The Experience of Addiction~Broken for Others (Graffiti Summer)


I didn’t realize it at the time, but God allowed me to be broken for others…for seven years. At least it wasn’t forty years like Moses!

For fourteen years I filled prescriptions for people and while I could tell them side effects, interactions, instructions, etc., I could not understand the desperation they felt for these medications. Prescriptions for insomnia, pain, depression, and anxiety. And then of course the prescriptions to get OFF of those meds. Addiction. Desperation. I really didn’t think it could happen to me. But God allowed me to see things from a different perspective. From their shoes.

As I’ve said before, we stay so busy in our own shoes, we don’t think about what it might look like in somebody else’s.

As I’m joining in with Alene Snodgrass for Graffiti Summer, we are talking about being broken for others through the story of Moses. Just click on the link for a free download of the study, and be sure to check out amazon for her book she cowrote with a homeless man.



(I’ll have an interesting post coming up soon about homelessness that my daughter will have input in…be sure to watch for it!)

So this week for my post I’m cheating a little because I’m posting something I’ve already written, but I’m taking a little risk in that it’s an excerpt from my book that I haven’t really let anyone see yet or even talked about much. But just like Moses, it’s God’s story, not mine. So here ya go…part of my own story of being broken for others…

There are plenty of movies depicting addicts in withdrawal, but I’ve never seen what happened to me. Besides the sweating, shaking, headache, and ears ringing, I started throwing up constantly. Literally. When there was nothing in my stomach to come up, up came green bile. Between bringing me warm washcloths for my mouth and cold washcloths for my head, my mom and David were persistently trying to find the best way to get help.

It was not easy.

Research into medical intervention revealed rehab “resorts” hundreds of miles and tens-of-thousands of dollars away, but the local, affordable options were few. Even if I had $30,000 to spend, there was no way I could physically make the trip. After about three days, I could barely hold my head up to vomit, much less pack and get on an airplane. As I camped out on the bathroom floor with my pillow, blanket, and pile of washcloths, I could hear the hush-hush talk about what to do with me. The shame and utter despair I felt for putting my family through this was as unbearable as my state of health.

We finally found a local physician with an outpatient clinic for drug addiction that was not a methadone clinic. Methadone clinics sprung up in the ‘90s when heroin addiction was at its highest. Methadone is a cheap drug that helps with addiction to certain drugs, but the problem is, it’s just as addictive as anything else. The clinic we found dispensed Suboxone, a fairly new drug on the market I’d only dispensed a few times which is used solely for narcotic addiction. It is a short-term substitute for the narcotic—the Lortab in my case—and greatly reduces the effects of withdrawal, and allows the receptors in the brain to dwindle back down to normal.

We immediately called his office. Of course, it just happened to be Friday morning; they said I could not be seen until after the weekend. I honestly didn’t think I would live that long (although now I know just how much a body can endure). They could admit me to Carolina Behavioral Hospital where they’d give me fluids and medicine for nausea, and begin Suboxone treatment there. That news was music to my ringing ears.

Now you have to remember how I grew up—only child, Christian School, very sheltered. You know…in my ivory tower. I heard “hospital” and “fluids” and I imagined a nice sterile, private hospital room with a television and nurses coming to check on me every few hours and give me medicine. I think Mom and David expected the same.

As David pulled us up to the front door, I lay across the back seat of our suburban with my puke bucket in the floor, continually filling it. The nausea and vomiting was relentless, and there must have been a hammer constantly pounding my head. David went inside to see how to get checked in, and what seemed like days later, he returned with a nurse and a wheelchair.  As they took me down hall after hall and through password required doors to the detox ward, I wanted to disappear. The pain and nausea combined with my shame and desperation took me to a place so low I could have just melted and become one with the floor. Though I wouldn’t have wanted that floor to be my final resting place.

My “hospital” expectations were not even close. As I sat in a wheelchair with my trusty bucket in my lap, David and Mom checked me in, and we proceeded to follow a nurse back to that area. My worst nightmare began to come true as I scanned my new environment. There was a common area with a small television and a few old sofas that looked like they’d been rescued off the street. The “hospital” room reminded me of the worst dorm room on a college campus. The other patients—men and women—were dressed like homeless people coming to a shelter for a warm meal.

As the nurse explained procedure, I could see my mom and David looking around the room in shock and fear at the thought of leaving me. After hearing a bit of conversation from a few of the male residents, they made the decision to take me home.

I was so desperate; I told them to leave me. I had to have some help and there was no other option.

Never had I seen my mom look so helpless. The thought of leaving her baby girl in such a place was more than she could bear. I’ve never asked because my heart couldn’t take it, but I’m sure her eyes were pouring tears as she drove home.

David has since shared with me that leaving me at there was one of only three times in his life he has sobbed from being heartbroken. No one expects or prepares for this type of heartbreak. When he left, he picked up the kids from his mom and took them to the beach. He needed some distance from the situation and the kids needed something to keep their minds occupied. They didn’t know the whole situation at the time, but they knew enough to know something was wrong, that I was very sick.

As a wife and mom, the words “burden” and “failure” don’t begin to describe how I felt. I had done damage to myself physically, but I had hurt my family emotionally and created injuries that would be much more difficult to heal. Scars that would last a lifetime.

Once I was left in the hands of the nurses, the process started. They went through every single pocket, page, bottle and seam of every item that came with me and left me with the bare minimum. No cosmetics, no liquids, no hairbrush, no razor, no earrings … the bare minimum. My environment was surreal. As I lay on the cardboard bed with the questionable blanket, throwing up in my puke bucket, which sat on the nasty blue carpet, I could not believe I actually told David to leave me. The promise of fluids and nursing care was empty. For twenty-four hours, I was left to throw up, unattended.

Other patients left and returned at the sound of the school bell for meals, group therapy, and smoking breaks. I ate nothing. Finally, a nurse came to get me for my appointment with the psychiatrist to begin my Suboxone treatment. He laid out a three-day plan to fix me.

Three days. Now that would be something.

Dr. Psychiatrist wrote orders to start me on the Suboxone and an injection of Phenergan for the nausea. The male nurse on duty proceeded to lead me to the lovely—and oh-so-sterile—plaid sofa to give me my injection. As he was preparing it, the school bell rang and he just sat back and looked at me.

“Is everything okay?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied. “Aren’t you going to go out and smoke? Isn’t that what you people do?”

You people. Are you kidding me? “I’ve never once put a cigarette to my mouth and I have no intention of starting now.”

I was the only patient who did not go outside to smoke. As a matter of fact, most of the staff went with them. Mr. Nurse proceeded to give me the injection and go on his merry way. I remained in disbelief at the stereotypic category in which I was just dumped. I began to see a pattern, though, with most everyone there. When everyone walked back inside, one of the male patients plopped down on the sofa next to me and said, “So, what’s your drug of choice?”

Drug of choice?

I might as well have been staring at an alien. I was definitely in another world.


I definitely walked in some scary shoes. Shoes that gave me an entirely new perspective, which is what Graffiti summer is all about. We don’t realize how quickly our own situation can change, and we find ourselves where we never thought we’d be. Feel free to tweet that 🙂

Have you walked in any unexpected shoes that shifted your paradigm?





Happy Birthday to my Marlee-girl~My first letter to you…


Wow Marlee…double digits! Ten…10…years old! So now it’s your turn for me to post your first letter. I posted Miranda and Trevor’s on their birthdays. I wrote Miranda’s letter when she was 3 weeks old, Trevor’s when he was almost a year old, and you—my dear third child—were almost 15 months! But you do have a letter, and just like your brother and sister, you do have a completed baby book. Many third children can’t say that!

You have undoubtedly been my sweetest natured child—the most sensitive to other’s feelings. Maybe because you had to deal with me being sick for the first seven years of your life…but for whatever reason, God made you who you are and He made you perfect!

It’s fun{ny} to me to put these old letters in print…to see what y’all have grown to become from when I first wrote these letters. Yours is a long one so here goes…

September 3, 2004

Dear Marlee,

It is so unbelievable to me that it has been 15 months since you were born and I’m just now writing this letter to you! I wrote Miranda’s letter at 3 weeks, and Trevor’s letter at about a year, and now your letter at 15 months! I guess that’s what happens ~the more children you have, the longer it takes to do things!

When I married your daddy 15 years ago, the last thing I thought I’d be doing right now was writing a letter to my third child! (I’m sure your daddy would have been even more surprised at the thought)! But  you are one of the best things that ever happened to us…just like we felt when your sister and brother were born.

Right now I’m sitting up in my bed with Trevor asleep beside me. Daddy and Miranda are gone to spend the night with Great Grandpa Vaughan, and you are asleep in your crib (but these days who knows how long that will last).

I want to tell you about your name. We’ve had the hardest time deciding on your name. (Just as we did with your brother and your sister). You can read in your baby book in your prenatal record each month what “the name of the month’ was. (Well, you just woke up…now it’s five minutes later and you are laying beside me in the bed. You are so sweet!)

When you lay your head on my you lay your head on my shoulder and pat my back with your hand.

Anyway…back to your name. I decided on Elizabeth Parker Martin (after my mom and dady) and call you “Ellie,” but Miranda and Daddy just couldn’t settle on that name—they didn’t think it was right for you. So one night when Daddy came home rom a business trip he asked me how I liked the name “Marlee.” He thought of it on the way home~he’d heard it on his trip. (It was someone’s last name.) As soon as he said it I loved it. Miranda and Trevor liked it too…we yelled it through the house pretending you were already here to see if the name fit. It sounds like a silly to do but we did the same thing with Miranda and Trevor’s names…just to make sure yelling them sounded right. (Miranda and Trevor love you to death by they way.)

I hope you will always like your name. Daddy and I have always tried to choose names that are beautiful but not common. So far I think we’ve succeeded~we have a beautiful little name to go with a beautiful little girl!

Your middle name is “Parker” after my daddy. Quite a few people said we should call you Parker, but that will always be my daddy’s name. I wanted you to have a name of your own. I sure do wish he could have seen  you~but I know that he sees you every day from Heaven and I like to think he had a little something to do with God sending you to us. (Uh-oh…you need me. Gotta go for a minute).

Okay, I’m back. You won’t believe this but I’ve found myself finishing this letter now and you’ve jumped to 22 months old!

 I hope and pray that your daddy and I will make all the right decisions for you until you’re old enough to make your own choices, and that we’ve instilled the Godly values necessary to make it in this world we live in. People say you shouldn’t shelter your kids from the world, but I believe just the opposite. I think you should be sheltered from the bed things in this world until you are old enough to understand and handle them. So when we make decisions that you don’t agree with (though I’m sure that will never happen), please understand it’s only because we love you more than anything! God has given you to us to protect, love, and raise the best we can. We will always do that with an unconditional love. My space in this book is gone, but know that this letter will continue in a journal for you.

I write down all of the funny things you say and do, and I take that opportunity to write you a letter. I love you so much Marlee and these first 22 months have been wonderful! We have lots of picture to prove it. I look forward to a fantastic relationship with my youngest daughter for many years to come! I love you Marlee!



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To be whole…check out the GRAFFITI on the other side of the street


How can you understand what it’s like to be homeless if you’ve always had a roof over your head?

How do you know what it feels like to starve if you’ve always had food to eat?

How do you know what it’s like to be thirsty if you’ve always had clean water to drink?

We  take for granted the things we are used to having every day. (Tweet that Smile)

     Would you appreciate staring at your beautiful daughter more if you were once blind?

     Would you be more anxious to listen to the sound of wind blowing through the trees if you lost your hearing for a period of time?

     Would you hug your husband more if you knew he would never walk through the door again?

Goodness knows I’m as guilty as anyone. We get so wrapped up in our lives…it all becomes about us. I, I, I, me, me, me.

We stay so busy in our own shoes, we don’t think about what it may be like in theirs. (You can tweet that too Wink)

My new internet buddy over at Positively Alene has challenged us to step out of our comfort zone. Step “over the tracks” so to speak to meed people we wouldn’t otherwise encounter. She has a great new book out on the subject, GAFFITI~Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street,graffitibook which she cowrote with a homeless man. Talk about perspective! And now she is offering a free Bible Study the book, GRAFFITI Study and Do, that you can download by clicking HERE.

In all honesty, I stumbled into this study before I really knew what it was all about. I read a blog post from one of my favorite blogggers, Susan Stillwell about “sharing my summer story.” If you read lots of blogs, you know it’s common to skim titles and first paragraphs and then go back and read them later. Only I signed myself up for the GRAFFFITI challenge before I went back to read.

Well, this summer is going to be very busy, and it has already started. While I may not get headed to Guatemala or even to the soup kitchen anytime soon, I will be headed to different sides of the street…and the world.

Just this week, we moved out of our house for our floors to be redone because of a leak and we are staying just off of a very busy intersection. One of the ones where we see men with the “will work for food” signs on each corner almost daily. As a woman with my children normally in the car, I say a prayer for them and move on. I hate it…every time. But unfortunately, we don’t live in the most trusting society. Thursday afternoon however, in the midst of 5:00 traffic on Woodruff Rd., Marlee (my 9-year-old) and I passed a family on the side of the road with a sign that read, “Lost My Job, Please help, I have two children to take care of. God Bless You.” And his wife and one of his children were sitting on the side of the road with them. I wanted to help them, but had no cash. Traffic was ridiculous, so we had to pass them by. But neither of us could get them off our mind.

We then pulled into the IHOP (which was packed with graduation celebrations) and purchased a $50 gift certificate, which also came with two $5 coupons, and fought the traffic to get back to them. They were extremely appreciative. I thought I saw the wife tear up.

As I said, we are certainly not in a third world country, but we live in a society where people still need help. I wish we could trust everyone we saw, and know that we are not being scammed. But here’s the thing. Marlee and I gave in the spirit of love. In the spirit of Jesus. I have no idea what happens to most of the money that I give…whether it’s at church, sponsoring a child, or handing it t someone on the street. But I do know that God nudged me to take action. He will take it from there and that’s all I need to know.

So I suppose this is the beginning of my GRAFFITI summer. Please don’t hate me, but my other side of the street will be the other side of the world in Prague in July. But you know? People need to see the love of God just as much there as anywhere. They might just not always know it.

Have you found yourself out of your comfort zone lately? Intentionally? Or without even realizing it?

What did you do to make a difference?


Do you remember the American Idol runner up Chris Sligh? He passed one of those men with the “will work for food” sign right here on this same intersection. He passed the fellow with the sign and immediately wanted to turn around. Only if you know the traffic on Woodruff Rd, you’d understand that it took him thirty minutes to get back to the intersection and the man was gone. He pulled over on the side of the road and wrote this song: Knowing the story behind it makes it that much more powerful.

Seven {Unconventional} Tips to Raising Awesome Kids


Okay. If I do say so myself, we have some awesome kids. But I think we are often judged for some of our parenting techniques.

When my 16-year-old calls me to ask me if her boyfriend can come in the house even though we aren’t home yet, I think we are doing something right.

When my 13-year-old son’s teacher pulls me aside to tell me that my son will make some girl a great husband someday, I wonder what he does to make her take the time to tell me that. And I really don’t know her very well!

When my 9-year-old wants to know if someone can go to Heaven if they’ve never heard anything about God, I know her heart is in the right place.

I’m so proud of my kids. They aren’t perfect, as none are. But they all love their family, and more importantly, their Savior, and they want to live a life pleasing to us and to Him. So here are some of the more unconventional things we do in our family that make our kids who they are.



1. Let your kids watch some movies and television that your friends may judge you for. The Bible says we must live in the world, but not of the world.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

When I was a teenager (barely 15 years old) we started going to a new church. I was dating David at the time, who was to be my future husband (though I obviously didn’t know it yet), and he happened to be 19. Yes, I know. It was a huge difference, but David was a Christian, and very respectful to me and my parents. Anyway, at the time there was a popular rock song titled, “Cum on feel the noise” by Quite Riot, and I didn’t know the what the slang term “cum” meant. The other kids in the youth group at church automatically assumed since I was dating a 19-year-old I would know and understand the word. They assumed I was sexually active. I was both hurt that they thought this of me, and they made me feel embarrassed that I didn’t know what it meant. I never did feel part of that youth group.

I allow my children to be exposed to the less than desirable culture we live in, and television, unfortunately, is a way to do this that I can somewhat control…and experience with them so I can explain what they hear.


2. Don’t hide your mistakes from your kids.  By letting them know you’re not perfect, they will be more open to share their mistakes with you. If your past is especially dark, there’s no need to give them nightmares, just share enough with them to let them know you’re not infallible.

Am I proud that I ended up addicted to prescription drugs? Obviously not. But I don’t hide this from them. First, I want them know know how easy it is to fall into the traps Satan sets before us. Second, if they didn’t know my imperfections, they wouldn’t know what God did in my life and would’t have gotten the faith boost they did when they saw the miracle God gave me!


3. Answer questions about sex when your kids ask.  Don’t overload them with information, just answer the question they ask. Remember that God created sex, and it’s a good thing—a great thing—inside marriage. It introduces the subject gradually, so when you tell them everything, it doesn’t come as such a shock. And believe it or not, if you don’t answer their question, someone will. And don’t you want them to hear it from you? No matter how uncomfortable it makes them! But the easier you can talk to them rationally about it, the less uncomfortable they will be.


4. Don’t hide your sexual relationship with your husband from your kids.  Let them know—in very subtle ways of course—that you have a good sexual relationship with your husband (and if you don’t have that, you might want to reevaluate Frown). Now I obviously don’t mean to give them a show! But some innocent flirting lets them know you have a good sexual relationship. And yes, while it may gross them out and make them cover their ears and yell, “la la la la la la,” it teaches them than sex inside marriage is an important part of the marriage relationship, and believe it or not, God actually wants us to enjoy it!


5. Let your kids skip school once in awhile to have a fun day with them. Perfect attendance is overrated. Education is important, but it’s more important that your child knows how much you love them and are willing to break a little rule for them.  Spending a little unorthodox time with your child is a perfect time to build their self-confidence.


6. Let your kids know when you and your husband argue. Don’t have a knock-down, drag-out in front of them, and there’s no need to give them all the details, but it builds security to let them know that disagreement is normal in a marriage, and it doesn’t mean that you are getting a divorce. It’s kind of like leaving your child at daycare. Once you leave them and they see you are coming back, they are secure in knowing that when you leave them it’s not forever. You will return.

When David and I were in our seventh year of marriage, I didn’t think we were going to make it. We had lawyers in the picture and everything. But when it came down to the wire, we decided to stay together. Miranda was 2 at the time, and we didn’t want her to grow up with divorced parents. But we didn’t just decide to stay together, we decided to forgive, leave the past behind us, and fall in love again. We made a choice. Miranda knows this story and loves to brag that if it weren’t for her we wouldn’t be together. And while this is partially true, she sees that commitment means something. And parenting was important enough to make a tough decision that would change the rest of our lives. And I’m so glad that’s the decision we made!


7. Trust your kids, and let them know it.  When you put trust in your children, they are more likely to be trustworthy. But at the same time, let them know that trust is easy to keep, but tough to earn. Once they break your trust, it’s much harder for you to trust them in the future. Love is unconditional, but trust is. (Click here to tweet that Smile)There is no freedom without boundaries, and when you trust them enough to give them that freedom, they appreciate it enough not to break those boundaries. And even though they may not realize it, they appreciate those boundaries and know they are there because you love them.

What are some of your {unconditional} parenting techniques?



Happy Summer from the Vaughans :)

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Happy Memorial Day…Remember, Honor, and Keep Looking Up!

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Five-Minute Friday: “View”

It’s Five-Minute Friday again when we write for five minutes unedited. Today’s topic is “view.” One, two, three…Go!


Your view of the world is uniquely yours.

It is how you look at life. Not just through your eyes, but through your ears, nose, mouth, and fingertips…and your heart.

As life happens, your view changes.

Standing at that sacred altar, vowing to leave your mother and father to create a life with the one you’ve chosen.

Touching tiny toes, captivated by  the awe of a new baby, wondering how your heart can possibly stay within the confines of your ribcage.

Sitting beside a hospital bed while your daddy moves from this life into the next.

Realizing you are not perfect when addiction has blindsided you and permeated every facet of your existence.

Experiencing the extraordinary love of Christ when the word  “miracle” becomes so personal and real you are forever changed.

When you realize complete wholeness can only be understood after complete brokenness. Click HERE to tweet Smile1

Your view of the world is uniquely yours.

Learn from it. Embrace it. Share it.


To check out some other posts on the word “view,” hop on over to Lisa-Jo’s blog to see who else linked up. Be ready to be amazed…some great writer’s over there Wink Just click on her button:

A Million Ways


My life has been so busy these last few weeks I’ve had a hard time just posting twice a week, and on Fridays it’s just a five minute post! But I can’t let mother’s day go by without a quick post for my mom. Among many other things, she’s one of my biggest fans! Laughing

I could not have made it thus far in life without her. Besides the fact that she did bring me into this world, and probably wanted to take me out of it a few times, she has always been there to help me…every time I’ve needed it. And believe me, I’ve kept her busy!

A million ways she’s shown her love for me…

She has always loved me unconditionally—as mom’s should—but has just as quickly held me accountable when I needed it. And helped me get through it when I couldn’t do it on my own.

She slept beside me when I was sick…even when I was 40 years old!

She babysits the kids anytime I ask if at all possible.

When I can’t get the house uncluttered, she comes to my rescue.


When I need something altered, she’s my seamstress.

When I go out of town, she helps take care of our Sophie, Benji, Little Bit, Buttercupp, and Mally…and when I come home the house is cleaner than when I left, and my laundry is magically washed!

She always wants us to come for Sunday lunch for a hugh homemade meal. And when we go to church on Sundays, the kids almost always have friends with them. She makes room for however many strays we bring!

These few things I’ve mentioned don’t even scratch the surface.

She has made and is making baby quilts from my kids baby clothes and t-shirt quilts from their t-shirts. I really have no idea how I will EVER live up to the “grandma expectations” my kids will have of me!

And all of this stuff she does for me? She does for others too. {Just not as much of course.} Wink

And even though we do make each other a little crazy sometimes…because we are so much alike…I love her so much!

There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one~Jill Churchill

I’m so blessed to have my mom!

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! I love you!


Five-Minute Friday~”Comfort”



Snuggling with our puppies

A white goose-down comforter

A fire in the fireplace

A warm cup of tea on a cold day

Cuddling with my kids to watch a movie

Sleeping late with my hubby on a Saturday morning

Reading a book in my loft watching the rain out the window

A hot bubble bath

But the ultimate comfort: Knowing that God sent His son to die on the cross for our sins so we can spend eternity with Him in Heaven!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 )

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:2-3 ESV)

But honestly, my greatest comfort right now is knowing that this week is over, my hubby is on his way home, and I have medicine waiting at the pharmacy to nurse my strep throat.

My five minutes is up, my day is over, my week is done.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to check out the other great “comfort” posts over at Lisa-Jo’s blog Wink

And say a quick prayer for my throat Cry


God-Sized Dreams~Pay it Forward



I’m linking up with Holly Gerth today on the subject of Paying it Forward. Back in the year 2000 a movie titled, “Pay It Forward” opened in the box office and made a huge impact on my life. The concept of paying it forward, though not a new concept, was introduced in this movie in a way that brought new attention to it. Especially for me.

Enjoy this short clip before we continue…

I’m not going to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it (but if you haven’t, you really must), but hold onto your heartstrings…there will be some serious pulling going on!

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, Haley Joel Osment plays the little boy, and his character name is “Trevor, ” which also happens to be my sons name. Also, I haven’t told you that my son was 18 months old when we saw this movie, and was very sick. He’d had a fever of 103-104 for just over seven days and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him.


His eyes were blood red, and the skin on his hands, feet, and lips peeled off in sheets. He loved his paci but gave it up because it hurt too much to have it touch his lips. It was breaking my heart. And then I had to go and watch this movie.

As much as I hate for my heartstrings to be pulled, it’s good for me, and I guess the combination of the two “Trevors” really made this movie—and it’s message—stay with me.

I’ve always tried to “pay it forward” any way I could…sponsoring children through World Vision and Compassion International, tithing and offering to my church, sponsoring a family at Christmas, etc…but what I’m doing right now may be my biggest “pay it forward” yet.

My daughter, Miranda, became friends with a guy she worked with, whose name just happened to be “Trevor.” I won’t go into all the details, but just after Christmas, he ended up basically homeless. So we let him move into the little apartment above our garage. His dreams of college had long been taken away.

So we are trying to help him reclaim his dreams…getting enrolled back in college and possibly a coop program through a local company here. It might not be his ultimate dream, but it’s a start.

Shortly after he moved in, he expressed to me how grateful he was for our help, and that he would repay us in any way that he could. My immediate response was, “Just pay it forward.”

We don’t need to be repaid. Thankfully, we are in a position in our lives right now that affords us to help others. And it’s as much a blessing to me to be able to help as it is for the person receiving it. But someday when he is in a position to help someone else who needs it, hopefully he’ll remember to just pay it forward.

There must be something about those Trevors and my heartstrings!

What are you doing to pay it forward?

Check out Holly’s blog and see how other’s are paying it forward!


Five-Minute Friday~ “Brave”


Five minutes: Go

When I think of the word “Brave,” I think, “What does it take to be brave?”

Fear. Without fear, there would be no need for bravery. So it takes fear to be brave.

Courage. Without courage, it would be impossible to be brave. So it takes courage to be brave.

Then there’s that verse: If God is for us, who can be against us?  That verse that we hear so often, but it’s so hard to really believe…absorb…down deep to the core. But it really takes God to be brave.

Of course there are people against us. Sometimes, it seems like the whole world is against us. But when all is said and done, who is the One that really matters? Who is the One that we will spend eternity with in Heaven? Who is the One that created us for His pleasure?

So many things in this world require us to be brave.

  • Sending your child to college away for the first time
  • Watching your daddy die of cancer and your mom carry on without him
  • Announcing to the world that you have an addiction
  • Explaining to your child the process of having to put her beloved pet to sleep
  • Flying across the ocean in an airplane

And those are big things. Life…every single day…requires us to be brave.

But because we have the hope and power of an almighty God on our side, we really have nothing to fear.

Fear + Courage + God = Brave. Click HERE to tweet that Wink

Because if Him, we’ve got this!


Five minutes up: Stop.

(That one took more thought than usual…didn’t get too many words out in those 5 minutes!)

What does it take for  you to be brave?







Linking up with Lisa Jo over at the Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday. Click on her button to check out some others thoughts on “Brave.”


Seven Ways to Stay Passionate About Your Passion

Are you passionate about something? How did that passion arise in your heart? Is it a hobby? Is it a calling? A labor of love? 
Satan loves to discourage us. To make us think our passions—our dreams—are insignificant, or downright foolish. Don’t let him have the satisfaction. Here are seven quick tips to keep your passion alive: (Click here to tweet this Smile)

1. Stay connected to it every day, one way or another~No matter what your passion is, I can almost guarantee there are others who share you passion…and some of the probably blog about it! The internet is a great, easy way to nourish your passion a little every day.


2. Fellowship with others who share that passion~Since I began writing, my writing group has been a lifeline. If I hadn’t connected with them when I started writing, I’d have surely quit long ago. They encourage me and remind me that what I’m doing is important…it is my purpose.


3. Remember why you have the passion in the first place~What drew you in? Remind yourself what led up to your passion. I became passionate about photography when my friend Patty committed suicide and I had almost no pictures of her. I’ve been snapping pictures of everyone since. I became passionate about writing when God gave me a miracle. It compelled me to write…I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!


4. Make sure your passion is in line with God’s purpose for your life, and always talk to Him about it~God has a purpose for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that point blank. Then Romans 8:28 says: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. We tend to forget about the second part of that verse. Christians love the first part…all things work for good…but there’s a catch: to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. If your passion is in line with God’s purpose for your life, it will be a blessing in your life. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy, God doesn’t promise that. But it will be good.


5. Read about your passion~Seek out books from the experts. Continue learning new aspects of your passion.


6. Teach it to others~Share your passion with others. Teach what you love and you will keep it alive.


7. It’s okay to take a break~I realize in #1 I told you to stay connected to it every day, but you don’t have to go full force. It’s okay take a step back when you need to. You can get burnt out on anything, no matter how much you love it.


What is your passion? Is it in line with God’s purpose for you life?




A letter to moms whose dreams have been shattered by addiction~Time to reclaim your dream!


This letter is to all of those moms who are hiding, imprisoned by their addiction to prescription drugs; longing for a freedom they don’t believe is possible.

Dear Friend,

Being a woman is hard. I believe we have Eve to thank for that! No one tells us all of the many hats we must wear as a woman. Let’s see if I can name a few:



  • Friend
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Housekeeper
  • Cook
  • Chauffer
  • Launderer
  • Mediator
  • Room-mom
  • Home accountant
  • Tutor

That’s only the beginning of the list when a career is added.


As young, ambitious women, American Dreams in sight, we are invincible. Until the unthinkable happens.

  • Breast cancer or other serious disease
  • Death of a spouse or child
  • A pregnant teenager
  • Loss of a job
  • Infidelity of a spouse
  • Severe car accident, leaving injuries

You get the picture. Does anything sound familiar?

When things start going wrong in our life, and we get older, we often end up seeing our beloved physician more often that we ever thought we would. And visiting the pharmacy even more often than that.

Medications for insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain…they are a lifesaver. At first. Before you realize it, dependency becomes an issue, then addiction. That lifeline you thought you’d been thrown has now become your own personal prison.

The American Dream…shattered, right along with your soul.

I know how you feel. I’ve been there. Grand-mal seizures started the avalanche that turned into depression, insomnia, and prescription drug addiction to narcotics. And I’m a pharmacist! Genius. Satan can be sneaky, and he knows just how to use the suffering in our lives to get a stronghold.

But here’s the thing. Jesus says, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)

Think hard on those words for a minute. Jesus has already overcome the world. In our weakness, He is strong. He has a purpose and a plan for your life, and will use every experience, sin, tragedy and failure to shape you for that purpose.

To understand what it means to be free, you must first be imprisoned. To truly understand being whole, you must first understand being broken. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have full effect, that  you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4ESV)

You are not alone. You may panic at the thought of not having that lifeline of pills you’ve been dependent on for so long, but now’s the time to reclaim your dream. Not the original American Dream you once had. God has shaped you for a much bigger dream now...a God-sized dream. 

Today is the day to begin claiming your God-sized dream of freedom. Freedom from addiction will give you freedom from everything. Through addiction, you’ve realized you aren’t perfect—though it may be hard to admit ;)— and you don’t have to be perfect anymore. You can be a weak, imperfect human saved by the mercy and grace of Jesus. 

I can promised letting go of the pills will not be easy. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ll feel like crap when you wake up in the mornings for awhile. But don’t lie in bed and wallow in your pity. Get up, get dressed, make up your bed, and go do something. And pray.

Go outside for a walk. Breathe in the beauty that God created.  And pray.

Cuddle up with your daughter and read a book. And thank God for your beautiful daughter.

Call a friend for coffee and share your struggles with them. Be real. What you think might push someone away will actually bring them closer. No matter how pretty we are on the outside, we all have some ugly on the inside. Transparency brings friends closer. Thank God for that friend.

Go take a hot shower…hot as you can stand it…letting the water flow over you like the peace of Jesus Christ. Literally imagine it. And pray.

Take one minute, one hour, one day at a time. When you want to take that pill as much as you want to take a breath when you’re stuck under water, just breathe. Go into your closet, lay down, and breathe. Watch your stomach rise and fall as you take deep, cleansing breaths. And pray. 

Go do something for someone else…an act of kindness. When you look outward to help someone else, you might just forget about your own problems long enough to get some relief. Pray and be blessed. 

Life is hard. Stereotypes cannot be avoided, but the stereotype of addiction must evolve. It’s not just for junkies anymore. Addiction happens to good, Christian moms just trying to get through life the best way they can. Prescriptions drugs aren’t illegal, and sometimes that’s the problem. Because they are “prescribed” they’re okay.

Be brave. Be honest. Be transparent. Seek God with everything you have to fill the void of leaving the pills behind.

God is ready to give you your God-sized dream of freedom from the pills that are keeping you imprisoned.

I’ve been where you are. And I know personally it’s a dream that God will deliver.

Because I’m free.

You can be too.










Linking up with Holly over at God-sized dreams today. Check out all the other encouraging letters linked up. One might be written just for you! Just click on her button to hop on over there!


Five-Minute Friday: “Friends”


My brain explodes as I try to write for only five minutes about friends.

Friends shape who you are.

My very first friend I met standing in the middle of the street at 2 years old as she instructed me, “never say the word ‘damn’.” We are still best friends today. I love you Jacqueline! Wink

My best college friend waits for me in Heaven. Oh how I wish I could turn back time, though I’m sure I couldn’t have changed the outcome. We were the best of friends, but circumstances were too much for her to bear. I long for the days we talked on the phone so long I couldn’t straighten my arm.  I miss you Patty. Cry

My best Jesus-loving friend taught me so much about my friend, Jesus. Can’t wait to come see you in Prague in July Betsy! Smile

I married my lifetime best friend. He still works on shaping me every day. It’s hard for me to admit I need it, and that he’s usually right. Ugh! I’ll pay for writing that sentence. Just watch for a comment… Wink I love you anyway honey!

I had a friend who turned her back on me many years ago. I still don’t know why.

Friends go through good and bad together. It’s the good ones who stick out the bad.

High school friends. College friends. Church friends. Work friends. I love them all dearly as they have all made me who I am today.

As I watch my children grow, I pray that they will choose their friends wisely. And they will be best of friends to each other.

Most of all, I pray that they will always keep Jesus as their closest and most treasured friend. For He is a friend who loves like no other.

Five minutes up….Stop.

Linking up with The Gypsy Mama today for Five-Minute Friday on “friends.’ Click on her button to Hop over to Lisa-Jo’s blog and and check out the other links!