Category Archives: Coffee and Conversation

Where I guzzle coffee and have a “conversation” with my blog readers.

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.



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,




“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


Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV

It’s July 4th, 2015 and I am finally sitting down to write my first official blog post for the “Lici Joy Project.” Maybe after many more cups of coffee I’ll attempt to sit here and explain exactly what the “Lici Joy Project” is and why I made that the title of my blog. Alas, I have only had two bowls of coffee and deep thinking is alluding me today, so until I explain the “Lici Joy Project” you’ll just have to use your imagination, eh.

Today, our nation is celebrating its independence. Each year we celebrate the freedom that was hard won through battle. It is a day of great celebration, of remembering those who have fought and died for us, of eating things that seem patriotic (I’m thinking trays of fruit made to look like the American flag…which sound really yummy right now), a day of fireworks, and a day of being proud of the country we call home.

It occurs to me that as I celebrate being a proud member of the United States, the freedom I should celebrate every day is an even harder fought for and won freedom.

And with that, welcome to my cozy corner where I drink coffee and have a conversation with the unseen blog readers….whoever and wherever you are. Go get a cup of coffee and join me.

You might ask, “What freedom is it that you speak of? What freedom is harder fought and won than our nation’s independence?”

And I might respond…..after two bowls of coffee….

I speak of the freedom of my soul that was hard fought for and won by my Savior, Jesus Christ.

I don’t know about you, but my life has not been easy. It has been plagued with loneliness, depression, trauma, heartbreak, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, disability, addiction of sorts, and even suicidal ideation.

For the longest time I lived in my own self-imposed prison. It was a prison made up of bars of “I was’s”.

I was the victim. I was the one who had a right to be angry. I was the one who did not need to forgive because those who hurt me didn’t seek forgiveness. I was the one who was badly created. I was the one who was suffering. I was the one who could see no point in living this miserable existence they call my life.


I found that there was freedom.

There was freedom in knowing that God made me a conqueror.

There was freedom in seeking peace.

There was freedom in forgiving….even when those who needed to be forgiven had not sought forgiveness.

There was freedom in knowing that God created me just the way I am for His divine purpose.

There was freedom in knowing that Christ, who being in very nature God . . . “did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped, but instead emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8).

Then you could ask, “How does knowing Christ died on a cross give you freedom?”

I could then answer, …..

I know I am not  enough, nor will I ever be enough. I know that I am guilty of all sorts of things. I know that on my own, there is nothing good in or about me. I know that on my own I do not have to strength to forgive. I know that without the peace that comes only from having the Spirit of God alive and active in me I am a frantic-anxious-overburdened-addicted-to-the-things-of-this-world-angry-bitter-depressed-suicidal-sinful-disaster-not-worthy-of-love.

Yep, without the knowledge that Christ died for me; went to hell to bear the burden of my sins; that He took my punishment; that He chose to do this of His own free will; that He conquered the grave; that He rose again; that He sent the Holy Spirit to live in me; that the Holy Spirit has made me His temple; that I am chosen by Him; that I am completely forgiven; that I am free from the eternal consequences of my poor decisions; that I am a child of God; that I am holy and dearly loved; that God has a plan and purpose for my life; that I am a citizen of heaven; that I am FREE because of His sacrifice!….without that knowledge I might as well be dead. (Lots and lots of Scripture references…..)

I am FREE because He set me FREE.

I am FREE because He sent His Spirit to live in me.

I am FREE! (Romans 8:2)


So today, as I celebrate being a citizen of a free country, I also celebrate the freedom that comes from being a citizen of the greatest family that ever was or will be….I am a citizen of His family!

Be encouraged, for there is freedom to be found in Christ!

Lici Joy, The Coffee-Guzzling-Truth-Telling-Joy-Finding-Polka-Dot-Fanatic