Grace, Anywhere

A sweet friend took me out on the town last night. We dined at the only fancy-ish restaurant in our small city, swooning over Greek Bruschetta and perfectly roasted artichokes before scurrying to the theater to support friends in a local production of Rent.

Another friend met us at the show where our three mouths hung agape over the showcase of local talent. (“Wow, that girl can WAIL! Where do these people COME from? Do they LIVE here?”) After the performance, we chatted in the street beside my friend’s ginormous SUV, wishing there was somewhere we could grab coffee.

“There’s always McDonald’s,” someone offered timidly, more like a question than a suggestion. . .

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We rolled into Mickey-D’s at 10:15, settling in between the giggling high school crowd in the back and the cat-vibes lady with the pink sequined scarf up front.

Four hours later, we were still in the booth. Our conversation had rambled through the territories of foster care, intercessory prayer, seasonal depression, religion-based shame, Kindergarten crushes, self-love, gluten farts, and the most absorbent mom-bladder pantyliner. Continue reading

Where I’ve Been

Yesterday, I ran into a friend I haven’t seen in a while, and she asked me where I’ve been. I tried replying, but I’m not sure I even knew the answer.

If this post had a subtitle, maybe it would read “That Time I Tried Working Two Part-Time Jobs While Homeschooling My Children, Supporting My Husband Through a Career Change, Becoming Foster-to-Adopt Licensed, and Why Not Throw in a Trip to Disney World Followed Closely by Influenza, a Stomach Virus, and Two Minor Household Floods.” Continue reading

May the Fourth

My three boys (okay, my four boys) were way into the MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU pun yesterday. They donned their Star Wars gear and waved colorful light sabers in my face at every opportunity.

Is anything more exciting to young boys than a battle between Darkness and Light?

But as much as Light vs. Darkness seems a game, a fantasy, to them, it’s been pretty real for me lately.

Have you ever felt that when you’re on a mission to carry out some weighty work, the powers of Darkness launch a full-out attack on your hopeful, bright-eyed self?

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Grand Edits with Austin Lucas: Revising Life after Substance Abuse

This post is the tenth Grand Edits Guest Feature Story here on Revisions of Grandeur.

We’ve heard from one woman who battled cancer and one who said a premature goodbye to her father. A young man whose life course changed within a second, and another who watched his child struggle for years. A mother whose child received a terrifying diagnosis, and another who had to bury two of her precious babies.

Life unleashes some brutally painful attacks doesn’t it? Most of the time, we never see them coming. There’s no way to prepare. We are subject to our circumstances.

Sometimes, though, the attacks are sneakier. They come from within. The wars we wage are against our own selves. We’re on both sides of the battlefield — and only one side can be victorious.

For my friend Austin Lucas, the attack was a slow advancement –a letting down of his guard. A befriending of the enemy. Before he knew it, he found himself in a full-on raging battle.

It wasn’t until Austin surrendered that he regained his position of strength and fortitude — that he was able to strike back against the forces that had divided himself against himself.

Austin’s story is a compelling reminder that we never have to fight our battles on our own.

We’re never forsaken. We’re never alone. And we’re never too far gone.

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Grand Edits with Lance Ellis: Revising Life after Losing a Child

As Father’s Day approaches, we’re reminded of all the things a dad should be…

The protector, the provider, the fixer, the giver-of-knowledge.

Lance Ellis willingly embraced all of these roles. He couldn’t wait to teach his kids, help them solve problems, and bring them along on adventures.

He had plans. Plans to be a teacher. Plans to marry his sweetheart, Jill Johnson — to make a home and have two children, maybe even a dog.

But life had different plans for Lance, and he wasn’t able to do those things exactly the way he wanted to. Only when he surrendered his own plans — when he became willing to be shaped by his circumstances, did he arrive at the realization that plans and efforts are not guarantees, and the only thing a father can really provide for his children is unconditional love.

This is Lance’s story. Continue reading

Grand Edits with Jaclynn Kreider: Revising Life After Losing a Parent

When Jaclynn Kreider was a young girl, her father, Jack Kriegl, was her hero. They enjoyed many of the same things – playing sports, Green Bay Packers football, skiing, hunting, trapping, and spending time outdoors.

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The Kriegl kids with their dad (L to R: Aundrea, Jaclynn, Joe, John, and Jack)

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