Remembering: The Awakening (the story continues)

She could tell by the murmuring and concerned faces around her that something pretty bad must’ve happened, but nobody would tell her what it was. All of the sudden momma grabbed the hand of her and sister and hurried to the car. Daddy jumped in the driver’s seat, shut the car door hard and sped out of the driveway. She sat in the back seat eyes as big as saucers and silent as a mouse. She could feel her throat constrict and she wanted to let out a cry, but silence prevailed. It was such a new place, but somehow daddy knew exactly where he was going and somehow she knew it wasn’t going to be a place she or number three wanted to be.

Her heart felt heavy, like someone had hung a weight around it.

The reckless drive to wherever daddy was taking them seemed to take a while. She was small and the backseat of their old blue sedan swallowed her up, there was no sense even trying to look over the front bench seat to see where they were going. She was able to steal a peek out of the car door window and when she did she could read the words clearly as they were illuminated and stood out proudly even in the light of day.

Emergency Room.

Number three must be hurt and again the feeling of unabashed fear grew inside her tender heart. She had never been to the emergency room, but she knew enough at eight to know you only go there when you’re in a bad way.

What happened?

Why was number three in this place? Would she see her again and, if so, when? Questions that no child should ever have to ask about a sister, but here she was swallowed up in the back seat of the big blue sedan with crocodile tears spilling down her cheeks wondering why this happened on the perfect day of moving in.

Once daddy parked, she was quickly shuffled out of the car, in through the automatic glass doors and told to sit in the cold chairs while momma and daddy went to the desk and told the lady wearing white they were looking for number three. In her clouded vision the looks on everyone’s faces seemed grim and their voices sounded sorrowful. Wasn’t she just trying to steal away out of the back door to run and play in the big back yard? Wasn’t the sun just shining and didn’t life feel grand a few minutes ago? How could things change so quickly? Her throat constricted some more.  All she wanted to do was run from this cold, sterile place but instead she remained quiet and waited in the cold chair by the vending machine.

She and number one didn’t move except to go to the bathroom. Change seemed to be dancing around her, taunting her like a bad dream. Nothing felt safe or stable so she gripped the side of the chair until her knuckles turned white and hung on.

This was especially hard since she had a fidgety nature as momma called it. But it seemed fitting to her to remain still and wait for whatever was next. It took what seemed like days for daddy to come through the double swinging doors where he had disappeared earlier, and her heart leapt to see him. He had no smile to offer and came straight to the cold chairs to take her and big sister home. As they walked out of the automatic doors, she noticed the sun had already covered the sky and had gone to bed for the night; the darkness defining the mood they felt. The drive back to the new house was quiet and uneventful, unlike the drive earlier.


And she remained silent the whole way home.

Once the big blue sedan arrived at their new home address, she, daddy and sister made their way inside to lay on the mattresses spread out on the floor to try and sleep. Momma wouldn’t leave number three for even a minute, and she knew that was the best decision.

Even at eight years old she understood that.

She laid her head on the pillow and pulled the blanket over her head. Some might’ve thought she was cold and needed the warmth of her own breath to fill the blanket tent. But, what she really wanted was to feel safe, like she did yesterday. She wanted to run through the sugar cane or lay in the meadow while the grass tickled her nose. She wanted back what was stolen, the thing that made her feel as light as a feather and as happy as can be…her fearless heart.

But, mostly, she wanted to see number three.


Tears came easily as she lay in her blanket tent and the next thing she knew the sun was tickling her cheeks, it was the next day.

Momma still wasn’t home and she wanted desperately to hear what happened to number three, she longed to sit in the floor and play tinker toys together like they had so many times before.   She unwrapped herself from the wadded blanket, pulled her twisted nightgown down, wiped the sleepy from her eyes and wandered into the kitchen hoping someone would be there to satisfy her curiosity; what she found was a friendly stranger making breakfast.

Daddy had already gone back to the emergency room.

She sat in silence over her eggs and white bread toast hoping the friendly stranger would explain what happened the day before. Instead the nice lady turned on the TV and situated the channel on cartoons. The stranger asked her to sit down in front of the box and she complied; she allowed her mind to be captured by the animated characters. It didn’t seem like too long until daddy showed up and she met him at the door ready for a hug and he held her tight. He gathered her and number one in the great room and sat them next to each other on the old couch. He explained that little sister had taken her bike and gone for a ride, it seems she too wanted to explore this new place. Only her bike ride had become a terrible nightmare when she flew down a tall hill with a big bump at the bottom that sent her flying over the handlebars landing directly on her head.


Because the big yellow truck was still being unloaded, and there had been no chance to meet the neighbors, no one knew who number three was. Some nice lady who had seen her fall had called the doctor and number three was taken by ambulance to the emergency room all by herself. It seemed to her when daddy spoke those last words, “all by herself,” his voice went a little shaky, and it made her want to grab him and hold on tight. Daddy went on to tell them she couldn’t see right now and her head hurt real bad. He also said people were praying for her sight to come back, so we did the same. He explained she was staying in a room at the emergency room place and would be home as soon as her head felt better.

Even though she knew daddy was still talking, her eight year old ears didn’t want to hear any more.

All she wanted to do was jump off the old worn couch and run outside down the backyard hill and keep on running until this was all far behind her. What do you mean number three couldn’t see? And how bad was her head hurt anyway? She pictured herself running and running to a place where none of this fear and hurt could follow her, but it seemed that place was farther than she could go so, in her heart, she kept on running.


More of the story next week…


Psalm 91:4-5

“He will cover you with his feathers.     

He will shelter you with his wings.     

His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,     

nor the arrow that flies in the day.”

Remembering: The Awakening part 1

She woke up before the sun and pressed her face against the glass pane trying hard to make out the outline of the big truck sitting in front of their single wide. Momma had been packing for weeks and their belongings were reduced to what seemed like countless cardboard boxes.

The day was finally here.

She had spent the day before running between the rows of sugar cane, conquering the ditch one last time and laying in the green pasture with the grass tickling her cheeks while she made shapes of the cloud filled sky; her way of saying goodbye the best way she knew how. She lamented there was no time to set up her bee in a mason jar table; but she did make a trip to the azalea bush tree thingy to watch the bees steal sweet goodness from the pink blossoms.  She stood staring as each one disappeared and then emerged from the petals, she supposed with a full belly. She was never exactly sure how the process worked, but watching the bees had brought her many hours of entertainment.

And happiness.

The very last goodbye she had saved for today, she would give her best wave to the neighbors that she had played with, explored with and rode the school bus with as the truck pulled out of the drive. She had it all planned.   It didn’t really seem very sad to her, in her reasoning she would see them again, that made perfect sense in her childlike mind. She wasn’t really sure what was coming next, but in her eight year old fearless heart, she was excited to run straight into it.   It was all about to begin, the next big adventure.

Moving day.

The sun couldn’t come up quickly enough.

The mobile home was a scurry of folks as soon as the sun showed its face and she did her best to stay out from under foot, as momma called it. She grabbed any small boxes she could and dutifully carried them to the giant box on wheels that would carry them to their new home. It wasn’t long before everything that wasn’t nailed down was packed and she heard the slam of the big rolling door marking the end of the packing. She lined up with her sisters to receive hugs and proper goodbyes from the folks they were leaving behind, some even shed a few tears. There were no tears for her, this was going to be a great exploit; more places to see, more friends to meet, the unknown sounded exciting and she was ready. When all goodbyes were said, she climbed into the big truck and as it pulled out of the drive, she buckled in tight and did exactly as she had planned.

She waved big to the neighbors.


The trip was long and what started out with singing and anticipation quickly wound down to stolen sleep in between curious gazes out the window. It was in one of those stolen moments that she felt the giant yellow truck come to a stop and heard daddy say “we’re here.” It was nighttime so it was impossible to see the treasures that were surely hidden behind the dark blanket.   She had no choice but to march inside this new place she would live and lie on a mattress laid directly on the floor. The blankets and pillow felt cold and the butterflies in her stomach kept her awake for quite a while. Her mind finally calmed down enough to rest when promised wonderful adventures the next day if her eyes would only stay closed long enough to get there.

She could hardly wait until morning.


It seemed like no time until she felt the sunlight tickle her face, her eyelids fluttered and finally agreed to stay open and assess this new place, her new home. The first thing she noticed was how big everything felt, her former home could fit inside this one two times, maybe three. It was then she remembered the glorious words her momma had spoken on the trip, she could pick her very own room.   Her very own. This was a luxury she had never known and she jumped to her feet and immediately sprinted down the stairs to pick the one she wanted. This new place was already pretty great from her estimation.

She hit the stairs in fly mode and once she made it to the bottom, it was like a whole other house existed down there. But, what caught her eye the most was the back door. She could see through the window cut out of the pine wood that the back yard was huge and positioned at the bottom of a big hill. She could already imagine the fun they would have running down that hill, rolling down it and laying at the top enjoying the view to the bottom.

This place was grand.

Never mind the room, she longed to be outside in the sunshine on an escapade, all that stood between her and her wish was a pine door and momma. If she could just get out of the door without being spotted, she could run and play and get to know this new place. She looked behind her and up the stairs, she could hear the busy footsteps of many helpers, but no one was coming, the coast was clear. She tiptoed to the door, put her hand on the doorknob quietly turning the gold sphere, she could feel the door unlatch. Almost there. Like a mouse, she pulled the door toward her not making a sound and took one step out when she heard it.


Momma was calling and she knew better than to ignore her. Regretfully, she shut the door and with shoulders slumped and head down she headed back up the stairs to see what momma could possibly want. Turns out there is plenty an eight year old can do to help unpack, unfortunately.

It was lunch time before anyone even mentioned a break. There was a rumor that someone was bringing pizza, but turns out sandwiches were the order of the day. Peanut butter and jelly with Kool-Aid, a family favorite. Momma called all of the kids to sit at the table since some kind folks had set it up already. One and Two showed up, they were waiting on number three when momma realized that no one had seen her. Number three was her younger sister, daddy often referred to them as one, two and three, she was pretty sure it was easier for him to remember.   Momma called for her throughout the house, daddy went out in the yard, no answer. The folks helping with the move-in began to help look as well and the search area broadened to down the street.

No luck.

She could  feel the situation heighten as person after person hadn’t seen her little sister.  Momma’s face was worried and daddy was hollering her  name, and for the first time since, well, since ever, she realized that something bad might’ve happened.

And it was in that young, tender moment she knew fear like she’d never known before.

Where was number three?


Azalea tree bush  thingy


To be continued…

Remembering: The Simple Joys

She jumped out of bed, not a care in the world. The sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful backdrop for the white cotton ball shaped clouds that polka dotted the blue expanse. She flew to the bathroom, pretended to brush her teeth, pushed her hair out of her face and forced the unruly knap into a barrette. After pulling on her favorite denim shorts and a t shirt that had seen better days, she peered in the mirror only long enough to make sure she had zipped her fly, something she had been teased about more than once at the bus stop. Why did that thing have to be such a bother anyway?   But, there was no bus stop for her today, no sirree.

Today was the first day of summer.

She had chanted with the other kids on the bus the day before as they pulled out of the school parking lot, “no more homework, no more books, and no more teacher’s dirty looks.” She meant every word of it. Summer had finally arrived and at the ripe old age of eight, she had not a care in the world.

Now that she was fully dressed, all that was left was to escape her mother’s all seeing eye. Man, that woman never missed a thing. She made a plan to slip into the narrow hallway, slide down the wall until she reached the backdoor and then make her escape. All she had to do was get past momma. And she almost did, were it not for the squeaky metal door alerting everyone that an escape hatch had been opened.


She was summoned to the table for breakfast, grits with a scoop of butter and white bread toast. After the meal she would be expected to start chores, a punishment it seemed to her eight year old mind. Once her work had been inspected, and there was nothing left to be done, she was set free to play to her heart’s content until called in for lunch.

Every little girl’s dream.


As the screen door slapped behind her, those little legs ran as fast as they could away from the single wide to the most glorious place her heart could imagine, the sugarcane field across the street. Rows and rows of tall green stalks beckoning her in to a world that her imagination could get lost in. Not to mention, a free sugary snack anytime she wanted it. The hours she spent pretending were some of the greatest times of summer.

That and playing with the neighbors.

She and the little girl next door would swipe mason jars from their momma’s kitchen and smuggle them outside to catch bumble bees from the giant azalea bush that was more of a tree bush than anything. This proved to be the beginning of an entrepreneur spirit as they would set up a table by the road and set their prize bumble bees in a Mason jar collection on display, feeling sure others would see the value in having a bee in a jar and want to pay for it. Usually their only customer was her daddy, he would drop a quarter on the table, pick up his prized bee in a jar and walk away. Seemingly a satisfied customer. But she always noticed as he got close to the old azalea bush tree thingy, he would open the jar and set the little creature free.

Never mind, she would catch it again later.

As the glorious morning came to an end, she could hear the call from momma to head in for lunch. A bologna sandwich awaited her along with a cup of sweet tea. Today was especially great because momma said she could eat on the porch. What better table than an old creaky staircase, a Tupperware cup of tea, a mayonnaise and bologna on sandwich on white bread all under the canopy of God’s creation. She was in heaven. After lunch she dutifully put her plastic cup by the front door along with her sandwich scraps balled up in a paper towel and headed out again.

This time she headed for the cow pasture next door.

To get there she had to navigate a deep ditch perfect for sliding and climbing. She was up for the challenge. This was the same ditch she and her sisters would climb in to pick black berries. Their motley crew would pick a gallon of the sweet black goodness and then run home for momma to cook the occasional blackberry cobbler; it was a pure and simple delight and especially so when coupled with vanilla ice cream.

Goodness, life was good.


Once she reached the summit of the other side the last obstacle was a barbed wire fence. She had become quite a pro at slipping through the wire without even her t shirt getting snagged by the unforgiving wire thorns. It was something she was quite proud of. It was in these times when her belly was full and the sky was smiling down on her that she would lay on her back with the green grass tickling her cheek and make shapes out of the clouds.

Sometimes she fell asleep on the bed of that green pasture, soaking up the sun and listening for a bellowing cow in the distance. But, sooner or later her fidgety nature, as momma called it, would beckon her to get moving and off she’d sprint to her next adventure.

At the end of each day with a heart full of grand stories to tell of great battles fought in imaginations gone wild, with a happy heart and a sun kissed face, she would lay down and drift off into a restful sleep. And to think, it was only the FIRST day of summer.

Life was REAL good.

These are the days we long for, the ones before the cares of life began to steal in and keep us from waking up early excited about what lie ahead. We want them back. At least the lightheartedness that lived in them. Back when life was simpler, when it didn’t matter what so and so said or how much money we had. Back when our greatest concern was getting done with our chores so we could play.

How do we get back there?

I know there is no physical way to get back to my eight year old heart, but can I get there emotionally and spiritually? Back before I was betrayed for the first time and I still trusted with abandon. When I loved everyone not for any reason other than I wanted too. When a Bible lesson really meant something in my heart and when the Sunday school teacher said to give to the needy, I put my bee in a Mason jar quarter in the offering plate at church.

When did I forget that life is really good and I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders?

How could I forget that Jesus carries my burdens and wants me to have my eight year old heart back for keeps?

I’m searching for meaning in this time of my life and one of the greatest lessons I’ve heard recently has led me to a place of remembering. What made me happy before I raised three beautiful children and suffered great loss? What made my heart leap inside of me before so much life, life and more life happened?

What happened to that girl?

Life is hard, but I don’t think the Lord ever intended us to live it without meaning or joy. Somehow we’ve got to get back to those places in our mind and hearts that made us happy and pull those memories out; look at them under the microscope of our present reality and ask God to show us how to plug the things we once loved in to our today’s.

For me, that means walking in open spaces and noticing the smallest of things, making shapes out of the clouds for a minute and listening for sounds of comfort; like the train that comes bellowing through our small community everyday like clockwork. And, maybe I’ll eat my lunch outside and remember my bologna sandwich with sweet tea.


I’ve had many realizations lately, but this one seems to be repeating itself to me, it’s the simple things that make me smile. The simple things that remind me of my roots, and of my joy.

The simpler the better, I think.

I’m still praying for more memories, more meaning and greater joy.

This is simply the beginning…


“Then God remembered“…Genesis 30:22

“The Helper is the Holy Spirit. The Father will send Him in My place. He will teach you everything and help you remember everything I have told you.”  John 14:26

Rescued, the conclusion

The second week of waiting began and I continued to get encouragement from the most random places. For example, my coworker has one of those small desk calendars useful for keeping up with the date, it also has a meaningful quote or Bible verse on it for daily inspiration and encouragement. More than once the quote or verse would be something so perfectly applicable to my situation; it was uncanny and so perfectly like God. Songs on the radio that I’d heard many times before suddenly took on new meaning as I soaked in the lyrics and allowed my unsettled heart to rest for a moment. Bible verses practically jumped off the page at me while I read. One particular passage choked me up every time I heard it,

Psalm 91:14-16 MSG

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,     

“I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care    

 if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;     

I’ll RESCUE you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life,     

give you a long drink of salvation!”


The word RESCUE stuck out to me and resonated over and over in my mind. Who doesn’t want to be rescued from a hard situation, a difficult person or place in life? We long to be saved and safe. I began to constantly pray to my heavenly Father to rescue me from all the fear and anxiety; to teach me to rest, not just outwardly but inwardly.

All the while, I waited.

One morning as I was driving to work listening to Christian radio and talking out loud to the Lord, I cried out, “I just can’t keep waiting, I need a word from you, some finality, closure. Please” I was exhausted, ill, and at this point sleep deprived.

I felt empty.

A few minutes later I arrived at the office and started my usual morning routine, it wasn’t long before a friend of mine dropped by. He is actually a friend of my whole family, we’ve known him for years. He came in holding a book and started telling me how he’d read the whole thing the night before. I stood listening to how he’d gotten the book and couldn’t put it down until he had read it completely. After reading it, he thought of me and my blog. My curiosity was piqued and after a few more minutes of explanation he handed the book to me and I was stunned. I couldn’t believe the title. I kept my feelings in check as he encouraged me to read it, I bid him farewell and he made his exit.

I stood there holding the book with my mouth hanging open in shock and suddenly all I could do was laugh.   It was one of those crazy, on the brink of hysterical kind of laughs.

I immediately called my husband and asked him to come to me because I had something incredible to tell him. As soon as he arrived  I began to recount what happened starting with the tearful prayer I’d prayed while driving. Then I handed him the book and he read the title out loud…

“Life, Death and Beyond.”


He looked up at me and a slow smile spread across his face.

Seriously, who brings a person a book about death unless God tells them to?

I have to admit that I questioned why the Lord wanted me to read about death and the afterlife. I had a sneaking suspicion why, but I still thought it kind of strange. I mean, after all, I thought, if thinking about death scared me then shouldn’t I think about it LESS, not more? But, I’ve learned a great truth in the mess of all this; most times we have to face our greatest fears head-on in order for them to lose their power.  We have to stare them in the eye and keep walking forward, maybe even right into them, right into the scary unknown.

So I opened to page one and started reading, and at the same time I took the first step.

I thought I might be sick to my stomach.

But, you know what? With shaky legs and weak knees, obedience is still obedience, it doesn’t have to be pretty.

A few weeks ago our son’s car was hit in the high school parking lot. Honestly, I can’t believe it hadn’t happened sooner. Driving or walking in a contained lot with a hundred sixteen to eighteen year olds is perilous to one’s health and doubly threatening to their vehicle. This “scratch” that turned into an expensive insurance claim landed us at a local auto shop waiting for an estimate on a cold Friday night.

My husband had gone into the lobby to talk to the mechanic while I opted to wait in the warm car with the engine running. The wait began to take longer than I’d expected and I was finished checking my social media sites when I found myself bored. (I don’t do boredom well, probably something I should work on. I’ll add it to my list of things I need to do better.) I suddenly remembered a devotional CD that I’d bought several months earlier on a whim. It was five dollars at the checkout so I threw it on top of the books and gifts I was buying, vowing to listen to it on the way home; only to toss it into the console between the seats never to think of it again, until that moment.

I carefully dug in the dark cavern between the seats until I located it, popped the CD out of the case and slid it into the player. The music started and the next thing I heard was a story that reached out and grabbed me, pulling me in and buckling me up for the entire ten minute session. I haven’t been that riveted in a while. I went from mild interest, to revelation to tears, this woman on the CD was telling of her struggle but describing my pain.

How is that even possible?

She spoke of loss and anxiety and unfulfilled responsibility then she spoke to finding significance and meaning in life, all in TEN MINUTES.   And you know what her key word was, the one thing she had prayed for and eventually found?  Ah…you guessed it.


I sat in the repair shop parking lot, in the dark, and cried. I didn’t know exactly right then what was happening, but I sensed it was something BIG. I mean what were the chances that I would experience all the small details that led up to opening up a CD I had bought months earlier only to hear a word I needed RIGHT THEN.  If I ever needed meaning in my life, it was NOW. I was drowning in my fear and wondering what in the world I was here for, the daunting thought of empty nest hanging constantly in my mind.  If I ever needed to feel safe it was NOW, with middle age and all the uncertainties that these years bring. If I ever needed rescue, it was NOW, life was getting the better of me.

Once I was able to see through mascara filled, bleary eyes I turned on the overhead car light and studied the CD case to find out who the mystery speaker was. She had referred to a book she’d written and how she walked through, you guessed it, panic attacks and anxiety. She told her whole story in the book and knew I had to have it.

After all, I had already lived part of it.


I guess this is where my story of finding significance will begin.   This is the place I will set out on the painful journey to finding meaning in life. I want to be clear, this is not a search for value, I know I matter to many and most importantly to God. This is more about wanting to know what I am here for. What am I called to do? What is it that will bring me joy while I am doing it? We are all called to something, I firmly believe that.   Some of us are luckier than others to find out sooner rather than later what that “thing” is.

But, what matters is that we find out, no matter how long it takes.

I think I have for so long flung myself into being a good mom or being a loving wife or a faithful daughter or diligent employee that I no longer even know who I really am. There is nothing wrong with striving to be those things, but I am sure there is more. What I want to know is, what do I bring to the table of life? I know I have gifts and talents, what am I supposed to be doing with them. And how do I refine them? I sense there is a calling, a responsibility that I am to be fulfilling, but I have no idea what it is.

Some of you can relate.

In the days that followed my parking lot epiphany and while reading the book about death, I began to grow a little stronger.

I knew I had the beginnings of my rescue, no matter what the test results revealed.

On the exact day marking two weeks from my appointment, I finally heard from the doctor’s office. Turns out the issues I have are treatable. It may take a little time, but everything should be okay. As much of a relief as it was to hear those words, I understand why I had to wait to hear them. The healing I needed was not only physical, but emotional and mental. There is so much more work the Lord wants to do in me, and I sense He has great things ahead. I don’t know what may happen between now and those “great things” but I know in the meantime I will be learning, reading, studying and praying for meaning.

The Lord impressed a truth deeply on my heart one sunny afternoon when I was walking and praying…

“What I have ahead for you does not necessarily involve death, but it does involve dying.”

I remember feeling startled when I first understood those words. But, after thought and meditation I had a revelation…

The more He lives in me, shines into me and the more healing I receive, the less I look like me or act like me, “me” is dying and HE continues to live.

It’s about surrender.

If you had told me when this all started that my anxiety would lead me on a pilgrimage to find meaning and significance and ultimately surrender,  I’m not sure I would’ve understood. But after all that has happened, I look forward to what lies ahead. I may still be shaking in my boots some, but it’s the beginning of a new chapter; one that has brought hope and joy into my needy heart.

I think I am on the edge of a life changing journey.

I am going to do my best to put into words the things the Lord teaches me and the process it takes to get there.  At times it may not be pretty and at other times it may be glorious, either way, I would love to take this trip together. I want to walk with you to find the places of our calling, to cheer you on as you have revelation and find meaning, and pray for you as I know from experience how hard it can be sometimes. I have a feeling through this process none of us will ever be quite the same and it will be magnificent.

Oh, I bought the book my CD speaker wrote and so far it is so good (I’m still reading), it has made me laugh, cry and really think about my life. It also reminds me that I’m made to share my story with anyone willing to listen, with anyone desperate enough to search for rescue even if it means walking straight into the dark unknown. And with anyone who’s ready to live a life of deeper meaning, living fully not crippled with fear.

Anyone who is ready to live openly, courageously and is willing to tell their story…one rooftop at a time.

Isaiah 41:10

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.

Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you.     I

will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”