Monthly Archives: July 2013

Words for Those Who are Hurting

Sometimes, the trials of this world are just too much to know what to do with, but thankfully God always has a reassuring word to remind us that He is there, He has not forgotten us, and He is worth trusting.

We all know someone who is hurting. It’s impossible to count the number of unbelievable, tragic, confusing, stressful, heartbreaking, exhausting scenarios that come to mind when I picture the people with whom I have a personal connection in some way.

While we all like an encouraging, relevant blog post to lift our spirits from time to time, God reminded me tonight that nothing can replace the power of His Word. It is perfect and just these five verses from Psalms speak volumes in way of encouragement to me tonight.

I’m praying for you, sweet friend, as you take them in. Find the comfort, restoration, and strength of God and His promises.

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD.

How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.

~Psalm 40:1-5



Lessons Learned from Broken Batarangs & Bullies

We’ve recently entered the exciting world of superheroes in our home. I believe that this phase in a boy’s life is a turning point that indicates a new level of maturity. It’s much more than boys playing their own form of dress up. Superheroes help us deal with the tough issues in life. It brings up that need we all have to sort through things like

  • Identity and wearing masks
  • Role models
  • Wisely using the gifts we’ve been given
  • Helping people in need
  • Why bad guys are bad
  • How to handle the bad guys in our lives

My husband and I have both had some profound conversations lately with Dash as we watch age-appropriate superhero shows and pretend play together.

Dash recently went through a couple of days where he was frustrated with his little sister and chose to take out his frustration using some of his super-strength and hero tools as weapons against her. A couple of minor bumps and a few baby tears later, sister was fine, but our little hero was still struggling on the inside.

I watched as father sat down kindly with son and began explaining what it means to do be a real hero. “It never involves using our strength, weapons, or emotions to hurt others, especially those we love,” he said. The exchange between them moved all of us, as the parents in the room revisited and reapplied Spiderman’s wise Uncle Ben’s words, “With great power comes great responsibility,” to our own life issues.

Tonight we had to deal with a new nemesis. It was superhero night at Chick-fil-a, and Dash has been anticipating this event for at least a month.


He took great care in donning his Batman garb, practicing his moves on Grandpa, and proclaiming his excitement for the evening’s events. We arrived before the crowds rolled in, ate our dinner, and sent our little Batman through the Bat Cave into the play area to make new friends and have a blast.

I will never know all of the details of what happened in the play area, but I do know that there was a bigger boy who quickly became my little Batman’s villain. Grandma observed the two of them tussling and quickly put a stop to that. It’s highly possible that my Batman threw one of his foam Batarangs at this new-found villain, but somehow the bigger boy caught hold of one of these prized possessions and ripped it.


It’s heartbreaking to wipe tears from a four-year-old who has never before been tossed to the ground and had one of his favorite toys broken by a boy who had a vendetta against him. However, as much as I wish we could always focus on the fun part of superheroes, sometimes we have to face the pain that comes with it. Mean people are out there. Fighting may look cool when we are watching cartoons, but in reality, batarangs get broken and the offender won’t stop to say sorry.

Living the life of a hero is not always glamorous, and it’s not unlike the life of a Christian. It’s difficult. Pain and enemies are inevitable. Yet we must share God’s love with others and not not live for our own agendas. When we lose a batarang along the way, we must not give up. We’re given great power and with it comes the greater responsibility to forgive, refocus, and pray God uses us in His quest to save the world.

40 Random Facts About Me

1. I love dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is a sorry excuse for the real deal in my opinion. I will eat milk chocolate only if I’m absolutely desperate for chocolate and there is no dark chocolate around. After I’m done eating the milk chocolate, I will feel regret.

2. I have one younger sister. We each have two kids who are only a few months apart in age. It’s so much fun that way!

3. Growing up, we had a party line for our phone line. For the 98% of you who don’t know what that even is, we shared a phone line with 3 of our neighbors. If we picked up the phone to make a call and one of our neighbors was using his/her phone, we (1) could hear their entire conversation (2) had to wait for them to be done talking before we could make our phone call.

4. My favorite color is purple. Not gaudy purple, of course.

5. My first job at an actual company was at an explosives plant. Before you become alarmed, it was a company that delivered to rock quarries and construction companies. I worked in the office. It sounds a lot more exciting than it was, but it was a great summer job for me throughout the end of my high school years and half of my college years.

6. I know how to play the piano. I took lessons from 5th grade through the end of high school. I don’t have a piano at home, so I’m pretty rusty, but I do enjoy playing when I get the opportunity to on occasion.

7. I used to teach piano lessons. (See number 6.)

8. While I don’t like creepy crawly animals such as snakes, mice, and tarantulas, the animal I have the biggest phobia of is the bird. Birds and I don’t get along. I have multiple stories – like the bird that “mugged me” on the way to my car one morning.

9. I’ve never watched the movie Titanic. I also never plan to.

10. I hate movies with sad  or pointless endings (see number 9). Life has enough hard times as it is, so I choose to not spend my movie-viewing hours getting depressed. I sorely regret watching Gone with the Wind.

11. I had to look up what “ombre” meant a couple of weeks ago because I felt dumb for not knowing when everyone else online seemed to rave about it. I was delighted to learn that I am keeping up with a fashion trend without even realizing it seeing as how I haven’t gotten my hair highlighted in 3 months. Go me!

12. I hate ranch dressing. Gasp. I know, I know. How can I be American?

13. My favorite fiction author is Francine Rivers. Every woman should read Redeeming Love! I love most of her other books as well, but this one sums up Jesus’ love for us in the most compelling, non-preachy, beautiful way.

14. I have never had a passport.

15. I lived in Florida for 2 years when I went to college. It is hot there. And humid.

16. I am a big fan of camp, the church kind. I went every year as a girl from 4th grade through high school. When I was older, I went to youth camp on my own then helped out with children’s camp with my parents. In college I spent 3 months as a counselor at Camp Barakel in northern Michigan. Since we’ve been married, my husband and I usually spend our vacation going to camp. God uses camp in big ways. We all need to take a retreat from life and intentionally focus on him in an environment that church camp facilitates. It’s good stuff.

17. I used to be a high school English teacher before becoming a stay-at-home mommy. It was extremely rewarding, but I currently do not miss it.

18. I prefer being barefoot.

19. My husband is the only guy I’ve kissed.

20. I get claustrophobic when driving sometimes. I was not made for big cities with heavy traffic.

21. I was homeschooled until my senior year of high school. My mom rocked at making it a positive experience and preparing me for the real world. I’m really thankful for my education.

22. Except for my two years in Florida and one summer in Michigan, I’ve lived my entire life in Missouri.

23. I am not an indoor pet person. Dogs are fine as long as they aren’t the face-licking kind.

24. My one connection to Hollywood is a horse. My grandad was big into horses, and one of the foals that he used to own and broke for riding ended up being sold to a couple who moved to California. They sold the horse to Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, and it was the horse that Jane Seymore actually rode on the show.

25. I wrote a book. You should read it!

26. If given the choice, I will always write in pencil.

27. I had an imaginary friend when I was a little girl. Her name was Lisa and she lived under the ash tree in my back yard.

28 I grew up on a small farm. It wasn’t our livelihood, but we did have some cattle. My sister and I always enjoyed taking turns naming the baby calves when they were born.

29. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers.

30. I enjoy baking. It relaxes me and makes me happy to share sweet treats with others.

31. I have a sweet tooth.

32. I don’t know how to knit or crochet. I would like to learn, but someone is going to have to sit down and show me how it’s done. I tried teaching myself and it did not turn out well.

33. My number one favorite feature of a smart phone is the instant access to a camera. The rest I could live without, but I love having so many pictures of my babies to look back on.

34. My first baby is in heaven. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. God used that difficult time in my life to really draw me close to Him and to remind me that He is the giver of life. I appreciate life and my children so much more as a result of that day where I felt the fragility of my own life for the first time. He has a purpose for every single life, no matter its length!

35. I am a newbie coffee drinker. I balked at the very idea of it for the longest time, but being a mom of 2 has finally converted me. I can function much better on the days following short nights since I started drinking it. I’ve also lost several pounds. I’m not sure if there’s a correlation, but I’ll take it!

36. I don’t have full feeling in my left pinky finger from when I cut it on a piece of broken ceramic last year. I cringe when I see all of the cute, breakable soap dispensers floating around Pinterest. Just say no to Mason jar soap dispensers or any of those other fancy soap dispensers that could break and injure you or your child. It’s a loooong, painful recovery process.

37. I sing alto.

38. I have a thing for even numbers. I have to eat Skittles, M&M’s, etc. in multiples of two. My only exception to that rule is if the number is a multiple of five.

39. I do not have a gift for drawing or doodling. Never ask me to draw an animal of any kind. It will not end well.

40. I’ve never been athletic, so sports have never been a passion of mine. The one exception is watching Kansas City Chiefs football. The last few years haven’t been very enjoyable, but the days of Dick Vermeil, Priest Holmes, and Trent Green are are forever in my heart.


A Time for Change

If you have read any of my sporadic posts in the months that have made up this year thus far, thank you for being a true friend. 🙂 I’ve done my best to take my one little word seriously this year and really identify what needs changed and what doesn’t in my life.

It was two years ago that I felt God stirring within me a desire to start this blog. I knew it was from Him, and He has done nothing but prove to me on a very personal level that this is His space to grow me in my faith. My prayer is that along the way of me fumbling through, stretching outside my comfort zone, dreaming, feeling hopes dashed and realized, going through seasons of much writing and seasons of next to none, someone out there has been encouraged by a lesson I’ve learned as well.

While the official anniversary of my blog isn’t until September, I started the process of figuring out how to set up an official website in July of 2011. That means it’s subscription renewal time with the Internet geniuses who power up blogs and websites and give people the rights to their own domain names. I’ve been less than impressed with my current company; thus I’ve been waiting for several months for my contract to be done with them so I can switch to a more user-friendly company. I need all of the user-friendliness I can get, thank you very much.

I’ve also expressed in the past the idea of changing things up when it comes to the name of my blog. That has led to a little homework and a lot of praying, contemplating, and conversations with myself. Aren’t you glad you can’t get in my head?!? I’m going to be nice and sum up all of the results nice and concisely for you.

The purpose of this blog is to find Jesus, no matter where I am or where you are in life. He has used this place to bring me into fellowship and dependence on Him time and again. Whether I’ve been going through a hard time, a time of tremendous joy, I’ve felt wrapped up nice and snug in the bonds of community, or isolated for whatever reason, when I write in this place, I look for how He was a part of that season, day, or moment. So I’m not going to completely do away with the title because He gave it to me, and I never want to forget to look for Him in the exceptionally average parts of my life.

I’m going to change my web address it

Why? Because this is my place to share my story that God is writing, so it kind of makes sense to attach my name to it. My tag line is “Looking for Jesus in the Exceptionally Average” because He has met me there, and I have learned to love the art of meeting Him there as well.

Since I started blogging, I wrote my first eBook, and the passions God has placed in my heart have grown. I believe that by having a website with something as simple as my name, I’m able to write about those new passions without feeling the need to make everything fit into my blog’s current title.

So I don’t know how concise that summary was, but believe me, it was way shorter than if you’d have fallen victim to an actual conversation with me about it. The new blog is not yet up and ready for visitors, but as soon as it is, I’ll definitely let you know! Thanks again for being a true friend and hearing my ramblings as I’ve tried to figure out which direction to go.