on becoming

The creative process can be a little scary. Often you have an idea of what you’d like to create – a vague sense of how you’d like it to look or sound – but you can’t predict or completely control how it will end up. You show up on the piano bench with a melodic phrase in your mind. You sit down in front of the canvas feeling like painting with a particular shade. You start where you are – with a verse, phrase, melody or thought – and then something emerges. It slowly becomes. And though this becoming is, […]

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oh death, where is your sting?

A few days ago, I was looking through an old scrapbook and came across these pictures from Easter two years ago.   (yes, I still scrapbook.  laugh away…) The page is all aqua ribbons and silver lettering, with “Oh death, where is your sting?” written across the top. We look so full of Easter joy.  Abigail holding my miracle son, posing in our matching aqua sweaters, the lush green grass… But the truth is:  behind our smiles, we felt terrible. My arthritis had just begun to emerge, and I felt stiff and cold.  Abigail was holding Grant because I couldn’t bear […]

candles

laryngitis & listening for God

This past October, I wasn’t able to talk for a few days.  It was like a forced silent retreat, except I didn’t have any mountain vistas or candles or woolen throws.  And I still had to provide snacks for my children, who did not realize that I was on a forced silent retreat. All of my communication was like this odd game of charades…I made exaggerated faces, mouthed words, moved my arms…but my children just ran the other direction and cried for the iPad.  So in other words, it was awesome. It didn’t help that the laryngitis was kind of […]

We are lavishly loved.

Two or three years ago, I started making a list of things I wanted to do in my life.  It included everything from learning calligraphy to farming flowers to being in a folk band; and somewhere in the middle of that list was the phrase “make stained glass.” Earlier that year, I had stumbled upon a stained glass stand at a farmer’s market in Wilmington and had been struck by a particular piece: a large, rectangular pane the size of a kitchen window with a swirling blue sea and a very happy-looking mermaid. I shouldn’t have been surprised that this […]

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Does Jesus feel your pain?

I have rheumatoid arthritis.  And as part of my treatment, I give myself an injectable medication that’s shipped to me directly.  Usually the package is pretty standard – a white foam cooler, a package of syringes, alcohol swabs, and pages and pages of warnings.  Which I promptly recycle. But last week, I noticed something new taped to the top of the cooler – a set of brightly colored cards.  The top one said, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” At first, I thought it was some sort of marketing material – something to remind me to keep calm & call the […]

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Pinterest parties & God’s plans

I’m a bit of a planner.  Day plans.  Meal plans.  Travel plans.  I like to have it all planned out, preferably with a time schedule and back-up. And the world just loves planning, doesn’t it?  There’s so much talk about intentionality, and time management, and prioritization.  When I read that, I think, “WINNING!  TOTALLY winning on planning!” But lately, I find myself having to stick to the plan at all costs.  When the children are tired.  When I’m sick.  When no one wants to do what I planned weeks ago, and it doesn’t make sense. On those days, the Designer, […]

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blue hostas & grace

When we first moved into our house in Rochester, my mother-in-law suggested that we fence our backyard.  We had a large dog at the time, a toddler, and a new baby on the way, so a fence made sense.  A fence would enable them to explore, to play outdoors without me hovering, and keep them away from our nearby, not-so-quiet street. There was only one issue:  my yard vanity.  I just didn’t like how fences looked.  And I’m all about looks over safety. Now there are beautiful fences out there, but none of these beautiful ones were in our very […]

while you’re waiting

Every new season, I pick a word – or, rather, a word picks me. In the past, the word has come mid-season, as I sort through experiences and emotions that have surfaced over the months.  Last winter, it was “listen.” By summer, it had become “surrender” and then it transitioned to “transformation” in the fall. But this January, I wanted a word – needed a word – at the very start, to anchor me in this season ahead. I didn’t want to wait for the word to emerge; I needed to seize it right now, because (to be honest) I’ve felt […]

when God says “stop striving”

An older, wiser mother recently told me that what children learn is 80% “caught” and 20% “taught.” I’m sure she meant to encourage me, to spur me on towards love and good deeds and the like, but really, it just sent me into a panic. Because here’s the thing – 80% of my life is already spent trying to find my lost wallet/keys/phone/purse.   So what I took away from the conversation was that I should just strive to do the 20% REALLY REALLY well. So far, my progress has consisted of: buying educational wooden toys, and then spending the afternoon […]