Wednesday, October 21, 2015


My daughter has this blanket she loves. Made by a family member, it was a special gift and the means by which she chooses to soothe herself to sleep. You never know what your child will grab a hold of and bond with. Several blankets were made for her: one with satin trim and minky fleece, one was crocheted, another was quilted together with a soft fuzzy backing. All of them are dear to me because of the love sewn into them by the hands that made them.

But this one has fleece ties all around it. And since my little one didn't suck her thumb or take a pacifier, she eventually connected with these knots and figured out how to stay asleep. It was all about the fringe-her perfect fit! Isn't it amazing how different kids are when it comes to sleeping and comfort? All of mine found their own way, but the end result was the same: much-needed peace and quiet.

In raising our kids, I haven't been too quick to snatch away those 'lovies' or security blankets. My rationale is they are only little for so long. And then they grow, and you turn around and wonder how it went by so fast. It's hard for me to believe my older kids are well into their elementary school years now. If only you could bottle up some of those moments for a time when its not so crazy, years later, and savor them!

As a mom, I often feel like I am 'the Fringe' that everyone in my family is holding onto. I get a little worn around the edges, and sometimes feel that I wouldn't be missed unless I was lost somewhere or stopped doing all the things I do everyday. It is nice to be needed-LOL. Through my frustration and exhaustion, I know that while this job will never end, it will change as my children grow up and into the fabric of their own lives.

Fringes. They hold another meaning. I think of those who feel like they don't fit. Like no matter how hard they try, they unwravel at the seams, left alone in the margins. Maybe it takes them awhile to warm up. Maybe they've been hurt too many times and feel more safe on the outskirts. Maybe they have a history, and wonder if they will be accepted with love and grace, despite their past. Pain can be hard to hide, and difficult for others to understand. But we each have our own unique measure of it, don't we?

For me, its feeling left out when moms and adult daughters are doing stuff together...stuff that I have never experienced, and never will. Someday, I look forward to stepping into that role with both my son and daughters--after all the ups and downs of helping them mature, when we will, undoubtedly, not always like each other! Every now and then, through the threads of our busy days, I get a glimpse of what I am helping weave together, right now.

 Yes, it can feel painful when I can't tell their grandma what they did or said that was cute...or try to explain to them why she isn't here with us...I give it over to God, again and again--and continue to work through the pain, keeping a tender heart.

My comfort, ultimately, is in God's love for all of us. Our house has been into the Chronicles of Narnia, lately. The stories are a wonderful picture of Christ. If God were to take on Aslan's form, I would wrap my arms around that mane, and press in, like Lucy did. He would call me 'Dear One', and through those piercing, all knowing eyes, I would be understood. I am known and loved...and so are you.

"I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of my enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place." Psalm 31:7-8

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Live Out Love

Where does the time go? My baby girl had her 10 month birthday, a few days ago. The last time I wrote, she was my internal, winter-warming bundle, waiting to be delivered... And now she has learned to crawl, babble, and keep us on our night time toes. Miss Mallory is a joy, and now we can't imagine our family without her! With each passing month and milestone, she has grown on us all. Our little love bug!

Having said that, all this joy in our house can be exhausting.To say we don't sleep much around here, is an understatement. I fully expected baby girl to follow suit, like her siblings, and be sleeping through the night at six months. The idea of being able to plan and predict how things would play out was appealing to me. I've always liked it better that way. But then, that would make life rather boring, wouldn't it?

Maybe feeling like I've got some mothering experience, and that this lack of sleep thing would not get me down, felt promising. But the truth is that I've had to rethink, relearn, and remember all over again. I think our mommy-brains have only so much space to keep track of everything and everyone that we recycle the old information...and then, when we need it, somehow it comes back around...full circle.

I try to think back to what life was like, when my older kids were small. And most of it was a blur, to be honest. It was a beautiful time, and its true what they say-the days are long, but the years are short! Having our third child come at a quieter time of life, is good. And in that quiet, sometimes, I remember my mom. I realize that I cannot pick up the phone and call her when I'm frazzled. I don't know if she can see me or not. I wish that I could see her. I'm sad that she wasn't physically here to meet little Mallory. I take the moment I need to remember, and then move to the next thing...whatever that may be.

In my sleep-deprived state, there are days when I don't have much left to give other than taking care of what my people need...and breathing...(sigh)...ha, really! But at the end of the day, we put the kids to bed, say our prayers and I hear myself say *I'm thankful*. Even when I don't feel much, I can look around at all that is here that is good. As we approach Thanksgiving, here are a few things I cherish:

My God is so good. This house is our home, and I love the grimy walls that hold us together. My family is my home...they live in my heart, and they move about in this space we call life, and force me to rise above my feelings, and care for them. Good food is a gift to create, and share with those you love. We had a beautiful fall season, surrounded with its fiery hues, in leaves up and on the ground. And roots...they exist. Now blanketed in snow, they are tucked away and at rest...yes, they ground us, keep us standing tall-bringing us what we need, when we need it.

Choosing to live out the love, and show up each day. That's all we can do. We can't control life and what may come our way. Sometimes I respond well to circumstances, and at other times, I flat out react-LOL. But being present is good. Enjoying people is a gift.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Receiving What is Ours

It's been one of those mornings. You parents know what I'm talking about. Our little people prancing about in their jammies, carrying candy canes--oblivious to the ticking of the clock, hands getting closer to our eight AM departure. I see my reaction, voice echoing, "Get dressed! Do you know what time it is?", from the mirror and make-up brushes.

As late as I stay up, trying to prepare for the next day, we occasionally have those moments when no amount of 'prep-time' will make up for a child, unable to find half of the clothes laid out the night before. And the other who did not like my selection of clothing...lunches need to be packed, breakfast eaten, and I'm pretty sure our man is glad to be leaving for work, so he can exit the chaos. we drive to school, on our icy back roads, the sun is peeking up from the horizon. I start to feel some remorse, melting over me, having handled my emotions the way that I did. I apologize. I ask, "You guys know that mom and dad love you, right?" After a quick, "yes", our kids have already moved on--enjoying their ride in the way back of the van, chattering about the day ahead of them.

As we turn a bend and head east, my son points out the wintry rainbow that is mirroring the rising sun. I remember my dad calling them 'sun dogs'; this one was the best I'd ever seen. A full prism of color, becoming brighter and brighter. We soon forgot about how our day had started, and enjoyed the gift of creation, before our eyes.

These moments are a gift. The collective amount of time that I get to drive the kids to school, talk to them, try to satisfy their growing curiosities, pray for them. Looking back over this year, I am so thankful. It is a joy, in the midst of the mess, to be in the role that I am in. Come January, we will add another member to our family, making some room in our hearts for hers, as it is beating inside me now. The time has gone by so fast. I don't want to miss it...don't want to miss out.

Let's celebrate what is real. In this time of giving and receiving, there is something for each of us. If life has become slippery under foot, I pray that blessings will come your way. That someone will hear that still voice, prompting them to reach out--reminding you that God is near. If life is good, let's respond by blessing someone else...and receive something great, by doing so. And when life is kinda messy and mundane, I hope that we can see the beauty and grace lavished on us, daily, to enjoy the memories we're making with the people we love.

My thoughts, collected...and some dirt and dust, as well--now that the floor is finally swept.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


While shopping today, we were pushing our cart behind another mom and her young adult daughter. I noticed she walked rather slowly. And me, being in a hurry to get the kids to the pool, almost went around her.

So glad I didn't. Some time later, she was behind me in the check-out lane. I turned around and saw the bandage where her port had likely been. She looked tired; just hanging in there--like my mom, 8 years ago this August. My heart went out to her and her her family, and all they must be going through together.

"Mom, I thought of you today. I didn't cry or fall apart...not yet, anyway. But I was reminded of your pain and am so glad you are in a better, brighter place today. I love you : )"

I was in the process of becoming a mother myself(pregnant with my son), while I watched my own mom, fight for her life. I came out to stay for a week, that August. Went shopping, bought her some button-down shirts that would make it easier for her to access her food port, did some yard work, tried to stay productive for her. It felt strange, trying to care for a person I hardly knew. But I was determined to do something...there wasn't anything else I could do, really.

"I wish we could have had more time together. I see other daughters with their moms around them. Not just little girls, but big girls--like me. Just today, at the pool, there were moms, grandmas, and kids--splashing together in the 95 degree heat. I'm happy for them, not bitter. Just don't know what its like to have that."

I love my kids. What mother does not? For years, I wondered if I would ever feel what I was supposed to feel with my mom. There was a disconnect. I've tried hard to remember the good memories. I think they've been clouded over by the pain of separation. Still hopeful that some will resurface to bring me some comfort and reassurance.

"Mom, I know that you loved me...and still do. I think it was hard to grasp that--and the sacrifices you chose to make--until I become a mother. You did what you felt was the best, for our welfare. I'm only sad that we couldn't have a little more time on this earth. "

Life brings us surprises that can be unexpected. Some of those are good surprises though. We're having another baby, early next year. How exciting and fun that will be : ) My children have eased some of the pain of not having mom here. I so wish I could know if she sees them, knows what they look like, hears their laughter...yes, even their ear-piercing squabbles and screams. But I don't.

"Mom, tonight we read, 'Heaven is For Real' at bedtime. I tried to explain to Adrian why babies sometimes die, here on earth. He asked about our first baby. I know he/she is with you, in Heaven. I'm so glad that you get to spend unlimited time with a grandchild we have yet to meet."

In my reading travels, I'm in the book of Job. Talk about a man with troubles. He was upright, loved God, and was truly blessed...and then, God allowed it ALL to be taken away. In his humanity, he grieves over his life and why he is even here in the first place. He just doesn't understand. But it ends well--that we know.

I have to remind myself of all that God has done in my life, and in the lives of those around me. He is a faithful God, with steadfast love. Every story has conflict--some dark undertones, areas that need to be redeemed. And so I choose to dwell in the land that I've been given, and feed on His faithfulness(Psalms 37:3).

"Mom, we miss you. I know your experience up there is infinite--no longer measured in time, the way it is on earth. The best way we can honor you is by living and loving well, here. Allowing beauty to come out of the ashes--letting God do what He needs to do, to finish our story. Until we meet again, know that you are forever in our hearts."--Love, your daughter : )

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Taking a Back Seat

Driving with children can lend itself to some interesting conversations. Last year, I recall one particular errand run. I had heard this request before, but this time it had doubled in number and was presented ever so creatively: "Mommy, you need to have two more babies." I replied, "Oh, why is that?" Here it comes: "So we can BOTH ride in the way back, of the van!"

And so the logic of my then 4 and 6yr. old, solved the problem of where the car seats would be placed, and who would get first dibs on this new arrangement. I laughed at the idea. Not a good enough reason for us to expand our family, but hilarious, just the same. But it did get me thinking...and sometimes, that has proven to be a sign of what is coming down the road.

About this time, we heard the news that my brother was expecting his first child. We were overjoyed for him and his wife, excited for the new season that was coming for them. And then I thought, "Hmmm, wish our kids could be closer in age. Wish we didn't live so far away." We had thought about having more kids, but felt pretty content with where our family was at. Even through the banter, about upgrading to a bigger vehicle to accommodate the next cousin...I dismissed the conversation as light-hearted with no serious intentions.

I'm one of those people who like to plan things out. I don't like to change my scheduled day of events, at a moments notice. I treasure my calendar on the fridge. I have some degree of flexibility since I pencil stuff in, instead of using a pen. At least its written down. I like having a framework. Its the nerdy side of my personality : )

Speaking of schedules, I took at step of faith when a friend asked me to cover for her, in the month of May, so she and her husband could travel overseas to adopt a precious little girl. I didn't think I could do it, but it worked out well, and my confidence in my work, grew. During that time, the calendar was filled with all sorts of appointments: meetings with clients, kids playing here and there, school pick-ups/drop-offs, family events, birthdays parties, a late spring, a short planting season. It was a crazy time.

But we made it to Memorial Day weekend. Whew! What a whirlwind. By this time, there were some questions in my mind...could it be possible? I didn't think so. Five years had already gone by. But it was, and is: just penciled in--third child, due around January 29th! And as far as we know, there is just one in there. Twins run in my family; especially if you're in your mid-thirties. But we are content to receive, 'one at time', just like before. And another bonus: we now have more than one sibling having babies--so more cousins, for ours ; )

I'm learning to take a back seat in this new season. Sometimes you have an idea of how you think your year will look. I saw myself working part-time, with the kids both in school during the day. I thought it might be a little lonely, being home with no I started to form a plan to get around that. As it turns out, I've been stretched in a new direction...yes, I totally meant to say that. Have you seen how big I already am? The 'warm up' effect--its true!

I don't know how my schedule will be, next spring, but I'm learning to trust, be flexible, reach out a long as I'm not the sole 'driver', I think my hands will be more free to do what God has called me to do. Now, to keep the older ones out of the front seats, for a little while...we've got a few years ahead of us : )

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where I Belong

Some days, you just wanna 'go home.' Anyone else relate with that feeling? There is a song that I love, from Building 429: 'Where I Belong'. The refrain goes something like this: "All I know is I'm not home yet-this is not where I belong-take this world and give me Jesus-this is not where I belong." Powerful message, great song!

There is a lot of truth there. Especially when we find ourselves bearing the weight, in a season of suffering. But as I came across this passage, it helped me to see my earthly time, in a more positive light.

From the book of Acts, chapter 17:

"So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you, the God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, for we are indeed his offspring.

Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God over-looked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him(Jesus Christ) from the dead." (end of chapter)

During this time, the people of Athens were worshipping all kinds of different gods, their ears continually perking up, to whatever might be new and exciting to worship. They were, of course, intrigued by what Paul shared with them, about Jesus.

It's interesting that they had an altar for 'the unknown god' was as if they knew they hadn't really found Him, but were aware of His existence. I think we all have felt that way at one time or another. We find ourselves in the midst of crisis, we offer up prayers for help, hoping they will get through. And when the storm quiets down, we go on to live our lives, distracted by everything that vies for our attention and admiration. Some things are not to meant to fill that perpetual void, in our hearts.

But God is so much more than a prayer hotline; He is real, and He is here. He lives and moves, all around us. It's hard to comprehend that, but I think we know, deep down, of His existence--just look around at this amazing world! The intricate detail, the way a day unfolds and ends, book-ended by the sun and moon as of sources of light. All the critters, animals, birds, plants, flowers, trees...the people we love. It is all so good!

When I find a few moments to sit in the middle of all this beauty, and try to take it in...I am aware of my place on this earth. I may not be counted among the most successful, famous, or wealthy. But I am here to know God. He has me right where He wants me. To find my way toward Him. Through good times and bad, we can walk with Him, getting to know Him better, along the way. 

Someday, I will get to go home. But the here and now is important. This is where the relationships are being built; yes, even our relationship with the triune God. This is where the memories are made. It all follows us to where we're going.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crossing the Waters

 Today, we have rain pouring down. From Tuesday on, the forecast is predicting several inches of ...snow, in mid-April! Another indication that we do, indeed, live in Minnesota : )

It's been awhile since I've posted. I'm wondering where the last several months have gone. Winter is usually pretty quiet, around here. I guess we've been having too fun, playing music, at home, among other things. Been practicing, on the keys, trying to get my courage up to someday play, on the music team. Troy has taken up the guitar, in addition to honing his skills, on drums. All this hidden talent, revealing itself--its fun, to see our family becoming more and more musical, all the time.

Samantha has been singing a lot, making up little songs, about stuff: her toys, dolls, things she likes to do. Maybe we have a little song-writer in our midst, as well! I love her zest for life, and the joy that she brings into each day. We love singing along with our favorite songs, together : )

Adrian , my little man of mystery--he doesn't like to be center stage, but he's got talent, too. Every now and then, we'll hear him blasting away on the trumpet, hitting the drums, and picking away at the kiddie guitar--picked that one up, around the holidays. I can see him being a musician someday.

Ever have a glimpse of what God might be working on, in your future? That's how I feel about music, and how it may relate to our family life. I can't shake the feeling that someday, we might all be doing worship ministry together. Nothing brings as much joy to my heart, than when we're on stage, playing and singing, with the team. Someday, I hope that our kids will join us, when they are old enough.

Song-writing. Can't get it out of my mind. Literally. I can't even pen the words. I know that they are there, being formed...but nothing, yet. Looking back, on all that God has brought me through. My childhood, those times of real insecurity, loss of life, loss of loved ones. They all mean something. They all have a story to tell. But if I try to bring it together, on my own...I don't know. What comes out of it may be less than stellar. I'm trusting God to lead me, and bring me out on the other side, testifying of what He has done, in and through all of this. He is good, and He is a great God!

In my travels, I came across this reading. Here is the address, and what it says:

Joshua 4:23

"For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever."

God is alive and well. He is at work. He will 'dry up the waters' around you. If He did it for the ancient peoples, why on earth would He not do it, for each one of us? No matter how I might be feeling, which is very much dependent on the weather(LOL), I trust that God is still God.

The song of my heart is what I wake up and live, each day. Someday, I hope that some of that will end up in the form of notes and lyrics, making a beautiful sound : ) Until then, I'll be in process: living it out, trusting the Lord, making the memories with the ones who matter the most.