Saturday, March 16, 2013


Dear God,

I am really having a hard time seeing certain people as your loving children. I know I have to stop fighting and submit to your love and direction. I don't know why I think I can find the answers without your help and listening to your guidance.

I'm tired of fighting...fighting superficial issues that have nothing to do with living the life you want me to live.

Please help me hear your direction and to also be able to put aside my human will and submit to your Divine guidance. I know you never leave my side, I know you never lead me into darkness or confusion, so these times will not last because it is not the life you have designed for me.

Please give me the strength and the heart to forgive, to be forgiven and to move forward in your Grace and Love. Thank you, God for all the good you give me every day that comes in the form of dear friends, family, Lauren and Ashtyn.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

An Awakening

The clock said 6:50 a.m.  I had almost made it to the seventh hour of sleep.  A true milestone.

I have been almost sleepless on and off for several months.  There has been so much turmoil over the past year and I took it all in and made it all mine and owned it.  I owned it so much that my initials were carved as deep in all the problems as if I were 13 years old and carving my initials in a tree to show the world that the boy next door was mine forever.

Responsibility.  I have become an expert in finding it and claiming and holding tight to it.  As far as I know I have been in some way responsible for all the major wars in the world, the holocaust, the famine and drought in Africa, the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the loss of lives in the middle east, everything that was ever broken or spilled in my mother's home, everything my late husband endured as a child by his brother and mother's abuse, everything my friends have encountered that turned their lives upside down, and every hurtful thing anyone has ever done out of their own insecurities to shove their responsibility on to me.

The chains of guilt and responsibility I bear are equivalent to those of Jacob Marley's chains formed from greed and contempt.  Sadly, there is probably little difference between the two.  Mine are not more nobly worn than the other.  Believing that one is "responsible" for the sadness and discord in others lives is extremely arrogant--and quite reckless.

Looking at the clock this morning, and realizing the hour, I remembered days when I could sleep until 9 or 10 in the morning.  Realistically, I prefer waking at 6:30 or 7 a.m.  I just wanted the reason for waking early to be that I was rested.  That seven hours "is good".  Seven hours "is all the rest I need".  The truth is I have been waking at 3 a.m. and fretting through all the things I have or have not done to "fix" things for people or "fix" circumstances to make life work better for others. This morning though, God's message finally got through to me.  A prayer was answered.  A prayer I have offered up most often at 3 a.m., asking for relief, asking for understanding, asking for guidance...asking for "what the heck is wrong with me that I can't make people happy?!"

Here is what I have painstakingly, at the age of 46, with time to spare--I hope-- finally, sagely, "glory hallelujah", "saints be praised" figured out....Taking Responsibility has meant for me, for most of my life, also meant taking on the guilt of the other person in order make it OK for them.  I stepped up and took Responsibility!  I Owned It!  I Made It Mine....even when it wasn't my guilt, my responsibility.

What does this mean?  It means I finally understand that I am NOT responsible for everything....I am NOT responsible for another's choice to remain stuck in their past and be a victim.  I am NOT responsible to take away the pain in the life of someone that I cared for, but was traveling a much different path.

My responsibilities are to love, care for and raise my two children with all the love and understanding I can possibly bestow.  It IS my responsibility to listen to God for his guidance and to live the life He has designed for me.  It IS my responsibility to teach my children how to listen to God and turn to Him for support and love each day.  It IS my responsibility to honor my father and my mother, as God commands us.  It IS my responsibility to live a life that is honorable and sets an example for my children.  It IS my responsibility to listen for God's guidance so that His plan for my life will unfold each day.  It IS my responsibility to place all of this sense of guilt and burden into God's hands and know that He is in control.  God is governing each and every one of us.

I AM taking responsibility for, stamping my name on, owning in the biggest of ways another "G" word...not guilt, but Gratitude.  Just want to focus on being grateful and for understanding that Responsibility is not synonymous with Guilt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I am not good with accepting change.  Especially when it is the result of a relationship ending.  Whether I've lost someone because of moving or we grew apart or there was a death, I have learned that I don't deal with the loss very well.  I don't suppose anyone does.

Over the past few days I have had two important friendships end.  It has been a wave of emotion as I sift through the conversations, the laughter, the sadness, the closeness and try to understand why they needed to end.  I noticed, as I was sending a final message to one friend, that in the email I stated that in my mind we would always be friends.  And I ended the sentence with a series of periods......which usually means more to come (at least that's what I mean).  Then I went back and erased those dots and replaced them with a single period.  Signifying the end.

I know relationships end.  I've gone through enough endings where that point is firmly planted in my mind.  It doesn't mean I like it, but it means I have to accept it.  My dad died, my husband died, my close friend walked away.  Endings are rarely easy.  Goodbyes are so much harder than the first "nice to meet you".  Closure is a word that makes no sense to me.  I have never been able to close the door on anyone.  Especially someone with whom I share a story.  No matter where they've chosen to go or how they've chosen to leave, in my mind and in my heart we remain friends.....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One Day at a Time....

I used to hate the term "One Day at a Time."  To me it represented the inability to be excited about a future.  Why focus on the present day, when the whole exciting world was at your feet just waiting to be explored!

I get it now--I get what it means to live "One day at a time..."  It is truly all we have.  Ain't nothin' I can do about all the grief of the past and ain't nothin' I can do to make sure tomorrow, or next week or next year goes according to a specific plan.  But, boy do I get that in this moment I can choose to either get beat up by life or embrace it as a challenge and prepare myself to move forward.  Who knows...maybe tomorrow will be just as rotten as today--I really don't think so, but who knows?  Maybe tomorrow will be THE day that so many prayers are obviously and gloriously answered with a choir of angels to go with it!  I really don't think so--but who knows?  Today I am here.  Today I am with my kids.  Today I can be grateful and today I can take another step towards healing.  Today I can say "no more" to people who want to make me see things their way.  Today I can say "no more" to sadness about things said or done in the past.  Today I can say "no more" to being a victim of sadness.  I am not a victim.  I am not anything but God's splendid child who is perfect, upright, whole and free.

I started a fire in the firepit today--it's 98 degrees outside.  I'm burning parts of my past.  Perhaps it's a kind of cleansing...maybe I'm just too cheap to buy a good shredder.  The point is I'm here in "Today".  The past is gone, like fire to paper--it is gone with the blaze of heat and flame.  I am choosing today to face forward and move into the grace and goodness that is my children, my peaceful home, my daily gratitude for the good in my life.  One day at a time...sometimes just one minute at a time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Honor of My Dad, Jim E. Frank Memorial Scholarship

My Dad, Jim Frank, was born into a very humble home in Yamhill, Oregon, on the cusp of the great depression. The home had more children and more love than they ever had money, or even shoes for that matter.

His parents were not able to afford a formal education for any of their nine children, but Dad always valued education and longed to go to college. He had a work ethic that was unparalleled and a heart that was big enough to care genuinely for every person that came into his life. He taught his children that we could do anything we put our minds to, and he set that example for us, by working hard and loving us and our mother even harder.

My Dad was our biggest cheerleader and along with my mother, encouraged his children to complete their college education, because he knew the struggles ahead for us, without that degree. We used to tell him, “Dad—you go back to college and get your degree too!” But he was always too busy taking care of his family and earning a living that gave us many comforts we probably took fore granted.

My Dad passed away suddenly, in August of 1990. He never knew that his words and wishes that I complete my college education we so strongly imbedded in my life, that at the age of 30, I enrolled at MSU and obtained my degree in finance in 1998. The pride I felt when I was handed that diploma has only been matched by the love and pride I have watching my own children as they work to accomplish their dreams. When I earned that degree I walked a little taller and felt like I had been given the key to open any door I wanted.

I established this scholarship to honor my father, Jim E. Frank. He would be the first one to stand here and tell all of you how proud he is that you took the right path, worked hard and came out the other side better and stronger and with a future that you control because you did the work and now you have the power!

Thank you so much for helping my family and me honor my father.

Monday, January 10, 2011


"Grief" was the topic for the sermon in church this past Sunday. The idea was to stop talking about grief and instead allow yourself to feel it--the deep gut wrenching, can't breathe feeling of being pushed down under water kind of grief. The grief one feels from a loss--divorce, death, relocation of loved ones. I have felt this kind of weight many times from the loss of my dad and my husband, and from moving away from homes where I had felt safe and loved.

Sunday, the word "grief" held a different meaning for me and what it means in my life now--at this moment. I'm holding tight to this feeling because, as I have learned time and time again, you never know what tomorrow or the next hour or the next minute holds. I don't mean to sound pessimistic either. Rather I suppose I want to convey to people--especially those grieving a loss--that it does get better and it does get a bit easier and it does get happy again. These are concepts I desperately hoped for when I was feeling loss the hardest.

I think when we are hurting so deeply, there are times we rush to get through the pain. We try so hard to "get over it". In the end we find ourselves in situations where we haven't fully recovered and we haven't fully learned what our loss is meant to teach us. We read or reject self-help books from well-meaning friends and family. We shut out God in some instances--in my case I told my pastor that there was no God, and that the Bible was just a really nice story that someone wrote. Pain and grief turn us in many directions. For me, I see now how God never left me for an instant. I left him, but He was there every step of the way--never failing me. Sometimes we even find ourselves turning to the wrong people--thinking that this person is the one to fill the void--for whatever reason.

A counselor once told me to be careful of distractions during the grief period, because they keep you from working through the loss. I had so many distractions after my husband died--some I had to deal with, like resolving and closing our business; as it turns out another type of loss and another form of grief. A lot of the distractions I brought on myself, like allowing people into my life that were hurtful to me and my children. We feel this need to be whole again and that is just something that is going to take time.

In August of this past year, I took my daughters to the beach. A place I had gone before to heal and a place I turned to again for peace. Standing there listening to the waves and hearing their healing rhythms and feeling the strength of one of God's most powerful creations, I felt whole again. I knew I had healed. I knew that my children would always love their father, but that they were healed. I felt God's embrace in the same way I would have felt my Dad hold onto me and tell me it would all be okay.

In church Sunday, as I listened to the sermon on "grief", I looked around and noticed another young family who had lost their husband and father a couple of years before we lost my husband. The young mother sat with her two young children, but next to them was the man who came into their lives to make the healing complete. They had come full circle in their grief. I also looked down the row at my family--my two daughters. Three years ago we sat in church enveloped in our grief as my late husband battled cancer. I never expected to be sitting there three years later feeling that we were healed--feeling God's complete love for us. I am so grateful

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Peace Signs

So, I have this obsession with Peace Signs. Pajama's, jewelry, home decorations, dishes, door mats, friends think I'm a little over the top. but here's the thing, the Peace Signs make me feel happy. Like flowers or rainbows or a great sale. Especially if the sale item has a peace sign on it.

My life is good and I'm grateful for every bit of it. My kids, my family, my friends, my home and everything in between. But for as long as I can remember I've had a hole in my heart. I have this deep emptiness sometimes that has been so hard to fill.

When my children were born, a big part of the hole was filled. I knew when I had my first child, almost with absolute certainty, why God had put me on earth--and it was to be a mom to my kids. If I could tattoo Peace Signs on them I would achieve Nirvana....okay, that might be pushing it a bit.

This emptiness continues, however. I sometimes attribute it to losing some very important people in my life--not all of them to death, but to absence, distance.

I miss the feeling I had as a little girl when all my family had gathered at my Grandparent's house in Michigan. I only experienced this a few times, as my Grandparents died before I was seven years old. After their deaths, my family broke apart. Some left to go to college, some left to get married, some were no longer allowed in our lives because of family disputes. I was seven years old and the youngest of four. All of my siblings were much older and were ready to lead adult lives. My parents were ready too, to have some of the freedoms afforded to those who have raised their children and want to relax a bit.

The safety and security I felt for the first six years of my life just kind of dissipated over the next few years. By the time I was eleven there was a palpable loneliness in my life and the hole was well on its way to securing its place in my heart.

But, as you all know, you can't carry that kind of heaviness forever. The sadness it brings will take over your lives. So you move forward, breathe deep, find the things that fill you with good and you invite them into your life--sandy beaches, the sound of waves, cicadas on a warm summer night, the smell of the woods in summer, the feel of your children's arms around you...peace signs. Take the good in and hold it tight and let it fill you. Holes have a way of getting filled--it may not be with what was originally there. Sometimes what fills the hole is even better.