My 2014 gratitude list

2014 wasn’t a perfect year. It kinda stressed me out. Overtime at work and my stupid ear continuing to plague me ate up a lot of my joy. I’m trying to move forward into 2015 with hope. I have goals that I am thinking about, but before I share those, I wanted to share what I’m grateful for from 2014.

1. As always, my husband. New Year’s Eve marked seven years since he asked me to marry him.

2. Creativity and the chance to use it in my job. My coworkers and I created a pretty sweet haunted house for a Halloween event.

3. Speaking of creativity, we also created Santa’s Workshop for a Christmas event. Although the process of building this is crazy exhausting, I relish in the creative details all over.

4. This adorable puppy. I was heartbroken when my sister had to put her sweet 13 year old Lacey to sleep in June. This sweet face filled our hearts with lots of joy. Gracie is a welcome addition to my sis’s family.

5. A chance to see the beauty of Niagara Falls. 

6. A surprise trip to Las Vegas. Drew totally pulled it off. I had no idea until we were on a shuttle to the airport. We saw the Impractical Jokers live, and then explored the city, including the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop from Pawn Stars.

7. Pie. I started making homemade pies this year after reading this book, and the therapy of playing in flour and butter has been amazing for me. 

8. Fun and laughter. I forget how much this will replenish your tank. Playing Lego Harry Potter with Drew is super fun, and a ridiculous game with my nephews had me laughing so hard I could barely breathe.

9.Yoga. I’m learning more how this craft makes my entire body feel relaxed and at ease.

10. Cross-stitch. I rediscovered this craft this year. It’s been a new avenue for my creativity. It’s nice to create something from an existing pattern. Sometimes coming up with things from scratch is exhausting.

I hope 2014 was just as good to you. What are you thankful for from the year?





This post has been sitting in my draft folder for a couple months. I decided it was time to hit publish.


I’m always way behind the times when it comes to movies. The hubby and I finally got around to watching Noah. And I gotta say, I really liked it.

I had grown weary of seeing Facebook posts denouncing the movie, calling it heretical. I knew that it deviated from the Bible, but I thought some of the flack it was getting was a little much. The Bible is incredibly devoid of detail in so many stories. It’s impossible to create a big screen version by sticking strictly to the original script.

After seeing it, here are my thoughts:

  • Movies are a form of art. Filmmakers create films to bring beauty, laughter, depth, and thought to the world. I thought Noah was a beautiful work of art.
  • The film went way off script. WAY off. I get why people were greatly offended. It was like the Bible meets Lord of the Rings. But I don’t know; it worked for me. When I read the Old Testament, I always kind of visualize the characters as Aragorn.
  • Noah was not meant to be a Biblical retelling of the story. I believe the intent was to look at it from a different angle. What if Noah really did think the flood was God’s way of wiping out all of humanity with no intent to rebuild?  What if he believed he was given the burden of ensuring that mankind would not continue on?
  • I really appreciated the way the film showed the dark side of the story. So often Noah’s ark is reduced to a happy nursery rhyme with sweet little animals marching two by two. The film showed the utter despair and darkness that had fallen over the world. It showed an achingly intense picture of how depraved humanity had become. And when Noah and his family sat inside the ark and listened to the screams of terror outside, it broke my heart. The flood killed everyone. There’s not much happiness in that.
  • The emotions portrayed by the characters was beautiful. Love, loyalty, anger, regret, hatred. It showed the scope of human nature so well. And Emma Watson. I just adore her.
  • The camerawork (cinematography?) was amazing. I was so struck by the time lapse scenes. There were simply no words.

The film wasn’t the greatest film ever, but it was good. You may not agree with it, but there is beauty to be found in it. And maybe instead of simply becoming offended, we can use the film as a starting point for conversation with others. Let’s talk about what we didn’t like or what we did like. Share why the true story of Noah impacts you. Or why it doesn’t.

After watching the film, I’m inspired to reread some Old Testament stories. It reminded me of the amazing stories there are to be found there. That certainly isn’t a bad thing.

Journey away from contemporary worship

I’ve been MIA for awhile. I still have not been able to find much time or energy to write, but I’m grateful that this space and a couple readers are still here. I don’t always have much to say, but I’m glad I can still come back here.

I ran across this blog on Facebook, and the author’s thoughts sum up my feelings so well. I miss hymns and their depth, and it makes me sad that so many churches are moving away from them entirely. I love this guy’s way of ensuring that hymns don’t die in his church.

I hope all is well in your world.

Living with kindness: Thoughts from watching a Thai insurance video

I used to be a soft hearted person. I loved people, and helping them in any way possible. As I’ve grown older, cynicism has slowly crept in as I’ve seen the nasty things people do and say. I’ve been stung by the harsh words and actions of others. I’ve started keeping others at a distance, overly cautious and afraid of what they might be capable of.

I was paging through my Facebook news feed, and something prompted me to click on this video.

It brought tears to my eyes. I needed that reminder that no matter how others respond to my actions, I need to be kind, thoughtful, and caring. Every day offers me chances to serve others, and I need to use every chance I get.

Jesus was often treated with contempt and hatred. I’m not sure why I expect (and often demand) better treatment than He received. Just because someone treats me with contempt does not mean that I need to offer the same emotion back to them.

Do you find it hard to live with kindness and thoughtfulness?

Old friend

Well hello, old friend.

I’m sorry I’ve let so much time go by. It’s my fault, really. Hectic schedules and utter exhaustion have gotten the better of me. It’s no excuse, but it’s all I’ve got.

I forgot how nice it is to spend time with you. Even the bitter stinging on my fingertips fades away as I let my mind focus on your sweet chords. Your music brings peace to my soul. And as I play songs that I wrote with you, strumming and picking notes until the right ones fell into place, my heart smiles.

I’m sorry I’ve run away from you, shying away from the time that I know makes me happier. I don’t know why I do it. Maybe it’s because sometimes the music I try to write feels like it tears out a piece of me. Some days I don’t have it in me. It’s easier to lose myself in mindless TV.

Maybe it’s from comparing myself to others who are more diligent, more dedicated than I. I grow frustrated and hopeless, telling myself I’ll do better tomorrow.

Maybe it’s the fact that my ear continues to plague me, making music difficult. I hate to be reminded of that, so I let it beat me. And then I feel worse.

Whatever the reason, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’ve let you sit collecting dust and slowly drifting out of tune. And I will try harder. I know it won’t be everyday, but I promise to pick you up more.

Because music runs too deep in my soul not to.



I’m still alive

I am still alive.

I have thought of this blog often. I’m trying to figure out if I should continue it, or if perhaps it’s chapter has closed. Some days it feels like it has run its course. I don’t feel quite ready to be done with it, and I certainly don’t feel done with blogging. But with the time I have found to write lately, I have devoted it to the book I’ve been poring over for the past three or so years. I hope to be able to share it soon.

I don’t feel like making a decision on the outcome of my blog quite yet, so for now I’ll just share an update on my life as of late.

Life has been full lately. Good, but full. Lots of work, with more than the occasional overtime thrown in. Although exhaustion follows, I am extremely grateful for the paycheck that follows shorty thereafter. The extra money has been helping with the goal of paying down debt and storing up our savings.

The hubby and I have had some serious discussions lately involving the future. Every year or so, we return to the topic of children. We’re approaching our sixth anniversary, and have greatly enjoyed the child free life so far. That nurturer in me rears up every now and again, so we sit down and have the kiddo talk.

The girl in me swoons at the thought of soft baby skin, gentle coos, and cute little socks. But as we discuss the rest of what babies entail, we both shudder at the thought of poopy diapers, sleepless nights, and wearing infant vomit out in public. We watch the parents of newborns and toddlers and see the zombie expressions. We hear parents lament the lost sleep on Saturday mornings. I know that part of parenting is only a season, but we wonder if it’s a season we want.

Drew used to joke, “Let’s adopt a teenager, try it out for a few years, and see if we like it.” It started out as a joke, but then the more we discussed it, the better that idea sounded.

Drew did some research, and we found out a lot about adoption we didn’t know. We found out the State of Florida often gives a small stipend for the adoption of special needs children. A special needs child can be someone with a physical, mental, or emotional handicap, African American or racially mixed, or over the age of 8.

A child over the age of 8 is considered special needs.

Older children are simply not wanted. Florida is doing all it can to encourage the adoption of these children. The more Drew and I talked, the more we felt led to the adoption of an older child. Sure, a baby sounds fun, and we’d be totally blessed by it. But the more I think about adopting one of these older children, the more my heart opens and softens. I believe we are called to this.

We’re a ways off. There are classes to take, background checks, home studies. Right now, we’re focusing energy on finding a home with a little more room. We could probably fit a third body in our current home, but it would be cramped. So we’re spending our time looking at open houses.

And I’m praying. I’m praying for that child that someday will be able to call our crazy little family unit home.

When I miss community

I miss tight hugs from people who understand me.

I miss being surrounded by people that I feel comfortable with, people that I can truly exhale and relax around.

I miss feeling excited about getting together.

I miss the warmth that fills a room.

I even miss being with people who I don’t agree with, who challenge me.

And yet, I still feel scared to fully engage in community. I still feel exhausted, overdrawn, and spread too thin. I’m still tender. I’d rather stay snuggled on the couch, reading a book, close to my husband. It feels safer there.

But the fact that I miss it, long for it; that gives me hope. And with that hope, I’ll move forward.

Beauty everywhere

I’m home on my first ever snow day. A freak wintry mix has been spreading through the south, causing mass hysteria. Much warranted hysteria, I might add, with the crazy traffic issues that have happened in Atlanta. Here in Florida, it’s not nearly that bad, but the entire town is practically closed. Many are rolling their eyes, claiming how much we’re overreacting when we didn’t even get any snow.

I’m quite glad that our town overreacted, because the much anticipated snow that never fell wasn’t the issue. The potential for icy roads and black ice that none of us have a clue how to drive on is the scary part. I think the smartest thing the city can do is keep as many people home as possible.

So, here I sit, warm and dry in my home. I’m thankful that we’re safe, and that I’ve not heard of any major accidents. When I awoke this morning, it was with anticipation at the possible snow fall. Although we didn’t technically get snow, there was definitely cold stuff falling from the sky. Freezing rain, hail, ice pellets, whatever. It’s still something we don’t see, and it’s still beautiful.

I’m amazed when I sit back and think of all that God created. Frozen stuff falling from the sky is just plain cool. (Northerners, don’t punch me in the face please.)

As I walked through my crunchy front yard, I smiled at the beauty in simple frozen water.

Snowed in
Frozen birdbath

Alzheimer’s Stories

This semester in community chorus, we're learning a tough piece of modern music. It's called “Alzheimer's Stories” written by Robert Cohen. We perform the piece in a little over a week.

I can't sing the third movement without choking up. It's entitled “For the Caregivers.”

Keep faith

They sense what they cannot show

Love and music are the last things to go

Sing anything

My best friend lost her mom to Alzheimer's last year. Their journey was a rough one, as they watched her diminish from a lively woman to bedridden silence. My friend would visit her often. When her mom reached the point where she couldn't really communicate anymore, she would sing to her. And her mom would smile.

When I was 8, we visited my Granny in the nursing home. I didn't recognize her. Her normally curly hair was flattened against her head. She smiled, but it was blankly. My grandfather walked to the piano and began to play The Entertainer. Her foot started tapping along, always keeping the tempo.

There are many things in life that I simply do not understand. Alzheimer's is one. And yet, I am always amazed at the power of music. It holds more weight than we realize.

I think God intended it that way.