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I learned in school that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When I travel, that is the route I always like to take. I choose “shortest route” on the map app on my phone.

But, in life, God doesn’t always take me that way.

Oftentimes, He takes me the long way around. I suppose it should comfort me that I’m not the only one.

Exodus 13:17
It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.”

So, if I understand that correctly, He knew them well enough to know that if they faced the opposition that was inevitable on the shortest route, they would bail. Instead, He took them the long way around. On the way, they developed character, they learned about His timely provision. They acquired the tools they would need for battle.

If I am comforted by the fact that I am not alone, it is short lived. I become disturbed once again when I realize that if I had been determined enough from the beginning to handle opposition with resolute determination to persist on the journey NO MATTER WHAT, I may have saved myself a lot of time.

Of course, this is just speculation and I know that God in His sovereignty may have still decided to take me the long way around, however, if He gives me a choice in the future, I choose the shortest route from now on.

I say, bring it on! I am ready to face the giants.  I am ready, knowing that He goes before me, paving the way, protecting me, and picking me up when I fall.

Long way or short way…I’m going the distance.  How about you?

closer than before, on my way, go the distance, face the giants

A little note from my other project called Positively Depressed

The other day I went to have routine blood work done.  They checked the white and red blood cells, cholesterol, amino acids, thyroid and other organ functionality. The good news is she said I am a poster child for heart health and I have the kidneys of a healthy 15 year old who has never had a drink. That is comforting… I guess my occasional glass of red wine is having no adverse effects!

As I drove home I thought to myself, too bad there isn’t a blood test to check the shape of our spiritual heart. The intangible heart – the one that houses our spirit, our soul, and our emotions.  Usually, we don’t know there is a problem there until symptoms appear. I know depression and anxiety can be solely the result of physical problems but they can also be tied to, or entirely caused by, heart issues.

In my case heart issues have led to physical issues. I also think I am genetically predisposed to depression. But I have discovered I have far more heart issues than I ever thought I had. When you stuff down pain it doesn’t go away.

Since there is no blood test or barometer to measure the health of your spiritual heart it can only be discovered by introspection (digging deep) and prayer and sometimes you need someone else to help you process all of it.

God is ready and willing to uncover underlying issues as soon as we’re ready to face them. Digging deep and facing the hurts and underlying issues takes a lot of courage.

No one wants to feel the pain of the symptom of a physical illness, yet they are grateful for it when it turns out to be the indicator of a life-threatening condition that can be treated and cured. Depression hurts (just like the commercial says) but if it turns out to be the indicator of a heart issue, once it is treated it can be healed and cured.

I am not making the case that the root of all depression and anxiety are heart issues. But a lot of them are and it’s worth exploring.

Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted, to bind up our wounds (spiritual, emotional and physical) and set our hearts free.  He suffered so that we could be healed.  He was wounded for our afflictions…all of them! He came that we would have life and not just life…ABUNDANT LIFE.

Let’s not settle for anything less. Dig deep, get the heart help you need – you will thank yourself later when you are living the life you were intended to live…in freedom!

digging deep, depression, anxiety

The other day I had someone greet me with a gentle hello. Then he put his hand on my arm, leaned in, made eye contact and whispered earnestly, “How are you doing? Are you doing ok?”

I could have been reading into it, but the question seemed weightier than a casual “Hey, how are you doing?”  This person, who I don’t know very well and have never talked to at any great length, seemed genuinely concerned about me.

He was sincere and it was sweet, but it triggered something in me.

It made me realize that because I have shared my struggles with depression openly there are going to be people, for whom, it is their first thought when they see me.  It’s only natural. If their only frame of reference for me is through my blogs or what I have shared in a talk then it makes perfect sense.

But it bothers me.  It bothers me that they may not have the whole picture of who I am.  I worry that they may define me by my depression.

But it only bothers me for a moment because I have come a long way in letting go of what someone thinks of me. If I could completely let go then it wouldn’t bother me at all even for a moment.

Life is a series of crossroads. There are forks in the road.

Some time ago I came to one where the signpost pointing in one direction had a warning sign next to it that said “Vulnerability Ahead.” The signpost pointing in the other direction had no warning sign, assuring me that it was probably the emotionally safer route to choose.

I chose the path laden with vulnerability. As a result, others may form a perception of who I am based on some of the things I share publicly.

Vulnerability is the uncomfortable byproduct of being open with your life. I have allowed people a window into what was previously a very private struggle, not to gain pity, but in an effort to help someone else not feel alone.

That is my payoff ~ knowing that sharing helps someone else. It’s not really as noble as it may seem.  I get something out of it too: a sense of purpose.

How about you? Are you afraid that by sharing part of yourself, others will look at you differently?  In the big picture, does it matter?

live openly, vulnerability,

Last night I cleared my inbox for the first time in 4 months.  I wanted to start the New Year fresh and it felt so good.

One of my resolutions is to be a better steward of my time. Our theme this year at FTGI is “It’s Time!” and I know that there is no way I am going to fulfill my plans and goals for the year if I keep mismanaging my time. Yesterday I heard this quote twice.

Nothing will change if you change nothing.

So, I am going to make some changes. One of them is getting up a little earlier.  I say a little earlier because I have to do this in small steps.  You see, I LOVE my sleep.  And I need my sleep. But I also recognize that I could be way more productive if I even got up one hour earlier.

Last year when I was overwhelmed with all that I had on my plate, my counselor tried to give me some perspective by saying, “Tracey, God gave you the same amount of hours in a day as everybody else.” She was trying to drive home the point that I need not put pressure on myself to be superhuman.  A good point.

However, the other day I saw this and laughed out loud!


Well, if that doesn’t make you feel like an underachiever, I don’t know what does!!

So, the dilemma is how do we balance the time and not fall into the dangerous place of striving too hard or on the other hand miss opportunities that we should be taking?

I have decided that this will be a guiding verse for me this year.


I am going to begin every morning committing my time and whatever I have to “do” to Him. I will trust Him to lead me to the projects, work and leisure that He wants me to spend my time on. More than ever I am at a point in my life where my ambition is just to be right where He wants me to be, doing only what He wants me to be doing. I love for my life to be full, I believe that is how He created me but I don’t want it to be full of meaningless busyness.  So this will be a year of committing my time to Him.

What about you?  How do you balance your time?  Do you feel like you make the most of it?  Are you intentional about how you use your time? I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s to a healthy, joy-filled, fun and intentional 2014!


stop doingNew Year’s Day is a fun day at our house not only because it is the first day of the year but also because it is my daughter’s birthday.  This year she turned 16 which was SWEET!

This evening we went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday and we went around the table talking about our plans for the year ~ things we wanted to do.  When it came to my husband he said that he was working on 2 lists, one for his personal life and one for his business.  He said each list would have 3 things he resolved to start doing and 3 things he resolved to stop doing in 2014.

It was the idea of resolving to stop doing some things that got our attention. The rest of us had not thought of things we were going to stop doing but we all agreed it was a great idea.

Last year I had made a resolution to write a book.  When I made that resolution I intended to finish it by the time the year was over. That didn’t happen.  I have spent a lot of time beating myself up about that so that is the first thing that I am going to STOP doing.

I am going to stop chastising myself for missing my deadline and wasting time on something I cannot do anything about. Every time I begin to lament about what I didn’t do last year I am going to remind myself that THIS is the year it is meant to be finished. I am going to be glad that I have gotten started and am on my way.

I haven’t had much time to think about it but I am going to work on the 3 things to start and stop doing for both my personal and working life.

How about you?  Do you incorporate things to STOP doing in your New Year resolutions?


It’s actually a pretty difficult time of the year for many. There are images everywhere of ideal family dinners but for some that is not a reality. There is pressure to buy presents and spend money yet there are those who are struggling financially. There are emotions that the holidays stir up that lay dormant for much of the year.

I understand. There is, however, a way to manage some of the things that make it difficult.

As I unpack the ornaments, I unpack memories with them, sweet reminders of past Christmases. Many of the ornaments that decorate our tree commemorate a milestone…Our First Christmas, Baby’s First Christmas…etc. Many of them were gifts from my mom. While the memories are sweet, the pain of loss is bitter.

For years I would slip away from the activity of decorating to collect myself and shake off the sadness but I have learned over the years to change my mindset. Now, I look forward to the tradition as a way of setting time aside to be with the memories and celebrate all the love that my tree holds:

  • a faded ornament from my grandparent’s tree
  • little treasures made with tiny fingers that are now full grown hands
  • chubby faces of babies dressed like santa and an elf (the things we do to our children!)
  • gifts from friends old and new

ImageHere are a few tips to help you navigate the holidays with cheer!

1. Identify those things that cause stress 

Is there something you are dreading during the holiday season? Are there difficult relationships that you will have to deal with? Is the financial pressure of gift giving stressing you out? Unless you identify the sources of stress you can’t address them.

2. Find a way to limit if not eliminate those things.

If there is something that you are absolutely dreading, you can take control over how it affects you by changing your mindset. Go with a different attitude and you may be pleasantly surprised how things turn around.

You may discover as you dig a little deeper that you are striving to meet other people’s expectations of you which is not a healthy motive for continuing to put yourself in a negative situation. If you can’t eliminate it altogether then consider limiting the amount of time or maybe gathering in a place or time that would be less stressful.

If finances are stressing you out let people know ahead of time that you will be scaling back and giving smaller meaningful gifts instead so that the expectation is set ahead of time.  Maybe it’s my age, but I enjoy thoughtful things my children have done like recording a song for me or putting a slide show together as opposed to store bought things.

3. Carve out some time for yourself

Even if it is something really small, do something YOU love to do this season.  Last night on our way home from picking up my daughter from work we drove around and looked at houses in our neighborhood all lit up for Christmas.  Normally we zoom in and out hardly noticing. While I was organizing my closet the other day I put on Miracle on 34th Street.  I am the only one in my family who really loves that movie so I made a cup of tea and watched (and was still productive!) Ok, so I did two things for myself!!

4. Let something go

Unless you are incredibly organized or not very busy it is likely that something is going to get missed this year. For me, it’s Christmas cards.  I love to send them, I love to get them but I am letting it go this year.  There are just too many things to do and not enough time. Making that decision freed me of having it hang over my head. It just wasn’t in the cards this year. (pun intended)

5. GIVE!

This should really be first but if the holidays are difficult, stressful or sad for you the absolute best thing you can do is GIVE. It’s getting a little late in the game but I am sure there are still causes that need and would gladly accept last minute help. It may be giving of your time or a gift for someone in need but it will be the thing that brings you great joy this season.


Wishing you and yours a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Last week I started a micro-blog called It is part of a project called 102 words. The objective is for the writers involved to discipline themselves to write every single weekday but only 102 or less words. It has been a challenge for me to limit my words because I love words and I use lots of them. My husband is painfully aware of just how many I need to use everyday!

These days we have so many opportunities to put our words out there to the world. We can easily disguise our life behind the mask of social media.  One can craft a persona just by typing out inspiring messages or boldly proclaiming our beliefs to the world. But are we really living what we say? 

How easy it is to talk about the love of God and the grace and mercy of Jesus. How hard is it to love someone who has hurt us or forgive someone who has wronged us or withhold words of judgement?

Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

Much of what I do involves words…speaking, writing, coaching. If I was to literally interpret this verse, it would be difficult for me to limit the number of words I use each day. The challenge then for me is to be very intentional about what I say. If my words cannot be few – may they be true.

God, help me to live what I say.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

I have noticed a pattern in my life.

God gives me a dream or an idea.


I get really excited and start making plans and goals and start working towards making it happen.


It takes WAY longer than I expected.


Something happens to completely distract me and the project comes to a standstill.


I get frustrated and begin doubting that the dream/idea was from Him.


I surrender it back to Him and stop trying to figure it out myself.


He brings it to pass in His timing.

Now that I recognize the pattern I can relax in His timing and not feel so frustrated when things don’t fall into place in my timeframe. Have you ever experienced that?


EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT: I have started a new project to offer a daily dose of encouragement to people who struggle with dark days called Positively Depressed.  You can find it at Please feel free to follow along there or share with someone who may need it!