Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Search: Story

Like Harriet the Spy, I’ve been searching for good stories my whole life. I’ve been a careful observer, interested in what people know, how I can better learn about others, and the world. I am forever looking for the best in people, but I also know, when you to the bottom, there’s usually, well, a bottom. And at the bottom is where the broken things are.

It’s comfortable at the top with the charades and the smiles and the “I don’t knows.” Interviews are fluffy and airy and you get to eat sandwiches while you talk and kind of sit back easy in your chair not having to inch in to get a closer look or dry down any tears. But that's not where the real stuff happens.

I’ve lived a lot of my life, my writing life and also the life that surrounds it, in love with the story, which can be good and bad. Bad is if you’re not truly living the story because you’re too busy trying to make one up. Oh, the balance that is all parts of our life. Then, when you go on living that life, you sometimes forget that you are becoming that very story in the making you’ve been looking for all your life. That God, in His great wisdom and higher understanding than us, authors together something even more than we could imagine: a narrative, a tale, a beautiful love story, weaving together those fall outs and misgivings and creating something awesome. We get to be part of it. Oh. if. I. could. just. keep. learning. to. open. myself. up. to. all. He. has.

linking with Prodigal Magazine's submissions on Story. Check out what others have to say on Story here!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday

"What's your child's name?"

"Do you have any kids?"

"Is this your baby?"

"I think you were pregnant last time you came here." (my favorite)

Okay, so, either people I work with have babies and kids on the mind, or it's just too easy because the field of counseling primarily deals with families and children, so it's easy to consider all the workers to have children. I think it's kind of funny though. The above are all statements that were asked of me at one point or another, mostly through work, and at least one in a line at a grocery store when it must have looked like a child in a stroller belonged with me instead of the person ahead of me.

I'm sure a lot of (single) teachers get this, too. I guess I did a little when I was a full fledged teacher a few moons ago. The curiousity of kids for sure, is to wonder..who does this person spend time with, beyond me. 

It may be strange, but like one of those encounters, one I had today, I'm able to actually stop and consider that life today, in my single-minded focus, won't necessarily always look this way. 

While I know the danger of getting ahead of myself, it's a nice opportunity to remember my love for kids and my hope of getting to one day answer yes to any number of those above questions one day. Let's just hope someday I'm actually pregnant when I get asked that. strange. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012


Linking up with The Gypsy Mama for a fun Five Minute Friday on..



"I try to believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Count them, Alice. One, there are drinks that make you shrink. Two, there are foods that make you grow. Three, animals can talk. Four, cats can disappear. Five, there is a place called Underland. Six, I can slay the Jabberwocky." -Alice in Wonderland

Imagination can be a great thing, just like perspective. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in saying the right things or the ones that sound the best and lose what got us started creating in the first place. The beauty of the made up word. The story. Where it all got started. Believing that things could be possible.

I like the newer movie Alive in Wonderland. I didn't think I would; I actually for most of my life have not been a person that intent on fairy tales. I didn't watch that many as a kid. Correction, I probably watched them when I was fairly young but wouldn't choose to watch them as I got older. What's the point, if it's something not real.

I liked (like) reality. Things that really happen to people. More than cartoons, more than fantasy, more than fairy tale. Strange, because where I got my start, where most of us get our start is with the story, the made-up world, the make-believe that we create as kids and this fuels our passion for more story.

It's all a matter of perspective I guess. If tell imagination 'you're not important,' where is that juice that calls, ever so softly sometimes, to this writer at least: come back. Come back, little imagination that could. Storybook soul that lives inside you, I'd love to come out and tell some more stories.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Multitudes on Monday : Grace

Lord, thank you for reminders of your grace, and who you are, and how sometimes, your new grace everyday is all we need to remember that everyday can be new.

That like the rain that comes and washes that which need to be washed away, You make us new, bring us hope. And as You live in us, we too live. 

Multitudes on Monday~ 1000 Gifts keep going..

84. Rain.
85. Just a day full of grace.

86. Remembering all is grace. All. Somehow all.

87. Moms. My mom.

88. A little time to refresh - watching "We Bought a Zoo" ~lovely movie

89. Energy.

90. Good sleep

91. Continuing to be reminding to let go, give up control. He is in control. May He be more. May I be less.

92. New experiences, new people, new routines. Learning the new.

93. Giving myself grace.

94. Music. Music. Always the music playing.

Happy Monday! Whatever was your yesterday, may you start right now with what is the start of a each new day full of His grace.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Cheering For Mothers

Mothers pretty much amaze me.

I'm fascinated by them; the endless amount of wash they do, the food they can put on the table with what seems like ease (somehow there's always a fruit or vegetable involved), the constant love they pour out even when tired or worn ragged by their jobs, the mom-duties that don't seem to end.

I love being a cheerleader for moms. I love reading about moms in various places that make me encouraged for how real they are. I love showing off moms I know because of who they are.

Somehow, in spite of all they are and all they have to be in their own lives, I have moms in my life who are cheerleaders for me, moms who, despite the errands they need to run or the go between work-a-day world and mom world, or even just the overflow of mom world (which is enough in itself I'm sure), somehow make time for me. Make me feel special.

It seemed like all I did was blink and many of my close friends in different places and stages of my life became moms nearly overnight. I love having all the little kiddos on on my fridge and getting to be Aunt Julie to the babes. I love that they get to be the forerunners and they show me how special it is to care for and love on these babies who will grow up to no doubt take the world by storm.

Mothers get to watch it all unfold. Still, they have to watch when the world isn't always the easiest place to grow up, and their kids' hearts get broken. So often, in my day-to-day work, I have to see the realities of life and the shackles of what happens when things go wrong, and beneath it all I usually find a bedrock of something that lingers still: a mother.

Here's to the mothers who cheer for their kids, who cry with them, pray with them, see them through, laugh til they're blue (I like rhymes okay? :) ).

On Mother's Day and all days, may the moms who have been a part of our lives be a cause for celebration and may we remember them as part of the whole of who were are.
Thank you Mom, for all that you are to me, and for all the ways I can't count that you've shared in my life and you continue to love me no matter what. I love you-Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I am I am I am

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday (or Saturday). On Identity.

Inspired by JJ Heller's song True Things.

~Clothes I'm wearing, I'm not you.

Picture in a photograph, you don't define me.

Car, you just get me around.

Money, you can't control me.

"Things I lack," that's not the stuff I'm made of.

Words I love to write, you're still not who I am.

Mistakes, Truth says I'm made up of more than you.

Food, don't try to enslave me.

Scars, you can't puncture my heart.~

"Would you say again what you said to me, I am loved and I am free...
To Your love I'm waking up. In Your love I'm waking up."

Would you say with me what true things are no match for the other things that clamor for your identity and your attention in this world? If you watch the video, it pauses in a few places (sorry about that) but I liked this version because I feel like it's real and raw and that's the stuff I think we're made of, too.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Castles and Hidden and Here

"I can only assume that there's only one thing more frustrating than
not being able to find someone, and that's not being found. I would
want someone to find me, more than anything."
-- Cecelia Ahern, A Place Called Here

When I was little, I had a special place (don't most of us as children?) that probably only I considered special. It was special I think because I could be hidden there, outside, and yet seemingly removed from the rest of the world. Just a hop away from there was a big, often empty parking lot, but it didn't matter because my special place stayed in the background and was surrounded by greenery and an archway and it had mirrors on the sides (but I knew how to sit so no one could see me looking in). To me it was like a small castle where you could read or think or get away if you needed to.

As far as I can remember, I never really "ran away" as a kid. Having pretty vivid memories and having an imagination, I sense the awfulness it would be for a parent to think his or her child went missing or ran off. Especially after doing some of the work I do now. 

I don't think I ever was actually gone long enough for anyone to worry about me, because I typically would wander about and run around outside, and when I was little kids could play around without parents worrying too much.

Still, even with a couple "pretend" run aways, I remember that I felt this urge for someone to find me. I wanted someone to come looking for me. Even if I was mad or discouraged, part of me wanted to be found out, and for sure I wanted to be found. Isn't it weird that when we actually do want to be found, we might run away, or make ourselves scarce?

Don't get me wrong. My secret place was a fun place of solitude; I would go there to read or write or just to sit and think. It was pretty there. But when push came to shove, it was a spot I felt I could go and maybe no one would find me...or maybe they would, if they were looking.

It doesn't have to be that way with God. He goes with us wherever we go. Psalm 23:6  and Psalm 139 are encouraging to me.

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there"
Psalm 139: 7-8

*God, I praise you as I see that you are here with me wherever I go. Thank you for being the Good Shepherd who found this wandering sheep and calls her by name.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Miles and Games {Multitudes on Mondays}

"God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down."
  -C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Sometimes I feel like I play games with myself, and also, maybe I play games with God. In life, I want to know the meaning of things. I like understanding, am fond of tucking clarity into my pocket, and maybe even most of all, enjoy it when I can become better friends with certainty.

Life's not always like that. There are those days. Then there are those seasons, too. You feel like maybe they aren't a good match for God, or rather, maybe your faith isn't.

Somehow, in these moments for me, I get a picture of the idea that whatever raw materials were knocked down, broken down, maybe were needed in order to build back up something totally different.

Something a game or a house of cards can't hold.

Something sturdier is needed. Something only God in His might and His stature can hold. Something that can't be shaken through the rough tides, even though they will surely come.

74. I'm thankful for the waves, even when when they aren't always calm. They teach me about staying the course.

75. I'm thankful for friends who are in different seasons of life, friends who continue to remain and are blessings to me. Friends you can walk in the rain with and it feels like sunny weather. Friends you can hang with for a marathon day and it goes by like a short sprint.

76. I'm thankful for things to do and God showing me it's not about me. I'm thankful for learning about so many different kinds of people and recognizing that beneath it all we're all human and unique and loved by our Creator.

77. I'm thankful for so many different talents and gifts and ways that we help each other and for ways that others help me and if I'm lucky I can help others along the way.

78. I'm thankful that even though a good many miles have already been driven today, for getting to hit the tennis ball around a little tonight..

79. I'm thankful that even though it was one of those days I serve a good God who still holds it all together and gives me the strength and energy to always keep looking ahead.

80. I'm thankful for rest and mercies that come new in the morning.

81. I'm thankful a song that's long been in my heart but it's good to hear it again, "I Shall Believe"  . . .

82. I'm thankful that You hold the key.

83. Counting these gifts is s l o w l y starting to come a little more 'naturally' to me.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Well, if you were to walk by me right now, you would probably see a real sight, not a cleaned up Julie version at all. I decided to just come out on the porch to write my favorite Five Minute Friday without first doing much of anything this morning, still in the pj's and a sweatshirt, non-brushed hair.

This made me laugh in light of the topic of Real today and after I saw a post I can definitely relate to by my blogger-friend Amy Sullivan on vulnerability and letting people see who you are, even in this kind of vehicle. It can be difficult sometimes, and I don't just mean the neighbors peeking in on your dishelved look in the morning.

The song What if We Were Real by Mandisa keeps coming to mind when I think of this idea. I question if I'm being "real enough" with readers on here, and what pulls me back.

As Amy says, "it involves risk."

More and more, when I find myself getting stuck when I write, it's because I'm not risking more, I'm not allowing myself to go deeper, to be vulnerable. I know the half-way option doesn't work for me, but I trick myself into thinking I can get by, that it won't matter if I play along with writing for awhile this way.

I've asked myself why I blog and why I write a lot in the past (and present). And I find that even if I know there will be times that it might be exposing or that I could get misunderstood, that's not what matters. I have to blog or write because God has redeemed all those places, those places that I used to not think mattered but He showed me really did. Real life for me now consists of meeting God wherever He is and joining Him with what He is doing there.  I'm thankful I can do that in this place too.

*Inspired by Five Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama