Friday, August 20, 2010

Empty Shoes

Most every day I come home and open my garage door to find this…

Shoes lined up in every direction, making the short walk from my driveway to the back door a bit of a challenge.

I have yelled, I have threatened, I have screamed and I have picked them up more times than I am willing to admit!

NO MATTER what, I still find them in this position most every day.

If I’m being honest, I’d have to admit…I get so angry every time I see them. I have bought shoe bins, shoe bags, and shoe shelves and NOTHING, I mean nothing, works with this family of mine. LOL!

Last week, as I returned home and opened the garage door I, once again, saw my welcome home shoe banner.

I stopped and stood there…looking at each pair.

Cowboy boots, size 14, belong to hubby. We had the best night out looking for the perfect pair and we found them…and here they are…here on the floor.

I see the water shoes Jacob wears. His tender feet need a little help on our days at the pool. His first pair of ‘high dollar' sandals are close by as well…lol! We made this purchase proudly; after all, my baby needs the best for his little feet. Not to mention his pacing can wear out a pair of shoes faster than you would believe. :)

I remember hearing the Doctor say, “he’ll never walk,” and then I see both pair... here on the floor and my heart is filled with joy and I am overwhelmed.

My oldest, home from college, has the most I think. All types too...flip flops, slip-ons, black ones and brown ones. As I look at each pair, I realize...these shoes have traveled around the world, covering the feet of one who brings good news…our Josh, the missionary. My heart fills with love and pride as they all lay here, here on the floor.

In the middle of the boy’s sea of shoes, I spot my little girl’s. One pair! She, like her mom, puts things where they belong (most of the time anyway). Standing there in my garage, I think of how these shoes will walk the halls of high school for the very first time, in just a few days…and my heart *sighs*.

One day my kids will have their own garage and their empty shoes will no longer create a path (or obstacle course) from my driveway to my back door.

How will I feel when that day comes? When I arrive home, and there is no 'banner' of empty shoes to greet me? Part of me might be happy, but most of me will be sad.

These empty shoes that once made such an awful mess and made me angry suddenly became a beautiful mess that makes my heart smile. if you come home and find a path of empty shoes...look a little closer and you'll see, not the empty shoes...but the ones who wear them.

I hope your heart smiles today and that you’re able to find the beauty in your mess.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whose voice is it?

Recently, while shopping with my daughter, I had to take a potty break. The restroom was a little crowded, but fortunately it was one of those that had a lot of stalls. I had not been in there long when I heard someone softly calling, “mom?” I immediately knew it was my daughter.

It was that moment, in the bathroom, that I realized that even when I no longer recognize HIS voice, my Heavenly Father knows mine.

I have had a battle raging in my mind, one that I truly felt I had no strength to fight, much less win. Life sometimes brings us unexpected heartache and that ache can spread to our spirit and to our mind. Our unanswered prayers and questions can give us cause to dwell in places where we do not belong.

I have been so preoccupied with the voice of the one who reminds us of all our hurt and pain, the one who tells us daily of our failures and our faults, that I was unable to hear the voice of my Heavenly Father.

I could not hear HIM saying, “I have a plan for you; I want to give you HOPE and a future."

I missed the part where HE said, “I love you, and I am preparing a place for you; but until then, LIVE this beautiful life I desire for you…and live it to the FULLEST until I return for you.” I was too busy listening to the enemy, drowning in a sea of lies he besieged my mind with.

I had become so weary and tired from dwelling on the past, that I could no longer see the future. Daily I would search for anything to confirm what the enemy would whisper, giving me permission to isolate myself from people, to gain weight, to excuse my bad or sad mood, and to pretend… when necessary.

Did I do this intentionally? No; but gradually I did it.

It’s easy to find confirmation and excuses for the negative in our lives when negativity is our focus. And sometimes it’s easier to sit and listen to the enemy than it is to STAND and to fight for the life God gave His Son for us to have.

Each time we hear or think, we must ask ourselves whose voice is speaking. You see, the enemy speaks to our flesh, our carnal mind, and God speaks to our spirit.

Satan speaks fear while God speaks faith. Satan speaks past; God speaks future. Satan reminds us of our hurt, and God reminds us of our healing. Satan says it’s impossible; God says ALL things are possible.

I am learning that sometimes we cannot stop harmful thoughts from crossing our mind; however we CAN stop them from dwelling there. It takes dealing with one thought at a time. When the enemy comes to you and tries to steal your faith or your hope…just remember he cannot take that which he has not been given.

Maybe you’re like me. You’re in a place where you no longer hear or know the voice of our Heavenly Father. Maybe you’re weary or you’re tired, and this battle seems to be lost. You are calling out but no one seems to hear. Please know that when we have lost the ability to hear HIM, HE still hears us; HE knows our voice.

My prayer is that it is HIS voice you hear today...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No Matter What

No Matter What...Lyrics

I’m running back to your promises one more time, Lord that’s all I can hold on to, I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises you. Before a heartache can ever touch my life, it has to go through Your hands, and even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why,

No matter what, I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.

When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else by myself, I’m just sitting in silence, there’s no way I can make it without Your help, I wont even try it. I know You have Your reasons for everything, so I will keep believing, whatever I might be feeling, God you are my hope, and you will be my strength,

No matter what, I’m gonna love You, no matter what I’m gonna need You, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.

Anything I don’t have You can give it to me, but it’s ok if You don’t, I’m not here for those things, the touch of Your love is enough on its own, no matter what I still love You and I’m gona need You

No matter what I’m gonna love you, no matter what I’m gonna need you, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not , I’ll trust You, no matter what, no matter what. I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain, but if not, I’ll trust you, no matter what no matter what no matter no matter what

I heard this for the first time today and I had to share. I hope that NO MATTER WHAT… you are loving, trusting and believing in HIM today!

Steph :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Owl, The Box, & My Best Friend!

As I told you earlier in my popcorn post…love, laughter, and drama seem to follow me and my bestie wherever we go. Rachell and her 3 yr old son stayed with me for a few weeks this summer, so you may hear more about us than you want too! Today, I want to share a bit of our drama with you…

The Owl

I have to admit, I knew very little about owls until this summer. I‘m still no expert, however I have learned a few things. I have never seen one up close UNTIL recently.

Rachell and I, along with our boys, were headed out of my neighborhood when Rae thinks she has spotted an owl! Well, it’s 11:30 in the morning, and I think there is no way she has really seen one; I tell her as much! At this point, I am thinking she may have seen one of those plastic ones perched on someone’s fence. “NO,” she replied as she came to a complete stop, putting the van in reverse and backed up… and sure enough on the right side of the street, sitting as still as could be on our golf course, was an owl! She DID see one and it was real! I hate it when she’s right and I’m wrong! :) Rae then put the van in park and got out to take a closer look. The owl opened his eyes, but never moved or tried to fly away. Knowing that the owl is wounded and vulnerable, Rae gets back in the van, turns it around, and we head to the club house thinking someone in charge of the golf course grounds could help. I immediately called animal control and asked if they could dispatch someone to come and take a look at our newfound, feathered friend. The truth is, I asked for an animal ambulance…I got a chuckle for that one!

The Box

The dispatcher actually asked if I would be willing to find a box, put the owl in it, and bring it to them. “Are you serious?” I ask…YES, he was! I tell him “I don’t think so” and could he please send someone. By this time Rae returned to the van and explained she had no luck at the club house. I relay my news that some crazy dispatcher wants us to find a box, put the owl in it, and bring it to them. Next thing you know she is stopping the van, AGAIN, this time to retrieve a BOX from my neighbor’s trash; she then jumps into the van with the box and heads back to the owl. All the while I sit back and quietly have a panic attack!

My Best Friend

We returned to find the owl in the exact spot where we left her. Her breathing had slowed, but she was still hanging on. Rachell sat as close a she could and gently soothed her with words of life. To some this might be extreme, but to my best friend it came naturally. Animal control finally showed up, about 45 minutes into our drama (with leather gloves I might add). Rae would have sat there all night if needed; that’s just who she is and one of many reasons why she is my BF. The rescue worker covered the owl, picked her up, and gently placed her in a carrier, one designed for wounded birds.

They took her to a place where she could heal and one day fly again.

OWL: Nocturnal, mournful in voice, solitary in disposition, far-sighted and very unique…

My best friend can’t stand to see any of God’s creatures suffer; I can’t stand to see her suffer. Much like the owl, Rae has had many sleepless nights wrestling with her own pain. Her voice once used as a gift to sing the praises of our heavenly father became silent, “mournful’, and so did her spirit. She was unable to see through her pain, HIS hand, reaching down wanting to heal her wounded soul. She sat this way for a very long time. Wounded, and too hurt to move.

BOX: A container, case, or receptacle, usually rectangular and often with a lid or removable cover...

She surrounded herself with walls built of bitterness, pain, doubt, and depression. She boxed herself in and away from us all. Sometimes on our journey the path becomes too narrow for even a BF to come along. But, I am so thankful, for where our friends and family cannot be….there HE is.

BEST FRIEND: Secret keeper, truth teller, remains close no matter how far away, dramatic, full of contagious love, laughter, strength and courage...

A few months ago, some of Rachell’s walls began collapsing. Just as that rescuer reached down and took hold of the owl, taking her to a safe place where she could heal, God reached down and captured the heart of my best friend, once again.

Is her journey over? No.

Is all her pain gone? No.

Have all her questions been answered? No.

But she is now in a safe place, where she continues to heal and knows one day she will fly again.

Whatever journey you are on, whatever walls surround you…please know there is a God in heaven who wants to rescue you.

Oh...and just in case you're blinds were open today, and the SON was shining through. Hope yours were too!


Thursday, July 29, 2010


Today I should be writing about my 3 beautiful children and all the joy they bring me. I should be sharing photos of our vacation and the sweet memories of our trip. Today I should be posting all the cute and loving stories I have started for my blog. I really want to finish them, but some days I am just stuck. Stuck in the past and I hate that.

Today I want to hide out in my bedroom and forget about the world of responsibilities. I want to keep the blinds closed, and the phones off...I want, I want, I want...*sigh*.

A little over two years ago my life was introduced to a great sadness, and it has kept me company most days ever since.

No one died, yet I still grieve.

I don’t mean to be mysterious, or then again maybe I do. Maybe I am ashamed, or I have too much pride to write all the details of my heartache. I think to myself, “it’s been 2 years, it’s time to get over it”…but I can’t, I just try to get through it.

Some days are good, they are honest, they are happy and I am present…I love those days; I wish I had more of them. Most days, I pretend and pretending makes me so tired. However, days like today are my combo days... days filled with sweet moments that pass to quickly, moments of pretence, moments of honesty and then there’s the sad moments. These tend to take up most of the day. These moments are between me and God, sometimes my bf and now you.

I debated as to whether I should post this. I’m still debating! ;)

Will sharing this part of me really help? I don’t know, we’ll see.

I know God has a purpose for my life and ‘pretending’, is not part of that purpose.

I want to let go of all this hurt and pain. I want to hit the STOP button on the sad movie that replays in my heart and mind, over and over again. I want to open the blinds and let the SON shine in. I want to be honest and helpful to others... I want, I want, I want….*sigh*

...and so today I find myself HERE.

Here, behind the screen.

Here, where I am a little stronger.

Here, where I won’t pretend.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I’m brand new to ICLW and to the world of blogging. Trying desperately to get used to both! I really thought I would have more time to write while on vacation, turns out I was wrong! I have so much to catch up on, including blogging,not to mention the laundry!!! LOL

I love writing and I will have some new posts soon.

We all are on a journey, each one with our own unique story. I am very grateful and blessed to share mine and to be able to read some of yours!

Happy ICLW...and Happy Blogging! :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Popcorn Covered with Love

My dearest friend in the world is here for a few weeks with her son AJ who is 3 years old. Life is full of drama, love, and laughter when we are all together! She can make me laugh until all the muscles in my face relax to a state of pure embarrassment, as well as some other muscles that I would really rather NOT blog about…lol! BTW, If you have never laughed this hard, it might be time to find some new friends. ;) Soooo anyway, today I want to tell you about the “love“ part.

Last night, we all gathered in the family room to watch the 80’s version of The Karate Kid. Our plan is to see the new one sometime this week; so we thought we would introduce my older kids to the original. At some point during the movie someone mentioned popcorn, and for a moment the entire world and T.V. are put on pause until a decision can be made as to who will be the one to go and prepare the popcorn. Josh, my oldest, volunteered, and I enlisted my youngest to help him as well.

Soon the house was filled with the aroma of hot buttered popcorn. All those upstairs began yelling out toppings they wanted on their bowl of corn. Before long, Josh and Tiph made their way back up and began handing out bowls with all the fixins’. Little AJ must have smelled it too because he soon found his way into the family room. He was playing in the study with his best friends, Monkey and Rocket, you know, the furry kind of friends ;). Everyone was busy talking and laughing, and not paying much attention to anything other than their bowl of popcorn.

I was sitting in my chair, and I watched as AJ walked over to his mom’s bowl. He looked around, then looked into the bowl, and then reached with great care to pick the very best piece of popcorn. Just as he was about to put it into his mouth he stopped and looked at my Jacob. AJ then walked over to Jacob and asked, “Jake, you want some popcorn?” and he gently put that piece, his piece, into Jacobs’s mouth!

Jacob didn’t ask for popcorn, not because he didn’t want any but because he is unable to. His words are there; they are just locked inside his little mind, and God hasn’t given us the key...yet!

In all the excitement of the night everyone forgot that Jacob might want some popcorn too, everyone except my 3 year old godson, AJ! I watched, in awe, as AJ continued to go back and forth to his mother’s bowl feeding Jacob.

This small act of love made me think…how many times have I been without words, too hurt to speak or even pray? How many times have I felt ignored or overlooked in a room full of people, unable to reach out for help? How many times has my Heavenly Father found a way to reach down and choose just the right “peace” to extend to me?

While others may want their popcorn plain or with butter, covered in ranch powder and salt, or even with a side of pickles...I just want mine covered with love!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Here Comes the Rain

Playing in the orange grove at my aunt’s house is one of my favorite childhood memories! We would pick oranges, and eat them until our bellies hurt. Back then we didn’t care if the juice ran down our chins, our hands and even between our fingers; we had not a care in the world.

My cousins and I would stand in the middle of that orange grove and watch for the rain that would eventually come in the afternoon. Someone would yell “Here comes the rain” and we would take off running. We would always run ahead just a little, and then stop and watch the rain come closer. Then at the last minute right before it reached us, we would take off and run ahead again. We would barely make it to my aunt’s front porch before the down pour.

These days, Im not standing in my aunts orange grove, I’m standing smack dab in the middle of life. Where most days, no one is yelling “Here comes the rain”, and there seems to be no porch to take cover, and I find myself caught in the down pour.

It is in the downpour moments that I am learning to trust the rain, HIS rain to free me from all the messy things that I have allowed to cover me, and wash me clean. And on the days I see it coming, or I hear a voice saying “here comes the rain”, I run as fast I can to my father’s porch and allow him to cover me with HIS love. Because after all my life is HIS life and he’s not afraid of the rain!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog...

To blog or not to blog…that seems to be the question these days! Some say it’s crazy and even dangerous to be so open and frank about one’s life in the cyber world. Others seem to think it’s therapeutic. Me, well I’m not sure yet, I’ll let you know!

However, to answer the question…. YES, today I will blog! How does one start a blog, well I think I just did. I have been married 21+years to a man, who I have known since he was 13, he is now 41. I know everything about him, and I know nothing about him…it just depends on the day:)! I have 3 wonderful children, who have stretched me far more outside of my womb then they EVER did while inside. I am sure you will come to know them all…that is, if this blog thing sticks. You see I have a tendency to start something with full force and participation, much like a turtle trying to cross a road…but then something usually happens that makes me pull my head inside my shell and I wait until it’s safe to try again.

My goal has been perfection most of my life, in fact I can’t remember ever NOT trying to be the perfect daughter, friend, wife, and mother. At 43, I have yet to reach my goal and I am so very tired and worn out from trying. For those that “think” they know me they would tell you otherwise because I hide the fact that I’m not “perfect “very well, or at least I think I do. After all I’ve been practicing for 30 years or so. So much time, energy and tears wasted because you see, there is no such thing as the Perfect woman or Superwoman for that matter. In fact there is only Wonder-woman and Cat-woman and believe me it took a long time to figure that one out!!!

So after a lot of heartache, thinking and talking with my dad (my heavenly one), I have decided that I just want to be me, the one HE intended me to be…and so a new journey begins. If you choose to go along with me, good, I need the company. If you’re looking for perfection in my writing, in my life or in my story, trust me you will not find it here, because “here”…. I plan on just being me!