Eloquent Scribbles

  • Creatures of Columbus

    Inspired by the BIG TALK questions and Humans of New York, Eloquent Scribble’s Creatures of Columbus will feature snippets of 1×1 interviews, revealing answers to some deep questions and inviting the reader to see a real part of someone’s life. Moving beyond just being self-aware, these posts will hopefully challenge the reader to really see others and look for ways to infuse real questions into his/her own relationships.

  • Let’s Get Real

    I am sick of small talk.

    While there is a time and place for, “Hi, how are you?” followed by “Good, how are you?”, I crave more. I want deeper, authentic relationships where the conversation goes beyond the weather, general updates, vacation highlights, and other surface-level topics that find themselves as social media posts followed by an exclamation point.

    I have always been inquisitive. (An OSU professor even told me once I was limited to three questions per class!) I enjoy learning about unfamiliar topics and when I don’t know someone, I want to strike up a conversation. I am simply hardwired to connect. In fact, we all are.

    However, connection – real connection – requires openness, vulnerability, courage. It is risky business, and while sometimes it can result in pain, connections also create the most beautiful tapestry. And to weave a tapestry together, you have to go beyond small talk. 

  • Time


    It has been on my mind recently.

    There are so many platitudes about it – time is short, time flies, killin’ time, time waits for no one, the days are long and the years are short. (There is even a specific time I am supposed to publish this post.)

    Time is personified as “Father Time” in art, sculptures, and books.

    And, while time is infinitely more valuable, many live by the phrase, “time is money”, not wanting to waste any time because it could be spent increasing the bottom dollar.

    The Bible speaks about time as well. I looked up the word in my NIV Bible’s Concordance, and I found that the word is first mentioned in Esther. Because I found it hard to believe that the word wouldn’t surface until the seventeenth book of the Bible, I opened my husband’s ESV Concordance; I found the same thing.

    “‘And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?'” Esther 4:14

    Such a time. Esther’s “such a time” was her royal position as queen to King Xerxes. Her role as queen though was hardly glamorous. King Xerxes was an arrogant, shallow womanizer. He surrounded himself with like-minded men, made critical decisions while under the influence of alcohol because culture thought intoxication put him in closer touch with the spiritual world, and he made rash decisions based on emotion. Moreover, Esther became queen because of her physical appearance. “Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins.” (Esther 2:17) I don’t know about you, but that verse makes my skin crawl.

    Before becoming queen, Esther was raised by her cousin; we aren’t sure what happened to her parents, but the situation – both with her upbringing and with her marriage – certainly wasn’t “how it’s supposed to be.”

    What is your “such a time”? What in your life would you categorize as, “this isn’t how it is supposed to be?”

    As time ticks closer to Thanksgiving, I plan to balance this question and my emotional, earthly response with the truth I found in Psalm 39. Verses 4-6 speak about how our time – our “such a time” – is limited on Earth. The NLT translation has it this way:

    “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath…we are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.”

    May I be a woman who gives thanks during my “such a time”, and may I remember that my life is fleeing as I interact with my husband, children, family, friends, and those around me.

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    I have a hard time being still. I crave the time, but distractions abound. The towels need washed. The table needs wiped down. Evidence of yesterday’s dinner is still under the kids’ chairs.

    Last Friday, I was forced to be still for 30 minutes because my oldest wanted to be picked up in the pick-up line. Because I didn’t want to be the 50th car, I arrived early with both snacks and Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts on my passenger seat. The opening lines arrested my attention, and by the time my child was walking toward the line of cars, looking for the familiar white sedan, I was two chapters deep with tissues pulled on the floor.

    The book was a gift during my pregnancy with Alex, but it was not something I was ready to read. Even if my fingers had flipped through the pages, my heart wouldn’t have been ready to receive the message. Granted, I’ve only read two chapters, but the message I’ve gleaned thus far (below) has already been impactful, and it is rooted in the Gospel of Luke.

    “And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them…” Luke 22:19

    In the Greek, “gave thanks,” is eucharisteo. The root word is charis; do you see it in the middle? Charis means “grace.” Jesus saw the bread and the cup as gifts – each a gift of grace from the Father – and gave thanks.

    In addition to charis (grace), Eucharisteo also contains the Greek derivative, chara, the word for “joy”.

    Voskamp helps the reader uncover a beautiful connection: finding deep chara – holy joy – and grasping the gift of grace is only found at the table of the euCHARISteo, the table of thanksgiving.

    Joy is not found in some vacation or vocation or situation. No, no. The wonder of joy can be found here and now, whether that’s a time of jubilee, a mundane Monday, or in the midst of numbing pain.

    Thanksgiving is not just necessary for joy. It is also inextricably linked to both salvation and living a saved life. In Luke 17:17-19, we read about the sole leper who returned to Jesus to say, “thank you.” It was only then that Jesus said, “…your faith has made you well.” “Well” is from the Greek word, sozo, and it means salvation, true wellness, complete wholeness. The leper received sozo when he returned and gave thanks.

    Eucharisteo is essential to living a saved life. May we take everything – the good and the messy – and return to Jesus, fall at his feet, and be reminded of the things we have to thank Him for. It is then when we have the chance to view any soul holes caused by sin or this sin-soaked world as windows to see Him.

  • Different, Not Less

    To say I wrestled with the prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis would be a gross understatement. It rocked me to my core and, on a personal level, revealed the myth of religious fulfillment I had let creep into my heart. I cried, I grew angry, I lamented, I prayed for deliverance, I compared, I wrestled, I asked many questions rooted in self-pity. At some point, all I could read was Job, Lamentations, and select Psalms. Finally, by the end of the pregnancy, I was most angry because I felt like a target of God rather than a child of God whom he would draw near to. I know many here do not believe in God – to each their own – but for me, it is inexplicably a part of my story. 

    I heard a pastor once described Abraham as a man who lived in restless torment: he believed God cared, but the evidence suggested otherwise. Similarly, I knew in my head the claims of the Bible, yet my heart was raw because the fiery arrows would.not.stop. Every appointment but one brought a new blow. We went from the diagnosis to a brain concern. The brain concern to a growth concern. The size concern to a hydrocele, fluid, and atresia concern. The atresia to an IUGR and SGA concern. The IUGR concern to a cord flow concern. The exhausted old man in Vincent van Gogh’s At Eternity’s Gate gave visual representation to my soul’s state. 

    I read many posts about moms feeling miraculously different at birth; in disbelief, I rolled my eyes at most of them. Sometimes anger mixed with guilt bubbled up because I didn’t think I could be like many of you – thankful and in love. 

    Yet, to any mama who can relate – especially if you are still pregnant – I can confidently report that there is hope. I sure didn’t see it for 26 weeks and 3 days, so feel free to roll your eyes at me too. When Alexander was born, I didn’t feel a connection. I didn’t exhale with relief. I held him and thought, “I am sorry you will have so many struggles.” He wouldn’t latch, which made me feel like a failure and fueled the disconnect. Yet, while I wanted to give away the extra chromosome, I knew I could do nothing but bring him home, learn to embrace our new life, and set him up for success just like we do for our other children. 

    As our son has grown, scales have fallen from my eyes, and I have accepted this unique invitation to look at life and God from a new angle. I still haven’t received a call, text, email, or audible note from God, but we have experienced His love in the hands & feet of the church in ways I never have before. I am confident I was never His target, and while I cannot claim to answer the question of ‘why’, I trust in a way I didn’t before that His ways are higher and that He will work out what the world calls a genetic disorder for Alex’s good and ours. 


  • Memorable story from the past

    After high school, three friends and I piled into a Plymouth station wagon and drove down to Florida. My summer job didn’t start for another week, and my steady girlfriend was off to Europe to meet some distant relatives and travel. She was far more adventurous than I, and while that whim of a trip gave me anxiety, I wanted to hang out with my buddies before we went off to different colleges in the fall. That, and I wanted to be able to share a story or two about my summer as well.

    After hours on the road, we finally reached the Tampa area, and excitement replaced my trepidation.

    We stopped for gas in Clearwater, and when I stepped out to refuel, the humidity slapped me in the face. Even though I was in the shade, I felt the sweat dripping down my back, and I wished I had sandals on. I couldn’t wait to reach the beach.

    The Memorial Causeway had recently been torn down, replaced by a new bridge to cross over to Clearwater Beach. We picked Clearwater because Dick wanted to see where the Phillies spring team played, and Joe and I heard the fishing was decent. John tagged along because his mother gave him the “okay” to take time off from the dairy farm, an unheard of gift.

    We didn’t have much money, so we slept in the car in a public parking lot by the beach or on the beach itself. We had a grand time, although I lost my fishing buddy to a tan blonde. Joe was sure smitten, and while we all gave him a hard time, he ended up marrying that woman later that year.  Those two moved to Gainesville so he could attend the University of Florida, and he lived in the sunshine state until he died a few years back.

    As for myself, I will never forget sleeping under the stars, fishing for snook and trout with John and Dick, and Joe’s unexpected love story.

  • Foam Soap

    Sweetie, it’s okay. I’ll get you more,” I reassured my little blessing, as most of the foam soap on her little hands slipped into the sink before she could wash her hands together.

    The fallen soap completely captivated her attention, and rather than trusting I would supply her with more soap and continuing the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy…” she was fixated on the water washing the foam down the drain.

    As this ordinary daily task unfolded, I experienced God parenting me as I parented my child.

    How often do I narrow in on the “foam going down the drain”? Be it the endless to-do list, the mistake I just made, the situation I cannot change, or the circumstance I wouldn’t have chosen for myself, I have a tendency to focus on an issue and not listen to the still, small voice saying, “Sweetie, I will supply you with all you need.”

    More, I forget to use my voice in prayer or song. Just as I want to hear from my children, God wants to hear from His. And even though my singing voice is certainly not competition worthy, I create a heavenly melody when my arms are raised in submission to the one who supplies and is in control over the foam.

  • What bumper sticker would you buy?

    You know the bumper stickers reading, People Suck? I would buy that one. I am kidding. Sort of.

    In all honesty, it isn’t necessarily that people suck; well, unless you are talking about my mother-in-law, and that dynamic just can’t be defined by a bumper sticker! I kid, I kid.

    Anyway, back to my point: it isn’t necessarily that people suck; instead, it is more, people under the rule of sin suck. Even if the term “sin” doesn’t fit within your vernacular, I think most people would agree with the statement, “nobody’s perfect.”

    Someone reigning over his or her own life acts and speaks in a way to preserve, protect, and promote themselves. In my own experience, I have seen self-preservation and promotion most often displayed by lying, be it unequivocal or even by an exaggeration.

    The first examples in the Bible about ruling over sin versus letting it rule over you are between God and Eve (Genesis 3) and God and Cain (Genesis 4). God spoke a similar message to both: sin wants to overpower you, defeat you, and make you a slave. Specifically to Cain, God told him, “… but you must master it.” Unfortunately, both let sin master them.

    The same is true today. The fight against sin is daily. So my question back to you is, “Will you recognize the battle and fight to master it with the power afforded by Jesus? Or will you let it master you?”

  • Parenting & Legacy

    She wasn’t planned, but I am so glad we had her. My daughter flipped my life upside down, and I landed on my feet, grounded and stronger.

    Before she came along, I was extremely career driven. Granted, there is nothing wrong with being driven to excel in your career, but my drive would’ve taken me to an unhealthy place; I didn’t want my identity to be my profession. After she was born, I gave it all up. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, but the reward and fulfillment far outweigh the sacrifice.

    As the years go by, I want to teach her to be strong and to be a woman of perseverance. Life is a beautiful mess, and I want her to be able to endure the messy trials as well as embrace life’s beautiful joys. I hope she has some fight in her and a spirit that emboldens her to roll up her sleeves to help others, stand up for what is right, and leave a positive mark on this world.

  • Cloak of invisibility

    You know the people who act perpetually happy? Or, the individuals who purposefully plant seeds of discord?

    I would use a cloak of invisibility to observe them behind closed doors to see who they really are. For those who are always, “good”, is it a façade, simply a Facebook version of life? Perhaps they are inwardly about to explode with anger, but they refuse to take off the mask for fear of rejection. Or, is their happiness manifesting from an inward joy and they truly are happy more often than not?

    For those who intentionally create chaos, do they feel a shred of remorse? Do they struggle with insecurity or are they practically paralyzed with jealousy, where the end justifies the means of half-truths and bold-faced lies?

  • What have you learned from your parents?

    1. The value of teamwork and unity with my spouse, especially in front of our children
    2. I am a wife before I am a mother
    3. The value of kindness and how my words in the morning act as a thermostat, not a thermometer
    4. The importance of dealing with issues rather than letting them fester
    5. The difference between responding and reacting when dealing with difficult people

    These lessons were actually not modeled for me; I want to break the dysfunctional cycle for the next generation.

  • What lesson did you learn the hard way?

    The lesson I learned? Pride truly comes before the fall.

    I grew up in the Catholic Church; I was baptized as a baby, went through confirmation, said my Hail Mary and Our Father prayers, went to mass on Sunday, all of it. For majority of my life, I considered myself a good person. I raised my girls the same way, and as long as my family went to church, at least most Sundays, and they were “good” too, I was happy.

    It took almost eight decades and the loss of a child to realize I was lying to myself. I grew up brushing issues under the rug and avoiding hard conversations, and I paid a steep price for my pride and for trying to be my kids’ non-confrontational friend.

    The pride deeply rooted in my heart caused me to rationalize sin and blame shift. I am ashamed to say it took over twenty years after I lost my daughter for the scales to finally fall from my eyes. My knees hit the floor in honest confession to God, and I finally could see and admit what I had done.

    When the Holy Spirit awakened me, my dead heart started beating. And while I still struggle with regret, God changed my destiny. I will live out the rest of my days sharing about his grace, praising God for the chance to reconcile, and making up for lost time.