silly, spooky ... terror?

A co-worker asked me recently if I grew up celebrating Halloween and I responded with an emphatic yes. We had so much fun dressing up and getting LOADS of candy. Each year was a little different, but I have a lot of fun memories of silly haunted houses and awesome costumes.

We both think it's hilarious to see how creative people can be with costumes -- and we agreed that trick or treating is a complete blast for most kids. Also, spooky haunted houses, carving pumpkins and fall carnivals are often just excuses to have fun which launches many Texas towns into two to three months of awesome fall festivities.

But the more we discussed, something came out of my mouth that surprised both of us. I explained that a holiday of spookiness can be really fun and silly when you come from a mindset of being loved and cared for in safe environment.  Genuinely feeling protected and comforted by loved ones can insulate you from fear and help you recover quickly after being slightly spooked.  But if your daily life is or was at any time loaded with unsafe people and places -- then a holiday like Halloween can often make you feel hunted, bullied or just plain angry.

That may sound dramatic to someone who grew up in a relatively safe neighborhood and home, but someone who has been abused, tortured or terrified at any point in their life -- that might just be accurate.

I guess in the midst of holiday that stirs up lots of mixed emotions --try to be sensitive to friends, co-workers and neighbors that may have different upbringings than yourself.  Kids especially have different responses to all kinds of stuff, so please be tender towards young imaginations.

Here's a clip that may express some of my heart for this holiday.  Just empower people to not give in to fear!! :)


could the wilderness be a shortcut?

So who knows, maybe the wilderness was actually a short cut? I know we all hate on the Israelites about taking freaking 40 years to work up the courage to go into the promise land.  However, the older I get the more I'm having other thoughts about the whole situation.  What if Hosea was on to something?

"Therefore behold I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her.  Then I will give her her vineyards from there in the Valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the day of her youth as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt."  Hosea 2:14

What if it's actually remarkable that it only took a people group only one generation get on board corporately to follow Joshua's lead?

Seriously, blessed are the parents both spiritual and natural that can repent and follow their children into the promise land.

Also, what if that season of waiting actually helped Joshua turn the greatest disappointment of his life (not feeling heard as one of the two "faith-filled" spies) into a steadfast conquering spirit that inspired a whole generation.

"those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength." Isaiah 40:31 


melted snow

Hopelessness can be cruel
The first thing to go is my life’s fuel
The slow motion begins and the static in my mind is deafening
Regrets and failures scream like broken bones
Self-pity begins to choke out any strength
Pain seems to be all that remains
Involuntary survival kicks in
Numb everything, conserve, withdraw!
Relief is I all I long for
Give up on everything, surrender all
It doesn’t matter anymore, does it?

This seed of substance begins to pulse
The sun shines at the first sight of spring
Who can describe such a life force?
Subtle at first, gentle and tender
Something true, something strong
It’s warmth overcoming disappointment
Melting the snow and unlocking the evidence of life below
A season of dormant dreams begins to bloom
What was once a prison, now in the heat of the sun--
Is nourishing my heart again to grow.


ten reminders for your soul

  1. LOVE: When you know you are truly loved by God, then fear cannot even breathe around you. 
  2. REST: Your body and soul need regular patterns of rest.  Learn to govern yourself with kindness and honor.
  3. GIVING: be generous because there is always enough.
  4. FORGIVENESS: freely receive it from God, and freely give it to others; if not you'll live in the dungeon of your own judgments.
  5. GRATITUDE: there is always something to be thankful for -- in every season but it's a choice of perspective.
  6. PEACE: there is a precious spot under the shadow of the Almighty—learn to live there.
  7. HOPE: guarding your heart is about stewarding your responses to disappointment and delay. but also it's about a person--hoping in Jesus will change you from the inside out.
  8. UNITY: accept yourself and seek to understand and value those around you. when you walk securely in your strengths and weaknesses -- you can allow others to be themselves without jealousy/competition or comparison.
  9. HUMILITY: be fully you -- don't hold back for any reason. dare to be brave and show your true feathers. 
  10. JOY: you must cultivate FUN in your life. Laughter really is medicinal and your sense of humor will keep you out of the ditches of despair. Try not to take yourself too seriously and remember that childlike wonder restores the hearts around you.


back to my stompin' grounds -a tribute to Dallas

It's true, I am beginning to see the beauty in Dallas again. I can honestly say I'm grateful for my unexpected time here.  Generosity and love run deep even in the midst of all of the concrete.  I know now why the Lord allowed me to spend 15 years of my childhood in this region.  The courageous will always bloom here.  True strength is not just found in defending the weak and guarding innocence but also in teaching our children to embrace the power of design AND implementation.  I promise you this -- Dallas is a city of people who get. it. done. And that is quite admirable in the American sea of good intentions.

When you first get to Dallas, you may notice the fancy cars and aggressive driving. And of course it's hard to miss the glorious fashion and fine dining. What comes with that is the not-so-endearing impatience with inefficiency and incompetence.

However, if you look again -- you might also notice the bravery of intention and design.

The deep commitment to excellence and a drive to always be well-informed brings integrity and prosperity in every industry.  And without a doubt you see that here -- no one is afraid to be powerful. People here know that their voice has value.  In fact, some here possess this remarkable quality of humbly stewarding great influence.  It's honestly breath-taking to see someone wrestle with their own character -- longing to grow in maturity in order to be great and still long to serve those around them.

There is a deep hunger here for everything to be easier, better, faster, etc... and as you can imagine, without love, this hunger becomes demanding and can poison your heart with discontentment and disillusionment.  And yet, this same hunger -- grounded in love -- creates the most amazing capacity for hope.  Lest you forget, faith is merely the substance of things hoped for.  Therefore, those who champion hope will always design and build the future. There is indeed a pack of majestic stallions that run here, and as they submit to a loving Master legendary conquests are inevitable. Keep your eye out for some merciful and generous world changers that will push back darkness through creative problem solving.

Over time I sense that the true test of implementation is always vision. Some may say I have it a little backwards, but hear me out. I propose that the challenge we continue to face is in what or more precisely, in whom, do we put our hope? And yes Beloved, I know of only one hope that does not disappoint.
Romans 5:5, "Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us." (Read the whole passage)

My conclusion comes to this--Dallas may surprise you and be a glorious place to come and witness a peculiar type of "sonship" that all of creation is crying out for.  Those who do not shrink back from power but know that divine love is a non-negotiable characteristic in displaying true authority.

I submit this to you as just food for thought, "self-control is the fruit of Someone's presence."  (reference: Gal 5:22-23)
Zechariah 4:6 "Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts."


my thoughts on the first hunger games film

Often times if I watch films that have powerful messages I find myself weeping.  However it's a  bit problematic if I find that I can't stop weeping. I'm either trying to muffle my sobs as much as I can until I can get out to my car after being in the theatre, or I'm super thankful I decided to rent the dvd from Red Box and watch it in the privacy of my own home.

As long as I can remember I have been able to deeply empathize with others and genuinely feel what others are feeling.  It's a gift that helps me have amazing intimate relationships and minister to others from a place of sincere compassion. But there are times when I wish it was a hat I could put on and take off.  If I witness something or come in contact with someone, the shared experience or space will input into my soul and my soul will automatically respond.  As I have matured in character thankfully so have my responses, but my friends and family can testify that it's been quite a journey.

Today I finished watching the first Hunger Games film and experienced several episodes of uncontrollable weeping.

Obviously the first scene will get you if you have compassion for the poor and oppressed.  Honestly, I think the thought of children being forced to kill other children kept me from reading the books or watching the films for this long.  I couldn't help but to compare this to children being recruited to be soldiers and different forms of predators all over the world.

But the Everdeen family story resonated in my heart because of the trauma of losing a parent and experiencing that with siblings. The pain of losing a spouse is so unbearable that it often leaves the children not having the support of the remaining parent. And the tendency of the older children is to become parental quickly towards the younger siblings.  Sacrificial love has a way of breathing courage into your nature to protect and provide.  And this force is much more powerful than any predatory mindset because it leads to life.

I have no doubt that this spirit of "volunteering freely" in order to protect the weak will overcome the evils of each generation.  (See Psalm 110:3 as a reference)

A great truth was released through Suzanne Collins' writing.  Hope is powerful. And I would venture to say that she illustrated an even greater truth that love is the foundation that the house of hope is built upon.

When doing some research tonight on Suzanne, I discovered that she resides in Sandy Hook, CT.  It is interesting to me that this novel exposes some age old mindsets of tyranny and then we saw such horrors in her own backyard.   I may be going out on a limb here, but perhaps it's time for us to start considering the correlations between the two events.   At least that's where my mind started to wander. Sometimes when something invisible feels threatened, it shows itself.


cracked lenses

Let me assure you, a broken-hearted person is a force to be reckoned with.

many in ignorance
some in revenge
few in malice
but all with an original tender design

generations of pain
situations of neglect
family relationships gone awry
even innocent curiosity never redirected

addictions clouding judgment
unmet normal needs screaming from within
whether predator or victim
the story often the same

power and pleasure
are either allowed?
can I ever trust myself again?
the shame is breaking my back

is it safe?
will I always feel this numb?
can I ever trust anyone again?
why was I such a fool?

i look into those broken-hearted eyes
and say let redemption come
let me stand in and say forgive me
and you are forgiven

turns out love is stronger
than even the dark shadows of seduction
light breaks in
and all those pieces begin to mend