Tag Archives: marriage

Dear Children… About Your Inheritance…

“I need something.”

The cryptic words from College Son flashed across the screen. After 3 weeks of minimal contact, this could mean almost anything. Historically speaking our relationship dictated this typically meant some research advice or proofeadery.

“What?” I replied while  bracing my jetlaggy brain for a challenge.

“Your recipe for spice cake.”

I stalled.

Ummm….  Seriously?

Inheritance Title

See, this is no ordinary recipe for no ordinary spice cake. I’ve been making and perfecting this dreamcake for over 20 years. This is my closely-guarded recipe for THE spice cake  I’ve kept tucked under my (ahem) “belt “ all this time.  It’s the kind of recipe a Ninja-Chef really must have in their personal arsenal for special occasions and surprise guests, new baby welcomes and potlucks. Savory, spicy-sweet and best of all: sinfully simple. I don’t part with it easily.

My daughter asked for it a year ago. Unbeknownst to me, she entered a contest and won a 250-dollar gift card to Ikea. She bought a chair. A chair. (Isn’t that like selling your birthright for stew? Never mind.)

Something they’d grown up with, now it was College Son’s turn to ask.

“Never.” I teased. Emoji-smiling, he explained that his girlfriend (the one I am trusting God to make my DIL someday!) wanted to make it for him.

At least she can cook.
From scratch.
My mock-resolve melted.
I sent it.

“There.  Now you have your inheritance.” I said Emoji-winking back. Digitally, we exchanged smiles, hugs and kisses and he was happily on his way with a piece of his family history. Truly, as silly as it sounds, he now possesses a solid piece of his shared inheritance.

Doesn’t seem like much, does it?

It’s no surprise though that if you took any of our children aside and asked them about their inheritance, three out of three times, their first response would be a mixture of low-toned laughter and chagrin. They know, by the worldly definitions, we’re “broke” and planning to be “broke-r” before it’s all over with. At least this is the current nature of our estate in terms of dollars and not a whole lotta sense!

Love And Marriage

Still I have a strong feeling in the pit of everything within me that their next response will be a knowing and satisfied smile. Because in reality, they know we have given them everything we have to give and oftentimes it’s been far more than anything our parents were able to give to us.  They also know it’s never been about money in the bank.

Make no mistake: it’s been a touchy subject through the years as they’ve reached the ages and stages where their friends were given cars, educations and luxury items we never were able to afford—at least not the way most people have done it. There have been many tears and tantrums on both sides of the equation. But we’re here. We’ve made it and we’re better than intact: we’re whole.

And while we pray there’s still plenty of time to amass more “wealth” to add to their inheritance, there are many things besides a knockout recipe for spice cake we’re striving to leave as our legacy– solid and eternal things we hope they’ll always treasure and, if Jesus tarries, preserve and pass along to many future generations.

The Family Bible

I hope they’ll find treasured comfort in knowing that we not only loved them and each other to the highest best of our ability but that it was a love deeply rooted in our shared love for God.

I hope they’ll find great inspiration in how we found this God-love so wild and wonderful that it was worth risking our place in a world-driven status quo to spend an adventure-filled lifetime stumbling along the lesser travelled path towards His greatest good.

I hope they will hold close and share often the stories of these adventures–many spent with them– and discover this same courage in themselves to step out in new directions to spend and experience their one beautiful life serving our one amazing God.

Humbly I hope they’ll cling as tightly to Jesus as we have because they’ve witnessed time and again how His grace, mercy and forgiveness have seen their two imperfect parents through many…  many….   many times of failure.     And every success.

I hope they’ll talk about how their Mom “trusted God and sought to pray the hell out of any situation!”, how their Dad was never so afraid of failure that he wasn’t willing to try—fail and try again and how both of them together fought arm in arm against the enemy who came to seek, kill and destroy their marriage and family.

And how through that same powerful grace from God, together… they won.

The Great Commitment

So that here now and in the future when they’re possibly surrounded by little ones of their own and telling the “once upon a time” portion of our newly-written family history— when they talk about the things they share together, most of the story will be told from the perspective of vast wealth and riches— of lives that were shaped and held together by God— all the while knowing and communicating that their inheritance from us was never merely “enough”:    it was always everything.

That’s our prayer.

And that amazing spice cake?
Well,  that was simply a bonus.

Lorretta signature

forever and a day

It could have been yesterday.

Hot …. humid… a day scorched around it’s edges by a punishing almost-summer sun.  It was a long hot day and I was so lonely.    I remember that well.

The weight of my twenty years hung heavy around my shoulders. Only two months of space separated me from the dirt and dysfunction of a disastrous and abusive 3-year relationship.

Even then I recognized how close I came to becoming a statistic.

Finally on my own with a place to call home—or at least where I could turn the key in a lock without fear,  I was just beginning to detox from all those years of lying… and laying with a proverbial devil. By this time, I was experiencing something close to the emotional “DT’s”— anxiety, uncertainty and doubt plagued my waking hours and strangely quiet moments.

Chaos… is bad and yet strangely comforting in it’s predictability. To those unfamiliar with it,  sometimes silence feels deadly.    It did that night.


Although we spoke to one another regularly, I felt so far from God. It was as if I was making a collect call to Him every time… hoping He’d accept and always surprised when He did.    He was still very near to me though. How near would take me many, many more years to discover and still more years to embrace.

I had a long way to go to before I’d discover who God really is and at this point in my life I’d long forgotten who I was. Maybe I’d never known at all. It was time to find out.

By the time I’d gathered up enough courage to pack up my 70 Dodge Dart and drive away from hell,  I knew only that life *could* be better and I was allowed to start over.


But that night, I was tired. The deep kind of tired that comes from fighting to get to the other side. The kind of tired that almost makes you forget what you were fighting for.. give up and halfway wonder if it might have been better to stay in “Egypt”…..

And lonely.

forever and a day

All those years of forced-chosen-forced isolation not only left me with little self-respect but, no real friends. One or two hung about the fringes of my life and maybe one would actually answer the phone on a night like this.     Maybe.

One ring.
Two….. three…
On the fourth an unfamiliar voice chirps:

“Widespread Panic Hotline!
We are open for your requests now!!”

HUH?!?!  Checking the number…yes… it was correct and I hear my friend laughing in the background as this crazy…. happy person proceeds to draw me into conversation.

I can’t remember he said.   I just remember how he said it.

He was…. funny.
Stupid funny.
A complete stranger and yet…  not.

My friend got on the line and I heard the words “party”, “come”, “tonight” and before I knew it, I was hanging up to get ready to drive somewhere I’d never been before. Taking another wild chance, on my own.

Funny how your mind works because I was intrigued and excited and scared out of my wits all at the same time. The freedom I felt was intoxicating and yet foreign and  I had to keep telling myself that this was “normal”… people socialize all the time.. yes, it was good to go.

Stepping out the door into the hazy gray softness of twilight, the heat of the day still radiating from the pavement,  I clearly remember  glancing at the sky and catching sight of the moon—round and full of promise.

Suddenly, I felt like that moon:
fat and hopeful,
bright and courageous.

The Honey Moon

And God as my witness, I looked straight into the face of that laughing moon and I knew it.
I felt it…. and  I said it out loud:

“Tonight I will meet the man I’m going to marry.”
I meant it.
And I did.
June 16, 1989.
Twenty five years ago today.

Five months later we’d stand together before a JP and a handful of family and friends and swear we’d do whatever it was we were supposed to do from that point on…. forever.

Like we knew what forever meant!  Lawd….. at that moment, forever was the furthest thing from our minds and yet, when it was all over, there we were— married and our forever had begun.

You know, some people think forever is a long time…. as if it’s a long way off or someplace you get to eventually  or achieve.   I disagree.

Forever is actually…. always…  right now.  It’s always today and each day the choice is made to keep on going within it.

Today, June 16, 2014  is  a piece of my forever….what we like to call our “Little Anniversary”, the anniversary of the day we met. It means more than the day we married.

For both of us, it was a life altering moment.

For me in particular,  it was a shot in the dark… aiming at a minuscule glimmer of hope on the horizon. A moment of near-blind faith and trusting in what little I knew of God to be true…that good was still possible…and still out there somewhere,   for me.

Trusting I had not been abandoned without hope.


And people…. I KNOW…. the struggle is real.

I don’t care where you come from or how long you’ve known each other or were engaged, I’m convinced that no two people come to this place without a lot of wreckage in their wake.  There’s a lot of necessary casting off and taking on. There’s a lot of death and dying to self along the way…and many, many moments of resurrection.

I’m humbled by the realization that there was a time in our recent history when we came
—> this<— close to losing it all and not making it to this day.

When the deep wounds of our pasts would find their way to the surfaces of our individual lives and threatened to poison and kill our marriage.
When there was nothing left to do but slice ourselves open and deal with it all.
When all we could do is  trust and allow God to cleanse,  purify and heal these hurt places in us once and for all.

Painful stuff.

Hard and yet so necessary….

and so beautiful.

Long Term Marriage

Twenty-five years… of coming  so close to becoming a statistic.… and choosing  instead to  listen beyond the noise of the waves crashing on the breakers and fight our way out into the calm of wide-open seas.

Only because we did…. with God’s help…. can we celebrate the gift of our lives together — every day that’s passed between then and now and every day we’ll share from this day forward … forever.

Because forever isn’t far away…. it’s  today.  

Because maybe you need to hear this:  there’s still hope. Keep fighting for it.

It’s worth the struggle…and today, it’s what I know.

I am blessed and grateful beyond measure.

fighting the good fight,Lorretta signature

you can’t get there from here


Not long ago, I  shared how social media has saved my marriage and restored my soul. Then, as now, I’ve trusted that each one God sends to read, would graciously understand and “get” what I was attempting to say- and especially what I was not.

Obviously, there is no way to make such a claim about something as broad and impersonal as the almighty “Interwebs” and the impulses driving us to tweet, share, poke and follow–without inviting some skepticism, or at least some curiosity. And I was right.

Everyone seemed to instinctively understand that there’s more to this story; and there is. There’s something WAY bigger and something much smaller as well.

The bigger, of course, is God. (but you already knew I was going to say that didn’t you?). The smaller is something  I’ve learned is important in so many, many ways and yet so often neglected and overlooked. It’s so vital– the heart and soul, life and death type of  vital– and yet

it’s something we often  sadly and pridefully choose to live without.


Truthfully, the companionship of the communities I’ve discovered out here have done wonders to help restore my sense of worth, place and purpose. Blog communities such as this one have served to share tremendous wisdom and witness in the midst of great heartache. I think you’ll agree– it’s wonderfully healing to know you’re not alone in the middle of your crazy! Amen?!

I’ve been able to share sorrows and  joys. I’ve been released to my true identity and passions. I’ve gained a better understanding of how to make this journey called “Life” as I’ve listened and have been able to speak into the journeys of those around me. I’ve developed a deep awareness and self-respect coupled with a respect for others.

It’s a beautiful thing. A costly and precious thing purchased for me by Christ. Then, folks like you have added grace upon grace by allowing me this privilege to visit and share with you out here.

However, I want you to know all these things were born from a different place even while they’re often lived out and express themselves here.


I’m probably one of the last people on the planet who

A)   just got a “smart phone” and
B)   still doesn’t own a GPS

A while back, I had to borrow one for a trip and had plugged in the address for a restaurant in an unfamiliar town. I drove in and out of this tiny, cramped neighborhood along some narrow and winding roads only to come to a complete dead end– at a guard rail facing a major interstate. On the other side, I could see several strip mall-type areas where I was sure this place was located.  I could see it clearly in the distance but you know what?

I couldn’t get “there” from “here”

Nope. I had to turn around and go back the way I came– much wiser this time–  and then take a different path to get to my destination. This is roughly the scenario I was awakened to not long ago in my life and relationships in general, specifically in my marriage. It was, umm.. complicated.

This different path has included some familiarities and samenesses even as many things have been redefined. There hasn’t been a total upheaval or overhaul but there’s been some tremendous redirection and reclamation.   Overall, I had to be willing to recognize a few things and then take some risks.


First, I had to recognize my weaknesses. I had to recognize my need. I had to recognize that I really couldn’t do it alone– at least not well or for long without messing things up.

Then–I had to risk vulnerability and nakedness of heart, mind and soul. I had to risk being gut-honest about my fears and failures and reveal the Me I’ve been hiding or running from all these years.

I had to be wholly truthful and truthfully holy and risk accountability. Face to face accountability.

That “small” and yet oh-so vital thing missing?


I’m fond of saying  I’m “too dangerous to be left unattended.” It’s my way of remembering I need to have someone in my life who “gets me” in the ways I need most. I believe this is true of everyone no matter how old or young we are.

  • It’s at least one person who will carry us to Jesus even when we’re not looking and yet refuses to play God in our lives. They’re not in charge of “fixing” us or our situation.
  • This is someone who’s brave enough to ask how we’re doing and then press in harder to the “next” question…the one who won’t take “fine” for an answer when it’s obviously a lie.
  • One who, without judgement and in total love,  sees that nervous twitch or fluttering eye for the fraction of a second it takes to call our bluff –even when we think we’re fooling everyone and then courageously tells us what we need to hear whether we want to hear it or not.

Yeah, THAT person; accountability. I need that.


I’ve also learned– the hard way– that it’s just not wise to mix up the sexes in these things. Yeah, I know it works for so-n-so and maybe you can document a variety of situations to dispute this. But it’s not wise. It’s real easy for things to get “muddy” if not downright dirty and complicated. Jus’ sayin’.

Some folks will claim it’s necessary to have someone “older and wiser” in this position.  I say–ask and pray and then trust whom God provides. When I prayed for someone, God sent me a sweet Saint, 25 years older than me, who’d traveled many of the same paths. We’re both affirmed and amazed at what God has provided for us and truly love one another like mother and daughter.

Since then, I’ve discovered several like-minded Sisters to “bare and share” with…each at a different place, age and stage in their journey and yet I find so much joy in the mutual encouragement  we can share.  Truthfully, I’m a changed woman and I owe it all to God’s gracious gift of accountability in my life.

So maybe you’re like me–you know where you need to go and God’s been revealing some new directions in your life–but you know you just can’t “get there from here”. Not alone.


*  Pray about that person God would send you to “do REAL life” with.
*  Pray about being that person in the life of another.
It’s definitely worth the risk—and then maybe, like me, you can discover how to live free– like you have nothing left to lose and now everything is gain.