I Cried Out

This poem was written when i was about 15-16 years old, and exemplifies the struggle I had between wanting to help people and needing to be helped myself.


I walked alone in darkness, along a dark pathway.

I walked along in silence, had nothing left to say.

Ahead I saw a figure – could not make out its form

Its state in total agony – a hopeless soul, forlorn.


Sitting there on the edge of despair

I wanted to help, to show that I cared


I heard strange noise escaping, deep from its inner self

like the sounds of souls who lament within the depths of Hell


Each cry came out more feeble, more desperate than the last;

And still each cry, unanswered, went off into the past.


I reached out my hand, my friendship to bestow;

And as I reached I realized what I had not yet known.

This poor soul who was sitting and crying all alone

Turned out to be the same soul – none other than my own.



via Daily Prompt: Exceptional

Many visions envelope my head as I reflect on the word, “Exceptional”.   Exceptional performance.  Exceptional behavior.  Exceptional service.  Exceptional children.  Exceptional teamwork.  Exceptional leadership.

Having just completed day 2 of a 3 day leadership program sponsored by my company, I pause to reflect on EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP. In my career, I have been fortunate to have the pleasure and benefit of working for an exceptional leader, one like whom many people can only wish.  What made him exceptional was not merely what he accomplished, though we could point to a host of awards and trophies he had earned throughout his career.  What made him exceptional wasn’t that his expertise was sought by many, though it was.  What made him exceptional was that he genuinely cared about developing people to be the very best that they could be.  I knew that he “had my back” and that I could count on him for support and encouragement.   He took the word MENTOR as seriously as I wish everyone would.

When I struggled with a particular strategy, or business decision, it would have been easy for him to simply tell me the answer the way many “leaders” would.  Instead, he would ask leading and open ended questions to help me determine the best answer.  He coached me through various options, gently guiding me in thought processes to help develop the right decision for the situation.

Three particular examples stand out in my mind. First, he took a chance on me.  Prior to being hired into my first formal leadership role, I worked as a supplier quality engineer.  He took a chance that I could make the leap from independent contributor to manager.  During my first year in that role, I lamented the fact that, although “TEAMWORK” was defined as one of our companies’ core competencies, I saw great opportunities to improve within my team alone.   I had devised a rather unconventional program to develop teamwork within my team, consisting of a variety of teaming activities designed to help break down the walls of my team members to help them build relationships to enable better performance.  My leader believed in me enough to allow me the freedom to try something new and innovative.  Although I was criticized by other managers for holding these events, he continued to support me and allowed me the freedom to develop the program so that it could develop the people in my group to be the best they could be.

In the second example, our company was introducing a new way of doing something, and I was at the forefront of it. It wasn’t specifically my idea.  However, because of the position I held, it was a natural decision that I become the driver behind the culture change, which you might guess was met with resistance across the larger organization.   The change was frightening.  In this case, the change required a bit more work due to the regulatory nature of our work, and though not a popular idea, was one that must be introduced if we wanted our company to continue operating in the current spaces.  My leader allowed me to become the “expert” in the area, learning the intimate details of how to accomplish what needed to be accomplished.  He became my Roadblock Removal Champion.  I relied on him for support whenever we had to present our position to the President of the company, and he paved the way to get the support we needed from the President.   He didn’t do it for me; he made me do it.  But he coached me through my approach, providing tweaks where necessary, and he truly paved the way and removed necessary roadblocks.

The next example involves a mis-hire. The position reported to me and was actually a key position in the paradigm shift mentioned above.  We were looking to bring some “expertise” to the new processes, so we reviewed resumes from people who had been performing this type of work. We found what we thought to be a promising candidate, who “wowed” us with his knowledge.   My leader and I were both on the interview team who decided to hire this man.  About 3 months into his employment, I noticed some inconsistencies in his behavior and his performance, and I voiced my concerns to my leader.  We discussed various aspects of my suspicions, and facts gathered, etc.   I could tell he didn’t completely agree with my decision on how to handle the situation, and he gave me some alternatives. He asked me to think about the alternatives over a weekend and let me know that he would support whatever decision I made.  When we reconvened the following Monday, I reaffirmed my original decision, which in this case was to terminate employment.  True to his word, he supported my decision and had my back, despite possibly having a different opinion.   In that instance, he allowed me to make the decision that I thought was best, knowing that even if it was the wrong decision, I would learn from the experience.

I could site many other examples of his exceptional leadership, and reasons why I count him a mentor still today, though we have both moved on to different roles and responsibilities.  For me, an exceptional leader is not the one who seeks the glory, but the one who strives to develop people to be the very best they can be.  Through servant leadership, exceptional leaders accomplish much through their influence.  Further, their leadership transcends their role, and ultimate bears fruit in generations of leaders borne out of their abilities.  I am forever grateful to have had a wonderful experience with an exceptional leader.   (Thank you – you know who you are).


Lucky Ducky Dog

If ever there was a time in my life that I wondered if God heard my prayers, those doubts disappeared one summer as God answered the prayers of a 10-year-old boy.

Our middle child was born with enormous compassion for people and animals.  At the age of 3, his decided profession was a zoo keeper.  We had two dogs that he loved very much.  The first one passed, and then a few years later the other passed.  Brokenhearted, he asked his dad if we could get another. His dad said, “No.”  He asked again, and again, and again, many times over the next several years.  Every time, his dad said, “No.”   Sometimes his dad would tell him, “When you have a house of your own, you can get a dog.”   Every Sunday during prayer request time in his Sunday school class, he would pray for a dog.  It got to the point where the Sunday school teacher would look at me when I picked him up from class and say, “Would you just get the kid a dog already?”   I would smile and say, “You don’t understand. Dad said, ‘No.’”

One day he had a brilliant idea.  Instead of praying that he would get a dog, he began to pray that God would change his dad’s heart.  I know this because his Sunday school teacher told me.

That summer, our church was preparing for vacation Bible School.  The theme was Avalanche Ranch and they had asked to borrow artificial Christmas trees as decorations.  Willingly, I donated our tree but kept forgetting to take the box out of the back of our van.  We drove to vacation Bible school each evening, and I would say to myself, “Don’t forget to get that box out when we get back home”, and then I would forget until the next evening when I saw it again.  This went on every evening from Monday until Thursday evening.

On Thursday evening, we took the same route home that we had taken every other evening this week.  With a little less than a mile to our house, we came upon a commotion on our very busy road.  Cars littered the sides of the road, pulled off in a haphazard fashion, and a small crowd of people gathered on the side of the road.   Obligingly, I pulled over, too, and began to get out of the car to see what had happened.   As I reached the side of the road, a tear-stained teenage boy looked up from his vantage point over-top of a black and white dog laying on the side of the road.

“I don’t even know where he came from!” he exclaimed. “I didn’t mean to hit him.  I don’t know what to do.  My friends went around to all of these houses to see if the dog belonged to anyone, but he doesn’t.  He has a collar on, but no tag on the collar.”   Visibly shaken, the young man sat there petting the bleeding canine.    My heart broke.  Then I remembered the box that I had forgotten to take out of my van all week. Peering down at them, I realized that the dog was larger than I could handle myself.   Before thinking it through, I found myself telling this young man that if he could help me pick the dog up, we could put him into the box in my car and I would take him to the vet.  After all, I just happened to have a cardboard box in there! Sobbing, he looked at me in wild amazement and said, “You would do that?”

Before I could fully comprehend what had just happened, we were riding down the road with a bleeding dog in the box that used to house my Christmas tree, and I was calling home to say we’d be later than planned.  Because he wanted to be zoo-keeper, I told my son that this was “his moment” and he could come and give comfort to the injured dog.  Almost immediately, my son began to ask, “Can we keep him? Can we keep him?”    I knew I couldn’t make a promise like that because I had no idea how badly injured he was.   Our youngest, who was 3 at the time, kept shouting, “I don’t like this dog!  He’s bleeding everywhere and he stinks!”  I called the local emergency vet service to explain the situation and see if we could bring him in for evaluation.  They asked if I was willing to pay for it.  “How much could it be?” I thought. “Of course I’m willing to pay for it.”

When we arrived at the emergency vet, we went inside and explained that we didn’t think the dog would be able to walk.  The vet tech came outside with a gurney, and we loaded up our newly named, “Lucky”, which we decided was much better than “Angel” or “Dead”.   The girls waited in the waiting room while my son and I talked with the vet.  They said that he’d have to stay overnight for evaluation.  On our way home that evening, I said to the kids (as if we were playing Monopoly and I was telling them to go directly to jail), “Not a word to your father.  Go directly to bed. Do not mention anything about a dog.  Got it?”  Luckily, they obeyed, giving me some additional time to figure out how to break the news to my husband.

The next morning, the vet called me to report that “Lucky” had lived through the night.  The X-ray revealed that he has a luxated paw, which they could repair for $2500.00.   I had no idea what a “luxated” paw was, so I asked about the risk of not having it fixed.  When they said that he might develop arthritis later in life, I decided that was a risk worth taking.  We opted to simply cast it and hope for the best.

“Then there’s the screw we found in his stomach,” they said.  “Screw??”   “Yes, he must have eaten a screw.  We can remove it for $4,000.”     “$4000?    Or… he could poop it out?”     “Well, yes, possibly, but it could tear his intestine lining on the way out.”

At this point, I was awestruck. “Listen, my son has been praying for a dog for years.  I am pretty sure that God we serve is bigger than the screw in this dog’s stomach, so I’m going to let God work it out.”    I didn’t think about it at the time but have since wondered if the people who worked at the vet service thought I was a lunatic.  They were probably thinking they needed to call psychiatric services to have a straight-jacket ready for me when I came to pick up the dog.   “I cannot return for the dog until this evening after vacation Bible school.  Will that be ok?”    “Yes, that’s fine.   But your bill is adding up by the hour,” they told me at 9 AM.   “How much will it be?”   “$1800, so far.”   “Goodnight,” I thought.   Good thing I didn’t elect the additional surgeries.

I called my mother that day to fill her in on the dog’s condition.   “You cannot just show up at home with a dog,” she said.   Of course, I can.  It’s called:  beg for forgiveness rather than ask permission.  I do it all the time.  After all, my son had asked permission for years now, and it hadn’t worked in his favor!

That evening, during vacation Bible school, I mustered up the courage to call my husband.  I began the whole story by letting him know of our son’s Sunday school prayers, and slowly recounted the entire tale up through present time.  Anxiously, I listened to the silence on the other end of the phone.  After what seemed like an eternity of silence, my husband slowly said, “You hit the dog, didn’t you?” Ha.  You can’t make this stuff up.  “No, I really didn’t.”     “You’re bringing the dog home, aren’t you?”    “Um.  Yes, that’s my plan”.     S-i-l-e-n-c-e, followed by a long sigh.  “Ok, then, I’ll see you in a little while,” I said cheerily and then promptly hung up.   That evening, we went to pick the dog up while the girls went with my mom to buy dog food and leashes.   Poor Lucky had an enormous cone on his head, and his paw was bandaged in a small blue cast.  He stunk to high heaven… I mean… STUNK.

Still a little unsure how my husband would respond, I led Lucky into our house and toward our bedroom to meet him.  As I entered the house, my daughters’ friend exclaimed, “Hey, I know that dog!  Call my dad!  He knows who owns him!”    Briefly, Lucky and I entered the bedroom, walked over to my husband to say our Hello’s, and then right back out to the garage.  When I called to find out more about the dog, Glenn told me empathetically that the dog was better off with us.

That weekend, we left word at the police station and local veterinarians that we had found a dog and posted information on Facebook, and various other places.  Had someone actively been looking for the dog, we left plenty of avenues for them to have found us.

A few days passed.  One afternoon, while visiting with Lucky in our garage, my husband stopped.  He bent down and petted his head, making a remark about what a sorry sight he was.  “You know, don’t you, that we don’t know whether or not he’s had shots, so we’re going to have to get him vaccinated.    If someone claims him, they’ll have to reimburse us for the vaccination.”   All of a sudden, a light bulb went of over-top of my husbands’ head – you know, just like in the movies!   “How much have you spent on this dog?” he asked.    Uh-oh.  “This is the end of the line,” I thought.  “Uh.  You don’t have to worry about it,” I said.   “Um.  Yes.  I do.”    When I told him what the bill was, I thought he’d fall over.   He exclaimed, “No one is EVER going to reimburse us THAT amount of money!”   After a brief pause, he said, “Well, looks like we better buy a pooper scooper.”


A few days later, we took Lucky to the vet to be vaccinated.  In a follow-up x-ray, they confirmed no presence of a screw in his stomach, and no damage to his internals.   Six weeks later, his cast and cone came off, and Lucky became a permanent fixture in our home.  Don’t tell, but I have often busted my husband cuddling Lucky when he thinks no one is watching.  😉

To be sure, we could have found a cheaper dog at the pound; but the story we can tell about Lucky is far more priceless than that. For me, Lucky represents I John 5:14-15, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”     Many of us would look at a prayer from a young boy as insignificant, but God didn’t.  Because I knew that God cared enough about a 10 year old boy to answer his prayer, I knew that I could trust God with prayers both big and small.  Lucky will forever be a part of my own personal journey toward a deeper faith in a God that loves us enough to answer the prayer of a 10 year old boy. Today, that boy is a freshman in college studying youth ministry, thanks, in part, to this answered prayer.


If you doubt that God hears your individual and specific prayers, think again.   He loves each and every one of us, and is waiting to hear from us so that He may pour His blessings out on us.

I would love to hear how God has answered prayer in your life.  Please feel free to contact me through comments below or at sbjourneyforlife@gmail.com.




In an Instant

The news hit me last Sunday evening like a ton of bricks.   My friend, Bob, lost his nineteen-year-old son in a car accident late Saturday night.   Ryan was a phenomenal drummer, a sophomore in college with a promising life in front of him.  In an instant it all changed.   His father, my friend, is a successful executive at a world-renown accounting firm.  Just over a year ago, he opened a recording studio – his lifelong dream.  Just weeks ago, the studio signed its first artist.   Bob and his wife, Dana, returned from a trip to Australia last week.  They were on top of the world.  In an instant it all changed.  Ryan’s brother Brett was following in his brothers’ footsteps, with talents of his own. In an instant, his world changed.

Later that evening, the news of the Las Vegas shooting broke, and I thought about all the “Bob’s” and “Dana’s” and “Brett’s” who lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends in a senseless act of violence.  In an instant, the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands of people changed.   From the mountain to the valley.  In an instant.

Throughout our lives, we all have mountain-top experiences and valley-experiences.  To live life on the mountaintop seems magical, but unrealistic.  Ironically, as we interact with an intimate circle of friends, we find some of them are on the mountaintop at the same time others are in the valley.  In a painful irony, my husband and I travelled to visit our son this weekend. It had been six weeks since he left home for his freshman year at a college nearly 1,000 miles from our home.  We were excited to see him – it felt like an eternity since we had seen him in person.  Pangs of guilt infused my soul as I thought about the fact that Bob and Dana were laying their son to rest for a true eternity.  This dichotomy of emotion is inevitable in the world we live.  In Romans 12:15, the Bible instructs us to “rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  I mourn with Bob and Dana, and with the Bob’s and Dana’s of Las Vegas.

The mountains have been shaken indeed this week, personally, locally, nationally.  As we  grieve with those who grieve and mourn with those who mourn, remember the words of God the Father, in Isaiah 54:10 10Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Live in harmony with one another.



mountains and valleys3

Isaiah 54:10 10Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person. Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.

Who are you and what breaks your heart?

Who are you and what breaks your heart? I first heard this question a few years ago as a challenge from our youth pastor. Along with the other adult sponsors of our youth, I searched deep within myself to answer the question.  The answer to the question is an important one and is different for every person.  Within the answer to this question lies the desires of your heart, and where you can begin to find your purpose.   It took me several days to fully craft my response.  Over the next several years, I returned to the question as well as my answer, sometimes tweaking the verbiage, but never the message.

I am a musician, an engineer, a mentor; my desire is to leave things better than I found them; I am a sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, friend.

Suicide breaks my heart; cancer breaks my heart; human trafficking breaks my heart; seeing people make bad life decisions breaks my heart.

I am thankful for the One True and Living God who saved me from myself and, through His Son Jesus Christ, has saved me from my sins.

I am confidently persistent, boldly creative and passionately determined that I may inspire others to live a life that ultimately matters.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and a firm believer that God has a plan for every one of our lives.   In my young life, I struggled to find that purpose.  Once I found it, I developed a passion to help others find their purpose in life as well.

This blog is a collection of life experiences, probably some past and some present, designed to connect with you on your life journey, to help you ultimately live a life that matters.  My sincerest prayer is that through my words, you are drawn into a deeper relationship with the One who can fulfill your purpose in life.