Lolly’s House…

Being a grandmother…now, three times over, the holidays take on a bigger significance for me.  After becoming a mother many, many years ago, things shifted to being about the children…my children. Holidays became a whirlwind of happiness and exhaustion!  Now, my children’s generation is experiencing that whirlwind first-hand, and I’m able to plan for each event with a little more energy since I don’t have to be up at night for the 3am feedings…

Even though I still have one child at home, I’m trying to find my new role as the supporter and enabler. My house is transitioning from “Mom’s House” to “Lolly’s House”.  But what does that mean for me as a woman…a person?

I’ve never looked at becoming a grandmother as a lesser-role. As far as responsibility and influence go, it’s like the rest of my life: as my age increases, so should my wisdom and influence…

And if that’s the case, then I have an increased responsibility to use that influence not just in my immediate family, but also everywhere I have a voice.

I think many women struggle to find their voice or their place as their nest becomes more and more empty. For me, I choose to tackle this by constantly filling my nest…

Every year my nest gets fuller, rather than emptier.  I could have never had biological children at all and I still could grow my nest and increase my influence.  

All women have a voice and a place regardless of their motherhood status.

So, how does this paradigm shift in my life affect my every day?  How does it affect my view of the holidays?

Well, of course, my role as “Lolly” is enriched by thinking about the holidays through the eyes of my grandchildren, but what if I didn’t have all these kids to help me find my role?

Halloween clarifies this for me every year.

If you know me, you know that I’m not a big celebrator of Halloween… The creepy and the scary is just not my thing.  In fact, when my kids were little, we basically just pretended that the day didn’t exist.  

Left to my own devices and in my own comfortability, I would just turn the lights out and act like no one is home…

But as I’ve gotten older and my influence has increased, I have begun to look at the world around me less from the perspective of my own comfort and more from the perspective of others.

Hospitality has become something that I cherish.  It’s become like an art-form for me.  So I don’t really feel that I have the luxury to not think about others during the holidays…

It’s not just about me anymore.

Nothing brings this fact into focus more than Halloween.

If it’s truly about others and making them feel loved and cherished, then I have to take a second look at this holiday.  The truth is that there is no other day of the year that people of all kinds come eagerly to my door…they bring their most precious possession: their children to my door and allow me to “ooh” and “aw” over their costumes, they let me give their little ones gifts in the form of treats…

They ask me to be hospitable and kind.

I have the privilege of showing them what coming to my house feels like…Lolly’s House. It may very well be the only visit to a grandmother’s house that they will get to experience during the whole of the holiday season. It may very well be the only kindness they experience all day…week…year.

I may be overstating the significance of this one day…but what if I’m not?

I’ve begun to look for meaning in life not just from being a mother or how many kids I have been blessed with, but rather how much of a blessing I can be to as many as God brings into my path.  And since I’ve begun to look for these opportunities, I’ve found my place.

So no matter how full or empty my nest is, I’m still “Lolly” and there’s always kindness to be shared at my house…Lolly’s House.❣️

And that makes me smile, even if I have to wade through scary clown costumes to do it!😱

Peace to you…

Angie❣️

My Side of the Story…

If you read this blog, you’ve picked up on pieces of my story, and if you attend C3 Church or listen to Byron’s podcasts, you’ve heard other pieces…

Every person’s story has many pieces to it – like a giant and intricate puzzle – and the reality is that even each “piece” is multifaceted…

This Sunday, Byron spoke of part of our story as a couple…about our separation and near-divorce 5 years ago.  As always, he was incredibly gracious and kind and put all of the responsibility on himself for our marriage…our world seeming to burn right in front of us.

But that’s his side of the story…

Here’s mine:

What happened to our marriage 5 years ago really began many years earlier.  I grew up in a seemingly happy, Christian home – the preacher’s daughter.  While I would not compare my upbringing and childhood to others who suffered horrible abuse and awful conditions, there was still abuse – even if everything looked perfect on the outside.  I just learned to cover…smile and cover.  

By the time Byron and I were married, and I went from “Preacher’s Daughter” to “Preacher’s Wife”, I was an expert at covering my true feelings, but the cracks began to show…

By 25, I had two beautiful daughters and although we were “seminary-poor”, we looked like the perfect family…except for the fact that at 5’9″ I weighed 100 lbs., suffered with debilitating depression and never slept more than 3 hours at a time.  But, if you asked…I was great.

By 35, I had 4 beautiful children and it was a daily struggle to hide the storm that was building inside me.  I gained 40 lbs. in 18 months even though I hardly ate, I was having “night terrors” and I began to think that my beautiful family would certainly be better off without me…

Still, if you had asked me, I would have said that I was a little stressed, but I would have never acknowledged that I was toying with burning my life to the ground…

Over the next 6-7 years, Byron tried everything to pull me out of the deep end of the ocean, but I didn’t want to be rescued.  I would have rather drown than to admit that I had been so badly broken in my childhood and beyond, that I truly didn’t believe I was worth saving.

So, by 42 I was living separately from Byron, and I did the “every other week” thing with my kids, and I had to look at their faces and know they were suffering…

all because I decided to burn myself to the ground just to stop the pain.

But, I learned something:

I learned that if you light a match and burn your house down, you’re not the only one who gets burned.  

I learned that if you run away, you take your pain with you.

I learned that you are not defined by what’s been done to you, but you will always carry what you’ve done to others.

I learned that there’s a difference between pain and remorse.  Other’s can cause you deep pain, but remorse comes from your own choices…and it’s a much heavier burden to bear.

I learned that I can choose to end the cycle of pain and remorse.  I can choose to be the person I needed when I was growing up.  I can create the family that I never had.  


I can deal with my pain and stop it from dealing with me with every breath.

I can.

I have the power to choose a new path.

You do as well.

We can’t just light a match and walk away…

Pain only goes away when it heals properly.  

Grace is the only fire strong enough to burn down hell…and it can burn down the hell your living in, if you let it.

I still have the scars to prove that I’ve been through the fire, but thank God, I’m also living proof that you don’t have to be consumed by it.

Peace to you…

Angie❣️

Striking the Wonder Woman…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what is real…and what’s not.  Dealing with physical illness and chronic pain can shrink your reality super fast.  You can begin to think that life is just about survival, and before you know it, real moments can pass you by because you were just trying to survive…to breathe.  

There are definitely times in life when the only way through…is through, and you just have to put your head down and push through it.

The problem with anything that affects you on a chronic level is that it can become your only reality.  When you’re in chronic pain or under chronic stress or in chronic depression or chronically obsessed with perfection…the reality is the same: 

Your world has been shrunk down to just that one thing.

But today is Monday.  Mondays are hard, but they are also wonderful.  It just depends on my reality.  Have I shrunk my reality to the point where I can’t see the possibility that lies in every day…especially every Monday?  

Well, here’s where I am on this Monday:

I’m going to be tired…Monday-tired no matter what I do or don’t do.  I’m going to be in pain…whether I do a lot or try to be still.  I’ve got a lot on my plate, a big family, major health-decisions to make…and they will be there whether I choose to deal with them today or not.

I can’t change facts, but I can change my reality…

Because my true reality is not what’s going on around me…or even inside me…

My true reality is how I feel about it, what I tell myself about it, and what I allow it to motivate me to do or not do about it.

I spoke to my Doctor about this just a few hours ago… Dr. Brent Baldasare is my chiropractor, but the reality is that he’s my physician…you know, the one that I really listen to.  I was sharing with him my frustrations about the decisions I have to make about possible treatments for the meningioma (benign brain tumor) that’s pressing on my brain stem and spinal cord.  Nothing has changed as far as my physical condition, but lately I’ve been feeling hopeless and unmotivated…when I was much more certain and positive just a few weeks ago.  I told him that I know I have to get my mojo back.

And he said, “Do you know the “Wonder Woman” stance?”

Know it?  There are times when I think I invented it…and these are always the times  when I feel the weakest, and somehow I just know that if I just tell myself I’m strong, then I’ll actually be stronger.  I’ve done this for years when I sing.  Anyone who has ever watched me lead worship, has probably seen me do the “Wonder Woman”…where I stand straight and strong or march forward on the platform.  For me, this has always revolved around some lyric that is stating how “God is stronger” or “no weapon formed against me will stand”.  I can do it when I’m leading worship…

…because when I’m leading worship it’s not about me.  It’s about God.  And I have no trouble believing or stating in a strong way that God is greater…

I just struggle to know that I am.

So Dr. B reminded me that I need to take my power back.  The things that I can control about my health, my pain, my happiness, my faith, my family…are right in my own hands.  I just need to stand up, strike the “Wonder Woman” and know that I can!

Byron said this very thing this weekend,  “Perhaps you don’t struggle at all believing in God, you just struggle with the fact that He believes in you.”

And that’s truly my struggle:  believing that I can.

Maybe that’s also where you are.

So let’s try it together…if we’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged and powerless, the first step is to stand up, strike the “Wonder Woman”, look the world and our enemies right in the eye, and say by our stance that we will not be defeated.

It’s not just half the battle…it’s the whole thing because it can actually change our reality.

If we change our thoughts, we change our destiny, and begin to change the world!

Hands on your hips now!

Peace to you…

Angie ❣ 

Making the Mundane More Magical…

Having been a “stay-at-home” wife, mom and grandmother now for nearly 30 years, I’ve dealt with the pitfalls and challenges of finding purpose and meaning in the most mundane tasks. But the truth is, we all struggle with finding joy in the things that, on the surface, can seem ordinary and even boring…

Having the same “gig” for as long as I have also allows me to really get to know where my strengths…and weaknesses lie.  And for me, my weakness is definitely consistency…especially if it’s in the mundane and possibly boring category.

I don’t do mundane very well.

I do last-minute, heart-pumping, ride-or-die super well…it’s just that most of my mom-days don’t include a whole lot of moments that you might see in an episode of “24”.  

So while I tend to hear the sound-track of my life something like “The Hunger Games” or “The Sound of Music”…it’s more like an episode of “America’s Funniest Home Vidoes” most days…

But I love my life.

The challenge is in finding the magic in the mundane.

The way I’m learning to do this…and it’s definitely a work-in-progress, is to give myself permission to look at absolutely everything through rose-colored glasses. So, when I hear the Hunger Games music begin to play in my head…then, I need to act like it’s just that important.  And when Julie Andrews begins to sing, I can use that to motivate me to not just “clean” the bathroom, but to really make it more beautiful.

How I make the mundane magical is to look at it as my art form…my mission. Because the truth is, it really is that important.

This weekend Byron spoke about how creating margin…breathing room in our schedules allows us to be more generous in our lives.  So, if my finances are “in order” then I can be generous when there’s a natural disaster or a friend has a need. If my schedule is not maxed-out, then I can go visit someone in the hospital without grieving over the loss of a few hours.

For me, that was a reminder that every moment in my sometimes seemingly mundane day is important.  It may not seem important that I have a neat family room, but it allows me to be present-in-the-moment when a friend needs to stop by and cry on my shoulder.

It’s not always easy to feel approval or gratitude for the simple things that you do each day, but keep doing them and determine to really put your heart into it. Small things done with great love always have an impact.

I’ve had to realize that if I want to have a beautiful life, then I need to have beautiful thoughts and do beautiful things – and even the tiniest, most mundane thing can become beautiful if we see them as important and meaningful.

If I’ve ever questioned this, all I have to do is think about the sweetest moments in my life.  They are usually the simplest.

It’s not perfection that holds the most beauty…it’s progress…and peace.

It’s not always just about what we do, but how we do it…and doing the smallest things with the greatest love always has the ability to create magic!✨✨

Peace to you…

Angie❣