Friday, October 04, 2013

Friday loves

There was a lot in this week I want to let go of. These are the things I want to hold on to...

 this man, covered in our babies,

this moment when I breathe in everything about your tiny self and drink in the sound of your joy...

the shape of her, the light on her face the quiet of her thoughts...

taking a break from school for a little while to make flower wreaths for my fairy girls...

Not a single day will pass that I will not breathe out thanks to the one who gives every good thing.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


 Nights like this remind me why I love the camera. Because tiny, pudgy fingers are learning to take in the world around them. Because you focus on the strong veined arms of the daddy around tiny laughing bodies. Because the light is golden on the fields and it rests soft on the way they look at each other. Because when you're a mama, no matter how naughty or exhausting they have been, at the end of the day, you can't help slipping in their room to watch them sleep and wondering how you ever got so blessed. Because there is something holy in the bond of family. Because I can see my little brother as a man he has become and see his cheeky, impish ways in his little boys. Because it all doesn't last for long and sometimes you want to hold on.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September in our corner...

For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack."
                                                        ~ D.H. Lawrence                  

     Last night as we sat down to pray together with the kids. I wasn't feeling prayerful or focused. I was a little depleted and disappointed in my lack of patience and frustration. Too many scattered thoughts and unfinished jobs. An older friend spoke of this season of raising small children, in her own life, as feeling fragmented. It resonated with me. I feel it too at times, all the things that you just can't get to, the many needs at every turn. That feeling like I can never be quite enough. That deep longing for sanctuary, for solitude. And then there are those things I always thought I'd do... study photography, adopt, advocate for children, go to India and Uganda, serve the least of these, all these deep desires that are still there but seem out of reach. At times I wonder if I am really doing anything well. Am I really serving in the ways God tells me too? Are my days ordered by Him? I want to be His vessel, His hands and feet while I am here but can I do that in my little home, in this place I am in?
As I look back at old prayer journals I asked God to help me love what He loves and hate what He hates, that He would let my heart break over what breaks His. I have seen Him answering this prayer in increasing measures and for that I am thankful. But what do I do with headlines that turn my stomach and make me shudder, that haunt me when I'm reading Goodnight Moon or telling my daughter not to be afraid in the storms? 
How can I feast on plenty while sisters around the globe watch their own babies bellies swell? 

I erupt with joy at each new phrase sweetly spoken by my toddlers lip's. I cup his soft face in my hands and drink in those holy moments. Somewhere else on this beautiful spinning planet Syrian mothers become numb when daughters and husbands and sons are murdered.
 My heart breaks.
I wait for the moment when my husband walks through the door and into my arms while the wife and children of Pastor Saeed Abedini continue to hear of his unlawful imprisonment and torture. 
  My heart breaks. 
I watch my girls laugh and dance through the grass in the long shadows of the afternoon and I ache for the beauty.
But someone else's little girl is sold as a sex slave, raped, treated like trash, and I tuck my precious girls in, to the sounds of soft music. Who hears their wailing?
My heart breaks.
I watch the wonder of new blooms of cosmos and lilies and marvel at the intricacy of moth wings while  today many remember the last time they saw their loved ones lost in New York City this day twelve years ago? 
Sometimes it feels like sacrilege. The disparity haunts me. How can life and humanity be simultaneously so heinous and sorrowful,  beautiful and joyful. I am undone by my blessing and grieved by the suffering of so many around the world. 

A friend of mine wrote this today:
"On this day, as we remember so many lives tragically lost on our own soil, let's also remember that for many families across the globe, this awful sense of tremendous and sudden loss is a daily horror. For many forgotten and unseen people, the sting of death has become a close friend. Even today, my beloved Nigeria bleeds. Over 600,000 Syrians have fled their homes, their families, their lives. War, famine, floods...
We are not alone in our grief. As we remember what happened on 9/11/01, please...say a prayer for the millions of other beautiful souls sharing our planet whose "9/11" is happening right now."


 I leave this full, tattered, thankful, burdened, broken heart at the foot of the cross; for where else can I go? I leave it there, with Him who is well acquainted with sorrows, who entered this bloody war-torn skin of ours to embody love. I look to the hills from whence cometh my help. I lift up the sufferers to his throne. I share their grief, it has become this well inside me. I join my tears with theirs. My joys are held up to the light of what will one day be. 

I stilled my heavy soul and listened to my daughter pray and here is some of what she said, 

"Dear God, Thank you for my body and how wonderful it works, and that is a sanctuary that you live in. God, can you please control my heart? And God can you please help the people that have to go through really hard things in the world. Can you help to heal them. Jesus I am sorry for the sins that I do. Can you forgive me and can you take them away with your arms?....Can you spread open my heart with your love. God can you help me to be a good author when I grow up and a pastor. I love you forever and more."

Her child's heart spoke so deeply that tears fell at her words. Tears of relief at His mercy, of hearing what my own soul couldn't voice just then. No matter how short I may fall or how many times I have to say I'm sorry, God is so faithful. I listened as she spilled out her heart just like she was sitting with a trusted friend and I was overwhelmed by how he covers us in His grace. 
I will dwell on His promises. 
I will hope in Him. 
I long for His glory to be made full  in my heart and to all nations. 

"Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." ~Psalm 27:14

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you."~ Isaiah 43:5

"I will turn their morning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow."~Jeremiah 31:13

"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."~Exodus 33:14

""He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away."~ Revelation 21:4


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer is for blueberry picking.

We went a little too early this year and so we had to reach and work to get our bucket full of ripe plump berries. Harper also liked to eat every berry we picked of course or feed them to his buddy. I love this tradition, being with friends, seeing where our food comes from, returning home and making a blueberry bramble.  And we can't forget a reading of this old favorite...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


For my Ella who is now eight;
"Is it gonna storm mama?" You asked with a furrow in your brow. "I don't think so but if it does I will be with you." I said as I stuffed towels and water bottles in the backpack. We piled into the van headed for our favorite swimming hole. We stepped through the mossy forest floor, past fiddle heads and ferns and everything in me calmed with the cool green landscape, trees stretched against sky, just the sound of water over rocks and your chatter and play. We were made for this, to glory in the earth scent and deep blue sky, to feel the warmth  on our freckled summer skin. It is everything summer and carefree, swimming through clear green pools, we built rock towers and collected treasures, layed on our backs and picked m&m's out of the trail mix.

At some point I noticed the dark clouds roll in and your face turn to worry. Storms are a big fear for you. The rain started gently with just a low rumble of thunder in the distance. We grabbed our towels and ran to the shelter of a big rock overhanging. We huddled close and sang and watched the rain. The thunder came and went and when it came close your tears welled up and daddy held you and comforted you. You looked small in his arms. It made me think about someone I listened to recently who spoke about when Jesus was in the boat with his friends. The storm raged and they were gripped with fear. All He did was speak and the waves and winds obeyed and became still. Can you imagine? A raging storm turned to perfect calm in an instant. In life God doesn't always calm the storm. He doesn't always make everything okay despite all the well intentioned platitudes you may hear. But it has to be enough that we are in the boat with Jesus. He never leaves us alone to face our storms. He is with us always, our strength and comfort, our never failing anchor.

The storm passed and the sun returned along with your smile. I will forever treasure this day with you.

I see you sweet daughter, growing thoughtful and wiser as the days pass. There is a lot I understand about you. You are a noticer. You observe with eyes and heart and see things that others miss in your own quiet way. Your current career aspiration is to be an author and illustrator. Although I know that this changes quickly,  it does really capture your eight-year-old self. You love making books. You spend hours carefully telling stories and drawing and you love making them for people. I think I will need a separate chest for the kind letters, cards and books you create that I can't part with. You don't always speak a lot of words but you speak volumes with your pencils and paints.  The other day I found this tucked in some of your drawings...

  I felt myself say "Thank you  Jesus," for the  heart of a child.  You are good at doing this. You are full of wonder and curiosity. Never lose that. Goodness, life has so much joy and beauty  to uncover. How do so many of us, as we grow up lose our way?  Truth be told my darling, it will get harder. You will see that the world can be a dark place and you will not escape sorrows and struggles;  none of us do.  When those days come and the world feels harsh and lonely, know this; you were made for another.  Always, always, look and seek for God and His glory and you will find it. That is my prayer for you. Learn to love His Word and know that you are His daughter, adopted, forgiven and more loved than you can imagine.  His ways bring a deeper fulfillment and joy than all the lies that want to sell you false happiness. Never ever let people's opinions, or what you see in the mirror or your accomplishments define you. You were known to God before you were ever born and He holds you always. Let him shape your heart to echo His. The most beautiful you will ever be is when you are serving and loving others. Try to truly see people. Every person is a masterpiece of God's design; be compassionate always. Read books, and create and dance and build and laugh until it hurts. Love deeply without reserve. Find the things that make you feel the most alive and do them for God's glory. Listen for his voice in life.
Ella, your name means light and you are certainly that. Your presence brings light to our hearts. Don't be afraid to give your light to others.  I am so proud of the things I see God growing in your tender spirit already.  Some things I love about you: how you are always singing, beat-boxing, dancing, how you can't get enough of bunnies, your stories and art, your dimple, your clear green-blue eyes, the freckle on the end of your nose, your kindness, how no one cries alone if you are with them, your silliness, your ability to notice everything around you. Such a gift you are to me precious one.