Sunday, December 26, 2010

First Annual Crae Bon Rye

As Ryan thought about what memories we all hold near and dear, he realized that experiencing something fun together tops the list. As a result, he decided to buy Dungeness crab for everyone.

The name came about via plays on words that built on one another, finalizing in what's pronounced in a Frenchish or Cajunish manner, originating from "Crab on Ry" to what is now "Crae Bon Rye." He rounded out the meal with clams, shrimp, and lobster tails. I made homemade rice-a-roni and salad, and Jamara made Heath cookies and brought loads of sparkling cider.

Ryan and Zeb ran the show from the deck with the turkey fryer brimming with seafood (in water, not oil). We had ramekins of butter, Lydia made her special shrimp sauce, and Kev set us up with hammers, nutcrackers, and cutting boards. Lydia was smart enough to cover the table with newspaper first. All nine of us claimed a crab, and there were still leftovers of everything but clams and cider.

When you look at these pictures, hear nonstop conversation, laughter certainly, hammering, cracking, tapping, clinking, the deck door opening and closing, muffled side convos--and then picture my heart seams at their most grateful. elastic. edge...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lyrics "Fah Who Foraze"

These are the lyrics to the Glee version of "Fah Who For-aze."

Fah who for-aze, dah hoo dor-aze,
Welcome Christmas, come this way
Fah who for-aze, dah hoo dor-aze,
Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day

Welcome, welcome, fah who rah-moose
Welcome, welcome, dah who dah-moose
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who for-aze, dah who dor-aze,
Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer
Fah who for-aze, dah who dor-aze
Welcome all Whos far and near

Welcome Christmas fah who rah-moose
Welcome Christmas dah who dah-moose
Christmastime will always be
Just as long as we have glee

Fah who for-aze, dah who dor-aze,
Welcome Christmas, bring your light


In the animated movie, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," the Whos say "just as long as we have we," instead of "glee." They also sing this additional verse:

Welcome Christmas
Fah who rah-moose!
Welcome Christmas
Dah who dah-moose!

Welcome Christmas
While we stand
Heart to heart
And hand in hand

Fah who for-aze
Dah who dor-aze
Welcome welcome
Christmas, Christmas Day

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Fox Visit

Stephanie and Beans came over the other day. It's the second time in three months, which isn't a bad start. We thought we might try to make it once/month because in Stephanie's words, "We are. so. bored!" With Josiah in school now, there's less excitement in the house and maybe more time for a visit like this. It's a wonderful time for me, and I just love it because I never get to see them on Sundays anymore.

A latté is always on the agenda. I made a caramel macchiato for her, she was thrilled to know I made homemade caramel and asked for the recipe (thank you, Glenice =). She brought scones the first time, white chocolate and cranberry--eeyum. This time I made an apple coffee cake with biscuits, grated apple, and lots of butter. Turned out that it could've used a lot more. Or a glaze. Or something. Bummer. She was very gracious though and ate what I served her. It was very kind. Beans is always happy with apples and cheese.

I love how she'll come sit on my lap and just "be." She lets me hug her tight and kiss her sweet, sweet head and cheeks. She is so delicious! In a small and polite voice, her eyes darting between mine and the floor, she asked, "Can I play with some Legos?" No problem. You want the moon and the stars? I'll get those for you too, you adorable, precious, tiny angel girl!

As she bent over the toys I fetched for her, she'd swipe the hair out of her little face. Stephanie asked if I knew how to braid. Like nobody's business! I proceeded to dampen her hair and find some small bands. I set her on the counter and let her play with some toys while I set to work. She let me finish with little squirming, and then we took these pictures to mark the occasion. Our hope was that she would let her mama do that without the usual fuss about "the dreaded comb." Again in that small voice, almost to herself, she said, "I don't like combs."

People tell me I'll absolutely LOVE having grandchildren. I probably will since I absolutely loved having children, and I understand that's the harder job. Until that blessed day, I am perfectly content loving on Beans, who fills my heart with so much joy and love that I'm moved to tears.

Thank You for this precious family who open arm us into their lives. Thank You... xoxo

Thursday, December 02, 2010

It's Not Even Winter Yet...

Winter does not start until the 21st of December--correct me if I'm wrong. While I find a winter wonderland truly breath-taking and awe-inspiring, snow is one of those things that's exciting and welcome for about 48 hours. Then you have to drive in it, shovel it, plow it, trudge through it, get ready for the next dumping, and all other manner of business. I'm generally a Grinch about it unless I'm sitting in the warmth of my cozy little home, which fortunately, I get to do a LOT.

I know I have no right to complain, but this is my place to vent as well as praise and process, so I'm exerting privilege. I shall confess and repent later. Then I'll sip a peppermint mocha and hit the play button on my Christmas playlist as I check tomorrow's forecast.

The Backyard

My Snowy Sahib

Just somethin' sorry-lookin' about this...

The corral takes on definition and outline in this stuff.

Snowy, but you're still welcome...
(Beware of the attack cat.)

What it looks like coming back home

Handsome backyard visitor

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Loved and Kept

Woke up with a massive headache that brought on nausea and the involuntary grimace that strikes my face inside that kind of severe discomfort. Woke at 10:30 to a message from Jylle saying she called me "a ton of times" and that if I hadn't gotten those messages, then my horse was probably still in the barn. Oy.

Feeling a little better than the death-on-a-stick I felt a few hours before, I donned my outdoor gear and headed for the bar
n. This is what I found.
He didn't even have the decency to think he was in the teensiest bit of trouble. Horses aren't like dogs though, so spanking him on the fanny with a newspaper would only cause mayhem and total confusion, so I did what any good horse owner would do--I gave him some apples, strapped on a lead rope, and put him back in the pasture.

I still had to find the short in the electric fence if I didn't want to do this again in a few hours. I prayed what I call my fence prayer, "Lord, You have to show me where this is, or I'll miss it. You know exactly where it is--please lead me there." I set out in a different direction than I usually do when looking for a short. The dogs went ahead of me, making the snow-going a wee bit easier as I followed in their trail. Not too far along, I found the wire down near the draw into the woods. Only two posts away was a big ol' spool of wire. Snip, snip, twist, twist, and we're good to go. Still not hot though, so I kept going. First though, I responded to that strong prompt to bring along an extra piece of wire. Thirty yards later was the second break, and that extra wire was just enough to connect the two severed ends. Now it's hot. I know because I felt the bit o'shock in my thumb as I stretched the wire taut.

I stood there in the white silence, marinating in the bliss of feeling His presence in and around me. The power of His felt nearness and loving-kindness was profound, and the only proper response was worship. In my mind and heart, I constructed an altar on that spot to commemorate this event. As long as I am sound, I will look on that place and remember. I am loved. I am kept in perfect protection and provision. He is always tenderly looking after me, and there will always be an ongoing abundance of faithfulness and grace. Remember.

What started out as a chore turned into first an amusing encounter and eventually a praise time in a beautiful, warm, snowy cathedral. I don't need to stay on the mountaintop though. A time like this bolsters me inside the ordinariness of the everyday. He knew this was exactly what I needed for exactly this time. How perfectly wonderful to be loved by the Perfect.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Brass Tacks

One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to go around the table and talk about two things we're thankful for. I spent a couple days thinking about what I might say this year, but with the novel challenge to come up with something besides relationships and God.

I thought of the animals. I l-o-v-e my doggies and my horse. They are my buddies and my faithful companions with not one mean bone in their bodies amongst them. But then I thought They're basically like family. Doesn't count.

I thought of my home. It's modest, but it is a lovely setting. When it came right down to it though, without the memories we've made here as a family, this building would be just another nice place to live. Too shallow.

I thought of Kev's job, that we're extremely grateful for that in this wretched economy. We're thankful for the medical and dental insurance. It allows us to keep going without missing a beat while hundreds of thousands are not so blessed in this woeful climate. Pretty good, but Kev used this one last year.

I thought of good health. With our folks aging and my mom in acute, chronic pain for two years now, we're aware of our own "growing pains," some of them new and whose causes are phantom. Our kids are beautiful and healthy and thriving. This one will work!

The bottom line though, is that without relationships and God, there really isn't anything profound enough to declare "important." Without those two vital things, even good health isn't enough to make you get out of bed in the morning. No wonder there are more suicides during the holiday season than at any other time. It's in our very design and the motivation to even take our next breath. We are all about relationships and God, and ultimately, a relationship with God.

Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect design, for creating us for relationship and community and oneness, and for providing the Way for that. From the bottom of my small-but-still-learning heart. XO

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Thought

I am surrounded and embraced by family, friends, love, and comfort. This is an incredibly rich life I'm talking about. The dysfunction is minimal, as compared with others', and honestly, it's almost embarrassing.

On the outermost edges of this blessed life exist the lonely, the invisible, and the broken. It's not that I don't care about them; I simply don't know them. Admittedly, I haven't tried to find them, much less know them. There is a niggling in my brain: What if I stepped out of my verdant, lovely, peaceful world and entered theirs...?

Perhaps lives would be changed on both sides, and I would realize that we have more in common than I ever imagined.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy 80th!

Kev's mom is 80 today. She threw a party last weekend, and there were 20 of us. We all met at this one Chinese restaurant that she likes in Seattle and then went back to her place for cake and ice cream. She had a table full of snacks, but I think most people were still too full from lunch and then cake to do anything but nibble a few nuts. Kev rearranged the furniture to better seat everyone, so it was comfortable and still intimate.

My sister-in-law, Doreen, ordered the cake, and it was great--vanilla with a Bavarian cream filling. The restaurant let her keep it in their fridge while we were there because it was a warm day, especially for the West side.

Voila, zee cake!

The people always make the event. It was lovely to meet her friend, Ruth Li, who showed such kindness to Brett when he stayed with Mom last December. Her bright blue socks made me happy. It was so good of Kev's cousins to come, one from Gig Harbor and one from Tacoma, especially in light of the traffic from the Husky game. It was just plain wonderful to visit with Kev's aunts, the oldest and youngest sisters of his biological mother. They are the best. Not a minute into any conversation with Aunt Ila, and you're laughing. She lives in Victoria, which I understand has a huge bunny overpopulation problem. No crime, just thousands of wabbits.

Kev and the always adorable Aunt Ila

After her neighbor and walking partner left the party for home, I realized that if I was going to get the group shot I wanted, I had better do it right then. It was a beautiful day, completely defying every forecast we'd seen every day beforehand.

The Partay
L-R: Kevin, Me, Doreen, Dorine, Jo (Mom's cousin), David (Kev's cousin), Ruth Li (can you dig the blue socks? =), Mel (Kev's brother), Birthday Girl, Monica (David's wife), Eleanor & Berlyn Wible, Uncle Gary, Lorene (Kev's cousin), George (Lorene's husband), Aunt Mary Ellen, Jamie, Aunt Ila,
and Jylle

Doreen's face is barely visible in all six of the pictures I took. Rats. But at least we have this memory shot for Mom, minus the one neighbor.

Mom is going to a prayer meeting today on this, her 80th birthday. Then she's going to spend the night with her friend, Dorine. I hope she has the best 80th birthday that anyone has ever had since the world began. She is healthy, takes good care of herself, and did/does the three things the oldest man alive says to do: Stay in school, work as long as you can, and always help others. She's the poster child for that last one down. She is a jewel, a gem, a peach, a rose, the sweetest Proverbs 31 woman ever, and we thank the Lord for her life every single day. Happy birthday, precious lady.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On John the Baptizer

I read in Luke 7:28 that Jesus presents his cousin with tremendous praise, "I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John." My mind flashed to their childhoods. What was their relationship like? From within the womb John knew Jesus was God's Son. John’s mother, Elizabeth, knew that it was the Lord Himself in utero Who had walked into her home. There’s all this communion amongst four people, two of whom aren’t even born yet.

John is a few months older than Jesus, and surely they played together at family functions every year. Nazareth and Jerusalem are about 65 miles apart, and I’m sure there was at least the annual occasion of Passover that brought the relatives together as Joseph brought his family to Jerusalem. When Jesus was 12 and stayed behind in Jerusalem, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions, might John have been there too, watching and listening and marveling?

Did John enjoy Jesus’ company? They were both the only child of their parents, at least Jesus was for a little while. At any rate, they were the oldest sons. I have to wonder how they got along. Was John protective of his little cousin? Having no brothers, did he treat Jesus like one? Did he beat up on him in a brotherly way, give him a hard time in fun like brothers do? Was there a mutual respect right from the beginning, an understanding that they were involved in the greatest story ever told?

John’s disciples came to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” After He reassured them, they left to deliver the reply. It was only after they left that Jesus pronounced to the crowd, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.” John's disciples didn’t hear that part, so John most probably never heard it either. But is that how Jesus felt about John all along, all those years growing up together? Did the growing Son of God know the heart of this growing son and go on in their adulthood to proclaim it to the world so we all could consider him—and be challenged to go even further: “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

John must have been a truly wise, humble, and God-honoring man. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Only the most reverent, profound, and respectful things are quoted by him of Jesus: “One more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (Luke 3:16). Jesus declared that there was no one greater than John, and yet John readily affirmed his unworthiness when compared to that of Christ’s.

When I have thought of John the Baptizer, I've pictured locusts, honey, an animal skin, and baptism. I have seldom considered his great humility, his boldness and courage, and those heavy days of doubt in Herod’s dungeon when he had to know Are You the One? I thought You were, but I need to know from You for sure. I need You to confirm it. God bless John's disciples who did for him what he couldn’t do for himself in that trial! They brought back the word he so needed to hear: You were right. It is true. He is the One.

Godly. Courageous. Humble. Great. In the end, human. I will consider John the next time I spoon honey into my tea, step on a grasshopper (sorry, PETA, can’t stand ‘em), or hear of a baptism. And I will be challenged upward and onward to decrease day by day, to aspire to the least of these--not in my strength, but in the Person of the One John loved and promoted and honored with his whole life.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

1st Day of Junior Year

"What do I do with my arms?"
Oh, yeah, you're always carrying something.
"All my stuff is in there."

Good and bad stuff about school.

You have to smile--I'm sending this to your grandparents.

*heavy sigh*
Thanks for the "beep beep"--it made me happy.

Father, keep her safe in the snake pit. Remind her of who she is and Whose she is. Don't let her speed. Keep crazies away from her. Sing Your song of love to her friends. Grant her some Christian friends at school who'll stand with her when things get dicey. Keep her pure and honest and focused. Help her to do her best and to listen more than she speaks. Shine out brilliantly in her, and make the people You allow into her life be able to taste and see that You are good. Yes, that You are the Maker of all good and perfect gifts. Help her to be radically saved and to be Jesus on wheels for the Kingdom.

And please remind her to wear her responsibility helmet at all times. *zhooop*

Monday, August 30, 2010

Deer, Deer, Go Away

I don't have a green thumb, so every bit of garden produce we get is grown with great investment. Last year we only got raided in late September, and it was a doe with two babies, so I just let her eat what was left of the tomatoes and snow peas. This year, we have harvested three snow peas. It eats the snow pea blossoms and keeps the tops of the plants regularly mowed so they've only grown four inches tall. I kept thinking it would move on since we haven't had this happen before, but it's still here, and I'm still slow to pick up on some things!

I'm so aggravated about this deer! I've only seen deer around a couple of times, one buck and one doe, each at different times and not together, so I don't know which one it is. Maybe they've even since joined forces... (For simplicity's sake, I'll just assume it's the doe, so hereafter it'll be referred to as she/her.) We put some fencing on top of the peas and beans (whose blossoms she's trimming as well), and I scattered the clippings from Kev's haircut on the portions sticking out. The next day we had gusting winds, so the hair promptly blew away. I am *this* close to staying up tonight to rush her with pots and pans!

So far, we've gotten a decent bean harvest, but as summer slides into autumn, she'll have to start eating what's available instead of making dessert of the succulent tops and blossoms of my poor snow peas. That means the tomatoes and cantaloupes are in jeopardy. Come to think of it, she topped my sedum last night too. Seriously, I've never wanted to punch an animal in the face like I do right now. Well, I want someone to anyway.

Not sure what I'm going to do. Don't want to spend a lot on fencing since we're going to redo the whole garden fence situation next year. I can't keep cutting Kev's hair. Jylle won't let me cut hers. I'm not talented enough to cut my own. Dog hair doesn't work.

GOOGLE--what was I thinking?!--somebody out there must have an answer!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When Thank You Doesn't Come

It's when I've done or said something with the intent of being encouraging or uplifting that I realize I have subconscious expectations when the thing remains unacknowledged. I was raised to believe that "thank you" was in order after someone did or said something with kind intent. Most of the time this ritual is satisfied to the extent that I only experience a lack of it on occasion. It occurs at least once/month on my big trip to town as I deal with the general public, and even rarely with friends. I have a higher standard for my closest friends and my family, and that's a problem.

I feel all good about something after I've done it, like that person who can't wait for you to open the present because you're just going like it so much! There's that eagerness, that anticipation of something along the lines of "Wow, I really like it--thank you!" If I've put effort into a project, even a little one, it seems like an abortion of sorts when it's met with a "Thank you for that," and the subject moves on immediately.

That's when I have to deal with the Committee as we caucus in order to find out what went wrong. That is usually when I come back to I expected something different, something better, something more. Who was I really doing this for then?
R-i-g-h-t...... I gave a gift with strings attached... or at least one anyway.
Whose heart was blessed by the kindness of your intentions? My Father's... and His pleasure is the only thing I need to care about. Freely you have received, freely give.* The burden of unvoiced expectation, like a noose, is severed, as I realize my sin, and I release you from it with my most sincere apologies.

Yes, it would have been nice to know if it meant something to you, but the promptings of my motivation were divine, and you and I are only players in this larger lesson I would not have relearned if you had given me what I expected. See, I often forget that the main character in this story is not me, because most of the time it feels like it is me. The whole world tells me it is. I am reminded once again of that magnificent Protagonist, and I am humbled to the core.

Thank You for letting me play, Daddy. It means everything to me. You mean everything to me. Thank You.

*Matthew 10:8

Monday, August 23, 2010

Yea, Skype!

Got an email from Brett yesterday asking, "Can you Skype us about 2 p.m. your time?" My first thought was vocalized by Jylle, "Us...?" I replied that it probably wouldn't be a problem when suddenly the thought hit me--he's not going to tell us they're engaged, right?! I told him I don't like bombs...

For some weird reason, Skype was no longer on my computer, so I had to download and install it again. (I am so getting a Mac next time.) To my relief, it was a simple Skype call, a time to meet and introduce and get to talk for the first time.

Kev's phone kept ringing, so he only got to be in on it a few minutes here and there, but Jylle and I got to enjoy the whole thing. She laughs easily (which Jylle absolutely loved, esp the parts where Lydia laughed because of her), and she's simply adorable, very easy to like. I got to ask all the questions that came to mind, and we got to see the two of them together, having fun, joking, laughing, enjoying being young and in love (or least large infatuation =). It was a great introduction, and we were grateful for the time they took. They seemed to have a pretty good time too, so I believe a good time was had by all (...or however that antiquated saying goes).

Lord, please keep them pure and honest. Let the core of their relationship ever be anchored in Your love as they seek Your heart diligently. Lead them firmly by the hand through this time, whatever it may hold. Grant them wisdom, ground them in Love, and avail Your sweet joy to them. That's my prayer for all of them. XO

Friday, August 20, 2010


Glenice and I visited Jamara yesterday. She had her second knee replacement, so now she has two titanium hips and two chrome knees. Her right foot has been fused, but the left still needs to be done. Until now, it's all been her lower body, but she got the news before this last surgery that she'll have to have her right shoulder replaced too. She can't lift her arm beyond horizontal...

Her attitude is incredible. She is vigorously optimistic, enthusiastically joyful, and disturbingly wise for her 23 years. She's like my own little Dalai Lama--with a sprinkling of Kelly Pickler for color. Her state of mind is poised on the Mercy she sees in experiencing the ravages of this Adult Stills. While onlookers' mouths drop open at what she's encountered in the last three years, emotionally as well as physically, she speaks at length of God's kindness, grace, protection, and provision and how she is a better person for going through this. It is at once profoundly inspirational and convicting.

Wish I'd taken a picture of her. She straightened her hair, makeup beautifully done as usual, and she was perfectly lean in her black sweats. She is an unstoppable presence in any room. I love this girl like she came out of my own body, and it's bitterly piercing to imagine what it would mean if this disease continues to evade remission and runs out of cartilage to attack, starting in on her organs. I can't let myself go there. I must follow her sweet example and focus on Mercy.

Oh, p-l-e-a-s-e, Lord..............

Sunday, August 15, 2010

They're Droppin' Like Flies

So Ryan has a girlfriend. Jylle is fairly regularly crushing on someone different like twice a year. Brett calls us every week on Sunday, and this time he had something very intentional to tell us. Yeah, her name is Lydia. "You could say 'girlfriend'."

I had so many questions. He answered them all, but I found that my questions grew exponentially once we got off the phone. I've met Ryan's Larissa. I know all the guys Jylle has crushed on. I. Don't. Know. This. Girl. At. All.

My kids appear to be a little different as far as romantic relationships are concerned. The boys never had a girlfriend in high school. They're both now in their very first "real" relationship. I thank God that their Walk is sure and solid. That they care very much about the interior landscape of this other person, both as she came to them and how they must take care of it as men of God. There's a song called "A Sacred Moment" by Daniel Kirkley that often comes to mind when I think of my boys now. He sings of how this is a very special time, but that it may come to be that she will become someone else's wife, so for now, he wants this to be a sacred moment in her life. My take is: Let there be no scars or ugliness, but only a putting the best foot forward, putting her best before his own.

Maybe because it took so long for one of them to have a girlfriend, it was a surprise when it finally happened. That 'first' was in March. Five months later, we encounter the second 'first.' It was at once another surprise but also a very joyful thing for me. Brett sounded so happy, so willing to be forthcoming. I only wanted to know more, to dig into knowing this person who's making my son smile so much that I could sense it over the phone.

It's a really interesting time for me, something that a lot of moms my age have already experienced. But I wouldn't trade having to wait for anything. This seems just right. It's kind of like delayed gratification--seems a whole lot better for having it come later. And I'm grateful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Again With the Going Back to School

Ryan will go back to school this weekend. I can't believe his whole summer has gone. Looking back, it doesn't seem like there was even one day when I wished we were doing something else. All the days that he slept in and all the time he spent playing guitar or being on the computer, I was glad he was able to. I simply like that he's in the house. I suppose that once he's lived out of the house longer than he's lived in it, the feeling that this is the way it's supposed to be will diminish. Judging from the eagerness in both sets of our parents to see us and have us stay with them, I don't think it ever goes away completely.

Knowing that he's looking forward to getting back and seeing his best friends is worth a lot to my heart. Knowing that his classes are only getting more difficult is a little hard, but I know he can do it. I suppose I'll probably cry again, before and after he leaves, but knowing that's a natural and healthy thing makes it not as dread-full as it's been in the past. One last, good cry pretty much wraps it up until the next time. I just hope he keeps calling at least once/week because that makes me happy. I love you, Ryrie. XO

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Before and After


Do you know how much damage can be done when you expect to be the Center of someone's universe? Do you realize how complicated you make it when your level of expectation exceeds reason? Where is this Grace you preach...? Where is this Love you speak of...?

You are so young. But you have experienced a great deal: Depth. Life. Miracles. Grief. Sorrow. Confusion. Complication. Tenderness. Courage. I don't consider that lightly. But this is hard.

This seems to be three steps forward, three steps back. This no longer seems worth it to me. Maybe it's a good thing I'm not much in the scheme of things because I would no doubt make this situation worse than it already is. I thought I knew your heart. Obviously I don't. I got caught presuming.

When Mary's heart was pierced through, did anyone remember the prophecy? Did she even, until the midst of it? To see your child suffer is a grief no parent can bear in a lovely way. It stinks. It's a mountain of misery, and more often than not, this mother's knee jerk reaction is to slap at the hornet rather than to be still and know that He is God, at work, alive, revealing...


Psalm 103:11-12 was written on the note left on the counter, “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great are His mercy and loving-kindness toward those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

I needed a fresh reminder of my own sin and level of unreasonable expectation. If I find that I am unwilling to forgive, if I have uttered the words, “How could you…” then I need the tender revelation once gain of which world I belong to. The rules and tools of that other world have no function or place , like using a tennis ball to build a house, or a sock to magnify. The rules of the Kingdom, of the Overcoming Life, are the tools of the Redeemed—humbled at being saved, forgiven, and given the scandalous privilege of walking as Daughter or Son, that to walk in any other manner than that of Abiding is not an option.

Where is this Grace I preach if it does not begin with me? Where is this Love I speak of if it isn’t seen immediately in my own life? I have been forgiven of far worse, and I drop the stones I would hurl in a red hot hurry as I acknowledge that my board is greater than your sliver. I wish you sweetness and roses as you are delivered from your self in this walk as we all will be. XO

Psalm 32:6-8 For this forgiveness let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely when the great waters of trial overflow, they shall not reach the spirit in him. You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah. I the Lord will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Shock rocked the Valley as news of Georgie McCanna's sudden death spread literally like wildfire. Phone and various local news chains lit up, as did text messages, the disturbing information branching out to people exponentially.

I still don't have all the facts, just that she was at the pool on Monday morning, July 12, when she suffered a massive heart attack, which killed her almost instantly. No rescue attempt made any difference; she didn't even have time to say one last thing. She was gone, just like that.

I think about her at least 20 times a day. I have so many questions, so many things I would've liked to have told her. She was one of those people who really listened when you spoke. She made you glad you ran into her and grateful that she was there. She was just one of those rare people who are really easy to love.

Georgie was only barely 50. She had no previous indications of a heart problem and in fact, exercised vigorously and faithfully. She was one of the creators of the exercise group at the middle school, and I often saw her strapping on her sneakers after school was over, ready to climb stairs and walk the halls with friends and co-workers.

I keep thinking of how one day her husband was probably thinking of where they might go to enjoy some of this summer break, and the next day, he's picking out his wife's casket. It's insane. I cannot wrap my little mind around it. It's just not the way it's supposed to be. It's just all too unreal.

Her service was as lovely and as loving as one could be. It was at the Catholic church, and I'd never been there before. We got there pretty early because we knew there'd be standing room only by start time. I picked one of the back pews, but Kev suggested the opposite side, and it wasn't until afterward that he told me it was because we would've been sitting right in front of the casket, something he deems just a little uncomfortable.

Two of her closest friends stood up together to read tributes and to tell a little about her. After that, her husband and youngest son got up to tell us their own. Michael graduated with my Brett, and he has a great sense of humor. He made everyone laugh with his recounting of how Georgie kept guessing "Sheep herder!" in one round of Pictionary, no matter how he tried to get her to shorten it. "It's shepherd, Mom! Shepherd!" From then on, any time you didn't know what the answer was, you'd just say, "Sheep herder!" Craig assured everyone that he loved his life with Georgie, and that while his world has come to a complete stop right now, he would go on again without her. There wasn't a dry eye in the room, and people cried freely and without embarrassment. This was a soul whose spirit was so sweet and thoroughly kind that it would be a shame to her memory to withhold honor that she would have so freely expressed.

Death is our own personal, final enemy. But for those of us who are in Christ, even Death has been ultimately silenced and rendered impotent. It is the gateway to real Life where it will not at all exist except perhaps as some distant reminder of having been vanquished by the One Who gave everything, so that we might inherit His All and live forever inside Love, Joy, and Peace.

So, Georgie, I will miss you. Everyone who ever knew you will miss you. The world is a less joyful place without you in it, and I'm praying for the people who loved you and whose hearts are in pieces. I know you are knowing Joy now, so enjoy that Life...

We said our goodbyes to you today. You would've hated being the center of attention, but your friends and family did a fabulous job of holding it together well enough to give honor to your life and acknowledge before the world how much they love and miss you.

Little Janie was beautiful. Craig was strong. Michael was hilarious. You would've loved that.

No one can believe it. It's all ridiculously horrible. How can a light so blazingly bright be gone now?! How does the earth keep turning, mail get delivered, the sun keep shining? How do the people who love you find a new normal without you when you were their North Star?

You were a huge part of why JMS is such a great place to work. The fingerprints of your heart work were everywhere. You made me laugh. You made me feel safe. And welcome. And cared about. There was nothing you weren’t there to help me with. You made me brave when I had to face the lunch lady about the food I'd used by mistake. You never made me feel dumb when time and again I'd forget to unlock the girls' locker room. Your smile and encouraging words were always exactly what I needed to go on and do the next thing right.

Your smile lit up a room. Your humility and strength were quiet, but so very sure. You were a driving force behind so many others' accomplishments, but no one outside might ever realize that. You were certainly the wind beneath so very many wings. So many beautiful facets to miss about you...

There's a hole the size of a galaxy here now. While we treasure knowing that we'll see you again someday, it's all the days in between now and then that will make the rest of this life here seem terribly long. But Brenda was right--the greater tragedy would've been to have never known you. You are a princess, as beautiful inside as out, with a kindness, integrity, and humility that endeared you to anyone who spent any time with you at all.

I thank the Lord for your life. I know He'll hold you close and treasure you in this last Dance. See you soon… XO

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Six-Month Cough

It's taken more than a week for my voice to get back to near normal. The evening headaches and retching have been hard to get a handle on, and I can't tell where my activity limit is, so I'm still trying to feel that one out. I wake with three specific symptoms, live out the day doing whatever, and feel around rather blindly around evening time looking for hand holds. Going to bed at 9:00 seems to be a good idea so far.

A nurse friend asks occasionally, "So how's your lung cancer?" She always wants me to get this cough checked into because the rate of lung cancer cases is spiking. I always know though, that it's not lung cancer. It's just something that sticks around a long time, but eventually always goes away. Like a bad meal.

Gotta say though, Texas was totally worth it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hoopfest 2010

I actually had fun at Hoopfest yesterday! Ryan and I didn't get there until about noon, and we spent half an hour just looking for a parking spot. It didn't look good when we saw all kinds of people heading toward the park blocks and blocks north of it. We finally found something about 6 blocks away, and a guy pulled in behind us right when we got there. I made fruit kabobs and brought lots of ice water, and we took turns carrying the cooler to lighten the burden.

The first game we saw was Zeb's. We hefted ourselves over the stone wall, and I felt bad crushing the day lilies. No one around us seemed to care, and one guy and I even laughed about how "anything goes 'cause it's Hoopfest!" Still felt bad being a crusher though. Kev and Dave H were camped out under a huge tree, two oldie guys each with a camping chair and a book in complete surround-shade.

Kev's first game happened so fast that he didn't have time to re-injure his bad ankle. The crushing took all of ten minutes, and it was soundly over. The second game took a little longer, but only after Dave R was steam rolled by an opponent disguised as a wall. His jaw ended up misaligned, but even more damage was inflicted upon his sense of manhood. "Huh!" Take that, mean man!

Not wanting to see our guys further tossed about like rag dolls, Barb and I took a short jaunt into Nordstrom where she treated Ryan to a peach smoothie while he waited for us with his book. I tried on a scarf and matching hat in vivid fuchsia. Would've bought both of them, but I had just given my spare $300 to a homeless waif. Darn.

Ryan stayed at the park with Zeb, and I took off for home. Realizing that I had no one waiting for me and really no reason to zip straight home, I took a few detours, which eventually landed me some much-needed grocery items as well as a dandy little bag of treasures from Bath and Body Works for 75 percent off! I was extremely pleased with my bargains and agreed with myself to go home now. But only after one last stop for a frozen pizza and ice cream.

THAT was one great Hoopfest.

Monday, June 21, 2010

sweet she...

When she laughs, I swear butterflies are born. Roses drop their thorns, and even the gravel softens.

But when she cries, even the sun dims in heartache. Woodlands grow gray, and even the creatures retreat in sorrow.

Rejoice for her. Weep with her. Celebrate her. But most of all, remain beside her.

Monday, May 31, 2010

a high school girl at heart♥

I started going to youth group Jylle's freshman year just so she could go. I always did like the worship, and now I could hang out with some of the high school kids I really enjoy. Now that Ryan's home for the summer, I don't have to go. In fact, she has her license now so she can drive herself. But I'm still going. For one thing, Kev doesn't object. Secondly, I still enjoy it. There are kids I really look forward to seeing, and if I don't see them on Wednesday, I won't see them at all.

Ryan wrote a poem for me that contains the phrase, "a high school girl at heart." I've never forgotten that because it's fraught with meaning. On the negative side, it could mean I'm not that mature and still involve myself in shallow, frivolous matters. Stings, but it's true. On the positive side, it could mean that I will ever be able to relate to the things that these young women care about, whether it's the shallow or the not-so. I like being able to relate and be relevant to these girls whose hearts I truly care about. Being able to listen and empathize and then pray for and with them is a privilege, and I know it's work that He's put before me.

Maybe I like how carefree and ready to laugh they are. Maybe I like their contagious joy and their eagerness to be together. Maybe grown-ups are serious a LOT, and I like a break from that. Maybe it's more than I even know. All I know that I have a big green light, and that's a good enough Go for me.

Off to straighten my hair and buy some gum. Gosh.....

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Awkward, Odd, and Worthy

"God continually introduces us to people for whom we have no affinity, and unless we are worshipping God, the most natural thing to do is to treat them heartlessly..."

There's a teenager at church I'm not particularly fond of; I even unfriended him and then clicked "Ignore" when he sent a second friend request a few months later. While I did accept his third friend request just last week, I'm still not particularly fond of this kid. He's just really odd, and when I'm around him, I feel very self-conscious, the way I do around people whom I think don't like me.

He's here at my house right now, about 10 feet away. I'm often reminded of what Cheryl shared with me from Oswald Chambers the day I told her about the whole unfriending thing. It was something to the effect of "When you treat someone harshly, it means you're unwilling to take on that person's burden." Jylle has also told me that it's not that he doesn't like me--he's just awkward and odd, but she still wants to be his friend.

As I sit here praying, I have this determination to simply love him. Awkwardness, oddness, and self-consciousness all aside, I will love him in Christ. I will treat him like a friend. He is my brother, after all. Thank You, Father, for Your Love that supercedes all.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weak Junk

There's so much that is worthy of my attention--immediate family, extended family, quiet time fodder, eccentricities of the day, the latest Democratic dance... They range from whisperings to outright screechings. I'm sure you can relate. These all seem so awfully important as they rear their heads.

"Gather the people together to Me and I will make them hear My words, that they may learn reverently to fear Me all the days they live upon the earth and that they may teach their children," (Deut. 4:10). These are the words that I want to want to heed wholeheartedly.

My children are my Achilles. Do or say what you will to me, but watch well what you direct toward my kids. I have antennae alert, the initiation of which I am not aware. Defenses arise, and I am not even alert to them until the threat has passed, is defused, or deemed impotent. Always I wish this vulnerability was not so great. I wish I could sip a lattè while lackadaisically pointing out varied and sundry weak spots in my world and the people who comprise it as if it didn't matter. Alas, I am not made of such strong stuff.

I am made of the most fragile chiffon. If soul was a tangible element, I might be cotton candy--reduced to pink sugar syrup at the introduction of enemy moisture. Afar, I might appear hefty and extensive and well-connected. But is anyone all that...?

When people validate you as kind and thoughtful and "wonderful"--what happens inside? Do you scramble to justify all that? I do. When time goes on and I remember what I really am, I pray. Hard. I want to fling off all that's not truly me and put on Christ so that I can be so. much. more. of that wonderfulness. I scramble to make it about Him and not me because I always make everything about me, even when I'm trying to make it about anything else. Ultimately I want to hear, and learn reverently to fear, and to have my children hear--and obey, and abide.

Doesn't seem like this is as connected and relevant as I intended at the start, but that's how it usually goes. I hear or see or think something and believe it's blogworthy. And so it might be in the right hands. Seems my hands are elsewhere. I am content. That's worth something, right?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Our Jeslyn

I have a niece who's one of those rarest of finds. She's a beautiful girl, tall, slim, with coffee-colored hair and eyes the color of a summer sky. It is her heart that captivates me though. We are polar opposites politically but she puts me to shame when it comes to living out the Gospel. She has exhibited more grace and maturity in the face of trial and opposition than most of the believers I've ever known, myself being the least.

Her joy leaves you wanting more. Her humor is quick, often self-effacing, but always wonderfully out there. She inquires into my life, into my heart, my well-being, and when she questions, it's as if I'm the only person in the room or certainly the one she cares about the most at that moment. She makes you feel important, relevant, and worthwhile. Seldom has she ever given her attention to anything else when we talk. Her gaze is steady, focused, and intent, and you find yourself wanting to bless her with your words and an equal attention.

She is a wonderful writer, and I wonder if the Palouse realizes the jewel they have in that rural area. While her talents might later be put to use in a large, metropolitan city, possibly not even in the States, I hope her heart will always be drawn back home here. I love just knowing she's in the area, as if that makes the sun just a little nearer in the winter.

I admire you, Jeslyn. And since my human love is so small, I love you with God's bottomless, infinite, overwhelming Love. mmWAH.