Thursday, March 24, 2011


This is what we want our lives to be

our home to be

our hearts to be




so that the hurting around us

will never walk alone.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Forgiveness (7 x 70)

I was driving through Lake of the Ozarks several weeks ago when I heard this song for the first time. Navigating unfamiliar roads, I frantically grabbed at a pen and post its so I could scribble down the artist and title.

What speaks to your heart through this song is that life is hard. Sometimes we're told that we shouldn't let hard stuff or cutting words or abandonment define us.  But that's kind of a joke, because hard stuff does make us who we are.  There usually isn't the option of just moving on or getting over it.

Tonight, besides our ever-popular {ever-patiently playing 10 games of UNO with JD and Cambria} Henry, we had another young man sharing our dinner table.  He spoke about a life that I can't even begin to imagine.


little brothers and sisters torn apart by neglect, lost parental rights, adoption to different families

phone-call relationships with parents

unanswered questions

why didn't they care? 

That  kind of stuff does define you.

I love how Chris August writes (and sings) that forgiveness makes a way.  It doesn't erase;  it wraps around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

playlist replacement

So this week I am removing my playlist and posting our current top ten "songs."


I need a better word.

Beautiful therapy?

Musical theology?

I don't know.

I'm posting two today, since I was a little busy yesterday with a pajama party for eight little girls.  {More on that later.}

The first, Hero, is the best way I can think of to decribe the Jesus I call God.

If you don't know this Jesus. . . listen.  This is the Man who loves you beyond anything your heart can yearn for.  He is amazing.

If you do know this Jesus. . . listen and remember why you love Him.

The second speaks so loudly to my heart right now. No one needs to have all the answers for pain and sorrow. . . but everyone needs someone to pray them through. My challenge to you: be the person who says if you fall down. . . let me carry you. . . I'll carry you. . .

Saturday, March 19, 2011

the grief scale (not)

How much pain is a ton?

Is there a measuring device for pain?

Rate your pain today on a scale of one to ten, one being least, ten being greatest.

What tips the scale of grief?

Is there even a scale for grief?

Loss of marriage < loss of child;  unloved and forsaken < terminally ill;  living the horror of abuse < picking up the pieces after the suicide of one you love.

As a society, don't we make mental notes as we observe the broken lives of humanity?  Johnny's pain is way worse than Susie's pain!  We need to flood Johnny with sympathy; but Susie needs to suck it up and get on with life.

How do I know that Susie's pain isn't great and crushing and almost more than she can bear?  What if it is?  What if, because of our unspoken but universally understood grief scale, Susie's pain got rated 0.6 on the grief scale of one to ten?

And then there's another whole encampment of pain: the unlucky souls who somehow find themselves in the They Deserved It part of our grief filing system. Desperately trying to make sense of a world gone wrong, we grasp for reasons.  For some people the reasons spring quickly to mind.  That's unfair.  You can be very sure that if a fault or failing in the life of a grieving person is not obvious to you, it is only because you don't know him well enough.

I've thought about this a lot over the past few weeks as I have been overwhelmed by all the pain in the lives of people around me. Is anyone's life easy?  I don't really think so.

We have been on the receiving end of a massive amount of attention and encouragement; a child's death isn't supposed to happen, and for that crushing reason, it seems society has marked our loss 9.5 on the little grief scale.

But there are lots and lots and lots of other things that aren't supposed to happen.

This week I remembered the story of Jairus' daughter.  She was twelve.  She was dying.  Jairus went to Jesus, Who has always been a Healer, always is a Giver, even in the darkest moments of life.  He fell at the feet of the Maker of his daughter and pleaded for her life.

While he was pleading, a woman who had been battling a bleeding disorder for twelve years reached out to touch the robe of Jesus.  Miraculously, incredibly, against all odds, she was instantly healed.

I think that Jesus' response to her is incredible.  He didn't send her away. 

He could have said  "Lady! Go see a specialist!  I am dealing with a dying child!  Surely you can understand that I am very much about giving life! Sorry, but later!"

He could have said "Oh, my, a bleeding disorder. . . did you live the way you should? Perhaps this is an STD and you totally deserve this."

He could have said "I'm sorry ma'am, but I'm busy with wayyyyyy more important things. Please, can we reschedule?"

He could have thought "I felt her touch me but I won't even stop and listen.  I need to get to this little dying girl."

But He didn't.  He stopped.  He wanted to see her, to know her.  He wanted her story.

Who touched Me?

And she came, trembling and scared.  Didn't she know that a dying child was more important? Of course she did, because two thousand years doesn't change human nature.  Of course she  didn't want to bother or be in the way of important stuff.

Here is the beauty of Jesus. . . He saw her.  She was important stuff. He didn't push her away.  He didn't rate her pain or mark her grief on a scale. He saw her faith, He saw her needs, He saw twelve years of unanswered questions and He cared.

She wasn't a bother to Him.  He healed.  He loved. He sent her away in peace.   

Jesus didn't leave Jairus needs unmet, either.   He heard the awful news.  He calmed the distraught father.  He walked the dusty streets.  He denied the power of the grave. He brought life where there was death.

That's what He is all about.   He brings clarity to the muddy waters of the whose grief is worse game that we love to play. He doesn't rate pain; instead He brings life when there is only death. 

Our minds only view death as death, and a beating heart as life.

But what if death is oppression and pain and bitter tears and no desire to live and regret and mistakes and deep scars and wounded hearts and shattered dreams?

And what if life is hope?

What if




Thursday, March 10, 2011

oh the things my kids say. . .

Cambria drew a picture of me last week. . .

It's really frightful.  My hair is sticking out all over my head (but my eyes are green- correct color) and I oddly only have a head and stick legs.  I asked what the strange loop in one ear was:

"Oh, Mom, that's your earring.  You don't have one in the other ear because you losted it."

Well, it's true that no one has ever accused me of being organized; lost earrings are pretty much the way I roll.

JD at the breakfast table this morning: {out of the blue} "How do babies come out?"

I stall.  "How do you think they come out?"

*Shrugs* "Cut 'em out."

Oh I wish I would have had C-Sections. . . they're so much easier to explain. . .

Briefly I inform him.  Matter of fact is the way to go on these things.

"So if you have to push the baby out do you have to push it in?"

Why is Daniel always at work during these conversations?

Cambria to me: "Mom, please write vitamins on yoah list on the fridge. It's im-po-tant not to foah-get things foah yoah kids."

JD:  "Mom, I love you." 

Me: (teary) "Ohhh. . . . Jacob. . . I love you too.  Thaaaaaaank you, buddy."

Daniel: "Hey, what about me?"

JD: "Daaaaad. . . of course I love YOU.{implied} "Dad, you hung the moon- you know that- let's just throw a few crumbs of affection to Mom for a minute, here."

Cambria, observing Jacob weeping over his math workbook:  "When I do school I won't cry!" Totally self righteous as she blissfully uses markers and art supplies, {fun stuff} free as a breeze.

Jacob: *blubbering* *pile of kleenex next to math page* "Oh I bet you will cry, Cambria. . . [sob] I bet you will!"

JD to Daniel: *conversationally* "Dad, I know you're almost thirty but you look like you're forty."

Cambria, worried that we will run out of oatmeal, her all-time fave breakfast: "When we run out of that one in the cupboard I will *re-wind* you to get more." Do ya think she meant remind?

We weren't planning on using this pictures for our annual Christmas greeting so I thought we could put them here.

Ha ha ha!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

when the story isn't mine to write

I'm not good at faking life.

I'm just not into fake.

I find so much joy and release in just spilling my heart out and being honest.

I'm brutally honest with the people closest to me. . . but pretty honest with those who aren't, too.  I've been known to confess to my Bible Study group that I have thrown spoons in anger and I can cry with complete strangers.

Is this a personality trait or because I am a woman?

Probably some of both.

I know that writing about Gabe has been so incredibly healing for me.  It has helped me sort out my thoughts, my heart, what I still believe about God, and helped me grieve the loss of my son.

Men aren't as open.

I am always baffled by this.

Is it because they don't want to admit weakness?

Putting themselves out there and admitting doubts and fears is probably just not helpful to them.

Endless personal reflection?

Not any guys I know!

So as I watch my husband grieve and walk through steps I walked through months ago. . . my heart breaks.  I feel a little bit like you all must feel as you stand on the outside of our grief looking in, wanting to help, but not able to take away the pain.

I want to write about it; but it's  his story and not mine to write.

So I don't have a lot of words right now.

I know that Daniel has been so strong for me. . . for so long.  You can only be strong for so long. 

I tell him it's okay.

He doesn't have to be happy.

He doesn't have to be strong. 

I cry.

I physically ache to take the pain away from him, knowing that there's no way to go but through.

I tell him I believe for him like so many have believed for me

that when the road is too dark

and the way is too long

and little places where Gabe should be are too quiet

I'll still be here. . .

and we are going to hang on. . .

and I don't know what to say

but I love him.

Ahh. . . he is such a good man.

I pray that God will bring healing to his heart and that I will be a refuge for him. . .

I love him so much.