Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped

I’d gone into the doctor’s office for a persistent irritating rash under my eyes and on my neck. I expected to hear eczema or some other small, albeit annoying, diagnosis.

The doctor walked in, took one look at me and sank to a seat. She paraded through all the diagnosis I’d hoped to hear, but she knocked down each one.

She was so calm it was unnerving. Just like the eye of the hurricane. Continue reading “Diagnosis: When it Isn’t What You Hoped”

Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For

There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.

I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.

So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.

The view from our cottage just as the golden light bends across the horizon. There’s a reason they call this time of day the golden hour.

Continue reading “Remember—The Key to Finding What You’ve Been Looking For”

When You’re Desperate and Afraid

It’s 3 am. And I’m awake…again. The darkness sits heavy on my chest as the sound of the air flicking on echoes hard.

It’s 3:30 am. And I’m too exhausted to function. My kids will be up in a few short hours. Ready for the day when I’m anything but.

It’s 4 am. And I’m brittle, fragile, pieces chipping off as each minute ticks away. Continue reading “When You’re Desperate and Afraid”

Endings

Hi all! I’m hanging out over at my friend Julie Dibble’s blog today. She’s an amazing woman of God…and we met on Twitter. True story. Anyway, Julie’s on vacation and needed a blog break. So I pulled an old blog post for her where my past self was preaching to my current self. Isn’t it amazing how often we need the SAME message. I trust you’ll enjoy the message again as well…

 

We’re coming up to the end of August, and my kids will soon be joining the ranks of bleary-eyed students returning to school. Summer is ending, and I’m not sure how I feel.
I don’t like endings.

It’s dark.

I can’t quite see what’s coming next.

And my self-preservation kicks in screaming, “Run the other way, idiot!”
But as time ticks steadily down, it’s quite impossible to for us mere mortals sprint back up the time continuum.

Continue over on Julie’s site:

Endings: A Guest Post

Sketches of Light

The other day, I was out for a walk. Despite the bright sunshine, darkness hovered close, stalking the cracks and crevices of my mind. This nebulous shadow is nothing new. And I found myself fighting it, once again.

If you have never tried, doing battle with a substanceless thing is tiring work on a normal day. But I’d also just had surgery, and my daughter had hurt her knee…really hurt it.

So we were living with a mom who was recovering and a girl who’s broken—a gaping black hole on the MRI where her bright white ACL should be.

 

But as I walked, my crazy dog running circles around my legs, I started noticing the shadows, the sketches of blocked light.

I suddenly started seeing the light playing inside the shadow—the interplay an exquisite balance.

Continue reading “Sketches of Light”

White Spaces

You all know that I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by the shear magnitude of everyday life…and that I underwent surgery late last week. The irony is that I wrote a piece for another blog about the spiritual discipline of rest…and they published it the day I was under the knife.

Talk about forced rest.

But it was a reminder that even in life’s unexpected, we have the opportunity to view upheaval as rest. But how do we find a moment to take a breath? And why are white spaces important?

I invite you to hop over to one of my favorite blogs and read my post to find out:

http://www.mudroomblog.com/whitespaces/

Black: A Poem About Hiding

It’s National poetry month, and I’ve resisted posting any of my poetry mostly because I’m don’t consider myself a poet. But as I reread this poem, it opened my eyes to a path I was tempted to walk again…this week. Even as I head into surgery in a few days.

Some explanation is in order, but I’ll be brief. This poem is a part a series based in colors. I pushed off saved the colors black & white until I’d done a host of others. Knowing myself, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, when the two starkest colors produced dark poems (Seriously. Who writes a dark poem about the color white?!). But I am surprised at how easily I fall into the habit illustrated here:

Black: A Poem about Hiding

Warm. Safe. Contained.
.      In the dark corner
.             I can’t see them,
.                   hear them,
.                          think about them,
.                               or deal, cope, hope.
.                                    I am mine
.                                                               Alone.
.                                    Narrow band of light
.                               from them
.                          peaks through,
.                    reaching.
.              Golden in promise,
.        deadly in delivery.

But I’m hidden
behind folds and corners.
Breathing darkness
the warmth of my own breath.
Hidden
Alone.

 

This poem’s sentiment is something I adopted as a kid and fight against as an adult—hiding from people. But I’m beginning to learn:

People aren’t always safe, but I miss something when I hide my true self. Tweet This

As I’m headed into surgery later this week, the desire to go into hiding is strong. I want to pretend it’s all okay, that I’ve got it all together. I’ve even cracked jokes and then went home and cried.

I promised myself I would be honest here. So I’ll say that putting myself out there has  been a successful experiment in some regards. The light from the other room fulfilling its golden promise. I found folks stepping up to help that I did not expect.

But boy, did it ever confirm what I’ve suspected in other places. And it hurts…and makes me want to find the nearest closet.

Here’s the thing I’m learning. Folks don’t know what they don’t know. We’re all hanging around in life—heads down; doing what we need to do. Those folks I expected to be there, they’ve got stuff. Just like I’ve got stuff. And you’ve got stuff.

And sometimes the stuff just gets all up in the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m just as guilty (if not more so) than anyone else. I’m truly not blaming them.

But it’s still there:

The desire to hide is all mixed up in hurt and hope.

So what’s a girl to do?

At the moment, my stuff (surgery prep and eventually post-surgery pain meds) prevents me from driving; lifting more than 10 pound; and doing, writing, or saying anything coherent. But part of coming out of the darkness is opening the door to the light of another’s presence.

So here’s my door open wide. Hoping the light will move from me to you. And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

Ode to In Between Places

Oh the places between here and there.

It’s not quite spectacular white winter or lush green spring. It’s that place where you’re not young or old. Neither starting nor finishing. We’re neither here nor there, but on our way somewhere.

If only I knew where somewhere was.

Continue reading “Ode to In Between Places”

Funneling Light


This little curl of colored wood broke off my front door wreath when I took it down. I set it on the windowsill intending to throw it away. But I couldn’t help noticing how the deep red captured and focused light.

The frayed edges nearly glowing under the sun. This everyday bit of junk, under the light, became something sacred.

And so it is with life. It isn’t a question of how much time I spend doing sacred, special things, but how I practice the mundane, boring, daily grind—the “secular” if you will. Do I focus the light?

Beautiful Thanksgiving

beautiful-thanksgiving

A few years back, on a whim, I read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. While it might sound drastic, the book changed my life, and set me on a path that led to me starting this blog—finding beauty even when it isn’t pretty.

I’ve spent the last year studying beauty, looking for it in the most unlikely places—a friend’s horrific divorce, a sink full of dirty dishes, the death of a friend’s dad, arguments with my daughter—and mostly finding it hiding underneath life’s debris.

I found that our differences (political, ethnic, religious, etc.) are critical to creating a beautiful tapestry.

I found beauty in nature, in my own failings, when I wallow, and even in coffee.

Fact is, I find beauty nearly everywhere I look, and I am thankful.Tweet This

And that thankfulness truly has led to a better life, even science confirms it.

In the last year, I’ve watched the world shake under the strain of terror attacks, political disagreements, and war. I’ve seen people polarized against each other, and watched as darkness seemed to win. In those times and places, I’ve become more desperate for thankfulness.

And as I’ve searched and poured out thanksgiving, I’ve found it easier to see beauty, and easier to be thankful…and it’s a beautiful cycle.

So this Thanksgiving season, I’m hoping you’ll join me in searching out beauty. It may not be easy—my sink is currently overflowing with dishes, I have to run to the grocery store (again), and my friend’s cancer is still there—but perhaps together we can add just a touch of beautiful Thanksgiving to the world.

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