Thursday, November 10, 2011

i like street art

I do. I love the color, the feel, and the art it adds to the everyday. When I see an old building that looks tired and ordinary and someone makes it their canvas, it's like a little redemption. What's used up, dirty and old is made new and bright. Here are some scenes from around my town.

(above mural by local fine artist Shaun LaRose)

I like my town.

The above picture is not my town but how pretty is that?
Check out this page.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


So thankful for this little bear...he knows our faces, he makes us laugh constantly, he's altogether precious...our little joy bringer.

reposted November 09

Today I wandered with my three little ones through the graveyard. The sky was a pensive bluish-grey that leaves you with a feeling maybe a storm is near. The wind was sending what's left on the trees sailing toward earth. There is something peaceful about graveyards. Perhaps a sense of perspective comes as you walk past names, dates, history, so many stories, so many dreams. Of all those stories there are some things that you know bond them all, life, love, friendships, brokenness, dysfunction, desires, hope. I feel so very small and a strong sense of the brevity of it all. It's changed though, everything has changed since five years ago today, when I buried my dad. There was a time when he was my strong hero.. doesn't every little girl want her dad to be her hero? We spent sunny afternoons catching sunnies and he hammered nails in mason jars so I could catch fireflies. He was gentle,rugged and invincible. Then one day he was old, frail, vulnerable and dying. He needed help in ways I wasn't ready to have to help him. I found myself sitting in front of him in his wheel chair. He held his paralyzed hand and I tried to help him finish a painting. Golden light came soft through the window of that Autumn day. I saw a sorrow in my father's eyes I had never seen before. It tore at my soul and it was then that I joined the the family of the wounded. It was not that he lacked faith, for he knew where he was going. It's just that life doesn't always fit into our tidy theology. In his eyes I saw a man who feasted on the stuff of life to his very core, the scent of the earth in his hands as he gardened, the poetry of clouds, the faces of his five children and the faces of the little ones he would never meet... he missed it all...even while he was still here. And I could see it in his beautiful ocean gray eyes. I put my cheek on his and went back to mixing oil paints through tear-filled eyes, while he looked at the canvas with a vision that was slipping away. I'm not sure what compelled me to write this afternoon. It is not a place I go to often but it is real, raw and human and it changed me. And surely there are those memories and pictures in my head that are painful and sacred and beautiful and I keep them locked up tight like a treasure trove, so that they remain untouched, unchanged by the light and air. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my dad, for everything he was and everything he now is. I am thankful for the healing that God has given me and for the wound that with its bearing allows me to see others' wounds and have compassion. I am thankful for my Savior who will put an end to all death and disease. I'm thankful that my dad is home and enjoying life of which all the beauty he knew here was merely a glimmer. I am thankful for the history and the story I carry with me.

"Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea."

part of Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas

Monday, November 07, 2011


reposted from November 08

Autumn is my favorite season but it also seems that my mind goes involuntarily back to the last days I spent with my dad while he was dying. Our last conversations, the last thing I fed him, the last songs I sang for him,the last time I heard him laugh, his sadness, his worship and the rapid disintegration of his dignity. I don't really want to go back to those end days so I try to not let myself.

There is so much I love about the Fall only intensified by my desire to share it with my children. So we spend our days outside, on walks, collecting treasure, throwing rocks in the water, we try to take our work and play outside to soak up every last drop of the fleeting daylight. There has been healing and these Autumn days have been quite magical really. Do you ever pass a place where the golden light is so surreal you just want to lie there all day?

Today however I knew it would be hard not to remember that four years ago today I held his hand and watched him die. I wanted to be outside with my family on this pristine day, much like that day four years ago. So we drove a little ways to a mountain to hike and escape for awhile. As we drove I watched the trees, their colors as thick as oil paint and the notes of this song penetrating my soul.Definitely worth taking a minute to listen. Suddenly the way the leaves spun and swirled across the road from the truck in front of us like sunlit sparks from a fire seemed to be in unison with the lilting melody and the memories of him. I was overwhelmed with how purely glorious the sights and sounds of aliveness are. I let the quiet tears fall into the reflection in the window and let myself go back there for a few moments.

The other day I was walking with the kids at the Nature Center and Juden was asking all sorts of questions like why we were always outside lately and what happens in the Fall. I told him that Autumn would go by quickly and that once it gets cold the leaves turn colors and they die and the trees are all bare. He looked very sad and said, "mommy, I don't want the leaves to die and turn back into soil." So I tried to explain the natural process of life and death in nature and that the leaves die and replenish the earth to make room for new life in the Spring. But they get to turn all the colors of flames and shine their brightest before they die, the best I could do in four year old terms. I looked around at the sun shining through deep yellows and red and thought of how my dad seemed renewed and like the truest version of himself right before his journey ended.
I have a little matchbox which reads,"Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible..." G.B. Shaw
My dad made his life shine brightly in a million ways and I like to think I am continuing some small aspect of the burning.

Grief can take on so many faces. There is the grief which causes momentary sighs of melancholy and there is the grief that torments your dreams at night and wakes you sweating and gasping for air, grief that makes you wonder when you will have a tearless day. I have experienced both, and once you have stood alongside a grave where your loved one lies, you are never really the same. But four years later I can testify to God's power of healing. There is a void that can not be filled at holidays and in family pictures and in all of our hearts but I can see now, God's tender mercies and I trust in His perfect plan.

Friday, November 04, 2011

there's a fire down here

Some very talented folks from our church made this video about the community where we worship to help them get a grant and they won! I thought I'd pass it along because it's a little piece of beauty.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

pumpkin carving

Saturday we had our pumpkin carving brunch at my brothers house. It's just 5 minutes further from downtown than our house but it feels like the country with open space, chickens and mountain views. We added Harper and Luke this year and next year we'll add a tiny new Paul to the family gatherings. Babies fought for Nana's lap. There were Radio Flyer rides and plenty of pumpkins to go around. My brothers will always be my little brothers but I love seeing them in their own homes with their families, all grown up. Scott, with his tall wellies on, always working with his hands. It always makes me smile because I know my dad would be proud.

Louis sharing some tea with Aunt Trish (and baby Paul).

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


"Bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above."

My goodness it's November already. The three hours of sleep I got last night is catching up to me. So many things I've yet to write about but time tumbles forward and I'm lagging a little these days. Always little people needing me, things left half done or not done...trying to keep this train running. Life at the moment is so full of good things and hard things but mostly good. The temperature dropped recently and every tree and mountain side is splashed in color. It's breathtaking. It never ever gets old. It's my favorite season when the sky line is draped in flame colors and golden. It's the season I fell in love with Josh. A season that swells with life and color and then fades into brown and fills the sky with tree silhouette lace. The smell is wet leaves and fire and nostalgia. The soundtrack shifts to Rosie Thomas, Album Leaf, Harvest Moon, Yann Tierson and The Cinematic Orchestra. The Fall is always a bittersweet time; a time of remembering some people I've loved and lost.

Two weeks ago today, someone in our mama community died suddenly of a heart attack. One minute she was folding laundry, home-schooling her girls, cuddling her three year old and twenty four hours later she was gone from this earth. She left behind a husband and five daughters. The oldest is sixteen and the youngest is three. She was a doula. She loved babies and helping women bring them into the world safely and peacefully. Most importantly she was a Jesus lover. She was a friend of my husband's and we had several mutual friends. It shook me and our community. Even though she's home with Jesus, my heart broke for five little girls without a mother and for a missing that doesn't leave.
It's funny how everything we're rushing around doing seems so very important to us at the time. I wonder why we so often feel so untouchable and in control. It was a harsh reminder that in a blink, this life on earth is done but that an eternal kingdom awaits. How glorious. Our family prayed for hers and I felt myself want to hold my kids a little longer. It reminded me to tell people what they mean to me.
I think there's a theme to what God is teaching me lately. I am trying to learn how to lose my life and find it in Christ. "This" is not all there is. It is not about my agenda, my desires, my stuff, my comfort or my ease. I don't need more "me" time or more material stuff. I don't need to seize the day, I need to let go of it. I don't need to try to make my plans work, I need to surrender the day to Him who holds me. I want Jesus to have his way in my heart. I want His love to overflow to whoever he puts in front of me. I need to rest in the joy of finding ways to serve those around me. My Spirit is willing but my flesh is weak. I look back on my day and wish I'd held my tongue when I didn't, and accomplished more. I think about my children, these paradoxical creatures, one moment achingly innocent and compassionate and in the next moment chaotic, selfish and infuriating. But when I look at them I see myself...and all of us really. We are all vessels of madness, rage, love, purity and beauty. I'm being reminded as I watch this season unfold, that he is making all things new, even me.

Tonight I'll step over toys and books and kiss my kids goodnight. I'll watch them sleep and not worry about all that's left undone. There's far more to be thankful for that makes the worries pale in comparison. Even when we're short on order, patience, time and energy there is always more than enough love to go around.
My cup runneth over...