All Together Beautiful

courage, rest, Uncategorized, Vulnerability


I was enthralled by her retelling.  Her hand holding her daughter’s. Her husband took his life. She did not know why.

I listened and agreed,  there is yet, no reason why. They’d unraveled, retold, no answers. Nothing to have known.

The pauses are long sometimes. Have they more to say?  Are there replies that might heal?  We pause.

The room is still; but, not uneasy.

She reaches into her purse, I figure to fill empty space, maybe look for Kleenex or phone.

Instead, she finds a book and she reads to us about grief and the only thing that has brought comfort, she adds.

“Grief” she read aloud, is hard and it is unpredictable and onerous in its coming, occasional going and coming again.

Still, if there is the opportunity to notice beauty, then there are moments that feel less like grief.

Oh, I thought, the noticing makes the difference…yes, me too.

I lead the meetings and I’m awkward at times and I’m sad later, not during,

having heard their stories.

I take them with me home.

But, I listened as she read from little green book and my eyes welled up as she offered hope to the ones who were there to make her hopeful,  help her make sense of her senseless.

So, I cried a little in the presence of her bravery on that, her first time at support group.

I woke at 5 the next morning, thinking of beauty, I drifted and slept for a little longer, more pleasant.

Ventured down the hall, good morning pats on heads of dogs and then walked outside with them onto grass barely daylight lit.

Tennis ball tosses, one or two and then I look down on shadowy ground obscure.

One, I see and reach down to collect it, then two, three blue feathers at my slippered feet. Not too many know, my place of settling,  everything an arrangement of three.

And I’m thinking still, two nights later about the complexity of pattern, of life, of grief, of brave recitation and of my mind

that woke with thoughts of beauty and followed to find it there.

Thinking now of all of the all togethers of beautiful noticing.

God is everywhere.

Don’t forget to notice.

All together beautiful.

Sweetly Sorrowful

courage, Faith, family, grace, Prayer, rest, Uncategorized, Vulnerability


This morning I had no intention of being reminded.

Of getting drawn backwards in time.

I hadn’t thought this way in a while, I’d finally crossed the finish line of acceptance in that long race called grief.

Like a runner crossing that line, arms thrown towards heaven, acceptance was well-earned.

But, I got pulled in, read a few lines and my eyes rested in a place of raw truth.

The words, written about a mother missed.  Shared by David Kanigan, a thoughtful blogger, writer, sharer and follower. I only skimmed it, the piece he shared. I stopped, still in this truth, captivated by the expression.

It’s been three years now since my mother’s death, and I’m still wondering why I haven’t spoken with her in so long. Blair Hurley

more here:

And they were so true, her words so sad, such a validation that I carried them all day long, thinking

“It’s true, how I long to talk to her. How it seems I should be able.”

Later, it occurred to me “not too many people live as long as I have without my daddy here or my mama.”

My daddy, 17 years.

Mama, almost 7.

Reminded of loss,  but moved by another’s understanding. Changed for having read the honest and unexpected words of another.

Oddly, I found myself happy over her admission, her honesty as if we’d talked and she and I agreed…yes, I know, I know!

Grief is such a juxtaposition of sorrow and sweet, I’ve decided.

Such sorrow over our lack of ability to change it, such sweetness over our retelling and remembering.


A sadness kept silent, yet relieved in finding the perfect expression of another.

So, I carried my sadness lightly today; I’m sure no one noticed, like an all day reminder saying  “yes, but….” .

That was the state of my heart.

It was there all day, hung around, popped up when things got quiet.

Intermittent longing for my mother.

Good things happened today…conversations, smiles, friendships and tasks completed.

Still, at day’s end I felt the longing again.

Decided not to walk the dog.

Too tired, too late, too unmotivated.

Then, felt the pull. The sky, the birds and end of day pull towards God. It happens this way…decide not to walk, go anyway and it happens every time. God sends me some beauty.

Geese overhead, puffy clouds and a rainbow with no rain. A sky filled with soft clouds beckoning me to rest, to be at peace.


No one will understand unless they may have been there…

Country night, dusky sky and we look toward the water, my grandfather’s pond and in the distance we hear them.

Mama says, “Here they come.”

And they do, the geese, v-shaped silhouettes against evening sky.

They did and I mouthed her expression,  “Here they come.” pointing towards the sky hoping she could see.


content in my distraction



There was a red bird outside my window this morning. I heard its chirping and stopped to listen. I pushed back from my desk, opened the shutters and stopped, captivated by its visit.  Bright, confident, vibrantly bouncing around in the straw.

My mind moves lately from one to another thing, the bane of the multitasking and distracted life.  It’s my current place in life, engaged daughter and youngest entering college.

Last night, planted next to the checkout at Target,  a friend and I shared wisdom over the need to rest, to look away from the current inundation of horrific.  We agreed that we’d be quite content to withdraw to our homes, to draw into and near to God.  We wondered if this might be the only sound place of solace. We agreed we should and we could do this.

Let’s just stay in our quiet place;  stay home, curl up on the couch, kneel down bedside.  Avoid the news, the media, the social sucking in of our minds via handheld places of informative anguish. We might withdraw, we decided.

But wait, there’s a birthday coming up tomorrow, her daughter and  “Lisa, you have your daughter’s wedding to plan, What fun!” she said.  Our conversation and our faces changed as we shifted to the good, to the peace bringing, soul touching, warm smile bringing happy things.

Glancing towards my desk this morning, ready to begin my list of to do’s.  I had committed in prayer to remain focused, to avoid distractions and to honor God in my work. I placed my yellow mug down next to my collection of peaceful things.  The things that make me smile, a reminder note to “be still” and a mug, both gifts from my daughter. A perfectly hollowed out bird nest cushioning baby bluebird feathers and I thought “this little vignette is my happy way of life”.   This is rest for my soul,  pretty and peaceful in the impending and overwhelming now. I’m hoping God has planted  a collection of joy on my friend’s path today and that she’s stopped to notice already.

My friend has had a hard year.  She is thin. She is tired.  Her eyes have an appearance of long, heavy nights. “It all caught up with me this year, Lisa.”  she said.  I asked, wondering  “Like the empty nest is so much more empty than you thought it would be?”

She agreed, nodding without words, her eyes becoming watery and I wondered if these words were hard or just hard truth.

Her son, same age as mine, should be headed to college.  He ended his life three years ago. I cherish the story of her son. I’ve heard it many times, no less difficult in the repetition. I am honored to be a listener of her cherished story.

I was there to shop for my son, entering college in three weeks. My dread of the coming Matriculation Day changed to an embracing of the gift now, of accomplishment and challenge.

I asked about her kind and quiet husband then,   “I saw the mission trip pictures.” I said, adding “the one with the child looking up at him, he seemed so serene”.  She smiled then and said her husband may have found peace in Africa.  His journey has made a turn. His path seems more peaceful, she said.   She turned a corner too, a hard road she saw him travel she’ll travel now, she hopes for not so long.

My sweet and wise cousin sent a photo the other day. She’d spent the day in Charleston and thought of sending a picture of the college campus soon to be my son’s home.  She thought of me, she said as she drove past the gated entrance.  She rethought the idea, suddenly though.  Later,  she says knew why. Her daily routine, out walking her dogs, a hot and dry day, eyes cast downward, she thought of me again and smiled.

Nestled in the brown, dry pine needles, crisp and crunchy leaves, she found a brilliant feather. She texted me: ” I saw this and thought of you. I love you.” I imagined her stopping to look, deciding which path to take and then pausing there, thinking this is for Lisa.

She texted: “Walking dogs , saw this pretty feather , thinking of you.”

Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, walk there, you’ll find rest for your soul. Jeremiah 6:16

I’m sharing my story in a link-up with other wise women who are most likely distracted, yet content.

Thank you Jennifer!

Thank you Jennifer!

Peace – a quiet outpouring

Children, Faith, family, Prayer, rest, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability
He is our peace.

He is our peace.

I heard, last night about the tragic death of an eight year old boy.

This past week, I met the parents of a 26 year old who decided life and it’s struggles compounded by his own unique obstacles was too hard.

His mama, daddy and sister are grieving and profoundly sad at Christmas.

A grown man, for the most part a stranger has accepted my small gesture of being available to listen, and has retold his story through tears a few times now.

Listening, nodding.  Being like-minded in the value of God’s peace are all I am capable of, even competent to provide as a support, a resource.

Because, the unfathomable has occurred.

The horrors that only leave a resounding “Why” and the aching pain in the chests, ribs and souls of those who grieve.

And now at home, the eve of Christmas Eve, discord at home rears it’s hateful head.

A whirlwind of exchange of anger, frustration, hurt and rivalry has been an occasional upheaval within our walls.

Siblings at different stages of life passages are simply incompatible.

Love and forgiveness, a bending of opinions, unique wills has to reign.

Mamas fight with all of their being to mediate.

To see both sides, to beg for bending, understanding, apologetic acts.

Yet, we’re torn when division grows broader, deeper.

When discord remains for more than a verbal match or a slammed door.

Moments passed, the house became quiet and I sat, positioned facing our tree, rain falling, shimmery lights and my homemade paper ornaments swaying slightly as reminders of my Christmas goals for this year:





And I sat a little while, thinking I need to calm down. I need to pray.

Nevertheless, I just sat.

Absorbing, experiencing the dull ache of anxiety.

Half-heartedly allowing thoughts to fake their way from my mind, masquerading as prayers.

Lord, help this stop. Lord, this has to stop….

Finally, I walk determinedly towards my bedside and I kneel.

Resting, face on carpet, I pour out my heart to God.

The ritual becomes a peaceful ease, a flow without restraint, an outpouring.

I pray for the horrific loss of a little boy at Christmas. I pray for the profound loss of the mom and dad who will recall on Christmas Day the tragic suicide of a son just 3 weeks ago.

And I pray, surrendered to God through His Son Jesus, that I will follow Him through storms of change, aiming to create discord.

Follow His design for me as a mother to my children, a wife as a Child of God, the one whose goal is a family that loves God.

Mostly, that I will know and believe more strongly that

Discord is not of God.

That God is not responsible for the stealing of my Joy, of my Peace. Of my Hope.  Of my family.

That I am strongest on my knees in prayerful surrender; not in a place of “Why me” random requests spilling from anxious, angry or dissatisfied frustration.

Because, when I pray with open heart, mind and hands, He himself is my Peace.

Jesus was born into a world of discord, of plans for evil, not good.

He was, after all turned away to be born in a stable. He was finally, despised, rejected and crucified for us, to be our salvation and our solace through the powerful Holy Spirit our gift of Grace connection to God.

And so He himself is our peace…The only peace in a world where Sin has entered in and has torn our hearts and souls for a longing, an imploring to abide in Him…in solemn and sincere opening of heart for Peace on Earth.

Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

His peace, written in red for us, we are His disciples.

Peace, joy, love, hope are ours when we abide in Him through prayer this Christmas.

When Sorrow Circles Back

Children, Motherhood, Prayer, Uncategorized


Sorrow, the teacher

Sorrow, the teacher

 I called my friend, finally, on my day off to see about visiting her mama and was told “It’s not a good day.”Hospice had been called in and I should have called sooner, I felt so bad.

I explained, “This is odd and may not be okay; but, I wanted to sit and talk with your mama because we have a special connection. I want to know more of her story…her favorite scripture.”

My friend paused and empty space filled the air.  “I remember, I said, “when I was brave enough to talk about my abuse, my past, my testimony in church, your mama smiled at me and met me with open arms. We have a bond.” 

“She loves you.” My friend said. ” I love her.” I said.  Again, silence, and my friend tells me she’s walking onto the porch, so her mama won’t hear.

She listens as I continue, regretful and guilty over waiting so long to call, because I missed my own mama so, so bad and I just couldn’t get that close to the sorrow, so close to the enormity of grief. Then, not sure of the weight of my words, I say:

“This is going to be hard for you. It will never be easy. You will have a forever void and nothing will replace your mama. Your life will be never be the same; but, you will be okay. You will have unexpected days of sorrow and there will be days you will be better and there will be days that the longing for her will bring you to your knees, queasy emptiness in your gut. But, you will know you were loved and the enormity of that love you will not know until you know this loss.”

If time had allowed I would say, “But, you will be at peace because you have loved and been loved back. Whatever craziness, chaos or uncertainty of your mama’s mothering will be wiped away. You will cling to the good because the good is all that matters. Your relationship will be redeemed and will be all about love.”

But, I did not say this. Instead, I prayed via cell phone.

Tearful, hoarse, and tentative, I prayed.

Heavenly Father, you know this is hard for me to remember this pain and so I have waited too long and I am sorry. I care so much about my friend’s mama because she cares about me and like me, she was redeemed. We were both redeemed.  Dear Lord, please cover her in your peace and comfort her family. Help her to know how much she is loved. In Jesus name, Amen

 I apologize to my friend for crying.I should be the strong one, offering support.  I tell her I didn’t expect to get so emotional. I did not expect to be reminded of the sadness of a mama dying. She is okay with my crying and says there is no way I will ever know just how much she needed my call. I’m crying and say “I love you. I love your mama. Please tell her.”

Then, sitting quietly, I realize sorrow circles back,redeems and gives purpose to my pain.

Wisdom meets grief,  is cushioned by love and experience, and we bravely embrace and make sense of our sorrow.  God gives us opportunities for good, for good grown of grief, the wisdom of sorrow He would have us share.

So, tonight my prayer is for peace for my friend’s path and mercy for her mama, the one who loved me despite my story, and the strong, brave one who told her own story, the one redeemed… redeemed like me.

Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us…to guide our feet in the path of peace.   Luke 1:78