The life of my pens.

They trip me. Purposefully I think, so I put them back in the container under the bed. There they can be still. And I reach for a stick of gum, only to pull out a pen. I reach for the keys and the pen falls out instead. One rolls off the Bible on the bedstand. Another, refusing to give up it's home on the floor, rolls around feet for weeks. They taunt me. I haven't used them in months. We haven't spent time together since the days when they were all I had left. We had a shared purpose in those days of suffering and loss. My soul clung to it's owner and we held on together; together with the pens.

I think they've gotten lonely. I can almost hear them whining for attention. Lonely pens of a writer. Is there anything more sad? And ironically they hold so much more potential for purpose now that they are not all that reside in my purse, glove compartment, side car door panel, back jeans pocket. They comingle with a paycheck. They sit beside jingling car keys. The bed that has the blanket and a pillow; they get lost in the covers when I intend to spend time with them but fall asleep instead. No wonder they whine! They have so many praises to express! Blessings to proclaim!

Ohhhh! Okay, guys! I get it. Gone are the days of writing from suffering. The days of praise are here!

What would a writer do without her pens?


Faith goes camping.

Once again night comes creeping up to, over, and beyond where I'm sitting. But I'm not sitting by a window anymore; it's no longer mine to enjoy. And I will not be the fortunate recipient of spontaneous purring; they have laps to warm or crickets to chase elsewhere. They are no longer mine to love. I don't bother bending my ear for the sound of the car pulling up bringing my love to the front door. No motor. No door. They are no longer ours to use. Each aspect and detail chipped away at for months, than weeks, now days. So I sit in silence with Jesus on borrowed camp chairs and use a paper plate to write the musings of a broken woman. And He smiles and corrects my phrasing.

" A chipped woman is not broken but worn," He reminds.

"Good point!", I reply.

A chip from betrayal that no glue can ever properly mend.
One from brokenheartedness at the parting of ways from dear loved ones.
And still another from being dropped when no one was brave enough to reach out and catch.

But then...and unmarred dish is an unused one. An unused dish is merely decoration and I never was much for plates on walls.

And my attention diverts again to where I pretend I can see Him sitting. I study His face and notice that He's chipped too. His brows carry concern for his constanly disloyal children.
His eyes bear the tint of the ever fresh memory of loss. And His shoulders seem weighed down with remorse at the opportunities passed over by those called to serve. We are sorrowful together by the ring from which I can only coax smoke. We share our concerns. And we watch the days approaching when those serving now will confront their own walls of uncertainty only to stand on this side of faith for the rest of their mortal given time.

He reminds me, as always, that sorrow is appropriate but it never walks alone. And He instructs me to look around, as always, and I do. And we smile together at the humble campsite littered with faithfully supplied gifts from a friend most overlook as faithful. And I see the tent that houses arms that grow tighter every night. And I remember the choices and responses that landed us where we are. And I swell with pride and confidence. We did what He taught us to.

A road has been blocked. Our lives are new with possibilities; but I fear the plateau. We are in a difficult place, yes, but it remains at the same difficulty. For the past 7 months we have lost little by little until all but each other and some useless piles of possessions housed in a house of His could be called 'ours'. And now we've leveled out. We didn't lose anything yesterday and it almost frightens me. All we have is each other. Are we being prepared for us to begin gaining again, or the opposite? Are we being prepared for the worst?
.theenemylurks.....but I already know his defeat.


The Way I Pray

I'm going to change the way I pray. And this is not about knees or hands or volume. The content of my prayers has been immature....rather, the content of my prayers has been redundant.

"Please protect us."

I always have.

"Please provide."

I always do.

"Please show us the way."

When have I ever mislead you?

He stops me in mid sentence with His replies. He has halted my prayers. In short, He's calling me out. Have you ever felt this way? Frustrated, knowing you need to grow to the next step or you'll flounder....useless and ineffective. Believing you are searching for something only to be confronted with the reality that your search is a hoax. A good hoax, fooling yourself along with everyone else. The thought of a passionate search allays your fears as well as encourages others of your faith. But you've already been given the answers to all of your questions. You are at the end of this search and you know it.

My truth is my family's truth. Suffering is coming. We know it and He knows it and He's going to allow it. We must be strong enough to handle it or it wouldn't be headed our way. My prayers were my fallback and assurance...and He won't allow them anymore. I'm no longer suppossed to ask but am expected to act. My prayers are no longer pleadings for faith but have become actions of holding His hand and walking forward.

I've changed the way I pray.


My life is a novel.
Sometimes comedy, sometimes drama and even into the realms of science fiction it sometimes seems to travel. There is an author and He's brilliant. He marks the bottoms of my shoes with ink and lets me run away on whatever path I desire...but He has a road drawn out that He wants me to follow. I'm often afraid on this road because of the shadows. The turns are so sharp that the shadows swallow up the path. I step because the road is always there, but I still fear the shadows. And my feet try to follow the penned lines lovingly leading me but my footprints mark up the burm and often stumble into the other lane. The pages are smeared with my missteps.
My life is a novel.

Tonight we followed the road. All year we have followed the road faithfully but tonight we have found ourselves alone, with Him. Actually, Him and two. Two faithful children that know of our struggles and our mutual desire for nothing more than His will. And I love them. And I thank Him for them. But the two are set as a reminder of the smallness of the number. There used to be many. There used to be much. The much slowly dwindled away but we knew we didn't need much, so we didn't miss it. We didn't expect the many to dwindle to two, however, and it caught us off guard. We felt the loss. But He picked us up again, placed us in the presence of the two and left us to praise Him for His goodness, together. And we did. And we do. And we will.
And our feet continue on the path although it is all shadow now. We can't see the road or feel it under our shoes, but we can smell the pen marks. The author never leaves His characters without a path to follow. That's what makes it a worthy story and Him a crafted creator.


Hug me, Hug me...Say that you'll hug me!

I've always been a stuffed animal and pet person. It's because I'm a hugger. Now, for those who don't know me well you'd never guess my appreciation for the one on one full body blanket. And when I say hug I am definitely not referring to the polite one hand on a back reciprocated. I'm talking practically lifting the feet off the ground, but not, type of hug. I see a hug as proof of trust and I like to show people how important that trust is to me. So I hug hard and don't let go.
Now, I believe there is power in a hug; positive and encouraging power. Sounds corny and I hate corny so I'm sorry about that. But I was reminded of my love, and extreme need, for hugs today when I was feeling down. My family has been down a lot lately. We've been down together though so it's not so bad but when I need a healing hug, I don't want to take the good mojo from someone else who's down. Not everyone is a healing hugger. So I'm sitting on a blue chair needing a hug and one of 4 opportunities is nestling around my feet. I grab the little recipient and don't let go. He's not particularly crazy about the love abuse but he's kind, so he cooperates. Small meows turn into purrs and my hug is rewarded, dissolving my bad mood immediately. Power. When I was a child I would mangle my Pound Puppy, 3 foot tall stuffed gorilla, Cabbage Patch Doll (I can still smell the baby powder thinking about her) and any unfortunate pet we had that didn't try to bite, with hugs. I understood the power then, I just didn't know that Jesus was associated with the equation. I know now. Whether you're a hugger or not, you have a release agent of your own. You write, quilt, build, demolish, sing, dance...you get the idea. Mine is hugs. Nothing is more healing to me than being taken hold of and being able to hold in return. And I've been fortunate enough to have known a few good huggers in my day. I have a couple girlfriends that are 'whole' huggers; they are unhalting and all of their defenses are down when we hug. It's how I know I can trust them and it brings my trust out even more. Without this type of release my emotional, spiritual and physical health would suffer severely. I believe it works the same way for them if they let it. Sadly though, not everyone reciprocates our actions for the same reasons. There are people who appear to be 'whole' huggers but have alterior objectives. They feign unconditional trust in order to get a foot in the door to take advantage in another area of our lives. I've come to accept this as reality and my hugs toward these people are more defensive and not at all satisfying. I dislike those hugs intensely. It's a distortion of something I hold dear but I've learned that there is risk in relating with other humans. This is where I found Jesus in the mix. Never have a met a better hugger than Him. (Stay with me.) He's the one who taught me about 'whole' hugging. He's the only reason I can fully trust another person. Not through convincing me that people can be trusted, I know that's not true, but through convincing me that it's worth the risk to extend out my arms, making myself vulnerable emotionally and physically, in order to introduce or reaffirm the unconditional trust that Jesus has used to complete me. I've had friends that were sincere and 'whole' huggers for years until one day when I wasn't looking, the knife fell and I was wounded. I was crippled emotionally and my hugs were guarded towards everone. But Jesus reminded me that I needed to open up again so he gave me cats and a husband and yes, a few stuffed animals. I practiced my hugging again and was made ready to be vulnerable to the rest of the world. Jesus. How do I know it was Him? I'm asked this question often and every area of my life has been addressed by it. The answer is always the same. I know because it's not me and He's the one to whom I've handed over my life. I'm not steady in my thinking and the thinking that comforts me is always steady and sure. I'm not strong in any respect aside from faith and that is often fickle. But when I fall back I'm caught every time. When I say 'fall back' I mean surrender. No, it's not easy and yes it can be dangerous but not if you know that the net is there and it itself is telling you to fall. Does it sound risky to you? It sounds not only risky but crazy to most of the people in my life. So they watch, usually expecting me to break my metaphorical ankles, buck up and realize that God doesn't work that way. Fortunately, although they are watching for disaster, they end up witnessing the awesome reality that at the bottom of the precipice my ankles don't absorb the impact. Caught and placed back onto this shaky ground into my own busted out sneakers, I fall but never hit. That's not something I can do on my own.
So he's convinced me to be a hugger. It heals me and introduces trust to others. It's the best way I have found to display the real Christ that lives in me. I write and draw and converse but none of it takes as much risk as a hug. And after all, what do I have to lose? He can't be torn from me and noone will ever turn my trust from Him. His hugs are even stronger than mine.


.....so in my brilliantly faithful walk amongst the plans and poems of man, I prove faithless. Wow, what a shocker.
I readjust my course and sit down to the map. Joshua 1:9; so familiar! It must've been mentioned in sermons, background conversations and dinner table discussions over thirty times in my recent recall. It's actually become so familiar that when I stumble upon it in different versions, my eyes automatically reread it and then glance up to recall what book and chapter I'm in. Oh yeah, Joshua!
I don't read the Old Testament often. Okay, I don't pick my Bible up 1/5 the amount of times I intend to. I fear it. I should explain. I love the Bible because I very much desire truth. No problem there. What I fear is complacency. I won't be a Christian that begins her walk at 7:35 and by 8 or even 11:00 she's ready to punch out of this job and clock into her real life. I guess that's why I don't like routines or traditions. Admittedly, it's flawed logic but it's intention has nobility. I don't want any movement I make to be without purpose. Things lose their value to me when they become just another part of my day. As a
matter of fact, I don't say "I love you" to my family members as part of a routine because of that very fear. They know I love them through my actions and my carefully placed words (including "I love you") but I work to treasure and make treasured by others my actions. It's not that I don't believe in Bible study on a regular basis, I just know myself well enough to know that routines are traps for me. And so here I am, sitting on the sofa with a tiger kitten to my right and a keyboard on my lap sketching in words the redirection of my course. All this time I thought I was walking down the sidewalk he mentioned and it turns out I'm not even in the right town! I'm so glad He whispers. I haven't been turned into a pile of rejected human compost in the middle of this foreign sidewalk.
"Psst, Crissy it's this way."
Oh Daddy, What to do with me?!


Deep breath out. That's how I know when I'm destressing. I learned it as a yoga technique....inhale through the nose, deep breath pushing it all out the mouth. It's involuntary anymore, and now it lets everyone know that what I am dealing with needs to be released, without my wanting anyone to know. "Why are you stressed?" he'll ask 'cause he's kind and genuinely concerned. I like him. I won't usually know what the stressor is at that particular minute...my body just knew what it needed and...deep breath out. Now, we're not talking just a sigh. That would be normal and not too noteworthy. We're talking about my mouth rounding into an 'O' and blowing the deep breath out...with sounds and all. I don't even know I'm doing it until it's done and at least one eye is attracted to the possible cry for attention. I suppose the problem with having involuntary actions cleansing my emotional system is that I can't often grasp at what I needed help releasing. Is that even a problem? Yes, (my psychology courses taunt me) for if I'm not aware of the root of my stress I will continue to ...deep breath out...until I hyperventilate and although momentarily the stress is gone, the stressor is not. So we dig. We dig up the unresolved issues of earlier days and blend them together with obvious 'today' responsibilities and somewhere in the middle of all of this we find the ugly little problem. Sometimes it's removable. Often it's painfully deep within the skin....deep breath out. And he talks to me. And he makes me talk, and he talks again and I love to listen and we'll pass through hours without my having to take any breaths at all. And morning will be breaking so we give in to our human need for sleep and I'll wait a bit until I hear his breathing. It's then that I see God and his hand stroking our hair, and Iremember to thank Him and assure Him that next time I'll remember to turn to Him for peace before the ugly little problem begins to fester.
But I don't...deep breath out.


I wait for the sun to turn his back and I try to find meaning in today. What monumental achievements have been accomplished through me on this Thursday during this April? Scrabble? Not much depth there. I just heated up some pizza! Yummy, but not exactly life changing. I've saved no lives, inspired no great actions or contributed to any significant causes in the course of today. I did convey the miracles of my week to my Scrabble partner; my Christian sister. I smiled at my teen when he asked me for some late night snacks. I put a few seconds aside to stop my husband from his work so I could kiss him. Long term effects? Life changing moments? Not likely. We're sane though, in insane times. My friends and family know my love for them. God's presence is so alive in my life I find myself gushing about how He catches me to the church pianist as we're placing letter tiles.

My life is challenging. Not 9-5 challenge or the fear of adultery challenge or even the crippling temptations challenge. Just my trials that weigh on my soul alone. That of course being the most difficult part to bear. But then He taps me on the shoulder and reminds me of the boys in the living room- the boys I can't imagine life without. And He draws my attention to the 20 pound tiger cat sprawled out on my side of the bed and I can't help but giggle.
I giggle a lot. I'm known for my uncontrollable laughter.
I suppose that reflection of my soul is the most accurate.


Just another...

So once again I don't do what I know to do and it once again appears to leave no blame on me. Funny. And I begin to look closer at the circumstances that are me and my function and something has halted progress. A boulder in my road has blocked my path. It's not a particularly large boulder; I could climb over it if I only put a little effort into it. But I choose to stand in front of it, cursing the responsible party for this outrageous waste of my time. I stand and stare at the rock. Waiting for it to be moved or to roll out of my way of it's own accord or perhaps someone will come pick me up, put me on their back as they crawl over this easily surrmountable hurdle; all these are acceptable scenarios for this monumental inconvienence. I stood and stared at the rock.


walking alone

...so as the day turns into night, I sit down to write. The pressure behind my eyes begins to subside as the deep breaths that hint to my stress become less frequent. The darkness holds back time as I finally can think and write and sip and think and breathe. Subjects with the weight of an ocean pour over us without mercy. Faithfulness meets fear for coffee as they ponder common ground. What to do next? How many moments that should have been treasured, set aside, savored were forced to share space with preoccupations of the day? When did I give permission for this? When did the line between purpose and survival dissapear? I had it all figured out last month, I swear! The answers were put in place and the way was clear. Where did it go? I didn't blink or make a turn yet I don't know if I'm on the same road. Will I compromise today? Will I do what I shouldn't to appease everyone else and make our lives much more bearable? What will I lose if I do? I won't, anyway; and I'll suffer for it. I'll lose the respect of many and the trust of those I love. Still, I won't anyway. I don't think I've ever before understood how alone I truly am, in human company anyway. My cats like me and God hasn't budged from my side. Still, my coffee has grown chilly and it's not safe to walk outside alone. I need to walk alone. He's snoring. I'm typing. The wash is drying. The boy is dreaming. I'm typing; confirming my choices so I know on what to stand firm. Defining my place so I know in whom I can find support. Dreading the light, knowing what it brings. I'll embrace tonight for a little while longer.


Mortal moments...

I have moments of mortality. On the hearing, one would assume them to be instants of frailty or fear but they're nothing like that. They are 'step back and see who you are, where, and for now' moments.

I had one today. I was walking home from a friend's house. I approached my white painted, rented porch and there He was. I stood still, right next to Time. I saw the porch not as another seamless step in my ever increasingly stressed existence but as the backdrop of a scene. My backdrop on this set for these days. Out of body? More like the cleansing of my perspective. I've always been aware of Time and his role in my script. And since the day I understood that these eyes were peering out from this soul, I've respected Him. I like Him. His prescence means to me that this is not all and that although we walk well together I will one day be waving goodbye to Him from a distance. He stays, I don't.

My moments of mortality. They very much have defined who I chose to be through all of my steps of life. As a child I knew when an opportunity came to be kind, it was there for me to take. I probably learned that one from my parents or Sunday School. You don't wait for someone else to come along and fill the void. You step towards the opportunity and embrace it. I remember the feeling of regret when I would pass those chances by. I saw Time walk away from me and I was never able to see Him in the same light again. The moment had passed. The regret clung to me as a reminder never to let it happen again. Thus I was a kind kid.

As a suicidal teen I was taunted by Time. He would highlight each tedious task of each moment of each day that would be for the rest of my unending years stuck here. Shower, wake up, study or fail, locker, homeroom, which house to go back to, who to trust, who to follow, who to hate, how to make it all stop, wake up, study, locker, homeroom...and don't worry it won't last forever. After school you can have a job from 9-5 and a mortgage and car payments and taxes, 9-5, mortgage, payments.... I didn't like Time then. He was always there and wouldn't let me think.
But we didn't wave goodbye.. I'm glad now. I wasn't then.

When I became a mother Time dropped the ball. Maybe he got jealous. He would skip minutes at first and then be gone for months. When I felt him again my son was walking. He hung around us for a while but only until I was working, going to school and watching the little boy make friends and get bitten by girls in day care and making school projects and tucking himself in. Those were the years Time fudged the numbers. Not fair to us but every thing has it's lesser moments. But we at least we were friends again. I appreciated His prescence in my life and consequently He didn't hound me anymore. He just hung around.

But this scene on the porch was just another moment in another day in another town for another reason. We shook hands again, caught up with each other in that fleeting glimpse and we were refreshed. Time went on with His duties and I stepped back on my stage. I wasn't aware that my perspective had needed cleaning. It did.


What i don't have....

They say 'you should write what you know'. I guess that makes all of us an expert on something, doesn't it? Write what you know. I know what it's like to be content even happy without something but when reminded or assured I can't have it, I ache . I know that ache. I hate it. It eats at me and every month like clockwork, it mocks me. It redifines who I want to be and for a brief selfish moment makes me regret what I'm inevitably not. Logic has no part in this cruel drama for even when I remind myself how much better off I am and how free and perfect my situation already is, I feel the loss. Can you call something you didn't lose a loss? It feels like a loss. And to make it worse, much worse, despite those who are sensitive to your particular emotional ailment, there are those who are clueless and mean well but continually twist the knife in your side. They are not doing anything out of the ordinary, or going out of their way to try to comfort you or pity you; they are just living their lives. Living their lives with their sonograms and bronzed baby shoes and obligatory baby 'pics' that you are sentenced to smile at and comment on. Of course your baby is cute; who's isn't. Even if it isn't, it is. And to start hating a baby, that just crosses the line into monsterous. If one more well meaning mother's group sends me an e-mail to be their friend I'm going to scream. I'm a mother and to even complain about anything must make me a despicable hag. I'm not a mother of a child though; he's a teen. He doesn't require my life in the way an infant would and I should be grateful. I don't want to want this. I don't want to want this. Heaven forbid anyone should read this thinking I'm trying to convince myself of something. I'm aware of that reality which I think makes this reality so much more clear. I don't want to want this. Why is that so hard to believe? Is it because I cry almost every month. That could be it. I hate my tears; they're insincere. Who says your heart knows better than your head?... everyone who has ever had an affair or a divorce. My emotions are telling my mind that it is wrong. I do want this; but I don't want this. Sure, just fill your time with other things; hobbies, career, education. Fill your life so you feel no voids. Sorry. Listen to the wealthy and overworked if you think filling your time or your pocketbook will complete you. Are we doomed to ever feel incomplete? Will God Himself fill those missing pieces in? Are we genuinely missing a piece? If by filling that missing space, will the next void in the puzzle be unveiled? Does this life only offer contentment and satisfaction in the acceptances of our missing pieces?

So here I am, passing up the opportunity to once again sleep next to the most wonderful man in the world. I choose to sit here and try to figure out the complexities of the universe on a brightly lit laptop in a dark and smelly room. It's raining. I love the rain. Rain is such an accutely simple representation of cleansing. It's dark, and late and cold and raining. It sounds melodic and calming and clean. I love the rain. If i walk outside I'll wake him. he'll worry and not get the sleep he needs. Not if I walk out the back door. I think I will. I'm not dressed. Pajamas would attract attention wouldn't they? Just on the porch maybe or I'll just sit here by the window and with the cats, enjoy the cool of the evening. It's such a beautiful evening, morning I should say. It's so late, it's early. My favorite time of night. My favorite time to write.

Urgency of Time

Always the urgency of time. Time ticking, and slipping away. Is it the importance of each moment in it’s self or is it the premature amount of moments that are left? Always urgency.

Don’t wait to write it.

But writing it will take even more time and how can I make money during that time if I’m pausing my life to write it.

Just sit and write it. It will take time and it needs to be done. You need to do it now.

It’s me I think. I don’t like to wait to do anything that I want to do. I do- now. I think it’s me. Why does God get all the blame when I feel like moving irrationally in His name. How often is it really Him? Well, it can be justified, if I write little things that glorify Him and sell them in the meantime, I can generate money to afford to write what He really wants me to write. Wow. It seems so stupid on paper. If God says now, and I say soon, I must know better. I assume He doesn’t take into consideration my 3 second attention span and only my enemy knows how to trip me up. That must be it. Satan is loving that I’m writing this stupid blog of ranting instead of the book. How important I must think I am to acknowledge that he even knows my name. What difference does a girl make for a god in this world? What difference will He make? So often m…you’re freakin’ kidding me!! I couldn’t even finish the stupid sentence without leaving my seat to do something else! How the hell am I supposed to write a book? Short stories, poems, random blog postings…these I can do…with difficulty no less. But a book? And that’s another thing. I curse. I don’t like it and I shouldn’t do it but it’s there in my mind as causally as please and thank you. Hell, damn….yeah, I know, that’s not cursing to most people, but to many it’s unthinkable and unacceptable. One more reason to put it off. I should spend more time in the Word, I should legitimize devotions in my life, fasting might help, prayer. Always in prayer, so I don’t forget to pray. How often has this project been stalled for my self-doubt so I should go pray to make sure when I heard Him, I heard Him. How He must shake His head in frustration at me. Smiling, shaking his head in frustration. Looking at a 5 yr. old trying to put together a 2,000 piece puzzle. That must be how He feels. But still, pushing me from behind. The only obstacle….money. Always money. How faithless I am. How afraid I’ve become.