Spring in Februrary

Writing/ Photography Prompt: Spring in February

Psalm 68:9 You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched.

This has been a long depressing winter for many of us. There has been a lot of evil rearing its head, thinking that lives taken end the story. Let’s prove our enemy wrong. Find signs of spring in a photograph, poem, or both. Pingback to this link so that we may encourage and remember that our sorrows last for but a while.

Starting Place

i didn’t know this

was my starting place

until You ended my suffering.


This yanking war of soul and flesh

Soothed to peace by Your sacrifice.


I became a fledgling paragraph developing purpose

in the womb of just one word



Dressing in Delight: Changing our Outlook on Life

Numbers 6:25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 

Playing dress up was not on my agenda yesterday. I have been battling a cold that is moving in and picking out curtains. To say I was miserable yesterday is an understatement . . . I was even second guessing going out on the planned date with my husband.

But, grandparents arrived to watch the kids and I prepared to leave, such as I am. . . enter Natalie. “Can I pick out your dress?” Dress . . . I was doing well to get out of the house in jeans and a nicer shirt. But, sigh, who can resist a pretty little redhead with big brown eyes who just got to be her daddy’s princess at the Father-Daughter Dance. So dress up it is.


Ready to Dance
Dancing the night away!

A funny thing happened when I put on the dress. I perked up. I laughed and was more in the mood to go out. Not even daddy escaped the wardrobe fairy. He was transformed into dress pants, my favorite of his blue shirts and a tie put it all together. We even took a picture, just as she and he did for their dance. All because a little girl expected elegance for our date.

There is something about putting on a different attitude in the circumstances we are in that can help change the course and pattern of our lives.  When we put on grace, forgiveness, or gratitude that can replace the rags of depression, hatred, and unforgiveness. It doesn’t just happen. We must grab those downward spiraling thoughts and pull them back up out of the pit. Sometimes we need someone to come in and say, ‘You aren’t going out dressed like that!’

Story Telling
Keep those smiles looking good.


Make a date this week and then dress, not based on feelings, but on the event planned for.

Some suggestions that perk me up:

  • A hike in the woods
  • Out with your spouse
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Trampoline with kids (impossible not to giggle)
  • A local band
  • Photography
  • Art class
  • Surprise me

I would love to hear how your date went. What did you talk about? Where did you go? What was your favorite moment? Did you find your countenance improved?

Seeing Through the Pain: Message of Hope

Luke 12:22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?


Dear Page Turners,

A little goldfinch visited today. I am quite sure she was at my window a year ago, her strange behavior the same. She is more interested in what is going on inside our house than anything outside. She sits, looking directly at me, tilting her head. Then she lands on the sill to get a closer look. Neither the barking dog, nor the kids frighten her away.

She is a love note from God. Love notes are moments when God does something that wows me! I’ve received many of them throughout the years, but this was extra special because it reached through the haze I walk through these days and stirred my heart. My problems are deep and many layered, but God’s is faithful.

She sat there looking at and declaring with every little twitch of her head. “He loves you, he values you, and he is providing for you.” She spent about an hour with me her last visit, but I easily dismissed the visit as a passing “interesting” moment until she returned today.

How quickly I can forget He loves me, when the mess of the years problems seem insurmountable. Having her suddenly appear as I walked into the office took my breath away. God knew I needed to be reminded of hope. He knew that I was struggling in my exhaustion to even look for his many provisions for my family. So he made his promise clear through my little feathered example.

Are you soured by circumstances? Cynical about the knowledge that God is good, because all you see and feel is bad? Frantically scrambling to fix whatever is wrong in your life? Come to the window with me. Look at a little bird whose only thought today was to serve her master in a big way.

May I be that little bird for you. Tapping on your heart to remind you that God sees and values you, and he is very much in the midst of your loneliness, your despair, and your prayers!




When Words Fail: Laugh

Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones. 

Words have been failing me lately. Literally. I try to respond in conversation and I can’t bring what I want to say to mind, or I’m talking about cooking and “cat” comes out. Imagery and laughter aside, it is quite frustrating for a wordsmith to be silenced. So, since laughter is good medicine and the kids and I have been creating an abundance of jokes . . . here are a few of my favorites.


Why are suckers always singing? Answer: Because they are covered in rappers.

Why don’t musicians like the police? Answer: Because they place you under a-rest. (Daniel original)

What note can a car tire play? Answer: B flat

Who gets in trouble more, a football player, or figure skater? Answer: A figure skater, because they are always skating on thin ice.


Cultivate laughter, plant it in the lives around you and watch joy grow.




Sanctuary, You keep saying that word . . .

Psalm 73 . . .Still, when I tried to figure it out,
    all I gt was a splitting headache . . .
Until I entered the sanctuary of God.
    Then I saw the whole picture: . . . {The Message)

Give me sanctuary! For the past few weeks I had multiple excuses to not enter the sanctuary of God. I have literally felt oppressively hot each time I entered, to the point of feeling faint, and this week I was on the threshold of seizures as a result of my severe insomnia. But each time, with equal grit, I entered the sanctuary anyway!

Why? Because sanctuary is where my thinking is reborn. I’m no longer in the vacuum of my own thoughts and see more clearly God’s hand on my life. I am not alone! Pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10) How differently the aftermath of my son’s suicide would look if I chose to go through it alone.  So many of us, struggling with depression, become echo chambers as we withdraw from any voice but our own. I have had 42 years of playing my own thinking . . . there might be a broken record or two.

So I sing a new song each week, along with hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ. This Sunday I let the truth of More than Conquerors remind me,  God overcomes every obstacle in my way. I can defiantly proclaim his love, truth, and presence to others desperate for answers. While participating in the sermon–which by the way means conversation–I hear God’s voice. You are not alone. Look around you. Do you think that you are the only one struggling to be here? Communicate your need to me, let me carry your burden.

I encourage you to enter the sanctuary, not out of obligation, but because there is relationship.  I raise my hands to praise, not because I have it all together, or have arrived at some spiritual nirvana! I raise my hands because I am defiant! I have a God who loves and fights for me and I recognize the warriors who surround me.

Find allies in the sanctuary of God.  (Please note, I have been abused by those who called themselves Christians, so I say this with the full awareness that church does not always feel like a place of protection.) But, I have also witnessed the generosity of Christians. I have experienced the provision and good gifts of a God who is not blind to my wounds. In the sanctuary I see that God is just.  We can angrily slam the door on God and Christians for perceived let downs, or we can enter the sanctuary and find our battle never was against each other. We have a common enemy and we cannot defeat him alone. Come to the sanctuary with me and raise your hand in defiance!


Lord, I praise you for placing a fire in me to be in the presence of your people. Thank you for the great music that encourages me and lights our way with the gospel of peace. Thank you for pastors that point to your truth and do not lean on their own understanding. Thank you that you raised your arms in defiance to death and teach me to become more than a conqueror! Amen



Depression is not meant for the Church Coatroom

I attempted to stuff my depression into the racks of the church coatroom before

straightening my face into a well pressed smile.

You, who did not hide your sorrow from your Father,

had the usher bring my cloak of despair back to me.


Shoulders drooped as I slipped into the putrid pew of religious repetition

believing faith wasn’t ready to share my coarse reality. But scripture shook me

awake. The world needs my tears, struggle, and depression.


Believers sing the blues too.

I confess, I struggle to accept Your ways.

Bones, broken with grief, scream to give in.

But, You give sanctuary to my lament.

Questions are met with open goodness.

I am reminded, God put on the cloak of humanity

to understand me.

And, when I wear depression into the sanctuary,

It is an open invitation for others to be real with You.



When Trauma Has You Frozen, Pray

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

I do not grieve like someone who is a slave to my son’s death. Sometimes, just like the Romans, I need a reminder that I can cry out to my daddy when fear is attempting to chain me again.

Yesterday I met a friend to study scripture and pray together. I made it through all the markers of Jonathan’s death and did not break down. But grief is not dictated by routine or schedule.

As I walked into the restaurant two police officers were waiting in line to place their order. I have yet to overcome a visceral response to police officers, since it was a sheriff who had to deliver the news that my son was dead. Every encounter since has been sweaty palms, shaking, and near breakdown.

I want to overcome this reaction, but am not sure how. My friend, aware of my struggle asked if I was okay when I came to the table. I struggled to not completely melt into tears. She assured me, it is okay if I cry, each moment is valuable, even the hard ones. We began catching up, but the officers sat only a few booths away and I was barely holding it together.

Finally I asked, “Can you do me a favor? . . . Oh, never mind.”

But my friend wisely didn’t leave it at that. “You want me to ask them if there is anything we can pray for them?”

All I could do was nod.

They asked her to pray for their safety, and we did just that. She redirected my overwhelmed feeling into meaningful, and purposeful care for these two men. As a result it also brought peace and calm to my soul.

What are you facing right now that causes an uncontrolled, physical response? It doesn’t make logical sense, but you can’t stop reacting to past trauma. I encourage you, just as my friend took the reigns and led me through the dark moment, to find a purpose in your grief. Begin with prayer. Lift up the person, circumstance, or fear to God who loves you perfectly and can cast out all fear!

Love Always,




Lost to Suicide

Amid the fireworks,your little

hand slipped into crowded adulthood,

before your mind developed a sense of direction.

Grasping anything to garner comfort, but

fear is a poor companion.

Absence begged me to give up on you . . . but, what mother can?


I attempted a missing person’s report, but was

laughed out of the station.

“He’s finding himself, ma’am”. The experts scoffed, even as my

happy-boy flyers faded amid other bulletin board lost souls.

The exhausted search now buried . . .

And I hold tight to my Daddy’s hand,

so I don’t lose myself in the crushing mob of grief.

Just Another Day: Except it Isn’t


Scripture: Lamentations 3:22 The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”…

Thoughts: How do you turn the page on the hardest days of your life? In three years I have learned:

  • Pray
  • Be with family and friends
  • Pre-prepare
  • Hydrate
  • Laugh
  • Remember
  • Praise
  • Be present in today (pain, tears, joy, love, all is useful to God)
  • Notice blessings
  • Encourage others

Prayer: Lord, you are faithful in my sorrow today as I turn the page on the tragedy of Jonathan’s death, and another year begins. May others learn, live, love and grow because they see your presence in our lives. I find joy today because you are faithful. Thank you that Brian journeys through grief with me.  Laughter is not distant because you have given me Daniel and Natalie. Thank you for time with friends this afternoon. I feel pain, but know it does not last. Your love, instead is eternal! Amen