Life is the Messy Bits

“Life is the messy bits.” I love this quote from Letters to Juliet!

The messiness of life is inevitable. And it’s needed!

During my first writing course, I can’t tell you how often my instructor asked, “Where’s the conflict?” I didn’t want bad things to happen to my characters, any more than I wanted bad things to happen to my daughter, or any loved one. But a life without conflict is a life without victories.

It’s in the messy bits of life that we find

  • Strength we never thought we had.
  • Courage to do what we never thought we’d do.
  • Hope that keeps us going one more day, and then another…
  • Friends we didn’t realize we had.
  • Joy in the smallest things…like the warmth of the sun on our skin.
  • The cleansing therapy of a good cry.
  • Empathy
  • Compassion
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Unconditional Love

Great stories have conflict. So when your life gets messy, hold on tight and take it all in! Imagine being on the other side looking back at how you handled yourself and the situation. Your story could inspire others!

Here’s to the messy bits of life!

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Believe in the Light!

In my book, Larkspur, The Areli are people of light. This light is powerful, almost magical. The light in the story represents the Light Of Christ.

What does the Bible tell us about The Light?

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

“Believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” John 12:36 NIV

“Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” Luke 11:36 NIV

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” Luke 8:16 NIV

So, how do we “Shine Our Light”?

I have four behaviors, or actions, that I would like to share with you that I believe will help us all be Bright and Shining Lights for Jesus:

1)     Love One Another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV

This is not as easy as it sounds…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44 NIV

Anyone can love the lovable. Jesus calls us to love the unlovable, and to pray for them.

2)     Be Courageous

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

What is courage? One definition is “the state of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or the ups and downs of life with calmness and confidence.”

Where do we find this calmness and confidence?

“…for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31 NIV

We have a mighty God, and He is on our side! So take courage!

3)     Have Faith

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Faith is having confidence in what we believe to be true.

Are you a Doubting Thomas or a Centurian?
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.


“A centurion came to Jesus, asking for help. “Lord, my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”

The centurion replied, “Lord…just say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Matthew 8:5-13 NIV

4)     Stay True to Yourself. Be the best YOU you can be!

“We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:6 NIV

Each of us has a special place and purpose, a way to use our God-given gifts for His glory. We should never try to be something we are not. If we do, we will lose sight of the glorious plan God has for us!

You don’t have to have a “bright” personality to be a light for God, you just have to be YOU!

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV



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Dream On!

Children love to dream, and boy can they dream big! When your child comes to you with, what you consider, an impossible dream, how do you react? Do you scoff? Do you try to change his/her mind? Do you go along with it without truly believing it could ever happen?

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one point or another, and if your children are still small, chances are they might change their minds twenty times before they are launched into the real world, where dreams can soar or be dashed to the rocks. But I encourage you never to take your child’s dreams lightly. As our children’s greatest supporters and cheerleaders it is up to us to do what we can to help.

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Pursuing our dreams can be a scary and daunting task. But with courage, strength, talent, and determination, anything is possible!

So, when your child comes to you with an “impossible” dream, fight the urge to scoff. Instead, take a deep breath, smile, and encourage! Believe in them, really BELIEVE! Help them to do research and find out all they can about their dream, give them realistic steps to take to work toward their dream, and support them every step of the way!

None of us truly know what we are capable of until we try. And remember, dreaming is not just for children. If you have a dream, be courageous; show your children through your own actions that dreams are worth pursuing!


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Laughter is Contagious










Our children need LAUGHTER in their lives

There’s so much hurting, so much pain

So much stress, uncertainty and strain

It may be a phase and nothing more

But we can’t turn our backs and just ignore

That our children are crying, starving themselves…dying

Our children need LAUGHTER in their lives

Faith instead of fear

Joy instead of tears

Someone to hold them when they grieve

To listen to their cries

To believe

Our children need LAUGHTER in their lives

And as it fills them, THEY will rise

And share the LAUGHTER in others’ lives.

This hope is not outrageous…

For LAUGHTER is contagious.



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A Big Life

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin

I love this quote! A big life is a courageous life, and isn’t that what we want for our children…for ourselves? A Big Life! A life full of adventures and dreams come true; a FULL life, without regrets. A life like that takes courage.

So, how do we gain this courage? How do we learn to turn our backs on fear and take those leaps of faith? I believe the key word here is faith. Courage and faith go hand in hand. When we have faith in ourselves, and faith in what we are trying to accomplish, our fear becomes less important.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”. If our faith is in God, the creator of the universe, if we truly believe that He is on our side, whom then shall we fear?

Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So, have courage! Stand in faith! And live a BIG life!

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The Letter

Every so often, my heart leads me to “the box”, my box of memories and treasures. I draw out the photos of my youth, school pictures from kindergarten to sixth grade. I giggle at the photo of myself in a pink and white pinafore, much like a dress Laura Ingalls would have worn in her youth. I rummage through the cards, photographs, and letters, memories flooding my mind, putting a smile on my face.

And then I find the letter. As I pick it up, my heart skips a beat, the handwriting on the envelope so familiar. I lightly run the tips of my fingers across the words To Stacey Alicia Maria on her 10th Birthday, June 10th, 1974. It’s the letter from Dad. I close my eyes and picture his large, gentle hand scrawling the generous, loopy letters as he thinks of his youngest daughter and what he might say to her on her 10th birthday. What life lesson should he impart? What message of love would be enough?

Today, on your 10th birthday, seems to be a good time to tell you how much I love you and how much you’ve meant to me throughout the past 10 years.

Six years later, he would be gone. I would be sixteen and without a father to love, to debate with, to learn from, to be held by when my heart was broken.

My baby, the greatest thing you can do for me is to continue through life being a fine person, doing good things for others, believing in God, and always remembering your Daddy and the way he loves you.

His words seep in through my eyes and touch my very soul. His heart was weak, but his love strong enough to cross a divide of thirty plus years, reach out to me through these precious words on paper and say “I love you. I’m here.”

I wipe away the tears that streak down my cheeks and hold the letter close to my heart. I bring it to my nose and breath in. Instead of dusty paper and ink, the scents of coffee, cigars and Old Spice fill my senses, and he’s here with me, always with me.

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Small Wonders

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

~Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail

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We All Have a Story to Tell

Storytime is my favorite time of day. As a parent, I relish one on one time with my daughter. Tell me a story, she says. Children love stories. It’s not always easy to come up with a great story when we need one, but that is okay. My daughter loves to hear stories about life. Stories about her life, my life, her dad’s life. So many valuable lessons can be taught simply by telling our life stories. We all have a story to tell, it comes from life and how we have lived it.

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