Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Making Connecting a Priority, Pt 2

Every marriage has good and bad days. My husband and I have had some months that were better then others!

When my husband and I were first married we really struggled to connect. We had spent so much time together prior to marriage that we thought we had each other figured out. We were young and immature and there were some fairly weighty issues we needed to work out.

It was probably the driest, brownest our grass has ever been in our marriage. But we were so passive (and clueless) back then, I don't even think we knew our marriage needed to be watered. Thirteen years later and we have grown a good deal wiser (I hope).

Having children definitely complicates matters. A Mom friend asked me recently how my husband and I prioritize our time to talk, connect, and to have intimacy. I want to assure her and you that it's not an easy task. My husband and I continue to struggle, but we know when we start feeling distant, we need to take action.

I teased in part one of this post that reconnecting when you're feeling distant isn't as hard as you might think. But it takes intention and…


Intentionality starts with establishing priorities.

My husband and I agree that our marriage is our first priority. Not our kids. Not our jobs. Not success or status. Once you have your priorities straight, it's easier to make connecting a priority, too.

When I feel that withdrawn, distant feeling I know my heart is telling me something is off. It's usually a sign that we have been putting other's needs before our marriage. Quality family time is terrific and necessary, but you need you + him time, too.

Reconnection can happen just by communicating with each other.

Many times just talking to each other is enough to bring us together. When we haven't been in the same room for more then 5 minutes, it's time to occupy the same space for a while and have a conversation (as long as it doesn't involve the kids or the schedules or homework).

There are other intentional ways you can reconnect with your spouse. Here are a few examples that have worked for us:

  • Keep your kids on a steady bedtime. When our kids get into bed for the night, "date" night begins for us. Watch a movie, spend time together, or have that conversation you couldn't finish because the kids kept interrupting.
  • Schedule a "leave the house" date. Call the babysitter because you need to get out! We don't do this as often as we should. Ideally once a month would be great, but at least every couple of months (or more frequent if you can do it), you should go out without the kids.
  • Buy a question book! Seriously. There was a time in our marriage when we felt so disconnected we didn't even know where to begin a conversation. 201 Great Questions for Married Couples is a fun one. I remember being surprised by some of his answers. Try it! It might be fun!
  • Intimacy — it's more then physical. Wink, wink! Talking honestly and sharing your feelings can be connecting, too. We all struggle with fears, insecurities, and sin issues. Intimacy happens when there is trust, vulnerability, and safety. I have experienced, in my own marriage, how intimately knowing each other's hearts (the good and the bad) can create a lasting connection and deepen your relationship with each other.

Whether your grass is green or turning brown, connecting with your spouse is a priority worth setting.

"The grass isn't greener on your friend's property; it's greener where you water it."
— a quote from Mary DeMuth's book, "Everything"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When You're Feeling Disconnected, Pt 1

"The grass isn't greener on your friend's property; it's greener where you water it."
Mary DeMuth, "Everything"

Have you been watering your marriage lately?

The past few months have been a challenge for my husband and I. Emotional and financial stress, appointments, meetings, soccer games, and holiday preparations taking our family in different directions.

As our time together dwindles, so does our patience with each other. Irritable people trying to have a conversation. Sometimes it feels like we're speaking a different language. Maybe we are?

Eventually, it catches up to us. Staring at each other from opposing sides of the couch, wondering aloud…

Him: Why do I feel so disconnected? 

Me: Why do you seem so withdrawn?

Do we really need to ask? If the grass is greener where you water it, it's no wonder ours has started to turn brown.

The answer to greener grass isn't fertilizer (well, maybe some times it is). For us, there is always a correlation between our connectedness and our intentionality.

When we are intentional with our time — saving a piece of our busy schedule to spend together — we both feel closer.

Why is feeling close so important in marriage?

Marriage is like a team sport. Winning teams are usually the ones that work well together. The quarterback of a football team cannot win the game alone. Distance makes me feel like I'm on a team of one. When I feel disconnected, we are two "teammates" scrambling for the same ball, trying to score in the same end zone.

Reconnecting when you're feeling distant isn't as hard as you might think. But it takes intention and…

To be continued…

Read part 2 here: "Make Connecting a Priority".

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Precious Gift: Her Legacy

She won't be here forever.

She slowly climbs out of my car and wraps her lovely, aging hands around my arm. We walk, gingerly, in the rain, up to the store. It's Christmastime and the store is trimmed with garland and white twinkly lights. Once inside, we wander its wares, searching for the perfect gift.

It takes time to see all the store has to offer. She didn't want to miss a thing. She buys some treasures for loved ones and we return to her "chariot".

I spend the day with her, escorting her from store to store. The weather is gross — gray and rainy. But I don't care.

We share conversation over lunch, reminiscing the past — her past. And after a few hours, we journey home.

She thanks me for my help and we carry our shopping efforts into the dry, warm house.

I receive her thanks, but the whole time I wanted to thank her. While she searched for the perfect gift she was already giving me mine — time with her.

She will turn ninety in January. Today, I just soaked her in.

Hands that served me for as long as I can remember. Her caring smile. And a beautiful, happy laugh that is so contagious. There's always been so much laughter.

Although she's short in stature, I have always looked up to her. The way she cares for people. Sit her next to a stranger and she'll know their whole life story in a matter of minutes. She has always been a loyal friend and caretaker of others — and to me.

Never once have I doubted her love or support.

This is the love of a Grandmother — my Mommom. So full of love and generous in spirit.

She won't be here forever. I try to remember this. I try to enjoy and appreciate the woman she has always been to me. A special and intricate part of my life — a piece of my heart. A legacy of faith and love.

A precious gift.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advice from a Survivor Momma

I wish children came with an instruction manual.

Navigating the complexities of parenting is a considerable task. From the moment my children took their first breath, mothering them was about caring for their needs and keeping them well protected.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, balancing protection and care without becoming paranoid is not always an easy feat. I find that my biggest parenting fears are usually tied to issues from my abuse. But my sexual abuse history also provides me with awareness and an intuition that I have come to value.

In this guest post I share some Momma advice and three approaches I take to protect my children without putting them in a bubble.

Click here to read more…

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Time For Giving (enter to win my blog give away)

I don't know much about quicksand or whether it's true that the more you wriggle around the quicker you sink. But some days, some months I feel like I've fallen into it.

I have been flailing around here for about two months — grabbing, grasping, pulling onto anything I can think of that will get me out of it.

The only thing I haven't tried is — to stop trying.

I am starting to think that is the answer. Being still. Opening my hand to let all I'm holding onto fall where it may.

In my darkest hours this month, He has come through. And in nearly all cases, it has been through the generosity of someone else.

Standing in this desperate, unknown, sinking into the quicksand place, overwhelmed by the kindness of others, I come to you with an offer. I want to give something away simply because I can. Can you help me?

If you know of a deserving person or family, I would like to give them the gift of a free photography session. (Please see "give away" rules below.)

Your nominations could include a military family, someone with cancer or a terminal illness, a family who has experienced a great loss this year, someone who gives to others but rarely to themselves, a family who cannot afford family portraits, a foster care or adoptive family, etc.

I'm casting a net. I know there are people in need, people who give and rarely receive, out there.

Will you help me find them?

In gratitude,


You must write your name and your nomination's name in the comment section of this post and if you would like, include why you are nominating them. (You cannot nominate yourself.)

You must email your nominations to me. Write in the subject line: blog give away! Also include, your name, phone number, and email address, along with who you are nominating and a brief description of why they are deserving.

Nominees must reside or be able to travel to the suburban Philadelphia, PA area for the photography session (in other words, they need to be somewhat local). The session will be shot outside at my discretion (alternatives may be discussed) and will include members of one immediate family.

Photography session will include, at minimum, a free hour-long photography session and a disc with 20-25 edited photos, as well as, a free 5x7 of their favorite photo.

Session is valid and can be redeemed in 2013.

The winner will be chosen on Friday, December 23rd.

Rules are subject to change.

I am not a professional photographer, nor do I own a business. I do, however, take portraits based on word of mouth recommendations.  Click here if you would like to see some of my work.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Our Advent Tradition (aka How To Make An Advent Centerpiece)

Sharing a very hands-on post I wrote last year. Advent is upon us and I'd like to show you how to make your very own homemade Advent centerpiece. It pretty easy and can be quite affordable, too.

Here's a little Advent wreath history:
The advent "wreath" consists of 4 candles (sometimes 5) surrounded by evergreens (and whatever else you'd like to throw in there). Where the wreath requires wiring the greens to a frame, the centerpiece doesn't take as much effort or supplies, but I'll still refer to it as a "wreath" just sounds better. The advent "wreath" is a symbolic way to prepare your hearts and can be a fun and tangible way to get your kids involved. There are 3 purple candles and one pink. Sometimes people add a white one to light on Christmas.

This is a "tradition" meaning there is no right or wrong way to include the advent "wreath". Each candle represents something, commonly the first candle lit on the 1st Sunday in Advent is purple and represents hope. On the 2nd Sunday in Advent you light another purple candle, for love. The 3rd candle is the pink one, for joy. And the 4th candle lit is purple, for peace. The white candle, if you choose to add one, can go in the center and is lit on Christmas Day.

We have enjoyed doing a family devotional along with lighting the candles. There are many out there to choose from. Or you can just read a little bit of the Christmas story each time and sing some Christmas songs. Like I said, there is no right or wrong way.

Several years ago we purchased a Christmas activity called "What God Wants For Christmas" by Family Life. It is similar to Easter's Resurrection Eggs, if you are familiar with those. It comes with a booklet to read over 7 days or all at once, if you want. There is also free PDF activity sheets you can download with coloring pages and other things.

How does your family celebrate the Advent season? I'm always interested in hearing suggestions for things that may work well for you. So email me or comment with your ideas!


Here are some of the items you may need to purchase for your centerpiece (these items can be found at your local craft store): A small rectangular plastic tray for it to sit on and to catch any water that may come out of the floral foam.; a rectangle of floral foam; 4 plastic candle holders; a box of Advent candles (they often come prepackaged or you can just buy your own 3 purple, 1 pink).

My favorite part about my centerpiece is that all of the decorations I use come from my own backyard (literally). I take clippings from my various evergreens on the property. I also use any greens we trimmed from our Christmas tree (which this year I had a lot). The bulk of the centerpiece is made out of the traditional greens, from our Christmas tree and our Ewe bush. I use the other greens here and there on the centerpiece to add contrast. I also have a holly tree and pinecones in my yard, which liven up the centerpiece, as well. If you do not have access to pinecones or holly, then you can purchase these items at a craft store and they look just fine.

Once you have gathered all your greens and decorations, place the candle holders onto the green floral foam. I rarely do anything symmetrically, but that's just me. Put them wherever you want them.

Now start adding your greens. I always have a pair of trimmers with me to cut the greens into the size pieces you need. You can start anywhere on the floral foam. "Larger" pieces should go on the sides and towards the bottom, "shorter" pieces are great for the top. I always put the greens in on an angle. You don't want the centerpiece to be too bushy, so try not to make the pieces too long. Play with the layers. Experiment. Be creative!

To some extent you have to fill the centerpiece by eye. Keep turning it to make sure you don't have any obvious gaps. When you have it "filled" you can start to add the accent pieces, like the various pines, holly & berries, and pinecones. I usually just lay the pinecones on the top instead of securing them.

When you have it the way you like, add the candles. The final step is to water the floral foam. I do this once I put it in its "final" resting place. I water the top, like I would water a plant. Make sure you go slowly since any excess water will leave the foam and fill the plastic tray its sitting on. The foam will absorb the water from the tray so I actually try to always leave some water in the tray. You will have to check on it every couple of days to make sure it stays "watered".

May you have a blessed Advent season as you await and celebrate the coming of Christ, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Slow Down and Smell the Wonder

My Five Minute Friday on: Wonder

A little girl full of anticipation, skipping steps on her way. It is Christmas morning, the culmination of the Advent season. This is the day she has been waiting for.

The star sits atop a tinsel strewn tree. Memories hang from the evergreen branches, like the ornament marking the day she was born.

Her eager eyes take in the gifts, wrapped in colorful greens and reds, and out of the corner of her eye she spies full stockings hanging on the mantel.

The mystery of the gifts is revealed with each rip and tear of holiday paper. And all the excitement of the last four weeks dissolves.

That girl is now a woman. A Mom. And although the people have changed, the scene above repeats itself every year, bar one thing.

The little one could not wait until "the Day". It used to be all about the presents. But the woman has learned a few things over the years.

The woman is me.

When I rifle through the memory files of Christmases past, it's not the presents received that I remember, but the time spent in preparation and anticipation with family and friends.

May we "slow down and smell" the wonder of this glorious season and remember why it's more then just a special day.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday

Friday, November 23, 2012

Surrounded By Thanks

My Five Minute Friday on: Thank You

Sun streaking through empty branches. Feet crunching through their leafy remains. If I stand here still enough I hear the gentle wind moving foliage -- brown and red and yellow -- across the woodsy floor. But the stillness is overwhelmed by laughter.

The sweetness of adventuring children, muddied shoes -- and bottoms. Slip sliding down the bank of my childhood, where rocks skip and plop and splash.

I am caught up in this current of abandon. Swept along, in shoes meant for sitting, not adventuring. For more then a moment I am reliving -- carefree, happy times. I am thankful for this place.

A "thank you" from my lips for this beautiful, peaceful moment -- the sound of water rushing and children playing and searching for the right rock.

As water ripples and my today collides with my yesterday and I am so very thankful. For the man building rock bridges and the boy and girl gifts and their smiles wide. For nephews splattered in mud and water. This legacy. This place. I am overwhelmed.
God knows me. He has filled my life with everything I need. Beauty and laughter and a family that gathers after months a part yet it feels like just yesterday we were together. And He surrounds me with all of this goodness and I remember.

I remember that life with Him, although not without trials, is good.

And I am forever thankful.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seventy-Seven Times Forgiven

I have been offended, betrayed, and disappointed. And I have needed to forgive the unforgivable. But that was a lot harder then I thought.

Forgiveness was easier to do once I understood it. But it also required I do something contrary.

In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:21-22) Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" and Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times."

I grew up hearing people say, "forgive and forget." I thought that in order to forgive someone I had to forget that it ever happened. This might be possible with the invention of a mind eraser, but otherwise, an impossible task. But that's not what forgiveness is all about anyway.

"Forgiveness is a promise…a deliberate decision to deal with another's sin by doing away with it" ("Choosing Forgiveness" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss).

Before I could fully understand forgiveness, I needed to understand grace. In an "everything needs to be fair" world, grace doesn't make any sense.

I have earned frequent-flier miles for my mistakes. I allow impatience, selfishness, and worry to rule my days. When we're late for school and those words come out of me. I look at my children apologetically and without hesitation their tiny arms embrace me with undeserved forgiveness.

There is faith in grace — and in forgiveness. Faith in a heart broken and in a desire to change or do better next time. I don't deserve grace, but Love offers it to me anyway.

In John 8:3-8 a woman accused of adultery was brought to Jesus and instead of pointing a blaming finger at her he rebuked the others. "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

I can forgive my offenders because I have offended. I offer grace to the undeserving because I am undeserving, too.

"Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die," says Mark Gungor in "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage."

I am the only one that suffers when I don't forgive someone else. Like an infection, unforgiveness will eat us up inside until all we are left with is bitterness. Holding on to the pain and hurt that others have caused us will only leave us angry and lonely.

I believe forgiveness gets easier with time —when the wounds aren't quite as fresh. Depending on the depth of the offense, the process of forgiveness can take time. In some instances, I needed to work through the process with a counselor.

Forgiveness is a promise that is not based on anything anyone deserves or earns. Forgiveness is a gift, wrapped in grace, with a bow of surrender.

"Whatever's in the past, it's exactly the past God wants us to have. He doesn't want us to try to change it or forget it. He wants us to learn how to use it to serve him." —Kevin Huggins

This is a revised post from the archives.

Linking with…

Friday, November 16, 2012

I Wish She Could Have Stayed

My Five Minute Friday on: Stay

It had been about 4 years since she had radical surgery. In the course of a weekend our lives were changed dramatically. Mom had stage 4 ovarian cancer and she needed surgery, like now.

We celebrated her remission after a long course of chemotherapy, followed by radiation. She was an amazing testament to strength and resilience. Her faith never wavered. It was a confidence that defied the world's reason. She was so brave!

Life seemed normal. Holidays shared, family parties full of her wonderful dishes. We knew it had taken a lot out of her, but she rallied and climbed each health mountain with grace and resolve.

Last Thanksgiving all seemed well. Singing with joy for my daughter's birthday — gratefully enjoying another holiday together. But by Christmas, things had changed. She was not well.

As noise makers and midnight kisses rang in the New Year, she was slated for medical tests. An MRI revealed lesions on her brain. After a lengthy brain surgery they were confirmed to be cancerous — only weeks before her 60th birthday.

Fast forward to July, her health continued to wane. Cancer was taking over and there was nothing anyone could do. My mother-in-law lost her courageous battle on July 25, 2012.

The Five Minute Friday prompt was "stay". And all I could think about was her. Knowing she is celebrating her new life with her Lord and Savior, but missing her terribly.

In all our gratitude for the life she lived and her faithful example, in selfish grief…

I wish she could have stayed.

Linking today with Lisa-Jo…
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Letting Go - Tamar's Redemption Tuesday

Healing from childhood sexual abuse takes time and hard work. Through a lengthy process I learned a lot about myself and eventually — how to let go. Here is Part 4 of my story, in a series for Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays called God in Healing.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
How We Hurt, How We Heal

Never have I felt so vulnerable, yet so free.

After God began the process of band-aid removal (Part 3), I was forced to see all the ways I had been covering up the pain of childhood sexual abuse. Standing bare, heart exposed I had to face the truth about myself – and God.

Slowly I began to see God’s hand in my story. I saw my hands clenched white-knuckled around a rope, grabbing and pulling with all my might. I was playing tug-of-war with the Creator of the Universe. And it wasn't getting me anything except rope burns.

Read more of this guest post at Tamar's Redemption

Related Posts:
Looking for a Hero — God in Healing Part 1 -- Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Looking for Eden — God in Healing Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Finding the Real Me - God in Healing Part 3 - Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Betrayal — Christy's Voice Part 3 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Healing — Christy's Voice Part 4 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Am Not Quiet

My Five Minute Friday on: Quiet

Butterflies in my stomach. Eyes darting, scanning for the nearest exit. Feeling terribly uncomfortable in my own skin. It wasn't an allergic reaction to something I ate and there's no cure.

"You are so quiet!" — Impression accomplished. Feeling misunderstood, absolutely.

I am a "closet" introvert. People seem surprised when they find out. I keep it under wraps, but inside it can still suffocate me.

Introverts may be one of the most misunderstood social groups. I can't tell you how many times in a new setting, with people I don't know, someone has informed the room about how quiet I am.

I concede that in that particular setting I don't have a lot to say. Small talk and I just never got along that well. I will participate and answer questions, but when the "where are you from's" and the "what do you do's" have been exchanged, I'm left with a big pile of…not much to say.

I should clarify that I actually have A LOT to say (ask anyone who knows me well). I just prefer to share it with someone I know actually cares or could benefit from my sharing. Or maybe it's just a comfort thing. Sometimes I don't even understand myself!

I attended a blogging conference recently and at 2 different dinner occasions the person next to me just flat out ignored me. I mustered my introverted courage and decided I would make the first move (I do occasionally try to put myself out there). These women did respond and chatted politely with me for a few moments, but we spent the remainder of our meal in silence. They seemed more interested in chatting with the friend in the chair next to them. Not sure how to navigate that!

Irregardless, I just wanted you to know how hard social settings can be for an introvert like me.

And make an important statement: Be patient and try to get to know me because I am anything but QUIET!

Linking up today with Lisa-Jo:
Five Minute Friday

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Orange" - I Heart Faces Photo Challenge

I believe this was his attempt at blowing a bubble, although it looked like he was about to taste the wand. Love his beautiful brown eyes!

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Photo Challenge Submission

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Finding the Real Me - Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

Sharing Part 3 of my story, in a series for Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays, called God in Healing. We wish healing would just happen. Maybe if we ignore our pain it will go away. But we know in reality the only path to healing is facing our hurts head-on.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
How We Hurt, How We Heal

When my kids were small they thought a bandaid could fix anything. A tiny scratch or a banged up knee just felt better when you put a bandaid on it.

You and I know there is nothing magical about those sticky, adhesive bandages. They are a temporary fix while the real healing work happens -- under the bandaid, from within.

In a perfect world you could stick a bandaid on the hurts of life, ignore it for a few days and you'd be good as new. But real healing is intentional and it takes a lot of hard, often agonizing, work.

Read more of my guest post at Tamar's Redemption

Related Posts:
Looking for a Hero — God in Healing Part 1 -- Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Looking for Eden — God in Healing Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Betrayal — Christy's Voice Part 3 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Healing — Christy's Voice Part 4 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Girdling Root

My Five Minute Friday on: Roots

There is a tall oak tree that stands next to our driveway in front of our house. It litters its acorns and twirly seeds every year to the annoyance of our next door neighbor. When a strong wind blows, or a hurricane, its branches shed all over our front yard.

Looking at our towering oak tree there would be no reason to suspect it was anything more then a healthy tree. And it primarily is.

But at its base, down in the dirt where the roots call home, it is strangling itself.

Called a girdling root (I am the daughter of a "tree man" who worked as an Arborist/Horticulturalist his whole life), this phenomenon often kills young trees before they reach maturity. Some, like the one that stands proud in our yard, has found a way to survive.

Roots are opportunistic. They need oxygen and water to live and as seedlings begin a course in search of these conditions. If the soil surrounding them does not provide these nutrients, the roots turn and begin to circle the tree itself -- strangling it.

Like the oak, we have roots. In healthy soil they dig down deep, keeping us grounded. Our roots tell us where we came from and encourage us to grow and mature. When the winds blow, we remain securly planted. Roots were intended to reach far and wide, being fed by a source outside of themselves. But it's not always this way...

In self-protection we may have pulled those roots in close, surrounded ourselves with them so we could survive. Feeling like a protective hug around you, but in reality, like the girdling root, strangling the life out of you.

Our tree figured out young how to survive the gnarly twist of roots encircled around its base. I thank God that in our wounded, feeble attempts to "save" ourselves, He finds a way to love, nurture, and feed us -- girdling root or not.

Linking with Lisa-Jo at Five Minute Friday.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When A Tree Branch Fell

My alarm broke through the darkness of day breaking as it does most weekday mornings. My body preferring the warm downy comforter to the cold, raw air of my bedroom, I convinced myself to get up. Through sleepy eyes I knew we were still without power.

Hurricane Sandy huffed amd puffed into our small Pennsylvania town, covering the landscape with wet autumn leaves and riddled with branches. The storm is well past us now, but the pin-drop silence of our small Rancher reminds me of what Sandy left behind.

Last night my family celebrated a warm meal over candlelight, our side of the street darkening as the sun slid lower in the sky. But directly across from us, neighbors with power, spared the inconvenience. Such a funny sight. The juxtaposition of comfort versus struggle. It has been teaching me.

While we huddle together under blankets for warmth, seeing only by the light of a candle and a camping lantern, the other side of the street has... I was going to say "has all they need" but that makes it sound like I don't and that's just not true.

This whole ordeal makes me think about Job 1:21-22, how God gives and takes away. And in all the ways Job had and lost he did not blame God.

There are so many ways I have wanted God to provide for my family during this time. I am worried. My husband will not be paid for 4 days of no work. The adventure of living a "pioneer life" wears off pretty quickly, especially when you are not prepared to live that way. So easily I can see the negative in this experience and feel angry about it. Wanting someone to rescue us from this annoyance.


When we needed safety, the tree branch fell away from our house, not damaging anything as it ripped away from itself and slammed hard onto the ground below.

When we needed a way to keep our food cold, a neighbor's freezer, a cousin's generator were freely offered.

When we needed a warm meal, loving friends sent invitations, a stovetop for mash potato making.

We have not gone without.

And I sit on my comfy couch under a fleece blanket, typing fingers turning blue from 3 days with no heat, seeing only by the God-given light that shines through our bay window, with the purring sound of a gas powered generator in the distance and I can be thankful. For God provides what I need, not necessarily what I think I need or what I want.

And I'm learning to be fine with that.

Linking with:

Looking for Eden -- Tamar's Redemption Tuesday

This is Part 2 of my story, in a series for Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays, called God in Healing. For anyone who has ever wished they could change the past.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesday
How We Hurt, How We Heal

Eight years ago, in a time of immense trial, God became real to me. Although God and I met every Sunday since I was very small, sitting next to my Grandmother in the church pew, he always felt far away.

For many years, I imagined myself at the front of the time machine line – clicking back the years and changing history. I thought a re-write was exactly what I needed. Cue the knight in shining armor to save me from my childhood sexual abuse. This would change my life – for the better.

Read more of this guest post at Tamar's Redemption

Related Posts:
Looking for a Hero -- God in Healing Part 1 -- Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Betrayal — Christy's Voice Part 3 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Healing — Christy's Voice Part 4 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays

Thursday, October 25, 2012

His Voice

My Five Minute Friday on: Voice

I know my past haunts. These hurts have kept me silent, convinced of lies. They held me captive in chains I struggled to break.

But there is a light that breaks through the darkness. It is God telling me I am His. He tells me I do not need to be afraid.

Speaking it aloud encourages, heals. Lets others know they are not alone.

His voice makes me unafraid.

His voice tells me I am beautiful, forgiven, and free.

His voice reminds me -- I am His.

Linking with Lisa-Jo...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Lies Ahead

I hear the click-clicking of my stove as it simmers the earthy lentil soup. I sprinkled some Momma love in there so they might think of me as they eat it tomorrow.

It's the eve of attending my first blogger writer's conference and I'm asking that butterfly in the belly introverted question, why did I say I would go to this thing?

Back when the blossoms were just about to explode in their spring glory, I pushed the "purchase ticket" button on the Allume website. With my friend's reassuring voice on the other end of the telephone line, she was convinced we would have a great time and a positive experience. It's sort of a blur to me now. What made me decide to actually do it?

A conference full of Christian women, with a common interest in blog writing. Some names I knew, Ann Voskamp, Mary DeMuth, Lisa-Jo. They have become a familiar sight on my "follow" list. I visit their journals, their encouragements, their well-put prose and it feels like I know them.

Three years ago, when I first started this blog, it was out of curiosity. I had no idea I would ever stick with it or what it would become.

Like a winter cold, I caught "blogging" — or maybe it caught me?

Writing fills me and challenges. Deeply I think and examine myself and others in front of the backdrop of this world.

God reminds me where I have been when I write. And He encourages me and gives me hope about my future.

So I know that God wants me to write. And when I'm unsure, He nudges and whispers the words and I try desperately to stay out of His way.

Attending the Allume conference feels intimidating. But as I stir my bubbling soup, feet firmly planted in my stay-at-home Mom life (with both kids in school full-time), I wonder what God has in store for me there? And what this conference will teach me?

And when that question nags again, "Why did I say I would go to this thing?", I can be ever confident that just showing up will be a blessing and I am anxious to see what lies ahead.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hackjacked: A post by a not so eloquent Hubby:

Hackjacked: A post by a not so eloquent Hubby:

      Blogging has blossomed Christy, into the truth seeker and speaker I call my wife.  

There’s an aspect of living life that goes unheard, those thoughts we have but don’t say and those moments we wish never happened. But there are blessings to offset them. Christy is my blessing to having “A Heartening Life.
I would have to say that blogging has been God’s way to help us heal.  For a time in her life, I'm not sure Christy had the words to "speak".  It was as if someone had “stolen her voice”.  She grew up, became an adult and by His perfect plan she sought Christ’s desire for her life.  He answered by renewing “her voice”.   
I was gifted with the opportunity to watch and live this journey with her.  To see her new voice amplified all to the online community amazing. 
I think of not just how she is able to use her voice, but how she is able to be encouraged and give encouragement to others she hardly knows.  My wife is now part of something that seems unending. She is a mama, wife, and lover of Jesus.

Christy is a blogger! and I am proud to be her hardworking carpenter hubby. 

This isn't the first time Adam has hijacked this blog…

Looking For A Hero - Tamar's Redemption Tuesday

For the past 4 weeks, I have written about my story of hope — from a victim of childhood sexual abuse to a survivor. Today I begin a new series for Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays, God in Healing, where I search for the Hero I always needed, and find, not just healing, but redemption.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
How We Hurt, How We Heal

Thirty-six years a survivor and I still wrestle with God.

When painful memories overwhelm, it’s hard for me to see – to see God in that darkness. I have pleaded with God for His “five w” answers, but all I really want to know is “Why?”

Blaming my adult abuser was not enough for me. God became an easy target for my barrage of questions and doubts, my feelings of anger and helplessness.

Read more of this guest post at Tamar's Redemption

Previous posts on this topic:
I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Betrayal — Christy's Voice Part 3 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Healing — Christy's Voice Part 4 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
When Memories Haunt You  —May 3, 2012
Shame On Me — December 7, 2010

Friday, October 19, 2012

Another Pair of Shoes

My Five Minute Friday on: Look

From the moment I wrangle myself from under the warm covers with alarm man reciting today's weather I am making a choice.

When I brush her hair and she cries cause it pulls and I yell because I'm trying to be gentle. We're late and those words come out of me, angry and impatient. I am making a choice.

As I hurry to the grocery store, with songs playing loud and my mind filled with chatter and thoughts and schedules and plans. I choose.

These shoes I'm standing in, this view I'm looking from, is it mine?

I choose myself more times then not. I get caught up in the blurry hurry and I hear my own thoughts and I see it all being about myself.

There is a choice. To look from another pair of shoes — yours. When I'm intentional and I actually LOOK at you.

I see in my rearview that woman sobbing on her cell behind me and I wonder why her heart is breaking right then.

I see that grayed woman struggling to lift those cans and cartons in bags.

I see the hurt face of a sweet girl when her Momma says things rough and impatient. When that rush makes the schedule more important then gentleness on long hair tangles.

When I look, really look, and the details smack me between the eyes and my heart gets involved in the doings of others instead of myself.

That's the choice I want to make.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo today…
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Friendship" - I Heart Faces Photo Challenge

My daughter and her friend, having fun in the waves together.

"Friends are the most important part of your life. Treasure the tears, treasure the laughter, but most importantly, treasure the memories." -quote by Dave Brenner

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Photo Challenge Submission

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Healing - Tamar's Redemption Tuesday

Today I share Part 4 of my story with this guest post on Tamar's Redemption. There is hope, in every story, to find healing from sexual abuse.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
How We Hurt, How We Heal

Desperate, I wanted to trust people.

I searched for acceptance and love from anyone who was willing to give it to me. Internally, I traded my trust for a guarantee – that I would never be hurt again. I jumped into relationships with everything I had. I clung to them, relied on them, looking for some security. I wanted to feel safe.

Like a teeter-totter, I swayed between depending on others for what I needed and relying on myself. I knew deep down I would get hurt, but I also knew not trusting anyone was impossible. So I remained skeptical, ready to step in to protect myself at any moment.

Marriage was a proving ground. Initially, the promised commitment felt safe. But it wasn’t long before it all started to fall a part.

Read more of this guest post at Tamar's Redemption…

This post led to a secondary series on God in Healing:

Looking for a Hero
Looking for Eden
Finding the Real Me
Letting Go

Previous posts on this topic:
I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Betrayal — Christy's Voice Part 3 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
When Memories Haunt You  —May 3, 2012
Shame On Me — December 7, 2010

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Race of My Life

My Five Minute Friday on: Race

The red numbers on my bedside alarm clock read seven-thirty. The sun has already taken its position in the morning sky.

We are late already.

I wake sleepyhead from the sandman's grasp. Sound my directions for getting dressed. I take breakfast and lunch orders.

Me and my fuzzy slippers, we shuffle to the kitchen. Packing lunch. Finding a bowl, a spoon for their breakfast.

My eyes darting to the microwave clock. It keeps marching forward. We are racing against time.

Shoes on, teeth brushed, school bags packed…

We jump in Mommy's white school bus, our caravan. Off we go. Dropped off with 5 minutes to spare.

I sigh my relief.

The race begins and ends every day. You would think I'd be fit for it by now. Some days I win, other days it feels like I lose. It's easy to get caught up.

I'm running the race of my life —

remembering at the end,

I may be awarded the Finisher's Medal just from having run the race,

but what matters more,

is how well I ran it.

"Races aren’t always won by those who run fast." —Ecclesiastes 9:11

Linking up with Lisa-Jo today…
Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Betrayal - Tamar's Redemption Tuesday

I continue with Part 3 of my story in this guest post on Tamar's Redemption. The effects of sexual abuse are pervasive. Maybe something I write will strike a chord with you, reminding you of your own quiet pain. Maybe you will glean a new understanding of the struggles your sexually abused loved one has experienced. I'm sharing to give you hope. So you can see not just how we hurt, but also how we heal.

Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
How We Hurt, How We Heal

I was just a kid. I had no reason not to trust him, but this left me vulnerable. He had relied on my innocence, my ignorance, and my trust. I obeyed his instructions because that is what I had always done, what I felt was expected of me. I was unaware of appropriate body boundaries. Not at that age, not back then. My abuser had certainly crossed the line.

This betrayal changed me.

After awhile I stopped trusting adult men. I didn’t know I was doing that at the time, of course. This change was deep inside of me, mixed into the undercurrent of how my young mind had interpreted the yucky things that happened to me. Confusion birthed lies, which took root under my surface.

Inside, my world was a swirling mess.

Read more of this guest post at Tamar's Redemption

Previous posts on this topic:
When Memories Haunt You  —May 3, 2012
I Am A Survivor — Christy's Voice Part 1 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame — Christy's Voice Part 2 — Tamar's Redemption Tuesdays
Shame On Me — December 7, 2010

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