"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Saturday, December 8, 2012

All is sacred...

"And what God had cleaned, she could not call common again — her there in a sacred mess of grace"

Words of wisdom from AnnV this morning...thank you.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Crucible

Today marks the beginning of the end of Nick's 3 month Boot Camp sequestering.  I'm not sure that's even a word...but that's how it feels on this end.  He has been separate from family and friends and, but for 15 letters, has been silent to us.  We've all had it up to HERE...
and so today could not come quick enough for us.

Today starts the dreaded 54 hour Crucible
{Crucible- "noun- a vessel made of material that does not melt easily"}
His last letters have admitted some anxiety over the unknown and the fear of injury or illness
 that would cause Graduation Day to change.  

When all I can do is offer words of encouragement
I resolve my thoughts that
it is enough.

My mom-heart aches with the knowledge that my child is in pain and is 
homesick and just wants to feel freedom...

But signing up meant
signing over...
for both of us.

And when I lay in bed and cannot recall having had caffeine for hours
and cannot for the life of me figure out why I am still awake....
and then awake again...
I realize that when something is a part of you-
even when that something is a grown 19 year old young man-
You cannot shake their pain,
because it's grafted in.

Their pain is your pain.
Their anxiety is by default, yours.

And so I acknowledge that the pounding heart is not coffee-induced
it is my reminder 
my ever present reminder
I'm a mom...

and I must again take every thought captive
and breathe deep...

 "Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
Philippians 4:7

So even when I have reminded myself of this hour upon hour through the night
and even when I wake with still, that pounding heart of unintentional anxiety...
there are these words that breathe peace through my frame.

Trusting Him to "settle me down" all throughout the next 2 1/2 days
because apparently my mind and my body are not in sync.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trying to see...

Inevitably, it happens to almost all of us
and it happened to me, too...
the words on a page used to be so easy to see
and now suddenly, not.
I am not sure how one can have 20/20 vision and still need these...

but, it happens...
And it's funny how a little reading glass with a 1.0 prescription can make a difference
Who knew?  
I fought it for months, 
feigning perfect vision

when I read or stare at the screen
the words are brighter and I see more clearly...

 Because of the pace of life right now
I'm trying to see other things more clearly, too.
You'd think with less kids in the house there'd be more time 
but with more working hours
and a full sports schedule
and just day to day life-
it seems like there's never enough hours in the day to just 

Every morning, on the way home from the school drop-off,
I pass this field
And because it's wide open and over my left shoulder
I cannot help but be reminded that
 as the sun rises again
I have a new chance to breathe in all that a day holds
with eyes that really see what is around me

Before a day is spent behind closed doors 
in an office with no windows
there is this sunrise...
this slowing down panoramic picture
that reminds me that I am still one of the little people
in a great big world
and I need to remember my place..
and slow down my pace
and see His Almighty hand 
right there
in front of me.

In the harried busyness is where I lose myself...
I am found
HE is found 
in the slow, open-eyed gaze 
of a life that stops to notice.

It doesn't come naturally to me in this schedule that I am still trying to get used to...
I see only when I slow to listen..
He beckons,
but so often I miss Him..
so busy just trying to keep things steady.
Trying to do it alone and well..

Trying to parent well,
work well,
keep a home well,
encourage well...

"Only in the slowing, the sitting down at the table, when His hands held the bread and the thanks fell from His tongue, do the open-eyed, the wide-eyed, see the Face they face {Luke 24:13-36} The FAST have spiritually SLOW hearts...and I don't reach forward and I don't reach back and I weigh the moment down with full attention here...I want to slow down and taste life, give thanks, and see God..." Ann Voskamp

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All things {NEW}...

I was pretty excited to see the rain this morning.  
Thought it would be pretty great to spend my day off  burrowed inside, 
wrapped up in a warm blanket with coffee and a good book...
Until I remembered that today's the day that my house gets invaded by a bunch of stranger-men.

I dream of the day some man walks in my house and asks if he can stay...
but these are not THAT kind of man.  
These are here to blow insulation into my attic, 
which I am finding out is a huge production and apparently with all the extra work they have found, 
could take a couple of DAYS...
which can only mean that I will have to share ANOTHER day off with these fine gentlemen.

{Insert grateful, yet disappointed attitude, here.}

So, since I can't use either bathroom or walk down any hallway without bumping into a stranger,
I'm holding myself hostage in the back room with my computer and my favorite warm blanket.
There's only so much I can do back here, but since sitting at my computer makes me look busy, 
I'll do this.

I think it's time to give the blog a makeover...it looks too cheery and cutesy.
So I thought I would change it up and give it a cleaner look...
except the link to change the background has completely disappeared and 
I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get rid of what you are presently looking at.
And while trying to figure that out, I somehow messed up the title font and that can't seem to
change back either.  
So I'm 0 for 2.

I'll try something else.

I've been doing a lot of reminiscing lately.  
I'm working on a project with a group of ladies that has me doing a lot of thinking about my past.
I don't like to think about the ugly details, so I don't very often,
but the reality of over a decade of singleness can't be ignored...
it is just part of my life story.

And while I don't like to dwell on what caused my single life, 
ignoring it can cause me to forget God's faithfulness throughout the 
journey of pain, rejection and healing...
So I've been remembering the good stuff that came out of the pain
and sometimes remembering is good
and soul-feeding.  
{When life as we knew it changed}

Sometimes it is what you need so that you can remember that 
you never want to go back
to the way things were before.

But not wanting to go back doesn't mean that you don't long for some of the same.
I long for some of the same..
but in a more healthy, LIFE-producing way.
Something Sacred that includes 
and honor 
and promises kept.

And I won't settle for less 
or compromise because I'm tired of doing life alone.

Reminiscing always brings me back to these same thoughts..
and if I dwell on them too long
it's not good for me.

But if I stay just long enough, it keeps me on track and 
reminds me that God is still in the business of creating 
all things new
and I'm good with that because I could use 
a little something new some days.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Quiet, no laundry and counting...

It's quieter around our house these days...
and there's less laundry in the hamper.

I like quiet
and I hate laundry.

And even though the reasons behind the realities are far from my favorite...
It's a good day
I just decided this right now.

Look at me,
being all serendipitous!

In other news...
Someone is having a sixteenth birthday this week
I know this because every time I turn on my phone I am reminded...

1 day, 19 hours, 52 minutes and 22 seconds from now
 I will officially have another eligible driver in my house....sigh.

Driver's Ed rates right up there with potty training, as far as I'm concerned.

This is also being counted down...

As is this...

There's a lot of counting going on around here...
But I'm trying to consider today and count it in, too.
I'm trying.

It's not easy with the pace we sometimes keep...
But I'm trying to 
"consider it ALL joy"
even today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Adjusting to change..

It's been way over a month since I have sat to put words down here.
I'm not sure I am ready yet...
but I guess it's time.

I've kept my thoughts and feelings mostly bottled up and set aside for months,
except for the few who have asked and stuck around for the answer,
I've not been ready to even voice out loud what is tucked away so deeply.

I guess it's a mama's way of survival - 
to push down deep...those feelings of change, 
so that we don't crack
or break completely

I've pushed them down hard for months
partly because I didn't want to spend my time ruminating 
when there was still so much life here in this house...
I didn't want to miss a moment
I was busy savoring and storing mental pictures away for a rainy day...

Since there's rain in the forecast for today...

Here it is...

I am here...in a quiet house...
wondering where all the mothering years have gone.

My firstborn has turned 22
my middle has donned a uniform and is trudging through Marine Boot Camp 
and my babygirl is about to turn 16.

There is a wedding in the near future,
Alex will wed his high school sweetheart...
and I am so proud and so filled with joy for them.

They have chosen to walk the tough road of relationships...
to have dated for so long and remained faithful to their commitment-
it makes my mother-heart proud.

I guess the hardest part of these last months has been the anticipation of Nick's departure.
He is one week into the thirteen week Boot Camp..

and every morning I wake suddenly-
before the light of the day-
 with a prayer for him on my lips,
a begging for strength and endurance
for health and 
for a Remaining in Him..

and thirteen weeks of no communication is tough on a mama 
who has always been right there...

There will be a brief reunion of family
ten days with him...
and a wedding- 
orchestrated around him and his schedule...
because brothers matter and he needed to be there, 
standing in support...

But then, he'll be gone again...
this time much farther away and for a longer period of time.

And for a mama who has always been there,
the cutting away hurts like crazy.
That he has chosen to serve his country swells my heart,
but the sacrifice is great...
for all of us.

And it could knock the wind out of me
if I let it.

And I'm trying not to let it...
and what gets me through is this girl...
She still wakes up here every morning.
She still has so much to say after a long day of school..
and she still needs her mama to be there.

And I see how fleeting it is,
this mama-thing.  
And I don't want her to feel slighted..
as if the best parenting was done before she was done.
There are three more years to go with her here
I choose to be present for each one of them...

I'm not really sure how we got here...
Just yesterday they were playing in the backyard together..
and literally hanging all over me...

And I'm not really sure how to settle all of this in my heart...
maybe, as moms, we never really "get over it"
or maybe in time it will feel right...

I'll admit that I have to force myself not to look ahead into
 the not-so-distant-future-
to the time when Emma has graduated
and the house is empty
except for me...

It is a daunting thought...
and sad

It's not the picture I had laid out for myself, for sure...
my picture included another person-
and joy in having time to ourselves
This picture...
well, I'm not really sure what to do with it.

So I'm stuffing this little piece back down further...
it is another day's concern-
not for today.

I am choosing not to borrow from tomorrow,
but it is a daily-sometimes momentary decision.

I am choosing to believe that today is important,
even when sometimes it feels so insignificant....
I am choosing to relish the 
here and now
with her
...because she brings so much joy to our home...

All of my parenting years I have chosen to believe over what I see
and I'm still believing...
still drawing strength from the Truth that lies beneath all this 
And if you see me, I hope you will see a smile on my face
but if you don't 
it's not because I'm not okay..
it's just because I'm a mama at heart
and being a mama means there will always be 
pain in the growing
and struggle in the changes.

But being a mama also means I will rise up
and do the job that needs to be done...
because that's what mama's do...

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, 
and dealing with fears you didn't know existed.  
~Linda Wooten

Friday, August 10, 2012


My day started with an overwhelming feeling of being overwhelmed.  
There's no better way to say that.
As much as I love
my life
my job
my family
sometimes the fleshing out of day to day life is just plain hard.

Keeping it all together while keeping up with the schedule
is a challenge for me.
I LOVE my job,
but I don't love being a working mom.

It's a dichotomy that I can't fully explain...
nor do I feel I have to make excuses to TRY to explain it
It just is what it is.

And so, on mornings like this morning,
when my heart wants to stay home
while my body is heading into work
I choose.

I choose to be thankful for a job
because others are looking desperately for one...
I choose to be joyful
when what I really want to do is complain...
I choose to breathe gratitude in deeply
instead of exhaling my discontentment...
I choose...

I choose to choose these things-
because if I don't choose, 
I'm afraid it'll get pretty ugly.

  After whispered pleas of help,
another work day began...

An unexpected call from Nick a few hours later stopped me short...

We're counting down the weeks and days until he will ship out to 
Marine Boot Camp.
5 1/2 weeks and 38 days, to be precise...

We've tucked them into a very neat pile and choose not to dwell heavily
on the impending day...
my excuse goes something like,
"We don't have to think about this today because it's still pretty far away 
and we have time.."

But today we came face to face with reality.
The panicked call revealed a ship date of

After calling my sister and sending a quick SOS to praying friends, 
I had no choice but to turn around and continue to work...
{Insert silent prayers of my own: begging God to grant me tunnel vision and the ability to 
block out my emotions for a few more hours}

My parents are traveling in Africa 
Alex is away for the weekend
and my kids were home alone, processing...

After multiple texts and a constant stream of silent prayers,
a loophole was found and the early date was avoided.
But not before I realized that there are lessons to learn from this day...

Lessons like:

If I say I am a trusting Christian, then I need to BE one.

If I say that God is my peace, then I need to let Him be when I need it.

If I choose joy in one difficult situation, then I know full well that I have to choose it in the next one, too.

Time is short and it will not wait until I am "ready".

I felt my singleness today more than ever.
I realize that I will be processing through this day to day on my own.
I have a super network of support...
but day to day, it's just me
and that's overwhelming.

We will make it through
I will make it through...

this is a new journey- veering off onto a sometimes unwelcomed path
I don't relish what lies ahead...
but it's coming sooner rather than later.

I am overwhelmed but not overtaken...
Today we're healthy
we're together
and tomorrow is another new day...

   "I hold on to you for dear life, 
      and you hold me steady as a post." 
Psalm 63

Monday, July 9, 2012

There's something about this great big porch
we've returned to it for many years
and it's become familiar
and maybe that's why
memories flow
sentimentality takes over in waves

And again this morning...
I'm here
and all that 
has been 
and will be
are resonating in me all at once..

I'm full with what only a mama knows...
the days are fleeting quickly...
and I'm holding fast 
I'm breathing deep in today...
and yesterday
holding off tomorrow...

"Praise be to the LORD,
for He has heard my cry for mercy.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, 
and He helps me..."
Psalm 28:6-7

Saturday, June 30, 2012


If you give a dog a bath towel,
She will do one of three things: 
she will lay on it
 she will ignore it
 or she will eat it

It doesn't matter why you gave it to her...
even if it was only to give her a soft place to sleep.
It doesn't matter, because she'll do whatever in the world she wants to do with it.

We found this out the hard way this week-
so I'm passing this tip on to you...
If you have an 8 month old, 45 pound Labrador Retriever in your house,
you may want to consider hiding all your towels
do what you want, but you've been warned

You may find out, like us, that your pup needs only a few minutes alone to devour the thing to shreds and ingest it deep into her stomach where it will lay 
and refuse to come back out...

In short, this is what might happen if you find yourself in the very same situation some day...

You, too, may find yourself cleaning up vomit all over the house,
and driving to the vet's office for a simple diagnosis...
only to find out there is nothing at all simple about the procedure
and before you know it, your chewing-princess is settled into a three nights stay at the Pet Spa

...and at the end of those three days, if the princess hasn't pooped the glob of towel and string out
you may find yourself signing your life away on a dotted line and giving the okay to perform a surgery, all the while knowing it's going to cost the equivalent of a small kingdom to pay it off.

And you may find that when you show up at the Vet's office just after the surgery, 
there will be two baggies filled with the gooey stomach remains - just for you

And your children will probably need therapy because you make them pose with those  remains...
 you'll have to admit, that your dog could win prizes for eating the stupidest things...
and refusing to poop them out.

And when you go to the back room to visit the patient, 
chances are she will greet you looking just like this...
all drugged up and wearing the cone of Shame
 and she'll probably try to escape so she can come home where she belongs...
 and just about the time you think things are about to go back to normal, 
the Vet will inform you that the surgery calls for a celebratory bland diet for 3 days.

If it happens to you, you'll be glad that someone knew how to help the princess out...
but when you're standing over the stove on the hottest day of the year making this
 and bagging them into meal-size proportions...
you might start to wonder how you got here.

And then you'll remember how quiet it was around your house without the four-legged K9...

and wish you could just start your week over
without the towel
and the payments that will be spread over several years...
but you'll be grateful when the ordeal is over 
and remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The cycle of LIFE...

A friend of mine recently asked why I have not been blogging. And while I grappled for a good answer to give her, and came up with some pretty valid excuses that included things like busyness, and graduations, and work and such....the truth is, there is more to it than a neat little answer could explain.  I'm not sure I am ready to go into it all...actually, I'm not sure I even understand it myself.  Because, while all of the answers above are true and valid...it is deeper than all of that, and I'm not sure that anyone on the other side of this screen would really care to "go there"! 

Some days I sit here to write, and realize that what I have to say doesn't sound poetic or funny or entertaining at all.  Its sounds more like questioning and wrestling and a bunch of other words that sound more like struggle than anything else.  So I don't write...mostly because I don't want the questions and wrestling to come out sounding like things are in upheaval or out of control.  And I don't write because so much of it is deeply personal and just needs to be worked out between me and God.

But the thing is this, there's a lot of LIFE happening around here.  Because LIFE doesn't stop for you to ask questions and wait for answers.  You just have to keep going, because if you don't, you will have missed something of significance and never have the chance again.  

THIS is some of what LIFE has been doing around here lately:
This one has moved out 
{here he is, enjoying his last morning at HOME}

and his new bachelor pad home
and again, on his first grocery trip

She continues to grow

and chew...
and eat...
They goof off
He has graduated
She has finished her first year of high school...
scored her first job, opened a checking account...
...and reminds me often that she will soon be old enough to drive.

There are deep questions being asked inside me...questions I rarely voice audibly, but have been there for many years.  Not questions of Faith or of Trust...just questions with unseen answers.  The questions lie dormant for clusters of days.  Inevitably, they return without warning, as was the case this morning.

Who knew that reading about Adam and Eve would put to orbit
 those nagging questions that cycle around me?
But, it started with reading a few words,
and ended with my journaling a few more words that looked something like this:

"Somewhere along the line, perfection just wasn't enough...because there was this tree that was off limits...and Eve didn't like that there was something she was not allowed to have.  How like us.  She had it all...and "all" was just not enough when she realized that there was actually more to have.  And so she gave in to her ingratitude and her longing for more...she took what was not hers and sin entered the lives of all of us.  Forever.

...SO we labor and we sweat, we have conflict, we battle with discontentment.  We wish for what we don't have, and are ungrateful for what we do.
  And life is hard...not at all the way it was created to be.  But we did it to ourselves.  And if not Adam and Eve, then it would have been someone else.  It would have been me.  Because I am just like Eve in so many ways. Having been blessed with much, I still want more.  Not in tangible things...in stuff...but in life.  I don't want ONLY what I have...I want what I have, plus more.  Not LESS than what I have...just added-to.  

And the cycle of Eve continues through me.  Unless I learn from her failures and live with gratitude in the here and now.  Because if I look at tomorrow...it's not enough.  If I look even farther...my heart panics."

There you have it...just a little bit of the ugly truth that battles inside of me.  The nagging questions of -how life got to be this way...why do I find myself still walking through life single...how is all of this wonderful life that is mine STILL not enough?  

Funny thing is, just thinking and wondering about these same questions hasn't changed or resolved ANYthing.  The questions still remain, just like they did the last time I asked them.  So I'll do the same thing I did when I discovered the same thing the last time I asked the same thing {smile}....I will resolve to stop asking today.  And I will resolve to just keep walking forward.  And I'll read and reread what I have already penned in permanent ink:

"And today...the only words that whisper Hope my way are these: 
"Be Still...know that I AM GOD."
No definitive answer.
No resolution.
Just a whisper of knowing...that He gets it....and He is still God.  
And apparently that is all I need to know."

{* Note to my friend who dared to ask why I am not blogging....sorry, YOU asked me!}

Monday, April 9, 2012


It's Monday morning and I'm wrapped in a blanket on the back porch 
Not going to lie- it's cold out here
But I treasure the mornings that I can ease into my day
 before the schedule dictates my time.

There are birds chirping an arm's length from me.  
A wild cat {think calico} is stalking prey nearby
and the sun is bathing the yard, 
creating shadows long and luminous..

It's here that I reflect on the weekend...
The Easter morning at our House of Worship-
Story retold of the One who wears my scars...

Day spent with children and family...

We are blessed 

even in the pain of reality
even in days that are wrought with the unknown
even when the sun doesn't shine and all is shadow...

We're blessed because He is Ever Present...
in spite of it all.

So we  
 turn our thoughts towards the Celebration 
of Life
and Love
and Grace...

And because of Easter, 
today is good.
And tomorrow will be, too.

is what happens when you have a sister,
nieces and nephews who are artistic.

You don't just have colored eggs...
you have edible portraits.

"Come, Thou fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
While the hope of endless glory
Fills my heart with joy and love,
Teach me ever to adore Thee;
May I still Thy goodness prove..."
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