the times, they are a’changing.

i know a lot of restless souls these days.

myself? i’m about to embark on a new life-adventure that i’ll be more free to share with you in the next few weeks or so.

meanwhile, i’m just wondering about your own gypsy, adventurous or restless spirit.

where is your head these days? your heart?

deep breath.

Every Friday, the Gypsy Mama hosts Five-Minute Friday, which is an exercise in responding to a prompt for five minutes – unfiltered, unedited. I’ve been participating lately because I love how it taps into -or, rather, doesn’t- my brain. Just words flowing freely. Try it! You can either respond to the prompt in your comment if you don’t have a blog or you can link up with Gypsy Mama if you do. While there, be sure to visit some of our other friends who have participated. It will be well worth your while.

Deep Breath

Deep calls to deep calls to deep calls to deep

I take deep breaths when I realize I have forgotten to breathe.

And when I am relieved.

And when something wonderful or satisfying or thrilling or I just need to come back to life happens

I love breath, and my breath-giver.

You who breathes life into dry bones.

It is you. You.

I breathe deep breaths when I am nervous or afraid…actually, those are more shallow breaths…

But when I can rest and am at peace, I breathe deep breaths and listen

listen to the quiet stir within

listen for You

and I say, ‘Come, sweet Spirit, breath life into me.

Breathe life into the wasteland, into the broken & weary

Breathe life into the dry bones of the earth…those who do not know…those who have no hope

The overlooked and underpaid and those who have endured and can’t get a leg up still

Breathe life -Your Life- into those who have none

those who walk around like a bag of bones

Like me

until You came and deep breathed into this soul of mine.

You are the air that I breathe. You are the song that I sing.

You are everything, oh deep Breath-giver,

to me.

would if i could.

I’ve been linking up with GypsyMama lately for Five-Minute Fridays. Mostly because it’s a good writing exercise: write non-stop for five minutes – no thinking, no editing. My favorite kind of writing is stream-of-consciousness.

Another reason I love 5mF is because of the of the opportunity to connect with other bloggers. I have chanced upon some really beautiful folks I might not have otherwise found. What a treat it has been!

And so, today, I invite you to join us again.

One suggestion I would make: if you plan to write your own, I would do that first before reading anyone else’s so you’re not clouded by their posts. Leave space to just write as freely as you possibly can without being influenced by someone else. And then go back and read what others’ are saying.

I missed last week’s prompt because…what was I doing…oh! I had to be up early to work out-of-town and didn’t get home til late. So, the first prompt I responded to is from this week. The second, last. If you’re just leaving a comment, or using the comment space here to respond to the prompts, feel free to write on either or both. To read my past 5mF posts, or for your own writing pleasure and practice, click here.

Are you ready? Here we go…

If I Knew I Could, I Would…

If I knew I could succeed, I would try harder. If I knew I could win you over with my wit and my charm, I would work at that, too.

If I knew I could hug my dad one more time, I would not let him go.

If I knew I could get the people around me to be quiet, I WOULD YELL AT THEM TO “HUSH!” Seriously. Please? You ramble about absolutely nothing interesting at all and it drives me batty.

If I knew I could tell you about Jesus, knowing you would fall in love with Him, I would introduce you to Him. But that’s not the way it’s meant to be, is it? I can’t tell you about anyone and make you want to know them more or better. I can show you how much He loves me by living in the freedom of His embrace, but I can’t make you love him. Because you’re meant for your own experience, aren’t you? I can’t protect you from yourself or the big, bad world out there. You have to go and live your own adventure and trace the path of your own journey that will lead you to Him on your own.

And I wouldn’t rob you of the heartache and joy and passion of that road for anything in the world.

The Hard Love

The Hard Love is the kind that says “Let go” when you want to hold tight.

The Hard Love says “you before me”.

The Hard Love is the kind that says, “You don’t have to love me back. But I’m going to love you with all that I am.”

The Hard Love is nail-pierced hands hung on a tree. Broken back slashed with my sin of equal parts self-hatred and self-obsession.

The Hard Love is the kind that says, “Come back when you are through living out there the way you want to. My door will be open.”

The Hard Love is the one that says, “You have hurt me. Again. And I love you. But I have to leave you now.”

The Hard Love says, “You are free. Free to come, free to leave. My love for you will not waiver.”

The Hard Love says, “I accept you, Self. I love you, Me. I forgive for years of torment and self-abuse, Mary Kathryn. Now, come let me love on you and take care of Your sweet self.”

The Hard Love says, “I will give myself to You, even though I cannot see you and I don’t know how to trust You. But I know that You are good and You are faithful and to You I commit my life.”

Your turn! Have at it…

come one, come all.

i had lunch with my cousin beth last week. and, boy, did i need it. i needed a point-of-connection with someone who loves me without measure, whose spiritual authority i respect to speak truth and has the education and accreditation to back it up.

beth is the district superintendent the greenville district of the united methodist conference in north carolina. she, like my granddad and his five brothers, several of their children and most recently my sister, all graduated from duke divinity school. (i applied and was wait-listed a few years ago. then i was accepted. then i deferred. then i accepted. then i said ‘no’. but that’s another story for another day.) before my granddad and great-uncles, both of their grandfathers were country preachers.

all of them, men and women alike, paid the same amount of money (save for scholarships and the relative tuition fees) for the same education and each are well-respected, even revered, in the methodist church and beyond.

a few years ago, ‘our state’ magazine did an issue on family businesses within north carolina.

my family was featured in there.

because ‘ministry’ is our ‘family business’.

my granddad helped found oral roberts university. he was the campus chaplain when oru opened. he often traveled with oral in his early days. he helped kenneth copeland and countless others forge their paths in ministry. many ministers whose names you know refer to him as their ‘spiritual father’. he is recognized in the methodist church as being the pioneer of the charismatic movement in the methodist church. he started off as a pastor and became an evangelist; thereby, he was responsible to the methodist church but was free to speak to all groups and congregations. he travelled the world over and, as the bishop said at his funeral in 2002, he was ‘better known in rome, italy than in rome, georgia’. among the brothers, his name is the most recognized simply because of his office in the church but i wouldn’t call him a ‘famous christian’. just happened to be that a whole lot of people knew and loved him.

he had a vision and a prompting from the holy spirit about starting a small group retreat center, which he and my dad (along with my grandmother, mom and a board who loved and believed) opened in 1977, the year i was born. and so, while it took a while for me to get there, it now comes as no surprise to me at all that i would also be called to minister in small group retreat-type settings. it’s the only identity i’ve ever known, even after a departure in recent years.

i tease and tell others, ‘by virtue of being a member of my family, we all get called into ministry’. and it’s true. we do. we can’t help it. we all have our own stories of when god placed it on each of our hearts to pursue a life of service to christ. has every. single. person. been called? certainly not. but most of us, yes. in any case, everyone loves jesus. we can’t explain it, i don’t know why this is the case with us tyson’s. it just is what it is.

but we are not a proud people.

family lore has it we have an ax murderer in our family. i’ve never met one of my cousins because he’s been in prison all of his adult life. another precious cousin has spent most of her life homeless.

we are honest about our wounds and scars and faults and ‘isshahs’ and we know we need jesus. we all have our own tales to tell and stories about our wild(er) days and the prayers of mommas and firm hands of daddies and love of god that leads us back to his heart in both the beginning and the end. 

and everyone is welcome to sit on our proverbial couch.

(except if you’re not.) 

just as you are.

and you can love god or you don’t have to. but hopefully you will know just by being with us that there is a love that calls deep to you and that love wants to set you free. and that love has a name, and his name is jesus. and meanwhile, you’re accepted and enough just as you are. we aren’t going to try and change you. that just sort of happens without force or promise when you’re loved. and you can be anything you want to be in jesus, anything at all, whether you’re a man or a woman. we are not the religious sort, so don’t come waving your rules and laws around these parts because we’ll probably run you off and we won’t be worse for the wear as a result. we’re not out to prove anything, either.

i’ve never known anything different so, honestly, it’s not special to me.

(except that it is.)

my heritage is different than most folks, and part of that heritage includes knowing that you and i were both berthed out of the heart of the {same} father and that we’re brothers and sisters, all.

(just so happens that most ‘brothers and sisters’ whose name i bear are all preachers.)

(and/or drunks.)

(or ax murderers.)

and i’ve told you bits and pieces of all of this before but never in its entirety. and i don’t say any of this to draw any attention or to boast but because i have needed a touchstone recently, a place to return. and so i share this with you here, now.

having lunch with beth the other day reminded me of the lineage to which i belong and who abba father created me to be, as his daughter, which is more important than being anyone else’s.

in our conversation, beth and i were talking about how truth is clearly important but love is the most important thing. without it, we are but a clanging cymbal. our instructions for life are to love god and love others.

and while, yes, of course truth is important and i don’t want to ever speak on the gospel of mary kathryn, what i feel most called to is love.

to which she replied, ‘well, love is evangelism’.

which is just hilarious to me.

because if evangelism is defined by loving others, then i also come by this honestly. i just NEVER thought myself the ‘evangelist’ type.

{and anyone with me in brasil who sat watching and listening as rick bonfim fell to his knees with fire in his belly a few years ago is now laughing because they probably saw it coming before i did and i’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to connect-the-dots.}

by definition, god is love. as his children, we are called to be agents of his love.

in love, we are purposed for truth, and to speak into hurting lives and breaking hearts and to situations which need life breathed.

and in the end, we know it still boils down to him.

and that we are all meant to live lives free.

in what direction does your family history point you?

do you have a family ‘business’?

three words.

what three words do you think your friends would use to describe you?

what three words do you think your family would use to describe you?

what three words would you want others to use to describe you?



friends: funny, loyal, wise

family: funny, thoughtful, creative 

graceful, humble, smart, beautiful, compassionate 

(oh, wait. that’s five…oh well!)



friends: outgoing, fun, lovable

family: self-centered, caring, athletic

honest, lovable, caring



friends: loyal, fair, gifted

family: talented, hard-working, intelligent

fun, trustworthy, christian


friends: cute, funny, frou-frou

family: bossy

loyal, looks 30-years younger (at least 25)



friends: likeable, funny, loyal

family: precious, insecure, southern 

gorgeous, godly, hospitable



friends: quiet, shy, trustworthy

family: thoughtful, smart, meek

humble, beautiful, wise



friends: adorable

family: spoiled, country

honest, pretty


your turn!

little known facts.

i secretly love rap music. except for the part that’s not really a secret, just not something most people know, for one reason or another.

i can stick my tongue up my nose and my fist in my mouth.

i was…{don’t judge me}…a debutante. it’s true. i really was.

i have a dental implant on either side of my two front teeth. before they were made permanent, i had a retainer with two ‘falsies’ on it. i was so embarrassed by this in high school that i kept it a secret from everyone for years, save for my bff-kel and my family, of course. that is, until the day that i was given a date when my teeth would be implanted. at that point, i ran around for the next month popping them in and out at everyone.

i was accepted to duke divinity school on sheer legacy a few years ago.

my doppelgangers, i’ve been told, are…ahem…kelly osborne, kelly clarkson and six from blossom (jenna von oy was her real name). my bff-erin and i would call each other ‘blossom’ and ‘six’. we were so cool. {aw, er…i miss you!}

{mary kathryn}


no one knows by looking at me that i play sports as good as any boy. and, also, i’m trained in hvac. {sam}

i was almost killed in a boating accident 13 years ago. jesus was with me! {anita}

Not many people know that I performed in the Philharmonic symphony when I was 26 years old. NNNOOOOTTTT! I wish. No, let’s see…I had a kidney disease when I was 6 called Bright’s disease or Nephritis. I had to stay in bed for 9 months. At that time, alot of people died from this disease. I was treated with Penicillin. I had to be held back in the second grade because I missed so much school that year. I didn’t know I was so sick and my mama spoiled me during this time so I didn’t think it was so bad. Even my school teacher came to visit me and brought me an Easter basket. Mama just always had to tell me to lay still and not be too active (hard for a 6 year old!). No soft drinks or salt. Anyway, the Lord healed me by my mama’s prayers. Now back to that Philharmonic symphony… {laverne}

I am hard wired as an introvert, but my life has grown me a nice extrovert outfit I wear everyday. {bff-karen}

i used to be a bartender. {cristina}


i have to listen to music when taking a shower.

me, my  mother & my father were all born in the same hospital in new york…(yep, i am originally a northener. however, i grew up in carolina.)

i always get on to people for taking care of other people all the time instead of themselves; however, i do the same!

as a child from the ages 6-10, i was a victim of molestation, child abuse and rape. (and she is one of the strongest persons you will ever meet.)

at the age of approximately 9-10, my family and i lived with no electricity for over 6 months…during the winter…BRRRR.


what is a little known fact about you?

(can be anything – personal, funny, something you wish ‘they’ knew – whatever you wish, as long as it’s true.)

if i could…

if i could be anything, i would be graceful and fearless. if i could do anything, i would travel more. {mk}

if i could be anything i would be a school teacher. if i could do anything, i would hunt & fish every day for the rest of my life. {rick}

if i could be anything, i would be a guidance counselor, a role model, and spokesperson for women of abuse and rape. if i could do anything, i would build a place for all battered women to come to for safety. {heidi}

if i could be anything, i would be an inspiration for children. if i could do anything, i would travel the world. {sam}

if i could be anything, i would be a sports broadcaster. if i could do anything, i would live on a sunny beach every day. {bff-caroline}

if i could be anything, i would be the wife, mother and friend in which my mother was not. if i could do anything, i would do whatever i could to take care of my family. wither love, health or support. {heidi}

if i could be anything, i would be everything (but only the good kind of everything). if i could do anything, i would do the same as if i could be anything. :) {cristina}

if i could be anything, i would be healthier/more athletic. if i could do anything, i would tour the country as a professional musician. {adam}

if i could be anything, i would be a ‘great’ inspirational singer. if i could do anything, i would go to hawaii to see pearl harbor. {laverne}

if i could be anything, i would be an island girl. if i could do anything, i would do photography full-time. where i would live. full-time. {bff-karen (aka, island-girl)}

if i, john, could do anything i would love to sing as well as my favorite singer michael english so i could travel in a tour bus, live life as superman with all the strength in the world to stop world conflict, be as rich as bill gates and put a dent in world hunger, and be as smart as steve jobs so i would know how to work al my apple products…but be as compassionate as billy graham so i would really know how to lead someone to christ! {j-dub}

if i could be anything, i would be content. if i could do anything, i would do it. {debra: ‘this was interesting as once i asked myself these questions, i realized we all have unlimited possibilities if we only dare to dream, then make a plan and work the plan.’}

your turn! fill in the blank(s):

if i could be anything, i would (be) _____. if i could do anything, i would (do) _____.

wonderful wednesday edition: i used to…

i used to be more spontaneous. now i’m just free.

i used to be resentful. now i seek forgiveness.

i used to be angry. now i want peace.

i used to have a need to be right. now i accept my right to be happy.

i used to hate myself. now i am in love with my maker.

i used to be afraid. now i am less afraid.

i used to drink too much. now i’m a drunk.

i used to be a night owl. now i turn into a pumpkin at 10:00.

i used to think i would be married and have all five of my kids by the time i was 30. now i would be twice-divorced.

i used to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. now i just let god do his job.

i used to be a volatile child. now i am a beloved one.

i used to be codependent. now i {try to be} interdependent.

i used to have a need to be great. now i just want god to be great in me.

i used to love mint chocolate chip ice cream from baskin robbins. now i love mint sweet cream & cookies by ben & jerry’s.

from some of my friends:

i used to drink caffeinated drinks. now i drink sprite. {sam}

i used to be a doormat. now i am a strong, independent woh-MAAAN. {heidi}

i used to drink coffee throughout the day. now i usually prefer it as an after-dinner treat with something sweet! {cristina}

i used to be so completely carefree. now i have to be concerned about real life issues (health, money, politics, my country’s moral decline and love). {laverne}

i used to be in control. now i am letting god deal with it. {sara}

i used to be so concerned with being who i thought others wanted me to be. now i am much more committed to being faithful to the inner guidance i receive from within.

i used to be fun. now i’m boring. {stephanie}

i used to be just doing the next thing on the list. now i am fully & joyfully living. {bff-karen}

i used to get mad. now i get even. {anita. who doesn’t really mean this. we just thought it was funny.}

from my friend adam, who gets his own corner for putting so much thought into it:

i used to be scared of women. now i am terrified of them.

i used to be shy. now i am just reserved.

i used to be judgmental. now i realize that i’m human too.

i used to be freely happy. now i have to work hard at it.

i used to be creative. now i am just cluttered.

i used to trust anyone. now i am skeptical of everyone.


your turn!

fill in the blank.


(don’t edit or judge, just do it!)

i used to ____________. now i ____________.



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