caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Give Thanks

I can’t tell you how many times a day I say “Thank you!”

When sister friend obeys the first time. Ok maybe not so many times a day with this one.

When the grocery clerk ignores my children’s sassy behavior. “Thank you!”

When my husband says “Why don’t I take the kids for a few minutes.” “Thank you, thank you!”

When my friends texts me ‘just because’. “Aw, thank you!”

When my neighbor finds a new gluten free recipe she just has to share. “YUM! Thank you!!”

So many reasons to be thankful. But, I was thinking today – do I stop and thank God that many times a day?

It isn’t like I don’t have time. It takes mere seconds.

It isn’t like I don’t have anything to be thankful for.

Um, hello. I have tons.

And so do you, sweet friend.

One thing I love about God is that He takes us as we are. He doesn’t wait for us to get our act together and then seek Him. He sees our hearts. He knows our intentions. He made us. He loves us. And He delights in our grateful heart – even if it just a quick “Thanks, Lord!”

If your heart is true and your attitude is humble, we can actually honor Him by thanking Him.

Actually, come to think of it, isn’t that we do every day with everyone?

I honor the lady who helps me at the grocery store, simply by locking eyes with her and with a genuine smile, saying “Thank you, ma’am.”

I really want to honor my kids by modeling them a thankful heart in all circumstances.

And, yes, we honor God by thanking Him…for anything.

After all, every good and perfect gift is from above.

That perfect parking spot.

That promotion.

That extra thirty minutes of quiet time while they nap longer than expected.

Thank you, Lord!

So, I guess as I sit here in the quietness of my space. I am overcome with thankfulness. I confess that I don’t do this enough, God. But, you know I should. You know I could thank you all day long and it wouldn’t be enough. But, you take what I give. And somehow, Lord, you turn it into blessing.

Sweet friend, I wonder if you could start practicing this simple act of thankfulness.

You may be sitting there thinking “I don’t have one solid thing I am thankful for right now.”

I get that. I’ve been there. Done that.

I’ve been so deep in the darkest pit that thanking God was the last thing I wanted to do.

But, oh sweet friend, I do not say this lightly – when I did, if I did – I was always blessed by it. Thankfulness is a funny thing. You can’t do it at the same time as you worry. You can’t thank Him and whine at the same time. Even if all you can muster up is “Thank you God for this breath.” or “Thank you that the sun came up this morning.”

He will take it, friend.

Oh how He loves you. When you are thankful and we you are not.

Here’s hoping that you and I can remember all we have to be thankful for. And here’s praying that we give thanks to Whom it is truly due.

 

Replace the Space

We are in the middle of will forever be known as The Great Purge of 2014. Lord, help me. The toy room is done my kids have too. much. crap. Their bedrooms are done. Kitchen cabinets, done. Pantry, done. But, there’s still the garage, the attic, the shed. It’s all gotta go. Nothing is safe.

Oh, and we have our bedroom too. Ok, technically we have my side of our bedroom.

You see, my darling hubs and I have some things in common. We love God. We love each other. We’re crazy about our kids.  We like sports. We love the outdoors. Our core truths are lined up, our parenting styles are very similar – and most importantly, we both could eat Mexican food four times a week. Yep, I think that pretty much covers it.

Other than that, ladies and gents – we are completely opposite. Like black and white, or night and day – it’s Ryan and me. We read the Five Love Languages book early in our marriage. It is a great book! I loved how you rank your love styles in order from #1- #5. So, there we sat, giggly and in love meaning young and stupid…and I kid you not – in the order – my #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 were his exact #5, #4, #3, #2, #1. Awesome.

My step-dad does this type of stuff for a living, and used us a guinea pigs recently. He gave us a personality test that breaks your personality make-up into one or two of the four main groups. Either social, methodical, controlling, or melancholy. Most people have two dominant groups, the first being about 35% and the second being about 25%.

Not us.

No way, man, it’s go big or go home in the Holzberger house. Anything worth doin’ is worth over doin’ is my personal mantra. The results didn’t shock us. I tested as 55% social duh. and 5% methodical. My college roommate is nodding in agreement on that last one. And my dear love-bug tested 55% methodical and, you guessed it, 5% social.

Opp.o.site.

It was somewhat encouraging though, that when he combined our two results and averaged them together, we, as a unit, were almost perfectly split 25% in each area. (See, honey, there’s potential, here. Hug, hug. Kiss, kiss.)

There is one major area we have the most ‘spirited debates’ over – and that, my friend, in our house is considered the seven letter curse word.

C-L-U-T-T-E-R. Also known as my middle name, until my mom changed it to Amanda. Thanks, Mom.

Ryan hates clutter. I can create it in my sleep.

It gives Ryan genuine anxiety. I can look past it for days months at a time.

If Ryan picks up, and leaves space on shelves, desktops, counters – I fill the space. And I’ve even been known to do it within the hour. God bless that man.

Clearly, this is not my most desirable trait, (Hey, I’m fun at parties!) and it has truly been something that’s caused much stress in our marriage. He leaves space. I replace the space with stuff. In all fairness, it is my children’s fault. If they didn’t come home from school with seventy-three pieces of paper every flippin’  day and if they didn’t own 8.4 billion Legos, it wouldn’t even be an issue. See, honey, I say we kick them out. Not me. :)

So, in an effort to keep the peace, and learn to be a more organized grown up girl, I have made a conscious effort to not replace the space, but leave the space. Just let it be, man.

Except here.

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This, my friend, is My Own Little Concordance of Truth.

Really, it’s a journal a dear friend gave me in one of my many hospital visits. She knew I loved to write, but she also knew I couldn’t sit upright and type on a computer there in the hospital. So, she bought me the journal so I could still write. I have the best friends, ever.

But, during that time of my life, while uncertainty, fear and doubt consumed my world, I didn’t have it in me to write. All I could do was lie there in that all too familiar hospital bed and pray. I would read prayerful texts from my precious friends. Facebook posts of encouragement. And, friend, God used all of that to sustain me. I would ravishingly search His Word for promises I could cling to as my only life line.

So, I began to organize these verses into my own little concordance. (For my accurate and precise friends weirdos – I will say, it is more like a Topical Index than it is a concordance…but My Own Little Topical Index of Truth didn’t flow off of the tongue very well. :)

But, during that season, please note the first two categories I chose to seek Truth on.

photo(9)During that season of my life, fear and worry, along with healing, were the areas I so desperately needed Truth on. I needed to build a strong foundation if I was ever going to survive this madness.

So, I folded down the corner of page one and titled that section Fear/Worry. Then, I’ll never forget, I sat there (or really, lied there) and wondered how much space I would need for those verses. I looked ahead at the then-empty journal, and knew this section would need to be a big one.

Twenty-eight pages.

Front and back, I had the space on fifty-six pages to fill with His Truth.

I still wondered if this was enough.

photo 1

Fast forward a few months and I’d found a way to fill most of the journal.

Faith in God, Faithfulness of God, Peace, Love, Obedience, The Holy Spirit, Humility/Pride, Patience…

I would hear a verse in a sermon, or read it as encouragement from a friend, and immediately I would find a place for it in my journal. I realized I needed more and more Truth in all of these areas. Each of them requiring their own amount of space in my life. And this time, I wanted to replace the space. I needed to replace the space – with His Truth.

Fast forward a couple more years and I had run out of room. What!?! How can I not have any more room for more sub-categories!? How is this possible?

The next section I felt led to start was  Promises of God. How can I not have room for Promises of God? That ain’t right.

Wait a minute…that first section, the one on Fear and Worry. It’s awfully big. Much bigger than any of the rest. And while, yes, I have filled the first five or six pages with dozens of verses to remind me not to fear, and not to worry…I wondered…

Maybe I could fill the space I’d left for fear and worry with something else? Maybe I could fill that space with Promises From God.

That’s when it hit me.

God’s loving 2×4 to my head.

Of course, my child. That is exactly what I want you to do. Take the space in your life that you have left for fear and worry and replace it with Promises from Me.

Thank you, Lord.

Thank you that you can turn my ability to fill any and every space, and turn it into one of my life’s greatest blessings.

I kicked satan in the teeth that day. And, I loved it.

photo 2

I split that Fear and Worry section in less than half and folded me down another corner – a fresh start – Promises from My God. (Quickly followed by a section on knowing my enemy!)

Precious friend, I have watsed so. many. years. of my life living in fear. I have clinched so hard, with white knuckles, to hold everything in my world so tightly, all at the same time, hoping I could control it all. Needing to control it all.

And, it almost killed me.

Oh, how I pray you don’t do the same.

You cannot control life. You cannot really control much of anything. The weather. Your children. The ecomony. Your spouse’s fidelity. Your health.

None of it.

You, my dear, are not in control.

But, don’t let this be cause for fear.

God is in control. And He loves you. He made you. He is for you. He knows you better than you know yourself. And He wants for you what you would want for you, if you knew what He knows.

Don’t let fear and worry clutter up your thoughts, your decisions, your life.

Replace the space with Promises From God.

You will be blessed by it.

I know I was.

And, this time, my husband was blessed too.

The office desk, notsomuch.

 

Vacay Fake-ay

I, my friend, have officially just returned from vacation.

Ahhhh, vacation.

The word alone makes you want to find the nearest hammock, grab a book notsomuch and lose yourself in the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shoreline.

This, however, was not that type of vacay.

My darling hubs and I took the kids as in all three of the ones we made who are all still under ten years old and we went on our first annual Big Family Road Trip. (Dun, dun, duuuuuun!)

Since we spent most of our ‘extra’ ha! money the past five to seven years at the Hotel De Blue Cross Blue Shield, the concept of vacation hadn’t ever entered into our vocabulary. Until now. Because, friend, to God be the glory, I have been sealed and healed for two and a half years now! Wahoooo!!!

So. We’ve been planning this puppy for almost a year. We knew we wanted to see as many professional baseball stadiums (we are BIG baseball fans! Go Rangers!!) and National parks as we could, before these sweet non-babies leave our little nest. Thus, our planning commenced.

We chose one route, then another, finalizing a third time around- and we were done. The itinerary would be as follows:

Atlanta Braves game – Atlanta, GA

Myrtle Beach area – SC

Congaree National Park – SC

Great Smokies National Park – TN

Cincinnati Reds Game – Cincinnati, OH

(BEST impromptu side trip ever- Louisville Slugger Museum, Louisville, KY)

Mammoth Cave National Park – KY

Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, AR

We allotted ourselves three hotel nights during our planned twelve day trip.

“Well, Caroline, where in the world will you be sleeping the other days?”

In a tent, people. In. a. tent.

And while I know some of my friends may begin to hyperventilate at the thought of sleeping in a tent, ever, much less for nine nights…on your vacation. But, with Team Holzberger…that’s how we roll.

Needless to say, the trip was amazing. Truly, it was. The kids were overall a blast to be around. They did well in the car, thanks to the strategic planning of their brilliant mother, who plotted our course with no day of travel ever exceeding 5 hours in the car. And, with her sneaky hiding of all new books, games, etc. for weeks prior to the trip, so that when the highway came and the Box o’ Fun was opened, I heard a plethora of “Oh WOW, I thought I lost that game!” and “Ohhh I always wanted to read this book!”

Well, played, Mom. Well played.

We saw beaches, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests, waterfalls, natural springs, caves, swamps, and everything in between. My kids held baby crabs. Touched a live starfish. Caught lightning bugs. Hunted for millipedes. Hiked up mountains. Waded in frigid natural springs. Traveled to underground caves. Lept for home run balls. Touched pieces of baseball history. Played in the rain. Peed in the woods. And so much more.

So many memories I will treasure forever.

But, as you know, my sweet friend.

None of it was real.

I don’t mean it was a dream, of course. I mean, it wasn’t real life. It was vacation.

And, not to be Debbie Downer, but vacay is always fake-ay.

The events do occur. The memories are real. You aren’t dreaming. But, it isn’t real life.

There are no bills on vacation. No deadlines. No chores. No work. No diets. No budget. No competing schedules.

Only fun. Only dessert. Only “Yes!” said all the time.

And while vacations are enjoyable, and vacations are often deserved…at some point, you must go back to real life.

Mortgages are due. Kids deserve time-out. Although some kids find ways to get put in time out in all twelve states you travel through. Just sayin’. Traffic jams happen. Diets resume.

Real life hits us hard in the face and sometimes even knocks us flat on our back. The reality that our vacay was fake-ay and that real life has returned, is sometimes more that we can handle.

And, sadly, many of us go on ‘vacay’ every single day. As soon as our feet hit the floor, we enter vacation land. Not literally, but in some way or another. You are fake with your co-workers. Your spouse doesn’t really know you anymore. You put on your ‘smiley-happy people’ face when you pull into the church parking lot.

One day you wake up and realize, you’ve created an entire vacay life. All around you.

Friend, please don’t let that be your truth.

Jesus didn’t die so that you could wear a mask of perfection.

He didn’t suffer so that we could all act happy and peaceful all the time.

He knows we live in a sinful world. He knows every fiber of deceptive weaving the enemy is constantly doing all around us. He cares about our hearts cry, that often only He hears.

It’s time to come home from vacation, my sweet friend. Let your guard down. Be vulnerable. Let someone in. Show your scars, your flaws, your quirks. And let the chips fall where they may.

Ya know, it’s amazing how lying down on the carpet of a doctor’s waiting room will humble you. I still vividly remember the scratchy feeling under my arms as I stared at the all too familiar tile ceiling, silently begging for people to stop staring…to stop questioning…to stop judging.

I was stripped of so much pretense during the flat years on my couch. It’s tough to be prideful when you’re in your pajamas every day and can’t sit up and look people in the face. I was sort of always a ‘who cares’ kind of person when I thought about wanting to impress people or hoping they liked me. But, then, my couch time solidified it. God stripped me; and sweet friend, I wish you would allow God to strip you too. I pray it doesn’t take the medical drama I had to go through to get you there.  But…if that’s what it takes to get you home from vacation.

So be it.

You, beloved, are God’s workmanship - and as I’ve heard said many times -

“God don’t make no junk.”

You are valued. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are worth it. You are chosen. You are His.

I believe so strongly that it is way past time for people – especially those of us in the church – to STOP pretending. STOP clinging to our pride and our egocentricity. STOP acting like we have it all together. Brothers and sisters, can we please just be real? Be broken. Be authentic. Be true. This disgusted, dying, desolate world is desperate for something real. And, friend, it NEEDS to be us! Real doesn’t get more real than the love Jesus has for His people.

If we are His Church; if we are His followers; if we claim His Name – then we’d better be the real deal. With all our sins, with all our failures, with all our baggage, let’s just get out there and love people. Love their past. Love their story. Love them enough to not judge any of it.

It’s time to come home from vacation, church.

Welcome home.

And yes, I got your postcard in the mail.

Loved it.

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Sheep, Not Ducks

Six months. Two weeks. Two days.

That is how long it’s been, dear friend (if you are still out there??) since I have written a.darn.thing.

Well, technically I have written plenty of stuff in my head. Scary place, my head. Danger, Danger Will Robinson. I simply haven’t written on my computer. I have talked to you, cried with you, confessed to you, and terribly, terribly missed you.

I am back.

I had a bit of a Sovereign Pause on my life the last year. I got a job. Oh sweet baby Jesus. And I kept going. And going. Have you ever heard me say ‘shoveling snow in a blizzard’? Have you ever lived that out? Then you get it. Solidarity, sistas.

But, I feel a peace over my life now. A vivid covering of His Presence. It’s amazing how much closer you feel to Jesus when you actually freaking spend time with Him. Rocket science, it is not. Our relationship was much more superficial this last year. Clearly, my doing. I didn’t make time for it. I chose to be so busy with the job, and the kids, and all of the practices, and the homework, and the reading logs, and the carpool, and the meals I just fed you people yesterday, dangit and the parenting, and the time outs, and the sassy spray, and the sports, and the just doing all of the life. I need a nap just remembering it. But, first I need to return the phone call from The University of Complacency – they have asked me to be their poster child for 2013-2014. Crap.

But, that season of my life is over. Oh how I give Him thanks for it. I give Him thanks for giving me a wonderful job with wonderful people. I miss them already. I had forgotten what it felt like to be a part of a work family. I thank Him for the financial blessing it was. For the time of humility and conviction it was. But, I also now give Him thanks for ending it. I even more so give Him thanks for the door He swung open for a job this year. Oh the blessings!! (details later) And, now, I truly feel that He has pressed Play again on my writing. I know He has made me to do this. I feel blessed by it. Humbled by it. Scared of it. But, mostly just honored that He would ever let me say anything about Him that is of worth to others. How cool is that, friend? That we are His ambassadors? What. An. Honor.

So, welcome back. Thank you SO much for being here. I love you.

And, today, I want to leave you with a picture. You know I am so very visual. And He hit me yesterday, His loving, all to familar, Sovereign 2×4 to my head.

We sort of live in the cit-ountry. Part city. Part country. We are fifteen minutes from any and every and I do mean e.v.e.r.y. shopping luxury you could want. Traffic. Highways. People everywhere. City. But, then again, we live in a quiet part of town. Where you can see the stars more clearly at night and hear the symphony of cicadas lull you to sleep. We are surrounded by trees – thousands of them. Our neighbors are far enough away to feel like country. A place where something like this is normal –

photo-2 photo-3

 

We had visitors yesterday. In our backyard. Poor little babies. We tried to herd them into our front yard so they would not be trapped by our fence. That was funny to watch. But, watching my children try to be nice, while still being crazy kiddos, that Mama duck was faithfully leading her babies. She wandered all over our yard trying to find solace. And those seven little ducklings followed faithfully. Lined up. In their place. Following their trusted leader.

God told me that’s His plan for me. He said it in my heart of hearts while I watched my babies frantically zip in every stinking direction – quite the opposite of those little ducklings who stayed true to their ‘all in a row’ reputation. I mean, it’s even a saying, people. Do you have all your ducks in a row? Big fat heck to the NO, is the answer by the way.

God doesn’t call us His ducklings in His Word, does He? Nope.

I wonder why?

Gee, give me a nanosecond to think that one over.

Hmm, I wonder if it’s because we do what ducklings do, except for the exact opposite.

We do not follow Him right in a row like we should, do we?

Am I alone here? I sure hope not. We venture off on our own. We trust in our plans. We fill our days. We look up, all of a sudden, and can’t see Him anywhere in sight? Where is that devotional book I have, anyway? Ugh.

He does, however call us His sheep quite often.

Like here. And here. Oh ya, AND HERE!

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I would love to remind you why He calls us that. I wrote a whole blog about it. It’s an old one. Very informal, just sort of the overflowings of my crappy convicted heart. But, I know I needed the reminder.

Boy have I been sheep-ing it up all year. So, I guess I just wanted you to know -

It’s duckling time now.

You with me??

Five Minute Friday(ish) – “Fly”

(Disclaimer to my readers – Today I link up with fellow writers. This is a challenge. A group to join. A prompting by another woman I like to just.sit.down. every Friday and write for only five minutes. That’s it. Which is roughly how long it takes for me to write my normal first sentence. Ahem. So, lest some of you start dancing joyfully with glee that my post is shorter – it is advised that thy shouldn’t get thyself used to it. In Jesus’ Name.) READ MORE HERE.

GO.

On a wall, I sometimes wish to be
A little fly, no one can see
Or perhaps their eyes do see me there
But I’m so small they wouldn’t care
And what about you my friend
If you were that fly, would you pretend
To like me still, you’re BFF
If you saw me when no joy was left
When spanx exploded what once was thin
Would you, my friend, still like me then?
Or when I yelled at a kid or two
Would you judge me then? Well, would you?
Or when I lied, or when I cried or when I barely even tried
Would you be friend; look up to me
When you saw how awful I could be
To my man and to my kid
Or worse, to Him whose blood was shed
A complacent heart and prideful life
A selfish un-submissive wife
If that is what you came and saw
As a fly upon my wall
Would u think I loved the Lord
Would my life be worth dying for
I thank my Jesus, night and day
He loves, forgives and will not stray
From my side, nor yours as well
And guards us from attacks of hell
So even if upon my wall
You did not care for what you saw
My Savior will be standing by
As so much more than
Just
A
Fly

Matthew 9:12-13 “On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. ForI have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and Iwill bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Duet. 31:8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he willnever leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Matthew 6:8 “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need beforeyou ask him.”

In the Deepest Pit

Oh my dear ones, this will be short. Mainly, because it is late, I am tired, and as I told you before…I got a job now. I gotta get my hiney up early in the morning. The days of staying up late to write and resting and recovering  the next day while the kids napped or were in school are nothing but a looooong-lost memory.

But, I come to you now because the Holy Spirit wouldn’t leave me alone about it. When that happens, I’ve learned to listen. And watch God receive the glory.

So, I come to you now, simply to share this – I seem, lately, to be surrounded by people in “a pit”.

I grew to respect and appreciate this term for it after reading a book that flat out changed my life. Beth Moore, who, for those of you who don’t know is one of the most well-respecrted, wise, insightful and in-love-with-Jesus Bible teachers/speakers/writers out there on our planet right now. She wrote a book called “Get Out Of That Pit” (see here!) that was a rope for me out of my very own pit. God threw me a rope, and it was in the form of that book.

But, those around me, as I said, vary in the type of pit they’ve found themselves in -

A friend in a loveless marriage.

A fellow writer whose cancer is back with a vengeance. (Read her stuff. You will love her. And then pray for her. And her two baby girls.)

A woman who buried her eight=year-old.

A friend who buried her mother.

Yet another whose mother’s mental health has everyone on their knees desperate for answers.

Another friend in a deep financial pit with not a ray of sunshine reaching the bottom.

As you can see – some people didn’t choose their pit. They were pushed in, slipped in, or sometimes dove in. Regardless, a pit is where they be.

I am, for the most part pit-free as of now. Don’t be deceived… I am unhappy sometimes. My marriage bites sometimes. My quiet time sucks stinks sometimes. Our finances make me cry sometimes. I feel myself slowly slipping back into the Complacent Christian Life sometimes. My head and back hurt all the times. But, really, that is no pit.

Trust me, I’ve been in a pit.

But, as God would have it, at least for this season, He has surrounded me with people in a pit. So, it is to all of you that I write tonight.

Please hear me -

God can be trusted. 

He just plain ol’ can.

As if He should have to, He proved it to me time after time after time. Out of the abundance of His grace and mercy He showed up and blessed my hospital socks off over and over.

Did it all end up as I had planned for? As I prayed for?

Heck to the no, it. did. not.

But, here I stand (Hallelujah! I stand!) out of my pit.

I stand here in the sunlight and I feel the warmth of the Son on my face.

The cold, dark, desolate pit is no longer my surroundings. The deafening silence of the loneliness I felt there has currently been replaced with cheers and rejoicing in songs of praise.

I say this not to brag. That would be absurd. I say this ONLY, and I do mean, only to encourage you. My pit lasted the better part of four years. Maybe yours has been four months. Perhaps even four decades. I don’t know.

But, this I do know.

God loves you.

He made you on purpose for a purpose.

He can be trusted through it all.

And most of all -

He is with you now.

And always.

Do not doubt.

Do not fear.

Our God is big enough.

All my love,

Caroline

Ps. The links provided have some of the best testimonies I have to His faithfulness, along with the best Truth from His Word to stand upon. If you have time, read them as well. Blessings…

Five Minute Friday – Write

(Disclaimer to my readers – Today I link up with fellow writers. This is a challenge. A group to join. A prompting by another woman I like to just.sit.down. every Friday and write for only five minutes. That’s it. Which is roughly how long it takes for me to write my normal first sentence. Ahem. So, lest some of you start dancing joyfully with glee that my post is shorter – it is advised that thy shouldn’t get thyself used to it. In Jesus’ Name.) READ MORE HERE.

GO.

Do I do this whole writing thing well?

I know I don’t do it good.

Because, to say I do it ‘good’ would be bad writing.

Oh wait, it would be poor writing.

Shootamonkey.

Here’s the deal. I’ve never been a ‘good’ writer…but, I’ve always loved to write. To me, writing is like talking, and oh sweet baby Jesus, how I love to talk.

Go. Write My words in your unique voice. Write it – tell them My story – our story. Then sit back and watch what I will do with it. Give Me the glory. I love you.

God said that to me once. Not like via txt message or loud speaker that sure would be easier, Jesus. Just sayin’ but in my spirit – He told me to write.

I wouldn’t go back to teach.

I would write. I feel so close to Him when I do. It’s almost like my own little miracle every single time.

But, lately I haven’t had time to eat/sit/think/bathe, much less write.

Correction.

I haven’t made time to write. I’ve made time to sit comatose in front of the TV. I’ve made time to sleep the extra blessed, beloved, precious fourteen minutes. I’ve made the time for other things…just not to write.

I guess I’ve always felt that this blog should be as researched and profound as possible. Every time. 1,500 words minimum of my irony and His Truth. Every time. It’s funny how much extra time you have to research and pray and seek Him when you are lying flat on your coach all day every day for weeks and months on end.

But, now, for reasons only He fully knows, He has chosen to heal me and set me feet firm on the ground. He was given me the most precious gift of all through this couch time – His blessed gift of perspective.

About what really matters.

Her smile.

Holding his hand.

Hearing his giggle.

Watching her sleep.

Serving this young man.

Acknowledging this older woman.

His kingdom is here.

His purpose is now.

His words are in me.

I just have to sit. down. and.

write.

 

STOP.

I’m Neither Dead Nor In a Cult

Hello my beloved friends. My name is Caroline. Do you, perchance, remember me!?!

If so…do you still want to be my friend?

I haven’t posted a single word in almost two months. Like, not. a. word.

I’ve wanted to.

I’ve thought about it.

Sure have intended to.

But, alas, nada.

Here’s the deal. Brace yourself -

I

got

a

job.

I know, I know, that’s nuts, right? The more I work, the more I agree with that statement.

I have always held firmly to my support of being a homemaker and stay at home Mom. I have even received criticism for it. Maybe lost a friend or two?

But, for this year, for reasons I will briefly explain, I’ve jumped back in…a bit.

Disclaimer: Some of you Moms who’ve been working and raising your kids all this time are about to fall out laughing at me. Or perhaps, comment on my blog with some nastiness. I hope for the first. But, for those of you who have worked full time and raised your kids, I think you should be commended, and then committed. Seriously. This. Is. For. The. Birds. Unless your family like genuinely needs the income and no, not for hand scraped floors and Disney vacations I don’t know how why you do it!? I only work until 1:00pm and I feel like my life is in shambles. Passionate about your work? Sure. I love my work. But, dude – this is hard. The homework, the errands, the running around to every extra curricular thing, the church, the friends (nevermind, I have no friends anymore, no time) , the cleaning, the groceries, the laundry that never ends – whatintheworld!?! Why, oh why? And some of you have like, real-life, stressful, grown-up, corporate jobs. Not me. I am blessed to love on preschoolers, watch them on the playground, and give them snack. Yes, ladies in gentlemen, my folks paid for five years of college for me to be the playground and snack girl. Rock on! And I have no take home work, no stress from work, no deadlines at work, no dress code at work, nada. It is all good. All joy. All fun. All casual dress. All people I adore. All good. No travel. No traffic. No politics. Such a blessing!!! And still, this new life of mine, is haaaaaaard.

Disclaimer about my disclaimer: I loooooove my job. Like, for real. I love the people. Truly the salt of the earth. I love the environment. I love the hours. I love the company I’m with (meaning I get to see my baby girl all day!) I love the school, and I believe passionately about the work they do there. I love that I get paid. Holla. I really do love working at this job. It’s the whole working part I’m still adjusting to. But, unless I’m able to interview for a job that pays me to stay in my jamis while I clean my house and care for my kids – then I am happily pick this one.

So, here’s the skinny – I was approached by a precious friend about working at my children’s preschool. All three of my kids have gone through this fine establishment and I swear to you people, any smarts they have (especially in reading!) it comes from this school. I promise, y’all. I looked up one day and said “Wait a minute, you can read!?!” Momoftheyear crown is mine once again. Anyway, it is my baby girl’s last year before kindergarten (do.not.get.me.started.) and then I will have no little people at my home at all for seven hours a day. Not one. I have no flipping idea what that will even feel like, but at this particular moment I think it will resemble heaven. So, when she approached me, Ryan and I prayed about it, weighed pros and cons, etc. and made our choice. After all, I was very open to helping my one-educator-income family out financially. Educators get paid crap. Period. And, get this, I get to work with people I adore, with kiddos I adore, and see my baby girl more during the day than if I stayed home with her. That, my friends, is a win-win. It had Jesus written all over it.

But, I repeat – working is for the birds.

I haven’t had to get up and go to work every day in NINE YEARS, people. Are you good at anything you did nine years ago?!? Didn’t think so. So…dear ones, if you have seen me in the last five weeks you may think I seemed more scattered, distracted, stressed, aloof, annoyed, crazy, hostile or indifferent. It’s only because I have been more scattered, distracted, stressed, aloof, annoyed, crazy, hostile and indifferent. But, I’m coming out of it. God is using this as a HUUUUUGE teaching tool about where my heart lies. What are my priorities? Are they in order? For the record – they are crazy whacked out currently, but unwrinkling slowly.

So. I just wanted to say “Hello!” and “I love you!” and “I still love Jesus and talk to Him all the time!” and “Praise God ‘The Middle’ and ‘Parenthood’ are back on!” and “Shoot, I think I’ve gained ten pounds!” and some other things that I can’t remember. I’ve missed you. And, I hope you’ve missed me. I have actually had quite a few meaning more than three people come up to me and ask where I have been with my blog. They’ve commented, somewhat sadly, that I haven’t posted anything in forever. My first thought has been “Hey. I have a job now and I’ve bathed this week. Cut me some friggin’ slack.” Quickly followed by “Ya, you’re right. Could you just go ahead and do that for me?” and then once again followed by “Wait. You noticed? You actually missed the ramblings I throw up onto  you via my keyboard?! Wow.” (sniff, sniff)

So, I decided, that although I have no profound insight about my precious Jesus today, I will say this – I’ve had to lean more into Him these last five weeks than I have since my couch. When I have, He has been there faithfully – to give me Peace, stretch my time, bless my marriage, give me a special moment with my kiddos, and so on and so on. But, ohhhh when I haven’t, I have crashed and burned and been selfish and grumpy. It’s ugly, dude. I mean it.

My life has changed. I have a job now. But, that’s not it.

I am married.

I have three kids.

Two of them are in public school, which, bytheway should come with a free secretary for each child to singlehandedly manage the tonnage of paperwork coming home and lists oh the freaking lists! of things to turn in, donate, create, and sign up for. Shoot me now! And do it before the fall carnival so I don’t have to do the temporary tattoo booth, please.

I also go to church.

I also have to clean my own home and run my own errands and do my own laundry. Sucks out my very soul.

I also have each kid in one count it, ONE extra curricular activity. And I coach one of them. And yes, they’re only in one thing each – but ‘they’ equal three. Me and hubs equal two. You do that Math. I can’t. I’m too tired. I have a job now.

Dear Lord,

I have blown it big time lately in my deep study of your Word. Please forgive me. And thank you, thank you. thank you for your saturation of Truth in my heart and mind exactly when I needed it via an email devotional or song lyric. Thank you for providing for our family in each and every way. And specifically for this job. What a show off you can be, by giving me something so ab.so.lute.ly perfect for our family. Oh that you would continue to mold me and shape me into the person you want me to be. I do not envy the work you have ahead of you. But, I praise you in advance for the glory you will receive through it. May I become more disciplined, in Your Name. May I become more empathetic, in Your Name. May I become less judgmental, in Your Name. May I be light in this dark world – a true, honest, transparent person, willing to show their flaws in order to shine your perfection. And, now Jesus, please extend my sleep. Oh, I beg you. I obeyed your calling to finally sit down and write – I know this is what you have called me to do in this life. So please, Jesus, pleeeease take these seven hours until my alarm goes off  and make them feel like twelve. Or thirteen? I know you can do it. You’ve held me every day these last few weeks. I am so thankful for it. I need it now more than ever. ‘Cause, you know, Lord, I have a job now.

Thank so much you for Jesus, Amen.

Precious Sarah

Once again, I’m hooking up with fellow writers for our Five Minute Friday time of writing. This week’s prompt -
Five Minute Friday – Lonely

Go.

She sits at a table meant for two…yet holding only her.
Only her.
Again.
It seems its been that way for such a long time now. Her precious Harold, she loved for three quarters of her life, has been gone for almost three years now. Three long years. But her eyes well up with tears as she remembers the seven years before that when her true Harold left. His mind gone long before his body. But at least then she could still hold his hand. She could still hear his voice, even if the stories he tried desperately to remember we’re never true at all.
Gone forever, just two days after they celebrated 43 years together. How selfish for her to want him to live that way longer. How selfish for her to want to keep him from the presence of Jesus. But she wanted him in her presence now. At this table meant for two. He would order himself a sandwich but eat some of hers anyway.
But not today.
She was alone now.
Alone and lonely.
She looks at the tables surrounding her. The room filled with chatter of her fellow along-in-years ‘neighbors’. Not the neighbors she’d raised her kids with. Gone to ballgames with. Sat at church with. Not the neighbors in the small town she knew every corner of, every member of. These neighbors seem fine in this place. Living in this sort of place was never in her plan. A two bedroom apartment in an active adult living facility – whatever that may mean. She missed her house. She missed her things. She missed his things. The home where sometimes, even still, she would catch a whif of his cologne as she sat in his favorite recliner chair.
Lost in her thoughts, she twirled her wedding band around her finger. The same one he’d given her so many, many years ago. They were so young then. Their whole lives ahead of them. Where had all those years gone? Had she wished them away without truly enjoying them? Anxious for the next phase of life to bring new challenges, new joys, new surprises.
Jolted back to reality by the sound of laughter. Seated around her now were the children and grandchildren of some of these new ‘neighbors’. They would come visit for a little while, but only when they could spare the time.
Oh how she ached to grab them by the hands. To shake them if she needed to…and plead with them -
Enjoy it.
Soak it up! Every last moment.
I don’t know how I got here so quickly.
So quickly to being alone.
But you will be here to.
Before u know it. Trust me.
We are all only a few short decades from being here.
Alone.
And lonely

Instead she clung to his wedding band she wore on a simple gold chain around her neck. Closing her eyes and taking another sip of her herbal tea – the tea that new young doctor of hers said would be good for her heart.
My heart.
Sigh.
My heart doesn’t need tea. It needs Harold.
My heart needs not to be alone.
And lonely.

Five Minute Friday – Broken

(Disclaimer to my readers – Today I link up with fellow writers. This is a challenge. A group to join. A prompting by another woman I like to just.sit.down. every Friday and write for only five minutes. That’s it. Which is roughly how long it takes for me to write my normal first sentence. Ahem. So, lest some of you start dancing joyfully with glee that my post is shorter – it is advised that thy shouldn’t get thyself used to it. In Jesus’ Name.) READ MORE HERE.

Five Minute Friday – BROKEN.

GO.

I have to be honest with you -

I live in a rich, white bubble.

It’s true. And, I don’t mean to sound racist or prejudice or anything else ugly. I’m just saying…it is what it is. If you were to stand on the street corner two miles from my house, at the major intersection of two roads – you would see more luxury cars than five-year-old cars. You would see more educated people than uneducated people. Most of them would be white. ALL of them would be upper class, or at least upper-middle class. Some of them are even in the super dooper upper class.

There is not ‘bad’ area of town. There is no crime. There is no real glimpse into the outside world.

So, unless I am purposeful and drive thirty minutes in any direction – I live my daily commute (aka. to the carpool line, Wal-Mart, preschool and church) then I would never ever see the poor.

But, oh, my friend, how that doesn’t mean I don’t see the broken.

The broken are rich, too.

The broken are white, too.

The broken are everywhere.

Withint the last year, my world got doneflippedupsidedown and I spun out of control. (Thanks a lot Jesus…and Jen Hatmaker)

But once my head leveled off, I found myself. My true self. I found the place God wanted me. Not selling everything I own and moving to the ghetto (my initial response) and also not sluffing it off and calling too radical.

I found the place He would have me be.

And this place is acknowledging the broken everywhere I go. To the salon. To the homeless church. To the elite boutique to use the bathroom, clearly. To the person next to me at church. To the man sweeping the floors at my kid’s overprivleged public school.

Brokenness is everywhere.

This was proven to me today in a large way.

Months ago – amidst my beloved tailspin, I wrote a blog about a man I met named Mr. John Tucker. I hadn’t thought about him in months, so I count today a blessing for the sheer reminder to pray for him. But, today, a man commented on my blog post from last October — and I’ll admit, he was a hata.

He judged me, criticized me, and bashed me for my act of kindness to Mr. John Tucker. Why?

Because Mr. John Tucker is homeless.

Oh ya, did I not mention that?

He was probably on drugs. He smelled of feces. He perhaps conned us out of that $20 that day. And, he may even be into all types of illegal things. But, maybe not. I don’t know. You know Who does? The One who made him.

My Jesus.

The same Jesus who broke His body for me. For Mr. John Tucker. AND for the hata on my blog.

The rage he spoke about this homeless man he’d never met – reminded this rich, white girl of one thing.

Brokenness is everywhere.

You can choose to serve the broken wealthy. You can choose to serve the broken poor. But, choose something.

So, I ask you…

Who is more broken? Who is more poor?

The man with nothing to his name, and no worth to so many people?

Or the man who judges him and casts him aside?

I think I know that answer.

Do you?

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