Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The year of the 12 is officially ON.

And true to form, my word caught me unaware.

I was winding down for bed. I was relaxed on the surface and yet I was also aware of a relentless anxiety hovering under the radar. I nervously shifted my weight on the couch and tried to shake it.

Then a soft Voice spoke ever so succinctly. It said, “This season in your life is very short. Rise above it. Rise above it.”

My heart warmed in my chest. My body grew quietly excited because I knew that *rise* would be my word for March.

I like the month of March. When I say its name, it sounds like an authoritative command: “MARCH!” So it's appropriate to have an equally strong word like "Rise" to guide me through it.

Rise is a lovely word too. When I say its name, I hear an invitation: "Rise, rise, rise." There's a gentleness to its overture, and it draws me in. I feel inquisitive, open, confident about where it will lead me.

Rise reminds me of the sacred rhythm of each day. The sun rising in the sky every morning is a physical manifestation of hope. It reminds me that the day is a blank canvas waiting to be painted. And I have choices; I can fill it with whatever strokes or colors I fancy.

Rise also reminds me to adjust my perspective. It is far too easy to get bogged down in details in the midst of the busy and the hard. Rise reminds to look at my problems from a different vantage point.

When I get a bird's eye view of things--and see this period of time in the context of my whole life--suddenly my struggles aren't so all consuming. What I am going through right now is just a blip on the screen. Rise reminds me of the bigger picture and helps me to refocus on what I am fighting for.

Rise is also the name of a filter on my favorite iphone app, Instragram. The "Rise" filter gives an ordinary photo an early-morning, sunbathed beauty. I can apply the same filter to my circumstances. I can choose to see life through the lens of hope.

Rise is a simple way to say it's a new day. A day worth rising to--with anticipation and tenacity. It's also a gentle way of saying, "Girl, get your butt in gear. Get up! Get out of bed. There's stuff to do!" And sometimes I need a little kick to get me going.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, but I have my MARCHing orders. I will stand. I will get through. I will rise.

And you can too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Just when I think
I’ve got life figured out
That I’ve finally mastered
My fear and my doubt

A bad old day
Will smack me in the face
And mock my “knowledge”
And scoff at Grace

“How’s this working?
This thing you call Faith?”
The day growls in laughter
As it throws me the bait

It lingers and it longs
For my heart to agree
Wants me to stop STANDing
To fall apart and to flee

So I search inside
For the perfect reply
Often there’s silence
And yet, peace of mind

Because slow but surely
I’m retraining my brain
Not to default to defeated
Any time I feel pain

Though I’m constantly bombarded
With messages that say
Life should be “perfect”
A fairy tale every day

My circumstances balk
At those hollow dreams
And disprove the fairy tales
Daily, it seems

But that doesn’t mean
That I’m miserable or resigned
It means I’m a realist
And can therefore enjoy LIFE

I’m not as easily disillusioned
As I used to be
Because the illusion of “perfect”
Has lost its power over me

In fact, life is much sweeter
When I choose to embrace
That this world I'm living in
Is a broken place

Though it's full of adventure
Of joy that is thick
It's not all unicorns and rainbows
'Cause it's not a chick flick

So the next time a bad day
Pokes fun at my faith
I'll remember what I've learned
And look it right in the face

I'll say: Faith, I am told
Is the substance of things
In the unseen world
And it's not just a dream

Faith is the cord
That connects me to Love
It's how I overcome
With strength from above

Faith gives me vision
To look and to see
That I won't fall apart
Just 'cause life isn't easy

So I don't have to fear
A less than "perfect" day
My faith is intact
And I'm going to be okay

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Break Out

Dedicated to all my soul-sisters.

I was thinking about life
About health and getting whole
I was thinking about keeping
My eyes on the goal

When all of a sudden
Clarity came
I saw my struggle
In a different way

I could see myself
Inside of a box
It was made of wood
And fastened with locks

I was held in there
A captive to fear
I barely survived
For many a year

I was stuck, I was trapped
And I couldn't see
There was a beautiful world
Outside waiting for me

So I tried to make do
With the things that I had
And pretend I was happy
When life was so bad

But after awhile
I just couldn't breathe
The air was stale
I knew I had to leave

I needed to find
A way to get OUT
So I pounded on the walls
And started to shout

"Can't anyone HELP me
Get out of here?"
I heard voices outside
I knew people were near

Then one by one
They started to say
"Kick down the walls
It's the only way!"

"But I'm tired, I'm spent
I just need some air
Break out by MYSELF?
That just isn't fair"

"You can do it," they cried
"Get started right now!
Just kick that wall down
Punch it with a POW!"

So I kicked and I punched
Til my body was sore
Then I laid down and cried
With my face to the floor

I called out to the others,
"So I need to ask
What happens if I
Just can't finish this task?"

"You can!" they assured me
"Just don't give in!
You have to keep kicking
You're GOING to win!"

It was then that I knew
I was fighting for more
Than fresh air and sunshine
Because this was a WAR

I'm just like a soldier
And I have to stay
When the battles are tough
And I want to give way

Even though I get tired
And I don't want to STAND
Even though this battle
Is longer than planned

I just won't give up
'Til I've gotten through
While I continue to kick
I have a message for you:

We all have our "boxes"
Those spaces inside
Where we're captive and cut off
And trying to hide

But we can break out
If we band together
Through sunshine and storms
And all kinds of weather

We may need to take breaks
To rest and to sup
But we must never
Never give up

We are fighting for freedom
We are fighting for healing
We are fighting for justice
And the enemy is reeling

So put on your boots
'Cause I've put on mine
It is time to BREAK OUT
Oh, yes, it is time

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I Remember: The Cemetery

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Josiah's journey to his forever home

When my little boy first slipped away
I was haunted by an image
That wouldn’t go away

A forlorn family was standing at a grave
They were dressed in black
They had no words to say

Year after year, nothing changed
They’d return to The Cemetery
Looking the same

They were stuck, they were sad
They were practically dead
“That will not be me!” I said

See, I was convinced that The Cemetery
Had made them that way
And would do it to me

So I didn’t go near it, I lived in great fear
And I ran from The Cemetery
Year after Year

Then I looked in the mirror and lowered my jaw
I was shocked and embarrassed
By the image I saw

I had turned into THEM
They were just like me
Even though I avoided The Cemetery

I was stuck, I was sad
I was practically dead
“This has got to change!” I said

I went to the grave and laid on the grass
I felt sad and alone
But I knew it would pass

The way to become more peaceful and free
Was to accept what was there
In the earth under me

I returned to The Cemetery many times
To erase the image
That was burned in my mind

And after some months at the grave of my son
That picture was replaced
With a hopeful one

I see a new woman at The Cemetery
She’s a happy woman
And that woman is me