Thursday, October 28, 2010


sexual abuse is part of my story. and while it's something from my past, like a light illuminating from behind, shadows project, affecting some of my todays, some of my tomorrows. i have come a long way from the hurt and pain, and i'm joyful to be in the process of repairing some of the resulting broken relationships. i'm reposting this from my archives because it still hits home after certain discussions with my counselor. this poem, in fact, was a previous response to an exercise she had me do. thank you for grace in reading.

breasts, once touched til my heart
was RAW-
please stop-
flimsy layer of lace no shield,
now sway, stretched with
those little red lips
those closed eyes
small hands clutched close
how can i hate these breasts, still?

stomach, once held sucked in a constant POPULARITY
now squishes out, having won 3 times
but i had no mama to help me push these
little ones out
where was she, then,
and now?

no was meaningless.
hands felt helpless
now cradle sweet, sweaty palms.
voice left powerless
now sings lullabyes
and kisses boo-boos away.

old body, ragged cavern of hate
(don't look, don't want, don't touch)
new body, birth-scarred victorious
nursing love and milk
wombing body and soul
turned inside OUT.

linking with emily and the other imperfect journey-friends on the way

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prodigal's place

we were talking about unfairness, and she tells me she chafes against the story of the prodigal son, that he gets all the attention while elder brother suffers.
i myself always related to that older brother, viewed her as a prodigal of sorts.
our stories start at the same places, but like true mirrors, we react oppositely. funny how it works that way, now, when we're bound tighter in our spiritual sisterhood than we ever were in flesh and blood growing up.
yes, that unruly son got his way, and felt the father's embrace. i cry tears at the grace of it all, and i want to stay humble to this understanding that she and i, we're different. there are many reasons to point fingers at a God who chooses, but all i see is the grace of being chosen. it's what i cling to in faithless times and weary seasons and hopeless winters. the grace goes down like whiskey, all choking and spreading warmth.
there is a place at the table for both of them, and both of us.
i wonder how i can share the awe of that with her, the unbelievable truth that his scarred hands will serve broken bread and wine, that he will hold out freshest white robes and slay the purest Lamb for us to eat?

Monday, October 25, 2010


hands effortlessly finding each other in the dark, this is a hallmark of our love. that i can trace words on his stomach only he knows and understands, this is testament to the bands on 3rd fingers. i used to joke that i had so much baggage he'd be a glorified bellboy, and he smiled but didn't laugh at what wasn't a joke. he's carried much, much more these last 5 years. grace in marriage is spellbinding, isn't it? and to parent, to grow as two-as-one into a family of almost 6 when we barely know what we're doing... well, we just grip fingers til white-knuckled those days.

yes, he's carried more.

our home is full of people love and animal love, and we lost some of those poor babies this weekend, lost, too, the first pet i ever got as an adult. there is sadness here and i turn into him at night in our bed, and i cry "i wish it weren't so" tears. that his cheek was wet, too, bespeaks how he knows--how he knows me and my heart and cries for and with me. hands find each other and cradle comfort.

there is a carrying that happens in both birth and letting go. it mirrors bodies intertwined in love and tears wiped away in grief and fingers interlocked in faith. we sleep just so: in love and grief and faith.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arrivals and anchors

we were three-in-one. three-at-one-time.
many didn't believe because two looked so same and one looked almost as different as possible.
we are three. share the same birth-day, shared womb space and milestones, and now we are all mothers.
classification happens when our brains need ordering, and apparently it was necessary and easy to arrange us in three distinctions.
she was pretty.
she was "crazy."
i was smart.
labels become home, but can stifle.
i think we all wanted to be free and beautiful and intelligent. we mostly wanted to be ourselves.
the crazy one surprised us all by being the most maternal. she gave birth first. she mothers the rest of us, too. the pretty one was last to start her family, and the smart one has the largest brood. i think we are all a little surprised some days.
i've had the fun chance to overlap pregnancies with both of my sisters. now is no exception. kathy, the pretty one, has been pregnant with twins, and she welcomed her little girls into the outside world this week. not one of us would have pegged her to be the one with two-at-once, but she's done a beautiful job growing those girls and allowing heart to embrace two more.
we don't know if they are identical or not, but we three, we wonder how the labels will define and constrict. we wonder how these little girls will become their own, and i can't wait to meet them.
in a season of a weary heart, the little blessings are what anchor us. i praise God for the healthy arrival and delivery of my newest nieces and thank him, too, for blowing promise kisses to my soul. he is here. he loves us. he is enough.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The language of shadows

i tread dawn like that old great ship*, unable to sleep after he goes off to work, too early, not normal for us. i don't even know if i sighed him a kiss. it's still dark when i hear him close the gate just outside my bedroom window. he doesn't want to leave the front door unlocked while we sleep, only i'm just lying here and i feel like i should reach out, tell him, but i lie in the shadow morning, hear the purr of others off to work, see headlights outlining windows, briefly, before they round the drive. connor is in my bed, and i'm in his, and his shallow wheezy breath-snores fill space just like shea's quiet dream puffs, and i'm acutely aware of their breathing in these four walls. they dream, and i toss and turn, the dog's tail wagging against my leg every time i move. i wonder if she's just trying to acknowledge me and i find minor comfort in that thought. i pat her nose and she wiggles up tight and close. old habits force me to push her off. i wonder if this is the morning the heart fog will dissipate, if light will shine through more than just the slits in my blinds? shadows whisper in their own language as furniture outlines emerge, and i think i should pray but can't even get outside my own head. lying here, the ceiling seems low despite being vaulted. clouds turn from grey to pink, and the house isn't so still anymore. i finally eek a prayer, just help me get through today, and i'm up. dawn shakes out her last weary sigh, and she and i start together. just help us get through today.

(*please, please, know this literary reference?!)

linking up with emily and trying to shake my funk and sleepy eyes with imperfect prose.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


there are times when words don't come easily, even for the word-lovers. and it's not so much that words are stuck in one's throat, but rather they are stuck in your heart and you don't quite know how to speak them without breaking your heart or the words or both.
and so stillness speaks.
and waiting is not anticipating right now. it's trying to hope, to remember good gifts and answered prayers.
i almost wish i could be pat and say the things in my heart don't matter or shouldn't affect me, but the fact is, i've been suffering a depression that isn't easily shaken. things feel intense, and my filter seems a bit broken. perhaps that is merely pregnancy, or perhaps the words are too stuffed down.
i'm feeling a bit lost in all this stillness, and trying to know that He is God. trying to trust in his Goodness, and let it be enough.

a song that speaks for me

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


i read this as a quote in my bible study lesson this morning, so unfortunately i don't know exactly where it came from, but it struck me as utterly profound.

"Have you ever experienced an epiphany--a moment when God unexpectedly and unforgettably invaded the monotony of your life? ... The Celtic Christians referred to these kinds of moments--moments when heaven and earth seem to touch--as thin places. Natural and supernatural worlds collide." (Batterson)

thanking God today for eyes to see His hand even in the mundane. seeing that even as shea played, startled, in the dust mote, hands trying to grasp dancing particles, even so is our father bathing us in his grace, in an ordinary shaft of light, in the thin places of faith and obedience, of dust and light.

(photo taken by my dear sweet friend brownie)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some hope, restored

i think a broken hallelujah is the only kind there is:
the one of splintered hearts
shy good-byes, and journeys
starting with a single step,
slouching towards bethlehem, as she says.
but it's true.
we can slouch. that's all,
and wait at broken earth, under cross's shadow


whisper, "today i am broken.
tomorrow, will you break me
lips dry and cracked under desert sun
throat or soul more parched than last


all that's left is a poet without words
a singer without melody
a craftsman without his tools
all, breaking hallelujah in bread
and wine
and self

i wrote this poem a couple of weeks ago, but after the hopelessness i felt yesterday, it felt very appropriate to link up to emily's imperfect prose. i'm imperfect indeed, but that's where His beauty fills and makes whole.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


the bells from the church down the street hum "how great thou art" and the tea scalds my throat. it's too still this morning (that's how i can hear the bells at all), but only outside.

thoughts are cloudy, thrum against brain, try to drown out the bells or the message, i'm not sure which.


cats need feeding. dogs need letting out. two little ones awake, and the stormcloud in my head keeps threatening. mundane should be the antidote to get me through. it makes a heavy contrast.


milky tea sweetened with real sugar this morning in defiant protest. for whom? i sigh. feed animals. i realize sugar is not what i need right now, either. even sweetness can't sugarcoat angry pensiveness. the bells go quiet. i wish for them back.


i should be writing gratitude, or asking for humility, but the truth is i can't count right now and my heart hurts from being low. i want my heart to trust how great He is, even in a storm.