Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kitchen Counter Intentions

As I slog through life, the day-to-day stuff.... Cooking, cleaning toilets, folding laundry... Sometimes I look for the meaning in it all. Do you know what I mean? I mean, I like food (Ok, I LOVE food) as much as the next person, I enjoy a clean toilet, I appreciate a clean counter....

But that can't be all, right? (Did I really just type "I enjoy a clean toilet"??!)

I've been thinking quite frequently lately about what it means to live intentionally. I had an epiphany this morning. It came as I was in the middle of teaching my youngest at the kitchen table... While baking cookies... During an interruption of these two things, actually...

It came in the form of a deep, meaningful conversation that took place between my oldest son, my husband, and I. 

At the kitchen counter. 

It occurs to me, it OCCURED to me, that intentional living isn't necessarily going OUT and finding purposeful pursuits. Nor does it always mean big external changes.

Sometimes it is just stopping. Recognizing. Making a space for beauty and connection and love to happen. Looking someone in the eye in an unhurried way. 

Prioritizing relationships over to-do lists. 

...and having the margin in which to exist in that space because you HAVE done the things on your to-do list regularly. 

I'm finding intention to be much less about doing new things and much more about being present and purposeful in the already-happening things. 

It is a work in progress, for sure. 

My kitchen counter has seen a lot of things. I think of the joyful celebrations where it has been laden with a variety of dishes filled with delicious treats. I remember hard times, during which prayers happened over the counter. I recount many, many conversations with my sons, especially my older son as he has grown into a man. Often as I was cooking a meal and he wandered in. 

Precious things. Wonderful moments, full of meaning and purpose. 

Finding the intentional moments in my day, I can tell, will mean many hours over my kitchen counter. Whether that's working, or praying, or celebrating..... Listening, weeping, talking... I'm not sure. 

But I'm in. All in. 

Monday, February 24, 2014


  1. move out of or away from something and come into view.

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” 
― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter


Yep, that sounds about right.

Do you ever look back at a particular time in your life and think to yourself, "Wow. How on earth did I get through that?" 

I do.

Newborn times come to mind. I know I felt like I was underwater, literally, during those periods. Like life was foggily occurring around me and I could see shadows and hear muffled representations of what was happening, but I was not a participant, at least not fully.

I am beginning to realize that these last years have been like that for me.

It's odd though, I only realize it now that I am through a good deal of the darkness.

It's been a hard time. 

There have been good parts too- such good parts. Seeing the tangible, practical ways in which those who care about me live out their love for me.
Seeing the grace and newness of this fresh Spring season of life. Noting and admiring the strength and emotional fortitude of my children. Loving and being loved in truth. 

Good things.

I feel somewhat ungrateful, talking about the dark things, the hard things, the pain. If I had to choose between remembering the good or remembering the bad, I know, with absolute certainty, that I would forget the bad in a heartbeat.

It doesn't work that way, though.

I want it to- but alas, once again my wants don't dictate the universe.


I've had to face the unhealthy ways I've dealt with my insecurities. Deal with people's gossip. Face the fact that if my identity consisted in the life I had before, it was lying in rubble at my feet. 

I've had to deal with anger. Grief. Fear. Rejection.

I think the hardest part was having to take the stripped down, no-frills version of myself and accept it. 

I like accessories. Like committee titles, being married longer than most of my friends, always having the answer, being a "perfect" parent (that's hiliarious by the way)...... those things make me feel.... presentable. 



But guess what? When you don't have those shiny features for awhile, you get to experience the humility and utter joy that comes when people love you anyhow.

I've truly experienced community. As a taker as well as a giver.

It is beautiful. Humbling, but lovely.

I'm not going back.

Emerging, to me, is a process that by its very nature lends itself to permanence. That is what I mean about not going back. Like birth. Or puberty. I mean, seriously, you can't go back. Once you've emerged, going back is just yuck

I look forward to the next part of the story with anticipation. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

God Hates Divorce

"God HATES divorce."

I've often tried to pin down and articulate what bothers me so terribly when people speak these words to me.

It evokes feelings of despair, shame, a bit of hopelessness, and anger. The anger smolders beneath the other emotions, and sometimes takes a while to bubble up, but it's there.

The possible conclusions I've come to are...

"This person doesn't know my story."

"Who are they to judge me??"

"Well, now, does God hate me too?"

"Maybe it just bothers me because it is true."

I mean, that last one is the most reasonable. It IS true. God does hate divorce. Of course He does. It is the severing of something that was supposed to remain permanently joined. I get that. I hate divorce. Hence my confusion at my internal recoiling.

The whole Duck Dynasty media frenzy clarified things for me. (Really, Shari?? Of all the things to bring clarity to a deep-seated pondering......) 

Well, but it did. See, I find I hate people using God's words as, well, weapons. Intentionally or unintentionally. I mean, God can hate the things we do while still loving us.

.....WE however, you and I, we're not so good at that. At least I'm not.

You know the old, "love the sinner, hate the sin" thing?

I feel like that comes out looking a lot like straight up hating both, just in a tidy package that somehow seems more acceptable.

It isn't though- it's worse.

It's like that relative that says mean things in a nice tone of voice. It insults and degrades you without giving you the opportunity to respond, because it's posed as niceness.

I'm not sure I have the desire to pick and choose the parts of God's word I want to skewer other people with. Mostly because I'm quite certain that there are equally parts of God's word that I (ignore, fail to follow, struggle with, ignore, well.... you get the point).

Now, before you start hollering at me about how we need to speak the truth in love to people, let me get ahead of that- I'm all for that. I have friends in my life that fill that role. For whom I fill that role.

....they love me. And I love them. So when I tell them the truth, even if it's hard, or (more often) when they tell me the truth, I can hear them, take it in, and digest it. Process whether or not I need to make changes.

Mostly because I know I don't need to be defensive, because people who tell me the truth in love are going to love me and accept me even if I don't agree with them. Or if I ignore their advice. Or if I fail.

I think it is because they, my friends, are so good at loving me. Accepting me unconditionally and offering me loads of grace.

 God is good at that.

Somehow, I know that HE hates divorce, but loves me.

That's good stuff.

I am unspeakably grateful.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Reflections on a Run

Sometimes, you go for a run to make sense of things. Or to be alone. To run off anger. To cry. To expel the despair welling up inside of you. Maybe to shake off the unfairness of a wound. There are a million reasons, all compelling. All profoundly personal. 

There is a deep sense of familiar rhythm on a run like this. A tempo that stirs from a place in the depths of your chest and longs to be matched- by your feet, your pulse, your breathing. 

Today, what I notice with clarity is the amazing sameness around me. I've pounded this sidewalk hundreds of times. I observe certain things I've beheld over and over again. The crack in the sidewalk that's patched over with blacktop. The metal mark of an old local fence company. The spot where the tree grows too low. The squiggly line where the sprinkler at the school makes the dirt run across the white of the sidewalk. 

I've run this route so many times. Anxious times. Times when I was filled with fear, or uncertainty. Sad, broken times. Joyful, victorious times. 

I have wept along this path. I have spoken, out loud, the very words I would not allow myself even to think in the quiet places of my mind. Things that have been...

...ugly worst insecurities broken hopes anger over betrayal

Sometimes you go for a run to make sense of things. You want to feel and be numb. You want to rage and be made calm. You want to find a way to have justice, yet be content without it. 

To be more specific, more vulnerable, I want those things.

I look up at the gathering clouds, and see within them a strip of blue sky. It seems comforting, a promise almost. A sliver of something clear and good amid a sea of gray.

And then the rain starts. Sprinkles at first, and then large, fat drops. They hang on my eyelashes. Drip off my hair. It, too, the rain, seems reassuring. Cleansing. Soothing. 

Sometimes you go for a run to make sense of things. And sometimes, things don't make sense. And it is ok. 

And that is enough. Because truly, things don't have to make sense. They often don't make sense.

Sometimes you go for a run to make sense of things. And you end up with the same questions you started with, but with a sense of peace. 

Peace, I'm learning, is better than all the answers. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Moving Forward....

I don't like the phrase "moving on". I mean, I know there are some situations which are aptly described using these words, but somehow it doesn't fit my life

..... I prefer "moving forward". Because, although things have changed in my life, I haven't moved on. I've worked through and pushed past and carried on..... 

I am broken and healing. Changed. Better. Stronger. More sure of who I am. Less afraid. I understand some things I wish I didn't, but I can see how I am wiser for the discovery. 

I have known hopelessness, despair, faith, grief, rejection, and acceptance.

I have seen, and boldly experienced the goodness of God.

I am, above all, thankful. 

......and continuing to move forward, one step at a time, one "next right thing" at a time.

It seemed appropriate to start a new blog. I have no desire to go back through all the recipes and posts in  where I chose to share the tidbits of my daily life and somehow sanitize it, as though what was my life now needs editing. I don't regret my life, any of it. I refuse to act as though I didn't fully live and love the years of my life because it didn't turn out the way I'd planned. (I feel as though this paragraph somehow creates a mental picture of me stamping my foot and crossing my arms, which isn't entirely ill-conceived....)

I am looking forward to this part of the journey. Wherever it leads, I know that freedom will be a recurring theme. I relish that. Immensely.