Friday, December 20, 2013

say the words

"We need to make sure that we watch "It's a Wonderful Life" with the kids this weekend."

"Your food is my favorite."

"I was watching you the other night and thought to myself, 'She is beautiful.'"

"Just come over here...we need to love each other."

"Are you taking your medicine?"

"Here's your coffee."

"We need to pray."

A good friend of mine pointed out something to me one day...,

"Aaron loves you."

I mean I  know that he loves me,

but that others notice his love for me made me realize how he loves me.

So many times we are told to write down what our kids say,

and we should,

but I'm taking today to write down a few things that my husband has said to me within this past week.

Writing may be my love language,

but words spoken is his.

Well, that and... 

always making the best fires on cold days.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


                                                                      along the way,

 Grace will carry me.

it's a little thing but I was thinking about the new name for our blog and felt that it was missing word that expresses so much of the present.

Grace is Home.

It can be understood to mean different things to individual interpretation.

Somedays it may mean that Grace came walking though our door and settled in among us.

Other days it may mean that beyond the walls of the Old House we have something more,

even if everything else was taken from us...or when we fall flat on our face,

we still have Grace.

Because Grace just is,

and always will be.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Frome braces, to ears pierced, strep throat, winter colds, carpools, christmas tree hunting, train rides, and going for our "family drives"...we are treasuring this time together. We hug, and laugh, and maybe spend some days guilt-free in our p.j.'s...just being together. 

Because together is a gift. 

This year has had its hard times.

And there will be more to come.

Only a few days ago Aaron's mom called. 

"Dad has cancer. "

And this world that seem to stand still the day my grandma past away, 

stopped for a moment again.

"Will you trust Me with this too?"

We wrestle through the night with the "why's?"

And rise up with the sun to say, 

"We will trust in You Jesus."

Because eternal togetherness is just a breath away.

Christmas here...

Christmas here is Advent and letters to Santa. 
Christmas here is sharing an adventure. 
Christmas here is "almost snow".  
 Christmas here is three kids in a row.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Christmas Lodge...(stay-cation defined)

The kids had so much fun decorating their own rooms this year for fact they took a theme and ran away with it. Aaron and I have been treated to cozy evenings in their "Lodge" rooms...complete with music, lights, treats, games and lots of smiles.

 No skis allowed!
 AbbySue's Room #3...The Main Lodge.
 She designed her own stove and fireplace...
 complete with Christmas cookies!
 and more lights.
 Ben's Room #1
Zibby's Room #2...."we have "danceing", and sleeping. No "smoing". No crying.

new name

Grace Home....

Zibby and I settled on the new name for our little blog in this world. It seems to fit us much better now. This place to write started as a record of memories and days together as a family and has through the years evolved into more of an outlet of sorts for me, as a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. When I take the time to read through the many posts, in-between the lines I continually find Grace. It's by Grace that we are a family and by Grace that we continue in Love. There are simple and precious memories that make us a family and with that there are difficult and heart rending memories that solidify us as a family. Through and through there is Grace. Our Home...His place of Grace poured our...over and over and over again.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Girl with the Flower

     There was a poem that Grandpa wrote for Grandma, stuck up high on the fridge behind a "George Jetson" magnet. I remember looking up at it from the time I could read well into adulthood. I think it was called "Girl with the Flower." Grandpa's handwriting looked like the wind to me, his letters blowing across the paper like dandelion seeds. The poem was about my Grandma as a little girl. Grandpa knew her then. He met her when she was in kindergarten...he was four years older. His little sister, my Aunt Edith Mae, and my Grandma, Patricia, became best friends. In the the years to come my Grandparents would fall in love, become man and wife, raise three children, three grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and grow old together. There was a lot of real and gritty life in-between. The kind of stuff that makes or breaks us.

My Grandparents let it make them...for 63 years.

On November 17th my Grandpa's "Girl with the Flower" passed from death to Life.

It was sudden.

We are heartbroken...still feeling a bit lost.

Most days I go over to Grandpa's for a little visit. I sit in Grandma's cozy, red chair....her needlework still out where she touched it last.

I want her back.

I bet Grandpa does too.

I feel her all around my days.

I bet Grandpa does too.

Their love left an impression on me.

From the poem on the fridge to the way he kissed her lifeless lips goodbye with the words, "my beautiful darling.." tears streaming....

Their love left an impression on me,

it is a part of who I am...

what an honor.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


 adjective \ˌklȯs-trə-ˈfō-bik\
of a room, space, etc. : not having enough space for people to feel comfortable : causing claustrophobia
: having a fear of being in closed or small spaces : having claustrophobia
: not having or providing enough freedom

I do not like to watch fish swim around in little bowls or even giant tanks. I have tried to enjoy their beauty and fluidity, but I can't get past the way they bump into the glass...tap-tapping...over and over again only to rise to the surface and sink once again to the rock filled bottom.

Whether or not a goldfish cares about its freedom is irrelevant to me. My chest feels tight and I take a deep breath.
watching a fish live in a bowl makes me feel claustrophobic. 

Do you think God felt that way? I mean, do you think that He just couldn't sit and watch this human race remain captive any longer...banging our heads against the walls of sin and shame..trapped, watching His beloved creation struggle in captivity, His heart longing to set us free, so He took on the form of a man, still being God, and lived this claustrophobic life, breathing in and out our depravity...just to set us Free?

Galatians 5:1
"It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."

Why do so many of us, as children of God, get back in that little fishbowl of captivity when He is offering us the freedom to roam the oceans of His endless love and grace? 

(Don't worry Zibby...Mommy isn't gonna flush Dorothy down the toilet and wish her Bon Voyage!)


I'm sure ready to leave my old "fishbowl" behind. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The trail and the trial...

By the grace of God I've had the opportunity to run three marathons.
Each one has been a different journey than the other.
Each filled with its own set of challenges.
The first marathon was fast, flat, open, crowded, and exhilarating.
The second, sweltering, lonely, winding, mentally taxing (double loop), and surprising.
This past weekend I ran my third. It was called a trail marathon. There were only 300 participants...250 finished. I saw runners cry, crawl, curse, and crumble. And although I ran for the longest amount of time in my life (over five hours) it felt like the shortest marathon I've run. It was raining and even hailing. We crossed rushing streams, pushed up muddy mountains, and barreled down the other side. We ran behind waterfalls and were treated to one last "hill" at mile 26. It was hard and I loved it. I wasn't setting any records. I'm no elite athlete. But, we and Jesus. This marathon taught me so many good truths about our journey through life as a child of God. One of the many treasures He spoke to my heart was this...more people fall going downhill than fail going up. When you have struggled up a mountain side kind of trial and you feel so grateful to have made it to the top, don't underestimate the challenge of going down the other side. Watch for stumbling blocks. Don't let your guard down on the come out of nowhere and if you are not concentrating on the path because the way is might fall. The hardest part of this marathon for me was going downhill. I was tentative and always getting passed by these gazelle like runners who were used to both sides of a mountain. They were prepared. I want to be like that....on the trail and in this life. 

 Green and new, 
 bud and bloom, 
 twelve years a child free. 
 Change and glow, 
 come fall I know, 
 a woman now is she. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Veteran, The Big Mac, and The Gospel

On our way home from fencing tonight Ben was..."starving Mom!"

I don't know how this boy can convince his somewhat health conscious mother to pull into McDonald's and order him a Big Mac on occasion but he does and I do. (Organic purgatory here I come!)

On this evening we noticed a homeless man standing alone in the dark as we drove through the golden arches and ordered.

The sign he held simply said, "Veteran".

We decided to ask for two Big Macs.

"I want you to give this to that man Ben." I said, handing Ben the extra burger and nodding in the direction of The Veteran.

Ben looked shocked.

"Me!?...but what if...well, I don't know. I'm too embarrassed Mom."

"Honey, I know it's hard, but it's simple. That man is cold and hungry and we can help him, so we will. Don't be afraid. He is a man just like you. He was once a boy too....someones baby. We don't know what happened in his life and we don't need to know. We just to need to show him that someone cares."

"Okay mom." Ben says bravely.

I roll down Ben's window and watch.

Eye contact between man and boy. Youth and age. Reality and innocence.

The clash of generosity and humanity in just five seconds...

"Here you go." says Ben

"Oh, wow, Thank You!" says the Veteran with his toothless smile spreading wide behind scraggy beard.

That was it.

He salutes Ben and shouts, "God Bless America!"

and we say, "God Bless You!"

The gospel wrapped Big Mac in the hands of an innocent child and readily received by the humble Veteran? That's what I call beauty for ashes on Lancaster Boulevard.

every one is someones baby

Friday, October 25, 2013

about cross dressing


We have this mayor here in our small town who is a little...well, how should I put this?


Stu is a man who prefers to dress like a woman and has even gone the extra mile and had his chest.. let's say..."enhanced".

He also owns and operates our retro theatre, The Palace, and can often be found behind the counter filling up cups of perfectly hot buttered popcorn or collecting cash with his manicured and red polished fingertips.

Stu is just a part of Silverton life.

AbbySue and Ben have grown accustomed to his eccentric fish net tights and black stiletto heels.

Not that they haven't asked questions. They certainly have. And as a parent who wants to raise children full of integrity and grace, we have attempted to explain Stu in a way that reveals the condition of humanity....incomplete.

Zibby, on the other hand, has not really had the chance to see Stu up close and personal until a couple of weeks ago when she walked down with the big kids and I to see "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2".

My quiet girl stood close behind me, eyes wide and wondering, while I purchased the tickets and talked with Stu.

That evening while I was tucking her into bed she had the same questions that her brother and sister asked at that age about Stu. And I again explained as gently as I could. Zibby took it in, processing and filtering it all through her six year old mind.

A few days went by and I was driving alone with Zibby to piano lessons...Stu far from thought.

"Mommy..." Zibby says, "I've been thinking about Stu. I've been thinking about his clothes."

"Oh, really?" I say.

"Yes, Mommy, I've been thinking about his clothes and I've been wondering if maybe he just needs some boy clothes. And I was thinking that maybe we can get him some. Maybe he's never had any."

(Okay, so this is the part when my mommy heart melts and wants to burst out laughing at the same time...but I didn't)

"Oh honey...that is so thoughtful and kind of you. But, (tactfully), Stu wants to wear girls clothes. He likes them more than boys clothes."


" know...we girls do have very pretty things. I know why he would like them!"

It was all I could not to swerve right off the road.

Oh precious heart.

                        (My little girl who sure does love a beautiful dress)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

a different way to fly

I run.
My feet move to the sound of a melody I've been working out on the piano.
Nothing in my ears but the wind.
My watch free wrists cut back and forth across the middle of me.
No time shuffle mix.
The song I breathe in rhythm today is an old melodic church hymn,
"Holy is the Lord."
The first two miles wash me head to toe in an early autumn downpour.
"Holy is the Lord",
I slosh up hill, rain pelting.
Four miles.
"Righteousness and mercy",
sunlight forcing through the gray.
Eight miles.
The backroads are glimmering.
"Judgement and Grace",
I pry off a soaking sweatshirt and tie the soggy arms of it around my waist.
"Faithfulness and Sovereignty",
the fog settles low between the firs and above the emerald fields, a strip of blue.
Twelve miles.
I'm flying...
"Holy is the Lord."
The wings He's given me look more like feet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Grump Freckle

Me: "You know Zibby, if you keep carrying on like that you are going to end up with a Grump Freckle."

Zibby: (now quiet as a lamb...eyes wide) "What's a Grump Freckle?"

Me: "Well, I just brushed the beginnings of one off of your forehead. It's a big, black, freckle that pops up in between your eyes. It starts growing on children over six years old who decide to throw temper tantrums and be naughty to their parents."

Zibby: "I'm over six years old!"

Me: "Yes....I would calm down if I were you."

Zibby: "Does it hurt?"

Me: "No, it just starts growing long hairs out of it the worse you behave."

Zibby: "Did you ever get one?"

Me: "Oh yes, I was a terrible tantrum thrower at your age...very naughty you know."

Zibby: "Well, how did it go away?"

Me: "The only cure for a Grump Freckle is true and genuine laughter. When you laugh from your heart it just disappears."

Zibby: "I never want one of those."

Me: "I'm sure you don't need to worry about it. stopped having your tantrum quick as a wink just now. You know how to control yourself."

Zibby: "Yes...(rubbing her forehead)....I do. But, the Grump Freckle real?"

Me: "Maybe the Grump Freckle is real, maybe it's more like a fairy tale, I don't know. But I do know that when I'm grumpy my heart feels like it's getting one...and the only one that can take care of a grumpy heart is Jesus. Just talk to Him about it."

Zibby: "Yes,  I will...I'm not taking any chances."

Me and my Girl....Grump Freckle Free

Thursday, September 19, 2013


 the inseparables 
 Mamo & Papo's 63rd anniversary....with all eight great grandchildren!
 Pacific Crest Weekend...Daddy Duathalon
 Mommy Marathon
 Game night
 Coffin Mountain...Oregon bliss
 Our place in Seattle
 Ben the Man
Our Sunshine
 Flower Child
 These two turned 16 & 12!
 Off to Summer Camp
 Our third Cascade Lakes Relay
 Backpacking Adventure with our favorites
 Smiles before  34 miles, blisters, and being attacked by wild bees...can't wait to do it again!

And school begins again.

From June through September....

That equates to only three months on our calendar.

How can that be?

I'm forcing my fingers to tap away at these little black buttons, trying to form words from all these letters that might bring to light the way our family is growing and learning together.

Summertime was here....right?

I remember long light...and starry night.

I know that there were sunburns and sand castles,

Swimming holes and crawdad hunts,

endless berries and bee stings,

bare feet and summer camp,

birthday candles and barbecues.

I know that everything promised and hoped for in summertime happened here,

everything and more.

But, I want our kids to read this when they are older and remember something else;

This was not a "normal" summertime and my heart has struggled through the trials He has walked us through.

Abigail, Benjamin, and Elizabeth....We are so proud of you.

You have welcomed change with open arms and taught us how to love, how to forgive, and how to share with a smile.

I know that having another family in our home has been a treasure to each of you, but I can also see that it has taken it's toll on your little hearts.

We want to shield you from the realities of life....but the fact of the matter is...

real life is not pretty.

Real life is painful and even (at times) ugly.

We could've chosen to keep you safe from seeing this for the 18 years that we have you under our wings...but when the time comes for you to spread your wings we want you soaring strong and wise not just pure and sweet.

You three have made our hearts take flight.

I hope that you will look back at this summertime and think of it as a kind of crossroads....

when our family decided to be uncomfortable for the sake of Love.