Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The One About the Rabid Raccoon…

Once upon a time my friend Shannon went to church.

Her daughter didn’t feel well and her husband was tackling some house projects.

As Shannon was singing along in worship, she noticed her neighbor was calling her.

She texted her back stating she was in church and then turned her phone off.

Shannon felt a peace and intention about being at church.

Like she was supposed to be there.

And not in a legalistic sense.

As she was driving down her street after the service, she noticed two cop cars in front of her house.

Her neighbor, baby stroller in tow, was in her front yard.

As Shannon approached him he said,

“Well, it’s over now.”

Not. Comforting.
Or even remotely explanatory.

I’m not sure if I have all this completely straight and in the right order, 

but at some point Shannon ran inside to find her daughter pretty shaken up saying,

“Six times! They shot it six times!”

It’s important to mention also that they have 
a brand new puppy named Rowan.

Shannon was able to locate Rowan with her daughter safely inside.


She went back outside to her neighbor just in time to see two cops carrying a body bag down her driveway.

One cop still had a gun in his hand pointed down by his side.

I imagine smoke was still coming from it.

Even if it wasn’t,  
I still imagine it.

A car slowly drove by as all this was happening.

Shannon wondered to herself what that person in the car was thinking had happened in her backyard.

She didn’t even fully know yet herself.

Of course, I wondered if it was a human body bag. 
Which, OF COURSE, it was 
because this was the police not animal control.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

So Shannon went to find her husband and get the full story.

He reminded her of their coffee time earlier that morning when they saw a raccoon in their backyard.

Raccoons are NOT a normal presence in our neighborhood.

And they are nocturnal.

Shannon’s husband, noticed right away that the raccoon was acting erratically.

As Shannon was leaving for church he was calling animal services only to find out our town got rid of animal services.

He was told to call the police.

Shannon’s other neighbor (the one who called her during church) was helping her husband track the whereabouts of the rabid raccoon.

After the police arrived, 

made sure all the neighbors were safely inside 
and the raccoon was cornered, 

they took their aim at the varmint. 

Just then, Shannon’s husband received a call from the neighbor lady.

She pointed out that the raccoon was right on the location of their buried gas line.

One missed shot could puncture the line.

He was able to get the cop’s attention and ran out to explain the situation.

The puppy, Rowan, decided to follow him into the backyard.

The next thing you know, the rabid raccoon and the puppy Rowan are inches apart in a full-on stare-down.

Shannon’s daughter screamed and Rowan ran to her.


With everyone back inside and away from the gas line, 
the police fired at the raccoon.

Apparently, raccoons don’t freeze with their paws up when a gun is pointed at them, 

at least not rabid ones, 

because the police missed.

A few times.

Raccoons must be cagey when they are slipping into madness.

Six shots later the problem was solved.

Shannon’s church isn’t far from her home 
but blessedly out of ear shot.

In my mind I see the juxtaposition of her sitting peaceably in church being enriched in her spirit, feeling close to the Lord, while ALL HELL was breaking loose in her backyard.

I can almost hear the music montage of the movie version.

And that’s a movie I’d pay to see.

When Shannon called to tell me the story we laughed that this sounded like something I would be telling HER because, rabid raccoons in the backyard?

That totally sounds like a Hartranft story.

And you know the raccoon would’ve bitten Monte. 
And the 1% chance of a human getting rabies from a rabid raccoon 
would’ve turned into a 100% chance for Monte.

I love God’s sense of humor.

But I love EVEN MORE that he spreads
 it around to multiple families.

And not just ours.

I got a text from Shannon later in the day after she’d told me "the one about the rabid raccoon.”

It said that the gas company had just spray painted all the areas in her backyard where the lines were buried for the fence that was going to be installed soon. 

Shannon said something to effect of,

“Wouldn’t that have been helpful to the police yesterday??”

Of course, I’m like,

“Did they ask about all the blood stains?”


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Favorite Online Workouts

I am not a good gym goer.

I get bored.


And I’m not super patient with waiting for a machine, 
a class to start 
or for the super sweaty guy to hurry up
and wipe off the bench.

For the love of Pete.

I’ve always been better at working out at home but after our basement flood last spring,

Monte asked that my exercise bike not come back in from the garage.

I loved that bike!

I knew I had to come up with a different exercise plan.

My brother told me that he’s been successful finding workouts online.

So I started an exercise board on Pinterest and downloaded (Ellie did it for me) some exercise apps onto my Apple TV and subscribed to a channel on YouTube.

I’ve been very happy with the variety I’ve found.

I can do something new every time if I want.

Whenever I want.

With no wait and no sweaty guys.


I did not get the benefits of a Smart TV when Monte was researching, shopping and explaining them to me.

I just nodded and looked interested.

But what I heard was:  Complicated. Expensive. Too much TV viewing. I have a computer, why do I need my TV to be another one?

It really wasn’t until I started these workouts that I got totally bought in.

That and being able to pull up clips from Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show.
We do that on a regular basis now.

I love being able to pull up YouTube on the big screen and search my Apple TV apps.

I can even listen to my workout play list.

I had McDaniel put that together since I. have. no. clue.

I don’t even know who sings the songs.

Maybe that’s for the best.

Here are some of my favorite online workouts:

• Zova

You can download the app Zova from the App Store onto your iPhone or Apple TV.

You can even coordinate your workout to your iWatch to monitor your steps and caloric burn.

You can do the free workouts or pay a fee to “unlock” some of the longer series of workouts.

Of course I don’t pay.

• Tracy Campoli

This is a shot of my laptop but I can bring her videos up through YouTube on the TV too.

I found Tracy through Pinterest and now I subscribe to her YouTube channel where she adds new workouts every week.

There is such an interesting variety of HIIT (high intensity interval training), cardio, yoga or just spot area workouts.

Tracy was a dancer and I love how she incorporates the discipline of movement into her workouts.

Who’s ever seen an out of shape ballerina?

Her videos are short and she instructs you on how many times to go through the workout or what other workouts to pair it with.

I usually do 3 or 4 at a time. And they are never boring.

And they never include Burpees.

Which I appreciate.

Her arm workouts are killer.

Light weights (sometimes none at all) but high repetitions.

My arms are noodles when I’m done!

• Pinterest

I have quite the Pinterest exercise board now.

I need to organize it by type:  abs, HIIT, cardio, yoga, arms, etc.

My iPhone does it automatically.

Does anyone know why that is so on my phone and not my laptop?

I found some great stair workouts.

Nigel thinks it is playtime city when I do the stair workouts and he hurls his tennis ball down at me usually when I’m exhausted and struggling to run up the stairs for the 75th (or 5th) time.

I do worry sometimes that the girls are going to find me after school 
at the bottom of the stairs 
where I’ve fallen and not been able to get up.

I’m sure Nigel will be right beside me with the tennis ball 
waiting for me to get up already and play.

For the love of Pete.

Nigel also loves to lick my face while I do planks or hike his bottom up in the air for rubs when I’m doing push ups or crunches.

Not super convenient but I’m hoping that just adds 
to the difficulty of the workout 
and thus my overall caloric burn.

These workouts on Pinterest pull from all kinds of sources. Some are magazine articles, some subscription services that will cost you if you want more workouts or videos.

But I’ve found plenty for free.

Like the Carrie Underwood thigh workout.

Which is TOUGH.

I’ve never seen my muscles shake like that before.

Some weeks I’ve been able to work out a ton and some, not so much.

But I definitely feel firmer and stronger.

Now, if I can just stop eating Gummy Bears and ice cream,

(not together, ew!)

I just might be bathing suit ready.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

5 Random Things

I can not believe it’s April already!

Mainly because it’s been cold and snowing.

We had the most amazing Easter weather and then BOOM!

Arctic blast.

Monte sent me a text that pretty much said something like April Snow = Relocation.

That man cannot wait to migrate South.

Now that I’ve complained about the weather, here are a few random things that have happened lately:

1)  Our Keurig coffee maker died. 

It didn’t go out quietly. There was lots of coughing and hacking and spewing. It would stop and I thought it was over and then it would trick me and make a few more cups. 

We had the very first model Keurig ever made. 

Ellie asked for it for Christmas 6 or 7 years ago.

She was still in elementary school.

We had been out West the summer before and one of the national park lodges we stayed in didn’t have televisions in the room but they had Keurigs. 

Ellie was fascinated with it. She’d take our orders the night before on a notepad and asked Monte to set the alarm so she could wake up early and make all our requests. 

She even put a hand towel over her arm as she delivered the cups of tea and coffee and hot chocolate like we were at the Ritz.

We’d had a good run with this Keurig. 

Armed with some research and a 20% off coupon, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I was confused by the models they had and sought out help.

I explained the situation to Bonnie and she asked me if we’d bought our original Keurig there. 

I couldn’t remember.
That’s back when I still had an elementary school kid!

She told me to go home, look at the serial number and to call her with it and she’d look it up. If they had carried that model, they’d let me “return it” and I’d pay the difference for the new one.


I did what Bonnie said and she told me to bring my old model in.

I picked Ellie up from track practice and we carried in the old machine (it was fitting Ellie was there since it was her Christmas present after all.)

I placed the old machine on the counter and went to get the new model I wanted to purchase.

The saleslady scanned it and told me I owed nothing.

Excuse me?


Not a penny.

She said it was an even trade-in.

That old machine had a smoker’s cough 
and only produced a half-cup of anything when it felt like it…
which wasn’t very often.

Ellie and I looked at each other pretty surprised.

It felt like we were stealing to walk out of the store having not paid a dime for something brand new.

There’s an entire sermon in that…

2)  Our girls are crazy brave. Or just crazy.

It’s track season. Both girls are running. McDaniel has had a fascination with pole vaulting for awhile now. Luckily, her coach last year took one look at her over 6 foot frame and said,


This year she decided to give it a try again and began to work out with the pole vaulters.

The coach asked them to do a series of cartwheels and to walk on their hands. McDaniel heard all that and said,


Thank. Goodness.

I’ve seen those girls pole vault.

Sometimes they fall back onto the pavement 
or bounce off the mat onto the grass 
or land on the bar on the mat in some pretty painful ways.

I would’ve watched her with a pit in my stomach
 and my fingers ready to call 9-1-1.

Then Ellie comes home with news that she wanted to start running hurdles.

I used to be a sprinter.

It’s great because it’s easy.

You see that line there? 
Stand behind it. 
When you hear GO run as fast as you can to that other line 
and stay in your lane while you do it.

Easy peasy.

But hurdles?

Hurdles complicate the whole easy nature of sprinting.

 The word hurdle means an obstacle. Something that is IN YOUR WAY.

You see that line there? 
Stand behind it. 
When you hear GO run as fast as you can, counting your steps 
and jump over that hurdle that’s in your way. 
If you mess up your steps 
or don’t jump high enough, 
you will knock over the hurdle and FALL DOWN. 
Try to fall down in your own lane so you don’t knock down another runner and disqualify yourself 
by being out of your lane.
Run to that other line.
If you make it.

It’s complicated!

And diabolical.

Luckily, Ellie hadn’t practiced hurdles enough to compete in that event at her first track meet.

I could barely watch and she wasn’t even running.

One girl fell on her face. 
Her face!

She got back up though and finished.

Another fell so hard that her shoe came off.

Her shoe!

All of us in the bleachers groaned for her.

There’s just no finishing a race 
when you have to retrieve your shoe from another lane.

I had a knot in my throat every stinking heat of the boys and girls hurdles event.

The boys jump an even HIGHER hurdle 
and most of those middle school boys are still 
MUCH SMALLER than the girls.

I’m not sure HOW I’m going to stomach watching Ellie.

Oh yeah, with a pit in my stomach and my fingers ready to call 9-1-1.

And lots and lots of prayer.

3) Monte isn’t always a great volunteer. 

As we were making our way across the field to watch Ellie throw the discus, an official grabbed Monte and another guy to hold flags to indicate that each leg of the upcoming relay race was ready.

Monte grabbed the two-flagged pole (one end had a red flag and the other a white flag) and walked off.

I offered to do it for him since I knew the event and how it worked.

I’m not sure he heard me because he walked to his post.

I stood by the official to watch the event. I was looking for Ellie when I heard the official say something under his breath.

I followed the official’s gaze to Monte who was twirling the flags like he was the half-time show.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Hard.

The official did not join me.

4)  McDaniel went to New York City.

The journalism and broadcasting students in her high school got to go on a class trip to the city. McDaniel had never been before.

They did some really cool things like movie tours, a behind the scenes tour of Saturday Night Live, film museums, a meeting at Sports Illustrated and Tumblr, being in the audience of The Today Show and in the studio audience of The View.

McDaniel’s the one in the floral jacket.

It was a great experience for her. I’m so glad she got to go. She learned so much.

She loved it but decided it would be tough to live there. Especially since she came back with shin splints from all the cement walking.

Check out this text exchange between her and I while she was there:

5) Monte is a 1 percenter.

It would take an entire book, which I WILL write one day, of all the legitimate reasons Monte deserves such a distinction or nickname.

I’ll sum it up by saying rare, unlikely things happen to him. Medical things that show up in the fine print that nobody reads, happen to him.

Things with a likelihood of 1%.

So on that note, it should come as no great surprise that Easter weekend, when Monte was mowing the lawn for the first time of the season, a large piece of bark mulch shot out of the mower and flew straight up his right nostril. Hard.

His natural instinct was to get the large piece of mulch OUT OF HIS NOSE. Yet, he still continued to mow.

I was preparing the food for Easter dinner inside as Monte tried to dig, blow and cough the large piece of mulch out of his right nostril ALL THE WHILE continuing to mow the lawn.

I did not know Monte had that kind of multi-tasking skills.

It was hours later, and with no little amount of blood, that Monte finally dislodged the mulch.

 A few days after that he woke up with a broken blood vessel in his right eye ball.

Monte Googled possible causes and found it could be from stress or sneezing too hard.

I didn’t ask, but my guess is the chances that his eye blew up from trying to blow out a piece of mulch that shot up his right nostril from the lawn mower are about…1%.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Alexander Hamilton On the Brain

Back in the Fall, we watched a 60 Minutes interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda about his new Broadway musical “Hamilton”.

As in Alexander Hamilton.

The guy on the $10 bill.

Lin-Manuel picked up a copy of an Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow several years ago before vacation.

He could not believe Hamilton’s story. He was so enthralled by it that he wanted to bring it to the stage.

Lin-Manuel actually Googled Alexander Hamilton FOR SURE that someone had already done a Broadway musical on him.

He was THAT memorized by the story.

As it turns out, no one had thought to take that to the stage.

So he wrote it.

Did I mention the musical is done in the style of rap and hip hop?

It’s so popular that it’s been sold out for many months.

Monte tried to get us tickets when we were in New York in November and he got laughed at.

McDaniel just got back from New York with her school and she entered a lottery every day to try to get tickets.

Never won.

Lin-Manuel’s enthusiasm and fascination with Alexander Hamilton is absolutely contagious.

McDaniel and Ellie have been listening to the Broadway soundtrack for “Hamilton.”

Ellie made the comment that it would’ve helped her on a history test 
if she’d started listening to the soundtrack just a little bit earlier.

A week before our spring break trip in March, Monte came home with the Alexander Hamilton biography.

It’s collegiate text book in size.

The bibliography alone is 100 pages.

I quickly read through the book that I had brought to the beach, so I picked this monster up.

I was hooked just a few sentences in.

Monte fought me for reading time.

We worked out a deal that we’d each read a chapter at a time and then discuss it.

Believe me, this is no fast read. 

Each chapter is like an entire class. There’s THAT much information. And action. And drama. 

It’s awesome!

The girls were thrilled we were reading the book so they could share the soundtrack with us.

Lin-Manuel crams so many facts in his songs that we felt like we could only listen to the songs as we reached the appropriate parts in the book.

By the end of spring break, we were only 100 or so pages into the biography and we’d only listened to the first song.

And we were dedicating a lot of time during the day to reading.

The book was so heavy that I started experiencing elbow pain from the weight of holding it!

We told the girls that they could only listen to the “Hamilton” soundtrack with headphones so that we could experience Alexander Hamilton’s life through the book.

They sang so loudly along with their headphones one morning that our hotel “neighbors” wanted to know “who the singer was” when we saw them them by the pool.

We tried to explain what the girls were singing and showed them our thick book but the message was received.

Pipe. Down. 

We let them sing their hearts out by the pool as long as we couldn’t hear them so we could read as fast as we could and then discuss what we’d just read.

I can only imagine what the other carefree, vacationers must’ve thought of us.

They were a mixed bag of folks:  French Canadians, Germans, a few upstate New York families and then the pool guy, Joe, from Boston, who Monte followed around everywhere (while it was my turn with the book) asking him important questions like,

“Whatcha doing now?”

“How long until the dune grass gets bigger?”

“You weed eating, Joe?”

But I kind of understand.

When we weren’t reading the book, we talked about the book.

Waiting for the other person to catch up to where we were was like watching. paint. dry.

Or watching Joe pour chemicals into the pool.

Now that we are back home, we haven’t had nearly enough time to read as we’d like.

We are only up to the second song on the soundtrack.

It’s funny how so many things around me remind me of the book.

I heard someone mention a college visit to Columbia University and I’m all like,

“Alexander Hamilton went there. But it was called King’s College back then.”

Or how my hair dresser yesterday was talking about a recent tour she took in New Orleans and how the French used the city area to house slaves.

“Thomas Jefferson orchestrated the Louisiana Purchase.
Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist.”


I’m trying to be realistic on when I’m getting this over-700-page monster completed.

And by realistic I mean, not go into full-on bad mom mode 
and not cook, 
or shower 
until the book is done.

No. I will NOT do that.

This time.

So I’m thinking by July.

Monte is saying by NEXT July.
As in 2017.

But it did take him over 2 years to read “Team of Rivals."

This was a whopper of a book too.

There was some tense discussion as Monte left for out of town this morning as to who would get to keep the book.

I offered to buy another copy which did not appeal to Monte’s thrifty side,

“What? Are we MADE of money?”

So it was settled.

I kept the book.

I can’t wait to see what happens next…

Thursday, March 31, 2016

When We Miss Jesus

During our recent Easter church service, it really popped out at me that after Jesus had risen, Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Him.

In fact, she thought Jesus was the gardener. 

The gardener!

Sobbing that Jesus was gone, Mary asked this "gardener" if He had taken Jesus’s body.

Isn’t that something?

She didn’t recognize Jesus!

But Jesus wasn’t offended.

He just called her by name.

And then she knew.

Read it for yourself in John 20:10-18.

Our pastor showed us a Rembrandt depicting the scene.

Rembrandt has Jesus holding a shovel like a gardener. Mary is crying on the steps of the tomb.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that.

The not recognizing Jesus.

It’s so easy for me to think, duh, Mary, how could you NOT know Jesus standing right in front of you?

She had just been walking around with Him.

She saw Him teach and perform miracles.

You’d think she would know better than most,
every wrinkle in His face 
and the amazing love in His eyes.

But she didn’t.

Maybe that’s because it was still somewhat dark as dawn was just breaking.

Maybe that’s because Mary wasn’t just crying that Jesus was gone, she was wailing.

According to my bible notes, wailing means 
“a loud expression of grief.”

Is it possible Mary was too caught up in her own grief 
to see Jesus standing right in front of her?

My bible notes also say that perhaps Jesus appeared to Mary first, 
before any of the other disciples, 
because she needed Him most at that time.

Jesus revealed Himself to comfort her.

The disciples didn’t recognize Him at first either when Jesus was standing by the edge of the water while they were fishing not far from shore.

Isn’t that interesting…?

I always find it curious what is included in the scriptures.

Little details that show the real humanity of the characters of the bible 
that I could easily view as spiritual superheroes.

But they were just like us.

Like earlier in John 20 when it talks about the disciples running fast to the tomb to see if Mary was telling the truth that Jesus wasn’t there and it goes on to mention who got there first.

As in, who was the fastest.

FYI:  it wasn’t Peter.
And since John was the author of the book, 
I can only assume who the winner was.

Total macho humanity.

And back in the Old Testament, in Numbers 12:3,

“(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)"

Moses wrote Numbers, by the way.

That’s some false humble humanity right there.

Then there’s Martha and Mary. While Martha was busy getting everything ready for what I have to imagine was quite a meal, Mary was sitting at Jesus’s feet listening to Him.

Martha was so put out and flustered that she tattled on Mary to Jesus.

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:40

Did she really just try to boss Jesus around?!

Jesus put her in her place,

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Martha missed Jesus and He was IN. HER. HOUSE.

That’s some ugly, transparent, truthful humanity.

Especially if you are a woman
and have ever worked in a church kitchen.

Or just your own at home.

Those details ultimately are comforting.

Because it’s no different today than it was 2,000 years ago.

We miss Jesus all the time.

Or we try to boss Him around.

We get caught up in who will finish the race first

or how we can appear humble doing it 

or what we will serve for dinner and who will help us.

We walk right past Jesus because we think He’s the gardener.

We miss the whole amazing fact that 

But He’s so patient to call us by name.

To steer us back to Him from our own humanity rabbit trail.

To comfort us.

Yoo hoo! 
Over here. 
This is the way. 
Let’s walk in it.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Grocery Store, Bernie Sanders, My Friend’s Father and Bah Humbug

We got back from Spring Break a few days before Easter.

I’ve been to the grocery store a lot since then.

One just to get supplies for necessary living after being gone for a week.

And then to stock up for Easter brunch.
I made some great new recipes which I will share soon.

And then again to get McDaniel stocked up with supplies
 for a school trip to New York City.

During one visit to the grocery store with my brunch menu in hand, I saw who I thought was presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

After a few side way glances in the toothpaste aisle, 
I determined he smiled far too much to be Bernie Sanders.

Then I swear I saw my childhood friend’s father. He looked JUST like him. Same smile, build, everything! I followed him through frozen foods to try to sneak a picture to send to my friend but then I realized that I can barely take a picture smoothly WHEN I WANT TO let alone when I want to do it on the sly.

So I went back to my list.

I decided to make a lighter, less sweet punch for Easter than my grandmother’s slushy punch recipe.

The recipe called for peach nectar.

I thought, no big deal, go to the juice aisle.

Not there.

Then I looked in the organic section’s juice aisle.


They had something called Bilberry Nectar 
and a drinkable aloe 
but not peach nectar.

So I thought maybe this was something fancy people put into fru-fru mixed drinks with little umbrellas so I took my full shopping cart to that aisle.

I stood there looking at all manner of flavored things and something called bitters when an older man came around the corner fast and ran into my cart with his.

With a scowl on his face he loudly said,


Then pushed his cart off.


As in humbug?

Do people still say Bah Humbug?!

So I know now that I did NOT indeed see Bernie Sanders or my childhood best friend’s father in the grocery store.

But I was just one humbug shy of running into Ebeneezer Scrooge!

**The peach nectar was not in the mixers section.**

A few texts later my friend directed me 
(and by me I mean Monte because I could NOT
 go to one. more. grocery store.) 
to the Mexican section of the store and we struck peach nectar gold!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Only God

I want to talk about suffering.

I know.

[Insert needle scratching across a record noise here]


I have had a front row seat to some people who are suffering over the past year.

Some a few rows further back.

Some more like a passing glance.

But each example has been amazing.

Not that these particular people have been in pain

but it was HOW they handled it 
that blew me away.

I’ve come to realize that I’ve never felt more in the presence of God than when I’m watching someone suffer well.

Not be in denial.

Or put on a happy mask for the public eye.

But true, real, breathing possession of the peace that surpasses all understanding.

It was as if I could feel God holding them in the palm of His hand.

The people I’ve witnessed were completely justified in feeling…bad.

Their circumstances were punches in the emotional and spiritual gut.

But instead of grieving in such a way 
that clouded the space around them,

they lit it up.

Monte described one of the suffering people in our lives after running into them at the grocery store as glowing.

Only God.

Only God as our light can pierce the darkness of this world.

And only God can heal the cracks in our heart,
if we let Him, 
so that His joy in us makes. us. glow.

It has moved me to tears several times.

“only God” 

I called to console someone recently on a tremendous loss and yet I was the one blessed by the conversation.

I found myself thanking her for the blessing before hanging up.

Only God.

To be able to speak articulately and inspirationally without breaking down at the funeral of your spouse taken too soon?

Only God.

If any of these people hadn’t acted in these ways,

God would’ve still been right there with them in their suffering.

But because THEY DID,

well, I’m writing this post.

It’s inspired me.

I want that.

Not the suffering, 

although I know it will come someday.

I want the overwhelming confidence that God will be BIGGEST through my weakest moments.

That I will not only not be crushed,

but through my “not being crushedness,”

 God will bless someone.

And who knows, 
they might write a blog post about it.

I want someone someday with a front row seat to my suffering to say,

“Only God.” 

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9