Archives for posts with tag: letting go

Outside of the Southern Arts Society Building, Kings Mountain, North Carolina

“God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”

~Mother Teresa

I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold. I’m thinking that applies to stuff. Am also thinking that applies to us and the ‘gifts’, those unseen talents, abilities and passions, that we have to share with the world. That ‘world’ may be one person, one family, one community…or that ‘world’ may be internationally reaching people on a global level.  But yes, she was so on point again when Mother Teresa said, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold.”


That’s quite a convicting statement for me as I try to declutter stuff that’s been stuffed away for years with more stuff on top of that. It’s also quite convicting as I try to figure out how to use use the gift of my years, days and moments. But it doesn’t have to be complicated, for as Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” So cool. Our passions so often parallel our gifts. What we treasure is so fleshed out in what we love to do.

What we hold on to and put our time and energy into is so what holds us, and if that doesn’t line up with what I say I treasure, well, it might be time for a bit of a priority re-boot. I’ve been doing a lot of examination and re-boots lately, for sure. And it’s been a good thing as it’s been a kind of taking-out-the-trash, and holding-onto-treasure type of thing….with stuff, and with my mindset. One more quote, a good one…”Where your heart is, there your treasure will be….” Matthew 6:21 Love that. Our actions kind of show us don’t they? Gulp. Yes they do. That can be a great thing or a convicting thing or both. It’s been both for me.


Treasures….Boxed up note, keepsakes, and heirlooms from Grannie

One more thought on treasure-holding.  My morning duty at school has been to be a greeter/ door watcher of sorts at our school. I stand at the door and say “good morning” and make sure these young students make it safely from the cafeteria to the main school building. And do you know what I see EVERY morning?  Students holding hands as they walk to class. Young siblings, friends, cousins caring for each other. Holding hearts by holding hands. I see goodbye kisses and hugs at classroom doors. I see older siblings ensuring not only that little ones are safe, but that they are encouraged. Maybe these babies remember what we as adults can so often forget…that we are the treasure…



Another ‘break it down’ simple statement came from Jesus. In Mark 12, He told us to Love God and Love others. Bottom Line.  Love God with your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Love others as you love yourself…  We are admonished to treasure what gives priority to these two statements. Love God, Love others.  Period.


Castles in the Sand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Many treasures can slip through our hands. They come and go. But am thankful for the reminder from the example of my students holding hands to hold onto the treasure of those we love. Yes, I think Mother Teresa so had it right when she said that “God gives us things to share, He doesn’t give us things to hold.”  I know that she knew the things for holding were hands and hearts and belief.  And the cool thing is, those aren’t things at all….Human hearts and hands and beliefs were categories that so transcend any ‘thing’.  Anything. And if what I treasure gets in the way of these, then maybe it’s time to trash it, let it go. And then as I let things go, to be sure to hold on tight to those hands, hearts, and beliefs that we treasure. In a world that loves alienation and fragmentation and a glorification of stuff over souls, yeah, it’s important to make a determined effort to hold on tight to what you treasure


I’m thinking the more we let stuff go, the more our hearts and hands are free to hold what’s precious and truly matters. As my inspiring principal (with a background in drama that impacts her speech(-es) greatly) once said to me, “Heather, what can God put in your empty hands that He can’t give you with what you’re holding on to?” She of course added to the impact by holding out both hands wide over her head and closing her eyes.  Point made. I wasn’t happy with her that day, as she was encouraging me to get rid of lots of materials that we needed to move on, but she was totally on point.  Point taken <3. Again. And I’m so thankful for her words not just with regard to my classroom, but more importantly, with regard to my days.  Days are definitely a gift to be treasured.


Just a few thoughts on treasure from one who wants to remember daily the reminder that yes, “God gives us things to share. He doesn’t give us things to hold…”   and that’s a truth worth holding on to.

Blessings ~


“…Hold on to what is good,reject every kind of evil.May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

 I Thessalonians 5: 21-24

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 

1 John 3:17-21 

One of the teachers of the law came and heard the Sadducees arguing. He noticed that Jesus had given the Sadducees a good answer. So he asked him, “Which is the most important of all the commandments?” Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’  And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these.”

Mark 12:28-31  


DSCN6480I love a good pouring rain, the way it washes everything in its path. I love the freshness that seems to come after it’s all over. Seems like when there’s a pouring rain, the sky clears faster than when there’s just a soft mist or drizzle. It’s like it gets it out of the way in a short period of time and then clears the way for the sun to shine on through. Slow gray drizzles seem to take a whole lot longer to make way for the rays of the sun to filter through.

DSCN6477And I love a good cry. In a friend who needs to let go. In a daughter or son who holds it all in. In a student who has been struggling to juggle all the different area of his life that seem out of control. Like a good pouring rain, a good cry can cleanse, refresh, and make way for the light to shine back through.

DSCN6484As a mom, as a teacher, as a person with two feet and a heart walking this earth I’ve seen the power of a good cry so many times. In others. In me.  And the rain kind of reminded me of that today. It reminded me of a verse and a song. So here they are.  First, the verse:

“Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.”

Psalm 62:8

And next, the song. (Not the whole song, mind you, because as Cheryl and Janet used to joke with me, I tend to have a LOT of verses when I write… and this song is so not an exception to that. So I’ll just share a few lines…but I promise there’s way more!)

Pour Out Your Heart

Pour out your heart before Him, lay it all down at His feet

Lift up your soul in surrender, the fragrance that spills is sweet

Pour out your heart before Him, He Knows, He Sees, He Hears,

More mighty than the waters, He will redeem the tears

and like a river He will run

and like the spring rain He will come

and like the pounding of the waves

His power will reign

Pour out your heart before Him, let it go…


Yeah, am thinking a good rain, a good cry, they are both good things. Am thinking that when clouds get too heavy, too dense, it rains. There’s a release for us too…yet I know so many of us try to hold it in… The thing is, that sun often shines pretty bright after a rain. But until the rain pours on down, a heavy gray cloud stays a heavy gray cloud. I love the imagery of the verse: POUR out your heart to Him, God is our refuge….but first, first the verse says, “Trust Him at all times.”  Yeah, tough to pour it out when there’s not a bridge of trust. Thankful that God is so very worthy of our trust. He is faithful. He is compassionate, and He bids us come. With all of it. And He is a refuge in a world that is so not. He can handle the greatest of storms. He can handle our tears. And He can be the Light that breaks through the grayest and darkest of days.

Thankful for that. Just a few thoughts after the rain….

Blessings ~


“So let us know, let us press on to know the  Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn. And He will come, He will come to us like the rain, Like the Spring rain watering the earth. ”  Hosea 6:3

“A ship in the harbor is safe.

But that’s not what ships are for.”

William G.T  Shedd


Wrightsville, Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

I saw some ships today, and some smaller vessels on the water. They were coming in to the harbor just as the sun was going down. My son and I watched as the boats in the distance moved a little closer in to the dock.


It was windy and cold, but beautiful on the patio as we ate.  Hot Clam chowder tasted really good on a chilly day like this. But we definitely preferred the view with the cold over the comfort without the view. We watched (and shivered) as the ships came in and the sun went down.

I know that ships are meant to sail. Some are meant to be on the high seas and others are meant to be a little closer to shore. But all are meant to venture out from the safety of the harbor. Yeah, I get that. I do.


Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8, 2017   (Zac)

And anchors help to provide stability out on the seas. And there are times to use anchors, and times when anchors are dangerous. And moorings are meant to keep one safe in the harbor. Moorings need to be tied tightly at the right times, and loosened when it’s time to set sail.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina , April 7th, 2017


Zac, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

My  “ships” are all venturing out these days. Only have one who is ‘safely in the harbor’ of our home, but all of the others, well, they are venturing out, all at different distances, different speeds, different tracks, but all venturing out nonetheless.


Chase and Josh, Wilmington, North Carolina April 7, 2017

And I’m proud and thankful for the courses that they are on. And at times I’m fearful of the storms blowing in and the potential dangers that they have faced, are facing, and will face on their journeys.



But I remind myself that ships…ships were meant to sail. Birds were meant to fly.

DSCN3273 Children were meant to grow up and become independent, to use their gifts and give it all ‘out there’. And they are not alone ‘out there’. I’ve gotta remember that.

DSCN3203And the fact that my ‘ships’ are out sailing, well, it makes me so thankful for times when they get to come back in to the harbor, so to speak.  It makes me thankful when the moorings are tied, and they are safe in my sights for a little while.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

And we can talk about the journeys and the trials that have been, and maybe prepare a bit for the ones that are to come.  I love that ships don’t have to be tied to a specific dock to be safe…it just takes that connection, that mooring, that link to that holds them close to shore.


Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, April 7th, 2017

So, the past few days have been precious, because, well, it’s felt like my sailing ships (3 out of 6, anyway…)  and I docked for a bit. ( And we were reminded that home is so much more than a place and family is a gift, and God is good and present and available on high seas and safe docks, college campuses and work environments.


Zac and Melanie, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

And I’m catching glimpses of their world and am thankful for where these ‘ships’ have sailed.  And I’m thankful for moorings that look like cups of coffee and walks on beach and ‘remember when’s. I’m thankful for moorings that look like  T   I   M   E…not stuff, but   T   I   M   E, and conversations that don’t always include lots of words, but might include lots of listening. And prayers prayed sometimes out loud and sometimes not. I’m thankful for moorings  that look like warm chocolate chip cookies, kale smoothies, clam chowder in the cold, or walks on the beach.  I’m thankful for moorings that look like truths stated and not danced around and hugs afterward. I’m thankful for moorings that look like laughing at ourselves and not having to be anything but what we are in that moment. And I’m just thankful for moorings, connections with these ships that were entrusted to me so long ago.


And I’m aware I’m so not the Captain. My job isn’t to steer the ship. It’s to trust the One who is steering, and encourage those ships to listen, to yield, to the Captain. Am thinking in this stage of my life, my privilege is to focus on the moorings…so that in the midst of all the venturing out, there’s always a connection, a safe place to dock when those venturing ships need a reminder of why they’re venturing out in the first place. After all, ships were meant to sail…



“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 

silent sunday.JPG

beneath my feet

To climb is to hope

To reach is to believe

To step is to have faith

To dream is to conceive

For as a man thinks

in his heart, so he believes

And what a man pursues

So often starts in dreams

So dream the dream my daughter,

and climb and hope and see

But keep your feet planted firm

In what you have received

For firm is the foundation

of faith for for those who turn

To God for their direction

To God for grace unearned

So dream and pray with passion

Let your actions speak

Live safely within boundaries

For that is when we’re free.

So dream the dream my daughter

Your gifts are not just your own

For there’s a world that’s quaking

that needs  a world of hope

So climb and hope and reach

but always be still and know

It is God who gives the dreams

It is He who is our Hope

As we follow He will lead

Yes in Him, there’s always Hope

In Him, there’s always Hope.

*Psalm 121*

Photo:  Hope walking up the steps

Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere between Blowing Rock and Boone, NC

August 4, 2015


The 2014-15 high school baseball season is over. The season of older brother-senior-high school-baseball player Chase being in the dug out and on the field with younger brother JV not-yet-starter-freshman-player Tanner is over.   So is the season of brothers going to school together. It is so sad to see this season end because the older brother has not only encouraged the younger brother, but has also encouraged those around him who were quietly watching the interactions on the sidelines.

Confidence grows with faith and encouragement, and the tall number 5 made sure that he helped encourage the shorter number 5, and the shorter number five is not only growing taller, but standing taller with confidence.  Amazing the difference a person can make.  The younger number five even said to me this morning, “I want to do something for Chase before he goes to school because he has done so much for me.  I’m really going to miss him.”  And the mom of both number fives gulped hard and said that I knew and that I’m really going to miss him, too.  Between seasonal allergies and the sweet and sour moments of life just happening, I think there will never be enough Kleenex in my home.

But thankfully, with all of the changes, some things will always remain “in-season”.  Brothers are brothers, period.  No one can take the moments and memories of what they’ve shared from them.  There’s a season for everything, and maybe the younger brother will benefit from this new season of learning to stand alone, not in the shadow of the older brother.  I’ll look for the silver linings during this season of transitions, this season of change.  I’ll be thankful for what’s been and hopeful for what’s to come, and keep the Kleenex close at hand.

I’ll pray through and ask God to be the constant constant Presence in our lives no matter what changes may come.  That faith?  That will help me to stay on my knees in my heart and stand tall with confidence through the changes knowing that come what may, God knows, and is, and loves, and gives in every single season we face.

Blessings ~


“Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. “

Psalm 73: 23-26

Chase first day K3

Well, this week’s weekly photo challenge sure is timely.  “Vivid”is the word.  It is timely because this little guy is graduating from high school today.  But what is vivid in my mind? This image of him starting kindergarten literally feels like it was taken yesterday.  I can remember the missing tooth, the USA baseball shirt, the backpack and the flowers blooming on the front porch.  Yesterday.  Time goes so fast when you’re looking back.

But at this stage for him….when he was five?  Time often doesn’t move quite fast enough when we’re looking forward, especially for a five year old. This little guy is our fifth child, so he waited a long while until it was his turn to go to school.  He had watched his older siblings go off to school with their new shoes and backpacks and school supplies, and wonder when it was going to be his turn.  And one day, his turn came and he was just so excited to finally step into this new venture of going to school. This precious photo was taken that very day…his first day of kindergarten.  Yes, it’s definitely a vivid memory that evokes so much emotion in me…joy and and sadness all wrapped up in one.

Today, as we celebrate this child, rather, this young man and his graduation from high school, we’ll be both looking back and looking forward. We’ll be looking back on the 18 previous years and remember and smile. We’ll also be looking ahead to what’s ahead as he goes to study at college.  Wouldn’t it be nice in the looking back and the looking ahead the same time if the time would just stand still for a little while?

No, we all know better that the time won’t stand still.  But, in the same way that I have an extremely vivid memory of his first day of Kindergarten, I think I’ll have an incredibly vivid memory of him graduating today.  In fact, I know I will.  And I’ll be sure to take a photo of the once little boy with the toothless grin who is now more of a man than a boy, but still has a grin to melt the heart of this mom. Yes, these are definitely vivid, vivid times.  I”m so thankful for monumental moments to just sit and savor the beauty of the people in our lives…while they are still right there with us.  For one thing is for sure.  Little boys and girls have a way of growing up and moving on awfully fast for sure.

Purple Ribbons

I put a wreath on the door today. It was just a simple thing. I didn’t even know if anyone would really notice. I loved the simplicity of the wreath with evergreens and pine cones and white lights. I added a shimmery purple ribbon and it reminded me of an advent wreath. All of my children would be coming home and under one roof for Thanksgiving, and from the time they walked through the door to the time they left, I wanted them to feel welcome.

I did the ‘mom’ things like baking and lighting candles and making sure we have enough clean towels. I made a few trips to the grocery store to check all the things off of the list. But more than anything…I rested. I prayed. I read my Bible. I sang. I even blogged! I cleaned but knew that if it didn’t all get done it wouldn’t be the end of the world. On this very busy day, I was even in my lavender robe until 11:15 in the morning! I think it’s been ten years since I’ve been in my robe that late in the day.

And now, at day’s end, I’m sitting here smiling. I’ve bear hugged my kids and welcomed them home. They’ve eaten and laughed and spent time hanging out with each other while I get some other things started in the kitchen. We’ve already burned a batch of cookies, and I’m working on the pumpkin pies. (Not burning them, baking them!) The turkey that has been “thawing” in the downstairs refrigerator for four days is still as frozen as all get out, so I’m guessing there will be a saga of the turkey this year. And almost all of the bacon that was cooked and ready for the breakfast casserole has already been eaten in B.L.T. sandwiches by some of my hungry sons. But all is well and I am thankful for this moment right here right now with the people who are with me in my home.

It’s one of those days that has been full of flaws, but I can look back on and just smile. Those ‘little things’ that I didn’t even know if they would be noticed? Three of my kids commented on the wreath. My daughter commented on the candles and my son said it felt like a breath of fresh air walking in to our home. Maybe the little things make a big difference. Sometimes making a little effort can make all the difference in the world. I’m learning to once again, make those efforts to really move toward my children who are really not children at all, but teens and twenties fast moving into their adult years.

Sometimes as a mom, I need to remember that they are here for a short time. My children are gifts and not a given. My relationship with them is a gift…not a given. It is something to be treasured, nurtured, and worked on. I’ll always be their mom, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will want to come home for the holidays or want to spend time seeking me out. I will never be on the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. I will never have my own recipes printed in a cook book. But as my children become adults, I want them to know that no matter where they go, or how old they are, there is always a place for them here in our home. And home is not the place, it’s the “who” loves them that is in the place. They belong. And if putting a wreath or lighting a candle or making BLTs with the bacon that’s meant for the breakfast casserole can help them to know that to their core, then so be it. Sometimes “what” has been done points to the “who” that loves them.

Oh, and here’s a side note. I’m a child too. We all are. The greatest gift in my life is knowing that “I belong”, and one day, I’ll be Home. I love that scripture says that God is preparing a place for those who love Him. I guess He’s the best Home-Maker of all. I can’t imagine the “Welcome Home” we as Believers will receive when we are finally Home. From what scripture says, no one can. But I have a feeling it will be more about the “Who” than the “What” that we’ll see. In fact, I know it will.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

1 Corinthians 2:9


kissing (Good bye)
letting go of her Daddy’s hand

this isn’t what she planned

Others come to share the load

There’s more to life than what she knows

…It’s excruciating
For the beauty of what was lost

The gain outweighs the loss

but the mind gives way to heart

sometimes light gives way to dark

Breathing through each day

On her knees to weep and pray

Walking as one renewed

By the God who makes all things new
Yes, He makes all things new

Revelation 21: 1-5 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

For Andrea who just lost her Dad on Thursday. A year ago this week she had lost her brother. It’s been a really tough year for her family. As I prayed, the poem spilled out…just some visuals of grief and the process of letting go of and holding on to those we love. Love that she’s holding on to the hope offered in the verse above. And that her brother and Dad are on the other side, weeping no more!

Coming Home

When was the last time I was moved to tears by something beautiful?


It was an airport moment. Saw my son walking down the corridor. (This after direction from my youngest son who said, “Mom don’t you see him? There he is!” My eyes aren’t what they used to be.) The son who was abroad from January to the end of May and then living outside of NYC from the end of May until now. The son who has pushed himself so hard that I’ve been concerned about the effect of the stressors on him. The son who finished a project the day before and could finally exhale and feel a sense of accomplishment over a job well done. Feel as though he has been running a marathon for 8 months, and he’s finally home for a few days, able to breathe, able to be around his family who can’t wait to see him. Yes, I was moved to tears by the beauty of knowing that for awhile, a very short while, I will have all of my kids home, under one roof, safe and sound.

We moms, we have to do that constant dance of holding on and letting go, don’t we? In my world of being a mom of kids in their teens and twenties, I’ve had a lot of letting go going on. It felt so good to see him down the corridor, rush to him with tears falling down my cheeks, and hold on for a few moments. Yes, I will hold on to my kids when I can, and I hope when it is necessary to let go, that they always remember the holding on. This is the kind of beauty that brings tears of joy and sadness at the same time.

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