Monday, September 17, 2018

Food for Thought

I have been in awe of God's love for me. My learning has been transformative recently. His love is being revealed in a whole new light, and my mind and heart is still grasping to comprehend. I will never stop grasping, as God's love is far too wonderful to be contained in my mere human heart. Learning of His affection towards me, His love so complete - perfect/full/without room for growth - even before my days began and before I turned to Him with a feeble attempt to love Him in return, helps me to rest in His love for me now.

May I learn to display a bit more of His kind of love towards others.

I have a couple hours today in between things. Yes, I'm in a coffee shop. I've gathered a few journals to rediscover some words and thoughts that had made an impression at one point or another, and a dog-eared book I need to return to a friend.

"You have nothing in and of yourself. You and I are made of clay and spit. Any holiness of ours is polluted beyond our petty comprehension.

"I have nothing to offer Him but a bent neck, a neck He helped me bend. I have nothing to offer Him but filth, and He has taken it. He exchanged it for blood like wine, and His own body broken like bread...

"Christ on the cross: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

"That was exile far greater than any Hell-bound soul will experience. The Son, one God with the Father, experiencing divorce, separation from grace, left only with the filth, with incest and murder, malice and genocide. Left with pride and envy, left with every self-righteous glance and resentful thought. Left with the rags and rot that every soul uses to fill that God-shaped hole.

"Someone had to carry it all to Hell...

"If you want to love Him, then He has already begun giving you change. He has already begun unclenching your fists, taking your filth to be laundered on the cross...

"But be warned: here the company is low and classless. Here are the whores and thieves, the deviants and the downtrodden, the slaves, the unbeautiful, the lumpy, the people who look bad in suits. Even Christians."

~from 'Notes from a Tilt-A-Whirl'

Food for thought during my lunch break today. (Coffee, actually. No food.)

And with that, may I add a hearty, "Bon Appetit!" May your thoughts be nourished.

(Pictures from June)


Thursday, September 6, 2018

When Your Baby Turns 12

Another birthday boy in the house calls for another celebration. You'd think we're always partying around here, but my kids know our birthday affairs are typically quite simple. Before my boy Jacob gets to the teenage years when he may shy away from birthday pictures for a while, I made sure to ask for a snapshot with him yesterday. Andrew was behind the camera for this spontaneous moment and he captured the sentiment of my heart excellently.

There are always 'lasts' in motherhood, and most of these last moments happen without notice. There was a last time I carried each of my infants nestled in the crook of my arm, a last time I carried them on my hip. There was a last time I gave butterfly kisses with my eyelashes, a last time for bedtime stories, a last time I tickled them to tears at bedtime, a last time for obnoxious zerberts. There was, in fact, a last time they needed me for nearly every single thing they do for themselves. There have been a thousand last times.

And there will be many more.

This is all good; it is meant to be. But isn't it good I don't always know the moment is happening? I'm pretty certain I couldn't handle it!

With my youngest child, though, I seem all the more aware of these last moments. Jacob is entering his last year of childhood, my very last kiddo. I had to scoop him up and hold him one last time, just to make sure I remembered this one 'last.'

He thought I was a tiny bit crazy. I do so enjoy this kiddo!

Then I said, "Ok, Ok. I'll be serious. Let's try again." That lasted 15 seconds until I scooped him up again to make that last moment happen just one more time! Andrew captured a few more crooked, blurry shots I will treasure and we will laugh at!


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

So School Started (+ Donut Dip)

According to tradition, we had our annual "Donut Dip" event the week school started: Morning donuts and ocean dip when summer transitions into the school year. Orientations, assemblies, conferences, book pickup, and community college were all happening, but the morning allowed a bit of extra time for this sweet tradition.

Clifftop view of our favorite Donut Dip spot on an overcast morning

Just the necessities: Towels and donuts

I took a few shots before setting the camera down and joining them...

Thankful for teens that give up their last morning to sleep in a bit to hang with their family...

Not gonna be our holiday family picture!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Well here I am again, at a coffee shop. Nowadays, it seems like the only times I sit alone in a coffee house are also the only times I blog. And I'm so tired. Jon knows I need time alone more than I need sleep so we canceled our date night and he sent me out to a coffee shop. I'm not alone here in this place filled with college students "studying," but no one needs me and the endless list of thing to do isn't staring me in the face. I'm even ignoring emails and texts that wait my attention. September rivals December in busyness for me in the areas of life and ministry, but Jon is kindly forcing me to care for myself a bit. We are once again coming to the realization that we've got to make sure we're both doing this, especially in light of another recent publicized suicide. We could both drown in the needs of others if we're not careful, lonely but always surrounded by people. Self care looks different for different people, but some of us need others to facilitate it.

We've got a couple weeks of school under our belt now and I'm thankful for a long weekend that helped us ease into the new pace of living. Early mornings are not my jam, but that's just too bad because there's no choice. I do early mornings in a painful fog after spending 10 minutes of alarm snooze time curled up in my bedroom chair. It's my coping method before I hit the ground running. I've run most of life super tired.

So after running around my house doing the things I need to do and helping others do the things they need to do, I ran around town for appointments while trying to settle on a logical plan with a son who grabbed the wrong laptop on his way out the door. Texting with kids while they're in class isn't always super effective. Then lunch and more school work. Oh, and a rare fifteen minute power nap and prayer time where I remembered the desperate exhaustion I used to feel due to a medical condition. I'd just pray in my weakness, "Help me." Today I thanked God for taking me through that trial which marked most of my adult years. Later, I snapped at a son for struggling through something hard with an attitude of complaint, only proving to him I am definitely not one single bit better and we are equally in need of help in our weaknesses. Every day: "Help me."

Tired or not today, I ran my 7 miles. I don't feel I have the reserve to put in my miles most days, but who does? I know I need training in the area of mental and emotional perseverance, so I kept moving when my head said to stop. I've never liked mind games, not even with myself. Learn this well: Sometimes you have to tell your mind to shut up because your body and your personhood are stronger than your mind wants you to believe.

So now here I am in this noisy shop with ridiculously fluffy hair, proof I showered before dinner but no time for pampering.

Man. I'm rambling. Sorry. I have better posts started, but haven't had the time to finish. Usually I just let those posts go because the flow of thought has past. And sitting down to blog now that I do it so infrequently is daunting because I feel like I've got to catch up and recap all the events that have transpired. I resist. The task is too much.

We had a good summer. The end. :)


Monday, August 20, 2018

Last Summer Monday

Here I am seated in a quaint little market and coffee shop in La Jolla. I am pampered, and very aware I enjoy a luxurious life by many standards. Olivia is taking a surfing class she was gifted last spring, and my younger boys and a friend are snorkeling just south of the Shores. It's the spot where (docile) leopard sharks congregate to have their young, so I am looking forward to hearing about their sightings. They keep thanking me for taking them to do fun things at amazing places, but they don't yet realize I get to do it.

Summer days are wrapping up quickly. That lump in my throat hasn't formed yet - a nice surprise - but as per usual I am soaking up every last minute with my kids and making the most of our opportunities. This summer has been grand. Wonderful, really. The Lord has been so kind in answering prayer and showing me in distinct ways that he has not left us to our own. The activities and events of our summer break have been really special, but I am leaving this season with such gratefulness for the frequent ways God has allowed me to see maturity, tenderness, growth, and relationship shine forth in new ways. There have been excellent conversations, improved bonds of relationship, and wordless moments and gestures that convey, "We're together." Then through those moments I feel the Spirit remind me, "I've always been there. Press on."

I have prayed long and hard for certain things (and will continue to do so). God is faithful, eager to meet me. The regularity and fervency of my prayers are not that which will produce any good, but only the faithfulness and goodness of God. It's all him.


Sunday, August 12, 2018


Millions of moments make up our days.

I find immense joy in noting the snapshots of time, slices of beauty that compose our lives. I've been intentionally paying attention to all the sensations of this season - the smells, sounds, sights, emotions. All the feels.

Like the gentle breeze of morning air and sparkling light on palm leaves swaying; the calm of a late morning after late night activity...

Like sun-streaked hair and bedhead on an 11 year old...

Like texts showing up on my screen from my daughter, "conversations" that mean connectivity in relationship...

Like arms wrapped around me from behind for a whole three seconds from a son who is so tall his arms only envelop my face and neck...

Like my husband who does fun things with me, like being violently whipped around on an inner tube behind a speeding boat...

Like a platter of homemade ice-cream sandwiches, shared by the poolside with friends. Then plenty more for regular afternoons...

Like sleeping bodies on sofas and beds at unusual hours, proof of happy days...

Like the present sound I just heard amidst laughter: "Andrew, HELP! Get my air soft gun!" This coming from Jack who is in the pool as Michael swims away with his trunks...

Like sitting on a rock without distraction, watching my kids bob in an inner tube on rolling ocean waves, or like being washed over by salty surf and surfacing to the smiles of my kids...

Like conversations with my man about his thoughts and strategies...

Like Michael's long summer hair moving in the breeze of the open trolley windows. He seems too handsome to be mine...

Like eyelashes and dewy summer skin, sandy feet and laughter from the backseat...

Like the sight of San Francisco from my airplane window, and the anticipation of celebration alone with my husband...

Like big boys that are playful, loud and obnoxious, happy...

Like brothers and sisters in Christ tightly gathered around our long barn wood table lit only by twinkling candlelight. We are vulnerable, learning, and growing...

Moments. They are everywhere, happening all the time. I tell myself to look intently for the good stuff, to find what makes my heart skip a beat. I wake each day opening two gifts: my eyes. Plain sight is just plain wonderful, but sometimes I must intently look from my heart and through my eyes. I don't want to waste my gifts and never see the moments.

Snapshots of time taken through the lens of my camera help me remember beyond the moment. Photographs do in better detail what my mind cannot. I'm including a few pictures from the hundreds I have yet to sort through. I chose black and white because photographs don't depict life in it's full color. Life is not black and white, but complex; the wonder of beautiful moments are always colored in a complexity of hues. I like the simplicity of B&W, just like the simplicity of noting a moment for what it is: a gift.

Summer hair and a morning swim

The work on our house continues. And continues, and continues some more. It was a projected one month project, and we're now entering the sixth.
I am proud of this man for his work, and a confident attitude that figures new things out. 

Garage floor studio for an artist

Her tools...

...and her craft.

Summer treats

All varieties of summer hair..

We don't need wetsuits in August anymore because our cold Pacific has reached the mid 70's this year.

Our annual open air sleep out on the roof this year + movie night. 
Michael was sick and had gone to be before dinner that night.

A pivotal birthday for me this year, and a moment in time I survived just fine!

 Mid-day sleep, so tired the toy was dropped onto his face

Restful early morning beach time with me, tucked away from summer crowds~
Without a picture, will I remember those juicy lips and boyish fingers fiddling with nature, or the beloved necklace from China with his name engraved on a grain of rice?

I pray nearly each day that I would see the goodness of the Lord. He displays his goodness to me in new ways through his Word and in the countless moments of my days. I just need eyes to see and a heart to receive.


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