Tag Archives: Trials

Blessings of Boldness

Being bold and courageous is hard and sometimes risky, but it’s always worth the risk. Last week when I posted my 6th Anniversary post, I mentioned that I was going to share on Monday about the blessings of being bold. But one of the two things I planned to share didn’t go as I had planned and so I didn’t write that post. After God added another blessing to the mix, I’m now ready to share.

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about my personal experience with Planned Parenthood. I was terrified to post it, but I did, on a Wednesday evening thinking no one would see it. That one little post ended up getting more views and shares in three days than I’ve ever had for any post. Some of my posts have been viewed more over the long haul, but never in such a short period of time.

Then, about a week later, I got a comment from Randy Alcorn (okay, it was from his media relations specialist) asking if he could re-blog that post. Of course I said yes, because being re-blogged by an author with his credentials is a great blessing for a relatively unknown author like me. Plus, it meant my story now has the potential to touch even more lives and be a blessing to others. His post including my re-blogged post went live on Monday here.

The next blessing came when I was bold and courageous to share my story in church this past Sunday. We are doing a sermon series on how God changes lives, and He has definitely changed mine. It was hard and risky to share my story, but it was well worth the risk. Afterwards I got lots of hugs, plus a few people who said they had been through something similar and that what I shared helped them. I also received some follow-up notes from some members of our church, including a handwritten note that came in the mail (those are my favorite kind).

I was all set to share the link to the audio of my testimony in my post on Monday, but it turned out that the recording got messed up and you couldn’t really hear it. There was a lot of static and my voice was so quiet that even when the static stopped for a second or two, you couldn’t hear me. I was so upset, because I knew there were people who had asked me to send them the link because they wanted to listen but weren’t able to come to our church that morning.

So, because I didn’t have the audio to share in this post, I had decided not to write it. Then I mentioned to my awesome husband that the audio had been messed up on my testimony and he replied, “I recorded it. It’s on my phone.” I was so happy and felt so blessed that he cared so much to have recorded it. I was able to upload it to SoundCloud and create the recording below.

And the triple blessing in all of this is that I discovered how easy it is to use SoundCloud and embed a SoundCloud clip into my blog, so now I can add audio readings of some of my poetry, too.

Anyway, the lesson for me this week is that God is good and often works to bless us even when we think He’s forgotten us or doesn’t care. That is the story of my life, but it’s also the story of the recording of my story. I was disappointed that He didn’t make sure the church recording of my testimony worked out, but He had a plan for me to see how much my husband loves me. And how much He loves me.

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Suicide Is Not Selfish

Today, Sept. 10,  is World Suicide Prevention Day. I decided to share just a little post from my perspective.

Often we hear it said that those who commit suicide are selfish because they hurt the people they leave behind. But if you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or tried to commit suicide, you know that is not the case. (If you never have, it is very difficult to understand.)

I’ve only been truly suicidal once, but my thoughts were far from selfish. At the time, my actual thought was that my husband and son would be better off without me because I was so depressed and broken that I was no good to them.

Thoughts of suicide often follow a long pattern of trying to get well with little or no success. It stems from hopelessness and a sense of feeling like you are a burden to those around you. To consider suicide is to desire to unburden others.

Unfortunately, the thought processes of a person who is suicidal are just simply wrong. I know mine were. I can’t imagine where my husband and son (who was 1 ½ then and is 20 now) would be if I had gone through with it. They certainly would not be better off. That thought was a lie.

There is always hope, even when things seem the most hopeless. What a person struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts needs is love and hope. They need understanding and reassurance that the rest of us would not be better off if they were gone. They need to know we are there for them and that they matter to someone.

They need to know that God loves them and wants what is best for them, and that “This too shall pass.” But in the meantime, we are there to be a shoulder to cry on and a heart to confide in.

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My Thoughts on the Seasons

Over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar, Bjorn is calling for poetry that uses modifiers—adjectives and adverbs. I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook lately by people who love fall and can’t wait for it to come. Personally, I could skip fall and winter altogether. I’ve even joked before that I need to live in Australia for six months of the year, the six when it is spring and summer there, then I’d never have to see another fall or winter. So here is my well-modified poem on the subject.

My Thoughts on the Seasons

Some tout the incredible beauty of fall
Striking oranges and vibrant reds
But I don’t want to hear it at all
I’d rather it stay summer instead

I know fall is pretty when the leaves turn
And pears and apples are ripe on the tree
I know we could use rain as arid lands burn
But frigid winter follows fall, don’t you see

And I truly hate bitter winter cold
Even here in the mild Pacific Northwest
In my fight against winter I will be quite bold
Ardently proclaiming spring to be best

Why this strong hatred of winter you ask
What’s wrong with changing seasons and snow
It’s not just that in the warm sun I need bask
But dark memories the cold brings that cause woe

If I never saw fall colors again in my life
That would be simply and sweetly divine
Then I could live with peace and not strife
Living where the bright sun always shines


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It’s Not about Women’s Health

I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post for about two weeks now, but I can’t avoid it any more. If this is truly going to be another fearless year, then I have to write fearlessly, even if that means getting into a difficult discussion with someone over a blog post.

The thing that finally pushed me to write this today was this article I read on the Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) website while I was eating my lunch. It is about the Planned Parenthood (PP) protest this past weekend in Portland, Oregon. There were 300 such peaceful protests across the nation, but this one happened to be where I live and where the headquarters of EPM is located.

I loved one of the pictures in this article because in addition to people holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Kills Babies” there were others holding a sign that says “Planned Parenthood Deceives Women.” As I’ve written before, although I am saddened by the culture of death and the many murdered children at the hands of PP, my heart is with the many women who have had abortions and lived to regret that decision. Many of those women, like me, were deceived by PP and are also victims.

The pro-choice voice claims that the right of a woman to have an abortion is a women’s health issue and that PP is about women’s health. These claims couldn’t be further from the truth. Pregnancy is not a disease that needs to be treated or cured. It is not healthy for a woman to have an abortion. In fact, having an abortion increases a woman’s risk of major depression and suicidal tendencies by 30% to 40%, it increased the risk of breast cancer by 30%, and it increases the risk of future miscarriage.

But it was my experience that PP didn’t disclose any of those risks. I didn’t find out about them until after I’d suffered with seven years of major clinical depression (following many years of low-grade depression), been suicidal, and had a miscarriage. So far I haven’t also gotten breast cancer, but with my family history of this disease, I certainly did not need to increase my risk.

The “health care providers” at PP were not concerned with my health; they were concerned only with getting my money. They weren’t concerned with who the father was or the fact that he had been an older man who raped a teenage girl; they didn’t even ask. They didn’t provide any pre- or post-abortion counseling, they didn’t advise me of the health risks of having an abortion, and they didn’t even schedule a follow-up visit. What doctor doesn’t schedule a follow-up visit after an invasive medical procedure?

I left the PP clinic that day, headed off to a Future Business Leaders of America camp, and bled so much that I thought I was going to die. (In fact, when I bled that much after my miscarriage years later, the emergency room rushed me back to an exam room without even checking in first—that’s how serious that kind of bleeding can be.) But PP didn’t warn me about this possibility or tell me what to do if it did happen. I was a scared 17-year-old with no one looking out for my health—PP certainly wasn’t.

Tell me you think a woman has a right to choose to kill her own baby—if you think that’s a defensible position—but don’t tell me that right is a women’s health issue. It quite simply is not.

If you want to champion women’s health, then help women find the spiritual and emotional health to deal honestly with a pregnancy they don’t want. Help them understand that whatever the circumstances that led to their pregnancy, God loves them and their child. There are options, including adoption, which are far healthier for them—and definitely healthier for their baby. What finally got me healthy after the trauma of being raped and having an abortion was the love of Jesus. I only wish someone had helped me find that love before it was too late for my child.


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Bette, My Sweet Pea

Today is National Dog Day and so I decided to write a poem about a dog I once had. I could have written a poem about my current dog, but I’ve already written several about him, such has this one and this one. But I don’t think I’ve ever written about Bette, the cocker spaniel I had for 18 years.

Bette, My Sweet Pea

Bette was the cutest little sweet pea
a friendly and curious puppy
but life started out a little rough for her
when she lost an eye due to curiosity

Being a one-eye dog didn’t slow her down
though it did cause her to run into the bottom step
if she was running at a good clip
to get into the house ahead of Bogart

She wasn’t much for fetch, would never bring the ball back
but she did love a good game of tug-o-war
and hiding the tennis ball from Bo
and swimming in the lake or wading in a stream

She lived eighteen long years
that were far too short as far as I’m concerned
and I miss her reddish blond mug and floppy ears,
I miss her cute wagging stub of a tail each and every day

I remember the day I knew without a doubt
she couldn’t go one more step, one more day
She’d been missing Bo for quite some time
and that stupid new kitten Tom made her life a struggle

The pain in her face, in her whine
was more than I could take that day
so I did what had to be done
impossible though it was to imagine life without her

The vet was so understanding and gentle
and the change in her countenance from agony
to complete peace and rest
made the impossible almost tolerable

Afterwards I asked God why
Why didn’t He just take her in her sleep
so I wouldn’t have to make the decision to let her go
“Because then she would have been alone,” He said to my aching heart

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It Was Never the Same

At dVerse Poets Pub today Gabriella is asking for poems about the first day of school. I was going to write about one of my son’s first days of school, though we are now really out of the “first day of school” mode as he’d attending art school year around. But since I’m feeling a little melancholy today with some challenging posts to write swirling in my head, I decided to write about a pivotal first day of school for me. I tried to write in the Trimeric form that I learned about at Mary’s blog.

It Was Never the Same

New state, new town, new school, in the 8th grade
I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
Life was never the same after that first day

I’d been perfectly contented in the old school
It’s where my best friends, my church friends went
And we had our whole wonderful, joyful lives ahead of us

Welcomed by the girls in the back of the room
They became best friends, but not church friends
More like party friends, what-trouble-can-we-find friends

Life was never the same after that first day
It might have looked like a wonderful life on the outside
But it was a long time before I found wonder and joy again


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Dying for Love

This poem was inspired by the July 31 poetry prompt in The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for Your Writing Practice by Kelli Russell Agodon and Martha Silano. I have handy book on my Kindle and while I don’t look at it every day, every once in a while I decide to see what the prompt for the day is. Today’s prompt was titled “Gritty, Gutsy, and Groveling.” It called for writing in the style of Kim Addonizio, who I’ve never read, but is described as a poet who writes about “regrets and resignation, pleasure and pain.” The poem was to include at least 6 of the following 11 words: stilettos, hangover, whiskey, cigarette, dying, love, begging, naked, jail, dog, and hotel. I’ve italicized the ones I used in this biographical work written from the perspective of an old friend.

8/6/15 update: Shared for http://dversepoets.com/2015/08/06/openlinknight-153/. Head over and check out some other great poetry.

Dying for Love

She never wore stilettos—they weren’t her style
But I remember her red crop top and hip-hugger jeans

And that radiant smile that masked her tears
the pain and loneliness she never shared

All she wanted was love—but as cliché as it sounds
she looked for it in all the wrong places

Parties filled with cigarette smoke—a kegger up on Fuller Hill
At the bottom of a whiskey bottle shared with a mutual friend

If you could have seen her naked soul
You would have known she was dying, or at least not living

I caught up with her on Facebook the other day
Her profile pic still had that radiant smile

But the tears behind it were different now
Tears of peace and joy because she’d found

Forgiveness and real Love at last


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The Philosophy of Choice

The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was offered by Brian Miller, back from a 5-month break from the pub. During his absence, he took a philosophy class and so is calling us to write about philosophy, with the requirement that our poem be titled “The Philosophy of ______” or “A Philosophy of ______.”

When I first read the prompt, I thought of writing something lighthearted and funny. The title “The Philosophy of Dogs” came to mind, but that’s as far as I got with that idea. I remembered that Bjorn once commented on one of my poems that my writing is better when I write from the heart. Although I do love dogs, and mine in particular, what is really on my heart these days is something much more serious. And so this poem was conceived.

The Philosophy of Choice

The philosophy of choice says
that the convenience of one life
is equally as important as
the continued existence of another

I once bought into this philosophy
and  I chose convenience
I had my whole life ahead of me
my college plans, my career, my life

And so I chose my convenience
and her death

I thought I was justified because
the conception was not my choice
It was forced upon me and so
I shouldn’t have to be inconvenienced
by this life I didn’t want

It was supposed to be so simple, so easy
but no one told me about the regret
the shame and the anguish that would come
that would inconveniently lead to depression
stealing seven years of my life
coloring every day thereafter

The tears I’ve cried over that one choice
would drown a small army of giants
Perhaps I had to cry every tear
she never got the chance to cry

The time for choosing is long past
But if I had it to do over again
I would choose my inconvenience
and her life


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Monsoon of Mercy

At dVerse Poets Pub today, Abhra tells a tale of the monsoon season in India. The “prompt” for the day is fairly vague, so I drew from Abhra’s story about how the hot, dry summer is followed by the monsoon. And I tapped into the discussion in the comments to Anthony’s post Pub Talk: Poetry and Making a Difference. I’ve written this as a Kyrielle because I’m finding a like this form a lot. It has just enough repetition to suit me.

Monsoon of Mercy

Sin and shame deeply scorch my soul
Freedom from consequence my goal
But my choice left me dry, not whole
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy

She was the victim of my choice
Never will I hear her small voice
Yet in His arms she can rejoice
Healed by His monsoon of mercy

Now there is no condemnation
Only grace for Your creation
Regret remains a grave fixation
Healed by Your monsoon of mercy


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Have No Fear

So I’ve written two Kyrielles, Let Me Carry You with the rhyme scheme abaB cbcB dbdB, and An Odd Kyrielle with the rhyme scheme aaaR bbbR cccR. There is a third rhyme scheme option with the Kyrielle, and that is aabB ccbB ddbB. I just had to write one. I started with refrain and went from there.

The refrain is something I’ve been saying lately, as I’ve talked with people about the book I’m working on about living fearlessly. I’ve finally learned that as long as no one can take Jesus away from me, there is nothing truly to fear.

Have No Fear

Thieves and frauds may steal my money
Many days will not be sunny
Sometimes I’ll lose what I hold dear
They can’t take Jesus, I’ll not fear

Often times we will lose at love
Find hard times we can’t get rid of
Walk through fog that won’t ever clear
They can’t take Jesus, have no fear

This life abounds with death and pain
Into dark days will pour cold rain
Sometimes people will laugh and sneer
They can’t take Jesus, I’ll not fear


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