Posted in Books, Deep Thoughts

The Bible

Holman Study Bible: NKJV Edition, Jacketed HardcoverHolman Study Bible: NKJV Edition, Jacketed Hardcover by Anonymous
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For the first time in my life, I actually stuck to a New Year’s Resolution. January 1st of 2016 I vowed to read my Bible all the way through by December 31st. I’ve made that same vow almost every year for the past twenty years (holy crap, I’m getting old!), but I’ve never succeeded. I’ve read every page before, but never all within twelve months. But 2016 was my year! I managed to read through the Bible in a year for the first time in my life. And with a day to spare, no less!

I don’t feel that I can really give the Bible a review. What I can do is tell you what it means to me. I was raised on a diet of Bible stories from before I could separate the meaning of the words from my mama’s soothing voice. Scripture has been there for me since I became a Christian when I was six years old. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat from a bad dream. Flipping open my Bible to a Psalm never failed to drive away my nightmares. When I got made fun of in school or went through a breakup, the Bible was my refuge. As I got older and went through hard times, when my husband was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, when we found out that we would never be able to have children, I found God’s comfort in its pages. I have never had to go through life alone, and that is all due to Jesus, who I was introduced to through this book.

The Bible is a mosaic, housing between its covers everything from poetry to prophecy, epic battles to the ultimate Sacrifice. Is it hard to read? Sometimes. I struggle with the genealogies and laws as much as the next person. But anytime the Bible is approached with an open heart and mind, God speaks. My granny was the daughter of a moonshiner, and was forced to drop out of school in the second grade. She never truly learned to read or write. But somehow, she cold pick up her Bible and read without stumbling over a single word, because she believed that God was bigger than her illiteracy. And He proved Himself to her and to me, time and time again, through the pages of His Word. It’s God’s love letter to us, and I will never take my easy access to it for granted.

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Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

Mailbox Miracle

Have you ever burst into spontaneous laughter and dancing in front of your mailbox on a Wednesday afternoon? Pretty specific, I know. It’s a weird question. But it’s something I experienced today, and it was pretty stinking amazing.

It’s been three months since our last pay check. Chris was working for family, and there was a rough patch financially, so he and the other men in my family who had been working up north came home to wait. Whenever we talked about applying for other jobs, we felt like God was telling us to wait. So we waited. After all, we had a good bit saved for a rainy day. We would enjoy the holidays and reevaluate.

Well, the holidays are over. Reevaluation has begun, and we finally feel like God is releasing our reins bit by bit. Today we started tentatively dipping our toes back in the job search pool. Because, that savings account we had built up? We’re raking the bottom. And it’s kind of scary. We’re trying to trust God, we really are. But after we pay our bills this month, we’re broke.

Or so we thought until we came home today. Sitting in our mailbox was a letter from the bank, telling us that we had an overage of funds in our escrow account. Attached to that letter was a check. We would have been thankful for any size check, but this check just so happens to be for roughly the amount of our bills for this month.

I squealed, y’all. I think I scared the dogs. I jumped and twirled and would’ve full-on danced if I hadn’t almost busted my butt sliding across the rocks on our road. I laughed and then I almost cried. I know that God is our Provider. And, like I said before, I’ve been trying my best to trust Him. But that trust was starting to falter. So I guess He decided to slap me upside the head today with a blatant reminder of His faithfulness. Because getting a check that close to the amount we need when we’re so close to the bottom of our barrel? That’s no coincidence. That’s God.

He gave us a mailbox miracle.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

Take me to church.

Going to church when I have a sore throat is always interesting. I usually play guitar and sing a song every service. I love getting to sing, getting to use a gift God’s given me to lead others to His throne in worship. But when I’m coughing violently and my words come out as a croak, it’s a day for me to step back. Hacking my way through a hymn is no way to lead worship.

Usually, sitting in the back of the church and watching the service go on without me makes me sad. I need to feel needed. But my mind was in a better place today. I remembered that I’m there for God, not for people, no matter how much I enjoy their company. And God loves me, and I believe that He appreciates it when I’m using my gifts to honor Him, but He doesn’t need me.

So today, I did something I haven’t done in a long time; I gave myself the freedom to sit on the back pew of our little church and simply enjoy. I watched my family pouring themselves into their instruments as they played hymns. I let the words sink into my mind instead of simply singing from memory. I heard the sincerity in the voice of the German woman who just started attending as she sang “Word of God, Speak.” My husband played guitar and sang, his voice and face as angelic as they were the day we met; he still makes my heart mushy. My brother sang a song he wrote with passion and power, and his newfound skill playing piano astonishes me. Bro. Dwayne preached with openness and honesty and fervency. And all of it, every note played and word spoken, was aimed in the proper direction.

We’re a family. We laugh together and cry together and find way too many excuses to eat together. And we need to fellowship, we really do. Jesus commanded it. But church is about more than us. It’s about Him. Sometimes I need a scratchy throat and a day on the back pew to remind me.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

The World According to Jiminy


Crickets chirp outside my window, muffled by a pane of glass. Is their song simply a product of nature, males rubbing their wings together rapidly in hopes that the sound they produce will prove irresistible to the lady crickets? That’s what science and common sense suggest. But could they be telling stories? The telling of human tales began as oral tradition. Who are we to say that crickets and coyotes and owls aren’t passing down their own folklore under the cover of darkness, outside of the understanding of human minds? Perhaps crickets are telling their offspring the story of their ancestor who braved Times Square, or the folk hero who helped a puppet become a real boy. Maybe they are telling tales that we’ve never heard and never will. Or maybe their chirps are simple mating calls. But since the image of crickets gathered around in the darkness listening to the chirping folk tales of an elder makes me smile, I’ll tuck it into a corner of my mind and pull it out when I hear them through my window. If I listen long enough, maybe I’ll catch a story.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

August thoughts on writing, part 2

More musings on writing from the month of August.

There is nothing more powerful than a story. Certain stories stay with you long after you turn the final page or the credits have rolled. A child learns the easiest through listening to tales as they are spun. Jesus taught in parables. Our own histories become stories in our minds as we soften or sharpen the pains and joys of the past. There are often truths that are much easier to view through fiction than they are through the harshness of reality. Stories shape us, squeezing our hearts or making us laugh or grabbing us hard around the throat. They show us both who we are and who we want to be. The best stories give us the courage to try. We all have a story to tell, each completely unique. Never underestimate the importance of your own.

My heart is saddened for the girl I used to be. Today I read a story (Broken Castle) I wrote eighteen months ago when I was going through a chemically-induced menopause that caused a deep depression. I couldn’t even read, which had always been my solace from pain. My mind had truly felt like it was breaking. So I wrote about it. I wrote of a woman trapped inside her mind, shattering herself as she tried to break free. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I can’t believe that something that dark came from my mind. The setting and names were fictional, but it was my deepest fear that what I wrote would happen to me. I wrote in hopes that I could purge the fear. It was one of the last things I wrote for over a year. It hurt me to read it today, but I’m so glad I found it. And I’m so glad I wrote it. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have such tangible proof of how far I’ve come. There were battles that I thought I was losing while I was in their midst, but now I can see just how victorious I’ve been. God has brought me so far. The work put in to healing me definitely shows. So even though the story is heartbreaking, I’ll keep it as a reminder to myself of where I used to be.

My mind is wiped clean. I can form no original thought. I feel as though my mind has been rebooted without my permission, restored to factory settings. How can I create when I have no blueprint in mind? I can’t stand stream-of-consciousness, and I pray to God that’s not what this is. I scan again for signs of life, but my brain is non-responsive. How do authors write day after day, year after year, without ever running out of things to say and stories to tell? I’m sure that my tales are still somewhere in here, but all of my characters have gone to sleep. So I guess I will, too. Goodnight, brain. Hope you’re more helpful tomorrow.

What am I supposed to do when my mind’s too excited to think? I try to tame my thoughts into submission, but it bounces around in a game of anticipation pinball. I get to see my husband in less than 24 hours! It’s been far too long since our lips got to meet in their favorite hello. Did I pack everything? Did I set my alarm? Did I deliver keys and plants and take out trash so everything will smell right when I return? Check check and check. Nothing left to do but fly. Now, if only I can will myself to sleep so that 4 am comes sooner. Hopefully tomorrow I find time to write in the midst of airport chaos and jumping into the arms of my best friend. I hate that I produced nothing of worth today, but obviously my mind isn’t upset enough to help me out. But at least a few words wound up on a page. So I’ll shut the laptop down, pack it up, and hope that I can shut down soon, too.

Frantic scratchings of scattered thoughts. Time is limited and I feel the pressure. But if not now, when today will I press my fingers into keys to let my musings breathe? I’m flying to see my love, neglected for too long. Our minds are heavy with the unknown. The ability to focus has left me completely. I want to add to my fiction, but my own life presses too strongly for me to hear the cries of my characters. But while I have a few minutes, I’ll see how their lives are playing out, and help them take shape if I can. Better than worrying over things out of my sight and beyond my control.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

August thoughts on writing, part 1

I wrote these in August, when I was just starting to get in the habit of writing everyday, even when I could think of nothing to write about except, well, writing.

Why is writing so hard? My mind swims with stories until I sit down to write, at which point my characters develop a stifling shyness and run to the back corners of my brain where the unreachable memories of dreams dwell. No amount of coaxing moves them from their hiding. Maybe with enough practice their fear will leave as mine does, and they will approach my fingers with ease.

Words flow so much easier at night. Does inspiration flow more freely from distant stars than it does from our nearest one? The darkness cocoons its subjects in a velvet embrace much opposed to sunlight’s harsh realism. Imperfections aren’t hidden, but are instead given a mysterious loveliness all their own. You can hear yourself think thoughts that the August sun blots out. Doubts and fears drift into the shadows, leaving you free to dream bigger dreams in the darkness. Becoming what you’ve always longed to be doesn’t seem so impossible when the moon smiles back at you.

Why did I wait so long to set my fingers free? Why has the thought of writing terrified me for so long? Did I doubt my ability to enthrall, or simply find myself unworthy? There are hundreds of books on how to be a writer. I own a dozen of them. But if I read every tome ever penned about the craft of writing, none of them will help me in the least if I never put pen to page or fingers to keys. I can always learn more about grammar and the other building blocks of language, but I have to be willing to risk putting them together in my own design if I’m ever going to build. Even if I only erect a cottage next to the castles left by others, should I not construct with the best tools and my whole heart, pouring my sweat and life into it from foundation to finish? Even if only those I love ever dwell there, even if it never houses the masses or kings, should I not furnish it to invite and comfort? What makes one person’s voice more worthy of being heard? Are the worlds that exist in the minds of the lowly any less real than those already known? Even if those worlds always remain private, even if the only ones to ever hear my voice are family and friends, the inhabitants of my mind deserve to live and breathe and move. And so they will.

My well is dry. My day was long and full and exhausting. This is the first time I’ve been alone since I jerked awake when my phone rang this morning. I’ve enjoyed my time with others, I really have. I wouldn’t undo any of the laughter with Mama today or with Megan tonight. But this habit of writing that I’m so desperately trying to develop? How can I keep it when my brain has switched off before I have a moment to purge its thoughts? This jotting of a fatigued mind is about as useful as trying to wring water from a dry sponge, but at least it was something. I can sleep with no guilt. So, good night self. Try again tomorrow.

I sit here burning the midnight oil once more. Why is it so easy to put off the act that I long for? I spend my evenings hiding within the worlds of others instead of crafting my own. Eliot measured his life in coffee spoons; I measure mine in episodes. It is just so much easier to enjoy the fictions created by others than it is to carve out your own. My imagination houses countless blocks of stone waiting to be sculpted. I have the same chisels at my disposal that have been used by a multitude of artists before me. But I am much more comfortable spending my days in the galleries of literature and my nights in the museums of the silver screen than I am in my studio, staring into the stone and seeking out the faces I am meant to free. I keep sneaking in at night, chipping away by candlelight, working up the courage to hew by the light of the sun. Maybe the faces I seek to free are simply not ready for such brightness.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

No More Excuses

It’s been more than two weeks since I’ve written a single word. I have plenty of excuses. I’ve been in a tremendous amount of pain from the weather and various other things, and when I’m in this amount of pain I can’t even think well enough to read most of the time. So how can I be expected to write? I’ve had doctors’ appointments and MRIs and have been introduced into the painful world that is physical therapy in hopes that I can be fixed. I’ve been trying to be a good girl and do the at-home therapy they’ve given me even when my hips and shoulders hurt so viciously that I develop migraines and just want to be left alone in silence and darkness. I’ve been exhausted. And when ever I do have a good day, I’m running around trying to catch up on everything that I let slide during my bad days.

But all of those things are just what I said before: excuses. None of them, pain or busyness or exhaustion or fogginess of mind are a real reason not to write. I’ve been making excuses like I have for years. I’ve always wanted to write, but at the same time writing terrifies me. I’m so afraid that I won’t be good at it that I make excuses to not even try. I thought that creating this blog would stop that, that it would give me some sort of incentive or responsibility to write everyday, but obviously that hasn’t been the case. I’m still just as afraid of writing as I was when I was trying to write straight fiction. Because I still don’t feel good enough.

But, even if I’m not good enough, even if no one ever reads this but myself and my family, I owe it to myself to try. I would rather try and fail than just give up because I’m afraid. So, if you do happen upon this site and read these words, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to see what someone you’ve probably never met has to say about mostly trivial things. And if, by chance, you happened to be a too-terrified-to-truely-aspire writer as well, drop me a line. Maybe we can help each other. If I find things you’ve written, I’ll be sure to let you know that you’re wonderful, talented, and should never stop trying to reach your dream. Everyone deserves to be encouraged and believe in themselves. And that’s what I’m going to try my best to do.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

Louisiana Snow Day!!!


Thursday night something very strange happened in the state of Louisiana: it snowed. And I’m not talking about sleet or any other freezing precipitation we like to think of as “snow” in the South. We got close to six inches of beautiful, powdery, honest-to-goodness snow. So yesterday morning, for the first time in my life, I awoke to a blanket of white overlaying absolutely everything. It was blindingly beautiful.

So, yesterday morning Chris and I went exploring and trekked down to the creek behind our house. The goats had blatantly refused to leave their hut until PawPaw coaxed them with corn; they can’t even stand rain, much less snow. Watching pregnant goats pick their way gingerly through all that cold wetness was hilarious. Chris was definitely not a huge fan of the snow. To him it was pretty much just a cold wet mess. But as we entered the woods, even he couldn’t help but say something positive about it.

“It looks like Narnia,” he stated as we ducked under limbs and hopped over fallen branches.

Might not sound like much, but he didn’t need more than those four words. Because he was absolutely right. The snow-covered woods looked exactly like the scene in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Lucy steps through the wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia. It was breathtaking. The distant sound of the rushing creek in the background and the occasional birdsong were the only sounds we heard above the compaction of snow beneath our feet. I don’t know exactly how to describe the sound of snow underfoot. It’s not quite a crunch, is it? Minutes later our Black Lab, Selene, disrupted all that quiet with her wildly enthusiastic scampering. Somedays I wonder if her manic enthusiasm hasn’t crossed the line into utter doggy madness. But you just can’t help but laugh whenever she’s around.

We stayed outside for about an hour before coming in and shedding our multiple layers of clothing. We Louisianians aren’t exactly equipped to handle that level of cold or any level of snow. Our entire area shut down for the day. Today, our world is a big, slushy mess. But sometimes beauty is worth the messiness it brings with it.


Posted in Deep Thoughts, My Fiction and Poetry

An Orphan’s Christmas Gift

I know it’s not Christmas anymore, but Chris was adamant that I needed to have this poem up on here. I wrote it for our church’s Christmas program last year. So, let me know what you think!

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the world
There was no one up praying but one little girl.
She prayed for a family and prayed for her friends.
She prayed that all the world’s suffering would end.
And then she began to list, one by one,
All the great things that her God had done.
He’d given her life, He’d given her breath,
And if she should die, He’d see her in death.
Though she’d never been loved by parents below,
She knew God loved this orphan; her heart told her so.
So for all of the things she had or had not,
She gave thanks to God right there in that spot.
She climbed into bed and shut her eyes tight
And told herself, one day, God would make all things right.
She heard a soft thump and decided to see
What in the world such a strange noise could be.
When what to her wondering eyes should appear
But the Savior who loved her and held her so dear.
She jumped to her feet and ran through to the room
And hugged tightly Jesus, who banished all gloom.
He told her she was special, He loved her so much!
So He decided to give her a small Christmas touch.
He knew she was lonely, but told her to wait.
He had made up a plan, and it would be great!
Her parents had died when she was quite small.
They were with Him in heaven and loved her most of all!
They watched her each day and watched her each night.
They saw every tear and they cried at her plight.
They wanted to give her the love she deserved.
So Jesus had come down from heaven to serve.
He had been with her each step of the way
And had found her a family. Tomorrow’s the day
that the family would come for the ultimate gift.
A child they had longed for, small body to lift.
And so for this Christmas, a family was born
from heartache and struggle, from knees all prayer-worn.
The girl hugged Jesus once more with great force.
For her life tomorrow would be changing course.
“Oh thank You!” she cried as He walked to the door.
A bright light now shone from the orphanage floor.
He turned and He smiled and stepped into the light:
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”


Posted in Deep Thoughts, Life in General

Fibromyalgia Sucks

I absolutely despise doctors’ offices. The chairs that seemed to be designed with discomfort in mind, the sterile smell, the masses of sick bodies, the awkwardness of revealing intimate details of yourself to people you don’t really know… it all sucks. Now, I know that it’s not the doctors’ fault that coming to see them is so horribly uncomfortable, and both of my doctors happen to be very decent guys. But I hate it.

Despite my immense hatred for doctors’ visits, I had to go see both of my doctors today. I’ve been dealing with an incredible amount of pain for a long time now, and I finally gave into Chris’s demands and made myself appointments. I already knew that I had endometriosis. I’ve already had surgery for it and taken various treatments to minimize it. What else can they do? And I had my suspicions about the causes of the rest of my pain. I have a hip that pops out of place on a much too frequent basis, a slipped disc and pinched nerve in my neck from a car wreck, and other pain that just comes out of nowhere and invades random parts of me. I found out today that I have fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain disorder, and also arthritis in my shoulders and hips in addition to my slipped disc in my neck. My other doctor told me that, in addition to my endometriosis having returned, I seem to have developed irritable bowel syndrome due to the endo. In other words, at not quite 25 years old, I am falling apart.

I’m relieved to know that I’m not crazy. I had this terrible fear that I was just making all of my pain up, that my mind had decided that it hated me and wanted me to suffer for some reason. So, yeah, glad none of that is actually true. But now I’m kind of ticked. I mean, I’m only 24, but I have the physical issues of a septuagenarian. It sucks. A lot. I’m too young to have to deal with this crap. I feel like it’s my fault in some way, because a woman my age should not have to deal with this, so I wonder if I am somehow responsible for making myself sick. But I know that’s not actually true. I did nothing to deserve this. But these are things that will never go away, no matter what I do. I will struggle with these problems for the rest of my life. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to fight it. I will reclaim my body to the best of my ability. I will move even when it hurts, learn Tai Chi and Yoga and whatever else might help me get my body under control. I will lose weight, not to look better, but in hopes of feeling better. I will write everyday, because my mind needs to stay healthy, too. If I can’t get rid of these problems, I will shrink them and take control of them. I’m tired of them controlling me. I am more than any disease. I am bigger than my pain. I will fight.

And I. Will. Win.