It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The rEd Suitcase

One week to the day I decided to unpack my suitcase.
Maybe I chose to leave it because I would again have to visit the raw reality of the longing in my heart.  A longing that often leaves me confused and in angst.  The longing to be KNOWN.  The longing to be in relation with those who know me deeply and authentically.  Maybe I left it unpacked because the realness of returning to a place in which I am not known and often feel childlike, small, awkward, out of place was to much to bear.

As I looked at the rEd suitcase contemplating the task before me I start playing the reel in my head about the junk in my trunk.  All of the rubbish I have acquired on my life journey.  Junk that is heavy and burdensome to carry around.  I ponder if this is  what  keeps me from delving into the rEd suitcase, the unpacking of rawness and reality.  

I would have to unpack some junk if I unpacked that rEd suitcase and I wasn't ready for that.  I couldn't bring myself to deal with what was resonating in my heart.  I did not want to have to dig deep and search my soul.  I just wanted to be in the "bubble" where I was known.  The bubble where I was free to be me.  The bubble where I felt confident and worthy.  The bubble where I belonged.  The bubble where  I was  LOVED  DEEPLY.  The place where they get me and all of my "junk".  The place where they value and cherish me.  The place where I can have authentic, meaningful conversations.
I belong.  Just as I am, I belong in that bubble.

It occurred to me this morning….yes this morning….8 days after arriving back here to where I reside, that when I went home to my bubble it had been a year almost to the day that I had left my bubble.  I have been in this place I reside for just one year.  It also occurred to me that my junk I wasn't wanting to unpack was the feeling of being unknown, lacking a sense of belonging. 

I know I must press into the feeling to go where I neither fit in or belong because that is the setting chosen by the Author of my story. It is awkward and uncomfortable and 

I struggle.  

I struggle to reveal the real authentic me…..

I try. 

I try to talk to and connect with new people yet 
I feel so weak and unimportant and misunderstood.

And so…… 
I faced the daunting painful task of unpacking my rEd suitcase.  
I took on the task of unpacking the feelings of smallness and awkwardness.

I began taking each piece out and studying it.  
Looking at it closely and telling a story to me about what it meant. 

A beautiful bracelet hand made by my precious Patti, given to each Tas Philas.  A story of connection and belonging.  


Creations Beauty~Canmore Alberta

Another beautiful bracelet from my precious Patti because she knew I would love it and it reminded her of me.  A story of being known so intimately that she can pick a piece of jewelery that reflects who I am and know how it will move my heart.

A flashlight from Trev given to each of us girls so we would always have a Light to guide us while we were out in the wilderness chasing bears!  Kindness and care for us as a group of sisters.

A new scarf purchased to celebrate our red dress night.  The night we would celebrate connection and worthiness. A night we would celebrate each sister that had climbed out of the pit of yuck and rose up.

A card with such kind words from a person whom I know 
but had not had the priviledge of spending much time with. 
 A person who sees the REAL me and chose to enter into my story in authenticity. 
 A person who gave time.

A Book and Workbook given selflessly to me by a precious man.  
They were his for his own use with his Bible study group.
He gave them to me because he knows I hunger for Truth.

A big ol jar of peanut butter and a box full of bags of Ketchup chips as per request of my children who also miss the comfort of home. I value my children and LOVE them DEEPLY wanting only for them to feel like they belong in this place.

 Roots T-Shirts that say Canada as per request of my children to remind them of the place they belong, the place they to are known and loved deeply, the place they are rooted in.

And I look UP and give Thanks…..

Pouring out Gratitude for the richness of my Blessings.
Gratitude for each Gift and what they mean to my soul….

Each Gift given as a Light to shine on my soul reminding me that I am NOT small, I am NOT a child….

My attention is caught by one last remnant in my rEd suitcase…..

I reach in to the pocket of the lid of the rEd suitcase and I pull out the papers….

And I look....
 and my heart beats faster.....

I lay them out on my bed…
A lump forms in my throat and it is dry…..

Tears roll down my face…

My precious Artist….
she has captured my heart, rocked my soul yet again.

A picture for each of us…

Personal, very very personal.
From an 8 year old child.  
Innocent and untarnished from the yuck of the flesh.

She creates a piece for each of us.

My man's heart and love!

The calling my second born feels on his life.

The deep longing in my first borns
He let go of dreams and many years of training basketball to fulfill the longing in is heart.  
My third born loves dogs.  He wants to be a vet someday.

And for me...The Ark!  She knows I LOVE my Author!

She knows us.
She knows what moves us.
She knows our interests.


Untainted, untarnished childlike FAITH.

No barriers.
No judgement.
No gossip.
No skepticism.
No turned up nose.
No hurt.
No ill motives.
No selfish ambitions.
No expectations.
No busyness.

Nothing but time.
Time with us.
Time listening to us, watching us, just being present with us.

She knows. 
She knows us!

And I can only  WEEP!
And give thanks for her childlike Faith that is placed in her heart by the One who truly knows us!
To shine bright!
To bring Light to a dark place.
I give thanks for her Art created out of innocence!

Her Art, A Gift, given to her to share.  Shared with me to remind me I AM KNOWN!

Art courtesy and copyright of Jodene Shaw Mixed Media Artist


Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
 too great for me to understand!
~New Living Translation~

And I close my EMPTY rEd suitcase and put it in the closet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


When I look at what makes a day a GREAT DAY for me two words come to mind
Servant Hood 

As I journey through this adventure I am on, I often contemplate
 what it is that revs my soul, 
that makes me feel alive full of JOY!

It is simply serving others……
Being with other people…….

When I am serving others I can only have a selfless attitude of gratitude.
When I have laid down myself it is then that my heart pumps out pure JOY!

When I am surrounded by people I am entering into their story and they mine. 
Ideas are shared.  

Pain and tribulation is walked through with gum boots on 
and encouragement pushing us 
through the swamp. 

Connection and compassion 
for our self 
and others
 is what is needed 
in order to get through the muck with out getting stuck.  

I love that we are called to embark on this journey with each other.  

When I attempt to go at this alone
 I often feel empty, lost, angry, bitter, disconnected and desperate,
 and unworthy of belonging. 

It is then that I am held captive, 
enslaved to the negative voices in my head trying to convince me 
that I am worthless, 
that nobody cares about me, 
nobody cares about my story!

My story is silenced.

And when my story is silenced I am a slave.

But I journey to live in FREEDOM.  
Live to tell my story and hear others stories because stories matter. 
People matter. 
If we want to live with our whole hearts from a place of Love
our stories must be told, shared and embraced. 

Every chapter.
Even the messy chapters, the scary chapters, the imperfect chapters.  

"Stories have to be told or they die,
and when they die,

 we can't remember who we are or why we're

~August Boatwright in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My GREAT DAY was a great day as I served at the Shared Dreams facility 
with a friend. 

Cheryl and I sorting and hanging clothes together!

Our artistic design of outfits!

We entered into the stories of the people who come to this facility 
 because life has been a bit hard for them. 
They come here to meet Grace and have Mercy reign down on them.  

We entered into the story of the women running the facility. 
We heard about their experience working here 
in this place with families and children. 

We heard their stories.  
We shared our stories.
  They encouraged us as mothers. 

My friend and I shared each others stories about the towns we grew up in and how they have shaped us.  
We shared about how that experience has changed us.  
We shared about what it meant to be where we are at today 
and how life has changed us, chiseled us to be who we were created to be. 

We shared about friendships, marriage, parenting. 

We were vulnerable and we are better because of it. 


I love learning and hunger for knowledge.
I love research and the findings one captures.  

Not in just any area
but in the area of becoming the best version of ourselves, 
and living our stories in FREEDOM
along with understanding what it means to
live from the heart, live boldly in LOVE!

Thanks to my wonderful Can Am Tas Philas group
I was led to Brene Brown. 

And yet the goodness did not stop at the Shared Dreams Facility...

It continued as

I embarked on another adventure this GREAT DAY with another precious friend. 

I am right here in the mecca of goodness and research on social and psychological stuff.  
OHHH how my heart is sooo happy! 

This adventure led us to a book launch party!

Brene was releasing her new book Daring Greatly
 and I drug my sweet precious friend 
Catherine along with me to embrace this opportunity. 

Sweet Catherine is "into" becoming the best version of herself 
and sharing her story
 (which must be why we are here together because but two years ago we were neighbors in Canada and did not even know it ((Providence)))!

 but hanging out with a bunch of social workers, 
psychologists, addiction clinicians, 
lawyers and engineers 
is not what she would consider "her thing".  

She bravely and courageously entered into my story and joined me on this adventure (and had a great time and learned a ton).

6 books 6 Tas Philas...Me introducing US!

This event outlined more of my story adding more to the plot.... 
It helped me write a few more chapters in my story. 
This event invited me into wreckless abandon, risk!

I am thrilled to press into my story and 
 dig deeper 
into the research that Brene has discovered on shame and vulnerability.
I am stirred to undertand more of my story through her work.

I am compelled to join others in their story.

The excitement of the Tas Philas and her work in Canada!

What is most exciting is the Can Am Tas Philas and I will be embarking on Brene's book study Daring Greatly beginning on September 26th.  
Amy the Can and "Flat" Jodi the Am
 of the Can Am Tas Philas

Amy, Patti, Laura, ME!  Can of the Can Am Tas Philas

Jaime of the Can of the Can Am Tas Philas

As we connect and learn, embrace and serve I am overjoyed to see how together and apart from each other our stories are written and how the work of Brene will encourage us with a strength beyond our selves to Dare Greatly....

I know that buried deeply in my heart and soul is the imperfect ability to be kind to myself as I live and walk in freedom, 
loving myself and those around me, 
while experiencing and providing a sense of belonging 
in a place that is safe to tell and experience my story, our story.

I want to awaken my soul to this......

I am going enter the arena and Dare Greatly to live with audacious authenticity practicing my truest gifts of courage compassion and connection.  


Won't you join me?

Thank you for this GREAT DAY ladies at Shared Dreams, Cheryl, Catherine and  Brene!
My heart is full of JOY and GRATTITUDE!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A LoNgInG of the HEART and the InNoCeNcE of Children

The journey began as a longing in our hearts.
A longing to be with the friends we loved deep in our hearts.
the friends who nourished our souls.

When our longing turned into a calling we booked our flights and began counting down the days until our longings would become real and our souls would be fed.

There would be many friends to connect with and not all would get the attention they so deserved but we would allow Providence to guide us as we spent our 10 days in a place that we would soon learn was a comfortable warm place, a place we could feel was home.

When we touched down we were in eager anticipation of seeing our very dear friends the Baxter's.  The children did not know that we were coming.  It was a surprise……a very loose surprise as it was so hard for momma Baxter to keep it to herself. 

We were delayed one hour.  There was a lightening storm and the tarmac was closed to any activity for safety.  Us in the customs baggage claim…..the Baxter's on the other side of the wall waiting ever so patiently for who they thought would be Nanna!  

When the time finally arrived we busted through those sliding doors……

It was a surprise to the 3rd borns' "bestie"!  He had no idea and it was so unreal to his sweet big brown eyes.  He took a double take at us standing before him and turned to momma Baxter and said "You tricked, me you tricked me"  with glee and disbelief in his voice.

The air was light and crisp as I breathed it in.  It was fresh when I stepped outside.


Providence didn't wait to reveal intentions.  We spent the first evening with friends who "stopped" by and friends who we invited.  Friends that had not been together in almost a year.  Friends that were brought back together and friends that had never lost touch but tightened the bond.

Each day was full of Intention.  Not one event, not one conversation, not one meeting was by chance.  It was beautiful to see how it was orchestrated and played out.  Interactions that could not have happened no matter how much planning went into making it happen.  

But what was the most beautiful was the children……

3 boys and a precious girl!
Childlike faith.
Relationships that don't waiver over time and miles.
Connections that don't need words.
Hearts that melt in the presence of each other.

Every night my third born and his best buddy looked forward to their 10 minutes of whispering.  My third born thirsted for it more than he thirsted for his momma's lap and the book we were enjoying together.

The night his best buddy had to sleep upstairs because there was an early baseball game there were long faces and nagging hearts.  There seemed to be so much they needed to say to each other even though they had yet left each others sides.

The goodnight was sad and empty.  Then all of the sudden as if they had just won the lottery (which in the hearts of 9 year olds they did) Big Baxter told them they could go down stairs and have 10 minutes of whispering.  Faces lit up smiles erupted and the race was on to see who could make it to the bed faster.  They lay there together rubbing each others backs talking (whispering) about things that lay deep in their hearts, things that are important to 9 year old boys who live miles apart and still love each other deeply.

And the girl…..

The precious sweet 8 year old girl.

She colored with the boys, she talked with the boys, she jumped on the trampoline with the boys and she made cotton candy with my second born. 

As Providence unfolded these babes built friendships.  A reciprocal, voluntary affair that no external force or  fixed circumstance decreed that these children should enjoy and long for the company of each other.  It was of relatively equal power and a power higher than them that they bask in the goodness of what authentic, real, rich friendships look like.

It was about engagement, being present and loving well.

A new commandment I give to you, that you Love one another; as I have loved you that you also love one another.  John 13:34

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A little Family Time with A Lot of IMPACT!

When I have sat down and really thought deep about who I am and what defines me.....

is a phrase that rings beautifully in my ears and rolls nicely off of my tongue......

When my friends talk to me they usually ask "How is the running going?"  AND....
many of them believe (for some odd reason AND NOT because I have said it.....) that I RUN Marathons.

this piece of who I am is a part of me that I love.
                A part of me that I find FREEDOM in.....I wrote about Running for FREEDOM when I was training for my HALF 13.1 (not WHOLE 26.2...that sounds soooo ScArY).

PS....I run but AM NOT hard core!  I only dream of being HARD CORE!

As I have embarked on the journey of Running and it becoming a part of who I am I have always drug people along....ENCOURAGED them to become a runner.


To become a RUNNER because I believed they would be able to see the fruits of their labor as we together accomplished something they thought they would never accomplish or like for that matter! Of course there is also the fact that we were designed to be in relation with one another so why not run and talk!  


Encouragement NOTICE:  Running is good for the soul.

My Family is made up of Testosterone and we all know that equals Competitiveness!

HMMMM.....Throw a competitive edge on this Running and I think I will have a few new running partners!!!

After our move I began training for my first HALF (NOT WHOLE) Marathon....
At this same time my Fiercely Competitive Man was trying to move toward a more active lifestyle....
and if you can believe it..... the challenge of RUNNING (with out stopping) 4 miles with me was on!  
And I  was Running with MY Man!

Soon the little boys were onto this running activity.  Child number 2 was running often at school and he was catching the running bug!  So the little boys and I began running together (or walking fast) and eventually embarked on our first race together.....
The Bunny Hop 5K 

Child number 2 found great success in this race and was ready to take on the challenge of becoming a runner.

My third born...He is willing to join in on the family events but he is not yet sold on becoming a runner and running 5k races.  So Him and I do a lot of!

My desire was to have the whole family run a race together.  My Man and the Firstborn were not so sure this was the most brilliant idea ever.

Now I can't boss my Man and my Firstborn is really an adult.....UGGHHHHH!.... so it is hard to boss him any longer....... 

But Majority ruled and I signed us up for a race......
Up at 6 am and runnin' running' at 7:30 am....

This however was no typical race....
It was a special occasion!
A race experience that would forever change us at a soul level!

This race was the Impact A Hero race!
Too many a Hero may be there dad and for lots of the younger generation they would identify their hero's as professional sports athletes or someone who is identified by power and wealth.

These Heroes on this day....
They are the Heroes that America looks up to!
These Heroes are the ones who answer the call to lay down their lives for the sake of another...
These Heroes are our Soldiers....the men and women who have lost something in return to gain what so many only hear about...


As the runners were arriving and preparing for the race....
The announcement came that the Heroes would be arriving soon!

They arrived like ROYALTY!
With police escort in big buses preceded by a long 
long, long and loud line of motorcycles!

The crowd eagerly anticipated their arrival and cheered loudly
when they were getting off of the bus!
They and their families lined up at the START line to run the race.

Photo and Artwork by Jodi Shaw
It was the most amazing race experience I have ever had!
I was BLESSED to have my Testosterone with me to competitively
Compare times at the end of the race....
 all the while making excuses as to why their times weren't better 
and whose fault it was and what the time should have 
really been if........

Although I am not sure how WE impacted a Hero but I am positive
WE were impacted by a Hero on this day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012



  [leg-uh-see]  Show IPA noun, pluralleg·a·cies.
Law a gift of property, especially personal property, asmoney, by willa bequest.
anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestoror predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.
an applicant to or student at a school that was attended byhis or her parent.
Obsolete the office, function, or commission of a legate.

Taken from

As this Mothers Day approached I began to feel something different in my heart than I ever had before....

I did not know exactly what it was.  Something more gentle something more tender.....

I was not a day free from "yuck" but in the mess of me and being a mom I felt FREE.  I felt covered in Grace.  Forgiven.  Redeemed.

Being a mom for me has been such a joy.  I always wanted six children and loved loving my dolls and practicing for REAL babies.  I however was blessed with 3 children.  Three very different yet oddly similar, wonderful children who daily teach me how to become the best version of myself.

I have always wondered with great awe why I, why my friends, chose to have children and how we decided how many to have.  My dear friend Jocelyn heard AND answered these questions several times.  Always with her sparkling eyes and her energizing smile....
"I want to leave a LEGACY!"


What does that mean!  

I was not sure what Legacy meant to me.  For my family.  For my children.  For future generations from the tree of my life.

To me the Legacy I was given was a Legacy of shame, condemnation and judgement.  I never quite made the mark in the EYES of those who were supposed to love me unconditionally and help me become the best version of myself.  In those EYES I was NOT who they demanded me to be therefore I was of no worth.  

from my family......

In this world where there is comparison and right ways to parent and if you spend to much time away from your child your a bad mom, and if your child has a melt down in the store your a bad mom, and if your child does not go to university your a bad mom and heaven forbid your child drink, smoke, have sex out of wedlock, steal, lie......YOU ARE A BAD MOM!

If you feel angry at your child and can't keep yourself together, or if you don't have the greatest and latest, and if YOU AND YOUR child doesn't wear name brand clothes....

Society casts down

                                                          on you.... on children!

NOT a Legacy that I wanted to root my children in!  


Because SHAME  CONDEMNATION and JUDGEMENT  was my "normal" it trickled down into the life of my first born and oh the work, the absolute change work we have done to end the LEGACY of shame and condemnation and leave a new LEGACY.

AND....some days my heart hurts because I feel like my choices are destroying my children.

AND.... somedays I feel angry at the people who shamed and condemned me!  

AND....somedays I feel like I am crazy AND a mess!

And everyday I know that it is OK.  It is OK to be imperfect.  I make mistakes and my mistakes are forgiven!  I am FREE....FREE to be who I was created to be...MESSY MESSY ME...

AND.....I am grateful that I am covered by GRACE and the LEGACY that I AM leaving is a LEGACY of WORTHINESS, of PURPOSE, of FAITH  all in the mess of life.

A life that is authored and planned and protected from the arrows that are thrown at us by the enemy.  The arrows that keep us captive to shame and condemnation!  A LEGACY of FREEDOM....DEEP down SOUL FREEDOM that comes from something far beyond what I alone could ever give my children!


AND my reassurance of the LEGACY.....

Child Number Two did an unbelievable job at writing about ME.  I am known by my child.  My values are known by my child....This tells the real story.  The story of my life being walked out daily for all to know and see....I tell a TRUE story! HE TELLS THE STORY IN HIS WRITING....

May 12, 2012 from Child Number Two

My firstborn's evidence that not only today but many years ago when I was in the trenches in bondage I was still teaching and living the LEGACY that I wanted to leave for my children for me, for my family....

May 11, 2001 from my First Born
AND today what LEGACY and MOM mean to my First Born...

"My moms attempt to instill values that she holds dear in her heart that will be passed on to the family for years to come.  She does it well even if at times it is frustrating for me  because she does do it so well and it is constant!"

"I would describe my mom as stubborn, educated, outspoken, well thought, well read, driven motivated, an educator educating others and herself and a caretaker!"

"The evidence of her living out and walking her TRUTH in my life is what I take and walk with every day and that is her desire for me and educating me to have the utmost respect for women, truth telling,  and JESUS!"  

AND my precious Third Child...

Wanted me to know that I am so LOVED and am the best mom ever and the precious child wanted me to have a new vacuum cleaner!

~Possibly this Face Book "What's on your mind?" insight as to why the thought of a vacuum cleaner would come to mind!  It is known what I get from a clean house....A clear head!!!  They all love when MommaMac has a clear head (and so do I:)

            do any of you know how much I LOVE to clean. 
It has been a while as my house has been full of wonderfulness and adventure. 
The silence is awakening as I dance with my dance partners. 
The best Momma Mac musings come to me while I am dancing. 
The deepest stirrings move me as I rhythmically converse the poetic stanza's of my journey. I stand on the battlefield I fight for everyday every minute as I dance in silence....
and I love it and I cherish it and I miss it when I am away from it took long! 
I LOVE cleaning! 
It brings clarity and peace!

With the breathes that I have left I will breathe into my children the LEGACY that I want to leave behind. When I think of what I want the future of my family tree to look like I want it to be a source of strength to the next generations.  I want the LEGACY that I began with my children and is being walked out in my investment in my children to be what trickles down through the generations and feeds the souls of each seed that comes from me, from the seed that I came from which is the seed of Abraham not the seed of a family of shame, condemnation and judgement.  I want my children and their children and their children's children for generations to know that they are worth so much more than the world will ever tell them they are worth!

I would not trade the rewards that I am reaping and the rewards that are generations and decades away from this time, from the time in which I worked so hard to change my families LEGACY.  

There has been and will be years and years of tears, toil, heartache, exhaustion, weariness, and fear in between the LEGACY I see today and the LEGACY of tomorrow.....


With my VILLAGE and my FAITH I will continue to invest in their character, in their heart, in my character and in my heart, my families character with every breathe i breathe.....

IN THE HEART IS WHERE IT ALL BEGINS as we weave together the tapestry of LIFE!