Category Archives: soul food

Wax and Wane

Wax and Wane

Filling the tree beyond the kitchen window
The waxwings came to call this evening.

Resting and roosting,
Preening…feasting and

In no particular hurry to move on.

Having no need to plant nor sow
Only to keep their annual appointment
With the obnoxiously ugly berry tree
Leaning next to the still uglier shed out back.

Bulk of Waxwings

Ticking off their layover with the instinctual reverence
One might recognize in visiting each year the same roadside diner
On the way to their vacation villa by the sea.

It’s part of the journey.

A startling reminder to myself, who just yesterday
Was sorely tempted by fits of Spring tidiness and the need to dominate the land
(Or at least that corner of the yard), quite nearly razed that tree
Seeing only an eyesore where a waxwing sees food.

Waxwings Share a Meal

We would have missed each other
By only a day
If I’d had my way.

Had God not distracted my gaze to instead
Consider taming a rough bed of His lilies
In some other far corner of the yard.

Feasting Waxwings

Leaving me to forget until today,
when a tree beyond the kitchen window
Branches bent by the weight of waxwings

Resting and roosting,
Preening…feasting and trusting,
Reminded me once again

Waxwings Spread

In all seasons and at all times, 

Our Father always knows best.

Matthew 6-25-25

Resting in Him,Lorretta signature

(thank you to my dear husband and photographer, David Stembridge for these lovely Cedar Waxwing pictures)

fifty shades of brave

fifty shades of brave

Are you brave?

Once upon a not-so-long-ago… if you had asked me this question I’m fairly sure I would have answered,

“Ummm….   no.”

I think, it’s because somehow in my mind I’d much rather choose other ways  and words to describe who God has designed me to be, what I do and what makes me tick.

I might agree to saying  I’m “strong” or maybe “creative”. I might allow that I’m wizened or experienced.

But “brave”? Nah…. that title is reserved for someone…well, brave.

People like Queen Esther, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller or Jim and  Elizabeth Elliot- you know, people who’ve earned it. 

Right? Am I the only one?

Because I guess I’ve just sorta reserved that title for “special use” or occasions when someone does something rather extraordinary or noteworthy… something requiring a tremendous amount of courage or emotional strength that goes beyond their natural inclination or current abilities.

In my mind, brave is what happens when someone steps beyond the borders of their accepted and known territory and  into the slightly off-kilter, out-of-the box, unknown places– inside themselves– or out in the big wide-open world… even if it’s  mixed with a little bit of fear. They take a step.

Sometimes because they want to.
Sometimes because they HAVE to.
They just do it.
They just choose it.
They just be it.


Yeah. That’s …. brave.
So, I guess….  that’s me.

And I’m pretty sure it’s you too.


See,  what I’m learning about being brave has a lot to do with recognizing, celebrating and living in the awareness of the level of brave that exists in all of us.

Right now.

It’s about learning to value and embrace our own personal level of blossoming brave while encouraging the brave that may  just be budding in another.

Because, let’s face it what’s brave for me might be a walk in the park for someone else.
And my happy level of brave may cause you to break out in hives and cold sweats.

That’s ok.

And depending on the season of your life or the situation you are facing today, chances are your level of brave has shifted into places and territories you’ve probably never dreamed possible.

I know for myself…there have been some moments in my life when my level of brave was mildly discernible at best… a  little on the lighter pastel side. Those were moments  when it was all I could do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other,  pick up my cross and carry it one. more. day.

On other days, my brave has burned white-hot with tinges of a crazy-blazy passion to right a wrong, speak a word, lift a hurt or ease a burden. I was on-fire, burnin’ bright with my brave.

braver than we thinkAnd the days when my brave was simply the calming hues of being near,  steady and still,  while another worked to summon up whatever it would take to make their own brave happen.

There may be days when you stumble across a brave that stops you in your tracks and you think…wow. I wish I could be as brave as THAT.

Or you may believe you’re not really brave at all.    Hold the phone.

Because the worst enemy to your own shade of brave is the belief that yours is less than that of another.

The worst enemy of your shade of brave is not recognizing how it’s changing and developing …and how it’s changing you. Day by day. Moment by moment.

Maybe your brave is simply the ability to speak up for the one who can’t speak for themselves…. even if it’s finally for the one in the mirror.

Maybe it’s to be silent when faced with that bit of gossip or judgement, which may leave you standing outside the circle you thought would bring you so much comfort and community.

Perhaps it’s to go to a foreign land or even the unchartered territories of the shelter or red-light district downtown.

Maybe it’s closer to home and shaped like an open door to the hurting neighbor child, the lonely widow or newlywed next door. Maybe it’s the ride to the grocery store,  or the phone call to the police or  agency that can help.

Brave could mean answering the call of “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” one more time this day no matter how exhausted and ill-equipped you feel for the job.

Brave might mean…

  • Asking for help.
  • Being accountable.
  • Telling the truth.

Your brave could simply look like the steadfast heartbeat of God,standing firm  against the changing tides and seemingly prevailing winds of our culture….anchored and sure in the bedrock of His Word and the rainbowed color of His promises.

The color of brave is  like that you know… and  it’s almost never about you. In fact, it’s almost never only for you. Yet, with each moment and decision it’s there…shading your life til,  before you know it… you’re changed like never before and  you just know it;

you’re brave.

So… what about you…are you brave?

I bet you really are.

Lorretta signature

bringing sexy back

This has been simmering on the surface of my heart and nibbling at the edges of my mind for quite some time. I’ve tried to squish it back down, press it out of the way but it just won’t.  get.  gone.         So fine.   Let’s go.   It’s official:

  I’m bringing sexy back.

bringing sexy back

  That’s right, you heard me— I am bringing it all backI’m boldly pushing the outer edge of middle age and I believe it’s time to say it loud and proud– I’m bringing sexy back… back to wherever it came from.

 Because people; it  just doesn’t fit.  It never has, it never will.

 At least…not how it’s defined, yelling and screaming at me from every gaping media orifice out there.  

I know you know what I mean. There’s almost no place a person can go in our country without some sort of advertisement seeding our minds with it’s volatile cocktail of image-driven sexually-charged materialism. It’s everywhere.

Chances are unless you live in a hole, you’re going to get a taste of it before the day is over. Sadly, it’s becoming such the norm that we have at least two generations in our midst who’ve never known anything else and they’re almost numb to it.

They have no idea what’s being sold to them
or stolen from them.


  friend had this awful moment in the mall with her young son and it spoke volumes to my own mother heart not, as she said,  because we are prudes, but because I know…we all know, even at the age of four, the battle has just begun for his eyes, his heart…his body.

It’s fierce and relentless. 

 It’s no less relentless for little girls who are not any more immune to the bait-and-switch lies and temptations of the enemy but then also struggle with life-long self-image issues trying to measure up to something being projected at them which, oftentimes,  isn’t even real.  

I’m not simply referring to those checkout stand mags with their slick, glossy promises of showing you how to  “XYZ” PDQ while their covers show off a bunch of air brushed and carefully rearranged TMI.  

For instance, I took this photo of a cover not too long ago:



As if that is THE ultimate goal: get “high school skinny”. Oh wait, so you mean I have to stay anxious, starve myself,  binge a bit, feel guilty, throw up and start all over again? No thank you.              Not going *there* again. Ain’t NOBODY got time for that!

There’s this dangerous idea being sold from every venue that, no matter our age, right now as we are, we are “less than” and what we see out there is the almighty “greater than”, so we must strive to get as close to the “equal to” as possible.  Then, with all our might….however old we get… stay there.

Then what?
Go into hiding?
Die and have one great final viewing?

While we’re on the subject, can I just say that attempting to live this version of sexy is  a ridiculous amount of work and expense. Smoke and mirrors, nip and tuck, creams , injections, constant upkeep and a whole bunch of empty promises.


OK truth: this is not a new issue for me.  I’ve struggled with image issues all my life. I could dig deep and unearth the bones of the problem but that might only offer an explanation, not an excuse.         

I choose to be a valiant warrior today.  For you. For me. For our daughters, grand daughters, sisters and friends.

Truth: as anyone can attest, it’s quite something to look in the mirror at someone who looks twice as old as you feel.  

It didn’t help that not long ago a sweet hearted, fresh faced young woman wrote about how “avatars” (computer pictures) hide wrinkles and how those she met at our recent conference looked so much older in real life. She wasn’t being mean. Not at all. But ouch anyway.  

Ouch and oh well because this is just the way it rolls and that can not be my life’s main motivating factor. They say getting old isn’t for wimps and I’m no wimp. But honestly?

I’m just hurting for what I see going on around me.

For instance, I mentor a young teen and for all practical purposes, she’s not going to win any of the worlds beauty contests. I think she’s beautiful, but her character is still developing and her outward appearance is growing and changing as she does. But she’s as caught up as ever in how to look a certain way to get and keep a “guy friend” so that it’s gradually become all she can think or talk about. It’s changing the way she sees herself and it hurts to watch.  

Then there’s this someone I used to know from my former life. We weren’t intimately close but up until I moved on we’d see each other a couple of times a week and had worked together on a few projects. Sweet and funny, she had this natural air of beauty and while we are all growing older, I’d have said she was aging pretty well.

We bumped into one another at a meeting a while back and I almost had no idea who she was. I didn’t want to believe it was actually her. She’d had some “work done” since the last time I saw her and well, she didn’t look anything like herself.  I came across some pictures we’d had taken together once upon a time and all I keep thinking is

“What happened? Why?!

I don’t want to get hyper-holy but I see myself reflected in the extremes of these two positions — I was the one and I could be the other if I’m not careful. It’s about perspective. The question is: Who and what do I want my life … my image to reflect? I hope it’s this:


“Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord,
who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3: 17-18


Sure, I’ll keep going to the gym and attempt to steward my body well and I might continue to color the grays for a while longer but I want to remember now more than ever before how important it is to cling to something way more solid than myself  in order to encourage others to do the same. 


So…yeah. I’m taking sexy back.

Taking it back and trading it in for some more durable goods: the mind of Christ, unfading beauty,  true freedom and the peace that comes from knowing I’m His. 

In Christ Alone, I STAND,Lorretta signature