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November 6th 1991 began like most ordinary days with me in bed trying to catch a few extra minutes of sleep. My oldest son, Shaun, had woken up before me, and I had coaxed him into coming into my bed to cuddle before getting up. We had both drifted back to sleep when Danny came into the room and gave a little nudge to wake me. He had stepped back into the hallway, and something in his expression made my heart begin to beat quickly.

He motioned to me to come into the hallway. I knew something was wrong. I got out of bed quickly, my heart racing. He looked nervous and spoke in a whisper so as not to wake Shaun.

“Your mom has been in a serious car accident.”

Those nine words changed my life. Despite the gentle delivery by my husband, who I’m sure wished that he could soften the effect of the words he had to speak, my life as I had known it was shattered in an instant.

The following hours of waiting for my mother to emerge from the coma turned into weeks and then months. Four months later as she began to regain consciousness it was painfully clear that her life and ours would never be the same. My beautiful mom was traumatically and seriously brain injured and would spend the next 21 years of her life confined to a nursing home bed.

Life never was the same, but life is still beautiful. There was and is pain, but there is also so much joy.

I can’t help my mind from wandering back on this anniversary to that fateful day and when it does, I remind myself of all I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that she is still with me. In the way I fiercely love my children and my grandchild. In the way I always try to see the bright side of life even in the face of adversity. She taught me that and countless other things. They have become her legacy.

I learned that you can withstand more pain than you ever thought you could endure.

I learned that God comforts and heals and trades ashes for beauty.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:11

That verse I clung to then, is as powerful in my life now.

I believe. And I see His goodness here and now in the land of the living. Every day. Even on the bad ones.

If you are going through a difficult, trying time and your bones feel tired and weary and lifeless – take courage – you will come through and believe it or not you’ll be stronger and there will be joy and you will dance again. I would love to pray for you if you find yourself in that space so leave me a comment or send me a message. I’ve been there and through and would be honored to pray for strength for you.

Lots of love…

Last week I went to our cottage in Maine – by myself!kayak, Maine Cottage, alone time, feeling stuck

I went to write, and rest, and just be.

I have to admit I was a teeny bit nervous to be in a cottage alone with the trees brushing against the windows at night (they sound like someone clawing at the screens) and the creaky floorboards of the old house (that sound like footsteps) while you’re lying in bed, and the haunting sound of the loons…but I digress.

On the last day I took the kayak out on the lake. I am fairly lazy by nature and only intended to paddle out just enough to enjoy the stillness of the lake and soak in the October sunshine. But as I paddled out I became inspired to go a little further.

There is a pretty set of two islands a little ways off from our place. From a distance they look like two ships following each other. Over the years it has become a “thing” for family members to swim to the islands or kayak to the islands. I always opted for sunbathing over exerting unnecessary energy, but on this beautiful autumn day the islands were calling me.

As a made my way I noticed how different they looked up close. I could see every detail of the clustered trees and vegetation. In between the islands there is a little passageway that opens up to a big expanse of lake on the other side. Now, I was getting adventurous so I started to pass through.

What I didn’t realize is that it is very shallow there and my kayak ran aground. I was stuck on the rocks! My first instinct was to dig my oar into the rocks and dislodge myself by pushing backwards. I was telling myself I had gone far enough anyway, my arms were tired – it would just be easier to go back.

Then a voice whispered, “Don’t you want to see what’s on the other side?”

In order to get myself moving forward again it would take a lot more finagling. In fact, I was afraid I would have to get out and push. That would mean getting wet and cold. I had come all that way already, I decided to press on. I took a few deeps breaths. I turned the direction of the oar and started un-wedging the kayak but pushing forward at the same time.

Before long I was gliding through to the other side and it was breathtaking. A whole new landscape to drink in. So much more to explore! (and more islands in the distance)

The whole experience reminded me of my last post on being stuck.

It’s so tempting when we are feeling stuck to want to go back the way we came but if we do…we miss out on the beauty of what is on the other side.

Sometimes, you have to dig in to get moving again or…get out and push. Just keep going – something incredible is waiting for you on the other side!

feeling stuck, keep rowing,


“I feel STUCK”

These were the words I said to God while there was still sleep in my eyes. I was lying in bed, the day had not even started yet and I felt defeated. For a prolonged period of time I had been feeling stuck.

I am someone who needs to feel like I’m making progress. I think most of us are right? Who likes to be stagnant and feel like they are not getting anywhere?

I was definitely in whining mode but thankfully God loves us anyway – even when we whine. I heard him whisper, “Get up. Make a cup of tea. And grab your bible.”

He knows I need tea before anything.

So, tea in hand, not really knowing where I was going to read, I opened my new study bible I had gotten for Christmas. The little not to the reader at the top of the page caught my eye and I almost fell over.

Following God Even When Stuck.IMG_3161

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Here’s what it said:

We no longer have the Lord’s visible cloud above us, but we have His infallible Word in our hands. We have His providential ordering of our circumstances and His promise to direct us in all our ways. If we seem stuck for the moment, even if it appears to be for a prolonged period, we are better off to remain stuck in God’s will than to wander off on our own.  Sometimes we can make a lot of progress while standing still, even though it does not appear so at the time.  If as best you can determine, you are in God’s will, try not to worry about the pace of things. Just take one day at a time. 

I went on to read the passage (Number 9: 15-23) about the Israelites wandering around in the dessert on their way to the promised land. It spoke of how God has provided a cloud over the Tabernacle and the Israelites were instructed to stay where they were until the cloud moved. If it was one day or weeks at a time they were not to move until the cloud moved. I knew in that moment I was right where I belonged. Although I wanted to run or hide I would do neither. I would dig in right where I was until the cloud moved.

Here’s what I learned that day.

1. God speaks through His word

Ok, so I already knew that BUT I forget all the time.  I pray for answers and neglect to read. That is the #1 way He speaks.  He speaks lots of ways but if He seems silent, His written word is always there to comfort and direct.

2. It only appears that we are STUCK.

Notice, Dr. Jeremiah (the author of the study guide part of my bible) says…if we SEEM stuck and although it APPEARS to be a prolonged amount of time. Our human perception deceives us. Whenever I start a sentence with, “I just feel….” my husband is quick to point out the operative word. Feelings can be intuitive but they can also be deceiving when emotion is attached to them. God has a purpose for exactly where you are in this season.

3. Eventually the cloud will move.

This takes the pressure of me having to figure it out off my shoulders. Just move with the cloud and believe that what God has promised you will come to pass!

Because I have short term memory loss when it comes to holding onto truth I must do silly things to remind myself. Do what helps you – write it on sticky notes and post them around your house or on your desk…write it on your mirror with lipstick like I did or create a project to serve as a reminder. But hang on to TRUTH!


P.S. Late breaking news….a fellow blogger and friend of mine just started The Unstuck Woman’s Club – a 24 week Challenge to help women get UNSTUCK.  You can pop over to her blog at to check it out! Free help to get you on your way to being unstuck!

angstFor days I have been waking up with a pit in my stomach. In trying to identify exactly what I was feeling I decided that it would best be described as angst.

I’m going to let you into my head for a moment. (that was a warning!)

As I was writing that first sentence I was going to say it would best be described as anxiety but I stopped myself. I said to myself (I talk to myself a lot), “No, it’s not anxiety, it’s angst.”

And then I thought, “What’s the difference between anxiety and angst?”

So, I looked it up. All this before I’ve even finished my first cup of tea!

Here is how the Urban Dictionary described angst:

Angst, often confused with anxiety, is a transcendent emotion in that it combines the unbearable anguish of life with the hopes of overcoming this seemingly impossible situation. Without the important element of hope, then the emotion is anxiety, not angst.

A light bulb went off! Three things jumped out at me that helped me put things in perspective.

  1. Angst is an emotion. I pay attention to my emotions because they are an indication that something is going on in my heart that I need to address, but I refuse to be ruled by them.
  1. Life is full of anguish and managing the tension between its existence and the power to overcome it, is an ongoing battle. I have to remind myself that we live in a broken world. It is unrealistic to expect that life should just sail along smoothly all the time. When I normalize setbacks and realize they are just part of life, it makes them easier to manage. I can rest knowing that the rough patches come and they go.
  1. Hope is THE most important element – without it I’m sunk. Hope is what will help me to keep the normal angst of life from turning into anxiety! Hope is critical.

My particular angst is originating from trying to finish writing my first book. The emotion surrounding it is feeling like a failure by not meeting all my self-imposed deadlines. At times the demands of family and ministry on my schedule and mental energy make it seemingly impossible. But… I have hope. Hope will prevent it from turning into anxiety.

Is there something you are feeling angst over? Something not going along quite as you planned despite of every effort on your part?

Don’t be carried away by the emotion of it. Emotions alert us to triggers that may be being pushed so use them to identify the source of your angst. Try to normalize the obstacles in life. They are part of life.

Most of all, never lose HOPE. Losing hope is the only way to assure that whatever it is you are reaching for or believing for will not happen.

Hanging onto hope is how you will overcome that seemingly impossible situation.

Wikepedia says:

Hope is an optimistic attitude of mind based on an expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

And you know if Wikipedia says it it must be true 😉

More importantly God says:

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5: 2-5)

I echo Paul’s sentiment in a wish for you today….

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope!! (Romans 15:13)


Just like the writer of Ecclesiastes said, there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

I am familiar with these seasons of life.  I’m sure you are too.  There are times when things are going along smoothly and there is laughter and joy and there are times when the proverbial rug is pulled out from underneath us and we can’t find our footing.

Hard times often come without warning and it is important in these times to remember these things…

1. The darkest hour is always before the dawn.

This truth has helped me to find my center on days when I have had a hard time seeing clearly. No matter how dark it is in your world right now there is light on the horizon. Don’t faint, don’t give up…just hold on until daybreak.  It’s coming!

2. Endurance leads to maturity

My experience has been that only once I have come through a major trial, can I see the areas in which I needed sharpening and maturing.  If I am being totally honest, given the choice I may have chosen to stay immature and a little rough around the edges rather than endure some of the darkness.  But now, having come through some rough waters I have gathered tools for the journey and maybe more importantly have gained a passion to deliver hope to those coming along behind me who may still be in darkness.

James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I don’t know if I was ever able or will ever be able to consider depression “pure joy” James, but I think I get it now. I want to be complete.  I understand what it means to be “lacking nothing.”  I have confidence now that whatever life throws at me I have all that I need to endure. I am lacking nothing. God is with me and never leaves me. Ever.

3. There will be dancing!

There IS a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Unfortunately they are not always on our timetable. A year and a half ago I went through the darkest time of depression and soul searching I have ever experienced. I was mourning my mother’s death and dealing with past hurts and stuffed down pain that wreaked havoc on my body, soul and spirit. It took over a year to process through prayer and counseling. I would have liked for it to be faster.  I would have liked a fast forward button.  But healing takes time. It takes work. But once it comes…there is laughter, there is joy…and there is dancing!

I just returned from a 3 week trip to Europe with my husband and my daughter.  It was the most relaxing and joy-filled time I have had in a long while.  My spirit was free. My heart was refreshed and I was reminded of the truth that there is indeed a time to dance!

dance with balloons

IMG_2789Yesterday my sister-in-law and I walked along the beach with our families. We are both mothers who lost our own mothers way too soon. I have a collection of shells that my mom and I started when I was little. I mentioned it and soon we were picking up shells to add to my collection.

She asked me how I was doing this Mother’s Day. I said I was doing fine. It is my second Mother’s Day since my mom died but she had been brain injured in a nursing home for 21 years before that, so many, many Mother’s Days have come and gone since we could celebrate together. I told her that over the years I had gotten used to it and that it was actually easier now knowing that she is at peace and not suffering anymore.

I asked her how she was doing and she said much the same. We talked about things that triggered grief for us. It is often the less obvious things. I thought about what a blessing it is to have someone to share with. I wish she hadn’t had to go through the pain of losing her mom but I love that we “get” each other. It’s a blessing to be able to share in each other’s loss.

We had such a lovely Mother’s Day together. We walked the beach, we shopped in Palm Beach and had a lovely dinner out with our families. It really was a perfect day.

But on the our 4 hour drive home, in the quiet of the car, the grief started to make it’s way up from deep in my heart. As I read the various posts about moms and saw beautiful pictures of women my age with their beautiful mothers I realized I was not really doing fine.

I was doing what I always do. I was ignoring the pain. I knew what the rest of the night would be like. I would be at war with my emotions trying to distract myself so the emotions wouldn’t win, tossing and turning unable to sleep.

But instead of my regular routine, I decided to do something different. When we got home, I let Danny in on what was going on in my head. He listened as I told him how conflicting it was to be so blessed and so happy but to also have this hollow void down deep.

We took out the shells we had collected, I got out the jar of shells that my mom and I began when I was little and we started looking through them. Suddenly the void was filled with memories…sweet ones. I told him stories of how my mom would take us to Jones Beach in the winter to play on the beach. I cried a little and released the grief and remarkably, I felt much better.

I realized that joy and pain can coexist.

Maybe this allowing myself to feel stuff is going to be okay after all.




I posted this today on and wanted to share it here as well. Unprocessed pain led to depression in my life but it manifests itself in different ways for different people. The important thing is to recognize it and allow yourself to not only feel it…but process it through the cross. God sent Jesus to bear our pain that we might have LIFE!!
It’s time to feel the pain in order to feel the joy of abundant LIFE. As always I love to hear from you!

Recently a friend and I took our daughters to the beach. The beach is one of my favorite places in the world. We made our space on the sand. A beautiful breeze was blowing and the sound of seagulls and gently breaking waves was our background music. After a little while of soaking in the sun I realized something that surprised me.

I could not relax.

My mind was racing. My body was poised for a relaxing day at the beach but my mind was not.

Regardless of how hard I tried to put the issues that were occupying my mind space aside they would not be moved out.

This had become a pattern.

I am not, by nature, an anxious person. I am a lot of things but in general, I am pretty good at chilling out. Under normal circumstances I can sit for hours just reading a book or soaking up the sun and relaxing.

I used to pity people who couldn’t relax and now I was one of them. Now, I was feeling bad for myself!

A few things are usually true when I get myself into this state.

1. I have taken on responsibilities that are not my own.

In the work I do (as well as life in general) I am surrounded by people and have the opportunity to hear their stories. Their stories many times involve pain. I want to fix their pain or their troubles. I want them to be free!

If there is something I can do to help I want to do it but the lines become blurred when my desire for them to change or get help is greater than their own. In those cases, I have to make sure I am not taking on something I am not responsible for. In fact trying to rescue someone, sometimes actually gets in the way of them receiving freedom straight from the Rescuer and the only one who can truly help. Each one of us is responsible for our own journey and while we are here to help each other everyone needs to make their own path.

2. I value the opinion of others more than God’s opinion of me.

This has been a particularly difficult one for me because I like to please people and take criticism to heart. It becomes even more complicated in the Christian world because scripture can be interpreted in different ways. So, when someone uses scripture to back up their opinion it makes it harder to dismiss because I hold scripture in high esteem. Time alone with God, reading the Bible and seeking the application for my life is key. Keenly listening to my gut guides me to my conclusions. I don’t always get it right but that doesn’t change God’s opinion of me! That alone is beautiful and freeing!

3. My trust level is low

Any time I am in stress-mode it inevitably circles back around to lack of trust. On some level I do not trust that God has got my life in His hands and will work everything that is happening together for my good. Taking the time to recognize this – ask for forgiveness and determine to raise my trust level sets me on the right track again.

Two scriptures I rely on heavily in times like these are:

1 Peter 5:7

Cast you cares upon Him, for He cares for you…


Phillipians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

These are not just quotes – they are lifelines and Philippians in particular is a step by step plan for ridding yourself of anxiety.

How about you? Have you identified contributing factors to anxiety? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or send me a note!

Deep breaths help too 😉

My new favorite song! Oceans by Hillsong.



Worrisome thoughts can lead you to action.  I recently had a worrisome thought nagging it’s way through my mind. I was worried about the outcome of a situation.

After analyzing it, I decided there was something I could do preemptively to tip the odds of a good outcome in my favor. I took action and my anxiety subsided.  

Sometimes there is a nagging thought about what might happen but I have no control over influencing the outcome. 

In those moments I must decide to take the thought captive and then release it from my mind.

Think it through and be through with thinking!




Saying no more than yes is the key to staying sane these days.

I want to say yes to everything.

But I can’t do everything well.

Other people seem to be able to juggle more than I can.

One of two things is probably true:

1) They actually have greater ability to juggle than I do.


2) They do a good job hiding that things are slipping and they are completely stressed out.

That’s why I need to:

1) Be okay with knowing my capacity for “things I can juggle” may be less than someone else’s.


2) Stop comparing myself to others.

Comparison is the thief of joy and peace.