In, on, and around Monday…Monday Morning at Starbucks

This post is late, but then everything in my life seems to be this week. I’m writing in response to LL Barkat’s weekly prompt, a call to write about where you are, right now. This is writing from where I was on Monday, actually.

I push open the glass doors, hold one open for Middle Child. She walks through, we walk together to the counter. As she studies the shelves of pastries, muffins, slices of cake preserved behind curved glass, I look around and take in the sight, the smell, the memories. We are at the Starbucks where my husband used to work, when he was in school and we had three jobs, 14 semester credits, and three kids between us. Middle Child was born while Hubby worked here, I brought her here swaddled in pink blankets when she weighed little more than the jug of milk the barista is pouring into a stainless steel pitcher. We have come today together, just the two of us. She has just spent two hours in the orthodontist’s chair, her teeth wired in new braces, her smile looking painfully grown-up. She orders a strawberry smoothie, a mini doughnut to be pulled apart, eaten in tiny, careful bites.

We settle down in the little sitting area, a miniature approximation of a living room. The chairs are leather, they creak and sigh when we sit. Between us is a small round coffee table, on which we set our drinks. I don’t recognize any of the baristas, they all look improbably young, fresh, carefree. I remember coming here almost daily for years, bringing Hubby dinner in worn Tupperware containers. Sitting down and eating with him on his break, one, two, and then three children grouped around us. Middle child remembers, too…her early memories will always carry the scent of coffee, the taste of tepid hot chocolate dolloped with whipped cream.

Those were crucible years for us, the joys and frustrations of growing up while raising a family and always the struggle of making ends meet, making schedules mesh. The subtle music, the soft lighting, the upscale mindlessness of a coffeehouse was the antithesis of our life at home, which was free of luxury but full of life. We took his complementary pound of coffee home each week, used it like addicts to keep up with the sleepless nights with a newborn, the studying, the crazy work schedule. I remember thinking, while I sat in this faux-living room and nursed my baby under the cover of a pink teddy-bear print blanket, how much easier life would be in a few years. I look across the table at my daughter, a child on the brink of change, clinging to the last years of childhood. She is breaking her doughnut up into small, braces-safe pieces, her eyes are veiled behind those long, dark lashes, intent on her work. She is beautiful and breathtaking and she is the same child I held eleven years ago and she is so different, so changed. What has happened to the time, that she is sitting here and we are talking and laughing and looking like those people I watched years ago, people who fit in a coffee shop.

I wonder, as I sip my pumpkin-spice latte, if everyone who sits here looking like they have the answers feels like I do: full of questions, short on answers, beginning to be at peace with that. If the barista behind the counter, who looks so young but is probably no younger than I was back then, is thinking how much easier her life will be when she is sitting here sipping coffee with her daughter. I want to tell her, to go back and tell myself, that it is and it isn’t. To enjoy whatever is, right now, just as it is. Because one day, it will be a part of who you are today and a part of how you got there.

The sun glows through the window with a quiet, Autumn light and I sit back, cup sweet warmth between my hands and just enjoy the now, the way the light falls on my daughter’s hair and turns it copper-gold, the way her green eyes sparkle and yes, even the grown-up wires on her teeth. The shelves are lined with mugs and bags of coffee and the music is playing and the smell reminds me of pink-cheeked babies and late nights and tiny, sticky hands holding mine and I close my eyes and lean my head back on the squeaky leather and just let the moment be, peace in what is now.


What Would We Gain if We Lost It All?

The fire raged out of control, a single spark from machine gun fire ignited the grass range, gnawed through acres of dry brush, then built to a furious wall of ravenous, consuming flame. Phone calls came, reverse 911. Evacuate. Leave everything. Take your family to shelter.

What would you take? What would you lose? What would you gain, if you lost it all?

Our little displaced farmhouse is fine, sitting here on a city street with houses growing on the dirt that used to produce a softer, more palatable crop. But we have friends who left their houses, packed their cars and locked their doors and wondered if there would be anything to come back to. And, in this season of flame, many others have faced the same question. Could you walk away from it all? If faced with impinging disaster, what would you take with you?

This has had me thinking hard. How much of my time and energy is spent on all this…stuff? How much of my heart and effort do I pour into it? Keeping the house clean, fighting the entropy that creeps in around us….the squeaky door, the broken knobs on kitchen cabinets, the dust, the cobwebs, the mud on the carpet. Worrying about bills, pulling the weeds, making the ends meet. How many headaches have I faced because we have too much stuff? There’s no room to store this, the kids have too many toys, there are too many books to fit in the shelves. My husband works hard to pay the bills, so we can keep up with the mortgage, maintain the cars, fix the stuff that is broken, buy new stuff to keep up with our assumed “needs”.

What if it were all gone?

Jesus had a conversation with a rich young man, one who was concerned with earning eternal life. I find it interesting, first of all, that this young man’s first thought was earning, that his assumption was that eternal life was, like property, something he could secure by doing some sort of….”Good Thing.” Jesus smacked that assumption down. “There is only One who is good…” and He is a gift to accept, not a prize to earn. But what He asks from us costs more than anything the young man could have imagined. Leave everything. Sell it, give it to the poor. Follow me. And to those who had already done that, Jesus said: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”


I’m not faced with losing everything, and for that I am (perhaps to my shame) very thankful. If I were, what would I take? Photos, the words on my hard drive, instruments, souvenirs from my children’s early days….not the most expensive or impressive items in the house, for certain. What really has me thinking is, what if? What if we were standing there, our small pile of “stuff” at our feet, looking at the ashes of everything else. How would that change us? What would we gain from having nothing?

Would we suddenly see things as they really are, without the clutter of all these things surrounding us? Would we realize that there really is nothing standing between us and a completely new, different life? Nothing stopping us from living life for what’s really important, from having our priorities honestly in line? Would we realize that there is no reason why we can’t leave it all, and head out in the direction that God wants us to go? That we can seek Him first much more easily if we are able to look past all the trappings of life and follow Him along the path that really counts?

Can you be truly Sold Out and still live in luxury?

It’s a hard question to face, isn’t it. How are we to live, now, so many years after that conversation between Jesus and the rich young man? And what if God is asking you to stay right here, to live right where you are and to do His work right where He has you. It’s easy to think of what leaving everything behind would look like if you were, say, called to do mission work in Africa. But what if you are being called to stay where you are?

Do you give up some comforts in order to give money to the poor? Do you make a commitment to give some of each paycheck to your church so that God’s cause can be furthered? Do you weed out the things that distract you from your calling? Downsize and economize and minimize? Train yourself to stop worrying about all the things and starting thinking about what really counts? Can you change your mindset completely, can you see the truth of poverty clearly, can you keep your focus on what really counts consistently despite all this wealth?

Can you give up the comfort of looking like everyone else, and stand out because of your beliefs?

I am pondering this. I am hoping that I don’t walk away from this question sad, like the rich young man, because of all my wealth.

I am hoping that I can keep in mind Heaven’s economy, where your wealth is measured not in what you have, but in what you have given.

Lord, help me understand how You want me to serve you, how to best use what blessings You’ve bestowed on me to Your purpose. Help me see the gain in loss, the richness in poverty, the glory in humbleness.

holy experience

From the Novel I’m (Still) Not Writing

A bit from the “Novel I’m not writing” but seem to be thinking about a lot. This character has been living in my head for awhile and I know her pretty well. She makes me sad, she’s so young and has already gone through so much. Her story is awfully rough and I wish I could tell her things will be getting better from here, but the truth is that it’s going to get a lot worse for awhile first. Great things will happen to her later on, and all the things she’s going through now are going to make her story that much richer. Her rough start is absolutely necessary for several reasons, it will play into not just her own character but also others later in the story. Even though I know what she has to go through to get to the place she’s going it’s hard to write her part of this story. I’ve procrastinated in getting started on it, in fact.

The sky was a shade before gray, cold and dark and too early to pretend to be morning. Salimah turned on the mattress and heard the rustle of wool and straw, drew her blanket around her for a moment, sighed. She had chased sleep all night, fighting both the dreams she had when sleep did come and the fear she had when it didn’t. Rest had slipped from her as the fish in the little pool in the courtyard used to slide through her fingers…moving faster the tighter her hands closed on them. It was not so many months ago, those days of playing and laughter in the courtyard, wading in the cool water with her robe pulled up and looped through her belt. Days of laughter and love, safe arms to hold her. It felt like ages ago, a lifetime ago.

She pressed her hand to the spot between her eyes, just over the bridge of her nose. Pressed hard, as if by pressing she could keep the tears in. Her eyes were tired of staring at the dark, tired of feeling heavy. She sighed again, pulled back the woven blanket, sat up in bed. The air felt chill and damp, with night still clinging to it. She shivered, felt the damp and the quiet like a stranger in the room. The child sat still, her muscles knotted, feeling fear lick the edges of the emptiness that had settled in the place where her mother’s love once resided. For a moment, she closed her eyes and listened for any of the familiar morning-sounds of the household starting the day. But there was nothing stirring yet, no movement of slaves in the courtyard or halls, no sign of life in the stone corridor outside her room.

Over the sound of her own breathing, she heard the soft cry of a dove rise from somewhere outside. Morning was perhaps not too far off after all. The empty feeling in her chest grew, the fear was rising, fluttering inside her, building into an anxious restlessness. She couldn’t stay here, not sleeping, listening to nothing. Salimah pulled a shawl around her thin shoulders and set her small feet on the stone floor. She walked on tiptoe, quietly as possible, over the smooth stone and through the door of her bed chamber. Darkness hid the details of the room, the carved bed, the carefully chosen linens, the little marble-topped table with its carved animals, the wooden doll that sat forgotten on a child-sized chair. The darkness covered a low wood cradle by the bed, filled its emptiness and shrouded the room. Salimah felt it, this thick and creeping darkness, even in the blinding heat of day. All the care taken in the furnishings of this place, and all the joy it used to hold, now wrapped in dark and quiet. It was no wonder she could not sleep here, she could not have explained to anyone why the toys and child-sized furnishings that she had delighted in such a short time ago now seemed to repel her, even frighten her. It did not matter. Nobody asked.

Gratitude Journal…Backwards Blessings

Some days, things don’t look so beautiful. Some days, it’s hard to look around and see the blessings through the mess and the weeds. Sometimes you have to sift through and squint hard and do some re-arranging in your heart to find the place where a choice must be made, to see the positive side of things and count your blessings even when they come disguised as burdens.

Today, I am stealing a few quick moments to count the Backwards Blessings, the blessings that are carefully masquerading as irritating burdens that I’d just rather not deal with. I have a feeling that there are many of these hiding around my life, and I have a feeling it will be good for me to track them down and train myself to see them differently.

355. For the last of the crumbling deck rail
356. For the pile of tree trimmings and shrub-leavings
357. For the patience I am learning waiting for them to be out of the yard
358. For the fact that the city’s dumpster day happens to be next week, so it won’t be long now

359. For the full calendar and busy days
360. For the friends and fun that fill many of these squares
361. For the lessons on organizing my time that I still need to learn
362. For the fact that we are learning to work with it
363. For the many days we have the opportunity to serve You

364. For the dishes piled in the sink
365. Which provide a chance for reflection, hands in warm and soapy water
366. And which remind me that we have enough to eat
367. And we have friends to share a meal with
368. For the clutter of toys in the yard
369. Which means that children live here
370. And for the friends they have who come to share the fun

371. For the mess of peaches all over the yard
372. And the fact that we have these wonderful fruit trees
373. For the rows of happy yellow, captured in jars for the winter
374. And for the fact that this year, although it meant we didn’t pick them up right away, we were busy getting projects done

375. For the lead paint on the house
376. For the mess and tangle of equipment and supplies in the yard
377. For the grant program that is covering the restoration of the outside of the house, which we would not have been able to afford if the house had not been covered in lead paint
378. For the fact that soon, our house will be painted and will look fresh and new
379. For the fact that God provides, even when He does so in unusual ways that you don’t at first understand

380. For gluten intolerance
381. Which makes me aware of every bite I feed my family
382. And taught me to read labels and to make most of what we eat from scratch
383. And keeps me appreciating and considering what goes on our table

384. For the discomfort and expense of braces
385. That we are able to provide them for Middle Child
386. And that even though it is unpleasant now, it will bring a better smile in the future

holy experience

Pray Them Home!

Remember this family? The family who was raising money to go to Ukraine and bring home their precious daughters, two beautiful orphans with Down Syndrome? An update is long overdue.

First of all, the baby’s little heart was operated on successfully at a hospital in Ukraine. Praise God! All the little bumps in the road leading up to the adoption have been smoothed, and these beautiful children are no longer orphans! As of September 8th, it’s official: Masha and Autumn (you knew them as Malory and Peach) have been adopted and will be coming home to America with their new family!

It has not been a quick process. They have been in Ukraine for over a month, away from their other three children. Now, just as everything is in line for them to (finally!) come home, baby Autumn has been hospitalized with a (hopefully mild) illness and they will have to wait until she is healthy again to come home.

God has moved mountains to get them this far! And I know He will bring them home soon. But it’s got to be tough for them right now…Let’s pray them the rest of the way home! Please pray that Autumn recovers quickly and completely, and that the rest of their journey to bring these precious babies home is totally uneventful.

And thank you, thank you for your prayers and help. Your prayers and donations have been a blessing and an important part of their story! Oh, what a joy to see….

Joyful laughter in her father’s arms

Peace and safety in her mother’s embrace.

And while we are at it…will you please join me in praying for the rest of the orphans? The ones who are not so lucky, whose time is running out. Please go and visit them at Reece’s Rainbow, look at their precious faces and pray that each one will find a loving family. These are God’s children, they are each as worthy of love and hope as your children or mine. Please pray that they will find life and love before it is too late.

R.A.P.–Dusting Off a Poem

I open the book and the spine makes a stiff, cracking sound. This volume has sat on my bookshelf for many years, gathering dust. I realize, as I flip through the pages, that I have never read the Editor’s Note in the front. I do this now, and wonder why I didn’t before. It tells a little of the selection process for publishing literary works, this volume being the second volume of The Louisville Review that contains “The Children’s Corner.” They have collected poetry from around world, written by children under the age of 18. I never thought of this as much to be proud of, never gave it a second thought, but now as I thumb through the stiff pages and read words printed twenty years ago I am strangely moved. My poem, written when I was around 15 years old, is on page 49. Part of me still wonders that it has a place there.

I have pulled this book from the shelf because we are studying poetry this year, part of our curriculum involves the weekly study, reading and writing of poems. I never really thought to study a poem, poetry to me seemed intuitive, something I feel rather than think. Most poetry instruction I had in school did little to inspire me to write (or read) anything poetic…lengthy descriptions of A-B rhyme scheme or iambic pentameter never lit a literary fire under anyone I know. So I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I am enjoying reading Painless Poetry aloud to the kids and using it as a springboard for discussion and writing.

It was during one of these discussions that I remembered the poem in The Louisville Review and so here I am, holding this piece of the past, thinking how young Fifteen seems now and how old it seemed then. Poetry and I, we have a history and this is a part of it I wonder how I can pass poetry on to my children without the bitterness of it, wonder if the poetry I write now conveys joy as well as it channels pain, if they can grow up with poetry as a joyful way of celebrating words and life as much as a way to rip raw pain from inside, put it down in concrete form to look at face-to-face.

I realize that they are starting this journey into poetry with a clean slate, the baggage is mine and there is little chance they will pick it up. I realize that poetry has been a secret thing of mine in many ways, a scar to hide. That even now, as I have been writing and sharing it in a very public way, I struggle with this.

I read the poem, read it again. I decide it isn’t that bad, really. I brush the cover lightly with my shirtsleeve, wipe dust from the top of the book. I place the volume on top of the stack of school books, ready for the day. Today, I will share this with my kids. I will trust that they will take poetry and use it in a fresh way of their own, I will count on the fact that scars heal and are not inheritable.

Poem for a Dyslexic Counterpart (1989)

What do we add up to, you and I?
If I could remember the word
maybe I could spell it out–
is it “irony”?
An eleven-year battle with words, letters, and numbers
as if these were part of life, itself.
No combination of words can make a flower bloom
no letter can describe a baby’s sigh,
or a lover’s kiss, or a silver moonbeam.
No number can count the stars in the evening sky
or rate the laughter in a friend’s eyes.

To you and me, these words come slowly
like snowflakes on your tongue
you reach out to touch them
and then they’re gone.
One step forward, a stumble back
the apparition is there
sometimes we see the vision
sometimes it slips away.

But there are times when less is more–
“Admiration” has more letters,
but how can it compare to “love”?
I have seen a flower in bloom,
heard a baby sigh, understood a kiss,
studied a moonbeam, slept beneath the stars,
and shared the laughter in your eyes.
I have struggled, have laughed and cried,
have loved and hated, have sung and smiled and run
with all the people in this life we share

I believe that all we need to know
we knew at the moment of our conception
and that is love–
and all the letters in this world
and all the words they spell
could never equal this elementary emotion.


Will you love poetry more
if you need it less?

My children, take these words
this poetry
and bend it to your will
use it to speak, to shout, to sing
your hearts aloud.

Take these lines and mold them,
they will be your soldiers
an ever-changing army
at your command.

Form your battalions
line them in formation
and send them forth,
fearless and strong.

Late to the party, but the poetry prompt at High Calling Blogs this week inspired me to write down what I was thinking today as I prepared for school.

Strength to Face the Day

The sun peers over the tops of mountains and stains the sky a blushing pink. I look out this picture window and watch the sky grow light, see the dark shapes there develop like a Polaroid picture as the sun rises, changes darkness to the familiar day-time shape of the front yard. Today is another full day, a day filled with more in it than I think I can accomplish and I look out the window, in part, because behind me there is a floor that needs vacuuming. a table littered with the remnants of a late-night date with some stubborn Algebra, the sticky remains of yesterday’s canning that escaped the mop somehow. Behind me, lining kitchen counters, are bowls and bags and boxes of peaches that need to be preserved today. And the school work is stacked and waiting, the to-do list is growing and some days I am overwhelmed by the fact that there is only one of me, and so many things that need my attention.

I could work, I am certain, from this moment when the sky cracks morning over mountaintops until it darkens again with dusk, and still not be satisfied with what I have done, with what I have left undone.

How do you run like this and not grow weary? How do you face the day, knowing that there is no rest in sight, knowing that tomorrow will be another race just the same as the day before? Feeling, as I sometimes do, that Sisyphus had no complaint compared to the mother of small children, compared to the owner of a home that, like your favorite Aunt, has been around long enough to be full of character and also to accumulate enough irritating physical complaints to fill a medical journal? Is it possible to keep this up, to finish the race at all?

I see the golden sun spill down the sides of mountains dotted with Autumn’s crimson, and I know: It all depends on where your strength comes from. My own strength, patience, and endurance would have expired long ago, of this I am sure. Looking at the day through the eyes of my human weakness it looks impossible, seems like work and only work. But I am not alone in the responsibility of this day, I have resources that I forget to tap into all to often. I belong to a God who is bigger than my to-do list, more powerful than the biggest sticky mess. Who is beyond the weeds and clutter and entropy of this world. One who knows how to fill me up, change my attitude, give me strength when mine fails and joy where I least expect it.

I turn from the comforting view of brightening sky and face the day: First thing on this long list is to spend time with the Word, drinking in courage and strength and sustenance for this day… daily bread for the soul. Here, in these worn pages, I find a little gift to hold today. A reminder that God sees my struggle and He is waiting, He is strength and power and He is waiting to fill me with that, to give me what I need to rejoice in the work of today and call it blessed.

Isaiah 40:26-31

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

holy experience


Busy busy around our house this week. Besides school, we have house painting getting started today (more on that another day), ripe peaches on the tree and all over our kitchen, and many pounds of tomatoes and peppers cluttering up the fridge. It’s canning season, and I am trying hard to remind myself that things are just going to be a little crazy, cluttered, and sticky for a few days. There are empty jars lining my counters, boxes of peaches on my dining room table, bags of tomatoes, onions and peppers filling the fridge. Rings, lids, tongs, huge pots full of boiling water going on the stove all day, timers going off all the time, a hot and steamy kitchen…is it crazy that I love doing this?

This year I found a great little book online full of wonderful salsa recipes! You can download it for free and print it out, I had fun putting it together and reading the information on canning tomatoes in the front. I used the recipe for “Salsa Using Paste Tomatoes” but used slicing tomatoes instead, since that’s what I had. I found a handy way to hold the recipe book up, too!

One thing I discovered this year that has made my salsa-canning experience much easier is that you can use your food processor with the grating blade to process the tomatoes, peppers and onions! It was so much faster than doing it by hand and I love the texture it produced, especially since I used slicing tomatoes….it turned out much less watery this way, and didn’t need to be cooked down as long! Here is the recipe, which you can find (along with many others) in the book I mentioned above:

Tomato Salsa (Using Paste Tomatoes)

7 quarts peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes
4 cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
5 cups chopped onion
½ cup seeded, finely chopped jalapeño peppers
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups bottled lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin*
3 tablespoons oregano leaves*
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro*

Combine all ingredients except cumin, oregano and
cilantro in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring
frequently, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add
spices and simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring
occasionally. Ladle hot into pint jars, leaving ½ inch
headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water
canner 15 minutes at 0–1,000 feet altitude; 20 minutes at
1,001–6,000 feet; or 25 minutes above 6,000 feet.

Yield: 16–18 pints

Salsa canning….finished. Here’s what’s up next:

Lunchbox Love

Thank you to everyone who joined me over at (in)Courage! It was fun to have a chance to write over there, I love how the whole blog just lives up to its name, don’t you?

I know that so many of you also struggled with hard family situations growing up, and sometimes it’s easy to dwell on the bad things. But there’s one thing that I’ve been blessed with for which I just can’t be thankful enough:

I have a really, really excellent father.

There are a thousand little things my dad did that I’ll never forget. They maybe don’t sound like much written out like this, but they made a world of difference: My dad learned to braid, and he used to braid my hair for me before I went to school. My dad learned to cook, and he taught me that cooking dinner is an art form to be studied, fine-tuned, and thoroughly appreciated. When I was tiny, on Sunday mornings he’d take me to get a sweet roll and a glass of chocolate milk at his favorite restaurant, and afterwards we’d walk down Main Street to Poor Richards and he’d buy a newspaper for himself, a roll of Lifesavers for me.

About the time I was in Fifth Grade and these things became very important, my dad started making lunches for me and my brother to take to school. If you’ve ever been a Fifth-Grader, then you know: You can judge how much a kid is loved by the contents of her lunch box. Whatever the truth behind that statement, it was universally known to every kid…even if you could only afford PB&J, if the crusts are cut off and the sandwich is cut into little triangles it’s like a love note in your lunchbox. My brother and I remember: Ham and cheese sandwich cut in two, package of fun fruits (the original, old-school kind that looked sort of like rodent droppings but actually contained real fruit), a little bag of chips, orange Hi-C fruit punch in a box, an apple or some other piece of fruit to neglect, and some Duplex cookies.

And we could count on those lunches. Making lunches every school night, week after week and year after year, is a tedious business! It’s the way daily life with a family is, though. You put your best efforts into it and you make the lunch, make the dinner, wash the dishes, do the laundry…and it’s all consumed, it’s all undone at the end of the day and the same tasks reset themselves in the morning. Then you do it again the next day. It seems pointless and endless and unyieldingly dull and so unimportant at times. But it turns out that it’s that sort of thing, the “lunchbox love,” that makes or breaks a family.

Over the years there were many, many more examples of my dad’s Lunchbox Love. Dad did his best to take care of us, to protect us, to give us the sort of little details that other kids took for granted but meant so much. And he did it all while working to support us, while doing an amazing job at what he did. There are many graduates from two different Universities who will quickly tell you that my dad is the reason they made it through school. I know for certain that he’s the only reason I made it through.

One of the biggest blessings in my life has been seeing my dad now, happy and thriving. My stepmom came into my life right at the point when I was starting a family of my own, and she has blessed me by taking the time to teach me hundreds of things about being a wife and mother, very often without even knowing she’s doing it. She’s blessed us all by bringing a smile to my dad’s face, by living life to the fullest with him. And I’m blessed that my husband is also an amazing father, and that we get to do this family thing together. I’m thankful for that, for Lunchbox Love and beauty from ashes and family, for family.

Photo from a stock photo collection

Guest Post for (in)Courage…Out of Ashes

Today I have the privilege of being a guest-writer over at (in)Courage, a warm and wonderful part of the Daysprings website. If you’ve never visited, I hope you’ll head over today and join in the fun. (in)Courage is a place where sisters in Christ can be real, share their hearts, and…well…be Encouraged! Here is a little bit of my post there, I hope that you’ll follow me over and read the rest….

Out of Ashes

I am standing in the house that’s been in my family for these three decades and some change, in the town that formed my formative years. We’ve traveled here to sell the house, to say goodbye. This will be the last time we will stay here. The last time I will sip coffee while standing at the window, looking out on the neighborhood where my small feet passed daily, where I learned to ride my bike, where I pulled a rusty red wagon and played tag and scraped my knees. The last time I will have something firm and tangible to tie me to the town I called home….

Won’t you pop over to (in)Courage and read the rest of the story? I know you’ll enjoy your visit there!