All posts tagged: featured

Five Years :: of Hope

Tomorrow is the five year anniversary of the day my daughter died. There are two streams of thought I have today: I am grateful – I see my children running in the autumn sun, I watch my husband holding them, I feel their arms wrap around my legs, and I realize, “Five years ago I could never have imagined life looking like this five years plus one day later.” I am humbled – My husband and I weren’t blamed for my daughter’s death, we nearly lost our second daughter but she survived due to medical expertise, we have health care, a good home, a very supportive community. I have only survived the death of my daughter, and there was no tragedy in my life before it, and there has been no serious tragedy immediately following it. But others in this world – a significant portion of the current human population and most of humankind since the beginning of Creation – have suffered tragedy after tragedy after tragedy in one lifetime. Holocaust survivors. Rwandan genocide survivors. …

Fear: Not Your Friend

It’s interesting.  I discovered something fascinatingly new to me in my study of Gensis. Do you know how Adam & Eve first responded to God after the Curse? The Lord was quietly walking through his Garden in the evening, and he called to his children gently.  And what was their immediate response? They were hiding because they were FEARFUL. Their first response, in a suddenly fallen state of mind, was to be afraid.  But why?  God had not changed. God was still the same. God was their Creator. God was quietly seeking them. God had a calm and kind voice. God cared enough to seek them. God was still there. Why were they afraid? My theory is that with the bite of fruit – from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil – came the curse of fear. They didn’t achieve knowledge like the Serpent said they would; they didn’t achieve God-like power like the Serpent said they would; they didn’t become more or better. They became less. Weak. Frail. Ashamed. Lonely. Timid. …

Chaos :: Rhythms

Bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.  Bushels of apples.  Long shadows.  Falling leaves.  Pumpkin spice everywhere. Nostalgia. And then you have kids. Lots and lots and lots of germs. Stuffy heads and runny noses. Early bedtimes. Consistent schedules. Not enough coffee. School newsletters and paperwork. More stuffiness and less patience. The list could go on, but my fingers are tired just typing out that short list. My daughter goes to preschool two days a week and Bible study one day a week, so it’s a reasonable schedule packed into the middle of the week, allowing us the luxury of flexibility the other four days. But- I’m a Potter trying to run a little creative business that requires a lot of strength, time, and finesse; my husband is a Firefighter, Air Force, and an Entrepeneur Farmer. We’re either going to meetings, taking the kids out to play, running errands, cleaning the house, planting our crop, planning the next phase of renovations on our property, making time for friends, running off to work, trying to make a pot …

Scrapes :: Bumps

Today I told my daughter “Fear is not your friend. Scrapes and bumps are part of the game of life.” Mind you, all she was doing was learning to ride her bike with training wheels. She’d taken quite a tumble a few minutes prior while going down a steep incline. When she fell I held her close and soothed her, and the first thing I said after the wails had quieted was: “You know what, though??? You did AWESOME!!! I am so proud of you for going down that hill, even though it was hard to do.” I want my children to know and accept that life is hard. Sometimes it’s complete shit, but I don’t say it to them like that at this stage of life. I just give them gentle reminders that scrapes & bumps will happen; there will be sad days; there will be disappointments and foibles; there will be mistakes and down-right naughtiness; life will kick you in the pants. Life can be so hard. But before they accept that ^ …

Darkness :: Light

After Heidi died suddenly at four days old, her little sister Everley was born nine months later at nine weeks early and lived in the NICU for six weeks. In less than a year, my heart was shattered by death and the pieces that were left got beat up and bruised from the near death of my second daughter. I was a bloody mess and deeply broken. I was not able to see the light of day…. Moments like this one I stumbled upon today show me that God has brought us to a soft and gentle place. A place where there is light. And my heart is healing in small but sure ways. God is not afraid of the darkness. After all, that’s how he began his own story- “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. …And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:2-4

With :: Me

My nearly four year old daughter asked me, before I left her with all the fuzzy animals and one dim night-light, to ask God to be with her. “Of course, I will ask God to be with you. He is always with you. No matter what happens.” What truth are we teaching our children? That God loves them? That God wants them? That God will always be near? What truths are we sharing with them that will sustain them when life falls apart? Because, contrary to popular middle class American standards, shit will hit the fan at one point or another. After I tuck the children in bed, I stand in the stairwell of our cape-cod -the little landing at the top of the steps between the two small bedrooms- and I lift my palms and pray in silently sincerity: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) My constant prayer is for mercy & peace to be evident in their …

Be: A Steward

Tragedies all around. Walmart shooting. A friend with potential brain cancer & three little children at home. A friend with pregnancy complications. Another friend who had a difficult late miscarriage like mine. Tragedies make us think. Since we can’t Turn Back Time and since we can’t Mess Up the Sovereignty of God, what CAN we do? There’s a gray area to life that I call Being a Good Steward. Life can’t be perfect or controlled there. Fear can’t dominate there. It’s just a place where there is faith, trust, information, and reasonable choices. We can’t change what has happened and we certainly can’t dictate or influence the plans of an Omnipotent God, but we can work with what we’ve been given. Till the earth. Watch the weather. Plant the seeds. Manage the weeds. Tend the growth. Prepare for winter.

Day 5: Own It

Counseling has been one of those things for us. We really really need it. When we were dating we met with a couple who’s 15 years older than we are to talk about relationship stuff- who’s in this triangle? how’s the triangle working? are we making this work for you, me and God, or just one angle of this triangle? You know, good thoughtful stuff like that. Then we met with our church’s teaching elder and his wife to discuss deeper and broader concepts concerning the institution of marriage in the weeks and months leading up to our wedding vows. Then we got married. And it all went out the window.  You’d think we were well prepared and had our act together and matured steadily and easily. But we haven’t. That hasn’t been our story. We’ve WORKED -our asses off- to get good at this marriage thing. We’ve fought and cried and apologized and forgiven and prayed and replayed it and redone it and reworked it.  Professional counseling would’ve helped a lot when we first …

Day 2: Suffering Spouse

I remember the stomach ache I had the morning I attended the elite military special operations class graduation that July morning. I became more nauseas as I listened to the Master of Ceremonies gloat and bellow about the absurd pride of this military unit. It was disgusting to me how much weight and glory was put into human striving and human achievement. I didn’t want to see my young husband become part of something that would puff him and make him feel like he had finally achieved the gold standard. I wanted a humble, present, compassionate husband. Instead, I felt that after six months of training and eight months of marriage that I had been given an arrogant pompus-ass for a husband. I never thought I’d see what it was like for my husband to endure rigorous, mind-numbing, grueling militant training that forced him to suffer and willingly suffer and find a way to survive. That was all of six months and then POW training as well. But I witnessed it the day my husband …

Day 1: to Manly

My dearest Manly, I’m starting something new today- for the next 27 days of this October, until our six year anniversary on the 27th, I’ll be writing a tid bit a day about us. About being us. About finding us. About looking forward to us. We often say that we’ve been to hell and back with someone we really didn’t know, haven’t we? We’ve often said that most marriages don’t survive the hell we’ve been through, don’t we? We often say that we don’t know how we’ve been staying in it and going through it like we have, haven’t we? Somehow through all this shit of spending months apart as newlyweds, of having bad habits and poor attitudes, of arguing with each other and being hurt by each other, of getting pregnant when we didn’t want to be, of waking up to our daughter being gone, of tragically trying to save her life, of going home void and lifeless without our daughter, of conceiving and trying to save our second daughter, of buying and fixing …