At The Cottage Background

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Glimpses of Yesterday.....

New Years Eve......

How did the year get past me?

It went by with the speed of light..... with the intensity of a birth in progress..... and full of events like a country fair.

Okay.... maybe a little cheesy with the metaphors.... but it is so true!

I can close my eyes and see yesterday..... so many of my yesterdays.
They blur with the speed that they happened in......

My daughters senior year, dances, pictures, performances, graduations, driving my kids to dance classes, rehearsals, shows, endless nights of projects and homework......

Moments alone on the couch gazing out my front window dreaming..... wondering.... doubting... worrying..... reaching out to my Heavenly Father with a desperate grab.....

Being broken.... beat up and torn apart......
Getting rescued.... repaired..... and slowly put back together again.

Laughter...... tears.... and looking into the eyes of my child turned woman, watching my youngest daughter who wants to grow up fast and follow in the footsteps of her sister.... and my son who was just a baby yesterday and is now quickly aproaching the world of a young man.....

I keep wondering where the time has gone......

I have so often this past year wanted to yell and scream for time to stop.....
Slow down. Let me take a breath.
To take in the moments of sweet surrender.
To breath in deep of the rich blessings surrounding me.

Family.... friends who proved their worth more than gold.

Commitments..... broken hearts..... achievements.... and defeats.
Awards and accolades...... reaching goals and attaining things that seemed unattainable.
New people.... new friendships forged...... old ones made new.
Dreams realized..... and goodbyes...... so many goodbyes.
Holding on and letting go.......

I am standing in the middle of a sea of memories.
A world that seems too large to have been made in one year.
Emotions..... and feelings that tumble one after the other.
Over and over again.
Tangible and real..... and even though they have come and gone their imprint is indelible.

I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.... with welled up emotions that come spilling back when conjured up in thought once again.

This past year has been full.... so full.

Questions... some answered.... and some not.
At times confusing... and at others so clear that I could see for miles.

Growing.... changing.... evolving.... redefining..... and rediscovering.
Learning who I am for the first time in my life.... and finding myself when I thought I would stay lost forever.

Learning to dream again..... and hope.
Learning to trust..... and close my eyes and jump into the unknown......
Falling into the arms of grace..... realizing that they were there all along.

I am not sure where your year has been.... or where you have gone......
But I hope that in the midst of it all that you can stand and look back and see God's hands.... ...... and His love carving out the way....
I pray that you will discover that you were never really alone.
That you will know more than anything else that He loves you..... and is still holding you.

Whether you are forging new roads..... or taking different paths.
Whether you are deciding on which fork to take......
I pray that you will look up and all around you..... and that you will see the One who has been there from the very beginning...... all of your beginnings.... and He is walking into this new year with you......

And all that awaits you.

As we look forward I hope we don't forget to look back every now and then......
Not at the disappointments or things that we would rather forget.....
But at the wisps of His healing winds..... and the fresh scents of His abiding love... looking forward to the hope of new beginnings like the fresh smells of spring.

Happy New Year.....

.... until another tomorrow.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Choose Joy

There are so many things I "could" write about.

So.... many.... things.

But I will choose to write what has been ringing in my ears the past few days.


We wait for it to come.

We long for it's presence.

But so often it eludes us.
It seems to come just close enough to lay a hold of ..... and then just suddenly disappears like a vapor mist.
Slipping through our fingers leaving us wondering where it went and longing for it's return.
Why is this?
Why do we pursue it? Why don't we just choose it?
To have it? To allow it to settle in?
To makes itself at home?
To see it for what it really is and not what we hope it to be?

We are surrounded during this time of the year with so many things joyful.
Christmas lights on houses. Music and bells tinkling and ringing almost everywhere you go.
Laughter and anticipation.

We can choose to focus on what we don't have rather than on what we do.

I do not want to minimize anyones sense of loss during this season.

We ourselves will have an empty seat on the couch during Christmas morning present opening time.
We will be missing our daughters infectious giggles and laughter that usually follows an antidote from her baby sister.
We will be missing a vital piece of our home.

But we will still have what is here.
We will still be surrounded by people who love us and care about us.
We will still have a roof over our heads and food on our table.
We will have the glow of the Christmas lights and the opportunities to bless someone else and see their faces light up at the feelings that they are loved and thought of.

We will have all of that.... and more.

If we want it.

Our daughter will have the care of people who have chosen to bring her into their home and offer her their love and covering.
She will have the opportunity to see how the other side of the world does Christmas.
She will have gifts from home lovingly chosen and thought out for her to open on Christmas morning.
And she will have our hearts.
Melded with hers from miles away..... and distant skies.

We still have each other.

It is just different this year.

We can focus on what isn't and miss what is.

We are lucky.
To still have our daughter even though she is miles and miles away.
I know that others are not so fortunate.
I know that life is often hardest during this time of year.

My prayer is that God will fill those places with new things.
Not to replace..... but cover.
Like a warm blanket of comfort.

That you will know that your heavenly Father knows about loss.... but He also knows about gain.

I pray that you won't miss those right in front of you.
And that in focusing in and honing in on those things that you have been given for the now will bring the comfort and peace that you are so desperately needing and longing for.

I pray that the joy will come.

In the sweet smile of a child.
In the thoughtful gift from a friend.
In the knowing that you are cared for and loved by not only those that you know, but by the One who knows you best.

And I pray more than anything else that you will let God show you....

That you will unwrap and open the gifts He has lovingly chosen just for you.
All the things that He has given you right here and right now to be joyful about.
And that you will feel that love pouring out and over you.... soothing and comforting.
Longing to hold you and whisper that He knows your heart.... and He cares.

I pray that you will feel joy this season.

And I pray that it will bubble up and out onto all those that surround you......

God bless you this season......


Celebrating the most joyful gift to all mankind.

The One who came... and Who chose to live among us just so that we might know the true meaning of what joy is.

Merry Christmas.

..... until another tomorrow.


"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you."
Psalm 5:11

"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." Psalm 16:11

"The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes." Psalm 19:8

Monday, December 14, 2009


There seems to be a theme that is going around.
It keeps circling and cycling.
I can't seem to get away from it.... and I am not so certain that I want to.
I wrote about it in my last blog note.... and I feel compelled to continue to share what it would seem God is wanting me to get.

I can't just think that this is for me....
it has to be for you too.

Let me begin at the beginning.....

My daughter hasn't been feeling herself.
She is in a new place with new people, and with new things.
The thing that is most different is the food.
It would be fine for the average Joe... which she is not.... and it is not fine for her. Or her body.

She is like me.
I am lucky to tolerate even the most minutest of foods.
My body likes it natural, unprocessed, and whole.
If I even begin to think outside of my very small little box... well, let's just say things are not well with my soul.... or any other part of me.

And she is like me.

She won't complain. She doesn't.
She will just suffer it in silence.
Until the pain becomes unbearable.

I have often cried about this.
Why has this been passed down to her?
It doesn't seem right.... and it doesn't seem fair.

I can handle the suffering on my own...
But when it is your child... you experience a whole new world of hurt.

Before she went we made sure all her ducks were in a row.
Everything in order.
And since we all knew that this was from God... and His calling on her life... we had to give up some measure of control... and trust.
I felt a pressing on my heart before she left in regards to her well being.

A softly whispered promise.....

A promise of healing.... a word of hope.

I tucked this away.... deep down in my pocket and reached in every now and then to reassure myself it was still there.

I have had to pull it out often lately.
Reminding myself that indeed God spoke this to my heart.

And I have doubted it.

That I even heard it.

And so...... this is where the theme comes in.....

Over and over.

Ever since she told me how she is feeling and what has been going on.
And ever since I have wondered if I had heard right.

"With God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37 (KJV)

It was softly spoken into my heart last week as I prayed fervently for her.....
It was in my daily devotional... on more than one occasion.....
It was the subject of my kindergarten teaching this past Sunday.....
And it has been mentioned in the messages at church.

It is so often easy to misunderstand that portion of scripture.
What is seemingly clear can get so hazy.... especially when faced with hazy circumstances.

But God is who He was back then. And He is the same now.

The God with whom all things are possible.
According to His word.
And lined up with His promises.

Do I think that it is just happenstance that my daughter is surrounded by people who happen to have a ministry of healing? ..... No.
Do I think that it is just coincidence that she is in a place, away from home, and needing a definite touch from God? ..... No.
She is not able to lean on us.... she can only share.
She is not able to depend on what is familiar.... but forced to turn to her Heavenly Father more readily.
None of this has escaped my notice.

And it has obviously not escaped God's.

I want to believe.

Especially during this most special of times of the year.

I want to believe.

More than ever.

What holds me back is my own fear.... my own doubt.... and my own limiting abilities.

But God is not held back.

He is not limited.... nor is His power diminished by my lack of knowing.

But He does want... and requires faith.

Not that He will not heal if I am lacking in any of these..... But He wants so much more than just the mere healing .... He wants what it will bring.

Solid, ground breaking, firm faith.
Faith that is unlimited.
Faith that believes.

The knowing that He is able.
To do more abundantly and far surpassing all that I can think or know.

We struggle with this.
We fight it.
Because it goes against everything sensible in our minds.
We are not capable.... so how can it be?

And this is the very thing that He wants to shake our thinking up about.

We are not..... but He is.

We can not.... but He can.

I don't know when.... and I don't know how.
But I choose to believe that He will.

Whatever the circumstance... whatever it is that you may face.... He can.

He can come.
He can fix.
He can heal.

I could add some.... but.... in there somewhere... but I won't.

I feel strongly that I am to leave that out.

And I am going to choose to trust Him.

And I am going to be praying.
On my knees.
And with my whole heart.

And I am going to wait.

I believe that when God promises something.... He will do it.

I have a lot of promises that I have yet to see.... You might have some as well.

But I am holding out hope.... and I am believing and trusting...... and I hope you will too.

Because He was....
And is....
And is to come.

God bless you today.

May you find Him when you seek Him with all your heart.... soul..... and mind.

..... until another tomorrow.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Wonder of It All......


Why would You leave all that You know?
All that You love?
All that You have?

Why would You go to a place that You know will not accept You.... reject You... and even revile You?


Every time I ponder these questions in my head I just have to wonder....

At that kind of choice.
Of that kind of obedience.
Of that kind of love.

Did we deserve this? Do I deserve it still?

These thoughts just tumble one over the other in my head.

The impossible.....
The unimaginable.

The deep deep seeded kind of longing to reconcile with the very ones You created.... to love and be loved by.......
The very ones who consciously choose not to love you back.... and continually push You aside for the somethings in our lives that we see as more important than You at that moment.
So many moments.
And yet.... You don't let this deter You.... You continually love us.... forgive us.... and draw us ever closer to You.
Still longing for relationship with us.... wanting us still.

What kind of love is this?
Can we even begin to grasp the height and depth of it all?

I can not.

I can only sit in wonder of it all.

I can only marvel at what it all means.

The miracle of an impossible choice.... an incredible beginning..... a miraculous birth.

I can only be moved to the depths of my being by the life that followed....
Uncommon life..... what I am sure had more days of pain than joy.
A life of serving those who you created... a life of loving those who were so unlovely.

And then the choice... the conscious decision to lay it all down.
To give everything that You have come to be while here.
The greatness of it can not be measured in mere words.... the vastness of Your love is still not fully understood.....

But it was... and it is.

The impossible.... made possible.
Such great and unending possibilities..... for me.... and for us all.

Because You chose to do what no one else could do for us.

You came to save us.
And offer us what no else can ever give.......

Why do I doubt You?
Why do I think that You are so small? ..... like me?
Why do I think that you can not handle whatever I may face?
Why do I think that you don't want to come in and save me from the very things that I need saving from?
You did it all before.... and You are still doing it.....


I have no reason.
No good ones anyway.
They are all silenced in light of what You did for me.... in how You now choose to want to be a part of my very little life.

In light of Your Word..... that continually reminds me that......

" anything too difficult for Me?"

NOTHING is too difficult for You.

Thank You for reminding me of this fact.
Thank You for my pastor who felt compelled to share this with Your people last night in church.

Thank You Father .... for choosing to love me.... to love us all.

Even when we don't fully understand or can't grasp what it all means.

Please continue to remind us Father that You are much more... much bigger than we think you are.
Forgive us God.... forgive me when I allow doubt and circumstance to dictate how I view You... how I allow this to cause me to forget that You are the God of impossible circumstances.

The God of miracles.

Not just during Christmas.... but in the every day of Your children's lives.

God of wonder.....
God of power....
And a God of love.

I pray that as you gaze at your Christmas tree this season... at your family... children..... or anything else that catches your eye .... that you will wonder too.
I pray that you will feel and be enveloped in the very arms of love that chose to live.... and die...
And Who desires for you to know that He is more alive and able now than ever before.

..... until another tomorrow.


"I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"
Jeremiah 32:27

"And one called out to another and said,
"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory." Isaiah 6:3

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas.... and Love

I have decided to take a break....
Not exactly in the "break" sort of way you may be thinking... but relatively speaking.

I am going to take a break from my story.... from my past... from me.
I know this blog is about me so to speak.... but I want to take a time out from the things that can tend to get a little heavy.
They will still be there when I get back from this respite.
The memories will still be lingering.... but for now I want to focus on the "now".
And on this most special of seasons.
Oh, and my past... or my childhood... will come up. It's in-evadible during this holiday season.
But I will be focusing on the happier moments during that time. The moments that have created and shaped my love for all things Christmas.

Christmas...... just the sound of it conjures up so much for me.

But I have to be ready for it.
I really dislike walking into a store during October and seeing Christmas decorations up.
It is too soon. I feel like they are missing it. Have missed it.
It makes me realize that the majority of this world is not caring or focusing on what Christmas is really and truly about.
It has become about money.... products.... and the crazy frenzy that surrounds this time of year.
Forgotten that it is about the One who came.... who served.... who loved... and who died for us all.
Who now lives to offer hope... restoration.... grace... and most of all life.

I get frustrated then.... but when December rolls around..... I'm ready!

I want my tree up, my nativity scene set, and my Christmas music playing.... constantly.
I want to bake.... shop.... wrap gifts... and snuggle with my children on the couch while my fireplace is on and a movie is playing on the television.
I want to tell everyone that everything is going to be okay.
I want to hug people who look like they need it. I want to offer the hope that I hold deep in my heart.
I love to burrow deep in my bed with my flannel sheets and reflect on ALL the gifts that God has given and blessed me with.
I want to draw closer to Him just as He drew closer to me.
I want to remember all the good things... and forget the bad.

I..... love.... Christmas.

It is a time to reflect.... to hope.... and to look forward to what we have to hope for.

As I write this I realize that there are so many who don't think that they have that..... or in reality... don't.


But they really do.
You do.
When we hold on to our Heavenly Father..... we always have hope.
Hope for better tomorrows.
Hope for the somethings better than we have right now.
Hope that only He can give..... for restoration.... healing.... and love.
He longs to show us. Each one of us. Just how much He loves us.

It may not be in the way that we think..... or it may.
And for whatever reason... I feel that He wants to share more than ever the kind of blessings that only He can pour out..... give..... and blow us away with.


In it's purest form... in its truest sense.

From our Father above.

Let Him love you this season.

Let go..... and allow yourself to fall into His arms of grace.... into the strongest most capable hands of all.

I hope you let yourself close your eyes.... take a long deep breath..... and release it all.
And I know that if... and when you do.... you will know.
And you will feel a love like no other.
The kind of love that you have been longing to know.... to feel.
To be reminded that He is still here.... that He is still in control....

And that He loves you.

More than you know.... than you will ever know.

God bless you today.

I pray that you will take the time to stop.... let yourself go.... and let Him hold onto you.

..... until another tomorrow.


"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15

Friday, December 4, 2009

Gift Of Not Being Alone

I am standing.....

In those rooms I talked about a few posts ago.

I can visualize them so clearly.
The dust fairy's floating around me...... the piles of stuff stacked about the room.
A big window letting in the sunlight.
I can see them so clearly. Things of my childhood...... things of my past.
A rocking horse...... a favorite doll.... stacks upon stacks of books. Stories that contained my dearest and closest friends. All made up.... not willing to hurt or disappoint me.
Blankets, and nick knacks, treasures that are only qualified as such from the perspective of a little girl.
Collected fall leaves..... rocks used for fairy beds...... small items seen as jeweled treasures.
Records that I would sing to for hours and hours.
I can even smell the childhood of my past.
Vivid triggers of a time so so long ago.

These are the things that got me through so many of my days.

The ones filled with pain... loneliness.... and sometimes profound confusion.
Intermingled with these are the times of comfort that I sought.
Reading in bed with my mom and my brother before going to sleep.
Being allowed to watch the Muppet Show on television.
Such small things.... but when measured up against the things that weighed me down, they rise up so much bigger.

The better memories don't really begin until I began to get older.... and until my mom got rid of the men in her life that I felt deeply held her back..... held us all back.
My dad.... my step dad..... her boyfriend of five years.
I realize that she was searching too.
Needing to feel and know that she was loved.
We have talked about this hours upon hours since then.
Both of us crying and sharing our pain. Letting go.... and finding restoration and healing.

After the upheaval of my parents divorce my mom was set up with her cousins friend.
I'm sure that everyone just wanted to see her happy again.

I didn't like him from the start.
I have this memory of my mom giving him a shoulder rub as he sat against our couch.
I remember being very angry.
It's funny now to think that I was only 3 1/2 at the time..... but even 3 year olds have deep emotions. Those who think otherwise.... are wrong.
I recall getting up, and grabbing my mom's hands. I pulled them away and got in that man's face.
I remember telling him that I did not like him. I told him to go away.

He didn't.
He liked my mom too much.
And she needed to feel loved even more.

So they got married.

And my life went from bad...... to worse.

My step dad was a controlling alcoholic.
He worked graveyard shifts and came home in the mornings. He expected a huge full breakfast upon his arrival. They were demanded not requested.
Afterward he would grab his six pack of beer and plant himself on our couch.
I remember times of just sitting right in front of him and watching him down one beer after another.
Wondering if he would pass out.... or do as he often did.
Get angry.
Get mean.
Not so much with us.... but with our mom.
It's weird.
But I wasn't really afraid of him.
Deep down... I know now, that he had a good heart.
He was just so tangled up in his own hurts, past, and inadequacies that he chose to drown and numb them with whatever would take the sting away.
I felt sorry for him.
I still do.

He wanted children of his own.
I get that.
My brother and I were from a different man.
The problem was.... that at the time, that man didn't want anything to do with us.

So we were fatherless in a sense.
Torn between a dad at home that looked at us with regret and loathing..... and a dad who'd left us and who chose to come around only when he felt the guilt weighing too heavy on his chest.
It was a tough place to be.
I can recall so clearly those feelings of desperation.
Of my brother and I clinging to one another.
Mom was working full time and trying to be the thin, perfect, all capable wife that my step dad was demanding of her.
It was a tense household to say the least........

But in those moments...... when my step dad would lock their bedroom door at night, and I would find my baby brother curled up in a ball on the floor right outside their door... I would choose to grow up......
I would pick him up and walk him to my room.
I would tuck him into my bed and crawl in next to him.
And I would snuggle in close.
Nose to nose.
..... and I would draw comfort from what I saw for me as my gift from God.
My brother.
Because with him... there with me.... no matter the circumstances......

I.... was.... not.... alone.

We were together.

And we still are to this day.

One of my best friends.

He drives me nuts at times.
But during that time..... in those places..... he was with me.
And nothing can sever the tightly wound string that has held us together ever since.

A gift.

One that I am so thankful for.

One that took my mind off of me, and helped me to focus on someone else.
Someone who needed me.
Who was dependent on me.
And as I know now.... set a pattern that I have had to readjust from time to time up until this day.

Yes..... we went through a lot.
But we had each other.
And for that season in time..... it was enough .
I can see the love that our Heavenly Father sprinkled down on us both as we slept close in my tiny bedroom...... so many nights... such a long time ago.

As I look back.... I can catch another glimpse of my Heavenly Father right beside me.

Stationed next to me.

Knowing right where I was at..... And right where I was going.

And loving me in the midst of it all.

He hasn't left my side for one moment.

And He hasn't left yours either.
I hope that when you look back you will catch glimpses too.

.... until another tomorrow.


"He will send from heaven and save me;
He reproaches him who tramples upon me Selah
God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth." Psalm 57:3

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Washington-Vancouver.jpg image by orosco82airborne

Where did I leave off.......?
Where do I begin again.......?

I was given a blessed reprieve....... rest.

Time away to think.... and not think so much.

Days given over to the nothings of fun..... and smiles..... and joy.

Given gifts of love.... hugs..... and support.
Not the kind that you can see, or even touch.
But the kind that you can feel.... deeply and profoundly.
Even the givers were not fully aware of their offerings.......
But the impact and the impartation was no less effective.

It was what I dearly needed..... and what I had prayed silently for.

Reaching back and reaching for the things that you don't necessarily want to remember but know very keenly are the key to moving forward..... is never easy.
It can leave you spent and exhausted.
Weary and tired.
When you add the physical debilitations of my current circumstances you end up with a sometimes crippling dilemma.

But I am back now.

I am reflective.
And more in tune.

I am still tired.

But I have been given mercy....... and it's presence is sustaining me.

This season is one that I often sit and wonder at.
Why this?
Why now?

I look forward to the greener pastures of delight.
The flowing waters of preservation.
And the joy of knowing that I get to move forward to deeper and hopefully more profound adventures.

I know that during this time of solitude in mind there are gifts to be found.
Not just for me.

But for those who silently cry themselves to sleep.
....or drive in their cars wondering if God really cares about them anymore.

He does.

As a child I would often open my closet doors and hide in the corner.
I would curl up in a ball and draw my knees in tight.
I would hold on and rest my chin on the top of my legs.
I would just stare.......
Wondering if it was ever going to get better than this.

And it did......

It took time.

Mountains that had to be climbed.
And holes that had to be filled back up.
Ones that I had dug myself.

But I am here.

And I have a story to tell.

I may leave things out.
I might get things wrong.

But I am willing to write as He fills me with the words that need to be said.

For me..... and for the others who need to know.

So for today I will leave you with this......

I am resting for awhile.
Giving myself time to heal.
From this nagging and annoying cough that wracks my body and tires me out.

And from the hurts of my past that have left their mark..... but are beginning to remind me not of what I lost.......

But what I have gained.

And I am praying that you will find the time to rest too.
From whatever it is that is weighing you down..... or holding you back.

God bless you today.

I look forward to digging deeper..... and letting My Heavenly Father open up and show you, and me just how truly amazing He really is........

..... until another tomorrow.


"He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake." Psalm 23:3

"May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:22

"How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies." Psalm 41:1,2