Monday, June 16, 2014

I Almost Said "No."

It was a Saturday morning I was getting ready to go to the opening day of the St. Joseph Farmer's Market. I was hurrying everyone through a late breakfast slightly annoyed that it was late and that Abigail had not made breakfast (a self-declared responsibility). I was looking forward to a morning alone talking with farmers, hopefully, sneaking a peek of Bound for Freedom, and hitting Target for a baby shower gift. Alone as in by myself.

But she wanted to go, desperately wanted to go with me. Asking for a mommy-date, promising not to whine, not to pout, not to beg. Mostly because I didn't want to be a mean ol' mommy that early in the morning. I didn't say no.

I wanted to go alone, to think my own thoughts, to reacquaint myself with this little town on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Instead, I walked the streets of St. Joe with new eyes. With a hand in mine and all sorts of excitement beside me. With little peeks into the heart and mind of the little girl whose life is intertwined with mine. I saw delight when we found hot chocolate mix free from child labor worries. I heard oooohs and ahhhhs over every puppy, every baby and nearly every craft we passed. I shared smells and sights and conversation and the morning with that little hand in mine attached to a growing every taller body sheathed in a mismatch even I couldn't come up with carrying a heart, mind, and soul that leaves me achingly in love, and desperate for the proper thanks for the Giver.

Thankfully, I remembered my sunglasses. No one had to see the tears--deep gratitude--as I realized that what I had been dreaming of and praying for was coming true before my eyes and I almost said, "No."

Monday, June 2, 2014


It has been nearly a year. I've been overwhelmed, and tired, and absent. I was praying for something to give. Some sort of space in the day that was mine. A house on the market. A job hunting husband in a job he hated with a two-hour/day commute. I was smothering.

We exhausted all the job possibilities in the area. No one wanted to buy our house. We were not at home in church.

Frustrated Chris mentioned seeing if Whirlpool (his employer during college and for a 5 year stint  previously) was hiring. I, scared to think that maybe this was the give (scared to hope that we could come back), looked. There were several possibilities.

The process was either achingly slow in order for us to say we truly did exhaust all the possibilities or so fast we couldn't keep up.

Something gave. And we are here in Southwest Michigan, tucked close to the lake in a little neighborhood with lots of children. We've been here a month, the children and I permanently, Chris slightly longer. The boxes are unpacked. Our house feeling like ours. We returned to the church we attended, or who attended us, when we were here before.

It is different than I imagined, this returning. My memories of here stop seven years ago, but life went on without us. People stayed and left and changed. We changed. It isn't as easy as I had imagined though I knew it wouldn't be. My heart wasn't convinced, I'm finding.

I went to a baby shower yesterday for a lady I didn't know till I got to the shower. It is how the ABF (Sunday school) operates, has always operated. I, telling our story led one to believe that coming here was a decision we had to convince ourselves of, resign ourselves to, but MI is always a good idea.

I prayed that something (I didn't know what or how. I didn't care.) would give. I can still see myself and feel myself begging for that, so desperately. This was the give. And I'm thankful for the gift.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Simon Says

He's a suitor (Oh my).

There's a little girl in his Sunday school class. Let us call her G.They pal around together much of the time. He follows me around dropping little tidbits.

Me and G are going to get married, Grandma. Will you come to our wedding?

G calls me Sugar Puff. I don't know why she calls me Sugar Puff. I told her to stop. My name is Simon. It is on my nametag. Why can't she call me Simon? (Perhaps like you she can't read yet.) Oh, yeah. But I don't want her to call me Sugar Puff.

Me and G are going on a date when we are grown-ups. A real one. We have gone on a pretend date already. At the Lego table.

He's also a philosopher:

It's OK. Just don't watch and you won't have to worry. (Ready to do a flip from the arm of the couch into a pile of pillows on the floor.)

Monday, May 20, 2013


This morning he woke earlier than she did. He jumped from his bed and trudged through the house. He was looking for me, or her, or a show. He padded to the kitchen and skipped into my arms for a morning cuddle.

I carried him to the living room. He didn't say a word, for ten minutes he stretched and wiggled, but did not utter a word. I whispered words and questions; once, he shook his head.

Eventually he scampered across the room to pet the cat, gently with a big grin.

About that time, she woke. It was far more difficult to gauge her progress through the house; we could hear the doors open and close. She entered the living room with a big smile. And about the time her bottom found its place on my lap her thoughts and dreams and little games were being shared.

We chatted for several minutes as she wiggled and stretched. I didn't have many words--the same words I whispered to him, I spoke to her. She was pleased to share and to share and to share.

Finally they planned their morning TV. Netflix was activated, and I found my way back to the kitchen for a few more moments of quiet and planning.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Coming Up for Our Little Family

Water from rocks
Feeding sparrows
Clothing flowers
"What is it?" from heaven

I am having surgery on Wednesday. I've exhausted all the other options, so it is time for womb-removal. My feelings are mixed. To be completely honestly, it is in the area of growing our family that I've experienced my most significant spiritual crises. So while I am absolutely ready to be free from the symptoms I've been having, I must admit to a few trust issues with the God who holds the span of my days in His hands.

To be clear, this isn't about the doctor; I really like him. This isn't about the surgery per say; it is a minimally invasive as possible while removing all the symptomatic parts. This isn't about the recovery; laproscopy is much more recovery-friendly than C-section.

This is about the heart-ache of four miscarriages and one still-birth. This is about hours spent trying to figure out what I did wrong. This is about comparing my living (and my mothering) with others and coming out ahead or behind in my own estimation. This is about not understanding higher ways and having trouble trusting that His higher ways will really work to display the wonders of who He is. And this is about wishing that displaying the wonders of His grace didn't have to hurt so very badly!

I covet your prayers for me--safety and recovery and faith--for my children who will be staying away for longer than they've done and for the little one who hasn't met the mommy who isn't able to pick him up, and for my husband who will worry even while claiming he is OK.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

For Your Fourth Birthday

Dear Simon,

You turned four on Saturday. We celebrated with a chicken cake and a dragon cake and a really wonderful day at Ohiopyle.

I have so many things to say to you, newly four.

The ways you make my heart sing. {those smiling eyes and face adjustments, and the cuddles and...}

The ways you are transforming my character. {that whiny voice, and those stunts (always looking back to be sure I saw)}

The ways you are the joy of your sister, and she your own joy. {the great big belly laughs}

The ways you are a necessary part of our little family. {capturing the full emotion of each moment}

But I can't always find the words for all those things, to really capture who you are-my little boy. Just know, Simon, that you are dearly loved and that I am so very, very glad we kept trying. You are so worth the wait.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Thoughts Running Wild

We came home from Ohiopyle Saturday afternoon. It was Simon's choice to go for a walk that took George along. We walked along the Yough on the Ferncliff side. The water was high and strong. Simon spent a good amount of time worrying over his dog for what black lab doesn't want to go for a swim. The water had been higher this spring and plenty of puddles remained, puddles for frog swimming and courting and singing.

When we came home at the request of the birthday boy, just to come home not for resting. Chris worked on the chicken hutch. I dug out some pesky sumac bushes and dreamed of sunflowers and strawberries. Abigail and Simon (after he woke up) played--swinging, building, fort-ifying, practicing archery (thanks to this site). I remember thinking that I was really happy. Perhaps the coming of dear babies, the looming date of a necessary hysterectomy, and the coming of a due date empty of celebration had stolen the abiding feeling of happy. But that afternoon, and evening, I was really happy.

Sunday, we visited friends who've just bought a farm, an old farm with all the old farm work, and collections, and beauty, and spring peepers. As the night wore on, I forgot all the happiness from the day before and revisited the odd-shaped uterus, miscarriages, and possibility of an (sub)urban backyard chicken fight. Spring peepers don't live here.

Some of these things bring up good conversations about the values we are living and how they line up with the values we started with and want to be living. Some of these things bring questions and prayers and I can't say that is bad. But, some of these things bring envy and discontent and ill-humor, and that certainly isn't what we want to be living. So, I'm going to go read a book on our front porch, consider the placement of necessary spring-blooming bulbs and the paint color of our shed, and I'm going to diligently in the power of the Son, dwell on these things,
whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is of good repute
Philippians 4:8