My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Feathering the Empty Nest

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It seems like only yesterday that Kevin and I filled  the air with excitement as we delightfully  prepared a room for the arrival of  our first-born son. Fueled with anticipation and joy, more animated than the Daisy Kingdom wallpaper that paraded around the walls of his soon to be nursery.  Light danced on the now glossy white crib positioned beneath the window, each intricate spindle sanded and painted,  a labor of love by my husband. Transforming the worn hand me down wood into a crisp, brilliant white. The closet brimmed with an assortment of  adorable clothes in a variety of styles, and sizes, for every season.  A handmade wooden Noah’s ark nestled in the far left corner, my thrift store find just days after the thrilling news “it’s a boy! “,  was confirmed by the ultrasound imaging.
While waiting for Derek’s birth you could either find me waddling around (did I just admit that?) adding feathers to our nest or propping my swollen feet up to read the latest How To parenting book. As each day drew nearer to the delivery date, so did my joy and optimism; confident my husband and I could do this thing called parenting.

Apparently there is no prerequisite to mastering this skill before you give birth to your first-born or even your second. For lo and behold two and half-years later we welcomed our second son Trent. Doubling our happiness and compounding the realization that books give you only limited training in the true art of being a parent.

Now twenty-two years and far too many mistakes later, we stand in awe at the honor of raising such wonderful sons in spite of our flaws and brokenness. Gloriously tallied into the raw equation is God’s grace equaling the sum that otherwise seems mathematically impossible.
And while the clock ticks away and within a few short hours, this stay at home mom and former homeschooler, will become an empty nester. No stranger to the knowledge of this incurring reality,  lingering in the far recesses of my mind ever since our boys entered this world. Aware of the fact  just as the appointed time led them to leave the womb, so also one day they would leave the nest.   A familiar quote by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher comes to mind, “There are two things we should give children, one is roots and the other one is wings.”  Today our son Trent takes flight, propelled by wings of independence gilded with freedom. Soaring to new exhilarating heights and rich depths, fulfilling all God has called him to be. Whether finding themselves aloft over mountain top successes or thrust down into canyons of failures, character and destiny still forging with every flap of their pinions.

Concluding this chapter in my life has gone all too quickly.  Now my heart waits for the dust of bittersweet memories to settle, and the echo of an empty room to begin to pulse with life once again.  Asking Papa Daddy’s (God’s) help transitioning into whatever He for me next as He re-feathers my nest with His promises.

I love Psalms 91:4 assuring truths:
“He will shelter you with his feathers; you will find safety under his wings. His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall”

Thank you Lord for your faithfulness, a love that is never-failing and generous compassion, even mindful of every sparrow that falls to the ground. Your attention to the smallest detail brings a reassuring peace. We stand awestruck gazing at your unfathomable love that comforts to the core and covers every human condition. We long to trust in you Papa, grounded in the roots you have given us while we soar victoriously with you providing the wind beneath our wings.

“But those who wait on the Lord
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31

Hide me now
Under your wings
Cover me
Within your mighty hands
When the ocean rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still and know you are God
Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust
When the ocean rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are King over the flood
I will be still and know you are God

“Still” By HillSong


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Swatting Lies

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We have all heard the expression “They are so sweet, they wouldn’t a fly.” Frankly, my feelings are that this statement cannot be entirely true. No matter how sweet you are, if a fly were dizzily buzzing around you, again and again, your instinct would be to swat it.  Only after repeated shooing away became ineffective of course.

Years ago, when our oldest son Derek was young, his grandma asked him what he wanted for Christmas.  He replied, “a fly swatter.”  this was both adorable and puzzling. Peaking my curiosity, this led me to  ask him about his unconventional request. He charmingly recounted the story of “Winnie the Pooh and Christmas, Too”,  a delightful tale of how Rabbit requested this same wish from Santa while Christopher Robin drafted a letter for the residents of the Hundred Acre Woods. Thankfully, he did not ask for Rabbit’s updated  more outlandish wish… a bug sprayer!

Truth be told, that was by far the cheapest Christmas gift on the pocket book and a cinch to find.  This whimsical request put all my shopping fears to rest and gave me complete confidence, that  no frenzied mom would yank it out of my hand or pull my hair because of its high demand. No Christmas brawls to be had over an everyday, ordinary, household fly swatter.  We’re talking the plain old run of the mill fly swatter, not the bug gun my dad sold when he owned his wholesale distributing business. This baby was something to behold, it had a circular re-loadable plastic screen that you would push down onto its’ spring loaded red handle. You were hoping for a pesky fly to buzz by just so you could say with your best Clint Eastwood impression, “Go ahead make my day”  then shoot your bug gun with swagger.  Nor was it like the bug zapper my husband bought for himself and a few of his lucky friends one year. This invention, shaped like a tennis racket, had electrical currents that can fry a bug carcass with a single swing ― an item you do not want brought out to entertain your guests with, unless you want the smell of burning insects wafting through your home. This is wisdom, spoken from someone who knows first-hand.   It does seem that writing about Rabbit has gotten me on sort of a bunny trail with all this talk of bug instruments of doom.

Thus, my son’s simple request for a fly swatter has reawakened my senses to how truly useful and clever this gift really is.  In fact, I’m planning on getting one for myself as a reminder to  these following truths:
Though flies can transmit disease and spoil food which can be physically devastating, there is a spiritual truth that has eternal consequences that I’m thinking about. The enemy we call Satan or Beelzebub, has other names as well, such as the Lord of Flies.  Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebub in Mark 3:22, also found in Matthew 12:24-27 and Luke 11:15,18-19.  Jesus firmly reminded them that a house divided against itself could not stand. He also was ironclad on the devil’s character which is recorded in John 8:44; 
“He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the Father of Lies.”

As Christ followers, we need to wield our sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  Adding a fly swatter to tuck into my belt of truth as a visual, assisting in my lie swatting. Satan hopes our stance will be passive, “not even so much as to hurt a fly”, so he can continue to pester us, bringing our demise. Lies come in many forms such as what has been spoken over us by others, our distorted thinking, or circumstances that obscure God’s goodness. With Christ we can stand up as warriors, raising our fly swatters, bug guns or zappers, storming the enemy, holding our rightful position as a son and daughter of the most high God.  Defenders of truth, confident  that God’s goodness and love will always be available to us no matter what is happening in our lives.

Lord, thank You we are called to your SWAT team… Skillful Warriors Advocating Truth… to see the enemy in all his weakness and to see You in all Your glory and strength. We hold onto You, Your truth, hope and promises… swatting the Lord of Flies, one lie at a time. With Your help, we can watch the lies drop like flies… 

International Standard Version
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32


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Last week I posted my story “Dancing Queen” and then remembered it was not the first time I was encouraged to dance. So here I am shaking my tail feathers in 2009 and the reason why below.Image

Approaching the church where our friends daughter was having her high school graduation ceremony it became clear that I had misjudged the travel time and arrived far too early.  This would account for the sparse amount of cars in the parking lot, upon which I double checked my watch, it confirmed my oversight.  Rather than waiting around with my two sons I suggested  a quick look at the Good Will store just down the road. Wasting no time, off we went, bargain shopping in our blood coursing through our veins.

Once there, it was “divide and conquer”, three people with seemingly choreographed moves fanning out to their promising sections of interest. The boys headed for electronics,  while I ventured to the wall hangings, acute to the fact our wall space is limited. Regardless,  there I stood  looking at a eye catching wooded sign.  Rich  brown tones, golden accents and letters gracefully  spelling out the invitation “I Hope You’ll Dance”. Promptly I began reasoning with myself how the colors were indeed perfect for our living room, softly in awe of this item while its’ tempting price tag boldly  declared BUY ME!.  Surely our  walls could accommodate just one more modest sized plaque. Looking at my watch yet again, being  mindful not to be late to the commencement, I made my purchase, found my sons and away we went.

Later after the sweet ceremony, my evening came to a close relaxing at home. “I Hope You’ll Dance” was my song choice for the night… listening to it over and over on YouTube, letting it’s lovely truths lull me.

The  very next day a dear friend and former neighbor stopped by to drop off a graduation gift for our son Trent.  During her visit she wondered if one of our two sons would dance with her daughter Evelyn at her Mis Quince Anos celebration, and much to my delight our oldest son Derek agreed to.  My heart  warming as my mind dawdled down memory lane. It seemed like only yesterday when this  wonderful family had moved into our neighborhood from California. My husband and I found ourselves instantly forging a friendship with them.  Their two children were the same age as ours, a three year old and the other, a mere eighteen months.  Now standing before us  was a beautiful  young woman and handsome young men. Where did the time go?

Just as quickly as vivid snippets of the past quickly inundated my thoughts, they just as rapidly took a  sharp turn. With a flip of the switch a light bulb moment illuminated my mind as to why I was so drawn to the “I Hope You’ll Dance”  plaque; a fresh new perspective, a fascinating mystery solved.  But you know how the saying goes, “there is always more to the story” and this is no exception. Shortly after Derek was asked to dance with Evelyn a change of events occurred,  leaving her first dance to now be with her father.

As the months passed, my thoughts didn’t reflect on that wooden plaque unless it was time for a occasional dusting, which come  few and far between.  Before I knew it October rolled around and the time had come for Evelyn’s Mis Quince Anos.  Decorations were up, people arrived and the celebration began. Halfway through the event the banquet hall  was hushed to stillness as a  beautifully touching slide show of Evelyn life was played. Thoughtful moving music added sentiment to the presentation and then the unexpected happened… the song “I Hope You’ll Dance” began to play… Those words  gave me  that same stirring that happened four months prior when I found my sign at Goodwill. Thus, it was not a big surprise when later in the evening the DJ invited the audience to a group dance, choosing to seize the moment, longing to conquer my fears of looking foolish and uncoordinated. Collecting myself together, and in one quick moment I stepped onto the dance floor and danced;… something I have not done for over 25 years!  It’s been said, “To conquer life is to take one step at a time”.  How fun to do it in the form of a dance step… having no doubt that I looked foolish, the unpolished dancer that I am, somehow it seemed rather okay, I was just obeying the “Sign”… I Hope You’ll Dance.


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A Heavenly Home

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It’s been four months since our oldest son moved into his home making him a first time home buyer, as we rejoice in his accomplishment our hearts are thrilled in the fact he is just a hop, skip and a jump away from our house.  Being merely one block away, his home positioned on the very same street that my husband Kevin lived on when we were just friends.

Over thirty years ago I traveled down that very street to drop Kevin and his roommate off after attending my first college career meeting at a new church. Recently divorced, battling an eating disorder, and not sure if I would ever marry again or be blessed with children, my life seemed overwhelming and my future looked bleak. Never in a million years could I have fathomed what God had in store for me and my future family down that very road!

Thank you Father that, “You are able to carry out your purposes and to do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams. Ephesians 3:20  May we trust in a God that is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, The A to Z and everything in between. Being forever faithful as we depend on you.