Posts Tagged ‘brother’

Walking Dead-from Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power...

Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power…

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Thanks for stopping by Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power for our little break time. I pray you are recognizing His love and grace in your life each day and that when you think of those God stops, you are encouraged in incomprehensible ways that move you closer to His shelter and render you alive in Him. Let’s get back to where we left off.

So did you fill in two names? Oh, how I wish I could convey just how this verse came to life for me that day, and remains alive in me, in my pursuit to love those unlovable, difficult people He has brought into my life. When you and I put ourselves, our circumstance(s) and/or our friends and family in the scriptures we are reading, something powerful happens: His Word comes alive in you, in me, in our lives!

When His Word comes alive in us, we can get through ANYTHING because we know, in our inner being because of experience, that our pain and suffering, our trials and tribulations are but for a moment in comparison to our eternal dwelling place. We can even learn to love those unlovable, difficult people whom He calls “brethren” in this verse.

Some may believe that “brethren” refers to people within the church, especially since we are called brothers and sisters in Christ. But does that make this command – which is repeated over and over by the way – any easier, if we were to limit it to those within the church we attend? I dare say heck no because “Godly” people do ungodly things! In fact, some of the most difficult and unlovable people are within the church, which is right where they need to be that we may be a witness to their transformation process! Don’t we all start out that way? I know I sure did. 🙂

Grab your shovels and come with me. I want to do some digging on that word, brethren.

Holy smokes! “Brethren” is in the Bible 562 times! No worries, I’m only going to look up the translation for 1st John, who by the way was considered the apostle of love!

Oh, dear . . . oh, my . . . waiting to exhale! 🙂 So in the plural – remember, I heard two names and the verse was plural also – it denotes a community based on identity of origin or life; persons united by common interest – I can’t read anymore! I don’t need to. See, a community based on identity of origin could mean family! A community based on identity of origin could mean church. And people united by common interest could mean friends!

So if I do not love my family, friends, church family, I am like the walking dead! There is no wiggle room here!

I am now completely convinced and will be reviving the re-write to my first series He ever gave me, Learning to Love the Unlovable! That will begin after our March WOW! But join me tomorrow for our Power Friday!

Much love,


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Invitation Tuesdays!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013


Thanks for joining me for our little Coffee Hour break and our invitation Tuesdays. When you’re done reading this, feel free to share this invitation. We want to pack The River Church out! Grab your coffee and come on in.

So as I mentioned, the second half will be like a T.V. talk show – we’re even going to have commercials honoring all our raffle vendors/donators and we are going to address real life issues. What I didn’t mention is this is going to be the most interactive event we’ve held but we need your help. We have heard from several people about their relationship struggles, challenges and questions, but we’d like to hear from more of you. What is your most important relationship? What is a consistent struggle you have in that relationship?

And please know, we are not limiting “relationship” to husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend. What about the relationship with our kids, or our BFF, or an unlovable/difficult friend? Maybe you struggle with your mom, or your dad. Whatever the relationship is and whatever the relationship struggle/challenge is, we’d like to hear about it so we can perhaps offer a different perspective, a little diamond that shines brilliantly on a solution! So far we have a couple of issues as they relate to the mother/son relationship; we have several husband/wife issues, mother/daughter issue but we all know the types of issues are endless so we’d like yours! We will, of course, do this anonymously, so please, email me at or Steve Atkinson, M.F., at .

In the meantime, mark your calendars:




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Green with Envy-April’s WOW-From Coffee Hour From Chicklit Power

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

1st Timothy 6:10

For the Love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have

Strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through

With many sorrows.

Welcome back to our monthly WOW, aka, words of wisdom and weapons of warfare! Grab your coffee and come on in. I’ve been waiting to share this part of the true story with you for some time! 🙂

A couple of weeks ago, I returned to one of my favorite law offices for a case that had started back in December. I was happy to be working and working with this particular client; however, I wasn’t looking forward to reporting this particular case, especially considering how contentious the first deposition had been.

The videographer read the case, asked everyone to introduce themselves, and for me to swear in the witness. I boldly reminded the witness to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this proceeding, as you shall answer unto God.” He stared me in the eyes and said “I do.” If he really did is not up to me to judge.

There were four defense attorneys and the deponent on one side of the table, and my client and another attorney from the firm on the other. Don’t get me wrong; my client held his own, and in a much more professional fashion while the other side shot useless and obstreperous objections for every other question, preventing me from ever really finding a writing/typing rhythm. I could have sworn I saw smoke coming from my machine! I know I was continuously on the verge of letting some hot air out in my numerous requests for them to please talk one at a time, all of which were in vain!

As the day wore on, my heart grew heavier with the facts of the case: A brother suing a brother – they are twins – the one testifying is very successful in the eyes of the world, has homes in several locations, his kids in good schools and colleges, has formed several companies for which he is executive director and/or president of all of them – we’ll call him Twin1; and his twin, well, let’s just say that his life looks to be ruined, at least right now. He’s broke, living in a one-bedroom apartment with his wife and two kids.

Are you getting a picture of a see-saw completely stuck with Twin1 on top and Twin2 on the bottom? Yeah, I know, I am, too.

With the passing of testimony, it became clearer to me why there are so many attorneys involved. See, Twin1 had set up several companies, and each company had an attorney. In other words, everyone wanted a piece of the pie, and it’s a really big pie. 🙂 By the end of the first day of this second round of depositions, I still didn’t know why brother was suing brother; all I knew was there is a lot of money involved, and it was as if each attorney was fighting for his piece.

The next morning, I saw Twin1 as I came into the building. He was obviously waiting for his attorney. We began to talk, small talk at first and then he brought his brother into it, sharing with me the abuse they endured as kids, and how all of his family is just “out there.” I boldly asked him, “How did you turn out so normal then?” To which he replied, he was lucky; he has a good wife, they have a dinner every night as a family, pray together . . .” I interrupted him. “I knew it! You’re not lucky; you’re blessed, incredibly blessed.” Believe it or not, it was at this very moment that I completely and utterly understood being green with envy!

Join me tomorrow and I’ll explain what I mean.


Journal Entry-Conclusion-From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and thanks for coming back for the conclusion of this up-close and personal journal entry. Grab your coffee and come on in.

I marvel at Abba’s sense of humor because if you would have told me a couple of years ago that I would be having such an amazing time at my brother’s and with my brother, I would have laughed, and not necessarily with you. I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy what I’m now able to enjoy in this season; nor would I be so sincerely burdened for him and about him.

It’s nothing short of a miracle because ever since I was 15 and he was 13, there has been a gap of anger and bitterness between us. And do you know who He’s used to bridge that gap?  My husband! My brother likes George and I have seen George bring out a side of my brother that I thought was dead forever, the soft part of his heart! 🙂 In fact, I have seen several things that I truly admire about my brother.

But anyway, it has been amazing, getting to know this brother of mine who is 14 months younger than me. Yes, I can honestly admit that in some ways I am envious of their discipline and the fact that they are both nearly ready to retire financially and yet what’s left unspoken and the differences between us speaks so much.

We are very different and I am learning to love and respect him despite our differences. In fact, something I read just this morning as I was struggling internally about some things warmed my heart. It was from an Al-Anon subscription that I get every morning via e-mail. I thought the timing was nothing short of a God-incidence!

Just because I am in my recovery/healing process that is being guided by our Father doesn’t mean that my loved ones will join automatically. No, in fact, I have come to know and understand that people change at different paces, for different reasons, in different seasons and on different levels. I must stay focused on my own necessary changes because that will make the journey that much more enjoyable, free from more baggage, so to speak, and free for my brother to be him and for God to do what only He can do in His life.

If I am allowed to be salt in his life, for my life to speak into his, well that will certainly be amazing and life-changing, not only him, but me as well.

Oops, I could keep going, but my thoughts have been interrupted by the sound of a crashing watering can just to the left of us. Well, I’ll be; it’s little Roxy, the female squirrel who we have discovered has to be pregnant! She’s still looking for more peanuts. 🙂

Anyway, I should let you go. Thanks so much for letting me share a little bit of nature and its analogies it has to offer when we stop for a minute to smile at creation!                               



P.S. As a matter of fact, our last night in Washington, George and my brother had a heart-to-heart God talk and though we differ in many opinions, I know that God continues to use my George to sprinkle more salt on my brother’s heart. I’d covet your prayers for his ultimate surrender and confession for the reality of Christ in charge of his life. 🙂


Journal Entry-Part 1-From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and thanks for coming by today. I just realized that it’s been a while since I’ve done a journal entry for and with you, so there’s no time like the present, especially considering what I’m experiencing. Grab your coffee and come on in.

George and I finally made it to see my brother and sister-in-law in Seabeck, Washington so I’d like to bring a little bit of it to you. Let me see if I can paint you a picture with words so you can kind of get the feel of where I’m at.

I am surrounded by gigantic trees, some of which are at least a hundred or so feet tall. Trees that have all the green colors that you could possibly imagine frame their back yard, and then in the midst of them on the outer perimeter are two fairly large red maple trees that splash color on the entire yard and yet blend in beautifully, providing a shelter from any type of city noise, not that they are in the city by any means. In fact, George says they live with the yeti and was surprised that we had a cell signal. 🙂

Washington is absolutely beautiful this time of year. My brother jokes that summer is about two days long and though they love their home and the view, dealing with more rain than sunshine can be a challenge.

Sitting on the balcony and drinking in the clean air that also has an amazing scent has cleaned out any traces of our nice Yucaipa air, and I never knew there were so many different scents of pine. I’m thinking pine is an awfully nice smell! The sun is beating gently down and some of our background music is coming from a water fountain made of stones and the pace of the water is just before a chugging sound, the speed of a strong stream that has a good amount of water pouring into it and it is ever so peaceful.

I am savoring the moments. I was going to suggest that you close your eyes and imagine that you are here with me but I wouldn’t want you to miss what happens next. 🙂

We’ve just gotten a couple of visitors. There’s Randy and Roxy, the two squirrels my brother and sister-in-law feed daily in exchange for some lively entertainment.

They’re a kick in the pants to watch and you seriously can’t help but giggle as you watch them stealthily sneak up to the balcony, grab a shelled peanut, tear the shell off with their teeth that work like a mini saw while they hold the peanut with their hands that look amazingly close to hands like yours and mine.

Within seconds, the peanut disappears and is stored in their little cheek and then off they go, back up the balcony to a branch on the big tree, and as the branch is dancing up and down from the echo of their tiny body jumping upon it, they go up the trunk, down another branch and jump, as though they had wings, to the ground.

Now they begin to bury their treasure. You should see them pat it down. It’s hysterical. You can actually get tired watching them because they do this nonstop!

Wait a minute, we have another visitor: OMG, no it is not! Yes, it is. It’s a deer, just walking across the back yard like she owned the place. Let me go and get camera so I can take a picture.

Drats, she’s gone off to the front yard. Have you ever watched a deer walk? Talk about graceful!

Off to my left is a beautiful blue jay and it is hopping its way on over on top of the balcony where there is another stash of peanuts, and has just snuck one. He looks pretty proud of himself, especially since Roxy is right there on the ground looking up at him. Did you know that the blue jay just swallows their food until they feel safe and then they regurgitate it and stash it or eat it, depending on how hungry they are, I guess!

Well, in a couple of months, snow will be covering the lawn, and weighing down the trees, so is it any wonder that these little guys are busy preparing for the season ahead? 🙂

That’s an Interesting concept, preparing for the upcoming season. As I watch these little guys and we are mesmerized by them for the longest time, I can’t help but think how appropriate it is that I am watching this happening with these little creatures in my brother’s back yard, because they actually remind me of my brother, and his wife, too, who are always preparing for the next season in some sort of way, just like the blue jays and the squirrels.

They have a system for everything and they plan nearly everything that takes place in their life. In fact, they have done an amazing job planning their retirement so when it comes, I truly don’t feel that they’ll feel any financial hardship or difference in their lifestyle, which is simple and yet very comfortable.

Anyway, I have a lot of respect for them, truly. As I spend more time with my brother and his wife, which in and of itself is a miracle, I am saddened by the truth that the one thing, the one season they are not preparing for is their eternal season. 🙂

I don’t say that to air my dirty laundry or to criticize my brother. I just happen to look at the spiritual significance in almost all things and though watching these little critters has been heartwarming, the realization brings tears to my eyes, literally. But that is a burden I will share with our Father and I’m realizing that this is the season to pray without ceasing for him.

Please join me tomorrow for the conclusion to this journal entry.






P.S. Don’t forget, today is Blog Talk Radio day. Our show begins at 1:00 Pacific time. Just click on the “listen to my weekly podcast” and you’ll land in the show. And if you can’t join us at 1:00, no worries; you can download the show at any time onto your IPod.


The Night after the Bachelorette-From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and thanks for coming by for “The Night after the Bachelorette.” Grab your coffee and come on in. We’re about to go on the hometown dates with Ashley and the four guys, Ben, Constantine, Ames and JP, and it appears we have some concerned families.

It’s already the first commercial break and the only thing she’s said that is worth writing is that when you meet the families, it puts things on a whole different level. Okay, let’s get to the first hometown date with Constantine, who is a restaurant owner.

Oh, I can’t wait to meet his family. He took her to his restaurant and she was really impressed with the love all his staff showed him. He taught her how to make a pizza while his staff peeked around the corner totally checking her out. He’s actually very funny and Ashley picked up that he’s totally real and more comfortable in his own space. Constantine just said something rather profound: “That’s like the beauty of love is that you can only be open and ready for it. You can’t do anything to make it happen or force it to happen.” OMG, you should have seen his chefs and waiters and waitresses all looking through the glass window out onto the patio, straining their necks, a couple of them obviously on tippy-toes to see if he was going to kiss her and he didn’t disappoint them! 🙂

Now it’s time to meet his family. How cute; they have balloons hanging up with a “Welcome Home Constantine” sign. His sister, mother and father were so excited to see him. Dad recognizes his happiness right away. The love in the family is beautiful music and it inspires Ashley.

Mom initiated a one-on-one talk with Ashley and I love her insight. She wants her son to find the love of his life, but she feels that they need more time because of course, everything is wonderful when you’re jetted away to these awesome places and beautiful beaches, and life is wonderful, but real life is different! Can I get an AMEN!!! I like her! Now she wants to ask a mama question, which was legitimate. She wanted to know if this did go in that direction, would Ashley relocate to where they all were, and Ashley said without a doubt, she wouldn’t have a problem doing that, especially if it’s what he wants.

Now it’s time for father and son who reiterates that it takes time, but he gives his blessing if he feels that Ashley’s the one. Dad said to use his mom and him as an example. He talked about ups and downs, that it’s not going to be perfect, but in the beginning, it should be.

Ashley was obviously very comfortable and had no idea about the planned surprise just as they were going to get ready to leave the doorbell rings and his entire family shows up, grandmas, aunts, uncles, sister, cousins and then they did this dance. I could so get on with his family. “All the pieces of the puzzle are really put together for me and Constantine,” Ashley said. She really didn’t want to go. And Constantine’s dad, well he wished for them to have love forever.

Ahhh, Ames is so excited to see her and his family includes a sister and her husband, another sister and a brother and his wife and his nephews and nieces. Mom can see that Ashley has really caught Ames attention, and his sister Serena could see the spark but wonders if Ashley has it. So, she gets right to it and tells Ashley clearly he has feelings for you. It’s serious now. You’re meeting his family now, his nieces and nephews and I’m just curious, what are your feelings for Ames?

Ashley admits that their relationship has moved a lot slower than the others but she’s choosing him over the relationships that have moved faster because she sees so many good things in him.

Serena asks another tough question: are you comfortable when you guys are together? Is it easy or do you feel like you have to work toward things or do you guys just — does it come naturally?

She feels something for him; he’s different in a good way and she’s just not ready to stop learning about him.

His sister says, “He’s like an onion. You keep peeling layers and you’re going to find out more.” She then confirms that he’s the most loyal, honest person you’ll ever know and he’s a romantic. His sister says that Ames has brought other girlfriends home before but this time it’s different. “He’s smitten with you.”

All Ashley could say is she wants to know more.

When Mom and Ames talk, he really comes out with how much he admires how she’s handled things. We definitely have a different opinion on that one.

Okay, now back with his sister Serena. Ashley asked her to tell her a bit about Ames’s father who died when Ames was ten and then his step-dad passed away, too. So that gave Ashley another piece to this puzzle. Serena wasn’t convinced that Ashley’s spark was/is as bright as Ames. Oh, now Ashley is telling Ames’ mom that she thinks they’re both similar and yet, when Ames has said that, she looked a bit bemused. Bummer, she just admitted to still missing the spark, that romance and passion. Why is it we feel that has to come first?

Oops, his sister gave Ames a heads up about kicking up the romance, so he did just that and took her to this beautiful garden and under his favorite tree with a picnic lunch.

Oooh, I like what Ames says: You can have romantic through the ordinary. There’s so much more magic in the ordinary; life doesn’t have to be like fireworks. And then she reached over and he leaned in and kissed her. Then he took her on a horse-drawn carriage with some beautiful horses, the perfect ending to their hometown date, a storybook romance.

Now it’s time for Ben, Sonoma, California. This is the winemaker and he says it’s his turn to surprise her all day. They start at the winery, and he shows her many more facets to him and they share a sweet moment before they begin their picnic in the rain. Ben tells Ashley that he’s only brought one woman home to meet his mother, and he assures her that it’s a big deal to him. Ashley asked Ben to describe his dad: “A gentle giant, super happy with life, soft-spoken, didn’t say a lot but super, super happy about life. He would have liked you.” Ben admits that this process has put him in touch with a different side of himself, the emotional side and he likes it. I hope he’s able to say that no matter what happens. Ben makes it very clear that “my mom and sister have to like you, or it’s not going to work for me.” If things don’t go well, then it may be the end for me.” Wow, his vineyard is beautiful.

Ben’s sister breaks the ice by talking about Ben’s hair, and then admitted to being the one that signed him up for the Bachelorette. Julia says Ashley is sweet, but she’s skeptical so she brings Ben in the kitchen and they talk, heart to heart. Ben admits to being into it despite it being scary and exciting all at the same time. When his sister asked if he saw himself engaged at the end of this, she smiled when he responded that if things keep progressing the way that they are, he most definitely sees himself engaged. Wow, I sure hope he don’t get a broken heart. 🙂 🙁  🙂

Ben told his mom that he hasn’t said he loves her but he likes her a lot. He’s really grown through this process, and he talks about his dad that passed away, and mom tells him that she thinks dad would be proud of him. Ahh, Ben has tears in his eyes. What a sensitive heart. With tears running down his face, he admits to missing his dad. There really is a little boy inside each man.

Okay, so now it’s JP’s hometown and this is who I think she feels the most for. We’re in Long Island and JP’s so excited to have her all to himself and he didn’t sleep a wink all night. It’s raining so JP has a special plan for them and Ashley narrates that she doesn’t care if she walks with JP down the street for three hours. She just wants to be with him. That says a lot! They’re going roller skating and didn’t even get their skates on before kissing. She is the most genuine with him. She’s going to meet his mother, father, his brother Roy and his brother’s girlfriend. JP admits to taking only four girls home to meet his family. He also admits that he’s willing to risk getting hurt for a chance at love. Interesting concept, huh?

The welcome from the family was genuine and loving. Mom is concerned and has so many questions to ask. She is honest about not wanting to see her son’s heart hurt like it was hurt before. When she asked if he was in love, he couldn’t quite say it, but he is confident that she doesn’t share what they share with the other guys. Mom is still guarded and tells Ashley as much as she relives a season of broken-heartedness for JP and says she’s nervous because she sees love in JP’s eyes when he looks at her. Mom really puts her on the spot and Ashley doesn’t flinch at all, but in fact encouraged it. She fell in love with JP’s family and talking to Chris, she has no regrets. I think maybe Constantine and JP and Ben get to stay, but let’s see.

Ben is the first name she calls to give a rose to. JP is second. Boy, they’re milking it. Just say Constantine’s name and get it over with. Whew, she just did. Poor Ames, he’s completely shocked, but still he’s smiling. He breaks down a little bit, telling her how impressed he is with her, and that it was beautiful and even more poetic than he expected and that he will remember every second of it. What a truly nice, nice guy, another broken heart. Somebody please tell me what is the purpose in all of this?

Have a great day,



2010 WOW Rewind (3) From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and welcome back to our 2010 WOW Rewind. I love revisiting scriptures that I’ve studied in the past and watching them come to life in a new way. That proves that The Word is alive! Grab your coffee and come on in.

Now we move forward a little bit in The Word to the book of Hebrews, Chapter 13, Verse 5 which says: (Your name______), “let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for he Himself has said, I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you.

I remember when we first began to learn this verse. I was truly learning the peace that comes with being content with what I have and it was proven by the fact that I could go into countless stores and not be overcome with the temptation to buy more of this and more of that. Trust me, I’m all about having lots of shoes, clothes and a girl’s gotta have purses and jewelry to match, right?

This year, however, this verse has a different facet, which truly is what is so cool about The Bible, for it is God-breathed! Anyway, here’s the significance of this verse to me now in this season of mourning my mom’s passing and wanting a relationship with my two brothers and my big sister – or should I say my older sister? What is politically correct these days anyways? 🙂

As I continue to try and be the peacemaker in our family, there is still a tug of war going on in which I am refusing to join. On one side is my little brother and his family, and I truly believe that it is not within their hearts to hurt any of his siblings. He’s tugging/fighting for what he believes is right. And then on the other side of the rope is my older brother and sister – and at one point I was on this side – who are fighting for the principle of it all, and I actually agree with their point of view on the issue more so than with my little brother, BUT – yeah, there’s a but — “as much as is possible with me, I must live peaceably with others,” so I opted out of the tug of war.

By the way, the tug of war is over money, or at least that’s what started it. It has now become much more than that, but that’s why this scripture is so relevant still yet in my life, and I’m sure if you think about it, chew it up to digest it, you would find that this verse will help you through a lot of financial dilemmas.

Anyway, emotions are still raw, and I’ve been able to witness the reality of that whenever a comment is sent out that is misunderstood. What happens is it works like a little spark in a dying fire and threatens to re-ignite it again into an all-encompassing fire upgraded to a wildfire when pride is thrown in. The funny thing about it is my older brother is doing well financially so it’s not the “love of money” he’s fighting about. I know that in my heart. No, this tug-of-war is about the morality of the issue. Unfortunately, he, like many of us, is blinded and deceived by pride, ripping him off of being content.

Would you join me in praying that God’s word would take root in his heart? And I’ll be praying that you hear how these words of wisdom are speaking to you in your life, too.



Journal Entry-Final Good-byes From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and welcome to another journal entry. This is actually Part 2 of my journal entry for Friday. So much has happened and I thoroughly enjoy being an open book and sharing the lessons I am learning and the revelations I am experiencing. Grab your coffee and come on in.

Our first dinner of many with my brother and his wife was simply wonderful – my cooking wasn’t bad either 🙂 We sat and talked with more ease than I ever thought possible. It was during that first dinner that I found out my brother and his wife had been foster parents for several years and had nurtured and loved 18 children during their fostering season. To say I was stupefied is an understatement. If it had been fly season, I probably would have caught a whole tribe in my mouth! What amazing experiences they shared, and pain, too. And his reason for wanting to be a foster parent: “I wanted to be a better foster parent than what we had.” I did not waste the moment to tell him, and have several times since then, “The more I know about you, the more I like you.”

Oh, yes, how our childhood wounds can shape us in later years for the better and bring treasure out of junk. I think that was the string that pulled the curtain up for me to reveal my emotional walls, begin to bring them down and away from the eyes of my heart so they could be opened to all the facets of my brother. And because they began to open for him, they began to open for my other brother and sister as well.

The meeting with Reverend Gary was inspiring, as well. He said that despite not knowing Mom, that just observing us together, catching little tidbits of conversations, he felt that he was there to be an advocate for mom and to encourage a new beginning for us. I was stunned into silent tears.

The memorial was simple and sweet and there were many things said by Reverend Gary, but I think the one that pierced my heart with a sort of healing balm were these words: “Because your mom is resurrected into heaven, she loves you more now than she ever could have while on earth.” When truth collides with our hearts, healing tears begin to flow. My tears gushed out causing my body to sob and my heart to ache with missing her. Yet I was comforted by the reverend’s words and able to rejoice over the sweet memories flashing on the T.V. thanks to my sister’s amazing time and talent that she used to put a DVD together so we could all experience memory lane with my mom.

What followed after the last guest had left was something we were all dreading. It was time to discuss the will and the lingering debate that we had hanging over us since her passing. See, there was a glitch in my mom’s will regarding the money left over after expenses. She didn’t leave a written instruction, but a verbal request that collided with what three of us felt, based on principle, to be wrong and unfair. This disagreement has been building momentum for four weeks. I actually happened to agree with the majority, but about two weeks into the battle, I heard “As much as is possible with you, live peaceably with others.”

I reminded my little brother who was on the other side of the fence about that — he’s a Jehovah Witness — and I asked him to pray about it. I told him I wasn’t going to fight about it because when the money’s gone, the chances of having a relationship that I long for with my brothers and sister will also be gone. I let him know I didn’t agree with his decision but I wasn’t going to fight him, either.

Well, without going into all the painful details, let me just say that there was not an agreement reached that night, though my younger brother had come up with a compromise. The next day when we traveled to Catalina to bid Mom farewell, the division was so wide, you could have put an army in the cracks. I spent most of the day in silent prayer and tears, my stomach hurting over the way it was all going. I realized I was but a utensil in this process; that this was going to be one of those slow-cooking deals that would have lots of flavor because of all the ingredients being put into it. I mean, pride was definitely the main ingredient and had been added to the pot in the previous weeks and even more so over the last two days. What ingredient could be used to overcome that taste pride was causing?

I was given many opportunities to speak to each of them separately and even though it was brutally uncomfortable, I was transparently honest, even at the risk of making two of them very mad at me. I had made it clear to both brothers that it was between both of them since they were named executor and co-executor. Each of them felt the other had the power to either separate or keep the family together.

Here’s where the diamond is: As the minutes turned into the hours, this heated battle took on several facets, but no matter which way you turned it, there would be NO winner unless someone got stuck off of stupid and that no amount of money was worth our relationship. Actually the one with the power to keep the family together would be the one who gave in!

I firmly believed that what the three of us were saying and wanting was the right thing, but I also know that what my brother was standing on was right in his heart. So what do you do? Do you play tug of war until one side has been drug through the mud and comes up mad and walks away, never to return, or do you lay down the rope of pride and surrender unto the Lord for the sake of living peaceably with others”?

Well, am I ever thankful for the power of prayer, because before we left that island, one brother laid down the rope and said, “I’m tired of fighting about this,” and they came to an agreement. I couldn’t tell you what all was discussed between the two of them, but I can tell you this: When my older brother took off the shirt of pride, despite principle and for the sake of the true right thing, I could almost see the cloud come up off his shoulder and disappear. I told him that I was proud of him; that even though it wasn’t fair, it was okay and ultimately the right thing to do. Watching his countenance raise was like the prettiest victory flag I’ve ever seen waived.

Oh, how the “love of money” can bring division, and ultimate destruction. The Lord does hear our cries. It is He who is the ultimate provider of all blessings, financial or otherwise. Thanks for joining me and allowing me to be transparent with you. May the reflection resonate in your life and splash on the lives of others you know. Join me for Blog Talk Radio today at 1:00 Pacific time. We have a new show and it’s getting really fun!



Journal Entry (1-14-11) From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and welcome to my journal entry. I realized yesterday that it’s been a while since I’ve shared a journal entry with you so come on in; there’s no time like the present.

This morning, the cloud that’s been chasing me since the 17th of December is catching up with me, threatening to overtake me. Tonight, at 5:30, we will be having the memorial for my mom. Four weeks ago today, she passed and I haven’t stopped missing her. In fact, for the first time that I can ever recall, I now have acknowledged the little girl in me, the one who loves her mom unconditionally, wants to be with her as much as possible, the little girl that looks up to her mom with love and respect.

But, reality hits and I’m left with the longing, pulling and tugging on the strings of my heart. My tears slow down as I realize this is all temporary, because by His grace, I’m going to go see her one day face to face and I won’t have to just look up. I’m so thankful for that, and for the tears that I cry at various times, most of them unexpectedly, because her final moments allowed me to see the heart that God saw, the one that He cleansed hours before she left, the mom who smiled and had peace coming out of her, filling the hospital room which she left us in.

Sometimes, when it’s just too much, I feel this little nudge, a reminder that tells me she’s up there and that this separation is only temporary. And then sometimes I get the sense that she’s watching. It’s a little uncanny at times, but it brings me comfort. Just the other day, when we were up in Williams, Arizona with some very good friends (a book team member and her hubby) I went into her room after watching “Dear John,” an incredibly tear-provoking movie, and I said, let’s go get a drink, but I started to imitate my old mom, the alcoholic mom, and I got one word out and literally stopped with my mouth wide open. The words got stuck in my throat and wouldn’t come out. And there was this yucky feeling, almost like a bitter taste in my mouth, maybe it was conviction, but for the first time, I felt respect for my mom and I couldn’t joke about her alcoholism and imitate the way she used to talk to me. It was so strange.

Anyway, back to this memorial tonight. So I get to be with my two brothers and my older sister, something that doesn’t happen very often at all. In fact, I’ve seen more of them in the last four weeks than I have in 38 years! For the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to really allow some peeling to take place to figure out what this anxiety is and where this sense of dread I have when I realize I’m going to be with them is coming from.

I’m so thankful that He is the peeler, literally the One holding the peeler, and has revealed to me that it’s not that I don’t want to be with them; it’s just that being with them brings it all back, or so I thought. The truth is that this has been Satan’s trick to keep us from having a relationship. See, that’s only the first layer of it so now that I’m allowing myself to be peeled, I’m able to see that if I just push past that fear, aka, the first layer, being with them doesn’t really bring it all back, but beyond that first layer are three individuals whom God is saying it’s time to get to know and love and respect.

So if you think about anything I’ve shared with you today at all, would you please bow your head in a moment of prayer as I walk out with this new leash onto new territory, learning how to be a family and trying to accept each one of them by loving like He does, not heaping my opinions, my woundedness and criticisms upon them. I know in my heart that the only way I can do this is by looking to the one who holds the leash, the Author of new beginnings, the ultimate Restorer that will help me to give as well as to receive.



Happy to be Sad #2 From Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power, and welcome back to this bittersweet series. Grab your coffee and come on in.

Thursday passed by in such a blur, filled with updates for my brothers and sister, dealing with Medi-Cal paperwork, checking on Mom’s apartment and kitty, keeping her neighbor updated, and the last thing we did was go in for an X-ray of her lungs at 8:45 at night. I had to convince her she needed it and she objected all the way up until the transport. I was actually a bit nervous because she was overdue for her Librium and getting a bit fussy, but within a few minutes of the guys wheeling her down several halls, into a service elevator and up to the scan room, I relaxed and actually smiled inside as I listened to the three of them bantering back and forth, their laughter echoing in the elevator, laughter that she had brought out in them.

Yeah, that was the first sign I had of my mother’s pure wit, and though I was caught up in exhaustion, I did catch that glimpse of humor in her. And there was something else too – She was actually quite sweet and gentle with them.

Anyway after the scan, we got her back in her room and it was about 9:30 at night. My brother and his wife had arrived. I let go of a huge sigh of relief and hugged them both while they got my mom situated and comfortable again. We stood out in the hall talking for a few minutes while I updated them with her progress, which had been minimally forward. I told them I had fed her the broth and Jello, and she had eaten most of it. She was still so weak and frail and that weakness and frailness went a long way in convincing my brother that she could not return home; that she needed to be in some type of assisted-living place.

We went back in the room and she was fast asleep. I kissed her on the forehead, told my brother I would be back late the following afternoon and left for my drive home. I was exhausted but hopeful and ever so grateful for the help of my brother and his wife. This was my prayer Friday morning for her: “Father, please, reveal, peel, and guide the care for healing that would promote wholeness in and with you. Please don’t allow her to return to her vomit.” As I write this, my eyes are blurry with tears as I realize that He heard my cry, and He definitely did not let her go back to her alcoholism and unhealthy lifestyle. I just never imagined He’d answer it the way that He did.

Friday came and I found myself missing her, really missing her. I haven’t had that feeling since I was a little girl in MacLaren Hall and waiting for her to come and get us out and tell us everything would be all right. It just goes to show you that there is a little girl inside each of us and hope never dies as long as we’re alive.

I called my brother that morning. He told me that he had convinced Mom to sign the paperwork necessary for yet another test, which was a scan to reveal if she had a gastric bleed, something common in alcoholics, which could be the cause of her anemia. She had actually had the test earlier that morning, so I didn’t wait until late afternoon like I had planned to. I got there around lunch time, actually while my brother was feeding her, and making a bit of a mess, I might add. Women just do some things better than guys, and then guys do many things better than girls.

I also found out that morning that my sister was coming up later on that afternoon, and my brother had decided to fly out from Washington, so we were headed for a family reunion without any planning, but this was going to be another opportunity to be together and hopefully more comfortably. The only reason I say that is because we didn’t’ grow up together and there’s a lot of stuff that got in the way of true relationship. I know for years, I was the reason I didn’t have a relationship with either of them, because to see them brought all the painful junk back. I’m so blessed that He’s brought me through that!

The funny thing is if you were to have come in the hospital room later that Friday night and seen us all carrying on and laughing, you never, ever would have suspected that there truly was so much water under the bridge at one time! God is good all the time. Come back tomorrow for more amazing moments that make me happy I’m sad.