Monday, January 31, 2011

Dear God...

Dear God,

Give me strength to love myself.
Give me strength to love myself enough.
Strength to put myself first, not last.
To put myself on the list.

Give me wisdom to know when to hang on.
And when to let go.
Give me wisdom in my love, and in my affection.
To not be desperate for acceptance.
But to know you accept me, and be still in that.

Give me love in abundance.
Give me bold in loving, in being vulnerable.
Make my hands and feet a radical tool for your work.
Let me see the soul in pain, the hurt behind the mask.

Let me be the one.
The one they come to.
The one who heals. The one who prays.
The one who listens and whispers into the brokeness-
"God loves you, so so much."

Let me remember to say it to myself.
Let me BELIEVE it, Lord, please.
Let me let go. Let me be healed.
Let me be free.

I want to hear you.
Your words.
I want to listen, and not overcome it with my own thinking.
I am weary of fighting with myself.
I am tired.

I want to be wholly yours.
In every way.
Not just in what I give to others,
but what I also give to MYSELF.

Please help me to give myself what I need.
Kind thoughts.
Kind words.

Let your love for me be something I believe.
A gift I give to myself.
Let me see myself through your eyes.
Let me do your work, including loving myself as you do.
Seeing myself as you do.

Beauty is many things.
But nobody is more beautiful than when they beleive God loves them
And I believe.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Samuel Elijah

Dear Sam,

One year. I still can't believe it. You are a year old. I should believe it since you are the size of a 2 year old, but I don't. That's a mama for ya. :)

I can't tell you what life was like before you. It was wonderful and beautiful with our sweet Lily, but we were waiting for you. We prayed for you and called to your spirit, asking you to be with us.

And you did.

The day you were born was tough. The labor was difficult, and when you were born you didn't cry. We were so scared...and then you opened your tiny mouth and yelled like a lion. The next morning when I came to hold you and nurse you, I fell so deep in love with you my heart felt too big for my chest. I looked at your face, I kissed your head, and I knew that nothing in life was better than holding you. Nothing.

You are a fighter, Sammy. You had surgery at 7 months old. Your ears were so full of fluid from repeated ear infections that you couldn't hear. We were worried you wouldn't ever speak.

You have definitely proved us wrong there.

I have never known a child to be so loud. You yell. You howl. You pick up your play telephone and screech "Hoooooow?" You yell when your sister takes your toy, when we tell you no, or when things don't go your way.

But you also smile, and melt our hearts. You light up the room with your big grin. You cuddle when you are sleepy, holding your woobie to your face and falling deep into dreamland. You melt us, everyday.

You have alot of words now- Gidu "didu", hello "hoooow", all done "ahhda!", lily "eeeeleeee", mama, dada, hohoho, etc. You make signs for all done, more, drink. You communicate with grunts and head banging sometimes, and we wonder if you are part caveman. :)

You are so bold, walking into any situation without care. You lead with your head at all times, never showing the slightest bit of hesitation. You have no fear. This in turn assures I will be fully gray and daddy will be fully bald within a year.

I wish there were words for how much I love you. Some way to convey it. I can only say that I love you so deeply my heart hurts. I hold you and smell your head and my world becomes only you. I see your smiling face and I smile. You are my sweetest baby boy, and I adore you more than words can say.

Love, always and forever,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Every morning I lay out Lily's clothes. I run my fingers over the fabrics, match her dresses to her tights, choose hairbows and shoes. She gets dressed and then comes to me with her brush.
I run my fingers through her silky hair. I brush, I braid. I kiss her head and then say "Okay, turn around."
She does, preening a bit. And always she asks me "Mama, do I look beautiful?"

And of course I say yes, because her face and her eyes and her lips and her smile are beautiful.

She asked me today what made her beautiful. I quickly told her God did, and shuffled her off to school.

But I kept returning to her question. It was deeper than the words. She wanted to know what beauty IS.

In this I struggle. I want to explain it to her, but how do you explain beauty in words a 3 year old can understand?

I want her to know that it is pleasing that she has a pretty face. Her beauty is external, but that what is so important is her soul.

Beauty is her face when she sees a friend and she lights up.

Beauty is her compassion when somebody she cares for is sad.

Beauty is the turn of her head into my chest as she snuggles.

It's the way she picks a flower for her neighbors.

The way her little soul opens to the world, always loving, always giving.

It's in the way she calls out "I love you!!!" to everyone.

It's in her pretty almond eyes filled with tears when she is being reprimanded.

It's her hand in mine, her kiss on my cheek, her whispered secrets.

It is her.

Beauty is fluid. It is an ever shifting idea. I could tell her of what society thinks is beautiful, but she will come upon that soon enough.

For now, I will show her that beauty is more about what your life IS than what you look like. It is in the love you give, and the light of God you show. It is in the openess of your smile, the work of your hands, and the willingness of your spirit to be shaped.

It is in being broken, mended, and broken again.

It's scars and bruises and remembered pain.

It's in the love others show her and the things they teach her.

It's in nature, the changing of seasons, the gunmetal sky, the buttery sun.

Beauty is, and she is beauty.

Monday, January 17, 2011

one, uno, 1

I want to tell you what this last year has meant to me.

But everytime I sit down to write it out, I cry.

My baby. Likely the last one I will have, is one.
Time passing is both blessing and curse.
I love him so much my heart hurts.
My Sammy. My moose. My cheescake. My son.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Dear Daddy,

You may never read this, and that's okay. But I know you know I love you. I have always loved you. The devotion I feel to you is a broken thing. It lies like sand in my hands. But it is tangible, and real. My love has never diminished. Never.

And so here it is, what I need to do. I forgive you, Daddy. It doesn't mean the lonely times you could have saved me from didn't exist. It doesn't make it right, and it doesn't change the wounds. But it means that I will no longer spend any time trying to figure out how to make you see how wrong you were, or to punish you by my silence.

I will simpy love you until I do not draw breath. And after that, when I walk in the golden kingdom, I will see your face. And all of the troubles and feelings that lie between us and keep us apart will no longer exist. We will be in a place where all of those things get washed away.

I will run to you. I will wrap my arms around you, lay my head on your chest, and allow myself to need you. I will weep with joy at your face, your beloved face. I will be your little girl, and all of the things that keep me from being that now will be gone.

There will be peace between us now. It begins with me. I am making peace right now with knowing you will never be what I need. I am surrendering to loving you how you need, without being loved that way in return. I surrender to the hurt in my heart, the heaviness, and the pain. But I no longer will give bitterness sanctuary. I will no longer harbor anger.

In the end, Daddy, this is what I can give you. My love, without my disappointment. My forgiveness without bitterness. I will simply let you be who you are, and love you around the parts that hurt.

I accept all of you. All of your flaws. I love all of you. I forgive your shortcomings. And I ask you to forgive me my silence, and for the years I wasted in anger.

I don't know why we were chosen for each other. We have never met each other's needs. But I do know that this love I have for you is real, and I want us to make the best of whatever time God gives us.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I've been doing alot of thinking. And alot of praying. I've been storm tossed on this little boat of faith I posses. Wondering what I am doing here. Where I belong.

At least to Whom I belong I am pretty clear.

Last night as I was falling asleep, I kept being pushed awake by panic. I'd dip under, surface again. Dip, surface. Finally I opened my eyes and heart to God and was quiet.

And into my silent and still brain and body slipped 3 words.




My three struggles. Whispered in the dark and silent night. I looked out the window at the storm tossed sky, the iced over ground, the icy air. Treacherous. Dangerous.

Just like my three struggles.

Patience is not my forte. I am impatient, and it makes me unkind. I snap. I raise my voice. And worse, I feel entitled to do so. After all, I am the mother. It is my responsibility to see that things go smoothly. But I crush little hearts in the process. I chip at souls. What is a momentary frustration to me, can be a wound that festers for them. I need to lead by example. Stop. Breathe. Teach. Love.

Discipline is essential. But temperance is as well.

Vanity. Ugh, it's hard to be transparent on this one. But I just KNOW somebody else struggles with this.

Every single day I get up and hate what I see in the mirror. The fat, unmadeup me. And I mean hate. I treat myself badly. I rip myself up. I flinch at the reflection.

I hate God's creation of me. I hate my body and my hair and my face.

So I hide it. I layer myself under makeup. I put on jewelry. I buy clothing that conceals.

I hide.

And I hide behind having a perfect house. And perfectly dressed and combed children.

I hide. I hide in my own skin. I cover myself with the artificial. And the real me becomes lost.

The me God created is painted over with my creation of self.

And if the truth be told I hide myself behind fat and food.

God created me to do his work. And I cannot do it in an unhealthy body. I also won't spend hours sculpting it into something somebody else considers beautiful. That's covering up God's beauty with man's.

Worth is all tied up in the patience and vanity. Because if I am impatient, if I hurt my family with words, my idea of my worth plummets. If somebody sees me without my mask of makeup and perfection, I fall.

And in all of this- who am I trying to impress? The world? What will the world do for me if I am skinnier, prettier? If my children behave because they are afraid of me? What will the world do for me then?


But if I listen to God, what does He tell me. That my beauty has nothing to do with what I see in the mirror. That I can rest all of myself in His care. That He KNOWS me. And that He loves me.

THAT is my worth. To live each day to make my world better. Nothing I wear, no time I take on my appearance will make my world better. Raising my children with gentle hands, treating my husband like a friend, doing anything and everything for my neighbors and friends that I can- all of this leads to a freedom of soul I long for.

To live each and everyday for everyone I love and care for is where my worth resides.

And I am up to the challenge.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A World Away

Did you go to church yesterday? Did you soak in the love of our God, lift your voice in song, take communion?

Did you close your eyes in prayer, and open them to the sound of glass breaking, of screaming, of the scent of blood?

Did you see the blood and bodies of your fellow worshippers before you?

Did you cry out, go to your knees?


Your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ did.

This is Alexandria, Egypt on New Year's day. This is a Coptic church. A christian church. Where men and women just like you were worshipping with their families. With their babies. They went to begin the new year with God.

As they were singing hymns, a bomb went off, killing 21 of them. Injuring many others.

It is a world away. But distance does not change the heart or the faith. These are God's children. His beloved creation, massacred.

They lie still now. Some of them cannot be found at all. Their bodies were obliterated by hate. Their families mourn. Their children weep.

It is a world away, and yet, it is right here on our doorstep. Because we are all one. If one of the collective is taken, we mourn. We feel it. Their blood is our blood, because it is all Christ's blood.

Christ shed blood for all of us. And all of us who love Him, belong to one another.

Do not turn away from this. Do not pretend it does not matter. Lift your voice to heaven. Pray for those who are left here, in this time, when killing His children just for loving Him is real. Is happening. Right in front of us.
Don't turn away.

It's a world away. And yet, my friends, it could be us. It IS me. This is my adopted faith. This is the faith I was baptized in, married in. This is the faith that my children were baptized in.

This is my faith. This is a faith so ardent in it's love for God that it has not changed since the Ascension. A faith so strong, that the priests came from behind the altar doors after the blast, and began comforting and signing the cross over the people. They also finished mass...because God is more important than fear.

A faith so strong that they will not allow the blood of the dead to be cleaned from the stone of the church. They won't let it be washed away. It remains. They honor it. It is pure.

It is a world away, and is right here, in our hearts. Because they are us. And they continue to love the God we love, despite being persecuted for it. Despite the danger.

They continue, despite the blood. Despite the pain and the fear. They bow their heads to God.

Please bow your heads with them. Lift the Copts of Egypt in prayer.