Jumping Off

You know when you were a kid and you would climb the diving board for the first time in the summer.  It had been a long time since you’d been so high in the air, mostly naked, and you’re about to jump free any bond to the earth and hit the water, which is probably too cold.  But you’re so excited and people are waiting….  You have to go.

It’s the chance of disaster that makes the blood race.

You could lose your suit.  You could get water so far up your nose that your dirty mind is no longer.  You could get that saddest of results– the pool enema.   You could drown.  Or you could simply look like a cartoon and get a nickname that you carry to the grave.

But it never stopped you.

You went anyway.  For the promise of relief from the heat.  To fly for a second.  For the momentary feeling of weightlessness.  For the feeling on your skin; first the air and then the water.   For the little brain rush of doing something a little dangerous, but with a certified lifeguard on the chair.

So you grow up and view the diving board as a ridiculous way to hurt for three days.

You have other planks to walk.

Deciding if it is worth the risk.

You’ve had the brain wash.  You’ve had the enema.  You already have the bad name.  You’re already naked in midair.

You have to decide if the damage to future relationships is worth it.  Because you know you don’t care about the relationship with the person you’d need to speak to.

You have to decide exactly why you want to make the jump at all.

For the bliss of the flight?  For relief from the heat?  For the weightlessness?

For the washing of living water on a thirsty soul?

I hate this.



What Are You Afraid Of?

As I write, I’ve been battling a migraine for five days.  Pragmatics indicate an exam by a licensed medical professional.  The pain has made me too tired to put up with a doctor’s crap.

Memory takes me back 22 months to the start of a headache that lasted several weeks.  Fear grips me.


Then another memory comes into focus.

And another.

And another.

I fear nothing.

I’ve lived a good deal of my life bound by fear.  Of whatever.  Once the fear is installed, it can borrow objects.  Once one is removed, another can take its place.  Seamlessly.

It’s not the object.  It’s the feeling.


Like hard liquor or Candy Crush.

It’s a chemical in the brain.

I’ve been a pretty fearful person.

One day, I got a call that changed everything.  The standard for the worst that could happen changed.  Statistically, it was unlikely to happen twice.  And then.  Everyone survived.

I stopped obsessing about impressing.

The “four-second rule” turned into the “three-minute rule”.

I fought for “truth-in-love” honesty.  I was spectacularly clumsy and awkward.


Permanently. Irrevocably.



Truthful and loving?  Yes.



Because it was “Get it all out there and it will be messy and disorganized, and we’ll sort through it.”

In my religion, people don’t do it that way.

It feels weird.

But. You know Maggie.

We all lived.  I became fantastically in love with it.  Jesus.  People.  The process.

Totally unafraid.

You may be afraid of snakes or clowns or public speaking.  Or, maybe you deeply fear something much more complex.

Listen to me now, while I am still sitting up.

The worst that can happen already has.  And we survived.

Go ahead.  Join the circus.  Get that basket and play the recorder.  Preach that sermon.

Ask that princess, who is so obviously out of your league, to the ball.

Offer your friendship, full and free, to someone incredibly cool.

The worst that can happen?

Is none of your business.

Grab onto what scares you, now.

Throw your head back.

And laugh.





Counted Out

In a way, I am not much of a fighter.

In another, I am a guerilla waiting for my opportunity.

I refused to follow in generational footsteps.

I didn’t get pregnant as a teen.

I didn’t abandon my children.

I didn’t become an alcoholic.  Obviously, that’s still open to me if I choose.

I finished college.

Perhaps, that doesn’t seem like a victory because both my mother and father, demanded I stay in school, even though I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.  One of those people wanted to make sure I could get a good job and be off the books.  The other always expected nothing but failure from me and told me so.  And was always surprised when I didn’t fail per the prediction.

I did what I was told in school; I got results, as promised.

What. In. The. @#$%.

I didn’t even get pregnant in college.  Not that it’s a measure of anything, folk were just planning on it.

The trouble I got into?

Strictly PG-13.  OK, I dabbled in R, but it made my nerves bad.

Yeah, quite a rebel.

Graduating in the top 10% of the university.

Working a job.  Even if I was under-employed all the time for a little while.

Staying married.

How dare she?

Yeah, it was clear all along that every victory was unexpected.

From being good in school, to being good on a date.  From being hard working to being funny. From being thin to being able to dress well.

Total freaking shock.  Disappointment.

Years pass.

Slow years of working through that @#$% alone.  Anchored to my feelings of being unloved and not enough.


A fast year of learning to believe God.  FOR REAL.  Not just believing in Him.

Just when the harvest of the peaceful fruit is starting to ripen…

when I’m learning to dance in the rain.

when I’m able to share with someone else.

And able to believe what He says about loving His own refers to me.

Comes a voice from the past.  A cakehole, who doesn’t know anything about me, reads me like a book and hits the chink in the armor.  The laser hits the processor.  I am debilitated.  Fighting unseen hands that would reclaim me to that dark place I was never meant to inhabit.

I will not surrender the battle.

Having drunk of the joy,

danced to the song,

worn the garment.

Having taken my seat at the table, I will not take up the burden of my own salvation, again.

I won’t own failures that aren’t mine; I won’t be nailed to a cross for someone else’s sin.

I won’t withhold forgiveness from someone who seems to never have felt the Father’s love.

I will walk in the green pasture.  Beside the Stillwater.

My soul restored.

It might hurt.  It could bleed.

When they counted me out, their math was bad.

They forgot to factor in the truth.

It sets you free.


Algebra: post high school use.















Loving Life

If you’ve read the blog for any length of time, you know I’ve struggled to stay positive while feeling life had me pinned to the mat.

I might have turned the corner.  I hate to lay hands on the thing, but 2013 reeeeeeeeeeeeally contained much in the way of polishing, burning off dross and chipping off all the pieces that didn’t look like what God wanted me to look like when He’s done.

Am I claiming to be a better person?

Oh, No.

Just more aware of the furious love of God.

The thing is.

He didn’t just reveal His love for me, to me.  I got to see into other lives He wants to liberate.

It’s made me a pain in the ass neck, quite frankly.  Mostly just Mickey’s, but I can give you other references.

I’m speaking the truth about stuff.  And a good bit of the time, it’s not decorated with ribbons and flowers, so it might not look like love.  But.  As God is my witness (as if He isn’t always), I hope I never again see something dangerous in the bud and say, “That’s none of my business.”  “Their family knows and is handling it.”  “It’s just a phase.”  “I don’t have enough authority to speak into their lives.” “They probably have a lot of people in their lives who can.”

Look. If I see it.  That means God saw meant for me to see it.  Those other people probably can’t see it because they are too close.

I will not turn my back on the call to love.  Ever again.

Sometimes love means wading through the shit business with someone.

Sometimes love means standing back because I’ve been invited to “step off.”

But then it means standing in front of God on behalf of that situation until the stone rolls away.


I hope to keep short accounts in all my relationships.

I hope to hate sin more and love sinners more.

I hope to help Him liberate captives.

If that is the plan.

I’m on fire like this.

I’ve already fallen on the road.  Palms and knees bloody, I learned a lesson.

Love hurts.

Obedience has a cost.

Neither is as painful or as costly as their alternative.



“…[B]ut if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”





Simple Story

Several months ago, Mickey suggested I consider going back to school.  He thought I should look into the MFA in Creative Writing at UT (Tennessee.  I know, I don’t think it’s right either, but there are only 26 letters in the alphabet. I don’t live in Fricassee.  Well, now look at that.  Actually, some days I do.  I digress.).

I found out who I needed to speak to, got distracted, and never followed up.  The admissions process looked difficult.  In my opinion; difficult is stupid.  I’m SO old school, I think people should speak on the phone, learn cursive, have a favorite kind of pen, wear their pants pulled up, and I’m really uncomfortable with visible tattoos (I think it goes back to the State Fair when I was a kid. That said, I’ve been campaigning for a navel piercing. Mickey is in opposition.  Except, he wants to know how much it would cost.  But, you’ll never know if I get it.  Unless you follow me on Instagram.).

Really, really old school.

Time passed,  Mickey didn’t forget about it, but I did.

One of our daughters decided what she wants to do.  Doesn’t look to the right or to the left.  She’s decided to be a dental hygienist.  Period.  Shut up. Leave her alone.

The other daughter simply doesn’t know.  If you walked downstairs and asked her this minute, she would say she is going to be an interior designer.  If you had asked her last Saturday, she would have said phlebotomist.  On any Saturday in February, she would have said, cosmetologist.   There is an upward trend, yet, cosmetology has been her mainstay, as you can walk to an Aveda Institute from our house.  In January, however, she was exploring her options.

One day, we drove out to a little Bible college, tucked into the hills.  She was stoked.

I thought in the interest of research, we’d visit another Christian University nearby.  I couldn’t get any takers.  I knew we needed to go.  We kept getting mail from them.  Offers of free basketball tickets for the family, if the high school student takes a tour.

“We’ll take the day off school.”

*crickets chirping*

I grumbled and clicked over to their website to find a picture of a cute boy or a danish or something.

My hand slipped and I clicked Adult and Graduate Programs.

I shot them a quick e-mail.

They referred me to a departmental advisor.

She and I talked on the phone.

I told her my interest, but also my barriers.  It was way simpler than I thought.  When we got off the phone, I told her I would talk to my husband.

Okay, here’s the deal.  I probably shouldn’t say this, because then everyone will know, but a lot of times, I “talk to my husband about it” so I don’t have to move forward.  To Mickey, a decision is like buying a gun, there should be a 30 day waiting period.

I promptly called him to activate my 30 days.  I told him about the call.  Things were simpler…graduate assistant-ships…blah blah…

He said, “You need to do it.”

Right there.  Right then.

I went home and looked at the online application.  I sort of filled it out.  I had work to do, so I didn’t send because I was scared there were blanks I couldn’t answer.  I just navigated away.  It wouldn’t be a big deal to fill my name, address and phone number again.

The next day, I got an email from the office of Graduate admissions letting me know that my application had been received but that I had left a field blank.


At this point, let me take a break and tell you about a little side story.  We love to hit Plato’s Closet.  It’s a juniors and young men’s re-sale shop.  In January, we breezed through with some Christmas money.  I kept holding up this striped sweater.

“Hey! Y’all.  Someone get this sweater.  J. Crew.  Cool colors.”

Who do I think I am?

I tried on some skinnies from the $1 rack.  They were…size 2.  It was a triumph.  I got the freaking sweater.  Because, size 2.  That’s why.

So, back to my story, where I sneaked behind my own back and applied to grad school.

I went for my interview with departmental advisors.  I’ve never had so smooth an interview in my life.  There were high fives and cheering.  Someone told me there was a possibility I could….


I know what that means.

She said it quickly, but I got it.

Like a perch gets a worm.

I was hooked.  Through the eye.  As usual (usual for the perch.  Not me.).


In a couple of weeks, I received a call.  Not the one where I talked to the gal in admissions about everything under the sun for 45 minutes.  I love her.  Different call.  Department head asking which program I was interested in and the names are being changed, and was that okay, and look for a letter in a couple of weeks.

She and whomever was in the background were… Giggling.

Yes, America Jennifer and Carrie.  I received this in the mail:


Manicure Level: Lower Primate


And.  Even before the trip to the first college…


Selfie Level: Senior Citizen

A sweater in school colors.

Confirmation? The people who matter instantly affirmed the idea. The kids and my best friends are excited. Geeked.

Who hesitated?  Exactly whom you’d expect.  The ones who don’t love you enough to let you follow your path unless it’s the same as theirs.

Apparently, God submitted my application and gave me a sweater.

Mickey didn’t forget.

Dream. Come. True.




A Little Lovin’ In the Oven or the Crock-Pot

What I had intended to write about yesterday was sex, but other more burning issues pre-empted that post.  Sorry.  You missed out.

Today, I am going to share a recipe.

This could have been prevented.

Previously, I shared a lasagna recipe that you could find online and add the after-market details to make into something special.

Today, I am sharing Creamy Chicken Breasts.  Some people call it Swiss Chicken.  Both those names are foreign to my home as we call this Lindsay Chicken for the very special woman who shared the recipe.








Arrange chicken in a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2″ baking dish.  Top with cheese.  Combine soup and wine in a medium bowl, stirring well.  Spoon sauce over chicken evenly and sprinkle with stuffing mix.  Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 45 to 55 minutes.  Yield: 8 servings.

That’s the basic recipe off the page Lindsay gave me (she never made it that way either).  Here’s what you do to make this really,really something to roll around naked in special:








Another great feature of this recipe is that you can be done in the slow cooker.  Like so:

Don’t make fun of my crock-pot.

One of my daughters recently commented that she couldn’t wait to have a boyfriend to cook for.  (Okay, cutest thing,…ever.)

I know he’ll be enjoying some Lindsay Chicken.  Lucky devil.


Hashtag Heartbroken; Hashtag Stomachache

This morning, I encouraged my homeschoolers to skip class by piling them in the car and taking them outlet shopping and out for fast food fried chicken.

When I got home, there was a kitchen clean, dinner to cook, and someplace to be by a time I won’t make unless I am two people, so I took a nap.

And now, I’m blogging.

Sounds like I am a worthless bag of poo.  But it’s Spring and it’s freezing, and I have possibly one of the worst haircuts in the history of the cosmetology license. So.

Imma just do what I wanna do for a minute and get back to the kitchen.

I have something to get off my chest.

The young ladies of our acquaintance, which number in the dozens, seem to think it is darling to hashtag their statuses on social media with this:

#whitegirl  #whitegirlstatus

Doing something different, they may similarly express a:


These are, in fact, white girls; therefore any status they post is automatically that of a white girl.  Also significant, is that these young women may or may not be aware that black people go to Starbuck’s.

A one of these young women, has told others that she won’t attend classes at the branch of the local community college located a mile from here.  Because it isn’t a safe neighborhood.  It is the one closest to a government subsidized housing project. And yet, She loves to post her #ghettostatus.  Her instagram profile has previously read: “Black girl stuck in a white girl’s body”.

Last week at the Christian Homeschool Co-op, a young lady said, she was trying to ‘sound black in her solo (in choir) because she is’.

She isn’t.

I have spent the last (nearly) 8 years, trying to open a discussion of racism.  Then I would get tired and someone would come to me and ask to help them understand and my neck would be stiff and my heart hard and I would fail to speak well on that day.

Now what do I do?  Give up on homeschooling?  Give up on the church?

I’m tired of being the one to speak out on this topic. People are just going to tell me racism is only using the word black to describe a black person and that if they don’t do that they aren’t. And they think of Emma and Mercy as white.

They aren’t.  They are bi-racial.  (While we’re here, Barack Obama?  Also, bi-racial.  It matters.)  And bi-racial doesn’t mean an acceptable type of black person.

This issue is hardening my heart toward young people who need to have their eyes opened.  It is turning my stomach.  Not my heart to God.

I am broken.  I am not up to it.  I am angry and ashamed of my anger.  I am stifled.

We knew when we adopted them this day would come.  The push back of reality.

We knew when we moved back; we stood in front of a wall we couldn’t bring down.

Now I’m climbing it.

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

Red and yellow, black and white- they are precious in his sight.  Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Monday Momentum

I may have a problem with perfectionism.

Very rarely do I feel that I have done all I ought to have done or could have done in a day.  Probably a risk of the Homemaker/SAHM/Home Educator job.

Time isn’t compartmentalized enough.

I have a big blob of unscheduled time with little chunks of “starts at 6:30”, “Mom, I work from 2-6,” and “he’ll see the ophthalmologist at 1:00”  interspersed throughout the week.

That said, the weekend was wildly productive.  I can prove it with a backyard reclaimed from the second law of thermodynamics.

I never took physics, but the second law used to state that everything is moving from order into chaos.  They called this Entropy.

My husband is in denial that such a law exists.

Or possibly, loves to sit under the tree waiting for the apple to hit him on the head.

I, on the other hand adore Newton’s first law, so that when I have the ability to get started, I keep going until I get hit with the schedule, hunger and/or thirst or the limit of what can be done on that task with the resources at hand.

By show of hands, Who has ever had that moment when you are bringing your little portion of the creation under your authority, and realize you’ve just run, face first, into the need for a Lowe’s lumber yard run.  THAT IS CATEGORICALLY NOT HAPPENING WITHOUT A SHOWER.  Which means stopping, and then it will be lunch time, and by the time you do those three things there will not be time to work on the project before you have to stop and make dinner.

That’s all I’m saying.

I walked out the house on Saturday morning, without a word.  With only a rake and my phone.  Soon after the rest of the family finished their waffles, they joined me.  We attacked this city lot like zombies on a preschool play yard.

When the last tool was put away, Type A said,”Now, I wouldn’t be embarrassed for my friends to see it.”


When we got home late Saturday evening, we hung out and shot baskets in the backyard.  Never ever happened before.

Such a burden was lifted, that even though my body is still screaming, my head is clear, and I’ve already gotten more done today than all of last week in terms of paperwork and business.

That was written about 9:30 this morning.  It’s after 7:00, now.  The momentum has lasted throughout today, with errands and laundry.  I’m enjoying the Monday night mom time per schedule.

This is highly unusual for me.

Highly.  Unusual.

It’s a lotta grace.

For you are not under law but under grace….





Saturday Squeeze

Thought I might just squeeze in a little something before time to start the weekend dysfunction chore list.


1) Give the dogs a bath.  Worst pet related task.

IMG_4153filthy beasts

2) Give the husband a haircut.  (After paying good money for him to get assaulted by licensed professionals, I’m back on the job.)

3) Pick up dog doo in the backyard. I can delegate this.

4) Rake.  All the autumn leaves?  Never touched.  Not one time.  Not by anyone. They’re getting gross. Today is the day.

5) Wrangle children.  When there is work on, it’s like trying to give a cat a bath.  You can make them participate, but not without bloodshed.

That should about kill it for Saturday.  Before I explode onto the list; by myself because the guys have the March Madness Elusiveness Syndrome…I thought I’d flick a little randomness on you.


1) Instagram was worth the wait. A picture is worth 1000 words.  You know how I love 1000 words.  It forces me to look for the beauty in my life.

2) It’s time to start thinking about next year’s homeschool.  Which makes me panic about this year’s finish up.  Be glad you are not my child.  If you are having a bad day, you could always think, “My mom isn’t about to drop the hammer on me.”

3) Next year’s subjects.  Should be their senior year. A couple of moms at last night’s mandatory co-op meeting were trying to talk me into making the girls take a fifth year of high school.  Why?  I found myself walking away, shouting (Yes.  Shouting), “They need to GROW UP!!!”

4) Mickey fixed the dryer last Saturday.  I’d been trying to do the hanging up to dry thing for about three weeks.  It saves money, the environment, and something else.  Man alive, is it a lot of work.  I am so grateful for that dryer.


5) It seems young girls can survive on air and a crush.

6) It seems that little boys can survive on basketball and a lot of food.  When the grubby little dirt ball is not in front of the TV, he is outside with a sad, worn out basketball.  The good basketball won’t hold air, and the cheap one has a hernia where the valve is.  He has begun looking at my food before he finishes his own and asking if I think I’m gonna eat all that.

He’s 9.

7) If volleyball doesn’t start soon, Volleyball Girl is going to self-destruct and take the house down.  Every time there’s a volleyball reference, she glows.


8) We are not getting a puppy.  Or a kitty.  That is all.

9) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  It’s hair removal season.  There are five razors in the shower; three women live here. I’m pretty sure someone broke in the house and groomed a poodle in that shower last week.   I left the plumber a voicemail.

10) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  The sap is rising and something is blossoming.  Even it something is too fragile to be touched yet, it’s so heartwrenchingly gorgeous you could stand still in one place and just watch it grow all day.  Don’t miss it.

Crocus at UT Gardens

Crocus at UT Gardens


This is where it would be really cool if I had a blog thing with Benedryl.




Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.


The Lenten Fast.


I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without


There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.


Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.


~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~







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