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

Co-Hosting Week #3 of Chain Linky CLIMB Party

Remember when we were kids and we tried to climb EVERYTHING? Join us this week as we CLIMB from blog post to blog post! 

God’s Growing Garden

Share your posts and share other’s blog posts!We’ll have a great time swinging around from post to post!!!

If you read this blog post and join the CLIMB, please leave me a comment so I can make sure to give you an extra shout out on social media!!!

Co-Host Carrie

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God’s Growing GardenGod’s Growing Garden

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It’s the month long Networking Blog Hop 

Networking means helping each other grow!!  If you want to promote a CLIMB link, then use #ChainLinkyCLIMB on Twitter or Google+ so that we can all help each other grow!

Here’s how the Giveaway & Co-hosting works – the co-hosts from the previous month’s CLIMB will have the opportunity to participate in a Giveaway during the next CLIMB – that gives co-hosts 2 months in a row of blog growing fun!!  (If you would like to co-host please sign up at the end of this post using the last “Linky”)

Also, our CLIMB GIVEAWAY! Please enter below -one person will win:

– $20 Paypal cash from Sew Crafty Angel & from Cuddlebug Cuties 
– 1 Ad Space on A Peek Into My Paradise – $30 value

– 1 Monthly Ad Space on God’s Growing Garden – $15 value

– A gorgeous Necklace with natural raw marble beachstone by ShorelineDesigned – $20 value

 photo CindyFebruary2_zpsyioj9vr2.jpg
Marvelous Marble – Natural Raw Marble Beachstone from Lake Michigan, Black Waxed Cotton Cord, White Recycled Glass Krobo Bead Unisex Necklace“Simple and elegant Stone. Glass. Fiber.  I have found and drilled this Lake Michigan raw black and white marble beachstone, hand drilled a 5 mm hole, hand strung it onto a quality waxed cotton cord and topped it with an ice-white recycled glass Krobo artisan bead.  This unisex necklace can be worn long as is – perhaps for layering with others, or you may snip and re-knot the cord to your liking.  As is, the necklace as tied will hang a long and leisurely 27 inches including the 2 inch glass and stone pendant.”

by ShorelineDesigned

Total prize value is $85!!

CLIMB Giveaway Rules & Conditions: – this is open worldwide (void where prohibited)

– You must be 18 years or older to enter 

– You MUST have a blog to win the Ad spaces (otherwise these will become a second place prizes)

– You must live in the lower 48 of the United States to win the Necklace (otherwise this will become  second place prizes)

– You MUST have a valid PayPal account to win the Paypal Cash (otherwise this will become a second place prizes)

– This Giveaway is open from January 31st, 2015 until February 28th, 2015

– Winner must respond to email within 48 hours or a different winner will be chosen

– Giveaway Hosts & Co-hosts can NOT enter this Giveaway!, however – FEBRUARY 2015 CLIMB blog hop co-hosts ARE allowed to enter this Giveaway (provided they are not also part of the Giveaway)

– correspondence is done through email and the winner’s email addresses will only be used to deliver or set-up e-prizes.  Email addresses will NEVER be sold or shared.
– All prizes will be delivered by the contributing Bloggers/Shop Owners.
– if you have any questions or concerns about this Giveaway please email one of the hosts:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now onto the CLIMB (blog hop):We have changed it up a bit – instead of linking your homepage you may now link up to 4 of your family friendly blog posts per month!!


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By participating in this blog hop your understand that your link might be featured &/or promoted on our blogs & social media.  Also, by participating in this blog hop your email address will be added to our CLIMB list & you will be sent an email reminder next month. 

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Remember – If you co-host you will receive a free Weekly Sidebar Ad and your blog button will appear on both Angie’s blog & Angel’s blog!!

(The Ad will run live a few weeks after you have co-hosted)

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Love–Don’t Panic

If we were having coffee, it would have to be later in the day this weekend. I’m tired. Exhausted, really.

Sometimes I can plan and prepare for this type of physical and emotion attacking week, but this one I felt I was totally prepared for.


I wouldn’t say anything bad happened, but when you hit survival mode by 8:15 on Monday morning, well, it gives you an inkling of what’s coming.

So, I did what all overwhelmed, panic attack looming, over-time employed, mothers of teenagers do when they find themselves hanging on by a thread.

I drank more coffee, ate more sugar, got up earlier, stayed up later, and made sure to spend a bit of time doing things for me. I left work when everything wasn’t quite finished. I read a book that I have a book review coming due on. I went and watched a movie. I had dinner.

Yeah. I’m a party animal!

At one point during the week I could feel the panic attack coming on. My breathing pattern was changing. My eyes were expanding in my head. My thoughts were racing.

This is new for me. Recognizing the symptoms before they get too far.

So, I shot my hubby a quick e-mail at the break.

I’m feeling a little overwhelmed today. Tears…panic attack pending…

And in less than two minutes I got an e-mail back.

That stinks! I love you anyways 😉

Um, who wouldn’t stop and smile at that reply?

Take a deep breath. Assess the situation. Nothing terrible is happening today. What do you need to do right now? One thing. Not everything. Do that.

Yes, I still went home exhausted. Wore out. Feeling emotionally wiped out. But with one quick e-mail response, the full-blown panic attack was averted.

What do you do when you get overwhelmed? Can you recognize the symptoms of impending meltdown?

Do you need someone to strategize with you? Talk you down? Or just remind you that you are loved?

Do you have to withdraw from everyone even if that means leaving work or your own family immediately?

I’d love to hear what others do. I will need to find some other strategies as my husband will soon be released to return to work and won’t be able to respond to me immediately for much longer.

Let’s Go to the Hop! The Valentine’s Day Hop!

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! 

I’d love to help you grow your blog love this week, so join us in the Valentine’s Day edition of the Bloglovin’ Blog Hop! I read some AMAZING posts from our contributors last week, and can’t wait to visit all your blogs this week!

Share love with your friends and invite them to hop with us!

I’d also like to encourage everyone to try to leave at least one person you don’t already know on the hop some comment love, repost their blog on Twitter, and share your favorite post from someone else on your Facebook page. You’ll be surprised by the love you’ll receive in return!

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.