Category Archives: fear

Anxiety Eats Creativity and Spits It Out Unless …



“Once you know the emotional building blocks of anxiety, you can influence them.” Chip Conley from his article, Mastering The Anxiety Equation: A Remedy for Fearful Times (link included at the end of this blog post)

I googled “anxiety” and up popped a funny meme. A girl in a cape captioned,
“Anxiety Girl … able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound.”

Some days, anxiety is my super power. If I’m not mindful, I make it worse by babbling to the wrong people – ones who are also anxious, but instead of admitting it and relating, they focus on and try to fix me.


They say not-so-wise things like …

  • Let go and let God.
  • Look on the bright side.
  • You have a lot to be grateful for.
  • Things could be worse.
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Cheer up.
  • It’s all in your head.

I get it because I’ve said the same sorts of things to keep from looking at how anxious I am.

We minimize others’ anxiety when we’re out of touch with our own. If we weren’t fearful too, we’d listen instead of being impatient, annoyed, and fixated on fixing each other. Like the saying “Hurt people hurt people,” so it is with anxious people. We make each other anxious unless we take a break from fixing, feel what’s going on with us, and relate.

I believe relating, not relaying advice, is how we help each other.

We weren’t put here as projects, but for a purpose. Anxiety keeps us from it. On the other hand, relating gives us a chance at living it.

It’s not that the sayings are wrong; they just aren’t helpful. “Things could be worse.” Yes, always. They could be worse and someone always has it worse, which I was telling my friend Betty when she reminded me, “Pain is pain and yours deserves your attention.”


Turning fear over to God works when we figure out how to do it. Until then, the saying wreaks guilt.

Not being able to cheer up, have a positive attitude and gratitude, and see the brighter side of life are reasons we feel anxious to begin with, so suggesting these as solutions heaps on more anxiety.

“It’s all in your head” isn’t helpful unless someone can tell us how to get it out of our heads. Otherwise, anxiety stifles our minds and hearts, wrecks our bodies, and derails our purposes. This explains why we end up with fibromyalgia instead of final projects, depression instead of creative designs, and anxiety disorders instead of art.

When I stumbled onto T.S. Eliot’s quote, “Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity,” I also found a quote by David Duchovny that expanded on it. Duchovny said, “Anxiety is part of creativity, the need to get something out, the need to be rid of something or to get in touch with something within.”

After thinking about both quotes, I determined this suggestion should top the list, “Get back to work.”

Writing gets me in touch with what I need to get out, what I need to get rid of and what I need to get in touch with. I’d wager your purpose does the same for you. In the opening quote of this blog post, Conley mentions emotional building blocks of anxiety and our influence over them. In a world filled with unknowns, my purpose is a known – a thing I can influence and a thing that helps influence (and diminish) my anxiety.

This reminds me of my artist friend who paints bright and fun folk art. However, during her divorce that I didn’t know she was going through, I walked into her studio and knew instantly something was wrong. Her paintings were intense with dark colors. She painted her pain, which brought her through it and to the other side.


As often as I resist writing, I recognize it as a best friend. More than once, it’s pulled me from the depths of anxiety and helped me face it and overcome it.

When we’re feeling anxious, a safe place to take cover is in our purpose. Do you take refuge in yours?

In This Together,

Mastering The Anxiety Equation: A Remedy for Fearful Times



Pain Turns Us Into Runners



“When life is stressful, do something to lift your spirits. Go for a drive. Go two or three thousand miles away. Maybe change your name.” Unknown

“There’s a big difference between running toward something and running away from something,” was my daughter’s take on our family’s tendency to shut down, escape, ignore, diminish, hide, or numb out when faced with uncomfortable emotions.

We’re inclined to run away from what we don’t want to face instead of running toward it and healing. After all, didn’t God create us to always be comfortable and happy? If you notice how I’ve lived until now, you’d be convinced I’m convinced that’s exactly God’s plan.

Instead, here’s the truth from Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, “God is more interested in your character than your comfort. God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.”

Running away is how I handle my uncomfortable emotions when I feel overwhelmed, misunderstood, or when I think I’m too emotional, although I’m not sure why I quantify my feelings with words like “too.” Because of quantifying, though, I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “I’d like to pack my bags and drive to California.”


I live on the opposite coast, so I’m talking about running like Forrest Gump.

It’s mostly a joke, except for the time I packed my bags and drove six hours to our mountain house a couple of weeks before Christmas. I couldn’t stay here to hear one more carol, one more “Merry Christmas,” or one more happy couple out to eat. While away and shopping, a salesclerk asked if I was ready for Sunday. I looked confused. He said, “It’s Christmas.”

Pain turns us into runners, even from cherished moments we’ve looked forward to.

I felt deceived when I drove away only to run head-on into the things I planned to run away from – fear and shame and silence. At some level, I knew this before I left. I wanted to face them, but I didn’t think I could.

A couple of years ago, I stumbled onto Amanda Blackburn’s story. She was a young minister’s wife murdered by intruders in her and her husband’s suburbia home outside of Indianapolis. I’ve followed Davey’s blog about Amanda, their son who was in his crib during the attack, and the baby she was carrying.


Davey based one of his posts, “Run Toward the Roar,” on church founder and pastor Levi Lusko’s Through the Eyes of a Lion. Levi wrote the book after his five-year-old daughter died in his arms. In Davey’s blog post, he tells about facing his emotions and running toward, instead of away from, his hardest fear to face – going back to his and Amanda’s house and laying in the spot where he found her dying. He wanted to stop running from remembering her.

Pain turns us into runners, even from memories of favorite people.

Davey’s post was embedded in another blog I’ve followed since reading it on a Facebook friend’s page. The blog “Bittersweet” is about Jenna Saadati, a gifted fourteen-year-old who wrote stories, played in the school band, and trained for track in the same town where my grown children used to live. That was, until Jenna took her own life in 2013 as a result of bullying.

Pain turns us into runners, even from the family who cares about us and the life we’ve cared about.

Beth, Jenna’s English teacher mom, blogs about her daughter’s death and her life. In Beth’s post, “The 4-Word Motto I’m Choosing To Follow,” she referred to Davey’s blog post about running toward the roar. She wrote with faith that four years after Jenna’s death, she’ll tend their garden for the first time without Jenna, and she’ll hopefully sow Hope. She tells about the “roars” she’s run toward to restore her own life since losing Jenna. #gettingyourownlife #whilelovingthepeopleinit

As much as I want to run in the opposite direction from everything that hurts (like these three stories about loss), running away is how I ended up scarily depressed. My story’s not filled with their kind of pain, but like a friend said when she straightened out my comparison, “Pain is pain.”

If we have any chance of not being consumed by it, running toward it is necessary.

The same as Davey asked at the end of his post, “What roar do you need to run toward today?” #feeltoheal #faceourpain #stoprunningaway #runtowardtheroar

In This Together,



My friend Jenny sells shirts with this saying on them, “Run towards your battles.” Jenny’s design is based on 1 Samuel 17 about young David defeating the giant Goliath. You can order one by clicking From the Stand Store. (The link is not working, so, for now, if you’d like a shirt, please let me know and I’ll forward Jenny Abbott’s contact info.)

What’s Wrong with Me?



“Don’t let yourself bring you down.” Unknown

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

I say this too often. I repeat it again and again when, truth be told, I do know what’s wrong with me. And I know how to fix it, but I don’t do it. And that’s what’s wrong – I let myself down.


Instead of admitting I’m avoiding the top priority on my to-do list, I’ll blame my husband, my kids, the dog, and even someone on Facebook where I’m spending too much time. I’ll blame my mental state, my age, my weight, and my mother. If you show up at my house unexpected, I’ll blame you.

By now, I should recognize the warning signs in the form of destructive habits, but usually I don’t until I get to the final stage of “I let myself down.”

My bad habits include having trouble settling down for bed, a restless night’s sleep, and hitting the snooze button a dozen times the next morning. Napping for two hours instead of 30 minutes. Feeling frustrated and acting on it. Eating chocolate late at night and pacing around during the day without accomplishing much. Scrolling Facebook for hours. Yeah, it’s a long list. Skipping the gym and most anything else that’s good for me, so I can focus on how to fix what’s wrong. Makes sense, huh? It’s not until I’m feeling anxious, insecure, and near tears (the final stage of “I let myself down”) that I’ll admit I’m letting myself down.

My choices narrow to either confessing and fixing it by doing what I’m supposed to be doing or melting down over and over.

I get more afraid by the minute when I’m in the middle of the cycle. It happened last week when I didn’t write a post for my blog. Instead of writing, which is my important thing, I did everything else on my list and then some, all the while dragging my anxiety about not writing through the weekend and into the beginning of this week.

If I’d keep track of my fearful episodes, I’d likely notice they flare up during my “I let myself down” times more so than during the times when I’m getting my own life, even if the latter is scary stuff like writing on a personal topic that makes me uncomfortable or making a video to post online.


A simple example that’s helping me change how I align my days is to follow how I reach my daily Fitbit goal, which is 10,000 steps. When I’m up by 8 and accomplish my steps by noon, it’s easy to get 15,000 or even 20,000 steps by bedtime, and I sleep better. However, on the days I only accumulate 5,000 steps by mid-afternoon, getting that same amount again before the day’s end feels nearly impossible. I give up after dinner and fall asleep on the couch.

I’m guessing there’s a universal law out there that makes this all make sense. The same law that helps create a productive and “feel good” day also has the potential to make my next 24 hours miserable when I don’t do what I’m supposed to do. Unless I figure out a way to sidestep it, I’m left with the same solution I wrote in a blog post six years ago.

Brian Tracy, in his book Eat That Frog!, offers 21 ways to stop procrastinating and accomplish more in less time. He suggests planning each day in advance. He says stop doing so much and do what’s important. And get this, Tracy recommends following the 80/20 Rule, similar to my Fitbit phenomenon. He says there are typically two items on a list of 10 that will account for 80 percent of the day’s results. Tackle those two things first and the rest of our list will either be accomplished easily and quickly or show up for what it really is, insignificant.

I sometimes pretend I don’t know what my important thing is, or that if I accomplish the other eight or nine things on my list, I’ll be more settled, prepared, and focused to undertake the important thing. Instead, I’m tired and put it off until tomorrow or next week, like this blog post.

Another game I play is tricking myself into thinking something else is more important than the important thing. In my case, it’s hard to overlook, though, since I only have one important thing on my to-do list. It is writing.

Today, I did my important thing and wrote this post. I can’t adequately describe how relieved I feel as I wind down this day and this story, so I’ll put out a call to action in case someone else wants to experience it for themselves.

If you’re wrangled up in life and struggling with your emotions, and most likely letting yourself down, put all of that to one side and do the one or two important things on your list. Take a chance on it working for you like it did for me this afternoon. I hope you’ll share it with us when it does. #GettingYourOwnLife

In This Together,

Thanks for the first two images, Pixabay.
Thanks for the motivation, Fitbit.

What If I Fly?



“What if I fail? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Erin Hanson

Since my ballet and clogging days, I’d wanted to dance upfront one more time. Teaching Zumba seemed a low stress way until my classes filled up. It’s not like I packed in hundreds of people, but the more students who came, the more pressure I felt to keep them coming.

When the gym closed, I turned down jobs to teach at the local recreation center, a karate studio, and a private gym. I was happy to run from my Zumba teaching days.

The same thing’s happening all over again even though I’m no Chewbacca Mom. Blog readers and viewers keep showing up, so I have to also. And to keep you reading and viewing, I have to keep coming up with content. You know, I have to write reader-worthy stuff and say viewer-worthy things.

I question being up for the challenge.

“Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen.” Unknown

I can’t believe for a second I envied Derek Harvey, fellow blogger whose blog post went viral. His post titled “The Silent Killer of Relationships” reached more than a million views and almost overnight. I choke a little thinking about the hundreds of comments he was left to answer. I congratulated him and told him it was a blogger’s dream while heading back to the safety of my dozens of readers and a handful of comments. His might be a blogger’s dream, but mine is an introvert’s dream – a few close friends commenting, and then going to bed.

On the heels of his viral blog post, Candace Payne’s original Facebook video about the Chewbacca mask was viewed 158 million times and shared 3,349,721. She’s clearly enjoying the publicity, giveaways, and travel. If you don’t know about her, click Chewbacca Mom.

I thought, Why couldn’t that be me?

Next thought, I’d have a nervous breakdown.

Her stardom brought me to my knees, not to beg for it, but to barter against it.

Dear God, please spare me that kind of exposure unless I’m feeling skinny, keeping self-doubt at bay, and John says my hair’s looking stylish. If people watch my videos, let every single one of them Love me and Love everything I say. No negative comments, please. Not one. And hold my hand so my feet can’t run away from the 40 friends who do continue to show up and say kind things. Amen.

I felt stuck thinking, I’ve begun it, so I have to keep up this blogging and video thing.


An argument ensued in my head because, actually, I don’t have to keep blogging and vlogging. I can run like Forrest because, like one voice said, “It’s better to leave them before they leave you.”

Another said, “Pray all you want, the more readers and viewers, the more criticism.”

The loudest voice mocked, “What are you worried about anyway? Like you said, you’re no Chewbacca Mom.”

I thought, I already acknowledged I’m not Candace Payne, but my videos aren’t flops.

“Not yet, but isn’t that what you’re afraid of? It’s just a matter of time before your ideas and your viewers dry up.”

I’d heard enough.

I’m up late (again) and confessing, not so you’ll comment, “Keep blogging and vlogging,” but so I’ll come to that conclusion myself. #GettingYourOwnLife

It’s like when my husband John consoled my fear of heights when he told me I didn’t have to hike. He suggested I spend the night at the hotel while he and our kids trekked the Grand Canyon. I could tell he didn’t understand why I had to do it. I wasn’t even sure. I just knew I did.

“Running away from any problem only increases the distance from the solution.” Unknown

Running from Zumba wasn’t the same, but the thought of running from blogging and vlogging put me back at the canyon’s edge. I can’t explain it, but I can’t run. I have to do it.

I think it has to do with being impassioned, and the quandary of passion is it’s so important I can’t run and so important, running’s all I want to do so I won’t fail.


What’s so important that it keeps you from running away, but makes you want to?

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

In This Together,

Click here to read Running Scared, an older blog post on this same topic.

Thanks to Joel Carter for the magnificent ferris wheel photo, and to for the others.


Isolated or Insulated (living safe with people)



“I feel safer keeping a space, a gentle breeze between me and people, a buffer I like to think of as God.” S. Kim Henson

When John accused me of isolating, he mixed up his words and instead said, “It concerns me how much you’re insulating yourself from others.”

“I know you don’t mean that as a good thing, but insulating to me sounds like a safe haven,” I said.

Ever since that evening, when I catch myself staying at home more often and staying away from people a little more, I say, “Here I go insulating again.”

And it’s okay. I’ve accepted and figured out ways to deal with being afraid of people, especially ones who know how I should live.

We all judge, but there are variations of judgment. Some are good judgments and some are bad. Some are accurate and some inaccurate. Some seem fairer and more reasonable than others.

Some friends judge in negative ways and know they shouldn’t. I’ve done it myself and way too many times. We know we don’t really know how others should live.

Some judge and know they’re right. These friends scare me.

When I detached from my family of origin, a friend confronted me in a restaurant about my decision. One of my mom’s friends confronted me from behind the register at a gift shop. I put my purchase back on the glass shelf and walked out. A local reader of my blog sent an email warning me I should visit my mom or I’d regret it. None of these townspeople knew much, if anything, about my family’s dysfunction, disorders, and secrets, yet they judged.

When I couldn’t be there for a friend who lost her son, I wrote a blog post about doing the best I could, which meant showing up at a distance. The post, Compassion, aroused a judgmental response that said I should have been there for her. I chose not to share it in the comment section.

I could write on and on about how afraid I’ve been of people this election year. Their fierceness behind knowing they are right scares me and stirs up feelings of being judged, feelings that my choice of a candidate couldn’t possibly be right if it’s not the same as their choice.

While writing this and thinking about how I’ve vacillated between isolating and insulating, I looked up the two words. They showed up as synonyms in a couple of online resources, but I have no idea why. They feel very different when I’m living them.

Here are definitions that resonated and made the most sense for this post.

Isolate – having minimal contact or little in common with others.
Synonyms: solitary, lonely, companionless, friendless; secluded, cloistered, segregated, unsociable, reclusive, hermitic, lonesome, cutoff

Insulate – protect by interposing material that prevents the loss of heat or the intrusion of sound.
Synonyms: wrap, sheathe, cover, coat, encase, enclose, envelop; heatproof, soundproof; pad, cushion

I’ve isolated so people wouldn’t find out how afraid I was of them and how afraid I’ve been of just about everything. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose by putting up walls and a façade.

I was wrong because I lost myself.

By never letting anyone know me, I shut myself off from everyone including John and our two adult children. I remember our son’s bewildered face the evening at our mountain house when he questioned some of my choices, like no longer exercising and staying on Facebook for hours at a time. I admitted I was depressed. He had no idea and neither did our daughter.

John helped me distinguish between isolation and insulation, even if by accident.

blog empty roomI no longer want to isolate and keep people at a far off distance. It’s depressing to be solitary and secretive.

Insulation, on the other hand, has turned out to be the gift of learning to live among people and letting them know who I am. It’s the gift of blogging again.

 At the same time that I’m showing up, I also keep a space between us – a gentle breeze, a buffer I like to think of as God – so I can make my own judgments, as well as accepting others’ conclusions whether I agree with them or not.

It’d be helpful to hear ways you’ve taken care of yourself while living among and loving family, friends, and the not so friendly.

In this Together,

On the side: I’m learning from Summer Turner’s pilot program, Move Forward from INSIDE Your Comfort Zone, about how introversion has influenced my life, which in turn influenced this blog post. I’ll share more information and links when she launches her online course.

What Scares You? (feel the fear, do it anyway)


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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin

In the series mentioned in my last blog post, Finish Your Book in 2016, Jerry B. Jenkins said, “List your fears so you can move on.”

I’m fortunate that blogging is part of my moving on. Even when I’m writing about fear, I am getting my own life. That is, until I start throwing up scary roadblocks.

I’m afraid I may share too much and embarrass others and myself.

I’m afraid my blog posts will sound like I’m whining instead of sharing wisdom. I’m anxious that getting my own life will be interpreted as selfish instead of self-care. Anxious that sorrow will be misconstrued as self-pity and telling my story will sound melodramatic.

I’m afraid I’ll sound human instead of holy, which means my writing may fall short of helping you find the real source of comfort, which is God. However, I can’t help that I hear and share God most often by way of quotes, songs, and movies instead of religious writing. When Christian magazines published my articles, I was baffled until a fellow writer explained, “You don’t write Christianese (clichéd Christian terms, catchphrases and theological jargon), which is good because Christian publishers don’t want it.” I hope you don’t either.

I’m afraid in the throes of marital disagreements, I won’t be able to write. I can tell our stories when we’re in a good place, but I shut down when we’re arguing. When I’m hurting, I hide.

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I’m afraid people won’t like, agree with, or understand what and why I’m writing. In fact, I know some won’t. When I wrote about not wanting a granddaughter (Girls Aren’t Safe Here (the post I was afraid to write about the granddaughter I was afraid to have)), I received a comment within 30 minutes of hitting the publish button. The reader let me know she felt sorry for my daughter and granddaughter, that I should be ashamed of myself, and then ended with something like, “If you have time to write about your broken family, you have time to fix it.”

I’m afraid of having no readers. I am afraid of becoming popular. I’m afraid of not living up to expectations, not following through with commitments, and looking foolish. I’m afraid of reeling from people’s anger and judgment.

Even with my long list of fears and a few experiences that prove writing isn’t 100 percent safe, I told a friend, “I have to write because it’s too painful not to.”

What fears keep you from getting on with your life?

In This Together,

Thank you to my talented friend and photographer, Joel Carter, for permission to use his pictures on my blog. The contrast of open flowers and a haunted house seemed fitting for this post. Joel’s also been a big supporter since my blog’s inception.

Afraid of Africa (a post about callings, a post about courage)

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell

Lis and her husband relocated two weeks ago to Tanzania, Africa. She asked for prayer to lighten her sadness about leaving behind belongings, friends, and family including her three-year-old granddaughter who calls her Lolly. She asked for prayer to calm anxieties about things like plane crashes and Ebola. And she asked for prayer because it’s scary to move to Africa.

She’s now settling into a routine, but not like one we have. Her luggage hasn’t arrived, the toilet and sink overflowed into her new-to-them home, and both the refrigerator and washer stopped working last week. Despite all this, Lis committed to Africa because she’s committed to God.

Her faith was evident when she returned home to say goodbye to her parents before leaving for two years. It was evident when she got vaccinations that threatened to make her sick. And it was evident when she packed the bare minimum because that’s all she was allowed to take.

Her faith was most evident when she posted photos of her final goodbyes with her daughter and granddaughter.

“If she can leave behind the life she loves and physically relocate to Africa, surely I can sit in the comfort of my own home and tackle my own “Africa” (writing a book). What am I so afraid of?”

I thought it might help to share –

  • I’m afraid of being judged. I’m pretty sure some of my feelings aren’t theologically sound, but they’re part of my story.
  • I’m afraid of being misunderstood.
  • I’m afraid there won’t be enough time for relationships while I’m writing and editing.
  • I’m afraid my story will come across as pathetic rather than powerful.
  • I’m afraid I’ll sound like I’m blaming (especially my parents) because sometimes I am. There’s a fine line between telling what happened and whining.

So, why write the book?

Because I think God is calling me to this “Africa,” and because I saw for myself (in photos) how Lis came alive holding one of the children she’s now ministering to.

I want to be that kind of alive.

What’s your “Africa”? What’s stopping you from starting?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Dear God, I’ve started and stopped, started and stopped … until now. I’m finally convinced the book is our project and now is our time.

On the side: Thanks for the photo and the inspiration, Lis. I love you.

Where the Wild Things Are (letting go of our monsters) (even more)

"There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them." Andre Gide

“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” Andre Gide

Seeing Max on today’s Google screen reminded me of how I make up monsters, just like in author Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

And my monsters do the same sort of thing as in the book, “And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”

In fact, this morning a friend asked about one of my monstrous habits – trying to get along with people best kept at a distance.

My answer to her, “The first thing that comes to mind is I’m stirring up fear to avoid living my own life.”



Isn’t this scheme getting a little old? I could at least change it up a bit if I insist on self-destructing.

It’s almost comical to write.

What about you? Are you making up monsters to keep from living your life?




WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – As much as I’m comfortable (in a not-so-healthy way) keeping company with Max and his monsters, it’s time to grow up (even more), let go of people and fear (even more), and live my life (even more).

Girls Aren’t Safe Here (the post I was afraid to write about the granddaughter I was afraid to have)

"Sometimes sacred and scared get mixed up." S. Kim Henson

“Sometimes sacred and scared get mixed up.”
S. Kim Henson

“It’s a girl.”

The nurse announced the baby’s sex while Mom, Dad, both sets of grandparents (this is where I come in), and the baby’s uncle-to-be looked at the ultrasound on a big screen TV. I held my daughter Kelly’s hand during that sacred moment of seeing my granddaughter for the first time.

“Were you shaking?” she asked when it was over. “I couldn’t tell if you were excited or upset.”

I wasn’t sure either. The pain and excitement (the scaredness and the sacredness) came in waves well into the evening.

I finally broke down in the grocery store parking lot, where I wished I’d been twirling with happiness, and bawled. The report said healthy baby girl in July and I was sobbing like her birth came with the wrath of God.

“I feel like God is punishing us. He knew we wanted a boy. Would that have been so hard for him?” I said while sobbing.

Twenty minutes and a half a box of Kleenex later, I glanced in the car mirror to check my mascara. I hardly recognized myself all wet and splotchy.

What was wrong with me? I thought.

“Bringing another little girl into our family seems cruel. God should know better. The timing is all wrong,” I said.

My husband, John, did his best to reassure me Claire (the name of our granddaughter-to-be) would be okay in our family, but he’s also well aware of my family’s generational patterns that dishonor girls. He has watched me repeat some, but thankfully not the most damaging, of these patterns with Kelly. He’s witnessed the two of us struggle against my family’s demons, and sometimes against each other. He’s hurt with us when topics like sexual abuse tore apart relationships with my parents, Kelly’s grandparents.

He understood, as does Kelly, why I felt shaken by the news of a granddaughter.

When Kelly and her husband announced her pregnancy, I announced to God, “We aren’t ready for a girl. Girls aren’t safe here.”

Even though Kelly and I have worked for years to right the wrongs and to share lunch dates, shopping and late-night girl talks, I still thought …

We aren’t ready for a girl. Girls aren’t safe here.

Even though Kelly and I want a daughter and granddaughter to dance around the living room, dance on stage in ballet recitals, and dance in her daddy’s arms at her wedding, I still thought …

We aren’t ready for a girl. Girls aren’t safe here.

Even though Kelly deserves a daughter to tell her (like she told me) that she is the world’s best mom, even when she doesn’t feel like it, I still thought …

We aren’t ready for a girl. Girls aren’t safe here.

Or are we ready?

“I can see the three of us doing craft projects, going to the beach together, and baking cookies,” said Kelly. “I can’t wait.”

I guess if anyone should know if we’re ready, it would be Kelly.

And God, of course.

Have you ever had a scared reaction to a sacred moment? If so, what happened afterwards?



WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I’m more convinced everyday (and once again) that God knows exactly what he’s doing. Welcome to our family, Claire. We’re going to make sure you’re safe here.


On the side: Sort of like all the begetting in the Bible … Kelly wasn’t safe in our home because I wasn’t safe in Mom’s home because Mom wasn’t safe in her home because her mom wasn’t safe in her home. Our family hopes this post helps others who are stuck in generational patterns to find hope and help.

Our son is also aware and helping. Right after buying Claire a wardrobe, he said, “It’s time this all changes. It is changing.”

Running Scared, learning to sit still with fear


“Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
Hermann Hesse (Photo by S. Kim Henson)

Our son sent the text around 3 in the morning that his dog Maggie was missing. I called him within minutes so we could cry together.

He had no idea how she got out of the backyard fence, but figured she ran scared because of July 4th fireworks.

I tossed in bed most of the night thinking about how lonely he must feel without his best friend, and about Maggie wandering big city streets, lost and frightened.

I knew how she felt.

I ran scared for years, although I’m not sure what I was running from, where I was going, or why I thought ‘over there’ was safer than my own backyard. I did busy work on my job and at church so I didn’t have to feel the fear. I ran to the refrigerator when I was home. Eating took the place of feeling anxious.

The rest of the time, I ran in circles. I couldn’t fold a dryer full of clothes without running from the pile at least once. A room never got cleaned in one fell swoop, but more like ten, and only because I happened to have a cloth in my hand when I was doing laps.

Undone projects spotted every room because I was too nervous to stay in one place for long.

The home we lived in the longest was arranged (not on purpose) so I could literally run in circles from bedroom to bedroom to living area to kitchen, and back around through a bathroom to start over.

I exhausted myself running scared, until the day I melted down in our bathroom.

I put the toilet seat down, sat in the darkness and bawled my eyes out.

The bathroom scene brought to focus that running scared intensifies my fear. Sitting still has the opposite effect.

Have you ever felt the kind of fear that sends you running scared; all the while you’d be safer if you’d stay put?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Running scared perpetuates fear. Sitting still fosters calmness. Our challenge is to sit still long enough to calm down.

On the side: While we panicked for 19 hours, Maggie was playing at a nearby house with the neighbor’s dog. Our son said, “Unbelievable. I’m having the worst day of my life and Maggie’s having a party.”