My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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She Flies With Her Own Wings

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“Alis Volat Propriis” is the Latin words for “she flies with her own wings”. Discovering this little gem , written on my Albertson’s shopping bag while unloading it from our van. My eyes finally catching the full scope of the brightly colored bag’s design. Initially, the artist’s vivid scenes of Portland Oregon distracted me from the writing encircling the base. As a native Oregonian of nearly 54 years I may have already heard these Latin words when studying the history of Oregon.  Forgetting that on May 2, 1843 the Oregon Country Settlers voted to make Alis Volat Propriis our state motto forming a provisional government independent of the U.S. and Great Britain. Whether I learned this once before or not, these words are fresh and relevant for my here and now .

May 1st will be indelibly etched in my mind as the day I lost my mother. Sorrowful thoughts of what life would be like without her deemed unbearable to ponder while she was alive; now have become my altered and difficult reality. God’s word is a comfort to me and to all those who mourn, promising in Psalms 27:13 * “that we can be confident to see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” His goodness descends from Heaven, gentle reminders of His love lessening the chasm of grief, bringing comfort to my heart.

On May 2, 2013 the day after my mama’s passing I wanted to get my mind off all that had happened, exhausted from mom’s illnesses, her death, and painful false accusations against me. I decided to watch American Idol that was recorded on May 1st. When the opening group song started I could not believe my ears… they were singing, “Mama told me not to waste my life she said spread your wings my little butterfly, don’t let what they say keep you up all night, they can’t detain you, wings were made to fly”.

Tears streamed down my face realizing that God had sent me a message about my mama; encouraging me not follow in her footsteps of worrying about what people thought of me. She is fully experiencing freedom from the fear of man that had become a snare, now in Heaven’s glory liberated from its’ restrictions.

My journey towards audacious liberty began at that very moment, albeit I didn’t know it at the time. This butterfly message fluttered once again and came into view a couple of months later. Appearing while my feet dangled out of the small opening into our attic. Staying seated close to the light as I sorted through the few boxes of my mom’s belongings. Grieving her loss was more stiffing than the attics dense, windowless air. While sifting through her stuff I became saddened she had thrown out a lot of her belongings before she moved from her last spacious two apartment, into a much smaller one bedroom apartment. One of those precious item’s I missed was her beloved roller skates. Having fond memories of my brother Troy and I taking turns skating around in our basement as children. The list of missing items was long, realizing her dementia probably was a factor in her out of character decision to toss them. Far beyond the scope of these earthly mementos was the loss of my parents. My soul felt darker than the farthest corners of the attic breathing in the stale air as a orphan. Intermittently, wiping tears from my flushed face as I divided mementos into designated boxes for family members that lined the attic’s opening.  As I continued  to gently look through her belongings I was suddenly surprised to see a bright pink butterfly on a 3X5 index card.  Excitingly pulling it out to examine it closer I flipped the card over to read “All That the father Hath is yours.” My Little butterfly Love Al. My dad had written this to my mother on April 9th 1977, one of the few things she had kept that he had given her. This orphan girl finding solace in his simple yet powerful words

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A few weeks after that profound discovery my sweet Bff and her hubby surprised me and my husband as I celebrated my first birthday without my mama. Debbie crowned me with a Birthday tiara and my eyes were masked to veil the secret of our destination. Once we arrived and mask removed, I was handed tickets to the American Idol concert. Joy and excitement bubbled within me as we made our way into the coliseum to our amazing seats. Just in time to hear this familiar opening song, “Mama told me not to waste my life, she said spread your wings my little butterfly”. God is over the top with his love and attention to detail , and Mama, you would be proud of me for I’m learning the true meaning of Alis Volat Propriis.

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Perhaps your longing for more freedom in your life? Whether your weighted down by a loss, rejection, fear or shame. Whatever the need, God wants to set you free!… for those He has set free are free indeed. Go ahead, fly with your own wings because God is the wind beneath them.


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Konnichiwa to Peace

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Our son  and his friend were going on trip of a lifetime, a two week vacation in Tokyo. Beholding all the sights and sounds of a rich culture, not to mention it being an electronic mecca. A virtual treasure trove  of all things “arcadic”  that would be video arcade + archaic =  arcadic  my creative liberties for the day.  If anyone knows me in the ever so slightest way they would know  this was not going to be a cake walk on my part. In all the years of  being  a mother  I have battled fears, foreboding  thoughts of  possible abuse, kidnappings, accidents or sicknesses  and all the alarming stuff in the middle.  In fact, if you can name it I  probably have feared it.  Been there done that.

Any loving  mother no doubt has  combated most of all of these same fears for her children. It is a natural desire to nurture and protect our babies no matter how old they are.  However, for me it went far beyond normal trepidations that come from a caring parent, but rather  becoming irrational and larger than life ones. Going so far as to  crippling me from releasing our sons to go anywhere with their dad or anyone else.  Words cannot begin to express  how incredibly hard this was for my husband, children and even me.

Now  looking back, and having come to greater depths of healing in this area,  I marvel and am utterly humbled that Kevin stayed married to me.  Through those layers of  painful growth came revelation to why my fears where at critical mass, some were fostered  from past personal sexual abuse I was aware and unaware of.  Buried deep, pushed down by stratum of shame, denial and  trauma, manifesting itself through unhealthy behaviors.  Perhaps some came from  being  carried in my mother’s womb only three months after burying her 9 month old son Brent, he died unexpectedly from compilations due to anesthetic from what was suppose to be a routine hernia surgery.

Personally, I cannot fathom my mom’s fears and grief as she carried me… what a bitter sweet time for her.  It’s important that I make this very clear, I’m  in no way blaming anyone  for my behavior, we all have personal  choices to make regarding what we with do with what has been given us.  For whatever reasons my fears were real, intense and even when prayers like, “God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” * did not bring complete relief;  I would want to run away from the visible pain that I was causing my husband  and children.  Fighting  my fears seemed fruitless, freezing up and paralyzing so my only final option was to flee. Fortunately these were only fleeting lies, for I knew I could never ever leave my family that I love so dearly.

Today, I’m so thankful to God who has shone me His perfect love that casts out fear, for my husband and  children that endured the strain of my intense struggles for freedom with their love and forgiveness.  Plus, where would I be without the love and support of mentors / friends that have also walked with me through it all.  And though they did not  wrestle the same degree of debilitating demons as I, they chose to stand by me in my brokenness.  Loving me without judgement, offering me compassion and grace that became a breeding ground for my healing. Whenever  I mustered up strength to take a  baby step they applauded with such exuberance you thought I had run a marathon being the first to break the finishing line ribbon.

My boys are grown adults now and yes I still worry too much  I know.  It’s hard to know what is normal when your pendulum has swung so far in the opposite direction.  I do know I’m walking in more freedom than ever before and I’m trusting God that it will only increase.

Currently, our son Derek is thoroughly enjoying Tokyo, a dream of his fulfilled.  Counting down the days to see him and hear of his grand adventure.  Mindful of my tradition to keep a memento, a dated trophy if you will, of how God helped me walk in peace as my children soar to new heights. Just like I did many years ago by saving his glass Yahoo milk bottle from his first purchase, a walk to the neighborhood market with his friends… a huge triumph back in the day !.

Recently, I started rereading “Mountains of Spices” the sequel to “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by  Hannah Hurnard’s.  Even though it has been over  twenty years of reading these two books, I still can relate to her preface to this allegory.  She writes about herself as follows,  “I can speak with the most authority.I was born with a fearful nature– a real slave to the Fearing Clan ! But I have since made the glorious discovery that no one has such a perfect opportunity to practice and develop faith as do those who must learn constantly to turn fear into faith. One must either succumb to the fearing nature altogether and become a “Craven Coward” for the rest of one’s life; or by yielding that fearful nature wholly to the Lord and using each temptation to fear as an opportunity for practicing faith, be made at last into a radiant “Fearless Witness” to his love and power.”

For this writer I’m so not there yet, I will no less continue to “seek peace and pursue it “, falling down and getting back up again and again, spurred on by the ground I have already won with God’s help… turning my weaknesses into His strength.

Whether your taking quantum leaps of faith or faltering  baby steps, God applause’s them both .  He delights in each step or leap you take towards Him. Cheering you on not matter where your starting line begins and rejoices with you at your victorious finish.

Father, we praise you, in awe of your delight for us and the comfort you bring in our storm tossed seas . Providing  perfect peace as our mind stays on you, trusting you over the mounding waves of fear. Learning to say  Sayonara  (Goodbye) to fear and  Konnichiwa  ( Hello ) to peace..

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Having the  Japanese symbol of peace painted on my big toe …. A beautiful reminder to stay in a place of peace.

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My  friend Kelli ordered this mug for me and it arrived the day I was starting to worry about the Typhoon that had hit Japan.

3 You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You  .Isaiah 26:3 AMP bible

*  II Timothy  1:7


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God’s Lemon-Aid Stand

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Rolling up to the stop light, my eyes caught a sign to the left of me which cheerfully read “Lemonade $2 for a 16oz. cup”.followed by “First time stand has opened “. Though shocked by the price it was catchingly  framed with pastel colored balloons, a gentle persuasion, swaying in the breeze, wooing parched folks to acquire some refreshments.

It brought back fond memories from my first childhood entrepreneurial endeavor. Our home was  merely a hop, skip and jump away from the Standard T.V and Appliance store. This store was a virtual treasure trove of discarded refrigerator boxes. Providing unlimited fun for my brother and I to amuse away our summer.  Co laboring to lug their large and cumbersome frames home, which we would  then quickly transform these cardboard canvases  into new creations ignited by our  imagination .

One day while my brother was playing with his friends, I decided to  create a lemonade stand with the recent box we dragged home.  First order of business was to cut out a window to hand out these thirst quenching drinks to eager awaiting customers, not that I had a line of them, but in my minds eye I did; envisioning them clamoring to partake of the concocted nectar. Next, was to determine the selling price… happily deciding to set it at two cents per Dixie cup. Neatly stacking them strategically along side the pitcher of freshly made Kool Aid lemonade.

Words fall flat at how thrilled I was when my first customer, a young gentleman, moseyed down the dusty unpaved road, which upon arriving he ordered a cup and a refill to boot!  A whooping four cents right off the bat.  Even though I was in
a stuffy box and only leaving for short periods of time to cool down from the heat, my thoughts were of shear joy… not a word of complaining… this whole experience  was exhilarating!

Even though I never squeezed an actual zesty lemon in preparation, it  does makes me think of the saying, “When life gives you a lemon make lemonade”. Life can be good at handing us an unexpected lemon from time to time. Presented with these sour orbs we have a choice, to either allow ourselves to become soured and embittered, or to whip up a batch of sweet satisfying lemonade with these disappointments.  At times my attitude  puckers up to a surly disposition worthy of the bitter fruit I had just been served. Repugnant in my spirit, methodically slow to add sweetness in my thoughts that could change the outcome of this tart and testy intrusion.

Jesus shares a powerful truth in Matthew 18:3, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.

Children are teachable, forgiving, good humored and full of wonder, while modeling Christ like humility.

How fitting that for many children their first entrepreneurial business is making a lemonade stand, turning the bitter into sweet and serving cups of contentment. One of countless lessons that can be learned through the eyes of a child.

Today I can choose to change my unfitting adult perspective that lacks trusting You with childlike faith. Making a stand to enter into your Kingdom promises that declare, ” You came that they would have life and have it in abundance ( to the full, till it overflows) ” John 10:10.  So when the next time life gives me a lemon… I’ll accept God’s transforming promises to turn this lemon into new life… something sweet indeed!

Thank you Lord for the power to make bitter waters sweet, to taste and see that you are good when life has left a bitter taste in our mouth’s….that what has been served to us, past or present, does not need to fuel our future. May today be all about the business of Heaven, where it can be lived out here on earth as it IS in Heaven as your word promises. Guide us to be people of integrity with simple hearts endeavoring  to love you and to love others as ourselves. Calling all those who are thirsty to come and drink from the wells of living water… NO money required!

Lord with your mercy and grace you continually bring to me the aid I need change my lemons into lemonade. Gathering trust and strength in knowing that the lemonade I enjoy today first came to me disguised as a lemon.

“If you can change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Wayne Dyer
Pocketful of promises ….
Exodus 15:22-27 , Psalms 19:9-10  , Psalms 119 -103


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You’ve Got Mail

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When our boys were 5 and 7 yrs old one of my prayers for them was to have a dog. Growing up my brother and I had a lot of fond memories of Herbie our little poodle mix.  As parents my husband and I wanted our children to have some special moments similar to ours growing up.  Although we now wrestled with the fact our money was tight and our cottage home small… a tight situation on both ends. I began praying asking God with these specifications….for a little dog that was also CHEAP.  Trusting in a God who loves to  give us the desires of our heart.

One day while answering the phone I was delighted to hear my bubbly friend and mentor, Michelle on the other end. In her trademark cheerful tone mixed with  passionate zeal, she exclaimed… “Guess what Lisa !?”,  to which I replied,  “What”  trying to reach her level of enthusiasm. She chimed in with such exuberance it could have motivated a failing football team into the state championships.
“God says you’ve got mail” she said eagerly making me laugh at her perky statement. Being a routinely self confessing Eeyore from time to time, I greatly appreciated having a Tigger bouncing around to lift my occasional drooping spirits.

After our conversation ended there was a new found spring in my step faintly resembling that of “T  I  DOUBLE  GER” throughout my day’s errands. Finishing up that afternoon with a trip to our neighborhood post office, I amused myself while waiting in line by reading the signs below the counter. An unfamiliar sign was posted that caught my eye which  simply read “Lost dog ask clerk”.  When it came time to step up to the counter my casual statement to the clerk was , “Oh how’s the lost dog doing?” trying to engage her in a brief exchange of pleasantries, She didn’t miss a beat by saying, “Would you like us to bring her over to your house today?” I’m like whoa!.. that was not what I was expecting to hear, neither was I expecting  to hear myself blurt out an unwavering “Yes.” Walking away from the counter wondering what just happened.

That same day at 3.00 p.m a sweet lady mail carrier brought over a puppy cute as a button. A Blue Heeler–Boarder Collie– with a splash of Corgi in the mix.  All dressed in a striking black and white coat.  Upon opening the front door she wasted no time cleaning up a bounty of cheerios the boys had spilled the living floor.  This act alone sealed the deal for me, her efficient clean up worked better than any vacuum cleaner I ever owned… making Kerby, Hoover, or Dyson completely fitting names if my husband agreed to keep this loveable pooch. A petite four legged creature she  became fast a friend with the boys and I,  waiting only for a quick nod of my husband’s approval… and that is exactly what he did.

Within  24 hours we had our little, cheap (free!), and I might add, cute dog I had  been praying for. God is so good, He gives us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could think or ask for. When petitioning for a family pet my prayers never included asking for a new collar, or for our new dog to have all its’ current shots from the vet.  However, the kind woman that brought us our new doggie, provided both as a gift.  Through the generosity of this woman God added in all the bells and whistles for good measure.

I Corinthians 2:12 God says He wants us to realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us.   More appropriately than naming her after a vacuum cleaner we decided to name her Buttons because she truly is as cute as one.  Currently we have had our precious little dog for over 14 years. She has been sweet and dear companion to all of us.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”  Ephesians 3:20

Today, God is saying to each of us,  “You’ve got mail”,  and we can be sure it’s definitely not junk!