In the Quiet, Trust


Good Morning!

It’s Monday morning and all is quiet in the house. The only sounds are those of my fingers hitting the letters on the keyboard, birds chirping outside, and my fur-babies breathing. I like it quiet.

This past year has been a quiet year.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot happened this past year.

  • Bobby returned from what may have been his tenth deployment.
  • My character was maligned by someone I considered a good friend.
  • I walked away from a ministry I had poured my heart and soul into for years.
  • Bobby’s and my marriage struggled as we tried to “reintegrate” our lives post-deployment.
  • We went on two marriage retreats (love love love them!)
  • My hemiplegic migraines worsened.
  • They finally diagnosed me with P.O.T.S. (thus, proving my “spells” were not anxiety, but a nervous system disorder).
  • We went to court for my social security disability case, where my lawyer failed to show up, and we still ended up being awarded disability.
  • I had to give up driving due to medical issues.
  • I finally started to come to terms with being “disabled”.
  • We paid off all of our debt except for our mortgage.
  • We drove home to Minnesota for Christmas so we could see my family and bring our fur-babies with us.
  • My Gran died from colon cancer.
  • I managed to get the flu and bronchitis a couple of times.
  • Bobby and I started working on projects around the house (currently working on our farmyard-with-a-chuckle-powder-room, as well as stairs for our fur-babies to get up onto the bed with me and a little haven for them out of a repurposed dresser – I’ll post pics once I finally get my blog reformatted).
  • I finally started physical therapy (they’re kicking my arse even though they barely touch me! – Kelly, Karen, and Christine, you’re amazing!)
  • And, I gave up social media because the “noise” of it was a negative influence in my life.

Within one week’s time last year, my character was maligned, I lost some dear friends, I walked away from the ministry, Bobby returned from deployment, and our marriage almost ended.

It was at that point I decided I needed some “quiet”, thus, I shut off my social media accounts, pulled away from all relationships except for my mum, bio-sister, and two of my heart-sisters (one of which I didn’t talk to very often due to her busy schedule and ridiculously poor cell-service). So, essentially, I kept three people as my inner circle, as a small circle felt safest after my heart had been torn to shreds.

(WARNING: This post is about to get “spiritual”, so bear with me, eh).

As this was all happening, I felt a strong urging to learn what it means to trust God.

The people I spent the most time with had broken trust with me. The people I felt I could trust the most had all moved far away (thank you, military life). And, I was desperately in need of being able to trust someone I could spend loads of time with. The only good solution was God (or, as I refer to Him, my Abba Father).

And then … God went quiet.

The only person available to spend loads of time with, and who wanted to spend time with me (my hubby didn’t want to), was my Abba Father. And yet, I sensed Him go quiet as I shut out the unnecessary noise in my life. (This made me say a lot of “grrrs” followed by loads of cussing, as I struggled to deal with the rot life kept lobbing at me. Yep, I’m faulty and impatient and tend toward swearing like a sailor. I was angry at this perceived quietness that I didn’t ask for. Yes, I wanted the negativity to go quiet, but not my one true supporter! I had a lot to learn — and still do.)

As I learned to trust in Him DESPITE the quiet, I began to appreciate stillness, solitude, and silence.

I didn’t feel like God was near, but MY FEELINGS DON’T DICATE REALITY.

So this morning, when I was reading in, The One Year Book of Encouragement, written by Harold Myra, the quietness began to make sense in view of the need to learn to trust Him. Myra quotes Rosemary Budd as saying, “As our emotions wither and desert us, God is burrowing away at our wills. As we journey through the dark with a growing awareness of our helplessness, we learn to trust ourselves less. Trust in God takes us on a journey into humility.” Myra continues, “The furnaces of life slowly purge and refine [us] toward understanding the truth about [our]selves – the core of humility.” Again quoting Budd, “Only as I persevere can I become of more use to God and others.” He concludes by making the point that “we’re called to persevere despite flagging emotions.”

I felt that life was screaming at me in the most negative and heart-breaking fashion. The “sound” was deafening as it beat my spirit to a pulp, clawed my insides out with hurtful words, and stomped me into the ground with false accusations, character maligning, and all the discouragement that comes with being “disabled.”

As I allowed life to go quiet, even though it also felt that God went quiet, He was here all the time. He spoke to me in the quiet, in ways I wouldn’t have been able to hear if the rest of the cacophony continued. In silence and solitude, He was tender with my heart. He whispered to me in the quietness that I was enough, that I was loved, that I was worthwhile, that I was accepted.

He encouraged me when I needed to be of good courage. In the stillness He was there.

When you feel life screaming negativity at you, it’s okay to pull back and allow for a period of quiet. Not only is it okay, it may be the best thing you can do.

Although friends may fail us and our bodies WILL fail us (especially those of us struggling with chronic illness and disability), we can rely on what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting way, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (NIV). We can hold onto the truth of what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others” (NLT). For, “Mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore – the Lord above is mightier than these!” (Psalms 93:4, NLT).

Life is hard. Negativity surrounds us. Our bodies are breaking down. We will be failed by the people around us. AND … We will fail them.

BUT ….

In the stillness, in the quiet, we can experience rest, peace, renewal, hope, and encouragement. We can learn trust.

If all that I’ve gone through, am going throu1387052194097gh, and will go through, can be used to encourage others, then my perseverance will be worth it. This perseverance is only possible with the knowledge that He is with me – even when my feelings say otherwise.

May you find encouragement today. Allow for some time of quiet, for in the quiet you just may experience a glimmer of hope.

Till next time,


BTW, I STRONGLY SUGGEST Harold Myra’s book, The One Year Book of Encouragement: 365 Days of Inspiration and Wisdom For Your Spiritual Journey published by Tyndale House Publishers. It has been a true source of encouragement to me as I struggle through this difficult and discouraging life.

Dilemma: Personal Hygiene

Dilemma: Personal Hygiene

As I was laying in bed this morning, ascertaining how much pain I might be in when I manage to get out of bed — creaking, cracking, popping and generally sounding like a Rice Krispies commercial of old — I pondered one of the typical dilemmas of someone living with chronic illness/disability and the resulting pervasive fatigue. HOW MUCH ENERGY AM I WILLING, AND ABLE, TO COMMIT TO PERSONAL HYGIENE? And, if I commit that energy to said endeavor, what will have to give in my desired to-do list (as in, the things I want to get done, such as cook a meal, make a phone call, fold some laundry — you know, the big tasks)?

Note to the reader: I’m currently typing this with my eyes closed because letting in the light is painful. I’ll have to do a really thorough spell check and grammar-fixing session in a bit, eh.

Squinting now, with one eye completely closed, I’ll admit that on this occasion, I decided to balance the competing needs of saving energy for the necessary things (feeding the fur-babies, making a meal, calling my mum, and getting out of my pjs) with the required energy for the unnecessary things (taking a shower, shaving my legs, putting on make-up, spending more than one minute doing my hair, etc.).

For some people, primarily women, the things on my unnecessary list are considered necessary. Living with chronic illness/disability and the resulting pervasive fatigue has made me reconsider what is truly necessary and what is superfluous social construct.

Let me break it down for you — my necessary versus my unnecessary — as I weigh the items in my head:


  • feeding the fur-babies: they need to eat, they are my constant companions, they give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, they comfort me when I’m having a bad day, they are my precious “children” because I’m not able to have my own and adopting human-kiddos would take more energy than my body allows, and therefore, they are a necessary part of my day and deserve as much energy as I can allot them — they come first; 
  • making a meal: my hubby and I need to eat because apparently it’s necessary for the human body to take in sustenance in the forms of food and water (a fact I find inconvenient and annoying), cooking & baking has become somewhat of an “adventure” for me as I learn new things each week thus feeding my need for activity, learning and personal growth, making food from scratch (when possible) is a healthier way of eating since packaged foods tend to be full of preservatives, and by making a meal I can control our nutritional intake a bit more responsibly when considering both of our medical issues and the fact that we have competing weight goals — I’m fluffy after numerous rounds of prednisone and becoming a reluctant couch potato and he’s almost dangerously thin after the burn pits he was stationed by while serving in the military, thus, making a meal is “necessary” even if this necessary item is often left out of the energy allotment for a given day;
  • calling my mum or one of my best friends: we all need human interaction, support, encouragement, and to know we are loved, if I don’t make a phone call it is highly likely that I will only have a few moments in the evening of hearing about my husband’s day at work followed by me telling him that my pain was bad today, so I spent the day on the couch unable to talk, move, or eat anything that isn’t a pouch of ramen or leftover popcorn, and thus, making a phone call is necessary as most of my friends have moved away, and the few who live close by are either busy raising kids or they’ve turned out to be fair-weather friends, making life very lonely indeed; and,
  • getting out of my pajamas: admittedly, this one often ends up on the “unnecessary” list, but I made an exception today since if I feel a little less bed-y (as in I look like a set of crumpled pjs laying on a heap of blankets) I may feel a bit better about being a reluctant couch potato, anyway, this “necessary” item is more about mental health than about actually needing to change out of clothes that consist of sweatpants and a t-shirt, into ones that have a few less holes but are still relatively comfortable — clothes with identifiable seams can be quite painful to wear and often bras are completely out of the question as they are a mild form of torture.


  • taking a shower: I took a shower a couple of days ago and that shower wiped me out for the day so if I have anything else I want to accomplish today then this will need to wait, plus, since I didn’t do anything to make myself sweaty — other than pain induced sweating — I’m relatively clean other than the cracks and crevices that can be cleaned in a less energy-sapping endeavor, and by not taking a shower I’m being (wink wink) environmentally conscious in our drought stricken location, further, my fur-babies don’t mind if I smell a little more like them today, and if I don’t take a shower it doesn’t make me any less worthy of being loved, or change the fact that I am loved, and if I really think about it, taking a shower is a privilege that many parts of the world don’t even have the option of partaking in; 
  • shaving my legs: shaving my legs takes way too much energy to accomplish, razors are expensive if I want to get one that lessens the likelihood I’ll gouge the s$!t out of my legs, its one of those activities that seems never-ending as the hair grows back the moment I stop shaving that particular hair follicle, it takes up more of the environmentally precious commodity water, it’s warmer having hair on my legs in the winter as it traps the heat closer to my skin, I was born with hair like most other human beings, not all societies consider shaving a necessity, and if I’m supposed to shave my legs why aren’t all of us (i.e., women AND men) “supposed” to shave our legs, plus, shaving my legs (or not shaving them) doesn’t change whether I am worthy of being loved, or change the fact that I am loved, and thus, out of the necessity of saving my precious little energy, and because I can make many arguments against the practice, shaving my legs has landed on the list of the unnecessary;
  • putting on make-up: this item follows quite closely the arguments against shaving my legs (expense, environmental consciousness, unnecessary social construct imposed on women, etc. etc. etc)., and whether I wear make-up or not does not change the fact that I am worthy of being loved, or change the fact that I am loved, and thus, wearing make-up is deemed unnecessary (unless, of course, I have the energy on a given day and I feel like the creativity of make-up will simply enhance my natural beauty);
  • spending more than one minute doing my hair: blow-drying, curling, straight-ironing, or styling my hair takes way too much energy and I can’t hold my arms in the necessary manner for the amount of time it takes to do those activities, plus, I look darned cute in my pony tail or pig tails (if I was Marge from the Real Housewives of New Jersey, they’d call me the Queen of Pig Tails, or whatever it is they call her, because she totally rocks the hair style and so do I), and, anyway, if I was a man, or my husband was cool with it, I’d shave my hair off saving time, money, water, and energy — proudly wearing my naked head and the scars from two brain surgeries, and for those reasons I find spending more than a minute to throw my hair up into some Marge-style pig-tails or a pony tail, an unnecessary use of my limited energy, thus, any unnecessary hair-styling is deemed a superfluous social construct as it doesn’t change whether I am worthy of being loved, or the fact that I am loved; and,

  • et cetera: the et cetera is everything else I used to think was necessary such as running errands (things I can now do via the internet), visiting friends (I’ve had to give up driving), going to work (sadly I’m not able to do that at the moment), keeping my house clean (I’ve had to let go of my need for a clean home, although I make certain it’s tidy 90 percent of the time), working out (I wish I was able to do this because it would help me shed the weight that I ballooned to — 180% of myself), going to grad school (it has been a lifelong dream to get my Master’s and then Doctorate in Biblical Studies, and then be able to teach, plus, I was great in seminary, rocking a 4.0 and loving everything I was learning), and all of the other things I loved to do in my so-called past life — the life I had before becoming a reluctant couch potato, because I AM WORTHY OF BEING LOVED AND AM LOVED whether I do any of those things or not.

All that to say, living with chronic illness/disability and the resulting pervasive fatigue forces a person to reevaluate what is truly important in their lives.

For me, it’s taking care of my little family (me, my hubby, and our two-fur babies), staying connected to my dearest friends and family, learning how to accept the fact that I am worthy of being loved and am in fact loved simply for being me, and doing the best I can to continue growing and improving myself all while being a pain-cringing-hot-mess from this cozy-blessing-of-a-couch-that-I’m-currently-residing-upon.

Do: When you face dilemmas in your everyday life, take a moment to consider if it’s something that is truly necessary or if it can be consigned to the unnecessary. If it can be put on the unnecessary list, then you’ve taken some of the stress out of the dilemma, and in effect, made your life a little more enjoyable.

Do: Be thankful for what you have and are able to do. And, if you find yourself unable to accomplish something with the given resources you have, then as they say in Frozen, “Let it go.”

Till next time,




Someone told me today that I should write because I have a unique experience and perspective. Huh?

Frankly, I don’t feel unique.

Yes, we all have different life stories, different ways of looking at things, different things we like to do, different … well, just differences. We’re all unique.

I’m no more unique than the next person, nor is that person any more unique than me.

If I write it’s simply because I feel like writing — at least writing gives me someone to talk to — even if it’s just this computer screen.

And, if I’m going to write, then maybe I should have something to write about.

So … as I sit here pondering what she thinks makes me, or my perspective, “unique” … I have to figure out what’s “uniquely” and authentically me.


I’m short. Billions of people are short.

I’m a woman. Trillions of people are women.

I live in the U.S. (currently) as do many many other people.

I’m originally from Minnesota. That’s not unique except it means I’m accustomed to cold weather, giant mosquitos, and understand what “Minnesota Nice” means.

I’m a military wife. Most of my friends are military wives and many many more who aren’t my friends are military wives.

I was born with a chiari malformation. That’s a bit more unique as it’s a supposedly rare congenital malformation that makes the body go wonky and creates a whole host of issues — especially for people who experience head trauma.

I have a history of head trauma. Still not all that unique — even though it came from a combination of sports injuries, car accidents, and an abusive ex-husband. Whooped-di-doo.

I had two brain surgeries (posterior fossa decompressions) to try to fix the chiari malformation and some of the head trauma repercussions. That’s a bit more rare, but loads of people have brain surgery. Don’t they?

I have chronic, complex, and rare medical conditions that have left me “disabled” — which has been a bit “limiting” on life. Yes, that does give me a somewhat more “unique” perspective than the general population, but lots of people could say the same thing — many of us just don’t say anything because we’re often discouraged to do so. (Case in point, when I was on Facebook and would post about my chronic intractable migraine and the things I was thankful for in the midst of the pain, and a “friend” of mine told me that I needed to quit writing about my migraine because I was just bringing everyone down — she must have missed the part about the things I was thankful for in spite of suffering and somewhat because of what I was suffering. She’s one of the reasons I’m no longer on Facebook.)

I have fur-babies who I adore. So I suppose that makes me part of the fur-baby parent community 😉 Not really all that unique — even though my fur-babies are the best!

I took up the adventure of learning to cook and bake when my life contracted to become not much bigger than the walls of my home. (My husband was deployed for the zillionth time, my doctors told me to give up driving — something about hemiplegic migraines springing up on me and P.O.T.S. causing me to pass-out fairly frequently was/is considered dangerous, grad school was given up as my body couldn’t cope with the demands of studying, and then the betrayal of someone I considered to be a dear friend sent me reeling socially causing me to pull out of all of my social commitments and give up social media; THUS I needed an adventure to go on. Being a reluctant couch potato isn’t my jam. I prefer activity and adventure. With a body that can’t keep up with life, I have to adjust life to suit my body. Silly body!)

I prefer to deal with life with a good sense of humor and the practice of being thankful; often being able to find the “silver lining” in a cloud — my cloud or yours. Supposedly that’s worthy of sharing. Maybe?

Or … maybe it’s the combination of all of it that makes me “uniquely me.”

Thing is … we all have our very own “uniquely me” we can share. That’s the beauty of getting to know peoples’ stories.

Anywho … yes, that’s one of my made-up words … you’re unique, I’m unique, we’re all unique. Be uniquely you, I’ll be uniquely me, and maybe we can share our stories, make each other laugh, and find all of the silver linings together.

And …  since I’m “uniquely me” I’ll write a bit at a time about the things I do on this reluctant couch potato’s many adventures — culinarily and otherwise (for I have an active imagination, love to keep learning new things, and have dreams of Ireland).

Till next time,


Biloxi Zoo

My handsome hubby and I on our first date.



When I was teenager my mum and dad got me a sign to put on my bedroom door that said, “Geniuses Thrive On Clutter.” As a teen, the clutter on my bedroom floor meant you couldn’t walk across it without either breaking something, slipping on something, or almost breaking yourself as you tried to trek from the door to the bed.

The thing is, the clutter wasn’t indicative of “genius” but of the “clutter” that was my thoughts and emotions. I was a bit of a hot mess emotionally after … well trauma that is simply part of my story.

Now when you see clutter in my house (hidden away in the office upstairs or the unfinished basement) it’s indicative of all the ideas, goals, projects and dreams that have gone unfulfilled. As a person with all these … chronic illnesses, trauma, and “disability” … I have lots of ideas that I need help implementing, lots of goals that I started to pursue until my body got in the way, tons of projects I started before I got too fatigued to finish them, and loads of dreams that may or may not ever come to fulfillment.

I’m learning to be okay with that but it involves a lot of grieving for what was and will never be again, what I thought would be and won’t ever come to fruition, and what I still dream of but will most likely have to rethink over and over and over again.

The grieving is somewhat mitigated by SOME of the clutter because it means that when my body is feeling a bit better I can once again pick up where I left off or start something I that’s been on my obnoxiously-long to-do list(s). SOME of the clutter, on the other hand, needs to go away because it’s merely a reminder of what will never be again — but it’s hard to get rid of because to some extent, it’s also a reminder of how kick ass I was and am.

Clutter(ed). It’s not just the office and the basement, it’s also how I feel inside. I feel a tad overwhelmed trying to determine what my body may allow me to do today AND if I do that today then will I be able to do anything tomorrow AND if I can’t do it tomorrow will it then simply be added to the clutter and the feeling of being clutter(ed) AND what of the clutter can I do something about to feel less cluttered AND AND AND …. eek! The what if’s are never ending!

So, as I sit here drinking my pot of coffee and contemplating the nature of my clutter, my never-ending to do list is taking shape in my head and the most pressing things to do are … finish my coffee, brush my teeth, go to physical therapy and contemplate what aspect of my clutter(ed) I may be able to tackle tomorrow if my body allows it. And then I think, maybe I should categorize the various aspects of my clutter(ed) according to the amount of energy it would take (physical, mental, or otherwise … I often lack all of those) and where the clutter is located (do I have to do the stairs or can I reluctantly stay on this couch to do it). And then I think, if I’m going to categorize my clutter(ed) according to energy level required I need to figure out what the various projects and goals are and whether they’re realistic or not. And then I think, I’m too tired to think about this right now, so I should finish my coffee first and contemplate my clutter(ed) afterward with a notebook, pen, and this handy computer at the ready.

And THEN I think, e’gads! my coffee is getting cold! So I finish typing this and upload it quickly, hoping it isn’t too cluttered for anyone who might hazard to read it.

Ouch, I need a new body!

Till next time,




My Trons Hurt


My trons hurt.

I did too much for this chronically ill, disabled, always-struggling body of mine. Thus, I ache EVERYWHERE, from my scalp to my toes.

Saying my “trons” (electrons) hurt has become one of the many ways I communicate to my husband that I will be, quite reluctantly, spending the day on the couch, could lose the ability to speak at any moment, and will most likely need help getting up the stairs and into bed later.

My hair hurts. The space between my toes is irritating me. My bones, joints, muscles, digestive system, and everything else aches. My skin is alive and everything touching it is registered. The seams in my clothes are painful. The strands of hair touching my face tickle and can only be relieved by scratching my skin where they’ve touched. I’m nauseous, my eyes are burning, and my head feels slightly like I’m under water.

The best way to deal with this is to rest — I hate resting and I’m not very good at it. I’m a person of activity, movement, drive, persistence, determination — stuck in a body that bends in ways it shouldn’t, shuts down to the point that taking a breath is exhausting, resembles a stroke victim whenever it feels like it, and fails me in more ways than is socially acceptable to speak about.

The other best ways to deal with this silly body is to have a good sense of humor (thus the “trons”) and to live thankfully.

For instance, I’m thankful I have this computer to speak into, a cuddly puppy on the couch next to me, my dear friend Harry Potter keeping me company on the tele, and a large supply of coffee always at the ready. I’m thankful that I have a loving husband who will laugh along with me, will help me up the stairs later today, and understands that I’m doing the best I can with what energy I can muster. I’m thankful to have family and friends I can call, when I’m able to talk, who love me in spite of the fact that I may not be able to communicate with them for weeks on end. I’m thankful that on my good days my legs and arms and ability to swallow function decently well. I’m thankful that my mom taught me at an early age the hard truth about life not being fair and that it pays to have a good sense of humor.

So … what did I do yesterday that is now consigning me to this couch? I did a bit of laundry, cooked one meal, and emptied the dishwasher. And today I did myself in by daring to take a shower — where I skipped the unnecessary steps of conditioning my hair or shaving my legs. (Confession — I’ve given up shaving my legs because taking a shower, even with a shower chair, is so exhausting that I frequently need a nap afterward.)

So … be thankful when your trons don’t hurt, when your legs work, when your eyes aren’t going wonky, when your skin isn’t crying out, when you have the ability to speak, when the skin between your toes isn’t a conscious thought, when your scalp isn’t in pain, when your body isn’t failing you in socially-unacceptable ways. Be thankful for the little things, the things you take for granted, the things you don’t think to be thankful for.

I used to be able — able to do so many things I’m no longer able to do. My life has become very small, very uncluttered, very …. different from what I expected, dreamed of, hoped for, and from what it used to be.

BUT … that’s not a terrible thing. There’s much I’ve learned because my body fails in a number of ways.

However, as my trons hurt and I’m incredibly fatigued, that will have to be a topic for another day. I’ll even let you in on why I’ve “disappeared” from life this past year, given up social media, failed to update this blog in quite a long time, and am being very careful in whom I let into my small world.

With that said, thanks for reading this far. I hope you are able to find something to laugh about today, something to be thankful for in spite of whatever trials you are facing, and something that makes you reflect on what you may be learning because of what you’re going through.

May you find joy in the midst of pain.

Till next time,



“That Day” Changed My Life


We all have certain days in our lives which we can point back to and say, “That was the day my life changed.”

For those of us who have lived a bit longer we may have more than one day we can point back to as “that day.” Some of the days are happy occasions, such as: the day we met our spouse, or had a baby, or got a new job, or changed spiritually. On the other hand, some of our “that days” are the ones where our spouse died, or we lost a child, or we lost our job, or we were injured in war, or we found out we had cancer.

One of my “days that changed my life” happened twelve years ago to the day. It was a horrible, life-altering, heart-breaking, physically-damaging, unforgettable day.

The full details are unnecessary, but some of them help bring perspective. My “that day” involved my now-ex-husband, a can of pepper spray, broken doors, a bathroom floor, and the side of a tub. It involved trauma to my head, neck, spine, and right arm. It involved hiding what happened from friends and family, lying about it to the doctor (whom I waited a few days to see), and a cover-up by my in-laws. In other words, it was not an atypical experience for a battered wife.

Twelve years later I can look back and pinpoint it as the day that my body took a beating from which I will never fully recover. It was the day that led to my first brain surgery, which led to my second brain surgery, which may not be my last brain surgery. It was the day that eventually led to me having a metal plate in my right arm and a titanium mesh plate in my skull. But, more importantly, it was the day that led to me feeling like God hated me, abandoned me, and wanted nothing to do with me.

After “that day”, life was never the same physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally, or spiritually. It was a definite turning point in my life and I will forever remember it as an infamous day.


Twelve years later instead of focusing on what “that day” was like, I find myself (at least trying to) focus on the blessings God has brought into my life.

I have a loving husband, two cuddly fur-babies, a house that acts as a place of rest for people, seminary homework I get to do, two coffee makers (at least) to keep me caffeinated, a love for God that has changed my life, the ability to forgive and move on, great doctors who are helping me to have a better quality of life, a number of fantastic girlfriends I can both laugh with and cry with, an eternal perspective, and a much different way of thinking about myself.

“That day” I was battered both physically and verbally. I was told things about myself that were utter lies; the type of things that come straight from the father of lies and are spoken over many battered wives.


Twelve years later, I “KNOW the truth, and the truth [has] set me free” (John 8:32); I “trust 1387052194097in the Lord with all [my] heart, and lean not on [my] own understanding; [I try to] in all [my ways] acknowledge Him, And He direct[s my] path” (Proverbs 3:5-6]; and I KNOW “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the person of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). I also KNOW that I am a child of God (John 1:12), that I was chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit (John 15:16), that I am a temple—a dwelling place–of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), that His Spirit and His life dwell in me (1 Corinthians 6:19), that I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9-10), and so many more truths which are found in Scripture.


Although it would be nice to not be neurologically deficient and physically disabled, I am thankful for the Truth and the blessings God has brought into my life since, and because of, “that day.” God has taught me the power of forgiveness, the hope of an eternal perspective, the encouragement to be found in Him, the joy of the Lord that is my strength, and to only set my hope on Him.

My question to you is, “What have you learned since your ‘that day’?”

Stay encouraged, for the Truth will set you free and even bad “that days” can be redeemed!

Lici Joy, the coffee-guzzling-truth-telling-joy-finding-polka-dot-fanatic

You’re Not Invited, Childless-Woman


Dealing with feelings of unintentional-rejection. The unintentionally-forgotten barren, childless, women.

Babies. Babies. Everywhere. Surrounded by babies! Precious babies! ….. None of them mine.

Mothers. Mothers. Everywhere. Surrounded by Mothers! Precious mothers! …… None of them me.

As far back as creation, most women have been mothers…..But not me.

Being a mother is precious, difficult, rewarding, demanding, joyous, exhausting, ….. and a privilege.

To all the mothers out there,

First off, I love you and cherish you. This letter is a bit raw, as my heart is still hurting.

Thank you for being a mother. Thank you for taking time to love your babies. Thank you for lovingly raising them to be the amazing adults you know they can be. Thank you for occasionally sharing them with those of us who do not have our own. The hug of a child melts even the hardest of hearts. Their smile can bring a glimmer of joy and sunshine into a dreary day. Their laughter can fill the air with an energy that may exhaust a mom, but energize those of us who do not have our own.

I love being an aunt. Whether by genetics, or by choice, I relish being the fun aunt. The aunt that hugs and plays and prays and spoils and teaches and doesn’t mind the messes. My Sunday is made complete when your little people run up to me with a huge smile on their faces, throw their arms around me, and joyously exclaim, “Lici!” Thank you, dear friends, for allowing me to love your little ones.

As much as I love cherishing your babies, I feel unintentionally-forgotten and rejected because I do not have my own. Remember, dear mothers, that there are many of us who cannot have children of our own, and adoption is not an option either. Many of us mourn this fact of our lives. Remember to see us for more than what we don’t have….children of our own. Remember that we want to be included too. Yes, some choose not to have children because they don’t really understand children. But there are those of us, who would love littles of our own to hug, to cry with, to have to get up a million times a night with, to raise, to celebrate with, to need to discipline, to need to clean up after…..

As a childless woman I feel invisible to you. Often the only time I feel visible is when something is needed of me. When I’m not needed, I’m tucked away into the recesses of a long-forgotten closet. The sad thing is that I know there are many others like me. We don’t fit. We are seen as not understanding. Maybe we can’t understand all of it, but you don’t understand all of our stuff either. Remember, we are women who need love and relationship just as much as you. Maybe even more since we don’t get our prescribed eight hugs per day. We’re sitting in our homes, our cubicles, our backyards….often by ourselves. Many of us are lonely.

I love my mom friends! You are precious and highly treasured.

Please forgive me for the hurt that is currently in my heart. I am, and we are, us childless women, ….

We are the invisible. The unintentionally-forgotten. The unintentionally rejected. We are The Barren.


One Childless Woman

You are more than the things this world says defines you.

You are more than the things this world says defines you.

To my Childless Friends,

So what kinds of things do I remind myself of when once again I see I was not remembered, or maybe not wanted, by the people I so wish I was a part of, eh?

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (NET).

I may not have children, or be invited to visit with the moms, but God has called me to be part of His chosen people, He has given me the task of proclaiming His name among the nations, and He has invited me out of the darkness to join Him in the light.

Isaiah 49:15-16, “Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? Even if mothers were to forget, I could never forget you! Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms; your walls are constantly before me” (NET).

I may not be remembered by the people I would like to be remembered by, but God will never forget me or reject me. My name is inscribed on His hand. I am ever before Him and He ever before me.

And…..Romans 8:1-2, 16-18; Psalm 27:10; Psalm 103:2-6; Deuteronomy 31:6; John 14:1-3; ……and especially Isaiah 54:1-17 (ESV).

54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;

break forth into singing and cry aloud,

you who have not been in labor.

For the children of the desolate one will be more

than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.

2     “Enlarge the place of your tent,

and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;

do not hold back; lengthen your cords

and strengthen your stakes.

3     For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,

and your offspring will possess the nations

and will people the desolate cities……


13     All your children shall be taught by the Lord,

and great shall be the peace of your children.


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Is 54:1–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

When my heart is hurting because I feel unintentionally forgotten and rejected, I remind myself of what God says instead of what my head says. I remember His words and not the words of this world. I turn to the truth of Scripture. I may not have biological children of my own and I may not be remembered by those who do, but God will give me spiritual children. He always accepts me. He remembers me.

I also remind myself that we all unintentionally hurt people. We let people down because we don’t know the things God knows. I am no different. I let people down, forget them, and unintentionally hurt them. For that, I apologize and seek your forgiveness.

So if you have children, remember those of us who are childless. Include us and love us. And, if you have no children to call your own, open your heart to loving other people’s children. God will give you spiritual children, …. if you let Him.

Stay encouraged, for God always remembers you, always loves you, always accepts you!

~Lici Joy, the coffee-guzzling-truth-telling-joy-finding-polka-dot-fanatic

What I’d Like To Write About….But Don’t


It’s one a.m. and I should be asleep.

After all, six a.m. and hungry fur-babies are just around the corner. God must have implanted an internal time clock in all of creation, because my fur-babies alert me when it’s six a.m.

For those of you who don’t know who my fur-babies are….here’s a picture of Dorothy “Dotty” Joy Manship and Tinkerbell “Tink” Charlene Manship (yes, they have middle names 😉


Tinkerbell “Tink” Charlene (the big one) and Dorothy “Dotty” Joy (the little one). I love my fur-babies! They keep me sane 😉

With the minutes ticking by, my mind won’t let me sleep. Ever have those nights?

In case you missed it, that was a rhetorical question 😉 We all have sleepless nights when our minds won’t shut off.

Then again, I dated someone years ago who told me men have a “nothing button” behind their right ear. All they need to do is touch that spot and they’re off to dreamland.

I often wish I had one of the “nothing buttons,” but, alas, God did not create me with one.

So here’s the thing…..

Every day I think of something I need to write about. But then the end of the day comes and I haven’t written it.

I add it to a list of things I should write about, but the list only continues to grow.

It’s one of those lists that is made for the sake of a list. Or, at least, that is what it has become.

There’s always adding and never subtracting. And so the list grows.

So, since I’m not really writing about anything, but yet I am, here are some random things on my mind right now….the things God is walking me through and teaching me.

(1) Although my father and I have not gotten along very well for—oh, about thirty-six years—it scared me when he was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago with heart problems (again). As much as we rub each other the wrong way, I love him and he’s my dad. No one wants to lose a parent. (Well, maybe some do if their parent is terrible. Mine’s just “complicated” and I love him.) …. I would love to write about relationships between adults and their parents. About how to deal with your parents’ drama. About how to continue loving someone even when it’s difficult. About not giving up on people….even if it’s thirty-six years and counting. About honoring your mother and father, and what that looks like as an adult. (I realize my dad may read this. I love him dearly, but he knows we seem to frustrate each other. Truth be told though, that is getting better with time as we both grow in wisdom and grace.)

(2) My mom is also on my mind. She is one of my human superheroes. She started doing in-home daycare before I was born. I am now thirty-six years old and she just retired three weeks ago!!! Her mornings often started before six a.m. with prep; children showing up anytime after six a.m. so their parents could get to work on time; then the kids wouldn’t leave until five-thirty or six p.m.; after which she still had clean-up to do, paperwork the government mandated, a family to feed, errands to runs, Bible study homework to get done, us crazy kids (three of us) to run around, help with our homework, make certain we got to bed on time, prep for the next day…..and on and on and on! And guess what?! None of us died! We have all of our limbs! Granted the work took a toll on her, but she is the rock of our family. I want her to enjoy her retirement. She has earned it and needs it. I would love for her to be able to travel to visit us, to be able to read all the books she wants to read, to go visit friends for “just becauses,” and to see her grandchildren. But, she is going blind and soon her life will be much different. I think about that a lot. I love her to pieces and I hate that she is losing her sight. …… I would love to write about our real human superheroes. About moms who just keep going and going and going. About knowing for years that your mother is slowly going blind and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. About growing up in a crazy daycare house. About all the amazing lessons I learned from her and from all the children who have passed through my life.

(3) I think about my husband. He’s sleeping in the other room as I type this. He works really hard at a his job and by the time he comes home he has no energy left. Yet, he feeds the fur-babies in the evenings. (The smell of their night-time food makes me nauseous–and NO! I am not pregnant, just sensitive to smells.) He also often cooks dinner, because by the time the evening rolls around I’m too tired to cook. When I say too tired, I mean my body is shutting down and I’m literally a danger in the kitchen. He does so much for me and makes sure to tell me he “loves me” at least once a day. Our marriage is not perfect. We have a lot of work to do on it. But, I love him so terribly much and I want to see the best for him. ….. I would love to write about husbands who do the little things. About husbands who work at jobs that take all their energy. About how to honor your husband. About how to better love your husband. About how I often fail him in one way or another. About how in life we all fail each other at one time or another. About brokenness and healing in relationships. About remarriage after a painful divorce. About being a military wife. About being proud of my husband and all the sacrifices he has made, and continues to make, for our country. About loving the boy I thought was cute at twelve, the bees knees at seventeen, a goofy looking guy at thirty, and my handsome man at thirty-six. (Yes, he was looking a bit goofy when I first saw him after years of being apart.) About love stories and finding someone after years of losing them. About wishing you had more time, and wanting to make the most of what you have. And, yet, not quite being able to grasp that “most.”

(4) I think about my friends, my extended family, my neighbors, our country, the world, all the poor and hurting, all the orphans and widows, about the people being martyred for their faith, about how in all of the craziness….God is there! I would love to write about how I see God in the big things and in the small things and in the in-between things and in the hurts and pains and joys and celebrations ….. About how God is both transcendent and imminent. About how He created everything with glorious purpose. About how focusing on who He says we are, changes our lives. About how the atoning work His Son, Jesus, did on the cross has the power to wipe away our sins as far as the east is from the west. About how “owning” that truth and living in it brings such freedom and joy. About how He is my everything!

(5) I think about the things God has called me to. He has called me to be a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a neighbor, a friend, a community member, …. He has called me to be someone who knows what it is to suffer. He allowed me to be born with a chiari malformation, to go through two brain surgeries, to experience being bullied and abused, to live in hiding for awhile, to go through bankruptcy, to survive domestic violence, to almost commit suicide, ….. and in all of it, to be able to find a sense of thankfulness and joy. I would love to write about perspective. About living through difficult things and being able to learn the hard lessons on the other side of it. About how God uses all the details of our lives for His glorious purpose. About how He doesn’t want to see us hurt, but that it is something that He allows to grow our character, to discipline us, to show us He loves us. About having bad days and getting back up the next. About so much more!

In the end, I want to write. I want to share what God has taught me and is teaching me. I want to write about the deeper things of God. I want to write about the economy of God and how we are each a part of it. I want to write about how much He loves you! I want to write to encourage, to inform, to build up, to rebuke, to train, to equip….

It is 1:49 now, and I’m finally getting tired. I think I needed to purge my mind of some of the things that are weighing on it.

Please know this, I have the joy of the Lord! He is my peace that passes all understanding. In the midst of the mess, He gives me hope. In my natural, He puts His supernatural. In my weakness, He is strong. In all the things I wrote about above, I know He is there. He is never far away, because He is always abiding with me. He is my heart and my song.

And with that….I should call it a night.

Stay encouraged, for God is right there with you. All you need to do is listen.

~Your coffee-guzzling-truth-telling-joy-finding-polka-dot-fanatic, Lici Joy

Reality Check



Recently a few people have said, “I don’t know how you do it every day!”

Truth be told, I don’t do it every day.

The “it” they are referring to is the schedule I (attempt) to keep.

Yes, I love block scheduling, planners, to-do lists, task apps, visual reminders, ……

I schedule out the homework I am going to do; the chores that need to get done; the tasks I need to do for Christian Military Wives Fellowship; the things I’d like to get done for the “Lici Joy Project”; the things I should be getting done for Stonecroft Military Ministry; I even schedule time to spend with my husband.

But…..that doesn’t mean I am able to stick to my schedule.

Reality is…..I have had two brain surgeries, have had my head banged/smashed/knocked too many times to count, my spinal cord was at one time attached to my bone and was bent out of shape, for my entire life I have had (and will have) a chiari malformation, my spinal fluid levels are sometimes a bit wonky, my neurological system goes on the fritz if I get tired, I fall over quite frequently, my husband often has to help me up the stairs (or I crawl up them, or I crawl as he helps me), some days I can’t even take my clothes off to go to bed, I forget to brush my teeth if I don’t have the toothpaste sitting on the counter (and then I still forget), I can take two steps and forget what I was going to do, I say things and have no recollection of saying them, or do things and have no recollection of doing them, I stutter when I’m tired, I often feel like I can’t put together a coherent thought, I constantly have headaches (all sorts….sometime ask me to describe them and you may be surprised at the ways I have found to differentiate them), and the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is the need to let the fur-babies out of their kennel.

Yesterday I got the toothpaste out and put it on the counter.

Then, I brushed my hair and put it up into some sort of messy top-knot.

By the time I was done with that I thought of something I needed to do and forgot to brush my teeth.

When I went to bed I realized the toothpaste was still sitting on the counter….an obvious sign that I forgot to do something.

So yes, I LOVE to-do lists, visual reminders, planners, task apps, and lots of sleep.

Yes, most days I cannot leave the house because that will take all my energy. (No, I am not a shut-in….at least I try to make it to Bible study and Chapel 😉

Yes, I love visitors!

Yes, I have a long list of things I want to accomplish…..

But, I have learned that I cannot accomplish everything on my list(s).

And that is okay.

I do my best and let God take care of the rest.

A good reminder that helps me not feel guilty that I can’t “do it all” comes from Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Why is that an encouragement?

Because….it reminds me that I can do it ALL in His name (even if that means I’m resting on the couch listening to Scripture because I’m too exhausted to sit up and read)…..I can give thanks in ALL things (even if that is when I’m crawling up the stairs to go to bed… least I have stairs in a house in a nice place and a bed to crawl into and a husband who loves me and a God who accepts me even though my body is failing.)

Reality check….I can’t do it all, don’t do it all and am thankful for the days that I remember to brush my teeth 🙂

Be encouraged, for God is an awesome God and worthy to be praised!

~Lici Joy, the coffee-guzzling-truth-telling-joy-finding-polka-dot-fanatic

Two Questions….


For my second official post I have two questions……

Two questions for every Christian wife to ask every day….

One, Do I love God with all of my heart?

Two, Do I love my husband (and others) as myself?

Why those two questions?


When the Pharisees asked Jesus the following question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” ….Jesus said to them, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 23:34-40, ESV, paraphrased.)

If Jesus considered those the two greatest commandments….i.e. rules for us to live by…..then we should make certain that we live by them.

So, Are you loving God with all of your heart?

And, Are you loving your husband (and others) as yourself?

I hope I am!

Be encouraged, for you are loved with an incomparable love!

~Lici Joy, the coffee-guzzling-truth-telling-joy-finding-polka-dot-fanatic

My handsome hubby and I on our first date.

My handsome hubby and I on our first date.