Thursday, August 25, 2016


Shortly before I returned to LA, Girlfren and I were downstairs resting — well, I was resting, and she was sniffing around, exploring new nooks and crannies — when I noticed Girfren was no longer in my line of sight. I got up and looked in every bedroom, calling her name, but I couldn't find her. I looked in closets and behind doors, and then I revisited every bedroom again, but she was still MIA.

I wondered momentarily if she had gone upstairs, but Girlfren did not know how to climb stairs, so I continued my downstairs search. And then I rounded the corner and saw her sitting quietly, perhaps a bit uneasily, on the first stair landing:

Yaaay, Girlfren! You finally figured out how to get up those stairs!

But how to get back down them?

And how to get up the next 12 stairs?

Another problem for another day.

For now, Puppy Baby is growing up way too fast.

Hopeful, light-filled Thursday, friends of mine.


P.S. Thank you for your prayers last week as I traveled. I had a smooth, quick flight; and I generally felt swaddled in prayer, as I always do when you rally to pray. Since being back in LA, I have experienced peace in the midst of some challenges, clear guidance from the Holy Spirit, sweet encouragement from all sorts of places, and hope about the future. What wonderful gifts.

© by scj

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Pink wispy clouds stretched across the sky outside my bedroom window, signaling the sun's daily dip into the nearby sea for her evening bath. I had been resting inside all day, so I decided to step outside for some fresh air. Down the stairs, out the door, onto the edge of the driveway: "Hi! Hiii!" a small voice to my right called for me. I turned and saw Peter,* my 5-year old neighbor waving frantically over the hedge.

I smiled and walked over to him. "Look at my new pet!" he gave me a wide smile and held out a plastic sandwich bag filled with bits of grass. I leaned in for a closer look, and there, nestled in the pieces of grass was an empty, cracked snail's shell, held together with scotch tape. "I'm feeding it dinnuh because he's hungwy," he explained, struggling to pronounce that tricky "r" sound.

I admired Peter's new pet and praised his tender care for him. "What's your snail's name?" I asked.

He paused for a minute, his brow furrowed in concentration, before looking up with light in his eyes. "Snailio if it's a boy. Snailia if it's a girl," he announced. He resumed his grass-picking before looking up again. "I think I'm going to put candy in Snailio's house in case he wants dessert later." Peter smiled with glee at the thought of the yummy treat Snailio had coming.

"I think that's a great idea," I said, musing that Peter's generosity — so pure and unnecessary — seemed lavish. Moments later his mom called him inside, so he skipped away, leaving me to enjoy the last few minutes of daylight.

Six years ago, I started observing good moms and dads in order to catch glimpses of God's goodness. I watch them cheer over Zoe's first steps, cradle Janie tenderly despite the smell of dirty diaper, and comfort Paulie after a fall on the pavement. I try to imagine God is cheering for me like that, attentive to my wounds after a failure, cradling me close despite the smell of dirty heart. I suppose I am trying to take my cue from Jesus by situating the abstract assurance of God's love in our bustling world of smells, sounds, sight, taste, touch.

Over the years, I've started watching other caretakers, hoping for more glimpses of God's goodness. I watch sisters make their little brothers lunch, teachers patiently repeat homework instructions for the 5th time, aunts and uncles jump up and down with pride and joy at [not-so] little Johnny's X-factor audition on TV, and I imagine God is caring for me — delighting in me — like that.

This evening I watched Peter with his empty, cracked snail shell and his big plans for dessert, and I think I see a glimmer of what God looks like in Peter's tender hands and shining eyes. I wonder if I might create a variation of Matthew 7:11 to better understand how much God loves me:

If you then, who are but five years old, know how to give good gifts to your empty, cracked snail shell pet, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Lately, this has become a prayer of sorts. When my trust in Jesus is etiolated, I think about Peter and God, and Snailio and me, and I feel hope lifting its tired head. And oh Jesus, thank you for 5-year old neighbors that image you, and pet "snails" that image me, and a promise that your gifts will be wonderfully, unimaginably lavish — because you love us.

*Not his real name.

© by scj

Monday, August 15, 2016

Prayer requests and support

My friends,

My time here in the Pacific Northwest has come to a close, and tomorrow I head back to LA where I will continue to rest. Though my work load has been minimal the last six years, I'll carry an even easier load this fall as I try to get on a healing trajectory. I'm hopeful the rest will be productive in the best possible ways.

I continue to remain hopeful that God will use DNRS, along with my other treatments, to completely heal me with time, but in the meantime, this journey continues to be more like a quest through sawtooth mountains than a zipline through the jungle, and I covet your prayers:

Here are my most pressing requests:

1. For special grace as I prepare to fly tomorrow after/during a very challenging week.

2. For protection from the Enemy who wants to kill and destroy.

3. For encouragement in Christ and comfort in his love.

4. For laughter and joy.  

5.  For peace and trust in the good things God is preparing for me in the future.

6. For physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strength as I forge ahead.

7. For something unexpected to bring me joy the way my parents' puppy has. She has been a therapeutic companion and tremendous blessing this summer, and I will miss her.

8. For complete healing sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your prayer support, my friends. It's an immeasurable gift to me.

If you'd like to support me beyond prayer, my brother recently put together a site to raise medical funds for a year's worth of my  medical expenses, as the cost of my doctors appointments and treatments continues to be well beyond my means.  If you feel moved to contribute, or you're able to share this link on social media, I thank you in advance! And a big thank you to those of you who have already contributed. I feel overwhelmed by your generosity.

Hopeful, light-filled Monday, my friends.


© by scj

Friday, August 5, 2016


When socks go missing, I think most people blame the washing machine and dryer. "They're sock thieves," they say.

Not in my parents' house:

Note that we also have a slipper thief

Our sock thief is so cute, we don't mind all the missing socks.

© by scj

Monday, August 1, 2016


Yesterday I was reading by the fire, and The Child decided to join me.

Reading, Take One; alternatively titled "Somebody is a Pillow Hog":

Reading, Take Two; alternatively titled, "Snuggle Bug City."

Reading, Take Three; alternatively titled, "I Gave Up Reading So We Could Snuggle."

Hopeful, Light-filled Monday, my friends.


© by scj

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Someone has discovered that cardboard boxes make the best toys in the whole entire world:

Napkins are pretty fun, too:

Haaaappy Sunday!

Cheering for ya, Skillets,

© by scj

Saturday, July 30, 2016


The Child was roughly the size of an adult running shoe when we first got her. Since then, she has almost doubled in size. Though she is cuter than ever, I am just dismayed at the speed of her growth. Soon, our girl will be all growed up, and her puppy days will be in the distant past. I wish she would stay small forever.

And this is why I love bathing her, because, without all her fluffy, dry fur, she shrinks for just a few minutes:

Oh tiny girl, I sure love you. How am I ever going to leave you in a few weeks?

Happy Saturday, friends.

Cheering for ya,


P.S. Girlfren's hair dried as pictured above:

She's our woodpecker baby.

© by scj

Friday, July 29, 2016


My friends!

I'm lying here alternately watching YouTube videos and listening to the wind rush through the tree outside my window. My eyelids are heavy, and a Nap is trying to convince me to take her, so I think I will. But first, a few prayer requests as we move into August:

1. Endurance as I do the challenging work of retraining my brain; regular health victories to inspire me onward and upward.

2. Encouragement and hope in the face of my challenges. 

3. Complete and total healing sooner rather than later.

4. Patience.

5. Protection from the Enemy.

6. A sense of God's presence and peace; sensitivity to and confidence in the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

7. Wisdom regarding the best way/time to reintegrate food and activities. Balance — I don't want to push too hard, as I'm prone to do.

8. Discernment regarding which medicine, supplements, and treatments to try as I do DNRS, if any. 

9. Physical, mental, and emotional readiness for work and school when they start in three weeks. 

Thank you my friends.

Shoot me your prayer requests. I think of and pray for you all regularly.



© by scj

Thursday, July 28, 2016


Dear Dad,

If you are wondering where your Nike compression pants and flip flop are, I found them:



© by scj

Monday, July 25, 2016

Happy Monday

"Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities;

Forget about your worries and your strife."

("Yeeaah, yeeeeah")

I hope you were able to kick back and relax this weekend and are rearin' to go today, friends!

Happy Monday,


© by scj

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sneaky Sneakster

Somebody — and I'm not naming any names, mostly because she deserves a christening post all her own— likes to sneak into my bedroom and climb onto my bed when I'm not around. She knows she's not supposed to be in my bed, but the Golden Princess loves luxury, and she's got pluck, so she sneaks.

She's a Sneaky Sneakster Extraordinaire.

Case in point: I was jumping on the trampoline one toasty day this week, and Girlfren was hard-pressed to find comfortable shade. There was shade on the patio, but the patio is made of concrete, and Golden Princesses are not fond of sleeping on concrete. So she found a sliver of shady grass and stretched out:

After I'd jumped awhile, I noticed Girlfren's head had disappeared, and a bit later, half her body disappeared:

And then, awhile after that, she had disappeared completely:

The sneaky little sneakster's a smart cookie.

Happy Sunday, folks!


P.S. My sister and I introduced The Child to hula hoops this weekend, with high hopes we'd turn her into a hoop-jumping circus dog.

Our attempts were not successful.

© by scj

Friday, July 22, 2016

Limbic system retraining update: Exercise

Yesterday I jumped on the trampoline for one hour. Yep, you read that right: one HOUR. I broke my jumping into two sets, but the second set was 45 minutes, so: HALLELUJAH.

This is the first time I've sweated (I love sweating!) and had endorphins (I love endorphins!) from exercise in ages. And there's this: the day before yesterday I spent much of the day adventuring, and when I woke up the morning after my adventures, I'd recovered!

I've also been up more the last few days, cooking, baking, cleaning, and conversing, and it's felt good — Hurrah!

Thank you, dear Jesus, for this progress.

And thank you, dear pray-ers, for supporting this process in prayer.

© by scj