Friday, January 30, 2015

This Blog Has Been Temporarily Hijacked by Toxic Chemicals

Alternate title: I Might Have Written Something Here That Was Entertaining If I Hadn't Contracted Breast Cancer

Third week of October, 2014.
I am visiting my daughter, grandson, and son-in-law in College Station, TX.
We are sitting around watching TV while Case is napping. It’s a show I probably never would've watched had the TV not already been tuned in to the channel.  The three of us were mesmerized by the story.  This was not a sensational news event, a titillating drama, or a hilarious, satirical comedy that usually sucks us in. It was a cancer documentary.  An interview with cancer survivors. Did I mention that this was something I never would have been tempted to watch if it just hadn’t been for the stars aligning?

After we watched Giuliana Rancic interview several women in broadcasting as they told their stories of cancer diagnosis and their fight to beat the disease, the question was asked, “Mom, do you have regular mammograms?”

“No. I've never had one.”

Dramatic Silence.


Cue justified defensive noises.

I promised them that I would get one....I wasn’t AGAINST them...always too busy to schedule it....etc. And I meant it.

When I got home I decided to give myself a cursory self-exam.


There it was.
A huge knot.

What happened next in a nutshell:

Primary Care doc called.
Appointment made.
Exam done.
Mammo and Ultrasound scheduled.
First trip to Women’s Center.
Easy as Pie.
Radiologist schedules biopsy.
Not quite as “pie- easy” but not bad.
“It’s cancer.”
Surgical team called in.
Lumpectomy performed.
Margins clear.
Nodes clear.
Genomic Oncotype test performed.
Risk of Recurrence: high side of normal.
Chemo recommended.
Decision made. we are.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear before we go any further:

I am not an expert on cancer survival.
I am not the voice of all breast cancer victims.
I am concurrently, NOT strong, and NOT a victim.

When something like this happens, your little shoulder angels flutter down and land. I have three. I will introduce them to you (by name):

Glinda. The Good Angel.
Glinda would tell me things like: “You are gonna sail right through this!”
“You’re not going to need chemo!”
“Women all over the world are made stronger by this.”

I’ll call the more realistic one Diane Sawyer.
Diane tells me, “This is going to require a lot of time off.”
“You’re going to have to start doing some research.”
"How many opinions are you going to get?"
“You should've taken better care of yourself.”

And then there’s the noisy one.
Al Sharpton. (You know....all angels aren't good ones...#rememberthefall)
Al is warning me that I’m going to be sick. I’m going to have to depend on people. I’m going to be bald. I’m going to have to start wearing pink tutus to breast cancer walkathons, and go to support meetings, and my mother is going to freak out and need me more than ever (which actually fits into any scenario) and my kids and husband are going to get tired of me being tired and that I don’t have enough sick days to cover this “illness” and treatment. AND I’M NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO FLY TO TENNESSEE AND TEXAS TO VISIT MY GRANDBABIES.

Dangit, Al.

The very truth of the matter is that all of the angel voices were right....except the part about the tutus. But I’m living with it and learning from it. 

And my family.....

My family.

I can’t even. (It’s hard to type through the blurred vision.)

The truth about my family is that I have nurtured them and loved them enough. They have learned how to give back. I have been given the gift of never having felt more love in my life. Not everyone gets that gift. I am learning how to accept the gift, however hard that might be.

And my family is a lot larger than I originally imagined.

You can feel sorry for me if you would like. You can pity my dehydrated mouth and throat, my chronic upset stomach, my pitiful supply of red blood cells as they fight for survival, my sleep deprivation and nausea, and even perhaps the loss of hair. But the ones who actually deserve the pity are the ones who have no family or friends to step up and help them through this. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to go through EVEN ONE DAY without a text or call or card or gift of support. People I don’t even know pray for me.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I’m not through this yet and I know there are many lessons to be learned.
So IF I were to try and make a point prematurely, it might be this:

Don’t wait until you’re the person that needs help, only to find that you've never given it.

Y'all this is not the hardest thing I've ever been through.
This is not the worst thing I will ever live through.
This will be one of the best learning experiences I will ever have.
This will give me the best gift one could ever have in this life...strength, character, compassion and the value of family.

Don't hate me because I'm a cheesy cancer survivor. Hate me because I'm obnoxious as hell about it. And please stay tuned to more obnoxious-isms about it. Or don't.

My first "outing" after coming out of the chemo cloud was to walk on the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier.

What has helped you through your battle with cancer and it's demon treatments?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Red is the New Black

It suddenly dawned on me the other day that I finally like myself.
I could end this post here and be alright with it. (You, dear reader, would probably prefer that I did just that.)
How did I come to this conclusion?
Let's go back in time.

I wonder if you've ever been like me.
And by "like me" I  mean hard on others.
It's the classic "low self esteem" residual effect when you attempt to feel better about yourself by minimizing others. I can spot it a mile away in other people.

"She's just unhappy."
"She doesn't like herself."
"She is crying out for validation."

Having low self esteem, a.k.a. not liking oneself/low self-worth is not an unusual trait. Actually, I suspect it is pretty common. Especially among women.

I grew up with a patient, loving, browbeaten genius of a father and an anxious, demanding mother. B+ wasn't good enough. I wasn't allowed to be a cheerleader or a Girl Scout because that would not further my career or social standing. I was allowed to take piano lessons and singing lessons because that would put me on stage at church. (My piano teacher of 7 years sorely wished I had taken up cheerleading instead.) Both of my parents were raised during the depression. My father thought everyone was poor and enjoyed his barefooted years to the hilt. My poor mother somehow knew there was another class of people out there beyond her South Georgia homestead and for 70 years, to this day, strives to be someone she isn't. (and doesn't need to be) Nothing was ever good enough.

Marry that part of my maternal genealogy with my hefty paternal genes and you get poor self esteem.

It's not like I didn't ever accomplish anything. I dated regularly, was in an exclusive singing ensemble in high school, had friends, clothes, good grades, etc. I was not disfigured or slow witted or particularly weird. (a little weird, yes.) As an adult I snagged a handsome husband, had amazing kids, made some good friends, threw fun parties, loved Jesus, and never got fired from a job. My friends and family thought me wonderful and supported me 100%. However, the chubby kid who was taller than every other kid in kindergarten and had a face full of acne in 10th grade couldn't come to terms with what it means to love herself. She couldn't, in turn, show acceptance to others.

As an adult, I found myself becoming critical of others. Especially those of you who were smart, beautiful, successful, and friendly.
And whaddya know? Those were the very same attributes I found lacking in myself!

In seasons of spiritual growth, I would even pray for God to love others through give me the power to love as He loved because I recognized in myself what I termed a "black heart". I would even joke about it with my husband. Luckily he saw more of my heart than was showing all those years.

I'm tired of having a black heart. It's exhausting holding you to a higher standard than myself. It's destructive to belittle you just because you are amazing. I'd like to say I'm done with that but we both know that there will be days that I am not fully covered with God's armor and a fiery dart of disparagement will make it's way into my heart for a time.

This is how I know I like myself now. I am consistently seeing you for the exceptional person you are. God has allowed me to empathize with your pain and your struggles without judging you. Because you are stunningly beautiful, I am no longer envious, but appreciative of God's handiwork. I am also mature enough to realize that your beauty does not exempt you from suffering.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment I started liking myself because it was most likely a process that started when I went back to college after 30 years of feeling under-educated. That decision entailed sacrifice, neglect , and the painful realization that I should have done this way earlier because you absolutely cannot retain the information you receive at 50 the same way you can at 20. If you go back to school at 50 and major in visual arts and have no tattoos, you will not fit in. If you are a Christian you will not fit in. If you are sensitive to cricism, you will not fit in.

Stretching yourself = liking yourself.

If you see yourself in these words, I know how you feel. I know that you lay your head down on a troubled pillow at night . I know that you enter into a room full of people looking for an exit. I know that you have built a wall around your heart and to be transparent makes you feel nausated. I know that it's difficult for you to believe that you are loved.

As I wind up this post, I can honestly tell you that I love you.
My prayer for you is that you allow yourself to love others.  It's okay. It won't hurt.
People may hurt you but the act of loving won't.
And then LIKE YOURSELF. Because you're pretty d@#& awesome*.

Here's my old black heart being filled with the blood of Christ who showed me the same grace he expects me to show others.

( I'm so glad I went to art school and can draw beautiful metaphors like this.)

There may be a few readers who know me and are thinking, "She's still mean!" That may be true, but it's not because I don't like myself, it's probably because you've been a jerk to someone I love. I most certainly have not overcome that problem yet.

*dang (what did you think I meant?)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The French Fries at the Bottom of the Bag

Don't act like you don't stop at McDonald's for the occasional order of french fries. And that is because they are the:



You know how you thoughtlessly munch on those hot sticks of salty manna and come to the bottom of the box and don't feel anymore in there? You immediately jerk to attention and start scooting your hand around the bag for more? And there at the bottom of the bag lies two more french fries. And you feel relief/exhilaration/victorious as if they are the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's factory. There's a scientific principle at work here. It is this:

There will always be french fries at the bottom of the bag...even when you don't feel anymore left in the box.

I experience this phenomenon on almost a daily basis.

This past weekend my most of my family gathered in Nashville for the celebration of Belle's first year with us. Belle, in case you don't know, is the most beautiful baby girl on this planet. My son's daughter. She's a sassy mix of rainbow and butterflies and jalapeno. It was a whirlwind weekend in which we were there not even 30 hours. Not even a day and a half.

I'm not a good leaver.

It's ALWAYS hard for me to say goodbye to one of my loved ones. (especially when there's a baby in the mix.) I am usually sad for an hour or two after we back out of the driveway. This time I was really down for some reason even though I knew we weren't going to be there long and I knew we wouldn't have much one on one time and I was totally prepared for it...just glad to be going to the party. The fact that I was also getting a migraine headache didn't help either. You know the kind that makes you throw up?

So I'm laying on the foam mattress in the back of the van on the way home, waiting for my medicine to kick in, and this happens... I find the french fries at the bottom of the bag.

A hand reaches over the back seat of the van and starts gently scratching my back and massaging my temples. Then a conversation ensues from the two persons in the back seat, one of whom is scratching my back.

Bobby: "I'm picking my nose."

Grandaddy (from the front seat): "Bobby, don't pick your might stick your finger in your brain."
Bobby: "Mommy, can I die if I pick my nose?"
Andrea: "No Bobby. You won't die. You can pick your nose if you need to. I don't care." 
Bobby: "Mommy can I give oo a hug?"
Ange: "Of course, baby!"

Snippets of conversations between a mama and her three year old. Priceless.
I felt as if I was being given a special gift at that moment. A gift wrapped in blonde hair. Two kinds of blonde hair: spiky with dark roots and fuzzy like a duckling hair.

Thank you God for the gifts you give. The ones that show up when the french fry box is empty.

"I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart…I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word." Ps. 138:1-2

Happy Birthday, Karen. ♥

Monday, January 6, 2014

Six Reasons Not To Read Lists

Tis the season for everyone to post and repost lists on their social media pages. Not one to be left at the dock, I have decided to make my own list of the reasons not to read lists.

  1. Lists aren’t special. Who is the final expert on deciding 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Become a Better Person? Why should I read a list that suggests it is the final word on choosing the 10 best of anything? Couldn’t Charles Manson publish a list like this? Howard Stern? What about Justin Beiber? Would everyone read it and belieb it? (Don’t you see why I had to do that?)
36 Ways to keep the faith! But reinvent your life after you keep that faith, because you could meet 
Iyanla Vanzant and have an amazing SEXY YOU YEAR. Keep that faith honey.

Don't even bother to read the 27 Instant Room Upgrades when you can skip down to the fine, 
naughty print at bottom right for five heinous habits you just must keep.

  1. How do you determine a true #1? While I certainly do Google the “best of” in categories like electronics, hotels, poison ivy remedies, spaghetti squash recipes and baby products, I can find 38 different first choices for “best domestic bed and breakfast with a working chicken coop”. This gives me cause to doubt exactly which IS the best chicken coop at which to stay on my hard earned vacation.

  1. These lists, whether online or in print, are basically designed to sell something in the end. Have you read a list that did not have advertising included? Just the other day, I accidentally clicked on 8 Ways to Ensure Survival and there in perky flash format were two Anime’ pixies, dancing and beckoning me to START GAME…which is just a tantalizing way to get you to join a video game club. All the while a Comcast ad is pulsating across the top of the screen. (BTW, the #2 way to ensure survival is to develop colonies on other planets…in suspending floating cities or giant balloons…I’m sharing this tidbit so you’ll be prepared in the end…and I won’t be in the floating balloon by myself.)
20 Bright Ideas to ReCharge your Body (and most would require you charging your credit card as well), 
14 Favorite Beauty Products in the World! Do you know what this means? We are going to have to go down 
to a gold mine in Guyana and dig us up some mineral rich soil that someone will somehow formulate into a 
cappuccino colored silky cream with bits of rare cobra venom guaranteed to 
paralyze your wrinkles and scare them from ever returning.

  1. Nobody has time to read all those lists. The time it takes for us to read those lists, we could memorize something useful. Like our children’s social security numbers, our license plate number, or our password for iTunes so that we can download a grammar app.

  1. Why do people assign an arbitrary number to their lists? I’ll tell you why. (See above mag cover...14 Favorite Beauty Products in the World) If they write, “The 30 Best….” or “The 25 Worst….” most people will not take the time to read it. I say choose a number less than 10 so that it will be more tempting. And more than 5 so that you can act like you've done a little research. The enumeration of lists is ridiculous. Yet I can’t seem to stop doing it.

  1. Reading lists is not going to improve your life. Neither will reading a blog post for that matter. It may entertain and even cause us to obnoxiously inject it upon our friends but honestly, who has added depth or value to a conversation by quoting a list? How can one possibly keep up with all the lists out there?

Because I am feeling benevolent, I am going to write my final list. The one that counts. The one that is unequivocally true. The one quoted from the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom. The one that actually WILL add value and accomplishment and completion to your life.

Love God.
Love People.

I did not make that up or arbitrarily decide to use two statements. I did a little research. It’s right here.

That’s pretty much the only list that matters to me.

Before you get indignant and return to me all of the lists I have sent to you, publicly humiliating me, just know that I own up to having read and shared a good many lists. Including this one…and most every other blogpost I've written.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Late to the Train....

      You know how trends get started, right?  A few of the cooler people start saying/wearing/creating something that's a tad different than the normally accepted style/technique and then an edgy magazine will utilize this new thing in a few photographs, then a celebrity will start tweeting about it and then if you're lucky, a rock star will pick it up.... voila! You've got a trend.

Let's talk about all the trends I missed...a few of these on purpose:

  1. fingerless gloves
  2. parachute pants
  3. members only jacket
  4. stirrup pants
  5. swatch watches
  6. pogs & pokemon
  7. grunge rock (Nirvana, Pearl jam)
  8. Converse "Chucks"
  9. Twitter

Ones i wish I'd missed:

  1. shoulder pads

Very late to:

  1. cell phone
  2. call waiting
  3. Facebook
  4. DVR
  5. blue nail polish

  1. Music:
My parents did not listen to music...ever. I can remember going to the record section at Sears and not knowing what to get. I kept looking at Iron Butterfly's In a Gadda Da Vida cover and trying to muster up the guts to buy it.
      So whenever I was fortunate enough to be able to buy records, i would play them until the needle had to be replaced on the turntable. Here is a short list of my first 45's:

  • Sooner or Later - the Grass Roots
  • Hey Jude - Beatles
  • Eric Burdon and War - Spill the Wine (I have no idea how or why I acquired this)
  • Lay Down - Melanie - Check out these lyrics:

"Lay down, lay down, lay it all down

Let your white birds smile

At the ones who stand and frown

We were so close, there was no room

We bled inside each other's wounds

We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace"

       OMG! Totally typical 60's Woodstock crap. My best friend and I couldn't understand what she was saying in the chorus. We thought it was "Lay Down, Lay Down, Lay it all down, Let your white bird smile up, at one plain and brown." ( I thought it was a racial slur.)

I'm proud to say my musical tastes have improved.

But the saddest, most important thing I was late for:


I was in favor of receiving it.
But giving it was different.
As I enter into the "middle ages", it has become easier for me to realize that people do dumb, selfish things all of their lives because of human nature, lack of nurture, pride and stupidity. Knowing this releases me from judgment. I used to unconsciously categorize people: "divorced", "addict", "smoker", "unfaithful", "narrow-minded", "backslider", "liberal", "lazy", "thief", "psycho", etc. Now I intentionally try to see the whole person. I was raised like many others, thinking a good Christian was always in the right. What the heck is a "good Christian" anyway? The only categories I want people to put me in is "good mother", "supportive and loving wife", "creative", "fun", and "full of God's grace". 

People, Hop on Grace. Do not miss it.

I'm sorry I was late giving grace, Lord. Thank you for spilling your grace all over us with the intention that we pick it up and carry it to someone else.
And thank you that grace is not a trend. Amen.

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."  2 Cor. 9:8

In the interest of full disclosure, I think you should know that I still put people in the "psycho" category.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Worst Part of Growing Old

That title is strictly subjective. I'm sure if you asked 100 people over 50 what they hated most about growing old, you would get 100 different answers including these:

  • Losing hair
  • Losing skin elasticity
  • Age spots
  • Poor eyesight
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Listening to your friends who are also getting old.
  • And all the other boring stuff .
Just peruse through "Prevention" magazine or "Readers Digest" and look at the ads. Ew.

Today I am going to reveal to you, my faithful reader, what is the worst part of growing old for me.

Losing a parent.

We blame our parents for practically everything, at most every stage of life we travel through. Then they become old and unhealthy and have the same attitude as we did when we were 6 and that's how we have to treat them. No one is prepared for this. No matter how many well-meaning people try to tell you what it's like parenting your parents. We rarely step back and breath in the blessings and wisdom and naked, raw love that our parents show us. Until it's too late.

Last week my father died. 
It was rather sudden. He lived in a nursing home and suffered with advanced Parkinson's disease. His mind was intact, however. More so than some people my age. But God decided it was time to bring Floyd into his elite circle. So we are learning to let him go. 

Those of you who know me, know that I was a daddy's girl. Always was. I can remember one day having a horrible fight with my mother so I jumped on my bike and rode several miles across a 6 lane highway to my dad's office. I walked in and plopped down in his lap and just cried out my frustrations. I was 14...much too big for his lap. But he just listened and patted my back. I felt so much better then. We had an unspoken code between us. "You and Me Against The World" or something very melodramatic like that.

I have a baby granddaughter due this week. God seems to replace the old saints with new ones. Even though he won't get to hold her, he will get to see her every day now. Dad will like that. He loved my kids and their kids. I am so blessed beyond measure that Floyd Griffin was my father. I am not going to keep writing my feelings because this would get way too mushy and personal and you did not come here for that. What I will do is share with you what I learned from him. 

by Barbara Burks

How to hold hands.

I have been holding my dad's hand since my first memories of him. He was a hand-holder and a patter. Even when I was a teenager I was never embarrassed to be seen holding my father's soft hand. He had "engineer" hands. Because all he did was draw schematics, hold a solder gun, and read Popular Mechanics. My first-born is also a hand holder and a patter. Bless her.

How to shoot a gun.

I was about 6 years old when I received my first pistol shooting lesson. He used to take my brother and I to the county dump and set up targets for us with cans and bottles. If you want to make memories with your kids...take them to the dump and empty a few rounds into someone's old mattress. I believe that because of our exposure to both the fun AND dangers of all guns, I was never tempted to play with his vast collection when he wasn't around.


Floyd Griffin was the most patient man on this earth. (He HAD to be to raise me.) He never lost his cool, was never rude to anyone, and never raised his voice. Let me be clear, I am not always like that...but he TAUGHT it to me, nonetheless.

What to look for in a husband.

First and foremost, my father never expected me to "look" for a husband, thank goodness. My husband, Buddy, does not quite share all of Floyd's qualities...his hands are not soft and he is not quiet. But having Floyd for a father made me seek a man who could make me feel protected, who can fix anything like my Dad (we rarely ever had to call a repairman and Buddy refuses to!) and who loves being with family. My parents were married for nearly 60 years and I pray I can show my children that same level of commitment.


Floyd made math almost fun. He got me through 12 years of it so that I would never have to take it again. This is probably where he developed his patience.

The value of education.

My dad was the first to graduate college in his family. He went to Georgia Tech on a GI Bill as a newlywed and held down several jobs, one being a janitor. He loved his profession (engineering) with a passion. That is probably one reason I was obnoxious about my kids going to college. I didn’t really care what their major was, as long as they completed school. Dad was very proud of all of them for getting their degrees. That could have been one reason I decided to go back to school to complete my college education at the age of 50. I now proudly wear his class ring as my own. 
Let your children be who they are.

My father never tried to change me. He would definitely discipline me if (when) I got out of line, but he was either proud of everything I did, or just tolerated it. He did not want me to be anybody else:
  • When I was convinced I'd be a professional polka dancer and would polka in circles around his chair for hours, him never looking up or telling me to stop...
  • When I created special concoctions to quench his thirst, such as 1/2 tea and 1/2 coke called "tea-cola" that I was positive he would love, he would drink it and say, "delicious." I tasted some just the other day in a moment of nostalgia. Not delicious...
  • When a raccoon wandered into our yard and we made him catch it and put it in a cage for a few days so we could have a pet raccoon, feeding it Honeycomb cereal and chicken bones...
  • When cartwheels were my preferred mode of transportation...

I sincerely hope I have allowed my children to be who they are because we who've been celebrated as children, will in turn celebrate our own.

To be content with what I have.

Floyd was a low maintenance kind of guy. Certainly he needed a lot of care in his old age...but besides that, was extremely easy to please. He taught me not to want what everyone else has just because they have it and I don't. He taught me the value of a dollar by teaching me about the stock market when I asked him what all those numbers on 4 pages of the newspaper were for. He had me choose a stock (Winn Dixie) and we watched it everyday. The exhausting and unsatisfying journey of climbing a social ladder never appealed to me because of the lessons I learned from the man who decided that $40 for a pair of slacks was ridiculous so he found a magazine ad for 3 pairs of pants for $19.99. He was so proud when he ordered them. They were designed for a man who was 5'9" instead of a man who was 6'3", and made of the cheapest polyester plaid fabric I've ever seen. But he proudly wore them with dignity until they mysteriously disappeared about 10 years later.

So, today...

I am a relatively patient woman that likes to hold hands, shoot pistols, clepped out of college math, chose a wonderful husband who gave me unique children I can celebrate, and am content with my surroundings and my family because of my dad, Floyd Silas Griffin, Jr. I would love to know what I taught him. I suspect he would say something sweet like, "that daughters are wonderful" but more likely he would say, "patience".

Floyd and Bobby. Just a couple of boys fishing.

 So long dad. Now it's you doing the cartwheels!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Valued or Vilified: The Church's Response

Today a series of unusual events led me to write about this topic.

  1. I turned on the car radio. I almost never listen to the car radio anymore. I usually drive in silence or listen to my iTunes library. Lately I've only been listening to my son and daughter's new CD. (CoversCollection, Vol. 1) I actually reached my hand toward the knob, pulled it back, then decided to go ahead and turn on the radio.
  2. The radio was tuned to a station I never listen to. It was one of those local Christian stations that feature pre-recorded talk shows and play a whole lot of Sandi Patty, Petra, and Point of Grace. Not only that, but there was a talk show interviewing a lady with a decided southern drawl AND it was sponsored by Focus on the Family.  (no comment)
  3. I accidentally left the radio on. I have little tolerance for talk shows or talking of any kind. Especially from radio personalities. (Check out earlier blog)
Then I proceeded to listen for 15 minutes to a lady give a brief version of her life story. It was heartbreaking. Not in a tragic, terrorist bombing, kidnapped for 10 years, horrendous car accident, limb losing, suicidal kind of way. But I could just sense the despondency and hopelessness in her story. The story of her childhood. The story of her young adulthood.

Hers was a story of multiple unplanned pregnancies as a teen, no self-worth, shame, ignorance, and despair. Because she didn’t know her value as a woman and a human being, she listened to the Great Liar who told her that she could find value in men and substances. How many times have we seen this with our own eyes? With our own lives? It’s a tired old story, isn’t it?

Famous and not-so-famous magazines have been called out on their tendencies to over-Photoshop models. Sculpting a body with brushes and tools in post production is extremely common and finally exposed. More and more women are photographed and published looking more “normal” and less “Twiggy-fied” so why aren’t we happier with ourselves?

Because self-love doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on with the external you, and everything to do with what’s feeding the internal part of you. Take it from this author…one who was saved by the grace of God from going where this woman on the radio had been. I know what it’s like to feel not good enough. As a child I couldn’t throw the softball far enough to pass the President’s fitness test without my PE teacher fudging for me. As a young teen on the track team, I always came home from meets with red or white ribbons, never blue. I wasn’t pretty enough or thin enough for my mother. I didn’t finish college when all my friends had a degree. I worked low paying jobs and then a no paying job. (stay at home mom). Nothing as drastic as our radio guest but all together with the verbal abuse I received as a child, acquainted me with low self worth.

Jennifer Maggio, the lady giving her testimony on-air, spoke of how she craved community so she took her children to church as a single mom. On one Mother’s Day, all the mothers of the church were asked to go up to the front and then the pastor asked their husbands to pin corsages on them.  Jennifer stood up there in a panic feeling like there was a neon arrow hanging over her head with “Single Mom: Failure” in lights. This is what broke my heart. I began to wonder how many women who are unmarried, divorced, widowed, with children who feel like a second class citizen at church. While every one of us would jump to our own defense if accused of treating someone that way, we are all guilty of assuming that the single parent does not need us, that they don’t want to socialize with a married couple, that their kids have some “issues” so we will keep ours away from them.

Church can be the loneliest place on earth to a single mother from what I hear. Since I was only single about 15 minutes into adulthood, I don’t feel like an expert on this subject. But I am somewhat of an expert on feeling I had little value during several seasons of my life and I do not wish anyone to feel that way. Let’s try to circle the wagons around those who need to feel a part of something, who need to feel the love of Christ, not feel ostracized for whatever led them to the place they’re in.  It’s time to start loving, People! And loving people.

 Some of the best moms I've ever known (who happen to be single):



Carmen (#nolongersingle)

My favorite single mom
This is not a post about being single and a mom, or about screwing up a chunk of your life at some point, or about whining about what's wrong with's simply a call to open your eyes to who is around you. They are not better or worse than you. They are your family. Have you ever been desperate for value, or know what it's like to come to church and be lonely? If not, stop yer judgin' and throw another bratwurst on the grill for your sister over there.*
*and her kids!

If any of you reading this feels led to start a ministry for single moms at your church, please check out the resources here to help get you started.