Tag Archives: writing

silence is golden

i had lunch with a new friend on wednesday afternoon. it was a “business lunch.” i needed to prepare to speak in her class by finding out more of what she expected from me. i left lunch (over three hours later) nearly as clueless about the class as when i had arrived; however, i knew the heart of the professor which gave me insight into the class.

speaking to her class was such a privilege

aside: i am writing this on a plane. i have no idea why i am not capitalizing things, but it feels good and somewhat rebellious to do so. i think i have only done this “style” in one other post, and that was because i was in a hurry and feeling scattered. i am not scattered today, so rebellion is the only answer.

sometimes we need a little rebellion in our lives

after the lunch on wednesday and speaking in my new friend’s class, she sent me a thank you email and commented about my blog (to be honest, i sent the link…it’s easier than explaining what i have thought since 2010).

but she commented about it as an accomplishment. this blog. this blog that has sat dormant for nearly two years. the last published post was actually written by my daughter as she tried to deal with a diagnosis that we have since found out was wrong but she has a different (better? worse?) diagnosis instead.

and then the blog went silent

the details of the past two years are numerous and complicated. there is plenty of good (see my facebook world for that), but there is also lots of hard. health conditions, changes in living arrangements (airstream!), expanding a school program, children becoming adults and about to graduate (didn’t I just write about high school graduation?), and those things that happen that just cannot be blogged.

sounds mysterious, right?

oh, you have them too. family, finances, and fun are all recipes for disaster while being avenues for great joy. sometimes, it is just too hard to explain things. sometimes, it is just too hard to write what you think, feel, and experience.

and silence becomes a friend

i did not stop thinking for the past two years. my mind did not slow down for the past two years. instead, i filed away the thoughts that have bounced in my head and have taken hold in my heart so that i could pull them back out when the time was right.  and i started a podcast for my school which has been life giving, creative, and fun.

too much of the past two years is not my story alone. when my story intersects with the stories of others, i have to be sensitive about how i write about them. i might be happy as a clam to share my dirty laundry, but i should not take the liberty to share yours, his, or hers. this time has been reflective for me.

what is my story?

i have a story to tell, but it mostly is a story of some wonderful people who have made me who i am today. the comment from a new friend about my blog shook me a bit. i have been playing around with a couple of book ideas. one will essentially write itself. the other will tear me apart and put me back together (because we should all have that done  at least three or four times in our lifetime).

a clearer story

one of the cool things that has come from these two years of silence on the blog has been some clarity. i used to write anything that came to mind and hit publish. then i wrote nothing and published nothing. i think that i should write more and publish some. i think i should care about what i care about (and what God cares about…) and care less about what anyone else wants from me.

what is your story?

do you know how to tell your story? do you think that no one wants to hear your story? i LUV (yes, I am on a Southwest Airlines flight!) hearing other people’s stories! you all are so fascinating! the question is this: how can your story and my story be told? in telling our stories, we find the common themes in our lives and can come together to support each other.

talk less – smile more…

our nation is divided because we are not listening to each other’s stories.  silence is golden sometimes. my listening to your story helps me to know you better. we need to find some silence in our hearts, some listening in our ears, and some quiet in our minds.

only then can we see that our stories are unique and similar and hard and wonderful.




Filed under Relationships, Thoughts

Taking a Break – Moving for a Bit

I should have known that things would not stay silent for long in my heart.  I just did not know what would come out.  And then it happened.

A clear direction to change.

So – this blog will not be my main focus for a while.  Oh, I am sure that I will rant on a bit here and there when someone somewhere needs my voice of correction (hear the sarcasm…at least a hint of it).  But I am not going to stress and obsess about getting onto this site, updating, etc.

And the reason for that is that I will be blogging 6 days a week on a new site.  Find me at blogthroughbible.wordpress.com for the next 18-24 months.

My pastor huz is preaching his way through the Bible.  He is taking one book per week and marching through it.  I am so excited.  He is a great speaker, pastor, and husband.

I am so blessed.

Each Sunday, he provides us with notes as well as directives for the week between Sundays. For example, he will preach on Genesis on April 14, 2013, so this week (as I write) we are to read all 50 chapters of Genesis to prep us for his sermon.  He provided a daily Bible reading breakdown along with questions for consideration.  As I listened to Genesis on CD as I drove on Sunday afternoon, I thought it would be great to capture my thoughts in a blog.

So – I started a new blog site last night, put up some content, and have committed to blog through the Bible as he preaches through the Bible.

This could be one of my manic phases, it could be the nudging of God, or it could be a combination of the two.  Whatever the case, I feel that this is the challenge I need to get my devotional life back on track.  What excites me the most is that it will allow me to commit to this along with the entire congregation at Faith Baptist Church.

I have considered putting content on this blog from that one, but that just doesn’t seem to be the purpose.  If you want to read along, hop on over and follow that site.  If you don’t, feel free to check back here – you may find that I have ranted about something sometime.

God bless.

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Filed under faith

When the Blog is Silent

I missed a post yesterday, and now it is Thursday. Tonight will be no better in attempting to “get going” on a post for tomorrow.  And the next month is crazy.

The funny thing is that I just signed up for a blogging class!  And guess what? The start date has been pushed out a week.  And I am so grateful.

Life is busy.  I have a full-time job, am a full-time mom (because we all are!), and have a lot of things going on in all realms.

I want to blog regularly, but that might not happen.  I will say this: I want to keep the Music Monday posts at a minimum. But I am not going to promise that either.

What I do promise is this: I will write blog posts when I can and when the fingers cannot deny what the mind requires.

So – if the blog is silent, this is why.  It is a priority, but right now it is one of the lower priorities.  This is just a season, and some day I will come back to it.


Filed under Thoughts

Grief Pangs

As I do almost daily, I read my friend Marilyn’s blog post on Saturday.  She has started a weekly Saturday feature that is so fun – a wrap up that entails some of her favorite internet finds, things that are on her heart, and what is currently on her bedside stand (in other words, what book [s] might she be reading right now).

Almost as compelling as the blog post itself are the comments left by a handful (which is sometimes a very large handful) of daily followers.  Marilyn interacts with her commenters as one would a friend, and she does so – whether they have met in person or not – because they are.  I have come to enjoy her friends as well.

What happened in my heart on Saturday in my heart is something that has happened other times as I have read the comment section. It is not terribly new to me. However, it does always catch me off guard.  The thought has stayed with me now for a few days which usually means I am to write a post about the thought, but I almost would prefer not to do so.

I had a grief pang.

In June, we will remember for the tenth year in a row the death of my mom.  After 10 years, the pain is both much more dull and just as fresh as it was the morning that she died.  While I originally thought that I could predict what would bring about the grief pangs, I now know that I have absolutely no idea what might and what might not do so.

Marilyn’s mom is a frequent commenter in her comment section.

And the great part about the fact that she is a commenter is that she identifies herself in exactly that way – Marilyn’s Mom.  Everyone else has their first name or their blog name or even their Twitter sign @tweeter_someone, but Marilyn’s mom is just Marilyn’s mom.

The thought that went through my mind the first time I saw this was the same thought that went through my mind on Saturday.

That is so cool; I am so jealous.

At first, I scolded myself.  Stacy Ann, you can’t be jealous!

What a horrible feeling to have toward my good friend.  It is not her fault that her mom is alive and mine is not.  It is not her fault that her mom comments on her blog while mine never had the chance. 

And then I realized that I do not feel this feeling toward my friend.  Rather, I feel it because it is just another reminder that my mom is gone. 

I am honestly happy that other women still have their moms around.  It stinks that mine is gone, and I do not really wish these feelings on anyone else.  The problem is that their moms being around is not a quiet occurrence.

They have something that I do not have.

As I wrote the previous sentence, another thought crossed my mind: That is always the problem with us as humans.  We compare our situations, and we find that we are lacking. Rather than seeing the great things that we have in our lives, we see only what others have that we do not.

I realize that it is ok for me to be sad about my mom being gone; however, I have to ensure that I do not stay that way for too long.  These things happen. People die.  Every second of every minute of every day of every month of every year – someone…many someones dies. 

And when they do, we are left with a sincere sadness that they are gone.

While we can be sad, we must look around us and be willing to keep on living.  They are gone, but we are here.  We are sad, but there are many others around us who need us. And they need us to live…to be alive.

Grief pangs can put us on the sidelines, but we have to return to the game.  We are not meant to be spectators; we are meant to be participants (I initially wrote players but worried about the double meaning – ha! Glad for the comic relief?).

Are you on the sidelines today? Be gentle with yourself. Do something calming or chaotic – whatever you need to do.  But get back into the game…soon.  The rest of your team needs you, and they want you to play.

By the way: this coming Saturday would have been my mom’s 63rd birthday.  As I read Marilyn’s post that day, I will thank God that her mom is able to comment – what a gift!


Filed under Thoughts

A Clean Slate

I have stared at the blank page on my computer screen for the past ten minutes with breaks to check email, Facebook, and order a Christmas present on Amazon.com.  Last night, I spoke with someone about how I “used to blog daily” and was intrigued by the conversation as it followed a friend’s comment on Facebook earlier this week: “…btw, did you know you haven’t written since October?! Having withdrawals here you know.”

I want to write a blog post.

I really do.  I always have so much to say inside my own head as well as verbally.  I always want to sit down and write. But what started out as a little project to slow my racing mind had turned into a demand on my life that I felt I needed to do so that others would be pleased.  I found my mood being swayed – positively and negatively – by the number of comments made on posts each day or the number of hits or shares I saw.  I would watch the stats of a post and hit refresh every five minutes.

This was not what I had intended to do when I started writing blogs.

And so, I needed to take a break.  I shared that publicly back in October – the last post before this one.  And the blog went silent.

Until today.

Last night, I attended a joint Christmas service at our church.  It was a joint effort between our church and a group called FreedomWorks, a post-prison ministry for men, which meets in our building on Thursday nights for food, fellowship, and a service.  As part of last night’s service, men involved in the ministry (therefore, former prison inmates) shared about their experiences, how the ministry had impacted their lives, and what their lives were now.  As they talked and then throughout the singing of Christmas carols, one phrase kept coming to me – “Clean Slate.”

Christmas is a great time to consider how invested in us God is.  He cared so much about our state as humans – sinful and separated – that He sent Jesus to us.  From that humble day in a stable in Bethlehem, Jesus was on a road to only one place – Calvary – where He would die to pay the price for the sin in me and then rise again to conquer death.

God provided Jesus to give us a clean slate.

I often live my life as if I am carrying around my list of dirty deeds, but that is not what God ever intended me to do.  Yes – He wants me to recognize that I am a sinner, but that is simply a truth that I must acknowledge so that I realize my need for Jesus.  Once I recognize that need and hold firmly to that truth, I am to live a life of freedom.  Galatians 5:1 tells me that “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.”

Living life with the dirty deed list in one hand does not free me completely do and experience all that God has for me in this life.  He wants my hands free and ready to act in love to others.  He wants my hands free to experience the blessings He has for me.  God wants my heart to be free from the burden of guilt that I carry.

As we consider the manger this Christmas and thank God for all that He has done and will do, I think we need to remember that Christ came to endure life as a man and to die on our behalf to free us – to give us a clean slate.  And in living out our freedom in service to God and others, we honor His death until He comes again.

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Filed under faith, Thoughts

A Season For Blogging Less

Each week when I go to church, I am greeted by a friend who calls me “the famous blogger.”  Part of that phrase is true – I do blog.  However, even that has been less true of late.  In fact, I am probably equally not a blogger as I am not famous.  This week I have been somewhat plagued by the question of why that is the case. 

Why am I not blogging?

To answer that question, I have a to explain some about who I am and how I tend to approach life in general.  Some would call it ADD (only by today’s standards, FYI, as I think there is far too much of that label going around); some would call it the bipolar tendencies (even that is questioned sometimes – even by me).  I call it Stacy.

My faith, my marriage, and my children are the few things to which I have remained committed for any length of time.

When we lived in Scotland from August 2001 to June 2002, I held five different positions.  Think about that for a minute.  We lived there for ten months, and I had five different positions.

Pause here.  Did you think about that?? 

To be fair to myself, I worked a few part-time gigs at a time. For example, a few shifts at Starbucks were combined with two nights a week at a bookstore (they had not combined the two “back then” and “over there”) as well as a stint as a note-taker in a university class three mornings a week.  When that semester was over, I did some time as an educator at the Edinburgh Zoo before I took a long-term sub teaching position at a secondary school.

All of the moves were strategic, of course.

To a certain extent, the current state in which I find myself could be seen as strategic as well.  I have a lot going on (wife, mom [they are teenagers!], pastor’s wife, dean of student [basically, I just go to court a lot], new business owner, etc.), and something has to give. 

Blogging is what has given this time around.

So – what’s the problem?

The problem is that I like blogging, and I have loads of ideas of things about which I would love to write on my blog.  The problem is that I like the feedback that I get from people who read my blogs. The problem is that I like sitting on my seat and writing to empty my brain more than I like being stretched and twisted into “relaxation” by the yoga instructor.

But it just has to give right now.

I want to write quality stuff, and I do not have the time or energy most of the time to write quality stuff.  I think it is best not to add to the congested mess in the blog-o-sphere of words piling up on words just for the sake of spilling more words when the same end could be met by different means (taking a walk, perhaps?).  I started blogging for myself – to spill my mind – and in doing so, somewhere along the way, I started caring more about writing what would get me more hits than what would help me to feel sane.

So – for now, anyway – the blog may be silent.

And on other days, it may be very noisy.  Who knows?

I certainly do not.


Filed under faith, health, Thoughts

Where to Start?

I have started this post three times.  I have deleted those three posts.  They will never be again, for the words are lost and I have decided they are not for the ears of others.

Where to start?

I find that writing can be hindered by one thing: the beginning.  Often writing teachers will tell students to create and outline with the material for the essay – the body paragraphs being the most important. Once that outline is created, the introduction and the conclusion will be more obviously constructed once the bulk of the material has been thought out.  It seems to be true, and it can even be true of blog posts as I started with the thought below and now have constructed these opening thoughts.

Life does not start in the middle.

While it may be good advice to give to writing students to start in the middle rather than remain stuck on the beginning, that is not good advice in other areas of our lives.  Although I would prefer to start my day in the middle of it due to my distaste for mornings (well, really just getting up whatever time of day it happens), starting in the middle of my day is not very practical.  I must complete Task A before I go on to Task B because often Task B is contingent upon the success or failure of Task A.

This is true in many of our life tasks.

Go ahead – take a minute and think of some….

(Note: there will be no ending to this post. Why? Because life is still going on!)

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Filed under Thoughts

Results of a Racing Mind

When a mind races, it needs to be helped.  That is what I have learned.  I did not always get the help that I needed, and sometimes – in the past – I had been wrongly medicated which only made the mind racing worse.  This blog stems from my need to help my racing mind.

And one of the ways that it has helped me is that it lets me have many blog worlds.

I started blogging on a regular basis (nearly daily) just over a year ago after a dear friend’s daily blog challenged me to join her.  She has been an encouragement ever since.  She blogs using WordPress, so I thought that was the right choice for me too.  I had set up my original blog using Blogspot, but I moved it to WordPress.

One day, another friend mentioned to me that the Fargo Forum was looking for bloggers who wrote about women’s issues.  I do not write exclusively about women’s issues, but I thought, “I am a woman.  I can write about woman stuff.”  I contacted the peeps over at the Fargo Forum, and they encouraged me to set up a blog using their site – Areavoices.

I did not get any featured spots on the women’s stuff site, but…things have been great with Areavoices, and I love interacting with people from Jamestown, Fargo, Duluth, Willmar, and all of the little towns in between.

Recently, I contacted the Fridley Patch with information about the musical that my kiddos are in this weekend.  From that email conversation, I set up a little blog on their site as well.

I am blogging in a lot of places!

Fortunately, I have one software piece that allows me to post to multiple sites with a click.  I can maintain the multiple locations without much work.  The cool thing, though, is that I get to have a variety of looks to the blog.  The Fridley Patch hosts their own software, so I have little say in how that looks.  But the others – I have full control!

This past week has been a racing mind week, so I made some changes…

Check them out, and enjoy the multiple creative sides of my personality.

I wonder how long this will last…

Other blog posts/pages about this blog and my racing mind might interest you.

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Filed under Thoughts

Well Done, Mayor Menino!

I want to be a public official someday so that all of the mistakes I make can be swept under the rug by saying, “I make mistakes all the time.  That’s a Bender-ism.”  In fact, why wait until I am a public official?  I think I will just start using that line now…

I make mistakes all the time. That’s a Bender-ism.

In all seriousness, I have to say that I am impressed with Mayor Menino for making it known (see article from the Boston Herald) that he is allowed his opinion while also backing away from his earlier threat to actively interfere with Chick-fil-a’s attempt to open a restaurant in Boston.  I am glad that he has made it known that, regardless of his disagreement with the CEO’s stance about a political issue, he cannot interfere with the commerce side of city government.

The downside of this whole thing could be that other public officials (Chicago) may not back down so quickly even though the ladies of The View (according to The Huffington Post) have opposed this.

I am so thrilled that Whoopi Goldberg agrees with me!

Now for an apology of sorts from this author…

In yesterday’s post, I wandered a bit from my main point of opposing Mayor Menino’s misuse of his office to keep Chick-fil-a out of Boston (thankfully, a reader pointed this out to me!) by introducing the concept of boycotting restaurants, institutions, or other businesses with whom we disagree.  I want to clarify something about that and then pretty much move away from this in the next few days’ posts (back to food from Massachusetts’ North Shore).

If someone wants to avoid (boycott) a business or institution because of disagreeing with a way that the owners believe, a product that is produced, or its policies, that is definitely that person’s right to do so regardless of whether the boycott has any financial impact.  As one reader (friend) pointed out, she refuses to eat at Chick-fil-a because she, as she wrote: “I feel so passionately about the statement he made that I need to find a tangible way to voice my opposition to it.”

Not only is that her right, but it is also a way that she feels she can make a difference.

The blog post yesterday should have left the boycott business out entirely and should have focused only on my objection to Mayor Menino’s “mistake” for which he has now recanted.  I need to work on how I write these controversial posts.  My conversational tone works well when talking about mourning, mental illness, and food.  It does not work well when I am trying to make a point.

For that, I apologize. 

I want to be clear and not misunderstood; therefore, I will work on getting rid of the muddy waters in “issue” posts and focus more clearly on what I am trying to say.  Thank you so much to the readers who took time out of their day yesterday to call me out, to disagree with me, to state better reasons for the same stand that I have, and – most of all –  to read the posts in the first place.

I am humbled and amazed that anyone reads this blog.

Happy Friday to you all!

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Filed under Food, Thoughts


Several months ago, I snapped the picture below at my neighborhood Starbucks.


This caught my eye because someone had taken the time to label the pitcher so that it would have a specific use but then it was used for something else.

There was nothing wrong with the way it was being used.

No laws were broken.

Nothing bad happened (I hope) from this.

But it caught my eye and made me look a second time.

Possibly for the first time EVER, I have nothing really to say about this. In fact, I have no objections. I am sure that it made sense at the time, that it did not last long, and that everything turned out just fine.

So – I’ll ask the readers instead…what comes to mind when you see this?

I’d love to hear from you!


Filed under Uncategorized