Monday, August 29, 2011

Shadow Days

Sometimes at the end of the day (or even afternoon), my brain is so exhausted I really have difficulty holding onto any train of thought…it is like there are explosions of chaos I keep thinking I should be able to reign in, but then I sort of forget can actually be pretty unsettling. I know that sleep will help, so when this total brain fatigue sets in I try to hold it together as best I can until I can get to bed or at least close my eyes (and shut out all the sensory stimulation) for a few minutes.

Some days it seems like I am moving through a dream about my life. I am talking and doing and smiling, but at the same time I feel this quality of "otherness" about everything (maybe "separateness" is a better word, I'm not really sure) …just like in a dream. On these days I feel like a shadow of myself.

I think often these kinds of days occur hand in hand. I'm not really sure which one is the catalyst and which is the result…sort of chicken and eggish. know, do the shadow days cause the brain fatigue or the brain fatigue cause the shadow days? As I just wrote that I had the thought "the shadows definitely cause the brain fatigue." So maybe that is it.

I am not complaining…just telling. I wonder if some of you have days like this?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Entertaining Self-Pity

Well, I continue to amaze even myself…not in good ways. I have been a pill all week. To those of you unfamiliar with the terminology of "being a pill" it means being unpleasant and contrary…both of which I have been in large doses this week.

I have been hostile and angry, and loudly so. My anger was covering my self-pity. Self-pity is such an ugly quality that I would rather be angry and self-righteous than admit the truth.

Here is the picture I got during my quiet time this morning. I am standing in the open door of an apartment (mine). Self-Pity is waiting just outside the door (for it is this knock that I have answered). Instead of slamming the door in Self-Pity's face, I invite it in. As I am entertaining Self-Pity inside my apartment, I hear another knock at the door. It is a friend checking on me. I do not want to let her in because she will quickly see I am entertaining Self-Pity. Instead I stand in the doorway and begin angrily talking about my neighbors and how inconsiderate they are…trying to distract my friend from the real issue. My friend is not fooled. There are several more knocks on the door by friends and several more angry rants by me. Each time the friend sincerely tells me she is so sorry I am feeling this way but also refuses to join me in my ranting. I return to the room where Self-Pity is eating my chips and dip. God has sent these friends to me because He knows what I am (unsuccessfully) hiding…and that as long as I try to hide it, I will not turn to Him for help.

Last night, at some point, I began to face the truth..and what a relief it is to finally face the truth. Facing the truth is always the beginning of peace returning. I am thankful that God never leaves me even when I act like a pill…when I turn away. I should know better….I do know better… I have my very own Exodus story that verifies (to me) God is always near and bigger than what I can see before me…WAY bigger…but I choose to regularly turn away anyway. It is so beyond my comprehension that He joyfully welcomes me back even knowing I will do it again in the not so distant future…but I KNOW (deep inside) He is joyful every time. It is also beyond my comprehension that He is so gentle with me when I know I am deserving of a good throttle! I am so thankful that God is God, and I am not.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


This morning the kids and I had a rough start…lots of lollygagging and passive disobedience by the kids and lots of nagging by me. I know when this is happening I need to stop and focus on the problem instead of continuing my own distracted list of duties...but instead I make several semi-intentional attempts at redirecting and continue on my merry way…that is until I blow. Well, it wasn't pretty. I was very angry by the time we left for school. I didn't want to pray about it, but I knew I needed to so I made a half-hearted attempt. I finally pulled into a parking lot and said something like, "Somebody better start praying out loud for us because I am not taking you to school until we have some kind of peace." (nothing like passing the buck, huh?) Of course, Caley piped up, and she prayed for help for all of us (specifically hitting each area of need—which made me wince a bit since she was humble about Luke and her needs as well as forthright about mine). We drove on to school having at least made a foray into peace.

I had not had my quiet time this morning, so I headed straight to my chair when I got back home. Guess what the reading for this morning was? The story of the merciless servant…you know the one who was forgiven his million dollar debt by the king but who refused to pardon his fellow servant's debt of just a few dollars. (Matthew 18:21-35). The residual anger I was holding onto seemed to evaporate as I saw myself so clearly as the merciless servant. I felt convicted, and the appraisal was honest…but I did not feel condemned, only grateful. It is so ironic to me that when I see myself honestly in God's light, I do not feel worse about myself…my burden (of anger and judgment in this case) is actually lifted. I never cease to be amazed.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


We can only enjoy the life we have, not the life we wish we had.

We can work to make this world a better place but not enjoying our own life will not make that happen.

Seeking our own pleasure is not the goal, but to not enjoy and share the gifts we do have is to live among the walking dead.

Love well until you die...or what is the point?

When I keep my eyes on God, I can get out of the boat...I can live the life I have, not the life I wish I had...I can work to make a positive difference in my sphere of influence, not remain paralyzed by the pain I see around me...I can let God change me into the person He created me to be. I have a choice about all this, and I choose life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I think I must have written this post around mid-July.. I don't know why I didn't post it then. I actually have a good many posts I've written and never shared. I decided I did want to share this one.


I have not been consciously dwelling on the dates. But for the last week or so, I have been eating any unhealthy food I can get my hands on…almost like I am stuffing my emotions. July 18 is our wedding anniversary…and August 2 is the anniversary of the worst day of my life. I didn't expect to skate through these reminders totally unscathed, but I guess I am a little surprised at this passive-aggressive response of stuffing things in my mouth instead of dealing with my emotions head on.

Twice this month I have looked at the list of wedding anniversaries in the church bulletin and wished that Todd and Susan Randolphwas written next to July 18. There is just something about everyone forgetting that saddens me. Not that I want people to acknowledge this date to me (so please don't), but I don't want people to forget…forget about him, forget about us. I laugh more easily now, and I have moments when I feel "normal," but I still miss him more than words can say. I still have moments when I feel so lost. I still have many moments when I indulge myself in a good cry…then it's time to pick myself up, dust myself off (helping to pick me up and dust me off were things Todd did so well), and prepare to make the best of tomorrow.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I spent last weekend with old, dear friends from college. All of these women knew Todd and me as a couple…at least one of them knew Todd before we were a couple. They have known us through the ups and downs of first jobs, marriage and parenthood. They have seen me at my best and at my worst…and, thankfully, they love me in spite of all that. I have no doubt they are in for more of the same during the next 30 years.

We met at a lake house in Alabama. The friend who had arranged for the lake house brought her boat and parked it at the dock. We packed our coolers with food and drink and headed out onto the lake both Friday and Saturday. Friday was relatively calm…no need to use the anchor. She just parked the boat and some of us swam and some of us read…and we all ate, of course. The next day the water was a bit rough, so we anchored the boat before we got off to swim…again some of us in the water and some napping or reading on the boat…but all eating ;-) When it came time to leave, the water was more choppy and a storm was brewing. She went to retrieve the anchor…and it was stuck on the bottom. We (really there were only 2 who had a clue about boats…the other 3 just tried to stay out of the way and not cause trouble ;-) tried several tactics, but the storm was pushing closer and the anchor wasn't budging. We were getting a little anxious as we watched the dark clouds roll in. We also knew that people sometimes lose their boat (and even their lives) trying to retrieve an anchor that's gotten stuck. The decision was made to cut the rope…oops, no knife…untie the rope from the boat and leave the anchor behind. By the time we got back to the dock at our lake house the water had white caps and the driver had to really maneuver to get the boat docked…but she did an awesome job.

I share this because I got the coolest email from my friend, the boat owner/driver, to all of us other (non-boating) gals when we got home. Here is a quote that I really thought was awesome.

"What I learned is never try to save the anchor and lose the boat in the process. We need to apply that to life. We have to let go of the things that are holding us back and especially when a storm is approaching. "

Maybe it was because I was there that this rings so true and the picture it paints for me is so vibrant. We shared some important stories about our lives this weekend…things that really matter to us… and this quote was so fitting in response to all that.

My friend went out on the lake Sunday afternoon with her family (after we had all headed back to our homes). Her family teased her about the missing anchor. I just thought this was funny so I am quoting her email again as I close.

"I did have to endure all of them saying 'Let's anchor here - oh wait we can't do that. We don't have one.' "

But we didn't lose the boat!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Peace in Grief

These last two days have had their share of deep sadness, but the grief is not void of hope.

Beth Moore—Living Beyond Yourself: Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit

"…peace means the absence of fear and turmoil, not the absence of pain and grief…

We can be filled with sadness and still possess a wonderful sense of God's peace. Perhaps it is at that moment beyond all others when the peace of God transcends all understanding…

Our goal is not the absence of sorrow in our grieving, but rather that we refuse to grieve 'as those who have no hope'(1 Thess. 4:13). "