Saturday, August 28, 2010

My heart

Today has been a terrible day.

So I decided to sit down for a moment and catch my breath while looking at some recent photographs I've taken.  I breath in what I see and it pulses through my veins because I remember those moments captured.

I know God uses it.

I see this snapshot and I feel my heart beating outside of my body. I see them, our children, and I smile.  There is an enormity of love I feel for these two and I find great joy in watching them explore the world around them...even if it appears scary to them at times. I know they will be fine.

I smile again.

As I get myself ready to go to bed and reflect on the day, I will imagine that God has scrolled through the snapshots of me going about my day today...and smiled. It's the kind of smile that comes from a love that only a parent can have for their child.

It's so good to feel that kind of love.

Blessings for your day,

Children holding hands photo by Lisa Arnold taken with Canon PowerShot SX120 IS - Digital camera - compact - 10.0 Mpix - optical zoom: 10 x - supported memory: MMC, SD, SDHC, MMCplus - black

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Here is a snapshot of someone I love.  I have a photo shoot with her today.

She is our daughter, my beautiful step-daughter and we wait for the arrival of our grandchild.  What an honor it is to hold this vigil.

Blessings for your day,

Vigil - photo taken by Lisa Arnold with Canon PowerShot SX100IS 8MP Digital Camera with 10x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I started a private blog two years ago where I could write and just have a space to myself. Those perceived "walls" of silence were my comfort and friend in the maddening world of cyberspace.  Little did I now how that space, my personal space, would begin a process of opening places in my heart that remained hidden from so many. 

I wrote for myself.

Then one hot day in July of 2008 hit my soul and crushed my spirit in a form of grief I did not recognize. I woke up mornings attempting to function and cast off a heavy dressing of sadness and tears I believed was not mine to wear. I truly agonized. But why? Why was my pain so real and why did I think I had no right to cry? After all, I had only met her a year prior.

Why was it that every time I thought of her and saw his face, I felt a hot spear rip my flesh and stop my heart?


Today I can tell you why.

Because every life matters and I love her. I have loved her from the moment I first held her little daughter.  Her little girl had me the moment I saw her with her barely-there-red hair and earrings that sparkled just like her momma's eyes. This little girl was a tiny six month old and I drank up every minute I had with her...and I loved her mother for trusting me to hold her while she attended church.

Yes, I love her and I want you to know her name. 

Her name is Sara.

Today I also want you to know his name.

His name IS Brody.

Today I remember him. Today I say his name and know his family. Brody's mom. Brody's dad. Brody's brothers and sister. Brody's family and friends.  Each and every one of them one loved him and still do. Each one grieved by his death two years ago on that hot summer day.

In my own grief I wrote a poem for Sara and because I was so inspired by her own courage, I shared it with her. It was the first poem I ever shared. When I gave it to her, I admitted that there was one line I didn't want to put in because I felt it was out of place.  I told Sara that I had to pray over it and actually felt God speak to my heart and insist I put the line in.  I argued and pleaded but the tugging on my heart had won.

It was a line about butterflies.

Guess what Sara said. She said it was the part that meant the most.

Imagine that.

Today is August 19th - Day of Hope, which was started by another mom who's son died. She lives in Australia and on 08.19.2008, she dreamt of her son playing on the beach.  That day, that morning of hope, a dream turned into a mission.
"A day to give. A day to remember. A day to speak out. All children are miracles"
I knew today was the opportunity to share Brody with you...and with Sara's permission, what I wrote for her two years ago.  After going to my private blog and searching, I found the poem I had posted for anyone to find.  The date: 08.19.2008

Imagine that.

Sara, this is for you, for your Brody because you know as well as I do that his life still matters today just as it did when I first shared this with you.


Do you know I thought of you today?
Is it safe to call you my sister in Christ?
Is it safe to call you friend?
Is it safe to call?

So many questions
Not many answers
Only a bleeding heart
And empty arms

Do you know I thought of you today?
Did you visit with him?
The place where they laid him?
Did you see the butterfly dance above you?

So many days
But not enough time
The pain so real
You still feel him

Do you know I thought of you today?
Do you dream of him like I do of you?
Is he your first thought like you are mine?
Do you know how hard I pray?

I ask our Lord if I can carry some
Let me shoulder sadness - if only some
So you may have glimmers of joy
If only some

A month ago today
They laid him to rest
At this moment today
I prayed silently for you

Although I cannot take your pain
Although I cannot see tomorrow
Although you do not understand
Do you know I thought of him today?


I speak out because of courage. I speak out because I too have lost a baby I loved the moment I knew I carried him but I cannot imagine the pain of so many other mothers who have held their babies and have had to say goodbye.  I speak out because silence hurts. I speak out because I am unafraid. I speak out because my friend's son died...and I love her.

Notice the butterfly.

Imagine that.

Would you mind to take a moment out of your day and sign Brody's guest book on his virtual memorial site?  I know Sara and the family would sincerely appreciate it.  Please click here.


Because even though we may lock ourselves away behind the "walls" of cyberspace, healing does begin when we reach out and share.

Blessings for your day,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Shouts of Joy

From our children's devotional:
"He quiets the raging oceans and all the world's clamor. In the farthest corners of the earth the glorious acts of God shall startle everyone. The dawn and sunset shout for joy!" (Ps 65:7-8 TLB emphasis mine)

Which reminded me of one particular night.

The children and I went to watch their daddy play on our church's softball team. While they watched their daddy, I also watched our Daddy God paint the most amazing sky with purple, pink and orange.

And although no camera could ever truly capture the beauty of it all, I decided to keep all photo editing software away from these photos.  Because this sunset, on this particular night, seemed to "shout for joy" and I wanted you to see what I saw.

He is all around me, my husband, our children, our family, our  If the heavens can shout for joy, then so can I and I'm so thankful for the reminders.

Blessings for your weekend,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dislike button!

I will apologize about the errors and painful lack of formatting in last night's blog post. I actually fought with it for an hour and every time I previewed the post, something else was off.  I even published it twice to see if that made a difference.

Actually it's very interesting that I was writing a post about not letting anything, even muddy water, be a discouragement while I started to feel discouraged. So in a moment of boldness, I decided to leave it alone and let you read it the way it was...and as of this post...still is.

I just wish I had a giant DISLIKE button to push.

Nope. It's not "perfect" and neither am I.  I think there is something beautiful and healing about letting others see that.

Blessings for your day,

Muddy water?

For the past few weeks, Google has continually sent me reports that my blog...well...basically stinks.  For the life of me I could not figure out why my ratings PLUMMETED.  I mean, I know I don't write often enough nor do I feel I write about things that would interest a wide audience.  But you see, as I've re-discovered in the past week...that's not the reason I started this blog.

I actually started posting stories because of the encouragement of others and if you read last week's post about getting over myself, you can imagine...I was getting excited to share again.  But then this morning happened.  I got another report from Google.

Yikes. It was really bad.

However, this time I actually opened up the site and looked over the numbers...again...and again...and again.  Every report looked worse than the last and I started to feel down again...just like the declining red arrow I was staring at on the screen. Down...down...down...
I kept thinking to myself, "Great. You've lost everyone and nobody cares about you at all. Get over yourself and stop writing completely. You suck."  Ew.  If you know me, you know that is not the mindset I keep.  You know...cause I'm a WARRIOR PRINCESS!

So I did what any self respecting Warrior Princess would do and walked away from being uncomfortably hot...and irritable...and HOT.  After all, I can't let anybody see me sweat and my nails are much too pretty to fight with the keyboard right now!

Breath in.

Breath out.

An entire day went by.

Breath in.

Breath out.

Yes. I did walk away but I knew I really needed to figure out why I was feeling hurt.  So instead of "not caring what everybody else thinks" and blowing it off...I thought about it. And just like any princess, I went to Daddy. But instead of conversational prayer, I was lead to making dinner because...well, it was dinner time. Then it seemed like that was when the mystical and mysterious way our Father works started to seep into my thought processes.  The kids were off playing, husband at work, phone calls done...silence. Just me...and my heavenly Daddy in the kitchen.

Nothing was happening other than I noticed I was beginning to relax and I mean REALLY relax.  I started making breakfast for dinner. Odd. I hadn't planned on it but I knew the kids wouldn't mind.  So I continued.  I mean, I had chicken. I was going to cook the chicken. Why breakfast?!

Oh well. I made a full breakfast with bacon and eggs and toast and marmalade and milk and yum, yum, yum!  The kids were so grateful and in such a good mood all day. I sat there feeling warm and loved and thankful too.  Just at that moment, we decided to read a second devotional while they finished up.

Have I ever mentioned the perfection of God's timing?  Because it truly is perfect. Earlier in the day we read a devotional and the children learned about God's provision and how important it is to care for others.  Then just an hour later I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about a ministry she is involved in (Hi Jodi!).

And here I was, sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast for dinner AND reading a second devotional.  It's almost like it was symbolic way of showing me the day can start any point.

Now, I am going to cut the story here because you already know where this is going.

After dinner, devotional, and dessert, the children went off to play again.  I cleaned up a little and opted to sit back down to look at the reports of doom and gloom.  I started to notice a slight pattern I didn't see before.


Everything had gone south when I changed the layout of the blog!

Could it be?

Might be!

I opened my template in HTML and started scouring code (yes, I am a true nerd).

IT IS!!!

The new template I switched to in Blogger did not properly read the code to...errrckk.

Oh nevermind, if I want to keep some of my readership I need to stick with English. The point is, I found the problem and fixed it. It wasn't that nobody was reading my blog, it was that Google didn't know anybody was reading it and they kept telling me yucky things.

I felt victorious and lifted again!  I won! I beat the Google beast by throwing God's net of starting fresh over something that was simply muddying the waters.  Daddy took His princess to a place of relaxation and confidence where she could trust in the talent and mind HE had given her...JUST SO SHE COULD SEE that nothing...not even muddy a reason to feel defeated.

Want to know the verse in the evening's devotional?

"...You act like a lion roaming the earth;  but you are nothing more than a crocodile in a river, churning up muddy water with your feet. 
 King of Egypt, listen to me. I, the LORD God, will catch you in my net and let a crowd of foreigners drag you to shore." (EZ 32:1-3)
Isn't that GREAT!  It was actually a devotional about remembering to stay humble. But for me, I saw the need to be reminded that God is ready to give victory to anyone who looks to Him. Life is filled with goodness but it is full of disappointment and obstacles and scarey things but there is never a need to feel useless just because you can't "see" something clearly and assume the worst.

I know, I know. This is one small victory but it is still a WIN...and I got to dance with my King this evening. All is well that ends with G.R.A.C.E.

Blessings for your day,

Friday, August 6, 2010

In step

Yesterday I mentioned that I recently saw someone and I told you I would return to tell you.  Do you remember the Cookie Cutter Words series I wrote about a "nine little words" encounter?  Well, as you can only imagine...just at the same time I was discovering my two left feet in these recent stories...I see her again.

I was so overjoyed in seeing her that I purposefully asked her how she's been doing.  Now, because she has been attending our church off and on I've kept her identity a secret and will continue to do so.  But I must tell you that she is not doing well.

She may be overwhelmed with work or that may be her choice. She may be having health issues and cannot go to the doctor because of financial reasons or she may be making excuses.  She may be telling stories or she may be holding back the truth out of fear of rejection.  Regardless, I do not judge her nor condemn her.

The truth is I don't know what burdens her heart but I know my Father, your Father, her Father does.  So as I said yesterday, "...I will tell you who I've recently seen, so we can pray...and then dance. Together."

If you wouldn't mind so much, would you? Could you? Join me? Be in step with me? Pray for her. Together? 


You know that was the darkest day before our glorious redemption.

It was a Saturday when everyone awoke and hoped the nightmare of our crucified Lord was just that...a nightmare.  Then the sun set and the darkness of the night matched the darkness of their mourning hearts.

And then Sunday.

Sunday the grave couldn't hold Him.

And the nightmare ended. Our redemption realized.  Blood poured out was not the final note.

Come along. I ask you to be in step with me this Saturday, tomorrow.  I prayerfully hope the tugging on her heart is from the collection of prayers from rightous women longing for another to wake and see the sun rise on a Sunday morning and the deepest part of her soul...that all that weighs her down does not get the final say.

Would you? Could you? Join me? Be in step with me? Pray for her?

Blessings for your day...blessings for hers,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

See, Pray, Dance

A friend of mine posted on her blog today after being gone from the "blogging world" for months.  I was so happy to read her again.  She actually had the exact words for why I have NOT been writing. I just happen to be fumbling over myself...with two left feet...for the past month...or so.

You should head over there and read what she has to say. Click here.

Go ahead. I'll wait.




Good stuff right?

I often ask myself why any of us so desperately seek the approval of others. How is that possible?  How does that happen? How can you catch it in time to stop it from becoming an idol you worship? How did that happen to me?  How do I get rid of it?

Now if I really took the time to explain to you where I look for the approval, many would say to me that it's no big deal.  Also, "Of course everybody loves a compliment!", would be the perfect rationalization for my prodding and seeking.

But the problem became more of feeling as if  I would be misunderstood and no one person could possibly appreciate what I was doing with nine little words. My encounters became about the stories and instead of actually "seeing" a person through their pray request. I would think about what lesson God may want to teach me rather then getting on my knees and earnestly praying.  And lastly, instead of dancing with joy over being given a glimpse of His heart I would type and retype words to tell you a story that never made any sense...even to me.

Now before I sound completely out of whack, I will tell you that I never once asked one person my nine little words question that I did not carry in my heart and pray over.  Every individual  I ever asked has stayed with me and has been poured over in prayer.  Unfortunately, with potential new encounters, what I recently started to do was  think about the story and if you would even like it or  think it was funny...before even asking the question!  I would become so preoccupied with the setting, the weather, the mood, people around me, etc., that I wouldn't even have the courage to ask when it came time.

It's sort of like Samson. "...He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him." (Judges 16:20 NIV) 

I am in no way saying God had abandoned me, but I certainly did not have the courage He had been giving me on my little adventure. He left me fumbling and waited for me to get over myself (huh...sort of like Samson again).


Because maybe, just maybe...He leads this dance...and I'm not as good as I think I am.

Oh, SNAP! [keepin' it real]

So where does this leave us?


Right where it all began.


Because just like the words of a wise woman:
"Even if I'm getting it wrong and I'm stepping all over God's toes. Even if I'm trying to lead GOD, and every one's laughing at the presumptuousness of that foolishness. Even then, He has not left me or forsaken me. He is out there--on the dance floor--claiming me as His--2 left feet and all. He delights in me and sings over me. He hates that I have to feel this way, but He knows what it will produce in me, so He is strong enough and loving enough to let me go through it." - Lisa Jones from Seeking Him Desperately 
During this dance, I am actually very grateful my heavenly Daddy let me trip over myself and not bring anyone down.  Because for a Latina who is supposed to have rhythm...well...that wouldn't be pretty. Trust me. Not pretty. At all.

Tomorrow I will tell you who I've recently seen, so we can pray...and then dance. Together.

Blessings for your day,