A Quiet, Residing Joy

Hey, folks. Been a while…again.

Not sure I’d call this a tug on my soul to share or just a need to breathe in this space for a spell, but, either way, here I am.

For those of you who are following the cancer journey of my father-in-law, Dennis, the disease is rapidly progressing but his spirits remain strong. His doctors cannot definitively pinpoint a time frame, but we are preparing for sooner rather than later. He has adamantly requested no memorial service, but, rather a celebration of his homegoing.

Where it is difficult not to feel some heaviness in our hearts, it is hard not to catch on to the quiet, residing joy in his demeanor.

On the graduation front, my boys are prepping for this Saturday and a week from tomorrow respectively. There is a mix of excitement and trepidation from us all as it is more and more evident by the day that this is really happening. By summer’s end, my nest will be half empty.

It’s a very bittersweet realization. Yet, there too, is a quiet, residing joy in knowing all they are becoming.

As to my husband’s business, the last obligations are nearing their end. By early next month, for the first time in over eight years, we will not scrape by from one remodeling job to the next, but, rather, he will report for a set schedule with set pay. It’s another bittersweet farewell in a sense as so much of our world these past several years has hinged on the business.

It provided my older boys’ first jobs and drew many a person to our door, both to befriend and to help out in some way. Also, one or two cautionary tales, but it comes with the territory. 🙂

I don’t really dare call it a failure or the death of a dream, despite what the world sometimes deems a business closing its doors.

It served what God intended, just as what is to come will do the same.

And there again is that quiet, residing joy, ready to be tapped into.

Always there, no matter what we face…

Ah. Nice to breathe for a bit here. To sort out these burdens and be reminded of the unerring, underlying peace of the Father that exists in it all. Thanks for reading, dear friends. Hope this finds you well. Blessings and prayers. ❤

Latest on Father-in-Law

Hello, friends! I wanted to just quickly update you on my father-in-law, Dennis.

Our family had the joy of spending time with him Easter evening. He is looking and sounding surprisingly well at this point.

His doctors wound up advising radiation, which began this week.

The reports from my mother-in-law, Teresa, have been encouraging thus far. He has been able to get up and get back to morning routines a bit-making coffee and reading his devotionals at the breakfast table.

It did our hearts such good to hear that. 🙂

We know this is still a long road and the pronosis remains what it is, but these things which would seem so small to the average person are sweet gifts of an infinitely caring Father to us.

What a reminder that He is God of our details, each and every one!

Not to mention a reminder of the amazing power of prayer. Thank you for joining us in lifting Dennis and Teresa up. We definitely feel it. Keep it coming! 

Blessings and prayers to you as well, dear friends! Thanks also for reading. ❤

Update on My Father-in-Law

Hello, friends. I have an update on the condition of my father-in-law, Dennis.

As it turns out, results have come back that he has a cancerous tumor wrapped around the medula. Unfortunately, it is inoperable.

Naturally, though we were preparing ourselves for such news, it is a blow.

Of course, being the extremely practical people they are, he and my mother-in-law, Teresa, had discussed all the possibilities at great length. Being both strong believers, there is no worry of where he will go, so it has been decided to opt for quality of time over quantity.

Essentially, he is seeking what time is yet afforded to be with family, travel a bit, and ensure savings are not drained by treatments that would likely prove fruitless, but, rather, set aside for my mother-in-law to live on after he has passed.

Ever the provider. Quite a testament to this dear man’s character.

At this point, he is not in a lot of pain, thankfully. The doctors working with him have aided tremendously in his comfort. Very thankful for the wisdom God has granted this very kind staff.

Such gifts He gives to ease the pain of an impending loss!

Not to say this won’t prove a very hard thing to face among many things to face.

But, yet, in His strength, we face them.

The prayers are most definitely appreciated and felt. Keep them coming, especially for Dennis and Teresa, as well as for our family as we prepare for his homegoing.

I also want to extend a special request for their eldest, Suzanne, someone my heart has long had a burden for. She has been estranged from the family for years, professing atheism and a desire to have little to do with any of us. I am praying this will draw her to the Lord and back to our family’s side.

I will do my best to keep you informed and hope to dive back into creativity as time and brain space allow. I thank you so much for being here, dear friends. Much love and many blessings to you all! ❤

PS Not truly an official song-sharing post, but this one has been on repeat with me lately. I first heard it on one of my WOW Cds from a long time ago and hadn’t thought of it in years until it popped in my head. Definitely seems to suit. May it prove a comfort to you in your world, too. 🙂

https://youtu.be/27YX8bBB_Qs

Seasons

Hey, there, my friends.

Of late, I have had thoughts of what I set out to do here in the last couple of months.

And, as ever, I have had thoughts of art, thoughts of baking, thoughts of poetry…

Yet, nothing concrete to share has emerged.

Depression is still there, yes, and it can crowd the better thinking. But, inspiration is not necessarily at nil as in previous times.

I think it’s just that my world right now is pressing in so full-and some points so suddenly-that inspiration is just taking the backseat for a few.

In pondering and praying on it for a while, it dawned on me that it’s time for a good, old-fashioned, regular-style, information-download blog post.

Hmmm…do I even remember how to do that?🤔

Well, we shall see… 🙂

Ok. Where to begin?

Well, some things have been looming in the distance for a while.

Such as the fact my husband’s business has been experiencing pinches and problems for a considerable length of time-enough that a major shift in employment is coming due.

Unexpected promise there is on the horizon, though there will be necessary adjustments to the family routine as a result.

Also, drawing ever nearer is the fact that my two older sons are on the precipice of changes-one tech school graduation, one high school. Jobs, college, budding relationships, big moves to come.

Not to mention a daughter grappling with the autistic teen experience, maturing in and struggling all at once to figure out who God intends her to be-and whether true acceptance from peers or traditional accomplishments are very much a part of that at this juncture.

Add to that a bonus son pushing along through his last year of grade school, triumphs and wobbles each in turn, preparing for what it feels like to be a more independent fellow in his own right, especially as beloved older siblings move on.

Also, though we have known of his health issues for some time, my father-in-law’s condition is both coming to a head this week and yet still baffling his doctors. His speech, his body, his comfort are becoming so affected it’s so difficult to even know just how to help, other than to entreat God to place His hand on him.

In all of this, there feels little time to conveniently be in pain myself, so though, yes, it’s honestly still there, I strive to push it aside, make do with the rest I can afford, and look towards the various changing seasons on the horizon.

With a prayer on my lips…at times hopeful, at times faltering.

Yet, knowing that even as my nest is starting to empty and unknowns seem to be having their day, God is ultimately the answer-giver. He has all this in hand, as He keeps all our seasons in His hand…

In that, we can rest assured no matter what comes next.

Well, I thank you for allowing me a chance to share what’s currently in my world. Hope all is well with you, dear friends. Blessings and prayers as ever. ❤

1, 2, Brownies or How to Revive a Huge Kitchen Fumble

Not a picture perfect triumph, but still pretty tasty according to my resident sweet tooth connoisseurs. 🙂

It was almost like God had an extra purpose in mind for my baking yesterday.

As if He were saying, “Ok. Baking day. Let me fold a little lesson in the batter. ” 🙂

You see, it was a dithery sort of late afternoon for me.

Kids have had a lot going on and there have been many areas needing extra guidance my mind kept ( and keeps ) straying to.

Big things like purpose and plans and all that weighty sort of stuff parents of children approaching adulthood think on.

So…as I added ingredients in for my 1, 2, Brownies-a fairly easy process for me normally-I was a bit preoccupied, admittedly. As a result, I was met with some early frustration and astonishing forgetfulness.

First, as I went for my brown sugar, I found I’d neglected to add anything to the canister to keep it from hardening.

It had become the Rock of Gibraltar of the baking world.

So…big sigh. Off to soften it ( a bit of water and short zap of the microwave.).

After (finally) getting it broken up and stirred in with the other sugars and the butter.

That done, I thought I was coasting along from there rather well.

Now…it did seem to me to be taking a little longer for my toothpick test to come out clean, but I attributed it to finickiness of the oven or a touch too much milk.

Eventually, they got to what seemed an acceptable if a bit gooier than usual state. I opted to pull them out, not wanting the edges to burn.

It was not until I was really cutting into them that the real reason for the excessive goo dawned on me.

I had forgotten a very key ingredient…

Flour!

I did that once a long time ago with a different recipe and thought I’d never repeat that particular disaster. 🙄

Especially with something I have made a hundred times.

But, inexplicably, there they were- chocolate piles that resembled mudpies more than my usual brownies.

And from there came the dismay and panic of a creative type when their creation proves so freakishly apart from the expected vision.

So…I wish my first exclamation was something worth sharing, but, ahem, really not. 😏

However, I will share that, after considering dumping them unceremoniously in the trash, I took a breath and a prayer, proceeded to collect myself and bounced ideas off my sweet 9 year old Davey, who was kind enough to take a sample and declare them good, if more than a bit messy.

I was touched but still upset enough I missed a cute chocolate mouth pic opportunity. I know. Bummer. However here he is recently in a crown of his own creation. 🙂

Anyway…upon reflection, something popped in both our heads about the same time….

The batter was still essentially good…

What if, instead of scrapping it, we scraped it all back in the bowl, stirred in the flour, and tried again?

So…that is what we did, watching the oven and checking every little while for progress. And about 30 minutes later, we pulled out some fairly decent brownies.

Now, they didn’t cut in those perfect little squares of cooking magazine fame, but they tasted right and with a minimum of goo. 🙂

I had been taking pics and making plans to share before this discovery, knowing it’d been a bit since my last baking post.

However, after my big boo-boo, I almost deleted the whole thing out of embarassment.

And then, I began to ponder like I tend to, spied a lesson in the mix, and I came to this conclusion:

Not everything that we do or that happens to us is good, but God has a way of bringing all together for good, even our worst mistakes-

When we surrender it all to Him, that is.

For we must give Him free reign over all the good and the bad…the messy and the messier…and give over to the process, letting Him begin in us again.

And, in doing that, despite our imperfections, we will find the results quite sweet…😉.

Not to mention still worth sharing with others.

And so I did. 🙂

Thanks for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! ❤

So…here is the actual recipe. Try to do better than me and remember the flour. But, if you do happen to forget, also remember all is not lost.

1, 2, Brownies ( so named because most all ingredients are a 1 or 2.)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup baking cocoa

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2-1 cup milk

2 sticks butter

2 pinches baking soda

2 pinches baking powder

1 pinch salt

1-2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Start out melting the butter. Add the sugars one at a time and stir in.

Then comes the cocoa, eggs, vanilla, and milk.

Once all that is mixed in, add the soda, powder, salt, and flour, stirring well after each addition.

Lastly, the bestest part of all- chocolate chips. This is somewhat to taste. I personally don’t believe in skimping here but, do know that the more you add, the meltier the end result will be. 😋

Pour into 13×9 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean…and definitely not as gooey as my earlier attempt. 😏

Rich Mullins – Sometimes By Step (Live at FBC)

Hey, there, friends. I have been doing a fair amount of thinking and listening today.

Thinking…about things I should not rightly fret on really, but being a natural born fretter, I have to admit it’s hard to stop. 😏

As ever, transparency is also my steady companion so, I’ll just out with it…

Now…after a supreme wrestling match with insecurities over the years, I have deemed it the best policy to eschew business as usual when it comes to blogging.

No promoting.

No SEO.

No stats checking.

However, I do notice interactions or lack thereof. In anticipation of the usual comments and the happy little exchanges of encouragement, I looked over notifications on my last post.

Honestly, about as many likes as ever, but, to my surprise, not a single comment. Now, this is most emphatically not me asking for any. I don’t do that. Feels awkward at best.

Of course, that said, I welcome any thoughts you might have to share.

Still…I have pondered if I was somehow askew or less inspired than I thought in my most recent writing. It’s just one of those tough things to surmise in a case like this.

Granted, there are a variety of reasons people click a like button but don’t leave their thoughts. Perhaps busyness, perhaps collecting words with later intentions, or just plain liking it but finding nothing they can think to say.

Shoot, happens to me all the time.

And the thing is, none really necessarily speak to the merit or lack thereof of the piece.

And yet, that knowledge does not always quell the questions.

So, as ever, I turn to one of the chief encouragers of my soul-music.

And who better when I am most introspective than dear Rich who is perhaps the artist I have always most related to for his sheer honesty in struggle and his ever Jesus seeking heart?

I know I have shared him here twice before, but not this particular song yet. It is another mainstay of my own youth group years and one that always spoke to me.

May it speak to you as well. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! ❤

Adaptabilty Abounds ( Or A Most Versatile Cookie Mix)

Versatile Cookie-M&M version

Practicality has long been a big piece of my existence.

My mother attributes it to my paternal grandmother, a Godly widow of a minister, blessed with supreme thriftiness and clever shortcuts.

I could see that. We lived with her for over two years of my girlhood. This very spry lady did have her affect on me in that time. 🙂

However, I can also see the single mother,  the special needs parent, the preschool teacher, and a just all-around penny-pincher/maker-doer within me as well.

Meaning: In as much as I can lend flexibility to ease my tasks, I most generally do.

It is a mindset I am grateful God has seen fit to both give and to stretch in me. Even when it’s a trifle hard.

And into the midst of this mindset, one of the best things that came to me is my own versatile cookie mix.

It started as a basic chocolate chip cookie- something every baker ought to have in their repertoire.

I was playing around in the kitchen with my usual staples when this one first came to me.

From there, I realized M&Ms are a really good swap for chocolate chips when I had one and not the other.

Then, I noted if I switched out a portion of the butter for peanut butter ( hey, they both have “butter” in their names, so it works 🙂), I’d have peanut butter cookies.

Sometimes, with chocolate chips, M&M’s or just the cute little crosshatch pattern.

One time, I had cashew butter and figured out that worked well, too. Even better with dark chocolate chips. 😀

Following that, my daughter Sarah and I were bored once (Go figure.).

She loves singing and performing, but my little songbird is finding the Lord prompting shifts into different areas as she seeks what God would have her to do and to be ( Honestly, prayers in that area would be great. Sixteen is always hard. Add autism, and it’s a whole new challenge.)  

This, in turn, has led us to sharing experiementation in the kitchen. She is pretty good already. 😊

Despite her picture loving ways, she was not keen on messy cooking pics, so here is her and big brother Timothy in the fall musical. 🙂

She helped me discover with just a slight reduction of the flour, an addition of baking cocoa, a reduction of vanilla and an addition of peppermint extract, we had some really yummy chocolate chocolate chip peppermint cookies. Very proud of her. 🙂

And those are just some examples of how you can play with this recipe.

This week, our community youth group will get the M&M version, hence the picture, but I will list the instructions for the chocolate chip as well as note the various variations.

*As stated last recipe post, NOT NECESSARILY FOR THE HEALTH CONSCIOUS. * 😁

Mom’s Most Versatile Cookie Mix: Chocolate Chip Edition

2 sticks butter (melted)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup POWDERED sugar ( yeah…I know. Not the healthiest, but this is my super secret key to maintaining nice, pillowy softness in the center.🙂)

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 pinches baking soda

2 pinches baking powder

1 dash salt

3 cups flour

1 bag chocolate chips ( 12 oz)

As per last time, start by melting butter, add sugars. I start with brown as it takes the most time to work in.

My precious powdered sugar. The simple little tweak that marvels young and old.😏

Next, come eggs and vanilla.

Then, come the pinches and dashes…2 each baking soda and baking powder, one of salt.

Pinch
Dash

Lastly, comes flour and chocolate chips. Or, in the case of my M&M crazed youth group, a 10 oz bag M&M baking bits. 🙂

After this comes the playdough play time. Yay! 🙂 Shape them into balls slightly larger than an egg and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Pop them in the 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy the delicious smell wafting through the kitchen as you impatiently wait the lightly crisp but gooey goodness. 🙂

As last time we discussed baking, remember to adjust to your oven’s temperment but don’t overbake! Pull them out when they look nicely set and lightly browned. They will finish cooking on the sheet. Leave them to cool about 5 minutes. Then you may remove them to a plate to finish cooling…if you can restrain yourself from just stuffing your mouth with warm cookies ( What works for me is the reminder of a group of hungry kids looking forward to them. 😏).

Ok. And now a handy list of the other variations on this very versatile mix:

For Peanut Butter/ Cashew Butter, simply reduce butter to 1 stick and add 8 TBL peanut butter or cashew butter. Still add chocolate chips, M&M’s or leave plain with the pretty crosshatch pattern made with a fork dipped in sugar ( as if we need more…😉).

For Sweet Sarah’s Chocolate Chocolate Chip Peppermint: Reduce flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 1/2 cup baking cocoa. Reduce vanilla to 1 tsp. Add 2 tsp peppermint extract.

Enjoy and pass it on. Thanks so much for reading, dear friends! Blessings and prayers! ❤

Hot Cocoa Peanut Butter Cookies or How to do a Cooking Post Without Being Hokey

Well…here we are. My first cookie recipe share.

I thought long and hard how I want to do this. For so long, I have approached each post with the idea of sharing my heart, shaping my words with an artsy sort of flair, and, more than anything, honoring Christ.

I confess I fear this will come off a little bland comparatively speaking.

Or worse yet, out of most my readers’ respective wheelhouses. I have no wish to bore anyone or send them clicking away from here.

Still…there is a reason God pointed me towards this direction, I suppose. It is something else that I love.

Shoot, even my memoir title had a reference to my baking:

Broken Cookies Taste Just as Sweet: The Amazing Grace of Motherhood, Marriage, and Miracles on the Spectrum. 😏

So…it seems almost a given to eventually go here…

Ok. So…a few things to know about my style in the kitchen.

As ever with me, I have some of my own preferences, some old-fashioned sort of touches, and some slightly meandering ways of doing.

One: There are some things I measure fairly precisely. There are others in the Amelia Bedelia spirit I can “little of this, little of that” with.

Two: I do have certain preferences but I also know how to work with what I have. Be it a substitute, dealing with not-my-usual brands, or playing with something to achieve the right texture, I aim for flexibility.

And three: My abject apologies, but these are not going to be recipes aimed at healthful longevity on this earth. In the words of the great Christian comedian, Thor Ramsey, “I have a message: Eat sugar, see God” . 😁

And so, with that…

Hot Cocoa Peanut Butter Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

5 packets hot cocoa mix ( with or without mini marshmallows)

2 pinches baking powder

2 pinches baking soda

1 stick butter (melted)

8 TBL smooth peanut butter

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 dash sea salt ( or regular. I just love the taste of sea salt. 🙂)

1 dash cinnamon

1 bag dark chocolate chips ( or chip of your choosing)

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. ( This way you don’t forget like I sometimes do and wind up cooling your heels while it’s heating up.🙂)

Next, melt the butter. It’s so much easier to work with that way with my hand and shoulder joints protesting some of the stirring now and again. And I like my big plastic mixing bowl for this. Less dishes later. 😏

Next, I am shamed to say I only sometimes remember to follow the general rule of  thumb about order of addition, though I do try to have a certain method to the  madness and do hold to one great thing I was long ago advised: stir after each addition.

In general, the next things I add from here are the peanut butter, hot cocoa packets, eggs, and vanilla.

  Following this comes the additions that need explanation: baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. These I do not have precise measurements on.

Instead, I go with those old school terms like “dash” and “pinch”. This is not to be confusing or anything like that. It’s just that I have figured out about how much works for each of these to do their job appropriately without overpowering the flavor of the whole.  ( Kind of what should happen with the body of Christ, when we allow God His way. 🙂)

Top: my example of a “pinch” Below that, my version of a dash. I like the control putting it on my palm first gives me.

Lastly comes the flour and the chocolate chips. I love the flavor the dark chocolate lends but if you prefer another type, most any chip will work.

Dough should be pliable and easily rolled into a ball,  kind of like what you played with in Kindergarten. 🙂

Proceed like Kindergarten and roll into balls. Size is somewhat to preference but I like a bit larger than a golf ball. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Or use cooking spray of your choice. ( I find this the easiest, most effective method.  Easy and effective is always good. 🙂)

.

By now, hopefully your oven has heated up properly. Pop in for approximately 10-12 minutes. Each oven has its own personality, so it pays to watch closely. I like mine set but still soft. They do continue cooking on the sheet, so it’s best not to overdo if you aren’t aiming for homemade  hockey pucks. 😏

Hopefully, they look about like this, if not better…and hopefully, they will last you a little longer than they do with our youth group. 🙂

So…there we go…another milestone in blogville. I shared a recipe. Hopefully, my delivery was not too hokey 🙂 Hope you enjoyed. If so, I will try to add more down the line.

Not your cup of tea…or pan of cookies? It’s okay, friend. I still plan on many other types of posts. Stay tuned! Thanks for reading at any rate! Blessings and prayers. ❤

PS Peanut Butter a problem? Simply substitute a second stick of butter for the PB and it’s still a great cookie. 🙂

Road to Zion

Hello, friends. I am sorting further through my ideas. Right now, none of my inclinations seem to want to be discarded, so my best thinking is to expand this space into a creativity blog on several levels ( Thanks, Tina, for the great verse. It really gave me a lot to think on. 🙂) .

Of course, the goal of each will be to glorify the ultimate Creator. Without His hand to guide, none of this could even be.

Now, any thoughts of how to monetize anything feel so irreconcilable with my circumstances, this blog, and just plain who I am that I have pretty much taken them off the table until or unless God shows me otherwise.

I look at you all as my friends. Any post motivated by less than just purely interacting with you for the sake of fellowship in Christ feels disingenuous to me.

Perhaps, I am overly squeamish or overly principled. I don’t know. But, there it is. I am nothing if not honest. 😏

So, leaving that aside, I will say from here you will still see much poetry, random thoughts, exhortations, music sharing…

But, interspersed will probably be some original recipes I have tinkered around with over the years. I am excited to begin introducing this venture a little down the road when I have the time to get in the kitchen and get good pictures to accompany.

I will also sprinkle in tidbits of trivia where appropriate, though I will attempt to keep myself from rambling too long. 😁

And lastly, as you will see a few clicks down, I will continue my art.

To be frank, that pursuit is something I am not so sure was necessarily what a typical blogger would call a rousing success the other day, if I sank back into doubts and stats checking. I am chagrined to admit I did indulge a bit of fretting as I looked and saw response was perhaps a bit smaller than I was used to.

That said, I do appreciate the kind encouragements I received. They heartened my soul and renewed the feeling there is something in opening the door that is God directed.

So…the following is not attached to a poem but, rather, a song. As well as inspired by an image I spotted in the video to said song.

Now, to a bit on my introduction to the artists…

Petra was another of those groups I recall my folks introducing me to via vinyl when I was very young. Their lyrics appealed to my poetic sensibilities; their beautiful voices and instruments had my little self in awe.

I may have made brief mention before of pretend concerts my brother and I would put on to their records. 🙂

Usually, in those days, it was thanks to my dad that the house had much spiritual music going at all, but it was a rare and lovely moment when my mom would want to play or talk about their song “Road to Zion”.

It was the one that really moved her and, in listening with her, a chance to see she really was seeking Him in her heart of hearts.

And so, from there, it obviously became very special to me.

And yet, over the years and all the layers they brought, both the painful and the good, I had not thought of it in a long while.

Then, for some inexplicable reason, there it was a couple of days ago, resting on my soul, playing in my head as though I were back at the old townhouse we lived in then, listening to the album on the old turntable we had.

And I just had to look it up, drink in the truth of those words. Next thing I knew, I spotted an image I thought was really cool and I picked up my sketch book and started doodling.

The following is the result. I titled it, unsurprisingly, “Road to Zion”. Hope you enjoy both it and the song. Thanks for reading, dear friends! Be blessed! ❤

At the Well

Hello there…my heart has been tugging off and on to get back here.

To explore the corridors of my thoughts, examine the patterns in the twisting walls, and wonder at the brushstrokes of my oft-tortured psyche.

And, most of all, to ponder whether I can really keep beginning anew after so many fits of molding sand only to have it crumble between my hapless fingers…

To find something to be fortified with.

And I find this post among many others….nearly a year later.

All too quickly do I see the cry of my heart then remains the cry of my heart now…

It is strange and a bit sad to see how I am still so much in this mindset.

And yet…I recognize again how much He has sustained.

Yes, there has been pain, uncertainty, fear, sorrow.

A fair amount of stagnation and the clinging of the old demons’ claws.

Yet, He remains. And He allows me this chance to be a breathing soul still upon this earth.

And He keeps on growing me…

Though there are those areas in my being that honestly still wrench against it yet….

I still don’t know what to do with this space and, thereby me, though inklings are downloading I may share down the road.

For now, (re) read these words, if you will, and know that I have not forgotten to lift you in prayer, dear friends, even as I hope I can remain in yours…

Jan 28, 2021:

It’s been a long while since I really spoke of my hurt.

It occurred to me recently that many of you newer readers may not even know that much about it beyond snippets still given here and there.

A dig through the more distant reaches of my archives would enlighten, of course.

And I can make it more convenient by indicating that you may click here for perhaps the best rundown, if so inclined.

But, overall, there are reasons I resist touching too much on it.

I haven’t wanted to feel as though I am eliciting sympathy or sinking down into the past and staying there.

I also don’t want to dip into any unfair comparisons from past to present.

Insecurity has a way of painting everything in dark, foreboding shades.

What may, in fact, be unintentional on the part of a loved one now looks like the same heart-shattering experience as before when glimpsed through the lens of an oft-wounded soul.

Still, I am nothing if not honest here.

The fact is, though I speak often of “Be still and know that I am God”-something I am truly striving to live in the light of every day-there is a growing melancholy weighing on my heart at present.

A deep-seated sadness settling in that is stealing at my ability to rightly express it.

Depression has long been with me, mind you. We are certainly not strangers.

More than once, it nearly snuffed the life out of me, in fact.

Now, it is something that hovers in the background and makes itself known by turns.

Right now? It’s a “making itself known” season.

I fight to go to sleep with this heaviness these days, reawakening frequently, an unidentifiable fear cloaking me in the midslumber haze.

Where it is coming from, I can cast about a few ambiguous notions, but, where there are some aspects of my life to definitively point to as a source, I can’t necessarily call too much of it concrete.

Is it all rooted in my past, so littered as it is by abuse and abandonment?

Or is it my ever-present anxiety over signs that such pain, real or no, is or is about to revisit me?

Angry shouts do ring in my head long after they have ceased and have an unfortunate tendency to visit me in my dreams.

It’s quite the challenge to rest my soul in any “it is well” feeling, even when life is managing fairly pleasantly, let alone when it is not.

For there is the nearly constant question mark in my head:

“When’s the next time the wounding will come?”

How will it come?”

And-“Will I be able to sustain myself following it?”

Now, there are days I can rightly shove this aside and recall to myself just Who my sustainer is.

Most days, in fact.

But, other days?

Ah, other days, I find myself forgetting.

Perhaps, it is the old recordings in my head getting louder, stating in dismissive tones how try as I might, I’m still just no good.

A loser.

A wimp.

A tramp.

Unwanted.

Unworthy.

Unable.

And I know that I know that that is most emphatically not true-not in God’s eyes!

But…circumstances make my hands slow to switch off the tape sometimes.

So…what do I do?

Dig myself further in one way or another.

Either into deeper wells of sorrow, cranking up that ugly noise and feeding upon the slow death of it.

Not a good thing!

Or…the better part-

I dig in deeper to prayer.

To worship.

To His words-to me and for me.

The far superior well to spend my time in by far!

Full of Living Water ready for the drinking in.

Bread of Life to feed upon.

Brothers and sisters that come alongside and nourish you even further in encouraging words.

And, of course, The One who intimately knows sorrow to carry the burden of it beside me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t still feel what I feel.

There’s a funny little truth about hurt.

It does not disappear in a snap.

Painful memories are long and thoughts often remain reactionary.

Trust is a shaky rope bridge at best.

Time to heal is key and, even then, some scars are prominent.

But, in that gift that is time, wounds can be eased, joys resurrected, trust finds firmer feet, and life continues on…

With all its seasons of delight and grief, smooth planes and blessed bumps alike.

Not absent of hurt by any means.

But, perhaps, richer for it.

Whatever season you find yourself in, dear friends, may you find the well full of the riches of life in the Lord! Blessings and prayers! ❤