Thursday, December 6, 2012


The marketing and development team were challenged with a "12 Days of Christmas" devotional. Everyone on our team was given a gift from God and asked to write a devotional about it. My "gift" was courage. I thought I'd share the devotional I wrote with you here:

Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?


You can say that again!

From "The Wizard of Oz"

It's true that starting a devotional with a quote from Wizard of Oz is not exactly the most spiritual way to begin...and somewhat typical of me...but in thinking of courage, we almost always think of heroes and soldiers or those that are so completely without courage that they live their life in fear and anxiety and may never find the life God has for them because they are trapped. Somewhere in between those two extremes, we wake up every morning ready to face our day.

Do we have courage?

Courage is defined as: 
"the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery."

In Numbers we are told the story of the Twelve all know it. Twelve men are sent to spy out the "Promised Land" and come back with a report. Ten of the men spoke out of fear. Two of them-Caleb and Joshua-spoke from courage.

What made these two men different than the other ten? Why is what they saw so different than the others?

Because their faith enabled them to see past what the logical or rational outcome would be and trust instead in what God had said would happen. Their belief in the promises of God gave them courage.

Caleb shows he is a man of courage again in Joshua 14:12. The Hebrews have finally entered the Promised Land and Caleb has done his part in fighting the battles and getting the people settled. He goes to Joshua and
says "Now give me this mountain that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."

Caleb knows this will not be an easy task, he knows it will be a fight. He also knows that God is with him. That He has said Caleb will drive out the enemy and he and his descendents will occupy that land. He has courage and he is willing to move forward.

I don't know what your day holds or what mountains you might be facing. But today be encouraged by the fact that courage is a gift that comes from faith. Faith gives us the ability to see beyond the challenges, the situations, and the "plausible" outcomes. We can have courage...not because we are strong (even if we are), smart (even if we are), or willing to fight (even if we are). We have courage because God is with us.

Deut 3:16
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Psalm 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Shopping and Random Reads

Okay! Thanksgiving is over and I can officially think about Christmas!

Give me a break, I'm a one holiday at a time kind of girl...there is way too much going on in life for me to think about turkey and mistletoe at the same time!

So...the kids have given me their wish lists. Trey, having not forgotten the lesson he learned two years ago, is very specific about the video games he wants. Bree has everything from books to make up to henna kits.

While you are doing your shopping, here are two great tools to help you buy that perfect gift while making an impact for social justice (thanks to Not For Sale)
 Purchase With Purpose
Apparel Industry Trends

And...just for the record...if I'm on your, candy, books. You can't go wrong. (LOL)

For those of you who don't know, I'm kind of a dork (if you have met me or read one of my blogs, you know I'm a dork...but I always hope there is just one person out there who hasn't figured it out yet and reads that statement with a gasp of surprise). I tend to read a lot. And try to read between 3-5 articles a day. Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd share a few of the most interesting I've read lately.

Disclaimer 1: If you and I are friends on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter, I've already shared these. Disclaimer 2: Facebook is for people I actually know. Twitter is for everyone. If you "friend" me on Facebook and I don't know you...I won't accept it. Sorry.

1) Whether you agree with everything Rachel Held Evans says or not, she definitely knows how to start a conversation. I really enjoyed this post on politics and evangelicals. "The Real Evangelical Disaster"

2) If you don't subscribe to Fast Company's emails, you should. "The 20 Minute Exercise to Eradicate Negative Thinking"

3) Try to look at things from someone else's views. "An Open Letter" Part 1

4) Are we willing to sacrifice our dignity for shoes?

5) Just for fun...the 50 worst movies ever made (per someone else's opinion of course)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude and Memories

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to be with family. Eat too much. A day to watch football. A day to be...thankful. And I am.

Tomorrow is something else for me.

Tomorrow will mark one year since I saw my Dad alive, conscious. The next time I would see him would be in February, after he had the stroke.

I wish I could tell you about the good time we had. But I can't. In fact, I kind of avoided him for most of the day. He was not in a good mood and sat on the couch trying to make anyone within a four foot radius of him as miserable as he was.

Give the guy a break. He'd been in pain for over a year from a broken leg that just wouldn't heal due to his diabetes. After his last stint in the hospital, they had given him the choice to spend some time in a nursing home so they could monitor his diet, administer antibiotics and give him physical therapy or lose his leg. He'd chosen the nursing home but he wasn't happy about it.

I should have been more understanding, but I wasn't. I wanted to have a good time, laugh, spend time with family. I didn't want to deal with his grumpiness and as many hours as I'd spent with him in the hospital over the course of the last year, as many times as I'd emptied his pee pot (yep, dutiful daughter award) and watched TBS movies...I didn't feel guilty about it.

Maybe now I do.

I could feel really, really guilty about it. As good as I am about focusing on negatives, beating myself up and occasionally swimming around in my own pity pool...I could feel terrible, revel in the regret and mourn those last, lost few hours.

But I'm not going to. Not because I don't wish I'd had more grace and spent more time with him that day, but because I know two things to be true.

My dad knew I loved him. (see above reference to pee pot!)
My dad loved me. unconditionally. It isn't easy. I know. My dad and I had a special relationship simply because we had a relationship. It took a lot of letting go of the past, forgiveness, and grace...on both sides. It took agreeing to disagree, declaring some topics taboo (i.e. my Mom), and accepting each other "warts and all"

Lesson...time is precious. Spend as much of it with family and friends as you can. How could I possibly have known that would be the last time I would see him? He actually looked better that day than he had in a while. Oddly enough, the day before his stroke, I'd thought to myself we needed to go see him before we got crazy busy with the shows we were doing. I am grateful I told him I loved him and gave him a big hug before we left him back at the nursing home.

Lesson...give yourself grace. You are not all knowing, all seeing, or perfect. You make mistakes. You get grumpy. You have bad days. You do things you wish you can undo (that bad tattoo maybe? not that I have one...too chicken) There is no way for me to jump into my DeLorean and fix this. The best thing I can do for myself and the memory of my Dad is to focus on the positives, the good times and the fact that we had said everything we needed to say to each other.

Tomorrow, as we laugh and talk and eat and eat and eat (my Uncle John is a stellar cook ya'll and to not overindulge a bit would not be true to the work he puts into the preparations of the meal...right?), my Dad's memory will be there. And I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful I am his daughter. I'm thankful for my family-especially my kids. I'm thankful to have a job at Wellspring Living. To have as many interesting and amazing friends as we do and for the opportunities to make more. I'm thankful for grace and redemption.

I'm thankful if this post makes you take a deep breath and give yourself permission to let something go so you can enjoy your day just a little more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gala 2012


Gala season is over!!!

The week before gala is a lot like tech week before a show. For those of you who bother to read my blogs and have never been involved with theatre, tech week is nicknamed "heck week" but not actually "heck"

You know, the bad place. The really, really hot...bad place.

It's stressful and crazy and yet creates a camaraderie between you and the others on your team (or cast).
As Dana, Jason and I chatted and emailed at one in the morning...throwing about labels like "pot" and "kettle" and I watched the volunteer sign ups go up and down as people have to back out and others sign up, as we take t-shirts home to bundle and books home to stuff...we are at one moment confident this is going to be the best gala ever and the other confident that everything will fall apart.

I was confident in the programming and the decor...but having nightmares that not a single volunteer showed up and I was trying to single handedly greet everyone at the door while serving dinner to 350 guests at the same time.

In the end, it came together beautifully.
You can read a recap and see some pictures here:

I do have to say that this was a learning experience for me. Last year I came in at the last minute and my main role at the gala was to sign in the volunteers. I was shocked to find that only about half the volunteers they were expecting actually came. Confident that I could do better this year...I have to say I don't think I did. We never actually got the number we needed signed up and only about 60% showed up. I tried to organize this like a group project but it feels a bit different. And I seriously let the stress and disorganization get to me. I have a few ideas in mind to make next year better, but I'd love to hear any feedback from those with volunteer administration or event planning experience.

Maybe we could start a conversation:
1) What can we do to make sure that the volunteers who sign up, show up? Do we just expect to only have 50-60% show up and therefore recruit double the number we need?

2) How can we organize teams, leads, etc with a chance of only half of them actually being there?

3) Advice on keeping your cool? Best ways to make event volunteers appreciated?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

GA Tech Women's Leadership Conference

I had a unique experience this weekend. I was given the chance to lead a workshop at Georgia Tech's Women's Leadership Conference. Originally I was supposed to be part of a panel on trafficking, but that didn't end up happening at all. After a presenter dropped out, I was contacted by one of the planners and asked if I would lead a workshop! I suggested a couple of topics and the one we agreed on was "Engaging Your Community"

I was a bit nervous and even more nervous when I got there and their equipment and my Mac wouldn't work together. That meant I had to ditch my power point. I quickly jotted down all my talking points so I wouldn't forget. As attendees started arriving, I took a deep breath and went for it.

What followed was a very engaging conversation with lots of good feed back from the audience and information from me. I mean, I'm not tooting my own horn but engaging community is what I do and what I'm passionate about and the energy and interest from those who came to the workshop made it really easy. I'd brought Embree along and she even enjoyed it. She not only liked seeing me in that role but enjoyed the presentation. (She thinks I'm quotable)

I will admit that I was really happy to see people writing down things I'd said not because I want to be prideful but because it means it was useful. I was also able to help a mother who is volunteering as the grant writer for her child's PTO and give a woman who has a ministry for women with breast cancer with some fund development ideas.

All in all, it was a great time and I'm really grateful to have been invited.

And for those of you wondering, I was not wearing red and black.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Speaking of Zombies

So I really, really, really love Trey.
A lot.

And I have to say I was kind of interested in The Walking Dead because it's filmed around here, we know people who work on the show, so many of our friends like it...

But I really didn't think I'd watch it.
Until Trey started to...

And I'm not sure I mentioned it, but I really love Trey.
And he wanted me to watch it.
And I wanted to spend time with him.

So I watched it. Two episodes. From season one.
Amusing as watching me dry heave apparently is...Trey has told me I can love him without watching The Walking Dead with him.

I really love Trey.
I really hate zombies.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


For Halloween, I got to take Embree, Trey and their cousins Cameron and Brianna to McDonough for the Thriller Parade. We met Drew (pictured with the "We eat the 99%) during Never Ending Story. The kids became friends with him, I got to know his Mom and we became friends and it was through them we found out about it. Drew came up with the "Occupy Brains" theme. Tonya did a fantastic job on the zombie make up. And the kids had a blast walking in the parade and then performing "Thriller" in the square.

The boys made for great photo apps after the performance. Bree continued to dance her zombified tale off until we had to go.

She definitely got into the role.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Festival

There are times when my job duties are a bit...varied.
Today they included a sack race (which I totally would've won but my glasses bounced off my face and I faltered while trying to decide whether I should stall long enough to get, but those few seconds put me in second...sigh) and a three legged race (I didn't fall until the end!)

No pictures and I'm sorry but I'm sure you understand.

The girls planned and executed a fantastic festival complete with games and more junk food than anyone should ever eat! And s'mores at the end!

Hope everyone has fun on Halloween! I'll be dressing up as Tweedle Dum at church! (Hopefully I'll have pictures of that!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fire Pits and Carpet Cleaners

Trey dug a fire pit in our new back yard!

Which naturally meant we needed to roast marshmallows! And, the more the merrier, so we invited the neighbors!

A most satisfying time (and sugar rush!) was had by all!

And a HUGE thanks to Woodstock First Baptist Church's College Group for spending Saturday at the Girls Home and ELP! They got a number of cleaning projects done including Building 3 and part of the fence line at the ELP as well as a deep clean at the girls home. Watching them figure out how to operate the carpet cleaner provided amusement for all (lol). Seriously, this is the group that helped out at  the ELP last year and a harder working group of college students is hard to find!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Everything I Was Made For

Kevin Rowe.
Great guy, great artist.
And proceeds from his single "Everything I was Made For" benefit Wellspring Living!

PS He'll be performing at the gala AND he'll be at the Alamo (in Newnan) in December!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Celebrity Crushes

To those who actually read this...
At the end, you will wonder "why in the world did she write this?"
And the answer is was one of those random posts, floating around in my head.

So...Catalyst is this week. I'm going to be there. Jen Hatmaker is going to be there.
I've been on Twitter and Facebook trying to gently suggest to Jen Hatmaker that she stop by the Wellspring Living booth....specifically on Thursday. Because that's my day to work the booth.

And by "gently suggest", I might mean begging.

It is slightly possible that she has gotten on my Twitter page long enough to right click and save my profile picture, print it out, and hand it to Catalyst security with the instructions "keep this psycho away from me".

Some of you are wondering who Jen Hatmaker is...There was a time I didn't know either. Till a friend and coworker suggested I follow her on Twitter and check out her blog. You should google it. Read her blog, read her books.

I'm a fan.

It's odd when I think about it. I don't get celebrity crushes on actor celebrities or musician celebrities (okay, well not since I was 17 anyway...). I get crushes on celebrities like William Wilberforce, Donald Miller...and Jen Hatmaker. People who have significantly changed how I look at life, walk my Christian walk and interact with my children. People who are willing to share, be transparent...

It's almost like they are allowing us to get to know them and so therefore they should know us. I mean, after all...we have so much in common.

Take Jen and I...
She loves Jesus. I love Jesus.
She loves coffee. I love coffee.
She creatively threatens her children. I creatively threaten my children.

Obviously we are meant to be friends! We have so much in common!
She just needs to know that I exist and she would instantly recognize the connection! Right?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wellspring Living Blog

Hey guys,
I don't know how many of you read Wellspring Living's blog but you certainly should! Just to let you know, sometimes when I'm quiet over writing is over there. The blog has a variety of blogs about trafficking, the programs, stories, etc from a number of people involved with our organizations and others.

A couple of my latests posts are specifically about my role at Wellspring Living so check 'em out!

The Journey So Far
Do Something

Hope you are having a great week!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


It’s been a while since I’ve got to spend a significant amount of time at the girls’ home. Most of the girls I know really well have graduated and I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know the newer girls. So I was really excited when our Volunteer Coordinator at the home asked me to teach a couple of classes, filling a spot until a new volunteer completed her training and took over.

I walk in the home with anticipation, look around, give a big grin to the girls I know and a friendly but not overeager so as not to freak them out smile to the girls I don’t. And that’s when I see her. She’s incredibly cute, somewhere between 15 and 17, her face has an innocent look. It’s the tattoo that gives you an idea of what she’s been through.

Across her chest, she’s been branded. The first word of the tattoo gives possession of her to someone beside herself. The second-a foul word-devalues her and gives someone permission to treat her any way they like.

I’m aware that traffickers tattoo the girls like this regularly. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it-in pictures and in person. Tattoos have included UPC codes, money signs, and phrases like the one on this girl. It’s meant to label her as merchandise, property, less than a person. But, no matter how many times I see it, it is going to bother me. I think about what happened to her before this, the day she got the tattoo, the men who read it and were excited. I’m angry…like incredibly angry. And all through the class, as we talk, laugh and play games, this image is in my head.

After class, on my way back to the office, I am being real with God. I tell Him how angry I am at that man who did that to her. Angry enough I’d like to do physical violence to the guy. How heart broken I am for her and how frustrated I am that this keeps happening.

And God says, “I love him too.”

I choke. I’ve forgotten. Sometimes I choose to forget because it’s uncomfortable and sometimes I am just so overwhelmed I forget.

As hard as it is to imagine, God loves the traffickers and the “johns” as much as He loves me. I don’t know what all has gone on in their lives to make them capable of doing the things they do, but they are broken too. As much as I pray for justice, I need to pray for redemption. These men need help. They need recovery. And the reality is, until that kind of help and recovery are available to both the traffickers and the men who buy sex, fighting this is going to be harder.

So, I’d like to ask you to spend some serious time this week praying-not only for our girls-but for the men who sale them and the men who buy them. That they will come to see the girls as human, as valuable. That they will realize their own brokenness and that somehow, in some way-through a person, a program, a church-they find help and healing too.

There is restoration for the girl who has been branded. And the man who branded her.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Things That Make Me Cry

Diet Dr. Pepper
Specifically older men in Wal-Mart buying multiple cases of Diet Dr. Pepper. It was my Dad's favorite could say he was somewhat addicted. He'd drink at least a twelve pack a day! By the way, people look at you funny when you cry in Wal-Mart.

Sitting on the couch, suddenly remembering "Crud I haven't called Dad!" and jumping up to grab the phone before I remember.

Denim button up shirts.
I actually kept his. He loved those things. My sister and I joked when we were creating the photo boards for the funeral, that we were going to create a photo montage "the denim shirt through the years"

Songs on the radio-including Miranda Lambert's new one.

18 wheelers

I miss my Dad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Immersion Project

One of the coolest parts of my job is my role as Immersion Project Coordinator. Wellspring Living's Immersion Project is a three day "mini-mission trip" that gives your group the opportunity to learn more about sexual exploitation, the work of Wellspring Living, and what you can do to fight this issue in Georgia.

A few details:

  • Groups of 5-7 women, 20 years of age or older.
  • Must complete application and background check.
  • Each individual will raise $700. This money is used to pay their costs and the remainder goes directly into funding our programs. We do offer coaching and resources to help the individual raise support.

Groups will stay at Operation Mobilization's US headquarter's guest accommodations just down the street from Wellspring Living's administrative office. Arrival is on a Thursday and departure is Saturday afternoon. We do have dates available for summer and fall! During the course of the trip, individuals will receive training, visit both the women's and girls home, have the opportunity to teach a lifeskill class and do an art project as part of interacting with the girls and women, do an outreach in Atlanta, and a group project at one of our stores or the Empowered Living Program facility.

Our hope is that the women leave not only more knowledgeable about the issue but empowered and aware of how they can be a part of ending exploitation-in Georgia, in the US, around the globe.

If you, your group, or your church would like more information, please contact me at

The Quiet Season

It has been longer than I thought it had been since I've sat down to blog.

A couple of months ago I wrote a guest blog trying to make people understand that men who have sex with young girls don't always look like monsters or "low lifes" That they often look like the guy who goes to work every day, come home to their families, go to church. I wanted people to understand the impact of a man's choice on his family, the idea that we must be aware of who creates the demand so we can create accountability and resources that help these men struggling with sexual sin. I'd wanted to write it a long time. It practically wrote itself. I believe the impact was what I'd hoped to some degree or the other. To be honest, I put it out there and let God do what He wanted with it.

What I didn't anticipate is what it would do to me emotionally and mentally. In writing it, I had to share things and in sharing those things, started reliving memories I don't often dwell on...and the thing that got me was it wasn't the bad times that I focused on the most, it was the good. And it broke my heart.

People tend to look at me and see a very confident, independent woman who is perfectly content to be single for the rest of her life and for the most part, most days...that is exactly what I am. I am fully aware of the amazing support system of friends we have-many who are more like family. I'm aware that we get more opportunities to experiences some of the coolest things than most people. I know that the fact I love my job as much as I do and I get to be a part of something so awesome is something to thank God for everyday.

But I never actually meant to do this alone. I liked being married. I like the idea of having someone by your side, being by theirs. I had never meant to not have that and in reliving those times, became once more aware that I'd lost something. That I was disappointed and hurt by that loss.

It threw me and I was depressed for a couple of weeks. Watching Crazy, Stupid Love (a very good movie, BTW) had me on my bathroom floor sobbing. My kids were kind of worried. I was pretty successful at hiding it from everyone else. I prayed a lot, wrote in my journal. Confessed to God that I was angry and felt cheated. Came to the place where I put it back in His hands and praised Him for everything He has given us. Started to feel better...

And about the time I was feeling inspired to write again, I got a phone call at work. My Dad had had a stroke. I knew by the time I got to the hospital that it was bad. The stroke destroyed most of his brain and had he made it, he would have been a shadow of himself, laying in a bed at a nursing home with a feeding tube. But the whole time I refused to quite take what the doctors were saying as truth. As if, if I believed what they were saying, then I had given up on my Dad and that would be the end of any chance he had of making it. Even when they told us he wouldn't make it through the day, I said he would at least do that just to prove them wrong. It's the first time my Dad didn't put up a fight.

If the world were perfect or this was a movie, my Dad would've woken up long enough to tell me he loved me, that he was glad I was his daughter. I would have told him that I loved him with all my heart and despite everything we'd been through, I would've picked him as my Dad over any other choice. The world is not perfect and my life is not a movie. I've told my Dad on more than one occasion that I've forgiven him, that I love him...I just wish I'd had one more chance.

So for the past few weeks, I've been working through my grief. Little by little, I'm doing better. Grief is sneaky so I can be having a perfectly good day and somehow find myself crying. Little things, like a character in a movie who keeps a toothpick in his mouth, can make me think of him. One day I thought "I'm not ready for this" and for just a few minutes, allowed myself to think of him like he was still here. Like I could call him and hear him say "Hey now" and before he hung up the phone tell me "love you bunches". Last week I made it through the whole Wednesday without thinking "It's been four weeks" but today I thought "It's been five" We honored my Dad's wishes. He was cremated. We haven't followed through with the second part of his wish but my Aunt mentioned it the other day. We're starting to think about it. We're almost ready.

Anyway...there you have it. And now I'm ready to write again. It is all muddled in my brain. I'll probably date the posts at appropriate times, so that you are caught up on what's going on with us as a family, with Wellspring, etc. Hopefully I'll be up to date by the end of next week and can blog in "real time" again. Thanks to those of you who know us, have been praying for us, sent your sympathy, etc. I'm so blessed to have you, to have people who bother to read what I think/write.

It's good to be "back"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Losing My Dad

February 21st

It's one of those ordinary days. I overslept and went to work without makeup on or my hair done. I'm a bit fuddle brained but looking forward to the day. Tuesdays are always my favorite since the whole Marketing team is in the just makes for a fun day.

Trey had a great birthday .

We'd had rehearsals for Dangerous Liaisons and I was calling everyone, getting ready for read thru.

I was taking Bree and her friends to do some final prom shopping that afternoon.

Friday was a comp day...I was going to sleep late.

One of those days where, when you look back, there should have been some foreshadowing but there wasn't...nothing to warn you, no funny feeling, no gray cloud in the sky, no music to cue the fact something bad was going to happen.

I was on the phone with the Volunteer Coordinator at the Kennesaw store when my cell phone rang. It was my aunt, my dad's older sister. Normally I wouldn't have answered it at all but I'd forgotten to turn the volume down and answering it was quickest way to quiet it. Asking Beth to hang on, I answered my cell with "Aunt Penny can I call you right back?"

"Your Dad has had a stroke."

I lost my breath. Hanging up the other phone (I think I told her bye), I got the little bit of detail that my Aunt had...enough to know it was bad.

It's odd how fast I regrouped. How I went into "get it done" mode. How quickly I decided that this wasn't what it was going to be like a couple of months ago when we were sure that he was going to lose his leg, when I rushed down to stay at the hospital, all for nothing. I mean...not for "nothing" I'm glad I was there...and his leg was there to...still.

I left work, got the kids...was smart enough to pack overnight bags. On the trip to the hospital I alternated between updates from my sister and calling the cast to tell them about their part and the read thru. I called the director to let her know I might actually miss the read thru.

I just don't understand how my day started so normally.

The doctor is there. He is talking to us.
Extensive damage to right side of brain...coma...MRI...DNR.
Do we know his wishes?

His wishes???

He's talking about life support.

Oh God.

We do know his wishes. As a family, we stand there and express them to the doctor. As the oldest child, I sign the forms.

No life support. No ventilator. No "extreme measures".

I know this is my what he wanted but it tears me up, breaks my heart...
I go out in the hall and sob.

If this were a movie, Dad would've woken up one more time...looked into my eyes, grabbed my hand, gasped his final words of love.

He never woke up. Never moved. His breathing just got more and more labored, more and more shallow.

They moved him from ICU to a room where we could all be with him. They gave me one of those shampoo kits so I could was his hair.

He died the next day. Someone noticed his breathing had changed, was quieter. I watched him and noticed he was breathing less and less. Sent Embree for the nurse. She came in and quietly said "It won't be long now"

It wasn't.

How is this reality? How am I never going to pick up the phone to talk to him again?
Hear him say "Hey now" or "Love you bunches"

I feel lost.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Catching Up...

Have you guys seen the story that CNN did on Passion students last week? If not, check it out It also features one of Wellspring Living's "gradutates"...a survivor of trafficking.

This weekend has been a blast and the upcoming week promises to be so as well! Yesterday, I made a financial three rakes! We did some yard work before the rain, got the Christmas decorations down, I took the kids to get their hair cut, and we found the perfect TV stand at the Wellspring Treasures store in Peachtree City (for only $15). If you live near Kennesaw, Duluth or Peachtree City and have never been to one of our Wellspring Treasure stores, you really should visit one. They have some nice clothing, household goods and furniture and the profits help provide operating costs for both the homes.

Today I caught up on some podcasts, Trey played Ultimate Frisbee (in the rain!), and the three of us helped with auditions for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Auditions continue tomorrow with callbacks on Tuesday. I'll be helping with the kids in the show. Bree and Trey's plans were to be on production as well but it looks like the director might have some other ideas so they might end up on stage.

I'm not normally a television type person but I'm hooked on Once Upon A Time and Downton Abbey! Making it home in time for the Downton Season 2 premiere made my night! Love the story, the script, the actors, the costumes, the scenery...I'll have to catch tonight's episode of Once Upon A Time on Hulu.

My friend Jill passed along "Here's To Hindsight" by Tara Leigh Cobble and I finished it in just a few days. I've already passed my copy along but if you get a chance to pick it up, it's a good read! I'm trying to start John McArthur's follow up to "Twelve Ordinary Men", "Twelve Extrodinary Women" but haven't had a chance to really get into it. LOVED Twelve Ordinary Men so I have high hopes for this one. Anyone else got any suggestions for good reads, pass them along!

Also, created a You Version account back in July but confess I hadn't really done that much with it. Then someone tweeted about their reading plan on compassion and I was motivated to check it out. Now I have a reading plan on compassion and justice. I still don't know a lot about other features but I'm sure I'll be figuring it out.

This week:
I'll be starting a new class with the girls. They want to know what they need to do to get into college so I'm created a life skills class on the "hows" and "whats." We'll talk about picking colleges, credits they'll need, the SAT versus ACT, financial aid, filling out applications, college life and hopefully have a mini college day at the end. I've got several people coming in to help including a couple of students from Spelman. I'm really looking forward to it!

This week at the office will be crazy busy with follow up from Passion. Students started emailing before the conference was even over wanting to know how they can be involved!

I've got a meeting with two women from a church interested in Immersion Project and we'll be organizing details for that.

As mentioned before, we'll be helping with auditions for Joseph on Monday and Tuesday. The kids have church on Wednesday and Bree and I will be helping out at Shakespeare Tavern on Thursday.

I really hate to admit it but I have traffic court in Newnan this week so if you could pray favor over that, I would really appreciate it!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I spent most of this week with a headache. Not your common, ordinary of those headaches that kicks the crap out of you like Rocky did the Russian guy in Rocky V (completely unrealistic by the way, the Russian would've creamed him...I mean, look at the guy!).

The first couple of days I managed. Pain relievers seemed to work and I got along fine. By the third day, I was confined to my darkened room, trying to lay as still as possible. I'd tried everything:
I thought it might be sinuses so I bought meds for it.
Someone suggested I might be dehydrated so I drank enough water I could've been a well.
I considered the idea that my eyes might be strained so I stayed off computer, didn't read, and didn't watch TV for a day.

I'm still not sure if it was viral, hormonal, or if the kids have been beating me in the head while I sleep. All I know is being that inactive is not something I am used to. Not sure what to do with myself, I took a quick dive in the pity pool, found the water tepid, and jumped out again.

I began to have a conversation with God. I started out praying for people I know, world issues followed, a list of things I'm grateful for after that...and then somehow it just turned into conversation. The past few months I'd forgotten that conversation with God-like all conversation-is two way. There's the talking part and the listening part. For those of you who might be concerned, I wasn't hearing audible voices...just a sense that God was there, the feelings of peace, of motivation, options coming to mind I hadn't thought of before, verses that I remember that answered questions.

While I hope to never have a headache of that "magnitude" again, I did relish the time spent in real communication with God. I have a habit...and it's one I've indulged in often these past few months...of talking to God rather than communicating with him. I do it with my children too. They are talking to me and I'm half listening, waiting for them to finish so I can tell them what they need to do, what they've failed to do, or what the plans for the day/next day/week are. I get so caught up in the "doing" that I forget the importance of hearing what my children have to say, my friends have to say..what God is saying to me.

When I get like busy that I don't really spend time communicating, in relationship with, being with...God or anyone else...that is when I find myself struggling with impatience, a lack of grace, a bent toward impatience. Communication isn't just about listening to others because it makes them feel better. It's about bringing out the best in me. Especially when it comes to listening to God.

We all know the story of Mary and Martha and how Jesus told Martha that Mary had found the "good thing." I'm sure Martha must have been shocked! To think that sitting and listening as oppossed to being a good hostess was the "good thing" would have been counter cultural to her. That was a completely new thought. And the same goes for our culture...especially today when everyone is in a rush and we feel our schedules so full and we constantly have something in our hand to distract us from the person in front of us. Communication is about talking, listening, without distractions. And-like grace-it is something we need to practice. It's something we need to make room for in our lives. At least it is something I need to make room for in my life. Because I want to be that better me, to engage in the "good thing" as oppossed to the busy thing, because I want the people in my life to know they are incredibly important to me. And because it is the way I draw closer in relationship with God and as much as I want to be a good Mom, make the world at least a little bit better, or be a good friend...more than anything, I want to draw nearer to Him. In doing so, I'm better able to do all those other things.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Well, we certainly hope you had a merry Christmas...and a happy New Year!

I must confess that it is entirely possible that if friends of ours hadn't bought and delivered a Christmas tree to my front door (this is almost literal, they left it in garage), we might not even have decorated a tree this year! But since they did, we couldn't just let the poor thing go to waste, so...

And of course, if we decorate tree, we have to put out Embree and Trey's nutcrackers, my nativity scenes and various other Christmas decorations. (For those who don't know, Bree and Trey collect nutcrackers and have since they were in 1st and 2nd grades. I collect Nativity scenes)

Cue cute kitty picture not because it is relevant but because it's just so adorable I had to include it!

Christmas Eve was pretty quiet and relaxed. Even though I had to buy to last minute gifts, I managed to avoid crowds (*gasp*). We attended church and then had our traditional "hot cocoa deluxe" which is so amazingly good...but so rich we can only handle it once a year!
Christmas day was waking up and having enough time to spend some quiet moments reading Bible, praying and reflecting before the kids woke up, opening presents, followed by a flurry of cooking (enough to feed a small state...we still have leftovers), good friends coming over, lots of eating, lots of good conversation, lots of laughing, playing games and we went to see a movie.
Bree got pallete of eyeshadow from Ulta, calligraphy kit, and a Kindle!
Trey got video games and a controller for his PS3 that he's been wanting for almost a year.

I got the most beautiful scarf (from Italy) I've ever seen...and then as belated Christmas gifts, a bunch of stuff for house including new dishes (green!), new rugs for bathroom (green!), and a necklace (wait for!)

Kitty got to play in all the wrapping paper. Everyone had a good day!

New Years Eve was a reminder that my kids are growing up. We actually weren't together for NYE. Bree and Trey went on double date with their boyfriend/girlfriend and a few other friends to Dixie Land Fun Park and I hung out with adults! You know your friends are true when you sing karaoke that badly and they still love you the next day!!! lol All of us had a great time. New Years was spent getting ready for our Passion guests and then we went to dollar theatre to see the reboot of "Footloose" which I-not at all grudgingly-have to admit I liked!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Can I confess something?
Course I's my blog (and by the way, thanks for reading!)

I struggle with being "enough"
Specifically with being "good enough"
No where is that more evident than in my parenting. It's a reality that I'm not "enough" in this situation. I'm not enough to be a Mom and a Dad. I never have enough money, enough time, enough energy, enough patience, enough insight, enough of whatever it would take to fix all of my children's problems, strong holds and fears with a wave of my hand.

The worse thing anyone can do is suggest I'm not a good parent. And sometimes, someone might say something and not even realize what they said I translated as "you aren't enough"

It happened recently. Someone I know was offering me the chance to sale this product and while they were talking they made the comment that this would enable me to take better care of my children financially. There it was...I don't take good enough care of my children. It's true...we struggle financially. And we struggle more financially because I choose to work for non-profits than we would if I got a job in a business/corporation or even if I'd kept my job at the State. I've struggled with this before...does my need to have a job I find fulfilling matter more than my ability to provide financially for Embree and Trey? You could make the point (and Bree and Trey have, so you know) that because I love what I do, because it makes such an impact, then I am happier and thus a better person and parent. You could point out that God has always met our needs. But I've wrestled with the question and now, here someone was, pointing it out. We live paycheck to paycheck because of my choice.

Christmas Eve we are at church and there is video. It's a father and son talking about giving. The son says to the father "It's not often a guy can say the most generous guy he knows is his dad" Bree and Trey look at me and my first thing is "they are thinking of their dad". I immediately went into guilt mode. But I was wrong. They were thinking of me. They were thinking their Mom was the most generous person they know. They were proud of me. To them, I am a good Mom. I'm enough.

Freedom Climb

On January 11, 2012 forty five women will begin climbing Mt Kiliminjaro to help raise awareness, prayers and funds for the women and children all over the world who are being exploited. January 11th is-in case you don't know-National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US. The funds they raise will go to OM projects around the world that not only help women and children from being exploited and trafficked but help prevent it.

You can read more about the climb, the climbers, and the projects that will be funded on the website:

I'm so privileged to know several of the climbers and several of the members of the prayer team who will be at the foot of the mountain. I'd love to encourage you to support them in prayer as well. You can choose a project to give to or buy Freedom Climb merchandise on the website. You can also "like" Freedom Climb on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter.

Help OM be a voice for those who aren't allowed to use theirs!

Guest Rooms

One of the things the kids and I were most excited about when we got this house was the fact it has four bedrooms...a guest room! It is so much easier to have a spirit of hospitality when you have a guest room! We very briefly played with the idea of making it an office or a craft room...but we knew it was going to be a guest room and felt it would have a very special purpose. We started praying God would reveal to us His plan for this room...

Last week Bree and I did this treasure hunt through everything to try and make the guest room "homier." One of the women from the women's home needed a place to stay. Living on her own had not worked out for her and she really wanted to live with a family. After meeting her, we thought we might be that family. She came to stay with us for a week to see if it would be a good fit. After several days Bree made the statement "if anyone is ever going to fit in with us, it is her" however there was a "but" at the end of it. All three of us could tell our house guest was really struggling. I'd prayed the entire week before that if this wasn't a good fit, God would reveal it to her before he revealed it to me so she wouldn't feel we were rejecting her. He answered that prayer but it broke my heart in the process. The simple fact is she isn't ready to move from the home. The reality is she needs more help. And help that Wellspring can't specifically provide. Her therapist gave us the names of several residential programs that do deal with some of the issues she is dealing with and we are trying to find one that will take her. The problem is...with no insurance and no money...many programs can't or won't take her. Please pray that either payment will come or we find a program willing to treat her for free. Please pray for her as she continues through the recovery process. Having to take her back early was sad but she was really struggling and knew it was the right choice. She is also nervous and afraid about what comes next so please pray she is able to have peace.

Tonight, I'm waiting for the next occupants of the guest room (and spilling into the living room). Last year I volunteered for the Passion conference and made a good friend, Ali. Ali is volunteering this year and brought along three friends so they are sleeping here to save money. I'm really looking forward to seeing Ali though I don't expect to see much of her. If you've never volunteered for Passion, you can't really understand but it is both the must exhilirating and exhausting experience ever. You're generally working 14 hour days and when you finally make it to the place you can lay down...that's usually what you do! They'll be here until Thursday.

After that, no plans for the room...but it's there and we're open to whatever God wants to do.


The Communications Team at Wellspring Living recently finished reading Mike Foster's book "Gracenomics" (If you haven't heard of it, check it out on Amazon ). It's a short little book. The lay out and font make it an even quicker read but it takes a while to process. Mike Foster, founder of People of the Second Chance, writes that there is a shortage of grace in the world. He talks about the need for grace, given grace to ourselves, giving grace to others...

It was a very timely read for me. I've recently noticed something about myself. I have no problem giving grace to the homeless guy on the street. I have no problem giving any of the girls or the women at the homes grace. The other day I met a girl, maybe three months pregnant, on her way to jail for probation violation. She couldn't pay her fine, the judge wouldn't give her any more community service in lieu of payment, so she went on the run. She'd found out she was pregnant just three days earlier. She'd been drinking the night before. She has a two year old being raised by her Mom. I have no problem giving her grace.

However, the soccer mom complaining about her hectic schedule, the annoying adult cast member, the guy who can't seem to figure out the little stick jutting from his steering wheel operates a turn signal. Those people who lead "normal lives" who I've decided have no idea what real problems are...them, I struggle to give them grace.

"You don't think they deserve it."
We were in small group. It was accountability time and I discussed this insight and what I'd been reading in Foster's book. One of the women in my group, with no attempt to soften the blow, spoke truth. I had somehow set myself up as a "judge" (me who pride myself on not being judgemental!). I was deciding who was worthy of grace and who wasn't. I don't know how long I've been doing it but it's definitely gotten worse over the past few months. I've had to repent several times and really process in my prayer journal. God has had to change several opinions, outlooks and attitudes.

The simple fact of the matter is no one deserves grace...that is what makes it grace. But everyone should get it. This isn't my rule. It's God's. It became the rule when Jesus died on a cross so that I could receive that everyone could receive grace. However, some people are harder to give grace than others. And I really, really appreciate what Kelley said when we talked about the difficulty in believing the guy who killed the little girl in the apartment complex recently deserves grace. She said "just because there is grace doesn't mean there isn't justice" That guy will go to prison...probably for the rest of his life, if he doesn't get the death penalty. But grace is still available for him.

For him...for Osama Bin Laden...for the prostitue...for the cashier at Kroger...for you...for me.

Sometimes, grace is our second response and most of the time it is more a response from the Holy Spirit than it is from our human selves. But it is a response we must all practice. We must let the Spirit work.

The really cool thing is...the thing I've found...the more I practice giving others grace, the easier it becomes. And the easier it becomes to give them grace...
the easier it is to give myself grace.