Sunday, November 19, 2017

I've Moved!!

In order to provide better content, I've moved to my own doman:
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Pretty Please!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Simple Gospel

Simple Gospel by United Pursuit

I want to know you, Lord
Like I know a friend
I want to know you, Lord

It's Monday and time to start our week of right with focusing our minds where they are best suited to be focused.  Did you have a busy weekend?  I are you still feeling tired, or not enough?

I want to know you, Lord
Like I know a friend
I want to know you, Lord

I've talked a lot lately about where we get our identity from, and how the world affects what we believe in our core.  It happens so easily, so quickly.  We can take our eyes off of heaven for just a moment and we forget who we are and whose we are.  But I'm here to tell you that no matter what that inner tape says, God wants you to come to Him.  He wants you to pursue Him.

So I’m laying down all my religion
I’m laying down
I want to know you, Lord

I'm not talking about sitting in church on Sundays.  Although I do think that's important, I do not believe it really defines your relationship with our Savior.  I also do not believe that it matters which pew you sit in, or which steeple you worship under on Sunday mornings.  If God desired us to worship all the same, he would have created the desire for the same type of worship in each of us.  But He created us creatively, and we enjoy different styles of worship.  The different denominations and worship styles give us that variety.

I use to think that I could box you in
But I’m laying down
I want to know you, Lord

One of my favorite phrases is "Don't put God in a box".  We cry out to God in prayer for things and then, when He doesn't respond in the way we hoped we think He didn't respond.  There's no trust in that.  When we pray, we ought to pray God's Will above all else.  It's so hard to let go of control, because as humans, we see things the way we see them, and as God, He sees them how He sees them.  Sometimes, we don't see the answers He does.  We also underestimate His power.  Or, His concern.  Do you know that God can do anything?  Do you know that He cares for the intimate details of your life?  Do you know that He cares for you even when, and perhaps especially when you don't measure up?

Lord, I’ve been told to be ashamed
Lord, I’ve been told I don’t measure up
Lord, I’ve been told I’m not good enough
But you’re here with me

How often do we do this?  We say you must belong to this church, or act this way, or serve this much for God to work in our lives.  This is not what God desires for us.  What God desires is relationship with Him..... and not just our relationship with Him..... How we see our relationship with Him affects how others see Him.  We are called to bring people to our Loving Christ.  When we expect so much to be able to even enter the presence of God, how does that draw others to our savior?

I reach out and you find me in the dust
You say no amount of untruths can separate us

I have a lot of struggles myself with where the lines are, but one thing I know, is that I am far from perfect.  I reach out to God and He meets me where I am.  I do not have to get my act together to reach out to Him.  I don't even have to stop my sinful behavior.  I simply need to reach for Him.  And through that reaching, He will change me from the inside out.

I will rejoice in the simple gospel
I will rejoice in you, Lord

It really is simple. We just have to let it be.

Love, Semalee

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Thursday Thoughts- Does your day run you?

Phew- it's been a while since I wrote my post on ABA Therapy (Applied Behavioral Therapy) and how it's working in our home.  We still continue to work with Dr. Salek to fine tune our behaviors and find more of a semblance of normal.  We've been working with her for about 6 months now, and if you had told me that in 6 months my life would be this different from what it was, I would have called her so much sooner.  So, if you're in the Houston area and you're struggling with very difficult behaviors in your home from one or more of your children that are related to autism, adoption, bipolar, anxiety etc, and you feel like your child is holding you hostage, please call her.  I am here to tell you it is worth every penny and every moment.  Do not wait, because 6 months from now you will wish you had called today!  (FYI I do not get any compensation from her, I just wholeheartedly believe in her).

So, one of the things that she implemented, was a schedule.  We set up schedules for the kids to help regulate what they do during the day, how much time is spent on media (TV, Tablet, Computer etc) and how much time they have free to do as they wish.  We also put into the schedule morning, afternoon, and evening chores.  If I'm being completely honest, I'll tell you the afternoon chores just don't happen consistently, so I'm working those back out of our schedule, which is an important point about the schedule- you are not locked in!  The schedule can, and will change.  But, the morning and evening chores do and that has helped all of us tremendously.  It helps the kids know that they have value, because they have purpose in our home. It helps me not feel quite as overwhelmed because I'm not the only one responsible for the chores.  It also gives me an opportunity to sit down and relax for a moment.  For example, after dinner the kids do the after dinner chores, and I usually sit in my bed, or on the couch and play a game or two on my tablet during this down time.  It's nice to have some down time when the kids are still awake.

In the beginning there was a schedule for William.  Then we decided that all of the kids should have one, so that William didn't feel singled out, and truly, they all could use one anyway if for no other reason to regulate the media time.  (Does anyone else struggle with feeling like media takes over their household)...  Once we got them all rolling in schedules of their own I decided that writing a new schedule each day was way too much for us.  I could see the value in it, and I could really see how knowing what the day held helped William with his anxiety and consequently his mood, but I could also see that I was about to go under the waters of overwhelm real fast.   So, I went to pinterest looking for templates or something to make this ABA Schedule easier.  What I found, were references to Managers of Their Homes, a program by Terri Maxwell, that I had heard about in the past, but never actually tried.  I decided that I needed to give it a try and see if it helped us.  I will tell you the program, along with their software, ScheduleBreeze has really helped us tremendously.

There were many things I learned as we implemented the schedule.  One of them was that I didn't have any space for me.  Not only did I need that space, but the kids need to know that I have space for me because I'm modeling for them how they should organize their day.  Do I want their days full of doing more and more and more, with no time to just be?  So, now we all have schedules, and it helps me to keep myself in line as well.

Colossians 4:5 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.”  Over the next little while we'll spend some time talking about what the best use of time is.  I will give you a teaser- it's not busyness, or even productivity.

Stay tuned for more on how I'm getting my life together :)

Love, Semalee

Monday, November 06, 2017

Music Monday- You Know Me

Recently I went to a funeral at our church for one of our church family.  The lady who had died was an amazing soul, and such an inspiration to me.  She was always kind, and always had her eyes on the Lord.  I always felt welcome in her presence and, now that she's gone, I wish I had spent more time there.  But, no matter how much time we think we have, the reality is that we don't know the number of our days, and some day they will end.

In the funeral we sang a song called Wayfaring Stranger by Johnny Cash:

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
Traveling through this world below
There is no sickness, no toil, nor danger
In that bright land to which I go
I'm going there to see my Father
And all my loved ones who've gone on
I'm just going over Jordan
I'm just going over home
I know dark clouds will gather 'round me
I know my way is hard and steep
But beauteous fields arise before me
Where God's redeemed, their vigils keep
I'm going there to see my Mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
So, I'm just going over Jordan
I'm just going over home
I'm just going over Jordan
I'm just going over home

In the line "I'm going to see my Mother" I found myself almost removed from the service and speaking to God, crying out to God for my own mother.  If you've read my blog, you know that my mother and I don't have a relationship.  I could go into many reasons why it is so, and most of them would make it sound like it's all her fault.  And, I'd venture to guess if you were to ask her why we don't have a relationship her reasons would be many and most would lay the blame on me.  And, they'd both be true.  Life has not been kind to our relationship.  But, as I talked with God, He reminded me that even if we don't reconcile here on earth, that we will reconcile in Heaven, because that is when our souls will be able to speak to each other, and we'll truly understand each other.  Here on earth we have a very hard time truly hearing each other's heart and soul.

It's been an incredibly painful thing, and we've missed out on so much together.  But it's also reminded me often of how much I need God.  With God, we don't have to wait for the other side of Heaven for our soul to be understood.  He understand us now.  There is no misunderstanding coming from him.  He KNOWS us.  What a comfort that is.  Do you ever feel misunderstood by others?  Do you truly know that there is someone who understands you, even when no one else does?  It doesn't matter if we understand Him.  And it doesn't matter what we've done.  He sees our heart, our pain, our soul.

You Know Me- Bethel Music
You have been
And You will be
You have seen
And You will see

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and You move the sea
And still You know me

Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, You know me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

You have been
And You will be
And You have seen
And You will see

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and You move the sea
And still You know me

Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, You know me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don't miss a thing

And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
Cause You are God and You don't miss a thing

Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, You know me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, You know me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh, You know me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh

You memorize me

Nothing is hidden from His sight.  He knows every detail of our lives.  We can rest in that.

Love, Semalee

P.S.  Here's Wayfaring Stranger too :)

P.P.S. Here's another version by Ed Sheeran if you're interested :)

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Thursday Thoughts: The Comparison Trap

Recently I've taken a break from social media.  It's now been more than a month that I've been off social media and I've learned a few things.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the world of social media and forget that what goes on there is pretty far from reality.  I know that it is a way to keep in touch with people, but how often do we use it as a crutch to believe that we are staying in touch, when really we aren't.  We're just looking in on someone's life, but still keeping a distance.  There's not a place on our Facebook wall where we can sit together and talk about the things that really are bothering us.

What really got me convicted to take a break was the change I was seeing in myself.  I have always been a person who truly enjoys seeing my friends have a good time, even when it didn't include me. It really has been a thing that doesn't bother me.  But lately, I find myself in a sort of "in between" stage.  I think it has some to do with the fact that I have adult children and teen age children and young children.  Because of this dynamic, I often don't feel like I truly "fit" with any group. My friends who have children my adult children's ages are now entering the empty nest time in their lives and don't have the worries of the 7 and 8 year old life that we do.  My friends who have young kids my Littles' ages are much younger than we are and have a totally different take on many things as a result.  I have some friends who have teenage kids, but the teenage years are so difficult with time being so scarce that there's not a lot of room to connect there either.

And, I'm also finding that being a mom of adult kids who are going out into the world and living their own lives is much harder than I anticipated.  So much of my life has been all about them, and now their lives are (rightfully so) not about me.  I miss my boys.

These things have worked together to knock down my self esteem a bit.  As this has happened, I've begun looking at Facebook differently.  I've noticed more where I don't seem to stack up to others.  My friends get together and instead of me being happy about it for them, I'm feeling sorry for myself, and wondering why I wasn't invited.  I've lost my sense of true identity, because I allowed Facebook/Instagram/SnapChat etc to define it for me instead of the One who truly loves me and knows me.

I was reading a devotional in the Bible app recently called "People of the Second Chance".  There was a quote in there that really hit me to the core, and I think it is well worth repeating.  It was, "My truest, nonnegotiable identity is the beloved.  And in spite of my checkered past, my fabulous flops, my painful history, my deepest flaws, my boneheaded screw-ups, and yes, even beyond my own beliefs about myself, I am God's beloved.  This is my foundational identity of every human being.

"This is important because identity is the engine that dries the relationship not only with ourselves, but also with God and others.  If your identity is broken, your life is broken.  If you define it incorrectly, you will carry that wrong definition into your story.  if all you see are your limitations, you will miss out on the stunning possibilities God is creating in front of you."  I assume more can be found in his book, People of the Second Chance: A Guide to Bringing Life-Saving Love to the World

This really spoke to me, though.  You see, one thing I will never claim to be is perfect.  One thing I do not have is "it all together".  I'm just like any other wife and mom out there who spends time bouncing between overwhelmed and barely getting by most of the time.  I have deep regrets as a mom, things I wish I could do over, ways I wish I could better show my kids how much I love them.  I have deep regrets as a wife, ways that I have not been a good partner to my husband, times when I didn't give him the grace he deserved.  I have deep regrets as a child, things I've said, and ways I've acted out towards my parents, and most particularly my mother.  I have failed in many ways at being a good friend, too.  I've said things that hurt my friends, that were not intended to do so, but still did.  You can't unsay things once they've been said.  All of these people are people who I love so dearly, yet I have made mistakes.  And now, as a mother in law, I find myself failing in many ways there too. I am human.  I am far from perfect.  And the people who I love are also human.  We fail.  All of us.  It's just one of the reasons we need God so much.  Because, we need to know in our deepest darkest failings that our core identity has not changed.  We are Beloved.

So, for now, I will keep my eyes less on the things on social media and more on the things in my Bible.  I will spend the month of November as I have for many years, remembering what I'm grateful for, and not what I lack.  I will do my best to forgive others when they are human and I will also try to forgive myself.  I will try to see the world with the eyes of Jesus, and see the wonder of it all.

What about you?  Do you find yourself getting caught up in the comparison trap of social media?  Do you need to take time to refocus as well?  What are ways you keep yourself in check?

Love, Semalee

Monday, October 30, 2017

Music Monday: Captain

You all know how much I am ministered to by music.  It has a way of getting into, and speaking to my soul.  I was thinking the other day that it's a good way to start off the week, too.  So, here's is my first installment of Music Monday to kick our week off with our minds and hearts in the right place.

Has there been a time (or two or ten) in your life where you really didn't know which direction your life was headed, and from what you could see, it looked pretty scary?  Maybe you're in that place right now.  Maybe you have a child that you're worried about their future.  Maybe your marriage is struggling.  Maybe you've lost someone in your life who was so important to you that you feel lost without them.  Through waters uncharted my soul will embark, I'll follow your voice straight into the dark.  I've been there many times, and many times even recently, where even the daily moments can seem like a dark place.  It is during these times that you really see God work.  When you truly know that you can not fix the problem before you, BUT GOD, that is when you see.  You truly see.

Where are we going? Who is the Captain of our ship?  Are we allowing our earthly desires, or even pleasing others, or looking like "A Good Christian" on the outside to dictate our daily walk?  Do your social media accounts show the right picture of your life?  Are you careful not to let others see when you struggle?  When we don't allow others to see into our struggles, they do not feel comfortable approaching us when they need someone to listen to their heart.  If we always seem to have it together, how are we to minister to those around us?  And worse, if everyone around you seems to always have everything together, how do you feel when you don't feel like YOU have it together? This is the danger of social media.  This is the danger of superficial relationships. The problem is, how do you approach someone to pray for you?  Or, are you making yourself available to pray for others? 

It's ok, and normal to have days, sometimes weeks or months or longer where your life is filled with trials.  It's ok to have seasons where you don't measure up to the world's standards.  God uses these moments in our life to teach us how big He is, and, when we let Him, He uses them to teach others how big He is too.

Captain- Hillsong United

Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I'll follow your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course you intend I depart
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart.

Like the wind 
You'll guide
Clear the skies before me
And I'll glide this open sea.

Like the stars
Your Word
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I've been
And where I'm going.

Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back North
My Captain
My Soul's trusted Lord
My allegiance is rightfully yours.

This week we will enter November.  Time has a habit of really flying by lately, so it's time to start looking towards 2018 and beginning to think of what we would like 2018 to look like.  Who will be our Captain in 2018? Will we look for ways that God is quietly blowing our sails, or will we row in the direction of the current?

My Captain
My Soul's trusted Lord
My allegiance is rightfully yours.

Love, Semalee

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Finding Ourselves again

(This post contains affiliate links which, when you purchase from I receive a small commission.  This does not cost you anything, but helps me to keep blogging:) 

Well, our journey The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizingis continuing.  It's incredibly freeing to be making our way through this process and really finding our stuff and ourselves again.  I talked in the last post about how Marie Kondo suggests that you go through your belongings by categories, instead of rooms.  Clothes were first, and I shared this picture of my Littles as we went through their clothes.  I share again here, because I want you to see a little of the state of their room.  Unfortunately, I didn't do a good job of getting before pictures in their room, but these pictures are actually pretty representative of how their room was most of the time.  On this day we were going through their clothes, but there were only a few more on the floor than usual ;)

So, the next category is books.  I went into their room to get their books decluttered, and in the end, we just finished their entire room.  It was really at a place where we had enough invested that we basically HAD to finish it to do anything else.  And, their belongings are basically clothes, books and toys, right?  So in a surprise turn of events it only took 1 afternoon to completely finish their room.  I was very proud of them both as they helped me go through everything and willingly let go of a lot of things they don't play with or use anymore.  They were both excited at the idea of each having their own "space" in their room (another thing she suggests in the book) and excited at being able to make their room how they wanted it. :)  It was amazing the amount of stuff that went out of their room.  We took out 4 large bags of GARBAGE.  Yes.  FOUR.  Oh my.  While cleaning, I found my daughter's stash of wrappers from all the food she sneaks :(.  But she was embarrassed that I found it and told me she is really trying to grow up and not sneak anymore :)

We even got rid of a bunch of furniture that wasn't really being used and was taking up more space in their room.  (The couch is from the living room)

 At the end of the day, both Littles are thrilled with how their room turned out and they've been playing in there a whole lot more.  They have both expressed their excitement at being able to find their toys when they want them.  It's funny- before they really didn't play with any of their toys, and really didn't want to be in their room.  I think it was because they were so overwhelmed in there that it was a stressful environment for them.  Now they both seem more at peace in all aspects.  This tidying thing really does feel a little like magic......

My husband even went though his hung clothes, (still needs to do his dresser) and cleaned off his end table.  I REALLY wish I had a before picture of THAT!  But what was really good, was that while cleaning off his end table he found a check for $100 that he had forgotten about from this Spring!  So, this gave me the perfect opportunity to highlight to him how our clutter is literally costing us money!  He now sees how important it is to get our house cleaned up now!  :)
(If you look, you can kind of see his end table- it's the one on the left.  Note the piling!  LOL)

If you begin reading or following along, I would love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment below!

Love, Semalee

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Journey of a Thousand Miles begins with One Step

(This post contains affiliate links which, when you purchase from I receive a small commission.  This does not cost you anything, but helps me to keep blogging:) 

If you've read my blog, or you know me in person, you know that my husband and I have acquired 4 adopted children over the past 9 years.  What you may not know is that we live in a fairly small house, which is about 1500 square feet.  For a time, we had 9 people living here, but we are currently down to 6.  My aunt calls our house "The Magic House" because it just fits the people in that need to call it home.  Over time, many people have asked us if we plan to move into a larger house, and our answer is always no.  You see, I love this house.  We have lived here since the boys were little, and most of our neighbors have lived here as long as we have.  My Dad, Sister and her husband live next door, and we have a wonderful back yard.  It is an older house, and it is smaller than many, but I never wanted a big house.  I don't want us to have places to go to get away from each other.  I want us to be forced to interact.  Yes, sometimes I wish I could get more quiet, but in the end, I like the house just as it is.


What is not good about my house is the amount of stuff that lives here.  I have long felt that I needed to declutter.  Several times I have gone through and cleaned out different areas, we've moved rooms around etc, but always we are left with too much stuff and not enough places to put it.  "Everything has it's place and everything in it's place" is not currently a possibility in my house.

In another blog I read, Boho Berry, she mentioned that she had read the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and how it had changed her life.  I put it on my list of things to read, and there it sat for about a year.  Then, this Fall, as school was starting to get into full swing, I found myself having a hard time juggling all of the needs of homeschooling 4 children.  I decided that an Audible Membership would be helpful, because for my younger kids I could have them listen to the read aloud on Audible instead of me having to read it to them.  It was a grand idea until they didn't have the book I was looking for!  ;)  But, with Audible, you get 1 credit a month for a free book, and when you sign up, you get 2 to start with.  So, I decided to see if it had The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing on Audible where I could just listen in the car when I was driving places, and they did!  So, that's how I "read" this book, was I listened to it.

Now, I will tell you the lady who narrates the book has sort of a monotone voice and it took me a little time to get used to her, but eventually, I came to enjoy her.  I also feel I should warn you that there are some ideas in this book that I do not personally agree with, like that our belongings have feelings, and things like that, but overall that is something I can easily overlook.

If I were to give a brief synopsis of this book, it would be that she challenges us to look at stuff differently,  and, to look at decluttering differently.  She says to clean out in one fell swoop, but also says this can take months.  Just stay in intention over the time it takes.  Additionally, she suggests that instead of tidying room by room as we normally do, tidy by categories.  You are to begin with clothes, and work down a strategic order.  You can see the list easily by searching "KonMari Method" on Pinterest.  I have begun with clothes as she suggests, and found that it was much easier than I though it would be!  I have successfully tidied and discarded my clothes and my two youngest children's clothes.  Today I will get the Middles to do theirs and hopefully next week my husband will do his.  I gave away out of my own closet and the coat closet 3 large black lawn bags full of clothes, and out of my Littles' room one more.  I can tell you it feels so good to be able to see my clothes.  Already I can see how this is "Life Changing Magic".

My closet Before I Tidied

 All of my clothes from my closet piled on my bed (note these are only mine, not my husband's)

My clothes in my closet after!

She talks in the book about not having "Potato Socks".  She says we should fold our socks and stand them on end so we can see them.  (she also says they are happier that way).  I don't know if my socks are happier, but I think I am :)

You can also search KonMari Folding on Pinterest for help there.  It really does make a difference!

Here are my cute Littles as we started working on their clothes....  Stay tuned for updated pictures of their room! 

If you begin reading or following along, I would love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment below!

Love, Semalee

Friday, September 22, 2017

Time is a Funny Thing

The 13th of this month marked what would have been my cousin's 49th birthday.

We are still in Post Hurricane Harvey mode, which is a strange place to be anyway.  My house was fine, and I'm continually surprised by how I've been affected by this storm.  In some ways it was like a metaphor for how I have felt about my life recently.  The storm just kept going.  When we thought it should stop raining it kept raining.  When we were unsure if the water would take us over, it kept raining.  We were prepared for a storm.  We were even prepared for a big storm.  But, like life, we were not prepared for what came.  We found ourselves day after day simply trying to make it through the day, unsure if tomorrow would be a day that took us under, or a day we conquered.  This feeling has lingered, even though the storm has passed.  And, while we were ok, many of our very dear friends were not.  There are several friends who lost everything, and we are just doing what we can to help, all the while feeling inadequate in our ability to help them.

Grief is the same way.  I'll be going along life and thinking I'm beginning to be ok, and then suddenly the water in my eyes begins to rise again and before I know it tears are streaming once again.  It's still raining.  It's not as relentless as it was in the beginning.  I see pockets of sunshine now, and even dry periods, but the storm of grief has not left me yet.

Many days I want to just move out of this storm.  The longer it holds on, the weaker I feel.  I see it creeping into many areas of my life, where it isn't welcome.  Where I used to stand tall and confident, that light is gone.  I feel inadequate in almost every area of my life.  I am scared a lot, and I used to be rather fearless.  Sometimes the fear is justified, but many times it is not.  It simply does not allow me to enjoy the moment for fear of what could happen.  I know I should not rush myself through this, but it is rushing when it feels like so much time has already passed? But, I can't rush myself or even move myself slowly.  I am not in control of this storm.

There are things that never leave me.  Watching my children meticulously clean off their mother's grave marker is one.  This is not something any child should have to do.  As I watched them carefully clean, I found myself grieving for what Bug didn't get to do.  I'm so grateful for the gift of being able to be these kids' mom, but I will never replace her.  (I don't want to).  There is still a hole in their heart, one that I will never fully fill.  Even though they tell me all the time how much they love me, I know I will never really fill that void for them.  It's not my fault that I'm inadequate here, I'm actually not supposed to be able to fill that space completely, because I would never want to erase her from their life, but it still hurts to not be able to do that for them.  I know that there will always be that scar in their life, and mine.  We want better for our children.  We don't want them to emerge from childhood already scarred by life.

But, regardless of what we do, the truth is not one of us goes through this life without scars.

Even Jesus didn't go through life without scars.  Many things we will not understand this side of heaven, but what I do know in my heart is that when we use our own scars to help others, it helps to give those scars a positive purpose.  I often wish things were different, but as I do, I realize that I would be missing out on the things about life as it is that bring me joy.  My daughter is a funny, compassionate soul, who comes behind me and supports me when I need it, and I see in our future an amazing friendship between mother and daughter that I never got to experience with my own mother, and she never got to experience with hers.  We can give that to each other.  My son has changed so much, from a scared, awkward kid, to a young man who is finding his way and his purpose.  Life has not been kind to him in many ways, and he has those scars, which will help him to see the heart of others who often feel misunderstood and lonely.  I spend a lot of time being scared that my children will experience yet another loss, because they have already experienced far more than is fair, but I think God is trying to show me that each piece of our life is part of who we are and whose we are.

When we rely on our human ability to control our environment we will always feel inadequate.

It has been a long, painful lesson in letting go.  It's not over yet.

I'm grateful that the God who created the Universe knows me personally, knows my heart, and never leaves me no matter how much I fail.  When my mouth fails me, He knows my heart.  When my arms fail me, He knows my strength.  When my feet fail me, He knows my way.

"You Know Me" Bethel Music
You have been and You will be
You have seen and You will see

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go You see it all
You hung the stars and you move the sea
And still You know me

Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh oh You know me [repeat]

Nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
You know every detail of my life
You are God and You don't miss a thing

You memorize me

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Here Now

Skies spin their dance within Your breath
Time runs its race within Your hand
And my mind runs wild to comprehend
What no mind on earth could understand 

At the beginning of this month Hurricane Harvey hit our area.  Usually, hurricanes come in, spin around, blow some things down, do some damage on the coast, and move on.  But not this one.  Harvey just stuck around.  For days and days and days it rained.  And it rained some more.  We were all trapped inside our houses, watching a combination of the news and our Facebook feeds.  Trying to will the storm away.  But it just kept raining.

Your ways are higher
Your thoughts are wilder
Love came like madness
Poured out in blood-washed romance
It makes no sense but this is grace
And I know You're with me in this place 

Strange things happen in your mind when you watch the water rise, and the rain continue.  When you live minute to minute unsure of whether water will take over your home.  When you watch on TV and on Facebook other people losing their possessions, their homes, their lives.  It's very clear that there is no way to stop whatever is going to happen.  You really have to just surrender.  

Here now
Still my heart
Let Your voice be all I hear now
Fix my eyes on things that I can't see now
Spirit breathe like the wind come have Your way
'Cause I know You're in this place 

We were tired.  We were tired of each other.  We were tired of the rain.  We were tired of the house.  We were tired of living on edge.  And then, one night I heard the Lord tell me to pray specifically for dry air to enter the center of the storm and dismantle it and move it on.  I shared my prayer request with people I know and I know others prayed for the same thing.

Faith makes a fool of what makes sense
But grace found my heart where logic ends
When justice called for all my debts
The Friend of sinners came instead 

By the next morning the storm had moved East.  It was now directly over us, which normally isn't a good thing, but there was nothing normal about this storm.  Dry air was pushing in from the West, right into the center of the storm and building up which was pushing it East.  And soon it was moving away.  After a week of relentless rain, we finally saw the sunset again.  I love the sunset, but this one- this one was even more special.

Your ways are higher
Your thoughts are wilder
Love came like madness
Poured out

After the storm passed, my house had remained dry, but my cheeks had not.  I had grieved.  I had grieved for my many friends who had lost their homes.  I grieved for the loss of our normal way of life.  I grieved for the fact that parts of our community would never again be the same.  Sunday night as the water rose and I became less sure than ever of whether we would flood or not, I told my Middles they needed to pack bags and put important things up high on shelves.  I held myself together until my daughter came in crying because she was having to face the possibility of losing things from her biological mom.  She was having to choose which things to put on high shelves and realizing the gravity of the situation.  They have already lost so much. It got me to thinking about the way we look at loss.  So often we hold on to stuff, don't we?  I'm not saying it's all bad, usually it is because it reminds us of people we love.  When we went to the cemetery on Wednesday for my cousin's birthday, I was ripe with fear of what we would find.  Thankfully, our part of the cemetery was fine, but it wasn't all fine.  As I was talking to the kids about it, my daughter said that she was glad that when their mom was first buried we talked a lot about how she isn't "there", that that is just a place that is designated as somewhere we could go to talk about her or to her.  But in truth, it isn't where she is.  She's in our hearts.  She's in the good we do for others.  She's in our love for each other.

Sometimes we hold on to the loss.  It's like if we let it go, what we've lost will not be valuable to us anymore.  If we walk forward, who we've lost loses their significance.  But the truth is, no matter what, they are a part of who we are, and their loss is a part of who we are.

 I've spent a lot of time living in fear.  I've experienced some profound loss over the past few years, and it has knocked me off my feet a little.  In some moments I'm overcome by this fear.  While the storm was swirling around, and the water was rising and my husband was at work (and would still be for several days) I found myself losing my footing and letting the fear grow.  So may people were losing so much.  I know what that feels like.  I didn't want to think about people I love going through that.  I didn't want to think about myself or my family losing more.  I focused in on my fears for a while and took my eyes off God while I did it.  But after a while I realized that was not where I was supposed to be looking.  When I press into God, and wait for Him to catch me as I fall again and again I can feel safe again.  The less I feel like I have it together, the more grateful I am to God for loving me anyway.  I think that's part of His plan.  To love us anyway, and remind us to love others.  The less perfect we are, the more we can accept others' brokenness too.

I know that you are Here now
Still my heart Let Your voice be all I hear now

Fix my eyes on things that I can't see now 
Spirit breathe like the wind come have Your way
'Cause I know You're in this place 

Faith makes a fool of what makes sense
But grace found my heart where logic ends

Thursday, August 10, 2017

What the Heart Says

I mentioned in my post last week that I've been feeling overwhelmed for a while (read that for several years) and that I'm implementing some things that are helping.  There are several things that are working together, and it has definitely been a journey.

As you know, my husband and I have adopted 4 of our 6 children.  With adoption comes some extra "stuff".  Their behaviors are different.  Their responses to normal discipline are different.  They are in many ways "extra".

Many people think that if you adopt a baby, you will give them all the love they need to heal from whatever because they won't have experienced all of the same things that a child who had been in foster care for years might have.  But, the reality is that simply the fact that they are adopted is a trauma.  And many were traumatized in some way in womb, either by abuse of the mom, or excessive stress that the mom was under, or drug use during pregnancy, or more.  This almost guarantees that there will be physiological differences in these children that need to be addressed throughout their lives.  And, being an adoptive family, we have to approach some of these issues differently because these kids often have deep feelings of shame and fears of abandonment that need to be addressed and understood.

So, these facts and thinking have steered a lot of my parenting techniques over the last several years.  And, I've offered more grace to my youngest two than I did my biological children as they were growing up.  But guess what- a lot of parents find that they struggle with their biological children because of other things outside their control, be it health issues, environmental issues, financial issues, etc.  The list goes on and on.  As parents, we are all truly doing the best we can with what we are given.  I don't want you to hear any superiority in my voice here, and I want to be very clear that judgement does not have a place here.  As moms, we judge each other more often that we help each other sometimes, and that can leave us feeling even more alone, and helpless.  So, just because I can find tangible factors that contribute to where I am in this parenting journey does not mean that another mom has something to be ashamed of because they don't have these visible, obvious factors that lead to where she is.

So, here's my heart.

My youngest two are very hard.  But I am a seasoned parent, and part of the "if your kid doesn't tell you they hate you at least once, you're doing it wrong" club, and feel like I can let things roll off of my skin fairly well.  But then I have these kids who are constant constant.  More often than not I am reminded of the fact that I am simply not enough.  Some days this leaves me in the corner of my room in tears of desperation.  Sometimes it serves as a sober reminder of just how much we all need Jesus.  The truth is "we" aren't enough for anyone.  We all need Jesus, because we are all people who fall short of the Glory of  God All.The.Time.

So, as my kids' behavior became more and more difficult I got really good at ignoring the bad behavior not because I didn't want to deal with it, but because I wanted to pick my battles, so that I could choose relationship.  They could say and do quite a lot and it really wouldn't affect me (as far as they knew) unless they said something like, "You don't love me".  Then they would get my attention and quick because I know very well what it feels like to feel like your mother doesn't love you and I never ever ever want any of my children to feel that way.

Well, over time they learned real well that the way to get mommy's attention was to say I didn't love them, and that escalated to that I hated him, and eventually to I wish I was dead.  It's a truly humbling and heart breaking experience to hear these statements separately, but even more so when they're all strung into one statement.

We took the kids to psychologists, and neurologist, had sleep studies done.  We've been to different counselors and read every book we could find. We've prayed over them, and prayed for ourselves.  To say it has been a heartbreaking experience would be an understatement.  We've had many diagnosis thrown at us, ADHD, ODD, PDD, SPD, maybe Autism, or Bipolar.  My mom heart says attachment has a whole lot to do with it.

Finally, we found a psychologist who specializes in what's called ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapy.    She doesn't bill insurance, and we have to pay cash, but she is worth her weight in gold.  Through her techniques we have begun to see more of their personalities, and they are happier children.  We are much more strict on what goes on during the day, and we have a structured plan of discipline in place and while I would not say our life is easy now, it is definitely better.  Instead of a constant state of rage, we now deal with them as they come, and it's frequently only a couple of time outs/ etc a week.  We have been able to isolate that our son especially has some pretty intense anxiety and that brings out the worst in him.

One major component of this program is that William has a schedule.  He doesn't get to move on to something until he completes the task.  Implementing a schedule has been a huge thing for us all.  I'll talk more on that next time, because it can hold it's own post....


Friday, August 04, 2017

Confessions of an Exhausted Mom

If there were a general theme that ran through my life, other than my passionate love for Jesus, it would be exhaustion.  Are you a mom that feels this way?

I've been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of years because it seems like no matter what I do I just can't seem to keep up with life.  If you watched my Facebook or Instagram feed you would probably be led to believe that I have everything together and have the perfect life.  Isn't that what those feeds do?

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, table and indoor

But the reality is that I get up every morning, and before I even have my coffee I feel behind.  I still have lingering tasks that I didn't get to yesterday because of one reason or another, and I never feel like I have "arrived" at adulthood.  You know "adulthood", right?  That mythical time in ones life when they are finally responsible with their time and money and energy...  That time when all of the pieces of the evening meal are magically done at the same time, which is also the right time, and everyone eats with perfect conversation and until they are perfectly filled.  That time when your house is not in disrepair, and is always tidy, and your bed is always made....  This time does exist, doesn't it?

I think it is similar to "normal".  What is "normal", anyway?  I don't even have a mythical definition for that!

What I am beginning to believe is that we all have this unrealistic view of how life is supposed to be, and we are striving for something that no one really has.  It's actually a figment.

In July, my family spent two weeks on vacation.  We went first to Utah and visited with my Aunt and other family there.  I was reunited with my bestie for a few short days, which was wonderful, because other than my husband, she is where my soul feels at home..... and then we went to Colorado to visit with my Dad and brothers and niece there.  While we were visiting with my Dad, he was talking about a conversation he had recently had with a friend that went like this:

Friend:, "I'm not sure you'd like my family, it is quite dysfunctional"
Dad:, "Is there any other kind?"

Isn't that a freeing statement?  Is there any other kind?  You see we all have our own form of "dysfunctional" that follows us.  There is not a single one of us who "has arrived".  I honestly believe that to be truth.  And, our desire, our drive to show the world through social media that we have, in fact arrived is causing people everywhere to feel unworthy, and unloved.

There are times in life when people truly are unloved.  Times that are terrible for people.  There are people in every society who feel outcast, unworthy, even worthless.  There are people everywhere who wonder on a regular basis if the people around them would be better off without them.  And people every day who believe that lie and take the situation into their own hands.  When this happens the people around them are forever changed, forever missing an important piece of their heart.

There are times when people are rejected by people they love, by their parents, their spouse, their friends.

There are times when we, as society cast people out because they don't act like us, think like us, look like us.

There are times when we truly don't measure up- maybe we don't get the job we wanted, or the achieve a goal we set.

What I'm saying is, there are plenty of real times in our lives when we will not make the cut, or people around us will not accept us for who we are.  This is as old as time.   There will never be a time on this earth when that isn't true; so let's not add to that heartbreak by comparing ourselves to others on social media.  It's a battle you won't win, because what is on social media is merely a snapshot of one's highlight reel.

So, back to exhausted.  I've got a lot of balls in the air any given moment.  It's part of being a mom.  It's part of being a mother of a Type 1 Diabetic.  It's part of being a wife of a police officer.  It's part of being an adoptive parent.  It's part of being a parent of traumatized children.  It's part of being part of a large family.  There are just......a lot of balls.  That's the reality.  Some of them will drop.  But, I am finding some things to be quite helpful to me, and I'll be sharing them over the next several weeks as we get ready to go "back to school"

For now, I just want you to know that, whatever you're feeling.  However you feel inadequate, someone else feels that way too.  And, you don't have to face that inadequacy alone.  You have a loving Father who already knows how you feel.  He already knows all of the ways you fall short.  You don't have to explain yourself to Him.  All you have to do is rest in Him.

Love, Semalee

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jesus I Need You

The People of God Will Care for Orphans. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

People often look at my family, a family who has adopted 4 children in addition to having our own 2 biological children with wonder.  Sometimes we even scare people.  Sometimes we intimidate people.  The sheer size of us can be overwhelming.  (Even to us).....  They think and say lots of things like, "You guys are saints to take in those kids", or "I could never do what you do every day", or "I don't know how you manage with all of those kids", or "I watch you and am amazed that you do it all on a Police Man's salary"......

I'll start with the salary- it isn't a lot, but when God is in control of our bread basket, suddenly 5 loaves feed 5,000.  I really don't know how the math works, but I know that God gave us these children and He will provide for them.  He does not provide for us to go on luxury vacations, or live extravagantly.  I cook most of the time because eating out is very expensive for us.  We save all year for Christmas, and when we go on big vacations we save for several years in anticipation.  We spend more money on time together and experiences than we do stuff.  We do not have one piece of new furniture in our house.  But stuff isn't what is important to us.  And our house is small.  1400 sq feet small.  But it forces us to be together, and I am glad it's small.  (most of the time)..

As for the rest of it, it isn't a pretty picture with a beautiful bow.  It's a very painful one.  The reason my faith is so strong, and that I love God the way I do is because the humans in my life have failed me.  Why do I have such a heart for the orphans?  Because I know what it's like to not have a mother's love.  My children each have stories very different than mine, but I still can relate to their longing.  As their mother now, I can promise them with absolute certainty that I will never leave them.  As long as I can be their mother, no matter how hard they are I will not abandon them.  Having my own difficult children has given me insight into what my parents had to endure when I was a child.  I understand a little more now of what it was like to parent me.  I do not understand how my mother doesn't want me anymore, but I do understand how hard I was to parent.

So, my desire to take care of these kids does not come from some super wonderful part of me.  It comes from deep pain.  It comes from a desire that my children will never feel like I do.

My love for them is sustained by my love for God.  He is my true Rock.  He sustains me and comforts me when I feel alone, or when I feel unloved or unwanted.  He always wants me.  And through His always wanting me I am taught what true love is.

"Jesus I Need You"

Hope be my anthem
Lord when the world has fallen quiet
You stand beside me
Give me a song in the night

Jesus I need You
Every moment I need You
Hear now this grace bought heart sing out
Your praise forever

Beauty for ashes
You find the weak and contrite heart
Shoulder its burdens
And carry it into the light

Remember love
Remember mercy
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Your loving kindness
Has never failed me
Christ before me
Christ behind me

Friday, July 07, 2017

The Thin Blue Line is Weaved Through our Lives like a Tapestry of Purpose

22 years ago I had moved to Houston from North Carolina following a soldier who had been transferred to Ft. Sam in San Antonio.  I had recently been discharged from the Army where I had met him and had gotten a job with a national eye glass chain (National Vision Associates), so, when this soldier was transferred, I asked for a transfer as well.  The closest they could get me to San Antonio was Houston.  I'd never been to Texas, but it seemed like a nice enough place, so I packed my truck up with as much as I could and let the Army move the bulk of my household belongings to a small apartment I had rented off of Beechnut street in Southwest Houston.

Being from small town Utah, I was immediately overwhelmed simply by the size of the freeways!  But, I was excited about my new life, and my new job.  I had been told if I was willing to move to Houston instead of San Antonio that they were expanding their stores here and I would be a store manager.  It was worth the distance in my mind.

I spent all my off time driving back and forth to San Antonio to visit my boyfriend and really didn't know anyone in Houston except the people I worked with, who if I was off work, they were there and vice versa.  So, when that relationship ended I was left in a big city where I knew no one.  One of my friends at work and I were reading the Zest section of the newspaper where they had the personal ads and she suggested that I put an ad out.  I really didn't want another relationship at that time, because I was still pretty upset about my break up, but I figured that way at least people could show me around town.  So, I put an ad in the paper.  I went around town with a couple of people, but there was one that stood out.  From the first phone call we just simply clicked.  We were instant friends.  These days you might say we were instant besties ;)  A few days after our first date I had an unexplained sharp pain.  I didn't know what to do, or where to go, so I called him to take me to the hospital.  Once we were at the hospital a nurse came in, handed him a bed pan, and said, "Make your wife pee".... and walked out.  We had been on one date!!!  He looked at me and said, "What do you want me to do?"  I was in so much pain that I didn't care, so he held the bedpan while I went to the bathroom.....  Turned out I had a kidney stone, and we apparently had a prophetic nurse, because that man is now my husband of 21 years next week!

Why do I go down memory lane today?  Because there is no part of this story that is without a simple thread that weaves in out of our lives.  That thread is blue.  It is known as the Thin Blue Line.  You see, my husband is a police officer.  When I started dating him it was exciting to be dating a police officer.  Such an exciting thing to be dating a man who stands up for the little guy and protects those who need protecting.

When we married he told me I should use caution on who I told that I was married to a police officer.  I was completely surprised.  I had never been anything but extremely proud of him and other officers I had met (even when being pulled over LOL).  He explained that some people do not like police officers and may even treat me poorly because of him.  At first, I didn't believe him.  But, over time in various different interactions with people I found out he was right.  I learned to guard my family like a precious jewel.  As my children came along and went to school, they too, learned that not everyone loves our law enforcement officers.  I will never forget the day that my oldest came home at 6 years old absolutely devastated.  He was crying and I finally got him to tell me what was wrong.  An officer had recently been killed in our area.  Turns out some kids at school had been taunting him, telling him his dad would get killed next.  This was only one in a string of different experiences we've all had with people who would wish harm to law enforcement officers.

Fast forward to the past few years and the nationwide narrative towards law enforcement has gotten very scary.  Officer Line of Duty Deaths are up 17% already this year, and that is following 2016 which was the deadliest year ever for Law Enforcement.  Every day that my officer goes off to work I am scared he won't come home.  I've lost many friends in recent years because they don't understand how their support of pages who wish harm on law enforcement directly affect my husband's safety.  I've seen more lines of worry on his face in the last few years than ever before, and there is a sadness in his eyes that I can't touch.  He hasn't been physically hurt, but this man who has devoted himself to helping society has been hurt by the very society he serves each day.

I would be remiss to speak on this blog about all of the things that make my life the way it is and not speak about law enforcement.  Today, is the 1 year anniversary of the attack on law enforcement that occurred in Dallas.

 "Police Officer Brent Thompson of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Police Department, Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, Police Officer Michael Krol, Sergeant Michael Smith, and Police Officer Patrick Zamarripa of the Dallas Police Department were shot and killed by an active shooter during a protest in downtown Dallas.

As the protesters walked down Main Street between South Lamar Street and South Market Street, a sniper opened fire on police officers who were providing security for the event. The man shot a total of 12 officers, killing five and wounding seven.

The subject was cornered in an adjacent parking garage and barricaded himself inside for several hours while he spoke to negotiators, during which time he stated he specifically targeted white police officers. He was killed when the Dallas Police Department's Bomb Squad moved an explosive device to the man's location using a robot and detonated it." (
Even in the changing climate of today, where we are led to support officers by our current president, there are still those who wish to harm them.  Just a few days ago an officer was killed in San Antonio, and he is being laid to rest today, on this somber anniversary.

As you go about your daily doings, please know that those who stand on the sidelines watching over you, standing watch for you are real people, who have real hearts, and real families who love them.  They have real pain in their eyes as they've seen things no one wants to see, and that can't be unseen.  They miss holidays, birthdays, and other events and their wife or husband is often in bed alone.

When they are lost,  parents are without their sons and daughters who have fallen, left with only the grattitude of those their child served after their death.  Children are left with out parents, wives without husbands, husbands, without wives.  Those who are still here, who have lost co-workers are left with the knowledge that tomorrow is never promised and the burden of knowing each moment could be their last.  They often suffer from survivors guilt, or PTSD or more and never get the rest we all need.

Being married to a police officer is not like other things in life.  This thin blue line that gets ever thinner is weaved throughout our lives, always a part of us.  It's a part of who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in.  We believe in the greater good of society.  We believe that people should have the basic protections of law enforcement no matter their social status, race, or economic situation.  We believe in these basic liberties for all people regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or marital status.  Even when people do not believe the same for us, we still believe for them, and sacrifice daily for this belief, as a family.

Love, Semalee

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Wind and the Waves

Isn't it interesting how God shows up in the little details of life?  By reading my blog, you probably have ascertained that I'm going through some things in life that are difficult.  What I don't really talk about is my Weight Watchers Journey.  I don't talk about it with anyone, really, because its very difficult and there are a whole lot of emotions tied to my weight.  When I look in the mirror I see more than excess weight.  I see pain.  I see grief.  I see fear.  I see loss.  I see rejection. I see a whole lot of things in each particle of excess fat.  I did not get here easily.  It has been very costly.  One thing that is truly amazing about the current WW program is the meetings.  It's one thing to watch what you eat, but in the meetings they really dive into WHY we eat.  What is going on in our mind that we allow ourselves to do this?  Better still, how can we start using tools for living to make positive changes in our whole self?

The past several weeks have been especially difficult on me.  I'm finding that parenting adult children and being a mother-in-law is the hardest stage of parenting yet.  When our kids are young they need us so much.  And we need them.  We are integral parts of each others' lives.  And for a stay at home mom, often her kids are just about everything to them.  Life for the mom centers on loving our children and raising them to know they are loved, and capable.  Then they grow up.  They don't need us as much as they used to.....  But we still need them....And to mom, it was just yesterday that they came home from the hospital.  I mean I can still see in my mind's eye the first time we walked into our house with a baby carriage.  I knew this small person was going to change my entire world.  He already had.  Then as the days passed a piece of my heart started walking around.  But, every single thing he did brought me joy.  To see him struggle hurt me.  To see him grow grew me.  Letting him go to Sri Lanka 3 times took an emotional toll.  Watching him marry the love of his life- seeing him so happy- made the past 20 years flash before my eyes.

People don't talk about how hard this stage is.  We hear all about how difficult the toddler years are, and then we hear about how difficult the teen years are.  But no one really talks about young adult years.  This transition period where they branch out and start to figure out their own life.  And mom, who has been there for everything is suddenly not anymore.

They're supposed to do this.  They're supposed to move out.  They're supposed to go to college.  They're supposed to start making decisions, (even ones we disagree with).  They're supposed to separate from us.

As a parent, I understand and accept this part of life.  I want them to grow up and move out and be successful and happy in their lives.

But, I find myself wondering where I still fit in their lives.  Do I matter?  It's not that I want them tied down to me, or even want to tell them what to do.  I just want to still be able to watch them from the sidelines.  I want to still be part of their life.

Am I alone in this?

Part of my fear comes from my own broken relationship with my mom.  I know that relationships between parent and child can go south and even end.  I've experienced it.  I know how easy it is to get there.  I know the pain of this relationship in particular being broken.  So I hold on.  Maybe a little tighter than I should.  But I'm fearful.

And so, this week I let my fear take over again.

This past week has been especially difficult for me.  I am really struggling emotionally with lots of things.

So in my WW meeting after a particularly sleepless night they talked about the very thing I need to hear.  Letting go.  They talked about how when we have emotionally charged times we can think of it like the ocean.  The emotions are the waves.  If you're in the ocean, and the wave starts to build, at times it will pull you and sometimes even knock you down as it draws up and crashes over you, but then the water washes over you and you can stand strong again.  It's important to know as we are in the part of the wave that knocks us down that it will wash over and we'll be able to stand back up again.  I sat last night watching the waves at the beach thinking on this a lot as I tried to keep my emotions in check.

Then this morning I woke up and read my devotional in my Bible App....  Today's entry: The Wind and the Waves.

This is how God comforts us.  These are the things that He does every single day.  Things that, if we're not looking, we miss.  If I had missed my quiet time with Him this morning I would have missed this message from Him.  The message that He's there.  He's walking with me through this valley of pain.  When it feels like no one understands me, and I feel so very very alone, He is there.  He is there.  HE hasn't left me.  HE knows my feelings, and is still there. HE knows my emotions and doesn't shy away.  HE values me.  I don't have to fit in a box for Him.  I don't have to say the right things for Him.  I don't have to keep the appropriate amount of distance for Him.  I don't have to smile and act like everything is fine when it isn't for Him.  I can simply rest in Him.  I can just climb into His lap and cry.  And He is not burdened by it.  He will be there as the wave crashes over me.  Even if the wave takes people or things out to sea, He will remain with me.