Sunday, March 9, 2014


it's been a long winter...not just here in virginia beach, but across the country.  this winter was TERRIBLE.  never ending.  or so it seemed.  unpredictable.  last sunday i walked on the beach barefoot, drove with the convertible top that evening all schools were cancelled and by morning the next couple days we were home because of snow and ice.

today is daylight savings time.  an extra hour.  and the sun was shining.  i used the first bonus hour of the year to take maya for a walk.  she may not move til morning.  i normally listen to music.  not tonight.  i used that quiet.  to think.  to process.  to reflect.

my life has felt a lot like this long winter...periods of cold, dark, grey...some things are just too personal to share.  but i can and will say that spring is here.  it's been a long journey, full of unexpected realizations:  i am stronger than i ever dreamed.  i am not defined by what others see in me (or what they don't see in me).  i am creative.  i am hopeful.  i am happy.  i am moving forward.  step by step.  day by day.  month by month.  and i feel good (cue the james brown music).

today not only marks daylight savings time but it also marks a decade since a very dear friend was in what ended up being a fatal car accident.  she was on her way to my house...for a surprise baby shower she had planned for the birth of my youngest...and she didn't make it there.  the memory of that will never fade.

but what will ALSO never fade are the other memories.  as i have reflected today, i think if i had to use one word to describe debbie it would be GRACE.  this woman taught me about grace and it DEFIED every perception i had of family, of friends, of God.  her friendship, and the grace she encouraged me to extend to myself...changed my life.  forever.

i'll never forget the night that i let my vulnerability show.  it was the beginning of a BEAUTIFUL story.  i was struggling...little did she realize just how much...and she suggested i take a walk every night.  the suggestion brought me to immediate tears.  what she didn't realize was that i was paralyzed by fear.  afraid to even go for a walk around the block.  her suggestion...and the trust that i felt with the whole thing.   and my secret was out.  she started coming over, spending time with me.  talking.  listening.  encouraging.  extending grace.  she asked if we could use my home as a meeting place for a small group of women...because it was the 'perfect location.'  (really it was just that she knew it was the only way to ensure i'd faithfully attend).  and this small group of women met every other tuesday...for YEARS.  we spent 9/11 together.  and we spent the morning of her car accident together...waiting for her to arrive...and she never did.

if you know me AT ALL...even the teensiest bit...then you realize how much of a contrast there is between that scared young mom and the adventurous old mom that i am now (lol).   that paralyzed woman traveled to africa...TWICE...within two years of that confession.  she had two more children (call me crazy, i know...i know).  she moved across the country...twice (rolling eyes).  survived truck fires and hurricanes...and her story isn't over.

debbie was 47 when she passed away.  i am 47 today.  she lived life to it's fullest.  EVERY single day.  i didn't then.  but i learned to. and i continue to.  

tonight's walk had me thinking...about how much has changed in those ten years.  everything.  EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.  family has changed.  friends have changed.  i have changed.  but God...and his GRACE...they never change.

and for that i am thankful. 

moving forward with hope and grace...and peace.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Did you KNOW that when you move to Virginia you have 30 days to change your driver’s license over?  I found out last October when a kind policeman was nice enough to inform me.  I wasn’t ticketed for this violation and I went along my merry way.

Wouldn’t you know ANOTHER nice policeman told me the SAME THING a few weeks ago?  LOL.  And again, no ticket.  But I figured I’d better actually make a visit to the DMV.  My license was set to expire next week so it was now or never.

I waited.  And waited.  And then I waited some more.  Finally it was my turn.  A16.  I went to the counter and a lovely lady who MUST have been going to a meeting of the RED HAT SOCIETY was smiling at me, wearing her bright purple shirt and her red pants.  She was smiling at me...

Smiles!  At the DMV!  This doesn’t happen in the Yankee states.  I had brought along documentation of pretty much everything I’ve ever done in my lifetime.  Birth Certificate, first tooth lost, lock of hair, picture of my first boyfriend, high school yearbook, a letter of recommendation from my third grade librarian, and a recent blood sample.  I knew I was all set.

She thoroughly examined each piece of identification.  And then she got to my expired passport.   She looked at it.  She looked at me.  She looked at it again.  And then she looked back up at me.  She pushed her reading glasses up on top of her short silver hair and said, “Honey, don’t ever go back to blonde.  The red suits you.”

For the first time in my life, I do believe I wanted to just hang out with the clerk behind the counter. 
She input all the info and then said, “Have you held a Virginia license before?” And I said yes.  This was not one of the 3,592 questions on the form I’d already filled out.  I asked her why.  She said that she had a picture of someone who kind of looked like me from years ago.

I asked her if I could see it.   She turned the screen and there I was.  Young me.  She said, “What were you?  Twelve?”  and started laughing.  Funny thing is I remember that day.  I remember the sweater.  The DMV.  Where I lived.  I was 25.

Again, she said “Don’t go back to the blonde.  Now, back up to that screen and let’s get a new picture of you.”

She took the photo and then said, “Now let’s replace that girl…WHAT DID SHE KNOW ANYHOW?  Let’s get you out of here a little older, a little wiser.”

Sounds good to me lady.  Sounds good to me.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

hi. my name is wendy. and yes, i'm still alive :)

i started a new job. 
(half a year ago).
it's full time.
i love it. 
 but it's the first FULL TIME job i've had (aside from raising four kids which certainly goes BEYOND full time). anyhow, i've been a little busy so pardon my lack of blogging. 

this morning i ALMOST didn't go to church. i was tired. some obnoxious apartment dwellers across the courtyard decided to have a knock down drag out in the middle of the night. which resulted in carson & hudson climbing in bed with me. which resulted in me getting kicked, rolled over on, whacked by random arms...etc.

SO I WAS EXHAUSTED. and ALMOST blew it off.
glad i didn't. 
still a relatively new church for us.
i met the associate pastor one evening when i attended a dave ramsey course, carson & hudson in tow. he was really sweet and offered up his office (with cartoons on the tv) as a hang out for the boys. good guy. but i'd never heard him speak. until today.
and i have to say, WOW DUDE. great message. i'm glad i opted in. 


and it started with THIS clip...TOTALLY worth watching if you haven't already seen it.

he went on to talk about two of my FAVORITE parts of the bible...and that's one big book (trust me, i went to christian high school and we had to memorize all the books in order from front to back...and i may or MAY not have cheated on my final exam in Bible class...and it's something that STILL haunts me. who CHEATS ON A BIBLE TEST???? uh, that would be me, who also received the highest christian character award at graduation. i'm sure that this is going to be shown on the big screen when i get to heaven...IF i get to heaven...i mean, I CHEATED ON MY BIBLE EXAM. lol).

anyhoooooooow... he spoke from psalm 139. my favorite chapter EVER in the bible. it helps me make sense of my life that i'm pretty sure NO THERAPIST OUT THERE could ever FULLY help me make sense of LOL... how God knows who i am. and, um, i'm kind of complicated. majorly weird. and definitely not wired like the average bear.

anyhow, he also spoke on DAVID AND GOLIATH...and so much of what he shared brought me back (again...) to some thoughts i previously blogged about regarding little David and the GIANT that he was facing. God knows the giants i face. he knows my heart. he knows my thoughts (how he has ANY time for ANYONE ELSE at the rate my mind moves, i have no clue LOL). he knows my hopes. he knows my dreams. he knows me FULL WELL. and he loves me still. here's my previous blog from february 2011 regarding Davey & the Giant.


(G is for GOLIATH, GIANT from GATH)'s been awhile since i've read the story of david & goliath...but sunday i re-read it and was struck by some things in the story that give me some hope...some i face the giants in my own life.

here's a completely paraphrased version :) there's this huuuuge giant named goliath...he's almost ten feet tall. his armor alone weighs over 126 pounds. good golly. this is one tough dude, right? 

he starts picking on the israelites & wants one of them to have courage enough to fight him. if he wins, he & his posse own the israelites. but if they take HIM down, they get to be top dog.

meanwhile, there's this family whose mother was brave enough to have EIGHT boys (no telling how many girls were born in between those boys...hats off to her...can you EVEN imagine?).

a bunch of the brothers are off to war and are in the camp that is being challenged by the giant. david is the youngest. he stays home & helps his dad take care of the day dad tells david that he wants him to take some cheese & bread down to the brothers & their commanders. when the father asked david, he set out to go RIGHT AWAY. he even was responsible enough to make sure someone took over his chores while he was gone...(doesn't sound much like the youngest around these parts LOL).

the giant has been taunting these guys for forty days when little david shows up. the brothers are annoyed by david's arrival and think he's shown up just for a front row seat to the blood & gore.

nope. instead, david goes to the head honcho & says he'll take the giant down...he's fought bears & lions to protect the sheep...he can handle this guy. the king thinks he's crazy but lets him. what do they have to lose, right? the king wants david to be safe and makes david put on his armor. it's waaay too awkward. david says NO WAY and goes & picks out five stones and goes off to fight goliath.

of course, the giant thinks this is laughable.
til david whacks him in the head with the very first rock.
david uses goliath's own sword to cut the giant's head off.

and i'm a little grossed out by the fact that david totes that head around with him for the rest of the story...JUST LIKE A BOY. lol.

sooooooo, what on earth does this have to do with anything? well, several things struck me (not as hard as the rock that struck goliath...hee hee). 

when david's father asked him to run some food over to his brothers and check in on them, he DID IT. he didn't question his dad. he didn't whine...didn't grumble about the inconvenience of it. he just DID it.

he arrived JUST IN TIME. he got there RIGHT when he needed to. he THOUGHT he was going for a mundane task...but GOD KNEW that there was a purpose for this young boy.

his brothers rolled their eyes at him...they judged his motives...they questioned his judgement.

when david said he was going to step out and do this, others tried to give him their advice...tried to protect him...tried to get him to armor up...but what worked for THEM was AWKWARD for david...he was not comfortable in another man's wasn't who he was.

david took the things that came naturally to him and went with that. he knew who he was...what his strengths were...he took all that had been put into him over his lifetime and trusted that God would give him the strength and protection he needed. 

he knocked goliath out with the FIRST rock.
he was MORE than prepared for the task he had to do.
he went into the battle with everything he needed and MORE. 
extra rocks!

this really speaks to me. we are facing this move...this HUGE HUGE HUGE move for our family, our kids...and i want to be more like david... i want to trust that God has prepared our family for this...that he KNOWS what we need...and that if we rely on HIM, that he will GET US WHERE WE NEED TO BE, at the time we need to be there, FOR THE PURPOSES HE HAS FOR US. and what works for some may not for others. we have background, history, that is personalized just for us. and we have to trust that the God who has brought us to this point is going to go before us on this next phase of the journey.

just one thing, please, God: the bread & cheese part sounds quite lovely but i really don't want to have to carry around any dead carcasses.

 "All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17:47

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

things aren't always as they seem...

lots of things have changed for me since i started my full time job.
one of the things that i've felt the MOST is the absence of 'MY' starbucks.
you see, 'MY' starbucks was like CHEERS to me.
where everybody knows your name.  where they're always glad you came.

'my' starbucks has HISTORY.
it's 'MY' starbucks. 
and i MISS it.

so today, on a rainy, sleeting, ick of a drive home, i decided that i would swing by.  

i pulled up to the shopping center and there were cop cars.  MULTIPLE cop cars.  parked outside.

now, the thing you should know is that the stores in 'MY' starbucks shopping center are as follows:


so, you could conceivably go shopping with your man, swing by and pick up an xbox game, grab yourself a five dolla' footlong, some coffee...pop in the liquor store and add some bailey's to that coffee, make a reeeeeeeally bad hair decision bc you really SHOULDN'T DRINK AND CUT...and then pass out at the mattress shop.

but anyhow.........

i've seen cop cars there before.  it's the liquor store.  liquor stores and cop cars just go together.  like macaroni and cheese.  like milk and cookies.  like teacups and saucers.  like mashed potatoes and gravy.
you know...LIKE THAT.

but here's the thing...

the cops weren't AT the liquor store.  they were standing guard blocking the doors of the beauty salon next door.  

weird right?  

so on my way out i HAD to ask.  because i'm me.  and that's what i do.  if there's a story, i wanna know.

the officers were not nearly as chatty as the average stranger (the average stranger, believe it or not, is actually quite least once you get them to smile).

all i got out of them was that there was a threat...and they were there to offer their protection.

um, okay?

curiosity is killing me.  call me nancy drew but i need to know more.  

bet someone at 'MY' starbucks will have the scoop tomorrow.  you KNOW i'm going back, right?  :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

lost & found

it's been a day to remember.

 first thing this morning i found out that the grant proposal i submitted at my new job was approved to the tune of almost $7,700.

 later i had appointments for a dermatology visit and my first ever mammogram.  i told my daughter it's a sick, sick world we live in where i should have to PAY SOMEONE to look at my naked body and take pictures of my naked boobs.

anyhow, i came home and was starving.  since i don't have a wife to cook for me (lol) i opted for some golden grahams. i opened the box and went to pour some in my bowl. that's when i noticed something odd in the box. as i looked closer i realized it's a very special leather cuff bracelet that i got last year for Christmas.  a gift to me, from me :)


the quote has significant meaning to me. it comes from the following Tolkien passage:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 my name is Wendy.  wendy means wanderer.  i used to HATE that...all that it implies.  lost.  wandering.  it conjures up images of chaos...that feeling when you're out there on the road...and you don't know where you are...and there ARE NO ROAD map, no GPS.  you're just LOST.  alone.  WANDERING.  Wendy.

i've spent much of my life feeling that way.  but a few years ago i stumbled across this awesome quote from Tolkien.  and it changed the way i view my name.

yes.  i have wandered.
yes.  i am a wanderer.
but i am a wanderer with purpose.
i purposefully wander.
and that's not such a bad thing.

but sometimes, even so, i've felt lost.
wondering who i am, where i am.
wondering if I should have turned left.
or right.
sometimes it has literally scared me to the point of being paralyzed.
i've LOST YEARS being frozen.
afraid to make a wrong move...
any move.

at a certain point you realize...if you don't move, you'll die.
right where you are.
so you stir up hope.
you tell yourself it's time.
you pray for discernment.
you pray for courage.
and you set out on the path again.

this is where i find myself.

i may appear to have wandered.
i may appear to be wandering.
but i still have purpose.
and i'm beginning to find my way again.

i saw the following quote last week and it really spoke to me.

and so as i finish out my day, i'm left feeling thankful.

THANKFUL to not be lost.
THANKFUL for things found.
THANKFUL for the discovery of things I didn't even realize were missing.

it's definitely been a day to remember.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

i should know by now not to be surprised...

so many times 'random' things have happened over the course of my lifetime.  sometimes they are little things.  sometimes they are big things.  but RANDOM is the thread that holds my unstitched life together.

in order to share my most recent 'random blessing' i have to back track a little.  i'll keep the background short and sweet.

fall of 2009 -- bobby was laid off from his job at a large church in texas

winter of 2009 -- we begin holding 'house church' in our home every week with church project...we explore what it is that each of us can bring to the table to change the world around us

january 2010 -- haiti earthquake shakes the world


the images were devastating.  hard to comprehend.  sure, life was challenging as we tried to regroup after a job loss.  but in the grand scheme of things WE HAD EVERYTHING AND MORE THAT WE COULD POSSIBLY NEED.

i wanted desperately to DO SOMETHING.  i needed desperately to DO SOMETHING.  i had no finances to DO ANYTHING.

but one night while i tried to sleep, i heard the whisper...not audible...i'm not THAT crazy LOL.  but i heard the whisper in my heart.  YOUR COACH PURSE.  SELL IT.

and that's exactly what i did.  NOW, if you know me at ALL then you know that my coach purse was purchased at a ridiculously clearanced price...and you also would suspect that my coach purse was not your run of the mill conservative classic coach purse.  NO WAY.  mine was leopard print.  because that's how i roll.

check out the cheetah chairs in this photo of one of our house church meetings.  I LOVE ANIMAL PRINT. it makes me happy.

anyhow, my crazy leopard print, bargain priced ( you think the print had anything to do with the mark downs?  lol)...went for MORE than i paid for it on ebay.  and i was able to make a donation to haiti...

creative giving, right?  

and you know what?  NO REGRETS.  not a single one.  i haven't missed that bag.  i enjoyed it while i had it.  but i knew that it made a difference.

FAST FORWARD to friday.  

my last day at hallmark before i start my new job tomorrow morning.  (gasp.  I.START.MY.NEW.JOB.TOMORROW.MORNING!!!!!).

i had the pleasure of working with THEEEEE sweetest british girl at hallmark.  i adored her.  one of the most genuine and caring people i have ever met (and you know me...i'll talk to ANYONE and have met a gazillion people in the last week alone LOL).

anyhow, she loves animal print.  and hello kitty.  they are both her signature.

i came into work on friday morning and she had the day off.  but i noticed that on the employee table she had left her bag.  i called her at home...dreading having to wake her...but knowing she might be looking for it.

she left it there for me.  she purchased a new purse and thought i might like to have it.

not only was it the bag...but it was the wristlet...and the wallet...


you guessed it...

coach animal print.


i love this crazy random life.  i love the surprise sunshine blessings during a really cloudy dismal season.

my new bag (and accessories) made their debut this morning at church.  as always, i shall hold them loosely.

but i hold them with a smile...

give and it shall be given back to you...

sometimes in ways that are far different from how you originally gave.  but sometimes so very similar.


Monday, January 14, 2013

the fabulous baker boys...well, one of them anyhow...

one of the coolest things about being a mom is watching your children change...

try new sushi...and roasted veggies...oh wait a kids don't try that kind of stuff...

let me start again...

try new sports, hobbies, foreign languages (carson has signed up for japanese for next year...heaven help us all).

and then watching as some of those things turn into loves...and some of them turn into 'why did we do this?  no you can't quit.  finish out the season and you'll never have to do it again' (yes, austin i'm referring to the longest t-ball season EVER) lol.

jordan's interest in photography has been influenced greatly by stacey, the creative genius behind rowan & lucky photography.  first, cheesing it up on the model side...then getting more curious about the OTHER side...she's worked with stacey on photo shoots, helping her with lights & equipment.  and i think it was sometime in fifth grade when she declared she'd like to be a photo-GRAPH-er when she grew up.

she STILL doesn't know what she wants to be...but she CAN pronounce photographer correctly now.  so that's a start.

she's been experimenting with friends lately...and yesterday she did a super cool shoot with a super cool senior, a super cool vintage jeep and a super cool backdrop...even though the beach was crazy foggy for most of it.

here are some of my fave pics she took:

i love this girl.  i love how she attacks life.  now...if only i could get her to attack her room with the same energy level :)