Saturday, September 24, 2016

When Healing Finds You

Sometimes on a normal a typical business luncheon...healing comes up behind you and taps you on the shoulder and then wraps its arms around you.

I am soaking up the goodness of God.

I mean I am lapping it up like a puppy that has been playing all afternoon with kids in the yard and just found a bowl of water.

I might have stood up in the middle of a restaurant last night, at the end of telling a story from this week, and fist bumped both arms in the air praising God. {The kids might have asked me to sit down and stop embarrassing myself...them. LOL}

I am grateful.

I am a grateful girl.

The last nearly five years have been HARD. If I have alluded any differently, forgive me. I misled.

I have often wondered why writing...why me....why this journey, but then you meet people who say I read your writing and go, "Me too." When that happens, I know I have this dumb, useless look on my face because I am blown away that the vomiting I do on a keyboard resonates with...well anyone.

This journey feels so personal, so private, so....well, insane...that I hardly know how to respond when others bear hug me excited to embrace their compadre from the trenches. {...and I am not going to lie...that is awesome.}

We are not alone.

So...I write to remember. I write to learn. I write to process this journey from despair to healing and the lessons along the way.

I love basketball though I was never as good a player as I wanted to be. I also had some hard coaches, tough and smart. One thing you learn in basketball is how to pivot. It is fast and quick, and done well, effective.

I digress.

I am in the middle of a five plus year pivot.

I am turning the titanic.

I had built and lived a life that one day I decided to lay down, but only after I fell down...on my knees, and then on my face. A failure. Not by the world's standards, but by my own. The standards I had designed in my imaginary world believing that if I did every single one of them right, everything would one day be okay.

That was January 2012.

I sit here in September 2016 still working to unwind the imaginary life I had built up for that 40 years.

The pivot is my wilderness.

Sometimes it takes a long time to pivot.

...and that is okay.

Sometimes your heart gets broken by circumstance and decisions you felt compelled to make...and two years later someone taps you on the shoulder and when you pivot around to see who it is, they grab you in a bear hug, with tears in their eyes, and say, "I am so glad you are back." and it is EVERYTHING. Simply everything.


I am so grateful.

I will restore what the locusts have eaten....

I need to go find that verse.

The Lord’s Answer
Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
The Lord replied to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
“I will drive the northern horde far from you,
pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
its smell will rise.”
Surely he has done great things!
Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm —
my great army that I sent among you.
You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

Wow. I had to include that entire section of Joel 2 because if you have been, are in, are headed into a wilderness need the promise and the gift of these words that God will restore you. That he will restore your heart, your spirit, your mind....and on and on. He is a God of RESTORATION.

....but...BUT you have to let him do the work IN you and you have to embrace the journey...setting out on it not knowing where he will take you, how long you will be there, but trusting in a God that loves you, is for you, and knows you better than you know yourself (especially when you are at the foot of the wilderness).

God loves you.


So....I am grateful.

Every day as of late feels like a battle. The toughest battles yet. {I know. Insert eye roll here.}

Every single day though...God is giving me a victory, sometimes tiny, and they are EVERYTHING to my weary heart.

...and I am REJOICING. In a ballroom, on Main Street, in a restaurant, on a soccer field, driving down the road screaming in giddy excitement with a friend...I have no shame. I. Will. Rejoice. I need the rejoicing because the battles are HARD.

So today lock arms with a compadre and say, "Me too." and then jump up and down at even the tiniest of victories and celebrate it.

...but here is one more thing....when you see someone who went buck naked out into the arena and laid it all down and got beaten to a pulp but got up and kept walking, kept fighting the good fight....tap them on the shoulder and when they pivot, hug them and tell them, "I am so glad you are back." because your words love and embrace, God uses to heal.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Winding Path of Sorrow

Today I woke up knowing it was the day to purge - once AGAIN - my master bedroom closet. I have had it on my to do list since I completed the three year purge at the end of 2015. I knew then, as I do now, that I still had/have too many clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. I really felt like I needed to get to a capsule wardrobe (30-50 items or less). It felt TOO ambitious in the midst of a purge where I was already whittling down 6000 square feet into 900.

I just inadvertently laughed out loud reading that.

It is obscene how much I once owned.

I am still recovering from the shame of it all.

I digress.

There have been a few big NEWS events in my life of late, but like most big events in my life - I am sworn to secrecy for a time that makes me feel a little like a CIA operative within my own skin. I once thought it "cool" and now I just find it frustrating. One of them I am writing a long emotional post for that reason, I will stop here and say, stay tuned....*Yikes* I sit in the middle of my bed with the contents of my closet literally strewn all around me, and in the bathroom, and into the living room...and it is a hot mess here in Heather Land this morning. I wouldn't text or call me today - I am idling high - unless you want to tell me you love me to which I will not believe you...because...

The truth is I am angry.

I am so angry even I don't know what to do with know after months and months of therapy you look at bumps in the road as "I've seen a podcast, I think I know what I am talking about." moments...and yet...

Anger shows up at your door like the un-welcomed guest it is.


Some days on the quest to wholeness and peace you just get pissed. I don't know what else to tell you. People are assholes to you. A manipulative person slithers in and out of your office like the demon-possessed vulture they are. People who have long since abandoned you poke their head up after YEARS to see if they can still get an emotional rise out of you. A disgruntled ex-employee writes a heinous note directed at you via your company's social media. Your counselor (bless her) decides to open up the box in the darkest corner of your soul and peek in to see what is inside.

This was my past six days.

...but all of that crap isn't what makes me angry.

It is that I am headed to Israel in little more than a month...that I just checked off two GIANT burdens off my to do list...that I have this sweet girl that asks/needs/wants me to proof her college essay...that I have two dear friends that are deepening what can only be called a God-connection....that one of them is purging her entire family's life so that she can say yes to God in a big way....that I got to work on this BIG dream I have for a few hours this week with someone...

...and that I, as in me, myself, and I....I let the enemy take all of that JOY for even a second....and that the second has turned into days and it is spiraling down like a snowball rolling downhill...and I don't know how else to stop it other than to vomit here and cry MERCY at the top of my lungs!


I loathe being angry!

I just want my spirit, my heart, and in my life. I am so over conflict.

While I have been writing Path of Sorrow by All Sons & Daughters is playing (click title for link), and the words soothe and sting simultaneously. *Ouch*

It hurts to admit that I am struggling....well, not as much struggling, as faltering. It hurts to admit I am in falling to my knees. Okay it hurts to admit that there are times I wish I could swing a sword and take out those that hurt and malign me. That is the easier way, and I miss the easy path sometimes. This wholehearted, turn the other cheek, grow from adversity, learn the lessons, figure out the reason for the coping mechanism, my childhood was a hot mess and left wounds, let me gather all of my people and hold hands feels as CRAPPY as it sounds to someone who thinks this is all voodoo.

Here is the truth.

Growth sucks. Like the WORST.

The path to healing is winding not straight.

There is a point in the process of healing where you hit a proverbial wall and must choose - continue on to points unknown on the map OR quit. There is no third option. There is no turning back. You cannot get the genie back in the bottle. You know too much now.

Lets just say that I am standing at the base of the wall looking UP at it and my knees are buckling...

I guess I am here to say...hold my hand....please.

I am terrified...and I am exhausted...just one bloody battle (for healing) after another...I don't know how others do it. I am in awe.

My friend Sherri just sent me a beautiful text while I was writing...Sherri is the one I give co-credit to for our "tossing hot potatoes at the foot of the cross" visual....and that visual has been saving me these past few weeks as another "seemingly" hot potato gets tossed in my lap and in one fluid motion, I toss it to the foot of the cross - you're up Jesus (all the praise hands). I digress. So....she just reminded me of when Moses' mother slid her baby in a basket down a river...trusting God. Completely.


It is in the learning to give up control that we are healed....and let me declare here and now...I will be healed from my need to control everything in and about my life. I mean it - from what others think of me to what my future holds to how my words (audibly or written) are received to the thousands of other things that a recovering control freak like me frets over on a daily basis.

...and in there somewhere I promise to continue to learn how to give grace to myself.

Oh...and that wall.

Here is what I have learned to be true these past (nearly) five years. God has me.

The other view from the picture above is the one where I look down and realize how far I have come...and I don't give myself enough credit for that...and I shouldn't because God deserves every single bit of it. He had me then....He has me now...He will have me evermore....perfectly safe in the palm of his hand.

God has me.

"Oh I know, I know
You remain the same
Even in, even in
My wandering"

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Just Breathe

There are days in life when God opens and shuts doors so fast that it simply takes your breath.

I feel like the past month has been a string of days EXACTLY like that...Every. Day.

As soon as I can find five minutes I have ALL the words to say about this marathon I have been running this past several weeks.

...for now...

I need to remind myself to breathe.

You might not know this about me, but sometimes I forget to breathe. 😳 I literally catch myself holding my breath. 🤔 My counselor is having to teach me breathing exercises. 🙄

Oh how I wish I were making this stuff up. 😂

So in this season I find myself in where God is walking me deeper into a submissive heart while the control freak in me is trying to find the PANIC button to hit....*Deep Breath*...let me share this...

Being in control is overrated.



I am laughing because I swear I am about to hyperventilate. There is a war waging in me over what I know to be true versus how I have always coped...and it is I N T E N S E! 

Don't give up...wherever you are in your journey. I am preaching to myself here. 

*Just Breathe*

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Rise and Fall of a Modern Day Pollyanna

I am working on some new stuff that I am being a little covert about right now....and so the revelation in counseling this afternoon gave me pause.

am I still a Pollyanna?


maybe the term "Modern Day Pollyanna" fits me better now than before?

Today I framed something and used the term "...being a pollyanna..." to which my counselor rather quickly injected, "No." stating that wasn't what I was doing at all...she then proceeded to define "being pollyanna" for me, and then what I was doing....(she saw it as growth BTW)...

I was facing something and naming it truly whitewashing, excusing, or explaining.



I had to have it broke down for me.

Bless. My. Heart.


I would like to offer myself up as Exhibit A that grades, degrees, awards, accolades, etc. do not a single strong brain make. *Eye Roll*

I tease. Myself. Kinda.

I mean sometimes.

In 1750 Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard's Almanack, observed the great difficulty of knowing one's self, with: "There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one's self."

I believe Ole' Ben was onto something.

Some days I climb into bed at the end of a day, slap my own forehead, clasp my hands and say a prayer to God, and simply go to bed. Sometimes that all happens in a very fluid that as flurry of activity at bedtime.

I just can't even. Myself. I can't even over myself.

My counselor is proud of me.

Right now...and most days, that is the most I can ask for...and all I hope for...because I need the millimeter of progress her affirmation can confirm for my disrupted spirit.

The lessons are just coming so very fast.

As such, the lessons are coming ALMOST as fast as the blessings. Lest I lead the reader astray that this season is joyless, it is NOT. There are many many blessings.

My Very First Sunrise in Haiti, June 2013

Do you ever as an adult watch a movie you saw first as a child and think....I wondered what would have happened to those characters if they kept filming? too.

I wonder what happened to Pollyanna on that train, after surgery, as she grew up. Did she hold any lingering wounds or bitterness? Did she find love? A counselor? What happened to her family? Her relationships? Did she have a career?

Then I many times does a person have to be knocked down before they simply don't get back up? How many times wounded? Heart broken by someone? Abandoned?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop?

Did I just age myself?

I digress.

There is a beautiful song by Lauren Daigle entitled How Can It Be (click on title for link to You Tube lyric video), and this line...
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You

I have been writing a lot about this concept of "rising" and so tonight I am it...

...the number of times you fall?

...the number of times you rise?

...who you fall with?

...or could it be who you rise WITH?


The book of James in the Bible will rock your world.

This week I was supposed to read a chapter a day or the entire book every day. I was ambitious and thought the whole thing every day...then LIFE happened along with 15+ hour days (Monday and Tuesday)...and I did not. :/ So now here I sit on Wednesday reading through the whole thing...Like. A. Boss. and remembering why I love it so.

The best experience I have EVER had reading and studying James was on a trip in Haiti with a team and my dear friend IV. Read James in Haiti. Talk about having your head spun.

I digress.


James is rich with words about wisdom, humility, serving, rising, and falling.

After the past two days, I know why the enemy wanted me distracted from re-reading James daily. Yet another reminder to hold fast to what God puts on my heart.

So here I am wrestling with myself...wrestling to know myself....wrestling to heal...wrestling to love.

Maybe even Pollyanna grows up.

Maybe even Pollyanna must allow perseverance " finish its work..." so that she can be "mature and complete..."

God loves us.

God is doing a good work in each of us.

Let go and let that. work.

...and with that I lay it all down once again at the foot of the cross.

*It is emotional to include this photo, but even more so to the share the backstory. I took this photo my first morning (ever) in Haiti. It was at Jumecourt, overlooking the orphanage next door (Source de la Grace) and where I would meet Tacura (the next day). I remember walking up there with my coffee, watching the sunrise, and hearing the children next door rising for the day....and singing. I was entranced. Completely. That might have been the moment everything changed for me. Nonetheless, when I started counseling and specifically the EMDR, the counselor asked me to come up with a "happy place" and without hesitation, I said the rooftop at Jumecourt at sunrise...and I cried. Today, for the first time in a long time, the counselor had to invoke the happy place and I instantly (through tears that were already falling) smiled...and she asked what I felt...and I said, "Happy." followed by, "I miss Haiti."...and I do. I miss everything about it...especially the children...and I miss the me I am when I am there. In some ways, I think I am more me in Haiti than anywhere on earth. *Ugly Crying* is to each of us figuring out our happy place...and finding the truest parts of who we are...along the way. Healing, true healing, is found there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

All The Four Letter Words

The truth is that I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.

YET....I have found that as I am finding more inner peace (#counseling) my potty mouth (insert litany of excuses here) and idling high tendencies have subsided greatly, and I do mean GREATLY.

So...wonder of wonders when in the past two days I have nearly come unwound over (to some degree) trivial stuff by comparison with all of the very BIG stuff God is shuffling in my tiny corner of the world. I am perplexed and frustrated that I cannot get it under control. I mean what about all of this newfound healthy coping mechanisms?!?!?

So one of my dearest friends sent me this photo today via text....

"...chosen for this moment that is at once great and terrible."

Oh yes....yes, I get that....completely.

Here is what happens when you start changing....other people Freak. Out.

Sometimes that "other people" is YOU.

I am just going to #micdrop myself right there.

Let me tell you....growth is HARD. If it wasn't, everyone would be doing it....and trust me, they are NOT (says someone who resisted growth for a few decades under the guise of "I got this....and this...and this too. (insert eye roll here)).

So....for all of us out here busting our behinds trying to grow and do better and be better....for all of the prayer warriors that are on their knees daily praying for us (and praying for the herd of angels charged with watching over us)....for those that work with us, live with us, befriend us during these sticky-icky-tricky seasons - lets give ourselves an "all the four letter words" day pass because some day(s) growth just gets the best of us or someone near us and those do not count as a #bestdayever and that is A-Okay. Promise.


How do I know that?

Because you are a daughter...a son...loved by a Father without rival. It is a love that is MORE than all you could need on your worst day. Yes, that worst day.

I am the first to admit, I am L O A T H I N G this personal growth season I find myself in, but I would also be the first to tell you I have more HOPE than ever before that God is bringing me through this to something more true, more fulfilling, more authentic to my specific soul imprint...than I have ever known before...I guess you could say I "believe outrageously."

So I am not going to let my heart be discouraged because there are those around me freaking out...or because I am freaking out. I have hope in them....and in me...because I have hope in God.

Also, as I shared elsewhere today....emotional growth should be an Olympic sport. Just sayin'. ;)

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Rise & Restoration

If you could see my bed, or the floor, or the side table, or my bag, or any number of other places in my would LAUGH out loud. Books, notes, more books, more notes, pens, highlighters, and used water bottles....EVERYWHERE.

I am writing...and prepping...and writing some more.

Okay...there are also dirty clothes, my yoga mat, two suitcases (not fully unpacked), tennis shoes, and Birkenstocks.

I am living in a pig pen.

I cancelled the house cleaner this month because I didn't have enough energy to clean it up before she got here.

Yup. I just wrote that sentence.

I bet I have listened to a half dozen podcasts, taken over 100 photos of things I need to remember, written dozens of notes in my iPhone app, saved a few voice recordings of "ideas," and have a ton of songs on repeat....

Because. Writing.

All of this.

I have all of this, but the single email I need to send I have not...I cannot send.

I know that once sent, I can't put that genie back in the bottle. I know my life changes. My heart changes. One single email signifies the further unclenching of my fists, of the control I have cherished like a new puppy for more than three decades. It means nothing and yet everything.

Back in 2012, I was in the single hardest year of my life and I have often joked that it was Josh Garrels' song Rise that helped me survive that year. I would listen to it on repeat over and over and over again during hours upon hours of windshield time that had me running between cities, offices, homes, and lives. I wrestled God like an alley cat that year which seems strange since the only reason I remained upright was because God propped me up. I was on fumes. Nothing but fumes.

I wanted to finish well the many tasks I had in my hands...a specific job, a relationship, a family, volunteer tasks, homes, boards. I knew I had too much. I was dropping balls. I just wanted to sit them down...ever so gently...and walk away with a pure heart, a clean heart...with everyone knowing I did my very best. No regrets.

I was precious (insert sarcasm font).

It never goes that way. Well, at least not when this particular lesson is happening to a control freak.

It took me a long time to heal from many of those balls, and some I am still healing this day.

One thing that hasn't changed...ahem, my innate need to "finish well" whatever "it" might be. So imagine me in Sunday School yesterday as we study I Samuel 12 and we get to verse 20:
"...Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart."

Finish well.

I think so many of us never step into our calling, our dreams, or any number of good good things God has for us because we are afraid of all we have done before...every misstep, every mistake, every sin, every shortcoming. Everything we have ever messed up is flashing in front of us on a neon sign. It is daunting. Overwhelming.

*Deep Breath*

In 2012, I could not have imagined all that God would bring me through - the bad, the good, the heartbreak, the health issues, travel, new friends, old friends, work, joy, family, words read, words written, experiences, and yet...

I sit here cross-legged on the edge of my bed....and I have to turn on Rise again. Click HERE to listen.


I hung my head, for the last time
In surrender and despair
Before I’m dead, I’ll take the last climb
Up the mountain, face my fears
The time has come, to make a choice
Use my voice for the love of every man
My minds made up, never again
Never again, will I turn round

Though they may surround me like lions
And crush me on all sides
I may fall, but I will rise
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords
Only through, your love, my lord
All we’ve lost, will be, restored

Take courage sons, for we must go under
The heart of darkness, and set them free
But don’t lose heart when you see the numbers
There’s no measure for, the faith we bring
It’s given us, to overcome
If we run, where the spirit calls us on
The greatest things, have yet to come
With the dawn, we will rise

Though they may surround us like lions
And crush us on all sides
we may fall, but we will rise
Not by my might, or my power, or by the strength of swords
Only through, your love, my lord
All we’ve lost, will be, restored

Restoration has been a beautiful theme that has flowed through the past four years like a gentle stream. Coming to me in the perfect times and in the most unique of ways. God has loved me so well that it takes my breath when I will sit still long enough to allow him to wash over me.

"...Never again, will I turn round..."

Those are powerful words for me.

There are doors we walk through.

There are doors we tiptoe through.

Then...there are doors we must rise to meet.

Lord, I pray for strength to rise to meet the door in front of me. Your love brought me to here and only your love will get me through...I lay it all down...trusting you only.

The story lies in the Rise & Restoration.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Enabler : The Private Pain & The Promise of Hope

I'm not sure I can pinpoint EXACTLY when in the past nine days I came to the realization I was an enabler, but I know exactly the moment in time when I used the word for the first time to describe my actions therefore having the realization CONSCIOUSLY for the first time...That was today.

*Deep Sigh*

I just googled the word enabler and read the definition, and then....because I am a glutton for punishment...I read an article on how you know when you are one. In the words of Jeff Foxworthy, "I are one."

I coach enablers. How can I be one? I am sitting here stunned.

I wish someone were here right now so that I could physically collapse in their arms and be held why I sob. My entire body from top to bottom needs a bone-deep cry.

If the first step if acknowledging you have a problem, then we can check that one off the list. Next.

I have known for awhile...especially since February...that there was a problem, but hand to God I really thought the problem was that I wasn't enough, wasn't managing someone or things enough, that I was too much or too little...hell, one of the handful of reasons I started counseling mid-March was because one particular person in my life had me convinced of all of these things. The joke is on them, I did need counseling, and it continues to be the best thing I have done for myself...maybe ever.

The thing about least good that you get better. Your eyes are opened. Fears are faced. Tough truths are met head-on....and you grow. I have two guests in the middle of mine too - God and the enemy - they are wrestling for my heart, mind, body, and soul. last Friday, last Sunday, and every day this week...I am sitting at the edge of the arena watching them....blow. by. blow.


{cold washcloth time}

I have been suffering silently for many, many years about many things...but none more than this. I just didn't know what "this" was...and now that I do, I am struggling not to feel completely foolish. So tonight I am allowing myself the space and time to grieve that feeling of foolishness....and the shame that goes with it. In the words of my nephew, "Mistakes were made." Many.

Another week of counseling...Another epiphany.

I don't know what your private or silent pain is, but I know you have one. I know that in fact the struggle truly is real...for you, for someone you know, and for every single person populating this earth. For many of us we suffer out loud - In. Public. For many still, this private, silent pain is within a much smaller group...and for many within only their own heart and mind.

For me...counseling has been a God-given miracle. It is the most painful thing you can imagine wrapped up in a beautiful box with Christmas wrapping. On most days, I equally loathe and love it. I also know it is healing me from the inside out. God is meeting me in these spaces of my life and my past that I have hidden...and some that I never knew existed such as the deep, private lesson of enabling shown to me this week. A week of pain and lessons and learning I could not have imagined just six months ago.

If I ever get a tattoo...the word restoration will be a part of it somehow because as I look back on this journey of the past four and half years, I see that word like a flashing neon light in the night sky all along my path....again and again. I could (and have...and did again tonight) weep over the loss of time and people and things in my journey. The reasons vary, but my own responsibilities in there are many. BUT....but there is also hope. Great hope that God will use the restoration he is creating in my own life. Hope that I will rise up and try again....Hope.


"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy." - Psalms 126:5

Last Thursday, I was in a prayer room and given that verse...and tonight it spoke to me once again. There is no shame in the tears that I am shedding through these lessons and my own healing. A healing I am claiming once again tonight.