life work

When Nothing Changes and Nothing Stays the Same

There are some people in my family who have been wearing certain clothing items for a long, L-O-N-G, time.  These clothes are allegedly, ahem, “broken in” and so comfy that they just a can’t seem to get rid of them or not wear them.

Are you like this?


I’m not.

I can’t fill the Goodwill bag fast enough.  My motto is if you haven’t worn it in a year, you’re not ever going to wear it again.  Get rid of it.  But that’s me. I like to make room for change.  I like to see what else I can find.

But this isn’t the case for everyone in my world.  Some loved ones don’t like to let go; they don’t see any reason for new when old still seems to work. So what if it’s dated or discolored.

New can be a threat for some and same a choke-hold for others.

It’s tricky.  Bumping around life together.  One likes things the way they are and the other runs from ritual.  We inevitable annoy the heck out of each other.

If you are a same-r you may find yourselves clutching for control, easily upset if something gets changed without notice.  Maybe you avoid trendsetting types altogether because people who move around a lot make you uncomfortable?

Or if you’re a new-r , you may find that you have no patience for traditionalists or home-bodies.  Maybe you become critical and judgmental towards others who do not like to keep evolving and forging?

We become separate and not our best self in our own families and homes. A tense undercurrent tugs over things like rearranging furniture, meal planning for Thanksgiving or how to spend free time together.


Today is laundry day.

Piles of clothes old and new, twirling in the washer then bouncing around in a hot dryer.  Old mixing with new. Water and soap scrubbing away the dirt, heat making the fabric warm and crisp. Both surviving the wash together and coming out the other side.

Maybe there’s something here for us to learn?

I thought about the same-r’s in my life.  I thought about how they hold on to the familiar, repeat treasured recipes and reminisce over fond memories of holidays and vacations. They linger over warm experiences. They pause and reflect the good that has crossed lifes’ threshold. Gratitude expands. We need same-r’s to help us remember the things worthy of remembrance. We exhale appreciation.

And what about the new-r’s? They like the practice of searching and enjoy solving mysteries. Trying new things and finding new roads is like Christmas morning.  They tend to paint walls, try different recipes or watch unknown movies just because it’s different.  They get you to color outside the lines, try things you’ve never tried and consider others different from you. Confidence flourishes. We need new-r’s to help us realize we are capable of learning, capable of experiencing life no matter what stage we are in. We inhale courage.

We need each other.

Tumbling around. Mixing it up. Old and new.

Nothing changes and nothing stays the same.

Wash warm together on gentle cycle, tumble dry low.



One Word

2017 has made a splash!  It is well under way.  I’ve long forgotten Christmas and New Years.  This always happens.  Celebrations short-lived and routine returns to a cold and gray January.

A few weeks ago I read some thoughts by a writer.  She does not do resolutions because they don’t seem to stick. I can relate, can’t you?  Instead chooses a new word that she wants to live into for the year.  A word that resonates with her and gives focus and imagination for life.  I like that idea.

So I thought about it for a while and finally landed on my word.


It seems to encompass the thoughts and feelings inside of me as 2017 begins.   I’m curious about this year, what it will hold?

The world is a noisy place right now.  So many opinions, ideas and perspectives and I wonder how we’ll all get along?

My family has grown another year older. The cusp of new frontiers await.   Where will it take us?

I think about possibility all the time.  “What if” kind of thinking.  What if I can go to….., what if I can experience….., what if I can have….., what if I can create….?

This word curious works for me. A framework which to wrap my day to day.  A filter through which I pass the stuff of my life.

  • When my mind is thick with worry or doubt, I will become curious about how God will help me?
  • When unexpected delays slow me down, I will wonder how to build myself for endurance?
  • When faced with others need, I will ask how I may help?
  • When God talks, I will wonder why He speaks at all?
  • When creation overwhelms me with its’ beauty and power, I’ll wonder why have we been given such a gift?
  • When seasons change and time feels rapid, I’ll ask how gratitude can enrich the transition?
  • When fear is present, I’ll ask its’ name and if it has power over me?
  • When examining the contents of my heart and hands, I’ll wonder what would change if I say yes to inspiration?
  • When God seems silent, I will ask how I may quiet my soul and trust?
  • When mankind isn’t kind at all, I will be curious about what prayers, words or deeds are mine to respond?
  • When I’m stained with guilt, I will inquire about the mysteries of forgiveness?
  • When life shines like the sun and I feel full and free, I’ll ponder the sweetness of happiness and ask how I may hold it in?
  • When the brilliance of humanity or the magnificence of a child take my breath away, I’ll be curious how much wonder can a heart hold?

When I become curious possibility opens. Possibility fuels imagination. Imagination brightens. Enlightens.

What about you?

What word would you choose to help shape your 2017?

I’d love to hear about it.


Nothing to Say

Hello again!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  If you are new to my blog you’ll notice that I periodically take sabbatical’s from writing.  It’s not that I have nothing to say, it’s that I need to take a break from speaking and practice listening.


There’s been a lot to listen to in the past few months.

Our society is very out of sorts about a good many things. The messages I have heard varies from the plight of the vulnerable or marginalized to the American rights of every citizen; the outrage of personalities, politics and immoral practices to freedom of expression and speech.  There are new messages almost daily.  It’s hard to keep up.

It’s not just society that is demanding to be listened to. People close to me are chugging along in life and it’s not turning out as expected. Physical aliments, fears and uncertainty over “tomorrow” is a regular dialog.

My own soul at times rants. Trampled by the voices of many.  Smothered by the weight of the world and my world.  It crys to be remembered and nurtured.

There has been a lot to listen to.


Listening is important, for listening reveals answers I cannot get when I’m talking.

  1. When you quiet your own voice you can better hear yourself.  I tend to clutter the atmosphere with my spastic words and thoughts, so much so that I am not always sure what it is that I’m trying to say.  I just become quick to have a comment, idea or thought that spills out into conversation whether it is needed or not.  Sometimes talking is a disguise for self-importance or even low self-esteem.  If I have the answers, or say something smart than they will all know how brilliant or important I am, or at least that I have an answer for the problem because I’m embarrassed and don’t want the conversation to dig any deeper. Can you relate?
  2. When you quiet your own voice you can better hear what others are saying. Funny thing happens when I’m always talking.  No one else gets to. My words take up too much space. I wonder if this is the best way to show love and respect to others? When there isn’t room for a dialog, there isn’t room for more than one person. Listening to others means I’m just as interested and concerned with what they need to share; so interested that I make sure I don’t do all the talking.  I listen and find ways to draw the other person out by asking intelligent questions. Listening to others is a active way of loving.
  3. When you quiet your own voice you can better hear what God is saying. When mine is the only voice I tend to listen to I am out of tune with the voice of God. I cannot hear what He has to say about the plight of the world or my life for that matter. My voice drones when it never stops. It becomes more important to “tell” God what I think than to listen to what He thinks.  Listening to God is probably the hardest for me.  It involves being intentional.  It involves reading Scripture and praying,  stilling my own inner dialog and inviting Him to speak to me.  These things don’t necessarily come naturally to me.

In discerning what the deepest part of myself, what you or God may be saying, I hear the messages that I most need to hear.  My vulnerabilities are uncomfortable but not anything to be afraid of. The burden of convincing others of my importance is lifted when I realize I don’t have to defend myself. You, my friend, may have the way forward if given a chance to share. Sometimes shared thoughts, working toward understanding different positions and hidden feelings are the very ingredients necessary in creating bonds of healing and unity. God Almighty has the most poignant message of all. It offers me stillness of soul in the turbulence. It is mysterious and often challenging but compelling and more and more I hang on every word He says.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’ve been practicing my listening. Now you know why.


“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak,” James 1:19

I Have Rust


Rust is ugly.

It’s hard to show my rust.  My husband and I are not rust kind of people.  We both work hard to keep rust scratches and dents from happening. We don’t like rust to show.

Some of you are like, get over yourself, rust is reality, don’t be such a snob. But there are others of you who know exactly how I feel. It’s hard to let the ugly truth just hang out in the open where everyone can see it.

Rust is eventual in the big scheme of things.

We bought our suburban 12 years ago knowing that it would be the car for the long haul.  The vehicle of investment that would facilitate our family need for a long period of time.  The thing is, it’s gone on much longer than either my husband or I had expected.  This is a good thing because we’ve needed it go keep rambling.  As diligently as we’ve tended to its’ engine and body, rust could not be kept from settling in.  Long term vehicle use in a snowy climate is subject to the effects of salt. Rust. It’s inevitable, but not terminal.  The suburban keeps on, keeping on. Doing what she was meant to do.

Symbol of longevity.

The rust on my car tells a story.  It speaks of the many years and miles we’ve shared caring for our family. The rust is her wrinkles. Although it takes a little more effort these days, she has not given up. She has been many places and seen many things. Always an integral part of life.

I notice now more than ever all the ways there are to make ourselves appear younger than we are.  The ways we can cover up rust and not let anyone know we’ve traveled many miles and been many places.  And I ask, why?  Experience is the badge of longevity and wisdom often follows.  Who doesn’t want that?  Who doesn’t want their life to read like a really cool story?

Silent sickness.

The patterns of rust that have formed on my car are in places where water and salt have sat longer than they should. The corrosion of rust began forming a long time ago in these unseen places and they have finally ripped through the steel. We didn’t know these spots on the car were vulnerable, that is why they are vulnerable. We often cannot see our area of weakness until some rust has formed.

Anytime we commit ourselves to loving other people long term, whether it be family, friends, c0-workers, church etc., our vulnerabilities will show up.  We don’t want them to but they will.

Love brings out the good and the weak inside of us.  It’s supposed to.

I said before that I don’t like my rust to show. I really don’t. But I think one of the greatest gifts we receive from being in long term love is accepting the rust in our lives. Not to shame us but to show our humanity and our need for extra TLC in certain places.  Love comes to accept and offer healing rather than destroy our self worth.

Rust sometimes has to form first before we know corrosion has taken place.

How many times have you had the same conversation with a loved one where they claim you “just don’t see it” or “this happens every time”?  You probably have some rust.

Don’t let the rust scare you.

Rust can be problematic but it doesn’t have to be cataclysmic. You can keep rambling down the road with rust as long as you know where it is and are actively tending to it. My tendency is to hide it and not deal with it.

Sometimes you can bounce around from friend or family group, never really letting anyone stay long enough or get close enough to see your rust. It feels comfortable at first but eventually you end up hiding and never get to experience what love and healing can do when they are mixed.

So, I have rust.

I don’t like it.

I don’t want you to see it.

But you have rust too.

Now we are not so alone.

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~ Romans 3:23

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, ~ John 17:3


Recycle or Rubbish?

Do you recycle or do you throw everything away?

I have to admit that I recycle absolutely everything possible. I like the idea that something can be reused in a different form for a new purpose.

Sometimes I don’t know what can be recycled and what can’t.  What can be recycled for a new use?  Is there potential in ripped, torn or empty things?

A while back I was able to rummage through an old home that was going to be demolished.  I was told that I could take anything out of the house I wanted.  You don’t have to ask me twice to go picking.

There wasn’t too much worth salvaging.  A few doors and old hardware appealed to me but not much else.  On the property there were a few out buildings.  The structures were in really bad shape.  The kind of old shacks that would blow over with one big gust of wind.

There was one that was really dirty and dark.  Things seemed to be moving in the dark and I’m pretty sure it was a home to a bat colony. I had to go in.  Embedded in the dirt floor was an old box.  It looked like some kind of rough tool box with oozy grime all over it. It was so gross I didn’t want to even touch it, let alone put it in my car. Starting to feel as if things were climbing all over me I had to make a quick decision.

Was this worth saving? It’s hard to see potential in things when they are covered in dirt, worn down by the weight of years and harsh treatment.

Sometimes I think people are like things.  They become worn, dirty, empty and used.  In our souls we wonder, do we have any further use?  There is always value for each life, but, like the old tool box, we remain hidden in a dirty old shack, stuck in the mud.  The question isn’t value, it’s worth.  Is it worth rescuing the broken and forgotten without knowing what will come of it?  Is it worth the hard work and sacrifice that comes with effort? Is it worth leaving the old shack?

I finally got that old box out and brought it home where it spent a long time waiting in the garage for some attention.  After a  r e a l l y  good bath and some major elbow grease it began to evolve into something new.  Something I couldn’t see when I first found it.

The scrubbing, scraping and sanding gave way to beautiful waves of color and texture.  All of the scars and rough edges seemed to hint of a former life well lived. I wanted to know more.  I wondered how old it was, who had used it and for what purpose?  Why was it buried in the old shack?  Why did they leave it behind?

That’s the thing about restoration, it creates wonder and wonder breaths life into old things. Wonder creates space for something new.

The box began to transform as the dirt and grime washed away. The old box took on a fresh purpose and a new start.

Box Table

Box Table

 Restore us O God; make your face shine upon us that we might be saved. ~ Psalm 80:3