Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How to have the Worst Valentine's Day Ever...

It's Valentine's Day.  You couldn't possibly forget it, because social media is right there to flood your feed with All of the Pictures.  Homemade cards. Breakfast in bed.  Original poems. Surprise dates.  It's supposed to be a day to celebrate love - any and all kinds of love.

There are so many articles out there on how to make the most of your Valentines Day... On how to WOW them with your love.  But I want to cover something no one seems to help us with.  I want to make sure you know how to have the WORST Valentine's Day ever.


Compare your husband with other husbands.  Why not?  Their wives are posting pictures and all the juicy details.  What's wrong with YOUR husband?  Why didn't HE cry actual tears while professing his love for you, catch them in a tiny glass vile and give it to you on a necklace, like Lisa's husband?  I mean, sure, your husband has great qualities.  He loves you faithfully, he is a hands-on dad, provides for the family, helps around the house, speaks highly of you to his friends and family.... Celebrating who he IS instead of who he is NOT is just way too easy.  Take the time to really hold him up against other men on this one specific day.  Identify where he doesn't measure up.  Oh, and to really seal the deal, tell him!!!


Compare your wife with other wives.  Randy's wife got up and cooked him a heart shaped breakfast, and your wife was still in her jammies with yesterday's leftover makeup smudged under her eyes when you left for work.  Why couldn't she have put forth a little more effort?  I mean, sure, she was up really late helping the kids with their homework last night.  She's such a good mom, she holds down the fort at home while you work long hours in your business... she has her own side business too, but makes sure all of your needs are met.... She is an amazing wife, mom, friend, and daughter... But dangit, why didn't she surprise you and cut a tiny lock of your hair when you were sleeping and wear it in a locket around her neck today like Jim's wife? Now THAT is romantic!  Or at least that's how it seemed, based on the post you just read about it!  Speaking of posts, why didn't your wife profess her love for you on social media like so many other wives did today?!


Compare your kids Valentines with other kids Valentines!  Oh man, Stacy had the whole breakfast table decorated with red and pink hearts.  A gift sat at each place setting perfectly wrapped, almost overflowing with goodies.  You threw frozen waffles in the toaster, but for the love, you better believe you didn't just spray whipped cream on top - you applied it in the shape of a heart!  No one can say you didn't try!  But woah, Jenny clearly Moms so hard!  She hired someone to make the PERFECT Valentines for her kid's class.  Each gift had a clever "pun" attached, that perfectly ties in the themed gift with the Day of Love.  YOUR child's reusable Albertson's bag filled with miniature Nerds boxes that barely fit her name them?  Ha!  Enjoy taking that walk of shame to the classroom!


OK, sarcasm done.  ;)

Bottom line?  Everyone has different gifts.  It's a lot of pressure to be All the Right Things on one specific day.  Give grace.  Enjoy today.  Your way.

And as a reminder: Today is not for the top 2%.  Today is an All Play!  If you have life and breath?  There is something to celebrate today!  LOVE is found in a romantic gesture, yes, but also a kind gesture. A compassionate gesture.  A sacrificial gesture.  Find a homeless person and give them a meal.  That's love.  Bring your best friend their favorite coffee.  That's love.  Give a compliment to a stranger.  Spread love.  Celebrate it!  Love is worth celebrating.   Not Lisa's love or Jenny's love or Randy's love or Stacy's love.  Their love is beautiful because it is THEIRS.  YOU celebrate YOUR love. YOUR way.  Fancy?  Simple?  Loud?  Quiet?  Yes, yes, yes, and yes.  You do you.  No right, no wrong.  Just Love.

Friday, February 2, 2018

That Time My 5 Year Old PREACHED To Me...

A small children's chair from our upstairs loft had somehow made its way downstairs today.  At the end of the day as we were tidying after dinner, the last item at the bottom of the stairs, waiting to be taken up, was the chair.  Reese ran over to it and said, "I'll carry it up!"  I had to hold back my laughter.  Sweet Reese is 5 years old but she looks about 3.  ;)  She is in the 6th percentile for height and weight and is as petite as they come.  But her heart and spirit?  Oh man, they are fierce!  "No honey, I will carry it up," I replied.  But she frowned at me and insisted she could do it.  The other kids all went upstairs to get ready for bed and I returned to the kitchen sink to wash the final pot from dinner.

About 30 seconds later, I heard her.  She was out of breath.  There was a strain in her voice.  Each word had about 2 seconds between the next.  She spoke to herself through gritted teeth.  "Just.. because.. it's hard... doesn't.. mean.. God's not here."  My eyes grew huge.   My eyes filled with tears.  Oh sweet baby girl, may your whispered prayer, through gritted teeth, steady your heart not just for this moment, but for all the moments of your life.
I turned around to see my baby giving all she had, to get the chair up just one stair.
Her words rung in my ears.  "Just because it's hard, doesn't mean God's not here."  She pushed.  She pulled. She lifted.  She struggled.  She sat for a rest.  And finally, big sis Taylor, on her way downstairs for a glass of water, offered to help.  Reese accepted the assistance, this time with gratitude.  And together, they got the chair safely up the stairs.

Sometimes God gives us supernatural strength to get through something beyond what we ever could have thought we could handle.

He is present.  Empowering. 

And sometimes God sends people to walk alongside.  To support us and hold us up.  To cheer us on, and sit in it with us, and to share in the heavy lifting.

He is present.  Providing tangible support - His hands and feet.

And sometimes, God just sits with us in the warm sun.  Toes in the sand, with blessings flooding our thoughts, and peace that goes beyond our understanding.

He is present.  Providing rest and goodness.

When life is easy, God is here.
When life is hard, God is here.
He Is With.

Sometimes we have to look for Him.
Sometimes we have to pause and listen for Him.
And sometimes His presence is an undeniable force we can't dismiss.

But then there's those other times.  The times we don't see, and we don't hear, and we don't feel, but we KNOW.  We know His character. We know His promises.

And so we wipe the sweat from our brow, take a deep breath, and through gritted teeth, we declare the Truth and choose to let our faith conquer our doubt.

"Just because it's hard, doesn't mean God isn't here."

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


I was 26 years old and I sat in a stranger's living room, holding my 11 month old baby boy on my lap.  I had recently joined this community group of young moms as a way of linking arms with others in my same life stage.  There is nothing more powerful than hearing the words, "Me too," and boy did I need to hear that as a new mom!  The past year had been a whirlwind and I was exhilarated and exhausted all at once.  The moms had chosen to read through a book written by a well known "stay-at-home mom" and author.   We all marveled at the author's candid honesty, her wit, and her ability to write about poopy diapers in a way that made us laugh and cry at the same time. Yes, about poop!  She talked about the balancing act between being a mom and a wife.  It sparked conversation between us in the group about what that balancing act looked like in our own lives - with all the hats we wear.

And then she said it.  A girl in the group I really didn't know said something so off-putting.  "You know, ladies.  You can't have it all."  I was so annoyed.  And offended.  Um, yes you can! You see, I had been happily married for 5 years, had traveled Europe for 3 months, singing for our U.S Troops with my newlywed hubby, and had a thriving singing and speaking schedule.  And when I became a mom and had my baby boy, I just put him on my hip and continued with my lifestyle.  At 11 months, my son had been on 34 flights!  Sorry chick, but you are wrong! You CAN have it all!  I was wife-ing, and mom-ing... and speaking, and singing and traveling and etc... etc..   Besides, this author whose book we were reading?  She was a stay at home mom!  She poured into her kids and hubby... and also had a thriving speaking ministry, as well as top selling books!  I "got" her.  We were crushing it!

However, a few years later, as I continued reading and meeting with other moms, I began to have more of a pit in my stomach.  I now had 2 kids and they were entering school.... and I knew I couldn't keep the same pace or lifestyle.  My son wanted me to be "room mom" and my daughter wanted me to take her to dance class.  There was soccer and t-ball every Saturday.  And the reality was, I couldn't be in more than one place at one time.  (duh.) So what would win?  The bookings and honorariums and hotel rooms?  Or my presence at home.  Around the dinner table.  And at the school jog-a-thon.  "You can't have it all!"  It still annoyed me.  And yet I suddenly found myself in a season of loving the power of "No."  Saying "no" to opportunity and invitations became empowering.  Because although I was saying "no" to something good, I was saying "YES" something great.  This Greater Yes became my drive.  It became my heartbeat.  Now don't get me wrong, I didn't say "no" to everything, but I definitely cut back to find a balance, and weighed everything against what I believed was my Greater Yes.

Fast forward a few years and a few kids later, and there I sat at a Leadership Conference.  I was there to attend, not to speak.  To listen and learn.  My now 4 kids were with grandma for the day, and I wanted to take a day for self care.  A young mom and well known author took the stage as one of the keynote speakers and I leaned in, excited to glean wisdom from a mom in a similar life stage.  She boldly challenged us moms to not sacrifice, but to get out there and pursue our passions.  That we would have regret if we didn't.  And yet I sat there once again with a pit in my stomach.  But this time for a different reason.  "But, how?" I thought.  How do I not sacrifice?  Something has to be sacrificed.   You can't "have it all."  BLAST.  That annoying phrase was haunting me again.  This speaker was doing it all, wasn't she?  What was wrong with me??  I wanted to find her afterward and pick her brain. I stepped outside the conference into the gift shop and that's when I saw it.  THIS.  A wall hanging.  I stopped and took a picture.  THIS is what that other girl years ago probably meant.  THIS made sense.  THIS made me exhale.

I wanted to find the speaker and say - I know that to be here speaking, you're away from your kids for a few days and it takes a toll on your family.  Right??   And also, I was just hired to write an article for a parenting magazine, and I know how many hours it took me to get that done and edited to the perfect word count... time that my husband had to manage the kids on what used to be our date night.  So this high selling book you just released HAD to have taken its toll on your family, right??   Why aren't you saying that part??  It's OK!  It's OK that there is a cost!  But don't pretend there isn't one at all!

Fast forward to today, and the pendulum has swung once again.  The same authors and speakers are now confessing to strained marriages, sacrificed time with kids, and admitting to the physical toll "the hustle" has taken on their bodies and families.  They point back to the past few years of writing and speaking and traveling and they are now pulling back.  Choosing rest.  Saying no to the hustle.  And saying yes to more simplicity.  Ahhh... Yes!  THIS.  This is what I was wondering!  I had been so frustrated.  I had felt so misled.  For years I had sat in circles with other moms, and together we wondered how all these moms in ministry were "doing it all."

And yet the reality was, they weren't!  Something had to give.  They just weren't talking about it.  Moms, women... heck, men, anyone -  each one of us can do ANYTHING!  But, we can't do EVERYTHING.  Those authors were choosing which "anything" they wanted to partake in.  We have that choice too! And friends, you know what?  There is no right or wrong!   There is just a choice to be made.  Every day!  WE get to choose!   I look back on the first year of being a mom and part of me loves the jet-setting life I chose.  And part of me regrets that I didn't just soak him in a little more.  And now I get to let those learnings and feelings impact my present decisions!

Now please hear me, I am not speaking to the financial aspect of life.  This conversation is not about working moms vs. non-working moms.  It is about the pressure to be all things to all people at all times.  And to keep up the facade that it's all glorious and seamless and there is no cost.  The reality is, there is a cost.  And that's okay!

Today, I find that I myself have let the pendulum swing pretty far in the other direction... and I need to find a middle ground once again.  In an attempt to find balance, I think I have let go of more than I should have.  I have let that "empowering no" become an excuse to stay comfortable.  None of us is perfect.  We are all on a journey.  Mine has me pondering, at 1am on a Monday night, what "Everything" I need to release and what "Anything" I want to embrace.  What is it for you?  What hustle do you need to let go of?  And what passion or calling do you need to lean into?  What are you willing to sacrifice to make that happen?  And once you pray and listen and decide, join me in guilt-free obedience.  There WILL be a cost.  That's ok.  And if we start down the road and it doesn't feel right?  No shame.  No judgement.  Pray again.  Re-assess.  And start again.

Choose your Anything.  Release your Everything.  2018, here we come!

Monday, July 31, 2017

8 Months After My Mom Died, My Dad Got Engaged. But I'm Not Done Grieving.

It was 3 weeks after my mom had passed, and my dad and I sat in a burger joint after a date at the movies.  The pain of loss was severe and nauseating.  (My eyes fill with tears as I sit here writing, just remembering back.)  "Do you think you'll ever date or re-marry?" I asked my dad as we shared sweet potato fries.  Our family has always been an open book.  We ask honest questions and give honest answers.  He said he didn't know.  He didn't know if he wanted to live alone, but he also didn't know if he could love again and risk going through pain like that again. Time would tell.
The conversations about grieving, healing and the future continued many times over between my dad, and sisters and I in the weeks and months that followed.  My dad was well into his grief journey and he processed it as an open book.

You see, almost 5 years prior, my mom had been diagnosed with FTD -  a brain disease that robbed us of her, far before she actually passed.  She had become the equivalent of a 1 year old, and my dad spent those years selflessly caring for his High School sweetheart with tender grace.  The grieving process had been going on for almost 5 long years. 
"This next season will not be about trying to fill the holes that now remain with mom gone. Those holes can never be filled.   It is about writing a new chapter moving forward, whatever that may be."  My daddy is so wise.  

And then it happened.  It was 9:30pm on a Sunday night and my dad texted my sisters and I.  

Daddy got all 3 of us girls on the phone at the same time, and told us that after church, he was praying with someone who had come forward for prayer and there was this other woman, "Pam" who was also praying with someone.  When they both finished praying and were walking out to the parking lot, my dad mentioned he was going to grab a quick lunch and asked if Pam wanted to come.  He then told us all about their lunch and their conversation... and us girls giggled and teased and asked probing questions.  "Are you entering the dating scene??  Do you want us to start setting you up?"  "NO. WAY."  My dad laughed. "I haven't dated since I was 16 years old and I have no desire to jump into that scene.  But, I will say this: I do want to get to know Pam more.   I only want to get to know her.  That's it."  

And so it continued.  Lunches after church.  Texts and emails.  We coached him on asking her out on an official "first date" and grilled him on what he would wear and where they would go.  :)  We got to meet Pam casually all together.. then individually as families.  Each step of the way, my dad would check in and ask, "How do you guys feel?  Do you see any red flags?  I don't even see a yellow flag but your insight matters to me."  With each date, each conversation, each phone call and text, my dad grew a bigger and bigger spring in his step.  A lightness in his voice. A joy restored.  A heart healed.  And each interaction between us and Pam confirmed what my dad had already discovered.  Pam is a gem.  When you ask her about her relationship with my dad, she humbly gives credit to the Lord.  When you bring up my mom, she weeps as she gushes about how wonderful my mom was.  When you mention my dad's name, she lights up just as bright as he does when you mention hers.  

But here's the thing:  I'm not done grieving the loss of my mom.  My mom has only been gone 8 1/2 months.  She was my best friend. My first call.  My biggest cheerleader. My ministry partner.  And I'm not done grieving.  I actually don't think I'll ever not grieve the loss of her.  She was beyond amazing.  And I hate that I have to wife and parent and minister without her.  I hate that my kids won't have her direct influence on their lives... That my 2 Littles won't have any memories of her at all.  

But here's the other thing: Making my dad stay single won't bring my mom back.  

Sounds obvious, right? But don't think it didn't cross my mind.  Maybe if he stayed single, it would preserve my mom's memory more.  Maybe if he stayed single, it would show how dedicated he was to her.  So silly.  My dad cared for my mom and loved her with every ounce of his heart until her final breath.   I have never EVER seen a more selfless and sacrificial love in my life.  The reality is, studies show that men who really loved marriage and were truly happily married, end up re-marrying quickly after the loss of a spouse.  

And so I grieve her. 
And I celebrate with him.
At the same time.

I am 100% still grieving the loss of my mom AND 100% thrilled that my dad will not be alone and that the Lord has given him the gift of Pam.  

I used to think there was one box to live in, per situation.  Like, my workplace is "frustrating." My kids are "exhausting." My friends are "fun."  One emotion per item on the list.  And yet in this season, I have found that I can feel 2 very different emotions at the exact same time, about the same situation.  Grief and joy.  Co-exisitng together.  At the same time.  And not competing with each other, but rather complimenting each other.  This co-mingling of emotions help me to feel whole and true to my experience.  I don't have to stuff Grief down to embrace Joy. And I don't have to release Joy in order to enter Grief.  They are both at the surface.  Close to my heart.  And deep in my soul.  

So when my dad decided he wanted to propose to Pam last week, just 8 months after my mom passed, my sisters and I jumped to clear our schedules.  We wouldn't miss it for the world.  Because seeing my dad's broken heart become healed, is a beautiful gift.  And because healing on God's timeline and not our own, brings peace.  And because the truth is, my grief doesn't restrict my ability to Joy.  

So last Monday, my daddy took Pam to dinner on Coronado Island...

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, eyeglasses and indoor

And then he took her on a Gondola Ride... and asked her to marry him.  

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor and water

And after the engagement, we had a surprise party for them, where they told their love story.  

And this picture says it all.  

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and outdoor

Renewed joy.  Healed heart.  Story Redeemed.  

Not in the absence of grief, but in it's presence!
How beautifully complex the grace of God is.  
Multifaceted and diverse in its expression.

"Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.
Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me."  

Welcome to the family, Pam. We truly love you.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Is Mother's Day for Me? Or is it for my Mom and Mother-in-Law? Who Gets Mother's Day??

"Is Mother's Day for me?  Or is it for my Mom and my Mother-in-Law?
This common question, often heard circling around neighborhood parks, Chick-fil-A play areas, and online forums is a definite hot button for most young moms.  Who actually gets Mother's Day?  Certainly my Mother-in-Law was celebrated in her day.  And I sure as heck know my mom got all the breakfast-in-bed she could handle when I was little.  So isn't Mother's Day finally mine??  Haven't I paid my dues?  I mean, I haven't washed my hair in 4 days or gotten a full nights sleep in 4 years.  For the love of all things holy, just give me a mere 24 hours!

Here's the deal.
You're right.  You should be celebrated.
So should she.

We are now in this Sisterhood... together.  I'm 12 years in, she's 38 years in.  She looks back on the good 'ol days... and I'm in the midst of living them.  Same journey, different stage.  They say you never stop being a mom.  Clearly, it changes.  But the undying, sacrificial, I'd stand in front of a train for you kind of love?  Never ends.

Now I don't know whether it matters which day you celebrate.  Saturday?  Sunday?  Next week?  There's not a one size fits all.  Just don't get so lost in yourself that you forget those who went before you.

So why, as a young mom to 4 young kids, do I feel so passionate about it?

Because this.

This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom (and sisters) and me a few years ago.  My mom... My best friend.  Type A.  Energetic.  Hilarious.  Life of the party.  My "first call."  My biggest cheerleader.  The ultimate in #momgoals.

And this is my mom and me on Mother's Day last year....

Shortly after turning 60 years young, a brain disease began to attack my mom's brain and her body.  At the time of this picture, she was unable to speak, barely able to walk, and was functioning at the equivalence of a 1 year old.

Almost 6 months to the day after this picture was taken, I sat by my mom's bed and watched my best friend take her last breath.  I cannot describe the excruciating pain of that moment.

What I wouldn't give to spend one more Mother's Day with her, lavishing her with my time and giving her more eskimo kisses.

So do I want to sleep in?  Desperately.  Do I want a day of pampering?  You better believe it.  But not under the banner of neglecting the ones who went before me.  The ones who mentored me and showed me.  Who cheer me on and fill in the gaps.  I don't regret one Mother's Day spent with my Mom and my Mother-in-Law.  Do I change a diaper on that day?  Nope.  Do I cut the kids food and take them potty?  Nope.  My husband still gives me a day off from "mom-ing" the regular stuff.  And then he schedules a spa day for me every year -  on a day shortly after Mother's Day... so I can get that much needed day off I so desire.   A day that's all mine.

But Mother's Day?  That day I gladly share.  Because you never know.  You never know how many more you have with yours.  And with his.  Life is precious.  Moms are precious.

So have your day.  But make sure they have theirs too.
Because us moms - All of us - are worth celebrating.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Every Mother Wants on Mother's Day...

"Give her the day off."
"Do something active as a family."
"Send her to the spa."
"Don't send her to the spa, it's too crowded on Mother's Day at the spa."

The messages are loud and clear.  No, I take that back. The messages are loud and seriously confusing.  Every article says something different.  Every blog has a different formula.  Just yesterday, I read a Facebook post that said, "Men, don't let your wife get off the couch on Mother's Day."  And directly underneath it was another Facebook post that said, "I find it seriously insulting that people think Mother's Day is about doing nothing.  I want to go on a rigorous hike with my kids on Mother's Day."  It's no wonder men approach this day with fear and trembling.  They don't know how to "win."  They want to win.  They do.  But every idea seems as good as the next and at the same time, as horrible as the next.  Helping the kids make a home cooked meal for your wife could be a huge win.  Or she could be irritated that there's now a mess in the kitchen.  Having the kids serve her breakfast in bed could really win her heart.  Or it could make her seriously frustrated that she didn't get to sleep in longer.

Men, do you want to know what every wife wants on Mother's Day?  I know I just said there is not a  one-size-fits-all formula for pleasing every mom.  But this?  I promise this is what we all want:

To be known.

That's it.  It's that simple.  Know her.  Like, really know her.  Be a student of your wife.  Know that your wife really wants to run a family 5K on Mother's Day.  Or that she wants to sleep until 11.  Know that she actually hates that big, fancy brunch and she'd rather eat a breakfast burrito from a yummy hole-in-the-wall joint.   Not every mom wants the same thing.  So know YOUR wife and love her how SHE desires to be loved.

And if you still don't know or can't figure it out?


Seriously.  Just ask.  Not in a, "Hey, so it's almost Mother's Day and I was wondering what you had planned?" kind of way.  But in a, "Hey babe, Mother's Day is almost here and I want that day to be a celebration of who you are and all you do.  I want you to feel loved and cared for.  How can the kids and I honor you best on that day?"  Ask it with love and with genuine interest.  I know it's only a few days away.  The lie you may believe is that it's too late.  It's not.

Now moms, this is where our role comes in.  If your husband asks you what you desire to do on Mother's Day, be gracious.  Take it as a sign that he cares.  Closing the gap between expectations and reality is a daunting journey.  If your husband is willing to make the effort to close that gap, then receive it as an act of love.  Don't belittle him for not knowing.  Your relationship is a journey and whether he has you figured out already or he is intentionally continuing to seek you out, it's beautiful.   It's all beautiful.

And Moms, in just 5 short weeks, we get the opportunity to return the favor on Father's Day.  So as this weekend unfolds, be gracious.  And thankful.  Seek to know and be known.  And if it all falls flat?  Choose grace.  :)

OK, one more thing.  I think this is important to clarify:   I understand that Mother's Day is supposed to be a day where Moms are celebrated by their CHILDREN.  Many dads get to Mother's Day feeling frustrated that any expectation is on them at all.  Some feel that their only job is to wish their own mom "Happy Mother's Day."  But the reality is, Dads bare the responsibility of teaching the kids how to celebrate mom well.  Dads get to teach and train and guide and direct.  "Hey kids!  Shhh!!! Let's be super duper quiet this morning so mom can sleep in! She works so hard caring for us, let's give her a day to rest."  or "Hey kids!  You know how mom loves to be active?  Let's plan an adventure for mommy together!"  Teach them what it looks like to be a student of someone and to love them in their love language.  You are raising future husbands and wives and mommies and daddies.  You are raising future best friends and bosses.  Celebrating WELL has become a lost art.  You get to help shape their hearts toward seeing the good in another human being and honoring who that person is in your life.   It's a life skill they will take with them the rest of their lives.  Lean in and enjoy the privilege of impacting the next generation!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

MRI's... Unemployment... And our "New Normal."

"New normal" is an interesting concept.  Is it really a thing?  There was a day I never thought our "new" would ever feel "normal" after Jon's surgery.  But a few years in, and life goes on.  Or so I thought.

I'm sitting here in Starbucks, with my stomach in knots.  Not because of one thing in particular, but because of a lot of things in general.  There are a lot of question marks in our life.  I've learned that question marks frustrate me.  I want the life with the beautiful, gigantic, shiny bow.  Heck, I'll even settle for a pretty little bow.  A tiny one.  But for the love of all things, just give me a blasted bow.  But nope.  Just when I feel like the bow might be getting tied, one of the ends get pulled and it unravels.  Square one.  Start another "new normal."

1 year ago, Jon left church ministry to sign on to work for a friend of ours at his non-profit.  It was a year commitment, with hopes from both sides, for it to be a much longer partnership.  However, as is often the case with privately funded non-profits, there just wasn't funding to sustain his position beyond this year.  So 2 weeks ago, after an awesome season with a dear friend, Jon ended his year there.  Insert big fat question mark.  Ok God, what now?  3 years ago, I was confident that if Jon needed a job, he could get one in an instant.  He had been a full time worship leader for 16 years and was constantly contacted by churches with job offers.  It wasn't uncommon for him to receive several calls or emails in a month, asking him to prayerfully consider coming on to "so and so church" staff.  But that was what seems like a lifetime ago.   A life where his degree in music, his experience in music, his passion for music all worked together for his employment.  Now that's off the table.  Ground zero is a scary place.  There are a ton of rabbit trails.  Which should we pursue?  How do you start over at age 40?  Where's my blasted bow?

Tonight,  Jon goes in for his big MRI.  The MRI that reveals the state of his brain tumor.  Has it grown?  Is it the same?  Did a miracle happen and it's gone?  MRI's are often The Trigger for some emotional unraveling for me.  We all have Triggers.  You see That Person that triggers That Feeling.  You read That Email that triggers That Emotion.  You see That Post that triggers That Hurt.  Triggers are all around us.  And one of mine is when Jon gets called in for tests.  What if?  So. Many. Question. Marks.  

So I sit here and surrender My Plans once again.  I sit here and watch God care for even the birds outside.  I feel a twinge of comfort.  Then I click on my blog and read from 2013.  And 2014. And 2015.  God is not going to stop being faithful now.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  My "new normal?"  Not so much.  My "new normal" has yet to be consistent.

"So I fix my eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."   THAT is my "new normal."

Now where's my blasted bow....  ;)