Word of the Week

Do you remember ever going to summer camp or a school trip as a child and missing home something crazy? Writing letters home everyday or begging to use a phone to call your parents? Maybe even cutting your week short because you just couldn't stay away from home one more day?

Even if you weren't one of those kids-- so many of us have had the experience at one time in our lives or another of this week's word: homesick.

Homesick: a longing to return home.

To be homesick is to experience a deep longing, a deep dissatisfaction with the way life used to be but is no longer.

You can be homesick over the loss of a job or a friendship that offered a community of deep belonging.

You can be homesick for a time when your children were little, when assisted living was not necessary, or when a spouse or loved one was alive or had their memories intact.

You can be homesick for a state of mind, a feeling of peace or comfort that once offered purpose and direction.

Homesick is not just about missing a physical location.

Are you homesick for anything right now?

Take a minute and say it aloud.

Ultimately homesickness is about grief. It's about the insecurity of not knowing what to do in an unfamiliar space. It's about feeling like the wheels of control have flown off without a guide as to how to put it back together.

It's hard to find your footing when you're homesick for something or someone. Everything in this state of mind feels more complicated than it should. Sigh.

Yet, if there is anything I know for sure it's that sometimes God calls you to dream in the present tense of your actual life.

By this I don't mean that you ignore or belittle the pain or loss of homesickness in you, but figure out how to dream in new ways where you are.

To notice where hope might bubble up again. To pay attention to joy's surprises. To lean into authentic conversations that might bring encouragement.

I'm hoping that in whatever you are homesick for this week, you'll feel the presence of a God who has promised to never leave or forsake you wherever life takes you.



Good Sunday morning to you, my friend!

Today, I'm thinking about how our recent experience of a global pandemic has been one big "I never saw this coming," right?

Everything about our lives, our work, our community life has been changed forever. What we've lived through is the definition of our word for this week: interruption.

Interruption is defined as something that causes a stoppage or break in the continuity of something.

Of course, I could go on and on about the negatives of the interruption called Covid-19. I have a long list. You have a long list. Many of you have lost loved ones. Others have lost jobs. All of have lost in these pass couple of years: FUN! Clearly, interruptions are full of consequences.

But are ALL interruptions bad?

When I think about what I have learned, this is where I land: clarity. With so much being "canceled" over the past couple of years-- so much hasn't.

I've seen there are dreams for my future I can't delay with more of "it's not the right time." I've seen friendships that need attention even if Zoom calls are how we talk. In my professional life, I've seen words that must be written or preached because I know how much they matter (because if not now, when?)

I love how author Sonya Renee Taylor sums it up: "We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return to any of these friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment."

And this is the gift of interruption: the new. We know what is ours to do. We see more clearly so we can head in that direction.

Would you be up for some deeper thinking on this? Here's your assignment to think about for the week:

What are you most curious about right now? Is there anything you did pre-Covid that you'd like to permanently discard?

As we all begin to go back to some new normal way of being in community with each other, it's good to stop and ponder what this HUGE interruption has taught you and how your insight is going to lead you in new ways.

On the journey with you this week-



Can you remember the last time you were getting ready for some event of importance?

Planning a long vacation. Making arrangements for a wedding or a funeral. Studying for a final exam or certification. It could be any moment that captured much of your attention, energy and emotional or financial resources.

And to this situation enter our word of the week: preparation.

Preparation is defined as the action or process of making something ready.

Preparation says everything about the HOW we show up for the life we want to live in the future. Preparation is anchored in hope-- there is something to come. And work is required to live into that hope!

Yet in practicality, preparation can feel like slugging through puzzle pieces in life that just don't make sense, and sometimes we're preparing for things we don't want to do experience but know we will have to go through (death or taxes anyone?).

Yet, here's preparations's gift: our mind, our body, our soul gets something to do in the in-between time. Preparation is the work that keeps the worries at bay because simply worrying gets us nowhere. Preparation is the HOW we add meaning to our daily routines.

But here's what you need to know about preparation, it doesn't come without risk. You could prepare for a new job you never get. You could plan a vacation you never take. You could lean into a new friendship and soon be disappointed. But the work is never in vain.

Yet, regardless of the outcome, preparation helps you know what matters to you most. Preparation helps keep you stay busy when your anxiety might otherwise overtake you. Preparation leads you to new adventures even if you don't get it right the first time.

So here's what I most want to tell you today: If you are longing for something, hoping for something or have an itch that something in your life needs to go in a new direction, start preparing.

Rearrange. Clean out. Redesign. Say no. Say yes. Apply. Take a nap.

You may not be where you want to be quite yet. (Are you really ever?) But you can live life in anticipation like it's coming. Prepare like it is.

Here's one more thing I truly believe: God is always preparing good things around us. The only question is will you do the work to join in?

Until next week-



This week I'm wondering this: how often do you stop and think about WHYs of your actions?

I have to tell you that often don't. I lay my head on the pillow and night and wonder where the day went. What exactly did I do?

Yet when we live like this, we're lacking in this week's word: intention.

Intention is defined as the determination to act in a certain way.

I'm finding myself using the word intention a lot lately. In fact, the leaders I've worked with during my tenures as pastor have been known to roll their eyes when they know I'm about to say it (I know in love, of course).

And here is something I've learned from all this intentional talk: it's soul-stretching, discipline making, moving away "from the way we've always done things" kind of living.

And it comes in the big and small choices of our lives.

For example, think about your daily routines, how easy it is to eat out if you haven't made a plan for food at home. How easy it is to spend your time alone if you haven't reached out to someone for company. How easy it is dread going to work tomorrow if you haven't had experiences this weekend of rest and play.

Intention helps us make space for the best possible experiences. What we want. What we need. What God wants to bless us with!

I have a friend who asks to herself when she's trying to make a choice: "Will future me like this decision?"

She further explains this like: if eating a bowl of ice cream at 11 pm at night won't make her 8 am self the next day happy, then maybe she shouldn't do it. Or maybe if saying yes to watching her grandkids play baseball will make her smile for days to come, then maybe she should just go!

So this week, I'm wondering, what are you longing for? Whatever it is, start moving toward that feeling, or that dream or that mindset today.

Text a friend. Search for plane tickets. Turn off your phone after 9 pm. Take a walk.

Small steps are important steps. Small steps, daily steps take us the desired future you want.

Your soul today and of the future will thank you too.



P.S. I know that sometimes even when we make intentional choices in life, we still feel stuck. We do EVERYTHING we think we can do to change our circumstances and nothing changes. We wonder where God is in our life? SO frustrating. This is why I believe in the mystery of God, timing that I don't understand and committing to being still to know that God is God. If you want read more of my own experience of waiting in frustration from several years ago, I'd love to share this post with you.

How often do you not sleep well because you've got something on your mind?

I am known to work out whatever is going on in my life at night. Research tells me that I'm not alone. All of our minds are funny like that. They must churn. They must seek answers. They must find resolution even if we miss our bedtimes.

But to this problem, enter the word of the week: unresolved.

Unresolved defined as what is not settled or brought to resolution.

A couple of years ago a dear friend sent me a card a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke on the front saying this:

"I beg you . . . to pay attention with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions as if they were locked room or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

I treasure these words so because it reminds me that unresolved feelings, experiences or ambitions are just a part of the journey.

In fact, unresolved pieces in our lives are gifts, not problems to solve. What?!? How is that possible?

Consider this: maybe you didn't get to have that conversation when you wanted it but your longing for honesty will bring you to the truth at just the right time.

Maybe your doctor gave you bad news this week, but your desire to be well can lead you to healing that is deeper than you might imagine.

Maybe an unexpected situation was not how you wanted to spend some of your precious time this week, but your desire to present with others will offer you clarity about what is important to you.

So, here's my suggestion from worrier to another: make a list. Make a list of all of your unresolved things. And then, lean into Rilke's advice.

Sit with the questions. (I.e. don't start trying to fix). And see what happens.

And I believe "gradually, without even noticing it, you'll live your way into the answer." Maybe not right away. But in due time all will be well. God is with you, my friend, so there is always peace to be found.



I always wanted to be mother.

I wanted to read What to Expect When You Are Expecting with a round belly. I wanted to muse about preschools, brands of diapers and swaddling techniques with experience with my college girlfriends. I wanted a lifetime ticket into the "mom's club."

During years of "trying to have a child," I longed for my social isolation from my with-child friends to be over.

But our wait was long. Our wait was full of dead-ends and the harsh reality that Kevin and I might not be parents in a traditional way. Our wait included a journey to make peace with the life we had, not the one we wished for (such hard emotional work!)

Life is full of surprises, though. Over a year ago when a baby girl came in our lives with unexpected speed, many might have said about my life "I got what I always wanted."

Or did I? (I really have a hard time with that sentiment).

This is what I know: I love my daughter. I love that infertility is not a daily part of my struggle anymore (victories need to be celebrated!). And, I love I can now shop at Babies R Us without a stomach ache afterwards. I'm a parent. It's a fact.

Though I never read What to Expect When You Are Expecting, I'm a diaper changing pro. I've gotten good at taking a car seat a part when spit-up happens. And I love giving baby girl a bath and lathering her up with the sweetness that is baby lotion at the end of a long day. It's a good life I have in this season. Parenting is more joy (and work) than I ever thought possible.

But, when it comes to being a part of communities of moms, I have to tell you all my rosy dreams of playdates and Mom's Day Out coffee dates just aren't a part of my current reality. 

Parenting circles aren't natural places where I feel like I fit in. Maybe it's because of the years it took me to get here. Maybe it's for other reasons. Here's one story.

Baby girl was 8 months old. She was invited to her first birthday party.  

Though 8 months seemed too soon for the whole "bring a present" and "eat some cake routine" to me, I went along with it. I bought her a present to take the 5-year-old that she met through her babysitter. I packed her bag with baby food and I looked forward to the treat of pizza and cake.

But while there were expected kids party antics of balloons and games, what followed was weird.

I hardly had two feet in the door, no, "Hello." No "What's your's name?" Or even, "What do you do?"

Rather right to: "Does your girl sleep through the night yet?" And when I said, "Yes, she does" the rest of the conversation was a game of 20 questions about this and that behavior of hers.

I quickly made my way to the pizza table trying to escape the questioning but it continued later. This group of parents felt relentless. It was as if children in the room meant having adult conversation was impossible. I wanted adult conversation. 

I took way from the experience that what my soul needed during my waiting for children years is the same thing my soul needs now.

I need friends who see me . . . Who allow me to see them . . . Who help shine light into my becoming and I theirs. 

I don't need a mom's group just because I'm a married woman in my 30s with a child.

I need to be seen and heard.

This was one huge reality check for me to reach this place. It's a little bit embarrassing how much energy I spent longing for what I believed I wanted in community only now to be here and not want it at all.

This is not to say that I'm anti-mom friends. I have some. I'm sure I'll make more as baby girl grows older.

But I can tell you with complete certainty that I need soul friends, not affinity ones. 

The next time I find myself in a season of longing for inclusion in greener pastures of where I'm not yet, I'm going to remember this birthday party.

I'm going to remember what my soul really needs and I'm going to move in that direction.

I'm going to trust that being the parent I want to be means taking care of my spirit.

After all, I want baby girl to grow up and have courage to take care of hers too. It's all that we can really do, anyway.


Want to know more about my infertility story? Check out my book and/ or follow these posts.

Want me to speak to your group about infertility, grief or making peace with a life you don't want? Contact me.