Tag Archives: kristiburden

This is my sister's cat. I don't even know the cat's name (some sister I am….). Her cat had some kind of injury a month or so ago that caused her to adorn "the cone of shame". When I visited back in Spring Break, my sister filled me in on the details right before she rushed off to the vet appointment, but I don't remember the specifics. (-Remember, the whole I hit my head thing?). I had even forgotten about the cat until Wednesday. Oh Wednesday. It was a long day. By the end of it, I was hiding out. I'd told myself I just needed to settle down and not talk to anybody. Earlier in the day I'd said something unkind to someone; something out of character. I felt ashamed all day. I tried several things including trying to laugh it off and telling a friend, hoping they would convince me what I said wasn't that bad. But I knew that my words were both unnecessary and malicious and the fact that they weren't well thought-out only revealed the true nature of my heart.

My younger sister, Jennifer called Wednesday night just to chat. She told me a nightmare story about her misbehaving cat (who's still sportin' the cone of shame). You may think me a nut, but that cat visual was just what I needed. I made her promise to send me a picture of her feisty feline. Here it is. You're welcome.

unnamed (43)


It pains me to think of any creature wearing a cone of shame (also referred to as a 'pet lampshade' which sounds no better). It's rather ridiculous-looking for one thing. With it there's no peripheral vision; so isolating. And it's so BINDING. I can imagine it would make you feel swallowed up in your circumstances. It's worn to protect the animal. I get that.

The crazy thing is, I feel sorry for Jennifer's little cat (I've got to find out her name) for having to wear a cone of shame when I willingly volunteer to wear one myself every time I mess up. I speak unkindly. I behave selfishly. It's necessary for me to recognize that. But to wallow in shame is equally ridiculous to my friend with the lampshade. That poor cat has no choice. I however do. A choice that shouldn't be difficult to make. My bad decisions and shameful acts, however egregious, are no match for God's grace. His grace is more than enough to cover my sin.

The cone of shame I suspect most of us wear at some time, leads to more sin. Wearing it, we sometimes believe we're unlovable. We talk ourselves into thinking that what we did is unforgivable. Figuratively hiding out, we fail to be a blessing to others held back by the notion that we'll just mess up again. In the limited vision caused by the cone of shame, it's hard to see Jesus.

Our guilt binds us and blinds us to the freedom found in grace.

"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything . 1 Corinthians 6:12

Certainly we need to grow in our recognition and practice of things not beneficial; bad behavior and the like. But living in your shame is not beneficial. We must learn not to be mastered by it.

We all do plenty of things to be ashamed of. We can't fix what we've already done. We can only fix our eyes on the one who urges

Come and listen to my counsel. I'll share {MY} heart with you and make you wise (Prov. 1:23)

Afterall, the wisdom he lovingly offers is a garland of grace around our neck; a garland that reminds us we're loved. Wearing that garland makes us mindful of endless, matchless, grace. That knowledge produces gratitude. And it's with gratitude we strive to be better.

I'll take that over a cone of shame anytime.




I've always been pretty good at spelling. As a child I boasted that Spelling was my favorite subject. I have an uncanny ability to spot spelling mistakes.  I'm pretty sure that if Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 had a single misspelling, that's what I'd absorb rather than the beauty of the poetry. Sad, I know.

Anytime I spend days with my sisters, like I've had the chance to the past two weeks, I find out things about myself. We're sometimes shockingly honest with each other. My little sister told me this past week that she had always hated asking me to read over her school papers. She's insisted, more than once, that she would ask me to look merely at the semantics of her paper but that I'd jump on a misspelling like a hungry flea on a dog in July. She's right.

My other sister called me Ms. Corrector for years due to my willingness to freely point out things like a misspoken word (such as aurora instead of aura). In case you're wondering, I didn't make up the aura example.  Someone in the car on our Girls' Day last week actually said aurora instead of aura.  I kept quiet about it for a good hour before I couldn't take it any longer.  And when I told the misspeaking sister about her mistake I unintentionally, but self-righteously (no doubt) spewed laughter. Thank goodness she loves me.  And that I'm not disinvited from future Girls' Days.

Really, I do my best to refrain from correcting.

Even so, when someone makes a written or verbal mistake, a smirk outside my control curls on my lips. I fret thinking there are others of you out there who have been smote by my correction.

I found myself singly entertained by a sign taped on a bathroom stall during Girls' Day. I snapped the picture, surely freaking out any people on the other side of the stalls with the blink of my flash.unnamed (10)

Just days before, I'd gotten a look from the waitress at a Mexican food restaurant when I tried to snap a picture of a humorous mistake on the menu.

Looking back, I subscribed to Highlights magazine as a kid. Maybe I looked at one too many of those "What's wrong with this picture".  You know, the one where a duck is wearing galoshes? I single-handedly tore up that page monthly, circling errors with my trusty ink pen.

Jason has forbidden me to read one of his posts before it's published and the kids despise my helping them with their homework lest I let loose a giggle at their mistake.

I will continue to laugh rendering myself "temporarily out of order". Hopefully my laughter will not be at the expense of others.

Because you could say I have a problem. With the help of my "call it like it is" sisters and the imagined disapproval of the waitress and lady behind said bathroom stall,

I am convicted of my correcting audacity

My apologies.

But it's been made known the error of my own way and I'm glad to say I'm making a fresh start.

I want to see people and situations through grace lenses; not through my error-seeking eyes.  I want to spot bright and beautiful on a landscape of dull.

I'm set on focusing more clearly on what's right, despite my history of pointing out the wrong.

Philippians chapter four draws me in time and time again directing my thoughts.

Finally, brothers and sisters, .........whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things Philippians 4:8

To be able to see beauty where imperfection exists; this is the gift of grace.


A note: I am trying to write about grace in the upcoming weeks. I'm hoping to be able to publish an ebook with a collection of my reflections on this great gift from God.  I wanted to wait until I knew exactly what I would say before I started writing, but I realize that I must begin the journey of writing in simple humility and wonder. I trust that a desire to be taught by God's Word (paired with discipline) and the experiences I am granted will guide my pen. Say a bunch of prayers for the discipline part for me, would you?

May integrity  and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you. Psalm 25:21

I put my own integrity into question this past week.

Hallie needed three immunizations to start back to school; two we got easily at the local CVS.  The other shot, the second dose of the chicken pox immunization, we were told would have to be prescribed, ordered, picked up and carried to our family doctor who would then administer the shot.

photo (15)

This turned out to be untrue and thus the wild goose chase began.

I called several clinics and visited pharmacies several times. I might mention too that I spent umpteen minutes listening to jazz while on hold waiting to talk to my insurance company about immunization coverage.

That was last week.  I gave myself a six-day hiatus from the shot-chasing fiasco.

This morning I picked up the phone again; my resolve renewed.

After calling two clinics, one clinic five times, I hit the jackpot.  For a substantial fee, they would give the immunization.  And they only had three left.  Hallie threw some clothes on.  And we hightailed it to Viterbo Rd.  We didn't have cash which caused....you got it.... more running around.  Pain.

But we got it.

After calling numerous clinics.

Despite being rejected at the pharmacy three times.

And even with runaround from the insurance company-

We got the immunization!

This may seem trite.  But this was somewhat of an ordeal to me.  I really wanted to get uglyphoto (16) with unhelpful people.   What I really wanted to do was forget about the shot.  I was presented with several opportunities to bypass the immunization.  I had the chance to -not get- Hallie the immunization with only the slightest amount of dishonesty necessary.

#1. The notification from the school stated that the immunization could be bypassed if a letter from the parents stated that the child had already had the chickenpox virus. A lying letter only crossed my mind after the seventh failed call to clinics.

#2. The second pharmacy we visited already had the paperwork filled out saying that they had administered the shot to Hallie.  The pharmacist had already signed and dated the form when we found insurance wouldn't cover. I had the form needed to give to the school though in actuality she hadn't received the shot.

Honesty is important to me, but honestly this felt like this was one of those times that it would be a little lie that wouldn't hurt anybody.  I had put more than enough time and effort required to get the shot.  I also have a growing and unending list of things to do (which probably doesn't include blogging).  Doesn't that qualify me to tell a little lie?  Shouldn't that make me exempt from shot-chasing?

I hope you're not shocked at this admission.

I'm absolutely unaware of how many times I take the crooked road; lined with white lies...................Ok...  It's probably a big lie to make someone think Hallie has had a shot that she hasn't.   But it would have been an easy one to tell.

I thought myself lacking integrity for even considering the easier way.  And sure, there are those of you out there that it would never occur to you to be dishonest in this or similar situations.

Bottom line?  I knew we had to get the shot regardless of the ill-conceived thoughts that popped into my head suggesting ways to get out of it.

The heart is deceitful....

It should always be my prayer that as I seek to do what is right that God will be faithful to help me with my feelings.

Integrity is strength of decision no matter how you groan in it's making.  Integrity, I believe, is choosing what's right when what's wrong is tempting.

I wish we had been able to easily get our shots on the first try, but it was on Viterbo Road that we found the shot we needed.  And it was there that I had my integrity still with me.

Integrity is not always my reality, but it is my goal.



Diary of a Wheat-Free Gal

If you missed my last post, due to some health issues, I shared that the 0 (17)Burdens are attempting to go a week with no wheat.  This is difficult for two reasons. 1. I am the grocery buyer and family chef (sorry as I am at it). 2.Wheat is in almost everything.  I LOVE BREAD (Oops! that's three).

We have survived the first thirty hours of our wheat-free week; with only like one hundred thirty-two hours to go.

8/4- Yesterday wasn't too terrible.  I had a Rice Crispy treat for breakfast.  I realize that doesn't fit the general good-health bill, but it doesn't have wheat.

Church cheered me on with a good message and some of my favorite songs.  (If you're dying to know what those were, they were "Soon and Very Soon," and "Days of Elijah").  One song, that I can't remember, had the perfect line for me:

 photo (10)

I had to grab a pen and madly scribble down those words.  They'll be my worship words this week.

Yesterday for lunch I fixed a potato and ham casserole and substituted regular flour which contains wheat with rice flour.  When asked if it should be something we have again, the dish passed 4-2 (Our schnauzer Griffin gets a vote because he eats the leftovers). The family has been very cooperative.

In case anybody from church was wondering, I ditched my bun at the hamburger supper last night.  Sorry you had to see me eat my beef patty with my fingers, but I didn't see a fork. So though ill-mannered, supper was a success.

I had a Mooo Bar for a snack.  It gave me a nightmare last night that it had wheat.  I was terribly disappointed that I had unwittingly consumed wheat disguised in an ice-cream bar.

8/5- After a rough night, I went to HEB this morning and stocked up on more gluten-free snacks and lots of veggies.  My receipt wasn't that much more painful than usual.  I never foresaw (is that a word?) healthy eating as something that I would choose to struggle with.  And in some way, it still doesn't sound mention-worthy.  But here's a few things I'm looking to see happen.

1. I'm hoping that my family will be healthier.  I'm hoping for fewer headaches and less belly issues.  Being able to say hello to some of our old jeans would be nice too.

2. I know that it's those things I can't do on my own, that cause me to pray.  I'm hoping that I learn to better pre-emptively pray and not only pray when I'm desperate though it's a good idea to pray then too.

3. I'm hoping that my self-discipline, with God as the source, will be increased.

4. I would love for my kids to learn alongside me that doing things we don't want to do (but know we need to) is a part of maturing.

5. In case you noticed, I mentioned that my family is going wheat-free, then I said a lot of me, me me'sI believe I am the tone-setter for my family.  My decisions and attitudes are an important guiding force in my home; I pray I would be a good guiding force.

Emeril's Potato Casserole:


1 Comment

I've had a banner morning.  I only had two mismatched socks in my folded laundry pile.  That never happens.  I normally have a handful of socks that go to the Island of Mismatch Socks, a basket in the laundry room.  I collect them I guess.  I let them mount up; kind of like my registry of troubles and my thoughts of unattainable dreams.

Considering all of the nice-fitting, fresh-smelling sock pairs we have in my family you'd think I wouldn't worry about the pairs we don't have.  Sure there are long-lost socks under beds and in the small crevice that divides the washer from the dryer.  But why worry when we have enough socks for today?  We've never had a day when we didn't have socks to wear.  There have been days I've squeezed my toes into Rylie's psychedelic zebra-stripe  socks.  Other days I've watched as the girls have made their way down our sidewalk to the car wearing two different socks. Does it matter?  Despite the ones we're missing, we'll always have socks.  I'm certain of it.photo (4)

Worry for people consumes me. How will she make it alone? Does he know that God loves him? Will she ever be able to get past her fear?

Small trouble of my own mounts up.  I mentioned in another post, my fluff problem.  Then there's the well-being of my kids that troubles my heart.  Will they be successful next school year? Will they find good spouses, be good spouses?

And my unattainable dreams?  I want long hair, not short. But there's the knowledge that it wouldn't be silky like the hair in Pantene commercials.  I have a dream of getting new couches; ones that don't expose the white fluff that pokes from the seams.  The new couches would have cushions that you don't have to shove back in with your knees every time you walk by.  Couches and long hair? I realize I dream small, but I dream; a lot.

I spend my life buried in the basket of missing socks. I'm covered with random worries and stuck in my thoughts of what I don't have.

I've hardly anything missing from life.

I have friends with real trouble.  I know people in real pain.  How can I help them while stuck in the bin of lost socks and unrealized dreams?

Worrying and wanting are weaknesses to be shed.

Be strong in the Lord.....with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. -Ephesians 6:10,15

The gospel of peace.  I want to wear it.

Always be ready to give answer to everyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

Wearing the gospel of peace requires "I get over myself". It requires me knowing my Hope.  I need to know more of He who gives it.  I need him to teach me what really matters.  It's time to stop focusing on missing socks; I have more than plenty.


I had no intention of writing today, but I can hardly help myself.

This is Hayden's second week of working for his grandpa.  His first week consisted of a country boy's welcome; I'm talking chigger-eaten ankles, rattlesnakes (plural) and a one-hundred plus degree sun.  I was starting to feel sorry for him.  Just last night I'd sent him a text asking him for some ideas of things to send him in a care package.

The graph pictured below is the text I get back.  Some thanks. Of course he meant it in jest.... I think.


But It's true.  Moms are scary, and not just when they're angry.

We don't mean to be.  We have a God-given responsibility; and one of the most precious privileges. We take Momhood seriously; so serious, it's scary.

A Guide to Understanding Mom's Scariness:

We're scary because we're tired. With yesterday's smudgy makeup, and our hair every-which way, we may still be wearing the same pink athletic shorts we were wearing the day before-We're zombies on our toes. "Got. to. keep. going."  And that's just our scary outside.

Some of us are not physically over thirty-two hours of labor, the hundreds-maybe thousands of diapers we changed, or carrying you when you weighed forty some-odd pounds because we knew you were a little tornado destroying anything in your path (like the row of flowering plants at HEB).

We don't cry over spilled milk.  But we may shed crazy tears when someone spills milk all over the counter, down the cabinet and on the floor leaving it to dry and crust....AND no one knows who spilled it.

We may snap at you after we've folded the one-hundred and forty-ninth piece of laundry- when you throw your dirty socks in the floor ( or if you come bounding down the stairs in your fourth shirt of the day). Fatigue makes it difficult to find our "sweet voice".


We scare you because we're unpredictable. Just when you think you have us figured out, you'll find that you don't.   That same ill-fitting shirt with the tiny bleach stain you've worn repeatedly suddenly becomes unacceptable to us. We'll seem out-of-control over something small like an unflushed toilet or your light being left on.

We'll act shocked at the amount of junk under your bed though we knew good and well the stuff was there for months.

We'll let you do something you didn't expect, like stomp a mud puddle.  We may suggest you scream collectively in the car.

We may refuse to bring the homework you left on the table to school even though we've brought it six times before.

We'll hug you when you deserve to be grounded for life.

Note: In our undying attempt to mother you properly, hormones make us even more "Jeckyl and Hyde".  Sometimes they're to blame for our for our happy to hostile, in zero seconds.

We're scary because we're scared. We're afraid that the things we say won't stick so we sound off over and over like Rain Man; we rattle off lists of "do's and don'ts" making sure you won't forget.

Things like toothpicks, anything with wheels that you're steering and grapes the size of your windpipe present themselves as potential dangers- as do members of the opposite sex your age.  So we intervene, sometimes prematurely, sometimes violently, in order to keep you safe.

We're complex creatures with a simple heart; a heart that cherishes you. Some things we're figuring out slowly.  Some things we won't figure out.  In the scary mystery of mother, there's one thing that tops the list of things we hope you know. Behind the gripes and beyond the advice we hope you know that we love you madly.  Right underneath the tirade and long talkings to- remains a heart of mush for you.

A note about the graph: The graph pictured above is gracious.  It lists the scariest things in the world as being monsters, crazy people, natural disasters and my mom when she's angry.  I represent all in the list with the exception of natural disasters.






It doesn't feel like a blessed day.  Surely your heart is heavy for the devastation in Moore, Oklahoma.  That's why I felt strange singing "Hosanna" as it played on Pandora this morning while I put on my makeup.  It's a "lifting up" kind of song and doesn't match my emotions this cloudy morning.hosanna

Hosanna reminds me of celebration.  Matthew 21, verse 9 tells us that upon Jesus' arrival to Jerusalem, the people spread their cloaks on the road while others laid palm branches on the road.  They shouted,

Hosanna to the son of David!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest!

They were glad he was there.  While celebratory in nature, I think these words carry deeper meaning.  My study Bible tells me that their words were both praise and prayer.  The origin of the word Hosanna, means rescue, save. Like us, they were in dire need of a Savior.

Even though they didn't grip the magnitude of this man's presence, the long waited for Savior was in their midst.  I love it, that the same words "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," were also spoken in the Old Testament in the time they were waiting for a Savior.  Those words are found in Psalm 118:26.  They come right after v.25 which is a prayer

O LORD save us

Today is a Hosanna kind of day.  God be praised like every other day.  But as we shout Hosanna or whisper the prayer through hurt and confusion, may we remember that He is our rescue, our hope.  And though life brings us circumstances far from what any of us dare to imagine, He has saved us.  He is saving us.

Today we live in the Old and New Testament sense of the word Hosanna.  He is our hope, our prayer.... and our hope to come.

Pray for the hurting.  Pray for the lost.

Pray that they would be wrapped in the light that has overcome the darkness.

My favorite lines from Hosanna by Hillsong:

 Break my heart from what breaks Yours

Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause

As I walk from nothing to eternity

May we be so faithful.

Listen to Hosanna by Hillsong http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXCoHxX1OC8



I steer clear of the self check-out aisles.  I think I tried them twice. I had to try and scan each item like fifty times because the bar code wasn't being recognized. Both times that I attempted to self check out, the "dummy light" came on alerting a sales clerk to come to my assistance.

The lyrics of a rap song, which I found on google, says "You better check yo self before you wreck yo self".  That's a good word Ice Cube.


This picture really has nothing to do with my post, but I've been dying to use it.

I... Cannot always check myself out.
I typically need assistance.

This doesn't only apply to my shopping at WalMart. As I pushed my cart toward the exit this morning thinking about the impossibility of self-checking, my mind reeled. I began to think about how we all need assistance when it comes to assessing situations and even life in general.

How am I doing?
How are things going?

My answer is so skewed by my emotions.

Most often, things are less difficult/tragic (life as we know it is over)/maddening....than I feel.

When you need to check yourself, proceed with assistance

Surround yourself with friends; especially the ones who will be honest with you. I appreciate friends who will tell me when they think I'm wrong, or that I'm overreacting.
(It's a bonus when we're eating cake while discussing my frustration, say, .....over swimsuit shopping with my preteen) My sisters, well really, my whole family falls into the friend category.

Husbands are good "keep yourself in-check" partners too. I talk to me husband Jason about everything.  He tells me how he sees things, thankfully gently.  That's why I tell him everything. I trust him.

Something to remember:
Once we were buying a hermit crab. Our oldest daughter Hallie chose one that was isolated in the corner of the aquarium. When Hallie picked it up, it pinched her most horribly. My point?  The crab probably needed to be alone (maybe for a bit). You may need to let your emotions fizzle a bit before your can talk constructively with anyone. Or else find a forgiving friend to pinch.

Your kids will tell you how it really is. My kids tell me when I'm "freaking out".  Hallie told me not long ago that I care too much about what I look like.  They call it to my attention when I'm not really listening to them. I can tell when they're right, which they usually are.

The Bible is the best check yo self checklist; Proverbs in particular. It constantly reminds me to "shut my mouth". It tells me not to despair, "for God is with you".  I'm reminded of the promise that comes in "raising my child up in the way he should go" even if he isn't listening now.

To quote Jason, again, using the same quote I've used before,

"There are no Lone Ranger Christians".

You can visit the self check out aisle, but don't forget those who are there for you BEFORE the dummy light comes on.

Aren't we thankful that God graces us with loved ones and loving words?

To a weed:
I've seen some breath-taking flowers in my time; with soft petals vivid in sunny yellow or rich red. I've known flowers who made their presence known throughout a house, their fragrance bursting forth in commanding presence.

 But you?.......you're different, there's not much noteworthy about you.


In fact I've never taken much notice of you. Oh sure, I've grumbled when I walk into my yard and you've sprouted your unattractive head in my grass again.  I bend down and pull only to find you fight back, your roots firmly gripping the soil underneath. Honestly your stubborn presence can't help but be noticed.

 I saw you just this weekend underneath a picnic table.  You had found your way through the cool hard concrete, though the passageway was narrow. I know the journey through that crevice mustn't have been easy, but there you stood.

 You didn't speak to me through familiar beauty like flowers do. You were rather silent.  But I sensed your strength.
  You're not an object of desire to most and you're not known to serve some great purpose as does a rose.
   You do little more than point yourself to the one who created you.
  I think that's noble. Maybe you don't have a choice.  Maybe the fact that you don't have a choice is the reason you're so strong.
  Some days I don't feel pretty or purposeful.  You don't seem concerned with those things. Aside from what I have to offer, I forget that there's any other reason to stand, another reason to be.

 Any day before this weekend, before I'd gotten the chance to know you, I'd tell that you given the choice I'd rather be a flower than a weed.  But now I know that's not always so. Though thankful to be created with purpose and beauty, I'll take those days where I'm simply clothed in strength.

I'll be a weed.


I spent the past week in Seattle, Washington with my sister-n-law who's ill.  Time with her beautiful family on their turf made for an adventure with God written all over it.  Here are a few life lessons from the Pacific Northwest.

Being alone makes room for God. I don't like being alone.  I especially don't like traveling alone.  Wondering around in the airport, alone, makes me face myself in all my inadequacy.  What better companion than God; I hear him best when I'm alone. He helps me to see beyond myself.


The sun is always coming.  My nephew has a night-light that is timed.  It's a moon during the night hours.  And it turns into a sun in the morning.  Aidan went to bed each night with anticipation that the sun was coming; that's when he could get out of bed.  I saw him sitting on his bed one morning before the sun was "on".  Sitting cross-legged with his fists on his chin, he was hopeful.  He was sure,  The sun always comes.

  An empty plate is a happy plate. My sister-n-law and her husband are awesome parents (there should be a book with some of their tips).  The kids were encouraged to eat, because "an empty plate is a happy plate".  This is true for adults.  We clean our plates by meeting the demands of a busy schedule only to fill our plate again.  Find time to have an empty, happy plate.


 There's protection from the rain. I thought rain boots were mostly for decoration and puddle stomping.  But sometimes there's so much rain.  We need protection from it.  God is our covering.  Our bodies may be drenched by the rain, but our souls have protection.

There's super in the simple.  Find it.

 To borrow from Eponine of Les Mis, "Rain will make the flowers grow".

Used-up,  sometimes icky things, can be a part of a big beautiful masterpiece. My favorite part of sight-seeing happened to be the Gum Wall in Seattle.  Both horrible and beautiful.  Always have perspective to see the beauty.
  Love makes the world go 'round ...and it makes you go 'round the world........and back.  (Traveling across America seems that far). I'm thankful for a week of getting to love on and be loved by the Gatties.  I'm thankful to have returned to the love of my own "Burdens".


Thanks Seattle!