Learning to Trust

The other night, my Girlie asked me to help her get ready for her Spanish quiz.

Learning to Trust“Okay. Como te llamas?” I asked with a slow drawl so she could understand my words.

“No, Mom! I’m not supposed to be able to speak it. I have to learn to write the words and spell them properly.”

“Spanish is a phonetic language. If you can first pronounce the words, it’ll make it easier to spell them.”

“But you’re doing it wrong,” she protested. I chose to dismiss the irony that she complained about not being able to learn based on the way her teacher taught it, but then got upset that I wasn’t teaching it the same way.

“I need you to trust me, okay?”

Before I could complete another sentence, “yes, but you don’t understand . . .”

“I’m asking you to trust me,” I repeated with enough gusto that she knew to stop and hear me out. “I need you to believe that I know you well enough to understand how you learn. I also need you to remember that I’m bilingual and I need you to trust that I tutor other kids, including in Spanish. This  might not feel like you’re learning what you need to at first, but I need you to trust that you are. Can you do that for me?”

“Okay,” she quietly responded.

For thirty minutes, I asked her questions or had her repeat sentences while I pulled weeds. Most of the time she obliged me, although a few times she stopped me to remind me that she needed to memorize the sentences and know how to spell everything. Regardless of her comments, we kept trekking along.


“Mom, can you just quiz me and see if I can write it?” she asked.

“Okay. How about you go inside and write it out.”

A few minutes later, she handed me the paragraph. In Spanish. With 1 letter off on a word and another missing an accent. Coming from the girl who normally makes spelling mistakes in English all the time.

I wanted to say, “See. I told you so,” but before such wisdom could pour out of my mouth, a question penetrated to the marrow.

“Will you trust me?”


“Stacy, do you believe I know you well enough to understand how you learn? Do you believe I’m capable of teaching you? Will you let me teach you in the way I know is best for you?”



As I recounted this to a friend, I cried out, “and here I was thinking we were just learning about verbs.”

“You were,” she replied. “The verb is trust.”

Stacy Voss

3 Things to do When you Lose Your Way

“Stacy, what are you doing?” my boss asked over the walkie-talkie. “You’re taking the group the wrong way.”

1I was helping lead mission trips in Juarez, Mexico over the summer. The group would spend half the week building homes and the other half helping with Vacation Bible School, and would take a hike to a huge statue of Jesus hanging on the cross in between.

When I say huge, I mean it. We’re talking at least 60 feet high. It was so large, in fact, that there wasn’t a trail to it. There were rolling hills every which way, and as you climbed one, you simply looked at that cross to help orient yourself.

Coming back down, however, was a different story, which led to that question from my boss.

“Wait while I catch up to you. I’m going to lead everyone to the bus and I’ll have you hang back with the stragglers.”

“Um, okay,” I replied, beyond confused because my internal GPS was 100% certain I had been leading the group the right way. After Brad caught up and guided the group, I followed obediently, all the while questioning and wondering. I felt lost and disoriented.

Ever been there?

Maybe not in the hills of the Mexican/American border, but life tends to throw things our way that make us wonder if we’re heading the right direction or tip us so off kilter we’re not even sure what to do. When you’re there again and you’ve lost your way, here are a few pointers:

1. Admit you’re lost

I just lost all of the dudes that were reading. This isn’t about being macho or even the opposite end of the spectrum of beating ourselves up. Let’s just call it like it is.

“I’m lost.”

“I don’t know for sure which way to go.”

Those statements appear simple, yet they hold great power, for it is only once we recognize where we are (or in this sense, admit we don’t have a clue where we are) that we are able to receive the guidance and direction to take us to where we need to be. Sometimes this is a humble prayer of “God, I don’t have a clue what to do right now.”

2. Reset your GPS

Hebrews 11:1 tells us to “fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith.” Whenever we trekked through those hills to the statue, we knew exactly which way to go since Jesus was so easy to see. We just kept our eyes on that cross and kept moving towards it.

Unfortunately, the Jesus that lives in you and me (as opposed to the one cast in plaster on that cross) doesn’t seem as easy to find. When that’s the case, let’s reset our navigation by stating what we feel: “Jesus, I know you are here, but I can’t see you right now. Please direct my steps.”

3. Don’t rely solely on others

This one is a hard one for me, for I’m a huge proponent to community. However, there are times when God will take us places that others will criticize. Perhaps they’ll even make fun of us because they can’t understand (many times we can’t, either). People are wonderfully amazing, but at the end of they day, they’re just that: people. We’ll never have the full depth of understanding that God alone possesses.

There are times many trusted and wise people will give incredible counsel, and sometimes that might go against what you believe what you’re supposed to do. If that’s the case, go back to step 2. “God, I think you’re saying _____, but a lot of people are saying ______. I don’t want to convince myself that you’re saying something if you aren’t, but I also don’t want to talk myself out of doing what you ask of me just because others encourage me not to go that way.”

You see, from the time my boss first called me on the walkie-talkie to the time he caught up with us, I asked others what they thought. Some agreed that I had been going the right way, while others said he was right. A 50/50 split (95% of whom were high-schoolers, by the way), led to us following Brad.

And following.

And following.

What should have taken 30 minutes turned into 2 1/2 hours in the hot, Mexican sun.

But this isn’t about if I was right or Brad was, it really goes back to number 2. You see, we could clearly look at the cross while climbing to it, but we also could see it while walking away from it, it just took a little more effort as we stopped and turned around. “Jesus’ right hand points back to the bus,” was the mantra we created later that day after guiding 30 tired, thirsty teens through the desert.

I’ll be the first to admit these steps don’t come quickly. I’ve admitted I was lost more times than I could begin to count, sprawled myself across the floor begging God to lead and direct while listening to the sound of crickets. It can be maddening, that not-hearing-thing, and yet when I finally see, I see more than the just the path ahead of me: I see God. Leading me a step at a time.

Stacy Voss


The Effects of Infidelity 13 Years Later

I don’t normally make a big deal out of being on the radio, but this one took so much out of me that I want to share in case it helps give something to someone else. This is the podcast I mentioned the other day where I shared about the pains of being cheated on. And cried, fortunately just the ugly tears and not the whole snot-dripping thing that almost happened. Yes, 13 years later and apparently it still has that effect on me.

The first part of the show is an amazing story about adoption. You’ll quickly see why the box of Kleenex made it my way in the studio before I even said a word about infidelity.

And to the many of you I begged to pray for me as I recorded this, thank you tremendously! I felt God’s peace and knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be (although definitely NOT doing what I would have hoped).

Here’s to tears, and hope, and the friendship and prayers of many who helped me through something so difficult.

Stacy Voss

The effects of infidelity podcast

Wearing Ashley Madison’s Shirt

I never wanted it.

Actually, never thought it’d even be an option, and for that I was grateful.

Yet I got it nonetheless. The shirt, that is. The one that said Cheated On in big letters across the chest. It was so riddled with guilt and shame that holes exposed areas it shouldn’t, and nearly eradicated the “on” so all that was left to see was “Cheated.”

Yes, I felt incredibly embarrassed after learning of my spouse’s infidelity. Okay, maybe not really embarrassed.


It came from everywhere, those quiet murmurings of those around me, the little “if only you had” (I’ll let you fill in the blank, but it doesn’t take much to imagine the rest of that sentence). Having my then mother-in-law buy me lingerie didn’t help the cause much, either.

I was going to write more to my fellow “Ashleys”, those other men and women who, whether through a website hack, a trusted friend who respects you enough to tell you the truth, or uncovering that which was never meant to happen nor be covered. I wanted to tell you there is hope. There is.

I wanted to tell you to forgive yourself. Be good to yourself. Don’t let others place that dirty rag of shame upon you.

I wanted to tell you of new life that can happen, either within your marriage or even just in your own self.

I wanted to, but honestly, right now I can’t.

You see, I offered to be on a radio show to speak out on what it’s like to have an unfaithful spouse. I knew I was half-mad to offer such a thing, yet also felt like it was exactly what God wanted me to do. Can’t really fight that, now can I?

So I did. With tears.

Yes, tears.

This girl doesn’t cry publicly often, especially on something that is recorded and will forever have a home on the internet. But cry, I did.

Angie, the host of The Good News with Angie Austin, mentioned, “it’s amazing that after 13 years it still brings you to tears. I know you’ve forgiven and moved on and your tears speak to the amount of pain infidelity brings.”

13 years. Actually, 13 years and 3 days to be exact. I stopped counting a long time ago, but as the Ashley Madison stuff broke (if you aren’t familiar with it, its a website designed for married people who want to cheat. It was hacked recently and the names of everyone involved with the site are becoming public), a friend slipped back to the day she found out about her husband’s other life. As she cried and shared the date of her D-Day, I realized that our twin towers crumbled on the same exact day. August 22nd.

One doesn’t forget that kind of thing, I guess. After all, infidelity is a soul-betrayal, a slice to the core that nothing else can touch. Incomprehensible pain.

So, fellow Ashleys, I’m sorry. My heart aches for you in a way you couldn’t know, for no one should have to walk through this.

I’ll post a link to the podcast of the radio show once it’s available in the next day or so. Until then, I offer a prayer for all of you who know this pain:

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask, think or imagine.

God, I pray for each man and woman who has learned that their spouse was cheating on them. Bring peace, even when it seems foreign and out of place. Give them your hope and your love. Direct their steps and bring wise friends their way to support and encourage. And God, do more. No, so, so very much more than we can imagine. We don’t ask for them to get through, to survive as one who walks through the flames and comes out scarred and unrecognizable. Do more, God. Teach. Transform. Hold them close and let them feel your breath and your sweet mercy fall upon them.



Here’s a link to the podcast. I share after the first story on adoption.


Destroyed by another

DESTROYED BY OTHER'S ACTIONSThis house is personal to me, although I’ve never met the owners and haven’t been inside its walls.

There isn’t a need, for what I’ve seen on the outside is enough. This picture doesn’t do it justice, mainly because it took me nearly a year to capture it on pixels, a span of time that erased most of the damage.

Most, but not all.

Yes, this house shares my story in many ways.

From what I’ve heard, there was a car parked in its driveway that caught on fire. The flames quickly spread and before long, the house was burning, too. Fire trucks came. Water doused. Lives saved. And probably a lot of belongings lost.

Boards soon covered the windows, or should I say, the places windows once were. Dark lines painted the area where the smoke pushed off the roof and escaped. A roll-off sat parked in the driveway for many months. As I went past it on my runs, it looked like it’d been left to remain in its sad, unusable condition.

But then.

It took a long time, but I began to see it. The change, that is. The house hadn’t been abandoned, although it was uninhabitable. The things that were supposed to provide support weren’t as strong as they once were, but rather than destroying the entire house, they were reinforced.

This house is personal because a problem in something else tore it down. The homeowners couldn’t have known that having a friend park in their driveway would destroy what had once been their sanctuary. Without saying too much about my marriage that once was, I’ll simply say there was a diagnosis left untreated, and by refusing to care for it, flames erupted that spread to people beyond the one diagnosed. No, I’m not shirking my role in the demise or attempting to paint a black-and-white, all good or bad picture. I’m simply saying God used that house to set me free, releasing me from the guilt, the shame and the doubt that started to burn the foundation of my being.

He used it to remind me that sometimes we find ourselves in unfortunate positions and get caught in the crossfire, like those unfortunate victims that simply wanted to watch a movie, and yet never made it out of the theater because James Holmes opened fire.

But this house does more than just remind me: it encourages me. Perhaps that is why I couldn’t bring myself to snap a pic when it was in its sad state and only could once it looked more like, well, like a house, the thing it was designed to be.

This fire that spread into my life from someone else’s actions threatened to destroy everything, collapsing the foundation until all that remained was rubble. I haven’t been around this piece of internet real-estate because what I once held true was so scorched that I couldn’t believe it had a place anymore.

I didn’t lose faith in God, but I stopped believing that God could use me. I let myself believe that the smoke-streaked facade proved I was too inept, too broken to live what I was called to do.

As I write those words, I realize that believing God couldn’t use this mess is just the same as saying I lost faith in God, for how does one truly believe God can do anything, while simultaneously believing He can’t do anything? In fact, the irony is too much to ignore, for Jesus himself said,

This is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24, emphasis mine

Broken isn’t a foreign place to God; it’s the very place He can do some of His most powerful work.

What about you? Are you broken? If so, do you think that disqualifies you? Are you willing to risk the faith with me to believe that belief in Him somehow also means belief in you, that He who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask, think or imagine could actually do some of that immeasurably more stuff in these shattered messes?


Linking in with:

Ember Grey
Missional Women


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

Ephesians 3:20

I bet you’ve heard this verse before, but it grabs me. I just love the ordering:

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more


1) all we ask

I usually ask for 1/1oth of what I imagine.

Maybe less.

“You don’t have because you don’t ask.” James 4:2-3

I’m scared to ask because I think my ask is too far-fetched, or more like so far-fetched that God will laugh hilariously at me. In my face.

Um, those words glare at me, highlighting how little of God’s character I really understand. It’s like when my kids say they’re scared to ask me something because they think I’ll get mad and I ask them to think about what they know of me and if their fears line up with what they know about me.

I just struck myself out on that one.

2) Immeasurably more than you imagine.

We’re not talking a smidge more, a granule of sand larger than what we dare ask.

Nope! This is a straight-up, over-the-top, blow your mind away kind of thing. It’s a dare of sorts. Imagine it big. Bigger yet. Now quadruple it. Okay. Now you’re getting close.

Close to 1% of what God could do, that is!

God, I want to remember daily that you and you alone are capable of so much more than my mind could ever comprehend.

3) According to his power that is at work within us.

Oh, my. This immeasurably more isn’t measured by the stars in the heaven lies or in the sum of creation.

It is here.

In me.

And you.

Because of God.

Unworthiness magnified.

Grace personified.

Glory identified.

I wrote all of the above in my journal after reading Ephesians 3:20 a few weeks ago. I’d love to end this post here, but honestly, that isn’t where my I ended my journaling that morning. Here’s the rest (written to God, hence the reluctance to write it here):

“Here’s my ask, the big scary put-it-out-there that seems large to me, yet puny to you.

I want to work in my strengths,

~in an environment where it is predominantly healthy, positive and encouraging,

~where mistakes are allowed

~improvements encouraged, and accomplishments acknowledged.

That might seem minor and simplistic to some, but for me, it is no small thing. So I’m putting it out there, not as a way to expect God to do it, but because it scares the tar out of me to state what I’m asking for. I’m hoping that by doing so, you’ll join me in praying for that, but more importantly, by joining me in thinking through specifically what immeasurably more might look like in your life.

What does more look like in your life?

Stacy Voss

Becoming Family

My Girlie and I watched “The Blind Side” last weekend, that movie based on a true story of a family seeing someone in need, bringing him into their home, and becoming family.

I sobbed uncontrollably, that quivering body kind of cry that comes from deep within. Yes, I’d seen the movie many times before and yes, I knew the storyline well, but this time I watched it through a different lens: mine. It wasn’t just a story about them. It is mine, as well.

If you missed my blog about Lessons from the Basement, feel free to check it out to understand the context of this story. When the kids and I moved into my friend’s basement, it was truly that: my friend. I’d known You Are Loved (the mom) for quite some time and we used to get our boys together for playdates back before they started kindergarten. But a few lapsed years in kidsville is enough to nullify a relationship (while at the same time being able to pick up the pieces–typically of the lego variety–within a few minutes). In fact, You Are Loved and I hadn’t kept up much over the past few years, the demands of motherhood and family life grabbing for our attention.

I’d met You are Loved’s husband a few times over the years at birthday parties and such. I knew where he worked and a hobby or two he enjoyed, but beyond that, I really didn’t know The Dude Upstairs. And there were their twin girls, Noodles and Giggles, who although they didn’t look anything alike, I couldn’t remember which was which (anyone else have this really bad trait of always confusing people if they meet two people simultaneously?).

So we moved in, this motley lot of slightly disheveled in appearance and definitely so in soul gang. We were told to make ourselves at home, and we tried, all the while knowing it was their home. We tread lightly. Tried to not make much noise (unsuccessfully since we’re not a quite bunch), and counted our blessings, the blessings basement, that is.

It stayed that way for a bit, the treading lightly thing that is, not the counting of blessings. But before long, it wasn’t uncommon for 5 kids to be in “my place” rather than just the 2 I had birthed. I got to know Noodles and Giggles, learning about their personalities and being given the unique privilege of listening to their hearts, their fears, dreams, and everything in between.

We moved in with a few things: some extra clothes, a few towels, and stuff of the sort. Yet when we moved out a year and a half later, we left with much more, the most notable of which being a larger number of people in my framily. Yes, these dear people who once were friends grew to extend to something much deeper: family.

It’s taken me a month to finish this post, in part because packing and moving took more energy than I expected, but also because my screen goes blurry (or more accurately, I can’t see the screen through the tears).  I can’t put an ending to this post because the truth is that I haven’t ended anything, but simply changed locations with the same cast and characters, characters I love with everything in me.

I don’t want to turn a blind eye to my Blind Side story. So I feebly offer these words to the people I cherish too much to reveal their true identities:

My sister made this gorgeous frame for me. 3 pictures are of the kids and me. The 4th is of my new family members, the ones forged through friendship and not blood.

My sister made this gorgeous frame for me. 3 pictures are of the kids and me. The 4th is of my new family members, the ones forged through friendship and not blood.

Thank you.

With everything in me, thank you. You didn’t just give me a place to live, you offered me safety, both physically and emotionally.

You didn’t just let me have scraps. You poured lavishly (and still do).

You didn’t act as if you were doing me a favor, and instead instilled dignity, even in a situation where it was easy to not have any.

And you didn’t just give me a key to your house. You opened everything to me, including your hearts.

I am forever changed and forever grateful.

Stacy Voss

Listen, Learn, Love: A Book Review

When Susie Albert Miller asked me to review her book Listen, Learn, Love: How to Dramatically Improve your Relationships in 30 Days or Less!, I must admit I was reluctant. Strike that: doubtful. My first thought was, “I just got divorced. Too late.”

But then, that very same thought flipped around. “I just got divorced. Great proof that I could stand to read something about relationships.” Plus, I went to Susie’s website and got a sneak peek at the beginning chapters.

“Okay, Susie, I’m in,” I messaged her.

My favorite image from the book is one of a couple giving Susie a small pair of child-sized, yellow rain boots with a note saying, “thanks for walking through the muck of life with us.” Ah, yes. I’m all about walking life with others and this book is all about the things Susie has learned as she has walked with others.

The title sounds simple.




But stop and think just about listen for a second and you’ll quickly realize it’s not nearly as simple as it sounds. I know I’m prone to interrupting, to “listening” long enough to form an opinion and hijack the conversation.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter titled “Hearing without Listening”:

Is being right more important than this relationship? I encourage you to ask yourself this question often in the midst of a tense conversation or disagreement. Remembering this question reminds me the relationship is most important and helps me practice Listen, Learn, Love, especially when I don’t want to. It has kept me from making a difficult situation worse and reminded me to be willing to say I’m sorry. Knowing this truth and putting it into practice often seems like crossing the Grand Canyon. We falsely view being the first to apologize as a sign of weakness or as caving in. What if you reframed the choice to be the first to say I’m sorry as a sign of strength and humility? You willingly relinquish the demand to be right, communicating that this person and your relationship is more important. Can you imagine how your relationships would improve?

‘I’m sorry’ is not an admission of guilt. It is not declaring you purposely did or said something wrong or are taking responsibility for what you may be accused of doing. Sometimes it simply acknowledges their hurt and your sorrow for their struggle. It is giving them a place to share their feelings and your impact on them.” (pg. 66)

Listen Learn Love book

Listen, Learn, Love releases today! You can go to ListenLearnLovebook.com to pick up a copy and get over $250 in FREE Bonuses!


Lessons from the Basement

Last week I told you about “Pam,” my fellow bearer of the pain of infidelity. Our “cookie exchange” took place many years ago, but when I was about to move out of an apartment and into a house with my (second) husband, I couldn’t fathom what to do with so much living space. I’d been in such tight quarters for so long–and had lived in other countries long enough to remember that we really don’t need all that room–that I got the hub’s permission to invite Pam and her son to live with us since she needed to sell her house.

Image Courtesy Flickr: Drew Coffman

Image Courtesy Flickr: Drew Coffman

“It wouldn’t be a problem at all,” I told her. “There’s a finished, walk-out basement that you and Toby could have. You could even come in from the back and have your own entry. Besides, you’d be doing me a favor since we’ll never be able to furnish the entire house.”

Pam considered our invitation, but ultimately decided to move out of state to be closer to her family.

Pam’s story came to mind last week as I once again invited someone to come move into a place I don’t yet have possession of. The irony became too apparent to ignore. You see, I write this from a basement. Not just any basement, mind you.


For the past year and a half, the kids and I have lived in our friends’ basement. I’m sure you’re picturing darkness and a cold, sterile type environment. Let me just say that’s the furthest thing from describing where I live. I’ll explain more in a minute, but first let me backtrack to explain the bottom-dwelling thing.

My girlie and the hubs and I moved into the house I invited Pam to share with us. A few months later I had my Bubba. Life was amazing.

And then. There are parts of my story I’m not at liberty to share, this being one of them. I’ll just say that 70% of second marriages don’t last. With time, I unfortunately became one of those statistics. There came a day when I had to grab the kids and flee, running down the greenbelt (with the dog in hot pursuit), knocking on one of the many doors that I knew was open to me in case of such an event (you can laugh at this mental image of the kids and me sobbing with the dog panting next to us. My friend’s husband opened the door to see this tattered lot as I said, “I need a place to stay tonight, please.” God bless those folks!!).

The dog, the kids and I stayed there for a night, then transferred over to my parents’ house the next morning. They had a guest room with a double bed, meaning the kids and I took turns on who got to sleep in the bed and who got the air mattress on the floor next to the bed (which Bella, our big, black lab was convinced was for her). It was a great temporary fix, but the 45 minute drive to and from school kept me from ever seeing it as anything beyond temporary. Hence the desperate e-mail to a few friends asking if anyone knew of an affordable place closer to the kids’ school. Read: affordable as in dirt cheap since I was primarily a stay-at-(my parents’) home mom who only made a bit here and there from some speaking and writing gigs.

So, yes, in this post and the last, I’ve briefly hinted at a marriage ending with infidelity and a second where I fled and eventually found my way to my friend’s basement. God help this mess. It is here I want to camp a while, sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned from the basement.

Lessons on community.

Lessons on friendship.

Lessons on boldness, authenticity, fighting for and with those we love, and so much more.

But of course, my lessons are but a drop in the ocean of telling of God’s goodness and the things He teaches in the most unexpected ways. Please continue to honor me with your stories, too! I know some of you aren’t comfortable leaving comments, but always feel free to e-mail me your thoughts and feedback.

I’ll be back next Wednesday with some lessons from the basement. Until then, may the God who provides in ways that surpasses our wildest imaginations do exceedingly more than all we can ask, think or imagine.

Stacy Voss


I’m ready to share a bit more of my story. I type reluctantly, fearing these words will trigger the well of tears that have built up for much too long. But this is not a sob story, at least not the snippet I’m about to share. In fact, I’ll start with one of the funniest events, but first, let me get the dirty word out of the way that will otherwise keep you from ultimately seeing the humor in what I’m about to share.

Infidelity. That filthy, pain-wreaking action that tears everything to shreds. I know its pain, learned its effects all too well many years ago. It isn’t a pain you count in days. It’s more like PTSD, easily triggered when I hear of someone else struggling with it’s fallout. That’s how I met her. We’ll call her Pam.

Image Courtesy Flickr: Helga Weber

Image Courtesy Flickr: Helga Weber

A friend told me about Pam, knowing my heart would instantly go out to this person I hadn’t yet met since our souls shared the same aches. I soon met up with Pam one night over dinner. We cried, told stories, and I tried to serve as some encouragement as one who was several years down the post-infidelity road.

Okay, I promised funny. We’re getting close.

I went to visit Pam Christmas morning. There were a few hours in my day when I’d be all alone and Christmas isn’t meant to be spent by yourself in my book. So I grabbed a few plates of cookies and decided to do some Santa stops. I didn’t know exactly what I was expecting since I knew it was a bit odd to show up at someone’s house I barely knew Christmas morning, but whatever my expectations might have been, I can tell you they weren’t even close to what actually happened.

Pam was cold. Rude. Okay, more like tried fervently not to be mean, yet she could barely keep the door open long enough for me to give her the cookies.

Um, that’s weird, I thought, disappointed. As I drove, I toyed with scrapping the whole drop-off-cookies thing, thinking it too much of an intrusion on people’s family time when my phone rang.


“Hi, Stacy? This is Pam. Uh, did you just bring me cookies?”

It felt like a weird dream, having someone who I just talked to minutes earlier ask if I had talked to them minutes earlier.

“Um, well, yeah.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Pam gushed. “I didn’t recognize you since I only met you that one time.” To her credit, Pam had only met me once and to make matters worse, I had rushed out my house Christmas morning, throwing a hat on to cover my mop and still sporting my glasses rather than my typical contacts. Her confusion wasn’t without merit, but I’ll always remember exactly where I was when she said the following line: ” I thought you were one of my husband’s mistresses. Some have come by, you know, trying to warn me or something. I thought you were one of them and were giving me cookies to somehow apologize for destroying my marriage.”

Me, the girl who knows the searing pains of infidelity so deeply that I’ll go to every extreme imaginable to prevent it in someone else’s life, being accused of being a her, that nameless other lady who vies for a man’s attention . Ha!

Some of you are thinking I’m twisted for finding this comical. I chuckled a bit then, but trust me, Pam and I have had many a good laugh over it for the past decade, especially as I receive a Christmas card every year saying something about that one event.

This is out of character for me, but I think I’m gonna wrap up this post here without making any definite points yet. They’re coming, but I want to lay the stage a bit more before jumping into it and I don’t want to make you stare at this screen for that long. So for now, I think I’ll sign off. But do me a favor, will you? Since this kind of post isn’t typical for me, would you let me know if you enjoy it or if I should get back to the kind of writing you’ve grown to expect? I guess to answer that you might want a roadmap of where this story is heading, so here’s a sneak peek: inviting Pam to live in my basement, but eventually I was the bottom-dweller as the kids and I have lived in our friends’ basement apartment the last year and a half. I’ve learned about community in a way like never before. Same with having to be authentic and vulnerable, and yes, even about reaching out and asking for help (gulp). And as my friend, Robbie Iobst, says, “I did not die.” Or as Kelly Clarkson would say, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Yes, yes it has. I’ve learned. Grown. Cherished and even whined. The lessons are too rich to be contained just for my good, so if you’ll let me, I think my heart is ready to start sharing pieces of it with you.

So whether you’re a her, one whose heart knows the same ache as mine (let me say, if that’s you, I’m so crazy sorry for you. It’s awful, isn’t it? Just plain stinking, grab your heart out wretched horrific), a basement-living, state classified homeless peep or luxurious mansion occupant, grab a plate of cookies with me as we share some stories (and when I say share, I mean, please!! I LOVE hearing your stories, too, k?)

Thanks so much!

Stacy Voss