Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ordinary is not enough.

My husband used to think I was great. He used to look at me like there was nobody else in the world. He thought I was smart and funny. He found me sexy and alluring. I was a surprise to him- my opinions and words were different than what he grew up with.

Likewise, to say I adored him would be putting it mildly. I still do. I have honsetly never met a better man than my husband.

But we have been together 10 years. We have been married for nearly 6 of those years, and parents for 4.

When we talk now, it is of ordinary things. The kids. Meals. Daily life.

We love each other. But like in all realtionships at times, we take each other for granted.

And I miss it. I miss the look in his eyes when I would walk into a room. The way he would talk to me and listen to me. The way I felt as if nobody else on this earth was as important as I am to him.

Life intrudes on the most passionate of loves. Children. Bills. Jobs. It becomes a wedge it is hard to see each other around. It's normal.

But normal sometimes can be heartbreaking. Normal can make me really really...sad. And today I am sad.

I miss him.

I don't miss my husband. I miss my love. My friend. The one who shared all of my dreams. The one who looked into my eyes and saw ME, not the mother of his children. Not his wife. ME. The one he feel so deeply in love with.

The one he thought was smart enough to listen to. The one he thought was talented enough to do anything. The one he looked at like I hung the moon. ME.

I am sure he feels the same way. I am sure I have made him feel expendable in my drive to be the perfect mother. I have left him behind. I know this. And it breaks my heart.

I want more than ordinary. I want more that stable. I want more than good. I want a love that never ends. A love that is more than this house and these children and this life. Love that is above all of it.

I want him. The one I fell in love with. My dear dear friend. My confidante. My love.

He isn't lost. I know he is there still. And I know all of this is natural. A natural ebb and flow that happens when there are other things that have to be focused on.

But today, sitting here watching the rain and knowing he is getting on a plane and flying far away, I feel alone. This house feels empty. My heart feels empty too.

I don't want ordinary love. I want the miracle I felt the moment I laid eyes on my Mark. The absolute joy and terror that I felt when I felt my heart open further than I ever had before, knowing God had set him in my path. I want that, again.

I know it will come back. I have faith in the God who brought us together. I have faith in my sweet and loving husband. And I have faith in myself to recognize how badly I need him and how far I will go to make sure our love grows and changes with our life.

But right now, today, I am missing what we used to be.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pizza 5 dollars. Vomit, free.

Picture this: 5:45 PM on 5 dollar pizza night at Eddie Romanellis.

A party walks in and says- "We have 8 adults, 5 kids, and we need 4 highchairs."

Staff member looks confused.

"Ummmm so, you need 4 highchairs for 5 kids or your need space for 8 adults, 5 kids, and 4 highchairs?"

"8 adults, 5 kids, and 4 highchairs."

"So 9 kids?"


Right now you are thinking- there's no way these people went out with 9 children! There's no way they went out outnumbered! That's just poor planning!

Oh yes we did.

And, you are thinking- I bet it was chaos, pandemonium, craziness!

And you would be... totally right.

Our waitress was so cute when she first arrived at out table. So perky, so sweet.

We broke her down within minutes. Did I mention our party included 4 infants, 3 toddlers, and 2 older kids? Oh, and one pregnant mama pushing 37 weeks.

Yeah. What the hell were we thinking?

It started off good. We shared some cheerios and french fries. Chatted, laughed. Ordered our pizzas and dipped bread into mounds of butter.

And then the kids got full and bored. Cheerios littered the ground like fiber landmines. Kids were alternately under the table or crying. There was a near TKO with a menu and a plate that went flying and caused major psychological damage.

I took in the scene around us. People were definitely looking. Some were horrified, some amused.

But the kicker was the staff in the kitchen. Watching, laughing, and poking fun at our waitress who slowly went from perky to pissed with every trip back behind the glass.

And then, the cherry on the chaos cake.

"Miss, would you like me to box up your pizza?" our waitress asked my friend.

Just as her little boy started to throw up, naturally.

My friend, being the mama she is, offered up a place for him to be sick. Right on top of her leftover pizza.

The waitress asked again, in a decidedly more uncertain tone: "Ummmm do you still want to box that up?"

And that's when all the moms at the table lost it. We laughed so hard we cried. Our preggo mama wondered if her water would break.

Then we laughed even harder.

I am pretty sure our waitress will never have children. Her ovaries surely dried up like the Sahara right then and there.

But we did leave a big tip. For the therapy.

As I walked out I had to stifle the urge to shake hands and yell "Free birth control! You. Are. Welcome!!!!!!!"

Next time we call Dominoes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



It's deeper. It's wider. It's stretched to the fullest inside of my heart.

It is in her eyes as she cries for daddy.

It is in his face as he sleeps.


It is a rushing river, flowing over time.

It is as wide as the sky, as blue as the robin egg.

It is.

Mother's love.

It is fierce
and wise
and kind
and more.

It is holding tight and letting go.

It is trusting and breaking with sorrow.

It is the heart that sings of things yet to be.

The wide reaching vision that sees beyond what we will see.

It is the reaching out to Hands that love.

And reaching to hold hands that need.

It is.

Motherhood is
and heartache.

Love is
and I am in it.

Immersed like a baptism in the water of family.

Love is motherhood.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I can't

I make alot of excuses. I say "I can't" alot.

Mostly in regards to eating and exercise.

Truth is, I am scared to change.

I have been heavy all my life.

I have thought about my weight every hour of everyday. No exaggeration.

I have abused my body with sugar and fat. I have made excuses not to change or excel.

I have excused myself from exercise out of laziness and weakness.

And, I have reaped what I have sown.

Today I am very overweight. I am addicted to sugar. And my heart and lungs are not strong. My body is weak.

There is temptation to keep going as I am. Coast along. Keep telling myself that I have tried everything.

But I refuse. I give no sanctuary to hopelessness in my heart.


Because can't and God cannot co-exist in this fight.

And this fight is for my life. For my well being. And my spiritual growth is hung up on this one tipping point- because I can't say "I can't" when I have such a beautiful Savior to give me strength.


Today I was walking. I was at the tail end of a nearly 4 mile walk. The sun was shining bright and hot. My son was content to ride in the stroller and wiggle his toes in the sun.

And I was talking to God. About my dreams. How I am living the dream I never thought I would. Happily married. Lovely children. Good life.

And there's just this ONE thing. This addiction to sugar. This roadblack to exercise.

This word- CAN'T.

I can't give up sugar.

I can't lose weight.

I can't run.

I can't give it my all.

I can't look like a fool.

I was telling God of my dream of giving up this word, this addiction. My dream of being healthy and happy with myself.

It was as if He spoke to me, ya'll.

"My sweet girl, don't you know your dreams are MY dreams? That everything good you want for yourself, I want too?"


And okay, Lord.

It's a deal.

So today, "Can't" disappears.

Replaced with I can. I'd be glad to. I'm happy to. I will.

And with Thank you, Lord, for dreaming with me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


The sun lies dappled, waves of light over his face.

He smiles at me, his eyes disappearing into cheeks filled with joy.

I raise my own face to the sun as the birds sing to God of His glory.

I raise my hand, brush away hair from my lips and eyes.

My hands.

Hands that look just like my grandmothers.

Small enough to clean the canning jars, like hers.

Strong enough to comfort and work.

Soft and inviting to hold. Ragged and ripped around the cuticles.

My hands say I am mama.

No time for paint.

No time for manicures.

Just the bareness of busyness lying next to the sparkle of promises.

And I think.

Of what my hands have done over time.

The work, the hurt, the joy.

Folded in prayer, covered with tears.

Cradling a newborn babe.

Offering food they had made.

Touching, loving, and giving the bread of affection to a hungry soul.

Hands that could have harmed, had I not been saved.

Hands that were born into harn and saved by grace.

Hands that learned of love from the hands of the One who gives all good things.

And my prayer

for today

Is that in all things, His hands are folded tightly over my own

guiding, offering, helping.

And loving, always loving.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I do...promise to rewrite my vows.

I really think everyone should re-write their wedding vows after 5 years together. I've thought alot about this, actually. After five years there are pretty much no more surprises. You may have already had children- or 2, or 3, or if you are like the Duggars, 5.

And speaking of the Duggars- how is the mom always so calm? I would be in the nuthouse. Heck, I would consider the nuthouse a vaca NOW, and I only have 2. She amazes me, really.

Ahem. I digress.

Anywho. Mark and I have been married for 5 years now. Together for 10 this coming October 23rd. Our wedding vows were beautiful and meaningful, but didn't QUITE cover all bases.

So here goes:

I promise to look away when you pick your nose. I will pretend I don't see it. You can do the same when I dig in my ear and make that noise in my throat.

I promise to not point and laugh when you get out of the shower and try to look manly. You promise not to call me a teletubby when I am pregnant. Or any other time, even though the imagery is SO appropo.

I promise that I will clean the toilets with no complaining. Wait. This vow I will totally break. I will promise that I won't yell "DEAR GOD WHAT DID YOU DO IN HERE!!!" anymore. Wait. I just promise to clean the toilets. All bets are off on everything else.

I promise to carry your babies. You in turn will listen to every complaint I have with regards to this issue. Footrubs are optional. Wait. Footrubs are NOT optional.

I promise that I will love you even when you are extra hairy and have eaten fried food and beans. I may stay 10 feet from you, but I will love you from afar. Promise.

I promise to watch you with our kids and pretend I have something in my eye instead of crying because you are an AMAZING father. The best. Hands down.

I promise to tackle all of my baggage without letting too much of the fallout rain down on you.

I promise that when you point and laugh at me when I am angry, I will get out the salad tongs and go after your nether regions.

I vow to not be outwardly annoyed when you vulture over my shoulder when I cook.

I vow to try not to yell "I am NEVER cooking again!!!!" when you vulture over my shoulder. But I will be thinking it.

I promise that your heart and all of the things that hurt you will always have a soft place to fall with me. No matter what.

I promise to only throw RIPE fruit at your head. Sorry about the unripe peach. Do you need some ice?

I vow to always be there for you when you need me. Except when you have a cold. Cause that is just ridiculous. I can only listen to so much whining without my head imploding.

I promise to love your family like my own.

Lastly, I promise you that I am THRILLED that you picked me. I can't wait until we are old and wrinkled and your pants are up to your chin and my bra is tucked into my waistband. Cause you are mine, and I am yours no matter how badly we age. But I WON'T change your diapers. That's why we had kids.
And I promise, above all, to never take for granted that God saw fit to give me a good man like you. Better than I deserve, more loving than I could ever need.
You complete me.

See. Isn't that a bit more realistic? Don't get me wrong, traditional wedding vows are fantastic. But after some time together, modification is necessary.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bread of Life

Have you ever made bread? From scratch I mean. It's a process. Measuring, adding ingredients. You have to get your hands dirty. You have to dig into the dough and knead it. You have to work at it until you set it aside to rise.

And when you come back, there it is, like magic. Entirely different than when you left it. It is bigger, fuller, rounder. It has grown.

And then you knead it again, working it until it is again something entirely different. It is still bread, but in different form. Only then can you bake it. Only much later can you taste of your efforts.

Making bread is alot like forgiving yourself.

You start with a decision you made. One of necessity, maybe. One of anger or stupidity. Something that effects you greatly. One that hurts. One that ripples through your life.

You grapple with it, going over and over again with it in your mind. You set it aside, determined not to think of it. But when you come back to it, because it is human nature to do so, it has grown. It must be worked at again until it is manageable.

You could go on forever like this. And forever, the decision you made will haunt you.

Until you add God and His grace to the equation.

We are created human. We make human mistakes. Mistakes and decisions that cannot be reversed or changed. We think about these choices and they hurt and become bigger and bigger in our minds and soul. That's what humans do. It is our nature.

But a human that lives under God's unending love is different. We have hundreds of scriptures about forgiveness. We have a path to follow when we err.

And the path leads right to Calgary. To the cross. To the sacrifice. It leads to the outstretched arms, the agony, the blood. It leads to a man who with His last breath asked God to forgive us.

It leads to Jesus. To his left hand, pierced. To his right hand, pierced. To his head, crowned with thorns. To his lips that spoke our ransom in a voice longing for home.

God knew we would hurt each other. He knew we would hurt ourselves. He knew that we would fall, and make choices we couldn't live with. He made a covenant with us, that his Son's blood would pay our way into a paradise we could never deserve.

We are hardest on ourselves. But when we confess our sin and ask to be forgiven, WE ARE. And with that decision, we have to let it go as well. That is OUR part of the bargain.

Not so easy.

It requires work. Getting your hands dirty. Kneading down what has risen up. Working over it with prayer and dedication, knowing the outcome will be something that sustains you.

It also means knowing that hands other than your own are at work with you. The forgiving yourself is a process that is done with God. In communion with Him. The burden is not entirely your own. It can be shared and given over into hands that are stronger than your own. Hands that can work in ways you cannot fathom.

In the end, there is reward for your efforts. Sustenance for your soul. Strength from what has been given. The knowledge that your hands were covered by His, and together you created life from pain.

Luke 22:19
And He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and He gave it to them saying, "This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."

John 6:51
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

Matthew 26:28
"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured of for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Don't Look at Me

Do you ever wonder who your life is pointing to? Who your words glorify, and who your life work speaks of?

It's something I struggle with everyday.

The deepest hope of my heart is that in all of my ways, all of my words, and all of my writing, I am pointing to the One who has blessed me beyond measure. That when you see me, you see Him. That my words lift you up to Christ.

I wrote about it over at (in)courage today. You can read it here:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Love Story

I have been in love since I was 6 years old.

I have run from it. I have fled on feet filled with fear. I have turned away. I have pushed hard against it. I have shoved and bloodied my love. I have denied it out of anger.

But it never abandoned me. Never.

It has clung to me from the first moment I opened my heart. Sitting on a cold wooden pew in my nightgown, looking into the marble face that would surround my heart. I needed to believe in so much more than what my world was showing me. I needed the church I was in to echo with the tide of belief, and surround me with it's presence.

I needed Christ.

I sat that day dejected. In bare feet. I went to the church because it's the only place I knew to go. The Cathedral, with it's vaulted ceilings, statues of saints, candles burning low in dark red glass- it was familiar. It was safe. The hymnals, the battered kneelers were familiar.

I ran my hand over the wood in front of me, smoothing it. I watched the blood that was on my skin go back and forth, back and forth. I licked my lips and tasted blood. And I looked up. I looked up into stone and I cried.

"Please make mama better. Please."

It was all I knew to say. The only prayer I had ever prayed. One that came from the deepest part of my soul.

I was alone in that church. But suddenly, not alone. I felt Him. Like water to desert. I cried harder, and my tears washed the blood from my lips and my hands.

I sat. I cried. But the stone had become flesh. The wood had become warm. I didn't need to stop crying and be strong. And I didn't need to see Him to see. I knew He was real. And I loved Him, because I wasn't alone.

I walked home from the church to find the door unbolted. I walked home from the church different.

I knew there was more. More than what could be seen. And I knew I was loved. More than I could ever, ever imagine.

She didn't get better. There was pain and sadness. But in it all, my steps were dogged by a God I couldn't deny. He followed me like shadow- into the dark places nobody else was willing to even see.

He loved the unloved and the unwanted. Even when I denied Him, turned my back. When I howled in anger, railed at Him. When I screamed my pain and hatred at Him, he stood His ground.

He was not intimidated by my anger. He didn't run from any of the sickness.

And He didn't leave me alone.


That is love. Not a love anybody on this earth can give you. Not a love that can be understood or explained in pretty words. My life with Christ can be summed up in one sentence:

He loves me, and I love Him.

Not because of who I am, or because of what I have done. Not because my heart called to Him. Not because of obligation.

He loves me because I gave myself to Him fully. The good and the bad. All of myself is His.

And isn';t this what He is asking for? He doesn't ask for perfection. He doesn't ask for anything other than communion. A conversation. Listening and being listened to. To be included in my day to day life. To be the first I run to in joy and sadness. To be so ingrained into my world that he becomes my world.

Many people say that you must do good works to be a Christian. That you must be a good person. Have no evil thoughts. Have no hidden corners.

But in my experience, the opposite is true. I came to him in darkness. I have lived in bad decisions. I have turned away from Him. I have been prideful, ugly, nasty, and wrong. I have been a liar.

But I came back to Him. And He welcomed me and loved me as if I had never left. And a few years ago, I came back to stay. With all of my rough edges, and all of my flaws. I came back and I begged Him to take my life and make it His. I didn't ask to be changed. I asked to be accepted.

And in all of that, I found myself wanting to be different. Doors opened in my soul. I walked out on faith, and learned to love. To be vulnerable. I learned that love and hurt go hand and hand, and can be conquered with faith.

Like that small little girl looking into the stone face of God, I gave myself over to something I could not see. I stretched my hand to the invisible world.

And my hand was taken. And has been held since.

This is the love story I live each day. One that led to all of the other loves in my life.

It all began with the wood, the stone, the blood and the tears. It was born by pain, and grew into joy.

Love never fails.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I spend alot of my time feeling guilty. Do I spend enough time with my kids? Am I teaching them to love? Did I raise my voice to often today? Did they go to bed knowing I love them? Did I finish the laundry and mop the floors? Is the house spotless?

Guilt follows me like a puppy. A bad puppy that constantly nips at me.

Some days I've got it all together. Everything gets done. But I realize at the end of the day, I have not sat down and played with my kids. They are cranky and clingy.

Some days my house is a wreck. But my kids have been hugged and kissed and loved so much that lipstick stains most of their faces and neck. They go to bed freshly bathed, smelling of soap and lotion and clean cotton. They go to sleep with smiles.

Alot of days, the balance eludes me.

So here's the thing. I left the kids in the playroom yesterday. I was putting away laundry, cleaning up...well, I don't have to tell you what I was doing- you do the same things everyday.

But as I walked by the video monitor for the playroom, I was struck by what my kiddos were doing. Sitting, side by side, arms around each other, watching Toy Story 3. They were leaning into each other, utterly comfortable in each others presence. As I watched, Lily kissed Sam, and Sam pushed her away. She kissed him again anyway and he giggled.

I sat down. I watched. And I let God unfurl into my heart.

I spend so much time trying to be everything to everybody. But I can't be.

That's why God invented FAMILY.

In the absence of me, my children were loving on each other- giving each other attention. They were creating their own sense of what is important, and to them sitting together and hugging was important. Affection, love, and snuggles were important enough to create it on their own, apart from me. I have ingrained love into their little souls so much that when I am away from them, they still seek it out in each other.

I have created a family. Me. The lost one. The left behind. I've created something beyond myself.

And it is beautiful.

God has allowed me to reach into a part of myself that was not unearthed. He let me uncover it for myself and bring it to the light. This part that so many people take for granted, something many are taught from birth- the ability to be in a family. A knowing of place, to whom and what you belong. For most, it is unearthed for you simply by being among your loved one. For others like me, it has to be dug up from the ground, spoon by spoon.

It's work. And sometimes it hurts. And alot of times, it doesn't seem worth it.

But in those moments when I think I haven't got it right, and the times when guilt comes to sit with me, I can think of my babies, sitting side by side, arms around each other. I can know that that driving need to BE with somebody you love, to be affectionate and needed, is something God showed me. Knowing you can be needed and loved without fear of rejection and abandonment is life changing. God showed me that.

And because He showed me, I can show them. How awesome is that?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One Breath

On Tuesday morning, in the bright March sun with the warm breezes blowing in his face, my son stopped breathing. In the least dangerous of places, in the most mundane situation. While being loaded into the car from the shopping cart. He coughed, vomited, drew a HUGE breath...and turned blue.

It happened in seconds. It lasted forever. ForEVER.

He was looking at me, was in my arms. His face was purple, and then it got pale, and his little arms which had been pinwheeling and his feet that had been kicking slowed. His lips were blue.

I knew I was looking into death. That even in my arms, he could be taken. Even when I was holding him. Even then, with his mama holding could have been over.

I didn't panic. My entire world shifted into just keeping him here with me. I gave him a hard back blow, and just like that, he coughed and began screaming.

We are all just a breath away from peril. One breath.

I was one breath away from my world being entirely different. A different life. A life where that precious boy might not be here. the midst of looking into Sam's face, I found myself surrounded. I was held on every SINGLE side. Hemmed in. I was circled. The wind stopped. All there was was me, my boy...and a thousand angels. If I had looked up I know I would have seen them. I could FEEL them. Warmth like the sun, calm like the womb. As real as my own hands. They were present.

I was on the precipice of a great fall. A fall that would have killed my soul. And even in that dark moment, I was not alone. Sam was not alone. He was held with hands other than my own.

I cannot tell you the comfort I have taken from that one second. In the days since, in the breathing treatments and sickness and medications, I have felt the same calm. I have walked away from my son's crib, and left him sleeping, knowing he is not alone. I have whispered into the darkness of his room, spoken my thanks. I have felt them, again and again, telling me to rest easy. To be comforted.

I have had many moments on this earth that convicted me of God's love. I have looked into the face of heaven when I saw my children for the first time. I have known God, loved Him. But in the moment between life and death, I felt a deep onrush of His presence. I felt His intercession.

Between that one breath and the other, I have been changed forever.