Sand Castles

For as long as I can remember Thomas plays the same game with the kids at the beach. They build a sand castle , they create walls around it, moats and towers . Sometimes there is seaweed to adorn the corners, maybe shells . The point of this game is to work as hard as you can to build a structure that the tide doesn’t take down. The kids run around like engineers calling out -we have a breach on the front wall!! And then they build it back up. Sometimes , the tide is too strong, or the castle has been built to close to the sea, and we lose it altogether. I never knew how big a deal, how important a memory this was , until this year. Man child suggested we go down one evening and build… They threw themselves into the sand castle like it was the most important thing in the world. Everyone doing their own jobs. And this year we introduced the newest member of the family to our tradition.  

     To my babies who are not babies, and to Layla who holds my heart ,

We will build you , we will guide you, and support you, adding the wet sand of love and strength to your structure until you are strong enough to stand on your own. A beautiful creation , to be marveled at.  And when the tide comes in , and it will , without fail, and it threatens to tear you down, wash you away, we will be there to support your walls. We will help you repair the breaches , and rebuild when neccessary. I could have never known 20 years ago , when Thomas started this tradition , what exactly it would mean to me. One more reason I adore him. 


My past is like a city in ruins, and my future is written in gold script. Beautiful and bold. Which way should I be looking ? I’m looking forward with a firm grip on the here and now. I don’t have to worry , because the plan is laid out. The crooked paths made straight . A hand to hold. Beautiful thoughts that carry so much weight. In every day real life , there will be struggles, there will also be enough grace . There will be sadness, but the joy is there too , every day, little moments like bubbles rising … Joy. You have to have eyes open to see it, you can’t be looking backward . For now , there is wind, and sun, and a sun hat ! There is a boy running around here saying “mom”, there is a girl at school who gets up and faces 9 th grade bravely each day, and a young man who comes home from 11th grade and still holds me tight. There is a young woman who is finding her way, day by day and learning to love in the best way. These are the bubbles of joy rising over me right now , today. I won’t look away. 

” I am so strong” giggle giggle 

it’s one of those rare days. The ones where you feel like you can get it all done. That anything is possible … Like getting that 30lb bag of dog food in your cart? (You know who you are.) The truth is ANYTHING is possible , every day . With God. I am asking for a greater capacity to receive the strength that he has for me. An increased ability to see what he has placed inside me. Bigger eyes to to see ME with. Bigger ears to hear HIM with. So, today , I celebrate all of you out there right now, in car line, at the grocery store , at the dmv, the post office, in your office , at home teaching. Women , strong and beautiful , with words of life for those around you. Women with arms strong enough to hold your babies and your husbands and basically , the universe together. Women strong enough to call out the strong in each other ,even on the days that we feel less than. I love this day, and I’m going to remember it. 

The beautiful mess.

We had another good day. I woke up sick, and still… It was a good day. Filled with beautiful messy things. Dishes , dogs , science, and math, attitudes, kisses, traffic jams, and projects . I wouldn’t trade a minute of the life I have been given, the hearts that I am stewarding ….are my treasures. Some days I don’t say that on this blog, or out loud. But I always know it, and I hold onto it. I’m right where I am supposed to be. Every morning is new ! And who knew that science used to be filled with GOD ? Isaiah and I have been learning that this week. How lucky am I to be 40 and still learning something new everyday? No, I haven’t taken some kind of happy pill today. I’m just remembering 9/11 , and my friends whose lives have ended too soon, and the ones still struggling today to keep their faith. Remembering all of that, and sitting peacefully and gratefully in my beautiful mess.

Shake your tree

I have parented / am parenting four children. There have been exhausting seasons like when they were 8, 3, 1, and newborn. I was tired, I have very few memories of that time. There have been chaotic seasons like when they were 13, 8, 5, and 3. Going to small group with out my kids saved my life. My children all got saved at early ages, the average between them was 5 years old. I was tickled, we celebrated that life choice, and then tried to guide them through what that meant. I am now in a season of prayer for my older kids that they will see that choice they made so long ago….it does come with strings, it is a surrendering of a life to Christ. When your children are little… that seems simple, bible school and camp , songs about the power in the blood, and it feels like it is all still in your hands as the parent.. It is not a one and done my little babies. A life of surrender breaks down into daily surrender, and the good news is there will be evidence. God is so scientific ! He created science, he would not leave us with out proof of life in him. That , to me is an AHA moment. The proof is in the fruit you bear. So child like and simple. In  this season , I am reminded of these things, because now that they are 21, 16, 14, and 12…the fruit that is growing on my tree isn’t always fruit of the spirit, sometimes its less than patient, and less than kind. And so , this too is an exhausting season, but for different reasons. They  think they know everything, literally. I will end this sermon with this thought…Some of today’s youth are blinded by the message of GRACE ( I love grace, it is a gift and that is my love language, so thankful for God’s Grace) But hear this, IF YOU DON’T KNOW HIM,( JESUS CHRIST), GRACE and all its loveliness , isn’t yours. If you know him, you will bear fruit that is sweet and good, you will exhibit self control, and patience…or at least try to. The job of parenting never ends, as far as I can tell. And I would be doing my kids a disservice if I pretended that at 5 years old they could fully understand what a life surrendered to Christ meant. But at 21, 16, 14, and 12 they should have a pretty good idea what it looks like. I should apologize for the preachiness of this post, but I won’t because it has been weighing so heavily on me, and we have had numerous conversations about it at home, some things have to be said. If you want all that Jesus is offering, grace and mercy….KINGDOME LIFE, you have to KNOW him. When the wind blows, and the storms of life rage, what kind of fruit falls off your tree?

Around the world…



  It was a slow come back today. Spring break was wonderful, and tiring ! I told Isaiah last night that I wanted the two of us to snuggle our way into this Monday morning. And so we did. He got in bed with me, and we lounged, we rubbed feet, and talked about Spring break. We got up, we eased on into coffee and waffles, and started school. It was slow going but good. I had every intention of going to work in my office after I had done the instruction part of our day. I really did. But then, it was beautiful, and we took the dogs for a long walk….obviously, I needed a shower after that. As I came down ready to face the next part of my day, I heard the thump   thump   thump   that means my son is taking a break from his work to play basketball. Yeah, I had two choices …get mad that he was playing, or get holier and join him.  I walked outside, and he started explaining the game around the world. I watched for a minute, and then he said ” Wanna play? “…  Why yes, yes I do !! He was surprised, and tickled.  He encouraged me on the hardest shots, and gave me pointers, he made me feel better when I missed, he showed me great empathy, and then when I beat him, he cheered, and was so happy for me, went so far as to say maybe I should play women’s basketball. ( I am 5’3 on a good day) My son looked at me and said, you are awesome, I can’t think of another mom that would come outside and play basketball, not just one game but two. Then he hugged me, kissed me, and thanked me. That’s not everyday, but that was today. I never made it to work, I went around the world with Isaiah instead.

Truth and dirt.

ImageSometimes I have a piss poor attitude. Don’t get me wrong, it’s justified. That doesn’t make it right. I am giving ownership of the afore mentioned attitude to Jesus. I have to. It’s toxic. I have been so stressed out over every little decision that my kids are making lately, that I literally have an ulcer. That is not abundant life. That’s BULL. And now, I  have to give credit where credit is due…Erin had such a timely word this week ! She said that the Lord had showed her that she was no longer the blossoms on the tree, but that she was the root system now…growing deep underground. As she spoke, I envisioned what she was saying…my mind could see and even smell the dark, rich soil where the roots are growing, and spreading through. It was beautiful and revealing. There is a season of flowering, but it gives way to a time of maturing, of standing strong. I have given my kids all my attention, all my heart, and now I have to trust that the Father is holding them. I don’t want to squeeze the life out of them, I want to hold on loosely. Now is the time for me to enjoy, my root system is in place….the sweet fragrance of the deep is all around….aaahhh.

To my kids…

  I will hold onto you until it is uncomfortable for us both. I will tell you when you are wrong, but I will SHOUT when you are right. I will listen to you with my spirit along with my ears. I will study you, find out what makes you tick, what upsets you, and what brings you crazy happiness. I will sneak around, and hide presents on your birthday, and Christmas. I will get up before you on those days , and sit with my camera aimed, just to catch a glimpse of your joy. I will nurse you when you are sick, and pick you up when you fall. I will talk funny, tell jokes, stand on my head…if it will make you laugh. I will cry, I will pray, I will go to battle against everyday enemies and lies that come against you. I will walk through fire to get to you.  I will nag you about grades, and manners, and kindness, and the fruit on your trees. All because you have been entrusted to me. I will kiss you on the lips until you ask me to stop, I will hold your clothes up to my nose even though you don’t smell like babies anymore. I will look into your eyes while you are telling me that story from class today, I will be listening, but also blessing your spirit…with all that you are, and all that God calls you. You will pretend not to notice the tug on your heart as our spirits touch. But I will know. I will watch you grow, and try to hang on loosely. I love you all so much.

   Almost grown on my own girl – you have a daughter now, I hope that you will see how heavy the love can be. Having that butter bean is the bravest , most valiant thing you have done yet. She has changed all of us. I could not  love either of you any more if you had come right through me.

Man child-  you are the truest young man I have ever met. You go ALL IN. You love with everything you have. You would be the one to run into a burning building to save others. It’s who you have always been.

Little big blue eyed girl – I love your joy, I drink it in, just like I breathe in your hair at bedtime. You love me well, and I am grateful. You impact people, it’s a privilege, and a responsibility, but you handle it with grace.

Little Lion Boy- You are my baby, who is not a baby. You love on me with a fierceness that surprises me. Your hands are the softest, and strongest al at the same time. You are a contradiction. You keep me on my toes. Your love of justice encourages me. You wage wars on your fears and it amazes me. Love you so.

                            That is all. If you didn’t know it already, you are all my treasures.