The Giver

The Giver is a wonderful book. It’s a must read for kids and parents alike. 

I remember when it was part of the curriculum for our 5th grade class (at least I think it was 5th grade?).

A few years ago, The Giver was adapted into a movie and it really does the book justice. 

What intrigues me most about the story is how it approaches history and its affect on community. 

A world without color, without memory of the past, is unfathomable to me. 

A world without deep feelings and emotions sounds like a great idea, but it strips us of what it means to be human. 

These are not easy topics for a young adult fiction book to tackle!

Lois Lowry’s ability as an author to talk about tough, complex issues in a way that kids can understand amazes me. 

To watch Jonas, filled with the hopeful optimism of youth, bring history back to his world was an exciting journey to see on screen–just as much as it was to read!

I highly recommend the book and the movie. Just be prepared afterwards to think about the world and your part in it. 

I walked away with the same sense of awe after reading the book as I did when I watched the movie. 


The gift of empathy

7-christmas-tree-backgroundI bumped into a bad memory last night. It happens from time to time….

I allowed myself to think back to the people involved, the events of the evening, and the décor of the room.

The emotions were strong and I found myself gasping for breath. I was choking–trapped–in the moment and all I wanted to do was run out the door.

I’m sharing this story with you because I learned something in the process:

You can deconstruct the past, face the truth, and then move on.

The reason people remain stuck in the past is that they never learn how to see it from a place of freedom.

I am free from the pain, shame, and guilt of my past. (Notice that I didn’t say sadness of my past. It’s not possible to remove the sadness.)

With time and a year of counseling, I stopped seeing my past as a bully that’s holding my present hostage and casting a shadow over my future.

I can now face up to the memories instead of running from them.

Christmas will be here in 3 days and Facebook posts are already warning us to be sensitive to the hurts and pains of others.

No one can have a good Christmas (and don’t even think of sharing your joy online) because hurting people will be scrolling through their newsfeeds.

This kind of attitude is detrimental.

Even if everyone didn’t share about their holidays, there would still be hurt in the world.

There is nothing sympathetic about making others feel guilty. Likewise, there is nothing empathetic about walking around on eggshells.

Why don’t we comfort our hurting friends and family?

Take hold of their hands, give them a hug, and sit with them through the tears.

This is genuine empathy and it leads to healing.

There’s no magic formula for grief and sadness, but genuine empathy is the greatest gift you can give this Christmas.










Emotional traffic jam

I’m struggling with what to talk about. 

This is one of those nights when the thoughts in my head are taking up a lot of room. 

It’s my practice to not share things that are still fresh. The emotions are too hard for me to juggle. 

Maybe that’s the safe route, the boring route, but I just can’t do it right now. 

And before you get too concerned, everything is fine. No one is hurt or dead. 

The traffic jam of thoughts has me cloudy and a bit unsure. 

Has this ever happened to you?

How do you handle emotional traffic jams?

Some bloggers know how to navigate and share accordingly. I’ve read their blogs and admire their bravery. 

Then there’s me…

The girl who spends more time talking around her feelings than about them. 

The girl whose hands get shaky sharing her thoughts on a good day. 

Sorry that you’re stuck with me for now. 

I’m a work in progress. 

The truth shall set you free, right?

Now, to publish this post before I chicken out….

The real problem is hopelessness

I saw racism at work today and it was an ugly monster.

Racism will never go away until unchanged, hateful hearts hear the Truth.

There are not adequate words to describe what I’m feeling right now. It’s a weird mixture of anger, sadness, empathy, and……..resolve. I know resolve isn’t a feeling, but it found its place inside my heart in the midst of the emotions.

The young man came into my office and told me what happened. He had the saddest look on his face. The man was hurt, yes, yet he forgave the woman immediately.

Do you know what still had him sad?

His sense of overall hopelessness.

I can’t get his words out of my head:

I guess what hurts me the most is that this kind of thing happens and no one has my back. No one’s going to do anything.


Here’s some questions for us to consider:

What if a mentality of hopelessness is behind all of the tension–racial and otherwise–around the world?

What if our own hopeless utterances of “things just are the way they are” is keeping us from doing the right thing?

This is not me negating the importance of personal responsibility or excusing bad behavior. This is me wrestling with my own negligence while a hurting world is simply running around in the dark looking for hope.

I was convicted today because I saw a young man who was told his skin color made him less than–and he really believed it.

He was just as hopeless as the perpetrator of the offense.

Pray for him.

Pray for the perpetrator.

Pray for me.

I’m going to share the gospel with my new friend. The only thing that drives out hate and hopelessness is a Love beyond words.

Surviving an emotional hangover

Have you ever had an emotional hangover?

You share something really personal and the next day you think:

“Why did I do that?!? I should’ve kept my mouth shut.”

I’m a pretty private person, which might seem like a strange statement since I blog every day. We share 200-300 words a day, right? Daily blogging has been a stretching experience for me.

Allowing people into my head space every single day is scary. I’m like a Puritan when it comes to my emotions. If my ankles are showing that’s just too much!

There have been many times I’ve shared with you guys and felt sick to my stomach.

“Did I say too much? What did I just do?”

I only bring this up now because I’m working on a project with my dad and stepmom. You’ll get to hear more about my reconciliation journey. For those who are unfamiliar with my story, this series would be a good one to follow. (And that’s all I’m going to say for now.)

This project will be a BIG stretch for me…

I need to find a nice rock to rent and a stash of brown paper bags.

I realize this post is a bit melodramatic. (Aren’t hyperboles fun?)

No one likes vulnerability, but we all crave it. We’re constantly watching and testing those around us to see if they’re genuine.

And yet, many of us are so scared to share.

Dear friend, I’m right there with you!

Fight the urge to hide, okay?

Hiding helps no one.

Find an outlet to share your gifts and stories with others.

Know that I’m here to help you however I can.

Ending well

Bad days happen. 

Today was one of them…

My entire afternoon was wasted. 

It was a situation where I’m partly to blame because I didn’t push hard enough for an answer (an answer that would have saved me three hours). 

I left the store with tears stinging my eyes while also being extremely angry. 

Not fun…

I’m not a super emotional person, so emotional situations wear me out. 

The evening got better, though, when I watched the new Cinderella with the kiddos. 

We had popcorn and everything. 


Courage is king of the popcorn bowl

Rainy days–and bad days too–rarely stop kids from having fun. Their innocence is such a sweet gift. 

I want my siblings to stay as innocent as possible, to never lose the gift of finding joy in all situations. 

It’s easy for adults to be cynical. 

I hate that…

I want to be more like my little brothers and sisters. 

Their ability to trust and forgive and love and laugh amazes me. 

I never want them to lose that resilience. 

The day was pretty stinky, but it ended well. 

My Heart Can’t Go On

Today, I found myself singing “My Heart Will Go On” because sometimes a girl needs to dream.

Maybe my star crossed lover is waiting on the next sinking cruise liner.

The problem, though, is I never remember the words.

And then enters YouTube! A lyrically confused girl’s best friend.

The music video is a gem.

A floating bride?

A sophisticated recorder player?

A weird bald guy staring at the moon?

Your decisions are scaring me!

I just can’t take this seriously….

My sides are still hurting…..

Plus, you get to sing along with Celine–and wonder why there are two random men staring at the moon.

I watched the music video with three thoughts in mind:

  1. This one music video explains the numerous emotions of a teenaged girl.
  2. Why didn’t I take playing the recorder more seriously?
  3. That moon is so big! Where’s a wolf when you need him?

The audience was enthralled while I was dying from laughter.

My hairbrush went back into the drawer (we’ll sing another day, my friend) because you can’t sing while hyperventilating.

If you need a good laugh, please watch this video.