Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 31... Grace Still Happens

And finally

the 7th day
the last day
the final day

God "created" rest

not because
He needed it

but because
we do

(return to Day 1)
"God Created Rest"
(originally posted 10/11/15)

He spells it out for us...


and after six days of creating awesomeness
he chose rest

we spend our days chasing


(amongst mediocrity)

and are

too busy
too weary
too afraid

to find rest 

But man was created on the sixth day

and I'd like to think that God took rest on the seventh
(not because He was tired)


as an example
to spend time with
to enjoy

His creation as

He spells it out for us...


at the end of the week God created man, and rest, and
at the end of Jesus is "us" and our rest is found in Him

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 30... Grace Still Happens

shine me
refine me
define me

don't deny me

as you make me whole


and true

forever faithfully yours
forever grateful too 
"The Refiner's Fire"
(originally posted 6/10/14)

We boarded the bus for our mini road trip

and before we departed

our docent

quoted Scripture
and read to us

this morning devotional...
Refiner's Fire
The silversmith holds the silver over the hottest part of the fire,
but he must sit and hold it, watching it carefully the entire time
If he leaves it in too long, it's ruined
If he doesn't leave it in long enough, it's worthless
And when asked how he knows when the silver is ready to be removed,
he simply replies...

I know it's ready when I can look at it and see my reflection

Can God see Himself in you?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 29... Grace Still Happens

Pay attention... 

to both
who you follow

and to
who follows you
"First Follow Me"
(originally posted 10/4/15)

Dear People of the World,

I know that you are hurting

I see you
I hear you
I feel you

and I want to help


what I offer
you will not receive

what I've provided
you've rejected

So what more can I do?

I know that you are hurting

your lives
your media
your actions

are screaming...

look at me
hear me
acknowledge me

and I do

but in order for the pain

to actually stop
you must stop

and first


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 28... Grace Still Happens

make an effort to
connect with someone
in person today
"Just Go Outside"
(originally posted 7/6/15)

Some days we only had...

one bicycle
a pair of skates and
a JC Penny catalog

but we figured out how to make it work

because it was summertime
we were together
and there was no such thing as being "bored"

With one bicycle we could...

take turns

giving each other rides on the handlebars
pulling the other one wearing the pair of skates


chasing stray cats back down the alley

With a pair of skates we could...

share them

each wearing one while sporting a tennis shoe on the other foot to



Or we could always...

play jacks
jump rope
eat Captain Crunch
read magazines
act out scenes from our favorite movies
make up our own
chase down the ice cream truck
run through the sprinklers
wash the car
do cheers
make up drill team routines
look through each other's yearbook
talk about boys

and people watch

Then after all of that...

when we got


we could retreat

into my grandmother's house to eat fresh meatloaf sandwiches
into her mother's kitchen for bowls of chicken rice-a-roni
then back to my grandmother's for vanilla ice cream and butter cookies

Until finally...

plopping down into her father's rocking chair
opening her mother's JC Penny catalog across our laps
and playing "I got that"

But kids today don't know nothing about that

they'd rather

talk to "friends" on social media

instead of connecting with people who are actually in the same


with them

They'd rather

lay around
look around
complain of boredom

when all they need to do is get up and...

just go outside!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 27... Grace Still Happens (Perfect Together)


made biscuits from scratch

sifted the flour
cut in the shortening
hand kneaded the dough

let rest
and baked

until they were perfect

pulled out to cool before

real butter
grape jelly

made them perfect

they were perfect
she was perfect
we were perfect


And I wonder if she knew...

because the year she left us
was the same year I met


(almost as if she made room for him)

to sit at the table
sharing biscuits

made perfect

and I am overcome with emotion
as I have been blessed once again


this feels perfect
they are perfect
we are perfect


Country Gravy or Jelly?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 26... Grace Still Happens



for those are
the only two options you really have

"The Same Black Dress"
(original posted on 04/05/13)

Early this week I shared with one of my coworkers how the "Dress For Change" consumerism project had captured my attention.  When I told her that I would be wearing the same dress every day she suggested that I refrain from telling the other ladies, and wait to see how many days it took anyone else to notice. 

Today marked the end of the work week, and I have worn

the same "little black dress" to work
everyday this week
and no one noticed

I know this because today when I asked them, they were clueless, and when I pulled out my camera to show them pictures from the week, they were shocked.

Even the coworker who knew about the dress said that she would have never noticed because of the way that I changed it up each day

It made me stop and think and...

I had to shake my head in disbelief at the erroneous number of times
I have complained of "nothing to wear"

to wear

When the truth is
that I have "too much to wear"

So many options
Too many options

But I love how living a life of gratitude and grace

brings lessons



that promote

new perspective

and this "Dress For Change" has shown me that...
"nothing to wear" simply doesn't exist for us

and I should never
even think

of muttering those words
ever again!

(click the black dress photo on the home page to follow this journey)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day 25... Grace Still Happens

some times
"Code Blue"
(originally posted 3/26/16)

We spent seven days in the hospital...


(while waiting for test results)

to tell us what was wrong

and by Day Three

my resolve was to begin to just thank Him for what was right

heart... good
kidneys... good
liver... good

and then her smile returned
and it was all... good

and on Day Six

we heard them call a "code blue" on the roommate

so we prayed
and she returned

and I marvel at how He died
and rose

giving us hope that since

"...He abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel"

we will also live forever in Him!

So when...

the final "code blue" is called
and it is my turn to go

please don't cry


or wonder

but just know that because of Him...

I'm alive!

(2 Timothy 1:9-10)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 24... Grace Still Happens

Sometimes the hardest thing to revise...
is your thought about something
"Our Home Remodel"
(originally posted 12/12/14)

This past summer we came home to find our house flooded
and what has since unfolded has been one of the most

amazingly scary
shockingly revealing

experiences of my life
(to date)

I have...

talked to God in new ways
heard Him speak in new ways and
seen Him do things I hadn't even dreamed of

and when it was all said and done

I witnessed Him turn our MESS into a MESSAGE!

(thank you Chanea for reminding me again)

And I've always believed, but now I know for sure that...

God really did make a man from dust

because I have seen Him take

our dust
our rubbish
our tragedy

and turn it into something beautiful

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 23... Grace Still Happens


life fully

Spirit showing
skin glowin'
hair blowin' 

in the wind

without a care
"The Blessing of a Skinned Knee"
(originally posted 9/5/12)

I found this book at a used bookstore and was immediately captured by the title

"The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" 

Isn't that an oxymoron?

I flipped the book over and read the back cover

It sounded...


for me in my career as an Early Childhood Professional
so I brought the book home and have been

reading it and
re-reading it

for over a year now

it is my "go to" book
when I need to remind myself of the importance of letting children be children
it is my "go to" book
when I need to look up the Jewish blessings
so simply outlined for someone of a non-Jewish background to understand and

it was my "go to" book
once again today...

Yesterday was my first day leaving my house for work in over 8 years!

As I prepared to leave my house, I told the angels who are assigned to guard me,
"Okay, it's time to go." 

My neighbor (who is also a Pastor) saw me leaving, and said "C'mon let's have a word of prayer.  Winston told me that you start your new job today, and we're asking for God's blessing."

He prayed and sent me on my way...

During orientation the lady sitting next to me (also a new hire) looked at me and said
"God is so good.  Can I just tell you how amazing He is?" 

She began to pour out her heart explaining how she had acquired her new job, giving me chill bumps, and leaving me speechless!

I was

introduced to coworkers
met many new people
and even saw a few familiar faces

Finally finished the day and headed to orientation at my children's school, still floating from the day's events until I suddenly realized that I was on the ground.  I rolled and ended up on my back looking up into the sky and the HUGE tree overhead and to my surprise...

A SMILE came across my face and I found the words
"Thank you Jesus" spilling from the corners of my lips. 

Apparently the tree had tripped me because I saw the roots that had pushed the sidewalk up leaving it unleveled.  I felt the burn on my elbow and my knee mourning the location where skin had just been... and I got it!

The blessing of a skinned knee! 

Yes, it is easier to stay in the house for 8 years because you are far less likely to fall on the sidewalk... but you will never get to look up at the sky and the trees and see God in all of His Glory!

Baruch Atah "blessed are you"

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 22... Grace Still Happens

Let the light within
shine without
"He Became"
(originally posted 10/20/15)

He (became) what we needed

an eternal Father
an only begotten Son

not another
but the same wrapped in flesh

for there is only One God

We needed to be renewed as sons
so He (became) a Son

We needed peace
so He (became) the Prince of Peace

We were in darkness
so He brought us light

and everyday
He (becomes) what we need

(while having always been that)
as He takes our

temporary pain and suffering
and juxtaposes it against His

Eternal weight of glory

allowing us to

look upon Him
look to Him
look for Him

with gratitude

while waiting for Him

to translate our temporary moment
into His eternal one

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 21... Grace Still Happens

While you are traveling along life's busy way
please also remember to

take time


give thought
give thanks
give praise

for the journey
"Giving Thanks for the Path"
(originally posted 09/02/16)

I had five minutes on a Friday...

(but I only needed one)

to thank God for

His love
His peace
His power

and the daily grace

He gives...

as I travel along this path

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 20... Grace Still Happens

The greatest treasure 
to find
to learn
to discover

the power within

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 19... Grace Still Happens



gives me permission
to be the same

(while also acknowledging)

I don't have to be
"When Life Hurts"
(originally posted 12/18/12)

I don't usually read the morning paper, but today's front page headlines caught my attention
It read: "Burials begin in Connecticut"

I looked down at a picture of a hearse carrying the body of a 6-year old child and my heart sank  I blinked hard to stop the tears that I felt tears forming in the corners of my eyes

I couldn't cry there.

I turned the paper over as if not seeing it would make it less real,
and was shocked by what was printed directly on the back side of the tragedy

Bold, brightly colored advertisements for

toys on sale
Christmas gift suggestions
pictures of more stuff to buy

(as if what we really need right now is more stuff)

The message rang out loud and clear that sometimes life is...


Sometimes life hurts

In fact, just yesterday I was thinking about the 5 year-old girl in this picture

remembering the...
unspoken pain

she felt as her mother lay sick in the hospital... on this picture day

It's like a tragic headline with colorful ads on the back

"Smile for the camera, sweetie"

But who wants to smile when life hurts?

She eventually managed this forced little smile to disguise the fact
that she had already learned that even children are sometimes left feeling...

sad and

I understand it all better now

and wish that I could sit down with her

pull her up onto my lap
hold her close
and just let her cry...

I would apologize for not giving her the opportunity to grieve that experience;
for minimizing her pain and lying to her that she was alright. 

I would apologize for teaching her to wear a mask,
and making her pretend to be brave when she was only a child.

If I had it to do all over I would let her cry

and after her tears subsided I would pull her in really tight and quietly whisper

Now let me tell you who to call the next time...

when life hurts

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 18...Grace Still Happens

share love
share life
share liberty

and don't deny anyone their share
"Edit View Share Delete"
(originally posted 3/12/16)

It was an early Saturday morning...

and the options were laid out before me



and I stopped to remember a conversation
that I had recently had with the children about

how to edit
what you view
when to share


what to delete

Because we are all...


each day with
each experience

what to...


and we don't always get it right

But for grace...

and how God

viewed my situation
shared His Son, so He could
delete my sins, and
edit my life

and now I am


to be the one who

He can continue to...


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 17... Grace Still Happens

Today's choice is a lesson
Today's lesson is a choice

for you can either

look down
fall down
stay down


get up
listen up
grow up
"Home is With You"
(originally posted 10/5/15)

We loaded onto a bus
the bus loaded onto a ferry

and took us across to the other side

where we spent the day together


things that none of us had ever seen before

we were in an entirely new place

and when we returned to the hotel one of the children plopped down on the bed and said
"it feels so good to be home"

Only thing is...
we weren't

we were in a hotel
in another country
1275 miles from

our house
our home

the more we grow together
the more we fall in love
the older we watch them become

the clearer it becomes that

home is wherever I am...

with you

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 16... Grace Still Happens

there is often more than one way to read this...
"Upside Down Faith"
(originally posted 3/18/16)

The nurse came to draw blood as she lay in the hospital ER and

I couldn't help but notice
a tattoo on his right forearm that read...

(upside down)

Why sir, would a nurse have a tattoo that says death?

and then...

an hour later when he came back

I looked again
trying to make sense of it all

and it appeared that the tattoo actually read...

(upside down)

and I blinked...

because we had been there all night
so I wasn't exactly sure what I was really seeing

and by the next morning...

we were transferred so I didn't see him again to ask

or how...

he managed to have a tattoo that read

death or faith
(or whatever it said)

but I thank God...

that even when our experience

is confusing
and scary
and uncertain

we are certain

that Jesus has conquered death
(literally turning it upside down)

so that no matter what we have had to face


it all still just reads...


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 15... Grace Still Happens

years of experience

led to her mastery of illusion
so that she can now

remain hidden
while remaining

in plain sight
"Hide Me"
(originally posted 7/20/13)

Watching my son and his younger cousin play "hide and seek" this morning was hilarious
(click here for a snippet of "Hide Me")

The younger...
(who has yet to understand the concept of the game)

could not stay put long enough to conceal his hiding place

while the elder...
(played along, pretending to be surprised, upon "finding" the restless younger)

I could hear them roaming throughout the house, and when they found their way into my room

I tried to help...
wanted to help...

the younger learn how to find and keep his position a secret from the seeker

But I realized a lesson like that only comes with

patient practice

And that it is two lessons really...

Learning to find a valid hiding space
Learning to remain quiet while in that space

It is impossible to teach 37 years worth of hiding knowledge to a 3-year old in a moment
but if he only knew...

that there is a perfect hiding place

My first trip to "The Grand Canyon"

a place within a place...

that can be hidden inside of

a word
a song
a moment of quiet reflection

And I'm glad that I've found that place

a place in plain view
where I can remain hidden

while learning to be

in the moment

not anticipating

which direction He will show up
which direction He will take me next,

but just learning to

go with the flow
relax, enjoy, and hide

in the beauty of His presence

Psalm 91

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 14... Grace Still Happens

One day you may decide to...

wake up
shake up
lace up

and try
something new
Junior High? No Sweat!
(originally posted 1/10/14)

My coworker and I sat talking yesterday
about how long it takes the average person to run a mile and

I had to laugh out loud as

I remembered
and shared

just how long it used to take me...

Curtiss Middle School
9th grade

and although I wasn't the

the most popular

kid in school

I did alright...

got decent grades
had cool friends
received a small college scholarship

and even somehow managed to get nominated and elected
as Student Body President

I did alright in everything except...

Third period P.E

Because we were forced to run the timed mile, and I absolutely HATED the mile while
my gym teacher absolutely LOVED to yell out across the field

"TONDRALAH!  Hurry up... everyone else is FINISHED!"

(and to this day I'm still not sure why that man called me "Tondralah")

but even if he had gotten my name correct,
it wouldn't have mattered because

I had already decided
not to

sweat or
mess up my hair

No sir
No thank you

so much to his dismay

each week
I came in
dead last

taking my time because

I had already decided to

walk it
just take the 'Fail' and
exert the least amount of energy as possible while still completing the assignment

I had purposed in my heart to be an under achiever and I was okay with that


Well today, as I thought about it
the implications of having that mindset finally hit me
as I realized that my actions were actually

saying something
telling something

about that girl

Because I mean really, who wants to be that girl?

The one who comes in last place
each time...
every time...

And now I


that when you pre-determine in your heart
(either willfully or unconsciously)

not to try
not to strive
not to sweat

you've already pre-determined in your heart
to fail

every time

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 13... Grace Still Happens (The Unopened Invitation)

"We missed you at the baby shower last week"
(and my facial response must have said it all)

"Wait, didn't you get the invite?"

as we both knew what must have happened...

her hubby
my hubby
his Bible

(where the envelope still sat unopened)

So I asked him later...

"Was there something you were supposed to give me?"

immediately refreshing
his memory


his apology

and I couldn't help but think about how

this Gospel has been handed to us
wrapped neatly and tucked between the pages of our Bibles

but unless

we are responsible
we remember
we open and share

the information inside

others will be left

still sitting
home alone
never realizing

they received the invite

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 12... Grace Still Happens

It will take more than
the stroke of the pen

to ever

"It's All in How You Write it"
(originally posted 10/06/15)

It's all in how you write it...

Someone asked me to look at the word impossible
and when I did, I saw it

I'm possible

same letters
same order

different positioning
different meaning

punctuation added

and I love how when I hand God my impossible

He takes those same letters
(repositions them without disturbing the natural order)

changes the meaning
then adds His punctuation

because with God all things are possible


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day 11... Grace Still Happens

revel in

every one of the moments you've been given
"Thanking God for All of That... and a Bag of Chips"
(originally posted 07/10/13)

Eleven years ago today, my son was born


We marveled that he didn't cry at birth. My mother worried, but the doctor told her...

"He doesn't need to cry, he needs to breathe... and he's breathing"

my husband
his father
God's man

took our tightly swaddled bundle of joy to the side of the room and whispered into his ear

Later I asked him "what did you say to the baby?"

It was...

"Hear the conclusion of the whole matter.  Fear God,
and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man"

That was eleven years ago today...

This morning I overslept and woke to that same child's lips pressing against my cheek.  My eyes opened and a broad smile spread across his face as he said "congratulations, you have a son."

Later in the car I listened as he and his little sister took a trip back down memory lane

"I remember when..."
"And then we..."
"Oh yeah, and what about when..."

And as I listened I couldn't help but smile as I noted that all of the things they were referencing were


we have shared together as a family

My kids weren't talking about

material gains

they were sharing memories

"Remember when we went to the snow for Christmas?" 

"Yeah, my favorite part was when we went in the cabin
and had hot cocoa, marshmallows... and a bag of chips"

I smiled at the details they remembered from a trip that we took over 4 years ago
I smiled, grateful for the memories, the lessons in life and love

and I thanked God that

my life
my experience
my gratitude really is for all of that...

and a bag of chips!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 10... Grace Still Happens

We are constantly going in circles...

the question
the answer
the test
the lesson

we pass
we fail
we try again
we learn

we grow as we live
we learn as we grow

and if

the first question is...
do you hear the lesson?

the next question is...
do you listen?
"Remembering 1990... with Vision of Love"
(originally posted 02/12/16)

There is a lot of meaning to this song, so bear with me...

When I began posting

a song
a week

in anticipation of my 40th birthday I had no idea on which weeks the songs would fall
(but when you live a life of gratitude and grace)

it seems that things are

always "falling into place"
in the most beautiful kinds of ways

always pointing us back to Him
and why we are so blessed in the first place


It was the Summer of 1990...

and I was shopping in a department store
with my Aunt Brenetta at a mall in Mobile, Alabama

She was buying me a dress for my 14th birthday and when the song came on
we both stopped and looked up at the music video playing on the monitor above

"I had a vision of love..."

Mariah sang on the mic
with so much


that I purchased the single (on cassette) to listen to (on my Walkman)
that very same day


(Wanna feel your age? Start talking about something from your youth)
my kids do not know cassette or Walkman


"I had a vision of love..."

and as my Aunt Brenetta and I sat talking earlier last year
I was telling her about a Woman's Retreat that I attended in Big Bear, CA

the Autumn of 1998...

when our conference theme had been "love"

and our First Lady shared with us what love really means
and so, I called Winston (from the pay phone) to tell him that

"I had a vision of love..."


"I had a vision of love..."

(fast forward)

and now we have our own Moriah (with a Mic)...
Micah and Moriah, 2007


I understand why
this song

managed to fall exactly

on this week
on this day
on our Wedding Anniversary

in 2016...


(press play)


"I had a vision of love, and it was all that you've given to me
I had a vision of love, and it was all that you turned out to be"

Monday, October 9, 2017

Day 9... Grace Still Happens

Those who plan without the help of the Spirit
must plan again -African Proverb
"On the Quest to Cure Boredom"
(originally posted 6/22/15)

I honestly had no idea that some of you were waiting for this

until I realized
that I kept getting the same question

again and again...

"What are the kids up to this summer?"

Because last year we had fun with our summer lessons as the children successfully


a summer business

Color*full Creations
creating a life full of color

But when our house flooded late last summer...

we lost a lot
gained a lot
purged a lot

and my "Ten weeks to better business" plan
was one of the things misplaced during the shuffle

and since I have not had the time (nor the energy)

to re-create that entire process
the kids didn't want to continue making bracelets
and I wasn't going to force them

I decided to just let them have a "free range" summer


when my mother texted me one day to let me know that

the neighborhood power was out
the children were bored
and were complaining of

"nothing to do"

I was...


because I honestly cannot remember the last time that I was bored

(and since school had only been out for one week)

I realized my children were going to need "some things" to do

some structure
some form

So this summer...

I'm sending my children out on a quest to "cure" boredom!

Up first? 

I released them into the library!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day 8... Grace Still Happens

Everyone loves a good cliff hanger...

the drama
the suspense
the reveal
the reaction



(the revelation of truth is a beautiful experience)

to those who believe
and know

the best cliff hanger





for everyone
who loves a good cliff hanger
"Crash into Christ"
(originally posted 10/25/15)

I can hardly stand to watch anymore
all you hear is...


war and


People we suspect are unhappy
proving us right

People we expect to be happy
proving us wrong

and the media carefully packaging it up and delivering it to us daily

playing us

the same report



So I put down the remote
because I can hardly stand to watch anymore

I know the truth

and instead close my eyes


onto Him

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Day 7... Grace Still Happens

I'm trying to figure out how

to hold on
and let go

at the same time

(and I realize that is the greatest paradox yet)

the holding on...
the letting go...

(because the truth of the matter is)

I will never let go of you
I could never let go

but we are clearly
in a different part of the journey now


I promise to let go (a little)
if you promise to hold on (a lot)
"Today I Held a Baby"
(originally posted 5/18/16)

Today I held a baby...

the newest member of our family

and as I noticed him

his status
his stature
his frame

I silently noted to myself...

This is love

And it had been on another day

(just like this one)

when I had pulled into the parking lot of a college campus
only to realize that I had no idea where I was going

But rather than humble myself to ask for help, I tried to avoid appearing too

lost and confused

(which ironically enough, is all the things that I was)

But there is just something about Him...

and the way that He



even when we are

too small
too scared
too stubborn

to just stop and ask for help...

He sends it anyway

a familiar face appearing in the crowd to lead the way to our destination

(which would never have been found, being on the wrong side of campus and all)

And today as I held a baby...


the newest member of our family

I remembered that to Him, I'm also family...


and He carefully notices

my status
my stature
my frame


this is love...

He is love

and so today as I held and noticed a baby
I thanked God for the many ways

He continues to hold
and notice


Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 6... Grace Still Happens

You have a story to tell?
You do
I'm sure you do

and someone would love to hear it
your story



thought provoking

you have a story

and you want to share it
and someone wants to hear it

needs to hear it

it's why we crave


because we have stories
that we are ready to tell

in fact
the very reason you decided to read this today

is not because I have a story to tell
but because

you do

Share your story...