Category Archives: Uncategorized

When there are no words

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When there are no words

I’m not normally one to be speechless. This is perhaps the quality my husband loves MOST about me…

In my last blog, I wrote about some of the struggles being faced by those around me and how I knew my time of need would come. And this week, it did.

A dear friend of mine lost her ex-husband, meaning her three-year old lost his father. Attending the funeral of 40-year old man was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday, especially as it was my son’s two-year birthday and we had about 25 friends and family members gathering for a party later in the day. As I walked through the funeral home lobby, there were two mementos laying out for attendees to sign – one in memory of the vibrant man taken far too soon and one for his son, notes of encouragement and hope. I desperately wanted my thoughts to be included, memorialized for all to see, but I had no words. I didn’t know how to articulate my feelings, wishes, reflections – I was still processing what was really going on and how this would forever impact this man’s family, especially my dear friend, who lost her co-parent and friend. So I walked past the table, leaving no words or messages, to pay my respects in hugs and tears, hoping just being there brought some comfort to those in mourning.

Today, I found out my Uncle Rod lost his battle to cancer overnight. Over the past few weeks, several types of cancer enveloped his body and took him quickly in the end. I tried to visit him this week but scheduling and his worsening condition got in the way. Last night, he was moved to hospice care near my house so I rushed over as soon as I knew. When I arrived, the nurse told me he’d just fallen asleep. I sat quietly in his room, not wanting to wake this restless man, who was fighting a losing battle. I wrote out a card and a note to tell him how much I loved him and shared some of the fond memories I have of him, placing it on his desk for this morning. As I sat there watching him sleep, I just wanted to pray for him, but I didn’t even know how. God brought this verse to mind:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Romans 8:26

So I let my tears and the Holy Spirit do the work, when I was too helpless, too sad, too distraught. My main concern was that Uncle Rod would make peace with God before he passed. I wanted to know I would see him again one day. I decided to open my Bible to the first Bible passage I memorized, Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Thy ROD and thy staff, eh? I have to think that as I continued to have no words, that God had the perfect ones in mind for me. And yes, they did bring me comfort. I trust Uncle Rod felt this same comfort and peace today. His cousin had visited right before I did and confirmed today that Uncle Rod did make his peace with the Lord when he was there, just before me. So in my tears, I rejoice that my Uncle Rod has met his Maker, is free of pain and is with a host of his loved ones who have gone on before him. I feel blessed to have at least been by his bedside.

So friends reading this, here is my PSA of the day: life is short. It can leave us breathless and speechless. Sometimes there just are no words for what comes our way. But I know for sure that in those moments, God has given us the wonderful gift of His Spirit to help us, as well as His eternal words of the Bible. I will continue to cling to these as I navigate joys and sorrows and trust that through them, I can be a light to those around me.

This little light of mine

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This little light of mine

Singing is a big part of my life, especially now as my toddler likes lots of nursery rhymes and church songs! A few weeks ago, I was reminded of a favorite childhood song “This Little Light of Mine” and its simple lyrics. Even just verse one:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

Lately, these words have meant a lot to me. Life has been heavy, not for me specifically, but for many of my loved ones. One friend’s husband has been diagnosed with cancer. Another friend’s house was on fire. A three-year-old boy lost his father. A broken relationship still stings in unhealed wounds. I am almost fearful of picking up the phone, not wanting to hear bad news! And my bedtime prayer list is getting super long!

But in the midst of all of these burdens, I find purpose. I mean, we were created to be part of life’s ups and downs when living in community with others:

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Inevitably it will be my turn for crisis – I nearly had a mom meltdown last week when aforementioned toddler refused to sleep through the night while on vacation. Thankfully, some wonderful friends encouraged me through it.

So in the meantime, I will let my light shine in any way I can – making a meal, praying, sharing baby gear, being a shoulder to cry on. It may be little, but it can be mighty.

How do you let your light shine?


On a lighter note, my endeavor to be physically lighter is paying off – I weigh 15 lbs less than when this journey begin at the end of 2016! I am no longer addicted to caffeine and I think even this seemingly small change has been huge. Oh, and I chase around a nonstop toddler everyday.

An invitation: come into the light

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An invitation: come into the light

Of the many Disney live-action remakes already launched or in the works, I’m most excited about Beauty and the Beast. I saw the movie with my parents, siblings and grandparents as a kid. I remember the treats my grandparents bought us to snack on at the theater, and I remember my dad remarking how brilliant the colors were on the big screen.

One of the scenes that impacted me most in the movie was when Belle asks the Beast to “come into the light,” as she intends to take her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner, and she wants to see her captor. After the Beast reveals himself, Belle trembles, yet agrees, to fulfill the sentence.

I recently found myself extending a “come into the light” invitation to a dear friend of mine. She struggles with a very tough situation in her home life, and rather than bringing it into the open, she suffers silently. She fears letting people into her mess.

I can’t blame my friend for wanting to conceal her troubles – it’s HARD to let others see the truth behind the fake smile. But we weren’t created to live in isolation.

But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NLT)

We all have “beasts” in our lives – things that terrify us when we see them plainly. But what if we faced these monstrous situations together, in fellowship?

And just like Belle took the place of her father to pay his debt, there was a man who came into this world over 2,000 years ago to take the place of your sin, your mess. So, if you can’t quite muster up the courage to share your burdens with those around you, God is just a prayer away.

Please, come into the light.

Super human

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Yep, that space in the title is purposeful.

Unlike the space in “extra ordinary” that caused my grimace a few years back. While working as a live meeting PowerPoint operator in a previous career, I gently pointed out this error to the presenter, who insisted he was right and refused to change it…and it was ALL over his presentation! Like me, his peers did not agree with him and he looked foolish.

But this week, I do agree with the space. I am feeling SUPER human – not superhuman and endowed with magical powers, rather fully flawed, and perhaps a bit extra ordinary!

I spent my day Monday running errands with my dear husband and toddler. On our way out of a home improvement store, we saw a deal on a grill too good to pass up.  Well, after we got it home and all set up in our yard and ready to grill our lunch during our son’s nap time, we found out our sweet deal really was too good to be true. It was not a propane-powered grill, but rather a natural gas grill. Say WHAT?! I never even knew those existed. So back to the store it went, on our neighbor’s borrowed trailer, killing our relaxing afternoon and lunch. And dare I mention, our son never actually did take a nap?

My mom calls me in the middle of all this and listens to my sob story patiently before breaking the news that my Uncle John had passed away. His heart stopped, and mine felt like it did too, right in the middle of my first world problem rant. My perspective of the day changed dramatically after this exchange.

Later in the week, in the midst of a snow storm and frustrating attempt to work from home while watching aforementioned toddler, I get a text that my friend is in labor! How exciting, and yet stressful, as I have to figure out childcare for my son, as I was asked to join her in the delivery room (more on that in a future post!). My once again gracious husband stepped up, called out of his night shift job (and he’s the top guy on his shift) and took over so I could go be with my sweet friend. I got to experience life’s best gift, the gift of birth and new life. And it could not have happened at a better time.

You see, my friends, we face challenges every day. Sometimes we rise above them, like superheroes. Other days, we falter. We complain, we lose, we fail. And we need to be okay with both results, because of this world and its seasons:

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-14)

Praise our Father in heaven for the little gifts He gives us each day. We live in a broken world, but not without the hope of a happily ever after on the other side.

So despite my failures and ups and downs this week, I embrace my super humanity because it helped me connect with many, many people today, especially as I watched a live feed of my beloved uncle’s funeral in FL. He touched so many lives! And to see a baby being born and all the joy that can possibly fill up a delivery room and the hearts of parents and grandparents who so longed for this baby girl!

We only get to do this life once. So let’s be super humans, being real and open and not minding our faults and failures. Let’s love each other and do life with each other in all these “time to” moments.

2017: Year of Light

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2017: Year of Light

Yes, I know. 2016 has been a vicious year. I’ve read too many social media posts about the U.S. presidential election and sadness over celebrity deaths and how this YEAR is conspiring against us all. I’ve felt that way at times too. I’ve struggled as a mother to try to have it all together, but very often, I came up empty and felt like a failure. I have dear friends who faced divorce or loss of a parent. An old friend from college lost her battle to cancer, leaving behind a young son and husband on Thanksgiving.

In the midst of all of this, I clung to my faith and my 2016 “theme” which was Strength. Let’s just say the good Lord worked in many magnificent ways to reveal truth to me about this topic, most notably that always trying to do things in my own strength is futile and I need to lean on others and God to really thrive. One of my favorite Christmas gifts was the Strong’s Concordance, which will help me study the Bible more deeply and strengthen my faith – and how about the tie to my theme!

In preparing for 2017 and pondering my new theme, I felt very strongly that Light is what I need to focus on. Perhaps it was inspired from a line from my favorite Christmas songlet your heart be light. Or maybe it’s because I’m suffering from a slight case of seasonal affective disorder and I’m just clinging to whatever sunlight I can get! I feel like I have a lot to learn about how to lighten my burdens and develop better habits – especially financial and housekeeping – that will free my soul to enjoy life more abundantly. I am also seeking a light-er, healthier body this year.

My concordance (mentioned above) notes over 350 references to Light and its variations. I look forward to exploring many of these during my 2017 journey – it will be delightful!

I challenge you, friends, to define a theme for 2017. I find it way less stressful than a resolution and feel it can actually be more impactful as you let your theme pervade your life and bring light to things you may not even have considered when you kicked off the year. Please feel free to comment/share your 2017 aspirations below.

As I am desperately trying to teach my 18-month old to say by this weekend — Happy New Year.

Cheap Entertainment

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This week was crazy. Worked late two nights, wrote my Lucky Life Editor contest finalist entry, and spent three much-needed nights in a row with friends. Tomorrow will be a day of rest-ish.

In the midst of this chaos, I am planning my sister-in-law’s baby shower. It’s turning out to be a significant expense so my “fun money” budget is basically obsolete this month. Instead of crying about it, I’m finding thrifty things to do, cheap entertainment one might say.

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of seeing a fine documentary, Miss Representation, at a local university for free! Thank you higher education! In a nutshell, the film shows how the media assigns value to women based on their youth, beauty, and sensuality, ultimately limiting their life outlook, potential, and career options. Whether you agree with this or not, it’s definitely food for thought. And, I’m definitely going to start scouring local publications and sites for more free movie screenings and events in my area. Why haven’t I done this til now?

Being the office party planner, I was also up late one night baking these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of The Food Network. I brought them to my office for a post-work  happy hour in honor of a colleague’s birthday and they were a hit! I am actually still awake now because I am baking more… can’t get enough! These are a delightful autumn twist on a classic favorite and they are super easy to make. I think baking is another great source of entertainment I ought to tap into more often. Sure, you need to run out and buy a few ingredients, but you can spend time listening to music while you mix up a batter, and afterwards, you get to eat yummy treats! And do share – don’t let the goods go to your hips!

Last batch of cookies is beeping – bed time! Sleeping is also a delightfully free activity I love.

Thank you, Triple A Cafe

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I am blessed to work with some great people in a small creative agency. My office space includes 2 other desks, occupied by some amazing women who share the same first initial “A.” Together, we make up the Triple A Cafe and we even serve delicious coffee daily from a red coffee pot. While we all enjoy our work, at times we feel we need an outlet to share our daily musings, passions, and areas of expertise. So we made a plan and set a deadline to each start a blog by December 16, 2011 (note that today is November 6th, thus I made the deadline).

I enjoy shopping, mostly the bargain type. From clothes to food to furnishings, I look for deals and find ways to be creative through them. And I’m always trying to outdo myself! I hope to share some of these real-life retail adventures with you.

More to come.

Thanks Triple A Ladies for your inspiration and for being my friends.

Coffee rules