Friday, September 28, 2012

My Last Blog...Here

I write. I sing. It's what I do. It's what I love to do.

Before I began this blog a little over two years ago, I wrote sporadically and for my own enjoyment. I didn't write consistently or learn to develop my craft until A New Song To Sing was birthed. I had no idea the journey blogging would take me on.

Because of this little space in the online world, I have felt great joy and awful pain, and every emotion between. But I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had and continue to have because of it.

Last spring a friend discovered my blog and saw something in me I couldn't see in myself...potential. Because this friend is an encourager and patient teacher, I am learning the art of songwriting. I am humbled, yet thrilled to tell you that I co-wrote some of the songs on my EP, "Captured."

What I began as a place to share what God teaches me, He is using to grow and develop the dreams and passions He's placed within me. Part of that incudes a new website.

That being said, this is my last official post at this Blogger address. When you come here for a visit on Monday, you will be directed to my new blog home. I can't wait to share it with you! Within that new home, I'll be sharing blogs, vlogs, photos, and in late October, "Captured."

Please plan to join me as I transition on Monday...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Husband's Dream

Six years ago, my husband had a dream: to transition from employee to employer. He walked away from a safe sales job and dove headfirst into unfamiliar territory. After three years of managing Olympic Fence, he was able to buy the company.

Last spring, Olympic Fence was contracted to build the fence for our local dogpark, designed by Jason Cameron of DIY's "Desperate Landscapes." My husband and his employees were shown in a brief clip on last night's one-hour special episode of "Desperate Landscapes," and the fence was shown repeatedly.

My husband had a dream, but had no idea where that dream would take him. He simply has worked hard doing what he loves. And it's paying off.

When I asked him if he ever thought his dream would lead to his company being on national television, he humbly responded that he didn't know six years ago where his dream would take him.

Isn't that true for most of us?

In fact, I dare say that if we could see into the see where our dreams will take us and what we have to go through to get there...we'd likely quit out of terror. But when God plants a dream in us, and we are willing to follow it, events we never could've imagined begin to unfold.

We simply must refuse to give up.

Congratulations, Mark and Olympic Fence! I'm proud of you for following your God-given dream.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Preparing To Move

Moving has a way of forcing one to clean out and throw away. With every move, my mother would tell me to throw away the clutter in my room as I packed my life into boxes.

Upon arriving in my new bedroom, I'd unpack clothes, shoes, photo albums, and memorabilia, arranging them ever so neatly. Once we'd been in the new house for a little while, I'd eventually settle in and the room would begin to feel like my own.

My blog transition will be much the same as all those moves I experienced. Some of the clutter you see here will be tossed aside in effort to have a cleaner site. What I pack up and take with me will be arranged in a neater fashion. It may take a little while to adjust, to settle in, to make it my own.

When you visit, please be aware that some pages will not be quite ready for guests...much like a room the owner hasn't had a chance to decorate in a new house. However, I'll be sure to update you once everything is in place.

I'm very excited about the look and the content of the new blog site! I can't wait to introduce you to it and welcome you in for a visit!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Birthday Letter To Myself

Today is my 37th birthday. Three years away from the big 4-0.

I've seen a lot of posts recently from bloggers who have written to their 20-year-old selves, and some to their teenage selves. They're using the wisdom and experience they have gained to write about what they would like to go back and tell their younger selves. I'm not going to do that.

Instead, I'm writing today to my 37-year-old self:

Dear Rebekah,

You were born 37 years ago by design. You were no accident. You were created to live in such a time as this.

God has given you a dream and passion that is intended to glorify Him. On the days you believe the lies, remember that His plans don't depend on what others think, nor do they depend on what you may think about yourself.

Fear has been your enemy, and yet your comfort, for too many years. Don't be afraid to learn and to try new things. After all, you're not getting any younger!

Finally, I'm proud of the work you've done over the past year to discover what needs changing in your life. I know how difficult change can be, and how easy it is to remain in what's comfortable. But comfort is not always safe or healthy. So...keep searching, keep discovering, keep changing...for your good and God's glory.

Happy Birthday!


Me :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm Moving

I've moved more than a few times in my life, from as early as I can remember up until my last move -- two years ago. I always had mixed emotions with moving. The excitement of a new place, a new house was usually thrilling. But the packing up and leaving what was familiar usually scared me.

The older I got, the more difficult the moves. One was particularly difficult. In my junior year of high school, I was told that we'd be moving, although the time table was unclear. Six weeks into my senior year, my family moved from one side of the state of Alabama to the other. I remember saying goodbye to friends, getting in the car and driving to our new home. For some reason I still can't explain, our new home never felt like home to me.

Another difficult move was my last one. Two years ago, my husband, three girls and I moved from our home of nine years (the longest I'd ever lived in one place) to a new home a few miles away. Even though we were still in the same town, even the same school district, the move was hard because we were leaving the home where our two youngest girls were born. The home that saw babies become toddlers, toddlers become independent preschoolers, husband and wife struggling, a new business. Although I was excited to move, the thought of leaving the familiar left me unsettled.

Back in January, I decided to move, not realizing the significance of the move, or how long it would take. Next week, I'll be moving again. I'm excited, yet nervous.

This address has been my blog home for two years. It's simple and familiar. I move around comfortably here, and don't mind inviting new guests in for a visit. Words usually come easy and free here. I have to admit I'm a little nervous about leaving this simple space.


I'll be packing up all my words and moving them with me next Monday. I'm excited about having a new blog home. I've planned and prepared for it to represent my thoughts as best I know how. In addition to my blog, my songs from the music project will soon be accessible there.

I hope the words continue to come easy and free, but I'm also planning for more intensity...the stuff life is made of. The stuff we both love and hate to remember. The questions to which we could all use answers. The search that binds us at our cores.

I'll share more this week about my move. I hope you'll read this week and prepare to do the one thing that my friends were never able to do throughout my life: move with me!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Burning Bridges

My oldest daughter is a cheerleader for her middle school. {I still can't believe I'm old enough to have a 7th grader!} I attended the homecoming pep rally at her school yesterday, and the football game last night, and was met with a rush of emotions at both.

My daughter has friends that she will likely carry into her adult years. As I watched her with them, I remembered my school days in what seemed like snapshots...from elementary through high school. I changed schools quite a few times due to moves. I switched between Christian and public schools throughout the years. The common thread that ran through all those years and schools for me was that of burning bridges.

I realized early in my childhood that my classmates usually had histories together. I was often "the new girl." And since we mostly lived in small towns, new kids often weren't easily accepted. The bigger the school, the easier to find acceptance. The smaller the school, the more difficult to fit in. Either way, I learned to hold friendships loosely, assuming I'd leave them at some point.

I rarely treated relationships with importance, though I craved them desperately.

Those childhood memories of leaving friendships and moving on to others didn't end there. I carried that trait with me straight into adulthood. I was desperate for deep, meaningful relationships, but didn't know how to cultivate them.

You see, people-pleasing people like me tend to gravitate toward the idea that if we can't please others, we leave them. We look for someone we can please. Fortunately, I've come to realize nobody is going to be pleased 100 percent of the time, including myself. Learning that about myself and others is freeing me up to set boundaries for myself and expect others to respect them.

I'm also learning that some bridges were built in such poor fashion that they can't withstand weight. It's scary to say, but I'm finding it true, that it's okay to burn those bridges, as long as the intent is to allow God to rebuild them properly if He so withstand weight and pressure. Who's to say how long that rebuilding may take {if at all}? For sure, building a bridge is not an overnight process.

Don't think for a second that I've got this relationship thing figured out. I struggle greatly with them. A battle rages within me: please to be accepted, or burn and run. This setting boundaries, and this hanging close by to see what God will do is new to me. But I have several people in my life who have taught me what it means to stand on the bridge, and meet in the middle. In fact, there have been times when they've even crossed it to my side and chased me down! I'm thankful. And I'm learning.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Giving Up And Determination

I'm impatient. For sure, I'm extremely grateful to be running again, but I so badly want to be back at my pre-boot pace so I can move on to half-marathon training. But...I'm just not there due to several reasons:

I gained eight pounds while in the boot. And eight pounds slows a runner!

My leg still hurts. I didn't follow the doctor's orders exactly, so I'm still dealing with some pain.

Due to my lack of exercise for eight weeks, the hills in my neighborhood are now kicking my tail. My breathing becomes labored, my lungs feel like they're going to explode, and my legs burn, so I sometimes have to slow to a walk when moving uphill.

I have excuses to give up. However,

I refuse to quit!

I refuse to hide behind eight pounds. I refuse to let a little pain stop me {that's why we have Advil, right?}. I refuse to let a hill cause me to give up and sit on the curb.

While I won't time myself right now {because, really, I just don't want to be discouraged}, I continue at my slow pace with determination. I'm giving myself grace while I rebuild strength and endurance.

I just keep reminding myself that I have bigger and better things awaiting me: a half-marathon in February!

There have been hills mini-mountains in my journey lately. There's been baggage to weigh me down. Hurt has been a given in my life over the past year. But I am determined to keep moving forward.

No matter what others say, there's no time table for working through the process of healing and forgiveness. We simply must keep walking through it with determination when we find that we can no longer run.

And as difficult as it may be, sometimes we have to abandon whatever discourages us until we find strength...because discouragement doesn't just affect us physically as does running; it affects our hearts and souls.

In order for our hearts and souls to heal, it's necessary to give ourselves grace and allow ourselves to live in it. After all, we need to prepare ourselves for better days...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I find it extremely intimate when God repeatedly confirms things to me through people who really have no idea what's going on in my life.

Several months ago, as I was preparing to begin work on the music project, questioning why He would even allow me such a gift, He said: This is bigger than you. It was such a clear statement, I haven't been able to forget it.

The closer the time comes to release the project, the more difficult life becomes. The battle is intense as I fight to find freedom from fear, people-pleasing, religious condemnation, and unhealthy relationships. It's a bit of an understatement to say I was feeling somewhat defeated this past week.

But His intimate way...has reminded me of His plan.

My family and I were on the way to church Sunday morning when my ever-observant middle child exclaimed, Look! There's a huge rainbow! I thought immediately of God's promises. Just as quickly, I dismissed the rainbow.

Upon arriving at church, I sang with the choir words that sent tears streaming down my cheeks: My hope is in the Lord from this time on and evermore...those who hope in Him will find their hearts at rest.

Next, I went to our small group meeting where a discussion was underway about how God's promises and plans could not be thwarted. Our teacher, who knows almost nothing of the challenges I've faced lately, said, God's plans are bigger than us.

Finally, I went to my voice lesson yesterday, where my vocal coach and I spent most of the hour discussing what God is doing in my life. Honestly, the conversation had absolutely no reason to go in that direction. But God had words to inscribe upon my heart, and how better to do it than through someone who barely knows me? As my coach and I were discussing the music project and struggles that have taken place in my life, he said, I don't know where this is headed or what will take place, but it's big.

I am completely humbled and overwhelmed by my Father's intimacy. Thankful seems too small a word to describe how grateful I am that He chooses to use me and chooses to confirm His plans for me. I don't know what the future holds, but I'm trusting that He is working for my good and His glory in ways I can't even see.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Strep Throat And Paying Attention

My daughter was sick with strep throat last week. I thought she seemed a little overly tired and ill, but it didn't cross my mind that she was sick. Even when we were leaving for cheer, and she told me she felt dizzy, I dismissed it as her being hungry. She didn't say anything else to make me think she might be sick.

But a few minutes into the ballgame, I noticed she wasn't cheering with enthusiasm. Soon, she was no longer jumping, and she looked pale. I was quite certain she might be sick on the field. I went to her a couple of times, asking if she was okay. I eventually had to ask specific questions: Does your stomach hurt? Does your head hurt? She admitted that they did. After a little coaxing, she agreed to go home. Upon arriving at home, I took her temperature...a telling 101-degree fever.

Like my daughter, people don't often say when something is wrong. We might notice that our friends aren't acting quite right, but we dismiss their behavior. Even if they hint that something is wrong, we're usually so busy we dismiss any comments. It's usually when things go terribly wrong that we pay attention enough to realize something was amiss all along.

I want to be the friend {and the mother} who pays attention enough to know when something is wrong with the people in my life. I need to remember to ask them specific questions. While I may be able to do nothing more than offer a listening ear, fix a meal, or hold a sick child's hand, I want them to know they are important to me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


All three of my daughters are cheerleaders. They are learning to watch their teams play and cheer them on according to what is happening in the game. They're learning that the purpose of cheering is to encourage...whether their teams are winning or losing. Even when time is running out, and there's no hope of their team winning, cheerleaders continue to cheer. Win or lose, they keep coming back to cheer for the next game.

We all need cheerleaders, and we could all stand to be cheerleaders.

I have a few cheerleaders in my life...those who believe in me. When things are going great, they cheer me on and rejoice with me. When things are not so great, they encourage me and remind me that things will get better.

I hope I do the same for them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Removing Safety

I'm tired of writing safely. The calculated and measured words written in effort to keep from offending family have been twisted. The writings of my life experiences gone unpublished have made no difference. Without being asked a single question as to why I write and believe the way I do, I am rejected in obvious ways.

It was almost a year ago that I sought counseling to unearth buried feelings due to childhood trauma. Instead of encouragement to walk through the fear, I was met with ridicule, then screaming silence.

Breaking the cycle of shame, manipulation and abuse is unwelcome. I don't deny there were good times in my family; I'm just having a difficult time remembering them lately. I'm told that's normal, and good memories will eventually return. I wonder when...because the memories that have most frequently filled my mind over the past year have left me in tears more often than not. And with each act of rejection, my heart aches, yet the separation becomes more bearable.

I long for peace. Yes, peace for the family; but more importantly, peace for myself if peace among the family never occurs. Peace in knowing I faced the fear and walked through it. Peace in knowing that I didn't quit searching or writing in an effort to appease anyone. Truth be told, the appeasement would've only lasted a short while anyway.

I'm removing the filter of safety. My writings will be what they should've been for a long time now.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I remember learning in college about Ivan Pavlov's dogs. Pavlov conditioned the dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell. He did so by sounding a bell when he presented food to them. Eventually, the dogs would salivate when the bell would ring, even though there was no food.

I watched as my kids, along with five others, stood at the bus stop. When the first bus came, the four older kids moved to one section of the sidewalk, while the younger four moved to another. When the bus stopped, and the driver opened the door, the four older kids immediately formed a line and entered the bus. The same thing happened when the second bus came for the younger kids.

They've learned when they see the first bus to separate themselves. They've also learned to line up and walk as soon as the doors open. When they arrive at school, they will change classes at the sound of a bell. They've been trained and conditioned. They only deviate if they're told to.

When I go to church, I follow the program. Stand to sing, sit during announcements, greet those around me at the appropriate time, sit and listen during the sermon, pass the offering plate, stand to sing again, then leave. Maybe I've been trained and conditioned. But this past Sunday, the conditioning weighed heavy. I felt as though Holy Spirit was not free to move in me, and I wondered if others felt the same.

The message was grace and redemption. The solo at the end of the service was Redeemed, a song by Big Daddy Weave. If you're familiar with that song, you know how powerful the message of grace is in it. The lyrics could be my own story. I wanted to stand and shout, Yes! This is grace! This is the freedom Jesus died to give us! Instead, I sat still with a single tear running down my cheek. I don't claim to know the hearts of anyone else there, but the mood in the building seemed almost apathetic.

Have we been so conditioned that we sit still and quiet as Grace is proclaimed? Are we so conditioned to our Sunday morning routine, to our daily schedules that we don't even consider allowing Holy Spirit to move and guide us? If Christians don't get excited about Grace, and don't allow Him to cause us to deviate from our conditioning, why would anyone else?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Just As I Am

My friend and I were talking about how easily we distract ourselves. We're much alike, and neither of us particularly cares for silence. However, she mentioned that someone had recently suggested she quit distracting herself and be alone with God. I thought it was good advice, and acted on it.

I drove along the interstate alone, silenced the radio (blasphemy!), and began to talk with God. I asked Him to speak to me. Within moments, He whispered to my soul, I love you. I continued talking, asking for more. He repeatedly responded with I love you.

After several times, I became a little frustrated: God, I know you love me. I don't wonder about that. Don't you have anything else to say?

What He said next surprised me. I accept you. He knew the longing of my heart without me even having to say it. I long to be accepted just as I am...while I work out my salvation, while I question almost every belief I've ever held, while I dive deep into knowing grace. Most people don't like those murky waters, accepting those of us trudging through them only from an arm's length, if at all.

I was so suprised and taken aback by those three words that I didn't dare ask Him to say them again. So I kept talking to Him about all the reasons people reject me. Shouldn't He agree with them? As if to seal it in my heart, mind and soul, He repeated Himself, almost firmly, I accept you.

In the quiet moments alone with Him, God intimately made me aware that He loves and accepts me....just as I am.