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Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

skunk the fear.

I read somewhere that everything you’ve ever wanted in life is on the other side of fear.

So that got me thinking. Why does fear play such a vital role in our loves?

Take my two dachshunds for instance. One evening, I let them both out to go potty before bed time, and not even five minutes later, Lucy came scurrying in. She looked like she had seen a ghost. She kept scrambling up to me, and then back out the door, poking her head around the corner to see if I was following her. Lucy kept the charade up until I followed her outside.

And goodness. What a scene to behold outside. Annie was standing about a foot away from the fence, tail raised, ears back, barking with everything she had. And on the other side of that fence, about the same distance away, was her new friend. A skunk.

All at once, visions of Peppy Le Pew eu de par-fum danced in my sense of smell. And yet there was little I could do in the situation because if I stepped closer, I would more than likely wear the skunk’s revenge as well.

Annie didn’t let up. Peppy Le Pew didn’t let up either. As sixty seconds of Battle fell to the ground, the skunk sprayed the tar out of Annie, and sauntered away. Annie, on the other hand, shook off what she could and came flying in my direction, confused and disoriented with what had just taken place.

I bathed in her tomato juice with baking soda, and it tinted her pink. It was nearly 11:00 on a school night, so we stayed pink until the next afternoon when I bathed her in her oatmeal puppy shampoo that washed out the pink.

The funny thing is, if Annie could have a hashtag after that incident, I swear it would read, #noregrets.

Let’s look at how both of my dachshunds approached the same situation. One could argue that Lucy was smart enough to actually have fear. She knew trouble when she saw it and tried to stop the inevitable. I’m sure she tried to get Annie away but Annie wouldn’t have it. Lucy also knew that her mama needed to intervene.

So then there’s Annie. Sweet, brainless, little Annie, who stood her ground against the enemy, and protected her territory at the expense of her smellalicious state of affairs. She certainly took home the trophy for last man standing, but she also didn’t have the fortitude her sister had in recognizing danger. Even if she had, she figured she could bark it away.

When Jesus was crucified, His disciples stowed away in a house. They refused to come out. In a word or a few, they were terrified that something like that could happen to them. In the coming days, Fear controlled them so deeply that even when Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples three separate occasions, His disciples were clueless. They were Lucy. Skeptical. Fearful. Alertful. Afraid to do what needed to be done in fear of real life consequences to themselves.

I’ve always imagined the scene of the Holy Spirit beckoning to these men, as a warm summer breeze would beckon us out to our porches and our backyards. I imagine a voice so tender, so comforting, so undeniable, that their fear collided with resolution and in that collision, faith was born.

On the other side of fear, Peter became the rock of the church. On the other side of fear, Paul wrote such passionate letters to the church that their relevance has outlasted time. And on the other side of fear, these men kept Jesus alive and sought a will greater than their own.

It’s powerful stuff, no question.

And I think that fear is an okay mechanism to keep at bay, no question. But are we truly obeying and reciprocating and proclaiming if we don’t jump over that line in the sand and take the risk? Are we truly living if we shut ourselves away from all of the skunks and persecutors and modern day Pharisees of the world? Are we?

Seems to me faith can’t exist without fear because faith conquers fear.

Seems to me that fear can’t exist without faith because faith is on the other side of that line.

I pray wholeheartedly that you are able to get past the Lucy in you and tap in to just a smudge of Little Annie’s boldness. Whatever it is, however much the moment weighs, I can tell you this: it is nothing compared to the sheer joy of letting it go.

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

the blessing of dust.

I have a confession.

Another one.

I do love Jesus. I do.

But I also let a few words slip through customs that had no business boarding the plane.

I’m the first to admit it and the last to deny.

But one day in particular just seemed to pile up baggage faster than I could put it away. I was so frustrated. I finally arrived into my house and stubbed my toe hard on an end table.


Not the word used, but a variation on the dark side.

And wouldn’t you know the minute the word left my lips, a picture frame I had on my built in book case came crashing down.

The weird thing was, I had it steadied by something else to its side so for it to fall was strange.

The remnant sat in my brain all afternoon until memories of my great grandmother just seemed to flood through me and I couldn’t brush them away.

And then it hit me.

My great grandmother.

My great grandmother was getting after me for using dark side words.

I laughed out loud and apologized to her, and I could almost feel someone’s sharp but forgiving smile.

I called my grandmother and told her what happened. She laughed and reminded me that she never cussed a single day in her life and never approved of it. That showed me.

I think back to the days of Jesus and miracles and prophets. And I wonder about the Loud Speaker version of God that was in your face and burned non burning bushes and sent Jesus on a rampage in a temple. There was no lack of subtlety in those days. Nobody can argue that.

But in the way that God has transitioned Himself into a refined gentleman that He always was but always will be as well, I do believe He speaks, and listens with such subtlety and detail so that not a word falls short of His ears.

Think of it this way: Jesus’s disciples followed Him so close it is said that they walked in His dust. That visual is what validates my grandparents’ continual presence in my life for me. That visual gives illustration to the careful consideration my grandparents take to choose the moments when they know my heart is so hurt it bows in and of itself, or those moments in such happiness that it bursts in confetti.

As long as I live, I’ll follow as close as I need so as not to miss a moment of love from my grandparents. Or from past loved ones. Or from God. I want to be covered in their dust.

I want to recognize these moments as much as I can. When Jesus appeared to the disciples three times, they failed to recognize Him. At all. The author brought up the thought of Jesus appearing in three different people to the disciples, so the disciples missed the part where Jesus is all people.

We should never miss a moment. Never miss a step. Never stop to wash the dust off but move carefully, considerately, and kindly so that we might recognize when Jesus is tending to our hearts and to us. And though we fail daily, there is always tomorrow to get up and try again.

It is worth the risk.


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Posted by on Nov 25, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life | 1 comment

the big fat truth.

Sometimes, it’s a bit embarrassing to be me.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that sometimes, in my own esteemed brilliance, I can do some spectacularly stupid scenarios. In my sleep. With a hand behind my back. Eyes closed. Not even trying.

It might be genetic. Let’s do that.

What it does have to do with is the fact that I, Allison-er-Allison Rose-have had to deal with it. What is it? Well. It is a spectrum of nuances and phrases and experiences wrapped in one big ball of twine. And once it began to unravel, there really wasn’t much to do but get out if its way and see what it wanted.

I, Allison, have had to deal with being fat. Being bullied. Being set aside for a collectible on a shelf. Letting others wear my voice around their necks and take my power as collateral.

And I can’t even really explain how it happened because it happened so slowly yet it happened so fast all at once. It happened the minute someone else believed that they knew better than I did and what did I know? It happened over the years of ridicule from supposed friends, even a couple of teachers. It grew healthy and strong and sucked the life out of me as it sat proud and happy on my shoulders, weighing me down.

It caused me to make sure I wore a tshirt over my bathing suit. It caused me to completely not join in on a pool party. It led me to some really sorry relationships that were detonated before I even got my hands on the trigger.

I did try to fight. I tried to make my body into something it wasn’t. People told me it’d be better that way. That I’d be happier and that I’d be healthier. Poof. It would be alright. So. I tried to conform. Diet after diet after diet took its turn, each and every time the little success I’d have would only backfire in the long run and I’d be worse than where I was to begin with. My closet held sizes all over the spectrum and my body was becoming a very uncomfortable container to conform.

And I wish I could tell you that POOF! A diet changed my life. It became Better and Better ran away into the sunset into tomorrow.


It got worse. No, it got ugly.

It was overpoweringly cynical and It was winning.

Until a therapist told me something.

She told me my version of Better had verdigo. That I had made it so nauseated from the merry go round I had created for shelter.

She told me the way to Better was to get my power back and to force it back. Speak up. Speak the words that would hurt ears but that needed to crack the surface of It in order for Better to be. Quit compartmentalizing my thoughts based on if it would hurt someone’s feelings or not. Speak. Say the words that required saying. The ones so hard to say but weighed more than I could carry anymore.

And boom. Poof if you prefer. I began to speak. Perhaps too loud at times but I spoke. I spoke my mind, I spoke It out loud to take the voice away from It.

Once you realize that the shrapnels you’re so ashamed of are actually keeping you together, Better seems to give you a hand off of the merry go round and for the first time, you are able to sit without dizziness.

I will be the first and the last to admit that I will deal with It and confess It and discover It and become acquainted with It. Instead of fighting against It, I guess you learn to soften Its edges and instead of becoming who everyone else thinks you should be or ought to be, for the first time, you realize that your voice is your own and that you will never, ever, EVER, deal in that currency again.

I don’t know who I would be without It.

I certainly wonder if I would be me.

So I say all of this to explain to you a simple truth: I know what it is like to look into the mirror and not recognize the reflection. I know what it is like to be so uncomfortable in skin you never wanted in the first place and you’d do anything-put yourself through utter hell-to just squash your round peg into a square hole.

These are my rolls, theses are my fat feet, these are the fat fingers that constantly cause me to make texting mistakes and yes, I am proud. Everyone around the Thanksgiving dinner table was trying to decide who my brother looked and acted most like, and I just sat there thinking. I know exactly who I am. I don’t need someone to decide for me. I like to think I take a few trinkets from both of my grandmothers. And I like to think I am still figuring out the rest.

So yeah. I will always comment back to haters who keep smashing body positivity movements with their BS “Fat isn’t Healthy” crap. I will always stick up for the person who fought to be who they are and to take their pronouns and use them proudly. Loving yourself is healthy. Refusing to conform to what others say you should be when you know you’re not is self love. It’s justice. It’s freedom. Who cares if someone understands or not? Our job isn’t to understand everyone or point our crooked fingers at others simply because we refuse to understand we refuse to recognize that yes, EVERYONE deserves compassion.

And I will continue to speak It, whatever that It has been, is being, or will become in the future.


I fail. I falter. I have empty hands to offer.

And with my broken pieces I will find that I’m already whole.

Now how amazing is that.


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Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Devotions, Everyday Life, Reflections | 0 comments

The Whole Fire

The Whole Fire

Collette Werden

Collette Werden

In an interview, I was asked about my strengths. Sitting with two other women in the same interview, my brain was a flat tire; as useless and deflated as the rubber the tire was made of. I closed my eyes and centered my insides and after everything I’d put myself through to be at this interview, I knew I had to open up a storage container and start an American Pickers rerun.

So I told the interviewers that my strength was the hard years. The years that almost cost me more than I had to pay. The days that were so bad, I couldn’t even cry about them. The walks home from middle school when I’d carefully pack away the bullies, the friends that were simply for show and the shame in not having the strength to admit it, and manufacture the strength to say that my day was fine and pray to God I could shelf the rest of the conversation. The exploded friendship that had a detonator of needing someone to blame. The aftermath of the shrapnel that still affects me today.

The interviewer, probably expecting a robot response, stared and asked me why.

I answered simply that although I got knocked down, with the strength it took to get back up the reflection looking back at me is just a little bit truer than it was before. That I try and repurpose my hard days into strength for the kids that I teach. That they might feel a little less alone. A little less uncomfortable. A little more expensive. A little more courageous.

The room stood in suspension, sort of in a thick pause before the rainstorm rains. I could’ve taken scissors and cut ribbons with the silence.

And finally another interviewer smiled and wrote something down and went to say something and stopped.

As I left, I heard a muffled, I like her.

I cried the whole way back from that interview, mostly because I was exhausted and stressed and drained. That was okay. In that moment I took a piece of my power back from the thieves who stole my sparks and it felt like I rose like the whole damn fire.

And that, God tending my heart and giving me grace, that collision is where my fire flames.

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