About Me

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I'm a wife, a mom, a singer/songwriter, an author, a public speaker, an abolitionist, an encourager & freedom coach, a seminary student, a worship leader, a lover of life and joy, and most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

I think "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" is one of the most beautiful Christmas songs, followed closely by "O Holy Night".

Today, we start our Christmas celebration. We'll open our presents as a family, and tomorrow, we will celebrate with extended family. We give gifts in honor of the father heart of God, who loved us so much that He extravagantly gave us His only son, so that we may have abundant life today & eternal life forever.

A thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn

The King of kings lay
Thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials
Born to be our friend!

As the hymn says, it's truly a time to rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel has come.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Does anyone else find this hilariously funny/ironic?

It's not terribly clear, because my scanner is not working, so I had to do a screen shot.

This was in the ad of my local supermarket:

In all fairness, this is the full image:

But still! Could we have not put the pork directly below Happy Hannukah?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Beloved Unlovely

New Boundless article, by yours truly:

Beloved Unlovely

You should read it. It's good.

There was a man standing in front of me. He was visibly intoxicated, and he reeked of mouth wash (I later found out sometimes alcoholics drink a certain brand of mouth wash when they can't get hold of alcohol). He was dirty, smelly and scary.

I was speechless.

And then he spoke. "I was headed in the other direction down the path when God told me to come over here and talk to you."

I didn't know whether I should be praising God for this confirmation or running for the hills.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Giving Heart of the Father

A devotional I wrote was published today on Park Street's website.

It's called "The Giving Heart of the Father".

Here's an excerpt:
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus admonishes us to give to those who ask us for something. He goes on to say later “when you give to the needy.” He doesn’t say, “If you give” or “When you have extra”; He says “when you give”, as if it were understood that giving is a vital part of following Him.

Now go read it :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

2 Timothy 2:13

"If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." 2 Timothy 2:13

This is one of the coolest verses in the Bible. In order for God NOT to be faithful in our lives, He would have to deny Himself or disown (as some translations say) Himself.

This verse has been very encouraging to me as I've watched a friend grapple with some real questions about the character of God. It can be challenging to not just jump in & try to fix it because I've been where she is & I know how painful & difficult those feelings are. But I can't fix it; only God can. God has reminded me that His faithfulness does not depend on us; He is faithful because that's the core of His character.

I recently heard Sy Rogers talk about God's character. He gave an analogy that God is sort of like the ocean. We can't know everything that's in the ocean, what every part of it looks like, or what types of animals are in different parts of the ocean. What we do know is that through & through, the ocean is salty. If the ocean is not salty, then it's not ocean; it's just regular water.

I may not understand all God is doing or all He chooses to allow, but I know that through & through, He is faithful and good and loving. That I know for sure.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Great Article over at Boundless Today

There's a great article over at Boundless today called "Remember the Poor, Part I".

Remembering the poor goes beyond dropping change in an offering plate or writing a monthly check to a relief organization — although these are virtuous acts of generosity. Jesus calls us to go a step further and become friends with the poor — to develop relationships with them.

You should go read it :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It seems when life gets more difficult & I'm feeling low, God shows me how much He cares for me in the little things.

1. I won free raw chocolate yesterday.
2. I paid $2.95/gallon for gas today.
3. One of my best friends is getting married today.
4. My dress alterations for the wedding were only $18 instead of $93.
5. I got some great deals at Rite Aid & Walgreens this morning.
6. I found the time to make gluten-free muffins yesterday & gluten-free scones today to bring for my gluten-free friends at the wedding.
7. I have a wonderful family that includes a husband, a son & a dog.

Sometimes all we need is a reminder of the many blessings we have to gain perspective on those things that feel overwhelming.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Simplifying in Regards to Blogging & Blog-reading

I've added a "Subscribe to" in the top of the right column of my blog (there has always been one at the bottom of the page). Then I went to every blog that I read & added it to my Google Reader. This will further streamline my internet time. Last night, I cleaned out my other 2 e-mails accounts (one had over 800 e-mails in the inbox!), and I'm down to 14 e-mails in one inbox & only 8 in the other.

I feel lighter already!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Thoughts on Life, Work & Music

I started reading this book, The 4-Hour Work Week. I read a review over at The Simple Dollar and got a copy from the library. The young man who wrote it (younger than me, at least!) is obviously quite entrepreneurial, and his methods definitely wouldn't work for everyone, but there is a lot of meat to be taken from it. I've started taking some notes & jotting down some ideas.

One of the ways I'm simplifying my life is by clearing out the inboxes of my various e-mail accounts, as well as trying to reply right away when I can. My main e-mail account now has 36 e-mails waiting to be replied to rather than the 150+ it usually has. Now I have 2 more accounts to clean out.

I'm not sure if some of my new blog friends know that I'm a singer/songwriter. I don't have a professional CD, but in the past had a CD made of a concert. I also, in the past couple of years, did rough recordings of 2 newer songs, "You" & "You Know Me". I already have about 10 songs written for another project. The drummer from church said we should get some studio time and record some of the songs, which I'd love to do. So one of my goals for the next 6 months is to record at least a few of the songs for my next CD project, which will be called "You". That's one of the things the book has reminded me that I'd like to do.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


A ministry colleague & friend of mine wrote this great article with the working title "I've Got a Secret" (it had a much longer title when published!).

Imagine what it would be like to be free of the fear that someone might discover our secrets. Imagine what the world would see if it saw the Church being real, and saw the powerful presence of God as the church worshipped in total honesty with hearts unencumbered by secrets. Imagine how many marriages might be saved and addictions diverted and damage contained if we shared our struggles sooner rather than later.

This article really hit home for me personally. I walked away from reading it asking myself how is it that we can go through such difficult things (for me, not just same-sex attraction, but an eating disorder & self-injury), and yet with today's trials & struggles, I'm still tempted to hide them until I have them all figured out? I wonder at what point in my life, if ever, I'll feel comfortable just saying, in the appropriate context, what I'm dealing with.

You think I'd have this figured out by now! I definitely need to think on this more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

To What Extent Should We Try to Alleviate Personal Suffering?

If the Bible says that as a Christian, we will experience suffering, to what extent should we try to alleviate suffering? Should we simply accept that suffering is a part of life and live with it? Or should we be proactive and take steps to "solve" that suffering?

I always tend to run from suffering, to do everything in my power to change it. I can now look back and see how much I've learned during those times, and I wouldn't change what I experienced, but during those times, I seem to fight & fret & doubt & struggle. I'm not sure that's God's intention. Maybe it's His intention that I snuggle up against Him and allow Him to hold me & sustain me during those times.

Just thinking out loud...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Theme Song from the Conference

OK - so this is my 2nd final conference update :) I reserve the right to post more!

The song that I walked away from the conference singing is "Overcome". How appropriate! I just couldn't get this song out of my head, and for good reason. Besides being an awesome song, the lyrics & the scripture that it's based upon seem especially applicable to the group of people attending the Exodus conference.


Seated above enthroned in the Father's love
Destined to die poured out for all mankind
God's only Son perfect and spotless One
He never sinned but suffered as if He did

All authority - every victory is Yours

Savior worthy of honor and glory
Worthy of all our praise
You overcame
Jesus awesome in power forever
Awesome and great is Your name
You overcame

Power in hand speaking the Father's plan
You're sending us out light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony
Everyone overcome

And Revelation 12:11:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

After attending a conference like this, it's "normal", for lack of a better word, to walk away, feeling as if you can conquer anything. It's also "normal" for that feeling to fade within a few days and to plummet into complete doubt & unbelief. Why does this happen? I believe part of it is human nature, but most of it is a spiritual attack. When God speaks truth into our lives, Satan will do everything he can to make us question that truth. This has been the case since the Garden of Eden. God told Adam & Eve, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Then Satan came along with the same questions he has been asking ever since, ""Did God really say?" And you can fill in the blank. The purpose of his question is to cause us to question the goodness & faithfulness of God. In this case, he asked if God really said they couldn't eat from the tree. He then want on to convince them that God was withholding good things from them.

So after attending a conference like this, it's "normal" to walk away, doubting & questioning those things God has spoken to you. But this song & Scripture reminds us that Jesus overcome, and so can we. As I reminded people when I shared my testimony, we can't overcome in our own strength & power, but in the power that is available to us through Jesus Christ & the Holy Spirit.

He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

The world would try to convince us that by saying homosexual behavior is a sin, God is withholding good things from us, and that we are in fact doing harm to ourselves by being unwilling to embrace a gay identity. I would have to disagree. So often, we allow the things that appear "good" to us, like the fruit of the tree, to crowd out God's best for us. That's where faith comes in. We have to trust God when He says He has an awesome plan for us, plan to prosper us & not to harm us - plans to give us hope & a future.

God is the Superhero. He is able to do the supernatural - to take our natural & make it super, as one speaker said :) So I pray that all would continue to stand firm in the truth that was revealed to them at the conference. God is able. Amen.

Final Day Conference Update

I want to make sure to write my final conference update while it is semi-fresh in my mind. A Baptist pastor named Bob Perdue shared a very encouraging testimony. After the testimony, we sang some awesome worship songs, and the worship leader, Marianne Adams, encouraged us to come down front & dance. Guess who was one of the first ones down there? :) Me!

The enemy has been defeated
Death couldn't hold you down
We're gonna lift our voice in victory
Gonna make your praises loud

Shout unto God with a voice of triumph
Shout unto God with a voice of praise
Shout unto God with a voice of triumph
We lift your name up, we lift your name up

Amen!! I love that song! I danced so hard my calves hurt the next day :)

Then Randy Thomas talked about his journey of healing as it related to singleness & celibacy. He quoted Revelation 3:5, 12-13:

5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

12Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. 13He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

I could write a bunch about what Randy said. He's quite knowledgeable & wise & funny & I always enjoy hearing him speak. But he mainly just shared his journey :) I have to admit also that I had to leave early because we had to drive to Charlotte to catch our flight, but I ordered the DVD :)

Over all, I personally walked away from the conference encouraged, as well as challenged & convicted about the importance of the work that we do. I attended the International Conference in the summers of 2004 & 2005, but had not been able to attend a national conference since January of 2006. With all the changes in my life & the challenges of trying to balance motherhood & ministry, I was feeling rather disconnected. There isn't really a model that I have seen within the Exodus network of how to be a mom & a ministry director. Most ministry directors who have children are either men or women whose children are grown. I don't know of any other directors who are trying to balance having a small child at home with working part-time, directing a ministry, while their husband works a full-time job in another field (as many couples do ministry together). So I definitely needed the encouragement of reconnecting with my ministry colleagues.

I was also encouraged because we brought the baby & worked it out so that I could attend the conference, and Roy could enjoy parts of it as well. Most of the other moms with small children who were attending left their kids at home, which isn't possible for me as Bear is still breastfeeding. Plus, that's a long time to be away from your kids! So I've wondered how, as we keep having more children (God-willing), will I be able to continue to do ministry. How will traveling work? Will the kids come? And I see that it can work - we just might want to bring a nanny as they get older so we can both attend the conference together :) Thankfully, the Bear had fallen asleep in the Bjorn, so Roy was able to hear me share my testimony.

I did order the DVD of the testimonies, as well as a copy of my workshop on CD. The final DVD's will be mailed to me, so I'll let you know how I feel it all turned out when I get a chance to watch & listen to them!

And now, Roy's back to work & it's back to the daily grind for me :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back Home

We're home. Our flight was delayed about two & a half hours due to the rain storms in Boston. So we sat on the runway for 2.5 hours! Bear did very well, all things considered.

I have to say first that while I had an amazing time at the conference, I'm happy to be home :) I had eggs and a mostly decaf americano for breakfast for the 1st time in almost a week. And we missed Noodles so much! I've never seen him so happy to see us.

I'll try to post a wrap-up from the conference later today if I have time. You can check out some other conference update at Randy's blog or Laura Leigh's blog (including a picture of me sharing my testimony).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Conference Update

On Saturday morning, there was a panel discussion involving Alan Chambers (President of Exodus), Randy Thomas (Vice President off Exodus), Terri Brown (Director of Exodus Membership & mom to a gay man) & Janet Boynes (she had shared her testimony of overcoming same-sex attraction that morning). People in the audience wrote questions on index cards, handed them to the panel, and then the panel answered different questions, such as, 'Would you attend same-sex marriage?” “How do I know if I'm called to singleness or marriage?” and “How do I interact with my loved one's partners?” It was quite interesting.

After lunch, I went to a workshop entitled, “Building Ministries on Solid Foundations”. Ron Elmore from “Beyond Imagination” was the speaker. I did have the opportunity to ask a couple of questions, so that was good. After that, we attended a Special Interest Group for those who attend Assemblies of God churches, to hear updates on what's happening in the denomination as it pertains to this issue.

In the evening, Dale Evrist, pastor of New Song, a Foursquare church in the Nashville area, spoke on “Stepping Into a New Day of Intimacy & Freedom”. It was based off of Luke 7:36-50:

36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."
40Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
41"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
43Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
48Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
49The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
50Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

His 7 steps we need to take are:
1. Authentic Humility
2. Thorough Brokenness
3. Abounding Love
4. Extravagant Giving
5. Selfless Servanthood
6. Honest Assessment
7. Rapid Response

It really was inspiring. I wish I could write more, but it's time for breakfast & then we're off to hear Randy speak :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Internet in & out

There was a power outage yesterday, so the internet hasn't been working very well. There's not much to update on yesterday. It was Freedom Friday, and we had no scheduled activities, so we hung out in Asheville for a while. I ate at Earth Fare, and most everyone else ate at Sonic :) Not only did I find some healthy, filling food at Earth Fare, I found gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free donuts! They are made by Kinnikinnick, and oh my goodness, they are so good.

Though Ridgecrest has been very helpful at making me special meals, I'm hungry all the time.
I realized yesterday that it's because most of my meals have almost no fat. Lunch & dinner is always steamed or boiled meat with potatoes or rice & a steamed veggie. At home I'd put olive oil or something like that on it, but here I don't have access to any oils. So yesterday, I ate a bunch of Bear's avocado :)

So off to lunch, and then the Assemblies of God Special Interest Group is this afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Morning Conference Update

I didn't go to a workshop yesterday afternoon. Instead, I hung out with Bear & took a nap :) Then for the evening session, Bear was quite tired, so I only caught bits & pieces. A neat thing that Alan Chambers shared was that a conference attendee had heard about Exodus on an episode of Queer as Folk. He looked it up on the internet, never having heard of Exodus, and is attending this conference for the 1st time How awesome is that!

I didn't get to hear the main speaker, Michelle McKinney Hammond, but I heard she was really good, so I plan on getting the DVD. I also missed Andy Comiskey this morning, as Bear was antsy & Roy seemed as though he would like to hear Andy. So Bear & I played outside for awhile and chatted with a woman from CrossPower in Midland, TX.

Today is called "Freedom Friday" because the time after lunch & throughout the evening is free time, so we are going into Asheville to hang out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Conference Update

Last night, Anne Graham Lotz (yes, Billy Graham's daughter) spoke on the person, power & priority of the Holy Spirit. I caught most of it, but I was tired & having a lot of trouble focusing, so I left early.

This morning, Clark Whitten of Grace Church spoke. He, as always, was amazing. I met him earlier in the week and had the opportunity to share with him how his teaching from the Exodus Freedom Conference in 2004 on "Grace" & "The Law" were really transformational for me (they are available through Christian Audio Tapes). The MC announced that Clark's life message is grace, so of course, he spoke on grace. It was also interesting to hear how he was introduced because I'm pretty sure my life message is freedom. (Side note, the MC introed me by saying I drink green smoothies & am a recovering hippie!) Anyway, Clark spoke on Hebrews 6:13-20. I'm including it here because it's so interesting & so much of it, I had never thought about before.

"When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, 'I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.' And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised."

(I had never thought about the fact that God had to swear on His own name since there is no one greater.)

"Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek."

As believers in Christ & His saving grace, Jesus is our High Priest who lives forever. Whereas in the Old Covenant, there were many high priests since death prevented them from continuing in office (Hebrews 7:23), Jesus now holds that position permanently. "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7:25 Wow.

So judicially, we are fixed. Experientially, we may not be.

We tend to be more conscious of our sin than we are conscious of God's grace.

If we are living in the knowledge & reality of God's grace, we ought to be happier than we are.

All covenants are conditional: you do your part, and I'll do my part. The New Covenant is between God & Jesus for me. My part is to believe.

We got a good deal :)

I always enjoy hearing Clark speak. I wanted to ask him after he spoke what, if any, books he recommends on the topic of grace. I always struggle when I speak because I do believe having a correct understanding of grace is absolutely essential in our journey toward freedom. In fact, that was one of my points in my workshop yesterday :) At the end, I recommended some resources & wished there was a book on grace that I could wholeheartedly recommend. Instead, I recommended getting Clark's teachings on Grace & The Law. Anyway, there was a long line of people waiting to talk to him after, and I was headed to a workshop, so I might write him a note or something.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Workshop Done

My workshop is done; it went well. Sitting in the car with Bear, who feel asleep while riving around with Roy, and the stayed asleep while we went to the grocery store. Gotta love the Asus!

Roy is off playing laser tag :)

I've had a killer headache all day & could really use a coffee. I'll wait until Bear wakes up.


My testimony went well; it was well-received, and I got a lot of positive feedback.

Jimmy Evans of Marriage Today
spoke after me about many good things, including "The Fig Leaf Conspiracy", which he has written a book on.

A couple of his thought-provoking points:
The devil has corrupted our understanding of sex.
The devil left man alone until he got married. He uses our sexuality to pervert our relationships.

Get the book:)

I really wanted to goo to Randy's workshop, but we needed to come back to the room for a quick diaper change & baby refuel. I sent one of my ministry friends in my place. My workshop is at 1:30. I'll let you know how it goes later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We made it!

And in one piece! Bear did great on the plane & in the car ride after.

And we have wifi in our room, which is good because I needed to re-read my instructions about sharing my testimony in the morning.

It's great to be here, reconnecting with friends I haven't seen in a while.

And now Bear needs me.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Right before the conference...

We got rear-ended today. And Bear was in the car :(

It was minor, but I saw it coming & braced myself.

It made me realize that every time I've been rear-ended (this is #4), it's within a day or two of an Exodus conference.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Prayers for safety would be appreciated.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Coming Out

I'm taking a short break from our preparations to share something that has been on my heart for a few days.

Some of you know me as friend, cousin, family member, singer, songwriter, worship leader, random blogger, crunchy treehugger, spinach-chugging cook, gentle hippie mom, food enthusiast, minister, encourager, pray-er.

What you may not know is that I am what some people refer to as "ex-gay".

You may have figured this out long ago if you clicked on some of the links on my blog. Or maybe my recent posts about the upcoming conference gave it away.

The reason I've been hesitant to bring this up is - well, there are quite a few. But there are 2 main reasons.

1. This is not an "ex-gay" blog. My purpose for starting this blog was to talk about my life, which of course involves the ministry that I do & am very passionate about, but that's not the only thing, or even the main thing, that I wanted to talk about.

2. I don't like putting that out there as the 1st thing people know about me.

That may sound as if I'm ashamed of my past or my present. No, I'm not ashamed, though I wish sometimes that I had made different choices. The problem with sharing with people what I do for ministry is that they jump to conclusions based on it. I won't dive too deep into that, but I am many things, and the fact that I was gay-identified for a decade is just one of many things that has shaped on some level who I am today.

I'm bringing this up now because I may be live-blogging from the conference. And I figured it was as good a time as any :)

Really, I just want people to know me as Brenna Kate Simonds, not based on some label and the baggage it carries. I tell people when they ask about the ministry that I'm really just an average person. I don't have an agenda; I just help people who want my help.

End of story :)

If you didn't know this about me and it bothers you on some level, I hope you will give me a chance. I really am just an ordinary person who serves an extraordinary God.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm Famous!


Another of my articles was printed over at Boundless today:

The Gift of Freedom

I'm actually quite happy with the way it came out. When I wrote it, I wasn't sure I liked it as much as the other 3 that have already been printed, but reading over it again, I think it's quite good.

Enjoy :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

High Needs Babies & Flying

I haven't been as good about blogging lately for a couple reasons. First, I've been trying to prepare for Bear's first plane ride. We're going to North Carolina for the Exodus Freedom Conference in less than 3 weeks! 3 years ago when we went down there, we drove, so we were weighing the pros & cons of driving versus flying. Driving was appealing because I could bring my blender for green smoothies, as well as any food & supplies I might need. But that's an awfully long time to be in a car with an infant, so we decided to fly. We're taking a direct flight to Charlotte (only 2 hours), renting a car, and driving the 2 hours to get to Asheville.

The 2nd reason I haven't been able to blog is that Bear has been extra needy lately. Bear is and has always been what one would call "High Needs". I don't like the terms "difficult" or "fussy"; he's just who he is. He's been like this from day 1, so I don't believe it's something we caused or cultivated.

I remember coming across Dr. Sears' book "Fussy Baby Book: parenting your high-need child from birth to five", when Bear was about 8 weeks old. It described him to a T. In some ways, it was really affirming, and in other ways, totally discouraging. I kept hoping it was just a phase that he would grow out of.

All babies are "high needs" in some sense - it's just some need to sleep and some don't as much, some need to suck and some don't as much, some need to be held a lot and some don't as much. He has food sensitivities as well as acid reflux, which adds to it. He's doing better than when he was younger, definitely, but he still requires a lot of time and attention.

It's easy to get frustrated when I'm trying to get something done, and Bear wants my attention. As Bear gets older, I'm realizing he has three distinct cries: his "I'm bored/pay attention to me" whine, which is more about wanting my attention vs. actually needing my attention, his "I need you" cry, where he really does need me NOW, and his "I'm terrified, come quickly" cry, which he's only done when the dog barks too close to him or when the smoke alarm goes off (and we have a very sensitive smoke alarm!). When he's just whining, I reassure him with my voice that I'll be with him in a minute and quickly finish whatever I'm doing. It's generally when I'm in the kitchen preparing his food or mine.

I've been struggling to practice acceptance. I have many things I'd like to do, and even things I really need to do. But I figure soon enough, Bear will outgrow his desire & need to sit in my lap & take a nap like he is now. Today, I can choose to fight against Bear's needs, or I can accept him for who he is and cherish his babyhood. I think I'll do the latter :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why Does God Let Babies Die?

That's the question I asked Roy today. A woman on a message board I frequent lost her baby today. He was born not breathing, with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. He was revived temporarily, but went to be with Jesus last night. I had been praying for her little baby, for his complete healing, & for her family since she went into labor.

The family seems to be holding up as well as could be expected. They have 2 young daughters. Pray for them.

I look at my beautiful son, and my heart breaks to imagine life without him. It gives me a glimpse into the father heart of God, who spared no expense in sending His only son to suffer & die a horrific death.

Roy responded, "Why does God let anyone die?" Good question. There are no easy answers. The fact is we will all die someday. No one is exempt. Does it seem cruel & unfair to me that a sweet little baby boy should have to go to Jesus so soon? Yes. But at least he is not suffering anymore. For now, their little baby boy has received his complete healing and is resting in God's arms.

Less than 7 months after this, I lost a child to miscarriage. I wrote an article about that experience: Bye, Bye, Pebble Baby

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Book, Smoothies, & Life

I was inspired by one of my friends in Exodus who recently signed a book deal that I should be more consistent in working on my book. He said he was working on it for a year before he got picked up by a publisher. So yesterday morning, while Bear napped on my lap, I worked on my book. I already have a loose intro written, as well as an outline of about 18 chapters, some of which may eventually be cut, depending on the format I choose for the final version. I went through various talks I've given during my days doing campus ministry with Chi Alpha, as well as Exodus, & articles & devotionals I've written and pulled information from those, cutting & pasting them into the appropriate chapters. I ended up with over 50 pages of material! So that felt good to make all that progress :)

I also just really enjoyed reading over some of my old talks & teachings. I really struggled with those early talks, whereas now I'm much more comfortable preaching & teaching. But even though I struggled with writing & giving them, some of them had important things to say - if I do say so myself.

Yesterday, I was out of spinach, but in an effort to maintain my green smoothie streak, I used broccoli & kale as my greens. Um, let's just say I don't recommend it, unless you have a more powerful blender than I do. It was so thick it took me several hours to drink it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Brain Fog

I wanted to get some writing done tonight since the Bear's been asleep for a while and Roy is working late, but my brain won't cooperate. I did get a few things jotted down for my book on the theme of "Perseverance", so that's good. And I did some tidying up.

Roy will be at work for a little while longer, so I think I'll take a shower & go to bed. Night, all!

Trust & Rest

I've had an emotionally draining week. There are many situations & circumstances that are weighing heavily on me right now. I don't need to go into the details of why here, but as I'm processing all the emotions I'm experiencing, I'm reminding of a few lines in a song by Andy Park.

"I can't understand all that You allow - I just can't see the reason"

All too often I find myself stopping at this point. I focus on trying to figure out why on earth God could possibly be allowing me to go through what I'm going through. Am I to blame? Did I do something wrong? Am I not praying hard enough, or am I praying for the wrong things?

Today, as I was talking with my friend Eva on the phone, I was sharing how I just need to remember the next line of the song:

"But my life is in Your hands, and though I cannot see You, I choose to trust You"

Trusting God is a choice. It doesn't come naturally to me, and I imagine I'm not alone in that. But I've found that God has always shown Himself to be faithful. I have no choice but to believe that this time will be no exception.

So today, God, I choose to trust in the knowledge that You are the Rock, Your works are perfect, and all Your ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is what You are (Deuteronomy 32:4). Today, I choose to rest in You. There's nowhere else I'd rather be.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Travels & Illness

We safely made the trip up to His Mansion today, and Roy did go along, though I think it made his illness worse. And he has to go back to work tomorrow. Poor guy :(

I'm building up my list of blogs to read, and I'm specifically looking for more blogs on finances, simple living, and food :) By "finances", I don't mean "get rich as quick as you can and don't care who you step on to get there". I don't really have time to explain what I mean as there's a Bear trying to climb into my lap, but I mean more like simple living/"Your Money or Your Life"-type stuff.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Following Your Passion

Roy & I stayed home from church today because Bear has a fever and isn't feeling well. And since we've been up since about 5 AM, I've been catching up on reading some library books that I have out. And since the Bear is snoozing on my lap, I thought I'd type a post on my new Asus :)

2 books really have me thinking: "The Simple Living Guide" and to a lesser degree "Your Money or Your Life". Janet Luhrs, author of "The Simple Living Guide", discussing simplifying your life to the point where you can easily live within your means and still save money so that one day, you become financially independent. We are on track to be set to retire in 15-20 years if we continue to pay down our debt at our current rate and continue to earn about the same amount of money with annual raises.

This may surprise some of you, but I've always desired to live a simple life. Some of you probably just laughed out loud as you read that because you've been to our house and have seen all the stuff we've accumulated over the years. Yes, our hoarding tendencies still need to be worked on, for sure :) But ideally, I'd love to live in a small town where you go to the village store and the clerk knows you by name (yes, I have watched too much "Little House on the Prairie"). We'd live in a modest house, and I could have a large garden on lots of land with a stream nearby for Roy. Yes, I would miss the conveniences of city life (like being able to walk to the grocery store and not use any gas to get there!), but I think the pros would outweight the cons. And with all the technology we have available to us today, Roy & I could both work from home.

The question is what work would I do? Luhrs talks a lot about finding work you are passionate about. I'm passionate about a lot of things - ministry, music, healthy eating which does not mean "low-fat", fyi), green smoothies, dogs, babies, recovery - the list could go on & on :) She talked specifically about how great it was to be able to work from home when her kids were small. Her job? Writing! As I read that, I was reminded of how, in recent years, I've really had a strong desire to write a book. I've never thought of myself as much of a writer before, but I recently had 3 articles published over at Boundless.org, and those were relatively well-received. There are a few different book ideas that I've tossed around, but there's one specific idea that I feel strongly God put on my heart over 3 years ago. As I sat thinking about this, I actually had several ideas pop into my head, so I hopped over to my Asus & jotted them down.

So get ready, Eva! (She' one of my best friends and has edited pretty much everything I've written since we met a few years ago.) It may take me 2 or 3 times as long to write a book, typing with one finger and a baby in my lap, but it'll get done eventually!

Shameless plus - I have been reading some great books lately! Check out my Library Thing list below for some recommendations :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A quote from "Anonymous"

"Seasonally, we too are stripped of visible fruit. Our giftings are hidden; our abilities are underestimated. When previous successes fade and current efforts falter, we can easily mistake our fruitlessness for failure."

Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chole

This book was given to me by Chi Alpha Boston as a gift. I'm getting so much out of it that I thought I'd share it with you all :)


If you hadn't guess by my last post, I'm reading through Galatians in the Life Recovery Bible, which is a version of the New Living Translation. I'm getting a lot out of it :)

"But oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives." chapter 4, verse 19

How often I have felt this way in my life & relationships with other believers - the desire to see people grow into and walk in all God has for them. God calls us to freedom, but living out that freedom is both a daily decision and a process.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


"Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are His child, everything He has belongs to you." Galatians 4:7

Monday, May 5, 2008

We're Back :)

We're back from our jaunt all around New England & New York; actually, we've been back a week. My grandmother's service was really nice. I managed to sing "Precious Lord" without choking up. My sister sang, a friend of Grammy's sang, and my brother-in-law played Brahms, as well as several of Grammy's compositions on the piano. We then went to the cemetary & had a few brief words there, as well as an a capella version of "Angel Band", led by my dad. I got to see several of my mom's siblings, so that was nice.

The next day, we then drove to Vermont to see my grandmother's sister, who is almost 99. She is legally deaf & has been as long as I can remember. In order for her to hear you speaking, you basically need to speak very loudly & annunciate clearly. But when my brother-in-law played some of Grammy's compositions on the piano, she seemed to be able to easily hear them & was even humming along.

We stayed overnight in a hotel & then saw my aunt again in the morning. We then headed 50 miles east to NH, to see my grandfather's younger brother & his wife, as well as their son, his 2nd wife, & their son's son. We went out to lunch & then went on our way back to Boston. Roy went & picked up Noodles that evening; he had been well cared for by the in-laws :)

Bear did very well in the car. I was very proud of him. And it was great to see all my family.

Now I'm preparing to speak on Mother's Day at my church. I'm quite excited about it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

There's freedom in honesty.

I've written a series of articles for "Boundless", the webzine of Focus on the Family. This was possibly the easiest to write, but the most difficult to share. It's strange to see it up in print now.

Confessions of a Cutter

"Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed." James 5:16, MSG

There's freedom in honesty. It's out there for the world to see. I can't take it back, and I don't want to.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Something's Coming

God is cooking something up...........it's best stated in Scripture and song lyrics :)

"There’s something’ due any day;
I will know right away
Soon as it shows.

"It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feelin’ there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Comin’ to me!

"Something’s coming, something’ good,
If I can wait!
Something’s comin’, I don’t know what it is
But it is gonna be great!"
Stephen Sondheim

"Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it's time to dream again
I hear your voice, and yes I'm ready
To dance upon this barren land
Hope in my hands"

"Now something inside is awakening,
Like a dream I once had and forgot.
And it's something I'm scared of
And something I don't want to stop."
Sara Groves

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

Monday, January 14, 2008

Stuff, Stuff & More Stuff

Much has happened since my last post.

We had a great trip down south to see family. It was a looooong drive, and not one I'd like to do again in the near future, especially with a baby & a dog!

A couple of days after we returned, I found out my beloved grandmother had a fall and had not woken up. She was 95. After 11 days on hospice care, with just oxygen, she passed away on Friday, 39 years to the day after her husband died. She was an amazing women! A mom, wife, pianist, organist, composer, and wonderful grand and great grandmother.

It's snowing again. Trees have been knocked down, and people quite close to us have lost power. I'm planning on laying low, doing some cooking, hanging out with Baby Bear. I'm finally cooking a turkey I had in my freezer for a month & a half. This should be interesting as I've never cooked a turkey! I may also attempt an apple crisp.