Thursday, December 31, 2009


I found this note and gift on my porch the other day~

Such an unexpected blessing
from someone who has walked this road already
and has not

(Here is my dad holding me with our childhood dog, Miss Royal.)

I opened another letter, almost a year ago now, and read what I believed to be just another kind sympathy note, when the words,

"Welcome to the Orphan's club"

caught my breath and my attention.

It was just a year ago when my father unexpectedly traveled on ahead to his "forever home." It has been a year of process for me as I walk every day as a daughter no more.

(Yes, that is me -sporting my fish with my hand on my hip- not at all camera shy! My sister is the cute little one with the groovy plaid pants and boy hair. Okay, my hair also qualifies as boy hair so I can't say too much. There is my beautiful mom and my dad in the background. The other two are friends of the family. )

The sender conveyed exactly what my heart knew but my lips refused to verbalize. With the loss of my mom, 28 years ago now, and in the wake of my father's death, I found myself not only grieving the loss of my dad, but also mourning my existence as a daughter.

As an honorary club member, I was joined by two other dear ladies who felt the sting of loss and death of not only a parent but of daughterhood. As painful as it was to read my new club membership title, it was helpful to know others understood the grieving that my soul felt. However, this is one club I wish I did not belong to.

As my mom faced her own death, she told my dad that she knew the Lord would be a mother to her daughters. I can honestly say, on the other side of the loss, that my mom's faith was well placed. God provided for her lack in ways that were real and soul sustaining, that softened the edges of our loss and simply held us.

That is the best description I can give - that in the middle of this young girl's loss of her mother, I felt "held" by my God.

Now, at the one year anniversary of my earthly father's passing, I know I am held, but I feel my loss more significantly. The sadness creeps in and covers me, threatening a freeze that whispers to destroy this tree, with its questionable root system. It is here in the deep freeze that a warm breeze blows in my mother's simple words of faith and I am reminded by the very One who carried me through so many valleys that I do belong, that I am still held, that I am not orphaned.

Sometimes I am appalled at how little progress I have made as a traveler. I expect to weather these storms better and believe I should experience sadness but it should be relegated to a two week period of grieving at which point I should be able to move on with words of wisdom and healing for all who are watching.

Instead I can only offer broken words, small steps, and invisible scars that still ache at the most unexpected times.

Today I finish this post on the first day of a new year.
I look to a new year full of certain lessons and I pray for grace to keep my roots from becoming brittle. And I am thankful for those who have been instruments of grace to me this past year and have kept me "held."

May you be "held" this new year and may you know his strength and comfort in the valleys.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Birthday Girls

These are some of the most wonderful ladies I know. When we get together I am reminded again how much I love each one of them. We have many differences - the four of us - but when we come together for our "birthday club" the differences remind me how diversity in the body of Christ is beautiful and necessary for continued growth.

I am at a time and place in my life where I am surrounded by people who surround themselves with those who are just like them. I have watched our church go through a metamorphosis as of late and unfortunately diversity among the body is not one of our strong suits. I watch as my family and I find ourselves on the periphery of our body at large - we do not "fit" into an "acceptable" category- our children are not home schooled, we do not spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about or discussing the benefits of grass fed versus corn fed cows or whether the chicken we had for dinner was free range or not. We wear deodorant that contains aluminum and I do not lose sleep. I do not press my own wheat when I make bread - I actually do not make bread and I know I am suspect.

What I love about my ladies is that we are all at different places in our spiritual journey, at various stages of motherhood, and we do not all worship at the same place, but this is what makes our time together such a gift. We are a conglomeration of hilarity, tears, prayer, and forgiveness. We are an unlikely mixture of organic only- junk food eaters - naturopathic and immunization free - pass the Tylenol please -"Survivor" contestant -fragrance wearing -steel ground oats only -taco bell loving- hodgepodge of ladies.

The conversation I have with these dear women of faith is some of the richest, most thought provoking, and meaningful in my life. We are in no way perfect. We are the seekers of the One who is perfect - and this we do imperfectly. I am loved and accepted with these friends. I do not have to be something I am not - in fact, I am pretty sure they would call me out if I tried it. These are the ladies who make me better. I know it without a doubt. Our vast differences temper the extremes in our personalities and provide an appreciation and great affection for the "other than". And so, in this busy season I want to pause to recognize the gift of friendship. As I age I understand its rarity. I thank God for these women who grace my life with themselves and I thank the Giver for them.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The season of Advent

Quiet presses in
the silence of winter's first snowfall,
light juxtaposed against the blackness of night.

Water reflecting multicolored lights
dressing homes across landscapes
as we drink in the symbols of the year.

Flames bent, dancing to keep up,
music reminding my soul
that light

Small treasures in tissue unwrapped-familiar friends
welcomed home for their yearly visit
to grace our tree,
reminders of time passages
and lives built

My children can reach the tall branches now,
the ones I cannot.

The season of advent is
the living, the giving-thanks for, the hope reminder, and yes,
the waiting,

light juxtaposed against the blackness of night.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just a few more reasons for Thankfulness

It is four something in the morning with alarm clocks set to ring at five, encouraging us to make it into the car and on the road before morning lights first flicker. 750 miles today - at least that's the plan as we make our way back to our old stomping grounds and Jim's family. Today is my last post before Thanksgiving and I wanted to make sure to keep my list going.... These are the things that have filled my life with gratitude this week. Enjoy.

Locating this year's Christmas photo

a casual dinner around a rambunctious table with friends

flour covered counter, watching my teenaged son roll dough for his first pie

feasting with a bunch of sixth graders

family games and laughing till I cry

observing what my son's eye catches in photos

the dog, who's certain she's not

snuggling on the couch, a mixture of blankets and slippers, coffee and books

the diesel smell of father and son coming inside after working

watching that old movie - together

listening as my daughter reads words of her own creation


coffee, at my favorite bakery with my love

singing psalms together

words, dancing across pages, catching my soul aflame

seeking our Father's face


hugs for this momma

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What a Foreclosure Sign Means

I'm not sure why I remembered that event with such clarity, but it struck me with such force a few days ago that, for a moment, my breath was taken. Maybe the pictures of those people leaving their offices with their possessions piled in their one box, walking void of emotion, triggered it or maybe I had heard a few too many news reports of families leaving their homes and that sent me back to a lifetime ago.

I was 15 and we were packing up our belongings. We were "starting over." My dad took a job in a city 2 hours away because there was nothing else in our area. Still reeling from the death of my mom a year and a half earlier, this was more than we could bear.

It was the early 80's and we were still experiencing the effects of the recession of the years prior to this and were in a business unkind to those desperately wanting to hang on until the economy turned. There would be no turn for us.

I was the one who answered the door when a man, whose face I can no longer see, asked for my father. He handed some papers to my dad; I don't recall my dad every explaining it, but I knew.

My father went to the bank to ask for more time. They were not interested in giving us time. It was after this that my father began sleeping longer.

We lost our business- the business my mom and dad built. My father took whatever job could pay.

I remember grocery shopping as a 13 year old, shortly after my mom was gone. It was my job to buy groceries with what money we had. I would clip coupons and try to purchase only what was needed, but sometimes there wasn't enough in the envelope and I would become terrified that I would have calculated incorrectly and would be humiliated when I reached the register and have to choose what to put back. Sometimes I would add my babysitting money to cover the lack. I never told my dad; it would have wounded him unnecessarily.

I remember the day we left. Someone had given the cat medicine to help him sleep during our move. The medicine made him ill and he vomited up a mouse on our living room carpet right before we walked out of the house we used to call home. I realized we didn't have any cleaning supplies and I remember a friend saying to leave it for the bank.

I died inside that moment. The thought of leaving our home- the home that I was responsible to clean, with vomited mouse remains on the floor, as if we were white trash leeching off of society, unwilling to pick up after ourselves- was unthinkable to me. I frantically searched for something to remove the newly formed symbol of our destitute situation.

We left our house, the last home I remembered with my mom, the last place we gathered as a family, and turned down the driveway. We had acres of wooded property that now belonged to someone else. I suppose it always belonged to someone else, but it's funny how you never think that when you're living there.

I have only been back one time. There was a man in my front yard, wearing a jacket like my dad wore, looking at the trespassers in his driveway.

I don't know what sparked this memory - the one of the cat throwing up the mouse. It was the moment that changed me. Humiliation and shame were my companions then. I also watched my father and knew I lost another parent; for the bank took more than our house and business that day.

When I see foreclosure signs I view them differently then most people probably do. I know another side of the story. I know some people live beyond their means and there are natural consequences for foolish choices, but I also know sometimes situations occur that are not a result of foolish choices, and occasionally normal people find themselves in places of great loss, not of their own creation. That is not to say my dad did everything right. I'm quite sure he did not, but I do believe he did the best he could with what he knew.

I wonder about the stories of the people who live in those homes with the signs in the yard. What dreams did they leave there? And will they ever hold their heads high again, or will the demons of their past haunt them?

25 years later I still get nervous and sweaty palmed when I reach the check out line, and I secretly hope I calculated correctly.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I recently challenged my ninth grade composition students with a poetry assignment. It was actually a very simple assignment and they were allowed 25 minutes to write.

When I mentioned "poetry" a few looked at me with glassy eyed stares. I explained the challenge and presented them with a few models - we brainstormed abstract nouns and they put pencil to paper; well, some put pencil to paper; let's just say everyone put pencil to paper -eventually.

One of my students chose to write about love. She wrote about that "special feeling" in great detail. I thought how love is so different from that glamorized televised version that pervades the lives of young people.

and so I write my love offering ~

give me love,
stable and true,
more like
Ruth and Boaz
Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon
or even
the faithful friendship of
Sam Gamgee and Frodo

rather than
Heathcliff and Catherine

not destructive or selfish,
but gracious and preserving
if necessary, at great cost to oneself
honor and
courage, flying
in the face of defeat
but nevertheless


give me love
unwavering and steady
seeking to bless for the glory
of blessing
overcoming unimaginable

so Jacob served seven years
for Rachel

and they seemed to him
but a few days
because of his love for her

love - one syllable
with more transformative power
than any other noun

young girl,
love is
so much more than
a feeling

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

holy experience

I have been reading Ann Voskamp's blog for a while now and am completely smitten with her. Ann is a poet and recognizes the necessity for thankfulness in our lives. She challenges readers to be part of her gratitude community and I have decided to follow suit and embrace this challenge in my own life.
Starting today I will offer my fishes and loaves ~ small gifts, not much to look at, but offered with the eyes of faith for my Lord to multiply. These gifts are not the things I desire, but what already fills my life. May I live my life in constant memory of the love that is poured out upon me.

Here are my first gratitude postings: Feel free to join me as we live outloud, thankful.

the cool, dark mornings that beg a second cup of coffee

the husband who loves me, constructing catapults for my science class

the daughter who sets table, unasked

the smell of pumpkin scented candles wafting through our house

the way the
morning light flickers as it dances across the river

my favorite slippers after a long day

banana bread, made by a friend

my children's voices filling my home with singing

that guitar playing boy

laughter around the dinner table

the encouraging words of a friend

patchwork colors dripping, signature of the season I love most

marshmallows ~ jumbo and mini

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why I Love Sundays

Breathing deeply of the goodness
I enter the place my soul knows well.

Surrounded by the beloved,
the ones who wear the waters of baptism,
we lift voices to utter psalms
with lisping babes.

Reverent kneeling- we bow
young and old,
sinners seeking forgiveness
for the trespasses of the week,
the day,
the hour,
the moment.

"Christ have mercy upon us"

Hands raised over heads
extended to the beloved,
grace reaches down from the throne room.


Exuberant declarations of faithfulness
to a forgiven people
we praise,
hands lifted heavenward in chorus of deep gratitude
Gloria Patri
glad song together,

always together.

Surrounded by a host
joining heavenly voices with dust dwellers
for one moment, no longer departed.

Heaven eclipsing earth
mingling spirits and body.

I come hungry
aware of my need,
feasting on the bread,
the soul-food of promise
that feeds more than my flesh;

this is my body
offered for you
my beloved

the wine,
the blood that slakes my thirst
no water can.

Here, I know again
I was created for worship;

made holy-
and I wonder how can it be.

How the Holy One can reach so far

This is the mystery-the entering in
The faith seekers, fallen
and yet holy.

The blessing of the redeemed;

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Real Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Hebrews 11~
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

By faith, Pauline Jacobi, choosing to place her trust in her Savior Jesus Christ, knew the real meaning of "hope", not an empty platitude, but an accomplished and certain victory won for her at the cross. She surrendered to her redeemer, who would not disappoint.

Lord, let my life be an offering of faith.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Unwelcome Visitor


How prone I am to forget.
That is why, I'm sure,
you give me days like these.

These are the mercy-filled days.
Days of illness, exhaustion,

disguised as unwelcome visitors
sent to remind me
how much I need you.

Thank you for this weary and failing body
that keeps me looking to you for strength,
reminding me that I am not necessary,
although I like to think
I am.

If I never lived these days
compassion would never sprout wings on my tired shoulders
causing me to extend grace,

I would miss the opportunity to receive kindness
from others,
ministering angels, sent by your hand
for me.

Love in action, displayed in the needful moments of living,

poured out freely
from you,
through your earthen vessels, the beloved,
to me.

My comfort rests in role of giver,
but today you ask me to receive.

Wash me Lord Jesus; not just my feet, but all of me.

I would never know the rest to be found
only in you;
in the quiet places meant for weary souls and fragile bodies
if the unwelcome visitor never stopped by.

Thank you for the time to heal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of School

I looked across the classroom into a sea of faces. The first day of another school year; my first year back after a year's hiatus, had me treading water with four never-before-taught upper grade classes in three never-before-taught grades.
As we began our lesson I asked the students to pull out their notepaper. One student blankly stared back at me; no paper in sight.

"Do you have your paper?" I asked.

"Yes." he said.

Still no paper emerged.

"Do you have it with you in this class?"

He shook his head no.

"Why didn't you bring it with you?"

"I actually didn't think we would do any work today."

Silence followed. After all, what should one say to that?
Thankfully, for both of our sakes, I did not say what I was thinking.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Sweet 16!

We put together photos of the birthday girl to share with everyone.

A Birthday Blessing

Happy birthday to my first born child.

It is almost impossible to believe we are here,

celebrating your sixteen years

and yet it is equally as difficult to think of our lives before you.

What a joy you have been to us.

You've grown so lovely

and I catch myself


little hands and funny moments;

"just one more book mommy,"

and I stop and breathe deeply.

You are the best of Dad and me.

We are so proud of you; the lady you have become.

You are our treasure.

We would love you even if you weren't exceptional;

But you are - you are so exceptional.

You are not afraid of hard work;

It will serve you well.

You know how to weather adversity,

it will serve you even better.

You know who to go to

when the winds blow hard.

And they will blow.

But you already know this.

You have learned to see what faith has promised

and to trust,

not with eyes,

but with soul and to believe.

You are careful with your friendships;

A true and faithful friend.

In 16 years I have never heard you speak unkindly of a friend, or a teacher.

Not even once.

You do the right thing even when it costs you.

And in many cases it has cost you,

but you do it,

because it is the right thing.

Hailey, we celebrate you on this special day;

the day of your birth.

You have blessed our lives.

We love you and we are exceedingly grateful to our Lord, Jesus Christ,

who called you out as

His own,

And gave the gift of you

to us.

May you continue to grow in the knowledge

of the One

who knows the number of the very hairs on your head.

May you be a perpetual blessing;

a living gospel to all.

Happy birthday our darling daughter,

in whom we are well pleased.

We threw a surprise sweet 16 birthday party for Hailey. Here she is arriving at the house with her good friend, Charis and realizing that something is up.

Here are our wonderful guests. We tried to keep things fairly small - about 35 people. Those who came were people who have ministered to Hailey and had an impact in her life in some tangible way. Of course, some were not able to be there - separated by distance, but their impact in her life is felt nonetheless.

After cake, we had a time of blessing, funny stories, and well-wishes for the birthday girl.
O'Connor Griffith and Jordan Ghiglia (seated) share a funny story memory.Charis Bolander wishes Hailey happy birthday and speaks blessing into her life.

One of Hailey's teachers - Alex Trochez, encourages Hailey and shares how she has blessed others.
Corey McEachran, Hailey's 6th grade teacher, shares funny moments.Eric Devries, Hailey's former teacher and principal, also blesses Hailey with his words.
One of the sweetest moments of the evening came from Gill Walsh, family friend, who said if he had a daughter he would want her to be like Hailey.

What a wonderful evening, full of love and laughter - and yes, some tears from mom and dad too. What a blessed people are the children of the living God. We celebrate with intention and the ones we love gathered around to rain down blessings into the life of our girl.

Happy birthday my sweet girl!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

San Juan Island Adventure

One last glorious summer trip to hang on to during the months of sweaters and all things downy, turned out to be one of our highlights of the season. Three families planned together for a San Juan Island tour. We packed bikes, coolers, cold weather, hot weather, and rainy weather clothing, all jammed into suitcases way too small.

Our kids were excited.

The grownups were excited.
(Scott Griffith, My sweet hubby - Jim, and Brian Bowe)
(Our fearless leaders)

We found a perfect place, large enough to fit all of us with a beautiful park-like outdoor setting to boot.

Our bike adventure began in the early morning hours on a ferry headed for Lopez Island - and the great unknown.

(Here I am in the blue shirt with my good friend, Tonya as I get ready to do some biking.)

Now, I feel it only fair to tell you all that I am not a biker. Worse than that, I am a shirker of a non-biker. I had every intention of biking this summer, but did I get my bike legs ready for the long awaited trip? Nope! I lived in utter and complete denial of the impending bike trip. Actually, I should say I looked forward to the trip - it was just the actual biking part that I disregarded. I have thought back over this. What was I really thinking? I am a fairly planned person, but when it came to this trip and doing something I really didn't want to do - like get in shape for a difficult bike trip - I wimped out. I guess I figured I would just do my best and that might get me through. Well, unfortunately for me, it just didn't work that way.
(Thankfully, others also had to walk their bikes up a few hills).

I rode my bike for a short way and then encountered the mother of all hills. I absolutely could not get up that stinking hill. I not only had to push my bike up the hill, I had to sit down on the side of a busy highway because I thought I would throw up. Not my greatest moment.

At one point, while my head was on my lap as I sat on the side of the road, I think I spotted a pregnant woman who biked past me, pulling her toddler in a trailer behind her.

Small children were biking circles around me.

I decided I did not want to go out like that. After the nausea subsided, I had my husband, who was driving the truck, drop me off - away from my biking group - I didn't need any more humiliation, thank you - and I was determined to end on a high note. While I never made it around the island, or even anywhere close to that, I did get back up on my horse (bike) and tackled another hill or two; not as big as the one that took me out, but still a stretch for me. I will never forget cresting one of the hills and feeling the wind and the thrill of just sailing down the road - it was wonderful -

the downhill part.

Now I know there is a deep spiritual lesson here - but I am quite sure you can make the connection yourself, so I will not belabor the point. Let's just say there should be no doubt that God has a sense of humor and believes in the laws of natural consequences. If we look carefully enough at the day to day situations we encounter we can make spiritual connections that are abundantly clear and full of meaning. After all, daily living is spiritual - so the connections are an outflow of our lives.

'Nuff said.

I happily drove the "sag wagon" the rest of the day!

Despite the difficulty I had with the actual biking portion of the bike trip, it was one of the highlights of our summer.
(Here is our group at the end of the 35 mile Tour de Lopez loop!)

We enjoyed exploring the islands, hitting some estate sales, and browsing the local bookstores. Our boys tried their hand at crabbing. They were able to catch a few that we brought home and cooked. Here they are with a starfish they found.

We played badmitton, croquet, and horseshoes. And my favorite - speed scrabble (bananagrams).

We took a trip to Mt. Constitution and the weather was spectacular. We could see for miles.
(Tonya Griffith and Sara Bowe - from the top of Mt. Constitution)

The trip made me thankful for dear friends who were willing to carve time out of their busy schedules to drink in life; together. We played hard and made memories that will last a lifetime.

This is the good stuff.

Friday, August 28, 2009

This I Know

Living in christian community as a body is a blessing like no other. But body life is messy business. We bump into one another. We suffer wrongs at the hands of a brother or sister in Christ and we wrong a brother or sister. We offend and are offended. And we forgive. We must forgive. We must forgive because when we stop to consider the grace that has been lavished upon us and really recognize it for what it is - well, we can't help but to forgive.

I had an opportunity to say what was in my wounded heart to a sister in Christ - and then I remembered grace.

I remembered where He found me and what He did for me. I heard Him whisper "grace" into my steely heart. While I first wrote this letter to a "sister-mother" sharing a difficult providence, I decided it fitting to write to all of you wounded sister-mothers in Christ, whose roads are different from mine but whose hearts are so very much the same.

You are beloved by God, child of light, heir to the kingdom, ransomed captive bought with the shed blood of the Son of the Most High- the perfect lamb, our great High Priest, in whom we have redemption.

I am a child of the promise, a recipient of mercy, a living stone fitted for a kingdom-undeserved, partaker of righteousness, loved by God, sinner - saved by grace, made saint, forgiven much and washed in the blood of the One who gave all.

This I know...

We are mothers. Gentleness hiding fierce warriors, battle-ready for our sons and daughters. Wielding words rather than swords, inflicting damage aimed at any who would harm them.

Let me sheath my word-sword for a moment to spill my mother's heart blood with you ~ to be what we were meant to be ~
warrior women.

Jael must have been a mother. She did what no man-warrior could. Moses' mother released her child to the enemy knowing his salvation rested with the God of her captive people. God grant me eyes of faith like that! We are from the stock of the widow who dared to approach Elijah and would not leave until her child lived. We are Bathsheba, who dared fall on her face before her husband, David, in his last days, securing the throne for her son.

We are Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah~they are our mothers, and we, their daughters.

This I know...

We are mothers of daughters and sons. We stand in the gap for them, pleading with Jesus for what wisdom has not yet granted. We are their biggest fan ~ we will always be their biggest fan. We see in them their goodness, and cover their shortcomings with love that falls like rain.

And we see the promise.

We are mothers. We know how to love more deeply than any created being. To ask us to be something apart from this is like asking us to rip our very souls from our body; we cannot, and yet, if we had to do this for our children we would find a way.

We are perfectly imperfect.
We are mothers.

May grace walk with you~my sister-mother.
May wisdom be our companion.
May we remember we are on the same journey
and may we be quick to bridge the gap
when the other
on the unknown road,
and first to cheer
when the race is completed.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Divergent Roads

I am not good when it comes to diversions from the plan. I try to be. I sometimes think I am making great headway with this character flaw, and then something happens and I realize that, nope, I am not a "roll with the punches" kinda gal. Stuart Little comes to mind - the part in the book where Stuart has his date with Harriet Ames. Stuart plans out the day in vivid detail. As Stuart takes Harriet to his canoe he discovers that someone has vandalized his new boat. His plan of a peaceful afternoon on the water is now an impossibility. He is completely undone when it begins to rain and he cannot get over how beautiful the day was, in his mind. Harriet makes several suggestions, but Stuart is sulky and the date is ruined.

Today I was hit with one of those "divergent roads." Oh I know, the poet romanticizes the road and tells us how it will make all the difference if we will but take it. But I am here to say, I don't really want that road. I like my road; the one I've planned out, in my mind. It's quite nice actually. There are no hidden dangers lurking around unseen corners, no steep cliffs that one might veer off of in a fog, no jagged precipices to climb or slip and fall to a sudden death. Yes, my mind road is quite safe. Nothing unpleasantly unexpected ever happens there.

Alright, let me remove my Pollyannic glasses momentarily. I have lived enough life to know that that is not how things work. I know my road will diverge, and it will be uphill - sometimes straight uphill, in the searing heat, with no shade and only ravenous animals and maybe a really wicked blizzard. (I suppose that conflicts with the searing heat, but you get my meaning.) I know life is full of difficult providences and these provide opportunities for my faith to root out my fear. I know that things rarely go as planned, and I believe that is ultimately a good thing. But I am here to state, for the record, that I don't like it. I am sorry if that is a disappointment to some, but I recognize my Stuartness and I claim it.

When Stuart falls apart and misses out on a lovely evening with Harriet because of his idolized plan, it is a comedic tragedy, and we laugh over Stuart's silliness and are thoughtful about what might have been. As an elementary teacher, this was a wonderful moral lesson that I fervently taught.

When I am faced with my own "Stuartness" it is mostly comedic, but in the quiet places I see it in all its ugliness and I realize I am storing up idols in my heart - idols of preconceived plans that must look a particular way and a defiant unwillingness to graciously accept a different road.

Today was one of those divergent road days. Not a Stuart-sized divergence, but a life-altering road into what looks to me to be sheer cliffs of disappointment. And so I went to my sustainer and helper. I confessed my Stuartness in His presence and sought wisdom and grace to make this journey. I prayed, "Lord keep my heart from being hardened." I wish I could say the fog lifted, the path cleared, and another road miraculously appeared. It has not. I have no answers though I fervently seek.

I do, however, have an assurance that I am not alone; that this difficulty is not unknown, and was in fact prepared for me ahead of time by the One who knows my deepest need. I have the knowledge that after this climb, if I trust in the one who leads me rather than my preconceived plan of what I pictured the road to be, I will have scaled another mountain and will be less "Stuarty" than before the trip.

I'm also pretty sure, although I cannot see it now, that the view from the top of this next hill will be unmatched.

Psalm 25:4-5
Show me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; on you I wait all the day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In Our Later Years

I was so moved by a photograph taken a few days before my stepmom's sweet mother of 88 years exchanged her time here for her eternal home. I wanted to put words to paper to reflect my own heart as I think to the future.

What a grace to have a glimpse of such a tender moment, shared by two who have traveled their journey, side by side, for 69 years.

I am filled with such love for my own dear husband, who loves me so well. May God grant us such tender moments and love;

always love.

In Our Later Years

When that time comes
and I am old,
and if I remember no more,
and if my eyes look but do not see,

sit with me,
and hold my hand.

Stroke my cheek with your hard worked hands;
hands that have created our life
and saved me from an ordinary world.

Kiss my forehead
if you are still able,

but if you are not,
if your body is bent and frail,
unable to do what was once so common,

then just sit by my side

and touch me.

For I am more
than a collection of memories from better years,
or words once spoken out loud,
now forgotten.

Be there with me
in the last silence
sharing space and time

And I will not be afraid;

for I will have your love
and the life you gave me,

which was never commonplace.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

This is Why I'm Crazy

"We've been robbed!" I yelled as I stood in my garage early one afternoon, several years back.

My heart sank as I looked over the carnage. What a mess!

The thief or thieves were obviously in an enormous hurry - memories of our life were strewn all over the garage floor. As if a bomb had burst in a closet, kids' clothes and toys were haphazardly thrown against walls.

I sat down on the step and tried to think.

I must call my husband. He will know what to do.

I felt so violated. A supplanter had entered our garage, rifled through our belongings and stole our stuff! And it happened in the middle of the day, while the kids and I were home!

As I scanned our remaining possessions, I noticed some of the more expensive items escaped, curiously unscathed, in the attack. A television set sat in the corner, in plain sight, undisturbed. A radio, which would have been easy to swipe, was left on the shelf. My car, unlocked, remained in the garage with my purse on the passenger seat and the keys dangling in the ignition - right where I left them.

Although it was difficult to see, a closer inspection revealed that nothing of consequence appeared to be missing. Our garage door was up and our belongings littered the driveway, sidewalk, and nearby vacant field.

This made no sense.

And then I saw it.

Like an oracle, it came to me.

Earlier in the day my kids (ages 5, 7 and 8) asked to take the dog for a walk. At some point, not long after, they came inside the house for cookies.

I looked across our property and spotted our dog, a sweet, but easily excitable and somewhat skittish mutt, badly in need of training, roaming, rather happily I might add, in our neighbor's yard.

She was also pulling something that had been attached to her leash. -Oh dear saints in heaven, is that a croquet set?

Like a noxious weed, pieces of our now broken croquet set, and other nameless items, which were unfortunate enough to be in the path of destruction when our dog wigged out, dotted the landscape from our house to the neighbor's and beyond.

I'm still not sure what they were thinking -these children of mine- when they conferred and determined that, yes, this would be a good idea - let's tie our hyper dog up to our portable croquet set on wheels and when we come back she'll be waiting for us.

Brilliant plan children!

I worry about my kids. Will they ever be employable?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Daughter Days

Since so many of my posts of late have been of a more serious nature, I thought I'd take a divergent road and have a little fun. Here is just one of the days I treasure on my road less traveled....

After looking over this post I'm pretty sure you'll feel just like I do. I can't think of a better way to spend a summer day, than with these two beautiful girls.

Today was one of the record setting heat days we have been experiencing in the Northwest. My two oldest kids are working their first summer job on a nearby orchard. My oldest daughter had today off, so we thought up some things to do that involved my camera and getting out of the house, but not into the heat.

A new little eclectic shop opened up in our town of Wenatchee. I love all things eclectic and thought it was time the girls and I checked out The Hippie Vintage Shop.

My girls were originally not quite on board with my new discovery. Hailey, my oldest was pretty sure this was not going to be fun. Her 15 year old feet are way too firmly planted in the ground! Brooke however, embraced the opportunity and threw caution to the wind.
The little unique boutique sports all things "hippie." They specialize in vintage clothing from the 60's and 70's, but you can also find jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, LP records and a variety of decorations.

Emma, the owner of the Hippie Vintage shop, took some time to help us try on some new looks.
My twelve year old daughter, Brooke, enjoys a blast from the past.
In the end even Hailey came around.

My favorite Hippie Vintage Shop picture!

Okay - I couldn't let the girls have all the fun, could I? Thanks Emma, for sharing your fun shop with us!