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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...

Seeking to Become - August 2015

  • Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.         Isaiah 49:16 
  • It's been a long time since I did the monthly challenge. It has been the entire summer actually. There's really no excuse for falling off the spiritual wagon, and I could kick myself for doing so now that I look back and realize that I let it go during such a sad period of time. Things could have had a better focus if I hadn't let it slip. But we can't get time back, so I am moving forward with the understanding that when I'm sad, I might want to remember how this focus helps me on a daily basis.

    Getting right to the heart of things, I ran across this scripture in Isaiah, and it reminded me of a basic truth: Christ knows me. My overwhelming sadness these past several months displays my lack of faith. I profess to have a strong testimony of God, our Heavenly Father, and his son, Jesus Christ, but when I got thrown for a loop, I forgot to turn my heart to the Lord. I didn't stop saying my prayers or going to the temple or anything, but I didn't let all of those things generalize into understanding and being comforted while life sorts itself out. Recognizing this failing, I am humbled and ready to open my heart to what is in store. I desire to find joy in life and no longer dwell on the difficulties that will continue to arise.

    The focus for this month is to remember that Christ knows us; he knows our hearts; he knows what we need; and he knows how to comfort us in our trials. The next step will be to watch for how that knowledge works for our good. Remembering is the first step though, and I don't want to lose sight of that basic truth.  I hope you will join me.

sitting down with my friends

As I set my sights on home—a place to call my own
The years surround every thought and breath
Every smile, every tear, every moment spent
Around the table of life spending the real currency
In the only way we know how
Making memories to shore up against the storms
Making memories through the storms to store up
Friendships that pass the brutal test of time
Shining through the clouds of this long day
Spanning forever, hinting at the truth
That we are made for eternal purpose
We have hearts that beat and hearts that feel
One that keeps us breathing, one keeping us real
And we grow in deep appreciation
Of every one who puts down roots
Along the edge of our family trees
Intertwining with affectionate embrace
Some merging at the heart, creating one from two
For the long haul, for always, for the hope of home
Where we can set the table
And spend the time we've lost
Under the canopy of forever
All glittering and warm
Caught in the everlasting arms
Of those we love and will never lose again.

my sad summer

I'm in denial, guys. This slice of life is my last one before teaching begins again, and I don't feel ready. And then I think to myself when does anyone feel ready? Ready is part perspective and part preparation. So now I'm thinking that I am completely correct with that definition. My perspective bites the dust, and I have so much still left to do to be prepared. On the perspective front, this first summer break since becoming a teacher has not been fun. It has not been a break at all. Just different garbage to sort through. That said, I'm not feeling rejuvenated, and I really wish at least a bit of my original plans could have come about.

It's not like you have to have fun to be rejuvenated, but it sure does help, and I had my heart set on a couple of things that just didn't happen. Times like these are when setting goals does you no good except to learn that not everyone likes what you like or wants what you want. And you just have to take one for the team, and sometimes the team is you. 

Taking time to relax and what bits of fun I was able to scrounge up this summer weren't enough to tide me over until Christmas, that's for sure. And while I was able to salvage my perspective a handful of times, I must officially deem this my sad summer. Every time I turned around, fresh problems were waiting to be solved, and many couldn't be. New troubles arising and old difficulties having to be faced without reprieve is not part of any happy time I've ever experienced, so I will simply accept the fact that sometimes things are sad. Positivity is what I strive toward regularly, but you can't sugar coat everything. That's called lying to yourself. 

My pen longs to write of happier times because there is no other way to see them. I will find my bliss. I will no longer be sad. I will let go of the things that are not mine to take responsibility for. I will cling to the joy that is mine to be had. 

And now I will close the book on this sad summer and look forward to the crispness of autumn and the hope that somehow next summer will hold more treasure than tears. 

I feel joy

I almost posted a slice about how I don't feel strong. And now, I'm thankful I was too busy to hit the Publish button.

Today, at every turn, I had challenges to face, and I had the strength to face each one as they came at me. If that isn't being strong, I don't know what is.

My prayers were answered in a unique way throughout my day. I was able to see all the problems for what they were instead of feeling like my world was crumbling around me. I felt my strength rise. I never felt weak or powerless.

Gratitude for making it through another busy and complicated day is filling my heart as I overwrite the misguided words that almost got sent out today. I am happy. I feel joy. And that means the world to me.


Who knew how much I'd learn from you in so little time
The way to your heart so short yet so far
When our journeys conjoined for always
Who knew the depths we'd reach in a handful of questions
The synchronicity we share replays with musical harmony
When I listen with my heart to memories we've made
I hear the sweet constancy of forever
Who knew how well the teacher could be taught by silence
Questions ignored, unanswered, letting quiet do the talking
When the missing words went falling through the cracks
The answers weren't what my love let me hope
Reading between blank lines; Leaving too much unsaid
Who knew how carefully your loving hand could wrap around my heart
With sweet peace laced within each polished rejection note unwritten, imposed
When I face this truthful love that presses within me, I can't turn away
I have seen a glimpse of you, your stunning and wonderful you
Kept safe, locked away, suffocating, waiting to be free, someday
And then I remember that one word—uncomfortable
Who knew there could be a love that teaches you to retreat
Who knew you could love this much without having what you need

dental appointment epiphany

Standing next to her holding her hand and watching her fight back tears as the dentist sticks her with one last shot, I think to myself she won't need me to hold her hand much longer. But in the very next moment, I realized that I'm wrong . . .

How many times did my mother hold my hand after I was "too big" or "too grown up" for that kind of stuff? Holding your hand looks like letting you fall down and get yourself back up and cheering you on when you make it. It happens when you get your first job and she buys all of your brothers' school clothes from your workplace while you are at work to show she supports what you're doing. She literally holds your hand to keep you from severely injuring yourself when you're high from getting your wisdom teeth surgically removed. It looks like being at your beck and call to move you back home the moment you realize it was a terrible idea to move out with your boyfriend. It happens by ignoring the very false rumors that you are having an assumed shotgun wedding just because you don't want to wait. Holding your hand is when she crochets an entire blanket out in the hall because you want her there but not actually in the room while you go through childbirth. She holds your hand by running your epileptic daughter through the doctor office doors because you couldn't get there in time to do it yourself; it is caring for your babies while you have to go to work. Holding your hand happens while waiting for the details on the autism diagnosis, supplying treats and meals when the days are long and trying. Keeping the truth about heart disease from you because she knows you aren't ready to face it yet. And leaving you to fly on your own because it is time . . .

All in that next moment, I realized how my sweet daughter was facing the worst thing in her life right then but that I have so much more to hold my children's hands through. So much more to face.

stitched kisses

Rewriting dreams isn't as easy as it would seem.
Just some paper, pen, and words and life becomes a blur.
Crushed hearts remain, and somehow get stitched over with pain,
Weaving a wish here and wish there amidst falling tears.
Pressed for paper enough to continue scribbling about love.
Ink made of hampered happiness to be used with feverish finesse.
Words come and go with the tide, but hunger for love never subsides.
Despite shards of glass dug into my feet, I see a slim chance,
Taking everything into my hands, responsible for these plans.
When you need a kiss to build a dream on, get your fill.
But what happens if that kiss never comes? When the mark is missed?
You search for more ink and paper and question and think.
You rip out the sutures and begin rewriting the future.
Every wound made you who you are and somehow will renew.

making room for more

My friend is moving away.

She actually packed up her family on Sunday and headed out, which means she is already gone as you are reading these words.

I know this kind of thing happens on the regular, but this particular friend has been an angel on Earth for me in ways that no one else could have been over the past several years. She and I were brought together to help each other through times that neither of us had much control over, and we made life better by simply being supportive, loving women toward each other.

One of my favorite memories that I hope to never forget is when she would come to pick up her children from my house after a long day, and we'd chat on my front porch or with me standing at the rolled down window of her SUV because she was too worn out from the day. The most precious of our power chats (sometimes we'd squeeze in an hour of visiting in ten minutes flat) was when she brought pizza and took a real break and sat down to talk while our children ran around. In my mind, that occasion has come to represent the needed in the moment but not every day support that she and I shared. We would stop everything even if it were only for ten minutes to give support to one another. The last few years have been more of her supporting me in my distress, but I hope she remembers that I gave my all to her when I had it to give.

I don't even know what to say more except that I have loved her and felt beloved by her in return. This type of friend is so rare. It takes my breath away to think about not having her just up the way from my house.

Life has a way of going and changing on us every time we turn around. We get all burrowed in and ready for plans to happen, and something shifts. It seems to make room for the next amazing experience, and I am going to hold onto that idea as I wish her the very best because she is my friend.