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


after much recommendation from two unassociated friends, i finally brought the first of jan karon's mitford novels home from the library. nearing the end of it, i am so glad that i lugged home the next three in the series on top of it. after wrestling with some heavy reading on motherlessness and trying in vain to keep up with my beth moore study, i'm finding jan's stories just about as refreshing to the soul as it gets. and i'm guessing that the timing of my getting around to breathing mitford air wasn't entirely in my hands...


so today is our tenth anniversary, we've officially been married for a whole decade. that's a long time on one hand, and on the other it has flown. i look back and wonder how we got here so fast. i also look back and am very thankful that we've made it this far...we have been through a lot together. as i review the years and all that has happened in them, i am struck most by the fact that i experienced them not alone, not with another, but with c, the one and only. we have done a lot of our growing up together, we have glared over the great divide at each other more times than i care to remember, we had kiddos right away so have never known our family to consist of only the two of us...but in all this i see the hand of God, i have learned a lot, i see the next ten years getting better and brighter, and the ten after that more luminous still. it's hard to see that sort of light in the day to day, in the hard knocks and the rush and clatter but it is there. I, for one, am glad to have days marked on the calendar to stop and take notice, stock, and a deep breath of fresh perspective before diving in again.

btw, we have two down and scratchy with chicken pox, so we've cancelled the sitter and we'll be staying in tonight. life goes on...


so my jesse turned seven on monday, and tuesday he woke up covered head to toe in chicken pox. i woke up to hear his brother tell him "you have a TON of bug bites!"
i called the school to excuse the absence, and it turns out only seven out of the eighteen in his class showed up that day, everyone else home spotted and itching. it has now spread to the other two first grade classrooms, and the teachers are having an interesting week with only a handful of students, assignment packets piled high on the school secretary's desk for parents of polka dotted pupils to pick up (say that ten times fast). last night when we were going through the long calamine applying session, i joked that i would connect all his dots with a marker so we could see the picture. he just looked at me funny. hey, if they're going to keep me up at night, they've got to endure my lunacy.

one pox patient down, two to go. hopefully we'll be all through this by the holidays...


they say these things happen in threes. i have no idea why, but it's (often enough to make you wonder) curiously true. in the past two weeks, i've had three friends who have had to deal with sad baby news. a routine checkup turned instant hospital admittance for failure to thrive, this mom having had severe post partum depression to deal with which may have accounted for the slow start her precious girl has gotten off to. an ultrasound which produced quite a scare in another friend, and she waits after more tests to find out if her fears are confirmed, she asks for prayer, she hopes she will be up to this challenge that will surely break her heart. and the last, and rawest...a boy who grew and thrived safely through three trimesters only to be lost to his parents and sister during his entrance to the world...unimaginable tragedy. they are leaning on the everlasting arms, but they are devastated.

rich mullins sang "we are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made..."

we are most frail in our infancy, helpless, suspended by a thread yet that thread is held fast by the hand that brought us into being. it's just a little hard to see it, sometimes...


(conversation with almost seven year old jesse this morning over cereal...)

"do you want to take the bus or for me to drive you to school today?" (my grammer is nothing to write home about before say, eleven a.m.)

"take the bus, but i have two things to tell you about school."

"what are they?"

"well, the first thing... ...i forgot the first thing."

"ok, what was the second thing?"

"mom, they don't have to be in ORDER."



i don't get it. why, after the close of the first presidential debate, does the conversation immediately turn to possible voter shift - did people feel more safe with kerry, or with bush after hearing them debate for 90 minutes? who seemed more composed, relaxed, nonalarmist? who stood taller, smiled more (or less), followed the majority of the legion of rules concerning the debate itself? and how do all the answers to these questions affect voter opinion? were the undecided swayed one way or the other by relatively insignifigant etceteras and warm fuzzy feelings in response to one 90 minute show? what about the record? what about the facts over years and decades? what about the brass tacks - voting records, books authored, testimony from those who were there, who know well, who have stood by over time? are we so much a consumer minded culture that we can change an opinion on something so vital, so paramount as our choice for the next, in effect, world leader on the basis of one hour and a half of not so much new information, but just seeing the opponents sharing a stage for the first time? i believe that in the global landscape, there is no more important job held than our president's, and i find it hard to believe that the vote we cast, our small part in the democratic process that holds such far reaching implications could be decided on what amounts to little more than triviality. we knew where they stood on major issues before last night, and i doubt anything said in the next two debates is really going to bring out a new insight into either candidates proven character. undecideds, maybe instead of watching for a smirk, listening for a stumble over a word or perceiving an inflection, you ought to crack open a history book, chase the paper trail, check the track record - so that you can truly make an informed choice.

and here are a few places to get started...


"pictures painted hastily don't tell nothin' 'bout the heart" - victoria williams, who made some excellent music to listen to in the car.

i'm heading to nashville in a week with seven other mothers of preschoolers for the annual MOPS convention. i'm looking forward to time with these fine ladies, road trip fun, encouragement to pass on to our own MOPS group back home, and sending postcards to my kids..you have to understand, i haven't been anywhere by myself since before they were born. so chad will be running round the clock daddy day care for four days, and i have no idea what to expect the house to look like when i return. pray for us, as we're driving through the night on wednesday...


i've been struggling lately with some health issues, some financial issues, definitely some discouragement issues. i'm beginning to think that God is trying to get my attention, and i'm also starting to respond in a bit of wonder - He has something for me! something wise and wonderful, something helpful, something loving and right. he is my father, my protecter and provider, my rock and fortress. so today i'll try to remember to work on that trust issue, with a little patience thrown in for good measure. and soon i hope to report that he has filled me a good measure, and even overflowing - "pressed down, shaken together, and running over..." - and i see as i check my reference that those verses are all about giving. with the measure i use, it will be measured back to me. do unto others.



spent the morning with three four year old girls and their moms, the beginning of an impromptu tuesday morning preschool. my friend is a teacher by profession, stay at home mom by choice, and has lots of displaced energy as a result, thus - tuesdays with mommies. today we explored the kansas history museum where not only can you walk through displays of life sized buffalo, train engines, and roadside diners - you can also have a puppet show, dress up like laura ingalls, and play a real drum in a real tepee. they had a ball, and we had a good time watching their excitement and interaction. kids the same age have some striking similarities just because their birthdays are all around each others'; and also some stark differences because of the enviornments they live in, the way their parents relate, the stuff they watch (or don't watch) on t.v., and the God given bent in each of them. i see myself in my daughter, i feel protective of her vulnerability even as i allow her independence and teach her to deal with life as things happen to and around her. i'm feeling the pangs even now of her growing up - i can still hold her all i want to, but the day will come when it's a grown up hug instead of a preschooler squishy-tickle-squeeze on my lap, a twirl around and around on the grass in a park, a tucking into bed hearing her pray those precious and amazing little girl prayers. i'm glad, i'm blessed (not always in the day-to-day, but definitely in the pause-and-reflect), i'm in awe of this treasure and responsibility.

not bad for one tuesday morning...


ok Posted by Hello

...this is the card that my almost seven year old made of his own volition for his sister on her fourth birthday, which was yesterday.

sometimes this overwhelming adventure is all worth it, and much more...


she found herself alone a lot; solitude grew on her as she passed through childhood like leaves on a tree in the springtime; grew thicker and fuller until by the time she turned twenty she only felt comfortable under the umbrella of it. she would venture out, but when out she was not herself, she wore her mask and lowered her voice; shook her hair around her face and quickened her pace. back in her little world she could relax, could pretend it was all she needed, that she had all she needed in herself. it was a mirrorless void where she played her melancholy music loud enough to drown out any possible argument, any seeming still small voice that might alert her to the gnawing she had detected deep down in her soul. she hung in the balance, she was breathless half the time. she could not know then how he would find her there, invade her careful circle with his brightness and love so pure it would break her heart in two; could never have known the way he would pick her up as she wept for the first time in many years, how he would put the pieces back together as he stroked her hair, kissed her brow..had she been given time to prepare he would have found only footprints in the snow fleeing out the open back door, but she would be eternally grateful for that holy suprise.


yesterday i turned 32. i'm taking it in stride, not too worried, still feeling plenty young. i sat in church in the morning, reflecting on how God created me, in His image, for a reason..that He knew and knows all about me, and loves me so much. we had swapped some babysitting, so in the afternoon/evening Chad and I went to get a coffee, chat with a friend, strolled through the rose and rock gardens in Gage park - the weather was absolutely perfect out ...goofy golfed, browsed barnes and noble, had a wonderful dinner at a nice hotel, and spent a little while at the library. my idea of a good birthday, for sure...


it's really POURING out there right now..i hope i don't lose power while i'm inspired to attempt blogging. it's rained so much this summer i can count the number of times i have watered the good sized garden out back on one hand. i love it, i feel the near nightly thunder in my bones, i hear the hammering on my roof and somwhow feel secure - i am in out of the weather. if not for the ceiling, i'd be soaked. sermon today on how we're the soon to be occupied city, the enemy king has come to the gate of our fortified wall to let us know we'll soon be overtaken and to offer us a ticket to keeping life and limb - sumbission to him. it's how it was done in old testament times, and it's a picture of how we can have life in Christ. God will judge, but it's not really what his heart is in. also, when life's getting you down, when you're upset, irrated, frustrated, and all out of sorts, go read up on revalation chapter 20..it tends to put all this in perspective again. you couldn't pay our intelligent, bighearted pastor to preach fire and brimstone..i suppose this is his version. i'm thankful to be in God's family, that's for sure. covered, safe, in out of the coming storm.


fourth of july, my oldest turning nine, sunflowers in bloom (i get such a kick out of planting a seed and watching the result grow to be taller than my 6' 3" husband ;)...summer is defintely in swing. i am working on inviting God into all areas of my life..handling my kids' sibling rivalry, being late for a meeting, the minutes after i've first awoken in the morning, second guessing if we should've traded in our snappy little focus wagon for a (albiet sensible for our growing family) new freestar van..it was an incredible deal, but it happened so fast and did bump up what we're spending for a vehicle monthly. All things, all happenings, all wonderings, all events, decisions, suprises, consequences laid when they arrive (or are noticed) at the feet of my Saviour with a request for help or wisdom or further instruction; thanksgiving, wonder, discouragement...an acknowledgement that Christ is my Lord; that all that comes to me is filtered through His knowledge and permission, that He is my help in times of trouble, my strength in weakness, my Father, my friend.

It escapes me more often than not - I am easily distracted and preoccupied. But I'm working on it...


kansas was baptized yesterday at lake shawnee with many friends around. a few other friends were baptized also, then we had a potluck and good conversations for quite awhile. our church is so homey, like a family, and the morning and afternoon times i spent with those fine people were so filling deep down where it matters. i'm thankful..for my son's faith and excitement to take it to this step...for how beautiful the lake was yesterday, how perfect the temperature of the breeze, for how incredibly cute all the toddlers were while playing in the mud they made at the beach while we laughed at them. Christ's body, living, working, resting together in harmony is so lovely.


the garden is growing, the tomatoes are babies, green little balls full of promise of glorious red spheres bursting with flavor, with summer itself in just a matter of weeks...the cukes are finally sprouting some raggedy edged leaves, telling me it's time to plant them in the ground to begin their viney, climbing labor which will produce solid green cool satisfaction soon also. i weed, i water, i wait..i thrill , i marvel at what time and weather can do to a giant sunflower seed - already they are half the height of me. i mulch, i mow, i dream...

the garden is growing, the tomatoes are babies, green little balls full of promise of glorious red spheres bursting with flavor, with summer itself in just a matter of weeks...the cukes are finally sprouting some raggedy edged leaves, telling me it's time to plant them in the ground to begin their viney, climbing labor which will produce solid green cool satisfaction soon also. i weed, i water, i wait..i thrill , i marvel at what time and weather can do to a giant sunflower seed - already they are half the height of me. i mulch, i mow, i dream...


went to a friend's farm today..kansas in the spring, grey cloudy day, bright green grass, tan wheat field against the chalky sky. helped chase the goats out of the pea patch, looked at a buffalo head hanging from a tree, drying...played with boxer puppies, horses, and one heartbreaking kitten. fading red paint barn, wildflowers here and there, old, old trees, stately and sheltering; breaking up the gently rolling prarie. driving back down the long dirt gravel roads we spied three quails and a rabbit..the air was intoxicating, hinting at rain, touching on humid. heaven in the heartland.


went to a wedding last saturday they read poetry classical music was played she was so different in satiny white than the birkenstocked overalled comfort sweater she was usually found wearing he was calm and confident he was right for her they asked us for help and surroundings of wisdom advice listening ears and room to grow they kissed long and often that day they danced dipping in happy tears they thanked us for sharing this day this once in a lifetime communion of their covenant they wore grace my daughter was starry eyed at the sight near perfect night


why do i eat so much at night? and why so much sugar? why don't i read and take my shower (after a day of gardening, 'lifeguarding' in my backyard, riding my bike with lucy in the little backseat in the late-may-but-feels-like-august heat) instead of putzing about cyberspace, cereal bowl at hand, frozen snickers on my mind..why oh why did i eat that pie (even after i knew what the calorie count was even after i read that eat healthier magazine while on the treadmill last night)? oh, the y will not for long stave off the implications of these binges this nightly ritual the sweet consolation after another day that exhausted all my resources but one - still, why?


spent the better part of today standing in a crowd facing the Monroe school in Topeka, where it was being dedicated as a national historic site. fifty years ago today, the supreme court unanimously decided that it was unamerican and against our nation's constitition to allow segragation in the public schools to continue (legally, at least) in response to several lawsuits filed by families including little seven year old carol brown's father. she was there today to speak (and to introduce the president), along with many other dignitaries and civil rights leaders including the rev. jesse jackson and the rev. fred shuttlesworth, who i could've listened to for another hour at least, with his biblical refrences to the cause of civil rights and his sharply honed wit.

i felt a responsibility to be there, to show support of a cause i firmly believe in. all my life i have been angered by predjudice, injustice, people looking down their noses at other people just because they looked different, were of a different race - just because of the color of their skin. and not only looking down their noses - we cannot forget ugly scars on america's historical landscape like the kkk, lynching, unfair trials, slavery, the list goes on. today i heard about children - children! who chose courage over fear and walked through lines of discrimination, endured ridicule, beatings, poor conditions, unfair accusations - in the name of trying to get an education.

i believe that God is sympathetic to the poor, the downtrodden, the shunned, the humiliated. i believe that he put that fire in me, to some degree..and i was glad to have the opportunity to be among many, many like minded people today.


last night bible study ended early..a rarity since we all love to sit around and talk after the video and prayer time. i had not had a chance to give waterdeep's new live cd a good listen, so i headed out of our small town with it on loud, windows down, the weather intoxicatingly hovering between warm and cool. i was heading to the auburn cemetary, where there is a long road that ends at an entrance to a ranchers field - gravestones on one side, hilly fields ending in one of those glorious kansas sunsets on the other. this time, though, i was in for a suprise. as soon as i drove over the first hill, i was greeted by the sight of a large herd of buffalo. now i had heard about these animals roaming here, and chad claimed to have gotten a far away look at them, but in the almost five years we've lived in these parts they had been just ghosts to me. but here they were, turning their giant brown wooly heads to stare at me, their wide set eyes blinking slowly. i got out of the car just grinning, i turned to look at the low full moon, back to see the blazing sunset, buffalo close enough to touch in the middle. i stayed for awhile, just in awe of the evening, of the suprise, of the magnifigance of these beasts, these relics of the old wild west, right here in my backyard. i grinned again to think of God, looking down at me, having just handed his child a yellow frosted cupcake and a glass of cold milk, and permission to go enjoy them out at the picnic table; having whispered in my ear how close He was, how real, how here. it was hard to pull away...i slowly drove back down that long road, gravestones on one side, remains of a fantastic kansas sunset on the other, and a rather large herd of buffalo in my rearview mirror.


mmm...a five hour run from waterdeep on saturday night - it was good to be there. it's a little sad that it was the "farewell to touring" show, but knowing them, I can't imagine there not being a slam bang kickin' reunion tour oh say, next year...

it was so good also to see friends..the kind of friends you can not see for months, even years - and pick up right where you left off. and of course it was fun to meet some new faces and just be at the new earth. even with the giant realtor 'for sale' sign out front...


another lucy one...i just had to share - she hates when i leave for work (it's rather rare, but i do go in now and then), so today when she saw me tying my shoes and gathering my things she said "Mom! are you going somewhere??" to which i replied, "Yes, honey; to the MOON!!" she pondered this for a moment, then said "well, can you just go to work?"


at the moment lucy's parading around the house, doll in one hand, bell-on-a-stick in the other, singing at the top of her lungs - "and i'm so happy, so very happy, i have the love of Jesus in my heart!!"


i guess all the movies she's been in so far have slipped right under my radar screen, but it's just recently been brought to my attention that judy greer, currently working in hollywood, is the same judy (evans) that i had a ball with in and out of acting classes in high school. i dug out my yearbook and sure enough, there we were, in all our black and white glory, in various poses from A Thurber Carnival. Look for her in 13 going on 30, opening this week. Huh.


i talked to my dad yesterday and discovered that he'd up and sold the farm...the house he bought when i was six months old will be home no more as of the last week in june. it's strange, it's unsettling to find out how tied i can become to things of this earth, as well as how stinking sentimental i get sometimes. i think back to two christmases ago, the last time we visited...the last time i'd walk on the brick red dining room floor, the last time i'd do laundry in the basement among my dad's vast (and well organized) tool collection, the last time i'd tuck my kids in for sleep in the upstairs room my parents had painted pink in 1972 for their baby girls. so many memories there, such a deep sense of belonging all over that property. my dad told me that he'd sold it to a family with three little girls of their own, and that made me smile. as i'm losing my sense of balance in what i can now go back to when i'm in michigan, i'm hoping those little girls will grow up climbing the ancient apple tree in the backyard, swinging their legs under the kitchen counter perched on those high stools, sitting on the smooth front porch among the yews, elbows on knees, chins in palms, contemplating plans for that particular summer day...i hope they love that it's only a two block bike ride to the neighborhood park, that the sloping black driveway is fun to shovel in the winter, that they have a root celler and a laundry chute and back closets in the upstairs bedrooms to explore. i wonder if they will dig up my stash of quarters under my old bedroom window.
i hope, as i am losing this for myself, that it will be a house that becomes a home to them. i hope their parents take really good care of the place. and i hope i can stomach staying in a finished basement of a condo surrounded by displaced memorabilia next time i'm in town...


recovering from spring break - we didn't go anywhere special, just having all three kiddos home all day every day took some getting used to. I'm trying to look on the bright side of the upcoming summer, instead of worrying about what in the world we're going to do all day. the last two days i've spent greasing my rusty politically active arm...an issue having to do with our little town losing the close by bigger town's wonderful library services - our own city council is working against us, and we're in a race to call all the folks we know to get them to call their senators by tomorrow or else...or else we're going to start a PETITION, doggone it! fire and bookworms uniting in little ol kansas...

but the spring trees are blooming, the forsythias are in all their yellow glory, the grass is getting greener with every nighttime blast of nitrogen charged lightning, it's a fine time of year to be living in tornado alley.

oh, and watch yourself. tomorrow's april fools day :)


"treat your mind like a bad neighborhood...don't go there alone"

sound advice if i ever heard it.


life is not always fair and free, life is downright mean spirited sometimes. underneath the current pushy tickertape of the daily news of me, i can sometimes find inspiration, though...today, i would've liked to respond to the developing top story with a three musketeers in one hand and the manuel entitled "how to reconnect with the mother you never knew after a friend of hers unwittingly gets in touch with you and she herself has to write and apologize for intruding into your otherwise probably perfect life" in the other, but it was not to be so. i searched around the edges and came up with a mess of granny smith apples and an uncanny desire to once again try my hand at pastry-making from scratch (enough time lapses between these urges that i forget the heavy flour/pie crust crumb dusting my kitchen ends up with when i venture there)...
what came out was a not so bad homemade apple pie sporting a fabulous crust, and some peace of mind for me. that amy charmichael was right about doing the next thing; it heartens, it empowers to accomplish the small what you can under the looming shadow of what you cannot.


"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
though stretched from sky to sky."

found penciled on a wall in the room of a patient in an insane asylum...i am encouraged in that what we can't see or understand, He does, and can, in perfect clarity. So we can trust him perfectly.


"Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."

He not only fills in the empty places, he plants fields of wildflowers there.
I am blessed to be His daughter.


there is a calm place in me tonight that used to be filled with anxiety, fear, anger, dread. there is a knowing whose hands i am in, whose will it is for there to be breath in my lungs, oxygen in my blood. there is still a gaping hole where solid trust should be, and it is scary from a distance, but not up close today - i can't feel the emptiness yawning around me like a canyon as i so often have today. to come to a place in the midst of a struggle with another person where you can breathe, where you can put your hand in the hand of Jesus and lean into him, and with wonder - wonder! - ponder what it is that he is doing there, in your desert, in your shadow of yet another fading mirage, what he is up to and how he will see you through; confidence in his love, his perfect father plan letting you feel light inside...this is nothing short of miraculous. but that is the God who claims us, yes? a God of miracles, within and without us, the same yesterday, today, and forever.


this weekend we went to an 80's party (can you think of a greater way to spend a friday night ? ;) ...

...and i went with a friend to a watercolor workshop in kansas city.

chad's off to see the billions in lawrence tonight..no pics, but you can still catch the show if you read this not too long after i post it :)


..as it rained, it froze; and it rained a lot. we're living in iceland, a wonderland where everything the sun touches glimmers and shines, and the icicles jutting down from stop signs, streetlights, and fence posts alike are longer than i ever remember seeing in kansas. now if it only weren't so darned COLD...


Hmm... shows up #17 on an MSN search for "calories burned playing guitar". Really, I didn't blog those words in that order...I don't even PLAY guitar. HA!


so i've managed to beat that nasty flu bug once more...no fun, for sure, but it's nice to come out on the other side in one piece (which, as some of you probably know, absolutely does not seem possible as you're navigating the rolling waves that have replaced the floor between your bed and your bathroom)...

Anyway...c was a trooper and took care of just about everything except laundry for three whole days - kudos aplenty to him. i watched way too much bad tv (do we really have nothing else to debate about in this country besides whether michael jackson really, after all, IS a child molester ???), lost a pound or two, and actually got a sore ear from having it pressed to my pillow for so long.

But despite this and other little trials and yukky stuff I've had to deal with lately, I am thankful. To God. For my overall health, for my family and friends, for warm socks and
good books and an upcoming all day watercolor class. I'm working on that resolution to just try and see the glass as half full once in a while, and I'm finding it rather...settling.


lots of frigid temperatures and ice, no snow, though...the residue over this kansas land is a grimy chalky mess - not too pretty or inspiring. we're shivering with our shoulders up to our ears, we're drying out in the forced hot blowing air..we don't wash the streaks of salt off of the car because we know that in this weather and trek from rural landscape to town cleaning it is an exercise in futility - it will not stick. the festivities are a memory, spring is a distant hope, she rides a slow train towards us through fair fields blooming brightly with flowers, with tree buds, with green life...her hands are in her lap and she is dozing, the soft clacking rhythm her lullaby, far far from here. i clean out closets, i take the kids to the library, i throw an extra blanket on everybody at night, i wait for it to be civil outdoors. i finished marcia ford's 'memoir of a misfit' - lovely book, i've already lent it out; and now i'm reading 'walk on - the spiritual journey of u2' by steve stockman, along with the ezzo's 'preteen wise - parenting your child from eight to twelve years' because it's been brought to my attention by this comment and that awareness lately that my oldest son is indeed exiting little kid-dom and what next? here's to a shot at preparedness...

happy january, that no mans land month.