what’s on your mind…

facebook-whats-on-your-mindi hate vague posts on facebook.  i really do.  in order to lay some things down i need to say something.  and,  the “what’s on your mind” status window on facebook wasn’t big enough for my heart.

okay. i’m only talking to the people who care about me now… the ones who WANT to invest in me, the ones who want to know me. if you don’t know me, or can’t hang, i fully understand. (i’m a ride, a total ride). the best thing may be to hit eject and unfriend me. i’ll understand. i live my life open, full of struggle and doubt.

maybe facebook is not the best venue to walk out my journey… but, guess what, that’s truly my burden to walk. i use bad language, and i’m a Christian. i struggle with unbelief in God in a world full of death, struggle and hate, but i don’t want to do life without Him.


out loud. openly.

sometimes i battle fear and it comes out sideways. my mind gets into ruts, and i can over think the smallest things. i battle with seeing the world in absolutes. i battle with control. the past decade living with the unknown of cancer, the known of cerebral palsy, and the constant pressure of a bank account with just enough has pushed my faith, grown my faith.

i haven’t always liked God. in fact, i’ve been angry at Him.

this is true, and i am still a Christian.follow-Christ-banner

a Christ FOLLOWER.

moving toward the goal.

despite being battle worn, i keep going.

pushing, asking, seeking for more.  

i ask, “how can i follow without losing all of me?” 



out loud. openly.

i battle with therapy. i battle by crying over coffee with trusted sisters in Christ that know me, know my heart, and are willing to hear and see the ugly parts of myself without leaving me, without trying to pray my God-given personality away like i’m broken. they say in the midst of the battle, “we lock shields with you, and trust God when you do not.”

sometimes the battle looks like funny curse-filled pictures that help me release the pressure, these bad words are not to hurt others, but to help me move through the anger, the pain. and, THIS is were i say again if you don’t walk this life with me, if you don’t particularly like me, maybe now would be the best time to hide me on social media, because let’s face it we’re not friends.


out loud. openly.

i’m really battling for the right to run my own life… the original battle.


God ALWAYS stands firm on the battlefield armed with His holiness and confident my heart is His. He fights the lies and my pride with His truth and His grace. He shows His faithfulness when i am faithless. He reveals He can be trusted and allows me to return to Him.


when i get really still and rest in His absolute goodness, He shows me that every struggle, every battle has His loving hand in it. i have been and will continue to be held. and, nothing i think or say can ever push me out of His loving arms.  my sanctification is completely His work.  my battle is the truth of His glory being written on my heart.

when i get really still i realize He’s carried me through the battle by reminding me of His love. He’s provided women who tell me truth. He’s provided a husband that loves me when i am stormy. He’s provided His word as a solid foundation to plant my feet on and lay my burdens down. He’s provided His son for my life, and He reminds me that He knew before the creation of the world THIS battle would come.

when i stop fighting, when i love Him more than myself…


i let my guard down.

He leads me into His peace.

He washes the battlefield clean as snow.

i am not left the same, and He is bigger than before.

thank you to those who love me fully during the battle and on the victory march. you are witnesses to His work in me, my struggle, His love for me.

He is not finished with me, yet.  i will battle again.  thankfully each time i’m wiser.  the battle is clearer.  the enemy of pride is easier to spot, and i lay my arms down quicker.


the struggle is exhausting.  i love God with all my heart, but this world is hard as hell sometimes.


i am changed

cancer sucks.  it just does.  the diagnosis took something from me, but i didn’t realize it until i was through with treatment, and i had to have a check up.  that’s when i knew.

life is different now.

life will have a cloud.  an unknown. the unknown is there for everyone, but i now know mine by name and have a standing yearly appointment to find out if it is back.  this is when i realized cancer had taken my invincibility away.  now, being invincible is a myth.  we all are moving closer to the end daily, but i was young and still blissfully ignoring the truth of death, age, the end.  i can’t ignore it anymore.

messy but worth iti can’t ignore it anymore.

i believe i’m working my way through the five stages of grief.  i’ve been grieving the girl i was.  the girl that had a false control over her future life and plans.  i think i’ve been doing this from the day i received my diagnosis.

the first step for me came in the form of bargaining.  i unconsciously made a deal with God.  i’d walk cancer as a good work set before me before the creation of the world.  i know God did not and does not give me or anyone else cancer, but i believe in every situation i face in life i have two choices: live for myself or live for the glory of God.  the first option will only lead me to anger, heartbreak, loneliness, isolation. (i say this out of having to make this choice when my mother walked through cancer, when our poor financial decisions led to foreclosure and bankruptcy, when my boobah went to prison for two years after a bad choice)  when my diagnosis came i wasn’t new to heartache or choosing God.  i knew my choice of His glory would leave me alive, peace-filled, aware of His love, open to sharing His love with others.  this was an easy choice. i just didn’t know i had put a contingency onto my choosing God.  but, i did.  i didn’t realize i had made a deal to walk cancer well IF He promised it would never happen again.  i didn’t know this bargain was on the table until six months after chemo.  that was my first scheduled colonoscopy.  and, there it was, the doctor found a fast-growing pre-cancerous polyp that was ready to do it’s thing.  i was angry.  i yelled at God.  I WALKED IT WELL!!!

i know in my head God is not a god of performance-based blessing.  He loves me no matter what path i choose because when He looks at me He sees His Son.  but, i am a performance based person.  i am hard on myself and those i love.  i forgot that God is not like me.  and, i was broken.  i had to ask forgiveness, but it took me five months to turn back to the Lord.  i never lost faith in Christ, i just did not want to talk to Him.

i have to fill in a time gap between finishing chemo and my first checkup.  for the eight months between, i lived in the beautiful state of denial.  i finished chemo and immediately hit the gym.  it was over.  it was behind me.  no more cancer girl.  i was free, and i was a total chemo rockstar.  i missed a doctor’s appointment during this time because i couldn’t stand the chemo smell in the lobby.  i could taste the stuff as soon as i walked in the door.  i was well.  goodbye.  it was not nice knowin’ ya.  my denial hit the wall quick and hard when i heard the doctor recommend the removal of my colon and my uterus because the pre-cancerous polyp was there so soon after treatment.

cancer sucks

like i said, i was angry.  i tried to go back into denial, but life wouldn’t let me.  everything and everyone pushed my brain back to the unknown.  i started getting judgmental of the girls i worked out with when they complained about a sliver of fat that bothered them while i was there to fight off cancer.  i slipped into a depression.  i quit exercising.  i began needing clear expectations for things like bible studies and organized activities.  i sought control through schedules, and i had little sympathy for friends that wanted to share common, every day struggles.  the conversations felt empty to me, and i started asking myself WHAT IS THE POINT? i lost relationships because i was rigid.  i was sad.  i was grieving, but i didn’t know that at the time.  i lost my joy.  i lost myself.  i missed the old me, but she didn’t exist any more.

Grief Changes Us
i am changed

all of this has been my truth for the last two years.  TWO YEARS i’ve lost.

but, i’ve also found some things.  i’ve found healthy boundaries with a few toxic relationships because there is no time in my life for people who don’t want to accept responsibility.  i’ve learned how to say i’m sorry.  i’ve had lots of practice, and i’m really good at it.  i’ve learned that people, schedules, community can’t give me comfort.  i’ve realized i have no control except for my reaction.

i can stop isolating.  i can get help.  i can trust the Lord with my future, cancer or no cancer.  i am accepting my limits.  i am accepting growing older, the idea of not being here forever.  i accept i can’t know the future, and i accept i can’t change it if i could.

light of hope
hope finds a way

God has been with me every step of the way… pouring truth over me through jonesy, through relationships (both good and bad), through counseling, and through medication.  i’m coming out of grief. i’ve missed my joy.  i’ve missed being confident in how i am made and in WHO made me.  i’ve missed quiet in my brain.  it’s been too loud for too long.  fear is noisy and very draining.

BUT GOD. my prayer is simple.

Dear Lord,

i need more of you and less of me.  bring back the gift of joy.  bring back the gift of being awake, present in my own life.  i confess i’ve wasted time on worry, doubt, anger, fear, rejection.  please forgive my wandering heart.  i’m finished.  i want to celebrate who i am.  I AM CANCER FREE.  I WILL HAVE TOMORROW.  I AM LOVED.  those things are enough to satisfy.

i am a new girl… older, wiser.

i am ready to let go and accept truth.

He’s not finished with me and He will always hold me.  

i am a girl with HOPE.


lonely heart
lonely heart

i’ve been telling anyone and everyone about my time in haiti and the question i’ve been asked again and again is–

“have you been able to experience the same closeness with God since you’ve been home?”

the sad truth is no.  i haven’t.

so, i’ve been asking myself why.

why did He feel so real in a third world country?

if God is real.

if He is the same no matter where i am, why is the level of intimacy different here at home?

because He is constant and i am not.

it’s not God that’s changed, it’s me.

when i was in haiti i was in constant prayer.  i asked God to be my eyes, be my mouth, be my feet and hands.  i begged Him to use me.  i couldn’t wait to hear Him.  i couldn’t wait to look at the broken places in this world through His eyes.  fresh eyes.  eyes filled with love for the suffering.

now, i’m home.  i’m hit with the word “mama” atleast 27 times before my head is off the pillow in the morning.  it’s not that i’m sleeping late, it that my kids are up that early.

and then the hubs and i discuss the schedule for the week:

  • am i meeting with my friend on monday night?
  • do i have bible study tuesday?
  •  the hubs needs to run on wednesday night.
  • remember jack’s baseball practice on thursday.
  • the kids can’t wait for friday night movie night.
  • saturday is family time– ending in a date night on the couch.
  • sunday is church.

now throw in managing our money.  to be good stewards with God’s provision takes time,  the ability to juggle, and the ability to project the family needs for at least 2 months into the future.  (based on the numbers, i think one of us will be able to be sick some time in september)

this is life.  it hits me fast and hard.  i long for time with God.  i long for a moment to capture the closeness i felt in haiti.

but, the reality is i live in the future.  not in the moment.  and, that one reality leaves my heart lonely.

i hate walking on rocks with my bare feet

rocks hurt

they poke
they prod

rocks tear

tender skin
revealing tissue, muscle

my skin is shredded
by precancerous polyps
by bear’s stutter
by the word WAIT

rocks make me
jump skip leap
from fear to fear to fear
landing on a jagged edge

i hate rocks

i beg for relief
i beg for comfort
i beg God


on the rocks
i wait for HIM

Imageby a broken homeskillet

together is better

two boys. one ball. total chaos

my guys are outside playing basketball.

thing 1 is trying to teach thing 2 how to shoot.

it’s complete chaos.  there is a clear breakdown of communication, and the entire lesson lasts less than 2 minutes.

the basketball lesson morphs into a sing along of,  “toot tooty tooty, that’s what my baby says, toot tooty tooty” —  a nonsensical song full of toot sounds, silly dance moves, and genuine boy giggles.

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-- these feet mean b-ball business

the song and dance break lasts another 2 minutes.  this stops long enough for the boys to grab their monster feet slippers — clearly, basketball is better in monster feet.

thing 1 tries to get back to business with a lesson on pivots and dribbling.

i hear thing 1 saying things like, “dribble, dribble, dribble, pivot, jump, and score.”  while thing 2 dances around and asks big brother to try to hit the frisbee he’s holding as a shield in front of his face.  obviously, thing 2 is a pro in the making.

but, then, something sweet happens… they start playing TOGETHER.

i get to watch thing 1 let baby brother “steal” the ball, drive to the basket, and shoot as many times as it takes for him to make 2 points.  then the hubs and i hear thing 2‘s little voice cry out, “I’M THE WINNER!  I GET THE TROPHY!” he’s got huge grin on his face waving his trophy in the air–  which is just the frisbee used a few minutes ago as a shield.  big brother is singing, “go, bear, go!!!”


i’m writing this brief, insignificant moment down, so i remember.  when this moment passes, and the boys begin to bicker over who’s fastest, who’s smarter, who can jump farther– i’ll remember on a random, sunday afternoon, the stars aligned, and the boys dropped being competitive and just played TOGETHER.

i hope remembering this moment will get me through the silly fights they’re sure to have, the snippy remarks they’re sure to say, and will keep me focused on the prize i pray for night and day.

i pray for two boys living, sharing, celebrating life TOGETHER.

because at the end of all the boyhood battles- being TOGETHER really is better.

it’s christmas time, y’all!

holla!  it’s time to deck the halls and celebrate baby Jesus.  ooooooooo OOOOOO!

in honor of tiny, little baby Jesus sleeping in the animal food bowl, i thought i’d create a list dedicated to what He’s taught me this year– homeskillet style.

1.  my ways are not his ways, yo.

i’ve learned i do not naturally love like Christ, think like Christ, act like Christ.  i wish i did, but i don’t.  i mess up so much just because i over think, i don’t listen, or i get scared.  super glad this year i finally accepted my limitations and asked for guidance.  i’m totally still a super big mess.  i will be until the day i die, but i pray when that day comes my nature looks more like tiny baby Jesus.

2.  love means i say i’m sorry, word.

remember the movie with ryan o’neal and ali mcgraw called “love story”??  there’s this classic scene where o’neal’s character has royally screwed up, and ali, with her perfect ’70’s hair, says, “love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

what is THAT all about???  seriously.  that’s alllllllllllllllll love is about.

it’s about putting the other person first, and i can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s NOT  how i roll most of the time.  i can be selfish, pushy, impatient, critical, and downright mean.

what would my marriage look like, how would my boys feel, how many true friendships would i have, if i NEVER said i was sorry for not loving well???

i pray i own my mistakes and tell the ‘skillets  i love “I’M SORRY”— because those are some powerful words.

3.  obedience is scary, fo’ realz.

last night i met with a new ‘skillet, and as we began to share our stories,  we kept coming back to the same thought– we don’t want to miss what God wants to do with us, through us, for us.  we looked at each other all excited and said, “we just don’t want to miss it!”

how do we do that?  i think it’s a moment to moment decision to seek God’s will.  now, that’s a tall order.  just thinking about how many times i haven’t lived that way makes me wonder how many times i’ll fail in the future.  dude.  that thought alone can paralyze me.  obedience, all the time, forever and ever, is a scary proposition.  but, here’s the thing, i don’t have to eat the elephant all at once.  i just have to be willing to seek God, be willing to wait for a clear direction, and then be brave enough to move my feet.  i pray i have a lifetime of  “don’t miss it” moments.

4.  my home is my mission, holla.

this one shakes me down.  my knees get all weak, and i feel light-headed.  my boys and my husband are IT.

i am not equipped, there’s no clear checklist, and if i fail THEY will suffer.

i clearly need help, encouragement–  and, from time to time, a couple of cupcakes to make this reality go down a little easier.

i’m sooooooooooooooooooooo thankful God has given me an army of women to help me battle my own insecurities and fears when it comes to how i be these things called “wife” and “mother”.  God started putting my army together as early as elementary school.  He added forces through high school, college, and through my time in memphis i gained wonderful sisters for life and, now, in the ‘boro i am finding awesome ‘skillets to share my story.

each and every woman makes me better.  each word of advice helps my children and my fella.  each word of love helps me to stop the critical voice inside my head–  and, each cupcake keeps my sugar level just high enough to make it through the day.

5.  God loves me deeply, dude.

i have felt this more and more as this year has passed.  i’m grateful to feel down to my bones that there is nothing i can do to drive God away.

i can not look like Him, and He loves me anyway.  i can take too long to say, “I’M SORRY” and he loves me anyway.  i can be disobedient or just miss His direction completely, and He loves me anyway.  i can feel inadequate and not enough for my boys and my guy, and He loves me anyway.

He loves me so much He sent His only son to die for me. 

seriously.  baby Jesus ROCKS y’all.

shaved head and stuff

so.  my hair.

hair today....

i shaved it allllll off yeah i did!!

here’s the deal.  my hair was coming out in handfuls since my second chemo treatment, and i have an obsessive personality, to a point.

so, hair loss + a bit of o.c.d = me constantly raking my hands through my hair, wondering how MUCH would fall out the next time i shampooed.  then, when i actually DID shower i would wash and re-wash my hair until the water ran cold, watching my hair clog the drain.  i’d clean that mess up, and move on to blow-drying my hair, which took longer than usual, because i’d have to stop and clean out the sink full of hair.  fun times.

gross hair nest

5 days.  that’s all i could take.   it was juuuuuuust long enough to make me snap.  i called the hubby into our bathroom and held out my hands filled with a nest of hair, and said, “i’m ready to let this go.”

my heart was pounding, i was nauseated and jittery just thinking about what this statement MEANT.  i had been recovering from an unfortunate mullet for more than a year and had just grown my hair long enough to get it into tiny dog-ears.  i did NOT want to lose my hair.  i did NOT want to do this.

but, i hated the alternative even more– letting my hair loss become my focus.  letting the number of hair follicles on my head determine if i was happy or sad.  seriously, how lame is THAT.

i can get fixed on how i look very fast, homeskillets.

remember, i’m the girl that rocks a gimpy arm and leg.   i’m the girl that battles both acne and wrinkles on a month-to-month basis.   i have my issues, real or imagined, and i know my mind can become a place of nasty with a quickness.

i truly love who i am.  i love how God made me.  it’s taken me a long time to not operate out of a place of protection, and to not put my worth in other’s opinion of me.  so, i wasn’t gonna let hair or the lack of hair get me tangled up–(get it– hair/tangled?!  super cheesy perfection)– no matter how scary shaving my head seemed.

the hubby was on board, and we wanted to make sure we included thing 1 and thing 2.  i explained that the cancer-fighting medicine was working really well, one of the ways we could tell was because my hair was coming out, and since it was happening anyway, i had decided to shave my head.

i could tell this was a lot to take in.  so,  i said,

“the enemy can use a simple thing like hair to distract me from what God has done– we found the tumor early, i had it removed, and He has brought so many people around us while we walk through this step.  i can either focus on the loss of my hair or focus on God’s goodness and provision.  i choose God. “

i don’t know if they fully understood, but i pray years from now, when life hits hard, they’ll l have this moment to help them decide to choose God, too.

through sickness and in health...

it was time.  the clippers were ready.  and, there was no turning back.  i was soooooooo scared.  thankfully, an awesome ‘skillet brought a cupcake and a bottle of wine.  she documented the event, and cheered me on.

my hubby was amazing. truly.  he was so sweet, so gentle, and very loving through the whole sheering process.  i love the picture of him working on my fade… awesome.  i didn’t realize how intimate a process it would be.  i’m so glad it was a quiet moment with a wonderful sista friend and my man.

the whole process took about 20 minutes.  more than a years worth of awkward hair stages– gone, in 20 minutes.


i went to the bathroom and got the first glimpse of my melon.

my head felt so light i thought it might float right off my body.  i saw my brother’s face staring back at me, in drag.

it. was. freaky.

after the initial shock,  i felt totally rockin’.

hardcore. to. the. max.

sweet freedom

and, free.

free from the fear of what could happen.

free to focus on the GREAT moments and people all around me.

free to focus on the good days.

God has used a simple hairdo to give me more freedom and strength for the 10 more chemo treatments ahead–  which, for me,  has put a whole new spin on Philippians 4:13:

i can ‘do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

(get it– hairdo/’do?!  i kill me!!)