Monday, December 31, 2012

Hope... And Future

And so, a New Year is upon us. 

Do you wonder where the old year has gone? It's been said said that minutes draw out, while years speed by. And the question I ask myself is How... How did I spend my time? Turning away from guilt, looking at the very real challenges, I take stock- where did I grow well, and where does God want to bring light? 

And so, as I look forward to the beautiful messyness of life- my life- for my journey is not to be compared with another's- I seek to pursue balance, and allow God to move me forward towards greater wholeness- in spirit, mind, and body. 

There is a time when reflections on what came before can teach how to live well through what's to come. And so I share thoughts that ruminated across my mind in seasons past. For more life lessons that came before, take a stroll here. And as the New Year dawns, with abundant Grace, let us let go of regrets and seize our tomorrows, whatever they bring, remembering we are Held in the hands of the King.
~Just me

An Invitation: 

Shadows- or Light?

Window with Shadows and LightI lay still, blinking out light. Lenses focus on the fan, blowing shadows across the ceiling. But wait. As slumber recedes I find the gift. If I watch purposely, I see not shadows, but prisms of light. Perspective shifts as I reframe the gutteral response to the coming of day. My life too, holds this promise. I must seek new meaning, letting go of the language of death and learning the tongue of life.  Words are powerful; what I tell myself shapes how I interpret what is real. This is not merely determining whether the glass is half full or half empty. I must shake off emotional slumber, retrain my critical eye to grasp new understandings. Will I choose to focus the lens of my life on loss or on gifts? As I seek healing I understand that now is the time to lay down disappointment, ways I feel wronged. It's time to determine to see the good. I need not look far, for there is much goodness to behold. For every shortcoming surrendered there is life and goodness to be found in abundance.
Determination is the key. If I determine to reframe, to focus now on the good, new life will well up within me. It's time to push past the old tapes that play in my head, and turn away from negativity. It's imperative to turn a deaf ear to the enemy of my soul. As I seek to stamp out the old way, he whispers only lies from before. New eyes will seek truth, focus on moving forward, not wallowing in woundedness. What has shriveled in me can grow anew-when I invite grace to rain down. Hope and healing are found in the well watered place, but to see, I must watch for the light. No excuses. Do I want to walk in truth?

Learning the lifestyle of gratitude requires practice-- a conscious decision to focus not on shadows, but on light. It's not yet second nature, but I hope it can be, through time and determination. And then,then my life holds promise, transformation of mind and heart begun through gratefulness. It's time to move out of the shadows and embrace the prism of Light.
~Bekah (Of Ladies By Design)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

When God Draws Near

Driving home, I was listening to a radio station. "We will not sensationalize this tragedy," emphasized the host. "What we will do is pray for the families and all involved."

It was a family gathering we had traveled to, and we did not want the children to hear every horrific detail about Friday in Newton Connecticut. The news was muted during the football game, and the only conversation regarding what happened was with another mother, as we two went to gather supplies for the meal. Shock and grief linger, and we simply can not understand what drives one human being to destroy the lives of others. In truth, I do not really want to completely "understand" such darkness. I simply pray that God's light will shine into the lives of the suffering, that comfort would be found in His arms.

One of my personal heroes said: "There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Corrie Ten Boom survived the horrors of  German concentration camps. Her family was arrested for hiding those persecuted by Hitler's regime; her father and beloved sister did not survive. And yet this self professed Tramp For the Lord also said, “In darkness God's truth shines most clear.” She went on to found a refuge house for concentration camp survivors, and even a shelter for the very ones who had caused her suffering. When face to face with one of her own captors, she remembered his cruelty and still chose to forgive.

She writes of her experience,"But forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling."
    And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"
    For a long moment we grasped each others hands, the former guard and former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.

Divine forgiveness poured through human flesh- the conductor being prayer and a willing heart. I see this response mirrored in the words of a father whose little girl was taken from him-- not by God, but by what can only be defined as gaping separation from the One who is love. This grieving father said that though he is devastated and does not know how to get through something like this, "he's not angry." In the face of overwhelming loss, Robbie Parker said his desire is to be more compassionate, and more humble, and help others. Can you imagine?

Shock and awe, indeed.Can we each learn to forgive like this? I am certain we can, in Christ alone. No matter how deep the wound, no matter how prolonged the suffering, there is a Healer whose purpose is to set us free from everything that would ensnare. Clinging to bitterness does not protect the wound; it deepens it. Yet when the guttural response is replaced with prayers of forgiveness for those who have left jagged edges in hearts and souls, healing comes, and light dawns.

 There may still be weeping, for grieving is done step by step, every one at a unique pace. But I have found that wholeness is a prayer away. It does take emotional work- but walking wounded is the more costly struggle- especially when multiplied over days, months, even years. Forgiveness is a choice- and it's the choice that sets us free from the chains of unforgiveness. We can choose to let our lives be defined by what has been taken from us- or we can pray through the healing process and move towards greater wholeness.  

As we lift up those suffering this holiday season, let us remember that prayer is not a last ditch effort, it's one of the most powerful weapons we can wield, for prayer invites our Healer in. Only God can bring beauty from ashes, and we can rest assured, He will!

~Just Me

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wonder in Every Season

 Hope... Peace... Joy... declarations shine out as we bustle from home and work amidst garland and twinkling lights. Candles mingle with signs proclaiming "Jesus is the Reason for the season", venders are awash with evergreen. Yet when hope was born, all was simple; the struggle of a woman, the support of a man, and then... the cry of a babe.


My mind has been captivated by the miracle we call Christmas.  An invitation has come: Dwell on the birth of "the Anointed One" daily, tarry in wonder. God has come to mankind with soft baby skin and love in his eyes.  As a child he astounded grown men. As he grew he was the voice of God incarnate.

He walked this earthen clay, and some called him Teacher, some, Messiah, but those closest to him named him Jesus, which means "The Lord Saves". For Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost; to restore the broken relationship between God and man.  He bridged the chasm between us, took on the messiness of this mortal coil, so we might experience his love, his very presence in our daily lives. And so we call him Emmanuel, God with us.

Miraculous that saving power came through blood; such great sacrifice. The cross is a violent image and yet, what is more tender than a newborn, wrapped in swaddling clothes? God in the form of an infant, dependent upon his mother for nourishment and care. Who can comprehend the unfathomable mystery? When the shepherds worshipped him, Mary pondered these things in her heart (Luke 1:19) and two thousand years later, I marvel at how God chose to reveal himself to man.

What was it like for God to come as a child?  He was sought out from afar before he could speak his name! From the rising of the sun, celestial gazers followed a star, rejoicing when they found "the King". Men of wisdom saw God in the flesh-- in a common home with his mother. As they worshiped what did they behold? God cloaked in the form of a toddler. Does this not astound the foundations of a soul?

Costly gifts were presented; gold and frankincense and myrrh. Mary would have understood the spices were used in burial. When the fragrance filled his senses, did the Holy Child grasp these gifts used to embalm? I marvel even now at the symbolism.

 Luke tells us that as Jesus grew, he was filled with wisdom and "the grace of God was upon him"- but this is all we know of his early years, and so I plumb the depths with wonderings. Of this I am sure; Jesus understands what it is to be different.  He was special in a way that changed everything. And as the parent of two children with medical needs and special issues, I take comfort in this.

We are told in many ways throughout scripture that we are not alone, that we have a Savior who understands the intricacies and challenges of life. Emmanuel had  the unique perspective of our human struggles matched with the limitless, unconditional, all sacrificing love of God. Amidst the business and extra activities that come with the season, it is good to turn attention away from lists and activities, and take some time to dwell on the amazing meaning we can connect with in every season. He's not found only in the manger- he is present in every moment, for He is God with us.

~Just Me

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


A simple request this morning: restoration.

A friend of a friend Kathi Macias "uses her books to motivate and inspire on a range of social justice issues. But this was 'unexpected': the model for the cover of her latest book is a homeless man searching for his daughter. She's started a campaign to help the two reunite."
 ~ Author, Jocelyn Green

Here's the story:

As I read, I felt the urge to pray, and as I prayed I understood- I would like to solve all this family's problems, yet God desires more. He would like to heal every wound.

My prayer this holiday season is that God would provide in the extraordinary way he always does; for his ways, while often unexpected, are ultimately what fill and restore.

Thank you Jesus for your great love for us. We have two wonderful celebrations nearing; a time to give thanks and a time to recognize the many gifts in our lives. While we celebrate lights and sounds and food and giving may we remember that true meaning in every season comes through God's passionate, unfailing, abundant love for us- No matter who we are, or where we've been.

If you recognize this man, please leave information in the comments section at the bottom of Kathy's blog. If you don't, remember that prayer is a most powerful tool- it is not a last resort, but rather the best strategy we can take!

And either way, may we have our eyes opened to the many gifts in our own lives, and to pursue a life of gratitude-- especially as we embrace our unexpected blessings.

~Just Me

Sunday, November 11, 2012


It is easy to lose track of God in the midst of busyness. Some days I find my boundaries have unraveled and I am chasing flurries, mind and feet dashing from one activity to the next. My soul winds tight, twisting away from the tranquility that quiets heart and mind.

At the end of the day I take stock; I accomplished much, but sometimes I wonder what is left that's of lasting value? Yes, some meaningful moments waltzed through this day. Yet I suspect the frazzled pace hindered that life giving connection which sustains. Sometimes I do too much only to find that it is not near enough; that's the trap in perfectionism. I aim and stutter and aim and stutter and discover the only way to soar is to seek stillness in the shadow of His wings.

When I step out of the frenzy and seek his voice I hear the invitation to find security in Him and allow His wholeness to cover all. I cannot do and and be all- though sometimes I try. Peace is found when I release the schedule and the pace to God and allow His wisdom to quiet my soul. In the stillness I draw near and connect to my Source of rest for body, spirit and soul.

Psalm 63: 1-8 

You, God, are my God,
    earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
    my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
    where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
    and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
    my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
    with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because you are my help,
    I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Calling

Today I read a word from God via the heart of a mother: "Life is not an emergency. Life is brief and it is fleeting but is not an emergency... Emergencies are sudden unexpected events- but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?" 

{Sigh} My heart resonates with desire to live every moment fully, to ferret out paths of gratitude which buoy up the soul and sustain- even when life is chaotic, unclear.

The question: But what if life- my life- is speckled with emergencies? The words on the page answer back, " is so urgent it necessitates living slow." I nod; there is much in my life that I would call urgent. "In Christ, urgent means slow. In Christ the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence." 1

I think back across weeks and months, even years, and understanding lights. The paradox in our many emergencies is this: these sudden unexpected events require me to slow down. To watch carefully. To live fully in the moment. Yes, there is the flurry and the fear and the lightning trip to the hospital, the ER, the children's medical center. But what follows is always time to wait.

When I am so still anxiety billows up, and I have to pray away fear. I take seriously this care- giving, this challenge to do my part in seeking after ways to help a not big enough boy to grow. I watch carefully the peaks and valleys of managing blood sugars and digestive issues and aiming towards balance. But sometimes I grasp more responsibility than is mine to shoulder; I think it is my job to keep my son alive. Oh, Father God! How does a mother's heart become utterly spent? When this mother tries to claim that which is for the hands of God alone.

It is mine to love and soothe and serve, and offer care in the ways that my son's uniquely designed body and soul need. But it is not my job to keep my baby alive.

I weep with the truth of it. Mothering a child with medical needs is hard and helpless all at once. I've spoken the strain and struggle- "I spend my life just trying to keep him alive." I am consumed, depleted. I pour out all I am and still it is not enough. It has been my pursuit but it is not my calling. As if I could breathe life and breath and wholeness into his body with all my striving. But there is a breath that comes only and always from heaven.

My calling is to let go. When devastating unknowns compel me to run into my prayer closet and cry out to God, his sweet whisper urges, let go. Not of the tenderness in a mother's heart, not of prayer- for it is a most powerful weapon against the enemy. Not even of the natural desire to protect, and resolve medical struggles. Let go- but not of the desire that a precious little one JUST FEEL BETTER and GROW. The Voice seeking to calm and sustain invites, 

 Let go of your expectations of yourself. 

And I breathe hard and grasp truth, and pour out words onto a page. But can I live this way? There is risk in release. Yet I know that too often I labor under a load I was never called to carry. The true calling when faced with a season of urgent waiting is this: release the urge to control and linger in the arms of love. He is the gift within the suffering. 

Now is the moment to walk free; to throw off fear and expectation and allow God to equip me for what He's called me to and let go of the rest. I am certain this will be a process, a journey with many needed reminders. But I am also sure that abundant living is not possible without this letting go. So I seek the altar, the place of release. And the Voice resounds with love I need like breath:

God does not expect me to be perfect, He simply asks me to be real and allow the blanket of grace to cover that which I cannot... and was never meant to. We tarry here, in this holy place, and I find rest for my soul.

~Just Me

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trying Too Hard

Anyone who follows this blog or the others I have done knows that my house is filled with medical diagnoses that shape how we go about life. Most life altering has been Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Type One Diabetes, Celiac Disease (a gluten intolerance), and Sensory Processing Disorder. Throw in a additional terms for various other issues (IBS, Failure to Thrive, and the like) and it seems like A LOT to be gathered all under one roof.

Recently I was called for jury duty, and made it to the final round of interviews. The prosecuting attorney said, "How in the world do you deal with all of this?" My answer was fluid, the way words come when they are not of myself, "I know where strength is to be found."

Though I am often overwhelmed, I've learned to step back, breathe, and release. There is a lot of prayer that goes on when one or the other (or all) of the issues are inflamed at once. And so on the days when there are struggles, I cry out, I fight hard, I press in to the One who is abundant strength-- and I do much work to stay connected. And so there is a level of intimate presence to be found when I walk through the catastrophic. When my precious son is having diabetes complications and we are rushing to the hospital,  or when my husband is having a PTSD "incident", or when my youngest son is bouncing off the wall with sensory issues... In those times my natural impulse is to RUN to the one in whom I find comfort and profound holiness and HELP. In crisis, I draw near, am filled, and cling to one who sustains.

But life- even my life- is not always in chaos. There are quieter days, praise God, for--let's be honest--I desperately need them. Yet in the mundane, it is somehow harder to "connect", to be immersed in the beauty of His presence. And discouragement creeps in when I try to "recreate an experience", as Amanda Pavlik addresses here. I found this nook on the web during one of those quieter days, and can say a resounding Yes!!  And though I've learned that gratitude for This Moment sets me free to experience His goodness on days when the greatest stress touching my life is the carpool lane at the elementary school, I often need the reminder found here of what it means to look for His gifts in every day experiences. (You can read about my own process of moving away from un-grateful living here.) Still, those quiet moments are not quite flood I sometimes wish for.

Like Paul, I would stay up on the mountain with the transfigured Jesus and revel in his presence if I could. Yet there are needs to be met, meds to dispense, gluten free meals to be made. I know I am called to this life of loving my special needs family. I know my journey is to learn how to care for them-- and myself-- in the way that works best for us, even if it looks different from "everyone else". My mission field is my family, my calling is to be wife and mother and honorary nurse and the hands and feet of Jesus in the natural world. So I can't live there, on the mountain top.

Yet still I carry a longing to taste His presence. Even in the day to day, I want to find Him in every moment. Do I ask too much? Or could it be that I need to stop trying so hard and just enjoy?  Perhaps life does not always have to be profound.  Perhaps my soul can be filled by simplicity, too.

And so I bake bread and listen to my children laughing and sorting through Legos and I wonder if I can learn to connect with Jesus in the moment, even when life is not falling apart.

I refocus, setting my heart on walking in the light, being filled, giving thanks, and living with the awareness that He is here, every moment-- and that, perhaps, this thirst can be quenched by simply journeying along the path set before me with an open heart.

~Just Me 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monkey Surprise Pancakes

To be healthy and to eat well has been a battle in my home for what feels like a very long time. Upon being diagnosed with diabetes at the tender age of four, a bright brown eyed boy figured out:
If I eat, I get a shot, so I will simply NOT eat.

 Panic ensued (for Mom), as did many low BG levels as well as some seizures (until we changed doctors and got the insulin ratios under control). And so began a battle with food that my very determined son has waged for 9 years now.

Since that difficult year, meals have been a struggle. Even when T gets to pick what he wants. We were just getting to the place where he would eat enough to counteract the lowest possible dose of insulin, when the boy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. So the eating took another plunge. Over time I have learned that not all Gluten Free food is palatable. And that not all gluten food is (even remotely) healthy. And recent stomach difficulties have proved that not all gluten food is entirely digest-able.

 Due to "intestinal troubles" the diet is shifting again. With dread I anticipated yet another dietary adjustment. I've been sneaking veggies into food for months now, but this week I decided that if the boy is ever going to learn to eat healthy it is time to come clean. Might as well, since change is a comin'. And so I have set out to research the BEST gluten free/whole food based recipes. Also, I have determined to no longer make two meals- one GF and one "regular". Since I have three guys to please now, each particular in their own way, each meal has one requirement above all:  taste good.

Using food from an organic farm co-op, (which you local folks can join by clicking here), I have been planning healthy veggie and fruit laden meals- with no fake or processed ingredients. Only good, healthy, REAL food.

The recipe which has been the best (small) crowd pleaser is Monkey Surprise Pancakes. First, two steps leading up to the actual recipe.

Step One: Give credit where credit is due
Hodgson Mill Multi purpose (gluten free) baking mix, which I found on the GF shelf at Walmart, was a starting point. I modified the recipe on the box to add more fiber. FYI- the multi purpose baking mix includes the following ingredients: Whole Grain Millet Flour, Whole Grain Sorghum flour,Whole Grain brown rice flour, and Xanthan gum.

Step Two: Grind up GF Flours (It's easier than it sounds. Really!)
 I ground up (pre-sliced) raw almonds with my husband's coffee grinder to make "almond flour" or almond meal. Next I ground up GF oats with my husband's coffee grinder. I added 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed as well. (Love that coffee grinder!) This only took a couple of minutes, but the health benefits for these few extra steps are well worth it.

The final recipe (below) is preservative/processed ingredient free.

Little brother had some qualms about trying gluten free pancakes.  Big brother has been GF for going on 7 years, but we have found that not all GF mixes and flours are the same. And little brother is a foodie. Most of those GF mixes do not hit his sweet spot. "Mom, I will stick with gluten!" He is prone to say. But these pancakes are delicious! I received the much coveted BEST MOM EVER and BEST PANCAKES EVER awards, along with plenty of squeezes and one jump on my head. (Then Hubby saved me and wrestled Monkey away...)

(FYI- the large purple spot on Monkey's cheek is a temp tattoo from Lego Land. Lovely spot to place it, I know.) 

Big brother, the resident GF expert, proclaimed that these were better than any he'd had ever before. He asked what was in them. I said there was a secret ingredient: Love. To which he made the teenager face. So I admitted that I put in a little surprise, too. After a rousing game of Guess what Mom Put In the Pancakes, the Big Reveal: Pumpkin! ("So that was why there was a pumpkin in the crock pot yesterday. Hmmm..." Monkey remarked.)

And then, my oldest, with a maturity that caused my heart to swell said, "Mom, I don't care what you put in it. As long as the food tastes this good, I will eat it!" [Mom note: without complaining. He can sit at that table for hours waiting to eat his food. And sometimes does.]

For those that know my son, the Pickiest 13 Year Old in Texas, this is quite a victory! I am so excited! And when I am excited, what do I do? First I jump up and down and hug little boys with chocolate drop eyes (see where monkey gets it?) And then, I write! And so, fellow sojourners, I share this recipe with hopes that you too will have lots of compliments and plenty of monkey love in your future, as well.

Here's the recipe:

Monkey Surprise Pancakes

1 cup of  Hodgson Mill Multi purpose or other gluten free flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 c ground gluten free oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp sugar in the raw (which I left out at first, but a taste test convinced me to add in, after all)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocnut oil -(It's SO much healthier than canola/ veggie oil- and good for the skin, too)
1 egg
1 1/2 c almond milk
1 c pumpkin puree
(which I made easily in the crock pot the day before. See instructions here. Totally easy, and without the massive sodium content of canned food.)

Optional: 1 banana (to make a smiley face for the monkeys)

Variations: I omitted the 'called for' 1/4 tsp salt (T is a salt lover and I worry that he gets too much salt as it is)-- and I ended up adding another tablespoon of the ground flaxseed after the pumpkin puree to thicken it up just a bit. You can add more or less flour or milk depending upon your desired consistency of pancake.

You will want to add xanthan gum or guar gum if not using a mix that already has it. Otherwise the dough does not thicken. (Learned this a few weeks back when trying to make GF cookies with almond flour only. Had very thin, flat cookies.) See here for more info on the two types of  gum.

I coated the pan with more coconut oil and cooked on "3" (medium low) for 3 minutes on each side. This makes about 12 pancakes, but I held about a cup of batter back, put in a (greased) loaf pan, added chocolate chips, and voila:

Next on the list of things to make: Monkey Bread! We will see how it goes... if it turns out this well, I am sure to blog about it!

Friday, October 12, 2012


 A simple sign with translations in English and Spanish conveys a message of assurance and hope. One word stands out, touching the crux of where I am: in-quietudes. For here we are again, at the Children's Hospital, seeking solutions. The road driven with my son who seems to always be ill, the way ahead uncertain. Here I stand, not panicked, but simply planted in the place of in-quietudes, soul longing to be soothed.

When I am in the midst of turmoil, when we have rushed to the ER, or called 911, my heart fragments, and I cry out to my healer- "Jesus, help us!" But this is a hushed chaos. Lingering uncertainty permeates and all I want is for my son to feel better.

So we traipse from test to test, x-rays taken, blood drawn, the boy being brave through it all, though he's weary, too. The verdict set down from one who should know is ambiguous; nothing more than a stab in the dark, so I seek a second opinion. There are no pie in the sky, easy solutions. No sudden release, no immediate healing.

And through it all, comfort came through messages of support- prayers sent out via social media, so many that my phone shut down, and I lingered on words cried out from a sister heart:

Father, You are good. You are The Healer and we can not fix things or heal people, but we trust You can. I trust you, Jesus, to guide the doctors, to figure out what is going on in his body - and heal him! I trust you, Jesus, to calm his mother's fears and not to let her spend her time worrying, but calling out to you. I trust you, Jesus, that you are all the comfort she needs and all the comfort that her son needs. I trust you, Jesus, that you are there with your arms open wide to hold them tight. 

God we hurt when our children hurt, so I imagine it hurts you when we hurt. You know our pain. God, guide these doctors. Calm fears. Bring healing, O God. We love you and praise your name in all things. Amen. 

In times like these, no pretty pictures of an emotionless Jesus will suffice. What we really need, what I really need this very week, is to know that in the messiness and muck and blood and guts that I am not alone. This is what speaks to gaping needs. I do not need God- or even life- entirely explained. I just need to know that when I am on the floor of a hospital hallway with a sick child stuck in the bathroom, I am not forsaken.

For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden his face... but has listened to [my] cry for help.* 

And he restores my soul. 

~Just Me

*Psalm 22:24 and Psalm 23:3

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In This Moment

There it is, that same old question. It comes in many forms... usually when life does not line up with what I would have chosen. Age old wonderings resonate even now in hearts and minds and waiting rooms. Fear rises up and sorrow pushes out the human need to grasp meaning. Why suffering? Why pain? Why loss? Why?

When there are no answers, when every strategy tried seems like running into a wall of solid stone, cold and unyielding this life can be. There are times when diagnoses don't bring resolution. Moments when the frame freezes out of place and one word changes all we know of reality. Why? is the natural knee jerk reaction to that which slices through the mundane, causing every breath to be jagged, every step to feel as if existence is fragmented irrevocably.

I have no final answer. I have no deep spiritual understanding of why there is suffering. Maybe it's because we live in a fallen world, and we've not yet graduated to that place of completeness. Maybe it's because we are sin sick and our bodies do wear out. Maybe it's just the way it is here in this imperfect place. I've not been granted that resounding resolution. I have certainly questioned, yet I don't know why my husband suffers through PTSD. I don't know why my youngest son has SPD and my oldest keeps getting more and more diagnoses, each adding to the list that weighs down my soul. Sometimes, there are no ready answers, despite too many words.

 I've been told that suffering is not in vain, that death of my desires opens me up to new birth. And perhaps that is part of its purpose. Yet knowing something good may come of suffering is hollow comfort at best, especially in the moments when pain pierces to the very depths. I have to believe that there is more to be experienced than simply personal growth. When questions remain unanswered, what I hold to is this: The gift to be found in the midst of sorrow is God's tenderness gathering me up, covering me in his comfort.  The beauty within loss and struggle is knowing his tender touch, allowing me to be where I am and not be overpowered by fear. Overwhelmingly, what I am finding is that when the whys become more about the Who, my life lens alters. 

I've walked through fire holding God at arm's length and I've sought the shelter of his arms when the flames became an inferno, and this I do know; when I am spent, when there is nothing left within me, when I can no longer press on, He invites: Lean in and be covered. And I wonder what took me so long to turn to the one who Nourishes my soul, the one who is Hope in the darkness.

You see, we are not alone. My own experience has been altered by radiant love. I am convinced that:
 Neither death, nor life, nor angels or demons, neither the present nor the future-- (and not the past either)-- nor any powers, neither height or depth or anything else in all of creation can separate us from the love of God. 

Nothing can separate us from his love. But our own will can keep us from knowing His presence moment to moment. He is right here, but we choose whether to connect with him, whether pain is our companion or not. He offers refuge; a place to lay our heads and sob out the stresses of life, with no condemnation,  no judgment, only love without condition.  He offers complete and total acceptance. In him, there is no need for pretending. He loves us where we are, how we are, who we are-- no matter what. He is our safe place.

I may not have revelations or answers to sweep away the whys. But I know Who will sustain me through it all, if I simply choose to invite Him into the moment. And so, with the Psalmist I say:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91: 1-2

~Just Me

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It's September 11th. I did not realize it at first; a flurry of activity has landed me in a place where I'm spending some mornings trying to figure out exactly what day it is.

I did pick up on the fact something was... different. My life in general is very different, but today seemed more different. My husband was withdrawn and jumpy. He packed up early and headed out to decompress. I tried to run errands, but ended up just having a time of rest and prayer. And when I emerged from my cocoon, it hit me. That check I wrote yesterday... it was September 10th. And today is the day that changed everything for my family and so many others. Oh. That explains a lot, actually.

During my time with our PTSD family counselor, I learned that our bodies store memories-- and not just in the mind. Our bodies physically remember anniversaries, even if we do not. Sometimes when my husband is having a difficult season, he goes to his journals from his years in Iraq and eventually finds it is the anniversary of a loss, a trauma, a heart break. I may not remember every date myself, but I do pick up on anniversaries:

The week we had two KIA notifications in one day, and three the next- all in the same close knit community. The week Roger traveled across IED riddled terrain and I ended up in the ER with a stress induced migraine. The week my husband checked into his first (inpatient) VA hospital to begin treatment for PTSD. These are my anniversaries... and my body remembers even if my mind does not.

This week will be the anniversary of unspeakable images carved into our minds and hearts. It will be the anniversary of news and fears and my husband in the garage packing his gear because he was told to 'Get ready.' This week will mark the day I took a pregnancy test a little too early because I wanted my husband to know whether or not I was expecting our second child- just in case the worst should happen.

This week holds a lot of memories for most of us who call America home, and our bodies will likely tell us something needs attention. I encourage you to listen to your body and give it what it needs. I encourage you to talk to someone who cares. I encourage you to take time out to process what needs to be worked through. To connect with God in the way that works best for you, using praise and prayer to fight the darkness that would like to overwhelm on a day such as today.

A few weeks ago, a precious sister asked me if I have discovered why our family has had to walk the sometimes difficult path we are on. I've yet to discover all the reasons, but I do know that God has never ceased to hold me as close to his heart as I will let him. Life is not easy, and the journey has taken some twists and turns I would not have chosen. But God has wrapped me in His loving arms and I can say with gratitude that I know what it is to be held.

My prayer for you is that you, too, will invite the One who loves you best to hold you close and breathe healing and wholeness into the broken places of your heart and soul. Especially on a day like today; especially in your times of remembering.

All Praise to God, the Lord our Peace.

~Just Me

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Today has been the kind of day that makes me stop and realize what I take for granted. Like a pharmacy that has insulin. In stock. Suddenly health and freedom take on new meaning. God has provided, as always, like in the story of the widow of Zarepath, with her handful of flour and jug of oil. We have what we need for today. God has asked me to trust him with tomorrow, as was the case yesterday, too.

And so it was that when I cried out to God for help, I caught sight of the dawning day; the lush greenery lining the expanse behind our home, beckoning. An invitation, whispered, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened". So I put on my running shoes and entered the great unknown. Up the hill, and down again, throwing off the heavy mantle of burdens, working to walk free. And a prayer filled my mind, as many cares poured into His heart. Needs and worries, medical issues, prescriptions, and gaping needs flowed beyond my own capacity. I laid down my desire to control, and climbed into His limitless provision.

In that moment a life prayer breathed through me:

Oh, Amazing God, I marvel at the delicacy of your wild creation. Mere words cannot contain your Glory. Explanations from man cannot touch the vastness of Who you are. Wild, but good, Tender and fierce, Mighty, but yet you draw close. You hold me and I am saved, broken and made whole all at once. The beauty of nature is a reflection of your majesty, O Creative One, the blazing sun a shadow in your light.  All sufficient, you are Enough for today and every tomorrow.   

Teach me how to turn away from every fear and discover peace in You. Teach me how to connect with you through this day and allow your soothing power to permeate into every hidden place. You have shown me the way to freedom; teach me to remain in the only grasp that sets me free. 

I call to the Lord for help and from his sacred hill he saves me. In the cool of the day he walks with me, and in the fiery heat, as well. I have determined to trust in him, he will never fail to provide- above and beyond my needs, and my little boy's too!

Psalm 34:17-18
The Lord hears his people when they call to him
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted  (and the stressed ones too)
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

~Just Me

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Too Tired to Heal?

Sometimes it feels as if I am too tired to heal. I just want to get away for a bit, to have a much needed respite from the madness. When life is spinning out of control, it's hard to work through the losses that have come before. Often there seem to be many stops and starts along the way. Sometimes the best case scenario is simply staying connected to the One who carries me through. Survival is important, yes, but connection is imperative.

Weariness settles over me, like a cloak of dust, penetrating into the inner recesses of my being. When bent low by burdens, I wonder if the weariness will cling to me for life. I want to shrug out from under the careworn mantle, but I know that this time, the only way to find release is through rest.   

Fatigue is a part of the healing process. There comes a time when our bodies simply need rest. When dealing with multiple life changes all piling up at once, sorting through seems complicated. I often liken the process to searching through a bowl of tangled spaghetti strands, with sauce poured over obscuring what lies under the surface. I've learned to ask, “Why am I feeling what I am feeling”? and “What, exactly am I really feeling?” Most of the time anger is a mask, hiding more vulnerable feelings beneath. I feel more in control when I am angry than when I feel lost or abandoned. Anger is easier to admit to, for who wants to admit to being broken? Yet “broken” is often a better descriptor of where I am, and what exactly I am feeling.

My story is one of loss, mingled with hope. In my mind’s eye I travel back to that moment when my world first stopped. When my son's life, and mine, changed forever. One word, meant to diagnose, alters everything. I did not grieve the first diagnosis for a very long time. I made it my mission to defeat the disease. To conquer the diabetes. To control the boy’s blood sugar. To control everything. Nothing was gonna hurt my baby again. Or me.

Three years later, when my husband was deployed to Iraq (for the second time), I was at the end of my rope. I signed up for an inner healing study, and the work began. Slowly, the layers were removed until we came to that tender place; the wound... the diagnosis that changed everything I do daily. It was during this time that God drew my heart to a familiar story in a fresh way.  I read how Abraham and Issac journeyed up a sacred mountain to make a sacrifice that would break body and soul. Isaac carried the wood, and Abraham carried HOPE. He tells the servants,  "We will go up the mountain and we will return."

And then I felt the urging to place my own beloved son on the altar before Jehovah-Jireh, my provider.  I envisioned laying my precious child on the altar before a loving father God, and in my mind's eye, he took my son and cradled him. Surrender was my first step towards healing. And still is. In those times when one diagnosis (or several at once) are causing upheaval in my daily life, it's time to search out that well worn path to the altar. When I release my hold on the illusion of control, I am set free. Set free to find hope, set free to do the good work of healing. Through prayer, introspection, good counsel, and times of rest I move forward to that place of greater wholeness. Sometimes it is hard work. But, at the end of the day I find that healing is worth the work, and rest is the vehicle that allows the work of healing to carry on.  

~Just Me 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sorted and Sifted

All has been quiet on the page of late. I wish I could say the same of my life! Since I last wrote we have had another onslaught of illnesses and germs, which began late in June in the form of a two week sparring session with strep. I find myself longing for restful days, for weeks without a trip to Urgent Care. Again I find myself worn down (which is probably why I got sick too. Twice.)

I won't mislead you; there have been days where we've felt good and gone on fun outings. But mostly the last month has involved recovering. Much has had to be released; whatever is not an imminent need has found its way to the altar. I feel as if I am being sorted and sifted.  I know I am not the only one.

There's a historical account of sifting in the book of Luke, beginning in chapter 22. It was a time of celebration; every year the Jews observed the Passover meal, remembering God's deliverance. As Jesus and his disciples gathered, our own Savior shared how very much he looked forward to eating the Passover meal with those he loved, before his time of suffering. After the meal Jesus indicated that one of those he had poured into would betray him. Suspicions against each other led to arguing over who was greatest (not the first time Jesus dealt with this issue). None believed himself capable of forsaking his Lord and Teacher.

 In Luke 22:31 Jesus tells Peter to stay aware, for Satan has asked to sift all of them like chaff from wheat. Sifting, as referenced here, is not the gentle fluffing involved in creating a favorite recipe, but rather, the violent threshing that happens to the plant itself long before the ground wheat reaches our pantry.This biblical example of threshing is not something that most city dwellers have experienced, so to understand the physical process, I did a little research. The actual separation is brutal, for the wheat itself does not begin as two pieces. The chaff is a true part of the plant; it's the hard husk that surrounds the wheat berry (the edible part of the plant that is ground into flour after the separation). 

The husk does have its purpose. It protects the grain as it grows, shielding it from storms and predators. But the need for protection is temporary. In order for the plant to serve its true, life sustaining purpose, the husk must be removed- much like the walls that spring up around our hearts and minds in difficult circumstances. We are wired to protect ourselves during trauma. From personal experience I know that coping mechanisms are innate. Yet there comes a time, as we move forward in the healing process, when the hardened layers of protection must be broken through, so God can draw out that which gives us life and freedom. The process may seem harrowing, but wellness is worth the work. 

For the wheat plant, the removal, or threshing, of the wheat berry involves beating it until the wheat berry is separated from the husk. Doing it by hand is hard labor. Doing it in heart and mind, well, that is all out warfare. Separating a part from itself is back breaking, soul rending work. But when God allows me to be sifted, it's because sifting is needed. Old habits, like the hard husk casings, may have served to protect me in the past. But to move forward, to see healing in the now, some ways of thinking, and some habits of response need to be broken- for my own wholeness. 

My prayer, 

Oh, Father God, I know you want to do a new work in my heart, soul, and mind. I know I've resisted, and fussed over not just the change, but the work involved. I declare the truth that you have my best interest at heart. I believe that the work you are doing is for my good, to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Be my strength, teach me to rely on you for wisdom and discernment, open my eyes to truth. In the name of Jesus I renounce every lie I've believed about your plans and purposes for me. (List them, out loud, followed by Truth.) Be my light, guiding me into all truth, drawing me to the place you have for me; the place of greater wholeness. Thank you Jesus, for fighting for me. Equip me to join in the battle with you, for my own wellness. 

~Just Me 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

God With Us

I've been reading in the book of Matthew. Today was a short passage- only verses 22 and 23 of chapter 1. But, sometimes, two is enough. Verse 23 reads, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel- which means "God with Us." A little note above the word Immanuel refers me to Isaiah 7:14. In Isaiah 7:14 I find the same sentence,  "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son", and another little note that tells me: Immanuel means "God with Us".

Growing up I was taught that when a phrase in the bible is repeated, it's for emphasis. So today, the emphasis is is on "God with us"... and especially, "God with me."   (I do love italics. I use them for--you guessed it-- emphasis!)

God with me. God with me! This means so very much. Especially now when I am tired and worn from a long season of medical issues that began back in November. We've had 'routine surgeries' and illnesses, and minor emergencies... and a number of not so minor emergencies.   A few ER visits and one trip to the ICU. Not fun. That being the understatement of this quite chaotic year. We deal with a lot of medical needs in my family, on a continual basis. But when several of the needs are inflamed all at once, well, it's exhausting.

Throw in a particularly hectic week at work (right after a week in the hospital), and I am worn thin. So today I am taking time out to rejuvenate. I am taking special comfort in knowing that God is with me. And expressing thankfulness that he has been with me through this entire ordeal. He's been my rock, my guide, my comfort, and my rest. And on more than one occasion he has reminded me how very much I do need that rest.

Wise counsel recently pointed out that my physical energy must be budgeted. Like our family's finances, which I've learned to carefully manage, time to rest must be planned for.  The monetary budget needs room for what I call a 'buffer'. So does my physical energy 'budget'. It is a fact of my life that at any moment I could discover the need to head to the hospital. So expending every bit of my God given resources is never a good idea. The light bulb came on for me; I realized that this is a good "lesson" to glean from this season. I need a cushion in every season and so times of rest and renewal must be carefully guarded. This includes time to remember "God with me"- to seek him out, allowing him draw near to me, to equip, restore, and help me recover.

 I say often that God is the One who Sustains. I say yes to "God with me". He will draw as close as I let him. Part of the journey includes making the time to let him in. So today I will rest. I will rest physically and mentally. Later I will take a walk in the greenery around our neighborhood. I will lift my eyes to the hills and remember where my help comes from (Psalm 121) and I will breathe in his goodness, his love, his provision. I will take time to connect to him, in the moment, and as I do this, I will find that physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I have rest in him.

~Just Me

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Granola Effect

So in my last post I shared that the exploration into gluten free baking (from scratch, not a mix) has taken me to some interesting places, and I've found something for me along the way.

I cam across some interesting blogs, beginning with

Oooooh, I thought. What is Crunchy living? Sounds like granola to me. (Have I mentioned I love Granola?) I was intrigued. A little research revealed that Sorta Crunchy is about more natural living. Ok, I can get behind that. To the right of the home page was a little picture that said "I wash my face with oil." That sounded different. But interesting.

A little more research and I thought, well... that sounds... (you guessed it) interesting! Now, a little history. My skin is beginning to show a few signs of age.  And I recently invested in one of those expensive face creams (after I ran out of the Avon stuff). And my skin reacted to it. Little red dots, and dryness. Which was odd since I was buying moisturizing lotion. After an allergy to my husband's propellant had me running to the doctor for a steroid shot (my eyes swelled shut), the reactions to the creams got worse. So, I thought, let's trade the steroid cream out for some all natural oils. (It worked wonders for the girl who would become Queen Esther.) Further research on the how-to's led to a blog about washing your face with "pure" honey.

Oooooh, I thought (again). I have pure white clover honey in the pantry. A really big bottle. Rather than spending a lot of money to buy some oils, let's try this honey thing!

So today I began an experiment. Taking the time I would spend in the shower and using it to help out my poor skin, I first filled the tub with warm water and epsom salt (to give this busy Mama a bit of relaxation along the way, and soothe those muscle aches). Then I gave myself a "honey" of a facial. I followed this by washing my hair with baking soda (another blog I saw in my research: and then, I used the honey as conditioner.

The results? My hair felt... well, a lot like hair. (I hear it takes a while to see changes. That's one of those non bounding processes I referenced before.) But my face felt... Nice. I mean really, really, nice! Soft and smooth and only a tiny bit of dryness left in the "trouble spot" that has been lingering since  the allergic reaction in November.

After getting ready for the day, I noticed the skin just below my lips was dry. And this time instead of grabbing the chapstick I decided to try a little honey as the moisturizer. I put a tiny drop on my finger, and rubbed it until it was a little bit warm. The effect was... sweet! 

A couple hours later and my face still feels smooth. (It's been a no make up kind of day.) My lips aren't chapped anymore. And I think I may just try this honey thing again... or even, the 'oil cleansing method'. It's nice to try something new every now and then. Keeps life fresh and interesting. It's also good to be sure I am taking care of me so I can take better care of those I love. I've learned that finding balance is a process, created day by day, until it becomes habit.

So I encourage all you other caregivers out there to take a little time to renew, and refresh.  Look for something that lifts you up, adding sweetness to your spirit. Take time to delight in a golden day, to bring a little more nourishment  to your heart and soul. And be sure to gather gratefulness along the way!

~Just Me

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Living Healthy

Ever since my days in Maryland I've wanted to be a Granola Mom. It was during this season that I first began to learn lessons about nutrition that had escaped me in my post pregnancy Atkin's Diet and Weight Watchers days. I found Trader Joe's-- and I learned to see food as fuel, not filler. The boys and I started taking Juice Plus then, and I began to exercise daily and cook healthier. Then we moved to San Antonio, with very little notice (one of those surprise military moves) and shortly after that my oldest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

And so I was plunged head first into a deep gorge of knowledge about healthier living. Healthier GLUTEN FREE living. Because not everything that is gluten free has nutritional value. (Though I did find Gluten Free Granola.) These days, the boy is completely gluten free and the rest of us are "whole grain based". We're a couple years in and I am still learning. Recently I decided I'd like to try baking my own gluten free bread. Not from a mix. The old me would say I was crazy. I mean, I daily deal with (get ready, I'm gonna list 'em) Diabetes, PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Celiac Disase, and one more "medical issue without a name"--i.e. my 13 year old son is not growing. He's the size of the average ten to eleven year old.) The old me says: one more reason (or five more reasons) NOT to add anything else to my plate.

The new me says, Well, it's all about balance.

I could preach a bit here-- (so I will). Every one of those diagnoses can be improved with a healthy diet. Fake food exacerbates sensory/autism issues. Eating real food (not fluff that our body does not recognize) improves our lives and our emotional well being (PTSD). The research tells me that it is worth the effort. (Soap Box spiel over.)

And if my son is not growing, despite the Gluten free diet and the massive effort to balance food intake with insulin so that his body can get what it needs to grow, well, something is off balance. And that's one more reason to do whatever I can to bring us back into balance, as a family. If I were to bake my own Gluten Free bread it would:
1) Save money (gluten free alternatives are pricey)
2) Streamline (instead of making a healthy meal for the rest of us and a gluten free alternative for T, I could Just Make One Thing.)
3)Eliminate more additives (which will help with the 'not growing' issue)

 So, as we prepare to get T on growth hormones, I am researching Gluten Free Bread Baking. And How To Pack More Nutrition Into One Very Picky 13 Year Old Boy. I haven't started yet, but the journey has taken me into some interesting places.  (More about that later.) I am researching the best grains-- meaning the healthiest grains, the ones with the most bang for their nutritional buck. I'm examining bags of Quinoa and Tapioca Flour, and looking at the all important Nutritional Labels, which direct the purchases of a mom with a son who has a food allergy. I'm shopping at Sprouts instead of Tom Thumb (who has gluten free stuff, with a little less bang for my financial buck.)

I've often said that life is a journey. Nothing that is worth doing can be accomplished in a single bound. (I will resist the urge to attempt "super mom" burnout.) I am learning to wait... in many areas, not just the food issue. I find that I am very grateful for the availability of alternative products to help my special needs family, and I am grateful there is so much information out there on how to live healthy. Most of all I am grateful for a loving Navigator who lights the way towards what is best for my own unique family.

And I am excited because along the way, I've found little something for me! More about that next time. Stay tuned!

~Just Me

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Since I am "going public", it's time to share: My family does "church at home". Now, don't go running screaming for the hills. It's not that I have a problem with other people of faith. Not at all. It is simply that PTSD has shaped my life in a myriad of soul carving, heart changing ways. In this season, the mission field God has called me to is my family. 

I feel like we've gone back to our roots, discovering the beauty of gathering together in the home and loving God. And I'm closer to him now than when I was running music and children's ministry at one chapel and teaching and serving on the board at another. (Can we say over-commitment? Yes, this is how I coped while my husband was deployed.) I find that I am always connected to his heart when I walk with him, accepting the course he's plotted for my life in each individual season. 

Once someone accused me of "forsaking the gathering together of the saints." (Just after I shared that I love gathering in small groups, but sometimes miss large group corporate worship- as I would if we worshipped in any number of smaller church buildings in the area).  While this admonition was taken out of context (Hebrews was written to the persecuted church), she also missed the point. Home Church-ing is not about rebelling from the status quo. It's about caring for the the needs of the 'specially wrapped gifts' God has placed in my care. Not everyone has known the words that have shaped the parameters of my life: PTSD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Juvenile Diabetes, and Celiac disease. (And another I will talk about later.) 

Any one of these would make church attendance challenging. (My husband can not "do" larger groups, due to PTSD.) But all together, well, at times I feel hemmed in. I used to feel limited in what we could do as a family, but now I choose to see this as one more gift from God. He's made the path very clear. If I re-frame my life lens, I will see this 'hemming in' is His protection. "Think of it as a Gift," he recently whispered. A gift that keeps me on the path to wholeness and new life. 

And so, I choose to stay where He's placed me. To look to Him to sustain, and seize hope. He's given me wonderful kindred spirits as support- sojourners on the way, as we partner in plumbing the depths of His heart. My own "small group" weekly (both where I live and through the miracle of technology) to "spur me on" (Hebrews 10:24) and lift me up. To "bloom where I'm planted." And, now, the journey continues. 

~Just Me

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Own Voice

 I love words. Oh, yes, I do.  A word can bow, or scroll, or soar. Words are carried into our hearts, and if we choose wisely our words can create life and love and goodness. I love the flow of an ink pen, and the click of the keyboard as I type. My life is full of words… I want to let them pour out with authenticity and grace, though I fear my flaws may often take over. I feel the need to have a space to hold those words, and maybe to reach out to kindred spirits, sojourners who long for simplicity and greater wholeness.

And so I take the risk to nest in a new place- my own blog. Maybe it’s because I work from home, and need a little conversation now and then that is not about helping wounded veterans.  Maybe it’s because I am mother of two medium size boys with medical/special issues, and I would love to talk about something besides Legos and Star Wars- The Clone wars. (There is a difference, I'm told, so we’d better be VERY clear about that.) Maybe because I have a husband who is a medically retired veteran with PTSD (hence the day job) and he spends a lot of time in his office involved in the therapeutic making of stuff. Or maybe I simply want to have a voice, somewhere out there. 

I am, even now, a writer, currently contributing to 3 blogs: (weekly) (consistently-as often as I can) (occasionally- we're retired now)

Subjects range from medical/special needs, to faith and growing, to needs of military families. So I do blog. Often, but usually within certain parameters that affect the overall direction of my life.  And I’d really love a little nook of my own, a place for ramblings on things like, I don’t know, stripy kitty cats and little boys with chocolate drop eyes.

I don’t know if I have time. Would I really show up? Every day—or at least every week? I’m not really sure, but how will I know if I do not try? So here I go. Is it better to be a guest writer or to attempt to launch out and create a space of my own? Time will tell. And so I begin. 

~Just Me