Apr 022017
 

I love with all that I am, every fibre of my being is devoted to those that I care for, that God has placed in my life, on my heart. And yet, it seems as though, love isn’t what defines me. No, there is so much more, a slut, a teenage mom, damaged, broken, lost.

Why is it that society can look at someone and see her horrible hair, her lack of makeup, the bad outfit she is wearing, but doesn’t look at another woman and think nice things, like she has beautiful features, her skin is flawless, she is radiant. Why is it that people will openly tell me I have gained weight but take no notice when I have lost it? Or tell me my haircut looks lovely or do a backhanded “comment” where they say “you cut your hair, it looks great but I loved it long!”?

We are told all the time that we are not defined by the vessels in which we were gifted by God, and yet our image is the first thing we see, not the Christian under the surface, but the actual vanity of it all. We are all often prejudged before we even have the opportunity to announce our faith.

Perhaps this is what makes internet life so much easier. People come together because of a cause, whether it’s political, a strong belief, justice, faith, being single, being married, having children, we all can find a way to define ourselves and join a group of others who are similar to us before a photo is ever shared. Our modesty or lack of isn’t given the chance to be judged.

I’ve heard people say things about others like “I can’t believe she wore THAT to church” and my thoughts have always been “at least she WENT to church!”

I can’t be defined as a church goer. It’s not something I do, and haven’t felt comfortable with, in about 12 years. Maybe one day I will walk through those doors again, but God hasn’t placed that on my heart. Instead, it has become more important to have intimate time with Him, studying His word, analyzing myself, reflecting, writing, watching, meditating, and of course, praying.

The people can go ahead and define me however they want, confrontational, dumb, intelligent, useless; the fact is, it really doesn’t matter. I can take the insults and pass them to God and know that I am wholly His because of His Holy Name and my faith knows that Christ and Christ alone knows me entirely –inside and out, and it’s ultimately up to Him to decide what I am, and what I am not.

I want to be defined by God. No one else. And, I don’t even want people to define me by my faith, because that’s asking people to judge and the Bible is clear, God was clear, and says “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Placing someone in a position to judge me, define me, is asking them to do works that the Lord has forbidden.

Do you feel that the world unfairly defines you? How do you react to the negatives? Are you comfortable simply being YOU or do you feel like you have to mask yourself to be accepted?

Jesus Knows

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Mar 232017
 
… so, yeah, it turns out that for all the chaos in life there is a Saviour who calms the storms.
He whispers into hardened hearts and deafened ears and raises the bitterest souls from the ashes with a simple calling of His Holy Name -Jesus.
 
It doesn’t have to audible or it can be screamed over the chaos, He will hear.
 
He waits for this moment for each of His children. A shepherd holding watch in the darkest of nights over each of his lambs. The staff and the rod will guide me, every day of my life.
 
The crooked hook that keeps the line straight and narrow if I choose to bow my head in reverence and utter a simplistic “yes”.
 
I don’t have to give up or sacrifice to follow and thrive. I simply need to wait and listen for the words He is placing on my heart. I need to speak to the Father of it all, offer my praise and speak my heart in prayer. To live my heart in prayer and to love the way the Son commanded, always.
 
When I stumble and fall He will raise me up. He will cup my chin and look into my soul and whisper “it’s okay”, and deep down inside, past the anxious fear, I know He is right. He hasn’t let me down before and He won’t start now.
 
I may find myself feeling rejected by man but the love of Christ is more than sufficient to bring my chalice to overflow.
 
When I feel all alone I have to have faith that Jesus knows –because no matter what, Jesus knows.
Mar 182017
 

I sat there at the table in the rec center with a pencil borrowed from my child and the back of my grocery list, jotting down two poems in about 10 minutes while dealing with people inquiring about what we were doing there. I was just the chaperone as this was the kids gig, but I answered questions and handed out free things just the same.

The nausea is still plaguing me whenever it feels like it and the exhaustion and fatigue are definitely assaulting me. Vivid dreams in full colour are sticking with me through the days and laughing until I am crying or crying until I am laughing are also becoming a new normal.

But, today, the words flowed from me in a poetic prose that I had missed. The pain and sadness that lives deep within my soul, was eager to hit the slip of paper and is currently tucked inside my wallet. As I read the words aloud to the child who loves to listen to rap and lyrics full of suffering and pain I heard the words “that’s deep and really good. If I didn’t know you, it would almost be scary, almost.”

You see, I have a dark side, a side riddled with past pains, abuse, rape, physical and emotional neglect and loss. My dark side often finds its way out when its pen on paper, never rehearsed or even edited, just the need to hold a pen to paper and write the words that flow, whatever they may be.

I often wonder to myself, how do people who don’t write deal with their dark side? Surely, I am not the only one who has this. Certainly, I am not the only one with a tumultuous past.

I believe in God. I believe I am redeemed. I believe that Christ has already bore my sins and that I am saved. I believe that my faith is more than sufficient and yet I am human and the darkness still lives within the broken cracks of my once shattered soul. You see, you can glue a mirror back together, no matter how many pieces, but the reflection will never be the same. While Christ is the glue that strengthens me, and has rescued me from the past, it doesn’t mean the past never happened.

I love deeply and wholly with all that I am. I don’t trust easily. I break often. I hide the pain behind a smile. I am content in just ‘being’ and in knowing that the present doesn’t last forever and that what comes tomorrow will be history the following day. I’ve learned that I have to be my own best friend so that I can live the life God would have me lead.

Mar 052017
 

I’m all alone, when the sun, goes down
What I wouldn’t give, to have someone around
The nights are endless, and dreams, are few
But when they come, well they never come true
And so it goes
No one even knows, the pain behind the smile
How all the while I’m cryin’
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
‘CAUSE I’VE BEEN SAVIN’ MYSELF FOR HER TOO LONG’
IT’S TIME I’M MOVIN’ ON
Won’t you save me?
Too many memories in this, old town
My face turned up to meet the rain..the rain that’s fallin’ down
Let it come
And so it goes
That no one even knows, the pain behind the smile
How all the while I’m dyin’
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
SAVE ME…..SOMEONE SAVE ME
‘CAUSE I’VE BEEN SAVIN’ MYSELF FOR HER TOO LONG’
IT’S TIME I’M MOVIN’ ON
Won’t you save me?
Are you gonna be the one to make it right, or am I only dreamin’
Baby am I dreamin’?……Am I dreamin’?
No one even knows, the pain behind the smile
Whoooooh…baby, baby, baby, baby-they don’t know
They don’t know…that I’m cryin’ all the while
All the while
Somebody save me….save me
Save me……somebody save me (Mm Mm)
Save me…..save me
Save me…….someone save me
‘Cause I’ve been saving myself for her too long
It’s time I’m movin’ on
Won’t you save me….save me
Can’t you see…..that I’ve been lonely?

 

This weekend was a crazy one, lots of random things happened, and the one I least expected was seeing a message on Facebook saying that a girl I had talked to the night before was in ICU and wasn’t likely to make it, followed quickly by the announcement of her death.

I guess I was one of the last to talk to her as her brother reached out to me, which I am grateful for, unfortunately, I couldn’t tell him she was in a bad state the night before or that she seemed to be depressed or in a frame of mind that would make me think that our conversation was one that would be our last.

We spoke about how we were doing, mentally. She had done some amazing things in the past year, leaving her husband and other toxic relationships, delivering a healthy baby (her third child), getting a job and being the caregiver and breadwinner and even trying to reconnect with family while seemingly getting a hold of her own demons. She lost around 50lbs and looked amazing. Her frown had turned to a smile and her cynicism had for the most part became a sort of comic relief rather than what appeared to be a distress call.

So, what went wrong?

The pain behind the smile.

That’s what went wrong.

We had spoke about how being happy was a frightening thing because when you deal with mental health issues there is often a crash after a bout of happiness. She said “it’s like you’re jinxing yourself”. She was dead about 18 hours later.

After talking to me her posts on Facebook stopped. She was a chronic poster but I thought nothing of it since I don’t use Facebook that often for searching through posts. I only noticed this afterwards.

I have spent the last 30ish hours wondering if our chat was her being happy because she had made the decision to end her life and felt free for the first time. Did she talk to me that night because she was in her own way saying goodbye?

I’ve known far too many people who have committed suicide. I’ve attempted it many times myself, but I have never been among the last to speak to someone before their demise. I can’t honestly say how I feel, shaken is about the only word that comes to mind.

At first, I was worried about her three sweet babies, what will happen to them? Who has them? Did they find her? What did they see? Will the older two remember her?

Then I felt a sadness within myself, not because she was gone, but because I will be missing out on having someone around who often understood the darker side. Who was eager to seek the Lord and often confused by it during times of struggle.

A quote I have on my Facebook talks about how when one commits suicide it is really the first time that they have taken hold of control of their lives. After experiencing suicides through my whole life, I still believe that.

“If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will. ”
~Antonin Artaud~

Unfortunately, it’s a painful ending to those of us left to figure out the pieces, never mind pick them up. Then again, there never really is a good time to die, whether your 102 or 22… There really, never is “unfinished business.”

Sometimes, our stories become more powerful when we have a powerful departure from this earth into our heavenly realm. I believe that will be the truth for this dear lady. Because, “The dead are not lost to us. They speak to us everyday” -unknown

Feb 202017
 

Chaos (Scarpetta #24)
by Patricia Cornwell
ISBN: 0062436724
URL: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062436726/chaos

Summary

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

My Review

I absolutely LOVE Cornwell and the Scarpetta series, however this wasn’t the best in the series. There was a lot of buildup to a fairly fast ending. The book is entirely narrated by Kay Scarpetta and talks about her family and the past and things that anyone who has read the majority of this series would already know. That said, its a GREAT book for someone who is new to Cornwell and the Scarpetta series! It wasn’t as big of a page-turner as other Scarpetta novels, but it was still good and a book I will keep on my shelves to read again!

I did feel like I have missed the last book previous to this because there were some major life changes for one of the main characters, but it was explained enough to understand and to be honest, I don’t know if it would be in a prior book. I will certainly find out when I see the book I am missing!

About Patricia Cornwell

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and “a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.”

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

 

Feb 032017
 

The printer spitting out papers in booklet format as I prepare for Hello Mornings new study and while I wait on that I go to Amazon and download a couple of free thrillers to read. I feel like an oxymoron with God on one side and crime thrillers on the other.

I know these are the complexities of being human though. Working our brains. Enjoying what we do while keeping a safe balance to it all.

For some struggling to keep things in the “safety zone” is the struggle though. Overindulgence being catastrophic to their wellbeing as they violently swing from one extreme to the next, never placing their feet firmly on the middle ground, or even recognizing what the middle ground is.

The pile of books at my bedside include my planner, my new MEV Bible, Fear Fighting by Kelly Balarie and Mary’s Diary –Jesus Through His Mothers Eyes by Marilyn Friesen. The pile inside of my iPad tends to be where the other books go. The ones I love to read but don’t want to spend the money on because I know I will likely never read them again.

I feel like maybe I am not the only one who writes that has multiple books and multiple genres going at the same time. I used to be one who would sit down with a book and read it completely through before grabbing the next in the pile, I still do that with fiction, but I always have non-fiction and Christian books going too. And the Bible, I can read it front to back and never be finished with it!

I sing along to a Garth Brooks song and wonder how I never knew the song was his before. My mind in a constant state of multitasking while I try and avoid today’s latest news headlines, at least for now.

I wonder if the girlchild is up yet. She isn’t really a child anymore. At almost 15 she pretty much does everything for herself, except you know, cook, clean, pay bills, stay organized, etc; Pretty much a full on adult. -smiles-

Really, it’s not that I do much better. The water guy was in my house this morning for nearly three hours before knocking on my bedroom door to tell me he figured the water pressure was fixed now and that he was sorry for making the dog bark so much. I definitely don’t have this adulating thing down yet. Secretly, I hope that I never do.

I don’t want to stop running through empty parking lots and sliding on the ice or quit jumping off of snowbanks onto busy sidewalks in our small town. I don’t want to worry about singing the wrong lyrics to the song playing at the top of my lungs in a grocery store or walk in embarrassment and shame for being caught.

Maybe I have a bit of what I always called Peter Pan syndrome, the extreme desire to never grow up. I mean, yeah I have bills and I pay them, I have kids and responsibilities and a boyfriend who I love. I’ve never had a ticket and have done my best to stay on the right side, but there is no reason I have to give up my quirks because my age dictates I should.

Perhaps, we would all be a lot happier if we forgot the chores and laid in bed in our pj’s reading all day.

 

 The Promises of God Creative Journaling Bible is a double-column, widemargin Bible in the beautiful Modern English Version translation.  This unique Bible for craft enthusiasts is a wonderful resource for creative art journaling and coloring. Beautiful illustrations spread throughout the Bible, with both lined and blank margins, allow for a wide variety of creative uses. Scripture art is beautifully displayed on each of the sixtysix book introductions throughout the Bible, along with many other illustrations that can be colored to make the Bible customizable to your personality. Every page of Scripture features extra-wide 2.25” margins that include a variety of blank space, ruled lines, and illustrations for multiple creative uses. The 8-point font allows for comfortable reading, and the high quality off-white paper is optimal for creative art journaling.   

 
$21.99 USD
We all live with fear. It hangs around, whispering in our ears, reminding us of all we can’t do or will never be. But that’s not the end of the story. We also have a God who draws close to say, Fear not. I am with you. This Spirit transforms us into fear fighters–women breaking free of trepidation to find bold dedication to God’s peace-, purpose- and joy-filled callings.

With remarkable compassion born from personal experience, Kelly Balarie shows women how to

· Cultivate unstoppable faith by harnessing God’s Word and promptings
· Pray panic-, blood pressure- and stress-reducing prayers to usher in lasting peace
· Discover clear and immediate action plans to exchange worry for God’s greatest gifts
· Implement daily bravery decrees to stand armed through the day
· Participate in a 12-week study guide to foster new courageous habits
 
Kelly pulls back the curtain of fear so you can find the beautiful woman God created you to be.
Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Dear Diary
I am so frightened. Someone saw of my diary scrolls and wants to get them distributed.
They are from a strange, far away place and are asking to stick them on the Internet and do other queer things with them.
Did I even spell that odd word right? I have NO idea what they are talking about.
Oh I wish Jesus was here so I could ask His advice, but He floated up to Heaven in a cloud.

But…on the other hand, it was such a wonderful, yet often terrifying experience raising Jesus from a little boy and watching Him develop into a strong caring Man. He brought joy, healing and peace to so many people and yet they killed Him in the most awful way imaginable!Maybe I should let those strangers do whatever they think is best with my scrolls. It would be so nice if others could know how wonderful He really is. I sure hope no one in our village finds out, though, that I did something so outlandish! They’d never understand what happened to me.
Love, Mary

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
Feb 022017
 

He sat there absorbed in his video game and me in my book and as the hours ticked by I could see he was holding his breath more often, afraid to breathe but trying to ignore the silence of the phone. No news is good news, right?

Finally, we laid down and slept for a few hours -smack in the afternoon and into the early evening, and his breathing relaxed, his stress slipped away as I watched him before dozing off myself.

When the phone rang it’s awful ringtone he shot out of bed like a cat, straight into the air and answered it quickly.

He held his breath when it was his dad and not his mom who said she would call when her surgery was over.

When his dad passed the phone to his mom the audible sigh of relief that escaped his body caused tears to roll down my cheeks, quickly swiped away by the blanket.

She was okay. He was okay. I was okay. We could breathe knowing his mama survived the surgery.

The holding your breath and doing your best to focus on the good and handing it to God thing seemed to be working through the day, it was a nice day, but lingering in the back of our minds was a part of our souls that just needed the know what God’s plan for us that day actually was.

Breathing out the negative and breathing in the relief felt fresh, new, amazing.

Suddenly we both wanted to eat and found ourselves thirsty, realizing we hadn’t done either all day as we did our best to stir our minds from the what-ifs.

It was only 2 days before that I was the strong one, standing on the stairs into the night speaking to his mama about her faith and her journey through the church, through life, and her telling me that I was reminding her to just trust God.

Why is it so much easier to say than do? Preach but not be preached to?

I hold my hands in reverence to the One who is in control of it all, whose plans I will never know until I am walking through them. To Him I give praise, because praise is deserved even in the darkest of days. Gratitude in the middle of chaos. He triumphs as I stumble. Picks me up when I fall. When the air is knocked from my soul, He breathes life back into me. CPR for the soul. The Bible my personal First Aid Kit!

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