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Worth

Soup spoons clink against bowls.  Sandwich crusts and grapes litter plates. It's yesterday's lunch and we end up discussing this word, worth.
The Bible story book reading for the day is about Jacob and how he acquired Esau's birthright.
My oldest girl keeps asking me if she would be the one who would get a birthright.
We read about Jacob recognizing the value of His brother's birth right and doing something to attain it for Himself.
Genesis 25 describes the exchange of a invaluable birthright for a simple bowl of soup.
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob,“Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and …

Expect

Expect

I usually try to brace myself for the bad.  It will be easier that way.  My mind expects that things will go awry.  Wrenches will be thrown.  The law of entropy evident. Things won't turn out the way I hoped they would. 
If I am ready and deal ahead of time with the disappointment my hope won't be crushed.  It will somehow be handled.
It's a form of protection. A way to steel oneself against hope deferred. 
Don't expect something and I will not be disappointed by the absence of it.
Recently I had my usual lack of great expectations challenged.
There was a possibility of opportunity.
Months earlier I had made some suggestions about ways to improve a program. I wasn't planning to be part of the solution, but I felt like somethings should change.
A few months later I'm asked to be part of the solution.  I agree, surprised by the invitation.
I wasn't expecting the invitation.
Months pass and I'm unsure of where this will go.
What's next?
I …

Future

http://fiveminutefriday.com/

I see the word future and I think of the words Madelyn and I snuggled under yesterday morning.  She was up early and we shared a few scriptures together before the house turned noisy. The different words in the scripture touching me in different ways.
Words like consumed, wait, hope, and portion. 
Lamentations 3:22-24
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I will hope in Him." (NRSVCE)

I like reading the way these words are expressed in a few translations.
The Living Bible reads, "his compassion never end. It is only the Lord's mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.  My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore I will hope in Him."
And finally the NIV says,
" Because of th…

Signs

Earlier in Spring our family was visited by Influenza B.
I don't believe we have ever had the real 'flu'.
I know I haven't had it.
After the worst of it had swept through the family I was left with fatigue that wouldn't lift and a cough that I couldn't shake. 
One of those Thursdays after a coughing fit  my body was aching tired.  I found myself sitting in a pool of warm April afternoon sunshine.  My kids voices floating through the screen door, bicycle wheels spinning across sidewalk cracks. 
The baby was dumping toys in front of me.  And I just leaned back.
I felt so old. Every part of me felt worn.
Like my body and soul were way older than their real age. 
Whenever I find my body really tired, I find that my soul isn't far off.  It seems like everything magnifies under the lens of exhaustion.
My dark thoughts only grow darker under the dim light of fatigue.
I remember I consciously whispered to God.
I asked for some encouragement, some sign of …

Glimpses and Gaps

Sometime in April I spied a book that I wanted to read a couple of years ago.
I quickly snatched the book up and turned it over noticing that the price was greatly reduced. I decided I couldn't pass it up. 
After only a couple chapters I was deeply enveloped in the story.  Soaking in the poetry of the writing style and connecting with the stories told.
The book is Atlas Girl by Emily T. Wierenga.
The book covers topics such as living in a pastor's family, missions, anorexia, recovery, relapse, cancer, care-giving,  travel and different cultures, doubt, marriage, motherhood, brokenness, and forgiveness.
There is one excerpt that reminded me of something my kids recently said.
Madelyn had quietly observed , "Mom, why do most parents not play a lot with their kids?"
I eyed her in the back of the car. My stomach dropped slightly.  I knew I was part of that 'most parents'.
"Well, I suppose it's because most parents are busy working and then working …

Spring Break

A few weeks ago as April bloomed into hot pink dogwood petals and splashes of waxy buttercups we had spring break.
The girls and I had been counting down the days until one week of no school.
No getting up at six o'clock.  No lunches to pack and schedules to follow.
We spent days wandering along trails in parks, picking flowers.
Legs turning golden in the sunshine.
Who could swing the highest? And the fastest?
Little feet dipped under creek water and one toddler boy ran into the creek and did one flop forward into the water. The splash of cold surprised him.  That was enough for him. He shoeless and wearing his diaper around the park shivering in the sun.
We circled around the table of our favorite ice cream parlor. Cotton candy ice cream sticking in hair.
We weaved through stores. Everyone begging for an item to take home with them.
We watched movies late into the night and spent long evenings outside.

Friday of the week dawned busy.
Easter weekend was looming before us w…

The sound of her voice

"I hear Moriah. I just love her voice.  I heard it down the hall." Smiles bend the edges of my friend's eyes.
I nod in agreement. "Me too."
I smile. I love Moriah's voice too.
My mom has said the same words.
About her voice.

I like the way her voice follows me around the house chattering about this and that.
When she walks down the steps after sleeping soundly, golden hair messy spilling down around her  face.
Her eyes full mocha moons.
"Let me tell you about my great dream." Her eyes fully rounded for dramatic effect as her voice carries me through a ten minute dream.
"How was your great dream?" She asks into my morning.
I laugh.
Maybe that's why I  love  Moriah's voice. The pleasant sound of her voice married to her astounding positivity.
I've never met a more positive person.
I suppose that's possibly because she's four.
I don't know though.
There isn't much pouting or complaining.
After the occas…

Enough

http://katemotaung.com/

I remember the velvet box my sweet friend Stacie handed me for my birthday.  It was high school sophomore year I think.  I was turning sixteen.  Opening the box revealed a simple necklace. A tiny dot of brown yellow encapsulated in a circular piece of glass hanging on a silver chain.
I don't remember if I cocked my head to the side and looked at the necklace quizzically.  But I do know Stacie explained to me that the tiny fleck of gold was actually a mustard seed.
"It's a mustard seed.  You know like the one in the Bible.  Where a tiny seed of faith will actually grow to be one of the largest trees." She smiled at me.
I remember with joy hugging her and slipping it around my neck.  I know where I could find it now.  Sixteen years later.  It's somewhere tucked in the closet that is still filled with prom dresses, mystery books, and all of my yearbooks in my parents house. I'm pretty positive it rests In one of my memento filled shoe b…

Babies & Spring

Spring makes me think of babies.  Despite the fact that there are no spring birthdays in our house.  I think its because animals have babies in the spring right?
Or maybe because everything feels newly birthed after the travail of winter. 
Perhaps for me it's because I remember my first spring with my first baby, Meredith.
Meredith was born in the depths of January.  Nine years ago.  I remember staying cooped up in my house for several weeks.  After a traumatic birth and extended hospital stay, I was met with a dark an unexpected bout with post partum depression. I ached for spring.  When Spring broke through the bleak slate of winter I felt hope.
I remember that spring because I forced myself outside as much as possible with my new baby.  I needed natural things like sunshine and fresh grass to bring me back to life.  I had never experienced until that point that depth of personal darkness. A darkness I couldn't break on my own.  I tried to be brave and pretend all was wel…

Lemonade Afternoons & Dandelion Evenings

Yesterday was the perfect spring day.  Sky crisply blue with tissue paper clouds torn and scattered all over the sky at just the right spots.  Everything bright and brilliant. Vivid spring flowers dotted the countryside as we drove country roads going home from a field trip.  Yellow weeds highlighting all of the pasture land. It's the time of year when grass is new and deeply green. 
My two youngest and I had just went on a field trip with preschool. The baby lulled to sleep and Moriah sang quiet songs to herself as we drove home.  When we reached one of the main roads home I found myself turning right instead of left. I had a lot of housework to do and dinner to make before everyone else got home.
But I felt restless and decided to go see my mom.
I whispered to Moriah, "If Pimmy  (what they call their grandma) isn't here we won't be staying," I wanted to make sure that she wouldn't have a melt down if we pulled up to the fun house and didn't stay.  I …

Caryn

Sorting through laundry this morning and I remembered. 
It's her birthday.  March tenth.  It's Caryn's birthday.
Closing the washing machine lid I went looking for my phone.  Finding it I sent out a quick birthday text. 
Memories started to playing back in my mind.  Snapshots of elementary school, middle school, high school, and even back to last year.
I decided to write about Caryn today because her life is brimming over with treasure.
We can all learn a lot from Caryn.
I know that I have.
When I think about Caryn's life I can actually see all of the elements of an astounding story.  Only right now she's somewhere in the thick of the conflict trying to fight through to the peaceful resolution, the happy ending.

First memory of Caryn is in fifth grade.  Silky hair streaked gold from the sun.  Olive colored skin.  Bright green eyes.  I am looking at her in the library and we have all just learned that she moved from North Carolina. 
The following year after…

Slow - Five Minute Fridays

Interruptions slow.
Interruptions are detours that weave you through backstreets like stray ribbons.
Sometimes backstreets refresh.  You see different parts of the neighborhoods you pass every day.
I'm okay with detours if I'm not in a mad rush to get somewhere.
We get figurative detours almost every day.
Perhaps not roads that twist us through communities and thwart our fast attempts to get to our destination. Extra tasks emerge that we weren't expecting, lost items to search for, or perhaps a sweet friend on our doorstep. 
Wednesday found me mentally checking off items in my head.  I had seemed to be more productive than usual. 
I started to walk down stairs to grab towels out of the dryer quickly so that I could make a trip to the grocery store.  I heard my name being called.
"Hey Somer!" I heard a recognizable voice call out through the noise of my chattering four year old and one year old. 
I walked back upstairs and saw my sweet friend Rachelle in m…

Sister Birthdays

The four sisters in my life share birthday weeks.
Two in February.
Two in July. 
Both within a few days of each other.

This week my sister of the heart celebrated her birthday and so does my real sister.
It's funny.  I've joked with both women about February.  And how much we love it.
It's that short and sweet love themed month.
It fits because two of the most loving people I know begin their story in February.

Heart Sister.
I never knew when I met her that I would become intricately connected to her.
I remember being intimidated by her, but surprised by how kind she was to me.
Of course I was intimidated.  She is stunning. Naturally bright blonde hair and equally bright blue eyes.
Recently, I was at a dinner party and someone asked the question, "Who is the kindest person you know?" It was supposed to be a question to ponder, but instantly I whispered her name.
I didn't have to think about it.  It was an automatic response because it was the truth …

French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon (Books to Read)

Sometimes after mulling over books to read you decide upon a title that seems like a wildcard.  It’s not your normal story line or genre.  And sometimes that’s a great thing! French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Le Billon was my wild card read.  The cover and title captured my attention.  I was intrigued by the idea that any kids ate everything.  A foreign concept in my world.   Author, Karen Le Billon takes you on a journey.  This journey is the account of her year spent away from Canada and living in Brittany, France.  Le Billon has two children and is married to a Frenchmen.  The story details their attempts to mesh with French food culture, especially in the realm of feeding her children the French way. She has humor generously sprinkled throughout this book. You smile at her attempts to gain ground in healthy eating that solidly lands her in a myriad of mishaps. She’s transparent about the struggles she has melding into a new culture and doing things that those surrounding her do w…