Bonding Power

I’ve spent the last 10 days organizing my crafting castle. This is an annual tradition. After the busyness of the season and glitter spreading mess, I have to take inventory. I have to shop the after Christmas sales and prepare for the next year. I have restocked. I am ready.

Christmas morning, I received a special gift from my mom. You must know that all of my decorating skill is inherited straight from her genes. She is genius. This year, she made me a custom crafting belt. A tool belt of awesomeness, it holds everything from wire cutters to zip ties – all with personalized leopard print fur so as not to be lost or stolen. Did I mention that she is genius? This along with my prized cordless glue gun makes me a crafting force to be reckoned with.

I love a glue gun. Glue guns are truly the best tool. Aside from the damaging burns, they are one of the single greatest inventions of the 20th century. Confession time, I have more than a dozen. Yes. I have small ones, big ones, mostly cheap ones, a few nice ones 23627-1060-1-3ww-land one that is the Cadillac of glue guns. All great things can be made and repaired with the magic of hot glue. I have even taken a hem with my glue gun. Boss.

I think the world needs more glue gun artists. It’s quite possible that my affinity for the glue gun is rooted in the fact that I thrive in crisis. In a moment of immediate need, I jump in with both feet. I move to action, and with the power of hot glue, I affix myself to the task at hand. I attach myself to learning and study and knowledge. I use all of the power of my brain, my obnoxious question asker and my big mouth to get up in the business at hand.

2019 is already off to a wild start. My dad has already competed his first hospital stay with a new dimension to his care. Friends are fearing the unknown of the government shutdown. Others are trying to stay engaged in their call to justice when our world seems so very unjust. We are 8 days in, and I have been in glue gun mode literally and figuratively on multiple fronts.

It was just today that I took the time to put away my box of Christmas gifts. I was re-acquainted with my craft belt and excited to put her to good use. But there was another gift, as well. One that you will see daily on my wrist as a reminder to my soul. My mom gave img_8038-1.jpegme a bracelet. It reads “love is stronger than hot glue.’ My mom gets me. On so many fronts, I would like to think that the power and the punch of my glue gun can hold all things together. But there is a bigger weapon at our disposal. One that is messy and asks for sacrifice. One that is at times inconvenient and yet so very precious. And for the people that we would walk through life beside, we need measure upon measure of this bonding agent: love.

I need this reminder – today and next week and forever. For the times that I’m tired and angry and emotionally spent. For the times when I want to let go, but I can’t, because I have been given a glimpse of what it is like to live from a place that is more powerful than my favorite adhesive. So for today, I’m choosing to love in big and impractical ways so that others may see the strength of love.


A Not So Gentle Reminder

I went to a high school soccer game today. By all accounts, this is a normal thing for a parent with high school aged kids to do. I can honestly say, I’m not sure that I had ever attended one before, and other than the fact it was SO cold, I enjoyed myself. I love watching sports. While soccer is not a first love, seeing people I adore enjoy their favorite  sport was so fun. The game was on the field at a local high school that is just miles from my house.

Something strange happened as I arrived at the school. I had a lump in my throat and I had to swallow hard to prevent it from coming out as tears. I pulled into the parking lot and as I found the location of the game and parked the car, my pulse quickened. I walked across the field – trying to focus on the game already underway – but my attention was torn by my racing thoughts.

The game was at Santa Fe High School. The soccer field where I watched the game was the field that I had watched on the news almost seven months ago. The rear of the school, just feet from where I sat, was the spot where law enforcement staged to secure the scene. 10 dead, 13 more wounded.

I have not been able to shake my feelings all day. I was there for a fun, for a first game of a new soccer season. My 16-year-old was excited to cheer on her boyfriend’s team. My younger daughter was along for the ride to see what high school sports were all about. We cheered. We laughed. But something just felt off to me. On May 18th, kids were arriving to finish the school year. Others were preparing to take an AP test. It was a normal day. Until it wasn’t.img_4410

And nothing has been the same since. All around town, Santa Fe Strong signs stand. There are memorial flowers in front of the school. 10 families just experienced their first Christmas without their loved ones. Life forever changed that day. Yet we have gone on. We went on summer vacations. We shopped for back to school clothes. We had Thanksgiving dinner.

So my challenge to you, especially my local friends, is to drive by Santa Fe High School in the coming weeks. Choose to remember, and not forget that day. We have so much work to do in the name of compassion and hope and justice and reconciliation. May the events of that day reignite your passion to make this world a better place. And should your compass be pointed in the direction of anti-bullying or mental health or gun reform, please don’t be like me and let your passion wain because a little time has passed. Our world, and especially our kids, need us.

My Word of the Year

I just reread the post that explained my journey to picking a word for the year. If you are new to my blog, I share last year’s post with you to explain the process. I take this selection very seriously. For the past few years, I have had a piece of jewelry made with my word. You know you have encountered me on a particularly hard day if you notice that I have ‘wholeness’ AND ‘journey’ on my wrist and ‘gratitude’ around my neck. The strength that I find in the intention is purposeful and prayerful.

As I reflected on the journey of 2018, I was once again amazed. In some instances, this beautiful dance of life has been so plentiful. Both of my girls have blossomed and healed in some key areas this year. It has, however, been an incredible year of change for my parents (and therefore in many ways for us as children). With my dad in end stage renal disease, I learned an entirely new medical field as he tried one type and then settled into the rhythm of another form of dialysis. They also sold their house and moved to a senior living community. Some days, this journey was so very hard. Others, I marveled at their amazing tenacity and bravery to fight for every quality day. The other big journey of 2018 was my own bizarre medical situations. In the last 6 months, I have had two surgeries and two more unplanned medical hiccups. My body is still healing and the journey of next steps is unknown in some realms, but I’m beyond grateful for my ability to seek and receive the care I need. That privilege was not lost on me in 2018.

We are one hour from the turn to 2019 in Texas, so it is now time to move into the next season. As usual, I have spent many of my Advent prayers meditating on the word that will guide my heart this year. I thought I had decided on a word, but it was completely confirmed as I began to reflect in week 3 of my Advent writings. Welcome to JOY:2019. It all became abundantly clear when I pounded out the words on my keyboard for day 2.

I did not have to do anything. I did not have to change anything. I didn’t even have to pray more or eat better or clean up my mouth. In the breath of my creation, God provided me with all that I needed for joy. Joy is not circumstantial. Joy is not moody. Joy is found in realizing that by trusting in God, All Knowing, we have a one of a kind assurance embedded in our being.

Sure, I want to experience a little bit of the human glee that most use to define this three letter word, but the JOY that I am longing for this year is the recognition that in my Creator, I am wired for a ok-ness that far exceeds happy and cheerfulness. Because, friends, lets face it. 2019 will not be all lovelies. There will be pain and sorrow and heartache and illness and loss. My 44 previous New Year’s tell me that these things are coming. And, lord help, I cannot pretend that those things do not wear on the deepest and most tender roots of my being. What I long for in this year, my year of JOY, is a daily reminder of the miraculous presence of the wonder and treasure that I am to the Divine. And in that reminder, I pray that whatever happens in the year ahead, my heart will know that I am deeply, deeply loved. May that love, God’s love, be the JOY of 2019.