Cave to Cliff

One woman's journey from darkness to light



Sunny Saturday With Sage

sage and me


It’s a beautiful October Saturday. I slept in a little later than usual & I am so grateful for it. I decided that I’d go for a bike ride with Sage so I woke the kid and we headed out. I loved it. The ride was quiet enough for me to think. It went something like this:

Oh, that’s pretty.
My friend’s mom lives there. Wonder if I should see her sometime.
Oh, I wonder how far I’m going.
Oh look at that bird.
Is that gravel? Am I going to crash?
Where’s Sage? Sage? Hello?
My legs hurt. My butt hurts. It burns.
So glad it’s downhill on the way home.
Do my brakes work?
What if I wreck?
Oh hey, it’s a blue heron.
Wish I had my camera.
How would I carry that camera?
Would I stop all the time to take pictures?
What does it look like to go on a bike tour across the state?
Oh my aching legs?
Is this better than running?

My thoughts come at me at about a million miles per hour. Eventually I calm my thoughts and begin to pray for my friends. Ah, that calms me. By the time I get home I’m super happy. Tired and yet energized.

I’m enjoying these days, lately. It’s a time of discovery, wonder, and fierce love.

Have a great Sunday, everyone!



Chani, Walking on Water, and Random Thoughts

my_chani_laughs_wmThis is my best friend, Chani. She and I could spend hours together and never tire of one another. We’ve done that before when we went to Canada, but it’s never enough hours. Last weekend we headed out on another journey to attend a retreat with other foster/adoptive moms. This time we picked up a few more passengers on the way.

The planning of this trip has been a little crazy for me. When Chani first introduced me to the idea I was so very against it. I just didn’t feel like I could face meeting more women and getting real with them. It’s so exhausting. I didn’t want to think about the finances. (I didn’t think much about them and I kind of regret that now.) Then suddenly I was so very for us going and she wasn’t so sure. I’m not sure how many times we flip flopped on the issue. At some point we decided yes and I prodded her into sending in her registration. Once we did that, it was done. We put money down on it. We had to go.

The day before we were to leave I texted her, “WE ARE NOT GOING. THIS IS A DUMB IDEA. I DON’T WANT TO GO!” I can’t remember what she texted back. It was probably something funny.

So, Friday morning I go pick her up, we talk about all the hiccups in the getting ready to depart. She’s still running around a little frantically. It’s a lot of work to leave the family for a weekend! I was already feeling free since my kids were dispersed and things in order on my end.

As I said, I was a little intimidated by the the sheer amount of women there. Oh holy heck, am I going to have to talk about myself 30 different times. Please don’t make me talk to you strange people. On the other hand, it is such an incredibly great feeling to be with women who completely understand your life with your kids. Not one of those women would say, “Oh, that’s normal. All kids do that.” Though they may say, “My kids do that, too!” You look at one another and you just know that you’re not in this alone. You’ve got others fighting this battle of leading their children to healing. If you talked to Chani she’d say I was WAY more freaked out on our first night in Canada than with this one. To be fair, I was sleep deprived on our Canada trip. I kept telling her that I just couldn’t be there. What was I going to do, though? I couldn’t just leave. I knew that God made a way for me to be here and that it would be good. I had to quiet my fears.

The next morning I wake and leave my bunk room to go for a walk. It was so nice. I wandered. Occasionally I wondered if I could find my way back, but I didn’t care. I was enjoying my solitude.



I sat on that bench at the end of the dock  for a long time. I thought about how Jesus and calmed the stormy waters. I’ve never been in a boat when there’s a storm, but I can understand how frightening that could be. It was bad enough that these seasoned fishermen came to Him as he was sleeping saying, “Teacher do You not care that we are perishing?” Then when He calmed the waters they wondered who he was that even the sea and the waves obey Him.

Who is He, indeed?

Then there was that time that He was walking on the water & called Peter to Him. Peter was doing it. He asked the Lord to call him out upon the water, so He did. Peter steps out of the boat walking toward Jesus, but then sees that it’s windy and begins to sink. Jesus asked Peter why he doubted. I wonder if looking away from Jesus is the same as doubting.

Peter lost his focus.

I must admit that I wanted to walk on that water. I wondered what would happen if I just stepped out. What does walking on water feel like? I want to know.

Time and again, I’ve asked the Lord to use me for His Kingdom. I’ve told Him I’d do anything for Him, no matter how hard it is. I know He has called me to great and difficult things. He is faithful to answer my prayers, sometimes I don’t pray them because I’m afraid of what it will means when He answers. What will be required of me? Yet, there are things in my heart that nudge me and before I know it I pray the thing.

Like Peter, I am impulsive to blurt things, but I easily lose focus. (I’m sure this blog post can attest to that!)

Yesterday I was texting Chani about some of my frustrations. At the retreat I shared my personal adoption story and learning that I have the same attachment issues as my children. I realize that my story gives hope to people, but it doesn’t give me hope. I feel like I don’t know what’s happening or even if my kids will make the choice to heal. This is her reply: “What if she grows up and does hard things, like, self sacrificial, orphan care hard things… what if she grows up to fight for healthy relationships and give people hope who don’t otherwise have any… success?? Yes, my friend. Believe in your story. It is good.”  

When I related that I wanted something great in me to be released. She’s there. She’s in me, but I’m not letting her out. My Chani says, “I think that what happens is happening, one step at a time my beautiful warrior, back on the horse, live to fight another day, turn a new leaf, etc etc etc.”

Then when I told her my fear of being replaced she assures me, “You babycakes, are irreplaceable. We smart people know that. No question.” She had all the right words for me yesterday.

Can you believe that earlier that day I was lamenting over the fact that I haven’t any friends who remind me who I am and call me to greatness when I need it. Maybe I needed to feel the lack to see that I don’t lack that at all.

I was just about to send publish for this blog when I realized something.  I found the reason why I was having a hard time believing in my story. I was focusing on MY story. This isn’t MY story at all, is it? It’s His Story. God. It’s all His. Ha! Wow. Ok. Got it! Seriously. Wow.

This isn’t about you or me. It’s His story in us. We have a choice to live it or not. I choose His story.

How about you?



I am focused. Multi-tasking is overrated. Yes, I just said that. I used to think I did that very well and in some areas I do. I also know I’m great at procrastination and will often use another task to put off something I should be doing. I am not giving up multi-tasking, of course. What I have been becoming is more focused.

I have finally come to the to realize that I can’t do everything. No, not just realize, I actually believe it and don’t bother to strive for it. For years there was something in me that would say, “A good mom does (fill in the blank)”  or “Maybe I am not good enough at (fill in the blank)”. Perhaps both of those statements are even true, but just because I don’t do something doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom and I don’t have to be good enough at everything.

There are a few things I am focusing on (or trying to focus on), these are not in any particular order:

  • building my business
  • becoming financially fit – budgeting (and sticking to it), saving, tithing, paying down debt, building my business
  • becoming physically fit – exercising, Isagenix shakes, really difficult weekend hikes with friends where I want to cry and throw a fit, eating well.
  • Managing my family and household. Even in doing that I have to choose what things to let go of and which ones to press through.
  • Maintaining relationships around me. Not all of them, but the ones that are important to me.
  • Finishing up a photography project and not taking on any new ones.
  • Relationship with God. Trusting. Praying. Hearing. Reading.

Boy, that’s a lot to focus on, isn’t it? It’s also my life. In all of those areas I have or am in the process of streamlining or cutting out some things and adding in the things that will propel me toward my goals. I like this feeling of being focused. Monday I was not. I was blessed, but certainly not focused. Yesterday I was more focused, but feeling anxious about the upcoming hike and I let that steal some joy from me. Fortunately, I caught it quickly before much damage was done.

So, here’s to a day of being focused on whatever it is I am doing at that moment and not trying to solve everything at once.

Where is your focus today?


There is a chill in the air and the sky is overcast. The days of fall are here. Picking apples and pears to turn them into some yummy goodness ensues. I’ve not been much of a food preserver over the past few years. Felt overwhelmed. Even earlier in the summer I didn’t do much, but suddenly I feel like doing it. So I am. I should’ve been doing it even when I didn’t feel like it. 

I am tired today and there is a lot on my mind. 

So I sit with my cup of tea and ponder.


Post Retreat Thoughts

I’ve been home a whole whopping 1 day and 14 or so hours. That’s it? Well, as each moment passes I am appreciating my weekend more. It isn’t as if I didn’t appreciate WAY back then, I guess I just didn’t know what to expect. It is a strange thing to travel 600 miles with your crazy friend into a foreign country to meet 17 women you don’t even know anything about.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, Canada is a foreign country. It’s so….odd. Hello, ever heard of toilet seat covers? Doesn’t matter if they work, it makes me think the bathroom is cleaner than it is if you offer them. Oh, and rest stops. Do you really think I can hold my pee that long? When I am lost here in Oregon I at least know the road, street, or bridge I just crossed. Do you need a label maker? It was adventurous especially when we started down what Chani called a little goat road. That’s my favorite saying from now on.

I am home now and things are real. I am thankful that the struggles I have are mine and that I’m not dealing with some of the stuff the other women are dealing with and they’re probably glad that they’re not dealing with my load. I told stories and listened to stories and you know what? It was great to sit in a room and not have to worry about every little word that came out of my mouth and how that would be judged. It was great to sit there and think of how I would judge the mamas in the grocery store towing along sullen children and wimpering infants. I, of course, was going to be a better mom than them. You train them up and then they’re perfect. You never compromise and you’re always consistent. You love them and teach them to love and obey Jesus. Isn’t that what the books told me? I did that with Christopher, the only one I’ve had since birth. Guess what? He’s still human and messes up all the time like the rest of us! He is great! There are so many things I love and appreciate about him. There are also things that make me cringe and worry about his future. I have done my best with him since before he was born. I no longer judge the women whose sons don’t get perfect grades or serve the family with joy and strength or whose girls wear too  much makeup and not enough clothes. (I did wear WAY too much makeup when I was a kid.) I thought by now, according to what I had read, that my children would be able to run the house by now and have an easy time transitioning into adulthood.

Now, I am not saying that this is impossible. I read blogs and follow the status updates of my friends. I see their children grow and their accomplishments. They have raised their children well, but I bet they still have some concerns. I bet their lives aren’t as perfect as I make them out to be in my head. Shoot, I even read blogs of moms with RAD kids and think about how much better they’re doing than I am, but guess what? They might be, but they might not be. We don’t write about every moment of our day. We have good moments and bad ones. Most of the moments can’t be shared. There just isn’t time.

We all are doing our best. I think our best gets better and better when we want it to. It’s work. It’s hard work. It’s therapy. It’s learning. Seeking. Crying. Laughing. For me, it’s holding tight to Jesus because I can’t fathom how I would do it without Him. I can’t understand compassion and gentility without looking to Him. The One who would be betrayed by even His closest friends. The One who knows better than even us tired mothers how it can be frustrating to try to get away for some time alone with the Father only to have the crowds following Him. They needed Him. More than they even realized. He had compassion on them and fed them when He didn’t have to. Nobody would’ve been like, “Why didn’t Jesus feed us after we sat and listened to Him all day?”

My friend and I will often say to one another that we were made for this. God knew. He’s sovereign and we were chosen for this road. I realize that even those who are called to this don’t always choose this road. They choose the easier road or ignore that they have been a great gift in this sorrow and joy of parenting. I think it’s hard whether or not your kids come from hard places.

Don’t we all come from a hard place? We are born into a world of sin. We have this nature in us; this flesh that cries out to be satisfied in all things. Our spirit and flesh battle all the days of our lives.

Ann Voskamp’s blog post today reminded me that we only see a sliver of what God is doing. We don’t know whether it’s bad or good, blessing or curse. We only know that we see very little, but God sees it all.

Dear Canada Moms Away Ladies,

I appreciate you. Really I do. I don’t know any of  you well, but I hope to. It is such a gift to be with people who get it. We don’t have to talk about it, but we get it. Even if we’re not currently struggling we understand that one day we might. We all come from different backgrounds. Some struggle with money, some don’t. Some have many and want more, some are done. This is not a hopeless or useless thing we are doing. I don’t know how our children will turn out in 20 years, but can you imagine the life they’d have if they weren’t given a home like ours? How many children between all of us? 70+? We are changing the world. They do not have to carry on the pattern of brokenness that has been laid out for them. It can be different. It might cost us our sanity, but on some days I am okay with that. I feel very thankful right now.

Ping Pong Thinking

I woke up with many thoughts on my mind today. I think the first one was, “Yes! I get to sleep in…but wait, here I am awake. Hmmm.” I don’t tend to think in a straight line unless I put my mind to it. I like my thoughts ping ponging around in my head. I don’t know that it serves me well most of the time, but sometimes it’s freeing.

I dreamt of all kinds of things. It seems I was moving out of a big house, but that everyone else was moving out first. It wasn’t just me and my kids. It was many of my closest friends. We were all moving on. It was a happy sort of sad feeling. I remember sitting in one of the rooms just taking in the smells and wondering why a guitar was balanced on top of a pile of clothes. I was wondering if I would remember the things that move my heart or would they just get buried in the busyness of the next phase of my life.

I worry about being too busy and yet not doing enough. It’s all about planning and priorities and making sure I hold true to the things that are most important to me.

I also thought about hard things. The choices we make. Where we live, who we live with, who we love, and those we used to love. The joys and the heartaches of all of those choices. Navigating parenthood trying not to be a controlling bully while teaching my children the power of their choices. The other day I told them that I am for them and that I only want to protect their hearts and help them from making foolish choices. They don’t understand, I think.

I have wedding on my mind. I’m gearing up for a December 3rd shoot of a lovely friend of mine. I can’t tell you how excited I am for  this shoot. I’m expecting great things here.

I’ve lived a week without water in the house I’m currently in so I went back to my old house to shower, eat, and clean stuff there. It doesn’t have heat. I am so thankful to have running water again in the same house that has heat. Such small things, but man, does it make me feel wealthy.

Money. It’s a feels like a dance between being a good manager and dodging the unexpected or being ready for them. It has been trying and disappointing at times, yet in the midst of it all I have been at peace. I’ve been disappointed, but not panicked. I know God is good and I’m expecting good things. That doesn’t mean I’m expecting that I’ll get whatever I want, it’s just that I know He’s on my side and even if I don’t see the goodness, it’s always there.

I do see His goodness.

Some people have told me that I have a hard life, but don’t we all? I mean, aren’t we all being challenged?

Sage is my only child home with me today. I love that boy. The other day Christopher told me how much he loves Sage, too, and how he’s afraid that Sage will lose his cuteness.

I’ve been thinking about all these heart aches and troubles along with the dreams and desires. It’s package deal. Accomplishing dreams don’t mean much if we don’t work for them. Trusting Jesus isn’t as sweet if we don’t have trials to trust that. We miss out on his everyday gifts to us, I think.

I am content. I might even be happy. Things are not perfect. Things have broken and cost me more money. My heart…well, I was going to say it ached, but it really doesn’t. That’s nice. Really nice, in fact. It’s also not sad or angry. I’m still alone, but that’s okay. By alone, I mean without a husband to call my own.

I was lying on my bed this morning. (I’m now sitting, thank you very much.) When I heard myself saying, “Ok Lord, whatever You have for me I gladly accept. I can take it.” Um what???? And all I was picturing was little Mary, mother of Jesus, standing before the Angel of the Lord having a conversation with him. She says, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” I’ve often wondered why she was chosen. I used to imagine her as this quiet, pure, young woman. She was those things, but I imagine that there was an inner strength about her. I can’t imagine what I would feel if I were pregnant now and had to bear the judgements of those around me. To be in her place would feel unbearable at times. Who would believe you? It was an outrageous claim to be carrying the Son of God. A quiet strength. I think that’s what she held.

Yesterday someone observed that I’ve changed so much in the past few years. I didn’t respond, but my first thought was, “Well, I would hope so.” Then when I woke up this morning I actually felt changed. Sometimes I do wonder and I’ll send out an email or text to a friend or two asking if them if I ever change. Today I awoke feeling calm and focused. Thoughts are bouncing, but nothing is swirling. I think thoughts bounce and emotions swirl. Can I just tell you how nice it is to not have swirling emotions??? Can I get an Amen, sisters????

There is a lot of change in my life and I’ve always said that I don’t deal well with change, but I think the Lord has changed that. I think I’m doing quite well.

Well, I reckon it’s time to end my snuggling bed time. I have the cat and dog on my bed while listening to a clip from the E.T. soundtrack.

Thanks for tuning in to my Saturday Morning Ping Pong Thoughts post!


I rearranged my room last night. It started with me making my bed. I pulled my bed away from the wall a bit and saw tons of dust and dog hair. I wanted to clean that up so I moved the bed more and found more stuff hidden. Then realized that my bed skirt needed to be washed. Then I remembered that when Kelly and I lived with our friends we had a tiny bedroom and that’s why he made that shelf. (The one at the head of my bed.) I’ve been in my house 6 years and that shelf had lived right outside my bedroom door under John Marr art. It held all kids of antique sort of things that I inherited from my dad. A few days it was knocked down by a little one and I didn’t want to risk that again. It held an old sad iron and I don’t want that to hurt anyone if it happens to fall over again. So, as I was cleaning I thought, “Oh yeah, that shelf used to go between our bed and the wall.” Then I decided to move the orientation of my bed. I did have it so my bed was facing my back door/window.

After rearranging and vacuuming I got the bug to rearrange my desk, but it was too late and I had much to accomplish yet. I’ll save that for a later day…or later today.

It’s amazing how much easier it was to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. I didn’t say easy, I said easier. Although, I must admit that when my alarm went off that I set my timer for 30 minutes as I climbed back into my cozy bed. My excuse was, “Sleeping is important” as if it’s more important that carved out time with Jesus. My eyes were closed but I saw a flash. It had been storming all night so it’s very possible that it was lightening, but perhaps I was dreaming. “Ok, if I hear thunder then I’ll actually get out of bed.” I waited for a few seconds then heard it. Thunder. Ok. I got the point. I hopped out of bed donning on my workout clothes since I’ll be working out in about an hour.

Rearranging my room makes it feel all new and fresh. Makes me want to get it all clean and keep it that way. Every little area. I think it’s also like that when I spend time praying and reading my Bible. I realize how important it is to set myself apart for Him. I see in His word how He hates sin and how He loves us. How He pursued Israel even in His anger. My eyes linger on words like compassion. Jesus was moved with compassion for the people. God describes Himself as gracious and compassionate. Kind David knew the heart of God. David was a friend of God. David was also a gigantic mess up. I used to think that I’m nothing like him, like somehow I was better. I’d think things like, “Well, look at David. Adulterer, murderer, can’t keep his household in order, his wife despises him, his children hate him. At least I’m not that bad. If he can be a friend of God, then certainly I can.” Pride. Gets me every single time. I am like him. I am no better.

David just knew how to repent. He knew he wasn’t good enough. He knew he messed up. Instead of running from God, he ran to Him.

Rearranging. Moving things around. It’s inevitable that when I rearrange I’ll find a lot of garbage. I’ll also find things that aren’t garbage, but also aren’t enriching my life in any way. In fact, it may actually hinder me from the things that are important.

It’s like that with our hearts, too.


Life is..

I wanted to title this blog post as: Life Is Hard, but I didn’t want to give the wrong impression. Maybe I should say life is hard work. I think we could all agree on that, can’t we? Though it’s hard work, it’s the hard work that makes our lives somewhat easier. Does that make sense? It makes sense to me in my head.

I’ve fallen behind in my routines these past few weeks, but I’m feeling much better. I’m flu, cold, and migraine free. I’m also sugar free thanks to my friend Julia. She’s going off sugar for a month and I said I’d join her. I think that today is actually the first day that I’ve been completely sugar free, though I was supposed to start last Monday. I should tell her that lest she think that I’ve been awesome in this endeavor.

I’m not doing stellar at this whole post-a-day thing. I want to do better. I want to write about more than just what is going on in my mind at the very moment that I’m writing and posting this.

I need order in my life. My life seems chaotic. I know how to do a great many things, but I don’t know how to manage well. I’d like to work at that. I’m not sure that it’s something you learn how to do unless you actually do it. I feel like my days and weeks pass by so quickly and that I’ve let much of it go to waste.

I don’t want that.

I want so much more.

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?

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