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Preview: The Cleft of the Rock

The Cleft of the Rock

Updated: 2018-04-20T15:39:09.505-05:00


What Ties You Down? What Lifts You Up?


I was recently honored to be asked to speak to a group of women at a local congregation. They asked me to speak with the topic of their retreat: "What Ties You Down, What Lifts You Up." I knew what tied ME down and what lifted ME up, and felt qualified to speak to that, but I am not delusional in thinking that everyone thinks precisely like me. So I polled about a dozen of my friends. Married,

Considering Valentine's Day


originally in Abilene Families My family experienced some minor medical drama the week between Christmas and New Year's while traveling out of state. On one of my many trips to the drug store, I had to stop dead in my tracks. I was perusing the Christmas decorations and wrapping paper on clearance. I turned around to look for more, and was faced with a shelf full of boxes of Valentine's cards

I Was Wrong, Part 1


Many moons ago, on this very blog, I promised to tell some of my thoughts on nutrition. And many moons ago, on this very blog, I said that my first post would be: "I Was Wrong." I started that post, and it got to be SO! LONG!! You see, there are many things that I have been wrong about. There are things that I may say now that I will tell you later: "I was wrong." Any good professional will

Winds of Change at the Cleft of the Rock


The biggest change here at The Cleft of the Rock you will immediately notice is that I actually wrote something. Tah. Dah. And, while making no promises of regularity, I have things on my heart to write about. But it isn't usual Cleft of the Rock stuff. Last year, it all finally came clear to me. What I finally wanted to be when I grow up. And, honestly, I can't even completely name what the

You're Stronger Than You Think You Are


I've mentioned running on occasion. If someone says that I'm a runner I make them do air quotes around the word and call me a "runner." It doesn't come naturally to me. I didn't start really running until my 30's. I am slow. My running plans never go how I want because there are few plans out there for 40-something beginners that are turtle-slow. My last 5k. I finished before they cleared the

Can't We All Just Get Along?


A rare occurrence has been taking place at my house. Like... "call the Smithsonian" kind of rare. My kids have been getting along. Working together, asking each other's advice -- then actually listening to the advice offered. It is a beautiful thing. To hear your children getting along warms the cockles of  my heart (I love to toss out the word "cockles" -- you just don't get to use that

Doing Great Things For God


Hello there. It's been a while. A very loooong while. I finally have a thought. Would love to hear your thoughts on it, too. But, the reality is... no one is probably out there. It may have just been too long. And this thought launches from another blog post I read almost a year ago. I would encourage you to read that one, because it says it way better than I will here.  The general idea is

Invited Into the Junk Closet


This is the last pondering/ rambling about us being a house, I promise! Part 1: You are a House is here. Part 2: Discernment (alternate title -- I can see in  your windows!) is here. However, this is what started this whole thought process. I had to find a way to put words/ imagery to this experience. I mentioned that we all have a junk closet in our house. Okay -- Jennifer only has a junk



I don't know if I'm a slow learner or if it takes all of us well into our adulthood to know and figure out our spiritual gifts. I'm trying to prevent this in my children -- and verbalize what spiritual gifts I see in them. I'm not much of a visionary, so it's up to them to hear how God wants to use it in their lives, but I do think identifying your own gifts is the first step. Partly because

Angels Unaware


I have written for a magazine called "Christian Chronicle" so occasionally the editor will send out a call for news, pictures, or thoughts or ideas. Most recently (that I remember) he relayed his experience (that he VERY eloquently wrote about here) of visiting a congregation and not being greeted very warmly and was curious if we had ever experienced the same thing. Oh, dear. I am ALWAYS

A House?


You are a house. Nope. Not as BIG AS a house. You are a house. Your being, your soul, the part that makes you you -- that is your house. If you know me the least little bit, you know that I am prone to pick apart a thought and over think and WAY over talk it, and lately I’ve been pondering us as a house. So now I shall over talk/ write it. I think of our selves -- our real, true selves -- as

One Year Ago...


One Year Ago... May 14th marked one year that our family has had an address here in Suburbia, USA. I say it that way because after the big truck unloaded our furniture, the kids and I turned right around and went back to Small Town, USA to finish the school year. We lived in hotels and with friends and survived bronchitis and band concerts and living out of suitcases. I think back to what the

For Mother's Day


originally published in Abilene Families (originally written May, 2006) As a mother, you would think that I would be all about Mother’s Day – a day just for ME, a day to get, get, get, and a day when praise is lavished on all mothers. Who could ask for anything more? Truthfully, mother’s day – especially the Hallmark version of it – makes me very uncomfortable. You know which kind of

Teacher Appreciation


(This was written years ago as the only way I knew to thank my children's teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week. It is still as true today as it was then, though our move has kept me from knowing my children's teachers as well as I have in the past. They still mold, shape, and encourage, and I am still forever grateful for all that they do.) This month includes teacher appreciation week. Every

The Mosaic of My Life


My friend Julie makes mosaics. Beautiful pieces of art using broken glass, otherwise useless. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to return to the congregation where I grew up in Louisiana. I was privileged to speak to women that have had a hand in raising me: teaching me Sunday school,  accompanying me on youth trips. Many have prayed for me through the years and love my

Book Review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl


I recently had the pleasure of reading Diary of a Mad Fat Girl for review for the BlogHer Book Club. Cover pic from Amazon  Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is set in Bugtussle, Mississippi with a likeable cast of characters. Graciela "Ace" Jones is a high school teacher with a bit of a temper and smart mouth.  Her two best friend teachers are Lilly and Chloe. Lilly is fired by the mean-spirited

When a Disappoint May Be a Divine Appointment


Y'all know me. I love words. Big words. Little words. A word nerd. Thus it was that in trying to figure out how to spell the word 'disappointment', I was blown away by the fact that disappointment itself may lead to God's biggest plan for me yet. I'm guest posting at (in)courage today. Come check it out.

Considering Valentine's Day


originally in Abilene Families My family experienced some minor medical drama the week between Christmas and New Year's while traveling out of state. On one of my many trips to the drug store, I had to stop dead in my tracks. I was perusing the Christmas decorations and wrapping paper on clearance. I turned around to look for more, and was faced with a shelf full of boxes of Valentine's cards

Strong In My Weakness


I caved. I gave in. I broke. I just broke a 20 day streak without Diet Coke at lunch today. Starting over. Please don't feel obligated to tell me all the ways Diet Coke is horrible for me to try to encourage me to break my habit. I know. By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  As a migraine sufferer, I gave up Diet Coke "for good" in 2010. In my prolific reading

Looking Back at My Struggles


It's a gray morning here. Rain is in the forecast, and my looming migraine tells me it's on the way. I don't know -- now that I'm almost half-way through February -- that I will ever go back and confess to you how much I did not get accomplished on my Twelve by 2012 list. I think that was the post where I saw someone write, "I am not one to not finish what I started." It has become glaringly

Seriously. I'm Here


I honestly didn't mean to be gone again FOREVER, but Jiminy Christmas -- what a week. First -- Matt's funeral? Most beautiful and holy experience I have witnessed. So thankful we were able to make it. My ladies class at church is studying the life of David. We had just, the week before, read 2 Samuel 12:19,20: "David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized

Surviving the 4th (or any holiday) Without Blowing Your Diet Progress


I am involved in a fitness/ weight loss class at my church. I wanted to encourage my class mates about the upcoming holiday and thought this would be the best place to write it all down. You are welcome to "listen in"... or just wait and tune in when I have something else fascinating to say. :-) Thoughts and ideas about how to get through the 4th without sabotaging your efforts: 1) Remember

Annnnnnd... Losing Momentum Again....


I had grand plans to try and get something real on the ol' blog today. But when I woke up this morning, my phone was exploded with texts and phone calls. And now, I have to wake up this adorable young lady to tell her that this precious young man -- the flashlight tag champion of her birthday party, and a dear buddy since 3rd grade -- quit breathing yesterday and is now healthy and whole and

Momentum: Losing, Finding, and Gaining


I'm a ponderer. An over-thinker, probably.  This week, I'm considering momentum. Too much, I'm sure. I seem to have lost momentum in many areas of my life. Blogging being the most obvious (to any of you that happen by the ol' COTR). I've also lost momentum in my running. While we have been enjoying a mild winter here in the 'burbs, the last few weeks have been fits and starts of running for

As For Me, I Will Have Hope


I just have a moment to check in here. I am on my way out of town -- I am FIRED UP excited! I am headed to Houston to celebrate with a group of ladies -- a year's worth of scripture memory work! The Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration is this weekend and I leave in a few short hours and, of course, have a bajillion things to do before I leave (and, guarantee, I WILL forget to pack something