All is Grace


“This book is by the one who thought he’d be farther along by now, but he’s not . . . the dim-eyed who showed the path to others but kept losing his way . . . the disciple whose cheese slid off his cracker so many times he said ‘to hell with cheese ‘n’ crackers’ . . .”

But, this book is for the gentle ones . . . who’ve been mourning most of their lives, yet they hang on to shall be comforted . . . the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses again, and again, and again, and again . . . because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself . . . [and] dare to whisper the ragamuffin’s rumor—all is grace. (All is Grace, 27)

Have you ever had a book that you’ve been wanting and waiting to read for a long time? I’m finally getting around to reading a book like that. It’s called All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, my blog derives its name from a Brennan Manning book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, for which he is most famous. But I can vouch for all his other books, which are equally grace-drenched and read-worthy.

All is grace. I love that idea. Everything that’s ever happened to me– the good, the bad, the ugly– is all grace because it has either reaffirmed what I knew about the goodness of God or driven me into a deeper dependence on that same God who works all things together for good. Because of that grace, nothing is ever lost or wasted or useless or in vain. Absolutely nothing.

I believe now that the life of faith works in reverse from the ordinary life. As babies, we’re born totally dependent on others and grow more and more into an independence of being able to stand on our own two feet. In the spiritual life, we start out as independent strangers from God and grow into a complete and total dependence on God.

As of this writing, I’m on page 100. I’ll probably be posting more about this book as I get farther into it, so remember you have been warned.


300 Words


My goal every time I sit down to write one of these posts is 300 words.

I don’t always have a defined topic when I start typing. Sometimes, I’ll be halfway through a blog before an idea will hit me. Sometimes, I end up with a very stream-of-consciousness, vague-and-shadowy type of blog.

I’ve decided that not every blog I write has to reinvent the genre. Not every single post will be a literary classic. Some will stink like my cat’s week-old kitty litter. But for me, the joy is sitting down in front of my trusty laptop (or iPad) and clicking away on the keys to produce something that wasn’t there before.

Honestly, there are times when I get discouraged by the fact that less people are reading these than were a year ago. I’m just keeping it real. But then I have to remind myself that this is for me and if I only have an audience of one, I’m okay with that.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m repeating myself and essentially saying a lot of the same things over and over. Maybe some of you are like me and it takes you way more than once before a truth sinks in. For me, it’s more like five or six times.

For me, it’s about the discipline of writing something down every single day. Plus, it’s always fun to look back at some older posts and remember what was going on in my life and what I was thinking and feeling at the time. It’s a good indicator of how far God has brought me along the road of healing and wholeness.

So there’s a little more insight into what goes on in my little ol’ noggin. In case you were wondering. And that, my friends, brings us to 300 words.





My 1,700th Blog (Ta-da!)

I hit another milestone today with blog #1,700. It all started on July 25, 2010, almost five years ago, and has been a fun ride ever since then. I’m still surprised that people actually read these things. And I still don’t like the word “blog.” Here’s my very first blog if you want to see where it all started way back when.

I also figured out today that it’s been 1,059 days since my last carbonated beverage. I googled that bit of information, in case you’re wondering. And no, it’s not out of any kind of religious or moral beliefs. It’s mostly a health-conscious decision. No, I don’t miss them (even though I still dream about them from time to time).

I can look back and see a trajectory of grace in my life. I have done and said more than my share of really stupid stuff. I’ve gone through whole days and weeks of being in a not-so-healthy place, head-wise. Yet God still loves me as if I’d been perfect the whole time. That still amazes me.

I’m trying to be more health-conscious in my diet as well, cutting out breads and sugar (for the most part) and drinking more water. I’m down nine pounds so far and I feel better.

I’ve decided that not every one of these blogs will be Pulitzer-prize material. That’s okay. My aim isn’t perfect prose and I’m not trying to reach a million people. I just want to put me out there for someone to read and be able to relate to. Maybe even someone will find hope and healing in these (web)pages.

So for the 1,000th time, I say thanks to all of you both past and present who have read my posts. Although if you’ve quit reading them, you’re most likely not going to see this. Still I thank you anyway.

I hope to still be writing and blogging and posting my unique brand of zaniness five years from now.

God bless,

Still a ragamuffin trying to tell other ragamuffins where to find the Bread of Life


Blog #1,689

“Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee:
All thing pass;
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.”
“Poem IX,” from the Complete Works St. Teresa of Avila (1963) Vol. 3, edited by E. Allison Peers

I couldn’t think of a better title for this blog, so I went with “Blog #1,689.” Not the most creative title ever, but hopefully the content will make up for it.

I’m thinking some of you out there are hanging onto faith by a thread. You’re like the father of the possessed boy who cried out to Jesus, “I believe. Help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).” You have a faith that barely qualifies as mustard seed-sized. But that is enough.

It’s not about how big and grand your faith is but about how big and grand God is. It’s not the size of your faith but the size of the object of your faith that counts, and God is plenty big. As in bigger than your problems, bigger than your doubts, bigger than your sometime unbelief, bigger than you. God has been, is, and will continue to be enough.

So I’m praying for you that you will see what God can do with just the tiniest bit of faith and consent. I’m praying you will be dazzled and amazed at how God comes through for you, almost never in the way or place or time you expected but always with perfect timing in the perfect place in the perfect way.

“Almighty, eternal and merciful God, whose Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, open and illuminate our minds, that we may purely and perfectly understand your Word and that our lives may be conformed to what we have rightly understood, that in nothing we may be displeasing unto your majesty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen” – (the daily morning prayer of Ulrich Zwingli, from Gregg Alison’s “Introduction to Historical Theology).


Two Thoughts on a Tuesday

I’m at my laptop, typing away. For the record, I’m still using my old Sony Vaio, so this blog is only 85% as cool as it could have been were I typing on a Mac Book Pro. But seeing as that is neither here nor there, I digress.

Sitting in Kairos tonight, I had a couple of thoughts unrelated to the sermon Mike Glenn was preaching. I do that often. But that’s also another blog for another day.

I had two distinct thoughts:

1) It really is never too late to start over and become who God created and designed you to be. Even if you’re a Grandma Moses at age 70, you can still start over. And there’s no shame in admitting that what you’ve been doing all this time isn’t what God has called you to. It may have been at some point, but now God is calling you to start again.

2) You don’t have to wait until you get where God is calling you to use your job as a mission field. You can start right now with where you are, even if that’s bagging groceries at Publix or sweeping floors in an office. After all, the Bible DOES tell us to do EVERYTHING to the glory of God, even mopping floors and cleaning public toilets.

The more you see your life not as something you’re entitled to but as an adventure you choose each day to participate in, a journey that God leads you through, the more you see that life truly is a gift and a blessing.

Yes, I’m thankful even for this old, slow laptop, even as it hinders my cool factor. I remember older desktops that were much slower (and even had dial-up internet connections!) So it’s all about perspective and being grateful for what you DO have (my Sony Vaio) as opposed to wishing and pining after what you don’t (a Mac Book Pro).


The Odd Blog


I had an idea or two about what I was going to write about this evening, but at the moment, neither of them seem as compelling. Plus, I’m very tired.

I’m thankful for people. I know it’s an odd thing to say. Besides, people can be disappointing and rude and unkind at times. Even the best of people have their off days every now and then, not to mention periods of grumpiness and bad moods.

But life without people isn’t nearly as fulfilling as life with people. As much as I love my cat, she’s not the most stimulating conversationalist I’ve ever met. She tends to be a little short on words.

The right people in your life can inspire and encourage you to do more than you thought you could. They can keep you going when you by yourself would have given up.

That’s what I want. I want someone to say, “Because of you, I kept going. I didn’t give up.”

I’ve had those people come into my life at just the right moments. Some were only meant for a short season and some are still around. I thank God for all of them.

My assignment for you is this: find someone who needs encouragement and be that encouragement. Find someone who won’t believe that God loves them until they see it from you. Find people who doesn’t see much in themselves and help them to see that they too bear the Imago Dei, the image of God, and are intrinsically valuable.

In short, love people the way you want to be loved. Treat people like you want to be treated. And remember that God loved you at that moment when you were at your very worst, so you can love anybody.

When You Forget


As often as I’ve been doing this whole blogging thing– very nearly four years– you’d think I’d remember. But I went all day yesterday and forgot to write anything. Again.

How could I be so forgetful? The same way you and I are forgetful every day. The same way those pesky Israelites kept forgetting those miraculous interventions from God and kept complaining.

Stress and worry have a way of causing amnesia. It’s hard to remember what God did for me last week or last year when I have an unpaid bill due today.

There’s a verse in 2 Timothy that talks about how God remains faithful when we’re faithless because He can’t deny Himself. That’s what worry is. Unbelief.

God is faithful. Period. Whether or not I have a good memory about all the other times God provided, He still provides. That is very comforting.

It’s a good thing tomorrow’s Friday. Today is Thursday, right?

My Nothing Blog (Again)


When you write a daily blog, chances are very good that some days you’ll have the ol’ blogger’s block. I’ve written almost 1,300 of these, so I’m allowed to have the occasional off-night.

I’m thinking that in my experience, nothing ever quite works out exactly like you want, but more often than not, what you get is better than what you originally expected. Try working that one out in your head.

Sometimes, you say goodbye to people you thought would always be around. Some people pop into your life unexpectedly and stay for a while. Very few will be in your life for the long haul.

I’m thankful for all the people in my life, whether they were there for one hour, one day, one week, one month, or one year. Some have gone and some are still around. Some were blessings and some were lessons.

If you’re reading this, I’m thankful for you. I don’t take you for granted.

Hopefully, I’ll have something better to write about tomorrow.

Yes, It’s Hump Daaaaay (and Yes, I’m Sick of That Geico Commercial. Enough Already)


it’s Wednesday (in case you were one of the two people living under a rock who didn’t know what hump day was). Currently, I am in one of my many therapy sessions with Doctor Lucy, per usual, sleeping on the job. At least her rates are very affordable and she accepts my insurance.


I am at peace with the world. Or at least my world. I am very content with where I am and what I have, knowing that I am smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for me and that I am in Christ and He is in me. Every promise of God belongs to me and there is nothing that I lack. Every single thing I need for life to the full and holiness is mine.

So why is that not enough for me most of the time? Why do I always want more than what God offers in the moment? Why can’t I let go of the trinkets in my hands to receive eternal treasures?


I don’t have any good answers.

i do know that I am still living my miracle, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and spurred on daily by family and friends who speak blessings and life and healing and peace into my being.

Joy is still found not by looking ahead or looking back but from seeing the now and being present in this moment. It is so elusive to those with no time or patience for it but is found by those who need it most. When they need it the most.


Life is still good, God is still great, and I am still so very blessed.


Things I Love 42: Two Turn-Tables and a Microphone

island hammock

“If it were up to me…” and then the words pound, desperate and hard, “I’d write this story differently.”…

“Just that maybe… maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”

The words I choked out that dying, ending day, echo. Pierce. There’s a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.

I don’t” (Ann Voskamp, ).

“Can God be counted on? Count blessings and find out how many of His bridges have already held” (Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).

I know you’ve got a certain Beck song stuck in your head. My work here is done.

Not really. There’s still that matter of the list of things I love, which will continue at #1.241. Now wasn’t that absolutely the best segway ever?

1,301) Two healthy and working knees.

1.302) A nightly bowl of Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

1,303) How I can rejoice even in the midst of suffering, knowing God will produce the best out of the worst circumstances.

1.304) My I Am Second bracelet that I forget that I’m wearing until someone else reminds me by telling me how much they like it,

1,305) Amish-made Sweet Potato Butter.

1,306) The slow blinks of a sleepy cat.

1,307) Pulpy orange juice.

1,308) When my technology works like it’s supposed to.

1,309) Having gone 15 months without any carbonated beverages.

1,310) Being able to watch Friends on TBS, Nick @ Nite, and TVLand.

1,311) Kairos Night of Worship tomorrow at 7 pm.

1.312) Writing my 1,087th blog.

1,313) My hole-y green Kairos Impact t-shirt.

1,314) Finally jumping off of a diving board into the deep end of a pool (and blogging about it later).

1,315) The Tom Cat 2 app on my iPhone.

1,316) The little Jack Russell chihuahua mix named Hallelujah that I met at Centennial Park last Saturday.

1,317) My vintage California raisins beach towel.

1,318) Reading a blog I wrote two years ago and finding that God used it to speak to my own life.

1,319) How my friend Katie is one of the best encouragers and team players in sand volleyball history.

1,320) Visiting normal reality for 5 minutes then going back to my own happy little world.

1,321) WordPress, the best site for blogging.

1,322) Talking with my sister using FaceTime.

1,323) The moment when I realize how much more patient I am than I was last year thanks to the grace of God.

1,324) My 22-year old friend Tricia who is one of the most joyful Christians I know.

1,325) Swimming for the first time in over a year last Saturday.

1,326) The term “food porn.”

1,327) Finding lost pens and loose change in the couch cushions.

1,328) Knowing that without the book of Ruth, the Bible would be rather Ruth-less.

1,329) The visual of you grimacing at that last joke.

1,330) Not hearing The Macarena at any point today.

Coming soon to a theater near you, the next James Bond movie. Coming eventually to an electronic device near you, Things I Love 43.