Dangerously Different

So, today this blog entry came up on my memories, I wrote this three years ago.

It may seem a strange thing to say your own writing moved you to tears, but in this case it is the simple truth. Of course I was carried on the wings of memories to precious moments from the past. A small portion of Jesse’s adoption story is included. It’s such a beautiful example of how God has formed our family so lovingly together.

I’ve recently spoken to a literary agent about the possibility of writing about our adoption stories. I’ve hesitated to do so because, well, they are so personal. Reading this blog myself today afresh and anew has given me the courage to try.
They are such stories or love conquering the very things that want to tear us apart and using the very glue of adversity to bind us together.

Stephanie Rodda

Having been born in the Deep South I have a heritage steeped in both immense pride and terrible shame. I was born in Louisiana, lived in Texas and Georgia, graduated high school in Mississippi. I have close family in Arkansas and am raising a family in Alabama – I get it, I truly do. I get what our unique culture offers, good and bad. I have experienced it.

My friend and pastor often says that a man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument. This is so true. I have experienced a unique and sometimes dangerously different way of life that can’t be argued away. It doesn’t matter one bit if you refuse to agree or refuse to see, my experience will not yield to your arguments.

Twenty years ago I would have just turned thirty and have been feeling quite grown up…

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Moments Matter

Here’s the thing I want to say today to myself and to lots of other folks that I love and care about. Heck, I even want to say it to you if you are someone I haven’t ever even met. Here is what I want to say to us all. Moments matter.

You have been given this life, this day, this moment to breathe and inspire and learn and love. And yes, sometimes it is a moment to grieve and heal and recognize loss. Before you have even finished reading this short blog entry, one moment will have passed and another will be before you. Moments matter.

I think in this day of hurry up and get to the next thing we sometimes fall into the mentality of being too busy to pick up a penny and too careless with the moments in our hand. We think we must wait for the big moments and spend all of the other moments preparing for them. What we don’t realize is that every moment matters.

Right this moment, this very moment, I have opportunities that may never come my way again. That opportunity may be to rest and refresh myself. That opportunity may be to pray to a God who is listening on behalf of a friend who is hurting. That opportunity may be to write or sing or dance or be still. It may be to pause and consider. It may be to take action and to do so quickly. Moments matter.

Let’s face it, if we could, there would be a few moments that we would retrieve and a few that have caused us some regrets. We can hope we don’t make those same mistakes and have learned better. However, there will be new moments where we will rush through, speak rashly, stumble in our haste, lose our temper, speak unkindly or make a mess of things. Here’s the thing, even those moments matter.

Do you know why moments matter? They matter because people matter.  They matter because you matter. Your thoughts, your actions, your hopes, your dreams, even your worst moments matter. Your pain, your struggles, your disappointments, even the apparently insignificant moments matter.

If we aren’t careful, in this time we live in where we are flooded with images of horrific moments, history making moments, newsworthy moments and moments that leave us feeling powerless, we will overlook the moments right before us. These are the moments that we can choose to embrace, choose to learn and grow from, choose to lavish upon those we care for and by doing so be empowered. Moments matter.

 

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Perfect

One year ago today I penned these thoughts. I could have easily written these words today.

Y’all, if we don’t learn to step back from the perfect chaos, we will never find perfect peace. Avoid the #peacethieves and guard your hearts and minds.

I hope you’ll take a few moments and read this and then pass it on. Our state of well-being is under attack and the price is high.

Stephanie Rodda

Practically everyone I know has, at this precise moment, a perfect opportunity to be anxious. If it isn’t a personal matter like your marriage or your children or your health or your bank account, there’s plenty to be concerned about in our society. Senseless murders, tragic disasters and alarming events continue to happen daily and then flood our minds and hearts with images of sorrow and fear.

As a matter of fact it is perfectly understandable that more folks suffer from anxiety than ever before. The world is a scary place and due to social media in part, we are barely able to catch our breath before the next bad news is upon us.

The pressure on families to face the demands of life and not only keep afloat financially but, raise your children to be decent people with a decent education and a decent character are enormous and the…

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Fully Present

I don’t know about y’all and your life at this present moment, but I know about mine and here is what I know. There’s so much I want to do, need to learn, aim to accomplish and hope to achieve that I have been struggling lately with being fully present in the here and now. 

Hey, I believe in dreams and plans and goals. I think we should actively be honing skills, preparing for the next thing and growing spiritually. Right at this moment I’ve got a list of impressive size of just those sort of things. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

The tricky part is to make sure you don’t forget to be fully present today, at this very moment. The challenge is to avoid focusing so intently on the days to come that we lose the opportunity to give today our full attention. 

Today I am going to give my best to the moment at hand, be present and give my full attention to this time I have been given. Whether it is a chore or a child, a meal or a school lesson, a conversation or a game, I want the task, the person, to be more important than what tomorrow may or may not ever bring. 

When I’m struggling or even stumbling, I can always count on the Word of God to adjust my focus so I can see more clearly. 

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

‭‭James‬ ‭4:13-17‬ ‭NLT‬

That last little portion squeezes my heart. To know what you ought to do and then not do it is a sin. That’s a serious statement. There’s not much wiggle room there for us to squeeze in excuses and justifications. Here’s what I’m hearing. Don’t neglect today on your way to tomorrow. 

Father, give me strength I pray to stay focused on today while I dream of tomorrow. Give me the ability to balance achieving goals of the future while embracing the gift of the present. Help me to never overlook an opportunity of the moment as I stride towards the future. Amen. 

The In-Between Dad

Happy Father’s Day!
We don’t have to have the perfect dad to celebrate this day!

Stephanie Rodda

There will be a few of you who read this who have a dad that the greeting cards describe. You know, the perfect dad, the dad who was always there, the dad who supported you, the dad who protected you, the dad who didn’t traumatize you, abandon you, come late into your life, impact your life negatively in some manner or tear your family apart. I think that is amazing if you do. I truly do. But, then there’s the rest of the world and their experience isn’t quite the same.

So, what do you do when it seems the whole world is celebrating and you have nothing to celebrate? I honestly don’t think anything has quite the same impact on a person’s life as a broken or strained or abusive relationship with a father. It is a unique kind of pain and can cause trust and relationship issues enormously…

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Is Love Black and White?

“You don’t fall into it. You don’t fall out of it. You decide. You choose. You commit. You determine. You take a chance. You risk everything. You love.”

Stephanie Rodda

Ask a lot of folks about love, about relationships, about family and they’ll offer a disclaimer, “It’s complicated.” Perhaps they are right with their perspective but, I have a different view. It’s rather black and white.

I think love can be at it’s very core very simple and straightforward. I’d go as far as to say it is black and white. I believe the complications arise when we rely upon emotions and feelings versus choices and commitments.

I’ve had sincere people ask me with all honesty if it was really possible to love a child you adopted with the same depth as a child you birthed. I always assure them that yes, absolutely it is possible. I often see the hope reflected in their eyes that I am right but, a bit of skepticism bordering that hope like a thin veil of protection keeps them from fully embracing it.

When…

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Things Are About to Change 

This is why I write. I shared these words at SCWC last year and they still hold true.

I write because I want to give cause for pause. What I mean, is I want them to stop for a moment and reconsider what they think they already know and be willing to think different thoughts with a new perspective.

Today, if you’re convinced things are how they are and always will be, please take a moment and take cause for pause. Things truly are about to change.

Stephanie Rodda

I was honored to be able to speak briefly during the Encouraging Words session at the Southern Chistian Writer’s Conference in Tuscaloosa last weekend, June 5, 2015. This blog post is that inspirational speech that I gave there. I hope the words will inspire you as well. All of us have dreams and aspirations. With a few determined steps – Things are about to change!

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When the Sloans asked me to speak my first thought was “But, I haven’t published anything yet.” And then my next thought was, neither have most of you. And so today, I say what I say as a fellow wannabe that’s still in the trenches with you.

No, we have not yet arrived. We have not yet reached our final goal, but, we are here and ready to take the next step of our journey. We may still be in the trenches but we…

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