Thursday, December 29, 2016


 Ask any parent what matters most in life. Chances are they won't boast about the hours they spend at the office, or the square footage of their home. They will speak about their children.

But sometimes our children turn away, or they are torn away. In my case, my two sons died way too young. 

Others long for children, and aren't blessed with any.

But we can birth spiritual children.

In the rooms of recovery the most precious relationships are those between a sponsor and a sponsee. Shaken and sick, the newcomer asks for help, and someone farther along in their journey grabs them by the hand and they walk together.

"Alice" grew up in a turbulent, drug and alcohol-fueled household. She became selfish and distrustful in order to survive. At age 25, single ,pregnant, and addicted herself, she had no parenting skills. 

Then she gingerly stepped onto the road to recovery. Suddenly, she had a new family. Her sponsor, " Carol" mentored her through the steps. Carol taught her how to show up, grow up, and receive love. Now Alice is a sober, patient, and caring mother.

"Karen" was sexually abused as a child. Her young adulthood was spent drinking her way through abusive relationships. Karen kept her dirty secret for years. When Karen was embraced by her sponsor she learned for the first time that she was a child of God, and worthy of love.

Both of these women broke free from the bondage of their past because of spiritual mentorship!

Ahh those poor 'normies' who don't have our meetings and our fellowship you may wonder. But the same magic occurs every day outside the rooms of recovery! It has been going on since Jesus first walked the earth and mentored his disciples.

Beth Moore, in her bible study book "Breaking Free" talks about our potential for bearing spiritual offspring by impacting the lives of others. Beth cites the example of her friend Johnnie who never had a daughter of her own, but she led a women's ministry for many years at a large church. Her influence blessed countless families!

Those of us who are teachers can do the same. It doesn't matter if you are in the classroom, a recovery clubhouse, or a church basement.

Isaiah 54: 2-3:
 "Enlarge the place of your tent,
 stretch your tent curtains wide,
 do not hold back;
 lengthen your cords.
 strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
 your descendants will dispossess nations
 and settle in their desolate cities."

It is my prayer for myself that I have peace with the fact that my boys are gone from this earth for the time being, and that I am able to take the hand of another sufferer and walk with her through the desolation of this fallen world.

One final thought. Before we become spiritual parents, we must first be willing to become spiritual children ourselves. The women who came before me, battling addiction, suffering tragic losses, remaining unwavering in their faith—they are still teaching me today.

Please contact me and tell me about your experience either as a spiritual child or a spiritual parent. I would love to share your story.

Thursday, December 22, 2016


My teenage son, Chris, had terminal cancer, and we were reminiscing. "What is your favorite memory?" I had asked.

In his thirteen years of life he had enjoyed many privileges such as trips to theme parks, ski adventures, and Caribbean vacations. So his answer surprised me.

"When I was five, Mom, we sat under the Christmas tree and practiced my ABC's."

A tender moment in time—a mother and child enjoying the beauty of Christmas, and sharing a bit of learning.

It makes me think about Christ and his disciples. They walked many miles from town to town as Jesus preached to the crowds. But Jesus would eventually grow weary and gently gather his closest friends. Away from the crowds and excitement they enjoyed a rare and beautiful intimacy.

John 18:1: "When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it."

This is what my Chris had treasured most, our quiet time together. 

And there we were, a mother and child, exploring the very basics of the written word in Englishthe alphabet. Laughing under the tree lights, pursing our lips, making exaggerated letter sounds, unknowingly we had created a cherished memory.

Wise beyond his years, our Chris had known what was important. He was drawn to the quiet moments of love.

This is also what our pastor says every Sunday when he speaks of developing our relationship with the Lord. "Spend quiet time each day in the word."

Dear readers, please don't forget that lesson during this busy holiday season. Find time to put away the electronics and turn off the TV for a while. Listen to the stories of your parents and grandparents. Laugh with your children and grandchildren. Give them each some individual time. And spend some quiet time with the Lord. Unwrap that blessed gift together.

Perhaps you have a loved one who is declining, and you may be enjoying your last Christmas together. Ask them about their favorite memories. Don't miss the chance to make one more.

What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Sunday, December 11, 2016


This time of year Facebook is bursting with cheery images and everyone is wishing each other a "Merry Christmas". But behind closed doors, some of us are suffering. We have lost a loved one, and Christmas will never be the same.

We don't want to dampen your spirits or deny your joy, so we often keep to ourselves, declining invitations, avoiding situations that may become painful.

And that is perfectly okay. For many of us our grief seems magnified over the holidays. We need to give ourselves permission to mourn.

For those of us who have lost children the holidays can be especially sad. I recommend finding creative ways to express our grief. For me it is writing.

CHRISTMAS NEEDLES by Maribeth Ditmars

Those Christmas tree needles poke at my heart,
No child beneath the tree.
Echoes of crinkling paper scrape across my mind,
Nothing to shop for.
Unbaked cookies dry my mouth,
Where tears run by.
A holiday hole no one can fill,
Save the One who cares for him now.
Would that I could sit with you under your celestial tree of life,
Where the angel on the tree is real!
Where hope is my unwrapped gift,
Of a promised place where holidays pale
Beneath the light of eternity.

Whether it is planting a tree, making a quilt, composing a song, running a marathon, creating a work of art, or countless other possibilities I believe that those of us who mourn, if we spend time creating, we will be less likely to be destroyed.

For those of us who grieve, the holidays can also be a poignant reminder that our loved ones are enjoying heaven's riches. This is the whole reason for the season! We have that blessed unwrapped gift to look forward to. We know that we will be reunited with our dear ones in heaven.

Romans 8:18-19 ESV 

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

Matthew 5:4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

 We can share our faith with other bereaved folks. Can you imagine burying your loved one and believing that's all there is? I don't think I'd be able to get out of bed in the morning. Do you know someone like that? Be an ambassador for the broken. This will help us remember that Jesus defeated death.

Not up to it yet? That's okay too. Maybe you know someone further along in their grief journey. Reach out and let them help you.

Either way, don't burden yourself with expectations. If your old holiday traditions don't work any more, make new ones.

If you know someone who is suffering a loss, the greatest Christmas gift you can give them is the act of listening. Don't compare your losses to their's. Just listen. Let them cry. Let them be grumpy. Let them not show up for your party. Just listen.

There is a wonderful ministry for bereaved parents called Emmaus Ministries. (Click here for info.) They offer retreats. Unlike many other bereavement programs Emmaus caters to your spiritual needs. It's run by the Catholic Franciscans, but it is open to all faiths, and no one will try to convert you. They will gently and lovingly console you. The ministry is named after the story in Luke 24 when Jesus first appears to his followers after his resurrection. They were on their way to the village of Emmaus.

As I trudge my own road to Emmaus, I wish you peace dear readers. We are not always merry, but we have the hope of eternity.

I would love to hear your stories! Post a comment on how you are coping with the holidays.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Befriending A Child With Cancer

Cancer takes so much. Don't let it steal friendships too!

I will never forget the day when my Chris was 12 years old, and he sat at our kitchen table with tears in his eyes. You see, this was supposed to be one of his rare golden days. He felt well, and his blood counts were high enough that he could go out in public. But there had been a miscommunication. The ride to the movies with all of the neighborhood kids had left without him.

No big deal for your average 12 year old, but devastating to a child who's life is dominated by debilitating treatments and forced isolation. But it doesn't have to be that way! Here are some suggestions on maintaining a friendship with a young cancer patient.

  • Give the family your phone number and encourage them to call you to schedule a play date at their convenience. Make sure you say this in front of the kids because they'll hold the adults accountable.This will require some flexibility on your part, but the rewards are priceless. 
  • Rent a movie, do Netflix, video games, or board games with the patient at their house. Sometimes cancer patients feel well enough to socialize, but are too immunosuppressed to go out.
  • Take them to an afternoon matinee. Doctors will sometimes give this the okay, because there are fewer crowds and less risk of infection.
  • Have a quiet picnic outdoors. The patient may lack the stamina to run around, but getting out in the sunlight does wonders.
  • Educate your child. Assure them that cancer isn't contagious. Let them know that their friend's appearance may be affected by the chemotherapy, but they are still the same person inside. Answer their questions honestly.
  • Give your child opportunities to be creative.You'll be amazed at the ideas they come up with! One of Chris's friends always asked when his next hospitalization was scheduled and he made sure that he always called. Another friend emailed jokes. One family adopted Chris for Christmas.
  • Visit the patient at the hospital. Children's hospitals are loaded with toys and activities.
  • Don't become frustrated if your patient friend has to cancel at the last minute. Don't give up on the friendship.
  • If the patient isn't allowed visitors use Face Time, Skype, or social media to connect.
  • And most important of all when they are together—let them play and just be kids!

Proverbs 17:17: "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity."

Making the extra effort to befriend a child with cancer not only brightens the patient's life, it teaches compassion and gratitude, and it reminds us that the best things in life come from the heart. You and your child will be blessed beyond measure!

I would love to hear your suggestions. Is there something I should add to the list? Please leave your comments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


"Desire'" tipped back in her chair and flopped onto the floor, bawling in frustration. The five-year old's father had recently gone to prison, and her little world had been turned upside down.

"Armand", who spoke no English, skipped across the room, twirling in circles, tossing crayons into the air. 

"My pencil's gone!" shouted "Marissa", tears welling in her eyes. "Someone stole it!"

The frustrated substitute searched for some more pencils, but the previous teacher had quit unexpectedly, packed up her supplies, and had left the cabinet completely empty.

This was the scene that unfolded before me the other day as I worked in a kindergarten classroom. Perhaps the previous teacher had valid reasons for quitting. She may have realized that the job was too much for her(as it would be for most of us I suspect). But why empty the cabinet? Why not leave tools and supplies to help the next teacher cope?

This experience has given me pause to reflect upon my past failures. Did I move on with grace and dignity or did I leave the cabinet empty?

When I was young and arrogant, a real estate transaction did not go smoothly so I retaliated by setting the alarm and unscrewing all of the lightbulbs before the new owners took possession. When I left a job with an unpopular boss I departed, leaving a trail of sarcastic comments in my wake. In both situations I had done nothing to fill the tool cabinet for my predecessors.

I had told myself that it was okay to leave the way I did because the situation was unpleasant, or they were making unreasonable demandsnot unlike being thrust into a room full of needy five year-olds. 

I used to keep score. If my perception of someone else was that they had committed more wrongs than I did, then I was justified in getting even. The bible tells us otherwise.

1 Peter 3: 9: NIV "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because this to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."

When I succumbed to my addiction, and my personal tool cabinet was empty, some caring women opened their cabinet and shared with me. Their past failures became stories of hope for me. They readily admitted their mistakes, and they taught me how to forgive and move forward with my shortcomings.

They taught me how to make amends, and to make an honest effort to set things right. 

The verse above hints at eternal blessings, but I have already received earthly blessings as well. Several years ago I had a falling out with a friend. My attempts at reconciliation had been rejected. It had taken great effort on my part to smile and be polite whenever I saw her.

After several years of giving me cold stares, one day she approached me and apologized, admitting her part. How grateful I was that I had held my tongue! My tools had served me well.

Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

 When my son, Chris, was diagnosed with leukemia, I was frustrated when I couldn't find meaningful literature for young cancer patients. I wrote my children's cancer book, "The Bald-Headed Princess". I wanted to leave something in the cabinet for the next scared patient.

It is unlikely that the teacher who quit will stop by to fill the cabinet and help the new teacher transition into a challenging situation, but she reminded me that I can still do that for others.

What's in your cabinet?

Monday, November 7, 2016


A year ago my husband, Rob, and I sold our house and bought an RV. Going from a four bedroom house to such a small living space has certainly been an adjustment. It has also been a learning experience.

One of the most important tasks in RV living is dumping the waste. Beneath our unit is  a black water holding tank. Every time we flush our waste goes into that tank until we empty it each week. If we forget, well, it really stinks!

For those of us in recovery, dumping our emotional waste is vital. Many of us crammed anger, resentment, and fear into our tanks for years without flushing. Instead we just poured alcohol, drugs, food, work, or whatever our obsession was on top, hoping that our problems would just dissolve. Imagine sprinkling Pine Sol into an overflowing toilet!

In the fourth step we learn to identify our poop. We begin by listing our resentments. This is followed by a list of the causes and how we were affected. We realize that our fears and resentments have made us spiritually sick. It is like reading the monitor panel in the RV that tells us when our tank is full.

But we don’t stop there—we must look at our part! Regarding each resentment we write honestly how we have been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking, and fearful.

 In the fifth step we flush. We admit to ourselves, to God, and to another person the nature of our wrongs. If we don't cleanse our tank we will remain sick. Without the fifth step flush we are hanging onto all of our excuses for drinking and drugging again. The stench in our hearts often becomes too difficult to bear without numbing it with substances. Almost without exception, everyone I've known who has relapsed did so before they completed steps four and five.

I do not believe this is mere coincidence. Without this cleansing process we have no tools to cope with the difficulties of life in a fallen world. We must dump our old behaviors to make room for the new attitudes and behaviors that we will learn as we continue through the steps. Having a trusted person, such as a sponsor, carefully and prayerfully take us through this step illuminates our former wrong way of thinking. It's like the little plastic section of pipe that we have attached to our sewer hose. It allows us to see what is coming out!

1 John 1:9 ESV 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

At this point, I suppose I should apologize for discussing poop and quoting scripture in the same passage, but in Isaiah 64:6 our deeds are compared to filthy rags, so I don't think I'm too far off.

There is only on person, Jesus Christ, who can permanently dispose of our imperfect waste, but until we meet him face to face, we can help each other.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Last week I had the opportunity to dive into the beautiful waters of Grand Cayman and explore the sunken wreck of the USS Kittiwake.

Every time I go scuba diving I'm in awe of the stunning beauty that lives below the surface. The vibrant colors of the fish and the intricate patterns of coral provide a living showcase. Every single inch is alive with movement. What a testimony to God's creativity!

But the USS Kittiwake didn't start out as a hotel for fish. It was a World War II submarine rescue vessel designed to support Navy submarine missions. In 2011 it was deliberately sunk off the coast of Grand Cayman to create an artificial reef.

As I swam through the corridors and hatchways, spying the corals and tube sponges sprouting from the sides of the vessel, watching schools of shimmering fish dart about, it occurred to me that the designers of this ship probably never imagined that it would rest serenely on the bottom of the sea nestling an abundance of life.

It also occurred to me that I am a wreck as well. Much of my life has not gone according to my plans. I have also been sunk.

Psalm 31:12 ESV: "I  have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a  broken vessel."

 My hopeful plans for the futures of my two sons have been sunk. They both died at very young ages. My aspirations for my daughter have been sunk. She is a struggling single parent. We have lost a lucrative business—torpedoed  and sunk during the great recession.

 Have you been shipwrecked too? 

The bible doesn't promise that we won't have adversity, as a matter of fact, it states just the opposite.

John 16:33 NIV: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Besides  predicting trouble; however, God's word promises peace if we learn to rely upon Him.

Matthew 5:3-4 ESV : “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

 There is a special place in God's heart for those of us who mourn. We who are shipwrecked can ask God to repurpose our lives like the Kittiwake.

When my first son, Chris, died, and I felt myself sinking into emotional and spiritual depths, I turned to alcohol for comfort. At first it felt like a safe little lifeboat, but eventually, I sank even deeper into despair. But now I am an active member of a 12 step program that has given new purpose to my life. 

Sometimes I am the ship, and I provide shelter for other suffering women, particularly those who struggle with loss and addiction. I can testify that my sons are with the Lord, and I will see them again. I can have hope and stay sober.

Other times, I am the pretty little fish, swimming over to a meeting, looking for comfort and fellowship.

Another way that God has redesigned my sunken vessel is through my writing. I have connected with others who have lost children and with families struggling with cancer. 

In this fallen world, those of us who are sunk have the opportunity to become an artificial reef for others, and in turn, we enjoy the beauty and color of intimate relationships.

Has God begun to repurpose your life as well? Or are you still sinking? I'd love to hear about it. 

John 12:24 ESV / 

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Relapses in Recovery

Many of us who are in recovery have relapsed or " gone back out" as they say. If you are in that category then this blog post is for you!

First and foremost, if you are reading this, there is hope for you.

 Let me tell you about my friend "Ben". Ben was a tavern owner for many years. He had the perfect alcoholic job! Since he made his livelihood selling booze he was a happy camper for a while. But then, like many of us, he lost everything.

Another thing Ben lost track of was his number of relapses. He did, however, remember how many half way houses he had lived in before he finally got the program. The total was 13! He would get settled in, drink, get asked to leave, then start the cycle all over again. This process took years of his life and frequently rendered him homeless.

When I met Ben he had over 20 years sober. I saw a responsible member of society. He was sponsoring other men, and he was enjoying life. When Ben passed away a few years ago he died of natural causes, not alcoholism. His legacy lives on for me, because I will never forget his 13 half-way houses! I can only imagine the number of people that Ben helpedpeople who had thought they were hopeless.

Galatians 6:9: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Secondly, I wish to remind my readers not to be ashamed to come back. We love you, and we need you! Helping new-comers as well as retreads does two things for us. It brings us joy, and it keeps us sober. Have you ever considered the fact that your participation in the program actually helps your sponsor?

Remember the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. After disrespecting his father and squandering his inheritance, the hard-partying son came back with his tail between his legs expecting a harsh reprimand and a lowly position. What he got instead was an embrace and a full restoration of his former status. We do the same in the rooms! Instead of a gold ring we give you chips and key tags, but the love and the acceptance are the same.

"Karen" was a friend whom I saw at meetings regularly. She had an advanced degree and held a respectable job. She disappeared from the rooms for a while, then returned full of tears and remorse. She spoke of how embarrassed by her relapse she was. 

Do you know what was on my mind the whole time Karen was sharing? My first reaction to seeing her after her long absence was delight, followed immediately by a sense of relief. I couldn't wait to give her a hug and invite her out to coffee. Unfortunately Karen snuck out before the meeting ended. She had let shame get the best of her. Don't be a "Karen!" Give yourself the opportunity to reconnect.

My first sponsor always told me that relapse is not a requirement, but it is so common that for many of us it has become an important step towards the acknowledgment of our powerlessness. Some folks even make light of it and refer to it as "research and development".  But we must be cautious here, and not give ourselves permission to relapse for we can't ever forget how deadly this disease is.

This brings to mind "Alex". He used his youth as an excuse. In his early twenties, he went on one last outing with his party friends. He had just completed a 30 day inpatient rehab, and was planning on starting the steps after his little trip. Alex thought he had all of the time in the world, but he didn't survive that weekend. Being young doesn't mean you are allotted more relapse time!

And finally, when we do return to the program, we must share our struggles and be thoroughly and rigorously honest! Of course, the intimate details we save for our sponsor's ears(This is accomplished by a fourth and fifth step as it it outlined in the literature.)but it is beneficial to ourselves and to others to share in general what type of problems we may be tackling at the moment.

Since my story is one of devastating loss( the death of 2 of my children) I have the privilege of reminding others that it is possible to stay sober while enduring every mother's worst nightmare. Ben's story was a shining light for the habitually homeless. Your story will help someone too! You can turn your relapse experience into valuable insight for others.

Let me conclude by telling you about my dear "Dana". At the time we both had about 5 years sober, and I identified very closely with Dana as our stories and backgrounds were very similar. Dana was chairing meetings, sponsoring others, and doing service work at the central office. One day I walked into our local recovery club and saw Dana's picture on a table with a candle next to it. She had put a gun to her head.

In tears, I asked a mutual friend, what could have possibly gone wrong? Fear gripped me. "Am I next?" I asked her.

"No way, Maribeth," she replied. "You share your pain at the meetings. You see, Dana was always 'fine' every time someone asked her. She hid herself in service work and never looked at her own issues." 

So when you do come back after a relapse, please come back all the way! Get a sponsor, follow the directions, and share your story. Remember, half measures availed us nothing. We will be waiting with open arms. 

Matthew 10:27: "Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God;all things are possible with God."

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thorns and Roses on the Journey

 I remember sitting in church as a child hearing the story of Paul’s thorn in the flesh:

2 Corinthians 12:7 : "... a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited."

I recall trying to figure out exactly what Paul’s thorn was. Did he have a barb stuck in his foot? Maybe one leg was shorter than the other so he walked like Frankenstein. Did he break out in hives whenever he had to preach? Was it migraines?  Or perhaps he suffered from the heartbreak of psoriasis! This curious kid just had to know, and she was somewhat annoyed that no one had the answer.

Later in life, I realized that that was the point. We aren’t supposed to identify Paul’s thorn because we each have our own unique thorn, our own type of brokenness. We are supposed to model Paul’s acceptance and fill in the blank with our own thorn.

One of the people I admire most, Richard Wurmbrand, was a Christian minister in communist Romania. In his book "Tortured for Christ" he describes his multiple imprisonments, torture, and the persecution of his family. He suffered unimaginable physical pain as well as many cruel indignities. 

Another person I greatly admire is Mary McCleod Bethune.  Bethune, an educator who lived at the turn of the century, was burdened by the lack of educational opportunities for African Americans, particularly the girls. She rented a house and started her own school, soliciting door to door, asking for wood crates and donations of furniture. They used charcoal for pencils and crushed berries for ink. 

Probably, the person I admire who has influenced me the most is Bill Wilson. His thorn was uncontrollable alcoholism that tried to steal his health, his family, and his livelihood. One day in 1935 Bill accepted that he couldn’t drink safely anymore and he called his friend Bob. They met together to share their common problem and seek a spiritual solution.

All of these thorny examples have one thing in commonthey sprouted roses! Like oysters that require an irritant to grow a pearl, they produced beauty from pain.

Richard Wurmbrand's thorn of torture eventually produced the worldwide organization "The Voice of the Martyrs". The VOM has a network of offices that support persecuted churches around the globe.

Bethune's thorn of prejudice spurred her tireless efforts that won her national recognition from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and led to the founding of Bethune-Cookman College, later to become Behtune-Cookman University.

Bill's thorn of alcoholism gave birth to a global fellowship that has helped millions recover from hopeless addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that now serves 117,000 groups in approximately 170 countries. AA is so successful that judges regularly sentence offenders to attend meetings rather than go to jail

My thorn is tremendous loss. First I lost my teenage son,Chris, to cancer, then the recession devastated our financial stability, and finally, last year we lost our other son, Jarrod.

 I haven’t built any schools or started any worldwide organizations, but I’m gradually learning  how to cultivate the roses.

One of my roses has been staying sober through all of my tragedies(Thank you Bill!). Others in the rooms of recovery have told me that I have inspired them.

Another of my roses has been my writing. I have received emails from folks telling me that my books have helped them.

But I still struggle, and probably will for a long time. The gentle scent of  the roses keeps me going. I remind myself that Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns as he secured for us our place in eternity. There I bet the roses bloom year around!

So what is your thorn? Have the roses stated budding? I would love to hear about it. Please post a comment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I Wanna Be Like the Birds

I didn't post last week because we were stranded in a little town  in South Carolina. Our diesel truck had to have surgery at the 'Ford' hospital. Since we live in our fifth wheel RV that means our home was stranded too. Unable to limp to a campground we spent several days in a dingy motel where we could walk to a restaurant.

Harvey the RV towed by The Green Beast

With both of our boys in heaven, life's trials sometimes weigh heavier than usual. To make matters worse our patio furniture that we had in the truck bed came loose and smashed our rear window. Did I mention that the forecast was for rain?

As I walked our dog, Marley, along the dreary access road by the interstate the constant hum of traffic reminded me how stuck I feel sometimes. Everyone else was going somewhere. Meanwhile my grief had grabbed onto me and made me feel trapped.

Then I heard the birds. They twittered joyfully away in a fume-stunted tree along the highway. Content in their little pocket paradise, they chirped as merrily as any bird residing in the finest garden. "I wanna be like the birds." I sighed wistfully.

Psalm 104:12: "Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches."

I want to be at peace in my tree of life as chaos whizzes by. I want to rest on my branch tweeting on my computer, knowing my purpose, protected from the ugliness around me. However, in a fallen world that isn't always possible.

Psalm 55:6 "I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest."
But I also want someone to hear my song and be comforted. I hope my blogs and tweets make a bit of music along the busy roadside. No matter difficult my life is right now I know that my Chris and Jarrod are in heaven waiting for me. That is my song!
When I want to stop worrying about the uncertainties of my life I can take a lesson from the birds.
Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"

Occasionally, God allows miracles. When our Chris was on his deathbed, my husband, Rob, asked Chris to put a feather under his pillow to let us know that he had arrived in heaven safely. Chris outdid himself by sending us a whole pile of feathers! It was as if a flock of joyful birds had soared over us to remind us that God had heard our request. (To read the story click here:

Psalm 91:4 "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

As Marley and I walked back to my motel room a small feather swirled in the wind in front of my face. I watched it dance lightly back and forth on the breeze, almost as if it were trying to encircle me. I picked it up and brought it back with me to remind myself that I can't see the wind, but I know it's there. God is like that. We can't see him, but we can hear him when the birds sing.