Tuesday, September 10, 2013


     As I entered the parlor where the wife and two sons of my husband’s cousin stood shaking hands and hugging those gathered, I smelled the thick sweet smell of gardenias. The strong rich aroma could have been a funeral home enhancement but it most likely came from the impressive display of flowers surrounding the family.
     Nestled between arrangements were family photographs. One in particular caught my eye and the tears welled up before I could stop them. It was a father holding his young son in his lap as he watched the ocean from a beach chair.
     Directly above was a colorful floral display from “The Beach Bunch,” lifelong friends mourning the loss of one of their fold. On the card was the simple, poignant phrase, “We love you.”
     There would be no more dancing to beach music. He wouldn’t get the chance to hold his future grandchildren on the beach like he did his sons. He barely got to know his new daughter-in-law.           
     Bobby Gibson was only 62 and he touched so many lives before he left us. That was evident by the number of people who showed up at the receiving and the funeral to honor his life.
     Dear Cancer: Stop stealing my family and friends.
     We left the funeral home and stopped to eat. I ordered fried shrimp and a soda. I rarely eat fried food and I haven’t had a soda for months.
     I didn’t do it for comfort. I wanted my body to feel as sick as my heart felt in that moment.
Five months from diagnosis to death. Why does cancer keep winning? It was hard not to let myself fold in like an airless accordion after two funerals in three days last week.
     In faith, I believe both men are in a better place. But we are left here, unable to breathe deeply because of the pain. Our lips quiver and our eyes weep.
     Yet we are called to keep moving and not give in to a bitter spirit. We must find a way to continue to love even though this is how it always ends.
      We hold in our heart’s pocket a handful of memories. They may not always sustain us but like the gardenias’ sweet smell, our remembrances can remind us why it is important to love deeply while we can.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


     “He whispers in my ear, tells me that I’m fearless.”

     These words are the opening line of a worship song that I love to sing by Gateway Worship called "All He Says I Am." Although I love to sing it, I find it hard to apply the words to my life. 

     Fearless? That conjures up a visual of a super hero to me. I am not a super hero.

     I’m a taskmaster. I can knock out a to do list in short order. I am responsible. I manage my home, my job and my relationships with clarity and vision.

     But fearless? No.

     And yet, hearing those words excites me. I want to be fearless–so full of faith that I never question what He whispers in my ear to do. When He asks me if I trust Him I can say “Yes, of course I do.”

     Instead I tend to remember how hard it is to give up my desire to control the outcome of every situation. Do I trust Him? Sometimes.

     Being fearless means my hands are open, palm up, ready to receive what He places there.

     “I am all. He says I am.”

     Being unable to please everyone all the time has created chaos in me for most of my life. Feeling inadequate when I couldn’t be everything someone needed me to be has also been a curse.

     To believe wholeheartedly that I am all would regulate my breathing in a way nothing else ever could.

     It all sounds so simple when you sing it in a worship song. Why do I make it so difficult?
Because He didn’t make us to be drones that march out His orders. We have a story and a face and a name. Our stories intertwine with many other stories. We get to choose our course of action.

     When we listen to His whispers and decide to choose His path, we not only add depth to our story, but also to the stories of others.

Friday, May 24, 2013


I am a writer. Writer's write. Writer's read. And we listen to little voices in our heads that command our attention. Or in the case of creating this blog, to the thundering voice of God that even in a whisper masks all others.
I've shied away from this type of exposure. Mainly, I'm busy writing for a weekly newspaper that asks me to spread 35 hours of work over seven days and use it to create thousands of words of copy. I attend meetings that run long and have difficulty telling my loyal readers no when they ask me to cover their event on a Saturday evening, long after my hours have expired. 
I have the privilege of writing a weekly column where I can wax poetic about whatever I want. I write feature stories that allow me to draw pictures of local characters in our town. I felt sure my writing life was sated.
But I kept hearing God tell me to do this. I didn't want to add another portion to my plate but the door seemed wide open, so I'm walking through it. 
I feel changes brewing. I'm not sure what they are or what they mean. But I hope by sharing my journey I can help put into words what someone else is feeling.

At 19 years old sitting in a dorm room at Gardner-Webb College, here is the verse that settled my dilemma of "What are you going to be when you grow up?"

I Corinthians 2: 11-13
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now, we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

I don't know exactly what this blog will become, but He does. Pray that I listen for all He has to say.

Life's a journey. Pay attention.