Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light


random blatherings


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!


Ramblings: Swift Days and a Trail to Blaze

Days move swiftly as Spring gives way to Summer.

We’re only a week into Summer break and so far, so good. I used to dread breaks when I’d remember the ones from years past. They involved lots of yelling, kids breaking glass, doors slamming, kids arguing, group therapy, broken down appliances and car, and me fantasizing about going for a long long walk except that I was too tired to go anywhere.

However, and this is a big however, I now know that I can’t judge today on the happenings of yesterday. Each day is new and full of incredible possibilities. I don’t dread days to come, but look forward to them. We still have plenty of bad days, but we are all so different than we were a year ago. I’ve never seen such growth in any of us as I have this past year. It’s been work, a lot of hard work. But guess what? I am so thankful for it.

I’m sitting here at my desk in the quiet of the morning wondering where my journal is. It’s been so long since I’ve written. I want to write of all the changes; tell of all the things God is doing in me and how easy it is to move forward when we finally buckle down and give in. It’s all about trust and surrender, giving up the “this isn’t how it was supposed to be” song, and moving forward. There was a time when I felt stuck in this life and would give up at any sign of failure. Shoot, it took me 3 years to make my first quilt because every time I made a mistake I put it away. The only  reason I finished it was because my sweet friend paid for all the material and taught me how to do it. I didn’t want to waste that gift. Thanks Beca!

I went to San Diego for the first iLivingApp conference. Something in me has been different since then. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it changed, but I think it was about halfway through the weekend. I was nervous going there to meet a bunch a people I’ve never seen in real life. I wanted to document the whole thing in photos, and I did that to some degree, but it wasn’t what I was envisioning. I would sit in my seat to take photos and many of those are good, but I’d look around thinking of where I would be sitting or standing if I could get the shot I wanted. I’m pretty shy about taking event photos when I haven’t been hired to do so. However, there was a point on Sunday when John Marr got up there I was like, “Man, I am NOT going to miss this.”

You know what I think happened there and in the couple of weeks following? I’ve given myself permission to be Me. Not the “me” that I think I need to be or that others expect me to be. The Me that God is growing me into. I’m much more comfortable with myself and I’m sleeping better. I am not conflicted. I am quieter, can you believe that? I am more calm and confident.

I did a photoshoot of our associate support team yesterday. That felt good. I knew I did well. I was only unsure of the photos with me in it. Which brings me to the next point.

I am only unsure in a few things now. One of them is my constant battle with weight  Thanks to a generous gift, I have everything I need to assist me in the weight loss. Why is is such a struggle? I know that some women just settle and enjoy the body they’re given. I don’t despise my body and I don’t think I’m ugly because I’m fat. However, I do know that this weight loss with unlock something in me. I know it’s a battle I must win. Days go by and I begin to wonder if this is something I can really do. I can feel myself trying to do better in other areas of my life in order to cover the fact that I’m failing at this one. Some of my friends are even giving up on really believing that I can do this. It’s ok, they’ve watched me for years. My track record in this area isn’t exactly great. Le sigh.

Daily I am reminded of gracious and generous God is. I had an old tax debt from when my husband and I were together. It would wipe out over half my earned income for a month. I received a cash gift to pay for that debt. I didn’t even know what to say about that one. I’m also surrounded by some pretty great people that love me. There is a peace about my friendships that wasn’t there before. A year ago I was struggling in letting go of some friendship and making some new ones. I felt vulnerable and afraid. This year I am sure in the friendships I am nurturing. It’s a good place to be.

All I know is that my life is not what it was a year ago. My family is on a journey, you may join us if you wish, but I won’t wait for you to catch up.

See you on the trail.

This day’s ramblings

I feel normal again. I even feel…well, I think the word is happy. The sun is shining. The sky is blue with a few fluffy white clouds. I got my exercise in. I still need to clean my bathrooms and take a shower.

This evening I’ll do an engagement shoot for my friends. I’m so looking forward to that.

Today Good Friday will be celebrated all over the globe, then followed by Easter on Sunday.

As a child I remember watching Jesus die on the cross. I don’t remember which version of it was on tv, but I remember crying out and screaming, “Noooo!” My dad probably said something about it not being real and that it was a trick on tv, which I knew that. I also knew that Jesus was killed. Plain and simple. I remember my heart beating wildly and my chest feeling all tight. I don’t remember what I felt when he rose from the dead.

I remember sitting in the theater with Kelly watching The Passion of the Christ. I remember how my heart hurt for Mary, mother of Jesus. I wondered if she questioned God in this. While she was watching her child die, did she wonder what good could come of this? We don’t get to hear her side, but I am a mother and I know how much I love my son. She knew he was special, but I know my children belong to me just as much as Jesus belonged to Mary. I saw the tears of my husband. He remembered and encouraged us to never forget.

He forgot; sometimes I do, too.

As a child my mom would hide an easter basket somewhere. Our house was tiny so it didn’t take long to find. My kids have never had an easter basket. We usually go to our friend’s house with a few other families. In the past the daddies have hidden the eggs filled with candy and money. This year our bigger kids will do that. I can’t remember what we did for last year.

I think I’ll make lentil soup for dinner. I already have the sourdough bread to go with it.

I get to see my precious little friend Mikaiah today. I love her. Truly, I do. She and her parents [and a slew of others] are leaving our little community and it has me a little…well, a lot sad. I don’t like people leaving. Knowing that people are leaving makes me want to leave first. These are people whose hearts I’ve connected with and now I’m learning to connect with other hearts, but it’s always scary.

A Post A Day? Am I nuts?

Please. Tell me how this happened! How is it that I had all these ideas for what my days will look like and how productive I would be and well, I haven’t been? Granted, I didn’t write my plan down and we all know how I love to have a list to mark off. Oh, and that falling into the trap of staying up too late so being groggy all day. Did I mention that I’m going back to eating healthier again? It’s weird how I forget how to eat. I mean, I grew up on cold sugary cereal, oscar mayer bologna sandwiches, and eating out. I often try to fall back on the last one. I went through some old food journals to see what I ate when I was losing weight. I kept seeing things and thinking, “Really, I ate that every day!” I get in comfortable ruts. I’m okay with that.

I’m not ready to proclaim any plans for losing a quadrillion pounds or running marathons. My dearest hermana, Rachel, wants me to run a marathon, pero ella esta muy loco. I do know that I’ve gained weight since I did run/jog/walk/crawl the half marathon in September. I also started school full time and was on the road a whole heck of a lot. I couldn’t function.

Funny side note: this crazy Rachel of mine just called me. When I told her that I had just called her crazy on my blog she said, “Why? Because I’m running a marathon and I asked you to do it with me?” She’s good, eh?

Yesterday I went back and read a few of my more recent blog posts and I wondered, “who writes these things???” Sometimes I sound like such a different person. Then I remember. It’s the girl who reads her Bible and actually hears what the living Word is telling her. It’s the one who is seeking Him, who is learning to hide in Him. I used to play You Are My Hiding Place on my flute. I remember sitting on the bed in a great big house with wooden floors. The sun shining in through my upstairs bedroom window. I’d pick up my flute and I’d play and play and play until my heart was lifted up.

I know that none of my old Cottage House roommates are reading this, but I just have to apologize for those times when I decided I wanted to be the next James Galaway, but only in a female role. On a brighter note, I did get to play flute for a band called Cynical Son. The song was “Meaning of This”. The chords were DCAG…I think. Not that you play chords on a flute, mind you. I think the D and A were minor chords. I have a picture of me playing with them at Governer’s Cup in downtown Salem. My hair is long. I’m wearing the best striped tights under my cut off jeans and a cool looking bandana on my head. Ah, those were the days. Oh, I wore a shirt, too…and birkenstocks. Why can’t I be that cute now?

Anyway, I do have a few goals for this year.

  • Move more, Eat Less every day (though i think it’s more fun to move less and eat more)
  • Write every day
  • Read my Bible every day
  • Take a photo every day

Those are not in any order and are not all of my goals. I have many thoughts and ideas, but I’m starting simple. I spend too much time planning and not enough time doing.

I want to post a blog every day. It will be challenging and fun and burdening and exciting all at the same time. It might also help me hold onto my sanity a little longer. There are prompts and ideas all over the web. I don’t know what this will look like, but I guess we’ll see, eh?

10 minutes of unedited Dar thoughts

Trust and love. It’s never enough. I mean, you think you get to the point of loving enough and trusting enough, but then you find you’ve only scratched the surface.

Gratitude~ I want to be a grateful woman. I want to see beauty and miracles around me. I want to always be mindful of how good God is.

Today I can barely see out of my right eye because I am in such desperate need of new contacts. I also need an exam. I can’t afford either. So, what I see is blurry and my eye is swollen from the irritation and pain.

I love my dog. I really do.

Why is it that there is so much I want to spill out on these pages, but something always stops me. I want to write about how the kids and I laughed and laughed over silly things over dinner last night and how I loved the looks on each of their precious faces. I want to write about what I’m learning about love from my friend, but what I’m really learning is about HIS love for me. The unrelenting, steady, and fierce love. The one that chases me down the street when I turn to run away. The one I can’t quite understand. The one that died for me. The one that is calling me to Him and I am going.

Rest. Hiding. Listening.

Those are the things I hear.

My word for the year is Renewal. I haven’t really thought about that word for a long time. Last year it was valor.

You are my hiding place

You always fill my heart with

Songs of deliverance

Songs. I think of the Shepherd who passes by singing a song to me. I hear it waft in my windows and I am afraid. I am afraid of the journey. He said He can make my feet like hind’s feet. Recently I was out in the back field. Apparently I was in the way of a deer who wanted to walk past me. It huffed and huffed. My dog growled. I just sat there. The deer huffed a few more times then took off running up the hill.  I’ve seen deer before, but I’ve never seen one running up the hill. It did that little bouncy hoppity running thing. The Shepherd says he can make my feet like that! I will not be hindered. Me? The one whose ankles hurt today because I ran in the field yesterday? But how do I get from here to there? Will it hurt? Is is worth it? Yes, it is. I know it is.



I don’t have much to say, but I feel compelled to say something. There is always much going on in my mind, I often seriously wonder if I am going insane. Friends say things like, “Don’t over-think this” or “You think too much”. One of my friends is in the same boat as I am so he says, “Gahhhh, I wish I didn’t think so much!!!” I just wonder what it is that I’m supposed to share. Should I just randomly type the thoughts in my head? Doesn’t that get old?

Today is Saturday. My house is a mess because Friday’s chores were put aside for relationship building conversations. I’ve been trying to make Saturdays easier for my kids and I by getting all the major cleaning done before the weekend. Normally I would feel stressed and tied to my home by this mess. Ireland is at her grandma’s house and Christopher didn’t have ballet. The kids all stayed up late so I told them to all sleep in and not to disturb others if they woke up first. It worked. It worked mostly because Ireland wasn’t here. She’s an early riser. I stayed in bed until 11. I wasn’t asleep all that time. I just laid there and read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I can’t remember the last time I was able to just lie around and read. Sure, after surgery I didn’t do much, but if I wasn’t moving or talking I just fell asleep. Sometimes I fell asleep while talking.

We’re going to go on a hike to Niagra Falls with our friend later on today. I am looking forward to that. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. I have been wanting to take my kids to see different water falls around Oregon and taking them on hikes. I’m glad I’m hiking today even though it’s a super easy hike. I’ll still probably need to go to the gym or on a run.

Speaking of running. It’s not actually running, it’s more like jogging at a snail’s pace. Seriously. I still plan on doing the Eugene Women’s Half Marathon on September 5. So, the other day I thought I’d jog a bit to see what I can do. I very slowly jogged 1.4 miles without stopping. I was pretty surprised. I think I could’ve made it the whole 2 miles, but a friend saw me and stopped me. This week I’m going to work my way up to jogging 3 miles. I’m not only going to jog. I’ll start cycling at the gym even though I know how hard it will be at first. I really like weight training, though.

I have my weight loss goals figured it. They’re lofty, yet doable especially since I’m working toward the half-marathon. If I didn’t have that goal, I wouldn’t be losing as quickly or working as hard, I’m sure.

I quit biting my nails. Can you believe it? This life long nail biter decided that I didn’t want to bite my nails anymore. It was fueled by vanity, though. I wanted to paint my nails and have them look pretty.

Well, I better get moving here. I’ve gotta run an errand or two before embarking on our journey. I figure I better clean my kitchen so it’ll be a nice relaxing place to come home to.

Peace to you.

A Glimpse Into Dar’s Head

I try to roll over sometime in the middle of the night to find I am wedged between my big puppy and my youngest daughter. I say in surprise, “Oh Ireland? Again.” She groggily replies, “Yes, cuz I miss you. You do photoshoots and I go to school.” Thanks kid. Does she get that from me? That ability to hit you where it hurts when you’re the most vulnerable.

The alarm goes off at 5:15 a.m.
Me: Ireland! Grab my phone! Turn that alarm off!
Ireland: *groan
Me: Hey! Hello! Ugh!
[shove cute little blonde girl she groans and grabs the phone]
I reset the alarm so I can snuggle my girl. I still end up waking the girls up late and telling them to, “hurry, hurry, hurry”.

Christopher comes to my bed for his daily cuddle. I soon kick him out so he can deal with the dog, eat, and do school. Besides that, I’m planning on getting up right away, showering, and taking the bull by the horns. Yup. That’s the plan, but first, I think I’ll write in my journal.

I didn’t get much written. I think I just wrote the heading which always consists of the day of the week, the date, and the time. I do that. So today the first line would be, “Friday-April 30, 2010-11:01 AM”. I don’t know why I do that, but I’ve done it for years. I used to write what the weather is like, but who can keep up with that. I would look something like: foggy, sunny, rainy, hail, windy, bright sun with birds singing, pouring, cold, warm…all in one day!

Then I still stay in bed and read a bunch of blogs I have on google reader. Oh my. So many good blogs at there. What was that? Oh focus. Focus? What is that? I’ve been told many times by 2 different friends something to the effect of, “You read about so many things, you have so much knowledge in your head, what are you going to do about it?” I remember when I was learning to quilt. Kelly teased me about how much I read about it vs. how much I actually quilted. I read about writing. I picked a book off my shelf the other day called, “On Writing Well” it was right next to “Bird by Bird”.

I should eat. I’ve been thinking that all day.

Begin to clean off my desk. Then see a letter I wrote to my friend, Michele, in Arizona. All I have to do is put a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox. It’s been on my desk for at least a week. Then I remember that I have a letter for my sweet Beca that is from December. So sorry. So just know that I love you and thank  you for telling me the hard things. I love you for it! Oh, that reminds me, I’ve been wanting to make thank you cards for the people that have been so helpful in these past few weeks/months.

Sigh. I feel inadequate. So, I’ll read another blog. I really should eat.

I need to figure out food for house church on Sunday evening.

I’m feeling more pain today. Will this pain stop? I’m not talking emotionally, but physically. This stomach of mine just isn’t ready to eat. I don’t like taking it slow. I like moving even if bending over hurts me. Why? I don’t know.

Shower. I’ll take a shower. That’s when I can really think without interruption, usually. Here’s some of what I think:

  • i should call so-and-so and ask if we can spend more time together
  • oh, but if i do that i’ll have to talk about this hard stuff
  • hmmm, accountability- i should have it
  • does that mean being humble? yuck. that kinda hurts
  • now my head is full of questions and my thoughts are interrupted by more thoughts
  • i decide to stop thinking, but who am I to think that? I mean, my brain has a mind of it’s own, it won’t stop

I come out of the shower to find Christopher doing the wrong school work and I totally go ballistic. Then I apologize and while he is quick to forgive, I know it hurt him. I do that a lot. He is missing me.  All of my kids need more of me. (Oh, I wasn’t fresh out of the shower. I was dried and dressed.)

I also smell like vanilla and patchouli. I think I put on too much patchouli. I remember thinking that wasn’t possible. I was more hippie back then, I guess.

Questions. Always questions. [I really should eat now.] Boundaries. I need them, but once I have them in place I’ll push them. I’ll stretch them. I’ll challenge them like nobody’s business. I’m warning the world about this right now.

So, I call a friend and blab all these questions that can’t be answered at that moment and I tap my fingers on my bedroom window as I say something like, “Yeah, I’m fine if we talk about this later.” When really I’m thinking, “WHAT?!? ISN’T EVERYTHING ALL ABOUT ME????” That’s pretty much how I was raised. It really was all about me and I was/am such a selfish girl.

Why I have friends, I’ll never know.

I should pay some bills and balance all my money stuff and make a budget and make a menu and grocery list and plan my days and set some goals and I’m really hungry and I’m wondering when my questions will be answered and so I decide to blog something silly after I put on some makeup because that makes me feel pretty then i feel bad that i have to wear makeup to look pretty because that’s not what I want for my girls. *sigh*

I should eat. My head hurts and my bed needs to be made.

The Time is Drawing Near

I feel like a clock is ticking. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock.

When I’m feeling stressed or super happy I tend to make up silly little rhymes in my head. Sometimes I let them come out of my head and I share them. 

Mostly I just have random thoughts that I spew all over anyone who is within hearing distance. That means you.

My surgery was scheduled for Friday, April 16. It has been moved up to the 13th. That makes me nervous. I wasn’t originally planning on getting nervous about it until Tuesday rolled around. Oh well. It almost feels like it’s happening in 2 days since the weekend has this terrible habit of flying by. It’s like you just settle into the weekend when Monday slaps you in the face. 

I’ve been working on resting. I know I need to learn to really rest in Jesus, but I’m talking about that once a week Sabbath rest that most of us tend to ignore. It’s harder than you may think. You’d think I’d jump at the chance to rest, but I really don’t. When my kids are gone on the weekend it is almost like torture. I’m alone. I’ve been pretty sick so I’m not up to really going out and hiking the world over or going to the beach. I don’t know what this is going to look like for me. I know that when the kids are with me I want us to spend our Saturday together as much as we can. Christopher has ballet and soon Sage will have baseball. I’m thinking that the kids and I need to learn how to be family. How to love each other and enjoy each other. The kids are always asking me to do special things with them or have a family game night. I picture our Saturdays together doing lovely things outside our home. Going to a park and exploring or going hiking. Tomorrow we’ll be going to a waterfall near McMinnville. I know that after my surgery I’ll be out of commission for awhile, but I can still read to them. I haven’t been good at reading to them for quite some time. They all love it when I read out loud. Christopher recently chose Star Wars Episode III for me to read. I wasn’t too excited about that, but I did tell him to choose a book. I’m reinstating our nightly story time. It’s such a sweet time.

When we’re done reading we pray for one another. Ireland was praying the other night and I remembered the first time she prayed for me. When the kids first came I would put my hand on their heads as I prayed for them. Sage started asking each night, “Are you going to pray blessings on us?” Ireland would just look at me funny. She didn’t speak when she first came even though she was 2. After a few weeks of our nightly routine she put her hand on my head and bowed her head. She didn’t speak a word. She was very serious. She was often very serious back then, now she is my very silliest. When she was done praying she took her hand off my head and looked into my eyes. I asked her, “Amen?” and she gave me a barely discernible nod. 

I am not looking forward to this surgery, but I am looking forward to the results of it. I can’t imagine what my life will be like. I am free from the bondage of unforgiveness. I will eventually be able to eat. I will be able to sleep through the night. I won’t be going back to the way I was eating before. It will be much healthier. When I’m recovered enough to exercise I will get to do that. I will be running a half marathon on September 5 in Eugene. (BBBB- You should cheer me on and/or be at the the finish line.) Not so sure what I was thinking when I agreed to do that one! Anyway, I’m kind of feeling like I’m getting a chance to start over with everything. 

I think I enjoy my Friday cleaning days. Then everything is clean for the weekend. Earlier today I was thinking that it’s like cleaning for a guest. Maybe I can think of rest as a guest that comes each week. A clean house helps me to rest. 

I love that it is after 6 pm and the sun is still far from the horizon. I love that I can see the sun. 

Random Randomness


I’m feeling random this morning.

First of all, look at that messy desktop! Why, oh why, can I keep it organized? I try and try…well, sometimes I do. Look at all those things in the dock. Do they all need to be there? Uh, I pretty much think so. Random pictures all over the place. Oh please, somebody help me! Augh! Last time I cleaned up my desktop I permanently deleted an EDITED set of senior pictures. The good new is that I am much quicker at processing now so I got it all redone in record time.

There is a dusting of snow on the ground and my kids woke me up wanting to go build a snowman. We cuddled instead.

I know I’ve said this on both Twitter and Facebook, but please, I beg you, go download a bunch of free Christmas music from Elephant Hug. Some songs make me want to cry and others make me laugh. I think it’s pretty amazing.

Oh, did you hear? I’m best friends with a celebrity. Just ask him. Actually, if you’re reading this and you actually do know him, please don’t ask him. [I’m trusting you 2 men to keep my silly and embarrassing antics to yourselves.]

I made brownies last night at the insistence of my bossy teenage friends. It was my pleasure, actually. Brownies and I have a good relationship. I’ve been using this very exact recipe for about 11 years and I’m quite sure that last night was the best batch to ever come out of my oven. Perhaps there was a little more love put into the batch or something. Or maybe I sneezed and didn’t turn away. Either way, I hope it happens again.

Have I mentioned that I really love taking photos? Have I told you that on one of my external hard drives there is over 19,000 pictures? Granted, some of those are duplicates due to file name changes and the weird way one of my programs on the old PC organized everything. I’d like to say I’m working on organizing that, but I’d be lying. I’m working on far too many other things.

I like having my hair in cornrows, but I always feel a little bit weird about it. I wonder if it’s offensive. I wonder if people look at me and wonder if I’m trying to be something I’m not.

The snow is melting and I really love sitting in my bed with warm flannel sheets.

I’m wondering: If my van get 20 miles to a gallon and gas is under $2 per gallon and I want to take a trip that is just under 2000 miles round trip, how much would that cost? Figure it out for me, please. Thanks. I’m thinking about other things right now. Like the smell of bacon and how that does nothing for my vegetarian leaning and how I’d be vegan if it wasn’t so much work.

It is close to the end of the year and I find myself beginning to evaluate the past 12 months. I’m sure it will become a blog.

Well, I have many other random thoughts today, but I’m out of time boys and girls. I must get dressed, pretend to brush my hair, wash my face, cover this zits that will still be seen (HELLO! I’M 34! I SHOULD NOT HAVE THESE!)


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