Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Reflections on a Crisp Sunday Morning

It's hard for me to believe I've not written anything truly personal in almost a year. No blog posts. Minimal journaling. Reduced voice on social media. Despite intense emotion, memory catapults crashing through my present mind, and searing opinions I've been more silent. Quiet. Sad.

2018 began with incredible promise: a new life - new city, new job, new friends, new closeness with family. HOPE & JOY. Almost immediately however that unprecedented joy was tempered with grief. Kristin and I moved to Pittsburgh to be closer to our families. A month after we relocated, our little dog Aspen died unexpectedly. Next Kristin's Gram - the person she was closest to aside from me - was hospitalized. Painful family drama ensued... Kristin decided we needed another Maltese so she found our Ollie (Oliver Fitzgerald) and his energy and happiness renewed our hearts. Within days however we discovered my sweet companion and protector, Austin, our lab mix had a brain tumor. He died followed by my parent's dog Yoda. Despite this also unexpected grief, we opted to go to Italy on vacation in June. We took my parents also as it was their 50th Anniversary... we arrived home and within days, Kristin's Gram passed away suddenly. By chance or grace, she was alone by her bedside that early Thursday morning. The following Monday, our lab Chloe passed away, adding insult to a depth of injury that felt as if we were being pushed underneath murky flood waters. No breath.

Chloe Aspen and Austin

Death always causes a reaction, usually bringing out either the best or worst in people. Regardless, it demands reflection from those it impacts. Memories. Dreams. The disruptive change it explodes into your world consumes it.

And yet,

God in His infinite wisdom provided us with a way of escape. In our case it was a small 5 lb. white furball, healthy, playful, and loving along with a joyful new nephew named Jett whose dancing eyes and magnificent smile made your heart sing.
Ollie Fitz

All that within four months.

July - September felt like a blur. Going through the motions. Working. Solving. The grief fog permeating, suffocating in this new reality. Step by step, we kept moving along - forward, backward, sideways or still.

In late September I began a new journey with a group of local leaders in a community focused program called Leadership Pittsburgh where I was blessed by the opportunity to interact with more than 60 new colleagues all of whom were chosen to make a positive, community impact on our city. Incredible gift. At work, I was also blessed with unprecedented grace and favor where my ideas and experience are being welcomed to shape and support change and growth so much so I am being promoted into a newly created role written for me. Another incredible gift.

Now, here we are about to celebrate the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas (for us). We have another new baby girl who joined our family yesterday - pure joy - while we also prepare for my Mother's knee surgery this week and other hurtful trials whose verdict will impact our family (YES, asking for prayers!).

With all this swirl of emotion, memory, and life I am reminded this morning yet again of the enormity of God's grace and love. The power of that love and the faith that propels action. 

It is so easy to view the world's chaos and deafening confusion as more powerful when the lies that it creates appear to win the day.

I watch and am often saddened by the hateful actions caused by weaponizing words designed to create fear, anger, and despair; the dehumanizing of individuals that are deemed 'different' and the voices that render that diversity with the verdict of "unacceptable." I see so many people of faith missing what Jesus said were the greatest commandments: (Matthew 22:37-40)
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Love - not judge. Not divide, dehumanize, or destroy.   LOVE.  You shall love...

There is no fear in perfect love. Love is the single, most powerful force in the universe. Love overcomes. When love is lost, the pain of that grief is deafening because the love was so strong.

When you witness single acts of hate such as the mass shootings or hear our leaders disparaging remarks, it is again tempting to believe the lies that the negative forces of hate and the deception those things perpetuate... but then in the midst of evil's destruction GOD shows up in a flood of compassion and strength to resist that evil forcing it to flee. And it does flee... our battle is to recognize and resist what attempts to kill, steal, or destroy that LOVE and the actions such love demands: and I remember MERCY (link to teaching: The Way of Mercy).

As I share my reflections on this crisp Sunday morning, I want to encourage us all to KNOW that His love is the fulfillment of the law, the rules... transcendent in it's simplicity and call to action:

Love does conquer all.
Joy is our strength.
Life doesn't stop for our grief... but God does always provide a way of escape, helpers along the journey to sustain us.

Today I choose to embrace that FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.

Today I choose to learn something new about a neighbor, coworker, classmate, or simply someone new I encounter to better demonstrate LOVE and to live in JOY rather than fear or despair. I choose to embrace that power rather than perpetually living under the oppression of criticism, judgment, death or unworthiness spoken to diminish the light burning within.

Today I choose to LIVE in fullness and peace. Strength. Wisdom. Joy and abundant favor. Blessing. LOVE.

Be who you are meant to be, not who others attempt to shape you into: Resist.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Plato's Chair

Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived somewhere between 428-348BC in Athens. He was taught by Socrates, another philosopher who established a tradition of skepticism founded on the principles of constant change. Nothing is permanent and in fact our senses, things we believe to be eternal can actually deceive us.

For Plato, despite this ever-changing world which would appear to be unreliable, he believed there was more to the story. He argued in fact that there was a "more real world" of Forms or Ideas that existed in their own realm and that what we perceive or conceive is only an abstract facsimile of the perfect example of the given thing, form or idea. So in effect, when we look at or touch a chair, we are only experiencing an imperfect representation of the perfect Form that exists in our minds.
Therefore, real knowledge is gained only by those who can comprehend and understand that there is a true reality that lives behind our everyday experiences in this world. Plato further explains this in his analogy of people who spend their whole lives living in a cave (Allegory of the Cave). All they ever see are the shadows on the walls created by their campfire. This is their perception of reality. In truth, there are real things that make the shadows in the cave but we all must step out into the sunlight to clearly SEE, otherwise we live our lives believing the shadows (perception) are what's real.

People in the cave only see the reflection of a chair on the cave wall, not the chair itself.

Plato's point? Only those with the ability to step into the sunlight should rule... the ideal ruler is a philosopher-king because s/he has the ability to discern the Forms and when such a person comes to power, the citizens of the state will have the opportunity to step out of the cave and see the light.

As 2017 comes to a close, I wonder:
  • What reflections I am seeing on my cave wall? 
  • Have I challenged myself to see past my perceptions - to strive to comprehend the real Forms behind what I think I see?
Despite being bombarded by the shadows - all the negativity we hear, see or read in our culture today - I pray for the wisdom and discipline to step back and to step out into the light.

There is so much we can learn from one another. We have so much work to do to fulfill our life's purpose. I believe God is calling us all to remember who we are and more importantly to remember who HE is as we begin each day.

Going forward, I challenge myself to be better, to do better. I challenge myself to LOVE more, to forgive freely, to be open to change and to resist the temptation to be afraid, to blame, or to rationalize, justify or explain. We are taught in Matthew 5:37 to let our "YES" be yes and our "NO" be no.
I am excited to walk the path God has for me knowing that He has plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I will go wherever You send me, Lord. Help me to see past my own reflections and walk into Your Light... to step forward boldly and with joy.
May we all take a moment today to breathe, smile, and look past our own limited cave walls!


Monday, December 28, 2015


I read this devotional today and it helped me. I pray for Shalom: "may our lives become all they should be so we may experience perfect peace."  


We know that the world’s original harmony was wrecked by sin. Like a Molotov cocktail thrown into a backyard garden, sin exploded the world that God had made, fracturing and dividing it. Instead of wholeness, brokenness; instead of health, illness; instead of friendship with God, alienation; instead of peace, strife.

Because we live in this fallen world that is yet to be fully redeemed, we can only glimpse the fullness of God’s peace. Scripture tells us, however, about God’s original intentions for the world he made. Consider the Hebrew word shalom, which is often translated “peace” in English translations of the Bible. While such a translation is accurate, comparing the word peace to the word shalom is like comparing a twig to a log or a boy to a man. When we think of peace, we tend to think of an inner sense of calm or an absence of conflict.

Shalom, however, means these things and more. It means “wellness,” “completeness,” “perfection,” “safety,” “soundness,” “success,” “wholeness,” “health,” and good relationships between people and nations. When there is shalom, everything is as it should be, our lives are as God meant them to be, our world is in the order he intended. To experience such peace in its fullness is to experience healing, satisfaction, prosperity. To be at peace is to be happy, fulfilled. It is a sign of the blessed life of the new creation. Peace has a whiff of paradise about it. It offers us a taste of the world to come.

Sometimes we sense this kind of peace as we worship with others, or as we pray quietly, or when forgiveness is asked for and received. Bent things are straightened. Hurt things are healed.

The Bible locates shalom in only one place — in God himself. We find such peace by living in harmony with him. As we do, our divisions, both external and internal, start to heal. We become fulfilled, complete. The harmony we have with him in turn produces harmony with others and harmony within ourselves. This is peace beyond our circumstances or feelings. 

This is shalom—life as it should be.


I'm reading the @YouVersion plan 'The Peace God Promises'. Check it out here: http://bible.com/r/Wy

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reflecting On the Past

Thank you Lord, I needed this direction today... You always know exactly what I need to hear and I am grateful, humbled, and blessed.

Thanks Riverbend Church Austin for your faithfulness.

Sermon by Pastor Dave Haney

Forget 'the good old days" & its insidious soft lens, which anchors us to the past.

1. Embellished accomplishments - always better in our memories than reality (threw TD pass but on bench).

2. Exaggerated expectations (root cause marriage - not what you expected, fantasy not reality, unrealistic expectations that you've attached to these to people) often cause separation -- prisoner of past, Spouse fell short of 'supposed to be' then one leaves for greener pastures bc they are unwilling to see you're best days are ahead of you together.

One thing @ life that will never change is that it will always change!

3. Endless grievances (real wounds), some scars remain, like divorce, abandonment, rejection etc are visible lessons; never get over it but now need to free ourselves. Others for example, kid borrowed $0.15 for lunch in 3rd grade. Get over it!! ;) that's not to say that there are Grievances that mean you're never good enough! You Exceed your quota but then your boss, your spouse, etc add more, keep raising bar so you're never good enough. They finally set a bar that you cannot attain no matter how hard you try... So now you Can't move forward bc you're stuck in this pain.  Result -- Attach ourselves to past bc think our best days are over... Future holds less bc you remember when bar was lower and you felt loved by that person, felt good enough... Let this go! Release yourself from those words, wounds...

1. Fingerprints of God -- catastrophic moments that show you God's intervention again and again making you who you are. God moved according to a plan God had better for us, to use those painful circumstances to teach us and mold us. How God has seen us thru. He's done it before and will do it again! Be encouraged and press on. Trust He will see us thru again, better....when it seemed hopeless, God moved. He Knows and He is at work for us behind the scenes changing our circumstances in ways we cannot imagine (secret desires of our hearts we don't dare breathe or speak).

2. The Ones That Made Us Better -- people who make us stronger or better; circumstances they influence that make us better. Never forget the cost (on you or others) of what it took to get us where we are - never want to go thru the heartache and darkness again. But don't forget... Remember the Angels along the way. People who believe in us! Who encourage us...who loved us. Remember the people who loved us so well and were so good to us even when we didn't deserve it. Remember well those angels in disguise in our lives. They mattered...

3. The Difference You Make -- (legacy) -- our impact. A difference was made by you. Question: did your lesson, your choices damage another? If yes, repent and seek real forgiveness. If not rejoice in how God used you to make a difference in someone else's life.

There are things we must let go of to move on to our higher calling and there are things worth holding onto to build on. Time to build something new, release the old yes, but learn to remember well. 

Champion 2nd Chances and believe your best days are before you not behind you!! Allow for your 2nd chance with someone you dearly love or loved. Don't let your pride or anger keep you from your future.

Remember Well.

Remember with thankfulness and gratitude; remember well for the opportunities that lay ahead and leave a legacy of love...

Express the Truth - say I miss you. I love you.  He told jokes in midst of circumstances - Dr Gerald Mann: today he would still say: 

"You're Not Done Yet! PRESS ON!"

For more please go to www.riverbend.com 

            Think. Write. Believe. Act.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Learning through Pain

Being human is okay... No one is perfect. Keep trying. Keep believing. Keep trusting regardless of the circumstances.

I am learning.

Thanks @MaxLucado for the wisdom in your words!

"Joseph couldn’t make up his mind! He welcomed them, wept over them, ate with them, and then played a trick on them. He was at war with himself. These brothers had peeled the scab off his oldest and deepest wound. And he would be hanged before he’d let them do it again. On the other hand, these were his brothers, and he would be hanged before he lost them again.

Forgiveness vacillates like this. It has fits and starts, good days and bad. Anger intermingled with love. Irregular mercy. We make progress only to make a wrong turn. Step forward and fall back. But this is okay. When it comes to forgiveness, all of us are beginners. No one owns a secret formula. As long as you are trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It’s when you no longer try that bitterness sets in.

Stay the course. You’ll spend less time in the spite house and more in the grace house”

Excerpt From: Lucado, Max. “You'll Get Through This.” Thomas Nelson, 2013-06-01. iBooks. 
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itun.es/us/VpgML.l

Day 3
Week 2

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I believe and declare...

All of us suffer loss, endure injustices, face setbacks, even forks in the road designed to test our faith, challenge our beliefs, and try our patience and peace. Today again I am grateful for the lessons.

The Word tells us His ways are higher than our ways. I've never known this to be more true than this moment.

I have always believed in praying specifically so God could receive the glory for His work rather than victories being chalked up to chance. Part of me though was deceived into believing free will was greater than God's power and plan. That slight misunderstanding caused me such sorrow and suffering.

Today I rebuke those thoughts and words spoken...and ask forgiveness for my failings and shortsightedness. I was resisting being thrown into the furnace, praying fervently against it and wondering why my prayers seemed to be unanswered. Now I know God's plan was not to save me from the fire as I asked but to bring me through the fire with my bonds burned free... Bringing me through the wilderness, across the Red Sea into a NEW and better place.

Our God is the Alpha AND the Omega - He has already declared the day of my release - the end date for this weeping. It is coming. And when He brings me out, ALL will see His glory in the abundance of blessings and double portion of favor bestowed on me. He doesn't allow the pain, the test, the furnace without a plan for freedom on the other side twice as good as anything you had before.

As the tears flow, the Word says He gathers those to create pools of blessings.

Thank you Lord for the furnace. In it I am blessed to stand with You, see You and be closer to you... the flames cannot touch me. Those chains, the bonds tying my hands, blinding my vision, and burdening my soul are the only things melting away. 

I didn't understand it; now my heart sees it. I look forward with joy for the day of my release and restoration. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. Thank You Lord for teaching me to Count IT All JOY!

I believe and declare my day of release, healing, restoration and abundance is on the horizon. Not my will but Thine be done, always. Your timing, not mine.

I love You Lord Jesus.
Thank You for the leap, this test of faith and lesson in Trust. Keep me in perfect peace in the furnace in the meantime...while You make a way where there seems to be No way.

I believe. I trust You.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Where to begin?

Today is a day unlike any I've known in some time. It's a day of loss (6/11/15). It's a day of learning to trust the path wherever it leads.

Despite my heart's pain, I still believe...
Despite my mind's battle, I still trust...
Despite my body's fatigue, I still move forward...

The God of all, the Alpha and the Omega still bends down to hear my cry and catch my tears. The hairs on my head are numbered as are my days on this earth. 

The Lord remains my shepherd...

...I shall not want.

Deliver me from me, Lord. Forgive my weaknesses and light momentary afflictions that cause me such angst.

Help me see with Your eyes.

Your grace is sufficient for me today...