STOLEN: Respect & Boundaries

Intentionally Brave


“Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”

I wonder how many of give up amazing for comfortable. I mean, honestly, make a list of things you do in a *normal* day. Why do you do those specific things? Why do you do them the way you do them?

Is it because that’s what and how we always do them? It’s our routine?

Are our routines holding us back from AMAZING?

My word for 2016 was INTENTIONAL. If only I had known what change intentional would bring me.

Intentional made me evaluate some responsibilities I had been living out for several years. I had to honestly reflect on my WHY. It was time to give them up.

Intentional had me applying for admin positions. Intentional made me brave enough to reach outside my inner circle for help. Intentional got me a job in another district.

Intentional had me speak up when I heard of a Career Tech Center job that my husband *might* be qualified for that would solve our residency issue.

I’m a poster child right now for change. Positive change.

In order to embrace change to become innovative, we have to release our hold on fear. We must become intentional is seeking innovative ways to accomplish goals. And most specifically we must push through our intentions especially when we’re afraid.

I’ve heard it said, “We will remain the same until the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change.”

Yeah, it took that being true for me to realize I don’t have to get to the point of miserable to live with intention and be innovative.

I just have to be brave.


This post is in response to the Week 1 Prompt for #IMMOOC book study. To join us go to IMMOOC Live.


the semicolon project

This is a truly authentic glimpse of depression. Depression cannot be seen with the naked eye. I can hide my depression well. You work with people fighting depression, and it’s probably NOT the co-worker that popped into your mind first. You go to church with people fighting depression, Christian people, possibly the most spirit-filled person you know.

Depression is not a respecter of persons. It affects every socioeconomic status, every race, religion, gender, culture, age, anyone.



Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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Compassion Creates Community

Image Credit: Lily’s Creations
The dirty, wild, curses-like-a-sailor-child you look at daily and see only positive qualities in: curiosity, intelligence, energy, desire.

The single mother of three children whom you see as you order breakfast from her at the restaurant in the morning and pay her for your gas at the station on your way home in the evening.

The man you grew up with who won’t even make eye contact with you in the grocery store since he mysteriously stopped coming to church.

The elderly shut-in woman who went out of her way to not only cut you with her words, but spewed her venom loud enough that a crowded room heard it all has recently became a widow.


You see them, too. Don’t you?

Surely I’m not the only one surrounded by people matching not only the above descriptions, but so many more. Hurting people. Broken people. Struggling people. Prideful people. Angry people. Neglected people.

People crying out in the most reclusive or rejective ways for help.


Many people seem to respond to their behavior rather than their pleas for help.

But I look at these people, truly look at them, and try to see the world, myself, as it must appear from their perspective.

And I see a reflection of myself, not in what they see, but in they eye I’m looking out of. I have been each of those individuals in one way or another. I have cried out in all the wrong ways for help.

All I ever wanted was someone to push back against my boundaries and do something to help me. Something. Anything.

And I wonder, when I hear people tell me not to get involved, to mind my own business. What has happened to the our feet of compassion?

Can we really stand by and watch as our fellow brothers and sisters struggle just to make it through another moment, let alone another day?


What if I carry their groceries out? Am I lifting one small burden of their almost broken back?

What if I drop off one of MY bags of groceries on their front porch with a note of encouragement?

What if I simply look him in the eye, stretch out my hand, and honestly tell him how much I’ve missed talking to him?

What if I volunteer to mentor that child? Pick them up once a week or so just to do something they would like to do. Maybe even offer to wash their clothes while we hang out.

What if I give the zoo family pass I have to the waitress? Will a day out with her kids that has no price tag attached help her create memories?

What if I pick up the shut-in widow for church next Sunday? Can I set down my pride to relieve some of her pain?

I can do any one of those things without sacrificing much time or money. Yet the impact of the gesture would echo around my community.

Compassion freely given or stingily withheld creates the community we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.

We can choose not to get involved and mind our business by doing nothing, or we can choose to get involved and mind our own business by showing compassion to those God places in our path.

View the other #1000Speaks posts on compassion HERE.

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February Bloglovin’ Blog Hop

Join the February Bloglovin’ Blog Hop here! I’m still paying forward the blog love!

Leave me a comment with the # of your blog and I’ll give you at least one extra social media shout out! 😀

Leave me a comment with the # of the favorite blog you READ on the list and I’ll give you AND that blog at least one extra social media shout out! 🙂

Co-Host Carrie

Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up
Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up


Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up
1, Please follow your host and co-hosts.
2. Add your link directly to your Bloglovin’ profile in the linky. You will need to manually upload your profile photo.
3, Visit and follow at least 2-3 other bloggers.
4. Tweet and share this hop! 
Bloglovin Blog Hop Happy kids Inc Blogging link up

Happy Kids, Inc.

Beautifully Broken

At the end of the sermon Sunday, a video was played showing several people engrossed in their electronic devices while life was going on around them. One of the images was a proposal taking place in front of a sunset.

For some reason the image reminded me of vacation.

Typically our family takes a beach vacation. I sit under an umbrella and read book after book for a week or more while the rest of the family scavenges for shells, shark’s teeth, sea glass, sand dollars, and various other treasures. Every so often I will join them in the water to cool down a bit, but I never stay too long for fear of burning.

Vacation is my chance to catch up on recreational reading that I don’t get to do much of during the rest of the year. Some years I have read as many as twenty novels while lying on the beach under an umbrella.

This year my teenagers started making comments about me reading months before we packed for our dream trip to Sanibel Island. They weren’t being mean, simply dreaming out loud what vacation would look like for all of us.

However, it kind of hurt my feelings that they were counting me out of their plans. They had already decided that I would sit in one spot, babysit our belongings, and read by myself while they did all the things we had been talking and dreaming about since they had been in elementary.

Not this year. I thought. This year I’m going to do everything everyone else does. I’m not going to be holder of the stuff. I’m not going to be the responsible one, the good behavior example. We only have a couple summer vacations left before they leave for college. Who knows if we’ll ever travel as a family again after that. I’m going to participate. Not watch.

When it came time to pack, I didn’t include any physical books. I didn’t download any e-books onto my Kindle. I didn’t even grab a magazine for the road. And I didn’t say a word about what I wasn’t doing to anyone else.

When we headed to the beach on day two, no one even packed chairs down the path. If mom wasn’t sitting in them, no one else would feel a need to go keep her company every so often.

All three members of my family had found extremely unique, amazing shells within a day or two of combing the beach. I spent pretty much the entire time on the beach searching for my something special, and hadn’t found anything worth showing off.

After being excited for one of their umpteenth awesome finds, I found myself sitting in the sand digging through an enormous pile of shells, frustrated, discouraged, disappointed, and just a wee bit jealous.

God, out of everything out here, I just want to find ONE special thing. I don’t need to find tons, but I’d like to take ONE thing home that I can say I found. One special shell that is whole. No missing pieces. No brokenness. One perfect, special shell just for me.

And when I looked back down at the pile of shells in front of me, all I saw was the same pile of shells that was there before I prayed.

It wasn’t long after that when I rose to take the daily sunset picture. Sunset on Bowman’s Beach was the daily highlight. We made sure we were present for God’s nightly light show. Every night was something different.

As I struggled to frame my shots of the sun melting into the ocean around all of the other attendees, I again became frustrated.

Just one perfect shot! If only those people would move! They are intruding on my view of your show, God.

It was in that moment I finally heard what God had been trying to say and my eyes filled with tears as I realized what I had been doing.

I wasn’t looking for special; I was looking for perfection. I was totally missing the special in my search for something that doesn’t exist outside of God.

Carrie, I created each of those people and each of those shells. They are all absolutely special and perfect. You’re looking at the wrong things. Of course they’re missing pieces, cracked, broken, and discolored. They’ve weathered the storms of life. Been battered by an uneven, rocky ground. They’ve been out their depths and totally washed up. And they are beautiful. Stop looking for perfection and see the beauty that is within each one.

Immediately I was humbled and had an entire new outlook on the images before me. Handcrafted by God. And He knew not only every individual chip, crack, broken piece, and hole, but He also knew the events that caused each imperfection to exist.

I wonder how often we get caught up in perfection that we miss the beauty God has placed right in front of our faces. See, I put down my electronic devices and books, and I still almost missed it. I spent most of my time searching for something that wasn’t even what God had prepared for me.

Has God placed any beautiful broken things in front of you this week? Are you trying to fix them or are you simple loving them as God’s creation?

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The Deliberate Mom