Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shoes, boulders, and joy

I have realized, through the help of my counselor, that I don’t feel joy.  I don’t really feel that extreme happiness that people talk of and about.  I have never really known that freedom to be happy.  I can be happy, yes, but there is not much depth to it.  I have been thinking on why this is and I have come to the realization that it is because I am always waiting for that other shoe to drop as the saying goes.  I tend to try and keep my emotions in check, balanced, whether happy or sad.  I need to prepare, be ready, hide them a little, so as not to be taken by surprise by what is to come next or by someone else’s reaction to my emotions.  Oh that darned hiding thing that I have come to do so well in so many aspects of my life. 

There is not a single moment in my life that I can remember feeling pure unencumbered joy.  Not the birth of my children, my marriage, nothing.   I don’t like that about me.  It leaves me feeling “less than” once again, because I know I am missing out.

It is a learned coping mechanism, another way to try and keep me safe, but while “keeping me safe” it also brings me harm.  I told a friend once that life is just what you do until you eventually get to die.  She told me that is not how it should feel and if it does then something is terribly wrong. 

Where is this joy, this deep well spring of J.O.Y that my God speaks of?  I will tell you where it is, it is blocked by a boulder of F.E.A.R and T.R.E.P.I.D.A.T.I.O.N that I have built up over these last 37 years of life.  I would not say that my life is a life lived in fear.  I feel more leery and weary than fearful, but underneath the leery ever watchful eyes is fear.  Fear that something or someone will come in and take my happiness. 
When my babies were born and I got married I was happy, don't get me wrong, but there is a niggling in my head that says to me not to be too happy, something can always happen.  Babies die, marriages end, something can always go wrong.  I am not anxiety stricken by these thoughts, I just need to be ready for them, so that if they happen the sting may be a little less.  I won't be caught off guard.  I can be somewhat prepared.  If my husband would be late from work and I couldn't get a hold off him I would begin preparing myself for the thought that he may not be coming home, he may have fallen asleep on the road and is dead in a ditch somewhere.  I would try and think of all the things I would have to do to support our family on my own and what my next steps would be.  My sister calls it being morbid and borrowing trouble, I call it being prepared.  Somewhere in my life I felt it necessary to prepare for the worst.

When my sixth baby was 9 months old he was really sick.  He would spike high fevers up to 105 every couple of days and had an ESR of 120 (that shows inflamation in the body, that number is extremely high).  He was also very underweight for his age.  They never figured out what was going on after testing and three days of hospitalization.  He eventually just got over it, but for a long time I worried that it would come back, that they were missing something, and that
when whatever that something was came back it would be too late to fix it.  He is almost 5 now and rarely gets sick at all.  All of this to say that I allow this worry, this need to be ready, to steal the happiness of the moment, so I guess my sister might just be right after all (shhh, don't tell her I said so!). 

I want to be able to live in each moment unconcerned with the next.  I don't want to feel the need to prepare for every possibility, every worst that can happen.  I want to be emotionally free.
 Now here we are coming upon Easter this Sunday.  Easter, the day the stone was rolled away.  If God can roll the stone away from that tomb He certainly can roll away my boulder of fear and trepidation, right?  I think so.  I am not saying I will wake up Easter morning with joy springing out of my soul, but stranger things have happened.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I am, because I say I am

I was reading this awesome Blogger the other day and one of her posts talked about the question "what do you do?"  and the way it is really a question that looks to define the answerer.  My pat answer is always, "I am a Mom."  If people dig deeper though and ask me about who I am, that is when the answers get uncomfortable and become like a boxing match in my mind trying to find the definitions.
I can easily define my absolutes for you: I am wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, woman, Mom, etc.   Those are simple descriptions of me that are un-altering.  There are no gray areas there.  It is the definitions that I put upon myself that are harder for me to grasp hold of. 
I am always amazed when I read about a person who can easily put into their own words a definition of themself.  I am a _________ (writer, decorater, theologian, musician, artist, etc)  I am kind of in awe of that ability.   I am a "Jack of all trades, but master of none" kind of a person. To proclaim that I am something other than the absolutes means that I feel that I am good at those things and my ability is worth mentioning.  That is where the boxing matches begin.  I will tell you things I like to do, but as I say it my brain starts its elusive footwork.  "Hey," it says, "you just said you liked to bake, better watch out, you might make something someday that is less than delicious. You don't want them thinking you are a baker for heaven's sake."  And so I side step that definition. I will clarify that I am not that good or it is just a hobby really, because God forbid my baking might disappoint you someday.  With each thing it is the same fancy side stepping footwork and dodging punches that might someday come.  "He will think your painting stinks, don't call yourself an artist." "She will find your writing nothing more than self satisfying drivel, so don't even think to call yourself a writer."  Then add in the jabs I give myself, "Don't call yourself a cookie/cake decorator, there are so many others who do it way better than you! Don't you remeber that time and that fiasco and that one which proves you aren't very good?!" And on and on it goes.  Round after bloodying round.
Enough.  Seriously.  I hate boxing.  It is pointless to me.  The beating up of another person for nothing more than sport and yet here I am day after day doing the same thing to myself.  So I say enough.  Enough to the side stepping and the jabbing and the punches.  I am the absolutes AND the gray areas.   I am, even if someone else does it better.  I am, because I say I am.  My definitions aren't dependent upon others perceptions. 
So who am I?                                                                                            

I am Mother

I am wife
I am friend and Sister
 Sister in law once removed(SIL's sister)  and Sister in law
But I am also:
Cake decorator

Royal icing sugar cookie decorator
Buttercream sugar cookie decorator

and yes, even  a Writer 

*linking with Emily and the love darers*

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Learning to Paint

My friend invited me to go paint a winter scene with her at a local business in her neighborhood back in December.  It basically is a painting class where the teacher instructs you how to paint what she is painting.  I had never painted before, but like doing artsy stuff, so I went.  It was really fun.
Here is the result of that first painting class:
painting #1 "silent night" 12/7/12  
*click on the link below to see the pictures from the class itself*
So much fun, so I went to another class in January with the same friend.  This was was a little more difficult and there are parts of it that bug me, like the umbrella and the guys funky leg, but overall pretty happy with it.

Here I am with my finished painting.
painting #2 "together" 1/6/13
Here is a closer looksy.

*you can take a look at the class photos here*
My friend's birthday was this last Sunday, the 17th.  She wanted to do another painting class.  The painting wasn't really my style, but the teacher has an open paint option where you can use her paints and supplies and make your own painting.  So that is what I chose to do instead.  I had a few google images that I had saved to my computer to someday use for something.  I printed out what I thought I might do on our basic little printer.  The image quality was blurry and not very good, but it gave me the general idea of what I was looking for.  Once I got there I decided that I wanted to paint this picture:
But really wanted to use this dandelion for the foreground. 
But I realized I hadn't printed out that dandelion, so I just sort of did my own thing.  It turned out..... okay.  I still haven't decided if I like it or not.  It does't match the image in my mind that I wanted.  The black center looks odd and I used too much yellow at the top, or maybe too much blue.  I am not sure which.  I like the oranges, reds, and purples though.  The thing with painting is that once you paint those bold strokes of the foreground, it is hard to go back and undo it.  (Especially when you have limited time).  So here it is, the finished product.  Not sure what I think of it yet, but it is hanging on my wall until I can figure it out.

painting #3 "dandelion" 3/17/13

*I found the dandelion pics using a google image search for dandelions.  I don't have their original links.

Somewhere in here is a great analogy about how learning to paint is like learning to live.  Accepting the flaws, finding the beauty, creating something lovely out of ordinary. 

I wonder if you all like it or not and if that would skew my perspective of it.  

Why should what you see change the way that I see?  But it does, doesn't it?  The way others see us, things, beauty, their perspective has an affect on us and the way we see things.  I want to say that it shouldn't be that way, but then I wonder why shouldn't it be.  Sometimes others perspectives open our eyes in a new way that allows glory in, in a way that we would never have seen it before or it can bring in new critiques that we didn't see, flaws that went un-noticed that we can learn from.  Both are helpful for growth.

Then there is the other side of the coin.  The side where others affirmations or condemnations only prove to stroke the ego or tear it down.   

That side of the coin is where things get tricky.  That is the side where I tend to lose my own perspective and allow the thoughts of others to control my view, write my story, paint my beauty (or lack thereof).  That is the side of the coin that tends to consume me and I am trying to learn to flip it over.

Linking with Emily and her imperfect prose community today.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Q & A

Q: If you had to pick three objects in which to describe yourself with, what would they be?

A: 1.a crumbling brick from a castle wall: because I have built up many walls, crumbling because I am trying to take them down.
2. a large old stone fireplace: because when it is tended to it is warm and inviting; a gathering place for warmth and comfort. When it is unattended it is cold, empty, filled with ashes, and lonely.
3. the ocean: because it is vast and full of depth, but most of its treasures are hidden deep. It can be tomultuous and churning or it can be calm and still. It has many dichotomies to it: beautiful and devestating, teeming with life and empty, life producing and destructive.

Q: If you could go anywhere in space and time, real and imagined where would you go?

A: Imagined: I would choose to go to Narnia. It is a world that I could relate to as a child reader. I would love to go and chat with the four pevensie children. Well really only two of them. Lucy and Edmond are the ones I always gravitated to. They were sort of the extremes of our human natures. Lucy innocent, honest, trustworthy, excitable; you would root for her. Edmond selfish, betrayer, but later redeemed. Free but he never forgot the cost of his freedom. And of course there is Aslan. The redeemer. He made Jesus relatable to me, less abstract somehow. What child enchanted with the stories has not wanted to bury their face in the mane of him, to feel his large velveted paw on their skin. To look into those eyes that took all of you in, the good and the bad and still you would feel loved as if every atom in your whole being was made more alive at that moment. (that is how I envision it anyways). Those Jesus eyes. You are aware of all of your wrongs, but they wash out of your body and down your skin, off your toes and into the ground and instead you become awashed in love and your heart leaps because it is the feeling of being known to your uttermost core and being loved all the more in the knowing. I could go on and on, allowing myself to get lost in that world.

Reality: I am not sure. I love mountians, water (not beaches), and forests. Somewhere green and lush. Places where silence and wonder meet. Places where I can get to know myself and God better.

Q: What is one thing you would want the world to know about you?

A: That I am worth getting to know. I am worth your time if you are willing to invest it in me.

* So, what questions would you ask? And what are your answers to these quesitons?

Five Minute Fridays (Rest)


I want to hear the rest of the story Lord.
I want to hear it told to me like a Bible story in childrens' church.
I want to see those water color pictures of my life painted on white background.
I want the felt cut-outs on the brown background telling out the story of where I have been and where I am going.
I want it laid out in chronological order:
"In the beginning God created Karmen, and she was good in His sight."
I want to see that my wandering has purpose, Your purpose.
I want to see that promised land that You have said is waiting for me.
I want to know that I am a girl after Your own heart like David's heart was.
I want to be told where my lion's dens, fiery furnaces, and crosses are and be told how I lived through them by your devine G.R.A.C.E.
I want to see it written out in print, so that I might read it over and over again.
I want it to be read to me whispered quiet at night as I lay in bed:
"And God's hand was upon Karmen"
I want my story to be Your story. 
I want to know that I become that terabinth tree that you have emblazened in my heart.
I want to know that these seeds grow in me and that I don't stay just a sapling.
I want my story to end with:
"And Karmen followed Him all of her days."
I want to be able to rest in the hearing of the rest of my story.

Image from google image search for terabinth tree.

rest plural of rest
  1. Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
  2. Remain or be left in a specified condition: "rest assured".
  1. An instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
  2. The remaining part of something.
verb. repose - relax - lean - lie
noun. repose - remainder - pause - remnant - relaxation

Five Minute Friday

Friday, March 8, 2013

We are more than the dust of others

We are more than the dust of others.....

Oh  how I know that desire SO strong! ( The one where you want to spend the day in the blankets.) And in the blankets all those voices can fly at you and they are loud, so loud and you just push yourself deeper into the covers trying to hide from them, but really it is more of a burial than a protective covering, because you suffocate there, in your head. And it is so hard for the light to break through and you don't even know right then if you want it to, because it seems too bright.  And you fear it will expose the parts of you that you are trying to hide.  The parts that make you bad, defective, less than, worse than, unworthy of, unlovable, usable, hurtable, hurtful, bruised.

And in that place, that time, that moment, that cotton coffin is the only place you know how to exist in, because suffocating as it is, it still feels safe.  You can't hurt anyone, nor be hurt.  Your inaction feels the most responsible reaction.  You can't be destructive if you remain hidden, buried. You are safe from the world and the world is safe from you.  And you wish that death would come for you right then, so it would be done and you could be done.  And everything feels like it is too much and you are too much mess to ever be cleaned, because you feel that all you are is dirt.    And it feels like no one understands.  That they think you selfish or crazy, because you don't know how to navigate this hurtful world.  They don't understand how the hurts compound and how you feel as though you only magnify the hurting.  They don't understand that you just want to stop the hurt, you want to stop your hurt from hurting others.  They don't understand how all consuming the darkness is and how death does not feel so much as an easy way out but as an ONLY way out. 

Please know that I GET THIS!  I SO get this!  But I know that cotton coffin lids can be lifted and they don't have to be turned into stone grave markers.  I know this.  I know how hard and sharp and painful it all can be.  I don't think you crazy, I don't think you selfish.  I think you wounded, but wounds can be healed.  I don't think you dirty.  I think you dusty, because the dirt of others sin has blown up against you.  You are worthy of more so much more.  You are more than the dust of others that you have mistaken as your own skin.  You are good, even when your choices aren't.  The light is bright.  I know it takes adjusting to, but it doesn't illuminate those things that make you want to hide.  Those are the shadows, not the realities.  The light shines in and the shadows fade so that you can see the good things that the darkness hides.  That light you fear so much Oh that light you are blinking in, it makes you sparkle.  It reflects off of those things that are good in you and magnifies their brightness.  Things like STRENGTH, WORTH, TALENT, LOVE, COMPASSION.  And when those shine all the shadows shrink. 

I know this, because I know you.  I am you.  And if no one else speaks these truths to you I will.  I will speak this truth to myself, too.  I am more than the dust of others.  We are more than the dust of others.  That dirt that covers us is not our skin. 

Linking with Emily and the Imperfect Prose Community

Five Minute Friday "Home"


Home, that all elusive place I hope to someday get to.  The place that my soul cries out for when all goes dark and I am left in sea of swirling darkness.  Home.  I want to go home.  And I am trying so hard to find the path there.  To journey to a place of healing where I know I am safe and loved and protected.  That is my internal search for home.

Home.  A physical place that I am in limbo on.  I sold mine/ours.  Living in the in-between.  Waiting to move not knowing what home will look like on the other side.  Much like my current internal home status.

Waiting.  Searching. Longing.  Home.  Please God, LET ME FIND HOME!  I need it.  I was not made for living this homeless life.  I need to know that there is more.  That there is peace and comfort and safety.  Security.  Love that doesn't leave.  I need to know I can stop the hiding.  I need a place where I am at peace with my self, my family, my world, and with You. 

I need a place to call my own.  I am tired of wandering this desert of searching.  My feet are aching for my Promised Land, MY own home.
linking up with Five Minute Friday

Thursday, March 7, 2013

We are Moving, but God is too


We are moving. 

It is going to happen.

Whether I am ready for it or not, (which I am not ready for by the way).

All things point to the very real reality that it is going to happen. 

  • The fact that we sold our house that we lived in for the last ten years back in November of 2012.  The house that has been my home the longest of any other place claiming that title.  The house that 4 out of 7 of my babies were made in and brought home to.  The house that I thought would be mine forever.  
  • The fact that 11 of us have been living in my parents 1200 square foot house since the middle of last August to prepare for the selling of our house and this upcoming move.
  • The fact that my husband and therapist keep telling me that this is happening.
  • The fact that we have notified the school that we are moving.
  • The fact that the Navy has given my husband orders stating the same fact and I have been given the power of attorney for the movers to come and haul away all our belongings.
It isn't so much that I have been living in denial that this all is happenening it is just that it seemed so far off in the distance that I was able to kind of ignore it for a bit.  But now we are down to just 58 days.  It can't be ignored anymore.  Things I have put off have to be done.  Things like:
  •  getting shot records and making sure we have all the shots that their new school will require, making sure I find out what shots those are. 
  •  Getting in those last minute doctor appointments. 
  • Meeting with the movers at our storage unit and unpacking all the boxes that I packed up so that they can re-pack them and have them be insured.
  • Making sure I keep out the things we will need on our trip and once we get to our new location 3000 miles away from the place we all call "home".
  • Doing this all on my own because my husband will be out to sea until 3 days before we move.
But these things aren't the things that give me the most stress and grief.  The things I worry most about are the things unseen but felt.  The feeling that I am disappointing and stressing out those that I love by moving our family as far away as we can go and still be in the same country.  It is the sadness that I see on our beloved neighbor boy's face as he tells me that my son is his only friend and he will have no one else to play with once we move.  It is my concern for this sweet sweet boy that he will be lost in our absence because I know how much he wants to be loved and accepted and how he will bow to the pressures of those who make unwise choices in order to feel that he is a part of the group.  I want to swoop him up and love him and take him with us to this new beginning.  It is knowing that the girl I call my "daytime daughter" and who I love as my own will be thousands of miles away from me and our home and family has been her second home and family for the last four years and as long as she can remember.  I worry for this girl whose own mother has in all practicality abandoned her for her own pursuit of happiness.  I worry that people we love will be lost before we can come back to this place of home again.  I grieve the loss of what Christmas will be like because it will happen for the first time in my 37 years of life without my sister being with me and I worry how she will live without me as well.

Even with all these worries I still try and find my trust that God knows what He is doing in spite of my mistrust, because there are signs that He is in charge along with the doubts and the fears.
  • The fact that our house did sell, in a horrible market, at a price where we still came out ahead of the game.  I feel that in itself is a miracle.
  • The fact that He is taking us back to the place where our marriage got off course and we have a chance to right those wrongs that we have been living in for the past fourteen years in the same place it went awry.  A place where we are forced to be interdependent upon each other.
  • The fact He is bringing me back to the place where He promised me healing while sitting a hard church pew 14 years ago.  A place I thought I would never go back to and wondered why He would promise such a thing and then not stay true to it.
In the nights where I wake up and all the fears and doubts press down on me and pull at me I have to choose to trust, because really I have no other option.  I can allow myself to be paralized by the insecurities or I can pray this simple prayer:  "I trust you God, help me with my mistrust."  Because that has become my mantra in the last two weeks as the days dwindle down and I can no longer ignore the inevitable.  Sometimes when darkness falls and I wake in the middle of the night it is all I can do to slip those words through my parched lips as the chains of fear and doubt wrap round me tight, but He hears and He lovingly unwinds the chains as I can feel my spirit calm and I am able to drift back to sleep. 

We are moving, but I think that God is too.
It is going to happen.
And I have to trust even in the midst of my mistrust.

8 weeks of wednesdays

On counseling:


Nine weeks of Wednesdays, now eight after today's session.  That is it.  Only 8 weeks left with the person who has become my confidant, my balance, the person who speaks grace to me.  Eight weeks and then it is over. 

How strange of a relationship this is.  How helpful and harmful is this relationship of sorts.

It took me a good long time to be able to open up.  Even still the words clog in my throat and scamper out of my head and we just sit staring at each other for a spell.  And now here I am with only 8 weeks left.  And then that is it, the end. 

Eight weeks left with this woman who will never be my friend.  Who I will never know outside of those four walls we sit within, but who knows me more intimately than any other human being on the earth. 

And this knowledge that it is ending and the awareness that I will never know her the way she knows me, it feels like rejection.  A rejection so deep that I am reduced to tears every time the thought of it brushes against my consciousness. 

I know that it is not rejection of me in those rational parts of my brain that understand her job, the way it works, and how it is.  But oh how those other parts cry out and scream  R.E.J.E.C.T.I.O.N at me.  Along with UNworthy, FOOLish, FOOlish girl.  And I feel it in my toes and they make my leg shake with the acknowledgement of this abandonment that is coming.  The shaking foot rocks my body, trying to give comfort, desperately trying to soothe the loneliness that I feel.  It is a self soothing habit formed long ago in a time when I would have tea parties with Jesus and my stuffed animals, because they were my only friends.

This counseling that has been so good for my soul is also a threat to it at the same time.  It is the binding up and the undoing of the fragilest parts of me.

She has asked me if I will see another counselor once we move.  My answer is no, because I don't think I can do this again.  This learning to trust someone so deeply who is so transient in my  world.  What I need is confidant and friend. Friend who isn't bound by four walls and 45 minute blocks of time once a week. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I heard this song on the radio a couple of days ago and from the first note it had my attention.
  It so accurately describes my struggle. 
It is not always a daily struggle,
but it is a struggle I face often. 
I need to know that redemption wins. 
I know it does,
 but knowing it and living it are two different things. 
Somedays everything feels hard. 
Everything outside of the safety of my blankets pulled tight around me feels threatening. 
 I feel as if who I am
is swallowed up by all the things that need to be done,
that could happen,
that should happen,
that might not happen. 
My insides are a mix of the past,
the present,
and the future,
all swirling together in a blender of trepidation and hopelessness. 
So many things can happen and go wrong,
 this world is a scary place. 
 I wouldn't say that I focus on those things,
but they are always there in the back of my mind,
because I have to be prepared for it. 
 I can't let anything surprise me or hit me out of left field. 
I need to be "ready". 
 That need for readiness leaves me
I'm tired, I'm worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I've made mistakes
I've let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I'm tired, I'm worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I've made mistakes
I've let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I'm worn

I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won't let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I'm tired, I'm worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I've made mistakes
I've let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left
{ From: }

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I'm worn

I'm tired, I'm worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I've made mistakes
I've let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn

I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I'm worn

I know I need
To lift my eyes up
But I'm too weak
Life just won't let up
And I know that You can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

My prayers are wearing thin
I'm worn
Even before the day begins
I'm worn
I've lost my will to fight
I'm worn
So Heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That You can mend a heart that's frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that's dead inside can be reborn
‘Cause I'm worn

Yes, all that's dead inside will be reborn
Though, I'm worn
I'm worn
Lyrics from

Linking up with Emily on Imperfect Prose
Imperfect Prose

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bridging the Gap


Bridging the Gap

  Through one of my favorite blogs

I was directed to another blog called
I have read quite a few of the authors blogs already
and she has given me so much to think upon and ponder.  
It is quickly becoming one of my favorite reading spots
 along with another favorite of mine

(May I ask you a question?). 

The commonality between the authors is 
 they are honest
about their struggles and brave in their addressing them. 
They make me think
They make me want to BE brave
They make me question
All good things

I wasn't sure what I was going to do in
9 weeks
when I stop seeing my counselor
(A topic in and of itself for another day). 
I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that transition
of having someone to talk to and to ask me questions
 and invite me to define my feelings and opinions
on topics that I might easily allow to sit over on the shelf under a layer of dust. 

These blogs,
and I am sure others that I will find like them,
will help to bridge that gap. 

So thank you ladies for writing,
thank you for being brave and honest,
 and thank you for making me think. 

You stretch my faith,
 you stretch my heart,
and you stretch my mind

I hope you don't mind me using you from time to time
to jump start my own blog posts. 

Thank you for being my Bridge.