All posts tagged: faith

When Sorrow Shadows Our Days

In light of recent tragedies, people are grieving on a global scale. Collectively, we are more aware today of our loved ones and of our fragility than we were yesterday or even last week. With much to hold dear and much to say in times like these, we can turn to One who knows just what to do when death stops the world in its tracks tracks.

I’d Like to Thank My Dogs

And how I came to mopping my floors at bedtime last night while the babies slept and Zach – fresh from spray mopping the master bedroom floor and washing Collie paws with hand soap in the master bathtub – and how we discovered the paw prints, which lead from our room, down the hall, around the corner, into the kitchen, and right at Scout’s kennel door, began as some good stories do, with a question: “Do you smell poop?” On this morning, the morning of my one-hundredth post, I’ll not be finding new homes for the hooligans who step in each other’s piles of crap and leave their foul-smelling trace throughout my house so that I spend a cozy Sunday evening mopping my floors. Though I did consider it. No. I’d like to thank my dogs. They’ve given me much to muse about on Monday mornings. So, Happy Post 100. Here’s to you, Scout and Rufus.

Tin Man Heart

1961 Thanksgiving Eve an untimely tragedy left my father fatherless and you the only grandpa I ever knew.   Model airplanes on wire, Posters of cars, Hawaii. Jam jars of nails and screws. Drill press Band saw Pine planks Light bulb glow on sawdust drifts. Miniature engine parts, boxed beside piles and piles of Popular Mechanic.   1966 Chevelle. Three on the tree. Dueled exhaust. Cherry-bomb mufflers. Your apple-red beauty, polished to mirror gentle hands, oil-black and coarse.   1956 The girl from Iowa chose Spokane and you.   One daughter, a wealth of sons to pass along your lessons on the mechanics of life and love. A generation old enough to tell of your mischief and kindness. Babies too young to remember your hazel eyes, but small enough to wrap tiny fingers around your thumb.   1995 Frantic surgery. Aortic-valve. You almost died. Then, tick-tick tick-tick tick-tick a Tin Man heart.   Years and years and years, mercy-filled and overflowing. Moments of fragility, Brokenness.   Your heart clocked a lot of mileage. More than …

The Inevitable Aftermath of Travel

I’ve written a lot lately on positive perspectives because, in this season of life, it is incredibly easy to operate in the opposite frame of mind. Yesterday, we returned from a two-week vacation in the Pacific Northwest. It was, at times, as slow going as Sun Road traffic. It was, at other times, as swift as cold currents. By plane cross-country and by car through three states, from Montgomery to Dallas to Kalispell to Essex to Spirit Lake to Spokane Valley – and back and forth between Spokane Valley and Spirit Lake a dozen times – all in the name of visiting family I miss dearly everyday. In the throes of such travel, it is the promise of familiar faces – and the pleasantry of familiar places – that fill the hours of travel with joy, not dread. Though traveling with two young children graces that mileage with an extra challenge. Still, I was happy to carry sleeping Izaak on my chest, sleeping Abigail on my hip, and loaded diaper bag on my back from …

Blessings, Not Curses

I never did muse about the “terrible twos,” that phrase I loathe as much as the warning, “just wait until she’s a teenager.” I happen to love teenagers. And I wasn’t so bad. (Right, Mom and Dad?) And who’s to say that my daughter will end up like the worst teenager you ever strived to avoid? No. We ought to speak blessings, not curses, over the lives of others. Sometimes, negative phrases are shared with well-calculated intent, but often they fly out of our mouths mindlessly. We say them because society generally accepts them as truth. Most healthy two-year-olds happily explore life on a day-to-day basis only to discover boundaries. Boundaries tend to infuriate the folks who do not expect them. Tantrums happen. It’s an emotional time of growth. (Oh, but bless the gift of growth!) We coin “terrible twos” to make light of an otherwise unsettling phase. Such phrases, when applied too liberally, take root. The negative nature of such phrases sprout ugly lies. These lies wheedle through our “comedic” attempts and make unsettling …

Vision for the Mission

Of all the footage, dialogue, and shared memories, the Moon, white in the blue Florida sky, framed by an Apollo 11 cockpit window, is my favorite. As a few lucky men await a fiery launch into their future and our history, battling the inner turmoil that must accompany even the bravest of pioneers, a vision of their mission floats visibly and reassuringly in broad daylight. Anyone can have a noble mission, but do you have vision? Proverbs 29:18 tells us of the significance of vision. Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. In no game of Taboo is the word “happy” listed beneath the word “law.” Yet, we know that “all the Law and all the Prophets hang on these two commandments,” loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:35-40). The heart of God’s law is love, which begets joy. How can we ensure joy on our journeys? How can we stay focused on the mission to love God and others? Solomon recommends vision. Vision: the ability …

Humble Pie at the Playskool Kitchen

One dog forgets his size while the other requires an escort to the backyard. Rufus and Scout. Amplifiers of chaos. Two extra children to raise. When all hell breaks loose, Rufus and Scout are the first to get the boot. “Scout! Kennel! Go!” He’s too swift to spank; I tap him on the butt with the toe of my tennis shoe. He runs in the opposite direction. Hides under the dining room table. Freezes in the shadows until I finally get close enough to scoop him up and just carry him to his kennel. He’s gone in a flash. I give up. “Fine,” I say. “Stay out. Whatever.” You’re small enough to not frighten anyone, though your yap is obnoxious. Rufus at my feet – and legs and hips – turns in the hallway like a yellow school bus stuck on a one-lane country road. “Rufus, move!” When he, like a horse at the stall door, is on the other side of the baby gate, I can finally open the door to greet whomever. Or …

Try Again

The baby, hungry and in search of warmth, cries. The toddler, energetic before nap time, refuses a diaper change. The doorbell rings and sleeping dogs fill the house with barking. And un-showered, un-prayed me is so tightly wound I’m shaking. It did not bode well when I slept though my alarm, fell asleep nursing, and walked into my day, chaotic and without so much as a completed prayer. It’s Monday and it feels like it. But I stop later to shower and catch my breath; the hum of the hairdryer puts Izaak to sleep. I vacuum up dog hair while Abigail sleeps. It’s visible progress, therapeutic. A small step in the right direction. When I can inhale more deeply, less shakily, I stop to pray and start Monday all over again. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,     for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;     great is your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). His great loves helps me to stop, take a step back, and see my Monday from his vantage …

When You Go to Urgent Care for Alone Time.

I did not want to waste a sunny Saturday in a cold, sterile building, shuffled from one closed off area to another. Yet, my heavy head, stuffy nose, and lost voice begged I go see the doctor. I contemplated my options. But wait, it was Saturday. Which meant I could leave the kids at home with Zach. Which meant I could endure the waiting rooms of PriMed without complaint, for I had a scene rolling around in my brain. I envisioned myself waiting, alone, writing the minutes away. “Yeah, I’m gonna go,” I told Zach. And I left as soon as I could. The entire experience lasted approximately two hours – two sweet, long hours. It’s terrible to battle illness, especially in seasons already stressful. It’s also terrible to be forced to escape to urgent care, the mailbox, or even the bathroom for quality alone time. The night my chills heralded what would become bronchitis, I watched the stars above the tree line in our backyard and recalled the verse from my devotion that morning: …

Time is a Gift

When I am an old woman, the vivid image of your gray-blue eyes may flicker and the way she scolded you for crying. The sound of your whimper recalled only by recordings. That funny look that made her laugh, only a photo. One afternoon, the last ten miles home, you cried. She cried, too. Weary of the road, missing her YaYa. We were a family of four on our own for the first time, and the car filled with the kind of desperation that dissipates only when the engine dies. Your week old voice crescendoed. She matched your volume. I would have felt helpless except for your dad, who smiled back at me. Time slowed. I took in the June sun on summer kudzoo; the gray asphalt snaking through farmland, lush, even in drought; the unison of your distraught cries; the hand holding mine. I memorized the moment for myself for tomorrow, next week, next year. For the days when I am an old woman and unable to remember. Remember tough times. Sweet times. I …