Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

What a season. I just read writing helps bring relief and I remembered I could write, not claiming it to be good, but I can put thoughts on paper. So can you, so go write if you feel led. It is very therapeutic.

So...Merry Christmas. The banshees were so fun to watch. I was reminded again of the holiness of Christmas Eve and the beauty of Christmas carols and the magic of children's eyes full of wonder. What a gift to see, hear and smell this season. It's truely a gift that I so often take for granted. It was a sweet, treasured day yesterday.

So, why do I need relief? Well, it's been a winter season in some ways and spring in a lot. I'm still feeling the winter season, so it's a little too fresh to describe what this season has been like the past six months. Last night I laid in bed and scrolled through john 8-10. I read about Jesus being the light in the dark. Judgement. Forgiveness. The story of Lazarus and how Jesus waited until all hope was gone, until the people had no more power, so HE could burst forth and bring Lazarus back from the dead in all HIS glory. All HIS glory. That's my prayer.

My story is not my own, I just hope to share my experience, strength and hope and most importantly Jesus. How I want to write the story myself and how I cling to figuring things out. If I can understand them...then. God is mysterious. All I know if he is refining me. He is making my fear into faith. He is taking my power away and I believe it is so he can burst forth like noonday. The winter will melt and streams will roll. Psalm 147. Satan is under our feet and Christ has come to bring us peace, restoration, redemption and renewal. Renewal is my word for 2015. Jesus renew our weary souls with you!!

Renewing souls and giving hope. Out of our Second Story studio that is what my friend is doing by leading al anon meetings at noon on tues. A small group of women huddle in a circle and share their experiences and bear one another burdens. A 12 step community is scary to step into, but a beautiful thing. It's one of the holiest places and where Jesus, for me, has been the most tangible. We named it second story because he has given us second stories and continues to redeem those as well. Proclaiming his name and word through-out the day, reaching out to trusted women who are able to shoulder life's load with you and whispered prayers of surrender throughout the day....THAT, for me, is the key to living an engaged life of active surrender in community, in Christ. I'm a firm believer that in this world we will have struggles, BUT that he has overcome. He HAS overcome...even death. What amazing news and what better news to tell yourself when you have trouble. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look FULL in his wonderful face...then everything else will grow dim. It will. It can.

Many blessings to you this season. I pray God fills us all with joy and a Christmas miracle of changing us from the inside out. It's never a done deal and I pray he frees me everyday from whatever new idol I think will fill me up. Only he can and he will!


Below are pictures. Social media can be satan in disguise and the lies creep up, "they've got it together". Behind every smile are tears, fear, sorrow and joy. Battles of victory AND defeat. Let that be ringing in your head when you feel a prick or jealousy or comparison with others pictures...that is a joy robber and "ain't nobody got time for THAT". Life is complex, so pictures make me happy.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A life well lived

Juggling. That's what I'm doing this season, and sometimes I feel like I am as tight as a drum and shouldn't I just slow down?!? Other days I think this is the fullest of life I've ever felt!! I think back to the dazed and confused days with sleepless nights, diapers, bathing little bodies, dressing little bodies and it sends shivers down my spine. I look at pictures of their tiny faces and remember all the hard work and long for those sweet little voices and try and remember the details...but it's all a haze. I loved, loved my babies. Don't get me wrong, but I LOVE this stage of independence, they still need me, laugh at my quirks and jokes. Their tolerance for me is high and I know it won't last much longer, but they can take care of theirselves, for the most part, but yet still enjoy me, their mama. It's grand. If you are still in the dazed and confused days, hold on. I'm sure you're doing it far more graciously then I did, I was a hot mess.
So, I'm juggling children, work, Christmas parties and an arts and crafts show. I know I'm dropping balls. I also know, and my now 11 year old has noticed and says..."god always comes through for you".

He always comes through for me.

I may forget things, but at least he brings them to mind, most of the time, after the fact and I can graciously apologize. And I digress...

But my point is here. Once upon a time I felt heavy, I was depressed and trying hard to live a fantastic dream that I could call "a life well lived". It was like quick sand and swallowing me whole. I grew up in a competitive society. "Be the best, achieve great things, live for the king." ALL good things to desire. My trouble was and still can be, my will and my flesh were trying to do it all by myself. That's exhausting. God has changed that striving into just being, and stepping through doors that open, living in compassion with open hands, not comparison...because comparison really is the thief of all joy and I lived there way to long!!

So, to be full of life and working hard is a season I'm trying to enjoy and live well and free in. And to juggle lots of things, knowing, his hands really hold the balls. Seasons come and seasons go, blessed be his name. If you're in a valley, bless his name, look up and cling tight. If your on a mountain, bless his name, look up and cling tight, because really THAT is a life well lived.
Happy Holidazzze. Put your phone down and be present and thankful this season.

Below are random pictures.
Last week, we walked through a door God opened and my jewelry line, which sounds crazy to even say, will be at Dejavu stores at the beach.
Pictured is my beautiful baby girl turning 4. What a precious face. So thankful for her.
The man cartwheeling is my introverted hubs who hates to draw attention to himself. It was his act of worship for the month.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Second Story Birmingham

If anyone knows what's it like to have your heart shattered, life wrecked, to hit a bottom, to be in the valley, to feel alone...there are so many words you could use, but mostly I've found I know when people get it. Their eyes lock with mine and they say yes without hesitation...and then sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly I get to hear about their journey from darkness to light and that's an honor!

Second Story Birmingham is really all about that. It's offering women hope that things will and can get better. Whether there circumstances change or not. Our eternal perspective and reminding others of that is key. "Our bodies are tents housing our souls", said Rock Hobbs one of my mentors. That kind of takes people, places and things and their offensive ways and weight off. I can carry the harder things of life when I make that my mantra. He also explained you can't yank that offended, bitter root out of people, but you can slowly massage it out of their hearts. Yes, slowly massage truth, hope and grace into willing, listening ears.

I can lament that I am a sinner and over my sins all the live long day. I grew up in a culture that was obsessed with the sorrow and depravity of the human nature, and loved to discuss it over and over and over. To repent though is an action. It's a verb and it is turning and running into the arms of the only one who can make you white as snow, he makes you a new creation and he remembers your sins no more. That is what I want to talk about all the live long day because it is talking about what HE does for us, not what we do for him and what filth we are. It's pride in reverse to focus so much on depravity, it's a constant self focus.... stepping off my pedestal now.

So, our desire and how life changed for four girls from all different walks of life, with all kinds of heartache and baggage is God had godly women (like an army) POURING like rain godly truths about who we are IN HIM, daily into our souls. Reminding us, it is nothing we do, but what he does. What and who Jesus is and what he does for us. When I got my eyes focused on Jesus instead of my sin...Things changed. And they radically changed and I do believe Jesus lifted my eyes to him. He removed the veil, my spirit awoke and my life changed. I said I believed for many years and I did with all my MIND. Yes, I knew catechism answers, yes I will read that scripture, yes, yes...but then I tasted the depth and the love when I was at my worst and in my valley and life was dark. Then HE was able to shine brighter than noonday and my heart got it. Don't be afraid of the bottoms of life, they can truly be your greatest gifts.

So, that's the heart behind Second Story Birmingham in my words. I have three amazing friends who run hard and alongside the ones in the valley. Right now, we know we are doing two things God has led us too with the Second Story, that is part of my studio with Holland's Trinkets, in Homewood. We are making care packages this coming week to send all over to women that God has out in front of us that are in a valley. Also, we've had one meeting already, but will have al anon/codependency meetings Tuesdays at noon in our studio. I'm squealing because I don't want to waste my life. I don't want to waste sorrow and heartaches of life at all. The devil should've taken me out bc I will not be quiet abt all Jesus has done for me.

So, the scripture below will be framed and go in a care package. It's created by two dear friends w some extreme talent. It is my verse from the valley, I was standing on a cold November day, 5 years ago asking God some hard things. Wondering how I was going to fix a broken marriage, police my husband and makes sure the darkness did not take me under. Those were some dark days. But those days when you have such little hope are the days you can hear and see the best because you need something and someone to carry you. In my kitchen that day, God gave me this verse and in the depth of my soul fear was replaced with comfort and I knew He was going to battle for me. And he did. And he does. I love to stamp Be Still more than anything bc of this verse and the meaning behind it.

Say some prayers as we get this thing started. I've found the most intense spiritual battles come when I'm stepping towards him.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Halloween Redemption

Tonight, as we scoured the cottage lined street hauling our buckets of candy and huddling close as the wind swirled around us, my heart swelled with thankfulness. This very morning, I sat across from a lady over breakfast sharing my story of Halloween five years ago when my marriage was in shambles. We showed up with broken and bleeding hearts at a very gracious couples home, whom we did not know all. They had gathered with other couples for trick or treating and it was the kind of crowd who has no need for gossip, the darkest pits of life don't send shivers down their spines, because most of them have lived and breathed in the pit and had managed to find their way out. Broken, authentic people who can let broken people JUST BE. What a glorious safe place. I hope to be that. I have a hard time being that. Letting people just be. I told my friend I didn't see that couple much anymore, we weren't close, but they were a safe place for us that Halloween.
Tonight as we scooted past homes and familiar faces, in the flickering lights I saw my gracious friends profile. I ran up to thank her for THAT Halloween. For being Jesus with skin on to us that night. What a gift.
Everything and everyday is just a gift. The good, the bad and the ugly. Live with a kingdom {eternal} perspective, that your body is just a tent housing your soul and that God is making all things new. All things new. Let that sink in. Giving all people, all places and all things over to him. (Insert the old hymn I surrender all) That is the key to living a free, fulfilled life. It's a daily practice,that sometimes I practice and sometimes I don't.
So glad God saw fit to remind me tonight of his glorious riches, his infinite love and his faithful promises he gives his people....a day at a time.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I haven't written in ages, and I need to be medicated to write bc my brain is fried and so ADHD. It's summer and my tolerance level is low and my anxiety level is high. I could write on one hundred different things, but my heart is in a season of seeking and loving so I will stick with that. Bear with me.

5 years ago, my life was radically different. I prayed and cried and wept and groaned and felt the brokenness of life to my core. I knew bible verses and could never remember a time I did not know about the gospel. I was in an authentic church, that assured me I could show up messy, and always reminded me that I was free to struggle. The buck stopped there though. My spirit knew I could not struggle in this deep, black pit forever. There had to be more. There was little teaching of the power of Christ and living IN Christ and what that entailed, and anyone who has been enslaved by the things of this world knows that it takes more than quoting scripture and praying some prayers to get free. It's an all out miracle.

God, at best, seemed confusing and distant. I was seeking for this miracle, but no one could show me the way. I was seeking the promises of the gospel "seek and ye shall find" and those felt like such empty words. I felt like I was in a maze seeking and seeking the way out but never finding the exit. No one around me had the map either, but that is part of the beautiful, broken story that God redeemed.

Three years of hard seeking, but never finding the answer and I found my way into an AA room. Alcohol was my battle, or so I thought, and although I did not drink daily, I was owned by alcohol and the escape it brought me. With two young children and a marriage that felt empty, It was my coping and survival tool for a broken life, with little to no hope offered by the church I was in. At least, at church, I could be honest abt my drinking and show up there a wreck, which I did.

Enough about the broken and hurting part. It was brutal. I found hope and newness IN Christ 5 years ago, and above all things I found it in a basement of a church, a secular program, where the weak and broken go. The details of God transforming me into a new creation is nothing short of a miracle. I was enslaved and bound and now I am free and joyful, is life still broken...yes, but God has shown me I am not of this world. In HIM, we are the righteousness of Christ, Jesus came so we may have life, he is renewing our minds and we have been raised from darkness into a glorious light. That is the good news. That is the heart beat of my life. I was saved and wondering, like the Israelites saved from captivity, but wondering in the desert for FORTY years. They were saved, but not delivered. The power of all we have IN Christ, not of our own or through some law, literally blows me away.

It is all grace that we know this, and that in him and through Him we have life abundantly. We do not need to be told how broken life is in our churches over and over, just turn on the news or strike up a convo at the pool with someone. I want to be in church every single day to be reminded we are NOT of this world. We are not. Our flesh is, but our spirit is one with Jesus Christ. We are different.

Last night I was with a group of godly women, some God has set free and some are still struggling in the pits. I've been chewing on receiving his love. When we really get who we are in Christ, his abounding love for us and we soak in overflows into our lives in every way. When I stay there, life is good, bountiful overflowing. Our eyes fixed on Jesus bc he is the author and finished of our faith. We can rest, assured we are loved and cherished by the one and only that matters for eternity. We are free to be loved and in turn we can lavish HIS love to others. We can live un-offended and free. The gospel calls us to live IN HIM. That is how we have power and freedom from people, places and things. Receive HIS love today. It's the wellspring of life.

Happy summer. Hope to write more soon.

Banshee update: baby girl turns 9 in a week. 9. She had a double bday party with her friend and it was in the country at a camp and exhausting, but a blast. The years are short but the days are long.
We have already traveled 1200 + miles to see our cousins this summer.
We've spent our days at the pool and on the couch this summer. We love being lazy.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Proclaim His Goodness

Disclaimer: I just found this, I have no clue the struggle at the time I wrote this, but it's a great reminder that he brought us through yet again. To Him be the glory...

I wrote a lengthy entry on this subject bc ever since I got brave enough to share my story here and with the freedom source, (with ppl I can't see or touch which has been such a hang up w me) we have had issue after issue arise. And guess what?! My lengthy entry magically disappeared into cyber space....Arg. Mostly, we've dealt with physical and some relational issues. We need prayer. I am weary. I am standing firm. I am praying, but I am weary.

This is not new ground to me, when I got sober things got bad, then they got worse and then terrible. One day when i have the time and energy I will put it on paper. God purged and purged and purged my life of ppl, places and things until I thought I might turn into just a shell of a human. I didn't. I made it. I clung to him every.single.moment for days, weeks and months. It was beautiful and sorrowful. Heartbreaking and healing.

So today we need prayer. If you read this stand with me and pray out loud, or in your heart Psalm 145 with me. A sweet friend shared it w me this morning.

"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever." (Psalm 145:1, 2 NIV)

No matter what, I will continue to do this. If God is dealing with you and change is around the corner...cling to him. Live every moment IN HIM. Redemption will come. His mercies are new every single morning and what you face he knows you can handle. He hems you in, in front and behind. He sees YOU. He cares for YOU. He loves YOU. Passionately and fiercely. He is our provider and together we will stand and proclaim his goodness. We do not labor in vain, but for HIS name.

God is moving and stirring the hearts of women in my own community. Freedom and breakthrough's are around the corner, and change creates chaos. We will hunker down IN HIM knowing he above all will care for us. We will fight together in his name.

I pray that if anyone reads this and doesn't have a safe community where they can be vulnerable that God will send you one or you can email me. I am surrounded by women who are prayer warriors and seek his face and his word daily and have their own stories of God redeeming their lives. They have hearts for women, hurting women especially. We are not trying to keep up...that's an empty way of life and we all played that game at one time or another.

All that said, proclaim his goodness in your life NO MATTER WHAT. Today share with someone His goodness and his mercy in YOUR story....we all have one.

(I posted the picture below of our gal. It captures innocence and joy. Untainted by life in her youth and that God has a story for her own little life that he is writing.)


Looking back in life I have what I refer to as seasons. Seasons of prosperity, seasons of sorrow, seasons filled with joy, seasons filled with bruises and pain, seasons where I seek and find, seasons called to wait, seasons of peace, seasons of angst....each season feels woven closely together with the season behind and before. I can see God's hand and
power in both the beauty, as well as the pain.
We are busy, a hobby (making jewelry) turned into a business and God gives me creativity, and a voice to speak to women as I am at each trunk show. Amazing, yes. It shows his glory coming forth and bursting behind me as He leads me, bc it is ALL him. If anyone knows me well, they will shout a big "amen".
So, a busy season yes. A season of seeking Him and finding him in more intimate ways...yes. I begin taking this prayer certification class. It mixes counseling and prayer and scripture together. It's been my vision, but I never had a name for it. We also have had a season where we felt led to leave and seek a new church, and found one that is the perfect fit for our family.
Seek me, find me.
For years I grew up reading things like I write about. I never knew how to get from where I was to "there". The reality is, that there is never a "there"...I am constantly changing and becoming, but it does take a willingness to hem into Him, to move forward into knowing Him more. To seek Him. He's there waiting to walk beside us, he's never left. To really, really trust and obey. To have faith and believe. Believe everything we say about our doctrine and theology. To believe God is good and he can move mountains and heal people. To help those who struggle believing. To pray for our neighbor instead of gossiping about them, to love as he loved, to seek out to know people's story rather than their behavior.
He longs for you, to feel his grace and to know how much he loves you. Today, he loves YOU. He doesn't tell you ways to count your sin, he says take your eyes off your sin and onto Him. He calls you up to who you are IN Him. This changed my life, before I could ever make it my "theology"...God made it clear to me through personal experience.
Seek me, find me.
So thankful for this season.
In other news my Grandmother turned 89. So thankful she's around and my children get to know her. She quoted yesterday "love The Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind". So thankful for this rich reminder and to know her story {which has been less than perfect} yet she still holds onto this truth.
Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Following, following, following Jesus

It's a choice, everyday. To wake up and decide who to believe, who will shape your thinking this day.... The world or Jesus.

Things are shifting. Changing, as they always are. We are either growing more in Him or of this world. We aren't stagnant creatures, we weren't made to be. God continues to shift through my heart and breathe more of Him in my life through lovely people, beautifully written blogs and speakers. I am reminded of Him and the rest His shadow can bring. I am reminded I do not have what it takes to parent my children, or to be a gracious wife. I failed this morning and I am sure I will fail before night fall again. Our rhythm of life is one though that I hope breeds grace. Grace for me. Grace for my kids. Grace as a family. I am thrilled to know I don't have to have it together or keep it together to be loved and cherished....and I hope I am raising my kids in that truth.

I am tempted to fear, to look around, to judge and to feel judged. Living above this world is HARD, but I know when I am free because I feel it to the depths of my soul....freedom from self. It is for everybody. Capturing thoughts, seeking Him every step, praying to be kind, and then praying to be kind some more. Understanding people is knowing their story. Looking past their behavior into their hearts. Loving God's people, changes God's people...NOT trying to fix them. I need this reminder daily.

Slowly, this truth is sinking in. I grew up in a world of performer's and I could not keep up. The people who tried to fix me had the best intentions, I truly believe this, but the people who impacted me, were the people who crawled in the pits with me, not those that tried to pull me out.

Life is a blink. I want to make it count, for the kingdom. I want this verse to be true...

 "Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
      so the lost can find their way home. "

Hoping I am known as a pit dweller and not just a story teller...

Psalm 51:15
The Message (MSG)

 7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
      scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
   Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
      set these once-broken bones to dancing.
   Don't look too close for blemishes,
      give me a clean bill of health.
   God, make a fresh start in me,
      shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
   Don't throw me out with the trash,
      or fail to breathe holiness in me.
   Bring me back from gray exile,       put a fresh wind in my sails!
   Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
      so the lost can find their way home.
   Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
      and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
   Unbutton my lips, dear God;
      I'll let loose with your praise.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Prayer for Peace and Kindness

Lord, today I need your peace and to surrender ppl. I need to live in the truth that nothing I do or don't do defines me. Only you define me Lord. All earthly things will pass away. You are my abba father. You accept me broken, prideful, humbled, messy, and hurting. You know my wounds and how easily others words affect me. Protect me from others judgements and my own judgements of others. Silence the side of me which craves approval from my mother, father, husband, sister, friends and children. Let me see through a heavenly vision, not an earthly one. Let me know the enemy aims fiery darts right into my wounds and I take them for truth, hook, line and sinker. Speak truth over me. Free me from all the enemy's lies about who I am.
May I never forget that you delight over me w singing and you quiet me with your love. That you are my protection and right hand. Nothing evil that comes against me shall prosper. Your truth and mercy prevail. Remind me Lord, that I am a broken cistern, I can't meet others needs nor fill them up. Let me be okay when others aren't and keep me mindful that you are my Savior and theirs too. Keep me humble and quick to forgive. Silence my heart, mind and mouth when I want to speak harshly. Show me what it means to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with you. Keep me seeking your face without turning to the left or right. May my day and my heart be in tune with yours. Let me be mindful that nothing which happens throughout my day is out of your will. Keep me humble. Keep me willing. Keep me open and most of all let kindness flow out of me to those I don't think deserve it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Rewind to 2006, for a bit, with me. We finally were proud owners of The Manor. We had one renovated house, we flipped for quite a profit, under our belts. We thought we were pros and decided to tackle a early 1900's Victorian.
It quickly defined me. It owned my time, my money and my soul. I poured over magazines and my black binder (this was pre-pinterest days) which was full with beautiful magazine rip outs and contained my designer, plumber, floor guys and marble guys number. I practically slept with the thing. I was living, what I thought would be, my dream.
Our first night was anything but perfect. Christmas Eve, no heat upstairs, no paint on the walls and I filled my belly with red wine bc I felt, what now I know was... The Ache... for God. I was finally in my house, but it wasn't enough.

The years we lived there, I thrived on compliments, but was left still with...The Ache. I owned my dream house, but it wasn't enough and was ever disappointing bc it wasn't made to fill me. God has redeemed it in a lot of ways, but as we set out buying Tinks cottage in a few days, I feel that pull. I love houses and things. What girl doesn't?! I know they are empty though. Broken.
Two wonderful days I spent shopping w a great friend in ATL, buying a gorgeous chair, which I've posted below along w a fixture I am saving my pennies for... it all only fuels a desire for more and more and more...
Today, I am defined by one thing and only one thing. I am a child of the king.
God help me remember this....

I am surrendering my money. It is not mine, it is yours. I feel the pull, the tug of worldly things. My house is not enough nor my furniture. My mind spins with ideas of beautiful things, things that within themselves are not bad, but it feeds the need for more. I am reminded and tasting the emptiness of things here. The shopping, the measuring, the colors, the lines, it's all a rush....and then nothing, but an empty feeling as a stare at my newly beautiful purchased items. We give our time, our energy to all these things that will fade, they will not fill us up nor ever be enough. We were made for more.

All this rushing and desire burns within and its a misplaced on things that are all broken cisterns. I am the sea lion splashing in the puddle when the ocean depths are right around the corner. And YOU are the ocean, I hear the roar of the waves and it sounds familiar, I hear it calling but the puddle feels good, even if it is small. I know I was made for more, I've just settled for what I can see.

I waste my time scrolling a screen, flipping the pages of catalogues and worshipping the creation instead of the creator.

Draw me back to you. Fill me up with your truth and spirit. Let me not settle nor sell my self short in a desire to keep up w ppl, places and things that will fail me and can never define me. Adjust my vision and settle my restless spirit and mind that keeps selling my soul for empty trinkets and searching for something to be "enough". You alone are that. Call me out of the puddle back to the sea.

You search me and know me...I know this. Search my heart and let my desires be set right. Be thou my vision. Let me see through the eyes of you. The world is so loud and the puddle splashers appear to be having fun in the tiny puddles they now call home. Guard me from being deceived. Let MY soul desire be found in you. Let me drown in the ocean of fullness. Help me find my way around the puddles back home....

Monday, August 05, 2013

Just For Today.

Quiet. Listen. Slow down. Rest in my love. Be kind. Patient. Live in an understanding way with others. Seek truth. Pursue holiness and righteousness. Let MY kingdom come. MY will be done. Be above reproach. Be present. Let others choices be others choices. Believe in my healing power. Have hope IN me. Rest your worry and throw your burdens at my feet. Capture your thoughts and fill them with my word. Seek my face and my character. Let me mold you and make you. Keep showing up to ask me to shine in your life. Open your hands to receive the life I have for you! No one can rob you of who I made you to be...The gifts I gave you and the goodness of how I wired you. Don't back down with others bc of jealously or being forgotten. Keep showing up for loves sake. Everything has a purpose. Things not seen will be seen. You can trust this. You will come out victorious. IN me you can do all things. The world has nothing to offer. Feel up on time spent w me. Let the words on your lips and meditations in your heart be pleasing in my sight. Hate evil. Cling to good. Your good is nothing compared to what I have for you. Open your hands and receive it. Open your ears to listen, for my glory and your good. Life will be brighter than noon day, you will forget abt troubles past. Nothing that is not from my hand can touch you. All bad I am making good. I am redeeming and restoring, so quit trying to help. My loving hands are gentle, yet firm. You can trust your master. I am not your father, your mother, your husband, your wife, friend or child. These people are deeply flawed and the only way to live in harmony is thru my word and MY truth. Nothing abt me is broken. I have no wounds and ultimate freedom. Your 'best thinking' will ultimately confuse you and could potentially harm you. Do not be afraid. This is a serious commandment. Do not be afraid, I am with you to the ends of the earth. Surrender your day to me. It's the only way to have the life you want.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Behind The Silk Curtains

I am pretty sure I have hinted of the trouble in paradise on this blog without details....well, here are some details and part of my story. God continues to purge and free me from idols and legalism and draw me into His loving arms. Think of the word recovery as sanctification. There is no ticker tape I crossed or will cross until I meet the maker, but the God I know today has never changed, he has changed me. He continues to mold me, make me, purge my sin and wrap me up in His arms every single day. I have learned so much on my journey and wouldn't trade my story for anything. I have learned if you get on your hands and knee's every morning and ask God to show up and reveal Himself He will. He heals the wounded and sets the captive FREE. He is never to early and He is never to late. He loves me unconditionally and He is not into behavior modification, He is into the Holy work of renewing and redeeming lives....

So, what better way to celebrate 4 years than to share it on the internet?! It's taken me that long to get over myself (and others) as well as working with The Freedom Source, whom I wrote this story for. If you are reading this and can identify....I am here to say there is HOPE and FREEDOM!

First, let me begin by stating addiction hurts. It hurts and is confusing to everyone, the addict as well as those that love the addict. We don't start out as people who want to hurt others, but eventually and inevitably we do. I have hurt many on my journey to freedom and while I am not ashamed of my story, I am sorrowful that it caused others pain and confusion. Addiction is not pretty...let me begin.
I was born into a very loving family. They had prayed for me and longed for me for many years due to infertility. God obviously knew they needed me. Both my father, mother and sister are all older children. They keep things relatively together and it was obvious early on that I did not fit into their box. They bought the book "strong willed child" when I was a mere 8 mths old, and thus it began. 
The world felt so harsh to me. I think at heart, most addicts are sensitive, intuitive, passionate people to begin with, but I had ZERO coping skills and felt like everyone just screamed "perform, perform". It seemed I was born without this superhero performance power that others seemed to possess. 
My mother read the Bible to me night and day, had me memorize verses and catechism, I was homeschooled and sent to Christian schools and we were in church a lot. I felt like my family was desperate for me to "keep it together" and be a good, peaceful child. This was impossible for me, an extrovert personality who was feeling and intuitive by nature. I almost convinced myself I was adopted....
I couldn't keep up at home nor at school and I felt like the goal for my life was behavior modification which only fueled my inner thoughts that something was wrong with ME. Shame is the fuel for addiction.
Fast forward to teenage years. I had a wine cooler, ONE wine cooler, at a party on a hot summer night. I finally felt normal and free inwardly. I swore to myself that night I'd never do drugs. Time went on, I drank socially but always looked forward to it. College came and I never wanted parties to end, and I drowned my sensitive, passionate, and creative side up with booze, friends and boyfriends, hating school and loving parties which only drove the stake of shame further. 
Fast forward into real life. Drinking was for a season right?! That is what I thought that hot summer night when I was 16. Now, I had two beautiful babies, a nice husband and we were 'living the dream', or so I thought. At this point drinking was still a choice, I could never stop drinking once I started, until I was intoxicated, which I had accepted, BUT I STILL had a choice whether to drink or not.  My bottom was coming right around the corner fast and furious. 
Mono came, I was about to turn 30, I gained 30 pds and was on a anti-depressant. I had a best friend acknowledge she had a drinking issue and thus a new conversation begin. I will say it was 3 years and a 3rd child later before I got sober at the age of 32. The details are fuzzy, but I went to counseling, I went to Celebrate recovery, I went and talked to Bradford, went to ONE AA mtg and I was SLOWLY moving past awareness into acceptance, but still not ready to give it up. I was still waiting and pleading for a 'miracle' so I could deal with this issue privately and we could all go about 'living the dream'. 
The drinking begin to hurt more than the thought of not drinking. I no longer had a choice at this point, nor did I still question if I had a problem, I knew. I had my dream house with silk curtains and I stashed behind them bottles bc I was having to drink that much to feel tolerance was off the charts, and alcohol was beginning to stop working.
Back to 'Living the dream' husband and I were leaders in a community group and I was co-leading a Beth Moore bible study at church, I had carved a career out of real estate since I was 23, I dressed my children in matching outfits (bc that screams to the world I've got it together, right?!) and tried to pour life and love into them during the day with crafts and activities, all while juggling selling houses. I was 'performing' better than I ever had and the sickest I have ever been. 
I never drank before 4, except on a occasional holiday, and I prayed I would wake up with my desire for alcohol completely gone. I didn't drink everyday either and contained my drinking days to almost a schedule. It was the definition of insanity...doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Alcoholism looked very different than the images I had associated with the word alcoholic...bums carrying brown bags.
Spiritually, I felt so connected to God because I was hurting so bad. If I wasn't drinking, I was pleading, praying to God to intervene. I was getting 'sick and tired' of being 'sick and tired'. 
My friend went to AA, we had struggled together to get sober for 3 yrs, including co-leading a bible study and going to celebrate recovery. I watched her stop drinking and string days and then weeks together. I knew there was hope. I went and committed to 90 days of mtgs and got many happy, joyous, free and successful women's numbers. They taught me the new dance of sober living and how to cope with life on life's terms. I remember being so proud of tucking my children in bed for a week straight without a drink. That's not normal.
I didn't think I could live without alcohol. I thought I'd lose a part of myself and thankfully I did. I lost the hurting, fearful, codependent, shameful child hiding in my grown-up body, that propelled me to hide behind booze and parties. They say you stop emotionally maturing at the age your addiction starts, so I had a lot of catching up to do. I begin accepting the way God made me was beautiful and my life didn't have to look like everyone else to fit in or feel normal, but now I know no one really feels "normal". We all have insecurities that fuel our desires for things that will fill us up, be that control, drugs, alcohol, legalism, money and more. They are ALL broken cisterns, and through my recovery I have learned we are all long for something greater than ourselves to be "enough". 
Community has been the best part of recovery for me and the most healing. In becoming honest with myself and others I have found addiction touches almost every family somewhere down the line. God has granted me freedom from legalism and religion as He became so personal and real to me when I was bound in the shackles of alcoholism. He has set me free from people, places and things...and mostly myself. Everyday I strive to live in "He is enough" and I have witnessed countless spiritual awakenings with myself and in others recovery.
"but by the grace of God there go I".... There has never been a truer statement. In 5 days I will celebrate 4 years from when I walked into a room full of kind strangers that were full of stories like the one you just read. They offered me their experience, strength and hope and I was ready to listen. I was scared to death, embarrassed, broken, hurting but READY. God slowly set me free as I dealt with the deeper inner issues that I learned were the problem... alcohol was the symptom. I came in trying to learn how to drink normally and it taught me how to live. I am forever grateful and pray my story offers hope to those who have none! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Magic Kingdom

A year or so ago I posted that'd we'd take the banshees on a mission trip before we went to the magic kingdom. Slightly hypocritical...hmmm. A free place to stay was offered to us and saving my money from Trinkets and we are here. It is magical and a bit overwhelming! Epcot was our first stop yesterday and I will say the first few hours felt a little hellish to me. It was chilly and windy and packed.
After a break and dressing in warmer clothes, half of our tribe headed back to meet the rest who had stayed. We had a wonderful time. Owen did say during the first part of the morning..."I want to go back to the cottage and play with my animals." It made my heart melt. It was a little how I felt. The simple things.

We are making wonderful memories and as always, being with the cousins is an adventure in itself. We do hope to head south with the eldest on a mission trip in the fall and expose him to reality and the need of a Savior, food and water that ppl are hungering for. Just like some come to the Magic Kingdom clueless that their souls are really searching for the Real Magic Kingdom.

Next stop Animal Kingdom. Gearing up for a chilly day and lots of ppl and memories made. We are grateful to be here. My banshees are loving it. Just hoping to keep our spirits in check and be reminded of the one who made it all. It is easy to have it drowned out by all going on and so many distractions of things that truly are an amazing experience, but in eternity won't matter...for now Owen just wants to see Mickey.

Tata for now!


I am reminded that the simple things are the biggest blessings. Our house is small and tiny and I thank God, bc he knows I really believed, deep down, that money, big houses and fast cars would make me happy. He has taught me how rich I am and how big, fat carrots on a cool April night make my heart leap, my boy running "tremendously" through a wide open field of clover, my husband weeding the garden as the wind blows...all this matters. These moments. My family and the joy that now surrounds us. Full is a word that comes to mind. Full on being in and living full of Christ. Not that we never struggle, not that there are endless days of no tears, but FULL in knowing He is in every detail and He fills us up when life cannot.

Our little neighbor screams from the trampoline sing 'our' off key I belt out "blessed be the name of The Lord..." And have little voices sing along. In every season we will praise his name. If anything this is the legacy I want to leave my children. Not my money, my church membership, community service, but Him. I want my children to know Him. To know His goodness. His love. To experience life in Christ. That is my prayer. Life is rough. The world throws curveballs and people can be hurtful and confusing, BUT In Christ it rises you above the earthly and lift your head above to look at Him.

"Be in this world, but not of this world...." Slowly it is making sense. That is the LIFE I want....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Winter Jam

My nine year old boy and I jetted off to Winter Jam yesterday afternoon leaving my cautious, planner hubs and daughter at home to enjoy a less chaotic night filled with watching tv and strumming the guitar. This is how they roll, mostly. I was telling the hubs this morning, as I was proclaiming that my friends and I were meeting to camp for a night w the children over our spring break. He responded " all the children" and I assured him that I function better in chaos. It gives me a rush and propels me into motion, where the day to day tasks SUCK the life right out of me and have me incapable of doing menial task. He looked at me like I had 10 heads and I proceed to remind him my love language is fun...again the dazed and confused look.

So back to Winter Jam, 10 bands for 10 bucks. Jason Castro, Toby Mac, Jamie Grace.... It was a great line-up and I had a ball. We met some friends and then HUD had a melt-down and we left at 8:15. I was silent walking to the car, which for those who know me well, that never happens. We climbed in our car and I hear a small voice say..."I am sorry I disappointed you"... Heart melts.
I was able then to explain my heart which was I am sad we couldn't stay, but not with him. He was able to say that he just didn't enjoy it and I told him that was okay. It felt nice to have a healthy, non-manipulating conversation and understand and feel understood. That is know and be known. I long for this in our family and we are all working on it.
So here's is our first, and maybe only, concert picture together when we got home. He looks thrilled and immediately after this picture was taken I found him passed out in his bed with all his clothes on. Poor guy was exhausted...
Until next time.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I am so full. I feel like I can say this unashamedly bc for 32 years of my life my tank was on half empty. I struggled to make sense of this broken world and although there are days it is still just so plain confusing to me I have a hope and deep rooted joy... Most days, at least, this is the case.
I became a Christian when I was 9. I struggled to believe and had no clue how to live. My head was filled and taught tons of knowledge, I was told doctrine was a huge deal to know and have figured out and I was swimming, in what felt like, an upstream sea of chaos. I am not a type A. I am creative and for sure not in a box. I was raised in a society that all fit in a box, the same type of boxes and it confused me tons. Things said and taught went opposite from actions being done and again my world and soul felt so confused and conflicted.
Through my sin and Gods grace He opened my eyes and removed my blinders. I don't believe lies about myself anymore. When things feel confusing I can state that, not out of fear but in truth and grace. I feel free. Free from the bondage of confusion and rebellion and free from pleasing man. It's a great place to be. Things aren't black and white and I lived in a world where they were.
God has revealed and is revealing mysteries to me I'd never thought I'd know this side of heaven. He comforts me and holds me. His spirit guides me and I share my broken story, filled with hope and redemption to a lady with a hard marriage in a driveway after the kids school drop-off. 2 hours later, I am led again to sit on the curb and share yet again the same story with another friend who just wants deep rooted peace and abounding joy. Tears of joy flow each time.
There is no magic formula except a heart of full surrender and it took 35 years and roads of heartache for me to wind up here, with a heart filled with gratitude and deep, deep joy. Sorrow and joy are so closely mingled together. I have such deep joy bc of deep, deep sorrow.
So we are full. I am enjoying my children, my small cottage on a hill tucked in the woods, my local coffee and ice cream shop and shop that holds my trinkets. My husband is amazing, which is a miracle, and when my children tell me stories of their kindness and love to others it shocks me. I never thought I deserved any of it. I was the black sheep, always, and that felt comfortable. I am so thankful to be done with that role. I struggle battling the lies, but now ultimately see myself as God sees me...IN Christ. He calls me up to my one and only identity...Him.
I hope whether your the eldest son or the prodigal you can hear it's not up to you. You could have failed and be failing miserably, but that is okay. You could be keeping things together great and have a heart filled with anger and pride and he knows and loves you still. Your identity is not in what you've done or haven't's in Him. Until I got to the very bottom, and there were some dark times, did I fully grasp the depth of his love for me. He rescued me. I hope that offers someone hope wherever they may be. He loves you.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

First Vendor Event

We were asked to join in the vendors at the Easter Seal Event. It was a last minute decision, but turned out great. My kids loved the jump-jumps, we sold some loot and made new friends. If you'd told me three years ago I would be a jewelry vendor at an event at a park I would have laughed in your face. Just another token of God's grace and all HE can do.

Our new leather cuff collection. Keep up with our new accessories by liking Holland's Trinkets on FB. 👍

Skipping church

Growing up we were in church everytime the doors opened! I am so grateful for my upbringing and my parents faithfulness. The pendulum does swing a bit and sometimes we skip church bc I think the focus was so focused on the have to's and being in church was the end all. I think church is very important and God does command us to be in a body of believer's. However, I do also believe God uses everything to show us himself and sometimes we stay home and rest and worship him through His creation. After weeks of cold and rain He is fueling our souls on this beautiful day.

I am hoping I can teach my children the balance of spirit and truth. God had revealed and continues to reveal more of this to me. As believers we do have the Holy Spirit and I hear him so clearly now, he speaks through scriptures and his word is the ultimate authority, but when we align ourselves with him and ask for more, with a heart in an open position he will show up and we will see...not that it's up to us, but when my heart has been in the fullest surrender are the times I can hear him the best.

Solid doctrine and good theology is key, but they should not drown out the masters voice...Oswald Chambers talks about this in his devotional My Upmost for His Highest. He does whisper gently to our souls. "call to me and I will answer you..."

Hoping to teach our kids a personal relationship with Him, solid doctrine and a heart that lives in daily surrender and openness to receiving His love and promises inside and outside the church.

Living a wild at heart morning. Shirtless wrestling and BB guns. Thankful for boys.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Life lately

A little bit of our life during this season. Homewood FIT continues to grow and we now have two new locations. Exciting! The sweetheart dance was this weekend...the daddies w their dates. The kids/neighbors play house in the woods after school and "The Nets", as we named ourselves, have become such an important part of my life and spiritual journey this season (aka my prayer group)...Robyn had her baby Thurs and some of the girls came to see her! I love all these women so much!!
That's what is happening these days in Tinks Cottage. God continues to redeem our lives and we are blessed and amazed at all he has done!