"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Psalm 84:5


It was an early spring day, evidenced by the slight chill in the breeze that kicked up intermittently. The interludes where it died down were delicious as the unfiltered sun soaked into the winter pale skin of her arms. She could hear deep clangy church bells ringing a mile off, mingling with wind chimes as well as the creaky lopsided whir of the neighbors' ancient Kansas windmill tilting on their front lawn. Cars ambled by here and there, tires bouncing on the brick street. From her perch on the porch chair, feet propped up on the paint peeling rail, she could see up one side of the wide street and down the other. The book in her lap had lost its appeal, her attention now focused on a pair of robins pecking in the grass nearby, their orange bellies stretched round, sky blue eggs hidden still. She closed her eyes and daydreamed, breathing in the peace.


it is a watercolor outside today..grey skies dripping onto green earth, smudging red tulips and brown tree trunks.
it is a watercolor inside me today..my husband has a co-oworker whose family is preparing to bury their 2 year old - could anything else feel this wrong? fits and starts as we parent & live with our teenagers - what will the next few years look like? The next few hours? i turn to my God, where my help comes from, again and again these days. the past & the present run their films in my mind, too analytical for me. paradoxes - tired of commuting but the drive is beautiful, weary of the overfullness of life but knowing this is what keeps me depending on the Lord. keeping all the plates spinning.
perhaps it is not so much a serene watercolor inside me, muted and soft.
perhaps it is a pollock.


running a lot this week..2 kiddos have testing in Topeka. 3 days of zipping down 75, heavily under repair work - no fun to drive on the shoulder when someone stops in front of you to turn off or try to navigate through all the dust clouds the workers' machines are making - anyway, thankful that the van is running fine, I had a full gas tank when the week started, and there's a coffee shop across the street from the test site.


I spent 4 years in Florida living in a rented house with a sandy yard and no clue how to garden in the tropics. Life moved along at a fast and busy clip..working, homeschooling, running a household, kids' activities, on and on..I would see books at the local libraries here and there - "Florida Gardening: The Newcomer's Survival Manual".."Home gardening "Florida style" : a guide for growing vegetables and herbs.." which would make me smile but I never got around to delving into finding out more on the subject. I did miss it though..planning in winter, shopping in early spring, working and watching things grow all summer, eating and sharing the harvest - there is nothing on God's green earth like biting into a slice of sun warmed Beefsteak tomato from one's own backyard.
Back in familiar territory but still not where I can put down roots (pun intended) I can't help but do what I can under the circumstances. Here's the list for the plan to be implemented later this month:
Order starts from Azure Standard..Corno Di Toro pepper, jalapeno pepper, Early Girl tomato, cherry tomato, Big Beef tomato; and some fish liquid fertilizer.
Pick up locally humus/manure, potting soil, pine mulch, tomato cages, 5 gallon buckets, a hose and a sprayer.
Looking very forward to having another go at this.
Well it's been awhile. I'm going to start this blogging thing up again, we'll see how it goes. Here's the skinny on life these days - back in the Midwest, loving that..Chad is having to work 2 jobs and still in pain with a back injury he sustained in a car wreck 3 years ago, not loving that. Living up in Holton, seems too far away from where the rest of our life is happening and we warily watch as gas prices rise, our eyebrows raised and a question in our minds as to how long we can keep this up..money is too tight for comfort but really, not much is comfortable in our life currently. Two teens under our roof and our 10 year old - homeschooling winding down for this year, wondering where the 15 year old can get a job for the summer & what the best school option is for next fall, really desiring a home of our own once again.
I can live with all this uncertainty and stress, undulating feelings and storms all around, as long as I stay anchored in God. His Word. His promises. I need to remember past answered prayer, share with others my struggle and let them stand in the gap with me - this is how the Church works. I am confident in Him, and that is enough for now.


Sometimes life just HURTS. Sometimes I just feel bad about something, and I don't really want to hyperanalyze it to death - Am I just being selfish? Is my perspective all skewed? Maybe I'm just a raving complainer, I'm not counting my blessings..things could be so much worse...
When I'm facing a hard thing, and it's not moving on, I tend to throw a little fit at first - "What's this? No! I don't like this, I want it out of my way, out of my line of vision, out of my life!" Then I sit in it for awhile. I cry, or feel like it. I think I should get on antidepressants, because really, if life is allowed to pitch you curveballs whenever it feels like it and you cannot get out of the line of fire, well...how to cope? Eventually the thing fades some, I can see other things as well, things that I don't mind so much, that aren't so bad, things even that I love and cherish, things that make me laugh. A resolution, for the time being.

Some of the things that stare me down currently are - living in Florida..I'm a midwestern girl, I miss the landscape, the trees, the hills, the four distinct seasons. It is flat here, with skinny palm trees and scrub pines. It's downright ugly to me, this terrain, and I am terribly aesthetic. The feeling I can never shake of not belonging, of not having close family, of the closest friends I have being far away. Lonliness is a high and dark wall, cold and unfeeling. Finances are very tight..days can get long and little changing..getting out of town is not an option anytime soon - I can feel stuck. Renting the house we live in - it's not ours, but we're in it all the time. Again, aesthetics, and throwing all that money down the drain every month...I do not like the feeling of spinning our wheels, but neither do I have any desire to buy a house down here.
Oh, I am a complainer after all. Jesus, can I lay all this at your feet again? Will you carry it for me? It's heavy.
I know that I do have a lot to be thankful for - our family, our health, Chad's job, I know I could go on and on. We are blessed in many ways, I do wish I was not the sort who wants to be blessed in ways we don't happen to be. I wish I had more trust in God and his plan for me.


"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
These familiar words speak out from the Psalms, convicting me time and time again.

When I feel uneasy about the fact that we are still living in a rental house, over two years after our major cross country move...

When we try so hard to stick to our budget, live within our means, and we're still borrowing from the next check here and there...

When a quiet moment or two just can't be found in a day...

When being motherless reaches around and socks me in the gut by suprise, again...

When I don't take the time to remember that I am not the Shepherd, the Potter, or the Owner of a precious coin, but that I am dust, a child, a sheep. I have a good and loving Heavenly Father. Taking care of me is not my job. This is hard to swallow as an Independant American, but it is the truth. Thank God for the green pasture where I'm called to lay down. He makes me lay down, because He knows I need a rest.


So I managed to dig out the big blue rubbermaid box containing my autumn decorations this morning - this after several weeks of Lucy asking for it to emerge and be opened, its red, orange, and brown contents arranged, candles lit, pumpkin bread baking underway. She keeps me going in a lot of ways, I have to say. This is my third fall in Florida, and it hasn't gotten any easier for me to get in the mood by awareness of what the calendar says. Michigan born and bred, spending all my years (except the first one of our marriage - a trial by fire in Arizona that is for another post altogether) after moving from the Great Lakes in places where there were at least traces of my favorite season, if not full blown replicas replete with leaf raking (and subsequent pile jumping into), warm cinnamon donuts and hot cider fresh from mills we visited, picking our pumpkins from the pile at the patch, hay bale mazes, brown leaves crunching under our feet and emitting the smoky smell unique to the time of year, ironing red and yellow ones between sheets of wax paper...
What can I say? I'm a northern girl, and no help for it. Not suprisingly, last Wednesday evening at church the message was about Contentment. Accepting where God has you. The dangers of losing one's right perspective to a love of money, things; and of finding false security in these. It is a struggle for me - a glass half empty person, an idealist, not wanting to be dishonest about what I would prefer, which sounds all good, but somehow does not work in my walk with Jesus. If I've learned anything about this Christian life, it's that God wants our Trust. Especially when it doesn't seem by all counts that we should be handing it over to Him Whom We Cannot See. What if we never move to a place where the air is sharp and clean again? What if I've seen my last oak or maple leaf turn? It's possible..and what am I supposed to do with that? What I can do, I'm sure..open the blue box, let Lucy help me transform the living room, mix the bread dough; find the thousand and one things that I do have to be thankful for and acknowledge God in the giving of them. Most importantly, I can remember to live in the now - where I am, who I'm with, what is before me to do, or use, or enjoy. He knows the deepest desires of my heart, and I choose to entrust them to Him, who does all things well.


"At the deepest levels of our humanity, it is true that we are prone to wander, prone to sin, prone to flee from God. But it was in our deepest state of ruin, our deepest plunge into sinfulness, when God stepped forward unwilling to let us remain in such a state...Long before we could even articulate our lostness, God in his mercy set out to find us, setting forth a plan to make right within us all that is awry."
-Jill Carattini

...Just as our nature is to sin, to be selfish, to take, to strut around in self importance, to demand our rights...it is God's NATURE to LOVE, to help, rescue, to give, to right what is wrong, to have mind boggling mercy and totally undeserved grace. He reached out to save us because he could not turn his back on us..it would go against his nature, the fiber of his being. This gives me pause, this understanding that just as I know all too well how I'm hard wired, realizing fully that he is different..the opposite, in fact. The way I sometimes give - grudgingly, thinking of what it costs me, is not his way at all. It is not hard for him to love, as it is for me..he IS love itself. No wonder he tells us that "If any man be in Christ he is a new creation..the old has passed away, the new has come!" (1 Cor. 5:17. To follow Jesus is to live against all our flesh holds dear. This seems hopeless and futile, but with God, nothing is impossible. In his love, he helps us along, in his grace, he forgives our stumbling, in his mercy, he pays himself for our debts, a price we could never meet ourselves.


went to see over the rhine last night. *sigh* my only complaint was that it seemed too short! over too quickly for sure. but let's not start at the end...we drove by the lyric theatre in stuart, florida and caught sight of the van & trailer with ohio plates..that got me smiling. the theatre is in a walk around downtown area, near the water and with train tracks running through the middle of everything. the lyric itself is a treasure..as we walked through the red velvet curtain to find our seats i was delightfully enchanted. the arabesque topped dusky yellow wooden seats, the wide dark turquoise proscenium arch rimmed in white, the dark simple stage, more red velvet everywhere, cozy and intimate..i cannot imagine a more wonderful venue to see this particular band in. i thought i had seen it somewhere before, perhaps in a tomie depaola book. the theatre owner came out to introduce the players and ended up giving a long repetitive gush and his otr story from first hearing them on the radio years ago, furiously scribbling while driving, to the time they recorded 'baby, it's cold outside', his father, frank loesser's hit from the 40's. at his exaltation of 'if you've never seen them live before, you're in for a real treat!' we applauded them onstage. karin immediately launched into 'i don't wanna waste your time'..could there be a better opening number? just walk out now if you don't like what you hear...as for the rest, lots of jazzy trumpet child, mellifluous drum and bass solos (jake bradley of vigilantes of love and mickey grimm, respectively), an oldie here and there...they did sing 'baby, it's cold outside', dedicating it to all their friends freezing back home. karin & linford banter, five 'o clock shadow ruminating, audience participation via swaying with k. 'don't wait for tom' had k banging on a cookie sheet with what looked like a faceless stuffed animal on a stick (forgive my lack of percussion knowledge) and was by far the most fun the band had all night. nearly twangy 'if a song could be president' rang oh so appropriate in the wake of our own primary here this week. 'i want you to be my love' so simple, so lovely. 'fever'..mm hmm hoo. doleful 'suitcase', k at the piano for a bold and beautiful 'ohio', for an encore, 'orphan girl', giving me shivers. delicious.


when the opportunity arises,
stare for awhile at
a full moon
a newly unfurled flower
a sleeping baby
a sleeping preadolescent
a majestic oak tree
take a deep whiff of
your morning coffee
feel the warmth run through your fingers
close your eyes and listen
to songbirds above the yard
to a tinny radio playing an old tune
to yourself
be still as to make yourself


well i find i have neglected my blog in the face of..facebook. not only that, but in the busyness of the homeschooling year, i have not carved out much time to sit back and let thoughts form beyond "how far behind is kansas in latin?", "ahh..it's 1:00 and what about lunch!?", "do we have everything we need for running club?" (this as we're racing out the door before 8 two mornings a week).
I have read a great book here and there, but even this accomplishment has been interrupted countless times with demands for time and attention pressing in from all sides, and i do well to mention to my husband in fleeting moments some profound truth i caught, a condensed version of someone's experience. i'm getting that longing to hole up in a monastary for a week at least just to clear my head. i have all but given up knitting (though a mom i've just met seems excited to take me and a few other novices under her needles and help us progress..it's just a nice idea at the moment however), if i get two workouts in in a week i'm amazed, and i wish i had a dollar for every note scribbled on a scrap of paper containing a partially formed thought or thing that has to be done, bought, scheduled, or remembered. this time now, as i'm writing this, my kids are finishing up chores and i will be dragged away momentarily to help with math, art, referee a fight, give permission to take a break outside, the list goes on and on. what i know i need to do, i suppose, is stop thinking i am being dragged away. how selfish i can be! hello, lisa - you are in a season of training up kids in the way they should go and all that encompasses. oh, i get glimpses of this, of the fact that kansas will be learning to drive in three years, that jesse is telling us lately what he wants to do when he grows up and it's palatable, that lucy is a far cry from our baby, she's a big kid, inching toward becoming a young lady so fast it makes my head spin. and in ten, twenty years, will i look back with regret that i stole as much time for myself, my thoughts, my rest as i could during these years? Lord save me from this...help me in the craziness and pouring out to be still, if only in the back of my mind, and know that you are God. Help me to keep the big picture and the end in sight, and to remember that in acceptence lies peace.


Our response to the holiness of God is to reflect his character in our lives--in one phrase, the pursuit of holiness. In our endeavor in this direction, however, we need to be careful to note that what we have come to call personal holiness--what is inward--is only a potential that has to be constantly actualized in inter-personal relationships. The time I spend with God must enable me to relate to a world of people and things in the right way. In fact, I can be holy when I am by myself; it is when I come out of my room and meet the world of people and things that I run into serious problems! I am afraid that the emphasis on holiness that we often talk about is “my” preoccupation with “my” hands being clean and “my” conscience clear for their own sake, and that happens to be a pretty selfish motive. A selfish motive to be selfless, indeed! It would be almost as if Moses, on coming down from Mount Sinai, began to enjoy his shining face in a mirror! .... Holiness is therefore not the stand-alone ascetic quality that is the hallmark of some Eastern religions but a community of people in right relationship to one another. Holiness, in the final analysis, is therefore otherward and thus unselfconscious. I have been fascinated by the trinitarian example from John 5:19-27; 16:13, 14. The Father entrusts all things to the Son: his authority, his power over life and judgment. But the Son will not do anything by himself; he will only do what he sees the Father doing. The Spirit will not speak of Himself nor seek his own glory. He will bring glory to Jesus by taking what belongs to Jesus and showing them to us. Three self-giving, self-effacing persons constitute the amazing God whom we worship! It is this aspect of God’s character that we seek to reflect in our life and walk as the church of Jesus Christ.

L.T. Jeyachandran is executive director of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Singapore.


"as Linford has said, we give standing ovations to the wrong people in this world. At the end of every shift change at every hospital, nursing home, and care facility there should be a line of folks standing at the door applauding those nurses, aids, social workers, and caregivers that give so much of themselves day in, day out."

-Karen Berquist



well, i'm not sure how to feel...dedicated wife or overzealous helper? we've been getting to bed way, way too late for awhile now (i won't even tell you what time, it's quite ungodly), and last night was no exception. c has to get up and go earlier than usual on wednesdays to be to work in time for mandatory ministry wide chapel. i generally lay there for awhile after the lights are finally out, listening to him breathe and letting my mind wander before i doze off. as i was somewhere between the stray thoughts and proper sleep last night, something suddenly caught in my throat and a loud, forceful cough made its way out into the silence in a split second. in the following split second, i supressed it as hard as i could, in an effort not to wake up my husband who was already going to have a sleep debt come morning. (i know you can't really do this, but i didn't have time to think about it.) in that second, holding desperately to that cough in the back of my throat, a pain sliced through my left side that resulted in me jumping out of bed and running into the living room where i could make some noise. to every action, as newton has said, there is, of course, an equal and opposite reaction. good night, it hurt! this morning when i woke up and began turning over to get out of bed, there it was again - a shooting pain in my left side. what on earth did i do to myself? google revealed what sounded like a cracked rib to some degree. i don't know, i guess it's ibuprofin and laying around more that i'd like to city for me.

i love my husband, i do, but next time...


the sky has been slate grey all afternoon, with intermittent showers rapping on the western facing windows. it's in the upper 80's outside, but in here with the air conditioning cranked up, i'm almost getting the sensation that it's really fall. who knows, i may even drag my big blue rubbermaid tub full of autumn decorations out of the garage (no basements here) and have at it this weekend.
thanksgiving is right around the corner, and on its heels christmas, and the thought of spending them in florida again with the shining sun and gaping hole where friends and family should be is a suffocating feeling i'm currently holding at arms length. Lord, i pray, even if i weren't here, where is home on this earth for me? there are places to visit where there are traces of an old life here, a memory there, but no house, no stretch of road or land, no group of people even that constitutes a proper home to return to. i know this is in a lot of ways just an extreme version of what we all face - this realization as we've gone along for years that that our home that once offered safety, security, belonging, rest, and familiarity is gone, or at best, has changed irreversibly with the sale of a house, the aging of generations before us, some births, deaths, changed relationships. i remember sitting at a different dining room table than the one i'd grown up around a few years ago, before my dad sold the house i spent my first seventeen years in; looking at the eleven people interacting and thinking "once upon a time (and for many years) only three of us were here." life goes on, and with it goes the old. i am so thankful that i don't despair over this, that in the grace and mercy of God i am looking forward to the new, when once again I will sit around a table, one that is totally unfamiliar to me, and know that as our Saviour passes around the bread and wine, i have come home to a home where i am known. where i belong, where i am safe and sound, where there are no more tears, or pain, or troubled times. what can i say in the place i am in now, too hot for this time of year and dealing with our family feeling lonely? i take heart, i am grateful for hope.