I changed my mind

I grew up in poverty.

And from the ages of 5 years to 13 years, I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my mom, in Phoenix Arizona.

The apartment we lived in was less than half the size of my house now, and I didn’t always love it.

As a matter of fact, I often hated it.

Sometimes looking back, I wonder why I was so discontent.

As I said, we lived in poverty, but at the time, I had no idea.

It may sound cliché, but a lot of the time, we ate pinto beans for days in a row.
Sometimes there was meat, and a lot of times there wasn’t.

During this time, my mother would share what we had with anyone who needed it.
And during the times when someone else came to stay with us for extended lengths of time, I was resentful.

For example, my oldest brother came to live with us multiple times, and when he was there, I was expected to share the little we had with him.

I remember waking up and needing to use the bathroom, to find that he was in there and going to be for a long time.
So, my mom would get a coffee can for me to use in the closet as a makeshift toilet, because when a little girl has to go pee she has to go pee…in a literal pot/can.

My mother was versatile that way, and so she taught me how to be.

But I resented it and him.

He could be bossy, militant and mean at times.

He was a Vietnam Veteran, and I was a little kid.

He had seen and experienced things that I would never understand, and I was a little girl.

There were times when the day began and we had a loaf of bread, but by the time I returned from school, he had consumed the entire loaf of bread, leaving none for my mother and me.

And I resented it and him.

It was growing up with not enough and having to share that not enough thrust upon me, which caused me to seek work to earn money at a very young age.

I went on house cleaning jobs with a neighbor who had a cleaning service.
I tried babysitting, but that didn’t fit.
I worked at a fast food place briefly.

I did anything to make a buck, because I had to and I wanted to.
So, growing up without financial support, led me to do whatever I had to support myself.

We moved several times after this period, and ended up in another one bedroom apartment, next door to this brother.

I worked as a receptionist and a hair salon, and I had bought myself, with my own money, a box of hostess cupcakes.

My brother had access to our apartment, and when I returned home from work, the box that only had one cupcake eaten from it, was completely empty.

He had consumed the entire rest of the box, and my reaction was rage.

It was one thing for me to have to share what my mom was willing to share, but it was another thing entirely to have it stolen from me.

I resented it and him.

I was considered to be a brat and a spoiled one at that. But I wasn’t spoiled at all, and no one knew what I was living with growing up, NO ONE.

Those who said the things they did about me and to me, never knew me at all.

But I remember that feeling inside, that I was a horrible person and I didn’t know how not to be that horrible person.

Sometimes that feeling tries to return, but instead of stuffing it down, I kick it out.
I refuse to allow it to do to me what it once did.

So, to some people that looks like I’m not as sorry as they think I should be, or whatever they think. But I consider condemnation to be one of the most destructive things people use against one another, and “there is no condemnation…”

Growing up in poverty wasn’t my choice.

Leaving or staying in poverty was, and I chose differently.

This morning as I was recalling the emotional poverty I also grew up in, I felt the truth rise up in me.

Sometimes that thinking tries to accuse me also.

The same determination that drove me to change the situation I grew up in financially is the same determination that is driving me to change my thinking about the abandonment, rejection and the poverty mindset of not belonging.

It is my job to do this, and Love is leading my way.
And I will do it through rest, not blood, sweat and tears.

Because before and after it’s all said and done…

I Am The Beloved

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Truth>lies

A couple of days ago at work, there was a lady who brought her two kids in for haircuts.

The mother was under the influence of something, I’m not exactly sure what.

My coworker thought the mom was drunk, I thought maybe she was on methamphetamines.

She talked non-stop, about everything and nothing, and very loudly.

She definitely seemed to be broken.

Her loud, incessant talking would then break into tears. But my heart went out to her.

She would carry on about her own mother, who had passed away 10 years ago.

I could see that she carried a lot of baggage from her relationship with her own mother.

Then the lady started talking about her 6 year old daughter, who was one of the two kids she brought in for haircuts.

She called this daughter a “demon spawn.”
Her 6 year old, precious, wonderful girl!

And I am not a person who leaves lies like that sit in my presence.

So I spoke against those words (to the mother) with words of affirmation of and for this little precious child.

The words come as easily as breathing when we’re talking about children, but I also believe these words are for broken adults who haven’t ever heard them for themselves.

The mother tried to argue with what I was saying about her wonderful girl.

I said that this girl would surprise her mother and the world.

Then it came time that I was getting ready to leave, and the little girl who was finished with her haircut, came up to me and asked if I would sit on the couch with her.

If I hadn’t had other business to attend to, I would have taken this precious one up on her offer, but I had to leave.

As I had stopped at the door, just getting ready to leave, this little girl came up to me to give me a hug!

I won’t tell anyone what to do, or how to do it, only that one is capable of anything, because we are all limitless.

I simply want to encourage people, that even one little word of affirmation in the midst of all the lies pounding in and on us, is coming to overtake this world.

Watch and see…

Seeing someone’s value

So a few days ago I did a lady’s hair who was telling me about her sister who recently moved to town.

The lady I was working on is a good Christian woman. Very involved in her church as a leader of classes and she also plays a musical instrument for worship.

She’s an older lady, I think somewhere near 80 years of age.

As she was telling me about her sister, it morphed into a complaining about her younger sister.

First, it was about her appearance and how she could use my help with her hair, because (I can’t remember the exact phrase she used) she looked like a street person.

Then, it moved onto how her sister started attending church and bible study with the older sister, but that she drinks and smokes, and is probably now gambling.

How she probably has C.O.P.D. due to the cigarette smoking.

And it went on like this for a few minutes.

I told her that Papa really loves her sister a lot. She responded with, “Who?” And I said “Papa God.”

Then the lady said something about how she herself was sounding in all this complaining about her younger sister.

I gestured with my hand and made a big circle and said to her that we were going to turn this conversation around.

I asked if she thought her younger sister was happy. She didn’t see how her sister could be happy in her lifestyle.

Then I asked, “What did your sister do before she moved here?”

And that’s when the complaining got turned into recognition and thanksgiving.

She told me that this younger sister had literally given up her life to care for their elderly mother and their other sister who had cerebral palsy.

This woman, who before had been seen as a pitiful, homeless looking, cigarette smoking drinker, who never attended church or had the proper religious teaching that the older sister had, was now being seen as valuable to the older sister.

The point of sharing this little story is to show that it isn’t about a religious background, or how many seminars, sermons or functions one attends that makes their value seen or known. It’s Love!

This younger sister has always been known by Love and displayed that Love in a life dedicated to serving others. It just didn’t look like the same service as the older sister.

I also told the older sister to bring her younger sister to see me.
I plan on making her hair look as amazing as possible, because I’m gifted in that area.
But I also told the older sister that I believe her younger sister and I are going to be friends.

We are family?

Just a little warning: This may not be nice, but it is real.

I see things that frankly sometimes I wish I didn’t see.

I’m not a blamer or a shamer. It’s not my nature.

My nature is to love and be loved.

I see a love deficit, especially within kingdom circles and it puzzles me.
Not too long ago I saw some pictures of ladies I used to be friends on social media with, from a women’s conference.

In one of the pictures, I saw a line of these women, these prophetic darlings, arms around one another, smiling and posing for the camera.

But in this picture I also noticed one lady at the end of the left side of the line of embracing women, who wasn’t being embraced.

I didn’t know who the lady on the end was, but I knew who the lady next to her was and I wondered, why didn’t you put your arm around this lady on the end?

This has been on my heart ever since I saw the picture.

The other day I went to the conference’s pictures to find it again, just to see if what I had seen had changed in anyway, but the picture was gone.

Instantly I had the feeling that the reason it was gone was that it didn’t show them in a very good light.

And that’s what bothers me the most.

In the past I have attempted connection with some of the women that were in that photo, but they weren’t able to embrace me back. That part is okay, but to pretend is really not okay. I’m not condemning anyone, I’d love to see them set free.

Free from fear, free from religion and free to be real, because real is where it’s at.

The lady that didn’t embrace her neighbor in the picture is supposedly “fearless.” But I don’t think she really feels fearless…I think she pretends to.

I remember once that lady had tagged me in a post that she thought I had shared. It was an innocent mistake, and that can happen when you have thousands of Facebook friends. Not a real personal connection.

But I am meant for personal connection. I know what Christ brings to the circle through me and relationship is important for what He brings.

After I had unfriended this lady, I had been at a baseball game with some other friends. And while there, this lady had sent a voxer message to the friend I was with. In that message she said-“tell Lori hi.”

That seems sweet and nice, but the fact is she had no idea who I was, and the reason she said that was for the benefit of the friend I was with…to make herself look the way she wanted to be perceived, not necessarily for my benefit.

I’m not a negative person. I really can and do see the best in people. A lot of times I see it in people no one else sees it in.

But I also see phony, and it repulses me.

I’m not perfect, I certainly have done my share of acting in my life. But not with my friends and I really wanted to be friends to these women.

They just couldn’t find a way to embrace someone like me who wasn’t like them, and couldn’t pretend to be.

When Irish eyes are smiling

I shared in another story one of the cool things that happened during a recent trip to the Pacific Northwest, (“The End is Near,”) and now I’ll share this one.

While my husband and I were in Seattle, WA, we visited a couple brewpubs and a place called The Blarney Stone Pub.
It’s a nice little bar/restaurant, with a neighborhood feel.

We had ordered some drinks and food, and while we were waiting for our food, I decided to head outside for a smoke break.

They have a little seating area outside the front of the bar, for such a break.
As I was sitting there, drinking my Guinness, I was watching all the beautiful people pass by, and hoping they wouldn’t see me.

Judgment and being seen as a second-class citizen comes with the territory of being a smoker.

In the little seating area there are two stools on both sides of the entrance, with pails on the ground of each area for cigarette butts.

It was a beautiful day, and the foot traffic was heavy during the lunch hour that we were there.

And my mind, as it usually does in the presence of many people, was going miles per minute, in many directions.

Then I spot him, a man, disheveled in appearance. Walking and weaving, hands flailing about while talking and even yelling to himself.

No one else seemed to see him, but amid the traffic of beautiful people, he stood out like a precious stone among sand to me.

He stopped to look inside the first butt pail, but they were empty of cigarette butts. He kept on weaving/walking and talking down the sidewalk, then he sort of hung out just beyond where I was sitting, on the other side of the traffic of beautiful people.

I pulled out a cigarette, and waiting to catch his eye, then held it up, in a way that asked if he wanted it. He gave a quick nod, continuing to talk to himself and weaving, came over to get it from me.

Then instead of walking on, he hung around long enough for me to pull out my lighter and ask if he needed a light.

All of this happened without words.

As I light his cigarette, he placed his hands around the flame to guard it from any wind, but also careful not to touch me…not that I would have minded if he had.

And in that moment, just as the cigarette was lit, a quiet peace. Absent from the noise around us, absent from the bombarding thoughts in our minds. He looked straight into my eyes and said-“Thank you.”

Then he returned to the walking/weaving and talking to himself that he had been just before coming across my path.

And with my heart and eyes filled, I cried.

We had made a connection, and touched one another’s pain with love.

I don’t know if he’ll ever remember me but I know, I’ll never forget him.
This beautiful brother of mine.

The end is near

My husband and I recently took a vacation to the Pacific Northwest that included a trip to Seattle, Washington.

While there, we went to a Seattle Mariners game, but before the game we had a couple of cool encounters.

On this trip we decided to visit a few brew pubs and eateries to sample the local craft beers.

We were leaving one of the pubs to go visit another one before the game, when we encountered a man getting some signs out to warn people of God’s judgement against them if they didn’t know Jesus.

I admit the moment I noticed the guy, I was irritated, and had no desire to even go near him. I said to my husband, “Oh jeez.”

However, we had to walk past him on our way to the next stop, so we did. He asked us something about if we knew Jesus, and my husband said, “Yeah.”
The guy replied with a “Praise the lord!” and something else I wasn’t paying attention to. I just wanted to get past him.

Well, the next stop on our brew tour wasn’t located where we thought it was, so we crossed the street and decided to head back over to the ballpark.
Another guy approached us and said something (I’m not sure if it was in English), while handing us a tract. Obviously, he was with the other guy who was warning us about hell.

Then something happened while making our way back to the ballpark: Papa’s love for the guy with the signs started welling up inside me.

I told my husband, Nick that I wanted to go talk to the guy.

Nick told me that he knew he couldn’t stop me, but that he wasn’t going to go with me. That, right there, made me a little hesitant, because I wanted his backup…LOL!

As we walked past the guy (while on the other side of the street) I started speaking blessings over him.

When we crossed another street to get to the entrance of SAFECO Field, I wanted to finish the cigarette I was smoking, so we stood there in the front of the park, while I finished it.

While we were standing there, I still wanted nothing but to love on the guy with the picket signs, and Papa knew it.

When the guy approached, he was now not only carrying signs, but he was ALSO speaking into a microphone attached to a speaker.
He was using the microphone to speak to the people that he was standing right next to.

Then I watched as he crossed one street, and then another, and headed straight toward me.

I saw my opportunity and I took it.

I walked up to the guy and said, “Papa is so pleased with your dedication to Him,” to which he replied with (yet another) “Praise the lord!”

Now, I have no accurate recollection of what I said next, but it was something about Papa also loving all these people, as I pointed all around.

The guy brought up that if they weren’t “IN Christ,” they would perish (all of this was while praying in tongues in between sentences), and I said “Papa is light and in Him there is no darkness.”

He told me that I needed to read my bible again.

It was around that time that my exchange with him started to go downhill. He didn’t want to hear any more about how big Papa’s love is, or that Papa isn’t the angry god this guy thinks He is.

He started rebuking me (which didn’t surprise me one bit), and it didn’t matter, because I had come to him in Love, reached out and touched him in love and spoke what I knew Papa wanted the guy to know.

What I wasn’t aware of was the audience of people witnessing this exchange. The guy’s friend, who had handed us the tract earlier, was standing behind me, smiling.

I said a few things to him, all while his friend was shouting things like “Don’t listen to her!” “She has the mark of the beast!” “She is of antichrist!” and, “She is an apostate!” (all of the usual garbage that religion screams).

There was also a lady in a wheelchair there, seeing this all go down (keep note of her).

…And then it was over.

I didn’t have any regret and I wasn’t puffed up, thinking that I showed that guy…nothing like that.

Papa wanted him to hear that He loved him, and the rest of their story is on Papa.

We went inside to go to the game, but first we stopped at the team shop to buy a few trinkets for our friends.

The shop has an elevator and we rode the elevator back upstairs.

Inside, there was a lady that was sort of operating the elevator…
…It was the lady in the wheelchair from outside.

And she asked us if we got some good stuff (in the store). We told her that we did, and she said, “I bet I have something you don’t have.”

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a stack of baseball cards. She sorted through them, and began reaching in her pocket again, because she hadn’t yet found the one she wanted to show us.

Finally, she had found it! A David Ortiz card!

For those who may not know who he is, he is my most favorite Boston Red Sox player of ALL TIME!

He retired last year, and we got to see him play at Fenway his last year!

I have his autograph from years ago, and he is BIG PAPI!

My husband and I could hardly believe she had this, and that she was giving it to us!

I bent down and hugged her and blessed her.
While we were walking away, my husband asked me, “How did she know?”

It was Papa.
It’s always Papa!

Daddy’s Eyes

She would’ve been between the ages of 21 and 22 years old.

I had a dream about her during my first pregnancy with my son, and I’ve had dreams about her after my second pregnancy with her.

I have dreamt of her dark hair and chubby cheeks.

She has the most gorgeous eyes.

She is a perfect combination of all that is beloved in her parents.

My husband and I.

And we terminated her life.

We made that “choice” as a result of not knowing Love or how to trust Love or ourselves.

On that day, Jesus was at the clinic with me, trying in vain to stop me from following through with my decision, but my will was stronger.

He had given me that will in the first place, and I used it against Him.
Against Life Himself.

I felt I had no options and I felt I had no support to make a different choice.

The weight of the world was on my shoulders and even though I was married, we were not yet a support to one another, except as it turned out, in death.

Last night I watched a program about the holocaust.

It’s a subject that I’ve been almost obsessed with since I was a young girl.

They were showing the trials at Nuremberg.

I heard a lady testifying something that I didn’t recall hearing before.

I think we all know the atrocities that occurred during the holocaust, but this is one of the worst of the worst.

She testified that at the camp where she was, the defendants had run out of gas for the gas chambers, so they started throwing children into the furnaces, alive.

I started grieving the moment I heard this.

I thought, what kind of broken person would be able to have the strength to do something this heinous.

Children burned alive!

This morning, I woke grief stricken and remembering my own heinous act of murder.

I haven’t ever tried to blame anyone but me for the abortion.

I do know though, that had I known that I had another option to choose, with all of heaven backing up that choice, I would have chosen Life.

When I made the decision to take life rather than fight for life, I had entered into the same group of people who put living children into furnaces.

At the time, I didn’t feel I had any other choice.

Perhaps those Nazi soldiers felt they had no other choice.

Something is terribly broken in an individual when they take life rather than give it or protect it.

We were made in the image of Love, in Whom there is no darkness, but too many of us have yet to know the truth of how loved we are by Love.

This is one of the reasons I bless and do not curse.

Papa, thank you for Who you are to me.
I bless all who may feel they’ve run out of options for Life, because of whatever reason…give them hope, faith and trust, for these a part of your personality.

May they know how supported they truly are by You and the hosts of Heaven.
And I bless those who have yet to know how to be supportive to their brother or sister in need of support. In need of good courage to choose Life, for themselves and others.

We weren’t created to turn blind eyes to suffering.
But to look upon the sufferers in Love with the eyes You gave us.
They are the most beautiful eyes that see us and that we have seen.