Saturday, July 31, 2010


i scrub furiously, all this energy to come out in some way, best if productively. cleaning highchair grime from three years and counting, lifting stovetop eyes to erase rust/grease/dirt rings, washing walls and dishes, all the while praying and singing one refrain.

my washrag is red and unraveling a bit, and towards the end my hands are wrinkled and red. all this red to clean, and i think that's all it's ever taken--red running stripes to clean soul dirt.

work it out

figure it out

scrub harder on stains

use more effort

be better

these thoughts carry guilt and fight the stain that Red Love leaves. would i surrender self, stop working so very hard to just be, allow Red to cover and leave me blameless white?

Friday, July 30, 2010


in this safe place

of slightly overgrown lawn
with lots of dandelions to blow
and railroad ties to jump
and a driveway canvas
for pink chalk people
and a kiddie pool lying
deflated most of the time

this place is where little boys grow
where they dream up play
and make believe song
and write out sports
and drive away tensions
sing their love out loud

and where they hit and fight
and possess the other's tools
and bugs are swatted
or explored
(depending on the day)
and littlest tumbles as he toddles
and oldest rushes to get mama
and middle stays to hold him

this is the safe place i watch them
these three
who walk all over my heart some days
but are definitely
my heart walking around on feet
i watch from window glass and reflection
and i want them always
to have
green grass
and colored rainbow sidewalks
and tricycle love for life

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


i got to hear my birth story* for the first time since becoming a mom myself. i'm sure i heard it at some point growing up, but not such that i knew to ask the right questions, the ones with the interesting answers!
something so simple, so huge.
a point of grace. a place to share commonality; we're both mothers after all.
she wasn't there while i was pregnant; she couldn't answer my breastfeeding questions; she didn't hold any of my wee ones, but she finally heard, too, how they were born. she seemed as excited for me as i was that i had my two VBAC births. was proud that i'd made it a year with two and six months with another with nursing.
two mothers, bonding, with holes still lying beneath the surface.
it's mystifying, this new space of birth story and parenting talk. it's like the film of scum on the surface of a still lake, not so much as being stagnant as just being murky below. but like the lake, there can be life below, and that's what is both scary and exciting. just like birth.

thank you, friends, for letting me share my innermost thoughts here. i know the subject matter isn't always easy, but it's so truly where i am that to write of anything else would be disingenuous.

*and my birth story is actually very interesting! for those of you who are new to my blog, i'm a triplet, so there's a lot of general excitement anyway, but i had no idea my mom actually went into labor with us... i just assumed it was an automatic c-section. we were 34 weeks, but were very sizeable given being premature (4 lbs apiece and some varying ounces).

***** note: i'm way late in the day, but i'd love to link up to imperfect prose

(i can't get the button to work... i'll link back later and edit that in!)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Face to face

i told her i was coming to town for a visit. i immediately wondered if i should've kept my mouth shut. after all, even she admitted the silent Before was easier. but she said yes, let's meet for coffee. she wanted to know if i wanted to see her garden. no, that meant home, meant seeing him, and them. the pause in the air said more than i did, and she got hurt, angry. we back pedaled and just agreed coffee, then let's see.
i was late; she sounded irritated. i realized it'd been so long since i'd driven out there i'd misjudged just how long it would take me. she told me she'd go pick up a few items at the wal-mart next door while i drove the remaining twenty minutes. the hallowed, neutral ground of starbucks, not memphis, not home, the industrial in-between.

i got there before she did, and the butterflies i'd been able to keep at bay til that point flooded my stomach. the coffee i sipped turned heavy and tasteless in my throat.

so many years since i'd seen her- a marriage and three births all taking their toll on me' would i recognize her?
i did. noticed how long her hair'd gotten, the limp she had because of the foot trouble she's mentioned on the phone, but the same dark eyes. she looked more like granny than the mama i remembered, her skin looser and softer and powdery, and it seems ten years instead of five. she thinks i look like bet. touches my wedding ring, the engagement story she doesn't know being hinted at, sees pictures of my boys on my phone; me, realizing how few of them actually have face shots. her phone has pictures of her dogs, and she laments the fact.

we chat, i twirl my bands nervously; she twists and retwists her diet coke cap.
where to start lies heavy between us, so we plunge.

straight into the murky cold depths and i tell her how i fear sticking my hands behind or under things, that absurd fear of the unknown. she says she can light the way, but perspective is different and casts shadows, taints conversation.

she vehemently reminds she loves her husband, and i know she does an she should, and she asks if he's unwanted, unloved, and i don't know the answer to the question.

the heart doesn't like going under dark things either.

i mention ann's grace-post and how i know the need for forgiveness, even know i have for the first time in my life and how i even feel sorry for all those years lost. she seems to hear.

there is mention of a future and in the moment i know i want that above all else. it's when i've driven away, heavier than the coffee burning in my stomach, that i fear all the long future in front of me, all the hardness trying to come back into my heart and brain, and all the old bitternesses trying to take root again.

it is up to me to soften. to see her as the mother she wishes she could be, the grandmother she's never been, and the friend she may still be someday.
it is up to me to reach into the dark-be a light for Him, extending God-grace to self and her and continue this long road, one phone call, cup of coffee, and trembling hug at a time.

i'm linking up today at suzannah's shoutlaughlove because this is part of my story--journey deeper into grace.

so much shouting, so much laughter

A week recaptured

i read ann's post today, and i marvel at how timely and appropriate it is for me, having just returned from a week away from my family, and the struggle that is finding the right lens for which to see things.

42. no cut flowers to adorn my sink, but the sink is empty of last night's dishes.
43. no garden to grow those jewels to eat or display, yet my boys grow, one now four!
44. a time of Tio, and all the energy spent climbing him instead of me, and time for brother-love between friends, and a freezer stocked of food i didn't eat but lovingly made for them while i was gone.
45. safe travels, and time well spent in a city dear to my heart, how a week just flew and wore me out!
the trip itself:
46. barbeque nachos, all perfection [real!memphis!barbeque!], and even better time spent with christina, whom i dearly miss.
47. retreat/reunion--4 girls so different, so same, we met at the perfect junction of our lives, and while many of us have moved (texas, switzerland), home again these 10 years later, 24 hours carved in homage to the time when we were husbandless, childless, clueless (!).
48. so many laughs
49. holding hands and those long sister-hugs
50. swiss chocolate (78% thankyouverymuch!)
51. three-in-a-bed in cabin and laughing more into the night
52. crackers and cheese, epitomizing poor college food
53. shopping in oxford
54. the preciousness that is amy, damaris, and kathryn
55. time with sister (pregnant with twins) and niece, that my bitterness at "doing all the work" subsided and we had a nice time
56. skylar remembering me
57. time with mom, first time face-t0-face in four years
58. she hugged first
59. tears shed and more hard conversations
60. agreeing to move one day at a time, however that looks
62. for grace to acknowledge there will be hard(er) days
63. and promise not to pull back in silence, agreeing that even loud anger would be better than nothing.
64. for my sweet friend brownie, soul sister and stage of life companion
65. real-friend tears, both of us, and shoulders to lean on
66. time to pray, encourage
67. knowing looks and smiles
68. shared understanding, ease, motherhood ups and downs
69. crockpot love and slow-simmering friendship
70. gina, getting to hold sweet henry
71. the chance to let her eat with two hands!
72. the ability to be more experienced and promise her she's doing such a great job
73. seeing how far i've come
74. pizza with smoked mozzarella, truffle oil, arugula, need i say more?!
75. amy, for your ever-beautiful smile, and hospitality to share your home with me
76. muddy's cupcakes
77. time and space to vent my fears and frustrations
78. kassie and pippa and brittany
79. for time with husband when i got back,
80. and a house clean and orderly
81. and little boy hugs to remind of being wanted
82. and nap to catch up on all the week's hard work and road weariness
83. and a return to some normal

i had a long week, one of the more harried visits i've taken to memphis because of all the emotional visits with my mom and sister and just the busy-ness of it all. i'm so glad to be back, and so glad i got to go! i'll write more in-depth about my visit with my mom and the rest of the week, but i want to take a moment to thank each of you who prayed for me. it was deeply appreciated.

don't forget to read ann's post today and join the others in the gratitude community, or begin sharing your own way to a thousand gifts!

holy experience

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A note...

to explain the quiet around here.
we've had a week-long guest and i'll be traveling this entire week myself.

i have much to share (for sharing is my chewing, my processing and figuring out what my heart says about it all), but for now, may i please ask for prayers: safe travel and family well-missed, as well as an important meeting where i both act out some forgiveness as well as keep emotionally safe. your thoughts are appreciated, and i'll be back next week with updates and written-hashings.
thanks for patience.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tired and thankful

i'm so tired today after a long but productive weekend, with a long and hopefully productive week ahead.
it is good for this tired soul and body to pause and drink deeply the thanks that allows me to go on.

26. Spain won!
27. the ability to laugh happily with husband that his team lost
28. for boys who shout "Go, go, go, go!" along with daddy
29. simple dinners
30. new bread recipe-delicious!
31. practice makes perfect as several loaves turned out less so
32. lemon curd
33. hands washed raw, but smelling faintly of lemon still
34. husband off safely
35. and his willingness to travel so far away to provide for us
36. long-time family friend coming to stay with us this week
37. my finally understanding the house doesn't have to be perfect for him; he understands little boy mess
38. an upcoming birthday of the eldest (how 4 already?)
39. a chance to see best girlfriends soon
40. a sweet family safely set in their new missional home in asia and already making contacts
41. and ever, the grace that gets us through difficult seasons

won't you join us at the gratitude community?

holy experience

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shielding the scars/Scars that shield

Shielding the Scars
i hide the parts i think are ugly
cover their imperfection
and brokenness,
but that often looks like
a full-length fur coat for a day on the beach
pompous, out of place
and exposing none of the real me beneath.
i'm afraid my ugly will spill -
and it does.
i act as if it's either really important to seem best
or weaken the story that knows first-is-last
and last-is-first.

Scars that shield
i also hide behind my scars,
those raw and purple wounds
the ones that left me for dead
only i survived, somehow.
i think if i build a wall
i'm more protected,
and people will want to know me
the real me,
except they can't get past the pretend beauty/exterior.

sometimes i think he keeps me broken
so the scars can't will themselves
to being unknown
so i can be a story of Grace
with no help but to open heart and soul
bleed onto others
lifeblood pouring

it's in the giving, the bleeding
the no-walls
glimpse into my imperfection
i can't save myself
can only rely so heavily,
head resting low and hard, on Him,
on allowing you to be his arms hugging me.
building walls/tearing down
know that grace is loving me
loving you
not despite ugliness
but because of it;
shields being lowered not because we're safe
but because we're not,
for his love is wild and reckless and ruthless and Grace.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Satisfied to stay

i mentioned in my last post that i'd done some back-reading in journals past, and the words, both mine and borrowed, have been a balm. i've been able to remember where i've come, the darkness that felt at the time to overtake my spirit, and i fought hard against heart and flesh, both. i was in love with an idol and the worship alone broke me into pieces. i could not be content because i was trying to obey two masters. when the altar was taken down, the tears poured out angrily and the hands stayed balled, clutching sheets hard to self, and i wrestled, prayed for a return to the past.

a girlfriend whispered the dangers of "clinging to egypt's bondage" and i wandered soul-lost for many months.


i began meeting with her, and she opened my eyes up to see the truth and to see the good in the breaking. she helped me remember where worship belonged, and she guided me prayerfully-wrapped to seek Him again, fall back in love with Love.
these words were penciled in those years ago, words from a book she'd written and which she was having me read:
contentment is an "inward grace given by God that results in a mindset of being satisfied to stay in your circumstances for as long as God wills." it is truly preferring a single, solitary day in His courts, even as a doorman, than to spend lifetimes in the kingdoms of the idols.
it means rest. resting in His grace, His promise to keep, His will, His pierced hands.
if you had told me (and some did try) that i could move on from that sick, ill-sighted love and that i'd one day believe the God of the universe holds me in his hand, i would not have agreed. i was not willing to stay in His will for me then if it meant heartbreak, waking up every morning with disappointment clenching my breast.

i wake up today a different woman, and only by His doing.
yes, i discovered another love along the way, but i am also learning to let go of self and my own will. it is finally figuring out that to stay in the gates of His will is the perfect place, the still waters that quench a soul thirst, so i rest in Him.

won't you click the button below and join in as we talk about the spiritual grace of rest this month?

holy experience

Monday, July 5, 2010

The counting

today i continue to count blessings, and am humbled to be called His.

11. ever thankful for the grace that holds us together, like glue
12. knowing that grace for the first time in my spiritual walk as true
13. for finding my voice
14. and being left speechless (praise for the opportunity to have that HARD conversation with my mom)
15. for a husband who holds me tighter when my inclination is to push away
16. and time alone with sister
17. for praise and worship on the radio, constant reminder
18. and the stirrings of prayer inside that are new and freeing
19. for rereading words written 6 years ago as stones of remembrance from whence i came (and so far i've come!) as well as
20. wise words of counsel
22. especially from my Christina who has shared more wisdom that i still cling to than just about anyone i know
23. for learning to forgive myself and others
24. and seeing glimpses of the big picture
25. and most importantly for being reminded that He loves me, sustains me, and has brought morning from night, just as he promised.

Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever. ~2 Chron. 20:21b

holy experience

Thursday, July 1, 2010


she said it, admitted it. i am jonah under a shade palm, fearing nineveh and the hardness in my heart, knowing full well i belong there, preaching a gospel of Good News. knowing the outcome.

a few short weeks of halting, cautious phone calls, the how'reyous and long pauses and static air on more than just the line, we went There. we crossed the comfortable limit, we talked about him. she didn't want to, insisting there is no present in the past, and i fight, but there's no present without the past, and so i shyly, insistently, suggest i'd never had my say. and she said,

"you're right. i never believed you when you were younger."

my heart freezes, tears drip hot. i've longed for these words, but they make me hurt in a blinding way, and i don't know how to hold the universe in. breathe.

we talk about the sticky grace, and i'm reminded all over of ann's post on forgiveness.

the boys watch a favorite tv show and the cat comes to nuzzle a foot, and i wonder how can all this normal be, when she's telling me the reality didn't match the princess she finally believed herself to be? she felt alive and full and knightly woo'd, and when we told her he hurt us, she couldn't believe. he wouldn't let her, and so silence won for years.

but today we courted the words, danced shakily around that one word louder than all others, abuse, and she cries tears that i seem to feel wet on my own cheek.

life intervenes (when did normal become ironic?), and it's time to return to hungry boys and rush to lifegroup, but she asks if we have time to pray, if we have time to practice sticky grace, and my heart rebelled, no...i'm not ready for this yet, i'm not ready. glue. she prays for healing, and i stream silent and whisper amen, and the phone clicks and i shake. it was easier before. silence was righteous and proud and i knew my way home, but now i'm in a foreign country and i can't read the signs and i don't know where i'm going, but i'm jonah called to preach. to live grace that's not mine to harbor, for as meg says, at the foot of the cross it's all level.

i'm torn. i hope. i fear. i'm angry and excited. prayers would be welcome.


"Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue." Eugene O'Neill

"yes," i think as i read these words, re-quoted by anne lamott. i know broken. do i know the mending? i must, for i breathe and i have little ones and i am loved.

He mends as i wash dishes, scrape stuck-on food bits, even as he scrapes my heart raw in the desire to know He is real.
He heals as i correct boy-anger, seeing myself reflected back, hear the rebuke to be careful in my anger.
Pieces my broken heart as i seek counsel, one who points to a better Counselor, as i find a new rhythm to daily carrying a cross and what forgiveness looks like in the small things.

grace is mercy and cake extended to the friend who never showed yesterday but did today.
it is the wanting to push dirty kids away from the baby, but saying, "look, can't you see, he's smiling at you?" it's the powerful urge to protect little sister still being hurt by her parents, and trying to figure out my place in this new triangle. the glue is sticky and confounding, but it holds us together. it's a husband who knows my dark fears and sheds light and love, a soul-sister who calls at just the right time in my loneliness, a cloudy day when heat has been so oppressive.

the glue makes no sense, like a big Dada-ist collage of broken pieces and misshapen hearts, and some overlap and some have holes, and it all just works somehow because the glue is grace, invisibly, powerfully adhesive.