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Posted by on Feb 24, 2019 in Heart Clutter | 0 comments

God doesn’t do that.

I remember in Sunday School (I still smell the wooden furniture, the snacks, the churchy smell) when our instructor asked us to draw a picture of what we thought God looked like.

One drew a rose.

One drew an eagle.

One drew what looked to be a distant cousin of The Hulk.

I can’t remember for the life of me what I drew, and that’s probably because I couldn’t decide.

I never attended a church where an overcritical, jerkface God was preached from the pulpit about hellfire and damnation if you didn’t walk the finest of lines.

I knew that the church was supposed to be love and good deeds and singing and potlucks and sharing. In my childhood reality, that was my depiction.

And I guess at that bracket, it was sustainable.

So when I heard about a book that conservative people were raging against, how the woman who wrote it was an “abomination”, blah blah blah, I immediately went to Amazon, looked it up, and clicked buy it now.

I mean.

There’s an inner don’t you dare tell me what I can and can’t read in all of us.

The difference is, I don’t really waste time with crap writing like Fifty Shades or whatever seems to be on some popular list or on Reese Witherspoon’s kindle. I like the good stuff. The stuff that makes me feel and relates back to something palpable and something that actually means something.

To me.

The cardboard box came in the mail, and I ripped it open and looked at the cover and set it aside. I was already reading several books all at once probably because I am a bit crazy.

I picked it up today.

And I could not put it down.

The author gets into the meaning of what Jesus actually stood for, differing from what the church has made Him to be. And yeah, sadly, there is a difference.

She challenges, she tears open her own wounds, she talks openly and with so much love the words were ready to be picked off of a stem.

As I put it down today, it put me back in that Sunday school classroom, asking us to draw a picture of what God looks like.

The book supported my inconclusiveness because of this: He evolves daily.

He is the poor.

He is the sick.

He is the transgender.

He is the drunk.

He is the sober.

He is the addict.

He is the gay.

He is the transgender.

He is the molested.

He is the condemned.

He is the forgotten.

He is the least of these.

And that shouldn’t be a “snowflake” thing to say.

It should be a Christian thing to say.

We all knowing going to church isn’t the way to be a likeness of God.


But do we know that taking the church with us in a way that includes, not condemns, but exonerates, not persecutes is the way to the likeness of God?

I think that’s why Jesus was sent to Earth.

Because guess what.

We are still learning.

Still failing.

Still muddling through the humanness of judgment.

So what is God…not?

God isn’t critical, which is so hard for me to wrap my head around. I know what it’s like for others to be so critical of me that I cannot breathe or even think for myself. And in a phrase, it downright sucks. I truly don’t believe I began living until I was twenty seven years old, when I finally began the process of letting go of all of the critical crap. People still remind me to not be so hard on myself, but I’m telling you-judgment is a tick-judgment is a tattoo-judgment is a slippery creature that doesn’t like to let go. It sticks. It’s a process. It’s devastatingly hard to let go of.

God isn’t a jerk. I see so many memes about loving the sinner and hating the sin. I cannot think of anything being more judgmental or hurtful (well…besides a couple of things). Agreeing to disagree doesn’t necessarily work anymore either. We’ve just got to come to a better agreement to let the hateful image slither back to its rightful underground lair and accept the love, the grace, the compassion that was nailed to that cross-FOR ALL OF US.

It’s also amazing to me how “clearly” the Bible states that baking a cake for a gay couple’s wedding is so blasphemous but those same judgers seemed to have skipped over those pages about cussing, drinking, and premarital sex. Just saying.

So what DOES God look like?

God is forgiveness.

God is love.

God is light.

God is good.

God is a good, good Father.

It’s who He is, and we are His beloved.

Anything more and we have overcomplicated the simplicity of Jesus’ message.

To me, that’s the nastiest sin of all-to use the Bible to execute judgment.

The difference between Jesus and us is this: we use Scripture to determine what love means. He uses love to determine what Scripture means.

Don’t know the difference?

I’m not sure any of us do.

But we can certainly work towards our goal of figuring it out.

And becoming more in the image of God.

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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in Everyday Life, Heart Clutter, Reflections | 0 comments


I woke up this morning to the sound of rain.

That sweet sound that echoes itself in the masses and reverberates.

It honestly hasn’t stopped raining since.

Steady, unrelenting, pulsating, quiet, gentle rain.

And oh yeah. My dogs have yet to pee. We’re on hour four of pee strike and going strong.

Dachshunds are like that. Rain is against their low lying bellied bodies peeing in wet grass.

And here I am, sitting on the porch, facing the lake, listening to the ramblings of crazy fishermen (who must be part fish) fishing.

It’s a very odd feeling to have a lot of pressure all over you and then suddenly have it released. All of it. All at once. And then you’re left with the space in which to sort the rest of yourself out.

Sale of house. Emptying out house. Selling furniture and nick nacks.

All while being single.

All while having two awesome friends who I couldn’t have done without.

Singleness is not for the feint of heart. Singleness comes with packages.


By yourself.

Me, myself, and I.

While it’s true my family is there for me, it’s not the same. It’s just not.

When you are single, the only person you can truly count on day in and day out is yourself.

Which is why it’s so important to have a newish car that won’t break down.

And being able to keep pressure from others out of your own decision making so you can discern for yourself what you want.

And my goodness.

It’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve had that opportunity.

Nobody in my face asking me to make a decision or if paperwork is ready or even asking what it is I want.

I’m so over it all.

All I want is the space to think through my own path and to be allowed to do so.

In the meantime, I will bloom where I am planted.

My classroom is about to be my project for the summer.

My body is about to do some self help inside and out.

My mind is going to develop its own sense of normal not navigated by others.

I just love summer. Even when it’s raining.

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Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Everyday Life, Heart Clutter, Reflections | 0 comments

if not me, then who?

You know those moments in life where you wish you were-I dunno-asleep, laid out in front of the television set watching Kathie Lee and Hoda talk about the latest gossip, or even swinging on the porch reading a book with a dachshund on your lap?

Well, that’s about all I’ve been capable of thinking about the past few weeks.

What a tornado. What a hot mess. It all left me ready to check myself into the nut house.

Selling a house is no joke. Selling your things, trying to organize repairs that need to get done, reading and re-reading and misreading the contract about what could go and what could stay, and finally, moving out the two truck loads of things that I decided to keep, all what with being single and having to rely on some amazing friends to get me through it-is no joke.

I am thankful for friends who never allow me to feel the full weight of being alone.

And all of this on top of my normal obligations. And on top of letting go of a house that has a piece of my heart. And on top of having to do it all on my own. Quite the shit sundae.

But because of my friends who helped see me through all of the craziness, I saw an end, a pause button, and I felt hope. Hope that my house would be passed along to a couple who would love my house as much as I did. Hope that living each day for what it is would help bring me to where I need to be.

I sat in a poverty workshop last Friday, focusing on kids dealing with extreme poverty and extreme stress that goes with it and how to reach these kids.

And I thought of a friend of mine who overcame poverty.

Her family did not, still has not, but she has.

She graduated high school with honors. She graduated a local university with honors. She won the art department award. She received an unheard of scholarship to a fancy schmancy art and design school in New York City.

I sat in my classroom, thinking about the workshop and thinking about my sweet friend. I texted her to let her and explained my morning and explained that my pride for her accomplishments had been puffed.

And do you know that I just happened to text her in the middle of a situation where she was having some difficulty with family members?

How do you like that.

The world is a slap in the face. That’s about what it amounts to. Horrible, selfish, “the world centers around me” people end up married with as many children as they like, and as much as I hate the saying, “no good deed goes unpunished”….it’s true.

And in that poverty workshop, the one thing that kids like my friend had to get themselves out of the poverty cycle was hope. In the midst of not knowing where their next meal was coming from, or having to give up their beloved pet at the animal shelter, or a mom with cancer, they had hope.

It’s up to us to give that hope. To receive that hope. To not keep it to ourselves.

Because if not us, then who?

My friend is my inspiration to get out of my bed and get myself to work each day. Her former self would fit in my classroom exceptionally. My kids are her. She is them. And when I catch myself thinking, “they don’t stand a chance”….I think of my friend.

And of course they stand a chance.

If we allow them the chance to stand.

I’m about to say goodbye to this group of kids and close up my classroom for the summer. I am physically and mentally exhausted, but there’s a part of me that wonders where and what and how some of my kids will be this summer. I am not the easiest teacher in the world. I am pretty hard on my kids and I build them up to be better. But I do pray that I’ve given them hope.

If not me, then who?

If not them, then who?


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Posted by on Apr 17, 2018 in Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

three short stories.

three short stories.

I’m in a mood.

Well screw that.

I’m in all flavors of moods.

The sour one after you eat too many sour patch kids, the sweet one after a spring rain, the bitter one after the scent of wild onions slathers the air after you mow your lawn for the first time in spring, the tangy one after a surprise is revealed.

By way of explanation, testing season opened this morning. After thirteen years of holding my kids tribute to the state of Tennessee, I’m still not exactly positive how I feel about it. All I know is I hate it. No judging. Unless you know. No judging.

My beautiful house also fell under contract under twelve hours.

Yes. You read that correct.

Under twelve hours.

My realtor called me when I was on the way to meet my Rodan + Fields rep for sunless tanner to let me know my house had just hit the MLS. I got a call an hour later that I had my first showing scheduled. I got a text not thirty minutes after that saying I had my second showing. Three hours later my third showing was scheduled.

And at 8:15, I got a call saying I had an offer.

The house my mom and my dad and I turned from a very depressed, very lonely rental house to a vibrant, confident, and loved home has fallen under contract.

I’ve had God directly speak to me before, but this time, He took out his trumpet and blasted it full volume into my ears as quietly and as loudly as He could.

Allison. My child. It’s time.

And so at 8:30, I signed the contract.

I can only hope, I can only pray that these new soon to be owners love and brag about this home as I did, as I would, as I do.

And then we have Lucy. Oh, Lucy.

My mother ran into a representative from Zignatures Dog Food, the brand that I feed my girls. I came upon this brand because Annie has IBS (yes, puppers can get IBS just like humans) and hers has been diagnosed as allergy induced. Sooooo, I searched for a hypoallergenic brand and landed this one that is also hypoglycemic and has never been recalled. SOLD. The girls love it. The representative gave my mom three cans of the turkey flavor they eat. I brought them home and the girls devoured it. Like wolves. Like wildebeests. When I bought more dry dog food, I went ahead and bought them a couple of cans of canned food as a treat.

It was gone before I could blink.

Apparently, the memo never got to to Lucy, who woke up at 5am, and cried in my face for an hour before I finally got up, she raced to the pantry, and cried where I had kept the cans of dog food. I had to show her empty cans in the trash can, an empty bag where her food had been kept.

She promptly stalked off, ears as far back as they could possibly go, furious with her mama’s betrayal.

Anybody that doesn’t understand a pup is like a kid needs a 5am wake up call from a dachshund who is more or less the equivalent of an advanced kindergartener.

My life in three short stories in the past week.

I left out the part about how my water bill stated paid and actually wasn’t paid and I had to haul my ass down to downtown Johnson City with my receipt to prove that I do enjoy my water and I pay for such. But that part wasn’t the best shade of me, or maybe it was from a different angle. One never knows how a different pair of glasses changes how you see. I also left out the part about how I still don’t have the energy to unpack the last load of stuff in my car, so I’ve been driving around like I live out of my vehicle. Shockingly, only one person has picked up on this fact, and she’s an antique dealer, so I’m not so sure she counts.

In all of my self made chaos, the love, devotion, grace, and compassion of God has kept me afloat. I will never understand Him, but I stand underneath Him, as He stands underneath me. It’s like a puzzle that will never be solved but will be solved on a daily basis. He is my favorite enigma. I know I am His.


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