A new year and a “new day”

Six months ago I wrote about a new season, I had NO idea how much new this past year would bring for us.  I thought a new baby, new relationships, new perspectives and a new breath of life in our marriage was what I was talking about.   But new things have just kept popping up all year.  I’ve decided now that such is life.  I go through times where I hold my breath and wait for things to calm down, for ‘easy’ to come, for a break….for something.  I think now, for the first time, I understand that though that may happen, I can’t wait for it.  I just have to figure out how to live my life in the moment I am given.  And not just survive but really live.

Survival has marked a good deal of the last 6 years for us.  A sick first baby.  A super challenging second baby.  Rylee’s kidney surgery.  Major changes at Chris’ work.  Broken friendships.  Audrey’s kidney issues.  Painful choices of others that deeply impacted our life.  The list goes on.

If all my new year aspirations can be summed up into one, it is simply to embrace each day that is set before me, to choose joy and thankfulness above all else.

Last night we rang in the new year in the only way we could.  Folding about 8 loads of clean laundry while sharing a bottle of champagne as our precious little babes slept soundly in their beds.  It would be easy to see the lameness in that but instead I can be thankful for clothes to wear, for a husband that was sweet enough to fold with me until 1 AM, for a warm house, for the four little people God’s given us and for the new dreams we are sharing in.

We listened to one of our favorite songs last night, it rings so true for life I think.  The day might not look beautiful but we can choose to take what we have and delight in it anyway.  And in the end when all is said and done, maybe it was more beautiful than we’d thought to begin with.  Here are the lyrics for you.

Happy New Year!


Robbie Seay Band – New Day

If you’re like me
You need hope, coffee, and melody
So sit back down
Let the world keep spinning ‘round
For yesterday’s gone and today is waiting on you to show your face

It might not be
The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see
But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day
And it might not look like
A beautiful sunrise
But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day

I’m a pilgrim soul
I’ve traveled far and come back home
This land is hard and cold
For those who long to love
And I know it might seem
That the world is crumbling
But it’s me and you dancing in the kitchen at 2 am
And we’re still alive

It’s the calm of the storm that comes blowing in
It’s the springtime saying I’m back again
The clouds that roll by
Crossing moonlight
Me and you love – everything’s alright
Standing in the rain with nowhere to go
Laughing and we’re spinning and I hope that you
Remember this day
For the rest of your life
Me and you love – everything’s gonna be alright

And it just might be
The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see
It’s a new day
Oh baby, it’s a new day
If you look outside
To see a beautiful sunrise
It’s a new day


Wouldn’t it be nice…


…if Waste Management had the same slogan as the United States Postal  Service?  “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”  We have not had trash service for 16 days now, but we keep on getting our Christmas cards!  Thank you USPS for bringing the mail.  Maybe WM will show up on Monday.


On the mend

Hopefully this isn’t jumping the gun but I think Audrey is on the upswing today.  She started eating again about 3 AM after about 35 hours of just a few ounces of milk.  I feel like I held my breath for a whole day as I waited and watched and really hoped we weren’t headed for another few days in the hospital that would this time include Christmas.

Between the snow and her not feeling well, it hardly even feels like it’s almost Christmas around here.  We haven’t done the homeschool projects that revolved around Christmas, we sledded every day instead.  Snow days aren’t the same either with a commission job instead of salary, definitely changes the perspective a little bit!  We haven’t done much of our baking either.  There has been so much change for us the past two months that I still feel my head spinning and it’s hard to figure out how to move forward sometimes.

It used to be a long list of expectations on our time during the holiday season of where we needed to be, now we have total freedom to be and do what we’d like to.  That is wonderful but still so different and strange.

Trying to smile.  Thankful for an eating baby.  Remembering to just breathe.  Comforted that Jesus came and He understands it all even when I don’t.


Make Something Day!



My mom and I have a time honored tradition of going shopping the day after thanksgiving. We used to go for 4 or 5 hours and I don’t think we’ve missed a year since I was in high school. We have waited in long, long lines. We have gotten free prizes for being insane enough to drag ourselves out of bed at 5 AM…mind you it used to be 6 AM. A few years ago however, retailers realized if people were crazy enough to start shopping at 6:00 then they were probably willing to give up one more hour of sleep. Don’t get me wrong, we have snatched up great deals on lots of things over the years. Especially the super sock sale at Fred Meyer, Kyler’s little chubby feet have long grown out of his socks but we are holding out for fresh ones the day after Thanksgiving. Socks are tough to find used, they tend to just wear out.

But as Christopher and I continue to find our own way and think about life and how we want to shape our family, one thing that constantly surfaces is a desire to be content with what we have and to not be sucked up by the materialism that has overtaken our country. Simple is almost always better. We have purged many, maybe most of our toys in recent months. Especially all the junky, cheap, plastic kind. What we have left is wood blocks, wooden train tracks and trains, wood puzzles, dress up/pretend play supplies, and a giraffe for Audrey named Sophie. So heading into the holiday season, wanting more than anything to pass on a legacy of what matters to our children and build new traditions that are uniquely ours, I have so much swirling around in my head on the matter. One place I love reading, with great ideas and thoughts on simple living, is called Mustard Seed Associates.

That’s where I found the link to “Make Something Day“. I love it. I am challenging myself to keep the list minimal for the 29th and to be inspired to make new efforts in the area of making instead of buying. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out!


“The Lord delights…in those whose HOPE is in Him” Psalm 147:11b

For 2008 I asked God one simple thing on New Year’s day. No long list of resolutions. No lofty goals I knew wouldn’t pan out. No weight loss ambitions (I was pregnant after all). I asked Him only for hope. In fact, in was more like begging. I pleaded for hope in all aspects of my life. My marriage, my parenting, my relationships, the lives of my children, for my neighbors…the list was long.

It seemed like a big request at the time, but it was all I could utter. An unusually kind friend gave me a plaque that had hung in her kitchen during a really difficult time in her life. It had been a precious belonging of hers, a reminder of what could be. I have hung it in my kitchen now for months. It was at first a reminder of what was barely a light on the horizon. Then of something so close I could taste it. And now-of something that has filled the corners of my heart. I am overwhelmingly grateful.

In thinking about today, so many I know are so worked up about the outcome of the election. My neighbor is losing sleep over it. I realize I’m in a bubble being a stay at home mama, but I am an educated one who still knows the gist of what is going on in the world. I was up at 1:00, 3:30 and 7 AM today, feeding a baby and praying for the day and being reminded that my hope is not in who wins today and it shouldn’t consume my whole day.

My hope isn’t in myself, in any of the amazing people I know, in my plans, in a thought or ideas, in my circumstances, in my abilities…in who leads our country. It is in Jesus, just Jesus. He has turned things around and brought transformation and healing in places of my life I never dreamed anyone could. He IS hope to me. He has poured out grace over my life, every single day.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27

Can we be done with this already?

Shane Claiborne, author and a founding partner of The Simple Way, a community of followers of Jesus who choose to live among and serve the poor of Philadelphia, has written a controversial book entitled “Jesus for President.”  In this book, Claiborne makes the claim that it should not matter as much who Christians vote for on Nov. 4th, but how they live their lives on Nov. 3rd and Nov. 5th.  I couldn’t agree more.  I believe it is important for followers of Jesus to be engaged in the political process but more so to be about the method and message of Jesus in their daily lives.  I personally can not wait until this election cycle is over, but I find myself being challenged by the words and life of Claiborne.  I will not, however, be writing in Jesus for President.


Greedy squirrels and a homeless man’s prayer

How’s that for random? Welcome to my world. One minute I’m getting bit by a two year old so hard it breaks my skin through a thick sweatshirt and tears instantly stream down my face from the pain and surprise. The next I’m laying in bed with Caleb and he whispers a quiet prayer after mine-I ask what exactly he prayed not having been able to quite hear it. He says, louder-for me to hear: “I prayed for you to understand me. Sometimes you don’t understand me.” I am still processing the incredible truth of his words.

Earlier today we went outside to bring some applesauce to our neighbor, they gifted us with an enormous bag of fresh walnuts two days ago. They had just been picked in Eastern Washington. He warned me to keep them outside and to burn the shells since he’d found black widow eggs in the shells many times before. I was sure to do that and waited for time to crack the nuts with my left, not disabled hand. I noticed this morning a couple were missing, I saw a squirrel with a whole walnut in his mouth. I thought how nice that we could share our nuts with them, they did after all have the difficult task of storing up food for winter right?

They must have told all their friends about our walnuts. In no time at all, they had removed every last walnut from our sack. I was shocked how it went from a couple missing to none left, there were over a hundred huge, whole walnuts to begin with. Greedy little buggers!


For a myriad of reasons, I ventured to the doctor this morning, the naturopathic physician to discuss kid issues, my hand, and a half a dozen other things. On my way there I was stopped on the exit ramp at a red light. The same homeless guy who is almost always standing there was leaning on a pole next to my car. His sign read “Homeless and hungry. Please Help. Need Mech job”. I rarely have much cash but vowed to pull my one dollar bills out and give them to him. I rolled my window down, handed him the money and said “God bless you” like I always do. Then I roll the window up.

Only today I didn’t roll it up.

Me: “My husband is looking for a job too. It’s hard times for a lot of people isn’t it?”

Homeless guy (walking close to my car to talk): “Oh yes, it sure is. People think I get rich standing out here. I used to make twenty, thirty bucks a day. Enough to do my laundry, get some food, take the bus (to and from the shelter downtown). Just yesterday I stood out here over 5 hours, didn’t get a single penny.”

Me: “That must have been really hard.” (Now thinking that my current uncertainty is really nothing in comparison to the lifestyle that is staring me in the face-literally)

Homeless guy: “Yeah, I mean I know people need to eat and all and do what’s best for their family but man it’s hard.”

Me (at a loss for words, I bet it’s hard, really, I have no idea how hard it is to sleep in a shelter and hope for enough spare change to get some cheap food at McDonald’s): “I hope today is a better day.”

Homeless guy: “Me too. What’s your husband’s first name?”

Me (looking puzzled)

Homeless guy: “What’s his first name? So I can say a prayer for him to find a job.”

Me (humbled beyond my imagination): “Chris. His name is Chris. What’s your name, I’ll do the same for you.”

Homeless guy: “Scott, thank you. Bless you.”

Me? No, bless you. I may think a lot is at stake in my life. I may feel afraid (I do, every day), of what’s to come. I may wonder where we might live if things don’t work out the way I want them to. But really, seriously-my parents, my sisters, my friends would help us with food or a place to stay or anything else we TRULY needed. We actually will be just fine, whatever that might look like. We will be together and we will be thankful.

We are accustomed to such over abundance in this culture, in this country. So much is unnecessary. This morning’s divine encounter with a man named Scott was an incredible reminder for me of what matters.

Food, clothes, transportation and shelter.

That’s about it.

Pretty simple isn’t it?

Those who love well

A great many things have been mulling around in my mind and heart the past week and a half. Life is so full of change and change is so full of pain and pain is so full of possibility. As our life changes greatly and we anticipate new things, I am still in the ‘change is full of pain’ part but in my heart I know I will get to the next place. As I’ve observed people’s words and attitudes for the past few days, one common thread has become so clear to me. The thread of pain.

One friend, not an intimate friend but one I’ve known quite a while, responded instantly to my text message Thursday that said basically this “I am wondering if you aren’t too busy today and are possibly able to come over and help me. I am overwhelmed with laundry and dishes and pain.” She was in her car right away, brought lunch, cleaned my disastrous kitchen, folded load after load of laundry and exuded peace and compassion the whole time she was here. Her pain? The one that comes to mind immediately is her time spent in Africa working among AIDS victims, she will never be the same.

Another young man who when I first met him he struck me as unusual in the best sense. He talked so fondly of his family. He was so delightful to chat with, so comfortable with our family, asked thoughtful questions and played amazingly with our kids. He seemed out of the ordinary to me and I was blessed by it. His pain (that I had no idea about until today)? His father died a couple years ago, leaving I think 5 kids behind.

Last week, when I missed a meeting I’d looked forward to for weeks, after all the kids were in bed I heard knocking on my door. I’d cried the better part of the day and was still in the previous nights’ pajamas. Two women who’d been at the meeting met me at the door, came in to sit on my couch and love me. One held my head to her shoulder as I sobbed for a long time. The other calmed down my confused and upset children. They both extended the arms of Jesus to me in the most physical, tangible way. They had no expectations, they stayed until almost midnight knowing Chris was working super late and I would be alone. Their pain? Lots of things-wounds from people, from loss and from deep struggles in their marriages.

Another whole family has showed great empathy and understanding and care to us. Their daughter cried on my couch with me this week too, another in her kindness and hugs made me cry at church. Their pain? Having to walk through something similar to us several years ago among other things as well.

Last Sunday, lots of people had no words for me, wouldn’t talk with me, walked right by even after making eye contact. But some people did. The ones who did, almost universally, were the ones who have been softened and molded by the presence of great pain. I have consistently watched myself change as year after year it seems, there is a different struggle, a different thing that makes my heart ache. It is through my hurt that God softens my heart to others and is able to better extend love through me. Sometimes I’d like to say, that’s enough-I don’t want any more. But the honest truth is I love what God does in my heartbreak. He doesn’t waste an ounce of it. He lets it touch the lives of other people in ways beyond my understanding. He always brings about good in the midst of what I can only see as bad. He meets me and calms my heart.

That I love. That I want more of. In my pain I want to continue to become one who loves well and can share His love in the most tangible ways.