Aldi & Raging Women – Lessons in Grace.

I went to Aldi the other day.

It’s where I do most of our family’s grocery shopping these days since the move. I put my groceries in the car and puttered back to the store to drop off the cart and retrieve my quarter. My head was down, lost in private thoughts as I was happy to be alone for the first time in days due to the freezing temps which had shut down the school system leaving me newly employed as a zookeeper with eight bored monkeys – or so it seemed.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed an old suburban slowly backing out of a parking space. The vehicle was a tad bit ahead of my lackadaisical strides, and so I began to walk in a wide circle to avoid the oncoming vehicle. I managed to move in time and allowed for plenty of space between the two of us, or so I thought, when out of the blue I heard –

“HEY!

Not that I was backing up or anything BITCH!”

I looked up shocked. An older, morbidly obese woman was staring at me from the driver’s seat and shaking her head in disgust. She was livid. I felt my blood pressure quickly rise and my heart begin to beat hysterically as I stared back equally as livid. I never let my gaze leave hers as I marched the cart back to the dock. I was fuming mad. If I wasn’t a woman of faith, and if I didn’t have 8 children who looked to me as an example, and if I were in an Roman arena with this woman centuries ago, it would have been a different story altogether. For Sure. But here I was, in an Aldi’s parking lot, and just as these thoughts angrily caressed my mind and began to scootch Jesus right out of my heart, she screeched off before I could give her a good solid piece of my mind.

“What is going on with people nowadays?! Where is all this rage stemming from?!”
I thought as I began to employ deep slow breaths to regain my composure and then a memory flashed – a memory from only the night before, a memory which involved me not so gracefully chewing my husband’s head off for something so insignificant when viewed through the lens of time – the lens of only 24 hours later.

And another memory from the previous long day, a bored 14 year old special needs child screaming almost nonstop “Shoes! Go to school! Shoes!” because he could not comprehend nor understand why his schedule had been interrupted by cold weather and a few choice four letter words forming in his mother’s mind as she attempted to soothe him yet again.

I was no different.

Absolutely no different from the raging woman who called me the B word, and in fact, I may be worse. She was raging at strangers while I had raged at those I claimed to love; children I had birthed and a man I had chosen to do life beside. I was her and she was me, and we were both the sum of sinful humanity.

Exactly the same.

Both in need of grace. The Almighty’s and one another’s.

This revelation caused me to pause; to wonder and to ask –

“Why was she so mad?”

Had someone died? Did she lose her job? Did her husband recently receive a terminal diagnosis? Did her husband leave her for another woman? Had to be her husband’s fault – just kidding… but I’ll never know what had caused her rage.

But empathy. And Compassion. And second chances. And a new lens which included seeing myself in her. Seeing all of ourselves in the vastness of humanity even those whose political temperaments may not align with ours or those anti vaxxers or pro-lifers or wall haters.

“And the second greatest commandment is this, to love thy neighbor as thyself” – all of our neighbors, including those we live with and gave birth to. Extending grace. Extending love.

Just keep livin

The Beginners Bible and GIVEAWAY!

I’m so excited to be able to share this updated edition of The Beginners Bible, a timeless classic that has sold over 25 million copies.

This Bible holds a special place in my heart as I sat and flipped through these pages with my first baby boy Caleb in 2002 – who, by the way, just turned 16 a few weeks ago – cue the tears, and I plan to do the same with my last baby girl after she opens this gift on Christmas morning. I’m sure there will be many priceless moments pouring over the bright colored pictures and inspired words with her also – all moments I plan to soak up before they’re gone.

I’m also excited to offer a copy for YOU to win to place under the tree for the special child in your life. Just comment below and I’ll pick a winner next Wednesday.

Just keep livin!

Brick Builders Bible GIVEAWAY!

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the time or the desire to review a book here on the blog and who am I kidding, I don’t really have the time right now with the move, the book I’m writing, the non profit, the teaching, THE EIGHT CHILDREN, but I made time when the Brick Builder’s Illustrated Bible was offered because I have a kid who LOVES anything Lego related.

We purchased a super heroes Bible for him last Christmas and he devours that book. Reads it every day. Loves it, and I’m thinking he’ll do the same thing when he opens this gift under the tree. What an awesome way to incorporate the word of God into a child’s life.

Inside you’ll find all of popular Bible stories that pertain to a child’s interest such as Noah and the Ark, Joseph and Goliath, and of course, the birth of Christ. Each story is simple to read and understand and is complemented by bright Lego characters.

And, guess what?! I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Just comment below with who you’d love to gift a copy of this Bible to. I’ll pick a winner on Monday!

Stay tuned!  I have another giveaway to offer next week!

Just keep livin!

The Cloud is Moving – Courage in the Midst of Change.

It oftentimes takes courage to say that something isn’t working anymore, and truthfully, it hasn’t worked for some time for us.

A little over five years ago our family left Michigan for a dream that included a simple life in rural Tennessee. This is how Ryan and I operate – we hear “GO!”, and we go. We married quickly, Ryan moved to Michigan within months of proposing, and we moved to Tennessee after seeing our current house once. We are decisive, informed, and not prone to obsessing much about how our decisions will be perceived by others outside of our immediate family. To reference a Biblical metaphor, we move with the cloud. Continue reading “The Cloud is Moving – Courage in the Midst of Change.”