It’s hard to…


1 Peter 4:1-2 The Message (MSG)

Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.


It’s hard to

Give without receiving

Overlook an offense

Be vulnerable


See God in everything

Be a living sacrifice

Hope in all things

Get angry but not stay there

Have faith

Love regardless

Withhold judgement

Show mercy and grace



Believe the best

Start NOW


It’s harder not to

Be free, Beloved!

Not in the fine print


28 year old otherwise healthy white male presents to his primary care provider at the behest of his wife. She’s worried about his lack of sleep and sex drive, irritability, weight gain, and fatigue. His father and other relatives abuse alcohol and he’s been hanging out with them more. This change in behavior worsened after they had their third child – an unplanned pregnancy. His love of fatherhood is dampened by financial burdens. A couple of years ago they received a large tax return and decided to use it as a down payment for a time share. The declining real estate market led to increased monthly fees and difficulty selling the property. His wife would go back to work but daycare costs more than she could make. They’re becoming masters at moving money around, sometimes using credit to pay off credit. He can’t see a way out and just wants something to numb the pain.

Unfortunately, they’re not alone.

The amount of debt carried by American households has more than tripled since the 1980s. While I was growing up, so was the percentage of households that carried >$10,000 credit card debt. It grew exponentially from 3% to 27% during 1989 to 2006 (1,2). Our health, however, has gone in the opposite direction. The more debt one has in relation to assets, the worse one views their overall health. Increased diastolic blood pressure, stress and depression occur regardless of prior socioeconomic status, psychological or physical health (1). We’re turning to other comforts like food and substances. We’re avoiding meaningful human interaction and physical activity. We are at the end of ourselves.

We read the fine print. Deterioration of our well being is not listed.


Because of His unmerited favor, His grace, we can be healed and whole. As an ever present help, He meets us where we are. He freely gives.

A new starting point.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 NKJV

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. Matthew 5:3 MSG

That’s the place of true freedom. It only requires acceptance and forgiveness of others and ourselves. My biggest struggle is setting my mind toward the right type of acceptance.

I’ve come across two: acceptance with freedom and acceptance with apathy.

Acceptance with apathy is committing living “suicide.” It forces us to resent. Told hold on to past hurts. To put up walls. To focus on ourselves. To forsake. To separate.

Acceptance with freedom allows us to fully engage despite difficulties. For this guy it could be debt counseling services, talk therapy, exercise, diet and even medications. To live in expectancy of the goodness of God despite past mistakes.  He needs to know that sometimes, when things get bad, it’s an opportunity for us to accept our freedom from things that look like they are tying us down. For:

Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 NKJV

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. Matthew 5:5 MSG

Be well, Beloved!

  1. Sweet, Elizabeth et al. “The High Price of Debt: Household Financial Debt and Its Impact on Mental and Physical Health.” Social science & medicine (1982) 91 (2013): 94–100. PMC. Web. 23 Jan. 2018.
  2. Garcia J.  Borrowing to Make Ends Meet: The Rapid Growth of Credit Card Debt in America. New York: Demos; 2007

Natural Objects of My Bounty


1 Timothy 6:7 (NET)
6:7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either. 

Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NET)
5:15 Just as he came forth from his mother’s womb, naked will he return as he came, and he will take nothing in his hand that he may carry away from his toil.

On occasion, I practice the art of adulting. One of my most recent treks into this realm was when my husband and I met with an attorney to asseverate our wills, power of attorneys, and trusts paperwork. It was mostly “decree this” and “declare that,” but a particular term jumped out at me.

“Natural Objects of My Bounty”

Per jurisprudence, this term is applicable to widows and children. So basically, the people you leave behind that stand to receive your estate. It’s so interesting how these are also the people God gives us stewardship over. Of course, we’re to take care of strangers, foreigners, and the least of these. However, stewardship is different. Stewardship is more personal. But… stewardship is NOT ownership.

So, do we own anything of value? Anything that’s truly ours, we control and can keep forever.

Even if we pay off a house, what happens if we stop paying taxes on the property? The same goes for a car.

If I absolutely owned my property, I may have decided to take it with me, instead of willing it to my family. Or, I may have decided to take my family with me, so we could stay together. It’s hyperbole, but you get the point.

Bottom line, we really don’t own anything.

So why do I have this insatiable desire to “have” more stuff? Why do I try to figure out ways to acquire more income? I’d like to say it was for noble causes. In an “if I have more, I can give more” kind of way. But I like getting and having.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a giver. I LOVE to give (in a nonobligatory way). However, if that were the source of this drive, wouldn’t I have sat down and calculated what’s the absolute minimum my family can live off of, so we can give away the rest?

Have you?

We marry owning things to ataraxia. Debt bondage wrapped as happily ever after. Our current debt crisis is the offspring.

For example, I was in Sam’s one day and laid eyes on a beautiful steel constructed swing set. I fell in lust. My baby boy was GOING to have that swing set. My older girls had one when they were younger, (wooden) so he had to have one. Plus, it’s made of steel!
Never mind with the girls:
1) we lived far from a playground
2) that neighborhood was full of kids that would come and enjoy the set
3) it cost a fraction of what this one cost
4) my husband could put the wooden one together but we had to have the steel one put together by a professional, further upping the price.

Never mind all that.

Now, we have a beautiful steel swing set in our back yard, where the novelty has mostly worn off and my youngest would rather go to a park. Quite frankly, so would I. And it’s already paid for by tax dollars.

Plus, visiting parks, libraries or borrowing tools from a neighbor promote more of a sense of community and teaches my natural objects the importance of sharing. Sharing is still important as we get older. We tend to continue to share but usually with those closest to us, unless in a sententious way. It’s good to give and receive from “others.” Trips to the local playground are lessons in diplomacy, mercy, and grace for kids and parents. These kinds of exchanges are invaluable to personal growth and well-being.

Owning more stuff isn’t.

In contrast to my example, let’s look at the example of Jesus’ life. He did not own much. He traveled a lot and there was one donkey between him and the twelve disciples. He even borrowed his crib and his tomb! His life and death focused on giving. All the while, being the true owner. Willing to purchase us with His blood. A payment we can’t afford. So, He entrusts us as stewards.

In His obedience to His calling, we were bought with a price. He inherited us as Spiritual Objects of His Bounty forevermore.

Be well, Beloved.


Modern Day Slavery

img_2612Luke 16:11 Common English Bible (CEB)

11 If you haven’t been faithful with worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

Uh oh! My period is late and it has been right as rain since I was 12 years old. It’s not like we don’t know what we have been up to. Time to get a pregnancy test… and it’s positive. Not that it’s needed, but as medical school students, we know how this happened. What I didn’t know was he already had a ring.

He purchased it for the girlfriend before me.

Yep! That’s right, Beloved. The ring I still adorn today, was initially for someone else. Like the relationship, it didn’t fit her. But like him, was a fit match for me.  

He has purchased me other diamond adornments since then without my prompting. However once received, I became awe struck. I never thought of myself as a diamond person but tastes can be acquired.

Off and on over the years, I have checked out replacement rings. I have dropped not so subtle hints about replacing the center stone with a bigger one. One purchased for me. One that shows our new status. One that would be a “true” talisman for my marriage. One that would stroke my pride.

It wouldn’t be cheap, but if we really planned and budgeted, we could swing it.

In our drive for more, we happen upon a divine detour down Simplify Lane. And on that road, is a stop called Own Less Junction. It’s there we learn what true riches are. It’s there we learn everything we have is given (1 Chronicles 29:14). We are stewards such as in the story of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). When we focus on what we have in our hand, we tend to rationalize and limit.  When we focus on His endless supply, we freely give of ourselves. It’s like a child who is OK with spending their parent’s money freely but is afraid to spend their own. 

Because the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness therein (Psalm 24:1), we don’t have to live a duplicitous life, preoccupied with getting (Luke 12:15). We can focus on freely giving; a cornerstone of simplicity (1 Timothy 6:17-19). We’re no longer fearful of being givers. The short-lived satiety from stuff loses its savor. Our palate no longer enjoys the feigned sweetness of acquiring things. Liberty can be found at Own Less Junction.

What can you do without to help simplify life?

Be well, Beloved.




To mark the one year anniversary of Be Healed and Whole, I’m reposting my first blog. Enjoy, Beloved!

Intolerance of uncertainty or IU infiltrates every corner of my mind. Guised as a salubrious spirit, it reminds me of what ifs.

What if there isn’t enough time to get it all done?

What if it ends up hurting my family?

What if this is just another failure?

What if it’s actually successful?

What if he forgets again?

What if she lied to me?

What if I get sick?

What if

What if

What if

I accept the unknown and its constant state

What if

I accept that you will fail me and I will fail you

What if

I choose to focus on my values and not my unknowns

What if

I placed others before I

What if

U joined me

What if

Oui replaced I U 

Rich Young Ruler in the Mirror

Money talks – It’s on a bail bondsman’s car.

We were hooked! It was hard to look away. There were 20,000 square foot homes in picturesque settings. Their garages, that only held luxury cars, were bigger than most homes. And everything was pristine. Plus, Robin Leach’s British accent as host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was slightly intoxicating.  The grumble heard wasn’t our stomachs for food but our desire for that life.

But wait, there’s more!

Just a few channels down, we were welcomed into our favorite artists’ homes on MTV cribs. One had a full-sized refrigerator just for bottled water! Today, we’re in a race to Keep up with the Kardashians and the Real Housewives. Not to mention the Joneses.

The other day, I came across a book proclaiming I can get rich and only work 4 hours a week. I need it. In my current plight to reach the 1%, I run out of day before obtaining my goals. Apparently, so do you or the percent would be much higher.

Time is running out.

          Children are growing up.

                    Parents are growing old.

                              Test results aren’t always normal anymore.

Will we reach these plebeian goals in time?

Goals set by someone else. Goals that complicate life. Goals that make us self-reliant and therefore selfish. (Maybe there’s a *TED talk for that).

If we could only have joy in our day to day, regardless of what’s in our bank accounts. To live the simplified life.

Why have we been myrmidons to the god of this world? he only takes and never gives.

And if that is true, we need to do the opposite.

We need to be givers. To be like the One who gave all.

No longer to use the world’s ideals to measure ourselves.

We need The Stable Ruler. Not a rich young one.

If we say we’re open to giving our lives away for Christ, then everything we own is also up for grabs. What is more dear to us than our own lives? It seems a rhetorical question but there are things we covet and keep. Things we have a hard time parting with, if we part with them at all. Things like:

  • Money
  • Comfort zone
  • Ideas
  • Food
  • “Undeserved” gifts
  • Heirlooms
  • Heritage**
  • Being right
  • Place in line (especially at airports or when waiting a “long” time)
  • Position/Status
  • Mercy
  • Grace
  • Time
  • Monochromatic environment (look around or better yet through the photos on your phone or your FB page, does everyone look like you, are they all the same race, religion, sexual orientation, political party, economic status)
  • The last piece of gum.

We etiolate our existence while building “wealth.” But it doesn’t save us.

He does.

 Be well, Beloved.


Mark 10:17, 21-27 King James Version (KJV)

17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

 *Ted Turner once said he’d like to see a list of the biggest philanthropist as opposed to the world’s richest people. 
 **Heritage- Our birthplace may not need to be the place we live out our lives.

Place in line


I’ve been standing here forever! So many people showed up! I don’t care. There’s this guy I want to see. They call him Jesus and say He can perform miracles. They say He speaks like no other Jew. They say He’s the Son of God. Well, I’m not sure if all that’s true but I want to find out if it is. I mean I’m blessed. I have many cattle, sons, daughters, and land. I keep the law and remember the Sabbath. I’m in good standing with God. But they say this guy is here to fulfill the law just like the prophet Isaiah said. If he does, I won’t have to mete out every grain and spice. My life would be much simpler. I wouldn’t have to worry if he’ll strike me down for messing up.

No more comparing my efforts and offerings to others.

No more worrying about fairness.

I can have peace in my dealings. Peace in my days and nights. I lose so much sleep worrying. Boy, do I worry! I worry about those sons and daughters. I worry about if I really am keeping the law.

Wait a minute! Is that a woman walking about? Oh no! Is that a Gentile trying to get in? Neither have a place here. Neither have a place in this line. And look at that guy being carried by his friends. There’s no way they can get him in here. What were they thinking?! He’s obviously not been following the law or he wouldn’t be in that sad state. His parents probably don’t keep the law either. None of them deserve to get in here.

Oh, good the line is moving. I was starting to worry I wouldn’t get in and have a seat. I’ve been waiting and for that I should get a seat right in front. Maybe God’s blessing me for keeping His laws.

Time elapses and Jesus begins to teach. The narrator has a seat up front and is thoroughly enjoying himself.

Crack! CRACK! CRAAACK! What is going on up there on the roof? Is that the guy being carried? Those fools are lowering him from the roof!

Mark 2:11-12 King James Version (KJV)

[Jesus says to him] 11 Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.

Jesus looks at him with compassion and heals him.  

12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before us all; insomuch that we are all amazed, and glorified God, saying, we’ve never seen love like this before.

I’m glad I can see it up close but just being here is enough. That man is being blessed for his faith and his friends’ faith. He has good friends.

Friends who don’t care about a place in line.

They gave of themselves so their friend could have a place in eternity. I want to give up my place in line obtained by lawful deeds. I want to simplify.

I want to receive His love and I want to give it away.

Be well, Beloved!


I scored 38 out of 100!


Ok, ok. So, yesterday’s post was about some scary stuff. Are we on our way to being like the people in the movie WALL-E? Are we setting ourselves up to be taken over by our computers? Some say that has already happened. But let’s look at our current state in a more scientific way. Before going into that, a little disclaimer. The measurement of internet usage from normal to pathological is debated. However, there are widely respected and well researched tools available. Dr. Kimberly Young, founder of The Center for Internet Addiction, uses these tools as part of the first evidenced-based Digital Detox™ recovery program.

I took the Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and scored a 38. You can share your score but this is no competition. I doubt many of you will score high but it’s good to be familiar with the symptoms of misuse.

Hosea 4:6 King James Version (KJV)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge

Regardless, of whether you score high or not, you may know it’s time to cut down on your gadget use. (I know less media indulgence would help simplify my life). Here are strategies to assist us:

  • Schedule gadget time between must do events or activities
  • Set goal time but get there in a step-down manner
  • May need to totally abstain from media if unable to control yourself
  • Evaluate when during the day you use media and schedule other activities at those times
  • Write down things you would do or used to do before using this level of media and do them (get to bed on time, finish tasks quicker, etc.)
  • Write down your ROI for changing this habit (better mood, feeling of accomplishment, etc.)
  • Get an accountability partner to help keep you honest and motivated

For those interested, there is a Parent-Child Internet Addiction Test to help assess your child’s level of internet engagement.


Be well, Beloved.