns like the tangerine sunrise in the country.

I don’t know what has you fretting or forlorn. Others may think you should’ve long let it go or may consider it trivial. But, your secret concerns are yours as are mine and others’.

It is yours and it’s heavy, there’s no good in comparing our struggles.

As sure as the sun will rise, you are loved by a dependable God. Me too.

Look for the light.

Continue and believe.

Listening To The Season

contentment, courage, depression, doubt, memoir, Prayer, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder
The New Book

Tears came with a knowing nudge,


and the kitten climbed the skinny crepe myrtle higher,

leaves fell like feathers and I underlined, then reread.

“Doing those deeply unfashionable things…slowing down, letting your spare time expand, getting enough sleep, resting…is a radical act now, but it is essential. This is a crossroads we all know, a moment when you need to shed a skin.

If you do, you’ll expose all these painful nerve endings and feel so raw that you’ll need to take care of yourself for a while.

If you don’t, then that skin will harden around you. It’s one of the most important choices you’ll ever make.”

“Wintering, The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times” by Katherine May

Finding God

Angels, Art, bravery, contentment, depression, doubt, Faith, mercy, Peace, praise, rest, Teaching, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

I lost my glasses on Monday, the cute ones, the ones a little bolder than my typical tortoise or black. Like most people my age, there are spare pairs everywhere. But, not on Monday.

We drove down the pretty road bordered with deeply rooted trees. Her mama had left a forgotten treat in the mailbox.

So early in the day, my readers must have slipped from my pocket or fell from my lap.

It’s an interesting dependence I now have on them, like a security blanket for a baby.

I catch myself thinking I have a pair like a headband only to pat the top of my head to be sure they’re there and find only hair.

On Monday, I was without them. I warned people I responded to in texts. They were unbothered by my typos.

By the end of the day I was managing just fine. My daughter didn’t find them on the road and I decided, oh well they’re just gone.

I gathered my things in the passenger seat once I was at home. Glanced down in the space between seat and console and saw a strange sight. I decided my husband had left some stuff in my car.

A little glass case, black with faux fancy logo with a pair of readers in the color peridot. I lost them so long ago.

Not as fancy as the blue, but I loved them and missed them.

Why am I writing about finding reading glasses?

It’s the thought that came after, the clarity in a sweet message from God.

About good in God’s time and God’s way, about the way answers come when we accept we don’t know, can’t be in control of everything.

The way God is the very best at the “art of surprising”.

On Tuesday, my granddaughter wanted another treat. It was close to lunchtime and she had a slight runny nose, but would never tell her grandma she was feeling bad.

(Memories of her strong mama here, rarely voicing a need or trouble.)

I let her lay on the floor, not flailing but fussing. Let her let her mood play out, allowed her to reconcile what she wanted with what her person in charge decided was best.

From the kitchen, I heard her whine change to elation.

“I found Gamma’s cross! Grandma, I found Gamma’s cross!”

She ran over and handed me the tiny gold cross, the one Gamma lost months ago and we all searched until we settled on not finding and stopped searching.

I called Gamma. Told her “Guess what?” and quoted our precious granddaughter.

She found the cross.

Under the couch, found when a little toddler tantrum decided to get quiet and lift the fabric of the couch to hide underneath. How she spotted it is really nothing short of a miracle.

No one else would’ve looked there.

Yesterday, we had a sweet day together. The back seat of my car strewn with a used pull-up, tiny books, little cards and juicy cups, and “guess what?”

My fancy blue glasses.

Hmmm, a surprise.

I had a thought yesterday as I listened to the words of a popular song “My Jesus”.

I thought “I don’t feel the nearness of Jesus now.”

I told God that very thing, asked Him to help me see what’s blocking my view or maybe, just to show me it’s okay to not always be searching, rather to wait for his revealing.

Gamma and Grandma both wear crosses, I suppose it’s one of our granddaughter, Elizabeth’s favorite things, our necklaces.

And our bracelets.

Yesterday, she sat in my lap and asked about every charm on my bracelet, the tiny artist palette, the little girl and boy silhouettes, her mommy and her uncle. She spotted the tiny angel, a gift from my husband prior to her birth. She said “That’s like my angel”, an angel her mama’s grandma gave her when she was just a baby.

One charm she skipped over is the circle with the missing charm, a tiny mustard seed enclosed in glass. Lost so long ago, I stopped searching.

When I called Gamma, teary with excitement, she called our granddaughter “my angel” and I agreed.

She added, “Now, let’s wait for her to find your mustard seed!”

“That would be something!” I said.

The sketches on the thin pages of my Bible often overlap with faded color, the Psalms especially.

Choose Today

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, grace, grandchildren, Holy Spirit, Peace, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom
Love is Yours

After the sleepover, I discovered my granddaughter had placed the little heart in the little hand.

I remember being captivated by my grandmother’s things, wanting to hold them.

Longing to understand their worth, her little trinkets, her jewelry, her talcum powder and Jergen’s cherry lotion.

They were her.

I woke this morning with a few words

“Choose this day, choose life or death.”

Incline Your Heart

I found the passage in the Old Testament, the historical account of Joshua’s life.

The battle of Jericho, the passage telling us to be strong and courageous, God is with us.

And this one, with the last few words you may find in a home, often a gift for newly married.

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These are strong exhortations to people in battle, to choose God’s way or the other gods of their history.

For me, they mean simply “choose life” today.

Choose love or fear. Choose trust over doubt. Choose bravery over insecurity.

Choose to not forfeit your day to anxiety or depression over uncontrollable circumstances.

Choose to be light rather than heavy.

To let be what will be with a satisfied spirit.

Grace is enough. The grace you’ve known and the overflow that is promised.

Choose forgiveness over fretting.

Choose Today

…incline your heart to the Lord. Joshua 24:33

The little heart still rests in the hand.

The heart left on my doorstep by my pastor as a love offering in sympathy of my mama’s passing tells me

Love goes on.

I notice my orchid, revived and repotted has tiny tissue paper buds this morning.

Life continues.

Choose today.

Choose to live.

Toward The New Day

bravery, confidence, courage, depression, Faith, hope, mercy, Prayer, Stillness, Vulnerability, wisdom

But, as for me, it is good to be near God. Psalm 73:28

Morning Spot

Changing my morning spot with the season means I’m facing the morning sun. I’m not able to linger as long. I’m motivated to move forward, toward the new day, the give and take back cycle of surrendering its way to God’s control.

The longer I stay, the more unavoidable is the glare. My face looks towards my journal, the three words on focus.




Waking today, to a one step forward and three back kinda feel.

So, I ask simply for more grace.

Look up again, the sunlight now dappled through the pines.

I pray.

Turn my face towards the sun, Lord. Empower me to let the shadows fade away. All knowing, Father, you are good and only do good. Settle my mind and heart on this truth.

“The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭74:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Becoming Them, Becoming You

Art, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, family, memoir, painting, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Calling Myself an Artist

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

I sketched an oak tree years ago, green grass water colored and a blue sky with the words above added in a sort of filigree.

I worked for the Department of Family and Children Services aka DFACS aka The Welfare.

I gave this sketch to my first real boss, the County Director back then, thirty something years ago.

Something in me has always understood the something in others that causes harmful, negative, risky behaviors.

Causes giving up or succeeding.

And so, I had work to do, very hard work, but I tried to be kind.

Because, I’m certain every single person in the world is battling something.

Many times it’s something they’re hoping to outgrow or to not hand down to their children.

As I age, I’m beginning to see the battle of becoming, either fear of what I may become or a greater fear of what I will not.

I knew a woman once who should’ve been a chef. Her meals were spread out like royalty when family came on Sunday. She retired from professional management type work and she immersed herself in cooking. She became the cook at a little campground type place where men shot dove. The tips were good, the encouraging compliments invaluable. She was on top of the world and then, she just couldn’t or decided she couldn’t anymore.

Sometimes, I’m asked in these days of either anxious anger or languid depression, how I stay motivated, how I keep painting, I wish I could be like you, have a calling and purpose.

And I’m honest. I say,

I’ve seen what happens when you stop doing what feeds your soul. I’ve seen how quickly you don’t leave your house, grow weak and weary and weaker and worn out.

I’ve seen how becoming what you longed to be only lasts for a minute. I’ve seen how one sweet hope that gets stolen or is forced to be given up because of hardship or loss can break a strong soul.

I keep painting because like probably you, I want to become the mama who lived life fully not the one who decided she couldn’t keep on.

Feed your soul. Cook. Write. Paint. Sing. Dance. Plant your roses.

Every bit of you is the beauty you’re becoming.

The battle we all fight, the hard one?

The battle not to let ourselves quit, not to let our hopes go.

Continue and believe.