Conversations in Eternity.

When I was 13, I fell in love. Paul was dark, and brooding. He had struggled through a torn family. He knew brokenness and was acquainted with loss.

I loved to listen to his poetry and spent hours lost in his words and emotion. He would pour himself out, heart on his sleeve, and I’d swear he was the only one who could ever understand me. I believed we were two of a kind. He would always have my heart, I just knew it.

But like most young love, it didn’t last. It was my fault. I See that now. Although he was special, the world was so big. My wild heart thirsted for more. I let others in and heard other words. Other voices moved me and took me to unknown places.

Deep down, he was always changing. Even before I knew him, he had become someone other than who I thought. His heart was wild too. Seeking answers, always searching, it wouldn’t let him rest.

As I grew into a woman he was tasting truth. While I was becoming, he was saving the world. His wandering took him to a continent that changed his life. A boy whose name he can’t remember. Later, I’d follow, not really seeing his reflection as clearly as I should. But, I’d see my own heart broken in a wilderness and bush, by mountains and peoples and rain swept coasts. Africa would claim both our souls, completely separate, but equally forever.

At twenty one, his voice came back. Messianic, by his own admission. This time he spoke of freedom. His life slain on the altar of celebrity now. We were older, wiser. I listened differently. Deeply enraptured, but with respect and admiration in this season. He cut my chains, gave permission to leave the prison I’d made for myself. He was a reality I tasted when I thought my palate had gone dead.

But, even after I made commitments–pushed pin through leather, and pens cross paper–I walked away again. I grew up, grew busy. Slept. I gave my heart to another in marriage and danced even that day to the sound of his voice. Babies filled my womb and my home. I built a life.

Still, I thought of him. Every now and then. I’d pray. Knowing we served the same God. The one I’d come to know. The One he had long been acquainted with. On occasion, I remember the night we met. His gentle embrace, my star-struck silence. I often wish I could turn back time and say the words.

Thank you. Thank you.

I know I’ll get the chance someday. Eternity awaits, and we’ll have lifetimes to talk this through.

And then BOOM! A Mack truck flies through the room.

I’ve never mentioned it here. And, the truth is, I don’t mention it often. I try not to think of it, quite frankly, if I don’t have to.


But I was doing some cleaning yesterday and found my journal from last year.


Lots of people journal. My Mom has kept one for years. She writes her ups and downs, her dreams and thoughts, answers to prayer and the ways God moves in her life.

I’ve never read it. But, I think of it often and wonder what it will be like when I read it. How will it feel to look into her head and her heart. To peruse through her life from her perspective, to see myself through her eyes.

And so, I don’t talk it about it much, that my oldest daughter has Multiple Sclerosis. Diagnosed at age sixteen, after suffering through it for at least two years, she battles like a champ. She has always been a champ. At everything.


That’s why it was such a shock. A sucker punch. Yes, God, have my oldest daughter–the National Champion Gymnast. The one with I.Q. of 143 at age eleven. Take her brain, her body, use it how you will for your glory.

Did you ever have to say that? Has it ever occurred to you what it takes to say that? Do you know how...hard, it is to say that?

And so, maybe, letting you peruse my head–and my heart–from the private words I wrote in my journal last year, maybe that will help you see how it feels to say that. At least how it felt for me.

June 14, 2013

I do not want Erin to die.

And I hope no one reads this.

And I wonder why I have to step over throw pillows to find the couch. And where is the switch for the lamp???

And, as much as everything in my life is a story, I do not want this to be my story–my daughter is sick. My perfect, amazing, super-cala-fragil-istic over-achieving ninja daughter is sick.

And I understand what it means to be mad at God. But I wonder how long a person can stay mad at God? And is it really a sin not to trust God with all the bad stuff? When the bad stuff is gone, over and done with, maybe it’s easier to let go of it. When it’s going on, maybe it’s harder?

Does everyone’s life feel like a soap opera, or a bad mellow-drama?! It’s like, “What will happen next? Tune in tomorrow when Pam will say…’Oh, No!’…”

For real.

And even as bad as it seems, sometimes it seems not that bad.

And some days, I even forget the bad things.

And then BOOM! It’s like a Mack truck flies through the room.


Words can take us back. But they can also bring us forward. And a lot can happen in a year.

My daughter still has MS. And I am still trusting God. And some days it is easy. And some days…it’s not as easy.

But, I am still doing it. I’m holding His hand as I walk through this life. And, in that, there is life.


What are you walking through?

How is He holding your hand?

Leave me a comment so we can walk together.


Get real or go home.



Music has always moved me. There’s not a day that goes by that music is not part of my life. And although I’m mostly a sing-in-the-shower, and sing-in-the car, and you know, sing-where-ever-else kind of girl, I have also sung in public. Not professionally or anything that crazy, but I used to sing solos in church and at funerals for hire. So, more than just for myself or my husband, kids, and dogs.


It’s one thing to have a desire to perform, and something entirely different to actually do it.


The more I blog, and grow in my own skin, the more I realize that singing is a lot like writing. Of course they’re both creative endeavors that require you to stand up and speak your own brand of truth. But, even more than that, I’m finding similarities that go further and deeper into what it means to let your heart out in notes, or, well…notes.


You have to open your mouth.


Although it seems obvious, this really isn’t. And as I’ve aged I’ve had to practice this more and more. Last Christmas I mentioned to our children’s pastor that I might be able to sing a solo in the Christmas Pageant. (Okay, never, ever, say you might be able to do something unless you are fully willing to do it. That’s just the way it is.) Once I got over the “Oh Lord I haven’t sang publicly in years” drama I downloaded an accompaniment track and went to work.


And it was work. I hadn’t used my voice in so long it had grown older, deeper, and less attractive. I also lacked the lung capacity to give me the vocal range I’d once had. As disheartening as this was, it also taught me a lesson. As I practiced, singing the song over and over, I realized that the wider I opened my mouth the better I sounded. In fact, with my mouth open really wide, in a strange kind of expression where my eyes were closed tight and my cheeks pulled back, I could reach a higher, more clear second soprano.


It felt real and it felt raw. It felt natural to sing that way. It wouldn’t look cute, calm, or reserved, but it would allow me to sing my heart out. In private I belted the song to my bathroom walls, and I’d like to say when the time came I nailed it. But, I didn’t. Unable to get past how I might look, nervousness got the best of me and I was barely able to stay on key.


I failed to rock the world, and glorify God fully, because I wouldn’t open my mouth enough.


It’s the same way in writing. As a novelist I can feel when I’m and rocking the story, and when I’m not. What’s the difference? Opening my heart and opening my mouth. When I let the words out from a wide open place inside I always score, I always touch others. If I’m too guarded to let you in I won’t ever reach you. I have to risk.


You can’t expect to reach deep places of others with the shallow parts of yourself. (Tweet that!)


Music, like writing, is about belief. Belief in your story, belief in your song, belief in your art. But mostly, belief in yourself. I’ve found that creating and releasing is both the most terrifying and the most  liberating experience in the universe. It’s so many conflicting emotions all at once. It’s being insanely brave and accepting death. It’s surrender. And it has to be.


Because without surrender I won’t buy what you’re selling. (Tweet that!)


Let me say that again. If you aren’t sold out I won’t be buying. If you don’t believe it, neither will I. And neither will they—the millions of everyday people out there who are being bombarded constantly with ideas, images, and art. Let me tell you this: don’t throw your art at the world until you are prepared to take it all the way.


You can’t kind of like it. You can’t just be messing around. You can’t whisper, or banter, you have to shout. You have to be willing to shout it from the rooftops. You have to be so sold out on it that no one, no where, no how, will ever be able to pry it from your cold dead fingers.


Yes. You have to believe in that much. And you have to want it that bad. And more.


Because here’s the deal, someone else does. And the world can tell the difference. The good thing about the new freedom of the internet is that we get real now. We get it full-time. All day, every day, every hour, minute-by-minute. Real is crawling all over us and oozing through our fingertips. We eat real for breakfast. Don’t come at us with your half-hearted wanna-be crap. We don’t have time for that. Sorry, but we are getting real shoved down our throats 24-7. You better have something even better.


So how do you do that?


Easy. Believe it. Write it. Paint it. Sing it. Create from the part of you that can’t be tamed. Tell the world to step off and stop being afraid.


Stop being afraid we won’t like you enough and do your thing. Because really, it’s the only thing you’ve got baby. (Tweet That)


That part of you. That real part. The part that you can’t put down, or shut up. That part that sings. Yes, that part!Thats what we want. It’s what we need. For crying out loud!


Let us see you!


Open up your mouth and Tell.Us.The.Truth!!!!

We are waiting. So you better hurry. Do it.

Sing to us.



And while you’re at it, go check out one of my new favorite groups who is selling us real and giving it away for free! PAPER LIGHTS


Trust me. They’re the real thing.

Your art sucks.

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Alrighty then, let’s just get it out in the open why don’t we?


Your art sucks.


Your writing sucks, your singing, your poetry, your portraits and perspective are off. They’re just…bad. Anything creative you’ve done is worthless. You have no talent. No one, but no one, will ever appreciate your work.


All that time you’ve spent pursuing your dream? Wasted.


You should probably face facts now—you’re never going to make it in this world.


Give up.

Go home.



Did I miss anything? Because I think we should cover all the bases. Let’s just make sure we’ve done all we can to kill your dream. Leave no stone unturned, no insult left unsaid. I don’t want to give you any hope. None.


Surrendered yet? You sure?


Good. Now we can move on. Now you have no excuse to fear failure. Because you just had it. Right there. You failed to impress me. I saw you, saw what you had to offer, and I turned it down flat.


And guess what? You survived. It didn’t kill you. Your world didn’t end because I didn’t LIKE what you do. That art you made? That little piece of your soul that you somehow managed to let outside your body, out of your hands, into this big wide world all by itself—it survived.


Your art didn’t spontaneously combust when it faced rejection.

And do you know what? Neither will you. (Tweet that)


Oh, I know it feels like it will. And I know you think you might just die from the pain of not pleasing Every. Single. Person. But the truth is, you won’t. In fact, it’s just the opposite.


See, here’s the thing about failure that no one else will tell you—are you ready? It’s important. Essential. You need it. Not just need—want! Trust me, you do! You may not see it yet, but oh do you ever need some rejection.


Because rejection teaches you something that a thousand adoring voices will not.




Listen to me, rejection teaches you to believe the good. It helps you have faith in the one the reason you really did this in the first place; because you loved it.


That’s right. You didn’t think I knew that did you? You thought you could be coy. As if you could just take this art, or leave it. As if it doesn’t matter. You’re cool. You’re fine. Whatever. Accolades? Who needs em’. Cheers? Applause? That stuff’s trivial. You just did it to pass the time. Yeah…Right.


Don’t feed me that line of Bull. (And stop rolling your eyes. No ones buying that either.)


The truth is, you’re dying for this art. Aren’t you? You’re down right bleeding it out. And some days, it feels as if everything inside of you might just be sitting out on that page, or that canvas, and man does that hurt. And at the same time, it feels so good. In fact, I bet if you’re really doing the art you were made to do, it feels like Heaven. As if God himself is smiling on you. Holding your hand. It’s divine, isn’t it?


And that’s where the fear comes in.


Fear will lie to you. It will tell you that you need the fans. You need the followers. But the truth is—you need the art. (Tweet that!)


You need the art because that’s where you find the sweet spot. Doing the art is where you feel alive. Who cares if ANYONE likes it? EVER?

The question is, do you? Do you love the art you you’re doing? Is it the best you’ve got? Are you really showing us the truth? The truth about you and the truth about your beauty. The real beauty deep, deep inside you, the beauty that’s dying to come out.


Because if you’re showing us that, how can we not love it.


But you’ve got to go there. You’ve got to get to the good stuff. That lost part of you, that place you keep covered so no one can see. Yes, that. We need to see that. We are waiting. We are waiting and hoping you will let us see you, the real you, the true you. And man, are we praying that you figure out who the heck that is. Soon.


This pandering, and playing around, that’s not who you are. Stop that. Just stop it. Right now. Let us in.


Let us see you. Show us your art.


Show us your heART.


Stop hiding. The world is waiting.


Now that you’ve faced rejection, you have no excuse. Go make your art and let us love it, or not. But please, by all means, make the art.


Live the art.

Be the art.

We need it.



Starbucks must not think this painting of mine sucks…they let me hang it in their shop.


What do you think?

Anyone smell smoke?


You care about something. I know you do. Something more than what you had for breakfast, or the car you drove to work. Even more than a job that pays the bills, or the people you pass in the halls each day. There’s something, something else, something deeper inside that is calling.


Late at night, when you can’t sleep, when the walls become a blank canvas, what picture do you see? Or better yet, what one do you paint? When there are no boundaries, no fences, no limits, what do you do? When you’re lying there awake in the black recesses of night…


What do you dream?


I know it’s bigger. It is. Bigger than bills, and braces, and car repairs and old couches, it’s bigger. It’s more. More than that summer vacation you’re planning, or the Cheerios on your kitchen floor. There is something, something bigger inside of you, inside your heart. It’s there.


Oh, you can pretend you don’t hear me. Or it. You can continue on your merry little way whistling your little tune. No one will stop you. Nothing will happen. No major catastrophes will occur if you ignore that something. Maybe. Or maybe not. I don’t know what that something is for you, so I really can’t say.


All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.


There is plenty of nothing to be done. PLENTY. And without a doubt, plenty of people to do it. Plenty doing it right now, and plenty to keep on doing it. Plenty to keep on spending and wasting, keeping up with the Jones. Plenty to keep plastering materialism over a hole that can’t be filled. Plenty—literally billions—of people who will ignore that something, that ONE THING, that still small voice whispering to their soul.


Will you?


Because here’s the deal: you can. No one will fault you. If you just keep plugging away, being good, taking care of your own, no one would blame you. After all, you have a mortgage to pay, mouths to feed, a house to decorate (better head to Target!) Those are decent things, respectable pursuits. But are they enough? Are they enough to squelch the voice? The voice of your soul crying out for that something, that better thing, that…more. Only you can say.


I don’t know what your one thing is. And, if you don’t find out, the world may never know. That still small voice may, eventually, be quieted. You might be able, one day, to shove enough stuff over it, around it, under it, through it, and in it, to make it stop. I’m sure it happens all the time. That vast hole in our hearts is pretty large though, and it’s there for a reason.


Don’t you ever wonder what that is…?


In case you do, I’ll tell you. It’s no secret. And the fact that I know is no indicator of genius in me.


It’s purpose. YOUR purpose. MY purpose. That’s the sound. That thing that keeps you awake. The itch, that nagging ache, that thing that won’t go away no matter how hard you try; it’s purpose. And I can tell you one thing, if you stop ignoring it, it will get bigger. That’s right, it will grow. All it takes is a tiny kindling. Fan it just a tad, just a hair, and it will blaze. Pretty soon, before you know, it will set your heart to flame!


And when that blaze is good and fueled, it will spread…like wildfire.



Because that’s why we were made. That’s why you’re here. Yep. Despite what you’ve been told, or whats been so subliminally weaved into your psyche, you are not here to acquire more crap. That’s not it. God did not set you on this planet, in this season, with your gifts and talents and desire, with your past and present and people, with all the things that so uniquely make you YOU, He did not randomly do that so you could waste it all. There is a plan. He has a plan. And guess what, you are part of it.


I know, I know. That’s a lot of pressure. It is. I feel it too. But here’s the deal, once you start listening to that voice—the voice in your soul—and stop listening to the world, the blaring, blasting, poisonous, penetrating scream of the world, when you stop listening to that, you’ll hear something else. Something better. Something real. You’ll hear…

the truth.


And the truth is this; You are art. ART! You were created with a destiny and purpose all your own. There is no one–NO ONE–like you. And your destiny is unique, planned by God, painted by Him, purposed for a bigger truth, an eternal truth. And time is short. So you need to move.




The clock is ticking, the calendar is fading. And you are aging. How many more birthdays have to pass before you get this? You only get so many on this side of the grave. And that’s the truth. No one is promised any set amount of days, purpose or no. And the Spirit? He is a gentleman. He will not force you, or beg you, or coerce you. He simply calls. He built you into this house; walls that won’t be shaken, foundation for you to stand on, a covering over your head. What more do you want???


Stop being afraid! There is no time for fear. Oh, you can feel that fear, that’s human. But you can’t let it control you. It can’t stop you. It can’t douse this fire that’s started, this flame about to take over the world. You’ve got to light the match and throw on more logs, many more logs.


Burn baby, burn.

Set the world on fire.

Now, while you still can.

I’m waking up to my purpose. And some of it looks like this:

2011-06-14 23.42.052011-06-13 02.18.312011-06-14 23.44.502011-06-14 23.46.15-2

And I can’t wait to tell you more.


What are you doing…on purpose?

Is this art?

2014-05-01 01.09.03

Sometimes, my heart hurts. Do you ever feel that? Heart pain, heart break? It’s been building in me for over a month now (maybe longer…) and it was sneaky. It didn’t come every day, but instead it would rear it’s head every once-in-a-while, just enough to catch me off-guard–enough to make me nervous.

As someone who’s battled depression off and on most of my adult life, I know how this works. I keep my eyes open. And when I feel like sadness may be starting to take an unwelcome hold on me, I do what has to be done–I withdraw from stress, relax, spend some quality time alone, and regroup. Often, this is a time when I become quiet and just need to clarify how I’m truly feeling and why. If I’m doing too much, or dealing with too much from outside sources, I will evaluate what I can let go. Sometimes, it’s nothing, other times I can find a reasonable way to lighten the caseload.

Yesterday I took some time to work on a project for my daughters room. It’s something I’ve been promising her for…quite a while. It’s a storage necessity that would make both our lives a little easier, and get  rid of some of her “floor-drobe” issues. What I didn’t realize was how bad I needed to actually do it. To do something creative. To make art.


And I’m still figuring all this out–what is art, what is not. And maybe, as I’m learning from Seth Godin–maybe it’s all art. This writing and connecting, creating and joining, these things I’ve done all my life that have brought me joy and success–it’s all art. I am art.


In The Icarus Deception, Seth says, “Art isn’t a result; its a journey.”   It’s the way God paints beauty in my life. It’s the people He brings to walk this road with me. It’s the way I’m nurtured by words and images, and creating them both as well as consuming them. It’s everything. All of it! All of my crazy, messed-up, mixed-up life. All the things I say and do and read and write and eat and see and want and love and leave and become and know. ALL OF IT! All. Of. It.

  The challenge of our time is to find a journey worthy of our heart and soul. ~Seth Godin

Knowing you’re on a journey is half the battle. You still have to take that first step. Then, another, and another, and another. And that is hard. Some days, it’s damn near impossible. Today was one of those days where it’s feeling impossible. Until, sipping at my coffee, weeping over my keyboard, I read this:

“Maybe you’re in a season in which you feel like what you’re doing is all for naught, that you’re doing all this work and nobody’s paying attention. But maybe that’s not the whole story.

Maybe you’re being prepared for a season that hasn’t come yet. If that’s the case, may I encourage you to do one thing?

Show up

Even when the fruit isn’t there… show up.

Even when the critics tell you to quit… show up.

Even when you’re tired and tempted to throw in the towel… show up.

If this is a time of preparation for you (and not a time to start), do the work. Show up. Because what you are doing is sowing — that’s planting seeds, for you non-farmer folk — and though you may not reap them for some time, the work you’re doing is not pointless.

Stay the course, be brave, and your season will come.”

Jeff Goins

I know this is a season. And it seems long. But someday, I know I will look back and see how much I needed it. I know, because I can look back at the road I’ve traveled so far and see progress. I see where I’ve been and how it affected me, how I grew, even through rain and storms, the seeds were sown, and many have grown now. Waiting is good. Hard, but good.

The journey I’m on is worth it. I know that. And that makes it worth the hard days. So, if you’re feeling down, your road seems long, take a day–or two–and just relax. Get alone with God and nurture your creative soul.

And remember; spray paint is better than Prozac.

2014-05-01 01.09.03

So, is this art? Or is it the cardboard I used underneath the pieces I was spray painting…what do you think?

I’m thinking of framing it.

Because maybe you are too.


At fourteen, I wanted to create art. Not because it was cool, or to impress anyone, but because I had, inside of me, something that needed to come out. I had a darkness that pushed on my flesh from the inside and never let me rest.


It’s sad to say, that someone so young could feel that broken. But, it’s true. Yet, telling you the truth is the last thing I want to do. And even though, quite frankly, I’m awfully tired of lying—it wears on me—it’s heavy; exhausting—I am afraid, still.


I’m afraid you’ll see me and leave. Not just see me, but really…see me.


In the last several years I’ve been on this journey. Sometimes, it looks like words on paper, sometimes, some thing else. And I have kept focused on the road with very few detours. Oh, okay, I had some detours. Who doesn’t? Mostly though, I tried to keep my eyes ahead, to not look back.


But something called out. When they said, “Be honest.” When they told me to be myself.


What if I don’t want to, I thought. What if I don’t know who that is?


But, that’s a lie. And I know the truth.


I am an artist.


I didn’t not know this. But yesterday I heard someone speaking about who an artist is, and I saw myself. I didn’t really want to. But I did. And art can take on all forms; writing is art. Certain forms of it more so than others. But to paint a picture–whether with acrylics or adjectives—is still rendering a view. There is something created, something new in the universe that wasn’t there before.


That is art.


And you know I always find it interesting how God speaks, and when, and through whom. This morning it was through my seventh grade art teacher, Sara Pitts. Her written words that have transcended time to speak to me now, some three decades after they were penned.


It was Christmas, 1984. The day before break she caught me as I was leaving the building, quickly stuffed a small envelope in my hands and smiled warmly. Her eyes were always dancing, but this time they were more solemn. I don’t remember, but I wonder if they were glassy, if she fought tears. Or did she even know the impact she would forever have in my life all because she saw me, she really saw me.


“Thanks,” I offered, acting adolescently casual. I shoved the envelope in my bag and pushed through the doors into the December cold. That evening I read them, held the crisp $10 bill she gave me. The money intended for me to purchase a cassette disc. I loved music, always. I still do.


I know I read the words then. I know they impacted me, especially because no one else in my struggling teenaged life seemed to give a rats. Her gesture of genuine kindness has always stuck with me. That letter has set in a box of things too precious for me to dispose of for over thirty years. Today, however, I read it differently. I saw it as if for the first time.



The meaning of the letter as a whole was to encourage me to follow my heart, to see myself for who I truly was, the way others saw me as well—as an artist.



She knew it would be hard, so she told me to have courage.

photo (1)

Be patient with myself.

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But, ultimately, it whispered what she knew about my soul; it would thirst after art. Creating. Living the creation. And maybe, even having a career in art.


She said I was special. And I am. And, so are you. You artists. You creators. You dreamers and doers.


You who follow the beat of a different drum. You who see beauty in the places others miss.


I see this in my daughter, Holly. I see her finding so much true joy in creating art, and I pray that the world doesn’t steal that from her. Because I know it will try. It will tell her she isn’t good enough. It will say art is not acceptable as a career. It’s not honorable work. How can you survive doing art? Where will you live? What will you eat?


And while money is important in it’s own right, in its proper place, it is not an end in its self. It is simply a means. And a means will not fulfill. And those who try to stuff their square pegs into round holes will tell you this; no matter how you fold in on yourself, those rough edges just won’t fit. The world can press down, and pound away, but you will never be what you truly are not.


If you are an artist, you will never be satisfied until you are creating art.


You were made by a creator. The Grand Creator. And if you are knit together with threads of art and beauty, and the desire to recognize and create that, you will not ever be what you were made to be until you fully accept it.


So maybe you are an artist. And maybe you’re not. But if you are, listen to your heart. Stop fighting what your soul is so clearly thirsting for. Be yourself. Be real.

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Live the art you were made to be.