You Don’t Have to Live With It

17 years ago it appeared. At first I was like,  “Ew. What the heck is this?”  You could see it from across the room. Right there. There!  Of all places? It surprised me as it seemed to arrive overnight.  But as the weeks passed, I became comfortable with its existence and noticed it less and less. In fact because of the circumstances of its arrival, it became a symbol… a symbol of a pivotal time in my life, of something undeniably precious. Yet, it still caused concern. And today, those concerns overshadowed the sentimental value as I found myself in a tiny room waiting on a doctor.

While pregnant with my son, I went to bed one night with a normal face. The next morning I woke up with a mole the size of a small South Carolina town on my right cheek. “Common” they said. “Just one of those pregnancy things” they said. Regardless of how abnormal this normal thing looked, I reconciled myself to live with it since it didn’t seem to scrub off. I may or may not have tried.

Then my son entered the world and deemed that mole on my right cheek, “his spot.” I remember the day he kissed my face and pronounced that this spot marked the cheek he was to kiss and that spot was his forever. No one else could kiss that cheek. This little baby boy with bright brown eyes and an infectious smile had just changed the way I would see my own face.

So I lived with it. As he grew and the years passed, the kisses decreased. Yet the spot still reminded me of my baby boy. It was a symbol of a bond. It was special. And I held on to it. But it was still a large imperfection in the middle of my face. And one that had to be taken seriously.

After the doctor reassured me that it was OK, she said something that stopped me in my tracks – “I could take it off in less than a minute if you’d like.” <Dramatic pause.> Take it off?! Wait, you mean I don’t have to live with it? It could be erased, just like that? Gone? As if it had never been there at all?

Yes. It could be erased. I didn’t have to live with it.

The sentimental value of the “spot” aside, it was something that I really didn’t want to see in the mirror every day, but I had reconciled myself to let it stay. I had gotten so accustomed to it being there that I didn’t consider even the idea of an alternative. I didn’t like it, but I got comfortable with it. Little did I know how comfortable I had gotten until that moment. And 60 seconds later, it was gone. Gone. I simply had to let it be removed.

If no one has ever told you, you don’t have to live with it… let me be that person. Whatever spot you carry with you that causes you pain, concern, embarrassment, fear, doubt, worry, guilt, shame, or some other dark heaviness, you can let it go. It can be gone in seconds. You simply have to let it be removed.

Ask Him.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”  Acts 3:19

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17





Everything is Different

For 14 years I have longed for this day. I have dreamed of it. I have planned for it. I have tried to make it come faster to no avail. I’ve wished. I’ve hoped. I’ve been anxious, excited, ecstatic, and full of anticipation. And alas, today…today…today is it!

We are taking down that horrible wallpaper.

Now hold on. I realize you’re probably thinking, “Really?! That’s what you’re all
‘this is the day’ about? Wallpaper? For the love of Pete…” Well that last part probably only occurred to you if you were raised as a proper Southerner, but I digress. Yes, I got this hyped up over a wallpaper removal project. Trust me. It’s the ugliest, most horrific, vertigo-causing wallpaper you’ve ever seen. One hour in the room and I swear you’d be madder than a wet-setting hen. #droppingsouthernismslikeapro

Today is the day that room will meet Mr. Steamer and Mrs. Scraper. And I can’t wait to see the change. But first, let me share the evil with you. Let this crystallize in your mind. But don’t look too long or you’ll pass out.


Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And now you can relate to my enthusiasm as this vile decor meets its demise. As I was violently ripping pieces from the wall, I shared my thrill with our daughter, Alaine, who is away at college. Expecting her to join me in the celebratory wallpaper removal dance even from afar, I was shocked when she didn’t.

“Mom! Everything is changing. The whole house is going to look different when I come home.”

Thank goodness, I thought.

She was not so eager to see the changes. I mean yes, she knew how much I despised this room (ok, everyone in my world knows), but the familiarity of home was comforting. When she returned, she wanted it to feel like home. I suppose that made perfect sense. But I commenced ripping. I love her, but…

Hours later our son Austin came in the door from practice. We had just pulled down the last piece of psycho paper. “Ta Daaaaaa!!!!!” I said. He didn’t notice a thing. “WHAT?! Look at these walls son.” He couldn’t remember what was there before. Yes, I’m serious. “Have you lived here for most of your life?!” He’s a boy so I guess that explains it. And yes, I made him stare at the before photo.

Here I was making a change to something that had bothered me immensely for years. Yet, I had one child who saw these walls as comforting because they were familiar and another child who barely noticed them at all.

Everything is changing, she said.
Nothing changed, he said.

You ever have verses bubble up inside you at the craziest times?

I will never change. 

Hebrews 13:8(KJV)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

James 1:17 (ESV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.


No matter what changes in our life, He will not. And we can count on it.





When Your Kid Has a Car Accident…

Time stopped. I saw the phone ringing. I knew where he was heading. And I knew without hearing a word what had happened. My son had gotten in an accident.

Call it a mother’s intuition, but I didn’t have to hear a word to know that something was wrong. As I heard the details, everything around me faded away. All I could think was “get to the boy.” Get to the boy. GET TO THE BOY.

But there was a problem. I didn’t know where he was.

If you’re ever the first person who gets that emergency call from your child, there’s things you should know.  Let me save you from the wrath of your loved ones by educating you on how this conversation is supposed to go. Question #1 should be “Are you ok?” Once that is dealt with, question #2 should then follow – “Where are you?” Three easy words. WHERE ARE YOU? My husband didn’t know these rules.  And because Q2 wasn’t asked, this upset mama went racing to the car to drive…. somewhere… anywhere that would put me closer to my son. GET TO THE BOY.

I tried to reach my child. No answer. GET TO THE BOY.  I called my husband and grilled him for clues. Nothing. GET TO THE BOY.  I reasoned with myself. He said it wasn’t so bad. GET TO THE BOY.  No matter how hard I tried to remain calm, I felt my insides knot up and my heart race. I had to GET TO THE BOY.

And I finally did. He was OK. In fact he was worried about me. He knew I was upset, but he also knew he was in a bad part of town and didn’t want me in danger. He handled the entire situation on his own. The other driver. The Highway Patrol. All of it. And when I got to him, he directed me to drive down the road until we arrived at a safer place to talk. “This is a bad area mom. Don’t even stop. Just keep going. I don’t want you to get out of the car here.”

What just happened?

My baby boy grew up.


Oh I’ll always be his mama. I’ll always have that “GET TO THE BOY” feeling, but he has become a young man. I blinked and it happened. He has gained wisdom. He has built strength. He was able to handle this on his own… with God’s hand on him of course. And He has such a plan for that boy’s life (um.. young man). As I followed him home, I couldn’t help but sense that His plan is going to be pretty awesome.  Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t sit both my son and my husband down and make them practice the steps of the Emergency Call Protocol. Repeat after me – “Where are you?!”

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. Luke 2:40


The Day I Had a Root Canal

I know root canals are no walk in the park for anyone. But for me, having a root canal was like a walk through hell itself. That is, until I discovered a little dental secret.

I went in for my root canal one Friday morning. I had prepared myself physically and mentally for this. I was ready. Or so I thought. Do y’all know what a #2 molar is? Open your mouth. Take your finger and stick it all the way towards the back of your mouth. Feel that last molar on the top right? Yea that one. That’s #2. And that’s the one that needed a root canal. That’s apparently the worst tooth you could ever need a root canal on. Yay me.

In order to proceed with my #2 root canal they needed to determine if I could handle the “dental dam” or as I like to call it “the piece of rubber they use to suffocate you as if you were a prisoner at Gitmo.” 15 secs into said test and I was choking, crying, and reaching for dental instruments. I think that meant I failed. Now we had to talk options.

This is when I learned they even HAD OPTIONS. What’s this little secret? You mean I could have opted for something to make me unaware of this procedure? Oral sedation? Um yes please. I promptly rescheduled my appointment for a later date and skipped out of the office with my prescriptions in hand.

Once the day came for root canal take 2 I was on two drugs plus gas. Oh I still talked to the staff and was mildly aware of my face, but otherwise I was relaxing on the beach at sunset. As my sweet daughter chauffeured me home, I announced that these secret dental drugs should be used for many more situations. They should offer this for annual physicals as well as boring meetings. Bring on the happy pills and gas.

All kidding aside, I was thankful for something to help me get through a difficult procedure. As we were getting started, the dental assistant told me to just be still and it would all be over in no time. My job was to 1) be still and 2) trust it would all turn out ok. Isn’t that what God asks of us?  In Psalm 46 we are told thatGod is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.” That same chapter then instructs us to “Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.” When we face difficult fear-filled situations, we have the greatest help of all. We simply need to 1) be still and 2) trust Him. And this help is for everyone – no prescription needed!

P.S. For your viewing pleasure, here’s what the aftermath of the root canal looked like. And a special thanks to my sweet daughter for putting up with me and capturing it all on video. Pay back is coming when you get your wisdom teeth out. Stay tuned friends.

 CLICK LINK>>> The Day I Had a Root Canal






If You Look Backwards Too Long, You’ll Wreck

It’s the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. While I love celebrating, I have never understood the fascination with new year’s resolutions and the “new year, new you” movement. I mean a fresh start is great, but the world doesn’t magically change between 11:59 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. on December 31st. Yea I know, #partypooper.

fullsizerenderAs my DH and I rang in the new year in both eastern and central time zones (that’s how we roll), I made my usual comments about the previous year and what had not gone right.One thing I do understand is looking back over the year thinking about what was accomplished and what wasn’t … sadly I’ve always put an emphasis on the “what wasn’t”. Rehashing things over and over from the previous day/week/month/year has been a bad habit of mine for so long I hardly recognize when I do it. It’s like those people who stare so long in the rear view mirror wondering what the lady  behind them is doing that they hit a curb in front of them. Note to Hubby: I’m not saying I did not that. I’m just saying there are people who do. And no, that scratch on the rim was not me. I swear. 

As I commenced developing my 3.5 essay on how 2016 could have been better, I felt deeply convicted. If I look backwards too long, I’m going to wreck. I’m going to wreck the new year. I’m going to wreck 2017 before 2016 even ends. WOW.

While there’s nothing wrong with reflecting, there is something wrong with dwelling on past issues to the point that you miss all the fantastic blessings you’ve already received. Not only that, but only looking at what could have been better keeps you from looking ahead. Ooooooooh. That was good. #dropthemic  {Yes, I am totally talking to myself…and yes, I have plenty of experience.}


So this year, I’m joining the “new year, new you” movement by changing the way I think. But I’m gonna need some help. To keep us looking forward, our family has chosen a verse to claim for the year to keep us (OK, mainly me) focused on looking ahead at the new things God is doing through and for our family. And truthfully, even though it’s only day 2 of this new year, it’s been good to read this and let it sink in. So I’m sticking this to every wall, cabinet, and door of the house. God is doing a new thing in 2017. ❤

18  “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

The Men of Christmas Shopping

For years I managed shopping centers. From Black Friday through December 24th, the stores are packed with shoppers looking for deals and gifts. Nothing you didn’t know, right? But what you may not know is what the men of the Christmas shopping season look like. And it’s hilarious.


These poor guys. From the onset of the holiday shopping season through about Dec 23rd, this is the role of the guys pulled away from their tvs, recliners and snacks and drug to the mall. They become the guards of the bags. The keepers of the purses. The placeholders in lines from store to store. And then it gets worse.

Come the evening of Dec 23rd, a bell rings somewhere and the guys start to think about their own shopping. By Christmas eve the malls are packed with men walking aimlessly in search of something they either think will make “her” happy or they were instructed to find weeks ago. The forlorn looks on their faces are magnified by slumped shoulders and shuffling feet. It’s both hilarious and sad.

As a mall manager, my job was to help them. I would hire greeters to direct them to the right stores. I would walk around myself answering questions and providing encouragement. Guidance is what they needed and a lot of it. Don’t we all. As much as our mall team tried to help, there was only so much we could do. We could point, usher, answer and guide, but ultimately the guy had to complete the task himself.

It’s the same as when we talk to people about Jesus. We can point, usher, answer and guide, but ultimately the person has to make the choice on their own. This Christmas season, point people to Jesus. When they find Him, it will be the greatest gift they’ve ever received.

Merry Christmas.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 

Is It Time Yet?

This may be the most popular question parents will hear over the next few weeks. Yes new parents, trust me. If your kid can so much as form four words, these are the words they will be uttering repeatedly. Is it time to open presents? Is it time for Santa? Is it time to go? Is it time to get up? And so on and so on until your ears bleed. Yes it can happen.

13574_10152153884851995_93413608_nNow that my kids are older you’d think I would no longer hear this question. Wrong. My dear 16 year old son wants to open his new game system. You know the one that he begged for and was no where to be found in any store, yet he’s SO certain he will get it because he wants it really bad. Of course he also worked to butter me up with praises and affirmations. Layin’ it on thick I believe my mama would say.

After a difficult quest, I secured said prized, elusive gaming system and prided myself on doing so. I carefully tucked it away in my secret present hiding spot until it could be wrapped and placed lovingly under the tree. After doing battle with fellow shoppers to acquire a coveted gift like that, the one thing I look forward to is that cherished moment when the child pulls off the ribbon, rips off the paper, tears open the box and sees that very thing their heart so greatly desired. That… is satisfaction. That…is my gift.

That is unless aforementioned child peaks ahead of time. And confesses. Then, just like that…poof… moment b-l-o-w-n. The surprise is no longer. The anticlimactic feeling of looking at your child and hearing “I know you got it Mom.” Ouch. Heart sinking, jaw dropping kick in the gut. UGH.

Yes I may be a bit dramatic. But if you’ve ever shopped for a gift for someone, you know the anticipation surrounding the moment they will open the box and scream with delight. By peaking and opening the box too soon, the joy of the precious moment is lost. Oh sure the gift is still there. But it was not presented the way it was intended. The timing was off and timing is everything. 

Timing is everything. 

Have you ever rushed to get to something you were so sure God wanted to give you only to mess up the whole thing?  I have.When we get ahead of God, we lessen the impact of what He wants to do for us.  The timing is off and timing is everything.  

I know…. I’m inpatient too. And waiting is hard. However if we jump out ahead of God’s clock, not only will we miss what He is trying to do in that moment, but we can ruin the next one, the one He has planned that is His best for us. Several times in my life I thought I knew what the Lord was planning for me so I stepped in to “help”. You know, to speed things up a bit. Yes, I’m still learning. There is a time for everything and His timing is perfect. 

What is He preparing you for? What could await you if you simply wait on Him?

A Time for Everything

3 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

TP Talk Take 2

As you all know, toilet paper replenishment is near and dear to my heart. During this holiday season, I would like to thank all those who are spreading love and cheer by changing toilet paper rolls across our great nation. Your sacrifice is recognized and appreciated. Alas, our work is not done. There are those who simply refuse to take the necessary steps to restock the tissue a la toilet for their colleagues, friends and family members. And the epidemic is far worse than I imagined.

Exhibit A: This incident occurred in my own home … my own home… courtesy of my son. I just keep staring at this wondering where I went wrong. How? Why? Complete disbelief. Yes he will be punished.


But I’m not alone. Many of you are also suffering. I know this because I’m getting your photos and messages.


And the one that completely sums up my thoughts on the subject.



It’s a sick world we live in. I sympathize with you and will continue to lead the charge to end this madness. Merry Christmas!

Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses. Psalm 25: 16-17.


Step Into the Bubble

My therapist said I’m “salvageable”. That’s an exact quote from Mike Ryan at Leading Edge Physical Therapy. Yes, after 5 weeks of therapy he proclaimed me not hopelessly broken. I was encouraged. Then I went back and they put grocery bags on my feet and told me to walk in a bubble.

True story. I literally laughed out loud and before I could stop myself said –  “Sweet Jesus you all have lost your dang mind,” followed by “This has to be a joke, right? Where are the cameras?”

It was no joke. Because I was feeling better, my therapy was progressing to new levels. My desire to jump out the window has subsided and I am sure to graduate soon. But there was still work to do so that meant a walk in the AlterG, an anti-gravity treadmill. But first I had to don grocery bags on my shoes and slip into the humpty dumpty pants. That was therapy in itself. I looked around for the candid camera people. At this point, my outbursts of “Sweet Jesus this is insane” ensured that all eyes in the place were on me. Well, I thought, at least I was keeping these folks from running out the door. Public servant I am. A bunch of tugging later and I had the cone of shame around my waist and was stepping into the balloon covered treadmill.

As the thing inflated around me, I hollered for my son to take a few photos while pronouncing this experience “blog-worthy” for sure. Yes, I hollered for Austin. Surprisingly he was not mortified by the scene I was creating. He was cracking up as he was there for his own physical therapy, albeit more advanced than mine. #showoff.

There was now a balloon around my bottom half, zippers around my waist, a button to remove my body weight (Oh if ONLY this worked outside the bubble), and a camera monitoring every step I took. 10 minutes forward and 5 minutes backward. I was so mesmerized by the screen in front of me that I barely noticed the time tick away. As odd as it was, it was actually… well, fun.

No longer did I want to run away. My therapist may or may not have been glad about that. Nevertheless, I was doing what she said. I was listening to her and walking in a bubble because she asked me to. It was a great experience and I’ve actually done it twice now. Both times, my therapist said “come walk in the bubble” (or something a bit more technical, but you get the point.)

Come. Walk.

A message my pastor had recently given bubbled up in my mind.

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

When Jesus bid him come, Peter stepped out in faith. He stepped out of the comfort of the boat and onto the Sea of Galilee. Think about how utterly bizarre it must have been for Peter to be walking on top of the water! Yet there he was…walking…on the water…to Jesus. Jesus called to him and Peter was obedient. He didn’t jump out of the boat before being called and he didn’t refuse to go when he was. He trusted the leading of Jesus and walked. Of course then he started freaking out about the wind and the waves around him and slipped beneath the surface. That is until Jesus stretched out his arm and pulled him back up. (There’s a separate powerful message in that.)  The experience of walking on the water would no doubt transform Peter in his relationship with Christ as well as play a pivotal role in his development as the cornerstone of the early church.

For me, being asked to walk in the “bubble” was a big step, pun intended. But doing so ended up being a good thing and helped me progress in my course of therapy preparing me for more difficult things later on. Had I refused, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Has Jesus bid you come? Have you stepped out in faith? Or are you still in the boat?

Come. Walk.





Let’s Talk Toilet Paper

It’s widely known that I am a self-proclaimed restroom aficionado. Public, private, large, small, clean, not so clean, indoor, outdoor, baseball fields, airplanes, eco-friendly flushing systems, no flushing capability at all. You name it, I’ve tested it. Anatomical issues aside,  just trust me when I say I’m qualified to speak on the subject.

Part of my role as Secretary of Restrooms is to communicate with the masses to ensure we uphold the restroom standards that are essential to maintaining decorum in our public facilities. And believe me, having planned our family vacation around satisfactory restroom stops on 95, I have done my research.

So yes folks,  this important public service announcement is about toilet paper. It’s a subject close to my heart. (Um, you know what I mean.) Appropriate quality and quantity of toilet tissue is critical to an effective restroom experience. On the flip side, low quality TP can make a bathroom trip unbearable. {Side bar: I’d be a great spokesperson for Charmin, Cottonelle, Angel Soft or Northern. #opportunity} But this post is not about quality of the tushy tissue. It’s about WHY IT’S SO HARD FOR PEOPLE TO PUT A NEW ROLL OF TOILET PAPER ON THE HOLDER.

{Pause to collect myself.}

Oh my gosh. My frustration with those that can not complete this simple task is at a critical level.  Code red I tell you. Whether over or under, I don’t care. At least replace the toilet paper if you use all of it. It’s not that hard. Yet,  I’m confronted with this madness at work, at home, even during a recent hotel stay. Something must be done. Hence I’m calling attention to the common offenses in hopes we can put a stop to this assault on humanity.

1.) The outright kiss my fanny.

These selfish people should be locked in a room together… for a really long time…. with lots of trickling water. It boggles my mind that a person could use all the toilet paper and not replace it for the next person. #deepbreath


2.) The fake it. 

Who are you kidding? That scrap you left on the roll isn’t fooling anyone. Some of these #psychos use stealthy ninja skills to leave just enough toilet paper on the roll to cover the cardboard tube.Others use the art of camouflouge.


3.) The prop it.  

OK they tried. But would it kill you to try a little harder? My granny always said a job worth doing was a job that shouldn’t be done half…way. Believe it or not, this photographic evidence was captured in a hotel.  Yes, a professional did this. #fail



There are more TP stunts but the point is clear – why do people make this a harder task than it should be? Why do they try to get away with not replacing it? Maybe it’s because there isn’t any to replace it with. {Side bar: That is NEVER the case in our house because I’m obsessed with having enough toilet paper. Just ask my hubby. I literally just said “we need more toilet paper” after checking the cabinet. See photo.}


Maybe it’s because they think someone else will do it {i.e. mom}. Maybe it’s because they got what they needed and the TP problem now belongs to the next person. Regardless of the exact excuse, it boils down to being… and I say this in love….. self-centered.

Don’t throw toilet paper at me. We are a society that puts self first. We are conditioned that way. But as I thought about this pet peeve of mine, how it really frustrates me, how it exists across the board, I wondered what it really boiled down to. What did this really mean?  Then I sat down and read Romans 12.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  Romans 12:9-13

Now I did notice that verse 12 instructs me to be “patient in affliction”. {Pause again to reflect.} Most importantly though this passage also tells us to honor one another above ourselves and to be devoted to one another in love. Yes you can honor people with toilet paper. The simple needs of others could be our opportunities to bless and care for them. Taking a few minutes to serve others could mean all the difference to them… and to us.

And just to be sure I have patience with the TP violators God added Romans 12:14.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14

Next time you have the chance to replace the toilet paper, rejoice! Your family, friends, co-workers and fellow citizens will appreciate you.