The Grief Diaries: A Poem

Grief is a curious thing.
You dip in and out.
A boat at the will of the waves,
Cresting before dropping to a valley and climbing again.
In and out. Up and down.
Back and forth goes my heart.
Doubting, then, trusting. Questioning, then, releasing.
A heart hardened seems safe, but it’s all lies and hollow lives.
A heart softened suffocates on silenced prayers.
I struggle to surrender.
Daily, I fight to bow my knee.
Who will be King? You or me?

The Grief Diaries is a series on grieving. Written with words from real journal entries so others will know they are not alone. I share because I know the power of “with” and hope you can experience it too.

The Grief Diaries: The Power of With

“With.” It’s a simple word. We use it dozens of times a day. But in my grieving, its meaning has changed. No longer is it a simple preposition. It is a reminder of God’s goodness amidst brokenness. 

We were in church, trudging through worship, scoffing at lyrics of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Pausing to speak, the worship leader said, “God is good not because of what He does. God is good because of who He is.” 

My head knew these words, but at that moment, my heart resonated with the truth of them. I know God is good. He is good because He is WITH me in the sadness. He didn’t leave me to walk through this alone. If I will but turn to Him, He is there with me. 

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)

“Praise the Lord; praise God our savior! For each day he carries us in his arms.” Psalm 68:19 (NLT)

In the numbing, unconcern for life, Christ was with me. In spite of the doubt and the accusations I hurled God’s way, He carried me in His arms. As I lay on the floor with tears trailing into my hair the Holy Spirit was with me whispering, “Surrender.” With pain tightening my chest I responded, “I don’t know how to let go.” Even then He stayed with me.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.” Psalm 139:7-12 NKJV

Through grief, I have realized the absolute beauty of this one truth. God is with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. In every dark moment, He is there. We have a choice though. We can open up to Him or we can shut Him out. I pray you will choose to experience the power of with.

The Grief Diaries is a series on grieving. Written with words from real journal entries so others will know they are not alone. I share because I know the power of “with” and hope you can experience it too.

Woods Wedding – Selby Gardens

Lisa Muccio Day of Coordination. Selby Gardens. Michael’s on the Bay. Kirstin Shontere Photography. Ms. Scarlett’s Flowers.

I highly recommend the services of Lisa Muccio as you plan your wedding or other large event.  She is a very organized and sweet person.  Her interaction with anyone involved with our wedding was very well received.  She is an excellent communicator and helped the event go VERY smoothly.  There were all sorts of things Lisa did for us “behind the scenes.”  Things just “magically” happened.  She didn’t constantly come to us asking what we wanted done.  She anticipated lots of “problems” and already had built-in solutions ready.  I have never used a wedding planner and did not know what to expect.  I now KNOW she was indispensable!! 

– Dr. Jamie Lawson, Mother of the Bride

Daniel & Sarah’s Wedding – Sarasota, Florida

Twinkle lights, eucalyptus, and tuscan-style chairs…

Simple & elegant with a sprinkle of fun details perfectly describe everything about Sarah & Daniel’s wedding. From Sarah’s dress to the gorgeous flowers (by Kinspoke) and the cake stands piled with donuts (Five-O Donut Co.).

It was an absolute honor to plan & coordinate this wedding. My personal photos are below. Wedding Photos (above) by Jeremy Rinehart.

The Fear Pandemic

Coronavirus is quickly spreading a pandemic of fear. And fear is a struggle best dealt with spiritually. Breaking free from fear comes down to ONE simple thing.

Stop “managing” your anxiety and praying powerless prayers. You can find freedom today & pray powerful prayers that bring PEACE!

A Bible Verse for your Year

Instead of making resolutions that will be forgotten by February, try asking God to give you a verse for the year. I’m amazed every time I do this that once again God knows what’s coming (go figure ;). This shapes my entire year, and I’m sharing how in this video.

A Charcuterie Board Christmas Party – Hors d’oeuvres Stations + Two Winter Cocktails

I love me a good charcuterie board. And really who doesn’t? So this Christmas I planned a party with boards & platters scattered about the house. The dining table held the largest selection of meats and cheeses. And though this was a party meant for mingling, I left the chairs. Have a few morsels from one board, then move to a new table or chair! See the recipes below for a Smokey Old Fashioned and an Amarula Coffee – both are guaranteed to warm you up this winter.

Smokey Old Fashioned

  • 1 tsp Smoked Maple syrup
  • Bourbon of choice (Michter’s is Josh’s choice)
  • 1 dash of aromatic bitters
  • 2 dashes citrus bitters
  • 1 Filthy black cherry (NOT maraschino)

Stir the above ingredients until maple syrup dissolves. Then pour over a large ice cube and stir again.

Coffee with Amarula + homemade whipped cream

  • Brewed coffee (regular or decaf)
  • Amarula (It’s a South African cream liqueur)
  • cinnamon sugar in a salt shaker
  • 1 c. Heavy whipping cream whipped until peaks form with 1 Tbsp Maple syrup

Mix the coffee and Amarula in a carafe to your preference. Try a ratio of 3 parts coffee to 1 part liqueur. Guests can pour their drink and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

*I forgot a picture of the dessert board but it held bite sized brownies and chocolates along with some cookies a guest brought. (You can see it on the table beneath the TV that showed photos from past Christmases).

3 Keys to Being Friends with other Women

Girls don’t exactly have a reputation for getting along well, but we need each other. Friends make up the support system that is necessary for living life well. In this month’s video I’m focusing on 3 things you can do to build and keep friendships with other women.

Have your Weapon ready while you Work

The story in Nehemiah 4 made a huge impact on me when I read it. As the Israelites are rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after years of captivity it says they worked with one hand and held their weapon with the other in case of attack. As we do the work God has called us to, we must be like the Israelites, ready to fight when the enemy attacks.