Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Is Finally Over!

The screen is empty. Do I remember how to even put a template together to write again? More importantly, do I have anything of value to say anymore? I have wanted to start writing again for months and each time I stare at the screen and wonder this very question. Would anyone care to listen to the road I have traveled this year?

Only God knows what impact my writing will have on anyone, including me. I have to admit, this year has been one for the books. On the plus side God granted our family three new little grandsons this year. I had the deep privilege to witness the birth of our eldest sons, son. It happened to be my 100th catch, a milestone midwives like to mark. The birth taught me what it really means to be a midwife. I was changed after that birth.  I am a silent witness to the miracle of birth. It will happen whether I am there or not. I am an insignificant part of the process and honestly, that's the way it should be.

On the flip side, and there is always a flip side, I watched as a little baby girl took one of her last breaths on this earth. I performed a funeral for that very loved and deeply desired little girl. Out of privacy for the family I won't be blogging about it but I will share the lessons that I have had to learn from the experience. The loss consumed me for months. I learned to sit quietly and listen to the false rumors, the character assassinations, the lies and the guilt put on me. Those months were very dark for me. Truthfully, I questioned everything about who I am and what I am doing on this earth. To say it was a life changing experience would be an understatement. I knew I needed help to navigate all the dark waters. So I sought out help from a Godly professional who could help me navigate the rough seas.

I am so thankful I did. I learned some very affirming things about who I am and, and  was also able to look at my life and see where I had let my past creep in and consume me. I have come out the other side stronger than before. I think I have something of value to share. I have always been honest, sometimes perhaps too honest but honest I am. It is hard to look at yourself and see where you have gone wrong. Where you have allowed past hurts to overtake your good sense!

I am back on solid ground, certainly not perfect. I am an imperfect woman with a perfect Savior. I am nothing without Him to walk alongside me and carry me when necessary. I was silent all those months, with nothing to offer. It was my time to sit and listen. This summer I traveled to each of my siblings homes and poured out my soul. It was there that I found the courage to get back up and do this thing called life again. They were God's hands and feet for me. They spoke truth back into my life and for them I am eternally grateful.  God gave me exactly what I needed.

So, if I have any readers left, I promise you this. The lessons I have learned this year might also speak to you. I will always be honest and will always speak the truth in love. God is not finished with me yet. I have a story to tell so I will begin to tell the story.

Till tomorrow, may you find peace for the journey.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Be A Cowgirl (A Guest Post)

Be a cowgirl
There was a period in my life that I was a cowgirl. Well, a wanna-be cowgirl anyway. Pictures from that long ago era embarrassingly reveal my living room decorated with a fully decked out saddle horse and gun holster with me in all my glory wearing a long denim skirt and cowboy boots. No kidding. Truly a sight to behold. My “Little House on the Prairie” days were inspired by visiting a working ranch in Colorado and watching real cowboys ride and lasso calves. The calves would be running full speed until that rope captured them and brought them down under the control of the wrangler.

My blonde little brain can run faster than any calf hands down. Did you know that research states that people have 12,000 - 50,000 thoughts every day? The overachiever that I am, I imagine I'm on the higher end of that scale and it's exhausting some times. I have a tendency to get caught up and carried away by them, keeping me quite entertained for hours. Depending on what I'm thinking about they can either make me happy, anxious, angry or content.

Have you heard the Proverb, “Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.”?
Sarah Young, in Jesus Calling writes, “Keep your focus on me. I have gifted you with amazing freedom, including the ability to choose the focal point of your mind. Let the goal of this day be to bring every thought captive to me. Whenever your mind wanders, lasso those thoughts and bring them into my Presence. In My radiant light, anxious thoughts shrink and shrivel away. Judgmental thoughts are unmasked as you bask in my unconditional Love. Confused ideas are untangled while you rest in the simplicity of my Peace.”

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God ! Run from evil! (Proverbs 3:5-7 MSG)
Today, I will practice lassoing my thoughts, capturing them and refocus on listening to his voice of Peace.
“Capture every thought, make it give up and obey Christ.” 2 Cor 10:5
The above devotional was written by my sister Robin. I wanted to share her wisdom on lassoing our thoughts. Hope you enjoy.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, June 18, 2014



An old trampoline turned into a cute little hide out. An old car turned into a beautiful and unique garden. Old dryer lint turned into fire starters. What do all of these things have in common? They have been repurposed.

My sister Robin and I have been talking recently about this journey called life. Robin is a wise woman. She's also smart and really really funny, along with cute and being a blonde.  If I didn't love her I would hate her for having the perfect body. That girl can eat 3 chocolate covered almonds a day to cure the chocolate craving. Seriously, who can eat three of anything that has chocolate in it? Not me which is why I don't have the perfect body!

Anyway, Robin and I have been chatting and we talked about what life lessons we hold dear. This is her mantra," I'm grateful for every minute of my past because it reminds me that He reclaimed it, redeem it, and is now re-purposing it for HIS glory! He is doing that for you too and I am blessed and privileged to be a witness to your re-purposing. YOU and "IT" is a beautiful thing to behold." 

So the question becomes how do we reclaim, redeem and now repurpose the "stuff" that gets thrown our way? 

Let's start with reclaiming our past. How in the world do we do that? Now for those of you who had idyllic childhoods this next part is not for you. I honor you and call you blessed who had that childhood. For the rest of us, how do we take the past and reclaim it?

I am reminded of the Apostle Paul. He was so sure he was right in persecuting the Christians. He thought he was honoring God by rounding them all up and having them either thrown in prison or killing them. He was so sure he was right when in fact, he was dead wrong. He killed God's people including Stephen.

But God had a plan for Paul's life. He would take Paul's life and reclaim it for His purposes. He struck him down on the road to Damascus to get his attention. Paul spent the next three days blind both physically and spiritually. God took his life and turned it upside down. God directed him in making a 180 degree turn. 

Paul could have been so overwhelmed with grief over the deaths he had caused that he would have been rendered useless for the kingdom if he hadn't reclaimed his past. Listen to what he says later in his journey with God. 

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus as made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize o the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" Philippians 3:12-13

In this journey we call life, we can rest in the fact that God can use anything to help mold and shape us. He did that with Paul and he can do it with you and I. What are you struggling with today my sweet friend? What holds you down and holds you back from your past? God can use the uglies in your past for his good purposes. Like the old rusty car in the picture above that is filled with beautiful flowers, God can use our broken down lives and make something beautiful.

Join me today as I learn anew how to repurpose my life.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gratituesday A Picture

Pictures are worth a thousand words. It is very rare that my husband and I are in a picture together. He is usually the one behind the camera, which he would prefer. This past Sunday we celebrated Father's Day at his folks new home. They are in the process of moving from Tennessee to Michigan. So a camera came out while we were sitting together and presto, a picture of the two of us.

We are actually going to be celebrating our anniversary soon and I was thinking perhaps we could get a professional picture taken. For now this will do. I love my husband. He is the strongest man I know. He has endured horrific pain 24/7 and he still loves and serves God.

Pictures are truly worth a thousand words and today I am thankful for this snapshot of us.

Blessings to you today. I would love to know what you are thankful for.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Where Is God?

The question gets asked a lot, where is God when bad things happen? If you have ever experienced a loss that makes you drop to your knees then you have wondered about God and where he is. Is he going to show up? Can he hear my pleading for help? Does he care?  Am I just wasting my time? Those are all honest questions to a gut wrenching loss.

In the news there have been senseless shootings lately. For some reason it seems there have been quite a few the past few weeks. A child goes off to school and the unthinkable happens. They never walk back through their doors again.  What about the Dad who kisses his wife and kiddos good-bye and dies on the way to work? What about the parents that get terrible news at the birth of their child and as the weeks go by they endure the long good-bye?

Terrible things happen every single day whether we are touched by it or not. There are so many people who are walking around grieving that we have no clue about.  It may be the loss of their marriage or the loss of a dear friend. Where is God? Will he show up for me and will he show up for you?

I don't know why my life has been littered with loss. Most people don't ever have to bury one child let alone two. Most people get to know their Mother's at least long enough to remember them. I remember when Rich and I started our family. I begged God to allow me to live long enough that each of our children would remember me. I didn't want them to go through what I did. Thankfully God has honored that long ago request. I have now lived long enough that at least some of my grandchildren would remember me if I were to leave this earth right now.

Loss can either eat you alive or force you to grow beyond what you think possible. Did you know that the divorce rate for those couples who have lost a child is double what the divorce is for regular couples? Why do you think that is? The stress and strain of grief can be overwhelming. It can tear a couple apart instead of building a relationship stronger.

We as Americans don't really talk about grief much. In fact, we as a community are terrible at walking with grieving people. I remember a woman from our church came up to me about 2 months after our son David died. She wanted to know if I was ever going to smile again! Are you kidding me? Two months after the loss of a child only gets you to the point where you can breathe without willing yourself to do it, and that's only on a "good" day.

People can say stupid things without meaning to. I remember being told that God wanted another angel so he had to come down and take our daughter Celeste. I also was told by someone (all church members) that God said that all things work for good so our precious baby dying was good in God's eyes. Now I don't know about you but this is crazy talk. If God wanted another angel he didn't have to come down and take our daughter. He could have willed in his mind another angel and presto there another angel would be! What is good about a child dying? So it takes me back to my original question, Where was God, did he care? Why did it seem like he didn't show up?

Our lives can take turns in the blink of an eye. I am just one of many who blinked their eyes and their world turned upside down.  So what do I know?

I know that God loves me. Not just the kind of love that is a meaningless word. I know down in the very core of my soul that God grieves with me and loves me. I know that God loves every single Mama and Daddy that will go to bed tonight with a broken heart. I know that all the children around the world who will go to bed tonight without a parent are grieved over by God.

God did and does show up. He has NOT left his children as orphans. It may seem that way sometimes but that is just a lie from the pit of HELL. Every moment there is a battle for the souls of each and everyone of us. Satan is alive and well today. He wants nothing more than for those of us who are grieving to turn our backs and walk away. I am here to say I will NOT walk away.

There are many important lessons I have learned along the way. I cling to a favorite scripture of mine found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

I have seen this verse come to life recently in my own life. Nothing that happens to us is wasted, nothing. We can take the lessons we learn and turn around and help someone else. We understand what it feels like when we experience _____________ you fill in the blank. When God shows up, and he will show up in his own time then there are  lessons we learn. I don't claim to have all the answers. These are all really hard questions. I know the journey I have been on and I know the lessons that I have gleaned from them but there are not easy answers. If someone spouts easy answers to you then don't listen. They probably have no clue what they are talking about!

That is my challenge for you today. If you are reading this and you have suffered a loss that God has comforted you in then reach out to someone else and comfort them. And if you have suffered a terrible loss and need someone to walk with you then please reach out. There are people who won't say stupid stuff and there are people who won't offer you easy answers but they will walk beside you. What ever the need is I am living proof that there is hope. Hang on to that hope till God shows up.

Blessings for the journey.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


People are more important than any fancy house, big bank account or snappy car can ever be. I am working really hard to not be a pit dweller right now. If it were not for my real friends and family that support me I would be sitting in a padded room drooling.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point. It is the people in our lives who nourish us and encourage us to be better than we are. Rich and I had the privilege to travel for the first 22 years of our marriage all over the country and overseas. In almost every place I was blessed with a kindred spirit. Those special people who can be away for years and yet pick up right where we left off.

My birthday rolled around this past week. I have hated my birthday since the day I turned 16. Guess how I celebrated my 16th? A swim teacher made me a cake and sang me happy birthday. That was it. How pathetic is having a birthday cake made by someone other than your family. The message I got, you are not worth a drop and therefore celebrating your birthday is not important.

I remember when I met my future in-laws, they wanted to know when my birthday was. I wouldn't tell them. The thought of going through that all over again was just too stinking painful.  Now I love celebrating other peoples birthdays. I try and make my children and grandchildren feel special along of course with my husband. I don't do it perfectly but they know they are loved and cherished. I don't like missing any of my family's birthdays.

So what does a potential pit dweller do about her birthday? She goes to her precious grandchildren who love me know matter what I do in life. They hug me and kiss me and tell me happy birthday. They even sing to me and help me blow out all those candles.

So what is important? What can I be thankful for today? For the people in my life who love me and encourage me to be better than I am. When I would rather curl in a ball they encourage me to come out and play!

What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, June 9, 2014

I Am Not A Quitter

I do some of my best thinking underwater. I am a swimmer and have been since as long as I can remember. Under water I feel safe and secure. Perhaps it has to do with being in my mother's womb. Sounds kind of crazy I know but it feels safe and comforting under the water.

The past 9 months have been some of the toughest I have experienced. I faced things I never dreamed of. I experienced difficult relationships that challenged everything I thought about who I am. I have questioned God like never before.

Grief has become my middle name. I can remember some years ago saying that I never wanted my life to be defined by loss. I have known bone numbing grief since a small child. Grief can rob you of your joy faster than anything.

I stopped writing thinking that I had nothing to offer. I am a perfectionist by trade. It's not that I am not honest in my writing because I think I am. It's the energy it takes to write things down on paper that has been beyond my scope of things to do. So my writing has just sat.

In March we passed the 5 year mark on my husband's illness. We have had many ups and downs. In the five years we have added more symptoms and more diagnosis. His newest is rheumatoid arthritis pretty much in most parts of his body. More medicine, more tests and more pain. It's the pain that I hate, it is the enemy in my thinking. Yes, we may get an hour or two that actually seems like life could be normal again and then BAM, it evaporates as quick as the rain on a hot day.

All the hope vanishes just as quickly. All the dreams we had of ministering together in a small congregation now that the boys are grown and gone have disappeared. Are there people worse off? Absolutely and I get that. But for my husband and I of almost 37 years our reality is quite different then we ever imagined. It's a grieving process.

Loss, loss again.  How to you function when grief comes knocking at your door once again? Do you curl up in a ball, which sounds like a great idea to me at this point or do you transcend the grief? It would be so easy to quit. Life is hard. Life is not what I had imagined or anything even close to it.

Those are the thoughts I had the other day as I swam lap after lap. Typically when I am about at lap 30 I think it might be time to wrap it up and be happy with two-thirds of a mile. It is in those moments when I realize I am NOT a quitter. I don't stop the workout at almost a mile, I go the distance.

I remember the time my brother came with me to ride my first 100 mile bike ride. The temperature in St. Louis that day was 106 degrees and about 95% humidity. At mile 90 I just wanted to quit. By that point I hated my bike and anything to do with it. I questioned my sanity. The ground was so hot that day the tar roads were melting onto my tires. I wanted to take that bike and throw it as far as I could and walk away. But I didn't because I am NOT a quitter.

I refuse to quit. No matter what life throws at me and right now there is a lot I am not going to quit. I will not give up before I get to the finish line. It would be so easy to quit right now but I won't. I finished that mile in the pool. I swam and I swam and didn't give up.

Here is the verse that I am holding onto today. As context, Jesus has been talking to his apostles. It is the last things he is telling them before he goes to the cross. The apostles are not only afraid but bewildered. They don't know what to do or where they should go. So here is the verse;

John 16:33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Till next time.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My Small Group Gratituesday

Good morning everyone. Once again Tuesday has rolled around. A day to stop and count our blessings. It's interesting, my blog was never intended to just be about Gratituesday. The past few months it has turned into that and I intend to change. This ties into what I am thankful for.

I have found myself wandering in a desert the past few months. Ever since I got back from Haiti I haven't gotten my bearings. My apprenticeship has been rough since getting back. I have been gone from the body of believers so many Sundays and Wednesday night services I feel like a visitor.

My small group that I am a part of hasn't seen me much either. So many changes in life right now. SO many decisions to make about the future. I have found myself eating more and praying less. It's been five months since I got back and at times I have felt like I am disappearing.

Thankfully the other night I was able to go back to my small group. What a blessing it was. I have truly missed being a part of the group. During prayer time I shared my struggles in several areas of my life and once again I was reminded why fellowship is so important.

I have walled myself off from those who are most important to me. The stress of the apprenticeship and the long hours have taken a toll on my mind and my body.  Today I am so grateful for a group of people in my life who keep the heart and arms open for me.

For this group of believers I am thankful. What about you? What are you grateful for today? I would love for you to share with me.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Count your blessings name them one by one! I recently spent two weeks down in Kentucky visiting our son and daughter in law waiting for their fifth baby to arrive. My daughter in law typically goes right around her due date. They wanted as much help after the birth as possible so they wanted me to get really close to the "due date" as possible.

Plans don't always work out like we think. On the day I was supposed to go I was sick as a dog. Laying in bed I could hear my lungs rattling so I drug my sorry body to the emergency room at 4a.m. to be told I indeed had bacterial pneumonia. I spent the next three days curled in a ball taking all my medicine like a good little girl. The doctor had assured me I could still deliver the baby safely if I wore a mask and waited a couple of days.

So I drove down to Kentucky feeling like I had run a marathon. I got to the community Saturday evening. I checked on my daughter in law and discovered her baby was straight posterior with a hand up to her chin. Now she is very tiny herself. At the time I guessed the baby to be over seven pounds but less than eight. Heart rate of baby sounded great so I went to bed hoping baby would make her appearance soon.

Son woke me up early Sunday morning and said it was time to have the baby. Mama had been laboring most of the night. I jumped off the couch and said thank you LORD. That was quick. Unfortunately as the sun came up it was obvious baby was not coming. We spent the next 10 days doing essentially the same thing over and over again. I took her to a chiropractor to try and get baby moved out of the posterior position with no luck.

I texted my boss while in town for the chiropractor appointment and she wisely told me to keep my hands off of Mama and wait patiently for the best outcome. I listened to the baby's heart rate every night before bed and was assured all was well.

This continued for ten days. Poor Mama had such hard contractions day and night with no signs of active labor. I prayed and played with the other four grand babies. We read and we read and we read some more. I tickled and snuggled each of them. I cooked and took naps when my grand children went down for naps.

Finally the day arrived. I was making dinner and Mama dropped to her knees in the kitchen. Her back was just killing her. She was much more comfortable on all fours than standing up. Son and I had dinner with the children while Mama was in the bedroom. Something seemed different this time so it was decided son would take the children to a neighbors right after dinner. I washed the dishes while he tended to the children. I listened to the babies heart beat and was assured all was well.

I got the room set up for the birth and quietly waited. Son came back and asked if there was time to take a shower and Mama said just hurry. As he stepped out of the shower I could hear her say get Jill. Less than twenty minutes later I caught my beautiful grandson. He stayed posterior and never rotated. He came out with a full head of brown hair. Mama and baby did beautifully.

This was my very first time to catch a grand baby. I feel so blessed. It was also my 100th birth. I am thankful for the wise words of my mentor Wendy. I sat on my hands till it was time and the birth was perfect. I am thankful for a son and daughter in-law who trusted me to be with them. Finally I am thankful that God saw fit to bless our family with another grand baby. Thank you LORD.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One foot in front of the other. Putting on the blinders like the horses do in the race of a lifetime. Only focus, focus and focus some more on the gifts. Don't look to the left or right. Littered there are past failures and hurt. Look straight ahead at the gifts. 

So much to be thankful for today. Thankful for the reminder that looking in the ditch won't bring the joy we all so desperately crave. Look up, see the sun poking through the clouds? One more snow storm they say. Storms can batter the sails. They look like they will be torn in two. 

Ann Voskamp says this, The only way to keep in time with your Beloved… is to keep counting blessings. The way to keep the rhythm of life — is to count the ways He loves. Joy is a habit: wear it. 

Joy is a habit. Count the blessings and name them one by one.

1. The love of Christ endures everything

2. The cares of this world are tossed into the ditch so I can look forward 

3. A husband who loves

4. Children that find ways to serve

5. People who believe in me

What are YOU thankful for today? I would love to know.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


As time goes by I am more convinced than ever of the importance of a grateful heart. Our attitude is so critical to a life lived well. I am reminded of Corrie Ten Boom who wrote the life changing book The Hiding Place. If you could wrap that book up into just one thought it would be this. No matter what  circumstance you are facing, attitude will determine how you cope.

Our life circumstances can and will change on a dime. There are things that happen that are beyond our control. A spouse dies, a teenager rebels, a baby gets luekemia. All of these beyond what we can control.

What we can control is how we face the challenges that are put before us. We can become bitter and withdraw or we can be thankful for everything that comes our way.

This winter has been brutal in some ways here in Michigan, We have had multiple snow storms, ice storms and wind storms. All of them have been challenging. The car accidents, the navigation of countless pot holes as big as little swimming pools and broken wheels. All of that has been challenging. However, the snow reminds us once again of the beauty and magesty of God. A field that is covered in snow that sparkles like a thousand diamonds is gorgeous. To see the field untouched reminds me of the hearts that God sees through the lens of Christ.

So much to be thankful for today. What beauty can you see? I would love to know.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Radical or Bodacious Christianity?

It's time to start writing about the practical lessons from my time in Haiti. Following Jesus wherever he wants to take us can seem at times radical. in fact, there are quite a few books about "radical" Christianity. The word seems to be overused in my opinion. Since I have a tendency to not follow the crowd I wanted to find a new word for radical. According to my hand thesaurus some words for radical are, profound, primitive,essential, organic and my favorite, meat and potatoes. None really grabbed me. I have always been a fan of the word bodacious so I looked it up. Some of the definitions for bodacious were, sassy, bold, cocky, spunky and plucky. None of those words really describes Jesus so back to the drawing board.

For now I will just use the word radical, at least until I find a better word. The word Christian has become for me a meaningless word. My intention is not to offend but millions of people call themselves Christians and I think it too is overused. People ask me at times what kind of Christian I am. I have come up with the word plain, just a plain old Christian. A Jesus follower who is just plain and simple. So what is so radical about that you might ask? 

It's hard in the 21st century to be plain and simple in anything! Our culture screams at us 24/7. Even McDonald's has multiple T.V.'s blaring at us. I went to a new gas station the other day and there was a T.V. at every single pump. We are bombarded everywhere we go. So just what messages are we being given?  We are not anybody unless we have _____ just fill in the blank. It could be a Disney vacation, a toothpaste, a credit card or my all time favorite, a purple little pill to cure ED. 

My life will not be meaningful unless I have more "stuff". I am here to tell you that more "stuff" only makes us more fat and hungry for more. We need the latest and the greatest and I don't care if it's a new kitchen tool or a new garden hose that doesn't kink. We need more and more and more. Does anyone feel like we are on a crazy merri-go-round? That merri-go-round gets faster and faster and faster. 

I remember a very wise king who decided to try everything this world has to offer. He got it all. He got the fast cars, the women, the gold and the worship and drugs to heighten the whole experience and he said it was ALL meaningless. Every drop meaningless. 

So want to know what I learned in Haiti? I learned once again that "stuff" does not satisfy. I want to spend the next couple of days looking at "stuff" and what it all means to us. 
Come join me as we take a look at radical and bodacious Christianity.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Grandma's Feather Bed Gratituesday

The very famous country music singer John Denver had this very cool song about his Grandma's feather bed. I loved that song when Rich and I were first married. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the Grandma in the song!

With two of our grand girls spending the night to watch some Olympic glory we decided to not kick out son from his bed/ So the only other place was our bed. Since Rich has to sleep in his chair most nights for pain management I end up sleeping alone. So our 10 and 8 year old grand girls climb into our bed. They think the bed is pretty fun anyway since it has some remote controls to move the head and feet up and down. I could hear them giggling in there playing with the bed.

Then me, the grandma came to bed and try and wiggle into place. I tried to move the wiggly grand daughter to no use. I had no clue that this particular grand girl liked to swim in her sleep. Her legs go up and down just like doing the breaststroke in water. Who would have known?  How exactly did she kick me in the mouth? No clue. It was such an interesting night of sleep.

Now don't you think for a moment that I am complaining. You haven't lived till you have slept with a couple of grand children in your bed. Even in sleep they are full of energy and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I just love being that grandma in Grandma's feather bed!

What are you thankful for today? Would love to know.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Being A Brave Woman

She walks the streets seeing with her hearts eyes, a hurting world. The masses are scurrying from one place to the next without seeing who stands near them. She lives in a world where the right thing to do is now wrong and the wrong thing to do is what is right. How could this have happened in such a short time?

Slowly over time one principle, one truth after another turns upside down. The culture makes this very slow shift like the frog in the water that gets turned up so slowly that it is too late by the time the frog knows what is going on.

But she notices and has noticed for a very long time and has days when she feels powerless to make a difference. The jeers for how she chooses to dress, so old fashioned. When everyone else wants to show as much skin as possible, even in church. When other women mock "those women" who chose to be obedient to God and His Word.

I think of the woman at the well. And the naked woman brought to Jesus found in the very act of adultery. The shame she must have felt. Then her shame turns into victory because it simply does not matter what others think. What matters is the LORD and Savior who bids her come in. To drop the destructive way of life and walk with Him. She is no longer invisible.

All this life offers is pain, heart ache and rejection. The rejection hurts no matter what your age. The mocking and the stares by other women go unnoticed to everyone else around but the invisible woman knows. The old mantra, "sticks and stones can broke my bones but words will never hurt me" is a lie. Words do hurt and they do have consequences.

Just how many women feel invisible? Who have days that feel the crush of rejection. Who just need the courage to stand up and be counted. It is those women that God has a tender heart for. Do not be afraid to be different. Do not be afraid to walk the path less taken. You may feel invisible but you are not. One person can make a difference because if you have the light inside of you it is very hard for others to not notice.  God sees and God knows.

So play to an audience of ONE. God promises that someday all tears will be wiped away. For that is the promise that brave women hold on to.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gratituesday Sweet Rest

I knew at Christmas that January and February would be crazy busy. All but one snow storm found me out with laboring Mama's all hours of the night and then going right into the normal day of prenatals. Being a midwife is crazy wild and I love every moment of it. I am so blessed that I have a circle of support for this calling. There are times when I drag my supplies and weary body out of the car into the apartment that I giggle because I must look a little crazy at that point to someone watching me. I can't imagine doing anything else in the season of my life.

That said I also know that I have limits. Most women I work with are young enough to be my daughters yet I can keep up with them just fine. Okay, except when my hip gives out and I tumble down a set of icy steps right in front of them! Or when I get up from finally sleeping and every muscle in my body is shouting help me.

So six weeks into this crazy very busy cycle I attended a two day very intense seminar. By the end of the second day I was ready to curl up in a ball and go to sleep. When I got home I was asleep within minutes of sitting next to my hubby watching a movie. Monday morning rolled around and there was no baby call and no appointments. So I did what any sane person would do. I cancelled my cleaning job for the day and let me workout buddy that I was staying home and that is exactly what I did.

Rest, sweet rest. My brain needed a breath along with all my muscles. I am so thankful for a day of rest. I feel ready to go conquer the next wave of births. Thank you Lord for rest.

"Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matt. 11:28

What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, February 10, 2014

What If?

The past month has been a huge blur. So many snow storms that bring babies, one after the other. So many prenatals and miles upon miles of driving. There has been almost no time to write. When I do get home I go to bed at a ridiculous hour in hopes of getting a few hours before going again. I knew January and February were going to be crazy and it has lived up to everything I had imagined!

That being said, I had the priviledge to attend a two day workshop this past weekend with two of the most well respected midwives in the United States. They are giants in our field. They travel all over the world giving their workshops. Saturday was all about the first hour of transition for a newborn and neonatal resuscitation. Transition for the newborn is a fascinating topic. Learning all about the physiology of the newborn at birth is such an amazing perfectly designed part of life. I consider it such a privilidge to witness that first hour of life. To me it is a holy time. The angels must be rejoicing at the birth of a new little gift to be cherished.

We had spent hours in class soaking up all the information when it was time to get on the floor with the newborn resuscitation dolls. The flashbacks started coursing through my brain from my time in Haiti. I lost babies in Haiti. Their lives were in my hands and I was unable to save them and my heart breaks. Life is so precious. Then I started the what if's. Did I really do the five inflation breaths first? Were my fingers positioned correctly? Did I count right? Like a bad movie the scenes played out in my brain. I felt like I was back in Haiti. Breathe Jill. Thankfully my partner Courtney was next to me. She saw the tears and understood, and held space for me.

It's those what ifs that can bite us in the behind. I have never been one to wallow in the what ifs. I like to process an event and then take the lessons and move on, no ruminating for me! This time though it came back in a tidal wave. What if I had stood to the side instead of the feet? Did I ventilate the lungs properly? Did I do everything within my power to bring this baby back to life? Sounds crazy I know. I take great comfort in knowing that those precious lives that hung in the balance those days went directly into the arms of our Perfect Father. I chose to praise God in that storm.

What about you? Do you have what if's in your life that are weighing you down? Do you have deep regrets that you marinate in? Whatever those regrets are may I suggest that you take them out, examine them and deal with the emotional baggage that comes with it and then bring it to the feet of the cross and walk away. Walk away dear one. There is nothing left to do. Hold tight to the lessons learned and then walk away stronger than you were when you started. Life is too short to be walking around with regret. It is at the foot of the cross that you leave those burdens.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pearls and Grace: The New Church Lady

Pearls and Grace: The New Church Lady

I ran across a blogger that really touched my heart and I wanted to share. Tomorrow I would like to share some thoughts.

till then, in Christ Alone

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Our son Daniel turned 21 on Saturday. I am so blessed to be called Mama to this man-cub. He was born singing and hasn't stopped since! Daniel has brought us great joy. He has always been my most protective son of me. I have no doubt that when I do get really old he will take good care of me!

Daniel was born with a rare chromosomal disorder. The list of things that could go wrong were quite long. He ended up needing physical therapy starting shortly after birth since his limbs would not move the way they should. His foster Nana and Papa gave him such a great start. When we adopted him at five months of age he already knew us. We had sent individual pictures of all of us and his Nana put them in little plastic frames and showed them to him everyday when he woke up and when he went to sleep. She told him all about us.

When we walked into the room for the first time he smiled and put his arms out ready to go. I will always be grateful for his Nana and Papa. He has brought great joy to my heart. I am so blessed to call him Son.

Thank you LORD for Daniel and what he has meant to our family. Please give him many more years to serve others earth side. In Jesus Name

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, January 23, 2014

True Poverty Part 2

My sister Wendy and I went to Lakewood Park for a 4th of July celebration. The fireworks were always fabulous shot over Lake Erie. As we were walking into the park the sky became a very interesting shade of green. The numerous trees in the park had been shaking all day with the wind but at this moment you could hear a pin drop. The trees were eerily still. It was the calm before the storm. In a split second the roar was so loud it rattled my teeth. Within seconds every tree in the park was uprooted and people were running and screaming. Within a minute or two four of our classmates would be dead and the park looked like a battle zone. Tornado's leave a path of destruction that is incredible.

Left in the wake of destruction like the tornado is hungry children, broken families, teens with no purpose, drug addiction, alcohol addiction and homelessness. Like the tornado that can happen in seconds it can take years to rebuild. In the park we were in that fateful evening it took many years to replant every single tree and have it grow to be strong once again. The lives of those four families that lost their children that day the destruction lives on.

When I look at Haiti I see much destruction. In Haiti most couples never marry. The reasons are many but at the top of the list is a lack of money to get married. The government requires purchasing a marriage license and when you can barely make it to feed yourself it is just easier to shack up. Of course in Haiti shacking up really can be a shack! An intact marriage is rare in Haiti.

Morality is another huge issue in Haiti. Stealing is not seen as wrong. Where I served we had to lock up anything that had any value. Stealing is a huge issue there. The government sees nothing wrong with stealing and the drug lords steal from them to sell to the people. It becomes a vicious cycle. At MamaBaby the issue of stealing had to be dealt with. You could be fired on the spot for stealing the medicines or the supplies for birthing Mama's.

The lack of opportunity is perhaps the biggest challenge over in Haiti. There are no places to flip burgers, no malls to work in, no government jobs. I see the women particularly at risk. Since most don't have a husband to help carry the load they are left to scrounge for food. When they do get food they have to decide if they will eat or will their children eat. Most chose to feed their children instead of themselves.

Education is not free over in Haiti. Our interpreter Claudin is 26 years of age and is just now graduating from high school. Many years his mother didn't have the money to send him to school. Not only do you have to pay for school but you have to purchase the school uniform. Most just don't have the money so most don't go to school. He is one of the rare gems found in Haiti. His mother was a hard worker and she worked to keep Claudin in clothes and food. He dreams of coming to America and going to college. Very few young man have the ambition to make something of their lives. They turn to drugs and violence and many times young women pay the heaviest price.

In my experience over in Haiti most women have lost any hope. On our intake form we had to ask many questions about their lives and health.  Over half of the women did not want to be pregnant and well over half spent their days sad and who can blame them? The future does not look bright for them. They bring babies into the world that they don't want because they know that trying to feed them will be a monumentum task. They understand the risk of having a baby. They have seen Aunts and Mothers die from childbirth, they see their babies die. It is frankly a bleak place.

Not all is lost though. There are glimmers of hope. There are Mama's who want to learn how to care for their babies. They are willing to walk twenty miles to MamaBaby in labor just to have compassionate hands serve them. There are groups who come from the United States to serve the people by training them to garden so they have food, to marry and not sleep around, to have self respect. No, not all is lost.

I remember the story of the little girl on the beach throwing one star fish back into the ocean while hundreds are laying there dying. Someone came up to her and asked why she did what she did since it was hopeless. She replied that for this one star fish she could make a difference. That is my prayer. That we can make a difference to just one. There are hundreds of women and children dying over in Haiti. But to the one we are able to serve it makes all the difference.

Tomorrow I want to talk about the role of government and the church in fighting poverty.
Till then go make a difference in the life of just ONE.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

True Poverty Lessons From Haiti

I have been asked by several to share some thoughts on my trip to Haiti. Delivering babies in a third world country is eye opening and I learned a lot professionally. What I really want to share is some deeper observations beyond baby stories. If you are interested keep reading.

While in Haiti I saw poverty unlike anything I have seen in the slums of Detroit or Cleveland. The poorest of our country is rich by world standards. Let me say that again. The poorest of our country is rich by the rest of the world standards.  I get that in the United States we are witnessing class warfare and it makes me sick.

Most of us are reaping what we sow. Now before you throw me under the bus let me explain. We make choices in life that reverberate throughout our lives. Education is one example. Statistically speaking if you chose to get a college degree you will make well over double in salary, than if you chose not to go for higher education. That is a simple fact that neither political party can debate. Getting a good education is your ticket out of poverty. I have encouraged many young men and women who are being raised in a cycle of poverty to rise above and get into school. It can make a huge difference.

Most people in our country have the ability to get food that they have not paid for. There are many churches that have soup kitchens or homeless shelters that provide food. We do have a safety net here in our country and not just one.  In most cities you can be fed. You can also get help getting a place to live. When we served a congregation in Lansing we worked with a woman's shelter. Anyone who stayed at their shelter were given training for jobs and then given apartments that they either paid nothing for or a small stipend. They were also given jobs.

In Haiti there is no safety net. None, zip, zilch, nada. There are no jobs period. The government is so inefficient that the local government building is set in a beautiful park like compound all ready to go but has sat for two years waiting to move in. If the government can't even get their own building up and running what makes you think they can help the population?  There are no food programs.

We would have Mama's come in who were not nursing their babies and when questioned some of them said they were out looking for food. That is true poverty. I set up my own little food program in Haiti after finding out the situation. The 50 pound bag of beans that I bought out on the street had an American flag on it. They were donated bags given by our government that fell into the hands of the drug lords who then sold them out on the streets. The 25 pound bags of rice were the same thing.

You think our country is corrupt you need to go oversees and see what corruption looks like over there. There are no McDonalds to go to and flip burgers. There are no janitorial jobs in schools or garbage collection jobs to get. There are no government jobs or local jobs.

So what is poverty? That is the question we will tackle tomorrow. Until then.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Gratituesday Honoring a Life

 Indulge me for just a few minutes. Once upon a time there was an adorable little boy. He had the cutest little blue eyes and freckles on his face. When he smiled his whole face lit up. Adversity would call this little boy by name and for a long time the battle raged for this little boys soul. Prayer does an amazing thing. It brings to God's attention that there is a soul who needs extra special care. One so loved that the power of the cross would overcome all adversity. That cute little freckled face boy would grow up and find a soul mate. One who would see beneath the adversity and see great hope.  He would grow to be a man in the LORD, like a tender shoot slowly growing in the warm soil. His sisters would be like the Mom they never had, always praying and always encouraging.

Today I want to honor that man who I call brother on his ?? something birthday. People come and go in our lives but those that know us best can also love us best. I can't think of another soul besides my husband and children who I am more proud of. My brother has been through the fire, literally with me and back. On this 21st day of January I honor my brother. John, may God grant you many more years of good health and service to our maker.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blizzards and Babies Gratituesday

 What a week it has been. I woke up to the balmy temperature of minus twelve degrees before the windchill factor. It supposed to be a high of zero today but it's doubtful it will even get to zero. We had a wonderful blizzard. We had over 16 inches of the white stuff. The parking lot in our apartment covered the front of all the cars. Most everything is still closed but honestly, who wants to go out?  I am so thankful for a warm apartment. I am certain I wont like the heating bill next month but that's okay.

I was blessed to be a part of a beautiful birth this week. Mama had a C-section at her last birth. She really wanted to have a home birth this time. She was a perfect candidate for a VBAC.The coolest moment was just a few minutes after delivering a beautiful baby she raised her arms up in the air and said to her husband, "honey, we did it". There was pure joy on her face.

Whether you climb a mountain, deliver a baby or conquer your own demons the feeling of accomplishment is huge. I am reminded of the scripture, "I CAN do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Our power comes from the LORD. For that I am truly thankful for.

What are you thankful for today? I would love to know.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Year Promise

The idea of New Year's Resolutions sounds hollow to me. A resolution is easily broken. I hate making a resolution and not following through. It seems that resolutions aren't serious contracts. But a promise is a promise. I never promised my children anything unless I was able to back it up and follow through. So this year I am not making any resolutions. However, I am going to make some promises to God my Father.

I have no idea what this new year is going to bring to me personally. Usually I am very thankful that I have no clue what is coming. Some of the decisions I have made over the years would not have been made if I had known the outcome. Thankfully God is so much wiser than me and keeps me in the dark when it comes to telling me what's going to happen next.

I do know that there are things that I want to accomplish and improve on from last year. One thing that I want to improve on is my writing. I want to be more intentional in my writing. Perhaps step on a few toes in order to challenge others to reach beyond themselves. One of the things that was reinforced for me in Haiti is our culture of comfort and fun. Here in the good old US of A we place a high value on fun and comfort. Now before you tune me out, I am not saying we shouldn't have fun. Jesus went to a wedding and had lots of fun. What I am saying is that we tend to center our lives on our own comfort and fun. There is a high value attached to it. To the rest of the world we look like spoiled little brats.

My goal is to challenge you to look beyond yourself and look at the world around you. Who could use a kind word from you? What new Mom could use a meal taken? What children do you know that need to learn the value of serving others? This was really brought home as I was introduced to the T.V. show 19 Kids and Counting. I had heard of the Duggars but never watched their show. The biggest thing I appreciate about them is how they train their children to serve others. They start at a very young age and give them multiple opportunities to serve.

Perhaps you have no children in your home anymore. Do you have grandchildren in your life? There are so many things that we as adults can do that will encourage others to look beyond themselves. Grandchildren need to learn to serve others. Several ideas is to look in your town and see where the needs are. Most towns have police departments. They work 24/7. It doesn't have to be Christmas to bring them a plate of cookies and a thank you for all they do. What about the fire department? One of my favorites is the Ronald McDonald's house. When our second son Richard was critically ill while we lived on a tiny island out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, we were medevac back to the States. We were at Walter Reed for a month. We had no money and knew not a soul in the city. The Ronald McDonald invited us in. I will forever be in debt to them. Taking a meal to the facility is such a blessing. It doesn't matter how young your children are. They can still be a part of the serving.

Do you have luxuries like a boat or an RV? Instead of inviting people who look just like you invite the single Mom or the single Dad out for a day of fun and encouragement. Are you blessed with money? Then bless someone who is struggling through no fault of their own. What about writing one hand written card a month to your pastor or your elders? Nothing says I love you more than a hand written note.

Why don't you join me and reach out to just one person today? Be a blessing to someone else. As believers we are called to be Jesus' hands and feet. Now go out and do something about it.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".