Searching for Sacred

Am I Enough?

Am I enough? Loved ones are miles away, literally and figuratively

Friends are wounded, hurting

The world is fractured and grieving

New paths, new people to serve and love

It sometimes seems that we just brush by one another as we hurry through life, a nod or a wave is sufficient, not taking time to look in each other’s eyes and truly connect

Or we lash out in our passion for righteousness and justice 

While the human on the other end builds a walk around their own sense of righteousness and justice. 

What is enough? Am I enough?

I’m just me – learning, growing, passionate, longing, striving 

Leaning on my God as he guides my heart, or patiently waits in the wings while I take a detour
I will listen.

I will speak up. 

I will come alongside. 

I will love. 

I will show up. 
And that is enough ❤️

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Fireflies

Early summer evenings in Louisville, Kentucky can mean wind and thunderstorms or sweltering humidity. But tonight is the perfect night. 

As dusk settles over our neighborhood, I walk out onto our front porch and let out a long sigh. With a slow, deep breath I take in the sweet smell of the almost-summer evening. I close my eyes and feel the warm air caress my arms and the back of my neck under my messy bun. The air is warm but dry, none of the usual humidity that plagues many summer nights. A sweet breeze blows and it feels comforting.

I walk across the street, the pavement still warm from this clear, sunny day. Just across the sidewalk are cement stairs that lead down to the track at the School for the Blind.  As I approach the stairway, my heart quickens. 

The fireflies are here! 

I was born and raised in the West Coast, and the only fireflies I had ever seen were the fake ones in the bayou scenes in the Pirates of the Carribean ride at Disneyland. When we moved to Louisville last July, I was thrilled to see a few fireflies here and there. I’m hoping I’ll see a few tonight. 

The cyclone fence along the road and leading to the stairway is lined with towering trees and low lying bushes, which makes a shadowy sanctuary in the fading light. Before I even reach the top of the stairway, there is a flash in the corner of my eye. As I scan the stairway and the cool green grass leading down the hill to the track, a chorus of twinkling yellow lights greets me. In the shadows, down the hill, on the lawn, around the curves of the track, fireflies at every turn. Everywhere I look, beautiful twinkling yellow flashes of light. 

Walking my laps, my heart fills with joy at this little blessing. I’m not sure how little flying beatles flashing their hind ends looking for a mate can make me so very happy, but it does. 

I’m walking a brisk pace, and every ten to twenty feet a little lightening bug buzzes across my path, as if he’s slowly leading the way. I could reach out and touch him, but I don’t. I stray off my lane to follow him, off the track and onto the grass, slowly floating in the air in front of me, occasionally flashing his tail if I lose him, as if he wants me to follow him. At one point, he seems to almost stop in mid air. He slowly floats near my face, flashes me a short greeting, and flies away. 

Thank you, Lord, for this sweet little blessing tonight. It made my heart flicker with a little light of hope and joy. 

The Places We Call Home


It is strange to return to a place that is no longer Home. Every street familiar, around every corner a lingering memory. Homes in which we have lived, homes of friends, the park where we walked, a carpool route, a riverside path, a favorite restaurant, that most familiar grocery store, the schools where your children learned and played and grew to become young men, the churches where you laughed and cried and loved. 

But we no longer have a physical home here. It now joins a list of places in our hearts that fill us with a joyful sense of home, a place of peaceful belonging. We have so many: the Oregon Coast, Central Oregon, Portland, Disneyland, the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, Yellowstone – actually most of the national parks in the western states, Hawaii. 

And now Vancouver, Washington joins a list that was built upon so many beautiful times shared with family and friends, walking through life, so many hours traveling and on the road, raising our families, exploring back yards and open roads. Our special collection of places we call home in the amazing adventure we call Life. 

Where are the places you call home?

When You’re Just Not Feeling the Joy

This morning I woke up with a pit in my stomach. It’s one of those mornings when things just feel off, and my heart is unsettled. Often I can pinpoint the cause, but sometimes it eludes me. I will try to distract myself or medicate it away with sleep, sugar, caffeine, mindless tv, or more sleep. I think this feeling is not uncommon, particularly as we get close to the holidays.

It’s supposed to be a joyous time of year, but sometimes we just don’t feel like rejoicing. Is there something wrong with us?

Let’s look at the messages we are taking in. We are bombarded with commercials that tell us that we are unhappy and that our lives are less than perfect unless we buy a certain product. On social media, people are posting holiday pictures and discussing family, but for many, it is not a happy time of year, and it can be magnified when we feel like everyone else around us is happy and festive. And to be honest, the state of the world and the amount of social and political unrest is unsettling, particularly as things become more and more divisive.

We can feel uneasy or unsettled at any time, not just during the holiday season. So this morning I am going through my mental checklist, because if there is something significant and I don’t deal with it, it will show its ugly head later, so it’s best to just deal with things now, if I can. Perhaps this checklist will be helpful for you as well. Here are some things to think about when you’re feeling unsettled and you don’t know why:

  1. Do I have unrealistic expectations for the holidays? Am I looking for THIS holiday season to make up for any unpleasant or unsatisfactory experiences I had growing up or in the past? Or is it something more basic, not necessarily connected to the holidays?
  2. Is it a gnawing conscience? Sometimes when there is this uneasiness in my heart, it’s because I’ve said or done something hurtful or insensitive, and I need to make amends. Have I been hurtful, unkind, or insensitive? Do I have unfinished business with someone, and my heart isn’t letting me ignore it?
  3. Is it shame? Did I say something out of turn, or behave in a way that I wish I hadn’t? Is it legitimate shame (where I have truly done something that I shouldn’t have) or is it misplaced shame, put on by myself or others, to make me feel ‘less than’? Is this a sign that I am looking for significance in the wrong place, or letting outside forces determine my worth?
  4. Is it undiscipline? Am I putting off a duty or responsibility that I need to be working on? Am I distracting myself from some things that must be done with things that are unnecessary? Am I spending time on things that I call ‘time sucks’ – like social media, Pinterest, mindless tv, binge-watching Netflix, etc – rather than prioritizing the important things that I should be doing?
  5. Am I not setting good boundaries? Have I said  “yes” to something because I felt obligated rather than called to do something? Have I said “No” to something or made excuses when my heart knows I really should have said yes? Have I let someone have more power in my life than they should? Am I allowing another’s actions or words to affect my sense of self?
  6. Am I placing my sense of personal significance in the wrong place? Am I basing how I feel about my own worth on the opinions of others? On whether or not I have convinced them how awesome I am? On how many likes or comments or views I get? On whether or not someone agrees and supports my opinion? Am I comparing myself or my experience with others online (whose real lives are likely completely different from what they portray online)?
  7. Am I connected and in community? Do I have people with whom I can share my heart? Am I lonely and missing loved ones? Is there unresolved grief? Is there loss that might feel particularly strong at this time of year?
  8. Am I living my purpose? Am I just going through the motions, or am I living a meaningful purpose, fulfilling what only I can do in this life? Do I know what makes my life meaningful? (okay, getting a little too deep, time to move on to the basics)
  9. If you still cannot pinpoint what’s causing you to feel unsettled, look at the basics: Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating healthy foods? Are you eating too much sugar (studies show sugar withdrawal mimics depression)? Are you getting outside and getting some exercise? Are you spending time in the sun? (or if it’s dark where you live, are you getting enough vitamin D?) Are you drinking enough water? Are you spending time with those you love? Are you working too much? Are you practicing good self-care? Are you spending time each day having fun? When was the last time you laughed? If you’re a spiritual person, are you staying connected spiritually by praying, reading, meditating?

Often just thinking about and labeling the cause will help to put things in perspective. It also helps me to talk to a friend – sometimes just processing things out loud helps you see things in a different light. I’ve found that sometimes the answer is as simple as taking a break from social media. I don’t think people realize the amount of angst it can create until you step away for a time.

Sometimes the feeling of being unsettled can signal anxiety or depression. This can be temporary, but if the feeling doesn’t dissipate, you may need to look at outside help and get some counseling and see a medical doctor. If you need to seek help, do it. You’re worth it.

Wishing you a holiday filled with love. And joy.