Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year!

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
To make an end is to make a beginning."

(T.S. Eliot)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"All very alarming."

"Magdalene" by Da Vinci

C.S. Lewis on Mary Magdalene:
"The allegorical sense of her great action dawned on me the other day. The precious alabaster box which one must break over the Holy Feet is one's heart. Easier said than done. And the contents become perfume only when it is broken. While they are safe inside they are more like sewage. All very alarming."

(Letters to an American Lady)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Small Boat on the Ocean

"At issue here is the question: 'To whom do I belong? To God or to the world?' Many of my daily preoccupations suggest that I belong more to the world than to God. A little criticism makes me angry, and a little rejection makes me depressed. A little praise raises my spirits, and a little success excites me. It takes very little to raise me up or thrust me down.  
Often I am like a small boat on the ocean, completely at the mercy of its waves. All the time and energy I spend in keeping some kind of balance and preventing myself from being tipped over and drowning shows that my life is mostly a struggle for survival: not a holy struggle, but an anxious struggle resulting from the mistaken idea that it is the world that defines me...."
-Henri Nouwen
The Return of the Prodigal Son

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Jack is Four!

Our wild, sweet boy is four! He had a marvelous birthday week full of fun surprises like petting zoos and favorite dinner (he requested steak, homemade fries, corn on the cob, watermelon, and ice cream -- he must be growing!) and tractor rides and balloons. 

This little guy is all about the farm equipment...

and chocolate cake...

and fishing with Daddy (and catching a 17-inch bass on his little Iron-Man fishing pole that nearly cracked!).

  Happy birthday, little man. May you always keep your soft, loving heart and your zest for life! We love you so very, very much. XXOO

Monday, May 13, 2013

Random Monday Thoughts

  • Happy Day After Mother's Day to all mamas out there! The next time you feel discouraged in your motherhood, check this out (after you grab a box of Kleenex).
  • Our Blue dog had to have emergency surgery two weeks ago, then ripped open his stitches and had to go back under to have them redone. For two more weeks, he gets to wear this: 
          We cringe for him and laugh at him simultaneously all day long, poor guy.

  • I'm reading Middlemarch for book club. I had not read it since Brit Lit with Dr. Fabisch fifteen years ago. I remembered how long it was but I had forgotten how insightful she is compared to, say, Austen. Good stuff. 
  •  Does anyone else notice how churches preach Mother's Day sermons that focus on how much we need to appreciate our mothers, but then Father's Day rolls around and it's a lot of finger-wagging at delinquent dads? Why is that? My mother-in-law was telling me how her pastor went so far yesterday as to reprimand fathers for not praising their wives publicly, as the husband does in Proverbs 31. Interesting. Are we assuming there are far more delinquent dads out there than moms? Or are they just an easier target today? Hmm. 
  • Today is our eighth wedding anniversary, and I have to say, I love being married to my guy. 'Twas the best decision I ever made in my life.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Life randomness

Today is sunshine, pure sunshine. I just came in from an hour or two out in the yard with Jack, cleaning up for springtime and sprucing up a little here, a little there. The log cribs went away; the Adirondacks came out. The grass is almost long enough to mow. And it is so so green! Aaah, fresh air and springtime is good for the soul.

I'm jumped on this a day late, but I'm goin' for it anyway, starting tomorrow: Renae's Detox Week. I love that it isn't crazy and is very comprehensive. Join up, pals! I eat pretty clean and healthy anyway so it doesn't even involve any extra groceries (which is good, but I went to Meijer and THEN read the post). Actually, I take that back: I have no almond or soy milk. But since I'm an official milk-hater, it's all good. (My medical records at my doctor's office say it officially: "Milk-Hater." My doc is a little quirky.)

I officially love doing laundry. I love sorting, loading, switching...and then it's so warm and smells so good afterward. And the best part is folding it all. Beautiful piles of white tee shirts, little piles of underpants and pink socks, kid-sized jeans with scuff marks on the knees...I just love being able to take care of these people in my home through all these neat piles of warm, clean clothes that God has blessed us with!

May is suddenly the new December - we have something going on every single weekend that month already, and I want to say No to it all (except for our anniversary and Jack's birthday, of course). Sigh.

 "There is not one blade of grass, not one color in the world, that is not intended to make us rejoice." 
(John Calvin)

Monday, April 8, 2013


991. The beauty of companionship within a marriage
992. Adele's bravery in mastering her bike without training wheels

993. Antibiotics
994. Sunshine, glorious sunshine, after a long, cold, dark winter
995. Knowing God's presence more keenly is certain situations of life
996. Waves and ripples - and no ice! - on all the inland lakes around here
997. Spring rain falling on our freshly tilled garden

998. Time at home to play, hang out, run around, just be together ... instead of school, play dates, meetings, etc. It's so good for our little family to just be together at home.
999. Whoever writes the BSF notes and study questions
1,000. Ann Voskamp for the idea to do this! My outlook has expanded during the past couple of years, especially early on when my children were small and we were at home all day, most days, and I really think that looking for blessings in the everyday grind was crucial to that. Gratitude brought sanity because it directed my eyes upward and outward instead of inward.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Christ is Risen

"But sometime before dawn on a Sunday morning, a spike-torn hand twitched. A blood-crusted eyelid opened. The breath of God came blowing into that cave, and a new creation flashed into reality...." 
(Russell Moore, Tempted and Tried [HT:Tony at Miscellanies])

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to have a hard conversation

Here's the deal. Have you ever had something blindside you that involves someone you never expected to see on the opposite side of the fence? That happened recently. And while we were sorting through the pieces and praying about how to respond, I kept thinking (i.e., God repeatedly reminded me) of some "ah-ha!" lessons that helped right then and there. So these are mainly for my own future reference, but if anyone reading this has some thoughts on it, please comment! I feel like this is one of the first situations of such magnitude in our lives, and it probably won't be the last...and I want to be as ready as possible next time around.

1. Knowing what not to say is as important as knowing what to say. 
This will be my lifelong lesson, I think; it is so hard for me. When I get mad, I am silent for awhile...and then? I spew. And if you've hurt someone I love, my over-developed sense of justice kicks in and my blood boils and I let myself do it because it's on behalf of someone else. But  I have to leave it with the Lord, especially when it feels so personal to me (Romans 12). 

If it isn't kind or pertinent, and if it doesn't contribute to the other person understanding your perspective, don't say it.

2. Get your hindsight glasses on. 
Looking back five years from now, what words will I be proud of saying? And what will seem petty or childish? I want to know - and have the other person know - that I  handled a tough conversation really well, actually. I was mature about it and had good perspective on the real issues without letting it get nasty. The only way to do that is to step back and get that perspective on the issue before talking it through with them.

3. Understand your obligation to forgive regardless of whether or not the other person has acknowledged wrong of any kind.  
I have struggled with this concept for years, wondering if you can forgive someone who hasn't yet requested it. Is forgiveness like a gift, and you can't force someone to accept? But I've come to the conclusion that I forgive those who hurt me for my own benefit. I do it because it changes my heart, washing away the resentment and bitterness. It allows me to move on with a clear conscience and clear space in my soul for God to fill with His grace. And all this can happen a word being said between us.

When I was little, I was told to "forgive others because God forgave you." So, if God forgives sin when we confess, then suddenly my forgiveness of others is dependent on them 'fessing up and agreeing that they wronged me. But the crucial difference is that God is in the business of changing hearts and making them repentant. That is where human forgiveness cannot emulate divine. I do not forgive others  directly because God forgave my sin; I forgive them because God has changed MY heart and made it possible for me to let go of anger and grudges and walk away. Much more indirectly connected.

4. God doesn't need me to someone else's Holy Spirit.  
Someone said recently, "Well, it's high time they learned that their choices affect other people, and you have every right to say so." Sadly, that wasn't true. I don't have every right to point out their error. I can gently draw to their attention the hurt that they brought me, but nothing more. Consciences are sacred places; tread lightly, if you go there at all.

5. Always speak the truth - but that doesn't mean the whole truth has to be said.  
Answering questions like "Are you mad?" and "How do you feel about it?" can be tricky for me -- they are such great launching pads! ("Well, she asked....") I was talking to a friend lately about how some friendships reach a point similar to a romantic breakup when the other person says, "Let's still be friends." My mind says, "Absolutely not - that bridge is burning down as we speak." But I feel trapped into politely lying, "Of course!" My friend, clearly wise, reminded me that there's nothing impolite about saying graciously, "Let's see what happens, okay? If it happens naturally, that's wonderful. But if it doesn't, let's not feel awkward about that either." That's being honest without being incendiary.

6. It's okay to have longstanding differences. 
"Talking it through" does not have to involve anyone changing their position. And if the relationship was based primarily on the very thing that is now dividing you, it's even okay to walk away without promises of everything staying the same. Perhaps the storm cloud actually has a silver lining somewhere that allows you to find a new, stronger foundation for the friendship. Or perhaps not, but either way is okay. Paul and Barnabas disagreed in Acts 15, and while they went their separate ways, it wasn't acrimoniously done.

7. The fastest way to cool anger and move on is to get an eternal perspective on the situation. 
We all wound and fail each other, and will continue to do so until we reach heaven and find that there is no more sin and no more pain. How we handle it is what matters right now. Turning our eyes on Him, we can let go of bitterness and resentment and, looking "full in His glorious face, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Six

Six doesn't sound that old to me, but I look at our birthday girl and see how tall she is and how much of a girl she, what a lot happens in six years! She loves her Barbies and dolls, she loves anything artsy and creative, and she definitely got both parents' love of reading. We are so very proud to be this little girl's parents - she is one of the very best gifts from God.

Isn't her shyness adorable?? She tries to never show too much emotion. Don't know where that comes from.

The Birthday Princess and her knight, St. George

Monday, February 18, 2013


981. A week away, full of sunshine and warmth

982. Beautiful kids who loved being away and were awfully good the whole time

 983. Finding joy by sharing the joy of our children

 984. A week to hang out with my sister-in-law, one of my oldest friends!

985. An easy work week for Dan to settle back into the routine after so much travel

986. When you think there's something weird going on in a friendship and worry, and then discover that everything is fine and the friendship is just evolving

987. Birds chirping in the bushes as if spring is on its way

988. Paying $500 less in car repairs than the initial quote

989. Date nights

990. Motivation

Thursday, February 14, 2013

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

- e. e. cummings

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love 3

"Come live in my heart and pay no rent."
(Samuel Lover)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love 2

 Love is the passionate and abiding desire on the part of two people to produce together conditions under which each can be, and spontaneously express, his real self; to produce together an intellectual soil and emotional climate in which each can flourish, far superior to what either could achieve alone.
(Author Unknown)

Monday, February 11, 2013


 "With the people I love the most I can sit in silence indefinitely. We need both for our full development; the joy of the sense of sound, and the equally great joy of its absence."
Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

Monday, January 28, 2013


972. The end of a work project that has taken Dan to New Jersey every week for months. All four of us are thrilled.
973. Beautiful wet fog and snow. It's very Bronte-ish outside today.
974. Snow day for Adele.
975. My sweet, encouraging BSF leader and groupies.
976. Fresh air and getting outside - therapeutic for the crazies!
977. Healthy, happy baby news for friends
978. The prospect of a week away, unplugged and relaxed.
979. British humor
980. The fruit of a good relationship with my Adele's teacher and principal.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"It is the easiest thing in the world for us to obey God when He commands us to do what we like, and to trust Him when the path is all sunshine. The real victory of faith is to trust God in the dark, and through the dark. Let us be assured of this, that if the lesson and the rod are of His appointing (not the result of our own sin or foolishness), and that His all-wise love has engineered the deep tunnel of trial on the heavenward road, He will never desert us during the discipline. The vital thing for us is not to deny and desert Him."
(T.L. Cuyler)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Giving Thanks #971

This deserves it's own slot, it's own time in everyone's spotlight. Enjoy....

971. This right here.

I'm Baaack!

I like having a blog for storing my favorite quotes, brain dumping, counting my blessings, and more. And failure is not an option! Now that I have some time on my hands again, I'm back in the saddle on my way to 1,000 things I'm thankful for....

961. The peace of January snow. December snow is exciting; January snow is peaceful (as long as you have nowhere to go, that is).
962. The drive I need to deep-clean my house, bit by bit. It comes every January - and I love it! I wrote about it here, too. Which brings me to...
963. The opportunity to write monthly for MomColored Glasses. I despise my own writing (downside of editing for a living for several years?) but it's so good for me to do. 
964. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of Dan's travel.
965. The anticipation of an upcoming vacation
966. How sorting through my books reveals how I've grown in life. Books that meant so much to me a few years ago are now not as meaningful. It's a signal that I've moved on/learned/grown/changed.
967. Adele reading on her own! I can't believe how much joy this brings me, her, Dan...even Jack!
968. This post. I worked a tiny bit for Dr. Grier in college, and then again years later. He was a brilliant, saintly, sweet man of God.
969. Knowing of polite, kind children of all ages. This sounds weird, but sometimes I think we easily excuse young children from basic skills of interacting with people of all ages. Lately I've been reminded that I don't need to!
970. A new back door. We needed it so badly and it's finally done! Hooray for the little things.