Showing posts from November, 2013

Plan What?

This was the plan today ... let's call it Plan A:
- bake gluten-free cornbread - make gluten-free stuffing - bake gluten-free pumpkin pie cake - (have daughter bake) gluten-free chocolate chip cookies
Not too bad, except for the beginnings of a migraine and a throbbing foot. Then I went to preheat the oven. It wouldn't preheat. It will only go on the "clean oven" mode. 
So I went to Plan B: - panic - cry - look up what might be the problem online - try to fix it - cry when it doesn't work - panic - make snowflakes
That didn't work, so I moved on to Plan C: - look up crockpot recipes for cornbread and stuffing - look up crockpot dessert ideas
And so I found out that I could most likely accomplish gluten-free cornbread and stuffing in the crockpot. Problem solved. But what about dessert? Every single crockpot dessert that looked fabulous enough for Thanksgiving required ingredients I didn't have and looked incredibly complicated and I didn't want to risk them not coming…

Abundance of Blessings

Every night, as a family, we share our highs and lows, we read and discuss a Bible verse, we say a prayer, and we bless each other before bed. It's a most sacred of rituals. It brings our family together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We share the best and the worst of our experiences and our thoughts - without judgement, without interruption, with support and love. (Check out and the book Holding Your Family Together by Rev. Dr. Rich Melheim - they are great starting points for this nightly ritual!)

Throughout the month of November, we've said what we're thankful for each night during prayer time, starting with A, and ending in Z on Thanksgiving night. We've learned that there is so much for which to be thankful...

I'm thankful for Alexander and Alia, who teach me so much about life. For beaches, especially the one at Camp Calumet, for which I'm also thankful. For Coren and cheesecake - both sweet; daydreaming and doctors; everlasting life …


A teenage girl sits alone, praying the man she loves won't be angry, won't leave her, when he finds out the burden and the blessing she carries - when she reveals to him that she's pregnant. The baby is not his. She fears he will, as most men would, take back the promises he's made and leave her to deal with her situation on her own.
He considers leaving at first. Instead he stays. 
The two journey forward together, despite the reactions of family, friends, and neighbors. Their love for each other, for God, and for the child she carries prevails.
That must have been a long nine months, and in that time, so much to do. There was a baby for whom to prepare, a pilgrimage to make, their own hearts to prepare to receive this blessed child. How do you prepare to give birth to God? To parent God? How should we, now, prepare for the same birth?
Shopping for gifts for family and friends, baking, adorning our houses in holiday finery, and myriad holiday activities make up the standa…

This Sign is Not Fine

Arriving at Girl Scouts, a Very Observant Child noticed something a bit awry with the handicapped parking sign. I happen to have a handicapped parking permit, and as I've been having issues with my left foot, I decided to use it. It seems, however, that I need not have worried, as I could have parked in the next space over, permit or not. 

Violators will be fine. Fine. We studied the sign - there was never a D after FINE on that sign. Apparently someone thought it was fine as it was.

Fast Forward

[For those of you who read last week's Fast Forward post which contained ... well ... nothing ... it was because my computer decided to fast forward things and publish the post immediately after I entered the post title into the editor instead of merely saving the post. Sorry for the vast array of white space in the post!]

Is life moving on fast forward? Time seems to be racing by - the Summer over in an instant, suddenly vibrant Autumn leaves now faded and falling, Thanksgiving swiftly approaching. There's barely time to catch a breath between birthdays, holidays, classes, meetings, appointments, and life.

November weighs heavy on my spirit, with sad anniversaries mixed with holiday preparation excitement. November brings with it a longing for a change for the calmer, the slower, the more serene. I first turn inward, attempting to sort out my wants and needs, define boundaries, and get my life and my thoughts in order. Then I turn to the bigger picture and delve into deeper con…

Some Days My Heart Hurts

Some days overwhelm me with too much happy, or too much sad, or too much remembering, or too much longing.

Recently there have been many days with too much everything.

Reconnecting with someone I hadn't seen in a while, the mixture of emotions were difficult to sort out. Not sure what to say, all I knew to do was continue to do what I've done since we parted ways - continue loving and supporting while praying everything would work out well in the end.

Reuniting, although briefly, with other friends reminded me of how much admiration I hold for their strength, wisdom, and tenderness. The wealth of knowledge and experience in one room provided great inspiration and motivation, leaving me wanting to learn, do, and be more.

A gathering of women sharing deep convictions, very personal feelings, and lots of love and understanding proved just what I needed to focus in on those things I hold most dear, even though I was completely scatterbrained when trying to get across what I feel so pa…

Perfect Timing

My kids enjoy invading their grandparents' house for a sleepover while they are on vacation. It dawned on me a few days ago that I have a "day off" midweek and a meeting down the hill from my parents' house the next day, so those would be good days to camp out in my childhood home while my parents enjoy much warmer weather. 

Upon arriving at my parents' house after our evening church activities, we brought in our bags of clothes and food, turned up the heat, and made our way upstairs to get the kids ready for bed. I went to the third floor, where most of the kids sleep, to turn on the heat. It smelled a bit odd, and as I approached the heater, I noticed smoke. My heart raced as I quickly pulled a smoking binder off the electric baseboard heater. 

In God's perfect timing, we were here at just the right time. I have a feeling things may have turned out much differently if we arrived just a half hour later. I don't want to imagine what might have happened if w…

The Other Side

Not long ago Desolation ravaged my spirit and sapped strength from my soul. 

Today I laughed. Really laughed. Not just a smile or a giggle or a thought that something was amusing. I laughed.

That's huge.

There is no laughter in depression. At least not the kind that reaches your eyes and tugs your soul further into the land of the living. Only the kind so forced and fake that it grates your soul to fine dust.

I read a book today. An entire book. And not because I wanted to escape, but because I wanted to take time out for myself to do something that nourished my spirit. 

I got some cleaning done, too. Not the I've had it with this mess and I'll mutter not so nice words under my breath while I clean it up and harbor bad thoughts about those who made the mess in the first place kind of cleaning, but the ooh, look, this needs to be cleaned up and won't it look and feel so much better in here if I put in a little effort while listening to some awesome tunes kind of cleaning. 


Treasure Trove

I came across an unlabeled cd this week and discovered a treasure trove of photos on it. Pictures from eight years ago - shortly after our fourth of five children was born. This one completely blew my mind. So many amazing things in one image. Alex is looking at the camera and smiling! He doesn't do that. Ever. He's a teen, after all. Zachary's hair - his long, BLONDE, spiral-curly, beautiful hair. It's much shorter, he combs it straight, and it's green now. And poor squished Haley - the only girl in a sea of boys. She has a little sister now - one who wasn't even a thought when this photo was taken. And Coren ... he's so tiny! Ok, so he's a few weeks old wearing 6-9 month clothing in that picture, but still, he's tiny! 

One moment in time, captured, brings up so many thoughts and emotions. Where has the time gone? I know that in a flash they'll all be grown and out of the house and I'll be taking pictures of my grandchildren. I need to soak …


Stuck in traffic. Just where we all love to be. It used to really get to me. I used to get more upset than is reasonable at the prospect of being late - or being stuck sitting in a vehicle in ever-increasing pain not knowing when or how I would make it where I was going. 

One day, blood pressure rising, no longer distracted by NPR or VBS cds, I took a deep breath and looked up. I could look up, away from the road, because traffic was not moving. At all. Not an inch. What I saw took my breath away. 

Absolutely astounded by the beauty of the sky, the clouds, I just had to dig my camera out of my purse and take a picture. It was then that the beauty all around me began to change my experience. I was no longer stuck in traffic, I was gifted an opportunity to appreciate the show Mother Nature was putting on for me - for all of us under that sky at that moment. 

Several days later, my van was once again at a standstill. It was then that my five year old commented on the bird skeleton on the el…

Desolation of the Soul

It arrives unannounced. Exhaustion first, then the ability to cope vanishes. Sadness turns to hopelessness; every thought, every motion, every feeling becomes a burden too heavy to manage. In fleeting moments such as this I know this isn't the truth of my life, but in other moments I can't see through the depression to reality. Feeling utterly alone, entombed in despair, turned to stone.

Everything is wrong with life. But I act fine. Content with life. Happy. Every second, happy. Every second, agony.

I don't want to clean, to cook, to pay bills, to do anything but lose myself in someone else's world. Books and reality tv are my drugs of choice. I want to feel someone else's feelings for a while, not my own.

Longing for love, for someone to care for and take care of me, yet unable to receive, accept or feel it when offered devastates my spirit. I'm homesick, yet I'm home. I'm God-sick, yet God is with me. Everyone and everything seems distant - far removed …


She sits in front of me, scared, but determined. She is going to conquer this fear. She is going to emerge triumphant. Besides, her Brubber is already fairly far out in the lake and she is concerned for his safety, too. We are in a two person kayak, circling near shore, the two of us a bit nervous and wanting to take time and lots of deep breaths before paddling into deeper waters. The last time we were in a person-powered watercraft on Lake Ossipee, we both had panic attacks. Mine quieted down quickly, but hers escalated as we quickly made our way to shore.

Quite surprisingly, I find myself overcome not with anxiety, but with peace. Peace and a yearning to paddle out toward the middle of the calm lake and enjoy the beautiful autumn scenery.

Paddling toward the teenagers, who through Wilderness Camp experience are completely capable of going it on their own, but according to camp rules are bound to stay close to their parent, she asks if this is such a good idea after all. I offer to…