June 30, 2010

the delicate dance

{this space is mostly a record of joy, the beauty around me and the life I’m privileged to have.  today I post a mixture :: a bit of reflection on news that has pierced our hearts, wounded our spirits and brought a ray of joy as well.  I believe it’s only right to be true and honest, even in blog world; especially in blog world.  it’s the story of a dance…and with my daughter’s permission, I record a little of the journey here…}

She’s a wisp of a girl still, this graduate of mine

Tender and tough has been the journey between us :: the closeness we share is evident through memories past and present.  And memories still to be made in the future.  She’s a good girl, she is.  And oh, how I love her.

Because of her, I’ve grown and matured.  Children have this effect I believe :: exposing the vanity that can often envelope our hearts as parents.   This Mama was a very young mother full of expectation, determination and…pride.  I often observe other mothers now and chuckle softly to myself, knowing that one day they too will wake up to the fact that maybe, just maybe…they are not the best mother in the world.  God usually doesn’t allow pride to have much room; He knows it’s a trap.

So my girl and I grew together as the family grew as well.  The road we’ve traveled has encountered its mountains and valleys, but we all set our sights high.  The fabric of our family, pieced together by His grace, has been strong.  And as we approached the end of a chapter to exchange high school years for young adult ones…that strength was tested.  And often the material frayed or was torn in places.  Yet, grace always mended the wrongs and patched up offenses.  And the journey continued…

It’s a delicate dance, motherhood. 

Often you topple between the partners of both grief and joy, sashaying across the floor with celebration the day they’re born or come into your life, say their first word, enter school years and take the first calculated risk that works out right.  The world is right-side up, laughter bubbles and all is well…joy!


And then there are days of painful tears~theirs and yours as you each face disappointments and the reality that this life on earth…well, it’s just not going to be perfect, or even beautiful always.  That’s for another time and another place.  When the ever gentle hand of the bearer of tears will wipe them away from our faces for the last time. Oh, hallelujah.  Until then, motherhood sometimes dances with sadness :: heart heavy and steps awkward, an unwelcome union.

I’ve waltzed with both partners through the nearly 20 years of mothering; and the last several months found me stumbling between the two as my husband and I learned that our unwed teenage daughter was expecting, due 11 months after the last grace gift entered the family.  Our world came to a screeching halt.

At first, there were no words, none whatsoever.  There was nothing really but the auto-pilot nature that I’ve been given to just keep swimming, even if it’s upstream.  She needed us.  We are committed to her. And that was that.

But not really.  And there began a dance so wild, but not free.  So tender, but so broken.  And so desperately in need.  I argued with my Savior, tossing my grief and even anger His way.  I ‘gave up’ on certain days and wanted to quit…quit what?  Well, anything really.  Just to feel in control of something.  I did not despair of life, but I did despair.  For a time, there was little consolation of spirit.

Then the dance grew more still as the days passed.  No longer the frantic movements of a wounded spirit, whirling across the floor with sorrow as a primary partner.  With that same determination of a young mother’s heart, I chose an additional companion.  Not in denial or some fake-Christianity tactic, but a true bona fide choice to take it one step at a time.  With Him.  For really, what other option would lead me to freedom? 


When I could not see how to move forward, He answered.  He spoke words that have sustained me and kept my feet from falling.  He showed me how to continue in light of all of our ministry and family responsibilities.  He would not let me quit. 

And as the news has gone public, He is here.  Not being one to become consumed by other’s opinions or thoughts on my personal matters, I find this the easier portion of the journey though the loss of privacy is unsettling.  I had to find my footing with my Jesus first and foremost.  Oh, careless words find their way in and wound…I am human.  And the silence of friends messes with my mind :: for the life of me, I cannot understand why Christians (Christians!) stay quiet when they can offer an encouraging word—what are we so afraid of?

But all this aside for now...there’s a new grace gift coming!  And my heart has always and will always believe and proclaim that all children are a gift straight from the throne of heaven.  That’s how the Creator set it up.  What a super brilliant idea.  So we’ve prepared our hearts and minds around this reality. 

I’m not afraid to admit that every so often I still weave a path between grief and joy; swaying softly among the two. 

There’s no embarrassment in saying that :: it’s a dance after all….


{prayers for our family are appreciated ~ that we would fear God & honor His ways, that the darkest days are behind us and that we would all walk as children of the light.  thank you.}

photo credit


June 29, 2010


Often when sibling mayhem of the grandest sort breaks out around here…

I am reminded of times when there is tenderness between the relationships of brothers and sisters in our home.  Days where everyone seems to get along without reminders from Mom; laughter, play, and peace.


And the four in our home think of and pray often for the one who is not :: an older sister far away from their daily lives, but not from their hearts.  The sweet little prayers that are said, the emails sent, the phone conversations :: oh, they melt me on the inside!  Truly a gift, it is. 


June 28, 2010

in need of grace

{a repost from my archives}

As this day begins, for each new dawn....
I need grace.

I thirst for this living water throughout my days. Days full of laundry and schooling, meal preparations, phone call interruptions, the repetitive nature of training children....
my list goes on.


I need You, Father. Fill me today with grace so that I might serve your kingdom well.

"The grace that restores is necessary to preserve,
lead, guard, supply, help me...

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in thee. May I find thy grace sufficient for all of my needs."
{excerpt from Valley of Vision}


June 18, 2010



being outdoors, relaxing in the shade ::

knitting (I taught myself!), reading for homeschooling, staring at baby toes


:: enjoying yesteryear through good books


:: exploring new textures through play  

enjoy the weekend, play outdoors!


June 17, 2010


Want to win the most elite of dehydrator's?  Visit Stephanie's site, Keeper of the Home  for information. Ends next week, so hurry!

right now

Oh, life is full right now!  Full of goodness, full of randomness (is that a word?) and a tinge of heaviness, though overall much is good.  Ever have a season like that? 

I have found that when the pendulum swings a little too far off and I feel a bit out of balance or the ‘carpet pulled out from under my feet’….seeking out His grace gifts all around restores perspective.  Oh, His grace.  It is more than sufficient :: much more than I deserve or can ask or hope for.  And so I praise Him….

magnoliafor the completion of another school year of learning and growing with my children

for they have taught me much

the freshness of new growth :: vegetables, fruits in season

the sound of the birds, whispering their songs outside my window

the love of cooking :: making & creating

for the promise of beauty rising from ashes

for the faithfulness of a husband who protects and provides

the steadiness of friendship

laughter!  :: the gift of humor is truly that…a gift

for my One and Only, Jesus.  How I love you so.


Pause today and reflect ~ give thanks for the grace all around, always present.


photo credit


June 8, 2010

finding purpose in photography

In the last number of years I’ve been scrapbooking, I have enjoyed taking pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures (I’m most grateful for the invention of the digital camera)!  Mostly pictures of my children and family or of the events that touch of our lives.  In the past year or so, there’s been a new energy for photographing nature and the surrounding beauty :: bits & pieces of the outdoor world that really went unnoticed before.  By the way, thanks for the compliments on the photographs of our vacation!  I treasure the ones posted (and the other several hundred that were taken. Ahem.)

I recently commented to someone that this snapping of nature photos is my preference :: “I really don’t like taking pictures of people outside of my family” was jokingly said, but in reality it’s fairly close to the truth.  The person I was sharing with takes beautiful photos of others ~ somehow, this avenue just doesn’t inspire me that much (I’m still a good person, right? :o)

But in the last few days, I’ve changed my mind.  Radically.


On vacation I began this book, a story of grief and loss mixed in with joy :: a family’s journey through the difficult set of circumstances of losing their baby girl two hours after birth (and knowing all along she would not live long).  It was all I could do to read the first few chapters; while my situation is altogether different and one that hasn’t found words in this space…the delicate dance of grief and joy is our family’s current reality and the tender words of the author were too much.  And so I moved on to other books.

But I could feel a prompting to return, to look back through the pages and to continue reading.  I’m so glad I did.

For in the pages, I discovered an organization that stuck a deep chord inside of me and prompted a conversation with my spouse of how I could be involved.  Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was founded in 2005 by parents who lost their baby and whose mission is ‘to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture.’  A group of more than 7,000 photographers around America and in 25 other countries who volunteer their time and gifts to grace those hurting with pictures of their little one. 

For free.

Oh, how my heart was moved.  I could take pictures of this group of people, yes I would want to.

And while at this very moment in my life, there is not the freedom to pursue right now (my preference!), I hear the voice of Jesus calling me to sharpen this skill and love for photography :: as I shoot and capture my children’s antics or a baby’s smile, to learn more and grow more comfortable.  And one day, I hope to volunteer….


{photo from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’s website}


June 7, 2010

putting food by




This year I’ve got a serious plan to put away food ~ a lot of food, as much seasonal produce as I can!  So, with bags still unpacked from our vacation, the children and I headed out to a friend’s strawberry patch to pick…and pick and pick.  In reality there is still quite a bit of jam from last year and we didn’t take home that much.  These berries will be used for smoothies and pies I think.  I’m hoping to do asparagus and broccoli soon.  Yum.

A great online resource for freezing and canning just about anything is Pick Your Own (with lots of pictures for the visual learner!)  How about you—putting any food by?


June 4, 2010

snapshots no. 5 :: home again


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final stop ~ my husband’s parents both have family reunions Memorial Day weekend!

worship service in the park :: food, food, food (every year they seem to add more!?) :: bounce house, playground and lots of friends to enjoy :: catching up from last year :: snow cones :: meeting new babies and introducing our own :: celebrating newlyweds :: prizes and giveaways :: grieving those who have passed on :: great-grandparents smiling wide & doting on the younger generation :: an overall fun and wonderful time

and finally, we arrived home again earlier this week.  home to new floors (yes!), a stack of unopened mail, emails and phone calls to attend to and other stuff like that.  but hearts full, spirits rested and memories made…a super week!


June 1, 2010

snapshots no. 4


the big city of Washington, D.C. :: underground transportation :: reading maps and learning how to get around :: famous buildings :: jump shots in front of the capitol :: piggy-back rides on the mall :: lunch with Grandaddy :: cool treats for a hot day :: carousel rides :: smithsonian air and space museum :: a full day!

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