Thursday, February 24, 2011

God Whispers

"For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose"
~Philippians 2:13

Its a wonderfully quiet morning here at home. Chris is off to work and Chelsea is still sleeping. I seized the opportunity to grab a second cup of coffee and my Bible and curl up in my favorite sunny spot. I usually start my "quiet time" by reading a short devotional in Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby. (Thank you Lysa TerKeurst for the suggestion)

Today the devotion posed the question "Are you so eager to 'get to the work' that you have not clearly heard what is on God's heart?".

So I sat there, with my Bible on my lap, thinking about that question. Usually, I'll start reading. Today I couldn't seem to focus. I flipped through the pages but nothing grabbed me. I opened it, I closed it, I opened it again. I thought "What am I missing God? there something I'm supposed to understand?"

I started to thumb through the Bible again and was distracted, or so I thought, by all the notes I'd taken over the past few years. I stopped to read them. Then I noticed the highlighted scriptures and stopped to read those too. I flipped to the front cover, I read the quotations. I skipped to the back cover and read all of those as well. There were notes, references & words that I'd scribbled down during a church service often. Sometimes quotations from a movie. Even quotations from other books I'd read.

Before I knew it, my mind had drifted. I began to think about a very special person in my life who is struggling right now. She's one of the bravest people I know. She's intelligent beyond anything I am capable of. She is beautiful, sweet, funny, admired, capable and so very very lost. I wish I could do SOMETHING to help her. I would do anything within my power to help her!

"Give her your Bible" I felt God whisper.

Seriously?! Wait, was that me or was that God? I sat there for a few minutes, doubting myself. Then I started to flip through the pages again. Those quotations, those verses, those notes, those were mine. This Bible has walked with me through some pretty dark places. I love this Bible. I can't let go of THIS Bible. Its pretty, I picked it out just for me. I love the color, I love the texture, I love the weight of it. And then......

"Give her your Bible" he whispered again to my heart.

I realized, those notes, those highlights, those quotations might help her . In some ways, she's struggling through the same things I struggled with too. Do you suppose God knew that,  when I wrote those things down? Do you think this was part of the plan? That someday, I'd give my beloved Bible to someone who would need that particular verse highlighted? I think so. I think thats what the devotional question referred to. People are "on God's heart"......nothing matters to him more than his children and having a relationship with them.

Although its a bit used, marked up, and a few pages have teardrop stains,  I will pass along my favorite book to one of my  most favorite people. Before I do, I will sign and date it and include a special note for her. Reminding her that she is loved, by me, by others and more importantly by God. The answers that she's seeking, the directions for her life, are between the pages of THIS book and no other.

What is God calling you to pass on today? Will you do it?

Dear God~
I ask a special blessing upon the recipient of my well-loved Bible. You know who she is and exactly what she needs. I pray that this gift will inspire her to seek a personal relationship with you. I pray that her heart will heal and she will embrace the beautiful life you have planned for her. I pray she will feel your love, your comfort, your peace and experience the joy of living once again. In Jesus' name~Amen.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Memory Lane

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him."~Psalm 127:3

Today is THE day. Today is the day I say goodbye to my daycare friends. Although I've been praying and planning and preparing, I'm surprised by the spontantous emotions I'm feeling. I'm also surprised by the memories that are creeping into my thoughts and making my eyes fill with tears.

Walk down memory lane with me?

I remember cranking out data entry, with  newborn Lily in the crook of my arm, lulled to sleep by the click and clatter of the keys.

I remember Lily so small, in her carseat, coming to basketball games. Everyone ooooh'd and aaahhhhh'd at her precious face!

I remember Lily in her highchair in my office at Coastal Medical, with post-it notes on her forehead, laughing hysterically. I called her grandmother that day and set the phone down so that she could hear her grandchild's belly laugh.

I remember Lily the Ladybug at the Town Library. Her first Halloween party was so much fun! The picture of her "crashing" on our way home remains my favorite photo.

I remember Avery's first day. Lily couldn't keep her hands or her mouth off her. Hugs and kisses all day long. They fell in love.

I remember watching them run through the cornstalks and searching for pumpkins with Coach in the garden.

I remember our grocery store excursions....two carts, two babies, two sippy cups, two snacks and lots of comments....."Boy do you have your hands full." My response was always the same..."Yes, I a good way".

I remember playing with flour all over the floor (what was Chelsea thinking....actually I already know....flour is sooooo soft Mom) and fingerpainting.....and playing in the sandbox and the water table and long walks because we stopped to inspect every rock, flower and tree.

And then Bella joined the group. She was the sweetest baby ever.....I told her parents all the time they should have named her "Joy"....boy can that girls smile light up the room!

I remember Bible Studies on times with more children than adults....the chaos, the smell, the tantrums, the fun.

I remember playing in the snow and playing in the leaves and splashing in the puddles.

I remember bringing all three of them to softball games. Two on a "leash" and one in the backpack. It was quite an adventure. There's nothing like the sound of a couple of two year olds yelling "Go Chelcheeeee!"

We've had some visitors along the way too Cameron and Addie and Connor and Tyler too. I remember the fun having visitors brought to daycare, a whole new dimension.

I remember the stories we read, the songs that we danced to, the pictures you colored for me. I remember the spontaneous hugs, the "I love you chelle"s, the way your precious faces look when you're sleeping.

I remember.

I remember and I always will.

Dear God~Thank you for bringing these children and these families into my life. I know this isn't goodbye but rather "see you soon". Thank you for the memories we made together. I pray that you will bless their lives and their futures. I know you have a plan for each of us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Be Mine!

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
~1Corinthians 13:14

Valentine's Day is such a FUN holiday, don't you think?

I've always loved it. I love showering the people I love with gifts and cards and making them feel special. It's a thrill for me to find  the perfect gift that I  know they'll enjoy. The perfect scent, the favorite candy, the card with exacty the right words.

As I was driving today, thinking about Valentine's Day, I realized there are so many people in my life that I'm not able to send a gift to, for one reason or another. They may not longer be "with us"....financially its just not feasible....and even time would be a major factor. There are alot of people on this list and alot of reasons to tell them "I LOVE YOU"!

I'm feeling especially grateful this year for all of the love, support, forgiveness, growth, courage, companionship, and grace. And so, this is a tribute to the people I love the most in the world...the people who have affected my life so profoundly that I am who I am, in part, because of them. Although I may not say it every day, I love you, you are important to me and I am blessed that you are a part of me.

I love you................

Mom and Dad~for showing me that love doesn't always fit a certain mold. Society doesn't always accept it, people may challenge it, but real love prevails, always.

Biggie~for being a woman of courage, commitment and dedication. You accomplished what others said you could not. You held your head high and stayed true to yourself. You are a role model for all women, everywhere.

Nana&Papa~you were the best pieces of my childhood, allowing me to be a child, to dream,  to imagine and to just be myself in your presence.

Georgia~because you told me The Truth. You spent time with me, nutured me, listened and taught me, the truth about God. Your willingness to invest your life mentoring women is remarkable. You have become one of my dearest friends.

Donna~you are the most gentle, caring, selfless person. I always feel  loved when I am with you.

Michelle D~your kind spirit and love for God is so inspiring. It is amazing how much alike we are, truly amazing. Wondertwin power......

Michelle C~girl, you have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?  I love that I can talk with you, laugh with you and be real with you, knowing you'll do the same thing with me!

Michele C~an instant connection during Lamaze class! who'd have thought nearly 20 years later, we'd still be hanging out. I love that although we can't see each other very often, we  ALWAYS pick up right where we left off.

Randy & Shannon~you are such loyal loving friends. You have stood beside us, adopted my girls as your own neices. You are priceless and so is your friendship.

Mary~a true woman of grace. Your joy for life is contagious and you make me want better for myself. We barely know each other and yet I feel as though I've known you forever.

Traci~I love the way you embrace life. You make no excuses, you just jump in with both feet. Your enthusiasm and love for God is infectious!

Deb~my tell-it-like-it-is girlfriend. I never wonder what you're thinking!!! (heeeee heee) but I always know I can share my views and you'll listen without judgement. Your encouragement and support with daycare meant alot to me!

Jonathan & Rebecca~you are both such special people, full of life and love. Your creativity, passion for your children and kindness to your friends is beautiful.

My church family~you accepted me, wrapped your arms around me and brought me into your world with such love. I wasn't an outsider, I was part of a family.

Lily~circumstances have prevented us from seeing each other. My love for you will never change though. You brought me such pure joy. You have a special place in our family, you always will. I have faith that someday, I will look into those crystal blue eyes again!

And last but certainly not least..................

Kristi&Chelsea~you have taught me unconditional love. Never before have I experienced  a love so deep, so profound, so enormous that I literally FEEL what you feel. You are my most beloved treasures, a true gift from God.

Tam~you have taught me forgiveness and compassion and what it means to be REAL. You challenge me in ways I am to afraid to challenge myself. You love me and trust me and accept me just the way I am. You are my best friend forever and I thank God every single day for you. I am in awe that after 18 years we are together again!!!!  Thank you for making that call! You are the sister I always wanted. You are the person I can cry my heart out to and laugh til I cry with.  I love you tons!

Chris~I honestly believe that God brought you into my life when I was 14 years old. You are my hero. I love you more than you can ever know. For standing beside me and  fighting for us. For always looking on the bright side and for pushing me hard enough that I'd want to see the world that way too. For keeping me warm late into the night and bringing me coffee every morning. For the dreams that we've watched come true and the ones we've yet to dream together. For the laughter we've shared and even the tears. For being the one thing that has been constant in my life for the past 27 years. I adore you.

Dear God~Thank you for each of these people and the roles they play in my life. Today, a special day, set aside for expressing love, I ask that you bless each one abundantly. May they know how very much I love them and more importantly, how much you love them too. In Jesus' name~Amen!

Happy Heart-shaped Hugs!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


" Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good"
~Romans 12:21

Hey there  my friends :)

Its been a wild week for sure. My brain has been spinning since Monday evening. I've soooooo looked forward to the chance to sit here, blog and tell you about it.

Before I do, I'd like to elaborate a little about something I shared last week. I mentioned earlier that my parents divorced when I was 11 years old. I eluded to the fact that it wasn't pretty, but I'm sure most divorces aren't. What I didn't explain was the history and reasons for the divorce. It's not an easy subject to talk about, so please understand I don't take this lightly. I will make every effort to be gentle but also to share the truth.

The truth is I am the product of a teenage pregnancy. I've been aware my entire life that I was "unplanned". Now,  that is definitely not the same thing as being "unloved"...but somehow in my childish little brain I interpretted "unplanned" to mean....."unwanted".... and therefore, a "MISTAKE".

In addition, my father is an alcoholic. Not the happy-pass-out-when-he's-had-too-much kind, I'm sorry to say. My father was a RAGE-aholic. I grew up never knowing what would set him off. I also grew up terrified, always watching, always waiting, always trying to prevent the next explosion. There's only so much a young girl can do and so, often, I failed. Yup, I'm also a child of domestic violence...and a child from a broken family. It wasn't an easy childhood but I know others had it worse.

I grew up always wondering "why me?!" I wondered what I had done wrong and what I could have done differently. I wondered what about ME made me unlovable. I wondered why I wasn't worthy of the protection of the adults in my life. Couldn't THEY see what was happening to my mom, my brother and I?
I carried that baggage for a lot of years.....I'm sure to some degree I still do.

However, on Monday night, I had one of those LIGHTBULB MOMENTS! I was asked to speak to a group of women in my area about my life and my faith. I shared some details of my childhood, my fears, my feelings and how they shaped me into who I am today. As I looked into the faces of the women and girls before me, I watched their eyes fill with tears. I soaked in the vibe of the room. I saw that their hearts had experienced this pain too. Maybe not exactly like mine, but they understood.

And then I was able to tell them the truth......the truth about God.... how he loves us, how he forgives us, how he heals us. And that is when I realized.......I can use my hurts, my pains, my losses, and my help these women. To show them the truth about who God says they are, how beautiful, how loved, how special. As I hugged each one goodbye, I whispered in my heart, "show her she is loved by you God".

Since Monday,  I have been presented with two additional speaking opportunities. Although public speaking isn't entirely in my comfort zone ( actually, it scares me to death!) it doesn't matter. What matters is that these women can have their lives changed and I have an opportunity to tell them how. The pain and hurt and sorrow I held onto for all those years has been transformed into a heart so full, so swollen with love for these women...and for the God who loves us all.

Dear God~Thank you for being the perfect Father. You do not make mistakes.  You knew me  in my mother's womb and you numbered every hair on my head. I pray for the grace to share my story. Not to dishonor anyone but to bring hope to the ones who don't know you. I pray for wounds to be healed, hearts to be filled and lives to be changed. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Friday, February 4, 2011

The Goodbye Girl

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have never been very good at goodbyes. I'm sure it stems somewhere from my childhood. The best that I can recall my first real goodbye wasn't really a goodbye at all. It was a total upheaval of lifestyle.

My parents divorced when I was eleven years old. I don't remember alot of the details, only that it was sudden, scary, sad and lonely. Emotionally and physically, I said goodbye to the only bedroom I ever remembered. I said goodbye to the neighborhood  and city I road my bike through. I said goodbye to the friends  who I'd gone to Kindergarten with and I  thought I'd graduate high school with. I said goodbye to my grandparents who lived one street over. I said goodbye to the routine of stopping there on my way to and from school each day. I said goodbye to  my father and my brother too. Everything felt different, smelled different, looked different.....including me.

This has been a year filled with goodbyes. I'm not sure I even "felt" most of them. I went through the motions and walked through them, but I'm not sure I was fully present for any of them. Do you know what I mean?

I said goodbye to my Biggie. Now don't be alarmed, she's still here, she's healthy,  living in a facility nearby. But for years my grandmother and I shared the upstairs of my parents home together. We watched Johnny Carson, shared meals, laughed and fought with each other. Saying goodbye to the Biggie as I'd known her was hard. Watching her age, have serious health troubles and be moved into a nursing facility was tough for us all. Especially for my Mom. I don't think I have actually processed this change yet. And yes, I do call her Biggie. Another blog for another day.

I said goodbye to my Kristi. Kristi graduated from high school this year. It was one of the proudest "mom-moments" but also one of the saddest. I  have treasured every moment of raising my children, it was difficult to come to terms with the fact that those days are gone. Kristi is a freshman in college now. Driving away from that campus  in August tore my heart in two.

I said goodbye to my parents. My mom will feel a twinge of guilt when she reads this. Please don't Mom. I love you and I'm so pleased you are living your dream. I guess I was in total denial about their moving from New Hampshire to Colorado. From the day they announced their house had sold, I didn't step into it. Honestly, I didn't help her pack, I didn't take one last glance at my old room, I didn't even drive by the property. I feel the GUILT about that!

As I prepare to close my daycare in two weeks, I am faced with the reality that more goodbyes are a certainty. My little friends are so special to me.  I've watched them grow and learn and created special memories with them. I hope that I can handle these goodbyes better than I have the rest. This time I am certain this goodbye is right for me and right for my family. I pray that I will handle myself gracefully.

There is one goodbye that I never got to properly say. So I feel compelled to say it here. There is one little girl, who will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart. Although I haven't seen her in more than 7 months, there isn't a day that goes by that she doesn't cross my mind. I pray that you are happy Miss Lily. I pray that you are thriving in your school and loving life, giggling and exploring and dancing your way through each day. I love you.....I always will. This is for you:

For Lily

Those big blue eyes that smile at me
Lily Grace, what do you see?

"The moon is broken Auntie Chelle" and
"Coach will fix it" so you say
Run and hide and jump and play
You find the joy in each new day

That silly dance, your tangled hair
"Lily, girl, you need to share!"
Your sleepy face after nap
looking for your "Dorie" snacks

Coach is "mine" you always teased
"Lily, will you please say 'please'?"
softball games and going shopping
sidewalk chalk and hop-scotching
balloons from bags was our fun game
without you, days won't be the same
finding rocks, making see the beauty in a tree

Playgroup dates and some tears too
Along the way you shed a few
"I want more!"-"Don't want to go!"
You always hated to hear "no".

There are so many memories we've shared
will you know how much I cared?
You've changed me in a way somehow
But I must let you go for now
Inside my heart there is a place
that's just for you
sweet Lily Grace.

Dear God, as I enter into this new season of life, I pray that you will guide my steps. I pray for the peace to say goodbye with grace and for the wisdom to embrace the future with hope! In Jesus' name. Amen