Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stella, you are one!

Dear Stella,

You are one baby girl. We made it through the first year together. I am still so glad you are here.  I love how you watch and explore quietly and have decided to do things in your own time. You have thrown me for a loop so many times in your first year, but I think that it's been good for me, God knew I needed a you.

You currently love to climb stairs and would do it all day long if you allowed.  Walking hasn't come yet, but that doesn't stop you from being super quick on your knees and palms. You are a bit of a daredevil at times and its probably something you have in common with your older brother Ephraim, who is extremely good at testing the limits on things for his advantage.

You are loved deeply by your siblings.  One of my favorite things has been to see how your siblings love on you.  While they may get annoyed slightly here and there with you stealing their toy or messing with their game, they cheer you on in each new thing.  Every new ability is a cause for celebration and they just sing your praises to no end.  Baby girl, you are loved.

You love to be cuddled and have a mama right near. You are greatly weary of strangers if they try to hold you or pick you up. Sometimes you get scared if you are too far away from someone you trust and you still aren't the greatest fan of the car, but you tolerate it much more now and sometimes will even take a nap in it.

You love playing with cup and bowls and things that can go inside of cups and bowls.  You are excellent at tearing pages of books and unfortunately a few library books have fallen prey to your habits. You enjoy being held by your mama especially in the sling so you can safely look out on the world and experience things close to your life source.

You are calmed by walks and sometimes will only fall asleep when out on one.  You aren't the greatest of nappers some days but you seem to enjoy sleep at night as long as you are cuddled, and for that we are thankful. You are so sweet in so many ways and we can't wait to see what your second year has in store for you.

Happy Birthday, Stella girl!

Your Mama

Friday, March 9, 2018

A rug from my grandmother

I have this rug. It's one that my grandmother latch hooked for me. She had been trying to give it to me for months, when she first heard that I was pregnant with Noel, she sent a sweet card of congrats on the fourth baby and then sent a picture of a rug she had made hoping that I would like it and claim it as mine. You see then but not even a week later, Noel died. And then I just couldn't talk to anyone.  My grandmother called to apologize of what she wrote in the card, though I think it needed no apology. It was all done with love, it was simply telling me that four babies would be great and how she had such memories with her four own babies. That didn't need apologizing for, not one bit.  I didn't answer the phone and simply had a voicemail, but so it was. She called again a few weeks later and hoped that I was all better.  I don't think she meant any harm in saying that, though it wasn't receptive to my ears and still I wasn't answering the phone because I just still couldn't. This loss hit me the hardest of my two miscarriages I have had. And almost 2 years later, another baby in my arms there are still bits to process. There are still bits of graces unfolding from Noel's short womb life.

My dad called about the rug, perhaps my grandmother thought I'd surely talk to him, but again it was another voicemail as I still didn't answer the phone. We went on a trip to a few cities in the south and I bought a card for my grandmother to tell her that I did want the rug.  But I never wrote out the card and I never sent it.

A few later, my grandmother died unexpectedly from a blood clot that spread to her lungs. It wasn't caught by a foot doctor and it caught us all by surprise.  My first thought was that I didn't ever call or write her. I had wanted to, to say yes to this rug she had made with me in mind, but I just wasn't all there and I wasn't really handling life all that well.

This lady was precious to me and every time we would call for her birthday and the kids and I would sing for her and she would say that this was the best birthday greeting she had gotten all day.  And whether or not that was true, she knew how to make my heart smile.  She would send birthday greetings to all my kids and to me every year and she just knew how to say the right thing to cheer someone up in a rough situation.

Today, for some reason, I was compelled to pull this rug from its buried home in a corner of my bedroom and take it downstairs to use in the house and remember her.  Perhaps, I need more of her now. Perhaps, I've finally forgiven myself for never saying yes to her directly for the rug.  But here it is, I hope that it brings us warmth and softness and memories of love for years to come. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Nothing is Secular

After reading Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, I am finding myself pondering the idea of things considered to be secular. What is something that is secular really anyway?  Google says its "denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis." So, now we have a definition.  But then is really anything secular?  Is there anything completely void of God, if God is the creator of all? 

I'm reminded of a conversion story of an artist that found God through his paint.  I think by definition of the world, paint would not be religious and yet it led to God. And perhaps its because its a tool that it can be used for both things that bring us closer to God and things that perhaps distract us from him.  However, I think in all of it God is still in the paint.

On another point, I've often thought of the example of two priests coming upon a prostitute and one priest shielding his eyes from the occasion of sin and the other in abject weeping over the soul in the over sexualized get up.  Neither reaction is wrong. One simply is perhaps able to comprehend more, or perhaps is a little further along in his walk with Jesus to be able to look outside himself and see another hurting. 

I wonder if this how we are with things that are viewed as Christian versus those that are secular.  Perhaps there are times that we need the bubble and protection of the Christian cultured things.  Perhaps we are still learning to sit up right in our Christianity and we need to feel protected in it.  Outside it, the world seems scary. We can't make sense of it, and perhaps we just don't want to right now or just aren't able to do so.  

And then maybe someday we venture out and start to crawl a little bit and see God in our fallen humanity, and then we keep digging deeper and find God in the crevices that no one else wants to touch and find them redeemable and find that God doesn't just live inside the deemed Christian walls, but is in the low of the low in society's perception and wants them to be loved just the same as you or the pope. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Wrap around

I'm trying to wrap my head around the things we will be doing this year with travel.  They are all good things.  They really are.  I just struggle with the anxiety of not being in my element of home at times,  so it brings new challenges.  I like predictable things.  One may laugh,  as I have four children and they are never predictable, but I do like to have things be familiar.
This year,  its different a bit.  We have three big trips planned.  One to middle TN, one to Indianapolis and for Stella and I one to Germany/Iceland/France. I want to say I can do all these things with flying colors,  but the truth is I can't.  I am going to be relying on a whole lot of God's grace to get me through.  They are things that stretch me to be who I am not normally, an adaptable person.  Which is funny,  because I think to the outside world,  perhaps I think I come off this way, adaptable.  But maybe it's just that I want to know more of who God is and I am trying to trust that he's got me like he's got all the birds.  I'm being held through it all. 
So I make these plans and jump,  because I am a jumper.  Despite my wanting to control and be inn n the familiar, I know I'll only grow by taking these risks outside my comfort zone.  And even if its hard,  God is there. It's something I'm often learning and I need to not forget.  He will always show up and it won't always be easy but he is there always in love always ready for a hug.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Ups and downs and prayers

I'm 34. Relatively that's still young.  Sometimes, though, I'm amazed at how much has happened in the past few years. I'm sometimes caught in between sorrow for the hurt and glee for the happy.

The other day I bought a ticket to see a friend who moved across the pond to Germany with her little family.  It brought so much happiness and it was just a crazy moment of the fact that I am going and doing something I never thought I would be doing any time soon. The expense seemed too much. The leaving the family too much.  But a friend and I and the baby we are traveling together in the fall to visit this dear friend together, and I hope we have some good adventures around the continent together.

I'm terrified to be traveling with a 18 month old overseas, but at the same time I think its going to be one of those experiences where I am stretched in a very good way.  Where I learn to be more go with the flow and less rigid with myself.  Where I learn about the always caring hand of God in my sleeplessness and unfamiliarity. I'm excited and I hope to be less terrified as the time comes.  Come Holy Spirit.

Just a few days after this, a friend had a stroke.  A friend that was part of our 4 family Destination Imagination co-op and it was just shocking.  I had just seen her 4 days earlier and she was fine. I'm struggling with what to say here. Perhaps because I know in tragedy, its so easy to say the wrong thing and so I won't say that I own this, there are people, her children, her husband that are hurting so much. They are loved and we are praying, but I think so much day in and day out we take our people for granted without even knowing it.  And when something like this happens, it opens our eyes to see how each life has value. How she is someone significant to her family, to us to other friends.  She makes us know the love of God through her life.

At the last DI meeting, we were helping the children hash out what the storyline of their play was to be.  And so my oldest was drawing and narrating his version to this friend.  She sat there so patiently taking down his narration.  She didn't bat an eye at his crazy, probably Ninjago themed, version of the play beginning. She just was who God wanted her to be at the moment.  She's often told me that I'm level headed and creative, but then I look at her with her extreme willingness to let the children express herself in whatever way they can and I think she has something there.  Perhaps its a Martha and Mary thing. Perhaps, I am a Martha.  In many contexts I am, perhaps this is why our co-op works.  But I'm thankful for her.  She's got a willing heart, a patient heart and I'm thankful to know her.

She's stable now and out of a coma, but needs a major surgery to correct the issue and God willing if it goes okay will be a long recovery. If you would like to partake in a spiritual bouquet for her, email me at and I will give you the details.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

00 Echo

The day has come. Tommorrow, I will let go of my car that I have had for 18 years. Technically, my dad owned it the first few years, but I drove it, and the most I was without it was about 4 months, for my first semester of my freshman year.

It feels funny to be sentimental to a hunk of metal, but there are so many memories with this car.  It drove me to my first college classes, my job at the library, to soccer practices while I was still living at my parent's house.  It was my work transportation when I worked summers at Hershey Park.  I remember many cries and songs being blared in it, as I sang at the top of my lungs down the highway.

It was how I got home after my freshman year and took a passenger too to get to my big sister's wedding.  It took many trips from PA to TN and vice versa during my college years. It lived through at least 2 tornadoes during these years in TN. One time, some playground equipment suit lifted by tge tornado, dented in the trunk badly and the tornado shattered every window except the windshield.

It survived me getting rear ended on the highway, just before my 21st birthday. It oddly then would be rear ended again a few months after it being fixed.  And then another time when I lived here in OH someone backed into it while it was parked on the street.

I remember the car being towed off the Washington Mall when we took a trip in it with some friends to DC when we accidentally parked too long in a street spot. I remember late nights chatting with my future husband in that car outside his apartment. I remember scarily getting caught on sudden ice on a trip back to OH from TN and spinning out into the median of the highway.

I carted around my first two kids in this car and I loved it. It had this shelf that was a perfect foot rest. I would always drive with my foot resting on this shelf on long drives. This car even had a song written about it by a dear friend.

It was a quirky car with basic features and it still had roll down windows and I loved that about it.  My husband complained that it didn't have intermittent windshield wipers, but I was used to having to have a rhythm with clearing my view so it didn't matter too much.

Its last few years were spent as a commuting car for K at his programming job and he probably enjoyed it as it was the only non hybrid I knew that got 40mpg. Filling it at the has pump was not something to break the bank.

This car was loved and it witnessed a good chunk of our lives and it was good to us. As we donate it, not fully dead, we hope that it can be used by someone else in need of cheep wheels.

00 Echo, you were loved.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Tiddilly bump

I've been thinking about this quote by C.S. Lewis that I saw the other day:

“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” - taken from the Screwtape Letters

It's making me think that perhaps I need to listen more and shout less. At times, I feel like perhaps we want to be know, hello social media, and for me I like to be right a lot. But maybe its okay not to be.

I just finished a biography on Pope Francis, and I like him as a pope, I mean I did before this book, but I think I understand him more now. I do think he's a bit crazy in perhaps his ways of doing things, because he doesn't want to be in the spotlight, but he's in a position where he is all the time, and I think he forgets that often.  But perhaps, its good for us to remember that he's a person too.  In the biography that I read, it said that he was who he was because of the mercy of God.  He has always had a huge heart for the poor and being that he's from a country that had a lot of upheaval and really crazy things happen under their governments it makes more and more sense. He saw daily how much people were marginalized and not seen as humans and just murdered senselessly. Think of Syria now, and that was a lot of what happened. 

Anyway, I think you either love or hate this current pope of ours, or perhaps you are indifferent. But I kind of like him. I think his heart is there. I think he's reforming some things that need to be reformed for the church to be a better version of itself.  I think he's teaching us that we aren't better than our neighbor. Perhaps the pope's maybe not making sense to us all the time, but I hope that God's grace will shine through it all. God's got this, so lets be his instruments.