I gotta tell ya…this was one for the books.

This past couple of weeks, I addressed people representing my “family” in court.  That’s all I really want to say about that right now.  I also stood alongside my church family as my pastor and his family mourned the passing of his oldest brother. Top that all off with suspicion, jealousy and intrigue from a very nearly different direction, another week of being counselor to some real characters. There was a lot of sadness, frustration and a smidgen of drama.  I could surely live without another couple of weeks like this for a VERY long time.

But, with everything that anyone can encounter in life, there was a lesson to be learned, or, at the very least, reinforced.  This is a lesson for which I am always grateful and glad to come back to.

This one is for me…Image

and you, Phil…Image

You too, Cousin Michael (I see you)…Image

There will always be people who misunderstand you when you are taking the time and full consideration to be yourself. ESPECIALLY, when you have made a concerted effort to figure out, to the best of your ability, who you are.

Society does not make provision for individuality.  It matters not your association.  Once you’ve been introduced to a particular faction and express any degree of familiarity with that community, it can be assumed that you ‘belong’ there. You should find yourself quite content to be labeled as, “one of them.”

So, what happens if you discover, much to the dismay of one community, a degree of familiarity with another community? Or a FEW other communities?

To whom do you belong? What if one community doesn’t care for members of one of the others? Should your fidelity be in question?  Does that make you a traitor? Should you be forced to choose?  What if the community into which you were born is not the community in which you are comfortable?  Do you stay there and just learn to conform and endure? Or do you wander off into the unknown to discover another?

I know.  I am throwing a lot of questions at you…sorry. But this is the kind of stuff I’ve been dealing with.

One truly minor incident brought me back to my senses and to my grounding place.

I was being confronted by someone who assumed I was trying to take something that belonged to them; further assuming that I wanted something that they had: farther assuming that this thing belonged to them in the first place. They had set out to undermine my credibility as a way of discouraging others from associating with me. It was all pretty ridiculous, I assure you. But, it reminded me of something that kind of put the period on the end of the sentence…

“If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing their’s and blaming it on you…”

That’s all it really took.  That right there: The poem, “If,” by Rudyard Kipling.


One of the things my mother did incredibly right, was encourage me to memorize that poem for the prize of a piece of pie (you could talk me into almost anything for the right dessert, but that’s another story).  And I did.  It has been my saving grace more times than I care to count.

That poem helps me remember I am who God made me.  Queen. Priest. PECULIAR. Prize. Beloved. Precious Pearl.  All of my many facets that make me attractive and appealing to the sane and the strange, the demonic and the divine…they were fashioned and formed into me by the Master Craftsman.

Love me or hate me.  Understand me or don’t. It is not wise to assume that your perception of me is going to change my design.  You can no more un-make me, nor I you, than I can un-make a lemon and turn it into an apple.

Let’s stop trying to make everyone we know fit into the mold we’ve imagined for them.  Intimately knowing one facet of a person does not give you access to all of their form and dimension. It’s important for us to give one another permission to be whoever we are and trust God to get the glory out of all of it.  It’s when we spend more time defining the side of them that we DO see that we miss out on the opportunities to be amazed at the beauty and wonder of the sides of them that they want to reveal.

And shame on ALL of us, for making that the rule rather than the exception.

I am grateful to have so many aspects to my personality. I am glad that, even at 44 years ‘more,’ I still have so much left to discover about myself.

This is why I love the simplicity of a good James Taylor song.  The one that fits the bill today says simply, “Be as you are.  As you see, as I am, I am.”


In all my dusty glory, cracked pot that I am…I’m gonna do me and be okay with that.  I suggest you do the same.


Rest, Revisited

I spent last weekend doing nothing.


Well, not exactly nothing, but…virtually nothing of any great consequence.  I went to a staff dinner on Friday and a birthday party on Sunday night.  Between those two events, I watched movies and ate sandwiches and slept.  Yep…That was pretty much it.

I have a habit of staying busy to avoid whatever is that is creating difficulty or pain. In the last decade, I have had to stay REALLY  busy.  Sometimes the only way to not collapse in a heap is to keep moving and be as productive as possible.

And that’s where I’ve been.  Keeping my family afloat; ministering to anyone whose need crossed my path; finding work, working like it’s not going to last; looking for more work when it didn’t last; singing and serving…doing everything I could so that I didn’t have to deal with the lonliness and the sadness that creeps in anytime I slow down too much.

And then it dawned on me.  Now is a pretty good time to just be still for a minute.  I have a job I LOVE.  My kids aren’t working (for pay), but they are being productive and service minded and not doing anything to be ashamed of.There are good things on the horizon and I need to have a clear mind and a rested body if I’m going to have the energy for the next level.  I need to take my rest.

Three weeks prior, I let everyone know I would not be available for anything Friday, Saturday or Sunday, with the two exceptions of  parties on Friday night and Sunday night. Everything between was done from the comfort of my bed or my living room couch.  I watched animés with the boys and chick flicks by myself. It was GREAT!!!

But I must admit, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go through with it.

I was concerned that I would not be able to deal with quiet moments.  I was too afraid of the thoughts I would have to contend with; all the things I was drowning out with sound of hustle and bustle.

Then I was given a catalyst. My peaceful household was violated with news from my blood relatives.  And I was instantly transported to my own words in, “The Trouble With Jonah.”


I know I am like a lot of people. I’m not seeking external drama, but it does come.  I am doing my best to quell the internal drama, but sometimes I lose a battle or two on my way to winning the war.

With news that was set to distract and upset me, I set off into my weekend of rest.  It actually propelled me into my rest.  I became too emotionally exhausted to entertain ANY thoughts.  It was time to make like a couch potato.

Sometimes you have to shut down.

I could not have survived the week I just experienced had I not shut down for that 42 hour period.  When the stress became the least bit overwhelming this week, Where a restless heart would have snapped, I had the wherewithal to reach out to people who knew how to pray or give a word of wisdom or comfort.  When my worry woke me up in the middle of the night,where a restless heart would have fought to go back to sleep,  I turned it on the devil and began to pray for my enemies as well as my friends, Where a restless heart would have complained about the present situation, I exercised my gratitude, making sure that the people that needed me the most as well as the people I need the most knew that I loved them and appreciated them.

Did it stop the fear and worry?  A little bit.  I still want this to be over.  But until it is, I will look back on that small little respite and be grateful.  God knows what you need. It’s important to let Him lead you into rest of your body as well as your spirit. It may not always look like you expect, but take it when it comes.

At the close of this Father’s Day, I want to thank THE FATHER for looking after His children and giving divine direction worthy of undivided attention and immediate obedience.   Father knows best.

How Does He DO That?


My life is pretty cool.

My Pastor, Dan Willis, is truly the only father I have ever known. He also sings his face off (for those who don’t get it, that’s a compliment)!  His latest musical project just got released (shameless plug for A Man, His Piano and His Worship – https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/a-man-his-piano-and-his-worship/id649383238) and I have the distinct privilege to sing back-up for him on some of his promotional events.  In order to rehearse, the singers got advance copies of the CD to practice with. When I am learning a new song, I practice in My Mobile Tabernacle (so as not to disturb the bears at home) and it’s about a 25-30 minute ride home from work or church so that gives me plenty of time to work it out.

As a rule, when I first get a CD, I play it all the way through, first song to last. The songs I was learning for back-up were numbers 6 & 10. So, here is my little dilemma; I could never get past tracks 4 & 5, “You Love Me,” and, “Isn’t He Good All the Time,” respectively. I played them, back to back, all the way to church, sat in the parking lot and played them for a half an hour more.

They play beautifully together and the words dovetail into one another.  It’s as if you had God by the hand and were talking to Him in the presence of others, then you turned to the others (still holding His hand) to discuss this Wonderful Friend you all share.

The chorus of track 4 simply says, “You love me as if I were the only one to love.”

Track 5 could easily be a multiple-person conversation: “Isn’t He good all the time? Isn’t this a rich life He provides? While there may have been times I’ve stepped out of His will, I have never been out of His care.”

But all of that is what brought me to our topic for the day.  God really IS good all the time.  My life really is rich. I have always been in His care, because He DOES love me as if I were the only one to love.

How does He DO that?

The divine mystery of my broken mess of an existence, the result of multiple lifetimes spent screwing up the original purpose of mankind to suit our momentary lusts and desires, creating eternal internal damage.  AND YET, God, so desperate to make me a part of His family, clothed Himself in one of these wretched earth-suits and sacrificed Himself to Himself to satisfy His own law and pay a debt He did not owe.

Now, I know me.  I know I’m not worth that much.  Do you know anybody worth that much?  Do you think YOU are worth that much?

Top that off with the fact that He doesn’t just love us enough to redeem us.  He loves us enough to take the stench of sin off of us…repeatedly. Isn’t He good all the time?

How does He make me feel so special? Multiple billions of people in the existence of mankind; Billions of people in existence right now; and yet, if I were the only one on the planet, if YOU were the only one on the planet, He would have done for just one what He’s done for so many.

Pastor Dan once said, “God saved you because there is a piece of Him in you with which he wants to be reunited.”  Could it be that God needs to be whole?  And the only thing that will make Him whole is to be united with US? If we came from Him and there is a piece of Him in us, that makes sense.So much of Jesus talking in the book of John was Him praying to unify the people of God with Him and as a consequence, unifying the people of God with God Himself.  What an extreme love!  What perfect love!  No wonder the Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear…what on earth is there to be afraid of if the Maker of the Universe loves you and me so completely?

Just having God as a friend, to know Him and to know that He loves you so much makes you feel loved, safe, protected and provided for. Who wouldn’t want a love like that? I don’t suppose it matters so much HOW He does it.  I’m just really glad He does!

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