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Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light

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Freedom and Waking Up

While most are gearing up to celebrate our freedoms or perceived freedoms on the 241st birthday of the United States of America my mind drifts back to a morning 9 years ago.

My life had been turned upside down and my heart was wounded. I didn’t know how I would make it through this time in my life. I didn’t want to wake up. I dreaded mornings. On some level I knew we would make it through, but it felt like I was swimming through liquid lead. 

July 4, 2008 I walked out of my bedroom to find this on my dining room table. This gift of beauty, so thoughtful and much needed. It was like water to my parched soul. 

What do you do when you feel like you can't ever get out of bed again? Life has you beaten, or so you think.

I had kept my kids up really late the night before so they would sleep in. I was tired and wanted to sleep in and have peace in the morning. My friend, Sarah Nichols, had walked into my house that morning and left this gift on the table.

I had heard the door open, but thought that maybe it was Christopher letting the cat in or out. I didn’t think much of it at all. I didn’t know someone had walked into my house, only a few feet from my bedroom door and left a gift that changed my life.

I had previously told Sarah that I was having such a hard time getting out of bed. She wrote 30 or so reasons of why I should most definitely get out of bed. I remember calling all four kids into my room to hear these reasons. I wept as I read them:

  • Dusty
  • Sage
  • Ireland
  • Christopher
  • There’s something new to learn every day
  • His mercies are new every morning
  • “…for He Himself is the giver of life and breath and all else.” 
  • because if you do it today, you can do it tomorrow
  • You don’t want to miss out on life.
  • Sunrises!
  • All things work together for good to those who love God
  • You are fearfully and wonderfully made
  • Because fact is, Jesus loves Dar!
  • Music (esp. 80’s rock)
  • You’re beautiful
  • Because of His grace!
  • The love of Christ compels us
  • Because even dandelions and thistles are resplendent with God’s glory. 
  • Hot chocolate!
  • Facebook [it was fairly new back then]
  • Freshly picked blackberries

There are several more. 

You know what that did for me? It really did give me some reason to get out of bed even when it’s SO hard.

I am grateful for that gift. It stays in a drawer right next to my bed. I think of it when I am sad or feeling overwhelmed. That simple gift has catapulted me into the life I have now. 

Sarah has left this world to be with Jesus. Though she is so missed, it’s the perfect place for her. She has impacted hundreds of people by the way she walked in love.

I want to be like that, too.

 

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A Day To Remember

Life is precious. It’s short. We get old and talk about how quickly life passes us by. A loved one dies and not matter how old that person is, it simply wasn’t enough time with them.

I went on a walk with my dog today. We cried. Okay, I cried. I cried because I’m so proud of my oldest son, Christopher. He’s been in Georgia at boot camp then his cavalry scout training. I’m so happy for him and I’m so sad for me that I couldn’t also be there. (Truth be told, I’m struggling with feeling angry, left out, and jealous about the whole thing, too. Yes, I realize it’s wasted energy to entertain those emotions.)

Winter sent me a short video clip of the end of the graduation ceremony. I cried then, too. My little boy has become a man. The baby picture of him is when he was 10 months old on our first Mother’s Day together. Now, he’s a 20 year old military man. I don’t know how these 20 years have past so quickly. One day he’s here cuddling with me on the couch and the next day he’s a soldier. One day he’s telling you all about Star Wars characters and the next day…oh wait, that hasn’t changed. He can still talk all about that.

This day feels important. A day that we’ll come back to.

Life

We never know how much time we get to be in relationship with the ones we love. This photo is such a good reminder to me.

8 years ago I was given this card, flower, and key ring full of encouragement from my friend Sarah. She had enlisted the help of another friend, as well. Here’s what I wrote about this in a previous blog:

This is a gift I found on my table one morning after dragging myself out of bed. In fact, it was the Fourth of July. I had kept my kids up really late the night before so they would sleep in and not be so tired for the celebration that night. I also wanted to sleep in. I did hear my door open, but I thought perhaps the kids were letting a cat in or out of the house. I had no idea that I had a visitor. She let me sleep. This friend knew I was having a hard time getting out of bed each day so she came up with 32 reasons why I should. I keep them with me. I pressed the rose petals in my Bible where they remind me of the love of my friend. The still smell good. I cried as I read them out loud to my children. When I am stuck in my cave, afraid to move, I look at these to remind me why.

Sweet Sarah went home to Jesus 3 years ago today. I think of her crazily dancing with our Jesus and making people laugh. I love that she was never afraid to ask the hard questions and loved you even if the answers weren’t pretty.

Another dear friend of mine, Elaine, went to be with Jesus recently. I’m nearly laughing at the thought of those 2 together! It’s a riot up there!

My Heart Is Full

It is 12:50 a.m. early Sunday morning. My day began at 9 a.m. Saturday. I am beat, but too excited to sleep yet.

I cannot begin to express what an amazing day it has been!

First I had the opportunity to sit at the feet, so to speak, of 4 Zurvita Ambassadors via skype and phone. They talked to us about how to build our business and answered any questions we had. I haven’t had a chance to process that, but I will soon and am looking forward to it.

Next up was the wedding of my beautiful friend, Susan. I have been so honored to have a behind the scenes look at their relationship as it has been unfolding over the past several months. Today, I was able to stand by both Susan and Mike documenting the celebration of an incredible love story. I’m so grateful to my good friend, Lennox, for offering to be my second shooter. He did an incredible job and made my day more enjoyable.

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In the Studio with Lennox

 Sitting on the cold hard wood floor in a large room where cords and guitars hang on the wall I kept thinking, “I am a blessed woman” and “I’m the luckiest girl in the world”!

First, a little back story. Nearly 6 years ago I found myself in a dark place. I believed only a little and I slept many days away. Lennox would remind me of who I am, but more importantly who Christ is and who I am in Him. I had a hard time sleeping at night, though the day I slept just fine. So, I asked friends to pray and I created an 8 hour song list in iTunes that would play all night. One of those songs is titled “Wings” by Lennox.

So when your heart is broken
You can’t even breathe
Spirit is willing,
but you’re tired and weak
Don’t let yourself worry
Do not be afraid
Remember what He told you
Remember what he said…..

For the rest of that go over to Lennox’s site and follow along as the song gets recorded. Be one of the first to hear it in its completion.

So there I was, hearing a completely remaking of one of his old songs. A song that helped me hold on, it reminded me that God said I would fly on the wings of an eagle, walk and not faint. Rest on the Lord and He will renew my strength. That’s all I need to do. Rest. Simple, right?

So there Lennox was in the sound booth. I saw something incredible. I saw the Spirit of God flowing through him and speaking through him. This is what Lennox was made to do. Speak the heart of the Father through music. One day when we were talking about his latest project I saw a spark in him I’ve not seen for some time. There was light.

His voice is coming through the headphones and I’m remembering the woman I once was. Afraid. Worthless. Covered in shame. Unlovable. Frozen. So very broken and mostly convinced that I could never be not broken. Hopeless. I would’ve said I have hope because that’s what good Christians do. Now, who do I think I am? I think I am a pretty amazing piece of work. I really do, but it isn’t because of my own merit or goodness. God is good and His word is true. He changes lives. All I did was hang in there. I say “hang in there” as if it wasn’t work. It was hard work to just hang on sometimes, but it got easier because I got stronger.

All I know that there was a moment when Lennox was singing the bridge that something in that place changed. He looked different and sounded better. My heart got soft and tears came to my eyes. I nearly cried, like actually full on cried. I sat there looking down at the floor because this kind of softness is so new to me, I’m a little embarrassed by it.

I am so looking forward to the completion of this song. I don’t write about or promote Lennox because he’s my friend. I have lots of friends who are musicians that I don’t endorse. I like his music before I knew him as my friend.

You can hear more from him at lennoxfleary.com.

Follow him on twitter at: www.twitter.com/lennoxfleary
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lennoxflearymusic
Youtube: www.youtube.com/flearylennox

Check him out, tell him I sent you. Let’s follow his journey together. It’s going to be a great ride!

meinstudio

Snow

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It’s 9:00 pm. We bundle up and head out for the night. We’re staying at a friend’s house with her kids while she goes to be with her laboring sister. The walk is quiet and voices echo. All I hear is the crunch of our footsteps. I only see one car at a time on the road. The roads are slick and we’re not prepared for such weather. It’s fun and inconvenient at the same time.

The snow steadily falls in slow large flakes. They float and dance through the air as though they’re in no hurry.

Some kids are playing Legos; others are watching something on Netflix. I’ll need to get them some food soon. Why does the cold weather make me think of baking things?

It is now Saturday. Not sure what today will look like.

More snow. I am sure of that.

Duck Faced Pub Mamas

Close friendships with women have eluded me for many years.  According to some other blogs I’ve been reading over the years, I’m not alone. I saw this amazing thing happening in the blog world of women. I saw real friendships growing over the internet and spilling into every day lives. I learned about suffering and joy. I began to learn how to really give more of me in my friendships by watching women I had never met.

Then one day I was invited by a friend to join a group on Facebook that was just a place to ask for prayer. I stayed in it because I liked hearing about what was really going on in the lives of my friends. I knew most of the women, but there were several I didn’t know on there, too. I was going through some rougher times a couple years back. I was scared and desperate. I began to share my story and ask for prayer from women I didn’t know well or had never met.

Something amazing was happening when I began to pray for these women I didn’t know well or at all. I felt a love for them. I actually cared about what was going on in their lives. They began to care about me, too.

I keep wanting to use the word amazing, then I refrain because I don’t want to over use it.

However, my God is AMAZING!

I decided that Chani and I would go on a retreat in Canada with other mamas of adopted kids. I didn’t have the money so I did something so out of my character. I asked friends for $10 to go. I needed over $500.

Guess what happened? 23 people joined forces and gave me a total of $576. 12 of them were part of that group, too. I don’t think they even realize how much that still blesses me. Going to that retreat made me feel normal.

It planted a seed of hope.

The facebook group isn’t still around, but there are a few of us that message one another and do silly things. One day we freaked out the teens by posting pictures of us posing with duck faces. Christopher kept asking, “Is this a thing??? It IS a thing!!!! Someone else just posted a duck face.” It was pretty awesome.

This group makes me laugh. The day we thought of that was a day I needed a good laugh. It had been a hard day for me and I was sad. Laughter healed my heart. We get some good laughs, but we also get in plenty of prayer and support. We speak the truth and encourage one another to look to Jesus.

One day we decided to get together. Actually, one day we decided to get together about a month after we decided it. A few of us were able to make it and it was great. Love you gals!

the group

39.

colorchicks

It is hard to believe I have completed 39 years of my life and am now on the journey to my 40th. There are some amazing times ahead, people!

There are so many things brewing in my mind on this day after my birthday. I am not going to say much, though.

I must say that I have the bestest friends in the world. I hope that everyone has people like I do in their lives. I really do. I feel so rich. My birthday was amazing. A group of some of my closest friends came to run/walk the Color Vibe 5k with me and another friend came along just to hang out with my kids and take pictures! Then I spent the rest of the day with another best friend who took me out to eat, managed as my personal photographer , took me to the mall so I could look at and try clothes, and I got my eyebrows threaded – all the things I never get to do without children. What a gift!

I am very loved. I used not know that or believe it. I do now. Four of my friends paid money to run/walk with me. Another would have except it was too close to her due date. [Turns out that after a series of blessed events her baby was released from the hospital a couple of hours after the run!] A great many people invest in my life in ways that I don’t deserve. They spur me on to better things. I can sit here today  and see how amazing my journey has been and tell you that I love the direction that my life is heading.

Thank you to so many women and a few great guys that enrich my life every day by supporting and encouraging me in my parenting, fitness and health, finances, relationship building skills, on-the-job training, and so much more.

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Bring on this 40th year. I am so looking forward to it!

Snippets

My days are filled with laughter and crying and yelling and squealing and silliness and seriousness and busyness and harsh words and kind words.

That’s a lot of “and”s.

It has been a whirlwind of a day. My sweet Danae finally had her baby today after 48 hours of labor. The baby is in NICU because he’s not breathing well. Please be praying for that. I haven’t even met him yet, but I love him.

I felt kind of stressed through the day, not in a super bad way. There was just a lot to manage and I was concerned about the baby and Danae. It takes a lot of energy to keep reminding oneself that worry does nothing and that God is here in this. My thoughts are like 2 year old kids constantly needing to be re-directed.

My day is ending splendidly, though. I have this zany group of friends that I do know in real life, but we really never are all together. In fact, one of them I’ve known for years and I’ve only seen her at Grocery Outlet. These friends make me laugh so much and I am so very thankful for them. I needed them today in that way and I didn’t even know it until it was all over and done with. We pray for one another and we laugh with/at one another.

It’s life giving and a saving grace.

 

Peace out, friends!

Treasured Moments

Old friends. By old I don’t mean “elderly”. I mean the kind of friends you’ve had for 20 years or more. It is strange for me every time I realize that I’ve had friends that long. Does that mean I’m getting old? (You don’t have to answer that.)

Years ago, when we all lived in the same town and we all had little kids we’d have impromptu game nights. We played Settlers of Catan the most. It wasn’t even able to be found in stores at that time. We had to order it online because it wasn’t well known here yet.

Last night, we once again gathered for a game of Catan, but only this time it was Star Trek Catan. I love it, of course. It’s exactly like playing the basic Settlers, but more…um…well, Trekkie. I almost beat John, but he took my longest trade route (road) then built a starbase (city)! I am determined to get him next time!

Afterwards we relaxed while listening to John and Lennox  play music. Losing the game to John is not such a treasured moment, but listening to them and watching them play music is. It takes me back to a time years ago when we were all so young and didn’t have much to do. John and our friend, Rob, would play. We’d listen or join in the singing. I knew even then that those were the moments that I would look back on with fondness.

I have said many times here that I have amazing friends. It is true. I am so blessed in this way.

rodgers_1 Rodgers_2

 

 

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