My New Yoga Days

The strangest thing happened to me the other day. I have been going to see a chiropractor, which is strange in and of itself, because I’m terrified by any cracking of my body. I cringe and shiver if I even accidentally pop a knuckle, but I was starting to experience some back pain again and needed to feel like I was doing something about it. 

So, there I lay last Friday, face down, after a few adjustments and with one left to go. He said, “this one is going to be intense, because this is where you seem to be holding quite a bit of  . .  . CRACK . . . emotion.  Immediately, and I mean immediately, my eyes were leaking and soon I was in an all out cry.  Now, I tempered it with some little laughs, in order to quell the awkwardness, while pleading, “Sorry, I don’t know what is happening here.”  He was far from surprised and, evidently, he knew it was coming all along. He casually told me that I was holding emotional pain, because our bodies do that kind of thing, and to go take some time for myself to read and try to relax for the rest of the day.

You see, I used to eat a lot of corn dogs, “Cheese-Its,” cookies, etc. . .  If it was processed, it was mine. I used to think that anything yoga, meditation, gluten-free, organic, essential oil-ish, was for fancy people and, well, we all know I’m not fancy. But over the course of the past few years, I have changed.  I haven’t become any fancier, but I have dipped my toe into the waters of all the things mentioned above. I’m am a purist with NONE of the things above, but I really think there is something to all this stuff and I wish I would have discovered their importance in my life sooner.

For whatever reason, I actually felt like it was somehow anti-Christian to live in this sort of natural health world (as if corn dogs are more Christiany). In the case of yoga and meditation, I know how I came to that bent. They are spiritual practices and I knew so little about both yoga and meditation, it just felt safer to steer clear entirely.  It is seriously embarrassing to admit that. Jesus is so so so far beyond these little misinterpretations of what Christianity is all about. He is after after my heart, not my diet. He is for a life of freedom, abundance and grace, not rules. 

In addition to just feeling uneasy about the world of yoga, I was simply, also, very unlimber.  Any time I had even attempted yoga, before the past year, it was more of a stomach workout from laughing at how my poses looked, compared to the rest of the room. Fortunately, all the amazing instructors I have had, emphasize how yoga is a comparison free zone.   My friend Surya can attest to my novice yoga skills when she tried to teach me a little yoga . . . and that was before back surgery. Over the years, she has posted on FB her crazy yoga moves that would require the average citizen to dislocate their bones in order to get into her positions, so I was going to send her a picture of me touching my toes.  I’m still not quite there, but this may be as close as I get, so this one is for you, Surya.  

You see, I really do think God created us.  I think he created our bodies so intricately and so amazingly.  I think he created our bodies to be emotional, to be strong, to sometimes be weak, to recover, to live despite disabilities, to fight infections, to be taken care of, to be connected to our souls. Of course, when my body is not working or I see someone else in emotional or physical pain, I struggle so much.  While, I do sincerely struggle with the imperfections of our bodies,  I have always loved these verses.  Even enough to memorize them when I was in high school for some reason.  Psalms 139:13-16.  

For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s word. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was Made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.

I think I have separated my body and soul so far apart, they sometimes work at odds with each other.  I’m pretty convinced that grief and stress had a lot to do with the plight of my back. I don’t think I would be minus a disc in my lower back right now had Dave not died, or if I had known more about how the body stores emotional pain and how to let it go. I still don’t even know much about that world, but I want to know more and I believe there is a strong connection. Actually, that reminds me of another story.

In the summer, we went camping to a lake you should never go during the summer.  It was a million degrees during the day and then at night, there were tornado warnings.  We spent two of our three evenings huddled together with the rest of the campground in the women’s bathroom, to escape giant falling tree limbs, scary winds and what felt like imminent death. By the last day, my body was aching everywhere, like I had run to the top of Pikes Peak.  I kept trying to stretch and loosen up, but absolutely nothing helped. Finally, before bed, I decided to give yoga a try, and while I had stretched all day long, it wasn’t until I really focused on breathing and doing the stuff you are supposed to do while practicing yoga, that I had complete relief. That was when I was all in with this yoga business. 

I go to two different places for yoga.  One provides more of a challenge physically with an amazing instructor, Alison, that I love, because she tells you every little detail about every position and I need that.  The other place I go focuses more on the body/mind/soul/spirit/Holy Spirit connection. Here is a little bit from the about page of The Haven Studio where I go: 

 And as a group, we sink deep together and allow the space, the physical movement, and our heart’s posture to lead us into profound, personal and corporate worship.  Trust yoga asks the question: “What do you have for me today, God?”  In the Holy Spirit’s presence we gather, and like Samuel (I Sam 3) we open our hands and ask God to speak to his listening people.

All of that to say, it is an interesting road, seeing and experiencing first hand, how grief has affected my body and how I evidently am continuing to store emotional pain, based on my chiropractor visit the other day.  I want to continue to learn about God’s intricate design for the healing of our hearts, souls and physical bodies. (BTW-there is a grief yoga class by one of the Haven instructors this Saturday at Lifetime Fitness.  I think I’m going to try and make it and would love some company). 

This feels like a very unadventy post, but these soul and body connections feel important to me as I get ready to lean into the anniversary of Dave’s death and the celebration of the birth of my Jesus, my Wonderful, my Counselor, my Mighty God, my Everlasting Father, my Prince of Peace.     

Megan’s Take: Phew. This is such an interesting, convicting, sometimes divisive, yet important topic. God absolutely created our bodies and souls to fit together in harmony. In fact, the apostle Paul tells us that our body is a temple, a housing place for the Holy Spirit. So, why on God’s green earth, have we kept such a distance from healthy living (mind, soul AND body) in the church as a whole??  I have so much to learn in this regard, but your story inspires me, Holly. Not to give up sugar! Gracious. Let’s not go too crazy, but to sit down and ASK God what he may have for me in the way of healing in all senses of the word. Perhaps the most important question to ponder in all of this is WHY are we doing what we’re doing?? Is it to please man (ie., look cuter, skinnier, younger, etc for other people’s approval/interest) OR is it because the God who created us wants to lead us into abundant life and part of the process might be to take some intentional (potentially ‘drastic’) measures in order to head in that direction…

 Christina’s Take:

Body and soul being connected to each other….I feel like I keep hearing this in my life. I know you’re right and I have seen you shift from your corn dog days to you now more whole ways and I’d say it definitely agrees with you.

This whole thing makes me want to open up my hands and take about 10 big deep breaths – I’m just in the middle of such an intense work season that sometimes I craft a false notion that if I gut it out a little longer, more will get done. That’s a pretty good indicator if I’m honest that my body and my soul aren’t talking to one another.

Love this insight – and love your sweet humility and you showing us this new place.

Trying to Make Sense of Our Divided World

When our world is in chaos, we humans do the only thing we know to do. We try to make sense of it.

We stretch our minds to find any threads of sense in what seems like a nonsensical situation.

We cry, we laugh, we scream, we fight. But at the end of the day, our brains get to work. We start asking why and trying to figure out exactly ‘what’s going on’. We grasp at any semblance of normalcy we can find. When our world (either macro or micro) seems out of control, our focus often narrows to pinpoint precision. We zero in on our latitude and longitude and wonder how this chaos will affect us and those we care about. 

I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that last week was just such a week in the United (some may say Divided) States of America. Suffice it to say, Election Day did NOT roll out like so many supposed. Far from it.

It is no secret that I was not a fan of either candidate. That’s not exactly earth shattering news because I can’t find many who were. Even though I was hoping God would orchestrate some secret, divine “third” option in the wee hours of the morning, that was not the case. We all woke up on Wednesday and found out that while we slept (or hardly slept a wink) Donald Trump was indeed crowned President Elect of the good old US of A.

I’m sure I also don’t need to convince you that the outcome has just about torn this country in two. I would venture to guess if Hillz had won, it would be the same thing. Fear was bound to rear its ugly head and strike the hearts of a large number of American citizens, it was just a matter of which of ones. If it wasn’t clear before now, it is obvious there are cavernous political factions among us.

Many of you have decided to stay off social media and keep the roar of outside news to a minimum. Kudos to you. I have not been able to do that. I have watched in real time as “Facebook friends” post and repost articles that ultimately (we circle back to the top of this post) help them make sense of the world. And to make matters worse — many of those articles, both pre & post election, may not even be true!

Since those preliminary days (which was only last week), my mind hasn’t gotten much clearer about the world or the political happenings. In fact, things seem to only get more bizarre. Over the last few days, however, I have felt several key ideas settle into my heart. A few cornerstones of thought I’m adding to my days in the name of health and wellness and a desire to find my truth and move forward. (And by the way, I didn’t find any of these on Facebook.) 

1. “People need to have their say, even if they don’t get their way.” — Pastor Tim McConnell, First Pres Church, Colorado Springs

These stories flying around matter. We may vehemently disagree or not read them at all, but as a writer myself, I understand the need get something off your chest before it threatens to implode you entirely. People desperately want to be seen, heard, and understood. We want to know that our lives, our perspectives and stories matter. I don’t necessarily need you to agree with me personally, but I do need to know that you hear me and respect my story. Sometimes the greatest way to alleviate pain and anxiety is to share our stories, our truth with another person. To get things out into the light. To be heard. The internet just broadens the number of potential listeners. 

2. “Don’t take in information that you don’t have context for.” — Pastor Eric Johnson, Bethel Church, Redding, CA

This is where we need to execute DISCERNMENT with a capital D. The internet is an infinite chasm of information, of stories, if you will. Scrolling through Twitter or Facebook often feels like drinking from a fire hose. One click or comment can thrust you into a rabbit hole of gargantuan, time-sucking proportions. If I am going to take time to read things, to listen to other people’s stories, I have GOT to figure out a way to process what I’m hearing. Instead of a knee-jerk reaction, I need to slow down and sleep on it. I need to think, pray, read and gather alternative viewpoints before I can ultimately conclude my own. There are no shortcuts here.

3. My Truth is God’s Truth.

Listen, I’m not naive. I’m just as torn up and flummoxed as the next person about the state of the world. I know that we can’t gloss over everything with a magic wand. But for me personally, my faith is paramount and the absolute foundation of who I am and how I operate in the world. If I’m not taking time to reorient myself in God’s word and asking the Holy Spirit for divine wisdom, I will become what is most natural to me, what I have fought against my whole life. I will become a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again. (Stellar analogy cred to Katy Perry for that one.) The point is, without God’s word and presence in my life, I am a complete and utter basket case. Word. 

4. We Must Be True to What We Know.

A few days ago, a good friend of mine, messaged me on Facebook. He sought me out as “one who has voiced thoughts that are different than what many of your friends may be saying.” The article attached to the post that he wanted me to read made my stomach turn. (You can read it here). No matter who you voted for or how you see the world, this type of stuff is just yucky. After reading it, I replied to my friend and told him my stomach was in knots. I was sad that, in truth or perception, Christians are often viewed as some of the meanest people in the world. His response stunned me.

He wrote, “Well, if the Christian god is real and the Christian message is true, you are the most free people on the planet to love without reservation. I think I read somewhere that perfect love casts out all fear. Or maybe I’m just making that up. Be true to what you know.”

There it is, friends. This much I know is true…

 “Any kingdom at war with itself is doomed. A city or home divided against itself is doomed.”

— Matthew 12:25

I pray we can listen and love and build from here.  

I just may need to take a sabbatical from social media in order to do so.

Holly’s Take:

Does anyone else feel like culture is changing at break neck speeds?  Or has every generation before me said the same thing? It just feels like even in the past few weeks, I have repeatedly rehearsed the phrase, “What is happening in this world?” I can’t seem to keep up. I am saying the same thing inside the walls of my own home.  “What is happening?”  It’s as if there is something in the air and I keep looking to find a solid posture to take, but the wind won’t stop blowing, so I can’t find my footing. I want to just find a cabin in the woods, crawl under a down blanket with a flashlight and reexamine what I believe and remind myself over and over, who is in charge of this world and my little bitty world. In an effort to replicate that scene in real life, Megan and Christina and I have all deleted Facebook off of our phones and will be replacing those minutes (Lord, help me if it’s hours), with studying II Timothy. I don’t know what will come of it, and I think it will be harder than I think, to de-facebook my phone, but I up for the challenge if it means a some solid ground. 

 Christina’s Take:

These are the strangest times…or are they? Do we feel unsettled because of what is happening in the world or because of what we are consuming?

I, for one, have felt this slow slide into a fearful, angry sense of the world all while hooking my hopes to humans who will never be able to save anyone or anything.

So the time has come — let’s re-align our perspectives and start neighboring, friending and loving such that all of the madness on capital hill fades in the light of the True work in the world that we get to join. Thanks for this jolt of good news in the midst of the bleary season, Megan. 


Going Grey; The Real Deal of Momentous Decisions

This process of aging, getting older, cresting into middle age is not for sissies, people!

Related to that, I’ve decided to go grey. I can no longer keep up with the root touch-ups, salon visits, and highlighting work that is required of those of us who don’t walk around with their natural hair color.

This is me when at age 33 – already coloring my grey. (Side note: Jack was practicing his “I’ll-only-show-my-2-front-teeth-in-this-awkward-smile” phase.)

And in the wake of this decision I have found 3 reactions to this decision of mine.


“Good for you! Why not! It’s easier! It’s the real you! Celebrate all the years that went into making your hair just the color it is.”


<long pause> <long pause AGAIN while looking me up and down> “Why? Why would you want to do that? I mean, you’re not THAT old!”


“Well, good for you, I guess. You can always color it again if it looks too mousy or if you don’t like it.”

(Reactions #2 and #3 are usually the peeps that regularly get their “color done.” My decision puts them on edge. They feel like I think they should do what I’m doing. I don’t! I promise! But people can’t help but think about whether or not someone else’s decision should be theirs, too. So – as you can tell it’s complicated.)

 My twin sister and I - age 6, maybe? - nary a grey hair on our sweet little baby heads.
My twin sister and I – age 6, maybe? – nary a grey hair on our sweet little baby heads.

But I promise you – the work of staying brunette was not worth it for me. For starters, I was too cheap to actually “get it done” somewhere. So I regularly added hair dye to my grocery list and just chose something darkish brown.

So why is that a big deal? It just became something I concentrated on way too much. I tended to feel less put-together, less confident if I hadn’t maintained my color well. These were unattractive moments of mine – not just externally – so silly that a tiny bit of a grey skunk line appearing down the part of my hair would cause such consternation! But it did.

This is why I decided to just go grey.

My mom tells a funny story from years ago of going out for a run one morning after all her kidlets were off to school. She stopped to say hello to a friend who had slowed down in her car as she was passing. They had a nice little friendly chat. Then, back at home, mom noticed that she had little rivulets of auburn-colored sweat-dye running down the sides of her face – an obvious “bad dye job” dead giveaway. Apparently THAT was the day of my mom’s ultimate decision to become the silver fox. This is a story about which I have thought of often as I headed in the going-grey direction..

 Here's a pic that Megan's sister Katie took. I colored my hair out of a box that very morning. 
Here’s a pic that Megan’s sister Katie took. I colored my hair out of a box that very morning. 

Am I sometimes nervous about what I’ve done? For sure?  Is this some mid-life crisis, let’s-go-crazy, will-definitely-regret-it-later type of decision….you know the kind like when you decide to let the guy at Fantastic Sam’s (remember Fantastic Sam’s?) cut your hair with ALL the LAYERS because you just met him 9 minutes ago and he has the perfect plan for you and knows just what you are trying to describe? That is the kind if decision I fear I am making.

But most often I am peaceful about it. I’m hopeful that it’s a wise move forward – a move that matches my age, the state of my current life and also perhaps a statement (even if only to my own heart) about authenticity. 

 My sisters and I. Aren't they cute? This is at the beginning of the process. My hair is dyed blond to make the grey look a little less obvious as it grows out. 
My sisters and I. Aren’t they cute? This is at the beginning of the process. My hair is dyed blond to make the grey look a little less obvious as it grows out. 

These decisive moments seem like risks. They seem brave and certainly feel brave to me. You’re in essence stepping out and saying, “I know we try to hide these grey hairs with lots of money and time and salons and colors and heat but I want you to know what is really going on. All this time – my hair wasn’t actually L’Oréal’s chestnut darker brown. It was actually kind of salt and pepper with a grey or silver streak here or there.” It’s a confession of sorts, an admission to society that I wasn’t quite who I said I was and now – here’s the real deal.

 At the Brian Regan concert in August - plenty of grey hair there! Am I really doing this?
At the Brian Regan concert in August – plenty of grey hair there! Am I really doing this?

The real deal, indeed.

Ladies I open wide the gates of acceptance for us all. If you want to dye your hair until you are 112, I think you’re darling. If you decide to go “cold turkey” someday with your hair, call me! Let’s celebrate this moment of bravery! And for those of you who will TRULY never have a grey hair in your head, I simply offer my heartfelt blessings to you for superior pigment skillery. You are an anomaly and the hair industry sheds a tear every time they see you for you will never truly need their services. 

Have you made any brave decisions (hair related or otherwise) lately? How’d it go? 

 And here's a pic with the silver fox herself! I think it's in the genes. Why fight it? It's a losing battle anyway!
And here’s a pic with the silver fox herself! I think it’s in the genes. Why fight it? It’s a losing battle anyway!

Holly’s Take: 

This process has taken some real commitment. I am squarely in the camp of root touch ups right now and can see why you wanted to throw caution to the wind and say “die” to dye. I want to know if you feel different walking down the street? More confident? More freedom? Do you at all care what others think or are you so past high school? Have you wanted to punch anyone in the stomach, because of their reaction? (Don’t answer that if it was me). I love the new you, because it’s the same you and you are one of my faves, forever, when we all have locks of silver! 

Megan’s Take:

I’m just plain proud of you! You’re doing it. You’re being you! Not that dying hair or wearing make up or getting a facelift ISN’T us — it’s just that sometimes those things mask deeper insecurities. It’s interesting to come face to face with the things that we don’t think we could ever show the world because somehow that would indicate we are “less than” or not pretty enough by the world’s standards. Each of us has our own thing. For so many years that has been wearing make up for me. I remember in college, a guy friend (this always makes it worse right?) asked me why I wore SO MUCH make up? I remember feeling a like I had just been ‘caught’ or ‘judged.’ I suppose it didn’t help that I went to a hippie school so I stood out like a geisha. They didn’t shave their legs or take many showers either. It took me a lot of years before I felt comfortable letting people see me without make up. It took just as long for me to embrace wearing flats over heels. Baby steps. I, for one, think you’re one of the most BEAUTIFUL people I know!! And you come by it very honestly. #silverfoxesunite

PS — The hair industry sheds a tear every time they see me. The anti-aging face cream industry, however, rejoices. #keepingitreal

Heaven Help Us, it is, Time to Vote

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

— Isaiah 55:8-9

Oh how I pray this is so! Because my thoughts suck.

My thoughts go something like this…. How have we gotten to this place? How is it that our only viable candidates in this Presidential election seem like they’ve been plucked right out of the Hunger Games?

 Katniss, where are you??
Katniss, where are you??

How is it that in a democratic society (supposedly the best form of government in the world) we’ve narrowed our playing field down to a two (extremely-opposite) party system and to vote for any intriguing third party candidate is basically like throwing your one hard-won vote away? And who chose these people anyway? Only those who are either Donkeys or Elephants. If you find yourself unable to commit to one of those animals, you don’t have a voice until the bitter end. 

All these questions swirl as I watch this Presidential election play out in real time. Back in March I was afraid it would come to this, but held out hope we might find a better option. Apparently not.

Debate after debate, I sit on the couch with my children and cringe as the questions and comments come out of the mouths of the two people we have to choose from to be the leader of the free world!

One child asks, “How can we elect Donald Trump for president? I mean, have you SEEN his wife? She’s like 25 years younger than him? I hear he doesn’t even respect women.”

Another looks perplexed and says, “What does abortion mean?” as she’s listening to Hillary say she’s pro-choice even in late term abortions at the expense of the mother’s life and Donald equates her stance to saying she’s in favor of “ripping the baby out of the womb.”

And still another comments, “Have we always had so much emphasis on fact-checking? How are we supposed to know if anyone is telling the truth if we have to spend time fact-checking everything that comes out of their mouths?”

Good questions, young Jedis.

A common phrase around our house is, “let your yes be yes and your no be no.” There’s no need to ‘promise’ or ‘swear’ because we should say what we mean and mean what we say. We spend a lot of time reminding our kids that “words matter” and spouting my all-time favorite, “you’d better check yourself before you wreck yourself!” None of these supposed role-models are helping. 

So what do I do? How do I sift through the chaos and “vote my conscience” when neither one of these candidates is even remotely close. There is a red and white envelope sitting on my kitchen counter, daring me to open it. As of yet, I have not. Voting this year feels like someone just invited me to go back to middle school again. Not in a million years. And yet, puberty is part of growing up. We must endure it to get to the other side. Apparently, I have between now and November 8 to figure it out. (Please don’t say vote for Gary Johnson. He just stopped smoking pot to rally for this White House bid.)

Even though Mike Rowe doesn’t subscribe to the hashtag #rockthevote, I still plan to do so. I kind of feel like one of the players of Survivor who say they “still don’t know who they’re voting for” right before tribal council. Too bad our votes in November don’t go towards voting someone off the island. 

I know many big name people have written about the idea that, no matter who sits on America’s throne come January, our hope is still in the One who came to earth to save us from ourselves 2000 years ago. True justice and righteousness will never be found in any earthly system, but in God alone. While none of these candidates can “save our country” the reality is that there are countries out there that are hanging in the balance of this election.

Just the other day, we had the blessing of hanging out with a beautiful older man from Ethiopia. His heart and life come close to modeling that of Jesus himself. At the end of our evening together, the host of the get together asked this man to pray. After blessing Jesus for His extravagant love and saving grace, this man’s prayer turned towards praying for America’s election process. An Ethiopian man traveled half way around the world to pray for us! He prayed that America would step into its God-given leadership role to be a force for good in this world because if we do not, there are plenty of other countries (think China, Russia…) who are waiting in the wings to take our place at the table. And if that happens, I presume the outcome will be none too pretty. 

Listen, human government was never meant to save us. It was meant to placate us.

God has given us what we asked for in the way of kings and judges, but He makes it very clear that His Kingdom is the one of ultimate consequence. Paul tells us God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and the book of Daniel makes reminds us that God is the one who controls the course of world events (2:21), He deposes kings and sets others up. 

How will this election turn out? It’s anyone’s guess. Although if the kids have anything to say about it, we should be expecting our our first female president. 

At this last debate the moderator asked Donald Trump if he could accept the election results if he loses.  He said he would keep us in suspense. Cue national mic drop. I’m curious why they didn’t ask Hillary Clinton the same thing.

And now I might ask the rest of us. Will we be willing to accept the election results no matter what happens? 

Might I be so bold as to suggest accepting the election results will be a heck of a lot easier if we know that both of these people are human (just like us) and neither one is our true King? Making America great or “great again” or whatever turn of phrase you you’d like to use, will only happen if we (that means you and me and the whole damn lot of us) humble ourselves and pray — if we band together in love and respect to be the people this country set out to be.

At the end of the day, let me leave you with this…

“I pray that your LOVE for each other with overflow more and more and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding for I want you to understand what REALLY MATTERS so that you will live pure and blameless lives until Christ returns.” 

— Philippians 4:9-10

PS — Still wondering about the candidate/choices? Check this out

Holly’s Take:

Are you really making me take a take on this topic? I’m not sure I can be diplomatic about it.  I just can’t believe that the debates are the real deal and not the Saturday Night Live versions. These debates would be comical if they weren’t so scary/sad. What perked me up a bit, was finding out that this guy, Evan McMullin, actually has a 2% outside shot of disrupting the final outcome of the election.  I’m in.  He’s gaining some ground, evidently, and I like what this guy has to say and that he says it in a confident, non-degrading, intelligent fashion. I have wavered a TON about what in the world I would do on election day, but ultimately, I am finding a lot of peace in actually voting for somebody whose name I can speak out loud without cringing. Especially, now that I know, it could even actually make a difference. I’m sure this wasn’t a post intended for me or others to vomit, for whom they are voting, but I just lose my ability to filter, when the topic arises.  So . . . .who is everyone voting for?  Just kidding. 

Christina’s Take:

Oh my word. This is making my “election rash” flair up again. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure this out. In general, I have the impression (even though every Hollywood celebrity tells me I’m wrong) that my vote really doesn’t count in the grand scheme of things. All of this feels like I’m turning a mirror around so I see myself and all of my warts and flaws more closely – since I am so willing to join the chorus of jeers and sneers about either Hillz or Don. I’m grateful for this word, Megan. Perspective! We need it, don’t we?

Butterfly Miracle

I’m guessing this will be a long post.  This is one of those, it’s more for me, than for anyone else out there.  It is a documenting of a true life miracle and some of the in betweens.  You are already forgiven if you don’t have time to read this all.  

On September 5th, of this year, I went for a beautiful hike up through Stanley Canyon with some friends. On our way back to the car, I became enamored with this little butterfly. I don’t know if my friends remember, but I was kinda acting weird about it saying that butterflies are just amazing and that they are like a miracle . . . how their wings are so thin and their colors are so organized and symmetrical.  I even thought I was being a little weird.  Then a few days later, Tony and I watched the movie, “Miracles From Heaven,” and it was so crazy, because in the movie, (spoiler alert) when the little girl falls into the tree and is unconscious, she sees a butterfly and she follows it and she goes to heaven where there were flowers made out of butterflies. I vividly remember thinking back a few days before and making that connection between me calling that butterfly a miracle and then the miracle in this movie being surrounded by butterflies. I thought to myself, and I’m not making this up, “I wonder if I will see a miracle soon.”  


I used to think that all that stuff was just coincidence, but my thinking has changed over the last four years. I will also say that even though I have seen miracles before, I always think that big miracles will be for the person next to me . . . not for me. In fact, all my prayers those first couple days included something like, “Lord, please heal her, despite the thought that I don’t think you will.” Life sometimes feels too hard to keep believing in miracles. 

Just a few days later, on September 13, I went to a piano teachers meeting and on the way home, I called my mom’s cell phone and she didn’t answer. No big deal. She often times didn’t answer her phone, but already things didn’t feel right to me. So, I checked her location with my little, “Find a Friend,” app and she was at home.  I waited a few minutes as my heart rate continued to be a little high, thinking that I just needed her to hear her voice. She didn’t answer the home phone, either.  Now my thoughts were starting to churn.  My mom did not get the nickname, “Half ring,” by an old boyfriend for nothing.  My mom just generally answers her phone.  My dad had just been out of town, but I reasoned that he was back in town from a weekend away and that if anything was wrong, then he would have called.  I kept thinking that I should just call and make sure that everything was OK, but I kept talking myself out of it.  I called again at about noon and still there was no answer and I still kept thinking that I should call my dad.  I was VERY unusually concerned by my mom not answering the phone, but then I didn’t do anything about it.

When I saw my dad’s number pop up on my phone at 3:50, I was 98% sure she had had a stroke. She had been in the house, not able to move or speak for five and half hours, before my dad came home to a bizarre scene of the garage door open, the car door open, and my mom’s shoe in the car.  The car is where her stroke started.  She managed to drag herself back into the house, but then got stuck until 911 arrived hours and hours later . . . way too late to receive that stroke reversing drug.    

She was taken to the hospital, where they did MRIs, x-rays on her broken ankle, and finally an “intervention” (which took about 2 1/2 hours) where they went through an artery to clear out the clots in her brain. What we didn’t know at the time, is that the doctors were arguing about whether or not to even do the intervention, because they thought she was too far gone. Even after the surgery, the doctor overseeing all the doctors taking care of her did not think she would ever recover anything.  The orthopedic surgeon just splinted up her foot and thought he would check on her in a week to see if she had woken up at all.  

I finally saw her at about 9:15. My dad and I were in her room pretending to be listening to a doctor go on and on about his “doctory” knowledge of strokes. All I heard, was that the part of her brain affected was the left side, specifically where her speech and comprehension would be affected.  Those are the two words I didn’t want to hear. Then all of the sudden, my mom raised her right arm, (which we were kind of thinking would be paralyzed forever, since her brain was without oxygen for so long) and a new hope was born. She also got the word, “yes” out. While my mom began her battle for recovery, I was in a little battle of my own. 

That night was certainly in the top three worst nights of my life. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and responsibility for my mom not getting help sooner. I knew my thinking was twisted, but I couldn’t find a replacement for my thinking.  I kept saying, “I KNEW something was wrong and I did nothing about it!”  If I had only called my dad, she could have gotten that reversal medicine and maybe she’d have a chance at recovering. My thoughts kept centering around how I thought God had given me this push to be alarmed, but I didn’t listen or decipher it correctly and I’m to blame. I knew they were not true statements, but if I rejected them, then I would be letting myself off the hook and that didn’t feel right to me.  

I already had a counseling appointment scheduled for the next day, for all the other messy thinking and stuff in my life, so I just kept breathing until I could get there. There, with the help of a highly trained professional, we attempted to reject the lies and capture the truth.  The truths: I didn’t actually KNOW that my mom needed help, or else I would have done something.  This was not a test of my spiritual walk.  My ego was at play here. Hospitals are sacred places. It is not God and . . . .  That was the biggie.  IT IS NOT GOD AND . . . .  It sounds ridiculous now, but I kept thinking that God was trying to let me in on something and if I had just partnered up with him, then my mom would be OK, but since I didn’t, I would have to live with that and watch my parents struggle or even watch my mom die. The truth: God does not need me. I need Him. 

I walked out of that appointment ready to do this thing.  When I got to the hospital that day the report was much different than I expected. My mom was saying words and moving all of her right side??? She wasn’t making much sense yet, but there was certainly improvement beyond what anyone expected.  

By Thursday morning, her improvement was already entering miracle territory. The speech pathologist came in and within a couple minutes of talking with my mom, she said, “Wow! Even people who get the reversal medicine don’t recover like this.” That was like the most gigantic sentence in this whole deal, because it translated directly to,  “IT’S NOT GOD AND YOU, HOLLY – IT’S JUST GOD!!!”   God didn’t need me to save the day and make sure my mom got the stroke reversal medicine. 

Sidebar: A little comical part of that same session was when the speech pathologist was asking my mom to describe a picture and particularly what was wrong with the mom.  To which, my mom said, “Well, her skirt is really short.”  Spoken like a true mom!  

The next day was a long one, as they had decided to do surgery on her ankle, now that the doctors thought she actually might walk again. That was a sobering, yet awe filled afternoon, as the doctor filled us in on how dire her situation was and how they were not even going to do the blood clot intervention and had little hope of seeing any recovery. As the orthopedic surgeon was asking my mom questions and she was answering back, he kept turning to my dad and me, saying, “I just can’t believe this!!!!”  

It’s been four weeks now, since her stroke and she is home and continuing to build her strength back up and recover from her broken ankle. Every conversation with her feels like another little butterfly miracle.

 This was taken on Mother's Day of this year. Somehow we wore the exact same sweater???   
This was taken on Mother’s Day of this year. Somehow we wore the exact same sweater???  


Megan’s Take: It is not “God and….” Man! That truth hits me smack dab, SQUARE between the eyes. I was made for “God and…” I feel like so much of my life is based on that theologically unsound concept. I’m gonna partly blame it on our pull-yourself-up-from-your-bootstraps American culture and whoever coined the blasphemous phrase, “God helps those who help themselves.” It’s taken me a lot of years to “undo” that kind of thinking. Yes, we co-labor. Yes, works are an extension of our faith, but God does not NEED us, we desperately NEED him. I am profoundly impacted by this journey you all have been on. It is hard. It is mysterious. And it is oh so very good. Love you, friend. Major HUGS to Judy!! #butterflymiracles

Christina’s Take: 

I see a minimum of TWO miracles here; 

Judy’s healing


your ALREADY SCHEDULED therapy appointment!

I love it when we can link symbols to God’s action. And I am so thrilled that in the midst of this butterfly miracle, you are real and honest about the fact that this isn’t a normal way you think. To me, that magnifies this even more. I think when we make MUCH of God and make less of ourselves – these are the moments that show his Kingdom here on earth. And I am everyday thrilled that Judy  continues to thrive and mend. And I love that she’s telling her story now, too. I hope she continues testifying! 


The Unforeseen and Unwelcome

Many of you may know that Holly’s sweet mama had a stroke on September 13th.

Judy is in the hospital recovering from a still-very-much-evolving situation. This news is not my news. It’s not for me to share except for the fact that I have walked a post-stroke journey with my own mom for the last 5 years. So the news about Judy isn’t mine to share but it is familiar territory, unfortunately. Holly has given me permission to process this on the blog – and you can bet that very soon she’ll be adding lots from her heart about this unforeseen and unwelcome road.

And Holly is (in her own words) “undone.” She cannot fathom the idea that Judy’s going through this, that Judy is, by no choice of her own, trying to figure out how to do some very basic things that just the morning of September 13th were easy to do – not requiring a second thought.


Lord we need your mercy.

That’s what I feel as I type with utter disbelief in this word document that Judy Bonnell had a stroke. 


Lord, Judy needs your mercy.

How will you offer it?

And from those thoughts, my senses are jolted into a hyper awareness of what must be happening at the hospital right now. I just picture how the doctors and nurses and therapists and pathologists and CT techs are in organized, active buzz-mode trying to

inform, not promise

encourage yet not lend too much hope

educate while setting accurate, measured expectations.

in the unforeseen and unwelcome context.

What a complex web of data and emotions mixed with shock and grief must be wafting around Judy’s room and the hallways of that place. I just can’t take my mind off of it.

In the most absurd and weird way, hospitals are holy places – shepherding  us all through the unwelcome and unforeseen with some information and a plan.

Holy, Holy, Holy… Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. Holy, Holy, Holy. Merciful and mighty.

And even as the hospital staff mobilize to bring about healing for Judy’s brain and body, I find myself in the same place as I was almost 4 years ago now when Dave, Holly’s husband died. As her friend, as someone (among many!) who cherishes Holly and wants all the best things for her, what shall we do now? When to call? What to say? How to enter in? 


So many questions mixed with such a small dose of understanding.

I just cannot believe that things like this happen every day. I can’t believe that bodies fail and people hurt.

I just cannot even grasp this part of God’s story being written in Judy’s life.

This doesn’t happen to people who are so good and true and hard-working and kind and lovely in the world.


And so you can, by now, tell that this post is part lament, part prayer, part worship, and a lot of rambling clutter all mixed into a soup of confusion and pursuit of comfort.

What’s prompted in your heart when life takes an unforeseen, unwelcome turn? Do you want to make it all better with trite, concise answers? Do you want to put your head in your pillow and scream? Do you want to escape from the whole thing?

If you’re the type who prays (even once in a while), spend some concentrated time praying for Judy. Pray for her healing. Pray for Holly to feel continually grafted into the identity of hers that is most true; that she is Beloved. That when she listens to the voice of Jesus, she might also know more deeply the truth of who He is…who she is in Him particularly in this context of confusion, grief and heartache. 

And pray that for yourself, too. Blessings to those of you journeying through the unforeseen and unwelcome.


Holly’s Take:

This week has been nothing short of surreal. I haven’t even begun to unpack what has happened and what is happening. I feel like I have gone through a lifetime of emotions, yet felt very little, as minutes have ticked away at the hospital. I know bad things happen. I have not been spared from hard, so there was no reason to think this would turn out OK. The circumstances of Tuesday, September 13th, actually could not have gone a lot worse than they did starting at about 10:00 in the morning.  But at about 9:30 at night, one giant movement of my mom’s right arm set hope into this story. What has happened since then has consisted of swells of hopefulness, sleepless nights, another surgery, more wondering, more waiting, nervous stomachs everywhere, and absolute gratitude for life at post stroke day four (THERE IS NO WAY IT HAS JUST BEEN FOUR DAYS!!!!!!!).  My God! My God! My God IS! 

Megan’s Take:

Listening to Holly recount the events of this last week is truly jaw-dropping. I’m sure she will write about the emotional roller-coaster and the miracles she witnessed in her mom’s devastating stroke and beginning recovery, but from my perspective, this testimony continues to remind me that we serve a very big God! Of course, things could have turned out so very differently. If the outcome would have been bleak, we still would turn and praise our great God. We would have so many questions and tears of lament, but today, in this space God’s healing hand has left us all speechless. Or in Judy’s case — regaining, and full of speech! I continue to humbly pray and, hopefully, not take ANY day for granted. 

The Aldridge Side

I have always gotten along with Dave’s family. There has never been a time when there was a lot of conflict or great frustration between me and Dave’s parents, or any other family member of his.  I was always welcomed in and they certainly never meddled, almost to a fault.  But there has been a little change in our relationship (it is probably just on my side, so I’m not speaking for them), since Dave died.  

You see, I went to Pagosa right before school started, with Leah, Spencer and Macie to simply spend time with Dave’s parents, Janet and Paul, and hopefully catch a meal with his sister and brother in law, Linda and James.  I knew we would have a good time, but I’m not sure I expected to feel like those days were truly treasured days . . . treasured moments.

 This picture is a definite keeper!
This picture is a definite keeper!

When I used to go home with Dave, there was always the Dave element.  Dave loved loved his parents and he had a good relationship with them, but he would sort of power down when he would cross the threshold of their door.  It was weird.  I would always give him a little pep talk, before we would enter.  “Stay with me, Dave.”  “You’ve got this.”  There was a Dave dynamic that could be tricky. So, being the highly trained psychologist that I am, I would be trying to figure out all the dynamics and such.  In addition to that, there were financial decisions that his parents would make that seemed like they would affect us.  In hindsight, I think Dave and I made way too much about the decisions that they had every right to make the way they wanted to make them.

Now that those barriers are removed I can see so much more clearly, the pure love and tenderness and care that Dave’s parents have, not only for my kids, but even for me.  And I feel so touched.  I, also, can say that I had soooooo much fun with Janet.  I’m sure others see what I see, but for some reason, I feel like I get to see this little feisty side that others don’t, in this mild mannered grandma.  Not to mention all of the her stories and off handed remarks that made me laugh all weekend long. And I could go on and on and on about how much Janet and Paul love Leah and Macie and Spencer. Why did I ever bother to mess with the stuff in between them and love?  I have no idea.

Hiking up to “Treasure Falls” with Grandma and Papa.  I just realized that I kept referring to this trip as a treasure, so It’s fun that we hiked up to treasure falls on this trip!
 Treasure Falls is in the background.
Treasure Falls is in the background.
 Sweet Papa and sweet Leah.
Sweet Papa and sweet Leah.

Sidebar: You know what I think is so crazy?  Is that Dave’s mom, lost her mom when she was six years old, on Christmas Eve. Spencer was six, when Dave died three days before Christmas. What are the chances? I have always felt like that has given Dave’s mom, Janet, that extra little inner compassion for my three.  She actually does know what it feels like to lose a parent to death when you are six, right before Christmas. Sadly, death was handled differently back then.  She wasn’t allowed to talk about her mom, or have a picture or have any of her stuff. I can not imagine.  But what she went through, has given her something unexplainable in her relationship to her grandkids. 

It’s funny how the things that bother me so much about a person can be the thing that creates a special memory.  Like how I was “kinda” mad when I went out of town and Dave watched Star Wars with Spencer, without discussing with me if it was age appropriate.  And now, I know that Star Wars is a good connection that Spencer has with Dave dad and Tony dad. But back to the here and now, example.  Paul (“Papa”) likes his TV.  It used to bother me so much that he would sit and watch TV, while his grandkids played in another room. That just doesn’t even phase me, anymore. (In fact, I think the reason it bothered me, is because fear would tell me that Dave would start doing that).  Anyway, now, it was sweet how Spencer watched the news with Papa for an hour and came away talking about Trump and Clinton and how the news was actually interesting. And I have sweet pictures of Leah cuddled on Papa’s lap, while he rested in his TV lazy boy. 

 TV Snuggle Time.  (Sorry these pictures are so big - I can't quite figure out how to reduce the size).
TV Snuggle Time.  (Sorry these pictures are so big – I can’t quite figure out how to reduce the size).

This whole new dynamic doesn’t stop with Dave parents, either.   His sisters and their families are nieces and nephews are so gracious.  We had dinner with his sister who still lives in Pagosa.  The evening we spent over there was another little treasure in my memory. They saddled up their horses and let the kids ride, we roasted marshmallows over their fire pit, and we carried on with life, with Dave, but without Dave.  

 Macie feeding Bullet.
Macie feeding Bullet.
 Leah and Uncle James on Bandit.
Leah and Uncle James on Bandit.
 Spencer Riding Solo on the, not so fast, Bullet.
Spencer Riding Solo on the, not so fast, Bullet.

His other sister, Laura, doesn’t live in Pagosa anymore, so I didn’t see them on this trip, but I adore how they have made great efforts to remain connected to this family and have taken in Tony and Braden and Evan, as their family now, too. All that they have done and more importantly, who they are, requires much more than this one little post. I wish I had written about all the ski trips where Dave’s brother in law, Mike, had more patience than humanly possible when it came to teaching my kids how ski. How do I not have posts on that???  

Anyway, the gist of it is, I’m so fortunate to have relatives that I don’t even know what to call them. Are they “in-laws”?  “late in-laws”?  It sure doesn’t matter to me.  I just love how they love and I have learned so much from them.   

Megan’s Take:

I love this snapshot into life with the Aldridge clan. What an interesting and complex journey this is. On one hand, Dave was the one who brought you all together in the first place. On the other, it’s his absence that has made the heart grow even fonder. Funny (not funny) how tragedy really can strip your paradigm of all the “excess chaff”, the things that don’t REALLY matter in the whole scheme of life, and help you see the sweet moments and deep connections that might have otherwise gotten lost in the shuffle of real time hopes & fears. Oh that we would all live with this perspective in all times — not just in the wake of tragedy. Love you, girl.

Christina’s Take:

“with Dave, but without Dave…”

I’m still so shocked that Dave is not here. Just can’t believe it. But that you would head to his home town and work to connect with his family is such an important way to remember him and help your kids know who he was. Particularly with Spencer, I see so much of Dave walking around in this world. I’m quite certain that Dave’s parents see Dave in him, too. So thankful for people in our lives that decide on love even in the hard and the hurt and the grief. Sounds like Dave’s family are that kind of people. So grateful for this story and for your trip to Pagosa!






Mothers as Daughters — To Raise a Daughter We Must Be One

*** I (Megan) am honored to be one of the writers in the #prayersforgirls movement led by the beautiful, funny, fantastically southern, Teri Lynne Underwood. I’ve asked my WIP girls to take their takes on this month’s post. Always a treat to hear from them!! Beautiful daughters (and mamas!) that they are.

“We need to come to know who we truly are, that uniquely beautiful person that God has made us. And to have the courage to live accordingly. Each of us is a unique expression of the divine goodness and beauty. If we do not live that and express it in our lives, it will never be expressed in this world for the glory of God and the up-building of the whole Body of Christ.”

— Breaking Bread, Basil Pennington

Your little girl. She’s not perfect, but she’s yours. You remember her frame growing in your womb, morphing from coffee bean to plum to watermelon. You remember wondering if she would look more like you or great-aunt Grace. If she would be rational like her daddy or spontaneous like her mama. Or maybe she grew in the womb of another, her first days or years weren’t spent in your arms, but no matter, because somehow God directed you to her and now she’s woven her way so deeply into the fabric of your heart you can’t imagine your life without her.

Either way, this girl, though exasperating at times, is the most beautiful gift you could ever imagine. You have so many hopes and dreams for her you feel like your heart might burst right out of your chest and take on a life of its own.

When she is little, she throws on princess dresses and twirls around the room. You tell her she’s the most beautiful, smart, capable person you’ve ever known. She could be president or an astronaut, a doctor or an inventor. The sky’s the limit! And when she grows, shying away from unwanted attention (which translates to any and all), drooping her shoulders and trying to “fit in,” you tell her to stand up straight and smile because she’s the most wonderful thing that ever was. You cringe to think she would doubt her worth for even one second because she is your daughter — wholly and dearly loved, beyond anything she could dare to imagine.

This young girl, growing ever so quickly into young lady doesn’t want much, she wants it all. At the end of the day, she wants all any of us really want — to be loved, to be known and to know we belong.

She’s trying to figure out the world and her place in it. As such, she watches. And she waits. She studies those around her. She holds her breath to see how they respond when she enters the room. She takes her cues from others. Sweet mamas, she takes her cues — from you.

Mothers as Daughters

Yes, you are her mother, but you are also a daughter. Because, at the end of the day, if we are in Christ, we are all daughters of the King!It sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it? The phrase rolls of the tongue and looks great on Instagram, but what the heck does that even mean?

It is one thing to say we’re daughters of the King, but it’s another thing entirely to live like we are— to model such an identity so our daughters have an accurate blueprint as to how live into this truth on their own.

To be a mother means to provide, to nurture, to teach and to raise. To be a daughter means to receive, to be taken care of, to learn and be led.

For me, taking the role of mother seems so much “easier” sometimes because I don’t have to be vulnerable or ask for help. I don’t have to let my guard down and allow others in. As mother, I often vie for control. As daughter, I have to admit someone else might know better and have my best interest in mind.

One could argue that motherhood is really about daughterhood. It is only when we understand what it means to be a daughter, that we can truly be the mothers God created us to be.

As mothers, we wholeheartedly believe our children are fearfully and wonderfully made, so why do we have such a hard time believing that for ourselves??

May I suggest, asking the question and seeking the answer just might change everything.

For us and, dare I say, for them.

Perhaps you would like to add this prayer to your communications with the Father….

A Mother’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You spoke a word and the universe came into being. You passed your hand over the waters and formed the earth. You breathed your spirit and formed me. In your image am fearfully and wonderfully made! I am your masterpiece, created to do great things for the glory of your name. And yet, I confess, I often doubt this truth. I wonder if I have much purpose or worth in the greater scheme of life. Forgive me for calling into question your sovereign and purposeful hand. Forgive me for dumbing down your existence in my life. Thank you for promising to never leave me or forsake me. Despite circumstances that often swirl in chaos, I know you are with me each and every day. Nothing is beyond your grasp. I pray you would plant your word and spirit so deeply into the tender soil of my soul that I have no choice but to explode with your beauty and grace everywhere I go. I pray my daughter would see in me a woman who knows who she is and whose she is because I am deeply rooted in you. I don’t need to earn your love because I was created from it. I am your daughter — the daughter of the King!

**Inspired by Psalm 139, Ephesians 2, Deuteronomy 31

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Holly’s Take:

I love this post. To think about what role I would want to sit in most, it would definitely be daughter. I mean, being a wife takes so much work, being a mom takes so much energy, but being a daughter??? It takes just being you. And there you sit, being loved just because you were born and you exist.  I am crazy over my daughters. I love every teeninsy things about Leah. It’s not even healthy . . . the way, even when she is pill, I think it’s funny or cute. It drives my husband to the ever loving grave!  My relationship with Macie is different. Unfortunately, I don’t see cuteness and humor in anything when she is being a pill. I wish I did!  But I am crazy proud of Macie. I can’t even describe how far she and I have come. And I am so beyond thankful that I feel desperate love for her as my daughter, because that is not a given in the adoption world. Just a quick story. My husband is feeling a little uncomfortable with her taking Hip-Hop classes this semester, because of the stereotypes and such, but she is such a gifted little dancer and I already can’t wait to see her doing head isolations and shaking the booty. It is her first activity that she is doing without Leah and I can’t wait to see all of her Macieness shine through. Holy Cow! I can’t believe how much I’ve cried writing this, thinking about how much I love those two crazies and how God loves me like that (except way more perfectly, of course).   

Christina’s Take: 

I know this beautiful and important concept has been percolating in your heart for a little while now. I love what has become of it.

This is something that, if we let it, could really impact 20+ different encounters a day.

The way I view my own body, mind and soul spills into all of the work I do in my house and outside my house.

The other day I was sitting on the deck with my 12 year old, Audrey, and I felt compelled to tell her that I like everything about her. It was a blanket statement that I made because I really and truly meant it. But could I say and mean the same thing about little ol’ me??

There’s work to be done….thanks for holding that important mirror in front of us. 

Dear Me at 80

Dear Me at 80,

Well, Me, you’ve made it to another milestone. You’ve likely cracked a few more phone screens and racked up more casualties in the laundry-black-hole-for-sock-pairs. In summary, you’ve won some and you’ve lost some more, no doubt. Nevertheless, can I offer some suggestions for your life now at age 80? Take it for what it’s worth – this lady giving you advice is half your age…


For one thing, who is keeping track of the items on your bucket list? Why is this “a thing?” And for heaven’s sake, what happens when you finish checking all of those items off? And why would you opt for YET ANOTHER checklist when there are so many in life as it is?

How about this?  Live each day. Don’t turn down opportunities for adventure, for real, for true life. I hope you never stop pursuing true life.

BUCKET LISTS ARE STUPID, don’t have one.


Did you ever just roll around on the floor with a grandkid and giggle? Did you ever pretend you didn’t notice your gigantic milk mustache just so someone else would laugh? Did you ever squeeze mashed potatoes through your teeth? Did you ever have a great sacrilegious laugh in the middle of a quiet church service?  Did you do any of these things after the age of 65? I hope so.

SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY, by making sure to do fun and goofy things.


Why’d you care so much about what other people thought? Why’d you spend so much time shaving your legs, sister? And why did your email inbox stress you out all those years? When you’re 80, you are going to have more wisdom in your little pinky finger than most people. Don’t waste that wisdom but don’t force it on people either.

In my 40’s (you may remember) I started craving time with the wise women in my midst. They were lovely, confident, and soft – and you can be too. It will be a gift to another woman. Craft that. Living one day at a time steeped in the realization that you’re not the author of your own story will help.

CARE LESS ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK. Be willing to be misunderstood.


Don’t judge the younger people around you. Navigating life is so difficult. The challenges folks younger than you will face are going to be unique and you won’t be altogether familiar with them. For heaven’s sake – don’t latch onto the notion that you have every answer and can show someone the way. This is not your job. Your job is to love, live and serve as Jesus guides you every day. You’re not the morality police or the values cop.

You just aren’t.

And if at 80 you think you are, you’ll find yourself more and more – um – how do I put this?…. angry and alone.

Oh – and this kind of goes along with not judging the young people. I hope Fox News and anything resembling its fear mongering “news” dies a slow and painful, embarrassing death. I hope you find better things to do with your time.


When you fall or when you can’t read the newspaper or when you can’t drive – ask someone to help you. And don’t hint about it. Don’t passively aggressively say you sure would love to go to the concert but no one will take you… just ask. People you’re in relationship with will really love helping you with things like this if it’s not a guessing game full of tension and bad vibes.

And even though you’ll think it’s all too expensive, have an updated eyeglasses prescription, get hearing aids. Just spring for those things – they’ll help keep you present with others.


I hope by now you have told someone that you don’t want any major heroic life-saving measures carried out for you in a health crisis. If not, write that down somewhere right now…on the back of a receipt if you have to. And maybe write down a few of your favorite hymns and passages of scripture for your funeral. I bet you still love “It Is Well” and “Give Me Jesus.”

BOTTOM LINE? Lose the world, invite in heaven as much as possible.

I’m convinced my favorite moments in life have been and will be when I have lost the world’s sense of myself and gotten carried away in a moment of true-ness whether sad, happy, industry or worship.

Last summer, I was taking a walk with my father-in-law (a precious gift in my life who comes to visit with my mother-in-law a few weeks every year) and we were just talking; about his dog growing up, about the indentation a leaf made in the sidewalk so many years ago when the concrete was being poured, about the patch of blue sky off in the distance that was peeking out of a storm cloud. Before I knew it, I had forgotten about my day at work, about whatever kid issue I had decided to worry about. I was just….walking….and talking, decompressing and really living. Figure out how to do that more often. Do that often with the people you love and the people who love you.

Mary Oliver says it better than anybody, I think: “To live in this world, you must be able to do 3 things:

1)      To love what is mortal

2)      To hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it, and,

3)      When the times comes to let it go, let it go.

Sweet readers; what did I miss? What do we need to remember – not lose sight of – years and years from now? 

Megan’s Take:

Why is it so easy to romanticize about these kinds of things, projecting all the MOST IMPORTANT ideas and concepts into the future, but so hard to actually live them out now??? I’m totally down with the no bucket list thing. That just perpetuates a “woulda, coulda, shoulda” attitude. Reminds me of all the things I may never do. But the “spend time wisely” deal. Oh man! That one hits me deep down. I’m such a “doer” and a “thinker” — it’s VERY hard for me to just slow down and enjoy the moment. To soak in the present. That’s why I count it such a gift to go on a Young Life camp assignment. We just spent three weeks at Crooked Creek Ranch in the mountains of Colorado and I could do nothing but live in the present. Everyday chores were stripped from me and I got to slow down and enter into the relationships set before me right then and there. And part of my core personality is wired to justify my decisions to everyone and their brother. That definitely gets exhausting! Thanks for reminding me to be true to myself, the God and the people I love. And passive aggression??? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Holly’s Take:

Even though I’m only 41, I feel like I am way up there in years. Maybe it’s being a widow already or already going under the knife with back surgery . . . or trying to step parent . . . who knows, but I seriously feel like I am in my 60’s at the very least. Yet I have nothing figured out.  I know some older people right now, that have that thing . . . that peace in the midst of storm . . . that deep love and compassion for others … that relationship with Jesus that is so rooted that a hurricane couldn’t touch it. These women . . . you can sense these things about them from a mile away.  Then when you hear their stories, you know how they got that way. I sure hope that when I’m 80, I won’t be living on the same level that I am now. I hope the years between now and then are years to grow rooted in the deep bedrock of God, yet my vision will be from above. Not so in the middle of all that I can’t see a bigger picture, like I am now.  


Humbled and Confused

There are a lot of things on my mind lately, particularly with continuing to try and blend this family.  It is not easy, as every person under this roof has experienced great loss in one form or another.  So, either I have actually had the capacity to think beyond our craziness this summer or I just need a break from it, so I’m writing WAY, WAY, WAY outside my usual box.

I can’t stop feeling this wrestling over the issue of the church and the LGBTQ community. Maybe that is such a weird thing for me to be writing about, but it is holding a tender place in heart right now, which is a strange combination of gratefulness, confusion and wrestling.

I want to start with gratefulness. I feel so grateful and humbled and honored that I have friends that are gay or lesbian.  I feel honored that they know that I love Jesus, yet they have always accepted me. I feel so so so so lucky for that gift. For whatever reason, Manitou seems to have a higher population of lesbians (Ugh – I don’t even know what the PC word is??? Should I just be using “gay”? I need a lot of grace in this area folks) and so, naturally, I have gotten to know some sweet friends that are not in my churchy bubble and that gives me so much life.  

These friendships that I feel so fortunate to have had, all contributed to me taking a longer, harder, hopefully a more gracious look at my heart and this subject.

I just want to tell you about a couple of my friends. One friend was kinda like my bus stop buddy. For two years, she and I were the only two at our bus stop.  I was always itching for adult interaction during those little kid years, so I would pretty much make her talk to me, even if she was trying to look busy grading papers in her car.  And every day, we would talk and laugh and I’m sure she has no idea how much I looked forward to our laughs. 

One night I was taking a walk around the neighborhood a few months after Dave died. The first gal I ran into had been married to another woman for many years and had older kids.  She stopped me and asked how I was doing and she said she had seen me throwing the baseball at the park with Spencer. She said she would love to work with him, if I needed someone to help him with his throwing.  (Based on his throwing now, I should have taken her up on her offer back then . . . although it’s finally starting to look a little better). As I continued on my walk that night, I just happened to come across two more same sex couples that I didn’t really know, but ended up in conversation with them.  I was changed after that night.

I also have one sweet friend who was like my personal nurse during my back surgery era, who was willing to open up and talk freely about her treading into the new waters of dating other women. I still feel so honored that she would trust me with her thoughts and stories, knowing that I love Jesus and that I think the Bible is the truth.  I also feel so honored that she and her partner came to my wedding.  She knew there would be lots of churchy friends and talk about Jesus, but I hope and I think she trusted that me and my friends would be so thrilled that they were there.  I’m so thankful that she gave me the benefit of the doubt . . . that I would not judge her or try to change her or anything else, but care about her (and beat her in ping pong).   

So, all that to say, I feel so fortunate to have people who have trusted me with their stories and it has made me change.  I don’t think of gay and lesbian people as a whole group of people anymore, but as each individual.  I’m sorry that I have not always done that.  

You see, I can’t name one gay person that I knew growing up, except for one and I didn’t realize it until later.  I went to Oklahoma Baptist University, where if someone came out of the the closet, it was like a scandal.  In my 20’s I knew of a few people, but I didn’t KNOW anyone who had a different lifestyle than mine (again, please forgive me if I chose all the wrong phrases or words). 

So, onto the confusion and wrestling. Without the friendships I have made, maybe I would have never made it to the confusing and wrestling stage.  Maybe I would have always stuck to not thinking about it at all, or only going as far as knowing the Bible seems to say it’s not God’s best plan. So, here is the long and the short of it.  I desperately want everyone that I know, no matter their background, their beliefs, their skin color,  their sexual orientation, etc . . . that I care about them as an individual. Every person. I desperately, also, love Jesus.  Jesus is everything to me.  I want to honor the Bible and honor God.  I really don’t think these things are opposed to one another, because God’s love is so far greater and more pure than mine and he loves everyone with a ferocity I will never understand until heaven.  However, I’m not sure that in this society, I can quite figure it out. I mean, I think it is easy, but to convey it is so hard. I know that I am not in a place of judgement.  I know that the Bible calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  I WISH the Bible did not say anything about homosexuality being a sin.  I WISH I knew how to interpret it the exact way that God intended. I wish there were clear answers about how to do this. I do appreciate what I heard once about this topic from an old pastor.  “When in doubt, choose grace.”  – Jim Singleton.  That has been so freeing.   

I watched a video this week from one of my favorite childhood pastors. He was always so funny and engaging when he would occasionally speak. But even as funny as he was, he evidently had a secret life of alcoholism for many years. He ended up going to rehab and eventually helped to build a church for people who would not typically walk through the doors of a traditional church.  His heart is GIANT for the marginalized, the hurting, the people who don’t feel loved by God, and a portion of his church are those that feel rejected by the church based on being gay.  Although his heart is huge for each person in his church, his conviction about gay marriage led him to decide that he could not personally officiate a marriage between two people of the same sex.

So, in this video, he was stepping down as co pastor, from “The Refuge,” whose mission is “dedicated to helping hurting and hungry people find faith, hope, and dignity alongside each other.” It also says on their website: “We are old, young, poor, rich, conservative, liberals, single, married, gay, straight, evangelicals, progressives, book-smart, street smart, certain, doubting, hurting, thriving.” Upon watching the video, it seemed to me, like he didn’t want to be the cause of hurting anyone, but he also had to hold fast to what he believed was true. I literally watched that video and cried . . . WAY harder than I thought I would. Cried for the pain and hurt that surrounds people not feeling loved, people who feel misunderstood, people who are trying to love and everything in between this issue(“issue” seems like too light of a word, doesn’t it?).  I know God doesn’t need me to defend him, so I don’t need to take a defensive posture.  I do want to honor God, (although I don’t all the time in other areas), I do believe the Bible is truth and I want to know the truth of what God is saying and not think that I can make it fit to what I WANT it to say. I believe that God would never want anyone to feel unloved and uncared for, based on following Him.  So, how do I do this?  The only thing I know, is that as long as I am wrestling with this, I have no pride in thinking that I know the answers. Without answers, I have to continually be connected to God and I know I just need to keep loving others and being aware of my OWN enormous amounts of sin. 

Thanks for grace from all sides of this whole deal. I’m sure I delivered all kinds of unintended messages in here.  I claim to know very little, but I hope that my heart is somewhat understood. I typically only write about my life, which isn’t all that controversial, so this is certainly new for me. (Hopefully, this isn’t controversial, either).  I have actually tried to write a couple different posts, but I just kept feeling like this is the one I needed to write.

Christina’s Take:

“….as long as I am wrestling with this, I have no pride in thinking that I know the answers…” That is the key to this post. I think part of living in a thriving, dynamic culture is continually being willing to work out what we believe and be willing to understand things in a new way. This is so so important. Sometimes I want to say to my gay and lesbian friends, “I’m so sorry for the way Christians have marginalized you and I’m so sorry for the ways that I have done that to you. I really like you and I don’t want you to think there’s more to our friendship than the connection we’re enjoying right here and now.” Thanks for blogging about this – I hope there’s a rich conversation filled with kindness and creativity that ensues.

Megan’s Take:

Another key phrase to me is, “I’m sorry if I haven’t always done that.” Recognizing there are numerous occasions when we speak without thinking or judge too quickly (or at all) is an important first step. In this world of so many factions, it’s easy to lump a whole group of people into one label. To dismiss or view as “less than”, but Jesus never did that. “Us” and “them” is such a dangerous mentality. He always looked at each person as an individual, wholly and dearly loved. My prayer is to live with Jesus’ eyes. Eyes to see the image of God in each and every person — with a story and a longing to be loved and known. Like you, Holly, I wrestle with so many things. I truly have no answers except — JESUS. At the end of the day, He is speaking to each of us and our job is to open our hearts to hear what he has to say and (hopefully) walk in his way as one body — one people. I recently heard a pastor say, “Unity is not possible apart from diversity. Apart from diversity you just have uniformity.” Unity in Jesus is what I hope for as we continue to see His Kingdom come…