{Featured Series}Slices Abroad: beyond my own slice of pie on my own perfect little plate


What ever you did to the least  you did it to me.

Whatever you did not do to the least- you did not do to me.

Book of Matthew.Chapter 25.Words of Christ.

I’m part of the prayer team for this Uganda-based lulu tree organization

founded by Emily Wierenga.   {please click to read more}


   Because my little world is not the whole world.

This is part of a series I am working on.

Scroll down to read more.

BREAK_five minute friday


I started this blog over three years ago, naming it Many Slices, because I saw my life as a divided whole; and really it was, and is.

Child of God



Switcher of loads of laundry

Homework helper

Ministry leader


Needer of community

Needer of solitude

These neat little labels I give myself:

they are stacking up

spilling over

getting complicated

I try to reshuffle them into neat laminated categories

“Wait I am an introvert, but I am called to lead…”

“Wait I am a Wife first, but I have four daughters who are much more persistent…”

ect. ect.

I find myself trying to operate out of a halved brain.

This halved brain keeps fracturing in jagged pieces.

Most days my life does not resemble neat tidy symmetrical pieces of a lovely pie.

It looks like the crumbs left on the floor after a party with everyone too freakin tired to clean up afterward.

At least on the inside.

That is what I feel.

On the outside I still look stellar.

And it is not even all the time.

It sneaks up on me at odd times and I feel a strange disconnect with everyone important in my life.

This morning, an hour before I went on the blog, I prayed:

“Jesus You said You were healing balm” { I know its in the Bible somewhere…possibly Old Testament prophetic metaphor? I don’t know but I said it anyway }.

“I need my mind healed of all these fractionated pieces I keep trying to keep in rotation…because it is not working”

I know we woman always must wear many hats.

I know part of the promise of having the power of Christ is “I can do all things”. {Philippians 4}

But I don’t know how to do it outwardly, and then maintain a wholeness of  mental peace inwardly.

I do not know how to be praying for 13 millions persecuted Christians, and little girls being sex trafficked and abortion doctors one moment, and then switch gears and help my one daughter with math, then gently but sternly direct my youngest to calm down for the 5th time before bedtime, and then finish a conversation with my husband about his day, the next moment.

Because they both matter incredibly.

But they operate in such different extreme spheres.

I get the need to have a broken spirit, or  “poor in spirit”,

Jesus says we are blessed for having one; in fact it is imperative. {Matthew 5}

But I don’t think we are called for a broken mind.

Because it is said of Jesus that: He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed. {Isaiah 53}

And so there it is:

I do what Christians have always done from the beginning, I wait in hope.

The whole point of the break, is to give room for the heal, after all.


fill the cracksLinking up this trying-to-feel-like-spring-Friday with Kate for another installment of Five Minute Friday.



DSCN0335I am going to “surprise the tuna salad”* out of my number one reader today: My husband, and do a post all about him.

*thank you Mo Williams- author of the Pigeon Books- for your awesome expression.

Nine years ago we put on an addition because our family was swelling to five, and no one wanted to buy our little, slightly out-dated, adorable, cape cod cottage. With the extra square footage, 900 plus square feet, built nearly entirely by said ” number one reader” above, I got a lovely sewing room in the deal. Complete with French doors that allowed my adoring family to look in, and me to keep them out.

Then I stopped sewing.

However, we are advocates of creativity, and while we may deny our four children things like buying their clothes at the mall, video games during the the week, and Cheez-it crackers products {they kinda hate me over that one}, we DO buy them copious amounts of craft and art supplies, and allow them to make a hideous mess with it, often.

So, the sewing room turned into “craft room”; dominated by the little people.

Which is another way of saying it was always disgusting and cluttered and the floors we meticulously restored and then checked- destroyed.

Then, the babe got older, and yet another room, the “toy room” was no longer needed.

We considered making the toy room the craft room and using the French door room as a space for the big guy. Then, as quickly as you can turn around, I decided to home school my big girls for two years.

We needed a home school room of course.

Then, they went back to school.

This little room with beautiful French doors and sad destroyed hard wood floors hosted a lot of cool stuff and creative endeavors.

However, the big guy in the house:

The only one without estrogen-fueled emotional issues, still had all his crap in our old, drafty garage.

Until now.


{yep. that is a princess guitar you see propped in the corner..there is no escaping pink}

During our long, seemingly endless, upstate New York winter, this room has been renamed and re-purposed again as a music room.

Tax return money afforded some sound equipment and this gave way to Tim trying out his vocal cords.

He has been playing around with learning the fundamentals of the old vintage style  “tube amps”, which are the mechanical method of sound amplification, circa 1968 and earlier.

We all know that the hipsters are making old school cool again, so to buy a vintage tube amp…which means 60 years or older…cost a pretty penny.

None of our pennies are very pretty.

Our pennies are more like the ugly red-headed step-child.

So what did he do?

He sold a child {we have lots}.

No, not really.

Fully operating tube amps may be costly, but when one starts to look around, one realizes that there are modifiable ones out there, a plenty.

Think, buying old funky curtains at Salvo, to get vintage fabric (that cost about 20 bucks a yard these days at a specialty shop) for a few bucks, and them cutting out the good fabric yourself, to then make your own vintage sewing piece.

Except Tim bought two old small organs that did not work, on Craigslist.

A little homework,

A little tearing apart,

A little applied electrical know how,

And voila!

Vintage amp.

For his new creative music room.

Every single one of us-

because we are made in the image of The Creator

has a need to be creative.

The range of what “creative” is wide and varied and often leads you to surprising bunny trails.

Like picking up how to play an instrument in your 30s, that leads to another instrument, that leads to singing on the worship team at church, that leads to recording music, that leads to how to make your own vintage amp.

This process, I am convinced, is just what stressed, weary, responsible, adults, in a hurry up, rushed, modern world, need.

Needs that are not being met deflate our soul, our inner man.

Creativity, in solitude, is a human need to fill us up again.

It stills the inner, when our outer is flying in many directions, responding to other necessary needs.

But it seems odd and indulgent.

Something reserved, surely, for professionals who earn money for their time.

I am reading Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea.

Am so enjoying her deep insightful words describing what it is to be human.

Writing on modern whirlwind pressures (and this was published seventy years ago!) and the need for solitude I underlined the following passage:

The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets time aside for a business appointment, a trip to the hair dresser, or social engagement, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot because that is my time to be alone; one is considered rude, egotistical, and strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect, when one has to apologize for it, make excuses or hide the fact that one practices it- like a secret vice!

Solitude is needed for spiritual awareness and growth.

And there is something set apart-a scratching at something deep and profound-like connecting to God, the creator, when we create, by ourselves.

It spills over.

Tim is happier.

His brain is being engaged in a new way, which science has proven slows down the aging process.

No matter how “pointless”

how it does not “make you money”

forcing yourself to close the door and do something creative is a discipline that pays off in surprising ways.

And in an obvious, tangible, take the easy short cut, materialistic world,

don’t be surprised if a lot of people don’t get it.



PLAN_five minute friday


Our 15-year anniversary is this July.

We planned on going away to NYC for four days {our longest trip away from the kids yet} to celebrate.

Yet, on Wednesday we booked a snug little room on the upper, upper West Side for the last week in March, in other words in about two weeks!

Because come March, every March, I need a plan.

The lethargic sameness of winter comes to a breaking point.

Then, the clocks spring forward.

That faint dull circle, more of a yellow smear in gray clouds, begins to wax strong and its rays actually warm my upturned face, instead of just making me squint.

Like sap rising, I feel the influx of something buried and waiting begin to rise in me.

I remember how much we love Summer here in upstate NY.

We now have a pool.

The girls breed bunnies.

The vegetable and herb garden gets enlarged each May, as we ignore our shrinking square footage of grass.

We live on our deck and rarely have dinner before 7pm.

We take day trips to Ithaca, NY, home of Cornell University, and the unofficial “little Vermont” of New York, often.

I remembered that we always plan to do less {no kids activities, sports, music, horses, or every camps}.

Tim rarely works Fridays in the long months of Summer.

So we changed our plan.

Because it is very obvious:

We need that cool paradox of having the wide space of being alone in a busy cramped city of millions, together, right now.

It will only be my third visit; the second with just Tim, but there is something about New York City I adore.

When we return the calender will say April and Spring Gardening Plans can start in earnest.

A plan, nothing life changing or critical, but light and pleasurable, can make all the difference.

Sun shine

sun shine timStop.

Linking up with Kate for another installment of Five Minute Friday.


Slices Abroad_COMPASSION

So I started this series of mine quite awhile ago.

This Slices Abroad thing.

This getting over myself

which is the crux of the Christian faith.

I have so many emotions

such an array of deep  theological ideas

packaged in such simple life

in such a simple person

I don’t know where to start,

so I find myself letting it lay.

Except it does not stay still and neat and polite, does it?

But really, ever single writer is just a teller of stories when it is all said and done.

So here is just a simple true story that illustrates something that is deeper than  any of us can really comprehend.



It was just another cold weekend in February.

February in upstate New York.

There was nothing to do.

There was no money to entertain ourselves with retail distractions and eating out.

It was in the negatives again, so sending the children out to play was out of the question.

And I was feeling guilty.

Guilty because this past Christmas, the first Christmas I found myself working, retail, I was so stressed, so Bah Humbug, about “American Christmas.” I never got around to making the time and budgeting the money to send a Christmas letter and give an extra twenty bucks for a Christmas gift for our sponsor sons we support, something we usually do every November.

Luis in Columbia.

Kokou in Togo.

Prince in Rwanda.

Those are our sponsor sons.

And I, rich Christian American,  didn’t acknowledge them on the world wide celebration of our Savior’s birthday.

But the hope of Christmas is fully redeemed in the resurrection of Easter, right?

So, on this particular bitter, bored, broke, Saturday in February I was hoping to redeem myself with the hope of Easter wrapped up in a photo shoot with bunnies in a bucket.

bunny in a bucket

Sponsor kids love, love getting letters.

Photographs with letter are the icing on the cake.

Photos with cute bunnies and even cuter girls?

creme da la creme

basket head

I announced in true authoritative Mama fashion for the big girls to get the bunnies from their outside pens and bring them inside, and ” everyone brush your hair and take those slobby pajamas off” because I had suddenly decided to orchestrate an Easter photo shoot.

{It’s moments like these I love being a Mother. Only a Mother could so suddenly demand such varied, random, immediate actions and get results}.

Baskets were hulled down from icy attics.

Colorful quilts were laid down on cleared floors.

Marching orders set and I took pictures.

The four girls plus our ever present neighbor girl were allowed to haul out paints and brushes and the good water color paper to make Easter cards.

I wrote three letters. Pretty much identical, destined to land in Columbia, Togo, and Rwanda in about six weeks.

I always include a  scripture, not planned, but whatever seems right at the moment.

Writing a letter to children of a different nationality, of a different culture, that needs to be translated is a little bit…what is the word for it?…stifling?…if you think about it too long.

Rather complicated

time consuming

and does it really matter?

The first introduction letter is easy.

But what do you say after you the preliminaries are covered?

It’s like that awkward pause in small talk;  but continents apart.

But I have learned, as in polite unsure conversation, to dig down and continue anyway.

Because everything is not about me, and my comfort level, and my perception, in my contained perfect little slice of life.

I trust in the bigness of this world, the seven billion people who populate it, overseen by an even bigger God, expressed in the grandness of Christ on the cross then Christ leaving the tomb, and the power that came to perfect completion in the tongues of Holy Spirit fire that fell on Pentecost.

Over two years in, we still write. In starts and stutters with months and months between communicating.

I am always surprised at what words come out when the family gathers with pens, paper, crayons, envelops, Bible and postage stamps.

{No small feat for a family of six with four of its members under the age 14. Nor is it a quick crammed in to-do list requirement.}

More surprising still:

That Saturday with the bunnies, prompted with guilt, it brought genuine joy, despite the fact that, to quote my husband I “turn into Stalin” when I take family photos.

Seriously, I am not friendly…”get out of the picture now!”…”why are you making that face you look constipated”!…Tim, no one gives a crap about your hair just get in here and DON’T slouch” !

It was what our family needed.

More than white American guilt and regimented Christian good works, that Saturday afternoon, purposely altered to not go about doing what we normally do, to send three some 100- word- letters to children half way around the world, wishing Happy Easter, and trying to explain why we have a rabbit in a pastel bucket, and my militant photo shoot,  all of it, in all our human folly and lack, reminded me of the great truth:

Getting your eyes off yourself is the best way to feel better.

And when it is done in:

The Name of Christ,

Spurred by the Love of God,

Finely tuned by The Prompting of The Holy Spirit

we became part of something more lasting than the feel good high of “paying it forward”.

It is truly partaking in the active work of Christ’s work and goodness in a world that to me often feels stagnant and hopelessly broken.

But because there is something of Jesus Himself-

when we take time

do something ridiculous

press toward something not easily grasped

for something that gives no tangible fruit,

ALL for the LEAST.

These three sponsor sons of ours.

We hope to have four within the next few years.

Four sponsor sons to a make a gender equivalent for our four biological daughters.

collage Easter sponsor

It has changed our, and our children’s lives.

April is Compassion’s month of Sponsor advocacy.

We sponsored Prince last year through World Help, because of the prompting of blogger and writer Emily Wiergna, who on a Compassion sponsored trip to visit her own sponsor child, followed the Spirit’s leading to form an all but unprecedented mother sponsorship non-profit. Their line is “Preventing tomorrow’s orphan’s by equipping today’s mothers”.

I really don’t talk about our sponsor boys that much.

Misplaced “let your good works be done is secret”?

But it has been such an enormous part of my maturing faith, of understanding my own unhappiness with the bland experience of American church culture, that it is silly to NOT talk to about it. And if I come off as “judge-y “or “preachy” to you, well that is really not my problem because it certainly is not my intent.

Considering praying and then clicking on the



World Help


Lulu Tree links,

and be prepared to be surprised.



VISIT_five minute friday

DSCN0084The sun is high and bright and completely uninhabited

and yet

it still reads in the negatives on my phone.

And so I stay inside.

There is always something to do after all

and the audible waves of quiet that waft around when there are no children with in these walls is such a welcome sound.

The wood stove glows hot and radiates red and orange comfort, even in a circle of dusty ash.

But there is no denying these long winter months, a welcome respite in some ways, directly after the crazy retail chaos of Christmas:

It isolates.

The lack of exchange of words, eye contact, relating of what is going on, and how we feel about this life, affects me.

I liken it a tangle ball of yarn:

my thoughts

that loop around

hook and weave

my emotions.

A visit,

person to person,

eyeball to eyeball

word to word

has some sort of power to untangle and bust out knots inside of me that I did not know were clogging up the works in my mind.

Even if it is with people I am not well acquainted with, and nothing serious is discussed.

Even those quick exchanges {usually about the weather!} in miserable gray frigidness at bus stops with my daughter as we wait, bundled like Eskimos on rock salt and ice, for the arrival of the bus, melt that hard yet droopy weight in me that comes at the end of every February.


it is the opposite of


And it does not even have to be lengthy, deep, and with someone you know well.

It is just human.


Linking up with Kate for another installment of Five Minute Friday.

The online equivalent of The Body Visiting.


Watch and Pray

DSCN0241  Middle school:

the two words deliver hefty punches with immediate images.

Heavy and tedious.

Like a backpack bulging, slung over, with dreaded algebra homework lurking within.

For females, the image evoke scenes of social awkwardness, screaming insecurities that we alone can hear, but are sure the whole wide world can spot when we walk into a room.

With these images resurfacing in my own memory bank as my two oldest rounded out the last years of elementary school, I decided to do a two year stint of homeschooling with my two oldest daughters.

My oldest for grades 6th and 7th.

My second oldest for grades 5th and 6th, together.

Based almost entirely on a prompting that it would be good for them.

Good for us.

Not a sheltering, per so, but a shoring up.

A deliberate reminding of who they are and how God sees them. What is true in this world. How to think and process and use logic. To laugh and tell excessive jokes based on the USA show Psych!

To learn how to bake bread and do the laundry properly, and breed bunnies for profit.


For the most part, I loved it. We grew closer. We would have days where the discussions would go for hours. They received a top notch education, and I realized how much I still love the academic.

But then once again, life shifted, as life does.

I started working part time just in the evenings. I did not think it would have the slightest impact on my teaching during the day. I never schooled in the evening, after all.

But it did.

Work was good for me, for us as a family. The frenzy of Christmas came in all its retail and madness and I could barely function from the stress of it. Six months left in the school year, and plans to put the girls back in public school come the following fall, as was the plan for the beginning, started to not look like a good idea.

Not for me. Not for them. Not for us as a family. Something had to give.

My second oldest went back to the snug confines of an elementary classroom down the street in the New Year.  Where they still pass out cupcakes on their birthday and jump rope at recess. My oldest went to the big impersonal middle school across town that every 7th grader in the entire district attend.

Dropping her off at middle school that first day and walking away down a shiny floored hallway, while she practiced her locker number for the ninth time was unbelievably hard.

Sad panicky tears.

I can’t even concretely articulate why. Part sadness of how grown up she is now; in middle school. Part panic of how harsh these children, desperately trying to play the part of worldly adult, are.

But weeks prior to me walking away with tears we went in together for a visit. I had never even set foot in the school before that day.  We walked into the front office and were directed back to the guidance counselor’s office. Crossing over the thresh hold of the lobby into the offices I immediately was struck that the atmosphere of the staff was positive and in control. The counselor was frank and upbeat. I exhaled fully for the first time that day.

The school does have issues.

There are multiple fights in the hallway which my daughter has accidentally been jostled near and nearly struck.

Children casually drop the F-bomb in their conversations amongst each other like Barney giving out hugs, and the teachers do not say a word.

From the way she describes it, walking down the hallways and going to the girls bathroom is bit like trying to navigate the island in Lord of the Flies.

I drilled her everyday those first couple weeks with specifics and would give her no rest until I received specific answers.

Most of the teachers had control of the classrooms. This accounts why she was so taken aback at “how mean they are”. Zero tolerance of pulling crap.

“Good” I said.

She is there to be educated, after all.

I still do not like it, but I am not afraid of it.

I keep praying for one good Christian friend so they can “sharpen each other” like the Bible says believers need to have.

She went to the IF:Gathering conference with me a few weekends past, even though it was not a “teen thing” but a “woman thing”.

I don’t buy the whole teen culture needing a “teen friendly” God.

She is in the world and has to make the choice herself not to be in it by treading softly with integrity down rough hallways and graffiti bathrooms, leaving just a slight imprint where ever she goes; an impression of something strangely set apart and whole, often without saying a word.

That is what I pray.

No amount of youth geared church activities or a ten step strategy on how to be a good teen Christian will neatly achieve that. However, as abstract as it is, every time I pray for my oldest, that is what I see.

So that is what I keep praying.

I brought her to the  IF: Gathering as part of her birthday present since that week she and I had our 13th and 35th birthday, respectively.

I booked us a hotel even though it was ten minutes away. With a pool of course because swimming in an 85 degree pool in February is too good to pass up. People were surprised I would bring a 13 year old to the event. I explained it in terms of this:

In the Hebrew faith when a boy turns 13 they have a Bar Mitzvah.

A coming into manhood that includes his faith walk.

I ancient times, it was around this age he would start to learn directly In The Temple.

That idea would not let me go: Female gentile Bar Mitzvah?

So my daughters do church with us.

Yes they go downstairs during the sermon, but only every other week.

I brought her to IF: Gathering, because I felt it was relevant not for just woman in church, but The Church. I want her to live out being The Church; not just a moral teen with a crash test course in Apologetic 101.

Like it or not, middle school aged children are throw in adult situations and problems, see the ugliness of adult sin.

Let’s give them adult faith.

Let them be around adult women simply talking about their faith and their testimony in a fallen world.

It is what The Church has always done.

Why have we made it so complicated, by making it so curtailed?

We have taken away the beauty and power of the Body coming together and being real and simple.

And so every morning I watch from the art room window in our house to see her stand alone, cold winter morning breath billing around her uncovered head, because she refuses to wear a hat, as she waits for the big yellow bus to cart her away.

And I feel torn.

She has to walk her faith herself, but I can’t just throw her to the wolves and hope for the best, can I?

Our children are inundated with sexual images every time they connect to wifi.

They hear adult crude language pretty much as soon as they leave the confines of their home from peers and social outlets.

We worry if they will to be able to stand for their faith in the public school when it comes to the origin of life, the sanctity of life, the sanctity of sex, why believing in Christ alone is not the same as religious intolerance; something most adults have trouble doing, including myself.

Then we exclude our youth from participating in the beauty of the body blending together in corporate worship, so they can go downstairs for “teen jam” worship.

Prayer group is for old ladies with too many hours to fill.

If they hear a sermon it has to dumbed down and entertaining, with excessive culture euphemisms so they “can relate” and “not  get bored or confused”. Which by the way always comes off as contrived and lame.

I believe my generation stands as grim testament that taking kids out of the world into a secluded G-rated,smiley-face-Jesus-world, does not work.

As more and more parents of my generation are, with ringing hands and jelly knees and acid stomach, feel led to allow our precious fledglings out of the nest to awkwardly test their wings in a world that is not holy but harsh, let us do some other things different too.

Let’s not buy a teen devotional Bible for them. Blow off the dust on the simple one sitting on the bookshelf, and open it up when they have questions.

Let’s not be satisfied with youth group leaders making The Word relevant.

Let’s not be guilted into ordering another family devotion that someone at church recommends, that is so cookie cutter and prepared that all you have to do is read a paragraph and tell them to turn to a Bible passage and ask “what do you think about that verse” {Because it says in parenthesis to ask your kid that} while everyone squirms in awkward silence, hoping this will be over soon.

Homeschooling showed me how much children, teens, want to listen to what their parents’ think or believe about something.

They want to figure it out, and are okay, if not immediately comforted or informed, if you cannot answer a question about your faith.

The Lord has spoke very clearly to me as I wrestle with just what I need to do and exactly how I need to love my children as they grow up. It was very, very simple:

“Let them know you see them and that you believe in them”.

We as a family, do not set aside family devotion times.

We just don’t. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but it never, ever, feels natural. I did with just the girls when we were homeschooling, and that was great. One of the best things to come out of our home schooling. But the whole family in our loud, crashing evenings, with dinner seldom on before 7pm?…not gonna happen.

I’m sure there are many, many families that do, and it’s a precious and meaningful time.

I just can’t bring myself to do it.

However, being available for them, by our family purposely doing less running around stuff, including church activities, does not exactly come natural either. It most definitely is not fun or the least bit warm and fuzzy most days, because being home a lot with noisy, emotional, bickering four daughters, leaves me so tired and cranky I feel like being a mother is the most unsuited job for me possibly.


But I have four daughters aged 13 to 6, and they are my responsibility. I always love them. However,  I need God’s grace, and Him showing me how much He not only loves, but likes me, to like them in turn.


The exact sentiment applies to our marriage.

So every day, after day, after day, I not only do dishes and laundry, and homework, and run to horse riding and piano lessons, and work a few evenings a week too, but I show up fully for them.

To listen and counsel,  and answer question, and listen and listen some more mainly.

It is never planned, or curtailed to a lesson format.

It is full of fights, and yelling and throwing things and crappy apologies followed sometimes by genuine tearful apologies {from both the girls and myself}.

Tim and I, we live out our life and our faith with four moody gangly girls in the midst of it.

And when these girls walk out the door, with stuffed backpacks, skinny jeans, and still not wearing a sensible hat to be carted away where I cannot follow, I watch them shuffle out


I pray.

to pray


The Inconvenience Of Snow

inconvience of snowWe refuse to buy or borrow a snow blower.

Call it stubborn pride in doing hard things with your own muscle and sweat



Because with four kids in three different schools, two work schedules, two-thousand plus square feet of house to clean and organize in attempt to keep from imploding in stuff, and three meals for six people to plan and prepare; a lot from scratch these days, an hour of more of moving snow from one patch to another is not very practical.

It is inconvenient actually, because I never plan on shoveling our long narrow driving, again!

For the first time in my life, after purchasing my annual daily planner notebook at Barnes and Noble at 50% off in January, I am actually using it! My days are a whirlwind of schedules and “don’t forgets” that grows longer as the children get older, in a brain that gets more forgetful as I Get Older.

So no.

Bundle up in multiple layers, spending about ten minutes looking for our one pair of warm gloves and Tim’s woolen boot socks, then get painfully frigid , to slowly warm up then cook in a sweaty murky soup of gross under my puffy unattractive layers, while I do tedious manual labor, that will not even get the particular desired result I am aiming for (a snow-free driveway)

never makes it on any of my lists.

Lists scratched on paper, or spinning in my brain.

But it keeps snowing, a lot. So I have been doing that a lot.

Yet, in all this inconvenience, I have noticed something:

One, I always feel better after shoveling.

Two, it is the only time this month I have got sunshine, chilly rays that they are, on my face. The only time I have actually exercised.

Which accounts for why I feel better of course.

These past 30 kid-free days, with all four in school now, has given way to several unexpected conversations; time spent one-to-one, face to face with other women.

It was never convenient.

There was always something left to do. And it truly bothers me on how the laundry is still wrinkled in a basket, the floors are still gross, and that funky mystery smell is still coming from underneath the bathroom sink. And I need to take care of it.

Of course.


I decided that with the luxury of all those supposed “free days” that it would be sad waste of my redeemed, blood-purchased life to spend asking myself “what would Martha Stewart do?”

A nice looking organized home is my gift to my family, because it creates a calm atmosphere.

But it is not my chief aim.

Being creative, and purposely carving out times of complete silence and solitude are needs for my intuitive and introverted brain that I have been gifted with.

But having my life meticulously fitted for ME is not, or should not be, my chief aim.

Perfectionism and selfishness go together as natural as fish n chips. I oughta’ know.

So let me be inconvenienced.

With another six inches piled up in the driveway


a friend who I know I must spend time and speak with.

Each and every time, much to my surprise, I walk away with the blessed gift of good physical and spiritual health.


inconvience of snow #2

Wait_five minute friday

vanishing point

The vanishing point

artists know how to, with a flick of bristle and acrylic and color, create that illusion of something that is right there and flat as receding further and further away

a talent I do not have

to make the near seem far away

ever notice God does things, so very often, the opposite of man?

the vanishing point in my life

the pinprick distance I can spot

right before the bend in the road, the climb up

is far off

But Not

because today’s now

simple repetitive but beautiful, is the process of being:

shaped and formed

brush stroked and colored

smudged and rubbed

and has everything to do with that vanishing point of tomorrow

my dreams

my heartaches

my restlessness

my optimism in the good

my despair over the evil

some days it appears to be a mess of running together colors and random textures

like looking at a Monet much too close

some days I am taken by absolute surprise  with glimpses of glory and I can’t believe I get to be a part of something so amazing, good, holy

like Isaiah before the throne

But if it is true that God is the creator of this world and of my life and His Spirit is the originator of all those dreams and longing and the tearing of deep satisfaction and empty dissatisfaction in a single heartbeat

then to Him it is a simple piece of stretched canvas of which He is in no hurry to be done with:

this one life I get to live

and my response?


In Trust

sledding picture #4 aka rosy distance


Five Minute Friday has rolled around  again.

This is my contribution.

Read more over at the host’s place, Kate, here.

Oh yeah, one more thing:

Daughter #3, aged 9, did this last photo edit herself of a picture I took while we were all  sledding on Martin Luther King Day last week.

I wrote the text.

On line editing is my new photo thing.

Here is the link to my favorite ridiculously easy free online editor


five minute friday_SHARE


I cannot  think of sharing without thinking about the word: alleviate

One’s excess purposely projected, like a well practiced pitch, to another so sinking down the act of raising boot off the ground is exhausting.

“Be nice and share”.

It is one of those “everything I ever needed to know about life I learned in Kindergarten” kinda thing.

Are we called to only gather sit back and enjoy the bounty



Are we called to shake our heads at suffering

get overwhelmed and sigh, what kind of world do we live in?

The image of The Good Samaritan keeps coming to my mind this week.

Jesus called him “good” because he stopped, noticed, not the mess bleeding out, but the one who was bleeding out.

He shared his deliberate time, his hard earned money, and continued with his concern after his initial response to come to aid.

We have so much, yet we women feel so empty.

We fill up on so many good things to be encouraged, I do too, but Jesus called the Samaritan “good” because he stopped walking down the right and proper road he was traveling, to stop and share with someone, a certain “type” in whom his society had nothing in common with, and quite frankly didn’t like.

Could I share with some one like that?



After many months of being away it feels good and comfortable to connect up in this little holy huddle in bloglandia called:

Five Minute Friday.

one word prompt

five minutes of letting yourself get quiet and nudged and then fingers fly over sticky keypads.

Click over to Kate’s site, our host, to read and write and share yourself.





Space makes the way for such surprising things.

With all four young ladies now full time in public school my days are open.

Of course space allows for much more freedom during their time away from the nest- so I can hunker down, do those things that require more than a distracted frantic ten minutes of time.

That does not surprise me.

What surprises me is how my mornings, that now start at the black frigidness of 6:30am; softly awakening, then cajoling, then shaking, then threatening {always, always the last resort of threatening to finally get children to move!} has given way to simple rituals each morning. There is much more motivation to start the day well, with plenty of time for good nutrition and nice visual touches-when I know they will be away from me for the next seven hours.

I set the table pretty-

to set our hectic day

that will branch in different directions-

in the right direction.


Green tea steeping in an old stoneware teapot

Bright oranges set atop of petite china serving bowls

Cut glass and sterling sugar cube server

Knock off silver cream server


This I set every morning while the kettle heats up, my cup of coffee cools.

I keep my ear cocked to listen for girls who are supposed to be shrugging off PJs to slink into skinny jeans and Hunger Games tees and Percy Jackson hoodies (these being the only thing on their Christmas list this year…thank God for Amazon).

When they do stumble down in mixed matched fuzzy socks and bad hair I remind them like I do every morning to:

“drink up your tea…antioxidants”!

“Eat up your orange…Vitamin C”!


Of course I always end up gulping down cold somewhat bitter tea, with way too much milk, and more than a whole orange worth of drying out citrus-y segments, afterwards.

But at least they got some of it in their system I tell myself.

Breakfast now takes roughly twice as long to clean up with all those serving dishes, and vintage tableware bling that I hand wash and put away.

I have thought several times over these last ten mornings of back- to -school- breakfast- for- four:

“this is too much time and work”

especially when it is 9:30 and I’m still wiping counters.

But then I think of how much I like it.

And maybe even more important, no scratch that, definitely more important-

the memories and the atmosphere this ritual creates will soften the edges of those bad mornings, those harsh memories.

If it is true that it is the little things

that pull us down and stumble us

, then it has to be true that it is the little things

that will raise us up and keep us going strong.

Because we humans are slow learners and sinful.  All the cramming in of information and inspirational reading and trying, trying harder will never completely reverse this.

And we, the striving going crazy feeling guilty Christian Mamas, have to come to grips with this:

We are not Jesus.

Jesus being a one day intentional, struggling, choice that our children need to make.

I know too well, and lots of days it makes me sick and nervous at the same time, the day is coming when my daughters are going to ask:

“How can it be that Mom was always talking about Jesus, praying, reading her Bible, doing ministry, crying over orphans in Africa, but acted so hideous, got so mad, dropped the F-bomb, would shut the door and tell us to go away, yell at Dad and be mean…how can that be?”

It’s not an excuse for sin or lack of self control.


“that which I ought not to do, I do, and that which I ought to do I do not”

but it is not a death sentence either.

I hope it will give space for the Holy Spirit to show them they are in need of The One who is perfect.

And then I hope they remember those cold mornings in ugly skinny jeans and antique tea pots and oranges and me saying

“Drink your tea, eat your oranges…antioxidants and Vitamin C” because what I am really saying is:

I Love You.


what time does

This post took me a span of five days to finish by the way.  Because life still is spinning at a fast, packed in, pace and taking time for slow nice things means most activities take days, not a few hours to complete. It still bothers me, makes me feel almost panicked, but I’m trying to not let it.