Tuesday, September 11, 2018


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I think we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. It's etched into our memories as though it were yesterday. And while our hearts continue to ache all these years later, I feel it's important to share the acts of kindness and love that was happening all over the country in the midst of the chaos. I want to share my sis-in-law's memory of that day. She told me her story a couple of years ago while we were in Texas for my son's college football game. It's very moving and speaks to the very heart of sacrificial love, rising up in the worst of times.

I was talking to my sis-in-law, Chasity, about not realizing I'd booked our flight home on 9/11 because let's face it, this is not a day I would purposely choose to fly on. While talking, she shared her memories and the horror of the terrible attack all those years ago. She gave me approval to share part of her story.

She worked for a large hotel right by the Dallas Fort Worth airport. Immediately after the attacks all flights were grounded. She witnessed tons of planes circling overhead, anxiously awaiting the go-ahead to safely land.

The aftermath of the grounded/returning/arriving flights were monumental. People were stranded. Taxi's were overwhelmed attempting to get frantic, confused and distraught people to nearby hotels. The airport called all local hotels and asked if they could send employees in their personal cars to pick people up until their hotel was filled to capacity. My sis-in-law immediately got in her car and headed to help. As she reached the airport, she jumped out and started yelling, "I CAN TAKE YOU!" People swarmed her car, throwing suitcases in the back and piling in on top of one another. As she drove she was shocked to see people walking along the freeway with their luggage in tow, trying to get to a safe place, away from the airport. It was chaos and confusion. My sis-in-law continued to make trips again and again until their hotel was full.

This day is etched in her mind, as it is in each of ours forever. A day when innocent lives were lost and families mourned the unthinkable. A day when people stepped up to do what they could. A day when there was no such thing as a stranger, only people in need and people willing to meet those needs any way they could.

Friends, on this Anniversary of 9/11, may we never forget the love and unselfish giving of so many people right in the midst of our Country's worst tragedy. From the first responders who gave all they had to give...their very live...to the people on the 3rd plane bound for another attack, who saved many by their selfless heroism. Along with ordinary people just like my sis-in law, who saw a need and acted! I'm thankful for her story and while we will never forget, I pray we are always reminded to look for ways to be a Blessing to others daily. 

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

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hiking To A Pirate Cave and Treasure Island Beach

I LOVE adventure! When I'm unable to go on vacations, I search for fun and unusual areas to explore around me. On Wednesday, I decided to visit a sea cave I'd never been to in Dana Point, CA. I had to research the tides first because it is only accessible at low tide.

The route required scrambling over rocks and boulders (1.2 miles round trip). I found myself picking up the pace, worried I wouldn't be able to make it to the cave and back out again before the water began to rise (this low tide was actually higher than normal at 3.65 ft.)
Not to be deterred I pressed on and wasn't disappointed.

The entrance was narrow and opened into a large cave with a beautiful view of crashing waves. I had the cave all to myself as the summer crowds have returned to school and work. There was an adjacent smaller cave that required going out into the water to get to. I chose to forego that one, knowing my time was short as the water began to pour into the cave I was in. While making my way back, I came upon a mom and her three children. She asked if I thought they could make it to the cave in time.
The adventurer inside me wanted to tell her, "Yes if you hurry!" But I knew that wasn't safe or realistic with her young children. I encouraged her to come back on another day when the tide was lower.

I then came upon a homeless man named Jeff (I wrote about this encounter on my "Bowl of Inspiration" Blog-click link on right to read).

I finally reached my car and headed home down Pacific Coast Hwy (which is always a beautiful drive.) While at a stop light, I noticed a sign for "Treasure Island Beach." I'd never been to this beach either, so I made a quick turn and headed down to check it out.

Woah...it was amazing (as you can see in the video). The cliff tunnel led me straight to the perfect writing spot atop a rock as water rushed all around me.
Talk about inspiration!

All in all it was an amazing day of firsts. And let me tell ya...adventure firsts are my all time favorite.

I hope you enjoy virtually exploring Southern California's beautiful coast.


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It's been a while since I've posted. In my last post I talked about the struggle of adoption and the unfortunate baggage carried. It's truly heartbreaking to watch the regression, especially when you know the majority of his problems stem from an abusive parent, making it all the more difficult.

As my son began his Senior year of high school last week, the customary 1st day picture revealed his smiling face, but that grin never reached his eyes...because he still isn't happy. He's been seeing a Psychologist weekly, which has definitely helped, but the sadness, fear, worry, depression, anxiety and anti-social behavior still leaves a big, dark, hovering cloud. Our son's sadness seeps through his often closed bedroom door, permeating throughout the entire house. I try to do everything I can to meet his needs and helping him open up, while providing boundaries of appropriate behavior. He can be very rude to us and other people, but then just as quickly, he can turn on the charm for those he deems worthy/or those who can benefit him in some way. I realize it's learned behavior, especially for kids who have spent years in and out of the foster care system. They learn to "work people".

So with fear of this turning into a rant of a mother's worry or despair, I grab hold of it all, and lay it down at The LORD'S Feet in prayer. My son needs restoration, healing, and a renewed heart. I know the One who can do this. I know mountains of impossible are moved in situations just such as this. You see, we didn't go out searching to bring another child into our home after our youngest (6th child) had graduated and headed off to college.
We were ready for "our time."
But GOD!
HE brought our son into our lives and heart via a simple email and then parted the way for him to become our son, as we learned to take steps of faith along the way.
All I have to do is remember how are son arrived into our lives and I know The LORD is moving. Even in the hard places of doubt and tears.
Even when my son is still in the midst of the darkness of his past, feeling "different" and alone.
JESUS meets me in this place, reminding that HE makes all things new.

I pray.
I lay it all down daily.
I learn to trust.
I pray some more and wait on The LORD.
I am strengthened in those moments of letting go.
I'm reminded that HE Loves my son even more than I do.
HE placed him in our lives for a purpose.
HE has a Good and Mighty Plan for him and us.
This current view is not the final picture but only a journey in faith and trust.

I sigh.
Peace pours over worry.
GOD'S got this!
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?"~Jeremiah 32:27

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Adoption Road

Whew! It’s been forever since I’ve posted. I think I’ve let social media consume me, posting all my pics and stories there. But tonight, as I sat struggling with some family issues, I realized my blog offered a whole other outlet. It’s more like a diary of sorts.

So here goes:
Dear Diary,
I have a heavy heart. Our adopted son is in a season of struggling. To be honest I shouldn’t be surprised, it was bound to happen at some point, right? It’s just strange because everything’s been going relatively smoothly the past 5 years since he came into our lives at the age of 12. Obviously there’s been some hiccups and issues to work through, but I thought at 17...we’d made it through any seasons of major trials.

Well I was wrong. We’re in the thick of it. And when things begin to unravel in your child’s life, you begin to wonder,
“Where did I go wrong?”
“What did I or didn’t I do?”
“Have I failed him in an area?”
“Did I not show enough love or spend enough time?”
You get the point, I can go on for days about the different thoughts and feelings that run through my mind.

So tonight as we sat and talked at dinner, I decided to ask him. I wanted to know if I’ve failed him in some way, if there’s something he needs that I’m not doing. What can I do to make things better? I let him know that I wanted to apologize if I have let him down, because as a parent, I’m not perfect and make mistakes too.
He didn’t tell me anything specific that I’d done wrong, but that conversation opened up the flood gates. It allowed him to feel safe enough to let out some very difficult personal things (he had a very rough childhood and had been in and out of the foster care system). The things he shared made me realize that he needs more help than I can offer.
And that’s okay.
I can’t be all.
I can’t do all.
And I need to remember...it’s not all about me anyways.
But with the information he provided, I can do something to get him to the right people who can help. I can lift him up to The LORD in prayer daily.

My son has had it rough. And while I’ve only had him for a short period of time, relatively speaking, I can’t magically erase the past for him (while I wish I could).  So I’m thankful The LORD helped my normally closed off, reclusive son, open up  (because you know I was silently praying for help to say the right things and ask the right questions.)
Adoption isn’t always smooth and easy. The trials and baggage that come along with these precious children can be difficult. But through it all, nothing is more gratifying than sharing your life and love with a child GOD has placed in your care.

It’s going to be okay...GOD is in the business of moving  mountains of impossible.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Are You Saying?

I was thinking about how words can truly affect lives. Back in the day I'm ashamed to admit that I could tear someone to shreds in an instant with my words and I was actually proud of it. I thought, "If they want to come after me or my family...they deserve it, they are asking for it...and I'm just the one to give it to them. They messed with the wrong person!"

I'd persistently look for vulnerable areas by poking, poking and poking until I'd find it, then I'd dig in, my words inflicting pain and causing damage. But truthfully..it was a cover up, hiding the hurt, pain and "less than" areas inside my heart. I put a bandaid over it and as the scripture says, "...For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."~Matthew 6:45 
My words reflected the lacking in my heart. 
I'm so thankful that GOD took the "gift" of words HE gave me, Healing every hurt so that I could be used for the very Purpose HE created me for...pointing people to JESUS, lifting up instead of tearing down... "The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing."~Proverbs 12:18

Friends, words are powerful. Let's truly think about what we say to others. Let's pray for help to be encouragers instead of discouragers. Join me today in asking JESUS to heal all areas that may be causing us to lash out, hurt, retaliate, or gossip. 

LORD, please help us to be the people you created us to be. Fill us with more of YOU...YOUR Words, YOUR Heart, YOUR Love. Remove the bitterness, pain and/or anger that causes us to say hurtful things. Help us speak words of life, reflecting YOUR Redeeming Grace, causing people to bloom. Guide our walk through each day looking for ways to lift one another up to YOUR Glory; pointing people toward YOUR Ever-Ready, Loving Embrace. In YOUR Name we pray JESUS, Amen. 

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit."~Proverbs 18:21
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."~Ephesians 4:29
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."~Psalm 19:14

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Are You Hiding Sparse Areas?

I have a very important tradition every year that drives my family crazy...I have to find the *perfect* Christmas tree. This year our hunt was way behind schedule due to our trip to the Packers game. So this afternoon, I got up out of my sick bed so we could find it. As we pulled up to our normal lot it looked like they were tearing it down. The man said, "All trees are $20.00 and you have until sundown, we're closing shop." Woah...we just made it! As I went through row by row of the tiny, sparsely branched trees, I became discouraged, asking one of the workers, "Do you have any large trees left hidden in the back or something?" "No, this is about it," he replied. I continued back and forth, having my son, little Josh, grab one just in case I couldn't find anything better. I finally narrowed it down to three best of the worst, giving in to the tallest one. Once we got home it looked even worse than I anticipated. The hubby tried to console me when he noticed the dismayed look on my face by saying, "It'll look better once we get it decorated." But there were too many bare spots to try to hide. So we rotated it to camouflage the worst parts and shoved it up against the wall. 

Friends, my poor empty branched tree reminded me of what I'd done for years in my own life. I tried to fix the outside while camouflaging the empty areas in my heart and soul that were in dire need of mending and growth. Year after year I put up a great front, but inside I was wilting. All my hiding began to become very apparent to those closest to me. I needed to make some big changes. 
So today because of this reminder I'm choosing to be thankful for this less than perfect tree! I'm thankful that when I decided to stop trying to hide, opening up my emptiness to JESUS, giving HIM access to all of my brokenness, I no longer felt the need to hide my flaws. HE took my less than and filled me with more of HIS Love and Forgiveness, causing growth in every area of weakness..the very things HE already knew I was lacking.

Friends, are you hiding sparse areas? Join me in continually taking it all to The LORD in prayer. We don't need to attempt to conceal...HE already knows. Let's expose those flaws to the Unconditional, Restoring Love and Light of CHRIST. 
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."~John 15:5

Jump on the Thankful Train...what are you thankful for?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11

Every day on my Facebook and Instagram sites I post a "THANKFUL TRAIN" message. I do this to make sure I think of at least one thing I'm thankful for each day reminding me of the Blessings in my life. Some days are definitely harder than others and let's face it...the Anniversary of 9/11 made today extra difficult. So here's what I came up with:

Every 9/11 the memories of shock, horror, sadness and disbelief spring forth. Everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing all those years ago. It's etched into every fiber of our being...the day our safety and freedom was attacked. 

Out of the ashes of tragedy a great rise of love, hope and restoration emerged. The Heart of America, the people, "One Nation Under GOD, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All" poured out over the sorrow. We truly were *One* Nation under *GOD*, meeting the needs  of people however we were able.

Today, 14 years later, it seems that although the memory is embedded, our wonderful Country has seen a great divide. Our Nation is moving backwards as GOD is being pushed out of the Heart of America. 

Today I'm thankful for the memory of the *response* to this great tragedy in our history. The Love was incredible. The hearts of everyone United in the face of evil. I pray for our Great Nation, that we will get back to the *Heart* of what's truly important and remember...
"For with GOD nothing shall be impossible."~Luke 1:37

Jump on today's "THANKFUL TRAIN"...what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Summer Visual Escape

I went on several adventures this summer and wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.

The first shot is my very first trip to the Grand Canyon.

Below...I loved capturing my hubby (who still skates at 50) with our son Adam. 
I stopped right in the middle of my bike ride, walked back to capture these beauties peaking over the wall. Because super-sunflowers like these are meant to be captured!
Lazy summer days and bubbles at the beach.
This adventure to Antelope Canyon was on my "Must See" list and I wasn't disappointed!
"Chasing Light"
"River of Sand"
"Beam of Glory"
This shot was captured on my way out after they told us to put our cameras away. There's only one way in and then you travel the same way out so they want you to be quick on the way out. With my Nikkon in my bag, I was able to pull out my iPhone just in time to quickly snap a shot of what appeared to be an Angel hovering above the crowd. It was a site to behold!
My hubby captured me conquering my fear of heights at "Horseshoe Bend"
View from our campsite at Lake Powell.
One of my favorite local getaways in "Laguna Beach".
Our hike to nowhere. We never found our caves but still saw amazing beauty!
I love summer days, vacations and even stay-cations that get me outdoors.